Part 4 out of 6
your father, and for your trial have put yourself upon God and your
country. That country has found you guilty.
You have had a long and a fair trial, and sorry I am that it falls to
my lot to acquaint you that I am now no more at liberty to suppose you
innocent than I was before to presume you guilty.
You are convicted of a crime so dreadful, so horrid in itself, that
human nature shudders at it--the wilful murder of your own father! A
father by all accounts the most fond, the most tender, the most
indulgent that ever lived. That father with his dying breath forgave
you. May your heavenly Father do so too!
It is hard to conceive that anything could induce you to perpetrate an
act so shocking, so impossible to reconcile to nature or reason. One
should have thought your own sense, your education, and even the
natural softness of your sex, might have secured you from an attempt
so barbarous and so wicked.
What views you had, or what was your intention, is best known to
yourself. With God and your conscience be it. At this bar we can judge
only from appearances and from the evidence produced to us. But do not
deceive yourself; remember you are very shortly to appear before a
much more awful tribunal, where no subterfuge can avail, no art, no
disguise can screen you from the Searcher of all hearts--"He revealeth
the deep and secret things, He knoweth what is in the darkness, and
the light dwelleth with Him."
Let me advise you to make the best and wisest use of the little time
you are likely to continue in this world. Apply to the throne of
grace, and endeavour to make your peace with that Power whose justice
and mercy are both infinite.
Nothing now remains but to pronounce the sentence of the law upon you,
"That you are to be carried to the place of execution and there hanged
by the neck until you are dead; and may God of His infinite mercy
receive your soul."
The prisoner then addressed herself to the judge in this manner--
"My lord, as your lordship has been so good to show so much candour
and impartiality in the course of my trial, I have one favour more
to beg, which is, that your lordship would please to allow me a
little time till I can settle my affairs, and make my peace with
To which his lordship replied--"To be sure, you shall have a proper
time allowed you."
On Monday, the 6th of April following, the prisoner was executed at
Oxford, according to the sentence pronounced against her.
Proceedings before the Coroner relative to the Death of Mr. Francis
(From No. 2 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
_I.--Depositions of Witnesses._
Town of Henley-on-Thames in the County of Oxford. To wit, DEPOSITIONS
OF WITNESSES AND EXAMINATIONS taken on oath the 15th day of August
1751, before Richard Miles, Gent. Mayor and Coroner of the said town;
and also before the jury impannelled to inquire into the cause of the
death of Francis Blandy, Gent. now lying dead.
ANTHONY ADDINGTON of Reading, in the County of Berkshire, Doctor of
Physick, maketh oath and saith, That Mary Blandy, daughter of Francis
Blandy, Gent. deceased, acknowledged to this deponent, that she
received of the Hon. William Henry Cranstoun, a powder which was
called a powder to clean the stones or pebbles, which were sent to her
at the same time as a present; and that Monday, the 5th instant, she
mixed part of the said powder in a mess of water gruel; but said,
that, she did not know that it was poison, till she found the effects
of it on her father; for that the said Mr. Cranstoun had assured her,
that if she gave her father now and then of the said powder in gruel,
or any other thin liquor, it would make him kind to her: And that the
said Mr. Cranstoun assured her, that it was innocent, and that he
frequently took of it himself; and that this deponent received from
Mr. Benjamin Norton, who was apothecary to the said Francis Blandy,
some small portion of a powder, which Mr. Norton said was found at the
bottom of the above-mentioned mess of gruel given to the said Francis
Blandy on the 5th instant, and that this deponent, after examination
of the said powder, suspects the same to be poison.
Taken on oath, the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
WILLIAM LEWIS, of the University of Oxford, Doctor of Physick, maketh
oath and saith, that Mary Blandy, daughter of Francis Blandy, Gent.
deceased, acknowledged to this deponent, that she had frequently given
to her said father, the powder which she had received from the Hon.
William Henry Cranstoun called the powder to clean the stones or
pebbles, which she had received from him, but that she did not know
that the said powder was poison, but that it was intended to make her
father kind to her.
Taken on oath, the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
EDWARD NICHOLAS of Henley upon Thames, in the County of Oxford,
surgeon, upon his oath saith, that he has examined the body of Francis
Blandy, Gent. deceased, and saith, that he found that the fat on the
abdomen was near a state of fluidity, and that the muscles and
membranes were extremely pale; and that the omentum, was
preternaturally yellow, and that part which covered the stomach was
brownish; that the external part of the stomach was extremely
discoloured with livid spots; the internal part was extremely
inflamed, and covered almost entirely with extravasated blood; the
intestines were very pale and flabby, and in some parts especially,
which were near the stomach, there was much extravasated blood; the
liver was likewise sphacelated, in those parts particularly which were
contiguous to the stomach; the bile was of a very deep yellow; in the
gall bladder was found a stone about the size of a large filbert; the
lungs were covered in every point with black spots; the kidneys,
spleen and heart were likewise greatly spotted; there was found no
water in the pericardium; in short, he never found or beheld a body
in which the viscera were so universally inflamed and mortified.
Taken on oath the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
THE DEPOSITIONS AND EXAMINATIONS of A. Addington and William Lewis,
doctors of physick, taken on their respective oaths, the 15th day of
August, 1751, before me
Mayor and Coroner.
The fat on the abdomen was observed to be near a state of fluidity.
The muscles and membranes were extremely pale.
The omentum was preternaturally yellow, and that part which covered
the stomach was brownish.
The external part of the stomach was extremely discoloured with livid
spots; the internal part was extremely inflamed, and covered almost
entirely with extravasated blood.
The intestines were very pale and flabby, and in those parts
especially which were near the stomach, there was much extravasated
The liver was likewise sphacelated, in those parts particularly which
were contiguous to the stomach.
The bile was of a very deep yellow; in the gall bladder we found a
stone about the size of a large filbert.
The lungs were covered in every part with black spots.
The kidneys, spleen and heart were likewise greatly spotted; there was
found no water in the pericardium.
In short, we never beheld a body in which the viscera were so
universally inflamed and mortified.
It is our real opinion, that the cause of Mr. Blandy's death was
SUSANNAH GUNNELL, servant to Francis Blandy, Gent. deceased, upon her
oath saith, that some time last week, she this examinant, gave to the
said Francis Blandy some water gruel, and saith, that she observed
that there was some settlement at the bottom of the pan, wherein the
said water gruel was; and saith, that the same was white and gritty,
and settled at the bottom of the pan; and saith, that this deponent,
delivered the said pan, with the gruel and powder settled at the
bottom thereof to Mr. Benjamin Norton, who was apothecary to the said
The mark X of the said
Taken on oath the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
ROBERT HARMAN, servant to Francis Blandy, Gent. deceas'd upon his oath
saith, that Miss Mary Blandy, told this examinant, that it was
love-powder which she put into her father's gruel, on Monday 5th day
of August last, but that she was innocent of the consequence of it.
Taken on oath the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
BENJAMIN NORTON of Henley upon Thames, in the County of Oxon,
apothecary, upon his oath saith, that on Tuesday the 6th Day of August
instant, he this examinant was sent to Mr. Francis Blandy, deceased,
who then complained of a violent pain in his stomach and bowels,
attended with a violent vomiting and purging; and saith that on the
Thursday morning following, Susannah Gunnell, servant to the said Mr.
Blandy, sent to this examinant, to ask his opinion concerning some
powder she had found in some water gruel, part of which her master had
drunk; that he took out of the said gruel the said powder, and that he
has examined the same, and suspects the same to be poison, and
imagines the powder which was given to the said Francis Blandy, might
be the occasion of his death, for that this examinant believes he was
Taken on oath the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
ELIZABETH BINFIELD, late servant to Mr. Francis Blandy, deceased, upon
her oath saith, that about two months ago she heard Miss Mary Blandy
his daughter say, Who would grudge to send an old father to hell for
L10,000, and saith, that she hath heard her often wish her father dead
and at hell; and that he would die next October: and saith that the
said Mary Blandy a few days since declared to this examinant, that on
Monday the 5th day of August instant, she the said Mary Blandy put
some powder, which she called love powder, into some water gruel,
which was given to and eat by her said father: And further saith, that
on the said Monday her said master drank some of the said water gruel,
and saith, that the said Mary Blandy declared to this examinant, that
her said father had told her he had a ball of fire in his stomach, and
that he should not be well till the same was out; and saith, that on
the next day, being Tuesday, her said master continued very ill, and
in the evening he drank some more of the said water gruel, and was
immediately afterwards taken very ill, and reached violently, and went
to bed. On the Wednesday, he the said Francis Blandy took physick, and
about two of the clock the same day, the said Mary Blandy would have
had her said father taken the remainder of the said water gruel, but
the other servant would not let him take it, and was going to throw it
away, when she espied at the bottom of the basen some white stuff, and
called to this examinant to look at it, which she did, and the same
was very white and gritty; and saith, that she heard the said Mary
Blandy, declare to Doctor Addington, that she never attempted to give
her said father any powder but once before, and that she then put it
into his tea, which he did not drink, as it would not mix well.
Taken on oath the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
Mayor and Coroner.
EDWARD HERNE on his oath saith, that he was a servant or writer to
Francis Blandy, Gentleman, deceased; and saith, that during the time
of the illness of the said Francis Blandy, he, this examinant, heard
Mary Blandy, the daughter of the said Francis Blandy, deceased,
declare that she had received some powder, with some pebbles from
Captain Cranstoun, which she said were Love-Powders; and further
saith, that she told him when she received the same from the said
Captain Cranstoun, that he desired that she would administer the same
to her father.
Taken on oath the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
Mayor and Coroner.
_II.--Verdict of Jury._
Town of Henley upon Thames in the County of Oxford. To Wit, AN
INQUISITION indented, taken at the house of John Gale, within the town
of Henley upon Thames aforesaid, the 15th day of August, in the 25th
year of the reign of King George the Second, and in the year of our
Before Richard Miles, gentleman, Mayor and Coroner of the said town,
upon view of the body of Francis Blandy, gentleman, deceased, now
lying dead, upon the oaths of James Fisher, William Toovey, Benjamin
Sarney, Peter Sarney, William Norman, Richard Beach, L. Nicholas,
Thomas Mason, Tho. Staverton, John Blackman, J. Skinner, James
Lambden, and Richard Fisher, good and lawful men of the said town, who
having been sworn and charged to enquire for our Sovereign Lord the
King, when, where, and by what means and after what fashion the said
Francis Blandy came by his death upon their oaths say, that the said
Francis Blandy was poisoned; and that they have a strong suspicion,
from the depositions of the witnesses, that Mary Blandy, daughter of
the said Francis Blandy, did poison and murder her said father Francis
Blandy, against the peace of our said Lord the King, his Crown and
Dignity. In witness of which act and things, as well the Coroner
aforesaid, as the jurors aforesaid, have to this inquisition set their
hands and seals, the day and year first above written.
This Inquisition was taken the 15th day of August, 1751, before me
Mayor and Coroner.
JAMES FISHER. THOMAS MASON.
WILLIAM TOOVEY. THO. STAVERTON.
BENJAMIN SARNEY. JOHN BLACKMAN.
PETER SARNEY. J. SKINNER.
WILLIAM NORMAN. JAMES LAMBDEN.
RICHARD BEACH. RICHARD FISHER.
_III.--Warrant for Committal of Mary Blandy._
Town of Henley upon Thames in the County of Oxford. To Wit, To the
Constables of the said town, and to each and every of them, and also
to the Keeper of his Majesty's Gaol, in and for the said county of
WHEREAS Mary Blandy, of Henley upon Thames, aforesaid, spinster,
stands charged upon oath before me, with a violent suspicion of
poisoning and murdering Francis Blandy, gentleman, her late father,
deceased: These are in his Majesty's name to require and command the
said Constables, that you, some or one of you, do forthwith convey the
said Mary Blandy to his Majesty's said gaol in and for the said
county, and deliver her to the Keeper thereof: Hereby also requiring
you the said Keeper to receive into the said gaol the body of the said
Mary Blandy, and her there safely to keep until she shall be from
thence discharged by due course of law, and hereof fail not at your
perils. Given under my hand and seal this 16th day of August, 1751.
Mayor and Coroner.
COPIES OF ORIGINAL LETTERS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND PUBLIC RECORD
OFFICE, RELATING TO THE CASE OF MARY BLANDY.
I. LORD HARDWICKE TO DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.
(B.M. Add. MS. 32,725, f. 216.)
Wimple, Sept. 27th, 1751.
My Dear Lord,--I received from Mr. Jones, by your Grace's
directions, the inclosed papers relating to the Murder of Mr. Blandy
of Henley. I apprehend, by his letter, that the Question, upon which
your Grace desires my Opinion is, whether it is proper that the
Prosecution should be carried on by the order, and at the expense,
of the Crown? Your Grace observes by Mr. Pauncefort's letter, who is
a Gentleman of Character & writes like a man of sense, that, as the
Relations of the Deceased (who must necessarily be also relations to
the Daughter) are circumstanced, & seem at present disposed, no
effectual Prosecution can be expected from them; and therefore I am
clearly of opinion that, if upon Examinations there appears
sufficient ground to proceed, it is necessary & will be for the
honour of the Government, that the Prosecution should be carried on
at the expense of the Crown, & that Mr. Sharpe should be forthwith
ordered to take the proper steps for that purpose under the
direction of Mr. Attorney General. There have been several Instances
of such flagrant offences having been prosecuted at the Government's
expence. I remember two when I was Solicitor & Attorney General; one
against two Welshmen, Athowe by name, for a Murder in Pembrokeshire;
the other against a Woman in Oxford Road, who, in concert with her
Gallant, murdered her Husband privately, & afterwards cut his body
in pieces, & packed it up in a Basket. The reason which
prevailed for both these orders, was that there was ground to
apprehend that the Criminals might have escaped Justice without such
an extraordinary Interposition; and that Interposition was much
applauded by the Public. In the present case it would be a Reproach
to the King's Justice, and I am sure would create the justest
concern & Indignation in His Majesty's own mind, if such an
atrocious Crime of Poisoning & Parricide should escape unpunished,
by means of the Prosecution being left in the hands of the
Prisoner's own Relations.
There is one circumstance in Mr. Pauncefort's letter, which deserves
particular attention. He says it is thought the Maid and Charwoman
(who I presume are two material Witnesses) cannot long survive the
effects of ye Poison they partook of. If that be so, my opinion
would carry me so far as to think, that a special commission should
be sent into Berkshire, some days before the next Term, to find a
Bill of Indictment there, & then the Trial may be had at the King's
Bench Bar within the next Term; for otherwise no Trial can be till
the next Spring Assizes, before which time these Witnesses may
probably dye, if what is repeated be true.
I have said all this upon a supposition that the Informations &
Examinations lay a sufficient foundation for a Prosecution, for I
have not seen any Copies of them. If they do not, _id neo dictum
esto_. But there your Grace will be pleased to refer to Mr. Attorney
or Mr. Solicitor.
There is another matter arising upon the enclosed Papers, which
ought not to pass without some notice; and that is the behaviour of
Mr. Carre, the Sheriff-Depute of Berwickshire, and of Richard
Lowe, the Mayor of Henley's Messenger. The Sheriff-Depute's letter
contains a strong Charge against Lowe, & Lowe in his examination,
swears several odd circumstances relating to the Sheriff-Depute, &
to some relating to himself. Mr. Carre is a Gentleman of good
Character, but this matter deserves to be enquired into; and I
submit it to your Grace whether it may not be advisable to transmit
copies of Lowe's Examination, & of these Letters to my Lord Justice
Clerk, that he may, in a proper manner enquire into the facts, &
take such Examinations upon Oath, as he shall think fit. This will
tend to Mr. Carre's Vindication, if he has done his Duty. If there
are any material circumstances against Lieut. Cranstoun, some
further enquiry should be made after him.
Forgive me for adding one thing more--that it should be pointed out
to Mr. Attorney to consider whether the crime of the Daughter, who,
as I apprehend, lived with & was maintained by her Father, may not
be Petty Treason.
I am, always, etc.,
II. LORD HARDWICKE TO DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.
(B.M. Add. MS. 32,725, f. 218.)
Wimple, Sept. 27th, 1751.
My Dear Lord,--I have reserved for this private letter a few words
relating to Dr. Rooke's affair.... But before I enter into that,
permit me to make an observation upon the extraordinary method,
which was taken to apprehend Lieut. Cranstoun. I see, by the dates,
that the Informations must have been sent up to the Office when Your
Grace was in Sussex, & therefore the affair did not come before you.
But surely the right way would have been to have sent a Messenger,
with the Secretary of State's Warrant. That might have been executed
with Secrecy, whereas, in the other method, so many persons must be
apprized of it, that he could hardly fail of getting notice. Tho'
the Crime was not Treason, nor what is usually called an offence
concerning the Government; yet being of so black a nature, & the
Fact committed within the Jurisdiction of England, & the Person
charged being then within the Jurisdiction of Scotland, it was a
very proper case for bringing him up by a Secretary's Warrant, which
runs equally over the whole Kingdom. I say this to Your Grace only,
& beg it may not be mentioned to anybody. But the circumstances may
be worth your enquiring into; for I have heard the thing spoken of
accidently in conversation; & if Cranstoun got off at the time Lowe
supposes, it may create some clamour. May not this be a further
reason for the Government shewing a more than ordinary attention to
I am, etc.,
Duke of Newcastle.
III. DUKE OF NEWCASTLE TO SIR DUDLEY RYDER.
(State Papers, Dom. Entry Books, George II., vol. 134, f. 90.)
Whitehall, Sept. 27th, 1751.
Mr. Attorney General,
Sir,--It having been represented to the King, that the Relations of
Mary Blandy, who is confined in the Castle at Oxford, upon suspicion
of having poisoned her Father, the late Mr. Blandy, of Henley upon
Thames, do not intend to prosecute her for that crime, and
application having been made, that His Majesty would be pleased to
give Orders for the Prosecution of the said Mary Blandy; I am
commanded to signify to you the King's Pleasure, That you should
immediately enquire into this Affair; and that, in case you should
find that the relations of the said Mary Blandy do not propose to
prosecute her for the Murder of her Father, you should forthwith
take the necessary steps for that Purpose; That so wicked and
henious a Crime may not go unpunished.
I am, etc.,
IV. PETITION OF THE NOBLEMEN AND GENTLEMEN IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF
HENLEY-UPON-THAMES TO DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, WITH THE OPINION OF THE
(State Papers, Dom. (George II.), Bundle 117, No. 45.)
Henley upon Thames, 4th Oct., 1751.
My Lord,--We the Noblemen and Gentlemen in the Neighbourhood of
Henley upon Thames, and the Mayor and Principal Magistrates of that
Town, having met there together this day to make farther enquiries
in relation to the inhuman Murder of the late Mr. Blandy, have
unanimously agreed to return our sincere thanks to Your Grace for
your great readiness in promoting all proper measures for bringing
to Justice the persons concerned in that Horrid and Shocking
Transaction. And we take this Opportunity of expressing the just
Sense we have of his Majesty's Paternal Goodness to his people, in
directing that the person, who is now in Custody, and with the
greatest reason supposed to be chiefly instrumental in that Uncommon
scene of Iniquity, should be prosecuted at His Majesty's Expence:
And we beg leave to assure Your Grace, that no endeavours shall be
wanting on our part, to render that prosecution successful, and to
bring to condign punishment not only the Unnatural Daughter of that
Unhappy Gentleman, but also the Wicked Contriver and Instigator of
this Cruel Design. But at the same time we take the Liberty of
representing to Your Grace, as our humble Opinion, that there will
be little Room to hope that the Original Author & Promoter of this
Villainous Scheme can be brought to Justice, unless His Majesty will
further be graciously pleased to offer by Proclamation a proper
Reward for apprehending Mr. William Henry Cranstoun formerly a
Lieutenant of Marines, but now an Officer in a Scotch Regiment in
the Service of the States General; And we Earnestly request Your
Grace to recommend to His Majesty the Issueing out such a
Proclamation. We are with the greatest respect,
Your Grace's Most Obedient And Most Humble Servants.
MACCLESFIELD. GISM. COOPER.
CADOGAN. EDWD. PAUNCEFORT.
JAMES LAMBORN, Mayor. FRANCIS MASON.
THO. PARKER. RICHD. MILES.
GEO. LANE PARKER. EDWD. PRASSEY.
JOHN FREEMAN. JOHN CLARKE.
SAMBROOKE FREEMAN. THOS. HALL.
WILLIAM STOCKWOOD, Rectr.
[Annexed to this petition is a copy of the same, with the names of the
petitioners, also copied, and underneath them is written--]
Mr. Sharpe received this additional paper from the Duke of Newcastle
with directions from His Grace to lay the same before Mr. Attorney
General and to desire his opinion.
_Qu._ Whether it may be advisable to Issue a Proclamation with the
Offer of a Reward for apprehending Lieut. Cranstoun.
This is a matter of mere discretion in His Majesty, and as there is
no objection in point of Law to the Issueing such a Proclamation, so
if there is any prospect of success in apprehending Cranstoun by
that means I should think it an advisable measure. But as he has
certainly notice of an Intent to apprehend him it is probable he may
be gone beyond sea, to his service. If so the most probable means
would be to get him seized by the order of the States General or any
other State where he may be found to be.
D. RYDER, 14 Oct., 1751.
[Endorsed] The Noblemen & Gentlemen in the Neighbourhood of Henley
upon Thames, and the Mayor & principal Magistrates of that Town to
the Duke of Newcastle.
Oct. 14th, 1751.
For your Opinion hereon.
Mr. Attorney General.
3 Gs. Sharpe.
V. LORD HARDWICKE TO THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.
(B.M. Add. MS. 32,725, f. 259.)
Wimple, Oct. 9th, 1751. 4 o'clock p.m.
Dear Cousin,-- ... I enclose the Representation of the Noblemen
etc., in the Neighbourhood of Henley relating to the issueing a
Proclamation for the apprehending of Lieut. Cranstoun. It is
impossible for me to judge whether this is a proper Case for
issueing such a Proclamation, without seeing the Examinations &
proofs of his Guilt, & of the probability of his having fled for it.
But, if there is proper Evidence of his Guilt, & a probable one
of his Flight, I think it is a just foundation to issue such a
proclamation in so flagrant a Case. I submit to My Lord Duke whether
he will not think it proper to refer the Papers to Mr. Attorney
I am, etc.,
VI. EARL OF MARCHMONT TO DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.
(B.M. Add. MS. 32,725, f. 291.)
Redbraes Castle, 15th Oct., 1751.
My Lord,--In obedience to your Grace's commands to the Lord Justice
Clerk, informing him it was His Majesty's pleasure, he should
enquire upon oath into the conduct of Mr. Carre of Nisbet advocate,
our Sheriff, in relation to the apprehending of Mr. Cranstoun; I
yesterday waited on his Lordship at Duns; & gave him an account of
what I knew of that matter upon oath. I heard some other examinations
taken at the same time, & have the pleasure to see that your Grace
will receive entire satisfaction from this Inquiry.
I cannot omitt My Lord, upon this occasion expressing to your Grace
the grateful sense all his Majesty's faithful subjects here have of
your goodness in ordering this enquiry to be made, without which the
misrepresentations contained in Lowe's affidavit, with the Justice
of peace's Commentary, might have lurkt & crept about unobserved in
the South of England, & his Majesty's subjects here could have had
no opportunity of removing the injurious imputations cast upon them.
My Lord Justice Clerk has spared no pains to make the account
compleat, and it gives me particular pleasure My Lord that your
Grace will thereby be enabled to form a character of Mr. Carre from
vouchers free from all suspicion of that partiality which perhaps
might be thought to attend my recommendations of a friend &
relation. Your Grace will see that Mr. Carre came from his own house
with the Lord Justice Clerk, in his Lordship's post-chaise, to dine,
by a previous appointment, at my house, which is only distant from
his own half an hours driving; & this in order to have the advice &
assistance of the Lord Justice Clerk. I am persuaded your Grace will
think, you could not have wished him to choose a more judicious
adviser, or a more sagacious Inspector into his conduct. Upon
examination your Grace will find, that the Lawyers here will reckon
Mr. Carre rather to have stretched a point to get over the provision
in our Act of Parliament, in order to grant his Warrant, than to
have affected any doubt, or dilatoriness upon the occasion. And that
those Scots Lawyers who have not studied our Law with the same
superiority of capacity & genius that Mr. Carre has, would hardly
have consented to give a Warrant, upon the grounds Mr. Carre granted
I am, etc.,
Duke of Newcastle.
VII. DUKE OF NEWCASTLE TO MR. PAUNCEFORT.
(Sate Papers, Dom. Entry Books (George II.), vol. 134, f. 97.)
Whitehall, Oct. 31st, 1751.
Sir,--Having by His Majesty's Command, directed an Enquiry to be
made into the Conduct of Mr. Carre, the Sheriff of Berwickshire,
upon the application that was made to him for causing Lieut.
Cranstoun to be apprehended; and such an Enquiry having been
accordingly made by the Lord Justice Clerk; I send you inclosed a
Letter, which I have received from His Lordship together with the
several Examinations that have been taken upon that occasion.--I am,
_P.S._--I send you the original Papers above mentioned, which you
will be pleased to return to me as soon as may be.
VIII. MR. PAUNCEFORT TO DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.
(B.M. Add. MS. 32,725, f. 380.)
Early Court, Nov. 7th, 1751.
My Lord,--I have had the honour to receive from your Grace, the Lord
Justice Clerk's Letter, and the Examinations that have been taken in
persuance of an Enquiry made into the conduct of Mr. Carre the
Sheriff of Berwickshire, upon the application that was made to him
for causing Lieutenant Cranstoun to be apprehended, & I should have
acknowledged the receipt of them by the last Post, but I did not
return from a Commission of the Navigations, held at a remote part
of the county, till Wednesday.
I have in consequence sent an Express to the Earl of Macclesfield,
to desire a meeting of the Corporation & the neighbouring Gentlemen
of the County of Oxford at Henley; in order to lay before them the
several Examinations; and its a particular Happiness to me that I am
in this instance employed to represent to the Gentlemen of the
County the Watchfulness & unwearied attention of the Crown to the
vigorous Execution of the Laws, by having ordered this strict &
immediate Enquiry to be made into the suspected Neglects & Delays of
the Sheriff, tho' grounded upon a single Information; as likewise
that I am made instrumental in the justifying as well as accusing
the Conduct of the Sheriff; That the complaints of the Messenger
were without any foundation; & that every thing was done by the
Sheriff that was consistent with a cautious Magistrate.
I shall in obedience to your Grace's commands return the
Examinations to you.
I am, etc.,
IX. MR. WISE TO MR. SHARPE, SOLICITOR TO THE TREASURY.
(State Papers, Dom. (George II.) Bundle 116, No. 36.)
Sir,--I was favoured with yr two last letters, and also with yr
answer to my letter of the 24th Novr. last, wch I acknowledged in
another letter wch I wrote to you from Mr. Aldworths at Stanlake,
wherein I gave you an Acct. of a Threatening Letter from Cranstoun
to Betty Binfield, and wch I find you had sent up to you by Lord
Macclesfield. On Receipt of your last I set out yesterday morning to
Ld. Macclesfields, where I lay, and came this day to Oxford, and
immediately on my arrival went to the Castle where I found Miss
Blandy with the very same Iron on her Leg wch I saw rivetted on
myself when last here, and wch I now believe has never been off
since, for her leg is considerably swelled, and the Red Cloth wch
was round the Iron before has been cut off to give her room, but it
is still so close, as renders it impossible to be slipt over her
Heel. I also find by what I saw myself and by the Report of a
Gentleman or two in whom I can confide, that Wisdom has kept a much
stricter Guard over Miss Blandy ever since I was here before than he
used to do, and that she has not been permitted to walk in the
Garden once since. However I repeated the contents of your letter to
him, and remonstrated how very absurd it wd be in him now, not to
continue ye strictest watch over a person whose Trial will be made a
Matter of so great Consequence to the Publick, and on whose safe
custody, for that purpose, his future character & Livelihood would
intirely depend. I also sent for Mrs. Deane (the person who is with
Miss Blandy) into the Room with Wisdom, and told her that it would
be impossible for Miss Blandy to make an Escape without her Privity
& Assistance, and that if such a thing shd happen, not only the
Goaler wd be answerable for what ever Act she did towards it, But
that she herself wd also be imprisoned for Life etc, so that upon
the whole I dont imagine there is now any fear of her making her
escape. Parson Swinton is very angry wth the Freedom the letter
writer has taken with (his) name, and is endeavouring to find out
the Author of that and many other Reports of the same kind. It is
owing to his Credulity of her Innocence, that these Jokes have been
spread, and I find that he is a great favourite of Miss Blandy's. I
will endeavour to get the Briefs settled in the best manner I am
able and as soon as I have done, will send you a copy, and
am--wishing you many happy years.
Yr Obliged humble Servt.
_P.S._--I promised to write to Ld. Cadogan who went to Town
yesterday, but as the Post is this instant going, must beg you to
acquaint his Lordship all is safe.
To John Sharpe Esq. Solicitor to the Treasury at his Chambers in
Lincolns Inn, London.
X. MR. SHARPE TO MR. WISE.
(State Papers, Dom. (George II.) Bundle 117, No. 90.)
Dear Sir,--I beg leave to trouble you with another Lre I have reced
from Lord Macclesfield by last night's Post, and which shews pretty
plainly that the threatning Lre I gave you yesterday was wrote and
sent by Cranstoun and that there is great Reason to believe that
Cranstoun is lying concealed either here in London or in the
North--I beg you will lay the enclosed before his Grace with my most
dutifull Respects--and believe me to be with the most real truth and
Dr Sir, Your most obliged and ever faithfull hble Servt.,
Friday morning, 6th Decr., 1751.
XI. EXAMINATION OF FRANCIS GROPPTTY.
(State Papers, Dom. (George II.), Bundle 118, No. 22.)
The Examination upon Oath of Francis Gropptty of Mount Street, in the
Parish of St. George Hanover Square taken this 3rd Day of Febry 1752.
The Examt says that upon the First Day of September last he was sent
for by the Revd. Mr. Home to his lodgings in the Haymarket, who told
the Examt. that a Gentleman of his, Mr. Homes, acquaintance, was going
to Calais, & as he spoke no French, desired the Examt. to go with him.
The Examt. asked who it was, & after some hesitation Mr. Home told him
it was Capt. Cranston Bror. to Lord Cranston who was accused of having
sent poison to a Miss Blandy, who was suspected to have poison'd her
Father; but that he was inocent, & only wanted to get out of the way
till his Tryal came on, when he would surrender himself.
The Examt. says he made an objection to going & told Mr. Home, that as
he had expectations, from the Recommendations of Lord Home and Sir
Walter Blacket, to the Duke of Grafton, of being made one of the
King's Messengers he was afraid it might hurt him, but Mr. Home
assured him that he could not be brought into the least trouble, and
added that he would oblige him, Mr. Home, Ld. Home & all the family &
that for his satisfaction he would give him a note to Capt. Alexander
Hamilton, who would assure him of the same.
That the Examt. went to Capt. Hamilton, who told him that he knew
where Capt. Cranston was & that if the Examt. would see him safe at
Calais, he would very much oblige Lord Cranston, Ld. Home & all the
Family. The Examt. asked Capt. Hamilton if there had been any
proceedings against Capt. Cranston or if any orders were given to stop
him at Dover? Capt. Hamilton said he would enquire, & the next day
Sepr. 2nd told the Examt. he had enquired & that there had not been
any proceedings against Capt. Cranston nor were there any Orders to
stop him at Dover.
The Examt. says that he lived with Lord Home several years & now does
business for him; that he was willing to oblige his Lordship & not
doubting from the assurances of Mr. Home yt he was doing a right
thing, consented to go to Calais with Capt. Cranston.
That upon the said 2nd of September Capt. Hamilton brought Capt.
Cranston to the Examt's. House; that Capt. Cranston said he had been
rob'd in his way to town of his Money & Portmanteau & seem'd in great
distress. That the Examt. by the Direction of Capt. Hamilton bought
for Capt. Cranston such necessaries as he wanted & Capt. Hamilton went
to Lord Ancrum to borrow Twenty pounds to defray the expence of the
Journey & repay the Examt. the money he had expended. That upon his
return he told Capt. Cranston that Lord Ancrum wd not lend him the
money; says, that Capt. Cranston cried very much & said for God's sake
dear Hamilton get Money somewhere & get me abroad.
That the Examt. seeing the great distress both of Capt. Hamilton &
Capt. Cranston, said that if ten Guineas wd. be of service he wd. lend
Capt. Hamilton that sum, which he accordingly did & took Capt.
Hamilton's Note of Hand, which is still unsatisfied.
That he set out with Capt. Cranston in a Post Chaise for Dover, where
they arrived the next morning Sept. 3rd about 9 o'clock.
That they went to bed at the Post House about 4 o'clock in the
afternoon in the same room, & about half an hour afterwards the Capt.
of the Packet came into the Room & said he was informed they were
going to Calais & desired they would go with him, which they agreed to
& the next morning went with him to Calais & paid a Guinea for their
passage.--Says they had no discourse at all with the Capt. of the
Packet during the Passage.
The Examt. says he took Lodgings & agreed for Board for Capt. Cranston
at Calais at the Rate of Fifty Livres a Month & upon the 6th Sept.
returned in the same Packet to Dover. That upon his passage back the
Capt. of the Packet said he believed the person who went with the
Examt. to Calais was very glad to be landed, for that he seemed very
uneasy; The Examt. answered may be so, & no other discourse happened
upon the subject.
That the Capt. of the Packet observed that he thought he had seen the
Examt. at Harwych, the Examt. said very likely for that he had passed
from thence to Holland with his master Lord Home during the War.
The Examt. absolutely denies that he passed or attempted to pass for a
King's Messenger, or that he mentioned the name of his Grace the Duke
of Newcastle, nor was his Grace's name mentioned; nor did any
Discourse what so ever pass about Messengers.
That upon his return to London he waited upon Mr. Home to acquaint him
that he had landed Capt. Cranston safe at Calais. Mr. Home expressed
himself very much obliged & assured the Examt. he would represent to
his Brother & Lord Cranston the trouble he had had, & did not doubt
but they would be equally obliged & reward him very well. The Examt.
said he did not expect any reward, that what he had done was out of
gratitude to Lord Home & his family & was very glad he had had it in
his power to oblige them: & the Examt. said the same to Capt. Hamilton
& never kept it a secret from any body, but talked of his having gone
over with Capt. Cranston in common discourse & before anybody.
That the Examt. made out an Acct. of the Expences he had been at &
delivered it to Capt. Hamilton, which amounted, with the money lent,
to eighteen pounds, for which sum Capt. Hamilton gave him a Bill of
exchange upon Ld. Cranston, which Bill the Examt. sent to Scotland to
Lord Cranston, who having kept it near six weeks return'd it unpaid;
and the Examt. has not yet recd. the money.
And lastly the Examt. says that he arrived in England with his Master
at the end of the late War, & has not been out of England since that
time except to Calais with Capt. Cranston as aforesaid.
this 3rd Feb., 1752.
Taken upon Oath; before L. Stanhope.
A LETTER FROM A CLERGYMAN TO MISS MARY BLANDY, NOW A PRISONER IN
OXFORD CASTLE; WITH HER ANSWER THERETO. AS ALSO MISS BLANDY'S OWN
NARRATIVE OF THE CRIME FOR WHICH SHE IS CONDEMNED TO DIE.
(No. 3 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
(The original copy of this letter, in Miss Blandy's own handwriting,
for the satisfaction of the public, is left with the publisher.)
March 14, 1752.
Reader,--Condemn no person rashly. Thou has already, perhaps, passed
sentence upon this unfortunate. But remember, that God alone knows the
secrets of the heart; and that circumstances spring many times from
motives which it is impossible for man to discover.
The following letter was written to this unhappy lady by a clergyman,
after her receiving sentence of death.
A LETTER TO MISS BLANDY.
March 7, 1752.
Dear Miss,--Had it been at my own option, I never would have chose
to be the least concerned in your unhappy affair; but since divine
providence, without my own seeking, has thought fit to order it
otherwise, I shall, from obligations of compassion and humanity,
offer some things to your serious consideration. Your power of
receiving benefit from my advice, is but of short duration; may God
grant that you may rightly use this. That you believe in God, in the
immortal nature of the soul, in Jesus Christ, and in a future state
of rewards and punishments, I am willing to persuade myself. As to
the unworthy man who has tempted you to your ruin, I have good
grounds to believe him to be an infidel. If he has communicated such
principles to you, to render you more capable of executing his
wicked purposes, your persisting therein will ruin your poor soul
for ever. The moment you enter into that awful state of separation,
you will be eternally convinced of your error. The very devils
believe a God, and tremble.
You will, perhaps, express surprise at my entertaining a doubt of
this nature. What? You that have been so constant at public worship,
that have so frequently participated of the most sacred rite of the
Christian religion, to be thought an infidel? Alas! Miss, externals
are but the husks of piety; they are easy to the hypocrite. The body
may bow down in the house of God, yet the soul do homage to Belial.
God forbid, that this should touch you.
And indeed to be sincere, when on the one hand I view the arguments
of your guilt, and, on the other, behold your strong assertions of
innocence, to the hazarding of the soul, if untrue, I am greatly
perplexed, I know not what to say or believe. The alternative, I
presume, is, you are either a believer and innocent, or an infidel
and guilty. But that holy religion which I profess, obliging me, in
all cases of doubt, to incline to the most charitable construction;
I say, that I am willingly persuaded, that you believe in the above
mentioned truths, and are in some degree innocent.
You have, dear Miss, applied to temporal counsel, with regard to the
determination of your body. They have failed. Your life is forfeited
to justice. You are already dead in the eye of the law. Oh! Miss,
the counsels which my poor understanding gives, is spiritual; may
they be more successful: May God grant that the fate of your soul
may not resemble the fate of your body! May it not perish and die
Now, Miss, you must necessarily be in one of these two situations;
you must either be innocent, by not designing to hurt your father;
or you designed to kill your father, and are guilty, and conceal
your guilt for private reasons. Permit me to offer something upon
each of these heads.
If it should be the case, that you are innocently the cause of Mr.
Blandy's death, which Heaven grant! if you harboured not a thought
of injuring your unhappy father, you have the greatest of all
comforts to support you. You may think upon that last and awful
tribunal, before which all the sons of Adam shall appear, and from
which no secret is hid. There will be no injustice. Innocence will
be vindicated. The scheme of Providence will be then unfolded. There
your patience under your sufferings and resignation to the decrees
of Heaven will be rewarded. Your errors and failings God will pity
and have mercy upon; for he remembers whereof we are made. You may
face the ignominious tree with calmness. Death has no stings to
wound innocence. Guilt alone clothes him with terrors (to the guilty
wretch he is terrible indeed!). And at the resurrection, and at the
last day, you will joyfully behold Jesus Christ your Saviour, join
the triumphant multitudes of the blessed, and follow them into the
everlasting mansions of glory.
The other point I am about to speak to, is upon a supposition of
your guilt. God direct me what to say! If you repent, you will be
saved. But what repentance can be adequate to such crimes? O Miss!
your infamous end is a satisfaction due to human laws. But there is
another satisfaction which God expects to be made for such a
dreadful violation of laws divine. Once, Miss, you had two fathers
to provide for and protect you; one by the ties of Nature, the other
by the bonds of grace and religion. And now your earthly parent is
your accuser, and your heavenly one your judge. Both are become your
enemies. Good God! what deep distress is this! where can misery like
this find comfort and relief? O Miss! the only anchor which can
preserve your soul from perishing, is your blessed Saviour. Believe
in Him; whatsoever you ask in His name, believing, God will grant.
For to them that believe, all things are possible. Unburthen your
whole soul. Pour out your fervent prayers to God. Remember, that
infinite mercy is glorified in the vilest sinners. If there are any
accessaries to this horrid crime, discover them. Make all possible
reparation for injuries you have done. Heartily forgive, and pray
for your enemies and more particularly for all concerned in the
Prosecution against you. Detest your sins truly, and resolve to do
so for the time to come, and be in charity with all men. If you
perform these things truly and sincerely, your life, which sets in
gloomy clouds, shame and darkness, may, by the mercies of God, rise
in glory, honour and brightness.
But perhaps, Miss, to your everlasting hazard, you will not confess
your guilt, for some private reasons. And what must these be?
You may possibly then imagine, that if you confess your crime to
God, you are not obliged to confess to the world. Generally speaking
God is the sole confessor of mankind; but your case is a particular
exception to this rule. You will want the assistance of God's
ministers. But how is it possible for you to receive any benefit
from them, if you do not represent to them the true state of your
soul without any disguise? A secret of this nature, smothered in the
breast, is a fire which preys upon, and consumes all quietness and
repose. Consider too the imminent danger of a lie of this nature;
consider the justice due to your accusers, to your judges, and to
But you will say, confession of my crime cuts off all hope of Royal
Mercy. Dear Miss, do not indulge yourself in such a thought. Prepare
for the worst. Consider how pernicious flattery of this nature is.
Remember that God is only a God of mercy in this; in another life,
he is a God of justice.
I can hardly think that shame has any share in the concealment of
your guilt; for no shame can exceed that which you have already
suffered. Besides, confession is all the amends you can make; and
mankind know experimentally how frail and imperfect human nature is,
and will allow for it accordingly.
And thus, dear Miss, have I wrote to you, with a sincere view to
your everlasting happiness. If during this dismal twilight, this
interval between life and death, I can serve you, command me. The
world generally flies the unfortunate, rejoices in evil, triumphs
over distress; believe me glad to deviate from such inhumanity. As
the offices of friendship which you can receive from me are confined
to such a short period, let them be such as concern your everlasting
welfare. The greatest pleasure I can receive (if pleasure can arise
from such sad potions), will be to hear that you entertain a
comfortable assurance of being happy for ever. Which that you may
be, is the fervent prayer of, etc.
Whether or no this gentleman, in the above letter, has not urged
the matter home to Miss Blandy, is submitted to the judgment of the
Here follows _verbatim_ her answer.
Monday, March 9, 1752.
Reverend Sir,--I did not receive your's till Sunday night late; and
now so ill in body, that nothing but my gratitude to you for all
your goodness could have enabled me to write. I have with great care
and thought often read over your kind advice; and will, as well as
the sad condition I am in will give me leave, speak the truth.
The first and most material to my poor soul is, that I believe in
God the Father, and in His blessed Son Jesus Christ, who, I verily
believe, came into the world to save sinners; and that He will come
again to judge the world; and that we must all give an account in
our own bodies, and receive the reward of a good or ill spent life;
that God is a God of Justice, but of mercy too; and that by
repentance all may be saved.
As to the unworthy man you mention, I never heard finer lessons come
from any one. Had he, Sir, shewn really what he may be (an infidel),
I never should have been so deceived; for of all crimes, that ever
shocked me most. No, Sir, I owe all my miseries to the appearances
of virtue; by that deceived and ruined in this world, but hope
through Christ to be pardoned. I was, and never denied it, the fatal
instrument; but knew not the nature of, nor had a thought those
powders could hurt. Had I not destroyed his letters, all must have
been convinced; but, like all the rest, he commanded, and I obeyed
and burnt them. There is an account, as well as I was able to write,
which I sent to my Uncle in London. That I here send you. God knows
never poor soul wrote in more pain, and I now am not able hardly to
hold my pen. But will not conclude this without explaining the true
state of my mind. As I did not give this fatal powder to kill or
hurt my poor father; I hope God will forgive me, with repentance for
the ill use I have made of that sense he gave me, and not be for
ever angry with me. Death I deserve, for not being better on my
guard against my grand enemy; for loving and relying too much on the
human part. I hope (when all is done that friends can do for me to
save that life which God has given me, and which if to last these
hundred years, would be too short for me to repent, and make amends
for the follies I have committed) I shall have such help from my
God, as to convince my poor friends I die a Christian, and with
hopes of forgiveness through the merits of our Advocate and Mediator
I beg, my dear sir, you will excuse my writing more, and will
believe I am truly sensible of your goodness to me. May God bless
you, sir, and send you happiness here and hereafter. I beg my duty
to my poor uncle; pray him to forgive, and pity, and pray for me. I
beg my tenderest wishes to Mrs. Mounteney; and if she can serve me
with the Bishop of W---- or any other, I know she will do it.
Pray comfort poor Ned Hearne, and tell him I have the same
friendship for him as ever. And pray, sir, continue your friendship
and good wishes to,
Your truly affected, Much obliged humble Servant,
_P.S._--I beg, for very just reasons to myself and friends, that
this letter and papers may soon be returned to me; that is, as soon
as you have done with them. You will oblige me, if you keep a copy
of the letter; but the real letter I would have back, and the real
papers, as being my own handwriting, and may be of service to me, to
my character after my death, and to my family.
There is no occasion of hinting to the judicious reader that in this
letter it is plain that Miss Blandy twice solemnly declares her
But let us now proceed to Miss Blandy's own relation of an affair
which has so much engrossed the attention of the public.
Miss Blandy's narrative referred to in the foregoing letter:--
O! Christian Reader!
My misfortunes have been, and are such, as never woman felt before. O!
let the tears of the wretched move human minds to pity, and give ear
to my sad case, here wrote with greatest truth. It is impossible
indeed, in my unhappy circumstances, to recollect half of my
misfortunes, so as to place them in a proper light. Let some generous
breast then do that for the miserable, and God will reward goodness
towards an unhappy, deceived, ruined woman. Think what power man has
over our sex, when we truly love! And what woman, let her have what
sense she will, can stand the arguments and persuasions men will make
use of? Don't think that by this I mean, that I ever was, or could
have been persuaded to hurt one hair of my poor father's head. No;
what I mean is Cranstoun's baseness and art, in making me believe that
those powders were innocent, and would make my father love him. He
gave my father some himself more than a year before he died, and said,
when he gave it him, that he (Cranstoun) had took several papers of it
himself. I saw nothing of any ill effects from these powders on my
father; nor did he complain of any one disorder, more than what he has
ever been subject to above these ten years, the gravel and the
heartburn; but never complained of the heartburn, except when he had
the gravel coming on him; and he never was less afflicted with those
disorders than during the last year of his life, in which he never
took one medicine from his apothecary, as he made oath in Court.
Mr. Cranstoun, soon after he gave these powders to my father, said to
me, do you not see that your father is kinder to me? I now will
venture to tell him, that I cannot get the appeal lodged this Sessions
(meaning his affair in Scotland); upon which he went to my father's
study, and told him. They both came out together in great good humour,
and my father said not one word against my waiting another Sessions.
Mr. Cranstoun came to our house in the beginning of August, or latter
end of July, staid with us some months, and then he said he was
obliged to go for Scotland. My father seemed not pleased with him at
first, but they parted in great friendship, I thought; and I received
a letter from Cranstoun (which is now among my papers) full of respect
and tenderness for my father. But soon after he was gone my father,
who had either heard some ill of him, or was tired of so long an
affair, told me to let Mr. Cranstoun know, that I should wait the next
Sessions; but he must not come to his house till his affairs in
Scotland were settled. I obeyed his commands, and had a letter full of
love, and seeming misery, back in answer to mine; that he found that
he had lost my father's love, and feared he should mine too. He got
his mother and sisters to write to my father, and seemed to do all in
his power to force him to love him.
Some time after this he sent me word, that he had met with his old
friend Mrs. Morgan in Scotland, and that he would get some of those
powders he had before; and begged of me, if I loved him, to give them
to my father; for that they would make him kind to us again in this
affair, and make him stay with patience till the next Sessions; when,
upon his word, the appeal should be lodged. I wrote him back word, I
did not care for doing it, lest it should hurt my father's health. He
wrote me word, that it was quite innocent, and could not hurt him; and
how could I think that he would send any thing to hurt a father of
mine? and that self-interest would be reason enough lor him to take
care of his health.
Now, in this place, I must beg to clear up one thing, that I imagined
my poor father rich, and that Mr. Cranstoun did the same. As to
myself, it is, by all that's good, false. I have often told Mr.
Cranstoun, I knew my father was not worth what the world said; but
that if he lived I did not doubt but he would provide for us and ours,
as his business was so great, and life retired. I then supposed that
Mr. Cranstoun meant, by saying, that his own interests would make him
careful, to refer to such discourse.
Mr. Cranstoun's having then such strong reasons to know how necessary
my father's life must be, and I believing his honour to be so great,
and that his love was still greater; these were the reasons of my not
mistrusting that the powder would hurt my father, if I mixed it with
his tea. It not mixing well, I threw it away, and wrote him word, I
would not try it again, for it would be discovered. This they bring
against me. But is it not, reasonable to imagine, that if any person
was to discover that a powder had been given them, to force them to
love anyone, would not a discovery of this nature produce a very
different effect? Would it not fix resentment? This would have been,
at that time death to me; such was my opinion of Cranstoun, and for
this reason I used the aforesaid words.
But to proceed. On my writing to Mr. Cranstoun, that it would not mix
in tea, he told me to mix it in gruel. I received the powders in June;
but did not put any into his gruel till the 5th of August; when I
fatally obeyed Mr. Cranstoun's orders, and was innocently the
instrument of death, as they say, to the best of fathers; brought
disgrace to my family, and shameful death to myself, unless my hard
case, here truly repented, recommends me to Royal pity, clemency and
compassion. And as I here declare, and as I look upon myself as a
dying woman, I never did design to hurt my father, but thought the
powder innocent, as Cranstoun told me it was. Let me be punished for
my follies, but not lose my life. Sure, it is hard to die for
ignorance, and too good an opinion of a villain! Must the falsities
and malice which I have been pursued with, prevail so far as to take
away my life? O consider my misfortunes, and indeed it will fill your
eyes with tears; you must pity me, and say, never was poor soul so
hardly used. But peace, my heart. I gave my father the powder on
Monday night; on Tuesday he complained. I sent for the apothecary; who
came, and said he would send him some physic. In the evening my father
said he would have some water gruel. I never went out to order this,
and knew not whether it was the same or no as he had on Monday, as
that he drank on Monday was made either on Saturday or Sunday.
However, on the Wednesday my father took physic, and was better; came
all Thursday down into the parlour, as also on Friday; Mr. Norton, by
my desire, all this time attending him very often. And Mr. Norton did
in the Court declare, that I was the person that did send for a
physician, and would have sent before, if thought necessary. When I
found my father so ill, I sent, unknown to him, for Dr. Addington. The
doctor said, he believed he was in great danger. I desired Dr.
Addington to attend him, and come the next day; which he did. On
Monday morning going into my father's room early (for though I never
from his first disorder left him long in the day, yet his tenderness
would not let me sit up all night with him), I was denied to see him.
This so surprised and frightened me, that I cried out, What? Not see
my father? On which I heard my father reply, My dear Polly, you shall
presently; and some time after I did. That meeting and parting, and
the mutual love, sorrow, and grief, is truly described by Susanna
Gunnel; though poor soul she is mistaken in some other respects.
I was after this confined in my room by Dr. Addington's own orders;
during which confinement, as I am informed, my father wanted to see
some body, and it was imagined to be me. But, alas! I was not
suffered. The night before he died, my father sent his blessing to me,
with his commands to bring that villain to justice. I sent him answer
back, I would do all in my power to hang that villain, as he rightly
But the usage which I received in my father's house, unknown to him I
am sure, is shocking to relate. My going to listen at his door, the
only comfort left me, to hear if he was asleep was denied me. All my
keys were taken from, me--my letters--my very garters. My maid-servant
never came near me, helpless as I was by grief and fits. This I bore
patiently, being fearful of disturbing my father, as our rooms joined.
The man who was with me can witness to my sufferings, how often I
wished for instant death to take me, and spare my dear father, whom
never child loved better; whose death alone, unattended with these
misfortunes, would have been an excessive shock to me.
When Dr. Addington, and Dr. Lewis (who was called in it seems) came
into the room, and told me, that nothing could save my ever dear
father; for a considerable time I sat like a stone image; and then
told them, that I had given my poor father some powders which
Cranstoun had given me, and feared those had hurt my father, though
Cranstoun assured me that they would not.
It is not in human nature to declare what I suffered at that time. God
grant that no one ever may again.
When my father was dead, though mistress of myself, my keys, servants,
two horses in the stable, all my own; yet I never quitted my room.
Though none dared to molest me, I never stirred. They say, that I
walked about my room for hours; but I hardly remember anything. Much
is now said of my trying to bribe my servants. How contrary to truth!
As for bribing Betty my cook; of all my servants she was my greatest
enemy throughout my misfortunes; and an attempt to bribe her must
surely be the strongest instance of lunacy, of one not in her right
mind. I own I should have been glad not to have gone to jail; as who
would not? But then I would with pleasure have resigned myself up at
the Assizes, and stood the chance of life or death. I did not at that
time imagine, that I had such enemies, or that human nature could be
so wicked and abandoned. On the Thursday my father was to be opened.
In the morning Suzanna Gunnel sent for me, being indisposed: When I
saw her, she begged that I would bring Mr. Cranstoun to justice, which
was the request and command of her dying master; and that if anything
gave him concern in his last moments, it was an apprehension of his
escaping, being a man of quality, and interest among the great. I
replied that I would do all in my power, and went down into my room
Soon after Dr. Lewis came into my room, and I found by him that my
poor father's body was to be opened as that morning. As soon as he was
gone, I could not bear to stay in the house, but walked out. Let
reason judge whether I intended an escape. My dress was an half-sack
and petticoat, made for a hoop, and the sides very long; neither man
nor horse to assist me; and, as they say, I walked as slow as foot
could fall; half the town at my heels; and but for the mercy of a
woman, who sheltered me in her house, had perhaps lost my life. When I
was sent for back by the Justices, the gentlemen who conveyed me to my
house, witnessed that I thanked him. Surely this cannot be interpreted
an attempt to escape.
In consequence then of the words which, during these melancholy and
distracting scenes, I had spoke to Dr. Addington, that I was innocent
of the nature of the powders, but had given them to my father, I was
sent to prison, where I was till my trial, and am now in safe custody.
The untruths which have been told of me, the messengers sent after me,
to see if I was safe, the putting me in Irons (though so weak and ill,
that my own body was too much to carry about), the baseness and
wickedness of printing the depositions to hurt me with the jury; under
all this I bore up from knowing my innocence.
But give me leave to mention what happened at my trial. I was brought
to the Bar; and must do the judges, and all the gentlemen of the law,
that justice, that they used me as a gentlewoman should be, though
unfortunate. I must, however, observe, that when the judges read and
summed up the evidence, or indeed when anything was said in Court,
there was such a noise, that the jury, I am sure, could not hear the
evidence; and I hope I shall be forgiven, if I say, that some of them
seemed not to give that attention I think they ought. Nay, the judges
were often obliged to speak for silence in the Court, and bid them for
shame let the jury hear and attend. When all the witnesses were
examined on both sides, the judge gave his charge like a man fit to
hold the sword of justice; and my council and friends were in great
hopes for me. But, most surprising treatment! without going out of the
Court, without being any time consulting, their verdict was, Guilty!
God's will be done. My behaviour at my trial, and when sentence was
passed, I leave to the world. My enemies, as they have done all along,
may misinterpret it, and call innocence and Christian courage hardened
guilt. But let them know, that nothing but innocency could stand the
shock of such repeated misfortunes, and prospect of death.
O Christian reader! remember what blessings will attend you for
defending the orphan, the injured, and the deceived. And if the dead
are sensible what the living do; what prayers must not dear parents
pour out before the throne of mercy for such charity, for endeavouring
to rescue their only child and much-loved daughter from a shameful
death. Drop pen; my spirits, harrassed out with sorrow, fail. God
Almighty preserve you and yours from such misfortunes, and receive my
poor soul into the arms of his mercy, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Whosoever thou art, whose eyes drink in this sad and moving tale,
indulge one tear. Remember the instability of sublunary things, and
judge no man happy till he dies.
MISS MARY BLAND'S OWN ACCOUNT OF THE AFFAIR BETWEEN HER AND MR.
CRANSTOUN, FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF THEIR ACQUAINTANCE IN THE
YEAR 1746 TO THE DEATH OF HER FATHER IN AUGUST, 1751, WITH ALL
THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO THAT UNHAPPY EVENT.
(No. 8 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
My acquaintance with Mr. Cranstoun, who was lieutenant of a regiment
of marines, commenced at Lord Mark Kerr's, in one of the summer
months, as I at present apprehend, of the year 1746. At first we
entertained of each other only sentiments of friendship, I being upon
the point of marrying another gentleman; which, for some prudential
reasons, was soon put off, and at last came to nothing. Some months
after our first interview, Mr. Cranstoun left Henley; and, about the
following summer, returned to his uncle, Lord Mark Kerr, who lived at a
house he had hired in that town, called Paradise. After his arrival at
Henley, our friendship continued for some time; in one part of which I
told him, as a friend that wished me well, of another advantageous
match that had been proposed to me; but at the same time declared to
him, that I was afraid the gentleman was not formed to make me happy.
Upon this, he asked me, "whether or not I preferred mutual love to the
grandeur of life?" To which I replied, "I preferred the man I loved
and esteemed to all others." This induced him to make a proposal to me
in the following terms: "Miss Blandy, I have upon my hands an unhappy
affair, which to you I have made no secret of; I can assure you,
before I speak what follows, I am not now married, nor never was; tho'
by the nature of the Laws of Scotland, I am involved in some
difficulties brought upon me by that affair, out of which it will be
some time before I can extricate myself. Do you think you could love a
man well enough to stay till this affair be brought to a
determination? I have, added he, wished such a proposal might take
effect from the very first moment that I saw you; but my honour would
not permit me to make it in form, till the invalidity of my pretended
marriage did appear to the whole world." To this I made no reply, as
Lord Mark Kerr at that instant came into the garden; Mr. Cranstoun and
I being then at his house. The next day Mr. Cranstoun came to my
father's, and renewed the discourse; on which I told him, that "if my
Papa and Mamma would approve of my staying for him, I readily
consented thereto." After this he took the first opportunity of
speaking to my Mamma upon the same subject; and he received from her
the following answer: "Sir, you do my daughter an honour; but I have
understood, that you have a perplexing affair upon your hands, and it
is reported that you are married." He then made answer, "Madam, as I
have a soul to be saved, I am not, nor ever was." To which she
replied: "Very well, Mr. Cranstoun, I will take your word as to that;
but I have many more reasons to give you why I disapprove of your
proposal. In the first place, you are a man of fashion., and I believe
your fortune small; my daughter has been brought up with great rare
and tenderness, and as neither of you seem to me cut out to live upon
a small fortune, you would both like to live in a manner suitable to
your station." To which she added, "I can assure you, Mr. Cranstoun,
had my daughter L10,000 and in my disposal, I would give her to you
with the greatest pleasure. There is one thing, continued she, I
think, Mr. Cranstoun, I ought to inform you of. Notwithstanding the
world reports Mr. Blandy to be able to give his daughter down a
handsome fortune, I am sure he cannot do it; tho' I was ever made a
stranger to his circumstances." To which he replied, "If Mr. Blandy
will give me his daughter, I shall not trouble him about that." This,
as far as I can recollect, is the substance of what passed on Mr.
Cranstoun's first making his addresses to me.
After the last conference, my mamma and Mr. Cranstoun had several
others to the same effect; the last of which was followed by Mr.
Cranstoun's journey to Bath. He attended his uncle. Lord Mark Kerr,
thither; but before he left Henley, he obtained my father's leave to
correspond with me. He went to Bath, if my memory fails me not, in the
latter season of the year 1747; after I had been above a year
acquainted with him. He staid at Bath about five or six weeks; and,
after his return to Henley, lived at our house, with my father's and
mother's approbation, five or six months. At the end of this term, he
went up to town; and, within a few days after his arrival there, wrote
to my father, to beg; the favour of him to comply with his request,
that I might be permitted to stay for him till his unhappy affair with
Miss Murray (for so was his supposed wife called) was finally
determined. This, he said, he was assured, by the best judges, must
end in a little time with certain success: which, as he added, would
make him the happiest man living; and he doubted not but he should
communicate the same degree of happiness to me, by the tender
treatment I should meet with from him. My father gave the letter to me
with a smile, and told me, "that was a letter which he believed I
should read with some pleasure." After I had read it, I said, "What
will you answer it, sir?"' To which he replied, "Not at all." Upon
this, looking earnestly at him, said, "Not at all, papa?" "No,"
replied he, "you shall answer it yourself." "In what manner, sir?"
subjoined I. "As," returned he, "is most agreeable to you." To which,
however, he thought fit to add, "Tho' I give you leave in this manner,
yet if you are prudent you will not think of having a man of quality
without any fortune, when you may marry a man with a very ample one,
of as good a gentleman's family as any in England: But, continued he,
if you can be contented, I'll do what I can to make you happy with
him. I believe he loves you, and mutual love must make the
marriage-state happy." Mr. Blunt, the owner or proprietor of Paradise,
the house inhabited by Lord Mark Kerr, was then at my father's, and
knew, if I am not mistaken, from whom the letter came. Be that as it
will, no more passed on this subject at that time. The next post I
informed Mr. Cranstoun, that "My papa had given me leave to write to
him whatever I pleased; in consequence of which I should take the
liberty to assure him, that I would stay for him, and accept of no
other offer till his affair was brought to a decision; and that if it
was not determined in his favour, I doubted whether I should accept of
any ever after." Tho' I did not see Mr. Cranstoun for several months,
our correspondence still continued; letters passing and repassing
between us almost every post.
During this interval, my mamma went to a place called Turville Court,
to the house of one Mrs. Pocock; where she was seized with a disorder,
that it was thought would have proved fatal to her. Through the whole
course of her illness, when in her senses, she constantly cried out,
"Let Cranstoun be sent for:" On which, I at last sent for him. He was
then at Southampton; which, by the miscarriage of one of his letters,
I was ignorant of. But the very night he reached London, he set out
for Turville Court, and arrived there about ten o'clock at night. As
soon as he came to Mrs. Pocock's house, he was instantly taken up into
my mother's chamber, which greatly refreshed and revived her; for she
immediately raised herself up in bed, took him about the neck, and
kissed him in the most affectionate manner. At the same time, she
said, "My dear Cranstoun, I am glad you are come; I now shall grow
well soon." Nor would she take any medicines, but from his hand,
saying, "My poor nurse must not be jealous (meaning her daughter)
since loving him I knew is pleasing her." The next day she got up, and
sent for Mr. Cranstoun into her room; saying, "This I owe to you, my
dear Cranstoun; your coming has given me new health and fresh spirits:
I was fearful lest I should die, and you not here to comfort that poor
girl, how like death she looks!" My father came thither that day to
see his spouse, and took Mr. Cranstoun, who met him in the hall, up in
his arms, saying, "I am glad to see you here, how does my wife?" Upon
Mr. Cranstoun's telling him, "she was much better, and up," he said,
smiling, "I suppose they will both of them (meaning his wife and
daughter) be much better, now you are come." My father seemed in great
good humour all that day. The next time he came (for he returned home
at night) he appeared much out of humour at the great expence incurred
by my mother on the foregoing occasion, and desired her to think of
removing to her own house; since in that case, neither the physician's
fees nor the apothecary's journeys could be so expensive. But she was
too weak to be removed immediately. However, in a short time, she
returned home, in company with myself and Mr. Cranstoun, who, with my
father and mother's approbation, resided with us above six months.
During which interval, my father was sometimes extremely kind, and
sometimes very rude to Mr. Cranstoun, as well as very harsh, to his
daughter. I observed, that this rudeness and harshness generally
appeared after he had been in company with some persons, and
particularly one hereafter mentioned, who were known not to approve of
my marriage with Mr. Cranstoun. My father also frequently made my
mother very uneasy, on account of her approbation of that marriage;
tho' he always declared, that he thought Mr. Cranstoun a most agreeable
man. Whilst he was last at my father's house, the regiment of marines
to which he belonged was broke at Southampton; which obliged him to go
thither: But he did not stay there above two or three days; and upon
his return to Henley, was received by my father with great tenderness,
who told him, that "as he was now broke, he supposed his cash, would
run low; and that therefore he was welcome to stay with him." This
happening in my presence, I went up to my father kissed him, and said,
"Sir, I shall never forget this goodness." Mr. Cranstoun having lost
his post in the regiment of marines, did not remain long in Henley;
but set out soon for London, where he made a pretty, considerable
stay. We kept up, however, our correspondence, as usual in times of
absence, he writing to me almost every post.
A few months after Mr. Cranstoun's return from Southampton, my mother
went up to London, in order to ask advice for a complaint in her
breast, and took me along with her. Upon our arrival there, we went to
her brother's, Mr. Henry Steven's, in Doctors' Commons, where we
resided all the time we remained in town. I had before apprized Mr
Cranstoun of our intended journey; and he waited upon me the next
morning after our arrival at my uncle's. Hither he came every day to
visit me, whilst we stayed in London. Once he brought his brother,
the Lord Cranstoun, with him, who was then just married. One of Mr.
Cranstoun's visits happening a little before dinner, my mother asked
her brother, Mr. Henry Stevens, to invite him to dinner; but this
favour was refused her: On which, coming into the dining-room, whore
she found me and Mr. Cranstoun, she took him by the hand, and burst
into tears, saying, "My dear Mr. Cranstoun, I am sorry you should be
so affronted by any of my family, but I dare not ask you to stay to
dinner. However, continued she, come to me as often as you can in my
own apartment; in a morning I am always alone." To this Mr. Cranstoun
made answer, "My dear mamma, don't be uneasy--I don't come for the
sake of them, but of you and your daughter. And let him put on never
so terrible a face, he shall not keep me from you." At this time Mrs.
Focock was in town, and had a house in St. James's Square, to which I
used to go most days. Hither Mr. Cranstoun perpetually came, when he
understood that I was here; and that with my father's, who arrived in
town after we had reached it, and mother's consent. Mrs. Pocock often
asked my father, whilst in London, to make one of the party. But he
answered her, "You keep such quality hours, as neither agree with my
health, nor suit my business; however, you will have two parts of me,
my wife and my daughter." "Yes," replied Mrs. Pocock, "and not only
these two, but likewise another bit of you, which will be coming
soon." At this he smiled, and said, "What, Cranstoun! a little bit,
indeed, I think! They are very well matched--I was surprised not to
find him here--I thought they could not have been so long asunder." My
father went away and left his family there. The next day my mother and
I were invited to dine at Mrs. Pocock's, in order to meet the present
Lord Crauford, then Lord Garnock, and Mr. Cranstoun. The latter
attended Mrs. Pocock in a coach she had hired to fetch me and my
mother into her house. My father met us in the Strand, and stopped the
coach, crying out, "For God's sake, Mrs. Pocock, what do you with this
rubbish every day?" "Rubbish, do you call them," replied she, "your
wife, your daughter, and one who may be your son?" "Aye, aye," said
he, "they are very well matched; 'tis pity they should ever be
asunder." On which, Mr. Cranstoun took hold of my father's hand, and
cried out, "God grant they never may; don't you say Amen, papa." At
this my father smiled, and said, "Make her these fine speeches seven
years hence." He then took his leave of them, saying, "He had so much
business upon his hands, that he could not stand idling there";
bidding the coachman to drive on, and crying out, "God bless you, I
wish you merry." Mrs. Pocock then asked him, "If he could not contrive
to come to them?" To which he made answer, alluding to the distance of
her house, "God bless you, do you think I can come down now to
Henley?" Then our coachman drove on to St. James's Square; and soon
after my father left the town, in order to return home.
Whilst I was now in London, Mr. Cranstoun proposed a private marriage
to me, saying, "It might help us with regard to the affair in
Scotland; since a real marriage, according to the usage of the Church
of England, if matters went hard, might possibly invalidate a contract
that arose only from cohabitation." In order to understand which, it
must be observed, that Mr. Cranstoun had before cohabitated with one
Miss Murray, by whom he had had a child then living; and was
consequently considered, by the Laws of Scotland, as her husband.
This, he said, was the only thing that intituled her to him, as he
never was married by any priest. To Mr. Cranstoun's proposal I
answered, "I won't, Cranstoun, do you so much injury, as well as
myself; for my father never will forgive it, nor give me a farthing."
To which he replied, "There will be no occasion to discover it, but
upon such an interesting event; and then surely, if you love me, you
will suffer anything rather than part with me. What would I not suffer
for you!" To this I made answer, "I would do nothing in the affair
without he could procure the advice of the best council, and be
certainly informed by this that such a marriage would be valid.
Consider with Yourself," said I, "Cranstoun, what a condition I should
be in, if I should lose my character, my friends, and yourself?--And
you I must lose, if your former supposed marriage should be declared
valid, and in honour we must never see each other more." He then said,
"He would go and lay the case immediately before the best council,
particularly Mr. Murray, the Solicitor-General." But I heard no more
of this affair whilst we staid in town, excepting that it was laid
before the said council; nor did I receive any more solicitations from
him on this head.
About this time my mother being distressed for money, was very uneasy,
as well as in a bad state of health; which gave me great concern.
Being one day, therefore, alone, and in tears, Mr. Cranstoun came
unexpectedly into the room, and insisted upon knowing the reason of my
grief; which at last, after many tender persuasions on his part, I
discovered to him. I told him my mother owed forty pounds, and as she
durst not inform my father of it, did not know which way to get it. To
this he replied, "I only wish I had as many hundreds: I will get it
for you, my dear, to-morrow. Poor woman, how can her husband use her
so!" On which, my mother coming in, no more was at that time said. Mr.
Cranstoun stayed but a little while; and when he went away, he told
me, "He would see about it." After he was gone, I took my mother in my
arms, and said, "My dear mamma, you may be easy about this money, for
Mr. Cranstoun will get it for you to-morrow." At this my mother burst
into tears, and cried, "Why will Mr. Blandy expose himself and me so?
How can the poor soul get it? But he shall have my watch if he ever
wants it, and I cannot pay him in money." To this I made answer, "As
to paying him in money, mamma, that you never can; having never been
mistress of such a sum, nor likely ever to be so; but make yourself
easy, if we meet, you will never be asked for it."
The next day she and I went to see her sister, Mrs. Frances Stevens,
who then lived with her uncle, Mr. Cary, in Watling Street; where Mr.
Cranstoun and his cousin, Mr. Edmonstoun, took their leave of us, we
being to set out for Henley the day following. Mr. Cranstoun brought
the money with him, which he delivered into my mother's own hand; on
which, not being able to speak, she squeezed his hand and burst into
tears. He then kissed her, and said, "Remember, 'tis a son, and
therefore don't make yourself uneasy; you can't lie under any
obligation to me." Then he took me by the hand, and led me into
another room. Here I was going to return him thanks for his goodness
to my mother: but this he prevented, by kissing me, and saying, "That
was all he desired in return." Then he gave me five guineas, and
desired me to keep them by me; since, in case the council should think
a private marriage proper, they should enable me to come up in a
post-chaise to London, and meet him there, with all possible
expedition. After a little farther discourse, we parted in a very
moving manner. I paid ten pounds for my mother, out of the forty
pounds she had been supplied with by Mr. Cranstoun, that very night.
The next morning we set out for Henley, where we arrived in due time.
The day following, being Sunday, I wrote to Mr. Cranstoun, as he had
requested me to do; giving him an account of our safe arrival, and
thanking him in the strongest terms, for his late extraordinary
favour. The next day, being Monday, the other thirty pounds, being the
remaining part of the money my mother had borrowed of Mr. Cranstoun,
she paid to the footman, for fowls, butter, eggs, wine, and other
provisions, brought into the house, chiefly on account of
entertainments, by him.
From this time to Sept. 28th, 1749, my mother continued in a good
state of health. But on that day, which was about half a year after
her last departure from London, at one o'clock in the morning, she was
taken very ill. This giving me, who always lay with her, great
uneasiness, I immediately got up, and called her maid., who instantly
appeared; and then she got out of bed, and retired. When she came into
bed again, she said, "My dear Molly, don't fright yourself: You know
there is now no danger." In order to understand which words, it will
be proper to observe, that, when my mother was in labour of me, she
received a hurt; which made me apprehensive of ill consequences, which
either the cholick, which was her present disorder, or any
obstructions in the parts contiguous to those which are the seat of
that distemper, happened. She lay pretty easy till six, when I
dispatched a messenger for Mr. Norton, the apothecary to the family,
who lived in Henley. When he came, she complained of a pain in her
bowels; upon which he took some blood from her, and ordered her some
gentle physic. She seemed better after this, but nothing passed
through her. It being Friday, and many country gentlemen meeting to
bowl at the Bell Inn, the Rev. Mr. Stevens of Fawley, my mother's
brother, came thither that day, paid a visit to his sister, and found
her greatly indisposed. When he left the room, in which she lay, for
she kept her bed, I followed him out, and asked him, if he thought
there was any danger; telling him how she then was, the manner in
which she was first seized, and what had been prescribed her. As she
before had had several such fits of cholick, Mr. Stevens did not
apprehend any immediate danger. I said, "If my mamma was not better
soon, I would send for a physician." To which he replied, "You are
much in the right of it; but stay a little, and see what effects the
physic will have." He called again in the evening, and found her
better, tho' nothing had yet passed through her. About twelve o'clock
at night my mother obliged me, who was then myself indisposed, to get
into another bed; and promised to send to me, if she found herself
worse. Soon after this, she grew much worse; but would not send to her
daughter, saying, "She would know her fate too soon." She farther said
in Mr. Norton, who was then with her, "My daughter loves me so well,
that I wish my decease may not be the death of her." Between five and
six o'clock in the morning, on Saturday Sept. 30th, 1749, my mother's
maid came up to me, and told me, that, "If I would see my mother
alive, I must come immediately into her chamber." I leaped out of bed,
put on my shoes, and one petticoat only, and ran thither in the
greatest confusion imaginable. When my mother saw me, she put out her
hand, and said, "Now, Molly, shew yourself a Christian, and submit to
what God is pleased to order. I must die, my dear: God will enable you
to bear it, if you pray to Him." On which I turned about in a state of
distraction, ran to my father's room, and said to him, "For God's
sake, sir, come to my mother's room: she is this instant dying." Then
I ran, with great inquietude, into the kitchen, where I found my
footman, and sent him immediately to Fawley for the Rev. Mr. Stevens,
my uncle, and his brother, Mr. Henry Stevens, of Doctors Commons, who
was then at his house in Henley. I also, at the same time, dispatched
a messenger to Dr. Addington, who lived at Reading. After which I went
upstairs, and found my father sitting by my mother's bedside. She took
him and me both by the hand, joining our hands together, and saying to
him, "Be both a father and a mother to her: I have long tried and
known her temper, Mr. Blandy. She is all your heart can wish for, and
has been the best of daughters to me. Use her with a generous
confidence, and she will never abuse it. She has set her heart upon
Cranstoun; when I am gone, let no one set you against this match." To
these last words Mr. Blandy immediately made answer, "It shall not be
my fault, if this does not take place; but they must stay, you know,
till the unhappy affair in Scotland is decided." "God bless you,"
replied she, "and thank you for that promise; God bless you, Mr.
Blandy, for all your kindnesses to me and my girl. God grant that you
may both live long, that you may be a blessing to each other. Whatever
little unkindnesses may have passed I freely forgive you. Now, if you
please to go down, Mr. Blandy, for my spirits fail me." My father then
kissed her, and retired in tears, saying, as he went, "The doctor
still may think of something that may be of service to you." At this
she smiled and said, "Not without you can give me a new inside." When
my father was gone, my mother took hold of my hand, drew me to her,
and kissed me. Taking notice that I had no cloaths on, she ordered my
maid to bring 'em down, and dress me. This being done, she ordered her
servants out of the room; and told me, "she had many things, if her
strength would permit, to say to me. Be sure then," said she, "Molly,
when I am gone, to remember the lessons I have taught you. Be dutiful
to your father; and if you think I have been sometimes a little hardly
used, do not remember it in wrath; but defend my character if
aspersed. I owe some more money, Molly, God knows how you will get it
paid. I wish your uncles would stand your friends. If your father
should know it, I am only fearful for you. Indeed, my dear, I never
spent it in extravagancies. I was in hopes you would have been
married; I then would have told your father all, as I could have come
to you till his passion had been over." On my being drowned In tears,
she catched me in her arms, and cried, "I leave the world with the
greatest pleasure, only thee makes me sorry to go. Oh that I could but
take you along with me!--But then what would poor Cranstoun do? Be
sure, child, you behave with honour in that affair; don't, either
thro' interest or terror, violate the promises you have made." To this
I reply'd, "You may be sure, madam, I never will. I will do all I can
to act as you would wish your daughter to do. Oh mamma, you have been
the best of mothers to me! How can I survive you, and go thro' all the
miseries I must meet with after your death, without a friend to advise
with on any emergency or occasion." "My dear," returned she, "your
uncle John, in things you cannot speak to your papa about, will help
and advise you in the tenderest manner; and you may repose an absolute
confidence in him."
Soon after Mr. Stevens of Fawley came, and I conducted him into my
mother's chamber. At his approach to her, he was so overwhelmed with
grief, that he could not speak a word. She took him by the hand, and
said, "I am glad to see you, my dear brother. You must help to comfort
your poor niece, who will stand in need of your assistance. Never
forsake her, my dear brother. All that gives me pain in death is the
leaving of her behind me." Then turning to me, "Your uncle Jack, my
dear, will take care of you, and look on you as his own," At which Mr.
Stevens took hold of his sister's and niece's hands, and, with tears,
told 'em both he would. Then turning about, he asked me if the
physician was not yet come? My mother said, "They would send for him,
but he could be of no service to her"; giving her brother at the same
time such reasons for her despondency as convinced him, that there
were little or no hopes of her recovery. He found himself so moved at
this, that he was obliged to go down stairs, and retire to my father
and Mr. Henry Stevens, who were at that time both in the parlour. The
physician, Dr. Addington, of Reading, soon arrived, and went directly
to my mother's room. When he came in, she showed him the inflammation
and swelling on her bowels. He prescribed her some physic, to be taken
once in every two hours, and ordered her to be blooded immediately.
Her bowels also, according to his direction, were to be fomented and
poulticed once in every four hours. This operation I took upon myself,
and punctually performed it. I also gave her every medicine she took
till she was at the point of death, and I myself was forced to be
carried out of the room in a fit. Dr. Addington, before he prescribed
anything, went with me out of the room, and told me he was afraid he
could do nothing for her; repeating the same afterwards both to my
father and my two uncles. Notwithstanding which, he thought fit to
order the above mentioned poultices and fomentations; which, according
to his direction, were applied, tho' without producing any good
effect. In fine, my dear mother died Sept. 30, 1749, about nine
o'clock at night.
For six months preceding her sickness, or thereabouts, being the
interval between her last departure from London and the time her
indisposition seized her, my mother never saw Mr. Cranstoun; tho' I
constantly, and even almost every post, corresponded with him. It must
here be observed, that Lady Cranstoun had wrote to my mother some time
before, to return her thanks for the civilities her son had received
from her. It must also be remembered, that a little before my mother
went last to town, I and my father both received letters from Miss
Murray, signed "N. Cranstoun," to inform us, that she was his lawful
wife. The decree of the Court of Scotland in her favour was sent with
these letters. When I received them, I carried them to my father.
After he had read them, I asked him "what I was to do." His answer
was, "I do not trouble my head about it." On which I went to my
mother, and consulted with her about what was to be done; and, by her
advice, wrote to Mr. Cranstoun, begging him, as he was a man of
honour, to let me know the truth. At the same time, I sent him the
letters that came from Scotland, and occasioned this epistle. In
answer to this, he said, "It was certainly her hand; but that she
never was his wife, nor has any right to the name": And, in order to
gain credit to his assertion, he made the strongest protestations.
Before my mother wrote last to him, and that a considerable time, he
had sent me a solemn Contract of Marriage, wherein he declared he
never had been married before, and stiled me therein "Mrs. Cranstoun."
But to put an end to this digression, and proceed to what happened
after my mother's death.
On the day following her decease, which was Sunday, Mr. Stevens of
Fawley was desired to write Mr. Cranstoun word of this sorrowful
event; which he did, I being incapable of either knowing or doing any
thing. Mrs. Stevens, the Rev. Mr. Stevens's wife, staid with me from
Saturday night, when my mother died, till the Sunday night following.
Then Mrs. Mounteney, a friend of my late mother's, came to me, and
staid with me some time. My mother, on her deathbed, had begged me not
to oppose the match between my father and this Mrs. Mounteney, if,
after her death, he discovered an inclination to marry her; as she was
a woman of honour, and would use me well for her sake. On the Tuesday
following my mother's death Mr. Cranstoun sent his footman express to
Henley, with letters to me and my father. When my father opened his
letter and read it, the tears ran down his checks, and he cried out,
"How tenderly does he write!" Then he gave Mrs. Mounteney the letter
to read, who, after having read it, said it was as pretty a letter as
could have been wrote on such an occasion; "He has lost a friend
indeed," said she, "but I don't doubt," speaking to my father, "but
you will make up her loss to them both." Then, my father said to me,
"Pray read your letter to us." This I did, and the letter contained an
earnest desire, that if I could not write myself, I would let his
footman see me, that he might know how I really was; since he was
almost distracted for fear of my being ill after so great a shock. He
also begged me to remember, "That there was one left still, who loved
me as tenderly as my mother could do, and whose whole happiness in
this world depended upon my life." My father told me, tho' my mother
was to be buried that night, "I must write a line to him, in order to
ease the poor soul as much as I could; and let him know that he was as
welcome to my father's house, whenever he would please to come, as he
was before." On this I wrote to him, and shewed the letter to my
father. The footman set out with it for London the same night, or very
early the next morning. Mr. Cranstoun not coming down so soon as was
expected, my father one day, being alone with me, seemed to express
himself as if he thought it wrong; upon which I wrote a very pressing
letter to him, to come immediately to Henley. To this he in a letter
replied, that he was not able to go out at that time for debt, and was
fearful if he should come, the Bailiffs might follow him; his fortune
being seized in Scotland, for the maintenance of Miss Murray and her
child. The debt that occasioned this perplexity, he said, was near
fifteen guineas. I having borrowed forty pounds of Mrs. Mounteney, to
pay off part of my mother's debts, sent him up fifteen guineas out of
this sum; on which he came down to Henley, and staid some weeks with
my father, who received him with great marks of affection and esteem.
During this interval, he acquainted me with the great skill of the
famous Mrs. Morgan, who had described me and my father, tho' she had
never seen us, in the most perfect and surprising manner possible. He
further acquainted me, that she had given him some powders to take,
which she called Love-powders. Some time after this conversation, my
father seemed much out of humour, and said several unkind things, both
to Mr. Cranstoun and me. This induced Mr. Cranstoun, when alone with
me not long after, to say, "I wish I could give your father some of
the love-powders." "For what?" said I. "Because," replied he, "they
would make him love me." "Are you weak enough," said I, "to think that
there is such a power in any powders?" "Yes, I really do," replied he,
"for I took them myself, and forgave a friend soon after; tho' I never
intended to have spoke to him again." This subject dropped for some
days, and no more said of it: but on my father's being very much out
of humour one night, Mr. Cranstoun said, "If I had any of these
powders, I would put them into something that Mr. Blandy should
drink." To which I answered, "I am glad you have not, for I have no
faith in such things." "But I have," replied he. Just before he
returned to London, he received a dunning letter. This was on a
Sunday, when my father was at church. I perceiving him to look dull,
begged to know the reason. He said he must leave me the next day. On
which I asked him what could occasion such a sudden departure? He then
told me he had received a letter, concerning a debt he owed, that he
had no money to pay; and that if he staid in Henley, the bailiffs
might come down in quest of him thither; and you know your father's
temper, said he, if that should happen. This induced me to desire a
sight of the letter; which having perused, I immediately gave him the
money he wanted on this occasion, winch amounted to fifteen pounds,
and was part of the sum I had before borrowed of Mrs. Mounteney. This,
with the other fifteen pounds sent him from Henley, made up thirty of
the forty pounds he had formerly lent my mother. As soon as he had
received this money, he wrote a letter to his creditor in London,
informing him, that he would pay him on a day therein mentioned. A few
days after this, he set out for London, and kept up his correspondence
with me for several months, not returning to Henley till August 1750.
The morning he left Henley, my father parted with him with the
greatest tenderness; yet the moment he was gone, he used me very
cruelly on his account. This had such an effect upon me, that it threw
me into hysteric fits. His conduct for some time was very uncertain;
sometimes extremely tender, and at other times the reverse; he on
certain occasions saying very bitter and cruel things to me.
During this interval, my father received a present of some dried
salmon from Lady Cranstoun in Scotland, and a very civil letter, which
he did not answer, tho' he seemed pleased with the contents of it. The
first of August 1750, as I apprehend, Mr. Cranstoun wrote to my
father, that he would wait upon him, and I carried the letter up to
him, he then being in his bed-chamber. After he had opened and read
it, he made no manner of answer. I then asked him what answer I should
write. To which he replied, "He must come, I suppose." On this I wrote
to him, giving him to understand, that I should be glad to see him.
This produced an answer from him, wherein he told me, he would be with
me on the Monday following; but he came on Sunday, whilst we were at
dinner. My father received him with great tenderness seemingly, and
said, "He was sorry he had not seen him half an hour sooner, for he
was afraid the dinner was quite cold." My father after dinner went to
church, and left Mr. Cranstoun and me together: after church was over,
my father returned, drank tea with us, and seemed to be in perfect
good humour; and so he remained for several weeks; but afterwards
changed so much in his temper, that I seldom arose from table without
tears. This gave Mr. Cranstoun great pain; so that he one time said to
me, "Why will you not permit me to give your father some of the
powders which I formerly mentioned? If I was to give him them,"
continued he, "they are quite innocent, and will do him no harm, if
they did not produce the desired effect." He had no sooner spoke those
words than my father came in; upon which a profound silence ensued.
Next morning I went into my father's study, and found him very much
out of humour: he had spent the evening at the coffee-house, as he
frequently did, and generally came home in a bad humour from thence. I
went from him into the parlour where I found Mr. Cranstoun: he
insisted upon knowing what was the matter, I appearing to him to have
been lately in tears: I told him the whole affair. He replied, "I hate
he should go to that house, he always comes home from thence in a very
ill humour." I had made the tea, and got up to fetch some sugar, which
was in a glass scrutore at the farther end of the room; and when I
rose up, Mr. Cranstoun said to me, "I will now put in some of the
powder--upon my soul it will not hurt him." My father was in his study
at the time these words were spoken. I made answer, "Don't do it,
Cranstoun; it will make me uneasy, and can do you no good." To this he
replied, "It can do no hurt, and therefore I will mix it." After I had
got the sugar, I returned to the tea-table, and was going to throw
away the tea, in which Mr. Cranstoun had put some of the powder; but
my father came in that moment, and prevented me from executing my
design. My father seemed very much out of humour all breakfast-time;
and, soon after breakfast was over, retired to his study. Mr.
Cranstoun and I then took a walk. At dinner my father appeared in the
best of humours, and continued so all the time Mr. Cranstoun stayed
with him. Mr. Cranstoun and I used to walk out every day. On one of
those days, Mr. Cranstoun told me he had a secret to impart to me, and
begg'd me not to be angry with him for it; adding, he knew I had too
much good sense to be so. The secret in short was this: he had had a
daughter by one Miss Capel, a year before he knew me; and, as he
pretended, all his friends had insisted upon his telling me of it. To
this I replied, "Your follies, Cranstoun, have been very great; but I
hope you see them." "That I do," said he, "with penitence and shame."
"Then, sir," replied I, "I freely forgive you; but never shall, if you
repeat these follies now after our acquaintance." "If I do," said he,
"I must be a villain; you alone can make me happy in this world; and,
by following your example, I hope I shall be happy in the next." Mr.
Cranstoun gave my father the powder in August 1750, and stayed with
him in Henley, as I believe, till some day in the beginning of
November, the same year. A day or two after the preceding dialogue,
one morning I got, up, and asked my maid, "How Mr. Cranstoun did?" Who
answered, "He is gone out a walking, Madam." Upon this, I, as soon as
I was drest, went up into Mr. Cranstoun's room, to look out his linnen
for my maid to mend. I could not find it on the table, where it used
to lie; and seeing a key in his trunk, I opened it. The first thing I
found there was a letter from a hand I knew not, tho' he used always
to give me his letters to open, and that unasked by me. This I opened
to read, and found it to come from a woman he kept. Having read it, I
shut the trunk, locked it fast, and put the key in my pocket. The