Microfilm Reel 286, File 543, "Lynching"

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All the microfilm scans from the file number 543, "Lynching," on reel 286 from the Executive Office files of the Woodrow Wilson Papers, series 4 in the Library of Congress finding aid.

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THE ASSOCIATION OF THE BAR (543) OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 42 WEST 44TH STREET

[JULY 27 1918]

July 26, 1918.

Hon. Joseph P. Tumulty, Secretary to the President, White House, Washington, D.C.

My dear Mr. Tumulty:-

In view of the President's proclamation of to-day on the subject of lynching, I respectfully venture to enclose monograph "Why the United States leads the world in the relative proportion of murders, lynchings and other felonies etc." It was read before the New York Society of Medical jurisprudence on December 11, 1916. It was printed in American Law Review for March and April 1917, also in Australian Law Times for Febrary 10 and 24, 1917; also in Docket for November 1917.

Months ago a copy was sent (1) to every judge of each of our 51 courts of last resort (2) to the librarian of each of said 51 courts (3) to American Bar Association (4) to the 48 State Bar Associations (5) to the largest local Bar Associations (6) to many law reformers and leaders of the bar (7) to all Law Journals and Law Reviews (8) to the press; daily, periodical and religious (9) to the leading historians, penologists, humanitarians and criminal statisticians (10) to every Legislative Reference Library, Research Library, State Library, Public Library University, Law School, and College Library (scores in all) that desired it.

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lynching is not a matter of race, not a matter of nationality, not a matter of climate.

According to Dean Cutler between 1852 and 1903- 3,337 lynchings were reported in 44 of our 49 continental states and territories (Cutler Lynch law, p. 179-185). No section of the country, and only five states of the union have been free from it in the last generation.

Very respectfully yours,

Henry A. Forster 32 Liberty Street New York City

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DO OUR LAWS PROTECT CRIMINALS?

Henry A. Forster

Reprinted from the MARCH-APRIL

AMERICAN LAW REVIEW 1917

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DO OUR LAWS PROTECT CRIMINALS? 239

DO OUR LAWS PROTECT CRIMINALS?

WHY THE UNITED STATES LEADS THE WORLD IN THE RELATIVE PROPORTION OF MURDERS, LYNCHINGS AND OTHER FELONIES, AND WHY THE ANGLO-SAXON COUNTRIES NOT UNDER THE AMERICAN FLAG HAVE THE LEAST PROPORTION OF MURDERS AND FELONIES AND KNOW NO LYNCHINGS.*

Among the enlightened nations the United States leads the world in manumitting murderers and enlarging felons, while Anglo-Saxon countries not under the American flag have the least percentage of murderers and felons.

Has any other nation laws which its courts of last resort characterize as "a shelter to the guilty," which "has no place in the jurisprudence of civilized and free countries outside the domain of the common law, and it is nowhere observed among our own people in the search for truth outside the administration of the law" (Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U. S. 91, 113), or as "the privilege of crime" (State v. Wentworth, 65 Maine, 241)?

Ex-President William H. Taft in his address before the Civic Forum of New York City on April 28, 1908, said (p. 15):

And now, what has been the result of the lax administration of criminal law in this country? Criminal statistics are exceedingly difficult to obtain. The number of homicides one can note from the daily newspapers, the number of lynchings and the number of executions, but the number of indictments, trials, convictions, acquittals, or mistrials it is hard to find. Since 1885 in the United States there have been 131,951 murders and homicides, and there have been 2,286 executions. In 1885 the number of murders was 1,808. In 1904 it has increased to 8,482. The number of executions in 1885 was 108. In 1904 it was 116. This startling increase in the number of murders and homicides as compared

with the number of executions tells the story. As murder is on the in

* Read before the Society of Medical Jurisprudence, New York City, December 11, 1916, by Henry A. Forster, Esq, of the New York Bar.

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240 51 AMERICAN LAW REVIEW.

crease, so are all offenses of the felony class, and there can be no doubt that they will continue to increase unless the criminal laws are enforced with more certainty, more uniformity, more severity than they now are."

The criminal statistics referred to by ex-president Taft are those published by the Chicago Tribune either on New Year's Day or else on the last day of each year since 1885, showing the number of homicides and executions in the United States for each year.

The Chicago Tribune gives the number of homicides (including manslaughters) in the United States in 1912 as 9,152; the number of executions in 1912 as 145; it gives the number of homicides (including manslaughters) in 1913 as 8,902; the number of executions in 1913 as 88; it gives the number of homicides (and manslaughters) in 1914 as 8,251; the number of executions in 1914 (including 2 for another felony) as 74; it gives the number of homicides (and manslaughters) in 1915 as 9,230; the number of executions in 1915 (including 8 for another felony) as 119.

According to the Judicial Statisties, England and Wales, 1913 (Part I Criminal Statistics pp. 18, 26) there were reported to the police of England and Wales during the year 1913, 111 murders of persons aged more than one year and 67 murders of infants of one year or less. On these 178 reported English and Welsh murders, 67 persons were brought

Statisties for 1914, pp. 8-10.) In 1913, also in 1914, two persons each year were charged to trial for murder; there were 28 convictions and death sentences; 16 executions; 12 commutations to penal servitude for life; 5 accused were found insane on arraignment; 17 were found guilty but insane and 17 were acquitted.

In 1913, 154 manslaughters were reported to the English and Welsh police (p. 18), on which 136 persons were brought to trial, on which trials there were 63 convictions and sentences (p. 26).

In 1914 the number of murders and manslaughters reported to the police of England and Wales is not given; 55 persons were brought to trial for murder; 23 were convicted of murder and sentenced to death; 14 were executed; the sentences of 8 were commuted to penal servitude for life; 12

DO OUR LAWS PROTECT CRIMINALS? 241

were found guilty but insane; 11 by jury and 1 by court of Criminal Appeal; 6 were found insane on arraignment and 14 were acquitted including one quashed conviction by Court of Criminal Appeal.

In 1914, 117 were brought to trial in England and Wales for manslaughter, of which 48 were convicted and sentenced. (Judicial Statistics, England and Wales, 1914, Part I, Criminal Statistics, pp. 12-13.)

According to the Canadian criminal statistics for the years ending September 30, 1913, and September 30, 1914: In 1913, 55 persons were changed with murder, of whom 23 were convicted and sentenced to death, 5 were detained for lunacy and 27 were acquitted. (Criminal Statistics for the year ending September 30, 1913, p. 2.)

In 1914, 62 persons were charged with murder, of whom 27 were convicted and sentenced to death, 4 were detained for lunacy and 31 were acquitted. (Criminal Statistics for the year ending September 30, 1914, p. 2.)

In 1913, 61 persons were charged with manslaughter, of whom 44 were convicted, 1 was detained for lunacy and 16 were acquitted. (Criminal Statistics for 1913, pp. 8-10.)

In 1914, 59 persons were charged with manslaughter, of whom 39 were convicted and 20 were acquitted. (Criminal Statistics for 1914, pp. 8-10.)

In 1913, also in 1914, two persons each year were charged with infanticide; all four were acquitted. (Criminal Statistics for 1913 and 1914, p. 10.)

The population of the Dominion of Canada is given by the last census as 7,206,643.

Moorfield Storey (Reform of Legal Procedure, 196), quoting Andrew D. White, says:

"The murder rate in the United Stated is from ten to twenty times greater than the murder rate of the British Empire and other northwestern European countries."

The World Almanac for 1911, 1912 and 1913, under "Sta tistics of Homicide," says convictions in Germany equalled

VOL. LI. 6

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