The Cortland Democrat, Friday, March 23, 1894.
Lack of Discrimination.
The editors of the Cortland Daily Standard are at present greatly horrified and in fact seem to be all broken up over an editorial article that appeared in last week's DEMOCRAT. The article to which they take exception, simply suggested that the republican legislature should appoint a committee to investigate the cause of death of the woman who died in Ithaca by inhaling chlorine gas, administered by some person unknown, while they were investigating the cause of death in the Troy case. The editorial also stated that in the sight of the law, the Ithaca crime was of the gravest nature, because the gas was undoubtedly administered with premeditation and with a full knowledge of the probable results, while the killing of Robert Ross in Troy was done under the sudden impulse of the moment and when great excitement prevailed.
The Standard says that the article manifests a "lack of discrimination, mental obliquity or absence of moral sense." It denies that the Cornell students knew what the effect of chlorine gas was likely to result in, that no one save the DEMOCRAT has yet charged "That the foolish and fatal practical joke which was undertaken at Ithaca was entered upon with any murderous intention, or with any idea of the possibility of such a result as followed." It is barely possible that the sophomores of Cornell will prefer to plead guilty to the Standard's indictment against them for being fools rather than take the chances of the result of a trial on the graver charge. If they did not know what effect the inhalation of the deadly chlorine gas was likely to have on the human system, they have a right to plead non compos mentes, and instead of being sent to college, they should be installed as members of some backwoods district school, with the privilege of occupying the dunce block for an indefinite period. But such a claim is pure nonsense and would fail to find favor in any court.
The Penal code of the state of New York defines murder in the first degree to be the killing of a human being when committed either "From a deliberate and premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or, of another, or by an act imminently dangerous to others, and evincing a depraved mind, regardless of human life, although without a premeditated design to effect the death of any individual; or without a design to effect death, by a person engaged in the commission of, or in an attempt to commit a felony, either upon or affecting the person killed or otherwise."
Although the gas may not have been, and probably was not administered with a premeditated design to affect the death of any individual, yet it was an act, as the result plainly shows, imminently dangerous to others and resulted in killing a human being. Therefore according to the laws of the state, the crime of murder in the first degree was committed.
The Penal Code then defines murder in the second degree as follows:
"Such killing of a human being is murder in the second degree, when committed with a design to effect [sic] the death of the person killed, or of another, but without deliberation and premeditation."
Murder in the second degree is undoubtedly the highest crime of which [Bat] McShea or any other person could be convicted in the killing of Robert Ross, because no one, we believe, has yet charged that the party who did the shooting went to the place where he was killed, for the especial purpose of killing him or any one else. The code defines the punishment for murder in the first degree to be death, and in the second degree "by imprisonment for the offender's natural life." So that when the DEMOCRAT said that the Ithaca crime was of the gravest nature in the sight of the law, it was correct and if the editors of the Standard had kept quiet, they would not have exposed their "lack of discrimination or mental obliquity."
The DEMOCRAT is as unalterably opposed to violence and crime as its neighbor and believes that criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It does not believe that the poor and ignorant should be made to pay the full penalty for their crimes while the educated, wealthy and respectable—so called—are allowed to go free. If either class has a right to be dealt with gently, it is the poor and uneducated, who have not the opportunities to know the law, that is given to the pampered few.
The charge, that Governor Flower "is compelled to assent to the employment of attorneys who will see that justice is done," is wicked in the extreme. If the writer of that charge was not troubled with "mental obliquity" and a total absence of "moral sense," he would know that the Governor took the initiatory steps looking to the punishment of those who killed Robert Ross in Troy. He immediately summoned the District Attorney and notified him that he should hold him responsible for a miscarriage of justice. He also appointed two able lawyers of Troy to assist him in prosecuting the offenders. Gov. Flower will always be found on the side of law and order as he is in this case. The parties who killed Ross should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and they will be, because the prosecution is in the hands of competent and willing democrats. Whether the guilty parties at Cornell will be punished at all, or not, remains to be seen.
◘ The coroner's jury that has been investigating the Troy murder case, have returned a verdict whereby they find that Bartholomew McShea shot and killed Robert Ross.
◘ The committee of the State Board of Charities, appointed to investigate charges of "cruel, brutal, excessive, degrading and unusual punishment of the inmates" of the Elmira Reformatory by Supt. Z. R. Brockway, have reported that they find the charges sustained. It is understood that the managers of the institution will endeavor to prevent the adoption of the report by the legislature.
◘ On this page we print a criticism on Judge Forbes' charge to the Ithaca grand jury by Prof. Chas. A. Collin, professor of law of Cornell University. It will be seen that he takes the same view of the crime committed at Ithaca, that the DEMOCRAT did in its article published last week and which was fortunate enough to be criticised [sic] by the Cortland Standard. Prof. Collin is recognized as one of the ablest judges of law in the state.
CRITICISED JUDGE FORBES.
Prof. Collin of the Cornell Law School Differs with the Judge Regarding the Degree of the Crime Committed.
ITHACA, March 19.—Contrary to general expectation there were no further remarks made by Judge Forbes at the opening of court this morning in relation to his recent charge to the grand jury, his submission of the editorial upon the court to the Tompkins county bar and their failure to take action in the matter.
The latest development in this matter is the address of Professor Collin, of the Cornell law school, to the junior class this morning. Prof. Collin took issue with Judge Forbes' statement of the degree of crime that had been committed, quoting a large number of cases, which he claimed showed conclusively that murder in the first degree had been committed. He also questioned the right of any judge to address a jury as to the degree of crime committed before any evidence had been submitted to them.
He took the ground that if justice in this case should miscarry, it would be pertinent for the Legislature to appoint a committee to probe the whole matter to the bottom, and while doing so he stated that it would also be pertinent for them to inquire as to whether the judge had been influenced to make the charge he did by any of the friends or relatives of the parties suspected of this complicity in the chlorine matter.
The matter was discussed in all its phases by the law students and the judge was quite severely handled before the session of the class was concluded.
ITHACA, March 19. The Tompkins county grand jury reconvened at 10 o'clock this morning and are now considering the evidence which the district attorney has against the several students in the Cornell banquet poisoning case. Before the judge's charge it was considered almost certain that they would not hand in an indictment in this matter, but this charge and cartooning and editorials, which have followed it have had such an effect upon the grand jury that an indictment against at least one or more of the suspected students is believed to be inevitable.
John Dobbins Falls Down Stairs at the Cortland Wagon Co.'s Works and Receives Injuries that Prove Fatal.
Last Tuesday morning John Dobbins commenced work in the Cortland Wagon Co.'s shops in this village and a few moments later met with an accident that cost him his life. He started to carry a bundle of carriage top bows from the kiln room up stairs [sic] to the wood shop, and when near the top of the stairs fell to the bottom. Superintendent Hugh Duffey met him in the kiln room as he was going out with his bundle and a moment later heard a crash and on going to the foot of the stairs to ascertain the cause, found Dobbins with his head on the floor and his feet on the stairs tangled in the bows. Mr. Duffey placed him in a more comfortable position and sent for Dr. A. J. White. Dobbins was carried to his home at 6 Venette-st., in Mr. Duffey's carriage. He vomited blood and blood came from his ears. The doctor found the base of the skull fractured. Dobbins died soon after 4 o'clock the same day. He was 59 years of age and lived with his daughters here. He resided in Homer for many years and was an honest, industrious man.
Marcus C. Kenney, of Utica, spent Sunday with his father, Hosea M. Kenney.
Mrs. Henry Severance, of Middleville, Mich., is visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry McKevett.
Our school will close Friday and an exhibition will be held on that evening in Woodward's hall, at which there will be theatrical drills by the pupils.
Frank Wescott, who was made glad by the birth of a daughter Sunday, was made sad by the death of Dr. H. Wescott, his uncle, of Norwich, Monday.
Mrs. O. D. Patrick has organized a class in oil-painting, and Mrs. Watkins, of Cortland, as teacher, met with the members for the first lesson last Saturday.
Dr. C. H. Webster returned from Watertown, Tuesday, where he had been to be present at the initiation of members into the degree of the 'Mystic Shrine"' of masonry. Gov. Roswell P. Flower, Senator Cogshall and Congressman Rockwell were among the 47 who took the degree.
Thursday morning between three and four o'clock an alarm of fire was given and the dwelling house across the road from Wm. Baldwin's hotel, and known as the Col. Pierce house, was found to be on fire. The fire, when discovered, had such headway as to be beyond control, and all attention was directed toward removing things from the building. A large part of the bedding, carpets and furniture of Mrs. Peters and Miss Belden, who were occupying the house, were got out. Very fortunate for Win. Baldwin and Messrs. Hilton & Patrick, there was little wind and rain had fallen about midnight, otherwise, the wind being from the north, one or the other of the parties might have suffered loss. The flames broke through the roof near the center chimney, but at present no one is able to tell much about the origin or cause of the fire. The building burned was one of the old landmarks of the town. We cannot learn who erected it. In 1811 and before the erection of the building there was a small store on the site and a Mr. Smith sold goods there. This may have been the store first in this place and started by Stephen Hedges. At that time the road from Cheningo passed by this store and crossed the creek to the north, there being no road on the west of this building on the south side of the creek until many years after, owing to the swampy natures of the soil. Dr. Blanchard once owned and lived in the burned house, as did also Drs. Smith, Cook and Nelson.
Floyd Miner of Cortland is a guest at B. R. Cornings.
Born—To Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Harrington, March 12, a son.
The lower village school began Monday with Miss Minnie Whitby as teacher.
D. E. Youngs of Cortland spent a part of the past week with his parents here.
Mrs. A. O. Tennent of Willett visited at Mrs. Ann Fish's a part of last week.
The interior of the Cincinnatus House is being repainted, papered and otherwise repaired.
James Harvey of West Hill died last Thursday, aged 77 years. The funeral was held Sunday, Rev. E. Rogers officiating.
Mrs. C. C. Soule died last week, Wednesday, at the residence of her daughter Mrs. J. Q. Perry, aged 70 years, The remains were taken to Georgetown Saturday for burial.
J. M. Lotridge, of the firm of Nichols & Lotridge is taking a trip through the southern part of the state this week, taking orders for maple sugar.
Owen's Crystal Museum-Glass working, spinning and blowing is the attraction at Academy Hall this week. It is an interesting and instructive entertainment and well worth attending. Presents are given to the audience each evening.
Ernest W. Childs is on the gain, under the treatment of Dr. Dana of Cortland.
We hear that E. J. Peck and family will move from Scott to Sempronius this spring.
Miss May Burdick has purchased a farm horse and roadster of Chauncey B. Fairchild.
Menzo Grinnell has hired to Ernest Clark for 6 months at $25.00 per month and board and washing.
The peeping frogs last Saturday night made music for us for the first this spring. Their voices seemed clear with no indications of the prevailing distemper or influenza.
We notice that of the 14 births recorded in the last Democrat, 12 were of the female persuasion. Who is brazen faced enough to declare his hostility to the enfranchisement of all but two of that 14!
HERE AND THERE.
With this issue the DEMOCRAT commences its thirty-first volume.
Burgess the clothier has a new advertisement on our last page.
The insurance adjusters settled the loss on the Schermerhorn building last Tuesday.
The five County Insurance Co. have settled the loss caused by the burning of Warren Williams' house and barn by paying him $1,175.
Hon. L. J. Fitzgerald's fine bay colt Gene, by King Medium, 2:20, dam Halo, 2:24 1/4, by General Hancock, died a few days since. It was a very promising youngster.
Mr. T. Shepard has purchased the stone mill property this side of McGrawville and will change the same into a creamery as soon as the necessary equipments can be put in.
Mr. E. W. Bates has sold the stock of groceries in his store on Groton-ave. to Mr. E. P. Halbert, who also owns the grocery on Grant-st. Mr. Halbert will move his stock to the Groton-ave. store.
Any teacher of any public school in the country towns may call upon the trustees of the school district for an American flag and the proper means of displaying it from the school-house, and the law compels the trustees to furnish them.
A union Easter morning prayer meeting will be held at 6: 30 o'clock next Sunday morning, in the Presbyterian chapel. This prayer meeting in past years has been very helpful, and a fitting beginning of the services of the day. A most cordial invitation is extended to all to be present and participate.
The losses upon the dry goods and carpet stocks of G. J. Mager & Co., caused by the recent [Schermerhorn block] fire, were satisfactorily adjusted on Tuesday afternoon last by the several companies with whom they were insured. Their total stock on the morning of the fire amounted to $30,107.94 and the amount of their insurance was $26,394.00 on merchandise and $650.00 on furniture and fixtures. As soon as the store can be repaired and cleaned, and the goods placed in proper condition they will open for business. A timely announcement of the date of their opening will appear in the DEMOCRAT.