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LAW INTELLIGENCE.

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LAW INTELLIGENCE. (Sittings at Nisi Prius, at Westminster, before the Lord Chief Baron and Special Juries.) EXTRAORDINARY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS. NOTTIDGE V. RIPLEY AND ANOTHER. This case, which was part heard on Saturday, was resumed at the sitting of the Court 00 Monday morning. Mr. Cockburn, Q.C., and Mr. M. Smith, conducted the case foi the plaintiff; Sir F. Thesiger, Q.C., Mr. Crowder, Q.C., and Mr. Bovill appeared for the defendants. Mr. Cockburn, in stating the plaintiff's case on Saturday, said that the plaintiff, a maiden lady, came before the jury to com- plain of the conduct of the defendants, one her brother and the other her trustee, for having confined her in a lunatic asylum without aoy justiifcation whatever. The defendants had pleaded, first, not guilty; and, secondly, that the plaintiff was a danger. ous lunatic. It would be for him to prove the firrt issue, and he challenged the counsel on the other side to prove the latter plea if they could but, as he was instructed, there was not a particle of truth in the statement which it contained. The plaintiff, Miss Notlidge, was in possession, in her own right, of a sum of £6,000 invested in the public foods. She was residing, in the latter part of the yeir 1846, at Rose Ilill, in Suffolk, with her mother. She had three lIsters-Doe married a Mr. Cobb, the other a Mr. Price, and the third a Nlr. Thomas. In the year named she had been on a visit to her sisters, and accompanied them from Weymouth to J auntoo, from theoce to Exeter, and ultimately they took up their residence at Spaxton and Char- lidge. It appeared that Mr. Price, Mr. Cobb, and M r. Thomas, adopted and adhered to certain peculiar religious notions, ill which, however, they did not stand by any means alone. The plaintiff held similar opinions. The sect or community to which these gentlemen belonged, was at one lime known by the appella. tion of "The Lampeter Brethren," but they had at length esta. blished themselves at Charlidge, and the establishment, which was large and respectable, was callad "Agapemooe," or the "Abode of Love." The plaintiff was residiog in lodgings at Charlidge in the month of November, 1846, with ilirs. Prince, where, without any previous intlmatioo of their intentions, the defendant, Ripley, accompanied by the other defeadant, the plaintiff's brother, proceeded to the cottage where the plaintIff was lodging, obtained an entrance at the back part of the pre- mises, and by main force dragged the plaintiff from the room where she was sitting, notwithstanding her struggles and screams for assistance, acd forced her into a carnage, attired as she was, without bonnet or shawl or shoes, and having oOihing on her feet but a pair of carpet slippers. The defendants then brought the plaintiff to London, aod placed her in the lunatic establish- ment of Dr. StilI well, at Hillingdoo, near U xbrldge, where she was detained, deprived of her libeity and of the society of her sisters, from November, 1846, to January, 1848, when by a miracle she effected her escape, and communicated with her relatives at Charlidge. Mr. Dodd, one of her brothers-in-law, immediately came 'o London and met her, wnh the intention of restoring her to the society of her sisters, but on airiviug at the Farrtogdon-road station, Dr. Siillwell's keepers met them and forced the lady back to ihe asylum. Fortunately, however, the clue having been obtained to the place of her incarceration, iu- qIJirit8 were set on fool, the aitention ot the Commissioners of Lunacy was drawn to the case, and the discharge of the plaintiff was instantly ordered. It was for this outrage that the pLintiff now looked for compensation at the hands of the jury. Evidence was then given to shew that the defendants had taken the plaintiff from her lodgings by force. Thomas Waterman, the party in whose house the plaintiff was lodging, in his cross-examination, sta:ed that the esiablishment was called Agapemone," the "Abode of Love," and that the three gentlemen above referred to, as well as a Mr. Starkie, Mr. Prince, tud several other parties, lived there. A flag floats on the top of the building on which are painted a lion and a lamb, and on a scroll the words oti, hail, ho'y Love." When Mr. Prince left the house, the flag was not lowered. Cross-examined There is a high wall round the Agapemone. Mr. Louis Price, being called. stated that he resided at the Agapemone, which was like a private family mansion. The in- mates hitd particular religious opinions. He had married the plaintiff's sister. Plaintiff was perfectly sane. She was libe- rated in May, 1848, through the witness's appeal to the Commis- sioners of Lunacy. She was very gentle and quiet, on intimate terms with her sisters, and in witness's opinion perfectly sane. Cross-examined Had once called themselves Lampeter Brethren." The Agapemone has existed for a year or two, but the brethren had previously gone about preaching in the open air sometimes. They had no bead under God. it was no part of their belief that God was incarnate in one of them, or any such blfspbemy. Should think such a believer of unsound mind. Witness had been a clergyman of the Church of England. Was dlsmised from his curacy by the Bishop. It was in Wales,and he had f70 per annum had no means af erwards, till he married Miss Notlidge, There was an attorney and fifty or sixty people living in the Agapemone. Could not ay If the building cost 150,000. There were horses and carriages for the use of the inmates. There was no etiapel within the walls. It had been turned into a dwelling house. Hockey was a favourite game. Considered all they dio, to the glory of God. Men and women, old and young, played Hockey. 'he fi,e Nlisses Nottidge cnme to the opening of thechapel in June, 1C45. The three youngest Misses Nottidge were married there on the same day in the next July. Did not know that Mr. Prince (the chrgyman (,f Chr- lidge) told witness's wife it was the will of God that she should marry witness. Made the offer himself. The young ladies were there without their mother, and the day alter their arrivallhree of them were engaged to three members of the Agapemone. rtie plaintif fis now in the Agapemone, and has been since her rfturn from the asylum. She has made over her property to Air. Prince since her return, to pro ect it from defendants. Mr. Rouse, the attorney who brings this action, lives in the Agape- mone. Bloodhounds are kept there not kept loose, or for any particular purpose. Sir F. Thesiger: Perhaps for contrast. VViiness: Miss Nottidge sometimes goes out in a carriage and four. Mr. Prince rides on hoiseback, but not on a side saddle. There are hundreds of the same community residing out of the Agapemone. Considers that healthy and innocent amusemen's should be resorted to. The members all dine together. No pnvate apartments, except bedrooms. We consider that we are glorifying God when we eat and drink and have recourse >0 healthful and inoocent amusements. Consider that it was the tvill of God we shOLid marry as .ve did- Prince did not say so, as far as witness remembers. Heard nothing said about the book of Jonah by Prince. Knows Prince's handwriting. Two or three of the family write like him. Cannot say whether he wrote the letters signed Amen." Prince sometimes puts that word at the end of his letters, but not as his signature. Did not know that plaintiff bad had a note signed "Amen," stating that the Lord had need of JSO for his glory. All have their separate properties. The expenses are paid by the managers. Money is forthcoming when the inmates want il. Sir F. Theitiger: A very pleasant ebtablisbment is there a vacancyl (Great laughter.) I Cr ss-examinatioo resumed: We do not all kneel down in a circle toQua innce. i he ptaintitt does not play at hockey, but she sometimes eoes out in a carriage and four. I Re-examined Our praises of God by singing are some imes in the open air, and at other times in the large room. They have never made an attempt to make out my wife to be mad, or that 1 was mad, or MIS. Thomas, or Mrs. Cobb. I was dismissed from my curacy about 1844 or 1845. It was not in consequence of my holding peculiar religious opinions, but because I had held certain meetings for itligious purposes of which the Bishop did not approve. All our singing is the singing hymns, and our iostiumental music is of a aaend character. There are hundreds of the same community, besides those who are in the "Agape- mone." We breakfast and take all our meals in the same room together. We have a large room. Our praises of God, by sing- ing, are sometimes in the upen air, aDd at others in the rooms. It is a very large building. William Cobb I am a civil engineer. I married one of the sisters, and have been living at Char!idge. I have known them since 1844. Miss Nottidge is perfectly free from madness, and was always treated as such. Cross-examined We have been living in the family," more or less for about seven years. We call one another Brothers," "Brother Prince," and not Brother Arzien.' We do not assume holy names. We do not style Mr. Prince Amen." NI ON I) A Y. This trial was resumed this morning, and throughout the day the court was crowded in every corner. Mr. Cockburn, on behalf of the plaintiff, called as his first witness, Mrs. Prince, who said, I am the wife of Mr. Prince, and have known the plaintiff in the present- case for six or seven years. She was always of a mild, gentle, calm, and lady-like fiame of mind. I have known her since her return from the asy lum, at the Agapemone, where I now live. She has been since mild, gentle, and perfectly correct in her mind. John Williams I am ooe of the "single gentlemen in the establishment. I was a farmer. I live at my ease there. It is on the principle of" life made easy," and reading made easy." I don't pray, but I desire continually from my inward man to pray. God tells me that the spirit convinces the flesh, and that the spirit of sin convinces you of sin. It is the spirit of truth- it is the spirit within that God looks to, and not to the outward or visible thing or sign. The sun, the moon, and stars, they are the only outward and visible manifestations of God, Now, in Agapemone, we are able to see by the spirit. The plaintiff is as sane as myself. God says we shall be joyful and happy, and why not 1 The plaintiff has never been serious since she believed in the truth. That is like myself, but the animal spirit in us is different. It is a different spirit that animates my naiuie. Hers is a joyous and quiet spirit, and that is the difference be- tween the spirit in her and the spirit in me. There is 00 differ- ence in exhibition but in the manner and manifestation. Now you, (Sir F. Thesiger) are serious, and I am happy and merry. (Loud laughter.) The spirit does not teach me that I am to be heavy, dull, and serious; but you are of a gloomy spirit. I am not at all so. It is my privilege to be merry, and she does not dishonour God by beicg so also. If God is not life, happi- ness, and joy, then we do not know what God means. But love and iile are incomprehensible. God is Almighty, and He does not want my assistance He does everything of His own power. Your house (Sir F. Thesiger's) ought to be an Agape- mone. All houses ought to be so; tliev ought all to be a family. At present all amongst you is discord-all is mysteiy. There is discord in music, but bring all that music together properly and you will get it right; you will get it together, and then it will become perfect harmony, and the discord will vanish. So it is with you-you are now all discord but make )our house an Agapemone, and harmony will reigo as wiiti us. Sir Fiedeiick Thesiger delivered an eloquent speech for the defendants. He said This Agapemone, or abode of love, where in this unhappy plaintiff had taken up her residence, consisted, amongst other of its inmates, of four apostate clergymen, one civil engineer, one farmer, one solicilor-for even ia this "abode of love they could Dot do without a lawyer-( liiugliter)-an(I two hloodhouud.-( Renewed laughter.) In this plate, it appeared, all prayer was abandoned-a duty which was one 01 the first, which was the most emphatically enjoined by the religion of the country. However, he could net Itst admit that, however extravagant heropinions might be, still that they were no justification for her being put under the restraint of a lunacy asylum. Still, if he should prove that she was not a free agent, and had been as it were irresistibly drawn into a low, degrading, and disgusting association, he should contend that it was the imperative duty of her family, not only as a matter of right hut as a high moral duty, to make every effort to pluck this lady from the position of danger into which bbe had thus been drawn. The first witness called for the defence was Mrs. Nottidge, mother of the plaintiff. She witnessed to a variety of details connected with the religious delusions of her daughter, the most important part of Ler evidence being the following It was when I spoke to Louisa (the plaintiff) about Mr. Prince, that ahe said I know no such peison. God cow dwells only at Charlinch in the flesh of him I once knew as Mr. Prince. God who made me, aud all the world, is now manifest in him whom I once called Mr. Prince. He has entered His tabernacle of flesh among men, and I have seen God face to face. He will deliver me wherever I am taken." Alter this I sent for my brother, who saw Louisa, and by his advice the medical run were sent for. The Lord Chief Baron Why did you not have a commission of lunacy; Why lock her up for fifteen months? You should have had the sanction of the law for such a step. I%lr. Crowder There was the wish not to have the matter made public if possible, to avoid it. 1 nomas Morton I am a Fellow of the College of Surgeons, living in oburn-place, Russell-square. I was called in to see this lady. I examined her to ascertain whether her mood was sound, aod I found it not to be so. When I asked whether she did Dot believe Mr. Prince was Almighty God, she would give no answer but wheo I asked whether she did not believe that Mr. Prince was not Almighty God, she said that she did not believe that he was not Almighty Gud. Or. Rowland lam a physician io Woburo-place, and was called in to examine this Udy. She told me she was a disciple of Mr. Pnoce. She old me that she could not deny having the belief that Mr. Prince was Almighty Gcd. Dr. StilwefI, head of the nsylum at Hillingdoo, said that the lady had tolll him lhat Mr. Plincfj had rendered her immortal— that she should not die-that she should not be buried 10 a coffio as other persons were—and that she should be taken up to Heaven in the twinkling of an eye. She said that she had ceased to pray. end only saDS praises to God. These she sang, as she walked, about the room, but never used any intelligible words. » TUESDAY. The first witoes called was Mr. Mylne, one of the Commissioners in Lunacy, and a member of the bar, who said that in the course ol his duty as ooe of the Lunacy Commissioners he saw the present pitintiff, Miss Louisa Nottidge, on two occasions, whilst she was a patient in the establishment of Dr. Stilwell. From his examination of the lady, be was guite satisfied of her unsoundness of mind. Some other witnesses having been examined, the case for the defendants closed, when Mr. Cockburn replied in one of the most eloquent speeches that has been heard in Westminster Hall for many years. The Lord Chief Baron proceeded to sum up, which he did in favour of the plaintiffs. He said that the lady entertained a strong opioioo on a religious subject, and to that opinion, whether right or wrong, she had strictly adhered. Then it appeared to him that the defendants were not in any way justified in having adopted the course they had taken, unless the jury should think that the plaintiff was of unsound mind and dangerous to herself and others. If she were not so, then the defendants had no right to go down and drag her away, as they had done, from her home, for Charlinch was the home she had etiosen, and then to cause her to be placed in an asylum. If they shou!d in the end determine upon finding for the plaintiff, then they would have to consider what amount of damages they would award to a lady, who, although perfectly sane unless it were upon the subject of religion, had been incarcerated in a lunatic asylum for the space of seventeen months. The jury retired for an hour, and then came back with a verdict—damiges, £ 50—and said, they begged to give their opinion that the defendants had not been actuated by any mercenary or unworthy motives in the steps t!:ey had teken. The damages were laid at £1000 in the declaration.

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