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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Madeline H. Smith's acquittal and closing scenes in court


THE charge of the Lord Justice-Clerk, which was begun on the eighth day of the trial, after the address of the Dean of Faculty for the defence, was resumed and finished on the ninth day. It was characterised by great impartiality, being a clear and lucid exposition of the evidence on both sides, and of the points of law discussed in the pleadings for the prosecution and defence.

The jury retired at the close of his lordship’s charge, and, during their absence to determine the issue of life or of death, the prisoner sat, to all outward appearance, the most unconcerned person in court. They came back after an interval of half-an-hour, and, amid the most profound silence, their foreman, Mr. Moffat, mathematical teacher in the High School of Edinburgh, read the following verdict:

"The jury find the panel not guilty of the first charge in the indictment by a majority; of the second charge, not proven; and, by a majority, find the third charge also not proven.

The prisoner, who listened to the verdict with the same calmness which she had manifested throughout the whole nine days’ proceedings, was then dismissed from the bar.

When the verdict was read there arose a burst of cheering from the densely packed audience in court, which the officers in vain attempted to suppress, and, on the result being announced to a crowd of many thousands outside, a similar expression of opinion took place.

The eminent counsel, who had the chief role on both sides, subsequently occupied the two highest positions in the Scottish Court of Session. The Dean of Faculty (John Inglis) became Lord . President, and the Lord Advocate (Moncreiff) Lord Justice-Clerk. The Dean of Faculty, who so eloquently and successfully pled for the panel, is reported to have said to her after her acquittal:

"I have saved your neck from the gallows, but I cannot save your soul from perdition."

She is said to have got married, and to have settled in England, and the present writer was informed by the late Rev. Professor Eadie, that, some years afterwards, he met her at the house of a friend at Polmont, where she was then on a visit, and that she had a child, to which she seemed as affectionately attached as it was possible for any mother to be. Her maternal grandfather was the architect of one of the most admired public edifices in Glasgow. William Harper Minnoch, Esq., to whom she was engaged to be married, as mentioned by the Lord Advocate in his narrative of the case, was a partner in the eminent firm of John Houldsworth & Co., merchants in Glasgow. It is hardly necessary to add that it was not he who subsequently married her. It has been stated, on what seems good authority, that the mother of L’Angelier was the illegitimate daughter of a Fifeshire baronet and a miner’s daughter.


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