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sacred rights of nature; and that a stern, but necessary policy, had disarmed him of the rights of self-defence. Too well you knew, that to you alone he could look for protection; and that your arm alone could shield him from oppression, or avenge his wrongs; yet, that arm you cruelly stretched out for his destruction.
The counsel, who generously volunteered his services in your behalf, shocked at the enormity of your offence, endeavoured to find a refuge, as well for his own feelings, as for those of all who heard your trial, in a derangement of your intellect. Several witnesses were examined to establish this fact, but the result of their testimony, it is apprehended, was as little satis factory to his mind, as to those of the jury, to whom it was addressed. I sincerely wish this defence had proved successful, not from any desire to save you from the punishment which awaits you, and which you so richly merit; but from the desire of saving my country from the foul reproach of having in its bosom so great a monster.
From the peculiar situation of this country, our fathers felt themselves justified in subjecting to a very slight punishment, him who murders a slave. Whether the present state of society require a continuation of this policy, so opposite to the apparent rights of humanity, it remains for a subsequent legislature to decide. Their attention would ere this have been directed to this subject, but for the honour of human nature, such hardened sinners as yourself are rarely found, to disturb the repose of society. The grand jury of this district, deeply impressed with your daring outrage, against the laws both of God and man, have made a very strong expression of their feelings on the subject, to the legislature; and from the wisdom and justice of that body, the friends of humanity may confidently hope soon to see this blackest in the catalogue of human crimes, pursued by appropriate punishment.
In proceeding to pass the sentence, which the law provides for your offence, I confess, I never felt more forcibly the want of power to make respected the laws of my country, whose minister I am. You have already violated the majesty
of those laws. You have profanely pleaded the law under which you stand convicted, as a justification of your crime. You have held that law in one hand, and brandished your bloody ax in the other, impiously contending, that the one gave a licence to the unrestrained use of the other.
But, though you will go off unhurt in person, by the present sentence, expect not to escape with impunity. Your bloody deed has set a mark upon you, which, I fear, the good actions of your future life will not efface. You will be held in abhorrence by an impartial world, and shunned as a monster, by every honest man. Your unoffending posterity will be visited for your iniquity, by the stigma of deriving their origin from an unfeeling murderer. Your days, which will be but few, will be spent in wretchedness; and, if your conscience be not steeled against every virtuous emotion, if you be not entirely abandoned to hardness of heart, the mangled, mutilated corpse of your murdered slave will ever be present in your imagination; obtrude itself into all your amusements, and haunt you in the hours of silence and repose.
But, should you disregard the reproaches of an offended world; should you hear, with callous insensibility, the gnawings of a guilty conscience; yet remember! I charge you remember! that an awful period is fast approaching, and with you, is close at hand, when you must appear before a tribunal, whose want of power can afford you no prospect of impunity; when you must raise your bloody hands at the bar of an impartial, omniscient Judge! Remember! I pray you remember! whilst yet you have time, that God is just, and that his vengeance will not sleep forever.
Court of Oyer and Terminer.
NEW-YORK, 22d JUNE, 1804.
TRIAL FOR BIGAMY.
PRESENT: B. LIVINGSTON, J. B. PREVOST AND J. MORTON.
The People v. Thomas Hoag alias Joseph Parker.
The comedy of errors no longer a fable. That two men may so exactly resemble each other as to be mistaken by their most intimate acquaintance, can no longer be doubted, after perusing the following report of a very extraordinary law case. It is stated that this singular case has been the subject of two previous trials in the Justices' Court of New-York. In one, a nonsuit stopped the proceedings; in the other the Court decided that the prisoner was not the person supposed. Yet his accusers were so positive of his identity that they pursued the affair to the present trial. Such an astonishing instance of resemblance, as is clearly proved in this case, has perhaps never before been known.
THE "HE prisoner was indicted, for that he Thomas Hoag, late
of Haverstraw, in the county of Rockland, labourer, otherwise called Joseph Parker, now of the city of New York, cartman, on the 8th of May 1798, at the said city of New York, was lawfully married to Susan Faesch, and said Susan, then, and there had for a wife, and that the said Thomas, alias &c. &c. &c. afterwards, to wit, on the 25th day of December, 1800, at the county of Rockland, his said wife being then in full life, feloniously did marry, and to wife did take one Catharine Secor, &c. &c. &c.
To this the prisoner pleaded, Not guilty.
Mr. Riker, district attorney, prosecuted on the part of the people.
Washington Morton, and Daniel D. Tomkins, Esqrs. were of counsel for the prisoner.
The testimony in the cause was as follows: The first marriage was admitted by the counsel for the prisoner, to be as stated in the indictment, and that the wife was still alive.
On the part of the Prosecution,
Benjamin Coe testified, that he was one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, in the county of Rockland; that he well knew the prisoner at the bar; that he came to Rockland in the beginning of September in the year 1800, and there passed by the name of Thomas Hoag; that there was a person with him who passed for his brother; but between those two persons there was no sort of resemblance; that the prisoner worked for the witness about a month, during which time he eat daily at witness's table; and he of course saw him daily; that on the 5th day of December, 1800, witness married the prisoner to one Catharine Secor; that witness is confident of the time, because he recollected that on that very day, one of his own children was christened; that during all the time prisoner remained in Rockland county, witness saw him continually, he was therefore as much satisfied that prisoner was Thomas Hoaz, as that he himself was Benjamin Coe.
John Knapp testified, that he knew the prisoner in 1800 and 1801; he was then in Rockland county, and passed by the name of Thomas Hoag; that he saw him constantly for five months during the time the prisoner was at Rockland; that he was at prisoner's wedding; that Hoag had a scar under his foot; the way that witness knew it was, witness and Hoag were leaping together, and witness outleaped Hoag, upon which Hoag remarked, that he could not leap as well now as he formerly could, before he received a wound on his foot by treading on a drawing knife; that Hong then pulled off his shoe and showed witness the scar under his foot, occasioned by that wound; the scar was very perceptible; witness was confident prisoner at the bar was Thomas Hoag.
Catharine Conklin (formerly Catharine Secor, but since married to one Conklin) testified, that she became acquainted with prisoner in the beginning of Sept. 1800, when he came to Rock
land; he then passed by the name of Thomas Hoag; that witness saw him constantly; that prisoner shortly after their acquaintance, paid his addresses to her and finally on the 25th December, married her; that he lived with her till the latter end of March, 1801, when he left her; that she did not see him again until two years after; that on the morning of his leaving her, he appeared desirous of communicating something of importance to her, but was dissuaded from it by a person who was with him and who passed for his brother; that Hoag until his departure, was a kind, attentive and affectionate husband; that she was as well convinced as she could possibly be of any thing in this world, that the prisoner at the bar was the person who married her by the name of Thomas Hoag; that she then thought him, and still thinks him, the handsomest man she ever saw. Here the prosecutor rested the cause.
DEFENCE. Witnesses for Prisoner. Foseph Chadwick testified, that he had been acquainted with the prisoner, Joseph Parker, a number of years; that witness resides in this city, is a rigger by trade; that prisoner worked in the employ of the witness a considerable time as a rigger; that prisoner began to work for witness in September, 1799, and continued to work for him until the spring of 1801, that during that period he saw him constantly; that it appeared from witness's books, that Parker received money from witness for work, which he had performed on the following days, viz. on 6th of October, and 6th and 13th December, 1800; on the 9th 16th and 28th of February, and 11th March, 1801; that Parker lived from May, 1800, till some in April, 1801, in a house in this city belonging to Captain Pelor; that during that period, and since, witness had been well acquainted with prisoner.
Isaac Ryckman testified, that he was an inhabitant of this city; that he was well acquainted with Joseph Parker, the prisoner at the bar, and had known him a number of
that witness and Parker were jointly engaged in the latter end of the year 1800, in loading a vessel for a captain Tredwell, of this place; that they began to work on the 20th day of Decem