Imatges de pàgina

into a gesture that might have become, as against me, a legitimate ground of judge Peck's jurisdiction for a contempt. From judge Peck's.court, I went to the Circuit Court of the county of St. Louis, which was then sitting, and in which a cause was pending of great importance to the parties, and in which I was leading counsel for the defendant, Mr. Peter Chouteau, sen'r. of St. Louis. After I had been in the Circuit Court about an hour and a half, at least, Mr. Simonds, then Marshal of Missouri, or his deputy, which of them I cannot recollect, called me out of court, and informed me that judge Peck had made the rule absolute against me, and that I must appear before him forthwith. I appeared accordingly, and, upon my appearance, was informed by the judge, that I had a right to call for interrogatories to be exhibited to me, and asked me if I wished that interrogatories should be exhibited to me? To which I replied, that I did not wish interrogatories to be exhibited to me. And I further observed, that, if they were exhibited, I should not answer them. Upon which judge Peck dictated to his clerk an order for my imprisonment for 24 hours, in the jail of the county of St. Louis, and for my suspension from practice as attorney and counsellor at law, in his court, for the term of 18 months from the date of the order. I refer to the order amongst the documents appended to my petition, for its character and terms. I was conducted forthwith to the jail of the county of St. Louis, and was put into a room in that jail, where the common felons and criminals were put, and I was locked up therein by the jailor. After being in that room a few moments, I requested the deputy jailor to let me see the order under which I was imprisoned; which he did. I then drew up a petition, addressed to the Circuit Court of St. Louis, then in session, stating the fact of my imprisonment, and praying a writ of Habeas Corpus, which was granted. Upon this writ of Habaes Corpus, I was brought before the Circuit Court, about eight or 9 o'clock at night, having remained in prison about three or four hours. On examining the return, and discussing the matter for a short time, I was discharged by the court, upon the ground, as I believe, that the order of commitment did not show, upon its face, by what authority it was issued, inasmuch as it had not either the seal, or the signature, of the judge of the District Court.

Q. By Mr. Storrs. Had the opinion published in the “ Missouri Republican,” been previously delivered or read in open court, from the bench, by Judge Peck?",

A. I do not recollect that it was; my opinion is that it was not.

Q. By the same. At what time was the final decree or judgment of J. Peck made in the Soulard cause?

A. It was made at a preceding term. It was made at December term, 1825, at which an appeal had been taken at that same term by Soulard's heirs.

Q. By Mr. Ellsworth. Whether the remarks or speech made by Judge Peck, when he made the rule absolute upon Mr. Lawless, were in writing?

A. No sir, I believe not.

Q. By the same. How much time was occupied in delivering those res marks?

A. At this distance of time, I would say, at least three hours.

Q. By Mr. Buchanan. Do you recollect any of the language of the judge which you say was offensive to yourself? and what was its character?

A. Its character was that of an imputation upon me of slander, of malice, of a wilfully false statement of the opinions or positions of the judge. The tenor of his language was, in my opinion, to represent me, not merely a

ontemner of the court, but an enemy and libeller of the judge himself, in is proper person.

Q. By the same. Were you present when Judge Peck pronounced his judgment in the case of Soulard's heirs?

A. Yes sir, I think I was.

Q. By the same. Have you related all that transpired in court after you were brought in upon the attachment?

A. Yes, sir, to the best of my recollection, I have.

Here the “ Missouri Advocate and St. Louis Enquirer” of the sth April, 1826, was exhibited to the witness, who identified it, and said the marks upon the margin of the newspaper correspond with similar marks upon the margin of the newspaper in which Judge Peck's opinion was published, and were intended by me to aid in the juxta-position of his opinion and my article.

Q. By Judge Peck. Who was the Attorney for the Government at that date? And was he in court at the time the paper referred to was produced by the court?

A. Mr. Ed. Bates was the District Attorney, and was, I believe, in the court at the time.

Q. By the same. When the paper was produced, did the court address itself to the Attorney for the Government, and request him to ascertain who was the Editor of that paper?

A. I do not recollect that the court addressed itself particularly to the Attorney of the Government in the first instance. It may be so.

Q. By the same. Did not the court request Mr. Bates to ascertain who was the Editor of that paper, and where it was published?

A. I do not recollect distinctly; but it may be so.

Q. By the same. Did you not, upon the court's addressing itself to Mr. Bates, volunteer to say that Mr. Foreman was the Editor of the paper, and that it was published in that city?

A. Yes, sir, when the court made the inquiry as to who was the Editor, I voluntarily stated that Mr. Foreman was the Editor.

Q. Was the Attorney for the Government, and the court, in conversation when you volunteered to give the information of the Editorship, and the place of publication?

A. I do not recollect that they were in conversation when I gave the information; but it may be so.

Q. By the same. Did you immediately undertake to appear for Mr. Foreman, on the rules having been made against him?

A. I did. ; Q. By the same. Did Mr. Geyer appear as associate counsel with you in the argument made against the rule?

A. Until very lately I had believed that I was alone as Counsel for the printer, and I have still no distinct recollection that Mr. Geyer was counsel for the printer with me. It may be the fact that he was. This I will distinctly say, that I have no distinct recollection of having heard his argument for the printer.

Q. By the same. Was he retained or feed by you for his appearance on the rule against the Editor?

A. No, sir, not that I recollect. The only recollection that I have is, that I requested him, as a brother counsellor, to appear for myself.

Q. By the same. Was he otherwise retained than upon that consideration?

A. None other to my knowledge.

Q. By the same. How long was the argument upon the first rule protracted? How many days?

A. As I recollect, I argued it myself upon two successive days.

Q. By the same. Was Mr. Geyer, on the argument of either rule, heard at any great length?

A. On the argument of the rule against me, Mr. Geyer was heard, it appeared to me, as long as he chose to speak on all the grounds except one, to wit: the intrinsic merits of the article signed “A Citizen.”

Q. By the same. Do you mean by your answer to say that he was not permitted to be heard upon the question of misrepresentation charged in the rule?

A. I do.
Q. Was no counsel other than yourself heard upon that question?

A. I do not recollect that any counsel other than myself was heard upon the merits.

Q. By the same. Was the court numerously attended, generally, dur. ing the course of the argument?

A. It appeared to me to be so.

Q. By the same. What were the topics upon which the counsel mainly dwelt, and particularly yourself?

A. "If by topics be meant grounds of argument, I have already stated them in my direct examination.

Q. By the same. Was it insisted in the argument, that the liberty of the citizen, of speech, and of the press, would be violated by the proceeding contemplated by the rule?

A. It was.

Q. By the same. Was it insisted that the constitution and the right of trial by jury, were also violated?

A. It was.

Q. By the same. Was the proceeding represented to be incompatible with the genius of our Government?

A. I believe it was.

Q. By the same. Was the judge represented, in the argument, as sitting in his own case, to punish an offence committed against himelf?

A. The judge was represented as in such a case, executing the functions of judge and juror, and perhaps witness, for the purpose of punishing an offence committed against himself.

Q. By the same. Were all these topics dwelt upon at great length?

A. I believe they were dwelt upon at considerable length, as also every topic that suggested itself, for the purpose of the argument to the counsel.

Q. By the same. Were not these arguments addressed to the surrounding crowd?

A. No, sir, they were addressed to the court. The crowd might have heard them.

Q. By the same. Were you present when the editor appeared in court, submitted himself thereto, and, under oath, purged himself of the contempt charged against him?

A. No sir, nor do I know any thing of such purgation.

Q. By the same. Were you present when he was examined by the court?

A. No sir.

Q. By the same. Did you or not endeavor to prevail upon the editor not to submit to the court, but abide its judgment and go to prison, if such should be the sentence of the court?

A. I recollect, in the first instance, that in my opinion the liberty of the press was concerned, that I thought an opportunity had occurred of vindicating that right in the person of the editor, and I did recommend to him to take that stand before the court; but when, as I have stated in my direct examination, I perceived the strong feeling of the judge directed against myself, and that he treated me as the author of the article, signed “a citizen," Í changed my opinion on the subject of the printer's course, and then determined on taking the responsibility on myself, because I considered that in my person, not only the liberty of the press, but divers other rights were equally concerned.

Q. By the same. Did you come to this determination before or after the argument in behalf of the editor had been concluded?

A. The change of opinion was effected during the progress of the argument; but, as well as I can recollect, was not expressed to the editor until after the argument was concluded...

Q. By the same. Was it expressed to any body else? And to whom?

A. It may have been expressed, but I do not recollect whether it was, or to whom.

Q By the same. Did you not persist, after the argument had been closed, in desiring the editor to abide the judgment of the court, and not to give you up as the author?

A. I do not recollect that I did, after the argument had been closed.
Q. Did you not, until the editor had come to a different determination?

A. I do not know at what time he came to a different determination, therefore I cannot say whether my direction to him to give me up, was before or after.

Q. By the same. Did the editor express to you, his determination to give you up against your consent?

A. Never.

Q. By the same. In the course of your argument, did not you and the bench confer upon the subject of your publication, as though you were the author?

A. As I have already stated, the court seemed to point at me as the author of the article, but, as respects myself, I avoided acknowledging the authorship, and appeared, as far as I could, in the distinct character of counsel.

Q. By the same. Did you at any time, by inadvertence, appropriate the sentiments contained in the publication to yourself?

A. I do not recollect that I did. It was not my intention so to do.
Q. By the same. Who accompanied you to the prison?

A. Aš I recollect, Mr. Gaston Soulard, and Mr. Wharton Rector, and te the best of my recollection they were locked up with me; I do not think they remained the whole time.

Q. Was Mr. Soulard one of the parties against whom the decree was passed?

A. Yes. .

[ocr errors]

Q. During the course of the argument upon those rules, who, generally, composed the crowd, who attended upon the court? Were they the land claimants, or, for the most part, persons hostile in feeling to me?

A. As far as I can recollect, there were persons of all descriptions there, land claimants, and not land claimants. As to their hostility, I know not that there was any existing in the breasts of the persons attending there against you; at the same time it is very possible that there may have been persons in that crowd with feelings unfriendly to Judge Peck.

Q. By the same. Had you any interest in Soulard's claim, and in other unconfirmed claims brought, or to be brought, before the Court?

A. I had.

Q. By the same. Were there not a number of causes depending before the court at the time of the publication, depending upon the principles of that determined, and involving other principles not decided in that case?

A. I believe there were.

Q. Were there not other causes depending involving other principles than those decided, the merits of which were attempted to be impressed upon the public in the publication?

A. My object in the publication was to show that Judge Peck had taken several positions in doctrine and in fact, which, should they bę sustained, would, in my opinion, be fatal to the great majority of the claims, and which in my opinion, were erroneous. I was counsel in a great number of the claims depending at the date of the article.

Q. By Mr. Storrs. Were there any persons committed for criminal offences in the room in which you were imprisoned?

A. No, there was no person there at the time but myself.

Q. By Mr. Buchanan. Did your suspension continue during the whole of the 18 months?

A. Yes. And when I presented myself to Judge Peck, at the expiration of the 18 months, at the first court, he inquired of the Clerk, particularly, if the time had expired.

Q. By the same. Is that printed pamphlet, produced and identified by the signature of James Buchanan, on the title page thereof, the true substance of the argument delivered by you before Judge Peck?

A. It is, sir.
Q. By the same. When was it published?

A. It was published early in 1825. The argument was made in November, 1824.

Q. By Mr. Storrs. Were you required by the court to make any apology or other atonement for the publication of the article signed “ a citizen," before the order was made for your imprisonment and for suspending you from the bar?

A. No sir. The only observation made to me by the court, previous to the order for imprisonment, was, that I had a right to have interrogatories exhibited to me, and demanded if I wished to have them exhibited, to which I replied, that I did not, and would not answer if they were exhibited.

Q. By Judge Peck. Did or did not the court inform you that you had a right to purge yourself of the contempt by your own oath, and that this was a privilege, and that interrogatories were not to be put for the purpose of fixing the contempt, which must be otherwise proved; but for the purpose of enabling you to discharge yourself therefrom; and then asked you, whether you would avail yourself of that privilege?

« AnteriorContinua »