The Cortland Democrat in its last issue attempts to pettifog itself out of the predicament into which it has gotten by asserting that the Cornell chlorine gas escapade was a graver crime than the brutal, cold-blooded, unprovoked and malicious murder of Robert Ross by the Troy Democratic thug, "Bat" Shea, and that it should be investigated by the legislature. If the Democrat's attempt were not so weak and pitiable it would be laughable. The same reasoning which would call for an investigation by the legislature of the Cornell case, would dispense with coroners entirely and have a legislative committee sit on every case of accidental death. We can hardly blame the Democrat, however, holding the views of political morality which it does, for trying to make its dupes believe that the murder of Ross was of little account. The Democratic police force of Troy appear to have been trying to spread this same idea, to get "Bat" Shea free and to make it appear that a Republican friend and companion of Ross was his murderer. But they have not succeeded. Shea has been held for murder, and though the utmost efforts of the Troy machine will be put forth in his behalf, he stands an excellent chance of ending his life in the electrical chair. With McKane wearing prison stripes and Shea executed for murder, there will be much less cause to despair of the republic, and much more reason to hope that elections will be decided by ballots instead of by fraud and murder.
The Democrat indulges in some very thin reasoning when it argues that the Cornell sophomores were fools "if they did not know what effect the inhalation of the deadly chlorine gas was likely to have on the human system." And its attempts at wit along this line would suggest that it is suffering from a liberal dose of the gas itself. The young men who manufactured this gas undoubtedly did know as much as the ordinary sophomore does about its properties—that it is dangerous when inhaled in large quantities, but that otherwise it is not dangerous. And had the product of the stone jug which was used to manufacture the gas been emptied into the large banquet hall, as was the intention, instead of into the small kitchen, the result would probably not have been serious. Taking either the position that the students who engaged to this affair did not know accurately just how much of the gas in a room of a given size would cause danger, or that knowing that a certain quantity would not be dangerous in a large room they accidentally injected it into a small room with fatal results, we do not believe that even the Democrat's able judge Collin would say that the students ''evinced that depraved mind, regardless of human life" which the law holds essential to murder in the first degree, where there is not deliberate and premeditated design. While industriously pettifogging its case and professing to quote the penal code in support of its position, the Democrat does not quite dare to say this—and this "depraved mind" is just as necessary to constitute murder in the first degree as any of the other requisites which it emphasizes and italicizes.
On the other hand every one of the requisites of murder in tile first degree was met and filled by "Bat" Shea when he deliberately stepped up to Robert Ross, who was lying stunned and prostrate on his face, put a revolver to his head and blew him into eternity. There was deliberation, premeditation, a mind utterly "depraved" and not only absolutely "regardless of human life" but malignantly intent on destroying it. If the editor of the Democrat has read the testimony taken at the Troy inquest he knows that "Bat" Shea was justly held on the evidence of abundant witnesses to answer for the most fiendish, most cowardly and most brutal murder in the history of the politics of this state.
We expect to see Shea indicted for murder in the first degree, tried for murder in the first degree, found guilty of murder in the first degree—unless the Murphy machine packs the jury, and electrocuted for murder in the first degree; and if any higher degree in murder than the first could be found, Shea would fill it to the full. And yet the Democrat, with an effrontery which surpasses all its preceding efforts in this line, dares coolly to argue that the Cornell students are not only guilty of murder in the first degree, but that "murder in the second degree is undoubtedly the highest crime of which McShea (sic) or any other person could be convicted in the killing of Robert Ross, because no one has yet charged that the party who did the shooting went to the place for the purpose of killing him or any one else."
How long, we would inquire of the Democrat, is it necessary to "deliberate and premeditate" in order to make killing a man murder in the first degree?
The Democrat's doctrine is not only ridiculous but monstrous, and even Prof. Collin, if he knows the rudiments of criminal law, would be compelled to pronounce it so. We defy any man not blinded by partisanship to read the evidence as to Ross's murder and not be compelled to admit that if it was not murder in the first degree, deliberate and premeditated, the act of a depraved and brutal mind, then murder in the first degree never was committed. And yet the Democrat, in lame syntax, brazenly insists that the Ithaca crime was of the "gravest" nature, and that the students should be put to death and "Bat" Shea only imprisoned for life! It stands by "Bat," so far as it dares, as faithfully as McKane's minions stood by "the old man"—and it is likely to stand just about as well in public opinion, as a consequence.
The STANDARD intends to make no plea for the Cornell students. It wants them judged and punished according to the letter and spirit of the law which they violated, and which knows no rich and no poor, no educated and no ignorant, no respectable and no degraded. And, on the other hand, it wants the political thug and plug-ugly who mercilessly murdered a man who dared to stand up against Democratic [voter] repeating in the city of Troy meted out the extreme penalty of the law, and not let off on the plea which the Democrat makes that he is "poor and uneducated and had not the opportunity to know the law that is given to the pampered few." He knew enough to commit murder and he knows enough to suffer the penalty. If political crimes of the "Bat" Shea variety are to be condoned as the Democrat would have them, it will be the end of republican institutions, and our election polls may as well be passed over to gangs of ruffians with a pistol in one hand and a wad of votes in the other.
As to the Democrat's defense of Governor Flower, we have only to say that his refusal to sign the Troy non-partisan election law left the way open for the operations of Shea and his compatriots. As to where the responsibility lies every citizen can figure out for himself. The Democrat knows also that the law-abiding citizens of Troy expressed their profound distrust of the Democratic district attorney whom Governor Flower "summoned" and "notified that he should hold responsible for a miscarriage of justice" and that the attorney general of the state refused to take charge of the prosecution if he was to have Democratic "assistants" from Troy saddled upon him.
Put the students to death, and let "Bat" Shea off with imprisonment, subject to pardon! What a proposition from a professedly intelligent and respectable paper in the closing years of the nineteenth century!
◘ The report of the senate committee appointed to investigate Hawaiian affairs is a curious reflection of the state of the public mind in this country on that question. The majority report, prepared by Senator Morgan of Alabama, says there was no international law forbidding the landing of American troops at Honolulu when the provisional government was proclaimed. It sustains Minister Stevens in all he did except when he announced a United States protectorate over the islands. There the report considers that he went too far. It is evident that the framers of the report in their minds favor annexation. The Republican members of the committee agree to this, but declare in a postscript, so to speak, that the appointment of Paramount Commissioner Blount without the authority of the senate was unconstitutional. The minority report, signed by Democratic members only, is severe on Minister Stevens. Two senators, however, add a postscript to the minority report that they, too, go in for annexation.
SHOCKING TRAGEDY IN GEORGIA.
A Man Hacked to Death by His Wife and Daughter.
HOMER, Ga., March 26.—J. F. Willis was killed last week by his daughter Lillian and his wife. The news of the tragedy did not leak out until a son, Francis, 11 years old, told it to neighbors.
Daughter and mother were arrested and given a preliminary trial. The boy testified that his father came home from work about dark and called for his supper. After beginning to eat his meal a difficulty arose, between the father and mother, but the former sat down before the fire, when Lillian, a girl about 16 years old, struck him with the axe, cutting a gash in his skull.
Willis threw back his head and the mother took the axe from the girl and cut him across the throat with it. Willis died a few minutes later.
The girl says she struck the blow with the axe, after having cut her father's throat with a razor, while Willis was choking her mother to death.
After drawing the razor across the throat of her father, and seeing that he was not dead, she picked up the axe and finished him.
The jury, after being out for some time, rendered a verdict of not guilty.
A Statement That the Holy Office Has Condemned It.
NEW YORK, March 26.—There was published here a statement from a Rome correspondent that the holy office had condemned the doctrines of Henry George.
In view of the fact that Henry George is expected to be a candidate for the mayorality of this city, and that such a pronouncement would seriously affect his chances of success, a reporter made inquiries as to the truth of the statements.
Rev. James N. Connolly, secretary to Archbishop Corrigan, said: "Henry George's doctrines were emphatically condemned by the holy see two years ago, and there is no necessity for any further condemnation of them now."
John D. Crimmins did not believe that the holy office had made any recent pronouncement.
Henry George said: "I do not believe there is any truth in the statement. I don't think the holy office will condemn my doctrines."
In answer to a question as to whether the papal encyclical was not condemnatory of his theories, Mr. George said:
"The encyclical does not deal with my doctrine at all, and therefore cannot condemn it. My doctrine is so palpably right that any such condemnation as that spoken of is utterly impossible."
Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn looked on the statement as absurd. "I am positive," added he, "that it is absolutely false. The inquisition has neither condemned George's doctrine nor will it do so. On that you may rest assured."
It is asserted that the condemnatory stricture on Henry George's doctrine has been forwarded from Rome.
TRUXTON, March 22.—About 4 o'clock this morning the citizens of this village were aroused to witness the largest and only conflagration that has visited this place since 1886, when the Stearns House and a number of other buildings were destroyed. The people were awakened by a loud cry of fire and flames were seen issuing from a dwellinghouse [sic] commonly known as the Colonel "Jud" Pierce house, which is located next to Bryant & Woodward's store and opposite the Baldwin House. Messrs. Newell Baldwin, Ernest Woodward and Isaac Henderson were the first to arrive at the scene of the fire, but it was only a short time before a large number were there. Willing hands were at once at work carrying the furniture, etc., from the burning house. The hose was attached to the hydrant in front of Wescott & Stanton's store and the hand engine was at once set to work and a stream of water playing on the building. This was a great help to the men who were carrying articles from the building. In spite of all the efforts put forth to save the building, it was totally destroyed, but nearly all its contents were saved. Had the wind been blowing, several other buildings would probably have been burned.
The house was a wooden structure and has been built for a number of years. It was owned by Mr. S. S. Pierce and occupied by Mrs. Rhoda Peters and Miss Ellen Belden. The house was insured, and the amount will cover the loss. Miss Belden had her household furniture insured while Mrs. Peters had no insurance. The origin of the fire is thought to have come from the chimney.
Exhibition to-morrow night at Woodward's hall. Be sure and attend. Admission 15 cents.
HOMER, N. Y., March 22, 1894.
To the Editor of The Standard:
In justice to the driver who drove the hose cart from Cortland to our recent fire I would say to Mrs. N. G. Markley that horses are of little consequence compared with thousands of dollars lost in such fires. I consider it no worse for a horse to be driven to fires until he is unable to stand than it is for a fireman to run, drawing a heavy hose cart by hand until he is ready to fall down exhausted and perhaps be run over. Mrs. Markley says that if it had happened in a large city the driver would have been directed. Did she ever hear of a driver in a paid fire department being arrested for cruelty to animals? Are not those horses driven to their utmost speed and whipped because they cannot go faster? Do they not fall on the pavements and receive broken legs and are they not killed by the police? Give due credit to the man who sleeps with his horse ever ready to risk his life to protect property and does it in a wholly voluntary manner without a cent for his trouble.
Mr. C. W. Leach of Marathon Celebrates his Birthday.
Last Friday was the eightieth birthday of Mr. C. W. Leach of Marathon, and his children thought that it ought to be celebrated. They decided to surprise him and succeeded admirably. His children and their families began to arrive at his home in the morning and when at about 1 o'clock in the afternoon all had arrived the old gentleman was so overcome that he scarcely knew whether it was his eighth or his eightieth birthday.
He was born in Cortland county and has lived here all his life. An excellent dinner was served at 2:30 o'clock and when all had finished the remainder of the afternoon was spent in a social way. Mrs. Leach, the hostess, who is nearly seventy-three years of age, assisted in entertaining the guests and when the hour for departing came all expressed themselves as having spent one of the most enjoyable days of their life.
Many fine presents were left as reminders of the occasion and Mr. Leach was wished many happy returns of the day.
Those present were Mr. and Mrs. T. N. Leach and daughter Florence, Mr. A. H. Leach of Cortland, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Winslow and daughter of Virgil, Mrs. Nancy McMinn of Willet, Mrs. J. I. Green and daughter Inez, Miss Elsie Forshee, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Forshee, Messrs. John and Isaac Forshee and Frank and Christopher Smith of Whitney's Point, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Leach and son, Mr. J. Allen Leach and Mr. and Mrs. Norman Sherwood of Marathon.
—G. O. Gilbert, the dime expressman, blossomed out this morning with a fine new dray.
—The attendance at the Homer-ave. Sunday-school yesterday was the largest since the church was organized, 309 scholars being present.
—The Alpha C. L. S. O. will meet with Mrs. H. L. Bronson, corner of Port Watson and Greenbush-st., this evening at 7:30 o'clock.
—Charles Grant of Freetown paid a fine of three dollars in police court this morning for a Saturday night drunk. He spent Easter in the "cooler."
—The Cortland Howe Ventilating Stove Co. started its works this morning after a shut down extending from early in December. About three quarters of the usual force is at work upon full time.
—An Easter dinner was served at the county house yesterday. It was unusually fine and the inmates seemed to enjoy it immensely. Messrs. C. E. Robbins and S. J. Parmiter conducted the regular services.
—Mr. Jeremiah Seamans died at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon at his home four miles west of Cortland on the Groton road of heart trouble, aged 83 years. The funeral will be held from his late residence at 1 P. M. to-morrow.
—A special car containing the scenery, stage properties and five blooded race horses of Neil Burgess' "County Fair" arrived in town this morning attached to the 10 o'clock train. The company were expected from Binghamton on the 4:20 train this afternoon.
—This cold snap came so suddenly that the janitors at the Normal were not prepared for it, and as a consequence the primary department was to-day excused from its forenoon exercises and was sent home. By afternoon everything was warm and recitations progressed as usual.
—The annual meeting of the Y. M. C. A. for the election of directors will occur to-night at the Y. M. C. A. parlors. All members and friends are earnestly requested to attend. The presence of the pastors is also especially desired. There will be good music, and light refreshments will be served.
—We have received a communication signed "laborer" in reference to the income tax. The writer is evidently not aware of our rule to take no notice of anonymous communications. If he will call at the office and leave his name we will be pleased to publish his communication and answer it.
—After considerable trouble, counsel for F. L. Taylor, the Cornell sophomore who was committed to jail in Ithaca for contempt of court in refusing to answer questions in regard to the Cornell chlorine poisoning case, have succeeded in obtaining a writ of habeas corpus from Justice Walter Lloyd Smith at Elmira. The writ directed the sheriff to take Taylor to Watkins this morning. Sheriff Seaman had the papers served upon him Saturday night.
— The constitutional convention mass meeting of the State Woman's Suffrage association began at the Universalist church this afternoon and is now in session. The exercises of the afternoon were those outlined in the STANDARD of Saturday. It has been found necessary, however, to make a change in the program of this evening. Miss Susan B. Anthony will speak tonight at 7:30 instead of to-morrow night and Rev. Anna Shaw who was advertised for to-night will speak to-morrow evening.
DR. JAMES M. MILNE, who had been in town for a few days, returned to Oneonta this morning.
MR. J. C. STEVENS returned this morning with his sheepskin from the Ontario Veterinary college.
MISS SUSAN B. ANTHONY is the guest of Mrs. M. H. Yale while in town, Rev. Anna Shaw is stopping with Mrs. P. H. Patterson, and Miss Harriet May Mills of Syracuse, the recording secretary of the State Suffrage association, is entertained by Miss Wilhelmina Randall and Mrs. J. F. Wilson.
MRS. LYDIA FORDHAM and her son, Mr. H. L. Fordham, who is a senior at Cornell university, are spending a few days with Prof. and Mrs. D. L. Bardwell. Mr. Fordham is the ivy orator of his class and is one of three chosen to represent Cornell university in the intercollegiate debate with the University of Pennsylvania, which occurs April 20.