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volved should attend the recollection of the wrong, than that posterity should be left to guess at the materials of the charge, and the force of the answer. If regarded apart from the fortunes of the distinguished persons which it involved, this cause affords an egregious instance of that peculiar action which, to the disgrace of the English Law, it not only permits, but absolutely requires, before a husband, however wronged, can obtain the severance of the violated marriage-tie. It is assuredly a reproach to civilization itself that such a remedy should be allotted to such a wrong ;--that a man should be compelled to seek compensa

tion in damages' for the loss of a life of affection, and the blighting of hopes which extend through human life and overstep the grave, by pouring on the greedy ears of his friends and the

public,' all the shameful details of his wife's crime and his own dishonour. In vain does his advocate represent his loss and his misery as beyond the power of money to compensate—it is still money

that he asks; and those in whose presence that degrading appeal is made, ought to feel, not that money is inadequate in degree to the purpose for which it is sought, but wholly inapplicable in kind—that to require a jury to determine on their oaths how much in pounds, shillings, and pence the adulterer ought to pay to the friend whose wife he has seduced, is as absurd as to propound to them the child's question, How many miles is it to Christmas-day? Among the many varieties of injustice which the prosecution of such a complaint involves, perhaps the worst is that which denies to the party whose interests are most fearfully affected by its conduct and its issue—the lady whose imputed frailty is directly in question-any representative or protector; for, if she is innocent, he who should defend her is her accuser, and she has no claim on the defendant, whose relation to her is erroneously charged. In this case the injustice would have been bitterly felt, if the tissue of misapprehension and falsehood which constituted the evidence for the plaintiff had been more artfully woven; for the duty of the Counsel for the defendant to their client might still have compelled them to abstain from assailing it by proof; and thus, although successful in the result, might have left the vindication of the lady imperfect. The practice of nisi prius, which enables a plaintiff's advisers to select fragments of the truth, and to arrange them, so as to compel or provoke their opponents to supply the deficiencies in the picture, at the peril of all those casualties which often occur in the course of evidence, and which a defendant can neither anticipate nor explain, produced on this occasion appearances essentially deceptive; which, though inadequate at the worst to influence the verdict, might have been sufficient to leave a taint on the repu

tation of the lady, if happy accident, wisely employed by Sir John Campbell, had not dispelled them. As the case for the plaintiff appeared in proof almost until its close, it must have been inferred that, on some discovery, a separation took place between the husband and wife, of which the action was the direct consequence; and such would have remained the conviction of the judge, jury, and spectators, if the accidental appearance in the witness-box of a female servant, to prove the handwriting of the lady to a few most innocent letters to her husband, had not enabled the counsel to elicit the important and hitherto unsuspected fact, that the unhappy difference between them arose on matter wholly unconnected with a suspicion of her honourthat they had, in truth, separated because he would not permit their children to accompany her on a visit to her brother, which he was not invited to share; and that weeks had elapsed before he thought of regarding the intimacy, of which he had been naturally and honourably proud, as tainted with the guilt subsequently imputed by the action. Another instance of false appearance, produced by a partial disclosure of truths, passed, in this cause, without detection. The servants of the exemplary daughter of a gallant officer were examined, to prove that they had, on two or three occasions, attended the carriage of their mistress when it conveyed Mrs Norton to the house of the defendant; that mistress sat in a room adjoining the court, expecting to be herself called to explain the objects of those visits to be perfectly innocent, and approved by the plaintiff; but she waited in vain ;—the plantiff left the explanation to be given by the defendant; the defendant's counsel thought the weakness of the case on other points rendered it unnecessary to answer it on this; and thus, although the witnesses on this point spoke only truth, the result of their evidence was falsehood. No one will impute to the eminent advocate who conducted the plantiff's case, any desire to suppress or distort truth; probably the entire facts were not known to him, or some urgent reason existed for declining to present particular witnesses as his own witnesses, of which a stranger cannot judge: both the circumstances suggest a defect in our judicial system, which deserves serious consideration. Surely when we expose

as we had recently occasion to expose* —the meretricious license of French advocacy, by which much may be asserted and insinuated which cannot be proved, we ought to allow that there is an opposite imperfection in our own practice ; which,

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* See the Article in Vol. 151, on the • Trial of Madame Lafarge.'

confining the enquiry within narrower limits and stricter rules, and leaving to either party the option of disclosing just so many of the facts as he may think prudent, often leaves a cause to be decided while much important truth remains untold. At all events, it must be admitted that, however fair this game of nisi prius may be to the contending parties, its operation is most unjust when its highest stake is really the character of a woman, who has no share in its management--no power to make her own conduct clear-no organ even to express a wish on her behalf as to the production of evidence—on which her rights as a wife and a mother, and her social existence may depend. Fortunately, in this case, the truths were sufficiently developed to render a belief in the charge impossible ; and the unhesitating verdict of the jury-pronounced without the production of the proofs which might have shattered the case, if it had not fallen to pieces in its progress, and been trampled into dust by the speech for the defence--left the lady whose peace it involved, to receive all the consolation which public sympathy can minister to such trials and such sorrows.

The merits of this speech, consisting, for the most part, in masterly analysis of the evidence, and indignant exposure of the falsehood of some portions of it, and of the inferences drawn from others-does not admit of exemplification by extract; nor, indeed, does the general style of Lord Campbell's pleading, which consists in the exact adaptation of subtle reasoning to the aim which it rarely fails to reach, afford frequent opportunities for the exhibition of passages which look remarkable even when torn asunder from the framework of the argument they illustrate. Yet the next speech—the defence of Mr Medhurstdelivered on an occasion of deep individual interest, and applicable to a very simple state of facts, contains passages of pure diction and manly pathos, which a short statement of the circumstances attendant on its delivery will enable every reader to appreciate. The client of Sir John Campbell, a young gentleman of nineteen years of age, had the misfortune to kill a fellowpupil of about the same age named Alsop, who, with himself, had been pursuing his studies in the interval unwisely interposed between school and the university, under the direction of a clergyman with whom they both boarded. Some alienation had occurred between the youths, which gave a fiercer character to a casual encounter, in the course of which Medhurst, under the influence of rage, and perhaps of apprehension, inflicted a wound on his adversary with a knife which he unfortunately had on his person, which shortly after terminated in death. A coroner's jury-always the worst selected, and sometimes the worst directed of all English tribunals -— returned a verdict


of wilful murder against the poor lad, who was abundantly punished by the wretchedness which the issue of his sudden act entailed on him, and he was committed to take his trial for that crime. When the indictment was preferred, however, the grand jury returned a true bill for manslaughter; for which offence Sir John Campbell was retained to defend him at the Central Criminal Court; but the presiding Judges thought themselves bound to direct the trial to proceed on the inquisition, and the young prisoner stood on his deliverance for life or death-an issue which strong prejudices rendered doubtful. After describing the melancholy contest according to the truth, as forcibly elicited from the witnesses, Sir John Campbell thus alluded to the subsequent conduct of the sufferers :

If a desire of vengeance and not self-defence had been the motive of the prisoner, what then would have been his demeanour? His passion would have been gratified. He would have enjoyed at least that momentary satisfaction, though to be followed by remorse, which is felt in accomplishing any object, however wicked. But he was instantly horrorstruck--" God !” he exclaimed-no other utterance could he find for grief and anguish. From that moment he could not have shown more sympathy and tenderness for his recovery, had he been a beloved brother, who, by some mischance, had met a similar fate from the hand of a stranger. Nor was this from any sordid regard to his own safety. I believe, though unconscious of ever having entertained any bad feeling towards Alsop, and certain that the offence with which he now stands charged never could be truly imputed to him, he would willingly have sacrificed his own existence to rescue his friend from the consequence of the wound of which he was the unfortunate cause. Need I remind you how kindly he conducted him to his chamber, how affectionately he hung over him in bed, trying to assuage his pain, and the earnestness he displayed that the sufferer might be surrounded by his relations ? If my client had selt any consciousness of guilt, or alarm for his own safety, he might at any time have fled to await the event. But he continued by the sick-bed to the last; he still remained in the house when the scene bad closed—and being informed of the finding of the coroner's jury accusing him of murder, he voluntarily went to a magistrate, and surrendered himself that he might be tried by God and his country.

• Is this the conduct of a murderer ?-of one who thirsted for blood ? who planned assassination ?—who had such a wicked and depraved heart, that, without provocation or excuse, he would take the life of him who, with the exception of a boyish dispute which might have been easily appeased, had never done any thing to offend him, and whom he had always loved and cherished ?

• But, gentlemen, there is a witness whose evidence you must believe, and whose evidence conclusively proves the innocence of my client. That witness is the unfortunate Alsop-whose voice is heard by you from the grave. I am afraid, gentlemen, to approach the touching scenes of the reconciliation and mutual forgiveness of these two young men—whose fate, though different, is perhaps equally to be deplored

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lest I should be overpowered by my feelings, and entirely disqualified for the further discharge of my duty before you. When it was announced to Alsop that his recovery was hopeless, he pressed the hand of Medhurst-embraced him-exclaimed, “ We were both to blame, and I forgive you"-asked and received forgiveness. The last words he ever spoke amounted to a verdict of Not Guilty in favour of my client. When his eye was becoming dim, his hand cold, and his voice tremulous, and it was evident to himself and those around him that his earth. ly career was rapidly drawing to a close, the surgeon asked him if Medhurst had been actuated by malice. He answered, “ Certainly not!". and expired. That declaration of innocence was not accompanied by the form of a judicial oath to speak the truth. But is it entitled to less credit ? He knew that he had nothing to hope or to fear on this side the grave ; that he was speedily to appear in the immediate presence of his Maker, and that his eternal doom was to be sealed, according to the purity of his heart, and the sincerity of his parting words.

Are you to suppose then, that from a false generosity, from a spurious chivalry, be wished to screen guilt from punishment; and that with this view he perverted the truth, and went out of the world pronouncing a falsehood ? As a true Christian, he knew that forgiveness is the condition on which we hope to be forgiven; and, imitating the example of the Divine Founder of our religion, he would have been ready, in his last moments, to pray

for mercy from above upon his murderer, if he had come to his end by the blow of premeditation and malice. But he knew that he spoke before the Searcher of all hearts—that he was forthwith to render an ac. count of his words and of his actions to the God of truth—and that, when the commandment of God against murder has been violated, the safety of God's creatures requires that the penalty affixed to this crime should be enforced by human laws.

• He now calls upon you to acquit the prisoner. Perhaps we may, without irreverence, suppose that he is conscious of this solemn proceeding; and his gentle spirit, if it can by any mysterious means influence your minds, must inspire you with the conviction that the accused was free from malice, and that his act was unaccompanied by that criminal intention which alone constitutes guilt.

• His surviving relatives—although the prosecutors-must rejoice in his acquittal. They have done their duty to his memory, by instituting the prosecution, and laying the case fairly before you. The candour and humanity of my learned friend truly represent the spirit by which they are actuated, and show that none would more deeply regret that, from any excess of good feeling in the jury—from any preconceived opinion—from any unfounded rumour—from any desire to discountenance the practice of carrying secret weapons, my client should be in undue peril. It is impossible not to sympathize with them for the heavy loss they have sustained in the untimely death of a young man of such promise—so likely to be a credit and a blessing to his family. It must be some consolation to them to reflect that he did not die unprepared ; that repentance, there is every reason to hope, atoned for any youthful errors he might have committed ; and that, for his own sake, the change is not to be deplored—as he is taken from the evil to come-withdrawn to

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