read aloud the section which Mr. Ingersoll
pointed out; placing strong emphasis on such portions as bore upon the case then pending.
When he had concluded, he observed, ‘I presume the court must now be convinced that the censures so liberally bestowed on my conduct are altogether unmerited.’
The counsel for the claimant said a newspaper was not legal evidence of the existence of a law. Friend Hopper
replied, ‘The court is well aware that I am no lawyer.
But I have heard lawyers talk about prima facie
evidence; and I should suppose the National Intelligencer amounted at least to that sort of evidence, for it is the acknowledged organ of government, in which the laws are published for the information of citizens.
But if that is not satisfactory, I presume the court will detain the man until an authenticated copy of the law can be obtained.’
After some discussion, the court ordered a copy of the law to be procured.; but the attorney abandoned the case, and the slave was set at liberty.
As soon as this decision was announced, the throng of spectators, white
, began to shout, ‘Hurra for Mr. Hopper
The populace were so accustomed to see him come off victorious from such contests, that they began to consider his judgment infallible.
Many years afterward, when Friend Hopper