31 January 2015

Attempted Suicide of a Maniac


"Attempted Suicide of a Maniac" The Morning Post No. 20516 (London), Thursday 08 September 1836, p. 4 col. 1; digital images, British Newspaper Archive (http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000174/18360908/024/0004 : accessed 31 Jan 2015)


pearance, respectably dressed, was charged as follows:-
It appeared from the evidence of police constable S.218 [1]
that about seven o'clock that morning he was told that a mad-
man was wandering about Hampstead Heath. He and an-
other constable went there, and saw the prisoner on the bank
of a pond, just about to throw himself in. They caught hold
of him, when he knocked them down several times, kicked
them and it was not till more assistance was procured that he
could be overpowered. He had since ascertained that the
prisoner's name was Hume and that he was a master plumber
living on Saffron-hill.
Mr. Rawlinson (to prisoner) -- What were you doing on
Hampstead Heath?
Prisoner -- I don't know.
Mr. Rawlinson -- Why did you strike the constables?
Prisoner -- I couldn't help it : they touched me : we're all
unjust men : I've been in prison from eternity, and was very
Mr. Rawlinson -- Can you tell where your friends live?
Prisoner -- No, I can tell where they died, and where I
took them out of their graves. Mary, Martha! oh, oh!
(here he burst into a fit of laughter.)
Mr Rawlinson having sent the constable to Saffron-hill, he
returned with the prisoner's sister and brother [2], to whom, they
having promised to take care of him, the unfortunate man
was given up.

Close Reading (information clarifying the transcript and enlarging upon the information provided)

[1] "Where records mention an officer's division they often use the following letter codes: ... No. 2 District: D - ... S - Hampstead" (The National Archives Guide reference: Domestic Records Information 52 - London Metropolitan and Transport Police)
[2] Hugh Hume was a plumber at 69 Great Saffron Hill (Robson's London Directory, 19th Edition, 1839). It is not clear whether the 'maniac' referred to here is Hugh Hume or not. His brother Archibald Hume was also based in London (at 32 St Helena Place, St James, Clerkenwell at this time) and died on 29 July 1857 at the Peckham House Lunatic Asylum, Camberwell, Surrey.