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wrong done to her daughter, determined to
prosecute the matter to the utmost limits of
the law.

Under some old statute, then existing,
although seldom resorted to, a writ of appeal
lay against a verdict even in a criminal
case, if it was applied for in the name of the
heir-at-law of the deceased, within a year
and a day after the period of the first trial.
There was some difficulty in this instance
in ascertaining who was heir-at-law, and
the required person at last was found in a
boy ten years old, named Henry Stout.

The very day after the mother had
succeeded in establishing the pedigree of this
child, she sued for the writ, which was at
once granted, and on the thirteenth day
of April seventeen hundred, she caused
herself to be constituted guardian of the
appellant, with the view to prosecuting the

It appears that the writ was then duly
delivered to the under-sheriff of the county of
Hertford, but that this officer neglected to
make any return on it, and it was not until
after several rules from the Court of King's
Bench were obtained and served on him,
that he paid any apparent heed to its
existence. Finally, and, in fact, after the term
prescribed by the statute had expired, he
made an affidavit to show cause why he had
not returned the writ as required to the
effect, "that, on the sixteenth of April, he
had placed the writ in the hand of the

Upon the hearing of this affidavit in the
King's Bench, the court ordered the under-
sheriff to be examined upon interrogatories,
when he declared that the appellant, with his
mother and other relatives, came to him and
delivered him a note from Mr. William
Cowper, telling him that the infant was the
plaintiff in the appeal, and that one of the
women was his mother: whereupon he, not
knowing of any other guardian to the infant,
delivered the writ into his hands, at the
request of the mother, and when afterwards
he desired that it should be returned, he was
told that the infant, with advice, had burnt
it. Upon this the court mulcted the under-
sheriff in the penalty of two hundred

It seems, however, that the family and
connections of Spencer Cowper, the supposed
principal in the murder, had been active in
endeavours to defeat the course of justice in
this new turn of the case; for, it transpired
that the delinquent under-sheriff had been in
close communication with the Cowpers, and
that William Cowper had first written to him
to ask whether a writ of appeal had been
delivered to him, against his brother Spencer,
upon which he had sent William a copy of
the writ, who, thus prepared, had tampered
with the friends of the infant who was
legally appellant, and induced them to act in
the way already stated.

Mrs. Stout, the mother of the deceased, in
vain petitioned the Lord Keeper, and even
presented a statement of her case to several
of the members at the door of the House of
Commons. She was at every point baffled in
the courts of law; but, both parties, in
printed papers, appealed to the world in
support of their respective cases.

The friends of Spencer Cowper alleged that
the prosecution and trial were brought
forward by the sect to which the deceased
belonged. They said that, as the Quakers
recoiled against the stigma of suicide attaching
to any one of their body, professing, as
they did, to have the Light from above, to
guide them unerringly through life, this
stigma they were willing to wash away, even
in the blood of four innocent men. The
attempt to procure a second trial they thus
represented as the mere effort of malice and

On the other hand, Mistress Stout replied, it
was not to be supposed that a mother whose
only child had been first cruelly murdered,
and then yet more cruelly defamed, should
require the instigation of any sect to urge
the punishment of her child's murderers and

She utterly denied the authenticity of the
letters produced as her daughter's; and
alleged, that so far from having contemplated
suicide, or having any undue intimacy with
Mr. Spencer Cowper, she had urgently
requested a young gentlewoman of her
acquaintance, who had called upon her the
very day of the catastrophe, to remain in the
house and sleep with her that night; and,
upon her declining to do so, on the plea of a
previous engagement, had engaged this friend
to dine with her the next day, playfully
arranging what they should have to eat.

A most important part of the subsequent
revelation was, the fact that a sum of a
thousand pounds belonging to the deceased,
which she had declared her purpose of
entrusting to Mr. Spencer Cowper for investment
in the purchase of a separate life-
interest for herself in the event of her
marriage, was nowhere to be traced, although
it was known to have been in her possession
a short time before her death. It was
therefore broadly insinuated, that there
might be found a motive to induce Mr. Cowper
to contrive her death, if, having received
the money for this purpose, he appropriated
it to his own use.

In reply to this charge, Mr. Cowper's
friends and advocates said here was only
hearsay and surmise, defying proof.

Cowper himself does not seem to have
suffered much by the trials, as regards
professional advancement. He became Chief
Justice of the County Palatine of Chester,
and a Judge of the Common Pleas, which
posts he held until his death, in the reign
of George the Second; few lawyers of his
day attaining higher reputation, than he

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