When I brought you the dastardly tale of cat eating last year, I had hoped that would be my only encounter with such behaviour in the Georgian press. I was, sadly, mistaken. From the Caledonian Mercury of 9th October 1823, a Case of Monstrous Barbarity.
Thursday Mr Martin, of Galway, waited upon Mr Allen, the Magistrate, at Union Hall Office, upon some matter of, we believe, a private nature, and, in the course of their conversation, mentioned a circumstance, which as it was evidently told with the view of having it publicly staled, and as it furnishes an instance of extraordinary inhumanity, punishable by exposure alone, we readliy publish.
Mr Martin said, he had, a few mornings ago, had reason to lament the limited operation of his bill, having ascertained that a brute, in the shape of a human being, bad treated a poor dog with a degree of cruelty seldom heard of, except among those barbarians with whom cruelty is a principle. A poor woman who resides in Pimlico had a lap-dog, which followed her in the streets. It happened that this dog and another had a fight; which of the animals fared worse, was a point of no consequence. The animosity by which they were governed was natural; but the feeling which prevailed in the mind of the owner of the second dog needed only to be described to be universally abominated. The person to whom Mr Martin said he alluded was a police officer. This person called at the house of the poor woman who owned the lap-dog, soon after the fight, and desired to see the dog. The poor animal ran into its mistress’s lap, terrified at the manner of the officer, who deliberately dragged it from its hiding place, and with his staff coolly broke one leg first, and then another; but not satisfied with this revenge, struck the poor animal a desperate blow on the back, the bone of which he smashed; after which he walked away without appearing to be at all ruffled in his temper, or conscious of any offence. When Mr Martin heard of this atrocious act, he went to the woman to whom the dog belonged; she confirmed the account in every particular, and added, that seeing the dog in such misery, and knowing that death could be the only relief to such suffering, she went to the officer, and begged for mercy’s sake, that he would finish his work by killing the animal. Prompted by an accidental touch of compassion, or perhaps by a very different feeling, the officer complied with this request, with the assistance of a rope.
Mr Allen here interrupted Mr Martin with the very natural inquiry—“For God’s sake, do you mean an officer of this establishment ?—”No,” replied Mr Martin, “Because,” added Mr Alien, “if any one connected with this office was guilty of such atrocious cruelty, he should not remain a single moment amongst us.”
Mr Martin proceeded.—A day or two afterwards he (Mr Martin) met the officer ir. St James’s Palace, and remonstrated with him upon conduct which, if proved against a prince of the blood, might, in the Honourable Member’s opinion, cause a revolution in this country. “Poh, poh,” said the officer, with his characteristic familiarity, “what have you to do with dogs?” Your bill has nothing to say to them, you know. Besides, you have heard double of the fact at least. I only broke one leg of the hanimal, that’s all; and then I scragged him.” As the only mode of reaching the feelings of such a fellow was through the purse, Mr Martin offered to bear the expences of an action against him; and Honourable Member hoped that the poor woman, who indeed appeared terrified at the idea of inflaming the wrath of the officer, which might next be directed against her own bones, would be induced to do herself justice, if for no other sake than the sake of public justice.
Mr Allen expressed his astonishment again at the detail, and the officers, who were in attendance, seemed to wish to have all suspicion removed from them by the announcement of the name of the dog-tormertor.
Mr Martin then said, the name of the worthy man was Townsend; that he lived in Pimlico, opposite to the house in which the woman who owned the Lap-dog lived, and that in his neighbourhood he was quite a giant. “It is well, however, that he has but little power,” said Mr Martin, “that his authority is but brief; for, upon my word, if he had much, he’d use it like a giant.”
Mr Martin, we understand, intends to make the statement of the facts above-mentioned, which were first mentioned to him by a man of rank, in a quarter where it is probable proper notice will he taken of the circumstance.