Transcribed and Donated by : Fran Warren
Thank You !
If we understand right, a United States Deputy Marshal gets so much in money, or its equivalent, for every prisoner who is arrested and taken by any of them to Fort Smith. We suppose they get more in case the prisoner after trial is convicted. But whether they do or not get more in such a case, the fact that they are paid for a secure arrest makes it very important to them that there should be enough persons charged with criminal offenses to make the business a profitable one- and it is no more than just an allowance to the known selfishness and meaness of human nature to expect that some of these officials wil do what they can, directly and indirectly, by fair means or foul, to swell the number of their prisoners to such profitable figures. Besides this, if it is to their personal profit that they have warrants of arrests in their hands, it is, so far, profitable to them that crimes should be committed which shall give cause for the issuing of such warrants, provied by vari!
ous ugly artifices and deceits alluded to here after, they cannot obtain them without crime being actually committed. And shocking as it may appear and really is, to suppose that nay man, much less any officer engaged in the execution of law, would set cooly about getting people to violate it, we know that a United States Deputy Marshal has been none too good to do such a thing. The statement of a single fact or two will illustrate what we mean. It is well known that the possession of ardent spirits by a resident of this Territory has been supposed to be held by the court to be prima facie evidence of its introduction into the territory by the person having it in possession- that it devolved upon the holder of the contraband article to prove that he did not introduce it. Whether this is law or not, at present we cannot say. In such a case, the possession of liquor on this side of the line became cause of action, and it became also a matter of moment and source of profit to !
officers charged with arresting criminals that such cases be reported,
and reported they were. So far all right. If any United States officers chose, in addition to their regular calling, to do the business of informers, or incite others to do it, we have nothing to say, except perhaps to applaud the virtue which in order to compel a due observance of the law, will not hesitate to incur the contempt and disgust which men of spirit have ever felt for an informer. If the practice stopped here, the mercenary motive at bottom might have not become apparent. But unfortunately, it was not only servicable to the Deputy men of justice, that they should find whiskey in possession of a citizen, but it was in the first place necessary that the citizen should have it for them to find; and it so happens that just in those cases where the officer would have been over joyed to fine it, he was least likely to do so, and in fact in ninety nine cases out of one hundred, in spite of, lost time, spent in careful inquiry and patient espionage never did find it. Th!
e cases we allude to, were where the objects of the Deputy Marshal's suspicion were men of means and had more or less valuable property which would have been subject to confiscation, much to the said deputies' interest, had he been lucky enough to discover the presence of a bottle or so of the "forbidden" where he would have liked to.
There are two villanous ways to defeat the caution with which men of property kept their means out of the pockets of the Deputy Marshals and we are obliged but sorry to say that both of these ways are practiced by certain of the latter as they found opportunity. The first was to find some person as ignorant as he was trusting, and, by artifices suited to the purpose, to induce him or her to take some of the contraband on board of his vehicle of transportation, and when fairly in the territory to arrest the victim and seize the property which he had thus unwittingly imperiled. The second was still more rascally and hideously treacherous than the first.
The plan was to hire a third party by a promise of a share in the booty, to secret a portion of the whisky on the premises of some merchant or traveler without the knowledge of the owner of course, and after this piece of knavery was accomplished, to institute a search over the premises in the interests of the law. Such a search could have but one result of course. If the thieves were but true to their own rascally designs, an innocent man or woman would be utterly ruined and disgraced.
We are very far from saying that the United States Deputy Marshals are as a class other than good and honorable men, as indeed they all should be "without exception". We know several who discharge their duties in all cases with gentlemanly pride and courtesy as well as with praiseworthy fidelity. What we do say, is that there are exceptions, and these exceptions harrass, annoy, bedevil, and outrage the population they are intended to serve in some such way, and with always the motive, as indicated above. It is they who by means like those related, make the United States Court at Fort Smith a terror to citizens whom it was established to befriend and protect; and it is high time that their career of crime and plunder was stopped, at least checked, by the imposition of suitable penalties when they so shamefully use their authority for selfish ends.
A CITIZEN ARRESTED AND TAKEN TO FORT SMITH IN IRONS FOR BEIGN A CHEROKEE JUROR
The Treaty between the United States and the Cherokees, guaranties to the latter their ancient right of trying their own native citizens according to such forms as they may have adopted. It was in the exercise of that right that Hon. Arch Scraper was in attendance at the Going Snake Court House as Juror in the trial of Ezekiel Proctor, when the United States Deputy Marshals attempted, without giving the Court notice of their business, or even telling who they were, to take the prisoner from the Cherokee authorities by force of arms. Deputy Marshall Peavy knows that perfectly well. Yet Mr. Scraper has been seized with every exhibition of brutality, as though he was the worst of criminals, and taken to Fort Smith to answer we know not what false and outrageous charge in connection with the butchery caused by the unlawful conduct of the officers of the United States Court at that place. If Scraper is guilty of any crime against the United States for being a Juror on that occasi!
on, the other eleven are also equally criminals and equally liable to prosecution. Mr. Scraper was listening to the remarks of Mr. Johnson, one of the Attorneys in the case, when the first shot was fired by the Marshal's company. He laid under a seat for personal safety till the shooting was over, and after the attacking party had fled, he made himself honorably conspicuous by a generous effort to stop further disturbance, and by bestowing care upon the wounded and dead. These are the facts in relation to the part Mr. Scraper took in that dreadful occurrence, and any evil and malicious charge to the contrary owes its origin either to devilish malice or to some greedy scheme hatched by rascals connected with the Court at Fort Smith, to compel him to spend his hard earned means in answering a false accusation.
The Cherokee Nation is bound to protect its citizens in such cases as this. A citizen had rather pay his fine and stay away from the Court, than run the risk of being ignominiously dragged to Fort Smith in irons for simply obeying one of our Court processes. If ever the National honor, dignity, and interest was concerned, it is concerned now, and in this instance.