Images of this item © Community of Christ and licensed to the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Inquiries about high-resolution images of this item for scholarly use should be directed to the Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, Missouri.

Letter from James Arlington Bennet, 10 April 1843

  • Source Note
Page [2]
image
you but what grew out of inference & this could never convict any man— But with regard to he will swear I suppose, that said to him “That if he did shoot they could not prove it” This was foolish language in yet the most innoc[e]nt man when under the influenc of passion might use it, as a retort to a person making a false accusation— It cannot of itself make against him— Nor would the fact of his having been in about that time, even if he had been seen in the same town & same street be sufficient for might have been shot by a private or political enemy entirely unknow[n] to while he might be in front or rear of house and this might have been the case even if had gone & was there with the intent of doing the deed himself— To convict the evidenc must be brought home to him by a number of concurring facts which as I understand the case cannot be had without perjury— And perjury cannot be guarded against only through the ability & accutings & discrimiation of counsel— Then again if there is at all a doubt the prisoner must have its benefit—— You know the character of the & have the power within yourselvs of persons not Mormon to destroy it— You can prove him unworthy of credit, but he will not dare to go one wit beyond the published facts. He is little known to us in this quarter— his admissi[o]n to me that the charge could not be brought home to you was what I intended to bring against him in case you were to be put on your trial— Perhaps although within the State of he <​​> will be able to prove an Alibi. I should suppose that this might be readily done— Were I on the spot I would have no fears <​for​> of the issue but I am now & have been for the last week confined to my house with a severe attack of Rheumatic gout that has distroyed all my hopes of being able to pay [p. [2]]
you but what grew out of inference & this could never convict any man— But with regard to he will swear I suppose, that said to him “That if he did shoot they could not prove it” This was foolish language in yet the most innocent man when under the influenc of passion might use it, as a retort to a person making a false accusation— It cannot of itself make against him— Nor would the fact of his having been in about that time, even if he had been seen in the same town & same street be sufficient for might have been shot by a private or political enemy entirely unknown to while he might be in front or rear of house and this might have been the case even if had gone & was there with the intent of doing the deed himself— To convict the evidenc must be brought home to him by a number of concurring facts which as I understand the case cannot be had without perjury— And perjury cannot be guarded against only through the ability accutings & discrimiation of counsel— Then again if there is at all a doubt the prisoner must have its benefit—— You know the character of the & have the power within yourselvs of persons not Mormon to destroy it— You can prove him unworthy of credit, but he will not dare to go one wit beyond the published facts. He is little known to us in this quarter— his admission to me that the charge could not be brought home to you was what I intended to bring against him in case you were to be put on your trial— Perhaps although within the State of he will be able to prove an Alibi. I should suppose that this might be readily done— Were I on the spot I would have no fears for the issue but I am now & have been for the last week confined to my house with a severe attack of Rheumatic gout that has distroyed all my hopes of being able to pay [p. [2]]
Page [2]