Scholarly David Wingeate Pike, who surveys the world from a Paris sidewalk
cafe, compares three trials. As for the last
two, heads or tails?:
"Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announces
that this week we beginthe most important trial "in the history of Anglo-Saxon
jurisprudence". It falls in the 350th anniversary of a competing claim
for the title, andit's a matter of choice whether a trial is more important
if the defendant loses his seat or loses his head. But Senator Specter
then warmed up, corrected himself, and called it "the trial of all time."
Funny thing, there's a lot of talk in high places about a celebration next
year to mark the bimillennium of a birth, and that puts me in mind of the
trial it ended in."
My comment: Charles I was
in prison, and the republican Oliver Cromwell
wanted him tried for treason. When the moderate
democrats in parliament
objected, he expelled them, and Charles was duly
beheaded on January 30,
1649. Our Republicans could quote this as
a parliamentary precedent. That
would cut things short. But, "the trial of all time"?
A strange perspective.