CRIME IN AMERICA.
Referring to the above subject, the New York correspondent of the “ Australasian” savs ;
Next to politics, what engages the public mind most at present is the “ Epidemic of Crime,” as it is rather fancifully called. If it -were really in the air, and the germs of murder, swindling and robbery were scattered by the wind, the result could hardly be more startling or extensive. Within the past month, no less than 20 murders have been committed in the City of New York and its vicinity, and some of them have been of a most outrageous character. Four were reported on the morning of the 4th of July. One of these was worth noting. An old man residing with his brother in a theological seminary occupying extensive grounds near the centre of the city, went out about 11 p.m. to see that no intruders were on the grounds. Two hours later he was found shot through the heart. The police, with their average acuteness, immediately started the theory that he had committed suicide. There was not a particle of evidence to sustain the notion. The dead man was of a cheerful temperament, in easy circumstances, the head of a family, and himself of perfectly regular habits and of pure life. Hut so wedded to their invention were the detectives, that no adequate investigation was had, and the coroner’s jury was allowed to bring in the amazing verdict that Seymour came to his death with a pistol shot, fired accidentally by some unknown. Tliia jewel of “ Crowncr’s ’quest ” law ends all enquiry, though there was strong reason to believe, from the evidence given, that the old man was shot by a man with a woman in a dark corner of the grounds. New York is not alone by any means in its remarkable harvest of crime. Nearly every large city of the Union, especially in the ordinarily quiet States of the east, is engrossed in some extraordinary trial for murder or other serious offence. Boston is engaged with the case of a white-haired church officer, exposed suddenly in a long series of forged endorsements of his own paper. The most striking feature in his case is the frantic efforts that are being made by his highly respectable friends to save him from punishment, by paying the forged paper. In Kentucky, the sensation is the trial of a lawyer of high standing at the bar for having deliberately killed a judge who had given judgment against him in a foreclosure suit. This gentleman, a Colonel Burford, seems to have been a model of the oldfashioned southern chivalry. He is a man of honorable character in his ordinary dealings, but of ungovernable temper. Hearing that his brother had sold out the half of a farm which the two owned jointly, he sent word to the purchaser that he should bo shot on sight if he undertook to enter upon the property. Then he sought his brother, and warned him that he was about to kill him. The brother who was armed, threw away his pistol, and folding his arms,, faced the angry man, who fired three shots at him. He was so excited, however, that none of the shots hit. Three days after he severely wounded a friend of his brother’s who reproached him for his cowardly assault. When his sister’s farm was sold under foreclosure —the suit led to the present trial- —he garrisoned the house against the sheriff, and successfully resisted a siege of three days, which was finally raised on account of a new trial being ordered. When the new trial ended adversely, he “loaded his gun,” in his own language, “ slung on his game bag and started out to hunt judges.” He failed to find two, but the third he came up with, and killed on sight, the wretched victim being entirely defenceless and off his guard. When arrested he caressed his shotgun, and remarked, “ She went as clear as a bell then added, kissing the barrel, ‘ ‘ I’ve had a good deal of sport with you, but 1 reckon this will be the last. You have brought down noble game to-day.” Being told that the judge he had shot was dead, he exclaimed, “By , I thought he could not get away with that load.” This brute was defended on the plea of insanity, and though the evidence was of the flimsiest character, he was sentenced only to imprisonment for life—a sentence from which he will not be long in escaping.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 8, 14 October 1879
CRIME IN AMERICA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 8, 14 October 1879
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