The Cleveland Daily Herald
Cleveland, May 9, 1859
The Rescue Trials.
The four Wellington defendants, to wit, Messrs. Mandeville, Niles, Williams and Cumming, who were induced to withdraw their plea of not guilty and substitute that of noli contendere, with it distinctly understood by the public that they did not enter a plea of guilty. But as the majority of readers do not understand Latin, and as none of them can see but a shade of difference betwixt tweedledum and tweedledee, these defendants might just as well have said guilty as to have said noli contendere. “We will not contend” - in answer to an indictment, is like the reply a man, we know of, made to the charge of being a knave; says he, “that’s a mere matter of opinion.” Thus we see the news was sent over the wires through the country, that the Wellington men pleaded guilty, &c. The Democratic journals are highly elated at the triumph, and the hopes of nigger-catching Democrats are exuberant.
The trial of Langston will probably close tomorrow, (Tuesday). Mr. Griswold closed the opening argument for the defence on Saturday afternoon. He occupied about three hours in his entire argument. The point which Mr. Griswold particularly treated upon was the testimony connecting the defendant with the escape of John. Mr. G. handled the case very happily; discarding all extraneous matters he applied himself to the facts in the case and showed conclusively that if Langston could be pronounced guilty, so could each one in the crowd at Wellington, whether there for the purpose of a rescue, or merely as an idle spectator. Mr. Griswold made a very strong point in comparing the testimony against Langston with the testimony of one of the government witnesses, named Wood, against himself; and showed clearly that the testimony against Wood, merely stripped of the witness’ own assertion that he was not there to aid in the rescue, made a much stronger case against Wood than did the testimony made against Langston. Mr. Griswold’s argument was candid and lawyer-like, and received close attention from the jury and the auditory.
Mr. Backus follows for the defence, and the closing argument for the government will be made by Judge Bliss.
Apropos to this case is the recent stampede of slaves from Tennessee. The Detroit Advertiser of Saturday, the 7th inst., says, that seventy slaves arrived lately in Canada by one underground train from Tennessee. This is the largest escape ever recorded. But a week before, a company of twelve arrived and are now at Malden.
About the same time another company of seven, and still another of five landed in Canada, making, in all, ninety-four passengers, by the underground railroad; the value of which freight is $94,000. If this be so, surly the underground track was never doing a better business. We should suppose the pious Jennings, and his worthy coadjutor Mitchell, would find it a paying business to go over to Canada and employ a young Judas to decoy some of these niggers across the river. We presume there are any number of Deputy Marshals in Michigan, who, for two dollars a day and expenses, would jump at the chance of a job. According to Judge Taney’s decision in the Wisconsin case, the same old warrant issued by Commissioner Chittenden at Columbus, would do perfectly well in Michigan, for a State Court has no power, under that decision, to inquire into the regularity of any process that purports to be issued by a Federal officer.