By Anne-Marie Kilday
This paintings presents a close heritage of infanticide in mainland Britain from 1600 to the fashionable period for the first actual time. It examines continuity and alter within the nature and features of new-born baby homicide in Scotland, England and Wales over a chronology of greater than 4 centuries. along supplying a comparative research of the categories of people suspected of the offence, and a close appreciation of different ways that the crime used to be conducted, the paintings additionally exposes the vast nexus of causal components which underpinned its enactment. moreover, the paintings investigates the evolving perspective in social, clinical and felony contexts to the killing of younger babies in Britain over a noticeable period of time. therefore the paintings as an entire is either compelling and leading edge because it presents the reader with even more than a trifling background of infanticide. The e-book additionally contributes a lot to our figuring out of legal historical past, gender background, felony historical past, clinical heritage and social background in its analyses of different contexts allied to the offence. It does this additionally via its exploration of the complicated features of accusers, commentators and perpetrators throughout cultures, borders and time.
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Extra info for A History of Infanticide in Britain, c. 1600 to the Present
32 A History of Infanticide in Britain This chapter has already dispelled the notion that new-born child murder was a frequently indicted offence during the early modern period. Although ‘common enough’47 to intrigue historians and commentators through the centuries, as far as we can tell infanticide was not an endemic feature of society in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Was this also true of illegitimacy? A great deal of scholarship has been carried out on the incidence of illegitimacy, particularly in the pre-modern British context.
91 It is likely, however, that the toleration of illegitimacy only went so far amongst early modern communities. This is primarily due to the expense involved in caring for a child (especially one which had been conceived in sinful fornication) during a period where the economic conditions were unpredictable and precarious. 93 In addition to causing potential problems with legitimacy, lineage and inheritance, increased illegitimacy levels could also threaten the economic stability of a community.
The only evidence from mainland Europe which contrasts with the general picture of minimal infanticide accusations relates to Otto Ulbricht’s work on eighteenth-century Germany. 2 99 0– 89 17 9 0– 79 0– 17 8 69 17 7 0– 59 17 6 0– 49 17 5 0– 39 17 4 0– 29 17 3 0– 19 17 2 0– 17 1 17 0 0– 09 0 Indictments and convictions for infanticide in London, 1700–1799 Notes: All female, except for five individual male indictments in 1727, 1745, 1752, 1766, and 1788. There were no indictments for concealment at the Old Bailey 1700–1799.