Darrow asks jury to return a verdict of "guilty"
Darrow--May I say a few words to the jury? Gentlemen of the jury,
we are sorry to have not had a chance to say anything to you. We will do
it some other time. Now, we came down to offer evidence in this case and
the court has held under the law that the evidence we had is not admissible,
so all we can do is to take an exception and carry it to a higher court
to see whether the evidence is admissible or not. As far as this case stands
before the jury, the court has told you very plainly that if you think
my client taught that man descended from a lower order of animals, you
will find him guilty, and you heard the testimony of the boys on that questions
and heard read the books, and there is no dispute about the facts. Scopes
did not go on the stand, because he could not deny the statements made
by the boys. I do not know how you may feel, I am not especially interested
in it, but this case and this law will never be decided until it gets to
a higher court, and it cannot get to a higher court probably, very well,
unless you bring in a verdict. So, I do not want any of you to think we
are going to find any fault with you as to your verdict. I am frank to
say, while we think it is wrong, and we ought to have been permitted to
put in our evidence, the court felt otherwise, as he had a right to hold.
We cannot argue to you gentlemen under the instructions given by the court--we
cannot even explain to you that we think you should return a verdict of
not guilty. We do not see how you could. We do not ask it. We think we
will save our point and take it to the higher court and settle whether
the law is good, and also whether he should have permitted the evidence.
I guess that is plain enough.
Verdict and sentencing
Court--Mr. Foreman, will you tell us whether you have agreed on
Foreman--Yes, sir, we have your honor.
Court--What do you find?
Foreman--We have found for the state, found the defendant guilty.
Court--Did you fix the fine?
Court--You leave it to the court?
Foreman--Leave it to the court.
Court--Mr. Scopes, will you come around here, please, sir.
(The defendant presents himself before the court.)
Court--Mr. Scopes, the jury has found you guilty under this
indictment, charging you with having taught in the schools of Rhea county,
in violation of what is commonly known as the anti- evolution statute,
which makes it unlawful for any teacher to teach in any of the public schools
of the state, supported in whole or in part by the public school funds
of the state, any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of
man, and teach instead thereof that man has descended from a lower order
of animals. The jury have found you guilty. The statute make this an offense
punishable by fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500. The court
now fixes your fine at $100, and imposes that fine upon you.
Court--Oh-Have you anything to say, Mr. Scopes, as to why the
court should not impose punishment upon you?
Defendant J. T. Scopes-- Your honor, I feel that I have been
convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future,
as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action
would be in violation of my ideal of academic freedom-that is, to teach
the truth as guaranteed in our constitution of personal and religious freedom.
I think the fine is unjust.
Final remarks of attorneys and Judge Raulston
McKenzie--On behalf of Rhea county and Gen. Stewart, and on behalf
of the prosecution, I desire to say to the gentlemen who have just made
their statements, that we are delighted to have had you with us. We have
learned to take a broader view of life since you came. You have brought
to us your ideas-your views-and we have communicated to you as best we
could, some of our views. As to whether or not we like those views, that
is a matter that should not address itself to us at this time, but we do
appreciate your views, and while much has been said and much has been written
about the narrow-minded people of Tennessee we do not feel hard toward
you for having said that, because that is your idea. We people here want
to be more broad-minded than some have given us credit for, and we appreciate
your coming and we have been greatly elevated, edified and educated by
your presence. And should the time ever come when you are back near the
garden spot of the world, we hope that you will stop and stay awhile with
us here in order that we may chat about the days of the past, when the
Scopes trail was tried in Dayton. (Applause.)
The Court--Col. Bryan, I will hear you.
Bryan--I don't know that there is any special reason why I should
add to what has been said, and yet the subject has been presented from
so many viewpoints that I hope the court will pardon me if I mention a
viewpoint that has not been referred to. Dayton is the center and the seat
of this trial largely by circumstance. We are told that more words have
been sent across the ocean by cable to Europe and Australia about this
trail than has ever been sent by cable in regard to anything else happening
in the United States. That isn't because the trial is held in Dayton. It
isn't because a schoolteacher has been subjected to the danger of a fine
$100.00 to $500.00, but I think illustrate how people can be drawn into
prominence by attaching themselves to a great cause. Causes stir the world.
It is because it goes deep. It is because it extends wide, and because
it reaches into a future beyond the power of man to see. Here has been
fought out a little case of little consequence as a case, but the world
is interested because it raises an issue, and that issue will some day
be settled right, whether it is settled on our side or the other side.
It is going to be settled right. There can be no settlement of a great
cause without discussion, and people will not discuss a cause until their
attention is drawn to it, and the value of this trial is not in any incident
of the trial, it is not because of anybody who is attached to it, either
in an official way or as counsel on either side. Human beings are mighty
small, your honor. We are apt to magnify the personal element and we sometimes
become inflated with our importance, but the world little cares for man
as an individual. He is born, he works, he dies, but causes go on forever,
and we who participated in this case may congratulate ourselves that we
have attached ourselves to a mighty issue.
Darrow--May I say a word?
The Court--Colonel, be glad to hear from you.
Darrow--I want to say a word. I want to say in thorough sincerity
that I appreciate the courtesy of the counsel on the other side from the
beginning of this case, at least the Tennessee counsel, that I appreciated
the hospitality of the citizens here. I shall go away with a feeling of
respect and gratitude toward them for their courtesy and their liberality
toward us persons; and that I appreciate the kind, and I think I may say,
general treatment of this court, who might have sent me to jail, but did
not. (Laughter in the courtroom.)
Darrow (Continuing)--And on the side of the controversy between
the court and my self I have already ruled that the court was right, so
I do not need to go further.
The Court--Thank you.
Darrow--But, I mean it.
Darrow (Continuing)--Of course, there is much that Mr. Bryan
has said that is true. And nature-nature, I refer to does not choose any
special setting for more events. I fancy that the place where the Magna
Carta was wrested from the barons in England was a very small place, probably
not as big as Dayton. But events come along as they come along. I think
this case will be remembered because it is the first case of this sort
since we stopped trying people in America for witchcraft because here we
have done our best to turn back the tide that has sought to force itself
upon this--upon this modern world, of testing every fact in science by
a religious dictum. That is all I care to say.
The Court--My fellow citizens, I recently read somewhere what
I think was a definition of a great man, and that was this: That he possesses
a passion to know the truth and have the courage to declare it in the face
of all opposition. It is easy enough, my friends, to have a passion to
find a truth, or to find a fact, rather, that coincides with our preconceived
notions and ideas, but it sometimes takes courage to search diligently
for a truth, that may destroy our preconceived notions and ideas.
Now, my friends, the people in America are great people. We are great
people. We are great in the South, and they are great in the North. We
are great because we are willing to lay down our differences when we fight
the battle out and be friends. And, let me tell you, there are two things
in this world that are indestructible that man cannot destroy, or no force
in the world can destroy.
One is truth. You may crush it to the earth but it will rise again.
It is indestructible, and the causes of the law of God. Another thing indestructible
in America and in Europe and everywhere else, is the word of God, that
He has given to man, that man use it as a waybill to the other world. Indestructible,
my friends, by any force because it is the world of the Man, of the forces
that created the universe, and He has said in His word that "My word will
not perish" but will live forever.
I am glad to have had these gentlemen with us. This little talk of
mine comes from my heart, gentlemen. I have had some difficult problems
to decide in this lawsuit, and I only pray to God that I have decided them
right. If I Have not, the higher courts will find the mistake. But if I
failed to decide them right, it was for the want of legal learning, and
legal attainment, and not for the want of a disposition to do everybody
justice. We are glad to have you with us. (Applause.)
Hays--May I, as one of the counsel for the defense, ask your
honor to allow me to send you the "Origin of Species and the Descent of
Man," by Charles Darwin? (Laughter)
The Court--Yes; yes
(Laughter and applause.)
The Court--Has anyone else anything to say.
Officer Kelso Rice--Now, people when court is adjourned-
The Court--Wait, do not adjourn yet.
The Court--Go ahead, officer.
Officer Rice--Do not crowd the aisles. When the court has adjourned
move slowly, do not be in a hurry. But move slowly, everybody, when court
is adjourned and do not block the aisleways at all. Keep moving
The Court--We will adjourn. And Brother Jones will pronounce
Dr. Jones--May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love
of God and the communication and fellowship of the Holy Ghost abide with
you all. Amen
The Court--The court will adjourn sine die.
Scopes Trial Homepage