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and other places stopped. There have been several serious collisions both in the Humber and the Basin. The whole of the lowlands for miles have been flooded.
A violent gale prevailed at Hartlepool after midnight from the south-east, exceeding in fury any for two years, and on the coast at South Shields it is said to have been beyond description, and several sad accidents occurred. One of the lifeboats, named the "Northumberland," was capsized by a fearful sea. Seven of the men were thrown into the water, the remainder scrambled ashore, and four of the seven were drowned.
At Wick, the new harbour works suffered seriously, the concrete block of a thousand tons having been dislodged, and fears were entertained that the building will not stand the storm.
In Worcestershire the Severn has overflowed its banks, flooding the low-lying lands, and doing considerable damage to property.
In Leicestershire miles of the country are under water, the flood being the greatest for some time past. Nearly a foot of snow fell in Yorkshire and Derbyshire during Monday night. All the rivers are much swollen. The streets of Leeds were almost impassable, owing to the heavy fall of snow and sleet. The River Stour has been higher than for twenty years. The flood-gates and the low-lying parts of Kidderminster are under water. Mill-street, one of the principal thoroughfares, is impassable, and pedestrians have to make a long circuit. The occupants of the Parkgate Inn have had to lock up their house and were taken in by their neighbours, and other families living near are also obliged temporarily to abandon their homes. The new sewerage works have been damaged, and some of the sewers have burst from the force of the water. The flood has caused great excitement in the town.
23. THE IMPRISONED GAS-STOKERS.-An appeal to the working-men of England on behalf of the gas-stokers sentenced to twelvemonths' imprisonment by Mr. Justice Brett, on account of the gas-strike,' has been issued. Aid is sought for the effort now being made to mitigate their punishment, and for the relief of the sufferings of the mens' families. Mr. Trewby, the superintendent of the City of London Gas Works at Becton, was summoned at the Woolwich Policecourt on Saturday the 21st, to answer the complaint of a gas-stoker for having discharged him without notice. For the defence it was stated that the complainant had so conducted himself as to give rise to a suspicion that he was in confederacy with the men on strike to coerce and damage the company, and that any appearance of treachery at such a time would justify the superintendent in getting rid of him. The magistrate took this view of the matter, and dismissed the summons.
A large and influentially-attended meeting of delegates representing the metropolitan trade societies, convened by the London Trades Council, was held to-night at the Sussex Hotel, Bouveriestreet, Fleet-street, for the purpose of "considering the critical
1 See English History, chap. v.
legal position of all trades societies and their officers, consequent upon the recent convictions of the London gas-stokers at the Central Criminal and Police Courts, and the steps necessary to be taken thereon." Odger, delegate from the West-end shoemakers was in the chair. The following resolutions were passed :-"That this meeting, composed of delegates from the various trade societies of London, expresses its astonishment and indignation at the unjust, cruel, and unprecedented sentence passed on the gas-stokers by Judge Brett at the Central Criminal Court, and feels convinced that if the employers of labour had been placed before him instead of workmen, no such violation of the law would have been attempted." "That this delegate meeting empowers the London Trades Council to convene, at the earliest possible date, an aggregate meeting of the London trades, for the purpose of protesting against the sentence passed on the gas-stokers, to request the Government to effect the immediate release of the imprisoned men, and to take such steps as may be found necessary in the interests of trades' unions during the present crisis."
Another meeting to protest against the sentence passed on the gasstokers, was held in the Working Men's Club, King's-road, Chelsea. A general committee was also formed for defending the five gasstokers, and met on the 21st at No. 10, Bolt-court, Fleet-street; Mr. George Potter in the chair. This committee is distinct from the London Trades Council, and comprises gentlemen who usually take an interest in industrial questions, and several of the influential trades' unionists. Amongst those present at the meeting were Mr. T. Hughes, M.P., Mr. Mackenzie (barrister), Mr. William Cobbett, and others. The chairman said the object of the meeting was to ascertain really under what law the men had been convicted, and the best means to be adopted for obtaining a remission of the monstrous sentence, both at the Old Bailey and the police-courts. Letters throwing some light upon the question have been received from Messrs. Shaen and Roscoe, the solicitors who conducted the defence at the Old Bailey, and from two members of the committee unable to attend that day, viz., Mr. H. Crompton (barrister), and Mr. F. Harrison (barrister). After some discussion, the following resolu tion was adopted :-"That the Home Secretary be requested to receive a deputation on the question of the gas-stokers' trial, with the view to lay before him a memorial praying for the remission of the sentence passed on the five men at the Central Criminal Court, and also to ascertain the law or laws under which these men were tried; and, further, to ascertain the exact position which working men occupy in relation to recent legislation on combinations of workmen." An appeal to the public and the working classes generally for subscriptions in aid of the funds for supporting the families of the imprisoned men was then agreed to.
25. MURDER IN GREAT CORAM-STREET. This morning or last night a mysterious murder was perpetrated at 12, Great Coramstreet, Russell-square. The victim is a young woman, known as
Clara Burton, aged twenty-seven, who only three weeks ago took apartments at the above address. She was, it is said, in the habit of accepting engagements as a supernumerary at the various theatres and music-halls; but at all events this much is certain, that she regularly frequented the Alhambra, the Argyll Rooms, and other places of entertainment. On Tuesday night, according to her usual custom, she left her apartments about ten o'clock, having previously borrowed a shilling from a fellow-lodger named Nelson. About midnight she returned with a foreign gentleman, supposed to be a German, and, in conversation with the landlady of the house and others, she appeared to be unusually lively, and talked in a pleasant manner. She stated that the gentleman who had accompanied her home had presented her with a quantity of oranges and nuts, which he had purchased after they had left the Alhambra, and the fruit she entrusted to the care of the landlady. She then went upstairs to the second floor back room, and directly afterwards returned with half a sovereign, from which the landlady deducted 98. on account of rent, and gave the remaining shilling to the deceased. The unfortunate young woman appeared as if she had been drinking, and spoke rather loudly, but there was nothing in her demeanour to excite much attention. Shortly after she had retired to her room, she again came down-stairs, and asked the landlady for some bottled stout, which, however, it was impossible to obtain, as all the publichouses were closed. Nothing more was heard of the deceased and her companion until this morning about half-past six, when a man was heard cautiously descending the stairs and proceeding along the passage, and instantly the front street-door was hurriedly and violently slammed. No notice whatever was taken of the circumstance; but about midday the son of the landlady, a young boy of eight years of age, went to call the deceased and provide her breakfast. There was no response to the call, and the landlady, suspecting that something was wrong, summoned the other lodgers in the house, and burst open the door, when a ghastly sight presented itself. The deceased was found in bed, weltering in blood, her throat being cut in two places. Her clothes were found strewn about the room, but otherwise there was no appearance of any struggle. The door had been locked on the outside, and the key cannot be found; but there are no marks of blood on the door or on the walls, or any indication that blood had spurted from the wounds inflicted. The face of the victim was perfectly calm. On the forehead, however, there was the distinct print of a thumb, and a little lower down that of the palm of a hand, as if after the first wound had been inflicted, the poor creature had been held down by the left hand while the second wound was given. The pillows were completely saturated and steeped with congealed blood. The most careful examination of the room and its surroundings failed to throw any light on the means by which the deed had been committed. A basin and can filled with water had not been touched, but in a second large can there was a mark of blood. In front of the washstand
there were ten large drops of blood, and on the towel a mark as if a small pocket-knife had been wiped, and this was the only clue to the kind of weapon used for the accomplishment of the deed. The suspicion is, therefore, that the murderer wiped his hands on his handkerchief. There were two empty match-boxes on the table, one of tin, used generally for carrying wax vestas, and on that were two spots of blood. The blinds were down and the windows closed, and no marks of blood on either, so that it would seem, at all events, that the weapon was not thrown out at the window.
Searching inquiries have resulted in learning somewhat of the past history of the deceased, whose real name, it appears, is Harriet Boswell. She had a child eight years old out at nurse, and only came to her lodgings on Tuesday, to spend the Christmas. She resided for three years in Manchester-street, Argyle-square. She was on good terms with the people of the house, and was always supposed to be an actress. She left there a few weeks ago, and went to live at 34, Regent-square, where she seems, from a bill that has been found, to have paid 33s. a week rent. The motive for the murder is not at present known. It is, however, supposed that the man who went home with the deceased might have imagined a woman living in such a house would have jewellery, clothes, or money. The matter is in the hands of Superintendent Thompson, of the E Division, who is doing his utmost to elucidate the mystery surrounding the murder; but at the time at which we write, at the close of the year, with no effect whatever. The inquest disclosed nothing.
29. STORMS AND WRECKS form again the burden of the week's news. The "Germany," an English packet of 3000 tons, has been wrecked at the entrance of the Gironde, having run aground on a sand-bank; ninety-seven of the persons on board were brought on Sunday evening, the 22nd, to Rochelle in sloops; thirty were drowned. The greatest attention was paid to the shipwrecked persons by the Rochelle people. From Saturday evening until Sunday morning the crew and passengers remained clinging to the wreck, a furious sea running all the time. They were at last perceived by a French steamer, which not being able, in consequence of the terrific storm raging at the time, to approach them, sent out its boats, and by the heroic exertion of the men, the survivors on the wreck were saved. Twenty-four persons in all perished-twelve of the crew and twelve passengers. A Miss Bayley was the only cabin passenger lost; the remaining eleven passengers were intermediate and steerage, and, without exception, it is believed, were all foreigners. Of the crew lost, six were sailors, two were firemen, and four were stewards. All the officers of the ship survive. On Christmas Day there was a collection in the churches of La Rochelle on behalf of the persons rescued from the mail-steamer " Germany." A private letter from La Rochelle says that all the rescued persons left for England on Sunday last. The inhabitants thronged the quays to see them off, and responded to the cheers with which they were
greeted by the sailors with waving of hats and handkerchiefs. During their stay in La Rochelle the shipwrecked persons were treated with great kindness and attention. A concert was given in their behalf, which was well attended, the front seats being reserved for them; and various collections were made, the result being that a sum of 2996 francs was obtained. Before leaving La Rochelle, the officers and crew of the "Germany" drew up and signed an address to the Mayor, thanking him for the kindness with which they had been treated, and expressing the hope that at some future time they might be able to show their gratitude in a more substantial manner. seems there is but little prospect of saving anything from the wreck, as the vessel is completely buried in the sand.
Shortly after one o'clock on Friday morning, the 27th, a violent thunderstorm broke over Cork, lasting for nearly an hour. The flashes of lightning were incessant, each being followed by loud peals of thunder.
At ten o'clock on Friday morning dark clouds gathered over Birmingham, and a terrific storm of hail, thunder, and lightning followed, being most severe in the southern suburbs. The streets were flooded.
At one o'clock the same morning a heavy storm burst over Queenstown, attended by vivid lightning and a hurricane of wind from the south-west. Heavy rain also fell. The storm continued with great violence until 3 a.m. Such a furious thunderstorm is not remembered to have occurred before in that part of Ireland.
Over sixty yards of permanent way on the South Devon Railway were washed away by the sea at Dawlish on Wednesday, the 25th, and a further adjoining portion of the railway soon followed it.
30. DOUBLE MURDER NEAR BELFAST.-A retired villa residence at Holywood, in the vicinity of Belfast, has been the scene of a horribly cold-blooded murder. Miss Kerr, an elderly lady, and her servant-girl were the only inmates of the house in which this morning their bodies, shockingly mutilated, were discovered, lying in pools of blood. A postman observed two females coming out of the house at eight o'clock in the morning. One was tall and muscular, and the other low in stature. They were also met by a second postman. They both carried bundles-one containing articles of apparel which can be identified, and the other, which was covered by a piece of waterproof cloth, seemed to be made up of pieces of plate. Miss Kerr was a middle-aged lady and a Presbyterian. She was somewhat peculiar in her habits, but was a very intelligent person. From her many acts of charity she had an excellent reputation in Holywood, and was highly esteemed by all who were either directly or indirectly connected with her. The servant was a Roman Catholic. No other intention but that of plunder is assigned as the cause of the murder, and the building being so far removed from the scene, the noise of a struggle would not be heard.
On Tuesday an arrest was made. The prisoner is a servant woman named Mary Raw, aged about twenty-eight years. On