Part 3 out of 6
"I have something to say to you concerning your health and concerning
your family; I must beg you will not put yourself in a passion, but
hear me what I have to say." Then I told him, "I believe, sir, you
have got something in your water gruel that has done you some injury,
and I believe Miss Blandy put it in, by her coming into the washhouse
on Monday and saying she had been stirring her papa's water gruel and
eating the oatmeal out from the bottom." He said, "I find I have
something not right; my head is not right as it used to be, nor has
been for some time." I had before told him I had found the powder in
the gruel. He said, "Dost thou know anything of this powder? Didst
thee ever see any of it?" I said, "No, sir, I never saw any but what I
saw in the water gruel." He said, "Dost know where she had this
powder, nor canst not thee guess?" I said, "I cannot tell, except she
had it of Mr. Cranstoun." My reason for suspecting that was, Miss
Blandy had letters oftener than usual. My master said, "And, now thee
mention'st it, I remember when he was at my house he mentioned a
particular poison that they had in their country," saying, "Oh, that
villain! that ever he came to my house!" I told him likewise that I
had showed the powder to Mr. Norton; he asked what Mr. Norton said to
it; I told him Mr. Norton could not say what it was, as it was wet,
but said, "Let it be what it will, it ought not to be there"; and said
he was fearful there was foul play somewhere. My master said, "What,
Norton not know! that is strange, and so much used to drugs." Then I
told him Mr. Norton thought proper he should search her pockets, and
take away her keys and papers. He said, "I cannot do it, I cannot
shock her so much; canst not thee, when thou goest into her room, take
out a letter or two, that she may think she dropped them by chance?" I
told him, "I had no right to do it; she is your daughter, and you have
a right to do it, and nobody else." He said, "I never in all my life
read a letter that came to my daughter from any person." He desired,
if possible, if I could meet with any powder anywhere that I would
Do you remember when Ann Emmet was sick (the charwoman)?--I do, but
cannot say how long or how little a time before this; I remember she
was ill some time before my master's death.
What did the prisoner order the old woman to eat at that time?--She
sent her some sack whey and some broth, I believe, to the value of a
quart or three pints at twice, about once a day, or every other day,
for four or five days.
Have you been ill from what you ate yourself?--I was ill after
drinking a dish of tea one Sunday morning, which I thought was not
well relished, and I believed somebody had been taking salts in the
Who was it poured out for?--I believe it was poured out for my master.
Why do you believe that?--Because he used to drink in a different dish
from the rest of the family, and it was out of his dish.
When was this?--This was about six weeks and three days before his
How did you find yourself after drinking it?--I found no ill-effects
till after dinner; I then had a hardness in my stomach, and
apprehended it was from eating plentifully of beans for dinner.
What symptoms had you afterwards?--My stomach seemed to have something
in it that could not digest, and I had remarkable trembling for three
days, and after that for three mornings was seized with a reaching.
Have you since that time been ill from what you ate or drank?--I
tasted the water gruel twice--once on the Tuesday evening when I was
mixing it for my master, and on Wednesday, when I was going to pour it
away, I put the pan to my mouth and drank a little of it.
How did you find yourself after that?--I did not find any remarkable
disorder till the Wednesday morning about two o'clock, before my
master's death; then I was seemingly seized with convulsions. My
throat was very troublesome for five or six weeks after, and seemed a
little soreish and a little swelled. I continued very ill for three
weeks and upwards after my master's death, which was on the Wednesday.
I went to bed sick at two that morning, and applied to Dr. Addington.
Do you remember anything besides letters coming from Mr. Cranstoun?--I
remember she had once a large box of table linen and some Scotch
pebbles in it; she said they came from him.
What time was this?--This was early in the spring, before my master's
Had she more than one box sent to her?--She had a small box sent
afterwards of Scotch pebbles; that might be about three months before
his death, or less, I cannot say.
Did she use to show the pebbles to anybody?--She used to show them to
any person of her acquaintance; but I never heard of any powder to
Cross-examined--For a year before the 5th of August last had anything
ailed your master so as to call in the apothecary?--About a year
before he had had a violent cold.
Was he, or was he not, in good health for a year before?--He was
frequently complaining of the gravel and heartburn, which he was
subject to for years.
Did he make any other complaints?--He used to have little fits of the
Was there any other complaint for seven, eight, nine, or ten
years?--Nothing particular, but that of the heartburn, which I cannot
tell whether I ever heard him complain of before or not.
Can you take upon you to say that he made any particular complaint of
the heartburn more than he had done at any other time?--I cannot say
positively, because I have not continued these things in my memory. He
ordered me to give him some dry oatmeal and water for the heartburn.
Is that good for the heartburn?--I have been told it is very good for
How was her behaviour to her father?--Her general behaviour was
dutiful, except upon any passion or a hasty word from her father.
When did she call her father "old villain"?--She would use expressions
of that kind when she was in a passion.
Upon what account?--For using her ill.
KING'S COUNSEL--Were these expressions made use of before his face or
behind his back?--I have heard her before his face and behind his
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--When have you heard it?--I believe in the last
twelve months, but cannot be sure.
KING'S COUNSEL--Recollect on what occasion?--It has been, I believe,
on little passions on both sides, and that generally from trifles.
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--When did you first communicate your suspicion to
Mr. Blandy about his being poisoned?--On the Saturday morning before
his death, from what I saw on the Wednesday before.
Why did you keep this suspicion of yours from Wednesday to
Saturday?--The reason I did not tell my suspicions to Mr. Blandy
sooner than Saturday was because I stayed for Mr. Stevens, the
prisoner's uncle, who did not come till Friday night; I told him then,
and he desired me to tell Mr. Blandy of it.
Did you ever say anything of it to Miss Blandy?--No, I did not.
Pray, what conversation passed between her father and her down upon
her knees, &c.?--She said, "Sir, how do you do?" He said, "I am very
Was anything said about Mr. Cranstoun's addresses to her?--Yes, there
was. That conversation was occasioned by a message that Mr. Blandy had
sent to his daughter by me on Monday morning.
What was that message?--That he was ready to forgive her if she would
but endeavour to bring that villain to justice.
Did she say with what intent the powder was given to her?--She said it
was given her with another intent.
Did she say upon what intent?--She did not say that. He did not ask
Was not that explained?--It was no ways explained.
Did he treat her as if she herself was innocent?--He did, sir.
Then all he said afterwards was as thinking his daughter very
innocent?--It was, sir.
As to the ruin of his daughter, did he think it was entirely owing to
Cranstoun?--Mr. Blandy said he believed his daughter entirely innocent
of what had happened.
By what he said to you, do you think that the father thought his
daughter was imposed upon by Cranstoun when he used that expression,
"She must hate the man," &c.?--I do think so; he said, "Where is
Polly?" I answered, "In her room." He said, "Poor, unfortunate girl!
That ever she should be imposed upon and led away by such a villain to
do such a thing!"
Do you imagine, from the whole conversation that passed between her
father and her, that she was entirely innocent of the fact of the
powder being given?--I do not think so; she said she was innocent.
What was your opinion? Did the father think her wholly unacquainted
with the effect of the powder?--I believe he thought so; that is as
much as I can say.
When you told Miss Blandy that the washerwoman was extremely ill,
having ate some water gruel, was anything more said with relation to
the father's having ate some of the same water gruel before?--I don't
remember there was a word said about the father's having ate any of
During the time of his illness was not Miss Blandy's behaviour to her
father with as much care and tenderness as any daughter could
show?--She seemed to direct everything as she could have done for
herself, or any other person that was sick.
Do you know that she was guilty of any neglect in this respect?--No, I
do not, sir.
KING'S COUNSEL--What did he mean when he said, "Poor, unfortunate
girl! That ever she should be imposed upon and led away by such a
villain to do such a thing!" What do you imagine he meant by such a
thing?--By giving him that which she did not know what it was.
COURT--When she told you that water gruel would serve for her father
on the Wednesday did she know that her father had been ill by taking
water gruel on the Monday and Tuesday nights?--She knew he was ill,
but I cannot tell whether she knew the cause of it; and knew that the
charwoman was ill before she proposed my giving him the same gruel,
but did not oppose my making fresh for any other reason than that it
would hinder my ironing.
[Sidenote: E. Binfield]
ELIZABETH BINFIELD, examined--I was a servant to Mr. Francis Blandy at
Henley, and had been almost three years.
When did you first discover his illness and hear him complain of
unusual prickings in has stomach?--About a fortnight before he died.
Did you ever hear Miss Blandy talk of something in the house which she
said presaged his death, or something like it?--I have often heard her
talk of walkings and music in the house that she had heard. She said
she thought it to be her mother, saying the music foretold her
Whom has she said so to?--She has told me so.
How long ago?--For some time before her father's death; I believe for
three-quarters of a year.
How long did she continue talking in this manner?--She did till his
death. I have often heard her say he would die before October.
What reasons did she give for that?--By the music, saying she had been
informed that music foretells deaths within a twelvemonth.
Who did she say had informed her so?--She said Mr. Cranstoun had been
to some famous woman who had informed him so, and named one Mrs.
Morgan, who lived either in Scotland or London, I cannot say which.
Did she express herself glad or sorry?--Glad, for that then she should
soon be released from all her fatigues, and soon be happy.
Did she talk of the state of health in which he was?--Sometimes she
has said he has been very well, sometimes ill. I remember I heard her
say that my master complained of a ball of fire in his guts. I believe
it was before the Monday he ate the water gruel. I cannot particularly
say. I believe a fortnight before he died, then she said, Mr.
Cranstoun had told her of that famous woman's opinion about music.
Do you remember the first time one Ann Emmet was taken ill?--It was
about a month or six weeks before.
Do you know what Miss Blandy ordered her in that illness?--I do. She
ordered her some white wine whey, and broth several times. I made it
two or three times, two quarts at a time.
Do you remember a paper being taken out of the fire?--I do. It was on
the Saturday before my master died. I took it out myself.
Should you know it again if you see it?--I believe I should. (She is
shown a paper.) I really believe this is it, which I took out of the
fire and delivered it to Susan Gunnell, after which I had it again
from her, and I delivered it to Dr. Addington and Mr. Norton.
Do you remember Miss Blandy's saying anything about Susan Gunnel's
eating the water gruel?--I do. When Susan was ill she asked me how
Susan did. I said, "Very ill." Said she, "Do you remember her ever
drinking her master's water gruel?" I said, "Not as I know of." She
said, "If she does she may do for herself, may I tell you."
Did she bid you tell Susan so?--She did not bid me tell Susan, but I
did tell her.
What time was this?--It might be about a month or six weeks before Mr.
Do you remember any expressions she made use of about her father?--I
heard her say, "Who would grudge to send an old father to hell for
L10,000?" Exactly them words.
When was this?--It was about a month before his death, or it may be
more; I cannot justly tell.
How was this conversation introduced?--She was speaking of young girls
being kept out of their fortunes.
Who was with you at this time?--It was to me, and nobody else.
Have you heard her abuse him with bad language?--I have heard her
curse him, call him rascal and villain.
What was she so angry with her father about?--Mr. Cranstoun was at our
house about three-quarters of a year before Mr. Blandy's death. He
came in August, 1750, and stayed there till near Christmas. It was not
agreeable to my master. We used to think by his temper that he did not
approve of his being so much with his daughter, but I do not believe
he debarred his daughter from keeping his company.
Did you ever hear him say anything to her of his having been once like
to be poisoned?--I was in the kitchen when my master came in to be
shaved. I stayed there till he went out again. Miss Blandy was there,
and he said that once he had like to have been poisoned.
When was it that he said so?--It was on the 10th of August, saying he
was once at the coffee-house or the Lion, and he and two other
gentlemen had like to have been poisoned by what they had drank. Miss
Blandy said, "Sir, I remember it very well." She said it was at one of
those places, and he said no, it was the other. He said, "One of the
gentlemen died immediately, the other is dead now, and I have survived
them both; but it is my fortune to be poisoned at last." He looked
very hard at her during the time he was talking.
What did he say was put into the wine?--I remember he said it was
When he looked hard at her how did she look?--She looked in great
confusion and all in a tremble.
Did you sit up with Miss Blandy the night after her father died?--I
did till three o'clock. She went to bed about one. She said to me,
"Betty, will you go away with me? If you will go to the Lion or the
Bell and hire a post-chaise I will give you fifteen guineas when you
get into it and ten guineas more when we came to London." I said,
"Where will you go then? Into the north?" She said, "I shall go into
the west of England." I said, "Shall you go by sea?" She said, "I
believe some part of the way." I said, "I will not go." Then she burst
into laughter, and said, "I was only in a joke. Did you think I was in
earnest?" "Yes," said I. "No," said she, "I was only joking."
Did you ever hear Miss Blandy tell Dr. Addington that she had given
your master some of that powder?--I heard Miss Blandy tell the doctor
she had given my master some of that powder before in a dish of tea,
which, she said, he did not drink, and she threw it into the street
out of the window, fearing she should be discovered, and filled the
cup again, and that Susan Gunnell drank it, and was ill for a week
When was this?--This was on the Monday before my master died.
Do you remember what happened on Monday, the 5th of August?--Yes. On
that day I and two washerwomen were in the wash-house. Miss Blandy
came in, and said, "Betty, I have been in the pantry eating some of
the oatmeal out of your master's water gruel." I took no notice of it,
but the same day, in the afternoon, I went into the pantry, and Miss
Blandy followed me, and took a spoon and stirred the water gruel, and,
taking some up in the spoon, put it between her fingers and rubbed it.
What was it in?--It was in a pan. When my master was taken ill on the
Tuesday in the afternoon Miss Blandy came into the kitchen, and said,
"Betty, if one thing should happen, will you go with me to Scotland?"
I said, "Madam, I do not know." "What," says she, "you are unwilling
to leave your friends?" Said I, "If I should go there, and not like
it, it will be expensive travelling back again."
Did she say, "If one thing should happen"? What thing?--I took no
further notice of it then, but those were the words. On the Monday
morning before he died she said to me, "Betty, go up to your master
and give my duty to him, and tell him I beg to speak one word with
him." I did. She went up. I met her when she came out of the room from
him. She clasped me round the neck, and burst out a-crying, and said,
"Susan and you are the two honestest servants in the world; you ought
to be imaged in gold for your honesty; half my fortune will not make
you amends for your honesty to my father."
Cross-examined--Had Mr. Blandy at any time, and when, previous to the
5th of August been ill?--About a twelvemonth before he had been ill
some time, but I cannot tell how long.
What was his illness?--He had a great cold.
Did he take any physic?--I believe he did once or twice.
Can you tell the time?--I believe it was the latter end of July or
beginning of August.
Who made the whey and broth that were sent to the washerwoman?--My
fellow-servant made the whey; I made the broth.
Was she a kind mistress to the washerwoman?--She was. She had a
greater regard for her than any other woman that came about the house.
About this music, who did she say heard it?--She mostly mentioned
herself hearing that.
Was this talk when Cranstoun was there?--I heard her talk so when he
was there and in his absence.
Was it when she was in an angry temper only that she used those words
to her father?--I have heard her in the best of times curse her
Was Susan Gunnell very ill after drinking that tea?--She was, and
continued so for a week.
KING'S COUNSEL--Was it at the time Susan was ill from drinking of the
tea that Miss Blandy asked you about her taking the gruel and said it
would do for her? And did she say anything else?--Miss Blandy said she
poured it out for my master, but he went to church and left it.
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--Have you had any ill-will against her?--I always
told her I wished her very well.
Did you ever say, "Damn her for a black bitch; I should be glad to see
her go up the ladder and be hanged"?--No, sir, I never did in my life.
KING'S COUNSEL--Did you and the rest of the family observe that Mr.
Blandy's looks were as well the last six months as before?--Miss
Blandy has said to me, "Don't you think my father looks faint?"
Sometimes I have said, "He is," sometimes not. I never observed any
alteration at all.
[Here Dr. Addington is appealed to by the counsel for the prisoner.]
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--Do you, Dr. Addington, remember Miss Blandy
telling you on Monday night, the 12th August, that she had on a Sunday
morning, about six weeks before, when her father was absent from the
parlour, mixed a powder with his tea, and that Susan Gunnell had drank
that tea?--I remember her telling me that Monday night that she had on
a Sunday morning, about six weeks before, when her father was absent
from the parlour, mixed a powder with his tea, but do not remember her
saying that Susan Gunnell had drank that tea. I have several times
heard Susan Gunnell say that she was sure she had been poisoned by
drinking tea out of Mr. Blandy's cup that Sunday morning.
Did not Miss Blandy declare to you that she had always thought the
Did she not always declare the same?--Yes.
[The KING'S COUNSEL then interposed, and said that he had not intended
to mention what had passed in discourse between the prisoner and Dr.
Addington; but that now, as her own counsel had been pleased to call
for part of it, he desired the whole might be laid before the Court.]
[Sidenote: Dr. Addington]
Dr. ADDINGTON--On Monday night, the 12th August, after Miss Blandy had
been secured, and her papers, keys, &c., taken from her, she threw
herself on the bed and groaned, then raised herself and wrung her
hands, and said that it was impossible for any words to describe the
horrors and agonies in her breast; that Mr. Cranstoun had ruined her;
that she had ever, till now, believed him a man of the strictest
honour; that she had mixed a powder with the gruel, which her father
had drank on the foregoing Monday and Tuesday nights; that she was the
cause of his death, and that she desired life for no end but to go
through a painful penance for her sin. She protested at the same time
that she had never mixed the powder with anything else that he had
swallowed, and that she did not know it to be poison till she had seen
its effects. She said that she had received the powder from Mr.
Cranstoun with a present of Scotch pebbles; that he had written on the
paper that held it, "The powder to clean the pebbles with"; that he
had assured her it was harmless; that he had often taken it himself;
that if she would give her father some of it now and then, a little
and a little at a time, in any liquid, it would make him kind to him
and her; that accordingly, about six weeks before, at breakfast-time,
her father being out of the room, she had put a little of it into his
cup of tea, but that he never drank it; that, part of the powder
swimming at top of the tea, and part sinking to the bottom, she had
poured it out of the window and filled up the cup with fresh tea; that
then she wrote to Mr. Cranstoun to let him know that she could not
give it in tea without being discovered; and that in his answer he had
advised her to give it in water gruel for the future, or in any other
thickish fluid. I asked her whether she would endeavour to bring Mr.
Cranstoun to justice. After a short pause she answered that she was
fully conscious of her own guilt, and was unwilling to add guilt to
guilt, which she thought she should do if she took any step to the
prejudice of Mr. Cranstoun, whom she considered as her husband though
the ceremony had not passed between them.
KING'S COUNSEL--Was anything more said by the prisoner or you?--I
asked her whether she had been so weak as to believe the powder that
she had put into her father's tea and gruel so harmless as Mr.
Cranstoun had represented it; why Mr. Cranstoun had called it a powder
to clean pebbles if it was intended only to make Mr. Blandy kind; why
she had not tried it on herself before she ventured to try it on her
father; why she had flung it into the fire; why, if she had really
thought it innocent, she had been fearful of a discovery when part of
it swam on the top of the tea; why, when she had found it hurtful to
her father, she had neglected so many days to call proper assistance
to him; and why, when I was called at last, she had endeavoured to
keep me in the dark and hide the true cause of his illness.
What answers did she make to these questions?--I cannot justly say,
but very well remember that they were not such as gave me any
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--She said then that she was entirely ignorant of
the effects of the powder.
She said that she did not know it to be poison till she had seen its
Let me ask you, Dr. Addington, this single question, whether the
horrors and agonies which Miss Blandy was in at this time were not, in
your opinion, owing solely to a hearty concern for her father?--I beg,
sir, that you will excuse my giving an answer to this question. It is
not easy, you know, to form a true judgment of the heart, and I hope a
witness need not deliver his opinion of it.
I do not speak of the heart; you are only desired to say whether those
agitations of body and mind which Miss Blandy showed at this time did
not seem to you to arise entirely from a tender concern for her
father?--Since you oblige me, sir, to speak to this particular, I must
say that all the agitation of body and mind which Miss Blandy showed
at this time, or any other, when I was with her, seemed to me to arise
more from the apprehension of unhappy consequences to herself than
from a tender and hearty concern for her father.
Did you never, then, observe in her any evident tokens of grief for
her father?--I never thought I did.
Did she never wish for his recovery?--Often.
Did not you think that those wishes implied a concern for him?--I did
not, because I had before told her that if he died soon she would
inevitably be ruined.
When did you tell her this?--On Sunday morning, the 11th August, just
before I left Henley.
Did not she desire you that morning, before you quitted his room, to
visit him again the next day?--Yes.
And was she not very solicitous that you should do him all the service
in your power?--I cannot say that I discovered any solicitude in her
on this score till Monday night, the 12th August, after she was
confined, and her keys and other things had been taken from her.
KING'S COUNSEL--Did you, Dr. Addington, attend Susan Gunnell in her
illness?--Yes, sir, but I took no minutes of her case.
Did her symptoms agree with Mr. Blandy's?--They differed from his in
some respects, but the most material were manifestly of the same kind
with his, though in a much less degree.
Did you think them owing to poison?--Yes.
Did you attend Ann Emmet?--Yes, sir.
To what cause did you ascribe her disorder?--To poison, for she told
me that, on Wednesday morning, the 7th August, very soon after
drinking some gruel at Mr. Blandy's, she had been seized with
prickings and burnings in her tongue, throat, and stomach, which had
been followed by severe fits of vomiting and purging; and I observed
that she had many other symptoms which agreed with Mr. Blandy's.
Did she say that she thought she had ever taken poison before?--On my
telling her that I ascribed her complaints to poison, which she had
taken in gruel at Mr. Blandy's on the 7th August, she said that, if
she had been poisoned by drinking that gruel at Mr. Blandy's, she was
sure that she had been poisoned there the haytime before by drinking
[Sidenote: Alice Emmet]
ALICE EMMET, examined--My mother is now very ill, and cannot attend;
she was charwoman at Mr. Blandy's in June last; she was taken very ill
in the night with a vomiting and reaching, upwards and downwards. I
went to Miss Blandy in the morning, by her desire, to see if she would
send her something, as she wanted something to drink, saying she was
very dry. Miss said she would send something, which she did in about
Did you tell her what your mother had ate or drank?--No, I did not,
only said my mother was very ill and very dry, and desired something
[Sidenote: R. Littleton]
ROBERT LITTLETON, examined--I was clerk to Mr. Blandy almost two
years. The latter end of July last I went to my father's, in
Warwickshire, and returned again on the 9th August, and breakfasted
with Mr. Blandy and his daughter the next morning, which was on a
Saturday. He was in great agony, and complained very much. He had a
particular dish to drink his tea in. He tasted his tea, and did not
drink it, saying it had a gritty, bad taste, and asked Miss whether
she had not put too much of the black stuff in it, meaning Bohea tea.
She answered it was as usual. He tasted it again and said it had a bad
taste. She seemed to be in some sort of a tremor. He looked particular
at her, and she looked very much confused and hurried, and went out of
the room. Soon after my master poured it out into the cat's basin, and
set it to be filled again. After this, when he was not there, Miss
asked me what he did with the tea. I said he had not drunk it, but put
it into the cat's basin in the window; then she looked a good deal
confused and flurried. The next day Mr. Blandy, of Kingston, came
about half an hour after nine in the morning. They walked into the
parlour, and left me to breakfast by myself in the kitchen. I went to
church. When I returned, the prisoner desired me to walk with her
cousin into the garden; she delivered a letter to me, and desired me
to seal and direct it as usual, and put it into the post.
Had you ever directed any letter for her before?--I have, a great
many. I used to direct her letters to Mr. Cranstoun. [He is shown a
letter.] This is one.
Did you put it into the post?--I did not. I opened it, having just
before heard Mr. Blandy was poisoned by his own daughter. I
transcribed it, and took it to Mr. Norton, the apothecary at Henley,
and after that I showed it and read it to Mr. Blandy.
What did he say?--He said very little. He smiled and said, "Poor,
love-sick girl! What won't a girl do for a man she loves?" (or to that
Have you ever seen her write?--I have, very often.
Look at this letter; is it her own handwriting?--I cannot tell. It is
written worse than she used to write, but it is the same she gave me.
Do you remember Mr. Cranstoun coming there in August, 1750?--I do. It
was either the latter end of July or the beginning of August.
Did you hear any talk about music about that time?--After he was gone
I heard the prisoner say she heard music in the house; this I heard
her say very often, and that it denoted a death in the family.
Sometimes she said she believed it would be herself; at other times it
might be her father, by reason of his being so much broken. I heard
her say once she thought she heard her mother.
Did she say when that death would happen?--She said that death would
happen before October, meaning the death of her father, seeming to me.
Have you heard her curse her father?--I have heard her several times,
for a rogue, a villain, a toothless old dog.
How long was this before her father's death?--I cannot justly tell
that, but I have heard her a great many times within two months of his
death, and a great while before. I used to tell her he was much broken
latterly, and would not live long. She would say she thought so too,
and that the music portended his death.
Cross-examined--When you breakfasted with them in the parlour who was
there first?--She was.
Did you see the tea made?--No, sir.
Did you see it poured out?--No; but he desired me to taste the tea. I
did mine, and said I fancied his mouth was out of taste.
Did not this hurry you say Miss Blandy was in arise from the
displeasure of her father because the tea was not made to his mind?--I
cannot say that, or what it was from.
What became of that he threw into the cat's basin?--He left it there.
[Sidenote: R. Harman]
ROBERT HARMAN, examined--I was servant to Mr. Blandy at the time of
his death. That night he died the prisoner asked me where I should
live next. I said I did not know. She asked me to go with her. I asked
her where she was going? She said it would be L500 in my way, and no
hurt to me if I would. I told her I did not choose to go.
Did she tell you to what place she was going?--She did not.
Did she want to go away at that time of night?--Then, immediately.
Cross-examined--Did she give any reason why she desired to go
away?--No, she gave none.
How long had you lived there?--A twelvemonth.
What has been her general behaviour to her father during the time you
were there?--She behaved very well, so far as ever I saw, and to all
Did you ever hear her swear about her father?--No, I never did.
[Sidenote: R. Fisher]
RICHARD FISHER, examined--I was one of the jury on the coroner's
inquest that sat on Mr. Blandy's body on Thursday, 15th of August. As
I was going up street to go to market I was told Miss Blandy was gone
over the bridge. I went and found her at the sign of the Angel, on the
other side of the bridge. I told her I was very sorry for her
misfortune, and asked her what she could think of herself to come from
home, and if she would be glad to go home again? She said, "Yes, but
what must I do to get there for the mob?" I said I would endeavour to
get a close post-chaise and carry her home. I went out through the mob
and got one, and carried her home. She asked me whether she was to go
to Oxford that night or not. I said I believed not. When I came to her
father's house I delivered her up to the constables. When we were upon
the inquiry before the coroner a gentleman was asking for some letters
which came in the time of Mr. Blandy's illness. I went to her uncle,
Stevens, to see for them. She then asked me again what the gentlemen
intended to do with her, or how it would go. I said I was afraid very
hard, unless she could produce some letters to bring Mr. Cranstoun to
justice. She said, "Dear Mr. Fisher, I am afraid I have burnt some
that would have brought him to justice." She took a key out of her
pocket, and said, "Take this key and see if you can find such letters
in such a drawer." There was one Mrs. Minn stood by. I desired her to
go with the key, which she did. But no letters were found there. Then
Miss Blandy said, "My honour to him will prove my ruin."
What did she mean by the word "him"?--Mr. Cranstoun--when she found
there were no letters of consequence to be found.
[Sidenote: Mrs. Lane]
Mrs. LANE, examined--I was with my husband at Henley at the sign of
the Angel on the other side of the bridge. There was Miss Blandy. The
first word I heard Mr. Lane, my husband, say was, if she was found
guilty she would suffer according to law, upon which she stamped her
foot upon the ground, and said, "O that damned villain!" then paused a
little, and said "But why should I blame him, for I am more to blame
than he, for I gave it him, and knew the consequence?"
Did she say I knew or I know?--I really cannot say, sir, for I did not
expect to be called for to be examined here, and will not take upon me
to swear positively to a word. She was in a sort of agony, in a very
[Sidenote: Mr. Lane]
Mr. LANE, examined--I went into the room where the prisoner was before
my wife the day after Mr. Blandy's death. She arose from her chair,
and met me, and looked hard at me. She said, "Sir, I have not the
pleasure of knowing you." Said I, "No, I am a stranger to you." She
said, "Sir, you look like a gentleman. What do you think they will do
with me?" Said I, "You will be committed to the county gaol, and be
tried at the assizes, and if your innocence appears you will be
acquitted; if not, you will suffer accordingly." She stamped with her
foot, and said, "O! that damned villain! But why do I blame him? I am
more to blame." Then Mr. Littleton came in, which took off my
attention from her that I did not hear so as to give an account of the
[The letter which Littleton opened, read in Court.] Directed to the
hon. William Henry Cranstoun, Esq.--
Dear Willy,--My father is so bad, that I have only time to tell you,
that if you do not hear from me soon again, do not be frightened.
I am better myself; and lest any accident should happen to your
letters take care what you write. My sincere compliments. I am ever,
The Prisoner's Defence.
[Sidenote: Mary Blandy]
My lords, it is morally impossible for me to lay down the hardships I
have received--I have been aspersed in my character. In the first
place, it has been said that I have spoken ill of my father, that I
have cursed him, and wished him at hell, which is extremely false.
Sometimes little family affairs have happened, and he did not speak to
me so kind as I could wish. I own I am passionate, my lords, and in
those passions some hasty expressions might have dropped; but great
care has been taken to recollect every word I have spoken at different
times, and to apply them to such particular purposes as my enemies
knew would do me the greatest injury. These are hardships, my lords,
extreme hardships, such as you yourselves must allow to be so. It is
said, too, my lords, that I endeavoured to make my escape. Your
lordships will judge from the difficulties I laboured under. I had
lost my father--I was accused of being his murderer--I was not
permitted to go near him--I was forsaken by my friends--affronted by
the mob--insulted by my servants. Although I begged to have the
liberty to listen at the door where he died I was not allowed it. My
keys were taken from me, my shoe buckles and garters, too--to prevent
me from making away with myself, as though I was the most abandoned
creature. What could I do, my lords? I verily believe I must have been
out of my senses. When I heard my father was dead, and the door open,
I ran out of the house and over the bridge, and had nothing on but a
half-sack and petticoat without a hoop--my petticoats hanging about
me--the mob gathered about me. Was this a condition, my lords, to make
my escape in? A good woman beyond the bridge seeing me in this
distress desired me to walk in till the mob was dispersed. The town
serjeant was there. I begged he would take me under his protection to
have me home. The woman said it was not proper; the mob was very
great, and that I had better stay a little. When I came home they said
I used the constable ill. I was locked up for fifteen hours, with only
an odd servant of the family to attend me. I was not allowed a maid
for the common decencies of my sex. I was sent to gaol, and was in
hopes there, at least, this usage would have ended. But was told it
was reported I was frequently drunk; that I attempted to make my
escape; that I never attended the chapel. A more abstemious woman, my
lords, I believe does not live.
Upon the report of my making my escape the gentleman who was High
Sheriff last year (not the present) came and told me, by order of the
higher powers, he must put an iron on me. I submitted, as I always do
to the higher powers. Some time after he came again, and said he must
put a heavier upon me, which I have worn, my lords, till I came
hither. I asked the Sheriff why I was so ironed. He said he did it by
the command of some noble peer on his hearing that I intended to make
my escape. I told them I never had such a thought, and I would bear it
with the other cruel usage I had received on my character. The Rev.
Mr. Swinton, the worthy clergyman who attended me in prison, can
testify that I was very regular at the chapel whenever I was well.
Sometimes I really was not able to come out, and then he attended me
in my room. They likewise have published papers and depositions which
ought not to have been published in order to represent me as the most
abandoned of my sex and to prejudice the world against me. I submit
myself to your lordships and to the worthy jury. I can assure your
lordships, as I am to answer it before that grand tribunal, where I
must appear, I am as innocent as the child unborn of the death of my
father. I would not endeavour to save my life at the expense of truth.
I really thought the powder an innocent, inoffensive thing, and I gave
it to procure his love. It has been mentioned, I should say I was
ruined. My lords, when a young woman loses her character is not that
her ruin? Why, then, should this expression be construed in so wide a
sense? Is it not ruining my character to have such a thing laid to my
charge? And whatever may be the event of this trial I am ruined most
Evidence for the Defence.
[Sidenote: Ann James]
ANN JAMES, examined--I live at Henley, and had use to wash for Mr.
Blandy. I remember the time Mr. Blandy grew ill. Before he was ill
there was a difference between Elizabeth Binfield and Miss Blandy, and
Binfield was to go away.
How long before Mr. Blandy's death?--It might be pretty near a quarter
of a year before. I have heard her curse Miss Blandy, and damn her for
a bitch, and said she would not stay. Since this affair happened I
heard her say, "Damn her for a black bitch. I shall be glad to see her
go up the ladder and swing."
How long after?--It was after Miss Blandy was sent away to gaol.
Cross-examined--What was this quarrel about?--I do not know. I heard
her say she had a quarrel, and was to go away several times.
Who was by at this time?--Mary Banks was by, and Nurse Edwards, and
Mary Seymour, and I am not sure whether Robert Harman was there or
How was it introduced?--It happened in Mr. Blandy's kitchen; she was
always talking about Miss.
Were you there on the 5th of August?--I cannot say I was.
Do you remember the prisoner's coming into the washhouse and saying
she had been doing something with her father's water gruel?--No, I do
not remember it.
[Sidenote: E. Binfield]
ELIZABETH BINFIELD, recalled--Did you, Elizabeth Binfield, ever make
use of such an expression as this witness has mentioned?--I never said
Did you ever tell this witness Miss and you had quarrelled?--To the
best of my knowledge, I never told her about a quarrel.
Have you ever had a quarrel?--We had a little quarrel sometime before.
Did you ever declare you were to go away?--I did.
[Sidenote: Mary Banks]
MARY BANKS, examined--I remember being in Mr. Blandy's kitchen in
company with Ann James.
COUNSEL--Who was in company?--I do not remember.
Do you remember a conversation between Elizabeth Binfield and Ann
James?--I do not remember anything of it.
Do you remember her aspersing Miss Blandy's character?--I do not
Did you hear her say, "She should be glad to see the black bitch go up
the ladder to be hanged"?--She did say, "She should be glad to see the
black bitch go up the ladder to be hanged."
When was this?--It was the night Mr. Blandy was opened.
Are you sure it was that day?--I am sure it was.
Where was Miss Blandy then?--She was then in the house.
[Sidenote: E. Herne]
EDWARD HERNE, examined--I formerly was a servant in Mr. Blandy's
family; I went there eighteen years ago, and left them about twelve
years ago last November, but have been frequently at the house ever
since, that is, may be once, twice, thrice, or four times in a week.
What was Miss's general behaviour to her father and in the
family?--She behaved, according to what I always observed, as well to
her father and the family as anybody could do, an affectionate,
Did you see her during the time of Mr. Blandy's illness?--I did. The
first time I went into the room she was not able to speak to me nor I
to her for ten minutes.
What was that owing to?--It was owing to the greatness of her grief.
When was this?--It was the 12th of August, at night.
How did her father seem to be satisfied with her behaviour and
conduct?--She was put into my custody that night; when I went into the
room (upon hearing the groans of her father) she said, at my return,
"Pray, Ned, how does he do?"
Did you ever hear her speak ill of her father?--I never heard her
swear an oath all the time I have known her, or speak a disrespectful
word of her father.
Cross-examined--What are you?--I am sexton of the parish.
On what night did Mr. Blandy die?--On the Wednesday night.
How came you, as she was put under your care, to let her get away?--I
was gone to dig a grave, and was sent for home; they told me she was
gone over the bridge.
Had you any talk with her about this affair?--She declared to me that
Captain Cranstoun put some powder into tea one morning for Mr. Blandy,
and she turned herself about he was stirring it in the cup.
When did she tell you this?--In August, 1750.
Have you seen her since she has been in Oxford Gaol?--I have. When the
report was spread that the captain was taken I was with her in the
gaol; a gentleman came in and said he was taken; she wrung her hands
and said, "I hope in God it is true, that he may be brought to justice
as well as I, and that he may suffer the punishment due to his crime
as she should do for hers."
PRISONER--Give me leave to ask the last witness some questions.
COURT--You had better tell your questions to your counsel, for you may
do yourself harm by asking questions.
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--Did not the prisoner at the same time declare that
as to herself she was totally innocent, and had no design to hurt her
father?--At that time she declared that when Cranstoun put the powder
into the tea, upon which no damage at all came, and when she put
powder afterwards herself, she apprehended no damage could come to her
When she spoke of her own suffering did she not mean the same
misfortune that she then laboured under?--She said she should be glad
Cranstoun should be taken and brought to justice; she thought it would
bring the whole to light, he being the occasion of it all, for she
suffered (by being in prison) and was innocent, and knew nothing that
it was poison no more than I or any one person in the house.
[Sidenote: T. Cawley]
THOMAS CAWLEY, examined--I have known Miss Blandy twenty years and
upwards, and her father likewise; I was intimate in the family, and
have frequently drunk tea there.
What was her behaviour to her father during your knowledge of her?--I
never saw any other than dutiful.
[Sidenote: T. Staverton]
THOMAS STAVERTON, examined--I have lived near them five or six and
twenty years and upwards, and was always intimate with them; I always
thought they were two happy people, he happy in a daughter and she in
a father, as any in the world. The last time she was at our house she
expressed her father had had many wives laid out for him, but she was
satisfied he never would marry till she was settled.
Cross-examined--Did you observe for the last three or four months
before his death that he declined in his health?--I observed he did; I
do not say as to his health, but he seemed to shrink, and I have often
told my wife my old friend Blandy was going.
Had he lost any teeth latterly?--I do not know as to that; he was a
PRISONER'S COUNSEL--How old was he?--I think he was sixty-two.
[Sidenote: Mary Davis]
MARY DAVIS, examined--I live at the Angel at Henley Bridge; I remember
Miss Blandy coming over the bridge the day that Mr. Blandy was opened;
she was walking along, and a great crowd of people after her. I,
seeing that, went and asked what was the matter; I asked her where she
was going? She said, "To take a walk for a little air, for they were
going to open her father, and she could not bear the house." The mob
followed her so fast was the reason I asked her to go to my house,
which she accepted.
Did she walk fast or slowly?--She was walking as softly as foot could
be laid to the ground; it had not the least appearance of her going to
make her escape.
[Sidenote: R. Stoke]
ROBERT STOKE, examined--I saw the prisoner with Mrs. Davis the day her
father was opened; I told her I had orders from the Mayor to detain
her. She said she was very glad, because the mob was about.
Did you think, from her dress and behaviour, she was about to attempt
to make her escape?--No, it did not appear to me at all.
Cross-examined--Were you there when Mr. and Mrs. Lane came in?--I was.
Did you hear the words she said to Mr. Lane?--I heard nothing at all.
[Sidenote: Mr. Ford]
Mr. FORD--As very unjustifiable and illegal methods have been used to
prejudice the world against Miss Blandy, such as it is to be hoped, no
man will have the boldness to repeat--I mean the printing and
publishing the examination of witnesses before her trial--and as very
scandalous reports have been spread concerning her behaviour ever
since her imprisonment, it is desired that the reverend gentleman who
has attended her as a clergyman may give an account of her conduct
whilst in gaol, that she may at least be delivered of some of the
infamy she at present lies under.
To which he was answered by the Court that it was needless to call a
witness to that, as the jury was only to regard what was deposed in
Court, and entirely to disregard what papers had been printed and
spread about, or any report whatsoever.
[Sidenote: Mr. Bathurst]
Mr. BATHURST--Your lordships will, I hope, indulge me in a very few
words by way of reply, and after the length of evidence which has been
laid before the jury I will take up but little of your lordships'
Gentlemen, you observe it has been proved to a demonstration that Mr.
Francis Blandy did die of poison. It is as clearly proved that he died
of the poison put into his water gruel upon the 5th of August, and
that the prisoner at the bar put it in. For so much appears, not only
from her own confession, but from a variety of other evidence. The
single question, therefore, for your consideration is, whether she did
it knowingly or ignorantly?
[Illustration: Miss Molly Blandy, taken from the life in Oxford Castle
(_From an Engraving in the Collection of Mr. A.M. Broadley_.)]
I admit that in some of the conversations which she has had at
different times with different persons she has said she did it without
knowing it to be poison, or believing it to be so. At the same time I
beg leave to observe (as you will find when their lordships sum up the
evidence to you) that she did not always make the same pretence.
Examine then, gentlemen, whether it is possible she could do it
It has appeared in evidence that she owned she saw Mr. Cranstoun put
some powder into her father's tea in the month of August preceding,
that she had herself afterwards done the same; but she said she saw no
ill-effect from it, and therefore concluded it was not hurtful. Her
own witness, Thomas Staverton, says that for the past year Mr. Blandy
used to shrink in his clothes, that he made the observation to his
wife and told her his friend Blandy was going. Our witnesses have said
that she herself made the same observation, told them her father
looked very ill, as though he would not live, and said he would not
live till October.
And here let me observe one thing. She says she gave her father this
powder to make him love her. After having heard the great affection
with which the poor dying man behaved towards her, can you think she
wanted any charm for that purpose? After having heard what her own
witnesses have said of the father's fondness for the daughter, can you
believe she had occasion for any love powder?
But one thing more. She knew her father had taken this powder in his
water gruel upon the Monday night, and upon the Tuesday night; saw how
violently he was affected by it, and yet would have had more of the
same gruel given to him upon the Wednesday.
Yet one thing more. When she must have been fully satisfied that it
was poison, and that it would probably be the occasion of his death,
she endeavoured to burn the paper in which the rest of the powder was
contained, without ever acquainting the physicians what she had given
him, which might have been the means for them to have prescribed what
was proper for his relief.
Still one thing more. She is accused upon the Saturday; she attempts to
burn the powder upon the Saturday; and yet upon the Sunday she stays
from church in order to write a letter to Mr. Cranstoun. In that
letter she styles him her "dear Willy," acquaints him her father is so
bad that he must not be frightened if he does not soon hear from her
again; says she is herself better; then cautions him to take care what
he writes lest his letters should fall into a wrong hand. Was this
such a letter as she would have wrote if she had been innocent? if she
had not known the quality of the powder? if she had been imposed upon
by Mr. Cranstoun?
I will only make one other observation, which is that of all our
witnesses she has attempted to discredit only one. She called two
persons to contradict Elizabeth Binfield in regard to a scandalous
expression (which she was charged with, but which she positively
denied ever to have made use of) in saying "she should be glad to see
the prisoner go up the ladder and swing." They first called Ann James;
she swore to the expression, and said it was after Miss Blandy was
sent to Oxford gaol. The next witness, Mary Banks, who at first did
not remember the conversation, and at last did not remember who were
present, said (upon being asked about the time) that she was sure the
conversation happened upon the Thursday night on which Mr. Blandy was
opened, and during the time that Miss Blandy was in the house. These
two witnesses, therefore, grossly contradict one another, consequently
ought not to take away the credit of Elizabeth Binfield. And let me
observe that Elizabeth Binfield proved nothing (besides some few
expressions used by Miss Blandy) but what was confirmed by the other
maidservant, Susan Gunnell.
I will, in justice to the prisoner, add (what has already been
observed by Mr. Ford) that the printing which was given in evidence
before the coroner, drawing odious comparisons between her and former
parricides, and spreading scandalous reports in regard to her manner
of demeaning herself in prison, was a shameful behaviour towards her,
and a gross offence against public justice. But you, gentlemen, are
men of sense, and upon your oaths; you will therefore totally
disregard whatever you have heard out of this place. You are sworn to
give a true verdict between the king and the prisoner at the bar,
according to the evidence now laid before you. It is upon that we (who
appear for the public) rest our cause. If, upon that evidence, she
appears to be innocent, in God's name let her be acquitted; but if,
upon that evidence, she appears to be guilty, I am sure you will do
justice to the public, and acquit your own consciences.
PRISONER--It is said I gave it my father to make him fond of me. There
was no occasion for that--but to make him fond of Cranstoun.
Charge to the Jury.
[Sidenote: Mr. Baron Legge]
MR. BARON LEGGE--Gentlemen of the jury, Mary Blandy, the prisoner
at the bar, stands indicted before you for the murder of Francis
Blandy, her late father, by mixing poison in tea and water gruel,
which she had prepared for him, to which she has pleaded that she is
In the first place, gentlemen, I would take notice to you of a very
improper and a very scandalous behaviour towards the prisoner by
certain people who have taken upon themselves very unjustifiably to
publish in print what they call depositions, taken before the coroner,
in relation to this very affair which is now brought before you to
determine. I hope you have not seen them; but if you have, I must tell
you, as you are men of sense and probity, that you must divest
yourselves of every prejudice that can arise from thence and attend
merely to the evidence that has now been given before you in Court,
which I shall endeavour to repeat to you as exactly as I am able after
so great a length of examination.
In support of the indictment, the counsel for the Crown have called a
great number of witnesses. In order to establish, in the first place,
the fact that Mr. Blandy died of poison, they begin with Dr.
Addington, who tells you that he did attend Mr. Blandy in his last
illness; that he was first called in upon Saturday evening, the 10th
of August last; that the deceased complained that after drinking some
water gruel on Monday night, the 5th of August, he perceived a
grittiness in his mouth, attended with a pricking-burning, especially
about his tongue and throat; that he had a pricking and burning in his
stomach, accompanied with sickness; a pricking and griping in his
bowels; but that afterwards he purged and vomited a good deal, which
had lessened those symptoms he had complained of; that on Tuesday
night, the 6th of August, he took more gruel, and had immediately a
return of the same symptoms, but more aggravated; that he had besides
hiccups, cold sweats, great anxieties, prickings in every external as
well as internal part of his body, which he compared to so many
needles darting at the same time into all parts of him; but the doctor
tells you at the time he saw him he said he was easy, except in his
mouth, his nose, lips, eyes, and fundament, and some transient
pinchings in his bowels, which the doctor then imputed to the purgings
and vomitings, for he had had some bloody stools; that he imputed the
sensations upwards to the fumes of something he had taken the Monday
and Tuesday before; that he inspected the parts affected, and found
his tongue swelled, his throat excoriated and a little swelled, his
lips dry, and pimples on them, pimples on the inside of his nostrils,
and his eyes bloodshot; that next morning he examined his fundament,
which he found surrounded with ulcers; his pulse trembled and
intermitted, his breath was interrupted and laborious, his complexion
yellowish, and he could not without the greatest difficulty swallow a
teaspoonful of the thinnest liquid; that he then asked him if he had
given offence to any person whatever. His daughter the prisoner was
then present, and she made answer that her father was at peace with
all the world, and all the world with him. He then asked if he had
been subject to this kind of complaint before. The prisoner said that
he was subject to the heartburn and colic, and she supposed this would
go off as it used to do; that he then told them that he suspected that
by some means or other he had taken poison, to which the deceased
replied he did not know but he might, or words to that effect; but the
prisoner said it was impossible. He returned to visit him on Sunday
morning, and found him something relieved; that he had some stools,
but none bloody, which he took for a spasm; that afterwards Norton,
the apothecary, gave him some powder, which he said had been taken out
of gruel, which the deceased had drank on Monday and Tuesday; this
powder he examined at leisure, and believed it to be white arsenic;
that the same morning a paper was put into his hands by one of the
maids, which she said had been taken out of the fire, and which she
saw Miss Blandy throw in. There was a superscription on the paper,
"powder to clean the pebbles." There was so little of it that he
cannot say positively what it was, but suspects it to be arsenic, for
he put it on his tongue and it felt like arsenic, but some burnt paper
mixed with it had discoloured and softened it. He tells you that on
Monday morning the deceased was worse; all the symptoms returned, and
he complained more of his fundament than before. He then desired the
assistance of some skilful physician, because he looked upon him to be
in the utmost danger, and apprehended this affair might come before a
court of judicature. He asked the deceased if he really thought he was
poisoned, to which he answered that he really believed so, and thought
he had taken it often, because his teeth rotted faster than usual; he
had frequent prickings and burnings in his tongue and throat, violent
heartburn, and frequent stools, that carried it off again by
unaccountable fits of vomiting and purging; that he had had these
symptoms, especially after his daughter had received a present of
Scotch pebbles from Mr. Cranstoun. He then asked the deceased who he
suspected had given the poison to him; the tears then stood in his
eyes, but he forced a smile and said, "A poor love-sick girl! I
forgive her; I always thought there was mischief in those cursed
Dr. Lewis came that evening, and Miss Blandy was sent into her
chamber, under a guard, and all papers in her pocket, and all
instruments with which she might hurt herself, or any other person,
and her keys, were taken from her, that nothing might be secreted; for
it was not then publicly known that Mr. Blandy was poisoned, and they
thought themselves accountable for her forthcoming. On Monday night
the deceased mended again, and grew better and worse, unaccountably,
as long as he lived. On Tuesday morning everything growing worse, he
became excessively weak, rambled in his discourse, and grew delirious,
had cold, clammy sweats, short cough, and a deep way of fetching his
breath; and he observed upon these occasions that an ulcerous matter
issued from his fundament. In the midst of all this, whenever he
recovered his senses he said he was better, and seemed quite serene,
and told him he thought himself like a man bit by a mad dog. "I should
be glad to drink, but I can't swallow." About noon his speech faltered
more than before; he grew ghastly, was a shocking sight, and had a
very bad night. On Wednesday morning he recovered his senses a little
and said he would make his will in a few days; but soon grew delirious
again, sunk every minute, and about two in the afternoon he died.
The doctor tells you he then thought, and still thinks, that he died
of poison; that he had no symptoms while he lived, nor after he was
dead, but what are common in people who have taken white arsenic. He
then read some observations which he had made on the appearances of
his body after he was dead; that his back and the parts he lay on were
livid; the fat on the muscles of his belly was loose in texture and,
approached fluidity; the muscles of the belly were pale and flaccid;
the cawl yellower than natural; the side next the stomach and
intestines brownish; the heart variegated with purple spots; there was
no water in the pericardium; the lungs resembled bladders filled with
air, blotted with black, like ink; the liver and spleen were
discoloured, and the former looked as if it had been boiled; a stone
was found in the gall-bladder; the bile was very fluid and of a dirty
yellow colour inclining to red; the kidneys were stained with livid
spots; the stomach and bowels were inflated, and looked liked they had
been pinched, and blood stagnated in the membranes; they contained
slimy, bloody froth; their coats were thin, smooth, and flabby; the
inside of the stomach was quite smooth, and, about the orifices,
inflamed, and appeared stabbed and wounded, like the white of an eye
just brushed by the beards of barley; that there was no appearance of
any natural decay at all in him, and therefore he has no doubt of his
dying by poison; and believes that poison to have been white arsenic;
that the deceased never gave him any reason why he took the same sort
of gruel a second time, nor did he ask him. He tells you, as to the
powder that was given him by Norton, he made some experiments with it
the next day, and some part of it he gave to Mr. King, an experienced
chemist in Reading, who, upon trial, found it to be arsenic, as he
told him; that he twice had powder from Norton, and that what he had
the second time he kept entirely in his own custody and made
experiments with it a month afterwards; that he never was out of the
room while those experiments were making, and he observed them to
tally exactly with other arsenic which he tried at the same time. I
need not mis-spend your time in repeating the several experiments
which the doctor has told you he made of it; he has been very minute
and particular in his account of them, and, upon the whole, concludes
the same to have been arsenic.
Dr. Lewis, the other physician, who has likewise been sworn, stood by
all the while, and confirms Dr. Addington's evidence, tells you he
observed the same symptoms, and gives it absolutely as his opinion
that Mr. Blandy died by poison, of which he has not the least doubt.
The next witness that is called on the part of the Crown is Benjamin
Norton, who is an apothecary at Henley. He tells you he was sent for
to Mrs. Mounteney's, in Henley, on Thursday morning, the 8th of
August; that there was a pan brought thither by Susan Gunnel, Mr.
Blandy's maidservant, with some water gruel in it; that he was asked
what that powder was in the bottom of the pan, to which he replied
that it was impossible to say whilst it was wet in the gruel, but that
he would take it out; that accordingly he did take it out and laid it
upon paper, and gave it to Mrs. Mounteney to keep, which she did till
the Sunday following, when it was delivered to him, and he showed it
to Dr. Addington, to whom he gave some of it twice, and, by the
experiment made upon it with a hot poker, he apprehended it to be of
the arsenic kind; that the powder he gave Dr. Addington was the same
that he received from Mrs. Mounteney; that he has some of it still by
him, which, he now produces in Court. He tells you that he was sent
for to Mr. Blandy on Tuesday, the 6th of August; that he was very ill,
as he imagined, of colic, and complained of a violent pain in his
stomach, attended with reaching and purging and swelling of the
bowels; that he took physic on Wednesday morning, from which he found
himself better; that on Thursday he went there in the morning, but did
not then see him, but went again about twelve o'clock, and then saw
him; he desired to have more physic, which he sent him to take on the
Friday morning; that he has been used to attend Mr. Blandy, but that
he never saw him thus out of order; that the last illness that he had
had was thirteen months before. He tells you that he has heard the
prisoner say that she had heard music in the house, which portended
something, and that Cranstoun had seen her father's apparition, and
this was some months before her father's death; he says that he cannot
tell who it was sent for him, but that when he came he found Mr.
Blandy and the prisoner together; that he asked if he had eaten
anything that had disagreed with him, to which the prisoner made
answer, nothing that she knew of, except some peas on the Saturday
night before; that at that time he did not apprehend anything of
poison, nor did Mr. Blandy mention anything of taking the gruel to
him; that on Saturday the prisoner desired he would take care of her
father, and if there were any danger, call for help; he told her he
thought he was in great danger, and then she begged Dr. Addington
might be sent for. Mr. Blandy himself would have deferred it till the
next day, but she, notwithstanding, sent for him immediately. He tells
you that as to the powder he found it to be gritty, and had no smell;
at first he could not tell what it was till he took notice of the old
woman's symptoms to be the same as Mr. Blandy's; then he suspected
foul play, and from what he heard in the family suspected Miss Blandy.
Mrs. Mounteney is then called, who tells you that she remembers Susan
Gunnell bringing a pan to her house with water gruel and powder at the
bottom of it on Thursday; that she sent for Norton, the apothecary,
who took the powder out, and laid it on white paper, which he gave to
her to keep till it was called for; that she locked it up, and
delivered the same to Norton on the Sunday following; she tells you
that the prisoner always behaved dutifully to her father, as far as
ever she saw, when in his presence; that she did not mention the paper
left with her to anybody till it was fetched away on Sunday morning,
the 11th of August; that she was not at Mr. Blandy's in that time, and
neither saw him nor the prisoner, but she was there on the Sunday
afternoon, though she did not then mention anything of it.
The next witness is Susan Gunnell, who tells you that she carried the
pan of water gruel to Mrs. Mounteney's from Mr. Blandy's, which had
been made at his house the Sunday seven-night before his death by
himself; that she set it in the common pantry, where all the family
used to go, and observed nobody to be busy there afterwards; but on
Monday the prisoner told her she had been stirring her papa's water
gruel and eating the oatmeal out of the bottom; that she gave him a
half-pint mug of it that Monday night before he went to bed; that she
saw the prisoner take the teaspoon that was in the mug, stir it about,
and then put her fingers to the spoon, and rub them together, and then
he drank some part of it; that on Tuesday morning she did not see him
when first he came downstairs, and the first time she saw him was
between nine and ten o'clock, when Miss Blandy and he were together;
that he then said he was not well, and going to lie down; that on
Tuesday evening Robert Harman bid her warm her master some water
gruel, for he was in haste for supper; that she warmed him some of
the same, which Miss Blandy carried into the parlour, and she believes
he ate of it, for there was about half left in the morning; that she
met him that night, after the water gruel, as he was going up to bed;
as soon as he got into the room he called for a basin to reach, and
seemed to be very sick by reaching several times; the next morning
about six o'clock she carries him up his physic, when he told her he
had had a pretty good night, and was better; but he had vomited in the
night, as she judges by the basin, which she had left clean, and was
then about half-full; that on Wednesday the prisoner came into the
kitchen and said to her that as her master had taken physic he might
want water gruel, therefore she might give him the same again, and not
leave her work to make fresh, as she was busy ironing; to which she
answered that it was stale, if there was enough of it; that it would
not take much time, and she would make fresh, and accordingly did so;
that she had the evening before taken up the pan, and disliked the
taste, and thought it stale, but was now willing to taste it again;
that she put the pan to her mouth and drank some of it, and then
observed some whiteness at the bottom, and told Betty Binfield that
she never saw any oatmeal settlement so white before, whereupon Betty
Binfield looked at it, and said "Oatmeal this! I think it looks as
white as flour"; she then took it out of doors, where there was more
light, and putting her finger to the bottom of the pan, found it
gritty, upon which she recollected that she had heard that poison was
white and gritty, which made her fear this might be poison; she
therefore locked it up in a closet, and on Thursday morning carried it
to Mrs. Mounteney's, where Mr. Norton saw it. She tells you that about
six weeks before Mr. Blandy's death she was not very well herself, and
Miss Blandy then asked her what was the matter with her, and what she
had eaten or drank; to which she answered that she knew not what ailed
her, but she had taken nothing more than the rest of the family; upon
which the prisoner said to her, "Susan, have you eaten any water
gruel? For I am told it hurts me, and may hurt you." To which she
answered, "Madam, it cannot affect me, for I have eaten none." She
then mentions a conversation that Betty Binfield told her she had with
the prisoner on the same subject, but that you will hear from Betty
Binfield herself. She then tells you that on the Wednesday morning,
after she had given her master his physic, she saw Ann Emmet, the
charwoman, and said to her, "Dame, you used to be fond of water gruel;
here's a fine mess for you which my master left last night"; and
thereupon warmed it, and gave it her; that the woman sat down on a
bench in the kitchen and drank some of it, but not all, and said the
house smelt of physic, and everything tasted of physic, and she must
go out and reach before she could finish it; that she went out to the
wash-house, as she believes; that in about half an hour she followed
her, and then found her in the necessary-house reaching, and, as she
said, purging; that the old woman stayed there an hour and a half,
during which time she went frequently to her, and carried her surfeit
water; she said she was no better, and desired some fair water, upon
which she persuaded her to come into the house, but she said she was
not able without help; that then she led her in and put her in a chair
by the fire, where the coughing and reaching continued; that she
stayed in the house half an hour, and grew worse, and she thought her
in a fit or seized with death; that about nine of the clock that
morning she went up to Miss Blandy and acquainted her that her dame
had been very ill and complained that the smell of physic had made her
sick, and at the same time told her that she had eaten nothing but a
little of her master's water gruel, which could not hurt her, to which
the prisoner said, "That she was glad she was not below stairs, for
she should have been shocked to have seen her poor dame so ill." She
tells you that sometimes the prisoner talked affectionately of her
father, and at other times but middling, and called him an old villain
for using an only child so. Sometimes she wished for his long life,
and sometimes for his death, and would often say, "That she was very
awkward, and that if her father was dead she would go to Scotland and
live with Lady Cranstoun; that by her father's constitution he might
live twenty years, but sometimes would say she did not think he looked
so well." She remembers Dr. Addington being sent for on Saturday
evening, and tells you that the prisoner was not debarred going into
her father's room till Sunday night, when Mr. Norton brought her down
with him, and told this witness not to suffer any person to go into
her master's room except herself, who looked after him. That about ten
of the clock on Monday morning the prisoner came into the room after
Mr. Norton; that she then fell on her knees to her father, and said,
"Sir, banish me where you please; do with me what you please, so you
do, but forgive me; and as for Cranstoun, I will never see him, speak
to him, or write to him more as long as I live if you will forgive
me." To which the deceased made answer, "I forgive thee, my dear, and
I hope God will forgive thee; but thee shouldst have considered better
before thee attemptedst anything against thy father; thee shouldst
have considered I was thy own father." That the prisoner then said,
"Sir, as to your illness I am entirely innocent." To which the witness
replied, "Madam, I believe you must not say you are entirely innocent,
for the powder left in the water gruel and the paper of powder taken
out of the fire are now in such hands that they must be publicly
produced." The witness then told her that she believed she had herself
taken, about six weeks before, a dose in tea that was prepared for her
master. To which the prisoner answered, "I have put no powder in tea;
I have put powder in water gruel. If you have received any injury I
am entirely innocent; it was given me with another intent." The
deceased hearing this turned himself in his bed, and said, "Oh, such a
villain! Come to my house, eat of the best and drink of the best my
house could afford, should take away my life and ruin my daughter. Oh!
my dear, thee must hate that man; thee must hate the ground he goes
on; thee can'st not help it." That the prisoner replied, "Sir, your
tenderness to me is like a sword to my heart. Every word you say is
like swords piercing my heart, much worse than if you were to be ever
so angry. I must down on my knees and beg you will not curse me." To
which her father answered, "I curse thee, my dear! How shouldst think
I could curse thee? No; I bless thee, and hope God will bless thee,
and amend thy life. Do, my dear, go out of the room; say no more lest
thee shouldst say anything to thy own prejudice. Go to thy Uncle
Stevens; take him for thy friend. Poor man, I am sorry for him." And
that then the prisoner went directly out of the room. This witness
further tells you that on the Saturday before she was in the kitchen
about twelve o'clock at noon, when the prisoner having wrote the
direction of a letter to her uncle Stevens and going to the fire to
dry it, she observed her put a paper or two into the fire, and saw her
thrust them down with a stick; that Elizabeth Binfield, then putting
some fresh coals on, she believes kept the paper from being consumed,
soon after which the prisoner left the kitchen, and she herself
acquainted Betty Binfield that the prisoner had been burning
something; that Betty Binfield asked where, and the witness pointed to
the corner of the grate, whereupon Betty Binfield moved a large coal
and took out a paper and gave it to her; that it was a small piece of
paper with writing upon it, viz., "The powder to clean the pebbles,"
to the best of her remembrance. She did not read it herself, but Betty
Binfield did, and told her what it was; that about eleven or twelve
o'clock that night she delivered this paper to Betty Binfield again,
but it had never been out of her pocket till that time. She tells you
that before this, upon the same Saturday morning, she had been in her
master's room about seven o'clock to carry him something to drink, and
when he had drank it she said to him, "Sir, I have something to
communicate to you which nearly concerns your health and your family,
I believe you have got something in your water gruel that I am afraid
has hurt you, and I believe Miss Blandy put it in by her coming into
the wash-house on Monday and saying that she had been stirring her
papa's water gruel and eating the oatmeal out of it." Upon which he
said, "I find I have something not right. My head is not right as it
used to be, nor has been for some time." This witness told him that
she had found a powder in the pan, upon which he said to her, "Dost
thee know anything of this powder? Didst thee ever see any of it?" To
which she answered, "No, none but what she saw in the water gruel." He
then asked her, "Dost know where she had this powder, or canst guess?"
To which she replied, "I cannot guess anywhere, except from Mr.
Cranstoun. My reason to suspect that is, Miss Blandy has lately had
letters oftener than usual." Her master then said, "Now you mention
it, I remember when he was at my house he talked of a particular
poison they had in his country. Oh! that villain, that ever he came
into my house." She likewise told him that she had shown the powder to
Mr. Norton, but he could not tell what it was, as it was wet, but
whatever it was it ought not to be there. Her master expressed some
surprise, and said, "Mr. Norton not know! That's strange. A person so
much used to drugs." She told him Mr. Norton thought it would be
proper for him (her father) to seize her pockets with her keys and
papers. To which he said, "I cannot do it; I cannot shock her so much.
But canst not thee take out a letter or two which she may think she
has dropped by chance?" The witness told him, "No, sir, I have no
right; she is your daughter. You may do it, and nobody else." She
tells you she cannot say how long before this it was that Ann Emmet
had been sick with the tea; that Miss Blandy then sent her whey and
broth, a quart or three pints at a time, once a day or every other
day; that she herself once drank a dish of tea on a Sunday morning out
of her master's dish, which was not well relished, and she thought
somebody had been taking salts in that cup; and this was about six
weeks and three days before her master's death; that she found no ill
effect from it till after dinner that day; she had then a hardness at
her stomach, which she apprehended was from eating plentifully of
beans at dinner; that afterwards she seemed to have some indigestion,
and had a remarkable trembling upon her; that she had no other
symptoms for three days, but afterwards, for about three days more,
she was troubled with a reaching every morning. She says she tasted
the water gruel twice, once on the Tuesday, when she was mixing it for
her master, and again on the Wednesday, but found no remarkable
disorder till about two o'clock on the Wednesday morning before her
master's death, when she was seized with convulsions. She says that
her throat continued troublesome for six or seven weeks after she had
drank the tea, and continued ill for three weeks after her master's
death. She remembered once that the prisoner had a large box of linen
and some pebbles from Mr. Cranstoun in the spring, before her master's
death, and a small box of Scotch pebbles afterwards, about three
months before his death; that the prisoner showed the pebbles to many
of her acquaintance, but the witness never heard of powder to clean
them; she tells you that about a year before his death her master had
a cold, but she does not remember he was so ill as to send for the
apothecary; that he used to be equally complaining of the gravel,
gout, and heartburn for twelve years; knows nothing particular of any
complaint but the heartburn, and that he may have complained of all
the time she has lived in the house, but she is not positive.
She says the prisoner's behaviour to her father, in general, seemed to
be dutiful, but she used undutiful expressions in her passions; that
there had been no conversation between her master and the prisoner
before her asking forgiveness, but a message sent by him to her that
he was willing to forgive her if she would bring that villain to
justice; in all he said afterwards he seemed to speak of his daughter
as if he believed her innocent of any intention to hurt him, and
looked on Cranstoun as the first mover and contriver of all, and had
said, "Poor, unfortunate girl, that ever she should be led away by
such a villain to do such a thing!" She believes he thought his
daughter unacquainted with the effects of the powder; that the
prisoner during his illness kept him company and directed everything
for him as for herself; the prisoner knew her father was ill on Monday
and Tuesday nights, but would not take upon her to say that she knew
what was the cause of it, but she knew that the charwoman had been ill
on the Wednesday morning before she told the witness that the old
water gruel would serve for her father.
The next witness is Elizabeth Binfield, who tells you that she was a
servant to the deceased almost three years before his death; that he
first complained of unusual pains and prickings about a fortnight
before his death; that she has often heard the prisoner mention
walking and music that she had heard in the house; that she thought it
to be her mother; and three-quarters of a year before her master's
death the prisoner told her that the music presaged his death, and
continued talking in the same way to the time of it; that she has
often heard her say he would die before October; that the prisoner
told her that Mr. Cranstoun had informed her that a famous woman, one
Mrs. Morgan, who lived in Scotland or London, but which the witness
cannot say, had said so; that the prisoner used to appear glad when
she spoke of the prospect of her father's death, for that then she
should be released from all her fatigues and be happy. She tells you
she heard the prisoner say that her father complained of a ball of
fire in his guts before the Monday on which he took the water gruel;
she tells you that she remembers that Ann Emmet, the charwoman, was
ill about five or six weeks before this time, and that the prisoner
ordered her white wine, whey, and broth; that she herself made the
broth two or three times, two quarts at a time. She says that on
Saturday, the 10th of August, the paper was taken out of the fire by
herself, which she looks upon, and says she really believes it to be
the same which she gave to Susan Gunnell, had again from her, and then
delivered to Dr. Addington and Mr. Norton. She tells you that, when
Susan Gunnell was ill, the prisoner asked this witness if Susan had
taken any of her father's water gruel, and upon her answering, "Not
that I know," the prisoner said, "If she does, she may do for herself,
may I tell you." With this conversation she acquainted Susan Gunnell
about a month or six weeks before her master's death, in which
particular she is confirmed by Susan Gunnell. She says, further, that
she heard the prisoner say, "Who would grudge to send an old father to
hell for L10,000?" And this she introduced by talking of young girls
being kept out of their fortunes. She has heard the prisoner often
curse her father and call him rascal and villain. She says that Mr.
Cranstoun had been at her master's about three-quarters of a year
before his death, and she believes her master did not approve of his
being so much with his daughter, as she judged by his temper; but she
does not believe he debarred his daughter from keeping him company.
She says that, upon Saturday, the 10th of August, she was in the
kitchen when her master was shaving, and the prisoner was there, and
her master said he had once like to have been poisoned at a
public-house; to which the prisoner answered that she remembered it
very well. Her master said that one of the company died immediately,
the other is now dead, but it was his fortune to be poisoned at last;
and then looked hard at the prisoner, who appeared in great confusion,
and seemed all in a tremble. Her master said further that it was white
arsenic that was put into their wine. This witness then tells you that
she sat up with the prisoner the night her father died till three
o'clock, but the prisoner went to bed about one; that they had no
discourse at all of her father. But the prisoner asked her if she
would go away with her, and offered, if she would go to the Bell or
the Lion and hire a post-chaise, she would give her fifteen guineas at
getting into the chaise and ten guineas more when they got to London;
that, on the witness refusing to comply with this request, the
prisoner burst into laughter and said she was only joking. She tells
you further that she heard the prisoner tell Dr. Addington that she
had given the powder to her father before, and then it was in tea;
that she was afraid of a discovery, so flung it away, and filled the
cup up again, which Susan Gunnell drank, and was ill for a week after.
She says that upon Monday, the 5th of August, the prisoner came into
the wash-house and said that she had been in the pantry eating oatmeal
out of her father's gruel, which she little regarded then. But the
same day, in the afternoon, she saw the prisoner in the pantry, take a
teaspoon, and stir the water gruel, which was in a pan, and then
rubbed it between her fingers; that on the Tuesday evening the
prisoner came into the kitchen to her and said, "Betty, if one thing
should happen, will you go into Scotland with me?" To which she said,
"Madam, I do not know." "What," says the prisoner, "you are unwilling
to leave your friends?" To which the witness replied that, if she
should go there and not like it, it would be expensive travelling. She
says that on Monday morning, the 12th of August, she went on a message
from the prisoner to beg of her father that she might speak one word
with him, which, being granted, the prisoner went up; and that she
afterwards met the prisoner coming out of her father's room, when she
clasped the witness round the neck, burst out a-crying, and said to
her, "Susan and you are the two honestest servants in the world; you
deserve to be imaged in gold for your honesty; half my fortune will
not make you amends for your honesty to my father." She tells you that
her master had been out of order about twelve months before this time,
and that it was at the time when Susan Gunnell was ill by drinking the
tea that the prisoner cautioned her about Susan's drinking her
father's water gruel.
Dr. Addington having been appealed to by the last witness, in the
course of her evidence, is again called up, and confirms all that this
witness has said, except he does not remember the circumstance of
Susan Gunnell's being ill with the tea.
He says that the prisoner always told him she thought it an innocent
powder, but said it was impossible to express her horror that she was
the cause of her father's death, though she protested that she thought
it innocent when she gave it, for Mr. Cranstoun had assured her that
he used to take it himself, and called it a love-powder; that she had
a letter from him directing her to give it in gruel, as she had
informed him it did not mix in tea; that "for her own part she desired
life for no other purpose than only to go through a severe penance for
her sins"; that, on her being pressed by him to discover all she knew
relating to Cranstoun, her answer was that "she was fully conscious of
her own guilt, and would not add guilt to guilt, for she looked on
Cranstoun as her husband, though the ceremony had not passed between
them." He tells you further that he does not remember that she gave
him any satisfactory answer to any of the questions which he put to
her, which he has repeated to you, and which are very material ones,
but always persisted that she was entirely ignorant of the effects of
the powder till she saw them on her father; and often said, "Pray God
send it may not kill him," after he had told her, and her father too,
the danger of her father, and that he apprehended her to be undone. He
then tells you he attended Susan Gunnell, who had the same symptoms
with the deceased, but in a less degree. He also attended Ann Emmet,
who had the same symptoms, and told her that she was poisoned.
Alice Emmet is then called, who is daughter to Ann Emmet, the old
charwoman, who gives you an account that her mother was charwoman at
Mr. Blandy's in June last, in the time of hay harvest; that she was
then taken sick, was seized in the night-time with a vomiting and
purging, and this witness went in the morning to the prisoner, by her
mother's desire, and acquainted her with the condition she was in;
that the prisoner said she was sorry, and would send her something to
drink, which she did in about an hour or two afterwards.
The next witness is Mr. Littleton, who had been clerk to the deceased
about two years, and tells you he came home from his father's, in
Warwickshire, upon the 9th of August last; that the next morning the
prisoner, her father, and himself were at breakfast together; that
they stayed for the deceased some time; that when he came he appeared
to be ill and in great agony; that he had always a particular cup to
himself; that he tasted his tea and did not like it, but said it had a
gritty, bad taste, and asked the prisoner if she had not put too much
of the black stuff in it (meaning Bohea tea). The prisoner said it was
as usual. He then tasted it again and said it had a bad taste, and
looked very particularly at her. She seemed in a flurry, and walked
out of the room. The deceased then poured the tea into the oat's basin
and went away. Soon after the prisoner came into the room again, when
he told her that he thought the deceased was very ill, for that he
could not eat his breakfast; on which she asked what he had done with
it, and, upon his acquainting her that it was poured into the cat's
basin, she seemed a good deal confused; that the next day, being
Sunday, Mr. Blandy, of Kingston, came to their house, and went to
church along with him; that after they returned from church the
prisoner desired this witness to walk with her and Mr. Blandy in the
garden, when she put a letter into his hand and bid him direct it as
usual, which he understood to be to Mr. Cranstoun (having been used to
direct others before), to seal it, and put it in the post. He tells
you he had then heard so much that he opened the letter, transcribed
it, carried it to Mr. Norton, and read it to the deceased, who only
said, "Poor, love-sick girl! what won't a girl do for a man she
loves?" This letter he has now looked at, tells you that it is written
worse than usual, therefore he cannot swear whether it is her hand or
no, but he can swear it is the same she gave him. The letter itself
has been read to you, and I will make no remarks upon it. He tells you
that after Mr. Cranstoun was gone from Henley, in August 1750, he has
often heard the prisoner say that she heard music, which portended
death in the family, and sometimes thought it might be herself,
sometimes her father, because he was so much broken; that he has heard
her say death would happen before October; that he has often heard her
curse her father, damn him for a rogue and a toothless old dog, within
two months of his death and a great while before; that he has told her
himself that he thought Mr. Blandy seemed broken, upon which she said
she thought so too, and that the music portended his death.
Robert Harman is called next, who tells you that he was servant to Mr.
Blandy at the time of his death; that the night his master died the
prisoner asked him where he should live next, on which he told her he
did not know; and she then asked him if he would go away with her,
and, upon his saying he did not care to do so, she told him no hurt
would come to him, but it would be L500 in his way, and wanted him to
go away then immediately. He says the prisoner behaved well to her
father and all the family, as far as he knows, and never heard her
swear about her father.
The next witness is Richard Fisher, who was one of the jury on
inspection of the body of the deceased. On Thursday, the 15th of
August, he was informed that Miss Blandy was gone over Henley Bridge,
and went to her at the Angel. When he came into the room he told her
he was sorry for her misfortune, and asked her if she would not be
glad to go home again. She said she should, but could not get through
the mob, upon which he got a covered post-chaise and carried her home.
As they were going she asked him if she was to go to Oxford that
night; that he told her he believed not. When he brought her to her
father's house he delivered her up to the constable; that after this
he was upon the jury, and when he went to her again she asked him how
it was likely to go with her, upon which he told her he was afraid
very hardly, unless she could produce letters or papers of consequence
to bring Cranstoun to justice. Upon which she said, "Dear Mr. Fisher,
I have burnt those letters that would have brought him to justice,"
and gave a key out of her pocket to search a drawer for letters; but
none being found, she said, "My honour to him (meaning Cranstoun) will
prove my ruin."
Mrs. Lane is then called, who says she went to the Angel along with
her husband, when the prisoner was there. The first word she heard her
husband say was, if she was guilty she would suffer according to law;
upon which the prisoner stamped on the ground, and the first thing she
heard her say was, "O that damned villain!" then paused a little and
went on again, "But why do I blame him? I am more to blame myself, for
it was I gave it him, and know the consequence." Upon being asked
whether she said "I knew" or "I know," the witness tells you that she
will not be positive which, but the prisoner was in a sort of agony;
whichever way it was, it may make some little difference, but nothing
Mr. Lane, the husband of the last witness, is then called, and tells
you that he went into the room before his wife; that the prisoner rose
and met him, told him he was a stranger to her, but, as he appeared
like a gentleman, she asked him what they would do with her; that he
told her she would be committed to the county gaol, and tried at the
assizes; if her innocence appeared she would be acquitted, if not, she
would suffer accordingly. Upon which she stamped with her foot and
said, "O that damned villain! But why do I blame him? I am more to
blame"; that then Mr. Littleton came in, which took off his attention;
that he did not hear what followed so as to be able to give an account
The letter from the prisoner to Captain Cranstoun, without any date to
it, which was opened by Littleton, has, then, been read to you, and
with that the counsel for the Crown conclude their evidence.
The prisoner in her defence complains of hard usage she has met with,
denies her ever speaking ill of her father, owns herself to be
passionate, and complains that words of heat upon family affairs have
been misconstrued and applied to an ill intention in her; that she was
not in her senses when she lost her father, nor in a proper dress to
make her escape when she went over Henley Bridge; that she was taken
in at the Angel by the woman of the house out of more compassion, and
was then desirous to put herself under the protection of the town
sergeant; that, during her confinement, she was not suffered to have
decent attendance for a woman; that she was affronted by her own
servants, cruelly traduced, and heavily ironed, without any reasonable
cause; that she thought the powder innocent, and never had a thought
of hurting her father; but her own ruin is effected by such an
imputation upon her, and her appearance here, without her being
convicted. She then calls her witnesses, and the first is Ann James,
who tells you she lives at Henley, and used to wash at Mr. Blandy's
house; that she remembers that some time before Mr. Blandy's illness
there was a difference between the prisoner and Elizabeth Binfield,
and that the latter was to go away; and that she has heard Elizabeth
Binfield curse the prisoner and damn her for a bitch, and say she
would not stay; that since this affair happened she heard her say
(speaking of the prisoner), "Damn her for a black bitch; she should be
glad to see her go up the ladder and swing." She tells you that, when
this conversation happened, the prisoner was gone to gaol, that it was
in Mr. Blandy's kitchen, and that Nurse Edwards, Mary Seymour, and
Mary Banks were present.
Elizabeth Binfield is then called up again, and absolutely denies the
words she is charged with; she says she never acquainted the witness
with any quarrel she had had, to the best of her remembrance, but that
she had some few words of difference with the prisoner, who had said
that she was to go away.
Mary Banks is then called, who says that she was in Mr. Blandy's
kitchen while he was dead in the house; but she does not remember who
was in company, nor any conversation that passed between Elizabeth
Binfield and Ann James till the words are directly put into her mouth,
and then she recollects that Elizabeth Binfield said "she should be
glad to see Miss Blandy, that black bitch, go up the ladder to be
hanged;" but she tells you this was on the night that Mr. Blandy was
opened, and that the prisoner was then in the house.
Those two witnesses are called to impeach the credit of Elizabeth
Binfield as having a prejudice against the prisoner; but I see no
great stress to be laid on their evidence, for they manifestly
contradict one another, but do not falsify her in any one thing she
The next witness that she calls is Edward Herne, who was a servant to
Mr. Blandy eighteen years ago, and has left his place about twelve
years; but he has been very seldom without going three or four days a
week to his house ever since; that the prisoner's general behaviour to
her father and the family was as well as anybody could do, with
affection and duty, as far as ever he saw; that on the Monday night
before Mr. Blandy died he went to the house, and that neither the
prisoner nor he could speak for some minutes, which he attributed to
her great concern; that she was put into his custody that night; that
on hearing the groans of her father he went into him, at her desire,
to inquire how he did; that he never heard her swear or speak
disrespectfully of her father. He says he was not in the way when she
went over Henley Bridge (being sent to dig a grave, he being sexton);
that he has seen her since her confinement at Oxford, and she told him
that Captain Cranstoun had before put some powder in her father's tea;
that she turned about, and when she turned again he was stirring it
in; that on a report that Captain Cranstoun was taken, she wrung her
hands and said, "She hoped in God it was true, that he might be
brought to justice as well as herself; that as she was to suffer the
punishment due to her crime, he might do so too;" but at the same time
she declared that when Cranstoun put the powder into the tea, and she
herself did so afterwards, she saw no ill effects of it, or saw any
harm from it; but if he were taken it would bring the whole to light,
for she was innocent, and knew no more of its being poison than any
[Illustration: Miss Mary Blandy, with scene of her Execution
(_From an Engraving by B. Cole, after an original Painting_.)]
Thomas Cawley, the next witness, says that he has known the prisoner
for twenty years and upwards; that he was intimate in the family, and
never saw any other than the behaviour of a dutiful daughter from her.
Thomas Staverton, that he has known the prisoner five- or
six-and-twenty years; that he has lived near the family, and always
thought that her father and she were very happy in each other. He has
observed that Mr. Blandy was declining in his health; for four years
or more he seemed to shrink, and believes he was about sixty-two years
Mary Davis is the next witness. She lives at the Angel, by Henley
Bridge, and remembers the prisoner coming over the day her father was
opened; that she was walking along with a great crowd after her; that
she went to her and asked her what was the matter, and where she was
going. The prisoner said she was going to walk for the air, for that
they were going to open her father, and that she could not bear the
house. The mob followed so close that she invited the prisoner into
her house, which she accepted, and was walking gently, and had not the
appearance of making an escape.
Robert Stoke tells you he knows the last witness, Mrs. Davis, and saw
the prisoner with her in her house the day her father was opened; that
he was ordered by the mayor to take care of the prisoner, which she
said she was very glad of, because the mob was about; and he did not
observe any inclination or attempt whatsoever to make an escape.
This, gentlemen, is the substance of the evidence on both sides, as
nearly as I can recollect it. I have not wilfully omitted or misstated
any part of it; but if I have, I hope the gentlemen who are of counsel
on either side will be so kind as to set me right.
A very tragical story it is, gentlemen, that you have heard, and upon
which you are now to form your judgment and give your verdict.
The crime with which the prisoner stands charged is of the most
heinous nature and blackest dye, attended with considerations that
shock human nature, being not only murder, but parricide--the murder
of her own father. But the more atrocious, the more flagrant the crime
is, the more clearly and satisfactory you will expect that it should
be made out to you.
In all cases of murder it is of necessity that there should be malice
aforethought, which is the essence of and constitutes the offence; but
that malice may be either express or implied by the law. Express
malice must arise from the previous acts or declarations of the party
offending, but implied malice may arise from numbers of circumstances
relating either to the nature of the act itself, the manner of
executing it, the person killing, or the person killed, from, which
the law will as certainly infer malice as where it is express.
Poison in particular is in its nature so secret, and withal so
deliberate, that wherever that is knowingly given, and death ensues,
the so putting to death can be no other than wilful and malicious.
In the present case, which is to be made out by circumstances, great
part of the evidence must rest upon presumption, in which the law
makes a distinction. A slight or probable presumption only has little
or no weight, but a violent presumption amounts in law to full proof,
that is, where circumstances speak so strongly that to suppose the
contrary would be absurd. I mention this to you that you may fix your
attention on the several circumstances that have been laid before you,
and consider whether you can collect from them such a presumption as
the law calls a violent presumption, and from which you must conclude
the prisoner to be guilty. I would observe further that where that
presumption necessarily arises from circumstances they are more
convincing and satisfactory than any other kind of evidence, because
facts cannot lie.
I cannot now go through the evidence again, but you will consider the
whole together, and from thence determine what you think it amounts
to. Thus far is undeniably true, and agreed on all sides, that Mr.
Blandy died by poison, and that that poison was administered to him by
his daughter, the prisoner at the bar. What you are to try is reduced
to this single question--whether the prisoner, at the time she gave it
to her father, knew that it was poison, and what effect it would have?
If you believe that she knew it to be poison, the other part, viz.,
that she knew the effect, is consequential, and you must find her
guilty. On the other hand, if you are satisfied, from her general
character, from what has been said by the evidence on her part, and
from what she has said herself, that she did not know it to be poison,
nor had any malicious intention against her father, you ought to
acquit her. But if you think she knowingly gave poison to her father,
you can do no other than find her guilty.
The jury consulted together about five minutes and then turned to the
CLERK OF ARRAIGNS--Gentlemen, are you all agreed on your verdict?
CLERK OF ARRAIGNS--Who shall say for you?
CLERK OF ARRAIGNS--Mary Blandy, hold up thy hand (which she did).
Gentlemen of the jury, look upon the prisoner. How say you, is Mary
Blandy guilty of the felony and murder whereof she stands indicted or
CLERK OF ARRAIGNS--What goods or chattels, lands or tenements, had she
at the time of the same felony and murder committed, or at any time
since to your knowledge?
CLERK OF ARRAIGNS--Hearken, to your verdict as the Court hath recorded
it. You say that Mary Blandy is guilty of the felony and murder
whereof she stands indicted, and that she has not any goods or
chattels, lands or tenements, at the time of the said felony and
murder committed, or at any time since, to your knowledge, and so you
CLERK OF ARRAIGNS--Mary Blandy, hold up thy hand. You have been
indicted of felony and murder. You have been thereupon arraigned, and
pleaded thereto not guilty, and for your trial you have put yourself
upon God and your country, which country have found you guilty. What
have you now to say for yourself why the Court should not proceed to
give judgment of death upon you according to law?
CRYER--Oyez! My lords the King's justices do strictly charge and
command all manner of persons to keep silence whilst sentence of death
is passing on the prisoner at the bar, upon pain of imprisonment.
Mr. Baron Legge--Mary Blandy, you have been indicted for the murder of