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with many other arguments, worthy of his reputation for liberality and sound sense: above all, he offered to prove, that the pannel had touched his father's body before the incision, and it did not bleed. These rational statements made no impression on men blinded by superstition. Sir George Mackenzie addressed the jury in a style more worthy of the bigoted and bluidy Mackinye,' than of the clear-headed lawyer; and Philip Stanfield was condemned as a parricide, and executed with the severest accompanying forms that the law could devise.

Contrary to our intention, we cannot permit this case to pass without a remark. We lay aside all question as to the prisoner's guilt or innocence, as established by ordinary evidence, and will confine our remarks to the circumstance of the bleeding. Nothing, we imagine, could be more natural and less miraculous under the circumstances. Those who know the results of strangulation, are aware that the chest, both lungs and heart, are gorged with blood, and that the incisions of the surgeons, in examining these organs, which is the chief point in such cases, must, if they do not actually extend into the neck, at least encroach closely upon it. After the opening of Sir James Stanfield's body, the merchant Row, lifting the left side before the son Philip raised the right, as by the dittay we may almost conclude was the case, the blood, rendered fluid by the moving and dissection of the body, would be driven by mere gravity to the right side, and would readily flow ont through some of the sutures, which are never very closely or carefully executed. Had Philip raised the right side first, Row might have lost his life.

This exceedingly trifling circumstance--for Philip, though he might not be a good son, was in truth proved a parricide by nothing but the ordeal-saved the life of one, and cut short that of another. The confusion of the son on this occasion goes for nothing; no man can see even the dead body of a parent mangled, without being in a state of excitement and agitation.

The antipathy—as the learned believers in the marvellous virtues of the ordeal by touch explained the matter -the antipathy of the soul, or blood, of a murdered person, entertained towards his murderer, was not confined to the actual author of the deed, but extended to all his family, even through many generations. The corpse of the Laird of Culzean, murdered by the Muirs of Auchindrane, being laid out in form, all men in the neighbourhood were called upon to appear and touch it, for their own exculpation. The Muirs did not compear, but a child of their family, Mary Muir, seeing a crowd of people, approached the spot, and the corpse, when she came nigh it, to the 'admiration of all the people, did spring out upon her in abundance of blood.'

The greater number of the other remarkable cases of the ordeal that have occurred in our land, are connected with the crime of witchcraft; an association sufficient, in these our more enlightened times, to shew the unhappy and destructive delusion under which mankind laboured on these subjects. In the year 1644, Marion Peebles, spouse to Swene, residing at Hildiswick, in Orkney, having con ed deadly hatred against one Edward Halcro, transformed herself, by the devil's assistance, into a whale, and, when Halcro and other four men were at sea, overturned their boat, devouring their bodies at the same time! On resuming her natural form, it appears to have been necessary for her to vomit them up, for the bodies were cast ashore, and found by their friends. On Marion and her husband being brought to see them, the bodies, it is said, bled at the touch of the unhappy pair, who were instantly convicted of the deed, and strangled at a stake, and burned to ashes at the hill of Berrie.

In concluding our notices of the ordeal by touch, or bier-law, we shall make no observations explanatory of the superstition, having sufficiently shewn, in recording two of the most noted cases, the ease with which every appearance might be accounted for by natural causes, had bigotry and prejudice not blinded the eyes of men. It is distressing and humiliating to think how long the delusion continued to sway the minds even of educated


Who could believe that, in the year 1712, a minister of the Gospel, the Rev. H. Cross, Caithness (see Letter in the Wodrow Manuscripts), could write thus : • Some murders in this country have been discovered, by causing suspected persons to touch the dead corpse ; which, upon their touching, have immediately bled.'


JAMES RILEY, master and supercargo of the American brig Commerce, sailed from New Orleans on the 24th of June, in the year 1815, for the western coast of Africa. The vessel was small, about 220 tons burden, and was nearly new, and in fine order. Her crew consisted of George Williams and Aaron Savage, mates ; William Porter, John Hogan, James Barrett, Archibald Robbins, Thomas Burns, and James Clark, seamen; Horace Savage, cabin-boy; and a black cook, Richard Delisle. On the 9th of August, the Commerce touched at Gibraltar, and took in some wines and spirits, in addition to the previous cargo of tobacco and flour. An old man named Antonio Michel was likewise taken on board, and the ship continued its course for the Cape de Verd Islands. After much thick weather, Riley discovered on the 28th that he had passed the Canaries without observing them. The fog increased ; and on the same night, the ship was suddenly found to be in the midst of breakers. Before the attempts of the crew to extricate themselves were attended with any success, the brig struck with such violence as to start every man from the deck. She bilged immediately, and the efforts of the crew were now directed entirely to getting their provisions and water from the hold, in the hope of reaching land in the boats. Land was seen by Riley in the morning at a very short distance ; and by the assistance of a hawser-rope, carried on shore by Riley and Porter at a great risk of their lives, every one of the crew was got safely ashore, with several barrels of water, wine, bread, and salted meat, and two boats.

The exertions necessary for their immediate safety prevented the crew of the Commerce from yet seeing in its full extent their great misfortune. A few hours had reduced their comfortable vessel to a wreck, and had given them, as a residence in place of it, a barren and inhospitable beach. They set actively to work, however, and by means of their oars and two sheeting - sails, erected a tent. Their next object was to repair the boats ; trusting that, when the weather moderated, they might put to sea, and reach some friendly settlement. The long-boat had received an injury in landing, and it was with difficulty that they could patch it up so as to float. But while they were employed in this labour, something like a human being was seen by one of the men at a little distance. The figure was liker that of an orang-outang than a man; yet a man, to the cost of the mariners, he turned out to be. A ragged and scanty woollen cloth was this African Arab's only covering; his skin was a little lighter in colour than a negro's, and his hair resembled a pitch-mop, sticking out every way six or eight inches from his head; his eyes were red and fiery, and his mouth was exceedingly large; while sharp white tusks, and a long black beard, completed what Dir Riley thought the most terrific figure he had ever seen. This native, who was evidently old, was speedily joined by two old women and several children. They were all armed with long knives, and, coming forward to the shipwrecked party, who did not oppose them, they commenced an indiscriminate plunder; trunks and boxes, of which the crew had got a few ashore besides their provision-barrels, were rifled of the clothing and other articles they contained. The crew, as we have said, did not resist this, seeing that the provisions were secured. These they were resolved to protect. On departing with their spoils, the Arabs made signs that they would return in the morning; and the crew, having cooked a good meal with the help of a fire which one of the native children had kindled, lay down to seek repose. Mr Riley describes his own state of mind on that night as inexpressibly painful. In addition to the miseries which were too probably in store for himself, the thoughts of his wife and five young children, solely dependent upon him for support, weighed heavily on his spirits. Toil-worn as he was with the events of the day, the shipwrecked captain tasted not the blessings of sleep on that sad night.

In the morning, the old Arab, accompanied by two young men, and his wives, made his appearance according to promise. The evident object of the old wretch was to get possession of the tent. He pointed to the wreck, and menaced them off with his spear. Perhaps the Americans would have resisted, but the sight of a drove of camels with their drivers, to whom the old Arab shouted for assistance, made the party glad to put off in the long-boat for the wreck, which was still above water. From the deck, the crew beheld the camels loaded with the provisions of the tent, and, to crown the misfortune, they saw the old Arab deliberately stave in the heads of the casks, and empty their contents on the beach. After this operation, he gathered together every little remaining article, and set fire to them in one pile.

No alternative was now left but to try the sea with their boat, leaky as it was, since, on the wreck, the crew were exposed to be washed off during the night, and to go ashore seemed inevitable death at the hands of the barbarians. When they attempted to put off the boat from the ship, a surf struck her, nearly filled her with water, and drifted her back to the wreck side. The Arabs now appeared to pity them, and made peaceful signs, inviting Riley, whom the old man knew to be captain, ashore. In proof of friendship, further, they held up a skinful of water, which Riley went and brought to the wreck, by means of the rope stretching between it and the shore. He again went on shore, and the natives paid him every

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