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The Newgate Calendar - THOMAS GORDON


Executed at Northampton, 17th of August, 1789, for a Murder ordered by his Mother

MR GORDON, the father of this wretched youth, was a surgeon and apothecary in London, from whence he removed his family into Northamptonshire.

Mr Gordon continued to practise in the country, and soon became envied, and obnoxious to his neighbours, being considered as an intruder, from not being a native of the county. The consequence of this was frequent quarrels; and at length a justice's warrant was obtained against him, on a pretended charge of assault.

The constable went to Mr Gordon's house, in order to apprehend him, but the wife and the son told the officer that he was not at home. This was not the case, and the constable knew he was in the house: he, however, went away, but soon returned with some neighbours, who tried to make a forcible entry. The mother and son opposed them, and the latter was armed with a gun. The populace threw stones at the windows, when the mother, in an unlucky moment, bade her son fire; he did so, and killed the constable on the spot.

Both mother and son were tried, and found guilty of this murder; but Baron Thompson, who presided on the bench, observing that the mother was indicted as accessory before the fact, and the evidence turning out that she was a principal, had doubts whether she was properly con victed, and thcrefore reserved the case for the opinion of the twelve judges, who, upon solemn argument, confirmed the sentence against the son, but at the same time adjudged the indictment against the mother to be bad; and the poor youth received sentence of death. He was, however, three times reprieved; from which he hoped, and the world flattered him with an opinion, that his pardon would ultimately follow.

While cheered with this idea, an order came for his execution. He was scarcely nineteen years of age, and died for an act which, at the time of its commission, he considered a defence of his father and an act of obedience to the orders of his mother.


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