"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day, Thanksgiving Edition

Turkeys everywhere are now seeking asylum in Ireland.

While this is not a Thanksgiving Day story, this salute to "a wonderful turkey" surely should be part of the holiday season. Admittedly, as a vegan, I'm all for hiring the birds as legal consultants, rather than eating them. From the "Illustrated Police News," July 9, 1870:
At the last Petty Sessions at Newtownards, near Belfast, an amusing case was heard. It was a process brought to recover a sum of money due for the use and occupation of a house at Ballyhay. The plaintiff was examined, and deposed that the defendant left his house without his knowledge or consent, and he now wished to recover the rent due.--Mr. O'Rorke: Were you advised not to bring this case into court, as there was no chance of your winning it? Plaintiff: I was.--His Worship: Who advised him?--Mr. O'Rorke: Tell his worship who gave you this advice.--Plaintiff: The neighbours about the place told me I need not put myself to the trouble of coming here, as I would never receive a farthing of my rent, as the turkey had told them I was a done man. (Loud laughter.)--His Worship: What's that?--Plaintiff: The turkey told them I would lose the case. (Laughter.)--Mr. O'Rorke: And you will find the turkey was right. (Laughter.)--His Worship: And whose turkey is this that gave this legal advice? Plaintiff: It is the turkey kept by the villagers. It is consulted on all questions affecting their interest, and its advice is said never to have failed. (Loud laughter.)--His Worship: This is certainly a wonderful turkey.--Mr. O'Rorke: I never heard of a legal turkey before. (Laughter.)--His Worship: Where did this consultation with the turkey take place regarding your case?--Plaintiff: It usually takes place in the house of the owner.--His Worship: And how is he consulted?--Plaintiff: A meeting of the people takes place in the owner's house. A table is placed in the middle of the floor, and the turkey put upon it. The people then form in a circle round the table, and the person who has called the meeting--the same as the defendant in this case--asks the turkey whether or not such and such a thing will take place. If the turkey answers in favour of the person who asks the question, it will nod its head; and if it is against the person who asks the question, it will shy away. (Laughter, which lasted several minutes, his worship joining.)--His Worship: This is a nice state of affairs in the 19th century. What did the people tell you the turkey said on this occasion?--Plaintiff: The turkey was asked would I lose the case, and it nodded its head. (Loud laughter.)--Mr. Dinnen: But you did not believe in the turkey's advice?--Plaintiff: I did not; I thought I would try his worship.--His Worship: How long has this turkey been consulted in cases of this kind?--Plaintiff: Oh! it has been the case for upwards of twenty years. If you look into Irish history you will find things of this kind recorded there.--Mr. Dinnen: I think this is a case for reference.--Mr. O'Rorke: Very well.--The case was then left to the arbitration of two gentlemen, and on their return into court they stated that they had found in favour of the defendant, and that there was no rent due to the plaintiff.--His Worship: How does that agree with the advice of the turkey?--Mr. Dinnen: It proves that the turkey was right. (Laughter.)--His Worship: I think in future we should refer all disputed cases to the turkey.


  1. The turkey was probably cheaper than a lawyer. And in an age in which people consult dubiously-sourced stories on the internet about matters of life and death, the 19th century Irish do not seem all that gullible. Or would that be gobble-ble?

    1. Considering some of the lawyers I've encountered, I'd take the real turkeys any day.

  2. 1870's version of the 8 Ball, it seems..


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