The public opening of the railway between Bath and Bristol
took place on Monday. The first train started at a quarter-past eight o'clock, amidst the hearty cheers of thousands of spectators whom the novelty and importance of the occasion had drawn together. The engine was not at any time put to her speed, as it was considered advisable, in con- sequence of the crowds of country persons who at different points were crowding close upon the line in order to catch a view of the passing trains, to proceed with more than usual caution. The time actually consumed in traversing the twelve miles (excluding a stoppage at Keyn- sham station, which occupied about four minutes) was thirty-two minutes. Later in the day, a much higher speed was obtained. The trains were well filled at every trip, both to and fro ; and it is calculated that nearly six thousand persons have traversed the distance.
The London and Leeds mail-coach ceased running on Friday last, the mail-bags being now transmitted by railway. The mail-coach had been established fifty-six years. At Liverpool Assizes, on Friday, Henry Pennington, a surgeon at Wigan, was indicted for perjury, alleged to have been committed be- fore the Revising Barrister for Wigan, at the Court held in October last. It appeared that he had sworn he had occupied a house for twelve months previous to the 31st of July 1839 ; when in fact the former tenant had been in occupation to the end of August in the same year, I
and the defendant did not pay rent before the 12th of August. He had, however, been in treaty for the house for a considerable time previous ; and by the contract with the landlord he had a right to enter a consider- able time before if the previous tenant could be got out. Mr. Penning- ton's counsel contended that there was no offence committed: it was only a mistake, into which the defendant had fallen from a confusion between the terms " occupation " and " possession." He added, that this indictment was the commencement of a system of intimidation to deter parties who had a right to the franchise from putting in their claims. The Jury returned a verdict of " Not Guilty."
An action for libel was tried at Liverpool Assizes on Saturday, in which the Reverend Mr. Hearne, a Roman Catholic priest of Man- chester, was the plaintiff, and the Reverend Hugh Stowell, a clergy- man of the Church of England, the defendant. The libel complained of was spoken at a meeting held on the 28th of April last, in Man- chester, to petition Parliament to withdraw the grant to Maynooth College ; at which institution Mr. Hearne had been educated. The de- fendant was appointed chairman of the meeting. In the course of his speech, he animadverted strongly on the conduct of the priests edu- cated at Maynooth ; and in reference to Mr. Hearne, he made the fol- lowing observ,ttions, as reported in a Manchester paper- " The eircuinsti.nce which I am going to narrate did not occur in Ireland, in the davkiwss of Popery there; but lure, in Manchester, in the midst of all our
daylight. You will, perhaps, not believe it ; hut the witnesses are prepared to
cumin, forward and prove the fact, or I would not give it to you. I will not mention their names, lest it should expose them to persecution; but if the
Papists choose to come forward, and demand the evidence, that evidence is
forthemning. I hear in my hand, then, a doctmtent subscribed by three of the Police at Monclw:ter ; one is not a Policeman at the prcent moment, butt he
was at the time that he furnished this document. Ile states that he was a Policeman then, in Smedley Lane; and that one morning, a fortnight before that period, ' A dyer, ping to his work, asked me if I had seen a matt walking on his bands and knees the two last nights. I said that 1 had not, but that I had seen him doing it the last two mornings, and that 1 at first thought he was making his escape, or concealing himself from some pursuers, but that I subsequently took him for a cripple.' Who was this mysterious person? ' In about ten minutes after this, the dupe (these are the witness's own words) made his appearance, cmwling with his hands and knees ou the roughest part of the pavement. I then resolved to satisfy myself; when I elicited the
following answers fm-urn him. 1 asked him, I What are you doing all
that about ?" It is penance for my sins.' * * * • *
Could you not atone for your sins without doing that ? No." Why ?'— , Because the priest will not administer the sacrament to me till 1 have done
it." I 1 ow Imig have you done it? Four days." how many days more will it take before you finish ?'—' 1 cannot tell." But when will you go to your priest to know ? When I have done it nine days more I shall go.' ' llow many hours mlii you do it each day ? Four hours." At one time ? No, two in the morning and two at night." Do you work at any thing ? work in a factory.' [Poor fellow! working in a factor) for twelve hours a day, and then draggiag on his hands and knees over the rough stones for four hours a day more : 'fife priest should have taken his place mul done it for him.] Who is ■ oar priest ?'—' Mr. Hearne.% What chapel do you go to ? St. Patric!,..'s." W lett is your mune: 3ohn O'Hara." You had
better come on the lath, or go into that field, where it will be softer and easy for for you ? 011, no ; that will not be doing penance.' NVc now looked at his knees, which were much lacerated. We expostulated with him ; lint it was of
no avail—he said he was a great sinner. We insisted on his desisting; but he resisted violently, took the sergeant's stick litom hiini, mmiii laid on us with it furiously. It. was with great difficulty that we soweeeded in subduing him ;
when I deprived hint of his beads, his crucifix, and "Fite Garden of the Soul,' which are now at the Police-station. The undersigned Police Constables are ready to give testimony of this."
Mr. Stowell, when applied to by the plaintiff's solicitor to say whether the report was Nirreet, admitted that the document referred to had been correctly given, though there were innaccuracies in the report of his speech. The circumstances stated by Mr. Stowell were altogether denied by the plaintiff; and Roman Catholic clergymen were called to prove that no priest possesses power to impose such penances as that described ; and that it' auy one were to do so he would be called to account by his bishop, and be liable to suspension. The defence set up to the action was, that Mr. Stowell had acted from a scone of duty ; that he entertained no malignant feeling to Mr. Hearne ; and that he believed the circumstances stated in the document, which was signed by
three persons. Mr. Baron Rolfe, in his summing up, said that the law
as stated by the counsel for the defence was entirely wrong it would not be allowed that a man, to serve a creed, should go about and read documents to disparage indi% ideal character, even though he entertained no malice and believed the statements. The Jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, with Arty shillings damages.
A trial of unusual interest, from the amount of property at stake, commenced at Liverpool Assizes on M•mday, and wits not brought to a close till Wednesday night. The ease was an issue out of Chancery to try the validity of the will of the Lite Charles Illuudell, Esq. of Ince, in Lancashire. The plaintiff was Mr. Welds Blundell, a distant relation ; and the defendants were Lord Camoys, the nephew of Mr. Charles Blundell, and Mrs. Tempest, his sister. The estate of Ince is of the value of about 9,0i10/. per annum ; besides which, there is personal pro- perty bequeathed by the will now in litigation, to the amount, it is said, of nearly 200.00a The Attorney-General stated the ease for the plaintiff; and called a number of witnesses to prime that the deceasel was in a sane state of mind, and competent to matte a will, though he was frequently eccentric in his habits and manners. Among the wit- nesses were Mr. Ashton Yates and Sir Frederick Pollock. The plain- tiff's case had not been brought to a close on Wednesday evening. On the opening of the Court on Thursday, the Solicitor-General, who was retained for the defence, stated, that after the mass of evidence brought forward in support of the will, his clients did not intend to proceed any further.