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Kemper County MS GenWeb

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Grand Jury 1877

Submitted by McRae Limerick, March 2002

This is the charge delivered to the Grand Jury of Kemper County by Hon. Judge J. S. Hamm, in the September term after the uprising of the people of Kemper Country concerning the excess taxation, and the corrupt Republican carpetbagger County Government, that happened on Sunday, April 29, 1877. Three men and two children were killed or died later.

THE SOUTHERN HOMESTEAD
Meridian, Miss. Friday October 5, 1877
A Newspaper published in Meridian Miss. by Shannon & Powell
CHARGE DELIVERED BY HON. J. S. HAMM
Judge of The 7th Judicial District
To the Jury of Kemper County Miss. September Term 1877
(Published by request of members of the Bar and other persons)
GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY:
Men cannot exist together in society without being governed by some rules recognized alike by we term law. Law, therefore, is, in the essential to the existence of society.

But the very idea of law implies punishment as a necessary consequence of an infraction of its rules. Every rational system of law, therefore, must be penal sanctions. It must not only define the rights and prescribe the duties of the individuals who compose the society, but it must also specify the penalties incurred by a violation of its precepts, and, provide modes of ascertaining guilt and inflicting punishment.

All violations of law may be divided into two erect classes- private injuries and public wrongs. The criminal jurisdiction of this court embraces public wrongs, or crimes and misdemeanors. Under the Constitution and laws, no person can be called to answer a criminal charge in this court, until an indictment describing such charge, has been preferred against him. An indictment is a form of accusation to the finding of which, a Grand Jury alone is competent.

In pursuance, then, of the Constitution and laws, you have been selected, and summoned, and sworn, and empanelled to constitute the grand jury, at the present term of the court. And the law requires the Judge of the court to deliver to you a charge touching the nature of your duties, and to call your attention to certain statutes, and to define, in general terms the various offences which cone under your cognizance; and, at the same tine, to instruct the officers required to be in attendance to hear the charge, relative to their duties as conservators of the public peace.

You have cognizance of all crimes and misdemeanors against the State of Mississippi, committed in the county of Kemper. And it is your duty, as you have been already admonished by the oath you have taken, to make diligent enquiry into all offences against the State of Mississippi, committed in the county of Kemper, and to present indictments in all cases in which the evidence before you, satisfies you of the guilt of the persons accused.

The subjects of which I propose to call your attention may be classified as follows:

I. Offences against the lives and persons of individuals.

II. Offences against the habitations and property of individuals

III. Offences against public justice.

IV. Offences against public Peace

V. Offences against the public convenience and safety.

VI. Offences against religion, decency and morality.

VII. Offences against the right of suffrage.

VIII. Offences against public trade, police, and economy

IX. Duties of public officers

X. Offences against the lives and persons of individuals, are - Murder, manslaughter, assault with intent to kill and murder, mayhem, rape, robbery, assault, battery

Murder is the killing of any human being, without the authority of law, by any means, or in any manner, in the following case: 1. When done with deliberate design to effect the death of the person killed, or of any human being. 2. when done in the commission of any act eminently dangerous to others, and evincing a depraved heart, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual. 3. when done without any design to effect death, by any person engaged in the commission of the crime of rape, burglary, arson or robbery, or any attempt to commit such felonies.

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being, without malice.
Every killing of a human being without the authority of law, and not necessary self defense, is either murder or manslaughter. If done with malice it is murder; if done without malice, it is manslaughter.

Malice, though in its popular sense it means hatred, ill-will or another, yet, in its legal sense, has a very different meaning, and characterizes all acts done with an evil disposition, a wrongful or unlawful motive or purpose; the willful doing of an injurious act without lawful excuse.

II. Offences against the habitations and property of individuals are: Arson - the willful burning of the house or property of another person; burglary - house breaking, or breaking into any railroad car; larceny - stealing; embezzlement, forgery, false pretences, and cheats.

III. Offences against the public peace are: Dueling; fighting with deadly weapons; the unlawful exhibition of deadly weapons - the exhibition of a deadly weapon, in the presence of three or more persons, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, and not in necessary self -defense - the fighting together of two or more persons in a public place, to the terror of the people; riots, routs and unlawful assemblies; going about masked or disguised, to the disturbance of the public peace, or terror of persons; libel and slander.

To constitute either a riot, or a rout, or an unlawful assembly, it is necessary that there be three or more persons tumultuously assembled of their own authority, with intent mutually to assist one another against all who shall oppose them in doing either of an unlawful act of a private nature, or of a lawful act in a violent or tumultuous manner. If the act is done, in whole or in part, it is a riot. If no act is done, but some advance towards it is made, such as proceeding toward the place, or the like, it is a rout. If they part without doing it or making any motion towards it, the offence is merely that of an unlawful assembly.

It must appear that the object of the rioters was of a private nature, in contradistinction from those which concern the whole community, such as the redress of public grievances, or the obstruction of the courts of justice, or to resist the execution of a public statute every where and at all hazards; acts of this kind being treasonable.

Going about masked or disguised, to the disturbance of the peace, or terror of persons; being masked or disguised and entering or attempting to enter the house or enclosure of another, or assaulting or beating another, or being found in company with any person masked or disguised. All these are violations of the statute. It is made the duty of all public officers to enforce this statute; and it is the duty of all private citizens, when required, to aid them in doing so.

IV. Offences against public justice are: Alteration of records; stealing or abstracting records or papers; extortion by public officers - taking fees not allowed by law, or larger fees than the law allows; bribery of any person concerned in the administration of justice, or attempting to bribe any such person; perjury - false swearing and subornation of perjury - procuring another person to swear untruthfully; compounding a felony - having knowledge of the commission of a felony, and, for a corrupt consideration concealing it; deterring a witness from attending court; obstructing the execution of process; resistance to officers; rescue of prisoners; escape of prisoners, through negligence of officers, or through delay of officers in executing process; jail breaking.

V. Offences against the public convenience and safety, are: Injuring, or placing any obstruction upon any railroad, or doing any other act, by which a car or vehicle shall diverge, or be thrown from the track; obstructing a public road; destroying or defacing or pulling down a mile post or sign-board; obstructing, injuring or destroying any bridge, causeway or ferry, or anything appurtenant thereto, established for the convenience of the public; unreasonable detention at a toll-bridge, causeway, or ferry; charging toll not authorized by law; failure of the owner of a ferry or keeper of a bridge, to give bond, as required by law; suffering a ferry or bridge to be out of repair; neglect or refusal of overseers of roads to keep them in repair; failing to have the roads leading to the court house or principal towns in the county, measure and mile-posts and signboards put up.

VI. Offences against religion, decency, and morality are: Violations of the Sabbath by laboring or employing others in labor, in the ordinary household office of daily necessity, or work of necessity or charity, or by keeping open store or place of business, or by hunting with a gun, or with dogs, or fishing, or by exhibiting shows or games; disturbance of religious worship, either on the Sabbath or at any other time; living together by a man and a woman in unlawful cohabitation; keeping or frequenting a house of ill-fame; the publishing of obscene prints and writing; the utterance in public of obscene words; the indecent and public exposure of one's person, or person of another; and, generally acts of gross and open lewdness.

VII. Offences against the right of suffrage. The statutes contain a great many provisions upon the subject of elections, the qualifications of voters, and the duty of registrars and inspectors. The object of all these provisions is to secure, in the first place, a full registration of all qualified voters, and in second place, a free expression of the will of the voters at the ballot box. The purity of the ballot box is the great security for our liberties; and all acts which tend to corrupt it, whether done by voters, registrars, inspectors, or other, are indictable and punishable.

VIII. Offences against the public trade, the public p0lice, and the public economy, are - Using false weights and measures; false weighing of cotton and other produce, and giving a false certificate as to the weight - a certificate for less than the actual weight; acting as a cotton weigher, without a license from the the Board of Supervisors; fraudulently packing or bailing cotton; buying or selling, or-delivering or receiving any cotton in the seed, or any ginned cotton, not bailed, between the hours of sunset of one day and sunrise of the next day; selling corn or wheat, between the same hours, by person except a merchant, or other persons regularly in business, and paying a privilege tax; buying any corn or wheat between the same hours, unless the purchaser be a traveler, and the grain be purchased for immediate use of his beast. Retailing - selling vinous or spirituous liquors in less than one gallon, without a license; permitting gaming, or riotous or disorderly conduct in or about retail houses; keeping disorderly retail houses; selling to a minor, or to a person intoxicated; sale of liquor by a druggist, without certificate from a physician, and without taking the oath required by law. Gaming - Encouraging, promoting or playing at any game, play, or amusement, for money or other valuable things; wagering or betting, or promoting or encouraging the wagering or betting money or other valuable things upon any game, play, amusement, cock fight or duel, or upon the results of any election; gaming or betting by a public officer; exhibiting any game or keeping any gaming table or being interested or concerned in the same; failure of tavern keepers to give information of gaming in his tavern or on his premises, suffering gaming in any house by the owner of same; opposing seizure of money exhibited for the purpose of betting, or alluring persons to bet; putting up lotteries, or selling lottery tickets; raffles; selling prize boxes; betting by person of full age with a minor; suffering any unlicensed billiard tables to be carried on or exhibited for public play in any house by the owner of the same; keeping a billiard table for public play without a license.

IX. Duties of public officers.

I call your attention to some of the provisions of the law respecting public officers.

And, first as to the duties of the Sheriff, whose business it is to be active in enforcing the criminal law, and in preserving the public peace.

It is the duty of the Sheriff to keep the peace within his county, by causing all offenders against the law, in his view, to enter into bonds with securities for keeping the peace, and for appearance at the next Circuit Court, and by committing offenders in case of refusal to enter into bonds, It is his duty to quell and suppress all affrays, riots, routs and unlawful assemblies, and for this purpose, he may call to his aid the power of the county.

It is his duty, when it appears that resistance is threatened to the execution of any process - laying aside every thing else - to take with him the power of the county, and overcome such resistance.

It is his duty to keep safely all prisoners arrested by him, or committed to his custody, or confined in the jail; and if he suffers any prisoner thus arrested by him, or committed to his custody, or confined in the jail, to escape, unless it be by the act of God, or by irresistible adverse force, he is liable to indictment for an escape, and, on conviction, to punishment - including removal from office; and furthermore , he is not to be allowed any thing for maintaining a prisoner who escapes through his negligence.

It is his duty to take care of the court-house and jail, and the premises and furniture belonging thereto; and if he neglects this duty, he may be fined as for a contempt.

He is not to allow any spirituous or fermented liquor to be taken into jail, except upon written prescription of the physician to the jail, stating the kind and quantity of liquor to be furnished, and when, and for whom.

He is required to execute promptly, and make due return of all legal process coming into his hands.

It is his duty to keep separate rooms in the jail for the sexes; and he is at all times responsible that his jailer provides daily, wholesome and sufficient food and drink, fire when necessary and proper, and sufficient and cleanly bedding, for all prisoners committed to the jail of his county, either before or after conviction.

It is the duty of every constable to preserve the peace in his county; to aid and assist faithfully in executing the criminal laws of the State; to give information forthwith to some justice of the peace, or other proper officer, of all riots, routs, and unlawful assemblies, and of every violation of penal laws which may in any way come to his knowledge; to execute all process coming into his hands; and to prevent all intoxication or sale, barter, or use of intoxicating liquors, on election days, and to prevent all disturbances and to preserve peace and good order at the polls.

It is the duty of the corner upon view of the body, to take inquests of death in prison, and of all violent, sudden or casual deaths within his county, and the manner of such deaths; and it is also his duty, if any person be found guilty by the inquisition, and be not in custody, forthwith to issue his warrant for the apprehension of the person so found guilty, and the person accused shall be taken before a justice of the peace to be dealt with according to law; it is also his duty to put in writing so much of the evidence as shall be material, and to bind the important witnesses to appear and give evidence at the circuit court; and be shall certify such evidence and the bond or bonds together with the inquisition taken, to the circuit court.

Every justice of the peace is a conservator of the peace for the whole county, with full power to take bonds for good behavior, or to keep the peace, or to appear at the circuit court, to answer any charge against the obligor, and to commit to jail parties refusing to give such bonds. But in every case, there ought to be a careful enquiry made into the facts, with a view to determine whether a person charged ought to be required to give bond; and when a bond is required, it ought to be a good bond.

All bonds taken by justices of the peace in criminal cases ought to be returned to the circuit court.

In every examination before a justice of the peace, he ought to reduce to writing the material testimony, as well for the accused as the State, and return this testimony, with the bonds of the accused and of the witnesses, to this court.

Justices of the Peace have three most important duties to perform: 1. In hearing cases in which persons are charged with petty misdemeanors. 2. In taking bond to keep the peace and be of good behavior, 3. In examining parties brought before them, with a view to ascertain whether probable cause of guilt appears, and if it does, then in binding such parties over to answer in this court.

It is the duty of grand jurors, and all officers of the county - including Justices of the Peace, Constables and Supervisors - without delay, to give information against, and prosecute every person who shall be guilty of a violation of penal laws; and a failure to discharge this duty subject to the officer so filing, on conviction, to be fined and removed from office.

Any willful neglect of duty, or willful refusal to perform his duty, on the part of a county officer, renders him liable to be indicted, and, on conviction, to be fined imprisoned.

It is made especial duty of all Sheriffs, Coroners, Justices of the Peace, Constables, when they know or have reason to suspect any person to be guilty of a violation of the statute against gaming, to apprehend such person, or cause him to be seized, without warrant, and to bring him before some officer having jurisdiction thereof, and to arrest and prosecute such offenders at the next term of the circuit court.

Every Justice of the Peace, Constable, Sheriff, or other court officers, is required to cause the act to regulate the sale of various and spirituous liquors to be strictly enforced, and to give information of all violations thereof, and to cause the offender to be arrested and bound over to answer for the same.

The fact makes it a high misdemeanor for any public officer to become intoxicated, and provide that, on conviction will all be removed from office. Public officers, entrusted with grave and important duties, in the faitiful and circumspect performance of which the State, the county, and the people are interested, ought to be men of sobriety, prudence and discretion. A public officer ought to have too much respect for the people whose confidence has been reposed in him, and whose rights are to some extent, in his keeping, to allow himself to become intoxicated. Furthermore, it is plain that the example of intoxication in public office, exercises a very pernicious influence on other people.

It is your duty to inquire whether any public officer has violated this law, and if any one has to present the proper indictment against him.

I refer you to the statutes which I am required to give you specially in charge"

The 17th section of the act of May 15th, 1876, requires each tax payer to furnish to the Assessor a list of his property; with the fair valuation of each piece or portion, verified by oath. The willful neglect or refusal of a tax valuation of his property, in order to escape the taxation to which such property is liable, render the tax payer liable to arrest, and to punishment. The object of the law is to constrain each tax payer to contribute his fair and just quota to the revenues of the State and county.

The Act of March 31st, 1876, requires Justices of the Peace and Mayors of cities and towns, to lay before the Grand Jury sworn transcripts from their dockets, showing what fines they have adjudged against persons tried before them and what disposition has been made of such fines; and if the Grand Jury deem it necessary, they can be required to produce for inspection their original docket,. The object of this law is to secure the prompt payment of all fines collected by Justices of the Peace and Mayors, to the proper authority, in order that they may become a part of the school fund.

The Act of February 13, 1871, requires the Board of Supervisors to make all contacts for the erection or construction of public buildings, bridges, or other public works, in open session - letting the same out to the lowest responsible bidders, and prohibits any member of the Board from having any interest or share in such contracts, either directly or indirectly, through any member of his family or other persons, and subjects a member having any interest or share in such contracts, on conviction, to fine and imprisonment and dismissal from office.

I have already given you in charge the Act to prevent persons from going about masked or disguised, to the disturbance of the public peace and the terror and alarm of citizens, and also, the Act to suppress the pernicious vice of gaming.

Your oath forbids you to disclose any action had by the Grand Jury in relation to officers brought before you, or the name or testimony of any witness who has been before you, and your oath in this respect must be inviolably observed. A violation of it, would subject the imprudent juror to severe punishment.

You have free access, at all proper times, to all the books' records, accounts, and papers, appertaining to the affairs of the county, for any examination which you may see fit to make; and you may make a report to the Court in relation thereto.

It is the duty of the Grand Jury, as a body, to make a personal inspection of the county jail, its condition, sufficiency for the safe keeping of prisoners, and their accommodation and health, and to make a report upon the subject to the Court.

It is the duty of the Foreman to preside over the deliberations of the Grand Jury, to see that perfect order and decorum are observed, and that the proceeding of the body are conducted with that method and system which are necessary to the dispatch of business.

The Foreman has the power to swear witnesses who may appear before the Grand Jury; and the law requires him to return a list of the witnesses, certified and signed by him.

Ever wise government must among other important objects, secure these two: 1st. The enactment of proper laws for the preservation of the peace of society, and for the protection of the lives and liberty, and the property of the individual who composes society; and, 2nd. The prompt, faithful and impartial enforcement of the laws. The enactment, the execution, and the enforcement of the laws are the most important functions of the government; and in a free government these functions must be separated and each confided to a distinct body of magistracy. Our government is accordingly divided into three departments, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The legislative department enacts the laws, the judicial department construes and enforces them; while it is the duty of the executive department to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

The legislative department being composed of members chosen by the people to reflect their views and express their Opinions upon questions of policy and expediency, the people themselves are really the law makers and the law is but their embodied and written will, ascertained and expressed in the appointed form.

The law then emanates from the people; the object of the law is to preserve the peace of society and to protect the rights of the individuals who compose it; and the necessity for law is found in the disinclination of men to act justly, unless constrained thus to act by some superior authority which they cannot Successfully or safely resist.

The law reaches the person and the heartstone of the citizen, it affect him in all the relations of life, the nearest as well as the most remote, the greatest as well as the most minute. It prescribes the conditions upon which the great rights of life, liberty and properly may be enjoyed and enumerates the particular instances in which they may be either partially abridged or wholly taken away.

Law is divided into two great departments, civil and criminal. The former treats of the relation of men to each other; the latter of their relation to the State, and to one another in those things which concern the State. Crime consists in the transgression of law. Whatever the law commands is to be performed: whatever it forbids is to be avoided.

In a free government the power to interpret, execute and enforce the laws must be co-extensive with the power to enact them - the judicial power must be co-extensive with the power of legislation. The proper office of the juedge; to execute all process coming into his hands; and to prevent all intoxication or sale, barter, or use of intoxicating liquors, on election days, and to prevent all disturbances and to preserve peace and good order at the polls.

It is the duty of the corner upon view of the body, to take inquests of death in prison, and of all violent, sudden or casual deaths within his county, and the manner of such deaths; and it is also his duty, if any person be found guilty by the inquisition, and be not in custody, forthwith to issue his warrant for the apprehension of the person so found guilty, and the person accused shall be taken before a justice of the peace to be dealt with according to law; it is also his duty to put in writing so much of the evidence as shall be material, and to bind the important witnesses to appear and give evidence at the circuit court; and be shall certify such evidence and the bond or bonds together with the inquisition taken, to the circuit court.

Every justice of the peace is a conservator of the peace for the whole county, with full power to take bonds for good behavior, or to keep the peace, or to appear at the circuit court, to answer any charge against the obligor, and to commit to jail parties refusing to give such bonds. But in every case, there ought to be a careful enquiry made into the facts, with a view to determine whether a person charged ought to be required to give bond; and when a bond is required, it ought to be a good bond.

All bonds taken by justices of the peace in criminal cases ought to be returned to the circuit court.

In every examination before a justice of the peace, he ought to reduce to writing the material testimony, as well for the accused as the State, and return this testimony, with the bonds of the accused and of the witnesses, to this court.

Justices of the Peace have three most important duties to perform: 1. In hearing cases in which persons are charged with petty misdemeanors. 2. In taking bond to keep the peace and be of good behavior, 3. In examining parties brought before them, with a view to ascertain whether probable cause of guilt appears, and if it does, then in matter of the first concern in a free government. It is inseparable from civil and social order. If the holy sanctuaries of the courts are to be invaded by the rancor of party feelings; if the pure ermine of justice is to be polluted by the venom of political virulence, then we may indeed boast that we live in a land of freedom, but our boat will be idle and delusive.

One of the charges made against the party lately in power in this State was, that justice was not administered with purity, and that the law were not impartially enforced, and it was alleged that this was probably true in reference to the administration of justice in the county of Kern-per; it was charged that, for a series of years, in this county the Grand Jury and petit juries were packed, in order to screen from indictment and punishment certain members of the party. And this charge has been repeated in several publications made in respect to the homicides lately committed in this county. The party now in power in this State promised to reform all abuses in the administration of justice; it promised that the laws should be impartially enforced against all culprits, without respect to their political opinions or party association, And the party having full control of the government of the State in all its departments, must be held responsible for the fulfillment of this promise. If, then, the laws be not impartially enforced; if the public peace be not preserved; if life, liberty, and property be not protected; if disorder and violence, and riot and bloodshed, and murder and assassination prevail - if all or any of these stupendous evils exist, then the party in power must be held responsible for them.

The circumstances under which you have come together to discharge your duties, are peculiar, and impose upon you a grave responsibility. Since the last term of this court, extraordinary events have marked the history df the county of Kemper. The assassination of one citizen was followed by the deaths, by violence, of several others. The laws were set naught, the public officers resisted and defied, the jail broken into, and six persons shot to death, some of these persons being at the time in the custody of the officers of the law, under accusations of crime, and the others not being even suspected of any offence. All these acts, except that of assassination, were done openly, and the actors must be known. These things were widely published in the newspapers of the county, and made the subject of acrimonious controversy and discussion - one side attempting to show that the homicides were excusable, and the other seeking to make the impression that they were prompted by political hatred. With the opinion of the newspapers, however we, as persons charged with public duties, have no concern; on the one hand, they can relieve us from no obligation; on the other, they can impose upon us no duty. For the rule of our duty, and for the extent of our authority, we must look to the Constitution and laws of the State, as they have been ordained and enacted, in the appointed ways - through constitutional convention and legislative bodies. We are not permitted to refer to that mysterious indefinite undefined and undeniable thing called the "higher law - a law which finds no place either in the code of any civilized State, or in the creed of any good citizen.

The Constitution provides, that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law; it also provides, that the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate; and it further provides, that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a right to be heard by himself, or counsel, or both; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and that in all prosecutions by indictment or information, he shall have a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the county where the offence was committed; and that he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself.

These great and essential rights of the citizen were not left by the framers of the Constitution to be secured by legislative enactment. They were placed in the Bill of Rights - in the very front of the Constitution. The Legislature cannot take them away. They are fixed in the serene firmament of the Constitution, high above the reach of legislative caprice and popular frenzy.

Has any person in the county of Kemper been denied these great and essential rights? Has any person been deprived of life, without due process of law - without indictment by a Grand Jury, and fair and impartial trial by a petit jury? And, if yea who has presumed to set at naught these great, cardinal provisions of the Constitution, designed for the protection of every person? These are inquiries for you to make - these are questions for you to answer. And it behooves you to address yourselves diligently and earnestly to these inquiries. You owe it to the county of Kemper, whose good name has been seriously compromised, by; the

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acts of blood and death, of which it has been the theater, and by the oft-repeated assertion, that the whole people of the county approved those acts; you owe it to the -State, the majesty of whose laws has been contemned and set at naught, and the authority of whose officers has been resisted and defied; you owe it to the humane, the just, and the good, everywhere, particularly in your own State, to whose opinion you cannot be indifferent. There is yet another tribunal of which you should not be unmindful. That tribunal is posterity - the men who will succeed you. When the mists of prejudice which prevent the judgment of the actors in the scenes passing before us shall vanish; when these scenes shall be divested of the adventitious importance imparted to them by transient excitement, and be viewed in their true character; when you, who are now required to sit in judgment upon the acts of others, and they whose acts are become the subject of your inquiries, shall alike repose in the silence of the grave - then will come the faithful historian, who will record the proceedings of this day; then will come a just posterity who will review your decision. And I trust that then your action may be noted in terms of commendation, and that this day may be remembered in history of the State, as honorable to her character for calm dignified and impartial justice.

There are still higher considerations which must constrain you to a faithful performance of your duties. You are ministers, sworn ministers of justice. You have taken a solemn oath, and you have called the great Searcher of Hearts to witness, that you will present no person, though malice, hatred, or ill-will, and that you will leave no person unpresented, through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward, or hope or promise of reward, but that in all your presentments, you will present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We stand in the; presence of that Awful Being, whose all seeing eye view with especial concern the temple dedicated to justice and religion. In a little while we shall appear at the bar of our Final Judge, where the secrets of all hearts shall be made known, and where every human being shall account for his deeds done in the body. To our Final Judge, at that supreme hour, may we be able to appeal for the purity of our motives and the rectitude of our conduct, and may our appeal not be answered by the blood of innocence, or by the mute anguish of the widow, or by the moaning cry of the orphan, bearing witness against us, as recreant ta the high trust reposed in us.

When a great crime has been committed, it is the duty of every good citizen to aid the public authorities to bring the perpetrator to the bar of justice, in order that he may be indicted and tried and convicted and punished according to law, and by his punishment an impressive example set to deter others from the commission of crime. But in no case does the law authorize persons to take the life of a fellow-creature, through they may suspect, or believe, or even know him to be guilty of crime,

If men may take the law into their own hands; if they may with impunity slay others, because they suspect, or believe, or even know them to be guilty of crime; if they may arrogate to themselves the right of revenge; then there is an end of law, and of all lawful authority, and of all government. There will be no safety for the: rights of persons, and no security for the rights of property; for there will be no rule of reason or justice, and no power to enforce such a rule. The law of mob and the rule of revenge will be the only law and the only rule. Terror will paralyze every heart and render valueless every right; and a mournful scene of anarchy and violence, and rapine and spoliation, and bloodshed and death will be the inevitable and melancholy results.

The true question, then, is whether criminal justice shall be administered with the forms and solemnities prescribed and by the officers and agents appointed by law, or by irresponsible mobs, acting not only without the authority and forms of the law, but in direct contravention of all its rules; whether the rights of the citizen shall be determined by known and fixed laws, enacted and promulgated according to the constitutional requirements, or by mob law -a law brutal in its instincts, blind in its decisions, and cruel and unrelenting in punishment. The one-eyed monster of heathen antiquity is its fit personification, for in its darkened rage, it rends alike friends and foes, the innocent as well as the guilty. It sways a bloody scepter over the ruins of social and political order, and wherever its dominion is fixed, there we behold the disintegration of all the bonds of society. This is an important question, for it involves, not only lives, the liberty, and the property of the individuals who compose society, but the very existence of society itself. And the solution of this question depends, to a great extent, upon you, for the initiatory and preparatory steps in the punishment of crime can be taken only by you. The law is not self acting or self-enforcing or self executing. It can only sneak through its ministers and agents; and you are the appointed organ to give formal expressions to its accusations against all who have disobeyed its precepts. Then let the potent voice of the law be heard through you, and heard in tone neither to be misunderstood nor disregarded by those who have violated its mandates. As good citizens you must loath and detest crime. Then do not make yourselves responsible for crime by conniving at it; for in your case connivance will be interpreted to be approbation.

You engaged in the service of no party; you are enlisted in the case of no faction; you owe no allegiance but to the State; and the State now calls upon you to perform your duty, your whole duty to her, fearlessly as men, conscientiously as jurors. She requires you to administer the high public trust with which she has clothed you with exclusive reference to the people welfare, regardless of all consequences to individuals. She commands you to rebuke the spirit of licentiousness now so mournfully prevalent, to stay the arm of violence so often uplifted for the shedding of blood, and to point out the guilty heads which the sword of justice should descend. It is not for you to absolve men from legal consequences of their own voluntary acts. You possess no such dispensing power. As grand jurors, acting under the solemnities of an oath, you must know no man. Like the law, whose servants you are, you must be no respecters of persons. All whose acts become matters of enquiry before you must be subjected to the same ordeal. It is not for you to enquire whether those who are accused of crime be high or low, rich or poor, but whether they be guilty or innocent. You know it is a popular belief, that if a culprit possess wealth or have influential friends, the law is powerless to reach and punish him, however atrocious may be the crime with which he is charged, and however clear may be the proof of his guilt; and to the reproach of criminal justice, candor, constrains the admission that facts go very far to justify this belief

Perform the grave and important duties with which you are charged as the solemn oath you have taken requires you to perform them, and you will furnish no ground for such an imputation upon the criminal justice of the State. Enquire diligently into all violations of the criminal laws, and make such presentment in each case as the very truth of the matter requires, Present no person through malice, hatred, or ill will; leave no person un-presented through fear, favor, or effection, or any reward, or hope or promise of reward. In all your presentments, present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In this way and in this only, can you acquit yourselves of your duty to the State; in this way, and in this only will you merit the applause of the good and the wise; in this way, and in this only, can you secure what is preferable even to the applause of the just, the good and the wise - the approbation of your own hearts and conscience.



 


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