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for his brother not to lodge at Mistress
Stout's, neglected purposely to send the

It does not appear, however, that any proof
of the handwriting of Miss Stout was offered,
or that the letters bore her signature; and
it would appear strange at this day, that
counsel on the other side should permit such
letters, or indeed any letters, to be read without
having the handwriting first proved.
Nevertheless, Mr. Spencer Cowper proceeded
to comment on these documents, and to
observe to the court and the jury that they
could easily understand, from their contents,
the reason why, while Sarah Walker was in
the room, he did not deny his intention of
sleeping at the house; for, he did not deem
it expedient that she should be present
during any controversy that might ensue
between himself and Mistress Stout upon the
subject. On the maid's departure, he said,
he had argued with the young lady on the
scandal that might possibly arise, and stated
his determination to lodge at the Barefoots'.
She did not admit his arguments, and he
ended by abruptly leaving the house. Mr.
Spencer Cowper then called Sir William
Ashurst, Sir Thomas Lane, and other
gentlemen of note, to testify to his character
and reputation. All of them bore witness
to his credit in that regard; and two of
them, who had walked over the ground
between Mistress Stout's residence and the
nearest point at which she could have been
thrown into the river, proved that it took
them half-an-hour of walking at their ordinary
pace to do it.

At this stage of the business, the jury
began to exhibit great impatience, and one of
them suggested that they might withdraw;
but the judge (Mr. Justice Hatsell), who, at
an early stage of the case, had seemed rather
impatient also, and had frequently interrupted
Mr. Cowper, when he commented on his
evidence, begging of him not to flourish too
much, but stick to his case, and let the
evidence speak for itself; told the jury they
must make an end first.

Under these circumstances, it is not
surprising that Mr. Jones, counsel for the
prosecution, confined himself to the remark that,
as regarded the character of the deceased, no
evidence had been produced save these letters,
which, after all, bore no signatures, and
could not be weighed against the good opinion
entertained of her by all the townspeople.
To which the judge replied, no one disputed
that she might have been a young woman of
good character, and yet her brain might
have been turned by her passion, or by some

Of this very remarkable trial perhaps the
strongest peculiarity is the judge's charge or
summing-up, in which he renders the case, if
possible, more complicated and perplexing,
by his care to transfer every atom of
responsibility from himself to the jury, and to afford
no beacon of law to guide them through the

He commenced by observing that the
indictment against the prisoners at the bar, was
for a very great offencefor murderone of
the highest offences in the eye of the law. He
then proceeded to sum up the evidence, and
on the conflicting testimony relative to the
sinking or swimming of dead bodies, he
declared he could find no certainty in it, one
way or the other, and as regarded the fact of
there being no water in the body of the
deceased, and the question as to whether the
bodies of drowned persons would necessarily
contain water, he observed, that the doctors
and surgeons talked a great deal, but that,
unless they (the jury) had more skill in
anatomy than he had, they would not have
been much edified by what they had been
told; all he could say was, that the doctors
differed. Observing on the imputation that
the deceased had committed suicide, the judge
confessed he was at a loss to conceive why a
gentlewoman like the deceased should have
been led to commit such an act, and on the
subject of the letters purporting to have
been written by her, to Mr. Spencer Cowper,
he observed, "It might have been a love-
distraction, and yet she might have been a
virtuous woman, for it might have been a
distemper that came upon her and turned her
brain, and discomposed her mind, and then
no wonder at her writing in a manner different
from the rest of the actions of her life;"
and he concluded on this part of the case by

"Gentlemen, you are to consider and
weigh the evidence. I will not trouble you
any more about that matter."

He then proceeded on the case of the other
three prisoners; and, as regarded their
conversation at their lodgings, left it entirely to
the jury, merely observing that their expressions
were very strange, and they (the jury)
were to decide whether they were spoken in
jest, as it was pretended, or in earnest.
There had been a piece of cord and a bundle
found in the room they occupied, after the
departure of the three gentlemen next morning;
but he knew not what to make of it.
"Truly," he observed, "these three men, by
their talk, had given great cause for suspicion;
but whether they were guilty or not,
or in any way accessory to the death of
the gentlewoman, they (the jury) were to
determine." He then dismissed the jury to
consider their verdict, saying, he was sensible
he had omitted many things, but that he was
a little faint, and could not repeat any more
of the evidence.

Half-an-hour sufficed for the jury to decide
upon their verdict, which acquitted all the

The story is not yet quite at an end. The
mother of the deceased Quakeress, strong
in the conviction of the prisoner's guilt,
and burning with indignation at the second

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