Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

very riff-raff.'

immense iron shovel full of coals to throw corpse, which was stained with blood and on the fire, 'Ay, in one hour that will be dirt. There was the mark of a crushing a blazing fire;' then, turning to the bludgeon blow on the back of the head, and doctor, questioned him, “Do tell me, sir, I a large bruise on the right arm. The hat am informed I shall go down with great and shoes were gone, and the flap of the force, is that so ?' After the construction coat was spread over the face. Mr. Steele's and action of the machine had been ex- shoes were found about fifty yards from plained, the doctor questioned the governor the body. The cruel murder excited great as to what kind of men he had at Goree; horror at the time, and the coachmen at “Sir,' he answered, they sent me the night, by glimpses of the moon, would point

The poor soul then joined out to pale and hushed passengers the exact the doctor in prayer; and never did I spot were the body was found, and the witness more contrition at any condemned third clump of trees, near the old gravelsermon than he then evinced.

pit, where the searchers had picked up an Directly the execution was over, Mr. öld hat supposed to bave belonged to one Smith left Newgate, where the hangman's of the murderers. The story was discussed, yeoman was selling the rope that had no doubt, often enough in Catherine-street, hung Governor Wall for a shilling an inch, where timid eyes would turn towards the while in Newgate-street a starved old man shop with the lavender-water in the winwas selling another identical rope at the dow, as if the ghost of Mr. Steele might at ridiculously low price of only sixpence an any moment emerge from it and start again inch, and at the north-east corner of on the road to Hounslow. Warwick-lane, a woman known as Rosy The murder had been almost forgotten, Emma, reputed wife of the hangman's man, when one day in the autumn of 1807, was selling a third identical noose to the Benjamin Hanfield, a convict in a ship then Epping buttermen, who had come that lying at Portsmouth, confessed that he had morning to Newgate Market.

helped in the crime, and could disclose the

names of the two men who really killed Mr. Steele, a lavender merchant, who Mr. Steele. Holloway and Haggerty, the lived at No. 15, Catherine-strect, Strand, two men pointed out by Hanfield, were at left town for Feltham, near Hounslow, once arrested. Haggerty was a marine on where he had a small house and a nursery- board the Shannon frigate, then lying at garden, on the afternoon of Friday the Deal. When taken before the port admiral 5th of November, 1802. Having seen to and asked where he had been four years his gardens and stock and paid his work- ago, his countenance fell, and he would men, he left his nursery the next day, have fallen backwards had not Vickery, Saturday, about seven in the evening. He the police officer, caught him, sat him down, wore at the time a light green coat, striped and given him some water. Holloway was waistcoat, half - boots, and a round hat. found in Clerkenwell Prison, suffering for Mr. Steele, not returning to London the some offence for which he had been connext day, Mr. Meyer, his brother-in-law, victed. When taken by Vickery to John. became alarmed, and set out for Feltham, street, Bedford-row, and the warrant read, but Mr. Steele was not there. Mr. Meyer's he said, “I am innocent!

Oh, dear! I alarm increasing, he went to the barracks know nothing about it. I will down on at Hounslow to procure assistance, and a my knees to you and the justice if you

will vigorous search was then instituted. The let me go.” soldiers scouring the heath soon came on Hanfield's version of the story was this. traces of the man who, it was began to be He had known Haggerty and Holloway, feared, had been murdered by foot-pads. and been much with them for six or seven His drab great-coat was found inside some years. They generally met at the Turk's flags in a gravel-pit about ten or fifteen Head in Dyot-street, the Black Horse in yards from the road going from Hounslow Dyot-street, or the Black Dog at the to Staines. Soon after the soldiers dis- corner of Belton-street. In the beginning covered the body of the murdered lavender of November, 1802, Holloway came to merchant on the opposite side of the road, Hanfield at the Turk’s Head, and asked about two hundred yards from the path. him if he had any objection to being in 3 It lay in a ditch by a clump of trees, and a good thing. It was to be a “low toby” (footportion of the bank had been pulled down, pad robbery). Hanfield consented, and it or had fallen upon it. A buckled strap was arranged for the Saturday following: was drawn tight round the neck of the On that day, Hanfield, Haggerty, and

Holloway met. Holloway had found out cent, for if they had not done this they a gentleman to "sarve” (rob) on Hounslow had done other things as bad, that the Heath. They sat drinking some time, and hulks were dreadful, and that rather than then started for Hounslow, and at Turnham be seven years in the hulks he would bang Green they stayed again to refresh them- as many men as were killed at the battle of selves, and at the Bell at Hounslow again Copenhagen. Hanfield was peculiarly brutal drank. At half-past four they left the Bell

, and ferocious in prison. There were endand proceeded over the heath till they less discrepancies in his evidence, and after reached the eleventh mile-stone towards all the two men were chiefly convicted by Belfont. They were rather too soon, so means of a conversation overheard by an they struck out over the heath to a clump officer, when they were in adjoining cells of trees. It was dark when they got there, in Worship-street, when they confessed a but by the time they had waited an hour previous knowledge of each other. This the moon rose, and they again sallied out. cruel stratagem seems more worthy of

As they came out from the trees, Hol- Venice in the Middle Ages than of England loway said he thought he heard a foot- in 1807, and after all it only proved that step, and they went along the road till they they had met before. To our mind the thought they could descry the figure of innocence of the two men is unquestionable, a man coming along the road towards and the wretch Hanfield was probably the Hounslow. This man was Mr. Steele. On only murderer. their stopping him and demanding his To the last the two men pathetically money, the lavender merchant at once con- asserted their innocence. Upon the ensented to give it up without showing fight, trance of the sheriffs, Haggerty came out and begged them not to hurt him. On his into the press-yard, and had his fetters declaring he carried no pocket-book, Hol- struck off. He appeared deeply depressed, loway knocked him down, and declared but uttered not a word, and returned into if he spoke he would knock out his what is called the Long Room to be pinioned. brains. Hanfield took hold of Mr. Steele's Holloway was 'pinioned before his irons legs. Haggerty then searched him, and on were removed. He again returned into his struggling to get across the road, as the Long Room, and a few minutes after a night coach approached, Holloway said, said he wished to speak to the gentlemen. " I'll silence the beggar,” and killed him At this time several noblemen, the lord with two dreadful blows of bis blackthorn mayor, Alderman Flower, and many genbludgeon. Hanfield then left them in terror, tlemen, besides the sheriffs and underbut was rejoined by them in a public- sheriffs, were assembled in the yard. house at Hounslow. Holloway was then A circle was formed, and, on his entering wearing the murdered man's hat. But on it, he began on his right, bowing slowly the Monday following, to avoid detection, and reverently, until he had completed the he filled the hat with stones, and flung it circle ; he then stood erect in the centre, into the Thames from Westminster Bridge. and in an audible voice said, “ Gentlemen, This was Hanfield's story, but the trans- I die innocent; I know nothing of this here ported convict, who had turned king's affair that I am going to suffer for.”. He evidence, was by no means to be implicitly then dropped down upon his knees, and believed.

with his hands, as in the posture of prayer, From the beginning that shrewd and said, “ I am innocent, by God!" He then energetic man, Mr. James Harmer (after- arose, and with great composure proceeded wards Alderman Harmer), the attorney for to the scaffold. Holloway and Haggerty, had a strong con- The final catastrophe was terrible indeed. viction that the two men were innocent. The crowd which assembled to witness the Hanfield it was proved had been a hackney. execution was nearly forty thousand. The coachman and a thief, and had deserted from pressure of the crowd was such, that beno fewer than five different regiments. More- fore the prisoners appeared, some women over, he had been once quartered at Houns- who could be no longer supported by the low. He had before escaped transportation men, were suffered to fall, and were by turning informer. Mr. Harmer also trampled to death. This was also the brought forward the sworn deposition of a case with several men and boys. In all fellow-prisoner of Hanfield's at the House parts there were continued cries of “ Murof Correction, who proved that Hanfield der! murder!" particularly from the female had said, the day before the execution of part of the spectators and children, some the two men, that they could not be inno- of whom were seen expiring without the

6:

[ocr errors]

possibility of obtaining the least assistance, ing to relate, there lay near one hundred every one being employed in endeavouring persons dead, or in a state of insensibility, to preserve his own life. The most affect strewed round the street. ing scene of distress was seen at the end of Green Arbour-court, nearly opposite the In an interesting account of a visit to debtors' door. The terrible occurrence various prisons in 1818, written by that which took place near this spot was attri- excellent philanthropist, Joseph John Gur. buted to the circumstance of two piemen ney, in 1819, that writer appends some attending there, and one of them having sensible and practical remarks made on his basket overthrown, which stood upon prison discipline by himself and his noble a sort of stool with four legs; some of the sister, Mrs. Fry, the very type of Christian mob, not being aware of what had hap- charity. He speaks warmly of the good pened, and at the same time severely effected by the Ladies' Prison Visiting As. pressed, fell over the basket and the man sociation, which commenced its labours at the very moment he was picking it up, among the female prisoners of Newgate in together with its contents. Those who April, 1817. Those excellent people, the once fell were never more suffered to rise, Quakers, always alive to works of charity, such was the violence of the mob. At originated the movement, and were first, this fatal piace a man of the name of Her- here and in America, to revive a rememrington was thrown down, who had in his brance of the almost forgotten fact that hand his youngest son, a fine boy about the object of law and justice is not so much twelve years of age.

The youth was soon to punish as to reform the criminal. Mere trampled to death; the father recovered, cruelty transforms him into a wild beast, though much bruised, and was amongst kindness and religion restore him to huthe wounded in St. Bartholomew's Hos- manity, bring him back from the pariah pital. A woman who was so imprudent state, and often restore him to civilisation. as to take with her a child at the breast, The feeling that good men still care for was one of the number killed ; whilst in him, and do not look upon him as utterly the act of falling, she forced the child into lost, softens his heart, and habits of order, the arms of the man nearest to her, re- sobriety, and industry, recreate him, as it questing him, for God's sake, to save its were, and often recal him to humanity. life; the man finding it required all his The cold blooded murderer alone the law exertion to preserve himself

, threw the considers as hopeless, irreclaimable, and infant from him, but it was fortunately dangerous, and so dismisses him from life caught at a distance by another man, who, in terrible but just retaliation for the life finding it difficult to insure its safety or he has taken: all other criminals it should his own, got rid of it in a similar way. endeavour to warn, and if possible to reThe child was again caught by a person claim. Poverty has perhaps led him to who contrived to struggle with it to a cart, crime, and his habits of crime may have under which he deposited it until the dan- arisen merely from never having heard of ger was over, and the mob had dispersed. or seen virtue. Most young prisoners In other parts the pressure was so great, are reclaimable; most women whom vice that a horrible scene of confusion ensued, (the result of their seducer's crime) has and seven persons lost their lives by suffo- turned into thieves or drunkards, are cation alone. It was shocking to behold reclaimable if a better mode of life is a large body of the crowd, in a convulsive opened to them.

On these great prinstruggle for life, fighting with the most ciples Mrs. Fry acted, and with a sacsavage fury with each other; the conse- cess that seems the result of Heaven's quence was that the weakest, particularly special blessing. At that time the female the women, fell a sacrifice. A cart, which prisoners in Newgate were sunk into an was overloaded with spectators, broke apparently hopeless state of idleness, down, and some of the persons, falling abandoned and shameless vice, riot, and from the vehicle, were trampled under foot, drunkenness. They were the dregs of the and never recovered. During the hour the dregs of London, the scum of the scum, malefactors hung, little assistance could blasphemous, filthy, ignorant of the combe afforded to the unhappy sufferers; but monest decencies and duties of life. Freafter the bodies were cut down, and the gal- quent communication was allowed them, lows removed to the Old Bailey yard, the through an iron grating, with visitors of marshals and constables cleared the street both sexes, many of such visitors as vile, where the catastrophe occurred, and shock- degraded, and desperate as themselves.

was

There was not even an attempt at general incitements to good conduct. The female inspection; the only rough separation of prisoners assembled every morning in the classes and degrees of guilt was that of committee room to hear the Bible, and the tried from the untried. They slept sometimes a prayer, read by the matron or promiscuously in large companies. The one of the visitors. The women on being hardening and bebasing executions were dismissed, returned to their several employterribly frequent, and fresh prisoners were ments, says Mr. Gurney, with uniform perpetually pouring in.

order and quietness. The good effected by the lady visitors Who can tell how far this extraordinary was almost instantaneous. The most de change in the female prisoners of Newgate praved and abandoned prisoners, with that was real ? The outward result there was hard-earned knowledge of the world they no disputing. The women became espehad earned by blood and tears, felt at once cially honest among themselves. In no how pure and unselfish these ladies were less than one hundred thousand manuThe most debased and cynical could dis- factured_articles of work not one cover only one motive for the conduct of stolen. Even a still more satisfactory proof those who brought the cup of cold water of the good effected was the great decrease in His name.

The stormiest heart was in the number of recommitments, only found still able to throb at a kind word, a four prisoners having been reconvicted pitying look, an act of kindness. The from 1817 to 1819; these criminals on lowest of the criminals soon began to their return evincing a strong sense of unconform to the new standard; the scene easiness and shame. Many of the poor changed; the worst women became quiet women who left were kept under supervision and gentle, orderly and industrious, neater by members of the committee, and were and cleaner, their very countenances im- found to preserve a good character, obtainproved and softened. They would sit ing places as servants, or earning an honest for hours with the ladies who visited New- livelihood at home. Several of the women gate, and behave with perfect decorum. on their discharge received small loans to Many learned to read; others became dex- help them forward, and these loans they terons at knitting and needlework, all, by repaid by most punctual weekly instalsome means or another, were busily em- ments. At the end of 1817 a return was ployed. Two of the committee, if possible, made, at the request of the benevolent together, visited the prison daily, and be- T. F. Buxton, of the recommitments on came acquainted with the cases of indi- the "male side” of Newgate. It then apvidual prisoners. Women who had entered peared that, out of two hundred and three Newgate in rags or half naked, were men, forty-seven of those convicted had decently clad, either by aid of their own been confined there before within the two earnings or at the expense of the associa- preceding years. The returns on the fe. tion. The vilest grew more self-respecting male side since the Ladies' Association The prisoners' patchworks, spinning, and civilised that part of the prison, are not knitting were sold for them, and if possible more, as compared with the male side, than part of their earnings set by to accumulate as four are to forty-seven. Before the for their benefit when they returned to angels of mercy came in Quaker garb, the the world. Schools were started for the returns on the female side used to be, comchildren and for the grown-up women. pared with those of the male side, as three The governesses were chosen from the are to five. And all these great results are more intelligent, and steady, and persever- the effect of a little kindness, and a little ing of the prisoners. A capital system Christian charity. of supervision was also established: Over every twelve or thirteen women a matron

DROWNED. was placed, who was answerable for their work, and kept an account of their con- Stood watching at the place of tryst, duct. A ward woman attended to the For him who came not; till at last cleanliness of the wards, a yard woman

Uprose from earth, the night's chill mist;

And wistfully she fixed her eyes maintained good order in the yards, and Upon the pale stars in the skies. the sick-room was ruled by a nurse and an

The lindens shivered in the breeze, assistant. These officers were selected

The cold East breeze, though it was June, from the most orderly and respectable of

As sometimes an Æolian harp,

Sounds one false concord out of tune; the prisoners, and they received extra

And o'er her heart, there crept a chill, emolument. These situations were great A prescience of coming ill.

A MAIDEN on a summer eve

The white owl hooted his refrain,

James's Hall, in Piccadilly, and winter and Weird prophet, from the ivied tower; The jackdaw, from the belfry loft,

summer, spring and autumn, day and Echoed the striking of the hour.

night, there is something going on there. Ten strokes! And with a tear-stained face,

Let us take the winter season first. To Homeward her way she 'gan to trace.

the average London man, who takes his Drowned! he was drowned that afternoon,

pleasures with a proper amount of tranDrowned in the loveliest of spots, Upon the silver breast of Thames,

quillity, there is perhaps no period of the Amid the blue forget-me-nots.

year more thoroughly enjoyable than that For her, the maiden, all but wife,

between Christmas and Easter. Then the Went out, that eve, the star of life!

vigour gained during his autumnal holi

day is still fresh within him; he has been OUR HALL.

for a long time separated from his ac

quaintances, and even the dullest of them We are proud of our Hall, looking upon will probably have stolen some tolerably it as one of the features of London, and a new idea; he has been snipe-shooting in place of favourite resort for visitors from Ireland, or hunting in the shires, or trathe provinces. It is not a vestry-hall, though velling abroad in the wildest and most from time to time there are delivered in it primitive parts available, and he returns speeches as fullof sound and fury, and as sig- to the charms of civilisation with in. nificant of nothing, as are bawled forth in creased appreciation and infinite gusto. any parochial parliament. It is not, strictly Then comes the cosey dinner, either at the speaking, according to the common accep- club or with a small, well-selected party tation of the term, a music-hall, though (you can never get just the people you in it the best works of the greatest mas- want during the season), with the fireters are constantly performed by the most light and the candle-light gleaming off finished executants. It is not a floral-hall, plate and glass, throwing a pleasant glow though in it we have seen a splendid dis- on surrounding pictures and furniture, play of fruit and flowers, nor a dining-hall, and shedding everywhere an air of comthough the lively turtle, who gambol in fort, infinitely superior to all the elegance its lower windows, are sacrificed and eaten of flower and fruit decoration to be met within, nor a discussion-ball, nor a tem- with later on. Then is the time to nestle perance-hall, nor a medical-hall, which in the comfortable stall or the snug priseems to be modern English for a chemist's vate box. Then is the time when certain shop. Its uses are various. When Miss columns of the newspapers teem with adNorah O'Flaherty gives her annual concert vertisements, announcing the return to on St. Patrick's Day-on which occasion England of some of the most distinguished such numbers of her gallant countrymen members of the musical profession, and rally round her to cheer the national airs when the professionals themselves can be strung together in the Och Hubbaboo heard at their freshest and their best, before Quadrille-she hires our Hall for the pur- they are hand-benumbed, brain-weary, or pose. When the Reverend Thrashem Wigg voice-worn by the exigencies of the Lonpours out the vials of his wrath on the don season. gaily-dressed lady who dwells in the city Five minutes to eight o'clock on a damp; erected on seven hills, nothing smaller than misty, muggy, January night. The Regentour Hall can contain the ladies and gentle street entrance to St. James's Hall blocked men who flock in from Clapham, to glory with vehicles, cabs for the most part, but in the denunciation of the lady in question, with a good sprinkling of private carriages; and of the old gentleman in the skull cap, very few rakish broughams, but the family who is her aider and abettor Readers, landau, with the footman, whose great-coat entertainers, concert givers, people who go never fits him; the roomy clarence, set off about with giants and dwarfs, and who by the silver-hat-banded page-boy; and the used to be called showmen, but who are common domestic fly, which seems to have now euphuistically styled “entrepreneurs," long since given up pretending to be a promoters of fancy fairs, and horticultural private vehicle, are here in every variety. shows, billiard champions, and everybody Stand aside while Mrs. Pocklington Snodby who has anything to exhibit or expound, and the two Miss Snodbys, who have been and who require a handsome, large, and for the last three quarters of an hour boxed fashionably situated location-all come to up in their carriage on their way from our Hall, which was expressly built to suit Clapham Park, slither over the greasy their wants. For our Hall is the St. I pavement, and are received at the door by

a

« AnteriorContinua »