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It matters nothing in law, to be sure, since it be taken, and pays the bills at the tavernis not Jennings, the only man who could seize including of course the “smiles” – could say him, or direct it to be done for him; but as illus- that the property taken by the officer was in trating the animus of the whole transaction, the his (the owner's) custody. Such a custody is question is one of some interest. The carriage the custody of the law and not of the owner. containing the worthy trio, Lowe, his assistants What sort of an arrangement was there beDavis and Mitchell, overtakes and draws up tween Lowe and Jennings-- a joint possession? along side of that in which the unsuspecting There can never be a joint possession. The John is riding leisurely along with the little de- officer captures the entire animal, holds the coy Shakespeare. And now who seizes John ? entire animal, returns the entire animal to the Mitchell
, who may be said to be in the State of magistrate, who either gives up the entire Ohio in some sort by the procurement of the animal to the owner, or entirely discharges owner, John G. Bacon? No. Lowe, the him. I know, your Honor, that the very propUnited States Deputy-Marshal, with a warrant osition shows its monstrous absurdity, and that in his pocket, under which he comes to act in the custody of the owner is completely, wholly, behalf of the United States, and for the preser- and entirely inconsistent with the custody of the vation of its essential “ peace and dignity,”. law. The law tolerates no joint custody whatorders his Davis. Yes, Davis seizes John, as ever. It takes the whole man, holds the whole deputy-marshal Lowe's assistant, being the man man, and awards the whole man either to the farthest of all removed from the agent, Jen- claimant or to himself
. Were it otherwise nings, himself, who alone had any authority we might have the singular case of the comwhatever to make the arrest under the power missioner discharging that part of the man of attorney.
Davis seizes John, and then arrested, and held by a marshal while the Mitchell comes to his assistance, while. Lowe owner would retain his part. holds the horses ! And Mitchell says he then But let us pursue the question of fact a little and there showed John the power of attorney. farther. But his excellent confederate, Jennings, swears When they arrive at Wellington and the positively that he had it at that time in his own crowd gathers, and the inquiry is sent up pocket, at the Russia House.
“Who holds this colored man, and by what Rather an unfortunate difference of opinion ! authority ?” -- who is announced to the crowd ? Mr. Mitchell may come up to the requisitions The best answer is found in the entire testiof a witness in the State of Kentucky, but for mony itself upon this point. Permit me to this latitude, is rather too pointedly contradicted read to you all there is of it bearing on this by Jennings, - if Jennings may be permitted point. And first on the part of the Governto contradict anybody, concerning which I grant ment, which may be condensed as follows. that it is pushing legal impudence about as far J. G. Bacon. Made power of attorney to as it will go.
Anderson Jennings. But why has n't Lowe and his man Davis Anderson Jennings. Had power of attorney. been placed upon this stand to swear that Had it at Wellington, and showed it to the Lowe sunk his high character as a deputy- crowd. Fifteen or twenty of them looked at it marshal of the United States, and that he took inside the room. Sheriff came to arrest us; some part of the authority vested in Jennings wanted to know by what authority we held by the power of attorney, and by virtue of this John. Showed him the papers. fraction arrested the boy ? and that he did not act R. P. Mitchell. Power of attorney read as a marshal under his warrant if that is true. to them [at Wellington). Thinks a lawyer Can there be a particle of a reasonable doubt read it. Several asked by what authority we concerning the real capacity in which Lowe held John. Told them by power of attorney acted ? He came as a marshal armed with a from Bacon. to Jennings. Think Lowe showed warrant to be served by a marshal, went out John power of attorney at the time of arrest. with his assistant and did serve it, and arrested Think John had it in his hand. John and held him as a marshal; which he can
A. S. Halbert. Patton said that he had seen not and dare not deny.
the papers, and that they were good. But, Gentlemen, when after that brief sepa
'Jacob Whecler. Saw Jennings' power of ration upon this benignant mission, the two attorney. Lowe called on all of us for help. streams of authority, one flowing from the Lowe would go anywhere and show his papers. owner and the other from the United States, Did go somewhere to read them to crowd. united again at Wellington, is there, then, *Barnabas Meacham. Asked Lowe to go out any giving up of the less to the greater, and and read his warrant, and I would see him Jennings assuming the control of John ? Noth- back. We went. Stopped on steps a few rous ing of the kind. In the first place he could n’t from hotel. He began to read, and some one do it, and in the second place you know abso-else finished. Went back. I told the crowd lutely and positively that he never did do it. he had a warrant. It might just as well be said that a man who Isaac Bennett. Saw a warrant issued by arms a sheriff with a writ of replevin, goes to United States Commissioner of the Southern a neighboring town, points out the property to District; also, a power of attorney. Told sev
eral that Lowe had a warrant to arrest John attorney never transpired to that crowd outside Price. Warrant was read. Think it was. in any form. LOWE came forward, and claimed The paper shown me by Lowe was a warrant, that we held the boy in His custody. And tlf is made by United States Commissioner, Southern Mr. Jennings all the while hid his ponderous District
. Somebody put in my hands a power proportions behind Lowe. He did so when Mr. of attorney. When I spoke to crowd, told them Bennett went up and confronted him. Nobody of the warrant, and may have said “papers.” but Lowe came forward, and if he showed any Saw no other manifestation of the marshal's power of attorney, it was only to prove that authority.
the warrant was sworn out by one duly auChauncey Wack. Patton said the papers thorized. I know that Mitchell comes up here were right. Said nothing of any power of at- and swears that it was a power of attorney torney.
which was shown to Mr. Dickson, just as if Mr. Proof on this point by defence.
Dickson, a lawyer of extensive practice there, Joseph H. Dickson, lawyer at Wellington. and recently the District-Attorney of that Meacham, the constable, came for me and said county, could n't tell a power of attorney from they wanted to see me. Took me in. Lowe a warrant, after reading it through carefully, as introduced himself to me as the United States he himself swears he did, and especially didn't Marshal who héld John. Showed me the war- know whether the power of attorney was rant under which he held him. I read it care- properly executed, when if he saw it as it is fully. Noticed it had no seal. Lowe said it here, he saw it in due for, and with the broad, needed none. Saw no power of attorney, and staring seal of Mason county, Kentucky, upon heard not a word said about any. A man, it! And it is altogether probable that he said whom I now recognize as Jennings, offered of a power of attorney, as Mitchell swears posihim (John) for fourteen hundred dollars. I tively he did (and this Mr. Dickson corroborates told him he was not worth that in Kentucky. as applied to the warrant of the United States Said he thought he knew the value of niggers. Commissioner shown him), that he Another, a red-whiskered man, said he'd better much conversant with that class of papers, and take twelve hundred dollars. I supposed the could not consequently say positively whether man who offered to sell him was the owner. it was accurately made out or not!” Said nothing to undeceive me; nothing about And who told Dickson he was going to take being agent, or having any power of attorney. John to Columbus ? Jennings ? Oh, no. But Told crowd of the warrant. Never heard of Lowe, the Marshal, says, “ I am going to take power of attorney till I came here into Court. him to Columbus before the U.S. Commissioner."
James L. Pation. Went up.' Lowe took me And who went out at the call of the crowd, to into adjoining room. Told me he was the mar- exhibit the authority by whom and which John shal. Showed me the warrant issued by the was held ? The elegant and accomplished Mr. United States Commissioner, Southern District. Jennings, who was himself three times as interI read it. That was all the authority shown esting an object to view, and who certainly could me, all the paper I saw or heard of. Never have been seen without placing himself upon heard of power of attorney till after this trial any very elevated stand-point? No, not he; began.
but Mr. Jacob K. Lowe, the redoubtable deputy William Howk, Justice of the Peace at Wel- U.S. Marshal of the Southern District of Ohio, lington. William Sciples said the marshal who went out under the protection of Mr. Patwanted to see me. Went up. Marshal showed ton, a student from the infected district of Obera paper understood to be a warrant. Had no lin. This gentle Mr. Patton took the represenglasses with me and could n't read it. Think I tative of the United States of North America saw the word “ Columbus” on it. Lowe went patronizingly under his arm, and conducting him Said he was going to take the boy to Columbus. for him, under which alone it was claiined to A committee might be appointed to go with him. that crowd that the negro was held, and then Never heard of power of attorney till in the led him safely back again. Not one word of a course of this trial. Talked with Bennett power of attorney; not one glimpse of Jennings, about the warrant.
who alone had power to hold the negro a single L. S. Butler, law-student. Stood by Lowe moment under it. I know that Mitchell swear's and Patton when the warrant was read. No- that the power of attorney was shown to Patton ticed there was no seal. No other papers were and Howk; but I know farther that they both shown or spoken of. Asked some one, supposed swear positively that they never so much as heard to be of the party, if there were any other of a power of attorney until they heard of it papers, and was answered, No. Heard nothing with amazement first in this Court-Room. The of any power of attorney.
warrant alone, which our less favored eyes are Now, Gentlemen, can there be a particle of not permitted to see, was shown; the warrant doubt as to who held that boy on that occa- --for withholding which the Prosecution have sion, or by what authority he held him ? Did their own, and doubtless good and sufficient reaJennings come forward to show his power of sons, and without seeing which we must probaattorney? Not a word of it. That power of bly live out the remnant of our days, and die
was only shown to them. If there was any thing John after his escape was at Wellington, on the eyer shown in a Court of Justice under heaven, 13th of September last, and that he sent to itilias been shown in this Court, and in this case, Kentucky for a witness to identify him; as he that this negro, if arrested at all, was arrested doubtless could not rely on his own knowledge by the warrant, was held by the warrant, and of him; and now he comes up here to swear to would have been carried off by the warrant, and the negro's identity! And Mitchell swears that by the warrant alone. And therefore if the law, during the seven days he was at Oberlin, prior as we see it, shall be recognized by his Honor, to the 13th of September, he saw John but these facts will rise to Heaven like adamantine once, and that was when John chanced to be walls around the devoted defendant, outside of passing his window. Upon such testimony, up which the Prosecution may clamor as idly as did to the time of the capture, does the identity of the worshippers of Moloch around the taberna- the negro, upon the part of the Government cle of the living God.
rest. Bear in mind, too, that this Jennings had Gentlemen of the Jury, whatever may be our been at Oberlin before. And also that there private views and prejudices, I trust that by existed at that time in thạt neighborhood, by this time we have so far put: them aside, that I reason of the overt acts of these and other parmay now look into your eyes with that confi- ties, a feverish state of excitement with referdence which springs always from the universal ence to certain colored persons being clandesand instinctive love of Justice. But suppose tinely seized and illegally carried off. Rememcontrary, as I conceive it, to all possible fact- ber that Jennings had been one of the suspicious suppose that you should find that John was ar- parties; a man who could by no means be hid rested and held by virtue of the power of attor- in any one building in Oberlin; that Mitchell,
then there are a number of points which who pretends to have been a very intimate naturally range under other parts of the subject, companion of John's in Kentucky, had been in still to be discussed.
the place seven consecutive days; and then tell Has it been shown that the John Price, arrest- me whether, if John had been a fugitive, his ined by Jennings or Lowe, is one and the same stincts would not have been awakened to alarm, with the. John 'that escaped from John G. Bacon and had lie been the John whilom a chattel of in January, 1856; and that the defendant Bush- this Bacon, he must necessarily have known nell knew he was not only an escaped slave, but Jennings and Mitchell, and would certainly that he had escaped from and belonged to this have fled while all the others were excited, he, particular Bacon? For it is not sufficient that who must have had the best means of knowledge, because John G. Bacon is a slaveholder, and has was not even alarmed. This goes far to show lost a John, he may send into Ohio á fishing he could not have been the slave of Bacon. process, and gather up with it any and every Remember too, that John escaped just at that fugitive John, and then whoever shall dare to in- period of life when youth is imperceptibly glidquire whether he has got his own or the John of ing into manhood; is gone two years and nine some one else, shall thereby make himself amen- months, living meanwhile altogether a different able to the penalties of this infamous Slave Act. life from that in which Mitchell knew him, ac
John escaped. Very singular, indeed, is n't quiring entirely different habits and manners, it? There is some fault either in the law or in and Mitchell after catching one glimpse of him the theology of the Peculiar Institution. . There through good Mr. Wack's window - I have no is no doubt but that the whole race was doomed doubt it was perfectly transparent--- at once to slavery in Ham; that is not an open question. pounces upon him. And then his owner comes But somehow it is very strange that the Deity up here and swears that when he left Kentucky who thus doomed this nation did not make it, in at the age of eighteen, he was five feet eight or its feelings and emotions, better adapted to its ten inches high, and would weigh 165 or 170 condition. Just think of John, careless of the pounds, and was copper colored. At Oberfiat of his Maker, and still more careless of the lin they arrest a John, who is positively sworn interests of his owner, and the good of this Con- by a number of unimpeachable witnesses
, who federacy, lifting his huge, shapeless foot, with its had the best means of knowing, to have been enormous heel, and with the best part of the not over five feet five or six inches tall, weighmuscle of his leg on the wrong side, and driving ing from 135 to 140 pounds, and so black that it remorselessly through the priceless, precious he shone! Even Jennings swears the John porcelain of the Union. And all this because, they captured was black. Mr. Clay's laws of contrary to the Act made and provided, he was bleaching out seem to work the other way at smitten with the polar fever, to which persons Oberlin, whatever they do in Kentucky If of his class are so alarmingly subject. And they say the Kentucky boy and the Oberlin then there is the Ohio river, which certainly boy were both Johns, they don't come any ought to be indicted; for so chilly was its cool- nearer. For the Kentucky boy was simply ness toward the interests of the glorious Union, John, while the Oberlin boy was John Price. that it actually froze over, and the negro walked In no solitary point do the descriptions agree. with impunity over its icy bosom, toward Ober- Slaves never have more than one name. They lin! Was this escaping John the John arrested ? are all boys till they get to be uncles. Do we
Jennings swears that the first time he saw then, Gentlemen of the Jury, claim too much in claiming that the boy captured at Oberlin by hand towards his revolver, and the knife fell; no means answers to the description of the boy and, in the language of the immortal and cverwho ran away from John G. Bacon in 1856? observing Shakespeare, in that serio-ludicroCertainly, if evidence is worth any thing, it has comico-tragico farce of Measure for Measure, most clearly established a glaring discrepancy “the whites of John's eyes turned yellow !” here.
It was under such teachings, and so illustrated, But the Government rests strongly on the that John rode into Wellington, and is even sayings and doings of John himself, after cap- brought to such proficiency that he is made to ture, to establish his identity. These rest say, that at some time he even left Oberlin and wholly on the statements of Jennings and Mitch- started back to Kentucky, and got as far as ell, his so-claimed and newly-found old friends, Columbus, when he was arrested and reluctantwho enforced their assertions of kindly interest ly forced back to Oberlin! And this wretched with such mild persuasives as five-shooters, Ar- stuff
, so forced from the very pores of this kansas tooth-picks, and substantial bracelets, as wretched negro in his extremity, in the grasp, shown by their own testimony: Under such under the pistols and knives of this gang of inspiring influences, and surrounded with such armed ruffians, is gravely and solemnly urged genial inducements to knowledge, it is said that here by the gentlemen who observe the arguhe opened his mouth and spake wonderful ment as proof; and we are tauntingly
. called things, - of his own freewill
, of course. And upon to disprove it, or it is conclusive upon us. what did the inspired property say? Why, the And this is to be listened to in a so-called court same things that all such property, similarly situ- of justice, by a jury of freemen, citizens of a ated, always says; or, more accurately, is re- free State, in thě trial of a freeman for his libported as saying. That he is the identical son sought for, guilty of the escape charged, The only pretence for any of John's sayings truly penitent, tired of freedom, of course, and is, that they accompanied certain 'acts or things, only anxious once more to behold the kindest of and are given as part of the res gestæ ; not to masters and the most angelic of mistresses, and prove any fact, but merely as constituting part have himself snugly and comfortably sold into a of a fact, or thing. But that miserable fiction rice swamp, beyond the reach of temptation ! of John's attempt to return, was not even
It is scarcely necessary to say, of all such coupled with any act or fact. Whatever John yarns, that the circumstances of the speaker may say in the custody of his captors, and unwould utterly invalidate whatever he might say, der their catechizing, is in durance, and would while so situated, with any intelligent jury; and not be proof, even against himself; and one can farther than that, his sayings, introduced here but shudder at the measureless infamy of offeras they have been, have, of necessity, been ing it for a moment against a third person, who ruled out by his Honor. Yet they are still was not even constructively present, and to pressed by the prosecution. But we are not whom nobody pretends a whisper of it was ever left even to the plain inference, which would conveyed. sweep away statements made in such durance. Follow this refreshing part of the case a little Mr. Mitchell himself tells us, that when they farther. At Wellington, after some hours of first met, John denied any acquaintance with tuition, John was privately exhibited to a select him ! Positively and pointedly denied it! few; among others Jake Wheeler, by his offiRather remarkable, was n't it? If this were cial position as Postmaster of Rochester, as well the very John with whom Mitchell had been so as from principle and instinct, enjoyed the high intimate for eighteen years previous to 1856, delectation of converse'with him, since his rewith whom he had worked side by side so many generation, by the laying on of the hands of months, and whom he had thus marked so well Marshal Lowe's posse. that after a separation of two years and nine Jake very properly indulged in philosophical months, during which John had undergone speculations, of a naturally moral tendency, for many and remarkable changes of stature, color, John's benefit, explaining to him that he had weight, manner, and dress, he instantly recog- not received at the hands of his master training nized him in a strange place, with no one to more severe than certain wholesome exercises, call his attention to him, and this through one which even white parents occasionally findit necof the immaculate magnifying windows of the essary to put their children through, and it is Russia House.
to be regretted that Jake's own education, in John did not know Mitchell, and never saw this particular, was so sadly neglected. him before. Oh, I know he knew him well But these wonderful admissions of this negro when he arrived at Wellington. A duller than boy in durance, prove even more yet, He is John would have profited by such suggestive made, in Mr. Wheeler's own elegant phrase, to lessons. Take an instance related by the “ on the whole, pretty much give him the imgraphic Mitchell. When he went up to John, pression that he was willin' to go back;” which in the wagon with Shakespeare, John had a another of the Government's witnesses explains knife in his hand, which Mitchell ordered him by repeating what he said on the platform to to give up. John declined. Mitchell's only the crowd, that “he supposed they had the reply was a significant movement of the right papers for him, and he would have to go.” And
thereupon we are treated to a paroxystic paren- sumption of every citizen would be that of the thesis upon the attachment of slaves to their law in favor of his freedom, and there would be bonds. Why, Gentlemen of the Jury, if ever nothing in his color or his arrival to charge the it should be my lot to have my loved ones defendant with notice that he was a fugitive, or wrenched from me, and carried by their captors to put him upon inquiry concerning his status. to a distant land, and my government was not And he who would charge such notice upon strong enough to wrest them back again, and I the defendant is bound to prove it. had not wealth enough to buy their freedom; It is in proof here, perhaps, that to one or and in after years some traveller should come two citizens of Oberlin, privately, John said tivity under the hard hand of a tyrant, and came to be a matter of general conversation should tell me that these my loved ones were and knowledge there is not a particle of proof. sullen and moody and rebellious, I'd thank God On the contrary, the proof is indubitablewith my full heart, for thus I'd know that my there is not a particle of proof that looks otherown blood still beat with its old pulse of free- wise -- that on the early part of the afternoon dom in their quivering veins. But should he of the day of the alleged rescue, on the hasty say that they seemed gay and careless and glad gathering of the people at Oberlin, it was said
-sang and made merry, and danced for their throughout the crowd that John had been kidmasters, I'd raise my hand to Him that liveth, napped, the question of his having once been a and swear they were none of mine!
slave not being raised. And upon this impresBut what did the negro say upon the plat- sion it is abundantly proven that the crowd form ? He was sent out; after due training, to acted both at Oberlin and Wellington. And say certain things. What were they, and did so firmly fixed was this conviction in their he say them. The first query is satisfied by the minds, that when tþey got to Wellington they answer to the next. What he did say, if he went and swore out a warrant, predicated upon said any thing -- which Jennings and. Mitchell the fact that the negro was certainly held in are loth to admit - was, that “they had the illegal custody. And one of the most important papers for him, and he supposed he would have witnesses for the Government, Halbert, who to go back.” In the presence of his captors and claims to have been constantly in the crowd, Wheeler, he almost said what they wanted him both at Oberlin and Wellington, being asked to, but upon the balcony, he could n't do even why he spoke of John as a “ fugitive,” said," he as well as that. I know that Mr. Wack testifies did n't know !.”. Nothing in the testimony that “he thinks John was just-a-going to say favors the supposition that John was, or was he wanted to go baceks,” when he got “skeered” regarded by the crowd that rescued him, as a and fled in, but I question whether even the fugitive. : So far from it, every thing we can Government is quite ready to claim to you, learn of his conduct and circumstances goes to Gentlemen, that such supposition on the part of show the contrary. . Mr. Wack is conclusive evidence of John's vol- And now, what were the circumstances coluntary state of mind!
lateral with and immediately prior to the arrest And now, on the whole proof, including of John, as bearing on this question of knowlJohn's statements upon this point of his identity, edge? I shall say little here of the means by I claim the balance is with us. A copper-colored which information was conveyed from Oberlin fied, an ebony black was captured; å youth to Kentucky, of the residence at the former of eighteen, weighing 165 or 175 pounds fled, place of certain supposed fugitive slaves; it is a man weighing 135 or 140 was taken; a boy of an unpleasant subject. But I cannot conceive the grenadier height of five feet eightor ten inches how any individual, born and grown escaped, and one dwarfed to five feet five ar- nothing of " bringing up” — here at the North, rested ! Can he be the same ?
should have it in his heart to steal into that he But there remain other and very important might betray the confidence of a fugitive, be points to be noticed, waiving, for the purpose of prejudiced as we may of his color and condition. considering them, even the question of John's And as to the condition of this crushed and identity.
smitten people, we should never forget that If he was a fugitive slave, was this fact they are here always against their own will. known, generally known ? So generally known The tribes of Africa never migrate. So many at Oberlin that this defendant can be charged of them as are among us we stole, and ironed, with notice of it? If not thus generally known, and forced here, and for this we at the North it must appear either that it was brought to his are as responsible as our brethren at the South. notice personally, or to the notice of a crowd Our fathers were one with their fathers in this acting with unanimity and in concert, and of sad, sad work. Neither the men of to-day who which he was a member.
hold slaves in Kentucky, nor we of Ohio, who It is not in proof at what time John arrived to-day lift our voices against the institụtion, at Oberlin. The presumption in Ohio would founded it, though we are all responsible for its be, not that he was a slave, but that he was a continuance. There may be a difference in free man, so that whether he had resided any the responsibility of sanctioning and perpetuaconsiderable time there or not, the legal pre- ) ting it, and if there be, no words can express
- to say