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Collection: The Civil War
Date: November 5, 1859

Trail of the Insurrectionists.

CHARLESTON. Va., Nov. 1.

The arguments of counsel in the case of John Brown being concluded, Mr. Chilton asked the Court to instruct the jury that if they believed the prisoner was not a citizen of Virginia, they cannot convict him on the count of treason.

The Court declined, saying the constitution did not confer rights and immunities alone, but also responsibilities.

A recess of half an hour was taken, when the jury came in with their verdict.

The jury find him guilty of treason of advising and conspiring with slaves and others to revel, and of murder in the first degree .

Brown laid down quietly. He said nothing and there was no demonstration of any kind.

Mr. Chilton moved an arrest of judgment, both on account of the errors in the indciment and errors in the verdict.

Mr. Harding announced that he was ready to proceed with the trial of Coppee, who was brought in.

The jury was sworn. The testimony was similar to that already published, but more brief. The examination was concluded at the adjournment.

Cook waives an examination before a magistrates court.


Coppie's trial was resumed. No witnesses were called for the defense.

Mr. Harding opened the argument for the Commonwealth, and Hoyt and Griswold followed for the defendant.

Mr. Hunter closed for the prosecution.— The speeches were of marked ability.

Mr. Griswold asked for several instructions, which were all granted by the Court. The jury then retired.

Brown was then brought into the Court House, which was immediately througed. The Court gave its decision on the motion to arrest the judgment, overruling the objections made, that treason could not be committed against a State, except by a citizen. It ruled that wherever allegiance was due, treason may be committed. The abjections as to the from of the verdict rendered, was also regarded as insufficient.

The Clerk then asked Brown whether he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced? When Brown stood up, and in a clear and distinet voice, said:

May it please the Court, I have a few words to say. In the first place, I deny everything, but what I have all along admitted, the design on my part to free the slaves. I never did intend to commit murder or treason, or to destroy or incite the slaves to rebellion; and to make insurrection.

This Court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which, I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament that teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me further, to remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them. I have endeavored to act up to that instruction.

Let me say one word further. I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial, considering all the circumstances. It has been more generous than I expected, but I feel no consciousness of guilt. I hear it has been stated by some, that I had induced them to join me, but he contrary is true. I do not say this to injure them, but regretting their weakness. Not one joined me but of his own expense. A number of them I never saw, and never had a word of conversation with till the day they came to me, and that was for the purpose I have stated. Now I have done.

While Brown was speaking, perfect quiet prevailed. When he had finished, the Court proceeded to pronounce the sentence. After a few preliminary remarks in which he said, no reasonable doubt could exist as to the prisoner's guilt, he sentenced him to be hung in public on Friday, the 2d day of December. Brown received the sentence with composure.

The verdict in Coppie's case. guilty on all the counts of the indictment. After being out an hour, the jury returned with a verdict of guilty.

The Court then adjourned.