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Queanbeyan Age 1873

A further account - rambles on

Queanbeyan Age 9 January 1873 page 4

AN IMPORTANT WILL CASE.

A somewhat important decision has been given by the Court in Gordon v Townsend a suit in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction There had been an appeal from the decree of the Primary Judge in Equity (Mr Justice Hargrave). By the effect of this decree, the probate of the alleged last will and testament of the late Mr Thomas Scott Townsend was granted to Mr Lewis Gordon. A. caveat which had been entered by Mr Townsend's widow was dismissed, and all costs to be paid by Mrs Townsend. The state of facts out of which the suit arose were very singular. The late Mr T. S. Townsend was a licensed surveyor; formerly resident in Sydney; and about twenty years ago held a high position in his profession. In 1853 he was married to the lady now surviving him - he having, prior to the wedding executed an ante-nuptial settlement upon her. 

Some months after Mr Townsend's marriage, symptoms of a strange sort of monomania began to manifest themselves in him. It would seem that the unfortunate gentleman was of a nervous and excitable temperament, and that he was at first much disturbed in his mind in consequence of there not appearing a prospect of his becoming a father. Afterwards he began, most unjustly as it was admitted on both sides, to suspect his wife's fidelity and this suspicion grew in his mind until it developed itself into a settled mania which haunted him night and day. He became moody and reserved, accused his wife of encouraging the advances of persons with whom she had not the slightest acquaintance; declared that in consequence of her conduct all his friends had 'cut' him, and in fact appeared quite unable to shake off the morbid delusion, which clung to him, notwithstanding its complete groundlessness. 

According to the evidence of his medical adviser (the late Dr Nathan) he was almost violent when reasoned with on the subject; he declared, that she had been unchaste with several men and said that both her brothers were privy to her disgrace. He was so imbued with these ideas, and dwelt so frequently on them as to leave no doubt on Dr Nathan's mind that he was a monomaniac, and that the malady was likely to increase. In January, 1854 Dr. Nathan gave Mr Townsend a sick certificate, to enable him (being in the public service) to leave the colony for a time, and Mr Townsend proceeded to Melbourne returning here in March or April following, but not in any degree healed or improved. In the latter month his son was born; but the ifather never again spoke to his wife, and never beheld his child. Seeing Mr Townsend once accidently at a friend's house, Mrs Townsend tried to address him; but he rushed past her, and they never met again. In after years she made other efforts at reconciliation, and sent him on two occasions portraits of his son; but (and on and on it goes)


Linked toFrances Emily Davis; Thomas Scott Townshend

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