A. B. C. & D. VS. John T.—Slander.

Are the plaintiff’s ready for trial?—We are ready if your honor please.

Is the defendant ready?—If the Court please I am informed by the defendant that he is not ready.

Let him make his showing—Clerk, swear Mr. T.

In walks T. nearly full of the “critter,” and smak’d the calf skin.

Mr. T. have you important witnesses absent?—Yes, several on’ em.

Where are they?—Why, some on ‘em is in Mississippi, and some on ‘em is up in Shelby I sort o’ think.

Well, you can’t go to trial without them?

I shouldn’t think as how I could.

Plaintiff’s Counsel.—Mr. T. have you had your witnesses summoned?

Some on ‘em I has.

Have you had those in Shelby summoned?

No I havn’t, for I only just hearn they know’d anything about the business.

What’s the name of these witnesses?

O yes, may be you’ll get me to tell you?

But I insist you shall tell, and if you don’t I shall appeal to the Court.

Turning to the Court—Now, Mr. Judge, I’d rather not tell the names, onless you make me, Mr. Judge.

Why don’t you want to tell their names, Mr. T.? asks the Judge.

Now just lisen Mr. Judge, you see I wants to see ‘em fore these, my enemies on tother side get a chance at ‘em.

You’ll have to answer the question Mr. T.

Well if you say so Mr. Judge I’ll do it. I don’t care much no how, for it’s only old Mr. O and his wife.

Plaintiff’s Attorney—What do you expect to prove by those witnesses, Mr. T.?

I tell you I don’t know, I’ve only just hearn of ‘em, and I tell you I ain’t ready for trial—my lawyer who I look’d to and nobody else hasn’t got back yet from Congress, and how can I tell what my witness will say till I’s seen him. How can I be tried, Mr. Judge, when I’ve got no lawyer, nor no witnesses. I should like to see a man going through Court in that are fix—that I should?

Mr. T. have you had your witnesses in Mississippi summoned?

I guess so—Mr. Clerk attended to it and had the things sent out in this county and the Sheriff couldn’t find ‘em.

Couldn’t find them in this county when they were in Mississippi of course. But why did you have the Subpoenas issued in this county?

You knos I has’t any larning and how can I tell?

But you did know these men live in Mississippi, for they moved there eight years ago?

I tell you I’ve got no larnin’, and can’t tell? How shou’d a poor ignant man like me know any thing about such things—Its imposible.—I don’t know!— and my Lawyer gone too!—How can I tell you about it when he’s gone!!

Let the case be continued.

River State Review, Alabama.


Source: New York Spirit of the Times 15.13 (24 May 1845): 142.

University of Virginia Alderman Library. Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

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