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[170] admitted. Mr. Mitchell made an eloquent plea in behalf of his client, addressing the jury for nearly two hours. ‘Indignation and shame for the continuance of the accursed traffic in human flesh,’ wrote Mr. Garrison in describing it, ‘sympathy for the poor victims of oppression, love for the cause of universal liberty, kindled his feelings into a blaze. His eloquence “was a torrent that carried everything before it. He thundered—he lightened.” ’ He declared that the law of libel was ‘the last and most successful engine of tyranny, and had done more to perpetuate public abuses, and to check the march of reform, than any other agent’; dwelt upon the inconsistency of the Government which tolerated the domestic slave trade while treating the foreign traffic as piracy; and pointed out the fatal defect in the indictment, which showed no libel upon Mr. Todd, quoted nothing from the article to implicate or charge him with being privy or consenting to the transportation of slaves, and merely stated the fact of his ownership of the vessel. The postulate assumed by the writer of the article, that the domestic slave trade was as heinous as the foreign, that it was a war upon the human species, murderous and piratical, was certainly not punishable by law, but was a general view of the traffic, expressed in general terms; and ‘the extraordinary license which ’

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Francis Todd (1)
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