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Question by the same. In the conference to which you have referred, between the Court and Mr. Lawless, on the first rule, did Mr. Lawless, by inadvertence or otherwise, apply to himself the sentiments contained in the publication?
A. Not while I was there, to the best of my recollection.
Question by the same. In the words which you have attributed to the Judge, in the first part of your deposition, do you pretend to speak with accuracy, as to the words used by the Court?
A. I do not. I cannot be positive that I use the words of the Judge, precisely as they were delivered: I have, however, given his language, as near as I can remember it.
Question by the same. Has the intercourse between you and myself been rather limited to a professional one than otherwise?
A. I think it has.
Question by the same. Do you know whether the members of the St. Louis bar were generally monopolised by the land claimants?
A. I do not know that any of the members of the St. Louis bar were employed in any of the land causes, unless it was by the claimants.
Question by the same. Do you recollect whether, when the publication of Mr. Lawless had been read by Mr. Bates, so far as that the Judge had been three times brought to view in it, twice by his proper name, that the Court then stopped Mr. Bates, and commented upon that fact as indicative of an intention to hold the Judge up to public observation rather than the Court?
A. That was the substance of the Judge's remarks on the paragraph, which I have quoted in the first part of my deposition. He adverted to the frequent repetition of the words “ Judge,” and “Judge Peck," as an evidence that he was aimed at rather than the Court. He commented upon the words “ has thought proper," as implying that he had made the decision in the exercise of his own will, rather than having been governed by the law.
Question by Mr. Davis. Was the memorialist engaged in much professional business, in the District Court of the United States, other than the class of land cases before alluded to?
A. I answer that Colonel Lawless' business was chiefly in the land courts; there was very little other business in the District Court, and of that I do not think Col. Lawless had his proportionate share.
H. S. GEYER. Sworn and subscribed before the Committee on the Judiciary, the 19th March, 1830. ATTEST,
Chairman. MARCH 20, 1830. Judge Peck requested that Mr. Geyer might be recalled and asked the following questions; which was done accordingly:
Q. Did you request of me that the opinion in the case of Soulard's heirs might be published?
A. I expressed such a wish.
Q. Do you recollect whether-before you made your first argumentyou had compared the publication with the opinion, or whether you argued the matter of the agreement or disagreement, or left that to your associate counsel?
A. I do not think I ever compared the two documents, either before or after that argument. I left the question of misrepresentation entirely out of my argument, proceeding on a different ground.
Q. Whether Colonel Lawless was interrupted in his argument whilst discussing any other question, except that of misrepresentation; and if so, what?
A. The interruptions occurred whilst Colonel Lawless was attempting to show that the piece signed “ A Citizen” was not a misrepresentation. He read occasionally a sentence from the opinion of the Judge, as published, and then from his own publication, and proceeded to argue there was no misrepresentation in that part of it, from time to time. It was on these occasions, and these only, that I recollect he was interrupted in the manner I have stated upon my former examination. The Judge referring occasionally to other remarks in the piece signed “A Citizen,” which he insisted were misrepresentations. The Judge referred at the same time to other parts of the opinion.
H. S. GEYER. Sworn and subscribed before the Committee on the Judiciary, the 19th March, 1830. ATTEST,
Chairman. Arthur L. Magenis being duly sworn according to law, doth depose and
say, as follows: I had heard an intimation that, on the convening of the District Court of Missouri, sitting as a court for the trial of land claims within the State of Missouri, the court would, in all probability, take some proceedings relative to a publication which had appeared in the “ Advocate,” under the signature of " A Citizen," commenting upon an opinion delivered by that court, and published in the “ Missouri Republican,” relative to the case of Soulard. I was not in court immediately on its opening. I think that some time in the course of the day, on my going to the place where court was held, I found Colonel Lawless addressing the court upon the subject of a rule being made against the printer of the Advocate, and contending against the legality of making such a rule. It is not in my power to say, for what length of time the counsel, Colonel Lawless, had been engaged in addressing the court upon that subject. As far as I can recollect, there were frequent interruptions made by the court, and a species of colloquy going on between the bench and the counsel. I thought the interruptions calculated to embarrass and impede the counsel in his discussion. I am not certain that I remained in court until the conclusion of the argument, nor do I think that I was present when the court pronounced its decision upon the points made at bar. I did, however, learn that the court had over-ruled the grounds assumed by Colonel Lawless. Either on that evening, or the succeeding morning, I was informed, either that the printer and publisher of the Advocate had given up the name of Colonel Lawless, as the author of the piece signed “ X Citizen,” or that Colonel Lawless had avowed himself to be such; which of the two I cannot positively state. At the same time, I think it was stated to me, by Colonel Lawless, that a rúle to shew cause had been made by the court against him, as the author of that piece, why an attachment should not issue for a contempt alleged to be by him committed in the publication of the piece referred to. I was requested by Col. Lawless
to attend at the place where court would meet, and, as his counsel, argue against the rule. In compliance with that request I accordingly appeared and delivered an argument before the court, contending against the legality of the rule. Whether I was informed by the court, or learned it privately, that the question, as to whether the matter contained in the publication, signed “ A Citizen,” amounted to a contempt, and that argument would be precluded as to that point in the case, I am not able to state precisely, though the impression on my mind, now is, that, before commencing the argument, I applied to the court for information, and was informed that that point was not debateable; it being settled that the matter in the piece involved a contempt. I then assumed the ground before the court, that, admitting the matter contained in the piece to be such as would amount to a libel, that the cause having been finally decided by that court, and passed away from its jurisdiction, it could not be considered a contempt: That I viewed the doctrine of contempt as applying only in relation to publications which were made, touching cases pending in court, and to offences committed in the presence of the court: l'hat the case before the court did not come within that rule: That the case was as much beyond the control of that court, as if it had been decided years before; and that the court of King's Bench, might just as well punish, for a comment upon an opinion delivered by some of its judges, who were dead and no longer ceased to exist, as this court attempt to exercise that authority. I believe I urged upon the court the propriety, even admitting the legality of the position assumed by the court, of submitting the matter to the consideration of a Grand Jury. I was listened to by the court without interruption. Mr. Geyer followed me on the same side. Mr. Strother was making observations, and sat down at the request of Col. Lawless, I believe. The court, on the conclusion of the argument, sustained the rule, and over-ruled the positions assumed by the counsel of Colonel Lawless. I think that previous, or immediately at the point of time, when the court commenced delivering its opinion, Mr. Bates, the District Attorney, was requested by the court to read the publication, signed " A Citizen;" as he proceeded in the perusal of it, the court commented upon the paragraphs, and so on until the publication was read through by Mr. Bates, or neariy so. The judge appeared to be under a strong excitement; his manner was vehement; he commented upon the motives which could have induced that publication. The precise words which he used, I cannot pretend to give; some of them impressed themselves upon my recollection; and to the best of my belief, the terms false, malicious, slanderous, calumniator, were repeatedly used in the course of his observations, and, as I understood them, applied to the author of that publication. One particular passage I know, referred to the course which was pursued in China, as against an individual who was convicted of slander or calumny, that his house was blacked as significant of the heart of its inhabitant, and as a warning to the community to beware of such a person, or something like that. During the time when the court was pronouncing its opinion, Colonel L:wless, I think, to the best of my recollection, spoke in an under tone to Mr. Geyer and myself, to know whether we thought he ought to remain-I think he said to listen to such a torrent of abuse, or words to that effect; and I recollect, he was advised to go away, either by Mr. Geyer or myself, or both, and accordingly left the room. On the rule being made absolute, I cannot presisely say whether I remained or left the court house, nor can I say, that I was present when the court pronounced its sentence. The Circuit Court of the State was then in session, and my attention was so divided that I am unable to assert, whether I was present at the delivery of the sentence or not, but it was immediately communicated to me, if I were not present. Colonel Lawless was taken into custody by the marshal, and so soon as I was released from my duties in the circuit court, I went to the gaol of the county of St. Louis, where I found him. I obtained the cause of his detention, and on the proper affidavit being made, a writ of habeas corpus was obtained, the body of the prisoner was brought before the Circuit Court, and he was discharged in from, two to four hours after his commitment; not less than two, nor more than four hours.
Q. By Judge Peck. From whom did you receive the information that proceedings were, probably, to be taken by the court, in consequence of the publication by “A Citizen," and when?
A. I cannot state any individual in particular from whom I received the information; it appears to me that it was a topic of conversation or discussion, first among the members of the St. Louis bar. The time at which the matter was first broached, could not have been long previous to the session of the court at which the rule was made.
Q. By the same. Were you present during the whole, or what part of the argument made by Colonel Lawless?
A. I was not present at the whole of the argument made by Colonel Lawless. To the best of my recollection, when I heard Colonel Lawless, he was commenting upon the piece signed “A Citizen;" and endeavoring to prove, or to shew to the court that it contained nothing which was derogatory to the character of the court, or a misrepresentation of its opinion.
Q. By the same. Were the interruptions by the court, made during his comment upon the publication, and while he was endeavoring to sustain its truth by a reference to the opinion?
A. It appears to me so. In this I may be mistaken, but to the best of my opinion such was the fact.
Q. By the same. On these interruptions, did the court refer the counsel to parts of the opinion from time to time, which it supposed to be misrepresented?
A. I think the court did. In some of the interruptions, the court referred the counsel to some parts of the opinion, in which it stated, that the publication misrepresented it.
Q. By the same. Did the court, in other interruptions of the counsel, refer to parts of the publication which it supposed to be exceptionable?
A. It is very possible the court may have so done.
Q. By the same. Did Mr. Geyer make any argument upon the question of misrepresentation of the decision of the court, which was charged in the rule?
A. I rather think I did not hear Mr. Geyer on the argument, made upon the rule against the printer; and when Mr. Geyer spoke upon the rule made upon Colonel Lawless, I am of the opinion that Mr. Geyer did not take any such ground, as I have before stated; it having been dccided by the court, upon the rule against the printer, that the publication signed “A Citizen" was a misrepresentation, and no longer lest for discussion.
Q. By same. If the court interrupted Colonel Lawless with any other object than that above referred to by you, please state it.
A. I cannot pretend to divine the motive of the court,
Q. By the same. Please state the nalure of the interruptions on the part of the court, and the words it used, other than that of directing the attentian of counsel to particular parts of the publication, which were supposed to be addressed, with the view of influencing the public mind, or that of the claimants, or supposed to reflect upon the court, or to contain a misrepresentation of the points decided by the court, or to some part of the opinion supposed to be misrepresented?
A. It is not now in my power, nor perhaps could I even then have repeated the words used by the Court to the counsel during the course of those interruptions. As to the nature of the interruptions they were frequent. From the manner of the Judge he appeared to be impatient. The impression made upon my mind by his manner was, that he was aware the counsel who was addressing the Court was himself the author of the publication in question.
Q. By the same. Did the understanding seem to be mutual between Court and Counsel in relation to the authorship of the publication?
A. I was aware of the fact that Col. Lawless was the author of that puhlication, and thought that he showed a more subdued tone when engaged in the discussion, in consequence of his being the author, than he would have done in a case where he was simply acting as counsel without being at all implicated personally in the transaction.
Q. By the same. Do you or not say, during the progress of the argument, to Mr. Bates, that the Court and Counsel seemed to understand very well as between them who the author was, or in substance to this effect?
A. I have no particular recollection of such an observation; but, as I believe such was my impression, I think it highly probable I may have so said.
Q. By the same. Did Col, Lawless, in the course of his argument, frequently affirm or assert that all that was contained in the publication was true?
A. Colonel Lawless, it appears to me, whenever he touched upon the question of the publication having misiepresented the opinion of the Court, strenuously contended that the opinion was not misrepresented by the publication. I cannot state whether he did or did not use the precise words that every thing contained in the publication was true.
Q. By the same. Were you present after Colonel Lawless had been brought in upon the attachment?
A. That is previously answered in my statement in chief. I cannot say whether I was or not. .
Q. By the same. Do you recollect of presenting a bill of exceptions to the Court, and of the Court declining to sign the bill of exceptions, of moving that the bystanders should do so?
A. Since it has been mentioned by the Judge, it rather appears to me that such may have been the fact, though even yet I would not speak with certainty upon the subject. I can only attribute my want of a clearer recollection of the circumstances to the hurry in which it must have been done, as my attention was very much divided at the time, the Circuit Court of the State being then in session, and my presence in that Court being almost every moment required.
Q. By the same. Could you recollect the day of the week upon which the judgment was rendered against Colonel Lawless?
A. I could not.
Q. By the same. Do you recollect how many days the proceedings were prolonged?
A. Several days, but the number I cannot state.