JOHN ST JOHN LONG
A Quack Doctor of Harley Street, who was convicted for the Manslaughter of a Woman Patient. When he died a Monument was erected to him by Grateful Patients
THE extraordinary investigation touching the offence of which Mr Long was guilty attracted to him more than ordinary public attention. The manslaughter of which he was convicted was the effect of a system of treatment which he adopted towards a young lady named Cashin, who had been placed under his medical care by her mother.
It appears that about the month of August, 1830, a lady named Cashin, of great respectability and considerable fortune, with her two daughters, came to London from Dublin, where they resided, for the purpose of procuring medical assistance for one of the young ladies, who was suffering from consumption. The ladies took up their abode in the house of Mrs Roddis, in Mornington Place, Hampstead Road; and Mrs Cashin, having heard much of the wonderful cures effected by Mr St John Long, determined to seek his advice and aid for her daughter. Mr Long, it seems, had not been regularly educated as a surgeon, but he had acquired considerable celebrity for a line of practice which he had adopted, and occupied a house in Harley Street, Cavendish Square. Thither Mrs Cashin repaired; and a short attendance upon the young lady, who was only sixteen years of age, was sufficient to confirm the melancholy fears of her mother that all human exertions on her behalf would be of no avail. The insidious nature of the disease by which she was affected was known and acknowledged by Mrs Cashin, and a desponding apprehension seized upon her mind that her elder daughter might also be attacked with this dreadful disorder. A new application on her behalf was therefore decided upon to Mr St John Long, who was requested to devise some means by which the impending mischief might be prevented. Mr Long participated in the fears of the young lady's mother, and acknowledged the prudence of the course which she had adopted; and, bidding them at once give up their fears, he assured them of his perfect ability to attain the object which they so anxiously had in view. Miss Cashin at this time was twenty-four years of age and in the full enjoyment of health; but, notwithstanding the absence of any necessity to take active steps in her case, Mr Long determined to employ his line of treatment upon her. The general nature of his treatment was simply this: in cases of internal disease he proposed, by creating an external wound and a discharge, to carry off the malady. In a few days the external wound was produced in the case of Miss Cashin -- by what means did not appear, as the general mode of treatment was kept secret by the quack -- and the effect was of the most dreadful description. The wound daily increased, and appearances soon presented themselves which so alarmed Mrs Roddis, the landlady, that she felt herself called upon to adopt measures on behalf of the young lady.
She wrote to Mr Long, and in a day or so he called. Mrs Roddis humanely urged that danger might arise from symptoms which appeared so violent; but the doctor laughed at her apprehensions, declaring that the wound was going on remarkably well, and that he would give a hundred guineas if he could produce similar favourable signs in some other of his patients. It was represented to him that the wound had wrought a disease of another description upon the young lady -- she was unable to retain anything upon her stomach. For this he said he had a remedy with him, if he chose to apply it. He was an enemy, however, to physic; the sickness was a favourable symptom, and the young lady would find relief from its disagreeable effects by taking mulled port wine. This, however, like everything else, was ejected from the stomach. Mr Long called again. In vain were certain angry appearances about the wound pointed out to him; he remained positive in his declared opinion, and refused to take any new measures for the young lady's immediate relief.
Every day brought new symptoms, which were looked upon by Mrs Cashin as unfavourable and dangerous; and at length Mr Brodie, of Savile Row, was called in. This eminent surgeon took every step possible for Miss Cashin, but all his efforts were useless; and the very morning after his assistance had been obtained the young lady expired. When Mr Long was acquainted with the circumstance of new aid having been procured he assured Mrs Cashin that this was quite unnecessary, and he never afterwards called.
A coroner's inquest was summoned.
Mr Brodie's evidence was conclusive as to the cause of the death of the deceased. He had no knowledge of the manner in which the wound had been produced, but there was no doubt that it was that which had caused the sickness complained of, and which had also been the cause of death. He was at a loss to imagine how the production of such a wound could be supposed to have any effect in curing a patient of consumption, or in preventing such a disease.
Sir Francis Burdett spoke of the mode of treatment adopted by Mr Long with some of his patients, which he did not think dangerous. By his recommendation two persons had put themselves under Mr Long's care. He did not know the nature of the application used by Mr Long; he had used it on his hand for gout, but it did neither good nor harm. He had waited on him, having heard he could cure tic douloureux, as he wished to have some information on the subject, with the view of apprising his friend, the Marquess of Anglesey, who was affected occasionally with that disease.
Dr Alexander Thompson, who had examined the body of the deceased, Mr Thomas King, surgeon, Mr Wildgoose, surgeon, Dr John Hogg, Dr Thomas Goodeve, Dr James Johnson, Mr John Maclean and Mr Thomas Evans, who had all been present at the post-mortem examination, were examined. They all concurred that it was a perfectly healthful subject, beautiful in form, and free from all disease, save that occasioned by the wound in the back. Few people would have recovered after such a local injury, which appeared to them perfectly unjustifiable. A notion was entertained by some that it was advisable to produce an external illness for the purpose of drawing off an internal disease.
Witnesses who had been patients of Mr Long, for different diseases, and to whom the same mode of treatment had been applied, spoke of the advantageous effects which had accrued. Among other witnesses examined were the Countess of Buckinghamshire, Mr Prendergast, M.P., and Mr Higgs, the brewer, all of whom spoke in high terms of Mr Long's treatment, and of the virtues of his lotion for curing various complaints.
At five o'clock the jury retired to consider their decision upon the case; and at eight o'clock returned, and announced their verdict of manslaughter against Mr St John Long.
Mr Long subsequently surrendered to the warrant, and was admitted to bail to answer the charge; but when the case was called for trial at the ensuing Old Bailey sessions, on the 18th of September, it was postponed, owing to the absence of some material witnesses for the prosecution.
On the 30th of October Mr Long was placed upon his trial, when the same facts which we have detailed were stated in evidence. After an ample investigation a verdict of manslaughter was again returned. Mr Long was then committed to Newgate to await his sentence; but on the following Monday he was again placed at the bar. The Court then passed sentence upon him, condemning him to pay a fine of two hundred and fifty pounds to the King. The money was immediately paid, and the defendant was discharged out of custody.
The case had created a great degree of interest in society, from the vast number of persons whom Mr Long had attended, and many honourable and right honourable persons were present at his trial; but the public excitement was still further aroused when a subsequent charge of a similar nature was brought against him.
On Wednesday morning, the 10th of November, 1830, at eleven o'clock, J. H. Gell, Esq., and a highly respectable jury assembled at the Wilton Arms, Kinnerton Street, Knightsbridge, to inquire into the death of Mrs Colin Campbell Lloyd, aged forty-eight, the wife of Captain Edward Lloyd, of the Royal Navy, whose death was alleged to have been occasioned by the treatment she had experienced under the hands of Mr St John Long.
The jury retired for about half-an-hour, and then returned the following verdict: "The jury, having attentively and deliberately considered their verdict, can come to no other than manslaughter against John St John Long."
The coroner inquired on what grounds they found their verdict.
The foreman said: "On the ground of gross ignorance, and on other considerations."
Upon this second charge Mr Long was tried at the Old Bailey on the 19th of February, 1831. The jury, however, returned a verdict of not guilty.
Several ladies, elegantly dressed, remained with the prisoner in the dock throughout the day, to whom this verdict appeared to give great satisfaction.
Mr Long died in the year 1834, and his body was consigned to a tomb in the Harrow Road Cemetery, where a monument was erected to his memory at the cost of his former patients, who, in an inscription, paid a handsome tribute to his talents.