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A New Crime

By Twain, Mark

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Book Id: WPLBN0000632053
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 10.97 KB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: A New Crime  
Author: Twain, Mark
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Blackmask Online Collection
Historic
Publication Date:
Publisher: Blackmask Online

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Twain, M. (n.d.). A New Crime. Retrieved from http://members.worldlibrary.net/


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Excerpt: THIS country, during the last thirty or forty years, has produced some of the most remark? able cases of insanity of which there is any mention in history. For instance, there was the Baldwin case, in Ohio, twenty?two years ago. Baldwin, from his boyhood up, had been of a vindictive, malignant, quarrelsome nature. He put a boy?s eye out once, and never was heard upon any occasion to utter a regret for it. He did many such things. But at last he did something that was serious. He called at a house just after dark one evening, knocked, and when the occupant came to the door, shot him dead, and then tried to escape, but was captured. Two days before, he had wantonly insulted a help? less cripple, and the man he afterward took swift vengeance upon with an assassin bullet had knocked him down. Such was the Baldwin case. The trial was long and exciting; the community was fearfully wrought up. Men said this spiteful, bad?hearted villain had caused grief enough in his time, and now he should satisfy the law. But they were mistaken; Baldwin was INSANE when he did the deed they had not thought of that. By the argument of counsel it was shown that at half?past ten in the morning on the day of the murder, Baldwin became insane, and remained so for eleven hours and a half exactly. This just covered the case comfortably, and he was acquitted. Thus, if an unthinking and excited community had been listened to instead of the arguments of counsel, a poor crazy creature would have been held to a fearful responsibility for a mere freak of madness. Baldwin went clear, and although his relatives and friends were naturally in? censed against the community for their injurious suspicions and remarks, they said let it go for this time, and did not prosecute. The Baldwins were very wealthy. This same Baldwin had momentary fits of insanity twice afterward, and on both occa? sions killed people he had grudges against. And on both these occasions the circumstances of the killing were so aggravated, and the murders so seemingly heartless and treacherous, that if Baldwin had not been insane he would have been hanged without the shadow of a doubt. As it was, it required all his political and family influence to get him clear in one of the cases, and cost him not less than ten thousand dollars to get clear in the other. One of these men he had notoriously been threatening to kill for twelve years. The poor creature happened, by the merest piece of ill fortune, to come along a dark alley at the very moment that Baldwin?s insanity came upon him, and so he was shot in the back with a gun loaded with slugs.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents: A NEW CRIME, 1 -- MARK TWAIN, 1

 

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