1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Drawing and Quartering
|←Drawing||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 8
Drawing and Quartering
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DRAWING AND QUARTERING, part of the penalty anciently ordained in England for treason. Until 1870 the full punishment for the crime was that the culprit be dragged on a hurdle to the place of execution; that he be hanged by the neck but not till he was dead; that he should be disembowelled or drawn and his entrails burned before his eyes; that his head be cut off and his body divided into four parts or quartered. This brutal penalty was first inflicted in 1284 on the Welsh prince David, and on Sir William Wallace a few years later. In Richard III.’s reign one Collingbourne, for writing the famous couplet “The Cat, the Rat and Lovel the Dog, Rule all England under the Hog,” was executed on Tower Hill. Stow says, “After having been hanged, he was cut down immediately and his entrails were then extracted and thrown into the fire, and all this was so speedily done that when the executioners pulled out his heart he spoke and said ’Jesus, Jesus.’” Edward Marcus Despard and his six accomplices were in 1803 hanged, drawn and quartered for conspiring to assassinate George III. The sentence was last passed (though not carried out) upon the Fenians Burke and O’Brien in 1867. There is a tradition that Harrison the regicide, after being disembowelled, rose and boxed the ears of the executioner.