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JANUARY AND APRIL,
EDINBURGH: W. OLIPHANT AND SONS.
JANUARY 1, 1857.
Arr. I.-(1.) The great Oyer of Poisoning; the Trial of the Earl of
Somerset for the Poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury in the Tower of London, and various matters connected therewith, from Contemporary MSS. By ANDREW Amos, Esq. London: Bentley.
1846. (2.) A complete Collection of the State Trials and Proceedings for
High Treason, and other Crimes and Misdemeanors. Fourth
Edition. By F. HABGRAVE, Esq. London: 1776. (3.) The Queen v. Palmer. Verbatim Report of the Trial of William
Palmer. London: J. Allen ; and Cockshaw and Yates. 1856.
The recent trial of Palmer for murder by poisoning, and the suspicion which attaches to him of having, by the same means, caused the death of several other persons, recals to mind the wholesale poisonings which, during the latter part of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries, prevailed to such a fearful extent in France and Italy. Not that these wholesale crimes were then first known; for Beckmann shows that they were practised by the Greeks, the Romans, and the Carthaginians; but only that they were, at the above mentioned periods, become so notorious, as to have attained for their authors the infamous celebrity which has since attached to them in the annals of crime.
In Italy poisoning had become a trade. Tofana at Palermo and Naples,* and Hieronima Spara at Rome,t supplied, 'for a consideration,' the deadly potions by which Italian ladies got rid of disagreeable husbands. Tofana confessed, previous to her execution, to having caused the death of six hundred persons. I
In the first half of the eighteenth century.
Beckmann's History of Inventions. Title, 'Secret Poisoning.'