Easingwold: T. Gill, 1849. FIRST EDITION. Softcover. 16mo. 48 pp. Very sympathetic recent drab wrappers, paper title label on front wrapper. First and last page soiled, some foxing or staining here and there. Very good. Item #2247
The case of the "Bermondsey Horror" involves one of the most infamous trials in 19th-century England; the execution of the guilty woman and her husband by hanging occasioned public outrage from Charles Dickens and many other "decent" citizens. THE CASE: Marie Manning was an alluring 28-year-old Swiss domestic servant who was hanged outside Horsemonger Lane Gaol, London, England, on 13 November 1849, after she and her husband were convicted of the murder of her lover, Patrick O'Connor, in the case that became known as the "Bermondsey Horror." It was the first time since 1700 that a husband and wife had been executed together in England. ¶ THE TRIAL: After the arrest, the accused were moved from Horsemonger Lane to Newgate prison for the trial which opened at the Old Bailey (next door to Newgate) on Thursday, the 25th of October before Chief Justice Cresswell and lasted two days. Both were represented by counsel and the respective lawyers tried to shift responsibility for the killing from their client to the other's client. It seemed that both Frederick and Maria each expected the other to shoulder responsibility but neither would. At the end of the trial, it took the jury 45 minutes to find them both guilty. Maria lost the composure she had shown during the trial and screamed at the jury "You have treated me like a wild beast of the forest." She continued to rave at the judge as he tried to pass sentence of death upon her. They were taken back to Newgate and then across London to Horsemonger Lane Gaol to await their executions. She apparently asked the warders escorting her how they had liked her performance in court. ¶ THE EXECUTION: the public hanging of the Mannings, which Charles Dickens had witnessed, occasioned his writing two letters to the Times protesting the "barbaric" practice, emphasizing his belief that such events "had only a hardening and debasing influence on their spectators, and that from the moment a murderer was convicted he should be kept from curious visitors and reporters serving up his sayings and doings in the Sunday papers, and executed privately within the prison walls." [SOURCE: Johnson. Dickens, v. 2, p. 672]. A rare topical publication documenting this infamous trial and subsequent execution. NOT IN OCLC WORLDCAT.