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A landmark case in medical jurisprudence...



Item # 630218

April 11, 1781

RUDDIMAN'S WEEKLY MERCURY, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 11, 1781 

* Poison or Apoplexy? The Chirurgeon’s Verdict
* Captain John Donnellan guilty & hanged


All of pages 1, 2, 3 & most of pg. 4 are taken up with details of the landmark case in medical jurisprudence, the trial of John Donnellan for the murder of his brother-in-law. In brief, the case is noteworthy because of the involvement of John Hunter, the famous Scottish anatomist, who was called to give expert testimony. To the fury of the judge, and in marked contrast to the other expert witnesses, all of whom stated definitively that Donellan was guilty, Hunter was reserved, offering other explanations and pointing out that the scientific evidence did not allow certainty.  Donellan was hanged, but because of the standing of Hunter, the case becomes revisited in the legal works that begin to be drawn up specifying the rules and procedures of giving evidence.
Included within the text are: "Particulars Respecting the Execution of Captain Donnellan" as well as: "An Authentic Copy of a Letter Sent by Capt. Donnellan to his Wife, the Night Previous to the Execution".
See this hyperlink for much more on this precedent-setting case.
Eight pages, 8 1/2 by 11 inches, very nice, clean condition.

Category: The 1600's and 1700's

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