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and said, "Well, my good people, supposing you do carry me to the lantern, will that make you see any the better at night?" The rogues laughed, and let him go; but a friend of the Abbe, who was fairly tucked up to the lantern, and then lowered and left for dead, came to afterwards, and lived for many years, although his head always remained in rather an oblique position.
There are, however, several instances of persons surviving this mode of execution, even when the hanging has been regularly and professionally performed. The most striking and best authenticated case we find upon record, is that of one Anne Greene, who was hanged at Oxford, on the 10th day of January 1650, for the murder of her infant child; a crime of which the poor creature was most evidently innocent, if any trust is to be put in facts afterwards produced, or even in the evidence given on her trial, that was hurried over in a manner alike disgraceful to judge and jury.
Our account is taken from a contemporary and now rare pamphlet in the British Museum, which is bound up in a volume with other curious tracts of the period. The pamphlet is entitled 'A Wonder of Wonders; being a faithful narrative of one Anne Greene, servant to Sir Thomas Reed, in Oxfordshire, who being, &e. by a gentleman, was hanged, and came to life again, &c. The whole witnessed by Doctor Petty (the physician who cured her), and licensed according to order. Published at Oxford, January 13, 1651.'
According to this narrative, on arriving at the ladderfoot, Anne Greene again most solemnly protested her innocence of the murder of her child, for which she had been condemned, prayed that Heaven would forgive her false accusers, and then entreated her "dear cousin," a young man " standing at the foot of the ladder," that he would use all possible means to despatch her out of her pain.
"Accordingly, upon being turned off the ladder, the kinsman took hold of her feet, and hung with all the weight and force of his body on them, that so he might the sooner rid her of her pain. Moreover, a soldier standingby, gave her four or five blows on the breast with the butt-end of his musket. And having hung for half-an hour, she was cut down, being quite dead, and put into the chirurgeon's chest, who had begged her for an anatomy, and was carried to Mr. Clarke's house, an apothecary, where the physicians met to try their skill, and having
Crefixed a time for the reading a lecture over her, that eing usual upon the anatomizing of either man or woman.
"When they were all met, her body was taken out of the coffin, and laid upon a large table, where, in the presence of them all, she began to breathe, which was no small terror nor admiration to all that were then present. Whereupon a large discourse arose about her; and one amongst the rest, Doctor Petty by name, went to her, took her by the hand, and laid his ear to her temples, and, perceiving life, declared that there was a great hand of God in the business, and immediately let her blood in three places. After which, he caused a warm bed to be prepared for her, and a woman to lie with her; and applied several oils unto her, using many other circumstances of art, until she recovered, which was within fourteen hours. And even in the last minute of the fourteen hours she opened her eyes, uttering these words: 'Behold God's providence, and his wonder of wonders!' which is indeed a deliverance so remarkable since the ceasing of miracles, that it cannot be paralleled in all ages for the space of 300 years. And withal, it may remain upon record for a precedent to all magistrates and courts of justice, to take a special care in denouncing of sentence, without a due and legal process, according to the known laws of the land, by an impartial and uncorrupted jury. * * * This poor creature, whom God of his infinite mercy hath evidently manifested love unto, is now indifferently well recovered, and can walk up and down her chamber; but her neck is very sore, and black withal, her breast and stomach much bruised: yet her pains dissuage daily, and divers, both in city and country, frequent hourly to behold her. At her first recovery, she seemed to be much aghast, her eyes being ready to start out of her head: but, by the great pains of honest and faithful Doctor Petty, she is miraculously recovered; which moved some of her enemies to wrath and indignation, in so much that a great man amongst the rest moved to have her again carried to the place of execution, to be hung up by the neck, contrary to all law, reason, and justice. But some honest soldiers, then present, showed to be very much discontented thereat, and declared that there was a visible linger of God in it, and having suffered the law, it was contrary to all right and reason that any further punishment should be inflicted upon her; v. hich words brought a final end and period to their disputes and controversy: where I shall at present desist from reciting any further circumstances." (Signed) W. Burdet.
This trial and execution took place in the time of the Commonwealth, two years after the death of Charles I. The "honest soldiers" who saved Anne Greene from being hanged again, were the devout soldiers of Fairfax and Cromwell, whose habits of thought and doctrinal notions disposed them always to acknowledge the particular and immediate dispensations of God's providence. The partner of Anne's guilt (i. e. in the minor and proved offence of incontinency) was declared by her to be "a gentleman of good birth, and kinsman to a justice of peace." The puritanism and severity of the prevailing political party to which this well bred gentleman and his family in all probability belonged (for royalists were not then put into the commission of the peace) may have been indirect causes of the barbarous, persevering, and unfair prosecution of the unfortunate girl, seeing that such a backsliding, though common enough among the Cavaliers, brought great shameandreproba tionon aRoundhead; and thus his connexions, who, as usual, considered themselves partakers of the disgrace, may in malice and revenge have sought the life of the unhappy creature who was the instrument and the cause of divulging that disgrace. Such an hypothesis would account for the infamous manner in which the trial was conducted, and for the efforts made by the "great man" to have her carried a second time to the place of execution. Some of the most unrelenting and savage persecutions, some of the most horrible of crimes, have proceeded from an overchariness of reputation, and the passionate desire of keeping a family reputation for sanctity unimpaired. In those times, while one party made an open show and boast of their profligacy, the other party were most rigid and uncompromising with regard to all such failings; carrying their rigour so far that it must in many cases have led to hypocrisy, and induced extreme measures to cover over and conceal irregularities of conduct, or to avenge the disclosure of them. Moreover, although immense reforms had been made since the days when Charles and his fierce archbishop, Laud, cut off noses and ears, and tortured and maimed the images of God upon earth, upon the slightest, or upon no proofs at all, still the stream of justice was far from being so pure as it has since become; and in spite o.f the existence of a "Commonwealth," the poor and lowly continued to be but too often oppressed by the rich and powerful.
XXXVI. AN AWKWARD ELEVATION IN THE PEERAGE.
In the days of the good Queen Anne, one of the many noblemen who incurred the displeasure of the irascible Sarah, first Duchess of Marlborough, of whom we shall give, several stories elsewhere, was my Lord Rivers, then as she says, more commonly called his Grace of Tyburn.
In one of the MS. defences of her own conduct, there is this concise passage: " Lord Rivers, who robbed his father, lived out of England for some years for fear of being hanged, and since he has always gone by the name of the Duke of Tyburn."
Though evidently not given to invention, Sarah, in her animosities, certainly could over-colour and exaggerate facts; but, in this particular instance, the whole of her short story is confirmed by several contemporary authorities. She was so fond of it that she repeated it several times in her letters to her friends and partisans. It was, indeed, a well-pickled rod!
There are many curious things in this lady's various printed and manuscript defences, which were for the most part not written by herself, but by eminent literary men of the day, who either did the work out of gratitude for former obligations, or in the hope that she might be again restored to favour, and have good livings and other places at her disposal, or were regularly hired to do it by fees. In one of these papers, supposed to have been written by Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Sacheverel, who, after his prosecution, was held by the highchurch and tory party as a martyr, and feted, feasted, and banqueted wherever he went, is compared to a jolly fat monk, who was sitting down to a rich venison pasty, and exclaiming, "Heu! quantum patimur pro Ecclesia!" or, "Alas ! how much do we suffer for the Church!"
The wit of these apologies, however, is not often of so lively a nature. Other persons are gibbeted besides my Lord Rivers; and Dean Swift is set down on more than one occasion as a base, intriguing, and scurrilous fellow, fully qualified for the gallows at Tyburn.
XXXVII. WHICH IS THE WORST FATE THAT CAN BEFALL A NEW POEM?
According to old Will Winstanley, the most degrading fate that could befall a poem was to be turned into a pipe-lighter. The chandler's shop, the oil-man's, nay, even to be made " a casing for Christmas-pies," was nothing compared to this —" to be condemned to light tobacco." We presume Will did not love the weed.