Historical Reprints PRISONER IN WASHINGTON JAIL: MEMOIR of DANIEL DRAYTON

PRISONER IN WASHINGTON JAIL: MEMOIR of DANIEL DRAYTON

PRISONER IN WASHINGTON JAIL: MEMOIR of DANIEL DRAYTON
Catalog # SKU1158
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Daniel Drayton
 
$13.95
Quantity

Description

A PRISONER
(FOR CHARITY'S SAKE)
IN WASHINGTON JAIL
For Four Years And Four Months

PERSONAL MEMOIR
of
DANIEL DRAYTON

Including A Narrative Of The
VOYAGE AND CAPTURE
OF THE SCHOONER PEARL

(1853)

This TGS Historical Reprint is one that will spark questions in the minds of even learned lawyers, as this 'white' man was accused of either 'stealing slaves' or 'assisting' in their escape, in the 1850s. When does conscience over-rule man-made law? How can one be accused of stealing slaves if at the same time he assisted in their escape? Certainly this is a personal tale from history, that needs never be forgotten.

Excerpt:

In opening the defence, Mr. Mann commenced with some remarks on the peculiarity of his position, growing out of the unexpected urgency with which the case had been pushed to a trial, and the public excitement which had been produced by it. He also alluded to the hardship of finding against me such a multiplicity of indictments,--for what individual, however innocent, could stand up against such an accumulated series of prosecutions, backed by all the force of the nation? Some observations on the costs thus unnecessarily accumulated, and, in particular, on the District Attorney's ten-dollar fees, produced a great excitement, and loud denials on the part of that officer.

Mr. Mann then proceeded to remark that, in all criminal trials which he had ever before attended or heard of, the prosecuting officer had stated and produced to the jury, in his opening, the law alleged to be violated. As the District Attorney had done nothing of that sort, he must endeavor to do it for him. Mr. Mann then proceeded to call the attention of the jury to the two laws already quoted, upon which the two sets of indictments were founded. Of both these acts charged against me--the stealing of Houver's slaves, and the helping them to escape from their master--I could not be guilty. The real question in this case was, Which had I done?

To make the act stealing, there must have been--so Mr. Mann maintained--a taking lucri causa, as the lawyers say; that is, a design on my part to appropriate these slaves to my own use, as my own property. If the object was merely to help them to escape to a free state, then the case plainly came under the other statute.

In going on to show how likely it was that the persons on board the Pearl might have desired and sought to escape, independently of any solicitations or suggestions on my part, Mr. Mann alluded to the meeting in honor of the French revolution, already mentioned, held the very night of the arrival of the Pearl at Washington. As he was proceeding to read certain extracts from the speech of Senator Foote on that occasion, already quoted, and well calculated, as he suggested, to put ideas of freedom and emancipation into the heads of the slaves, he was suddenly interrupted by the judge, when the following curious dialogue occurred:

"Judge Crawford. --A certain latitude is to be allowed to counsel in this case; but I cannot permit any harangue against slavery to be delivered here.

"Carlisle (rising suddenly and stepping forward). --I am sure your honor must be laboring under some strange misapprehension. Born and bred and expecting to live and die in a slave-holding community, and entertaining no ideas different from those, which commonly prevail here, I have watched the course of my associate's argument with the closest attention. The point he is making, I am sure, is most pertinent to the case,--a point it would be cowardice in the prisoner's counsel not to make; and I must beg your honor to deliberate well before you undertake to stop the mouths of counsel, and to take care that you have full constitutional warrant for doing so.

"Judge Crawford.--I can't permit an harangue against slavery."

Mr. Mann proceeded to explain the point at which he was aiming. He had read these extracts from Mr. Foote's speech, delivered to a miscellaneous collection of blacks and whites, bond and free, assembled before the Union office, as showing to what exciting influences the slaves of the District were exposed, independently of any particular pains taken by anybody to make them discontented; and, with the same object in view, he proposed to read some further extracts from other speeches delivered on the same occasion.

"District Attorney.--If this matter is put in as evidence, it must first be proved that such speeches were delivered.

"Mann.--If the authenticity of the speeches is denied, I will call the Honorable Mr. Foote to prove it.

"District Attorney.--What newspaper is that from which the counsel reads?

"Mann (holding it up). --The Washington Union, of April 19th."

And, without further objection, he proceeded to read some further extracts. He concluded by urging upon the jury that this case was to be viewed merely as an attempt of certain slaves to escape from their masters, and on my part an attempt to assist them in so doing; and therefore a case under the statute of 1796, punishable with fine; and not a larceny, as charged against me in this indictment.

Several witnesses were called who had known me in Philadelphia, to testify as to my good character. The District Attorney was very anxious to get out of these witnesses whether they had never heard me spoken of as a man likely to run away with slaves? And it did come out from one of them that, from the tenor of my conversation, it used sometimes to be talked over, that one day or other it "would heave up" that I had helped off some negro to a free state. But these conversations, the witness added, were generally in a jesting tone; and another witness stated that the charge of running off slaves was a common joke among the watermen.

According to the practice in the Maryland criminal courts,--and the same practice prevails in the District of Columbia,--the judge does not address the jury at all. After the evidence is all in, the counsel, before arguing the case, may call upon the judge to give to the jury instructions as to the law. These instructions, which are offered in writing, and argued by the counsel, the judge can give or refuse, as he sees fit, or can alter them to suit himself; but any such refusal or alteration furnishes ground for a bill of exceptions, on which the case, if a verdict is given against the prisoner, may be carried by writ of error before the Circuit Court of the District, for their revisal.

My counsel asked of the judge no less than fourteen instructions on different points of law, ten of which the judge refused to give, and modified to suit himself. Several of these related to the true definition of theft, or what it was that makes a taking larceny.


Softbound, 5.5x8, 105+ pages

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