Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 14 November 2018), May 1872, trial of GEORGE HURRY CECILIA HURRY (t18720506-435).

GEORGE HURRY, CECILIA HURRY, Miscellaneous > unknown, 6th May 1872.

435. The said GEORGE HURRY and CECILIA HURRY were again indicted for unlawfully neglecting to provide medical aid to Cecilia Hurry, whereby her life was endangered.

MR. SERJEANT BALLANTINE and MR. METCALFE conducted the Prosecution;

MR. BAKER appeared to watch the case for the prisoner's friends, the prisoners

declining any legal assistance.

CHARLES JOSEPH CARTER . I am Coroner for the County of Kent—I held an enquiry into the death of Cecilia and George Hurry—on the inquiry into the death of Cecilia Hurry the prisoners were sworn, and made statements which I took down in writing, and which appear on the depositions—George Hurry was the first witness called to identify the deceased before any imputation was made—he signed his depositions—this is it: "George Hurry, of Plumstead, engine driver, says the deceased was my daughter, Cecilia Hurry, aged seven years; she died on 8th April, 1872, she was taken ill about 28th March, last; on 30th March it turned to small pox. I called in no medical advice, it is contrary to my creed; deceased had not been vaccinated; I received notice to have it done, but as the authorities did not trouble me I did not trouble them. I have four other children, only one vaccinated. The elder attended my child, and annointed it with oil, and laid hands on it, and prayed over it; I belong to the "Peculiar People."

The reason that I did not call in any medical advice or assistance is because we trust in the Lord for us and for our children. I knew the child was labouring under a very serious illness, of a most dangerous character, but I trust in the Lord for being solely able to save the life of my child. George Hurry"—Cecilia Hurry says:" I am the mother of the deceased, Mrs. Raven told me on the Sunday she thought the child was dying. I did not suggest the propriety of calling in any medical advice, the child had not been vaccinated. I received a notice when it was registered that within three months it must be vaccinated, it was not done"—Second Statement: "Cecilia Hurry voluntarily says, I took my child to be vaccinated on Tuesday, 16th April, and I told Dr. Wise I did not think my child was in a fit state to be vaccinated; he made answer and said he did not think there was anything the matter with it; I said there was, there was a little rash on its fide. I showed Dr. Wise the side, and he said it looked rather suspicious, he told me to take it again in a month; there were only two persons there besides myself. I did not call in any medical assistance, my trust is in the Lord. I had my brethren to lay hands on, and annoint it, in the name of the Lord, and I believe by so doing I confirm the word of God."

Cross-examined. Manslaughter was the voluntary verdict of the Jury, but I did my best to lay down the law—one of the grounds on which I considered the parents responsible was, not that the children had not been vaccinated, that question was not before me or my Jury, but the question was asked whether they had been vaccinated.

MARIA RAVEN . I am the wife of William Raven, a labourer, of Richmond Place, Plumstead—I knew the little boy and girl who are dead—the boy was six months old, and Cecilia was seven years and not quite two months—she had very good health, but was taken ill about 28th March—she lived at home with her parents, who were at home in the house—after three or four days I saw that she had what they call white small-pox, very bad—I had seen several cases of it before—it came out very badly—I attended the child, and was with her night and day, and kept her warm and gave her what nourishment she wanted, arrowroot, and a little very weak brandy—the father and mother knew what was the matter with her—I told them thought it was the small-pox when it was first coining out; they could afterwards sea for themselves what it was—I am one of the "Peculiar People"—I did not suggest to the parents the calling in of a medical man, and no medical man was called in—there is in our persuasion a person called an elder; his name is John Vine—he is a labouring man—he saw the child Cecilia from time to time, and laid hands on it in the name of the Lord, and anointed it with oil in the name of the Lord—the child was very bad on Saturday and Sunday, and died on Monday, 8th April—it was not delirious; it was very sensible—an inquest was held after its death, and the father was committed to prison—after that the boy became ill. (THE COURT considered that it was not necessary to enquire into the death of the boy.

Cross-examined. I have seen other cases of small-pox—there have been more cases among people of the world than among the "Peculiar People"—all the cases I have seen have not died—I had it myself, and my son came home with it from his situation—I have seen several cases recover without medical assistance—these children were not vaccinated—every attention was paid to this child—I have been accustomed to nursing.

JOHN VINE . I am a labourer—I saw this girl every day—I know that no

medicines were administered to her, and no medical man was called in—I belong to the "Peculiar People,"

Cross-examined. I did not recommend that a medical man should be called in.

JAMES BERESFORD RILEY , M. R. C. S. I am a general practitioner at Woolwich—I did not see either of these children before their death—I made a post-mortem examination of the body of Cecilia, by the Coroner's order—the proximate cause of death was serous effusion on the surface of the brain—that is the mode in which small-pox very frequently terminates—the fever on the brain was caused by the small-pox—small-pox is a disease amenable to medical remedies—it occasionally yields to them, I think, but it is very difficult to decide where nature is the successful agent or the medical man—in the early stages you treat it as you do all febrile actions, that is, very strong fever—we avoid stimulants, as the brain is very apt to be affected—we apply ice-bags to the head, and share it, and give medicines of a saline character with a view to induce perspiration—in my judgment and from my reading and experience, those medicines are salutary, and tend to the cure of the patient—I am speaking from experience—I have gone into cases of small-pot where there has been very high febrile action, and have been able to trace an effect from the administration of the medicine, a lowering of the fever, which I have attributed to the remedies I have adopted.

Q. Is it your judgment that supposing those remedies had not been administered the patient might not have recovered? A. The tendency of every fever is to get well, but the medical man comes in and assists nature—the main object in small-pox is to check congestion of the brain, and that requires science and skill, and also a knowledge of disease, from which you can predicate results.

Cross-examined. We have no specific for small-pox; no certain remedy—Mr. Marson is at the small-pox hospital—I do not agree with him in his evidence before a committee of the House of Commons, when he says "I fear we have no control over the disease"—I agree with him that there it no specific—I do not agree with him when he says "We have no power whatever in controlling small-pox"—I know Dr. Seton, of the Privy Council—he has written a good deal on small-pox, but I do not know that I should take him as an authority—he has had some experience; if you ask me which portion of his opinions I agree with, I will tell you—I hare heard of Dr. Dixon—I agree with him that "the disease admits of no specific mode of practice"—I do not undertake to say that this child would not have died had I attended it—I do not know the form of small-pox called corymbose, there are new forms getting introduced about every four hours into the profession, and perhaps new modes of treatment—there is scarcely any form of smallpox I am not acquainted with, but I do not know it by that term—the child died from small-pox, from the immediate effect of serous effusion on the brain producing convulsions, not in the girl but in the boy—convulsions are very common in infancy, but death is not very frequently caused by them—congestion or effusion on the brain will undoubtedly produce convulsions, without small-pox—I can swear that the girl died from small-pox—it is very uncommon for parents to neglect to procure medical assistance for their children when ill—I should say that 99 out of every 100 would do so in serious cases—as far as my experience goes, it is only these "Peculiar People" who neglect their duty in that respect—I know nothing about vital

statistics—it is very possible that many hundred thousand die under five years of age—many medical men are in the habit of using oil in febrile cases; I use it very largely myself—I would not attribute to the "Peculiar People" injuring the child by anointing it with oil—I know nothing about the nursing—the child died from a debilitating exhausting disease, and I cannot say whether she was fully nourished—I cannot say whether she had been vaccinated, because the eruption was so thick over the cuticle.

Re-examined. There is no doubt that the child had the small pox—very few specifics for diseases are known—small pox has a specific type of its own, and a general derangement of the system attends it—it is the duty of a medical man to anticipate symptoms, and it is a matter of importance that those symptoms should be taken care of—I believe that the service of a medical man is of high importance.

MR. BAKER. Q. Might not the nurse be as well qualified as a medical man? A. If she had a diploma; I do not think she would have sufficient experience without the diploma.

THE COURT considered that there was no ease against CECILIA HURRY, as she acted under her husbands advice.

NOT GUILTY .

GEORGE HURRY— GUILTY .

The prisoner stated that he and his people had never been satisfied as to what the law on the subject was, but now that they knew it they would submit to it, as they were the last people who would break the laws of their country.— To enter into his own recognizance in 50l. to come up for judgment if called upon.

Before Mr. Deputy Recorder.