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out that he should not be allowed to escape, but nothing was done to prevent this and he proceeded to his room in the American Hotel across the street. There he reloaded his pistol and placed it in his trunk. A few minutes later the sheriff arrived and took him into custody.
The slayer was committed to the Dane County jail, where we may leave him for the present while we take note of the effect produced upon the community by the news of the slaying. The sparse population of the Territory (but 30,000 in 1840; perhaps twice as large in 1842), the official standing of the principals, the occurrence of the crime in the legislative chamber, in the presence of the leading men of the Territory-all conspired to produce a sensation of the first magnitude. The first official expression upon the matter came from the Council itself. On the morning following the killing of Arndt, Morgan L. Martin of Green Bay addressed the Council upon the subject of his character and death, closing with a series of resolutions which were unanimously adopted. They expressed, in appropriate language, the shock felt by the Council over the event, conveyed its sympathy to the widow of Arndt, and provided that the body of the slain councillor be conveyed to his home at the expense of the Legislative Assembly. Similar proceedings were gone through in the Assembly, after which the regular order of the day was dispensed with and at noon both branches of the Legislature assembled in the Council Chamber to attend upon the funeral ceremonies.
Thus far, apparently, all had been done with decorous unanimity. But scarcely had the corpse departed from the capitol on its dreary journey to Green Bay, when personal and political considerations began to assert themselves. When the Council convened on Monday morning,
'Report of proceedings in Council, February 12, in Madison Express, February 12,
February 14, the President stated that he had received a communication from Vineyard, tendering his resignation from that body, and asked if it was the desire of members that it be presented. That there had been some prior caucusing by members upon the procedure to be adopted by the Council is evident from the discussion which ensued. Ebenezer Brigham stated that as the oldest member of the Council it had been thought proper, "after consultation," that he should submit such remarks and motions as the case might seem to call for. Disclaiming all unkind feeling toward Vineyard, he observed that the latter, by his action, had imprinted an indelible stain upon the Legislative Assembly and the Territory. For the Council to permit him to select his own mode of severing his connection with it would be to give this stain a deeper dye. He moved, therefore, that the communication be returned unread to its author. Some discussion followed, in the course of which the Council's right to refuse to receive the communication was called in question, which was brought to an end by an indignant speech by John H. Tweedy of Milwaukee. "A most flagrant outrage has been committed by a member of this body," he declared; "the dignity of the Council has been insulted and an indelible stigma has been cast upon the character of the Territory. It is our first and solemn duty to wipe out this foul stain, as far as possible, by proclaiming to the world in just and fitting terms our abhorrence and detestation of the course, and by renouncing all connection with the perpetrator of this offense. This Council, if it has any regard to decency and its own dignity, will not consider, hear, or receive any communication, of any character, from the author of the letter before us, until his connection with this body is dissolved. That connection she will sever in her own way-not by permission
Report of proceedings, in Madison Wisconsin Enquirer, February 23, 1842.
to retire, but by ignominious expulsion-and all other business will be laid aside until after that work is done."
The motion to return the communication unread was passed, only Moses M. Strong voting in the negative; and the following resolution was then presented by Mr. Brigham:
"Whereas the practice, hitherto unknown and unsuspected, of entering the legislative halls of our Territory with deadly weapons concealed about the person, has been within a few days introduced under circumstances justly calculated to arouse the deep indignation of our common country, and to disgrace the character of the Legislative Assembly.
"And whereas James R. Vineyard, a member of the Council, did, on Friday the eleventh instant, immediately after the adjournment, and in the presence of all the members and officers of this body, inflict a mortal wound upon the Hon. Charles C. P. Arndt, late a representative upon this floor from the county of Brown, by discharging a pistol which was concealed about his person, of which wound the said Hon. C. C. P. Arndt immediately expired.
"And whereas it is becoming this Council, in a manner appropriate to the occasion, to express to the world the feelings of horror and indignation with which we witnessed the perpetration, it is believed without justifiable cause, of this most wanton outrage against the life of our fellow member, the peace of society, the purity of our public councils, and the laws of God and man.
"And whereas by this foul deed, so disgraceful to the place and the occasion, the said James R. Vineyard has shown himself unworthy to be a member of this honorable body, therefore
"Resolved that James R. Vineyard, a member of the Council from the county of Grant, be and hereby is expelled, and the seat lately occupied by him declared vacant.”
Moses Strong, who had already assumed the position of counsel for Vineyard, requested a division of the question, explaining that he was willing to vote for the preamble but not for the resolution. It was accordingly divided; the preamble was passed unanimously, and the resolution of expulsion with only the vote of Strong in the negative.
The Legislature had thus done all that lay within its power to express its condemnation of the killing. Well had it been for the reputation of Wisconsin had her press and her courts of justice taken a similar stand. The course pursued by these two agencies of society left much to be desired, and went far toward justifying the contemporary eastern opinion-against the truth of which the territorial press was ever fond of inveighing-that Wisconsin was a region where lawlessness and violence flourished almost without restraint.
Some seven or eight papers comprised the roll of the territorial press in 1842. Their course with reference to the tragedy seems to indicate clearly that the press of that day failed to comprehend the modern distinction between news and political propaganda. The majority of the papers in the Territory were outspoken in their condemnation of Vineyard's act; two, however, the Madison Express and the Platteville Wisconsin Whig, had no word of disapproval for the killing, assuming an attitude of strict "neutrality" with reference to the issue involved. There ensued a wordy newspaper war, the course of which may be sufficiently illustrated from the two Madison papers, the Express and the Enquirer.
Both papers were published on Saturday, the day after the tragedy. Although it was far the most sensational news item in the history of the Territory, the Express disposed of it in a single paragraph which briefly stated the bare fact as to the shooting and concluded with these words
"We decline giving any further particulars, as the whole affair is to undergo judicial investigation."
The Enquirer, on the other hand, appeared with the columns of the entire editorial page boxed in heavy mourning, as they had been for President Harrison a few months before. Describing the event, the editor continued with this comment: "We shall not, in the present justly excited state of public feeling, make such remarks in relation to this high-handed outrage as would seem to be called forsuffice it for the present to say that the dastardly and fiendish perpetrator of this deed, which has disgraced our legislative halls and our Territory, is in the hands of the law, from which it is to be hoped he will not escape without that condign punishment which justice would seem to demand. Individual security-the cause of public morality-everything connected with the well-being and peace of society— requires that the severest penalties of the law should be inflicted."
The ensuing issue of the Enquirers followed up this beginning with two strong editorials, one on the subject of carrying concealed weapons, the other on the attitude of the territorial press upon the killing of Arndt. "The press," it stated, "is justly considered the index to the public sentiment of the community where it is located. This is equally true in regard to the political, moral, or religious sentiments of any people. Hence the solemn responsibility which rests upon the conductors of the public press. They are set not only as the guardians of the public right, but of the public fame; and when any act of violence and outrage occurs, they possess the power to a vast extent to place the responsibility where it belongs, or to involve a whole community of virtuous and innocent persons in the disgrace and infamy which belong only to the few."
8 There was a change of control in the paper just at this juncture, and this issue appeared on Wednesday, February 23, instead of on Saturday, as usual.