Abbildungen der Seite

• If Cæsalpinus's explanation of the circulation be as perfect as Dr. Astruc pretends, how could the bulk of anatomists and physicians remain quite in the dark about it? Riolanus, who was a man of great learning, and in the highest reputé for his anatomical skilt, bitterly opposed Dr. Harvey upon the publication of his first Exercitation, and after he was forced, by the Doctor's plain and simple experiments, to yield to the truth, it was with many exceptions and restrictions. His own notions of it were entirely false, as may be seen in Harvei de circulatione Sanguinis Exercitatio prima, addressed to Riolanus himself, although he was no stranger to Cæsalpinus's book.

I shall readily grant that Servetus, Vesalius, Columbus, Cæsalpinus, and perhaps others, had some faint glimmerings of the truth, and afforded useful hints towards the discovery; but it was reserved to our countryman alone to see it himself in the clearest light, and to display it to posterity in full meridian splendour.

I will conclude in the words of Boerhaave*, who must surely be allowed to be one of the best judges of this matter. After giving an account of the circulation of the blood, he adds, Hæcque est ratio circumeuntis jugiter sanguinis, cujus inventi absoluta doctrina, accurate explanati gloria, immortale cluet Harvei nomen. 1762, Juły.

I. B.

XXXV. Remarkable Trial for Murdert. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a person was arraigned before Sir James Dyer, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, upon an indictment for the murder of a man, who dwelt in the same parish with the prisoner. The first witness against him deposed, That on a certain day, mentioned by the witness in the morning, as he was going through a close, which he particularly described, at some distance from the path, he saw a person lying in a condition that denoted him to be either dead or drunk; that he went to the party, and found him actually dead, two wounds appearing in his breast, and his shirt and clothes much stained with blood ; that the wounds appeared to the witness to have

# lastitutiones Med. Aphor. 160.

[+ This narrative affords another strong instance of the Uncertainty of Human Testimony; see p. 255. E.]

been given by the puncture of a fork or some such instrument, and looking about he discovered a fork lying near the corpse, which he took up, and observed it to be marked with the initial letters of the prisoner's name, the witness at the same time produced the fork in court, which the prisoner owned to be his, and waved asking the witness any questions.

A second witness deposed, That, on the morning of the day on which the deceased was killed, the witness had risen early with an intention to go to a neighbouring market-town which he named—that as he was standing in the entry of his own dwelling-house, the street door being open, he saw the prisoner come by, dressed in a suit of clothes, the colour and fashion of which the witness described that he (the witness) was prevented from going to market, and that afterwards the first witness brought notice to the town, of the death, and wounds of the deceased, and of the prisoner's fork being found near the corpse—that upon this report the prisoner was apprehended, and carried before a justice of peace, whom he named and pointed at, he being then present in court--that he (the witness) followed the prisoner to the justice's house and attended his examination, during which he observed the exchange of raiment which the prisoner had made since the time when the witness had first seen him in the morning—that at the time of such examination the prisoner was dressed in the same clothes which he had on at the time of the trial, and that on the witness's charging him with having changed his clothes, he gave several shuffling answers, and would have denied it—that upon the witness's mentioning this circumstance of the change of dress, the justice granted a warrant to search the prisoner's house for the clothes described by the witness as having been put off since the morning--that the witness attended and assisted at the search, and that after a nice inquiry for two hours and upwards, the very clothes, which the witness had described, were discovered, concealed in a straw bed. He then produced the bloody clothes in court, which the prisoner owned to be his clothes, and to have been thrust into the straw bed with an intention to conceal them on ac. count of their being bloody.

The prisoner also waved asking this second witness any questions.

A third witness deposed to his having beard the prisoner deliver certain menaces against the deceased, from whence the prosecutor intended to infer a proof of malice prepense, In answer to which, the prisoner proposed certain questions

to the court, leading to a discovery of the occasion of the menacing expressions deposed to, and from the witness's answer to those questions, it appeared, that the deceased had first menaced the prisoner.

The prisoner being called upon to make his defence, addressed the following narration to the court, as containing all be knew concerning the manner and circumstances of the death of the deceased, viz. “ That he rented a close in the same parish with the deceased, and that the deceased rented another close adjoining to it--that the only way to his own close was through that of the deceased, and that on the day the murder in the indictment was laid to be committed, le rose early in the morning, in order to go to work in his close, with his fork in his hand, and passing through the deceased's ground, he observed a man at some distance from the path, lying down, as if dead, or drunk; that he thought himself bound to see what condition the person was in, and upon getting up to him he found him at the last extremity, with two wounds in his breast, from which a great deal of blood had issued--that in order to relieve bim he raised him up, and with great difficulty set him in his lap—that he told the deceased he was greatly concerned at his unhappy fate, and the more so as there seemed to be too much reason to apprehend he had been murdered that he entreated the deceased to discover, if possible, the occasion of his misfortune, assuring him he would use his utmost endeavours to do justice to his sufferings—that the deceased seemed to be sensible of what he said, and in the midst of his agonies, attempted, as he thought, to speak to him, but being seized with a ruttling in his throat, after a hard struggle, he gave a dread. ful groan, and vomiting a great deal of blood, some of which fell on his (the prisoners) clothes, he expired in bis armsthat the shock he felt on account of this accident was not to be expressed, and the rather as it was well known that there had been a difference between the deceased and himself, on which account he might possibly be suspected of the murder—that he therefore thought it advisable to leave the deceased in the condition he was, and to take no farther notice of the matter-that, in the confusion he was in when he left the place, he took away the deceased's fork, and left his own in the room of it, by the side of the corpse-that being obliged to go to his work, he thought it best to shift his clothes, and that they might not be seen, he confessed he had hid them in the place where they were found that it was true he had denied before the justice that he had changed his clothes, being conscious that this was an ugly

circumstance that might be urged against him, and being unwilling to be brought into trouble if he could help itand concluded his story with a solemn declaration that he had related nothing but the truth, without adding or diminishing one tittle, as he should answer it to God Almighty." Being then called upon to produce his witnesses, the prisoner answered with a steady composed countenance and resolution of voice, He had no witness but God and his own conscience.

The judge then proceeded to deliver his charge, in which he pathetically enlarged on the heinousness of the crime, and laid great stress on the force of the evidence, which, although circumstantial only, he declared he thought to be irresistible, and little inferior to the most positive proofthat the prisoner had indeed cooked up a very plausible story, but if such, or the like allegations, were to be admited, in a case of this kind, no murderer would ever be brought to justice, such bloody deeds being generally perpetrated in the dark, and with the greatest secresy-that the present case was exempted, in his opinion, from all possibility of doubt, and that they ought not to hesitate one moment about finding the prisoner guilty.

The foreman begged of his lordship, as this was a case of life and death, that the jury might be at liberty to withdraw, and, upon this motion, an officer was sworn to keep the jury.

This trial came on the first in the morning, and the judge having sat till nine at night, expecting the return of the jury, at last sent an officer to inquire if they were agreed in their verdict, and to signify to them that his lordship would 'wait no longer for them. Some of them returned for answer that eleven of their body had been of the same mind from the first, but that it was their mistortúne to have a foreman that proved to be a singular instance of the most inveterate obstinacy, who having taken up a different opinion from them, was unalterably fixed in it. The messenger was no sooner returned, but the complaining members, alarmed at the thoughts of being kept under confinement all the night, and despairing of bringing their dissenting brother over to their own way of thinking, agreed to accede to his opinion, and having acquainted him with their resolution, they sent an officer to detain his lordship a few minutes, and then went into court, and by their foreman brought in the prisoner not guilty. His lordship could not help expressing the greatest surprise and indignation at this unexpected verdict, and, after giving the jury a severe admonition, he refused to

recerd their-verdict, and sent them back again, with directions that they should be locked up all pight, without fire or candle. The whole blame was publicly laid on the foreman by the rest of the members, and they spent the night in loading him with reflections, and bewailing their unhappy, fate in being associated with so bardened a wretch-but he remained quite inflexible, constantly declaring he would suffer death, rather than change his opinion.

As soon as his lordship came into court the next morning, be sent again to the jury, on which all the eleven members joined in requesting their foreman to go again into court, assuring him they would adhere to their former verdict, whatever was the consequence, and, on being reproached with their former inconstancy, they promised never to desert, or recriminate upon their foreman any more-Upon these assurances, they proceeded into court, and again brought in the prisoner not guilty. The judge, unable to conceal his rage at a verdict which appeared to him in the most ini: quitous light, reproached them with the severest censures, and dismissed them with this cutting reflection, That the blood of the deceased lay at their door,

The prisoner, on his part, fell on his knees, and with up: lifted

eyes and hands, thanked God for his deliverance, and addressing himself to the judge, cried out, You see, my Lord, that God and a good conscience are the best of witnesses.

These circumstances made a deep impression on the mind of the judge, and, as soon as he was retired from court, he entered into discourse with the high sheriff, upon what had passed, and particularly examined him as to his knowledge of this leader of the jury. The answer this gentleman gave his lordship was, that he had been acquainted with him many years—that he had an estate of his own of above 501. per annum, and that he rented a very considerable farm besides—that he never knew him charged with an ill action, and that he was universally esteemed in his neighbourhood.

For further information his lordship likewise sent for the minister of the parish, who gave the same favourable account of his parishioner, with this addition, that he was a constant churchman, and a devout communicant.

These accounts rather increased his lordship's perplexity, from which he could think of no expedient to deliver him. self, but by having a conference in private with the only person who could give him satisfaction. This he desired the sheriff to procure, who readily offered his service, and without delay brought about the desired interview.

Upon the juryman's being introduced to the judge, his

« ZurückWeiter »