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REGISTRARS' MARRIAGES AND…

TT*-= THE CLEVER MR. BEECHER…

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TOWNLEY DECLARED TO BE SANE-AFTER…

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TOWNLEY DECLARED TO BE SANE- AFTER ALL. The Visiting Justices of Derby have received an im- po. tant communication from Sir G. Grey, in which he says, that with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor, he has appointed a commission to examine into the state of Townley's mind. He then proceeds:— While the letters—copies of which were Bent to you on the 23rd and 25th ult.— from the magistrates who signed the certificates of Townley's insanity leave no reason for doubting that they were convinced of his insanity at the time when the certificates were signed by them, the present report from four medical gentle- men, of great experience in mental diseases, appears to Sir George Grey conclusive as to Townley being of sound mind. A certificate to that effect, as required by the Act 3rd and 4th Victoria, cap. 54, has since been received by the Secretary of State. I am further to inform you that, taking all the circumstances of this case into consideration, Her Majesty's Government are of opinion that it would not be right that the capital sentence should now be carried into effect, but that it ought to be commuted to penal servitude for life. This course has therefore been taken, and the prisoner will be dealt with accordingly. I am to add that it is the intention of Her Majesty s Government to propose an amendment of the Act under which the certificates of insanity in this case were given.—I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant, H. WADDINGTON. Bethelehfiu Hospital, Jan. 28. We, the undersigned, having been requested by secretary Sir George Grey to examine into the state of mind of George Victor Townley, a prisoner under sentence of death ia Bethlehem Hospital, and to report our opinion as to whether he is of unsound mind, report as follows :— "We have carefully considered the coplee of papers sup- plied to UI, and on the 26th and 27th days of this month we have had two lengthened interviews with the prisoner, and the conclusion at which we have unanimously arrived is that George Victor Townley is of sound mind. "Tile demeanour of the piisoaer during each Interview was calm and self-possessei, with Uu exception that at the commencement of the toootd tetervi w ha displayed and expressed annoyance at the repeated examinations to which he was being mbjecte*. Neither in mode of øpeeoh nor in look and eoaduct was there any sign of insanity ob- servable in him. "Hispiompt apprehension of the purport of our quel- tions, and the manner in which he rephed to them, indi- caM the possession of good intellectual capacity. The opinions which he avows that men, as the creatures of circumstance, are not justly responsible for their actions, are opinions at which he appears to have arrived by ordi- nary processes of reasoning. "That he knows that he is responsible for the commission of crime is made clear by his own words used to o»,—'I expected to be hanged because I killed her, and am not such a fool as not to know that the law hangs for murder. I did not think of it at the time, or I should not have done it.' We think that his statement that he killed Miss Good- win to repossess himself of her as his property was an after- thought adopted to justify his crime. He acknowledged to us that he had come to this opinion after the deed was done. The supposition that he killed Miss Goodwin under the influence of -the opinion that in so doing he was repossess- ing himself of her as his property is inconsistent with his own repeated statement to ns that, without forethought of any kind, he killed her under the influence of sudden im- pulse. "He explained to us that by kitting Miss Goodwin to re- possess himself of her as his property he simply meant that he took her out of the hands of his enemies, and plaoed her in a position where she would wait, and where he would rejoin her when he died. The prisoner endeavoured to represent the catastrophe to us as due to the influence of sudden impulse, but the details which we elicited from him show that he used threats of murder for some time before he struck the first blow. We think that his clear memory of the events attending the crime, and also the attempts which he has made to misrepre- sent the state of his mind and memory at the time of these events, are evidence of his sanity. We are of opinion that he does not entertain any de lusion on the subject of a conspiracy against him, but that he uses the term conspiracy to express the real opposition which he has met with from the members of Miss Godwin's family to his engagement with her, and also to express the feeJing that they are hostile to him. "We have considered the evidence of hereditary pre- disposition to insanity given in the papers supplied to us, and our opinion of the prisoner's state of mind hail not been altered thereby. We examined the apothecary and also the chief attend- ant of Bethlehem as to the.conduct of Townley since he has been in detention at the hospital—both of them have had him under daily and special observation—and they assure us that neither in conduct, manner, or conversation had they been able to observe in him aS»y of the peculiarities which they are in the habit of remarking among the insane. W. CHARLES HOOD, M.D., Visitor of Chancery Lunatics. "JOHN CHARLES BUCKNILL, M.D. Visitor of Chancery Lunatics. "JOHN MEYER, M.D., Medical Superintendent of the Criminal Lunatic Asylum. W. HELPS, M.D., Medical Superintendent of the Royal Bethlehem Hospital."

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