« PreviousContinue »
not have had any agency, without the sanction and direction of Arnold; and the evidence clearly showed that the whole proceedings of the prisoner were in obedience to the instructions of General Arnold. He also insisted, that the charge against him was in effect a charge of treason against the United States, requiring the strongest proof, and the testimony of two witnesses to each overt act. He then entered into a careful examination of the testimony in the case, and concluded with a solemn asseveration, that what he had declared to General Washington was strictly true; that he had no knowledge whatever of Arnold's real plans, but had acted throughout in good faith.
The Court adjourned, and after holding one session for consideration, pronounced the following sentence:
The evidence produced on the trial and the prisoner's defense being fully and maturely considered by the court, they are of opinion, that notwithstanding it appears to them, that the said Joshua H. Smith did aid and assist Benedict Arnold, late major general in our service, who had entered into a combination with the enemy for the purposes which the charge mentions, yet they are of opinion, that the evidence is not sufficient to convict the said Joshua H. Smith of his being privy to, or having a knowledge of the said Benedict Arnolds' criminal, traitorous and base designs. They are, therefore, of opinion, that the said Joshua H. Smith is not guilty of the charge exhibited against him, and do acquit him of it.
THE TRIAL OF REVEREND GEORGE W. CARAWAN FOR THE MURDER OF CLEMENT H. LASSITER, WASHINGTON, NORTH
A Baptist preacher in North Carolina who had quarreled with a neighbor, a school teacher, followed him into the woods one day, shot him, and then buried his body in a secluded spot. The corpse was accidentally discovered, and fearing that he would be accused, the parson fled the state. But he returned in a few months, was arrested and charged with the crime. When the jury came into court with a verdict of guilty he drew a pistol ; shot the prosecuting attorney and then killed himself.
In the Superior Court of Beaufort County (Washington),
North Carolina, November, 1853. HON. JOHN L. BAILEY, Judge.
November 23. The prisoner having been previously indicted by the Grand Jury for the murder of Clement H. Lassiter was arraigned today and pleaded not guilty.
1 Bibliography. “Trial of the Rev. Geo. W. Carawan, Baptist preacher, for the murder of Clement H. Lassiter, Schoolmaster. Before the_Superior Court of Law of Beaufort County, North Carolina. Fall Term, 1853. With Seven Engravings. New York. Printed for the Proprietor, 1854.”
The pamphlet opens with a sketch of the “life and character" of Carawan, who was born in Hyde County, North Carolina, in 1800. He was an unus
usually bright boy and early became a clever speaker and debater. Before he became of age his mother removed with the family to Malamusket Lake, where he assisted her on a small farm and where he married Elizabeth Carrow. In 1822 he removed to Goose Creek, Beaufort County, where he engaged in George S. Stevenson, State Solicitor, E. J. Warren, and D. M. Carter4 for the State.
James W. Bryan, William D. Rodman, F. B. Satterthwaite, and R. S. Donnell’ for the prisoner.
farming. In 1827 he joined the Baptist Church and soon after was ordained a minister, he having assured the elders that the Savior had appeared to him at his bedside surrounded by a halo of glory, and extending to him a scroll, told him to go and preach the gospel. He had charge of several churches for twenty years and was most successful in his ministry. In 1839 his wife died and in three weeks he married Mary Bell. He carried on farming along with his preaching and was successful in accumulating a good deal of property. He was hospitable and popular. But he was a degenerate, nevertheless. He was generally suspected of having murdered his first wife; he seduced a young woman, Polly Richards, for which he was dismissed from the church, but afterwards on promising amendment, reinstated. The child of this woman he took into his home, but when it was three years old he strangled it, and buried the body before the neighbors could examine it. And of several other crimes he was suspected. Then came the crime of which he was convicted.
2 BAILEY, JOHN LANCASTER. (1795-1877.) Born North Carolina; educated University of North Carolina. Studied law with Gov. Jredell, and was admitted to the bar before 1821. Represented Pasquotank County in the House of Commons (N. C.), 1824, and was elected to the Senate in 1827, 1828, and 1832. Delegate to the State convention, 1835. Judge of the Superior Court, 1837-1863. Taught law in Elizabeth City, Hillsboro, and on his farm in Buncombe County, and conducted a law school at Asheville from 1865 until his death. See Biog. Hist. of N. C.; Wheeler, Hist. sketches of N. C., 1851; Wheeler, Reminis, of N. C., 1884; Arthur, Hist. of West. N. C., 1914.
3 WARREN, EDWARD JENNER. (1824-1876.) Born Vermont; went to North Carolina as a teacher, locating in Washington, where he studied law. State senator, 1862, 1864, 1871, and during his last term speaker. Appointed one of the judges of the Superior Court by Gov. Worth. In politics a strong Whig. See, J. G. McCormick, Personnel of Conv. of 1861. (James Sprunt Hist. Mon. No. 1); Wheeler, Reminiscences of N. C.
* CARTER, DAVID MILLER. Born Hyde County, N. C. Graduated University of North Carolina. Practiced law in partnership with E. J. Warren in town of Washington. A Whig in politics and opposed secession, but at the outbreak of the Civil War raised a company for the 4th N. C. regiment. Wounded at Seven Pines, and disabled for field duty, was made one of three judges of the military court of Longstreet's corps, with rank of colonel, continuing in this position until chosen to represent Beaufort County in the House of Commons in 1864. After the war he returned to
The following jurors were selected: Joshua Rowe, William J. Adams, Jesse Spear, David R. Brooks, Christopher Bright, George S. Brown, Benjamin Patrick, Nathan Godley, John G. Jones, George R. Discon, William R. Tripp, Benjamin Robinson.
MR. STEVENSON'S OPENING.
Mr. Stevenson. Gentlemen of the Jury: In a case of this importance, it is necessary that you should understand distinctly the issues which you are called upon to try, and it becomes my duty, gentlemen, to present those issues. This is a solemn duty. The Court, the bar, and all present, are impressed with its solemnity. You have been selected, gentle
law practice and farming at Washington; later removing to Raleigh. Died in 1877. See, Wheeler, Reminiscences of N. C.
5 RODMAN WILLIAM BLOUNT. (1817-1893.) Born Washington, N. C., of distinguished ancestry. Graduated University of North Carolina, 1836. Studied law under Judge William Gaston of New Bern and began practice in Washington. In 1854, with B. F. Moore and Asa Biggs, was appointed by the legislature to revise the North Carolina code. The alterations necessary to adapt the New York code of civil procedure to the judicial code of North Carolina were mainly the work of Judge Blount. The acts on criminal procedure, draining lowlands, landlord and tenant, and marriage, stand on the statute books substantially as he drew them, and other laws prepared by him form part of the present code. Breckenridge elector in 1860; elector for the state at large on electoral ticket of Jefferson Davis for President of the Confederate States. Raised a company of heavy artillery when North Carolina seceded; later was brigade-quartermaster to Branch's brigade, with rank of major; in 1863 appointed judge of a military court attached to the army of Northern Virginia. Associate-justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1868-1878. Represented Beaufort County in convention of 1868. Considered the leading lawyer of his time in the eastern section of North Carolina. See, Biog. Hist. of N. C.; Wheeler, Reminiscences of N. C.
6 SATTERTHWAITE, FENNER BRYAN. (1813-1875.) Represented Beaufort County in House of Commons (N. C.), 1836. Presidential elector on the Pierce ticket, member of the Conventions of 1861 and 1865, and of the Council of State during Vance's administration. See, J. G. McCormick. Personnel of the Conv. of 1861 (James Sprunt Hist. Mon. No. 1).
7 DONNELL, RICHARD S. Born Newbern, North Carolina. Representative in Congress, 1847-1849. Author of "A Letter on the Rebellion," 1863.
men of the jury, both on the part of the prisoner and the State, for the qualifications which you are presumed to possess for the trial of this important issue. No man is permitted, by our laws, to sit in judgment on the life or death of his fellow man unless he shall be a freeholder. He must have an interest in the soil-he must have at heart the best interests of the State and the welfare of society. The law presumes that they are men of intelligence, indifferent men, who, though they feel themselves under the strongest obligations to society, will yet respect the rights of the accused. You have been selected because you are indifferent, and this inquiry has been made of each of you, where it was thought necessary. If you have not been thus interrogated, the presumption is that you are indifferent. It is supposed that so far as the interests of justice in this case are concerned, your minds are as blank sheets of paper, upon which no impression has as yet been made either for or against the prisoner. But, gentlemen, if this be not so—if you should be under a bias in one direction or the otherif you should not, under the solemn oaths which you have taken, be indifferent, and unimpressed, then you will do a wrong to the State, to the prisoner, and to yourselves.
The prisoner is charged with the highest crime known to the laws—the crime of murder. He stands charged with the murder of Clement H. Lassiter. I shall endeavor to aid you in the inquiry which you are called upon to make, by a presentation of such facts as the State expects to prove. We expect to show that on Monday, the 15th day of November, in the county of Hyde, Clement H. Lassiter, a man in the prime of life and in the enjoyment of good health, was murdered under circumstances of extraordinary barbarity. We expect to show that he was shot with a gun, loaded with leaden bullets, in the back; that he was killed, not by one in manly contest, face to face, but by a hidden foe, who aimed the fatal blow behind, and under circumstances peculiarly diabolical
, thus depriving his victim of his life. That this foul deed was perpetrated in a place where no relief could be afforded-where no eye could see, no ear could hear, no help