Friday, 21 February 2014

"And my blood runs cold." February 1869

Patrick Whelan was hung Feb 11, for the assassination of D'Arcy McGee - but it was pretty questionable whether he was guilty or not. He always maintained his innocence -- when the jury delivered his guilty verdict, he said:
“Now I am held to be a black assassin. And my blood runs cold. But I am innocent. I never took that man’s blood.”

The coverage in the papers was sensational -
"Everything about “the tailor with the red whiskers” was noted by the newspapers. He first appeared in court wearing a small green rosette, a white vest, and garnet cuff links. On the final day, however, he came dressed in black ..."

Apparently 1869 was the snowiest winter on record in Ottawa and on the date of his hanging, a blizzard began that lasted 2 weeks. 5000 people came to watch. It was the last public hanging in Canada.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography online has more
       Here we are in the 150th anniversary year of the Confederation talks and the winter weather seems to be lining up anniversary fashion too.

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