[WILDE, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills (1854-1900)]. Manuscript, transcription of 30 witness statements for the defence in Wilde's prosecution of the Marquis of Queensberry for criminal libel, n.p. [London], n.d. [c. 25 March 1895], in a neat clerical hand; additions, emendations and annotations in a number of unidentified hands; wrapper titled 'Marquis of Queensberry  ats  Oscar Wilde  Working [Papers]' with a fragment of the address of Day Russell, 37 Norfolk Street, Strand, and a later numbering '4'; list of contents, 50 pages (numbered 1-52, lacking ff.16, 17 & 30), folio (418 x 337mm), (occasional wear, soiling and short tears to margins, wrapper heavily soiled and torn with large loss), gathered with pink tape at upper left corner.
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[WILDE, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills (1854-1900)]. Manuscript, transcription of 30 witness statements for the defence in Wilde's prosecution of the Marquis of Queensberry for criminal libel, n.p. [London], n.d. [c. 25 March 1895], in a neat clerical hand; additions, emendations and annotations in a number of unidentified hands; wrapper titled 'Marquis of Queensberry ats Oscar Wilde Working [Papers]' with a fragment of the address of Day Russell, 37 Norfolk Street, Strand, and a later numbering '4'; list of contents, 50 pages (numbered 1-52, lacking ff.16, 17 & 30), folio (418 x 337mm), (occasional wear, soiling and short tears to margins, wrapper heavily soiled and torn with large loss), gathered with pink tape at upper left corner.

細節
[WILDE, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills (1854-1900)]. Manuscript, transcription of 30 witness statements for the defence in Wilde's prosecution of the Marquis of Queensberry for criminal libel, n.p. [London], n.d. [c. 25 March 1895], in a neat clerical hand; additions, emendations and annotations in a number of unidentified hands; wrapper titled 'Marquis of Queensberry ats Oscar Wilde Working [Papers]' with a fragment of the address of Day Russell, 37 Norfolk Street, Strand, and a later numbering '4'; list of contents, 50 pages (numbered 1-52, lacking ff.16, 17 & 30), folio (418 x 337mm), (occasional wear, soiling and short tears to margins, wrapper heavily soiled and torn with large loss), gathered with pink tape at upper left corner.

THE EVIDENCE THAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE FALL OF OSCAR WILDE; AN APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED DOCUMENT OF WILDE'S FIRST TRIAL

The manuscript contains the evidence of the Marquis of Queensberry and 29 others, eleven of them young men directly alleging 'indecent' behaviour - including the key witnesses Charles Parker, Fred Atkins (charged with perjury after the second trial), Edward Shelley, Walter Grainger (whom Wilde at the first trial disastrously described as too ugly to kiss) and Alfred Wood; the remainder, chiefly waiters, chambermaids and hotel proprietors, provide corroborative evidence; the evidence of Robert Robertson and a 'Letter Oscar W to Lord Douglas' are listed in the contents but not present. The statements tell a consistent (and quite credible) tale of dinners at Kettners, the Solferino and the Cafe Royale, gifts of money, clothes and cigarette cases, and sexual encounters in hotel rooms, lodgings and hedgerows.

Of the witness recorded here, fifteen were apparently not called or referred to at any of the trials: particularly interesting among these are the evidence of Gertrude Simmonds, governess to the Wilde children, and a number of accounts relating to Wilde's stay at Goring with Lord Alfred Douglas in 1893. The statements of the witnesses who were called show considerable differences of detail to their evidence at the trials, with a marked explicitness of sexual detail. Of especial note in Queensberry's statement is a reference to his use of the words 'posing Sodomite' on his famously illegible card: in court he claimed the words were the more easily defensible 'posing as a sodomite', a reading generally accepted for almost a century (Richard Ellman, Oscar Wilde, 1987, p.412 and n.). It is interesting too that the blackmailer Charles Parker, whose allegation of sodomy at the Savoy Hotel in March 1893 was a central piece of evidence at the second trial, in his initial statement alleges only that Wilde 'performed certain operations upon me with his mouth'. The annotations and additions, which in general comment or expand on points of fact, though occasionally adding or cancelling sentences, are not identifiably in the hand of Edward Carson or of Charles Russell. THE STATEMENTS IN THIS FORM ARE NOT REFERRED TO IN ANY OF THE MAJOR BIOGRAPHIES, AND ARE APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED.

Wilde took his disastrous decision to prosecute the Marquis of Queensberry for criminal libel after discovering Queensberry's card inscribed with the words 'For Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite[sic]' at his club, the Albermarle, on 28 February 1895. Queensberry's solicitor, Sir George Lewis withdrew immediately after the initial proceedings on 2 March, and his place was taken by Charles Russell, of Day & Russell (a possibly apocryphal story has it that theirs was the only solicitors' office Queensberry could find open on that Saturday morning). Russell's choice as counsel for the defence was Edward Carson, Q.C. (later Lord Carson): Carson, a classmate of Wilde's at Trinity College, Dublin, accepted after an initial hesitation caused perhaps by the weakness of the evidence for the defence, which at that stage consisted of little more than two of Wilde's letters to Queensberry's son, Lord Alfred Douglas, and his published writings.

It was at this stage that detectives employed by Queensberry, tipped off by the actor and failed playwright Charles Brookfield, forced their way into the rooms of Wilde's friend Alfred Taylor at 3 Chapel Street, and discovered a 'post-box' containing the names of an extensive circle of male prostitutes based at Taylor's rooms. One account has it that the young men discovered by this means were sequestered in a house and intimidated into giving evidence; another that the witnesses at the first trial were paid £5 a week. The body of the evidence was collected between the committal hearing on 9 March, again at Great Marlborough Street, and the presentation of Queensberry's written plea of justification, which contained a digest of the evidence, on 30 March. The present manuscript, which is dated 25 March in one of the annotations, is likely to have been one of a number of drafts; the last three statements in the transcript, including that of Sidney Mavor - who is known to have made a substantial deposition - are noticeably abbreviated.

Wilde's prosecution of Queensberry opened on 3 April at the Old Bailey; on its collapse, with a verdict of not guilty, at noon on 5 April Russell immediately forwarded a version of the present manuscript to the Director of Public Prosecutions; Wilde was arrested the same evening on a charge of gross indecency; on 24 May, after two further trials, he was given the sentence of two years' imprisonment with hard labour which was to break his health and his career. The present manuscript is A CENTRAL COMPONENT IN ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS BRITISH COURT CASES, AND ONE OF THE GREAT LITERARY TRAGEDIES.
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