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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:28 am 
Spider Lady
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The Hull Packet

Monday 25 August 1823

Civil Side
Whittam v Smith - Seduction

This was an action brought by the plaintiff, who is a farmer, against the defendant, who is his first cousin, to recover damages as a compensation for the loss of his daughter's services, through the seduction of the defendant.
Mr. Brougham stated the case. He said that the plaintiff, whom he represented, was a most respectable farmer, occupying a considerable portion of land, near Burnley, in this county, and who maintained with his family, until this affair occurred, a most respectable rank in life. The injury which the defendant had inflicted upon him was of the most serious kind that one man could suffer from another, and in this case it was aggravated by conduct at once the most flatigious and unprincipled. The defendant, he had already said, was the neighbour, the friend the companion, the relative of the plaintiff - he was his first cousin; and standing so completely in his confidence, that the plaintiff had actually made him one of the executors of his will; he was, besides, upwards of 50 years of age - at a time of life when he might safely be considered as one of the presiding inmates of the house, and not a wily ravisher seeking his prey. His intimacy, therefore, so far from holding out any excuse for his misconduct, if any thing could be called an excuse, by the unrestricted opportunites which it afforded him, instead of palliation, greatly aggravated the nature of his crime. The Learned Gentleman then described the particulars of the intercourse, which he afterward proved in evidence, and which terminated in the birth of a child, and the refusal of the plaintiff to fulfill the promise he had given.
Miss Jannett Whittam was placed in the witness box. She was a smart, well looking, dashingly dressed young girl, and stated that she was the plaintiff's daughter, who was a farmer, near Burnley. She was 17 years of age last March. The defendant, (Mr. Smith) was her half cousin, and lived about a quarter of a mile from their house. He was also a farmer, and she knew him from her infancy. She recollected when her father went to the fair of the neighbourhood, on the 4th of August, 1822, her mother was also absent at the time; her brother, who was 18 years old, and neice were left at home with her. The 4th of August was on a Sunday, and at six o'clock in the evening the defendant came into the house, and remained until nine o'clock. He first smoked a pipe of tobacco, and her brother went out. He made attempts, but without success, upon her then, under a promise of marriage. The defendant came again at ten o'clock next morning; she was washing then in a dark passage, promised marriage, and wanted to take liberties. She replied that she was too young to be his wife; and he again urged her, and said that on his father's death, they should have £1000 a-year to live upon. At this interview he prevailed upon her to make the last sacrifice, and remained with her two hours in the house. He returned at eight o'clock on the same evening, and prevailed again with her, while she tried to evade him, near a couch chair. He stopped that night till eleven o'clock. Her father came home at ten o'clock on that night, before the defendant left the house. Defendant did not from that day make his appearance in the house for two months, when he sat with her father some time; but after the latter went to bed, he (defendant) endeavoured to renew his liberties with her in the same manner as he had previously done, but she threatened to tell her father, and he desisted. And in about thirteen weeks after the first occurrence she found herself pregnant, and her mother soon after made the same discovery. The child was born on the 20th of March, a bad cough and cold led, as she was informed, to rather a premature delivery. Her mother sent for the defendant, who came, and asked her if the child was really his? She assured him of the fact that it was; he then told her that he would settle the matter, and she must lay the child upon somebody else; she asked how she could do so, when nobody had ever known her but himself. He never fulfilled his promises to her.
The defendant, who sat on one of the back benches in the COurt, here obeyed Mr. Scarlett's call, to stand up and present himself to the Jury: he was an aged, shrivelled visaged, sallow man, and his appearance, as a conquering lover with a pert girl of about 16, excited much merriment.
Mr. Scarlett asked the lady whether that was the gay Lothario who had stolen her heart; she in reply admitted the fact to have been so; and she then, in answer to questions from the learned Counsel, proceeded to describe in terms too indelicate for publication the scenes which had taken place between her and the defendant, in places the most unsuitable, during his visits at her father's house. - She never tld her father or mother of what took place at the time; and when the defendant was, at the discovery of the pregnancy, taxed with the charge he stoutly denied it, and said he had never meddled with her.
Mr. Scarlett made an ingenious speech for the defendant, and he concluded by again directing the eyes of the Jury to the person of the aged defendant, and submitting to their common sense whether it was likely that such a man could have been a party in such scenes as had been disclosed.
Mr. Justice Holroyd summed up the evidence to the Jury, who found a verdict for the plaintiff - Damages £100.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:39 am 
Computer Whizz
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"A wily ravisher" ha ha.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:32 pm 
Sage of Simonstone
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It says a lot that the farmer was not so much suing for the harm done to her, as for the loss of her services to him as a result.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:48 pm 
Willfinder General
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:51 pm
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
IGI index

Jennet Whittam
Birth: 20 March 1806
Christening: 28 July 1806 at Burnley
Father: Thos. Whittam
Mother: Sarah


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