A trial for treason at Cincinnati.
--A man named Ogilvie Byron Young is on trial before the United States
Court in Cincinnati
on a charge of treason.
, of Missouri
, is to be a witness in the case, an attachment having been issued against him.
The United States District Attorney, in his opening statement to the jury, stated that the offence called misprison of treason has existed as Common Law for centuries, and is of two kinds; it is either positive or negative.
Positive misprison is where one commits an act which he is by law prohibited from doing — Negative misprison is where one fails to make known the crime of others.
No other crime, save that of treason, can be negative misprison.
All others are positive, and we expect to show that the defendant, Ogilvie Byron Young, has been guilty of this crime in concealing the names and places of abode of persons who were levying war against the United States
, and affording aid and comfort to its enemies.
We expect to show that Young is a native of Virginia
; that he resided some time at Cape Girardeau
, and afterwards in Alabama
, in the service of the so-called Confederate States of America
, and was in correspondence with persons guilty of treasonable acts.
That he came to Ohio
about April 1st, 1861. for the purpose of giving aid and comfort to these persons, and that he never divulged their names.
Hon. William M. Corry
, for the defence, said the prisoner stands on the defence arraigned under the act of 1790--an act threescore and ten years old, and one which contains the definition of a negative crime.
The Government has grasped the horn of the dilemma, which it calls negative misprison, and it is bound to prove that the defendant did not communicate his knowledge to the President
of the United States
, to any of the judges thereof, to the Governor
of any State, to any judge or to any justice.
In short, it has got to prove a negative, the hardest thing in the world to prove, and, more than that, a hundred of them; and how they will get along with it remains to be seen.
The Commercial gives the following brief sketch of the evidence taken on the first day of the trial:
Somewhere about the first of April last the prisoner took lodgings at the Spencer House
, registering his name as being from Missouri
He remained there until the 23d of April, having in the meantime made the acquaintance of a fellow-guest, to whom he stated that it was ‘"nothing but nuts and cheese"’ for the South
to whip the North
, and that he was to take command of the Texas Rangers and march to Washington
A nice little squabble was had by the lawyers as to the relevancy of all this.
Many keel thrusts were made, and about a wheelbarrow load of books used in the controversy.
maintained that if the prisoner knew that a regiment, or a company, or a squad of men were going to march on Washington
, or bombard Cincinnati
, or ‘"run a plowshare through its boulders,"’ as a certain politician once said, and had sufficient knowledge of their intention to expect to lead them there, he knew enough to tell, and was guilty if he did not.
refused to sustain the objection.
It also appeared that at the time of his arrest a quantity of papers were found on his person, among which were three letters from L. P. Walker
, Gov. Pettus
, of Mississippi
, and Senator James Green
, and that he claimed to be indignant at Jeff. Davis
for not having ratified the bargain between himself and Walker
, he said, tendered him an office of lower rank in the service of the Confederate States
than that which he should have held, and they had a rupture in consequence.
The contents of these letters have
not yet been given to the jury.
will be examined to prove the occupation of Fort Moultrie
, which is one of the acts of war recited in the indictment.