ALTHOUGH the conduct of Captain Harrower was far from blameless, yet we have no hesitation in pronouncing him a 'man more sinned against than sinning.' He met treachery, in more instances than one, where he had a right to expect gratitude; and was prosecuted by him who should, for many considerations, have been his friend.
The captain's conduct, even from the most fastidious, admits of many palliations. His first wife might be said to be, though not physically, morally dead, and his treatment of his second seems to have been honourable, kind, and tender; for she reprobated his prosecution, and continued to perform towards him, even after accusation, all the offices of an affectionate wife. But, whatever censure may be cast upon him, it was not for the ungrateful father of his second wife to drag him to a court of justice, in the hope of transporting him from his country, for the base purpose of revenge or lucre, at the expense of his daughter's happiness.
At the Old Bailey sessions, February the 17th, 1816, Captain George Harrower was indicted for having married one Susannah Anne Giblett, on the 12th of October, 1812, his former wife, Mary Usher, being then living.
It appeared in evidence that the captain was married at Bombay, in 1794, to Mary Usher, who afterwards becoming a lunatic, he was obliged, on leaving that country, to leave behind him.
After residing some years in this country, and feeling conscious that the unfortunate state in which his wife remained at Bombay precluded the possibility of his ever seeing her again, he resolved on marrying Miss Susannah Giblett, the daughter of a butcher in Bond Street, which he did on the 12th of October, 1813, with whom he lived in perfect happiness.
The circumstance of his former marriage, however, coming to the ears of his father-in-law, Giblett, the latter took advantage of it to obtain money from Harrower, who, in his defence, adverted to the period when he had the misfortune to become known to the prosecutor, Giblett, who, in draining him of his purse, and instituting proceedings against his liberty and character, had left him but one consolation, an amiable and beloved wife, unfortunately the daughter of the worst of men. The prosecution, he said, was the result of a foul and infamous conspiracy, and not that of a desire to support the laws of the country, or to punish those who transgressed them. He had been introduced to Giblett in an unguarded way, and, feeling a consciousness of his own integrity, did not suspect a contrary principle to prevail in him. After the acquaintance between them was matured, he married his daughter, upon whom he settled a jointure of ten thousand pounds. He afterwards lent Gibbett sums of money amounting to seventeen thousand pounds; and further sums, which raised the whole of what Giblett had succeeded in drawing from him to more than thirty thousand pounds. In fact, he had not only deprived him (Capt. Harrower) of all the money he could by possibility extract, but he had robbed his own daughter of the ten thousand pounds which had been settled upon her. Every means was used by Giblett to cause his wife to leave him, and live at home with himself, when he offered to give up certain apartments in his house for her accommodation; adding, that they would be able to get the whole of the money to themselves, and he (Captain Harrower) 'might go and starve.' These proposals, however, were always uniformly and indignantly refused by his wife. He alluded to the commission of bankruptcy which had been issued against Giblett, by which he had contrived to defraud him of his money, and mentioned a circumstance which that person had been heard to declare, namely, 'that he would try and get the money into Chancery, if other designs failed of depriving him of the property.' He went into a variety of other statements, the object of which was to represent Giblett to be a character of the worst description; a character such as he never thought existed in England, and as he trusted never would be found in it again. He concluded by protesting his innocence, and trusting that the Court would rescue him from the infamous plot which had been laid against him, and restore him to the arms of a beloved and only partner.
The jury, after retiring half an hour, brought in a verdict of Guilty. but strongly recommended the prisoner to mercy.
The laudable recommendation of the jury was subsequently attended to, and Captain Harrower, after a short confinement, was restored to society, and the arms of her who at least deserved to be his wife.
In less than two years afterwards Giblett was committed to Newgate, and confined to the apartment which Captain Harrower had occupied, for not giving satisfactory answers to the commissioners, on his bankruptcy.