Friday, 6 June 2014

Canal Cuttings (21)

This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines in the last 200 years or so of the inland waterways. With particular interest in the issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 

Coals, Cokes, and Welsh Slates, sold by
At Hillmorton, Braunston and Buckby Wharfs.

WHO beg leave to inform his Friends and the Public in General, That he can accommodate them with any Quantity on as moderate Terms as any Person that deals in the above Articles. WILLIAM CASTELL takes this Opportunity of returning his most grateful Thanks to his numerous Friends for their very liberal Support, and hopes by a due Attention to merit a Continuance of those Favours he has already experienced. 

Chester Courant
8th March 1794

The Taylor versus the Mouse. 
An unlucky mouse having, a few days ago, made free with a cheese of a Taylor in Stockport (for mice in these cases do not discriminate) - a trap was set - the culprit caught - and vengeance threatened. The Taylor is one of a society of liberty-men called Jacobins, and with a spirit suiting the fraternity, he resolved to guillotine the mouse. Still more to enrich the treat he dignified it with the appellation of a certain Royal Duke - make it a red jacket - and himself was to be the executioner. A meeting night was appointed for the deed - the hour of six the time - and the Taylor was ready with his shrouded victim, trembling beneath his fingers, and a large knife in his right hand for the bloody purpose. Eagerly watching the clock for the signal, at the appointed moment he gave the fatal stroke - but so incautiously, that the animal darting it's little head aside, left the hand of the Taylor exposed, and he fairly chopped off his fore-finger and thumb ! His victim, profiting by the circumstance, made a sudden dart, and escaped from it's manly enemy.- This we are assured is a fact - 'Tis hard to say, whether the folly, or the intention of the action is most remarkable.

Northampton Mercury
21st March 1805

Execution.- Yesterday morning Richard Haywood and John Tennant were executed before the debtors' door in the Old-Bailey, pursuant to their sentence. The former of these miserable men, ever since sentence of death was passed upon him, had behaved with unexampled depravity. He never attempted to deny his guilt, but on the contrary, seemed to exult in it, and often regretted he had not done a deed more deserving of death. It was his constant boast, that he would, on the scaffold, surpass the notorious Abershaw in evincing his contempt of death; and he constantly endeavoured to instil into the mind of his fellow sufferer those diabolical principles which he had imbibed himself. On Tuesday night, when Allport the under-keeper, was about to remove him to his cell, he drew out a clasp-knife, which he had concealed about him, and with horrid imprecations threatened his life. The keeper tampered with him until he had put away the knife, when he seized and chained him to the wall, not allowing him a larger range than three inches. This severity produced no effect; he was continually imprecating curses on all those who had been the means of bringing him to punishment. The Chaplain's offer to assist him in his devotions in the cell he rejected with scorn.

At an early hour yesterday morning, both the prisoners being allowed to walk in the Press-yard, Dr Ford again importuned Haywood to pray, when the misguided wretch called him by every opprobrious name he could think of. He never once seemed to contemplate his situation, but employed the time he was permitted to stay in the yard, in exhorting his companion to die game. Tennant betrayed no violence, notwithstanding it was evident that he was greatly influenced by the advice of his companion, and apparently his thoughts were altogether unoccupied by religion. At the suggestion of Mr. Holdsworth, the City Marshal, he made some alteration in his dress. This officer finding his advice attended to in this instance, in-treated him no longer to follow the evil counsel of Haywood, but to employ the few moments he had left in a Christian-like manner. Tennant shed tears, showed some contrition, and suffered the Ordinary to attend him to the scaffold.

When the time for quitting the court-yard arrived, Haywood called to a friend, who was present, to deliver him a bundle he had in his hand, out of which he took an old jacket, and a pair of old shoes, and put them on. "Thus," says he " will I defeat the prophecies of my enemies: they have often said I should die in my coat and shoes, and I am determined to die in neither." Being told it was time to be conducted to the scaffold, he cheerfully attended the summons, having first eat some bread and cheese, and drank a quantity of coffee. Before, however, he departed, he called out, in a loud voice to the prisoners, who were looking through the upper windows at him, "Farwell, my lads, I am just a going off: God bless you." "We are sorry for you," replied the prisoners." "I want none of your pity," rejoined Haywood; "keep your snivelling till it be your own turn."

Immediately on his arrival upon the scaffold, he gave the mob three cheers, introducing each with a "Hip-ho!" Whilst the cord was preparing he continued hallooing to the mob. It was found necessary, before the usual time, to put the cap over his eyes, besides a silk handkerchief by way of bandage, that his attention might be entirely abstracted from the spectators. Dr. Ford continued in prayer with Tennant, who listened to him, but did not join with him. Just as the noose was placed round his neck, he emphatically exclaimed, "Lord, have mercy upon me!" Haywood muttered some words in reply, which were not perfectly understood, but were supposed to be said to Tennant by way of reproach. He then gave another halloo, and kicked off his shoes among the spectators, many of whom were deeply affected at the obduracy of his conduct. Soon afterwards the platform dropped.

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