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A MYSTERY which has for years cast its shadow over the popular mind, has at length been solved to the satisfaction of the majority of the public. Constance Kent has confessed her guilt of the crime known as the Road murder, and that she alone was the perpetrator of that cruel deed. On this cofession, repeated again and again with renewed emphasis, she has now been sentenced to receive the punishment the law allots to the crime; and whatever measure of justice mingled with mercy may be eventu- ally meted out to her, the case is set at rest so far as human judgement and human law are, bound to deal with it. Anything more startling and more horrible than the circumstances ascertained by Con- stance Kents's confession, can scarcely be con- ceived. In fact, the extreme improbability and enormity of such a crime committed in such a manner had induced many to scout the idea that it could have been perpetrated by the unhappy girl, to whom many suspicious cir- cumstances pointed as the guilty person. Even now--when in the most solemn manner and in face of the dreadful penalty she will still have to suffer if the capital punishment should be mitigated, she has repeated her vol- untary self-accusation and bowed to the sen- tence of the law-there are to be found believers in the innocence, who bash their conviction chiefly on the unlikelihood that she a young girl of sixteen or seventeen, could have com- mitted the crime unfortunately, we need not search far through the criminal annals of this or any other country to find that the indulgence of evil passions, and the consequent tendency to crime, are not confined within any particular limits of age, but may be, and frequently have been, observed to operate as strongly at fifteen as at fifty. There was, therefore no moral im- possibilty involved in the hypqthesis that Francis Saville Kent had been murdered by his sister. Far more could be said to maintain the physical impossibility that such a supposi- tion could be the correct one. The public were indisposed to accept the theory that a young girl of sixteen had, alone and unaided, been able to steal in the night to her brother's bed, and remove him from the side of his sleeping nurse-to carry him from the house, opening doors and windows, without raising an alarm; and then, with heart of adamant and nerves of steel, to butcher him in cold blood. But as regarded the demoniac cruelty involved in the deed, it was equally atrocious by whom- soever committed, whether the murderer were young or old; and it might have been urged ? that an older person, who had determined to- get rid of the child, would have done so in some more subtle and equally effectual manner. Again, Constance Kent was, even at sixteen, a girl of well-developed frame and strong physical powers-sufficiently rebus fc to have been able to execute the murderous task alone. As to the necessary motive for the crime, if no sufficient reason could be advanced in support of the theory of her guilt, neither was there the shadow of evidence to prove that any one else had any purpose whatever to serve by per- petiHting the deed. So, in the absençe ,;of.any- thing like clear and complete evidence, 'stood the question as regarded probability or impro- bability of her guilt prior to the porio'd' when she first came forward to make a free and full confession. The motive alleged by Constance Kent as her sole inducement to the crime, was one peculiarly liable to operate on the mind of a girl of impulsive temperament, and strong passions unregulated, as it would appear, by any careful training. She was intensely jealous of the position occupied in the house- hold by her stepmother, who had once been her own governess; she had, as she thought received slight and injury at her hands, and was determined to revenge herself upon her. The only opportunity that offered itself to the girl to carry out this intention, was that afforded by the affection of the stepmother for her own child Francis Kent. She did not shrink from the brutal murder of this child to effect her revengeful purpose. It is satisfactory, in view of the doubts that are even now occasionally expressed, as to whether Constance Kent's confession may be received with implicit reliance, to observe that even if that confession had been set aside, and the trial proceeded, there was a considerable quantity of evidence to be advanced to prove her guilt. The evidence, especially respecting the missing nightdress, would have gone far in support of the theory of the prosecution and there were other circumstances, not brought out at the early examinations, which collectively would have tended strongly to support this view of the case. It was no secret that the detectives employed to investigate the facts at the time, where strongly of opinion that they borne a most suspicious aspect as regarded Constance Kent; and there has been published within the last few days a letter addressed by Inspector "Whicher to the superintendent of the Bristol police, which bears date November 23, 1860, and shows most forcibly the conviction then held by this experienced member of the force-a conviction is now proved to have been thoroughly justified. We need not now dwell on the circumstances which led to the confession; and the influences brought to bear upon the girl in order to induce her to make it. Our own opinion respecting these circumstances is, that the 'members of the religious establishment in which Miss Kent had been placed were bound by the highest duty to exhort and to press her to confess the crime, if she were really guilty. It is to their credit that their teaching and their abvice have brought a young woman, who showed herself formerly capable of perpe- trating the most atrocious deed with the greatest secrecy, and, apparently the most utter indiffe- rence, to a sense of the enormity of her. guilt, and a desire to make all the reparation she can before God and man by repentance and a full confession. It is not at all likely that Constance Kent will now suffer the extreme penalty of her crime. Her youth at the time it was commit- ed, her confession and demeanour now, are extenuating circumstances of such a nature as to overcome the desire for justice'without mercy, that might otherwise 'be very widely flit. No doubt, a certain section of the public will wel- come this case as another instance tending to weaken the general principle of capital pun- ishment but even upholders of that principle will be glad to see it waived, under the pecu- liar and exceptional circumstances attending the history of the Road murder. In the meantime it is gratifying to find at- tention is being called to the case of the nurse- maid, who was so unjustly accused; and to that of the brother, .whose prospects have been so seriously prejudiced by the circumstances of the crime. In the case of the nursemaid, it is proposed to raise a fund by volunta.y con- tributions, with which to purchase for her an annuity; wh 1st the attention of the Govern- ment is sought to be directed to the desirability of the brother having an appointment given him in the public service..







! ! ,WYE-SIDE.