In an earlier post we looked at an incident of infanticide that took place in Halifax’s North End in the 1890s. The act of infanticide seems to have been an issue for much of the 19th Century. Another such incident took place on Brunswick street outside of the Wesleyan Church.
As the article below, snipped from the pages of the 29 January 1853 Acadian Recorder, shows the shock of finding a deceased infant outside was palatable to the editors of the paper – however what appears to be more of an issue is the level of indifference to the incident on the part of the police and the city’s coroner.
A search through the city’s coroner records might provide us with more examples of this type of incident. Given that Halifax is today often referred to as a violent city – where gun crime, drunken brawls and so on are prominent in the news – its interesting to see the last paragraph of this article
In a heathen or savage community such indifference to the prompt execution of duty on the part of public officers might be excusable; but in a christian city it is shocking.
Though the acts described in the article are rare today the sentiment of the newspaper’s editors to the acts themselves ring very familiar.
A scan of the pages of the Acadian Recorder for the first 6 months of 1853 turns up three more cases of infanticide in Halifax.
2 April 1853 – body of a healthy looking newly born male child was discovered in the sluice leading from the Pong into the Horticultural Garden. It had evidently floated through from the Pond.
16 April 1853 – The body of a male child was found on the Commons, packed in a small raisin box. It had apparently been there for some time.
4 June 1853 – The body of an infant was found exposed in the enclosure of the Poor House Old Burying Ground.
The corner at this point felt the need to make comment in his report about the number of cases of infanticide:
“The Jurors also call the attention of the Citizens of Halifax to the exposure of the body of another infant; and earnestly urge upon them the necessity of reporting to the Authorities, any party of parties implicated of committing or conniving at an act of depravity so repugnant to law and the best feelings of our nature, that some clue may be obtained to discover the unnatural perpetrators of a crime which has become so frequent as to demand the most serious consideration and vigilance of the community to suppress.”