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cerned, and naturally exert themselves to bring to punishment the authors of this secret assassination? Was it a thing to be slept upon or forgotten? Did you, gentlemen, sleep quite as quietly in your beds after this murder as before? Was it not a case for rewards, for meetings, for committees, for the united efforts of all the good, to find out a band of murderous conspirators, of midnight ruffians, and to bring them to the bar of justice and law? If this be excitement, is it an unnatural, or an improper excitement?

It seems to me, gentlemen, that there are appearances of another feeling, of a very different nature and character, not very extensive I would hope, but still there is too much evidence of its existence. Such is human nature, that some persons lose their abhorrence of crime, in their admiration of its magnificent exhibitions. Ordinary vice is reprobated by them, but extraordinary guilt, exquisite wickedness, the high flights and poetry of crime, seize on the imagination, and lead them to forget the depths of the guilt, in admiration of the excellence of the performance, or the unequalled atrocity of the purpose. There are those in our day, who have made great use of this infirmity of our nature; and by means of it done infinite injury to the cause of good morals. They have affected not only the taste, but I fear also the principles, of the young, the heedless, and the imaginative, by the exhibition of interesting and beautiful monsters. They render depravity attractive, sometimes by the polish of its manners, and sometimes by its very extravagance; and study to show off crime under all the advantages of cleverness and dexterity. Gentlemen, this is an extraordinary murder-but it is still a murder. We are not to lose ourselves in wonder at its origin, or in gazing on its cool and skilful execution. We are to detect and to punish it; and while we proceed with caution against the prisoner, and are to be sure that we do not visit on his head the offences of others, we are yet to consider that we are dealing with a case of most atrocious crime, which has not the slightest circumstance about it to soften its enormity. It is murder, deliberate, concerted, malicious murder.

Although the interest in this case may have diminished by the repeated investigation of the facts; still, the additional labor which it imposes upon all concerned is not to be regretted, if it should result in removing all doubts of the guilt of the prisoner.

The learned counsel for the prisoner has said truly, that it is your individual duty to judge the prisoner,-that it is your individual duty to determine his guilt or innocence-and that you are to weigh the testimony with candor and fairness. But much at the same time has been said, which, although it would seem to have no distinct bearing on the trial, cannot be passed over without some notice.

A tone of complaint so peculiar has been indulged, as would almost lead us to doubt whether the prisoner at the bar, or the managers of this prosecution, are now on trial. Great pains have been taken to complain of the manner of the prosecution. We hear of getting up a case; of setting in motion trains of machinery;-of foul testimony; of combinations to overwhelm the prisoner;-of private prosecutors;-that the prisoner is hunted, persecuted, driven to his trial; that everybody is against him;-and various other com

plaints, as if those who would bring to punishment the authors of this murder were almost as bad as they who committed it.

In the course of my whole life, I have never heard before, so much said about the particular counsel who happen to be employed; as if it were extraordinary, that other counsel than the usual officers of the government should be assisting in the conducting of a case on the part of the government. In one of the last capital trials in this county, that of Jackman for "the Goodridge robbery," (so called,) I remember that the learned head of the Suffolk Bar, Mr. Prescott, came down in aid of the officers of the government. This was regarded as neither strange nor improper. The counsel for the prisoner, in that case, contented themselves with answering his arguments, as far as they were able, instead of carping at his presence.

Complaint is made that rewards were offered, in this case, and temptations held out to obtain testimony. Are not rewards always offered, when great and secret offences are committed? Rewards were offered in the case to which I have alluded; and every other means taken to discover the offenders, that ingenuity, or the most persevering vigilance could suggest. The learned counsel have suffered their zeal to lead them into a strain of complaint, at the manner in which the perpetrators of this crime were detected, almost indicating that they regard it as a positive injury, to them, to have found out their guilt. Since no man witnessed it, since they do not now confess it, attempts to discover it are half esteemed as officious intermeddling, and impertinent inquiry.

It is said, that here even a committee of vigilance was appointed. This is a subject of reiterated remark. This committee are pointed at, as though they had been officiously intermeddling with the administration of justice. They are said to have been "laboring for months" against the prisoner. Gentlemen, what must we do in such a case? Are people to be dumb and still, through fear of overdoing? Is it come to this, that an effort cannot be made, a hand cannot be lifted to discover the guilty, without its being said, there is a combination to overwhelm innocence? Has the community lost all moral sense? Certainly, a community that would not be roused to action, upon an occasion such as this was, a community which should not deny sleep to their eyes, and slumber to their eyelids, till they had exhausted all the means of discovery and detection, must, indeed, be lost to all moral sense, and would scarcely deserve protection from the laws. The learned counsel have endeavoured to persuade you, that there exists a prejudice against the persons accused of this murder. They would have you understand that it is not confined to this vicinity alone;-but that even the Legislature have caught this spirit. That through the procurement of the gentleman, here styled private prosecutor, who is a member of the Senate, a special session of this court was appointed for the trial of these offenders. That the ordinary movements of the wheels of justice were too slow for the purposes devised.-But does not everybody see and know that it was matter of absolute necessity to have a special session of the court? When, or how could the prisoners have been tried without a special session? In the ordinary arrange

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ment of the courts, but one week, in a year, is allotted for the whole court to sit in this county. In the trial of all capital offences a majority of the court, at least, are required to be present. In the trial of the present case alone, three weeks have already been taken up. Without such special session, then, three years would not have been sufficient for the purpose. It is answer sufficient to all complaints on this subject, to say, that the law was drawn by the late chief justice himself, to enable the court to accomplish its duties; and to afford the persons accused an opportunity for trial without delay.

It is not so.

Again, it is said, that it was not thought of making Francis Knapp, the prisoner at the bar, a PRINCIPAL till after the death of Richard Crowninshield, jun. ; that the present indictment is an afterthoughtthat "testimony was got up" for the occasion. There is no authority for this suggestion. The case of the Knapps had not then been before the grand jury. The officers of the government did not know what the testimony would be against them. They could not therefore have determined what course they should pursue. They intended to arraign all as principals, who should appear to have been principals; and all as accessories, who should appear to have been accessories. All this could be known only when the evidence should be produced.


But the learned counsel for the defendant take a somewhat loftier flight still. They are more concerned, they assure us, for the law itself, than even for their client. Your decision, in this case, they say, will stand as a precedent. Gentlemen, we hope it will. hope it will be a precedent, both of candor and intelligence, of fairness and of firmness; a precedent of good sense and honest purpose, pursuing their investigation discreetly, rejecting loose generalities, exploring all the circumstances, weighing each, in search of truth, and embracing and declaring the truth, when found.

It is said, that "laws are made, not for the punishment of the guilty, but for the protection of the innocent." This is not quite accurate perhaps, but if so, we hope they will be so administered as to give that protection. But who are the innocent, whom the law would protect? Gentlemen, Joseph White was innocent. They are innocent who having lived in the fear of God, through the day, wish to sleep in his peace through the night, in their own beds. The law is established, that those who live quietly, may sleep quietly; that they who do no harm, may feel none. The gentleman can think of none that are innocent, except the prisoner at the bar, not yet convicted. Is a proved conspirator to murder, innocent? Are the Crowninshields and the Knapps, innocent? What is innocence? How deep stained with blood,-how reckless in crime,-how deep in depravity, may it be, and yet remain innocence? The law is made, if we would speak with entire accuracy, to protect the innocent, by punishing the guilty. But there are those innocent, out of court as well as in;-innocent citizens not suspected of crime, as well as innocent prisoners at the bar.

The criminal law is not founded in a principle of vengeance. It does not punish, that it may inflict suffering. The humanity of the law feels and regrets, every pain it causes, every hour of restraint

it imposes, and more deeply still, every life it forfeits. But it uses evil, as the means of preventing greater evil. It seeks to deter from crime, by the example of punishment. This is its true, and only true main object. It restrains the liberty of the few offenders, that the many who do not offend, may enjoy their own liberty. It forfeits the life of the murderer, that other murders may not be committed. The law might open the jails, and at once set free all persons accused of offences, and it ought to do so, if it could be made certain that no other offences would hereafter be committed. Because, it punishes, not to satisfy any desire to inflict pain, but simply to prevent the repetition of crimes. When the guilty, therefore, are not punished, the law has, so far, failed of its purpose; the safety of the innocent is, so far, endangered. Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man's life. And whenever a jury, through whimsical and illfounded scruples, suffer the guilty to escape, they make themselves answerable for the augmented danger of the innocent.

We wish nothing to be strained against this defendant. Why then all this alarm? Why all this complaint against the manner in which the crime is discovered? The prisoner's counsel catch at supposed flaws of evidence, or bad character of witnesses, without meeting the case. Do they mean to deny the conspiracy? Do, they mean to deny that the two Crowninshields and the two Knapps were conspirators? Why do they rail against Palmer, while they do not disprove, and hardly dispute the truth of any one fact sworn to by him? Instead of this, it is made matter of sentimentality, that Palmer has been prevailed upon to betray his bosom companions, and to violate the sanctity of friendship: again, I ask, why do they not meet the case? If the fact is out, why not meet it? Do they mean to deny that Capt. White is dead? One should have almost supposed even that, from some remarks that have been made. Do they mean to deny the conspiracy? Or, admitting a conspiracy, do they mean to deny only, that Frank Knapp, the prisoner at the bar, was abetting in the murder, being present, and so deny that he was a principal? If a conspiracy is proved, it bears closely upon every subsequent subject of inquiry. Why don't they come to the fact? Here the defence is wholly indistinct. The counsel neither take the ground, nor abandon it. They neither fly, nor light. They hover. But they must come to a closer mode of contest. They must meet the facts, and either deny or admit them. Had the prisoner at the bar, then, a knowledge of this conspiracy or not? This is the question. Instead of laying out their strength in complaining of the manner in which the deed is discovered,-of the extraordinary pains taken to bring the prisoner's guilt to light;-would it not be better to show there was no guilt? Would it not be better to show his innocence? They say, and they complain, that the community feel a great desire that he should be punished for his crimes;-would it not be better to convince you that he has committed no crime?

Gentlemen, let us now come to the case. Your first inquiry, on the evidence, will be,-was Capt. White murdered in pursuance of

a conspiracy, and was the defendant one of this conspiracy? If so, the second inquiry is, was he so connected with the murder itself as that he is liable to be convicted as a principal? The defendant is indicted as a principal. If not guilty as such, you cannot convict him. The indictment contains three distinct classes of counts, In the first, he is charged as having done the deed, with his own hand;in the second, as an aider and abettor to Richard Crowninshield, jr. who did the deed;---in the third, as an aider and abettor to some person unknown. If you believe him guilty on either of these counts, or in either of these ways, you must convict him.

It may be proper to say, as a preliminary remark, that there are two extraordinary circumstances attending this trial. One is, that Richard Crowninshield, jr., the supposed immediate perpetrator of the murder, since his arrest, has committed suicide. He has gone to answer before a tribunal of perfect infallibility. The other is, that Joseph Knapp, the supposed origin and planner of the murder, having once made a full disclosure of the facts, under a promise of indemnity, is, nevertheless, not now a witness. Notwithstanding his disclosure, and his promise of indemnity, he now refuses to testify. He chooses to return to his original state, and now stands answerable himself, when the time shall come for his trial. These circumstances it is fit you should remember, in your investigation of the case.

Your decision may affect more than the life of this defendant. If he be not convicted as principal, no one can be. Nor can any one be convicted of a participation in the crime as accessory. The Knapps and George Crowninshield will be again on the community. This shows the importance of the duty you have to perform;-and to remind you of the degree of care and wisdom, necessary to be exercised in its performance. But certainly these considerations do not render the prisoner's guilt any clearer, nor enhance the weight of the evidence against him. No one desires you to regard consequences in that light. No one wishes anything to be strained, or too far pressed against the prisoner. Still, it is fit you should see the full importance of the duty devolved upon you. And now, gentlemen, in examining this evidence, let us begin at the beginning, and see first what we know independent of the disputed testimony. This is a case of circumstantial evidence. And these circumstances, we think, are full and satisfactory. The case mainly depends upon them, and it is common, that offences of this kind, must be proved in this way. Midnight assassins take no witnesses. evidence of the facts relied on has been, somewhat sneeringly, denominated by the learned counsel, "circumstantial stuff," but, it is not such stuff as dreams are made of. Why does he not rend this stuff? Why does he not tear it away, with the crush of his hand. He dismisses it, a little too summarily. It shall be my business to examine this stuff and try its cohesion.


The letter from Palmer at Belfast, is that no more than flimsy stuff?

The fabricated letters, from Knapp to the committee, and Mr White, are they nothing but stuff?

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