Born: Gabriel Nauddè, littèrateur, 1600, Paris; Bishop (John) Pearson, 1613, Snoring; Dr. Cotton Slather (writer on Witchcraft), 1663, Boston, N. A.; Elias de Crebillon, French romancist, 1707, Paris; Edward Forbes, naturalist, 1815, Douglas, Isle of Man.
Died: Bishop David ap Owen, 1512; Lady Jane Grey, beheaded, 1555, Tower; Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, chief butler of England, temp. Elizabeth, 1571; George Heriot, founder of 'Heriot's Hospital,' 1624; Gabriel Brotier, editor of Tacitus, 1789, Paris; Lazaro Spallanzani, naturalist, 1799, Paris; Immanuel Kant, philosopher, 1804; Sir Astley Cooper, surgeon, 1841.
Feast Day: St. Eulalia, virgin of Barcelona, martyr, about 305. St. Meletius, patriarch of Antioch, 381. St. Benedict, of Anian, abbot, 821. St. Anthony Cauleas, patriarch of Constantinople, 896.
SIR NICHOLAS THROCKMORTON
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the head of the ancient Warwickshire family, after which our well-known London street is named, filled several offices of state, but led a troubled life. He was sewer to Henry VIII, in which capacity it was his duty to attend the 'marshall'd feast, Serv'd up in hall with sewer and seneschal.'
He also headed a troop in the armament against France which Henry VIII commanded in person. After the king's death, he attached himself to the Queen-dowager Katherine Parr, and to the Princess Elizabeth. He next distinguished himself in Scotland, under the Protector Somerset, by whom he was sent to London with the news of the victory of Pinkie. Afterwards created a knight, and appointed to a place in the Privy Chamber, he was admitted to great intimacy by Edward VI. Having witnessed the death of the boy king at Greenwich, in 1553, he came immediately to London, and dispatched Mary's goldsmith to announce to her the king's demise. On the 2nd of February 1554, Sir Nicholas was arrested and committed to the Tower, on the well-founded charge of being concerned in the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt. He was tried at Guildhall, and his case was thought to be hopeless; but having undertaken to conduct his own defence, he did it with such adroitness, promptness of reply, and coolness of argument, intermixed with retorts, spirited, fearless, and reiterated, in answer to the partial remarks of the Lord Chief Justice, and followed up by an impassioned appeal to the jury, that, in defiance of the threats of the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General,-in defiance too of the proverb on the subject,-he obtained a verdict of acquittal. He was directed to be discharged, but was remanded, and kept in prison till January 18, 1555. Nearly all the jury were fined and imprisoned for their independent verdict.
Sir Nicholas afterwards served in Queen Mary's army, under the Earl of Pembroke; but he devoted himself chiefly to the Princess Elizabeth, whom he privately visited at Hatfield. When Queen Mary died, he was admitted to see her corpse, and, as Elizabeth had requested, took from her finger the wedding-ring which had been given to her by Philip, and delivered it to Elizabeth. By this Protestant queen he was appointed to high offices, and sent on a special embassy to Edinburgh to remonstrate with Mary Queen of Scots, against her intended marriage with Darnley. When Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven, Throckmorton was commissioned by Elizabeth to negotiate with the rebel lords for her release.
A few years later we find Throckmorton sent to the Tower on a well-founded charge of intriguing for a marriage between the Scottish queen and the Duke of Norfolk. He was not kept long in confinement, but never regained the confidence of Elizabeth; and his distress of mind is thought to have hastened his death, which took place, February 12, 1571, at the house of the Earl of Leicester,-not, it is also said, without suspicion of poison. There is a monument to his memory, a recumbent figure in the church of St. Catherine Cree, in Leadenhall-street.
Sir Francis Walsingham, In a letter to the Earl of Leicester, on Throckmorton's death, says of him, that 'for counsel in peace and for conduct in war, he hath not left of like sufficiency, that I know.' Camden says, he was 'a man of large experience, piercing judgment, and singular prudence; but he died very luckily for himself and his family, his life and estate being in great danger by reason of his turbulent spirit.' He was the court favourite of three sovereigns, but fell by his love of intrigue.
The late Sir Henry Halford used to relate that he had seen a prescription in which a portion of the human skull was ordered, in powder, for Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. It was dug out of the ruins of a house in Duke-street, Westminster, which had belonged to Oliver Cromwell's apothecary.
ASSASSINATION OF MR. THYNNE IN PALL MALL
As the visitor to 'Westminster Abbey passes through the south aisle of the choir, he can scarcely fail to notice sculptured upon one of the most prominent monuments a frightful scene of assassination, which was perpetrated in one of the most public streets of the metropolis, late in the reign of Charles the Second. The victim of this atrocity was Thomas Thynne, Esq., who had a short time before succeeded in carrying off the youthful widow of Lord Ogle. The handsome Count Köningsmark, who had been rejected by the lady, was tempted by disappointed passion to plot, if not to perpetrate, this barbarous revenge upon his rival. Thomas Thynne, of Longleat, in Wiltshire, was descended from an ancient family, and from his large income was called 'Tom of Ten Thousand.' He had been a friend of the Duke of York, afterwards James II; but having quarrelled with his royal highness, Thynne had latterly attached himself with great zeal to the Whig or Opposition party, and had become an intimate associate of their head, the Duke of Monmouth. At Longleat, where he lived in a style of magnificence, Thynne was often visited by Monmouth; and he is the Issachar of Dry-den's glowing description of the Duke's progresses, in the Absalom and Achitophel:
From east to west his glories he displays,
And, like the sun, the Promised Land surveys.
Fame runs before him, as the morning star,
And shouts of joy salute him from afar;
Each house receives him as a guardian god,
And consecrates the place of his abode.
But hospitable treats did most commend
Wise Issachar, his wealthy western friend.
It was on the night of Sunday, the 12thh of February 1681-2, that the west end of London was startled by the news that Thynne had been shot while passing in his coach along Pall Mall. King Charles, sitting at Whitehall, might almost have heard the report of the assassin's musketoon; and so might Dryden, sitting in his favourite front room, on the ground-floor of his house on the south side of Gerrard-street, also hardly more than a couple of furlongs distant. The murderers escaped. Thynne survived his mortal wound only a few hours, during which the Duke of Monmouth sat by the bedside of his dying friend.
An active search, conducted by Sir John Reresby and the Duke of Monmouth, resulted in the speedy apprehension of the three inferior instruments in this murder, including one Boroski, a Pole, who had fired the fatal shot. The instigator of the murder, Count Köningsmark, was apprehended a week after the commission of the murder. A few days later, the four men were brought to the bar at the Old Bailey, to be arraigned and tried-Boroski, Vratz, and Stern, as principals in the murder, and Count Köningsmark as accessory before the fact. At the trial, the evidence, and indeed their own confession, clearly proved the fact of Boroski shooting Thynne, and Vratz and Stern being present assisting him. With respect to Köningsmark, besides the testimony of his accomplices, the other evidence showed him living concealed in a humble lodging, and holding communication with the murderers, before and almost at the time of the fact. He had also fled immediately after the offence was committed. To this it was answered by Köningsmark, that the men accused were his followers and servants, and that of necessity he frequently communicated with them, but never about this murder; that when he arrived in London, he was seized with a distemper, which obliged him to live privately till he was cured; and finally, that he never saw, or had any quarrel with, Mr. Thynne. This defence, though morally a weak one, was strengthened by the absence of any legal proof to connect the Count with the assassination, and by the favourable summing-up of Chief Justice Pemberton, who seemed determined to save him. The three principals were found guilty, and Köningsmark was acquitted.
Reresby, in his Memoirs, tells us how a Mr. Foubert, who kept an academy in London, where he had for a pupil a younger Count Köningsmark -apparently brother to the murderer-came and offered him a large bribe to interfere in the course of justice; which bribe he instantly rejected, because he did not believe that any one was the better for money acquired in such a way.
The convicted prisoners were hanged at the place of the murder, in Pall Mall, on the 10th of March following; and Boroski was afterwards suspended in chains, a little beyond Mile-end Town. Evelyn records in his Diary, under the 10th March: 'This day was executed Colonel Vratz and some of his accomplices, for the execrable murder of Mr. Thynne, set on by the principal Köningsmark; he went to execution like an undaunted hero, as one that had done a friendly office for that base coward,-Count Köningsmark, who had hopes to marry his [Mr. Thynne's] widow, the rich Lady Ogle, and was acquitted by a corrupt jury, and so got away. Vratz told a friend of mine, who accompanied him to the gallows, and gave him some advice, that he did not value dying a rush, and hoped and believed God would deal with him like a gentleman.'
Count Köningsmark, after he had paid his fees, and got out of the hands of the officers of justice at the Old Bailey, made a quick retreat from England. According to the Amsterdam Historical Dictionary, he went to Germany to visit his estates, in 1683; was wounded at the siege of Cambray, which happened that same year; he afterwards went with his regiment to Spain, where he distinguished himself on several occasions; and finally, in 1686, he accompanied his uncle, Otto William, to the Morea, where he was present at the battle of Argas, and so overheated himself, that he was seized with a pleurisy, which carried him off. Such, at the early age of twenty-seven, was the end of Köningsmark, within little more than four years after the tragedy of his supposed victim Thynne, and his own narrow escape from the gibbet, to which he had been the cause of consigning his three associates or instruments.
SIR ASTLEY PASTON COOPER, BART., SERJEANT-SURGEON TO THE QUEEN
This eminent practitioner and excellent man was the fourth son of the rector of Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk; and was born at Brooke, in that county, August 23, 1768. His mother sprung from the ancient family of the Pastons, and was the authoress of a novel, entitled The Exemplary Mother. He was chiefly educated by his father, a sound scholar. An accidental circumstance is said to have influenced his future career: when a boy, he saw a lad fall from a cart, and tear his thigh in such a manner as to wound the femoral artery. Young Cooper immediately took his handkerchief, and applied it round the thigh so tightly, as to control the bleeding until further assistance could be procured. At the age of fifteen, he was placed with a surgeon and apothecary at Yarmouth; he next came to London, and was apprenticed to his uncle, one of the surgeons of Guy's Hospital; but, in a few months, was transferred, by his own desire, to Mr. Cline, the eminent surgeon of St. Thomas's Hospital. Here his zeal and application were incessant; and he laid the foundation of his fame and fortune by giving a course of lectures on the principles and practice of surgery, which had previously only formed part of the anatomical course.
His class of students rose to 400, by far the largest number ever known in London. He made no attempt at oratory, but was plain and practical in his details, and very successful in 1792, he visited Paris, and made himself master of the theory and practice of French is illustrations; while he carefully avoided the introduction of controversial subjects connected with physiological science. In surgery. In the same year, he commenced practice in London: when at its zenith, his annual receipt of fees far exceeded that of any other member of the profession: in one year he received £21,000; and for many years after, his annual receipt was £15,000 and upwards. His success in practice, it is supposed, consisted chiefly in his knowing how and when to operate; yet, on an important occasion, his courage had nearly forsaken him. In 1821, George the Fourth having a small tumour in the scalp, an operation for its removal was resolved upon, and Cooper was selected o per-form it. On the day appointed, he waited upon his majesty. Lord Liverpool and other cabinet ministers occupied a room adjoining that in which the king was. A short time before the operation was commenced, Cooper was observed o be pale and nervous, when Lord. Liverpool, taking hold of his hand, said, 'You ought to recollect that this operation either makes or ruins you. Courage, Cooper! '-and he was so impressed with this timely rebuke that every appearance of anxiety vanished from his countenance, and he performed the operation with his wonted coolness and dexterity. In the course of a few months after this, he received from the king a baronetcy, with remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew Astley Paston Cooper, who in due time succeeded to the title.
Sir Astley Cooper had long retired from practice, when he died, February 12, 1841, in his seventy-third year, bequeathing a large fortune. His extensive practice had small beginnings: in the first year, his income was but £5 5s.; the second, £26; the third, g6,1; the fourth, £96; the fifth, E100; the sixth, £200; the seventh, £400; the eighth, £610. He received some very large fees, among which was that of a thousand guineas thrown at him in his nightcap by a patient whom he had cut for the stone; an anecdote which he told with no small degree of animation, on retiring from a patient upon whom he had just performed the same operation, and who had likewise, in his agony, flung his cap at the surgeon, but without the cheque which gave so much force to the original incident. Probably, no surgeon of ancient or modern times enjoyed a greater share of reputation during his life than fell o the lot of Sir Astley. The old and new world alike rung with his fame. On one occasion, his signature was received as a passport among the mountains of Biscay by the wild followers of Don Carlos. A young English surgeon, seeking for employment, was carried as a prisoner before Zumalacarregui, who demanded what testimonials he had of his calling or his qualifications. Our countryman presented his diploma of the College of Surgeons; and the name of Astley Cooper, which was attached to it, no sooner struck the eye of the Carlist leader, than he at once received his prisoner with friendship, and appointed him as a surgeon in his army.
Sir Astley Cooper, by his unwearied assiduity in the dissecting-room, produced some of the most important contributions to modern surgery, which he published without regard to profit. His influence on the surgery of the day was great: 'He gave operations a scientific character, and divested them in a great degree of their terrors, by performing them unostentatiously, simply, confidently, and cheerfully, and thereby inspiring the patient with hope of relief, where previously resignation under misfortune had too often been all that could be expected from the sufferer.'-Sir John Forbes.
THE DINTON HERMIT
A letter of Hearne, the antiquary, dated February 12th, 1712-13, gives an account of an extraordinary object preserved in the Ashmolean Museum under the name of the Buckinghamshire Shoe. The corresponding shoe for the other foot is preserved at Dinton Hall, near Aylesbury. Each of these shoes is not merely composed of patches, like a beggar's cloak, but it presents a load of such patches, layer above layer, to the amount, it is believed, of many hundreds of individual pieces. The shoes were made and worn by an eccentric man named John Bigg, not without parts or education, who was for some time clerk to the regicide Judge Mayne; but, after the ruin of his master's cause at the Restoration, grew morbid, retired from the world, and lived like a hermit in a hut or cave, near his former master's house of Dinton, only adjourning in summer to the woods near Kimble. Bigg was little over thirty at the time of his retirement, and he lived to 1696, when he must have been sixty-seven. A portrait engraved in Lipscomb's Beckinglramshire presents us a handsome, composed-looking man, dressed in clothes and shoes all alike composed of small patches, the head being covered by a sort of stiff hood, terminating in two divergent peaks, and composed in like manner with the rest of the dress, while two (leather?) bottles hang at the girdle, and a third is carried in the left hand. Bigg lived upon charity, but never asked anything excepting leather; and when he got any of that article, his amusement was to patch it upon his already overladen shoes. People, knowing his tastes, brought him food, likewise ale and milk. The last article he carried in one of his bottles; in the other two he carried strong and small ale. The man was perfectly inoffensive, and conduct so extraordinary is only to be accounted for in his case by supposing a slight aberration of the intellect, the consequence perhaps of disappointed hopes.
COMPLETION OF THE REVOLUTION OF 1688
The 12th of February is the memorable anniversary of the perfecting of the Revolution of 1688. James II having, with his family, withdrawn in terror to France, a convention called by the Prince of Orange met on the 22nd of January 1688-9, and proceeded under his protection to deliberate on the settlement of the kingdom. To find that James had abdicated was an easy matter; how to dispose of the vacant throne was not so easy. There was a large party for a regency; others were disposed to accept the Princess of Orange, the eldest daughter of the ex-king, as their sovereign. It was not till after much debating, and a threat of the Prince to go back to Holland and leave them to settle their own affairs, that the convention at length, on the 12th of February, adopted the resolution, 'That William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange, be declared King and Queen of England, France, and Ireland, and the dominions there-unto belonging.' The crown was next day formally offered to them in the Banqueting Room, at Whitehall, and accepted; and the Revolution was complete.
Mary had arrived in London so recently as the 11th, by which time it was tolerably certain that she and her husband were to be nominated to a joint sovereignty. However glad she might naturally be at her husband's successful expedition, however excited by the prospect of being a regnant queen of England, the crisis was one calculated to awaken sober feelings. She was displacing a father; her husband was extruding an uncle. 'It was believed,' says the contemporary Evelyn, 'that both, especially the Princess, would have spewed some seeming reluctance of assuming her father's crown, and made some apology, testifying by her regret that he should by his mismanagement necessitate the nation on so extraordinary a proceeding; which would have shewn very handsomely to the world.. . Nothing of all this appeared. She came into Whitehall, laughing and jolly, as to a wedding, so as to seem quite transported. She rose early the next morning, and in her undress, as was reported, before her women were up, went about from room to room to see the convenience of Whitehall; lay in the same bed where the late queen lay; and, within a night or two, sat down to play at basset, as the queen her predecessor used to do. She smiled upon and talked to everybody. . . . This carriage was censured by many.' It outraged even Dr. Burnet, the new queen's chaplain.
It now appears that Mary acted under orders from her husband, who wished to give a check to those who desired to see his wife made sole monarch and deemed her ill-used, because he was associated with her. Lord Macaulay even makes it out to be a fine case of self-devotion on the part of the queen. To betray levity regarding an unfortunate father in order o please a triumphant husband, was a strange piece of self-devotion. For a husband o ask his wife to do so was not very wise, as fully appeared from the disgust which it excited. There cannot truly be said to have been either taste, judgment, or good feeling, on either side in the case. As the one drawback to the felicity of this great event was a consideration of the relationship of the new sovereigns to the old, it would have been much better policy for them to make a feeling for King James prominent in their conduct, even though it bore no place in their hearts.
The name of Sir Astley Cooper recalls a traffic in the recent existence of which amongst us young men of our time might hesitate to believe. It is indeed a startling chapter in the history of civilization which is supplied by the methods formerly resorted to by anatomical teachers, for the purpose of obtaining subjects for dissection. From the year 1800 until the alteration of the law in 1832, the Resurrectionists, or 'Body-snatchers,' were almost the only sources of this supply: they were persons generally of the worst character, if we except the watchmen of that time, who were set to guard the burial-grounds, all of whom received a regular percentage on the sum obtained by the Resurrectionists.
The public were for many years aware of church-yards being robbed; it was known to be effected with wonderful rapidity and dexterity; but the modus was never fathomed by the public, and, curiously enough, no accidental circumstance occurred to furnish the explanation; even the members of the medical profession, with very few exceptions, were kept in ignorance of it, so careful were the Resurrectionists to remove all traces of their mode of working after the completion of their task. It was generally supposed that the body-snatcher, in exhuming a body, first proceeded, as a novice would have done, to remove all the earth with which the grave had been recently filled; and having at length arrived at the coffin, that he then, with proper implements, forced off the lid, and so removed the body. This would have occupied considerable time, and rendered the body-snatchers proportionately more liable to detection. To avoid this, they only cleared away the earth above the head of the coffin, taking care to leave that which covered the other end as far as possible undisturbed. As soon as about one-third of the coffin was thus exposed, they forced a very strong crowbar, made of a peculiar form for the purpose, between the end of the coffin and the lid, which latter, by using the lever as one of the first order, they generally pressed up, without much difficulty. It usually happened, at this stage of the proceedings, that the superincumbent weight of the earth on the other portion of the coffin-lid caused it to be snapped across at a distance of about one-third of its length from the end. As soon as this had been effected, the body was drawn out, the death-gear removed front it, and replaced in the coffin, and finally the body was tied up and placed in its receptacle, to be conveyed to its destination. By this means, in the case of a shallow grave of loose earth, free from stones, the Resurrectionist would remove a body in a quarter of an hour. Silence was essential for the safety of the Resurrectionists; and in gravelly soils they had a peculiar mode of flinging out the earth, in order to prevent the rattling of the stones against the iron spade.
As soon as the body was raised, it was generally placed in a sack, and then carried to a hackney-coach or spring-cart, usually the latter. When bodies were sent from the country to the metropolis, they were generally packed in hat-crates, or in the casks in which hardwares are sent. Some-times the subject, instead of being deposited in a sack, was laid on a large square green baize cloth, the four corners of which were tied together, so as to inclose the body. It was not directly conveyed to any dissecting-room, but was generally deposited in some half-built house, or other convenient building, until the following day. The body-snatcher would then, dressed as a porter, swing the load over his shoulders, and often, even in broad daylight, carry it to its place of destination through the most crowded streets of the metropolis. At other times, the students would receive the bodies at their own houses, and convey them in a hackney-coach to the dissecting-rooms, the coachman being well paid for his job. Sometimes the driver was exorbitant in his demands, and was somewhat ingenious in enforcing them: a pupil who was conveying a body by coach to his hospital was astonished by finding himself in front of the Bow-street police-office, when the coachman, tapping at the front window, said to the affrighted youth, 'Sir, my fare to so-and-so is a guinea, unless you wish to be put down here.' The reply, without any hesitation, was, 'Quite right, my man; drive on.'
At the commencement of a new session at the hospitals, the leading Resurrectionists might be seen looking out for lecturers; and 'fifty pounds down, and nine guineas a body,' was often acceded to; the former being the opening fee from each school promised an exclusive supply. The competition for subjects, which the exhumators pretended to get up between the different schools, sometimes raised the prices so exorbitantly as to leave scarcely any remuneration for the lecturers. In some cases twenty pounds have been given for a single subject, in healthy seasons.
The competition occasionally led to revolting scenes of riot. Mr. Bransby Cooper, in his Life of Sir Astley Cooper, relates that two Resurrectionists, having gained access to a private burial-ground near Holywell Mount by bribing the gravedigger, sometimes brought away six bodies in one night. Two other exhumators, hearing of this prosperity, threat-cued to expose the gravedigger if he did not admit them to share his plunder; but he was beforehand with them, and pointed them out to a public-house full of labourers, as body-snatchers come to bribe him to let them steal front his ground, when the whole crowd rushed after the Resurrectionists, who narrowly escaped their vengeance. They ran to a police-office, and, in a loud voice, told the sitting magistrate if he sent officers to Holywell Mount burial-ground they would find every grave robbed of its dead; the rave-digger having sold them to the body-snatchers.' The indignant people rushed to the burial-ground, broke open the gates, dug-up the graves, and finding in them empty coffins, seized the gravedigger, threw him into one of the deepest excavations, began shovelling the earth over him, and would have buried him alive, but for the activity of the constables. The, mob then went to his house, broke every article of his furniture, seized his wife and children, and dragged them through a stagnant pool in the neighbourhood.
Such outrages as these, and the general indignation which arose from them, having interrupted the supply of bodies, other stratagems were resorted. to. The Resurrectionists, by associating with the lower class of undertakers, obtained possession of the bodies of the poor which were taken to their establishments several days before interment, and often a clergyman read the funeral service over a coffin filled with brick-bats, or other substitute for the stolen body.
The bodies of suicides were sometimes stolen from the charge of persons appointed to sit up with them; or they were obtained from poor-houses and infirmaries by the Resurrectionists pretending relationship with the deceased, and claiming the bodies for burial. By this means, one Patrick got a number of subjects, chiefly from St. Giles's workhouse, his wife being employed, under various disguises, to own the bodies. At other times, the body-snatchers would destroy the tombs, vaults, and expensive coffins of the wealthy, to obtain their prey; and their exactions, villany, and insolence grew intolerable. The sale of a drunken man in a sack, as a subject, to Mr. Brookes the anatomist, is a well-known incident.
Nevertheless, so useful were the services of the regular Resurrectionists, that when they got into trouble, the surgeons made great exertions in their favour, and advanced large sums of money to keep them out of gaol, or support them during imprisonment. Sir Astley Cooper expended hundreds of pounds for this purpose: a single liberation has been known to cost £160; and an anatomical teacher has paid £5 as a weekly allowance, continued for two years, to a Resurrectionist confined in prison.
A leading Resurrectionist once received £144 for twelve subjects in one evening, out of which he had to pay his underlings £5 each. These high prices not unfrequently led persons, while alive, to offer to sell their bodies for dissection after death; but very rarely did any surgeon accede to such a proposal, since the law did not recognise any right of property in a dead body. Among the papers left by Sir Astley Cooper was found the following: 'Sir, I have been informed you are in the habit of purchasing bodys, and allowing the person a sum weekly. Knowing a poor woman that is desirous of doing so, I have taken the liberty of calling to know the truth. I remain, your humble servant. Sir Astley Cooper's answer (copied on the back of the application) was brief: 'The truth is, that you deserve to be hanged for making such an unfeeling offer.-A. C.'
The graves were not always disturbed to obtain possession of the entire body, for the teeth alone, at one time, offered tempting remuneration. Mr. Cooper relates an instance of a Resurrectionist feigning to look out a burial-place for his poor wife, and thus obtaining access to the vault of a meeting-house, the trap-door of which he unbolted, so that at night he let himself down into the vault, and secured the front teeth of the whole congregation, by which he cleared £60.
For nearly thirty years had this nefarious traffic flourished, when a Select Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to investigate the matter. In reply to the following question: 'Does the state of the law actually prevent the teachers of anatomy from obtaining the body of any person, which, in con-sequence of some peculiarity of structure, they may be particularly desirous of procuring?' Sir Astley Cooper stated: 'The law does not prevent our obtaining the body of an individual if we think proper; for there is no person, let his situation in life be what it may, whom, if I were disposed to dissect, I could not obtain.' In reply to another question, Sir Astley Cooper said, 'The law only enhances the price, and does not prevent the exhumation: nobody is secured by the law, it only adds to the price of the subject.'
The profession had for many years been anxious to devise some plan to prevent the exhumation of bodies; but it was thought too hazardous to attempt the enactment of laws on the subject, in consequence of the necessary publicity of the discussions upon them. The horrible murders committed at Edinburgh, under the system of Barking, and exposed in the year 1828, at last rendered it peremptorily necessary for the Government to establish some means of legalizing dissection, under restrictions regulated by the ministers of the Crown. An inspector was appointed, to whom the certificate of the death of the individual, and the circumstances under which he died, were to be submitted before the body could be dissected, and then only in the schools in which anatomizing was licensed by the Government; and this new system has much raised the characters of those who are teaching anatomy, as well as the science itself, in the estimation of the public.
The Resurrectionists mostly came to bad ends. There were but few regulars; the others being composed of Spitalfields weavers, or thieves, who found the disguise of this occupation convenient for carrying on their own peculiar avocations. One was tried, and received sentence of death, for robbing the Edinburgh mail, but was pardoned upon the intercession of the Archdukes John and Lewis, who were much interested by finding the criminal at work in his cell, articulating the bones of a horse; he left the country, and was never after heard of. Another Resurrectionist, after a long and active career, withdrew from it in 1817, and occupied himself principally in obtaining and disposing of teeth. As a licensed suttler, in the Peninsula and France, he had drawn the teeth of those who had fallen in battle, and had plundered the slain: with the produce of these adventures, he built a large hotel at Margate, but his previous occupation being disclosed, his house was avoided, and disposed of at a very heavy loss: he was subsequently tried, and imprisoned for obtaining money under false pretences, and was ultimately found dead in a public-house near Tower-hill.
It is credibly reported of one body-snatcher, that, at his death, he left nearly £6000 to his family. One, being captured, was tried and found guilty of stealing the clothes in which the bodies were buried, and was transported for seven years. A man who was long superintendent to the dissecting-room at St. Thomas's Hospital, was dismissed for receiving and paying for bodies sent to his employer, and reselling them at an advanced price, in Edinburgh; he then turned Resurrectionist, was detected and imprisoned, and died in a state of raving madness.