Hide Articles List

13 articles on this Page

fmiktt Cflrmjpfontt.



__-----THE QUEEN'S AiifclVAL.…





EXECUTION OF WRIGHT. Samuel Wright was executed on Tuesday morning at Horsemonger-lane Gaol, in London. Even as late as eleven o'clock on Monday night, hopes were entertained that he would be reprieved, -M all those who have interested themselves on his â Jf were untiring in their exertions. There is no ,I\eed for us to recapitulate the particulars of the crime l which he wa» condemned. Thoy are familial to e public they have been freely canvassed and dis- jussed. It will suffice to state that the fatal deed was ^committed on the morning of Sunday, 13th December; that on the following day Wright was brought before z a,gistrate; and that on the Tuesday he pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court, and refused to detract this plea when the judge suggested that he should do so. He was without any legal advice and assistance and it was thought by many who were in the court that, had he taken his trial in the usual way, the jury would have simply convicted him of the minor offence of manslaughter. Be this as it may, a good deal of sympathy was soon evoked in his favour; and the fact that Townley had been spared gave rise to a feeling that WrightVcase was one in which the prerogative of mercy might reasona- bly be exercised. Accordingly, on the 7th January the Ajisitmg justices of Horsemonger-lane Gaol presented a memorial to Sir George Grey, in which they ex- pressed a strong opinion that, had all the facts of the case been made known on his trial, no jury would have returned a verdict of Wilful murder." This appeal, however, was unsuccessful, and the Home Secretary in his reply held out no hopes of mercy. The popular feeling, however, had strengthened in the meanwhile, and several meetings been held the particulars of the last and most important we give below. Whilst the exertions to get his life spared on Monday were in progress the scenes in front of the raol were assuming that character which betokens the Jiear approach of an execution. Although such indications as the placing of barriers were delayed until quite late in the evening, the space before the prison gate was occupied by a crowd, consisting partly of mechanics and their families, and partly of the vilest dregs of the London populace. The two public-houses were thronged to overflowing. At least a dozen preachers were loudly exhorting the mob a.t one time, and that as early as three or four o'clock in the afternoon. Hymns were sung, and their burden taken up by others than the devoutly inclined, the sacred tunes being frequently drowned by the dis- cordant refrains of many comic ditties. At ten o'clock there was a much larger body of people in front of the gaol than at later hours of the night. Steady and continuous streams were converging on the spot, along every road in the neighbourhood; men and women walking together in couples. It was plain that the majority of those who had assembled by eleven o'clock did not contemplate re- maining. There were as many women as men; and almost as many children as either. Towardp midnight they dispersed, and at two or three o'clock the place was,-comparatively speaking, deserted. Still the public-houses were full; but the preaching outside had ceased. High upon the grey stone walls of the gaol the hideous black planks and beams of the gallows ap- peared. Throughout the night and the early hours of dawn arrangements were beiDg made to prevent any possible disturbance. Indeed, we are able to state with certainty, that far greater precautions were taken on Monday night and Tuesday morning in front of Horsemonger-lane Gaol than were put in practice when the notorious Mannings were executed, or when Youngman suffered for the murder of his relatives. At least 600 picked policemen 'were present. The houses opposite the gaol have all long gardens in front; and to keep these from being invaded by the mob, a strong body of police was posted along the rails. It may be hereafter cited as a notable example of the miscalculations usually made by the most ex- perienced officials, that all the predictions of an immense crowd were falsified as the morning wore on. Day broke and found scarcely half the assemblage that gathered under the drop when Younginan paid the penalty of his crime. The impression among all, down to the most depraved, was that Wright deserved a punishment less than that of death; and many who left the spot during the night cried out that they would not stay and see the man murdered." There was, at times, a great deal of tipsy shouting and brawling in the street; and a clearance of the public-houses took place some three hours before the execution, it being found that most of the customers had ceased to be profitable, having fallen asleep upon the benches, tables, and floors. After awhile, these places k>t entertainment were reopened to a fresh set of Uoosers and the preaching began again, with re- doubled strength of lungs, amid the stentorian cries of people vending articles of food. A great placard was carried about with religious sentences in large characters, and with a smaller bill appended, the in- scription on which was not easy of deciphering. Contrary to expectation, the crowd was hardly greater in number than a full regiment. When Youngman was hanged, fainting and crushed women and men were dragged up to the leads of a building adjoining one of the public-houses; but nothing of the kind occurred to-day, nor were railings broken down as on the former occasion. One strong man fainted as Wright fell, and the prostrate figure was carried over the heads of the people. It is unquestionably due to the police authorities and to the men who kept order, that the admirable character of their arrangements and general conduct should be praised. A demonstration of popular feeling was expected; nor can it be said that none took place but such outcries as were heard assumed no formidable or threatening tone, and the excitement at the last terrible climax was met with such moderation as sufficed to quell it without a show of force. The hour fixed for the execution was nine o'clock and when that hour had arrived some astonishment was caused to the assembled crowd by the fact that the hangman had not appeared, and the gibbet was without a rope, or hook to receive one. Then, when people were beginning to feel some faint hope that a reprieve had arrived, the sheriffs came on to the roof, at the foot of the steps leading to the gallows, and waited with their wands in their hands as the clergyman, the condemned man, and the executioner mounted to the drop. Then broke forth a storm of yells such as had been faintly fore- siiadowed, when several officials had come upon the roof about an hour before. The culprit bowed low, and drew himself up as with an effort at self-control He bowed again, and as he was a third time bending his head forward the hangman slipped the ghastly white cap over his face. But still he bowed, and con- tinued doing so even when the rope was round his neck. Meanwhile the mob groaned and yelled in a perfectly indescribable and very appalling manner, and the executioner, having flung the end of the rope over the beam, proceeded clumsily and tardily to tie it. The cruel delay was borne with a marvellous forti- tude by the dying man, who bowed and bowed, and continued that hysterical drawing up of his body, throwing back the head. His legs were then'strapped, and the bolt was drawn. Certainly, for at least two minutes, he moved, but whether in pain or the insen- sible convulsion of a violent death, we do not attempt to say. One of the preachers in the crowd was uttering a prayer as he fell; and the placard being carried nearer, disclosed the words, Solemn Protest against the Execution of Wright." The greatest exertions wer. made to save this unfortu-

[No title]




---------------- -.A PARALLEL!