|A true and particular account of
a most horrid, frightful and Shocking Murder Committed on the bodies of
Mrs. J?ne SMITH, her two children, and Servant Maid, at NORTON, a small
Town near Gainshorough, in the County of Lincoln, by JOHN HARR?S; taken
from his own confession while under examination by the Magistrates, &c.
and is one of the most dreadful Acts ever heard tell off,
Let those who read this beware of Drunkenness
I was born in the town of NORTON, of respectable parents, who endeavored to instill into my mind every virtuous principle as a Christian, according to the laws of God, which are here established before our eyes. In my youthful days, my worthy Father made it a Rule to perform Family Worship and prayer every evening previous to going to bed. I led a religious life for 27 years, at which age I married a fine woman from Sheffield; and I lived with her up to the present period, enjoying all the happiness a man possibly could experience in a frail world, during which period we had four children. I followed the occupation of a farmer's servant but about the 1st February last I got acquainted with some of ? depredators, by whom I was unhappily led astray; and took to drinking, for which my master discharged me from his service. Want came on apace, I vowed revenge on his family in his absence, which I but too fatally put in practice as follows:
On the night of the Murder, I was at an alehouse drinking, swearing, &c. About one o'Clock in the morning I sallied forth to my late master's house knowing he was absent, and broke open the door, the first thing that presented itself was a large hammer, I then went to the bed where his wife and two children were lying. I struck a tremendous blow, and the hammer was buried in the wife's bosom; the children clung so close to her that their little heads were literally hammered to pieces, and the bed overflowed with human gore. The screams of the distressed sufferers alarmed the servant maid, who coming down stairs, implored me to have mercy, the girl then became the object of my butchering heart, she endeavored to make her escape down stairs, but I immediately followed her, she sat down on her knees on the kitchen floor and begged for mercy but I felled her at my foot without remorse. I then went up stairs again for the purpose of rifling the drawers, I scarce got one drawer examined, till I thought I heard a noise down stairs, I was alarmed, and crept down stairs to see what was the matter, the poor girl was sitting up, wiping the blood from her face: she implored me over and over to spare her, but no, I immediately put and end to her existence. This done, there then lay four innocent victims floating in their own enmson gore.
Take this account of my awful transaction into your own hands, and read it over, when done, seat it in your memories, and the hearts of your children, that they may be rewarded by the Almighty for their virtues, and not suffer as I have to do by an untimely death.
|WOE is me what have I done, innocent blood
No pity in my heart, resolved to have my will,
Where shall I go, or where shall I hide.
Where e'er I be, where e'er I go, they're walking by my side,
I never learnt to serve the Lord, nor never learn'd to pray,
My Wicked ways has me betrayed and cast my soul away,
How dare I lift my eyes to heaven, or look towards that place,
How shall I meet an angry God, or look him in the face.
It's fain I would for mercy ask, if such a thing there,
O Lord, if thou wilt some mercy show to such a wretch as me,
Be as it will, myself I'll cast all at thy mercy seat,
And if I perish Lord, I'll perish at thy feet.
January 1840? James Beckett, Printer, Hull.