Executed for Murder, 25th October, 1706
Roger Lowen was a native of Hanover, where he was born about the year 1667, and educated in the principles of the Lutheran religion. His father being huntsman to the Duke of Zell, that prince sent young Lowen into France, to obtain the qualifications of a gentleman, and, on his return from his travels, he was one of the pages under the duke's master of the horse.
Coming over to England when he was between twenty and thirty years of age, the Duke of Shrewsbury patronised and procured him a place. Having thus obtained something like a settlement, he married a young English woman, with whom he lived in an affectionate manner for a considerable time; but in the year 1697, on his going abroad to attend King William at the treaty of Ryswick, he left Mrs. Lowen with her cousin, who was married to Mr. Richard Lloyd, of Turnham Green.
When Lowen returned from Holland, he became, with what justice we cannot say, extremely jealous of his wife and he pretended to have received incontestable proof of her criminal conversation with Mr. Lloyd, for the murder of whom he was indicted at the Old Bailey, on the 20th of September, 1706, and was tried by a jury composed equally of Englishmen and foreigners.
In the course of the evidence it appeared that, on the evening previous to the day on which the murder was committed, Lowen invited Lloyd and his wife to dine with him on the following day; that Mr. Lloyd, being obliged to go to Acton, did not come very early, at which Lowen expressed a considerable degree of uneasiness; that when he came, Lowen introduced him into the parlour with great apparent civility; that Mr. Lloyd put his sword in a corner of the room, some time after which Lowen invited him into the garden, to see his plants, after which they came together into the house, appearing to be good friends, and Lowen desired his wife to hasten the dinner; that while she went to obey his directions, Lowen drew Mr. Lloyd's sword a little way out of the scabbard, as if admiring it, and asked who was his cutler; and that while the deceased stood with his hand behind him, Lowen, stamping with his foot, drew the sword quite out of the scabbard, and stabbed Mr. Lloyd through the back; on which his wife (who was present at this horrid transaction) said to him, "Speak to me, my dear"; but he was unable to do so; and having lifted up his eyes, groaned twice, and then expired.
Mr. Hawley, a justice of the peace in the neighbourhood, passing by at the instant, Mrs. Lloyd acquainted him with what had happened; on which he examined the prisoner, who confessed his intention of having committed the murder sooner, and was only concerned lest he had not killed Mr. Lloyd.
The particulars respecting the murder being proved to the satisfaction of the jury, Lowen was convicted, and received sentence of death: in consequence of which he was hanged at Turnham Green, on the 25th of October, 1706.
While he lay under sentence of death, he was attended by Messrs. Idzardi and Ruperti, two divines of his own country, who were assiduous to convince him of the atrociousness of the crime which he had committed; and he be came a sincere penitent, confessing with his last breath the crime he had committed in shedding innocent blood.
From this melancholy narrative we may learn the fatal effects of jealousy, which generally judges ill of the party accused, and always renders the jealous person miserable. Mr. Lowen was jealous of his wife; but we have no proof that there was any foundation for his suspicions. Hence let married men be taught not to indulge unwarrantable sentiments respecting that amiable sex who are the great sources of all the comforts of life. A man may be wretched in a thousand instances which occur in life; but let him re tire to the wife of his bosom, and her advice will extricate him from many a difficulty, or her consolations soothe him to bear his burdens. There is a great wisdom in the following proverbs of Solomon: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil, all the days of her life. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."
Jealousy is the most dangerous passion of the mind. It generally proceeds from the extravagance of love. That jealousy which is moved by fond and sincere affection may be distinguished from the extravagance resulting from meanness and suspicion. When proceeding from real love, it must be owing to the suspicion of levity in the object, which instantly conjures up a thousand frightful phantoms. We fear that the charms which have subdued us have made the same impression on the heart of another. This is generally the foundation of jealousy in men, and is, by the immortal Shakespeare, called "a green-eyed monster," which, once gaining ascendancy,
"Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!"