|Three Boys in a Dory, Winslow Homer.|
IN THE SOUP.
The Enthusiasm of Four Cortland Men Unexpectedly Dampened.
(From the Marathon Independent, April 12.)
Last Wednesday, the balmy southern breezes and the mellow sunshine had caused the snow to melt rapidly, and river was up to "rafting pitch." This then seemed to Messrs. C. W. Devoe, G. Bates, F. Burns and A. Clasey of Cortland as a good time to take a hunting excursion from their place of business, Cooper's foundry, southward, on the road to Baltimore. They accordingly started, in a row boat, four men and two guns, and all the usual accompaniments of a trip of the kind.
We do not learn that any unusual circumstance befell them, until they reached the dam, just above the village of Marathon. As they attempted to shoot over this place their boat filled with water and swamped, throwing them out into the boiling stream. It took but a few minutes for Cortland street to be alive with people, all intent on rescuing the unfortunate occupants of the boat. Two of the men clung to the boat and floated down on the island below, whence they were rescued by Paul Lynde and Clark Mack in a boat, while the other two managed to swim and catch hold of bushes and pull themselves out of the water. One of the number was taken in charge by Rueben Fish, and another by James McDowell, while two more were taken to the Marathon house.
After stimulants and physical exercise had restored the circulation and they had recovered from the chill, they were provided with misfit garments, while those that they wore were hung up to dry. In their borrowed clothing they went to --nard's gallery, where they had a group picture taken as a souvenir of their day's experience. They returned to Cortland on the six o'clock train leaving behind them two guns, one boat, one overcoat and one hat, while they carried home an experience that they will be a long time in forgetting, we doubt not.
They took their experience with the best of nature, and they can congratulate themselves that the incident terminated as luckily as it did. To be precipitated unexpectedly into rapidly moving ice water as these men were, is more apt to lead to drowning than to a safe result as was the case this time.
◘ Gov. Flower has reappointed James L. Connelly to be State Factory Inspector. Mr. Connelly has held the office for the past three years and has given excellent satisfaction to all parties. The appointment is a most excellent one.
◘ A. A. McLeod Esq. has tendered his resignation as President and also as one of the receivers of the Pennsylvania and Reading railroad. The reason he gives for the step, is the belief that financial aid to the road will be refused so long as he occupies either place. Jos. S. Harris, president of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation company has been appointed to the vacancy.
◘ The Ministerial Association of Syracuse held a meeting the other day and decided to present a petition to Gov. Flower asking for the removal of Sheriff Hoxsie from office, for permitting the Danfee—Donovan prize fight, in which the latter was killed, to take place in Onondaga County. The Syracuse News defends the sheriff and in the course of his defence says: "He could not have stopped the fight had he tried, because it was being conducted in strict accordance with the provisions of law governing such contests." If there is such a law on the statute books of the state, the legislature should lose no time in repealing it. The Marquis of Queensbury rules, which govern all these contests, permit the utmost brutality and the only wonder is that more of the principals are not killed. One of the rules, permits the brute who has knocked his opponent down, to stand over him and the moment the fallen man is enabled to get on his feet and raise his hand six inches from the floor, the other has a right to strike him wherever he pleases. The fallen man must get on his feet in ten seconds or be counted out. He is therefore simply at the mercy of his opponent and he receives the same sort of mercy that the butcher meets out to the bullock who has been driven to the shambles. The London rules were much more humane as when one of the contestants fell, from any cause, the round was ended.
◘ The coroner's jury called together to investigate and report upon the cause of death of Dan Donovan, who was killed in the fight at Maple Bay, Onondaga county last week, has submitted its verdict after hearing the evidence. The jury find:
"That at the time said deceased was in such reduced physical condition, resulting from protracted training for such contest, and from the diseased condition of his lungs, that he was unable to endure protracted physical exertion. That the immediate cause of his death was hemorrhage between the membranes of the brain."
So it seems that the blow delivered by Dunfee had nothing to do with the cause of Donovan's death. This will be comforting to Dunfee, however exasperating it may be to Donovan's friends. The latter would undoubtedly have died from "hemorrhage between the membranes of the brain" at exactly the same hour even if he had remained at his home in Cleveland and not engaged in a fight. The public will forever feel indebted to this wonderfully intelligent jury, for throwing new light on the cause of death in cases of this nature. The theory may not agree with that laid down by medical scientists but it has the merit of being both new and novel. This jury ought to open a medical college at once and each member should be elected dean of the facility. They have practically abolished capital punishment, a thing that the legislature has been trying to do without success for some years. It isn't the blow on the head with a club then that kills a man; "hemorrhage between the membranes of the brain" is what works the mischief, it isn't the bullet plowing its way through the brain that causes death, it's the hole in the head that destroys life. It isn't the application of electricity that kills the murderers who have died in our State Prisons, "hemorrhage between the membranes of the brain" is undoubtedly what does the business.
What a world of light this jury has shed upon a benighted world?
THE LAW OF LIBEL.
(From the New York Herald.)
The bill pending at Albany to amend the Libel law of this State is a timely measure whose prompt enactment will reflect credit upon the Legislature. True, it does not embody the thorough reform which is desirable, but it is a step in the right direction and is good as far as it goes.
It is high time to reform the law of libel altogether. This may be too much to expect now, but it is bound to come in due season. There is no law on our statute books more harsh, unjust or unreasonable. It is a barbarous relic of a time in English history when there was no freedom of speech or of the press. It has no place in the civilization of the nineteenth century or the advanced journalism of America.
For its unwarranted severity and sweeping scope a parallel can hardly be found in our jurisprudence. If an insignificant item which can be construed into a libel finds its way into a newspaper without the knowledge or fault of the publisher, its publication is held sufficient for an action for damages and also a criminal prosecution. Every person concerned in the publication and circulation of the paper—proprietor, editor, writer, newsdealer, etc.—is civilly and criminally liable. It is useless to plead absence of malice; malice is assumed. It is idle to plead ignorance; ignorance is no excuse.
The flagrant abuses which have flourished under the law are matters of common notoriety. Suits for damages have been brought and litigation fomented by unscrupulous pettifoggers simply for the sake of money and notoriety. They have been threatened simply for blackmailing purposes. This traffic has proved a nuisance to the courts as well as a gross injustice to reputable newspapers.
We would hardly expect to find a more advanced and just libel law in Germany than in the United States. Yet such is the fact. There the suit for damages is practically obsolete, and the aim of the criminal arm of the law is to reach the actual offender instead of the blameless editor or, publisher. In this country the action for damages might be justly and safely abolished.
Indeed, the remedy is rarely resorted to except for speculation or blackmail. No reputable journal will willfully or knowingly print a libel, and when it does so inadvertently or because it has been imposed upon it will make amends by publishing a correction. This will repair any injury done far more promptly and effectively than an action for damages, with all its delays and uncertainties. As for unscrupulous sheets, the procedure is a criminal prosecution.
While the unintentional injury done by the publication of a libel may be best remedied by a prompt retraction, the wickedness of a willful libel is a crime to be punished by the criminal law. To be just, the operation of such a law must be limited to the guilty. A law which punishes the innocent indiscriminately with the guilty, as the existing law of libel does, is an anomaly in our jurisprudence and foreign to our institutions. It is un-American. This view is forcibly expressed by Mr. Joel Prentiss Bishop in his standard work on criminal law, as follows:
When a man—when, for instance the proprietor of a newspaper—is painstaking in the selection of his assistants, is ready to correct any error which they may have fallen into, is mindful of his high trust as the manager of a vast power which may be wielded for ill or good, it is as unjust as it is oppressive, and contrary to all legal rule, for the judge to tell the jury they must convict him for words introduced into his paper by some accident over which he had no control.
Against the barbarity and injustice of this law the sentiment of the English speaking world has begun to protest with some effect. In England important reforms have been achieved and more undertaken. Amendatory legislation has been carried in Canada and several of our own States have passed ameliatory statutes.
It is time for the Legislature of New York, whose metropolis is the head centre of American journalism, to take the lead in a reform due to American newspapers and credit of the people. The first step is the enactment of the pending bill, and it should be followed by still more thorough legislation.
HERE AND THERE.
Mr. James M. Carr has been appointed postmaster at Freeville.
The half term of Miss Ormsby's school will begin Thursday, April 20th.
Nearly 300 conversions have resulted from the revival meetings held in the M. E. church in this place.
See notice of the Board of Health in another column, calling upon all citizens to clean up their premises.
Don't forget the reception to be given this evening, at the new Central School building, from 8 to 11 P. M.
On our second page will be found a story [The Purloined Letter] written by Edgar Allen Poe, never before published in this section.
Prof. A. O. Palmer has just received a head dress from the Gros Ventre Indians of Montana. It will be stored with his collection of relics and curiosities.
The orders for desks and typewriter cabinets received by the Jones Manufacturing Co., last week, amounted to $7,656.00. If any of our readers want a desk of any sort, they will do well to call at their works on Squires-st.
Burglars are giving special attention to the post-offices in some of the large towns in Central New York. Cazenovia, Ithaca and Waverly have been recently visited, and the rascals have in each instance secured considerable booty.
Mr. F. N. Harrington has just purchased for Mrs. H. A. Bolles a handsome pair of black, sixteen-hand carriage horses. They were purchased of Messrs. Smith & Powell of Syracuse, and they are pronounced a very true pair by good judges.
The floors in all the stores in Taylor Hall block have been lowered ten inches, and instead of double doors, a single wide door has been put in each store. The appearance has been greatly improved, and the entrance to each store is much easier.
Last Thursday afternoon, while Henry O'Neil was unloading a car load of shafts at the D., L. & W. station, a pile tumbled over upon him and fractured his left leg between the knee and ankle. He crawled out of the car on his truck and drove back to the Cortland Wagon Co.'s shops, where he is employed, and was taken to his home, 125 Railroad-st. Drs. Dana and Reese reduced the fracture.
Notice is hereby given to all property owners to clean and disinfect privies, cesspools and drains; also, to remove all ash, garbage and manure piles on or before the first day of May, 1893.
Tenants are also notified to clean and disinfect cellars. By order of the Board of Health.
DANIEL N. LUCY, President.
J. D. DORAN, Secretary.
DANIEL M. GEER.
ISAAC A. BEACH, M. D.
W. J. MOORE, M. D., Health Officer.
CORTLAND, April 8, 1893.
Notice is hereby given that I am the owner of and have the exclusive right to shoot, hunt and fish upon the following described lands and water to wit:
All that tract or parcel of land situated on lots Numbers 76 and 86 in the town of Cortlandville, N. Y.
Bounded and described substantially as follows : Commencing at a point on Port Watson street near the school house and running southerly along the east line of the school house, lot and lands of Thos. Farrel, thence westerly along the south line of lands occupied by James Allen and Dudley G. Corwin to the east line of the Randall farm, thence southerly along the east line of the Randall farm to lands of Ozias Loucks, thence easterly and southerly along the lands of said Loucks and John Park to lands owned by William P. Randall at the time of his death, thence easterly and northerly along the west line of said Randall lands to the north line of the Syracuse, Binghamton & New York Railroad company's land, thence easterly along the northerly line of said railroad to the mouth of Mud Creek, thence easterly to the centre of the Tioughnioga river, thence northerly and westerly up the centre of the river to a point opposite the south line of the tannery property now occupied by Jerome R. Hathaway, thence west along the south line of Hathaway's, Isaac Woodens, Mary Conine, Ella Kinney, James Fairchilds and the school district and Port Watson street to the place of beginning, containing about 270 acres of land and water more or less, and that I desire to devote such lands and water to the propagation or protection of fish, birds and game, and thereby declare that such lands and water will be used as a private park for the purpose of propagating and protecting fish, birds and game.
And all persons are warned against fishing, shooting, or trespassing thereon pursuant to sections 210, 211 and 212 of Chapter 488 of the Laws of 1892 of the State of New York under the penalty prescribed by Section 217 of said chapter.
O. U. KELLOGG.
Dated, April 10, 1892.
The Columbia Club gave a banquet at the Mansion House yesterday evening.
There will be a maple sugar festival in the Methodist church Friday evening under the auspices of the Epworth League.
Mrs. Delia Brown has moved her millinery stock to the Riggs block formerly occupied by Simmons & Grant.
The Electric Light company have placed a large light on the village green which adds much to the lighting of Main street.
Mr. Lee Southwick, our enterprising shoe dealer, has sold twenty bicycles so far this season. Give him a call, he can please you.
"Our Country Cousin" played to a good sized audience Monday evening. Mr. Jones is a favorite here and is sure of pleasing all who hear him.
Mr. George Ripley has accepted a position as advance agent for "Our Country Cousin." He expects to be absent about two months.
Mr. Thomas Knoble has moved his barber shop into the rooms in the Briggs block formerly occupied by Lewis Parker. Mr. Knoble now has one of the finest barber shops in the county.
Mr. William Jones has moved his barber shop into the rooms over Churchill and Morris' grocery, and Myron Babcock has moved into the rooms of the Central market formerly occupied by Justice Kingsbury.