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XORJIAX ROSS, FOR THE MURDER, OF HIS MISTRESS. I The trial and execution of Norman Ross, for the murder of his mistress, sheds an odd light on certain phases of social life a century and a half ago. "The parti-coloured tribe of servants denominated footmen" were a very different class from the footmen of to- day. Half-braggart, half-bully, the footman of that time was an armed ruffian in livery, who wasi allowed to ride roughshod over eveiybody, provided that he paid a certain amount of deference to his employer. To such a daring pitch had their impudence arrived that they created a riot at the theatre in Drury Lane, even in the presence of the Heir Apparent to the Throne. One evening when the Prince and Princess of Wales, the father a.nd mother of King George III., attended the performance, these miscreants commenced it, dreadful uproar. It was then the custom to admit servants in livery into the upper gallery gratis, in compliment to their employers, on whom they wtre sup- posed to be in attendance and, not content with peaceably witnessing the performance, they frequently interrupted those who had paid for admission, and, assuming the pre- rogative of critics, hissed or applauded 'with the most offensive clamour In consequence of these violent proceedings, the manager shut the door against them, unless they each paid their shilling. Upon one occasion, when that part of the Royal Family already- mentioned were present, they mustered in a gang to the number of three hundred, broke open the doors of the theatre, fought their way to the very door of the stage, and tn their progress 'wounded twenty-five peaceable people. Colonel De Veil, then an active magistrate for Westminster, happened to be pres-nt, an) in vain attempted to read a proclamation against such an outrage; but, though they obstructed him in his duty, he caused the ringleaders to be secured, and the next day committed three of them to New- gate. At the ensuing sessions they were con- victed of the riot and sentenced to imprison-, ment. In the meantime the choler of these upstarts was raised to such a pitch that they sent the following threats to the manager: — "To Mr. Fleetwood, in LincolnVTnn-Fields, "Master of the Theatre Drury Lane. "Sir,—We are willing to admonish you be- fore we attempt our design, and provided you I The murderer wa.s discovered. Use lie civil and admit us into our gallery, f which is our property, according to formalities; and, if you think proper to come to a compo- sition this way, youll hea-r no further; and, if I not, our intention is to combine in a bodv, incognito, and reduce the playhouse to the ground. Valuing uo distinction, we are un- demnifkd 1" The manager carried this letter to the Lord Chamberlain, who ordered a detachment of fifty soldiers to do duty there each night, and thus deterred the rowdies from carrying their threats into execution. At the Edin- burgh Theatre it was also a custom to admit men 'wearing livery into the gallery gratis and, when Garrick's farce, "High Life Below Stairs," was performed there, a most violent clamour broke out in the gallery, so as to entirely interrupt the performance and put the other part of the audience in fear of the consequences. Thei hardy Scotchmen, he wever, laid hold of the rioters, and kicked every one of them out of the house, where. without paying, they never more entered. Having thus referred to an evil which existed in 1751, to an extent which it is almost impossible for us to realise, who are not troubled by turbulent crowds of armed re- tainers in the service of the rich, it is time to proceed to The History of Worm an Ross. Ross was born of decent parents, in Inver- ness, and received an education by which he •would have been fitted to fill a situation in a merchant's counting-house.. The difficulty in obtaining such employment, however, in- duced him to enter the service of a lady, who had always exhibited great kindness towards his family, and lie soon afterwards accom- panied her son to the Continent in the capa- city of valet-de-chambre. He continued in this situation during five years, v" en he re- turned to Scotland, and was employed by an attorney in Edinburgh; but, having con- tracted an intimacy among other servants of the day, from their instruction he acquired all the fashionable habits of drinking, swear- ing, and gaming, and was dismissed on account of his impudence and the irregu- larities of his conduct. He was subsequently engaged by a Mrs. Hume, a widow lady of good fortune, ".vhose residence, during the summer, was at Ayton-a village about four miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed. The ex- travagance of our hero, and an unfortunate intercourse which lie had with a fellow-ser- vant, soon compelled him to look for some other means of procuring money besides that which was honestly afiorded 1) Im by his mistress; and, having exhausted the patience of his friends by borrowing from them re- peatedly, he formed the resolution of robbing his employer. It would appear that Mrs. Hume slept in a room on the first floor, and that the keys of her bureau were usually placed under her head for safety. Sundav night was the time fixed upon for the com- mission of the robbery; and, 'waiting in his bedroom without undressing himself, till he judged the family to be asleep, he descended, and, leaving his shoes in the passage, pro- ceeded to his lady's bed-chamber. rpon his endeavouring to get possession of the keys, the lady was disturbed, and, being dreadfully alarmed, called for assistance; but, the rest of the family lying at a distant part of the house, her screams were not heard. Ross immediately seized a clasp knife that lay on the table, and cut his mistress's throat in a most dreadful manner. This horrid act was no sooner perpetrated than, without waiting to put op his shoes or to secure either money or other effects, he leaped out of the window, and, after travelling several miles, concealed himself in a field of corn. In the morning the gardener discovered a livery hat, which the murderer had dropped in descending from the window; and, suspecting that something extraordinary had happened, lie alarmed his fellow-servants. The disturbance in the house brought the two daughters of Mrs. Hume downstairs, but no words can express the horror and consternation of the young ladies upon beholding their parent weltering in her blood and the fatal instrument of death lying on the floor. Ross being absent and C, His Shoes and Hat Being Found it was concluded that he must liav;3 coin* mitted the barbarous deed; and the butler, therefore, mounted a horse and alarmed the country, lest the murderous villain should escape. The butler was soon joined by great numbers of horsemen, and towards the con- elusion of the day. when both men and horses were nearly exhausted through excessive fatigue, the murderer was discovered in a field of standing corn. He was immediately secured, and, being brought to trial, he had the effrontery to declare that he was admitted to share his mistress's bed, and that his custom was always to leave his shoes at the parlour door; that, on the night of the murder, he proceeded as usual to her room, but on entering it his horror was aroused at discovering her to be muidered. He leaped out at the window to search for the perpe- trators of the deed, and, dropping his hat, he thought it better not to return until night. Ha.ving been found guilty, he was sentenced to have his right hand chopped off, then to be hanged till dead, the body to be hung in chains, and the right-hand to be affixed at the top of the gibbet with the knife made use of in the commission of the murder. Upon receiving sentence of death he began seriously to reflect on his miserable situation, and the next day he requested the attendance of Mr. James Craig, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, to whom he confessed his guilt, declaring that there was no foundation for his reflections, against the chastity of the deceased. Six weeks elapsed between the time of his trial and that of his execution, during which he showed every sign of the most sincere penitence, and refused to accom- pany two prisoners who broke out of gaol, saying he had no desire to recover his liberty, but that, on the contrary, lie would cheerfully submit to the utmost severity of punishment, that he might make atonement for his wicked- ness. The day appointed for putting the sentence of the law into force being arrived, Ross walked to the place of execution, hold- ing Mr. Craig by the arm. Having addressed. a pathetic speech to the populace, and prayed some time with great fervency of devotion, the rope was put round his neck, and he laid his right hand upon the block, when it was struck off by the executioner at two blows. He was immediately afterwards run up to the gallows, when, feeling the rope drawing tight, by a convulsive motion of the arm, he struck the bloody wrist against his cheek, which gave it a ghastly appearance. The sentence was subsequently fully carried into effect. The execution took place on the 8th of January, 1751.


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