Executed at Ely, 7th of November, 1750, for Petit Treason, in the Murder of her Husband
THE Isle of Ely gave birth to this malefactor. At the age of sixteen she was grown a tall fine girl; at which time she was addressed by a young man, whose love she returned with equal affection. Her father, being apprised of the connection, strictly charged his daughter to decline it; but there was no arguing against love: the connection continued till it became criminal.
The young fellow began to grow tired of her, and declared his resolution of going to London, but said that he would wed her on his return. Shocked at this apparent infidelity, she determined on revenge. The former lover had no sooner left her than she was addressed by a young man named John Hutchinson, and, though he had been always extremely disagreeable to her, she agreed to marry him the very next day after he had paid her a formal visit.
The consequence was that the marriage took place immediately; but her admirer happening to return from London, just as the newly wedded pair were coming out of church, the bride was greatly affected at the recollection of former scenes, and the irrevocable ceremony which had now passed.
She was unable to love the man she had married, and doted to distraction on him she had rejected; and only a few days after her marriage admitted him to his former intimacy with her: a circumstance that gave full scope to the envious tongues of her neighbours.
Hutchinson becoming jealous of his wife, a quarrel ensued; in consequence of which he beat her with great severity; but this producing no alteration in her conduct he had recourse to drinking, with a view to avoid the pain of reflection on his situation.
In the interim his wife and the young fellow continued their guilty intercourse uninterrupted; but, considering the life of her husband as a bar to their happiness, it was resolved to remove him by poison; for which purpose the wife purchased a quantity of arsenic; and Mr Hutchinson being afflicted with an ague, and wishing for something warm to drink, the wife put some arsenic in ale, of which he drank very plentifully; and then she left him, saying she would go and buy something for his dinner.
Meeting her lover, she acquainted him with what had passed; on which he advised her to buy more poison, fearing the first might not be sufficient to operate; but its effects were fatal, for he died about dinner-time on the same day. The deceased was buried on the following Sunday, and the next day the former lover renewed his visits; which occasioned the neighbours to talk very freely of the affair. The young widow was taken into custody the same day, on suspicion of having committed a murder.
The body of the deceased being now taken up, the coroner's jury was summoned, and the verdict they gave was that John Hutchinson had died by poison: on which the woman was committed to the jail at Ely.
She had counsel to plead for her on the trial; but, the evidence against her being such as satisfied the jury, she was convicted, and ordered for execution.
After conviction she confessed the justice of those laws by which she had been condemned. She was attended by a clergyman, to whom she acknowledged the magnitude of her crime, and professed the most unfeigned penitence.
The miserable woman, willing to make atonement for her crimes, left a written paper with the clergyman who attended her in her last moments, on which was the following advice to her own sex:--
"All the good I can now do, after my repentance and abhorrence of my abominable crime, and prayers to God, is:
"First: To warn all young women to acquaint their friends when any addresses are made to them; and, above all, if any base or immodest man dare to insult you, with anything shocking to chaste ears.
"Secondly: That they should never leave the person they are engaged to in a pet, nor wed another to whom they are indifferent, in spite; for if they come together without affection, the smallest matter will separate them.
"Thirdly: That being married, all persons should mutually love, forgive and forbear, and afford no room for busy meddlers to raise and foment jealousy between two who should be one. (Signed) "AMY HUTCHINSON."
Note: see the next case (John Vicars) for a description of her execution.