Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/89

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to the conference-room by a private way and thence at once entered the court-room, where he was escorted by General Burton to a com- fortable chair with more of the manner of a sympathizing friend than that of his keeper. Mr. Davis was much worn, and showed the marks of extreme feebleness, but he looked cheerful and bright and bowed to his many friends and shook hands with a few who were nearest.

As soon as he had taken his seat Judge Underwood, who was in- capable of appreciating the dignity of his official position, said, turn- ing to the United States army officers who were present: "The court is honored on this occasion by the presence of so many of the nation's noblest and bravest defenders that the usual morning rou- tine will be omitted." The sentiment, so far as it refers to the mil- itary spectators, is unobjectionable, but its utterance on such an occasion has no parallel in judicial conduct since Jeffries held his court at Taunton.

General Burton then presented Mr. Davis to the court in obedience to the writ of habeas corpus. In reply, the judge tendered him the thanks of the court "for his prompt and graceful obedience to its writ. He has thus added another to the many laurels he has gained upon the battle-fields of the country." Imagine Chief-Justice Mar- shall, who once presided in the same court in a great trial for treason, effusively tendering his thanks to anyone who obeyed the mandate of his writ. Inter arma silent leges had so long been the prevailing condition in the land that this debasement of the ermine attracted no attention.

After this display of gratitude, the judge declared that the pris- oner had now " passed under the protection of American Republican law," and was in the custody of the marshal.

What species of law that was it is hard to explain, and when it is remembered that, though ever clamoring for his constitutional right to a speedy trial, it was over three years before it was awarded him, the difficulty in understanding the expression is increased.

The prisoner having thus passed from the control of martial law into that of this " Republican law," Mr. O' Conor announced that the defense was ready and desired a trial. To this Mr. Evarts replied that the case could not be heard at that term; to which, of course, the judge assented. Motion for bail was then made, and by the practical consent of the prosecution it was granted, and the pen- alty was fixed at $ico,coo, but this was not effected until Judge