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A 'Frisco Sensation.

EX-MEW ZEALANDETt FIRES AT A JUDGE.

Sensation occurred during the sitting of a court in San Francisco on November 28, Superior Judge James C. Hebbaird being iired at by Isaac R. Selby, a street preacher, who had formerly lived in Australia. In describing the scene the San Francisco Chronicle says that Selby's ire had been aroused by the judge granting- Mrs Selby's plea for divorce. The Chronicle proceeds :—: — It was while the suit of the Crescent Feather Company against the Upholsterers' Union was on trial that the shot was fired. A moment before a shabby, shambling, pale-faced man had been seen to enter the door at the light of the bench ancl walk rapidly to a point directly opposite the judge. There he planted himself against a door leading to the judge's chambers, and without a moment's hesitation drew a revolver and hied 1 , the bullet passing over the heac. of the clerk of the court, and taking eli'ect in the leather upholstery of the judge's chair, not an inch from his right temple. "Don't let that man get away !'" cried Judge Hebbard almost before the sound at the shooting had died away, and, while the others were recovering their senses, he had leaped over the reporters' table and was across the room to where the assailant crouched', unnervecT by the sudden turn of affairs. The wildest confusion prevailed in the courtroom, many making for the door as iJ their lives hung upon instant escape. JUDGE GEAPPLES WITH "SELBY 1 . Judge Hebbard says that he. was grappling with Selby before anybody else had time to reach the spot where the murderous preacher crouched. "I heard the bullet whiz past," he declares, "and for a moment did not Itnow whether I was struck or not. 1 saw that he had the advantage, and it came over me that my hour had come. I noticed him when he entered the courtroom a moment before, but I had no idea that he was going to shoot until I saw the pistol. Then I realised^ what was coming. It was too late to prevent it, as he acted quicker than thought. As soon as the shot was lired I shook myself to see if I was hurt, and as there was nothing the matter with me I called out "Don't let thai man get away !' and got down as fast a s I could to where Selby was. I think L struck him one blow under the chin and pressed strong on his throat. He snapped the pistol at me when I reached him, but the cartridges, perhaps, had got out of place, and did not explode. I felt an impulse to hit him again, but as he was disarmed thought better of it. It looked then as if some of the men in the courtroom might assault the fellow, and so I ordered them to let him alone." Judge Hebbard made a further statement to the effect that Selby had written many abusive letters to him on account of his rulings in the divorce case. In one of them was enclosed a copy of a circular letter which Selby had sent to the Australian papers, reflecting upon the methods of the courts in the Una feed States in general and of San Francisco in particular. These communications were recently destroyed in the belief that the last had been heard of the disappointed litigant. But last week he renewed his attacks, hanging round the court for , three days. Judge Hebbard declares, and haunting the corridors leading to that portion of the City Hall. "I suppose now that he was nerving himself for the attack," says the judge, "though I paid no particular attention to it at the time." ' CALLED ON THE JUDGE. The last call made on Judge Hebbard in his chambers was about two months ago. Selby entered and tried to resume the discussion ' of his unsuccessful defence in his wife's divorce proceedings, and was told that he need say no more, as the matter was closed so far as the court was concerned. ■'I don't want to see you any more, sir," said Judge Hebbard. "Then, if 1 can't talk to you, I'll do the next best thing/ Selby responded. He was ordered out of the room, and went away muttering threats. SELBY'S ANTECEDENTS. Selby comes from good stock, being the son of Isaac Selby, of Dunecin, South Island, JS T ew Zealand. It was in New Zealand that the son was married to Theresa Beatrice Chapman. The couple removed to Melbourne, where Selby attained considerable notoriety as a preacher of the denomination known as the "Church of Christ." Coming to. America, he expected, so his wife says, to sec every street covered with triumphal arches, but, finding himself taken no notice of, his wounced vanity made him morose. Afterwards he went back to Australia and ran for Parliament, being defeated by a tremendous majority. Returning to this country, he was met by divorce proceedings instituted by bis "wife on the grounds of desertion and non-support. He retaliated by su ing Donald M'liae, a furniture dealer at 829, Mission-street, for the alienation of Mrs oelby's affections. One of the counts in the bill for 25,000d01. was the loss of the parliamentary election — hi s constituents, he claimed, being scandalised by the improper conduct of his wife. In both cases Selby appeared as his own attorney, and had to be severely called to order many times for indulging in abusive tirades against his wile. Selby made a motion to vacaite the judgment, and in a statement filed in the case he said, referring to himself as the defendant :■ — ■ "The verdict, if accepted, forever excludes the defendant from any position in the Christian ministry in the English-speaking world. If, therefore, ho returned to Australia aud was welcomed' back by his friends there, it would only be because the people of Australia regarded the verdict as an immoral verdict, given in a discredited American court. The court found tha* the defendant was a scholar and teacher of high attainments, and that !therefore he should have provided for Shis wiiv and family during the last 18 'months. Robert Louis Stevenson was 'a man of high attainments, and yet ho was in destitution in this city.. Poverty is not a legitimate reason for •'divorce. The defendant daily sought [work, and every day did (some. In ad>dition to his lectures, he worked as an insurance! agootg osa architectural

draughtsman, a solicitor for maga- . ines, a collector, and a teacher, and | .hat little remuneration, he received ■ he would have gladly shared with his I wife. He has led one of the most in- j (lustrious of lives, writing- books and i.-ssays, preaching sermons, debating, and lecturing. He had always been a litudeni, and could not te idle amd | happy. A list of the places he has cai- i Jed at in this city would fill a folio, i "During the defendant's absence, his ' hoy, Grattan, 12 years of age, was 1 j sent to work. His earnings the mother always received. It is a fain"- | . r's prerogative to handle the earnings* i of his children, yet the defendant, in , \-iew of their separation, surrendered ' t it, and only waiited access to his jchil- ! laen to assist in their ediucaition. If»p iias been a pure life, a striving after ' iiigh ideals. How could aught but .•;ood come to them through associa- ' lion with him ?" j . ,

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TH19050112.2.56

Bibliographic details

A 'Frisco Sensation., Taranaki Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 12759, 12 January 1905

Word Count
1,248

A 'Frisco Sensation. Taranaki Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 12759, 12 January 1905

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