Spirit of Jefferson

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In 1865 Gerrit Smith commence a libel suit…

Spirit of Jefferson


In 1865 Gerrit Smith commence a libel suit…








Benjamin F. Beall Charlestown, (West) Virginia July 9, 1867

Topics African Americans,Crime,Abolition

In 1865 Gerrit Smith commence a libel suit against the Chicago Times for having intimated that he had first aided John Brown to go to Harper's Ferry, and then feigned insanity to escape the consequences of his act. The libel was claimed to be the charge of feigning insanity. At the first hearing the judge decided that a charge of that character was not libelous unless it was show than the alleged feigning of insanity was on account of criminal action. It is now proposed by both parties to prove that it was on account of the Harper's Ferry affair, Mr. Smith's counsel taking ground that that would be such a libel as the court would take cognizance of, while the Tribune proposes to prove that Mr. Smith, by money and counsel, did help Captain John Brown, and did feign insanity to escape the consequences thereof. -- To do this they will call on the stand all parties known to have been identified therewith, and some also who are not publicly known. The trial will probably develop many facts not heretofore made public.</p>

[Washington Chronicle.