Hi, and welcome back to Random Scottish History’s first true crime project, Glasgow’s Square Mile Murders. The last episode we went through the round-up for Madeleine Smith’s pre-trial. She was indicted for the murder of her lover, Pierre Emile L’Angellier, by poisoning. She apparently used arsenic in her crime. This episode we’ll be covering the trial, so, we’ll get into it.
North Briton, Tuesday 30th June, 1857, pp.2-4.
MISS MADELEINE SMITH
FOR THE SUPPOSED
MURDER OF MR LANGELIER,
BEFORE THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY.
Few events connected with the crimes of Scotland have given rise to so much gossip as the supposed murder of Mr L’Angelier by Miss Madeleine Smith. Ever since the death of the unfortunate young man, and her apprehension on a charge of having poisoned him, the newspapers, both metropolitan and provincial, have teemed with those “full particulars” which are generally so greedily swallowed by the public, especially when the supposed criminal, as in the present instance, has had all the advantages of good education and gentle breeding. We question if the excitement consequent on the atrocities of Burke and Hare was greater than what has been occasioned by the recent sad event. When it is considered that the young lady is the daughter of a highly respectable professional gentleman, and that she stood in the relation of “fiance” to the deceased, a gay and handsome, but we fear licentious, young Frenchman – that he was received by Miss Smith’s family and recognised by her friends as her future husband, it will be at once apparent that there was more of romance in the circumstances than usually happens in such cases. And when we add to this, that a lengthened correspondence had been found to have taken place between the two lovers, and that great batches of her “love letters” were found couched in those endearing epithets so often made use of by love-sick young ladies, and that many other circumstances had transpired which (if true) tended, at least, to fix on this young lady such suspicions as induced the authorities of Glasgow to apprehend her – it is evident that there was more than the usual food for the speculations of those who have always more time for the management of their neighbours’ affairs then their own.
The supposed murder (or rather death of L’Angelier) took place on 23d March; but the indictment charges Miss Smith with the administration of poison last February. At least a month before his death took place. Shortly afterwards, as is well known, she was apprehended on the charge of poisoning him; and from L’Angelier having at one time been resident in both Edinburgh and Dundee, and well known in both places to a large circle of acquaintances, it at once gave rise to an interest which has continued to grow ever since; and strange stories, many of them no doubt totally destitute of truth, having continued in circulation regarding the supposed murder.
We have not been in the habit of paying very much attention to the various floating rumours and tales which have been current regarding the event, but we may be permitted to offer one of them to our readers as a specimen of the whole. It is as follows:- Miss Smith’s father had a country-seat at Row [Rhu], near Helensburgh, whither the family had repaired the Saturday previous to L’Angelier’s visit. A few days before, the young lady had called at a druggist’s shop in the west end of Glasgow for poison to kill rats, with which she declared their country house to be infested; and on being offered a special preparation for the purpose instead of the arsenic she asked, she said she would rather not have that, preferring what she had formerly procured – viz., arsenic. Mr Murdoch, the druggist, then said that, in that case, she must sign her name as a receipt for the poison, which, with the greatest coolness possible, she at once consented to do. When these facts became known, the Procurator-Fiscal, it is said, instantly despatched two shrewd and trustworthy officials to Row to ascertain if the state of matters reported as existing there was really true. They met the old gardener at his daily work, and, in a familiar manner, approached and asked him, “Are ye much troubled with rats here, old fellow?” He replied in the negative. “Does Miss Smith occasionally come down here to poison vermin?” He again answered in the negative, assuring them that he had not seen Miss Smith there for a long time. If the officers had found no rats at Row, they had at least “smelt” one. Miss Smith’s story was at once set down as being false; and the conclusion very naturally arrived at under the circumstances was, that she had been keeping up a continual system of drugging her victim; had been killing poor L’Angelier in fact by piecemeal. At every visit he paid to her, L’Angelier appears to have been treated to a glass of wine, with the rat antidote mixed with it; and truth compels us to add that this version of the story only too completely harmonises with the belchings, &c., of which he used to complain after leaving her company. Miss Smith is said to be a lady of somewhat gay disposition, rather accomplished, a little of a coquette, and possessed of an enormous amount of self-possession. It is said that when her father used to visit her shortly after her commitment to prison, he was looking, as might naturally have been expected, very gloomy and dull, but his lively daughter did not seem at all to share in his feelings. “Cheer up, papa,” she said, “cheer up; it’ll all be right soon.” Her medical attendant, however, declares this gaiety of nature is all assumed, for her pulse, he said, was beating at the rate of upwards of 100 in a minute. The reason for the murder is understood to be, that Miss Smith had contracted an engagement with a Mr Minnoch, a Glasgow gentleman, said to be rather wealthy. This suitor was rumoured to be in the receipt of £4000 a-year; and the story goes that one day as his inamorata was out in the carriage with some female acquaintances “taking an airing,” as the phrase is, they were happening to torment her about her new admirer, and congratulating her upon his immense fortune. “Oh,” said she, “never mind; I’ll soon spend it for him, depend upon that.” It is well known that L’Angelier was scarcely the embodiment of perfection either, if we may judge by what was known of him in Dundee; and, besides, what young man of any pretensions to character whatever would have stayed in a young lady’s room in her company alone till two o’clock on a Monday morning, as he is reported to have done?
These details, of course, are only given for what they are worth. A few days now will set the matter at rest; and it would be unfair in the public journalist to allude to matters which might tend to raise a prejudice against the accused…
OPENING OF THE COURT.
After the appearance of their Lordships the Court was delayed for some time by the non-appearance in answer to her citation of the most material witness in the case, No. 6, Mrs Jenkins; but after the lapse of a little while she was found, and about 25 minutes to 11 the prisoner was placed at the bar, accompanied, sitting on her left hand, by the matron of the Edinburgh Jail, and as usual by a policeman on either side.
The accused – who did not exhibit traces of the slightest trepidation, but who, on the contrary, was perfectly calm and collected – is a person about the middle size for a female, and decidedly good-looking, though she could hardly be said to have a pleasing or attractive countenance, so far as its expression is concerned – was attired in a black dress, with straw bonnet, the ribbons white, with black net veil, which she kept over her face. Her dark gray eye, with which she mentally surveyed the counsel who in the name of the Sovereign are to plead against her life, did not betray the smallest alarm, and she looked steadily around her on each side, although she never turned her head so as to observe the spectators behind her. Her complexion was not pale, but, on the contrary, her cheeks had considerable colour; but this might probably be the effect of artificial applications. From her appearance, we should suppose her age to be 21 or 22.
A symptom of nervous irratibility, excitement, or alarm we did afterwards notice at a subsequent stage, during the long detention that took place in consequence of the non-appearance of a witness. Some stupidly clumsy person, going out or coming in, had banged one of the side-doors on her right, from which she was only separated by two policemen, one at her right elbow and the other at the side-door, and she started in considerable alarm – her chest heaving with the excitement of this, in itself, very trifling circumstance.
The Lord Justice-Clerk then having called her Majesty’s Advocate for her Majesty’s interest, addressing the prisoner (who stood up), said – You, Madeleine Smith or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, are charged with intent to murder, as also murder. Are you guilty or not guilty? The prisoner replied, “Not guilty.”
The following is a full verbatim copy of the indictment served upon the prisoner, viz.:-
Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, now or lately prisoner in the prison of Glasgow, you are indicted and accused, at the instance of James Moncrieff, Esq., Her Majesty’s Advocate, for Her Majesty’s interest:- That albeit, by the laws of this, and of every other well-governed realm, the wickedly and feloniously administering arsenic, or other poison, to any of the lieges, with intent to murder; as also murder, are crimes of an heinous nature, and severely punishable: Yet true it is and of verity, that you, the said Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, are guilty of the said crimes, or one or other of them, actor, or art and part; in so far as, (1st), on Thursday and Friday, the 19th or 20th days of February 1857, or upon one or other of the days of that month, or of January immediately preceding, or of March immediately following, within, or near the house situated in or near Blytheswood Square, in or near Glasgow, or situated in or near Blytheswood Square, and in or near Main Street, both in or near Glasgow, then occupied by James Smith, architect, your father, the residing there, and with whom you then and there resided, you the said Madeleine Smith or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, did wickedly and feloniously administer to, or caused to be taken by Emile L’Angelier, or Pierre Emile L’Angelier, now deceased, and then or lately before in the employment of W. B. Huggins and Company, then and now or lately merchants in or near Bothwell Street, in or near Glasgow, as a clerk, or on some other capacity, and then or lately before lodging or residing with David Jenkins, a joiner, or with Ann Duthie or Jenkins wife of the said David Jenkins, in or near Franklin Place, in or near Glasgow, a quantity or quantities of arsenic, or poison, to the prosecutor unknown, in cocoa, or in coffee, or in some other article or articles of food, or drink, to the prosecutor unknown, and this you did with intent to murder the said Emile L’Angelier, or Pierre Emile L’Angelier having accordingly taken the said quantity of quantities of arsenic or other poison, or part hereof, so administered or caused to be taken by you, did in consequence thereof, and immediately or soon after taking the same or part thereof, suffer severe illness; Likeas (2d,) On Sunday the 22d, or Monday the 23d days of February 1857, or on one or other of the says of that month or of January immediately preceding, or of March immediately following, within or near the said house situated in or near Blytheswood Square aforesaid, or situated in or near Blytheswood Square, and in or near Main Street aforesaid, you, the said Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, did wickedly and feloniously administer to, or cause to be taken by, the said Emile L’Angelier, or Pierre Emile L’Angelier, now deceased, a quantity or quantities of arsenic or other poison to the prosecutor unknown, in cocoa, or in coffee, or in some other article or articles of food or drink to the prosecutor unknown, or in some other manner to the prosecutor unknown, and this you did with intent to murder the said Emile L’Angelier, or Pierre Emile L’Angelier, and the said Emile L’Angelier, or Pierre Emile L’Angelier, having accordingly taken the said quantity or quantities of arsenic or other substance, or part thereof, so administered or caused to be taken by you, did in consequence thereof, and immediately or soon after taking the same or part thereof, suffer severe illness; Likeas, (3d,) On Sunday or Monday the 22d or 23d days of March, 1857, or on one or other of the days of that month, or of February immediately preceding, or of April immediately following, within or near the said house situated in or near Blytheswood Square aforesaid, or situated in or near Blytheswood Square, and in or near Main Street aforesaid, you, the said Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, did, wickedly and feloniously, administer to, or cause to be taken by, the said Emile L’Angelier or Pierre Emile L’Angelier, in some article or articles of food or drink to the prosecutor unknown, or in some other manner to the prosecutor unknown, a quantity or quantities of arsenic, or other poison, to the prosecutor unknown; and the said Emile L’Angelier, or Pierre Emile L’Angelier, having accordingly taken the aid quantity or quantities of arsenic or other poison, or part thereof, so administered or caused to be taken by you, did in consequence thereof, and immediately or soon after taking the same or part thereof, suffer severe illness, and did on the 23d day of March 1857, or about that time, die in consequence of the said quantity or quantities or arsenic or other poison, or part thereof, having been so taken by him, and was thus murdered by you, the said Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, having been apprehended, and taken before Archibald Smith, Esquire, advocate, Sheriff-substitute of Lanarkshire, did, in his presence t Glasgow, on the 31st day of March 1857, emit and subscribe a declaration, which declaration, as also the papers, documents, letters, envelopes, prints, likenesses or portraits, books, and articles, or one or more of them enumerated in an inventory hereunto annexed, being to be used in evidence against you, the said Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, at your trial, will, for that purpose, be in due time lodged in the hands of the Clerk of the High Court of Justiciary, before which you are to be tried, that you may have an opportunity of seeing the same: All which, or part thereof being found proven by the verdict of an assize, or admitted by the judicial confession of you, the said Madeleine Smith, or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, before the Lord Justice-General, Lord Justice-Clerk, and Lords Commissioners of Justiciary, you, the said Madeleine Smith or Madeleine Hamilton Smith, ought to be punished with pains of law, to deter others from committing the like crimes in all time coming.
Inventory of papers, documents, letters, envelopes, prints, likenesses or portraits, books, and articles, referred to in the foregoing indictment.
A LIST OF THE WITNESSES SUMMONED FOR THE CROWN.
Here another detention took place, in consequence, the presiding judge intimated, of the non-appearance, in answer to his citation, of another most material witness, and the Lord Advocate had informed his Lordship, the Lord Justice-Clerk, that he (the Lord Advocate) did not wish to go to the jury until he was assured of the attendance of this witness, No. 42. Professor Frederick Penney, of the Andersonian University, Glasgow. He had sent no notice of inability to be present, and the Lord Justice-Clerk said that he might possibly, for aught the Court knew, have been taken ill, or have been otherwise rendered unable to appear.
It was during this detention that the occurrence of the door being slammed to with indecent violence took place which startled the prisoner from her (it is to be presumed from that very circumstance) assumed self-possession; and we heard it remarked, with great good sense we think, that the fair accused might, during the long delay, have been removed down stairs.
The judges very properly retired during this interval, and why, it may be asked, with a considerate regard to the weakness of women placed in so trying a position, did the authorities not order her to be removed until the trial was proceeded with?
At ten minutes past twelve o’clock a telegraphic message arrived from Dr Penny in answer to one previously sent through by the Crown Counsel, to the effect that he had left with the train, and would be in Edinburgh forthwith.
Dr Penny having arrived at half-past twelve, said that he did not expect he would be required by ten o’clock.
The Lord Justice-clerk administered a severe rebuke to Dr Penny for his inattention to the citation of the Court, and hoped that this expression would prevent such a thing of the kind occurring in future.
The following jury was then empanelled:-
Archibald Smith, advocate – I am one of the Sheriff-substitutes. I know the panel, Miss Smith. She was judicially examined before me on this charge. Shown the declaration emitted before me on 31st March, and she freely and voluntarily made it in her sober senses, after having been duly admonished by me…
By the Dean of Faculty – On what charge did you examine the prisoner? – On a charge of murder. I examined her myself. The greater part of the questions were put by myself. The statements which appear in the declaration were all made in answer to questions. The answers were given clearly and distinctly. There was no appearance of hesitation or reserve; but a great appearance of frankness and candour.
George Gray, clerk in the Sheriff-clerk’s office, Glasgow – I was present when a declaration on this charge was emitted before Mr Smith. Shown the declaration. That was the declaration. She made it freely and voluntarily, while in her sound and sober senses, after having been judicially admonished.
Ann Duthie or Jenkins – I am the wife of David Jenkins, and live at 11 Franklin Place, Glasgow. I knew the late Mr L’Angelier; he lodged in my house. He first came to me about the end of July, and remained in my house until his death. He was in the habit of going out and staying out at nights frequently. He enjoyed good general health during the time of which I speak. I recollect of his having an illness somewhere about the middle of February. That was not the first serious illness he had since he came to lodge with me. He had one eight or ten days before the middle of February. This first illness of his occurred in this way. He asked for the pass-key one night, as he would be late. I went to bed, and he did not come in before that. I knocked at his door the next morning, and after a little delay, he said come in.
The Lord Advocate said he wished the medical gentlemen to be present and hear accurately described the whole of the symptoms. It was within their Lordships’ discretion, and it was thought very material for the prosecution.
The Dean of Faculty said that this proposal came upon him by surprise. He was aware of only one case in which this was allowed. If, however, the medical witnesses on the other side were also allowed to be present, he would have no objections.
The Lord Justice-Clerk stated the case in which this had been allowed, and why. He thought that it would be prejudicial to the prisoner. He could not permit it.
The Lord Advocate acquiesced in the decision of the Court.
Mrs Jenkins recalled – I went in, and the now deceased said he had been very unwell, and told me to look at what he had vomited. I looked, and said, I think that is bile. It was of a greenish appearance. There was a great deal of it. It was thick stuff; about the thickness and consistency of gruel. I said, Why did you not call for me? He said, on the road coming home I was seized with a violent pain in my bowels and stomach, and when I was taking off my clothes, I laid down on the carpet, and thought I would have died without any one seeing me. I was not able to ring the bell. He asked me to make him a little tea.
By the Lord-Justice Clerk – I did not find him on the carpet, but in his bed.
By the Crown – I emptied what he vomited. I advised him to go to a doctor, and he said that he would. He said not to make him any breakfast, but only a little tea, and after that he went to sleep. He slept till nine o’clock – about an hour. I went back and found him, as he said, a little better, and would go out. He got a little tea at nine o’clock. The doctor saw him at that time. He lodged in my house at that time. The deceased rose between ten and eleven. He went out saying he would go to business, but said he would call for a doctor. He returned about three o’clock in the afternoon, and said that he had been at the doctor and got a bottle which he brought with him. I don’t remember whether he said he was better or not. He complained of being very thirsty, in addition to the pain in his stomach and bowels, and at three o’clock, when he returned, he still complained of being thirsty, but not so much as before. He took the medicine which he had bought from the doctor. This illness made a great change in his appearance. He looked yellow, and not like what he looked before. He looked dull. Formerly his complexion had been fresh. After that, in a great measure, the colour left him. There were dark spots under his eyes, and red spots on his cheeks. He complained of cold both before he went out that day and after. He said he was very cold. He did not go to bed, but lay down on the sofa. I put a railway rug on the top of him, and I think that was all I did. I don’t think I did anything to his feet. After this illness he got a little better; but he said, when I asked afterwards, “I never feel well.” I cannot tell exactly the date of that first illness; but recollect a second illness – that, I think, was about the 22d of February. It was upon a Monday morning about four o’clock he called upon me. I found him vomiting the very same stuff as he had vomited before – the very same stuff both in appearance and unkind, I think; but there was not quite so much as on the former occasion. He also at this time complained of pain in stomach and bowels, of thirst, and of being cold. I was not aware he had been out late the night before, and he did not say anything about it to me. I put more blankets on him, and jars of hot water to his feet and stomach, and made him a little tea and toast and water, lemon and water, and a great many kinds of drink. That was because he was so thirsty. I left him after he had got a little better, and I went to him again at six o’clock in the morning, when I found him little better. I think he remained in bed all that forenoon. A far as I can remember, that was the 22d of February. He bought a piece of boiling meat for soup from one Stewart in St George’s Road. This makes me remember, Mr Stewart kept a pass-book with Mr L’Angelier. Shown No. 192 of the inventory. – That is the pass-book which Stewart kept with my lodger, Mr L’Angelier. I know it quite well. Looking at the date, the 21st of February, I see the piece of meat which came from Stewart’s. It was about seven pounds. Stewart, I recollect, sent these seven pounds on the Saturday, before this illness on Monday of which I am now speaking. Dr Thomson attended him on his occasion. If I remember right it was on this Monday [Amedee] Thuau [clerk] went for him in the forenoon sometime. The doctor saw Mr L’Angelier and left a prescription for powders, and I got the prescription made up on this occasion. L’Angelier remained about eight days in the house – at that time away from his office – in consequence of his illness. I remember of L’Angelier taking one or two of these powders which I got for him, but I do not remember whether he took the rest of them. He said he did not think they did him so much good as he expected. He said that Dr Thomson, who came oftener than once to see him, said he was getting better; but he (L’Angelier) said he did not feel well. “I don’t think I am getting better,” he used to mention that very often to me. I do not think he ever thought so himself. Sometime after this he left me and went to Edinburgh. He was about eight days away at Edinburgh I think, but I don’t exactly remember. I recollect his coming back, and I think it was on a Tuesday. I think about a fortnight after he had been ill. Mr Thuau told me he was coming back on that Tuesday afternoon, and I consequently got in some bread and butter. Shown No. 191 of the inventory. That is Mr L’Angelier’s pass-book, with Chalmer’s in St Georges Road. I find bread and butter entered there, which he got the day he came from Edinburgh – viz., the 17th March. He returned that day about half-past ten o’clock. During the time he lived with me he was in the habit of receiving a great many letters in envelopes, sometimes yellow and sometimes white, all in the same handwriting. Shown the envelope No. 87. That is the handwriting, and one of the envelopes like those he used to receive. Shown No. 97. That is the kind of yellow envelopes which sometimes came. That is the same handwriting, I think. He got a great number of letters. He never told me who these letters were from. I remember seeing the photograph of a lady lying about his room. Shown No. 179. That is the portrait I refer to. I have asked him, “Is that your intended, sir?” He said, “perhaps, some day.” I had no reason to think that the letters came from this same lady. Mr L’Angelier never said anything about taking in these letters, but I always took them in. I knew from Mr L’Angelier that he expected to be married about the end of September 1856. He told me he was going to be married about the end of March. I, at a subsequent time, spoke about his intended marriage. I said that it would be a bad job if you are going to get married and you so badly. I don’t remember exactly about the time of this. When he came home on 17th March he asked if I had any letters for him. I said no, I had none. He seemed to have expected a letter, and to be disappointed at not finding it waiting him. He came at that time, on the 17th, stopped on the 18th, and went away again on the 19th. Before he went away he told me to give any letters to Thuau, who would address them to him. He told me that he was going to the Bridge of Allan. He went away about ten o’clock on the morning of the 19th. A letter came for him on the 19th. It was quite the same as the letters that had been wont to come for him. I gave it to Mr Thuau to address. No letters but one came on the Friday, the handwriting like that of a lady. I gave it to Mr Thuau. L’Angelier said when he left that he would not be home till Wednesday or Thursday of next week. He said before he went away, “Perhaps I’ll be home again to-day.” He said, I am going to the Bridge of Allan. I don’t know if he went anywhere else first. [Shown two envelopes, Nos. 137 and 149.] These are like the envelopes of the letters that came on Thursday and Saturday, but I cannot speak as to the other. The one I think I remember is numbered 137; the other I did not take so much notice of. I next saw Mr L’Angelier on the Sabbath night following about eight o’clock. I was surprised to see him so soon, and asked him why he had come. He said, “The letter you sent brought me home.” He asked me when it had come, and I told him on Saturday afternoon. He said that he had walked 15 miles, but he did not say where he had come from, or where he had been, but I understood that he had been at Bridge of Allan. He said that he intended to go back to-morrow (next) morning. I do not remember whether he said so positively, or whether I merely inferred it from his manner. He was looking well – a great deal better. More like what he was wont to look, and he said he was a great deal better. He went out that night about, I think, nine o’clock. He said he wanted the pass-key. He was not sure but that he would be late. He told me to call him in the morning as he wanted to go away again with the first train – I supposed about seven or eight o’clock. When I saw him next it was half two. I next saw him at that hour on the Monday morning, and that morning he did not use his pass-key, but the bell rung with great violence. I rose and called who was there. He said “It is I, open the door.” I did so. When I opened the door I found him with his hand across his mouth and chin and throat, in this way (showing his manner). He said, “I am very bad; I am going to have another vomiting of bile.” The first time I saw him ill I said, “I think that is bile. He said he never had been troubled with bile. I thought he said this morning, “I thought I would never get home, I was so bad coming home.” He did not say that he had been vomiting as he came up. He came in, and the first thing he said was, “A little water.” I filled up a tumbler, and I think that he drank the whole of it. He wished for a little tea. I went into his room, and before he was half undressed, he was vomiting very severely. It was the same kind of matter I had before seen – same substance and colour it appeared. This was seen by gas light. The second occasion was the easiest, but on this occasion the vomiting was attended with great pain. I asked him if [he] had been taking anything that disagreed with his stomach! He said No, and I never felt better than the time I was at the coast. I said you did not take enough of medicine, Sir. He said I never approved of medicine. He complained of being chilly and cold, and wished hot water to his feet and stomach. I got these for him, and blankets; a jar of hot water I got for his feet, and another to his stomach, and three or four pairs of blankets and two mats. He got a little easier. About two o’clock he got very bad again, and I said I would go for Dr Thomson. He told me it was Hugh Thomson’s, but he thought I would not find him out. He said he was a little better, and did not wish me to go; but I insisted upon going. About five o’clock – although he had got somewhat better in the interval – he got very bad again; and I told him I would go to the nearest doctor. He did not say who. I said it was one Dr Steven, but that I did not know anything about him. I went for Dr Steven about five o’clock, I think. He came not at that time. Dr Steven said he was unwell. He told me to give him twenty-five drops of laudanum, and to apply a mustard blister. Dr Steven said that if after that he did not get better, he would oblige me by coming. L’Angelier said that he could not take laudanum; and as for a mustard blister to his bowels, he was still [retching] and vomiting. He was now anxious that I should get some doctor, and I went for Dr Stevens, who came. He ordered a mustard blister. I went out of the room to get it. I said, when the doctor came into the room, “Look at what he has vomited.” The doctor said, “Take it away, it is making him faintish.” I don’t think that L’Angelier said anything. I got the mustard, and the doctor put it on, and gave him, I think, a little morphia. The doctor said that he would wait fifteen or twenty minutes, to see how he would get on; and I think Dr Steven stayed with the now deceased about half-an-hour. The doctor told me to change the water to his bowels, he said that he was very bad, and that this was the worst he had ever suffered. The doctor said, time and quietness was all that could be done, and I took the doctor into the drawing-room, and asked [what] was wrong with him. He asked me, in answer, if he tippled. He said what was the matter was very little – the effects of tippling. I said he was the very opposite from a character of that kind. I said, this is the second time he has been very badly, and I must ask him (L’Angelier). The doctor said that would be for after consideration. I said to him the doctor said you’ll get over it. This was the first time after that I went into the room. He said to me, “I’m far worse than what the doctor thinks.” He always said – “I think if I could get a little sleep I would be better.” I think it was about nine o’clock when I drew the curtains, and I thought he looked very ill, and asked him if there was any one he would wish to see. “Yes,” he said; “if it would not put me to much trouble, he would like to see Miss Perry, Renfrew Street,” I think he said. I sent for her, and she came. He asked me to draw the curtains at this time, and said – “I think if I could get five minutes sleep I would get better. I left him. In five or ten minutes I went quietly into the room, and all was quiet; I did not disturb him, thinking he was asleep. The doctor came about five or ten minutes after that, and he asked me how is your patient? I said I think he has just fallen asleep. The doctor said he would like to see him, and went in. He asked me to draw the curtains, and after I did so, the doctor immediately, in answer to a question from me, said “the man is dead.” L’Angelier did not tell me where he had been during the night. The reason I did not ask him about his private matters was, I thought there was a private correspondence between him and another. That was the reason I did not ask him where he had been at night. Miss Perry came but she was too late, and I sent first to Mr Clark’s, another lodger of mine, an agent of the Western Bank. Mr Clark came and a Mr Christie, a grocer near by. Mr Stevenson came but not at that time. Mr Christie went into the room and shut his eyes, and said he would send word to his employer in answer to my question, “What am I to do?” I think he did, but a Mr Scott, an undertaker, came first. I think Mr Christie had sent for him. Then, after the undertaker came, Miss Perry came, then Mr Stevenson and Mr Thuau. Dr Thomson came too. Stevenson is one of the young men in Huggins’ employment, and when he came I told him that I wanted him to take charge of what belonged to him. The clothes the deceased had taken off were on the sofa, and a letter was taken out of his pocket, and some person (I don’t know who it was) said, “This explains all.” I said that is the letter that came on Saturday. Mr Thuau and Mr Stevenson were there when the letter was found, I cannot say whether it was Stevenson or Thuau that said “This explains all,” but I think that it was Mr Stevenson. Stevenson locked up the things, and I don’t remember anything said at that time about an examination of his body by the doctors on that night. I think that the examination of the dead body was on the Wednesday afterwards.
By the Crown – When L’Angelier came back from the Bridge of Allan the night before he died he had a Glengary bonnet on his head. Whether this was the same covering that he had on his head when he went I cannot say.
By the Dean of Faculty for the prisoner – I cannot tell the exact date of the illness before the 22d February. I think it was about eight or ten days before. The first illness, of which I cannot give the date, was a great deal worse than the second one. I think he commenced to complain of his health about January. He had boils on the neck and other sores, of which he complained. Upon the occasion of these illnesses I suggested that it was bile. I was troubled with bile myself. My attacks were never so violent as his. The matter in my cases was something the same as was in his case. There used to be purging on these occasions of his illness as well as vomiting. That 22nd February was on a Sunday, and he dined at home that day. On the Saturday night he said that he did not feel very well, and he did not intend to be out here on Sabbath day. I said to him at this time that he was wrong in eating fresh herring. I said that they were out of season. I also told him that he was using far too many vegetables. He said that when he was at college in France he had always eaten plenty of vegetables, and was never any worse of them. I do not remember of his going out this day; if he had asked for the pass-key I think I would recollect. I cannot bring to my recollection that he was out that Sunday. So far as I know or can recollect he was not out. After that Sunday he was confined for ten days, and only out once during the time. I cannot remember of his being out any oftener. Dr Thomson continued to visit him during that time. After his illness once he brought home medicine with him. There were a number of bottles, I think, in his room after his death. One I know was laudanum, and one was the bottle he brought home during his first illness. The authorities got these bottles away – I think Mr Murray and Mr Stevenson… When he came from Bridge of Allan, he took a little tea, cold toast, and nothing else. I did not see him go out. I am aware that he was at the water-closet before he went out. I did not see what dress he had on when he went out. I did not see what he had on when he came home again. The gas was out in the lobby, and I did not see and did not pay much attention. He said he felt very bad coming home. He vomited a great deal that morning he died. A very great deal came off his stomach. The chamber-pot was quite full. He vomited again after that, but little came off. He was not at the water-closet that morning, but he was purged severely. He wished to go to the water-closet, but I would not let him. He got some tea and was a little better. The chamber-pot was not emptied before the doctor came in. Dr Steven told me to take it away. When I came back without the doctor, I don’t recollect of his saying that his bowels were commencing again. He did so before I went, and wanted to go to the water-closet, but I said that I was a married person, and he did not need to mind. The doctor told me to give him some laudanum, of which there was some in his press, but he would not take it. He saw that it had been standing without a cork. I told him that the doctor told me that he would get over it the same as before. I asked him very particularly, I recollect, on the morning of his death of his throat turning sore. This was between seven and eight in the morning, when the doctor was there. I have a little girl. She went to school that morning about half-past nine, and after the little girl went away I went in to see him, and I remember that when the doctor, who was there, was giving him water, he said that the water was choking him. He thought, he said, it was going down the wrong way. His right hand was clenched when he died. Miss Perry came, I think, about ten o’clock. I said to her, “Were you the intended ma’am?” She said, “No, I’m only a friend.” I supposed when he asked me to send for Miss Perry that she was his intended. Miss Perry seemed very sorry. Her grief was striking. She seemed much overwhelmed. I thought that it was something very remarkable.
By the Lord Justice-clerk – The message sent to Miss Perry was that Mr L’Angelier was very bad, and, if she could, to come and see him.
By the Dean of Faculty – I showed Miss Perry the body. She kissed his forehead more than once, I think several times. She was crying very much. Mr Scott, foreman to the undertaker, was present when this was going on. Miss Perry said how sorry his mother would be. I don’t remember if she spoke of his mother as a person she knew. Mr L’Angelier had two writing-desks in his room, both were of wood. I did not take any note of the things, clothes, and desks people took away. I was not in his room when the officers searched his boxes and clothes. I was in the house at the time. They did not tell me to go out of the room when I shewed them in, but they said that they had got all that they required. I then went away. I remember a married lady, with her husband as I supposed, took her with him, but no other ladies called for him. Some times there were messages from ladies when he was ill. Marmalade and barks used to be sent to him when ill. Mrs Overton was on the card that came with these, Mr L’Angelier told me that about the end of August or beginning of September [he had] been very ill…
The Lord Justice-Clerk complimented this witness on the clear and distinct manner in which she had given her evidence.
(A short interval took place at this period, during which the judges and counsel retired. One of the officers brought and offered Miss Smith some refreshments during this interval, but she very politely declined to partake of anything.)
At half-past three the Court resumed.
[Varying witness testimony, from James Heggie, salesman, John Stewart, flesher, Catherine Robertson, landlady in Edinburgh, and Peter Pollock, bookseller in Edinburgh, mainly confirming details in Ann Duthie/Jenkins’ statement.]
Mrs Jane Gillon or Burns, residing at Bridge of Allan – I recollect Mr L’Angelier coming to my house on 19th March, between five and six o’clock evening. He took lodgings. 19th March was on Thursday. He remained till Sabbath. He had that morocco-bag with him. He seemed in good health and spirits. He left on Sunday afternoon at two o’clock. He did not tell me why he left. He intended to stay longer.
Charles Neil Rutherford, druggist, Bridge of Allan – I was postmaster at Bridge of Allan at the beginning of this year, but not now. That envelope has been stamped at my office. On 22d March, a gentleman of the name of L’Angelier left his card at my office. I gave this letter to him when it was called for. The letter B on the post-mark indicated the time of arrival, which is about half-past ten. The mail leaves Glasgow about seven in the morning. I sell drugs and stationery.
Mr Fairfoul, guard to the Caledonian Railway – I am guard of the train that left Stirling on the 22d of March at half-past three. A gentleman, apparently a foreigner, went by that train going to Glasgow. I did not know his name at the time. He did not ask me how he could get to Glasgow. This daguerotype is like the gentleman referred to. He went from Stirling to Coatbridge, the nearest point to Glasgow. There was another gentleman, a Mr Ross, who travelled by the same train. He wanted me to show him some place where he could get something to eat, which I did. He got roast beef and porter.
By the Dean – There were about eight passengers I think altogether in the train. I was first examined about this matter four or five days after the occurrence. The name of the house at Coatbridge is Mr Donald’s. He ate heartily. Mr Ross did not eat, and neither did I. (Mr Ross was brought in.) That is Mr Ross.
William Ross, auctioneer, Glasgow, being sworn and examined – I am an auctioneer in Glasgow. I recollect going to Coatbridge on 22d March. I did not see a foreign gentleman in the town. The guard introduced me to a foreign gentleman who was to walk to Glasgow. I did not eat. He had some roast beef and a small bottle of porter. We then started for Glasgow. We took more than two hours. It is eight miles from Coatbridge to Glasgow. He had on his head a Balmoral bonnet. A bonnet like this. This was not the coat he had on. He walked well, and did not get tired. Smoked several times, and appeared in good health and spirits. We parted at the top of Abercromby Street, in the Gallowgate. He was going to the Great-Western Road.
William Stevenson – I am a warehouseman in the employment of Huggins & Co., in Glasgow. He was in our warehouse and under me. One day when I was absent I was told he was unwell. He got leave of absence in the month of March. He was going to Edinburgh. I believe he went to the Bridge of Allan. I did not see him between the time when he went to Edinburgh and the time he went to Bridge of Allan. I got a letter from him. This is the letter dated Bridge of Allan, March 20, Glasgow, 1857. (The witness here read the letter, which said that L’Angelier was much better, and that he had gone to Stirling on the above date, but would soon be home again. If they were busy the writer was ready to come home at any time, and if so he wished a note dropped to him.) I answered that letter, (The answer was produced, and the witness was asked to read the first of it acknowledging receipt). I was sent to the Bridge of Allan to take charge of L’Angelier’s property. This was on Friday the 27th March. I never saw Mr L’Angelier after he went to Edinburgh. He had been about four and a-half years in the employment of Messrs Huggins and Company. I got notice of his death on Monday the 23d March in the forenoon. Mr Corbet mentioned it to me. He is a partner of Messrs Huggins & Co. I thereupon went direct from our place of business to the French Consul’s office and saw Mr Knox, a fellow-lodger of L’Angelier’s, and he told me that Dr Thomson was Mr L’Angelier’s medical man. I accordingly went along with Mr Knox to Dr Thomson. I went to Mr L’Angelier’s lodgings with Dr Thomson, and I sent for Dr Steven, and they both said that an examination of the body only would afford a further examination. There was then no suspicion of foul play. I authorised them on the following day (Monday) to make the post-mortem examination, and after that I informed the authorities. I was present with the medical men when they made the post mortem examination and identified the body of L’Angelier. There were clothes lying on the sofa in the room where the deceased slept. When I went to Mr L’Angelier’s rooms on the Monday I examined the clothes, and found various articles, such as a bit of tobacco, a comb, three finger-rings, 5s 7½d, and a bunch of keys, and a letter. There was a letter which I found in his vest pocket, as also an envelope. This is the letter (on being shown No. 149). Witness read the letter:-
Why my beloved did you not come to me. Oh beloved are you ill. Come to me sweet one. I waited and waited for you but you came not. I shall wait again tomorrow night same hour and arrangement. Do come sweet love my own dear love of a sweetheart. Come beloved and clasp me to your heart. Come and we shall be happy. A kiss fond love. Adieu with tender embraces ever believe me to be your own, ever dear fond,
I made some remark when I read that letter, but I do not mind what they were. I said something explaining why he was in Glasgow and not in Bridge of Allan. I did not know who Mimi meant. I was intimate with him in business. I found a bunch of keys in his pocket. I put them in possession of Mr J. F. Kennedy either that or the following day. Mr L’Angelier carried a memorandum book. This is L’Angelier’s memorandum book. The handwriting is his. I took it with me to the office. I put it into a parcel and sealed it up. I saw it given up to the public authorities. It was given up and I marked the label. I marked the label afterwards, not the book. I know the book.
[Testimony heard as to how the book and how it was kept.]
The Solicitor-General was going to ask the witness to read the entries, but the Dean of Faculty objected until the witness was removed.
A short discussion was here started, as to how far the memorandum book could be received as evidence, and as proving the accuracy of its own statements.
Another interval occurred for ten minutes past five o’clock until twenty-five minutes past five o’clock, the Judges retiring to consider the weight of the objection urged by the Dean of Faculty to the reception of this so-called personal diary, which he (the dean) held was not a diary at all. The jury also retired to attend to their requirements. During this space we again observed that the female warden in attendance on Miss Smith twice pressed upon her to partake of some necessary refreshment, but the accused, in spite of the urgent entreaties of her attendant, steadily persisted in her refusal to recruit her frame. The very remarkable degree of self-possession which the prisoner retained throughout, was, it must be confessed, most extraordinary, in the peculiar circumstances in which she placed, if guilty of the crime laid at her door; indeed it was for a female, according to the average mental strength of the weaker sex, strange even in the view of her entire innocence.
[Testimony regarding letters found stating they were kept with the envelopes they came in.]
The Lord Justice-Clerk asked the Dean if he would be long in disposing of Mr Stevenson.
The Dean said that it would take him a considerable time.
The Lord Justice-Clerk said that, in that case, if it was not absolutely necessary that the Dean’s examination of Mr Stevenson should follow immediately after that of the Solicitor-General, he (the Lord Justice-Clerk) would prefer to adjourn the Court.
The Dean of Faculty said no, it was not necessary; it might go on as well to-morrow.
Thereupon the Lord Justice-clerk, addressing the jury, thanked them for the very patient and sustained attention they had given to the case hitherto. They would be removed in charge of the officers of the Court, and would please be careful not to communicate with a single human being, even if by chance an opportunity of doing so might be given them. If they wished to have communication with their wives or families, this would be permitted under certain restrictions. The trial, his Lordship added, would likely last for several days. The Clerk of Justiciary then intimated that the proceedings of the Court would be adjourned, and resumed at ten o’clock next morning (Wednesday), at which time all concerned were required to attend. Their Lordships then retired and the Court broke up exactly as the clock of St Giles’ struck six o’clock. On the outside of the Court an immense crowd of interested spectators were congregated – two omnibuses being in attendance to convey the Jury and witnesses to their hotels in charge of the officers of Court. The afternoon in complete [contrast] to the morning, was, when the Court rose, beautiful and sunshiny. Alas, until the scene closes, there will, we should think, be no real heart sunshine at least for the unfortunate, or at least unhappy, young lady whose life, it may not untruly be said, is now for a few days in the balance and at stake!
We did not observe more than two or three persons in the Court during the whole day of the same sex as the accused. The reticence of the ladies in not seeking to crush in was praiseworthy on more accounts than the chief one.
Brechin Advertiser, Tuesday 7th July, 1857, pp.5 & 6.
TRIAL OF MISS MADELEINE SMITH.
WEDNESDAY, July 1.
The Court resumed at ten o’clock this morning, when Miss Smith was again placed at the bar, looking quite as cool and collected as on the previous day.
William Stevenson was again examined by the Solicitor-General. – ….
[Continuation of testimony regarding the finding and keeping of varying letters.]
… I should be inclined to say, speaking roughly, that there were 250 and 300, of all the letters found, in all handwritings. I understood that L’Angelier corresponded with a number of parties in the south and in France. I have seen letters addressed to ladies in France and in England. I have heard him speak about parties in England. He was a vain person – vain of his personal appearance – very much so. He never spoke of himself to me as very successful among ladies. He was of a rather mercurial disposition – changeable. His situation in Huggins’ warehouse was packing clerk. I am not aware what money he had when he went to Bridge of Allan or to Edinburgh…
Dr Thomson examined by the Lord Advocate – I am a physician in Glasgow. I knew the late M. L’Angelier for fully two years. He consulted me professionally; the first time fully a year ago. He had a bowel complaint. He got the better of that. Next time he consulted me on 3d February of this year. He had a cold a cough, and a boil at the back of his neck. He was very feverish, and the cough was rather a dry cough. These are all the particulars I have. I prescribed for him. I saw him next about a week after the 3d February. He was better of his cold, but I think another boil had made its appearance on his neck. I saw him again on the 23d February. He came to me. He was very feverish, and his tongue was furred and had a patchy appearance, from the fur being off in various places; he complained of nausea, and said he had been vomiting; he was prostrate, his pulse was quick, and had the general symptoms of fever. I prescribed for him. I took his complaint to be a bilious derangement, and I prescribed an aperient draught; he had been unwell I think for a day or two, but he had been taken worse the night before he called on me; it was during the night of the 22d and morning of the 23d that he was taken worse. He was confined to the house for two or three days afterwards. I am reading from notes I made on the 6th April. I made them from recollection, but the dates of my visits and the medicines were entered in my books. I visited him on the 24th February, and on the 25th, and on the 26th, and on the 1st of March I intended to visit him, but I met him on the Great Western Road. The aperient draught I prescribed for him on the 23d contained magnesia and soda; on the 24th I prescribed some powders containing rhubarb, soda, chalk of calomel, and ipecacuanha. These were the medicines I prescribed on the 23d February. I have described his state. On the 24th he was much in the same state. He had vomited the draught that I had given him on the 23d, and I observed that his skin was considerably jaundiced on the 24th; and from the whole symptoms I called the disease a bilious fever. On the 25th he was rather better, and had risen from his bed to the sofa, but he was not dressed. On the 26th he felt considerably better and cooler, and I did not think it necessary to repeat my visits till I happened to be in the neighbourhood. It did not occur to me at the time that these symptoms arose from the action of any irritant poison. If I had known he had taken an irritant poison, there were the symptoms which I should have expected to follow. I don’t think I asked him when he was first taken ill. I had not seen him for some little time before, and certainly he looked very dejected and ill; his colour was rather darker and jaundiced, and round the eye the colour was rather darker than usual. I saw him again eight or ten days after the 1st March. He called on me, and I have no note of the day. He was then much the same as on the 1st March. He said that he was thinking of going to the country, but he did not say where. I did not prescribe medicines for him then. About the 26th February, I think, I told him to give up smoking; I thought that was injurious to his stomach. I never saw him again in life. On the morning of the 23d March, Mr Stevenson and Mr Thuau called on me, and mentioned that M. L’Angelier was dead, and they wished me to go and see the body, and see if I could give any opinion as to the cause of death. They did not know that I had seen him alive during his last illness. I went to the house. The body was laid out on a stretcher lying on the table. The skin had a slightly jaundiced hue. I made the notes from which I read on the same day. I said it was impossible to give any decided opinion as to the cause of death, and I requested Dr Steven to be called, who had been in attendance. I examined the body with my hands externally, and over the region of the liver the sound was dull – the region seemed full; and over the region of the heart the sound was natural. I saw what he had vomited, and I made inquiry as to the symptoms before death. When Dr Steven arrived he corroborated the landlady’s statements as far as he was concerned. There was no resolution come to on the Monday as to a post mortem examination. On the afternoon of that day I was called on by Mr Huggins and another gentleman, and I said the symptoms were such as might have been produced by an irritant poison. I said it was such a case as if it had occurred in England, a coroner’s inquest would be held. Next morning Mr Stevenson called again and said that Mr Huggins requested me to make an inspection. In consequence of that I said I would require a colleague, and Dr Steven was agreed on, I called on him and he went with me to the house, and we made the inspection on Tuesday forenoon about twelve o’clock. We wrote a short report of that examination to Mr Huggins immediately. We afterwards made an enlarged report. Witness was then shown this report, and read it as follows:- “At the request of Messrs W. B. Huggins & Co., of this city, we, the undersigned, made a post mortem examination of the body of the late M. L’Angelier, at the house of Mrs Jenkins, 11 Great Western Road, on the 24th March current at noon, when the appearances were as follow:- The body, dressed in grave clothes and coffined, viewed externally, presented nothing remarkable, except a tawny hue of the surface. The incision made on opening the belly and chest revealed a considerable deposit of sub-cutaneous fat. The heart appeared large for the individual, but not so large as, in our opinion, to amount to disease. Its surface, presented, externally, some opaque patches, such as are frequently seen on this organ without giving rise to any symptoms. Its right cavities were filled with dark fluid blood. The lungs, the liver, and the spleen, appeared quite healthy. The gall bladder was moderately full of bile, and contained no calculi. The stomach and intestines, externally, presented nothing abnormal. The stomach, being tied at both extremities, was removed from the body. Its contents, consisting of about half-a-pint of dark fluid resembling coffee, were poured into a clean bottle, and the organ itself was laid open along its great curvature. The mucous membrane, except for a slight extent at the lesser curvature, was then seen to be deeply injected with blood, presenting an appearance of dark red mottling, and its substance was remarked to be salt, being easily torn by scratching with the finger nail. The other organs of the abdomen were not examined. The appearance of the mucous membrane, taken in connection with the history as related to us by witnesses, being such as, in our opinion, justified a suspicion of death having resulted from poison, we considered it proper to preserve the stomach and its contents in a sealed bottle for further investigation by chemical analysis, should such be determined on. We, however, do not imply that, in our opinion, death may not have resulted from natural causes; as, for example, severe internal congestion, the effect of exposure to cold after much bodily fatigue, which we understand the deceased to have undergone. Before closing this report, which we make at the request of the Procurator-Fiscal for the county of Lanark, we beg to state that, having had no legal authority for making the post mortem examination above detailed, we restrict our examination to the organs in which we thought we were likely to find something to account for the death. Given under our hands at Glasgow, the 28th day of March 1857, on soul and conscience. (Signed) HUGH THOMSON, M.D.; JAMES STEVEN, M.D.” – I afterwards received instructions from the Procurator Fiscal in regard to the stomach; I was summoned to attend at his office before I wrote that report; that was on the 27th March. The contents of the stomach, and the stomach itself, sealed up in a bottle, were handed to Dr Penny on the 27th; they were in my custody till then. On the 31st I received instructions from the Procurator-Fiscal to attend at the Ramshorn Church, by order of the Sheriff, to make an inspection of L’Angelier’s body. Dr Steven, Dr Corbet, and Dr Penny were there. The coffin was in a vault, and was opened in our presence, and the body taken out. I recognised it as L’Angelier’s body. It presented much the same appearance generally as when we left it; it was particularly well preserved, considering the time that had elapsed. On that occasion we removed other parts of the body for analysis. The appearance of the mucous membrane of the duodenum denoted the action of an irritant poison. The patches of vascularity in the rectum might also be considered the effects of an irritant poison. But they were not very characteristic of that. There were ulcers there. We could not form any opinion as to their duration. All these substances removed from the body were left in charge of Dr Penny. The ulcers might have resulted from an irritant poison, but I am not aware that they are characteristic of that. They might have been produced by any cause which would have produced inflammation.
By the Dean. – At the time I attended M. L’Angelier in February there were no symptoms that I could definitely say which were not due to a bilious attack. They were all the symptoms of a bilious attack. There was an appearance of jaundice. I have heard of that as a symptom of irritant poison. It is in Dr [Alfred Swaine] Taylor’s work on poisons [‘On Poisons, in Relation to Medical Jurisprudence and Medicine’ (1848)].
By the Lord Justice-Clerk – It was in the appearance of the skin.
The Dean – Show me the passage in Dr Taylor’s work (handing it to witness).
Witness – I can’t find the particular passage. It is in the case of Marshall.
The Dean – What was the poison in the case of Marshall?
Witness – Arsenic.
The Dean – Well, see if you can find it.
Lord Handyside – Perhaps he has made a mistake on the subject, and refers to Marshall as a writer on the subject. He is referred to in “Taylor’s Medical Jurisprudence.”
Witness – Yes (shown “Taylor’s Medical Jurisprudence”); at page 62 Marshall is quoted – “Strangula and jaundice have been noticed among the secondary symptoms” that is, under chronic poisoning.
The Dean – Do you know any case in which jaundice has been observed as a symptom of arsenical poison.
Witness – That is the only case.
The Dean – that is not a case. Are you acquainted with Marshall’s work?
Witness – No.
The Dean – You never saw it.
Witness – No. I never saw it.
The Dean – You were under the impression that Marshall’s was the name of a case?
Witness – Yes; from the manner in which I had noted it down I made that mistake.
By the Dean – The jaundice I saw in L’Angelier’s case was quite consistent with the idea that he was labouring under a bilious attack, and could easily be accounted for in that way.
Dr Steven, examined by the Lord Advocate. – I am a physician in Glasgow, and live in Stafford Place, near to Franklin Street. Was applied to by Mrs Jenkins early in the morning of the 23d March last. She asked me to go to a lodger of hers who was ill. I did not know her or her lodger. I was myself ill that morning, and was unwilling to go. It was named to me as a severe bilious attack. I advised Mrs Jenkins to give him hot water and drops of laudanum. She came to me again that morning; I think about seven. I went, thinking that as he was a Frenchman he might not be understood. I found him in bed. He was very much depressed. His features were pinched and his hands. He complained of coldness and pain over the region of the stomach. By pinched I mean shrunk and cold, or inclined to become cold. He complained of general chilliness, and his face and hands were cold to the touch. He was physically and mentally depressed. I spoke to him. I observed nothing very particular in his voice. I did not expect a strong voice, and it was not particularly weak. That was when I first entered the room. But his voice became weaker. He complained that his breathing was painful, but it did not seem hurried. I dissuaded him from speaking. I had extra clothes put on the bed. I gave him a little morphia to make him vomit, and he seemed to have vomited all he could. He had a weak pulse; I felt the action of the heart corresponding to it. That imported that the circulation was weaker at the extremities. The feet were not cold. Hot bottles were put to them, and also above his body for his hands. He was not urgently complaining of thirst. He seemed afraid to drink large quantities in case of making him vomit. He asked particularly for cold water, and was unwilling to take whisky, which his landlady talked of giving him. He said he had been vomiting and purging. I saw a utensil filled with the matter vomited and purged; I ordered it to be removed, and a clean vessel put in its place, that I might see what he had vomited. I did not afterwards see it; I believe it was kept for some time, but I said it might be thrown away; that was after his death. He said, “this is the third attack I have had; the landlady says it is the bile, but I never was subject to bile.” These were his words. He seemed to get worse while I was there. While I was sitting beside him he several times said, “My poor mother,” and remarked how dull he felt at being so ill and away from friends. I ordered a mustard poultice to the stomach; I stayed I suppose about half-an-hour. It was about seven when I went there, and I got home at twenty minutes to eight. I applied the poultice myself. I called again at a quarter past eleven; his landlady met me in the lobby and told me he had been quite as bad as in the morning. I went into the bed-room and found him dead. He was lying on his right side, with his back towards the light, his knees a little drawn up, one arm outside the bedclothes and another in. They were not much drawn up, not unnaturally drawn up. He seemed in a comfortable position, as if he was sleeping. About midday I was sent for again; Dr Thomson was there when I went. I asked him if there was anything in his previous illness, with the symptoms I mentioned, which could account for the cause of death, but we were entirely at a loss to account for it. I declined giving a certificate of death unless I made an examination; and Dr Thomson and I made one next day. Identified report of that examination; that is a true report. Subsequently we made a second post mortem examination after the body was exhumed. Identifies that report. The stomach and its contents were put into a pickle bottle on the first examination. The bottle had been several times washed out by myself and others. It was sealed up. The portions of the body removed on the second examination were handed to an officer, who went with Dr Penny and myself to Dr Penny’s laboratory. On the second post mortem examination I noticed that the body was remarkable well preserved. I had never attended any case in which there had been poisoning by arsenic.
Dr Penny, examined by the Lord Advocate – I am Professor of Chemistry in the Andersonian University, Glasgow. On 27th March last I was communicated with by Dr Thomson. He came to the University and delivered a bottle. It was securely closed and sealed. I broke the seal and made an examination of the contents. They were a stomach and a reddish-coloured fluid. I was requested to make the examination for the purpose of ascertaining if those matters contained poison. I commenced the analysis on the following day, the 28th. One of the clerks of the Fiscal called with Dr Thomson, and it was done at his request. Till I made the analysis the jar and its contents remained in the state in which I received it. Shown report of first analysis, and read it as follows:-
I hereby certify that on Friday the 27th of March last Dr Hugh Thomson, of Glasgow, delivered to me, at the Andersonian Institution, a glass bottle containing a stomach and a reddish-coloured turbid liquid, said to be the contents of the stomach. The bottle was securely closed and duly sealed, and the seal was unbroken.
In compliance with the request of William Hart, Esq., one of the Prosecutors-Fiscal for the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire, I have carefully analysed and chemically examined the said stomach and its contents, with a view to ascertain whether they contained any poisonous substance.
1. Contents of the Stomach.
This liquid measured eight and a half ounces. On being allowed to repose, it deposited a white powder, which was found on examination to possess the external characters and all the chemical properties peculiar to arsenious acid – that is, the common white arsenic of the shops. It consisted of hard, gritty, transparent, colourless, crystalline particles it was soluble in boiling water, and readily dissolved in a solution of caustic potash; it was unchanged by sulphate of ammonium, and volatilised when heated on platina foil. Heated in a tube, it gave a sparkling white sublimate, which, under the microscope, was found to consist of octohedral crystals. Its aqueous solution afforded, with ammonio-nitrate of silver, ammonio-sulphate of copper, sulphuretted hydrogen, and bichromate of potash, the highly characteristic results that are produced by arsenious acid. On heating a portion of it in a small tube with black-flux, a brilliant ring of metallic arsenic was obtained with all its distinctive properties. Heated with dilute hydrochloric acid and a slip of copper foil, a steel-grey coating was deposited on the copper; and this coating, by further examination, was proved to be metallic arsenic.
Another portion of the powder, on being treated with nitric acid, yielded a substance having the peculiar characters of arsenic acid. A small portion of the powder was also subjected to what is commonly known as “Marsh’s process,” and metallic arsenic was thus obtained, with all its peculiar physical and chemical properties.
These results show, unequivocally, that the said white powder was arsenious acid – that is, the preparation of arsenic which is usually sold in commerce, and administered or taken as a poison, under the name of arsenic, or oxide of arsenic. The fluid contents of the stomach also yielded arsenic.
I examined in the next place the stomach itself. It was cut into small pieces, and boiled for some time in water containing hydrochloric acid: and the solution, after being filtered, was subjected to the same processes as those applied to the contents of the stomach. The results in every case were precisely similar, and the presence of a considerable quantity of arsenic was unequivocally detected.
I made, in the last place, a careful determination of the quantity of arsenic contained in the said stomach and its contents. A stream of sulphuretted hydrogen gas was transmitted through a known quantity of the prepared fluids from the said matters, until the whole of the arsenic was precipitated in the form of tri-sulphide of arsenic. This sulphide, after being carefully purified, was collected, dried, and weighed. Its weight corresponded to a quantity of arsenious acid (common white arsenic) in the entire stomach and its contents, equal to eighty-two grains and seven-tenths of a grain, or to very nearly one-fifth of an ounce. The accuracy of this result was confirmed by converting the sulphide of arsenic into arseniate of ammonia and magnesia, and weighing the product. The quantity here stated is exclusive of the white powder first examined.
Having carefully considered the results of this investigation, I am clearly of opinion that they are conclusive in showing –
First, That the matters subjected to examination and analysis contained arsenic; and,
Secondly, That the quantity of arsenic found was considerably more than sufficient to destroy life.
All this is true, on soul and conscience.
Professor of Chemistry.
Glasgow, April 6, 1857.
Examination resumed. – How much arsenic would destroy life? It is not easy to give a precise answer to that question; cases are on record in which life has been destroyed by two and four grains; four or six grains are generally regarded as sufficient to destroy life, and the amount I determined as existing in the stomach was eighty-two grains.
Dr Penny next read his report on the post mortem examination of the body, from which it appeared that the intestines, liver, brain, heart, and lungs all yielded evidence of the presence of arsenic, which must therefore have been administered during life. He had examined the bottles, &c., found at M. L’Angelier’s lodgings. None of the substances, excepting one containing the solution of aconite, are poisonous. It was extremely weak, and the quantity I found was not sufficient to destroy life. There were nearly two ounces in the phial, and it was more than half full; if the whole quantity taken out had been swallowed, it would not have been sufficient to destroy life… I never heard of prussic acid [hydrogen cyanide] being used externally as a cosmetic; I should think it highly dangerous to use it in that way. I am not aware of any beneficial action that it exerts. I should say it would be very dangerous to use arsenic for a similar purpose; if rubbed on the skin it might produce constitutional symptoms of poisoning by arsenic; it would produce an eruption on the skin. I have heard of its being used as a depilatory, to remove hairs from the skin, mixed, however, with other matters, lime generally, solid. It is not arsenious acid that is so used; it is usually the yellow sulphide.
Cross examined by the Dean of Faculty – … In the case of arsenic being taken in a fluid, I could not say what proportion might be ejected. I should not be surprised to find that as much had been ejected as remained. Judging from what I found on the examination of the body, the dose of arsenic must have been of very unusual size. There are cases on record in which very large quantities of arsenic have been found in the stomach and intestines. I know them as a matter of reading. There are examples of larger quantities being found than in the present. I think there is a case in which two drachms were found – that is, 120 grains. That is the largest quantity which occurs to my mind at this moment as having been found. The cases in which a very large quantity of arsenic was found did not turn out to be cases of intentional murder by a third party. In the case to which I refer, the arsenic was taken by the party voluntarily, with the intention to commit suicide. It would be very difficult to give a large dose of arsenic in a liquid; by a large dose of arsenic you exclude many vehicles in which arsenic might be administered. Nothing which I found in my investigation indicated the time when the arsenic must have been taken. The ordinary period that elapses between the administration of this poison and the symptoms being manifested is eight or ten hours in the cases on record; that is the extreme time; there are some cases which show themselves in less than half-an-hour; we have cases in which death has resulted in a few hours, and cases in which death has been delayed for two or three days. It would be very dangerous to use arsenic externally in any way. There are cases in which it has been applied to the entire or whole skin, and in which symptoms of poisoning have been produced – vomiting, pain, but not death. In one case it was rubbed on the head, I think; but I don’t remember the details of the case. From the remembrance of general reading, my impression is that it produces eruption on the sound skin. If cold water were used? I should not like to wash in such water myself. You cannot give me any other answer? No, I cannot.
By the Lord Justice-Clerk – There are cases in which inflammation of the intestines has been produced by external application of arsenic.
By the Dean – Arsenic is an irritant poison; it is absorbed into the blood, I presume, with great rapidity, and through the blood it reaches all the organs in which we find it.
By the Lord Advocate. – In administering large doses of arsenic many vehicles are excluded; cocoa or coffee is a vehicle in which a large dose might be given; there is a great difference between giving rise to suspicion and actual detection; I have found, by actual experiment, that when thirty or forty grains of arsenic settles down in the bottom of the cup, and I think a person drinking such poisonous chocolate would suspect something when the gritty particles came into his mouth; but if the same quantity, and even a larger quantity, was boiled with the chocolate, instead of merely being stirred or mixed, none of it settles down. I could not separate the soot by washing from Murdoch’s arsenic; but a very large quantity of it might be separated. Suppose a person the subject of repeated doses of arsenic, I have no evidence on which to form an opinion whether the last dose would be fatal more rapidly. I delivered to Dr Christison some of the arsenic, I got at Currie’s and Murdoch’s.
By the Dean. – In case of chocolate being boiled with arsenic in it, a larger portion dissolves and does not subside. That is what I find to be the case from actual experiment. Coffee or tea could not be made the vehicle of a large dose of arsenic.
By the Lord Justice-Clerk. – The period in which the arsenic produces its effect varies in different individuals, and according to the mode of administration. Pain in the stomach is one of the first symptoms, and vomiting usually accompanies the pain, but it may be very severe before vomiting actually begins. Ten, fifteen, or twenty grains might be given in coffee.
The Lord Justice-Clerk. – Certainly, Dr Penny, more satisfactory, lucid, or distinct evidence I never heard.
Dr Christison was next examined, and gave a report of his analysis of stomach, intestine, and liver. It was to the same effect as that of Dr Penny.
The Lord Advocate – … I wish you to give me your opinion as a man of science and skill what conclusion you would draw as to the cause of the previous illness and death? – I could have no doubt that the cause of his death was poisoning with arsenic; and such being the case, I should have entertained a strong suspicion in regard to his previous illnesses, because his death would have prevented me from taking the means of satisfying my mind on the subject by a careful examination of all the circumstances.
The symptoms are consistent with what you would expect if continuous poisoning were taking place? –
They are those which have occurred in parallel cases of the administration of doses singly insufficient to cause death.
By the Dean – … There was nothing in the symptoms mentioned in the last illness in this case inconsistent with death being produced by a single dose of arsenic. A dose of 220 grains may be considered a large dose. I can’t say if, in cases of as large a dose as this, they were intentionally administered; in the greater proportion of cases of suicide, the dose is generally found to be large. That is easily accounted for by the desire of the party to make certain of death.
The Dean – In a case of murder no such large quantity would be used? It is in cases of suicide that double-shotted pistols are used, and large doses given.
Witness – But murder, even by injuries, and also by poison, is very often detected by the size of the dose. In all cases of poisoning by arsenic there is always more used than is necessary. I cannot recollect how much has been used, but I know very well that what is found in the stomach in undoubted cases of poisoning by others has been considerably larger than what is necessary to occasion death, because the very fact of poison being found in the stomach at all, as in the case of arsenic, shows that more has been administered than is necessary, as it is not what is found in the stomach that causes death, but what disappears from the stomach.
The Dean. – But do you know any case in which so great a dose as the present was administered?
The Dean. – Well, let me put this question. Did you ever know of any person murdered by arsenic having eighty-eight grains of it found in his stomach and intestines?
Witness. – I don’t recollect, but I would not rely on my recollection as to a negative fact.
The Dean – If a person designs to poison another, the use of a very large quantity of arsenic, greatly exceeding what is necessary, is a thing to be avoided.
Witness – It is a great error. [Examination continued.] In some articles of food it is easy to administer a large quantity of arsenic, and in others it is difficult to do so. It is very rare for persons to take meals after arsenic has been administered;..
Amadee Thuau examined by an interpreter. – I am a clerk in Glasgow, and lodged with Mrs Jenkins in March last… In one of the letters about which M. L’Angelier spoke to me, the lady claimed back some of her letters. This is a pretty long time ago. Remember the French transport Neuve, at the Broomielaw. Remembers going with M’ L’Angelier aboard. I do not remember when exactly. I think that on the way there he delivered a letter, but I do not know the name of the street. I know Blythswood Square in Glasgow, and it was in a street close by. When M. L’Angelier got to the house he made a slight noise on a pane of glass of the window. Witness was waiting at a short distance. I walked on while L’Angelier delivered the letter. It is the second window from the corner. I have since shown that window to a police-officer. L’Angelier was sometimes in the habit of going out at night. I knew where he went on these occasions – to his intended’s house. Recollect one morning finding that L’Angelier had been out, and very ill in the night. I asked whether he had seen the lady; he said that he saw her. I also asked if he had been unwell after seeing her. He said that he was unwell in her presence…
Auguste Vauvert de Meau, examined by the Lord Advocate. – I am chancellor to the French Consul. I was acquainted with the late M. L’Angelier… Mr Smith had a house at Row [Rhu], and I lived at Helensburgh, L’Angelier stayed a night or two with me. When he asked my advice I told him that he ought to go to Miss Smith’s family and tell them of his attachment. I told him that that was the most gentlemanly way. He said that Mr Smith was opposed to it, and he did not think it was necessary to apply to him; and that Miss Smith had spoken to her father, and that he was opposed to it. That is more than a year ago. I am aware from what L’Angelier said that there was a correspondence going on between them. I remember that L’Angelier came to my office a few weeks before his death, and he spoke about Miss Smith. I said that Miss Smith was to be married to some gentleman; and when I mentioned the public rumours, he said that it was not true, but that if it was to come true, he had documents in his possession that would be sufficient to forbid the banns. I don’t recollect whether he said that Mr Smith had written to him on the subject of her reported marriage. I did not see him after that time. I thought that, having been received by Mr Smith in his house, I did not think that I was at liberty to speak to Mr Smith; but after L’Angelier’s death I thought it my duty to mention the fact of the correspondence having been carried on between L’Angelier and his daughter, in order that he should take steps to exonerate his daughter in case of anything coming out… Shortly after I saw Mr Smith, I went, in consequence of rumours, to Miss Smith’s house, and saw her in presence of her mother. I apprised her of the death of L’Angelier. She asked me if it was of my own will that I came to tell her, and I told her it was not so, but that I came at the special request of her father. I asked if she had seen L’Angelier on Sunday night; she told me she did not see him. I asked her to put me in a position to contradict the statements which were being made as to her relations with L’Angelier. I asked her if she had seen L’Angelier on Sunday evening or Sunday night, and she told me she did not see him. I observed to her that M. L’Angelier had come from the Bridge of Allan to Glasgow on a special appointment with her, by a letter written to him. Miss Smith told me that she was not aware that L’Angelier was at the Bridge of Allan before he came to Glasgow, and that she did not give him an appointment for Sunday, as she wrote to him on Friday evening giving him the appointment for the following day – for the Saturday… I put the question to her perhaps five or six different times and in different ways. I told her that my conviction at the moment was that she must have seen him on Sunday; that he had come on purpose from the Bridge of Allan on a special invitation by her to see her; and I did not think it likely, admitting that he had committed suicide, that he had committed suicide without knowing why she asked him to come to Glasgow.
The Lord Justice-Clerk – Did you know of this letter yourself?
Witness – I heard that there was such a letter. I said to Miss Smith that the best advice that a friend could give to her in the circumstances was to tell the truth about it, because the case was a very grave one, and would lead to an inquiry on the part of the authorities; and that if she did not say the truth in these circumstances, perhaps it would be ascertained by a servant, or a policeman, or somebody passing the house, who had seen L’Angelier – that it would be ascertained that he had been in the house, and that this would cause a very strong suspicion as to the motive that could have led her to conceal the truth. Miss Smith then got up from her chair and told me, “I swear to you, M. Meau, that I have not seen L’Angelier,” not on that Sunday only, but not for three weeks, or for six weeks, I am not sure which.
The Lord Justice-Clerk – And the mother was present?
Witness – The mother was present. This question I repeated to Miss Smith five or six times, as I thought it of great importance; and her answer was always the same. I asked her – in regard to the letter by which L’Angelier was invited to come see her, – how it was that, being engaged to be married to another gentleman, she could have carried on a clandestine correspondence with a former sweetheart. She told me that she did it in order to try and get back her letters.
The Lord Advocate – Did you ask her whether she was in the habit of meeting L’Angelier?
Witness – Yes. I asked if it was true that L’Angelier was in the habit of having appointments with her in her home; and she told me that L’Angelier had never entered into the house – meaning the Blythswood Square house, as I understood. I asked her how then she had her appointments to meet with him. She told me that L’Angelier used to come to a street at the corner of the house (Main Street), and that he had a signal by knocking at the window with his stick, and that she opened the window and used to talk with him.
By Mr Young. – I went in 1855 to live in Helensburgh. M. L’Angelier visited me there, and once he came on a Saturday to my lodgings there, and on Sunday we went on the Luss Road. I went up to my room, and L’Angelier not coming in for his dinner, I called for him out of temper, and asked why he did not come in, and was keeping me from my dinner. I then found that he was ill, and was vomiting down the staircase. He once complained to me of being bilious. This was a year ago. He complained of once having had cholera. Last year he came to my office and told me that he had had a violent attack of cholera, but I don’t know whether that was a year or two years ago… I once heard him speak of arsenic; it must have been in the winter of 1854. It was on a Sunday, but I don’t recollect how the conversation arose; it lasted about half-an-hour. Its purport was how much arsenic a person could take without being injured by it. He maintained that it was possible to do it by taking small quantities; but I don’t know what led to the conversation. I would be afraid to make any statement as to the purpose for which he said it was to be taken. I have seen something about it in a French dictionary on chemistry and other subjects. I am afraid of making a mistake – confounding this book with others I have read. L’Angelier said to me that he had once been jilted by an English lady, a rich person; and he said that, on account of that deception he was almost mad for a fortnight, and ran about, getting food from a farmer in the country. He was easily excited; when he had any cause of grief, he was affected very much.
By the Lord Justice-Clerk. – After my marriage, I had little intercourse with L’Angelier. I thought that he might be led to take some harsh steps in regard to Miss Smith, and as I had some young ladies in my house I did not think it was proper to have the same intercourse with him as when I was a bachelor.
The Lord Advocate – “What do you mean by harsh steps?”
Witness – I was afraid of an elopement with Miss Smith. By harsh I mean rash. This was after L’Angelier had given me his full confidence as to what he would do in the event of Miss Smith’s father not consenting to the marriage with his daughter.
The Lord Justice-Clerk – Did you understand that Miss Smith had engaged herself to him?
Witness – I understood so from what he said.
The Lord Justice-Clerk – When you used the expression, “You thought it right to go to Mr Smith about the letters, in order that he might take steps to vindicate his daughter’s honour or prevent it from being disparaged,” did you relate to him her engagement and apparent breach of engagement? Had you in view that the letters might contain an engagement which she was breaking, or that she had made a clandestine engagement?
Witness – I thought that these letters were love letters, and that it would be much better that they should be in Mr Smith’s hands than in the hands of strangers.
The Court adjourned shortly after six o’clock till next day.
And so ends part one of what will be a 3 part trial round-up for Madeleine Smith for the murder of her sweetheart, Pierre Emile L’Angellier. We may see you for the next one. Take care.
Narration by Jenny
Art by Alex
Intro-Outro by Tony ‘Lucky Dog’ Wilson
Greysteil by Paul Burns.