The election for Meath began on Monday, with the nomination. The candidates have been fined down to two. Mr. Samuel Winter, a Whig, proposed, and Mr. Patrick John Kearney, a Roman Catholic, seconded, Mr. Meredyth, the Whig candidate. Mr. Kearney was saluted with groans, hisses, and cries of "Castle hack !" The Reverend N. Power, President of the Navan Seminary, proposed, and Mr. Murphy seconded, Mr. M'Evoy, the candidate of the Roman Catholic party. Both obtained a fair hearing. The show of hands was in favour of Mr. M'Evoy ; the friends of his opponent demanded a poll. This took place on Thursday, and terminated last night; when the numbers were—M'Evoy 1639 ; Meredyth 899 ; majority for M'Evoy 740.
The Irish journals have adopted a quiet tone respecting the trial of Father Petcherine. The Dublin Evening Mail, a Protestant organ, awards to the lawyers on both sides the praise of having done their duty with moderation and fairness. The Dublin Evening Post regards the trial as useful in having brought out the fact that it is not the doctrine and prac- tice of the Roman Catholic Church to treat the Bible with disrespect ; and considers that the trial is therefore likely to lead to a better under- standing between Protestants and Catholics. The Cork Reporter, a Roman Catholicjournal, administers a severe rebuke to those fanatics who advo- cate book-burning. "No good ever came of the attempt to shut up" volumes regarded as objectionable.
The trial of the Reverend Vladimir 'Petcherine for Bible-burning, ter- minated on Saturday, in a verdict of acquittaL The proceedings occupied the Court two days. 'The Judges were Mr. Justice Crampton, and Mr. Baron Green. On the side of the prosecution were the Attorney-General, the So- licitor-General, Mr. Corbalbs, Mr. A. Plunkett, and Mr. Beytegb. For the defence were Mr. O'Hag, Sir Colman O'Loghlem _Mr. J. A. Curran, Mr. Kiernan, and Mr..J. CoW. The court was crowded with an anxious au- dience. There were several, counts in the indictment—to the effect that Vladimir Petcherine had caused the Bible to be contemptuously burnt, "to the high displeasure of Almighty God, and the great disrespect, discredit, and dishonour of the religion established by law." In his opening speech for the prosecution, Mr. Keogh described how Petcherine had exhorted the people of Kingstown to abandon and bring to him books of an immoral ten- dency. Among the numbers of books brought in were several copies of the Bible and New Testament. Were these volumes included in the attacks made on the licentious press? Why were they brought, unless included ? The books were burnt, the Bible and Testament among them, in the most open manner ; and if they were knowingly burnt, the law was so clear that there could be no doubt Petcherine had committed an offence. The Attorney-General then described at some length, and with great em- phasis, the relation of the Bible to the administration of justice. "Prolix the humblest individual who is called to attest to any fact, to the Sovereign who sits on the throne, there is no security for anything except what is based on the authorized version of the Scriptures. The law as laid down by i our greatest authorities, and as it has been recognized and esta- blished n our recent cases, is thus stated—' Offences immediately against God are by common law indictable ; as all blasphemy against God, denying His being or providence ; all profane %offing of the Holy Scriptures, or ex- posing any part thereof to contempt or ridicule.' Exposing any part thereof to contempt or ridicule! That, my Lords, is laid down in Hawkins's Pleas of the Crown, page 859: and the same is recognized in Blaekstone's Com- mentaries' volume fourth, page 59, where be quotes the words of Chief Jus- tice Brissot, The Scriptures are the common law.' And when was this said ? Not since the Reformation, not since the authorized version was given to the British people. But here are the words of a Roman Catholic, let it be assumed, Chief Justice of England before ever the Reformation took place in England. What does he say ?—' The Scriptures are the common law, upon which all other laws are founded ?' " The offence was equally committed whether the Bible were the Douay version, the Rhenish version, or the au- thorized version.
The evidence for the prosecution was then taken. Christopher Duff, a boy engaged in the business, deposed, that, at the request of Father Petche- rine, he had wheeled a barrow -full of books from the Father's lodgings to the courtyard of the chapel. Another boy wheeled a second barrow. When Father Petcherine arrived, the books were tumbled out; and the Father, giving order that they should be set on fire, went away towards the vestry. A crowd of persons had collected. The fire was not lighted until the Father had gone. When the Father came back, the books were well burnt, but not consumed. Henry Lawson, labourer., said that he saw, among the books, Byron's Poems, some tracts, a New Testament, a Prayer-book, and a Bible. Mr. W. T. Durkin, a Sub-Inspeotor of Factories, and Policeman Halpin, de- posed that they saw a Bible and Testament in the fire; and the Reverend R. Wallace, Dissenting minister, produced a portion of the books of Deutero- nomy and Joshua which he had rescued from the flames.
For the defence, Mr. O'Hagan described the accused as one who, though a stranger, had resided in this country long enough to make him one of our- selves. ior fourteen or twenty years he had been an alien from his native land, where be had abandoned a high position for conscience' sake. The indictment charged against the accused a matter of fact and a matter of intention. The counsel resisted both. His client had only endea- voured, in discharge of a religious duty, to put an end to the circulation of immoralpublications in Kingstown, and had required them to be delivered at his lodgings. They were sent in multitudes, and he directed them to be burnt. It would have been better had they not been publicly burnt. There is not any evidence to show that he was cognizant of the presence, among the many books that were consumed, of the Bible and Testament—the only Bible and Testament that had been distinctly referred to. He was for a few minutes a not very close witness of the burning; and all the fragments in the world proved nothing against him, when it was considered that great opportunities existed for other persons to have thrown Bibles into the heap. Mr. O'llagan denied that the Roman Catholic Church is the enemy of the Scriptures. From the time when the early Christians took shelter in the Catacombs at Rome to this day, the Church has preserved the Scriptures. The monks perpetuated and spread them through the earth ; and the Church called it preeminently " the Book." When printing wee invented, the first employment of the press on any great and important scale was in the pro- duction of that Massarene Bible which is a miracle to later times.
The only witness produced on behalf of the accused was called to show the nature of those discourses in which he had asked for books. But this testi- mony was rejected by the Court ; and the counsel for the defence therefore closed their case. Baron Green summed up ; and, after deliberating for three-quarters of an hour, the Jury returned a verdict of acquittal. This announcement was received with the most vociferous applause, which was taken up by the crowds assembled outside; who interspersed their exclama- tions of delight with groans for the Attorney-General and her Majesty's Law-officers. The Jury was composed of five Protestants and seven Roman Catholics ; the foreman was a member of the Established Church.
James Hamilton, a boy concerned in the burning of the books, was tried on Monday, and acquitted.
Edward Hayden, an ardent disciple of Father Petcherine, was tried on Monday, for assaulting one of the witnesses for the prosecution. He was found guilty, but strongly recommended to mercy. Baron Green sentenced him to three mouths' imprisonment with hard labour.
Ths streets in the neighbourhood of the court were illuminated on Satur- day night in commemoration of the acquittal of Petcherine.