« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
and seven men were set aside for having formed or expressed an opinion; three for having opinions against capital punishment. Fourteen were peremptorily challenged by the prisoner.
The following jurors were selected: Robert J. Byram (locksmith), Foreman; Thomas Barrett (printer), John Borrowscale (slater), James Crosby (clerk), John E. Davenport (painter), Albert Day (merchant), Joseph Eustis (merchant), Daniel T. Fuller (wheelwright), Benjamin H. Greene (bookseller), Arnold Hayward (carpenter), Frederick A. Henderson (furnisher), Stephen A. Stackpole (clerk).30
uated Harvard, 1835. LL. B. (Harvard), 1839. Had obtained a large practice when in 1858 he was threatened with consumption. Most of the rest of his life was spent in Italy and the South of France, where he made a study of the Law of Nations. During and after the Civil War he published four able pamphlets: “Precedents of American Neutrality, in Reply to the Speech of Sir Roundell Palmer, Attorney-General of England, in the British House of Commons, May 13, 1864," "Hasty Recognition of Rebel Belligerency, and Our Right to Complain of It," "American Neutrality: Its Honorable Past, Its Expedient Future," and “Mr. Reverdy Johnson: The Alabama Negotiations." He was a leading member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to both of which he made a handsome bequest. His will also contained a gift to the Boston Athenaeum, a provision for the purchase of Story's statute of President Quincy for Harvard College, and an endowment of a professorship of International Law in Harvard Law School. He died at Nice.
28 MERRICK, Pliny. (1794-1867.) Born Brookfield, Mass. Member State Legislature, 1827. Judge Common Pleas, 1843. Judge Municipal Court, 1814. State Senator, 1850. Judge Supreme Court, 1853-1864.
29 SOHIER, EDWARD DESTER. (1810-1888.) Graduated Harvard, 1829. Admitted to bar, 1832. He studied law with his father, William Davis Sohier. For many years he was one of the successful and conspicuous leaders of the bar in his practice before the Old Court of Common Pleas. As a jury lawyer he had “few equals and no superior.”
30 Mr. Greene (the ninth juror), when asked on his examination as to his opinion, said he was opposed to capital punishment; but did not think that his opinion would interfere with his doing his duty as a juror:-as a legislator, he should be in favor of altering the law, but he believed he could execute it as a juror, as it was.
The Chief Justice said that the state of his opinion was a matter which he must decide for himself; that, as he had stated it, the
The Clerk. John W. Webster: Hold up your right hand. Gentlemen of the Jury: Hearken to an indictment found against the prisoner at the bar by the grand inquest for the body of this county. To this indictment, gentlemen of the jury, the prisoner at the bar has pleaded Not Guilty; and for trial has put himself upon the country; which country you are. You are now sworn to try the issue. If he is guilty, you will say so; if he is not guilty, you will say so, and no more. Good men and true! stand together and hearken to your evidence !
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OPENING. Mr. Clifford. Gentlemen of the Jury: In entering upon our respective duties in a case so important, I do not design to dwell on the considerations which will naturally suggest themselves for our guidance, least of all that we should keep ourselves free from all excitement which is naturally abroad in the public mind. We are met here in the Temple of Justice, to investigate the simple truth, and we should do it just as in any ordinary cause without regard to consequences. We are here to perform solemn duties, laborious and important, to the country and to the prisoner. This should be enough for us to know. All we can expect to do is to bring the cause to a just decision.
The Grand Jury, on their oaths, have found an indictment against Dr. John W. Webster for the murder of Dr. George
Court did not consider him disqualified. Mr. Greene, after some hesitation, took the oath.
After the other jurors had been sworn, and when the name of Mr. Greene was called to take his seat upon the panel, he stated to the Court that he thought it inconsistent for him to serve as a juror, holding the opinions he did, and should prefer being let off. The Chief Justice remarked that it was a question for him to decide, whether his opinions would prevent him giving an unbiased verdict. Mr. Greene replied that he thought he could give an unbiased judgment; yet he had a sympathy for the prisoner and his family, and feared that his opinions in relation to capital punishment might influence others of the jury. The Court ruled that his case did not come within the statute, and he was not excused.
Parkman. Your duty is simply to hear the evidence, what the prisoner has to say, and what the Court may have to instruct you as to the law and evidence, and say whether the charge is sustained.
As to my own duties in the case, I will say that it is a too common idea in regard to a prosecuting officer, that he is to press a trial with all his zeal and power to produce a conviction. I repudiate and disown the idea. I would not hold the office I do under it. I conceive that I am here to represent the commonwealth, and see that the facts going to sustain her interests under law are duly presented. With this view, I shall confine myself to a simple statement of the evidence, and not pre-occupy your minds with any comments of my own. I shall, in fact, content myself with a mere outline of the evidence in possession of the government, going to establish two propositions :
1. That Dr. George Parkman was murdered.
First, Dr. Parkman, as we shall be able to show, was alive and in good health on Friday, the twenty-third day of November, 1849, and till ten minutes before two o'clock p. m. of that Friday, when he was seen to enter the Medical College in North Grove street, and that he was not seen alive after that time. We shall show that he was a remarkably punctual man, and particularly careful to be present punctually at his meal
—that he always apprised his family when he was going to be absent—that he had a sick daughter to whom he was tenderly attached, and whom he was most sedulously attending upon. For the benefit of this daughter he purchased some lettuce, at that season a rare plant. This lettuce he ordered left for himself, probably intending himself to carry it home, while he purchased other articles at the same provision store, and ordered them sent home. But he did not return to that store, or to his family. His family, knowing his habits, soon became alarmed, but no public movement was made till the
next morning. Notices were then put into the evening papers of Saturday, stating the fact of his disappearance.
Rumors were immediately rife of Dr. Parkman having been seen in various parts of the city and vicinity. These rumors were immediately traced to their sources, and proved entirely unfounded. One of these rumors was that Dr. Parkman had been seen in Washington street, as late as five o'clock on Friday, and the friends of that gentleman put so much confidence in it as to mention it in the advertisement. But it proved on further search to be entirely unfounded. The same was the fate of all other rumors, the whole police of the city was employed in the search, aided by munificent rewards, and every rumor of the existence of Dr. Parkman after the hour mentioned—ten minutes before two o'clock on Friday, November 23-turned out to be unfounded, either as to time or identity.
In the course of Sunday, Dr. Parkman's friends first learned from Dr. Webster himself that he had been in his company on Friday, between the hours of one and two o'clock. On this fact I shall have occasion to remark in another connection.
The police has followed out every rumor of the existence of Dr. Parkman, from that time to this, and I shall call your attention to the fact that no person had yet stated that Dr. Parkman had been seen and conversed with after he was seen to enter the Medical College at the time before stated. No pains or expense were spared in the search. Large portions of the river were dredged. On Monday and Tuesday, the Medical College was subjected to a search, but it was a merely formal one, no suspicion having at that time attached to Dr. Webster.
On the thirtieth of November there were found in a privy vault belonging to the Medical College, the lower parts of a body, answering in general appearance to the body of Dr. Parkman, consisting of the pelvis, with the right leg down to the knee, with a number of towels. On the evening after were found in Dr. Webster's furnace, fused in with clay and cinders, certain bones, a certain quantity of gold, and a block
of mineral teeth. On Saturday, were found in a remote part of the laboratory, in a tea-chest, packed in with tan bark and covered with minerals, a thorax, the left thigh to the knee, a hunting knife and a piece of twine around the bone of the thigh.
These bones and remains were all put in the possession of scientific men, and found to correspond with the body of Dr. Parkman, and not to be in any point dissimilar. There were missing the head, arms, and, of course, the hands, both feet, and the right leg, from knee to ankle. In appearance the remains corresponded to the form and age of Dr. Parkman, which was sixty years, and to the height, which was five feet ten inches and a half. Allowing a proper proportion for the parts lost, the parts found corresponded exactly with the height of Dr. Parkman, as proved by his passport. The witnesses will explain how they came to the conclusion as to the height.
Of the bones found in the furnace, it is a remarkable fact that not a fragment duplicates the parts found in the privy or the tea-chest, which shows that, unless there be a miracle in the case, they must have been parts of the same body. We shall also submit some evidence going to show that the bones found in the furnace had been fractured before they were put into the fire; that the block of mineral teeth had rested low in the grate, when it took the cold air, and was not therefore destroyed. Dr. Keep will identify these teeth as a set which he made for Dr. Parkman but a little while before. He knew them so well that he could not have failed to recognize them had he met them in Africa. Dr. Keep also produced a mold, which will be shown you, which corresponds exactly with the fractured jaw which was found in the furnace. It will appear that the mineral teeth must have been put into the furnace with the head. And you will be shown the fractured lower jaw of that head, which exactly corresponds to the mold from which the teeth were made. This is the evidence so far as the Medical College is concerned.
It should, however, be remarked that the thorax showed a