Gambar halaman

ordinary villain who receives so much money for a given amount of false swearing. It is proved he offered to bet on the result of this trial, and perhaps did, and that he had said Ward promised to remunerate him amply for coming down to this trial. Did you not observe, gentlemen, his conscience-stricken manner when we asked if he had not said so, the flush face—the striking of both hands upon his head? 'Guilt makes cowards of us all.' He was a day laborer in a coarse garb, but the change in his opinion about the prisoner's guilt produced a corresponding change in his costume, and he is now as you see a second Count D'Orsay, wearing upon his person the price of his crime. His whole statement, from beginning to end, is a sheer fabrication."

The miscarriage of justice was not soon forgotten in the city where the crime was committed, and Governor Crittenden felt called upon to publish a vindication of his connection with the case. In this he stated that he had volunteered his services because he was an old friend of the family; that he had refused to take any fee, and that in his long professional life he had never in a single instance appeared as counsel against any one on trial for a crime. “I have feared to do so," he said, “lest in the spirit of controversy and pride for professional victory, I might be instrumental in bringing down unjust judgment on the head of some unfortunate fellow creature."

Archibald McArdle (p. 303), in attempting to be both accuser and judge, found to his cost that the law considers these two positions quite incompatible.

A brutal murder was that of the little Irish girl by the barber, Hanlon (p. 306). Yet the evidence being entirely circumstantial, it is doubtful if he could have been convicted had not the prosecution resorted to the “spy” system, and sent the convict Dunn to be his cell mate, and under the guise of friendship worm from him an admission. One wonders if the French inquisitorial method would not have been even more effective; it certainly would have been more honest.

The trials of Boott and Hooper (pp. 370, 377) for delivering and sending a challenge to a duel, show the hopelessness of making a criminal of a man in the face of public opinion. Dueling certainly was not either common or popular in Massachusetts or Rhode Island in 1834, or at any other time; and yet in this particular case it was evidently thought by their neighbors that this was as good way of settling their difficulty as any other, and hence when the case got into the court nobody could be found who knew any. thing about it and the prosecution failed for lack of evidence.

The Anti-Masonic movement, which was the outcome of the Morgan disappearance (Seymour and others (p. 385), introduced to National politics three of those great political leaders of the Civil war time, William H. Seward, Thaddeus Stevens? and Thurlow Weed. The story of the subsequent fate of William Morgan is best told by Thurlow Weed in his memoirs published after his death.4 Weed was an editor of a Rochester newspaper at the time of the Morgan mystery—“ a cloud which when it first appeared seemed no bigger than a man's hand, yet which spread out until it darkened the social and political horizon, occasioning a storm which not only violently disturbed the elements in the state, but divided and destroyed parties, churches, families and friends in New England, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.” He espoused the cause of the Anti-Masons, edited a newspaper in their support, was elected to the Legislature on the Anti-Masonic ticket, and was one of the prosecutors of the men charged with the abduction of Morgan. Years afterwards, when the incident had been almost forgotten, and most of the actors were dead, he became quite intimate with some of those who had taken part in the abduction and one of these confessed to him the whole story, which Weed put in his memoirs, with an injunction that it should not be published until after his death. The man's name

1 SEWARD. WILLIAM HENRY (1801-1872). Born in Florida, New York. Graduated at Union College. Admitted to Bar 1823, and practiced at Auburn, N. Y. Elected as Anti-Masonic candidate to State Legislature 1830. Governor of New York 1838-1842. United States Senator 1849-1861. Secretary of State 1861-1869. Author of Life of John Quincy Adams (1849) and other works.

2 STEVENS, THADDEUS (1792-1868). Born Danville, Virginia. Graduated Dartmouth 1814. Studied law and began practice at Gettysburg, Pa. Delegate to the Baltimore Anti-Masonic Convention 1831. Member of the Pennsylvania Legislature 1833. Member of Congress 1848-1852, 1858-1868 and the leader of the Republican Party in the House. Also leader of the prosecution of President Andrew Johnson on his impeachment.

3 WEED, THURLOW (1797-1882). Born Cairo, N. Y. Journeyman printer in his youth. Served in the War of 1812. Editor Rochester Telegraph (1822) and Anti-Masonic Enquirer. Twice elected to New York Legislature on Anti-Masonic ticket. Founded Albany Evening Journal 1830 and became editor. State Manager of the Whig party and a powerful political leader from 1835 to 1865. Ed. itor New York Commercial Advertiser, 1867. Author of "Letters from Europe and West Indies," 1866.

was John Whitney and his confession, beginning with the confinement of Morgan in Ft. Niagara, makes the mystery clear and settles all doubt as to the fate of William Morgan.

"Colonel William King asked me to step into another room where I found Mr. Howard of Buffalo, Mr. Chubbuck of Lewiston and Mr. Garside of Youngstown. Colonel King said there was a carriage at the door ready to take us to the fort, into which we stepped and were drawn hastily away. As we proceeded, Colonel King said that he had received instructions from the highest authority to deal with Morgan according to his deserts, and that having confidence in their courage and fidelity he had chosen them as his assistants. On reaching the magazine they informed Morgan that arrangements had

4 Autobiography of Thurlow Weed, edited by his daughter, Harriet A. Weed, Boston. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1883.

been completed for his removal to the interior of Canada where he would be settled on a farm and that his family would follow him. With this assurance he walked with them from the fort to the ferry, where a row-boat awaited them. The boat was then rowed in a diagonal direction to the place where the Niagara River is lost in Lake Ontario. Here either shore being two miles distant, a rope was wound several times around Morgan's body, at either end of which a large weight was attached. Up to that time Morgan had conversed with them about his new home and the probability of being joined by his family, but when he saw the rope and the use to be made of it, he struggled desperately and held firmly with one hand to the gunwale of the boat. Garside detached it, but as he did so Morgan caught Garside's thumb in his mouth and bit off the first joint. The boat was rowed back to the ferry-house where the party landed observed only by the old soldier Adams who had made the boat ready for them and who accompanied them to the carriage which stood in the road a few rods from the ferry. They reached the hotel at Lewiston about two o'clock in the morning."

The most sordid and treacherous murder in this series is that of Francis Adolphus Muir by William Dandridge Epes (p. 412). Both were gentlemen planters of old Virginia. Epes not only kills his friend and guest, who as a lenient creditor has called on him to pay a long delayed debt, but he buries the body, forges a receipt of the bond and then tries to make it appear that Muir had collected the money and absconded in order to rob the co-heirs. (p. 417.) No one saw the murder; but never perhaps in the history of judicial investigation did a greater number of facts and circumstances concur in pointing out the murderer. (p. 504.) The trial is an excellent illustration of the principle that circumstantial evidence is stronger than direct; for men may lie, but facts cannot.

The trial of Tucker (p. 520) shows the Judge establishing a precedent regarding the place of the prisoner during the trial. The common law, to insure the safety of the prisoner, required that he should be put in a box or dock; and the Judge ruled that in the future prisoners who were on bail should be allowed to sit with their counsel. The common law rule is still enforced in England, and on the Continent the prisoner is confined in a dock surrounded by guards, and sometimes in a cage. The distinction made by the New York Judge in 1820 has been long since abolished in the United States; for in this country at the present day in all classes of cases, the prisoner sits with his lawyers at the counsel's table.

Writing of the trial of Lawrence (p. 524), an American historian says: “Jackson immediately gave the attack a political significance. Some days after it Harriet Martineau called upon him and referred to the insane attempt. 'He protested in the presence of many strangers that there was no insanity in the case. I was silent of course. He protested that there was a plot and that the man was a tool.” 115

The trial of Dean (p. 542) reminds us that laws that unduly interfere with trade may lead even to murder.

Bell (p. 558) was probably a victim of political hate, but we shall meet more than one serious prosecution for blasphemy in future volumes of this series.

The trial of Cherry and his two companions (p. 562) is one of the earliest cases in the southern States which exhibit one of the results of the hasty gift of freedom and citizenship to an ignorant and servile race. Outrages like this became common all through the former slave states. Later the lawyers whom the negroes retained to defend them found a sure friend in the State appellate courts who, choked with their own technicalities, reversed conviction after conviction, until in sheer self-defense the people were obliged

5 Sumner, Andrew Jackson, 361.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »