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Convicted at the Middlesex sessions, of an Assault and Libel upon his Father

            THE indictment preferred against this violent and unnatural young man contained several counts, but so incorrectly copied that the objections taken to two of them by his counsel were held to be good by the Court. These were for libels, wherein, considering they came from a child to a parent, there is something peculiarly shocking. This libellous matter was thus read in Court, and the said Thomas Farnsworth was charged with writing the same to his father.


"June 5, 1812.
"You forgot the time you committed the act, for you say that I was not at home, and you have procured a sailor to corroborate with you in your story."

            On examining the record, it was discovered that corrobate had been inserted for corroborate, in the two first counts, and as there is no such word in the English language, the indictment could not be sustained on those counts.

            The third count recited a letter beginning as follows:


"When do you mean to desist from carrying on your cursed plan against the offspring of a murdered woman. You may carry it on till you wish you had come to a conclusion long ago. You are enough to raise the mind of an injured man to do that he would not wish to do. I am I am determined to attend you at Wormley, if you do not settle at home, for I have searched the books every day, and find you will not indict. Curse and damn the day that you ever SAW my mother."

            The prisoner's Counsel observed, that in the record the word say was introduced instead of saw. The prisoner was acquitted.

            He was then tried for an assault on his father, on the 4th of May 1812.

            It appeared from the evidence of the prosecutor, that he was standing at the door of a house in Well-street, Whitechapel, when his son rushed on him suddenly, and attacked him with great violence.

            Mr. Farnsworth retreated into a stable-yard, whither he was pursued by his son, who knocked him down with a broomstick; and, while down, beat him most unmercifully, exclaiming, "I will murder you—blood for blood!" His cries brought several persons to his assistance, who rescued him from his perilous situation. His son had hunted him for several hours through the neighbourhood like a mad dog, and called for a pistol that he might shoot him.

            The prisoner denied having committed any assault. He only wanted his property. His father owed him one hundred and ten pounds; and yet, by a false account, (which he handed up to the bench,) he brought him in a debtor to the amount of 9s. 6d.

            John Harding deposed, that he ran to the spot, in consequence of the cry of "Murder!" He saw the prosecutor on the ground, and his son beating him with a broomstick. He immediately seized his arms, and said, "You villain, are you going to kill your father?" The prisoner answered—"I will murder him! blood for blood!"

            The prisoner being called on for his defence, said—"I never struck my father—I came to him with that account in my hand, and said, How can you treat me in this manner—Why should you rob me of my property, as you robbed my poor brother, the night before he was killed in Mile-end ?—I am the surviving son of a murdered mother—Gentlemen, these eyes saw the hands of my father perpetrate the horrid deed, and not content with that, he wishes to exercise his barbarity on my offspring—pointing to a child which stood before him.)—I am thirty-four years of age, and never lifted my hand against my father—I would sooner spill my heart's blood than do so—O God! no person can conceive what I have suffered—I have been cruelly dragged to town by officers. So far from striking my father, when I found I could not get my property; I offered him my pen-knife that he might take my life as he had taken my mother's."—(The manner of delivering this rhapsody savoured strongly of a distracted mind.)

            One witness appeared on the part of the prisoner; but he knew nothing of the assault. The prisoner then complained that his most material witness was kept back. To that witness his father had shewed the letter he had written (which was exhibited in the former trial,) and said, that he would take the stain out of his own back, by sacrificing his son.

            The jury returned a verdict of Guilty. The Court adjudged him to suffer imprisonment for one year, and at the expiration of that time to find sureties for his good behaviour for two years, himself in 100l. and two sureties in 50l. each.


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