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not an exaggeration, let us look at a few of the crimes reported in the parliamentary inquiry on drunkenness.
1. Murders.-In the late murder of Mr. Lennard, which took place between Ross and Waterford, when sentence of death was pronounced on Malone, the murderer, he said to the judge, "Yes, my lord, I am guilty; but," pointing to his mother, who was in the same dock, he said, "she has been the cause of it.” It appears that this monster of a parent had agreed for the price of the blood to be shed by her two sons, (for there were two implicated); and, though above eighty years of age, she watched the approach of the unfortunate gentleman, and handed the pistol to her son when she saw him coming. Malone at first was startled, and said, "how can I murder the poor gentleman?"— "Take this, you cowardly rascal," said the old woman, and gave him the remains of a half pint of whisky, obtained for the occasion. He drank the whisky, murdered the gentleman, and was tried and hanged!
It must not be forgotten that this young man was known to have been one of the kindest-hearted fellows in the country, except when under the influence of strong drink.* One would imagine that one such instance as this would be sufficient to make every individual pause before he touched an intoxicating bowl again. Here we have a woman—a mother too -at the advanced age of eighty, with eternity staring her in the face, transformed into a monster, or, rather, a demon. Here we have two sons taught by their own mother to shed human blood, one of whom ends his days on the gallows, and the other is left, either to be the prey of remorse, or else to follow the example set by his parent and brother. Here, also, one human being, unexpectedly, perhaps unprepared, is sent to his account, and, in a little time, is followed to the same awful tribunal by the wretch whose hands were stained with his blood. What havoc is here! Human life, human feeling, human character, and human souls are sacrificed! For aught we know, the tragedy, black as it appears, is not half seen on earth, the more awful and tremendous parts of the drama may be completed in
* Parliamentary Report, p. 229.
perdition. Yet all this may be traced to the demoniacal influence of intoxicating drinks. Hardened as was the gray-headed old monster of a parent, and depraved as the son of such a mother would probably be, yet both required the inspirations of whisky to qualify them for the deed. The murders of the three Kaneellys, in the county of Tipperary, was the effect of intoxication. The assassins only intended to frighten the objects of their vengeance; but the ringleader of the transaction gave his associates a few glasses of whisky, and maddened by the poison, nothing could satisfy them but blood.* The burning of the Sheas, in the same county, was brought about by ardent spirits. A young man of twenty, who was implicated in that horrid deed, being asked how he could take part in so base and cowardly a crime, replied, "I was made drunk, and by the aid of whisky would not only commit such another crime, but twenty others like it."+
A magistrate, having visited an individual in Caher, who had been left by his assailants for dead, inquired if the murderous villains had drunk anything, was answered, “ Well, I wonder that your honor, that a gentleman of your knowledge, should ask such a simple question. Sure, you do not think that they would come without preparing themselves? I will engage they had two or three glasses of whisky a man, whatever more they may have drunk."‡. Thus showing that crime was not attempted without the aid of spirits. The burning of the M'Kees, at Saintfield, was the work of incendiaries, who had prepared themselves for the deed by large potations of alcohol. The murder of the Italian boy, by Bishop and Williams, was perpetrated under the stimulus of strong drink. Soldiers in India, under the influence of intoxicating liquor, have been known to shoot at the natives for their own amusement, so perfectly reckless of human life were they rendered by drinking.¶ "Since," said a learned judge on the bench, "the institution of the Recorder's and the Supreme Courts at Madras, no less than thirtyfour British soldiers have forfeited their lives for murders, and most of these were committed in their intoxicated moments."**
* Parliamentary Report, p. 230.
¶ Ib. 180.
Col. Stanhope stated, that the stimulus of strong drink drives the soldiers to commit "the greatest enormities, such as the repeated destruction of human life, murders, and other crimes of great enormity.”* As long ago as 1764, the Irish House of Commons asserted, that " many murders which of late have been committed, are to be attributed to the excessive consumption of spirits."+
The mate of a vessel, which traded from Liverpool, married a very sober and respectable female; as a treat, he brought her home a quantity of foreign spirits; she tasted them, and became a confirmed drunkard. Her husband has repeatedly been arrested for debts she has contracted during his absence; and lately she was tried for the murder of her child, but was acquitted on the ground of insanity brought on by intoxication. Had any one told this unhappy woman what would be the result of her first putting the poisonous glass to her mouth, she would have been too much shocked at the horrid tale of her future life, to have given it credence. Probably she would have exclaimed, “Am I a dog, that I should do these things?" But she drank the baneful cup, and more than realized the vile and base transformation formerly attributed to the bowl of Circe. The victims of that monster were changed into filthy swine; but, compared with this ruined and abandoned woman, a swine is an angel.
R. G. White, Esq. stated, that of twenty-two persons whose execution he attended in the capacity of high-sheriff, every one declared "that drunkenness and the breach of the Sabbath had brought them to that end." The Rev. D. Ruell, chaplain to the New Prison, Clerkenwell, and who, therefore, had had ample opportunities for judging, declared, that "murder, maiming, and other crimes attended with personal violence, are, for the most part, committed under the excitement of liquor."|| The murderer of Mr. Bonar was a civil and obliging man, except when he had been drinking; then he became fierce and violent. The murderer of the two families in Ratcliffe Highway drank the strongest gin both before and after those murders. Bartlett, who was
* Parliamentary Report, 193. § Ib. 266.
+ Ib. 234.
|| Ib. 307.
+ Ib. 237.
¶ lb. 417.
lately executed at Gloucester, went into a public house, and primed himself with a glass of gin and water, just before he shot and robbed his wife's mother. Two culprits, who were executed together for murdering females to whom they professed attachment, confessed to J. Poynder, Esq., who was then under-sheriff of Middlesex and London, that they committed the act when under the influence of liquor.
The following cases of murder from drunkenness were tried this year (1838) at the Lent Assizes at Liverpool :
"Patrick Creegan, charged with having killed James Cornan, on the 24th of December last at Liverpool. Both were in liquor ; words passed between the parties, when the prisoner knocked the deceased down, and kicked him: he died almost instantly."
'Timothy Sullivan was indicted for cutting and wounding William Lancaster, a police officer, on the 30th of September last, at Wigan. The deceased had been taking into custody a person of the name of Kelly, for fighting at a public house; and in proceeding to the lock-up, was struck by the prisoner with a spade. The prisoner stated, as an excuse, that he was in a state of excessive intoxication."
"John Williamson, a watchman, was acquitted on the charge of killing John Sheenan, on the 11th of November. It appeared the prisoner had interfered to quell a drunken riot, in which Sheenan was killed."
"Peter Eckersley, charged with having slain Peter Gleave, on the 11th of February, at Winwick. The parties had been drinking together at a public house. They went out and fought three or four rounds in the lane; and then went into the field, and fought fourteen or fifteen rounds more, when the prisoner struck the deceased a blow on the neck, which proved fatal."
Joseph Charnock was indicted for having killed John Whitehead, at Bolton-le-moors. It appears that at a wedding-party, celebrated at a beer-shop, two of the party quarreled, and began to fight. The prisoner, who was intoxicated, interfered, and kicked the deceased violently, till he fell down and expired."
“ Edward Lowe, charged with having slain John Adamson, at Winwick, on the 19th of August last. It appeared that the pri
soner and the deceased were drinking together at the Red Lion public house, Ashton. Both had liquor, when a quarrel took place, and the deceased was thrown against a wall, and his neck was dislocated."
"Thomas Hayes was indicted for killing and slaying Lawrence Robinson, at a beer-shop in Salford. A quarrel ensued, when the prisoner struck the deceased a blow on the right eye, of which he died. The prisoner acknowledged that he had got some drink."
"William Hill, charged with the murder of Betty Minshull, at Warrington. The prisoner had been drinking at the Leigh Arms till about midnight, of which place the deceased was the housekeeper."
“John Davis, charged with the wilful murder of his wife. The prisoner came home, after having had some drink, and quarreled with his wife, who also had been drinking. When she was attempting to make her escape out of the cellar, he pulled her down, and brutally abused her, so as to cause her death."*
Here, in this short narrative, we have at one assize nine cases of murder tried, and each one originating in drinking; and if one Lent Assize, in one place, presented so many murders, what must be the whole amount for England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, for the last year only ?—One's heart sickens at the thought. And if, instead of one year, we go back for a century, and examine the Newgate Calendar, the criminal records of each city and county in the British empire, and the inquests of coroners which have been taken during that period, what a mass of crime and cruelty, perpetrated under the influence of intoxicating drinks, will be presented! It is highly probable that the number of Englishmen slain during the late war, does not equal the amount of those that have perished during the last century, in consequence of drinking. Such a scene is sufficient to harrow up the feelings of the hardest heart, and make the most relentless and selfish resolve never again to touch or taste liquors which have occasioned so many murders, and in such awful
* Livesay's Mor. Refor., May, 1838.