The Oberlin Evangelist
May 25, 1859
Progress of the Oberlin Rescue Case.
A portion of our history prepared for the last No. was accidentally omitted, and hence we have fallen far behind in time.
During the four weeks in which the case of Langston was on hand, (including adjournments) application was made to the Supreme Court of Ohio (in bank) for a writ of Habeas Corpus to bring all the indicted before them. After hearing a full and able argument, especially on the unconstitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act, the Court refused the writ on the ground that, then, none of the prisoners had received their sentence and therefore the time had not come for the writ to issue, since it should still be presumed that the Court would do them justice. In this decision, the Court excusing themselves fro this on the ground that no case demanding this opinion; was yet before them.
Several of the Wellington prisoners have entered the plea of “nolle contendere” by which, without acknowledging themselves guilty, they simply forbear to maintain their innocence and appeal to the court for mercy. These have received a uniform sentence –one day’s imprisonment, twenty dollars fine, and costs of prosecution. One man from Wellington – Mr. Gillett, a patriarch of seventy fur years -- the prosecution sent home, manifestly because it was not profitable to keep his venerable locks and dauntless spirit in jail any longer. None now remain tin jail save Oberlin me, twelve awaiting trial, and two enduring their terms of imprisonment.
Simeon Bushnell is sentenced to sixty days imprisonment, six hundred dollars fine, and costs of prosecution, estimated at above two thousand.
Mr. C.H. Langston is to e imprisoned twenty days, fined one hundred dollars, and pay costs.
The further trial of these cases is adjourned until July 12, despite the earnest protestations of the prisoners against this delay.
Meantime the four men concerned in the seizure of John Price – namely, Jennings and Mitchell from Kentucky, and Lowe and Davis, Deputy Marshals from Columbus, are under indictment from kidnapping, and await their trial before the Court of Common Please in Lorain County.
Judge Scott of the Supreme Court of Ohio has granted a writ of Habeas Corpus to bring Bushnell and Langston – the only rescuers yet sentenced – before him. He invites the other Supreme Judges to sit on the case – the day set being May 25.
Meanwhile a Mass Convention of the friends of Liberty is called to assemble at Cleveland on the 24th inst.
The four men indicted for kidnapping are to have their trial at Elyria during the present term of Court. H.C.