Download e-book for kindle: A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present by Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)

By Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137349123

ISBN-13: 9781137349125

ISBN-10: 1349361402

ISBN-13: 9781349361403

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Extra resources for A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present

Example text

81 Certainly, and even before the legislation was enacted in England and Wales, it seems to have been the case that child murder had come to be regarded as a very serious crime, akin to homicide, and was regarded by many as abhorrent and abominable example of anti-motherhood. 82 Despite a sterner approach to new-born child murder in some quarters of British society, problems and dissatisfaction with the legislation quickly arose elsewhere. 83 This resulted in various attempts to make the legislation more malleable through the permissibility of certain defences which could work to strongly undermine the initial charge laid.

Subsequent reform attempts in later decades of the eighteenth century also failed due, in no small measure, to the widespread and persistent support for what Mark Jackson describes as ‘the doctrine of maximum severity’ or the retention of capital punishment for serious offences. 88 The legislation passed against infanticide in 1624 and 1690 provides the initial foundations for the study that follows this introduction. Although the statutory provision remained steadfast in 1772, it was not long before dissatisfaction with legislation was renewed.

Certainly, however, she was more autonomous economically. 112 In order to maintain this ‘independent’ and seemingly privileged position, a female domestic servant had to behave respectfully and respectably at all times and, usually, she had to remain single and childless. In the early modern period, servants had to abide by a strict code of conduct during their employment, and any deviation from these rules was considered dishonourable and grounds for dismissal. 113 In addition, as a servant was valued for her flexibility and an underpinning devotion or dedication to the household of her employment, marriage and/or child-rearing were considered distractions from duty and were thus life choices which undermined, rather than complemented, domestic service.

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A History of Infanticide in Britain c. 1600 to the Present by Anne-Marie Kilday (auth.)


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