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Important Slave Case

Important Slave Case image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

An important case has lately been decided n the United States Circuit Couit, at Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Parrish, of Sandusky Cily, was sued by Peter Driskell of Kentucky, for harboring and concraling cerlain fugitive slaves, and for obstructing an officer in his efforis to arrest them. The aciion was brought to recover tho penalty of $500 for each of the above ofFences, as prescribed by tlie act of 1794. The case was ably argued by J. II. Thompson and H. Stanberry, Esqs.,for the plaintifï, nnd by J. W. Andrews and S. P. Chase, Esqs., for the defcndant. Judge McLean, in charging the Jury, laiddown the following propositions: 1. Obslructions must be made knowingly and willingly. The defendan! must have known that the slaves were escaping fugitives from labor from anoiher State. 2. To constilute a harboring or concealing tliere must be an intent to elude the vigi lance of the master. After a harboring is sliown, the burden of proof is thrown on the defendant lo explain its meaning. 3. An obstruclion under the luw implies force - it need not be manual. 4. But one penalty lies for hindering or obstructing, or harboring and concealing, if the offence be done by one act - whether one or many slaves are thereby protected. 5. In Ohio every person, without regará to color, is presumed to be fice.1 - But where service is due in Kentucky, it must betested by ihe laws of Kentucky. If proof lias been shown that the plaintitf' is entitled to the labor of Jane and Harrison Garrelson, it is sufficient to créate the persumption ihat ihey have escaped from that labor. That they were held in a state of slavery is strongly indicaiive of such a posilion of affaire. C. The important fact to establish is that Col. M. altempted to make the arrest. He must have apprisca Uisdefendant that these were escaping slaves - that he was authorized to make the arrest, and that he did atternpt to make the arrest, and was prevented by the defendaiit. Unless these fiicts are brought home to the knowledgo of the defendant thn plaintiff cannot recover. lfCol. Mitchell's statement is true - the case is made out. lf his credibility is dostroyed hy the witnesses foi the defendant it mainly falla to the giound 7. The statement of Parrish went fn nothing, except so far ns it was sanctioned and restated by Miichell. Driskell's statements rest much on thoseof Mitchell' -since Mitchell was the actor. If Mitch ell then had denied the action, it would go fsr to impeach the recollection of Driskell. Miss Gustin's contradiction of the statement of both Mitchell and Driskell with regard to the pushing or waiving the slaves into the house by Parrish and on other points, isto be considered by the jury. 8. A rnrboring must oê constlluted in partby anfintemion to defent the claims of the master. If the retaining of the slaves until evening, was with that intentiün - the defedant has harbored tliem.- [f the understm.'djng was tbat ihov - ninedfor a fair tria] he has hot harbored them. 9. This is a penal offenoe, and might be prosecuted by indictment. The jury will ï-equire strict proof ; but if such proof is made, ;he law mustbe administéred. 10. Harboring and ooncealing are synonymous terms in the statute. 11. The law must not be so executed as to prevent the exercise of ordinary humility toward fugitives. It is a meritorious act on the part of a citzen ofOhio, to see that fugitives have a fair trial, if he do not go beyond the law, and make the forms of thfe law the mediums for the infliction of injustice upnn the master. 1'2. We must not depnrt from the law and the constituiions to embark upon the ocean of vague reasoning, or conjacture. This would be to lose ourselves in the mazes of uncertainty. The law, as it is, must be administéred by the Court, and the jury. As the factsof the case are, so must the jury find. The Ohio State Journal, from which we derive our informition, sajs: "The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff- finding the defendant guilty both of harhoring the slaves and obstructngthe master. Twj penalties of five hundred dollars each are tlierefure assessed ngainst Mr. Parrish. "The obstruction consisted in the conduct of Mr. Parrish at the gate. The harboring in permitting the slaves to remzin in his house until night-ia!' - nu 'intectto einde the vigilance of the master' being inferred. "On Tuesday morning Messrs. Chase and Andrews moved to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial, on the grounJ that the jury had returned contrary to the evidence. Mr. Stunberry opposed be motion."