Mr. GRIER. Do you gentlemen representing the Government object?
Mr. ASHTON. Yes, sir; we object.
Judge GRIEG. On what grounds?
Mr. ASHTON. On two grounds; first, that there is no evidence that this book contains correct copies of these documents; second, that it is not pertinent to the issue because it would not either excuse or justify the acts proved to have been done by the defendant.
Judge GRIEG. Suppose it is all the excuse or justification they have got have they not a right to show it and have the court pass upon it?
Mr. ASHTON. I merely make the objection and state the grounds on which it rests and ask your honors to pass upon it.
Judge GRIEG. You want us to decide what may he the grave question of the cause on a mere point as to the admission of testimony. I am inclined to admit the testimony if it is at all relevant to the defense. Whether that defense is a good one or not is to be considered afterwards.
Mr. KELLEY. May it please your honors as I understand the offer now it is to put in a certain book called the Rebellion Record which from my general recollection contains a large amount of poetry.
Judge CADWALADER. I do not understanding the offer in that way, but it is to submit particular parts of the book.
Mr. WHARTON. We propose to offer specific parts. The poetry we leave to the other side.
Mr. KELLEY. We would rather go to a purer fountain even for that.
Judge GRIEG. I suppose it is proposed to give historical evidence of historical focts.
Mr. WHARTON. That is it; and it happers to be found in a particular book. It may be damaged by intercourse with poetry; we do not know. We only offer what purports to be official documents, as official as anything from such a source can be. We do not offer the book in the mass but merely as containing a list of those public documents which we can best reach in this form - no better for being in the book perhaps no worse.
Mr. HARRISON. If there is any other and more authentic publication of these facts we shall accept it from the learned counsel on the other side.
Judge CADWALADER. Whatever documents are offered I think ought to be paricularly indicated and read. We cannot counsider such publications as this in a lump. Or if counsel do not wish the trouble of reading them aloud the page and line may be indicated so that the court may examine the various documents. We cannot understand a book of that sort to be in evidence without the parts which counsel desire to consider being particularized. It would be incouvenient to both sides.
Mr. HARRISON. I want first to present the Constitution of the Southern Confederacy and the secession ordinances of the Southern States.
Judge GRIEG. The offer is to show the Constitution of the so - called Southern Confederacy and the secession acts of the different States?
Mr. HARRISON. Yes, sir.
Judge GRIEG. I am disposed to admit it. You cannot get absolutely authentic copies of those documents. They are regarder as historical facts and you must take the best historical evidence uyou can get. indeed, they are referred to in the President's proclamations already produced by the prosecution. it is now proposed to offer them as historical facts. We never deside the value of evidence on such a point.