“At West Lawn, Hamilton, on the 11th day of May inst., Georgia,
wife J. Octavius Macrae, Esq., and second daughter of the late Edmund
at 3 p.m., Sunday, the 14th instant.
and acquaintances please accept this intimation.”
Hamilton Spectator. May 13, 1876
first blush, it seemed a sad, if not overly unusual, death notice.
was one of the city’s more magnificent homes of the day, a stone mansion at the
end of a long carriageway which entered the property at the corner of Queen
street north and York street. It had been built for Colin Campbell Ferrie,
Hamilton’s first mayor, when Ferrie was at the height of his business success.
was known about Georgia Mcrae when the death notice first appeared, but over
the next few weeks much more would be learned.
hint of what was to come was carried in the following short item which appeared
in the Hamilton Spectator of May 13, 1876, the same day Georgia Mcrae’s death
notice and funeral announcement appeared:
the request of Mr. Macrae, an inquest is to he held upon the body of his late
wife. The jury viewed the body this afternoon, and adjourned awaiting the
result of the post mortem examination. “
jury summoned to the inquest touching death of the late Mrs. Macrae met at the
City Hall at 10 o’clock this morning, when a further adjournment was made until
eight o’clock this evening.
Hamilton Spectator . May 15, 1876
had been made officially public about the death of Georgia Macrae but rumours
were swirling. Dark stories about life at Westlawn were being circulated
some details concerning the death of Victoria Mcrae were made public in the
following report of the public session of the coroner’s inquest into her death:
adjourned inquest on the body of the late Mrs. Macrae was held last evening in
the Police Court. The room was crowded, and the deepest interest was displayed
in the proceedings. The same counsel appeared as on the previous sitting. Mr.
Osler, Q.C., watching the case for the Crown.
first witness was Dr. Geo. MacKelcan, M. D., recalled, sworn : Have attended as
family physician to Mr. Macrae’s family for about five years; no other
physicians that I know of attended the family; the first visible effect of a
violent blow on the temple would be first of all swelling and dark
discoloration, which would depend upon the violence of the blow; the next
change would gradually fade from purple or dark blue to green and yellow;
the yellow colour would set in in about two weeks in a severe bruise; I would
judge of the age of the bruise by the amount of yellow in the rim of the bruise
and by the general color; the effects of a blow would disappear internally by
absorption or suppuration; if suppuration is to take place, it would show
itself in about three weeks; the term organization means that the fluid is
being absorbed and the fibrin becomes a living part of the body; organization
in a blood is incidental to the process of absorption; suppuration had not set
in in this particular instance; the first symptom of blood being suffused on
the brain is loss of consciousness, which takes place sometimes immediately,
often after some hours and sometimes not for several days; I know of no case in
my practice where unconsciousness is delayed more than 24 hours after an
injury; on examination after death, it would be difficult to judge how long
suffusion had been going on; it depends very much upon the size of the clots; I
have seen very small clots that have remained in the brain for some time; if
the clot is organized in the way I have described, on examination after death,
I would imagine it had been there for some time; in case a man received a blow
on the head, and became gradually unconscious in twenty-four hours, I could not
distinguish between the clot formed at the time of the accident and that formed
immediately before death; the exterior wound in deceased was about an inch to
the centre of the clot internally; the clot formed more immediately over the
eye extending back and the bruise was more the templar muscle; the clot
extended from the central line of the head in front and gradually extended back
till one inch and a half behind the ear; the clot was thicker in some places
than in others; the thickness depended on the consistency of the brain, that is
to say, it would be thicker where the brain was more easily compressed; from an
external blow, the clot would be thickest where the brain would most easily be
compressed and not immediately under the bruise; a blow capable of producing an
external appearance of a bruise on the head would be capable of producing the
internal appearance; in this case, I would not further for a reason for the
internal appearance; the age of the outside bruise on the head of the deceased
precludes the idea of the internal injury being caused by it; I am not able to
swear that both injuries in deceased’s head were not caused by the same bruise;
it is possible but not probable that the internal clot was caused by the
external injury; that clot was formed by the rupture of a vessel contained in
the membranes of the brain, that is between the skull and the brain; we were
not able to find where the rupture had taken place in the brain; this was
caused by the vessels giving way in taking off the skull cap; there were twenty
or thirty places where the membranes gave way and the blood oozed out; the
brain itself was healthy; that would not necessarily indicate that the blood
vessels leading to the brain were healthy; did not particularly examine the
tissue of the brain vessels; the blood vessels gave way because of their
adhesion to the skull; they must have been weak else they would not have given
way; I did not make any particular examination of the veins, I merely noticed
that they were weak; the first time I noticed the external injury was on the 30th of
April; I speak from memory and notes taken afterwards; the notes were
taken after death, so that I would be prepared for the inquest; I jotted the
notes down on Sunday or Monday last; as a rule, I do not take notes; it was my
own idea to take these notes; I wrote them all down at one time; I fix the 30th by
an effort of memory; it was either a Saturday or a Sunday I noticed the injury
first; as a matter of memory, I would not swear it was the 30th; the
next day I brought my father with me to consult about the injury, as I did not
know what to make of it; I called his attention to it, and that was the reason
he went with me that day, and on looking over my visiting list, I fix the 30th as
the day before my father accompanied me to consult about the injury; my father
saw the effects of the blow twice, if not more; there was no discoloration of
the wound when I first saw it; there was nothing to indicate its age; there was
but a slight change in the wound from day to day; at the time of death, the
want of discoloration would show that the wound was more than a day old; the
absence of color would indicate to a medical man that the wound was an old one;
there was no change in the color of the wound from the first time I saw it
until death; there was no external guide to the age of the injury; there was
suffusion of blood in the cellular tissue; my theory is now that the color had
disappeared before I noticed it; the immediate cause of death was the suffusion
of blood on the brain; I had given it as my opinion that no other disease would
cause death; on taking the matter into consideration the appearance of the
injury internally it had all the symptoms of apoplexy; if the blow had been of
longstanding I would have supposed that the death was caused by apoplexy; had
the deceased received a blow at four o’clock on the day of her death, producing
such a clot as I found, it is possible that there would be no external mark of
violence; there was no other physician with me except my father at the post
Mr. Martin – My opinion as to the cause of death remains the same as I
expressed last evening.
further evidence was taken.
Osler said that several jurymen had asked for further medical evidence, and he
asked for an adjournment to take this into consideration, and, if necessary, to
have further medical testimony.
Robert Evans, foreman of the jury, said that it was the almost unanimous wish
of the jury to have further medical examination. There was considerable talk in
the city about the affair, and they could not conscientiously give a verdict on
the testimony already heard.
White then adjourned the inquest till 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon.
the inquest, steps were taken to gather more detailed evidence as to how and
why Mrs. Mcrae met her death:
morning, Mr. B. B. Osler, County Attorney, went to Toronto ad consulted with
Attorney General Mowat as to the investigation following the demise of the late
Mrs. Macrae. The Attorney General must have taken a serious view of the matter,
as at noon, Mr. Osler telegraphed the Chief of Police to have the body exhumed,
which is being done as we go to press.”
investigation into the suspicious death of Georgia Macrae took a macabre turn :
the body of Mrs. Macrae was exhumed and placed in the dead house in the
Cemetery, when Doctors MacDonald, Mullin and Malloch held a post
mortem examination. This afternoon the results of their labours will
be heard at the adjourned inquest to be held at the Police Court at 4 o’clock.”
“The adjourned inquest on the body of the late Mrs. G. O. Macrae was held
Thursday afternoon at the Police Court, before Coroner White. As before, Mr. E.
Martin, Q.C., watched he case for Mr. Macrae, and Mr. Osler, Q.C., appeared on
behalf of the Crown. Mr. Carscallen, who is watching the case for the friends
of the deceased, was unavoidably absent”
Weekly Times May 25, 1876
following full transcription of the testimony heard at the inquest into the
death of Georgia Macrae appeared in the Weekly Times – a difficult read then as
MACDONALD was sworn and examined by Mr. Osler : I am a practising physician in
this city and have been for the last twenty years; I performed a post
mortem yesterday evening on the body of the late Mrs. Macrae, in
company with Dr. Mullin, and Dr. Malloch who took notes and occasionally
assisted; I reduced the writing of the observations of the post
mortem , and we all three agree; I produce the notes; we were
altogether when these were transcribed; acting under the orders of Coroner
White, I proceeded at 6 o’clock yesterday to the cemetery of this city for the
purpose of conducting a post mortem examination on the body of
the late Mrs. G. O. Macrae exhumed for the purpose of being thus examined; the
coffin was conveyed into the mortuary chapel in the cemetery, and the body,
having been removed from it and placed on a table, was identified by Dr.
Mackelcan and Dr. Geo. L. Mackelcan; the body is that of a well-nourished woman
of upwards of thirty years of age, with marks of incisions from a
previous post mortem examination; skin and white of eye were
jaundiced, and there was also the green colour of decomposition on the abdomen,
and the back and dependent portions of the limbs livid from gravitation of the
blood after death (hypostatic congestion); several livid marks were seen on the
front of the body, and these had the appearance of and were proven by incision
to be produced by extravasations of blood (bruises), namely one above and
towards in the inner side of the right nipple; two others above the left
nipple; one on the front of each leg, a little above the ankle, and one on the
upper surface of each foot; on the left side of the chest, the coagulated blood
was found above the gland substance of the gland substance and behind it; on
one of the bruises on the leg, there was a point of abrasion; on throwing down
the scalp; extravasated blood was found above and beneath the temporal farcia,
and in the substance of the temporal muscle of the left side; the area of this
clot was about two inches square; the skull was examined, and no fracture
discovered; both hemispheres of the brain had been sliced, and the lateral
ventricles opened into; no abnormal appearances were detected on opening the
chest and abdomen, and extending upwards the incision which had been made,
extravasated blood was seen at the upper end of the breast bone, extending also
on either side beneath the collar bones, and into a substance of a portion of
the large muscle of the breast; the margin of the extravasation extended
upwards a little above the upper end of the breast bone; the throat, gullet and
windpipe were found to be healthy; both sides of the heart had been cut into;
the remainder of the organs were healthy; liver large, friable and fatty; a
portion of the outward edge had ben ruptured, apparently by a former
examination; the gall and bladder were empty, the kidneys soft, dark colored
and congested; the stomach contained a small quantity of dark, yellowish fluid,
and the vessels of the lining membrane were a little injected; the abdominal
cavity contained a considerable quantity of serous fluid; many small livid
spots were seen about the shoulders; the posterior surface of the body had been
carefully inspected, and no marks of a particular nature observed, except the
small, dark spots already mentioned.
our examination, we could not say that the appearances we saw were sufficient
to account for death; we did not think that death had actually occurred from
the clot which was on the brain and which has been spoken of by Dr. Mackelcan;
the brain was a little injected with blood; there was a small remnant of a clot
on the right side of the brain, which we were told by Dr. Mackelcan was the
remains of the clot; taking the appearance of the body and hearing Dr.
Mackelcan’s evidence, I believe the clot was the direct cause of death; the
liver was not sufficiently diseased for me to say for certain that she died
from it; from the appearance of the skull inside, we could not distinguish what
extent the clot had covered; the part of the clot we found must have been there
before death; we noticed a wound on the outside of the left temple; we could
not come to an exact conclusion as to its date owing to the body having been
dead some days, and it was partly petrified; concluded from its dryness and its
colour that it was not a fresh clot at the time of death; this was the
only external mark of violence on the skull; the marks on the body seemed to
be ante mortem; there were marks of bruises, two on the left breast
and one of the right, with clots of blood, the one on the left breast being
very large, extending above and beyond the gland; the one on the right did not
extend to the muscles; the injuries on the leg were not serious; the bruises
had been produced by some blunt instrument; a blow from a fist would do it, or
a fall; there was no indication of striking against furniture or there would
have been an abrasion; the small clot we found in the brain was almost opposite
the external mark on the temple; from the evidence given, the clot must have
arisen from violence, or if the veins had been in a softened condition, it
might have arisen from a rapture of those vessels but we did not find tem in
that condition; as far as we could see, the veins and vessels were in a healthy
condition, both locally and bout the heart; I think the clot found in the brain
must have been the result of violence and not from disease, as far as we
discovered; it could not have been produced by a blow of the fist under
ordinary circumstances; it must have been a blow by some hard implement; such a
clot might have been forming for 8 hours; no clot could form without coma,
which would set in immediately upon the effusion; the blood inside was a more
recent effusion than the blood and injury outside; I cannot account for their
being no external mark of the same date as the clot visible; it is possible a
blow might have been given over another blow without producing any extensive
mark; I believe that in this instance such was the case; as the clot was
recent, the blow must have been so too; my opinion is that death was caused by
the clot on the head, which was the result of violence, and that that violence
Mr. E. Martin – The purple spots alluded indicate no condition of the blood
vessels, but show disease of the capillaries; you would not expect to find them
in a perfectly healthy person; I do not think the blow could have been
inflicted with a fist – that is to say, the inside clot could not have produced
it; it might have been caused by a fall; there was nothing external to show
there had been a mark there during life; I do not think the gathering outside
the skull had anything to do with death; if the deceased was of intemperate
habits, and had been suffering from the disease she had, one of the veins might
possibly have been ruptured, but it is not probable, and we found no trace of
the diseased condition of the vessels; from the appearance of the liver, I
would not thought that she could have lived long; coma would have set in long
before the clot assumed the size it did if the suffusion was slow; it would set
in almost immediately; I observed no other marks about the skull; I removed the
dura mater from the base, and found no blood.
To Mr. Osler – We found no marks of inflammatory action of the brain; we did
not discover that any of the vessels had been weakened.
Dr. Mullin, sworn – Have been practising in this city 14 years; assisted Dr.
Macdonald at a post mortem examination of Mrs. Macrae; I
concur in the written statement produced and read by Dr. Macdonald; I do not
entirely concur with Dr. Macdonald’s deduction; I have not been able to arrive
at a conclusion whether the clot was the result of violence or disease; from
the symptoms of the case I have heard, I think the clot came on suddenly as it
might have from violence, but that on the other hand it might have been caused
by a small rupture of the vessels; the larger vessels we examined were
healthy, but there were ski indications which led us to believe that the
capillaries were diseased and that rupture could easily occur either from
disease or violence, and from intemperate habits; there would be a tendency to
haemorrhage either from disease or violence; from the nature of the vessels
around the heart, it would indicate that the large vessels were healthy; if the
vessels are weakly, a very much lesser amount of violence would produce the
haemorrhage than if they were healthy; a blow not even producing external marks
of violence might produce the haemorrhage.
To Mr. Martin : Haemorrhages from small vessels frequently happen to those of
intemperate habits; I am unable to state whether the clot was produced by
violence or disease.
To Mr. Osler : More deaths occur from apoplexy among men than among women.
To Mr. Martin : A fall might produce the internal clot.
Dr. MALLOCH, sworn : I am a practising physician in this city, and have been
for five or six years; I assisted at the post mortem last
evening on the body of the late Mrs. Macrae; I concur in the written statement
read by Dr. Macdonald; I concur rather with the evidence of Dr. Mullin, than
that of Dr. Macdonald; my opinion is that death might have occurred from
disease or violence; I believe that there was a tendency to haemorrhage in her
condition; the large vessels of her heart were healthy; I was taking notes and
examining closely at the same time.
To a Juror – I did not detect any disease in the vessels of the brain.
To Mr. Osler – I cannot form any opinion whether death was caused by disease or
ADA MACRAE, sworn – I am twelve years of age; the deceased was my mother; I was
in the house all the time for the few days before my mother’s death; my mother
died on Thursday; my father was in the house the whole of that day and the day
before; my two sisters, the nurse, myself and my father were in her room the
day she died; the doctor was there twice, I think; my mother became insensible
in the afternoon; I do not know what time in the afternoon – about the middle,
I think; I went upstairs and my father told me she was insensible; he said so
when Annie went in the room; prior to that, my father was walking up and down
the room my mother was in; he had been there all afternoon; I had been in and
out; I heard something going on while I was out of the room on Thursday
afternoon; I was in the study room; I heard my mother scream; I heard my father
say something; he said, “now, take that;” it was said in a low tone; I heard
another noise immediately before the words were spoken; I thought from the
noise I heard he had struck her with his hand; the scream was before the blow;
there was not more than one blow; my mother said nothing; it was about half an
hour after that I heard my mother was insensible; my mother had been in bed two
or three weeks, except when she was up in a chair; I told Sarah Young what I
heard; I never saw my father strike my mother; I saw my father before the blow
was struck and before she became insensible; I went down and told Annie Hand; I
went into the room shortly afterwards with Anne; I went for Annie Hand because
I thought my father had struck my mother; when I went upstairs again, my mother
had got out of bed and was in the hall; I think my father was in the room; she
was at the head of the stairs; I do not know why she was in the hall; there was
nothing unusual about her appearance; she had not been in the habit of going
into the hall while she was sick; Annie Hand took her away to her bedroom, and
I went with her; I saw m father when we took her back to bed; he said he had
been trying to make a cup of beef tea; he said she would not take it; I spoke
to him about what I heard; I said I thought he should not have struck her; he
said he did not; the conversation with my father was after she became
insensible; I did not hear my mother speak after the blow; she appeared
sensible when she was in the hall; she walked into the bedroom.
To Mr. Martin – my mother was standing at the door to the bathroom when I saw
her; her hand was on the door when I went into the room; the beef tea was
standing on a tray; some of it was spilt on my father’s night shirt; the cup
had not been upset in the saucer; I heard no talking in the room before I heard
my father say “take that;” if I had, I could have heard it; I will not swear it
was a blow I heard; the noise might have been produced by the upsetting of a
cup; I saw no blow struck on that afternoon.
To the Coroner – When I saw the cup of beef tea, it was about half full; there
was none in the saucer.
To Mr. Martin – Had seen my father give my mother beef tea and medicine during
To Mr. Osler – The impression the noise gave me was that of a blow.
The inquest was then adjourned until Monday morning at ten o’clock.
Mr. Macrae was arrested on Thursday night on a warrant from the Coroner,
charged with feloniously killing his wide, Mrs. G. O. Macrae.
Monday, May 22.
The adjorned inquest concerning the death of the late Mrs. G. O. Macrae
commenced at 10:30 this morning before Coroner White.
Mr. Osler, Q.C., appeared on behalf of the Crown, and Mr. Martin watched the
case for Mr. Macrae.
The first witness called was
ANNE FOSTER sworn, said I live at Mr. Fitzgerald’s hotel now, and I do
housework; at the beginning of the year, I lived at Mr. Macrae’s – between the
3rd of January and the 3rd of April – as cook;
I left on the 3rd of April; I slept two rooms from where Mr.
Macrae slept, and on the same flat; there were two rooms between; from the door
of the room I occupied one could see into the room occupied by Mr. Macrae; the
hall is square, with rooms round it; I have heard Mr. Macae use threats towards
The coroner overruled the objection.
Mr. Martin requested the objection to be not as not applicable to the cause for
which Mr. Macrae had been arrested, and irrelevant to the enquiry.
Witness continued – I heard threats frequently; I heard them more than twice or
three times; I cannot say the day; the words used were “By God, I’ll murder
you, Georgy !” In the second month of my service – it was in the breakfast
room, while they were taking tea – I heard him swear that he would murder her;
on the same night, after I heard this, deceased got up from the table and ran
towards the kitchen, calling “Annie ! Annie ! Save me !;” I came to where she
was , and Mr. Macrae came and ordered me back to the kitchen; I went back, and
went by the other door upstairs, and Mr. and Mrs. Macrae went into the library;
as I was going upstairs, I heard Mrs. Macrae scream and say, “Don’t strike me !
Don’t strike me !” as I got to the top of the stairs, the two children – Miss
Ada and Miss Katie – ran out and cried, “Annie ! Annie ! Papa is beating Mamma
!” I came part of the way downstairs, and Mrs. Macrae came out, bleeding from a
cut on her head; I asked Mrs. Macrae to come upstairs to my room and I would
dress the cut; she came in, but in a short time afterwards went out, as she was
afraid of Mr. Macrae catching her in my room; she then went into her own bed
room from mine, and I followed her in; she had her hand to the wound and the
blood streamed down from it on to her collar and waist; she told me to go down
and get some water; she said Mr. Macrae had struck her and used her shamefully;
she showed me the cut; I went and got the water, and told her to go to bed;
after she had undressed herself and put on her night dress, she came into my
room and showed me marks on her legs and on her body where Mr. Macrae had
abused her; after Mr. Macrae came up, I heard loud talk; the next morning being
Sunday, Mr. Macrae went to church; I took her up some breakfast and found the
pillow all covered with blood; Annie Hand came into the bed room, took some
scissors and cut the hair from round the wound; she took the pillow case off;
Mrs. Macrae begged her not o touch any of Mr. Macrae’s clothes, as he would
know someone had been in the room and would beat her; the wound was on the side
of the head , under the ear; I could not repeat how many times I have heard
sounds of violence being used from Mr. Macrae to Mrs. Macrae; on one occasion,
I dressed myself three times during the night, at the sounds of the screams
from her saying, “Don’t kill me; don’t murder me,” and he, swearing, “My God,
Georgie, I’ll murder you ! “ I thought Mrs. Macrae would be brought out dead; I
told Mr. Macrae next morning I did not want to stay as I did not want to be a
witness at an inquest.
Mr. Martin objected to any remarks of Mrs. Macrae being admitted, as it was not
a dying declaration, and some were not even said in the presence of Mr. Macrae.
Mr. Osler wished for no evidence of what Mrs. Macrae said, unless Mr. Macrae
Witness continued – Mr. Macrae was present on the night I have spoken of; I
heard the sound of blows, and for two weeks from that night, Mrs. Macrae never
left her bed room; I do not remember the month; it was some time before I left;
during this time, when Mr. Macrae was in the house, the house maid would take
the meals to the door, and the two children took them in; Annie Hand would go
in when Mr. Macrae would go in; Mr. Macrae’s orders were, when anyone called,
to say “Not at home;” no doctors attended deceased during this time; about two
weeks after this, the house maid said we wanted to leave on account of Mr.
Macrae’s behaviour, and we sent up one of the children to tell her so; she came
out to the door, and one eye was swelled and black, and along the side of her
cheek to her neck was black, and there was a black mark across her hand; after
I gave that warning, Mr. and Mrs. Macrae asked me to stop, and I said I would
remain another month; this was in my second month.
To a Juror – During these disputed, Mr. Macrae always spoke loudly and very
To another Juror – Mrs. Macrae was sometimes under the influence of liquor
during some of the disputes, but on the occasion of the dispute when she
received the blow on the head I could not notice any liquor upon her.
To the Foreman – When I left Mr. Macrae’s house, she was well, all except the
marks; I never saw Mrs. Macrae without some marks.
To a Juror – I never saw him actually strike her.
To Mr. Martin – Mr. Macrae during the time I was there was sometimes under the
influence of liquor; I do not think he was generally under the influence; I
never saw him drinking; he was always able to come in the kitchen and give an
order; I have frequently seen Mrs. Macrae under the influence of liquor; I have
known Mrs. Macrae to be free from the influence of liquor for a week; I would
say that they drank to excess, as I did not see them drink liquor; if I had
seen them drink the liquor, I would have been able to swear that they were
drunk; I consider a person drunk when he is out of his mind and does not know
what he is doing; a person might be drunk and still walk about; on the night
that I dressed myself three times, Mr.Macrae might have had some liquor.
EMMA HATCHER sworn – I live at Mrs. Mackenzie’s on the corner of Bold and
Macnab streets, and am a house maid; I lived with Mr. Macrae from the 18th of
December, 1875 till the 18th of March, 1876, as house maid; I
slept in the same room as Anne Foster; I heard Mr. Macrae use threats towards
Mr. Martin formally renewed his objection.
The Coroner overruled the objection and noted it.
Witness continued – There were scarcely two days passed without hearing a
threat made; I heard Mr. Macrae say, “By God, Georgy, I’ll kill you!” The
threat was always the same; it was spoken in a very vicious tone; I have seen
Mr. Macrae strike his wife; on one occasion, I heard screaming; it was in the
evening; the screaming came from Mrs. Macrae and the children; the breakfast
bell rang for me to clear the tea table; as I went, Mrs. Macrae was in the hall
between the kitchen and the breakfast room; Mr. Macrae was standing in the
hall; the children were in the room; Ms. Macrae was going to the kitchen, and
Mr. Macrae brought her back and kicked her through the back hall door towards
the front door hall; it was a hard enough kick to send her through the doorway;
he said, “I will not have you go in the kitchen;” they went upstairs and I
heard screams in the bed room; I heard the children say, “Don’t pa! Don’t pa”
and Mrs. Macrae screaming; the screams continued about an hour an a half; Mrs.
Macrae kept her room for two weeks after this; I did not see her; no doctor or
visitors saw her; we were told by Mr. Macrae to say, if anyone called, there
was no one in; I have seen him strike her again after she came out of her room;
I was shutting the shutters in the drawing room; it was dark; I heard her
screaming in the library; I heard him say, “By, Georgy, I’ll kill you;” she ran
to the drawing room door from the library; he struck her with his open hand and
she fell; it was the blow that felled her; she was perfectly sober; those were
the only two occasions on which I saw blows struck; I have heard screams in her
room during the night; on one occasion, Anne Foster and I were kept awake all
night; I could hear him say, “By God, I’ll kill you;” I did not get up; Anne
Foster got up three times she was so frightened; I sat up dressed till after
twelve; I was afraid Mr. Macrae would murder deceased, and then come and murder
me; on the last night I was there, which was the 17th of March,
I was sitting in the kitchen; I heard screams from the library from Mrs.
Macrae, and from the children saying, “Don’t papa;” after that, the bed room
bell rang, and I went upstairs; Mrs. Macrae wanted me to bring up some warm
water to bathe a cut which was on the left side of her head; it was bleeding
very much; her neck was covered with blood; before this, Mr. Macrae told me I
was not to go up, that Miss Ada could attend to Mr. Macrae better than I could;
I said Mrs. Macrae had rung the bell, and that I had a right to go up; I went
up and Mr. Macrae caught me washing the blood from Mrs. Macrae’s head; he told
me to leave the room directly; I left and went into my bed room; Mrs. Macrae
followed me in, and Mr. Macrae came in and dragged her into her own room; Mr.
Macrae told me that the cut was caused by Mrs. Macrae being drunk and hitting
her head against the sofa while he was carrying her there to place her on it;
he told me in an undertone, so that Mrs. Macrae should not hear; it was about
five minutes after; I think, on this occasion, Mrs. Macrae was drunk; Have often
heard Mr. Macrae threaten to murder her; Mrs. Macrae was able to walk into my
room without assistance; I think she was drunk from the amount of liquor I had
brought up; she was perfectly sensible; she was not under the influence of
liquor when she was kicked through the door, or when she was knocked down in
the drawing room.
To Mr. Martin – I only remember seeing Mrs. Macrae under the influence of
liquor once; Mr. Macrae was under the influence of liquor nearly every day.
MARY POLERY, sworn – Am employed at Mr. J.O. Macrae’s as housemaid, and have
been so for the last two months; I never saw Mr. Macrae strike his wife; I have
heard quarrels going on; they were of frequent occurrence, and were continued
up to three or four o’clock on the day on which Mrs. Macrae died; that was the
last occasion; on that occasion, I do not exactly remember the words used; I
knew there was a quarrel; I heard Mr. Macrae’s voice in a loud tone and
passionate; I do not know which room it was in; I cannot say whether it was in
her room or not; I heard Mrs. Macrae say, “Hold your tongue;” I heard nothing
but words; I was in the lower hall; it was between three and four; it was about
five when I heard Mrs. Macrae was insensible; the occasion was the only time I heard
quarrelling in the afternoon; I did not see or hear Ada Macrae come downstairs;
at the time Mrs. Macrae was insensible I heard what Miss Ada said; I cannot
remember any exact time before this I heard violent quarrelling; I do not
remember the exact time before this I heard violent quarrelling; I do not
remember exactly what Mr. Macrae said, or even the substance; I do not remember
any threats; I never heard anything more than words at any quarrel.
To a Juror – I have heard quarrels often.
To Mr. Osler – I have seen marks of violence on Mrs. Macrae, on her head and on
her eye; I am still living at Mr. Macrae’s house.
To Mr. Martin – I roomed with Sarah Young while I was there; it is on the same
corridor as that occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Macrae; it is the third door from the
room occupied by them; the marks on Mrs. Macrae were upon her when I came; Mr.
Macrae drank frequently to excess while I was there; I have frequently seen
Mrs. Macrae under the influence of Liquor; during Mrs. Macrae’s last illness, I
never heard cries of “Murder” nor at any time when I was there.
To the Coroner : I never told anybody I did.
To Mr.Osler : Mr. Martin has spoken to me about the evidence I have given.
Mr. Martin : I merely asked the witness as to what she could say.
Mr. Osler : Certainly.
Witness continued : No one else has spoken to me.
To Mr. Martin : If the cries of murder were loud enough to have been heard by
Sarah Young, I must have heard them too; I went to Mr. Macrae’s on the 24th.
The inquest was here adjourned until Tuesday evening. “
Thursdays were the day that the Weekly Times was published.
June 1, 1876 was a Thursday and the highlight of the issue was a full summary of the coroner’s inquest sessions investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of Victoria Macrae in the mansion near the intersection of Queen street north and York street,
The Weekly Times summation included many recounts of testimony given and the full text of the Coroner’s charge to the jury.
“The adjourned inquest upon the body of Mrs. Macrae was resumed at seven o’clock on Monday evening.
Mr. Osler, Q.C., appeared for the Crown, and Mr. E. Martin, Q.C., for Mr. Macrae.
Mr. Stuart of the Consolidated Bank of Canada was the first witness called. He produced the ledger and turned to the banking account of the deceased. He said on the 25th of April, the account in our ledger produced shows that Mrs. Macrae had a cheque debited to her account of $134.00; on the same day, Mr. Macrae had the same cheque deposited to his account; there was a transfer of Royal Canadian Bank stock which stood in Mrs. Victoria St. George Macrae’s name of twenty-one shares of the par value f $40 each to J. O. Macrae; the transfer is dated May 9th; the power of attorney was sent from here to Toronto on the 8th May; cannot give the date of the power of attorney; it is now in the head office of the Consolidated Bank f Canada at Toronto.
JAMES HONEYORD, sworn – Am an engine-fitter; live in the lodge at West Lawn, the house occupied by Mr. Macrae; have lived there a year and ten months; often saw Mrs. Macrae, but never spoke to her but once.
Mr. Martin objected to the witness being examined with regard to occurrences of a year or two ago.
Mr. Osler said that he intended to cover a period of five years in order to prove habitual ill-treatment.
Witness continued – About five or six weeks before Mrs. Macrae’s death, I saw Mr. Macrae drive through the grounds; my little girl called my attention to him; after getting out of the carriage, Macrae struck his wife several severe blows on the back with the thick end of the whip; I called out, “You brute! What are you at again?” Macrae then tore off his wife’s hat or bonnet, and he caught her by the dress and dragged her into the house, and I saw no more; there had been many quarrels between the Macraes; have heard the deceased cry out, “Leave me alone! Leave me alone!” Never saw any blows struck, only the one time mentioned; never could tell what Mr. Macrae said; he was always pretty drunk from ten days to a fortnight after I saw Macrae strike the deceased with the whip; I saw D. Mackelcan coming to see her; it is forty-seven yards from my front door to Macrae’s front door; have quarrelled with Macrae; the reason that he pulled my childrens’ ears; this was some time ago.
To a Juror – Mrs. Macrae did nothing but cry when she received the blows I saw; Mr. Macrae took her by the dress and dragged her into the house.
To another Juror – I heard as well as saw the blow with the butt of the whip; it was a kind of blow I should not liked to have had.
To Mr. Martin – I measured the distance from the gate today; nobody suggested it to me; I had a disagreement with Mr. Macrae about the locks; I did not threaten him with anything; I did what I told him; I shoved him out of the gate; I made no threats; I have only had two rows with him; I have never heard him quiet yet; e is not a quiet man by a long chalk; I am not very good at hearing; when he was speaking to me, he generally kept out of arm’s distance; I do think I was the noisier of the two; I do not know whether he was drunk; I never saw him sober; I could not say whether he was sober or not in the carriage the day he struck his wife; I never moved off my door step; I cannot tell whether he struck her before St. George’s Day or not; the horse was not taken away for half an hour; his man took it away eventually; I do not know whether the horse was tied or not; it stood there fully twenty-five minutes; I did not see whether any one met them at the door; the door was open; he pulled her in, shut the door, and the carriage remained outside; on the occasion I took the revolver from him I did not know it was unloaded; Mr. Macrae was drunk at the time.
HENRY CARSCALLEN, sworn – I am a barrister practising in this city; and was employed some time last November by the late Mrs. Macrae; she consulted me in a professional matter, which I do not think I am bound to disclose; it related in a manner to her relations with her husband, and as to changes in her relations with him; I decline to answer any confidential communications made to me as her solicitor; I know of nothing from her as to the immediate cause of death.
F.E. RITCHIE, sworn : I am a brother of the deceased, Mrs. J. O. Macrae, she was married in October, 1850, I think she has had five children; the youngest living child is about 10 years old, and the youngest, if living, would be about 8; during the last five years, the deceased and her husband have not lived very amicably; I know nothing at all of their relations during that time; Mr. J. O. Macrae and myself have not been friends; during that time, my sister has left her husband; last November, she left him and came to my house; she came there very much bruised and hurt for the purpose of obtaining protection from me against her husband; it was about seven in the evening when she came; she told me she had walked and ran; she was in an ordinary indoor dress, not one for a walk on the streets; she stayed with me from Saturday till Monday; I had some words with Mr. Macrae on the Sunday; he accused me of harbouring his wife, and I said I did and would do so while he treated her as he did; she went back on a note being written by her husband to herself; the last time I saw it was in her hand; she consulted Mr. Carscallen on the occasion before she received the note; she went back of her own accord; she was bruised on the face and head; they seemed like bruises inflicted by manual force; the injuries were apparently very severe; I know of no troubles between deceased and her husband till a little time before her death; prior to November, I knew of no specific act of ill treatment, owing to my not visiting the house.
To a Juror – I observed no cuts, but only bruises; the face was much swllen and very black.
Mr. Osler said he had no further witnesses to all.
The Coroner asked the jury if they wished to call any further witnesses.
After consideration, Mr. Osler said he proposed to call one more witness, viz. :
MARY KENNEDY, sworn – I have been living till last Thursday with Captain Roberts’ family; since then I have been home; I lived with Mr. John Macrae till the Saturday before Christmas as cook; I noticed quarrelling all the time between Mr. and Mrs. Macrae, with the exception of one night; I never saw any blow struck, but in November last I saw a wound from a pen knife, which had been inflicted in the side of the neck near the ear; the neck was swollen and her hand was cut, it looked like a stab; there was some thick blood on her collar and on her shoulder and cuff; there was a small but deep cut on the thumb; it was bleeding at the time I saw it; it was about ten at night or a little before when I saw it; it was on a Sunday evening in November; I do not know whether at the beginning or end; I heard quarrelling before I went out; I heard Mr. Macrae cursing and swearing at her; I heard oaths; I did not hear Mrs. Macrae say anything; I have heard Mr. Macrae use threats to his wife; I took her to her brother’s in November; she wanted to go in the afternoon; Annie Hand would not let her; prior to this he had said By God, I will kill you!” the words were spoken angrily; when Mr. Macrae came in, she came to me and asked me to save her; thought she was in danger of being killed; I opened the door and shoved her down our steps; Mr. Macrae was looking for her; I shoved her down the steps in order to prevent Mr. Macrae’s seeing her; she rapped on the outside, and I sent the washerwoman out to her; she said she wanted me; I went out and she asked me, for God’s sake, to take her to her brother’s; I took her; only had a scrubbing dress, and, I think, one shoe; this was on a Saturday; Dr. Mackelcan brought her back on the Monday; when she returned, there was a change in his treatment of her for one night; after that he continued to abuse her; he beat her on the Wednesday night after she came home; the towels in the room were full of blood; we heard the sound of the blows; Mrs. Macrae told me she was sorry that the taking of her away had not done her husband any good; about a week previous to my taking her away to her brother’s, er husband beat her so that she came to my room with two black eyes and blood in her hair and hair all torn; I hid her from her husband, and she slept with me for three different nights.
To the Coroner – At the time of the stab in the neck, Annie Hand asked me to wash the blood off the collars and stuff as she did not wish the washerwoman to see it, as she might talk.
To Mr. Martin – The stab was inflicted about two months after I came there; it was on a Sunday evening; she went to her brother’s the Saturday following; I saw no stab inflicted; from the mark, I know it to be a stab; I will swear to that; the mark was not quite so visible when I brought her to her brother’s; she was perfectly sober at the time; I never saw her intoxicated but once, when she acted a little strangely; I have never seen Mr. Macrae unable to walk or talk although I believe he was always more or less under the influence of liquor; when the quarrels occurred downstairs the nose was always bad enough to awaken us; if he was going to beat her, he would always shut the door; whenever he had a row, it was generally at the dinner table or in the library; Mr. Macrae was in the habit of speaking loudly; I heard cursing when the door was shut; when I was carrying dishes to the housemaid at dinner time, I have heard them quarrelling; Mr. Macrae was not always in the habit of speaking in a loud tone of voice; if he got in a passion, he would speak loud; when I took Mrs. Macrae to Mr. Ritchie, I thought she was sober.
To a juryman – I saw the mark of a stab on the neck; a short time before that, I heard before that, I heard Mr. Macrae threaten to kill her; about seven or eight hours before.
This concluded the evidence for the crown.
Mr. Martin said he understood no more witnesses would then be called.
Mr. Osler said certainly not, unless he had to call any evidence in rebuttal.
Mr. Martin said he proposed to call witnesses, but he could not do so tonight. Anytime which was suitable to the coroner, the jury and the Crown would be agreeable to him.
Mr. Osler said that he had hastened the case for the Crown as much as possible, as the defendant was in prison, and could not obtain bail. As he had finished, the onus of the delay was now on Mr. Martin, he had no objection to any length of delay.
The inquest was adjourned till 10 a.m. on Friday morning next.
The inquest on the body of the late Mrs. J. O. Macrae was resumed Friday morning at 11 a.m., before Coroner White.
Mr. Osler, Q.C., appeared for the Crown, and Mr. E. Martin, Q.C., watched the case for Mr. Macrae.
The first witness called was
THOMAS WILLIAMS, sworn – I am coachman to Mr. J. O. Macrae; I came there on the 4th of April, the day after Sarah Young came there; I had other duties besides that of coachman; I had to attend to the fires, boots, shoes, etc. ; I was in the habit of seeing Mr. and Mrs. Macrae daily up to the time Mrs. Macrae was taken sick; Mr. Macrae during that period was most of the time under the influence of liquor; Mrs. Macrae was in a similar condition; I was in the house in the morning and in the evening; I have heard quarrelling between Mr. and Mrs. Macrae in a loud and boisterous tone from both of them; when I say under the influence of liquor, I mean, seriously under the influence, and it was quite perceptible; they were intoxicated most of the time I was there up to Mrs. Macrae’s sickness; they were more under the influence of liquor in the afternoon than in the forenoon; I never saw Mr. Macrae strike his wife, or she him; I never heard either threaten one another with violence.
To Mr. Osler – I would see Mrs. Macrae several times during the day, either in the kitchen or through the house,or in the library; I attended to all the fires; I very seldom got orders from Mrs. Macrae, except to on a message; I live at the house, in the west corner, away from the main part of the building; I could not exactly say how often during the day I would be in the house; it was frequently; I was there twenty days before she was taken sick; I saw a black eye when I went there on Mrs. Macrae; you may say she had two black eyes; one was more discoloured than the other; they appeared to get better while I was there; I cannot say I saw Mrs. Macrae everyday I was there; I saw her everyday except for a few days; she was able to give orders; I heard quarrelling of an evening when I was locking up the house; I never heard screams; the quarrels took place in the library, with the door shut; I could hear the sound and not the words; it was not nearly a daily occurrence – it was more like weekly; I heard it three or four times; all I heard was in the library and with the door shut; Mr. Macrae was usually able to give me orders, and was not staggering drunk except on a few occasions; on each occasion, before I heard the words, I had seen Mr. Macrae drunk a short time before and had noticed it; I noticed it because he gave me the orders three or four times over; I have seen him as drunk when he not quarrel with Mrs. Macrae; he did not quarrel with me and the other servants when he was drunk.
O Mr. Martin - On the day of Mrs. Macrae’s death, Mr. Macrae sent out for Dr. George Mackelcan and his father; I drove Dr. George Mackelan up and then went back for his father; Mrs. Macrae was equally as intoxicated as Mr. Macrae during the quarrels.
To a Juror – I heard no row between Mr. and Mrs. Macrae on the day of her death; I was there in the morning and between one and two in the afternoon; when Mr. Macrae sent me for the doctor he was under the influence of liquor; Mr. Macrae had a doctor attending him a day or so previous to Mrs. Macrae’s sickness; it was Dr. George Mackelcan; I do not know the cause of the sickness
To another Juror – When Mr. Macrae gave me orders to go for a doctor, I was in the stable, and one of the girls came out and told me to go for a doctor; I went into the kitchen to put my boots on and saw Mr. Macrae, who gave me the orders I have before stated; he did not say whether the doctor was for himself or his wife; after Mrs. Macrae was taken sick, I saw Mr. Macrae frequently; he drank as much as ever after she took to her bed.
JOHN PATTERSON, sworn : I am a tailor by trade; I lived with Mr. Macrae from the 22nd of September, 1874 till about the 7th of June, 1875; I was coachman and general man servant round the house; I had the knives boots, fires, windows, etc., to attend to in the house; I was in the habit of seeing Mr. and Mrs. Macrae daily except once; I have frequently seen both of them under the influence of liquor; I was requested a great many times by Mrs. Macrae to get her brandy.
Mr. Osler objected and requested to know what Mr. Martin proposed to prove.
Mr. Martin said he proposed to prove the exact cause of death.
The Coroner allowed the evidence.
Witness continued – I began to supply her in December, 1874; brought her five dozen of Hennessey’s quart bottles between that time and the time I left; the greater portion was supplied during the latter period; I gave it to Mrs. Macrae in the hall; she generally took it to the bath room; I have taken as many as two dozen empty bottles from there; Mr. Macrae was always much drunker on the day that Ms. Marae was so than on any other day; he was not aware I supplied the brandy to Mrs. Macrae; I have heard them quarrelling; I hav heard them both talking at first moderately and then increasing in noise; between December and June I have seen them both frequently under the influence of liquor, particularly during the latter part.
To Mr. Osler – Have heard no blows or threats; I have seen Mrs. Macrae with black eyes once or twice; I cannot tell how long, as they staid so long black when she got them that I did not notice; I slept off the furnace room; the quarrelling generally went on in the library.
To a juror – The bathroom is at the head of the stairs, and has trunks in it.
To another juror – I cannot swear that Mrs. Macrae drank the five dozen of brandy herself; she was always worse when I brought the brandy to her.
To Mr. Osler – I know the number of empty bottles I removed.
To a Juror – Mr. Macrae could have got in the bathroom himself; I always removed the bottles when Mr. Macrae was out.
To Mr. Martin - never went unless to get the bottles; Mrs. Macrae sent me; I have brought two bottles in three days; at first, I only brought one a week; I would take the bottles away in a basket; it was in January or February, 1875, that I took the bottles away.
To the Foreman – I commenced bringing brandy in December; I brought about four bottles a week.
To a Juror – I would not swear whether Mr. Macrae drank the brandy or not with her.
To another Juror – I left of my own accord, and had given warning other times, but had had my wages raised through Mrs. Macrae.
To a Juror – I have seen Mrs. Macrae so drunk that she could not stand up; I have seen her lying on the sofa in the library, and tried to wake er, but could not; I cold tell the number of times I smelt liquor on Mrs. Macrae.
DR. GEORGE MACKELCAN, recalled, was examined on his former oath : Since I gave my evidence before, I have attended the post mortem made by Drs. Macdonald, Mullin and Malloch, and have heard their evidence given in court; I saw nothing in the second examination to change my opinion as expressed in my previous examination respecting the cause of death; from the pretechnical spots I judged that the blood vessels were in a diseased state; during the last illness of Ms. Macrae, she vomited blood from the stomach on one, if not two, occasions; she also complained of excessive menstruation.
Mr. Osler objected, and said if Mr. Martin produced any statements of Mrs. Macrae, he would produce all her statements, which, perhaps, Mr. Martin would not care for.
Mr. Martin pressed the question, putting it to what the doctor observed.
Witness continued – I observed the vomiting of blood; on the night Mrs. Macrae went to Mr. Ritchie I saw her, she was under the influence of liquor; I saw her on the Friday after her return; I was called to see her; she was laying on the bed, apparently asleep; I awoke her with great difficulty and found she was intoxicated; on the occasion of her last illness, I expressed an opinion to her husband that she was very seriously ill, and that it was impossible for her to recover; she might not live two or three weeks, but she might live two or three months, but not longer; I said this one more than one occasion, and I told Mrs. Macrae so; there is no doubt that intemperance produced disease of the liver, that disease, with continued intemperate habits, produced haemorrhage, which would tend to produce the clot in the brain which was the cause of death; deceased was of quick temper and liable to excitement; a fit of temper would increase the tendency to haemorrhage; during her last illness, I have seen Mr. Macrae give her nourishment; he did so in his ordinary manner, such as you would expect anyone to treat a sick person; in my opinion, if Dr. Macdonald’s evidence – saying that the clot must have been produced by a blow from some hard instrument, and not from a fist – is correct, I should expect to find external marks of violence; I agree with Dr. Macdonald that the gathering outside the skull had nothing to do with death; if a blow had been struck on the old blow, such as Dr. Macdonald describes, I should have expected to find a fresh effusion; if a blow as violent as Dr. Macdonald describes had been dealt to Mrs. Macrae a few hours before she died, I do not think one would have been able half an hour later after that to get up and walk; I would expect to find, in the great majority of cases, that a blow that produces a clot in the brain would leave outward traces; it is possible, but not probable, for there to be no mark; I was sent for about five o’clock on the day of Mrs. Macrae’s death.
To Mr. Osler – The tendency to haemorrhage was very great, and very slight causes would produce very great effect; my theory corresponds with that of Drs. Mullin and Malloch in a great measure; I am of the opinion that the tendency to haemorrhage was so great that a blow of the fist could have possibly produced the clot internally; before examination, I thought deceased had died from effusion of some kind, compression of the brain, etc.; I had not made my mind up what to find when I made the pot mortem ; I will not say the clot was a surprise to me; in my former examination, I have said that before I made the examination, I thought death was caused by the diseased condition of the liver; I removed the clot when making the post mortem examination because it was usual; it was accidental that it was not replaced; I did not consider it necessary to take special care of this clot, the actual cause of death; I do not consider it as necessary as to preserve the contents of the stomach in a case of poisoning; it is a matter of very great surprise to me to hear of Mrs. Macrae’s getting out of bed, and going into the hall in the condition she was in by herself, as I heard she had to be assisted in and out of bed; I cannot say whether there was any unusual cause for it; I may have been mistaken as to her state; there must have been something unusual for her to do so, or some exciting cause; I do not know whether she was capable or not; the fact of her getting up would lead me to suppose that she was stronger than I thought.
Question by Mr. Osler : Supposing Mrs. Macrae was in the condition you knew to be in immediately before her death, and that you were present and saw a severe blow struck with the fist on the side of the head, and that about half an hour afterwards insensibility set in, and death took place in the course of two or three hours, and that upon a post mortem examination you found recently effused blood on the brain corresponding to the location where the blow was given, would you say that the effects of the blow were the immediate cause of death?
Answer : Yes; I would qualify this statement by saying a blow of that violence would stun, and I would ordinarily expect to see external evidence of the blow
To Mr. Martin – When I arrived at the bedside of the deceased at 5 o’clock p.m. on the afternoon of her death, I did not see any recent marks of violence on her head; I observed no smell of liquor on her.
To Mr. Osler – I saw no signs of opium taking as a habit.
To Mr. Martin – Mrs. Macrae was a person of confirmed intemperate habits; I had seen her in a state of bordering on delerium tremens just before her last illness and at other times.
To a juryman – I was sent for to attend Mrs. Macrae at her brother’s house; I found her excited and under the influence of stimulants; she had both eyes black; the injuries did not appear recent.
The jury adjourned at 1:30 for one hour.
The inquest was resumed at 2:45.
DR JOHN MACKELCAN, recalled and examined on his former oath – I have been fifty years in practise next September, and had a large experience in dissecting while a student at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, Eng.; I have been in constant practice, and have attended Mr. Macrae’s family for the last five years; I was frequently in the habit of seeing Mr. and Mrs. Macrae during that time; I recollect attending Mrs. Macrae for a severe illness in July, 1875; she was ill from the 12th till the end of the month; the illness was produced by intemperance; it commenced with pains in her feet, and then I noticed the spots on her face; after that, she had all the symptoms of delirium tremens; to produce this, she must have drunk for some time; either my son or myself attended the family from that time; I first saw her in her last illness on the 23rd or 24th of April; she was then suffering from enlarged liver and dropsy; I attributed this to intemperance and high living; both would tell upon the liver; intemperance would affect it the most seriously; I went most of the days with my son to attend to Mrs. Macrae after the 24th of April; I first noticed the outside clot on Mrs. Macrae’s head on Monday, 1st of May; I saw her again the day before her death; when I first saw her on that day, he seemed brighter and better; I was leaning over her speaking to her, and I noticed she spoke thickly, and I thought she had more stimulant than had been ordered. Native wine had been ordered to be given her; I was present between five and six o’clock the day she died; particularly examined the condition of her eyes to see what was the cause of the coma; I did not remain until her death; I was at the first post mortem examination, and also apportion of the time when Drs. Macdonald, Malloch and Mullin held their examination; I witnessed the whole examination of the head; I saw no marks of violence on the head at the second examination, or at the former one, or on the day of her death; if the clot of blood inside had been caused by a blow from a hard instrument, I would have expected to have found external marks of violence; if it had been caued by a blow over the old spot, it would have left external marks of violence; in Ms. Macrae’s state of health, if she had been struck by a blow with an instrument such as Dr. Macdonald describes, she could not have walked to the door of the bathroom; she would have been stunned; on the second post mortem examination, I noticed a petechioe on the back; petechioe marks indicate a disease of the smaller vessels and a disorganised state of blood; it would affect all the smaller vessels of the body, either in the brain or stomach; I noticed in some fluid which was shown to me as having been vomited by deceased some dark streaks of blood; this would show a weak state of the vessels of the stomach; Mrs. Macrae was a woman of excitable temper; the immediate cause of her death was the pressure on the brain through extravasation of blood; this might have been produced in three ways, either spontaneously, by disease or by excitement from a fall or a blow; I anticipate haemorrhage would take place in some part of the body from the disease from which she was suffering; I expressed an opinion to this effect to Mr. Macrae some ten days before the deceased died; I told him distinctly from the beginning of her illness, there was no hope of recovery; I was not altogether unprepared to find haemorrhage n the brain causing death; I would sooner have expected serious effusion; some days before her death, my son spoke of coma coming on through the blood poisoning without either effusion I agreed with him; I have seen Mr. Macrae during the deceased last illness attending to her wants.
To Mr. Osler – You would be more likely to find serious effusion as a result of the disease in this case than sanguineous effusion; a blow would not bring on serious effusion, but probably sanguineous; if there was evidence of a blow iven shortly before coma set in, I should think that, with the excitement caused by it, it would be the cause of death in the state deceased was in; there is a great difference in force between a blow struck on the head when it is supporting itself and when it is resting on something; a black eye remaining a long time would indicate a weak state of the blood vessels; deceased’s circulation was not strong; a bruise would appear more easily on a person I n her condition than on one in a healthy condition; the clot was not altogether a surprise to me; it is not possible to tell when a person dies in a state of coma what to expect; I agree with the other doctors that internal haemorrhage is possible from violence without external marks.
To Mr. Martin – A blow from a hard instrument would produce a mark, and a person in deceased’s condition would be peculiarly liable to show a mark.
DR. KITTSON was called and gave evidence corroborative of DR. Mackelcan’s.
The Coroner, in charging the Jury said :
MR. FOREMAN AND GENTLEMEN – We have come to the end of a very long and painful investigation – one the like of which I have never been called upon to hold, and hope I shall never be called on to hold again. I have to thank you for your careful attention to the evidence of the different witnesses, and think that, from that attention, it will not be necessary for me to say much to you about the evidence, as it would only take up unnecessary time, and you already have lost enough of that, I am sure. It is conclusively proved, in my opinion, from the evidence, that the immediate cause of death was the clot on the brain. The medical evidence shows that this clot might have been caused either by violence or disease, and the evidence of Dr. Macdonald goes to show that, in his opinion, it was occasioned by violence. In my opinion, by the evidence of Ada Macrae, a blow is shewn to have been struck shortly before insensibility set in, by the accused, and the appearance of the body shows that a great deal of violence had been used to the deceased, not only by the external bruises and marks, but by the evidence of the medical men who made a post mortem examination on the body. I refer more especially to the amount of violence and to the bruises on the chest. If you believe the evidence of Ann Foster and Emma Hatchard, it shows plainly that the deceased was being subjected to a systematic course of ill treatment by the accused, that murderous attacks had been made frequently on her, and that threats of murder were frequently made. If you believe this evidence, it appears to me that it is clear evidence of malice; and, taking it in connection with the medical evidence, it points very strongly to the death of the deceased being caused by violence at the hands of the accused. If the jury find that the deceased came to her death at the hands of the accused, and that there was malice, the verdict should be one of wilful murder - if without malice, manslaughter. I will now leave you, gentlemen to bring in the verdict according to your discretion. If you wish any of the evidence read over to you, I shall be happy to do so. I would remind you that twelve jurors must agree before a verdict can be given.
The Court was cleared at five o’clock, and at 11:30, the jury brought in the following
That the said Victoria St. George Mcrae came to her death from the effects of injuries inflicted on her by her husband, John Octavius Macrae.
The above verdict was concurred in by 12 of the 16 jurors.