1826: Matthew Brady, gentleman bushranger

4 comments May 4th, 2009 Headsman

On this date in 1826, “gentleman bushranger” Matthew Brady was hanged in the Hobart jail for one Australia’s most colorful outlaw careers.

Shipped from England on penal transportation, Matthew Brady was repeatedly flogged for escape attempts before he successfully busted out of Macquarie Harbour prison in 1824.

He made for the bush and began an 18-month spell as an outlaw, self-consciously constructing the persona of the gentleman outlaw — polite to his victims, never violent towards women, that sort of thing.

Among Brady’s best-known exploits: after the colonial governor George Arthur posted a reward for his capture, Brady posted a public counter-offer:

It has caused Matthew Brady much concern that such a person known as Sir George Arthur is at large.
Twenty gallons of rum will be given to any person that can deliver his person to me.

The authorities hunted him doggedly, and he was at last captured by settler John Batman, later famous for his founding role in the history of Melbourne.

The love letters and gifts that filled his cell attested his place in the folklore, but his fate was never in question. Ever the gentleman, Brady’s main protest was sharing his scaffold with (among several other bushrangers) the murderous cannibal Mark Jefferies.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Australia,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Famous,Hanged,History,Mass Executions,Murder,Notable Participants,Outlaws

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1740: Not William Duell

3 comments November 24th, 2007 Headsman

On this date in 1740, five criminals were hanged at Tyburn.

Sixteen-year-old William Duell was among them. He was hanged — but he did not die. As recounted in The Newgate Calendar:

WILLIAM DUELL was convicted of occasioning the death of Sarah Griffin, at Acton, by robbing and ill-treating her. Having suffered, 24th of November, 1740, at Tyburn, with Thomas Clock, William Meers, Margery Stanton and Eleanor Munoman (who had been convicted of several burglaries and felonies), his body was brought to Surgeons’ Hall to be anatomised; but after it was stripped and laid on the board, and one of the servants was washing it, in order to be cut, he perceived life in him, and found his breath to come quicker and quicker, on which a surgeon took some ounces of blood from him; in two hours he was able to sit up in his chair, and in the evening was again committed to Newgate, and his sentence, which might be again inflicted, was changed to transportation.

Failed hangings were not unheard-of at this time … and if transportation was no mean sentence, the young criminal must have reflected that matters certainly could have gone much worse for him.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Executions Survived,Hanged,Lucky to be Alive,Murder,Not Executed,Pardons and Clemencies,Public Executions,Rape,Theft,Tyburn

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