Part 5 out of 6
letter I left in the same place where I found it. I then went down to
my father in his study, and asked him to come to breakfast. He said,
"No, not till Cranstoun returns home;" on which I retired into the
parlour. A few minutes after, Mr. Cranstoun and Mr. Littleton, my
father's clerk, both came in together. We all of us then went to
breakfast. My father said to me, soon after we sat down, "You look
very pale, Molly; what is the matter with you?" "I am not very well,
sir," replied I. After we had breakfasted, my father and his clerk
went out of the room. I then gave Mr. Cranstoun the keys of his trunk,
and bade him be more careful for the future, and not leave his letters
so much exposed. At these words he almost fainted away. He got up, and
retired to his room immediately. I was going to my own room, when he
called to me, and begged me, for God's sake, to come to him: which I
instantly did. He then fell down on his knees before me, and begged
me, for God's sake, to forgive him; if I was resolved to see him no
more. On this I told him I forgave him, but intreated him to make some
excuse to leave Henley the next day: "For I will not," said I, "expose
you, if I can help it; and our affair may scorn to go off by degrees."
The last words, seemingly so confounded him, that he made me no
answer, but threw himself on the bed, crying out, "I am ruined, I am
ruined. Oh Molly, you never loved me!" I then was upon the point of
going out of the room, without giving him any answer. Upon which he
got hold of my gown, and swore, "He would not live till night, if I
did not forgive him." He bad me, "Remember my mother's last dying
commands, and reflect upon the pain it would give his mother." He
protested "that he could never forgive himself, if I did; and that he
never would repeat the same provocations." He kept me then two hours,
before he could prevail upon me to declare, that I would not break off
my acquaintance with him. Mr. Cranstoun pretended to be sick two or
three days upon this unlucky event; but I cannot help thinking this
now to have been only a delusion. Some time after this Mr. Cranstoun
had a letter from his brother, the Lord Cranstoun, to desire him to
come immediately to Scotland, in order to settle some of his own
affairs there, and to see his mother, the Lady Cranstoun, who was then
extremely ill. Upon the arrival of this letter Mr. Cranstoun said to
me, "Good God, what shall I do! I have no money to carry me thither
and all my fortune is seized on, but my half-pay!" This made me very
uneasy. He then said, "He would part with his watch, in order to
enable him to raise a sum sufficient to defray the expence of his
journey to Scotland." I told him, "I had no money to give him, but
would freely make him a present of my own watch; as I could not bear
to see him without one." Then I took a picture of himself, which he
had some time before given me, off my watch, and freely made him a
present of it. Two days after this he departed for Scotland, and I
never afterwards saw him. He set out about six o'clock in the morning.
My father got up early that morning to take leave of him before his
departure, at which he seemed vastly uneasy. He took him in his arms,
and said, "God bless you, my dear Cranstoun, when you come next, I
hope your unhappy affair will be decided to our mutual satisfaction."
To this Mr. Cranstoun replied, "Yes, sir, I hope in my favour; or if
this should fail that you should hear of my death. Be tender to,"
continued he, "and comfort this poor thing," turning towards me, "whom
I love better than myself." Then my father look Mr. Cranstoun and
myself in his arms, and we all three shed tears. This was a very
moving scene. My father afterwards went out of the room, and fetched a
silver dram-bottle, holding near half a pint, filled it with rum, and
made a present of both to Mr. Cranstoun; bidding him keep the
dram-bottle for his sake, and drink the liquor on the road; assuring
him, that if he found himself sick or cold, the latter would prove a
cordial to him. Mr. Cranstoun then got into the post-chaise, and took
his leave of Henley.
It will be proper to take notice in this place, by way of digression,
of a very remarkable event, or rather series of events, that happened
before Mr. Cranstoun's last departure for Scotland. One day whilst my
mother and I were last in London, we were talking of the immortality
of the soul; and the subject we were then upon led us insensibly to a
discourse of apparitions; and that again to a promise we made each
other, that the first of us who died should appear to the survivor,
after death, if permitted so to do. My mother dying first, in the
manner already related, I sometimes retired into the room where she
died, in hopes of seeing her. Here I lay near half a year, earnestly
desiring to see my mother, without being able either to see or hear
any thing. After this, my father lay in that room; but for some time
neither saw nor heard any thing. Afterwards, one night, he taxed me
with being at his chamber door, rapping at it, rushing with my
silk-gown, and refusing to answer him when he called to me. My chamber
was at a small distance from his, and into it he came the next
morning: demanding for what reason I had so frighted him. To this I
replied, "I had never been at his door, nor out of my bed the whole
night." He then inquired of all the maids, who only lay in the house,
whether any of them disturbed him; to which they all answered in the
negative. Soon after this, Mr. Cranstoun came to Henley, as has been
already observed, and was put into a room, called the hall-chamber,
over the great parlour; which was reckoned the best in the house. Here
he was shut out from the rest of the family. Till October 1750, above
a year after my mother's death, no noise at all was heard, excepting
that at Mr. Blandy's chamber-door above mentioned. But one morning in
the beginning of that month, Mr. Cranstoun being in the parlour, I
asked him, "What made him look so pale, and to seem so uneasy?" "I
have met," said he, "with the oddest accident this night that ever
befel me: the moment I got into bed, I heard the finest music that can
possibly be imagined. I sat up in my bed upon this, to hear from
whence it came; and it seemed to me to come from the middle of the
stairs. It continued, as I believe, at least above two hours." At this
I laughed, and said, "O Cranstoun, how can you be so whimsical?" "Tis
no whim," replied he, "for I really heard it; nor had I been asleep;
for it began soon after I got into bed." I then said, "Don't make
yourself uneasy, if it was so; since nothing ill, sure, can be
presaged by music." When my father came into the parlour, this topic
of conversation was instantly dropped. The next night, I, who lay
quite at the other end of the house, being awake, heard music, that
seemed to me to be in the yard, exceeding plainly. Upon this, I got up
and looked out of the window that faced the yard, but saw nothing. The
music, however, continued till near morning, when I fell asleep, and
heard no more of it. My mother's maid coming into my chamber, as
usual, to call me, I told her what I heard. This drew from her the
following saucy answer: "You see and hear, Madam, with Mr. Cranstoun's
eyes and ears." To which I made no other reply than, "Go, and send me
my own maid". As soon as I was dressed, I went into Mr. Cranstoun's
room, whom I found sitting therein by the fire. I asked him, at first
coming into the room, "How he had spent the night, and whether he had
heard the music?" To which he replied, "Yes, all night long; I could
not sleep a wink for it; nay, I got out of my bed, and followed it
into the great parlour, where it left me. I then returned into my own
room, and heard such odd noises in the parlour under me, as greatly
discomposed me." "I wish," added he, "you would send me up a bason of
tea." To which I replied, "Pray come down, as you are now up; for you
know my papa is better tempered when you are by, than when I am with
him alone." We then both went down to breakfast, but said nothing to
my father of what had happened.
A little while after this, Susannah Gunnel, my mother's maid, who had
before given me the impertinent answer, came into my bedchamber before
I was up, and told me she had heard the music. She also begged my
pardon for not believing me, when I had formerly averted the same
thing. Mr. Cranstoun, myself, and this maid then talked all together
about this surprising event. Mr. Cranstoun declared he had heard
noises, as well as music, which the other two at that time never
heard. The music generally began about twelve o'clock at night. My
father obliging the family to be in bed about eleven, I told the
aforesaid maid, who was an old servant in the family, "That she and I
would go together up into Mr. Cranstoun's room at twelve o'clock, and
try if we could find out what these noises were." According to
agreement, therefore, we went up into that room at the hour proposed;
and heard very clearly and most distinctly the music. The maid fell
asleep about three o'clock in the morning; but was soon waked with an
uncommon noise, heard both by Mr. Cranstoun and myself. This noise
resembled thumping or knocking at a door, which greatly terrified Mr.
Cranstoun, and the maid. In less than a minute after this, we all
three heard plainly the footsteps of my mother, as I then apprehended,
by which she seemed to be going down stairs towards the kitchen door,
which soon after seemed to be opened. We all three sat silent, and
heard the same invisible being come up stairs again. Upon this, I took
the candle, they still sitting by the fire, and was going to open the
chamber door, saying, "Surely it must be one of the maids." Mr.
Cranstoun observing this, cried out, "Perhaps it may be your father,
don't let him see you here." Then he took the candle, opened the door,
and looked down the stairs himself; but could perceive nothing at all.
In less than three minutes after this I said, "I will now go into my
room to bed, being fatigued and frightened almost to death." "I
believe," continued I, "it is near four." These words were no sooner
uttered than we all heard the former footsteps, as tho' some person
had been coming directly to the room where we were, but stopped short
at the door. Upon this I immediately catched up the candle, went to
the door and open'd it; but saw nothing, tho' I heard something
plainly go down the stairs. Then I went to the maid, who was half
asleep, and did not perfectly hear the last footsteps. But Mr.
Cranstoun heard them, and seemed greatly surprised. Then I bad the
maid go with me instantly to bed, not being able to keep up my spirits
any longer. Soon after this, Mr. Cranstoun and I went up to Fawley, to
pay a visit to the Rev. Mr. Stevens; and whilst we were there, I gave
my uncle an account of this surprising affair. But he laughed at me,
and called me little fool, for my pains. Then Mr. Cranstoun said,
"Sir, I myself heard it." To which Mr. Stevens made no other reply
than, "Sir, I don't doubt you think you heard it; but don't you
believe there is a great deal in fancy? May it not be some trick of
the servants?" To which I made answer, "No, Sir, that is impossible;
since if they could make the noise, they could not the music." Mr.
Stevens not giving much credit to what we affirmed, we immediately
changed the subject of discourse. By this time all the servants that
lay in the house had heard both the music and noise; and one morning
at breakfast, Mr. Cranstoun ventured to tell my father of the music.
At such a strange report, my father stared at him, and cried, "Are yon
light-headed?" In answer to which Mr. Cranstoun reply'd, "Your
daughter, sir, has heard the same, and so have all your servants." To
this my father, smiling, returned, "It was Scotch music, I suppose;"
and said some other things that shewed he was not in good humour. Upon
which it was thought fit immediately to drop the discourse.
Some few days after this, on a Sunday in the afternoon, Mr. Cranstoun
and I being alone in the parlour, Betty Binfield, the cook-maid, came
running into the room, and said, "There is such a noise in the room
over my master's study, for God's sake come into the yard and hear
it." But when we came, we could hear nothing. However, returning into
the parlour through the hall, we heard a noise over our heads, like
that of some heavy person walking. The room over the hall was once my
mother's dressing-room, tho' it then had a bed in it: but now, it was
my dressing-room, it had none at all. Hearing the noise, we both went
up into the room; but then, notwithstanding the late noise, could see
nothing at all. After which, we went down and drank tea with my
About a fortnight before Mr. Cranstoun's last departure for Scotland,
Susannah Gunnel one morning going into his room with some vinegar and
water to wash his eyes, he asked her, "If ever her master walked in
his sleep?" She replied, "Not that she ever knew of." "It is very
odd," said he, "he was in my room to-night, dressed with his white
stockings, his coat on, and a cap on his head. I had never," continued
he, "been asleep, and the clock had just struck two. I heard him walk
up my stairs, open the door, and come into the room: upon which I
moved my curtain, and seeing him, I cried, 'Aha! old friend, what did
you come to fright me? I have not been asleep since I came to bed, and
heard you come up.' But he went on, he would not answer me one word.
However, he walked quite across my room, then turned back, and as he
approached my bed-side, kissed his hand, bowed, and went out of the
room. Then I heard him go down stairs. It was, certainly," continued
he, "your master, sleeping or waking; but which, I cannot tell." Susan
greatly surprised at this story, then came running down to me, who was
getting up, and told me what Mr. Cranstoun had said. To this I made no
answer, but went up immediately into his room, and asked him what he
meant by this story Susan had told me. In answer to which, he repeated
the same story, and declared it to be true in every particular. He
then said, "He supposed Mr. Blandy came to see whether he was in bed
or not." When he went down to breakfast, he asked my father, "What
made him fright him so last night?" My father being surprised at this,
and staring on him, asked him, "What he meant?" Mr. Cranstoun then
told the same story over again. To which my father replied, "It must
have been a dream, for I went to bed at eleven o'clock, and did not
rise out of it till seven this morning. Besides, I could not have
appeared in my coat, as you pretend, since the maid had it to put a
button upon it." My father did not seem pleased with the discourse;
which induced me to put an end to it as soon as possible. The
surprising facts here mentioned, of the reality of which I cannot
entertain the least doubt, made a deep and lasting impression upon my
mind. Since, therefore, in my opinion, they were too slightly touched
upon at my trial, notwithstanding the incredulity of the present age
as to facts of this nature, I could by no means think it improper to
give so particular and distinct a relation of them here.
Mr. Cranstoun, soon after this, taking his leave of Henley, set out
for Scotland, as has been already observed. A day or two after his
departure, Mr. Cranstoun wrote me a letter on the road, wherein he
begged me to make acceptable to my father his most grateful
acknowledgements for his late goodness to him. "This," he said, "had
made such an impression upon him, that he never should forget it as
long as he lived; and that he should always entertain the same tender
sentiments for him as for his father, the late Lord Cranstoun,
himself, had he been then alive." In the same letter, he also desired
me to permit my letters to be directed by some body who wrote a more
masculine hand than mine; since otherwise they might be intercepted by
some one or other of Miss Murray's family, as they were jealous of the
affair carried on between us two. He likewise therein insisted upon my
subscribing myself "M.C." instead of "M.B." tho' he did not discover
to me the real view he had therein. Soon after he arrived at his
mother's, he wrote me another letter, wherein he informed me, that he
told his mother we were married, and had been so for some time: and
that she would write to me, as her daughter, by the very next post.
This she did; and her letter came accompanied with one from her son,
wherein he desired me, if I loved him, to answer his mother's by the
return of the post, and sign myself "Mary Cranstoun" at length, as I
knew before God I was, by a solemn contract, entitled to that name.
This, he pretended, would make his mother stir more in the Scotch
affair. On the supposition that I was her daughter, she wrote many
tender letters to me, always directing to me by the name of "Mary
Cranstoun," and sent me some very handsome presents of Scotch linen.
He also obliged his eldest sister, Mrs. Selby, and her husband, to
write to me as their sister. Lady Cranstoun likewise wrote to my
father in a very complaisant style, thanking him for the civilities he
had shewn her son; and hinting, that she hoped it would be in her
power to return them to me, when she should have the pleasure of
seeing me in Scotland, which she begged might be soon. Lord Cranstoun,
his brother, also wrote to my father, and returned him thanks in the
same polite manner. During this whole period, my father's behaviour to
me was very uncertain; but always good after he had received any of
these letters. In a few months, however, after Mr. Cranstoun's
departure, my father's temper was much altered for the worse. He
upbraided me with having rejected much better offers than any that had
come from Scotland; and at last ordered me to write to Mr. Cranstoun
not to return to Henley, till his affair with Miss Murray was quite
decided. I complied with this order, writing to him in the terms
prescribed me. To this I received an answer full of tenderness, grief,
and despair. He said, "He found my father loved him no longer, and was
afraid he would inspire me with the same sentiments. He saw," he said,
"a coolness throughout my whole letter; but conjured me to remember
the sacred promises and engagements that had passed between us." After
this, I received several other letters from him, filled with the same
sort of expostulation; and penned in the same desponding and
disconsolate strain. I likewise received several letters from his
mother, the old Lady Cranstoun, and Mrs. Selby, his sister, wrote in a
most affectionate style.
In April, or the beginning of May, 1751, as I apprehend, I had another
letter from Mr. Cranstoun, wherein he acquainted me, that he had seen
his old friend, Mrs. Morgan; and that if he could procure any more of
her powder, he would send it with the Scotch pebbles he intended to
make me a present of. In answer to this, I told him, "I was surprised
that a man of his sense could believe such efficacy to be lodged in
any powder whatsoever; and that I would not give it my father, lest it
should impair his health." To this, in his next letter, he replied,
"That he was extremely surprised I should believe he would send any
thing that might prove prejudicial to my father, when his own interest
was so apparently concerned in his preservation." I took this as
referring to a conversation we had had a little before he set out for
Scotland; wherein I told him, "I was sure my father was not a man of a
very considerable fortune; but that if he lived, I was persuaded he
would provide very handsomely for us and ours, as he lived so retired,
and his business was every day increasing." So far was I from
imagining, that I should be a gainer by my father's death, as has been
so maliciously and uncharitably suggested! Mr. Cranstoun also seemed
most cordially and sincerely to join with me in the same notion. Soon
after this, in another letter, he informed me, "That some of the
aforesaid powder should be sent with the Scotch pebbles he intended
me; and that he should write upon the paper in which the powder was
contained, 'powder to clean Scotch pebbles,' lest, if he gave it its
true name, the box should be opened, and he be laughed at by the
person opening it, and taken for a superstitious fool, as he had been
by me before." In June 1751, the box with the powder and pebbles
arrived at Henley, and a letter came to me the next day, wherein he
ordered me to mix the powder in tea. This some mornings after I did;
but finding that it would not mix well with tea, I flung the liquor
into which it had been thrown out of the window. I farther declare,
that looking into the cup, I saw nothing adhere to the sides of it;
nor was such an adhesion probable, as the powder swam on the top of
the liquor. My father drank two cups of tea out of that cup, before I
threw the powder into it: nor did he drink any more out of it that
morning, it being Sunday, and he fearing to drink a third cup, lest he
should be too late for church. It has been said by Susan Gunnel, at my
Trial, that she drank out of the aforesaid cup, and was very ill after
it. In answer to which, I must beg leave to observe, that she never
before would drink out of any other cup, than one which she called her
own, different from this, and which I drank out of on that and most
other mornings. It has been farther said, that Dame Emmet, a
charwoman, was likewise hurt by drinking tea at my father's house: be
pleased to remember, Reader, that I mixed it but in one cup, and then
threw it away. Susan said, she drank out of the cup and was ill, what
then could hurt this woman, who to my knowledge was not at our house
that day? Mr. Nicholas, an apothecary, attended this old woman in the
first sickness they talk of, which, by Susan, I understood was a
weakness common to her, viz. fainting fits and purging; and I know,
that she had had fainting fits many times before. When I heard she was
ill, I ordered Susan to send her whey, broth, or any thing that she
thought would be proper for her. She had long served the family, would
joke and divert me, and I loved her extremely. Nor can my enemies
themselves (let them paint me how they please) deny that from my heart
I pitied the poor. I never felt more pleasure, than when I fed the
hungry, cloathed the naked, and supplied the wants of those in
distress. Had God blessed me with a more plentiful fortune, I should
have exerted myself in this more; and I flatter myself, that the poor
and indigent of our town will do me justice in this particular, and
own that I was not wanting in my duty towards them. But to proceed in
my account: I would not fix on any other charwoman; and Susan said,
that Dame Emmet would, she thought, by my goodness, soon get strength
to work again. I told her, was it ever so long I would stay for her. I
mixed the powder, as was said before, on the Sunday, and on the
Tuesday wrote to Mr. Cranstoun, that it would not mix in tea, and that
I would not try it any more, lest my father should find it out. This
has been brought against me by many: but let any one consider, if the
discovery of such a procedure as this, would not have excited anger,
and consequently have been followed by resentment in my father. This
might have occasioned a total separation of me from Mr. Cranstoun, a
thing I at that time dreaded more than even death itself. In answer to
this letter, I had one from him to assure me the powder was innocent,
and to beg I would give it in gruel, or something thicker than tea.
Many more letters to the same effect I received, before I would give
it again; but most fatally, on the 5th August, I gave it to my poor
father, innocent of the effects it afterwards produced, God knows; not
so stupid as to believe it would have that desired, to make him kind
to us; but in obedience to Mr. Cranstoun, who ever seemed
superstitions to the last degree, and had, as I thought, and have
declared before, all the just notions of the necessity of my father's
life for him, me, and ours. On the Monday the 5th, as has been said, I
mixed the powder in his gruel, and at night it was in a half-pint mug,
set ready for him to carry to bed with him. It had no taste. The next
morning, as he had done at dinner the day before, he complained of a
pain in his stomach, and the heart-burn; which he ever did before he
had the gravel. I went for Mr. Norton at eleven o'clock in the
forenoon, who said, that a little physick would be right for my father
to take on Wednesday. At night he ordered some water gruel for his
supper, which his footman went for. When it came, my father said,
"Taste it, Molly, has it not an odd taste?" I tasted it, but found no
taste different from what is to be found in all good water gruel.
After this he went up to bed, and my father found himself sick, and
reached; after which he said he was better, and I went up to bed.
Susan gave him his physick in the morning, and I went into his
bed-chamber about eight o'clock; then I found him charming well. Susan
says that on my father's wanting gruel on the Wednesday, I said, as
they were busy at ironing, they might give him some of the same he had
before. I do not remember this; but if I did, it was impossible I
should know that the gruel he had on Tuesday was the same he had on
Monday; as that he drank on Monday was made on Saturday or Sunday, I
believe on Saturday night; much less imagine that she whoever made it,
and managed it as she pleased, would pretend to keep such stale gruel
for her master. Thursday and Friday he came down stairs. I often asked
Mr. Norton, "If he thought him in danger; if he did, I would send for
Dr. Addington." On Saturday Mr. Norton told me, "he thought my father
in danger." I said, "I would send for the doctor;" but he replied, "I
had better ask my father's leave." I bid him speak to my father about
it, which he did; but my father replied, "Stay till to-morrow, and if
I am not better then, send for him." As soon as I was told this, I
said, "That would not satisfy me; I would send immediately, which I
did; and Mr. Norton, the apothecary, attested this in Court." On the
same night, being Saturday, the doctor came, I believe it was near
twelve o'clock. He saw my father, and wrote for him: he did not then
apprehend his case to be desperate. I have been by this gentleman
blamed, for not telling then what I had given my father. I was in
hopes that he would have lived, and that my folly would never have
been known: in order the more effectually to conceal which, the
remainder of the powder I had, the Wednesday before, thrown away, and
burnt Mr. Cranstoun's letter: so I had nothing to evince the innocence
of my intention, and was moreover frightened out of my wits. Let the
good-natured part of the world put themselves in my place, and then
condemn me if they can for this. On Sunday my father said, "He was
better"; but found himself obliged to keep his bed that day. Mr.
Blandy, of Kingston, a relation of ours, came to visit us, stayed with
me to breakfast, and then went to church with Mr. Littleton, my
father's clerk. I went, after they had gone to my father, and found
him seemingly inclined to sleep; so let him, retired into the parlour,
and wrote to Mr. Cranstoun, as I did almost every post. I had, on the
Friday before, a letter from him; wherein some secrets of his family
were disclosed. As I wrote in a hurry, I only advised him to take care
what he wrote; which, as my unhappy affairs turned out, my enemies
dressed up greatly to my disadvantage at my trial. I gave this letter,
as I did all of them, to Mr. Littleton to direct, who opened it,
carried it to a friend of his for advice on the occasion, and conveyed
it to a French usher; who, by the help of it, published a pamphlet
entitled, _The Life of Miss Mary Blandy_. On Sunday in the afternoon,
Mrs. Mounteney and her sister came to see my father; who told them,
"He hoped he should soon be able to meet them in his parlour; since he
thought himself better then." Susan was to sit up with her master that
night. The Rev. Mr. Stockwood, Rector of the parish, came in the
evening to visit him; the apothecary was there likewise; and he
desired the room might be quite still; so that only Susan, the old
maid, was to be with him. After this I went up to my father's bedside;
upon which he took me in his arms and kissed me: I went out of the
room with Mr. Stockwood and Mr. Norton, the apothecary, almost dead,
and begg'd of the latter to tell me if he thought my father still in
danger. He said "he was better, and hoped he would still mend.
To-morrow," said he, "we shall judge better, and you will hear what
Dr. Addington will say." While Mr. Stockwood staid, Mr. Littleton and
Betty, my father's cook-maid, behaved tolerably well; but as soon as
he was gone they altered their conduct; however, upon Mr. Norton's
speaking to him, Mr. Littleton became much more civil; and Betty
followed his example. I took a candle, and went up into my own room;
but in the way I listened at my father's door, and found everything
still there; this induced me to hope that he was asleep. On Monday
morning, I went to his door, in order to go in: his tenderness would
not let me stay up a-nights; but I was seldom from him in the daytime.
I was deprived access to him; which so surprised and frightened me,
that I cried out, "What, not see my father!" Upon which, I heard him
reply, "My dear Polly, you shall presently;" and some time after I
did. This scene was inexpressibly moving. The mutual love, sorrow, and
grief, that then appeared, are truly described by Susannah Gunnel;
tho', poor soul, she is much mistaken in many other respects. I was,
as soon as Dr. Addington came, by his orders, confined to my own room;
and not suffered to go near my father, or even so much as to listen at
his door; all the comfort I then could have had, would have been to
know whether he slept or no; but this was likewise refused me. A man
was put into my room night and day; no woman suffer'd to attend me. My
garters, keys, and letters were taken away from me, by Dr. Addington
himself. Dr. Lewis, who it seems was called in, was at this time with
him; but he behaved perfectly like a gentleman to me. During this
confinement I had hardly any thing to eat or drink: and once I staid
from five in the afternoon till the same hour the next day without any
sustenance at all, as the man with me can witness, except a single
dish of tea; which, I believe, I owed to the humanity of Dr. Lewis. I
had frequently very bad fits, and my head was never quite clear; yet I
was sensible the person who gave these orders had no right to confine
me in such a manner. But I bore it patiently, as my room was very near
my father's, and I was fearful of disturbing him. Dr. Addington and
Dr. Lewis then came into my room, and told me "Nothing could save my
dear father." For some time I sat like an image; and then told them,
that I had given him some powders, which I received from Cranstoun,
and feared they might have hurt him, tho' that villain assured me they
were of a very innocent nature. At my trial, it appeared, that Dr.
Addington had wrote down the questions he put to me, but none of my
answers to them. The Judge asked him the reason of this. He said,
"They were not satisfactory to him." To which his lordship replied,
"They might have been so to the Court." The questions were these. Why
I did not send for him sooner? In answer to which, I told him, that I
did send for him as soon as they would let me know that my father was
in the least danger. And that even at last I sent for him against my
father's consent. This, I added, he could not but know, by what my
father said, when he first came on Saturday night into his room. The
next question was, why I did not take some of the powders myself, if I
thought them so innocent? To this I answered, I never was desired by
Mr. Cranstoun to take them; and that if they could produce such an
effect as was ascribed to them, I was sure I had no need of them, but
that had he desired this, I should most certainly have done it. It is
impossible to repeat half the miseries I went thro', unknown, I am
sure, to my poor father. The man that was set over me as my guard had
been an old servant in the family: which I at first thought was done
out of kindness; but am now convinced it was not. When Dr. Addington
was asked, "If I express'd a desire to preserve my father's life, and
on this account desired him to come again the next day, and do all he
could to save him," he said, "I did." He then was asked his sentiments
of that matter; to which he replied, "She seemed to me more concerned
for the consequences to herself than to her father." However, the
Doctor owned that my behaviour shewed me to be anxious for my poor
father's life. Could I paint the restless nights and days I went
through, the prayers I made to God to take me and spare my father,
whose death alone, unattended with other misfortunes, would have
greatly shocked me, the heart of every person who has any bowels at
all would undoubtedly bleed for me. What is here advanced, the man
that attended me knows to be true also, who cannot be suspected of
partiality. Susan Gunnel can attest the same. She observed at this
juncture several instances between us both of filial duty and paternal
On Wednesday, about two o'clock in the afternoon, by my father's
death, I was left one of the most wretched orphans that ever lived.
Not only indifferent and dispassionate persons, but even some of the
most cruel of mine enemies themselves, seem to have had at least some
small compassion for me. Soon after my father's death I had all his
keys, except that of his study, which I had before committed to the
care of the Rev. Mr. Stevens of Fawley, my dear unhappy uncle,
delivered to me. This gentleman and another of my uncles visited me
that fatal afternoon. This occasioned such a moving scene, as is
impossible for any human pen to describe. After their departure, I
walked like a frantic distracted person. Mr. Skinner, a schoolmaster
in Henley, who came to see me, as I have been since informed, declared
that he did not take me to be in my senses. So that no stress ought to
be laid on any part of my conduct at this time. Nor will this at all
surprise the candid reader, if he will but dispassionately consider
the whole case, and put himself in my place. I had lost mine only
parent, whose untimely death was then imputed to me. Tho' I had no
intention to hurt him, and consequently in that respect was innocent;
yet there was great reason to fear, that I had been made the fatal
instrument of his death--and that by listening to the man I loved
above all others, and even better than life itself. I had depended
upon his, as I imagined, superior honour; but found myself deceived
and deluded by him. The people about me were apprized, that I
entertained, and not without just reason, a very bad opinion of them;
which could not but inspire them with vindictive sentiments, and a
firm resolution to hurt me, if ever they had it in their power. My
cook-maid was more inflamed against me than any of the rest; and yet,
for very good reasons, I was absolutely obliged to keep her. My
mother's maid was disagreeable to me; but yet, on account of money due
to her, which I could not pay, it was not then in my power to dismiss
her. But this most melancholy subject I shall not now chuse any
farther to expatiate upon. I have brought down the preceding narrative
to my father's death, where I at first intended it should end.
Besides, I have now not many days to live, and matters of infinitely
greater moment to think upon. May God forgive me my follies, and my
enemies theirs! May he likewise take my poor soul into his protection,
and receive me to mercy, through the merits of my Mediator and
Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who died to save sinners! Amen.
The foregoing narrative, which I most earnestly desire may be
published, was partly dictated and partly wrote by me, whilst under
sentence of death; and is strictly agreeable to truth in every
Witness my hand.
Signed by Miss Mary Blandy, in the Castle at Oxford, April 4,
1752, in presence of two Clergymen, members of the University
LETTER FROM MISS BLANDY TO A CLERGYMAN IN HENLEY.
(From No. 8 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
The following is an answer to a letter sent Miss Blandy by a worthy
clergyman in Henley, upon a very extraordinary subject, and highly
deserves a place here:--
Rev. Sir,--I received yours, and at first felt all the horror
innocence so belied could do; but now, Sir, I look on it as a
blessing from God, both to wean me from this world, and make the
near approach of death less dreadful to me. You desire me, in your
letter, if innocent of my poor mother's death and that of Mrs.
Pocock, to make a solemn declaration, and have it witnessed; which
I here do. I declare before God, at whose dread Tribunal I must
shortly appear, that as I hope for mercy there, I never did buy any
poison, knowingly, whatever of Mr. Prince, who did live at Henley,
and now lives at Reading, or of Mr. Pottinger, an apothecary and
surgeon in Henley; nor did I ever buy any poison in Henley, or
anywhere else in all my life; that as for mother's and Mrs. Pocock's
death, I am as innocent of it as the child unborn, so help me God
in my last moments, and at the great Day of Judgment. If ever I did
hurt their lives, may God condemn me. This, Sir, I hope, will
convince you of my innocency. And if the world will not believe what
even I dying swear, God forgive them, and turn their hearts. One day
all must appear together at one bar. There no prompting of
witnesses, no lies, no little arts of law will do. There, I doubt
not, I shall meet my poor father and mother, and my much loved
friend (through the mercies of Jesus Christ, who died for sinners)
forgiven and in bliss. There the tears that cannot move man's heart
shall be by God dried up. Farewell, Sir, God bless you, and believe
me, while I live, ever Your much obliged humble Servant,
(_N.B._--This letter was attested to be M. Blandy's, &c., Apr. 4th,
CONTEMPORARY ADVERTISEMENT OF A LOVE PHILTRE.
(From No. 17 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
(Here follows an exact copy of a most wicked advertisement, publickly
distributed in the streets of London, and dispersed in the
neighbouring Towns and villages; without any notice taken of such an
enormity by the Magistrates, or any measures pursued to punish the
miscreants who disperse them, according to their desserts. However,
the wretches who thus impose on the world, finding their account
therein, as they certainly do, is a proof of multitudes being as
credulous in this affair as Miss Blandy, and account for her being
imposed on, in the manner she declares she was, by Cranstoun.)
THE FAMOUS LOVE-POWDER, OR LOVE-DROPS.
Sold for Five Shillings a bottle, at the Golden-Ball, in
Any person that is in love with a man, and he won't return it, let her
come to me, and I'll make him glad of her, and thank ye to boot, by
only giving him a little of these love drops, it will make him that he
can't rest without her. And the like, if a man is in love with a young
woman, and she won't comply, let him give her a little of this liquor
of love, and she will not be able to rest without him. If a woman has
got a husband that goes astray, let her give him a few of these drops,
and it will make him, rest at home, and never desire to go no more.
And the like with a man if his wife goes astray, it will make her that
she will never desire no other man.
This liquor is the study of a Jesuit, one Mr. Delore, and is sold by
his nephew, Mr. John Delore, and I promise very fair, if it don't
perform all I say, I'll have nothing for my pains; and if any young
master has debauched a servant, and after won't have her, let her give
him a little of this liquor, and if he don't marry her, I'll have
nothing for it; therefore, I promise very fair, no performance no pay.
CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT OF THE EXECUTION OF MARY BLANDY.
(From No. 7 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
She was attended daily by the Rev. Mr. Swinton, before whom, there is
no doubt, she behaved properly (though in his absence seemed not under
the least concern) as appears From Mr. Swinton, himself, whose
veracity I don't in the least scruple, who has at various times
declared, that whenever he was with Miss Blandy after her
condemnation, she behaved in a becoming manner for a person under such
circumstances; but I am afraid she had too much art for that
gentleman, and that he was rather too credulous, and often imposed
upon by her; she made him believe, 'tis certain, that after her
mother's death, her apparition frequently appear'd; that there was
musick hoard in the house night and day; yet all the performers were
invisible. The reader will be surprised that stories of this kind
should prevail at this time of day, and still more so, that Mr.
Swinton should listen to them; but I am well informed that this
gentleman himself is apt, to give credit to things of this sort.
Some days before her execution, she said that she intended to speak at
the tree, if she had spirits when she came there, but that she was
afraid the sudden shock of seeing the gallows might be too much for
her to withstand, and that her spirits might fail her, unless she had
an opportunity of seeing it beforehand, which she did, as the reader
will find hereafter.
We are now arrived at the verge of this unfortunate's life; the day
before her execution she receiv'd the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper, and sign'd and deliver'd the following paper, in order to
convince the world how much she had been imposed on and seduc'd.
I, Mary Blandy, do declare, that I die in a full persuasion of the
truth and excellency of the Christian religion, and a sincere, though
unworthy, member of the Church of England. I do likewise hope for a
pardon and remission of my sins, by the mercy of God, through the
merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, my most blessed Lord and
Saviour. I do also further declare, that I did not know or believe
that the powder, to which the death of my dear father has been
ascribed, had any noxious or poisonous quality lodged in it; and that
I had no intention to hurt, and much less to destroy him, by giving
him that powder; All this is true, as I hope for eternal salvation,
and mercy from Almighty God, in whose most awful and immediate
presence I must soon appear. I die in perfect peace and charity with
all mankind, and do from the bottom of my soul forgive all my enemies,
and particularly those who have in any manner contributed to, or been
instrumental in bringing me to the ignominous death I am so soon to
suffer. This is my last declaration, as to the points therein
contained; and I do most earnestly desire, that it may be published
after my decease. Witness my hand, MARY BLANDY.
It has been before intimated that Miss often declared to the Rev. Mr.
Swinton that since the death of her mother she had frequently in the
night, and sometimes in the day been entertained with musick,
performed, as she imagined, by invisible spirits; and since her
conviction, has often been amused in the same manner; but in the night
before her execution, the musick was more heavenly than ever she had
heard it before; and this she declared in the morning before she was
As a report had been universally spread that she would be executed on
the Friday before, a very great concourse of people were got together
upon the Castle Green, to be spectators of the execution. Miss went up
several times into the room facing the Green, where she could view the
great crowd of people about it; which she did with all the calmness
and unconcern imaginable; and only said that she would not balk their
expectations, tho' her execution might be deferred a day or two
About ten o'clock on Sunday night, being informed that the Sheriff was
come to town, she sent a messenger to him, to request that she might
not be disturbed till right in the morning, and that as soon after as
he pleased she would be ready for the great task she had to undergo.
Accordingly, about half an hour after eight, the Sheriff, with her
attorney, and the Rev. Mr. Swinton, went to the Goal, and after half
an hour's private prayers with the clergyman, she came down into the
Goal yard, where the Sheriff's men were, and held two guineas in her
hands for the executioner, which she took with her to the fatal tree.
The night before her execution, she spent the chief of her time in
prayers. She went to bed about the usual hour, and had little rest in
the fore part of the night, but was at prayers in bed between three
and four o'clock; after ending of which, she got up and dress'd
herself; and some time after this, went up into the upper rooms of the
house to look upon the gallows, which is opposite the door of the
goal, and made by laying a poll across upon the arms of two trees,
when she observed that it was very high. She went out of the Castle
about nine o'clock, attended by the Rev. Mr. Swinton, dress'd in a
black crape sack, with her arms and hands ty'd with black paduasoy
ribbons, and her whole dress extremely neat; her countenance was
solemn, and her behaviour well suited to her deplorable circumstances;
but she bore up under her misfortunes with amazing fortitude.
When she came to the gallows Mr. Swinton read several select prayers
suitable to the occasion, and then asked her if she had anything to
say to the populace? to which she answered, yes. She then begged the
prayers of all the spectators, and declared herself guilty of
administering the powder to her father, but without knowing that it
had the least poisonous quality in it, or intending to do him any
injury, as she hoped to meet with mercy at that great Tribunal before
whom she should very shortly appear. And as it had likewise been
rumoured that she was instrumental in the death of her mother in like
manner as her father, and also of Mrs. Pocock, she declared herself
not even the innocent cause of either of their deaths (if she was the
innocent cause of that of her father) as she hoped for salvation in a
As she ascended the ladder, after she had got _up_ about five steps,
she said, "Gentlemen, do not hang me high, for the sake of decency;"
and then being desired to step up a little higher, she did two stops,
and then turning herself about, she trembled, and said, "I am afraid I
shall fall." After this, the halter was put about her neck, and she
pulled down her handkerchief over her face, without shedding one tear
all the time. In this manner she prayed a little while upon the
ladder, then gave the signal, by holding out a little book which she
had in her hands. There was not a large concourse of people at the
execution, but the most thinking part of them were so affected with
her behaviour and deplorable circumstances, that they were in tears.
After hanging above half an hour the Sheriff gave orders for her being
cut down. Thus far the utmost decorum was observed, but for want of
some proper person to take care of her body, this melancholy scene
became still more shocking to human nature. There was neither coffin
to put her body in, nor hearse to carry it away; nor was it taken back
into the Castle, which was only a few yards, but upon being cut down
was carried through the crowd upon the shoulders of one of the
Sheriff's men in the most beastly manner, with her legs exposed very
indecently for several hundred yards, and then deposited in the
Sheriff's man's house, 'till about half an hour past five o'clock,
when the body was put in a hearse, and carried to Henley, where she
was interred about one o'clock the next morning in the church, between
her father and mother, where was assembled the greatest concourse of
people ever known upon such an occasion. The funeral service was
performed by the same clergyman as wrote the letter, dated the 7th of
March (as before inserted) to whom, among seven guineas which she
left for seven rings, she bequeathed one of them.
LETTER FROM THE WAR OFFICE TO THE PAYMASTER-GENERAL, STRIKING
CRANSTOUN'S NAME OFF THE HALF PAY LIST.
(From the original MS. in the possession of Mr. A.M. Broadley.)
War Office, 14th March, 1752.
Sir,--On Tuesday the 3d instant came on at Oxford, before the
Honble. Mr. Baron Legge & Mr. Baron Smythe, the Tryal of Miss Mary
Blandy for Poisoning her late Father; when first Lieutenant Wm.
Henry Cranstoune, a reduc'd first Lieut. of Sir Andrew Agnew's late
Regt. of Marines, now on the British Establishment of Half-Pay, was
charg'd with contriving the manner of sd. Miss Blandy's Poisoning
her Father and being an Abettor therein: And he having absconded
from the time of her being comitted for the above Fact:--I am
comanded to signify to you it is His Majesty's Pleasure that the sd.
Lieutenant Wm. Henry Cranstoune be struck off the sd. Establishment
of Half Pay, and that you do not issue any Moneys remaining in your
Hands, due to the sd. Lieut. Cranstoune.--I am,
Sr. your most obedient & most humble Servant,
Rt. Honble. Mr. Pitt, Paymaster-General.
[Endorsed] War Office, 14th March, 1752. Mr. Fox to Mr. Pitt directing
the Half Pay of Lieut. Willm. Henry Cranstoun to be Stopt. Ent. No. 1
W.P. Fo. 11.
THE CONFESSIONS OF CRANSTOUN.
_I.--Cranstoun's Own Version of the Facts._
(From No. 19 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
Let us now return to Capt. Cranstoun, who as soon as he heard Miss was
committed to Oxford Jail, secreted himself from the Publick, so that
when Messengers were dispatched with Warrants to apprehend him, he was
not to be found. In this concealment (either in Scotland, or the North
of England) he lay for six months, that is from the middle of August,
till a few days before Miss's Trial, which, came on the 2nd of March,
when being well informed of the dangerous Situation she was in, and
that his own Fate depended upon hers, his thought it high time to take
care of himself; which he did by transporting himself to Bologn in
[Illustration: Captain William Henry Cranstoun, with his pompous
funeral procession in Flanders
(_From an Engraving by B. Cole_.)]
On his Arrival at Bologn, he found out one Mrs. Ross, whose Maiden
Name was Dunbar and a distant relation to his family. To this woman he
made his Application, told her the Troubles in which he was involved
and entreated her to have so much compassion on him as to protect and
conceal him till the storm was a little blown over, and to screen him
from the Dangers he had just Reason to apprehend. Mrs. Ross was so
affected by his disastrous condition, that in regard to the noble
Family of which he was an unhappy Branch, she promised to serve him in
the best Manner she could; but advised him to change his name, and to
take that of Dunbar, which had been that of her own.
Here the Captain thought himself secure from the Pursuit of his
Enemies; but, unluckily for him, some of his Wife's Relations, who
were Officers in some French Troops residing there, got Scent of him,
and knowing in what a base & treacherous manner he had used that
unhappy Woman, and being inform'd, that, to escape the Hand of
Justice, he had fled thither for Refuge, threatened Vengeance if ever
they should light on him, for his inhuman Usage of his Wife. The
Captain hearing of their Menaces, and not doubling but they would be
as good as their Words, kept very close in his Lodging.
In this obscurity he continued to the 26th of July, not daring to
speak to any Body, or even to stir out of doors. But being at length,
weary of his Confinement, and under dreadful Apprehensions that he
should one day fall a Sacrifice to the Resentment of his Persecutors,
consulted with Mrs. Ross, what course he should take to avoid the
Dangers he was then exposed to. After mature Deliberation, it was
agreed, that he and his two companions who went over with him, should
take a trip to Paris; and in order to secure a place of retreat, upon
any Emergency, Mrs. Ross should go to Furnes, a town in Flanders, in
the Jurisdiction of the Queen of Hungary, where they would come to her
on their return.
Accordingly the next Morning before Day, they set out on their
Journey, not in a Postchaise, or any Publick Vehicle, for fear of a
Discovery, but on Foot; and lodging every Night at some obscure
Village, till their Arrival at Paris.
The Subject of their Conversation on the Road generally turned upon
the Captain's Amours and the Intrigues he had been engaged in with the
Fair Sex, but more particularly his affair with Miss Blandy. They
expressed their surprize that he should make his addresses to a young
Lady of her Character and Fortune, with a view of marrying her, when
the Conjugal Obligations he was already under, rendered the
Nothing, answered the Captain, seems impossible to Men of undaunted
Courage and heroic Spirits.... Now, as to Miss Blandy, with whom you
are surprized I should enter into such deep engagements, attend to my
Reasons, and your Wonder I believe will soon cease. I am, you know,
the Son of a Nobleman, and, consequently have those high Thoughts and
ambitious Desires which are inherent to those of a noble Extraction.
As a younger Son, my Patrimony was too small to gratify my Passion for
those Pleasures enjoyed by my Equals. This put me on contriving
Schemes to answer the Extent of my Ambition.
On my coming to Henley, my first Enquiry was, what Ladies were the
Toasts among the Men of Pleasure & Gaiety. Miss Blandy was named as
the chief of them, and famed for a great Fortune. Accident soon gave
me an Interview with her; I visited, and was well received by the
whole Family, and soon insinuated myself into her good Graces, and I
quickly perceived that she had swallowed the Bait. The Father
entertained me at Bed and Board, and the Daughter obliged me with her
Company, and supplyed my Wants of Money upon every Emergency, nor was
the Mother less fond of me than the Daughter.
But no human Bliss is permanent; it was not long before a Discovery
was made that I was a married Man. Here I had Occasion for the
Exercise of all my Cunning. To deny it, I knew was to no purpose,
because it would be proved; and to own it, might be the means of
ruining my Design. Now, in order to steer safely between Scilla and
Charibdis, I fairly owned the Charge; but at the same Time intimated,
that the Noose was not tyed so fast, but that it might be easily
undone, and that I was then in a Fair Way of setting that Marriage
aside; and to gain belief to my Assertion, I persuaded my poor
credulous Wife to disown me for her Husband, whose Letter restored me
to the good opinion of the Family, but especially of my Mistress and
The old Gentleman, however, was not so easy of Belief; he was afraid
there was a Snake in the Grass and tho' he seemed to give Credit to my
Protestations, that the Cause would quickly be decided, yet I could
easily perceive a Coldness in his Behaviour, which was an evident
Proof to me that I had lost ground in his favour; nor was I less
sensible that the event of my Trial in Scotland, would not contribute
anything to replace me in his good Opinion. I found myself in such a
situation, that I must very shortly, either lose my Mistress, and,
what was more valuable to me, her Fortune, or make one desperate Push
to recover both. Several schemes for this purpose were offered to my
Thoughts; but none seemed so feasible as dispatching the Old Man into
the other World: For if he was but once Dead, I was well assured I
should soon be in Possession of his Estate. I had however, one
Difficulty to surmount, which was, to make my Mistress a Party
concerned in the Execution of my Project. I knew she was greatly
provoked at her Father's late unkind Behaviour to me; which I took
care to aggravate all I could, which produced the Effects I desired;
and she declared she was ready to embrace any scheme I could propose
to release us from our Embarrassments; nay, I convinced her, that we
should never have her Father's consent, and therefore it would be in
vain to wait for it. And, in order to fix her entirely in my Interest,
I used all my Rhetorick to persuade her to a private Marriage, which
however for good Reasons she did not think proper to agree to; yet she
gave me her solemn Vow, that no other Man but myself should call her
Wife, and that in the mean Time, she should reckon herself in Duty
bound to have the utmost Regard to my Will & Pleasure.
What I now speak of, was after Judgment was given against me in
Scotland, and a Decree, confirming the Validity of my Marriage, had
been pronounced. This Decree, I assured Mr. Blandy, his Wife and
Daughter, I should be able to vacate by an Appeal to the next
Sessions. After several pretended Delays in the Proceedings, finding
Mr. Blandy's temper very much soured against me, I thought it
necessary to hasten my Project to a Conclusion. To this end I had
several private conferences with my Mistress; wherein I observed to
her the visible decay of her Father's Affections to me, and the
Improbability of his ever giving his consent to our marriage, and
therefore that other measures must be taken to accomplish our
Happiness, which otherwise would be very precarious. I told her I was
possessed of a Drug, produced no where but in Scotland, of such rare
Qualities, that by a proper Application, it would procure Love where
there never was any, or restore it when absolutely lost and gone. Of
this Drug, or Powder, I would give some to her Father, and she would
soon be convinced of its Efficacy by its benevolent Effects.
Accordingly I mixed some with his Tea several times, But in such small
quantities as I knew would not immediately effect him; and I assured
her, that tho' it did not produce a visible Alteration at present, its
Operations being slow and internal, yet in the end it would
effectually do its Work.
I likewise pretended there was an absolute Necessity for my going into
Scotland in order to bring on the Appeal, but in reality to carry on
my Design against old Blandy with the greater secrecy and security.
But before I went, I took care to infuse such notions into her Head as
tended to lessen the Guilt of destroying the Life of a Father, who
obstructed the Happiness of his only Child; and strenuously argued,
that the froward humours of old Age ought not to put a restraint on
the Pleasures of Youth, and that when they did so, there was no sin in
removing the Obstacle out of the way.
But to prevail with her to come more heartily into my Measures, I
played another Stratagem upon her.... Having thus persuaded her into a
Belief of an Event, which I had good Grounds to be assured would
certainly happen, I found no great difficulty in bringing her to use
the Means to accomplish it. I told her I was then going to Scotland,
for the Purposes she knew; that I would thence send her a Quantity of
the Powder; and to prevent a Discovery, would send her a Parcel of
Scots Pebbles, with Directions to use it in cleaning them, but really
in the Manner as she had seen me use it, & as often as she had
Miss, I find, in the Narrative she has published of her Case, solemnly
declares, she was perfectly ignorant of the noxious Quality of the
Powder: but had she suffered the Publick to have seen my Letters, the
World would have known that she was privy to the Design, and equally
concerned in the Plot, as I can convince you even to Demonstration by
her Answers to my Letters, under her own Hand, which I will show you
when we return to our Lodgings. However, I do not blame her for
denying it, because it was the only means she had left of persuading
the World to believe her innocent.
Perhaps, Gentlemen, you will suppose I am guilty of a great deal of
Vanity, in imagining myself capable of so grossly imposing on the
Understanding of a Lady of such refined sense as Miss Blandy was
acknowledged to be. In answer to which I can only say, that when Love
has taken possession of the Heart, it leaves but very little Room for
Reflection. That this was Miss Blandy's case, I will give you some few
instances of the violence of her Passion, and then leave you to judge
to what extravagant Lengths that might carry her.
As my small Income afforded me but slender Supplies, I was frequently
in Debt, and as often at a loss how to come off with Honour. Miss was
my constant Friend on such Occasions; and when her own Purse could not
do it, she had recourse to her Servant, Susan Gunnel, who having
scraped together about 90l. Miss borrowed near 80l. of it for the
relief of my Wants.
Again; at the Death of the Prince of Wales, her Father gave her
twenty Guineas to buy her Mourning, of which she laid out about 51.
for that Purpose, and the Remainder she remitted to me, being then in
Another Instance of the Extravagance of her Passion was this: You must
know, that during the Course of our mutual Love and Tenderness, some
envious female Sprite whispered in her Ear, that I had at that very
time a Bastard, and was obliged to maintain both Mother and Child. To
this Charge I pleaded guilty, but told her, that it was a piece of
Gallantry that was never imputed to a Soldier as a Crime, and hoped I
might plead the general Practice in Excuse. In short, she not only
forgave me, but contributed all in her Power to the Support of both.
Miss however, was not so easily pacified on another Occasion, when she
happened to spring a Mine that had like to have blown up all my works.
When I lodged in the House, some Occasion or other calling me suddenly
into the Town, I forgot to take out the Key of my Trunk. Miss coming
into the Room soon afterwards, sees the Key, and opens the Repository,
when the first thing she cast her Eyes upon, was a Letter, which I had
lately received from a Mistress I kept in _Petto_. This opened such a
scene of Ingratitude and Perfidy, that when she charged me with it, I
was scarce able to stand the Shock, and was so thunderstruck, that for
some time I had not a word to say for myself. But when I had a little
recollected my scattered Spirits, I had Address enough to pacify her
Wrath, even in an Instance of such a notorious Breach of my Fidelity.
These you will allow, were uncommon Instances of Affection for a Man
so circumstanced as I was; after which, can you suppose her capable of
denying me anything within the Compass of her Power? Can you any
longer wonder that she should join with me in compassing the Death of
her Father, when I had convinced her that our Happiness could no
otherwise be accomplished?
In this manner the Captain entertained his Companions on their Journey
to Paris. Where being arrived, they took a Lodging in a By-street....
Every day for a fortnight, they spent in visiting the most remarkable
places in Paris.... But finding their Exchequer pretty near exhausted,
they began seriously to think of returning home to their good
Landlady. Accordingly they set out on their journey and on the third
day reached Furnes, where they again met with a kind reception. Mr.
Ross, their Landlord, was likewise then just returned from England,
where the Captain had sent him to receive Money for a Bill of 60l.
which was the only Remittance that was sent him from his Arrival in
France to the Time of his Death.
Not long after his return to Fumes he was taken with a severe Fit of
Illness, from which however he recovered.... In this miserable
condition he languished till he bethought himself that possibly he
might receive some spiritual Belief from a Father famed for his Piety
in a neighbouring Convent. To him he addresses himself and entreats
his assistance & advice. The good Father having probed the wounds of
his Conscience, and brought him to a due sense of his Sins, applyed
the healing remedy of Absolution, on the Penitent's declaring himself
reconciled to the Church of Rome.
After this, Cranstoun seemed to be pretty easy in his mind, but e'er
long was seized with a terrible desease in his body, which was swoln
to that Degree that it was apprehended he would have burst, & felt
such Torments in every Limb & Joint, as made him wish for Death for
some days before he died, which was Nov. 30, 1752.... After the
Funeral was over, a Letter was sent to his Mother, the Lady Dowager
Cranstoun; to which an answer was soon returned with an Order, to
secure & seal up all his Papers of every kind, & transmit them to his
Brother the Lord Cranstoun in Scotland and his cloathes, consisting
chiefly of Laced & Embroidered Waistcoats, to be sold for the
Discharge of his Debts; All this was punctually complied with.
I shall only add, that by the Captain's Death, his wife came to enjoy
the 75l. a year, the Interest of the 1500l. which was his Paternal
Fortune; and by his Will, Heir to the Principal, to support her and
her Daughter; which was some Recompense for the Troubles and Vexations
he had occasioned her.
_II.--Captain Cranstoun's Account of the Poisoning of the Late Mr.
(No. 20 of Bibliography, Appendix XII.)
PREFACE TO THE PUBLICK.
As the Publick are in great Doubts concerning the Truth of the cruel,
and almost unparalleled Murder of the late Mr. Blandy, of HENLEY UPON
THAMES, in Oxfordshire, by Reason of the mysterious Accounts published
as the Confession of his Daughter, who was executed for that cruel
Parricide, and which were done by her own Desire and Direction: the
following Pages are thought necessary to be made publick, by which the
World may be satisfied concerning that tragical Affair: which is from
the Words of Captain WILLIAM-HENRY CRANSTOUN, hitherto supposed, but
now out of Doubt, to have been concerned with her in that black Crime:
and also from original Letters of hers, and papers found immediately
after his Decease, in his Portmanteau-Trunk in his Room in the House
of Mons. MAULSET, the Sign of the BURGUNDY CROSS, in the Town of
FURNES, in the AUSTRIAN NETHERLANDS, where he died on THURSDAY, the
30th of NOVEMBER last, and was buried in the Cathedral Church there,
in great Funeral Pomp, on the second of DECEMBER.
It is thought needless to premise any more, only to assure the Publick
that what is contained in the following short Tract is authentick, and
gives an account of the Vicissitudes of Fortune, which attended
Captain CRANSTOUN, from the Time of his absconding for Prevention of
his being apprehended, to the Time of his Death, which was attended
with great Torments.
Miss Mary Blandy, being suspected of poisoning her Father, Mr.
Francis Blandy, who died in great Agonies, on the 14th of August,
1751, was examined by the Mayor and Coroner of Henley upon Thames:
and there appearing, upon the Oaths of the Servants to the Deceased,
and others, sufficient Grounds to think that Miss Blandy, with the
Assistance and Advice of Capt. William Henry Cranstoun, was the
Parracide, she was accordingly committed to Oxford Castle: and a
proper Warrant and Messenger was sent, in order to apprehend the
said Capt. Cranstoun, who was then supposed to be either in
Northumberland or Scotland, with his Mother: but the Affair being in
the News-Papers, it reached the Knowledge of a certain Person of
Distinction, who was a relation of the Captain's, before the
Messenger and Warrant got down, who informed him thereof: upon which
the Captain thought it most advisable to abscond: And being secreted
from that Time, in England, till the Beginning of March, 1752, when
Miss was tried at Oxford Assizes, and found guilty, it was then
thought proper for him to get out of the Kingdom: as upon her Trial
it appeared, beyond all Doubt, that he was principally concerned in
that Murder, and furnished her with the Powders that compleated the
On the eighteenth Day of March, at which Time she lay under Sentence
of Death, he embarked in a Vessel for Bologne in France, and went by
the name of Dunbar, a Female distant relation of his, of that name,
being there at the time: who was married to one R----, and who
was there on Account of some Debts he had contracted in Great
Cranstoun arrived at Bologne on the 27th Day of the Month of March,
which soon being known, he was obliged to be kept secret in that
Town; as some of the Relations of his Wife who were Officers in one
of the Scotch Regiments in the French Service, upon hearing of his
being there, declared they would destroy him, not only for his cruel
and villainous Usage to his Wife and Child, but also as being a
Murderer: and went purposely to Bologne.
He continued at Bologne in Secret till the 20th of July last, when
he absconded privately in the Morning early, with the said R----,
and his Wife who were obliged to fly, on Account of an Arret of the
Parliament of Paris, which had ordered him to pay 1000 Livres, and
Cost of a Law-Suit, to the famous or, more properly, infamous
Captain P-----w, so well known here: And as that Affair was
something remarkable, I shall here give the reader a brief Relation
of it, notwithstanding it is foreign to Mr. Cranstoun's Affair,
which, as it will take up but little Room, I am almost persuaded
will not be disagreeable to the Reader.
A certain Irish Nobleman being at Bologna, on Account of Debts he
owed in England, Capt. P----w being there at the same Time, got
acquainted with the above-named Irish Lord. At this Time Mr. R----,
who was married to Mr. Cranstoun's Relation, as above-named, was a
Merchant in that Town, and who, together with many more of the
Merchants of the Place, was taken in very considerably by the said
The above-nam'd Lord having got as deep in Debt as he possibly
could, and his being so intimately acquainted with the Captain, who
lived very profusely with my Lord, on the Money he had got upon
Credit: this R----, with the Rest of that Nobleman's Creditors,
began to press his Lordship for their Money, and his Lordship
finding it impossible to weather the Storm off much longer, having
told them, from Time to Time, that he was to have great Remittances
from his Steward: and P----w puffing his Lordship off greatly to the
Creditors, his Lordship secretly got away from Bologne, in a Vessel
that was bound for Ireland.
His Lordship being gone, the Creditors all agreed (affirming that
P----w was concerned in facilitating his Escape, and cheating them)
to apply to the Magistrates of the City of Bologne for a Process
against P----w, for their several Debts due to them from his
Lordship, as he was not only concerned in helping him to make his
Escape, but had partaken largely of the Money.
Upon their application P----w was arrested, and cast by the
Magistrates of Bologne afterwards in the Law-Suit: who appealing to
the Parliament of Paris, against the Decree and Judgment of the
Magistrates of Bologne: they on hearing the Cause on both sides,
reversed the Decree of the Magistrates of Bologne, and issued in May
last an Arret, that his Lordship's Creditors should pay to the
Captain, as Damages for his false Imprisonment, Costs and Scandal he
had sustained by the Prosecution of their Suit, 3000 Livres, besides
all his costs in both Courts, and also that they should be at the
Expence of Printing and Paper, for 1500 Copies of the said Arret,
which were to be stuck up on the Exchanges, and other Publick
Places, in the several Cities and great Towns in France; which was
accordingly done, the latter End of the said Month of May, pursuant
to the said Arret.
Mr. Cranstoun about this time received a Bill of L60 from Scotland,
payable in London, which Mr. R---- went privately to London with,
and got the Money for: which was all the Remittances Cranstoun ever
had to the Time of his Death, from Great Britain.
Mr. R---- being returned to Bologne with the Cash in July, and not
being able to satisfy his Part of the Arret of the Parliament of
Paris, to the Captain, and dreading the fatal Consequence thereof,
privately absconded, as is related before, with his Wife and
Cranstoun, to Ostend in the Queen of Hungary's Territories, as a
Sanctuary from the Arret of the French Parliament: where they
continued only about fourteen Days, and then removed to Furnes, and
took up their Abode at the House known by the Sign of the Burgundy
Cross, where Mr. R---- died in September, and Cranstoun the 30th of
During the Time of his living at Furnes, he always went by the Name
of Dunbar, and first Cousin to Mrs. R----.
Capt. P----w, on the Credit of this Arret of Parliament, put up for
a great Man: who being known too well at Bologne to live there,
either with Respect or Honour, removed to a Town in France, call'd
Somers, nine Miles from Bologne, in the Road to Paris, where he took
the grandest House in the Place: but his Fortune being only outside
Shew, as it was when in England, in September he absconded from
thence: and was obliged to fly into the Queen of Hungary's Country
for Protection, having contracted large Debts in France.
The Captain now began his old Tricks; for at Brussels, going for a
London Merchant, he obtained a Parcel of fine Lace, some Pieces of
Velvets, and other Things, to the Amount of near L200, for which he
gave the Gentleman of Brussels a pretended Bill for L321 8s. 6d. of
a Banker's in London: and on the Payment of the said Bill, he was to
have another large Parcel of Goods.
The Bill was sent to England for Payment, but the Captain had fled
before the Return of a Letter, which informed the Tradesman that it
was a counterfeit Bill: whereupon they pursued him, and soon found
that the Goods he had obtained were shipped on Board a Vessel for
England, at Flushing, a Sea-Port in Zealand, belonging to the States
of Holland, from which Place the Captain had been gone three Days:
that was the last Account that Mrs. R---- and Cranstoun ever heard
I shall now proceed to the Account given by Captain Cranstoun,
concerning the poisoning of Mr. Blandy: in which I shall insert
three Letters, bearing Date the 30th of June, the 16th of July, and
the 18th of August, 1751: all directed for the Honourable William
Henry Cranstoun, Esq., which were found among his Papers at his
Death: all being judged by the near Similitude of the Writings to
have been wrote by one Person: and tho' no Name was subscribed at
the Bottom of either, yet, by their Contents, they plainly shew from
whom they were sent.
Mr. Cranstoun, at his first Coming into France, talked very little
concerning the Affair of Mr. Blandy's Death: but some Time after,
having read the Account published in London (by the Divine that
attended Miss Blandy in her Confinement) as her own Confession, and
at her desire: which was brought him by Mr. R----, when he came from
London, from receiving the L60 Bill before-mentioned, he began to be
more open upon that Head to Mr. R----, particularly in vindicating
himself, and blaming her for Ingratitude, for he said, she was as
much the Occasion of the unfortunate Deed as himself: which will
more fully appear from the following Relation which he gave of it
That they having contracted so great a Friendship and mutual Love,
which was absolutely strengthened by a private Marriage of her own
proposing, lest he should prove ungrateful to her (which he said
were her own Words) after so material an Intimacy, and leave her,
and go and live with his real Wife, and her Mother being dead, she
and he, the first Time they met after her Mother's Decease (which he
believed was about 9 or 10 months before Mr. Blandy died, and which
was the last Time he was at Henley) began to consult how they should
get the old Gentleman out of the Way, she proposing, as soon as they
could get Possession of the Effects of the Father, to go both into
Northumberland, and live upon it with his Mother: That he did
propose the Method that was afterwards put in Practice, and she very
readily came into it, and the whole Affair was settled between them,
when he left Henley the last Time, and never before.
He frequently declared, that he believed her Mother was a very
virtuous Woman, and blamed her much, for giving such a ludicrous, as
well as foreign Account, of some Transactions between him and her
Mother, in her Narrative: and hoped, he said, that what was
published as her solemn Declaration, That she did not know (_sic_)
that the Powder which he had sent her, with some Peebles, and which
she had administered to her Father, were of a poisonous Quality, was
a falsehood, and published without her Knowledge, as it appeared to
him the same was not done till after she was dead: for that she was
sensible of what Quality they were, and for what purpose sent, and
particularly by the effect they had on a Woman, who was a Servant in
her Father's Family, sometime before, as she had wrote him Word.
It will not be improper, in this Place, to insert the Letters, as
they tend to the Confirmation of what Mr. Cranstoun had declared.
Dear Willy,--These, I hope, will find you in Health, as they leave
me, but not in so much Perplexity: for I have endeavoured to do as
directed by yours, with the Contents of your Presents, and they
will not mix properly.
The old Woman that chars sometimes in the House, having drank a
little Liquor in which I had put some is very bad: and I am
conscious of the Affair being discovered, without you can put me
into some better, or more proper Method of using them. When you
write, let it be as mystically as you please, lest an Interception
should happen to your Letter, for I shall easily understand it.
When I think of the Affair in Hand, I am in great Distress of
Mind, and endeavour to bear up under it as well as I can: but
should be glad if you was near me, to help to support my fleeting
Spirits: But why should I say so, or desire any such Thing, when I
consider your cogent Reasons for being at a Distance: as it might,
as soon as the Affair is compleated, be the Occasion of a bad
Consequence to us both.
I have nothing more to add, but only desire you would not be long
before you send me your Answer.
Yours affectionately, &c.
June 30, 1751.
(The superscription of this letter, and the next following, was
almost rubbed out, so could not be exactly seen: but as the word
Berwick was quite plain, as well as his name, it is supposed they
were directed as the third letter was.)
Dear Willy,--I received yours safe on the 11th Instant, and I am
glad to hear you are well. I particularly understand what you
mean, and I'll polish, the Peebles as well as I can, for there
shall not be wanting any Thing in my Power, to do the Business
effectually. They begin to come brighter by the new Method I have
taken: and as soon as I find the good Effects of the Scheme, you
shall have Intelligence with all convenient Speed. Adieu, for this
Time, my Spirits damping much: but pray God keep us in Health,
till we have the Happiness of seeing each other.
Yours affectionately, &c.
July 16, 1751.
Dear Willy,--I have been in great Anxiety of Mind since last
Post-Day, by not hearing from you. Your letter of the 24th of last
Month, I received safe Yesterday, and am somewhat enlivened in my
Spirits by understanding you are well. I am going forward with all
convenient Speed in the Business: and have not only a fatiguing
Time of it, but am sometimes in the greatest Frights, there being
constantly about me so many to be kept insensible of the Affair.
You may expect to hear again from me soon: and rest yourself
assured, that tho' I suffer more Horrors of Mind than I do at this
Time, which I think is impossible, I will pursue that, which is
the only Method, I am sensible, left, of ever being happy
together. I hope, by my next, to inform you that the Business is
Yours affectionately, &c.
August 1, 1751.
Directed for the Honourable Mr. William Henry Cranstoun, to be left
at the Post-House, at Berwick.
By these Letters, and the account which Cranstoun himself had given,
it plainly appears that the Murder of Mr. Blandy had been consulted
some Time: and that it must be supposed that the Powders had been
attempted, if not absolutely given him in his Victuals, or Liquor,
before the Time they were put into his Gruel, as was discovered by
the Maid-Servant, and which proved the Cause of his Death.
Also by these Letters it is most reasonable to believe that what was
meant in the last by the words, "Tho' I suffer more Horrors of Mind
than I do at this Time, I will pursue": that it came from the
unfortunate and infatuated Miss Blandy, and that poisoning her
Father was then fully resolved on by her: which reasonable
Supposition is much strengthened by the subsequent Words in the same
Letter, viz., "I hope in my next to inform you that the Business is
compleated." And I really think it can admit of no Doubt, as the
administring the Powders to him in his Water-Gruel, which was the
Cause of his Death, was but four days after the Date of this Letter,
for it appears by its Date to be sent on Thursday the first of
August, and Monday the fifth of the same Month, she acknowledged she
put the Powders into the Gruel: which was proved by Dr. Addington
and Dr. Lewis, on her Trial, to be the Cause of Mr. Blandy's Death,
who languished till the 14th of the same Month, when he expired.
That other Part of the same Letter, where 'tis said, "I am going
forward with, all convenient Speed in the Business, and have not
only a fatiguing Time of it, but am sometimes in the greatest
Fright: there being so many constantly about me, to be kept
insensible of the Affair," is plain enough meant that when she
thought of the wicked Deed she was about to perform, it brought her
Conscience to fly in her Face, as she advanced: and that the
Servants of the House were the great Obstacles in her Way.
I shall not takes up the Reader's Time any longer, in making
Observations on the Letters, only observe in general that they all
shew that the Writer was sensibly touched, at such Times as they
were endeavouring to practice the hellish Device, to destroy the old
Gentleman; and also, that sometimes their Consciences led them to
think of what the Consequences of such an enormous Crime must be.
I shall now return to Mr. Cranstoun. While he was at Furnes he was
very thoughtful, and was never observed to be once in a merry
Humour: frequently staying in his Room all Day, except Meal-Times:
and praying very devoutly.
On his finding himself once very ill, tho' it was six Weeks before
he died (for he recovered and went abroad after that Illness), he
made a Will, all which he wrote with his own Hand: in which he left,
after paying his Debts, at Furnes, to M. Malsot, where he lived, and
his Funeral Charges, all his paternal Fortune, of L1500, to his
Daughter by his Wife, who lives with her Relations, at Hexham, in
This L1500 which he left in his Will to his Child, was what was left
him on the Death of his Father: and the Estate of his elder Brother,
the Lord Cranstoun, was charged with the Payment of it: and he
received L75 per Annum, in Lieu of the Principal Sum, L50 per Annum
of which was settled by Order of the Lords of Sessions, in Scotland,
on his Wife, at the Time when he had Villainy sufficient to bring a
Cause before the Court of Sessions, to set aside his Marriage: and
from that Time she has received it, for the Support of her and her
The Gentlewoman he had married, and was wicked enough to deny,
was the Daughter of the late Sir David Murray, Baronet, and Sister
of the present Sir David Murray, who is now in the Service of the
King of France, in the East Indies: This young Gentleman was
unfortunate enough to take Part with the young Pretender in the late
Rebellion, being Nephew to Mr. Murray, of Broughton, the Pretender's
then Secretary: and after the Battle of Culloden was taken Prisoner,
and tried at Carlisle, where he received Sentence of Death as a
Rebel: but for his Youth, not being then above eighteen Years of
Age, he was reprieved and transported.
One Circumstance that appeared on the Trial of the Legality of his
Marriage with Miss Murray was very particular, as he had the Folly,
as well as the Wickedness, to deny the same: and that was, a
Marriage-Settlement of L50 per Annum, which he had made on her in
his own Hand-Writing, was produced and proved: which was confirmed
by the Lords of Sessions.
After the Burial of Mr. Cranstoun, at Furnes, a Letter was sent to
his Wife, at Hexham, to inform her of it, and another was sent to
the Lady Dowager Cranstoun, his Mother: to the last of which an
Answer was soon returned, which was to desire, that all his Papers
and Will might be sealed up, and sent to his Brother, Lord
Cranstoun, in Scotland, with an Account of what was owing, and to
whom, in Order for their being paid, but his Cloaths, which
consisted of some very rich Waistcoats, were desired to be sold at
Furnes: which was done accordingly.
He frequently declared his Life was a Burthen to him, and in his
Death he suffered great Torments: for his body was so much swoln,
that it was expected he would have bursted for several Days before
As Miss Blandy had given an Account in her Narrative, that it was
him who first proposed a private Marriage with each other, he
solemnly declared, just before he died, that he could not be
positive which of them proposed it first: but that he was certain,
that it was Miss Blandy that desired and insisted it should be so,
and was very pressing till it was done: And he often called upon God
Almighty to forgive both his Crimes, and those of Miss Blandy,
particularly, he said hers, as she had died with asserting so many
enormous Falsities contained in that Account, said to be published
by her Orders and Inspection.
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER FROM DUNKIRK ANENT THE DEATH OF CRANSTOUN.
(From the _London Magazine_, February, 1753.)
On Dec. 2 last died at the sign of the Burgundy-cross in Furness, a
town belonging to the Queen of Hungary, about 15 English miles East of
this place, Capt. William Henry Cranstoun, aged forty-six. His illness
did not continue above 9 days, but the last three his pains were so
very great, and he was swelled to such a degree, that it was thought
by the physician and apothecary that attended him, that he would have
burst, and by the great agonies he expired in, he was thought to be
raving mad. As he had just before his death embraced the Roman
Catholick religion, he was buried in great solemnity, the corporation
attending the funeral, and a grand mass was said over the corpse in
the cathedral church, which was finely illuminated, and in which he
was buried. Some little time before he died he made a will, which was
sealed up in the presence of one Mrs. Ross (whose maiden name was
Dunbar, and which name he went by) and two other persons who were also
his acquaintance. The will he signed with his own name, and gave all
his fortune which was in his brother's hands to his child, who is now
living at Hexham in Northumberland, with her mother, to whom he had so
villainously denied being married, and for which he often said, a
curse had attended him for injuring the character of so good a wife.
When he was asked concerning Mr. Blandy's murder, he often reflected
on himself greatly, yet said, that Miss Blandy ought not to have
blamed him so much as she did, but the particulars of which he said
should never be known till his death. He first made his escape out of
England the latter end of last February to Bologne; but as soon as he
was known to be there, was obliged to be kept concealed by Mrs. Ross,
some relations of his wife's, who were in that country, threatening
revenge for his base usage to her; so that Miss Ross and he were
obliged at last to fly from Bologne by night, which was on the 26th of
July last, and lived in Furnes from that time. The fortune in his
Brother's hands, which he has left to his child, by his will, is
L1500, his patrimony which he formerly received 5 per cent. for, but
on his being cast before the Lords of Session in Scotland, in the
cause concerning the validity of his marriage, which was confirmed,
L50 out of the L75 was ordered by their lordships to be paid the wife
annually for the support of her and the child, which she received, and
has lived ever since with some of her relations in Hexham
aforementioned. It was further said that before he died he declared
that he and Miss Blandy were privately married before the death of her
mother, which was near two years before Mr. Blandy was poisoned.
LETTER FROM JOHN RIDDELL, THE SCOTS GENEALOGIST, TO JAMES MAIDMENT,
REGARDING THE DESCENDANTS OF CRANSTOUN.
(From the original MS. in the possession of Mr. John A. Fairley.)
Edinburgh, April 16th, 1843. 57 Melville Street,
My Dear Sir,--I herewith return your Blandy and Cranstoun
collections, with many thanks.
I certainly understood from the late James Rutherford, Esqr., of the
Customs, Edinburgh, a cadet of the Rutherfords of Edgerston, and
through his mother, a female descendant--one of the nearest--of the
Edmonstones of Corehouse, that it was in consequence of the great
exertions of an Edmonstone of Corehouse that the guilty Cranston was
first concealed, and afterwards enabled to escape abroad. I think he
said that the Edmonstones of Corehouse were descended, or relatives,
of the Cranstons, but that the latter were not descended of the
former, or could be in any respect their heirs.
A greater intimacy, however, subsequently arose between the two
families, owing to the friendly exertions of the Edmonstone as
above, that ended in a superannuated lady, the late Miss Edmonstone
of Corehouse, entailing or settling her estate upon the present
George Cranstoun of Corehouse, nephew of the poisoner, to the
exclusion of the late Roger Ayton, and her other heirs at law. In
this manner the Cranston family may be said to have benefitted by
his atrocity, and advantage to have resulted from evil; the
friendship or kindness of the Edmonstones having been rivetted and
increased towards the relatives of him they had rescued, and whom,
on that account, they additionally cherished--this I learnt from the
previous authority referred to. Nay, the old lady wished above all
things that the _ci-devant_ judge should marry and continue his
line, a thing that for some special reason he did not desire, and
found it difficult to stave off to her. This also from the same
authority. Though very old, no legal ground could be found on
enquiry by which her settlement could be voided.
The following excerpt from the Statement of the Evidence submitted
to the jury, on the occasion of the present Admiral Sir Thomas
Livingstone of Westquarter, Baronet, being served heir-male of
James, first Earl of Calender in 1821, in which I was professionally
engaged, shews what became of the issue of William Henry Cranstoun,
the poisoner. Alexander (Livingstone) of Bedlormie and Ogilface,
afterwards Sir Alexander Livingstone, Bart., having succeeded to the
Scottish Baronetage of Westquarter and to the estates of that branch
of the house of Livingstone, was twice married; first to Anne
Atkinson, daughter of John Atkinson of London, and secondly to Jane
Cranston, daughter of the Honourable William Henry Cranston, fifth
son of the Lord Cranston. By his first marriage he had seven sons,
Alexander, William, Thomas, the claimant (still alive), John,
Thurstanus, James and George, and one daughter, Anne, married to the
Rev. John Fenton of Torpenhow, in the County of Cumberland. By his
second marriage he had two sons, Francis and David, both dead
unmarried, and one daughter, Elizabeth, married to James Kirsopp,
Esquire, of the Spital, Northumberland.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE BLANDY CASE.
(Compiled by Mr. Horace Bleackley.)
I. CONTEMPORARY TRACTS.
1. _An Authentic Narrative of that most Horrid Parricide_. (Printed in
the year 1751. Name of publisher in second edition, M. Cooper.)
2. _A Genuine and full Account of the Parricide_ committed by Mary
Blandy. Oxford: Printed for and sold by C. Goddard in the High St.,
and sold by R. Walker in the little Old Bailey, and by all booksellers
and pamphlet Shops. (Published November 9, 1751.)
3. _A Letter from a Clergyman to Miss Mary Blandy with her answer
thereto_. ... As also Miss Blandy's Own Narrative. London; Printed for
M. Cooper at the Globe in Paternoster Row. 1752. Price Six-pence.
Brit. Mus. (March 20, 1752.)
4. _An Answer to Miss Blandy's Narrative_. London; Printed for W.
Owen, near Temple Bar. 1752. Price 3d. Brit. Mus. (March 27, 1752.)
5. _The Case of Miss Blandy considered_ as a Daughter, as a
Gentlewoman, and as a Christian. Oxford; Printed for R. Baldwin, at
the Rose in Paternoster Row. Brit. Mus. (April 6, 1752.)
6. _Original Letters to and from Miss Blandy and C---- C----_, London.
Printed for S. Johnson, near the Haymarket, Charing Cross. 1752. Brit.
Mus. (April 8, 1752.)
7. _A Genuine and impartial Account of the Life of Miss M. Blandy_. W.
Jackson and R. Walker. (April 9, 1752.)
8. _Miss Mary Blandy's Own Account_. London: Printed for A. Millar in
the Strand. 1752 (price one shilling and sixpence). N.B. The Original
Account authenticated by Miss Blandy in a proper manner may be seen at
the above A. Millar's. Brit. Mus. (April 10, 1752. The most famous
apologia in criminal literature.)
9. _A Candid Appeal to the Public, by a Gentleman of Oxford_. London.
Printed for J. Clifford in the Old Bailey, and sold at the Pamphleteer
Shops. 1752. Price 6d. Brit. Mus. (April 15, 1752.)
10. _The Tryal of Mary Blandy_. Published by Permission of the Judges.
London: Printed for John and James Rivington at the Bible and Crown
and in St. Paul's Churchyard. 1752. In folio price two shillings. 8vo.
one shilling. Brit. Mus. (April 24, 1752.)
11. _The Genuine Histories_ of the Life and Transactions of John Swan
and Eliz Jeffries, ... and Miss Mary Blandy. London: Printed and sold
by T. Bailey opposite the Pewter-Pot-Inn in Leadenhall Street.
(Published after April 10, 1752.)
12. _An Authentic and full History of all the Circumstances of the
Cruel Poisoning of Mr. Francis Blandy_, printed only for Mr. Wm. Owen,
Bookseller at Temple Bar, London, and R. Goadby in Sherborne. Brit.
Mus. (Without date. From pp. 113-132 the pamphlet resembles the
"Answer to Miss Blandy's Narrative," published also by Wm. Owen.)
13. _The Authentic Trials of John Swan and Elizabeth Jeffryes_....
With the Tryal of Miss Mary Blandy. London: Printed by R. Walker for
W. Richards, near the East Gate, Oxford. 1752. Brit. Mus. (Published
later than the "Candid Appeal.")
14. _The Fair Parricide_. A Tragedy in three Acts. Founded on a late
melancholy event. London. Printed for T. Waller, opposite Fetter Lane.
Fleet Street (price 1/-). Brit. Mus. (May 5, 1752.)
15. _The Genuine Speech of the Hon Mr. ----_, at the late trial of
Miss Blandy. London: Printed for J. Roberts in Warwick Lane. 1752.
(Price sixpence.) Brit. Mus. (May 15, 1752.)
16. _The x x x x Packet Broke open_, or a letter from Miss Blandy in
the Shades below to Capt. Cranstoun in his exile above. London.
Printed for M. Cooper at the Globe in Paternoster Row. 1752. Price 6d.
Brit. Mus. (May 16, 1752.)
17. _The Secret History of Miss Blandy_. London. Printed for Henry
Williams, and sold by the booksellers at the Exchange, in Ludgate St.,
at Charing Cross, and St. James. Price 1s. 6d. Brit. Mus. (June 11,
1752. A sane and well-written account of the whole story.)
18. _Memories of the Life of Wm. Henry Cranstoun, Esqre_. London.
Printed for J. Bouquet, at the White Hart, in Paternoster Row. 1752.
Price one shilling. Brit. Mus. (June 18, 1752.)
19. _The Genuine Lives of Capt. Cranstoun and Miss Mary Blandy_.
London. Printed for M. Cooper, Paternoster Row, and C. Sympson at the
Bible Warehouse, Chancery Lane. 1753. Price one shilling. Brit. Mus.
20. _Capt. Cranstoun's Account of the Poisoning of the Late Mr.
Francis Blandy_. London: Printed for R. Richards, the Corner of
Bernard's-Inn, near the Black Swan, Holborn. Brit. Mus. (March 1-3,
21. _Memories of the life and most remarkable transactions of Capt.
William Henry Cranstoun_. Containing an account of his conduct in his
younger years. His letter to his wife to persuade her to disown him as
her husband. His trial in Scotland, and the Court's decree thereto.
His courtship of Miss Blandy; his success therein, and the tragical
issue of that affair. His voluntary exile abroad with the several
accidents that befel him from his flight to his death. His
reconciliation to the Church of Rome, with the Conversation he had
with a Rev. Father of the Church at the time of his conversion. His
miserable death, and pompous funeral. Printed for M. Cooper in
Paternoster Row; W. Reeve in Fleet Street; and C. Sympson in Chancery
Lane. Price 6d. With a curious print of Capt. Cranstoun. Brit. Mus.
(March 10-13, 1753. As the title-page of this pamphlet is torn out of
the copy in the Brit. Mus., it is given in full. From pp. 3-21 the
tract is identical with "The Genuine Lives," also published by M.
22. _Parricides!_ The trial of Philip Stansfield, Gt., for the murder
of his father in Scotland, 1688. Also the trial of Miss Mary Blandy,
for the murder of her Father, at Oxford, 1752. London (1810). Printed
by J. Dean, 57 Wardour St., Soho for T. Brown, 154 Drury Lane and W.
Evans, 14 Market St., St. James's. Brit. Mus.
23. _The Female Parricide_, or the History of Mary-Margaret d'Aubray,
Marchioness of Brinvillier.... In which a parallel is drawn between
the Marchioness and Miss Blandy. C. Micklewright, Reading. Sold by J.
Newbery. Price 1/-. (March 5, 1752.)
Lowndes mentions also:--
24. _An Impartial Inquiry into the Case of Miss Blandy_. With
reflections on her Trial, Defence, Bepentance, Denial, Death. 1753.
25. _The Female Parricide_. A Tragedy, by Edward Crane, of Manchester.
26. _A Letter from a Gentleman to Miss Blandy_ with her answer
thereto. 1752. 8vo. (Possibly the same as "A Letter from a
The two following are advertised in the newspapers of the day:--
27. _Case of Miss Blandy and Miss Jeffries_ fairly stated, and
compared.... R. Robinson, Golden Lion, Ludgate Street. (March 26,
28. _Genuine Letters between Miss Blandy and Miss Jeffries_ before and
after their Conviction. J. Scott, Exchange Alley; W. Owen, Temple Bar;
G. Woodfall, Charing Cross. (April 21, 1752.)
29. Broadside. _Execution of Miss Blandy_. Pitts, Printer, Toy and
Marble Warehouse, 6 Great St. Andrew's St., Seven Dials. Brit. Mus.
30. _The Addl. MSS._, 15930. Manuscript Department in the Brit. Mus.
II. CONTEMPORARY NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES.
1. _Read's Weekly Journal_, March and April (1752), February 3 (1753).
2. _The General Advertiser_, August-November (1751), March and April
3. _The London Evening Post_, March and April (1752).
4. _The Covent Garden Journal_ (Sir Alexander Drawcansir), February,
March, and April (1752).
5. _The London Morning Penny Post_, August and September (1751).
6. _Gentleman's Magazine_, pp. 396, 486-88 (1751), pp. 108-17, 152,
188, 195 (1752), pp. 47, 151 (1753), p. 803, pt. II (1783).
7. _Universal Magazine_, pp 114-124, 187, 281 (1752).
8. _London Magazine_, pp. 379, 475, 512 (1751), pp. 127, 180, 189
(1752), p. 89 (1753).
[In addition to the two London editions of the authorised report of
the trial specified in No. 10 of the Bibliography, it may be noted
that the trial was reprinted at length in the same year at Dublin, and
in an abridged form at London and Edinburgh, all 8vo.--ED.]
[Illustration: The Scotch Triumvirate
(_From a satirical Print in the Collection of Mr. Horace Bleackley_.)]
DESCRIPTION OF SATIRICAL PRINT, "THE SCOTCH TRIUMVIRATE."
(From Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Vol.
III., Part ii., p. 847.)
"THE SCOTCH TRIUMVIRATE."
Sr ***g sc. (? Strange, W.) Ram**y Pix'd.* .
*These signatures were, doubtless, used with a satirical intention.
This engraving displays a stage, as if erected for an execution. The
above title is inscribed on a gallows, under which is James Lowry,
with a rope about his neck, and in one hand a cudgel, inscribed "The
Royal Oke Fore Mast," see below; a label in his mouth is inscribed,
"_Lowry; the Laird of the Land; Sung by Sr. W----m. Lawther._" At his
feet rises the ghost of Hossack, saying, "_You suffered justly, for
Wipping me to Death. K. Hossack._"
At one side stands Mr. William Henry Cranstoun, with a rope round his
neck, and crossing his body like a riband of knighthood; in his pocket
is "_Powder to Clean Pebbels_" in his mouth a label, "_Jammy will save
me._" Before him rises the ghost of Miss Mary Blandy, saying, "My
Honour, Cra----s ruin'd me." The ghost of her mother rising at the
side of the platform, and wringing her hands in pain, replies, "Child
he's Married!" At Cranstoun's feet is an advertisement of "_Scotch
Powder to cure the Itch._"
At the other side is Major James Macdonald, with a halter round his
neck & crossing his body, as above; in his hand is a paper inscribed
"_S. Sea Anuities D-am my School Master._" In his mouth is a label,
bearing, "_I have Escaped Hanging I own I'm a Highland Villain._"
In front is what is intended for a mock shield of Scotland. The shield
is perforated with holes for eyes and a mouth so as to represent a
mask, and it is charged with a crowned thistle; the supporters are an
ass's head, plaided and wearing a Scotch bonnet, and a peacock. Motto,
"_Impudent, Rebellious, Lazy and Proud._"
Beneath is engraved:--
"Proud Scot, Beggarly Scot, witness keen,
Old England has made you all Gentlemen."
James Lowry, who had commanded the "Molly" merchantman, was tried
February 18, 1752, for the murder of Kenrich Hossack, by whipping him
to death; after a trial of eight hours he was found guilty. "The Royal
Oak Foremast" was the name he gave to a stick used in his manner of
enforcing naval discipline. On the 25th of March he was hanged at
Execution Dock, and his body was hung in chains at Blackball. Other
acts of cruelty involving the deaths of the victims were charged on
him. (See _The Gentleman's Magazine_, 1751, p. 234; 1752, pp. 89, 94,
The exclamation of Miss Blandy referring to Cranstoun is nearly the
same as that uttered by the speaker, as deposed by Mrs. Lane, a
witness at the trial, when she was arrested during a wandering flight
between the death of her father and the returning of the verdict of
"Wilfull Murder." The witness declared Miss Blandy said "The damned
villain, Cranstoun!--my honour to him will be my ruin," etc. The
exclamation of the ghost of Mrs. Blandy refers to the fact that
Cranstoun had been married in 1745, according to the Scotch process,
to Anne, daughter of Sir David Murray, whom he repudiated two years
after. Cranstoun was brother of James, afterwards sixth Lord
Cranstoun, probably the "Jammy" refered to in his speech as above
 Henry Bathurst (1714-1794), Solicitor-General to the Prince of
Wales, 1745; Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 1751; Lord
Chancellor, 1771; succeeded his father as Earl Bathurst, 1775; and in
the following year presided as Lord High Steward at the trial of the
Duchess of Kingston. He resigned the Seal in 1778.--ED.
 This quotation is the only reference made during the trial to this
important letter, which, from the report, does not appear to have been
formally "put in." See Introduction.--ED.
 So far as appears from the report of the trial, no proof was
offered that these words were in the handwriting of Cranstoun. See
 The Earl of Macclesfield and Lord Cadogan, the local magistrates
who undertook the preliminary work of getting up the case for the
 Afterwards Sir Richard Aston, and one of the Commissioners of the
Great Seal on the death of Lord Chancellor Yorke in 1770.--ED.
 Born, 1713; died, 1790. Practised as a physician at Reading until
1754, when he removed to London. Chatham was one of his patients. As a
specialist in mental diseases he was called in to attend George III.
in 1788. He was the father of Henry Addington, first Viscount
 The doctor intended to have excepted the stone found in Mr.
Blandy's gall-bladder.--_Original Note_.
 Born, 1714; died, 1781. Practised in London till 1745, when he
removed to Kingston-on-Thames. He was eminent for his writings on the
 Saturday. See _infra_.--ED.
 This lady was Mary Blandy's godmother. She died in 1781 at the
age of 86. It is remarkable that the prisoner's fortitude remained
unshaken throughout the trial except when Mrs. Mounteney was in the
 The counsel for the prisoner waived the objection to this as
hearsay evidence, because the counsel for the Crown assured them they
would call Betty Binfield herself next.--_Original Note_.
 According to the practice then in use, counsel for the defence
were not permitted to address the jury.--ED.
 Heneage Legge (1703-1759), second son of William, first Earl of
Dartmouth, was called to the Bar, 1728, took silk in 1739, and was
appointed one of the Barons of Exchequer in 1747.--ED.
 The celebrated Catherine Hayes, heroine of the _Newgate Calendar_
and Thackeray's _Catherine_.--ED.
 George Carre of Nisbet, son of John Carre of Cavers, admitted
Advocate 9th June, 1752. He became Sheriff of Berwick in 1748, and
wasraised to the Bench as Lord Nisbet, 31st July, 1755. He died at
Edinburgh, 21st February, 1760.--ED.
 Charles Erskine, Lord Tinwald.--ED.
 George Parker, second Earl of Macclesfield, son of Lord
Chancellor Macclesfield, was a famous philosopher and President of
the Royal Society. He had the principal share in preparing the Act of
Parliament for the introduction of the change in the Calendar in 1751,
known as the "New Style."--ED.
 Charles, second Baron Cadogan of Oakley, died 1776. His wife was
a daughter of Sir Hans Sloane.--ED.
 William, eighth Earl of Home, first cousin of the Hon. William
Henry Cranstoun, died 1761. Their mothers were Lady Anne and Lady Jean
Kerr, daughters of the second Marquess of Lothian, and their daughter
Lady Mary married Alexander Hamilton of Ballincrieff.--ED.
 Afterwards fourth Marquess of Lothian, first cousin of the Hon.
William Henry Cranstoun. He died in 1775.--ED.
 Probably the Rev. William Stockwood, Rector of Henley.--ED.
 Son of Robert, first Marquis of Lothian and grand-uncle of the
Hon. Wm. Henry Cranstoun. Born, 1676. He followed a career of arms,
and died unmarried 2nd February, 1752. His natural son, Captain John
Kerr, courted his "cousin," Lady Jane Douglas of the "Douglas Cause,"
and was killed in 1725 by her brother Archibald, Duke of Douglas. Lord
Mark was not friendly with his niece, Lady Jane.--ED.
 George, 21st Earl of Crauford, born 1729. Succeeded to that
title, 1749; died 1781.--ED.
 William, fifth Lord Cranstoun, married, 1703, Lady Jean Kerr, and
died in January 7, 1726-7.--ED.
 _Nee_ Lady Jean Kerr, died March, 1768.--ED.
 The Hon. Anne Cranstoun married Gabriel Selby of Paston,
Northumberland, died 1769.--ED.
 Mr. C.J.S. Thompson, in his _Mystery and Romance of Alchemy and
Pharmacy_, remarks, "About the sixteenth century philtres came to be
compounded and sold by the apothecaries, who doubtless derived from
them a lucrative profit. Favourite ingredients with these later
practitioners were mandragora, cantharides, and vervain, which were
supposed to have Satanic properties. They were mixed with other herbs
said to have an aphrodisiac effect; also man's gall, the eyes of a
black cat, and the blood of a lapwing, bat, or goat." The same
authority states that in the seventeenth century "Hoffman's Water of
Magnanimity," compounded of winged ants, was a popular specific.--ED.
 Appendix III.
 Frederick, Prince of Wales, died 20th March, 1751.--ED.
 This denial is the more odd as the Murrays of Stanhope and the
Kerrs of Lothian (Captain Cranstoun's maternal relatives) had already
a marriage tie. Lord Charles Kerr of Cramond (died 1735), had married
Janet, eldest daughter of Sir David Murray of Stanhope, and her
daughter Jean Janet, born 1712, was the second wife of William, third