Looking upon the mischief thou hast made?
Thou godless man, feeding thy blood-shot eyes,
With the red spectacle, and art not turn'd
To stone with horror?"
On the morning of the 20th of November, 1848, the city of Norwich was aroused from its usual state of general calmness and tranquillity, by a rumour, that terrific deeds of blood had been committed in the vicinity; and many were the shapes which the tale of horror took in travelling from mouth to mouth. But, however, distorted, it was unfortunately true. On the previous evening, about eight o'clock, Isaac Jermy, Esq., then recorder of Norwich, was shot dead in the porch of his residence, at Stanfield Hall, near Wymondham; his only son was also shot dead within the house; and Mrs Jermy Jermy, the wife of the latter, and Elizabeth Chestney, her servant, was dangerously wounded, apparently by the same homicidal hand.
No eye, but that of the "All-seeing," and the assassin himself, beheld the fall of Mr Jermy; but his son was shot in the sight of the butler, who seems to have been completely paralysed by the appearance of a man, wearing a disguise, and displaying what he (the butler) supposed to be two large pistols. He retired to his pantry after his master fell, and heard two shots subsequently fired, one of which was at Mrs Jermy Jermy, and the other at the heroic girl Eliza Chestney, who, on hearing her mistress scream, rushed to her assistance, and left her not till, wounded by the same ruthless slaughterer, she fell to the floor. The wretch then made his escape: having left death - and misery - and woe in that mansion,which, only a few minutes before, was the scene of happiness. There had been only a family party at dinner that day, consisting of Mr Jermy, his son, Mrs Jermy Jermy, and Miss Jermy, the youngest daughter of the late Recorder. No doubt, during that hour, pleasant anticipations had been indulged in of happy re-unions in the approaching holy days: for that evening a letter was posted from Mr Jermy, to one of his most intimate friends, inviting him and his family to Stanfield Hall. This letter, perhaps the last the Recorder ever wrote, was received on the morning of the 29th of November; and soon after the gentleman, whose company was thus solicited, heard of the murder of his friend! The letter contained a message from Mrs Jermy Jermy to a young lady, an inmate of the family alluded to; "Mrs Jermy Jermy hoped Miss --- would bring her music, as she counted of playing some duets with her!" --- Alas! that amiable lady --- if her life be spared, will be unable again to practice the delightful art she loved! Her arm has been amputated, in the hope of prolonging her existence.
A servant, who had been employed in the stable, and heard the firing, was the first to carry the intelligence to Wymondham. He obtained a horse from the present occupier of Stanfield farm, and rode to the town, spreading the alarm as he went. Parties were soon on the spot, - the first who arrived, Mr Standley, the auctioneer, found that the affrighted servants had secured the doors; but, on giving his name, he was admitted. Mrs Jermy and her maid had been removed up stairs, and placed in bed; but the bodies of Mr Jermy and his son lay where they had fallen; dead and cold; the victims of some vindictive enemy, who had, too well, carried out his atrocious purpose. Shortly after W.R. Cann, Esq., magistrate, and several other gentlemen arrived. They took every precaution that was requisite for the safety of the family, and for careful attendance upon the wounded females; a telegraphic despatch was also sent to Norwich, for Mr Nicols, the medical attendant of the family. Some of the county police and a party of the Norwich police also arrived; but, their proceedings, and the steps subsequently taken, to further the ends of justice, will be found in detail in our report of the trial.
It is remarkable, that as soon as the intelligence of these dreadful crimes was received, public opinion pointed to one man as the perpetrator: and before it was at all generally known in Norwich what steps had been taken at Wymondham, - the name of "Rush" was reiterated by every one here as the daring and unprincipled assassin. This arose from certain circumstances in which this Mr Rush had been connected with the late Recorder; - circumstances that had bred ill will between them, - and which had sprung out of that fruitful source of quarrels and litigation, money transactions. It was known, too, that Rush had denied the right of Mr Jermy to the Stanfield estate; and it was believed that he had instigated certain parties, of the names of Larner and Jermy, to institute adverse claims against the late Recorder. - Norwich Chronicle.
commenced on Thursday morning, March 29th, in the Criminal Court at Norwich, before Mr Baron Rolfe. Every available place was fitted up, and no one was allowed to enter unless supplied with a ticket of admission, save the gentlemen of bar. On the opening of the door, (shortly after eight o'clock) a regular rush and run for the seats took place, and the Court was speedily crammed in every part by gentlemen and ladies of the highest respectability, including several noblemen.
Precisely at nine o'clock Mr Baron Rolfe entered the Court, when a solemn silence immediately prevailed, and the prisoner Rush was called. Every eye was directed to the box, when the prisoner entered, dressed in black, apparently in good health, and looking well.
He was arraigned on the indictment charging him with the murder of Isaac Jermy, Esq. He paid great attention to the reading of it, and pleaded NOT GUILTY. He then asked his Lordship for time to lay his papers on the desk, before the jury was sworn; the request was acceded to. The prisoner having arranged his voluminous papers (in doing which his hand trembled exceedingly) said, "I am quite ready, my lord." The jury were then sworn.
Mr Serjeant Byles, in stating the case for the prosecution, said that he should have to narrate certain transactions between the deceased Mr Jermy, Sen., and the accused, in order to assign a motive for the murder itself. Mr Jermy was Recorder of Norwich, and the possessor of a large estate at Stanfield. On succeeding to the estate, on the death of his father, the Rev. Mr Preston, he assumed the name of Jermy in compliance with the will of a former owner of the property, from whom he claimed descent. The prisoner and his mother, now deceased, had occupied the Stanfield Hall, and Felmington farms, attached to the Stanfield estate; and was himself owner of the Potash farm. But Rush mortgaged the latter to Mr Jermy for £5000, at four per cent interest, or £200 per annum. It was important to note that the mortgage expired 30th November, 1848; because the tragical occurrence, then under enquiry, took place two days before the money became due, - the 30th November. Mr Jermy had also distrained for the rent or interest on the Potash farm. Further, there had been disputes between them relative to the Stanfield farm, and in October, 1847, Mr Jermy put in some distress. He also brought an action, tried twelve months previously, for breach of covenant in the Stanfield farm. These things seemed to have excited Rush's ill-will against Mr Jermy, as would be shown by the evidence of a witness who, at the time of the distress, heard him exclaim, "Damn them, I'll do for them the first opportunity I have," when speaking of Mr Jermy and a solicitor, named Clarke. It should be also stated that shortly after the death of Mr Preston, two persons, named Jermy and Larner, appeared as claimants to the estate. Subsequent to the trial between himself and Mr Jermy, Rush published a pamphlet in which he urged the claims of those parties. As exhibiting Rush's animus against the murdered Mr Jermy, the learned counsel then read some extracts from that pamphlet, strongly demnatory of Mr Jermy, and expressive of his determination to adopt such measures as would cause "the rogue and villain" to be "bundled out, and that quickly," from Stanfield Hall. A young woman, named Emily Sandford, had been engaged by Rush as governess to his children - their mother being dead - and an improper connection had existed between her and Rush. She would prove that in October, 1848, six months after the transactions between him and Mr Jermy, she was taken by Rush to London. Lodgings were taken for her in Mylne Street, Pentonville, where, on the 3rd of October, there was a meeting between the claimants Jermy and Larner, and a friend of theirs named Reid, and Rush. That interview resulted in a written agreement, by which the claimants agreed for themselves and heirs, &c., to let to Rush, his heirs, &c., the two farms in Felmington, Skeyton, and North Walsham, for the term of 21 years, at a rental of £230 per annum, minus landlord's taxes, and cost of necessary repairs. Such rent to be paid to them as they respectively came into possession of the property. And Rush agreed "as soon as he could conveniently" to put Mr Thomas Jermy into the possession of the estate, and to assist him in keeping such possession. If he succeeded he was to reimburse himself from the farm rent as it became due, all reasonable expenses he might incur in obtaining such possession.
On the 4th October, Thomas Jermy, the claimant, and Larner, proceeded to Felmington farm, accompanied by Rush, the latter having offered to put them in possession of that farm. On the 5th, Emily Sandford, by Rush's direction, went down to the Potash farm. On the night of the 10th, Rush drove her in a gig, to Stanfield Hall. He left her in the gig at the bridge, which is over the moat, that surrounds Standfield Hall, while he went in to see Mr Jermy. On his return he drove her to some lodgings in Norwich, where he produced a paper, purporting to be a memorandum of agreement, bearing that day's date, between Isaac Jermy, Esq., Recorder of Norwich, and Rush. It was to the effect that Mr Jermy agreed to let the two farms, for 12 years, at an annual rent of £300. This Rush persuaded Emily Sandford to sign as a witness to its having been signed by Mr Jermy and himself, although she had not been even present at their interview. On November 4th, Emily Sandford returned to Potash farm, but in the meantime Jermy and Larner, finding nothing had been effected for them during their stay at Felmington, returned to London against the desire of Rush. On the 21st of November, Rush produced to Emily Sandford some more agreements to be signed. By one of these documents Mr Jermy was represented as agreeing that the £5000 on the Potash farm estate should remain three years beyond the time. This was signed by Emily Sandford as was also another pretended document, by which Mr Jermy was made to agree to cancel the mortgage deed altogether, in consideration of Rush's assisting Mr Jermy to retain possession. Now, these were proved to be forgeries; and it was evident that such agreements could be produced with much more likelihood of proving effectual after the decease of Mr Jermy than during his life. Supposing Thomas Jermy and Larner in possession, his lease was then certain. During the month of November, the prisoner went out alone several times from Potash farm, and remained out very late. On Tuesday, November 24th, there was a concert at Norwich, and the Rush had taken a family ticket to go to it. On the Monday, his son and daughter-in-law, who were living at Potash farm, left to go to Norwich. There was a female servant in the house at Potash farm, and for some reason or other, she also went away: leaving, on the Monday night, Rush and Emily Sandford alone in the house. Rush, on the Monday night, after tea, went out as usual; and was out for some time. On the afternoon of Tuesday, Rush inquired of a Mrs Cooper, whether Mr Jermy was at home? While taking tea that day with Emily Sandford, she observed, that the prisoner appeared to be a good deal agitated, and he said, on answer to her inquiry, "I have been thinking a good deal about the story I read the other day of the Scottish Chief?" Alluding to the well-known story of Robert Bruce. While he was a prisoner, and confined to his cell, he watched a spider, which, suspended from the ceiling, swung backwards and forwards, with the view of reaching a bee. The insect tried six times, and failed; on the seventh it succeeded. On seeing this, Bruce said, that he had tried several times to assert his and his country's rights, and had failed. So had the spider failed to entrap the bee; but the insect succeeded the seventh time, and he would follow its example, and try again. It will be proved before you, that the prisoner said, "I have tried several times; I have been out five or six times; and the next time, perhaps, I shall be successful." Emily Sandford expressed her alarm, saying "What can this mean? It must be something more than poachers." He had stated, that he had been out after poachers; and he said, "I shall like you better if you don't ask me any more;" or words to that effect. She saw him extremely agitated; and at one time in tears. Between seven and eight o'clock the same evening, he left the farm house, and went towards Mr Jermy's mansion. He crossed a yard covered with straw, then a loke or road also covered with straw, leading to the fields. The nearest path was by the side of some fields, and over the land. It would be proved that a portion of land not before littered, was on the 28th littered with straw by Rush's direction; and the straw ended where the green sward began, so that Rush would walk first through the straw-yard, then along the littered loke, then along the litter, till he got to the green sward, and then he would be upon the hard gravel, in front of the dwelling, where no trace of footsteps could be discovered. At this time, the late Mr. Jermy's dinner being over, he was sitting in the dining-room alone. His son and his son's wife had left the dining-room and were in the drawing-room. They were about preparing for tea, and a game of picquet - the cards being on the table. The elder Mr. Jermy left the dining-room; and he proceeded through the staircase-hall, and then the entrance-hall, to the porch in front of the mansion. The moment he reached the porch, a man very near - probably standing between the porch and the window - presented a gun, or more probably a pistol, to his breast. It was loaded with slugs, and he was shot instantly through the heart; the weapon being discharged close to him, it blew the heart to pieces. The slugs were lodged in the muscles and integuments of the body. He fell down backwards, and instantly expired. - [Sensation] Immediately afterwards, at the side door of the mansion, entered a man of the size, and height, and shape; and carriage of the prisoner, who was in the habit of going to this house, and of going in without ringing at the side-door. The man wore a cloak, and was armed with fire-arms, whether they were guns or double-barrelled pistols they could not say. He went along the passage, and as he was going along he dropped two papers written in a disguised hand and similar in contents; as follows:-
"There are seven of us; three of us outside, and there are four of us inside. All armed, as you see us two. If any of you servants offer to leave the premises, or to follow us, you will be shot dead. Therefore all of you keep in the servants' hall, and you, nor any one else, will take any harm; for we have only come to take possession of the Stanfield Hall property.
(Signed) "Thomas Jermy, the owner."
This was done with the intention of casting suspicion upon an innocent party; but it would be shown that the claimants (Larner and Jermy) were then in London - that one man, and not seven men, was the assassin, and the paper upon which these notices was written, would also be shown to have formed part of an account book purchased by Rush himself; but which book he had probably destroyed, since it could not be found. The forged agreements previously referred to, and other documents, had been found in a secret place, under the floor of a closet in the Potash farm house. In the same house had also been discovered a cloak and wig, such as that worn, as a disguise, by the assassin. These, and other circumstances detailed in evidence, testified that Rush was the murderer.
Models and plans of Stanfield Hall estate and Potash farm, were then exhibited to the jury, in order that they might trace the movements of the prisoner, during the perpetration of the murders.
Mr. Cann, solicitor to the prosecution, proved that, after the prisoner's arrest, he went to Potash farm, accompanied by the police, and in a parlour closet of the house a board of the floor was taken up, and a box discovered containing the papers referred to in the counsel's opening address. The prisoner cross-examined Mr. Cann at great length, in order to show that Mr. C. had been first engaged as his solicitor, and that after obtaining from him information as to the hiding place of his papers, he betrayed his confidence, and transferred his services to the prosecution. Mr. Cann admitted that he had an interview with Rush after his arrest, but denied that he bad been so engaged as his legal adviser.
James Watson, butler to the murdered Mr. Jermy, snr, examined. About a quarter past eight o'clock on the evening of the 28th of November, while in his pantry, he heard the report of fire-arms, in the front part of the house. On going out of the pantry and standing at the passage corner, he saw a man pass within three feet of him. Young Mr. Jermy then opened the hall staircase door, which led into the lobby, and was coming towards the witness, when the man fired a gun or pistol at him, and Mr. Jermy fell backwards on the mat. Witness then retreated into his pantry. While there he heard some one running out very lightly into the lobby, from the servants' hall - then a scream - and two other reports of fire-arms in quick succession. Upon again venturing out of the pantry, he saw Mrs. Jermy running along the back staircase; she was wounded in the arm; her maid (Chestney) was lying, also wounded, in the lobby, and he dragged her to the back staircase. He did not see the man again. When the man came in he saw him drop two papers, like those produced. He could not see his face, from something being over it, but he observed his gait, stature, and manner. Being well acquainted with the prisoner's person, from having frequently seen him at the hall, he believed him to have been the man. Also observed that the man had a large cloak on, long enough to cover his arms. Saw that he had two weapons in his hands, and thought they were large pistols. About half-an-hour afterwards, on searching with two other persons, found the body of Mr. Jermy, snr., lying in the porch towards the door. It was Mr. Jermy's custom to go into the porch for a short time after dining. Cross-examined by the prisoner - Did not know whether the man had a hat or a cap on - he had something on. At the inquest he was shown a black curly wig, on a man's head, but it did not resemble the man he saw at the hall.
Eliza Chestney was the next witness. She was brought into Court reclining on a couch made for the purpose. As this witness made her appearance, an intense interest was excited to see the faithful and heroic girl, who had shown so much courage and sympathy. The prisoner looked at her with great earnestness, and apparently with much composure. The poor girl looked very composed; and, being sworn, gave her evidence with great clearness and distinctness, as follows:-
I was housemaid at Stanfield Hall. I was in the servants' hall on the night of the murder. I heard a gun, and afterwards another, and then a scream. I met Mrs. Jermy in the passage; she said, Watson and Eliza, go to Mr. Jermy. I threw my left arm round her waist, and with my right hand took her hand, and said, "My dear mistress, for God's sake what is the matter?" For God's sake don't go. She never spoke, but looked wild. We went down the passage together; towards the staircase hall. I went as far as the doorway of the staircase hall; I saw Mr. Jermy the younger lying on the floor; I then saw a man, apparently coming from the dining-room door. I observed what appeared to me to be a short gun or pistol in his right hand, holding it up to his right shoulder. He levelled the gun, and shot me. Another shot followed directly after, and I saw mistress's arm twister about; my mistress ran upstairs and left me; I twisted round several times, and fell down. I gave three violent shrieks, and said, "I suppose I am going to die, as no one will help me". The butler then came to me, and said, "What is the matter?" I did not remember anything more, until I came to myself at the bottom of the stairs. I was seriously wounded near the hip; I saw the man who shot me; his head was apparently flat on the top; his hair set out, or bushy, on his head; he had wide shoulders. I believed at the time that the man I saw was Rush. [Sensation.] I had no doubt in my mind about it. I still think and believe it to be Rush. I had seen him several times before at Stanfield Hall. I could not observe much of his dress. I saw the man first at the porch door; when he shot me, he was turned round. He was standing about a yard from the dining-room door when he fired; I was in the part called the lobby, or passage. I was standing directly in the staircase-hall door-way, and he was in front when he levelled the gun; I had an opportunity of seeing the whole form of his head; he had on a wig, and something over his face. - Cross-examined by the prisoner. There were a few seconds only between the two first shots. The cook (Read) was with me in the servants' hall when I heard the reports. The door was open from the servants' hall to the passage. As soon as I heard the first report I sat quite still; I was sitting by the fire, and said "how silly;" supposing some one was firing from fun. I left Read, the cook, in the servants' hall when I came out. The other servants Mary Clarke, Maria Leach, and Honor Holmes were absent from the hall when I heard the first report. I saw Holmes first after I was shot; they came to my assistance. I first saw my mistress at the corner of the passage, leading into the servants' hall; it was hardly a second after my fleeing the man before he levelled his gun and shot me; I only saw one hand used to fire the gun; the reports followed each other immediately.- At the prisoner's request the witness then described those appearances and make of the man which led her to state before the magistrates it was the prisoner.- Prisoner. I ask you solemnly, how you can make the statement about seeing the hair? Witness.- I distinctly saw the hair. I do not remember your being at the hall a week before the murder. I heard that Mr. Jermy gave orders that he would not see you if you came. Re-examined. The door of the dining-room was partly open; there was a light in the room, and one in the staircase hall.
The witness at the close of her examination; was carefully removed from the court.
Margaret Reed confirmed Chestney's evidence as to their hearing two gun reports while sitting together in the servants' hall. After Chestney left the hall, witness heard two other reports and screams. She then went to the door and saw Miss Jermy running towards the servants' hall; she was screaming and called out, "Oh! Reed, we shall all be murdered!" She then saw a man coming down the passage; He had on a cloak and fire arms in his right hand. Had repeatedly seen Rush at the Hall; from the height, and size, and carriage of the man, the moment she saw him, her impression was - and she believed still - that it was Rush. She and Miss Jermy ran into the stable. The witness was cross-examined at great length by the prisoner, but nothing was elicited at variance with her evidence of chief.
Messrs. Nichols and Tunaley, surgeons, stated the result of their examination of the bodies of Mr. Jermy and his son. The wound in Mr. Jermy, the elder, was in the left breast; from two to three inches in diameter. The fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs were shattered. The shots had carried away the entire body of the heart. Took out several portions of lead, all were in angular pieces. The body of the younger Mr. Jermy had a very small wound, about half an inch in diameter. The shot went through the waistcoat. The slugs taken out of the body of the younger Mr. Jermy were the same in character as those in the elder Mr. Jermy. Took from ten to twelve portions of lead from each of the bodies.
William Harvey, a carpenter of Wymondham, deposed, that on the evening of the murder, he and two other young men, named Todd and Howes, were standing at the gate on the outer side of the moat bridge, about thirty-five yards from the hall, conversing with the two maid servants, Clarke and Leech. While talking and laughing together, they heard the rapport of a pistol, and witness, who was looking towards the hall, saw the flash. The whole party then ran towards the lodge (viz. from the hall), and while running away heard several other reports, followed by the ringing of the alarm bell. On cross-examination, the witness stated that himself and friends did not meet any person on their way.
Emily Sandford was then examined. - After stating that she became acquainted with Rush about two years ago, and lived with him sometime, under the assumed name of Mrs. James, a widow, she deposed to the several transactions in which she had taken part as narrated in Mr. Serjeant Bayle's address, and which, therefore, it is unnecessary to recapitulate. Having then deposed to the prisoner leaving the farm house on the evening of the murder, the witness proceeded thus: About nine or half-past nine Mr. Rush returned; I first heard him rapping at the door, and asked, "who is there?" He rejoined, only me, open the door;" I undid the bolt and then went into the parlour; he came in, and went upstairs and shut the door; as he was passing, I asked him if he would have a light? He said, "no, he could get one upstairs." He told me when passing the parlour door, to go to bed. I remained a few minutes in the parlour, when the prisoner came down; he had neither coat nor shoes on when he came down; I know, by the noise, that he had boots on when he came in; he was very much excited, and was pale; he said "take the top of the fire off; and go to bed." I asked him, "if anything had happened?" he said, "no, nothing; and if you hear anything, say I was only out ten minutes." He left the room; and told me to go to bed; he went up to bed; I afterwards went up to the door of his bedroom and just opened the door, and went in about a yard; I said, "which room shall I sleep in?" He said, "in here;" and then immediately after added, "no, in your own;" he came towards me and said, "you want your dress unfastened." Since I have been at Potash we had always slept in the same bed; I went into my own room after this; when in his room, at night, I saw, there was a fire burning bright; I had not lighted any fire before be came home. After I had been in my own room about half an hour; I heard him moving about: he returned very shortly to his own room; when I went into my room the prisoner locked himself in his own; I fastened my door by a bolt inside when I went to bed; I had been thinking a great deal about Rush, and I fell asleep. - Q. Were you soon awoke? - A. The prisoner came and knocked at the door about three in the morning; I was awoke by him, and asked him who was there? He said, it is only me; I want to wish you good night; undo your door. - Q. How did you observe him then? - A. He came to my bedside and was talking a great deal. He said, "you must be firm, and if any one asks you how long I was out? say ten minutes? - Q. What did you say?-. A. asked him what had happened? He said, "nothing; but you may hear of something in the morning." - Q. What state were you in? - A. I was trembling; and he said, "you have got cold, you appear as if you had the ague." He got his great coat and put it round me. - Q. Did any other conversation pass? - A. A great deal was said that night. I asked if anything had happened? I felt his hand tremble. - By the Judge. What else did He say ? - A He said, he "hoped God would bless me, for I had done nothing wrong." - By Mr. Prendergast. Do you remember anything else? - A. As he went out of the room he said something about a hat and lining which I did not understand. - Q. Do you remember anything about a particular pair of boots? - A. Mr. Rush had a pair of heavy boots, open at the sides. - Q. Did he generally wear these boots when he went out at night? - A. I have seen him drying them repeatedly in the morning. I had seen these boots on Saturday or Sunday; I have never seen them since. - Q. Do you remember Mr. Rush, just before this, taking you to a closet in the parlour? -A. Yes. - Q. Did he show you anything? - A. He said, "that is where I keep my papers of any value; no one knows of it but my poor mother." He then showed me how the planks were taken up; how I might raise it with a chisel in case of fire. There was a closet in Rush's bedroom which he always kept locked. - Q. Do you remember anything particular passing between you and Mr. Rush the morning after the murder? - A. He said, "Come, you know I had my slippers on last night." Those particular boots I have never seen since. The cloak shown me I had made up in London; it was kept in Rush's bedroom.
The cloak was here produced, taken from the prisoner's house, and shown to witness. She said it was the one made up in London.
The prisoner commenced his cross-examination of Emily Sandford amid profound silence in the court, all present being anxious to know how he would treat the unfortunate female who had given such important evidence against him; It was, altogether the most solemn scene we ever beheld. Every one evidently felt, that at this stage of the proceedings, the conduct of the prisoner would determine his fate. He appeared to be under the influence of strong emotion; so much so, as, at times, to stifle his utterance, and he was frequently on the verge of bursting into tears, yet he mastered his feelings, and put his questions mildly and in an assumed beseeching and affectionate manner, evidently trying to rouse any affection that the witness might have left for him. She looked very pale, and much distressed; and pity was depicted on the countenances of all beholders. She gave her answers in a low tone, scarcely audible, and sometimes weeping, - it was with the greatest difficulty that she could be heard at a few yards distance. Nearly all the questions put by the prisoner were quite irrelevant to her evidence-in-chief, but not all the blandishments and frequent adjurations of the questioner could elicit answers to suit his purpose. He endeavoured to show that she had been tampered with by the prosecutors, that her evidence on the trial varied materially from her previous depositions, and that she was mistaken as to the length of time he was absent from the farm on the night of the murder; but his efforts in these respects, were utterly futile. At length, he began to put questions which roused the indignation of the witness as well as of the audience, and expressions of execration were uttered, from seat to seat throughout the court. Here is a sample only of such abominable and irrelevant questions:-
The Prisoner. - What was my conduct up to the time of this business, for sensibility, kindness, and my religious duties? - A. You were always kind to me, and I believe to others. Prayers were usually read of a morning; generally, but not always. - Q. Have you not kneeled down by my bed, and said your prayers before coming to bed ? - A. Yes, I have done so. - Q. Have you ever had any reason to suppose that I considered your conduct not consistent with your offering up such prayers, wherever you have been living? - The Witness. Do you mean to say that my conduct is bad? The Prisoner. No, no, my dear. Had you ever any reason to suspect that I considered your conduct otherwise than consistent with offering up your prayers? - Witness. No. The Prisoner. Have I not promised you, that while you continued so consistent in your conduct, you should never want a home while I had one? - A. You said you never would forsake me. - Q. Was it not on that condition, that, after that second child was born, to cease the connection between us, and that I would be godfather to the child, and that you should live with me as my housekeeper? - A. Yes. - Q. Was it not agreed, that one of my daughters should sleep with you in the room -in the same room; do you recollect that? - A. You said, when the family was not at Potash I should occupy their room. - Q. Had you the least doubt that at the time I made such promise I was sincere, and that it was done from the real respect I had for you, and for the welfare of our children, that you should live with us as housekeeper? - A. I was obliged to accept the terms when you broke your promise of marriage. [Sensation.] - Q. Do you recollect the reason I gave you for that course, that you were to live with me as housekeeper, and that one of my daughters was to occupy that room? Do you recollect any reason that I gave? - A. I recollect no reason. - Q. Don't you recollect I said, that we might not have a house full of children? - The poor girl gave no answer, but wept bitterly.
The Judge, (in an earnest tone). I cannot allow you to wound the feelings of that young woman with questions which have no bearing on the case. - The Prisoner. I consider all that. I had great respect for her, and that was the reason. - The Judge. She said you conducted yourself in a manner amiable to her, and she never saw you do otherwise to anybody else.
The Witness [weeping]. Did you not say you had seen my mama, and that you told her I was going to France? and that you had seen my brother on the subject? The Prisoner [affectionately]. No, my dear, I never said any such thing. - The Witness [still weeping]. It is all false -The Prisoner. I went to see your mother. - Witness [indignantly). You told my mother that I was gone to France. - The Prisoner [holding up his hands]; Good God of Heaven, I never said any such thing.
The Judge. You are following your own course, without understanding the rules of evidence. I am loath to interfere with what you think is for your interest, but I cannot allow you to wound the feelings of another person; and unless you confine yourself within bounds, I shalt confine you to the strict part you are bound to pursue, only to ask relevant questions. - ThePrisoner. I will not do anything else; but I am sure her feelings have been worked upon. - The Witness [raising her voice]. No; my feelings have not been worked upon, only by your conduct. - Prisoner. What was the reason why I proposed to you to take the name of James - A. You did it after having made a promise to me to conceal that we ever had any connection. - Q. Was it not one reason for your taking the name of James, that it might be respectable on your part, to live with me as housekeeper?- A. Yes. - Q. Have I not repeatedly said, that we could find passages in Scripture showing that a connection of the kind which existed between us was not considered a sin? - A. I upbraided you for not performing your promise, Prisoner. Did I not tell you, that if we committed no other sin, God Almighty would forgive us for that? [Expressions of astonishment.] The witness made no reply.
Jesse White, an accountant at Wymondham, deposed to his having been four years in the employment of Rush as his clerk, when the latter carried on business as an auctioneer and land valuer. From his knowledge of the prisoner's hand writing be believed that the notice, signed "Thomas Jermy," (the one dropped by the murderer in the hall) and the other documents produced, were written by Rush. There was a peculiarity in the formation of the letters "j" and " F" in the notice, which convinced him that, although in a feigned hand, the notice was written by Rush.
Thos. Jarrold, a bookseller at Norwich, stated that the paper on which the notice was written, had evidently been torn from the cover of one of three account books sold by him to Rush. The paper had originally formed a portion of the waste of some school book-keeping books, manufactured by witness, and used by him in the binding of the books sold to Rush.
Evidence was also adduced in proof, that the signatures of Mr. Jermy, snr., had been forged to the pretended agreements between him and Rush, and assumed to be witnessed by Emily Sandford.
A servant of Mr. Jermy's, and other witnesses, testified to Rush having made particular inquiries of them, on the day of the murder, as to whether the Mr. Jermys were then at home.
Robert Smith, a boy in the employ of Rush, proved, that he had laid down straw, by the prisoner's directions, on the banks, and on the lake, leading from Potash farm to Stanfield Hall. This was done on the day of the murder. - On cross-examination, be said, straw had been littered down there before, to keep off the pigs. He had never before received directions from Rush; he had received them from prisoner's son.
Wm. Futter, a police, gave evidence as to the locality; describing the route from Potash farm to Stanfield Hall, the different fields, &c. He deposed, also, to finding straw littered along the path. He compared, on the Friday after the murder, the clocks at Stanfield Hall and Potash farm; there was a quarter of an hour difference. - Mr. Colman, who occupies fields between Potash and Stanfield Hall, proved that he had seen the prisoner going that way between the two places; he had measured the distance, which was seven furlongs.
The Prisoner cross-examined all these witnesses; but the result was quite immaterial.
Wm. Frederick Howe deposed that he was formerly clerk to Mr Waugh, of London Rush's solicitor in the action between him and Mr. Jermy. In Dec., 1847, he was in Mr. Rush's company at some wine and supper rooms, in Catherine Street, Strand. While there, a pugilist came into the room, and Rush exclaimed, "If I could strike like him, I would knock Jermy down as I would a bullock!" On another occasion, while conversing about the then pending action of ejection brought by Mr. Jermy, Rush said, "It will not be long before I serve him with an ejectment for the other world." On cross-examination, Rush endeavoured to show that this witness was unworthy of credence. The Judge, however, remarked that even admitting that, his evidence was not of material importance.
Several of the Norwich police deposed to their arresting Rush at the Potash farm about six o'clock on the morning subsequent to the murder. When arrested, and informed of the murders, he exclaimed, "Good God, I hope they don't suspect me" and inquired whether there were not other parties suspected besides him. He also made use of the remarkable expression "You say it took place a little after eight o'clock;" although each officer swore that none of them had named the time of the murder. Two double-barrelled guns, powder and shot of different size, and a pair of boots, rather wet, were found in the house. On subsequent search they discovered the papers secreted below the closet flooring, -a wig, cloak, &c., &c.
William Bacon, a sheriffs officer, stated that in 1847, he was employed by Mr. Jermy to distrain upon the Potash farm. In the course of conversation, on that occasion with the prisoner, the latter said "he would be ---- if he would not do for them (Mr Jermy and Mr. Clarke) the first opportunity."
The documents for the prosecution having been proved, the case against the prisoner was closed.
The Prisoner then commenced his address to the jury, but in a rather low tone of voice, so that at times it was impossible to hear what he said, and the Court two or three times requested him to speak up. His manner was hurried, and he ran from one point of the evidence to another, without anything of order or arrangement. He said he was now about to submit to the jury his defence against one of the most awful charges that had ever been brought against man. He had been strongly recommended by his solicitor not to make the admissions he had made; but, as he had no other object in view than to forward the ends of justice, he was ready to abide by the results of those admissions, so far as he knew of anything that had occurred at Stanfield Hall. He had to complain of the manner in which the magistrates had refused to allow him to have unrestrained communication with his solicitor. He was not allowed to communicate with him unless in the presence of the governor of the castle. Having entered into some details connected with the difficulties he had experienced in getting up his case; he said he hoped, under these circumstances, that his lordship would assist him so far as he could consistently with the ends of justice. The prisoner, in a low tone of voice, commenced stating some communications he had had in the month of November, previous to the murder with certain parties who expressed their determination to take possession of Stanfield Hall; that he had more than one interview with these parties, who had said they would have the assistance of seven or eight men; that he had cautioned them of the danger of attempting to do anything by violence. He saw these parties on the Friday before the murder, and followed them to near Stanfield Hall to see if any attempt would be made by them, and he never heard any more about it till the 28th of November, and the fear of their attempting some violence was one of his reasons for getting his son out of the way, lest he might he brought into trouble. He advised them to make the attempt to get possession in the morning, but they were of opinion that there would be more safety in going in the evening, because they would then place more dependence on the men who were to assist. Prisoner said to them; "Very well, you must know best." The parties told him that they had intended to make the attempt the previous Friday, but finding that some persons were moving about on the lawn, they retired for fear of being discovered. Prisoner said he thought their going in the night was not right, and that they would find that out; they promised to call in the evening and let him know, but he said he would rather know nothing about it if the attempt was to be made at night; he advised them to be ruled by him, and, at all events, if they were determined to do anything, to wait till morning. He thought a great deal about the matter that night, although he had not the least fear that anything serious would take place. On the night of the murder, he had left Potash at eight, or a little after eight. He thought he would go as far as the boundary where the lands met, and he at one time had thought of going as far as the hall. While going along, however, he made up his mind not to go near it. When he had walked along by the plantation to the fence, he felt very ill, as he really was all the evening. He thought he heard the report of a gun or pistol in the direct line of the hall. He then heard two more, but not so loud, and was struck with amazement, as he always understood that if these parties took fire-arms it would only be to intimidate. He then heard the bell at the hall ringing violently, and be got back to Potash as fast as he could. He went through the garden to the house, and saw a man pass who appeared to be well dressed. He now regretted that he had not communicated the particulars to Emily Sandford, and it was in consequence of his not having done so that he requested her to say that he was not out more than ten minutes, because it never came into his imagination that she or anybody else would have supposed him to be guilty of such a thing. As he had said before, his not having done so, and her being brought to the hall and kept there the whole of the next day, led to the report that he was the murderer, and led to all the falsehoods that had been brought forward against him. He would now show what was the value of the testimony that had been laid before the jury. He would prove the witness Howe to be a man unworthy of belief; and, besides, his lordship had told them that his evidence was of no importance. If so, the testimony of Bacon would be of no importance whatever. Then, with regard to Stanley, what was the value of Stanley's evidence. Why had they not brought forward Glasgow, who really knew his handwriting? Because he was an honest man, and would prove that they were not in his handwriting. The other shrivelled up wretch knew little or nothing of his handwriting; but Glasgow had lived for several years with him, had conducted all his business, and had seen thousands of letters in his handwriting, and was besides acquainted with all the transactions he had had with Jermy. Among his papers was a copy of a lease showing the period of its expiring at Michaelmas, and which entitled him to obtain compensation for the furniture and improvements. That valuation had not been made, and he had no right to give up possession until that was done. [The prisoner then referred to the remarks of counsel as to the taking of possession by the other claimants, but it was impossible to catch the tenor of his observations. He referred also to the agreement which had been signed at Mylne Street, which it was evident could not be of the slightest value.] He hoped the jury would see that that was not of the slightest importance after the other agreement had been signed. Then, with regard to his going out after dark, he hoped that he had satisfactorily explained to them why he had gone out after dark. Then, about the servants, he could show what their motives were, and also that he knew no more about the matter than any of the jury did. With regard to the guns, he would show that he was in the habit of shooting occasionally, and that he had shot a great many sparrows. With regard to the boots, the evidence had been twisted in a most extraordinary way, and there never had been anything like it. He would place that matter respecting the boots in its proper light before them. The learned counsel laid great stress upon the straw, but he had already shown them that he had nothing whatever to do with it, and that it had been the custom to litter that place for a considerable time previously, in consequence of the number of pigs that were passing that way backward and forward. He should then refer to the evidence of Watson the butler, and all he had stated was that he saw a party in the hall, but he could not say anything as to his identity, and he hoped the jury would attend particularly to the discrepancies in the different statements he had made before the coroner, the magistrates, and in that court. The Prisoner here read over the evidence of Watson on his first examination. Now his impression was that that evidence was forced out of him. He believed the poor man was an honest man, but from what he saw of the man he was fully convinced that the first evidence he gave was completely wrong. He would now tell the jury what this witness said before the coroner. [Having read the evidence over, he observed that he hoped the jury were acquainted with the localities of the hall, and if they compared one evidence with the other they would at once see that it was utterly inconsistent.] He thought that it was as clear as day from the evidence of that witness that their were two persons in the hall on that day. There were manifest contradictions in his evidence, and an attempt to make it stronger by introducing on the second occasion a cloak with the cape. He on the second occasion also said that he thought the man must have seen hin, and he described the man as being like Rush in height and size, &c. It was impossible to reconcile the evidence he had given on the one occasion with the evidence he had given on the second. He had no time whatever to see the party, whoever he was, who was proceeding at a quick pace through the passage. He then referred to Reid's evidence, and commented on the points which appeared to him to be contradictory, referring the jury to the plan of Stanfield Hall which lay upon the table for the purpose of proving that it was impossible for her to have spoken the truth as regarded the appearance and movements of the party who was in the hall that night. Again, there was the evidence with regard to the cloak, which he thought most extraordinary, and in which the witness said that there was a long cloak down to his heels, and that he held it up about him to make it short. She, in one of her depositions, had sworn that it was a long cloak, and in the other that it was a short one. He would produce the garment he had on, and he would take his oath that Emily Sandford had stated the fact to Mr. Cann, and that that evidence had afterwards been put into the witnesses' mouths. He had been in the habit of putting on a particular dress to go out after poachers. Emily Sandford knew that, and it had been got out of her and used against him in the most horrible manner. God Almighty knew that he was not ashamed of putting on the dress, and that he was not ashamed of anything he had done. He had no wilful animosity against Mr. Jermy, although he had almost ruined him by legal proceedings, or at least as far as he could. There was one most important document which he had done all he could to procure, and which would show, if produced, that Jermy was most considerably in his power. Watson, who had been made to say he saw a man like him in the hall. "I do not deny, said the prisoner, that he might think it was like me. He might very well think it was me, owing to the state in which he and all the world knew I and Jermy were, and had been for a long time; but it was all crammed down his throat. I say Watson only gave his evidence of the cloak after he had seen those which had been found at Potash, for when they found those things they made the servants all swear to them. - I do not believe that Watson saw a man at all. He could not have come back through the passage. We shall see what is said about the man having a wig on; and they produce these wigs and that sort of thing from Potash. But they are nothing. The reason why I had a wig is, that I had the misfortune to lose my hair once, and was obliged to buy a wig. That is the truth. Mr. Pinson knows that inquiries have been made, and the truth is so; and when my hair began to grow again, as it did, thank God, I left it off, and never wore it six times. I was sued for it in the County Court, and never was ashamed of having a wig, and never made a secret of it. Chestney, when before the magistrates, swore that she could not say whether the man had a hat or cap on. Afterwards she swears here that she knew me by the form of the head and the hair being set out and bushy. How could she make such observations in an instant? Why it is madness to think such evidence of identity is worth anything; but she introduces something new now, for she says the man turned his head to the hall door before he shot at her. Then they say I had a wig on. Why, if I had done it, should I ever have left it to be found? God Almighty has ever been my guide and counsellor through all this, in bringing to light the folly of the evidence brought against me. Then she says she had observed a peculiarity in the carriage of my head. She never said anything of the sort before. How could she make such an observation at the moment when Mr. Jermy, junr., was lying dead, and she herself was shot at? The idea of any one speaking to a man so is absurd, and quite ridiculous. I have heard that there have been caricatures printed of me from her evidence, and they say that the pictures are very like Mr. Woolbright (an attorney of Norwich who is humpbacked). (laughter). I do not think there is anything so very peculiar about me as to enable any one to swear to me under such circumstances, though it might well be if I was like him.
The Prisoner next made another virulent attack upon Mr. Cann, who, he said, had not only discovered the papers in the closet, but, he insinuated, had manufactured them so as to make up a strong case against him (Rush). At all events they were no papers of his. Why, that paper which they had brought forward as if signed by Mr. Jermy was no more like his writing than it was like his. He knew Mr. Jermy's writing very well, and it could not be supposed that he could even have attempted to palm that upon anybody as Mr. Jermy's writing. I had no resemblance to it at all, and the whole affair was a piece of the grossest injustice to him. It showed at once the grounds they went upon, and the unfair advantages they had taken of him all through the case, in putting forward statements without any foundation or plausibility. He then referred to the evidence given with regard to the cover of the book, which amounted to nothing at all, as the man could not swear positively that it was one of his books; and even if it was, he had, it appeared sold hundreds of them to different parties. He then, in a low and hurried tone of voice, referred at some length to the circumstances connected with the litigated title to the Stanfield Hall estate, to which reference has been already so frequently made. Why the facts were known to every man and boy who ever had anything to do with that estate, and the whole of the facts would show that it was his (the prisoner's) interest that Mr. Jermy should live. He knew that he should have the Felmington Farm if he gave up the Potash Farm, and he hoped that he night never stir from that place if there was not a letter among his papers which was written by old Mr. Jermy, which would show that fact. If all his letters had been produced they would show the good feeling he had towards old Mr. Jermy, while it was notorious that the other claimants had a very bad feeling to him, and had taken possession of the Felmington Farm against old Mr. Jermy. He hoped they would consider the whole bearing of the case - that they would think nothing of what had been published in the papers, which they must see, was totally different from what they had heard in that court. They would see that much of those statements was incorrect. Let them consider the position Emily Sandford was in, placed in custody at the hall for more than twelve hours, and made to believe all these stories about him. He was ready to stand upon her first evidence, as in that she stated just the truth. It was perfectly the fact what she said about his going out an hour after tea. Whatever she might wish to say now, she had then spoken the truth, and had told them that more than an hour and a half after tea, which took place about six o'clock, he went out. Did they suppose that if he was going out on such a horrible purpose that he would have called her to bar the door? If it was the last word he had to speak, he would assure them that what he had done was the fact. He had gone a certain distance to the boundary of the farm, remained a few minutes, and returned. It was absolutely impossible that he could have gone to the hall and returned in so short a space of time. She had never varied in her statement that she had gone to bed at half-past nine, and he could not, therefore have been out more than twenty minutes in the whole. But even if he had been out more than double the time, it was impossible that he could have gone to the hall and returned in that time. It was utterly impossible that any party could have got to the hall from Potash in even double the time that had been stated. There never was such a thing heard of. Let them bear in mind the number of persons - no less than six - who were standing right in his way, and who must have seen him passing. One thing he wished the jury to consider for the sake of his dear children. Whatever they might think of the case, he hoped they would well weigh and most impartially consider what the weight of such evidence should be against a person's life. After all the false swearing and all the false evidence that had been given - after the manner in which this poor thing had been led away, and made to believe that he was guilty - and then after Mr. Cann had been thus shut up with her - they ought well to consider the importance of all these points. If he had any intention of committing that crime would he have had the hardihood to keep her at Potash at all? Could he not have sent her away? He had gone home and had gone to bed, he hoped he might never leave that place if he had anything on his mind that night. She said he had trembled, and it was quite true he did, because he was frightened, knowing that something had occurred, as he had told them; but after he had got into bed and got warm he was as firm as he was at that moment. He knew, he thanked God Almighty that his conscience was clear - he would take his oath that he was innocent. Could he have the protection of the good God if he was guilty? If he had done it he could not look them in the face - he would have been mad before that time if he had done such a thing. The prisoner then went back again to the evidence, and made a number of remarks upon it of the same character as those he had already so frequently made, the greater part of it being a repetition of his previous remarks. He would remind the jury that no person had brought forward the dress he had worn that night; but the fact was that knowing he would be suspected he had buried it in the yard [sensation in the court]. He would now refer to the evidence of Mr Jermy.
Court - If you wish you can have her depositions read; but they will be taken for what they tell against you as well as for you.
Prisoner said be would read them, and leave it to the jury to say of what value it was.
Court - I wish you would repeat your last observation about the clothes. I did not hear it; but I do not want you to do so unless you like.
Prisoner - What he said was, that that dress, which he usually slipped on of an evening, after the knowledge of what was about to take place, and what he had told the Court of these transactions after his knowledge that these parties were going to take possession, and hearing the guns fired, and supposing that he might be suspected he had put that dress in a certain place, and had sent for it that morning, to show that by no possibility could he have been there, and to show that it completely contradicted what had been said about the dress that he had worn that morning. He had no doubt that it accounted in some measure for the evidence that had been given - it was clear that they had heard something, and that some description had been given of it by Emily Sandford, and it accounted for the testimony given on that point by Reid and other - they had got the information from Emily Sandford. Now with regard to Mrs. Jermy's evidence. She stated that she called the butler Watson twice and it struck her immediately that it was Rush. Why the impression upon all of them, knowing how he was mixed up with these transactions, was that such was the fact - they took that for granted, and they could scarce give any reason for it. Not one, for what did Mrs. Jermy next say, that she knew it "from his height and build?" What did the jury think of that? What was there particular in his figure to make her know it? If they thought that evidence was against him, why then God Almighty knew that, and it was the worse for him, and they would give a wrong verdict. Let them observe that she said be wore a great coat, and let them compare what Chestney had said, that the man wore a cap, while Mrs. Jermy said he appeared to have on a man's hat. Why, upon his honour, it was most monstrous. It must have been a different man that Chestney had seen, for Mrs. Jermy said she could not see anything but his great coat. What did the jury think of that? He called upon them to consider these various contradictions, which could not be reconciled, and he hoped, as honest men, they would do their duty. The prisoner then, referring to the brief that was before him, read the following as the Closing observations be should make to the Jury: "I call upon you, gentlemen, to weigh well the evidence that has been laid before you, and if you are not satisfied of my innocence, then I hope God will assist me; and if you have any doubts upon the matter, I hope you will be guided by an All-wise Providence, and that you will give me the benefit of that doubt, for the sake of my poor family, whose hearts are bursting with anxiety for the result. Do not, for the sake of your own and your families' happiness, be guided by anything but the facts of the case. Be sure and divest your minds of all you may have heard, and of all the prejudice regarding it, and consider that it was impossible for me to have been the man that was at the hall the night of the murder. Bear in mind the statements that have been made respecting the dress of the person; consider the distance from one place to the other. Consider the difficulty of getting there; and how one witness has said one thing, and another has said another thing; and also the statements respecting the bank which was to be crossed; and I am sure the God of Goodness will influence your verdict in my favour. I can only say now, that my whole trust is in Him, and I hope that He will guide you; and should there be, although I cannot see how that can be - but should there be any difference of opinion respecting my innocence, I hope that those of the jury who are for me will influence those who are against me; and that you will, I trust in God, feel it to be the happiest day of your lives when you stood firm and resolved upon no account to return any other verdict than that of not guilty; and I trust in God that the others, who may think me guilty, will bless you at their dying moments for not allowing them to return a verdict of guilty against an innocent man, as I have no doubt the real perpetrators of the murder will be discovered one day or another. Trust in God, gentlemen, and do your duty, and do not regard with the smallest attention what has been said elsewhere about this case. I hope that the God of Goodness will bless you, make you discern the truth, and give you wise and understanding hearts. All I desire and expect is justice at your hands. I ask it of you for the sake of my dear little children, who are destitute of their mother, and are now looking to you to give them back their father."
There were no demonstrations of applause at the close of the prisoner's address, nor no evidence of feeling beyond that of relief at the termination of his very rambling and discursive remarks, which were spread over a space of fourteen hours.
The prisoner then handed in a statement, showing, as he said, "how he came to know anything of what had taken place at Stanfield Hall on the night of the murder, and all he knew about it."
Mr. Baron Rolfe read aloud portions of this statement, which was to the effect that two persons, known only to the prisoner by the names of Joe and Dick, and a lawyer, came to Potash one night, and told him they had come to take forcible possession of the property, and asked him what he thought of their plan? He said he disapproved of their going by night, and that if they went they would do something they would be taken up for, and which they would repent of, as had been done before. The lawyer said be did not think so, and that if the party had not opened the door then they never would have been turned out. After this the party went towards tbe hall, and the prisoner followed down the loke towards the end of the Potash lands, where he halted and waited for two hours, but hearing nothing more of them he came back. On another day these people came again and asked the prisoner to lend his men to turn out the folks at the hall, but he refused saying they would get into a mess and lead his son into it. He also objected to their proceeding at night, but they persisted in expressing their intention to go by night. After this which was on the eventful 28th, the prisoner thought much of what had passed, and having a presentiment that something would happen, went out at half-past eight o'clock towards the hall, and waited a little at the boundary till he heard a report of a gun or pistol in the direction of the hall, and after that two more not so loud. He then got alarmed, and feeling very ill, returned to Potash through his garden. The statement then went on to describe very vaguely "the lawyer," and "Joe" and Dick" - the former as a well dressed man the two latter as a porter and helper at stables, whom he had occasionally seen about Norwich; and added that the latter had, before this, met him in the road in September or October, and asked him to allow his men to help in taking possession of the hall. "This, gentlemen," continued the statement, "is the way in which I came to know anything had happened at the hall."
The prisoner then called Mr. Waugh, a solicitor, and former employer of the witness Howe, who stated that be would not believe Howe on his oath, "if contradicted on reputable testimony."
Arthur Hyde, an accountant residing in London, also deposed that he had heard Howe say he would go down to Norwich, and swear either way for £20.
Mr. Serjeant Byles then addressed the jury in reply. He must say that the prisoner had many advantages in not being defended by counsel; and a greater case of judicial suffering had never come to his knowledge. It seemed to him that the prisoner fell into two great mistakes - the confounding the conduct of the prosecution with the question of his guilt or innocence which was the main question. The magistrates had a very difficult duty to discharge; as they must have heard that he was so violent on two occasions when Emily Sandford was under examination, the magistrates had been obliged to have him removed. His solicitor had the opportunity of ransacking all the documents in the possession of the prosecution to see what might be useful to his client.
The prisoner here made some remark, and The Court said if he did not conduct himself properly he must have him removed.
Mr. Serjeant Byles then proceeded, observing that he thought it important that the jury should be disabused of the statement made by the prisoner, that Mr Cann had formerly acted as his solicitor. That was not the fact. With regard to the trifling discrepancies in the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution, it did not vary more than the descriptions which different persons would give, of the same transaction. It appeared that the prisoner had formerly lived in Stanfield Hall, and was intimately acquainted with the localities. Mrs. Jermy and the servants swore that they had no doubt Rush was the man. That was the main feature of the evidence of each, varying only in trifling particulars. The learned serjeant then referred to the depositions made by the various witnesses upon this point. All these witnesses had been repeatedly examined. Chestney was also examined as to her knowledge of disputes, but she knew nothing. She, however, makes a statement of a circumstance which she did not before as to the carriage of Rush's head. The third witness is Margaret Reid, who says she saw a man behind Miss Jermy. She describes his dress as a cloak, with a cape standing up on his shoulder. She had seen Rush repeatedly, knew him, and her impression was that it was Rush. (Here the cloak was handed to the serjeant). Now, gentlemen, I will not tie myself to the supposition that this was the garment; but you will see that it has a small cape and a capacious pocket inside it. We have heard of another garment today from the prisoner for the first time, and the witnesses do not pretend to swear positively whether it was a cloak or a coat. They cannot tell, but they all speak to their impression that Rush was the man. I mentioned these three witnesses; but there is a fourth whom the prisoner has himself called. I mean the deposition of Mrs. Jermy, who is too ill to attend. She speaks to Rush in this manner. (The learned counsel then read the deposition at length, in which Mrs. Jermy swore that she thought at once it was Rush from his build and make, "which one could not easily forget".) Now gentlemen, I come to the papers left in the hall, and I must observe that whoever was the man must have written these papers. It is not likely if Rush was the man, he employed anyone else to write, these warnings. If Rush was there, I submit he wrote then; if he wrote them, he must have been the man; if he did not write them he was not the man. Now, gentlemen, you would expect me to give evidence that this was Rush's hand, and I have done so. You will judge of the weight to be attached to that witness who proved it as it is generally proved. This paper is partly composed in printed characters and partly in letters used in ordinary handwriting. It is a disguised hand in part, but the ordinary general character will peep out through the attempt at disguise. Now if this is not the prisoner's hand he might have shown that by calling someone who knew his hand. But we have done more, we have shown that the paper on which, the writing is, belongs to a set or three books, of which only two books can be found. Now we say that the third of the set was formed of the two covers which were dropped in the, passage. Now, gentlemen, have we not shown that the murder was committed by a man with a form like Rush, a cloak like Rush's, a book like Rush's and above all a man, who had an enmity to Mr. Jermy? In whom would all these coincidences be realised if not in Rush? But, gentlemen I must make some observations on another important witness - I mean Emily Sandford. It now appears that this young person was the tool of the prisoner. She says, "I always did what be told me." I think she must now be allowed to have made a clean breast of it, and the prisoner has admitted that she spoke the truth.
The Judge commenced his summing up. His lordship went through the direct evidence with great minuteness, and remarked upon it, and on the answers elicited in the course of the cross-examinations, at considerable length.
The Jury then retired, and after the absence of about six minutes, returned a verdict of GUILTY.
Mr. Baron Rolfe then passed sentence of DEATH upon the prisoner in usual form. "In your case," said the learned Judge," there is everything that could add a deeper dye to guilt the most horrible. You commenced a system of fraud by endeavouring to cheat your landlord, and you followed it up by making the unfortunate girl, whom you had seduced, a tool whereby you should commit forgery, and you terminated your guilty career by the murder of the son and grandson of your former benefactor. In your case may be seen the avenging hand of God. For had you redeemed your pledge by making that unfortunate girl your wife she could not have been a witness against you, and the evidence of your guilt would not have been conclusive."
Thus terminated this important trial, after having been protracted from Thursday till Wednesday evening.
Our Appendix to this all-absorbing trial naturally begins with Rush's demeanour immediately after conviction.
Upon sentence of death being passed, the prisoner attempted to say a few words but he was stopped by Mr. Penson; whereupon he took up his portfolio of briefs and depositions, which he had carefully collected and packed up in the absence of the jury, and escorted by Mr. Penson and several turnkeys was conducted to his cell. By this time he had regained his former firmness. He said to the officials who had him in charge, "I am thirsty, give me some porter." He was informed that the prison regulations would not allow him to be so accommodated, but that he could have some tea, an alternative which he somewhat reluctantly accepted. On the Rev. Edward Postle, one of the county magistrates who committed Rush in the first instance, passing, the murderer recognised the rev. gentleman through the bars of the cell. He exclaimed, "Is that you, Postle? I have a clearer conscience than you have now." He was asked whether he would avail himself of the spiritual services of the Rev. Mr. Brown, the chaplain of the castle. He replied, "Oh no not at all. I can do without him while I am here." Drawing his chair to the fire he sat down, and rubbing his hands on his knees, remarked to his attendants," This is a troublesome world, and I suppose I must die; but should the man who really committed the murders come forward and avow himself, do you think that I shall be released?" Again he remarked, "Well, upon such evidence, had I been the jury, I should certainly have returned the same verdict." Remaining silent for a few minutes, he added, " But am I really to be buried within the prison? Will they not allow my friends to have my body to be buried in the church yard?" Having heard the replies given to these questions, he concluded by saying "Well, now; let me have my tea and slippers." Having partaken of the meal allowed by the rules of the gaol, the prisoner retired to his bed and slept soundly, or, as it is said, "pretended to do so," during the whole of the night. In the morning he resumed his remarks upon the trial, arguing in favour of his innocence, and "seemed fully prepared to brave it out."
He remained in the cell in which he was placed immediately after his committal and continued there until the day appointed for his execution. He was very reserved, a portion always of his character, and entered into no communication with the officers of the castle, except as far as was necessary to convey to them his wants. The only person who visited him since his conviction was his solicitor; no member of his family made an application. A rumour was circulated that Rush's eldest daughter was dying in consequence of the shock. The murderer employed himself by walking up and down a small yard attached to his cell and when he did condescend to speak, he made some jocular remark about his wish to get out of the world, and that he would not be the only one who had to complain of the troubles of this world. At times he whistled, and at others remarked upon the discordant noises proceeding from the fair outside. One of the county magistrates made the following remark to a reporter this morning:- "Rush says he has bilked Sir George Grey, the Commissioners of Bankruptcy, the judges in civil actions in which he was concerned, and everybody else with whom he has had communication; whether he will bilk Mr. Calcraft, the executioner, remains to be seen." It is an undeniable fact that he has squandered away the whole of the children's property which was left to them by their mother. He was left one of the trustees in the mother's will, but, finding that he had not sufficient command of the money, forged a codicil, in which unlimited powers were given him to employ the money as he pleased and containing this singular provision, that no questions as to the reasons of this codicil being executed should be asked. All the money has been spent, and the future condition of the family must be truly lamentable, as ejectments from the farms have been served.
On Monday afternoon a change seemed to have taken place in the prisoner. Rush, which though considerable, held out a promise that the system of stolid obstinacy in which he had so long indulged might give way to impressions more suitable to the awful position in which he stood. For some days preceding, his object appeared to have been to persuade those by whom he was more immediately surrounded of his innocence of the atrocious crime of which he has been convicted; but on no occasion had he reverted to that ridiculous invention which he was weak enough to imagine the judge and jury would entertain, that "Dick" and "Joe " were the guilty parties. During the whole of Sunday, and also during part of Monday, he asked several questions of a character different from that he had been in the habit of putting. Before that his queries had been irreverent and absurd, but in these he had adopted a more serious tone. The convict attended divine service on Sunday morning in the castle chapel, and complied with all the forms of the service. During the delivery of the Sermon, which was preached by the Rev. Mr. Brown, he appeared to be in a deeply meditative mood. His eyes were fixed upon the ground; once or twice he raised them towards the preacher; but they dropped almost immediately to their original position.
He has always endeavoured to preserve the appearance of a religious man. When Larner and Jermy attended his house at Felmingham, all joined in family devotion. Even at the tine he was making his arrangements for the perpetration of a series of the most revolting crimes, and for fixing them upon the men who were kneeling with him in united devotion. In his house was a box designed for the collection of money for a society in London, called 'The Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews,' and to this he invariably called upon his friends to contribute. Mr. Penson informed our reporter today, that notwithstanding the remark of the learned judge, that ' neither morbid sensibility, nor the idle curiosity of the world will be allowed to pry into the secrets of the murderer's cell,' hundreds of persons unconnected with the culprit had made application to have but a moment's view or him, so much interest does the murderer excite. This application has been in all cases very properly refused and the prison regulations have been carried out to the fullest extent. Every precaution was taken to prevent him making an attempt on his life.
Up to two o'clock on Monday afternoon no application had been made for admission into the castle by any of the convict's relations; and the somewhat curious and inconclusive reason assigned for this neglect was that, believing him innocent, they did not wish unnecessarily to wound his feelings. While, however, his immediate friends displayed no anxiety to see him, the case was different with hundreds of persons who had come from different parts of the country to gratify their curiosity by catching but the slightest glimpse of this notorious offender. The proprietors of a Norwich paper of large circulation had, it is said made, or were about to make a direct proposal to Rush to settle a large amount of money upon his family if he would write out, for publication in a volume, a sketch of his past career, and would append it to a confession of the Stanfield Hall murders. A large number of persons firmly believed that the murderer would accept this proposal, that is, if he be honest enough to make any confession at all. It was said that the Bishop of Norwich had an interview with Rush on Monday morning. His lordship takes great interest in the case and dwelt largely upon it in a sermon which he preached at the cathedral on Sunday morning. An application was made by the magistrates to Sir G. Grey, to appoint the execution for Monday instead of Saturday, on account of the injury which business would sustain if allowed to take place on market day; but no answer from the right hon baronet had been received up to Monday afternoon.
The condemned convict Rush was visited on Monday by the whole of his family of nine children. They arrived at the Castle between two and three o'clock, and were accompanied by Mr. James Rush of Wymondham, brother to the convict, and Mr. Somes, brother of the late Mrs. Rush. On reaching the Castle they were received by Mr. Penson the governor, who conducted them to the cell in which the convict lies. When Mr. Penson announced to the convict that his family had arrived, Rush for a moment or two buried his face in his hands and seemed to be deeply affected. Having regained somewhat of his usual composure he said, 'Let them be admitted,' and the next minute the whole of the nine children, were in the presence of their unhappy parent. The scene is described by those who witnessed it as being most painful, both parent and children giving way to the wildest paroxysms of grief. They spoke little upon family affairs. The convict with great earnestness called upon GOD to witness his innocence of the foul crimes imputed to him, and with many prayers recommended his children, especially the younger ones, to the protecting care of the Almighty. The interview lasted upwards of two hours, and as it was understood that this was to be the parting visit its close was most painful. Parent and children embraced each other and gave vent to the loudest lamentations: even the jailers and others who are accustomed to such scenes were greatly affected. At length the children of the unhappy man left hin, and after indulging for some moments in grief, he fell upon his knees and was engaged for a long time in earnest prayer. A large number of persons congregated on the outside of the Castle walls to witness the departure of the convict's family.
On Thursday he asked the turnkeys if they had begun to fix the machine; but no answer was made. He then expressed a hope that it might be a fine day. The Rev. Mr. Brown, chaplain to the gaol, the Rev. Mr. Andrews, and the Rev. Mr. Blake of Felmingham, were all most assiduous in their efforts to bring the unhappy criminal to a due sense of the awful position in which he stood. But these efforts were attended with very little apparent success, and, to use the strong but no doubt accurate language of a gentleman when applied to for information on the subject, Rush has exhibited sincerity in nothing except in the practice of deception. The expression appears to be a contradiction, but it is difficult to analyse the workings of a murderer's mind, and the same idiosyncrasy of character which led Rush to purloin so dexterously the £40 cheque from the notebook in a crowded court, with all eyes upon him, may account for his realizing the old aphorism, that the man who begins by deceiving others often ends by deceiving himself. On Thursday night, as previously, he slept very soundly.
On being informed that the universal opinion throughout the country was that he was guilty, he appeared angry. He wrote a letter asserting his innocence, which he wished to be signed by his daughter, and sent to the editor of the Times; but Mr. Penson declined forwarding it. In two years, he asserts, the real murderer will be known.
He was watched by ten turnkeys, who relieved each other every two hours, and every precaution was taken to prevent anything taking place to rob justice of its victim.
During the previous evening and night, there had been no alteration whatever in the prisoner's conduct. He went to bed between nine and ten o'clock, and got up again at two o'clock, and when he arose he said, "Thank God for a good sleep;" but it was evident to those who were watching him, that he did not sleep, and that his rest had been greatly disturbed. Between two and six o'clock in the morning, his time was occupied chiefly in reading a religious book, in which he made notes, and underlined various passages. During the night he did not assert his innocence, nor did he make the slightest disclosure. He had sent for the Rev. Mr. Blake, a gentleman with whom he had quarrelled, and he received his ministrations with those of the other clergymen; but showed no signs of contrition, on account of the great crimes with which he was charged, In the morning he asked for some hot water to wash himself; and to have a clean neck-cloth, and clean shirt. He expressed a wish that he should be buried in his shirt.
Saturday morning is always one of great bustle and movement in Norwich and the surrounding county. Every road east, west, north, and south is covered with people progressing towards the city, intent either on business or pleasure, Farmers in their gigs and other vehicles may be seen driving at a rapid rate from their various localities, heavily laden wagons and tumbrels (as they are here called) slowly creep along the roads, coaches are crowded, and carts laden with passengers. Thousands of pedestrians travelled onwards in every variety of costume, all wending their way towards the city, as if by common consent, to finish up the week, glad of a change of scene from the monotonous quiet of rural life to the animation, excitement, and turmoil of a market day. Very primitive in their style are numbers of the conveyances by which hundreds of the country folks are brought into the city, and quite as antiquated are many of the inns which they patronise. In these inns and public-houses, 600 in number in the city, the Norfolk dialect may be heard in its native purity, as spoken by stalwart countrymen, dressed in corduroys and velveteens, with red plush waistcoats, and wearing hats with Brobdignagian brims. If such be the usual state of the city and neighourhood on an ordinary market day, one may form some slight conception of what was likely to take place when, in addition to the attractions of the market, there was to be witnessed the execution of so atrocious a criminal as James Blomfield Rush. Not by dozens, or fifties, or hundreds did the people flock into the city on this eventful morning, but by tens and twenties of thousands, by every avenue, north, east, west, and south, "the Cry was still, they come!"
Every inn and public-house was filled with customers at an early hour in the morning. The graziers, large numbers of whom attend the market had their cattle driven on the Castle hill, immediately in front of the bridge on which the execution of criminals usually take place. Drovers and cattle seemed to be alike jaded and worn down, probably by a week's or a fortnight's journeyings through mud and mire and rain, for as yet the railways does not bring half the cattle to Norwich market. On all sides loud cries, horrible oaths, and execrations mingled with the cracking of whips. The ignorant men who indulged in jibes on the subject of the execution threatened, with frightful imprecations, which made the blood run cold, that rather than not witness the death of the convict they would tear down the prison gates, and, if necessary, the scaffold.
The excellent arrangements which were made by Mr. Yarrington, the superintendent of the city police, rendered any disturbance of that sort very unlikely. The Newmarket and Ipswich roads presented scenes of the utmost animation. Numberless carriages and vehicles of every description were crowding in from the country, some laden with passengers and others with provisions of the choicest kind. Country carts came jogging along, drawn by fast trotting horses, driven by homely dames ensconced amidst a multitude of "peds" and market baskets. Now jockeys, wearing red waistcoats and brown jackets, some or them sadly dingy, made their appearance with snorting animals in hand, moving onwards towards the Castle hill. Itinerant pedlars trotted forward with carts full of crockery and cutlery, to the same place, where they were soon to hold forth to admiring crowds while vending their wares. We now turned once more to the city, where the curling smoke was rising from innumerable chimneys, denoting that preparations were being made for the early morning repast. The streets resounded with the cries of the itinerant vendors of various eatables. Inns, taverns, and eating-houses were filled with hungry people, who had travelled many miles to catch even a moment's glance at the dying criminal. The universal theme of conversation was Rush and the Stanfield Hall murders.
Various were the speculations as to the conduct of the criminal - would he confess, or would he die with the secret in his breast? Would he express contrition for his guilt. Or would he die in impenitence and sin? Would he die hard, or would the executioner's be a comparatively easy duty? These and similar queries engaged the attention, and were the theme of conversation of the anxious and expectant visitors who came to witness the death struggles of the murderer.
For the next hour, that is up to about ten o'clock, the bustle and hum of preparation for the business of the day ceased, and all appeared anxious expectation. The streets were again filled with eager people passing too and fro, the rattling of carts and carriages, the rumbling of wheelbarrows, and the quick tread of pedestrians continued to increase. Now the shop windows, many of them of plate glass, were decked out with everything that could dazzle the eye, or allure the appetite. An immense extent of business is done in this city on a Saturday, and on this day the shops were soon filled, and the general male and female assistants were now in the zenith of their glory, profuse in bows, smiles, and curtseys, and endeavours to please their customers. The spacious market place is a fine open square, surrounded with well stored shops. What a scene of animation was here displayed - what a throng of people intent on business, although constantly recurring in their conversation to the forthcoming death of the wretched malefactor, Rush. Amid almost innumerable rows of stalls, all sorts of people -publicans, tradesmen, weavers, and artificers - were in perpetual motion. Blandly the healthy looking countrywomen, with their shepherd plaid shawls, and clean white aprons, while vending all the various products of the field, the garden, and the dairy, solicited the favours of the city matrons. Butchers invited then to look at prime meats entreatingly displayed, and kitchen gardeners called their attention to piles of vegetables and fruits, most of which were eagerly seized. About this time the trains brought in a fresh influx of visitors from all places along the line. Omnibuses, cabs, and carriages from the stations, laden with passengers, drove through the densely crowded streets. Perhaps the most offensive part of the proceedings, at this early hour in the morning, was the conduct of six or eight ballad-mongers who perseveringly continued bawling in doggrel rhymes of the murderous deeds of Rush.
We cite one of these barbarous productions which appeared to be the most popular, and which commanded the readiest sale. One fellow, with stentorian lungs, shouted the following:-
"Come listen while I tell
The awful crimes of Rush,
The awful crimes of Rush,
Who dies on the gallows to-day.
"He murdered poor Mr. Jermy,
Who never did him harm.
But gave hin money to spend,
And kept him out of want.
"The fellow went at night
To the quiet Stanfield Hall,
And there with murderous weapons he did kill
Two unoffending men.
"Two innocent women there,
Who never did him harm,
He shot at and dreadfully wounded,
The base and cruel man.
"Take warning all of you,
That passion's iron sway
May never tempt you to commit
Such great and cruel sin."
It is astonishing with what rapidity these ridiculous and doggerel lines were bought up by those who had come to witness the execution.
The excitement which prevailed during the morning by no means diminished towards the time appointed for the execution. As the hour approached when the criminal was to meet his doom, and answer to offended justice for his numerous crimes, a feeling of overpowering oppression - a sense of awe and consternation pervailed a large portion of the crowd as they gazed upon that terrible instrument on which the convict was destined to end his miserable existence. Over the entrance to the Castle a large black flag floated, raising in the minds of all thoughtful persons feelings of deep emotion.
Mr. P. Yarrington, the active and intelligent superintendent of the Norwich city police, made the most efficient arrangenents for preserving the peace of the city, as well as the property of the inhabitants. In these endeavours he was ably assisted by Mr. Michael Haydon, Mr. Shackel, Mr. Langley, and Mr. Trew, four of the most energetic and successful members of the London detective police.
In consequence of the influx of London thieves, the police were placed as follows:- Fifteen were at the weighing-machine on the hill, fifteen on the Castle Meadow, opposite the Shire Hall; two at each entrance on the Castle Meadow; and two at each bank to watch any suspicious parties. All these men were ordered to be concentrated on any given point, if their services were required. About sixty constables of the rural force were stationed thirty yards apart in the garden walk of the castle.
The scaffold was erected upon the centre of the bridge, which spans the dry moat surrounding Norwich Castle, about midway between the outer and inner gate.
The Castle, of which we give a beautiful and accurate view, is admiraby situated for any public spectacle, and from whatever point it is viewed it is a massive, noble imposing object being a square Norman structure, built on the top of a mound or hill, which appears to be chiefly the work of nature. It is steep on all sides, one side descending to the market place, and the opposite side to the river Yare. There were originally three broad ditches and three bridges, one over each ditch, the inner ditch and the bridge over it still remains; it is believed by antiquarians that this bridge is the original Saxon structure. At the end of the roadway over the bridge there is a fine gravel walk round the castle, and the walk commands a fine view of the city and of the surrounding country. The spectator can view the magnificent cathedral, and the towers of more than forty churches. On the north-east side he may view a wide extent of ground, called Mouse Hold Heath, a corruption of the old English term "moche nolt," or "much nolt," or an extensive woody highland, which this tract or land originally was, after the sea had left it. More eastward, as far as the eye can reach, every variety of rural scenery, hill and dale, wood and water, numerous gardens, and gentlemen's residences, meet the view. As the spectator glances over the sequestered village of Thorpe, and the winding course of the Yare the rising ground on each side of the valley is covered with plantations, and studded with handsome villas and rural cottages, down the stream to the wild romantic woods of Wittingham. On the western side of the Castle walk there is a magnificent view, far extending up the valley of the Wensum. On every side, over all this wide extent of country, masses of human beings might be seen travelling towards the place where public justice was about to be vindicated before assembled multitudes.
Between eleven and twelve o'clock the bell of St. Peters Mancroft tolled the death knell of the criminal. As he came from his cell to the receiving-room he walked with a firm and steady step. In that room he was pinioned by the executioner (Calcraft), whom he requested not to do it too tight.
A procession was then formed to the scaffold, the chaplain (the Rev. James Brown), being in front; Mr. Pinson and the prisoner followed. The high sheriff (Colonel Mason) was present; and also the under sheriff (J. F. Blake, Esq.); and the deputy under sheriff (A. Taylor Esq.).
Within two or three minutes after twelve o'clock the mournful cavalcade proceeded from the interior of the Castle to the spot on which the gibbet was erected. The distance between the Castle door and the gallows was about sixty yards. The chaplain read as he passed along the following words:-
"I am the resurrection and the life, said the Lord. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.
"I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and not another.
"We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
When the procession left the Castle gate to proceed to the gibbet, Rush presented a most melancholy and dejected appearance. He was dressed in a plain suit of black, wearing no neck handkerchief. His shirt collar was turned down. For about twenty-yards he walked with a firm, unwavering step. His manner, however, was evidently assumed, and his air and demeanour were like a man who had avenged a great injury, and was satisfied with what he had done. In a moment afterwards he raised his pinioned hands to his face, and violently trembled. He then removed his hands from his face, and turning up his eyes to Heaven, assumed the attitude of penitence and prayer. On reaching the foot of the gallows the Reverend Chaplain offered up the following prayer:-
"Oh! Almighty God, who, according to the magnitude of thy mercies, dost so truly putaway the sins of those who truly repent, that thou rememberest them no more, open thine eyes upon this thy servant, who most earnestly desireth pardon and forgiveness. Remember him, most loving Father; whatsoever hath been decayed in him by fraud and malice of the devil, or by his own carnal wilfulness, forgive. Consider his contrition, accept his tears, assuage his pain, as shall seem to Thee most expedient for him. And forasmuch as he putteth his full trust only in thy mercy, impute not unto him his former sins, but strengthen him with thy blessed Spirit; and now that he is to be taken hence, take him into thy favour, through the merits of thy most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
While this prayer was being read by the Rev. Chaplain, the condemned convict seemed to be deeply impressed with the awful character of his situation. Immediately on the close of the prayer, he beckoned to Mr. Penson, the Governor of the Castle, who was immediately by his side. The following brief conversation ensued:-
Rush - "Mr. Penson, I have a last request to make to you; it is, that the bolt may be withdrawn while the Chaplain is reading the benediction, 'The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with us all evermore."
Mr. Penson - "I will immediately communicate your wish to the Chaplain, and I have no doubt it will be attended to."
In conformity with his promise, Mr. Penson immediately communicated with the Chaplain, and it was intimated to Rush that what he wished should be complied with.
The convict, accompanied by the officials, and Calcraft, the common hangman, then ascended the gallows, a clumsy and inconvenient structure, as badly arranged and as unsightly in appearance as any one could conceive. It seemed to be the work of a most unskilful designer. On to this platform Rush ascended. He looked ghastly pale, and dreadfully emaciated. Either conscience or fear had evidently done its work. For a few moments he looked at the immense multitude before him, but seemingly recollecting that it had been arranged he should suffer death with his back to the people, he immediately turned round, and Calcraft, with the coolness and precision which have become natural to him, through intimate acquaintance with his revolting trade, placed the unhappy convict under the beam on which he was to hang and affixed the fatal rope around his neck. Rush said, "For God's sake, give me rope enough," and with his own hand be adjusted the cord upon his neck. This having been done, the cap was drawn over his face, and from the slight movement of his lips and his hands, it seemed to indicate that he was either following the words of the minister or engaged in prayer. The Rev. Chaplain proceeded with the prayers, and, on arriving at the words, "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," &c., Calcraft withdrew the bolt, the platform fell, and the unhappy convict fell literally like a lump of lead, shaking the whole gallows by his fall. He remained perfectly quiescent for about two minutes, then there was a short convulsive struggle, and all was over. He never moved again. From first to last his hands were closely clasped together. He appeared to have lost all sensibility immediately on his fall from the fatal beam. His death was greeted with loud applause by the immense crowd who had assembled to witness the execution. At one o'clock he was cut down, removed from the scaffold in a coffin, and buried within the precincts of the jail. A cast of his head was taken for the study of phrenologists, of which we shall give an account.
Mr. Penson, the Governor, during the whole anxious period since the first committal of the prisoner to his execution, has, we know, conducted himself most admirably, showing great forbearance and patience with the criminal, who gave much trouble, and always appeared dissatisfied with whatever was done for him. His behaviour was, at times, so unbecoming, that it was necessary to have a double guard upon hin.
The mass of people remained for some time on the Hill; vast numbers keeping their places for the whole hour until he was taken down.
It was stated that one woman, who was carried away in an insensible state, had been a domestic servant in the employ of Rush, and that she shed tears when he was brought out to suffer that ignominious death which his crime so richly deserved.
After the execution the country people continued pouring into Norwich from all quarters, and appeared very anxious to know whether Rush had made a confession; and they appeared to be much disappointed on hearing that no revelations had been made by the murderer relating to the appalling crimes he had committed.
Thus closed the life of him whose murderous deeds, and other wicked acts, have excited universal abhorrence, and of whom it may be said England never furnished his parallel. His career is at an end - ere long, his name and his crimes will be nearly forgotten by the busy multitude, but they will live for ever in the black page of flagitious history. About 20,000 persons supposed to be present.
The story of a Norwich newspaper offering to settle a considerable sum upon the family of Rush, in the event of his writing and handing to the journal in question his memoir, is flatly contradicted. No such offer has been made or dreamed of.
The representatives of the London press had an interview on Saturday night with Mr. Penson, the Governor of the Jail, who read them a statement drawn up by the Chaplain respecting Rush's conduct during the last few days of his life. He had clearly dissembled from the very first. So much so, indeed, that at last whatever be said or suggested was looked upon as suspicious and with distrust. He daily proclaimed his innocence saying, 'God knew his heart; he had made big peace with him; he was prepared to die.' At last, finding that the visiting clergymen would not believe him innocent, he became dissatisfied with them, and almost disrespectful. Two or three days ago be wished to have the Sacrament administered to him in private, but he was refused by the Chaplain. He then wrote a letter to her Majesty, but finding he could not get it out of the Castle he burned it. At his parting farewell with his family on Wednesday, he said 'I hope the Queen will not be in a hurry to hang me.'
He attended Chapel on Saturday morning. The Chaplain, convinced of his guilt, endeavoured to elicit confession. Abruptly, however, as upon former occasions, he said God knew his heart, that he was his Judge, and that they had prejudged him. When conducted to the turnkey's room to be pinioned, he met Calcraft, whereupon be said to Mr. Penson, 'Is this the man that is to do the business?' The reply was 'Yes.' When he was pinioned, he shrugged up his shoulders, saying 'This don't go easy.' Upon the scaffold, feeling Calcraft tremulous while fixing the noose around his neck, be said,' Don't be in a hurry; take your time.' Then, moving his head about, he said, 'Put the knot a little higher up; don't hurry.'
During the previous night (Friday) he undressed, went to bed, dressed, and went to bed again several times, pretending, whilst in bed, to sleep, but in fact watching the turnkeys all the while intently. There is no doubt that he intended self destruction. He declared that he had heavenly sweet sleeps, however. His last request was that the drop might fall at the utterance of certain words given above. This, however, was very properly not done. It was the general impression that he intended some vain and fruitless feat. The Governor, Mr. Penson, fearing this, gave the signal before the service reached that point.
Rush received a letter on Friday from his eldest daughter. It deeply affected him. He shed tears on the occasion. He burnt it, as he did all his other writings and papers. We saw the body tonight. The face was calm and placid; there was no appearance of a violent death. His bust was taken. The only thing he left was a religious book which he had interlined. He left directions for it to be handed to his family. He was buried at eight o'clock at night in a deep grave in the prison grounds next to the remains of Yarham, who was executed four years since for the Yarmouth murder.
His forehead is small and low - the organs of comparison and casualty but little developed, his perceptive organs over the eye, size, locality. weight, &c., are fully developed. Altogether, the front part of the head does not indicate any mental power, nor would it have been possible for any training to have produced any high degree of such power. His forehead is narrow; ideality is very deficient he has no great degree of imagination; his circle of mental vision is extremely limited. The top of his head is flat; benevolence and veneration are wanting; he has naturally no strong religious tendencies; Marvellousness is fully developed; credulous himself, he believes others to be equally so. That organ misnamed destructiveness, is full above the ear; it ought to be called impulsiveness (that which prompts a man to immediate action), and it may be as fully developed in a benevolent as in a malevolent person's head, or even more so. Cautiousness and concentrativeness are very full, especially the latter. His natural powers, though weak, were aided by this tendency to rivet then, on one object; if he had not a good object before him he would inevitably have a bad one, and unless great obstruction came in the way, he would succeed. He has combativeness full; also amativeness exceedingly strong, as indicated by his thick neck. He is naturally five times more animal than intellectual, and his whole history proves him to have been a gross sensualist - a man incapable of any generous emotion, a low, mean, grovelling character, but of active habits; and under stern command his physical energies might have been turned to good account: left to the governance of himself, he soon began to run riot. His passions had their full swing, and because he felt no moral restraint, became to be considered as a man of resolute and determined will, but without any just claim to the distinction any more than a headstrong horse, that, left to himself, would run his head against a wall. I have met with a great many of these head strong people, who, because they will have everything their own way, and because they bully and swagger over everybody, pass, among the unthinking multitude, for men of importance and ability. Rush appears to have been one of this class.
It is a remarkable fact that many attempts were made to obtain a commutation of Rush's sentence. The Norfolk News, a highly respectable paper, took the lead in this vain movement. It says:- "There is hardly a man or a woman within the walls of our city, who, if assured that no practical benefit will be attained by the execution of Rush, would not gladly see the sentence remitted, and the criminal enjoying the fullest possible opportunity for that repentance which his crimes pre-eminently require. There is hardly an inhabitant of Norwich who would not breathe more freely, and whose heart would not be relieved of an inexpressible burthen, on Saturday at noon, if informed that, without injury to the public security, Rush's sentence was commuted. Everyone feels instinctively that, its supposed necessity apart, an execution is nothing better than an outrage on public decency. A Saturnalia of black guardism - a violation of every sentiment of humanity and religion. "A party was formed which was very active in the county, issuing handbills addressed to "Men of Mercy" praying them to petiton against the execution of the convict Rush. The bill states that "James Blomfield Rush (convicted upon doubtful evidence) is about to be made the victim of a tyrannical and bloody law, which is a disgrace even to the Protestant Reformation; therefore, let all who do not wilfully countenance legal murder, now and at once petition for Rush's life," &c. These persons have been very active, and have obtained numerous signatures to their petition.
Their statements have been replied to by a clergyman in the following forcible terms: "The first point I would notice is the assertion that Rush is convicted upon doubtful evidence! Who is the man who has had the hardihood to pen words like these? If he has read the trial attentively, a conclusion like this is a proof that he is utterly incompetent to weigh evidence - nay, that he is little better than a lunatic. If he has not read the evidence, then such an assertion is a wicked attempt to cast odium upon as deliberate a trial and as just a verdict as the annals or judicial investigation record. It is also an attempt to cast innocence around a man, whose deeds are so atrocious, his crimes against humanity so horrible, that the human family will only libel itself by extending a sympathy towards him. If Rush is to be forgiven it must be by the offended Author of his being - humanity has been too deeply outraged to smile upon so hideous a criminal. Rush not guilty! Who seduced Emily Sandford under a promise of marriage, and justified the seduction by a blasphemous appeal to the Bible? at one time admitting, and at another time denying his promise to marry her. Who, by forging a codicil to his mother's will, has spent every sixpence of his children's property and forced them upon the world helpless and pennyless? Who avowedly entered into a conspiracy to cheat his landlord. Who forged a series of documents that were of no possible use while the Jermys lived? and, in the event of his death, which could benefit no one but himself, and to a certainty secured to him the tenancy of the Potash Farm or the Felmingham Farm? Who, besides Rush, had in his possession and wore disguises that no honest man would keep? Why did he go out, night after night, heavily armed and carefully disguised? How is it that of the five persons who saw a man at the Hall, four declare it was Rush; while the fifth had been so short a time there as not to know him at all? Why did the witness Jesse White, who was well acquainted with Rush's handwriting, declare that the papers found in the Hall were written by Rush? And what has become of the books from which the covers were torn when the two others belonging to the set were found in Rush's house? What induced him to go into his chamber on his return, and request Emily Sandford to shut up herself in her room, then to light a large fire, and when the police surrounded the house to return to Sandford and say - 'Be firm - say I was out only ten minutes -you will hear of something?' Why did he tremble and look ghastly pale? How was it that when he was apprehended he said that Savory and Sandford knew he was out only in his slippers, and that this fact would clear him, when he admitted in his defence that he went out in his boots. And what has become of these boots? The other pairs are found, these only are missing? Why did he bury the cloak in the yard, as he confesses he did, lest he should be suspected? How was it that he did not tell the tale of Joe and Dick and the lawyer when he was apprehended in the morning? And having tried at the trial to inculpate these men, why did he yet admit that they did not perpetrate the murders? Who could be benefitted by these horrible massacres excepting Rush, Larner, and Jermy, and when the two latter were placed in the witness box - simple and uneducated men - how is it that Rush admitted their innocence by not asking them a single question? Who besides Rush has written letters about the Jermys, breathing against them the most malignant hatred and threatening to have summary revenge? I might go on adding questions of this kind ad infinitum, but I forbear doing so. Having myself attended the trial of Rush, and listened attentively to the most overwhelming evidence of guilt that ever appalled the heart or convinced the judgment, I cannot bear the idea that any one should be weak enough to set up a plea of innocence in favour of a man who is steeped in guilt the most horrible, for the simple purpose of advancing a popular movement in favour of the abolition of capital punishments. If death for murder is to be remitted, for pity's sake find out some other case than Rush's to refer to. He who could commit seduction, forgery, and robbery - who could go into an English mansion and literally blow out the hearts of two gentlemen, and do his best to murder two females -who could cover over his guilt by appeals to the Bible, and in his defence, call upon God to aid him in establishing a falsehood, and in a multitude of instances invoke the Deity to witness to the truth of his blasphemies! He who could do these things must find no interest in the sympathies of those beings in whose likeness he has unfortunately been made. To make his case the incentive for petitioning for a repeal of death punishments, is not only out of taste and ridiculous but it is insulting and contemptuous to the great human family."
Emily Sanford's father belongs to the middle class. At an early age he was clerk to a solicitor at Prescot, in Lancashire; and subsequently, it is probable, that he was in an office, either as clerk or principal, in Yorkshire, for Mrs. Sandford is a branch of one of the oldest families in that county; who, when Mr. Sandford paid his addresses to her, were strongly opposed to the union, and the young lady was, as we are informed, placed with a relative, on the borders of Scotland, to remove her from the vicinity of her lover. The precaution proved useless; Sandford followed her, and we believe an elopement was the consequence. Certainly they were married; and although it is said, that Mr. Sandford acquired a large fortune by his marriage, the fact is, that the lady brought nothing but her own beauty and virtue as a dowry.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Sandford removed to London, - where they lived in good style, and had a large family, - who all received excellent educations; and were led to look forward to respectable, if not great fortunes, on entering life. Unfortunately, a blight, from some cause or other, fell upon their prospects. Mr. Sandford is said to have embarked largely in those railway speculations which were so prevalent a few years since, and was one of the unfortunate many, not the successful few. He lost all - or nearly all - his property; and his family were obliged to resort to their talents for support. The acquirements of Emily fitted her for the important and responsible situation of a governess; and Rush having, in the latter part of the year 1846, advertised in the Times for a lady to take the charge of his children in that capacity, - Miss Sandford applied for the situation. The result of this application was an interview with Emily (accompanied by her mother) and Rush, at the lodgings of the latter, in a very respectable house in town, when arrangements were made for Emily to enter Rush's service as governess.
Before the engagement was concluded, however, Rush was very particular in his inquiries; and especially desired to see her handwriting, which he did.
Every preliminary being adjusted, she left London with Rush - her parents having the most perfect confidence in his honour and integrity. He took her to Stanfield Hall Farm, which he then occupied; and after a short time, made overtures to her, for the purpose of forming a nearer connexion than that of governess: he offered her marriage; she accepted the offer; and on the faith of his promise, and in reliance on his sincerity, she yielded to his entreaties - forgot her bond of virtue - and became a mother, without the legal claim of a wife upon the father of her child. This child was born early in 1848; and was not long an inmate of that world which has been to its mother one of so much care and trouble.
It may be asked, what Emily's parents said and thought of these transactions? They were kept in utter ignorance of them. When she had agreed to accept Rush's addresses, Miss Sandford wrote a letter to her mother, with his sanction, and with his knowledge, informing her of what she considered a happy change in her prospects. This letter, there is no doubt, Rush intercepted in its transit to the post-office, and destroyed: and it would appear, that he also intercepted the parent's letters to her child, for none ever reached her, and for several months the mother and daughter were in utter ignorance of what befell each other; and each accused the other of neglect and unkindness. At length Rush had to go to London, - he then called on Mrs. Sandford, who expressed great surprise at her daughter's unkind conduct, - as she naturally supposed it to be. He then told her, that she had engaged herself to a commercial traveller, named James, with whom she was going to France; but thinking that it was an engagement her mother would not approve of, she had not communicated with her. On his return to Stanfield, he told Emily, that he had seen her father, who had given his consent to their union! A subject which he had never mentioned to either father or mother, The mother and daughter did not meet till after the latter was located in Milne Street: when the former was filled with anguish, at the position in which she found her child placed through the villainy of Rush. Mrs. Sandford had repeatedly made inquires for her daughter; - and having obtained some clue to the object of her search, she proceeded to the house in Milne street, where, on inquiring for Miss Sandford, she was told that no such person lodged there, but a Mrs. James. Being rather minute in her inquiries, she ultimately discovered that this Mrs. James was her lost daughter, and on learning the exact situation of her living under the protection of Rush - she fainted.
Miss Sandford is about twenty-six years of age; very diminutive in figure, but pretty and lady-like, displaying evident signs of being well educated.
In order to render the account of this trial as complete as possible, we subjoin a description of the entry of the Judges, and the Assize Sermon.
The Assizes of Oyer and Terminer, and General Gaol delivery for the County of Norfolk, and City and County of Norwich, commenced on Monday last. Shortly after 12 o'clock, the High Sherrif, Col. Mason, of Necton, in his carriage and four, accompanied by his chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Knatchbull, and the usual cortege proceeded from his lodgings to meet Mr. Baron Rolfe on the Heigham Road - the Judge having been paying a short visit to Henry Dover, Esq., of Caston, on the preceding day. The Chief Baron Sir Frederick Pollock did not arrive until Monday evening. The equipage of the High Sheriff was characterized by elegance and good taste. The reins and other trappings of the horses were ornamented with blue and white ribbons, the hammer cloth of the carriage was blue, trimmed with white and blue lace. Owing, however, to the recent domestic bereavement of the High Sheriff, the outriders were dressed in deep mourning. The halberdiers were also dressed in blue, and wore blue and white rosettes in their hats, and their spear heads were ornamented with blue and white tassels. The carriage of the High Sheriff was preceded by Mr. Giles, the Marshalman, on horseback, then followed the trumpeters, the halberdiers, and next came the Under Sheriff, Mr. Blake, with Mr A. Taylor, in his phaeton and pair. In this order the cortege proceeded into St. Giles's Street, where it was joined by the carriage-and-four of the City Sheriff; Robert Chamberlain, Esq., which headed the procession to the extremity of St. Giles. The Sheriff wore his gold chain and gown of office, and was ac companied in the carriage by his Under Sheriff, Mr. Arthur Dairymple. The livery of the outriders was very neat, and the attendants were decorated with rosettes. About one o'clock Mr. Baron Rolfe arrived, and immediately entered the carriage of the High Sheriff, and proceeded to the Shirehall, where her Majesty's commission of Assize was opened in the usual form. His Lordship next opened the commission of Assize for the City, at the Guildhall, and at two o'clock attended Divine Service at the Cathedral. His Lordship was accompanied by the high Sheriff and his Chaplain, the Right Worshipful the Mayor, S. Bignold, Esq., in his scarlet robes and chain, the Sheriff of Norwich, the Under Sheriffs for the City and County, and other gentlemen.
The musical Service on this occasion was Clark's in F, with the Anthem "Hear my prayer." (Kent.) The Litany was chanted by the Rev. Mr. Symonds, and the Rev. Mr. Pearce read prayers.
The Rev. Mr. Knatchbull, the High Sheriff's Chaplain, then preached the Assize Sermon, nearly as follows:-
In the 8th chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the 22nd verse, are these words:- "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." - If we endeavour to trace out the interest and connection between heathen philosophy and Christian morals, we shall find ourselves greatly assisted by the close and careful study of the writings of St. Paul. As a free born citizen of the Roman Empire, and one by no means indifferent to its value nor insensible to his privileges, he appears to have availed himself of every kind of knowledge and every means of improvement taught by the Grecian school, while brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. We know that he was thoroughly acquainted with the writings and traditions of the Jewish faith. If it had pleased the Almighty, he could have given the same wisdom and knowledge to the poor fishermen of Galilee; but as he usually works by ordinary means and powers, strengthening them inwardly by the grace of his Holy Spirit, we may judge that in this case he selected the more educated missionary, because better suited for his purpose. We may be sure that when the Apostle speaks of the whole creation "groaning and travailing in pain until now "- until the manifestation of Jesus Christ - he refers to the gradual development of the human mind from a state of bondage and of original darkness, until ready to receive the doctrines of a pure faith, as the only means by which it can free itself from the evils it feels and the inconsistencies it acknowledges. True it is, that when he reasoned of righteousness, and temperance, and judgment to come, the Roman Governor trembled; and true it is that the men and the world still tremble at these mighty truths, but he fears because be begins to understand that they are mighty truths, and that the life he leads is a daily lie. He can no longer assume ignorance nor pretend infidelity. Revelation has grafted itself on his moral nature, and he feels hourly more and more that it is no longer with him a question of reality, but it is a question as to the steps necessary to meet it. But this state of belief and conviction was not arrived at in a moment; nor is the mind of man or a nation's brought easily to acknowledge the truth nor to establish it. Certainty Satan has held the world too long in bondage to think of giving up his throne so easily; and it will be interesting and well worth while to trace the contest between error and truth from age to age, until we arrive at our own times, and derive comfort for the present, and hope for the future. And if it be a question why this contest should have existed so long when the mere exertion of the Almighty will could have arranged it otherwise, revelation still affords us an answer though we have no right to demand it. Nations as well as individuals must go through much tribulation before entering the kingdom of God; and we are told by our Saviour himself that many things contrary to the original purpose of God were allowed to us for a time, on account of the hardness of our hearts. In the beginning it was not so, so that we may be assured whenever the moral nature of man appears more defiled and degraded, it is he who has given himself up to more grovelling or more gross superstitions. " They did not like to retain God in their knowledge, and God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do the things that were not convenient. "We find in everything that relates to the gratification of the animal appetites there has been little variation from one period of the world to another. Every nation has acknowledged the supremacy of an overruling principle, and yet in some form or other has indulged in licentiousness and debauchery, and in this miserable state the whole world must have "groaned and travailed until now," but that the Almighty when he breathed into man the breath of life, he gave him not only a living soul, but also a longing after a higher and a better state, which would always lead him onwards to "cast away the works of darkness and to clothe himself in the armour of light." We know this from the history of the world, and from the progressive history of the Jewish dispensations, and we can trace it in the heathen world proclaiming in its philosophy a great truth though ignorant of its nature. It was for this work that St. Paul was peculiarly fitted. Although he never, under any circumstances, failed to declare the whole counsel of God, yet the adaptation of human wisdom to obtain His ends is remarkably beautiful, and must be very winning to a people so susceptible of oratory and so full of the enjoyment of their own language as the nation among whom he laboured. We trace his power over the human mind when he was brought before his judges, the one a Roman and the other a Jew, and both equally moved to release him from his bonds. We admire him again when at Athens, quoting their own poets, and exalting their thoughts to a level with his mighty subject. We mark his varied wisdom in his letters of advice and instruction to his absent friends. Everywhere, indeed, he was the same. He was all things to all men, if by at any means he might save some, ever displaying the same mighty intellect and the same powers of persuasion, to lead men as he had been led himself -t o bring down every high thought and every proud imagination to the obedience of Christ. We find this longing after a better covenant, nowhere more fully shown than in the earnest desire of all nations to rightly understand these gracious blessings - mercy and justice. Now that the grace of God, which sanctifies the heart, has prompted us to burst through the trammels which have so long bound down our understandings, and given us an enlarged view of eternal truth, we can hardly realize the difficulty that blinded the judgment of those who in old times were otherwise so wise in their generation. It was not following out the example of patriarchal ages. The universal practice of early antiquity left the dispensation of justice in the hands of the supreme ruler and from one despot to another, sacrificing the mighty men of his army before the fiery furnace, we learn how completely the uncontrolled passions of our animal nature disdain all moral restraint, and render the divine attributes of mercy and justice a mere mockery in unregenerated man. Nay more, when the sons of Jacob began to exercise the mental qualities by which they raised themselves above the condition of their brethren, and extended their power in defiance of them, still their carnal minds were at enmity with God, and being ignorant of the real foundation of all social happiness - the love of our fellow creatures, they also groaned and travailed under a consciousness that something was wanting, though they could not exactly discern its nature. The strong sense of revealed law, cramped and checked those violent outbreaks which disgraced other lands, but they never could rise above the instinct of natural law - "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." And yet throughout the whole of this time, the several expectations of the creature, waited for the manifestation of the Son of God. They knew not the reason why these great qualities - mercy and justice - though acknowledged in the abstract, were never realized in the abstract, were never realized in practice. We know now, that it was because they were part of the unwritten tradition of God's law, and God's love, preserved to the appointed time, and fixed for ever in the hearts of His chosen people. They are somewhat impaired on account of our nature, but it is impossible that any principle of divine love can die; it may be obscured by passion; it might be perverted by ignorance; but it never can perish from the earth, because it is a part of eternal truth, a witness of the, care, of God for his fallen people. Accordingly from the moment that the fulness of time came - from the moment that Christ gave forth his word - the new command - to love one another - nature burst through its bonds, and all difficulties were done away - every doubt was solved, a divine principle was acknowledged and sweeping away all artificial codes, the great rule of life - was recognised - "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you." But it will be that the pages of history refuses its assent to this triumph of Christianity, and will point out in the strife and turmoil, and struggle for the bag of gold, and the exercise of arbitrary power, a sufficient proof that mercy and justice have been forgotten since, as fully as they were unknown before. We cannot deny this mournful fact, but it was as sure to happen as that the shades of evening would cloud the sun the moment we began to retire from the sun. In Christ we "live and move and have our being." Darkness and sin and death were sure to reassert their power the moment we withdraw ourselves from His light. It is the same with nations as with individuals. Although they were ready to acknowledge the broad truths of the Gospel, they were still bound down by the prejudices and passions. Sin reigned in their mortal bodies, and the lust therein overpowered the influence of the Holy Spirit, while the structure or ignorance built over the mind of man by Papal Rome, held him in bondage for ages, and suppressed the doctrines of truth; but the moment the Bible was put into the hands of the people in a language they understood - from the moment their hearts began to warm under the benign influence of the Saviour's love, an earnest desire began to manifest itself to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God. You know to whom I address myself better than I can tell. You know how, link by link, the fetters of slavery were broken and turned aside; you know when the Judge was able to feel himself a nobler creature, responsible for the attributes or his office to God rather than to man. You know by what steps we arrived at trial by jury, to open courts, to careful justice of the prisoner, and to protection of the oppressed. The result has been that our decrees have become the textbook of nations, and our land the home for the stranger. But I may well remind - I the Minister of God's Word may well remind the Minister of God's Law, that all these blessings have been showered down upon our heads, not from any wisdom of our own, for we were indeed the smallest of all people; but because, as a nation, we have acknow ledged His Holy Word. "But to whom much is given, from him will much be required." We may not presume that we are perfect, because we stand on a high pre-eminence. We must not forget that although in broad outline the nation has acknowledged the supreme authority of God, yet there are many defects in our own individual lives. The world is still clouded with mystery and indistinctness in many things: not because the revelation was imperfect, but because of our own carnal senses, which prevent us from making a right use of our privileges. The salvation of the soul is indeed precious, and the penalty has been paid but still there is much amongst us of the "groaning and travailing" of our sinful nature, struggling to throw off the bondage of sin, which we have learnt to hate. It is for us, my brethren, who sit in high places, and have knowledge, wisdom, power, and wealth to discern the signs of the times, and render them subservient to the duties of our high calling, and for the exaltation of our brethren. Oh, that as power has been given us to know these things, may we have the grace to do them. Our nation is a great and noble one, and never has any nation been more highly gifted to work out the purposes of God. If we believe that we have received a divine appointment to carry forth the Gospel to the ends of the world - the Gospel which we practice at home - let us uphold what is right, just, and honest, and try that the stream may not he corrupted at its source. And though we are not found upright entirely, as then who have no fear, (for who is sufficient in these things) we know at least that we shall no longer grovel onward in darkness and uncertainty. With the light of life before us we shall go on hopefully, cheerfully, and cordially progressing in every good thought and every good desire. We shall be daily found more worthy of our name, so, that at last, when the summons shall go forth when all nations and languages shall be found at the throne of the Eternal Judge, we may receive the glad welcome of our Lord and Master - "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of thy Lord."
His Lordship then proceeded to the Guildhall, and commenced the trial of the city prisoners.
Ref: Anon. 1849. The Stanfield Hall Assassinations!. Cleave, London.