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villain though lie might be—on- such insufficient evidence as bad been brought forward against him , was to violate a princip le which lawyers have always held sacred , and the obvious importance of which would render it dear even to laymen , when once they saw the danger into which a neglect of it would infallibly lead them . Accordingly , we recapitulated the facts of the case , stated what had been proved against the prisoner , and , whilst expressing q personal belief that ho was innocent , admitted that those facts so proved were compatible with the hypothesis that he was guilty . We did not for a moment deny that Mrs . Kirwan might , according to the evidence given , have met her death in the manner alleged
by the prosecution , but we asserted what everybody now allows , —that nothing , after all , had been proved which was inconsistent with the supposition that she had died in another way . We contended that , according to the recognised doctrine of circumstantial evidence , it was necessary to the establishment of the charge , that those who brought it should meet the defendant with a rcductio ad absurdum , and having shown that the deceased might have died in such manner as they supposed , should have been able to ask , unanswerably , How else could she ? Such was the position which we took up , and such the principle which we supported . A catacomb may be discovered under every house in which Kirwan ever resided , without shaking our belief that this was the right view of the question .
But it would seem , from a letter by the foreman of the jury who convicted him , that in once more asserting that the end does not justify the means , and that the law must not be wrested , even to get a scoundrel , if he were such , out of the world , " a portion of the press" were damaging " the character of trial by jury , " and endangering a " sacred institution . " An innocent man—aman
not proved guilty , if he prefers it—cannot , we must be permitted to reply , be sacrificed even for the support of a " sacred institution . " JLet Mr . Dennis , the foreman , recollect what Victor Hugo says of all institutions , p aeredor otherwise : they are not damaged from without ; they die of suicide . Some people must be kept out of the panel , or the last inquest will be on a jury , and the " sacred institution" be pronounced afelo de se .
One thing " , by the way , we should mention , as illustrative of the spirit in which this case lias been tried . Our readers will recollect the new evidence , collected since the sentence , and that it was given on oath by most respectable and credible people . The twelve gentlemen whobelievo JVangle and Mrs . Campbell do not believe them Half-a-dozen witnesses swear that Mrs . . Kirwan was subject to fits of epilepsy : and the dozen gentlemen who constituted pro tern : the "sacred institution" decline to credit ( lie statement—i . e .
rather than confess themselves / . n the wrong , accuse those who make it of perjury . No wonder they nay . hard things of a body like the press , the only court of criminal appeal at present existing , when they can even do their lil-Ue best to blast the character of individuals in preference to acknowledging that it is possible they may themselves have been , for oner , in llicir lives , mistaken .
. For ourselves , as a " portion of the press , " we conclude an we commenced , u ith the belief that to take : up this ease was a . duty which we owed to the public . 'We have endeavoured to show that the conduct of both judge and jury was , hb we thought it , ridiculous ; and w e have done ho because we thought , that it would bo leas likely to tempi imitation if heartily ridiculed than if . solemnly ^ jinpea . ehcd .. We have professed jio regard for Mr . Kirwan , and no regret for bis wile ; leaving . sentimental cynics to wail spitefully
over the dead , we have joined Mrs . Crowe , the deceased's mother , in an effort to obtain justice for the living . Of the new charges there in nothing yet to be na , i < l . According to law hut thai won ' t matter in Ireland K irv \ an is civit . iter morluus , and cunnot , therefore , bo again tried . Probably , however , he will : we hIuiII then , no doubt , nee justice done , nnd the recently discovered witncH . seH , who tell of inunleiH committed at p eriodical intervals for the last , seventeen years , severally fnuiNported an acccuHorien before or alter tin ) fact .
LET US COUNT OUlt CHICKENS . The public is slow to deal in abstractions , qnick to recognise that against which it breaks its shins . The great philosopher has but one motto , — "Seeing is believing ; " a sceptical expression which may . account for the slow progress of Christianity in this . island . The public ignores until it sees ; but then it believes with a total devotion . With the gentleman that lived between Manchester and Liverpool , who sneered away the possibility of railway travelling at nine miles an hour , it disbelieved in railways , and
then ruined itself in the shares of any railway , including the John o' Groats , Orkney , and Heligoland line . With Dr . Lardner , it disbelieved in Transnt lantie steam navigation , and now demands vessels bigger , quicker , and fleeter than Cunard ' s . Tt has greiitfajth in collect ions , ft hardly knew its own handicraft ( superiority , until it got together nil its works in the £ ' rystal Palace . It had no adequate idea of its own beef and mutton , or of its own wretched implements agricultural , until ( specimens were ; brought together in
Uaker-( streel ; and then ideas concerning reaping machines , or newly invented beeves , dawned upon the agricultural mind . And positively , the public did not know anything about the coekN and hens that , haunt our cottages , our poultry yards , our lanes , and bye ( streets , until a . collection was made in that Maine Baker-street , which also congenially informs the public as to its crimes and ilH statesmen . If you want to nee a . celebrated slates in M , n , a celebrated bull , a , celebrated murderer , or a , celebrated fowl , you must go to one of the collections in Haker-nl . reel .
And it its HHtoniHlimg to see the ideas lh ;! t instantly start to life in the collective suggestion . No Kooner are eminent , poultry ' collected at I he bazaar , an < l proclaimed at prices varying not above sixty guineas a , pair , than the puMic exelainiH , through its organ , thai the collection may be the meiuiN of making fowls cheaper . Show a Londoner a denizen of the poultry yard worth twenty or thirty guineaH , and ho lit once hcch hi « way ! . <> pulling t \ fowl in every man ' s pot . They don ' t understand these things so well in France . There , we aro told by the plaintive Kives , that poultry are not less than nine francn a , pn , ir ; and there in no prospect of a decline : but we in
tise new laid eggs from his own back yard . multiplication of poultry in all quarters has been the subject of frequent remark . The thing wanted to set improvement fairly going , is some system in the improvement of breeds , and especially some ideas on the subject . Baker-street will hatch the ideas . The public is ^ now in a condition to contemplate the idea fowl , collectively , generically , a ' discriminatively ; and in a few years we shall have fruit—perhaps we ought to say eggs—in specific ideas . discriminate between the
The England see , through this bazaar , the coining of the capon at a working-man ' s price . Without joking . The fact is , that the materials for poultry exist , and are most dear to us at present ; but there is a field for improvement . The breeds have much improved of late years ; so have the means of transit . A tradesman in the suburbs of London can advertise Ms supplies of poultry direct from Devonshire or Somersetshire ; and his next-door neighbour can
adver-We shall begin to essential and the non-essential . We shall ask ourselves whether a snow-w hite _ breast and a sixth toe are reciprocally imperativo conditions . Seeing that bigger eggs may rival bantams , and yet be more for the mouthful , we shall ask whether a delicate fulness and a stunted stature are inseparable . The Cochin-Chinese are tailless , and wear a species of tucked-up unmentionables ; but are those " features" appreciated in the flavour ? These are interesting inquiries . Indeed , we know no branch of the newly-developing science of embryology more exciting than that of new-laid eggs .
We speak of the practical science . New laid eggs are valuable at the breakfast table ; but whylimit them to the wealthy ? Why not have universal omelette P We are inclined to think , from the practical experience of our streets , that no stock can be kept at a less cost than fowl . We have the authority of our own eyes for asserting that they can be fattened on granite chippings or the grit of macadamised road , with the condiments of those popular dishes . Indeed , the famous Barbezieux capons in the south of France are devoted to pebbles , as their admirers are to truffles .
Every little helps in the poultry yard , and nothing of it that doth fade but cloth suffer a remarkable change into something very pretty to eat . That breast of fowl on your plate was once scraps of various sorts ; and the new laid eggs that you have just uncasketed of their light stony domes are pearls that were not pearls before . A little science in matchmaking and systematic feeding mig ht improve on the Macadam diet ; but assuredly plain good fowls and reasonable eggs may be multiplied now that we arc going to have ideas on the subject of poultry .
One discovery , or re-discovery , let us claim for ourselves—that " Honesty is the best policy . It is a truth even at the poulterer ' s . Let the history of a new laid egg illustrate our meaning . It was brought to the domestic council by writ of summons , fee duly paid ; it was qualified for table by the ollicer of the cuisine with the usual ceremonies ; with the usual ceremonies opened . It was ( jreen 1—not the usual colour of eggH newly laid .
The lord of the creation ate no more tli . it / lay ; no more did the poulterer bring new laid eggs to that outraged board . The incident is not singular in its kind . The poulterer had a f < io in lieu of a line : but it was his bust . Fowls that have joints , new hud eggs that have not yet made up their minds whether to rot or develops—Iheso arc the delicacies only contemplated by Henri Quatre , but now really looming in the future for those who breathe in thin a units mirab ' dis .
Till- ] UN 1 MMNTKI ) UTKItATURK . A COItRKNI'ONDUNT UrgCS upon UN tllO Hllbject of ¦ a thorough reform of the pre . su , arguing , with great truth , that our journals are imperfect in their construction , in ' their discussion , un < l in their working , us an instrument for ( linelonintf real opinion . Me wishes Home machinery to rescue the mipprcHHcd literature which cannot find its way into the prc , sH ; and there may be in the p . geon-holen of man y n journal piipens of merit , which would < leHe ,-Ve to iseo the light . Hut the iiuiHH ol the mmprcsKcd literature m ho huge , am imon the whole ho little fitted to competo with the literature which in not HuppreKHed , that wcdoubl , the possibilit y of providing a rnachinory lor iIh |> roiHiilfrii . f , ion . A Hpedal ortfjin for Mm purpo . se would Hink by its own weight . If wo might Imzard a mi inanition , it would bo that a
" I'KOI'liK" N (! ANDAIilZUI > AT I'KOlMiM . Minn ( inAVKMUH ami Mi-h . Slipslop who rail at each oilier in Mm Hlnge-cmieli , under the jib . stract inline of " people , " r ,,, . „ ,, ( . <| ,, jVO ( .,, | dmrily to an extremely handaomo ami uuicli denuded young
their fellow-creatures to starve , and so forth ; and with "Christian affection , " they propose that Ave should discontinue these unseemly practices . The latter proposal is , at least , more rational than the former . It would be far more easy to abandon the endeavour to pull down our workpeople below the subsistence level in their wages , than it would to let loose the slaves by a stroke of the pen ; since there is no question of any social revolt at the back of such a proceeding in England . The tu quoque argument is usually accounted a
gentleman on the one side , and a mortified austerity on the other—have had many models ; and they have now the honour of being copied by the ladies of Great Britain on the one side , and the ladies of the United States on the other . The ladies of Great Britain assembled in Stafford House , are shocked that " people" can keep up the institution of slavery ; and propose to abolish it forthwith as a Christian act . On which the American ladies call to the mind of the Sutherland ladies , that " people" in this country ill-use governesses ; oppress their working hands ; allow
weak one , and it is only tolerable when the first incrimination is accompanied by a pharisaical presumption that the accuser is himself immaculate . There is an illogical use in the word slavery as applied to Englishmen which we do not like ; inasmuch as the so-called slave is under no species of compulsion excep t that of his own necessities . It is only a quibble ' to call him a slave ; but that
he meets with Christian kindness—that he is treated as a man and a brother , would be suppositions too ludicrous ; and if England is not chargeable with maintaining an institution of slavery , she is , at least , chargeable with violating the plainest dictates of her national faith , and the precepts o £ her morality ; and has , moreover , in the person of her ladies , violated the rule which tells us to take the beam out of our own
eye before we offer to remove the mote from our neighbour ' s . It would be a good suggestion to ] as > stpone proceedings in England for the abolition of slavery in America until the English p * eople , the ladies of Stafford House included , shall be converted to practical Christianity .
62 THE LEADER . [ Saturday ,
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 15, 1853, page 62, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1969/page/14/