Pettigo and its People including a history of the Clan Mc Grath.
This book is intended to deal with the history of Pettigo and its people from the earliest times down to the recent past. It builds on the works of the renowned historian Fr. Paddy Gallagher in his book “The Parish of Carn,” and Robert Reid’s, “Pettigo,” plus a series of articles on Pettigo history in the Impartial Reporter newspaper in 1921 by Robert Read and Thomas A. Aiken. Additional research has been carried out in the National Archives in Dublin among the Leslie Papers, landlords of the Pettigo Estate from the mid 1600s to early 1900s. Since I have already written on the history of Lough Derg – which has a small library of works devoted to it; I will only mention it in passing.
The Clan Mc Grath has had a major influence on the area for a period of c300 years until the early 17th century so a major part of the book is devoted to it with an important section being the two royal pardons granted to Bishop Miler Mc McGrath’s followers by Queen Elizabeth 1. The arrival of the Ulster Plantation in the early 17th century brought an end to the old Gaelic society in the area and heralded the arrival of Scots, English and Scottish Borderers to settle in and around Pettigo. The Leslie Family who acquired control of the estate were to dominate for the next 300 years. All these too have made a lasting impact on the locality.
For the past two hundred years, and more, emigration had been one of the dominant factors in the Pettigo area and so it merits a major section. Many of these and their descendants have achieved high positions, from poets to politicians in the United States, Canada, Australia etc. A chronology of the Pettigo is provided which has been culled from the newspapers of the last two hundred years. Pettigo has a lot to be proud of in terms of its people, scenery and antiquities.
This book has been sponsored by Brendan Mc Grath, a Dublin business man today, but whose ancestors came from the
Lettercran area. He was elected Chieftain of the Clan Mc Grath at the first ever Clan gathering in July 1996. Without him this book would not have been possible. Since then clan gatherings have been held in Ring, County Waterford and in Ennis, County Clare. This book will be launched at the fourth Mc Grath Clan gathering to be held in Pettigo June 21-23rd, 2002.
Another McGrath Clan gathering is being planned for 2013 to coincide with the major Irish “Gathering” which is planned for that year. See the Termonmagrath website by Sean Alexander McGrath for further details. The provisional date would be the 19th-21st July.This would coincide with the Irish Government’s ‘The Gathering’ initiative. Please browse the site at http://www.facebook.com/l/yAQF6CEoWAQHSCPR9SDxGsYM0WumLpqN5Y2QB77aAUD3jUg/www.clanmcgrath.org and our Facebook at www.facebook.com/clanmcgrath
Quote from the Irish Times in its review of the journal of the Galway Historical Society – “Even if history were judged incapable of other uses, it entertainment value would remain in its favour.”
John B. Cunningham.
1. Early Settlers in the Pettigo Area – Muintir Phoedeachain and the Mc Graths to 1600
2. The Clan Mc Grath
3. The followers of Bishop Miler Mc Grath from a general pardon of 1608
4. Other Mc Graths, at Home and Abroad
5. The Leslie’s of Pettigo and Glasslough, County Monaghan.
6. Notable Pettigo People, Past and Present
7. Emigration and some Pettigo Emigrants – Armstrongs, Bartons, Irvines, Mc Graths, Glendinnings and Coulter
8. Killynoogan Townland and its Irish Canadian Poet – John Reade
9. A Chronology of Pettigo 1750-1950
10. Pettigo Schools early 19th century
11. Pettigo during the Famine 1845-1850
12. Pettigo Townland Names
13. Pettigo Graveyards
14. John Kells Ingram
15. The Swanston Poets
16. Pettigo Cemeteries
1 Pettigo Roman Catholic
2 Pettigo Church of Ireland
3 Pettigo Presbyterian and Methodists Church Inscriptions
4 Muckross Church of Ireland
5 Lettercran Roman Catholic
6 Carn Graveyard (all religious denominations)
BARBAROUS MURDER OF AN OLD WOMAN.
On Wednesday 1st, inst Margaret McCarron, an old beggar woman aged about 60, living in a cabin in Derryard, near Rosslea, in this county was found barbarously murdered with her throat cut from her ear to ear. The door of her house was observed locked on Sunday, no notice was taken of it, it being of frequent occurrence during her absence collecting alms and probably the horrid deed would remain longer before being discovered but that some children who were playing near the house peeped through the key-hole and observed blood on the ground and having mentioned the circumstance to the neighbours, the door was immediately broken in, when the horrid deed was revealed to them. A box was lying near the body broken open supposed in search of money, which, it was believed; the deceased had, and was the motive for the deed.
A correspondent writes— An inquest was held at Derryard, on Thursday the second inst., by J. Armstrong, Esq., coroner, on the body of Margaret McCarron who was found dead in a cabin which she occupied alone. Her throat presented a frightful appearance, being cut so deeply as to remove part of the oesophagus. The verdict was “murdered by some person or persons at present unknown.” The only conceivable motive for the perpetration of this crime is the obtaining a little money, as it was known in the neighbourhood that deceased occasionally received a small remittance from a daughter in America.
There can be no doubt now but the above cruel and brutal murder was perpetrated in order that the assassin might possess himself of some five or six pounds which his unfortunate victim was known to possess, and which she usually carried in a small bag attached to a string around her neck and which she had only a short time previously received from the parish priest, who had it in charge. When the neighbours went to force open the door suspecting that all was not right the landlord, a farmer residing within 150 yards of the poor woman’s house, and from whom she rented the cabin at £1 per annum, prevented their doing so, stating that she was absent, and which was a very natural conclusion to come to as the door was fastened on the outside with a padlock; but the neighbours, knowing well her punctual habits in returning each night would not be persuaded to desist, and consequently broke open the door, when the horrid sight of the mutilated body met their view. The case is still wrapt in mystery, but the local justice and constabulary are doing everything in their power to on ravel it. At public meeting held at Rosslea the following resolutions were passed:-
Resolved—“That the members of this meeting look with the deepest indignation upon the brutal deed which has been perpetrated amongst us, and regard with the utmost horror the sad fate of a defenceless woman, and we pledge ourselves to see out with all the means at our disposal, the party or parties who have disgraced this neighbourhood for the first time with the barbarous crime of murder.”
Resolved – “That the thanks of this meeting be conveyed through Rev. Mr Murphy, to John Madden Esq., Rosslea Manor, for his indefatigable exertions as a magistrate in endeavouring to capture the murderer, and that he be made aware of our desire to cooperate for that object with him; and also for his kind consideration as a landlord in trying to vindicate the character of his tenantry for which he shows himself so interested by his words and acts.
AWFUL FIRE IN ENNISKILLEN.
On Sunday morning, about half-past twelve o’clock, the church bells rung the fire alarm, and soon the inhabitants of Enniskillen were roused to witness one of the most awful fires ever witnessed in a country town.
A square block measuring about 70 feet frontage in High-street, extending to Cole’s-lane about 150 feet, was all in one blaze and down-tumble in two or three hours. The fire spread so quickly that little could be done, to save property; and some of the inmates had to fly for their lives without their dress.
The block was occupied by Whitley Brothers, bakers, grocers, leather cutters, and general wholesale provision dealers, and was divided into three shops. The fire commenced In a tea store over the kitchen, near to which was a pile of bacon, and immediately adjoining were several large stores for bread stuffs. Had the fire been discovered a little earlier, a few buckets of water would have extinguished it; but that failing the flames rushed through the premises as if lightning were the agent of destruction.
Efforts were made to remove as much as possible of the goods in the, shops— seeing- that the flames had cut off access to the stores-and succeeded n getting away all the leather, the articles in the main shop, and some furniture. The horses and cattle were n other premises, except a calf, the cries of which were piteous, but which was saved by two dare-devils who risked their own lives in its rescue, and got their coats burned off their backs in the act.
The fire did not confine itself to the Whitley premises. Mr Cooney, draper on one side; Mr Molyneux, watch-maker and jeweller, on the other side; were well singed, and would have both shared the fate of their neighbour but for the great efforts made to save them. The fire had burned out Mr Molyneux’s rere windows and ignited the staircase. The flames were kept in check by Mr Wm. Quinion, Wine merchant, who took his post in the blaze and being well helped by water carriers, succeeded in extinguished them. Mr Patterson, S.I., and others took timely precaution at Mr Cooney’s, which were successful. Yet Messrs. Cooney and Molyneux suffered much loss by the removal of their goods to other houses; as did also Messrs Johnston and Carson, drapers, Mr S. Little, grocer and some others.
The thought is terrible when we ask ourselves what would have been the result if high wind had prevailed!— Everything was dry as tinder, and the whole town might have been consumed had not, luckily a calm continued.
The officers and men of the 29th Regiment were promptly on the ground and did good service with the barrack engine. The soldiers worked away till they were exhausted and rested not till the fire was got under. The officers excelled; in a mild, firm, and gentlemanly bearing in keeping order and the magistrates and police were not wanting. Mr Smith J.P. carried his bucket of water with a will Captain Butler, R. M. and Dr. Walsh were everywhere, and anything but idle! The County Inspector Bailey and Sub-Inspector Patterson headed the police energetically and their men did well. Harrington, Sly (or Sleigh), Duffy, and some others did deeds of daring, that ought to be rewarded! Four of our own young men worked hard. But all pale before the achievements of two young townsmen, John Howe and Charles Aunon. Those two were worth a hundred. Only that testimonials have become so common, so cheap, so worthless, and so ill applied of late, we would vote them the thanks of the town in public assembly. However our own truthful testimony will suffice.
Mr Robert Gordon chairman of the Town Commissioners, did his best but was badly aided by the corporation engine, which was consistent in its refusal to work being out of order. A fire brigade should be organised immediately of the young men of the town which would be much more manly and utile than fooling as amateur bandsmen. The suffering and inconvenience is deplorable but none of the parties will suffer loss, all being insured in the North British and Mercantile, the Globe, the Royal and other good offices.
Enniskillen 1st October 1864.
Some 25 years ago there was an amateur band in Enniskillen, which was the ruin of every young man who joined it. A counter irritation or opposition band was got up in the Roman Catholic Chapel, which the late Rev. James Shiel, P.P., made smithereens of. He jumped into the big drum and beat the musicians out of the chapel with their own instruments – and we ceased not till we scattered the amateurs. During the existence of those bands the town had no peace: about forty young men were completely demoralised, some of them enlisted, others emigrated, and not a few lost their lives. The present boat racing mania is a source of much mischief, which must be abated. No respectable person should have anything to do with the Boat Club, or subscribe to its funds – it is a nuisance.
THE FENIANS IN FERMANAGH Impartial Reporter 28th April 1864.
A good deal of stir has been created in Enniskillen by the apprehension of a number of Fenians. Eight or ten of them are in jail; others let out on bail; and, if report be true, very many hundreds of them have taken fright and given the country “leg bail,” as assurance that, they will no more trouble old Ireland by their presence or folly. The Very Dr. McMeel, P.P., has been untiring in his efforts to save his people from the political madness and unchristian association of the Fenians.
MR ADAIR AT EVICTION WORK AGAIN. January 1864.
We have received the following narrative from a highly respectably correspondent, on whose fidelity and accuracy we can rely. Our correspondent writes: — “On the 1st December instant, there were evicted by the sheriff on the property of John G. Adair Esq., in the parish of Gartan in county Donegal ten families, consisting of forty-nine person—six of the families were Roman Catholic, and four Protestant, (two Episcopalian and two Presbyterian) Everything in each house was put out the fire extinguished, and the door fastened (where there was one), and the persons themselves literally left on their dunghill, without any provision for their shelter, for even a night. The most of the above being in the most wretched state of poverty, must, of necessity go to the poorhouse, and thus increase the rate which is,5s for the present year) on the rest of the impoverished tenantry. One of the evicted families, by name Stephenson, consists of ten persons, almost destitute of clothing. Another is Widow Knox, with four children. Her husband fell into bad health a few years ago and consequently into poverty, being unable to till his land, so as to support his family and pay his rent. In the spring of the present year he went to the United States of America (his passage being paid for him), in order, to obtain, if possible, by working, the amount of rent due. However, about a week before the evictions, his wife received an account of his sudden death, while at his work, so his wife and family are left helpless. In order to account in some measure for so many, evictions, we may state that, about five years previously Mr Adair summarily raised the rent of each tenant on the property nearly one-half. Bad years having ensued; they have had the greatest difficulty to pay this increased rent. At the Spring Quarter Sessions of this year, upwards of thirty out of about sixty tenants on the property, were, served with notices of ejectments for non-payment of one year’s rent. More than the half of these had settled by the October Sessions when the ejectments were put through against those who had not paid; and as upwards of £3 were added for costs on each, few were able to settle and some only after the arrival of the sheriff, when the evictions mentioned took place. As Mr. Adair never expended a shilling in assisting the tenant to drain, or improve his farm, or in any way improve his condition, and insists under all circumstances on the payment of their very high rent, the tenantry consider their case as all but hopeless, have lost all energy and interest in the cultivation at their farms, and are fast-sinking into a state of wretched poverty, looking upon their situation as little better than that of the Derryveagh people,, who were all turned out at once, instead of piece meal. This is truly a melancholy state of things, to occur in a Christian country and under British law and government. On the adjoining property of Derryveagh, where the whole-sale evictions were effected, Mr. Adair has had between three and four hundred, horned cattle, several hundred sheep, and upwards of thirty horses on that property during the summer; and, from all appearances, he will make the whole of his property in the same way. The work is being carried on in a remote mountainous district of Donegal, but should not, we think, be concealed from public view.
Excursion on Lough Erne. August 25th 1864. Impartial Reporter.
On Friday there was an excursion to Belleek on the steamer Devenish. It was the best of the season. The number of persons on board about 320 was not so great as on the 12th of August; but was less crowding, and the day was delightful. Among the strangers present were, Sir James Emerson Tennent and a party of friends consisting of Rt. Hon. James Whiteside, Q. C., M. P., Richard Davidson Esq., formerly the representative of Belfast, John Foster, Esq., a distinguished writer, and now a Lunacy Commissioner, and Mr Dunville of Belfast.
This party with the exception of Mr Davidson on the return trip of the boat, went ashore at Rossfad with Mr Richardson and family to proceed with the Rev. J. G. Porter to Kilskeery. Mr Porter himself was on board as he is during most excursions of his iron child the Devenish, and was as usual, the life of the party It has sometimes been thought that some people ought never to die; and if it were right to give way to such philosophy or sentiment, we would say that Mr Porter ought to be one of the immortal exceptions to Nature’s rule. If “it takes all sorts to make up a world” we have some doubt any world existing without him; for we don’t think there is another of exactly the same sort.
There were on board a large number of the gentry, from the town and country, a number of soldiers of the 29th Regiment, and all together a right good boat-full.
At Belleek most of the excursionists visited the large and handsome porcelain factory and had the different parts of the process, and various products of skill, pointed out by Mr. Armstrong, the manager and by Mr. Bloomfield of Castle Caldwell, who takes so much interest in the go-ahead of Archimedes. The Syracusan sage, if he had the requisites would have moved the world; Mr. Bloomfield would move it. There are many things about the factory worthy of admiration and note, though the presence of the crowd was unfavourable for examining them. But that which struck us most was the beauty of some vases that were in the process of manufacture in the hands of an amateur artist of no mean skill.
A good many of the excursionists visited the bridge which is being built over the Erne at Belleek for the Enniskillen and Bundoran Railway. It promises to be a bold and handsome structure. The return to Enniskillen was very pleasant, and everyone on board, save two or three roughs who deem themselves commissioned to be locomotive or cacomotive protests against the Band of Hope, seemed to enjoy the trip very much. A good many people lunched and dined on board, and seemed to hesitate in their admiration between the excellent fare and the low fees.
PUBLIC EXECUTIONS. January 7th 1864 Impartial Reporter.
The punishment of death has long been a subject of controversy and much has been written to show that, so far as a deterring influence may be concerned, it has ever been a total failure. When the late Sir Robert Peel brought in his measure for a reform in the criminal code, a leading Judge of the day give it as his opinion that if the system of capital punishment were in any degree narrowed neither life nor property would be safe. We have seen how well the milder mode of dealing with offenders has worked for the last forty years, and how comparatively few cases there have been where in days of old the common hangman would have finished the work and wreaked the final vengeance on the law of the offender. During the thirty-eight years’ reign of Henry the Eighth there were seventy-two thousand criminals executed; and in, very recent times—viz. the ten years’ reign of George the Fourth—nearly eight hundred executions took place in England. Sam Rogers tells of the days when fourteen criminals were hanged at Tyburn on a single morning, one of the sufferers, being a young woman, mother of an infant only three months old. One sad feature of that case was that the husband of the poor girl had been seized and carried off by the press-gang, and she was left penniless. In her poverty and despair she stole a shawl and sold it to buy food and for that crime she was lodged in the Old Bailey and, after proof of the fact, condemned to death. The banker poet, in commenting on the harshness of that case, said the Government first stole the woman’s natural protector, add the law ordered her execution for committing an act not one tenth so flagrant as that perpetrated against herself under the sanction of the same law. With the advent of a more merciful system, of punishment there has come a lessened disposition to commit the higher order of offences.
Forgery is not at all so prevalent now, as it was when a man would be hanged—as was the case at Carrickfergus about half a century ago—for offering to past a bank-note which afterwards turned out to be a forgery: the poor fellow was unable to read, but the plea availed him not, and he paid the penalty of the act with the forfeit of his life. Occasionally a highly finished criminal such as Roupell turns up, and tells a tale of systematic plunder that savours far more of the dreamings of a romance writer than the actual workings of wickedness in real life. Still, when we consider that in a single year, before the reform of the law, there were one hundred and twenty persons prosecuted for forgery the moral improvement that has been going on since 1832, when the crime ceased to be considered a capital one in the eye of the law must be looked upon as marvellous.
The revolting scenes that take place at public executions cannot fail to have the worst effects on the habits and passions of those who, with the morbid curiosity of a depraved taste, have a sort of mania for such exhibitions, it is not unusual for persons who delight in these sights to sit up all night in the neighbourhood of the gallows for the purpose of securing good places on the morning of the execution. Windows within view of the drop at the Old Bailey have frequently been let at ten to fifteen pounds. When Bellingham, who murdered Mr Percival in the lobby of the House of Commons was hanged for that act, the late George. Selwyn, famed for his desire to witness executions paid twenty pounds for a single window.
One of the most revolting of public executions took place at Chester on Monday last It may perhaps, be recollected that, some time ago a woman named Alice Hewitt was given in charge for the murdering of her mother by the administering of poison to the poor woman. It appeared that early in the year Hewitt had induced a woman of her acquaintance to go to an insurance office and personate her (Hewitt’s) mother, and for a small premium, the office issued a policy on the life for five and twenty pounds. In a short time the old woman died and after the usual proof of the decease of the insured, the insurers paid over the sum to the daughter. By some means the truth came out as to the mode by which the old woman met her death, and on inquiry, being made the daughter was taken prisoner, tried, and sentenced to death. The day appointed was Monday last, at eight o’clock and although the weather was very severe with occasional drifts of snow falling, between three and four thousand persons had assembled to witness the execution. On the culprit appearing on the platform of the drop a death-like hush prevailed for a moment, but above the heads of the multitude there presently rose a wail of piercing intensity from the lips of the culprit; and as the cry deepened the very stillness of silence, prevailed over the crowd. The report, as given in the Daily New goes on to say that on the cap and rope being adjusted, the culprit fell upon her knees and prayed that her infant child might be spared a similar fate, and that her death
ENLIGHTENED ENGLAND. PUBLIC EXECUTIONS.
Impartial Reporter, March 24 1864.
Sir George Grey’s recent speech in the House of Commons in defence of public executions recalls the arguments in vogue at no very remote date when the hempen remedy was vigorously applied to a vast number of offences no longer punishable with death. Yet the following brief extracts from the London papers published during the latter part of the last century appear now almost incredible now that the expediency of retaining Capital punishment even for the heinous, crime of murder is more than questioned by the most intelligent minds in the community.
A D 1774. During this year sixty-eight persons were executed in London and forty-eight convicts branded.” [This operation was performed on the back of the patient. “Burning in the hand” was a more common and less painful infliction..]
July 27th Rev. Dr. William Dodd and another convict were executed at Tyburn. The spectacle on this occasion was anything but solemn. Two dogs having quarrelled near the gallows foot, were incited by fellows nearby to fight it out; the Religious exercises intended to be entered into were suddenly stopped, and either never renewed or slurred over. The heat of the day was great, the dust raised thick, and great confusion prevailed. The Doctor’s face looked flushed and every appearance of resignation he had been able to give to his countenance was quite put out by the rout. The white night provided to cover his face was found on trial to be far too small, but it was rudely forced on so as to cover part only of the visage. The sheriffs, who were seated in their carriages, viewed the scene at a distance signalled the driver of the gallows cart to, whip his horses, at once, and this done the culprits swung in mid-air.
1779 October 27th —“At seven o’clock this morning four convicts were taken from Newgate to Tyburn to die. Three were hanged; but one, Isabella Condon, who had coined some shillings and sixpences, was fastened to a stake, the faggots about it lighted, and her body consumed to ashes. She cried bitterly, and declared that the last part she had to undergo afflicted her beyond every other consideration.
In several London papers for August, 1782, we find the following paragraph: –
“This day (St. Bartholomew’s) David Tyrie, lately convicted of high treason at Winchester Assizes, as having corresponded with our enemies the French, was hung at Portsmouth. Having been up twenty-two and a half minutes he was taken down, disembowelled, and his heart taken out and presented to the mob. The latter had then the liberty of cutting and hacking any parts of the body they could get.at; so fingers, ribs, toes, & were flying about on all sides. The gaoler of Gosport however, took away the head and made a show of it for money,” [The exhibition of this ghastly relic had been found too profitable by an honest Boniface to be lightly given up. Thus in the London papers published in mid-summer 1783 we find the following supplementary notification on the same subject under date June 26] “The head of the late David Tyrie is still in course of exhibition at a charge of one shilling by a publican who purchased it. A few weeks before a fine young woman lost her reason from her sweetheart having playfully on a sudden thrust the head upon her.
1785, Feb.22 – This morning twenty men were hung from the platform before Newgate. These were, &c. [The names and reported crimes of the parties we omit but there was not one murderer amongst them.] “Before going out the unhappy criminals kissed each other in the Quadrangle then marched on; solemnly, two-and-two singing a funeral hymn.”
1785April 19—Nineteen malefactors were executed this morning in front of Newgate prison.
1785. Nov. 10 – “Sixteen persons were executed this day in front of Newgate prison, one of them being a mere lad, aged 15.
1786, June 22. —“Six men and one woman were this morning executed before Newgate—namely, four for robbery, one man for counting and counterfeiting a half penny; the woman, named Harris for assisting in counterfeiting some shilling pieces. Soon after the unhappy men were dead twelve persons went upon the Scaffold and had the hands of; the deceased repeatedly rubbed by the executioner upon their faces and necks as a supposed cure for the protuberances called wens. About a quarter of an hour after the platform had dropped the female convict was led by two officers of justice from Newgate to a stake fixed in the ground about midway between the scaffold and the pump. The stake was about eleven feet high, and on the top of it was inserted a curved piece of iron to which the halter was tied. The prisoner stood on a low stool, which, after the ordinary had prayed with her a short time being taken away she was suspended by the neck, her feet being scarcely more than twelve or thirteen inches from the pavement. Soon after the signs of life had ceased two cart loads of faggots were placed around her and set on fire. The flames presently burning the halter and the convict fell a few Inches, and was then sustained by an iron chain passed over her chest, and affixed to the stake. Some scattered remains of the body were perceptible in the fire at half past ten o’clock. The fire had not quite burnt out at twelve, Phoebe Harris was a well-made little woman, something more than thirty years of age, of pale complexion, and not disagreeable in features. When she went out of prison she appeared both languid and terrified and trembled greatly as she advanced to the stake, where the apparatus for her punishment she was about to experience seemed to strike her mind with horror and consternation, to the exclusion of all power of collectedness in preparation for the awful approaching moment.
1787, Jan l. — “The executions last year in London have amounted to forty-four. There are now in Newgate fifty-two, capital convicts, the greater part of whom will, no doubt, suffer in the course of a few months.”
1787. | Jan 9—“This morning were executed before the debtors’ door in Newgate, pursuant to their sentences, eighteen malefactors, condemned for highway robbery, housebreaking and horse stealing. They behaved suitably to their unhappy situation.”
1787, Jan 4 — At this morning thirteen convicts suffered death at the Old Bailey. [This year nearly one hundred hangings took place in London and Middlesex together]
1788, June 25. – “Margaret Sullivan was burnt at a stake set up in the Old Bailey for having aided others in coining base money. As soon as she came to the stake she was placed on the stool, which, after, some time, was taken from under, when the faggots were placed around her, and, being set fire to, she was consumed to ashes. [This woman was, we believe, the last victim of the old English treason laws, which punished as “ petty treason” in a female the murder of a husband, or that of a master or mistress, &c. In Midsummer, 1790, a law passed transferring such crimes, also coining base money (formerly punished as an act of high treason) to the category of capital felonies.]
1788, Dec. 12—“The number of persons executed in Middlesex between the present time and Dec. 1783, shows a total of 324, or nearly 65 annually!”
1790. Dec.— “Two Custom-house officers were executed in the Old Bailey for misappropriating a small parcel of coffee beans, which petty abstraction, as they protested to the last, they thought they had a right to make as a usual perquisite.”
The following describes the infliction of the brutal punishment of branding in the hand.
1799. Dec. 22- “James Ottean, a French prisoner of war, was convicted of man-slaughter in the Admiralty Court, London. He was sentenced to be burned in the hand, which was carried into effect before he left the court, and in presence of the judge, who tried him (Sir Wm. Scott). The apparatus—viz., the chafing-dish, the brand, and irons for keeping the hand steady – being adjusted, the brand was applied. The patient uttered in involuntary convulsive scream on feeling the iron, but instantly regained his apparent composure.