…for so it happens that, in this country, the more hideous the crime, the more intense the curiosity of the upper classes of both sexes to witness the miscreant perpetrator; the more disgusting the details, the greater the avidity with which they are listened to by the distinguished auditors;—the reason being plain, that, as they have exhausted the pleasures and excitements afforded by their own sphere of action and enjoyment, their palled and sated appetites require novel and more powerful stimulants. Hence, at length, we see “fashionables” peopling even the condemned cell—rushing, in excited groups, after the shuddering malefactor, staggering, half palsied, and with horror-laden eye, on his way to the gallows!

Samuel Warren, Ten Thousand A-Year