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her widow's consolation. The third spouse, Robinson, would not insure himself, and it is said that she pledged his clothes, drew heavily on his bank account, and ran him into debt. During the first marriage seven children died. The second appears to have had no issue; the third was fatal to six more; and the fourth, at West Auckland, had reached its fifth victim, when this horrible career of crime was stopped: It is now remembered that Cotton's own mother died under mysterious circumstances similar to those noted in all the other cases, and with hers there will be twenty cases of suspicion.
Mary Ann Cotton went to Walbottle as Mary Ann Mowbray, and became acquainted with the man Cotton, who on July 9, 1870, installed her as his housekeeper, and in the early part of the October following married her at St. Andrew's Church, Newcastleon-Tyne, in the name of Mary Ann Mowbray. Within three months of the marriage the child Robert Robson Cotton was born, and the neighbours began to throw out unpleasant insinuations respecting her former life. At this time a number of fat pigs belonging to persons with whom she was on unfriendly terms, died mysteriously, the symptoms being those of poisoning, and Mrs. Cotton was at once blamed for poisoning them. The feeling in the village ran so high against her, that Cotton thought it wise to leave the place, and he went to West Auckland, where he obtained employment at the colliery which bears that name.
Mary Ann Cotton's first husband was William Mowbray, a pitman, who, with three children which were born to him, died. The name of the second husband does not appear. She then married James Robinson, a foreman in a shipbuilding yard at Pallion, near Sunderland, who is alive, but who lost five children by a former wife while he lived with the prisoner, and before they separated. And then, as already stated, she went to Walbottle and married Francis Cotton, and his family lived a quiet and apparently peaceable life for four or five months at West Auckland, when in September of last year Cotton fell ill in the pit, went home, and died after a few days' illness, his death being followed in rapid succession by those of his eldest and youngest sons, both of whom died suddenly, after exhibiting the same symptoms. The prisoner appeared on the occasion of each death to feel it acutely, and appeared much depressed and grieved at her loss, and she so far obtained the sympathy of her neighbours that a subscription was made in the village on her behalf. The owners of the colliery, also, besides contributing liberally, allowed her to live rent free, and supplied her with coals for some time afterwards. Cotton and his sons were buried at the expense of the parish; and though the prisoner was in receipt of parish relief after the death of her husband, and also received sums from an insurance company, where the deceased were insured for small amounts, she always appeared to be in deep poverty. Natrass went to lodge with the prisoner after the death of her husband, and after staying with her four or five months, and making over to her his watch, money, and clothes,
he became ill and died, after suffering great agony during about a week's illness. The poor fellow evidently suspected all was not right, for, on being visited by one of his companions, he remarked, "If I was only better I will be out of this." The day before his death he told his medical attendant, who had been treating him for gastric fever, that he had no more fever than the doctor had, and if it was not for that grinding pain in his stomach he was all right, and he actually refused to take any more of the medicine prescribed for him shortly before his death, which occurred on April 1 last. On July 12 the remaining child, Charles Edward Cotton, aged seven years, died after a short illness, and attended by similar circumstances.
With scarcely an exception, the persons who died in the Sunderland and West Auckland groups were treated by the medical men who attended them as suffering from gastric fever, and their deaths were registered as such. The woman seems to have had all the members of her household who have died, with the exception of Natrass, insured. She received the money.
19. MYSTERIOUS TRAGEDY IN GOLDEN-SQUARE.-A melancholy and fatal occurrence has just been brought to light in Goldensquare. A respectably-dressed lady and gentleman took apartments at No. 18, stating they had arrived from the Continent, and required the room for a week only. They slept there on Thursday night, the 17th, had their breakfast in the house on Friday morning, dined at a restaurant in Regent-street, and returned home at ten o'clock p.m. Nothing was afterwards heard or seen of them until eleven o'clock this morning, when Mrs. Cunningham, the landlady, went upstairs to clean the rooms, and on coming to the door of the apartments of her new lodgers she was much startled to find it locked, and the key tied to the handle outside. On entering the room she saw the lady seated in an arm-chair, with a railway rug partly over her face, and the gentleman stretched on the floor tightly clenching what afterwards proved to be a Bible in his hands. She instantly gave an alarm, when Dr. Slight, of Brewer-street, was called in, and he discovered that the bodies had been dead some time, and a phial labelled strychnine was found on the table. There was also by its side, apparently in a man's handwriting, a note in English to the following effect:-" You will find 37. on the table, which I have left to bury us with; let it be done as quietly as possible; one pound is to be given to Mrs. Cunningham for her kindness to us, and also what remains in the trunks besides." On searching the bodies, no papers of any description which could lead to their identity were to be found; but from the appearance of the grate in the room, there is no doubt a number of papers were destroyed before the terrible act was committed. The bodies were removed to St. James's Workhouse. The man appears to have been about forty-five years of age, and the woman fifty.
Both evidently belonged to the upper middle-class, and appeared to be highly respectable, so far as could be judged from their
outward appearance. At the inquest the jury returned a verdict that the deceased man and woman died from the effects of strychnine, but under what circumstances it was administered there was not sufficient evidence to show.
Much excitement was caused by a belief which for a time prevailed, that the deceased were to be identified with a Captain and Mrs. Douglas, who had lived at Richmond, and had left suddenly and not been heard of since the 8th. The statement, however, proved to be without foundation.
Loss of THE STEAMER "BATAVIER.” Batavier," The " passenger steamer, the finest and most commodious of the vessels of the Netherlands Steam-packet Company, left Blackwall soon after noon to-day, in charge of Captain C. Janses, with passengers and a valuable cargo for Rotterdam and the Rhine. On arriving in Barking Reach, near the pumping-station of the Southern Outfall Sewer, the large Turkish screw man-of-war" Charkee" came up the river. She carried the Turkish ensign, and, favoured by the tide, was steaming up through Barking Reach, the river being unusually free from other craft, when a fearful collision ensued. The Turkish man-of-war penetrated the "Batavier" eight feet, striking her with tremendous force. The boats of the two steamers were instantly lowered; the women and children were placed in the first boat, and a tug coming up at the time rendered material assistance. In the confusion and alarm a child sleeping in the cabin was overlooked, and a boy of the crew was also drowned. The rest of the passengers and crew were saved, but the "Batavier" foundered. The place where she sunk is very near where the Dublin steamer "Foyle" was lost some years ago.
21. MR. H. M. STANLEY, the correspondent, was entertained at a banquet at Willis's Rooms, by the Council and the Clubs of the Royal Geographical Society, and some officers of the late Abys sinian expedition. The company numbered about 100 in all, and included most of the leading Fellows of the society and members of its associated clubs, the Kosmos and the Geographical.
In proposing the toast of the evening, the chairman expressed his own regret and that of the Geographical Society, that they could not have met at an earlier period to do honour to the guest of the evening. Mr. Stanley responded in a friendly and pleasant speech.
On the 28th, being entertained at luncheon by the corporation of Paisley, he was very humorous and contemptuous at the expense of his hosts of the previous week.
At a lunch given on the 30th at Helensburgh to Mr. Stanley, Mr. Oswald Livingstone said he did not like to hear Mr. Stanley speak as he had done of the Geographical Society, many of the members of which were his personal friends; and after the ample apology made on the part of the society, and when his father (Dr. Livingstone) had written, saying he did not wish to retain any illfeeling against them, he (Mr. Livingstone) thought Mr. Stanley
should allow the matter to drop. Mr. Stanley made no re
25. JEWEL ROBBERY AT KNOWSLEY HALL.-A burglary was committed at Knowsley Hall, the residence of Lord Derby, and diamonds and jewellery worth 30007., the property of the Hon. Miss Constance Grosvenor, were stolen. A reward of 507. was offered for the apprehension of the thieves. The robbery must have been committed between eight and eleven o'clock.
29. WONDERFUL ESCAPE OF A TRAIN.-A terribly exciting scene occurred on the Cornwall Railway this afternoon. A train laden with 150 tons of china-clay left Burngullow Station at 4.20 p.m. for St. Austell, where it should have been shunted while the mail train, then shortly due, passed it, the Cornwall Railway being a single line. Owing to insufficient or defective brake-power, the clay train overshot St. Austell Station and passed on at high speed down the incline beyond. The passengers on the platform were horror-struck, for the mail was known to have left Par seven minutes previously, and it seemed inevitable that the two trains should meet engine to engine with frightful force. The station officials were as powerless as the passengers to avert the impending disaster, and all with one consent began to run along the line, following the clay train, to witness the catastrophe they feared. Meanwhile the driver of the mail, Samuel Westlake, when about one mile from St. Austell, saw the truant train rapidly coming towards him on the same line of metals. With bravery and presence of mind which cannot be too highly extolled, instead of seeking his own safety by jumping off at once, he blew the brake whistle to stop the train, reversed the engine, and commenced to run backwards at full speed to Par, chased by the mineral train. The passengers were by this time aware more or less clearly of the position of affairs. Some shrieked, others fainted, and the boldest were alarmed at the possible issue of the terrible chase, for the heavy mineral train for some time gathered impetus from the incline, and rapidly gained on the mail; but happily when the two engines had approached within twenty yards of each other the balance of speed was reversed, and the mail train was followed into Par Station at a respectful distance by its dangerous competitor. The passengers, relieved of their anxiety, and now become fully aware of the peril they had encountered and of the means by which they had providentially escaped, gathered round the driver, overwhelming him with thanks and pressing gifts on his acceptance. A subscription on behalf of Samuel Westlake was set on foot, with the consent of the railway directors, who will also make him an acknowledgment on their own account.
31. A SOUTH SEA MASSACRE.-The greatest indignation has been felt and expressed in Australia at the discovery of most frightful atrocities which were perpetrated on board the brig "Carl," when on what is termed a labour-cruise amongst the South Sea Islands. It appears that the "Carl" was owned by a Dr. James Patrick
Murray. She left Melbourne in June, 1871, Dr. Murray going with her as surgeon. She took from thence a general cargo, and no suspicion was entertained that she was to be engaged in any but a legitimate trade. On arriving at Levuka, the captain of the brig left; the mate, a man named Armstrong, was appointed in his stead, and, having obtained authority from Mr. March, the British Consul, to go on a labour-cruise, he, still accompanied by Dr. Murray, the owner, started on a kidnapping expedition amongst the islands. Then commenced the perpetration of a series of the most horrible atrocities. The unsuspicious natives were decoyed in their canoes alongside the vessel, and the canoes were suddenly smashed by heavy pieces of iron being thrown into them. Struggling in the water, the unhappy wretches were caught, hauled on board the brig, and thrust into the hold, and thus the atrocious trade was carried on until the slaver had nearly completed her living cargo. But then, maddened by being stolen from their homes, and by hard usage, these natives began to fight, and in utter desperation set fire to the ship. To check this the captain, Dr. Murray, and his myrmidons commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of their captives, firing promiscuously into the crowd. The morning after these murders had been perpetrated, on the hatches being taken off, it was found that no fewer than seventy were either dead or wounded, and both dead and wounded were at once thrown overboard. Some time after a few of the particulars of these atrocities leaked out, and at Sydney the captain and some of the crew were committed for trial for their share in them. Dr. Murray himself is the principal witness, and it is from his mouth that the details of this horrible affair have been obtained. It is said that he has turned Queen's evidence, and that, moreover, he is protected by a certificate from the British Consul at Fiji, so that it is feared he cannot be prosecuted. Meantime, the Government of Victoria have been most untiring in their endeavours to procure every item of evidence that may serve to render the proceedings taken in Sydney effectual, and have transmitted all the information obtained to the Government of New South Wales.
1. SIR BARTLE FRERE, the Vice-President of the Royal Geogra phical Society, having accepted a mission to the East Coast of Africa with a view to putting down the slave-trade in that country, was entertained by the society at a farewell banquet at Willis's Rooms. Sir Henry Rawlinson, the president, occupied the chair, and the company numbered some 250.