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HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS,

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TRIAL OF COOPER.

THIS

HIS seditious emigrant is mentioned in the Rush-Light, No. V, to which I refer the reader for an account of his general conduct, inserting here a brief sketch of his trial, which was held in the district court of the United States, at Philadelphia, April Term, 1801.

The bill of indictment having been returned true, COOPER, who chose, to plead his own cause, put in the following plea.

The defendant (protesting against the insinuations and constructions in the said indictment alleged against him) pleads not guilty, and of this he puts himself upon his country, and will give the following facts in evidence on the trial, in justification of the supposed libel, stated in the aforesaid indictment :

1st. Mf, Adams, either by himself, or by the officers of state acting under his authority, has given the public to understand, that he would bestow no office but on persons who conformed to his political opinions.

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6 2d. Mr. Adanis has declared, that a republican government may mean any thing.

“ 3d. Mr. Adams did sanction the alien law, and thereby the abolition of the trial by jury, in the cases that fall under that law. •“ 41h. Under the auspices of Mr. Adams, the expense of a permanent navy is saddled on the people.

“ 5th. Under the auspices of Mr, Adams, we are threatened with the existence of a standing army.

“ 6th. The government of the United States has borrowed money at 8 per cent in time of peace.

7th. The unnecessary violence of official ex-, pressions used by Mr. Adams, and those in authority under him, and his adherents, might justly have provoked a war.

8th. Political acrimony has been fostered by those who call themselves his friendly adherents.

“ gth. Mr. Humphries, after being convicted of an assault and battery on Benjamin Franklin Bache, the printer of the Aurora, merely from political motives, was, before his sentence was expired, promoted by Mr. Adams 10 a public office, viz. to carry dispatches to France.

" 10 h. Mr. Adams did project, and put in execution, embassies to Prussia, Russia, and the Sublime Porte.

“ Lith. Mr. Adams, in the case of Jonathan Robbins, alius Nash, did interfere to influence the decision of a court of justice.

(Signed) “ THOMAS COOPER." When this cause was called up for trial-the defendant informed the court, that he had applied to Mr. Rawle, the attorney of the United States for the district, to know whether he would admit the Gazette of the United States to be read in evi

dence;

dence; that Mr. Rawle replied, he did not consi, der newspapers as legal testimony; and that, in consequence of this reply, he had applied to Mr. Pickering, the secretary of stare, for copies of certain addresses and ansivers, from and to the President of the United States : and to this application, Mr. Pi kering replied, that these papers were not deposited in his office.--The defendant observed that he considered he had a right to copies of those papers, from the officers of the government, and read the case of Rex v. Hult, in suppo't of his right,--and upon this he applied to the President of the United States for copies of the papers. He informed the court, that he made application to the President by a letter, which he read. This letter stated, that being indicted for a supposed libel, he found it necessary to apply to the President for official copies of certain addresses to him (the President), and his answers to them; and requested the President to consider his letter as a legal written application for copies of the papers required by him. To this letter, the defendant observed, he had received. no answer ; in consequence of his not receiving an answer, he purchased a volume, purporting to be addresses to the President, and his answers, published in Boston, that he sent his son with the volume to Mr. Shaw, the secretary of the President, with a note, requesting Mr. Shaw to examine the publication in the volume with the originals, and inform him they were correct; to this Mr. Shaw made the following reply : “ Mr. Shaw informs Mr. Cooper that he will not receive any information concerning answers to addresses from this house." The defendant then observed that he regarded this as an official answer from the President of the United States, and he did not see how he could proceed when that testimony which was necessary to his de

tence

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fence was withheld from him “by the person who may be considered as his accuser or prosecutor.”

Judge Chase bere observed to the defendant, that he was greatly mistaken in considering the President of the United States as his prosecutor ; it was no such thing. You are charged, said the Judge, with having violated a law of the United States, and the government of the United States prosecutes. You say you have a right to copies of official

papers in the great offices of state ; I know of nó law which gives you this right. You seem to take it for granted that you have this right; it is

not so.

The defendant then observed, that he had subpæned several gentlemen in Congress and had received important information, and that he was also informed that several gentlemen in Congress hesitated whether they would attend, as they would not neglect their official duties to attend as a witness in a court; here Mr. Dallas read a note, addressed to him from Mr. Langdon, informing, that the Senate were in session, and he could not attend the court. The witnesses were then called over, to wit: Timothy Pickering, Jacob. Wagner, Robert G. Harper, Thomas Pinckney, John Davenport, Colonel Matthew Lyon, Albert Gallatin, John Langdon, William Craick and Edward Livingston. Those whose names are in Italics attended.

Judge Chase asked the defendant if he meant the cause should be continued to the next term ; if so, he must proceed according to law. He must file an affidavit, stating the reasons why he desired it to be continued. The defendant filed his affidavit, which in substance stated, that owing to the absence of two material witnesses on his be half, he could not with safety go on to trial.

Judge Chase observed that the affidavit was insufficient, because it did not disclose to the court

the

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