« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
PREFACE TO VOLUME THREE.
The trial of Susan B. Anthony (p. 1) has a large interest today, for it marks the very beginning of the militant struggle for female suffrage.. Miss Anthony was the earliest leader of the movement in this country. After a good many years of argument and persuasion, which seemed fruitless so far as male converts were concerned, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted, which declared that all persons born or naturalized in the United States were citizens of the United States, and prohibited the States from making or enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. She planted herself squarely upon this, as upon a rock; declared that the battle was won and that woman had at last a constitutional right to vote. “We no longer,” she said to her followers, “petition legislatures or Congress to give us the right to vote. We have it. I ask women everywhere to exercise their too long neglected right. I ask the inspectors of election everywhere to receive the votes of all United States citizens, as it is their duty to do; the United States marshals to arrest inspectors who reject the names and votes of United States citizens. And if you are prosecuted by officers who will not obey the law of the land, I ask juries to fail to return verdicts of guilty against honest, law-abiding, tax-paying United States citizens for voting or offering their votes at elections.' She found good lawyers who gave their opinions in her favor and, armed with one of these, Miss Anthony and a dozen or more of her followers in Rochester, N. Y., persuaded the registers of election to record their names and the judges of election to receive them, at an election for Congress and the State and federal offices in November, 1872. Indicted by the grand jury and tried for illegal voting, the Judge ruled that the case was so plain against her that there was nothing for the jury to decide, and directed them to return a verdict of guilty, which they did. She refused to pay the fine, but when she was threatened with imprisonment, her counsel paid it for her. When she learned this, she protested that she would rather be imprisoned than satisfy the unjust penalty, but the courtly lawyer replied: “Madam, I could not see a lady I respected put in jail.”
The trial of Inspectors Jones, Marsh and Hall (p. 54) followed, and they were all three convicted with the same promptness as was Miss Anthony. Hall vainly protested that on the question of allowing the women to register and vote he voted no, the Judge holding that it was the act of the board and not of individuals and that all were equally guilty. The astonished man exclaimed that he had done everything he could short of killing his two colleagues. No, Mr. Hall, you did not, there was a means you did not employ, but one which rarely occurs to the holder of a petty political office—you might have resigned.
The trial of Matthews Ward (p. 70) for the killing of a schoolmaster is another of the great Kentucky cases which (like the trial of Wilkinson, 1 Am. St. Tr. 132) illustrates Kentucky forensic oratory fifty years ago. The evidence, read calmly after all the parties to the tragedy and the passion it aroused have passed away, leads to the conclusion that it was a premeditated murder without one redeeming feature. A pupil at a Louisville public school is punished by the principal for lying and goes home and tells his family. An elder brother the next morning, after visiting a gunsmith and purchasing a couple of loaded pistols, goes with another brother, also armed with a bowie knife, and the “bad boy” to the school. They stalk into the school-house, and in the presence of the scholars, Matthews demands an apology. The schoolmaster asks him to step into his private room, where he will explain. Matthews refuses, calls him a scoundrel and a coward, and when the master puts his hand on him to eject him, Matthews shoots him. He is carried to a neighboring house, where he dies that night. The tragedy shocks the city; the master is one of its most respected citizens, and the public calls for swift punishment. But under that peculiar doctrine of American criminal law that the perpetrator of a great crime is not to be hurt by the public sentiment which he himself has created, the case is removed for trial to the country and most of the leading lawyers of the state are employed to defend him. The murderer's family are rich and influential and nothing is spared to accomplish his acquittal. Friends of the family in high station are summoned to his aid. A member of the cabinet, members of Congress, judges and others testify to his good characte And to make assurance doubly sure, a carpenter named Barlow appears as a witness and swears that he followed the party into the house where the deceased died and heard the schoolmaster tell the surgeon that he struck Ward before he was shot. This story is made much of by the counsel for the defense, even though nobody is found who saw the carpenter in the house, and the surgeon denies that the schoolmaster
made such a statement to him. The jury returns a verdict of not guilty, and when the news reaches Louisville a great public meeting is held at the court house and resolutions denouncing the jury and the verdict are passed; the murderer and the carpenter are burned in effigy and the Ward residence is sacked and burned.
The case much resembles that of Wilkinson, though none of the speeches equal that of Seargent S. Prentiss or Benjamin Hardin in that cause celebre. Three of the great orators of Kentucky, John J. Crittenden, successively Governor, Senator and Attorney General of the United States, Governor John J. Helm and the silver-tongued Tom Marshall, made eloquent speeches to the jury. But the counsel for the Commonwealth had easily the best of the argument both on the law and on the facts. Mr. Carpenter's denunciation of Barlow, the carpenter, is a good example of the style of oratory prevalent in judicial battles at this period of our history (p. 120).
“The defense then introduced the man Barlow. It is always unpleasant to attack any one when it is known he cannot defend himself, but he voluntarily placed himself in this most unenviable position; and justice to the memory of the deceased, and the history of this case require that he should be held up to his jury and he world, as an object of withering scorn. It is not necessary to charge Robert J. Ward with bribing this villain to account for his perjury, although it is highly probable that he expected to be paid for his infamy. There are men in society, or rather in the sewers of society, who reptile-like move and live in its excrescences and slime, who think they have achieved the very highest enjoyment, known to their low groveling hearts, if they can obtain a single smile from the rich and powerful, and who only breathe freely when they inhale the air of toadyism. This witness belongs to that class; he is content to be a tool and a villain to prejudice his soul, and sell heaven itself, for the sake of saying he has been at the house of Robert J. Ward,
,-a millionaire-been invited into the parlor and kindly treated. He is decidedly of a lower grade of animal than the