My Release

When I recovered from my nervous breakdown, by medical order I was
given lighter employment, and went into the library. I was now the only
prisoner in the building who had suffered under the hardships of the
old system at Woking Prison, all the rest of those who came with me
having in the interim returned to the world. In fact, I was the only
one who had served over ten years.

My task in the library was to assist the schoolmistress and to change
the library books twice a week. They were carried from cell to cell,
and this represented the handling of over two hundred and fifty books.
In addition to this, I had to be “literary nurse,” whose duties were
to attend to worn-out books, binding up their wounds and prolonging
their days of usefulness; doing cataloguing and entry work; to print
the name of each prisoner on a card placed over her cell door; to copy
hymns, and to make scrap-books for the illiterate prisoners, besides
other miscellaneous duties.

The library was a very good one and contained not only the latest
novels, but philosophical works and books for study; also a limited
number in French and German. To these were added religious works,
especially poetry, and sermons for Sunday reading. I found a choice
collection to help me support the Sabbath day, for the suspended
animation makes a day of misery of the “day of rest.” One could not
read all day without tiring, and the absence of week-day work usually
made it a day of heavy, creeping depression. There are two periods of
exercise, and chapel morning and afternoon. The remainder of the time
the prisoners are locked in their cells. Reading was my only solace;
from first to last I read every moment that I could call my own. The
best index of the quality of the books was that every volume was read
or examined by the chaplain and his staff before it was admitted to
the library. If it contained any articles on prison life or matters
relating to prisoners, these were always carefully cut out.

From my observations I consider that prison schoolmasters and
schoolmistresses are overburdened with miscellaneous and incompatible
duties. No one needs to be told that the average prisoner is a slow
learner, and that even a dull boy or girl is a better pupil than a
grown man or woman plodding along in the first steps of knowledge, and
who is taught, not in a class, but in a cell. Yet the schoolmaster
or schoolmistress has to devote hours daily to teaching, to help in
letter-writing, in the office work, in the distribution of library
books, in the library work; and now that their number is likewise
reduced on the ground of expense, the pressure of their work is out of
all proportion to the hours within which it can be reasonably performed.

I have always been fond of reading, and during my leisure hours I got
through a large number of books. This was between noon and half-past
one, and seven and eight in the evening, when my light had to be put


The rules forbid that any public news be conveyed to the prisoners,
either at visits or by letters. This seems to be a very short-sighted
view to take of the matter. To allow newspapers in the prison might, of
course, lead to cipher communications to prisoners from their friends;
but no harm can possibly come of allowing information regarding public
affairs of national interest to be conveyed through the legitimate
channels of letters and visits. It would give the prisoners fresh food
for thought, and tend greatly to relieve that vacuity of mind which
is the outcome of lack of knowledge of external things, and of the
monotony of their lives; it would also make a pause in their broodings
over their cases, which is the sole subject of their thoughts and
conversations when permitted to converse at all.


The lowering of the prison flag told us of the death of Queen Victoria,
although we had heard several days before that she was sinking. When
King Edward was dangerously ill it was talked of among the officers,
and the prisoners, through me, asked that special prayers might be said
in the chapel.

When Mafeking was relieved and when peace with the Boers was declared,
flags were hoisted. Jubilee and Coronation days were the only occasions
I remember when we had any relaxation of prison rules, and then
there was much disappointment, since in lieu of a mitigation of our
sentences, as was the case in India, they gave us extra meat and plum


I have served under three governors, each of whom was an intelligent
and conspicuously humane man. They knew their prisoners and tried to
understand them, but there is not much a governor can do for them of
his own initiative. I consider that he who holds this responsible
position should have more of a free hand, and be allowed to use his
discretion in all ordinary matters pertaining to the prison discipline
and welfare of the prisoners.

They were all advanced disciplinarians. The routine reeled itself off
with mechanical precision. The rules were enforced and carried out to
the letter. The deadly monotony never varied; all days are alike;
weeks, months, years slowly accumulate, and, in the mean time, the
mental rust is eating into the weary brain, and the outspoken cry rises
up daily–“How long, O Lord! how long?”

The officers are almost as keen as the governor in their efforts to
keep things up to the mark. It is seldom they allow prisoners under
their observation or supervision any slight relaxation which nature may
demand, but the rules forbid. They dislike to punish a woman, and in
their hearts make many excuses for the black sheep.


As a class, with few exceptions, the prison staff is worthy of respect
and confidence, and might be trusted with any task. The patience,
civility, and self-control which the officers exhibit under the most
trying circumstances, as a rule, mark them as men and women possessing
a high sense of duty, not only as civil servants, but as Christians.


The hours of work are long, the nervous strain is incessant. I could
wish that those in high places showed a little more appreciation of
what these faithful servants do, and were not so sparing of their
praise and commendation. The small remuneration they receive can not
make up for the deprivation of the amenities of life which the prison
service entails. Two writers on prison life have expressed themselves
in widely different ways regarding the warders and officers. One writer
compares them to slave-and cattle-drivers; another expresses surprise
that they are as good as they are. As, I trust, an impartial observer,
I agree with the latter opinion. Experience has taught me that, in most
cases, if the prisoner is amiable and willing, the officer on her part
is ready to meet the prisoner fully half way–at all events, as far as
circumstances and duty will permit, for the continual daily changes of
duty, from ward to ward and hall to hall, make it nearly impossible
for any officer to acquire a true knowledge of the character of those
under her charge.

It would be interesting if a trained psychologist could watch
and report upon the insidious effect of the repressive rules and
regulations of a prison on the more impressionable officers and
prisoners. When such officers first enter this service they are natural
women with a natural demeanor and expression of countenance. After a
time, however, the molding effects of “standing orders” become apparent
in the sternness of their expression, the harsh tones of their voices,
and the abruptness of their manner.


These “standing orders” may be paraphrased as follows:

“You must not do this or say that, or look sympathetic or friendly, or
converse with prisoners in any way. You must always suspect them of
wishing to do something underhand, sly, and contrary to orders. You
must never let them for a moment out of your sight, or permit them to
suppose that you have either trust or confidence in them. It is your
duty to see that the means of punishment devised by the Penal Code
are faithfully carried out. You are not to trouble yourself about the
result upon the prisoner–that is the affair of the Government.”

Any familiarity on the part of an officer with a prisoner is
strictly forbidden by the rules of prison service, and the slightest
manifestation of the sort would entail serious punishment on the
officer. Surely this is not as it should be; on the contrary, greater
discretionary power should be permitted to officers in their relations
with prisoners, for the influence for good which a kind, well-disposed
officer could exert upon a prisoner is incalculable. But all this
possible influence for good is denied expression by the spirit of
mistrust and suspicion which pervades the entire prison administration.
This is one of the most regrettable features of the system. No officer
is trusted by her superior, and no prisoner, however exemplary her
conduct, may be trusted by any one officially connected with the

An officer who commits a breach of any rule laid down for her may be
fined a sum varying from one to ten shillings, and if the offense is a
grave one she may be discharged.


When will those connected with prisons awake to the fact that the
criminal is mentally diseased? Ninety-nine out of a hundred criminals,
when not such by accident, through poverty, or environment, come
to their lot through inherited, malformed brains. It ought to be
the sacred duty of earnest men to deal kindly, intelligently, and
patiently with them. The prison, which is now a dreadful place of
punishment and humiliation, ought to be made a home of regeneration and
reformation, in which intelligent effort is made to raise the prisoner
to a higher level; and this surely is not done by withdrawing all the
refining influences.

I hope the time is not far off when men and women will take more of
a heart interest in prisoners, and when, no matter how low they may
have sunk, an opportunity to live honestly will be given them on their
release; when the society against which they have sinned will treat
them so kindly that for very shame they will seek to do better, and
repentance shall enter into the most darkened soul. The “eye for an
eye and tooth for a tooth” doctrine is not a part of the Christian
dispensation. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave his last supreme lesson, as he
turned toward the thief at his side on the cross, and there put an end
to that old law forever.


There is some good to be found in the worst criminal, which, if
nourished by patience and sympathy, will grow into more good. I speak
from a large, intimate personal experience, for during my imprisonment
it was my happy fortune to evoke kindly reciprocations from some of the
worst and most degraded characters. I will cite an instance.

One day I was crossing the hall when a fight occurred. I can not
describe it–it was too horrible. The crowd surged toward me, and I was
being drawn in among the combatants, when one of them, catching sight
of me, stepped out with a face streaming with blood, and pushed me into
an open cell, closing the door after me. When I thanked her the next
day she replied:

“Why, bless your heart, Mrs. Maybrick, did you think I would let them
hurt a hair of your head?”

I believe I had the sympathy and respect of all my fellow prisoners,
and when I left Aylesbury, my feelings were those of mingled relief
and regret. I could not but feel attached to those with whom I had
lived and suffered and worked for so many weary years. I knew, perhaps,
more of the life history of these poor women, their inner thoughts and
feelings, than any one else in the prison. In suffering, in sympathy,
in pity, we were all akin. In the association hour they would bring me
their letters from home to read, and show me the photographs of their
children or other dear ones, while tears would course down their cheeks
at the memory of happier days.


Many opinions have been written regarding prisons, but with few
exceptions they are the observations of outsiders, which means, they
must of necessity be to a certain extent superficial.

I have touched only a few spots of the great diseased system of prison
management, but what public opinion did to ameliorate past abuses,
public opinion can still do to improve the treatment of to-day’s
criminal. A little over a hundred years ago there were thirty-four
offenses in England punishable by capital punishment. To-day there is
only one. Charles Dickens did more than any agency toward doing away
with imprisonment for debt, yet last year there were no less than
eleven thousand prisoners in confinement for debt in English prisons.
How many of these have since joined the ranks of the criminals through
loss of self-respect? What has been the effect upon their wives and
families? Why is a man imprisoned for debt? Certainly not to enable him
to pay it. He can earn nothing while in prison, where he is supported
at the expense of the state; and if he has a wife or family, they
either become dependent on the rates, or incur debts which he will
have to pay on his release. Again, he may not improbably lose his
employment, and have to look out for another when liberated, and his
imprisonment does not make it more easy, either to procure work or
to perform it efficiently. The ground of imprisonment is dishonesty.
But is not actual dishonesty sufficiently met by the criminal law?
In what sense is the debtor dishonest? Is it meant that he has money
in his pocket and refuses to pay his debts? Is it not rather that he
ought to have had money? It is proved perhaps that he is earning so
much per week, possibly, but how long had he been earning and how long
was he out of employment before that? Has he had sickness? There have
been many instances where a man was in the hospital when the committal
order was made, and was seized and carried off to prison immediately
on discharge. If non-payment of a debt is not a crime, why is he in
prison for it? If it is a crime, why has he not the benefit of a trial
by jury on the ability or inability of paying his debts? And why
should not the Home Office or other appellate tribunal have the power
of revising his sentence? If the debtor has goods that can be seized,
let them be seized; if there is money coming to him, let the creditor
attach it; if it comes within the scope of the bankruptcy law, let
him be adjudicated and examined on oath to every shilling that he has
received or spent. But why, in the name of justice and humanity, treat
him as a criminal, prevent him from earning his bread, and make him
an incumbrance on the State, exposing his wife and daughter to ruin,
degrading him, lowering his self-respect, and subjecting him to the
taint of the prison atmosphere, without satisfactory evidence of his
ability to pay at the time of committal? Several prisoners that I came
in contact with were made criminals because their husbands had left
their families destitute because imprisoned for debt.


After I had been incarcerated for a few years I found out that it was
usual in the case of a life convict who has earned good marks to have
her sentence brought up for consideration after she has served fifteen
years. A life sentence usually means twenty years, and three months is
taken off each year as a reward for good conduct. In February, 1903, I
was definitely informed that my case would follow the ordinary course.
I have been accused of obtaining my release by “trickery,” but these
facts speak for themselves.

The impression has also been given by the press that great leniency
was shown in my case, and that through the intervention of friends
the Home Office released me before the expiration of my sentence. No
exceptional leniency whatever was shown in my case. It depends upon the
prisoner herself whether she is released at an earlier period or serves
the full term of her sentence. By an unbroken record of good conduct I
reduced my life sentence, which is twenty years, to fifteen years; this
expired on the 25th of July, 1904.


As a giant refreshed by sleep, the prison awakens to life, and the
voices of officers, the clang of doors, the ringing of bells echo
throughout the halls. What does it portend? Is it the arrival of some
distinguished visitor from the Home Office? Then I hear the sound of
approaching footsteps, as they come nearer and nearer and then stop at
my cell door. The governor ushers in three gentlemen–one tall and
dark and handsome, but with a stern face; another short, with a white
beard and blue eyes which looked at me somewhat coldly; of the third I
have no distinct recollection. The tall gentleman conversed pleasantly
for several minutes about my work and myself, then passed out on his
tour of inspection. I did not know at the time who these visitors were,
but learned later that the gentleman who spoke to me was the Secretary
of State, Sir Matthew White-Ridley; one of his companions was Sir
Kenelm Digby, and the other Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise, the chairman of
the Prison Committee, who takes a really humane interest in the welfare
of the convicts.

One morning, a week later, I was summoned to appear before the
governor. It is an ordeal to be dreaded by any one who has broken the
rules, but I knew I had not, and therefore concluded that I was wanted
in connection with my work. When I entered the office he looked up with
a kindly smile, which was also reflected in the face of the chief
matron. My attention was arrested. I stood silently waiting for him to
speak. After searching among some papers on the table, he picked up
one and read something to the following effect: “The prisoner, P 29,
Florence E. Maybrick, is to be informed that the Secretary of State
has decided to grant her discharge from prison when she has completed
fifteen years of her sentence, conditional upon her conduct.”

For a moment I failed to grasp the full meaning of these words, but
when I did–how shall I describe the mingled feelings of joy and
thankfulness, of relief and hope, with which I was overwhelmed! I
returned to my cell dazed by the unexpected message for which for so
many long, weary years I had hoped and prayed.

How anxiously I waited for those last few months to pass!


It was Christmas Eve of 1903. I had helped to decorate the chapel with
evergreens, which is the only way in which the greatest festival of
the church’s year is kept in prison. There is no rejoicing allowed
prisoners; no festival meal of roast beef and plum pudding, only the
usual prison diet; and the sad memories of happier days are emphasized
by our bare cells with their maximum of cleanliness and minimum of
comfort. But to me it was the last Christmas in that “house of sorrow,”
and my heart felt the dawning of a brighter day. Only four weeks more
and I would have passed out of its grim gates forever! How I counted
those days, and yet how I shrank from going once more into the world
that had been so cruel, so hostile, so unmerciful, in spite of the fact
that there was no proof that I was the guilty woman they assumed me to
be! But kind friends and loving hearts were waiting to greet me, to
give me refuge and comfort.

On Saturday, the 23d of January, my mother visited me at Aylesbury
Prison for the last time. How many weary and sad hours we had passed in
that visiting-room! Our hearts were too full for much conversation, and
it was with broken voices that we discussed the arrangements made for
my departure on the following Monday.

The last Sunday I spent in prison I felt like one in a dream. I could
not realize that to-morrow, the glad to-morrow, would bring with it
freedom and life. In the evening I was sent for to say “Good-by” to
the governor. Besides the chief matron and the one who was to be my
escort to Truro, no one was aware of the day or hour of my departure
from Aylesbury. Not a word had been said to the other prisoners. I
should like to have said farewell to them, also to the officers whom
I had known for fourteen years (for several had come with us from
Woking Prison); but I thought it best to pass into my new life as
quietly as possible. At my earnest request the Home Office consented
to allow my place of destination to be kept a secret. I felt that I
should derive more benefit from the change of my new environment and
association with others, if my identity and place of retreat were not
known to the public.


Copyright by the London Stereoscopic Co.

RIGHT HON. A. AKERS DOUGLAS, M.P., British Home Secretary at time of
Mrs. Maybrick’s release.]

On Monday, the 25th of January, I was awakened early, and after
laying aside, for the last time, the garments of shame and disgrace,
I was clothed once more in those that represent civilization and
respectability. I descended to the court below, and, accompanied by the
chief matron and my escort, passed silently through the great gates and
out of the prison. At half-past six a cab drove quietly up, and the
matron and I silently stepped in and were driven away to the Aylesbury
Station. On our arrival in London we proceeded at once to Paddington
Station. The noise and the crowds of people everywhere bewildered me.


After an uneventful journey we arrived at Truro at six P.M., and
drove at once to the Home of the Community of the Epiphany, where I
stayed during the remainder of my term of six months. I am told that
some comment has been made on the fact that the Home was a religious
retreat, and that I ought to have been sent to a secular one instead.
I went there entirely of my own desire. On our arrival there I bade a
last farewell to my kind companion–one of the sweetest women it has
been my privilege to meet. The Mother Superior, who had visited me
three months previously at Aylesbury Prison, received me tenderly, and
at once conducted me to my room. How pure and chaste everything looked
after the cold, bare walls of my prison cell! How the restful quiet
soothed my jarred and weakened nerves, and, above all, what comforting
balm the dear Mother Superior and the sweet sisters poured into the
wounds of my riven soul!

I look back upon the six months spent within those sacred walls as the
most peaceful and the happiest–in the true sense–of my life. The
life there is so calm, so holy, and yet so cheerful, that one becomes
infected, so that the sad thoughts flee away, the drooping hands are
once more uplifted, and the heart strengthened to perform the work that
a loving God may have ordained.

I passed several hours of each day working in the sewing-room with the
sisters. During my leisure time I read much, and when the weather was
fine delighted in taking long walks within the lovely grounds that
surround the Home. I did not go out in the country, nor attend the
services on Sunday at the Cathedral.

I left Truro on the 20th of July a free woman–with a ticket-of-leave,
it is true, but as I am exempt from police supervision even in
England, I have no need to consider it in America or elsewhere.

By the courtesy of the American Ambassador, the Hon. Joseph H. Choate,
I was provided with an escort to accompany me and my companion on our
journey from Truro to Rouen, France.

The Hon. John Hay, Secretary of State, Washington; the Hon. Joseph H.
Choate, Mr. Henry White, Chargé d’Affaires, and Mr. Carter, Secretary
of Embassy, at London, have always been most earnest in my cause. I
deeply appreciate their untiring efforts in my behalf.


After staying with my mother for three weeks, on the advice of my
counselors, Messrs. Hayden & Yarrell, of Washington, District of
Columbia, I decided to return to America with Mr. Samuel V. Hayden and
his charming wife. I longed to be once more with my own people, and it
was only physical weakness and nervous prostration that prevented me
from doing so immediately upon my release. I met these good friends at
Antwerp, Belgium, and sailed from there on the Red Star Line steamship
_Vaderland_ for New York. My name was entered on the passenger list as
Rose Ingraham, that I might secure more quiet and privacy; but when
we were a few days out the fact of my identity became known, and with
few exceptions the greatest courtesy, consideration, and delicacy were
shown in the demeanor of the passengers toward me. If any of these
should read these lines I would herewith express to them my grateful
thanks and appreciation; while toward the captain and officers of the
_Vaderland_ I feel especially indebted for their unwearied courtesy and

When I first caught sight of the Statue of Liberty, I, perhaps more
than any one on board, realized the full meaning of what it typifies,
and I felt my heart stirred to its depths at the memory of what all my
countrymen and countrywomen had done for me during the dark days of my
past, to prove that they still carried me in their hearts, though the
great ocean rolled between, and that I had not been robbed of the high
privilege of being an American citizen.

We arrived at New York on the 23d of August. It was a “red-letter” day.
Once more, after many years of suffering and when I had long despaired
of ever seeing the beloved faces of my friends again, my feet once
again pressed the sacred soil of my native land.


A time will come when the world will acknowledge that the verdict which
was passed upon me is absolutely untenable. But what then? Who shall
give back the years I have spent within prison walls; the friends by
whom I am forgotten; the children to whom I am dead;[4] the sunshine;
the winds of heaven; my woman’s life, and all I have lost by this
terrible injustice? Time may heal the deepest wounds when the balm of
love and sympathy is poured into them. It is well; for if mental wounds
proved as fatal as those of the body, the prison death-roll would
indeed be a long one.


[4] The innocents–my children–one a baby of three years, the other a
boy of seven, I had left behind in the world. They had been taught to
believe that their mother was guilty, and, like their father, was to
them dead. They have grown up to years of understanding under another
name. I know nothing about them. When the pathos of all this touches
the reader’s heart he will realize the tragedy of my case.

During the early years of my imprisonment I received my children’s
photographs once a year; also several friendly letters from Mr.
Thomas Maybrick, with information about them. But as time passed on,
these ceased altogether. When I could endure the silence no longer I
instructed Mr. R. S. Cleaver, of Liverpool–who had been the solicitor
in my case, and to whose unwavering faith and kindness I owe a debt I
can never hope to repay–to write to Mr. Michael Maybrick to forward
fresh photographs of my boy and girl. To this request Mr. Thomas
Maybrick replied that Mr. Michael Maybrick refused to permit it. When
the matter was further urged Mr. Michael Maybrick himself wrote to the
governor to inform me that my son, who had been made acquainted with
the history of the case, did not wish either his own or his sister’s
photograph to be sent to me.





The jury’s verdict of guilty was rendered on August 7, 1889. The
evidence at the trial, as well as the learned judge’s “summing up,” was
reported almost verbatim in the English press. The result was that,
not only in Liverpool, but in almost every city, town, and village
of the United Kingdom, men and women of every class and grade of
society arrived at the conclusion that the verdict was erroneous–as
not founded upon evidence, but upon the biased and misleading summing
up of the case by the mentally incompetent judge. Within a few days
my lawyers, the Messrs. Cleaver, of Liverpool, who had notified the
press that they would supply forms of petition, were inundated with
applications. For the first two days they issued one thousand a day,
and I have been informed that no less than five thousand petitions for
a reprieve, representing nearly half a million signatures, were sent to
the Home Secretary within the following ten days. In response to these,
the Home Office issued to the press the following decision:

“After the fullest consideration, and after taking the best medical
and legal advice that could be obtained, the Home Secretary advised
Her Majesty to respite the capital punishment of Florence Elizabeth
Maybrick and to commute the punishment to penal servitude for life;
inasmuch as, although the evidence leads to the conclusion that the
prisoner administered and attempted to administer arsenic to her
husband with intent to murder him, yet it does not wholly exclude
a reasonable doubt _whether his death was in fact caused by the
administration of arsenic_.”


Thus it will be seen that the Home Secretary, Mr. Matthews, ignored
the important statement of the judge at the trial, when, in giving
emphasis to his remarks, he told the jury that: “It is _essential_ to
this charge _that the man died of arsenic_. This question must be the
foundation of a judgment unfavorable to the prisoner, that he died
of arsenic.” Then Mr. Matthews, on reviewing the evidence given at
the trial, finding it impossible to justify the verdict, because the
evidence “does not wholly exclude a reasonable doubt whether his [James
Maybrick’s] death was in fact caused by the administration of arsenic,”
which question was to be the foundation of a judgment unfavorable to
me, instead of giving his prisoner the benefit of the reasonable
doubt, took it upon himself to apply the spirit of the law and of the
constitution, by making use of a wrongful conviction for one offense
charged in order to punish me for a different offense for which I had
never been tried, but with which he, without any public trial, charged
me, viz., “administering and attempting to administer arsenic” to my


These charges, made by Mr. Matthews in 1889, have never been defined;
nor has any statement been submitted to me or my legal advisers of
the evidence relied on to prove them; nor have I been afforded an
opportunity of being heard by counsel in answer to them, nor of
pleading anything in reply to them. Had a second trial been granted
me, I should have seen the evidence upon which the new charges were
made against me, and in open court I could have confronted the
witnesses. But Mr. Matthews sentenced me to penal servitude for life
(without giving me a chance to defend myself against the charges)
which involved nine months’ solitary confinement in my case–in
itself a most excessive punishment for the untried and, consequently,
unproven charges. He sent me to suffer fourteen and one-half years
on suspicion–a suspicion not warranted by any evidence given at the
trial. The new evidence, which has been obtained since my conviction,
is admitted by all fair-minded persons to be of such a nature that it
would satisfy any intelligent jury that I was not only wrongfully found
guilty of murder, but was most wrongfully treated by Mr. Matthews.
It completely exonerates me from the charge of murder as well as
“administering and attempting to administer arsenic.” Since this
evidence was published, no one has attempted to justify the conviction
or the sentence passed upon me.

Had the jury, instead of finding a verdict of “guilty” of murder,
returned a verdict in the same terms as the finding of Mr. Matthews,
the judge must have entered it as “not guilty” and discharged me.


Well might the Lord Chief Justice Russell of Killowen write me, as he
did on the 27th of June, 1895, telling me that he had never relaxed his
efforts to urge my release, and saying:

ROYAL COURT, 27th June, 1895.


DEAR MADAM: I have been absent on circuit; hence my delay in answering
your letter.

I beg to assure you that I have never relaxed my efforts where any
suitable opportunity offered to urge that your release ought to be
granted. I feel as strongly as I have felt from the first that you
ought never to have been convicted, and this opinion I have very
clearly expressed to Mr. Asquith, but I am sorry to say hitherto
without effect.

Rest assured that I shall renew my representations to the incoming
Home Secretary, whoever he may be, as soon as the Government is formed
and the Home Secretary is in a position to deal with such matters.

I am,

This also seems to be the opinion of the leading counsel for the
prosecution, Mr. Addison, Q.C., M.P. (now Judge Addison, of the
Southwark County Courts), who is reported to have said, after the
summing up, that “the jury could not, especially in view of the medical
evidence, find a verdict of guilty.” This statement will be found in
Sir Charles Russell’s protest to Mr. Matthews.


The public are not probably fully aware how much intensity of feeling
and earnest work has been expended on my case during the fourteen and
one-half years of my imprisonment. The Home Office knows. Men in high
positions in both political parties in England have often united in
demanding a new trial. The almost invariable reply has been that the
best means to effect my release was to obtain new facts or evidence,
and submit these to the Home Secretary for his consideration. Those
well-meaning advisers seemed to forget that the half million of
petitioners for my reprieve or free pardon in England–not to count
those in America–were not moved thereto by new facts or evidence,
but by the absence of facts or evidence sufficient to prove that the
alleged crime had been committed by any one, or that either guilt or
complicity in that crime, if crime it were, attached to me. Surely it
is not the business of the public nor of individual citizens to prove
the innocence of any unhappy person whom process of law selects for
punishment, while it _is_ the business of every citizen to see that the
courts incontestably prove the guilt of any person accused of a crime
before sentence is passed, in the following manner:

1. It must be proved that a crime has been committed.

2. It must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person
is the one who committed it.


Neither condition has yet been fulfilled in my case. The evidence on
which a half million petitioners said and say I was unjustly condemned
is sufficient in itself. While it is true if a new trial had been
granted me I could have produced new evidence that overwhelmingly
demonstrated my innocence, it is also true that more facts or new
evidence were not requisite to enable justice to be done.


The doctors who gave evidence in favor of death by arsenical poisoning
all stated that they would not have felt certain on the subject if
the one-tenth of a grain of arsenic had not been found in the body.
Therefore, since the presence of that arsenic could be otherwise
accounted for, I was entitled to an acquittal even on the evidence
of the Crown medical witnesses. Moreover, the symptom on which two
or three doctors for the prosecution laid most stress–continuous
vomiting–was referred by the third to morphia administered by himself.
All three were examined before any evidence of Mr. Maybrick’s habit
of arsenic taking was given. Had they believed him to be an arsenic
eater, they might have arrived at a different conclusion. The doctors
for the defense, who declared that Mr. Maybrick’s symptoms were not
those of arsenical poisoning, were men of far more experience as
regards poisons than the Crown medical witnesses. The quantity of
arsenic found in the body was, in their opinion, quite consistent with
administration in medicinal doses, and might have been introduced a
considerable time before.

The proved administration of poison with intent to kill is punishable
by penal servitude, but not necessarily for life–sometimes for only
three years; but the charge must be proved in open court to be a
felonious attempt by some means actually used to effectuate the intent,
and it remains with the prosecution to produce the necessary evidence
that the means used were sufficient for the accomplishment of the

The medical evidence proved that the quantity of arsenic–one-tenth
of a grain–found in Mr. Maybrick’s body was not sufficient to have
produced death.


_The Times_ of August 8, 1889, declared that, of the hundreds of
thousands of persons who followed the case with eager interest and
attention, not one in three was prepared for the verdict. The large
majority had believed that, in the presence of such contradictory
evidence, the jury would give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt and
bring in a verdict as much like the Scotch “not proven” as is permitted
by English law.


There was strong prejudice against me, due to the numerous false and
sensational reports circulated by the press during the interval between
the arrest and the trial. The jury belonged to a class of men who were
not competent to weigh technical evidence,[5] and no doubt attached
great weight to the opinions of the local physicians, one of whom was
somewhat of a celebrity. But the main element in the conviction was
Justice Stephen, whose mind, undoubtedly owing to incipient insanity
(he died insane a year later), was incapable of dealing with so
intricate a case.


The Liverpool _Daily Post_, as I am told, had been hostile rather than
favorable toward me, but, on the death of Lord Chief Justice Russell,
that journal, in articles of August 13 and 14, 1900, showed that it
fully appreciated the unfairness of my trial, for it stated that no
human being ought to be handed over to be tried by a “mad judge.” The
following is taken from _The Post_ of August 13, 1900:

“The death of the Lord Chief Justice may have recalled to the minds
of some Liverpool folk a sad and sordid tragedy enacted among them
eleven years ago, in which he was a principal performer. To those
who were there, a vivid recollection still persists of that bright
July morning when a thronged court, hushed in expectancy, awaited
the beginning of the Maybrick trial. In fancy one still hears the
distant fanfare of the trumpets as the judges with quaint pageantry
passed down the hall, and still with the mind’s eye sees the stately
crimson-clad figure of the great mad judge as he sat down to try his
last case. A tragedy, indeed, was played upon the bench no less than
in the dock.

“Few who looked upon the strong, square head can have suspected that
the light of reason was burning very low within; yet as the days of
the trial dragged by–days that must have been as terrible to the
judge as to the prisoner–men began to nod at him, to wonder, and to
whisper. Nothing more painful was ever seen in court than the proud
old man’s desperate struggle to control his failing faculties. But the
struggle was unavailing. It was clear that the growing volume of facts
was unassorted, undigested in his mind; that his judgment swayed
backward and forward in the conflict of testimony; that his memory
failed to grip the most salient features of the case for many minutes
together. It was shocking to think that a human life depended upon the
direction of this wreck of what was once a great judge.”


The charge of Mr. Justice Stephen to the jury positively teemed with
misstatements as to the evidence given during the trial. I quote a
statement from the same journal in its issue of August 17, 1900:

“I should be very sorry to think that the same number of errors as to
the matters of fact given in the evidence had ever been made in any
judge’s charge. It simply swarms with them, and as the jury at the end
of a long trial is likely to prefer the judge’s résumé to their own
recollection, I doubt if the verdict in the Maybrick case was founded
on the evidence at all. And if I am right in thinking that the jurors
founded their verdict on the judge’s recapitulation of the evidence
rather than on the evidence itself, I do not see how any counsel could
have saved the prisoner.”

That the jury “did not hear the whole of the evidence very distinctly”
is admitted by one of them in the Liverpool _Daily Post_ of August 10,
1889. Consequently they were likely to be unduly influenced by the
judge’s charge. There is no evidence that the jury detected the judge’s
misstatements, as a more intelligent jury certainly would have done.
Their minds were “taken captive” by the charge of Justice Stephen, and
they were as “clay in the hands of the potter.”


The Lord Chief Justice sent the Home Secretary a memorandum consisting
of twenty folios, in which he stated the strong opinion that “Mrs.
Maybrick ought to be released at once.” The Lord Chief Justice also
requested that the contents of his memorandum be made public. Yet when
asked in the House of Commons to lay the document on the table of the
House in order that it might be accessible to the members, the Home
Secretary emphatically declined. The London _Daily Mail_, in a leader
on this incident, said:

“The only conceivable reasons for declining to give publicity to the
letter, which was actually intended for publication, are apparently
official red tape and the fear of giving new life to the agitation
in favor of Mrs. Maybrick’s release. This result will be almost as
effectually achieved by surrounding the case with further mystery and
leaving upon the public mind the grave suspicion that justice may not
have been done.”


The following extracts are taken from the “Life of Lord Russell of
Killowen” by R. Barry O’Brien.

“In November, 1895, he [Lord Russell] wrote to Sir Matthew
White-Ridley (page 260), conveying his strong and emphatic opinion
that Florence Maybrick ought never to have been convicted; that her
continued imprisonment is an injustice which ought promptly to be
ended, and added: ‘I have never wavered in this opinion. After her
conviction I wrote and had printed a memorandum, which I presume
is preserved at the Home Office. Lest it should not be, I herewith
transmit a copy.’

“As is known, what happened was that Mr. Matthews, after consultation
with the present Lord Chancellor, Lord Salisbury, and Mr. Justice
Stephen, and after seeing Dr. Stephenson, the principal Crown witness,
and also the late Dr. Tidy, respited the capital sentence on the
expressed ground that there was sufficient doubt whether death had
been caused by arsenical poisoning to justify the respite.

“It will be seen (1) that such a doubt existed as to the commission
of the offense for which Florence Maybrick was tried as rendered it
improper, in the opinion of the Home Secretary and his advisers, that
the capital sentence should be carried out; and (2) that for more
than six years Florence Maybrick has been suffering imprisonment on
the assumption of Mr. Matthews that she committed an offense for which
she was never tried by the constitutional authority and of which she
has never been adjudged guilty.”

From page 261: “This is in itself a most serious state of things. It
is manifestly unjust that Florence Maybrick should suffer for a crime
in regard to which she has never been called upon to answer before any
lawful tribunal.

“Is it not obvious that if the attempt to murder had been the offense
for which she was arraigned, the course of the defense would have been
different? I speak as her counsel of what I know. Read the report
of the defense, and you will see that I devoted my whole strength
to and massed the evidence upon the point that the prosecution had
misconceived the facts, that the foundation on which the whole case
rested was rotten, for that, in fact, there was no murder; that, on the
contrary, the deceased had died from natural causes.

“It is true that incidental reference was made to certain alleged
acts of Florence Maybrick, but the references were incidental only;
the stress of my argument being, in fact, that _no murder had been
committed, because the evidence did not warrant the conclusion that the
deceased had died from arsenical poisoning_. On the other hand, had
the Crown counsel suggested the case of attempt to murder by poison,
it would have been the duty of counsel to address himself directly and
mainly to the alleged circumstances which, it was argued, pointed to
guilty intent. That these alleged circumstances were capable in part
of being explained, in part of being minimized, and in part of being
attacked as unreliably vouched, can not, I think, be doubted by any one
who has with a critical eye scanned the evidence. I do not deny that my
feelings are engaged in this case. It is impossible that they should
not be, but I have honestly tried to judge the case, and I now say that
_if I was called upon to advise in my character of head of the Criminal
Judicature of this country, I should advise you that Florence Maybrick
ought to be allowed to go free_.”

From page 262: “I think it my duty to renew my protest against the
continued imprisonment of Florence Maybrick. I consider the history of
the case reflects discredit on the administration of the criminal law.
I think my protest ought to be attended to at last. The prisoner has
already undergone punishment for a period four times as long, or more,
as the minimum punishment fixed by law for the commission of the crime,
of which she has never been convicted or for which she has never been
tried, but for which she has been adjudged guilty by your predecessor
in the office of Home Secretary.”


The following is quoted from the American Official Petition sent to the
Rt. Hon. Henry Matthews, Q.C., M.P., Her Majesty’s principal secretary
for the Home Department:

“As Florence Elizabeth Maybrick is an American woman, without father,
brother, husband, or kin in England, except two infant children,
enduring penal servitude for life in Woking Prison;

“As the conduct of her trial resulted in a profound impression of a
miscarriage of justice, in an earnest protest against the verdict, and
the execution of the sentence of death, and its commutation to penal
servitude for life on the ground of reasonable doubt whether a murder
had been committed;

“As a careful legal scrutiny of the evidence given at the trial
by eminent solicitors, barristers, queen’s counsel, and members
of Parliament, and the production of facts not in evidence at the
trial have resulted in a final decision of counsel that the case
is one proper for the grave consideration of a criminal appellate
tribunal–if such a tribunal existed;

“Therefore, we earnestly ask that the Rt. Hon. Henry Matthews,
Q.C., M.P., Her Majesty’s principal secretary of state for the Home
Department, will advise Her Majesty to order the pardon and release of
the prisoner, who has now suffered an imprisonment of three years.

“LEVI P. MORTON, Vice-President of the United States, President of
the Senate.

“CHARLES T. CRISP, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“CHARLES FOSTER, Secretary of the Treasury.

“JAMES G. BLAINE, Secretary of State.

“S. B. ELKINS, Secretary of War.

“W. H. MILLER, Attorney-General.

“JOHN WANAMAKER, Postmaster-General.

“B. T. TRACY, Secretary of the Navy.

“JOHN B. NOBLE, Secretary of the Interior.

“G. M. RUSK, Secretary of Agriculture.


“J. M. SCOFIELD, Major-General Commanding the Army.

“A. W. TRULY, Brigadier-General-in-Chief, Signal Office.

“THOMAS LINCOLN CASEY, Brigadier-General-in-Chief of Engineers.

“JOSEPH CABELL BRECKENRIDGE, Brigadier-General, Infantry-General.

“J. O. KELTON, Brigadier-General, Adjutant-General.

“WILLIAM SMITH, Paymaster-General.

“H. M. BATCHELDER, General-Quartermaster-General.

“B. DUBARRY, General and Commanding General Infantry.

“O. SUTHERLAND, General Infantry General.

“D. W. FLAGLER, Chief of Ordnance.

“J. NORMAN LISBER, Acting Judge-Advocate-General.

“THOMAS EWING, Brevet-Major-General, U. S. A., and many others.”


I will conclude by quoting the letter of Secretary Blaine to Mr. Robert
Lincoln, then Minister to the Court of St. James. It will be seen that
Mr. Blaine was of opinion that I had lost my citizenship. Since this
letter was written it has been decided by the Supreme Court of the
United States that a woman married to a foreigner, on the death of her
husband can, on application, be reinstated to citizenship.

[Illustration: HON. JAMES G. BLAINE, American Secretary of State,

“March 7, 1892.

“MY DEAR MR. LINCOLN: As Mrs. Maybrick lost her American citizenship
by her English marriage, and as I fear she does not resume it by her
widowhood, I can not instruct you officially as to the course you
should pursue toward her.

“But her American and Southern birth, her connection with many
families of the highest respectability and even of prominence in the
country’s service, have attracted much attention to her fate.

“I have no other interest in her than an interest which you and
I share in common with all our countrymen–the desire to help an
American woman in distress. That she may have been influenced by the
foolish ambition of too many American girls for a foreign marriage,
and have descended from her own rank to that of her husband’s family,
which seems to have been somewhat vulgar, must be forgiven to her
youth, since she was only eighteen at the time of her marriage.

“There is a wide and widening belief in this country that she is
legally innocent and illegally imprisoned. The official charge of the
judge that murder must be proved and the official announcement of the
Home Secretary that the evidence leaves a ‘reasonable doubt’ of murder
are the premises of but one conclusion–the discharge of the prisoner.

“The fact that she was never indicted or tried by a jury of her peers
on a specific count of felonious attempt to administer arsenic, yet
is condemned to penal servitude for life on the Home Secretary’s
statement that she evidently made such an attempt, can never be
reconciled to the English principle that an accused person shall be
tried by a jury of his peers. Lawyers here are among the strongest
believers in the illegality of her imprisonment. Indeed, the sense of
injustice is developing and deepening into horror.

“Officially I could only instruct you on behalf of a multitude of
American citizens to investigate her case. Personally I beg to
express to you my deep interest in it, and pray you, if possible, to
communicate with Messrs. Lumley and Sir Charles Russell as to any
method of American cooperation which may seem to them desirable.

“Messrs. Lumley have made a very able brief, which I am sure would
interest you, and which seems to me unanswerable. Sir Charles Russell,
whose reputation you know, is her counsel. Consult with them what best
can be done, from an American point of view, to secure Mrs. Maybrick’s
release. And if you shall have read Lumley’s brief, I am sure that
conviction will lead you to personal activity in her behalf.

“You can communicate with me in strict confidence, as from one
American citizen to another, for the relief of an American woman
helplessly enduring a great wrong.

“Believe me, etc.,

And yet it required the time from March 7, 1892, until July 20, 1904,
to attain my liberation; and then it was accomplished by time limit and
by no act of grace or concession on the part of the English Government.


_The Strand Magazine_, London, in its November number, 1900, published
an article by Henry W. Lucy, Esq., who, speaking of the late Lord Chief
Justice Russell, says:

“The most remarkable episode in Charles Russell’s career at the bar
undoubtedly was his defense of Mrs. Maybrick.

“I happened to find myself in the same hotel with him at Liverpool
on the morning of the day set down for the opening of the trial. At
breakfast he spoke in confident terms of his client’s innocence and of
the surety of her acquittal. He did not take into account the passing
mood of the judge who tried the case, and so found himself out of his
reckoning; but the verdict of the jury, still less the summing-up of
Fitz-James Stephen, did not shake his conviction. Sir Charles Russell
was of all men least likely to be misled by appearances or deliberate
deception; having probed the case to the bottom, having turned his
piercing eyes on the woman in the dock, having talked to her in
private and studied her in public, he was convinced of her innocence.

“Lord Landoff was a lawyer of high position at the English bar when,
as Mr. Henry Matthews, he came into the Home Office.

“The verdict of the jury was ‘guilty,’ and her sentence was death,
which was a real surprise, as was afterward learned, even to the
judge, Sir Fitz-James Stephen. If Mr. Matthews believed her guilty,
he should not have commuted her sentence upon the ground that he
assigned. If she was guilty she well deserved death on the scaffold.
The evidence, however, satisfied Mr. Matthews that there was
reasonable doubt that the death of Mr. Maybrick was due to arsenic.
In this view, as is well known, he was sustained by Justice Stephen.
If such a doubt really came into Mr. Matthews’s mind, as was made the
ground of the commutation of the sentence, _under English law that
doubt entitled the accused to acquittal_.

“Why he lacked the courage of his convictions can only be surmised. At
all events he did not dare to take the responsibility of allowing her
to be executed.

“The intercession of the American Government through Mr. Blaine,
Secretary of State, was urgent, strong, and most intense. It is
incredible that Mr. Matthews desired any loophole to release her. The
case was full of them.

“Sir Matthew White-Ridley was not a lawyer, and there is no
probability that he ever read the evidence in the case, which was
voluminous. He could not have read the papers in three days if he had
attempted it. He simply followed his predecessor’s line and was not
able to take up the case on its merits.”


This statement of Mr. Lucy is of great value as an answer to the
assault made on Lord Russell’s memory after his death, on his firm
belief in my innocence.

Lord Hugh Cecil wrote to a constituent:

“I believe I am right in stating that he (Lord Russell) never said
that he believed Mrs. Maybrick to be innocent.”

When this was shown Lord Russell by Mr. A. W. McDougall, Esq., the
Chief Justice exclaimed:

“Does Lord Hugh Cecil suppose that I would abandon all the traditions
of the Bar and put forward publicly as an argument in such a case my
personal belief in this, that, or the other thing? Does he suppose
that I would have made all the efforts I have been making to obtain
her freedom if I believed her to be guilty?”


“Personal Rights,” of November 15, in commenting on the statement of
Mr. Lucy in _The Strand Magazine_, says:

“We do not share the belief that Sir Fitz-James Stephen was insane in
any plenary sense at the time of the trial; but we are convinced that
he was not fully sane. His charge to the jury, the report of which
is reproduced in full in Mr. Levy’s book, is grotesquely inaccurate;
and if the jury took it to be a compendium of the evidence–as they
probably did–the result of their deliberation is fully accounted
for. Indeed, if the facts were such as the judge stated, the verdict
could hardly be impugned. How different they were may be seen by any
one who compares the evidence with the judge’s charge, in the book
already referred to. To take a single instance: the judge stated that,
according to the evidence of Alice Yapp, at the commencement of Mr.
Maybrick’s illness, he was very sick and in great pain immediately
after some medicine was given to him by his wife. Alice Yapp swore
nothing of the kind. She saw neither any administration of medicine
nor any sickness. We could give other instances of gross inaccuracy,
generally leading to the conclusion of the prisoner’s guilt; but, for
our present purpose, the above incident will suffice.

“If this was the character of the judge’s charge to the jury, what
confidence can be placed in his notes? Still upon those notes was
probably based the conclusions of successive Home Secretaries or of
the officials employed by them. When Mr. Lucy holds up his hands in
astonishment at the marvelous consensus of opinion of various Home
Secretaries, he seems to us to manifest remarkable blindness–for one
so long behind the Speaker’s chair–as to the vicarious nature of
that opinion. It is more than possible that the conclusions of Mr.
Matthews, Mr. Asquith, and Sir Matthew White-Ridley were all drawn
for them by the same gentleman, or, at least, that the same gentleman
helped these various Home Secretaries to come to the same conclusion.

“We hope that Mr. Ritchie, the new Home Secretary, will judge this
matter for himself. Let him read the salient portions, at least, of
Mr. Levy’s book, and, per contra, the article of X. Y. Z. in _The
Contemporary Review_ of September last. If he likes to make the
inquiry, he will find that X. Y. Z. is one of his new permanent
staff, and that the doctrines put forward in the article are the
embodiment of Home Office practise. This is a matter which does not
concern the Maybrick case alone. Scarcely a month passes without some
new manifestation of injustice brought about by adherence to the
traditions of the department over which Mr. Ritchie now presides. If
he will seek out this hydra and slay it, he will leave for himself
an immortal name among Secretaries of State, and–what he will hold
of more importance–he will cut off a permanent source of injustice,
give releasement and joy to the innocent pining in prison, and breathe
a new life into a department which is sadly in need of a renovating

[Illustration: HON. ROBERT T. LINCOLN, American Ambassador to Court of
St. James, 1889-1893.]


In the same number of this journal is an article from “Lex,” a
well-known writer in English journals, which we reproduce:

“SIR: May I call attention to the two articles in the Liverpool
_Post_ of August 13 and 14, in which the utter incompetence of the
judge at the Maybrick trial is strongly asserted? The writer is
distinctly hostile to the prisoner, and writes without any intention
of raising the question whether the trial was not null and void; but
as the English system consists of trial by judge and jury, the total
incompetence of either element should clearly vitiate it. Moreover,
Mr. Ruggles-Brise, on the occasion of a visit to America in 1897,
stated that the reason of the steadfast refusal of _the Home Secretary
to release the prisoner was his desire to uphold the wholesome
authority of the English justiciary_. That authority can not be
regarded as wholesome if the judge was insane. Lord Russell, who was
present throughout the trial, was of different opinion from that of
the judge. He was undoubtedly sane. If Sir J. F. Stephen was insane,
the public will, I think, be of opinion that the sane judge should
have had the most influence with the executive.”


Lord Esher, in _The Times_ of August 17, 1889, strongly advocated
a court of criminal appeal, and _The Times_, in an article of the
same date, supported the views expressed by Lord Esher and by Lord
Fitzgerald, as follows:

“A court of appeal, as Lord Esher sketches it, would not be open
to the objections which can be fairly urged against our present
informal method of procedure. The Home Secretary, as a quasi court
of appeal, is, as Lord Fitzgerald remarks, not a judge and has not
the power of a judge…. The judgment pronounced by a strong court
of criminal appeal, such as Lord Esher’s letter suggests, would do
more to satisfy the public mind than the best efforts of the Home
Secretary could possibly do. The reform which Lord Esher advocates has
been long called for, and Lord Fitzgerald did well to press it on the
Government…. What the public feel is that they would rather have the
fallibility of trained judges than the fallibility of an individual
sitting without any of the apparatus with which a court of law is
enabled to detect truth from falsehood, and perhaps unconsciously
confusing the prerogative of mercy with justice.”


[5] The jury was composed of three plumbers, two farmers, one milliner,
one wood-turner, one provision dealer, one grocer, one ironmonger, one
house-painter, and one baker.


This brief of Messrs. Lumley & Lumley, characterized in the preceding
letter of Secretary Blaine as “very able” and “unanswerable,” is
too long for reproduction in these pages in its entirety, and hence
only the main points are given. The document was prepared at the
instance of Lord Russell of Killowen for submission to himself and
three other Queen’s Counsel, with a view of obtaining a new trial. It
may interest the reader to know that the money required to make this
searching analysis by Messrs. Lumley & Lumley was raised by a popular
subscription in America, through the good offices of the New York
_World_. The eminent Queen’s counsel, after a full consideration of the
analysis of the case, submitted the following opinion:


“Having carefully considered the facts stated in the elaborate case
submitted to us by Messrs. Lumley & Lumley, and the law applicable to
the matter, we are clearly of opinion that there is no mode by which
in this case a new trial or a ‘_venire de novo_’ can be obtained, nor
can the prisoner be brought up on a ‘habeas corpus,’ with the view to
retrying the issue of her innocence or guilt.

“We say this notwithstanding the case of Regina _vs._ Scarfe (17 Q. B.,
238, 5; Cox, C. C., 243; 2 Den., C. C., 281).

“We are of opinion that in English criminal procedure there is no
possibility of procuring a rehearing in the case of felony where
a verdict has been found by a properly constituted jury upon an
indictment which is correct in form. This rule is, in our opinion,
absolute, unless circumstances have transpired, and have been entered
upon the record, which, when there appearing, would invalidate the
tribunal and reduce the trial to a nullity by reason of its not having
been before a properly constituted tribunal. None of the matters
proposed to be proved go to this length.

“We think it right to add that there are many matters stated in the
case, not merely with reference to the evidence at and the incidents
of the trial, but suggesting new facts, which would be _matters proper
for the grave consideration of a Court of Criminal Appeal_, if such a
tribunal existed in this country.


“LINCOLN’S INN, 12th April, 1892.”

* * * * *

This opinion was based upon the following points, presented by Messrs.
Lumley & Lumley:


The _misdirections_ which are selected for consideration may be
conveniently classed, among others, under these headings:

1. As to the facts disclosed in the evidence of the procuring and
possession of arsenic by Mrs. Maybrick and of her administering it.

2. As to the cause of death.

A perusal of the summing-up from beginning to end impresses the mind
with the feeling that, whenever Mr. Justice Stephen approached any fact
offered by the defense which threw light upon _the possession_ and _an
alleged_ administration of arsenic by Mrs. Maybrick, he drew the minds
of the jury away from it; he played, in fact, the part of the peewit,
which swoops and screams in another part of the field on purpose to
hide where its nest is, and to draw the attention of the passers-by
from the right spot.

Mr. Justice Stephen pointed out to the jury in his summing-up: “You
must begin the whole subject of poison with this, which is a remarkable
fact in the case and which it seems to me tells favorably rather than
otherwise for the prisoner. You must take notice of it and consider
what inference you draw from it. In the whole case, from first to
last, there is _no evidence_ at all of her having _bought_ any poison,
or definitely having had anything to do with procuring any, with the
exception of fly-papers. But there is evidence of a considerable
quantity having been found in various things, which were kept some here
and some there–kept principally, as I gather, in the inner room.[6]
… There is evidence about a considerable quantity of poison in this
house, and more particularly about one or two receptacles which were in
the inner room, Mr. Maybrick’s dressing-room, as it has been pointed


From the testimony it appears that on the 27th of April James
Maybrick, before starting to the Wirrall Races, was sick. There is
no actual evidence of vomiting, but he is described as sick, and as
feeling a numbness in his legs while walking downstairs, which was an
old-standing complaint of his of many years. Both he himself and Mrs.
Maybrick told the servants that this was due to a double dose of some
London medicine. He got wet through at the races and dined in his wet
clothes at a friend’s (Mr. Hobson), on the other side of the Mersey,
and did not return home till after the servants had retired to bed;
but the next morning, Sunday, the 28th of April, he was taken ill, and
Mrs. Maybrick sent a servant off hurriedly for Dr. Humphreys, who had
not attended her husband before, but who was the doctor living nearest
the house, and in the mean time got some mustard and water, telling him
to take it, as it would remove the brandy at all events. Dr. Humphreys
attended James Maybrick on the 28th, but was not told by him that he
had vomited the day before.

Mr. Justice Stephen, when referring to this, said: “The Wirrall Races
were followed by symptoms which were described to be arsenical.” It is
submitted that this was a _misdirection_, the symptom there referred
to being sickness, and there was no evidence of vomiting on any of the
days immediately succeeding the Wirrall Races. But on the 28th of April
the mustard and water was given him by Mrs. Maybrick for the purpose of
_producing_ sickness and removing the brandy, and if he had been sick
it would have been attributable to _mustard and water_, not to arsenic.

On the other hand, the medical evidence showed that gastro-enteritis
might have been set up either by improper food or drink, or an excess
of either; or, again, by such a wetting through as deceased got at the
Wirrall Races. On the 8th of May Alice Yapp communicated to Mrs. Briggs
and Mrs. Hughes her suspicions that James Maybrick’s illness was due to
Mrs. Maybrick poisoning him with _fly-papers_.


The purchase and soaking of fly-papers is the only direct evidence of
the possession of arsenic in any form by Mrs. Maybrick, but the judge
told the jury, and it is submitted it is a _gross misdirection_, that
Mrs. Maybrick “_undoubtedly had access to considerable quantities of
arsenic in other forms_,” inasmuch as the _only evidence as to such
access_ was that after the death of James Maybrick these two women,
Mrs. Briggs and Alice Yapp, who exhibited the most unfriendly feeling
toward her, said they had found in the house certain stores of arsenic.

It is submitted for the serious consideration of counsel that the
circumstances under which these two women produced these stores of
arsenic are so suspicious as to justify the suggestion that that
arsenic was not there before his death, and that Mrs. Maybrick never
did have any access to it or knowledge of it at all. There was no
evidence as to where or by whom this arsenic was obtained, nor was
there any evidence that the police had made any effort to discover
where, when, or by whom that arsenic was procured.

[NOTE.–How and when this arsenic may have been procured by Mr.
Maybrick himself will appear further on as a part of the new evidence.]

The places in which arsenic was found were open and accessible to every
one in the house, and no person gave any evidence that he or she had
ever seen it in the house before these two women found it after death.

As regards the black powder (arsenic mixed with charcoal) and the
two solutions of arsenic produced by Mrs. Briggs and Alice Yapp, Mr.
Davies, the analyst, gave evidence that, when analyzing the contents of
the various bottles, he had searched diligently and microscopically for
any traces, and could find no trace of charcoal having been introduced
into any of them. So this circumstantial evidence may be eliminated.

As regards white arsenic, also produced by these women, it must
be observed that not only was it not shown that Mrs. Maybrick had
purchased any, but it is submitted that the judge _ought to have
pointed out to the jury_, as the fact is, that it would have been
almost impossible for her or any woman to have obtained any white
arsenic at all. No shopkeeper dare sell it to any one except to a
medical man, and even then under the stringent restrictions of the Sale
of Poison Act.

At the trial a wholesale druggist (Thompson, of Liverpool) gave
evidence that James Maybrick constantly visited his cousin, who had
been in his employment at his stores, where he could have obtained
white arsenic from him without any difficulty; and it will be observed
that it was found in his hatbox.

It is a remarkable thing in this connection that, while Edwin Maybrick
called the police in on Sunday night, and gave them the black
solutions and white solutions which Mrs. Briggs had found on the Sunday
morning, he did not give them the black powder which Alice Yapp had
found on the-night before; and, in fact, that Michael Maybrick did not
give it to the police until Tuesday, the 14th.

It is also a remarkable fact that, although these black solutions and
that white solution of arsenic and that solid arsenic which Mrs. Briggs
had found, were not handed by the police to the analyst until several
days afterward, and were therefore _not known to be arsenic by anybody,
yet Mrs. Briggs was able to inform Mrs. Maybrick on Tuesday, the 14th,
as was testified to, that these bottles contained arsenic_.

It is submitted that Mrs. Briggs could not have known that without some
other means of knowledge than looking at them.

The importance of this _misdirection_ of the judge as to the question
of possession of arsenic by Mrs. Maybrick can not be overstated. It
was _conclusively_ shown that no decoction of fly-papers or of the
black powder was the source of the arsenic with which certain articles
found in the house and office were said to be infected, because the
analyst said he had searched for the fibers of the papers and for the
charcoal, _and could not find any traces of either_. If Mrs. Maybrick
knew of the pure arsenic, why should she have bought the fly-papers,
either for a cosmetic purpose or murder, and what should she have
wanted with “poison for cats?”


Out of the list submitted by the police, therefore, the only two things
which could have been the source of the arsenic were the bottle of
saturated solution, No. 10 in the Police List, and the bottle of solid
arsenic, No. 11 in the Police List.

It may be observed that if all the arsenic or “traces” of the same,
with which various things were said to be infected, were collected
together, it would not constitute a fatal dose, the smallest fatal dose
recorded being two grains, and this in the case of a woman, and surely
not in the case of a person addicted to large doses of arsenic.

At the inquest Mr. Davies defined what he meant by the word “trace.” He

“It means something under 1/100 part of a grain. It does not mean
something which I could not weigh, but something which I could _not_
guarantee to be absolutely free from other things; but anything under
1/100 part of a grain I should not consider satisfactory. If I said
_distinct traces_, I should say it meant something between 1/100 and
1/1000 part of a grain, while a _minute trace_ is less than 1/1000 part
of a grain.”

In reference to Reinsch’s test which Mr. Davies used in these
experiments, this passage occurs in Taylor’s “Medical Jurisprudence,”
vol. i., p. 268: “The mere presence of a gray deposit on pure copper
affords _no absolute proof_ of the presence of arsenic. Bismuth,
antimony, and mercury all yield deposits with Reinsch’s test. The gray
deposit of bismuth may easily be taken for arsenic.” And again: “The
errors into which the faulty methods of applying Reinsch’s test lead
have led its reliability to be much discredited, and, although in
skilful hands the results are trustworthy, it would be perhaps unsafe
to rely upon it in an important criminal investigation.”

It is submitted that the evidence relating to the articles which Mr.
Davies said were infected with arsenic only to the extent of _an
unweighable trace_ could not and ought not to be regarded as proof
that any arsenic at all was there, or as being anything more _than
a suspicion_ upon this analyst’s mind that what he saw was arsenic,
and that it was a _misdirection_ on the part of Mr. Justice Stephen
to treat a mere expression of opinion of that kind as proof of the
presence of arsenic.


It will be observed that the only things of which James Maybrick could
have partaken [but did not], in which arsenic in a weighable form was
present, were the bottle of Valentine’s meat juice and the pot of
glycerin, and that the arsenic found in them was found in a state of

As regards the half grain of arsenic found in the _meat juice_,
scientific evidence will be forthcoming that it is a physical
impossibility for any person to dissolve half a grain of solid arsenic
in 411 grains of Valentine’s meat juice, which is all the liquid that
was in the bottle when it was handed to Mr. Davies.

Mr. Davies, moreover, found that (although he used very loose and
unscientific language in his evidence) the specific gravity of the meat
juice was considerably reduced, thereby showing that the half grain
of arsenic found in it had been introduced in the form of _arsenic in

It will now be observed that the _only arsenic in solution_ which was
_available_, among the stores of arsenic found in the house, was the
_bottle No. 10_ in the police list, and it is submitted that bottle No.
11 (solid arsenic) must, like the black solutions, _be eliminated_ from
any store of arsenic which Mrs. Maybrick, whether she had access to it
or not, could have employed for the purpose of infecting any of the
things found in the house to be infected.

Mr. Davies described the bottle No. 10 as a saturated solution of white
arsenic, and he stated that it had been dissolved with water, some of
the crystals remaining at the bottom undissolved.

At the inquest he stated, in reply to a question by the coroner:
“The bottle No. 10, which was also in the box, contained a saturated
solution of arsenic and solid arsenic at the bottom. There was no label
on it. It contained, solid and liquid, perhaps two grains–a grain at
all events.”

_So it is evident that there was not a fatal dose even in the stores
which Mrs. Maybrick could have used had she had access to it._

As regards this bottle, Mr. Justice Stephen told the jury: “A saturated
solution is a solution which has taken up as much arsenic as it can,
the water becoming saturated with arsenic; the remainder of the arsenic
is found at the bottom. In this case there was a saturated solution of
arsenic in the water and a small portion of arsenic at the bottom. With
regard to that these questions arise: What was it for? Who is wanting
such a quantity of strong solution of arsenic? Who has put it there and
how is it to be used? These are the questions, in the solution of which
I can not help you. There is nothing definite about it to connect Mr.
Maybrick with it certainly.[7] If he was in the habit of arsenic eating
he would not keep it saturated in water in quantities he could not
possibly use.”

Mr. Davies found that this bottle “contained in solid and liquid
perhaps two grains–a grain at all events.” Now arsenic can be
dissolved in water by two processes. In cold water by shaking it
constantly for several hours (and the strongest solution that can
be obtained by the cold-water process is a one-per-cent. solution,
which is no stronger than the ordinary Fowler’s solution as sold in
the shops). That is called a “saturated solution” by the cold-water
process. A solution of three or even four per cent. can be obtained
with boiling water, but only when the water is kept on the constant
boil for several hours; and that is also called a “saturated solution,”
so that the phrase “saturated solution” may mean either a weak solution
of one per cent., such as is gained by the cold-water process, or a
stronger solution of three per cent. by the boiling-water process, and
Mr. Justice Stephen _misdirected_ the jury as to the meaning of the
phrase “saturated solution.” He should have told them that a “saturated
solution” of arsenic is one which has by any particular process taken
up as much arsenic and _retained it in solution_ as is possible by
that particular process, and that it might consequently be either a
weak or a stronger solution, according as it has been dissolved by the
cold-water or boiling-water process, by shaking for hours or boiling
for hours.

The questions put to the jury by Mr. Justice Stephen upon the
interpretation of the phrase “saturated solution” which he gave,
namely, “How is it to be used?” “Who is wanting such a quantity of
_strong_ solution of arsenic?” are _misdirections_.


Counsel are referred to experiments made with solutions of arsenic by
Mr. E. Godwin Clayton, of the firm of Hassall & Clayton. From these it
will be seen that by the experiment there marked B, where the arsenic
was shaken at intervals of twenty minutes for six hours, the result
shows that it would require 186½ grains of water to carry half a grain
of arsenic. And that by experiment C, which is the strongest possible
solution by the cold-water process, namely, one-per-cent. strength
(equal to Fowler’s solution), it would require 50 grains of water to
carry half a grain, but to obtain this the arsenic has to be shaken
with cold water _at frequent intervals for four days_.

Mr. Godwin Clayton, in his report as to these experiments, remarks:
“I think, however, that as few people outside a chemical laboratory
would have the patience or opportunity to make a solution by shaking
it at short intervals during four days, the solution obtained in
experiment B–namely, an arsenical strength of 0.268 per cent.–might
be described in a popular sense, though not with strict scientific
accuracy, as ‘saturated solution of arsenic.’” But then if that be so,
that is only about a quarter of the strength of Fowler’s solution!
The evidence of Mr. Davies as to the specific gravity of the meat
juice being considerably reduced ought, it is submitted, _not_ to have
been received as scientific evidence, and it was a _misdirection_ to
treat it as such, because without the slightest difficulty, as will be
seen by a reference to Mr. Godwin Clayton’s experiments, Mr. Davies’s
evidence ought to have been scientifically exact, because he could have
shown that (for example) if a solution of the strength of experiment
B had been used, the 411 grains of liquid would have contained 186½
of solution of arsenic and 244½ grains of meat juice; and, further,
that the specific gravity of the meat juice would, in that case, have
been lowered from 1.2143 to 1.1263; and it was, therefore, not only
possible, but the duty of Mr. Davies, as an expert, to have shown, by
comparing the specific gravity of the bottle No. 10 and the specific
gravity of Valentine’s meat juice, that the “arsenic in solution” which
had been introduced into it had been introduced into it out of that
particular bottle, No. 10.

Then, again, it will be seen from these experiments of Mr. Godwin
Clayton that if the solution in bottle No. 10 had been a strong
hot-water solution of three per cent., the specific gravity would not
have been considerably reduced, because the meat juice would in that
case have contained only 15½ grains of arsenical solution. To have
obtained such a solution, the “arsenic powder” must have been boiled
with distilled water for four hours; and it is submitted that it would
have been _impossible_, in the first place, for Mrs. Maybrick, or
any person outside a laboratory, to have adopted such a process of
dissolving arsenic without the knowledge of the servants or anybody
else; and, further, that even if she could have done this, she could
not have possibly weighed out exactly half a grain of it, which is
what Mr. Davies found; and it is suggested that the only way in which
that half grain of arsenic could possibly have been measured into
that bottle, must have been by introducing Fowler’s solution, _and
no Fowler’s solution was found in the house_–and in no way was it
suggested that Mrs. Maybrick had any access to any, though others in
that house may have been able to procure such a medicinal dose of it.


As regards the glycerin, Inspector Baxendale said he found this
bottle in the lavatory on the 18th of May. There was no evidence that
this bottle had ever been in Mrs. Maybrick’s hands, and there was no
evidence that any part of it had been used by James Maybrick. There was
evidence that it was a freshly opened bottle. Scientific evidence will
be forthcoming that it is _an absolute impossibility_ for any person
to distribute arsenic evenly through a pound of glycerin.

It is suggested that there is no possible means by which that glycerin
could have been administered with a felonious intent to James Maybrick;
the mere moistening the lips with small quantities of it could not have
operated in that way.

Scientific evidence will be forthcoming that glycerin, when kept in
glass bottles, generally does contain arsenic, which it extracts from
the glass of the bottle.

In 1888 Jahns drew attention to arsenic being present in
glycerin–_Chemische Zeitung_.

In 1889 Vulpius also drew attention to it–_Apotheker Zeitung_.

Siebold (see _Pharmaceutical Journal_, 5th October, 1889) said, at
the Pharmaceutical Conference, on the 11th September, 1889, that his
experiments were made with toilet and pharmaceutical glycerin, and that
the majority showed presence of arsenious acid, varying from 1 grain
in 4,000 to 1 grain in 5,000.

It may be pointed out that this is _a larger quantity_ than Mr. Davies
found, which was only “about 1/10 of a grain in 1,000 grains.”

The evidence relating to the administration of glycerin was that of
Nurse Gore and Nurse Callery, and was to the effect that on Thursday
night they refreshed James Maybrick’s mouth with _glycerin and borax
mixed in a saucer_ that was on the table in the sick-room, and that
Mrs. Maybrick had brought the glycerin that was used either from the
medicine cupboard in her room or from the washstand drawer.

The attention of counsel is called to the fact that this saucer of
mixed glycerin and borax which was actually used _was not produced_
at the trial, but Justice Stephen, when summing up to the jury, said:
“Then you get the _blue_ bottle which contained Price’s glycerin. Here
is the bottle, which there is no evidence to show that Mrs. Maybrick
had even seen or touched; a considerable portion is still left. That
glycerin was found in the lavatory outside, and if the bottle were
filled and the same proportion of arsenic added, there would be
two-thirds of a grain of arsenic in it. You have heard already that
his mouth was moistened with glycerin and borax apparently the night
before he died. If that be so, and the glycerin be really poison, it is
certainly a very shocking result to arrive at.” Sir Charles Russell: “I
think the evidence of Nurse Gore is that the bottle that was used the
night before was taken, not from the lavatory, but from the cupboard
of the washstand.” His Lordship: “It does not follow that that was the
same bottle. One does not know the history of that bottle or where it
went to. It may or may not have been the glycerin which was used for
the purpose I have mentioned, namely, for moistening the lips. But it
does appear in the case that a bottle was found in the lavatory, and
that it contained a grain of arsenic, and that his mouth was moistened
with glycerin and borax during the night in question; but the identity
between that bottle and the bottle which contained the glycerin is not
established and not proved.”

It is submitted that the above was an _unfair and inflammatory
suggestion_, and amounts to a gross MISDIRECTION, especially after
all the evidence about the condition of deceased’s tongue and his
complaining of a sensation as of a hair in his throat.

This concludes the whole of the evidence to any articles containing
arsenic which were found in the house, in which the arsenic was present
in anything except as _unweighable “traces.”_


Justice Stephen further summed up: “The witness (Dr. Stevenson) stated:
‘I should say more arsenic was administered on the 3d of May.’” It
will be seen, by a reference to Dr. Stevenson’s evidence, that Dr.
Stevenson _did not_ say this.


Copyright, 1904, by Pach Bros., New York.

HON. JOHN HAY, American Secretary of State, 1898–]

Dr. Humphreys was the only medical man in attendance at that time. The
only symptoms on Friday, the 3d, were that he had “vomited twice.” At
the inquest Dr. Humphreys said as to this:

Q. “Did he say anything about his lunch on the previous day, Thursday,
the 2d?”

A. “Yes; he said some inferior sherry had been put into it, and that it
had made him as bad as ever again.”

And that also appears in Dr. Stevenson’s evidence at the trial:

“He told the doctor he had not been well since the previous day, when I
learn he had his lunch at the office.”

It can not be suggested that the fact that the man vomited twice
on Friday night was attributable to any arsenic taken at midday on
Thursday, for Dr. Stevenson testified that the vomiting, which is a
symptom of arsenic, usually follows the administration in about _half
an hour_.

Dr. Carter, who was not called in to the patient until Tuesday, May
7th, in his evidence, however, suggested that:

“I judge that the fatal dose must have been given on Friday, the 3d,
but a dose might have been given after that. When he was so violently
ill on the Friday, I thought it would be from the effects of the
fatal dose, but there might have been subsequent doses”; and in
cross-examination he explained that he had made this suggestion about
the fatal dose because: “I was _told_ he was unable to retain anything
on his stomach for several days.”

It is submitted that the judge, when summing up, MISDIRECTED the jury
by ignoring entirely the evidence and substituting for it this reckless
suggestion of Dr. Carter’s.


The only occasions on which it was possible to suggest any act of
administration of arsenic were the medicine on the 27th of April and
the food at the office on May 1st and May 2d; and the judge told the

“The argument that the prisoner administered the arsenic is an argument
depending upon the combination of a great variety of circumstances of
suspicion. The theory is that there was poisoning by successive doses,
and it is rather suggested that there may have been several doses. But
I do not know that there was any effort made to point out the precise
times at which doses may have been administered.”

Under such circumstances it is submitted that the statement of the
judge as to the medicine on the 27th of April, and as to the food at
office, and as to the statement that “Friday (3d May) was the day on
which began the symptoms of what may be called the fatal dose,” _are
misdirections of vital importance to this case_, and such as to entitle
Mrs. Maybrick to have the verdict set aside and have a new trial


As regards the question of attempts to administer arsenic, the
occasions upon which such conduct was imputed are changing medicine
from one bottle into another and the Valentine’s meat juice. As regards
the changing the bottle, there were two occasions when evidence was
given as to Mrs. Maybrick’s doing this. The first was on the 7th of
May, when Alice Yapp said that some of the medicines were kept on
a table near the bedroom door and some in the bedroom, and that on
Tuesday, 7th of May, she saw Mrs. Maybrick on the landing near the
bedroom door, and what was she doing? She was apparently pouring
something out of one bottle into another. They were medicine bottles.

That is the whole evidence as to the incident, and as all the bottles
in the house were analyzed, and none found to contain _even a trace of
arsenic_ except the Clay and Abraham’s bottle–which James Maybrick was
not taking at that time–the judge could not properly direct the jury
to regard it as a matter of suspicion; _but he did do so_. He referred
to this incident thus:

“On the 28th April (the day after the Wirrall Races) Mrs. Maybrick sent
for Dr. Humphreys, and afterward she was seen pouring medicine from one
bottle into another.”

It is submitted that this was _a serious misdirection_.

The other occasion was on Friday, the 10th of May, when Michael
Maybrick, seeing Mrs. Maybrick changing a medicine from one bottle
to another in the bedroom, took the bottles away and had the
prescription made up again, saying: “Florrie, how dare you tamper
with the medicine?” Mrs. Maybrick explained that she was only putting
the medicine into a larger bottle because there was so much sediment.
Nurse Callery was present and there was no concealment about what she
was doing, and the bullying conduct of Michael was absolutely without
any sort of justification. _These bottles were analyzed and found to be

Mr. Justice Stephen turned this incident, which occurred on the
afternoon before death, and after she had been prevented from attending
on her husband, against Mrs. Maybrick, thus–quoting Michael’s
evidence: “In the bedroom I found Mrs. Maybrick pouring from one
bottle into another and changing the labels, and I said, ‘Florrie, how
dare you tamper with the medicine?’” And Justice Stephen continued:
“Verily, this was a strange–I don’t say strange considering the
circumstances–but dreadfully unwelcome remark to make to a lady in
her own house, when she was in attendance on her husband, and something
which showed the state of feeling in his mind, and must have attracted
her attention.” It is submitted that this was a _misdirection_.


There was also an attempt by the prosecution to suggest an attempt to
administer medicine, arising out of an occasion when James Maybrick
said to her, “You have given me the wrong medicine again,” from which
it appears that on the Friday, the day before death, Mrs. Maybrick
was not giving him anything at all, but was trying to get him to take
some medicine from Nurse Callery, who was endeavoring to induce him to
take it. This was one of the medicines ordered by Dr. Humphreys, _and
was found free from arsenic_. The judge did not refer to this in his
summing-up, but reference to it is introduced here because it exhausts
the whole evidence, with the exception of the Valentine’s meat juice
incident, as to any suggestions or even of any occasions of attempt to
administer, while Mr. Matthews advised the Queen that “the evidence
leads clearly to the conclusion that the prisoner administered and
attempted to administer arsenic to her husband with intent to murder,”
which formed his ground for consigning this woman to penal servitude
for life. _No evidence, either of any act of administration or of any
act of attempt to administer either with or without felonious attempt,
was given at the trial, which possibly could have led any person to
any such conclusion_, with the single exception of the Valentine’s
meat juice; and as none of that was administered after it had been in
Mrs. Maybrick’s hands, the utmost that could be said of it (assuming
that she did put any arsenic into it) is that it was an _attempt_ to
administer, either feloniously or otherwise. It is submitted that the
judge _misdirected_ the jury as to this incident, in that he did not
tell them that the mere evidence of an attempt to administer arsenic
was not sufficient–that they must be satisfied that the attempt to
administer was with a _mens rea_ and with an intent to murder.


Mrs. Maybrick voluntarily told her solicitors, Mr. Arnold and Mr.
Richard Cleaver, directly she was arrested and even before the inquest,
that she had, at her husband’s urgent request, put a powder into a
bottle of Valentine’s meat juice, but that she did not know, until
Mrs. Briggs informed her that arsenic had been found in a bottle of
meat juice, that the powder she had put in was assumably arsenic. [At
the trial both Mr. Richard and Mr. Arnold Cleaver, her solicitors,
offered to give evidence to this effect, but Justice Stephen refused to
admit it.] She also tried to tell Mrs. Briggs the same thing, but the
policeman stopped the conversation; and she also told it to her mother
on her arrival. Mrs. Maybrick made no attempt at concealment about
having put this powder in, although no one had seen her do it, and her
solicitors, instead of relying as a line of defense on showing there
was no “mens rea” in what she had done, kept back her account of what
she had done. At the trial, however, after all the evidence for the
prosecution had been concluded without a single witness speaking of her
having put anything into anything, she _insisted_ on telling the jury,
as she had told her solicitors, that she did put a powder into a bottle
of meat juice, in accordance with an urgent request of her husband’s,
but that she did not know it was arsenic. If she did not know, there
was no “mens rea.” Upon that evidence, and upon certain suspicious
circumstances connected with her conduct in taking the meat juice into
the dressing-room and replacing it in the bedroom, the judge, as it is
submitted, _misdirected_ the jury in the following passage:

“Mr. Michael Maybrick says: ‘Nothing was given to my brother out of
that.’ That is to say, nothing was given to him out of the bottle
of Valentine’s meat juice, which undoubtedly had arsenic in it.
Its presence was detected, but of that bottle which was poisoned
he certainly had none. He had a small taste of it _before it was
poisoned_, given him by Nurse Gore.”

It is submitted that the words “before it was poisoned” is _a gross


It may be convenient here to interpose the following remarks on
the subject of the identity of the bottle. Counsel will observe
that the judge referred to the evidence at the inquest and at the
magisterial inquiry, which, it is suggested, enables a reference to
any discrepancies in the evidence of the witnesses on the three
occasions–inquest, magisterial inquiry, and trial.

The identity of the half-used bottle, which was found to contain “half
a grain of arsenic in solution,” with the bottle which Mrs. Maybrick
took into the dressing-room, was not proved. It was assumed alike by
the prosecution and the defense, and by Mrs. Maybrick herself, _but it
was not proved_. It was proved that there was another half-used bottle,
of which James Maybrick had partaken on Monday, 6th of May, when Dr.
Humphreys said:

“Some of the Valentine’s meat juice had been taken, but it did not
agree with the deceased and made him vomit. Witness did not remember
him vomiting in his presence, but he complained of it. Witness told
deceased to stop the Valentine’s meat juice, and said he was not
surprised at it making Mr. Maybrick sick, as it made many people sick.”

There was, therefore, another half-used bottle. The attention of
counsel is strongly directed to the question of the identity of this
half-used bottle.

Besides the one in which the arsenic was detected, there was another
half-used bottle produced at the trial, which was found by Mrs. Briggs
after death in one of James Maybrick’s hatboxes in the dressing-room,
together with the black solutions and white solutions of arsenic, and
this bottle was found free of arsenic.

As to the bottle which Mrs. Maybrick had in her hands on the night of
the 9th-10th of May, and which she took into the dressing-room, and
as to which she volunteered the statement that she had put a powder
in, as to which evidence was given by Nurse Gore, was thus voluntarily
corroborated by Mrs. Maybrick in her statement to the jury. From
this it appears that Nurse Gore, on her arrival for duty on Thursday
night, opened a fresh bottle of meat juice, which had been given to
her the night before by Edwin Maybrick, and gave the patient one
or two spoonfuls, and then placed it on the table, from which she
shortly afterward saw Mrs. Maybrick remove it and take it into the
dressing-room, the door of which was not shut, and then return with
it into the bedroom and replace it on the table. Nurse Gore thought
she did this in a stealthy way. It must be remembered that Nurse Gore
was naturally suspicious, as is shown by the fact that on two previous
occasions she suggested suspicions with regard to changes in medicines
by Mrs. Maybrick, which on analysis were proved to be free from
arsenic. When the patient, a short time afterward, awoke, Mrs. Maybrick
came into the bedroom again and _removed_ the bottle from the table and
placed it on the washstand, where there were only the ordinary jugs and
basins, and there left it. Nurse Gore’s usual suspicions were aroused
and she gave the patient none of it, nor did Mrs. Maybrick ask her to
give him any. When Nurse Gore was relieved by Nurse Callery the next
morning (Friday, the 10th), at 11 o’clock, she called her attention
to it and asked her to take _a sample of it_, which Callery did, and
put it into an ordinary medicine bottle, which Nurse Gore gave her for
the purpose. Nurse Gore left the bottle on the washstand where Mrs.
Maybrick had placed it. Nurse Gore did not mention the circumstance
to Dr. Humphreys when he came to see the patient at 8:30 A.M., nor to
Michael Maybrick, whose attention she directed to a bottle of brandy
instead, which on analysis was found harmless; and she then went into
Liverpool and saw the matron, and on her return to the house at 2
o’clock told Callery to throw away the sample in accordance with the
matron’s orders, which Callery did. The bottle in which that sample
was taken was not specially identified, though it must have remained
on the premises. It ought to have been produced, because, if arsenic
was detected in the sample, the bottle of Valentine’s meat juice would
have been identified by that means, and it would have been shown that
the arsenic was in the meat juice which Mrs. Maybrick had taken into
the dressing-room. On the other hand, as all the bottles which were in
the house were analyzed and found free of arsenic, there is negative
evidence that there was no arsenic in the sample taken.


Now the serious, most serious, consideration of counsel is asked for
in comparing the evidence of these three witnesses–Gore, Callery, and
Michael Maybrick–as given at the coroner’s inquest, as it appears in
the coroner’s depositions, at the magisterial inquiry, as it appears
in the magistrates’ depositions, and as given at the trial. It will be
seen that there are great discrepancies as to the place in the room
from which Michael Maybrick took the half-used bottle in which Mr.
Davies, the analyst, subsequently detected one-tenth of a grain of
arsenic in solution. It is suggested that Mr. Michael’s evidence at the
inquest is the true account of where he got the bottle, and that his
evidence at the trial is _cooked_, to suit the evidence of Gore, _and
that the identity of the bottle is not established_. The statement,
which in her statement to the jury Mrs. Maybrick said she was prevented
by the policeman from making to Mrs. Briggs, the moment that person
told her about arsenic being found in the meat juice, was communicated
by Mrs. Maybrick at once to her solicitors, Mr. Arnold and Richard
Cleaver; and it is submitted that it was a _misdirection_ of the judge
to exclude their evidence in corroboration of such a material and
important fact in her favor, _and a misdirection in refusing to allow
corroboration in that way_ of what was in evidence, and did corroborate
it–thereby constituting a matter which the jury should have had before
them, as having a bearing on her statement.


The judge referred to the Valentine’s meat-juice incident, the most
vital point in the trial, in the following extraordinary manner at the
end of his summing-up:

“I may say this, however: supposing you find a man dying of arsenic,
_and it is proved_ that a person put arsenic in his plate, and if he
gives an explanation which you do not consider satisfactory–that is
a very strong question to be considered–how far it goes, what its
logical value is, I am not prepared to say–I could not say, and unless
I had to write my verdict I should not say how I should deal with the
verdict; but being no juryman, but only a judge, I can only say this,
it is a matter for your serious consideration.”

It is submitted that this was a _gross misdirection_ and _a cruel
taunt_ to _drive the jury into finding a verdict_ against the prisoner
upon that ground, _and it is submitted that so monstrously unfair an
utterance can not be found in the reports of any summing-up by any
judge in any criminal case_. See also another _misdirection_ where
the judge read the examination of Nurse Gore and omitted reference to
the sample, but said of the bottle, “In point of fact, _it remained
where it was_ until taken away by Mr. Michael Maybrick,” when it is
in evidence that Nurse Callery had taken a sample of it during the
eighteen hours it remained on the washstand, and that others beside
Mrs. Maybrick had access to it.

It is submitted that, apart from the question of the identity of the
bottle, there was no evidence, except Mrs. Maybrick’s statement, that
she had put anything into the bottle, which justified Mr. Justice
Stephen in using the words, “He had a small taste of it _before_ it was
poisoned,” inasmuch as, except Mrs. Maybrick’s own voluntary statement
that she had put a powder into a bottle of meat juice, there was
nothing to show that the arsenic, detected by Mr. Davies in the bottle
he analyzed, had not been in the bottle when Edwin Maybrick gave it to
Nurse Gore and which she opened when she gave the patient “one or two

Another _misdirection_ in reference to the meat-juice incident will be
found in the summing-up in the words:

“It has a sort of very remote bearing upon the statement which she made
on Monday.”

Instead of “a sort of very remote bearing,” it was a _matter of the
greatest importance_ that it should be shown that _at the very instant_
she heard that arsenic had been found in some meat juice, before even
the inquest, _and before any arsenic had been found in the body_, she
should have attempted to tell Mrs. Briggs that she had put a powder
into some meat juice, but did not know what it was; and, in connection
with this, the attention of counsel is called to the fact that Mr.
Justice Stephen _refused to allow evidence showing that she had made
this statement from the very first_.


As to the cause of James Maybrick’s death, there was a most remarkable
conflict of medical opinion. It was not until the post-mortem
examination, held on Monday, the 13th of May, by Drs. Carter and
Humphreys (the medical men who had attended the deceased during his
illness), and Dr. Barron, that the cause of death was ascertained, and
it was then found to be exhaustion, caused by gastro-enteritis or acute
inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which, in their opinion,
had been set up by an irritant poison, but might have been set up by
his getting wet through.

These doctors agreed that by the phrase “irritant poison” they meant
any unwholesome food or drink.

Up to the time of death the doctors, Messrs. Humphreys and Carter,
had supposed and treated the patient for dyspepsia, notwithstanding
that suggestions had been made to them by Michael Maybrick that the
patient was being poisoned; and they said in their evidence that _but
for the discovery of arsenic on the premises, they would have given a
certificate of death from natural causes_.

At the post-mortem examination they selected such portions of the body
for analysis as they considered necessary, including, among other
things, the stomach and its contents; and the analyst employed by the
police (Mr. Davies) _found no arsenic in the stomach or its contents_,
and was unable to discover any weighable traces of arsenic in any other
portions of the body.

About three weeks afterward the body was, by order of the Home
Secretary, exhumed, and fresh portions of it were taken for analysis,
some of which were examined by Mr. Davies and other parts by Dr.
Stevenson, one of the Crown analysts.

In those portions taken at the exhumation, the total result of the
search for arsenic in the body was that Mr. Davies actually found
unweighable arsenic, 2/100 of a grain, in the liver, and Dr. Stevenson
76/1000 of a grain in the liver and 15/1000 in the intestines, making,
when all added together, the total amount as found by Mr. Davies and
Dr. Stevenson about one-tenth of a grain, made up of minute fractional
portions of one-hundredths and one-thousandths.

It was shown in evidence that the smallest fatal dose of arsenic ever
recorded was two grains, which was in the case of a woman, and who
presumably was not an arsenic-eater.

It was shown in evidence that in the year 1888 Mrs. Maybrick had asked
Dr. Hopper (who was at that time, and had been for many years, their
regular medical attendant) to speak to Mr. Maybrick and prevent him
taking certain medicines, which were doing him harm; that early in
March she made the same appeal to Dr. Humphreys, suggesting at the time
that Mr. Maybrick was taking a _white powder_, which she thought was

At the magisterial inquiry Dr. Humphreys stated that Mrs. Maybrick had,
on the occasion of his being called in to the patient on the 28th of
April, also spoken to him about her husband taking this white powder,
and that in consequence of this he asked Mr. Maybrick about taking
strychnin and nux vomica.

Counsel will find proof, in the evidence given at the trial by Dr.
Hopper, Mr. Heaton, Nicholas Bateson, Esq., Capt. Richard Thompson,
Thomas Stansell, and Sir James Poole, ex-Mayor of Liverpool, as to the
arsenic habit of James Maybrick and his opportunities for obtaining
the drug. [To which must now be added the statutory declaration of
Valentine Charles Blake, son of the late Sir Valentine Blake, M.P.,
that he, about two months prior to Mr. Maybrick’s death, had procured
him 150 grains of arsenic.] It may be stated here that from the
appearance of the little bottles in which the white arsenic was found,
they had been in use for a long time and were such as would be found
as sample bottles in the offices of business houses to which it is
unlikely Mrs. Maybrick would have access.

It is submitted that the discovery of such a tiny quantity of arsenic
in the body of a man addicted to such extraordinary habits might
reasonably be accounted for by those habits.


The conflict of medical opinion which was exhibited on this trial
arose upon the point as to whether arsenic had been the cause of the
gastro-enteritis, of which it was admitted that the man died.

There was _no_ conflict of medical opinion on the facts that the
quantity found in the body _was insufficient to cause death_, nor that
gastro-enteritis might be set up by a vast variety of things besides
arsenic–in fact, by any impure food or by excessive alcohol or by
getting wet through. It was shown in evidence that Mr. Maybrick got
wet through at the Wirrall Races on the 27th of April, and that he
afterward went in his wet clothes to dinner at a friend’s on the other
side of the Mersey.

The conflict of medical opinion amounted to this, that the Crown
called Drs. Carter and Humphreys, who both admitted that _they had
never previously attended a case of arsenical poisoning, nor had ever
before attended a post-mortem examination of a person whose death had
been attributed to arsenic_–in short, that they had had no experience
whatever. The Crown also called Dr. Stevenson (who had not attended
the deceased, but had conducted the analysis of parts of the body) as
an expert in poisoning, and he said, as to the symptoms during life:
“_There is no distinctive diagnostic symptom of arsenical poisoning._
The diagnostic thing is finding the arsenic.”

The Crown also had Dr. Barron, who had attended the post-mortem, and
who expressed himself unable to say that arsenic was the cause of the

These witnesses, it may be observed, gave their evidence both as to
the symptoms during life and as to the appearances at the post-mortem
_before_ the medical evidence for the defense had been called.

The witnesses called for the defense had none of them attended the
deceased, but were called as experts in poisoning, viz., Dr. Tidy, a
Crown analyst, Dr. Macnamara, and Professor Paul, who all gave positive
evidence that neither the symptoms during life nor the appearance after
death were such as _could be attributed to arsenical poisoning_; that,
in fact, they pointed _away from_, instead of toward, arsenic being the
cause of death.

The evidence of these witnesses was summarized very fairly by Mr.
Justice Stephen.

In the face of such a conflict of medical opinion, it is submitted that
Mr. Justice Stephen should have refused to allow the jury to return any
verdict of guilty at all.


On the first day of his summing-up, however, Mr. Justice Stephen told
the jury as to the law under which they were to return their verdict:
“You have been told that if you are not satisfied in your minds about
poisoning–if you think he died from some other disease–then the case
is not made out against the prisoner. It is a necessary step–it is
_essential_ to this charge–that the man _died of poison_, and the
poison suggested is arsenic. This is the question you have to consider,
and it must be the foundation of a judgment unfavorable to the prisoner
that he died of arsenic.”

It is submitted that Mr. Justice Stephen _misdirected_ the jury when
he told them to satisfy their minds whether he died from any other
disease, inasmuch as the only question before the jury was whether _the
cause of death was arsenic_.

“The question for you is by what the illness was caused. Was it caused
by arsenic or by some other means?”

It is submitted that that is a _misdirection_. It might have been put
to a coroner’s jury, but it was not a question which should have been
put to a jury at a criminal trial.

It is submitted that he _misdirected_ the jury in not also telling them
that it was _essential_ to a verdict unfavorable to the prisoner that
the arsenic of which he died _had been administered by her_, and also
in not telling the jury that it was essential to a verdict unfavorable
to the prisoner that, if she had administered any, she had done it with
intent to destroy life.


Mr. Justice Stephen then proceeded: “Now, let us see what the doctors
say. Some say death was caused by arsenic, and others that it was not
by arsenic–that he died of gastro-enteritis”; and he spoke of the
medical evidence in a way which amounted to a direction to the jury
that they were to treat it as _tainted with subtle partisanship_, and
as evidence to which it was not necessary for them to attach _serious
importance_. He, in fact, stated, and in so doing _misdirected_ the
jury, that though it was essential to a verdict unfavorable to the
prisoner that he died of arsenic, that question was one which they,
the jury, could come to _their own opinion about, without taking into
consideration the opinion of the medical experts, who had positively
stated that arsenic was not the cause of death_. In other words, he
directed the jury that, as the medical experts could not agree that
the cause of death was arsenical poisoning, it was for them to decide
that question from their own “_knowledge of human nature_.”

On the second day of the summing-up the judge told the jury (and
it is submitted that it contains _gross misdirections_): “You must
consider the case as _a mere medical case_, in which you are to decide
whether the man did or did not die of arsenic according to the medical
evidence. You must not consider it as _a mere chemical case_, in which
you decide whether the man died from arsenic which was discovered as
the result of a chemical analysis. You must decide it as _a great,
high, and important case_, involving in itself not only medical and
chemical questions, but embodying in itself _a most highly important
moral question_–and by that term, moral question, I do not mean a
question of what is right and wrong in a moral point of view, but
questions in which human nature enters and in which _you must rely on
your knowledge of human nature_ in determining the resolution you
arrive at.

“You have, in the first place, to consider–far be it from me to
exclude or try to get others to exclude from their own minds what I
must feel myself vividly conscious of–the evidence in this matter. I
think every human being in this case must feel vividly conscious of
what you have to consider, but I had almost better say you ought not to
consider, for fear you might consider it too much, the horrible nature
of the inquiry in which you are engaged. I feel that it is a dreadful
thing that you are deliberately considering whether you are to convict
that woman of really as horribly dreadful a crime as ever any poor
wretch who stood in the dock was accused of. If she is guilty–I am
saying if my object is rather to heighten your feeling of the solemnity
of the circumstances, and in no way to prevent you from feeling as you
do feel, and as you ought to feel. I could say a good many other things
about the awful nature of the charge, but I do not think it will be
necessary to do any one thing. Your own hearts must tell you what it
is for a person _to go on administering poison_ to a helpless, sick
man, upon whom she has already inflicted a dreadful injury–an injury
fatal to married life; the person who could do such a thing as that
must be destitute of the least trace of human feeling.” And further on:
“We have to consider this not in an unfeeling spirit–far from it–but
in the spirit of people resolved to solve _by intellectual means an
intellectual problem of great difficulty_.”


Copyright by G. G. Rockwood, New York.

HON. JOSEPH H. CHOATE, American Ambassador at the Court of St. James,

Mr. Justice Stephen, in short, instead of putting to the jury for
separate answers each of the following three questions:

1. Did this man die of arsenic?

2. Did Mrs. Maybrick administer that arsenic?

3. Did she do it feloniously?

invited them to return a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty” upon a
direction of law, wherein he told them that they were to decide it as
_an intellectual problem_, on the question which, it is submitted, can
be formulated thus:

“Might this man have died of arsenic notwithstanding the opinion of
the medical experts that he did _not_ die of arsenic?” And the jury
answered “Yes.”

It is submitted that this was _a gross misdirection_.

It may be interesting and applicable to quote from a paper read by
Sir Fitzjames Stephen himself at the Science Association in 1884:
“It is not to be denied that, so long as great ignorance exists on
matters of physical and medical science in all classes, physicians will
occasionally have to submit to the mortification of seeing not only the
jury, but the bar and bench itself, receive with scornful incredulity
or with self-satisfied ignorance evidence which ought to be received
with respect and attention.” How prophetic this was as exemplified by
his own attitude in this trial need not be pointed out.


Under the head of Misreception of Evidence may be classed the
observations of the judge, where, apparently in order to prevent
the jury from being influenced _in favor of the prisoner_, owing to
the small quantity of arsenic found in the body of the deceased, he
mentioned _an instance of a dog_ being poisoned, in the body of which,
though it had taken a large number of grains of arsenic, no arsenic was
found after its death. The judge, in other words, turned himself into a
witness for the prosecution. The unfairness to the prisoner of such a
course is obvious. Had the judge been an ordinary witness he might have
been cross-examined to show, _e.g._, that arsenic _passes away from the
body of a dog much more quickly than from that of a man_, or that the
circumstances as to time and quantity taken were such as to prove that
there was no analogy between the two cases. As the matter stands, the
judge’s recollection of an experiment _on a dog_, which had been made
many years before, was meant to rebut a proposition much relied on by
the defense, viz., that the small quantity of arsenic found in the body
of the deceased was consistent with the view that he was _in the habit
of taking arsenic_, rather than with the case for the Crown that he had
been intentionally poisoned.


The inquest was formally opened by taking the evidence of the
identification of the deceased by his brother, Michael Maybrick, and
then adjourned for a fortnight, the coroner announcing that there had
been a post-mortem examination by Dr. Humphreys, and that the result
of that examination was that poison was found in the stomach of the
deceased in such quantities as to justify further examination; that
the stomach of the deceased, and its contents, would meanwhile be
chemically analyzed, and on the result of that analysis would depend
the question whether or not criminal proceedings against some person
would follow. Now the announcement that “poison had been found in the
stomach of the deceased” was _contrary to fact_, and in consequence
of this _cruel misstatement_ the proceedings caused an immense amount
of popular excitement and prejudice against the accused, who, being
too ill to be removed, remained at Battlecrease House, in charge of
the police, till the following Saturday morning, the 18th May, when a
sort of court inquiry was opened in Mrs. Maybrick’s bedroom by Colonel
Bidwell, one of the county magistrates.


The evidence of Dr. Arthur Richard Hopper, who had been Mr. and Mrs.
Maybrick’s medical adviser for about seven years, was taken. He had not
attended Mr. Maybrick during his last illness, but spoke about Mrs.
Maybrick having asked him the year before to check her husband from
taking _dangerous drugs_, and that Mr. Maybrick had admitted to him
that he used to dose himself with anything his friends recommended, and
_that he was used to the taking of arsenic_.

Dr. Richard Humphreys spoke as to the symptoms of the illness and
his prescriptions, and that he had not suspected poisoning until it
was suggested to him and his colleague, Dr. Carter, and that he had
_himself administered arsenic_ to the deceased, in the form of Fowler’s
solution, on the Sunday or Monday before death, and that he refused
_a certificate of death only because arsenic had been found on the

Dr. William Carter spoke of being called the Tuesday before death, and
he agreed with Dr. Humphreys that an irritant poison, most probably
arsenic, was the cause of death.

Dr. Alexander Barron gave evidence to the effect that he was unable to
ascertain _any particular poison_.

Mr. Edward Davies, the analyst, was called, and gave evidence to the
effect that he had found _no weighable arsenic_ in the portions of the
body selected at the post-mortem, but that he had subsequently _found
one fiftieth of a grain of arsenic_ in a part of the liver, nothing
in the _stomach or its contents, but traces, not weighable_, in the
intestines, and that he had found arsenic in some of the bottles and
things found in the house after death and in the Valentine’s meat juice.

The first issue which the jury at the trial had to determine was
whether it was proved beyond _reasonable_ doubt that the deceased died
from arsenical poisoning.

Mr. Justice Stephen, in his summing-up, put this issue to the jury in
the following words:

“It is _essential_ to this charge that the man _died_ of arsenic.
This question must be the foundation of a verdict unfavorable to the
prisoner, that he _died of arsenic_.”

It must be assumed that this was a question exclusively for medical
experts, notwithstanding which the judge, in summing up, told the jury:

“You must not consider this _as a mere medical case_, in which you are
to decide whether the man _did_ or _did not die of arsenic poisoning
according to the medical evidence_. You must _not consider it as a mere
chemical case_, in which you decide whether the man _died from arsenic
which was discovered as the result of a chemical analysis_. You must
decide it as a _great and highly important case_, involving in itself
not only medical and chemical questions, but involving in itself a most
highly important _moral question_.”


Dr. Humphreys gave it as his opinion that the appearances at the
post-mortem were _consistent with congestion_ of the stomach not
_necessarily caused by an irritant poison_, and that the symptoms
during life were also consistent with congestion not caused by an
irritant poison, but with acute inflammation of the stomach and
intestines, produced by any cause whatever, and which would produce
similar pathological results. He thought death was caused by some
irritant poison, most likely arsenic, but he _would not like to
swear that it was_. Dr. Humphreys’ evidence, therefore, amounted
to this, that the deceased died from gastro-enteritis, a natural
disease, attributable to a variety of causes, and that, apart from the
suggestions already referred to, he would have certified accordingly.

Dr. Humphreys’ evidence was confirmed by that of Dr. Carter, who
stated he came to the same conclusion as Dr. Humphreys, “but in a
more positive manner.” Dr. Carter had assisted at the post-mortem
examination, besides being in close attendance on the deceased for the
five days preceding his death, which he attributed to taking some
irritant wine or decomposed meat, or to some grave error of diet; and
when pressed as to whether he had any reason to suppose the article
taken was poison, he explained that he did, but that by poison he meant
something that was bad–it might be tinned meat, which the deceased had
partaken of at the race dinner, or wine, or something which had set
up gastritis. This witness’s account of the post-mortem was that they
_found no arsenic_, but merely evidence of an irritant poison in the
stomach and intestines, probably arsenic. Dr. Carter’s evidence was
therefore _against poisoning by arsenic_ being conclusively accepted as
the cause of death, _although subsequently he said he had no doubt it
was arsenic_.

Dr. Barron’s evidence as to the cause of death was that he considered
from the post-mortem appearances that death was due to inflammation of
the stomach and bowels, due to some irritant poison, but that he was
unable to point to the particular poison, apart from what he heard;
and, pressed as to what he meant by poison, the witness stated that
poison might be bad tinned meat, bad fish, mussels, or generally bad
food of any kind, or alcohol taken in excess.


Dr. Stevenson expressed his opinion that the deceased died from
arsenic poisoning, giving as his reasons that the main symptoms were
those attributable to an irritant poison, and that they more closely
resembled those of arsenic than of any other irritant of which he
knew. He stated that he had known a great number of cases of poisoning
by arsenic in every shape, and that he acted officially for the Home
Office and Treasury in such cases. Dr. Stevenson was the witness of the
prosecution, and gave his evidence _before_ he had heard the evidence
for the defense.

Dr. Stevenson also stated that the general symptoms of arsenic
poisoning appeared _within half an hour_ of taking some article of
food or medicine, and were nausea, with a sinking sensation of the
stomach; vomiting, which, unlike that produced by any ordinary article
of food or drink that disagrees, afforded as a rule no relief and
often came on again; that there was most commonly pain in the stomach,
diarrhea; after a time the region of the stomach becomes tender under
pressure, the patient becomes restless, often bathed in perspiration;
the throat is complained of; pain in the throat, extending down to the
stomach; the tongue becomes very foul in appearance and furred. There
is not a bad smell as in the ordinary dyspeptic tongue, a rapid and
feeble pulse, thirst, great straining at stool, vomits and evacuations
frequently stained with blood. Of fourteen symptoms of arsenic
poisoning named by Dr. Stevenson, Mr. Maybrick exhibited _only one_,
according to the testimony of Dr. Stevenson. With the exception of the
foul tongue with malodorous breath, none of these symptoms coincided
with those given by Drs. Humphreys and Carter, who were in attendance
on the patient, while Dr. Stevenson _never saw him_.


Then came the evidence for the defense, rebutting the presumption
that death was caused by arsenic. First in order being Dr. Tidy, the
examiner for forensic medicine at the London Hospital, and also, like
Dr. Stevenson, employed as an analyst by the Home Office. This witness
stated that, within a few years, close upon _forty cases of arsenical
poisoning_ had come before him, which enabled him to indicate the
recurring and distinctive indications formed in such cases.

Dr. Tidy describes the symptoms of arsenic poisoning as purging and
vomiting in a very excessive degree; a burning pain in the abdomen,
more marked in the pit of the stomach, and increased considerably by
pressure, usually associated with pain in the calves of the legs; then,
after a certain interval, suffusion of the eyes–the eyes fill with
tears; great irritability about the eyelids; frequent intolerance of

Dr. Tidy added that there were three symptoms, such as cramps,
tenesmus, straining, more or less present, but the prominent symptoms
were those he had mentioned, especially the sickness, violent,
incessant sickness, and that poisoning by arsenic was extremely simple
to detect. Further, that he (Dr. Tidy) had known cases where one or
more of the four symptoms mentioned had been absent, but he had never
known a case in which all four symptoms were absent; and stated that he
had followed every detail of the Maybrick case so far as he could, and
had read all the depositions before the coroner and magistrate, and the
account of the vomiting did not agree with his description of excessive
and persistent vomiting, and was certainly not that kind of vomiting
that takes place in a typical case of arsenical poisoning.

Dr. Tidy further stated that, taking the whole of the symptoms,
they undoubtedly were _not_ those of arsenical poisoning, nor did
they point to such, but were perfectly consistent with death from
gastro-enteritis, not caused by arsenical poisoning at all; and
that, had he been called upon to advise, he should have said it was
undoubtedly not arsenical poisoning, and that his view had been
very much strengthened, to use his own words, by the result of the
post-mortem, which distinctly pointed _away_ from arsenic.

Then there was the evidence, in the same direction, of Dr. Macnamara,
the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and its representative
on the General Medical Council of the Kingdom, which is summed up in
the general question put to him and his answer:

Question: Now, bringing your best judgment to bear on the matter–you
having been present at the whole of this trial and heard the
evidence–in your opinion, was this death from arsenical poisoning?

Answer: _Certainly not_.

In cross-examination Dr. Macnamara stated that, to the best of his
judgment, Mr. Maybrick died of gastro-enteritis, not connected with
arsenical poisoning, and which might have been caused by the wetting at
the Wirrall races.

Dr. Paul, professor of medical jurisprudence at University College,
Liverpool, and pathologist at the Royal Infirmary, stated he had made
and assisted at something like three or four thousand post-mortem
examinations, and that the symptoms in the present case agreed with
cases of _gastro-enteritis pure and simple_; that the finding of
the arsenic in the body, in the quantity mentioned in the evidence,
was quite consistent with the case of a man who had taken arsenic
medicinally, but _who had left it off for some time, even for several


So positive were Dr. Tidy and Dr. Macnamara of their position as to the
effect of arsenic on the human system, that they subsequently published
“A Toxicological Study of the Maybrick Case,” thus challenging medical
critics the world over to refute them. From this study the following,
in tabular form, is taken, in order to contrast the symptoms from which
Mr. Maybrick suffered with those which, it will be generally admitted,
are the usual symptoms of arsenical poisoning:


Countenance tells of severe | Not so described.
suffering. |
Very great depression an early | Not present until toward
symptom. | the end.
Fire-burning pain in stomach. | Not present.
Pain in stomach increased on | Pressure produced no
pressure. | pain.
Violent and uncontrollable vomiting | “Hawking rather than vomiting;”
independent of ingesta. | irritability of stomach
| increased by ingesta.
Vomiting not relieved by such | Vomiting controlled by
treatment as was used in Mr. | treatment.
Maybrick’s case. |
During vomiting burning heat and | Not present.
constriction felt in throat. |
Blood frequently present in | Not present.
vomited and purged matter. |
Intensely painful cramps in | Not present.
calves of the legs. |
Pain in urinating. | Not present.
Purging and tenesmus an early | Not present until twelfth day
symptom. | of illness, and then once
| only.
Great intolerance of light. | Not present.
Eyes suffused and smarting. | Not present.
Eyeballs inflamed and reddened. | Not present.
Eyelids intensely itchy. | Not present.
Rapid and painful respiration | Not present.
an early symptom. |
Pulse small, frequent, irregular, | Not so described until
and imperceptible from the | approach of death.
outset. |
Arsenic easily detected in urine | Not detected, _although looked
and fæces. | for_.
Tongue fiery red in its entirety, | Tongue not red; “simply filthy.”
or fiery red at tip and margins |
and foul toward base. |
Early and remarkable reduction | Temperature normal up to day
of temperature generally. | preceding death.

“Maybrick’s symptoms are as unlike poisoning by arsenic _as it is
possible for a case of dyspepsia to be. Everything distinctive of
arsenic is absent._ The urine contained no arsenic. The symptoms are
not even consistent with arsenical poisoning.

“Regarding the treatment adopted by the medical men, and more
especially Dr. Carter’s action with regard to the meat juice, we
are justified in assuming that the doctors themselves, even _after_
a certain suggestion had been made to them, did not come to the
conclusion that the illness of Maybrick was the result of arsenic.

“It is noteworthy (1) that none was found in the stomach; (2) that
Maybrick was in the habit of taking drugs, and among them arsenic.

“Thus two conclusions are forced upon us:

“(1) That the arsenic found in Maybrick’s body may have been taken in
merely medicinal doses, and that probably it was so taken.

“(2) That the arsenic may have been taken a considerable time before
either his death or illness, and that probably it was so taken.

“Our toxicological studies have led us to the three following

“(1) That the symptoms from which Maybrick suffered are consistent with
any form of acute dyspepsia, but that they point _away_ from, rather
than toward, arsenic as the cause of such dyspeptic condition.

“(2) That the post-mortem appearances are indicative of inflammation,
but that they emphatically point away from arsenic as the cause of

“(3) That the analysis fails to find more than _one-twentieth_ part of
a fatal dose of arsenic, and that the quantity so found _is perfectly
consistent with its medicinal ingestion_.”


Such was the complete evidence of the cause of death. The quantity
of arsenic found in the body was _one-tenth_ of a grain, and upon
this evidence rests the first issue the jury had to consider, namely,
whether it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased died
from arsenical poisoning.

As to the value of the medical testimony on both sides, Dr. Humphreys
_admitted that he never attended a case of arsenical poisoning in
his life_, nor of any irritant poison, and that he would have given
a certificate of death from natural causes had he not been told of
arsenic found in the meat juice.

Dr. Carter laid _no claim to any previous experience of poisoning by
arsenic_, and was unable to say from the post-mortem examination that
arsenic was the cause of death, which he could only attribute to an
irritant of some kind, and he admitted that it was the evidence of Mr.
Davies, as to the finding of arsenic in the body, which led him to the
conclusion that arsenical poisoning had taken place.

Dr. Barron did not see the patient, but assisted at the post-mortem
examination, and stated that, judging by the appearances and apart from
what he had heard, he was unable to identify arsenic as the particular
poison which had set up the inflammation.

Now, assuming for a moment that this issue as to the cause of death
rested entirely upon the uncontradicted testimony of these three
doctors called for the prosecution, Humphreys, Carter, and Barron, the
jury would not have been justified in coming to the conclusion that
there was _no reasonable doubt_ that arsenic poisoning was the cause
of death. The doctors themselves had admitted that they were unable to
arrive at that conclusion, apart from the evidence that arsenic was
found in the body. _The idea of arsenical poisoning never occurred to
them from the symptoms, until the use of arsenic was first suggested._

_The doctors could not say that_ death resulted from arsenic poisoning,
_and yet the jury have actually found that it did_, in the face of the
opinions of three eminent medical experts, who say it did not.

Even if these doctors had never been called at all for the defense, the
jury were yet not justified in taking the evidence of Drs. Humphreys,
Carter, and Barron, in the terms which they themselves never intended
to pledge themselves to, namely, to exclude _a reasonable doubt_ that
death was due to arsenic.

Let us consider the position of the medical men called for the defense:
Drs. Tidy, Macnamara, and Paul _are the highest authorities on medical
and chemical jurisprudence in Great Britain_. No sort of hesitation or
doubt attached to the opinions of any of them, and their experience of
post-mortem examinations was referred to, as including in the practise
of Dr. Tidy, the Crown analyst, some forty cases of arsenic poisoning
alone. Dr. Macnamara indorsed the opinion of Dr. Tidy. In addition to
that, there was on the same side the evidence of Dr. Paul, professor of
medical jurisprudence and toxicology at University College, Liverpool,
with an experience of three or four thousand post-mortem examinations.
It is impossible to conjecture _by what process of reasoning_ the jury
could have come to the conclusion, upon the evidence before them, that
it _was beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Maybrick_ had met his death
by arsenical poisoning.

_This volume of evidence before the jury pointed not only to a doubt as
to the cause of death, but to a reasonable_ conclusion that it was _not
due to arsenical poisoning. It is inconceivable that the jury should
have_ found as they did, _except under the mandatory direction of the
judge, which left them apparently no alternative but to substitute
his opinions and judgment for_ their own, so that on that _issue the
finding was not so much the finding of the jury, to which the prisoner
was by law entitled, but the finding of_ the judge, _of whom the jury,
abrogating their own functions, became the mere mouthpieces_.


The consideration of the facts as given in evidence also covers the
second issue which the jury had to determine, namely, whether, if
arsenic poisoning was the cause of death, it was the prisoner who
administered it with criminal intent. The evidence on this point was
most inconclusive.

_No one saw the prisoner administer arsenic to her husband._

She had no opportunity of giving her husband anything since one or
two o’clock on Wednesday afternoon (8th of May), after which she was
closely watched by the nurses. _It was not shown that any food or drink
administered to the deceased by the prisoner contained arsenic._ It
was not shown that the prisoner _had placed arsenic in any food or
drink intended for her husband’s use_. Nor, in fact, was any found,
although searched for, in any food or medicine of which Mr. Maybrick
partook during his illness, _except the arsenic in Fowler’s solution,
prescribed and administered by Dr. Humphreys himself_.


The episode of the fly-papers may be considered as one of the most
important factors in the whole case. It supplies, so to speak, the
only link between Mrs. Maybrick and arsenic, which, it is well known,
forms their chief ingredient. It was proved she had purchased the
fly-papers without any attempt at concealment, and, while soaking, they
were exposed to everybody’s view, quite openly, in a room accessible
to every inmate of the house. It was not suggested that Mrs. Maybrick
bought the other large quantity of arsenic, between seventy and eighty
grains, found in the house after death, _and no one came forward to
speak to any such purchase_. It was found in the most unlikely places
for Mrs. Maybrick to have selected, if she had intended to use it,
and the evidence against her on this point is of _a particularly
vague and indefinite character_. [Justice Stephen, commenting on the
quantity of arsenic found on the premises, himself observed that it
was a remarkable fact in the case, and which, it appeared to him, told
most favorably than otherwise for the prisoner, as in the whole case,
from first to last, there was no evidence at all that she had bought
any poison, or had anything to do with the procuring of any, with the
exception of those fly-papers.] The accusation rests entirely _on
suspicion, insinuation, and circumstantial suggestions; not one tittle
of evidence was adduced in support of it_, and yet the jury came to the
conclusion, without allowing of any doubt in the matter, _that it was
her hand which administered the poison_.


On this question the prisoner made a statement. She accounted for the
soaking of the fly-papers upon grounds which were not only probable,
but were corroborated by other incidents. That she was in the habit
of using arsenic as a face wash is shown by the prescription in 1878,
before her marriage, and of which the chemist made an entry in his
books, which came to light, after the trial, under the following

Among the few articles which Mr. Maybrick’s brothers allowed to be
taken from the house, they being the legatees of the deceased, was a
Bible which had belonged to Mrs. Maybrick’s father, and which, with
some other relics, came into the hands of Mrs. Maybrick’s mother, the
Baroness von Roques, who, months afterward, happening to turn over
the leaves of the Bible, came across a small piece of printed paper,
evidently mislaid there, being a New York chemist’s label, with a New
York doctor’s prescription written on the back, for an arsenical face
wash “for external use, to be applied with a sponge twice a day.”

This prescription contained Fowler’s solution of arsenic, chlorate of
potash, rose-water, and rectified spirits; and was again made up, on
the 17th of July, 1878, by a French chemist, Mr. L. Brouant, 81 Avenue
D’Eylau, Paris. It corroborates Mrs. Maybrick’s statement at the trial
that the fly-papers were being soaked for the purpose alleged by her.
If Mrs. Maybrick had obtained or purchased the seventy or eighty grains
of arsenic found in the house after the death, it is inconceivable that
she should have openly manufactured more arsenic with the fly-papers.
At the time she prepared the statement she had reason to believe that
the prescription had been lost. She knew, therefore, it would be
impossible for her to corroborate her story about the face wash, and
she could have omitted that incident altogether, and contented herself
by saying that she learned the preparation while at school in Germany.

[In further explanation I desire to state that during my girlhood, as
well as subsequently, I suffered occasionally, due to gastric causes,
from an irritation of the skin. One of my schoolmates, observing
that it troubled me a good deal, offered me a face lotion of her own
preparation, explaining that it was much more difficult to obtain
an arsenical ingredient abroad than in America, and to avoid any
consequent annoyance she extracted the necessary small quantity of
arsenic by the soaking of fly-papers. I had never had occasion to do
so myself, as I had a prescription from Dr. Bay; but when I discovered
that I had mislaid or lost this, I recalled the method of my friend,
being, however, wholly ignorant of what quantity might be required. The
reason why I wanted a cosmetic at this time was that I was going to a
fancy dress ball with my husband’s brother, and that my face was at
that time in an uncomfortable state of irritation.–F. E. M.]


Dealing with the question, did Mrs. Maybrick administer the arsenic,
there is absolutely no evidence _that she did. It was not for the
prisoner to prove her innocence._ She was seen neither to administer
the arsenic nor to put it in the food or drink taken by the deceased,
and this issue was found against her in the absence of any evidence in


Mrs. Maybrick’s statement also bears strongly upon the question of
administering with intent to murder. It is equally inconceivable that
a guilty woman would have said anything about the white powder in the
meat juice. She had nothing to gain by making such a statement, which
could only land her in the sea of difficulties without any possible
benefit, and here again the probabilities are entirely in her favor. It
is beyond a doubt that Mr. Maybrick was in the habit, or had at some
time or other been in the habit, of drugging himself with all sorts of
medicines, including arsenic, and assumably he had obtained relief from
it, or he would not have continued the practise.

Mr. Justice Stephen, in his summing-up, animadverted in very strong
terms on the testimony of arsenic being used for cosmetic purposes,
although expert chemists had certified to large use of arsenic for such
a purpose. An immense degree of speculation must have entered the minds
of the jury before they could find as they did, and bridge the gulf
between the soaking of the fly-papers and the death of Mr. Maybrick,
for it is quite evident that the soaking of the fly-papers was the one
connection between the arsenic and the prisoner upon which all the
subsequent events turned; and, if that be so, the importance is seen at
once of the statement she made regarding that incident, and conclusive
evidence as to which was subsequently found in the providentially
recovered prescription.

[Illustration: SAMUEL V. HAYDEN, Of Hayden & Yarrell, American counsel
of Mrs. Maybrick.]


Another remarkable circumstance is the absence of any attempt at
concealment on the prisoner’s part. The fly-papers were purchased
openly from chemists who knew the Maybricks well, and they were left
soaking in such a manner as at once to refute any suggestion of
secrecy; and her voluntary statement about the white powder which she
placed in the meat juice, as to which there was absolutely no evidence
to connect her with its presence there, seems inconsistent with the
theory the prosecution attempted to build upon _a number of assumptions
of which the accuracy was not proved_.

The question of the prisoner’s guilt was not capable of being reduced
to any issue upon which the prosecution could bring to bear direct
evidence; the most they were capable of doing was to show that the
prisoner had _opportunities_ of administering poison, which she _shared
with every individual in the house_; further, that she had arsenic
in her possession (and this was an _open secret_, as we have already
explained with reference to the fly-papers); and, lastly, that she
had the possibility of extracting arsenic in sufficient quantities
to cause death, which was, however, extremely doubtful; and then the
prosecution tried to complete this indirect evidence by proving that
Mr. Maybrick died from arsenic poisoning, _which they signally failed
to do_. The strong point of the prosecution, as they alleged, was that
a bottle of Valentine’s meat juice had been seen in her hands on the
night of Thursday, the 9th of May, and she replaced it in the bedroom,
where it was afterward found by Michael Maybrick, and analyzed by Mr.
Davis, who found half a grain of “arsenic in solution”; but there was
_no direct proof_, such as is absolutely necessary to a conviction in a
criminal case, _of the identity of the bottle_ seen in Mrs. Maybrick’s
hands and that given to the analyst, and there was evidence that it had
remained in the bedroom _within reach of anybody, Mr. Maybrick himself
included_, for eighteen hours, and did not until the next day reach
the hands of the analyst. These bottles are all alike in appearance,
of similar turnip-like shape as the bovril bottles now sold, and it
is clear there was more than one, because Dr. Humphreys says in his
evidence that on visiting his patient on the 6th of May he found some
of the Valentine’s meat extract had made Mr. Maybrick sick, which he
was not surprised at, as it often made people sick; while Nurse Gore,
speaking of the bottle seen in the hands of Mrs. Maybrick, said it was
a _fresh, unused bottle_, which she had herself opened only an hour

No evidence was given of what became of the opened bottle, and the
presence of the arsenic having already been accounted for, and the fact
recorded that the meat juice was not given to Mr. Maybrick, there is
nothing to add to what has already been said, except that the account
exactly dovetails with the prisoner’s own voluntary statement.

Can any one, closely following the evidence throughout, fail to be
impressed with the _inconsistency of Mrs. Maybrick’s conduct in
relation to her husband’s illness with a desire to murder him?_ In
all recorded cases of poisoning, the utmost precautions to screen the
victim from observation have been observed. In the present instance it
would seem as if just the reverse object had been aimed at. We find
the prisoner _first giving the alarm about the attack_ of illness;
first sending for the doctors, brothers, and friends; first suggesting
that something taken by her husband, some drug or medicine, was at the
bottom of the mischief. We find the very first thing she does is to
administer a mustard emetic–the last thing one would have expected if
there had been a desire to poison him. If the prisoner _had wished to
put everybody in the house, and the doctors themselves, on the scent of
poison, she could not have acted differently_.

[See also “Mrs. Maybrick’s Own Analysis of the Meat-Juice Incident,”
page 366.]


From Dr. Humphreys’ testimony it appears that, after the days when
he was away from the patient, and when Mrs. Maybrick had undisturbed
access to her husband, _no symptoms whatever of arsenical poisoning
appeared_. If, then, arsenic was administered by Mrs. Maybrick under
the doctors’ eyes, without their detecting it, _what value can attach
to the testimony of the medical attendants_ as to the cause of death,
apart from the post-mortem examination, by which they practically admit
_they allowed their judgment to be governed_?

Does not the only alternative present itself that Drs. Humphreys
and Carter are driven to the admission: “That the deceased died of
arsenical poisoning we deduce, not from the _symptoms during life_, but
from the fact that _arsenic was found in the body after death_”?


From the medical testimony it appears that the following list of
_poisonous drugs_ was prescribed and administered to Mr. Maybrick
shortly before his death:

April 28, 1899, diluted prussic acid; April 29, Papaine’s iridin;
May 3, morphia suppository; May 4, ipecacuanha; May 5, prussic acid;
May 6, Fowler’s solution of arsenic; May 7, jaborandi tincture and
antipyrin; May 10, sulfonal, cocain, and phosphoric acid.

Also, during the same period, the following were prescribed: bismuth,
double doses; nitro-glycerin; cascara; nitro-hydrochloric acid
(composed of nux vomica, strychnin, and brucine); Plummer’s pills
(containing antimony and calomel); bromide of potassium; tincture of
hyoscyamus; tincture of henbane; chlorin.

Now it will be observed that up to May 6, when Fowler’s solution of
arsenic was administered, no symptom whatever had been observed _at
all compatible with the effects of arsenic_.

The sickness produced by the morphia continued after the taking of
arsenic, and down the unfortunate man’s throat prussic acid, papaine,
iridin, morphia, ipecacuanha, and arsenic, some of the most powerful
drugs known to the pharmacopœia, had found their way by the advice of
Dr. Humphreys, in less than a week, while he was told to eat nothing,
and allay his thirst with a damp cloth; and the charge of poisoning
is made against the prisoner because he is suggested to have had an
irritant poison in his stomach, and minute traces of arsenic in some
other organs, within five days afterward.


The whole history of the case, from its medical aspect, is consistent
with the small quantity of arsenic found in the body being part of
that prescribed by Dr. Humphreys, or the remains of that taken by the
deceased himself, _there being no particle of evidence to show that he
discontinued the habit of drugging himself almost up to the day of his
death_. This is also in accord with the evidence of Dr. Carter, who
attended at a later period, and, taken as a whole, the evidence of both
of these doctors, as well as their treatment of the deceased, points to
_death from natural causes_.


The evidence of the prosecution in connection with the analysis was
thoroughly _unreliable and misleading_. Dr. Stevenson’s difficulty was
that, while two grains of arsenic was the smallest quantity capable
of killing, the analyst had found only one-tenth of a grain, or the
twentieth part of the smallest fatal dose, and, in substance, Dr.
Stevenson proceeds to argue as follows:

(_a_) I found 0.015 grain of arsenic in 8 ounces of intestines.
(There is no record as to what part of the intestines he examined.) I
have weighed the intestines of some other person (not Mr. Maybrick),
and find their entire weight to be so much. If, then, 8 ounces of
Mr. Maybrick’s intestines yield 0.015 grain, the entire intestines
(calculated from the weight of some one else’s intestines), had I
analyzed them, would have yielded one-eleventh of a grain.

(_b_) Dr. Stevenson then proceeds to argue: “I found 0.026 grain of
arsenic in 4 ounces of liver. The entire liver weighed 48 ounces,
_therefore the entire liver contained 0.32 grain of arsenic_.”

(_c_) Dr. Stevenson argues further: “The intestines and liver,
therefore, may be taken to contain together four-tenths of a grain of
arsenic, and, having found four-tenths of a grain, I _assume_ that the
body at the time of death _probably contained a fatal dose of arsenic_.”

Such was the deduction Dr. Stevenson arrived at, _necessitating the
assumption that arsenic was equally distributed in the intestines and
liver_, whereas it is within the _personal knowledge of eminent men_
(such as Drs. Tidy and Macnamara) that arsenic may be found after death
_in one portion of the intestines, and not a trace of it in any other
part_. That in arsenical poisoning the arsenic may be found in the
rectum and in the duodenum, and in no other part, is beyond dispute,
and the _fallacy of Dr. Stevenson’s process must be self-evident_.

The witnesses for the prosecution themselves supply the proof of the
unequal distribution of the arsenic in the liver.

Mr. Davies calculates the quantity in the whole liver as 0.130 grain.

Dr. Stevenson, in his first experiment, puts it at 0.312 grain, and in
his second experiment at 0.278 grain; in other words, Dr. Stevenson
finds _double in one experiment_ and considerably _more than double in
another experiment, the quantity found by Mr. Davies, and it is upon
this glaring miscalculation and discrepancy that the case for the
prosecution was made_ to rest, and Mrs. Maybrick was convicted.

But with all this miscalculation the approximate amount of arsenic _can
only be swelled up to four-tenths of a grain, less than one-fourth of a
fatal dose_, and it was demonstrated that every other part of the body,
urine, bile, stomach, contents of stomach, heart, lungs, spleen, fluid
from mouth, and even bones, _were all found to be free from arsenic_.


The legal points of the case may thus conveniently be recapitulated
under the following short heads:

There _was no conclusive_ evidence that Mr. Maybrick died from other
than natural causes (the word “conclusive” being used in the sense of
_free from doubt_).

There was no conclusive evidence that he died from arsenical poisoning.

There was no evidence that the prisoner administered or attempted to
administer arsenic to him.

There was no evidence that the prisoner, if she did administer or
attempt to administer arsenic, did so with intent to murder.

The judge, while engaged in his summing-up, placed himself in a
position where his mind was open to the influence of public discussion
and prejudice, to which was probably attributable the evident change in
his summing-up between the first and second days; and he also _assumed
facts against the prisoner which were not proved_.

The jury were _allowed to separate_ and frequent places of public
resort and entertainment during such summing-up.

The verdict was _against the weight of evidence_.

The jury _did not give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt_ suggested
by the disagreement of expert witnesses on a material issue in the

The Home Secretary should have remitted the entire sentence by reason
of his being satisfied that there existed a _reasonable doubt of her
guilt_, which, had it been taken into consideration at the time, would
have entitled _her to an acquittal_.

The indictment contained no specific account of felonious
administration of poison, and consequently the jury found the prisoner
guilty of an offense _for which she was never tried_.


[6] Mr. Maybrick’s dressing-room.

[7] Later evidence showed that Mr. Maybrick secured as much as 150
grains from one person, only about two months before his death.

Mrs. Maybrick’s Own Analysis


I said in my statement to the Court, regarding this meat juice,
that: “On Thursday night, the 9th, after Nurse Gore had given my
husband beef juice, I went and sat on the bed by the side of him. He
complained to me of feeling very sick, very weak, and very depressed,
and again implored me to give him a powder, which he had referred to
early in the evening and which I had then declined to give him. I was
overwrought, terribly anxious, miserably unhappy, and his evident
distress utterly unnerved me. He told me the powder would not harm
him, and that I could put it in his food. I then consented. My lord,
I had not one true or honest friend in the house. I had no one to
consult and no one to advise me. I was deposed from my position as
mistress in my own house and from the position of attending on my
own husband, notwithstanding that he was so ill. Notwithstanding the
evidence of nurses and servants, I may say that he wished to have me
with him. [This desire was corroborated by the testimony of Nurse
Callery.] He missed me whenever I was not with him. Whenever I went
out of the room he asked for me, and for four days before he died I
was not allowed to give him even a piece of ice without its being
taken from my hand. When I found the powder I took it into the inner
room, and in pushing through the door I upset the bottle, and, in
order to make up the quantity of fluid spilled, I added a considerable
quantity of water. On returning to the room I found my husband asleep,
and I placed the bottle on the table by the window. When he awoke he
had a choking sensation in his throat and vomiting. After that he
appeared a little better. As he did not ask for the powder again, and
as I was not anxious to give it to him, I removed the bottle from the
small table, where it would attract his attention, to the top of the
washstand, where he could not see it. There I left it until I believe
Mr. Michael Maybrick took possession of it. Until a few minutes before
Mr. Bryning made the terrible charge against me, no one in that
house had informed me of the fact that a death certificate had been
refused, or that a post-mortem examination had taken place, or that
there was any reason to suppose that my husband died from other than
natural causes. It was only when Mrs. Briggs alluded to the presence
of arsenic in the meat juice that I was made aware of the [supposed]
nature of the powder my husband had asked me to give him. I then
attempted to make an explanation to Mrs. Briggs, such as I am now
making to your lordship, when a policeman interrupted the conversation
and put a stop to it.”

Some time after my conviction there was found among my effects a
prescription for a face wash containing arsenic (the existence of
which Justice Stephen in his summing up flouted as an invention of
mine to cover an intent to poison). This, together with the fact that
on analysis no trace of “fiber” was discovered in the body or in any
of the things containing poison found in the house, should remove the
“fly-paper incident” from all serious consideration in its bearing on
the case (although it was the source of all “suspicions” before death).

[Illustration: LEONIDAS D. YARRELL, Of Hayden & Yarrell, American
counsel of Mrs. Maybrick.]

There remain only as “circumstantial evidence of guilt” what has come
to be known as the “motive,” and the Valentine’s meat-juice incident.
The “motive,” however regarded, was surely no incentive to murder,
as inasmuch if I wanted to be free there was sufficient evidence in
my possession (in the nature of infidelity and cruelty) to secure
a divorce, and it was with regard to steps in that direction that
I had already taken that I made confession to my husband after our
reconciliation, and to which I referred as to the “wrong” I had done
him, because of the publicity and ruin to his business it involved. The
“motive,” which was introduced into the case in the form of a letter
written by me on the 8th of May, in which I said that my husband
was “sick unto death,” was made much of by the prosecution, and it
led Justice Stephen to say, in his summing-up, “that I could not have
known that my husband was dying (except I knew something others did
not suspect), inasmuch as the doctors, from the diagnosis, did not
consider the case at all serious.” The justice either did not or would
not understand (though it was testified to) that the phrase, “sick
unto death,” is an American colloquialism, especially of the South,
and commonly employed with reference to any illness at all serious.
Aside from the fact that all in attendance (save and except the doctors
per their medical testimony) did regard it as serious–a witness for
the prosecution, Mrs. Briggs, testified that she regarded him on that
day as “dangerously ill,” and Mr. Michael Maybrick said that when he
saw his brother on the evening of the same day “he was shocked by his
appearance”–I may say here that the phrase “sick unto death,” in
connection with other causes for apprehension, was prompted by the fact
that my husband had told me that very morning that “he thought he was
going to die”; and that this was his feeling is conclusively shown by
the evidence of Dr. Humphreys at the inquest, when he testified that he
had remarked to Mr. Michael Maybrick on this same Wednesday, the 8th
of May: “I am not satisfied with your brother, and I will tell you why
[not because the symptoms seemed serious to him, it will be observed].
_Your brother tells me he is going to die._”

That I regarded the case as really serious is surely further supported
by the fact that, notwithstanding the easy-going attitude of Dr.
Humphreys, I had persisted in urging a consultation, which accordingly
took place on the 7th. As to what the attending physicians _knew_ or
_did not know_ about the medical aspects of the case, I confidently
refer the reader to their own remarkable testimony.

There then remains for serious consideration only what is known as the
“Valentine meat-juice incident.” Of this I know no more now than is
included in my statement at the trial–namely, that at my husband’s
urgent, piteous request I placed a powder (which by his direction I
took from a pocket in his vest, hanging in the adjoining room, which
room until his sickness had been his private bedroom, he having been
removed to mine as being larger and more airy) in a bottle of meat
juice, no part of the contents of which were given him, and hence at
the very most there could only have legally arisen from this act a
charge of “intent to poison.”

I do not assume that I can solve a problem that has puzzled so many
able minds, but I trust I shall make clear that the prosecution can not
acquit itself of the inference of “cooking” up a case against me with
reference to this meat-juice incident:

1. At the inquest, only a few days after the occurrence, Nurse Gore
testified, “I could and did see _clearly_ what Mrs. Maybrick did
with the bottle,” though she failed to tell what she saw; and it
is remarkable she was not further questioned on this point. At the
magisterial inquiry and trial, _per contra_, she testified that “she
[I] pushed the door to conceal (note the animus) her [my] movements”;
but on cross-examination she so far corrected herself as to say: “Mrs.
Maybrick did _not_ shut the dressing-room door.”

2. When I returned with the bottle to the sick-room, she testified that
I placed it on the table in a “_surreptitious manner_,” though this
action, according to her own testimony, happened while “she [I] raised
her right hand and replaced the bottle on the table, while she [I] was
talking to me [her].”

If one wanted to do such an act “surreptitiously,” would one choose the
moment of all others when by conversation one is calling attention to
oneself? Do not the two things involve a direct contradiction?

3. It is in evidence that an hour after I had placed the bottle on a
little table in the window, I returned to the room and removed it from
the table to the washstand (where it remained during most of the next
day), lest the sight of it should renew Mr. Maybrick’s desire for it,
as he had just awakened. Note how this bottle is juggled with by the
witnesses for the prosecution.

Michael Maybrick, at the inquest, in answer to the question, “Where did
you find the Valentine’s meat juice?” replied: “I found it on a _little
table mixed up_ with _several other bottles_.” Note the particularity
of this bottle being _mixed up with several other bottles_. Obviously
he at this time, only a few days after the event, had a clear picture
of the situation in his mind. In corroboration of this testimony that
the bottle _he took_ was on the table and _not on the washstand_, there
is the testimony of Nurse Callery, who at the inquest stated: “My
attention was called by her [Nurse Gore] to a bottle of Valentine’s
meat juice, which was on _a table_ in Mr. Maybrick’s room. I took a
sample. I don’t know what became of the bottle of meat juice. I saw
Mr. Michael Maybrick in the room before going off duty at 4.50 P.M. on
Friday, but did not see him take the meat juice away.”

Nurse Gore gave her testimony at the inquest _after_ the two others,
and deposed that Mr. Michael Maybrick took the bottle from the
_washstand_ where I had placed it, thus contradicting Michael Maybrick,
and in a way also Nurse Callery, who testified that Nurse Gore called
her attention to a bottle on the _small table_. Obviously this
difference introduces _two_ bottles; but this would never answer the
prosecution, and accordingly Mr. Michael Maybrick at the trial dropped
_the table_ sworn to at the inquest and fell in line with Nurse Gore
in so far as to say: “It was standing on the _washstand_, and it
was _among some other bottles_.” Note that, while he substitutes the
_washstand_ for the _table_, he still clings to the _bottles_–a most
important circumstance–as it was indubitably shown that there were on
the _washstand_ only the “ordinary basins and jugs” (water pitchers).
Obviously Mr. Michael Maybrick had not fully comprehended the purpose
of the prosecution in “harmonizing” the testimony with that of Nurse
Gore; the “bottles” were too clearly in his mind to be dropped without
a distinct effort, and he naturally introduced them again; and, to fit
in with the Nurse Gore and the amended Mr. Michael Maybrick evidence,
Nurse Callery also changed front at the trial, and the _table_ of her
inquest testimony is also turned into a washstand. It is in evidence
that as late as the 6th of May my husband took meat juice out of a
bottle then in the room, the contents of which, however, did not
agree with him, and upon the _order of Dr. Humphreys_ its giving was
discontinued, he adding that he was “not surprised,” as it was known
not to agree with some people.

Although this was the doctor’s order, Mr. Edwin Maybrick took it upon
himself to procure a fresh bottle, and, distinctly against the same
order, Nurse Gore set about to administer its contents. Subsequently
a bottle of meat juice, half full, was found in a small wooden box
with other bottles (one of them containing arsenic in solution) in my
husband’s hat-box.

Nevertheless, though we are here undeniably dealing with _three_
meat-juice bottles, only two were accounted for at the trial. What
became of the third bottle? And which of the _three_ was missing? Now,
furthermore, it is in evidence that Nurse Callery handled one of these
bottles (between the time that I placed one on the washstand and the
time when Mr. Michael Maybrick, more than twelve hours later, took one
either from the _table_ or the _washstand_ for analysis), for she took
a sample of it, which she afterward threw away.

As all Valentine’s meat-juice bottles look alike, Mr. Michael Maybrick
showed sufficient caution to say he could not identify the bottle shown
him; but Nurse Gore, to whom every act of mine, however innocent, was
fraught with “surreptitiousness” and “suspicion,” balked at no such
scruples, but boldly testified that the bottle produced in court was
the identical one that Mr. Michael Maybrick “took from the washstand,”
even though at the inquest, when his memory was freshest, he testified
that he took it from the _table_.

It should be remembered that my statement to the court was to the
effect that I put a powder (its nature unknown to me) in the meat-juice
bottle I had in my hands. Yet no bottle containing a powder, or in
which a powder had been dissolved, appeared in evidence. According to
the analyst, the bottle submitted to him contained arsenic that had
been put in in a state of solution. Now it resolves itself to this:
either I uttered a falsehood about the powder and really introduced a
solution, or another bottle was substituted for the one I had for two
minutes in my possession.

The contention of the prosecution was that I “invented” the powder,
precisely as it was contended I “invented” the face-wash prescription
which was found after the trial. If I “invented” the powder, how
did I come by the solution? If I had had arsenic in solution in my
possession, would I have gone to the trouble of making a solution
for a face wash by the clumsy method of soaking fly-papers? Is not
the proposition quite absurd on its face–that I should openly call
attention to a method of arsenic extraction with the object of murder,
when I already had the means at my command?

Finally, let it be borne in mind, as stated by Justice Stephen himself
as a remarkable fact, that no arsenic was traced to my procurement
or found in my personal belongings (save and except the innocuous
fly-papers), and I may add that no arsenic was traced to any one
connected with the case, except to my husband.

I say it is absolutely clear that the bottle of Valentine’s meat
juice which Mr. Michael Maybrick took possession of and handed to Dr.
Carter is not the same bottle which Nurse Gore saw me place on the
washstand. There should be no flaw in the identity of the bottle which
was handed to the analyst and the one which was in my hands, and I
think the reader will say that it is impossible to conceive a greater
_flaw in any evidence of identity_ than shown by these witnesses of the
prosecution at the inquest, when their minds were freshest as to their
respective parts in this incident, and at the trial.

Those of my readers who follow the analysis of the testimony as
presented by Messrs. Lumley & Lumley can hardly have failed to be
impressed by the fact that I was surrounded by unscrupulous enemies,
by people who not only had extraordinary knowledge as to where to look
for deposits of arsenic, but also remarkable intuitions that arsenic
had been administered before any evidence of the presence of poison had
been analytically proven.

In the above I have not aimed to make an analysis of the testimony,
such as, for example, on the evidence now available, Lord Russell could
have made; I have simply endeavored to satisfy my readers that I have
substantial grounds for asserting my innocence before the world.




In a memorial for respite of sentence of Mrs. Maybrick, which was
signed by leading medical practitioners of Liverpool, the petitioners
say in part:

“3. It was admitted by the medical testimony on behalf of the
prosecution that the symptoms during life and the post-mortem
appearances were in themselves insufficient to justify the conclusion
that death was caused by arsenic, and that it was only the discovery
of traces of that poison in certain parts of the viscera which
eventually led to that conclusion.

“4. The arsenic so found in the viscera was less in quantity than
_that found in any previous case of arsenical poisoning in which
arsenic has been found at all_.

“5. There was indisputable evidence on the part of the defense that
the deceased had been in the habit of taking arsenic, both medicinally
and otherwise, for many years, and that the small quantity found in
the viscera was inconsistent with the theory of a fatal dose at any
time or times during the period covered by the illness of the deceased.

“6. Lastly, your memorialists agree with the evidence given by Dr.
Tidy, Dr. Macnamara, and Mr. Paul on behalf of the defense, that the
medical evidence on behalf of the prosecution _had entirely failed to
prove that the death was due to arsenical poisoning at all_.”


Leading members of the Bars of Liverpool and London signed a memorial
praying a reprieve of Mrs. Maybrick’s sentence “on the ground … of
the great conflict of medical testimony as to the cause of death” of
Mr. Maybrick.


A petition for reprieve of Mrs. Maybrick’s sentence was signed by many
and influential citizens of Liverpool. Among the reasons urged were:

3. Lack of direct evidence of administration of arsenic.

4. The weak case against prisoner on general facts unduly prejudiced by
evidence of motive.

5. Preponderance of medical testimony that death was ascribable to
natural causes.

[I feel a deep respect for the noble avowal given in the petition
of the medical practitioners of Liverpool, who must have felt the
honor of their profession at stake, and that their individual dignity
and humanity were concerned. The feeling among the Bar on receipt
of the verdict was an almost universal, if not a quite unanimous,
one of surprise. I have already mentioned (in Part One), the change
of attitude of the citizens of Liverpool toward me, as the trial
progressed, from hostility to belief in my innocence.–F. E. M.]



Mr. Edwin Garnett Heaton, a retired chemist (druggist), formerly
carried on business at 14 Exchange Street East, Liverpool, for
seventeen years; he retired from business in 1888. He testified at the

“Mr. Maybrick called frequently at my shop for about ten years or
more, off and on. He used to get the tonic called ‘pick-me-up.’
He would come to the shop, get it, and drink it up. He gave me
a prescription which altered it, which I put up with _liquor
arsenicalis_. He brought the prescription for the first few times;
I used afterward to give it him at once, when he came into the shop
and gave his order. I prepared the ‘pick-me-up’ and added the stuff.
At the beginning of giving it to him, a certain quantity of _liquor
arsenicalis_ was given, and as it continued it was gradually increased
from first to last, so at the last it was 75 per cent. greater in
quantity than it was originally. He used to get it from two to five
times a day, and each containing 75 per cent. increase.”

This testimony of Mr. Heaton’s was challenged by the prosecution, and
considerably nullified by the fact that he did not know Mr. Maybrick,
his customer, by name, but identified him by a photograph. To show
how inexorably one fatality after another was woven into the web of
my tragic case, it is in order to state that Mr. Heaton’s connection
with Mr. Maybrick could and would undoubtedly have been perfectly
established but for what in the circumstances can be characterized only
as a criminal blunder on the part of the police. In the printed police
list of the score or more medicine bottles found locked in the private
desk of Mr. Maybrick at his office was one entered as follows: “Spirit
of salvolatile, Edwin G. Easton, Exchange Street East, Liverpool.”
This misprint of Easton for Heaton escaped the attention of everybody
at the trial, and thus prevented the defense from identifying most
circumstantially Mr. Maybrick with Mr. Heaton’s customer who had the
arsenic habit.


About ten years ago Mr. Valentine Charles Blake, of Victoria
Embankment, son of a well-known baronet and Member of Parliament,
made a voluntary statutory declaration [corroborated on oath in every
possible essential by William Bryer Nation, of No. 7 Lion Street, a
manufacturing chemist and patentee], that Mr. Maybrick, about two
months before his death, procured through him (Mr. Blake), from
Mr. Nation’s supplies, as much as 150 grains of arsenic in various
forms. Mr. Nation, assisted by Mr. Blake, had made certain chemical
experiments in preparing ramie, the fiber of rhea grass, to serve as a
substitute for cotton. Among other ingredients used was arsenic, some
in pure form (white arsenic), some mixed with soot, and some mixed with
charcoal. In January, 1889, the process was perfected, and some time
during the same month Mr. Nation sent Mr. Blake to see Mr. Maybrick, to
get his assistance in placing the product on the market. Mr. Maybrick
was interested in the proposition and inquired closely into the nature
of the process, what ingredients were used, etc. The deponent told him
that, among other materials, arsenic was employed.

Then, to quote the exact words of the deposition, Mr. Blake went on to

“14. The said Mr. Maybrick shortly afterward, during discussion at the
same interview, asked me whether I had heard that many inhabitants of
Styria, in Austria, habitually took arsenic internally and throve upon
it. I said that I had heard so. He then spoke to me of De Quincey,
the author of ‘Confessions of an Opium-Eater,’ and asked me had I
read the work. I said, ‘Yes,’ and that I wondered De Quincey could
have taken such a quantity as 900 drops of laudanum in a day. The
said James Maybrick said, ‘One man’s poison is another man’s meat,
and there is a so-called poison which is like meat and liquor to me
whenever I feel weak and depressed. It makes me stronger in mind and
in body at once,’ or words to that effect. I ventured to ask him what
it was. He answered, ‘I don’t tell everybody, and wouldn’t tell you,
only you mentioned arsenic. It is arsenic. I take it when I can get
it, but the doctors won’t put any into my medicine except now and then
a trifle, that only tantalizes me,’ or words to that effect. After
a pause, during which I said nothing, the said James Maybrick said:
‘Since you use arsenic, can you let me have some? I find a difficulty
in getting it here.’ I answered that I had some by me, and that, since
I had only used it for experiments which were now perfected, I had
no further use for it, and he (Maybrick) was welcome to all I had
left. He then asked me what it was worth, and offered to pay for it in
advance. I replied that I had no license to sell drugs, and suggested
that we should make it a _quid pro quo_. Mr. Maybrick was to do his
best with the ramie grass product, and I was to make him a present of
the arsenic I had.

“15. It was finally agreed that when I came to Liverpool again, as
arranged I should bring with me and hand him the arsenic aforesaid.

“16. _In February, 1889_, I again called at the office of the said
James Maybrick, in Liverpool, and, as promised, I handed him all the
arsenic I had at my command, amounting to about 150 grains, some of
the ‘white’ and some of the two kinds of ‘black’ arsenic, in three
separate paper packets. I told him to be careful, as he had ‘almost
enough to poison a regiment.’ When we separated the said James
Maybrick took away the said arsenic with him, saying he was going home
to his house at Aigburth, to which he invited me. Having a train to
catch, I declined the invitation, promising to accept it on my next
visit to Liverpool, but before that occurred I read of his death.

“17. After the wife of the said James Maybrick had been accused of
his alleged murder, I wrote to Mr. Cleaver, her then solicitor, of
Liverpool, to the effect that I could give some evidence which might
be of use to his client, and I posted such letter but received no

“18. At this time I was intensely anxious as to the fate of my only
son, Valentine Blake, who had in the previous year sailed on board
the ship _Melanasia_ from South Shields for Valparaiso, which ship
was then very long overdue and unheard of. I eventually learned, as
a result of a Board of Trade inquiry, that the said ship must have
foundered with all hands, my only son included. At the time I wrote
as aforesaid to Mr. Cleaver, my entire attention was engrossed in
endeavoring to get news as to the ship which never came home, and I
felt little interest in any other subject. Receiving no reply to my
said letter to Mr. Cleaver, I took no further steps in the matter
until, seeing recently in a newspaper that Mr. Jonathan E. Harris, of
95 Leadenhall Street, in the city of London, was now acting for Mrs.
James Maybrick and her mother, the Baroness de Roques, I called at the
offices of the said Mr. Harris and made to him a statement.”


On August 10, Henry Bliss, former proprietor of Sefton Club and
Chambers, Liverpool, made a sworn deposition, in which he said:

“Mr. Maybrick lived in the chambers on and off several months, and was
in the habit of dosing himself. On one occasion he asked me to leave
a prescription at a well-known Liverpool chemist’s to be made up by
the time he left ‘Change. The chemist remarked: ‘He ought to be very
careful and not take an overdose of it.’”

On March 31, 1891, Franklin George Bancroft, artist and writer, of
Columbia, S. C., made a sworn deposition, in which he said:

“1. Between the years 1874 and 1876 I was personally acquainted
with James Maybrick, late of Battlecrease House, Aigburth, near
Liverpool, merchant, deceased, who was then living in Norfolk, Va.
I was frequently in his company, and from time to time I have _seen
him take from his vest pocket a case resembling a cigarette case,
which contained a packet of white powders_, and place the contents of
one such powder on several occasions into the glass of wine (usually
Chablis, claret, or champagne) he was at the time drinking, and
swallow the same.

“2. Seeing him take this powder, I did, on one occasion, ask him what
it was, and the said James Maybrick replied, ‘Longevity and fair
complexion, my boy!’ and he subsequently informed me that the said
white powders were composed of _arsenic_ among other ingredients.”


There are also facts in relation to the judge who tried the case which,
had they been anticipated at the time of the trial, could not have
failed to have had some weight, directly or indirectly, on the minds
of the jury; that is to say, his retirement from the Bench not long
afterward, in April, 1891, when, to quote his own words in addressing
the Bar, of whom he was taking leave, “he had been made acquainted with
the fact that he was regarded by some as no longer physically capable
of discharging his duties”; and it will be no matter of surprise, to
those who have read critically the summing-up of Mr. Justice Stephen on
this trial, to notice the entire change from a favorable bias between
his address to the jury on the first days of the trial to the violent
hostility shown at its conclusion.

This change of front can be in a manner accounted for, as it had been
suggested to the prisoner’s friends, by a conversation on the case
between Mr. Justice Stephen and another member of the Bench, Mr.
Justice Grantham, at a social meeting of an entirely private character.

A mental malady was developed in the judge so soon after the trial
that it was properly said to have been caused _by his brooding over
it_, and this condition increased so rapidly and markedly that his
_resignation was demanded_. It is but reasonable to suppose that the
judge’s mental incapacity reached farther back than its discovery, and
that the illogical and unjust summing-up was connected with the mental
overthrow of the otherwise able judge. And it may be here added that
Justice Stephen himself, in the second edition of the “General Views of
the Criminal Law of England, 1890,” says, at page 173, that out of 979
cases tried before him, from January, 1885, to September, 1889, “the
case of Mrs. Maybrick was the only case in which there could be any
doubt about the facts.”