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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Mrs. Hare lynched in Glasgow, and rescued by the police

THE Glasgow Chronicle of Tuesday, 10th February, 1829, announced that, on that day, Mrs. Hare, wife of Burke’s associate murderer, had been rescued by the police from the fury of a Glasgow mob. She must have travelled on foot from Edinburgh with her female child in her arms— a weary, miserable pilgrimage—avoiding discovery, and often sleeping by roadsides and hay-ricks, with the inevitable feeling of a misspent, if not a criminal life. The Chronicle stated that the Glasgow Calton police had to lodge her in a police cell to save her and her child from an infuriated populace. Her statement was that she had been lodging in the Calton for four nights, as she said, "with her infant and her bit duds," and that those with whom she resided were not aware of her identity. She had managed so well thus far that she had hoped to be able to leave Glasgow without detection. In order to ensure this, she had been in the habit of keeping the house during the day, and occasionally in the early morning or in the twilight she had ventured to the Broomielaw to see when a vessel would be ready to sail for Ireland, whither she hoped to be taken. Hitherto she had been disappointed. She had gone out that morning with the same object, and while returning to her lodgings by way of Clyde Street, she was recognised by a drunken woman, who shouted out, "Hare’s wife !—burke her!" and set the example to the large crowd that rapidly gathered by throwing a large stone at the unfortunate woman. The people were not slow to set upon Mrs. Hare, and heaped upon her every indignity they could imagine. She escaped from her persecutors, and fled into the Calton, but she was pursued there, and was experiencing very rough treatment when the police rescued her.

In the station-house she seemed to be completely overcome, and occasionally bursting into tears she bewailed her unhappy situation, which she declared had been brought about by Hare’s profligacy. All she desired, she told her listeners, was to get across the channel to Ireland, where she hoped to end her days in some remote spot near her native place, where she would live in retirement and penitence. As for Hare, she would never live with him again.

Owing to the threatening attitude of the populace, the authorities saw they must themselves devise means for Mrs. Hare’s safe removal to Ireland. On the afternoon of her rescue an immense crowd surrounded the police office, expecting to see her depart, but it was feared that the spirit of riot might again break forth with renewed vigour. She was detained in custody until Thursday, the 12th of February, when she sailed from the Broomielaw in the steamer Fingal, for Belfast, which port was not far from her native place. While the Fingal lay in Greenock to take in cargo, Mrs. Hare was under the guardianship of the local police, and it was to but a few that she was known to have been in or at the town until after her departure.

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