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“Gentlemen of the jury, I ask for these defendants no sympathy, nor do they wish it. I ask for them only justice, such justice alone as you would demand if you occupied their situation and they yours. They scorn to solicit that from your pity which they challenge from your sense of right. I should ill perform toward them the double duty which I have assumed, both of friend and advocate, did I treat their participation in this unfortunate transaction otherwise than candidly and fairly, did I attempt to avoid responsibility by exciting commiseration. I know that sooner than permit deception and concealment in relation to their conduct they would bare their necks to the loathsome fingers of the hangman, for to them the infamous cord has less of terror than falsehood and self-degradation.
"That these defendants took away the lives of the two individuals whose deaths are charged in the indictment they do not deny; but they assert that they did so not voluntarily or maliciously, that they committed the act from stern, imperative necessity, from the promptings of the comnon instincts of nature, by virtue of the broad and universal law of selfdefence, and they deny that they have violated thereby the ordinances either of God or man. They admit the act and justify it.
" The ground of their defence is simple, and I will state it so that it cannot be misapprehended. They assert, and I shall attempt from the evidence submitted to convince you, that a conspiracy was formed by Mr. Redding, the prosecutor, and various other persons, among whom were the deceased, to inflict personal violence upon them; that the conspirators by preconcerted agreement assembled at the ‘Galt House,' in the city of Louisville, and attempted to accomplish their object; and that in the necessary, proper, and legal defence of their lives and persons from such attempt the defendants caused the death of two of the conspirators. After discussing this proposition I shall submit another, which is that even though a conspiracy on the part of the deceased and their companions to inflict personal violence and bodily injury upon the defendants did not exist, yet the defendants had reasonable ground to suppose the existence of such conspiracy and to apprehend great bodily harm therefrom, and that upon such reasonable apprehension they were justified in their action, upon the principle of self-defence, equally as if such conspiracy had in point of fact existed.
“ The law applicable to these two propositions is simple, being in fact nothing more than a transcript from the law of nature. The principles regulating and governing the right of self-defence are substantially the same in the jurisprudence of all countries, at least all civilized ones. These principles have been read to you from the books by my learned friend, Colonel Robertson, and require no repetition.
" That a man bas a right to defend himself from great bodily harm and to resist a conspiracy to inflict upon him personal violence, if there is reasonable danger, even to the death of the assailant, will not, I presume, be disputed. That reasonable, well-grounded apprehension arising from the actions of others of immediate violence and injury is a good and legal excuse for defensive action proportionate to the apparent impending violence, and sufficient to prevent it, I take to be equally indisputable. By these plain rules and upon these simple principles let us proceed to test the guilt or innocence of the defendants.
First, then, as to the existence of the conspiracy. Before examining the direct evidence to this point you will naturally inquire, Was there any cause for this alleged conspiracy? Motive always precedes action. Was there any motive for it? If we establish the existence of the seed we feel less hesitation in being convinced of the production of the plant. Was there, then, any motive on the part of Mr. Redding and his friends for forming a combination to inflict personal violence upon the defendants? In answering this question it will be necessary to take notice of the evidence which has been given in relation to the events that transpired at the shop of Mr. Redding at a period anterior to the transaction at the ‘Galt llouse,' and which, except for the clue they afford to the motive and to the subsequent action of the parties, would have no bearing upon the case before you. You will take heed to remember that whatever of impropriety you may consider as attaching to the conduct of Judye Wilkinson and his friends during this part of the affair must not be permitted to weigh in your verdict, inasmuch as that conduct is the subject of another indictment which is still pending in this court.
"Judge Wilkinson visited Louisville for the purpose of making prepus. rations necessary for the celebration of his nuptials. The other two defendants had also their preparations to make, inasmuch as they were to act as his friends upon this interesting occasion. Dr. Wilkinson, a brother of the judge, had ordered a suit of clothes of Mr. Redding, who follows the very respectable occupation of a tailor, occasionally relieved and interspersed by the more agreeable pursuits of coffee-house keeper. On the day but one preceding that fixed for the marriage ceremonies the doctor, in company with his brother and friend Murdaugh, proceeded to the shop of Mr. Redding for the purpose of obtaining the wedding garments. Upon trying on the coat it was found ill made and of a most ungraceful fit; it hung loosely about his shoulders, and excited by its awkward construction the criticism and animadversion of his friends. Even the artificer did not presume to defend the work of his own hands, but simply contended that he could reorganize the garment and compel it by his amending skill into fair and just proportions. From the evidence I presume no one will doubt that it was a shocking bad coat. Now though under ordinary circumstances the aptitude of a garment is not a matter of very vital importance in the economy of life, and ought not to become the subject of controversy, yet all will admit that there are occasions upon which a gentleman may pardonably indulge a somewhat fastidious taste in relation to this matter. Dr. Wilkinson will certainly be excused, considering the attitude in which he stood, for desiring a well-made and fashionable coat. I confess I am not a very good judge in concerns of this sort. I have had no experience on the subject, and my investigations in relation to it have been exceedingly limited. Under favor, however, and with due deference to the better judgment of the learned counsel on the other side, I give it as my decided opinion that a gentleman who is about to participate in a marriage ceremony is justified in refusing to wear a coat which by its loose construction and superabundant material indicates, as in the case before us, a manifest want of good husbandry. Suffice it to say Dr. Wilkinson and his friends did object to the garment, and Mr. Redding, after some altercation, consented to retain it. The pantaloons, which constituted a part of the suit, had been sent to the hotel, and the doctor was in the act of paying for them out of a hundred-dollar bill, which he had previously deposited with Mr. Redding, when the judge remarked that he had better not pay for the pantaloons until he had first tried them on, as they might be found to fit no better than the coat. Mr. Redding, according to his own evidence, responded that they had said already too much about this matter,' to which the judge, he says, replied, 'that he did not come there to be insulted,' and immediately seized the poker and struck him. Upon which the doctor and Mr. Murdaugh also fell on him with their knives drawn. Redding then seized his shears, but did not succeed in cabbaging therewith any part of his assailants. IIe was successful, however, in dragging the judge into the street, where, after a slight scuffle, which resulted in no personal injury to any of the parties, they were separated. After the separation, Redding offered, if they would lay down their knives, to fight them all. This kind proposition the defendants declined. But the doctor returned into the shop, obtained his hundred-dollar note, and then the defendants retired from the place.
“Such, in substance, is Mr. Redding's own account of the transaction at his shop. The witness Weaver also proves the altercation which occurred in relation to the fitting of the cont, and the scuffle which ensued in consequence. IIe, however, avers that Redding, in a very insulting manner, told the judge that he was more meddlesome than the other,' and that he was too d-d meddlesome,' or words to that effect, which insulting language so excited the judge that he seized the poker and commenced the assault. The other witness, Craig, Redding's journeyman, testifies in substance the same as Redding as to what passed in the shop, corroborates his account of the altercation about the coat, and says that he considered Dr. Wilkinson not as assisting in the affray, but as attempting to separate the parties. Some of the witnesses think that the doctor attempted in the street to stab Redding, as he was getting the advantage of his brother. The evidence on this point, as well as that in regard to the conduct of Murdaugh, is somewhat contradictory. In the view, however, which I have taken of the case, the discrepancy is of little importance.
“It is clearly proven, take the evidence in any way, that Mr. Redding used insulting language toward Judge Wilkinson on account of the judge's expression of an opinion in relation to the fit of his brother's coat. What was the exact language used it is difficult to ascertain. There were six persons in the room when the quarrel ensued: on the one side the prosecutor (Redding), bis foreman (Craig), and the boy (Weaver); on the other, the three defendants. All the evidence on this point bas been derived from the first party, and ought to be taken with many grains of allowance. The prosecutor has given you his version of the affair, but his cunning has prevented the defendants from giving you theirs. Dr. Wilkinson, who was discharged by the examining magistrate, has been included in the indictment, one would judge, for the purpose of excluding his testimony. No one can doubt that the conduct of Judge Wilkinson, however reprehensible, resulted from the abusive language and insulting demeanor of Mr. Redding. The happy faculty with which he indulged on a subsequent occasion in the use of opprobrious epithets gives good reason to suppose that his remarks on the present were not very guarded. The expression deposed to by Weaver is, I presume, but a sample. You are too d-d meddlesome' was the observation, accomparied, no doubt, by the overbearing and bullying manner which illustrated his conduct afterwards, which smacked more of his spiritual pursuit as the Ganymede of a coffee-house than of his gentle calling of the knight of the shears and thimble. He certainly did on this occasion ósink the tailor,' for tailors are proverbially polite and gentlemanly in their deportment.
“I do not wish to be considered as justifying Judge Wilkinson and his friends in taking notice of the petulant and insulting conduct of Redding. I think they would have better consulted their character and feelings by treating him with contempt. I will go further and candidly admit that I consider their course reprehensible; that it resulted from passion and sudden excitement, and not from deliberate determination. They were themselves convinced of this in a moment, and left the ground ashamed, as they still are, of their participation in the matter, Judge Wilkinson rebuking and leading away his young and more ardent friend, Murdaugh, who seemed to indicate some disposition to accept the boastful challenge of Mr. Redding, “That he could, if they would lay down their knives, whip them all three.' From all the evidence it is perfectly clear that in the altercation no personal injury resulted to any of the parties; that the defendants retired voluntarily from the quarrel, while Redding retained the field, and with boastful taunts and insulting outcries invited a renewal of the fight.
“ The Mississippians were manifestly satisfied. Not so Mr. Redding; he was 'full of wrath and cabbage,' boiling over with violence, and breathing defiance and vengeance against the retreating foe. lle, doubtless,
to his coffee-house, and attempted to soothe his wounded feelings with some of the delightful beverages which it was occasionally his profitable province to dispense to others. Here his friends gathered around him ; he recounted to them his manifold grievances ; he grew warm in the
recital ; the two white-handled pocket-knives, which had been drawn but not used in the affray, danced before his distempered imagination in the shape of trenchant, death-dealing blades. These little instruments of ordinary and general use became at once bowie-knives' in buckram. He believed, no doubt, and made his friends believe, that he was an injured man, and that some satisfaction was due to his insulted honor.
“I have presented this part of the case to you simply for the purpose of enabling you to judge of the subsequent action of the parties and to indicate on which side a desire for vengeance and a combination to obtain it were most likely to originate. Upon the conclusion of the first affray which party would you have suspected of a disposition to renew it? Where could lie the motive on the part of Judge Wilkinson and his friends for additional violence? But who that is acquainted with the workings of human nature or the indications of human feeling will hesitate a moment in believing that revenge lurked in the bosom of Redding and sought only a safe opportunity for development? Ilis conduct indicated a state of mind precisely fitted for the formation of a conspiracy.
* Having laid the foundation, I will now proceed to the erection of the superstructure. I will show, first by the direct and then by the circumstantial proofs, the existence of this foul and cowardly conspiracy. I will, however, here remark that I doubt not the misrepresentations and falsehoods of Mr. Redding in relation to the transaction induced several of the persons implicated to join the combination who with a correct knowledge of the facts would never have participated in the affair.
" First, then, as to the direct and positive evidence. Mr. Jackson says that immediately after the first affray he was passing Mr. Redding's when his attention was attracted by loud talking in the store, which induced him to enter, where he found Redding, Johnson, and Meeks. Johnson was expressing his opinion as to the course which should be pursued toward the Mississippians for their conduct, and said they "ought to go to the “Galt House" and flog them.' "Jack,' said he to Mr. Redding, “just say the word, and I'll go for Bill Holmes and we'll give them hell,' at the same time boasting in his own peculiar phraseology “that he was as much manhood as was ever wrapped up in so much hide.' Upon some hesitation being evinced at this proposition, Meeks said, ' Let's go anyhow, and we'll have a spree.' Mr. Jackson further deposes that some time after he was stopped by Johnson on the street, who told him he was going after IIolmes, that Jack Redding was a good man, and that he (Jackson) ought to go with them to the "Galt House and see him righted. Jackson declined, alleging as an excuse his religious character and his desire to abstain from fighting ; whereupon Johnson exclaimed, in his ardent zeal for enlisting recruits, the church, hell, or heaven ought to be laid aside to right a friend.' Jackson says he understood it distinctly that it was a fight to which he was invited. Mr. Jackson's testimony is entitled to credit. He did not participate in the affair, and he can have