Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Conscientious Squire

The jokes that have been related concerning the ignorance of backwoods justices are many and good.  When Muscatine was smaller than it is now our oldest inhabitants will remember the old fellow who kept a “law shop” near where Butler’s Block now stands.  We’ll call him Stubbs for short.  Now Stubbs had a fellow brought before him; just after his appointment, charged with stealing a watch.  Persons swore they saw him take the article and other witnesses swore positively that the prisoner at the time the watch was stolen was at least fifty miles away.  On summing up the evidence, Old Stubbs was in a quandary.  Finally he arose and with a great deal of reluctance told the prisoner that according to the evidence on the side of the prosecution he should be obliged to fine him five dollars.  But as the defense had established an alibi, and he could not conscientiously cause an innocent man to suffer he would pay the fine himself, which he actually did, remarking that this was the most extraordinary case that had ever come to his knowledge.

This same old Stubbs once went on a spree with several friends and was terrible drunk for two or three days.  After he got sobered off he arrested his companions and fined them five dollars each for intoxication and disturbing the peace.  As soon as the trial was concluded he commanded the constable to arrest Stubs immediately.  The constable read the warrant.  Stubbs pled guilty and fined himself five dollars and costs of suit.  The record stands on the docket to this day. – {Muscatine Journal.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 5, 1862, p. 2

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