Condemned for the supposed Murder of his wife but subsequently pardoned, 1761
Mrs Daniels brought home intoxicated
Where art thou? -- Death! thou dread of guilt
Thou wish of innocence! affliction's friend
Tired Nature calls thee: come, in mercy, come,
And lay me pillow'd in eternal rest.'
THIS is an extraordinary hard case, and we think that every reader must agree in opinion that the accused, so far from being guilty of murder, had long submitted to the very worst kind of usage with which a woman can possibly treat a husband.
The whole proof adduced against him was circumstantial; and we hope no jury sitting upon the life of their fellow-creature will again convict a man on such evidence.
That they erred in their judgment, or, at all events, that the Privy Council of the realm differed from them in opinion, is evident, from the unfortunate man immediately receiving the king's pardon.
But, that every one may form a judgment on the case, we shall simply narrate the circumstances drawn from the different publications of the day, including his own confession.
Thomas Daniels was a journeyman carpenter, and about the year 1757, at which time he worked with his father, he became acquainted with Sarah Carridine, a very pretty girl, who was servant at a public house; this girl he was very desirous to marry, but his father and mother would not consent, because she had lived in an alehouse. After consulting with the girl, and the girl's mother, it was agreed they should live together without being married. The mother, therefore, took a lodging for them, to which Daniels removed. His father, however, soon found out what he had done, upon which a quarrel ensued, and he determined to work with his father no longer.
As he was going about seeking employment else where, he met with some of his acquaintance, who had entered on board the Britannia privateer, and they persuaded him to enter also.
When he went home, and told Carridine what he had done, she fell into violent fits of crying, and was, with great difficulty, pacified, by his telling her that the cruise was but for six months, that he hoped he should make his fortune, and that he would marry her when he came back, advising her, in the mean time, to go to service.
In this situation she was naturally exposed to great danger. It is probable that her grief was mixed with resentment; that she considered herself as slighted and deserted; and that she doubted whether he would return again, and, if he did, whether he, who could so soon forsake her, would make good his engagement at the same time, having been already debauched, she was not restrained by the powerful motives from which women resist solicitations to the first fault, and she was under every possible temptation to form another connexion that was likely to be more certain and durable.
Under all these disadvantages she was seduced by one John Jones, a founder, a wretch who had been the intimate acquaintance of Daniels, and professed great friendship for him. This fellow promised to marry her if Daniels did not return; that, if he did, he would continue his kindness to her; and that, if he should die himself, he would leave her all his goods, and all his interest in the capital of a box-club, to which he belonged.
Not long after this connexion between Carridine and Jones, Daniels came home, having been absent about eight months. As soon as he came to London he went to Mr. Archer's, who kept the White Bear, at the corner of Barbican, in Aldersgate Street, whom he called his master, and sent for his father and mother, with whom he spent an agreeable evening. He then inquired of Mrs. Archer after Carridine; and she referred him to Jones. Jones took him over the water to an alehonse near the Bridge-foot, where he saw her. At this time she lived with her mother, and Daniels took a lodging in the same house with Jones, who, pretending great friendship for them both, urged Daniels to marry, going every night with him to spend the evening with the girl, and offering to give her away. Daniels, without suspicion of so perfidious and base a conduct, fell into the snare, and fixed upon a day; but, as our laws have laid a tax upon marriage, which other states have encouraged by pecuniary or honorary advantages, Daniels could not be married, because he had not money enough to pay the fees. He would have borrowed a guinea of his master, but his master refused; upon which Jones urged him to raise it by pawning his watch: to this Daniels consented, the watch was pawned for him by Jones himself, and Daniels and Carridine were married.
Daniels, at first, lived in ready-furnished lodgings, till his wife's mother persuaded him to live with her in Catherine-wheel Alley, Whitechapel. While they lived here Daniels frequently found his wife abroad when he came home from work, and when she did come home she was generally in liquor. The mother excused both her absence and her condition by saying she had been to see some young women in Spitalfields, and that a very little matter got into her head. It was not long, however, before Daniels found that she kept company with Jones; and having once followed them to an alehouse, when the mother pretended she was gone to see the young women in Spitalfields, he went to them, and, after some words, sent his wife home. She was then drunk, and, when he went home to her, a violent quarrel ensued, during which the wife and the mother both fell upon him; and the wife afterwards ran out of the house, and was absent all night.
Next day, however, Daniels was persuaded to make it up; and soon after put her into a little shop in the Minories, to sell pork and greens, and other articles. She promised to mind her business, and never go into Jones's company more.
On the next Lord Mayor's Day Daniels attended his master to the hall of his company, and, his master having given him a bottle of wine, he went into the kitchen, and got some bread and meat. He would not, however, touch either the wine or the victuals there, but brought both home, pleasing himself with the thought of enjoying them quietly with his wife. When he came home his wife was out, and soon after he found her and Jones together upon the stairs, Jones having taken the opportunity of Daniels's absence to supply his place, not suspecting that he would leave the good cheer of the hall, and come home so early.
This caused a great quarrel, and Daniels would suffer his wife to keep shop no longer; he also removed from her mother's, and, having got a few goods of his own, took a room in the Little Minories. Here they lived somewhat more quiet for a little while; but, the wife falling again into irregularities, Daniels entered a second time on board the Britannia privateer, as carpenter's mate, and, without acquainting any body with what he had done, went down to the ship at Greenhithe; but in a few days, to his great surprise, he was visited on board by his wife, in company with Jones: they staid on board all night, and, she lamenting and behaving like a mad woman, he was at length persuaded to return home with her.
Soon after he took a house, the corner of Hare Court, Aldersgate Street, and put his wife once more into a shop; but she soon returned to her old ways, kept company with Jones and several other people, and at length ran away and left him.
Notwithstanding this conduct he was persuaded to receive her again, though she acknowledged her criminal intimacy with Jones, upon her promise of amendment; yet she not only contracted other intimacies of an infamous kind, but, when Daniels came home to his meals, she would be abroad, with the key of their room in her pocket, so that he was obliged to eat at an alehouse.
Notwithstanding all this Daniels seems to have had a strong attachment to her, and to have done every thing in his power to please her, that she might make his home agreeable, and was solicitous to the last to unite his pleasure with hers, in which he was constantly disappointed. The following instance, among many others, is a remarkable representation of his conduct and her character.
One Sunday, with a view to entertain her, he took her down to Ilford, that they might spend the day agreeably together: they dined at the White Horse there, and after dinner she drank freely. When the reckoning came to be paid she flew into a rage with the landlord, and, upon Daniels endeavouring to moderate matters, she turned all her resentment upon him, and carried it to such a degree, that she declared she would not go home with him, but would go with the first person that asked her, or even with the next man that went by. This threat, extravagant as it was, she made good; for a person, dressed like an officer, stopping in a chaise at the door, she asked him to let her ride home with him: he consented, and away they went.
Daniels, though he had offered his wife a place in the stage, now walked home by himself; and, having sat up for his wife till it was very late, he at length gave her over, and went to bed. About two in the morning he was roused by a violent knocking at his door, where he found his wife so drunk that she could not stand, attended by her mother; and he quietly let her in, with the mother, whose assistance was absolutely necessary to put her to bed.
The account of what happened immediately before the accident that put an end to her life, and of that accident itself, is added in his own words, the truth of which he has attested upon oath, before a magistrate, since his pardon:--
'The night before this melancholy accident happened, I came home, to be sure, not entirely sober where, not finding my wife, I went directly to her mother's, where I found her very drunk. It being night, her mother said it was not proper to take her home in that condition, and therefore advised me to lie there that night, while she and her girl would go and sleep at my lodging. We did so.
'In the morning, after my wife's mother came back, we all breakfasted together at her lodgings. After breakfast I went to Mr. Clarke, timber-merchant, in St. Mary Axe, to solicit for some India Company's work; from whence I went to the Mansion House alehouse, and drank a pint of beer. I then intended to go to work at Mr. Perry's, in Noble Street; but, it being near dinner-time, I stopped at the Bell, opposite his house, for another pint of beer, where, meeting some acquaintance eating beef-steaks, I dined with them. As I was eating, in came my wife and her mother: she at first abused me for being at the alehouse, but they afterwards, with great seeming good humour, drank with me, and, as they wanted money, I gave my wife two shillings, and lent her mother a six-and-ninepenny piece, which I had just received in change for half a guinea, from the master of the public house. As the day was now far spent, and as I was pleased with the prospect of working for the East India Company, I thought it not worth while to begin a day's work so late: I therefore went to Smithfield, to see how the horse-market went; from thence I went to Warwick Lane, to see for a young man whom I had promised to get to work for the Company also. I took him to Mr. Clarke, in St. Mary Axe, and afterward went with him to two or three places more; the last place was the Nag's Head, in Houndsditch and about half an hour after nine o'clock went home.
'When I came there I went in at the back door, which is under the gateway, and which used to be only on a single latch for the conveniency of my lodgers. I went up to my room-door: but, finding it fast, came downstairs again.
'There was then some disturbance over the way, in Aldersgate Street, which I walked over to see the meaning of, imagining my wife might chance to be engaged in it. Not finding her in the crowd, I returned, and went upstairs again: while I was on the stairs I heard my wife cough, by which I knew she was at home. Finding my door still fast, I knocked and called again; still she would not answer: I then said "Sally, I know you are at home, and I desire you will open the door; if you will not I will burst it open." Nobody yet answering, I set my shoulder against the door, and forced it open; upon this she jumped out of bed. I immediately began to undress me, by slipping off my coat and waistcoat, saying, at the same time, "Sally, what makes you use me so? you follow me wherever I go, to abuse me, and then lock me out of my lodging; I never served you so." On this she flew upon me, called me a scoundrel dog, said she supposed I had been with some of my whores, and, so saying, tore my shirt down from the bosom: on this I pushed her down; she then ran to the chimney-corner, and snatched up several things, which I successively wrested from her, and in the scuffle a table and a screen fell down. At length she struck me several blows with a hand-brush; and, while I was, struggling to get it from her, she cried out several times "Indeed, indeed, I will do so no more." When I got the brush from her, which I did with some difficulty, I gave her a blow with it, and then concluded she would be easy. She sat down on the floor, by the cupboard door, tearing her shift from her back, which had been rent in the skirmish: I sat down on the opposite side of the bed, with my back towards her, preparing to go into it; and, seeing her fling the remnants of her shift about in so mad a manner, I said "Sally, you are a silly girl; why don't you be easy?" On that she suddenly rose up, and with something gave me a blow on the head, which struck me down: I fell on the bedstead with my head against the folding doors of it. I imagined she was then afraid she had killed me, for I heard her cry, two or three times, " 0 save me, save me!" how she went out of the window it is impossible for we to say, in the condition she left me in; but, from her cries, I supposed her gone that way; and in my consternation, when I arose, I ran down one pair of stairs, where, not knowing how to behave, I went up again, and sat me down on the bed from whence I rose. In this position Mr. Clarke, the constable, and the numbers who followed him, found me. He said "Daniels, you have stabbed your wife, and flung her out at the window." I replied "No, Mr. Clarke, I have not; she threw herself out."
'Mr. Clarke took a candle, and examined all the room in search of blood, but found none; and luckily it was for me that neither of our noses happened to bleed in the fray, though mine was subject to do so on any trifling occasion.
'He then went to the window, where he found a piece of a saucer, and asked me what it was. I told him I did not know, but recollected afterwards that it was what I fed my squirrel in; though I knew not how it came broke; it was whole that day.
'From thence I was taken to the Compter; and the public arc already acquainted with the proceedings on my trial, when I was condemned for the supposed fact, September the 21st, 1761.
'I am informed that the next morning they found a pair of small pliers, bloody, in the window, which were then considered as a proof of my guilt. These pliers were what I have mended my squirrel's chain with whenever he broke loose, which was sometimes the case. How they should be bloody, as God is my Saviour, I cannot answer; but, as no wound was perceived on the body, they were not produced as evidence against me. however, when my wife was brought up from the street, it is said she was blooded, and that the basin was put in the window where these pliers were found. It is therefore possible that, in such confusion, a drop or two might accidentally be spilled upon them, more especially when we consider the tumult of a morning's exhibition of a dead body, for penny gratuities, by the unprincipled mother of it.'
The following judicious remarks are added by the person who assisted Daniels in publishing his case, and they seem to confirm the man's declaration of his innocence beyond the possibility of doubt.
The window of Daniels's room has two casements folding against each other, with garden-pots before them. One of these casements only used to be opened, the other being in general kept shut. These casements were each about sixteen or seventeen inches wide, and the window was about a yard and a quarter high. When this accident happened one casement was open, the other shut, as usual; consequently the opening then through the window was about sixteen or seventeen inches wide, and a yard and a quarter high. Through this space a man was to thrust a woman, nearly as strong as himself! If such a thing had been attempted, the following consequences must be incontestably allowed to ensue:
I. The woman would resist the attempt.
II. When persons struggle to avoid imminent danger, and are driven to despair, they are capable of a surprising degree of exertion, beyond their ordinary abilities.
III. This woman would therefore have continued in so narrow a gap a very considerable while before she could have been forced through, and would all that time have uttered cries, entreaties, and exclamations, too expressive of her situation to have been mistaken by the neighbours and spectators.
IV. Her resistance would have overturned the before-mentioned garden-pots, and would have shattered the glass of the casement that was shut and even forced open, or broke, the casement itself, which obstructed her passage.
V. In breaking the glass of the window her skin must have been greatly scratched and torn, and her limbs, naked as she was, have been otherwise greatly maimed and bruised.
VI. The man who undertook to force her out must have borne some very conspicuous marks of his attempt.
The two first of these propositions will be universally granted.
The third is contradicted by all the evidence on the trial, who unanimously agree that the moment the woman was seen she came through the window, and was only then heard to use such expressions, which Daniels accounts for better than any one else.
In reply to the fourth -- the pots were not discomposed nor the window broken, except one pane; and it does not appear that even that pane might not have been broken before.
in answer to the fifth -- the body, by the evidence of the surgeon, did not appear to have received any other damage than the natural consequences of so great a fall.
As to the last -- the man was not seen at the window at all; and, as to any wounds or bruises sustained by him, the constable, when asked whether he saw the blow on his head, which he affirmed to be given him by his wife, declared he did not. But he was not asked whether he looked for it; a question, it may be presumed, he would have answered in the negative.
In such a situation, it is to be concluded, the poor fellow was little heard, and less regarded, concerning whatever he might allege in his own behalf.
A man may be stunned by a blow that might not perhaps exhibit any remarkable appearance; and, had it been seen, his account of it would have weighed but little.
It is not even probable, had he knocked this woman on the head first, that he could have sent the body through the window so completely as, either by fright or design, she accomplished it herself. But that she came there living is past all doubt.
To conclude:-- the evidence against this unfortunate man was only presumptive at most, and, upon clear scrutiny, is really productive of nothing; so that, as he was discharged by royal authority, so has he also a just claim to an acquittal in the minds of all judicious and candid people.