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EXECUTED BY ELECTRICITY

JNo criminal cause celebre hnd for a ion? time created o great a nemition ia New; Yo k a3 the t lal of i>r Nowbold. To J b?gin with, it was tho first oapital trial sinoe execution by electricity had b<-on « atablißbed by law, and ihe interest which would m any case have a'tachod to a trial m such c>~cumsiances was hefgbtoned by the fact that Dr Newbold, on whom to a appeal ance the first practical application of death by o!ectrioity waß to take placn, wob hiopself not oily a well-known rnau io the bo en ific word, but specially disingulfihed for his auoceasfMl usa of electricity m nr.dlcal pract cc. Apart from these considerations, however, the crime for which the doctor was tried was one of a peculiarly sensational oharaoter. Dr Newbold was at this time 45 years of age and occupied the front rank of hia p ofeneion m New York. The ciicumetanoea of the crime for which tho doctor a'ood arraigned were as follows : — Tow rds duak on an evening m autumn an English gent'eman, who had only that day landed m New York, called at Dr. NetrboldV, and was shown Into the consulting-room. He gave the name of Marriott. He was a stranger to the eervant who admitted him, and, ao far as was known, had not been ia the house before. A few mlnateo after his admission the servant took a lamp into the oonsaitlDg-room, and drew down the blinds. At that time the man noticed nothing unusual m the demeanour of either doctor or patient. A few moments later, however, bis attention was attracted by a lond altercation m the room. He called another servant, and' the two, going to the door, distinguished the voice of their master rising nbove that of the stranger In a tone of passionate excitement. Bofora they had time to out oh what was passing, however, there was a loud cry for help followed instantly by a pistol-shot. Bursting open tho door, the door, the servants found Dr Newbold kneeling over the body of the stringer, whloh lay la a pool of blood upon the hearth-rag "He ii dead. You om do nothing for him. Fetch the police," was Dr Newbold's laconic comment upon the situation. The astonished domestic! obeyed, and when the polioe presently entered the dootor gave himself up with perfeot eolf • possession as the murderer of the dead man. The jadlolal inquiry took place, and Newbold was found guilty of murder, and condemned to death There was no defence, much to the surprise of all, and at the prisoner's own request no attempt was made to obtain a reprieve. In duo oaurse, therefore, this remarkable orlmioal took his seat m the lethal chair wbloh was henceforth to play that important part In history hitherto filled by the gallows. Half a dozan of the foremost eolen tints of America assisted io the preliminaries and watched the result, with on interest which was to all appoaranoe only stimulated by the fact that they were operating, as It ware, on one of themselves. The oondemoed mm himself i" was s»id, manifested throughout a lively interest In the arrangements, and h*d even offered one or two suggestions, which were considered to have contributed materially to the sucoess of the operation, AH being tn readiness, a button was pressed, and without a movement, or the twitch of a musole, Dr Newbold was reduced to bis original oUy — a grand triumph for science and olvllliatfos, as the preis throughout the world unanimously proclaimed on the following morning. By tbe will which he left, Professor Bligh, a well -known scientific man and on intimate friend of the deceased, was appointed solo exeoutor It fell to Professor Blight tho re fore, to take charge of and remove from the gaol the body of the deoeased man, m a cordanco with the provisions of the Acf, which authorities the corpee of an exeouted oriroinal to ba delivered to his representatives for burial. In due course the professor received the body, and the funeral was performed under his directions After Newt old's exeoution, a statement by him appeared m tho New York papers, which gave the reasons for the murderous deed. It was a oaeo of avenging a wrong done to a young girl by a rival lover, who was the cnueo of hia victim's death from a broken he rt. . . . , As everybody knows, it was not for many yeara after the cxeontion of Dr Newbold th*t any seriouß attempt to roform tho method of capital punishment was made In England. In time, however, the question came to the front. Several Bills providing for the substitution of death by electricity for hanging had been promoted by p ivato members, r>nd at last tho Government of the day with a view to securing some valuable votes on a much morn momentous question, offered to refer the oapital punishment question to a Select Committee. To a committee accordingly the question went — a committee which, needless to say, was universally known as the Hanging Committeo before it was many days old. There was no one on thi Hanging Committee who evinced a better knowledge of the subjeot under discussion than Mr Bedman . This, indeed, was not surprising. Mr Bedman was the member for Newborougb, where he was the partner m a large firm of electrical engineers, whose name was known all over the kingdom. He had taken a prominent part m the discussions which bad preceded the appointment of the Committee, and he owed his seat on that body partly to this oircumstance and partly to his wellknown soientifio attainments. Strangely enough, however, m spite of hie experience as an electrioian, Mr Redman showed himself extremely hostile to tho nev American method of execution. The witnesses who favored that methid were bubjected by him to very searching cross-examinations, m the oonrae of which he made no secret of his opinion that electrjpity _, could not be relied on to produce a fatal result. Among the Bo'entißa. wltneises this sug gestlon was almost contemptuously rejected and by none more contempt uomly than by Professor Oookshaw. Professor Ocokshaw came down armed with a pile of eblfint'fio treatises, and supported his views by copious reference to sir sorts of authorities. Among other things he gave the Committee an Interesting aooount of the first electrical execution In the of se of Dr Newbold at New York, derived from a valuable mtnusorlpt reoord of tbe clroumstanoes made by a certain gentleman who hid oharge of the arrangements. Mr Bedm*n commeuoed to put a few questions to Professor Cookshaw after the latter had concluded his statements In answer to the chairman. It wts »t onoe notiood that the Interrogator appeared to be laboring under very strong exoltement though he did his best to conceal It. ''You entertain no doubt, Professor Oockeha*,"he said, " that Dr New bo si was killed V "Not the slightest," replied tbe professor, with that air of affatle superiority with whloh be was wont to drive his opponents tp desperation, " Tbe fsot is authenticated beyond dispute by those who examined the body. Apart from that it Is a priori Impostlble that any human being couia have survived tbe •hook administered to Newbold." " Then If Newbold w»s seen alive after h's exeoution, yon would say he bad risen from the dead?" isked the member for Newborougb. " I prefer ip wait till he has been seen before expressing an opinion." " Suppose I toll you th»t t myself have seen him !" persisted Mr Redman, with a strange tremor m his voloe, whloh oaosed every one m the room to look towards him. The Professor mad a no aoir<rer. He merely looked round at the other raemben of tba Qonmlttea M tboogh to»»«,

1 M Oau'i nuy.'of you atop th'ci poor fellow ; from unking nnch a fool of himself 1" 1 "T want you? *nswpr, P;ofi?»9or. 0 'ok. \ slnvr," c 'utioued At Redmvn, hla excite* ■ Di<n evidently grow ng, *' I tell you tb.av Dr Now bold is aHve at> thla moment j — 'hat I can en* ver for it myself, and I ask you, no a Roleut fio man, what Infer— ouoo you wojM <?r;iw from fcSa* fiot ?" " I nm afraid, sir," replied the Frofaeeor, Icj a tone of evlc'outly hoartfi'lt oomraiseratiou, '• th» only Inference T om draw is that you h.va either been imposed apm or are labcciug uuder an halluolna* tion." " TboD yon labor ander the urao hallaoluntion, sir," returned Mr Rodmetn, hotly ; " for, let me tell yon that you youraalfare looking at him »t this rarmont, 1 am Dr. Newbold." There was what the reporter! n\\ a aensatioai The member next to Mr Red* m*n took him; by the arm, and whispered something In hla ear. "lam well aware < f what I am eaylog," »»><! Mr Redaino, making ao obvlotia effirt to regnln ha o mpoiare. "I ask permioßlon of the committee to make a personal explanation, which will enable them to judge of the value of some of the eyidenoe whioh they hare heard. I repeat thnt I am Dr Henry Newbold, of New York, who underwent the form of execution ten years ago for the mardor of Mr Marriott, Before the exeoutlon took place I believed that It would be possible to restore animation after an apparsntly f»t»l eleotrlo nhook, as 1 have bo frequently suggested during this Inquiry. In this belief, I refatsd to allow any defence to be raised on my behalf whioh might have led to the death penalty being oommuted, preferring the ohaooe of reausoltttlon to permanent lnoarceratloa In a criminal lunatlo asylam or to a long term of penal servitude. After the execution my supposed corpse w»s delivered to my friend, Professor Bllgh, who applied oertaln remedies whioh had been dlscusied between us. Ii la better that I should not poblioly divulge their nature. Their value is sufficiently shown by my presence here to day." • • • • » The following appeared m the newspapers of the next morning: — The Press Assosiation noderssauds that immediately after the extraordinary loene at yesterday's sitting of the Hanging Committee, Mr Redman, M.P., applied for the Ohlltern Hundreds, and sabse> qaently left for the Continent by the night mail. Professor Bllgh, who is at this moment m England, has been Interviewed and corroborates the astonishing story told by Mr Redman m every particular. The Hanging Committee subsequently reported against exeoutlon by eleotrioity.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890218.2.33

Bibliographic details

EXECUTED BY ELECTRICITY, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2066, 18 February 1889

Word Count
1,740

EXECUTED BY ELECTRICITY Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2066, 18 February 1889

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