Offence: Miscellaneous > other
Verdict: Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishment: No Punishment > sentence respited
354. ALFRED FEIST was indicted for that he being the master of the workhouse of St. Mary, Newington, and, as such master, being entrusted with the dead body of one Mary Whitehead, a pauper in the said workhouse, for the purpose of interment, and not otherwise, unlawfully did fail and omit to provide for the decent interment of the said body, and did, for lucre and gain to himself, deliver the said body to a certain hospital for the purpose of dissection.—There were 63 other COUNTS, varying the manner of stating thecharge.—The 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Counts were for delaying the said burial, and other counts charged like offences with respect to the bodies of other paupers.
MR. ROBINSON conducted the Prosecution.
EDWARD CORDER DURMER . I am one of the churchwardens and guardians of Newington parish—the defendant was the master of the workhouse for rather more than two years—he was discharged in consequence of these discoveries.
Cross-examined by MR. MATTHEWS. Q. Was the defendant the person to give the notice of removal of a body for the purposes of dissection, according to the usual course of the workhouse? A. It was his duty to send the notice to the inspector of anatomy; the medical certificate of death would be sent to him at the same time, in the ordinary way—the master was supplied with printed forms of notice of removal, in compliance with the Anatomy Act, 2nd and 3rd William IV.—the master represented the guardians, for the purpose of sending bodies to the hospital—I never heard the master's authority questioned in that respect—I have known Mr. Feist during the entire time that he has filled the office of master—I have had an opportunity, nearly daily, of seeing in what way he performed his duties—his conduct, as master, was exemplary, as far as my observation went, until I heard this accusation—I have had an opportunity of knowing the inmates intimately, and they speak, generally, well of him, those who are well conducted; those who are otherwise would, of course, not like his discipline—there was no disregard of the feelings of the poor under his care; on the contrary, as far as my observation went—the guardians, with the consent of the Poor Law Board, have twice raised his salary in consequence of his good conduct—I am generally familiar with the management of the workhouse—the burials would be under the care of the undertaker—there was a contract between the undertaker and the guardians as to the burials; it was the office of Mr. Hogg, the undertaker, to manage and conduct the burials of the paupers—I do not know whether he had the control of the dead house—the number of paupers in the workhouse averaged about 550—Mr. Feist's duties were very numerous and very rigidly attended to, as far as my observation went; he was very regular in the performance of his duties—there were a large number of visitors; he would not have much time to give to each—there was a resolution come to by the guardians on 24th Dec. last, "That the master of the workhouse have the sole charge of the dead house, and the responsibility of the proper disposal of all bodies deposited therein;" that resolution was passed after the master had left.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. Were you at all aware that he ever received any money from the hospital? A. I was never conscious of it at all—the performance of the burials was under the care of the undertaker—the guardians had no communication with the undertaker beyond receiving and acknowledging the contract—I am not prepared to say it was Mr. Feist who gave directions to the undertaker as to the course he should pursue; the master certainly would do so; the governors and guardians never gave him any—the inspector of anatomy supplied the master with notices; it was the official form from the inspector's office; I do not know how he got them.
HARRY BURRELL FARNALL . I am one of the inspectors of the Poor Law Board—I was sent down by the Board to hold an inquiry with regard to this matter; I held it on 23rd Nov., 1857—Mr. Feist was examined.
MR. MATTHEWS. Q. Was he examined on oath? A. Yes—the inquiry was with reference to his alleged misconduct.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. Did you take down his examination? A. Yes; I
have it here—(MR. MATTHEWS objected to this evidence; it had not been shown that the witness had any authority to administer an oath; and under these circumstances the statement made by the defendant would be made under illegal compulsion, and ought, therefore, to be excluded; it was precisely analogous to the case of a Magistrate swearing a prisoner instead of asking him to make a statement. MR. JUSTICE CROMPTON stated that this question had been much considered in the case of Rex. v. Price, when it was held that an act done by a public functionary must be taken to be prima facie within his practice)—I have been an inspector for ten years—the original power to administer an oath was given to the assistant commissioner by the Poor Law Amendment Act, when the assistant commissioner was set aside, the inspectors of Poor Laws were put in their place and the same power was committed to them; that is under the same Act of Parliament—there was no appointment under seal to hold the inquiry, nor is it necessary, because inspectors of Poor Law are empowered under another Act of Parliament on all inquiries to administer an oath—the power given is to take evidence on oath—this was no special inquiry, further than other inquiries are. I was not specially appointed to make the inquiry; it was one of the ordinary inquiries made by the poor law inspectors; and, under the authority of the Act of Parliament, I administered an oath, as I always do and always have done for many years past—I did not require the defendant to take an oath in this instance; when he first appeared before me, I asked him whether he would be sworn or not, I left it to himself, and he said he would rather be sworn—I asked whether he had any objection to be sworn—he said, not at all, he would rather be sworn—if he had said, "I had rather not be sworn," I should have taken his declaration, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, but not from any doubt that authority was vested in me to administer the oaths—when I say I would have taken his declaration, I do not mean I would have administered the form of declaration to him, I mean I would have heard what he had to say—this is what I took down—(Read: "I am master of the St. Mary Newington Workhouse, and have been so for two years and ten months—there has been a great number of deaths in this workhouse since I have been here—the same contractor has always buried the dead from this workhouse while I have been here, his name is Robert Hogg—I keep one key of the dead house and there is another kept by the porter—I am aware there is a law which enables guardians in certain cases to deliver the dead bodies of paupers to properly licensed persons for the purposes of dissection—I do not know whether there is any order of the guardians in their books to this effect—Mr. Hogg was the contractor for burials when I came to this house—the clerk has informed me that although there was no record of the fact, nevertheless the guardians availed themselves of the 2 & 3 William 4c., 75, s. 7—The next day after I came in as master, the dead body of a pauper was forwarded to a school of anatomy, it was taken away by Mr. HOGG—I have a form of certificate under which I forward the dead bodies of paupers to schools of anatomy (form put in) this form is always accompanied by a medical certificate (form put in) I have forwarded many bodies of paupers to schools of anatomy—I remember Mary Whitehead, she died in this workhouse—her body was sent to a school of anatomy—I always send to the friends of paupers deceased—I can not recollect whether any of Whitehead's friends attended—I am satisfied that if any dead pauper has a friend who claims the body, that such body would not be forwarded to a school of anatomy—I have been at Guy's Hospital; for the last twelve months all bodies from this house have gone there—I have been twice at the hospital on business which I was sent for—the secretary sent
for me on both occasions—I received as much as 10l. from the secretary—the secretary of the hospital told me himself that he always made the masters of workhouses presents when the school had been benefited by such work-houses—but I do not know of any case where a claimed body has been sent to those schools—MR. ROBERT HOGG comes here two or three times a week—I am not aware of his having ever sent a claimed body to the school of anatomy—all receipts for bodies are supposed to be brought to me—I have never looked at any of the books in Guy's Hospital—I remember Charles Greenland—I do not know that he had a wife—Miss Mottram was the nurse then, and is so now; I should imagine that she would know if a friend visited Charles Greenland—I know of no such friend; his body was sent to a school of anatomy, and I got a receipt for it—I destroy all such receipts at the expiration of each quarter—I go through the sick wards; and I remember Greenland—he never asked me to send for his wife or any other relative—to the best of my knowledge I never saw Greenland's wife—I remember Phoebe Clarke—her body was unclaimed, and it went to the school of anatomy—I do not know whether Clarke had a visitor—my wife is the matron—she never informed me that either Sarah Fetter, Sarah Grant, Charles Greenland, or Phoebe Clarke's bodies were claimed—I do not recollect any friend of Phoebe Clarke's—I have never received any fee or gratuity from Mr. Hogg in any way—Mr. Hogg is always assisted by his own men at funerals and never by any inmates—I was not in the dead house with Mary Whitehead's friends—I employ a number of persons in the workhouse to find the relatives of paupers—I have told you the whole truth—the gratuity allowed to me from the society is given generally a little after Christmas—I do not think I got the same gratuity on both occasions—the last gratuity I got amounted to 20l., I think—the secretary never at any time told me that he gave me this sum for a certain number of bodies; but only as a gratuity, I do not know of any Act of Parliament which prevents my taking such a gratuity—I have several times been present when bodies were screwed down in our dead house—I do not know that it is my duty to do this—I should not consider it my duty to go to see a body screwed down which had died in this workhouse—I told Dr. Iliffe that I never received any fee for a body sent from this workhouse to the school of anatomy—I did not mention the gratuity to Dr. Iliffe—I have had no private conversation with Mr. Hogg relative to this business—if I have spoken to him others have been present—for instance Mr. Bull—Mr. Billet—and Mr. Heseltine—I never suggested to Mr. Hogg that he should take the whole blame of this business on himself—nor has Mr. Hogg ever told me that if there was blame we must share it between us—I went to Mr. Hogg with Mr. Heseltine and Mr. Billet, and I said, "I want you to answer me one question, Did you ever give me a fee in any one way?" and he says "Never, by God"—in the very beginning of my taking office I told Mr. Hogg that it must be well understood that no bodies which went to the school of anatomy should be charged for burial to the Parish—If Mr. Hogg has charged the guardians with the burial of Mary Whitehead I gay it is a fraud—If he has charged for the burial of Charles Greenland it is a fraud—and so of Phoebe Clarke—I have never received any fee present or gratuity from Hogg—my wife has never received any gratuity from Mr. Hogg—I did not go to the secretary with Mr. Hogg, nor do I know that Mr. Hogg ever received anything from the secretary—I now believe from this inquiry that claimed bodies have been sent to the hospital for dissection—I never refused any friend to see a corpse. Alfred Feist.")
Cross-examined by MR. MATTHEWS. Q. Were the notices of removal and
the warrants of removal with respect to Mary Whitehead, Greenland, and Clark, shown to Mr. Feist at the time of the inquiry, when the questions were put? A. No, they were not—the warrants of removal were not before me at the time—they did not come before me in the inquiry—the hospital books were not produced—Mr. Hogg was also examined before me—every thing he said is in his deposition—I have inspected the workhouse while the defendant was master, I always found it in very excellent order, and the poor contented, the management of it was very creditable; it appeared to me that his discharge of his duties was exemplary—I have certified to the Poor Law Board that the house was always in order.
LOUISA MIXER . I live at No. 30, Pitt Street, St. George's Road. I am married—I am the daughter of Mary Whitehead—she was at the workhouse—she died on 30th Jan, 1857—I saw her there the day before she died—I received intelligence of her death, and went to the workhouse on the day she died—I saw her about half past 2 o'clock, or from 2 to 3 o'clock in the afternoon—I was told that she died about 10 o'clock in the morning—I saw Mr. Feist—I went into the dead house with the nurse to put a night dress on my mother as she lay in the coffin, and after coming out, I went into Mr. Feist's office, and asked him what day my mother would be buried—I told him my mother's name—he said he did not know whether it would be on Saturday or Monday; he told me if I went to Mr. Hogg, Mr. Hogg would tell me what day she would be buried—I asked if more than two could follow; he said, "Yes, by payment of 1s. 6d. each person"—On Monday, 2nd Feb., I went again to the workhouse—I had gone to Mr. Hogg on 30th Jan.—I heard that the funeral was to take place on the Monday, and went there—I saw the porter at the lodge, he told me to wait, and I should be sent for when I was wanted—I waited some time—I then went out into the yard, I saw Mr. Feist, and told him I had come to the burial of Mary Whitehead—I went into the dead house to see my mother's body—Mr. Feist came to fetch me and my sister from the room where we were waiting, and he took us into the dead house—I saw my mother in her coffin; Mr. Feist remained while I was looking at the body—I remained there, perhaps, five minutes—Mr. Feist told us not to go too near—after we had looked at my mother for about five minutes, he said, "Now, ladies, that will do," and we came out, and went back to the room we came from—I am quite sure it was my mother's body I saw—in about half an hour Mr. Feist came and said, "The friends of Mary Whitehead;" we went out, there was a coach and a hearse, we got into the coach—I did not see the coffin put into the hearse—I followed a body which I believed to be my mother's—it went to the Victoria Cemetery, and there I saw the coffin put into the ground.
Cross-examined. Q. Who first asked you about this? A. Mr. Burgess; I believe he is clerk to the guardians—he sent for me between four and five months ago; that must have been eight or nine months after the funeral—that was the first time my attention was called to it—the first time I saw Mr. Feist was in the yard—when I went to ask about the funeral, I asked him when my mother would be buried, he asked me who she was, and I said, "Mary Whitehead," and then he referred me to Mr. Hogg—I saw him in the workhouse yard on the day of the funeral; he was merely walking about—there might have been one or two other persons in the yard, I did not notice them—Mr. Hogg was not in charge of the hearse—I did not see Mr. Hogg after I left the dead house—his men were there—Mr. Feist came to the waiting room to call us.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. Was Mr. Hogg in the dead house when you went there with Mr. Feast to see your mother? A. Yes.
HENRY COOK GREGG . I am clerk to the inspector of anatomy. Mr. Backett was the inspector, he has resigned—I produce a notice of removal to the inspector with regard to Mary Whitehead, also a medical certificate as to the cause of her death; and the declaration, or official return from the hospital signed by the teacher of anatomy—the notice purports to be signed by Mr. Feist; it is a notice to the inspector that such a body will be removed on 2nd Feb. for anatomical examination—I produce a certificate of burial from the clergyman—a warrant for the removal of the body would be issued by Mr. Backett on the receipt of the notice, and the certificate of the cause of death.
Cross-examined. Q. Does the inspector select the hospital to which the body is sent, and specify it in each warrant? A. Yes; there is no arrangement with the guardians.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. But, as a matter of fact, the inspector would send all the Newington bodies, that could lawfully go, to Guy's Hospital, would he not? A. They go to Guy's Hospital—I have got the warrant in this case, it is signed by Mr. Backett—it would go to Hogg, the undertaker.
E. C. DURMER re-examined. The writing to this notice is Mr. Feist's, and so is the body of the certificate of the cause of death, except the signature of the medical officer.
JOHN GANNON . I am medical officer of the Newington workhouse. I attended Mary Whitehead prior to her death; this is my signature to this certificate; the cause of death is also my writing—this certificate was handed to me by Mr. Feist; I signed it in his presence, and handed it to him back—these certificates are only given by me in cases where the body is to be removed for dissection—I think it was brought on the day of the date, but I am not certain; the date is 2nd Feb.; it was brought on that day—(The notice was here read: "Sir, I have to inform you that the body of Mary Whitehead, aged 75, whose last place of abode was Newington workhouse, and who died at Newington workhouse, on Friday, 30th June, 1857, may be removed for anatomical examination, on Monday, 2nd Feb., at 9 o'clock. Signed Alfred Feist, 1st Feb., 1857." The certificate stated that Mary Whitehead died of chronic bronchitis, the warrant signed "John Backett, inspector," was dated 1st Feb., and was directed to Mr. Hogg, authorising him to remove the bodies of Mary Whitehead and others to the school at Guy's Hospital.)
Cross-examined. Q. These certificates and notices were given and signed in the usual course of business at the workhouse? A. In the usual course—they were always handed to me by Mr. Feist himself, never by Mr. Poole, the clerk—I had occasion to go to his office every day to sign the book, and then they were put before me, and I signed them—I know nothing about there being a difficulty in getting bodies for anatomical purposes—I never directed that any particular bodies should be sent to the hospital if possible—I had nothing whatever to do with that—I never expressed a desire that any particular body should, if possible, go to the school (Looking at a paper)—The man referred to here died of phthysis, but I expressed no desire about that case—it would be desirable that all cases should go to the school, but I had nothing to do with it.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. You would be very much transgressing your duty if you did, would you not? A. I think I should.
Hospital, and was so last year—the signature to this return is mine—looking at this document, I know that a body, purporting to be that of Mary Whitehead, came to the hospital on 2nd Feb.—before I signed this, I received the warrant and the return from the master of the workhouse—the body came about 9 o'clock in the evening, I should think—it is put 9 o'clock here—we generally have them in the evening—this was signed by me within twenty-four hours of the reception of the body, according to the Act, and it is forwarded within twenty-four hours to the inspector of anatomy—that body was dissected, and afterwards sent back, in order that the remains might be buried—the undertaker receives the body from us as soon as we have done with it, and he receives a certificate of burial.
Cross-examined. Q. Do you personally receive the documents in the first place? A. Yes—the porter receives the body at the reception room—I do not see it until it comes into the dissecting room—I have not the least doubt that I saw this body—I am in the dissecting room every day—I have no personal recollection of the case.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. Did the body correspond with the particulars stated in the paper, age, sex, and so on? A. Yes—it was the body of a woman, and an old woman.
ROBERT HOGG . I am an undertaker, carrying on business in St. George's Road, Southwark. I have been employed for five or six years by the parish of Newington to bury the paupers—this (produced) is my bill from 29th Sept., 1856 to 21st Feb., 1857—I have charged the parish for the funeral of Mary Whitehead on 2nd Feb.—I cannot recollect the burial of Mary Whitehead in particular—I have seen the witness Louisa Mixer—I saw her at the work-house when she came to attend a funeral—I have produced the warrant with reference to Mary Whitehead—these papers, the notice and the certificate, were given to me by Mr. Feist to take to the inspector—I did take them, and obtained a warrant with Mary Whitehead's name in it—I kept the warrant as my authority for the removal—the body to which that warrant relates must have been sent to the school at Guy's Hospital—I recollect the relatives going into the dead house to see the body—that was the ordinary course—the body was in a coffin in the dead house, and was seen by Mrs. Mixer—I saw her look at a body; it was the body of Mary Whitehead—that body was left behind in the dead house, coffin, and all—I was in the dead house, and saw all that was done there—the relatives followed a body—I have no recollection whether there were three bodies in the hearse or only two, but there must have been one that was brought from the hospital for interment, and that was buried in the place of Whitehead—the body that Mrs. Mixer had seen, was taken to Guy's Hospital; it was by the direction of Mr. Feist that this was done.
Cross-examined. Q. Whose body was taken to the cemetery instead of Mary Whitehead's? A. That I cannot say; it was a party that was brought from the hospital, that had been for dissection previously—I cannot recollect this burial in particular; I cannot recollect whether two or three bodies were placed in the hearse that morning—I never saw Mary Whitehead whilst living; I did not know her by sight in any way—there was no name on her coffin that I am aware of; the names are only put on in chalk by the paupers when they bring them down stairs—I recollect taking that body to the school by having the warrant, and by the notice papers being sent to the inspector—I know that the warrant referred to the body of Whitehead, because there would have been no other body left behind on the burying day; I can only tell which body was left behind, from the daughter seeing it—upon occasions when there have been no coffins there, the bodies have been brought down to
the dead house in shells, but when there have been coffins there, they have brought them down in the coffins they have been buried in; that is the regular practice—I had the conduct of the funerals—I had not access to the dead house at all times; a key of the dead house was kept at the porter's lodge; I could go to that when I thought proper—I was in the habit of bringing the bodies of paupers who had died out of the workhouse, into the dead house; that was by orders given by the relieving officers—I never removed a body into the workhouse without an order from the relieving officer—I did that at all hours up to 9 or 10 o'clock; I also brought into the dead house the remains from the hospital, I always had done so, to be buried with the other funerals; that was so regular that it was done for the last six years, ever since I did the work; I have always done so; I have never informed the guardians of that—when I removed a body from the hospital, the expense of the burial was paid by the hospital; they paid me 3l. 10s. for each burial—the workhouse paid me 5s. 6d.—I charged both the hospital and the work-house in all those cases where the substitution took place; not for the unclaimed bodies—I did not know any of these bodies—I charged 5s. 6d. for the funeral of Mary Whitehead; supposing the remains of Mary Whitehead to have come back again, and to have been buried at the expense of the hospital, I should charge them 3l. 10s.—I do not know that it was contrary to my orders to charge the workhouse for the burial of bodies that I removed from the hospital; I had no orders at all about it; I assumed that I had a right to charge both; Mr. Feist never told me that I must not charge—5s. 6d. was not an insufficient price to pay me, not taking into consideration the unclaimed bodies which are sent for dissection during the period the contract is held; it is only by means of the unclaimed bodies that I am enabled to make it pay—the certificate of death and the notice of removal I always take to the Inspector of anatomy; sometimes they were sent to my place under cover, and sometimes they were given to me at the time I went to the workhouse; I generally got them from the master; I never received any from the clerk; it was my duty to go to the workhouse to inquire what deaths had taken place; I was bound to see what bodies were in the dead house, two or three times a week; it was my duty to provide for all burials that I was directed to perform—I got the warrant from the Inspector of anatomy, and under that warrant I removed the body; when I removed the body, I took the warrant with me, and the master had a receipt for the body when I took it away; the Inspector's warrant is my authority for removing the body for anatomical purposes—in the case of Mary Whitehad, it was done by Mr. Feist's directions; those directions were given to me on the morning of the funeral, at the workhouse, in the dead house—nobody was present then.
COURT. Q. What were the directions? A. That the body of Mary Whitehead, if it was Mary Whitehead (I had no means of knowing whether it was or not) should be left behind for dissection.
MR. MATTHEWS. Q. At what time in the morning was this? A. About 11 o'clock, or half-past—I was given to understand that that justified me in doing this—I have sometimes taken up the friends of parties on the road when it was the funeral of an out-door case—I have not taken up any at a public house called the Huntsman—my bills were not sent in to, or signed by, Feist, that I am aware of—I sent them to Mr. Burgess, the clerk of the guardians—I cannot say whether all the workhouse bills were sent to Mr. Feist—I have seen my bills in his office, on his table—I am not aware that my bills were signed by him, or submitted to him—I was called before Mr. Farnall, the Poor Law inspector—I refused to answer any questions at first—upon
that the guardians pledged themselves that my answers should not be used against me—I had great reasons for acting with that precaution—questions were then asked me, and I made answers—(MR. ROBINSON objected to the witness being examined as to his statement before Mr. Farnall, unless the whole examination was put in. MR. JUSTICE WIGHTMAN did not consider that course necessary)—I stated to Mr. Farnall, "I know of several cases where I have charged the parish with the funerals of paupers when the bodies of those paupers have been transferred by me to the schools of anatomy; I have done this when relatives and friends have come to me about such bodies"—I did not know whether they were relatives or not; I stated that—I said, "I know that those bodies were at the school of anatomy"—I also said, "I have gone to that school and substituted a body for that which the relatives claimed, and so carried out a funeral," by special orders—I think I mentioned about special orders before Mr. Farnall—I also said, "And then I have charged such funeral to the parish; this I have frequently done; I cannot recollect the names of such cases; I have known the relations of paupers in the dead house with me when bodies have been screwed down, and I have known those very bodies reach the school of anatomy through my agency"—I also said, "This was arranged by substituting a coffin, with remains in it, from the school of anatomy, and then the relations followed such remains, and then I charged for such funeral"—I said, "This substitution commenced with the old master, Mr. Cox"—that was in reference to the substitution of the bodies after they were removed to the school of anatomy, where persons had come to claim them after they had been removed—what was due to me was not kept back until after I had given my evidence before the Magistrate in this case—I did not receive my money until afterwards—I was told on the morning of the inquiry that my cheque was ready for me, previous to my going before the Magistrate; they told me that the cheque was there ready for me to receive; that was before I went before the Magistrate; it had been signed by the guardians, and I could receive it when I liked—I did not take it then, because I knew, in the morning, that I was going before the Magistrate—I could have gone and fetched it then if I had liked—it was not with Mr. Burgess that I had this talk about the cheque, it was with Mr. Walters—I saw Mr. Burgess at the police court, while he was going in, previous to my first examination—I had no conversation with him in the presence of Mr. Heath, his clerk—I never asked for payment—I was dismissed—I sent in my bill afterwards—I always receive notice that my money will be ready on such a day—I generally received that notice three or four days after the cheque was signed—I had two or three days notice of my dismissal—I cannot recollect when it was; I think it was within a month of the quarter; six weeks, perhaps, through the quarter; about 28th or 29th Nov., 1857, I think—the inquiry before the Magistrate was in Feb., this year, I think.
COURT. Q. You say they told you that your cheque was ready for you; why not go and take it? A. I was not ordered to go and receive it—I could have got it on the morning previous to the inquiry before the Magistrate—I did not go, because I had not received a notice from the clerk that it was to be paid; there is always a written notice sent when the money is to be received—I received the notice from the clerk on the morning previous to the inquiry before the Magistrate—I did not think there was any particular reason why I should go; I have often let it before a week or a fortnight.
MR. MATTHEWS. Q. Had you a notice that the cheque would be paid?
A. Yes; I got the money, I think, on the day following the examination—I was undertaker of Lambeth workhouse—I lost that through this affair.
MR. ROBINSON submitted that in re-examination he was now entitled to read the whole statement made by the witness to Mr. Farnall; he having been examined as to portions of that statement. MR. JUSTICE WIGHTMAN was of opinion that this could not be done, the witness had adopted the questions put to him, and, therefore, the statement could not be used in contradiction, which was the only way in which it would be admissable; but it was open to the Counsel, in re-examination, to put anything to the witness that might qualify any statement he had made.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. Did you state to the inspector that you had done this by special orders? A. I thought so—it was by Mr. Feist's special order that these things were done—I have only charged both the hospital and the parish in cases where bodies have been substituted—where a body has legitimately gone to the hospital and been unclaimed, I have only charged the hospital—I cannot say whether that has been with Mr. Feist's knowledge—I dare say this substitution has taken place ten or fifteen times within the last twelve months—those ten or fifteen cases have been by the direction of Mr. Feist; he has been present in each case at the time it has been done—I have never substituted in that way without the order of Mr. Feist; the papers must first go to the inspector before I can remove a body to the hospital—I have been in the habit of giving Mr. Feist a receipt for bodies—I dare say I gave a receipt for the body of Mary Whitehead; it was my invariable custom to give it.—(A notice to produce this receipt was admitted; it was not produced.)
MR. MATTHEWS to MR. H. B. FARNALL. Q. You heard certain statements of Mr. Hogg's, made before yourself? A. Yes—I have heard the account he has given of those statements to-day—I heard him say to-day that he had frequently substituted bodies by special orders—I heard him say, when before me, that he had frequently substituted bodies; but I heard nothing of special orders, nor anything to that effect—I never heard him state that he had any special orders in this case—he stated to me that he and the master of the workhouse together had these substituted bodies in this way; and he said also, that the master had been present when such substitution was going on—he states here, "I can swear that I substituted one body for another, and Mr. Feist has been present when I substituted them"—he did not use the words "by special orders" to me—he told me that he never had given Mr. Feist any money for these bodies, but he told me that he had given him certain gratuities, but that was in consequence of Mr. Feist recommending him some private practice.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. What did he say with regard to any money passing between him and Mr. Feist? A. "I have occasionally made Mr. Feist presents; I have given him a sovereign sometimes, perhaps six or seven in the year—I never made Mrs. Feist any presents—I did not give these sovereigns in any way on account of the bodies—I gave them for recommendations for private funerals."
MARK SHATTOCK . I am accountant to Guy's Hospital—I have from time to time paid Mr. Feist money—in 1856 I paid him 19l. 10s., and in 1857 I paid him 26l.—I paid him that as a gratuity for his trouble with reference to the certificates, and the trouble he had had during the past years—I knew that he was master of the workhouse—I have the returned cheques here—I was perfectly ignorant of the 31st sec. of 7 & 8 Vict., c. 101—I had nothing
to do with the bodies—I paid him this money for the counterparts of the confidential returns to the Inspector-General—it approaches to somewhere about 10s. for each body, not more—it was given as a gratuity for his trouble, the trouble he might have in making out the returns and certificates, signing and filling up the notices, and getting the certificates; strictly so—the amount I paid him would have reference to the number of bodies or certificates.
Cross-examined. Q. Have they indicted you yet for buying bodies? A. No, I am not a purchaser of bodies—I followed precedents which I found had been acted upon—I cannot say for how many years this has been the invariable practice at the hospital; as regards myself it has been since 1849—that was long before Mr. Feist was master—these payments for the certificates were made as a matter of course—I am perfectly ignorant of the fact that the master is not obliged by any of the Poor Law Acts to make out these certificates; and that, therefore, his salary does not include that trouble.
EMMA GREENLAND . I reside in Procter Street, Newington. I am the widow of Charles Greenland—about 15th May, 1857, he became an inmate of Newington workhouse—I was not in the habit of going to the workhouse to see him—I never saw him there—I applied to see him, but was not allowed to do so—I applied to the master, I saw the mistress, and she refused me to see him; I did not see the master then—I first saw Mr. Feist on the same night that my husband died; that was on the 20th May—he asked me who I was—I told him that I was the wife of Charles Greenland, and I understood that he was taken much worse—he said, "Yes, he is"—I told him that I had been there at dinner time, between 1 and 2 o'clock, and wished to see him and was refused as it was not visiting day—he said he was very sorry for that, for he would rather for me to have seen him then than to see him now, for then he was alive—I said, "Then, I suppose, he is dead"—he said, "Yes, he is; he has been dead a quarter of an hour, you had better not see him now; you had better come next morning at 9 o'clock"—I went next morning with my brother-in-law—I saw Mr. Feist—we asked to see the remains of my husband, and we were sawn him in the dead house by a nurse, whom Mr. Feist called—I saw Mr. Feist again that same morning, and we made arrangements about the burial—he asked me if I wished to take the body out—my brother-in-law told him it was out of my power to bury him—he said, "Very well, the parish will bury him"—my brother-in-law asked when the funeral would take place, and he referred us to Mr. Hogg, who, he said, managed and conducted the funerals—I applied for the clothes he had on, and he said if I had his clothes I must have his body, as the clothes he had on came to the parish—he went in with very good clothes; in short, they were borrowed clothes, and he was only there five days—I did not see Mr. Feist again—I had my children ill, and could not attend the funeral.
Cross-examined. Q. Are you aware that that rule about the clothes is a usual one? A. No—I do not know anything about it.
JNO. GREENLAND . I am brother-in-law of the last witness, and brother of Charles Greenland. I went with the last witness to the workhouse the day after my brother's death—I saw Mr. Feist, and told him I had heard that my brother was dead, and I wished to see him—he sent a woman into the yard with me to show me the corpse—I saw my brother's corpse; I know it was him—after that I went back to Mr. Feist and complained about their having kept the wife away; he expressed great regret—he told me I must go to Mr. Hogg to ascertain the day of the funeral; that was all the information he could give me—my brother's wife said something about his clothes, and he said if the clothes were taken away they must take him away and bury him—I did
not rightly hear what it was he said; I was standing outside on the steps—I ascertained from Mr. Hogg that the funeral would take place on the Saturday following; I went there—I saw Mr. Feist, and said I had come to the funeral of my brother, Charles Greenland—the name of Greenland was written in chalk on the coffin—I was told to go into the waiting room, and there I sat, I should say nearly half an hour, until my patience was exhausted, and I went out into the yard—I did not see the body that morning—it was by Mr. Feist's direction that I went into the waiting room—Mr. Feist, Mr. Hogg, and another man were present when I saw the coffin with the name "Greenland" chalked upon it; that was the day after the death—when I came out of the waiting room I saw Mr. Feist, Mr. Hogg, and his man in the yard; there were three or four coffins lying on the ground, and a hearse and a coach—I asked how long it would be—he said, "It will be all right presently, you had better go in"; so I went back to my seat—I afterwards came out and followed a body, which I supposed to be my brother's—I saw the coffin buried.
Cross-examined. Q. Were Mr. Hogg and his man engaged in putting the coffins into the hearse? A. They were engaged in some way or other; I could not say how—there were several coffins on the ground—Mr. Feist was present—he told me that my sister could not have represented herself as my brother's wife, or she would have been admitted—I told him that his wife and child had been kept standing there nearly all day, and were not admitted.
MARY THOMPSON . I am the wife of George Thompson, who died in the workhouse at Newington—he died on 10th March, 1857—I was in the work-house with him; we had been there two years last Nov.—I used to wash and clean about the house—I knew Mr. Feist perfectly well, and he knew me and my husband perfectly well—on the day my husband died I asked Mr. Feist to be allowed to see him—he said I should, and I did—on the morning of the funeral, he asked me whether there was a black wrapper or a gown to put on me—nothing was procured for me—I saw the body of my husband that morning in the dead house; it was in a coffin—the undertaker and the task master were there at the time; Mr. Feist was not there—I did not see him when I came out—I followed the remains of my husband, as I thought, but I am given to understand I did not—I had no further conversation with Mr. Feist than I have stated.
Cross-examined. Q. Did not he ask his wife to lend you a wrapper? A. Yes—Hogg was in the dead house when I went to see my husband's body—I wished to remain until the coffin was nailed down, Hogg and the task master hurried me out of the dead house.
MR. ROBINSON. Q. Who is the task master? A. Percy, I think his name is, he is not task master now—I do not know whether he was a person under the direction of Mr. Feist.
REBECCA MATTHEWS . I reside at Pleasant Row, East Lane, Walworth. I am the sister of Phoebe Clarke, who died in the workhouse at Newington, on 21st Feb., 1857—I was called on to see her when she was taken bad, and I went to see her when she was dying, and I saw her the morning after she died—I went with my sister, Sarah Crutchley, to the workhouse, that was on Sunday morning, 22nd Feb., I saw Mr. Feist, and asked him if he would allow me to see my sister, Phoebe Clarke; accordingly he sent some person with me to the dead house, and we saw her—Mr. Feist went part of the way with us, but some person who was in the house opened the door—I saw Mr. Feist again when I came out, in the garden, but said nothing then—I asked him when the funeral would take place, and he referred us to Mr. Hogg; he said he thought it would take place on the Wednesday following, but we
must apply to Mr. Hogg to be certain—on the following Wednesday morning my sister and I went to the workhouse about half past 9 o'clock—I saw Mr. Feist in the waiting room, I asked him if he would allow me to see my sister, and he refused me—he said he could not show me the body, for Mr. Hogg had the keys of the dead house, and therefore we could not see her—I asked him a second time, and he refused me—some time afterwards Mr. Hogg came, and my sister went into the dead house, I did not—Mr. Hogg said that a body was there that was very offensive, it would not be possible to go in—Mr. Feist did not go in while I was there, he was in the garden—when my sister came out we went into the waiting room again, and stayed there—I did not go into the dead house, my sister did—we were afterwards called out, and followed the body of my sister, as we supposed.
Cross-examined. Q. At the time Hogg told you there was a body in the dead house that was offensive, and you had better not go in, was Mr. Feist in the yard? A. Yes; he was, I suppose, four or five yards from the dead house, he was speaking to some persons in the yard.
SARAH CRUTCHLEY . I went with the last witness to the workhouse—I had visited there with my sister before the day of the funerals—on the day of the funeral I went there with my sister—I went twice into the dead house to see my sister's body—I had no conversation with Mr. Feist, I saw him and Mrs. Feist outside the gate—when I first went into the dead house, I saw the of my sister, Phoebe Clark; my sister was present when I went in the first time—I saw the body, and so did my sister; I do not know that she saw as much as I did, I was stronger than my sister, she was very poorly, and she could not go—I went in the second time because I felt anxious to see her once more before she was screwed down—there was a man there apparently knocking the nails into the coffin—I did not see Mr. Feist there either time; I believe he was present when we got into the vehicle to go off, but I did not notice him particularly.
Cross-examined. Q. Do you say that you saw a man actually nailing down the coffin in which your sister was? A. I did so—I did not see that coffin taken out; it was three quarters of an hour after that before we were called for.
HENRY COOK GREGG re-examined. I produce a notice to the inspector in the case of Greenland, purporting to be signed by Mr. Feist—I also produce the surgeon's certificate of the cause of death; the return from the hospital signed by Mr. Poland; the certificate of burial; and the warrant of Mr. Backett for the removal of the body.
E. C. DURMER re-examined. This notice is in Mr. Feist's writing, and the body of the certificate.
H. C. GREGG re-examined. I produce the documents in Thompson's case—here is the notice to the inspector, purporting to be signed by Mr. Feist; it is dated 12th March; the date of the death is the 10th, and of the removal, the 13th—the medical certificate is dated 10th March—I have not got the warrant in this case—Mr. Poland's return is dated 18th March—the warrant was not issued until 17th March; I did not get these papers until then—I made a memorandum of that on the back of this, from my rough book.
E. C. DURMER re-examined. This notice is signed by Mr. Feist, and the certificate is filled up by him.
JOHN GANNON re-examined. This certificate was issued by me on the day it bears date; it was brought to me by Mr. Feist—I signed it, and gave it back to him, filling up the disease, on the day it bears date.
ALFRED POLAND re-examined. This is signed by me—the body was received on 13th March—my impression is, that I signed it on the 13th, and that the date of the 18th is a mistake—it is in the clerk's writing; I cannot explain it.
H. C. GREGG re-examined. I produce the certificate, the notice, and the returns in the case of Phoebe Clarke.
E. C. DURMER re-examined. The signature to this notice, as well as the body, is Mr. Feist's writing, and the medical certificate is also his.
MR. MATTHEWS to MR. DURMER. Q. Can you tell me the usual hour for funerals at the workhouse? A. In the morning, about 11 o'clock; that would be about the time that Mr. Feist would go his rounds, and visit the workhouse—the dead house is in the stone yard; his duties would not generally take him there—it might be his duty to visit that part of the establishment—the bills of the workhouse are usually certified by the master.
MR. MATTHEWS submitted that, under the provisions of the Anatomy Act, the defendant was entitled to an acquittal on this indictment; the Act in question was entirely of a permissive, and not of a prohibitory character; he directed the attention of the Court particularly to sections 2, 7, and 9; and urged, that the defendant, as master of the workhouse, was clothed with whatever power the guardians possessed, for the purpose of sending bodies to be anatomically examined; that he had lawful possession of such bodies, within the meaning of the 7th section; and that he was not entrusted with them merely for the purposes of interment, which words evidently applied to the undertaker, and not to the guardians, or their representative, the master; it was clear, according to the evidence, that all the conditions imposed by the 9th section had been complied with, and the only question that could be raised was, whether the second part of the 7th section was applicable to this case; viz., whether any known relative of the deceased had requested the body to be interred without examination; there was no evidence of any such request having been made in this case; and therefore, as all the conditions of the Act had been complied with, the defendant was entitled to an acquittal.
MR. JUSTICE WIGHTMAN inquired of MR. ROBINSON upon which Count he relied. MR. ROBINSON contended, that he had proved all; the defendant was merely the servant of the guardians; and if the friends of Whitehead had expressed a desire that the body should be buried, he would be entrusted with that body simply for interment; instead of which, according to the evidence, he sold it. MR. JUSTICE WIGHTMAN was of opinion, that the words, "for the purpose of interment, and not otherwise," pointed to the undertaker, and not to the master, whose possession of the body was by virtue of his office. MR. ROBINSON suggested, that those words were mere surplus age, and if they conveyed a misdescription of the nature of the defendants office, they might be rejected. MR. JUSTICE WIGHTMAN considered, that the master was clearly not
the person referred to in that section; and this objection applied to the first four Counts; the 5th Count appeared to raise the real question; for by the common law it was a misdemeanour to delay improperly and unnecessarily the burial of a dead body, and to sell a dead body might, at common law, be a misdemeanour. MR. MATTHEWS contended, that no authority had gone that length; he argued, that a misdemeanour at common law must involve a trespass, and referred to the cases of Reg. v. Gillies and Reg. v. Sharpe, as supporting that proposition; he, however, relied upon the statute, as, in any event, furnishing a justification for all that the defendant had done. MR. JUSTICK WIGHTMAN, as at present advised, was disposed to consider, that the mere selling a dead body for the purposes of dissection, might be an offence at common law, independent of the statute, and, as to that, he would take the opinion of the Jury upon the evidence; by the terms of the Act it would seem that, whatever may have been the cast at common law, it was lawful for any person having lawful possession of the body of a deceased person (leaving out the undertaker), to permit that body to undergo anatomical examination, unless the known relatives should require it to be interred without such examination; he did not find, in any of the cases in question, that there had been any requirement that the body should be interred without examination, although all might well suppose that would be done; but there was the further circumstance, which he should leave to the Jury, whether this was done for lucre and reward, as alleged in the indictment; and then the question would arise, whether this Act enabled a party, having lawful possession of a body, to sell it for the purpose of anatomical examination; as to that, he would at present give no opinion.
MR. ROBINSON was prepared to contend, that, as to the requirement to bury without examination, if the defendant, by his conduct, deceived the relatives into a belief that the burial would take place without any such examination, and so prevented them from actually making that request in words, that would amount to the same thing.
MR. JUSTICE WIGHTMAN was of opinion, that some act must be proved; but, upon the whole, he deemed it best to leave both points to the Jury, viz., as to the selling, and as to the requirement.
MR. ROBINSON, with respect to the 5th Count, called the attention of the Court to a case of conspiracy on the part of a surgeon and master of a work-house, to prevent the burial of a person who had died in a workhouse; the case was analogous to the present, and he submitted that, under any circumstances, such a proceeding would amount to a misdemeanour.
(The prisoner received an excellent character.)
THE JURY found, in answer to questions submitted to them by THE COURT, that the defendant caused to be delivered the dead bodies of Mary Whitehead and others, and delayed the burial of them for an unreasonable length of time, in order that they should be dissected in the mean time; that he did so for the purpose of lucre and gain; that he caused the appearance of the funerals of those parties to be gone through, with a view to prevent the relatives, in any of the cases, requesting the body to be interred without being subjected to anatomical examination; and that the persons who appeared as the relatives of the deceased, might have required the body of the deceased, in any of the cases, to be interred without anatomical examination. Upon this finding, THE COURT ordered a verdict to be entered, of GUILTY on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Counts. — Judgment Reserved .
THE JURY expressed their regret that any offer should have been made to the witness Hogg, which had prevented him standing by the side of the defendant.
The defendant was admitted to bail, to appear and receive judgment on 10th May next.
Before Mr. Common Serjeant.