The Cleveland Daily Herald
Cleveland, April 22, 1859
This morning, about ten o’clock, Mr. Bushnell, who was convicted in the rescue case, was taken by the United States Marshal, from the Jail of the County, and conveyed to the Marshal’s room, in the government building, where he is now confined.
This sudden change of programme is supposed to have reference to an anticipated writ from the Supreme Court of Ohio, at Columbus, looking to the getting of Bushnell out of the Marshal’s custody, as news was brought by the night train from Columbus, that Judge Spalding is there seeking a writ of Habeas Corpus.
We wait further developments before commenting upon such unusual steps of an officer – as this move would augur – to set at defiance the laws of the State.
Since writing the above we have learned from Sheriff Wightman the particulars as to the removal of Bushnell from his custody. During the forenoon – say 10 o’clock – the Marshal’s bailiff, S.A. Abbey, came to the jail, and speaking to the Sheriff said that Mr. Bushnell was wanted in Court for a few minutes. The Sheriff informed Bushnell who prepared to go with the bailiff. Just then another bailiff, Mr. Holden, came up to Mr. Abbey, and after holding a consultation, Mr. A. informed the Sheriff that Bushnell was not wanted. Soon, however, Mr. Abbey returned, and said Mr. Bushnell was wanted. Bushnell, with his wife and the Sheriff went to the government building, and just as the party on their way to the Court Room had reached the floor on which the Marshal’s office is situated, Mr. Abbey said to Mr. Bushnell that Marshal Johnson wanted to see him a moment in his office.
Mr. Bushnell accordingly went in and the lock was turned upon him. At noon, and long after the Court had adjourned he was there a prisoner. We suppose he is there still a prisoner.
The Marshal asked the Sheriff for the papers or mittimus on which Bushnell had been held by him, but the Sheriff did not have them with him. After going to the jail the Sheriff was called upon by bailiff Abbey for the mittimus or commitment, but the Sheriff said that the papers were for his own safety being the warrant by which he held Bushnell and said that it required an order of the Court to take Bushnell from his custody legally.
It will be seen that the mode of getting possession of Bushnell was such as to induce no one to suppose the object was to change his prison.
We trust the Marshal will do nothing he may hereafter regret. The Federal law by consent of State law, makes the county prison the place for those committing crime against Federal laws. When the Marshal has put his prisoner in the County jail, he has done his whole duty, and then responsibility rests on the Sheriff for the safe keeping. When the Marshal takes that prisoner from the jail, except there is fear of mob law, and places him anywhere else, he does more than his duty, and Heaven knows a man should not do more than his duty in the execution of a law so obnoxious to the people, so regardless of the feelings and rights of the North, as is this Fugitive Slave Law. – No one will question the conduct of Officials, who do their naked duty in the premises, but indignation will be justly aroused if the Federal officer steps aside from his duty a hair’s breath to harass State officers, or to defeat State or County officials in the execution of State law.
It should be remembered, too, that the State, on releasing its claim to the government land, did so expressly reserving the right to serve process thereon. There is nothing, therefore, that can legally prevent State officers from executing process in the government building.
Since the above was penned we have got the Columbus Journal of this morning (Friday) in which the doings relative to the supposed writ of Habeas Corpus are given. The Journal says:
In the Supreme Court yesterday, an application was made by Judge Spalding, in behalf of the citizens of Lorain County now confined in the jail of Cuyahoga County by order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, for the writ of Habeas Corpus.
In making his application Mr. S. remarked that under this proceeding he proposed to arraign the Congressional enactment of 1850 as an excess of Legislative power and an innovation upon the sovereign prerogatives of the State, which alone had power to regulate, by pains and penalties, the internal police of the commonwealth.
He insisted that this tribunal was the constitutional guardian of the personal liberty of every citizen of Ohio, and, as such, it was peculiarly fit and proper that it should take cognizance of any infringement of this great right, whether by the federal court or any other power.
The Court entered a rule on the United State Marshal of the Northern District, and Sheriff of Cuyahoga County, as well as the United States District Attorney for said Northern District, to show cause by ten o’clock, on Saturday, the 23rd inst., why the writ of Habeas Corpus should not issue according to the prayer of the applicants.