Imágenes de páginas

from the paths of virtue, to plunge him into an abyss of crime, which will register his name as that of one of the most sanguinary monsters which this country has produced, and which will be quoted in after ages as the synonym for guilt.

There is, however, one important point which it will be our study to establish in the progress of this work ; and that is, to rebut the attempt which is making to throw a stigma, not only upon religion, as incompetent in itself to deter an individual from the commission of crime, but also to excite contempt against those respectable and exemplary religious denominations to which Holloway attached himself. All Quakers are not bad because Hunton was executed; nor are the Wesleyans to be visited with the sneers and gibes of their opponents, because amongst their community one has been found who may be said to have reached the pinnacle of human crime. The illiberality and injustice of such a sweeping censure is not only unworthy of the age in which we live, but is so undeserved by the sects to which we refer, that it might have been passed over with contempt, had we not personally experienced and heard the pitiful and insidious attempts, which have been made, and are still making, to call into disrepute a whole sect, because one of its members has been convicted of a heinous crime. If the culprit had acted up to the precepts of his early evangelical teachers--if he had listened to their admonitions and instructions for the purity and salvation of his immortal soul-if he had not turned his back upon Zion, and lost sight of the grace of God, and the great and manifold blessings which it imparts under every circumstance of life--if he had not lent such a willing ear to the temptations and the satanic devices of his criminal paramour, human society would not have received so severe a wound by the


commission of an unparalleled act of murder, and the good fruit which was sown in his early youth would have ripened into an abundant harvest.

For the most obvious reasons, we shall be compelled to postpone the publication of some parts of Holloway's own written history, until his fate has been decided by a jury of his country. The evidence which has been adduced against him may be considered as all conclusive ; but it would be unjust and ungenerous to send forth any particulars or documents to the public, as coming from himself, which might be actually brought against him on the day of his trial. His confession, indeed, as far as it goes, has been full and explicit : but in several particulars, as it has appeared in the daily prints, it is not only incorrect, but decidedly false. Being in the full confidence of the unfortunate culprit, we are in possession of many important and really surprising circumstances connected with the commission of that horrid deed, which to disclose at present would be an ungenerous abuse of that confidence which has been reposed in us. So far, however, we will publicly state, that when we come to the disclosure of those circumstances, they will be perused with a sensation of horror which the human mind must always feel at the exhibition of an act which appears to set all calculation at defiance as to the extent of the cool deliberate villainy which was required for the perpetration of it, and which will ever stand recorded as a melancholy proof of the deep depravity of the human heart, which, in the words of holy writ, is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

Independently, however, of the great moral advantages which will be derived from the publication of Holloway's history, as an impressive lesson to the idle and the dissolute, to the breakers of the Sabbath, and to those who will not turn from their

[ocr errors]

paths of wickedness and live, it will be the fortunate means of fully exculpating several individuals who are at present supposed to be accessories to the horrid deed, on account of some collateral circumstances, which have never yet been fully nor satisfactorily explained. Impressed, however, as we may be with the strongest belief in the authenticity of every part of Holloway's history, yet there are some points in it at variance with the information transmitted to us by his truly-to-be-pitied mother, and other creditable persons; any wilful attempt at deception or imposition on either side is wholly out of the question. Wherever, therefore, those discrepancies appear, the reader must be guided by his own judgment as to which of the statements his credence must be given, taking at the same time into his consideration the relative situation of the parties, and the motives by which they may have been actuated to disguise or falsify any part of their information.

In regard to the early part of his life, it must be naturally supposed that his mother must be more conversant than himself; and according to her statement, her son was born in the parish of St. John's, in the town of Lewes, on Thursday, the 22nd of May, 1806, at a quarter before six in the morning. His father was then a private in the Royal Artillery Drivers, then stationed at Lewes. About four months after the birth of the infant, it was taken, at the special request of his relatives, to be christened at Lidlington, by the name of John William, but it does not appear that any great benefit ever accrued to Holloway in consequence of this acquiescence in the wishes of his relations. Whilst he was quite an infant, his father went with his regiment to the continent, whither his mother accompanied him, leaving their son under the protection of his grandfather and grandmother, from whom Holloway asserts that he received every instruction suitable to his

age. On his mother returning from France, he was removed from their protection, and taken under her own immediate care, still receiving the same beneficial instruction, supported by an example of genuine piety and religion. On the first development of the dispositions of Holloway, nothing could be more gratifying and pleasing to his parents than to observe that he displayed every indication of the most quiet and placable temper, with the absence of every vicious propensity, or any of those malignant traits of character which could tend to excite any alarm in their breasts, as to his ultimate fate through life. In fact, so great was the gentleness and placidity of his nature, so amiable were his general dispositions, that his parents were wont to say, that they did not think that John knew how to cry. It was an opening of life bright and cheering, to close in gloom and desolation.

Mrs. Holloway being anxious to rejoin her husband in France, she left Brighton, taking her son John with her, and it was in the camp before Paris that Holloway says he first saw his father to know him. He was then about nine years of age. At the conclusion of the war, the parents of Holloway returned to England, and his father, having received his discharge, went to reside at Lidlington, near Alfriston, his own parish. At this place, John was sent to a day-school, kept by a lady; but before we enter upon his own history of this early period of his life, we shall mention a few particulars derived from Mrs. Holloway, his mother, which deserve to be exposed, as exhibiting a system of oppression and tyranny, incompatible with the proper administration of the law, or the commonest rights of the subject. The parents of Holloway were at this time receiving twelve shillings per week from the parish

of Lidlington, which, with three shillings per week, the pension of the father, enabled them to maintain themselves with comparative comfort. A farmer, of the name of H., appears to have been nearly the sole occupier of the whole village, concentrating in himself all the parochial offices, such as overseer, churchwarden, treasurer, &c., and it is to the bigotry and illiberality of this individual that John Holloway was obliged to leave the school kept by the lady, and to become the humble guardian of Mr. H.'s pigs and sheep, at the trifling stipend of three shillings per week. The ' petty tyrant of the village, however, not satisfied with lording it over his dependents in temporal matters, considered that he was also entitled to interfere in their spiritual ones; and as the parents of Holloway frequented the chapel belonging to the Wesleyan connexion, they were informed that if they continued their attendance at that chapel, the weekly amount of their parochial relief should be reduced to ten shillings. The parents would not relinquish their religious faith, and the threat was put in force. Holloway was, however, taken from the school, and we will now proceed to give his own account of this period of his life. *

“ Whilst living at Lidlington, I was sent to “ school-I mean after our return from France. “I was at first put to school to a woman in the “ village where we lived. I acknowledge she “ did her duty by me, teaching me to read and

write, but neglected to instruct me in the * It was our original intention to have given the history of Holloway as transmitted to us by himself, in his own style and orthography. In one respect, however, we have altered that determination, as the latter is so viciously defective as to be in many places scarcely intelligible; we shall therefore give, il MAactly as we received it, with the exception only of the orthography.'

« AnteriorContinuar »