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So soon as the sentence had been pronounced, Obst changed his demeanour. His hardened declarations of innocence were relinquished. A violent attack of fever prostrated him, and he then professed a desire to make a complete confession before he died. When, however, he was brought before the judge with this view, he reiterated his innocence; but was willing, he said, to reveal truly all he knew of all the circumstances connected with the murder. The effect of this confession of Obst was as follows:
“He had become,” said he, “whilst working on the railway, more particularly acquainted with Franke. On one occasion they were out together hunting, when Franke observed that Prince Max Sulkowski would marry Flora Tschaskalik, the sister of Franke's wife; and he further suggested that Obst might make his fortune if he would undertake a job for the prince.” Some days afterwards Franke met Obst and gave him some silver and some clothes, which came from the prince; and, making him swear that he would not betray him, said—“If you can make up your mind to do for the princess, you can get a thousand dollars and a situation under the prince in Slupna." Some fortnight later Franke produced a double-barrelled gun, one of the barrels of which was burst, and remarked that it was so bad that it might be thrown away, but good enough to shoot the princess with, adding that a good piece might betray the act. The one he had was, he also said, borrowed from a gunmaker in Gleiwitz. Franke went thereupon to Slupna, and some days later Obst heard that the princess was shot.
On the day after the murder Franke called Obst to him and said—“I have had to do what you ought to have done. The princess is with God. Betray me not, and I will give you two hundred dollars.” He also gave Obst certain articles of dress. Obst admitted, moreover, that he had communicated the above fact to the woman Dzieditz, and that she had by misunderstanding, and mixing his statement with common gossip, or perhaps through revenge or some other motive, made up the rest of her statement.
It was expected that Obst would not abide by the above confession, but would ackuowledge other matter, supposed to be real truth ; but the man continued to grow worse and worse, and in a few weeks' time he died. His wife, also, who had been relieved from durance, died within a few weeks of her husband's death.
That Franke was directly or indirectly an agent in this horrible event, was now rendered more than probable, and it became an object with the authorities to bring him to justice; but he had vanished since the year 1848. He was traced to Vienna, thence to Presburg and to Pesth. He had been active in the Hungarian insurrection, reached the post of captain in the revolutionary army, was one of the last who adhered to that cause, and was amongst those who took refuge in Turkey. He, however, soon stole back from that country, assuming another name and character. He entered on the profession of gambler, was ere long captured by the Austrian police on the ground of treason, and various criminal passages in his life were now revealed. He was eventually convicted, and imprisoned several years in Ofen. Hence he broke out, and got again free across the Turkish frontier. He next escaped to England, where he entered the foreign legion. After this he entered into commercial business, which brought him to Hamburg. Here he met his sister-in-law Flora Tschaskalik, wbo soon departed for England, where she now is, or was very lately. But Franke, after many turns and chances, at last fell into the hands of the Prussian police. He was brought to Gleiwitz, and criminal proceedings were forthwith commenced against him.
The prosecutors were embarrassed, however, as to how they should frame the indictment, whether on the first statement which the man Obst was supposed to have made to the woman on the road, or on his deathbed confession. It was still doubtful whether it was Franke who had pulled the fatal trigger, or whether he had only been the man who had induced Obst to commit the murder. The evidence, which was of a dubious and shifting character, offered by Passy, rendered the difficulty all the greater. However, the prisoner was put on his trial.
The adventures of Franke since the murder were brought before the court, had affected their minds, it is said, very unfavourably towards the prisoner; and a curious and unexpected piece of information was also presented on the trial, which the system of procedure in use in Prussia allowed them to take into considertion. It appeared, on the sittings of the court in June, 1857, that the brother of Max, who had emigrated to America (the Duke Louis, of whom we spoke at the outset), had been in Europe, and actually in Vienna in 1848, about the time the princess was murdered, and knew something about the matter. He had however returned to America, and accordingly he could only be applied to by letter. The result of his answer also by letter, judicially attested, was, that whilst in Vienna he had received a visit from a man making inquiries after his brother Max, who was away. The stranger appeared very anxious and nervous, and spoke of the murder. The duke replied that the facts must soon be disclosed. The visiter said, "I don't think it," and then demanded some money, which he said he was in great want of, and which he was sure Max would repay the duke. The man's bebaviour was
was very suspicious, and the duke declared he should have given him into custody on the spot, but, his attendant being out, he had no one to call upon. He fixed therefore with the man to call the next morning, but he did not come again. The duke traced a likeness between this suspicious visiter and a photograph of Franke, which was sent to him for the purpose of proving identification. This piece of evidence, though of a very singular character, was not conclusive.
In the mean time the court received a letter, purporting to be from one Koschielski, in England, and which represented that the writer had been living with Prince Max in 1847 and 1848, and bore a most curious resemblance to Franke, so that they were often mistaken for each other; further, that it was he, Koschielski, who had procured the weapon from Gleiwitz, and the writer endeavoured to protect Franke at the expense of Obst. But there was every ground to believe that the letter was a fraudulent attempt to mislead the court, designed by the prisoner and his sister-in-law, who had opportunity (as it turned out) of correspondence, and nothing further came of the communication.
These trials had now lasted “on and off” nine years. So far as the court was concerned with Franke, it now terminated by a general verdict of guilty, and he was sentenced to death ; nevertheless, this sentence was till very lately not carried out—a twelvemonth ago, at least, he was still in prison awaiting the King's warrant. Why the wretched man is thus reserved is not known, although the not very probable suggestion has been offered to account for it, that Flora Tschaskalek has signified her intention of returning home, and the authorities expect to procure valuable aid to justice from that source. The reader will hence perceive, that although, in Germany, the field whence evidence is gathered is very extensive and varied, the channel through which justice flows seems not a little liable to be choked.
ART. III.-REFORM IN CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
OME squeamish reformers in and out of parliament have
recently, with the microscopic eye of their class, made the distressing discovery that the ecclesiastical courts are still in existence. They are so; but, inasmuch as their existence is as harmless as it is venerable, we ourselves do not feel any interest, with one exception, in the general question of--what is to be done with them?
We leave the ecclesiastical courts to settle the pew battles which convulse our rural communities—deorum injuriæ diis cura
-we leave them to adjudicate on the rare actions for church rates; we leave them their synodals, their procurations, and all else which belongs to them in a harmless mediæval way. For no reasoning can reduce such insignificant matters under the sway of reasonable and enlightened civil law, and whilst they amuse some, they injure nobody.
A far different thing, however, is the jurisdiction of the Arches Court in matters of church discipline, or the correction of clerks; a jurisdiction involving the freehold rights of the accused, and their social status in the world. Invested with this grave and important jurisdiction, but isolated from the national law and judicature, the Arches Court stands alone—a gaunt relic of a former world, in the midst of general and harmonious cultivation.
This jurisdiction itself, however, is but of modern date, as appertaining to the Court of Arches. It was given to that court by the 3 & 4 Vict., c. 86. By that act the local bishop, for the first time in church history, is empowered to issue a commission, directed to a certain number of persons, to inquire into the ground of any charge or report that may be made respecting the conduct of any clergyman of the united church offending within his diocese.. These commissioners hear evidence upon the charge, and report to the bishop whether or not there be sufficient prima facie grounds for instituting further proceedings. When this has been done, the accused may be articled against before the bishop, who from this time becomes his judge, and hears evidence, and gives sentence, assisted by certain assessors. Or, if the bishop does not feel inclined to this responsible exercise of power, he may send up the case to the Arches Court to hear and determine, and this course he generally adopts.
We must observe in the first place upon this law, that the canon law never gave to the bishop, even in those times when he was a better canonist than now, this vast power. Ayliffe says (Parergon, p. 161)—“If the bishop will not choose a chancellor, the metropolitan may, and ought to do it; for the bishop himself, according to the common law,* cannot be a judge in his own consistory but in some particular cases. We will pass this over, however, and proceed to what is more important, the principle of this strange piece of legislation. The one great thing done by the act is this; it has preserved the principle for which Hildebrand thundered from the Vatican, and for which Becket defied the laws of his country. It maintains the separation of the clergy from their national tribunals. It
By the expression common law, is meant the canon or universal law of the church, commune jus.