Article Title

The Harper's Ferry Trials.


Newspaper Title

New-York Daily Tribune

Publication Date


Publication Place

New York, New York

Event Topic

John Brown

Political Party



free state


Please Note: Some editorials in this collection contain offensive language, opinions, and other content. The editorials serve as evidence of the time period in which they were created and enable us to engage in more truthful conversations about history. The views expressed in these editorials do not reflect Furman University's values or our commitment to embrace meaningful diversity and equality in all of our endeavors. If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail


we do not see how they could be demanded for trial in Virginia.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

As the Grand Jury of Jefferson County, in whichHarper's Ferry is situated, is already in session,the trial of Brown and his confederates may be expected to take place at once, unless delay be granted to prepare for a trial, or a change ofvenue to some less excited county should be askedfor. Neither of these is probable. The prisonersin fact have no defense, and their case willprobably be speedily disposed of. We trust the wholeproceeding may partake of the same spirit ofdecency, propriety, and respect for the law, andthe rights of the prisoners, which characterizesthe charge given by the presiding Judge to theGrand Jury.

It is suggested, however, that the finding of theGrand Jury will not be limited to indictmentsagainst the prisoners in hand. It is assumedthat indictments will also be found against certaincitizens of this State as accessories before the fact. Long speculations are indulged in as to whetherGovernor Morgan will respond to a requisitionbased on such indictments, and on the probableresults on the one hand of his refusal, or on the other of his compliance.

It does not appear to us that there is the slightestdifficulty in the case, or any occasion for theseelaborate speculations. Even if, instead of themerest surmises, based, in the case of oneindividual, upon his having asked Brown to dine with him,there were the fullest and clearest evidence thatparties in this State had been privy to Brown'sseizure of the arsenal, and had encouraged him init to the extent of providing him with thepecuniary means, we do not see how they could bedemanded for trial in Virginia. The Constitutionprovides that "any person charged in any State"with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall"flee from justice, and be found in another State,"shall, on demand of the executive authority"of the State from which he fled, be"delivered up to the removed to the"State having jurisdiction of the crime." This evidently contemplates that the party chargedmust have fled out of the State making the demand. In case, therefore, of indictments being found inVirginia against any residents of New-York as accessories before the fact, it does not appear thatGov. Wise would have any warrant to demandthem, or Gov. Morgan any authority to surrenderthem. It does not follow, however, in case therewere any evidence against them sufficient tojustify the finding of an indictment, that they wouldtherefore escape trial. We do not see anyobstacle to their being indicted and tried in thecounties in which the acts were done, which arerelied upon as proof of their complicity. It is arule of the criminal law, that a man shall be triedin the county where the act charged was done. The charge in the case supposed, is not the havingseized the Harper's Ferry arsenal, and committedmurder to hold it, but the having counseled, encouraged,and aided those who did go; counsel,encouragement and aid not given in Virginia, but, ifat all, in this State. Why, then, should not the parties be indicted and tried here? They would certainly be in less danger here than in Virginia ofbeing tried for one offense and hanged or lynchedfor another.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by James Cash. Proofed by Beatrice Burton




This item is in the public domain, and can be used by anyone without restriction.

This document is currently not available here.


Event Location


The Harper's Ferry Trials.

we do not see how they could be demanded for trial in Virginia.