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the law that I am to be imprisoned, I willingly submit to the penalty.
Edwin T. Marsh. In October last, just previous to the time fixed for the sitting of the Board of Registrars in the first district of the eighth ward of Rochester, a vacancy occured. I was solicited to act, and consenting, was duly ap. pointed by the Common council.
I had never given the matter a thought until called to the position, and as a consequence knew nothing of the law. On the morning of the first day of the last session of the board, Miss Anthony and other women presented themselves and claimed the right to be registered. So far as I knew, the question of woman suffrage had never come up in that shape before. We were in a position where we could take no middle course. Decide which way we might, we were liable to prosecution. We devoted all the time to acquiring information on the subject, that our duties as registrars would allow. We were expected, it seems, to make an infallible decision, inside of two days, of a question in regard to which some of the best minds of the country are divided. The influences by which we were surrounded, were nearly all in unison with the course we took. I believed then, and believe now, that we acted lawfully. I faithfully discharged the duties of my office, according to the best of my ability, in strict compliance with the oath administered to me. I consider the argument of our counsel unanswered and unanswerable. The verdict is not the verdict of the jury. I am Not Guilty of the charge.
The COURT sentenced the defendants to pay fine of $25 each, and the costs of the prosecution.
THE TRIAL OF MATTHEWS F. WARD FOR THE MURDER OF WILLIAM H. G. BUTLER,
ELIZABETHTOWN, KENTUCKY, 1854.
William Ward, a boy of fifteen and a pupil in the Louisville High School, returned home one evening and informed his elder brother, Matthews, who was twenty-four years of age and married, but living at his father's house, that he had been severely and unjustly whipped by Mr. Butler, the Principal. “Although I could have borne that, I cannot bear to be called a liar before the whole school,” he added. The parents were away from home, but next morning, the second of November, 1853, they returned, and after the father had heard the story, and consented to his going, Matthews set out to the school to demand an explanation, accompanied by William and another brother, Robert.
Matthews was armed with a loaded revolver, and Robert carried a bowie knife, as was his custom. Arrived at the school, they went into a room filled with boys and inquired for Professor Butler. One of the boys went for him. When he came in, Matthews bade him good morning and said, “I have called around, Mr. Butler, to have a little conversation with you." Butler replied: "Walk into my private room." Matthews declined, saying: “No, the matter about which I wish to speak with you occurred here, and this is the proper place to speak of it. Mr. Butler, what are your ideas of justice; which do you think the worse, the little boy who begs chestnuts and scatters the hulls on the floor, or my brother, William, who gives them to him?" Butler replied, “I will not be interrogated, sir;" Matthews continued: “I have asked a civil question and have a right to a civil answer—which is the worse, the contemptible little puppy who begs chestnuts and then lies about it, or my brother, William, who gave them to him?" Butler answered: “There is no such boy here.” “Then," said Matthews, “that matter is settled—I have another question to ask. You called my brother a liar and I must have an apology.' “I have no apology to make." "Is your mind fully made up about that?" "It is: I have no apology whatever to make." "Then," said Matthews, “you must hear my opinion of you. You are a damned scoundrel and a coward.”
What occurred then and for the next few minutes is not very clear. Several of the boys who were in the rooni testified that Matthews struck Butler, whereupon the latter took hold of him, and then Matthews drew his pistol and shot Butler, and that the latter did not strike Matthews first, and this was the dying statement of Professor Butler. But Robert Ward testified that at the word "coward” Butler struck Matthews and pushed him against the door and to the ground, and an individual named Barlow appeared as a witness for the defense and told a story of being present at the Harney house and of his having heard Butler state the same thing. But his story was thoroughly discredited and shown to be false.5
The affray caused great excitement among the boys in the room, most of whom, in a panic, jumped out of the windows, accompanied by the Second Master, who seemed as frightened as they were. Butler fell to the ground on being shot, exclaiming, “I am killed, may God forgive me -my poor wife and child.” A number of the pupils carried him to the house of Colonel Harney, near by, where he died at midnight.
The Ward family was very prominent in Louisville and the tragedy caused so much discussion in that city that the
1 Knight, p. 77; Pope, p. 82; Campbell, p. 83; Crawford, p. 85. 2 Dr. Thomson, p. 89.
Robert Ward, Jr., p. 103. 4 Barlow, p. 92. 5 Dr. Thomson, p. 89. 6 Knight, p. 77.
venue was removed to Elizabethtown, where the hearing began on the eighteenth of April, 1854. Both Matthews and Robert had been indicted by the Grand Jury, but the former only was put on trial. He was represented by no less than nine lawyers, among them John J. Crittenden, at that time a great figure in national politics; John J. Helm, Governor of Kentucky, and Thomas F. Marshall—the “Tom Marshall of the Silver Tongue" and the foremost orator of the state. The plea was self-defense. The whole controversy centered on the question, Did Butler strike Matthews first? For it seemed to be taken for granted that a blow must be resented by a gentleman with a shot or a stab; and from the evidence of several of the witnesses, it would appear that in those days every man in Kentucky went armed.?
The Jury were evidently persuaded by the eloquence of the prisoner's counsel, that the story of Robert Ward was true, and after a trial lasting fourteen days they returned a verdict of “not guilty.”
THE TRIAL 8
In the Circuit Court of Hardin County, Elizabethtown, Ken
tucky, April, 1854.
HON. J. W. KINCHELOE, Judge.
April 18. The indictment, brought by change of venue, from Jeffer
? Prentice, p. 92; Dr. Thomson, p. 89; R. J. Ward, p. 103; and see Trial of Judge Wilkinson, 1 Am. St. Tr. 132.
8 Bibliography. *Full and authentic report of the testimony on the trial of Matt. F. Ward, certified to be correct by Thomas D. Brown, Clerk of Hardin Circuit Court, Wm. Alexander, former commonwealth attorney for the Hardin district, and Judge Alex. Walker, of New Orleans, with the speeches of Gov. Crittenden, Gov. Helm, T. F. Marshall, Esq., and Nathaniel Wolfe, Esq., and the reply of Alfred Allen, Esq., attorney for the commonwealth. Reported by A. D. Richardson. New York, D. Appleton & Company, 346 and 348 Broadway. 1854."
*"Trial of Matt. F. Ward for the murder of Prof. W. H. G. Butler, before the Hardin Criminal Court, April term, 1854. Reson County, charged Matthews F. Ward with murder in the first degree, committed on William H. G. Butler, on the second of November, 1853, by shooting him with a pistol, the ball of which took effect in his left breast, and caused his death on the third of November. Robert J. Ward, Jr., was charged with aiding and abetting, in the second count, and as a principal, in the first count of the indictment.
Alfred Allen,1° Commonwealth Attorney, Sylvester Harris, 11 T. W. Gibson, and R. B. Carpenter, for the State.
John J. Crittenden,12 Thomas F. Marshall,13 John L. ported for the Louisville Courier and Louisville Democrat by George Cole, Louisville. Martin and Griswold, Sterotypers and printers, 1854.” The two reports seem to represent the different sides of the controversy. Though the Richardson is probably a correct one as far as it goes, yet it gives the speeches of the counsel for the defense with great fulness, while it omits all the speeches for the prosecution, except that of Mr. Allen, p. 284. The Cole report on the other hand omits the speech of Governor Helm, p. 147, and Mr. Harris' speech is not reported by either.
9 On December 15, 1853, a motion was made before Judge Bullock, of the Jefferson Circuit Court, by the counsel of Matt. F. and Robert J. Ward, Jr., for a change of venue. This motion was heard on the 19th, at which time affidavits were introduced to show that the excitement against the prisoners in Louisville, and Jefferson county, was such as would be likely to prevent a fair and impartial trial. The attorney for the Commonwealth (E. S. Craig) resisted the motion, but the Judge decided that the change asked for should be granted; and as affidavits by citizens of Oldham and Shelby counties were introduced by defendant's counsel to show that a fair and impartial trial could not be had in either of them, Judge Bullock decided that the case should go to Hardin. In accordance with this decision, the prisoners were removed to Elizabethtown on the first of February, and committed to the jail in that town.
10 ALLEN, Alfred. Representative (Breckinridge County) Kentucky Legislature 1838-1839. Commonwealth attorney 1840-1856. Whig candidate for Lieutenant Governor 1859. Re-elected to Legislature 1861, and continued in that capacity until 1866. State Treasurer 1867. Consul at Foochoo, China, 1867.
11 HARRIS, Sylvester. Member Kentucky Senate 1853-1857.
12 CRITTENDEN, John J. (1787-1863.) Born in Kentucky. Graduated William and Mary College, 1807. Attorney General of Illinois 1809. United States Senator (Ky.) 1817-1819. 1835-1841. 1842-1848. 1855-1861. United States District Attorney 1827-1829. Attorney General United States 1835, 1850. Governor of Kentucky 1848.
13 MARSHALL, Thomas Francis. (1801-1864.) Born Frankfort, Ky. Nephew of Chief Justice Marshall. Member of Kentucky Leg