ABUSE! YELLS THE WOMAN, MURDER! YELLS THE MAN

     The events that occurred before and after the trial and the fate in which Elizabeth Herring faced, is significant in understanding the ways of life in the 1700’s. This blog will bring forth some of the problems in the 1700’s that had occurred in many people’s everyday lives and is still occurring in today’s society. Some of the problems that will be brought to attention is; abuse at this time, drinking and the corruption of the witness and justice system.

THE TRIAL

     Elizabeth Herring was a woman in 1773 who was married to her husband Robert Herring. She was put on trial because she was convicted of murdering her husband with a knife. She was said to have stabbed him one time in the throat and he died shortly after, this occurred on August 5th, 1773. However, she was not tried until September 8th, 1773. The first witness that was brought to the stand was John Boyle. Boyle testifies that he was there when it happened and he had been just a, “half a yard from them” when it occurred. Boyle’s stated that Herring had gone to her husband and, “Struck the knife into his throat.” Boyle’s stated that Robert had died right away and also mentioned he had not heard them fighting prior to the incident. The second witness was Hannah Darling, owner of the house in which the murder occurred. Darling stated she also had not heard them fighting prior to the murder. She then goes on to describe that Elizabeth had been uttering threats at her husband before the murder occurred. Darling also noted that there had been a large amount of blood present. Darling ends her testimony with the notion that, Elizabeth ran out screaming that she had just killed her husband and committed murder. The third witness was Thomas Duncan. Duncan is a brick layer who was working at Hannah Darling’s property at the time of the murder. Duncan testified that Robert Herring had been facing Elizabeth at this time. Duncan then noted that he could not make out what Elizabeth and Robert were saying but, that they were arguing about something. Duncan had not noticed anything else until he had seen the knife dropping to the floor and the blood pouring out of Robert. Duncan goes on to say that Robert was still alive when he went to help and that he had tried to call for help but no one came. Duncan then went into describing that he had tried to help Robert get to help but, numerous times Robert Herring had stumbled or fallen because of the weakness caused by the injury. The Surgeon shows up just minutes before Herring dies. William Pidley (first surgeon) had taken the stand and claimed that he had been the one that examined Robert Herring on site. Next was James Blythe (second surgeon) who testified that he examined the body as well and agreed that Herring’s neck was cut and the knife had hit a major blood vessel. Elizabeth Herring starts her defense speech at this time. Elizabeth starts by telling every one of the harsh abuse that her husband had committed. Elizabeth also drops the bomb that she and her “husband” were actually not married and that they had never been married, they only lived together for over a decade. Elizabeth then admitted that she is guilty of killing her common law but, she did it for good reason. She then had taken time to address the fact that Darling had always disliked her. Four witnesses are called to the stand to testify on Elizabeth’s behalf. All of which testify that Robert had been an abuser and that Elizabeth was actually kind-hearted. The hearing then ends with Elizabeth stating she was pregnant but, this turns out to be false. Elizabeth was proclaimed guilty of the murder of Robert Herring and she was sentenced to be executed. Elizabeth was then executed by being burned alive at the stake.

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ABUSE

     The trial of Elizabeth Herring gives people today something to draw many conclusions from, on what it may have been like back in the eighteenth century. One thing that I have drawn from this trial is the treatment of women by others. The continuous details given in the trial of the abuse in which Elizabeth had been subject to in her everyday life, is eye opening. Men abusing women is still an occurrence in the world today, so this brings it into a more relate-able context for readers. Most of the details of the abuse were taken from the people that were defending Elizabeth. Some had stated  details such as, “he would knock her down with quart pots; stick form in her hand” (quart pots), “he has turned her out of doors without shoes and stockings, and “he has got up and beat her with a poker without a handle.”  These details would suggest that abuse was harsh in this instance but, abuse of women in the eighteenth century was very much present. Even while I was searching for my trial I had run into many other women’s trials that had been found guilty for the murdering of their husbands. In the end of the trial even after the testimonies of people stating that Robert Herring was indeed violent and that had been the reason Elizabeth had been pushed over the edge, she was still found guilty for murder and executed in a non-humane way. Yes, there is no doubt that she should have been found guilty but, given the circumstances in which she endured does it still make it okay to burn someone at the stake?

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DRINK, DRANK, DRUNK

      Drinking had always been a problem during early centuries and drinking is still a problem now. Although it is not as severe as it was back then, drinking is still a major contributor to the abuse of women. A light can be argued to be shone onto this problem through the trial of Elizabeth Herring. In this trial Robert Herring was never outright stated to be an alcoholic because at this time drinking was another part of a person’s day but, it was poked at. Although it was not directly mentioned the witnesses do point to him drinking beer or throwing beer at Elizabeth when he was having one of his abuser moods. This may not seem as a significant amount of evidence but, do to further research I found out that there had been a “Gin Craze” in the 1700′s and it had carried through till the end of the eighteenth century (although not as many people drank gin in the later half because of acts and taxes raising the price of gin). This may also show the reader the relationship of men drinking and abuse going hand in hand with each other in the eighteenth century as it still does today. The amount of alcohol that men had been drinking at this point in time was less then what it had been in the earlier half of the century. With that being said it was still a huge part of a person’s life if they had the money to be able to afford the alcohol. In Robert Herrings case it is not mentioned that he is poor and in order to get a court time someone would of had to have paid for the trial. This could point to Robert Herring possibly being of the middle class or even the upper class. This would also point to all the reasons for Robert Herring to be a person who drank quite frequently.

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CORRUPTION OF WITNESS

     The corruption of witnesses was another thing found in this trial. This did occur to me when first reading it even before Elizabeth called out Hannah Darling for doing exactly this during the statements in which she had given. This would help people from the twenty first century get a glance at what the law had been like then compared to now. Now it is thought to be horrid that someone would lie on the stand but, back then it seemed rather normal which is weird because it always seemed like religion was more intact back then, then it is in the current day. This would have to do with someone’s morals and actually lying to people and God. Through this trial it could be argued that this was true when Hannah Darling (not so darling) starts spewing words in which Elizabeth was said to have said. This is not the case because other witnesses heard nothing and reported that Elizabeth and Robert barely spoke that day and if so it was only a few words. It is also mentioned in the trial that Hannah claims to have not heard them speaking at all and then when she had been asked again she claimed to have heard them arguing. Hannah seems to be flip flopping and changing points that she had mentioned before into something completely made up of her BS.This would contradict and prove that Hannah had gone rogue.

 

CORRUPTION OF GOVERNMENT

     To tie in with the previous paragraph, this trial helps us understand how corrupt the government and justice system had been at that time. The punishment’s that criminals had been faced with would be argued to be in-humane in the twenty first century(even though what they do for the death sentences now in other states could be argued to be just as in-humane). Elizabeth Herring was punished to be burned till dead at the stake. Others who committed “petty” crimes were sentenced to execution by hanging. It was mentioned by Professor Magrath in class that at this time the executors did not have the science down in order to “effectively” kill someone in the least amount of time. Most people who were burned at the stake were supposed to have a rope tied around their neck, it would then be pulled and this was supposed to break their neck. The thing is that sometimes the people were dumb and did not pull it in time and can anyone guess what happened? That is right the rope burned and this would let the person die the most horrible death possible by being burned alive. This trial also showed us as readers how women were treated and how trials had gone down. Even though Elizabeth did admit to killing her common law, the jury did not even take into account that the only reason this happened was the underlying abuse in the relationship and the possibility that it was just self defense. If one thinks about it, if this was really as bad as it was described, Elizabeth would have been killed at some point and the idiot would have probably got away scotch free. Also, this would show and help people of today understand that most people who committed even a minor offense such as stealing a handkerchief was given the punishment of death.

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CONCLUSION AND MY THOUGHTS

      I really enjoyed this trial because I was able to view the conversation of many people that were there to defend Elizabeth or testify against her. It was also interesting to hear Elizabeth speak for herself throughout the trial because it showed that she did not care what other’s thought at that time.This trial was an eye opener because of it being a first hand documented source of a trial in the 1700′s because it is from 241 years ago. This trial is also crazy to think about because of the fact that we still are having these problems even 241 years later (we really need to get our stuff together and change this!). Although I do understand she did kill her common law, I do not feel one bit sorry for Robert being murdered just because of being told as a reader and as a woman how he injured her. It is disgusting and I still believe that if she did not kill him when she did he would have killed her at some point. I also thought this brought a lot of attention to the problems that had been causing havoc in society back then. These problems were stated very clearly throughout the trial and also they turned into the underlying cause of murder. A reader may have been more emotional towards this trial because some of the problems (such as abuse) were happening/occurring even as far back as the 1700′s. Abuse is still present now which would make the problem more of a reality to the readers rather then something people today could never fully understand or be exposed to. This article did help readers understand that, the justice system/government was corrupt at this time and its laws were wack and abuse/the impact of drinking on family/everyday life at this time can also be compared to the twenty first century.

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Guilty For Being A Woman : The Trial of Elizabeth Roberts

The 18th Century was a difficult time for women, and the legal system was no exception.  Women were deemed the property of their fathers, brothers, and husbands and considered to be the “lesser” being. Because of these perceptions, if a woman murdered the dominant male figure in her life there were grave implications.  This type of murder could even be considered petty treason, which was punishable by being burned at the stake. This notion of male-hierarchy placed women at an even further disadvantage in an already questionable legal system.  There are countless trials that exhibit this inequality, where women were condemned simply because of the perceptions surrounding them as a woman.

Today we have the ability to look at many of these legal events because of the Old Bailey site that has electronically recorded the proceedings that occurred in the Old Bailey Courthouse.  Let’s explore one of these trials and get a better understanding of the difficulties women faced, as well as get a better sense as to how the legal system functioned in the 18th century.

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Trial Summary

The trial of Elizabeth Roberts (Bostock) is of particular interestElizabeth Roberts was accused of petty treason and killing her husband, Richard Bostock on the 22nd of May, 1725.  Richard died of stab wound to the left side of his body. Elizabeth’s trial was held at the Old Bailey on the 30th of June, 1725.  There were a number of witnesses who spoke at the trial, as well as Elizabeth’s own defence statement.  I will provide a detailed summary of what happened during that fateful trial.

Watchman Ball was the first to speak.  Ball described hearing a jumble in the Bostock household between 11 and 12 at night.  Perusing the noise, Ball said he went to the door and Elizabeth answered.  Ball said that Elizabeth requested the Watchman to call for her husband at the Cock Alehouse.  Ball noted that he was surprised of their marital status and commented on how “they lived an abominable life together”.  Ball said he did not fulfill her request, but came back at the end of his round to find Richard standing with the door ajar.  According to Ball, when he approached the door Elizabeth came running down the stairs completely nude and proceeded to slam the door, pushing Richard unto the street.  Ball said he heard quarrelling after that, but did not bother to investigate further as his shift was ending.   Later, Ball told the court he heard someone yelling for the watchman and sent for the constable.  Ball then stated the constable found Richard dead on the floor and drenched in blood. 

Nicholas Cooper was the next to speak.  Cooper’s social status and relation to Elizabeth and Richard is not shared in the trial notes.  Cooper remembered hearing Elizabeth calling for the watchmen and asking Cooper to come inside to help her husband.  In this statement, Cooper said that Elizabeth believes Richard passed out drunkenly; however, Cooper said he told her that he was very much dead.  Cooper then stated that Elizabeth said, “I am afraid I have given him an unhappy Blow. – For God’s Sake call a Surgeon”.

The constable, Nathaniel West spoke after Cooper.  West said that he went to the residence around 1 in the morning and found Elizabeth sitting in a melancholic state with the deceased body sitting at her feet and his head draped on her lap.  West presented Richard’s bloody clothing to the courtroom as evidence from the scene.  The constable then concluded his statement by saying on several previous occasions he has heard Elizabeth screaming “murder!”, suggesting a history of quarrelling

Swarton, who was another watchman, proceeded next.  Swarton said he was on duty around 11 at night near the Bostock residence.  He said he saw Richard standing outside his house waiting to get in for a considerable amount of time.  Swarton said that another woman who lived in the house came to let him in.  Swarton recalled there being cries of “murder!” and presumed that Richard was beating Elizabeth.  Swarton stated that Richard then came outside to talk to him and told Swarton that he had given Elizabeth a good beating.  Swarton said that when he told Richard not to beat his wife Richard replied, “My Wife! says he, Damn her, a Bitch, she’s none of my Wife, and I’ll turn her a-drift to-morrow.”  Swarton then concluded that he left and came back only after Richard had died and that Elizabeth stated Richard had done it to himself.

Joseph Barker was a neighbour of Elizabeth and Richard and  spoke after Swarton.  He recalled that he and his wife were lying in bed when they heard a ruckus below.  Barker stated that they did not think much of it, as it was a common occurrence.  Barker said that when he was called down after Richard had died Elizabeth said that Richard had inflicted it on himself. 

After all of the testimonies, the surgeon gave his statement that Richard’s cause of death was indeed a stab wound that pierced his lung through his 7th and 8th rib.

 Finally, Elizabeth gave her defence.  Elizabeth stated that she had been working late and retired to bed, as she was very tired.  Elizabeth said that Richard then came up and beat her “barbarously” and pulled her out of bed and pulled off all her clothes.  Elizabeth stated that this was a frequent occurrence and she would usually go downstairs in an attempt to calm him down and coax him to bed.  Elizabeth also stated that she was never married to Richard.  However, Elizabeth said that she did not go down as soon as she would have normally and believed that Richard stabbed himself out of drunken vexation.  She stressed that his intent was most likely not to kill himself, but an attempt to terrify her.  Elizabeth supposed that when he realized the wound was deep he went to clean himself and then fainted, which is where she claimed to have found him.  Elizabeth also refuted Mr. Cooper’s statement and said, “as to what Mr. Cooper swore about my saying I had given the Deceased an unhappy Blow, he mistook my Words; for I said, that the Deceased had given me many an unhappy Blow.”

Verdict?

The jury acquitted Elizabeth for charges of petty treason, but convicted her of the murder of Richard Bostock and sentenced her to death.

For more interesting information on the trial check out these links to the original texts!

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/images.jsp?doc=172506300001

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/images.jsp?doc=172506300002

What Does This Mean?

As you can tell from reading this summary, it is a very complex and disturbing situation surrounding Elizabeth Roberts.  I did not want to leave many details out, as I believe Elizabeth’s innocence is found in those details.  This detailed summary allows us in the 21st century to look at the extremely detrimental perceptions and predicaments women faced in the 18th Century courtroom and society in general.

One of the most prevalent and intriguing aspects of this case is the reference to Richard’s abusive behaviour towards Elizabeth.  Every one of the courtroom speakers mentioned witnessing Richard’s violent behaviour towards Elizabeth either the night of his murder or previously.  Despite all of these accounts of both physical and verbal abuse, Elizabeth’s guilt is not questioned in the end.  This shows how little consideration was given to Elizabeth’s living conditions with Richard.  It also allows us to understand what it meant for a women to be considered  “property” and how many women were treated as property by the dominant males in their life.

Because of 18th century perceptions, Elizabeth was essentially doomed from the beginning.  Being a female immediately placed her at lower social power during this era in general, let alone the patriarchal courtroom.  There is also the issue concerning the reveal that Elizabeth and Richard had been living together when they were not in fact married.  Because this era demanded either virginal or marital chastity, it was a big problem that Elizabeth was living with a man out of wedlock.  Not only is Elizabeth a female, but she is considered a “tarnished” woman, because of her presumed sexual relations with a man she is not married to.  If Elizabeth had any chance at all going into this trial, that information would have almost without a doubt persuaded the court away from her innocence.

Elizabeth’s court defence is very interesting as well.  Elizabeth is extremely well spoken in her final plea of life.  She remains calm in her language and presents a logical alibi for Richard’s death.  Acknowledging Richard’s abuse to her was both brave of Elizabeth and aligned to what every witness stated.  There is some evidence that perhaps Richard had also raped her, as he had ripped off her clothes; however, she never mentions sexual abuse specifically.  This could relate to the modesty issue of the 18th century.  Perhaps Elizabeth purposely left that out to better her position of the court.  It could also represent the blurred lines surrounding what was considered sexual abuse during this time.  Elizabeth also makes an intelligent refute to Mr. Cooper’s statement that she had given Richard an “unhappy Blow.”  This shows that Elizabeth was able minded and also understood how to provide a good courtroom argument.  Yet, even with these tools and intelligence, Elizabeth was not able to persuade the court.

The trial setup itself comments on the issues that Elizabeth faced as a woman in this situation.  Everyone that testified was male (even though the neighbour’s wife also heard what happened the night of Richard’s death).  Even with multiple testimonies that supported Elizabeth’s defence, it was all discredited in the end.   The Old Bailey jury was also completely male, which left Elizabeth alone to fight for herself in the courtroom as a female.  Despite the petty treason charges being dropped, Elizabeth was still convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

For more info on gender and crime during this era check this out! http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Gender.jsp#genderjustice

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Did She Do It?!

So, was Elizabeth innocent?  Did Elizabeth kill Richard?  Or did he kill himself in a drunken rampage?  Although we can never know for sure, that will not stop me from theorizing!  I believe Elizabeth is innocent.  Elizabeth’s account matches the multiple descriptions of Richard’s drunken, abusive behavior.  It is very plausible that a disturbed and drunken man like Bostock would accidentally stab himself. However, I believe Elizabeth is innocent regardless of whether or not she killed Richard Bostock.  Even if she killed Richard, I would deem her the right of self-defense.  If this trial  happened in the 21st Century Elizabeth’s case would definitely be implicated with rights to self-defense.  But, this sadly did not apply to Elizabeth. Because of her situation as a female in the 18th century and because of the 18th century law concepts, the court did not acknowledge her right to self-defense.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I found this trial to be quite disturbing.  Elizabeth faced a life of abuse and ultimately paid for it with her own life.  This societal construct is something that women in general would have to face during the 18th century.  On relative terms, I am personal thankful that Elizabeth was acquitted for petty treason and did not have to face the stake.  Perhaps acquitting Elizabeth of petty treason was some minuscule way of the court acknowledging Elizabeth’s abusive situation, but that is probably a generous stretch and still does not make me feel any better about Elizabeth’s tragic fate.  Overall,  Elizabeth’s trial is an excellent window for us in the 21st century to look into the 18th century courtroom.  This trial allows us to analyze the very serious societal and legal implications for women during this era.  I would say that in the 21st Century we can rely on a more unbiased legal system than the 18th century.  I also believe that there is a better understanding  of abuse victim’s rights.  Unfortunately, it is definitely not eradicated and we still  see these legal injustices happen in tragic cases like the recent Steubenville rape trial.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and I hope you have gained some valuable insight into the societal and legal structure of the 18th century!

Your Turn!

What do you think about this trial?  Do you think about Elizabeth’s verdict?  Was this a fair trial? What does this say about the 18th Century? And how far do you think the 21st century legal system and women’s rights have come since the 18th century?

Let’s get some discussion going! Leave a comment below & take the poll! :)

Drunk men and Government Do Not Know How to Treat A Lady.

This essay will bring a summarization of the events that occurred before and after the trial and the fate in which Elizabeth Herring faced in the end. Also, this essay will bring forth some of the problems in the eighteenth century that had been occurring in many peoples everyday lives and is still occuring today. Some of the problems that will be brought to attention is; Abuse at this time, drinking and the corruption of the witness and justice system.

Elizabeth Herring was a women in 1773 who was married to her husband Robert Herring. She was brought into trial because she was convicted of murdering her husband with a knife. She stabbed him one time in the throat and he died shortly after, this occurred on August 5th, 1773. She however was not tried until around September 8th, 1773. The first witness that was brought to the stand was a man by the name of John Boyle. Boyle testifies that he was there when it happened and he had been just a, “half a yard from them” when it had happened. Boyle’s stated that Herring had gone to her husband and, “Struck the knife into his throat.” He then goes to describe the amount of blood coming from the wound. Boyle’s was asked when he died, he stated that Robert had died right away and also mentioned he had not heard them fighting prior to the incident. The second witness was called and it was the owner of the house in which the said act occurred. Hannah Darling stated she also had not heard them fighting. Darling then goes to describe that she had been uttering threats at him before this. She had also stated that there had been a lot of blood as well. At the end of Darling’s testimony she stated that, Elizabeth ran out screaming that she had just killed her husband and committed murder. At this time the third witness to take the stand was Thomas Duncan. Duncan is a brick layer who was working at Hannah Darling’s property at the time of the murder. He testified that the husband had sat in the spot beside the car and him and Elizabeth were facing each other at this time. Duncan stated that he could not make out what they were saying but, he notes that they were arguing about something. The next thing he had seen was the knife dropping to the floor and the blood pouring out of Robert. Duncan then goes onto say that he was still alive when he went to help and he had called for help but, no one came. He then drug around Robert to get to help but, numerous times Robert Herring had stumbled or fallen because of the weakness caused by the injury. Next the Surgeon shows up just minutes before Herring dies. Elizabeth Herring inquires about a question at this time. The two surgeons take the stand (one after another). William Pidley had taken the stand and claimed he was the one that examined Robert Herring on site. Next was James Blythe who testified that he examined the body as well and agreed that Herring’s neck was cut and it had hit a major blood vessel. Elizabeth Herring starts her defense speech and starts telling everyone of the harsh times of abuse that he husband had committed. Elizabeth also drops the bomb that he and her “husband” were actually not married and that they had never been married, they only lived together for over a decade. She then admitted that she is guilty of killing her common law but, she did it for good reason. Elizabeth then took time to address the fact that Hannah Darling had always disliked her. Four witnesses are called to the stand to testify on Elizabeth’s behalf. All of which testify that Robert had been an abuser and that Elizabeth was actually kind-hearted. The hearing then ends with Elizabeth stating she was pregnant but, this turns out to be false after. She was sentenced guilty of murder and she was sentenced to be killed. She was then executed by being burned alive at the stake.

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This trial lets people in the world today draw many inside conclusions on what it may have been like back in the eighteenth century. One thing that I have drawn from this trial is the treatment of women by others. The continuous details given in the trial of the abuse in which Elizabeth had been subject to in her everyday life is eye opening. Men abusing women is still an occurrence in the world even today so this brings it into a more relatable context for readers today. Most of the details were from the people that were defending Elizabeth. Some had stated  details such as, “he would knock her down with quart pots; stick form in her hand(quart pots), “he has turned her out of doors without shoes and stockings, and “he has got up and beat her with a poker without a handle.”  These details would suggest that abuse was harsh in this instance but, abuse of women in the eighteenth century was very much present. Even while I was searching for my trial I had run into many other women trials that were found guilty for murdering of their husbands. In the end of the trial even after the testimonies of people stating that Robert Herring was indeed violent and that was the reason Elizabeth had been pushed over the edge, Elizabeth was still found guilty for murder and executed in a non-humane way.

Drinking had always been a problem during early centuries. This is still a problem now but, not as severe as it was then. This trial brings a slight light onto this problem through the trial of Elizabeth Herring. In this trial Robert Herring was never outright stated to be an alcoholic because at this time drinking was another part of the day. Although it was not directly mentioned the witnesses do point to him drinking beer or throwing beer at Elizabeth when he was having one of his abuser moods where he just had to take it out on someone. This may also show the reader the relationship of men drinking and abuse going hand in hand with each other in the eighteenth century.

The corruption of witnesses was another thing I found in this trial. This did occur to me when first reading it even before Elizabeth called out Hannah Darling for doing exactly this during the statements in which she gave. This would help people from the twenty first century get a glance at what the law had been like then compared to now. Now it is thought to be horrid that someone would lie on the stand but, back then it seemed rather normal which is weird because it always seemed like religion was more intact back then, then it is in current days. This would have to do with someones morals and actually lying to people and God. Through this trial it could be argued that this was true when Hannah Darling(not so darling) starts spewing words in which Elizabeth was said to have said when other witnesses heard nothing and reported that Elizabeth and Robert barely spoke that day and if so it was only a few words. This would contradict and prove that Hannah had gone rogue.

To tie in with the previous paragraph, this trial helps us understand how corrupt the government and justice system had been at this time. The punishment’s that criminals had been faced with would be argued to be in-humane in the twenty first century(even though what they use in the death sentences now in other states could be argued to be just as in-humane). Elizabeth Herring was punished to be burned till dead at the stake. Others who committed “petty” crimes were sentenced to execution by hanging. It was mentioned by Professor Magrath in class that at this time the executors  did not have the science down in order to “effectively” kill someone in the least amount of time. Most people who were burned at the stake were supposed to have a rope around their neck and it would be pulled on and this was suppose to break their neck but, the thing is that sometimes the people were dumb and did not pull it in time and can anyone guess what happened? that is right the rope burned and this would let the person die the most horrible death possible by being burned alive. This trial also showed us as readers how women were treated and how trials had gone down. Even though Elizabeth did admit to killing her common law the jury did not even take into account that the only reason this happened was the underlying abuse in the relationship and if one thinks about it, if this was really as bad as it was described Elizabeth would of been killed at some point and the idiot would of probably got away scotch free. Also, this would show and help people of today understand that most people who committed even a minor offense such as stealing a handkerchief, the punishment was death.

I really enjoyed this trial because it was very interesting. Being able to view the conversation of may people would were there to defend Elizabeth or testify against her. Although I do understand she did kill her common law I do not feel one bit sorry for Robert being murdered just because of being told as a reader and as a woman how he injured her it is disgusting and I still believe that if she did not kill him when she did he would of killed her at some point. I also thought this brought a lot of attention to the problems that had been causing havoc in society back then. These problems were stated very clearly throughout the trial and also they turned into the underlying cause of murder. Also, the reader may have been more emotional toward this trial because some of the problems (such as abuse) were happening/occurring even as far back as then and it is still present now which would make the problem more of a reality to the readers rather then something people today could never fully understand or be exposed to this. This article did help readers understand, the justice system/government was corrupt at this time and its laws were wack, abuse and the impact of drinking on family/everyday life at this time can also be compared to the twenty first century.