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Argument of William H. Seward, in Defence of William Freeman, on His Trial for Murder, at Auburn, July 21St and 22Nd, 1846: Reported By S. Blatchford (Classic Reprint)
by:William Henry Seward
May it Please the Court, Gentlemen of the Jury: Thou shalt not Kill, and, Whoso sheddeth Man sblood by Man shall his blood be shed, are laws found in the code of that People who, although dispersed and distracted, trace their history to the creation ;a history which records that Murder was the first of Human Crimes. The first of these precepts constitutes...
May it Please the Court, Gentlemen of the Jury: Thou shalt not Kill, and, Whoso sheddeth Man sblood by Man shall his blood be shed, are laws found in the code of that People who, although dispersed and distracted, trace their history to the creation ;a history which records that Murder was the first of Human Crimes. The first of these precepts constitutes a tenth part of the Jurisprudence which God saw fit to establish, at an early period, for the government of all mankind, throughout all generations. The latter, of less universal obligation, is still retained in our system, although otherS tates, as intelligent and refined, as secure and peaceful, have substituted for it the more benign principle that Good shall be returned forE vil. I yield implicit submission to this law, and acknowledge the justice of its penalty, and the duty of Courts and Juries to give it effect. In this case, if the prisoner be guilty of Murder, I do not ask remission of punishment. If he be guilty, never wasM urderer more guilty. ]E fe has murdered not only John G. Van Nest, but his hands are reeking with the blood of other and numerous, and even more pitiable victims. The slaying of Van Nest, if a crime at all, was the cowardly crime of assassination.- John G. Van Nest was a just, upright, virtuous man, of middle age, of grave and modest demeanor, distinguished by especial marks of the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens. On his arm leaned a confiding wife, and they supported, on the one side, children to whom they had given being, and, on the other, aged and venerable parents, from whom they had derived existence. The assassination of such a man was an atrocious crime, but theM urderer, with more than savage refinement, immolated on the same altar, in the same hour, a venerable and virtuous matron of more than three-score years, and her daughter, the wife of Van Nest, mother(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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