The Cleveland Daily Herald

Cleveland, April 19, 1859

The Rescue Case – Trial of Langston.


      The Marshal called Bolivar Butts, Levi Johnson; William Burton, Richard Hussey, and L.H. Case to serve on the jury.

      The prosecution stated to the jurors the nature of this case and asked if any of them had conscientious scruples as to the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law that he would rise. – None rose.

      The District Attorney then asked the jurors severally whether they had any conscientious scruples against enforcing this law. They each answered that they had not. The District Attorney, then peremptorily challenged Mr. Lyne. The Marshal called J.H. Crittenden who took the jurors seat.

      Mr. Backus, for the defence, claimed that he had a right to question each juror upon each material fact in the indictment, as to whether he had formed an opinion upon any one of such facts. The prosecution combated this position. The Court held that it was proper to read the indictment to the jurors, who were intelligent men, and then to ask them if they had formed an opinion upon any fact averred in it. The indictment was accordingly read.

      Mr. Backus then asked the juror Bishop separate questions as to his having formed an opinion upon the several facts set out in the indictment. The Court overruled all the questions, and the counsel for defence asked that their exception to such ruling be noted.

      Mr. Backus then, under instruction of the court, put the question to the juror: Have you formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Juror said he had not. Mr. Backus, then went into the examination of the juror as to his knowledge of the case as gained by hearing or reading the testimony in the Bushnell case, &c. This was preliminary to the right of peremptory challenge. The Court held that the defence had a right to pursue such line of enquiry for the purpose of determining the necessity for the exercise of the right of challenge. The juror was allowed to remain.

      The juror Garrett was then questioned in like manner, and in answer to questions said, he had made up his mind that John was a slave of Mr. Bacon, that he escaped from his master, that he was illegally taken from the custody of the agent of the owner. Thereupon the defence challenged Mr. Garrett for cause and the Court sustained the challenge and excused Mr. Garrett from serving.

      The Marshal then called Daniel Cleveland.

      The defence then examined a number of jurors who answered satisfactorily.

      The juror, Mr. Case in answer to a question said he had made up his mind that John was Bacon’s slave, and that he escaped fro Kentucky. The Court excused Mr. Case.

      The defence then challenged peremptorily, Mr. Howard.

      H.B. Pratt was called and also B. Brownell. Mr. Backus asked Mr. Brownell if he did not say the verdict of guilty in the Bushnell case was right. Mr. Brownell said he did not say so, and thought so because a jury he had confidence in had so returned. Mr. Brownell was asked if he had not suggested to the Marshal names of proper persons to be put on the jury; he replied that he had answered the Marshal’s questions. He was asked if he had not suggested to the Marshal to put on such and such men because they were good Democrats; he said he did not know whether he used the word Democrat or not, he believed he did mention that certain men were Democrats. The defence then challenged Mr. Brownell for cause, but the Court would not sustain the challenge. The defence then peremptorily challenged Mr. Brownell.

      The Marshal called Geo. A. Davis.

      The prosecution challenged Mr. Butts.

      J.W. Smith was called.

      The Court examined Mr. Pratt as to his having formed an opinion and excused him from serving.

      Wm. B. Hall was called.

      The jury then was sworn. It is composed as follows:

      Harvey Rice,                     Daniel Cleveland,

      Andrew Cozad,                 Joseph H. Crittendan,

      Wm. B. Hall,                     William Burton,

      Jas. W. Smith,                   Levi Johnson,

      Geo. A. Davis,                  Richard Hussey,

      John M. Hughes,              E.K. Bishop.

      The jury was then sworn.

      John G. Bacon, the owner of John, was the first witness and was on the stand when Court adjourned. Thus far his testimony is the same as given in the Bushnell case.

      Just as Court was about to adjourn, Mr. Riddle for the defendants, suggested to the Court that inasmuch as the entry of Friday upon the Journal was made by the Court under the impression that the defendants did surrender themselves into custody, and inasmuch as the defendants did not intend to voluntarily surrender themselves, that the entry had been made, each defendant being on his own recognizance. The Court said the Journal entry had better stand and the defendants, if they wish, can come in and enter into their won recognizances.

      Court adjourned until 9 o’clock.