Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 6 Num. 94

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Goebel Murder the Subject of Intensely Partisan Encounter

(New York Times, February 4, 1904)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 -- This was the most exciting day the House has had this session. The Democrats charged the Republicans with making murder a political crime, sheltering a fugitive from justice, and reversing the intent of the Constitution with regard to extradition laws in the interest of a Republican assassin. The day was an anniversary of the murder of Gov. Goebel of Kentucky. Excitement rose high, and the House was crowded throughout the debate, which lasted almost all the afternoon. The Diplomatic Appropriation bill was under consideration at the time.

Mr. James (Dem., Ky.,) started the discussion, which was over the refusal of Gov. Durbin of Indiana to surrender ex-Gov. W. S. Taylor of Kentucky, charged with complicity in the murder of his rival, Gov. William Goebel. Mr. James introduced a bill to authorize extradition proceedings in Federal courts when the Governor of one State refuses to honor extradition papers from another.

The Democrats were beside themselves with delight over his arraignment of the Republicans, particularly when he denounced President Roosevelt as "the distinguished rough rider, who, as Governor of New York, violated all precedents by saying to Taylor, 'Come to New York and you shall be immune.'"

The President's referenda(?) in favor of extradition treaties in his message was ridiculed by Mr. James in view of the failure of the Governor of Indiana to extradite Taylor.

Mr. Crumpacker (Rep., Ind.,) defended Gov. Durbin. His argument was to the effect that it would be impossible for Taylor to have a fair trial in Kentucky, and he pointed to the case of Secretary of State Caleb Powers, convicted of Goebel's murder, as proof.

"Isn't it a fact," asked Mr. James, "that the Governor of Indiana refused to surrender Taylor before Powers was ever tried, and before he could have known whether Powers would have a fair trial or not?"

Mr. Crumpacker said it was.

"Didn't Taylor show the same remarkable foresight," asked Mr. James, "when he granted a free pardon to Powers before Powers was even arrested?"

"Possibly, possibly," said Mr. Crumpacker, amid Democratic laughter.

Mr. Crumpacker's attack on the State of Kentucky aroused John Sharp Williams, (Dem., Miss.,) who made a speech which aroused the Democratic side to a pitch of the wildest enthusiasm and excitement. He declared Crumpacker's speech to be "a disgrace to American civilization."

"Edmund Burke did not know how to draw an indictment of a whole people," said Mr. Williams, "but the gentleman from Indiana can teach him how to do it, and to do it by innuendoes and hints gathered from newspaper reports."

Indiana and Kentucky were separated by a river, he said, and Mr. Crumpacker's argument was that on the left-hand side of that river all was corruption and vileness, and on the right-hand side all was political purity.

"Kentucky," he concluded, "will continue to go Democratic until the Republicans of that State cease to march under the banner of assassination."

Mr. Payne (Rep., N.Y.,) defended President Roosevelt's extradition treaty recommendations. The general indictment of the President and the Republican Party, he said, was not well founded, neither was the criticism of Gov. Odell of New York, made by Mr. James (Ky.,) for his refusal to extradite Ziegler on demand of Missouri.

Mr. Adams (Penn.) in beginning his annual speech in favor of the reorganization of the Consular Service said he was performing a very good office by interposing a buffer between Indiana and Kentucky. He presented a bill for the reorganization of the Consular Service, which, he said, was indorsed by the business interests of the country.

The discussion was brought back to the Goebel murder. Mr. Hemenway (Rep., Ind.,) made a speech urging the Democrats of Kentucky to cool off and not be so excited about the murder of Goebel. This provoked Mr. Stanley (Dem., Ky.,) to deliver a speech in which he declared that he had not believed partisanship could go so far.

"To make murder a political question," he said, "is amazing to me. If when Lincoln was shot some disciple of this new philosophic school, which makes assassination a subject for debate, had addressed the mourning people of this country, telling them to keep cool, not to get excited, and to remember that Booth's deed was a political crime, I would not have been more astonished."

"Didn't Goebel kill a man?" asked Mr. Hepburn, (Rep., Iowa.)

"Goebel shot Sanford in self-defense," retorted Mr. Stanley. "He shot Sanford through the brain. When Goebel was picked up there was a bullet through his own body. Only two shots were fired. Will the gentleman from Iowa tell me how a man with a bullet in his brain could shoot Goebel through the body? Which fired first?"

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9