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