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2 " ' THE AKGUS, WEDNESDAY, D'ECEAIBER 11.1895.
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mi i i ii. l.iiik i w i i nil ii i w cuu c'.iccis biiu iu uis uw a i luiir - v iuri f im i t r t
Murder In the Laboratory of
Harvard Medical College.
THE ITEBSTER-rARKXAX TRAGEDT.
A Crloa That Created InteaaB and Wide
spread Excitement la 1849 oa Accsaat
of th Hleh Social StaadlBK of th Mar
deter and Bis Victim.
Copyright, 18B5, by American Press Associa
tion.! Fortyilx years ago and for nearly trro
centuries prior to that time, as indeed to
this day, there are no names better known
in New England than thoee of Park man
and Wobster. Both families have added to
the glory of our country's history through
the statesmen, orators, lawyers and scien
tists they have given to the pnblic.
The two members of these two great
families in whom we are most interested
are Professor Webster of Harvard univer
sity and Dr. George Parkman, each well
known in his day the one for his great
wealth and the other for his Intellectual
There are men still living who can re
member this celebrated case. Crimes
equally atrocious were committed before
and have been committed since, but the
standing of those men makes this caso one
of the most remarkable in the history of
On Nov. 23, 1849, Professor Webster was
charged with the murder of Dr. Parkman
on the following counts: 1. Charging Web
ster with the murder of Parkniun with a
knife. 8. The murdering of Parkninn with
a hammer. 3. The murder of Parkinnn by
ttriklng and beating with implements un
known. 4. Murdering Parkman by means
unknown to the jurors.
In this trial the court sat 11 days, and
115 witnesses were examined. At that
time, under the laws of Massachusetts, a
prisoner could not testify, so that daring
the trial the lips of the accused were
In order that the roaders of the later
generation may the better understand this
remarkable case it will be in order to give
brief biographical sketches of the princi
pals in this historic tragedy.
Georgo Parkman was born in Boston in
1791. Ho graduated ut Harvard in 1809
and three years afterward took a degree in
medicine at tho University of Aberdeen,
in Scotland. A scholar by inclination,
his largo wealth gave him no incentive to
practice his profession, and so he devoted
his lifo to his library and tho care of his
property. Ho waa a slender, delicate man,
and ulthough only 5 feet 10 inches in
height looked much taller because of his
narrow shoulders and hollow chest. His
brother, tho Rev. Francis Parkman, was
for nearly a generation pastor of tho wll
known New North church, in Boston,
whero Professor Webster and his family
attended. These men were uncles to the
famous American historian, Francis Pork
man, who died in 1895.
John White Webster was born in Boston
in 1793 and took his bachelor degree at
Harvard in 1811 and his doctor's degree at
the samo university in 1815. Ho was a
man of marked intelligence, scholarly in
clinations and recognized ability. In
1824, when only 31 years of age, Webster
was npiMiintcd lecturer on chemistry,
mineralogy and geology at Harvard col
lego. At the ago of 32 he published a
manual of chemistry, and to this important
study ho devoted tho rest of Ids life. He
belonged Ut many learned societies in the
United States and Europe, and to all who
knew him liU high character and polished
manners made him one of the most agree
able companions. .Subsequently, when
the great shadow fell upon his life, it was
recalled by his friends that he was fre
quently irritable, nnd that when at all
provoked had a most violent if not a dan
Fonnany years Professor Welistcr and
Dr. Parkninn were warm friends. Web
ster was married, arid Ills family increased
rapidly, and his compensation being small,
us compared with ills wants, lie ran into
debt. In 1843 l)r.' Parkman loaned Web
ster (400, for which betook a note payable
with interest in 15 months. That Park
man was a careful man of business is
shown by tho fact that lie secured this note
by a mortgago on Professor Webster's
household furniture and collection of min-
HE COULD BEAR SOMEBODY M0VIXO ABOUT.
erals. Up to 1S47 Dr. Webster had been
oblo to pay on this note but little more
than 50 and the interest. At that time
Dr. Parkman joined with some other
friends in making another loan to Pro
fessor Webster for an additional 41,600.
making the whole with interest, 13, 438.
This note was protected by a .imiir mort
gage. Professor Webster with increasing re
Fponsibilitles, although his habits were
good, found as the time went on that be
not only could not meet the principal, but
had great difficulty in paying the Interest
on this increased obligation.
Dr. Parkman.forgettingtheirold friend
ship and thinking only of the money that
was dne him, now began to make frequent
visits to Professor Webster's office, urging
him to pay, and at lost intimating that be
was not being treated fairly.
At this time Professor Webster was lec
turing every day to the chemistry class in
Harvard college. On Nov. 20, 1849, Park
man called on Webster at the lecture room
before the lecture was over. Waiting im
patiently till the last of the students was
gone, in the most violent manner he de
manded that the professor should pay him.
Webster, nervous and irritable, ordered
Parkman from Ms office, and the latter
refusing to go, a stormy Interview follow
ed. It was noticed after this that Webster
became morose and talked to himself In
walking aloni the streets and in his own
bouse. On Friday, Nov. 23, Webster called
at Dr. Parkman 's house and invited him
to come to his lecture room at half past 1
that day. It seems that Dr. Parkman ac
cepted this invitation, for he was never
seen alive again.
That day Professor Webster lectured
from 13 to 1 and was snoceeded by the
celebrated Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes,
who lectured from 1 till a. A number of
people who knew Ir. Parkman by siglit
claim that they saw him approach tho
mcoicai college about 1 o'clock that day.
The evidence of these nonnlo was not mr.
tain, and the person on whose statements
tne lunner movements of pr. Parkman
were based was tho servant who gave him
Professor Webster's messamv
After Dr. Holmes had closed his lecture
mat nay tne juultorof the building started
to put tne various rooms iu order. For
tue nrst time in bis niemorv he found all
the doors leading to Professor Webster's
laboratory joe-Led. Ho could hear some
body moving about inside and water run-
"THAT IS WUERR I KEEP MT DANGEROUS
ning into tho sink. At half past 5 o'clock
Professor Webster was seen to come down
from bis lecture room. He went directly
to his home at Cambridge, whero ho was
a little before 6 o clx-k, nnd took supper
with his family. He escorted his two
daughters to a house party near by, and
then lie and his wife went for n visit to
Professor Tread well's. There were a num
ber of noted persons present, all of whom
remembered afterward that Professor Web
ster's manner was quiet and natural, and
that ho entered with great heartiness into
the conversation and entertainments of
As Dr. Parkman did not return to Ills
homo Friday evening his family wero
alarmed. On Saturday a search was be
gun. That day tho janitor of tho medical
college, Littlcflold, was puzzled by finding
somo doors locked that ho had left unlock
ed and some unlocked that he had bolted.
W hile ho was wondering about this Pro
fessor Webster arrived and told tho janitor
to light a fire in tho laboratory stoves and
that he would not need him for tho rest of
In the meantime the Boston police were
searching for Dr. Parkninn, nnd a descrip
tion of his person was published in all tho
afternoon papers. That evening Professor
Webster reached homo at the usual hour,
and on this occasion he brought with him
a copy of Milton's "Fenseroso," Jmih
which he read to his family after supper.
Tho next day, Sunday, Professor Web
ster went to Boston, and met Mr. Blake,
a nephew of Dr. Parkman, witli whom ho
sympathized on the disappearance of his
uncle, end described what was said in his
last interview with him.
On Monday, Nov. 20, public excitement
had reached a feverish pitch, and not only
Boston, but all New England and tho
country where news could reach were stir
rci over t ho story of the missing man. It
was generally supposed that he had disap
peared because of some sudden aberration
of mind, and a Toward of $3,000 was offer
ed for information that would lead to bis
discovery. This continued for several days,
during which time it was noticed, because
it was unusual, that Professor Webster re
mained much alone in hie laboratory, keep
ing the dKrs locked, but In the meantime
he had admitted as visitors the brother and
nephew of the missing man.
Nov. 27 was Thanksgiving day, and in
the morning, with his customary fore
thought, Professor Webster gavo 'Little
field, tho janitor, nn order for a turkey.
At 10 o'clock that night tho policci.ld
cil by the janitor, made a search of that
part of tho collego devoted to the medical
school. They knocked at Professor Web
ster's room, nnd to their surprise found
him in. They were admit ted. The officer
in clinrgo told Professor Webster, whom he
did not suspect, that their orders were to
search tho medicul school thoroughly. The
professor said he would be glud to help
him, but asked tbut they overturn nothing
which would Interfere with his lectures of
tho following day.
The officers were about to enter a small
room when Professor Webster, with a
"You can go in, but that is where I
kef p ray dangerous articles, and I worn
They then went down to the laboratory,
and as they nenred Professor Webster's
private closet the officer in charge asked
what it was. Before the professor could
explain the janitorMiad told the purpose of
the apartment and had produced the key.
The door was opened, and one of the offi
cers noticed a tea chest standing on the
floor. No comments were made, and tho
officers departed, while Professor Webster
went home and that evening plaved whist
with bis family.
On tho morning, of Nov. 88 Professor
Webster came earlier than usual to his
rooms at the college, and the janitor could
hear that he seemed to be very busy insido,
while, on trying the doors, he found thorn
to be locked. The janitor, who seems to
have been a shrewd, observing man, dis
covered, by feeling tho wails, that the fur
nace fires in the laboratory were hotter
than he could see any reason for.
Finding he could not get into Professor
Webster's rooms through the ordinary ave
nues, the janitor, walling till Webster had
gone, succeeded in waking an entrance
through an outside window. Although he
did not suspect the professor of any con
nection with the disappearance of Dr.
Parkman, he at once began a thorough ex
amination on his own account. His atten
tion was attracted by a number of blood
stained splotches on the floor of the labor
atory. Yet these impressed him so little
that he went to a dancing part v that
Littlcfield went home, bnt not' to sleep.
His mind troubled hiin. He had read the
sensational stories in t he Boston papers,
and he was impressed with the idea that
a murder bad been committed in that part
of the college of which he had charge.
Littlcfield, who never for an instant sus
pected Professor Webster, talked with him
about the misting man, whom he now be
lieved to be murdered. Webster laughed
dgwn his fears, assuring him that Dr.
Parkman won Id soon turn up all right.
tVfcea It Allowed Trllinc Deary Clay the
Sort of Partner U Was.
"One of wy boyhood recollections,"
said General Wado Hampton, "refers to
Henry Clay. Ha was a frequent visitor
at my father's house in South Carolina.
Botli Cluy nnd ray father were ardent
whist plnycrs, end nothing was more to
tneir winds than the collection of a
brace of gentlemen equally addicted to
whiKt, and then tho quartet would play
for hours, vhilo the nume of whist
might serve to imply a came where el
lenco reigned, my father and Clav
didn t play whist that way.- They ex
ulted audibly over a success, and did
not hesitate when they were playing ss
partners to violently point ont mistake"
the other had made and attribrfted de
feat to tho other's ignorance and utter
lack of natural intelligence. Indeed, ou
occasions particularly trying, they were
even known to apply hard names to one
another. This they did iu no slanderous
spirit, bat to brighten up and sharpen
the wits of the other to tho improve
ments of hisplay. As thev wero sitting
down to a gaiuo as partners one evening
tJlay remarked :
"It's a great outrage tho way wo
talk to each other, and mv idea now.
at tho outset, is for each of ns to put up
20, to belong to tho one who is first
called hard names by the other. If yon
assail me, the -money is mine; if I for
get myself, you take it
"My father readily agreed. He felt
in a mild, agreeablo mood. He was con
fident he would never again to a prey to
me supiitcst impulse to speak harshly
to his dear friend Clay. And, besides, it
was his recollection that Clay was the
man who raged and did tho loud talk
ing. Ho my father cheorfullv placed the
$20 on top of Clay's. Ko thought it
would bo a good lesson to tho blue grass
orator to lose it. As they proceeded
with the game Clay made some excess
ively thick headed and ill advised plavs.
He led tho wrong cards; he trnmped
the wrong tricks; be did everything
idiotic iu whint th:d; he well couid. My
father's blood began to lxriL As ho and
Clay lost game aftergame his wrath ran
higher and higher. Still he bit his lip
and suffered in silence. It went on for
nours, until Clay made somo play of
crowning imlieciliry which lost him and
my father the eleventh gamo. Fledh and
blood could elaiid no more. My father
sternly pnhliod the $40 over to Clay.
" 'Why,' said Clay, opening his gray
eyes with a look of innocence and amaze
ment, 'why do you do that? You haven't
said a word. '
" 'No,' retorted my father, 'but I'm
going to tell you, sir, that yon are tho
most object idiot, the most boundless
imbecile that ever dealt a hand at whist
Yes, sir ; I repeat it, yon are the
f'X-1 1 ever met in my life. ' " Chicago
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James L. Francis, alderman. Chi
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New Discovery as an ideal panacea
for coughs, colds and lung com
plaints, having used it in my family
for the last five years, to the exclu
sion of physician's prescriptions or
Bev. John Burgos, Keokuk. Iowa,
writes: "I have been a minister rf
the Methodist Episcopal church for
years or more, ana nave never
found anvthinsr go beneficial, or that
gave me such speedy relief as Dr.
iviug s iiew uiscovery." iry this
ideal consh remedv now. Trial hur
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You want Scott's Emul-
S10I1. If VOUask vonr rlrno-J
srist for it and aat vmi
can trust that man. But if
he offers you "something
just as good," he will do the
same when vonr rln-tot-
writes a prescription for
which he wants to get a
x X J tiic
game of life and death for
the sake of a penny or two
more profit. You can't
trust that man. Get what
you ask for, and pay for,
wnetner it is bcott s Emul
sion or anything else.
Scott & Bowm, Chemists, New York." joe and $ixo
can only be made with
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