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Is This the Head of your Husband, Mrs. Hayes?

A watchman has found a severed head in a pail near the Thames. The head is soon identified as Mr. Hayes. Mr. Hayes had beaten his wife, Catherine, after she had spent a wild weekend of careless spending, drinking and you-know-what with a fellow named Billings. Apparently she resented the beating and resolved to murder her husband. After getting her husband drunk, she convinces Billings and a fellow named Wood to kill him with an axe. She reasons that Mr. Hayes is an atheist and thus not worthy of life. They are reluctant, so she offers them money. It's a deal! Catherine catches the blood in a pail as Wood removes the head. They figure it would be best to get rid of the head to make identification of the body impossible. Billings carries the pail to the Thames and tosses it in. He expects the head to be washed away, but as the tide goes out, the pail is soon exposed. A watchmen notices the head inside and all is lost for the trio of murderers. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Mr. Hayes was no great prize, even compared to the men of the day who were not particularly wonderful in the first place. Mrs. Hayes was marginally worse, and when she was put on trial, accounts of her wild life caused such a sensation that the Sargent-at-arms charged a quarter-of-an-ounce of gold per-person for admittance. (That is about $285.) Mrs. Hayes claimed innocence. The devil made her do it and she excused her accomplices, saying that money had nothing to do with it. (The money she had offered was the equivalent of $290,000.) She was found guilty and sentenced to garroting (that is, strangulation with a rope) and her dead body burned at the stake. The sentence was carried out the next year, but the executioner botched it. He was too close to the flames so he dropped the garrote. Mrs. Hayes was burned at the stake, alive and screaming... for an unusually long time. This practice continued until the 13th year of King George the 3rd. Thereafter a woman was simply hanged if she murdered her husband. It was considered a mercy. [3] [4]

"My Country, 'Tis of Thee" is not Namby Pamby

These are the days when competition between poets can be just as knock-down-drag-out as any feud between members of the World Wrestling Federation. It is smack-down time as Alexander Pope and Ambrose Philips have a go at each other in verse. And it is not limited to these two fellows. Henry Carey has jumped in with his own mocking rendition of Philips's work. It is a nonsense poem entitled, "Namby Pamby". (The "amby" part is understood to mean Ambrose.) The poem becomes so popular that the name sticks and Ambrose Philips is forever known as Namby Pamby. Thereafter, Carey will set his sites on mocking opera. "Sally in the Alley," is such a work and it will be sung and played into the modern day. One other melody will last into the modern day. Some historians believe that Henry Carey wrote "God Save the King." The United States will take the melody from "God Save the King, " write new words for it and call it, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee". [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Namby-Pamby started off meaning "nonsense" and has come to mean "sentimental," "weak," or "spineless." In an interview in 2015 for the 700 Club, Sarah Palin was asked what the United States should do about ISIS. She responded that we should stop being Namby Pamby. She meant that the United States should stop acting weak. Donald Rumsfeld said that weakness is provocative and I would agree with that to a point. When someone acts weak but is really strong, his enemies will attack. They will pay the price for their mistake, but if that person had acted as strong as he actually was (or nearly so) his enemies would not attack. Acting weak can be provocative and it is often the wrong strategy unless one is luring his enemy into an ambush. I worry that our acting weak will lure enemies into an ambush we are not prepared to spring. That often leads to a lot of lives lost to no gain. [7] [8]

Notable Events

* George Mason is born in Virginia. He is one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, but he refused to ratify the Constitution. [9]
* Freemasonry comes to France. It was imported from England. [10]
* The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the 1st Freemason lodge in Dublin and the oldest lodge in continuous existence.[11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1725, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Bentley, G. E. Jr. (March 2009). "Blake's Murderesses: Visionary Heads of Wickedness". Huntington Library Quarterly (University of California Press) 72 (1): 69-105. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/hlq.2009.72.1.69. Retrieved 5 February 2016. "At Catherine’s urging, "Billings went into the room with a hatchet, with which he struck Hayes so violently that he fractured his skull" but did not kill him. Wood, "taking the hatchet out of Billings's hand, gave the poor man two more blows, which effectually dispatched him." They were then faced with the problem of how to dispose of the body.". 
  2. Newgate Calendar: Comprising Interesting Memoirs of the Most Notorious Characters who have been Convicted of Outrages on the Laws of England since the Commencement of the Eighteenth Century, The. J. Robins and Co., 257-268. 
  3. Gold Price. goldprice.org (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016.
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: Mrs. Hayes was supposed to be dead by the time the flames reached her. If they had wanted her to burn at the stake alive, they would have prepared better. Generally, they would slather a person in grease so that they would burn quickly and they would advise not holding one's breath. But they weren't expecting her to be alive. She must have suffered quite a bit.
  5. Henry Carey (writer) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016. “His poem, Namby Pamby (1725), satirized Ambrose Philips who was a frequent and famous target of Alexander Pope's wrath. Philips had written a series of odes to 'all persons', from Robert Walpole to the mother in the nursery, and the latter provided the occasion for Carey to exaggerate. Philips had employed a 2.5' iambic line, and Carey devastatingly claimed that the half-line matched Philips's halfwitted conception. The poem was so successful that Carey himself began to be known as 'Namby Pamby Carey' (while Philips became known as 'Namby Pamby'), and the poem even came to be used as children's literature.”
  6. Sally in Our Alley. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016.
  7. Namby Pamby - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016. “
    All ye Poets of the Age!
    All ye Witlings of the Stage!
    Learn your Jingles to reform!
    Crop your Numbers and Conform:
    Let your little Verses flow
    Gently, Sweetly, Row by Row:
    Let the Verse the Subject fit;
    Little Subject, Little Wit.
    Namby-Pamby is your Guide;
    Albion's Joy, Hibernia's Pride.”
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: I saw the Sarah Palin interview on YouTube but it was part of a larger commentary criticizing her and I couldn't find a clean video copy of her interview. It was highly edited so I didn't trust it for more than the one sentence. The Donald Rumsfeld paraphrase is from my own memory.
  9. George Mason - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016. “George Mason (sometimes referred to as George Mason IV) (December 11, 1725 – October 7, 1792) was a Virginia planter, politician, and a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of three men who refused to sign.”
  10. 1725 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016. “1725-1730 - Freemasonry is established in France as an English import.”
  11. Grand Lodge of Ireland - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 February 2016. “The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the second most senior Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the world, and the oldest in continuous existence.”

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