The Trial of Theodore Parker - For the "Misdemeanor" of a Speech in Faneuil Hall against - Kidnapping, before the Circuit Court of the United States, - at Boston, April 3, 1855, with the Defence

The Trial of Theodore Parker - For the "Misdemeanor" of a Speech in Faneuil Hall against - Kidnapping, before the Circuit Court of the United States, - at Boston, April 3, 1855, with the Defence

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Project Gutenberg's The Trial of Theodore Parker, by Theodore Parker This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Trial of Theodore Parker For the "Misdemeanor" of a Speech in Faneuil Hall against Kidnapping, before the Circuit Court of the United States, at Boston, April 3, 1855, with the Defence Author: Theodore Parker Release Date: February 17, 2010 [EBook #31298] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TRIAL OF THEODORE PARKER *** Produced by Meredith Bach, Linda Cantoni, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.) Transcriber's Note: A table of contents has been added for the reader's convenience. Errors listed in the Errata section are linked to that section, and a pop-up correction has been provided. Other obvious printer errors have been corrected without note. T OF H E T P H A, FOR THE E R O “ M I S D “ M OF I S D A Speech in Faneuil Hall against Kidnapping, BEFORE THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, A T B . O S T O WITH THE DEFENCE, BY T H E ,O D O MINISTER OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH CONGREGATIONAL SOCIETY IN BOSTON. B P U B 1855. O: L S I . T S O H N E Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by T H E ,O D O R E In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. C A : M B R I D G ALLEN AND FARNHAM, PRINTERS. CONTENTS PREFACE INTRODUCTION DEFENCE ERRATA OTHER WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR TO J O AND H N P C M F O P H A R R G A N T ,O R, , A H F L N E E S E I I S M WHICH HAVING ONCE IN ENGLAND ITS KELYNG, ITS SAUNDERS, ITS JEFFREYS, AND ITS SCROGGS, AS NOW IN AMERICA ITS SHARKEY, ITS GRIER, ITS CURTIS, AND ITS KANE, HAS YET ALSO SUCH GENEROUS ADVOCATES OF HUMANITY AS EQUAL THE GLORIES OF HOLT AND ERSKINE, OF MACKINTOSH AND ROMILLY, FOR THEIR ELOQUENT AND FEARLESS DEFENCE OF TRUTH, RIGHT, AND LOVE, T H I S , V BY THEIR CLIENT AND FRIEND, THEODORE PARKER. P R . E v F TO THE PEOPLE OF THE FREE STATES OF AMERICA. FELLOW-C ITIZENS AND FRIENDS,— IF it were a merely personal matter for which I was arraigned before the United States Court, after the trial was over I should trouble the the United States Court, after the trial was over I should trouble the public no further with that matter; and hitherto indeed, though often attacked, nay, almost continually for the last fourteen years, I have never returned a word in defence. But now, as this case is one of such vast and far-reaching importance, involving the great Human Right to Freedom of Speech, and as the actual question before the court was never brought to trial, I cannot let the occasion pass by without making further use of it. When Judge Curtis delivered his charge to the Grand-Jury, June 7th, 1854, I made ready for trial, and in three or four days my line of defence was marked out—the fortifications sketched, the place of the batteries determined; I began to collect arms, and was soon ready for his attack. When that Grand-Jury, summoned with no special reference to me, refused to find a bill and were discharged, I took public notice of the conduct of Judge Curtis, in a Sermon for the Fourth of July.[1] But I knew the friends of the fugitive slave bill at Boston and Washington too well to think they would let the matter sleep; I knew what arts could be used to pack a jury and procure a bill. So I was not at all surprised when I heard of the efforts making by the Slave Power in Boston to obtain an indictment by another grandjury summoned for that purpose. It need not be supposed that I was wholly ignorant of their doings from day to day. The arrest was no astonishment to me. I knew how much the reputation of this Court and of its Attorney depended on the success of this prosecution. I knew what private malignity was at work. After my arraignment I made elaborate preparation for my defence. I procured able counsel, men needing no commendation, to manage the technical details which I knew nothing about and so could not meddle with, while I took charge of other matters lying more level to my own capacity. I thought it best to take an active part in my own defence,—for the matter at issue belonged to my previous studies and general business; my personal friends and the People in general, seemed to expect me to defend myself as well as I could. A great political revolution took place between the Judge's charge and my arraignment, June 7th, and November 29th, 1854, and I thought the Court would not allow the case to come to open argument. For certainly, it would not be a very pleasant thing for Judge Sprague and Judge Curtis, who have taken such pains to establish slavery in Massachusetts, to sit there—each like a travestied Prometheus, chained up in a silk gown because they had brought to earth fire from the quarter opposite to Heaven—and listen to Mr. Hale, and Mr. Phillips and other anti-slavery lawyers, day after day: there were facts, sure to come to light, not honorable to the Court and not pleasant to look at in the presence of a New England community then getting indignant at the outrages of the Slave Power. I never thought the case would come to the jury. I looked over the indictment, and to my unlearned eye it seemed so looped and windowed with breaches that a skilful lawyer might drive a cart and six oxen through it in various directions; and so the Court might easily quash the indictment and leave all the blame of the failure on the vi vii poor Attorney—whom they seemed to despise, though using him for their purposes—while they themselves should escape with a whole reputation, and ears which had not tingled under manly speech. Still, it was possible that the trial would come on. Of course, I knew the trial would not proceed on the day I was ordered to appear—the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Boston Massacre. It would be "unavoidably postponed," which came to pass accordingly. The Attorney, very politely, gave me all needed information from time to time. At the "trial," April 3d, it was optional with the defendant's counsel to beat the Government on the indictment before the Court; or on the merits of the case before the Jury. The latter would furnish the most piquant events, for some curious scenes were likely to take place in the examination of witnesses, as well as instruction to be offered in the Speeches delivered. But on the whole, it was thought best to blow up the enemy in his own fortress and with his own magazine, rather than to cut him to pieces with our shot in the open field. So the counsel rent the indictment into many pieces—apparently to the great comfort of the Judges, who thus escaped the battle, which then fell only on the head of the Attorney. At the time appointed I was ready with my defence—which I now print for the Country. It is a Minister's performance, not a lawyer's. Of course, I knew that the Court would not have allowed me to proceed with such a defence—and that I should be obliged to deliver it through the press. Had there been an actual jury trial, I should have had many other things to offer in reference to the Government's evidence, to the testimony given before the grand-jury, and to the conduct of some of the grand-jurors themselves. So the latter part of the defence is only the skeleton of what it otherwise might have been, —the geological material of the country, the Flora and Fauna left out. It would have been better to publish it immediately after the decision of the case: but my brief was not for the printer, and as many duties occurred at that time, it was not till now, in a little vacation from severer toils, that I have found leisure to write out my defence in full. Fellow-Citizens and Friends, I present it to you in hopes that it may serve the great cause of Human Freedom in America and the world; surely, it has seldom been in more danger. THEODORE PARKER. BOSTON, 24th August, 1855. viii I N T. R ix O ON Tuesday, the 23d of May, 1854, Charles F. Suttle of Virginia, presented to Edward Greeley Loring, Esquire, of Boston, Commissioner, a complaint under the fugitive slave bill—Act of September 18th, 1850—praying for the seizure and enslavement of Anthony Burns. The next day, Wednesday, May 24th, Commissioner Loring issued the warrant: Mr. Burns was seized in the course of the evening of that day, on the false pretext of burglary, and carried to the Suffolk County Court House in which he was confined by the Marshal, under the above-named warrant, and there kept imprisoned under a strong and armed guard. On the 25th, at about nine o'clock in the morning, the Commissioner proceeded to hear and decide the case in the Circuit Court room, in which were stationed about sixty men serving as the Marshal's guard. Seth J. Thomas, Esquire, and Edward Griffin Parker, Esquire, members of the Suffolk Bar, appeared as counsel for Mr. Suttle to help him and Commissioner Loring make a man a Slave. Mr. Burns was kept in irons and surrounded by "the guard." The Slave-hunter's documents were immediately presented, and his witness was sworn and proceeded to testify. Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, Charles M. Ellis, and Richard H. Dana, with a few others, came into the Court room. Mr. Parker and some others, spoke with Mr. Burns, who sat in the dock ironed, between two of the Marshal's guard. After a little delay and conference among these four and others, Mr. Dana interrupted the proceedings and asked that counsel might be assigned to Mr. Burns, and so a defence allowed. To this Mr. Thomas, the senior counsel for the Slave-hunters, objected. But after repeated protests on the part of Mr. Dana and Mr. Ellis, the Commissioner adjourned the hearing until ten o'clock, Saturday, May 27th. On the evening of Friday, May 26th, there was a large and earnest meeting of men and women at Faneuil Hall. Mr. George R. Russell, of West Roxbury, presided; his name is a fair exponent of the character and purposes of the meeting, which Dr. Samuel G. Howe called to order. Speeches were made and Resolutions passed. Mr. Phillips and Mr. Parker, amongst others, addressed the meeting; Mr. Parker's speech, as reported and published in the newspapers, is reprinted in this volume, page 199. While this meeting was in session there was a gathering of a few persons about the Court House, the outer doors of which had been unlawfully closed by order of the Marshal; an attempt was made to break through them and enter the building, where the Supreme Court of Massachusetts was sitting engaged in a capital case; and the Courts of this State must always sit with open doors. In the strife one of the Marshal's guard, a man hired to aid in the Slavehunt, was killed—but whether by one of the assailing party, or by the Marshal's guard, it is not yet quite clear. It does not appear from the evidence laid before the public or the three Grand-Juries, that there x was any connection between the meeting at Faneuil Hall and the gathering at the Court House. Saturday, 27th, at ten o'clock, the Commissioner opened his Court again, his prisoner in irons before him. The other events are well known. Mr. Burns was taken away to Slavery on Friday, June 2d, by an armed body of soldiers with a cannon. The May Term of the Circuit Court at Boston began on the 15th of that month, and the Grand-Jury for that term had already been summoned. Here is the list:— U NITED STATES C IRCUIT C OURT, MASSACHUSETTS D ISTRICT. xi } May Term, 1854. ss. May 15, 1854. GRAND-JURY. 1 Sworn. Isaac Tower, 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 " " " " " " " Elbridge G. Manning, Asa Angier, Ballard Lovejoy, Levi Eldridge, Isaac B. Young, Josiah Peterson, James Curtis, Randolph, Foreman. Andover. " " Chatham. " Duxbury. " Boston, " " " " " Reading. " Randolph. Fairhaven. " Hopkinton. Excused first day. Member of the bar. Absent June 28th. Not William Amory, Sworn. " " " " " " " " " " John Clark, Charles H. Mills, William N. Tyler, Samuel Weltch, Reuben Nichols, Benjamin M. Boyce, Ephraim F. Belcher, Thomas S. Brimblecome, Obed F. Hitch, Lowell Claflin, 10 Sworn. James P. Bush, 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 " " " William Durant, Charles Grant, Jeremiah B. Luther, Leominster. " Douglas. On the 7th of June, Judge Curtis gave to this Grand-Jury his charge.[2] In that he spoke of the enforcement of the fugitive slave bill; and he charged the Jury especially and minutely upon the Statute of the United States of 1790, in relation to resisting officers in service of process as follows. That not only those who are present and actually obstruct, resist, and oppose, and all who are present leagued in the common design, and so situated as to be able in case of need, to afford assistance to those actually engaged; but all who, though absent, did procure, counsel, command, or abet others to commit the offence; and all who, by indirect means, by evincing an express liking, approbation, or assent to the design, were liable as principals. And he added, "My instruction to you is, that language addressed to persons who immediately afterwards commit an offence, actually intended by the speaker to incite those addressed to commit it, and adapted thus to incite them, is such a counselling, or advising to the crime as the law contemplates, and the person so inciting others is liable to be indicted as a principal," and it is of no importance that his advice or directions were departed from in respect to the time, or place, or precise mode, or means of committing it. That Jury remained in session a few weeks: pains were taken to induce them to find bills against the speakers at Faneuil Hall; but they found no indictment under the law of 1790, or that of 1850; they were discharged. On the 22d of September, venires were issued by order of the Court for a new Grand-Jury; and, on the 16th of October, twenty-three were returned by Marshal Freeman, and impanelled. Here is the list of new Grand-Jurors:— U NITED STATES C IRCUIT C OURT, MASSACHUSETTS D ISTRICT. xii } October Term, 1854. ss. October 16, 1854. GRAND-JURY. 1 2 3 Sworn. " " Enoch Patterson, Jr., David Alden, Stephen D. Abbott, Boston, " Andover. Foreman. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 " " " " " " " " " " Sworn. " Isaac Beal, John Burrill, Mathew Cox, Richard B. Chandler, Charles L. Cummings, Charles Carter, Warren Davis, William W. Greenough, George O. Hovey, John M. Howland, Manson D. Haws, John Holbrook, Chatham. Reading. Boston. Duxbury. Douglas. Leominster. Reading. Boston. " Fairhaven. Leominster. Randolph. Excused first day, Hopkinton, October 16th, for the term. Duxbury. Andover. Boston. Chatham. Andover. Randolph. Fairhaven. xiii Nathaniel Excused. Johnson, 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Sworn. " " " " " " George Londen, Nathan Moore, Samuel P. Ridler, Christopher Ryder, John Smith, Appollos Wales, Samuel L. Ward, This Grand-Jury was not charged by the Judge upon the statute of 1790, or 1850, but was referred to Mr. Hallett, the Attorney, for the instructions previously given to the Jury that had been discharged, namely, for his charge of June 7th, already referred to. Mr. William W. Greenough, brother-in-law of Judge Curtis, was one of the Jury. They found the following indictment against Mr. Parker:—