[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. Author's spelling has been maintained.]
THE STORY OF A DARK PLOT;
TYRANNY ON THE FRONTIER.
By A. L. O. C.
BOSTON: THE WARREN PRESS, 160 WARREN STREET, 1903.
Entered according to Act of Parliament, in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, by W. W. SMITH in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Statistics at Ottawa.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little.—(Isa. xxviii. 10.)
This is a divinely appointed rule to which we will do well if we take heed, as it will save from many disappointments and discouragements.
The writer of "The Story of a Dark Plot" has no hope by this work of revolutionizing society or even working any very marked reforms. Books and essays on temperance topics are numerous, and this is but one among many. However, it is hoped that this may prove one of the lines and precepts that are of some service to the cause. There is always need for those who are on the right side of any important question to unfurl their banners and show their colors bravely, but just now, in connection with the temperance movement in our Dominion, there is a very special call for action presented by the Plebiscite.
We sometimes read on the pages of fiction exciting and blood-curdling tales of deep laid plots for murder and other crimes, but just when our feelings are being aroused to the highest pitch, we pause and comfort ourselves with the thought that after all this is only imaginary.
Or perchance, we may read the truthful details of a more or less successful attempt to end the life of a fellow being, but if we are unacquainted with the persons concerned in the affair and the circumstances which led to it, and especially if it happened some distance from us, we feel but little interest in it.
Again we find in the records of the past that thousands have suffered and many died in a really good cause,—the victims of depraved and brutish persecutors who hated what was good. We cannot doubt the truth of the statements nor the innocence of the sufferers, but we may be tempted to complacently remark "the martyr age is past." But if we look about us with unprejudiced eyes, we must see that the sufferers for conscience sake are still not a few.
The details of the dark plot as given in these pages are all matters of fact, and perhaps if all the particulars could be known, it might seem blacker even than now. Moreover, it happened in an old and progressive county of Eastern Canada, just across the border from New England, and Mr. Smith had incurred the anger of his persecutors only by trying to enforce law and order and working for the protection and uplifting of his fellow-men.
In view of such facts, let the voters of our Dominion pause ere they give their sanction to a system which throws around the makers and venders of alcoholic liquors the protection of the strong arm of the law.
That this volume, by showing the liquor party in its true light, and thus warning our countrymen of their position and danger, may be the means of arousing some who, though temperance people at heart, are sleeping on guard, and of adding a few to the ranks of active workers for the cause of right, is the earnest prayer of
The publication of this book has been with the approval of some of the best thinkers on the temperance question, and we doubt not that its careful perusal by all who read it will prove a stimulus in connection with the cause of temperance, and if they are timid or hesitating will cause them to become decisive in the noble work for humanity. It is a well-known fact that the grand old County of Brome is one of the banner counties in every thing which is helpful to the cause of morality, and we hereby offer a fraternal hand to all our co-workers in the Dominion, and pray God's blessing may rest on every effort put forth that, whatever may be the private opinion they may entertain respecting the course pursued by the government, in order to ascertain the minds of the people on the prohibition question, they may not only pray right, but when the time presents itself may vote right. Notwithstanding the fact that a majority of the inhabitants of our county are true to prohibition principles, yet a minority would not hesitate, if possible, to repeal the Scott Act, as was evidenced in the dark plot which was enacted in our midst, but which could not be carried out until a rough from another country was hired to commit the murderous assault, which was made on Mr. W. W. Smith, one of the most earnest temperance workers in the Province of Quebec, President of the Brome County Alliance for five terms in succession, and who is actively engaged in sustaining the Scott Act in our county, and saving from the sad consequences of the traffic the tempted and the fallen.
J. H. F., SUTTON.
THE STORY OF A DARK PLOT;
TYRANNY ON THE FRONTIER.
PREVIOUS EVENTS WHICH LED TO THE ASSAULT.
There are few communities, however small, that have not been aroused and stirred into action, by some uncommon event, or where opposing parties have never rejoiced, and mourned over a triumph of one at the other's expense, and often have men and women, unappreciated by the many, bravely suffered for their fidelity to a good and beloved cause. Thus the little County of Brome has been stirred to the depths of its soul by the actions of contending parties, and especially by a deliberate attempt to hinder the work and destroy the life of a law-abiding citizen. Mr. William W. Smith, the hero of this dark plot, was a native of the county which had always been his home, and had been during about fifteen years the Agent of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company at Sutton Junction. During those years, he had been a man of the world, fond of pleasure, and not objecting to a social glass, and it is not surprising that, amid all the temptations of railroad life, he had already felt the awful power of an appetite for strong drink. But he was led to see his danger and to flee from it, largely through the influence of his beloved companion, a faithful Christian, who rests from her labor, and her works do follow her. Breaking his bonds by the power of God, he became not only a temperance man, but a Christian, and in his great joy and gratitude for his own salvation was filled with a desire to warn and rescue others, whose feet were treading the same slippery paths. He then began holding Gospel Temperance Meetings, as he had opportunity in many places mostly within the County of Brome. This county has long held an honored position as being one of the leading temperance counties in the Dominion of Canada, because during many years no license to sell intoxicating liquor as a beverage has been granted within its borders, and a temperance law known as the Scott Act had been in force for eight years previous to 1893, when the second attempt was made by the liquor party to obtain its repeal. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the liquor sellers of the present day are remarkable for their subtility, and many are the innocent victims entangled in the meshes of the net woven by their deceptive tongues; therefore, it need not seem strange that they should display great power and influence, even in a so-called temperance community. In the spring of 1893, the liquor party in Brome, having decided that they had been troubled by an anti-license act quite long enough, sent out their agents to various parts of the county with innocent looking papers to which they wished to obtain signatures. They called upon all the known supporters of their party, and also upon that doubtful class of persons which sometimes proves to be among their best helpers, although counted as temperance people. To this doubtful class they carefully explained that the petition they bore did not ask for the repeal of the Scott Act, but only requested that an election be held for the purpose of bringing the matter before the people, and determining their minds upon the subject. Therefore, they were told the signing of this petition was in no way equivalent to voting against the Scott Act, nor would they be bound to vote against that Act if an election was brought about. Many names were appended to the petition, the desired election took place, and very hard did the liquor men work to obtain a result that should favor their cause.
However, not all the faithful work was on their side. A few temperance speakers came from distant places, and held many interesting meetings in different parts of the county, but perhaps the most efficient work was done by people living in the county, who in many cases seemed to possess greater influence than strangers could exert. Mr. J. W. Alexander, at that time Principal of the Sutton Model School, added more recruits to the ranks of earnest workers by organizing a number of his pupils with a few other young people into a band which, under the name of the "Young People's Temperance Crusaders," did good work during the ensuing weeks. Older workers were admitted into the society as honorary members, and the officers were chosen from among these. One of the honorary members was Mr. W. W. Smith, who was also one of the Committee appointed to accompany the younger members and aid them in their meetings, and no one worked harder to retain the Scott Act than he. He took an active part in nearly every Crusade meeting, and on evenings, when the Crusaders were not thus employed, held other temperance meetings, thus occupying nearly every night during three or four weeks in the heat of the campaign. Not content with this, he worked and argued by day as well, and, associating his work with prayer, did not cease from his efforts until, on June 16th, 1893, the polls were closed and the victory for God and the temperance cause was won. The hotel-keepers and their confederates had gained that for which their petition has asked, but plainly they were far from satisfied with the result of the contest, and many were the curses pronounced upon Mr. Smith as one of the most active opposers of their cherished plans. Now the vote against them was greater than ever before, yet they were not content to abide by the voice of the people which they had seemed so anxious to obtain, but practiced the illegal sale of alcoholic drinks until nearly, if not quite, every hotel-keeper in the County of Brome was known to be boldly and frequently breaking the law. A great cry of the liquor men while attempting to repeal this law had been "The Scott Act is all right if you would only enforce it; we don't want a law which is not carried out," and it was now the wish of those who had sustained the Act to prevent any further complaints like this. Therefore, on the evening of Feb. 26th, 1894, a public meeting was held in Sutton to discuss the circumstances and form plans for work, and at the close a society was organized to secure the enforcement of the Scott Act in the township of Sutton. Mr. Smith, who had been instrumental in bringing about this conference, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Society.
One of the leading temperance organizations of Canada is that known as the Dominion Alliance, which is divided and sub-divided into provincial and county branches. When, on April 25, 1894, the Brome County Branch of the Alliance held its annual meeting for the election of officers, Mr. Smith was chosen its President for the ensuing year. Here was field for increased usefulness, and he took up his work with a zeal that soon won the disapproval both of the liquor party and a certain class of so-called temperance people whose principal work for the cause usually lies in criticism of the work of others.
Soon a public meeting of the Alliance was announced by the new President to be held at Sutton, and a large number of people gathered in the hall on the evening appointed. Many speakers addressed the audience, and told in no uncertain words that the law must be enforced and offenders must be punished. It had not been deemed best to prosecute the liquor sellers without first giving them a fair and public warning, and therefore this meeting had been called; but now that they were notified of the intentions of the temperance people, if detected in dealing out the liquid poison, they had only themselves to blame. True to these announcements, Mr. Smith and others proceeded at once to obtain satisfactory evidence of the traffic in strong drink which was known to be taking place in the various hotels. This was by no means a slight task, for though the liquor sellers were not willing to keep the law, they were entirely willing to preserve the appearance of so doing, and very loath to sell liquor in the presence of a stranger, while the testimony of their regular customers could not be relied on. However, the task was done, and the evidence gathered was sufficient to condemn nearly every hotel-keeper in the county to imprisonment or a fine. On June 6th, these cases were considered in the District court, at Sweetsburg, Quebec, and punishment was meted out to the offenders. In some instances where the offences merited imprisonment a fine was allowed instead, and this was accepted by the Alliance President, who believed that justice should be tempered with mercy. This bit of leniency, however, was not taken into account by the liquor sellers in considering his treatment of them. They appeared to have altered their opinions as to the enforcement of the law, and their anger waxed hot, while many, often ranked with the temperance people, were in sympathy with them. Divisions occurred in temperance societies, because some of the members had friends who were made to suffer by the imposing of fines on the lawbreakers, and members of secret brotherhoods, who felt it their duty to uphold their brethren in good or evil, complained of the injustice of thus depriving the hotel-keepers of the property they had earned; some even declaring such transactions to be on a par with the meanest theft. Meanwhile the liquor sellers and their allies, who had already by the recent trials been shown to be a company of lawbreakers, seemed to be forming plans of their own. Many dark whispers floated through the county to the effect that W. W. Smith had better look out for his personal safety, and some declared with an air of wisdom that they would not like to be in his position, while a suspicious looking stranger, said to be a horse buyer, was noticed by some to be frequenting the hotels at Sutton and Abercorn, and attending the horse races in the vicinity. However, Mr. Smith had not the spirit of fear, and believing, as he said, that "the Lord will take care of his own," he continued as usual to go from place to place on errands of temperance, or any other work which he felt claimed his attention.
THE MIDNIGHT ASSAULT.
Thus matters went on until the night of July 7th, 1894, when Mr. Smith drove out from his home and returned somewhat late. After caring for his team he went into the station. It was afterwards told that some young men had noticed a stranger at the depot that night, who had appeared to be waiting for a train but had not gone away on any. After the crowd at the station had dispersed, and the inmates of the building had retired, as there was little night work to be done, Mr. Smith went into his home in the station, where his brother's family were then living with him, and having obtained a pillow for his head went back to the waiting-room, where he lay down upon a settee and dropped asleep.
An article published in the Montreal Daily Witness soon after this so well describes some of the circumstances which cluster round the events of that night at Sutton Junction that we give some parts of it here. It says:
"The liquor selling ruffians will descend to any warfare however dastardly and mean when forced by law to a standstill. There is something in the sad business that degrades every one in it. This time it is liquor sellers in Brome County that are indicted. Mr. W. W. Smith, President of the Brome County Branch of the Dominion Alliance, is also the station agent at Sutton Junction for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. As president of the Alliance he represents the temperance element of course, and that is the element determined to carry out the law against liquor selling. Mr. Smith represents them in this. In doing so he is certain to make enemies. He has been assiduous in his duty, and has been threatened several times. These threats did not keep him from actively participating in efforts to secure the conviction recently of several lawbreaking liquor sellers in Brome, some of whom were convicted, and have had sentence suspended over them pending their good behavior. On Saturday night, Mr. Smith took the night operator's place, arranging that the latter should take his place on Sunday. After securing everything for the night, Mr. Smith lay down on the sofa, never dreaming that any evil was to come to him."
Instead of copying the account of the assault which follows the above, we will describe the facts as nearly as possible as they have been related by the victim himself.
It was between one and two o'clock on Sunday morning, July 8th, when Mr. Smith was attacked by the cowardly miscreant who has thus made himself notorious. We say "cowardly," because when a large, strong man who carries arms and is a professional fighter, as he appears to have been, attacks a man who is weaponless and not more than two-thirds his size by giving him a stunning blow upon the head while he is asleep, there is clearly no evidence of heroism on the part of the man who makes the assault. Yet this was what Mr. Smith's brave assailant did!
After receiving the first blow, Mr. Smith felt a strange sensation as though he were taking a long, happy journey, and he thinks he was aroused by his assailant attempting to drag him from the settee. As a train was going by before daylight, it is the opinion of many that his intention may have been to leave his victim stunned upon the railway track, that the locomotive might complete the frightful work which he had begun. At least, he doubtless intended by some means to guard himself from suspicion and leave Mr. Smith entirely unable ever to identify him. When he saw that the object of his brutal attack was arousing he struck him a second time, but this blow not having the effect of the former one, Mr. Smith, who was now fully conscious, although he could not see clearly, grappled desperately with his foe. He saw a long weapon of some sort waving fiercely above his head, and now and then received a blow from it, while his assailant was constantly dragging him nearer the door, and he struggling to remain in the room fearing the villain might have associates outside. Mr. Smith was all the time shouting "murder," as loudly as possible, but, his mouth being filled with blood, he was unable to make himself clearly heard, and his calls brought no assistance. At length, being somewhat weakened by the blows he had received, he was dragged outside in spite of his efforts to remain within, but still no one came to the help of either himself or his antagonist. The two men, still struggling desperately, passed on from the upper to the lower platform without the station, and thence to the railway track below, and finally back to the lower platform. Then Mr. Smith got possession of the weapon which his assailant had been wielding, and the last hope of his enemy seemed to vanish with the loss of that, for, freeing himself from the grasp of the man whom he had thought a few minutes before was entirely in his power, he disappeared in the darkness, and fled up the track in such haste that he did not even stop for his hat, which was found by some one upon the platform next morning. The weapon which he left in Mr. Smith's possession proved to be a large piece of lead pipe well battered and bruised, near one end of which was attached a short piece of rope, apparently intended to be slipped around the wrist of the user so that the weapon might be concealed up his sleeve.
Mr. Smith, having seen his enemy retreat, hastened to the part of the house where his brother's family were sleeping, and thence to the other part where a Mr. Ames and family lived, and aroused the inmates of both apartments, who were very much surprised and alarmed at thought of the frightful scene which had been enacted so close to the apartments where they were calmly sleeping. However, there was one brave man, a train hand, who was sleeping above the scene of the assault, who declared that he had heard the blows when given, but did not go down to learn the cause as he "did not want to mix up in it," and was afraid he might get hurt. There are far too many people who display the same disposition when others within their reach are in danger or in need of assistance. When the people of the house were awakened it seemed already too late to capture the retreating criminal, but Mr. Smith's injuries were attended to, and a message sent at once by telephone to Sutton for a physician. The bruises proved to be very severe, and it seems to be a modern miracle that life itself was spared.
The article from the Witness, part of which we quoted above, after describing the assault, says:
"A good deal of indignation is felt by the law-abiding people not only of Sutton Flats, but of the county, and it is hoped that every effort will be made to discover the perpetrator. The woollen cap and slung-shot should give a clever detective a good clue to work upon. Some time ago, at the public meeting called to discuss the liquor question, Mr. Dyer, M. P. for the county, said that the authorities had been twitted by the liquor men for not enforcing the Scott Act. That reproach might have been justified in a measure at least, as there was some doubt as to the opinion of the people in its favor. But in 1893 the liquor men had appealed—and perhaps it was well they did so—to the county, to decide whether that law should be enforced or not. The county had declared against the liquor men. Now the time had come when this majority should stand at the back of the officials, and all should endeavor to enforce the law. Mr. Dyer's remarks at the time were taken to represent the desire of the law-abiding people of Brome County. In carrying out this idea, Mr. Smith, they contend, was simply doing his duty, and it is expected that in doing it he had the majority of the people of the county with him."
This brutal assault, made upon a law-abiding citizen by one whom he had never injured in any way is a fair sample of the fruits of intemperance wherever found. There are those who have seemed loath to believe that Mr. Smith's strong temperance convictions and his activity in carrying them out were the real causes which led to the bitter hatred that inspired this fiendish act. They seem to think it impossible that "respectable (?)" citizens of a temperance county should attempt in such a reckless, lawless way to prevent opposition to their traffic in strong drink. But what is there incredible in this? When we consider that traffic in strong drink means a trade in the souls of men, women and children, and in innocence, virtue and hope; when we remember that the bartender daily takes from his customers the price of food, clothes, health, respectability and all that he has of real value in the world, and gives him in return nothing but liquid ruin; when we know that the rumseller's business is a sort of wholesale murder continually, inasmuch as by it millions of lost souls are sent into eternity annually; in view of all these facts, why should we be surprised when the liquor sellers of a community plan together to rid themselves of one who has vigorously opposed their dangerous work? It is only another form of the same business.
The disclosures following the assault upon Mr. Smith convinced many people of the evils of the liquor traffic, and some who had favored and pitied the hotel keepers when they had been fined for lawbreaking now turned against them, feeling that they could no longer uphold their deeds. Meantime, some of the hotel keepers of the vicinity gave evidence of their guilt by disappearing from the locality very soon after the assault took place.
The investigation of the affair was placed in the hands of S. H. Carpenter, Superintendent of the Canadian Secret Service, and detectives were at once set at work upon the case. Either Mr. Carpenter or one of the men under his direction was constantly in the vicinity, seeking to obtain clues by which to determine the guilty party. One man, who lived near the mountain pass between Sutton and Glen Sutton, declared that, early on the morning of July 8th, he had seen two men pass his house driving very rapidly and going in the direction of the latter village, one of the men having no hat, but wearing a cloth around his head. Of course this story had an air of significance inasmuch as the assailant of the previous night had left his hat at Sutton Junction, but it did not prove to be of much importance. It was soon settled in the minds of many that the stranger whom we have mentioned as having been frequenting the hotels at Sutton and Abercorn had been the wielder of the lead pipe on July 8th, but his name and whereabouts were not to be obtained, as he had been sailing under false colors during his stay in the country, and those who were initiated into the secrets of the case, of course, kept silence.
At length, Mr. Smith received a letter from a woman in Vermont, who had formerly been employed at one of the hotels in the vicinity of the assault, and soon after he met this same woman at Sutton, and her evidence was a great aid towards locating the assailant. She knew nothing about the pretended Boston horse-buyer, who had apparently forgotten the object of his northward journey and disappeared without having purchased any of the Canadian steeds, but she remembered an American having once stopped for a time at the hotel where she was then working, and from the description given it seemed that he might be the same man. The one whom she described she said came from Marlboro, Mass., and thither a man was soon despatched in search. It proved that the man to whom she had directed Mr. Smith was not the one in question, but in searching for him the real perpetrator of the crime was found, as he chanced to be also a resident of Marlboro, Mass. Having located his man, the gentleman in search returned home, leaving in Marlboro a Canadian detective who should keep watch of the man until Mr. Carpenter went there. However, when Mr. Carpenter, who was accompanied by Mr. Smith, reached the place, the man whom they sought had already been lost track of by the detective, but after a few days Mr. Smith saw him in company with several others, and at once identified him as being the man whom he had seen in the vicinity of Sutton Junction previous to the assault, and also as having the form and gait which he had noticed his assailant to have when he had watched him fleeing from the scene of his cowardly attack. Soon this man was captured at Hudson, Mass., a place about five miles distant from Marlboro. He was arrested by Chief of Police Skully of Hudson and Policeman Hater of Worcester, and taken to Fitchburg. The name of this young man who had apparently come very near being a murderer was Walter W. Kelly, and he had been a bartender in Marlboro, which probably made him feel more sympathy for his Canadian brethren when their liberty to sell intoxicants was interfered with.
While at Fitchburg, Kelly was advised to yield himself up and go freely to Canada with Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Smith, because, he was told, they were determined to have him at any cost, and, if he made them the trouble and expense of extraditing him, he would only be obliged to lie in jail a much longer time before his trial could take place, whereas the sentence of punishment would doubtless be just as severe in the one case as in the other.
Acting in the spirit of this advice he gave himself up into the hands of Detective Carpenter and went with him to Montreal, where he acknowledged his guilt, and also told that he had been hired to do the deed by John Howarth, a young man who lived with the hotel keeper at Abercorn, and that James Wilson, one of the hotel keepers at Sutton, had driven the team which carried him to and from the Junction on the night of the assault.
Mr. Smith, who had also accompanied Mr. Carpenter to Montreal, at once returned home, and, having notified a number of his friends and procured a constable from Knowlton, Que., went in company with several others from Sutton to Abercorn, on Saturday night, August 25th, for the purpose of arresting Howarth. On a Saturday night also, just seven weeks previous, a smaller company of men had gone from Sutton in the opposite direction, not to arrest a guilty man, but to assault an innocent man, not in the cause of right and justice, but of wrong and injustice. But now it seemed that the tide had turned!
The little company of "friends of temperance" surrounded the Abercorn hotel, and the constable, going to the door, called loudly to Mr. Jenne, the proprietor, who was doubtless in the land of dreams. Mr. Jenne, who appeared to be somewhat suspicious, was loath to open his house at that unseemly hour, and demanded his visitor's name; but the constable, giving a fictitious name, enquired for John Howarth, and when that individual made his appearance, he was at once arrested in the name of the Queen. Seeing the people outside, neither he nor Mr. Jenne dared resist, and, being assured by the latter that he would soon have him free again, Howarth accompanied the constable to the jail at Sweetsburg, feeling, doubtless, much less pleased with his future prospects than he had felt when planning by violence and bloodshed to frighten the temperance people into submission or silence, and leave himself and his congenial associates free to drink and sell as much liquor as they chose. Thus Satan may sometimes appear to his servants as a very good master when they serve him faithfully, and accomplish his designs, but when they fail to carry out some of his cherished plans and find themselves in danger and trouble, as a result of their zeal in his service, then he proves a very poor sort of comforter. Better far to serve a Master who will not forsake His followers in time of need!
A few days later an attempt was made to arrest James Wilson, who had left the hotel at Sutton, and was thought to be staying at Glen Sutton, his former home. This expedition is so fully described by an article in the Montreal Daily Star that we quote from it here. The two local guides mentioned in this report were W. W. Smith and his brother, H. S. Smith. The account, dated August 31st, is as follows:
"A mysterious midnight expedition left Richford Station, Vermont, a little after twelve this morning, and disappeared in the gloomy shadow of Mount Sutton. The party was composed of Superintendent Silas H. Carpenter of the Canadian Secret Service, a Star reporter and two local guides. The object of the expedition was a search for James Wilson and M. L. Jenne, hotel keepers of Sutton and Abercorn, for whose arrests Carpenter held warrants. These men are accused of being the conspirators who organized, aided and abetted the arrangements for the attempted and nearly successful murder of W. W. Smith, the President of the Brome County Temperance Alliance, who for some time has been like a thorn in the side of the Brome County hotel keepers, because, by insisting upon the enforcement of the law, to wit, the Scott Act, he spoiled their profitable liquor trade. The excellent means of communication in the counties of Missisquoi and Brome, by telephone and otherwise, necessitated the greatest care in keeping the purpose of the trip secret, especially because the entire county seems to be situated too dangerously near the American border line for officers of the law to take any chances, and, accordingly, the ground had to be reached from Sweetsburg in a round-about way. It was with grave apprehension that the officers of the court and the citizens of that town let our small party depart on what to them appeared a most dangerous errand; it seemed perfect folly to them that Detective Carpenter alone, with only a Star reporter, should thus attempt to 'beard the lions in their dens'—and on a very dark night, too!
"Why, they said, when the constable from Knowlton went to arrest Howarth, another of the alleged conspirators who lives in the same vicinity, last week, he surrounded the house with a cordon of twenty men. They said, besides, the Wilsons were known as a fighting family, who would never allow a member to be arrested easily. As to Jenne, no two men would be able to prevent him from slipping out of the house and escaping. As it turned out, Mr. Carpenter had, in a measure, a greater success than even he anticipated. Since the arrest of the man Kelly, who was hired to do and perpetrated the act of assault, those who were interested in the plan of getting rid of Mr. Smith have evinced a really remarkable preference for the air across the line, and a score of residents of this vicinity more or less connected with Brome liquor interests have emigrated to the neighboring towns of the United States, hoping that they may not be extradited. Mr. Carpenter's little excursion cost a good many people beside himself their night's rest. The first house where Wilson was supposed to be was searched at about three this morning, and three other houses were subjected to a similar process within the next two hours. At the last place Wilson's parents, wife and sick child were found; but they pleaded utter ignorance of the head of the family's whereabouts. There is little doubt but that he is in hiding in the States. Jenne's hotel, at Abercorn, was visited about six, and he, too, was in the States. But Mr. Carpenter gave Jenne's son such convincing proofs that his father would be extradited anyhow, and that his staying away would only be considered an acknowledgment of guilt, that the old man was sent for and decided to come to Canada without trouble. It is known that the confession of Kelly, now under arrest, implicates, directly and indirectly, a dozen or so of well-known people around here. There is a promising prospect for penitentiary terms for several of them."
In the above account is given evidence of both the guilt and cowardice of these hotel keepers. When men concoct plans of evil which they dare not execute in person, and then hire a foreigner to carry them out, it is not strange if they prove too cowardly to face justice when their part in the crime has been made known. It is little wonder if they seek a foreign clime, but more strange that they do not hide for shame after their fear of punishment is lessened. Is it because they find too many sympathizers at home?
Let those who doubt that this crime was undertaken because of the temperance principles of its victim search the records of other localities for parallel cases. Many earnest men and women have suffered for the same cause. Satan never yields a foot of ground anywhere without fighting vigorously to retain it, and no important reform was ever inaugurated but it met with strong opposition from the first.
The more important a reform also, that is to say, the more it is opposed to the rule of the powers of darkness, the more bitter the persecution is likely to be which meets it at every step. Witness the fierce opposition to the spread of Christianity in the early centuries and the persecution which has almost always followed its introduction into a new, neglected region. The temperance reform has been no exception in this respect, and as a leading temperance worker has said: "The martyr-roll of temperance is just as sacred as that of any other reform that was ever inaugurated."
This same worker, Mr. J. C. Nichols, gives a sketch in this connection which may be of interest to the readers of this narrative. It is of a young man in New Orleans—a young man pure and earnest, such as the world everywhere has need of. He was a zealous temperance worker, and had met with considerable success in this work, which lay so near his heart. One dark night, alone and unarmed, he was crossing a bridge beyond which lay a clump of bushes. When he reached these bushes he was confronted by six men with weapons who lay in ambush waiting for him. They sprang out and shot him, and, not content with that, bruised and battered his features beyond recognition. And then his noble mother wrote to Miss Willard, President of the World's W. C. T. U., that she had yet two boys left, and she had rather they would die as he had, fighting for the right, than that either of them should turn aside to the right hand or the left.
These six men, attacking one defenceless temperance man, displayed the same spirit of cowardice as their northern brethren show when they hire a stranger to do the work for them. They had greater success attending their efforts, but probably there was no more hatred or revenge in their hearts than was in the hearts of the Brome County liquor sellers when they sent to Massachusetts for a prize fighter to come north to injure and perhaps kill a Christian temperance worker.
Through the providence of God, the plans of these men do not always succeed, and when they do the real victory is often for God and the right rather than for them, because no right-thinking man or woman can but oppose them and their business when they see such fruits of the traffic. North or south, the nature and effects of intemperance are ever the same.
THE AUTUMN COURT.
The Autumn Court of the District of Bedford was opened at Sweetsburg, Que., on Thursday, August 30th, 1894, and at this session the Sutton Junction Assault Case was considered. The lawyers in charge of the case were H. T. Duffy, on behalf of the Alliance, and E. Racicot, on behalf of the accused hotel keepers. The court room was thronged each day with eager listeners, and much interest was evinced both by the temperance and anti-temperance people.
The following account of proceedings at court and other matters relating to the assault case is from The Templar, a temperance paper, published in Hamilton, Ont., and a large part of this description was also published in the Montreal Daily Witness:
"The excitement in Brome County, Quebec, over the arrest of several prominent liquor sellers on the charge of conspiring to murder Mr. W. W. Smith, President of Brome County Temperance Alliance, increases as the developments are becoming known to the public. According to the evidence, there remains no longer any question that Mr. Smith's devotion to Prohibition, and particularly his determined stand for the honest enforcement of the Scott Act, which is in force in that county, made him a shining mark for the vengeance of the men whose trade and profits were so seriously affected thereby. The confession of Walter Kelly, the assailant, that he was employed to 'do up' Mr. Smith because he was a man who gave the hotel keepers much trouble, and had to be thrashed, as well as the payment of money by Mr. Jenne, proves the animus of the assault, while the general evidence indicates a wide-spread conspiracy, embracing others than the accused, to cause the diabolical crime. The publicans of Brome, and, indeed, the liquor traffic as a whole, lie under the terrible suspicion of sympathy with this crime. It is not beyond the traffic. Its record is traced in blood as well as tears. The Templar is quite ready to believe that there are men in the business who would shrink with horror from the very thought of engaging in such a deed of blood, but the assault upon Mr. Smith, of Sutton, is the natural fruit of the damnable business, and those exceptions have not been wholly dominated by the genius of the traffic. What cares the liquor seller who suffers while he thrives? The excitement centres at Sweetsburg, where the court is engaged in hearing the evidence against James Wilson and M. L. Jenne, hotel keepers at Sutton and Abercorn, who are charged with conspiring to murder Mr. Smith. The preliminary hearing began last Friday morning. People had come from all parts of the surrounding country, and several newspaper people from across the line, male and female, were on hand.
"The Magistrates occupying the bench were Messrs. C. H. Boright and G. F. Shufelt; Mr. H. T. Duffy was prosecuting attorney, with Hon. Mr. Baker as counsel. Sheriff Cotton was also present. The prisoner, John Howarth, was represented by Mr. E. Racicot, and was in court.
"Howarth is an American, and still a young man. He is closely shaven, and wears his hair cropped short. He came here about three years ago, with a stallion worth about $1000, in which he owns a half interest. The man who owns the other half still lives in the States, and by means of tedious litigation has been trying to get his share. This man at present lives with the Jennes, at their hotel at Abercorn. He is one of the principal figures in the case, because he, it is said, was the man to whom the entire management of the attempted murder was entrusted.
"Mr. Smith is a medium-sized man, with a heavy blonde mustache, and is a fluent talker, who evidently is very much in earnest in his temperance work. He seems to possess the lives of the proverbial cat; but many people here prophesy that they will not be of avail to him much longer—meaning thereby that the liquor men will yet be the death of him. This does not seem to worry him much, however.
"Kelly is a well built man, a little over medium height, with dark brown hair, restless, dark eyes, and a small mustache, turned to a needle point at each end. It cost a great deal of time and trouble to locate him; once nabbed, he turned Queen's evidence.
"Mr. W. W. Smith was the first witness. His testimony consisted in a description of the assault as our readers are already familiar with it. He narrated how he had warned the hotel keepers against breaking the Scott Act, on pain of prosecution, and how, by interposing on their behalf, he had saved many of them from prison. He concluded his evidence with a description of Kelly's attempt to murder him. Every eye in the court room was fixed upon Walter Kelly, the man who committed the murderous assault, as he entered the witness box. It was generally known that he had turned Queen's evidence, and would tell a thrilling story. He took the situation very coolly, and after explaining that he had been a bartender in Marlboro, Mass., gave the following testimony:
"'Some time before the end of June last, I was shown a letter by a man named Flynn, which requested him to come or send a man to do a job, and it was stated that there was good money in it. The letter was written by a man named Howarth, who resides at Abercorn, P. Q., in the county of Brome. Neither Flynn nor myself paid much attention to this letter, as we did not understand the meaning of it. About the end of June, the same man showed me a second letter, which he had received from Howarth, also requesting him to send a man on the next morning to do a job connected with the liquor business, and he asked me to go, as there was good money in it—about two hundred dollars—and I agreed to go over. He then instructed me to go to a man named Willard, whom Howarth had instructed to give me the money to pay my way, or give me a ticket. I went to Willard, and told him that I was going to Canada to do a job for some parties there; that Howarth had sent for me to call on him for the money to buy the ticket to go there, and that he would repay him. Willard gave me ten dollars, and I bought my ticket, and came on to Abercorn. I started towards the hotel there, when Howarth drove up, recognized me, and asked me to get into his wagon. He drove me to Jenne's hotel, and there introduced me to Mr. Jenne as a Mr. Stewart. While at the hotel, Howarth told me he had sent for me to thrash a fellow named Smith, who lived over at Sutton Junction. He said that he was a mean cuss who drank all his life, would drink whenever he got the chance, was all the time running after the women and, to cover up his deviltry, he goes round preaching temperance, and raising the devil with the hotel keepers. They wanted to chase him away and get him out of the business. Howarth went on to say that Smith, who is station master at Sutton Junction, was so mean that people cannot ship goods to that station without their being opened, looked over and their contents reported to the temperance people. They had, he added, reported Smith to the company, and his discharge had been ordered. I asked Howarth what about the money for doing this job, and he answered, "Don't fear; everything is fixed, and you will be well taken care of." In the afternoon, Howarth took me to Sutton, and we called at Curley's hotel, and went from there to Lebeau's, where he introduced me to a man named Lebeau, who owns a race course, as a Mr. Stewart, a horse buyer from Boston. I then rode with Mr. Lebeau and drove his horse, staying round there until the evening, when I went back to Curley's hotel, and had supper. I did not pay for it, and was not asked to pay. I went to Sutton, purchased a ticket for Richford, where I met Howarth in the afternoon by agreement, received fifteen dollars from him and had a long conversation regarding the job I was to do, after which Howarth went back to Abercorn. I, however, remained over night at Richford, and next morning took the train for Sutton. I then went to Mr. Wilson's hotel, and remained there for two or three days. They asked me no questions in regard to my board bill, they did not seem to care whether my bills were paid or not, and they were never paid by me. I remained there until the horse race at Knowlton, to which I went with Mr. Wilson, and where I expected to meet Howarth with a team for me to use, but I did not find Howarth at Knowlton. I left Knowlton the same night, and rode back to Sutton, to Wilson's hotel, with a man whom I met at the races. A day or two following, I was supplied with the team, which was fed and cared for free of charge at Curley's and Wilson's hotels. This team was supplied me for the purpose of driving to and from the Junction in order to meet Smith. The night I committed the assault on Mr. Smith my team was at Curley's hotel until 9 o'clock in the evening, when I ordered it to be harnessed. I then started for the Junction, and on the way I met a man a short distance out of the village, whose name I do not remember, but I would probably recognize him if I saw him again. I was supplied with a disguise of clothing, which was put into my buggy when the team was sent to me. I do not know who put it there, but Howarth gave me to understand that it would be there.
"'Some talk transpired between myself and the parties engaged in this matter as to what weapon I should used to beat Mr. Smith, when it was suggested, I think by Howarth, that a piece of lead pipe would be a good thing, and when I opened the bundle, I found a lead pipe in it. I saw that it was a piece of new pipe, and I battered it to give it an old appearance. There was also a new hat in the bundle. When this man got into my buggy, I drove to Sutton Junction, where I waited for Mr. Smith. After our arrival there, and until I had committed the assault on Mr. Smith, the man who drove with me from Sutton kept the team waiting for me about one hundred rods from the station. I saw Mr. Smith arrive at the depot about 10.30 P. M., and after putting the team up, he went into the station with four or five men. I watched Mr. Smith until all the men had left, the last two going north on an engine, after which I saw Mr. Smith lie down on a settee. After some time I entered the room, where he was lying, and struck him over the head with the pipe, which was in my possession. His head moved on the pillow, and when he started to rise, I struck him again. We then clinched, and had quite a severe struggle during which I lost my hat and the lead pipe. I then freed myself from Mr. Smith, and disappeared, running to where the team was waiting for me. We drove direct to Sutton, where the fellow jumped off, and I kept on to Richford, where I left my team at the American hotel, telling them that it would be called for. On the way to Richford after having committed the assault, I called at Jenne's hotel, Howarth having told me that on my way back the money would be left with Jenne to pay me. When I arrived there I called to him, and after a few minutes he came, and I asked him if there was some money there for me, and he said, "Yes," and at the same time he went back and brought out fifty dollars, which he gave me. I asked him where the rest of the money was, and he said: "Only a part of it had been collected; give me your address, and we will collect it and send you a money order." This money order I have never received. At Richford I hired a team and drove to what I thought was about half way to St. Albans, where I stayed all day Sunday, and took the night express for Boston. The bay horse and open buggy, with yellow running gear, were furnished me by Howarth a few days previous to the assault. The team was engaged by Jenne at the livery stable in the rear of the American House, Richford, and the young man who drove the team on the night of the assault was young Jim Wilson. He left me at Sutton, and I was instructed to leave the team at the Richford livery stable above mentioned, which I did, and the same livery man whom I asked for another team to drive me to St. Albans, or a part of the way, hitched up a team and sent a man with me whose name I do not know. When I drove up to his place that Sunday morning, I awoke him and said that I had brought back his horse which I had been using for the last few days, and I also told him that this party would settle for it, and he replied, "All right."'"
In this testimony of Kelly's we see the evidence of a preconcerted plot in which many liquor men, both Canadian and American, must have been initiated. It is an important fact also that the man entrusted with the execution of their lawless plans was himself a bartender. From the evil account of Mr. Smith's deeds, which Kelly says was given to him on his arrival in Canada, it appears that the enemies of temperance are not contented with taking the property of their fellow-men as they often do in different ways, they are not even satisfied with inflicting bodily injury and suffering upon those who oppose their ways, but they would blight their reputation, and this, too, is no small injury, for in the words of Shakespeare:
"Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name, Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed."
The announcement also that the liquor men had reported their enemy to the railway company, and that his discharge had been ordered, is significant in the light of later events. The complaint made by them to the company seems from the above to have been that Mr. Smith was examining goods shipped into the county by way of Sutton Junction, and this, we are assured, was a false report. However, it seems probable that, if the hotel keepers had not been receiving illegal goods in this way, they would not have been so suspicious. Another account of Kelly's testimony was published in the Montreal Daily Star. Omitting those parts which do not differ materially from the report in The Templar, this report is as follows:
"The reason that Kelly did not get his hundred and fifty dollars for half murdering Mr. W. W. Smith, it appears, was 'that he did not half finish his job;' at least that was the reason given in another letter of Howarth to his friend Mr. Flynn in the United States, who showed it to Kelly. It is left to the imagination as to what the result would have been if he had finished the job. Kelly's testimony occupied all the afternoon, and he stood the ordeal extremely well. Mr. Racicot tried to shake him, but in vain. He told his story in a straightforward manner, and it showed how easy it is even in our present civilized and advanced age to get rid of or punish people without running personal risk of bodily injury if you go the right way about it. The case is also a forcible reminder of the truism that the laborer is worthy of his hire, and that things done on the cheap are apt to turn out badly....
"That night he drove in the vicinity of a friend's home, where he was told that Smith was not at home. He went with the intention of seeing Mr. Smith. If he had met him he would have licked him then and there. He always stayed at the Wilson's, when he had nothing better to do, and they did not charge him anything. He was convinced that the Wilsons, though they did not say so, knew perfectly well what he was doing. Kelly met Smith once at the Sutton Junction station while he was on the train. The night of the attempted murder he asked Jim Wilson to drive him. Wilson must have know what Kelly was going to do, for the latter undressed while they were driving together, and put on the disguise, and Jim Wilson must have seen him put the lead pipe in his pocket. Wilson waited for him with the rig, while the drama in Smith's station-house took place. Kelly then rehearsed the act himself, varying but little in the story from the version given by Mr. Smith. The remainder of the story finished....
"When he was half way to St. Albans he sent the Richford team home and hired another on the road. He took the train at St. Albans to Boston, and from there returned home to Marlboro. He met Howarth at Marlboro afterwards, and Howarth said that he would see about the money. He then spoke to Howarth's friend Flynn and the latter wrote. In reply he got back a letter from Howarth, in which the latter said: 'Kelly did not half do his job, and all the others are kicking at me.' At any rate, Kelly did not get his one hundred and fifty dollars. Mr. Racicot then took him in hand and tried very hard to tangle him up. He commenced by trying to break down the force of the evidence of the letters, which Kelly claims Howarth has written, and which Kelly claims he had seen. Of course he had to admit that he could not swear they were written by Howarth. Next, his efforts were directed to words trying to prove by Kelly's testimony that the assault was not a murderous one. Partly to protect himself, partly because he believed it the truth, Kelly then was compelled to testify that he was not asked and had not undertaken to kill Mr. Smith. He never told any one that he had, and did not intend to kill him or do him serious injury. The murderous-looking gas pipe club on exhibition on the Judge's Bench gave this part of the testimony a rather sarcastic tinge. In continuing, he got Kelly to say he did not think he had hurt Smith seriously, but simply that he had fulfilled his contract. It came out that, while living in Marlboro, Kelly was a barkeeper, and was seen drinking with others in a hotel. There is apparently a good opportunity for missionary service of the sort Mr. Smith delights in in Vermont. He was asked to go into lengthy details as to how he was arrested, brought from the States by Mr. Carpenter and treated while in his custody, and said that he expected to take his chances on being sent to jail or penitentiary. When his testimony was finished a wrangle took place between opposing counsel as to whether or not prisoners should be admitted to bail. Mr. Duffy opposed in so far as Howarth was concerned, because he was an American, and because once at liberty he would approach the other conspirators and frustrate the ends of justice. Finally Howarth was remanded till Wednesday. Jenne was allowed out on nominal bail, and Kelly remanded to the custody of Mr. Carpenter. Some more arrests and some more verbal and very interesting documentary evidence is promised for Wednesday."
The statement of Kelly that he did not intend to kill Mr. Smith, and was not asked to do so, has a decided look of absurdity when viewed in the light of the various circumstances surrounding the assault. If he simply intended to "lick" Mr. Smith, why did he attempt it in such an unfair and cowardly way? Why did he, when the object of his assault was asleep, attack him with a weapon which might cause death? And why, having such an advantage over his victim, did he begin at once to pound his head? This is a very dangerous way to administer a whipping! Moreover, if the hotel keepers of the vicinity only wished to have Mr. Smith pounded, it seems strange that not one of their number was willing to undertake the task himself. Or, if not, why did they not hire some ruffian who could be induced to give almost any man a pounding for a smaller sum of money than that promised to Walter Kelly, and, besides, might have supplied his own necessary outfit, and save them the trouble and expense of providing board, team, weapon and disguise of clothing.
Again, the liquor men should have known that such a course would not be likely to help them very much, for any man who is sincerely in earnest and seeks the prosperity of a good cause, will not be likely to stop his work because of a slight pounding. There are many things in this world not easy to understand or explain, and this affair seems to be one of them, but, of course, it is a lawyer's business to work for the interests of his clients, and prisoners usually consider it their privilege, when in the witness box, to work for their own safety.
The testimony of Mr. Smith, which had been begun on Friday, and had given place to Kelly's evidence when he arrived from Montreal, was resumed on Wednesday, Sept. 5th, when the case was again considered in court. The following report of Wednesday's proceedings was published in the Montreal Daily Witness:
"The preliminary enquiry into the Sutton Junction attempted murder case was resumed this morning before Messrs. C. H. Boright and G. F. Shufelt, J. P.'s. The court room was crowded, and much interest was evinced in the progress of the case. Mr. W. W. Smith, continuing his evidence, described his struggle with Kelly. The first blow rendered him partially unconscious, and apparently was not repeated for two or three minutes. A second and third blow was given with the lead pipe, but, owing to his having clinched with Kelly, they did not have the effect of the first. During the struggle, both men got out on the station platform, and eventually rolled from the upper to the lower one, Smith all the time calling out 'murder,' and Kelly breaking loose ran away. He was positive that it was Kelly's intention to kill him, not merely to give him a beating.
"He recognized the lead pipe as the weapon Kelly used, and also the hat was the one he left behind in the station.
"He went to Marlboro on August 25th, and identified Kelly, whom he saw drinking with three other men at the bar of the Central House.
"He travelled from Fitchburg to Montreal with Mr. Carpenter, and was present in the former's office, when Kelly acknowledged to having committed the assault.
"Two other witnesses testified to having seen Howarth and Kelly together at Sutton, on May 24th, where it was given out that the latter was from the United States, and was buying horses. It was also in evidence that Kelly was seen at Curley's hotel, Sutton, on the evening that the assault was committed."
After these witnesses were heard, the case was put over until Spring, to be considered and decided by the Court of Queen's Bench, which was to be held at Sweetsburg, in March, 1895. Kelly, Howarth and Jenne were committed for trial at that time. Jenne was released on bail, and application was made for bail to be granted for Howarth also. This was refused by the magistrates, and Mr. Racicot then applied to the Judge, being opposed in his application by Mr. Duffy, the lawyer for the Alliance.
Judge Lynch carefully considered the matter in its social and legal aspects.
He brought up several cases in the history of the country in which application for bail had been refused, recited the general principles which had governed the various judges in making these decisions, and concluded his remarks thus:
"It only remains for me now to apply these general principles, which have received the sanction of our highest courts, to the present case, and cannot better do so than by asking myself the questions which were submitted by Judge Power, as being the basis of his conclusions in the Maguire case.
"What is the nature of the crime charged against Howarth? Is it grave or trifling? It certainly is not trifling, it is one of the most serious known to our law, being nothing less than an accusation of an attempt to commit murder. 2d. What is the nature of the evidence offered by the prosecution, and the probability of a conviction? I prefer not to discuss or consider now the strength of the evidence which was adduced before the magistrates, to which alone I can look. It apparently presents a strong case, and if it is believed by the jury, and not rebutted by other evidence, it would, in all human probability, lead to a conviction. 3d. Is he liable to a severe punishment? Yes—to imprisonment for life. In face, therefore, of the answers which I am obliged to give to the foregoing questions, I cannot hesitate as to my duty in this matter. It is important in the public interest that Howarth should be present in court, and stand his trial on the charge preferred against him, and nothing can or should be allowed to interfere to prevent this from taking place.
"It might possibly be otherwise were bail allowed, and I cannot take the responsibility of such an occurrence. The application is refused."
From these words of Judge Lynch we see clearly how very serious a matter this assault case must have seemed to him at that time. After this decision Kelly was again placed in custody of Mr. Carpenter, and returned to Montreal, where he was kept in prison, while Howarth passed the winter in Sweetsburg jail.
Meantime, some of the members of the liquor party took advantage of the excitement which this assault had caused by trying to frighten other temperance people. One man, Allen C. Armstrong, living in the neighborhood of Sutton Junction, who had been an aid in the work of locating Kelly, awoke one morning to find upon his doorsteps a miniature coffin, which bore an ominous inscription, giving his name and the record of his death (without date), and calling him a "Sutton Junction detective." Also, anonymous letters were reported to have been received by two men in the same vicinity, viz.: N. P. Emerson, Vice-President of the Alliance for the township of Sutton, and J. C. Draper, President of Brome County Agricultural Society, who was also a member of the Alliance, bidding them beware lest they also suffer in the same manner as Mr. Smith.
It may have afforded a degree of satisfaction to a certain class of people to thus add fuel to the fire already kindled by the liquor men, but their cause will certainly never triumph through any such acts as these, for there will always be some in the ranks of the temperance party who will be willing to work the harder the fiercer roll the flames of opposition.
PROS AND CONS OF PUBLIC OPINION.
As may be supposed this assault case became the subject of a great deal of discussion and controversy, not only in the vicinity of its occurrence, but also in places far distant, and among people who had no personal knowledge of any of the parties especially concerned in it. If the assault upon Mr. Smith had been committed for almost any other reason than the one which really led to it, it would probably have caused less intense feeling than it did. But an assault of such a serious nature, made on account of a man's temperance principles and practices, appealed to the public sense of right, and seemed the signal for a war of pens and tongues between the opposing parties of temperance and inebriety. Very few of the latter party proved brave enough to have their opinions submitted to the press (or else the press would not accept them), but doubtless those opinions were freely expressed in private.
We purpose devoting this chapter to a few of the views of societies and individuals respecting this affair, as they were published in the columns of certain newspapers. The following from The Templar shows the feeling of the Alliance in a border county to that in which the deed was committed, as expressed just before the opening of court:
"The Missisquoi County Alliance, at a meeting held August 28th, passed the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted amid applause: 'Resolved, That this County Alliance now assembled desires to record its deepest sympathy with Mr. W. W. Smith, President of the Brome County Alliance, in the recent outrage perpetrated upon him by the emissaries of the liquor traffic. We rejoice to know that there is a prospect of the speedy bringing to justice of the perpetrators of that assault. We also desire to record our high appreciation of the valued services to the cause of prohibition in this section by Mr. Smith, and trust that he may long be spared to continue his heroic efforts to free our country from the ravages of strong drink.'"
The following resolution was adopted by the executive of the Quebec provincial branch of the Dominion Alliance, at a meeting held in the parlors of the Y. M. C. A., in Montreal:
"That this Alliance records its profound sympathy with Mr. W. W. Smith, President of the Brome County Alliance, in the recent murderous assault made upon him, resulting from his earnest and successful efforts in the cause of law and order in the County of Brome, and this Alliance trusts that full justice will be meted out to the perpetrators of this atrocious crime."
The letter given below appeared in The Knowlton News of Oct. 12th, 1894, under the heading "A Few Words on the Other Side:"
"To the Editor of The News:
"SIR,—In the discussion of a case which has and is now agitating this good County of Brome, that spirit of British fair play which has attained to the dignity of a proverb has been lost sight of to a marked degree. I refer to the alleged assault on Mr. W. W. Smith, at Sutton Junction, in July last. The Dominion Temperance Alliance and its friends are doing their best, by means of the press and otherwise, to poison the public mind in advance of the trial against the party who is charged with procuring the assault on Mr. Smith, and also against divers other persons in the county who are said to be his accessories, charging them with the commission of a grave crime without a scintilla of reputable evidence on which to base such a charge. This, I say, is not fair play, and those guilty of the unfairness need not find fault if lovers of justice refuse to follow them in their raid on men and characters, or by silence lend strength to the unwarranted assumption that each and every one of those so flippantly accused are guilty from the word 'go,' and must be pilloried in public and private, and subjected to the shame and embarrassment arising from these attacks on their character, as law-abiding citizens and legal subjects of Her Majesty.
"There is a limit beyond which self-constituted conservers of public morals must not go; and good men should not be brutally attacked in public by agents of the Alliance on the strength of the admissions of a fellow, who, if he tells the truth, is one of the meanest rascals that ever cumbered the earth. I refer to the fellow Kelly, Mr. Smith's self-confessed assailant.
"I offer nothing in defence of lawbreakers, nor would I, if I could, do aught to mitigate in the least degree the punishment that may be meted out to the person who wantonly assaults a peaceable citizen, but candor and strict impartiality force me to refuse to accept as truth all the rubbish of tergiversation with which this agitated Smith case has been surrounded by the intemperate zeal of professed temperance men. I believe in temperance, and if those who knowingly violate the law against the sale of intoxicants are brought to judgment and punishment, they get but what they deserve, and all good men will applaud the vindication of the majesty of the law. But we are scripturally enjoined to be 'temperate in all things.' This applies as well to words as to the use of stimulants, and the grossly unfair attacks on men's characters by certain of the Alliance emphasize the necessity for a strong curb on that unruly member, the tongue, which has brought many a good man and worthy cause into grave disrepute, and made them enemies where otherwise they might have had friends.
"This whole Smith business has a 'cheap John' flavor, which makes careful men view it askance. Who witnessed the assault on Smith? Nobody. He tells of being struck three times on the head with a piece of lead pipe, weighing some four pounds, and has in evidence the terrible weapon. Did his person bear evidence of the murderous assault? No. All who saw him in the early morning following the alleged assault were surprised that he bore no marks of the terrible struggle for life through which he claimed to have passed. Why, one blow from such a weapon as he exhibits would have crushed his head as if it were an egg shell, yet he claims to have sustained three blows, and is alive to tell of it! Shades of Ananias and of Munchausen!
"But it were useless to pursue the subject further.
"It is to that spirit of fair play so characteristically British, and to which we are proud heirs, that I would appeal. Everything is being said and done to prejudice the public against those who are accused of instigating Kelly to the assault on Smith; but, singular as it may seem, Kelly is patted on the back and called a good fellow. Why? Admitting the truth of Kelly's story, is he less guilty because he had confederates? A strange feature of the case is that Kelly willingly came back to Canada, when extradition would have been about impossible.
"He was taken to Montreal instead of to Sweetsburg, and was there royally entertained instead of being put in close jail. While in Montreal he was interviewed,—and by whom?—the Crown prosecutor? No; but by Smith and his counsel, Mr. Duffy. Meantime, several so-called 'detectives' were scouring the country for evidence. Of what? They had Smith's assailant, and he had told his story. Those whom he charged as being instigators of his crime were attending to their business, and might have been apprehended within twenty-four hours after Kelly's arrest in the States. Then what were the detectives seeking?—what were they after? That $1000 reward was in sight, and this may have been the inducing cause of this prowling.
"It would seem to 'A man up a tree' that there are certain revenges to be completed—sundry old grudges to be satisfied, and the Crown is asked to assist in this questionable work. Those familiar with the matter say that in our broad Dominion there are no better conducted hotels than those to be found in the Eastern townships. They are well kept, and the travelling public is most hospitably entertained, well fed and comfortably lodged. A well-conducted hotel adds to the strength and business character of a village, and a faithful landlord is expected to furnish guests certain necessities, one of which may be liquor.
"And because he does this should he be reviled, and persecuted, and driven out of business? That liquor is a great evil, no one can honestly deny, and being such, and being beyond the power of man to destroy, let us do the next best thing—curb and control the evil in the best manner possible.
"A dozen wrongs will never make a single right, and the wrongs that are being committed in this Smith case have appealed to one who believes in
"Brome, Oct. 8th, '94. FAIR PLAY."
The following comments appeared in an editorial in the same paper:
"It is impossible to shut one's eyes to the ill-feeling that is growing throughout the County of Brome, and spreading itself over the district, as a result of what is known as the Smith assault case. Hitherto, only one side of the case has found an echo in the public press, but to-day we open our columns to a correspondent who expresses in moderate language the sentiments of those who think there is something to be said on the other side. We commend his letter to the attention of our readers without in any sense committing ourselves to the writer's conclusions. Everybody must feel sorry for the misfortunes of Mr. Smith, and if, as it is alleged by some, he has allowed his zeal to get the better of his discretion, he is not the first man who has been carried away by a superabundance of enthusiasm, or who has suffered therefor. Mr. Smith's friends will try to make a martyr of him. We doubt that they will succeed."
If, as the Editor of The News seems to consider, "the sentiments of those who think there is something to be said on the other side" are expressed in the above letter in "moderate language," how must those views sound when expressed in the most forcible terms of angry barroom parlance? Let us thank God that we are not compelled to hear these opinions when thus declared, nor even to see them made known through the press.
It is said in the above note that Mr. Smith's friends would try to make a martyr of him, but it was doubtful if they would succeed. We think the Editor of The News is mistaken in this, it was Mr. Smith's enemies who appeared desirous of making a martyr of him, and they very nearly succeeded; but, through the providence of God, he is still in the ranks of temperance workers. We are told that "one with God, is a majority," and more than one in Brome County are true to the right, therefore, the liquor party with all their efforts are still in the minority there. In the next issue of The News, dated Oct. 19th, appeared the following replies to the above epistle from "the other side:"
"To the Editor of The Knowlton News:
"SIR,—In regard to the communication in your issue of October 12th, over the signature of Fair Play, your correspondent says:
"'This whole Smith business has a "cheap John" flavor, which makes careful men view it askance. Who witnessed the assault on Smith? Nobody. Did his person bear evidence of murderous assault? No. All who saw him in the early morning following the alleged assault were surprised that he bore no marks of the terrible struggle for life through which he claims to have passed. Shades of Ananias and Munchausen!'
"Mr. Editor, here we have the substance calling upon the shadows. As one who visited Mr. Smith on the morning following the assault, I assert that Fair Play makes a direct departure from the truth. I challenge Fair Play to give the name of a single reputable individual who now will corroborate his assertion. Such a statement is in direct contradiction to the sworn testimony of our respected fellow-citizen, R. T. Macdonald, M. D. Mr. Smith was visited on the following morning by scores of people, and they saw upon his person the evidence of a violent and brutal assault. Many of the visitors expressed their determination to see fair play, and their willingness to subscribe, which they subsequently did, to a fund to bring the guilty party or parties to justice. Fair Play need not worry about the slandered characters of the hotel keepers of this county. Their characters are in their own keeping, just as the characters of merchants, mechanics and ministers are in theirs. If the parties who are accused of complicity in this affair are innocent, they will have the opportunity of proving themselves so.
"And why should not your correspondent exercise that spirit of fair play, the lack of which he so much deplores in others, and not make the useless attempt to impeach Mr. Smith's veracity in the case of this assault. Such an attempt is both useless and senseless, for within an hour or two of the assault he was under the professional care of one of the most eminent and reputable physicians of the Province, who surely would at once have exposed any imposture.
"Even Fair Play would be willing to see an assaulter punished, but seems to have made a discovery which, singular to say, in nearly three months of intervening time no one has yet thought of, namely, that no assault was committed.
"The cheap John part of this affair is in Fair Play's letter, in which in one breath he professes to be a temperance man, and says a hotel keeper who violates the law and gets punished gets just what he deserves, and in the next breath tells us that liquor is a necessity, and asks why trouble the man who furnishes it. Surely, we see the hem of the cloak of hypocrisy. Fair Play should also give the public his name, so that people may judge for themselves the value of his peculiar and disinterested view of fair play; farther, some folks are already conjecturing who the author was, and it is not fair to let any one be under the imputation of a thing he did not do, and surely no man need be afraid or ashamed to have his own views appear over his own name. He asks, Who saw the assault? and answers, Nobody. Who saw Hooper try to drown his wife? Nobody. And yet one of these so-called detectives was instrumental in landing him in prison, and people seem to think that he did get fair play.
"Fair Play says careful men view this askance. In this town, where naturally the keenest interest is taken in this affair, nearly or quite all of the representative men have condemned the assault in the most decisive manner.
"Now, Mr. Editor, let me say that among the great mass of the people of this vicinity, there is no desire to make out that Mr. Smith is either a hero or a martyr. It is a question of law and order on the one hand, and crime and violence on the other. The assault is admitted, and a conspiracy is alleged. No doubt there are landlords in this country who would not implicate themselves in any illegal proceedings against Mr. Smith nor sympathize with the same. Such men are suffering nothing, but it is doubtful if there is a person of ordinary capacity in this vicinity who does not believe that the assault was the outcome of a conspiracy, and men are not slow in expressing the wish that if we have such people living among us that they may be exposed in their true character and punished, whether they profess to be saints or sinners, and the people of this town would extend the same sympathy and offer the same assistance to the accused parties, if they had been the victims of an assault and suspicion pointed to Smith and the Alliance as its instigators.
"MERIT LONGEWAY. "Sutton, October 15th, 1894."
"To the Editor of The News:
"SIR,—Permit me to reply to some of the statements of 'Fair Play' in your paper of October 12th. First, I should like to ask what is meant by poisoning the public mind?
"If Fair Play means enlisting the sympathies of the public on the side of the temperance party, all that is needed is a clear statement of the plain, unvarnished facts. There need be no 'unwarranted assumption,' or charges without evidence, for members of the liquor party before that assault at Sutton Junction, and more especially since that time, have themselves acted in a way that has estranged some who have been their warm supporters, as they have procured the discharge of Mr. Smith from the employ of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, whom he had served faithfully for fifteen years, and have also threatened the lives of other peaceable citizens, because they chanced to frown upon violence and lawbreaking.
"Furthermore, Fair Play declares that the Temperance Alliance and its friends, of which he plainly is not one, are charging divers persons in this county with the commission of a grave crime of which they have no reputable evidence. Thus does this very brave apostle of 'the other side' fearlessly assert, with no proof for his statement, that all the various persons who have given evidence in this case in Mr. Smith's favor are disreputable, and their testimony of no value. Truly this is a bold statement, and it would seem that sometimes pens as well as tongues need 'curbing.' Although Fair Play declares that he 'offers nothing in the defence of lawbreakers,' yet his entire epistle is plainly in defence of just that class of people, for it is written in behalf of the hotel keepers who have repeatedly broken the law, and were convicted of liquor selling in court, not long since.
"Again, this 'believer in fair play,' in speaking of Mr. Smith, says:
"'Did his person bear evidence of murderous assault? No, etc.' Either the writer of these words has very little regard for truth, or else he knows very little of the subject he is talking about. What is he going to do with the evidence of the skillful physician who attended Mr. Smith, and who upon his first visit dared not promise that he would ever recover? What is the opinion of those people who were awakened at dead of night by cries of murder, and who found Mr. Smith with the marks of the combat freshly upon him? Why is it that he has not yet fully recovered from the effects of this assault? And what reason has Fair Play for doubting the testimony of Mr. Smith himself, even if there were no other proof? He says, 'One blow from such a weapon as he exhibits would have crushed his head, as if it were an egg shell.' Perhaps he has forgotten that circumstances alter cases, and the position of the victim, the courage of the assailant, and the direction of the blow might alter this case very much. It is little wonder that at this point he invokes the aid of the shades of Ananias and of Munchausen! He next states that while the public are being prejudiced against the liquor sellers of this county, 'Kelly is patted on the back, and called a good fellow.' Would Fair Play wish to be patted in the same way, being retained in a prison cell, knowing not what punishment may await him?
"We would repeat the question asked, 'What were the detectives seeking?' But we do not conclude, like Fair Play, that it was the $1000 reward they were working for, as no such reward was ever offered. The objects for which these detectives were really seeking were those men whom Kelly had accused, who, according to Fair Play, 'were attending to their business,' and perhaps they were, but if so, they must have had much business abroad. He next enlarges upon the merits of Eastern township hotels, and among other things says 'A faithful landlord is expected to furnish guests certain necessities, one of which may be liquor. And because he does this, should he be reviled, and prosecuted, and driven out of his business?' How does this compare with his former statement that he 'offers nothing in defence of lawbreakers,' and that 'all good men will applaud the vindication of the majesty of the law?'
In the following number of The News appeared this note:
"We are in receipt of another letter from 'Fair Play,' but as personalities are indulged in, and as we are averse to entering upon a prolonged and bitter controversy, we are constrained to decline the publication of this communication."
In this we seem to see a hint of that spirit of harshness and unfairness which so often characterizes the actions of the liquor party, and which sometimes leads to just such deeds as this brutal assault, which "Fair Play" would persuade the public had never occurred.
THE ACTION OF THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY CO.
It has already been stated that Mr. W. W. Smith had been for fifteen years the agent of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company at Sutton Junction. During two or three years previous to receiving this appointment, he had also held other positions in their service. He had long been a trusted and privileged employee of the Company, to whom he had apparently given full satisfaction.
It will be remembered that Walter Kelly, in his evidence at Sweetsburg, testified that Howarth had told him on his arrival in Canada that the liquor men had "reported Smith to the Company, and his discharge had been ordered." Mr. Smith soon had reason to believe, also, that his temperance work was not pleasing to Assistant Superintendent Brady, who had charge of that division of the Canadian Pacific Railway in which Sutton Junction was situated. With this man Mr. Smith had at one time been quite a favorite, but, after he had united with the temperance workers, the friendship of Mr. Brady became less apparent, and after the time of the assault his coolness grew quite marked, and it soon became evident to Mr. Smith, although his friends were long loath to believe it, that the Assistant Superintendent was anxious to get rid of him. The rumor spread abroad, also, that the liquor men were trying to influence the Canadian Pacific Railway Company so as to obtain Mr. Smith's dismissal from their employ, and people of other places became anxious to learn the truth of the matter, as is shown by the following article from the Montreal Daily Witness: