There was nothing attractive or striking in the construction of the room; it was, indeed, ordinary. The seats were of common wood. Over the judge's seat was a large picture of Christ on the Cross. The prisoner was a young man of eighteen, who was charged with killing his mistress. It seems that the two, according to a French fashion, tired of life, agreed mutually to kill each other. The pistol of the prisoner took effect, and the girl was killed; but hers did not take effect. The prisoner then tried to kill himself, but was finally arrested before he had consummated his project. I shall preserve the printed account of the trial. Here I shall only mention a few things that I observed, and which will not appear in the published account. The first step was the reading of the act of accusation or indictment by the clerk. The names of all the witnesses were then called. They were very numerous, and were all sent into an adjoining room. Among them was the mother of the prisoner and also the mother of the deceased. The prisoner himself was first examined very minutely by the judge, and detailed all the important circumstances of his life, his education, and of his final commission of the offence with which he was charged. He gave all the particulars fully. This examination was conducted entirely by the senior judge. The prisoner cried while telling his story, and did not speak loud enough to be distinctly heard by the jury. He was then removed from the witnesses' stand. The judge next read the proces verbal of the examination of the prisoner on his first apprehension, and then the testimony given by physicians at the first examination. Witnesses were then introduced one by one; first the mother of the accused: she was sworn. The oath was very much like ours; so much so, that I think it must have been borrowed from England. The witness holds up his hand while the judge repeats the oath (the judge not rising); and, at the close of the oath, kisses his hand. The mother sat while giving her testimony, and was in tears all the while. She frequently fortified what she said by adding that it was given upon her ‘parole d'honneur,’—which sounded a little curious when she was already under oath. The second witness was a man. He stood up and was examined, as were all after him, by the judge. The few questions put by counsel on either side were through the mouth of the judge; and there were not half-a-dozen during the whole trial, and to, perhaps, thirty witnesses. The first set of witnesses proved the previous character of the accused; the second set the same of the deceased. Next came the doctors, and then the persons who found the body and the prisoner. Members of the jury asked questions when they pleased; and all, or nearly all, had a little piece of paper on which to make notes. The examination of witnesses was completed the first day, and the court adjourned at about five o'clock in the afternoon. The jury separated without any injunction not to converse on the subject of the trial; but on the adjournment mingled among the crowd. March 17. At ten o'clock the court again convened. One of the morning papers contained a full report of the doings of yesterday. My friend, the counsel of the prisoner, anticipating it last night, enjoined upon his servant
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 2 : Parentage and Family.—the father.
Chapter 3 : birth and early Education.— 1811 - 26 .
Chapter 4 : College Life.— September , 1826 , to September , 1830 .—age, 15 - 19 .
Chapter 5 : year after College.— September , 1830 , to September , 1831 .—Age, 19 - 20 .
Chapter 6 : Law School .— September , 1831 , to December , 1833 .—Age, 20 - 22 .
Chapter 7 : study in a law office .—Visit to Washington .— January , 1854 , to September , 1834 .—Age, 23 .
Chapter 8 : early professional life.— September , 1834 , to December , 1837 .—Age, 23 - 26 .
Chapter 9 : going to Europe .— December , 1837 .—Age, 26 .
Chapter 10 : the voyage and Arrival.— December , 1837 , to January , 1838 — age, 26 - 27 .
Chapter 11 : Paris .—its schools.— January and February , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 12 : Paris .—Society and the courts.— March to May , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 13 : England .— June , 1838 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 27 - 28 .
Chapter 14 : first weeks in London .— June and July , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 15 : the Circuits .—Visits in England and Scotland .— August to October , 1838 .—age, 27 .
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