Publisher Information: London: 1879.
Carpenter, William B. (1813-85). Autograph letter signed to Mr. [John] Paget [1811-98]). [London] 56 Regents Part Rd. N.W., June 2, 1879. 4pp. 178 x 114 mm. A few tiny pin-holes, but fine otherwise.
From English physiologist and naturalist William B. Carpenter, who "helped shape the modern life sciences in Britain (Oxford DNB) through both his writings and his work as a teacher and administrator at what is now the University of London. Carpenter performed valuable researches in marine zoology, and was directly influential in persuading the British Admiralty to sponsor the Challenger expedition, the first major scientific study of the deep oceans. Carpenter is also recognized as one of the founders of the modern theory of the adaptive unconscious-he observed that the human perceptual system and the mechanism of human thought operates almost completely outside of conscious awareness.
Carpenter's letter, which discusses a false confession to murder made by a mentally unbalanced young man, reads in part as follows:
Dear Mr. Paget, In turning out my papers at the University today, I have come upon a document which I forward to you, containing the Father's statement of his Son's relation to the "Brompton Murder" case, with full particulars of the latter's confession, and its inconsistency with the facts.
I believe that I did not send in this to the Home Secy.; but that what I specially urged upon him was the evidence with which Knowles had supplied me, of the "cracky" nature of the youth's mind, and of the obviously hereditary tendency to brood, as shown in the father and aunt-the latter an old servant of Knowles. And I remember also that there was evidence of the youth having had money in the Savings Bank, and of his having drawn out a pound just before the Crystal Palace Police Fête.
This altogether made so strong an impression on Mr. Bruce, that he at once commuted the sentence; and the family were so sensible that the lad was not fit to take care of himself, that they expressed no disappointment at his not having received a free pardon. . . .
Carpenter's correspondent was the police magistrate and author John Paget, whose Paradoxes and Puzzles, published in 1874, included accounts of a number of sensational crimes. We have not been able to identify the murder case to which Carpenter refers in his letter.Book Id: 41099