Case of George Edalji (letter 20 july 1907)
Case of George Edalji
Sir — Mr. Gladstone's reply to Mr. F. E. Smith's admirable exposition of the injustice done to Mr. George Edalji was to declare that the House of Commons should not constitute itself a Court of Appeal. To whom, then, are we to turn? Or are we to admit in despair that there is no tribunal of any sort in England to which we can look to set a wrong right? The Home Office should itself be such a tribunal, but its own conduct is now just one of the questions which has to be judged.
Mr. Gladstone refers to the verdict at the Staffordshire jury, but he is well aware that since that verdict was given many new points have arisen, the most obvious of which is the recurrence of the crimes when Edalji was ingaol. But how weak is this appeal to the chose jugée! When it was persistently urged in the Dreyfus case, what national scorn we showed for so feeble an excuse for not doing justice. It is a singular thing that every point of the Dreyfus case has been reproduced in this humbler drama, the forgeries, the covering of official by official, the reference to the chose jugée. If we judged French institutions harshly at the time, what are we to think of our own now? But Right prevailed then, even as it will do now, and the only permanent record of the case has been the loss of reputation in the man who mishandled it. — Yours faithfully,
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Regent Hotel, Royal Leamington Spa.