It should be borne in mind that Terry’s letter to Montgomery was written September 8th. It directly contradicts what he had said to ex-Congressman Wigginton on the 5th or 6th of the same month. To that gentleman he declared that he knew of no “old grudge or little difference” between himself and Judge Field. He said he had declined to support the latter for the Presidency, and added: “That may have caused some alienation, but I do not know that Judge Field knew that.”
In his insane rage Terry did not realize how absurd it was to expect people to believe that Judge Sawyer and Judge Sabin, both Republicans, had participated in putting him in jail, to punish him for not having supported Justice Field for the Presidency in a National Democratic Convention years before.
Perhaps Terry thought his reference to the fact that Judge Field’s name had been previously used in Democratic Conventions, in connection with the Presidency, might have some effect upon President Cleveland’s mind.
This letter was not forwarded to Zachariah Montgomery until a week after it was written. He then stated in a postscript that he had delayed sending it upon the advice of his attorneys pending the application to the Circuit Court for his release. Again he charged that the judges had made a false record against him, and that evidence would be presented to the President to show it.
Terry and his friends brought all the pressure to bear that they could command, but the President refused his petition for a pardon, and, as already shown, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that his imprisonment for contempt had been lawfully ordered. He was therefore obliged to serve out his time.
Mrs. Terry served her thirty days in jail, and was released on the 3d of October.
There is a federal statute that provides for the reduction of a term of imprisonment of criminals for good behavior. Judge Terry sought to have this statute applied in his case, but without success. The Circuit Court held that the law relates to state penitentiaries, and not to jails, and that the system of credits could not be applied to prisoners in jail. Besides this, the credits in any case are counted by the year, and not by days or months. The law specifies that prisoners in state prisons are entitled to so many months’ time for the first year, and so many for each subsequent year. As Terry’s sentence ran for six months, the court said the law could not apply. He consequently remained in jail until the 3d of March, 1889.
TERRY’S CONTINUED THREATS TO KILL JUSTICE FIELD—RETURN OF THE LATTER TO CALIFORNIA IN 1889.