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statesmen have interpreted the doctrine of nonintervention ; interpreting it to mean that despots , temporal and spiritual , shall conspire to do all they like against body and soul , and that , all alliances and sympathies notwithstanding , free Protestant England will let them . But Lord John Russell accedes to the Foreign Unice , and people are watching for a better regime .
MR . KIRWAN ' S REPRIEVE . We ventured a fortnight since—when it was rather a bold thing to do so—to consider the Jprwan case , though it apparently involved only the life of one rather dissolute member of society , as a public affair , and to protest against any Irish jury ' s introducing into our courts of justice the highly parliamentary , but very improper , practice of trying merely nominal issues , and , in fact , directing their attention to a review of the accused ' s whole life , while professedly addressing themselves entirely to a particular accusation .
We suggested that it was decidedly a dangerous precedent to establish , this of catching up a man on the vaguest suspicion , and , after ticketing him as an immoral and dangerous character , requesting that he will provide counsel to show cause to a necessarily prejudiced jury why he should not be immediately hanged . We pointed to the fact that a jury had found a man guilty of murder when doctors even could not say that his alleged victim was murdered at all ; and where , even supposing—which we have no right to suppose—that she had met a violent death , there was
no proof , and no argument , save his presumed motive , that it was at his hands she died . With this part of the question we have done . The reprieve of the wrongly convicted man is an admission by the Crown lawyers that an act of injustice was about to have been committed ; his " pardon , " which must follow as soon as the new Ministry have fairly settled down to their duties , will , to the satisfaction of the public and the dismay of Mr . Justice Grampton , confirm and establish on a surer basis than ever , the doctrine for which we have contended .
But though , in the onset , we deemed it desirable to divest the case as far as possible of the " mantle of mystery , " to use Judge Crampton ' s melodramatic expression , with which the particularities of the evidence had surrounded it , we cannot resist offering a word or two now by way of remark upon the character of the testimony which was so fully believed at this remarkable trial , and upon the quantity of vulgar malice and of Irish imagination which" was infused into it . In the first place , it may be noticed , as illustrating the strong faith both of the bench and of the jury in every utterance- of the prosecution , that two statements , calculated to prejudice- the case
of the prisoner , were made by Mr . bmyly as he commenced—were credited throughout , though never proved , and though no witness was ever called to prove them—and finally Mere admitted into the scale , which they then turned against Mr . K . irwan . These facts , taken on the word of Mr . Smyly , w < re , that ; Mr . Kirwan had lived twelve years with a mistress , which turns out to be true ; and that Mrs . Kirwan had only recently penetrated this secret , which proves to be false . That such assertions , unsupported by any testimony , should have gone forth unchallenged by the bench , and been allowed to weigh with the jury , strikes us as remarkable ; perhaps it is only I ri . sh .
However , we will leave this question , and see what new light has been thrown upon the subject nineo last we addressed ourselves to its consideration . We be « rin with a declaration , dated 22 ml December , and made b y Mrs . Robert Henfley . wife of a solicitor in Dublin , who was from her infancy on tho most intimate terms with Mrs . Kirwan , and who aflirms that that lady invariably stated to her that " a , moro quiet , gentle , good-natured , or generous-hearted man than her husband never further solemnl
lived . " Mrs . I Jen ( . ley says , " y and sincerely , " that to her knowledge , as well us that of several members of her family , the late Mrs . Kirvvan was fully acquainted hefUre . t / ic expiration of oik' month after her marriage , with M r . K irwan ' s connexion with the woman Kenny : that she exhibited very little excitement or emotion on the subject , and not even any exrept when instigated by a busybody called Mrs . Byrne . What becomes , after thin , of the theory that tiio discovery only took place six months
since , and that the murder was committed in consequence of the quarVels to which that recent discovery gave rise ? Mrs . Bentley also tells us that the deceased lady was subject to fits . Mr . Arthur Kelly similarly declares ' that he , who was an assistant to Kirwan , and had therefore constant access to his house , remembered Mrs . Kirwan ' s having two fits , lasting each half an hour ; and Anne Maher , a servant girl , remembers her having one . For the very best reason possible , these witnesses were not called at the trial .
That part of the defence attributing the death to this cause was only decided on at the last moment . When the prosecution , with State funds at its command , has been three months preparing itself , while the poor accused is asllsd all m a hurry to collect his ideas and his money , post-haste , for the defence , it is scarcely to be wondered at if all that could be said in his favour is not ready by the day when it is required . Of the value of Mrs . Campbell's testimony we spoke very early . A lady who repudiates- her own statement on the ground that it was not made in form , may save
herself the legal consequences of perjury if she can establish her excuse ; but to p lace reliance on her afterthoughts , even when she does " kiss the book , " is to offer a premium to falsehood , and to make a farce of the administration of justice . We have read of an attorney , ( Murphy , in Fielding ' s Amelia , ) who argued with some plausibility that the man must he hard-hearted who would not put his lips to calfskin to save the life of a fellow-christian ; but , we suspect , even that
respectable practitioner would have been cast if he had endeavoured to show that the same operation might be virtuotisly gone through to take it away . Pat Wangle is the next person of consequence , and he swore to a great many things , and adhered very doggedly to them all . But if Kirwan had his motives , Pat also had his . Pat , it will be remembered , was the man who first found the body , and then the clothes , and who had some statements , which he considered very damning , to make , as to both those discoveries .
It struck us , from the first , as a curious coincidence , to say tire least of it , that this man ' s recollection of events should be so much better at the trial , three months after the occurrence to which it referred , than at the coroner ' s inquest , which took place at once ; and we also observed , not without " taking a note" of it , that , according to the counsel for the prosecution , he had had the extreme delicacy to alter Mrs . Kirwan ' s position before his companion , Mick , or Mr . Kirwan came up ; in other words , that he Avas , by his own act , the only person who saw her with much
the sheet , of which we have heard so , underneath her , and in the attitude which he described . Here , again , the " mantle of mystery " is removed ; for Mr . Jackson , in a . declaration , made on the 22 nd of December , says he had frequent conversations with the JNTangles , who told him that Kirwan " appeared ashamed on seeing his wife so exposed , and ran for a , sheet to cover her , and did cover her with it . " They never altered this statement , though he often spoke to them , nor ever made mention of ; i sheet being found under Mrs . Kirwan . Another gentleman , Mr . Robert Jackson , lets us quite into the secret
of Pat ' s opinions . Jle tells us that when the hearse eame to the door , the Nangles offered obstruction , and demanded payment before the corpse could be permitted to pass . The payment in question was demanded after the inquest , but before the trial ; meanwhile w ; is taking place the change in Mr . Nangle's recollection of the facts —a . coincidence , at any rate , and ji notable oik ; , when placed in con junction with the statement of Catherine Urew , who declares that " the said Patrick Nangle expressed himself to her thus' If I am called upon again , I will pinch him , 'meaning K . irwan . "
Mr . Nangle ' s metaphor is not difficult of comprehension : he has pinched the man who did not pay him enough , rather forcibly ; and he has used the moral , but mistaken , jury as his nippers . Hut there is no use in going further into details . There has been a , terrible miscarriage of justice , and it will , we doubt not , bo remedied , so far as it can . The question'is , how far can itP Of course , the reprieve is merely I he hurried act of an outgoing Minister ; the absolute pardon conies from ( he new Government . And this is one of ( ho absurdities of our criminal law . It
Kirwan had been concerned in a . suit involving one-tenth part of what , his defence has cost him , he might have had an appeal . If he could Jmvo
satisfied the court , in any civil case , that injustice had been done in the name of law , ho would have been unhesitatingly granted a new trial ; but , inasmuch as it is only a life at stake , all he can do is to pray for lloyal mercy , and to ask functionaries in the hottest bustle of politics to give ear to his petitions , and rectify the error of which he has been the victim . Had his trial not been an extraordinary one , it never would have been read ; the press would never have interposed : the Crown would have referred to the judges who tried him ; they would have
expressed themselves satisfied that he deserved hanging —no matter , apparently , by the Irish code , for what , —and he would have been ignominiously executed , ostensibly for a crime he never committed . As it is , he will be sparedruined , no doubt , but graciously pardoned , notwithstanding ; for in this instance a commutation of the sentence is a logical impossibility . Either he is guilty , or he is innocent ; if not executed , he must , as far as may be , be reinstated in his former position . But are we to congratulate ourselves upon this ?
When the Royal prerogative has extended to Mr . Kirwan the boon of liberty , will the judge apologize for'taunting him with his " present degraded and disgraceful situation ; " and admitting once more that those words of insult were not " mere words of course , " explain why he went beyond his " official duty" to hurt the feelings and arouse the passions of the helpless wretch before him ? Of course he will not ; and of course he is very much affronted that the timely interposition of the press has postponed for Kirwan that eleventh hour at which , with ( for so
pious a man ) a curious forgetfuhiess of his precedent , Mr . Justice Crampton informs us in his sentence , some have repented and believed . It is exacting more than is in human nature , to require any recantation from a gentleman who perfectly sympathised with , if he did not help to obtain , the verdict ; who , improving the occasion , delivered a sermon on the temporal and eternal consequences of adultery , of which the moral was , that nobody who kept a mistress ever escaped hanging , and who—there being no gaol chaplain at Dublin , we imagine—wound up by explaining in open court , for the general edification of the
young , how " in the short period left to him in this world , " this reprobate and murderer was to obtain " everlasting happiness" and " a crown of eternal glory . " To ask a judge who has said such fine things as these to consider whether they would not be as well unsaid , is to ask what we arc perfectly certain not to obtain . Is it not equally ridiculous to let the question of pardon lie with him ? Is not an appeal oh codem ad eundem an absurdity ? Would not . Kirwan have been handed , but that the newspapers spoke out for the people , and that the people ' s demand for justice was stronger than the Dublin jury ' s appetite for refreshments and horror of adultery P
" 1 $ HOT II Hit" NO . " III . " Gbkat has been the desire to adopt Louis JVapoleon as Superintendent of Police for tho party of" Order in the disturbed district of f'Yance ; but a serious practical difficulty has been encountered by his friends and patrons the Powers of the North ; and the conduct of Kngland . has complicated their difficulty very considerably The potentates of the . North , champions of order , lind no ditlirulty in recognising the conqueror of France , who surprised the capital of bis native country at midnight ; obtained it by a , great expense of bloodshed ; violated more than one constitution ; and now sits in defiance of legitimate ?
inheritance It might have been expected that the fact of his claim to sit for 8 , 000 , 000 of the people would also constitute a difficulty ; and so it does . Not , indeed , that the fart of universal suffrage is an insuperable objection even to the despots of the North . They do not object to the (> , 7 , or H , 000 , 000 , or any number of millions which ho may choose to reckon as his specific supporters ;
but they object to his ¦*<' . ' /' " !/ HO - H would , no doubt , be an awkward precedent , if it , were recorded solemnly , that a . throne can derive its right from " the million . " l <\> r to recognise tho will of the Million as a right ., is to recognise tho want of that will jis the w » n ( , of that , right ; and then . Where would the potentates beP As tho cojiclmmii of the old ways Haiti , after the modern railway crash , they would bo "Nowlmro . " There has boon a diflioulty in recognising
January 1 , 1853 . ] THE LEADER . 13
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 1, 1853, page 13, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1967/page/13/