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Celebrated Rewards in British Cases

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Celebrated Rewards in British Cases

Post by Karen on Thu 17 Mar 2011 - 0:52



Present Scott Will Case In England Is Arousing Comment, But Many Big Sums Have Been Offered for Information Regarding Crimes, Criminals' Documents, Etc., Since the Days of Prices on Men's Heads.

The offer of $50,000 reward for a codicil in the Scott will case, says an English paper, will make many people in London rub their eyes.
Here is a prize big enough to secure a competence for life, and it is offered for a document not more than twelve years old. No unpleasant consequences need be feared by the finder. In handing it over he will be doing a plain duty, he will receive the thanks and congratulations of those concerned, and retire to receive those of the outside public. Upon him will fall no odium whatever such as used to attach to the informer of olden times, nor will he incur the informer's risks.
In the Phoenix Park case, for instance, when the sum was no higher, the guarantee of police protection had to be promised. The $50,000 of May, 1912, must rank surely then at the most tempting prize of this sort on record. It is an exceptional offer, even in the days when expenditure on litigation grows more and more lavish.
Once, it is true a reward of five million dollars was advertised. It appeared in The London Times of January 27, 1869, and was promised for a copy of the certificate of the baptism of Robert Jennings, born about 1704. But, the hopelessness of the Jennings case was such as to prevent the amount being taken, very seriously.
In point of fact the rewards offered now compare quite favorably, with those of the halcyon days when prices were put on the heads of highwaymen and sheep-stealers, and police work was paid for as piecework done by amateurs.
Old records show that $200 or $250 was a very good sum for a much wanted man. It is true that in one year not long before the advent of the police force, Parliament paid $400,000 in blood money, but that was because the work was done in an expensive way rather than because the rates in individual cases were particularly high.
When a reward of $5,000 was offered in 1810 for information concerning the murder of Benjamin Bathurst, an English envoy to the Court of Vienna, who was supposed to have been killed for his papers, it was large enough to create sensation on both sides of the Channel.
It was never claimed. Bathurst was starting from an inn at Perieberg, on the way from Hamburg to Berlin, where he had paused for refreshment, and stepped round to the front of the horses before entering the coach. From that moment he disappeared.
His pantaloons, riddled with bullets, were afterwards found with one of his letters in the pockets, and last year, more than a hundred years afterwards a skeleton was unearthed not far from the scene of the disappearance which is believed to have been that of Bathurst. The crime, if crime there was, remains still unexplained.
The date of the announcement of the reward for information which would lead to the conviction of the murderers of Burke and Cavendish was May 8, 1882, two days after the crime. A free pardon was offered to any person concerned in the plot who was not the actual murderer, as well as protection "in any part of Her Majesty's dominions."
"Clues" poured in at once from all points of the compass, and twenty-six suspects were arrested in the course of six months. But not until February in the following year did the authorities obtain the information which led to the conviction of Brady, Curley, Fagan, Kelly (who were all executed), and their confederates.
A lodger in the house of a man named Carey, a Dublin town councilor, reported that he had discovered knives, such as were used by the assassin, hidden in Carey's house. Carey, confronted with this, turned informer, and the arrests speedily followed.
In 1888 the various rewards offered for the capture of Jack the Ripper totaled $10,000. The city authorities offered $2,500, two newspapers $2,000, the Vigilance Committees $500, Sir Samuel Montague $500, and Stock Exchange members the balance. But the crimes continued and the money went unclaimed.
The worth of a clue to "Peter the Painter," of Fritz Svaars, and others associated in the Houndsditch murders in 1910 was assessed at $2,500, but this likewise was never paid, the police themselves finding the clue which led them to account for the men who fell in the siege of Sidney street.
In May, 1905, $5,000 was offered in an advertisement in The Daily Mail in connection with the disappearance of three diamonds from the premises of Messrs. Tiffany. In 1907 the Dublin Castle authorities offered a similar amount for the recovery of the missing regalia of St. Patrick, and the other jewels worth over $150,000 in all, stolen from the Castle safe. Mr. Wertheimer offered $5,000, too, after the burglary at his house in the same year, when his masterpieces and gold snuff-boxes were stolen, with other valuables, to the worth of $350,000.
Two years ago $5,000 was offered again in the Cafe Monico case, where a merchant was robbed of precious stones by some men who snatched his bag while he was washing his hands. The men were traced and convicted, but in this instance without the missing property being found.
The only reward so far that stands to the aid of wireless was paid to Captain Kendall, $500, for the capture of Crippen on the Montrose.

Source: Bassano News, September 19, 1912, Page 2

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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