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suppressed evidence that might have been favourable to Mrs. Maclachlan. For example, it is said that they concealed the shirt button found by a detective among the ashes of the kitchen fire, and a bloody hammer found in Jessie McPherson's bedroom. In these particulars they may be misrepresented; but certain it is that they had Mrs. Maclachlan's husband taken into custody as guilty of the murder when they had no reason whatever to believe in his guilt, simply to extract from him, by taking his declaration, whatever information they could which could guide them in collecting evidence against his wife. Lord Deas had no word of reprehension for this infamous obtaining of information upon false pretences; for a false accusation of murder, either known to be false or not believed with some sort of reason to be true, is a false pretence of the most infamous kind; but it will be for the Crown and for the public mind of Scotland to say whether the ends of justice are worth attaining by such dishonourable means, and whether it is worth while to punish crime at all, if in doing so it is necessary to sacrifice honour and morality. The Advocate-Depute, Mr. Gifford, was upon the whole fair and temperate. His speech was disfigured by ludicrous spurts of bombast, but it treated the evidence with considerable impartiality for a Scotch prosecutor, and was vastly more judicial than the charge of Lord Deas. But there is one little trick in Mr. Gifford's conduct of the cause which we think it our duty to expose, and that was gliding over in silence the weak points of his case. Hardly any of those mentioned by us were fairly grappled with by him. The dampness of the kitchen floor, for example, when the doctors and police were first called in, and the fact that it was dry two hours after, showed that it must have been washed on that day, and by some one else than the prisoner, This circumstance was most favourable to her, but neither Mr. Gifford nor Lord Deas said a word about it, apparently thinking it best to be silent regarding what they could not explain in accordance with their own theory of the evidence, which is a very easy and ingenious way indeed of propping up a theory. We might condemn this sort of thing as un

. candid; but we presume it must be agreeable to the taciturn, cautious, and metaphysical character of the Scottish people, or it would not be tolerated in those who are honoured to serve the Crown as counsel, or sit on the bench as judge. According to the exact theological language of the North, this kind of sin is a sin of omission, and a very venial sin it seems to be; for the Advocate Depute, no doubt eminent in his profession, or he would not hold the position he does, had, in a question of life and death, neither the courage nor the candour to admit many of the circumstances favourable to the prisoner as an English counsel for the Crown would bave done, but either evaded them or passed them by in silence, considering that sort of conduct to be prudent and discreet. His speech has been greatly more praised in Scotland than that of Mr. Clark, who conducted the defence, and which seems to us superior. Going upon Burke's principle, that “print settles all,” which is, indeed, all we have to go upon, we cannot but think the style of Mr. Clark's speech far less objectionable than that of Mr. Gifford. It is not a strong speech, nor does it touch upon some of the strong points of his case; and it is too evidently extempore, and spoken without that careful preparation of passages which Lord Brougham so forcibly recommends to orators. But it was spoken at the close of the third of three long days, when body and brain must have both been almost tired out, and yet the arguments are forcibly put and judiciously disposed, and the style is clear, nervous, lawyer-like, and at least free from school-boy bombast. No doubt he was much hampered by the “statement” of the prisoner. What to do with it he must have had great difficulty in deciding; whether to put it in at the beginning of the trial as a special defence, or to read it as part of his speech, or to reserve it, as was done, against a verdict of condemnation. He has been widely censured for so reserving it, and for not, thereby, putting“ the prisoner's case" to the jury, and thus in a sort of way suppressing the truth. We can see his reason for doing so was the hope that the Crown would fail to prove that she was in the house at Sandyford Place that night, and that the evidence would break down where it broke down in the case of Miss Madeleine Smith-in the want of proof of opportunity to commit the murder. No doubt that hope was frustrated. Had it been otherwise his skill and boldness would have been commended. After the failure of a plan nothing is more natural and easy than to condemn it. We leave that simple work to others, being unable to pronounce an opinion, and say that Mr. Clark, whom Lord Deas spoke of as one “ of the ablest counsel at the bar of this country," did not decide for the best. He was not bound to disclose that she was in the house that night. The prosecution was bound to prove it. The only violation of truth of which a counsel for the prisoner can be guilty is, not the concealment of adverse facts, but the assertion of what he knows to be false, and we have not read aright if Mr. Clark did not exhibit more candour than most others connected with this trial and its antecedents.

The conduct of Lord Deas has been almost universally censured, and we are sorry to be compelled to join in that censure against a British judge, of high talent, and of undoubted zeal in the discharge of what he believes to be his duty. Instead of maintaining a proper judicial equilibrium, and holding the

a balance of justice even, he put his foot fiercely into one scale, and kicked at the other. We shrink from the tedious and unpleasant task of analysing his charge; we leave it to the judgment of every intelligent professional and non-professional reader. Others may find in it what we have failed to find. It lasted four hours, and from beginning to end of it there is not one observation favourable to the prisoner; not one fair consideration of a doubt in her favour; not one suggestion that any fact renders her guilt a matter of the least doubt. On the contrary, facts that in our humble opinion tell strongly in her favour, are either quietly ignored, or disposed of by reckless assertion

or the most transparent sophistry. A policeman saw two women come out of the house on the Saturday night. He must have mistaken the number of the house. The old man said that the chain was not on the door, and then that it was on. A man often puts the chain on the door, and forgets about it. The milkboy heard the chain taken off the door. It must have been something else he heard. Jessie McPherson some days before her death told a married female friend that she was very unhappy in Fleming's house, that the old man was an old devil, and that she had something to tell her which she could not tell in presence of this friend's husband. This mysterious something which female delicacy would not allow her to talk of in presence of a man was her intention of going to Australia! And after this fashion his Lordship disposes of all evidence favourable to a prisoner tried for her life. No advocate who could be replied to would dare to be so reckless in argument, or rather in assertion, for argument must always commend itself somewhat to the reason of others. We believe that it is common, too common, for some Scotch judges to act the part of“ senior counsel for the Crown," and to forget their dignity so far as to beseech juries to return verdicts of guilty on very insufficient evidence. This excessive loyalty seems to be peculiar to the Scotch character. The late Lord Campbell introduced a modified and comparatively inoffensive form of it into England. He used to boast of his success in obtaining convictions, and talked with patronizing complacency of such eminent toxicologists as “ Dr. Christison, whose able assistance I had in the trial of Palmer for poisoning." But such undue bias is unbecoming to the bench, unfair to the Crown, and dangerous to the subject, and we hope that the public censure which has fallen upon Lord Deas, who had, and will still have, some reputation to lose, will act as a warning to smaller occupants of the bench who would be more mischievous if they had half his ability.

This remarkable trial, whatever judgment may be finally formed upon its circumstances, seems to us a conclusive instance of the mischief done by our present rules of criminal evidence. If Lord Brougham should re-introduce his Bill for admitting the voluntary testimony of prisoners, subject to cross-examination, he will find in the trial of Mrs. Maclachlan a formidable argument for his measure. Whether we believe her innocent or guilty, it must be equally the subject of regret that she was not able to tell her own tale to the jury. If innocent, she would have given a straightforward account, and might have boldly challenged Fleming with the murder, with the certainty that cross-examination would have strengthened her case, as it nearly always does that of an honest witness. If guilty, she would probably have betrayed herself, and have removed from the public mind all doubt as to the justice of the verdict. What can be less reasonable than to refuse the testimony of a prisoner when you have the power to test its accuracy, and to accept it at the first moment when it can pass uncontradicted ? Is the subsequent private inquiry (when obtained) to be compared, in point of justice or efficiency, with the thorough sifting of every disputed point in open court ?

To review and if necessary correct the unanimous verdict of the jury, the Secretary of State has been appealed to by petitions from all the chief towns of Scotland, signed by tens of thousands. He has respited the prisoner until the 1st of November, and has ordered a full investigation into facts. But for this investigation there is no machinery. Sir Archibald Alison, the Sheriff of Lanarkshire, has been presiding as a sort of self-appointed King Log at the examination of witnesses, but what is to be done with their evidence, no man pretends to know. More recently the Lord Advocate Moncrieff has appointed Mr. George Young, Advocate, as a special commissioner to preside over this investigation. To this appointment there can be no objection, for Mr. George Young is at the head of the Scottish Bar, (omitting the Lord Advocate, and the Solicitor-General Maitland,) and the Lord Advocate being a party to this investigation, it will be his duty to support the verdict. But for this he might himself have been

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