25th October 1869
Reference Numbert18691025-953
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceNo Punishment > sentence respited

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953. ARTHUR BROWNE (30), was indicted for feloniously causing to be received by Thomas James Arnold, Esq, a letter, threatening to kill and murder him, well knowing the contents of the said letter. Other Counts—For demanding money with menaces, and for uttering.

MESSRS. POLAND and BESLEY conducted the Prosecution; and MR. RIBTON the Defence.

THOMAS JAMES ARNOLD, ESQ . I am one of the Metropolitan Magistrates at Westminster Police' Court—on 1st June last I received this letter (produced) at my Court—Realf; "Sir,—My object in sending you this letter is to put you upon your guard, and avert mischief. You have, some years ago, iniquitously and most unjustly condemned to a very heavy fine a very innocent youth; this was on a pretence of drunkenness, though at the evidence proved that he had not been drinking. Through this condemnation he lost a very profitable employment he had at the time, and has ever since been in difficulties, of which he is tired, and he has, therefore, taken the resolution of having his revenge upon' you, the cause of them. Yes, he is decided to have your life, unless you give him a fair compensation for all the trouble he has had through your injustice. My utmost has been done to calm him, and make him give up the idea of murder, but all has been in vain. To-morrow he is to leave for London, and if, in the course of next week, he does not find in one of the numbers of the Standard newspaper an advertisement headed 'Compensation,' intimating your intention of giving damages for all he has suffered through your injustice, be has taken the catch that next Sunday you shall be dead. For your sake, then, heed this notice; save yourself by giving the justly-demanded compensation, or otherwise be will commit the deed. He is tired of the iniquities life your condemnation has made his, and would prefer death. Suicide is a crime, he has often told me, but he would one day die by the hangman's help, and quite delighted to be revenged, and to have made you suffer for your base injustice. I willingly would give you my name, to prove the sincerity of the notice, but your past behaviour to my friend shows you to be a dishonest old rascal, and I fear that if I did sign in name you would in a blackguardly

guardly mannor, through foul means, use it to bring me before men of high authority, and oblige me to betray my friend that you may have him arrested and locked up, that you may save your mean self without giving any compention for your base injustice. I, therefore, will end, and add that if you wish to live longer, the best is to give the said advertisement in the newspaper mentioned, and act fairly, without any treacherous, hidden intention, for which you would soon after suffer either directly or indirectly by the hands of your victim or of some of his friends, amongst whom is Your Forewarner, again advising you for your sake to notice this letter,' In consequence of that, I communicated with the police, and on the following day, 2nd June, by my direction, an advertisement was put in the Everything; Standard—this is a copy of it (Read: "Compensation.—Threats are quite unavailing, though if the facts are as stated, something perhaps might he done. What is asked?"—That appeared in the Evening Standard—on the 5th June, I received this letter, dated the 4th:—"Sir. This morning I have received a letter from the young man in whose behalf I have seat you my last, a also a number of the Evening Standard of the 2nd inst, the advertisement in which delighted me, in shewing that you are willing to compromise the matter in a friendly and honorable manner, which will prevent any unnecessary crime. My friend also expresses his satisfaction at hit finding it is thus. All facts are as stated in my last, but he thinks, that if you want convincing proofs to that effect, an interview would be more convenient. His financial less, all included, at the time of its occurrence, amounted to between: 20l. and 25l., besides the other damage he went through. At present, he is in very reduced circumstances, out of which, by a sum of 8l. to 10l., he could disentangle himself, and get in a position to earn respectably some money; a retribution to that amount, then, would satisfy him, for which, besides, he would ever be grateful, since it would put him in a situation to earn respectably his life, the only thing he longs for. Should you be willing to come to his terms, without further delay or intercourse, or should ye prefer an interview, to have convincing proofs of the veracity of the stated facts, please to let him know it by another advertisement, headed "Compensation," given before long in another number of the tame newspaper; and in the former instance you shall be respectfully informed where to forward the said retribution, while in the second, my friend should wait upon you at the place and at the time appointed in the advertisement. He begged of me, in his letter, to send you all these particulars, because he told me he felt too nervous to write directly to you himself. I trust you will, in the present, find nothing offensive, and hoping that the friendly feelings, which at present seem to actuate you, shall not have altered at your reception of it. I conclude with the hope, that he and my friend, at present enemies, shall one day be good friends; and that then you will know who has been the party, who at present sending you his compliments, has taken the responsibility of Intervener in this matter,"—I received that also at my Court—the post-mark to both, is Jersey—I looked at the handwriting of the two letters, with a view of comparing them, and I have no doubt they arc in the same handwriting—on 12th June, I caused another advertisement to be inserted in the Evening Standard—this is it (Read: "Compensation. Facts should be given; an interview as suggested seems desirable, or references, will be at Freemason's Tavern, Great Queen Street, at 5.30 P.M., Wednesday next")—I next received this letter, with the post-master of

Jorney, 13th June—(Read: "Sir. I have yesterday received a letter from the friend in whose name I have written; be expresses his surprise at seeing no reply in any number of the Evening Standard of this week, and damands me whether I have written to you according to his wish this week, or if I have sent ye my name and address, and received a direct reply. As this has not been the case, I beg of you on receiving the present to give without delay, in the newspaper, one of the replies demanded through my last letter, or if you find too high the damages demanded, through what ye offer. I would be sorry to see this other week pass on without a reply, became in suck a case I fear, from the content of the letter received as aforesaid, some mischief. If you have lost memory of the letter received by you on Monday last, I hope this one will refresh your memory. Compensation,' ye must not forget, is to be the heading of the advertisement, whatever may be the main part of it With complements, and the hope that this affair shall soon come to an end, believe me, air, yours; obediently, The Peacemaker")—I have no doubt that letter is in the same writing as the others—it was contained in this buff or brown envelope—on 16th June I caused another advertisement to be inserted in the Evening Standard, of which this is a copy (Read: "Compensation. The appointment for the 16th instant is unavoidably postponed to the same time and place, Thursday, 17th instant")—On the 17th I went to the Freemasons' Tavern, between 5 or 6 clock in the afternoon, with Inspector Humphreys—I waited them some hours—no one came—I heard nothing more of the matter until 2 received a communication from Inspector Humphreys on the evening of the 27th September, at my house—on the afternoon of the next day I received this letter at the Police Court, it bears the London pott-mark of September 28th—it came in this buff envelope, which seems to be of the same fabric as the other, and I have no doubt the handwriting is the sane as the other—I believe it to be the same handwriting, although I think the three former letters are in a disguised hand—I judge of that entirely from the appearance of the handwriting—(Read: "6, Hawthorndean Place, Weft India Dock Road, Limehouse, 28th September, 1869. Mr. Browne presents his compliments to Mr. Arnold, and as he solicits the favour of a interview about a meet pressing particular business, either at the Freemason's. Tavern, Great Queen Street, or at Mr. Arnold's private residence, to begs of him to let him know which place, time, or day, would be most convenient to him. Should Mr. Arnold prefer the interview to take place at his own private residence, Mr. Browne begs of him to kindly forward him his address")—I have no recollection of ever seeing the prisoner until I saw him at the Police Court on 29th September.

Cross-examined. Q. With regard to the two first letters the handwriting is entirely unknown to you? A. Quite so—I gave them to Inspector Humphreys.

MR. BESUELY. Q. Look at that manuscript; do you recollect the prisoner putting that in as his handwriting? A. When he was before Mr. Selfe he handed up this paper and said that that was his handwriting.

MR. RIBTON. Q. Have you instituted any comparison between this and the letters? A. Yes, I have read them end looked at them together—I still believe them all to be in the same handwriting—there is a general similarity of character, and a peculiar way of dividing some of the syllables.

CHARLES MORGAN . I am office-keeper at the Westminster Police Court, and reside on the promise—on Monday night, 27th September, about?

o'clock, the prisoner came to the clerk's office window at the Court, and inquired for Mr. Arnold's private residence—I told him I did not know it—he he Said he had received a letter from Mr. Arnold for an appointment at the Freemasons' Tavern, but he had lost the address—I told him that I did not know Mr. Arnold's private residence, but the messenger did, and I heard it was about four miles from the Court—I then asked if he had private business with Mr. Arnold—he said he had—I told him it would be as well for him to come next morning about 10.15, as he would see Mr. Arnold before he went into Court, in his private room—he said, "Would 10 o'clock do?"—I said it would—he said, as ho lived a long way off, if he wrote a letter to the Court, would that do?—I said, "Yes; a letter would find him between 10 and 5 o'clock"—he then left—next day a letter did come for Mr. Arnold, and was given to him.

Cross-examined. Q. He was quiet and civil in hit demeanour to you? A. Yes, very; he apologized for giving me so much trouble, and wished me "Goodnight"—I understood him that he had lost the letter containing Mr. Arnold's address.

MR. ARNOLD (re-examined). I never wrote a letter to the prisoner.

GEORGE JOSH. HUMPHREYS (Police Inspector). I received some information on Wednesday night, 28th September, in consequence of which I went to No 6, Hawthorne Place, Limehouse, about 10 o'clock—I had seen the letter of the 28th, with that address—I found the prisoner there, in bed and asleep—from what I heard I did not wake him—I left Constable Upson there in charge—I looked about the room in the presence of the landlady, and in a box there I found a quantity of writings, amongst others the manuscript produced—it is a portion of a dictionary—I also found in the same box two copies of the Evening Standard newspaper of June 12th and 16th, each of which contain the advertisement headed "Compensation," one making the appointment and the other postponing it—they were the only two copies of the Standard I found in the box—I also found in the box about a dozen of. these buff envelopes, of the same size and character as those containing the letter—I went again to the house, about 9.30 next morning, and then found the prisoner up and dressed—I told him that I should have to take aim, into custody for sending threatening letters to the Magistrate—he asked to. go upstairs—he was in the kitchen at the time—I went up with him into his room, where I had left him asleep the night before—he then opened his box, and I took first a small piece of paper—he said, "That is in my handwriting"—I said, "Well, I will take charge, of this"—he said, "You had better take more," and he gave me this portion of a dictionary which I have produced—he said, "That is in my handwriting, also"—I then left the house with him—on the way to the Court, he said, "I did not write the threatening letters to the Magistrate, the reason I wrote that letter to Mr. Arnold, was to tell him not to fear"—he afterwards. said, "About ten years ago I was fined about 16l. by Mr. Arnold"—after that he said that he had been writing a dictionary, and he had a great desire to publish it—he had paid, I think he said, a portion to a publisher, and he wanted some 10l. or 20l. more before the publisher would take it in hand—he said the man that wrote the threatening letters resided at Pleasance Cottage, Jersey, and his name was Jackson—he was taken before the Magistrate the same morning and remanded, and eight days afterwards he was brought up for re-examination—I had in the meantime been to Jersey to find Mr. Jackson—I found Pleasance Cottage, Mr. Jackson was

not there, but he had resided there, and he is here—while waiting to go before the Magistrate on the re-examination, the prisoner called roe to him, and said, "I have written to Jersey to find Mr. Jackson, and I have received an answer that he has left the Island, and that he was a bankrupt, to I have been unable to find him, or I would hare bad him here to-day"—Mr. Jackson was standing by his side at that time.

Cross-examined. Q. Was it before he saw Mr. Jackson that he said that to you? A. I am not sure that he had seen him—I afterwards saw a second Mr. Jackson—the prisoner had a fit on the first examination, and the proceedings were adjourned in consequence—I was in Jersey two days on the first occasion—I only found one Pleasance Cottage; the direction the prisoner gave to me was Pleasance Cottage, Pleasance Steps; I found that and did not look for another—I saw the prisoner's father, he is a Major on half-pay, I believe.

MARY DE LA RUE . I reside at 6, Hawthorndean plate, Limehouse—the prisoner lodged there with me—he had formerly lived with me in Jersey: he had been with us there six years last August—he was living there in May and June last; be left Jersey on the 15th September last, his father lives there.

Cross-examined. Q. Was the prisoner living six years in your house? A. Yes, boarding and lodging with us—I am an acquaintance of his father's—he is subject to epileptic fits—they are sometimes very severe, and often leave him prostrate for along time—I know he was engaged in preparing a dictionary for publication—he came to London with us; I came to reside here, and he came to reside with me—I don't know that the publication of his work had anything to do with his corning—he did not tell mo anything about it—I came over here on account of my marrying a petson who lived here, and whose business called him hero, an if the prisoner came with us; having these fits, be wanted someone to mind him—I know be intended to nave his boot published here, and that he had written to some publishers—he has been writing it ever since he has been with us—he is a very inoffensive person, and of studious and literary habits—these buff envelopes are very common in Jersey, I have seen them in a great many shops—I hate seen the prisoner's handwriting—I very seldom went to his father's house—I know be sometimes took in the Evening Standard, he taken in different paper—I suppose the prisoner would have an opportunity of seeing them; he used to go to see hi father—(looking at the first letter) I don't know this writing—I could not know it for the prisoner's—I don't think it is his—I certainty would not say it was his—I would not know this at all for his, handwriting—I would rather say it was not, than that it was—I have frequently seen him write—he used to write in his room all day long—I had spoken to him of coming to London some weeks before I left Jersey, not months.

MR. POLAND. Q. Have you no belief in whose writing that letter is? A. No—(looking at the letter of 28th September) this one I know—that is the prisoner's handwriting—the inside looks more like his handwriting than the other, but not so much as the envelope; I know the envelope better than I do the inside—I am not so positive to that, but the envelope I know—I don't know this one of 13th June, so well as the last, it is more like, it but that one I know best of all—I won't say it is in the prisoner's writing, I have no belief about it—it does not look like his—I don't know this one of

4th June—I don't know it for his at all—it does not look like his—the envelope of the 28th is the only one I can be positive to.

MR. RIBTON. Q. Look at the inside? A. I have, but do not know the handwriting to be so certain of it as the envelope—I see it is dated from where I am living—I could not be positive to its being the prisoner's writing—it is more like his than the others—I know a Mr. Jackson, a school-master, of Lamotte Street, Jersey—and I know Mr. Jackson, of Pleasaunce Cottage—I don't know of any other.

JOHN JACKSON . I now live at Castle-end Farm, Thorpe, Surrey—I formerly lived at Pleasaunce Cottage, Pleasaunce Steps, Jersey—I was living there on 26th September, 1868—none of these letters are in my writing, I have no knowledge whatever about them—I never knew or saw the prisoner in Jersey to my Knowledge.

Cross-examined. Q. I believe the prisoner said in your presence, as soon as he saw you, "The Jackson I refer to is a schoolmaster?" A. Yes, that was before the Magistrate—he said the Mr. Jackson he meant lived in Lamotte Street.

JOHN JACKSON . I reside at 32, Lamotte Street, Jersey—I have lived there twenty-seven or twenty-eight years—I am a native of Jersey—I keep a boarding and day school—in 1866 I advertised for An assistant, and the prisoner came to me with testimonials—he was at my school for about a week—he had a fit, and I sent him home—about last Christmas he called on me with respect to a dictionary that he was writing, and asked me if I would subscribe—I said no, I would have nothing at all to do with him; and I have never seen him since—I believe his father lives in Jersey—I know nothing of these letters—they were not written by me or by my authority—I am about 6ft. in height.

Cross-examined. Q. It was solely in consequence of the fit that the; prisoner left you? A. Yes—I have one son, twenty-five years of age, he is living on the islands—he is a medical man, and superintendent of a lunatic asylum.

MR. POLAND. Q. Are these your son's writing? A. No.

JOHN MARSHALL . In 1859 I was sergeant and acting inspector at the Chelsea station—in July, that year, the prisoner was charged, before Mr. Arnold, by the name of Robinson, with three assaults, and with being drunk—he was fined 5l. for each assault, and 1l. expenses—the prisoner is the man—I entered the charge at the station, and gave evidence before Mr. Arnold.

CHARLES CHABOT . I am a lithographer, and carry on business at 25, Southampton Row, Russell Square—I have for some years made handwriting a study—I have looked at the letter of 28th September (No. 4), and the envelope, and have carefully compared it with the other three—I have not the least doubt that they are all in the same handwriting—I have examined this portion of a dictionary with the admitted letters, and with the anonymous letters, and they are all in one handwriting—I am perfectly satisfied of it, without any doubt in the world—I can give very clear reasons for that opinion, if necessary.

Cross-examined. Q. I believe you have given evidence in the Divorce Court and other Courts, on several occasions? A. Yes—it is very rarely indeed that one expert will flatly contradict another, only in cases of great difficulty, not in such a case as this, where there is plenty of evidence,

and plenty of material—it happened that I have been called and given an opinion, and another expert has given one directly the opposite—that is a very rare case—experts do not differ nearly so often as other professional men—I daresay it has happened two or three times to myself—I should say three times was quite the extent in twelve or fifteen years—these letters were first shown to me on Tuesday last, the three letters were put into my hands and another letter—the three were pointed out to me is being anonymous letters—and I was asked if the writing of No. 4 was the same—I was told what the person was charged with, and I knew I was to be called on the part of the Crown, to give evidence against him—I should like to give one or two of my reasons.

MR. POLAND. Q. State them? A. I would first observe that the dictions any is all written on blue lines, regularly ruled at equal distances—the admitted letter is on plain paper, but written at exactly similar distance apart—then again the paper is exactly of the same quality, and it is a peculiar quality—in the admitted letters the small letter "r" is made in three different ways, and a Very peculiar formation terminates the words—that peculiar formation is not found in the beginning or middle of words—that formation occurs plentifully in the 1 first letter, three times in the second, and only once in the third—if a person disguises his hand, he of course intends to form all his letters differently; but if he writes much, his peculiar habit will come out, and can be detected—there is a similar peculiarity in the letter "d," M where the habit betrays itself—again in the letter "e," in the word "Magistrate," on the admitted envelope; also in the words "the" and "private"—the capital "H" is made in a very peculiar maker, and it frequently occurs, both in the admitted letters and the others, and also in the manuscript—I have never seen an "H" made in that way-before—the capital "M" is also peculiar—that is very little disgated, just sufficient to deceive those who cannot see beneath the surface of these thing again, the anonymous letters are punctuated, showing them to be written by a person of some education—taking all the things together, I have no doubt as to their being all written by the same person.

The Prisoner's statement before the Mcyutrava read at follow. "All I have to say is that I never had any feeling against Mr. Arnold. What gave so the idea of writing to him on the 28th was to obtain an interview with him, and to ask him if he remembered this occurrence of June, and he was not to be frightened; and I wanted to show him the papers I had that brought the circumstances to my mind, to refresh his memory, and to toll him to take no notice of these threatening letters, since I had nothing to do with them, and if he could not find the true author of them, he or I had been chaffed; but not being able to find his private address, I came here and sought an interview with him, that I might expose, my mode of living, and having no weapons I intended no harm; besides which, I could have given him references to show I was not a man of a revengeful disposition; instead of receiving a reply I was taken up and charged, for wishing to relieve Mr. Arnold's mind. Yesterday week I wanted to explain all this to Mr. Arnold, but I was seized with a fit, and the consequence is I have been locked up a week, not knowing I could have bail, which bail I could have procured if I had been conscious when I was thrust into the prison-van, and taken to gaol"—(The Prisoner took the envelopes and letters produced, and says, "They are not Mr. Jackson's writing at all, they have been humbugged."

GUILTYJudgment Respited

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