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Western Reserve chronicle and weekly transcript of the times. (Warren, Ohio) 1854-1855, April 04, 1855, Image 1

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VOL. 40, NO. ".32.
WARREN, TRUMBULL COUNTY, OHIO, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 1855.
WHOLE NO.-.I01Q.V
. ,. - ......
Trial of Rollin A. Leet,
Trial of Rollin A. Leet, FOR
ADMINISTERING POISON!
In thk Cocrt of Commos Pleas,
Trumbull Cocrtt. State of Ohio ts.
Bol in A. Leet, for Poisoning. March
SOlh, 1855.
The case was opened by reading of
the indictment by D. D. Belden, Prose
cuting Attorney, who first read the stat
ute concerning poisoning.
TESTIMONY FOR THE PROSECUTION.
-Smith Scovill, (tworn) I used to be
acquainted with Elsie A. Leet; I saw her
last in health the day before she died,
before sun down; I saw her at the center
of Vienna; she was at my store; she was
buying seme few good?i she appeared to
he as well as I ever saw her; it was about
half past four o'clock in the afternoon of
the 7th day of December last ( J o crott
examination.) ; -
Henry Leet. I am acquainted with
the defendant; I was north of the center
one day when bis father was there, when
he was .getting better afier he had been
rick; I said to him, (the defendant,) his
father would like to see him before he
went away; He would not go in; he said
he diJ not wish his father any harm, but
be did not wish to see his face ; I cannot
recollect the time it was when his father
was up north after he had been sick, and
was getting better; he ssid he was going
to Cleveland; he did not know what he
would go at, and said he meant to go in
to business in Cleveland. I do not know
whether he went; he went away, and
told ne after he came back thai he had
been there ; he did not go in to see his
father; he was gone to Cleveland two or
three days and did not succeed in getting
business; we were in the road in fr nt ol
the house where I lire at; Mr. Leet was
north about half a mile from home ; he
did not seem to want to see his father; I
had no business there, but went up with
him thinking he would go in may be and
see his father; he was saying he was
thinking of going away; I 6aid he had
better go up and see his father, but he
did not seem to want to go in; I got him
into the buggy and drove up there, but
he would not go in, and s.iJ he did not
wish him any harm, but he would not
go in; he had hold of the lines; we came
back again; I told him one time that I
thought if he would stay at home, his
father would do well by him; he did not
seem to think he was well used; I told
him at the time his father was sick, if he
would stay at home, and not be going
evenings so much, folks would think bet
ter ot him; he said he was not gone so
much as folks thought he was; I told
him if he would stay at home and go to
work, his father would do well by him ;
he said he had tried ii, and his father
had promised lii-.n what he would do,
but he said, it makes no difference after
all for his latiier would not do what was
right; I know I have seen him some at
Shannon's I never saw him tliere very
frequently, fjr I have never been where
I have had a chance to; I have seen him
there occasionally; that is the most I
know about it, except that I have seen
some intimacy between him and Shan
non; I once overtook Shannon in the
road, when Bollin was with me, and he
got in and talked with Bollin andmr; he
rode down with me, and stayed there
a while, and had some talk with Bol in.
So trot examination.
"' Dr. Milton Moore. I reside at Vienna
Center; I practice medicine; I have prac
ticed about four years; I was called up
on on the 7lh day of December last, to
visit Elsie Ltet, at Vienna; I saw her
about 5 o'clock previous to being called
to 6ee her; I had been at Smi h Scovill's
store, and met her on the stoie step; I
had been acquainted1 with her about two
years; I had tome conversation at the
stare; her little sitter was with h r; 1
said, how do you do, Elsie? She smiled
and said, I am well, quite well, or I
should not be here; I should think I nev
er km w her health b tt- r; I think I was
called 10 visit her about half past six
o'clock; I went home from the s:ore, and
was doing soo:e chores; Isjac Woodford
ca led me, and said Elie was in a fit, or
was dying; my horse was lame, and Mr.
Woodford loaned me his horse, and I
went down as soon as I could; on the
way I met another messenger; as I enter
ed the ddor I saw a number of individu
al there; 1 heard her voice, the first of
any, before I saw her; she said; "Doc
tor Chloroform;" these words Bhe re
peated several times; I would like to get
the form of the room before the minds of
the jury; I came in at the south door;
the stove was on the e&4 si )e; she lay
with her feet toard me as I entered; 1
found her lying on her back, with her
feet toward the stove, and seemed to be
incompetent to move; a little froth at the
mouth; her neek and throat seemed lobe
swollen, ,and her wtojj chest a a state
of rigidity; as soon as I could get off my
overcoat,'1 1 felt ber pulse and found X a
1 ttle accelerated and not quite o full
!in health; I saw there vast state of
I snpsms- T A&lif d hpr what Jiilpd liAr? ithfl
! made no reply; I tried to give her bran
dy and Chloroform, but she cou d not
swallow; I put about half an ounce of
Chloroform upon a handkerchief, and
she inhaled it and seemed a little easier.
bu it helped her very little; her feet
were a good deal mor- concave than
usual; about this time I became satisfied
what ailed her; she kept calling for Chlo
roform, and as I was afraid of getting
out of it, I sent for more; she still called
for it; she said "I shall be dead In a f w
minutes," and still called for Chloro
form.
In a few minutes the same was repeat
ed ; during this time she had spasms,
which seemed to throw the whole system
into a state of rigidity, and the pupils of
the eyes dilated and were set, and yet she
seemed conscious; when the Chloroform
failed, she said some tiling about an emet
ic; perhaps she said she felt like vomit
ing, or ought to vomit; I cannot tell her
exact words; I saw one tooth gone, and
endeavoreJ to make her swallow some
thing there; there seemed t3be adifficul y
in her throat, that effectually prevented
her from swallowing; these spasms seemed
to grow harder, and continued at inter
vals; when the person returned with the
medicine, I dispatched another messenger
for my brother, who is practicing medi
cine with me; we used friction and warm
applications, but without success; she
bad anoih-rspasm, which drew her head
back, brought hereyes o;en and left her
body in a state of rigidity, and the nev
er Irrath d aain; his wasubout 3 o'cl.ck;
we after this, and as quick as it could be
prep ired, put her into a warm bath, and
tried to resiore her, without success. Any
person touching her, or the wind blowing
upon her, would produce spasms; she
could not bear to be touched; I could not
detect the condition of her tongue, except
by ths edges, which were quite reJ; I
saw tnat by luting one ot Her Ret, botn
were lifted; Bhe might have laid across
my hand extended, coulJ I have sup
ported her in such a position, S3 rigid
was her body; it was myudgement, (I
expressd it then) that she had taken poi
son; and that that poison was strychnine;
I said these were the symptoms, and I
could account for her appearance on no
other ground; it was that conviction that
led to the other sty ps taken; we asked
for the bottle of Mr. Leet, and he got us a
bottle; myself and bi other stood by the
6tove; c took the bottle home; the bot
tle purported to contain Hoofland's Ger
man Bitters; it was some medicine I had
prescribed for Mr. Leet when he was re
covering; the bottle was about half full
of medicine, perhaps not quite; I do not
know how to get the matter before you
exactly; I put the bottle in the hands of
my brother at the time; I saw it again
the next day; it was at my house; I put
it in aiin trunk and locked it up; I put
the trunk up in another chest and locked
it up; I took it to Cleveland on Sabbath
day, about 4 o'clock.
Elsie's death occurred on Thuisday
evening; on Saturday a post-mortem ex
amination was held; Dr. Beach of Fow
ler, Dr. Bebee of Hartford, Dr. Stewart
ofBrookfield, my brother and myself.
were present, the examination was held
about ll o'clock; we examined the heart,
lungs, stomach and liver, and found the
heart to contain about three ounces, in
the two ventricles, of liquid blood; dark
fluid blood; found the lungs engorged
with quit dark bl ocd, so that on cutting
them, they proved to be full of it; found
the stomach, which e dii not opiu; we
ted two string-( firmly around each end,
so as to prevent anything f om escaping
or going into it, and put it into a trunk
with the bottle; I discovered no in lication
of disease, except what I have mentioned;
everything appeared to be i:i good health
except the app arances Ihaveinentioned;
I believe s rychnine was the cause of her
dea h; Nux Vomica, or some preparation
of it; I could no: account fcr the appear
ance of things cm any other ground; the
examination was made at mine and my
brother's instance; I tok the stomach
and locked it up with the bottle of bit
ters on Saturday; on Sabbith day, after
the funeral, I took the stomach and bot
tle of bitters, in company with Mr.
Squires, lo Cleveland; I saw that no one
touched it but myself, and put it into the
hands of Prof. St. John, in Cleveland,
but as he could n it attend to it, I then
put it into the han Is of Prof. Cassels ;
we took out the stomach, and saw the
effects of w hat was tried with i'; the ef
fects producid by the application of tests
of strychnine were tho same as those
which appeared when they were applied
to the contents of that bottle; a smll
quanti y was in a tumbler, and by apply
ing the tests, acids, a bright scarlet color
was produced; the same results were
found in the case of s rychnin; taken
from a vial, as well as the substance
iake from the stoma jh; it seemed that
Jhe matter, in th bottle was highlj
charged with strychnine; the stomach
was cut open, its contents boiled down
and filtered, then distilled water was ap
plied, and the same tests applied; the
results were the same as with the con
tents of the b ittle and of the strychnine
from the vial; the bottle and stomach
were left with Prof. Cassels; there was
. strychnine detected both in the bottle and
stomach; we believed there was sufficient
Strvchninetoaccountforher death found
in her ttomach; after the death of Elsie,
with Mr. Squires, 1 went toinvite the Doc-
tors for the examination, and he to tell Bol
lin that his sister was dead; Shannon
resided at the center of Vienna before his
removal to Hartford : it was a little short
of ten miles.
I went first to Dr. Bebee's and secur
ed his attendance, and then came down
to where Mr. Squires was, at Mr. Shan
non's; passed into the room; saw Bollin
and shook hands with him; sat down a
few moments; I made a remark as I was
going out; I said, "Bollin, we have rath
er hard news for you;" he appeared to
feel bad when I shook hands with him;
we got into the sleigh; myself and Mr.
Squires sat in the back, Bollin just be
fore us. We rode some distunce before
there was nnything said as to Miss Leet's
case; I then said to Bollin, "I suppose
your uncle has told you the circumstan
ces;" he made no reply; I thought he did
not hear me, as there was bells on the
horse. I repeated the remark, and he
said his uncle had related the facts. I
then renarked that his sister had died
very suddenly; that when she went home
her father gave her some medicine. He
made the expression, "you don't think
the medicine poisoned her, do you?" I
think that was the expression; it was
something about poison; it might have
been, " you don't think there was poison
in the medicine?"
We went to BrookfiVld, and went to
ree Dr. Stewart, and then came home ;
this was all the conversation I had with
him at the time; nothing had been said
about poison when Bollin made the re
mark I have given. I thnk he was told
that she seemed to die in a fit; I said
that she had spasms, I avoided answer
ing in relation to the cause of her death;
I have no recollection of any conversa
tion since, except one after the trial be;
fore the magistrate. After the trial was
over, and while the bonds were being
made, and his father was there, I told
him I wanted to speak with him. I said
lo him that I believed he was not alone in
the matter, and that it was my advice to
his father's and go to work. I said I
thought some one had advised him, and
referred to his age, fcc. I said he must
not submit to ill and evil advisers. He
replied that he had had no advice in the
matter; said he, "if I have done it, I
have done it alone," then there was a
pause, and he spoke again, "I am alone
in this matter." I think we stept out of
the Justice's Office into another room to
have this conversation.
I was called two or three times be
tween the 29th of July and the 17th of
August, to see Homer M. Leet; I was
called with my brother; I found him sev
eral times in spasms, with a full flushed
face, red tongue, and in such a condi
tion that if touched, or a fly lit on his
face, or a door suddenly opened, he
would go into a spasm. I saw him at in
tervals between the spasms, and he ap
peared to be doing well, but I did not
have the charge of him. About the 17th
of August, the case came into my hands;
he had a spasm a few days before. We
examined the spine, head, and nervous
system, and tried to account for the
ppasms; we then stated to each other and
believed that he had been taking strych
nine. After the 17th, a few days, he appear
ed tobe improving and I thoughthe was get
ting better. The redness was disappearing
from his tongue, his mouth getting moist,
and his appetite returning. I told Miss
Elsie L-et one day, that her father was
getting better, and went along home,
leiving his medicine as usual. Very
soon a messenger came for me in great
haste; I went, and found him in a spasm
sucb as he had when I called with my
brother before. I freely administered
Chloroform and left Bom's fr him to use.
I sat with him nearly the whole night,
and du'ing that time he would frequently
have these sp isms. The pupils of his
eyes dilated, an 1 he was so c mscious of
everything around him that any little
thing threw him into a spasm. 'There,'
said he, in one instance, when he had
been in a spasm, "that fly di 1 that." 1
notice I that his tongue was very red, and
soon became dry an 1 glossy. After a
fe days this began to disappear, aid his
tonme became mois. I became satisfied
that all was not righ, and determined to
move him. Elsie was taking care of
him. I have already said I b. lieved he
was taking Strychnine.
At o ie time preio;is to the convuls'on
ab;ut the 20th of August, I told Ro&n
to be particular about his medicine,
and to take charge of it At a subse
quent period I changed directions, and
told Elsie to take charge of it. I remov
ed him to my house; he stayed there two
days and nights; his home was south of
tho center; after leaving my hou-e, he
went north to his brother's, and I visited
him there; he was away from home about
two weeks, and continued to improve front
the time of moving him, and soon began
to attend to Lis business; I have not known
of his having spasms since; he has ap
plied for medicine occasionally, and has
seemed to want something to guard a
gainst the return of such spasms; he had
the first of the spasms that I know of,
about the 3d of August; the last was not
fur from the 20th of August; I removed
him to my house about the 27th of Au
gust; I think Bollin generally came for
me ' when his father had these spells -The
family consisted of the old gentle .
man, Elsie, Rollin, and a little girl about
7 years old; I should think Mr. Leet had
the severe epasms I have mentioned,
about once a week; I think I twice noti
ced a slight frothing at the mouth; ho
seemed very anxious to get well.
( Crost examination.)
I was called shortly after the 29th of
July; he was at my office on the 28th of
July; my brother saw him then; the first
time rnything was said ol the suspicious
circumstances of his sickness, was some
where in the neighborhood of the 10th of
August; 1 think it was at the second
spa-m I was called to see, that I was con
sulted by my brother with regard to it.
The consultation with Dr. Beebe was
previous to this. I was not at home at
that consultation; I. think I had never
visited Mr. Leet as a physician previous
to this. I have been in Vienna as a phy
sician two years last October; I had prac
tised some in his family; I had prescri
bed for his wife; they had some pref-T-ence
for my brother as a physician; I pre
scribed for Elsie perhapshalf adozen times
before her fathers sickness; I gave her
once something for tooth-ache, and onco
for acidity of the stomach. After her
father was moved up north, she was ta
ken sick with fever; something like chol
eia morbus, followed by fever; the fever
seemed to result from the irritation fol
lowing cholera morbus; Bollin was sick
in a similar way. I visited Elsie every
day for three or four days; she was quite
sick; I gave her brandy and loaf sugar
freely at firt, and afterwards put her on
an a nti-phlogistic treatment. I do not
leioember all the medicines I gave her.
The symptons which are peculiar to
Strychnine, and that alone, it would l3
very dtfficult to state. I know of no di
sease, except poist.ning from strychine,
which will produced the same symptons
just as they were exhibited there. In
the ease of the old gentleman, the spasms
would come on by the opening of (he
door, or the least touch upon the skin.
These spasms universally subsided to a
greater or less extent in about two hours;
that is, the worst was over by that time.
At first, there was not that changs in the
pulse we should expectin inflammation of
of the brain. We examined the brain and
spine, but could find no difficulty there.
Previous to the attack, he would seem to
be getting better, but when they cams
on we would find him with a very red
tongue. The spasms in Tetanus are
similar to those resulting from strych
nine ; the redness of the tongue is pres
ent in both, and it is noticeable in all cases
of great inflammation of the stomach. In
Tetanus, the symptoms are continuous ;
in strychnine they are intermitting. This
last was the case with Mr. Leet. We
find spasms in cases of Hysteria similai
in some respects to those from strych
nine. If, when I called to see Miss El
si.', I had known that she had stepped
on a rusty nail, which might have pro
duced Tetanus, I should have called i!
Tetanus. But the development of such
symptoms in the absence of any
known cause, I naturally attributed to
strychnine. Under all the circumstances
as they really were, I should not attrib
ute the symptoms to Tetanus. In the
actions of strychnine there ia a sort of
electric shock, and very short spasms
seem to pass through the muscles.
I have never seen any cases of strych
nine poisoning in the human system un
less these be such. I have used strvch
nine in my practice but very little. I
give it in djses from one sixteenth to one
twelth of a grain. It acts as a ton e. I
hive never seen any marked effects. It
is used by physici ins; I cannot say how
much. My knowledge of its effects is
mostly from books. I h ive read Wat
son, Wood, Hill, and Taylor. Wood
and Watson are among the most prom
inent authorises. I had read all of these
except Taylor before the post mortem
examination. In general Hysteria, puer
pal convulsions, wounds and injuries of
the spine, would all produce spasmodic
action. In cases of children, where
the e areforeigu substances ii th.Qsto n-
sxhj we find spasms sometimes. I know
of nothing but strychnine that will pro-
duce such sensitiveness that a fly would
throw a man into spasms. We get great
sensitiveness in nervous fevers and brain
affections, but not to such an extent.
The taking of the stomach and medi
cine to Cleveland for analysis, was at the
instance of the board of physicians who
made the post mortem examination. 1
think Dr. Beach was the first to propose
it. I became responsible for the fees of
the analysis ; Mr. Belden has since paid
them ; the Professer told me how the
thing was usually done. At the post
mortem examination we did not examine
the brain or spine ; the examination
teemed to be satisfactory to thosA who
were present The intention was to see
if anything was in the stomach ; we
suspected that such was the case ; we
wanted to know whether she came to
her death by poison.
I know nothing of the composition of
Hoofland's Bitters; it claims to be a ton
ic alterative; I believe it is claimed that
there is no alcohol in it If the solvent
were all water, I cannot say how much
strychnine it would hold in solution ; I
think it requires 6667 ptrts of water to
hold one of strychnine. Strychnine is a
preparation from Nux Vomica or Dog
Button. The least dose of strychnine I
ever heard of causing death was one
half a grain, and still patients have been
known to take a grain without producing
death. In ordinary cases, death occurs
in half an hour to two and a half hours.
I think there has been cases in which
death has occurred in fifteen minutes.
The Hoofland Bitters are of a dark brown
color, muddy when shukeu np; I observ
ed a sediment in the bottle I brought
trom Mr. Leet's. By holdiug it up to
the liht, I could see a dark sediment
with considerable white powder in it. If
the solvent of the medicine were water,
and strychnine were put into it, and a half
ounce taken as soon as the strychnine
settled, it might not kill, but if it stood
long, or were shaken np, I should great
ly hate to take much of it
After Mr. Leet's spasm, I administer
ed mild remedies, such as mucilages of
Slippery Elm, Sassafras, and Flax seed.
During the violent attacks, I used more
Chloroform than in all my other practice.
I told Elsie what I used the Chloroform
for in her father's case.
(Direct resumed.)
In cases of Tetanus, at first sight the
symptoms are very similar to those from
Strychnine, but on further inquiring into
the case we should expect to find the
cause, and in the outcome some consi
derable degree of certainty might be
reached. In Tetanus it may be weeks
and it may be only a few days or hours
before death ensues.
Dr. Amzi Moore. I reside in Vienna;
Have practiced medicine . about eight
years ; I was quite well acquainted with
Elsie Leet On the night of her death,
I was called to see her, about ten or
eleven o'clock. I had retired for the
night; it was on the 7th of December.
She had been dead some two hours when
I arrived. Her face was livid and ap
peared swollen; so was her neck, and
her whole muscular system appeared in
a state of spasm, her limbs rigid and the
pupils of her eye dilated; a little bloody
froth issued from her mouth. I took a
bottle from Mr. Leet containing medicine;
I gave a small quantity of it to a cat on
the following morning, and it died with
a minute; it fell upon the floor in less
than a minute, and soon stopped breath
ing. The cat got about half a teaspoon
ful of the medicine.
I was at the post-mortem examina
tion. We found the lungs engorged
with blood and congested. The caidi
ac orifice of the stomach was injected.
We place ligatures at the extremities,
and after carefully tying them, removed
the stomach. I give the bottle to
my brother. He had the stomach in
his possession. From the appearance of
the body after death, I should be of the
opinion that site died from poison, and
that that poison was strychine. I did
not sen her while living, but I know of
nothing else which would produce such
an appearance after death, unless it were
idiopathic tetanus, but I see no reason to
believe she was affected by that She
died too so in for Tetanus, according to
our authorities, for that is rarely fatal in
less than three or four days, and fre
quently it is a we-. k or longer. I atten
ded upon Homer M. Leet from the 29th
of July to the 18th or 19th of August
He came to my h ms; on the 28th day
of July, the day be fore I first visited
him ; I had some previous knowledge
of his health, and supposed it was an old
attack of indigestion, bnt thought, and
now think, he h id some strange symp
toms to be attributed to ind gestion. He
referred to some strange symptoms in his
limbs. This was whil ) he was at my
house. . The next morning he sent for
me. His symptoms commcced with
(slight shocks as it were, which were
quickly gone; his feet were put into
hot water and he went to bed feeling
better. The following day the same
symptoms occured in a more marked de
gree. They continued for a short time
and then subsided and he was comfort
able. I felt at a loss to know what could
cause his complaint From four days
to a week from the first call he had
another much more violent attack.
At this last I thought the symptons were
those referred to strychnine in medical
books. One thin? that cade me think
so was that after an attack he would ap
parently convalesce for a few days, and
then suddenly the spasms would return.
After the spasms the tongue was red,
and showed symptoms of gastric irritation.
During the days of apparent convales
cence the tongue would lose its redness,
and his appetite would return, and then
would come another spasm. I noticed
in particular that the red tongue never
preceded the spasm, but always at the
time or immediately after; they came
on generally in the day time. I do not
remember any at night I think the
worst one was in the afternoon ; usu
ally Bollin would come after me, but not
always.
I did little or no other business but
attend to Mr. Leet for sometime; I spent
most of my time; I sometimes stayed there
several days without going home. I
gave no directions to Bollin about ad
ministering medicine. I should think he
was removed to my brother's house about
the last of August I did not hear
of his having any spasm after he left
home. These spasms continued from an
honr, for the lightest, to eight hours in
the case of the most severe one, which I
thought would be fatal During that
one I administered chloraform, and ap
plied eold water to his head, in which,
he seemed to have pain. He complain
ed first of his extremities. There was a
tendency to involuntary muscular con
traction in these. In the bad spasms the
contractions extended to the whole mus
cular system. He sometimes was in ex
treme pain in the stomach, which I at
tributed to spasm of the diaphragm and
muscles of the chest ; attempts to move
him would throw him into convulsions ;
a hand applied to his face would do so.
His extremities would sometime fly up
from the bed as if the poles of a battery
had been applied to his feet A fly light
ing on his face, or a spoon touching
his lips or teeth, would do it It was
during the most severe paroxysm there
was so much determination of blood to
the head. After the spasms, the tongue
would assume a fiery red appearance,
with symptoms of gastric irritation,
which extended to the bowels. The lon
ger the interval afterward, the better
would be the appearance of the tongue,
till after a day or two, it would resume
its natural appearance. I cannot say
bow much Bollin was there ; probably
half the time ; not so much at night aa
during the day. He was quite attentive
when there. I could not say where
Bollin was when away. Once his horse
broke away at the center ; I caught it.
and took it near to Mr. Shannon's, and
sent it to Mr. Shannon's house where I
was informed he was.
I have attended Mr. Leet's family
some, and doctored Mrs. Leet in her last
sickness. When I stayed night and day
at Mr. Leet's, he did not have a spasm;
they invariably came on when I was ab
sent Some of the time I remember be
ing away not more than an hour or two
and leaving him apparently doing well,
and then would then be called back be
cause he was in a spam.
(Crott Examination.) On the 29th
July the symptoms were not the same
as on the day before when ho was at my
house. I did not suspect anything then,
but it is now my opinion that he was la
boring under the same symptoms, al
though under a milder f jrm. Sometimes
he had the spasms every day, and some
times there would be an interval of
three or four days. I cannot state
how many he had. During them, it
was difficult to put anything in his
mouth, on account of the touch of the
spoon bringing on the spasms. Mr. Leet
had consulted me before these attacks,
as to his health, but I had given him lit
tle if any medicine. When he first con
sulted me, I suppose he labored under
indigestion, lack of tone in the stomash,
and torpiJ liver. It was probably with
in a week from the time I first saw him
in spasms, that I suspected strychnine.
Dr. H. Beach. reside in Fowler;
have been practicing medicine for the
last twenty five years ; I was at tho post
mortem examination of ELsio Leet ; I can
corroborate what has been stated as to
her appearance. (Anatomical detcription
tame at that already given ) From what
1 discovered, I should think her death was
caused by puisoniig with strychnine.
As to the cause of the sy mtoms of Ho
mer M. Le t, I wojII r.ot be willing to
say decidedly tnat they were caused by
strychnine, though they certainly look
something like it; It might, possibly:, be
that they were caused by some disease;
he had been sick so long, that it would
be nothing strange if new symtoms came
up in his case. ( Crott Examination.) I
have known Mr. Leet about SO years,
and have attended him some daring- that
period ; I have lived in his- neighborhood
several years, 15 perhaps; when 1 first
knew bin, be was a dyspeptic, with ten
dency to despondency ol mind ; J would
not like to say his symptoms were caused
by strychnine, but it is difficult to ac
count for them in any other way ; I should
suspect strychnine ; the symptoms might
be accounted for, except the sensitiveness
to the touch; I never saw a case of Te
tanus; I know but little of strychnine ;
It is a medicine I am afraid of; It is con
sidered a kind of last resort in extreme
cases ; lo cases of death from convulsion,
spasms of the respiratory muscles prevent
breathing, and so stop the circulation by
preventing the blood from flowing into
the heart . . '.
, Prof ettor John L. CatteU.l reside
in Cleveland, and am Professor of Ma.
teria Medics and Botany in the Cleveland
Medical College. Doctor Moore brought
me a bottle and a human stomach on the
1 1th of December; I examined the bottle
first ; It was about full of a muddy l q
uid, and by holding it to light there ap
peared a white sediment ; I shook por
tion of it, and guided by the symptoms
described by Dr. Moore,' I tested it for
strychnine ; I did this, because otherwise
I might go on for a week without a satis
factory conclusion ; I added acid to make
it more soluble; strychnine is not very
soluble in water alone ; I first tried it by
Nitric acid, which gives a bright red col
or ; this is, strictly speaking, the test for
Brucine ; Our Strychnine of commerce is
made up of both ; their properties 1 are
nearly the same ; I afterward tested it for
strychnine proper ; I took about one hun
dred parts of sulphuric acid to one ef
nitric acid ; On using this test upon: - the
liquid, no change of color is given, but by
adding the peroxide of lead, it gives first
blue, then violet, and afterwards settles
down into a beautiful green ; this m a
test to which no other know snbstsnce an
swers ; I then took the stomach ; this ex
amination was so late, being 4 days af
ter the death, that I could not depend
much upon the appearance of the organ
itself ; I took its contents, washed them
out, evaporated by' distillation, filtered
the liquid thus obtained several times, and
then tried the same teste as with the li
quid in the bottle, with the same results ;
I had no doubt that strychnine was found
in both bottle and stomach, and gave a
certificate to that effect- I tried, for
the sake of certainty, the same experi
ments with strychnine which I knew to be
pure, and found precisely the same re
sults. Strychnine is generally of a dark
grayish white. The grayish tinge is
owing to the presence of coloring mat
ter. It is usually about the color of
buckwheat meal. From my examination
I could not tell the quantity of strychnine;
the fact of finding strychnine in the stom
ach, together with the symptoms told by
Dr. Moore, I considered very strong evi
dence of the death of the patient by strych
nine ; If she had not died trom its effects,
the probability is that none would be
found in the stomach ; If a person should
take strychnine for some time as a med
icine, and then should die from some other
cause, it would be very unlikety that any
should, be found in the stomach, for it is
taken in such minute doses that it would
be absorbed into the system ; I have never
seen a person under the poisoous effects
of strychnine ; those who take it as modi,
cine have not uniform symptoms ; diflerent
individuals are differently affected. The
first evidences generally are a peculiar
sensation in the lower limbs, which the
patient describes as pricking, as if small
animals were crawling under the skis.
Next comes a peculiar spasmodic actioo,
like a crick in the neck ; Physicians
would stop here ; but if the doses were
further increased, so as to become poia.
inous, I should expect these symptoms' to
go on till rigidity of the whole system
should ensue ; the brain would be affected,
the face and neck becomes swolen and
livid, and the pupils of the eyes dilated.
The intellect is not generally affected till
the spasms, after frequeot returns, bring
on an asphyxiated slate in which the patient
dies. From what I have heardof the eymp.
toms here, and from the presence of
strychnine in the stomach, I should think
the yonng woman died from strychnine ;
there is a differenca between what has
been described as shocks in the muscles
and a tetanio rigidity ; the redness of the
tongue proceeds from irritation of' thai
stomach, and may proceed from innno-
merable causes ; the tetanic action seldom
arises from any cause except an injury of
some tendon or of the muscular system.
If you suppose a case of rigidity of the
mu-cles frothing at the mouth, such x-

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