Its provisions mirrored these of the 1624 statute in England, specifically that the onus was upon the mother to show her innocence of the crime and that the child had been born dead. It will discover the motives of the women who committed the crime and the strategies they employed to hold it out and the way these things impacted upon their remedy within the courts. In addition, as baby murder accounted for an overwhelming majority of the total variety of women tried for homicide earlier than the courts, this study presents a unique insight into the punishment of girls in this period. In terms of the wider goal of this e-book, specifically to chart the changing use and implementation of capital punishment in Scotland between 1740 and 1834, the crime of infanticide is an important space of study as this era witnessed a gradual shift in judicial responses in direction of it.
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Those that did meet their finish on the gallows arrived there, for the most part, due to a mix of the difficulties dealing with the courts in sentencing suitably harsh options and the truth that 4 of the six women were repeat offenders. In six of the nine instances the courts heard how the women were repeat offenders. In four of those instances the women had illegally returned from previous sentences of banishment from Scotland for earlier property crimes.
Compared to other property offences, the crime of theft stood out in that, by its very definition, it included either the use or risk of violence. In the majority of the remaining 250 instances the place women had obtained some form of punishment for the crime of kid homicide, the Scottish authorized system had allowed them to petition the courts before the beginning of their trials. Comparatively, in the same interval, there were only three women capitally convicted for the crime with two of them, Agnes McCallum and Barbara Malcolm, subsequently executed. Their circumstances are detailed above and stand out from other examples of infanticide as their children have been months old on the time of the murders and these women had been belived to have acted with premeditation quite than through panic or mistake in the course of the birth, as in some other instances. For instance, Christian Fren had feigned illness to her mistress and retired to her bed room however when she later went to check on her she could smell a “nauseous burning.” Christian had given birth in secret and had thrown the kid into the fireplace.
At the age of 30 she had given birth to a different child but on this case the father was a married man. When the infant was five months old she had asked him for more money to pay for a nurse and when he refused she poisoned the child with vitriol. In Agnes’ case the financial implications of getting no male support were essential in her motive for the homicide. The theme of illegitimacy as a motive is pervasive in studies of infanticide and that is reflected in the truth that, of the 23 women executed for the crime, their sufferer was an illegitimate child in all however one of many cases. The 1690 Scottish ‘Act Anent Murthering of Children’ directed juries to capitally convict women who had hid their being pregnant and the start of an illegitimate toddler that had subsequently died, with or without direct proof of homicide.
Second, a particular investigation of the circumstances of the women who received a demise sentence offers a possibility to glean particulars about wider responses to feminine criminality. There were a spread of penal choices obtainable to the Justiciary Court judges in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Scotland to punish convicted feminine offenders. Like Scottish men, women might face essentially the most serious punishment, the dying sentence, in addition to punishments that removed them from the realm, namely transportation and banishment from Scotland, as well as jail sentences and corporal punishments. Between 1740 and 1834, a complete of seventy nine women had been capitally convicted in Scotland, of whom forty seven (fifty nine%) had been executed and 32 (41%) were subsequently pardoned. Of the whole variety of 505 executions in Scotland between 1740 and 1834, these 47 condemned women made up 9.three% of the entire offenders who met their destiny upon the scaffold.
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From a reading of the dear info supplied in the court data and in the newspapers, it will look at the importance of the sufferer, and the motive and methodology of killing in shaping responses to those women. The second part will present an in-depth exploration of the crime of infanticide as, in over two thirds of the entire homicide instances that resulted in a capital conviction, the victim was the woman’s own baby.
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This figure is comparable to those introduced for England and thus it reinforces the broad argument that women made up a low proportion of the entire offenders who suffered a capital punishment in Britain.7 Therefore, it isn’t surprising that a number of years may separate the executions of women in Scotland. For instance, there were no women executed in Scotland for 15 years between 1793 and 1808. In some circuit cities, the incidence was even rarer, a incontrovertible fact that was often noted by contemporary newspapers. ‘The final century was a time of fast social change in which “a girl’s place” was contested and redefined.
Again, the crime has gender-particular resonances and an exploration of those circumstances can be utilized as a lens into wider points surrounding motherhood and illegitimacy. The third and last section of the chapter will present an examination of the punishment of ladies convicted for property offences in this interval. However, in the small variety of instances that did end in an execution, it’s attainable to discern specific components that led certain women to the scaffold, notably if they had been repeat offenders. The central argument to be made here is that, just like the treatment of male criminals, the Scottish legal justice system exercised a big diploma of discretion when deciding upon the punishments to be meted out to the women introduced earlier than their primary judicial courts.
Comparatively, of the 36 women executed for murder, there were solely five cases where the sufferer was a stranger to them. Of the remaining circumstances, 23 women had been convicted of infanticide, or child murder, four had murdered their husbands and four had murdered other members of the family including siblings and in-legal guidelines. An in-depth exploration of those women, including their motivations for murder and their chosen strategies of killing, highlights a recent and useful perspective of the home lifetime of some Scottish women throughout this era. It supplies a different angle from which to view the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century wife and mother and, crucially, reveals the various responses to women who violated these roles via homicide. It will first investigate the women capitally convicted for the crime of murder.
This time she was sentenced to be whipped by way of the streets of the city earlier than she was once more banished from Scotland for life.seventy four On her third appearance before the courtroom for the crime she had stolen 4 items of material click here for more valued at £6 6s. However, it’s the argument here that this alone didn’t at all times ship them to the scaffold. Instead, the chronology of the circumstances was a vital factor in sealing their destiny.
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In these instances, the methods of killing have been explicitly linked to the primary motive of concealment. The locations at which the women had given start, and at which the our bodies were later discovered, together with a park, a subject and even a dunghill, were key as they afforded privacy. Despite its unfavorable implications for the unmarried home servant on this period, the bearing of an illegitimate child did not drive all women to commit the crime of infanticide. Anne Mackie was a widow with four kids from her marriage when she started a relationship with a younger man named James Gray. However, when she revealed her being pregnant to him he refused to marry her and she strangled the kid at delivery.37 Agnes McCallum had given delivery to an illegitimate infant at the age of 16 however the child was left within the care of the daddy in Greenock when she moved to Paisley to work as a bleacher.
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This guide dedicates a chapter to analyzing the ladies who faced the hangman’s noose for 2 key causes. First, the construction adopted thus far has allowed for an expansive survey of the usage of capital punishment in Scotland and a better examination of three key durations in the use of the death sentence. Although women had been amongst those despatched to the gallows, their low numbers and the fact that the executions were comparatively unfold out over the period supplied restricted scope for any substantial evaluation of their experience.
For instance, Elizabeth Paul was first tried in Glasgow in 1778 for theft from a bleachfield. She had petitioned the courtroom and was banished from Scotland for all times.seventy three She was apprehended for the same crime and once more brought before the Glasgow Circuit Court in 1782.
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Margaret Shuttleworth and her husband Henry had been married for 15 years and ran the Hope Inn in Montrose but accounts of their unstable relationship supplied to the court during her trial for his homicide highlighted Margaret’s neglect of her expected duties as a wife. She was accused of being regularly drunk and “outrageous along with her tongue”, typically cursing and swearing at her husband. On the night time of Henry’s death, Margaret had rushed to a neighbour’s house crying that he had been murdered. In the courtroom, Margaret maintained her plea of innocence and claimed that any number of individuals may have committed the crime because it was a market day and there have been many people passing through the inn.