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while in the act of passing the furnace. Upon these facts, was he guilty of murder? To decide that he was, would outrage reason, justice and law.
him to the Lunatic Asylum as an unfortunate victim of insanity. In the event of an acquittal his friends are determined, for his own welfare and the security of themselves and the Then, gentlemen, we have, as we think, public, to place him in the Asylum in Lexingsufficiently shown, 1st. That the accused, if ton, where he can do no harm, and may be he had not been, in any degree, insane, had finally restored to health, and to reason-to strong grounds of justification, and that, at himself, and to them. If, in these last hopes, least, his case is reduced below the grade of they should be disappointed, and his case murder; 2nd, That he was insane as to Bates should prove to be immedicable, still it would and his own wife; 3d, That this insane delu- afford them consolation to know that "murdersion influenced him to pass the furnace as he er" had not been stamped on his forehead by did, and was either the predisposing or actua- his country's verdict! And, if he should be ting cause of the homicide: 4th, That the law restored, he might yet live to bless them and presumes that he was either not conscious of that country by his virtues and his talents. doing wrong when he fired his pisto! at Bates, They look, with intense anxiety, but with or had not the moral self-control necessary to flattering hope, to your decision. They feel enable him to forbear; 5th, That there is strong that there has already been desolation enough affirmative proof, in this case, of the absence in his once happy and united, but now mournof such consciousness and moral ability; and ing and dismembered family. His own afflict6th, and lastly, that even if you could, neverthe-ive visitations and bereavements, and the less, believe that the accused had no ground of melancholy death that they produced, have justification, and had both a consciousness that filled, to the brim, his grey-headed and pious he was doing wrong, and the moral power to father's cup of earthly sorrow. Must this poor forbear, still, admitting, as you then would be son's ignominious sacrifice be added to make bound to do, that all he imagined and believed that cup overflow with tears and with blood? was true-you could not justly or legally Can the public security be promoted, or the bring in a verdict of guilty of the charge of public welfare advanced by hanging a crazy murder-but ought to acquit the prisoner. man-who, as a man, is already dead? Does It seems to us, therefore, that you cannot justice demand-does the law permit it? No, doubt that he is not legally guilty of murder. we say-and a just and enlightened country But the law, in its wisdom and benignity, de- will echo, no. Then at "the tomb of the Capclares that if, on any essential point, you have ulets," let the progress of premature death be a strong rational doubt of his guilt, you must now stayed. Let us dig no more gravesreturn a verdict of "not guilty." While con- but rather invite all parties to meet over the ceding this in general terms, the counsel for grave of Bates, and once more, become friends. the prosecution attempted to evade it, by in- Gentlemen, I came here to heal, not to wound sisting that insanity being urged as an excul--to defend a guiltless man, and restore peace patory fact, the accused cannot escape, unless --not to rescue the guilty and inflame unfreindhe shall have proved it beyond a rationally feelings that have already been too much doubt. But, gentlemen, this is a hyper-tech- exasperated. And if I should be an humble nical perversion that would nullify the admit- instrument in effecting these desirable ends, I ted rule of law. If you have a serious and shall be grateful for the blessing of being rational doubt of the prisoner's guilt, you are prompted to the benevolent mission. But bound to acquit him. This is not denied. these objects can be effected only by the acThen if you have such doubt as to any one quittal of the accused. His conviction can essential element of his guilt, can it be true add nothing to the happiness of his widowed that you have no doubt that he is guilty and sister. His death would not restore to her ought to be hung? And if you had perplexing the husband whom his fatal phrenzy bore from doubt whether the killing was the act of an her bosom. Nor could it heal the wound his insane mind, must you not, to the same extent, insanity has made on his innocent wife and her and in the same degree, doubt his legal guilt? excellent family. His conviction might falsiI affirm, therefore, that if you have a legal fy his plea of insanity, and thus tempt a cendoubt, as to any point or fact essential to guilt, sorious world to suspect that, being rational your oaths require you to acquit. Looking when he charged her with infidelity and deimpartially at the facts and intelligently at serted her, he had some cause for the charges the law, can any one of you, on the solemn and desertion. And, in this way, her characoaths you have taken, say that you have no ter and the memory of Bates might unjustly rational doubt of the prisoner's guilt on any ma- suffer. But your acquittal of him on the terial fact or constituent element of guilt in ground of insanity, would put the seal of delaw? We hope not-we presume not. Then lusion and falsehood on all his suspicions and "not guilty" is the verdict. accusations, and thus rescue his innocent and I must now close the argument in defence injured wife, surround her with universal symof the accused. Your verdict may seal his pathy and confidence, and relieve the character doom forever. Your decision may consign of Bates from obloquy and suspicion. And him to the gallows as a criminal, or will send then, too, there would no longer be any cause
for the distrust and non-intercourse of the members of these alienated and distracted households. Of all his sisters, Mrs. Bates should be the most anxious for his acquittal. And the venerable father, who watched over his infancy, and now mourns over his fallen condition, should not pray more fervently for his aequittal than the indignant father of his outraged wife. The only thing that can reinstate her perfectly and restore her to her unfortunate husband, is a verdict of not guilty on the ground that his conduct to her was so destitute of any cause to excuse it as to prove that he was a madman.
You have, gentlemen, a singularly solemn and important duty to perform. This is the most interesting and eventful case I have known in Kentucky. It will be a leading case in the criminal jurisprudence of the West. It involves principles as important as its facts are novel. And not only the safety of the accused, but public justice and security also, may depend, in no slight degree, on your proper understanding of those principles and right application of those facts.
The case is, in my judgment, altogether full and perfect in all its features; and there is none on record that can afford a more complete and useful precedent on the law and the facts of insanity in their criminal bearing.
I have defended the accused fairly, candidly, and I trust fully. I have made no appeal to your fears or your hopes-your passions or your prejudices. I have uttered nothing that I do not believe; have descended to no pettifogging artifice-but have, throughout, endeavored to maintain truth, the law's integrity, and my own professional honor. If you err, I shall feel guiltless. If my client fall, I shall still feel that, though others might have defended him more ably, none could have done it more faithfully. And, whatever may result from your verdict, to him or to others, now or hereafter, I shall enjoy the comfort of the per
suasion that I have honestly vindicated hi rights, the wisdom of the law, and the interests of my country.
Upon you, then, gentlemen, rests the responsibility of a just administration of the law in this great cause. And, whatever shall be your decision, let it be impartial, conscientious, and fearless. I am sure that none of you can thirst for this man's blood, or could derive any pleasure from his condemnation. And allow me to add that, in my opinion, neither your own consciences, nor enlightened public opinion, nor even the feelings and more dispassionate judgments of the now excited and persevering prosecutors can, in after times, approve the condemnation and sacrifice of this unfortunate prisoner. To hang himthe mournful catastrophe being produced as, if it ensue, I believe it will have been chiefly produced, by the local influence, and extraordinary exertions of that opulent and multitudinous band of prosecutors-will, in my humble judgment, excite future remorse in their bosoms and reflect reproach on the proud and spotless State of Kentucky.
I must do you the justice to avow, in perfect candor, that your prudent deportment, so far as I have heard or observed, during this trial, absolves you from any imputation of consciously yielding to any such influences. But you know that unusual means of conviction have been employed, and that general excitement and delusion have been produced; and I know that they are contagious and difficult to escape or subdue. I trust that your verdict will be an honest one-and I hope that it will be impartial and just. If it shall acquit the accused, I believe that it will tranquilize your bosoms, hush the tongue of complaint, and extract from the tooth of calumny all its poison. And I cannot doubt that a verdict of "Not Guilty" will be sustained by the law-approved on earth—and ratified in Heaven.
During the winter of 1849, the Legislature of Kentucky so far modified the law of, 1833 interdicting the importation of Slaves as to allow citizens of the State to import them for their own use. Against that modification, operating as a virtual repeal of the law of 1833, Mr. Robertson, then a member from Fayette, made the following speech.
On his return home, solicited by persons of all parties and persuasions in his county, to become a candidate for the Convention called to remodel the State Constitution, he finally allowed himself to be announced as a candidate, with every prospect of being elected by genral consent. But shortly afterwards, the agitation of the question of emancipation, became so all-absorbing as to induce most of the electors in Fayette to organize themselves into two belligerent parties-"EMANCIPATION" and ULTRA "PRO-SLAVERY"-EACH NOMINATING and pledging iTS MEMBERS TO SUPPORT
A COALITION TICKET, COMPOSED OF ONE WHIG AND ONE DEMOCRAT-the county being entitled to two members in the Convention. Mr. R. could have been on either of the Tickets. But, unwilling either to countenance a premature and suicidal movement for emancipation, or to surrender hist non-importation principles and co-operate with EXTREME AND UNREASONABLE PRO-SLAVERYISM, he refused to sanction either coalition, and denounced both of them as unnecessary, unwise, and tending to licentious and destructive results.
A majority of the people of the county, thus committed, became excited by the canvass to an extraordinary and almost stultifying degree. Mr. R. was, CONSEQUENTLY, not elected, but was beaten by a DEMOCRAT IN THE CITADEL OF WHIGGERY--even though there can be scarcely a doubt that a large majority of the voters concurred with him in his Constitutional aims and principles. In addition to the following speech, other addresses made by him are also herein republished, to show the general character of those aims and principles, and his prediction of the consequences which would result to conservatism from SUCH AGITATIONS AND COALITIONS. And did not these consequences follow?
During that stormy canvass so morbid were the feelings of some proslavery men, as to lead a few into the delusion that Mr. R. was inclined to abolitionism. And even ever since that election, the vague suspicion thus uttered, fortified by the unexplained fact of his defeat by the Ticket that triumphed, has induced some few blockheads to INSINUATE that Mr. R. is tainted with SOME SORT of anti-slavery DISEASE. Let all he ever said, or wrote, or did, on the subject of slavery, test his principles-whether right or wrong.
MR. ROBERTSON'S SPEECH.
Speech of Mr. George Robertson, of Fayette, in the House of Representatives of the Kentucky Ledislature, on the bill to modify the law of 1833, prohibiting the importation of Slaves.
Mr. R. observed, that his present condition of deranged health and oppressed lungs would not allow him to hope that he should be able, by anything he could now say, to compensate the committee for its courtesy in adjourning over to hear him on this interesting occasion; but his position on the Judiciary committee, which reported against the bill under consideration, and his, perhaps peculiar, and certainly very anxious feeling respecting its destiny, would not leave him the choice of entire silence whilst its fate remains uncertain.
assembled in campus martius, or elsewhere unsafe legislators. Such assemblages would be so liable to the contagion of tumultuary passions, and so inconsiderate, irresponsible and head-long in legislation, as to allow no rational hope of consistency, moderation or conservatism in their legislative acts. To insure the prevalence of reason over passion, in the enactment of laws, our constitutions have all wisely organized representative departments for legislation. By our own State Constitution, the people entitled to suffrage have the right to select the most enlightened, firm and patriotic representatives to make laws for the Commonwealth. Those representatives, not too multitudinous for a proper sense of individual responsibility and grave and dispassionate deliberation, assemble in the Capitol for consulting together, obtaining correct information, reasoning with one another, and finally agreeing, after such intercommunication, counsel, and mutual enlightenment, on such measures as will, in their honest judgments, promote the general welfare. There is no danger that the popular sentiment, and even passion, right or wrong, will not have sufficient influence; the only danger is, that it will have too much. If the local feeling, however ephemeral or unreasonable, should control the enlightened and dispassionate convictions of the representative, then the very same elements that incapacitate the mass of constituency for wholesome legislation, do virtually legislate in defiance of the judgments of the representative body, and notwithstanding all the precautions of our Constitution for preventing any other enactment than such as may be the offspring of reason and deliberation.
We are, this day, said he, legislating, not for ourselves only, but for our children-not for this generation merely, but for posteritynot for Kentucky alone, but possibly for our glorious Union. Hence, he must be allowed to say, that he was surprised and concerned to hear, as he had heard, from more than two members already, that, whatever might be their own opinions-even though, as might be inferred, they believed the passage of the bill would operate disastrously to ourselves, and to those who shall come after us for generations to come-yet they feel bound to vote for it, because they think that a majority of their more immediate constituents are in favor of some such legislation. Sir, said he, I could neither thus feel nor thus act. The opinions of the voters of Fayette, I neither know nor have sought to learn-I know my own convictions of duty to my oath, to my country, and to my children-and that is enough for me. He felt, he said, responsible, not alone When any portion of the people send a proxy to the freemen of his county on this subject, to consult and to reason, and to be reasoned but responsible to his own conscience, to all with, concerning the common good, if that Kentucky now and hereafter, and to the God proxy be convinced, by facts and arguments of the Universe. The opinions of a majority elicited in legislative council, that his country's of those who elected him could not absolve interest requires him to vote for or against any him from that more sacred and comprehensive proposed measure, those who deputed him responsibility. He hoped, and was disposed ought to acquiesce, because they sent him under to believe, that those opinions harmonized the Constitution for that very purpose. In orwith his own. But, however that might be, ganzing the principle of representation, the chief he could not, on such an occasion as this, re- object of the Constitution was to secrete, cord, for the inspection of his countrymen and through the constituted organs, the popular his posterity, as his opinion, that which was sentiments, and thus rectify, and, as far as the direct opposite of his clear conviction of possible, crystalize the indigested and too often truth and of duty. The philosophy of the turbid elements of uncounselled popular degreat American principle of representative cision. Why communicate to a member in this democracy seems to be often misunderstood hall new facts-why address to his judgment and perverted. The mass of the people, how- or his patriotism arguments to convince ever virtuous and enlightened, would be, when him? Only becaase we all expect that, if he be
convinced by these facts and arguments, he being imbedded in the Constitution with &
will vote according to that conviction. But, if he must not do this, all those facts and arguments are thrown away, and should have been addressed, not to him, a petrified statue, but to those who sent him. We should do here as we think they would or ought to do, if they were here and heard all we have heard.
sanction which would secure it from evasion. Negro slavery was introduced into South America for the benevolent purpose of rescuing, from oppressive servitude and final extermination, the more effeminate Indian aborigines. Foreign cupidity and regal power first imported it into the Anglo-American Colonies, and fastened it on Virginia against Mr. Chairman, said Mr. R., on this floor, her will. In her declaration of Independence, Kentucky is my constituency-and my instruc- in 1776, she charged the King of England tors here, on such a subject as that now before with cruel injustice in nullifying, by Royal us, are the opinions and interests of my whole vetoes, her colonial enactments interdicting State, the suggestions of my own conscience, the importation of negroes; and, in 1778, she and the convictions of my own judgment. Under enacted a statute prohibiting further importathese guides, I have always acted in my legis-tion "by sea or by land," except by immigrants lative career; and though, while thus acting from other confederate States, and made the under all these sanctions, I have often given interdict effectual, not by denouncing high votes which I apprehended would, for a sea- pecuniary penalties merely, but by also proson, be unpopular, my course has, in every in-viding that any slave, illegally imported, stance, been finally approved, and, so far as I should be ipso facto free. Under the auspices know, has never been rebuked. And, sir, of that conservative law, Kentucky was born when we are right, and have firmness proper- and grew to manhood; and, until after the ly to maintain it, we need not fear that our adoption of her first Constitution, not even a constituents will long condemn us. We un-citizen could lawfully bring within her borders derrate them when we suppose that they will a slave bought beyond them. By a legislative not, sooner or later, be right also. And if, act of 1794, the Virginia act of 1778 was reon the eventful subject now before us, we act laxed so as to legalize importations of slaves as our own matured judgments of our duty to from other States, by citizens of Kentucky for our whole country shall dictate, we will secure, their own use; and, with some slight modifinot only the public approbation, but that cations, the act of 1794 was re-enacted in which is even more grateful to the patriotic 1815, and continued in operation until it was statesman, the approval of our own consciences, supplanted by the more comprehensive enactnow and ferever. ment of 1833, which revived the prohibitions of Hoping that every member would, under the act of 1778, but unfortunately left them a proper sense of all his responsibilities, ex-without any other than a pecuniary sanction, press by his vote the conclusion of his own which is not easily enforced, and therefore has reason, he would, said Mr. R., proceed in as had but little influence on the mercenary and summary a form as he could, to address, to unscrupulous. the understandings of the members present, some reasons to show why this bill ought not to pass; and, in attempting this task, he invoked the careful attention and candid conBideration of all present.
Thus it may be clearly perceived, that the characteristic difference between the act of 1815, and that of 1833, is just this, and only this-that the former permitted citizens of Kentucky to buy and import slaves for their The programme of his argument, said Mr. own use, and the latter forbids all such purR., would be to offer, in a condensed form, chase and importation; and it will be seen, some reasons to show: 1st, That this bill, if also, that these acts are as different in purpose enacted, would operate as a virtual, practical, and effect, as they are in the extent of their total repeal of the non-importation law of 1833. application; for whilst the act of 1815 contem2nd, That the act of 1833 was wise in its pur-plated an increase of slaves by accession from pose, and has been beneficent in its results. abroad-and the effect of it was a great aug3rd, That the present crisis is unpropitious for mentation from that source-the act of 1833 a repeal of the act of 1833, or any essential intended to prevent any such accession, and, modification of it; and moreover, any such as far as it has operated, has had that salutary movement now is pregnant with unprofitable effect. Then, as these enactments are thus commotion, and with other consequences which radically contradistinguished, all who approve must greatly impair, perhaps utterly destroy, the conservative influence now possessed by Kentucky in the Union-and the preservation of which influence, unimpaired, may by necessary to save the peace and integrity of that Union; and 4th, That instead of relaxing the policy of the act of 1833, the interest of the Commonwealth and its prospective glory, require that non-importation of slaves should be made fundamental and inviolable, by
the act of 1533, must approve it for those features which distinguish it from the act of 1815, and which constitute and identify it as "the act of 1833." For this reason the act of 1838 repealed that of 1815; and, for the same reason, the restoration of the act of 1815 will repeal that of 1833. For all characteristic purposes of identity, the bill under consideration, and the act of 1815, are the same. The bill, if it shall become a law, will, there