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I have said what I have as to the binding force in slaves may be an unpleasant one to contemof this statute without the remotest regard to plate, and we may regret that such an instituthis miserable menace, but with sole reference tion exists, but it is not our sin, and the people to the interests of my client and the mainte- of Ohio are not guilty of its commission, and so nance of my own self-respect.
long as it is recognized as an institution of one With these remarks, Gentlemen, I leave that portion of the country by the laws of the counman in your hands, standing here and appeal- try, so long must we respect the right of those ing to you to deal out to him, at least, in this who hold property in slaves. The right of the one instance, equal justice, as you would to a residents of Kentucky can no more be broken man whose complexion was of another hue. It down by such men as Charles Langston than is, as I have already said, almost the only case can the institution in the Island of Cuba, and where, under the rulings of our Courts, and why, then, should they take up arms and follow under the laws of the land, he is entitled to de- | the man who seeks upon our soil to exercise his mand equal justice with a white man at the own proprietary right to secure his own prophạnds of his fellow men; but your oath obli- erty? gates you to deal impartially by him, and your The reasons of the adoption of the original inclinations, I have no doubt, sanction that oath; resolution for the rendition of fugitive slaves, and I leave him in your hands, therefore, with were shown and dilated upon by the Counsel, the utmost confidence, that upon neither of the and the history of the “peculiar institution' issues made, and especially upon all of them, briefly passed over. will you ever be able, under your oaths, to find In 1802 the people of Ohio deliberated upon a verdict of Guilty against him.
taking upon themselves the Constitution with
all its provisions and clauses, including this one FIFTEENTII DAY.
which distinctly provides that fugitive slaves
shall be rendered up to their owners, and havCLEVELAND, May 10, 1859. ing deliberated upon it, applied for admission Court convened at 9 o'clock. Judge Bliss into the Union and were admitted, thereby commenced the closing argument for the Gov- binding themselves to support and abide by all
the provisions of that Constitution. How, then, Whether the offence charged upon the de- can they stand up to-day and repudiate and fendant, Charles Langston, was one against the impugn this same Constitution ? moral ideas or simply against the civil statute, Passing then to the evidence, the Counsel it was immaterial in the consideration of this considered the testimony brought to bear against case, and if he was guilty of this offence, he as Langston for rescuing the slave John. The truly merited punishment as if it was wrong in prosecution had no possible malice against the itself
, for this laxity in respect to the laws of defendant, and assuredly did not desire to have the land will lead to perilling if not subverting him wrongfully convicted, but if it was concluthe privileges and rights which the laws grant sively proved that he was guilty of the crime to every citizen. In cases like this, where the for which he was indicted, then the agents of crime is not prompted by feelings of momentary the Government asked for a punishment as a revenge, an offence is as truly committed as if warning to those who wilfully violate the laws such was the case.
of the land. It was known by the defendant and his asso- Judge Bliss then discussed the nature of ciates that this negro was satisfied with his rela- the crowd which assembled at Wellington, tions with his master, for it was so said by the boy setting forth that Jennings, Mitchell, and himself. It was not, then, a feeling of sympathy Lowe, had gone to Oberlin for this slave for John, that prompted Langston and his asso- had obtained possession of him by some little ciates to rescue him from the hands of the party finesse -- had taken him to Wellington — that which was taking him back to the South. No, the Oberlin people pursued them, determined his
purpose, fixed and determined, waş to vio- to have him whether he had been taken with late and set at defiance one of the laws of the or without authority, and whether he was or land - a law whicli they were determined was not a slave. He then went on to show by should never be executed, and their end and the testimony that it was generally known in aim was to show that that law could be success- that crowd at Wellington that the boy was a fully opposed by force. This spirit which would slave, but that they “ did not care for the law," tear down and annihilate the Government of that they made their own laws.” these United States, and which would prostrate If Langston was in that crowd that was dethe civil fabric of this country, was the spirit termined “to have him any how,” without which actuated the defendant and his associates doing some act or making some protestation on that day. The students who attend that against the evident design of the rest, then he Oberlin College are taught sedition and treason was guilty; and it has been shown that he was in connection with science and literature, and circulating in that crowd and actively engaged. they graduate from that institution to go forth He expressed himself at one time satisfied with and preach opposition and treason. The right the papers which Lowe and Jennings held. of a portion of our inhabitants to hold property. With the scheme of the warrant which Meacham
CHARGE TO THE JURY BY THE COURT.
held, and which John Watson had caused to
The defendant, Charles Langston, is indicted for rescuing a fugitive slave, alleged to be the property of John G. Bacon, of Kentucky. His
plea is not guilty, and it is upon the issue made Court convened at one o'clock. Judge by this plea that you are sworn to return a verBliss continued his argument for the Govern- dict according to the evidence. ment, reviewing the course of Langston at There is, perhaps, no severer test to a juror's Wellington, where he pretended friendship to integrity, or a greater demand upon his imparLowe, but at the same time urged the execu- tial judgment; than when called upon to act in tion of the writ for his arrest. He claimed that a case where political partialities or prejudices from the very commencement the defendant are invoked to sway his conduct. The very nahad had one steady aim to set the slave at ture of our Federal system is such, that all men liberty, and that he encouraged and sympa- | become more or less interested in the legislative thized with the rescuing crowd. He told Lowe policy of the Government. This has resulted that he could do nothing with the crowd, that in political organizations, in which, at different they were determined to have the boy, and periods, the great masses of the people have afterwards made the proposition to let the boy been arrayed in parties, antagonistic to each go peaceably; Lowe refused, when Langston other, and often characterized by strong prejusaid, “ we will have him any way,” and from dices and bitter animosities. Hence, congresthis moment he showed his true purpose and sional legislation often becomes distasteful to a design.
portion of the people of the country. It is so Here reviewed the evidence of witnesses, at the South with reference to laws enacted to showing that Langston had said in answer to a suppress the slave-trade, and peculiarly so at remark that there was a large crowd, “ Yes, the North, with reference to the fugitive slave they have turned out well.” Yes, they had laiv
. of 1850. Yet ours is a representative turned out well, for that old buzzard's nest of Government, where the people themselves conOberlin, where the negroes who arrive over the trol its legislation. It is indispensable to good underground railroad are regarded as dear order and to the well-being of society, that acts children that nest had been broken into, of Congress, placed upon the statute book, and one of the brood had escaped. And these should command obedience, and that partisan Oberlin men, who had been taught to set at feeling should cease and prejudice be forgotten, defiance the laws of the United States, rushed in the observance of the law. Courts and off to rescue the boy who had been taken. juries especially are bound to impartially adThat was an army that old General Satan him-minister and enforce the laws, and this sacred self might have selected from the chief spirits | obligation is imposed with the most solemn sancof Hell to fight against the power of Earth and tions. Heaven. Langston said, after returning to It is the first duty of a juror, who is sworn Oberlin, “ We got the boy and brought him to determine the guilt or innocence of one home.” Now, Gentlemen, has it not been charged with crime, to divest himself of any clearly and unquestionably slown that the and all prejudices he may have against the law defendant was actively engaged in the rescue ? itself, or of any partiality or ill-will he may
Leaving the question of the evidence, the have towards the accused. It is enough to counsel then spoke upon the legal questions know that the law alleged to be broken is the which give the right of process to owners or law of the land, and that the accused is preagents to pursue and recover their fugitive sumed to be innocent until his guilt is proved. slaves, holding that the rescue was made from A jury that yields to any other influences than Jennings assisted by Lowe. But even if from those legitimately produced by the law and the Lowe, then the second count of the indictment testimony, is recreant to its trust, and unworcharges that the rescue was made from Lowe. thy of occupying the seats of twelve honest
The counsel closed with remarks upon the men. interest which Charles Langston had in the This caution is given, Gentlemen; not because purpose of the rescue, being determined that it is feared that you will intentionally swerve at all events and all hazards, John should be from å true and just line of duty, but simply rescued and should never be taken South, and that you may guard and brace yourselves against leaving the case for the Jury to decide upon. any undue influences, while considering and
The Court then gave the case to the Jury in weighing the evidence in the case. the following charge :
What, then, is the case you are sworn to try, and what are the material facts necessary for the Government to establish in order to work a / of John G. Bacon, under the laws of the State conviction of the defendant?
of Kentucky. The indictment is predicated upon the 6th That this negro escaped into Ohio and was and 7th sections of the Act of Congress, ap- a fugitive from Kentucky is not seriously quesproved Sept. 18, 1850. You have already be- tioned. come familiar with the provisions of this statute, But it is objected by the counsel for the deand a more minute reference to this law is un- fendant that there is a fatal variance in the proof necessary.
from the allegation in the indictment; as to the This indictment contains two counts. The time of the escape, the allegation being that he second having been substantially abandoned by left his master on the first of March, 1857, and the prosecutor, it is only necessary to call your the proof showing his departure from Kentucky attention to the first.
to have been early in January, 1856. The first count charges that the negro in ques- This is not a descriptive averment, nor is the tion was a slave owing service to John G. Ba- date an essential ingredient in the crime charged con, in Kentucky. That said negro escaped to have been committed, to wit, the unlawful from Kentucky into the State of Ohio, and was rescue. If the precise day of a fact be a neca fugitive from his owner, that he was seized essary ingredient in the offence, it unquestionaand held by Anderson Jennings and his assist- bly must be truly stated. But when the fact is ants in Ohio, by virtue of a power of attorney mere inducement to the offence, the time is imlawfully executed and acknowledged by said material. Such is the case here. And hence Bacon, authorizing the capture of the fugitive; it is sufficient to prove the escape at any time and that the defendant acting with others at previous to the actual commission of the offence Wellington in this District, unlawfully, know- charged in the indictment, ingly, and willingly rescued the slave from Ba- It is also objected that the power of attorney, con's agent and attorney.
under which Jennings acted, was defective in its You will call to mind the evidence pertinent execution and acknowledgment, and that it is to the first of these allegations.
consequently void. Is it proved that the negro John owed ser- If the power of attorney, which has been provice to John G. Bacon in Kentucky?
duced in evidence, was lawfully executed and The existence of slavery in Kentucky as a acknowledged in Kentucky, where it was made, municipal regulation, is a question of law, which it is valid and effectual in Ohio to accomplish belongs solely for the consideration of the Court; the purpose for which it was given. and for the purposes of this trial you will
It is not essential to the validity of a power regard slavery or involuntary servitude as of attorney in Kentucky that it should be sealed recognized and lawfully established in that by the party giving it, unless it was executed State.
for the purpose of authorizing the conveyance Whether the relation of master and slave ex- or incumbrance of real estate, or of mixed isted between Bacon and the negro John, is a property. question of fact to be ascertained by the jury, We are also satisfied that the acknowledgfrom the testimony; and this may be established ment was valid in law. It is sufficient that the by the Government according to the same rule acknowledgment appears to be taken before a of evidence that obtains in other contests about legal officer of the Mason County Court, certithe right in personal property.
fied to be in due form of law and authenticated The general rule of law is that the proof of by the seal of that Court. The Clerk Cochran the actual possession of such property, accom- was a legal officer of that Court. By virtue of panied with the claim of ownership, is sufficient his office he was authorized to take this acto establish the primâ facie right of ownership. knowledgment, and as it was by virtue of the It is like any other question of status of the re- powers conferred on him by the Mason County lation of one person to another, which may be Court, that he was authorized to do the act, the shown by the facts and circumstances attending seal of that court was, by legal implication, his that relation, as for instance that of husband seal to authenticate such official act. It is not and wife, parent and child, etc. It is not neces- competent to go behind this authenticated act sary to trace the pedigree of this negro through of an officer of a court of record. The lana maternal ancestry of slaves, nor is it necessary guage of the statute is,“ acknowledged and certo prove that he was held by deed or contract tified under the seal of some legal officer or of purchase, or that the ownership was acquired court.” The objection that the signature of the by inheritance.
clerk was made by his deputy is not deemed to If Bacon exercised that control over him be important. It is the seal of the Court which yhich is ordinarily done in Kentucky by a mas- authenticates the act of acknowledgment; and ter over his slave, and if the negro had the usual hence the point is not involved as to the authormarks of African descent, and was held as a ity of the clerk to delegate to a deputy the slave and treated as such by his alleged master, power of doing an oflicial act which devolves the proof of these facts, it uncontradicted, es- upon him personally. This is the doctrine of tablishes the allegation in the indictment, that the case of Smith v. U. S. 5 Peters, 302. the negro John was held to service as the slave You will, therefore, regard this power of attorney, if executed by Bacon, as valid in I have been thus explicit upon this point, law, and effectual to accomplish the purpose because it is one that has been the subject of for which it was given.
much discussion by counsel, and because it was This brings you, Gentlemen of the Jury, to proper that the instructions given to you upon the consideration of an important question of it should be the result of careful considerafact, namely, did Jennings hold the fugitive, at tion. the time of the rescue, by virtue of the power Should you find from the testimony, that of attorney?
Jennings held the fugitive by virtue of the When the agent acts under this law by power of attorney, and that the negro was the power of attorney, the statute provides that he idlentical slave that escaped from Bacon, there
inay pursue and reclaim the fugitive, either still remains the all-important inquiry in the by procuring a warrant from some one of the case, did the defendant unlawfully, knowingly, courts, judges, or commissioners (named in the and willingly rescue the fugitive from his lawful act), for the apprehension of such fugitive from captors ? service or labor, or by seizing and arresting The rescue could not be obnoxious to the such fugitive, when the same can be done provisions of the statute, unless it implicated without process, and by taking or causing such the defendant as acting knowingly and willingly person to be taken forthwith before such court, in the matter. That is to say, it must appear judge,” etc.
in proof that he knew the negro was a fugitive The fugitive may be seized and held upon from labor, and was lawfully held by those who the warrant, or by virtue of the power of at- had possession and control over him at the time torney. Both modes of capture and detention of the rescue, or that the defendant acted unhave but the single purpose of bringing the der such circumstances as to show that he might fugitive before the judge or commissioner. have had such knowledge by exercising ordiThe person making the arrest
, has the same nary prudence. power and authority in the one case as in the It is claimed by the prosecutor that this knowlother. And yet the agent may, at the same edge, on the part of the defendant, is estabtime, resort to both modes of capture and de- lished by the positive testimony of Jennings, tention. The agent may himself take the fugi- Lowe, and others, and that, upon this point, tive before the judge or commissioner, or he the proof permits of no doubtful inference or may cause him to be taken before such officer conjecture. by virtue of the warrant. The authority of It is asserted (and whether truly or not is for the agent holding the power of attorney is par- you to determine from the evidence) that Lowe, amount to that of the officer holding the war- as Deputy-Marshal, acting under the direction rant. The warrant, if obtained, is procured at of Jennings and in virtue of a Commissioner's the instance of the agent, and when used is warrant, seized and arrested the fugitive near merely auxiliary to the authority conferred upon the village of Oberlin; that he conveyed the the agent by virtue of the power of attorney. slave to Wellington and there surrendered the The Marshal, in executing the warrant, may principal control over him to the authorized act under the direction of the agent, and in the agent of the owner, and thereafter acted in sub-, matter of holding the fugitive when so arrested, orclination to, and as an assistant of, that agent; the agent has complete control over the whole that the defendant was fully informed by Lowe, subject, and may unquestionably set the fugi- at two several interviews, of the relation which tive at liberty before the return of the writ. the negro bore to Bacon, and of the authority
It is not the case of the execution of process, by which he was captured and held. emanating from different and conflicting juris- But the defendant contends that, notwithdictions. In such a case, the officer first mak- standing the proof may show his knowledge of ing the seizure has, by virtue of his process, the servitude due from the negro to Bacon, his exclusive control and possession of the thing master, and of the authority by which he was seized. Under this statute, it is clear that the held, that yet, it fails to establish the defendwarrant is auxiliary to the power of attorney. ant's guilt as a participator in the rescue charged
If, then, the proof shows that at the time of in the indictment. And it is further insisted, the rescue at Wellington, Jennings and Lowe in view of all the evidence in the case, that, on had a joint control over the fugitive, the former acquiring the knowledge that the negro was a in virtue of a good and sufficient power of slave and lawfully held, the defendant not only attorney for his reclamation, and the latter abstained from the commission of any unlawful assisting him as the agent of the owner of the act himself, but was, in fact, really active and slave, by means of a warrant or otherwise, suchi sincere in persuading others to a peaceful course proof sustains the allegation in the indictment, of conduct, and to a faithful observance of the that said negro was in the custody and under law. the control of Anderson Jennings, as agent In regard to the legal implication of the deand attorney of John G. Bacon, together with fendant's guilt and his complicity in the rescue oné Jacob K. Lowe, then and there lawfully of the fugitive charged in the indictment, the assisting him in the custody and control of the instructions of the Court, given on a former said negro slave called John.
occasion, may properly be repeated here, as
they enunciate the principle of law which is ture, is claimed as conclusive of the defendant's deemed to be applicable to this branch of the complicity in the rescue.
In a free State like Ohio, every human If the persons who constituted the assemblage being in it, whether white or black, is presumed at Wellington on the 13th of September, 1858, had to be free until a different status is shown. come together for the purpose, or when there were And hence when one is restrained of his freeengaged in rescuing a fugitive slave from those dom by another, a resort to the ordinary forms authorized to capture and hold him, under the of proceeding under the State laws, to inquire laws of 1850, they were engaged in an unlawful into the cause of such restraint or imprisonment act, and whatever was said and done by one in implies no wrong. But when a fugitive from the prosecution of the enterprise, were, to all in- labor is captured and held in any of the modes tents and purposes, the declarations and acts of and under the authority designated by the Act all. But to charge one, against whom there is of Congress of 1850, any interference by the no specific proof, of things done by him, with State authorities has no justification, nor can what was done and said by others in the prose-those be justified who invoke their interference, cution of the unlawful enterprise, concert of when they know the fugitive is thus held. action, between him and those others, for the If Jennings seized and held the fugitive by unlawful purpose, must be shown. And for this virtue of a good and sufficient power of attorpurpose it was competent for the prosecutor ney executed for that purpose and was lawfully to give in evidence the defendant's declarations assisted by Lowe, the Justice of the Peace at to others, encouraging the rescue before it was Wellington, who issued a State warrant against accomplished, and of his statements in the them for kidnapping such fugitive, was acting meeting at Oberlin, immediately upon his re- in a matter over which he had no jurisdiction. turn after the rescue. What was said by oth-And if the defendant was informed and had ers that were engaged in the unlawful act, after knowledge of this condition of things, and afterthe assemblage at Wellington had broken up wards urged the execution of the warrant for and dispersed, is not evidence against the de- the purpose of liberating the fugitive, his confendant. Accordingly what Shephard and oth- duct in this particular implicated him as inuch ers said at the meeting at Oberlin on the even- in the common design of the mob, as if he had ing of the 13th of September, is excluded from given his aid to the rescue by physical force. your consideration, on the ground that it is in- What the defendant said and what he did, in competent testimony.
relation to the rescue, has been detailed in the The inquiry, then, becomes important, Was testimony of various witnesses, and this testithere concert of action between the defendant mony has been so minutely brought to your and those actually engaged in the rescue of the attention by the counsel on both sides, as to refugitive ? If there was, the defendant is guilty, quire no further recapitulation. and as much so as if he had rendered manual I have throughout regarded it as an acknowlservice in the act.
edged fact (and so conceded by the defendant's The rule of law is, that every one who enters counsel) that an unlawful rescue of the
negro into a common purpose or design, is deemed a was made. For, in legal contemplation, party to every act which had before been done matters not whether he was released from capby the others, without regard to the time in ture by the manual force of the mob, or which he entered into the combination, and, whether that release was effected by threats also, a party to every act which may afterwards and demonstrations of violence. It would be be done by any of the others, in furtherance of an unlawful rescue as much in the one case as such common design. This concert of action, in the other. on the part of the defendant with the rescuers, With these rules of law for your government, if it existed at all, is to be determined by his Gentlemen, the case is now committed to your declarations and conduct. If he advised and hands. Treat it as you would any other case urged others into the commission of the unlaw-involving the question of the guilt or innocence ful act, he made their conduct his own in effect- of a man charged with a criminal violation of ing the rescue. He thereby acted in concert the law. All matters of fact in this controversy with them in the common design, to wit, the are exclusively for your consideration. And if rescue of the slave.
from a careful and impartial review of the It is contended by the counsel for the Gov- proofs, you come to the conclusion, beyond a ernment, that the defendant, by his words and reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty conduct, evinced a determined (though cau- of the offence charged, you will say so by your tious) purpose of effecting the escape of the verdict. But if the proof fails to produce that fugitive in violation of law. That his preten- conviction upon your minds, you will return a sions for suggesting a resort to the forms of law, verdict of acquittal. was but another more subtle and effectual mode The Jury after being out about half an hour of accomplishing the rescue; and his urging the returned to their seats and rendered a verdict constable to serve the State warrant against of Jennings and his assistants for kidnapping the
66.GUILTY !" negro, after being informed of his lawful cap