The Cleveland Daily Herald
Cleveland, July 6, 1859
The Kidnappers in Terror – They Propose to cry Quit – The Indictments Nolled.
It has been well known that the indicted kidnappers, to wit, Jennings, Mitchell, Lowe and Davis, have had more fears as to the result of their approaching trial in Lorain than they have been willing to admit. The truth is, three of those men had an open Penitentiary door staring them square in the face, and even to the pious Jennings, who alone – and by virtue of his power of Attorney from Bacon, the owner of the slave John – saw any chance of escape, the prospect of being tried by a jury of Lorain “fanatics and abolitionists” was anything but quieting to the nerves. The nigger catching business at Oberlin went along well enough so long as the kidnappers and the Federal Court had it all their own way, but when Lorain County stepped in to assert its rights, and when counsel were employed who consulted only the interests of the indicted men, and not the official atmosphere at Washington, matters assumed a serious complexion, and the taking-off of John was viewed, as it should be – to wit, naked kidnapping.
Of course these Kentuckians do not think the nigger business pays if the end therof is the Penitentiary, and hence escape from that doom has been sought in penitence and almost tears.
We knew some weeks since that a proposition had been made by some of the Federal officials to some of the outside friends of the Oberlin Rescuers that the Oberlin men should enter the fashionable plea of nolo contendere, receive the mild fine of $20 each, pay the costs and in consideration for such grace the prosecution for kidnapping should be abandoned. The offer was indignantly spurned. Another proposition, on the arrival of the Kentucky men was made. This proposition is given below. Of course, the Oberlin Rescuers no way can control their own cases here, nor the case of the kidnappers in Lorain. If the Federal District Attorney sees fit to enter a nolle in each of their cases, they cannot object. They have constantly asked a speedy trial, they have been imprisoned from sixty to ninety days awaiting a trial and now they are ready for trial, but if District Attorney Belden says “go home, you shall have no trial, your indictments are nolled,” of course they must obey.
All this shows the virtue of self-respect. The State of Ohio had rights and Lorain County was determined those rights should be respected. – This has put an end to nigger-catching in Northern Ohio. The experiment never would have been tried by the residents of this Federal District, and after the bitter experience of those gentlemen from the Southern District who volunteered in the cause for “one dollar per day and found,” we fancy non-residents will find their profitable business at home. So far as the Slave States are concerned, the business of negro-catching is a matter of dollars and cents, and experience teaches that at such a distance from the Kentucky line as is the Western Reserve, the business is not profitable.
We are informed that this morning (the 6th) the indictment against Jennings, Mitchell, Lowe, and Davis, in Lorain has been nolled, and the defendants discharged.
The Oberlin gentlemen, so well know as the “Rescuers,” have also been turned out of our jail, the Government has abandoned the prosecution in their cases, and they will be with their friends at home before all our city readers shall have perused this paper.
While upon this matter, and as we trust this is the end of this whole affair, we wish to refer to an article published by us May 14th, relative to the absence of Mr. Robt. A. Cochran, Clerk of Mason County, Ky., in which that absence was spoken of as a “sudden disappearance.” We got that idea solely from District Attorney Belden’s assertion in Court, but are satisfied that any inference drawn from Mr. Belden’s statement, to the effect that Mr. Cochran did not leave in an open manner (in fact he publicly bid his friends good bye) is doing injustice to a very clever gentleman, who had come here merely as an act of duty, and had while here, on the witness stand and in his personal intercourse, won the confidence and esteem to which a gentleman and an upright, candid, honest man is entitled.
The Hon. Richard H. Stanton of Ky., was the counsel for the defendants in the Lorain prosecution, and Hon. D.K. Cartter of this City was associated with Prosecutor Boynton of Lorain. These gentlemen, we understand, negotiated the affair. It is exceedingly fortunate, we think, for all concerned, that the Kentucky men brought on their won counsel who had no axe to grind save the cause of his clients, and who was unseduced by Federal pap or unawed by Federal frowns.