Executed for the murder of his wife, December 21, 1739.
ALTHOUGH nothing can be offered in extenuation for the horrid crime of murder, yet provocation, and passion, fermenting a sudden madness, have, sometimes precipitated men to do an act, which has plunged them into an abyss of mental misery. Contemplating such effects, we are willing to make some allowance for the commission of this murder. Had not the perpetrator been goaded by the unbridled tongue of his wife, abetted by that of his daughter-in-law,-- and what domestic torments can be greater? we may conclude, that both might have lived the course of nature. This case should warn the matron not to irritate her husband; and should he, unhappily, break the bonds of prudence, we beseech her to recur alone to conciliation. Hard, indeed, is that man's heart who, in his cooler moments, will not listen to the soft remonstrances of a virtuous woman.
The parents of Edward Joines were respectable housekeepers in Ratcliffe-highway, who, being desirous that the boy should be qualified for business, placed him under the direction of a master of a day- school in Goodman's fields, where he continued a regular attendance about five years, but without gaining any considerable improvement.
Soon after he had completed his fourteenth year, he was removed from the school, and his father informed him, that he was endeavouring to find some reputable tradesman who would take him as an apprentice: but the youth expressed an aversion to any occupation, but that of a gardener. Finding that he had conceived a strong prepossession in favour of this business, they bound him to a gardener in Stepney, whom he served, in an industrious and regular manner, for the space of seven years; and he, for some time afterwards, continued with the same master in the capacity of a journeyman, his parents being so reduced, through misfortunes, that they could not supply him with money to carry on business on his own account.
A short time after the expiration of his apprenticeship, he married a milk-woman, by whom he had seven children in the course of twenty years, during which time he lived in an amicable manner with his wife, earning a tolerable subsistence by honest industry. His children all died in their infancy, and upon the decease of his wife he procured employment at Bromley; and that he might lose but little time in going to, and returning from, his work, he hired a lodging at the lower end of Poplar, in a house kept by a widow, with whom he, in a few days, contracted a criminal familiarity. They had lived together about a twelvemonth, jointly defraying the household expenses, when she, more frequently than usual, gave way to the natural violence of her temper, threatening that he should not continue in the house unless he would marry her: which he consented to do, and, adjourning to the Fleet, the ceremony was performed.
After their marriage their disagreements became, more frequent and violent; and upon the wife's daughter leaving her service, and coming to reside with them, she united with her mother in pursuing every measure that could tend to render the life of Joines insupportably miserable. On his return from work, one evening, a disagreement; as usual, took place, and being aggravated by her abusive language, he pushed her from him, and falling against the grate, her arm was much scorched, in consequence of this she swore the peace against him; but when they appeared before the magistrate who had granted the warrant for the apprehension of Joines, they were advised to compromise their disagreement, to which they mutually agreed.
By an accidental fall, Mrs. Joines broke her hand, about a month after the above affair; but timely application being made to a surgeon, she, in a short time, had every reason to expect a perfect and speedy recovery.
Joines being at a public-house, on a Sunday afternoon, the landlord observed his daughter-in-law carrying a pot of porter from another ale-house, and mentioned the circumstance to him, adding that the girl had been served with a like quantity at his house but a short time before. Being intoxicated, Joines took fire at what the publican had imprudently said, and immediately went towards the house, which was on the opposite side of the street, with an intention of preventing his wife from drinking the liquor. He struck the pot out of her hand, and then seizing the arm that had been broke, twisted it till the bone again separated.
The fracture was again reduced; but such unfavourable symptoms appeared, that an amputation was judged necessary for preserving the life of the patient. In a short time afterwards, however, she was supposed to be in a fair way of recovery; and calling one day at the gardens where her husband was employed, she told his fellow-labourers that she had great hopes of her arm being speedily cured, adding, that she was then able to move her fingers with but very little difficulty.
The hopes of this unfortunate woman were falsely grounded: for on the following day she was so ill, that her life was judged to be very precarious. She sent for Joines from his work: and upon his coming to her bedside, he asked, if she had any accusation to allege against him; upon which, shaking her head, she said, she would forgive him, and hoped the world would do so too. She expired the next night, and in the morning he gave some directions respecting the funeral, and then went to work in the gardens as usual, not entertaining the least suspicion that he should be accused as the cause of his wife's death; but upon his return in the evening be was apprehended on suspicion of murder.
An inquest being summoned to inquire whether the woman was murdered, or died according to the course of nature, it appeared in evidence, that her death was occasioned by the second fracture of her arm; the jury, therefore, brought in a verdict of wilful murder against Joines, who was, in consequence, committed to Newgate in order for trial.
At the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey, Joines was arraigned on an indictment for the wilful murder of his wife. In the course of the trial it appeared, that the prisoner had frequently forced the deceased into the street, at late hours of the night, without regard to her being without clothes, or the severity of the weather. The surgeon who attended her deposed, that a gangrene appeared on her arm, in consequence of its being broke the second time, which was indisputably the cause of her death.
Near three months had elapsed from the time of her arm being first broke, to that of her decease; but not more than ten days had passed from the second fracture to the consequent mortification. The law expresses that if a person, violently wounded, dies within twelve calendar months, the offender causing such wound, or wounds, shall he deemed guilty of a capital felony. As it was evident that his wife died in consequence of his cruelty, within the time limited by law, Joines was pronounced to be guilty of murder, and sentenced to suffer death.
During the confinement of Joines in Newgate, he did not appear to entertain a proper sense of his guilt. As his wife did not die immediately after the fracture of her arm, it was with difficulty he could be persuaded that the jury had done him justice in finding him guilty of murder. He had but a very imperfect notion of the principles of religion; but the ordinary of the prison took great pains to inspire him with a just sense of his duty towards his Creator. Though he was distressed for all the necessaries of life during the greatest part of his confinement, his daughter-in-law, who had taken possession of his house and effects, neglected either to visit him, or afford him any kind of assistance; and he was violently enraged against the young woman, on account of this behaviour. Joines suffered along with Thomas Barkwith.