April 7, 2007

Law & Order: Old School

Coolest. Thing. Ever.

Search historical records from London's The Old Bailey to find out who was sentenced to the gallows (or sent off to the American colonies) and why. I love that someone put this into a database!

Here's what was written about two "young wenches" accused of murdering their babies:

"The next may be rankt Two others, though of a different Sex, yet Guilty of the like Horrid sin of Murther, and that upon their own Children , whose crimes being so nearly resembling each other we may place them together in this Narrative; For being both Young Wenches, they were it seems inticed to Folly, and at last got with Child, and to cover one sin with a greater, most Unnaturally, and Barbarously, Murthered their Infants, one of them casting hers into an House of Office, and the other endeavouring to Bury hers in a Celler: but being both discovered by certain Symtomes usually visible in that condition, upon strait search, the whole matter came to be disclosed, and they respectively Commited. They had little to say for themselves besides the common Plea, that their Children were Still-born, but upon Reading the Statute whereby it is provided in such Cases that unless the same be proved by, at least one Credible witness, it shall be reputed and punished as Murder, and they were both Condemned to Dye." Old Bailey Proceedings Online (oldbaileyonline.org 7 April 2007) 09 Sept. 1674 (ref. t16740909-2)

Fascinating stuff. -- Amy

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