History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1649
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<​July 1​> females, but there were so many men about the , that they dare not venture for fear of being detected, and their numbers were not sufficient to accomplish anything if they had made the attempt, and they came off without trying.”
No civil process of any kind had been issued against us: we were there held in duress without knowing what for, or what charges were to be preferred against us. At last, after long suspense, came into the prison, presenting himself about as awkwardly as at first, and informed us, “that we would be put into the hands of the civil authorities. He said he did not know precisely what crimes would be charged against us, but they would be within the range of treason, murder, burglary, arson, larceny, theft and stealing.” Here again another smile was forced, and I could not refrain, at the expense of this would-be great man, in whom, he said “the faith of was pledged.” After long and awful suspense, the notable , judge of the circuit court, took the seat, and we were ordered before him for trial, , Esq., prosecuting attorney. All things being arranged, the trial opened. No papers were read to us, no charges of any kind were preferred nor did we know against what we had to plead. Our crimes had yet to be found out.
At the commencement, we requested that we might be tried separately; but this was refused, and we were all put on trial together. Witnesses appeared, and the swearing commenced. It was so plainly manifested by the that he wanted the witnesses to prove us guilty of treason, that no person could avoid seeing it. The same feelings were also visible in the . made an observation something to this effect, as he was giving directions to the scribe, who was employed to write down the testimony— ‘that he wanted all the testimony directed to certain points.’— Being taken sick at an early stage of the trial, I had not the opportunity of hearing but a small part of the testimony when it was delivered before the court.
During the progress of the trial, after the adjournment of the court [HC 3:463] in the evening, our lawyers would come into the [blank] prison, and there the matters would be talked over.
The propriety of our sending for witnesses was also discussed. Our attornies said that they would recommend [blank] us not to introduce any evidence at that trial. said it would avail us nothing for the would put us into prison if a cohort of angels were to come and swear that we were innocent; and beside that, he said that if we were to give to the court the names of our witnesses, there was a band there ready to go, and they would go and drive them out of the country, or arrest them and have them cast into prison, to prevent them from swearing, or else kill them. It was finally concluded to let the matter be so for the present.
During the progress of the trial, and while I was laying sick in prison, I had an opportunity of hearing a great deal said by those of them who would come in. The subject was the all absorbing one. I heard them say that we must be put to death— that the character of the required it. The must justify herself in the course she had taken, and nothing but punishing us with death, could save the credit of the , and it must therefore be done.
I heard a party of them one night telling about some female whose person they had violated and this language was used by one of them: “The damned bitch, how she yelled.” Who this person was, I did not know; but before I got out of prison, I heard that a widow, whose husband had died some few months before, with [p. 1649]
July 1 females, but there were so many men about the , that they dare not venture for fear of being detected, and their numbers were not sufficient to accomplish anything if they had made the attempt, and they came off without trying.”
No civil process of any kind had been issued against us: we were there held in duress without knowing what for, or what charges were to be preferred against us. At last, after long suspense, came into the prison, presenting himself about as awkwardly as at first, and informed us, “that we would be put into the hands of the civil authorities. He said he did not know precisely what crimes would be charged against us, but they would be within the range of treason, murder, burglary, arson, larceny, theft and stealing.” Here again another smile was forced, and I could not refrain, at the expense of this would-be great man, in whom, he said “the faith of was pledged.” After long and awful suspense, the notable , judge of the circuit court, took the seat, and we were ordered before him for trial, , Esq., prosecuting attorney. All things being arranged, the trial opened. No papers were read to us, no charges of any kind were preferred nor did we know against what we had to plead. Our crimes had yet to be found out.
At the commencement, we requested that we might be tried separately; but this was refused, and we were all put on trial together. Witnesses appeared, and the swearing commenced. It was so plainly manifested by the that he wanted the witnesses to prove us guilty of treason, that no person could avoid seeing it. The same feelings were also visible in the . made an observation something to this effect, as he was giving directions to the scribe, who was employed to write down the testimony— ‘that he wanted all the testimony directed to certain points.’— Being taken sick at an early stage of the trial, I had not the opportunity of hearing but a small part of the testimony when it was delivered before the court.
During the progress of the trial, after the adjournment of the court [HC 3:463] in the evening, our lawyers would come into the [blank] prison, and there the matters would be talked over.
The propriety of our sending for witnesses was also discussed. Our attornies said that they would recommend [blank] us not to introduce any evidence at that trial. said it would avail us nothing for the would put us into prison if a cohort of angels were to come and swear that we were innocent; and beside that, he said that if we were to give to the court the names of our witnesses, there was a band there ready to go, and they would go and drive them out of the country, or arrest them and have them cast into prison, to prevent them from swearing, or else kill them. It was finally concluded to let the matter be so for the present.
During the progress of the trial, and while I was laying sick in prison, I had an opportunity of hearing a great deal said by those of them who would come in. The subject was the all absorbing one. I heard them say that we must be put to death— that the character of the required it. The must justify herself in the course she had taken, and nothing but punishing us with death, could save the credit of the , and it must therefore be done.
I heard a party of them one night telling about some female whose person they had violated and this language was used by one of them: “The damned bitch, how she yelled.” Who this person was, I did not know; but before I got out of prison, I heard that a widow, whose husband had died some few months before, with [p. 1649]
Page 1649