Oxford University Press
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications
The article discusses a stabbing that is mentioned in a letter by the novelist Jane Austen. The event took place in Chawton, England in March 1814 and involved Stephen Mersh (b. 1796), who was allegedly stabbed by James Baigen, who was later acquitted of the crime. Details about Mersh's life are presented. Information is also included about Sir Thomas Miller, who represented Chawton in Parliament from 1806-1816 and the Honorouble William Wickham, who was an acquaintance of Austen's brother. Baigen, it is noted, committed suicide in 1851 after the death of his father forced the family to move away from the farm they had inhabited for generations. An episode in Austen's novel "Emma" is described.