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Newgate Calendar - JOHN MADDY, or MANNING


Another Case of Adultery

            In the twenty-third year of the reign of Charles II. John Maddy, or Manning, was indicted at the assizes for the county of Surrey, for the murder of one Mavers, to which he pleaded not guilty. Judge Twisden directed the jury to find the following special verdict, in order to have the opinion of the twelve judges, viz. "That John Maddy, coming into his own house, found Mavers in the act of adultery with his wife, and with a joint stool he struck and killed Mavers; and that there was no precedent malice in Maddy towards Mavers."

            The record was moved by writ of certiorari into the court of King's Bench, and by the opinion of the Judges, this was but manslaughter, and he was gently, that is, with an iron hardly warm, burnt in the hand.

            This precedent has since been, in such cases, adopted, and Venables was found guilty of manslaughter, and in like manner punished. This is a mere pretence of conformity to the law; and we hold it abundantly sufficient for the punishment of a villain who defiles the marriage bed.

            About this time a silk mercer on Ludgate-hill, suspicious of his wife's fidelity, gave out to his family, that his business called him to a distant part of the kingdom. His wife, while she put a change of linen into his saddle bags, feigned infinite sorrow for his departure. He had been apprised of her misconduct by a faithful servant, and to him he communicated his real intent; which was, to proceed on his horse (in those times tradesmen rode on horseback, now they sport a phaeton or curricle) a few miles, and return at night. Accordingly his door was secretly opened to him, while his guilty wife and her paramour were regaling in the parlour. He cautiously, in the dark, went to his chamber, and taking his sword, secreted himself in a closet. The guilty pair soon followed, and in the very act of defiling his bed, he plunged his sword through them both. No jury would take cognizance of the cause of their deaths. Let all adulterers thus perish.


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