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[newspaper clipping]
  CANNIBALISM is happily an unknown practice in this
country, and although some persons who are  coarse
feeders  will eat almost anything that is placed before
them in the shape of meat, yet they would probably
decline to patronise even the most accommodating
 slink butcher  if he were convicted on evidence that
left no room for doubt of palming off human flesh on
his customers as genuine meat.    It seems to us
incomprehensible that a diet of this nature should
exercise an actual fascination over those who have
once indulged in it;  such, however, seems to be a
fact, and a man whose executioa is recorded by the
American papers is a case in point.    The culprit was an
Indian known as  Swift Runner,  and he was hanged
at Fort Saskatchewan on the 20th December, ^|1879 [handwritten by Gunn]| this being
the first legal execution in the North-West Territory.
 Swift Runner,  in other respects an estimable
character,  had an irrepressible appetite for his
fellow-creatures.  He was a cannibal, not from neces-
sity but from preference, and nothing pleased him
more than cooking and eating his own immediate rela-
tions.    He was convicted on his own confession of
having killed and eaten his mother, his wife, and seven
children last winter.    Under these circumstances, and
making every allowance for the hardness of the season, it
was felt that  Swift Runner  had forfeited all claim
to merciful consideration;  and his untimely fate
seems to have called forth no general sympathy.
We should have looked upon him here as a thorough
barbarian, but we ought not to forget that cannibalism
was once not an uncommon practice even in Europe.
St. Jerome states that when he was a little boy living
in Gaul he beheld the Scots, a people of Britain, eat-
ing human flesh, and though there were plenty of cattle
and sheep at their disposal, yet they would prefer a ham
of the herdsman as a luxury.    Saints, however, were
sometimes rather  wild  in their statements.
                               ______________
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six: page seventy-eight
Description:Newspaper clipping about cannibal named ''Swift Runner.''
Subject:Cannibalism; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Native Americans; Swift Runner
Coverage (City/State):Fort Saskatchewan, [Alberta, Canada]
Scan Date:2011-02-02

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six
Description:Includes descriptions of Gunn's writing and drawing work in New York, a visit to the Catskill Mountains, attending the wedding of his friend Charles Damoreau (Brown), a visit to the Crystal Palace in New York, his friend Lotty's difficult marriage to John Whytal, a sailing trip around Lake Superior, a visit to Mackinac Island in Michigan, a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and a journey by horseback from Kentucky to Louisiana with friends.
Subject:African Americans; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Marriage; Native Americans; Publishers and publishing; Slavery; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Michigan; Wisconsin; Ohio; Kentucky; Mississippi; Alabama; Louisiana
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.