1769 murder by rifl questioned Philidelphia
Philadelphia, November i, 1 7 69. Meflieurs HALL and SELLERS, P leafs to give the following Letter a Place in your Gazette, and oblige one of your Cufiomer$ A. B. To Mr. William Smith, of Conegocheague. S I R, N a Poftfcript to the Pennfylvania Journal, of October 26th, you feem to fay fome harih Things concerning the Writer of a Letter, dated from Bedford, September zi, whereof an Ex - I frrafl: was nnhliflied in the Pennfvlvariia Gazette. Sent. JL ttai intimating that the Writer intended tn nrelnr tV.P PnMIr ral your Relation James Smith, who ftands committed on Sufpicion of killing of one Johnfon. - ' You do great Iajuftice to the Writer of that.Letter; for be aflured that, as he is no Inhabitant of your County, fo he is no way concerned with the Parties thereof, and had not the leaft Knowledge of James Smith, or Intention to injure him. The Letter was never defigned to be laid before the Public; it was wholly a private Letter, and publifhed without the Knowledge or Privity of tne Writer: his Friend in Philadelphia, who gave the Extraft being wholly anfwerable for its Appearance, in Print. So far, it was thought neceffary to juftify the. Writer, if heftocd Cffrra rt rt r V itrA CiA Thi to deferve leaft Cenfre. You yourfelf only blame two Exoreflions. Firft. vou fav. heftilcs5n&& " the nrinci - pal Ringleader of the Black Boys" But his Words are " Seve ral fufpe&ed Perfons were feen pafling up ; and among the reft J Smith, fufpeeled is one of the principal Ringleaders." Not a Word here ot Black or White Boys ; and furely the Word " fuf - pedled," was a very tender one, when fpeaking of a Man who had been fworn againft to be a Principal in the late Refcue of the Goods. You next blame the Writer for faying, Smith, went round Bedford f without touching" But this was a Matter of Faft, and why might it not be told, without any View to infinuate any Thing amifs ? It is certainly not very common in the Back - woods to pafs fuch a Town as Bedford without touching. In the laft Place, you blame the Writer for not mentioning a Piftel, which a Man afterwards confefTed he had fhot. But as the Writer of the Letter did not pretend to the fecond Sight, fo he could not put in a Man's Confeflion before it was made. Certain it is, when the Letter was written, .that a Jury of refpeable Men, had brought Smith in guilty of the Murder; there was no Sufpicicn then of its being by a nitoi - moc rrom anotner nana. For had there been fuch Sufpi - cion, furely any Jury might, by examining the Wound when frefh, have known whether it was from a Piftol - ball or Rifle - ball j which would have been a Matter of much more Weight in the Determi - nation nf Smith's Caufe, than all the other little Circumftances yet mentioned. But he is on his Trial, and as the Writer of that Letter did not mean to injure him with his Country at firft, fo I will fay nothing that might hare that Effect now. I fincerely wifli he may be found innocent; and I cannot blame you for uflng every honeft Endeavour to prove him fo ; but in doing it, you ought to avoid all ungrounded and unprovoked Reflections on thofer, who have neither done nor inteaded you, or your Brother - in - Law, an Injury. A B.