Newgate Calendar - ELIZABETH BURROUGHS

ELIZABETH BURROUGHS

Executed for Murder, April 4th, 1766

            On the trial of this woman it appeared that one Henry Steward, a broker, at Bury St. Edmunds, had taken into his house, in the capacity of servant, a girl named Mary Booty, whose father was then recently deceased, and whose goods had been sold by Steward, in the way of his business. Elizabeth Burroughs had lived as a servant to Steward, but was not then in his employ. Finding that Booty supplied the place that she had formerly filled, fried with jealousy (as she expressed herself), she went, for the purpose of quarrelling with her late master, to his house. For some time there was a general fray among the three; but the man, finding that Burroughs had struck Booty on the head with a hammer, quitted the house, and left the girls together. In the course of the night Mary Booty was found in the street, expiring before Steward's door.

            Many circumstances concurred for supposing that she had been thrown out of the window by Burroughs: her skull was fractured, and she was otherwise much beaten and bruised. Yet, under these proofs and corroborative evidence, the hardened wretch, to the last moment, asserted her innocence. Her last words were, 'I know a lie will avail me nothing; I am innocent of the murder for which I suffer.' She was executed at Bury St. Edmunds, April the 4th, 1763.

            We do not know a more dangerous step towards the ruin of the peace of mind, in fact, eventually, of every individual of a family, than that of the master becoming familiar with his female servant. No person can read this unhappy case without entertaining the idea of an improper intercourse having taken place between Steward and Burroughs; and, though it appears she had left her ostensible employ, yet it is plain she considered the favours of her master still at her command, and that they were encroached upon by the admission of the deceased. On this point, unfortunately, we find that a grey beard does not always bring wisdom.

 

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