"If your honor please,
and you, gentlemen of the jury, we have no more right, if the real
known, to be here trying this prisoner at the bar than if it was
"Had you heard these
worlds from any irresponsible persons, instead of having heard them
official charged with a public duty; had you heard them from a man
irresponsible talk, instead of in this court of justice and solemnity;
occasion on which they were uttered been some trivial discussion about
insignificant topic, instead of where the discussion is one of life or
death—these words might not have filled you with amazement, but this
statement made by the district attorney....
"To show the falsity
of that, it will 'be necessary to call upon all the energy in my power
a conclusion. And to reverse, at least in a general way, the same
points of the
evidence which you have heard for so many days I shall make no attempt
inflame your passion, no appeal to make your feelings warp your
"I shall rely on no
such unstable thing as the supposed unwritten law. I will base the fate
defendant on the law of this state—the law of the books, the written
"In the performance
of my task it will become my duty to speak of the dead. I shall not be
of the injunctions of the departed. Only that which is good should be
but I cannot forget the circumstances under which the protection of the
demand that the truth shall be told, no matter how it blights the
memory of the
dead or how painful to the survivors.
"Under that law we
find ample protection for his rights and life and to that law I shall
to the horns of the altar, for his safety. In the performance of my
will be my imperative—unshunable duty—to speak of the dead.
"I shall not be
unmindful of him and shall speak in no other terms—if possible—than
praise, I shall not forget that for the protection of the living the
be told, no matter how painful to the dead or those who survive him.
"Of those survivors
I can speak in no other terms than those of the most profound sympathy.
widow who mourns and the son who survives I have no words than those of
sympathy. Gladly would I remove from them, were it in my power, the
must henceforth accompany their life, and gladly would I remove from
man the sentence that the sins of the father must be visited upon their
children to the second and third generations.
story you have listened to is the story of two young persons whom fate,
inscrutable decree, had destined to link together, that they could walk
life together. It is a story—the saddest, most mournful and tragic
tongue of man has ever uttered or the ear of man has ever heard in a
"Let me begin
briefly with the story—one filled with incidents with which a volume
overflow and a tragedy might be filled, as though it were written by
of a Shakespeare.
"She was born on
Christmas, 1884, in the state of
"At ten years of
age the family began to feel the pangs of want, the sufferings of
the gnawing of hunger. At twelve she began to be the family drudge,
her mother in such acts as she could perform. And thus the family
moving from place to place without any fixed habitation on the face of
"But nature having
endowed her with beauty which showed in early youth, we find her
looking to it
for the support of the family. At fourteen we find her in
"But the large
metropolis afforded broader avenues of gain than the mere studios of
artists—the stage, with all its tinsel and glare of dazzling lights lay
them and the tempter came.
"The theatrical manager
found the girl at fifteen and employed her at $15 a week, where she
night as she did by day—posing for artists—but at night she appeared on
boards of the stage.
"It could not be
long, for the beauty with which she was gifted attracted attention, and
tempter came. He saw, he desired to have, with the consummate cunning
whose head had already grown gray. He had a wife and an accomplished
fixed his eyes upon the fated child and determined to make her his.
"To win her he had none of the graces which a man of her own age might present. He was already married and had a family of his own and any such thought of love—legitimate love—between him and this child was out of the question. He introduced himself into the family in the guise of a protector.
solicitude manifested his intentions to ameliorate their condition. He
way into the confidence of the mother; established himself in the
position of a
protecting attitude toward the family. When his purpose was secured he
persuaded the mother to absent herself from the city, assuring her the
would be safe in his hands in her absence, telling the family that they
rejoice that they had such a careful eye to watch over the beautiful
went. The child was left alone.
"I wish, gentlemen,
it were in my power to pass over the scene which followed. I wish it
have to be embodied in the argument I have to make to you.
“To one of those dens
fitted with all the splendor and dazzling beauty with which this man of
endowed his places, this child was one evening lured, under the
there were to be others there to share the supper that had been
when she arrived she found herself alone with the man who had promised
"Need I recount to
you how the child was led from one step to another until plied with
plied with drugs she became unconscious and this man, who had promised
protect the child, accomplished her ruin and downfall?:
Need I recall to you the terrible scenes
which you heard told from the lips of this tortured victim?
Oh, better for Stanford
White had he never been born,
“For what had he—a man
whose hair was already gray—what had he done? He had perpetrated the
horrible crime that can deface the human heart. He had lured the poor,
flower that was struggling forth to life. He had committed a crime
which is a
felony—which the President of this republic in his last message to
said should be punished by death.
“He who had erected
altars and sanctuaries and churches crowned with the emblem of the
Redemption—had he forgotten the words:
"Who so receiveth
such a little child in my name receiveth me, but whosoever offendeth
little one, it were better that a millstone were tied around his neck
were cast into the sea.
"Oh, ye who have
erected temples to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, have ye
words of Jehovah, when upon the return from
"'Ye shall not
afflict a fatherless child. I will surely heal that cry, and I will
with the sword and your wives shall be widows and, your children
"Oh, Stanford White, in the entirety of your hardened heart, you imagined that the cry of the fatherless child which that night was heard in the darkness of the great city, where good citizens were at rest, the child without a father, the child deserted by her mother, the child left alone in this city of millions, would not be heard.
Did your hardened heart
imagine that God would not hear that cry? Did you imagine that He had
the promise He made—that anyone who afflicted a fatherless child would
"Did you believe
that the retribution would be omitted?
"Better had it been
for him had he died before that day, for then he might have died in
might have died when public mourning would have attended his obsequies;
might have died before his name had become a byword; before his genius
become an aggravation.
"But fate had
decreed it otherwise. The poor child, returning to her senses, not
what had been done, was taken back to her home, there to sit in lonely
he went back the next day to complete the pollution he had but
the night before. It remained for him to destroy the last vestige of
honor in her mind, and he performed that task after daylight that day.
“He went there—he, the
man, kissed the hem of her garment; told her to dry her tears, and to
her moans; told her that what she did was not wrong, that it was but
women did; that the only sin was to be found out, and that if she would
keep the dread secret pent up in her breast and not tell her mother all
be well; that all women were wicked; that the only distinction was that
succeeded in concealing their vices, while others were found out.
"And so he left her.
And so he lured her again and again, plying her with wine in the same
a couple of months.
"Is this story true,
gentlemen, or, rather, is the story I have related to you the story
Nesbit told Harry Thaw in June, 1903, in Paris-that, gentlemen, is one
main questions which you have to decide in this case and in the
which I may be permitted to occupy a little of your attention.
'The prosecution says
this story is a clever lie—the result of the imagination of this
wife. Your first inquiry must be into the veracity of Evelyn Nesbit. If
never told Thaw this thing, then she has been an untruthful witness
"She gave this
testimony: 'And those things you told Mr. Thaw of the outrages at the
White were true?" Her answer was, 'Those things were true.' "In
collaboration of the statement that these things did take place, I beg
to the evidence and to the things that have occurred before your eyes.
seen Evelyn on the stand for four days. You are men of the world—men
to looking through the souls of men and analyzing their
asked to judge if she were a clever actress as she sat in that chair
related the horrors of that night.
"You saw when she
came to the final occurrence of that night-you saw her countenance—how
shadow of horror overspread it. Although the story was to save the life
one person whom she loved, you saw how she shrank from telling it. You
drawn face, you saw the brave little girl struggling that she might
husband, that she might overcome the objectionable features of the
"For days and days
you have seen her undergoing torture of an examination unparalleled in
jurisprudence of this or any other country.
"Did the District
Attorney of your city, to whom I gave the greatest acknowledgment of
confuse her? You saw him using all the arts, resorting to all the
a practiced master to entrap a girl who had never testified before. Was
caught in a single falsehood, or contradiction?
"You have seen learned men on the stand—tell me, if you have ever seen a witness who has stood the excruciating tests of cross-examination as well as this child?
"Gentlemen, in that
cross-examination the merciless District Attorney—I say merciless
offense, because his office is not one of mercy—you saw him extort from
truthful but unwilling lips the confession "at the misdeeds of Stanford
White did not stop with the first wrecking of her life, but continued
asserted himself in her and she would no longer be the plaything and
"I ask you, on your
oaths, if this girl had fabricated this story, would not she or the
prompted the story have for the sake of sympathy, said that the first
the only occurrence and that she had shrunk from further dealings with
“Upon any other theory
than that the story is true I ask yon the question, why did Stanford
at that moment see fit to remove the mother-the only protector left
child—from her post as sentinel? Why was the mother sent to
"Gentlemen, I desire
to call your attention to this point. During this time Stanford White
made a contract
to pay Evelyn the sum of $25 a week during the time she should be
obtain her own living on the stage. And during that one year we have
discovered—by strange fatality which ever seems to assist the cause of
and to disconcert the cause of injustice—there appears certain checks
the name of the mother was indorsed.
“And, according to a
computation made by some gentleman in court, the mother, for the year
the ruin of the child, received $2,500, in round numbers, $200 a month.
the District Attorney tells you that at the same time Stanford White
“One circumstance I
desire to call to your attention. It relates to the assistance which
prosecution draws in its attempt to deprive Evelyn of her husband. You
recall that when the name of the mother was spoken I disclaimed having
anything that would cast upon the mother any shame that would cast
“Gentlemen, at the time I
made that declaration, I wish you to bear in mind that three things had
“First. That the mother
had been in receipt of $200 a month from White.
“It had not been
developed at that time that the mother was assisting the prosecution in
work of this case.
“It had not been
developed at that time that the mother had given a written statement to
District Attorney by which he might torture the soul of her daughter, a
daughter who had been left alone in the world except for a most
"And when I saw the
District Attorney with that paper in his hand, when I heard him read
from it on
the cross-examination of this girl, when I learned that every shaft
aimed at her heart came from a quiver furnished by her mother, when I
that every sore in her poor soul had been pointed out to the District
that it was a mother who was pointing out those sores, and when I
the poor little girl had been sent away to school so that she might get
money she desired from Stanford White—I now retract what I then said.
"Oh, most unnatural
mother, you, who left the girl a victim of the lust of this gray-haired
You who received the wages of her downfall, funds with which you
yourself with diamonds and finery, now in the hour of her supreme agony
mother assists the prosecutor of her husband!
“Why, a beast that wants
reason protects her young! I have seen a poor little bird no larger
fist while I was out hunting. A number of young ones were playing in
around her and I have seen a pointer come running upon them and I have
little bird ruffle its feathers until it looked as big and old as an
making the dog pause and return abashed.
“I have now laid before
you in outline what was given you in evidence. I propose to prove by
that will demonstrate the truth, which will leave no hook upon which to
doubt, that Evelyn Nesbit told the story she swears she did in Paris in
"In the first place,
you have the undoubted, undisputed fact that Mr. Thaw in September of
year, when Evelyn's mother returned to
“ ‘Mistress Nesbit sails
“And in a later letter to
Mr. Longfellow he says: ‘Her position could not, be worse. She was
fifteen and three-quarters. Also since.'
bear in mind that these two letters were written by Mr. Thaw in
“How was the child
beguiled, if not by Stanford White's paternal kindness and show of
“I leave it to you as to
what these two letters can refer to if not to the story Evelyn Nesbit
told Harry in
"She told how she
had learned this young woman's name. He said he desired to shield her
awful consequences of the deed. What was it the child that had come
Pittsburg, that had first posed as an artist's model, and had then gone
stage—what was it she had told Harry Thaw and what had he told his
prosecutor says that he invented it all. After inventing did he go home
tell his mother—the mother who had given him birth, who had nourished
her breast, who had watched him in his sleepless bed at night as he was
evidence of the troubles which were to have such a bearing on this case?
"When he broke down
in church and tears fell from his eyes and a groan broke from his lips
telling, was he acting a lie?
Harry Thaw loved Evelyn.
He had loved her ever since he saw her in 1901. He had loved and wooed
honorably, and honorably sought to make her his wife.
"I make these
assertions just before seeking to make any deductions from them, It is
proper that I establish them as facts, As early as 1901, when he found
the stage, he realized that was not a :fit place for a young girl like
was contemplating sending her to school—that is to say for three years.
she might come out and take her station in the world as his wife.
“And if not, even though
she did not become his wife, he would be amply repaid by the nobility
act he had performed. Evelyn Nesbit says he met her in 1901 and called
frequently, but was not always at that time a welcome visitor. It seems
mind had been poisoned by the same persons who afterward poisoned her
against him again. He says of her: 'When I first knew her she was the
active, laughing, strong and fail child I ever saw.'
"That was the time
when she was the support of the family, going about in the daytime from
to studio and appearing on the stage at night and pouring into the lap
mother her scant wages.
"And what was the
nature of the foul wrong done to this child?
"What was the fatal
deed which he said he would gladly have purchased with his life if it
“I say to you, these
letters refer to no other transaction than the story she related on the
stand—the story she told you she told him in June, 1903. The letters
private. They were to be locked up in Mr. Longfellow’s breast. Then ask
yourself whether it is possible that Thaw was telling his lawyer in
falsehood or an invention of his own brain?
"That is not all.
You remember Thaw returned to
"I desire to give you the mother's testimony and ask you whether I am not telling you exactly what occurred.
"Not only that but I
invite interruptions if you desire to set me right if I omit or tell
that was not part of the testimony.
"Now, the mother
whom you have seen on the stand and of whose veracity I believe not
prosecution has any doubt, this mother says that after he arrived home
found him awake at night, and when she went to his room he said it was
of a wicked man—perhaps the most wicked man in New York.
"She learned before
Thanksgiving that this was said about a young girl, but did not at that
learn her name. Her son told her he was interested in that girl. This
learned one night when the mother found him in his room at dawn.
He had not been able to
get sleep surcease from his tortured brain.
"She said, the son
said, that this girl had the most beautiful mind he had ever known,
had been neglected, that if she had a chance and anyone looking after
would be all right. And then you remember, gentlemen, Thanksgiving
the mother and the son went to church together, and there, while the
anthem was peeling, she heard tears dropping upon the paper which he
in his hand, a stifled sob.
“In 1903 he intended to
marry her. Writing to Longfellow, he says:
" 'Miss N. and I may
be married after Lady Yarmouth comes. We could have been married
without a row.
If I die, all my property goes to my wife.' And, writing to her, he
and Mrs. George Carnegie should be your loving ‘brother and
Gentlemen, no man of his years, of his temperament, ever wooed a woan
manner more respectable than Harry Thaw did Evelyn Nesbit.
"There is nothing to
show that everything and every bit of testimony does not confirm the
of Evelyn that in .June, 1903, he proposed honorably to make her his
"In corroboration of
these facts told by Evelyn Nesbit, that she told this story of Stanford
that he, Thaw, asked her to marry him, that it is not a cunningly
told by Harry Thaw for his own purposes. I ask you these questions:
Does a man
who loves a woman, who has lavished upon her for two years all the
of his heart, does a man who loves a woman honorably and sought to make
wife and besought her mother's consent—does a man like that
a story of this kind to defile the object of his adorn?
"Until you can take
from this case the fact that Harry Thaw loved Evelyn Nesbit, if any man
you that he deliberately invented this story to degrade the object of
affections—the most degrading story any man could tell—it is not in the
heart but to revolt from the allegation.
"If I mistake not, I
have established to your satisfaction the great, simple fact—that this
about Stanford White is not an invention and that the statement that
Nesbit did tell the story to Thaw is
"As against this
assertion, what evidence is there in this ease? What is there to
this statement of Evelyn Nesbit, the statement that she told this story
"Nothing except the
testimony of Abe Hummel. I will not speak of that unfortunate man in
harsher term than the exigencies of this case require. But it is a
sight to see a man in the declining years of his life, when soon the
set for him forever, and he will appear to have that account of his
we are all called upon to give after death—I say it is melancholy sight
a man whose pathway has been wreathed with dishonest acts, crowning his
with perjury—resorting to perjury in order to deprive a fellow of his
"Gentlemen, is this censure deemed excessive? Listen.
Mr. Hummel is not lacking
in intelligence—certainly is not lacking in cunning.
"Let me recall to
your mind the photograph of the alleged affidavit. You remember what
prosecution attached to it and of what importance they considered it.
call your attention to all the points in Hummel's testimony regarding
"Thaw's lawyer then
tore Hummel's evidence to bits, showing that in one place he Swore
he sent for the photographer and in another he swore as positively that
"Which of these
stories is true? They both come from the witness sitting in that chair.
both have the sanction of his oath—the oath of a man already convicted
subornation of perjury and conspiracy. Both of these stories cannot be
Which one is true? One of these two stories is a deliberate falsehood,
which it is I care not. They probably are both false.
testifies that this thing, miscalled 'affidavit,' was dictated by him
latter part of October, 1903, in his office, to a stenographer whose
does not remember and even whose individuality he has forgotten.
"Listen: If Abe
Hummel dictated this illegal affidavit, as he swears he did, in the
of October, 1903; if this is his work; if these are his words, this his
then he committed deliberate perjury, gentlemen,' and the proof of this
was in the hands of the learned interrogator. He held the paper before
while the witness was in the chair and could not but know that at that
witness was swearing the proof of his perjury was lying before him.
"In order that
Abraham H. Hummel could testify at all—before his lips could be
necessary for him to swear he was not acting in an official or
capacity for Evelyn Nesbit when he dictated this statement. Hence the
necessity that this wretched old man should swear that he was nut
acting as her
"Hence he says, 'I
was not acting for Evelyn Nesbit. There was no action contemplated by
did not consult me in my official capacity.' "Hence there could exist
professional relations. He said so.
"This is the famous paper by which Abraham Hummel hoped to help the District Attorney send Harry Thaw to the electric chair. Who dictated these words, which lay open before the District Attorney as he questioned Hummel?
'I received many
cablegrams from Mr. Thaw, which I turned over to my counsel, Abraham
"Who dictated these words, if the paper was dictated at all? Abraham
Hummel, who came upon the stand and swore he had never acted as her
" 'Howe &
Hummel, attorneys for plaintiff,' are the words that appear on the
of this paper. And who was the plaintiff? Evelyn Nesbit.
"And the same man
who tells you no action was contemplated is the man who dictated the
words of this affidavit, which read, Evelyn Nesbit, plaintiff, vs.
"This is in letters
as legible as I have ever looked upon. Perjured when he tells you he
counsel for Evelyn Nesbit, when he tells you no legal action was
he dictated this affidavit.
"You are called upon
to convict her of perjury.
"You are called upon
to do so upon the strength of Hummel. And on that testimony you are
to deprive a human being of his life.
"How did this paper
have its birth? Miss Simonton, as I have told you, came here after
"He knew that what
he had done would not only disgrace him, but would send him to prison.
“She was told that Harry Thaw was a married man and that she should be protected against Harry Thaw, and he took her to Hummel's office. What was White's object in taking her to Hummel's office? It was to get from her by some monstrous deception her statement of her story about herself that would neutralize their efforts should they ever attempt to bring up against him their story of his outrage, of his acts."
[End of argument
for day. Court recesses.]
[End of argument
for day. Court recesses.]
"The Unwritten Law""Let me call the' insanity' of Thaw ‘Dementia
"I will relieve the long
which has been occasioned by your labors by announcing that I will
leave the fate of this defendant in your hands. Before entering upon
remarks which I propose making it may be useful to cast a rapid glance
what I have already said, so that you may connect what I shall have to
what I have already said.
"I have endeavored to lay before the eyes of the jury the picture of the fate of these two young people. I had tried to show the unfortunate occurrence which befell her when she narrated to him in the summer of 1903 her awful story of what had happened. I have shown, or at least have endeavored to convince you, first, that the facts which she swears she then related were true and, secondly, that it was true that she did relate them to the defendant at that time.""Gentlemen, I shall prove to you from a number of sources, and first, without adding any words of my own, in the very language in which it was told by Evelyn when she was testifying before you.
"She says, after narrating
took place in
" 'I told him that if I did
him the friends of Stanford White would always laugh at him—that they
about it and would be able to sneer at him after our marriage; that it
not be right for us to get married; that it would not be a good thing
of his family; it would get him in trouble in his social relations. He
saying that he could never care for or love anybody else. He said he
could marry another woman and that he wanted to make me his honorable
said I was an unfortunate person and he thought just as much of me.
" 'He kept pressing me to
his wife, but I said I could go on the stage. I said that if he ever
one he wanted to marry he would be perfectly free to do so.
" I loved him so dearly, but
the whole period I was refusing his offers of marriage because I loved
I also respected him.'
" 'Sublime renunciation,'
sneering district attorney. 'Sublime refusal on her part to accept the
a wealthy man when he offered her an honorable union.'
"Incredible, he would lead
believe. " 'Impossible!' the district attorney says, and is the same
breath intimates that it is a falsehood from beginning to end.
"I shall prove to you by
that will convince you beyond every doubt that this renunciation by
sincere. But, thank God, the great Creator has placed in the breast of
woman the noble sentiment and renunciation for the consolation of the
of the world.
"But I shall prove to you
is true. I shall prove to you beyond the slightest doubt that she did
him, and refused him for that reason alone.
"Man, it may be, has not
great power of renunciation, but in the gentler breast of woman do we
great gift of God, and in the breast of this little girl existed this
strength that enabled her to put aside her one love when she knew it
the good of the one she loved.
"Sublime renunciation! Ah, it indeed is. Do you remember the letters he wrote three months after this sublime renunciation? He says in a letter written in September, 1903: 'Three months ago I asked her point-blank.
She thought, but said she
that it would shut me out, etc.
"The genuineness of this letter is not disputed; that it was written to Mr. Longfellow is not denied; that Mr. Longfellow was the trusted friend and adviser of Harry Thaw is admitted. Three months before September, 1903, when this was written, was in the early summer of I903. Is not that true? Is it not true that she had refused him? In this letter he says she thought she did not want the man she loved to become an object of scorn.
"She looked up to
the man she
loved and she did not want the man she loved to be pointed at with the
"In her little heart she
'Oh, Harry, I love you. I love you so much that I will not drag you
want to leave you free, and the moment you say so I shall return to my
way. You shall be free and happy and I will go down until I, like many
have disappeared from the world.'
"The sneer, then, is
The sublime renunciation did take place, although we men may not rise
sordid occupations to realize it. Do you remember how his mother saw
holding his vigil in his room; heard him sob and moan, and how he told
about the awful wrongs done to a little girl whom he loved?
"And he told her he desired
protect the child from the vile wrong that had been done her; that he
proposed marriage, and that she—I quote the very words of the
'had refused because she would not drag him down.
"Has this gray-haired and
venerable mother in Israel come here to perjure herself, or did he
when he told her that he wanted to extend his protecting arm over the
the other had betrayed; that she, the poor little girl who was earning
living by the talents God had given her—she refused the man, not
did not love him, but because she thought it would not be fitting to
wed the man
she so dearly loved.
"Sublime, indeed, was the
renunciation of this girl, unless the mother of Harry Thaw has not told
truth upon the stand. I return to her story as told in her own words.
'He talked altogether too much of this thing. He did not sleep nights.
too much about it. It was not crying, but terrible sobbing. He would
hours without speaking or moving, and it was terrible, terrible. He got
about it. He would sit for hours in a chair, just biting his nails. And
in the midst of it, he would suddenly ask me about Stanford White. It
be something that was ever present.'
"This, gentlemen, was the
condition of Harry Thaw when, in 1903, he parted from Evelyn Nesbit and
her back ahead of him to
"The storm had not burst forth, but the dark clouds were gathering from the four quarters of the horizon, from which lightning and thunder were three years afterwards to burst forth.
"She says that he
called upon her
as soon as he arrived in
" 'I told 'him that I had
terrible stories. He said, "Poor Evelyn! They have deceived you!" I
told him that Mr. White had taken me to Abraham Hummel's office and
had showed me papers which they said were filed in a suit by a young
against him. He said, "Poor little girl! You can believe Hem if you
wish." 'The interview lasted ten minutes. I persisted I did not want to
have anything to do with him. At the parting he kissed my hand and said
matter what happened he would always love me and I would be an angel to
"Gentlemen, I ask you to
yourself in the state of mind Harry Thaw was in when he received such a
greeting from the woman he loved—the one he had parted from but a few
ago; the one he had sworn to devote his whole life to. I ask you to
what his condition of mind was when he returned to
"She would allow White to
mind with these terrors of Harry Thaw to such an extent that she
refused to see
Harry Thaw alone. And what must have been the condition of mind of that
man when he exclaimed, 'Oh, poor deluded Evelyn!' and stooped and
and then parted, as she believed, forever from her.
"Gentlemen, what was the
of his mind is pictured to your eyes by documents of immeasurable
telling the story of this epoch in Harry Thaw's life.
"The series of letters that
the wail that came 'from his suffering soul is unparalled in history
time of the Greeks to the present day.
"He wrote to her the day
had kissed her hand and parted from her—she thought for all time—he
'Yesterday I saw you—you
everything false people told you. Poor little Evelyn! You have fallen
the hands of the man who poisoned your life—who poisoned your mind. I
reproaches to heap on your head, for I know you are honest.
" 'I must fight this battle
alone,' his letter went on.
'I should have bet every
cent in the
world three weeks ago that no hypnotism in the world could have made
"If this man (Hummel) who
that chair and perjured himself in your presence—had he kept away with
smooth tongue and professional tricks and devices, poor little Evelyn
would not have turned away from her the man who loved her and who was
sacrifice his life for her.
"She would not have broken
which she pledged. She would have kept the purest thing from the
those double-minded, lying, deceitful, treacherous persons.
" 'I am changed, but not in
or faithfulness; Alone I cannot settle down. I am not responsible now,
so I am
frivolous and not at all as I was before. I can do no more than make
of it, which was far from bad except for regrets—every loss, every
every opportunity missed—all these together are but as the raging sea
to a battling ship. Everything is trivial to me now.'
"Pages neither of poetry nor
contain a more simple story of anguish than the one of this young man,
the object of his affections won from him by this man who had wrecked
"All was lost to him and the
appeared to him flat. He had nothing to live for—all the ambitions of
were gone and whatever could happen was but as a glass of water in the
which a ship was bottling. He left
"Up to that time Harry Thaw
been a man of cheerful and sanguine temperament. His mother saw a
come over her son the moment he closed the door.
His manner was entirely
had an absentminded look, as if he had lost everything.
"She told how she then in
of night him sitting up on his bed fully dressed—how she had found
him. 'It's no use,' he said, I cannot sleep.' 'The mother was allowed
into the heart of the suffering son by the story she brought out,
"But even then he would not
the girl's name, and then you remember the scene in the church and
organ pealed; how the sob broke from his throat and the tears gushed
eyes, and how when his mother asked him why he had sobbed he answered,
him she might, have been with us today.'
"That was the condition of
mind; that one thing was ever in his mind.
"He could not, he would not
courageous, indomitable man, who believes he has a mission to fulfill,
one more effort to rescue her from the hands of vice into which
had lured her. He came back to New York and met her in a drug store,
artificial means were found to supply the beauty she possessed, and he
'Oh, these things are not for you.' And you remember how, afterward,
as mere acquaintances in the street and passed the time of day.
"Here again no words of mine
supply the picture that is furnished by the words of the wife herself
fell from her lips on the stand. She says that when they met at the
Arts: 'I said I was going to a play, and Mr. Thaw said I looked badly
I would not go to the play. He would pay me my salary I would lose—that
send it through a third party. He begged me merely for the sake of my
not to go to the theater.
" 'But I said that I would
that I had no other means of livelihood.' You remember they met a
days afterward and he asked her to tell him of the stories that had
been told about
him. 'I told him then,' she said, 'all they had said about him and that
addicted to morphine and had many other vices, and he said he could
that they had made a fool of me. He urged investigation.'
'She could find nothing in the stories. 'I
never lie,' Thaw told her. 'You never told me a lie in your life,' she
And while she was investigating these stories spread by Abraham Hummel
protection of Stanford White, he told her all these things had been
disseminated by Stanford White and his friend.
"When she discovered that
awful stories—were untrue—learned that they had been disseminated by
White and Abe Hummel for the purpose of separating her from the man who
her and whom she loved, hope began once more to dawn upon him.
"The hour of reconciliation
band. The barriers which had been set up between them were one by one
to ruin and the two persons whom God and nature had intended to be
drawing nearer to each other.
"That night in December, 1903—that night might have been, gentlemen, the beginning of another tragic chapter in the life of this poor child—the night when Stanford White in the lofty room in the towel' where he had spread a banquet in celebration of the birthday of his child victim—the night in which he was to lure her once again if possible, and bring her under his influence—the night in which, amid the glare of the lights and the splendor of the treasures he had planned to renew his power over the child victim.
"And the little girl, who
resisted the pleadings of rescuing her came to her and snatched her
clutches of Stanford White—snatched her from the snares set for
man whose very existence had been a menace to her and the curse of his
"He folded her in his arms;
snatched her away from the old man. And that night began another series
events. It was on that night that Stanford White, baffled, his plans
disconcerted, went about that theater in Madison Square hunting for his
and, finding her not, pistol in hand and with impotent rage in his
threatened to shoot the man who had baffled his schemes. ' "And that
Harry Thaw, as he walked the streets of New York, found that his
being dogged by hired malefactors in the pay of Stanford White, and he
in a few days of the threat of Stanford White and his hirlings. From
moment the dread of his life being taken away by this man added a grim
to the one that already had been haunting him.
"And he from that time, as
relates to you, began to think himself persecuted by Stanford White.
scurrilous stories circulated in newspapers and elsewhere he attributed
He expressed apprehension of personal violence and impressed upon her
if he died she was to have his death investigated and to spare no pains.
"He told her he would
set upon in
"Consider in this connection, consider the strange clause in his will—if you will not take it from Evelyn—the strange clause appropriating the sum of $50,000 to be devoted to the investigation into his death, should it occur.
"In 1904, in the latter part
the year, or the beginning of I905, a second operation was performed on
And when she was
convalescent the man who
for two years had loved her, the man who had told her sad story to his
in 1903, who had been refused by her because she thought their union
interfere with his family relations—that man, I say, such was the
fervor of his love, persuaded his mother to come
to the little girl whose sad story she knew and whom in her heart she
"And she came to New
embodiment of all that a good wife and mother means—she came and saw
girl and assured her that she would be welcome to her home; that no
would ever be made to her sad story.
"And the little girl, who
resisted the pleadings of the man who had loved her and because she
could not resist the pleadings of the mother, and on April 4, 1905,
united at the altar, when he in return for her love pledged to her
Almighty God that he would protect her. And these two were then made
"And after a trip westward
returned to the shades of
"But social or business
would not prevent them from coming to New York, and one day while
one of your streets there appeared the form of the man who had been the
of so much anguish, and he, though she was the wife of another man,
her, and had the audacity to call her by her first name.
"She went back to the hotel
her husband was, and told him what had happened. And he, in his anger,
exclaimed: 'The dirty blackguard had no right to speak to you—no right
your name.' And he extracted from her the promise that no matter what
she would tell him all.
" 'He made me,' she says,
that if I ever saw Stanford White I was to come home and tell him of
"They next met in
"He also turned, and as she
the stairs of her doctor’s he followed her. She became frightened, and
the steps and jumped into a hansom; and drove to the
" 'He got excited,' she
bit his nails.' In May, 1906, not long before the hour which was to be
White's last on earth, this is the story that she related to her
told him that Miss Mae MacKenzie had told her that Stanford White had
the hospital to see her. 'That she, Mae MacKenzie, had said to him,
nice the way Harry and Evelyn really do care for each other?' and that
that she had found it out, and that Stanford White said: 'Pooh! I don't
it. And Miss MacKenzie had replied: 'Oh, yes; it is true. I know it
I think it is so nice,' and Stanford White had remarked: 'Well, it will
last long. I will get her back.' All this she related to her husband.
"Then, when she told her
what Mae MacKenzie had told her, he became wild, and began to gnaw his
nails. Did he not have cause to get wild, to lose that reason which in
civilized community one is supposed to stifle?
'I stole her once from her mother, I will steal her now from her husband,' Stanford White said. But between him and the consummation of that act there remained the strong arm of that young man to protect her from his snares.
"You remember how at Daly's
Theater and his wife saw Stanford White in a box how, when he saw 'him,
"When he looked into those
into which so many a young girl had looked before she went down to her
his eyes grew wild and he just sat there and stared and stared at the
his thoughts. She says, describing another meeting: 'At another time,
Harry and I were passing
" 'One Sunday,' said Evelyn,
was sitting in a chair in my room and suddenly he began to sob and cry
any warning whatever, apparently gazing upon vacancy.'
"His mind was always on this
He cried until at last his own wife could not but believe this
thought of Stanford White—had preyed so on his mind that he had become
"The man who had brooded
those pictures of horror for three years—this man would have been more
human if he could have preserved a calmness of reason. Now, gentlemen,
yourselves in the position of this defendant.
"Recall the time, those of
have wives, recall the time that you led the one you loved to the
altar, and if
possible do this defendant justice. You remember when the little lady
that her husband on this subject had lost his mind—do you remember in
connection the spontaneous exclamation of the friend who, on hearing
fired on the Madison Square Roof-garden, made the exclamation: 'This is
of an insane man.'
"Gentlemen, nothing now
for me to do but to call your attention to the events of the night of
tragedy. With a view simply of elucidating the great point, fix your
on this point—that is, the condition of mind of the defendant on that
night-you recall that Mr. Thaw, his wife and two friends were seated at
at the Cafe Martin, a place of public entertainment in this city. The
summer, the evening doubtless was sultry Tables had began set upon the
the veranda on the outside for the accommodation of those who desired a
"Now, while this party of
seated at the table, Stanford White, by accident or design, came into
in which they were seated. He came in through such an entrance that
himself could not see him. After White went out on the veranda on the
side and remained there a considerable time.
"The wife, seeing him,
the time to call her husband's attention to him, and only when he was
she call his attention on paper. She wrote upon. it, 'The B--' (meaning
blackguard) 'was there, but has gone out again.'
'As denoting the condition
of mind of
the defendant at that time, he turned to his wife and said to her, 'Are
right' and her answer that she was mastered every emotion he had in
place and the incident had no further consequence. Now, you will
during the afternoon Thaw had procured four tickets for the performance
to take place that night at the garden. He took with his
party and on the way took along another
friend to whom he gave his own seat. He went about with 'his busy,
activity which characterizes him until he found a seat beside the
"He sat by Mr. Smith for
hour engaging in such idle conversation as so-called men of the world
in—men whose minds are not seriously engaged in the serious problems of
"When Thaw saw White he
quietly and slowly down the aisle until he faced White and then fired
"He then slowly and
turned away-and I wish to call your attention especially to this
slight, but to my mind of the utmost importance, and testified to by
defense. Mr. Meyer Cohen, one of the witnesses, said that as soon as he
the shots he looked and saw Thaw standing facing the audience with his
spread out in the form of a cross, a circumstance which has not been
by any of the learned experts for the
"Mr. Thaw stood as a priest
have stood after some ceremony of sacrificial offering, saying, 'All is
and dismissing the congregation. He turned his pistol barrel down to
to the audience that there was no danger to them.
"He then walked slowly to
his wife stood, and when she said, 'Oh, Harry, what have
you done? he replied; 'It is all right, dearie, I have probably saved
life.' As he said this he stooped and kissed her. When he was disarmed
'He has ruined my wife.' When the policeman came he said: 'He has
wife.' "I have dwelt upon these acts and declarations of Mr. Thaw at
time to call your attention to the fact that the safety of his wife was
by the man who had followed her to the garden, the same man who had
her to Dr. Delayan, the same man who had said to Mae MacKenzie he would
this young wife away from Thaw.
"What condition of mind must
K. Thaw have been in when walking down the aisle he turned and suddenly
form—the hideous form—of the man who had caused so much unhappiness.
"If you have been near death
know that at such a time the mind travels with the rapidity of
mind goes back over the past like lightning. Then Thaw, as he looked
hideous form of this man, saw the whole panorama of White's life. He
making his way into the family where poverty dwelt; saw him laying bare
plans to ingratiate himself; saw him giving the mother money to absent
from the city that he might perpetrate the deed of shame he had
him inflaming her youthful imagination; plying her with wine; saw her
wandering under the fatal drug; saw her losing consciousness; saw her
shame; saw him next day kissing the hem of her dress; heard his
protestations of love; heard her refusing, and saw that chamber in
she told him the story of her wrongs; heard again his oft proposals to
saw that terrible night when she had told him her story; he saw himself
walked the floor and cried, 'Oh, God! Oh, God!' "He saw her return to
York; he saw her meet this man who had wronged her; he saw her about to
into this villain's hands, and 'he saw himself rescue her from this
man. He saw
himself again at the altar marrying her.
"He saw her when her mind
poisoned against him by the same man who had ruined her; he saw her
from the man; he went over the happy months he had lived with her in
house; he saw this monster and he heard his words, 'I will get her
he knew not, he reasoned not, he struck as does the tigress to protect
for the purity of American homes—struck for the purity of American
maidens-struck for the purity of American wives. He struck, and who
he was not right' "He had appealed to The Pinkertons, to the district
and that night he appealed to God, and God that night answered that
of the fatherless child.
And God then redeemed the
had made thousands of years ago when He said He would hear the cries of
afflicted and that He would make the wives of the oppressors widows and
"Ah, gentlemen, what was his condition of mind at that time? Men, judge your fellow-man as ye would be judged. Place yourselves as far as in your power lies in the place he stood.
"It is for the district
to prove that the defendant was sane, and if he fails to do this he has
his case. He must establish that he was sane at the time.
"And I ask you not to
law, and I ask you to judge by that law which bids you do unto others
desire others to do unto you.
"Send this young man to his
for what he did when goaded into frenzy by the persecution he had
turned at last as the weakest of created things will turn—as a worm, it
said, will turn against his tormentors—send him to his death for that?
"Ah, gentlemen, recall the
language of the great book in which is contained the wisdom and
religion of the
people of old, and I say to you, Is Jonathan to die for ridding Israel
"Is Jonathan to die for
this great salvation in Israel?
"God forbid! Not a hair of
head shall fall to the ground, for he walked with God on that day.
"I now with all solemnity
your hands the fate of Harry K. Thaw."