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Remarkable Trials-The Slow Poisoning Case.
in any other case. No motive is suggested. I mistake or culpable negligence, I wish to bring The prisoner's supposed knowledge of drugs before your notice the following facts: is a two-edged sword. He pays Dr. Taylor for examining parts of the body. He does not evade the charge by absconding.
"1. Symptoms of arsenical poisoning in a minor degree showed themselves in the deceased before any medicines were dispensed from my surgery, and Ann Taylor, in her evidence before the coroner, deposed that those symptoms continued without intermission up to the time of the death of her mistress. No mistake of mine, then, could have caused the first symptom.
"I have commented on this case, and am prepared to read through the evidence if you desire it. [The jury intimated they did not.] The law requires not suspicion only, but plain and natural consequences, not far-fetched ones, from the evidence. It is for you to say whether you can safely come to the conclusion that the "2. Though Fowler's solution of arsenic and prisoner administered the arsenic. I am un-laudanum are sometimes not unlike in colour, able. I may observe that, there is no evidence had I made any mistake and substituted the to convict the prisoner, OR ANY OTHER PER- one for the other, the quantity used in the inSON, of the crime for which Mr. Wooler is in-jections must have caused the death of the dicted; and had I allowed my imagination to patient, not in several weeks, but in 48 hours play over the case, my suspicions would rather at the latest. A mistake, then, in this case have rested anywhere than on him. was impossible.
"The jury retired at a quarter to 6 o'clock, and after an absence of 10 minutes returned with a verdict of Not Guilty.
"The learned Judge said,―The country are indebted to you for your great attention, and I myself feel extremely thankful for the care you have bestowed. I would have interfered sooner, but thought it more satisfactory to allow the case to be fully heard."-From The Times.
"3. But such a mistake is with me at all times impossible. The arrangements of my surgery do not, as is erroneously supposed, place the laudanum and Fowler's solution side by side, or in proximity; they are and have always been divided by the whole length of a fair sized room (the bottles are totally dissimilar in size and shape), and as sober men, with painful suspicions of poison in our minds, is it possible that either my assistant or myself We feel called upon to add the following could have carelessly taken one bottle for the correspondence which has passed between other? If I dispensed arsenic from my sur Dr. Jackson, of Darlington, and Mr. Baron Martin, in reference to this mysterious case :—
"Darlington, Dec. 17. "My LORD,-It is with intense pain and anxiety that I feel compelled to approach your Lordship on the subject of the Burdon poisoning case, tried by you at the late Durham assizes.
"As the principal medical man examined on the case, upon whose conduct your Lordship strongly animadverted, I yet bow with reverential submission to all the remarks which you thought fit to make in your charge to the jury upon the evidence; but upon your closing expression, viz., that there was another person whom you would be inclined to find guilty rather than the prisoner, I humbly submit that I am entitled to some explanation. I ask for this explanation because Dr. Taylor and other witnesses having proved that Mrs. Wooler was scientifically destroyed, the medical men come first under the imputation-an imputation derogatory to the profession, and which might be most destructive to my own character and interests. Your Lordship's words may mean either that I gave the deceased poison wilfully or through culpable negligence.
"If the former, as I am sure an English Judge would not rashly make such a charge, 1 submit most respectfully that I should be put in possession of the grounds of your opinion, that I may be allowed an opportunity of disabusing your Lordship's mind of such a sad mistake, and not be suffered to be crushed by a public opinion founded on your Lordship's words alone. If your Lordship alluded to
gery to Mrs. Wooler I must then have done it knowingly and wilfully.
"My Lord, weigh these things well. I ask a question affecting my character, my welfare, and my happiness, and I pray humbly for an answer which may enable me to rescue myself and my profession from unmerited suspicion and contempt.
"To combat the serious, undefined charge which has been publicly made, I seek your Lordship's permission to publish your Lordship's answer, together with this letter, in the newspapers.
"I am, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's obedient servant,
"Sir Samuel Martin."
"75, Eaton Square, Dec. 19. "SIR,-I have to acknowledge your letter of the 17th inst., and I think that, under the circumstances, I ought to depart from the usual and almst universal rule among Judges, not to notice such a communication. Your complaint is confined to the expression which you describe as the closing expression of my summing up-viz., that there was another person whom I would be inclined to find guilty rather than the prisoner.' I am certain I never made use of such an expression, or anything tantamount to it.
"It is impossible for me to state with verbal accuracy what I then said; I can be certain of my meaning only.
"The substance of what I meant to say, and believe did say, was this-that in a case of presumptive evidence imputing the guilt of
Remarkable Trials.—Inns of Court.
murder, the law required the presumptions to for Mrs. Wooler and sulphuric acid enters be the plain and natural consequences follow- into the composition of muriatic acid. An ing from the facts proved, and that it was not instance of poisoning by muriatic acid so to be made out by fancy or surmise or suspicion, but by facts that amounted to proof; prepared came to the knowledge of Dr. Davis that I had endeavoured in my own mind to five years ago, where disastrous effects were arrive at some conclusion on the subject, and produced in the family of a gentleman, in conthat it appeared to me there was no proof against any one; but that if I were to indulge sequence of muriatic acid and soda being emin mere surmise and fancy, not the prisoner, ployed instead of yeast to leaven bread. The but some other person would first occur to my acid in that case was analysed, and a quantity mind. If the entire of what I said upon this of arsenic found, quite sufficient to account for the deleterious consequences. It that appears subject had been reported, I cannot but think it would have been obvious to any one that I the sulphur mostly used in the formation of did express what I intended to express, viz., no imputation of guilt upon any one, but a strong sulphuric acid is obtained from the copper illustration of the extreme danger of convicting mines, and hence its frequent impregnation Mr. Wooler upon any fancy or surmise from with arsenic. the facts and circumstances proved, by sugAnother suggestion is, that the deceased, gesting that a fancy or surmise more plausible than could be entertained against Mr. Wooler, having been long resident abroad, had acquired though equally insufficient to bring home guilt the habit of taking small portions of arsenic in or the suspicion of it, might be directed against a preparation for improving the complexion; and that such habit was, as usual, kept secret from her husband.
"Your obedient servant, "SAMUEL MARTIN." "T. Hayes Jackson, Esq., M.D., Darlington."
We observe that some of the newspapers very naturally contend for the perfect accuracy of their reports, and urge that all the reporters agree in the version they give of the Judge's words. Though they cannot, of course, gainsay what the Judge meant to communicate to the jury, they maintain that he expressed himself in the precise words reported. Now, with every inclination to believe in the marvellous accuracy of practised reporters, it is possible that a word or two may have escaped notice, and thus the supposed imputation on some other person than the prisoner may have been mistaken. We have the authority of a gentleman who was present at the trial, and who informs us that, although he does not doubt the general accuracy of the newspaper reports, yet that the language of the Judge did not convey to his mind the suspicion of some other person than the prisoner which has been inferred from A communication, the reported expression. however, has been received from Dr. Davis of Builth, Brecknock, suggesting that the poisoning might have arisen from another cause, without ascribing a guilty intention to any one
He observes that it does not appear from the published evidence that any of the witnesses were mindful of the fact that sulphuric acid freqently contains arsenic, and that consequently all articles of food, or medicine prepared from such acid, must contain the poison. It appears that muriatic acid was a medicine prescribed
INNS OF COURT.
PROSPECTUS OF THE LECTURES TO BE DE-
Constitutional Law and Legal History.
Conclusion of the Series of Rules for the Interpretation of Laws and Contracts-View of the Reign of Elizabeth-Condition of Religious Parties at the Accession of James the First-Privileges of the House of ComCharacter and Result of Political mons Struggles during his Reign--Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission-Influence of the Church-Attempts to make it Independent of State Control-Conduct of the Judges during the Reigns of the Stuarts-Changes in the Tenure of Property-Changes in the Value of Personal Property, as indicated by the Statute Book-Changes of the Condition of the Labouring Class-Impeachments of Baron, Middlesex, and Danby Attainder of Lord Strafford-Character and Progress of English Jurisprudence.
In his Private Lectures the Reader, after he
Inns of Court-Prospectus of the Lectures to be Delivered.
Clarendon's History and May's History; |
The Reader on Constitutional Law and Legal History will deliver his Public Lectures at Lincoln's Inn Hall, on Wednesday in each week (the first Lecture to be delivered on the 16th January, 1856), commencing at Two P. M. The Reader will receive his Private Classes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, at half-past Nine o'clock, in the Bencher's Reading Room, at Lincoln's Inn Hall.
The Reader on Equity proposes to deliver, during the ensuing Educational Term, Nine Lectures on the following Subjects: I. The General Principles and Maxims of Equity; II. The Nature and Uses of Trusts; III. The Doctrine of Notice; IV. The Registration of Deeds affecting Land; V. The Rights and Liabilities of Mortgagor and Mortgagee.
The Reader will continue with his Senior and Junior Classes the general course of Equity already commenced, using, as before, Smith's Manual of Equity Jurisprudence as a textbook. He will also, in the Senior Class, explain the leading rules of Pleading in Equity
from the work of Lord Redesdale.
Jurisprudence and the Civil Law.
The Reader on Jurisprudence and the Civil Law proposes, in the ensuing Educational Term, to deliver a Course of Nine Public Lectures on the following subjects :
I. The Analysis of Law, and of the Conceptions immediately dependent on it; II. The Law of Persons or Status: its departments and sub-departments, and their connexion with each other; III. The Law of Things: its relation to the Law of Persons, and the connection of its several departments; IV. Actions and Civil Process; V. The Law of Testamentary Succession: Ancient theories of succession, and the principles descended from them to modern jurisprudence; VI. The Position of Women in Roman Law, as respects personal and proprietary rights.
The Private Class will proceed regularly through the Principal Departments of Roman Law, beginning with the Law of Things. The tiones Juris Romani Privati of Warnkönig. On Text-book principally used will be the Institucertain days, the Class will read the last two and other selected Titles of the Digest. Copies of the entire Corpus Juris will be provided in
the Lecture Room.
The Public Lectures will be delivered in the
week, at Two P.M.
The Reader on Equity will deliver his Public Lecture at Lincoln's Inn Hall, on Thursday in Hall of the Middle Temple, on Tuesday in each each week during the Educational Term, com(The first Lecture of the mencing at Two o'clock P.M. (The first Lec-course on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1856.) ture to be delivered on the 17th of Jan. 1856). Room in Garden Court, on Tuesday, ThursThe Private Classes will assemble at the Class The Reader will receive his Private Classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, day, Saturday evenings, the Junior Class from Seven till Nine o'clock, in the Benchers' at a quarter to Four P. M., and the Senior at Reading Room at Lincoln's Inn Hall. half-past Six P.M. The first Private Class will be held on Thursday, the 17th January. All gentlemen desirous of joining either Class are desired to meet the Reader on that day in the Class Room at a quarter to Four.
Law of Real Property, &c. The Reader on the Law of Real Property, &c., proposes to deliver, in the ensuing Educational Term, a Course of Nine Public Lectures on the following subjects :I. Estates upon Condition; II. Limitation by way of Cross Remainder; III. Powers of Sale; their Creation, Exercise, and Transmissibility; IV. The Liability of Purchasers, to see to the Application of their Purchase-money.
The Lectures to be delivered to the Private Classes will comprise the following subjects:With the Senior Class, the general rules applicable to the construction of Deeds and Wills will be discussed. With the Junior Class, the operation of the Rule in Shelley's case, and the elementary principles of the learning on Powers, with the text of the first volume of Sugden on Powers, will form the subjects of the Lectures. The Public Lectures will be delivered at Gray's Inn Hall, on Friday in each week, at Two P.M. (The first Lecture to be delivered on the 18th January, 1856.) The Private Classes will be held in the North Library of Gray's Inn, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Mornings, from a quarter to Twelve to a quarter to Two o'clock.
The Reader on Common Law proposes to deliver, during the Educational Term commencing the 11th January, 1856, Nine Public Lectures on Mercantile Law, and on Rules of Evidence applicable in Mercantile Transactions. These Lectures will principally treat of :
I. The Rise and Progress of Mercantile Law in this Country: considered more particularly in connection with some leading decisions of Lord Mansfield; II. Our Legislative Policy in regard to Mercantile Transactions traced out by reference to the Statute Book; III. The actual State of our Law Merchant. Points wherein it differs from other existing systems of Mercantile Law; IV. The most recent important decisions bearing up on the Lex Mercatoria generally, and Mercantile Instruments in particular.
With his Private Class the Reader on Common Law will for the most part pursue the ground indicated in the above prospectus; di
Inns of Court.-Post Office Regulations.-Selections from Correspondence.
The books to be used with the Private Class will be-Smith's Mercantile Law, by Dodswell; Byles on the Bills of Exchange (6th ed.); Story on Agency, 4th ed.; and Evans's Decisions of Lord Mansfield.
The Public Lecture on Monday in each week, at Two P.M. (The first Lecture to be delivered on the 21st Jan. 1856).
The Private Class on Tuesday, Thursday,
Council Chamber, Lincoln's Inn,
Dec. 20, 1855.
The first Meeting of each Private Class will take place on the usual morning or evening of meeting after the first Public Lecture on the same subject.
POST OFFICE REGULATIONS.
NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PRINTED PAPERS FOR FRANCE AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES viá FRANCE.
FOR a packet of British newspapers duly registered at the General Post Office for
transmission abroad: Not exceeding 4 oz.
Above 4 oz. and not exceeding
The packets will in each case leave Liverpool on the following day.
All letters and newspapers for New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Van Dieman's Land, and New Zealand, will be forwarded by these packets, unless directed to be sent by some other ship.
Those postmasters whose instructions direct them to forward letters to Liverpool by crosspost, will send in the same manner letters, &c., posted at their offices addressed to Australia, &c.
POSTAL STAMPED PAPER
Will be issued by the Post Office authorities on the 1st January next. It will be of the value of 4d., 6d., and 1s. per sheet, and will pass for that amount through the post, provided it contains enclosures of the proper limits as to weight-the impressions on the stamped paper will be embossed. That of 4d. will be a red impression and of a round shape; that of 6d. will be a purple; and that of is. a green impression. Both of the latter impressions will be of an octagonal shape.
SELECTIONS FROM CORRE-
OBJECTIONABLE AGREEMENTS OF GREAT
I beg to transmit you a printed copy of an agreement insisted upon being entered into by every tenant of the most noble house of Percy. It is, however, impossible to recommend it 2 either as a precedent for the adoption of the 4 solicitors of any landlord, or for the signature 6 of any farmer. I confess, after legal experience of upwards of 50 years, it out-Herods Herod; and, from the movement in progress, British newspapers, duly registered at the it is by no means improbable that the bulk of
lb. 1 lb. 1 lb.
For a packet of printed papers, other
Selections from Correspondence.-Notes of the Week.
on giving evidence in a Court of Justice and should then be administered in a manner more calculated than the present to impress upon the witness the sanctity of the obligation imposed upon him; and if you will kindly give a place to these few lines, I shall not be without hope that some one possessed of the requisite influence will take the matter up. The Act 5 & 6 Wm. 4, 62, shows that the current of public opinion is in the right direction.
FINES ON COPY HOLDS LET ON BUILDING
Some weeks ago the Profession was solicited to afford information of any undue exaction of fines on the admission to copyhold estates. I beg to state a case of enormity, which must surely lead to the interference of the Legislature.
In July, 1823, a gentleman purchased six plots of ground, within a few miles of London, then let as grass land to a cowkeeper, at twenty five pounds a year, and was admitted in Dec. following.
In March, 1824, he obtained from the steward a licence to demise for eighty years, and it was arranged that the fine should be taken ut eighty pounds RENT AND no more, upon the faith of that arrangement he laid out a very large sum of money in buildings. His rental at his decease on the building leases exceeded 1,100. a year as ground rents, and from tenants at will 400%. more.
Upon the faith of the licence, the fine on the admission of his heir should have been 2,2001. and 8007., equal to 3,000l. for both properties. The rack rents on the entire property are about 10,000l. a year, while the copyhold tenancy only realizes some 1,5007., and yet a fine of two years' RACK RENT is demanded, being upwards of 20,000/.!!!
The licence is treated as valueless. I for-
26th Dec. 1855.
NOTES OF THE WEEK..
REMUNERATION OF SOLICITORS.
proportion. This improvement in the emoluments of the higher branch has been made on account of the increase in the general expenses of living; but the Solicitors claim not only for this reason but for the loss they have sustained by the extensive changes in the law and practice of the Courts.
The Queen has been pleased to appoint Lloyd Evans Mesham, to be Resident Magistrate in the District of Natal, in the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope.-From the London Gazette of December 28.
The Deputy High Stewardship of the University of Cambridge which has become vacant by the death of Mr. John Cowling, Barristerat-Law, is likely to be conferred upon Mr. John George Shaw Lefevre, M. A,, of Trinity College, Assistant Clerk of the Parliaments.
The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint Joseph Tucker Crawford, Esq., to be her Majesty's Judge, and Francis Lousada, Esq., to be her Majesty's Arbitrator in the Mixed Court, established at Havanna, under the Treaty of the 28th June, 1835, between Great Britain and Spain, for the abolition of the Slave Trade. From the London Gazette of Dec. 21.
Mr. John Thwaites has been elected Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works.
The Hon. Mr. Byng has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the South Eastern Railway.
Mr. Scott, who was Private Secretary to Lord Clarendon and Lord Canning, is continued in the same office by the Duke of Argyll.
The Overland Mail brings the news of the death of Sir William Jeffcott, Recorder of Penang, who had just received the appointment of Puisne Judge at Bombay. Sir William had been Recorder of Penang for about seven years previous to which he had been a respected member of the Irish Bar.
The Lord Chancellor has been pleased to s.appoint Robert Wilfred Skeffington Lutwidge, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, a Commissioner in Lunacy, vice James William Mylne, Esq., deceased.-From the London Gazette of Dec. 25.
We understand that the learned Commissioners on Solicitors' costs are expected to make their report to the Lord Chancellor before Hilary Term; and it is hoped that the Lord Chancellor will be able to decide on the recommendations of the Commissioners before the end of the Term. The Parliament meets on the 31st, and his Lordship will probably then be fully occupied.
In considering the claims of Solicitors, it will, we trust, be recollected that it is now nearly fifty years since Lord Erskine and Sir W. Grant increased their fees. During the interval, the salaries of the Judges have been increased from 3,500l. to 5,000, and the fees of Counsel have been increased in a greater
The Commissioners in Lunacy have this day (with the approbation of the Lord Chancellor) appointed John Forster, of the Inner Temple, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, to be their Secretary, on the resignation of R. W. S. Lutwidge, Esq., appointed a Commissioner. From the London Gazette of 1st January.
Mr. George Barras Reed, Solicitor, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, has been appointed Clerk to the Magistrates of Gateshead.
Mr. Francis Grey Bennett, Solicitor, of Glossop, has been appointed Coroner for the Hundred of High Peak, Derbyshire, in the room of Mr. Thomas Mander, resigned.
Election Auditor (London), Mr. James Anderson.
Mr. William Cockerell, Solicitor, has beem appointed Clerk of the Peace for Cambridge, in the room of Mr. W. G. Ashton, deceased.