Pitiful Scene in an Attempt to hang him at Jersey
SOME soldiers belonging to the 34th Regiment were brought to trial at Jersey -- and two of them condemned to suffer death. Only one of them, however, named Hales, was left for execution. This poor fellow was constantly visited during his confinement by the Rev. G. Du Heaume, became resigned to his fate, and awaited the awful moment with manly but Christian fortitude.
He was accompanied to the place of execution by the above gentleman. He joined him in prayer, and ascended the scaffold with coolness and composure. At length he was turned off; and, when he had hung about a minute and a half, the executioner, taking hold of his convulsed body, suspended himself on it, and by this additional weight the rope gave way, in such a manner that the miserable sufferer's feet touched the ground. The executioner then pulled him sideways, with a view to strangling him, and being unable to effect it in this way got upon his shoulders. To the great surprise of all who witnessed this dreadful scene, the poor criminal rose straight upon his feet, with the hangman on his shoulders, and immediately loosened the rope from his throat with his fingers.
No language can describe the sensations which were excited among the bystanders by this shocking scene. The sheriff ordered another rope to be prepared; but the spectators interfered, and the sheriff agreed that, before proceeding to the execution of the sentence, he would wait till the will of the magistracy should be known. The civil magistrate not being in town, orders were sent by the Commander-in-Chief to carry the man back to jail. By this time the poor fellow had recovered his senses. The interest which the scene excited cannot be described -- all became deeply interested in the man's fate. Captain Nicholls and another gentleman took him under the arms to conduct him, and by their assistance he was able to walk back to the prison. The Court decided that the whole matter relative to poor Hales should be transmitted to the King; and the execution of the sentence, in consequence, was suspended till his Majesty's pleasure was known. Petitions were prepared by the inhabitants and forwarded to his Majesty, and he was pardoned accordingly.