Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California with Other Sketches; To Which Is Added the Story of His Attempted Assassination by a Former Associate on the Supreme Bench of the State eBook

George Congdon Gorham
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 412 pages of information about Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California with Other Sketches; To Which Is Added the Story of His Attempted Assassination by a Former Associate on the Supreme Bench of the State.
the life of Terry, under the circumstances, he was acting under the authority of the law of the United States, and was justified in doing so; and that he is not liable to answer in the courts of California on account of his part in that transaction.

    “We therefore affirm the judgment of the Circuit Court
    authorizing his discharge from the custody of the sheriff of
    San Joaquin county.”

[1] NOTE.—­Mr. Choate took great interest in the question
    involved—­the right of the Government of the United States
    to protect its officers from violence whilst engaged in the
    discharge of their duties,—­deeming its maintenance essential
    to the efficiency of the Government itself; and he declined to
    make any charge or take any fee for his professional services
    in the case.  The privilege of supporting this great principle
    before the highest tribunal of the country, where his powers
    would be most effectively engaged in securing its recognition,
    was considered by him as sufficient reward.  Certainly he has
    that reward in the full establishment of that principle—­for
    which, also, both he and Attorney-General Miller will receive
    the thanks of all who love and revere our national government
    and trust that its existence may be perpetuated.

Mr. James C. Carter, the distinguished advocate of New York, also took a deep interest in the questions involved, and had several consultations with Mr. Choate upon them; and his professional services were given with the same generous and noble spirit that characterized the course of Mr. Choate.

CHAPTER XXI.

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS.

Thus ends the history of a struggle between brutal violence and the judicial authority of the United States.  Commencing in a mercenary raid upon a rich man’s estate, relying wholly for success on forgery, perjury, and the personal fear of judges, and progressing through more than six years of litigation in both the Federal and the State courts, it eventuated in a vindication by the Supreme Court of the United States of the constitutional power of the Federal Government, through its Executive Department, to protect the judges of the United States courts from the revengeful and murderous assaults of defeated litigants, without subjecting its appointed agents to malicious prosecutions for their fidelity to duty, by petty State officials, in league with the assailants.

The dignity and the courage of Justice Field, who made the stand against brute force, and who, refusing either to avoid a great personal danger or to carry a weapon for his defense, trusted his life to that great power which the Constitution has placed behind the judicial department for its support, was above all praise.

The admirable conduct of the faithful deputy marshal, Neagle, in whose small frame the power of a nation dwelt at the moment when, like a modern David, he slew a new Goliath, illustrated what one frail mortal can do, who scorns danger when it crosses the path of duty.

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Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California with Other Sketches; To Which Is Added the Story of His Attempted Assassination by a Former Associate on the Supreme Bench of the State from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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