Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, “What the Hagerstown Papers Say,” September 9, 1847

    Source citation
    “What the Hagerstown Papers Say,” Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, September 9, 1847, p. 2: 3-4.
    Original source
    Hagerstown (MD) Torch Light
    Newspaper: Publication
    Carlisle American Volunteer
    Newspaper: Headline
    What the Hagerstown Papers Say
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    Within the last week, more than one hundred persons have called at our office to see the Hagerstown papers, and to read their comments in relation to the riot trial. We therefore, for the purpose of gratifying public curiosity, clip the following article from the last Hagerstown “Torch Light.” The other paper published at Hagerstown, the “Mail” had not received the news when it went to press, and says nothing on the subject.

    From the Hagerstown Torch Light.


    In another column, we give all the testimony thus far published, which was elicited at the trial of Prof. M’Clintock and the negroes presented with him, by the Grand Jury of Cumberland county, Pa., for a riot which resulted in the death of one of our Citizens, Mr. James H. Kennedy. The testimony so far as we have seen it, is conclusive of the guilt of Mr. M’Clintock and a large number of the parties presented, and it was therefore with unfeigned surprise, that on Monday night last, we heard that Mr. M’Clintock had been acquitted, and thirteen of the negroes convicted. At the time we are writing this article, we are unacquainted with any of the facts connected with this most singular verdict. How the 13 negroes convicted should have been found guilty upon the same testimony upon which Mr. M’Clintock has been released, when, upon the face of that testimony, the latter is made to appear as the instigator – the prime mover – the very embodiment of the mob – surpasses all bounds of comprehension. No one can read the testimony already published, without being forced to the conviction, that if he is not chargable with the origin of the whole outrage, he is, at least, responsible, by the countenance and encouragement which he gave, for the violence to which it was carried. And no one can believe, that with this countenance and encouragement, those miserable [illegible] would now be required to expiate their offence within the walls of the Penitentiary. This is unjust! – it is rank injustice! – and lamentable as is the conclusion, we are yet forced to believe, that there is “something rotten” in the State of Pennsylvania. No one would have rejoiced more over the fair and complete acquittal of Mr. M’Clintock, than ourself – but an acquittal, with such antagonistic facts staring us fully in the face, is to be deplored, most deeply, by all who entertain a proper respect for justice – a kindly feeling for their race, of a love for their country.

    We will make it our duty to lay before our readers all the testimony and facts that we can obtain, in order that they may form their own opinions – for we regard this as a subject out of which will hereafter, spring questions fraught with [illegible] to the Republic.

    We understand and we allude to it with pleasure, that every effort which talent and zeal could command, was exerted in behalf of the injured citizens of our State. The Deputy Attorney General (Mr. Bonham) in strains of eloquence which drew tears from the most hardened of the audience, opened the cause on the part of the State. After the examination of the witnesses, the Jury was addressed on the same side by Mr. Miller, who in a plain, powerful and cogent speech, seemed to have carried conviction to the minds of all. He was succeeded, on the same side, by Mr. Todd and Mr. Watts – the former of whom seemed to make the accursed shrink within themselves by the power of his sarcasm ; - and the later, winding up the case with an inimitable analysis of the testimony enforced by unanswerable argument, appeared to have removed every shadow of doubt, until the verdict itself startled the whole community. Before we go to press, we may be able to lay some further facts before our readers.

    P. S. Since the above was in type, we have received full notes of the testimony, which will enable us, in our next paper, to furnish a complete report of the trial. At present, we will content ourself with giving, in addition to the reports from the Philadelphia papers, the testimony of some of the most conspicuous witnesses on behalf of the parties accused, which we find in our notes.

    From a hasty revision of the testimony, we see that we have been fully borne out by the witnesses, in the statement of the facts, made by us, immediately after the riot – which statement was so ruthlessly assailed by some of the friends of Professor M’Clintock. In regard to the declaration of Prof. M’C. after Mr. Kennedy had fallen, that “it served him right,” we would state that, owing to the very great excitement which prevailed that the time, this expression may have been misunderstood, although one witness testifies to the words. It is more than probable that he (Prof. M’C.) only remarked that “Mr. Kennedy brought it upon himself,” or words to this effect. As we are not disposed to do Mr. M’C injustice – guilty as we believe him to be – we take pleasure in making this statement.

    Another explanation, as an act of justice to the character of Cumberland County, we take particular pleasure in making. With a noble and manly firmness, which goes very far towards wiping out the stigma inflicted upon Justice, by the Jury, Judge HEPBURN, on behalf of himself, and associates, immediately after the rendition of the verdict, arose and protested in the most positive manner, against the verdict of the Jury. It was, said he, contrary to the testimony, and if it were a matter of dollars and cents, he would not hesitate a moment to set it aside and grant a new trial. In the views of the Court, we are also gratified to learn, a great majority of the citizens fully concurred.

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