By Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)
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Additional info for A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present
Historians, on the other hand, when striving for an explanation as to why indictments for new-born child murder generated so few convictions, have typically placed far more weight on what they perceived to be a burgeoning sympathy towards infanticidal women. 132 There were three key manifestations of this more humanitarian or legally efficient approach towards infanticide defendants which directly impacted upon conviction rates in the early modern period. First, from the second decade of the eighteenth century onwards, accused individuals were for the first time allowed to submit defences of various types.
111 The provision of a cash wage for domestic servants gave women a degree of independence in the early modern period, and therein lies the other key attraction of this type of employment. The very nature of domestic service enabled young women to act and think independently about a range of different issues. For instance, when entering service, a woman was removed from her parental household and became exempt from its associated rules and restrictions. Whether this resulted in her being more promiscuous and sexually independent in comparison with other early modern working women is the subject of some conjecture.
Being a True Relation of the Great and Bloudy Murder, Committed by Mary Champion (an Anabaptist) who Cut off her Childs Head, being 7. weekes old, and Held it to her Husband to Baptize. Printed in the Yeare of Discovery, Feb. 13. N). ] Investigating Infanticide – An Enduring Phenomenon 21 Fox, the proponents of reform articulated the concerns outlined above by arguing that: …nothing could be more unjust, or inconsistent with the principles of all law, than first to force a woman through modesty to concealment, and then to hang her for that concealment; that it was infinitely better that ten guilty persons should escape, than one innocent person should suffer; that this law, on the contrary, asserted it to be better, that ten innocent persons should be hanged, than one guilty person should escape...
A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present by Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)