By Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)
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Additional resources for A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present
Subsequent reform attempts in later decades of the eighteenth century also failed due, in no small measure, to the widespread and persistent support for what Mark Jackson describes as ‘the doctrine of maximum severity’ or the retention of capital punishment for serious offences. 88 The legislation passed against infanticide in 1624 and 1690 provides the initial foundations for the study that follows this introduction. Although the statutory provision remained steadfast in 1772, it was not long before dissatisfaction with legislation was renewed.
88 The legislation passed against infanticide in 1624 and 1690 provides the initial foundations for the study that follows this introduction. Although the statutory provision remained steadfast in 1772, it was not long before dissatisfaction with legislation was renewed. Indeed, over the four centuries since 1624 there has rarely been a time when authoritative, legislative and popular opinion towards the crime of new-born child murder has remained either unequivocal or uncontroversial. 89 From the bastardy and concealment-focused legislation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, through the legislative reforms and attempts to protect infant life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the preoccupation with 22 A History of Infanticide in Britain understanding the psycho-social causes of infanticide in the present day, new-born child murder has endured as a tragic but fascinating component of criminal history.
3 In any case, upon the discovery of her condition, Ann decided to conceal her pregnancy. 8 The mistress soon suspected what had happened and so she asked for a midwife to come and examine her servant. The midwife, after her inquiry, declared that Ann Price had recently been delivered of a child. Initially, Ann ‘stoutly denied’ the accusation against her, but eventually confessed that it was true, but that as the child had been still-born, she had locked it away in her box. 9 Whether the child had been born dead or alive was 23 24 A History of Infanticide in Britain not contested in court and no associated medical testimony was provided.
A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present by Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)