Chapter Nine

AuthorRichard D. Schneider
Cae Nne
   emanating from some quarters that e
Times, in its reporting on the Drummond assassination, was giving
undue prominence to strong intimations, if not outright opinions,
regarding Daniel M’Naughten’s sanity or lack thereof information
that was being served up as evidence when in many cases it was no
better than hearsay and extremely prejudicial to his receiving a fair and
just hearing at trial – the newspaper ran what amounted to a public
disclaimer in its edition of January, here reprinted in full:
We have already stated our determination to say nothing which can
in any way prejudge M’Naughten’s case, or prejudice his character. e
solemn and protecting mantle of justice is thrown over him, and in the
courts of justice alone must his innocence or his guilt be proved. We
would, indeed, rather be silent on the subject and all its bearings. But
silence is rendered impossible by the observations which we have read
in contemporary and provincial journals, as well as by the general tone
of letters addressed to ourselves. We therefore repeat, once for all, that
we shall be truly thankful to see the accused acquitted on the ground
of insanity – provided that insanity be proved on testimony positive,
irrefragable, and beyond suspicion.
We shall truly rejoice to nd that there is not a man in England
or Scotland, exercising the faculty of reason, who is wicked and savage
enough to commit a cowardly murder on a fellow-creature without
the miserable plea of passion or provocation. But the insanity which
alone ought to be admitted in defense of the accused is of that forcible
and overmastering kind which utterly obliterates all moral sense of
right or wrong. It is not sucient to prove occasional hallucination
or erroneous and extravagant hypotheses on particular subjects; the

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