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Montreal Pilot
Ontario, Canada
25 September 1857

Dr. Tumblety's Case

This morning at the Police Court, B. Devlin, Esq., counsel for Dr. Tumblety, fyled the affidavit of John Guy, who states that he knows Dr. Tumblety now in custody on a charge of felony; that he was living with the doctor for about a week previous to his arrest, and that he still remains in his office. He remembers that on the 22nd instant, two persons he dopes not know by name. He could identify the man, but could not be so certain about the woman, because she had a veil partly over her face; he has no doubt, however, but they are the same that have given their testimony, and upon which the doctor was arrested. In answer to a question put to him by the woman, when in his office, the doctor said. "The best thing you can do is to marry him." the person who was then along with her. She replied that she would not because her friends would be displeased with her if she did so. The doctor gave the same advice to the man, but he does not know what answer he made.

He saw the doctor give a bottle and a box of pills to one of the persons, and he swears positively that at the time he did so, he (the doctor) distinctly stated that the medicine, which he gave was to cure headache, nervousness and pain in the back. The doctor was arrested three or four hours after these parties had left his office. He is not related to the doctor, and made his acquaintance since he came to Montreal.

About noon Mr. John Birk, chemist, made his deposition. In it he states that on the 23rd instant a bottle of medicine was given to him to analyze; that he had done so, and found that it contained some black helebore or heleboreen and a small quantity of syrup. The black helebore is a medicine which druggists never sell without a prescription from a medical man; for it is known to be a strong medicine, used to cause miscarriage. He had also examined a box of pills carefully which were sent to him, and found that they contained Cayenne pepper, aloes, oil of savine, and cantharadies. He states that aloes, oil of savine and cathardies, have the effect of procuring abortion.

This deposition was read to Dr. Tumblety, when his counsel put the following question to Mr. Birks: -

Q. What amount of fluid did the bottle contain which was left with you?

A. About an ounce.

Q. What quantity of deleterious ingredients did the bottle contain?

A. I could discover the deleterious materials but not the quantity, from the small quantity that I had.

Q. Could you form any idea of the quantity of heleboreen that entered into the mixture?

A. I could not. The mixture was, however, stronger than the usual decoction of helebore.

Q. Is it not true that heleborine was the only deleterious drug detected by you in the mixture?

A. It was.

Q. Is it not true that helebore is used for other purposes than that of procuring abortion?

A. I have known it prescribed by medical men in very small doses in conjunction with other medicines, but for what purpose I don't know.

Q. Is it not true that helebore is invariably mixed with other deleterious drugs when it is intended to be used for the purpose of procuring abortion?

A. I have not much experience in administering medicine of that description; but I am perfectly satisfied that the drug in question is sufficient to produce abortion without any other mixture.

Q. What quantity of it must be administered to cause abortion?

A. Not being a medical man, I am not able to say. I only know the nature of the drug.

Q. How many pills did you examine>

A. Four.

Q. What quantity of each drug enters into the pill?

A. I cannot say.

Q. Have you had any conversation with Dr. Jones upon this matter?

A. Dr. Jones called on me and had a small bottle of the same fluid.

Q. Did Dr. Jones tell you where he had got the bottle with the fluid in it?

A. He did not tell me where he had got it until I had given my opinion of what it contained. He then told me that it was medicine given by Dr. Tumblety for a certain purpose.

Q. Did you express your opinion of the nature of the fluid which the bottle contained before analyzing it?

A. I did.

Q. Was it after this that the High Constable brought me the large bottle which you analyzed?

A. It was.

Q. Is it not true that the bottle which you analyzed was the same as had been previously shown to you by Dr. Jones?

A. The bottle which Dr. Jones showed me was taken away, and I did not see it afterwards. The bottle which I analyzed was taken by me out of the bottle which was brought me by the High Constable.

This closed the cross-examination of this witness, and at this stage of the proceedings the examination was adjourned till 2 o'clock this afternoon.

We give elsewhere some more detail of the trial of Dr. Tumblety. We refrain from expressing an opinion in the matter until the whole case is before us. In the meantime, we cannot agree with those who consider that it is the duty of the police to allow crime - murder for instance - to be consummated before they attempt to interfere.

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