Exhibtion Index  Credits   Bryn Mawr College Library    


Sutton pamphlet, p. 27Sutton pamphlet, p. 28Remarks upon the Trial of William Sutton, Esq. by an Impartial By-Stander . London: Benjamin Sibthorpe, 1761.
Download the pamphlet as a pdf.




The historical record shows what is familiar to us today – women are far more likely to be the victims of crimes than the perpetrators.  The archetypical heinous crimes committed against women are rape and murder, especially uxoricide (wife-murder).  There is almost always some attempt to blame the victim of the crime – the rapist claims that the victim enticed him; the murderer explains that he was driven to madness by the woman's behavior.

William Sutton was tried for, and acquitted of, murdering a prostitute by stabbing her twice "so she should not be able to sit", the wounds afterwards becoming infected.  The case was the talk of the town, and became the subject of a series of pamphlets alternately arguing Sutton's guilt and innocence.  In this pamphlet, the first three pages are spent excoriating the victim, in the guise of arguing that no matter how depraved she might have been, she still should not have been murdered.  In his conclusions, the author suggests that the victim was an alcoholic, that she behaved so badly it would have been reasonable for Sutton to have attacked her, and that she accused him of having wounded her when in fact she suffered from venereal disease.

 

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