The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

PART I.

The conviction of Hugh GRANT for the willful murder of his child  at
Workington was a forgone conclusion. It was impossible for the jury to return  any
other verdict than the one which has produced such a profound sensation in  West
Cumberland. No more painful task can be imposed on any person than to  assist
in sending a human being to the scaffold; but the men who were called  upon to
decide on Wednesday whether GRANT had or had not committed the most  serious
crime known to the law had no alternative.

 To their verdict they appended a recommendation to mercy, which will,  no
doubt, receive from the Home Secretary the consideration to which it is  
entitled. It is difficult to understand why such a recommendation should have  been
made. Probably it was due to the horror felt by the jurymen at dooming an  
fellow creature to die by the hand of the hangman. We can sympathise with this  
feeling, and to a certain extent, admire it, but it can only be justified on the
 ground we have stated.

 A fouler or more brutal crime than that of which GRANT has been  convicted
was never committed. There is not a shadow of an excuse for it. Mr.  SHEE, who
defended the prisoner, struggled hard against the evidence for the  
prosecution, but from the first the struggle was hopeless. No eloquence, no  persuasion,
no pleading could disprove the damning fact that the prisoner had,  without
the slightest shadow of provocation, taken away the life of a helpless  and
unoffending infant whom it was his duty to protect, and whose very  
defencelessness ought to have been its best safeguard.

 The surrounding circumstances are quite insufficient to explain away  the
conduct of GRANT, and they do not in the slightest degree palliate his  crime.
Inflamed by passion and maddened by drink, he went down to the house of  his
wife’s father with the deliberate intention of picking a quarrel with the  
inmates. He fancied himself an injured man, but for any injury which had  sustained
he seems to have been purely responsible. His conduct when he reached  the
house, before he committed the terrible crime for which he has forfeited his  
life, was bad enough. He seems to have acted like a Malay running a-muck, and to
 have struck right and left at anyone near him. If, during the quarrel
between  them, he had killed his wife, a jury would probably have had no difficulty
in  reducing the crime to manslaughter. But what he did was to take his own
child  who had given him no cause of offence, and beat out its little life.

 The Crime of GRANT has not stirred the people of this district so  deeply as
the murder of LUCY SANDS. The mystery in which the death of LUCY SANDS  was
shrouded had a great deal to do with the intense excitement which the  
discovery of her body created. It was both strange and frightful that a young  woman
should be killed and buried beneath a heap of stones not many yards from a  
human dwelling and near to a thickly populated town. But the murderer of LUCY  
SANDS was not guilty of a worse offence  than that of Hugh GRANT has been  
convicted. And if the crime has failed to impress the public mind as deeply as  the
other, it is because the public has failed to grasp in its entirety the  
enormity of GRANT’s offence.

 For a strong man to attack one weaker than himself is a cowardly act,  and
Englishmen have always accounted it so. To assault a woman is more cowardly  
still. But for a father to take away the life of his own child, and stifle the  
feeble wail of infancy by ruffian and unprovoked violence, is a crime so  
appalling that no language that was ever written  or spoken could depict it  in
its true colours.