Page images

by Mr. Charles Bacon, was crowned by the people at the hands of Tragedy and Comedy, and the grand chorale, "England's Minstrel King," was sung by a monster choir.

The hall was decorated with one hundred Shakspearean banners. The famous hostelries of Shakspeare's time, including the Boar's Head, East Chepe; the Falcon, the Mermaid, the Devil, and the Tabard, in Southwark, were revived, to supply, in addition to the ordinary refreshments, sack, canary, capons, venison pasties, and other dishes and liqueurs of the Elizabethan era, the attendants being clad in the costume of the period. The band and chorus, of 2000, was conducted by Mr. Benedict.

The Crystal Palace Company made this Saturday a shilling day instead of a half-crown day, as usual. They opened to public view the exact representation of Shakspeare's house, of the same size as the original, modelled by Mr. E. T. Parris, in the central transept, with the Shakspeare Court, which contains models of the bust on his tomb, and of the tombs of his wife and daughter.

Shakspeare Celebration in Liverpool.-The Mayor of Liverpool gave a magnificent fancy ball at St. George's Hall, at which 1500 ladies and gentlemen were present, in costumes illustrative of Shakspearean characters or of the Elizabethan period. The next evening the theatres were thrown open at the expense of the Mayor, and a soirée dansante, with tableaux illustrative of Shakspearean compositions, took place.

Shakspeare Celebration forbidden in Paris.-The English residents in Paris were prohibited by the French Government to carry out their intention of having a Shakspeare dinner at the Grand Hotel. There was but an unsatisfactory explanation of this ungracious act. It appears that in addition to the English banquet, two other celebrations were announced; one a grand theatrical performance at the Porte St. Martin Theatre, and the other a French dinner, also at the Grand Hotel. The former, consisting of "Hamlet," "Falstaff," and "Midsummer Night's Dream," was forbidden by the authorities, in consequence of certain friends of M. Victor Hugo having expressed their intention of converting the representation into a political demonstration in his favour. A similar motive led to the interdiction of the French banquet, at the Grand Hotel, of which M. Victor Hugo was nominated honorary vice-president. Similar reasons induced the authorities to include the English banquet in the same precautionary measure, as there was nothing to prevent any of the persons who had intended making democratic speeches at the French dinner from appearing at the English one, and there saying whatever they pleased. The English, indeed, might have been permitted to dine by themselves, but, having already issued tickets for a public banquet, they preferred to give up the


26. MELANCHOLY SUICIDE AND POPULAR DEMONSTRATION IN IRELAND.-Sir Thomas Judkin Fitzgerald, the descendant of a

man unhappily notorious in 1798, committed suicide by throwing himself into the river Suir, near his own residence, Golden Hills. It appears that he was severely pressed by pecuniary difficulties. He had been in Dublin the greater part of the previous week, it is supposed with the object of effecting an arrangement with some of his creditors. There he was met by several of his friends, who found him in his usual health and spirits. He returned home, and was in Clonmel on the 25th. It appears that there was an execution then in his house, for a debt of 3007., and the bailiffs were in possession. He made a last effort to raise this amount on that morning, but his solicitor failed to accomplish it, owing to the heavy liabilities under which he laboured. He went home by the train, the next afternoon, having left a letter with his solicitor, stating that he should shortly be no more, and indicating where his body would be found. This gentleman immediately communicated with the office of the constabulary, and a telegram. was at once sent, with imperative orders for the instant arrest of Sir Thomas Fitzgerald. But the precaution was, unfortunately, too late. He wrote similar letters to other friends, and among them was the following to Mr. John Massy, justice of the peace:

[blocks in formation]

"My dear Massy,-I have a last request to make of you, and that is, that you will, on receipt of this, go over to Golden Hills and see poor Lady Fitzgerald, my dearly beloved wife, for before you get this I will be no more. God have mercy upon me and my poor family. . . I ask this as a dying request, that you will go at once on receipt of this, and see what is best to be done. I go down to-night on purpose to see my poor wife and family for the last time, and then my body will be found in the weir, at that part called the Pig-hole, near Golden Hills.

I again ask you, as a favour, not to desert my family till things are set to rights for them. It is the dying request of

"Your friend,


There was also a letter to Mr. Edmond Dalton, of which the following is a copy:

"Dublin, April 26, 1864.

"Dear Ned,-I am going to ask a favour of you, and that is, that you will get Mrs. Dalton to break the sad news of my death to poor Lady Fitzgerald. I go down this evening, and my poor body will be found in the Suir at Pig-hole, where all the salmon are taken, near where the white-thorn stump is, that was lately cut. The Lord have mercy on me and my poor family! .

"Yours truly,


A coroner's inquest was held, and a verdict given that the deceased committed suicide while in a state of temporary insanity. The populace, it seems, resented this verdict, considering that it ought to have been one of felo de se, the object of the act on the part of the deceased having been to escape his obligations to his creditors. Influenced also by an hereditary animosity to the family, which had long been highly unpopular with the peasantry, they determined to oppose the interment of the deceased in the parish churchyard. As the funeral was intended to be strictly private, only a few friends attended the remains to the graveyard of Bally-griffin, within a short distance of Golden Hills, the residence of the deceased. The cortége was, however, met at the graveyard gate by the country people, who said they would not allow the remains to be buried. They filled up the grave with stones, and were deaf to all remonstrances, and the body was taken back to Golden Hills. The funeral took place on a subsequent day, in the presence of a large force of constabulary, and the grave was guarded night and day for some time afterwards.


3. EXECUTION FOR MURDER.-This morning, John Devine, convicted of the murder of Joseph Duck, at the Central Criminal Court, was hanged in front of the prison of Newgate, in the presence of some thousands of people. Joseph Duck was a retired builder and scaffolder, and resided in Little Chesterfield-street, Marylebone. He was upwards of sixty years of age, and had lost his wife a few weeks before he himself came to his untimely end. He was in the habit, occasionally, of spending an evening in the King's Head public-house in Great Chesterfield-street, which was in the neighbourhood of his residence, and he was there on the night of the 10th of March last. Towards midnight he was seen standing at the bar of the house, talking with some chance customers who had collected there, and in the course of the conversation he produced two sovereigns, placed them on the counter, and then put them back into his pocket. The convict Devine was one of the company, and at that time was in such a state of destitution that he had not money to pay for a bed, and a few pence were subscribed by the people in

the house to procure him one. The deceased was asked to give a

copper, but he refused, saying he had before interested himself in obtaining him a place, which he could not keep. The convict hung about the house until towards one o'clock in the morning, when it was closed, and the deceased then left to go home. A few minutes after one, he was found within a hundred yards of the tavern, and four of his own door, by a police constable, with several dreadful injuries about his head. The constable had him

taken to the Marylebone Infirmary, but he never completely recovered his senses, and at six o'clock the same evening he sank and died. On arriving at the infirmary he was suffering partly from intoxication, and partly from concussion of the brain. He had been accustomed to wear a peculiar old-fashioned silver watch, but neither watch nor money was found upon him. He asked particularly for two sovereigns which he said he had. The bottom of the fob of his trousers had been cut away, as had also some part of the lining. A surgical examination disclosed three fractures at the back of the head, one seven inches in length, the second three inches, and the third about two inches, resulting in great effusion of blood. Early on the morning of the murder, Devine presented himself at a common lodging-house in Circus-street, in the neighbourhood, where he was well known, and where he was admitted, after some demur, the house having its full complement of inmates. He had then a watch and a black neckerchief, which he said he had found in Regent-street, and which exactly corresponded with those worn by the deceased on the night of his death. He was also in the possession of money, although he had been starving for some time before, for he sent a lodger in the house out for what to him must have been a sumptuous breakfast, and during that, and the next day or two, he treated the inmates, right and left, to meat and drink. When asked afterwards by the police how he had come by the money he had so spent, he replied that he had earned it by working for a laundress in the neighbourhood, which on inquiry proved to be untrue. He sought to destroy the identity of the watch by taking the works out of it and throwing them down a water-closet, and then battering and defacing the silver cases. These, with the seal which had been attached to the watch, he employed a lodger named Hines to dispose of, and this man afterwards became the principal witness against him on his trial. The evidence, although purely circumstantial, was irresistible, and the jury, after a trial lasting about eight hours, pronounced him guilty, but with a recommendation to mercy, on the ground of their belief that he only intended to rob, and not to murder the deceased. That recommendation was afterwards in due course transmitted to the Home Secretary, but, for reasons assigned, Sir George Grey declined to interpose.

On the sentence being pronounced by Mr. Justice Willes, and for some days afterwards, the convict was prostrated by mental distress, and inconsolable. He was an orphan, and had been so from boyhood. It is said he was a shoemaker by trade, and had at one time gained a precarious living as a shoeblack. Of late years he appears to have led a sort of vagabond life, and to have been often without a place in which to lay his head at nights. He was little more than twenty years of age. For a long time he persisted in asserting his innocence, and it was not until after the sheriff's had told him that the Home Secretary had refused to interfore in his behalf, and that there was then no hope of for


him, that he admitted in effect that his was the hand which had inflicted the mortal injuries on the deceased, but he always accompanied the admission with the statement, that he meant only to rob and not to murder him. Having made this qualified confession, his mind was sensibly relieved, and he calinly prepared himself for death.

The convict walked from his cell with a quick, firm step, and resolute air, and ascended the drop without assistance. His whole bearing betokened complete penitence of mind and resignation. After he had been pinioned, he stated in effect, in reply to questions put by Sheriff Cave, that he had been brought to a happy state of mind, and was prepared to die. He had previously expressed his gratitude for the considerate kindness shown him by the prison authorities, after his conviction, and to the Sheriffs, for retaining counsel to defend him. Once on the drop, the work of the executioner was speedily done, and the convict soon ceased to live.

5. FATAL ACCIDENT AT A RAILWAY STATION.-A shocking accident happened to the Rev. Mr. Hathaway, of Islington. The reverend gentleman was about proceeding to Greenwich by the train, and when it had arrived at the station, he caught hold of the handle of one of the carriages before they had stopped. As too often happens in such instances, the reverend gentleman was thrown off his balance, and precipitated underneath the carriages, four of them passing over him, crushing him in a frightful manner. He was released as soon as possible and conveyed to Guy's Hospital, where he was immediately attended by the house surgeon, who ascertained that both his thighs had been fractured, his left arm broken, and both upper and lower jaws smashed, besides fearful internal injuries. There was no hope of saving his life from the first moment of his admission to the hospital, but every thing was done for him that medical aid could suggest, and about twelve o'clock he died.

9. EXPLOSION OF A RAILWAY ENGINE.-Much alarm was occasioned by the sudden explosion of an engine, at the Bishop's-road station of the Metropolitan (Underground) Railway. It had just come into the station and been attached to the 9.15 train, which was standing at the up platform ready to start. Fortunately, the 9 p.m. train having only a few minutes preceded it, there were few people on the platform at the moment. Both the driver and stoker were on the engine when the accident took place. Fortunately for them, the boiler exploded in an upward direction, with such tremendous force that the dome, which weighed upwards of six hundredweight, was thrown up almost perpendicularly to an immense height. It descended nearly 200 yards from the station, near the Dudley Arms, and on the further side of the bridge which crosses the Grand Junction Canal. As soon as the steam had somewhat cleared away, it was discovered that a very considerable portion of the roof of the station had been blown away; plate-glass windows on both sides of the station, of nearly

« PreviousContinue »