BYGONE SUSSEX - online book

Essays, Sketches and Illustrations of bygone Sussex

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

arsenical poisoning. The addition of powdered glass by abrading the mucous membrane would facilitate the introduction of the poison into the system and probably cause death within the time specified.
Powdered glass is still used by Indian poisoners. The only improbability is the statement that both glass and ratsbane were found in every vein. The glass would not be found in the veins because it would not get there; the arsenic probably would be present in the blood, but it is doubtful if the chemical knowledge of that age would be equal to its detection. The statement is probably a rhetorical exaggeration of the fact that arsenic was found in the body of the poor woman.*
There is therefore every reason to think that Robson was guilty of the murder, but our modern sense of fair play to accused persons revolts from the method employed in trepanning
* It may be remembered that another remarkable trial for alleged murder by arsenical poisoning occurred at Lewes assizes in 1826. A woman was accused of poisoning her husband by the administration of arsenic. There was some divergence of medical opinion as to the length of time in which the poison would operate fatally. Mr. G. A. Mantell, the famous geologist, who was then in practice as a surgeon in that town, and his brother Joshua, who was in the same profession, were satisfied that the woman was innocent, and ultimately procured her pardon. One result of this trial was the publication of Mantell's treatise on arsenical poisoning.
Previous Contents Next