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made a fine difference in our returns. And there isn’t

2023-12-01 12:08:35 [science] source:Headwind and Evil Waves Network

Mr. Clapp now proceeded to prepare the way for the evidence: he gave a general idea of its character, expressing beforehand the firmest conviction of its effect on the court. "I have been engaged in hundreds of suits, gentlemen; I have been a regular attendant in courts of law from early boyhood, and never, in the whole course of my experience, have I met with a case, so peculiar and so important, supported by a body of evidence so clear, so decided, so undeniable as that which we shall immediately lay before you;" and Mr. Clapp sat down, running his fingers through his curls.

made a fine difference in our returns. And there isn’t

The court here adjourned for an hour. The curiosity of the audience seemed thoroughly excited; when the judges reassembled, the room was even more crowded than in the morning.

made a fine difference in our returns. And there isn’t

Before calling up the witnesses, Mr. Reed spoke for five minutes; his dignified manner was a favourable preparation for the testimony in the plaintiff's behalf.

made a fine difference in our returns. And there isn’t

The first fact proved, was the resemblance of the plaintiff to William Stanley; this point was thoroughly investigated, and settled without difficulty in favour of the plaintiff--some half-a-dozen witnesses swearing to the identity, according to the best of their belief. The fact that the defendants themselves had acknowledged the personal resemblance, was also made to appear; and Mr. Reed introduced the identity of handwriting to strengthen the personal identity--several witnesses giving their testimony on the subject. It seemed indeed, clear, from the whole of this part of the evidence, that there was no rational ground to doubt any other difference, either in the personal resemblance or the handwriting, than what might naturally exist in the same man, at the ages of eighteen and thirty-seven.

The statement offered to the defendants some months since, tracing the last career of the plaintiff was now introduced, and the principal facts legally proved by different witnesses. Officers and sailors of different vessels in which he had sailed, were sworn. Among others, Captain -----, of the packet ship ***, testified to the plaintiff's having sailed in his vessel, under the name of William Stanley, nine years previously; and it was very clearly proved, that at different intervals since then, he had continued to bear the same name, although he had also shipped under those of Bennet, Williams, and Benson. The statement, as given already in our pages, was borne out satisfactorily in most of its important facts by the evidence; although on some points the counsel for the plaintiffs confessed, that they had not been able to obtain all the legal proofs they had wished for. After tracing the plaintiff's steps as a sailor, the fact of his having been long endeavouring to bring forward the claim he now made, was examined. Mr. G-----, a highly respectable lawyer of Baltimore, testified to the fact that several years previously, the plaintiff had applied to him to undertake the case then before the court; to speak frankly, this evidence surprised the defendants, who were scarcely prepared for it. Then came proof of the different applications to Mr. Clapp, his several visits to Longbridge, and his presence at Wyllys-Roof six years previously, when locked up in the out-house by Hazlehurst; Mr. Clapp repeating at this moment, a very broad insinuation, that the defendant knew the claims of the individual he had put in confinement. His willingness to be examined, his ready consent to an interview with Mr. Wyllys, Mrs. Stanley, and Hazlehurst, the close examination which he bore at Wyllys-Roof, were brought forward; and Mr. Clapp managed to introduce most of the important questions of the defendants at that time, with the accurate answers of the plaintiff, in his account of that meting.

The court adjourned at this time, and many individuals among the audience seemed to incline very decidedly towards the plaintiff. The personal friends of the defendants looked somewhat anxious, although Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst still showed a steady front. The testimony which we have given so briefly, as much of it has already appeared in the narrative, occupied the court more than one day, including the different cross-examinations of several witnesses, by the defendants: this duty fell to the lot of Mr. Grant, who carried it on in his usual dry, sarcastic manner, but was unable to effect any important change in the state of things.

The following morning, the plaintiff's papers were laid before the court. The volume of the Spectator, and the letters already produced at Wyllys-Roof, were shown. In addition to these, the following papers were now brought forward: A letter addressed to the name of Benson, on board the British sloop-of-war, Ceres; another directed to William Bennet, on board the Dutch barque William, when at Batavia, nearly eighteen years since; this letter was important, as it was evidently written to an American sailor, and alluded to his having been recently shipwrecked on the coast of Africa, and taken up by a Dutch vessel. These documents were all received with great interest, and their probable authenticity seemed generally admitted. Mr. Reed then observed: "We shall close our evidence, gentlemen, by laying before you testimony, sufficient in itself to prove triumphantly the identity of the plaintiff, when connected with a small portion only of that which has preceded it."

He drew from his papers an old Russia-leather pocketbook, with the initials W. S. stamped upon in large Gothic letters.

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