Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 16.djvu/368

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

362 Southern Historical Society Papers.

lence or of exasperated resentment." After the war was over Mr. Hunter and Mr. Voorhees met in Washington, and of that meeting the latter says : "He had suffered severely by the war; his house had been burned and his home desolated by his kinsman," (Major- General David Hunter, United States Army), "and yet his temper in talking of these things was the sweetest and most charitable I have ever known. He not only found no fault, had no censure, but even found excuses and suggested reasons for conduct which to my eyes was simply brutal. Such was your father as I knew him and as he appeared to me. I saw him a few times afterward, and he always appeared the same a gentleman of commanding intellect, broad and generous sympathy, and lofty and chivalrous instincts."

No further evidence of the purity of character, eminence and fair- ness as a lawyer, of Andrew Hunter need be produced. But as regards the fairness of Brown's trial, there is still another witness, whose statement, while not under oath, was made under circum- stances of solemnity that far exceeded those surrounding the ordi- nary witness. As is well known, Brown was convicted. At this result probably no one was less surprised than himself. On the 6th day of the trial he was called to the bar and asked if he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced upon him. In a clear and distinct voice he said he had, and denied everything except an intention to free slaves ; he intended to have made a clean thing of that matter, as he had done the winter before in Missouri ; he designed to do the same thing here on a larger scale ; he never intended to commit murder or treason, and thought it unjust that he should suffer such a penalty. He attempted a justification of his efforts, and continuing, said: " Let me say one word further. I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial. Con- sidering all the circumstances, it has been more generous than I expected." This is the statement of the person most interested in the trial and its result, notwithstanding he had on two or three occa- sions during the trial found fault with the ruling of the judge, but never with the conduct of counsel for the prosecution. When the final scene in the courthouse was about to be enacted ; standing in the shadow of the gallows, as it were; cut loose from the world ; a dead man in all except that he still retained breath and speech, and with that breath and speech which he knew must soon cease he declared : " I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial." The testimony of this last and most important witness is commended to the fairness of Dr. Von Hoist.