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Title: The Fall River Tragedy - A History of the Borden Murders
Author: Porter, Edwin H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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of Cornell University Law Library, Trial Pamphlets

Transcriber’s Notes: Words in italics in the original are surrounded
with _underscores_. Words in mixed case and all cap small caps are in
capital letters.

A Table of Contents has been added by the transcriber.

  CHAPTER I. Discovery of the Murders.
  CHAPTER II. Police Searching the Premises.
  CHAPTER III. The Borden Family.
  CHAPTER IV. Hiram C. Harrington’s Story.
  CHAPTER V. The Search of the House.
  CHAPTER VI. The Funeral.
  CHAPTER VII. A Reward Offered
  CHAPTER VIII. A Sermon on the Murders.
  CHAPTER IX. Theories Advanced.
  CHAPTER XI. Miss Lizzie Borden Arrested.
  CHAPTER XII. Lizzie Borden Pleads “Not Guilty.”
  CHAPTER XIII. The Preliminary Hearing Adjourned.
  CHAPTER XIV. Dr. Dolan Cross-Examined.
  CHAPTER XV. Second Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XVI. Third and Fourth Days of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XVII. Fifth Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XVIII. Sixth Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XIX. District Attorney Knowlton’s Argument.
  CHAPTER XX. Lizzie A. Borden Indicted.
  CHAPTER XXI. The Trickey-McHenry Affair.
  CHAPTER XXII. Beginning of the Superior Court Trial.
  CHAPTER XXIII. Third Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXIV. Fourth Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXV. Fifth Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXVI. Seventh Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXVII. Eighth and Ninth Days of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXVIII. Tenth Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXIX. Eleventh Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXX. Twelfth Day of the Trial.
  CHAPTER XXXI. District Attorney Knowlton’s Plea.
  CHAPTER XXXII. Judge Dewey’s Charge to the Jury.

A complete list of corrections as well as other notes follows the text.


                          Fall River Tragedy:

                           A HISTORY OF THE

                            BORDEN MURDERS.

                      PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED WITH

                          BY EDWIN H. PORTER,
               Police Reporter of the Fall River Globe.

                   GEO. R. H. BUFFINTON, PUBLISHER.

                              FALL RIVER.
                        Press of J. D. Munroe.

               Entered according to an act of Congress,
    in the year 1893, by Geo. R. H. Buffinton, in the office of the
              Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.


When the assassination of Andrew J. Borden and Abbie D. Borden,
his wife, was announced, not only the people of Fall River and of
Massachusetts, but the public throughout the country manifested the
deepest interest in the affair. The murders soon became the theme of
universal comment, both in public and private, and every newspaper
reference to the affair was read with eagerness, digested and commented
upon in a manner unprecedented. The crimes stand out in bold relief as
the most atrocious, and at the same time, the most mystifying which the
American public had ever before been called upon to discuss. They had
about them that fascination of uncertainty, horrible though they were,
which fixes the attention and holds it continually. Miss Lizzie A.
Borden, a daughter of the murdered man, was arrested and charged with
the killing. She was a young woman of hitherto spotless reputation and
character, and more than that she was educated, refined and prominently
connected with the work of the christian church in Fall River. Her
arrest added more and more to the interest which the public had taken
in the matter. She was tried before the Superior Court of Massachusetts
and a jury of her peers and found not guilty of the crimes. This
event settled beyond question the probability of her guilt, and yet
the case lost none of its absorbing interest. The author of this book
therefore, has for a purpose the desire to give the reading public
a connected story of the whole case, commencing with the day of the
tragedy and ending with the day that Miss Borden was set free. Persons
believing implicitly in the correctness of the findings of the jury at
New Bedford will see much wrong done in those chapters which treat of
the police work. But that the grand jury indicted the young lady is
no fault of the author, and the story of what brought that indictment
about is important, therefore it is given without prejudice. Harsh
words were said of Miss Borden, but they came from those who had a
sworn duty to perform, and they alone are responsible. Her defense is
given as freely as the case of the prosecution, and with it the history
is made as complete as was possible. The facts discussed came from
official sources and are dependent upon the testimony submitted at the
court trials.

                                                 EDWIN H. PORTER.


Discovery of the Murders.

At high noon on Thursday the fourth day of August, 1892, the cry of
murder swept through the city of Fall River like a typhoon on the
smooth surface of an eastern sea. It was caught up by a thousand
tongues and repeated at every street corner until it reached the utmost
confines of the municipality. A double murder, the most atrocious of
crimes, committed under the very glare of the mid-day sun within three
minutes walk of the City Hall was the way the story went and it was
true in every particular. Andrew J. Borden and his wife Abbie D. Borden
had been assassinated in their home at 92 Second street. The manner
in which the deed was done seemed so brutal, so mysterious, and the
tragedy itself so unprecedented that people stared with open-mouthed
amazement as they listened to the story passing from tongue to
tongue. In the excitement of the moment the murderer had slipped
away unobserved, and bloody as his crime had been he left no trace
behind, nor clue to his identity. He had wielded an axe or some similar
instrument with the skill of a headsman and had butchered in the most
horrible manner the bodies of his defenseless victims.


When discovered, the remains of Mr. Borden lay stretched at full length
upon the sofa in the sitting room of his home; the head literally
hacked into fragments and the fresh blood trickling from every wound.
Up stairs in the guest chamber lay the body of Mrs. Borden similarly
mangled and butchered with the head reeking in a crimson pool. She had
been murdered while in the act of making the bed and her husband had
died as he lay taking his morning nap.

In the house was Miss Lizzie A. Borden, youngest daughter of the
slain couple, and Bridget Sullivan, the only servant. They and they
alone had been within calling distance of the victims as the fiend
or fiends struck the fatal blows. The servant was in the attic, and
the daughter was in the barn not more than thirty feet from the back
door of the house. This was the condition of things on the premises
when the cry went forth which shocked the city and startled the entire
country. Neighbors, friends, physicians, police officers and newspaper
reporters gathered at the scene in an incredibly short space of time.
It was soon learned that the daughter Lizzie had been the first to
make the horrible discovery. She said that not many minutes before,
she had spoken to her father upon his return from the city; and that
after seeing him comfortably seated on the sofa she had gone out to
the barn to remain a very short time. Upon returning she saw his dead
body and gave the alarm which brought the servant from the attic.
Without thinking of Mrs. Borden the daughter sent Bridget for help.
Mrs. Adelaide B. Churchill the nearest neighbor, Dr. S. W. Bowen and
Miss Alice Russell were among the first to respond. Shortly afterward
the dead body of Mrs. Borden was discovered and the unparalleled
monstrosity of the crime became apparent. There had been murder most
foul, and so far as the developments of the moment indicated, without a
motive or a cause. The street in front of the house soon became blocked
with a surging mass of humanity, and the excitement grew more and
more intense as the meager details of the assassination were learned.
Men with blanched faces hurried back and forth through the yard;
police officers stood in groups for a moment and talked mysteriously;
physicians consulted among themselves and kind friends ministered to
the bereaved daughter and offered her consolation.

Inside the house where the bodies lay the rooms were in perfect
order. Mrs. Borden had smoothed out the last fold in the snow white
counterpane, and placed the pillows on the bed with the utmost care
of a tidy housewife. Every piece of furniture stood in its accustomed
place and every book and paper was laid away with rigid exactness.
Only the blood as it had dashed in isolated spots against the walls
and door jams, and the reeking bodies themselves showed that death in
its most violent form had stalked through the unpretentious home and
left nothing but its bloody work to tell the tale. No one dared go
so far as to suggest a motive for the crime. The house had not been
robbed and the friends of the dead had never heard of such a thing as
an enemy possessed of hatred enough to commit so monstrous a deed. As
the hours passed a veil of deepest mystery closed around the scene and
the most strenuous efforts of the authorities to clear the mystery
away seemed more and more futile as their work progressed. Men with
cool heads, and with cunning and experience sought in vain to unearth
some facts to indicate who the criminal might be, but their skill
was unavailing, they were baffled at every turn. The author of that
hideous slaughter had come and gone as gently as the south wind, but
had fulfilled his mission as terrifically as a cyclone. No more cunning
plan had ever been hatched in a madman’s brain, and no more thorough
work was ever done by the guillotine. Mystery sombre and absolute hung
in impenetrable folds over the Borden house, and not one ray of light
existed to penetrate its blackness.

Mr. Borden and his wife were spending their declining years, highly
respected residents, with wealth enough to enjoy all the comforts and
luxuries of modern life. Mr. Borden by years of genuine New England
thrift and energy had gathered a fortune, and his exemplary life had
served to add credit to a family name which had been identified with
the development and prosperity of his native state for two hundred
years, and which has been known to public and private life since the
time of William the Conqueror. His family had the _open sesame_ to
the best society. The contentment which wealth, influence and high
social standing could bring was possible to his family, if its members
chose to have it. But he and his wife had been murdered and there
was no one who cared to come forward and explain why death had so
ruthlessly overtaken them. One thing was manifest; an iron will and
a heart of flint had directed the arm which struck those unoffending
people down in a manner exceeding the savage cruelty of the most
blood-thirsty creature—man or beast. The police officers invaded the
house and searched in vain for some evidence to assist them in hunting
down the murderer. They learned nothing tangible, but they laid the
foundation for their future work by carefully scrutinizing the home
and its surroundings as well as the bodies. A hint was sent out that a
mysterious man had been seen on the doorsteps arguing with Mr. Borden
only a few days before. Had _he_ done the deed? To those who stopped
to contemplate the circumstances surrounding the double murder, it was
marvelous to reflect how fortune had favored the assassin. Not once in
a million times would fate have paved such a way for him. He had to
deal with a family of six persons in an unpretentious two-and-a-half
story house, the rooms of which were all connected and in which it
would have been a difficult matter to stifle sound. He must catch Mr.
Borden alone and either asleep, or off his guard, and kill him with
one fell blow. The faintest outcry would have sounded an alarm. He
must also encounter Mrs. Borden alone and fell her, a heavy woman,
noiselessly. To do this he must either make his way from the sitting
room on the ground floor to the spare bed room above the parlor and
avoid five persons in the passage, or he must conceal himself in one
of the rooms up stairs and make the descent under the same conditions.
The murdered woman must not lisp a syllable at the first attack, and
her fall must not attract attention. He must then conceal the dripping
implement of death and depart in broad daylight by a much frequented
street. In order to accomplish this he must take a time when Miss Emma
L. Borden, the elder daughter of the murdered man, was on a visit to
relatives out of the city; Miss Lizzie A. Borden, the other daughter,
must be in the barn and remain there twenty minutes. A less time than
that would not suffice. Bridget Sullivan, the servant, must be in the
attic asleep on her own bed. Her presence in the pantry or kitchen
or any room on the first or second floors would have frustrated the
fiend’s designs, unless he also killed her so that she would die
without a murmur. In making his escape there must be no blood stains
upon his clothing; for such tell-tale marks might have betrayed him.
And so, if the assailant of the aged couple was not familiar with the
premises, his luck favored him exactly as described. He made no false
move. He could not have proceeded more swiftly nor surely had he lived
in the modest edifice for years. At the most he had just twenty minutes
in which to complete his work. He must go into the house after Miss
Lizzie entered the barn and he must disappear before she returned.
More than that, the sixth member of the family, John V. Morse, must
vanish from the house while the work was being done. He could not have
been counted on by any criminal, however shrewd, who had planned the
tragedy ahead. Mr. Morse came and went at the Borden homestead. He was
not engaged in business in Fall River and there were no stated times
when the wretch who did the slaughtering could depend upon his absence.
Mr. Morse must not loiter about the house or yard after breakfast as
was his custom; he must take a car to some other part of the city and
he must not return until his host and hostess have been stretched
lifeless. The slightest hitch in these conditions and the murderer
would have been balked or detected red handed upon the spot. Had Miss
Emma remained at home she would have been a stumbling block; had Miss
Lizzie left the stable a few moments earlier she would have seen the
murderer as he ran out the side door; had Bridget Sullivan shortened
her nap and descended the stairs she would have heard her mistress
drop, as the axe fell on her head; had Mr. Morse cut short his visit
to friends by as much as ten minutes the butcher would have dashed
into his arms as he ran out at the front gate; had Mr. Borden returned
earlier from his morning visit to the post office he would have caught
the assassin murdering his aged wife, or had he uttered a scream at the
time he himself was cut down, at least two persons would have rushed to
his assistance.

It was a wonderful chain of circumstances which conspired to clear
the way for the murderer; so wonderful that its links baffled men’s


City Marshal Rufus B. Hilliard received the first intimation that a
murder had been committed by telephone message. He was sitting in his
office at the Central police station when John Cunningham entered
a store half a block from the Borden house and gave notice of the
affair. He immediately sent officer George Allen to the scene and then
by signal informed each member of his force who was on duty at the
time. This was at 11:15 in the forenoon. Officer Allen was the first
policeman to visit the house and he saw the horribly mutilated body of
Mr. Borden, as it lay on the sofa. One glance was sufficient to cause
the policeman to stand almost rooted to the floor, for he had come
unprepared to witness such a sight. Without delay he hurried to the
Marshal’s office and made a personal report of what he had seen.

Almost all of the night patrolmen and many of the day men were absent
from the city on the day of the killing, on the annual excursion of
the Fall River Police Association to Rocky Point, a shore resort
near Providence, R. I., and this unusual condition served greatly
to handicap the efforts of Marshal Hilliard in his attempt to get
possession of a tangible clue to the perpetration of the crimes. The
city was but poorly protected by members of the day force, who were
doing double duty.

[Illustration: JOHN CUNNINGHAM.]

However, within half an hour after the general alarm had been sent out
a half dozen officers from the central part of the city had arrived at
the Borden house. They were instructed to make a careful search of the
premises. Officer Allen before he returned to the police station, had
stationed Charles S. Sawyer at the door on the north side of the house,
and had instructed him to allow no one except policemen and physicians
to enter the building. Mr. Sawyer was besieged by hundreds of citizens,
but stood firmly at his post during the entire day, and it was a time
of intense excitement and pressing demands for admittance. The street
in front of the house was blocked before noon with wagons, teams
and pedestrians, and the people stood for hours in the hot sunshine
of an exceptionally warm midsummer day and speculated and theorized
as to what possible motive any one could have had in so heartlessly
butchering the aged man and woman. Inside the yard and house, policemen
in uniform and in citizen’s garb, hurried to and fro with an air of
mystery which was becoming them, for to all appearances the assassin
had vanished as completely as if the earth had opened and swallowed him.

The Borden house, a plain two-and-a-half story frame structure, stands
on the east side of Second street and is numbered 92. It is but one
block away from the main thoroughfare of the busy city of Fall River.
Hundreds of vehicles and numberless people pass and repass before the
building daily and yet no person could be found who saw a suspicious
move or heard an unaccustomed sound on that fatal forenoon, until Miss
Lizzie told how she had called Mrs. Churchill, and informed her that
a murder had been committed. Mrs. Churchill had been to market and
was returning home at about 11 o’clock. She saw Bridget Sullivan, who
was also familiarly called “Maggie,” running across the street to the
residence of Dr. S. W. Bowen, the family physician. The girl told her
that “something awful” had happened, and then Mrs. Churchill went into
her own house and in a very short time appeared at the kitchen window,
which commands a view of the side door of the Borden residence. She saw
Miss Lizzie sitting on the back doorsteps, with her face buried in her
hands and seemingly in great distress. Mrs. Churchill crossed the yard
and offered Miss Lizzie a few words of consolation.

[Illustration: GEORGE W. ALLEN.]

Bridget Sullivan, the only living person who admits that she was in
the house at the time of the killing, was the first to give the alarm,
by notifying Mrs. Dr. Bowen. Bridget was in her own room in the attic
where she had gone to wash the windows; and after completing the work
had lain down on the bed to rest. While there she heard Miss Lizzie
call and from the tone of her voice knew that something was wrong.
Bridget came down quickly and Miss Lizzie said to her, “Father is dead,
go for Dr. Bowen.” Bridget obeyed. The physician was not at home and
she returned. Then Miss Lizzie sent her for Miss Alice Russell, who
lived two blocks away, and who was an intimate friend of the family.
Briefly this is what had taken place before the arrival of officer
Allen; and up to that time no one except the assassin knew that the
body of Mrs. Abbie D. Borden lay weltering in its own blood, in the
guest chamber on the second floor. To those who early visited the
house, the vision of Mr. Borden’s body as it lay on the sofa, with the
life blood still warm, and flowing from a dozen gaping wounds was a
horror so dreadful that they had no thought of Mrs. Borden. It remained
for the neighbor, Mrs. Churchill, and the servant Bridget, to make this
awful discovery. Dr. Bowen, who had arrived shortly after Bridget’s
visit to his house, in response to her call, asked for a sheet with
which to cover the body of Mr. Borden. Bridget brought one from one
of the back bedrooms on the upper floor. About this time Miss Lizzie
asked for her mother. It is related that this request for some one to
go and find Mrs. Borden was the second made by Miss Lizzie. Suddenly
it dawned upon those present that in the midst of the excitement of the
moment, Mrs. Borden had been forgotten. Of all persons in the world,
she would have been more deeply interested in the death of her husband
and possibly she could give some explanation of his tragic taking off.

Bridget was unwilling to go alone in search of Mrs. Borden and so Mrs.
Churchill volunteered to bear her company. The two women passed through
the front hall and ascended the stairs in the front entry. Reaching a
landing half way up where their eyes were on a level with the floor,
they looked across the hall, through an open door, under the bed, and
saw the prostrate form of the dead woman. It lay full on the face and
the arms were folded underneath. Mrs. Churchill turned and retraced her
steps to the kitchen. She sighed audibly as she took a chair and Miss
Russell said to her, “What, another?” The reply was, “Yes, Mrs. Borden
is killed too.” Bridget had followed back to the kitchen.

[Illustration: JOHN J. MANNING.]

Special police officer Patrick H. Doherty was the second policeman to
reach the house, and he was soon followed by Assistant Marshal John
Fleet and officers Michael Mullaly, John Devine and William H. Medley.
Before noon several other policemen, friends of the family and local
newspaper men had been admitted to the house. Also Medical Examiner Dr.
William A. Dolan and a number of other physicians.

The Medical Examiner arrived at 11:45 and encountered Dr. Bowen
and Bridget on his way into the sitting room. He then made a hasty
view of the bodies and the house, and commenced immediately to make
preparations for holding an autopsy.

John Vinnicum Morse, brother of Andrew J. Borden’s first wife and uncle
of Misses Lizzie and Emma, arrived at the house shortly before noon.
He entered the north gate and went directly to a pear tree in the
back yard, where he ate two pears and then returned to the side door
and entered; then Miss Lizzie told him that Mr. and Mrs. Borden had
been murdered. Mr. Morse had slept in the guest chamber, where Mrs.
Borden’s body was found, on the previous night and had after eating his
breakfast that morning, left the house to visit a relative who resided
on Weybosset street, in Fall River, about a mile from the Borden
House. It was remembered that Mr. Borden fastened the screen on the
side door after Mr. Morse passed out at 9:20 o’clock in the morning,
and bade his guest return in time for dinner. Mr. Morse had come to the
house on the afternoon before the tragedy and had spent a few hours
with Mr. Borden and then had driven to the Borden summer residence and
farm which are situated about six miles from the city, in the town of
Somerset. He returned in time for supper and spent the night in the

Miss Lizzie sat at the foot of the back stairs and near the side door,
when Mrs. Churchill arrived. She had called her neighbor and informed
her that Mr. Borden had been “stabbed or killed.” Then she went into
the kitchen and remained a few minutes. Here she was seen by a number
of policemen, physicians and others who had been admitted to the house
before noon. She told Mrs. Churchill that she had been absent from the
sitting room a few minutes and that she spent the time in the barn,
where she had gone to get a piece of iron.

About noon she went upstairs to her own bedroom in company with Miss
Alice Russell, and the two sat alone for some time. While in the upper
part of the house she was approached by Assistant Marshal John Fleet
who made numerous inquiries concerning the condition of things in the
house previous to the murders. She told him as she had told others,
that Mrs. Borden had received a note delivered by a boy, early in the
morning, asking her to come and visit a friend who was sick. She did
not know who sent the message nor who delivered it, except that the
bearer was a small boy. Her father she said had had angry words with
an unknown man on the front steps a few days before the murder. She
thought the man was a farm laborer. The daughter also gave the police
information that the entire family had been sick a few days before
and that she feared that an enemy had attempted to poison them. The
sickness had followed after drinking milk, and this fact was enough
to cause Miss Lizzie to suspect that the milk had been tampered with.
The information given by the daughter was carried to Marshal Hilliard
and he ordered several policeman to guard the main roads leading out
of the city. A squad was also sent to Taunton River Bridge, over which
the assassin, if he was a farm laborer, would pass on his way to the
country. The police questioned Bridget closely and she corroborated
what Miss Lizzie had said about the sickness in the family.

So confused was the servant girl that she could tell no coherent story
of the condition of things about the house during the forenoon. She
did say that during the morning, Mrs. Borden had instructed her to
wash the windows from the outside of the house. This she had done.
After receiving this order from her mistress, Bridget did not see her
alive again. She finished her work before 10 o’clock, and while in
the sitting room heard Mr. Borden trying to get in at the front door.
He had returned from the city. She opened the front door and let Mr.
Borden in and then went up stairs. This was the last she saw of him
until Miss Lizzie called her when the body was found.

When the police officers arrived they began to search the house for the
weapon, and Bridget showed them into the cellar. Here they found four
hatchets, one of which had the appearance of having been washed after
recent use. At this time little attention was paid to this particular
hatchet, but all the hatchets were taken to the police station.

Shortly after 12 o’clock special officer Philip Harrington arrived at
the house, as had other policemen. He joined in the search for evidence
which would lead to the arrest of the murderer or to the discovery
of the weapon. After viewing the bodies he went to Miss Lizzie, who
was in her own room talking with Miss Alice Russell. He asked her if
she knew anything about the crime, and she replied “No.” It was then
that she detailed to him the story of her visit to the barn, and he
cautioned her to be careful, and to give him all the information in her

“Perhaps tomorrow,” said the officer, “you will have a clearer frame of
mind.” “No sir,” responded Miss Lizzie with a gentle courtesy, “I can
tell you all I know now just as well as at any other time.”

The conversation was prolonged and during the entire time Miss
Lizzie controlled her emotions wonderfully for a young lady who had
so recently been called upon to witness the blood of her father and
step-mother flowing from dozens of hideous wounds. When the officer
left her he went to the City Marshal and related his experience.
The public was not informed that then and there suspicions were
aroused in the minds of the police that the daughter knew more of the
circumstances of the tragedy then she cared to tell, but nevertheless
this was true.

All through that eventful day the police searched the house, cellar,
yard and barn but found nothing to confirm any suspicions which they
might have entertained as to who was guilty of the crimes.

Hon. John W. Coughlin, mayor of the city, who is a physician, was
among the first at the house and he took an active interest in the
search for evidence. From cellar to attic the police and physicians
delved into every nook and corner; every particle of hay in the barn
loft and every blade of grass in the yard was turned over; and when
the day was done the harvest had been nothing, except the discovery of
the double murder of a peaceful old man and his harmless wife, struck
down in their home like an ox in the stall. There was no assassin, no
weapon, no motive; just the crime and veil of mystery surrounding which
apparently time alone could lift.

They found the house in perfect order. The front and cellar doors were
locked; and every window sash was down. Even the victims as they lay
showed no signs of a struggle and the blood which spurted as the weapon
fell had not bespattered the rooms and furniture as it generally does
under circumstances such as these which surrounded the butchery of the
Bordens. They found two persons in the house living and two dead; and
the living could throw no light upon the darkness which clouded the
stark forms of the dead. A sturdy old man, rich in this world’s goods,
highly esteemed, retired from active life, without a known enemy, and
his equally unoffending wife were cut down in their own house, in
the broad daylight; and the assassin had left absolutely no trace of
himself. No man had seen him enter the house and no one had witnessed
his departure. The city was excited as it never was before; thousands
of people hurried from their places of business, from the workshop and
the mill, and gathered in the street in front of the house. Newspaper
men from the principal cities of New York and New England, to which the
telegraph had communicated the news of the astounding crime, arrived
on the afternoon trains; and as the day wore on, the dark mystery grew
darker and the task of fastening the crime on the guilty party took on
the semblance of an impossibility.

Medical Examiner Dolan and a corps of physicians held an autopsy on the
bodies in the afternoon and found that thirteen blows had rained upon
the head of the unsuspecting Mr. Borden, and that no less than eighteen
had descended upon the skull of Mrs. Borden. The cuts were deep and
long and any one of them would have produced instant death.

Could any but a maniac have inflicted those pitiless wounds; or could
any but a madman have struck so ruthlessly and unerringly and watched
the effect as the weapon sped on its mission of death, time and time
again? These were questions which suggested themselves to the public,
but they were unanswered and seemingly unanswerable.

This was the baffling condition of things which beset Marshal Hilliard
and his officers after the scene had been hurriedly gone over. Out of
this chaos of bloody crime and bewildering uncertainty, the police were
expected to bring light and order. It was a herculean task yet they
went to work with an energy prompted by duty, and spurred to greater
efforts by the public demand that justice overtake the author of the
foul deeds.


Police Searching the Premises.

Let us go back to the Borden house on the afternoon following the time
of the massacre. Medical Examiner Dolan and his associates are found
at work on the partial autopsy. The bodies had been removed to the
sitting room. The physicians found thirteen wounds on the head of Mr.
Borden, which were clean cut and evidently made by some very sharp
instrument. The largest was four and a half inches long and two inches
wide. Many of them penetrated the skull and one severed the eye-ball
and jaw bone. In Dr. Dolan’s own words the “sight was the most ghastly”
he had ever witnessed. Mrs. Borden’s body was even more severely dealt
with. The head was chopped into ribbons of flesh and the skull broken
in several places. A deep wound was discovered between the shoulder
blades, and had the appearance of having been made by a hatchet, the
blade penetrating full three inches deep. The stomachs of the victims
were taken out, sealed up and sent to Prof. E. S. Wood, an eminent
chemist of Harvard University, for analysis. It was desirable to know
if their contents would reveal the fact as to whether or not the milk
which was used, had been poisoned. Then again there was a difference of
opinion as to which of the two persons had been killed first. Only the
condition of the blood at the time of the discovery, and the contents
of the stomachs could determine that question. The pool of blood in
which Mrs. Borden’s head lay was coagulated, while the life-giving
element of Mr. Borden’s body was fresh and oozing from the wounds.
It was evident that the woman had been dead two hours before the
assassin slaughtered the old man. Yet this must be established beyond a
doubt, and in order to do so, Prof. Wood must determine to what stage
digestion had passed. The autopsy was partially finished and the bodies
delivered into the hands of undertaker Winward, who prepared them for

[Illustration: CHARLES S. SAWYER.]

The police were more than ever active during the afternoon. City
Marshal Hilliard and State Detective George Seaver of Taunton, visited
the house and made personal inquiry of the inmates, and viewed the
bodies and their surroundings. The search for evidence was continued
until night with little or no satisfactory result, so far as the public
knew. Dr. Bowen, who was the first physician to enter the house, told
the writer the following story of the condition of things as he found

[Illustration: DR. S. W. BOWEN.]

“When I reached my home, and before I entered it, my wife said to me,
‘you are wanted at the Borden’s, something terrible has happened.’
Without waiting to learn what the trouble was, I hurried across the
street, and entered the house by the side door, which leads to the
kitchen, there I was confronted by Mrs. Churchill, who lives next door
to the Bordens, and by Miss Alice Russell and Miss Lizzie Borden. Miss
Russell was sitting by Miss Lizzie’s side, rubbing her forehead and
hands and otherwise comforting her. I asked what the trouble was and
they told me that Mr. Borden had been killed. I asked how long since
it had happened, and they replied that it was only a few minutes. By
conservative calculation, I believe that I was present at Mr. Borden’s
side not over twenty minutes after the fatal blows had been inflicted.
Alone I walked into the sitting room and there I saw the body of Mr.
Borden on a lounge. I determined to make a thorough investigation
without delay and proceeded. The sofa upon which the dead man reclined
was of mahogany with hair cloth covering, such as was commonly
manufactured for high class parlor furniture forty years ago. Mr.
Borden lay partly on his right side, with his coat thrown over the arm
of the sofa at its head. He wore a dressing gown and his feet rested
on the carpet. It was his custom to lie in that way. His position was
perfectly natural and he appeared as if he had just lain down to sleep.
I was impressed at this point with the manifest absence of any sign of
a struggle. Mr. Borden’s hands were not clinched; no piece of furniture
was overturned; there was no contraction of the muscles or indications
of pain, such as we expect to find under similar circumstances. I am
satisfied that he was asleep when he received the first blow, which was
necessarily fatal. I approached the body and felt for the pulse. It had
ceased to beat. Then I examined the body to note its condition and the
extent of the wounds. Mr. Borden’s clothing was not disarranged, and
his pockets had apparently not been touched. The blows were delivered
on the left side of the head, which was more exposed than the other, by
reason of the dead man’s position. I do not believe he moved a muscle
after being struck. The cuts extended from the eye and nose around
the ear. In a small space there were at least eleven distinct cuts of
about the same depth and general appearance. In my opinion, any one
of them would have proved fatal almost instantly. Physician that I am
and accustomed to all kinds of horrible sights, it sickened me to look
upon the dead man’s face. I am inclined to think that an axe was the
instrument used. The cuts were about four and a half inches in length
and one of them had severed the eye-ball and socket. There was some
blood on the floor and spatters on the wall, but nothing to indicate
the slaughter that had taken place. I calculated that nearly all the
blows were delivered from behind with great rapidity. At this point
I returned to the kitchen and inquired for Mrs. Borden. Miss Lizzie
replied that she did not know where her mother was. She said that she
(Lizzie) had been out to the barn and that the servant was on the
third floor. Mrs. Churchill suggested that I go up stairs, which I
did, entering the front room. I was informed that Mr. John Morse had
occupied it the night before. As I passed within I was horrified to see
the body of Mrs. Borden on the floor between the bed and dressing-case
in the northeast corner. I walked over and realized that she was dead,
but at that moment I was not sure she had been murdered. I thought she
might have fainted. The sad truth was discovered too soon. Mrs. Borden
had also been murdered. I think she must have been engaged in making
the bed when the murderer appeared with an axe or hatchet and made a
slash at her. After that she turned, and the fiend chopped her head
as if it had been a cake of ice. One blow killed the woman but the
murderer kept on hacking at her until he was well satisfied that she
was dead. It is a mystery to me how he could have done so much savage
work in so short a time and made no noise. The weapon must have been
a sharp one for the cuts were as clean as if made by a razor. There
were, however, no signs of a struggle in the surroundings. There was
a large pool of blood under the dead woman’s head as she lay with her
hands under her. I easily made out eleven distinct gashes of apparently
the same size as those on her husband’s face. Some of these blows had
been delivered from the rear and two or three from the front. One
glance blow cut off nearly two square inches of flesh from the side
of the head. In my judgment, the dead woman did not struggle. She was
rendered unconscious by the first blow. Not a chair was displaced
and not a towel disturbed on the rack near by. I visited the dead in
company with the police officers, but made no further observations
at that time. I afterwards talked with Miss Lizzie, but she was in a
highly nervous state. She said that her father left the house about 9
o’clock and went to the bank and the post-office. He returned about
10:30, as near as she could remember, and took off his coat to put on
his dressing gown. She asked him about the mail, and also if he was
feeling any better, as he had been sick the day before. She said he
replied to her, ‘I feel no better now, no worse,’ and then went into
the sitting room. Shortly afterward the daughter went out to the barn.
She told me that she didn’t think that she was gone more than fifteen
or twenty minutes, and then came back and discovered the murdered
bodies of her father and her step-mother.

“Members of the family had been sick recently. Mrs. Borden came to me
Wednesday morning and said that she was very much frightened, for she
thought she had been poisoned. She and Mr. Borden had vomited all night
and she feared the poison had been from the baker’s bread or the milk.
Miss Lizzie and Bridget had been sick with the same symptoms, and it
was their belief that an enemy had attempted to kill the whole family.”

The police upon investigation found that Dr. Bowen’s story that the
Borden’s had been ill was true in every particular and they naturally
went to work in order to find, if possible, the person who administered
the poison. Special officers Harrington and Doherty were assigned to
this task and before midnight they had made a startling discovery.
So astounding in fact, that they hardly believed their senses. They
started out late in the afternoon, to visit the various drug stores of
the city and to make inquiry as to who bought or offered to buy poison.
They worked without success until they came to D. R. Smith’s pharmacy,
at the corner of South Main and Columbia streets. Eli Bence, the clerk,
informed them that on Wednesday before the murder, a young woman had
come into his store and asked to buy a small bottle of hydrocyanic acid.


Suspicions are cruel, and if unfounded, they burn like hot iron;
but in a murder mystery, where every link may strengthen the chain,
they rise up at a thousand points and cannot be ignored. She wanted
poison to kill the moths which were eating her seal skin cloak. If a
person wished to kill and avoid detection, and that person were wise,
hydrocyanic acid would be first choice among all deadly drugs. It is
a diluted form of prussic acid and it does its work surely. It is not
necessary to use it in bulk, homeopathic doses are all sufficient. It
is absorbed by the nervous system and leaves no traces, and it produces
none of the ante-mortem symptoms peculiar to most violent poisons.
There is no vomiting, no spasm or convulsions, no contraction of the
muscles—hydrocyanic acid simply takes hold of the heart and stops its
beating. It may not have been used in this case, and at this time the
detectives did not claim that it was. Mr. Bence told her that he did
not sell so deadly a poison except upon a doctor’s certificate and she
went away empty handed. This woman, Mr. Bence and others positively
identified as Miss Lizzie Borden. When the clerk told his story to the
officers they took him to the Borden house. This was about 10 o’clock
on the night following the murder. He was placed in a position to see
Miss Lizzie and when he came out was more certain than before that she
was the lady who called for the prussic acid. This then was a possible
clue and the first and only one which the police had secured. The _Fall
River Daily Globe_ published the particulars of this incident the next
day. But almost every newspaper in the country failed to accept it as
authentic, and while it served to point the police toward a possible
solution of the great murder mystery, it also brought down upon them
the vituperation of many a bucolic newspaper man who knew not of what
he wrote, or knowing cared little for justice and truth. From the day
after the killing, newspapers throughout the country questioned the
ability of the officers of the Fall River police department and some
of them went so far as to criticise sharply the work done. An act of
injustice unless the author of the criticism knew as much of the case
as the police themselves, which was hardly to be expected. However, the
work went on, yet with this slight clue the mystery seemed dark as ever.

More bewildering in fact, for there arose countless suggestions during
the afternoon which the police were called upon to consider. John V.
Morse developed into a seemingly very important factor before the day
had passed, and special officer Medley was detailed to look up the
facts concerning his whereabouts during that day. Mr. Morse had told
the newspaper reporters of his visit in the morning to the house of
a relative, Mrs. Emery at No. 4 Weybosset street. Thither went the
policeman accompanied by the writer to investigate. The Emery’s were
found at home and Mrs. Emery said that Mr. Morse had visited her house
that morning, arriving there before 10 o’clock and remaining until
11:20. A niece of Mr. Morse was present and she also declared that her
uncle had left the house at the time stated. The testimony of these
two witnesses would set at rest forever the theory that John V. Morse
was within a mile of the Borden house when the old people were done to
death. But these facts were not then generally known and there were
many persons who believed that he knew more concerning the killing than
he cared to relate.

The City Marshal sent a detail of police to guard the Borden house
soon after the murder was reported and instructions were given out
that every member of the household be shadowed. Officer John Devine
was designated to keep Mr. Morse in sight and every movement which he
made was carefully watched. He was allowed to come and go at will,
but whenever he appeared on the street a great crowd gathered. On one
evening in particular when the excitement was at the highest tension
Mr. Morse set out for the post office. Before he had completed his
journey a mob numbering a thousand people was at his heels and fears
were entertained less he would be roughly handled. Officer Devine was
in the shadow of Mr. Morse and saw him safely back to the Borden house.


The Borden Family.

Andrew J. Borden was numbered among the wealthy and influential men of
Fall River. He was one of the family of Bordens whose name has always
been identified with the growth and business enterprises of the city
and vicinity. No one knows how much money he was worth, but persons who
are as well acquainted with his affairs as he would allow them to be,
do not hesitate to say that his estate was worth $300,000. He was a
thrifty Yankee in every sense of the word, and nothing that represented
money was ever wasted by him. No other man knew the worth of a dollar
better than he, and none were more thoroughly convinced that a dollar
properly invested would bring its returns many times over. Upon the
death of his father Abraham Borden he came into possession of a small
estate but his fortune was of his own creation. Abraham Borden sold
fish in the streets of Fall River when the place was but a village
and thus by patient and plodding economy accumulated enough money
to purchase a house on Ferry street and some other real estate. But
the murdered man was never too busy counting his money to stop and
do a day’s work. He owned farms across the Taunton river in Somerset
and took the greatest interest in superintending the work thereon.
There was nothing like style around him, and no one wondered why he
did not make a show of his money. He had devoted his entire life to
its accumulation, spending but little and it was not expected of him
to change his manner of life in old age, although many a man would
have pursued a different course in his declining years. Other matters
besides those of the farm occupied the old man’s attention for he was
a prominent figure in financial circles. He was president of the Union
Savings Bank, a member of its Board of Trustees and investment, a
director of the Merchants Manufacturing Company, the B. M. C. Durfee
Safe Deposit and Trust Company, the Globe Yarn Mills, the Troy Cotton
and Woolen Manufactory and other manufacturing concerns. In each
of these he had large sums of money invested and the returns were
undoubtedly large. In early life Mr. Borden was for many years engaged
in the undertaking business with William M. Almy and Theodore D. W.
Wood and it was his boast that during his active business life he never
borrowed a cent or gave a promisory note. He was always conservative in
his investments of money; a man of excellent judgment, and he was often
called upon to act as appraiser on land values. Two years before his
death he erected one of the finest business blocks in the city located
at the corner of South Main and Anawan streets. His mode of living was
simple and unostentatious, and he was a pattern of old time New England
industry, thrift, economy and good citizenship. He was twice married,
his first wife being Sarah A. Morse, daughter of Anthony Morse. His
second was Abbie D. Gray, daughter of Oliver Gray, whom he married on
June 6, 1865. He lived with his two daughters Emma L. and Lizzie A.,
who were issues of his first marriage. At the time of his death he was
seventy years of age and his wife was sixty-seven.

[Illustration: MRS. ABBIE D. BORDEN.]

Miss Lizzie Andrew Borden was thirty-two years old at the time of her
father’s death. Her mother died when she was two years of age, and she
was cared for in her early childhood by her elder sister. A few years
before the murder she joined the Central Congregational church and
was ofttimes an active member of that society. She was reared under
conditions which could have made life a luxury had she and her parents
turned their attention to society. The most aristocratic drawing rooms
of the city would have welcomed the daughters of Andrew J. Borden. But
Miss Lizzie seemed to care but little for society. She preferred to
move in a limited circle of friends and never sought to enlarge the
number of her acquaintances. She avoided strangers and persons with
whom she was not familiar. She was born in the old Borden homestead on
Ferry street in Fall River and received her education in the public
schools, graduating from the high school early in life. Her classmates
say that she was rather eccentric in her manner of life, and of a
retiring disposition. She never attended college although her father
was amply able to give her the best education that the schools of the
country could furnish. At the mission of the Central church on Pleasant
street, Fall River, she taught a class of young people, and there
formed the acquaintance of the Rev. Edwin A. Buck who was her constant
companion and spiritual adviser during the great affliction which came
to her in after life. Besides her active church work she was a member
of the Fruit and Flower Mission and other charitable organizations as
well as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. In all of these she was
considered a valuable and conscientious worker. In the summer of 1890
she joined a party of young ladies who made the tour of Europe, but
aside from this she never traveled extensively.

Miss Emma L. Borden was the eldest child, being thirty-seven at the
time of her father’s murder. She had been less active in church matters
than Miss Lizzie and had not traveled outside the bounds of New
England. Her education, disposition and manner of life were somewhat
similar to those of her sister. At the time of the murders she was
visiting friends in Fairhaven, Mass., and arrived home on the evening
of August 4, in response to a telegram sent by Dr. Bowen.

John V. Morse was sixty-nine years of age at the time of the murders.
He is a native of New England, his early home being at Dartmouth, Mass.
At the age of twenty-five he went west and located at Hastings, Iowa,
where he engaged in farming, and built up a comfortable fortune. For
twenty years he was separated from his friends in Massachusetts and
during that time, by honesty and frugality made himself a respected and
influential citizen of his adopted state. Besides his farming interest
he was engaged in other enterprises which brought in a goodly sum of
money. After his years of work in the west he came back to New England,
arriving at Warren, Rhode Island, in April, 1888. He remained a short
time in Warren and then removed to Dartmouth, which place he called his
permanent home. After his return he made frequent visits to the home of
the Bordens in Fall River and was upon the most intimate terms with all
the members of the family.


Hiram C. Harrington’s Story.

Hiram C. Harrington a brother-in-law of Andrew J. Borden having married
Mr. Borden’s only sister, Luanna, and a blacksmith by trade, threw
some light upon the manner in which the Borden’s lived which was
highly interesting and important for the police to know. He said in an
interview the day after the murder:

“I have become acquainted with a good deal of the family history
during years past. Mr. Borden was an exceedingly hard man concerning
money matters, determined and stubborn, and when once he gets an idea
nothing could change him. As the motive for this crime it was money,
unquestionably money. If Mr. Borden died he would have left something
over $500,000 and in my opinion that estate furnishes the only motive,
and a sufficient one for the double murder. Last evening I had a long
interview with Miss Lizzie, who has refused to see anyone else. I
questioned her carefully as to her story of the crime. She was very
composed, showed no signs of any emotion, nor were there any traces of
grief upon her countenance. That did not surprise me, as she is not
naturally emotional. I asked her what she knew of her father’s death
and after telling of the unimportant events of the early morning she
said her father came home at 10:30 o’clock. She was in the kitchen at
the time, she said, but went into the sitting room when her father
arrived. She was very solicitous concerning him and assisted to remove
his coat and put on his dressing gown and inquired about his health.
She told me that she helped him to get a comfortable reclining place
upon the sofa, and asked him if he did not wish the blinds closed to
keep out the sun so that he could have a nice nap. She pressed him to
allow her to place an afghan over his body, but he said he did not
need it. Then she asked him tenderly several times if he was perfectly
comfortable, if there was anything she could do for him and upon
receiving assurance to the negative she withdrew.

“I then questioned her very carefully as to the time she left the
house, and she told me positively that it was about 10:45. She said
she saw her father on the lounge as she passed out. On leaving the
house, she says she went directly to the barn to obtain some lead. She
informed me that it was her intention to go to Marion on a vacation,
and she wanted the lead in the barn loft to make some sinkers. She was
a very enthusiastic angler. I went over the ground several times and
she repeated the same story. She told me that it was hard to place
the exact time she was in the barn, as she was cutting the lead into
sizable sinkers, but thought she was absent about twenty minutes.
Then she thought again, and said it might have been thirty minutes.
She entered the house and went directly to the sitting room, as she
says she was anxious concerning her father’s health. ‘I discovered
him dead,’ she said, ‘and cried for Bridget, who was upstairs in her
room.’ ‘Did you go and look for your stepmother?’ I asked. ‘Who found
her?’ But she did not reply. I pressed her for some idea of the motive
and the author of the act, and after she had thought a moment she
said, calmly: ‘A year ago last spring our house was broken into while
father and mother were at Swansea, and a large amount of money stolen,
together with diamonds. You never heard of it because father did not
want it mentioned, so as to give the detectives a chance to recover
the property. That may have some connection with the murder. Then I
have seen strange men around the house. A few months ago I was coming
through the back yard, and as I approached the side door I saw a man
there examining the door and premises. I did not mention it to any one.
The other day I saw the same man hanging about the house, evidently
watching us. I became frightened and told my parents about it. I also
wrote to my sister at Fairhaven about it.’

“Miss Borden then gave it as her opinion that the strange man had a
direct connection with the murder, but she could not see why the house
was not robbed, and did not know of any one who would desire revenge
upon her father.

“Yes, there were family dissentions although it has been always kept
very quiet. For nearly ten years there have been constant disputes
between the daughters and their father and stepmother. It arose, of
course with regard to the stepmother. Mr. Borden gave her some bank
stock, and the girls thought they ought to be treated as evenly as
the mother. I guess Mr. Borden did try to do it, for he deeded to the
daughters, Emma L. and Lizzie A., the homestead on Ferry street, an
estate of 120 rods of land, with a house and barn, all valued at $3000.
This was in 1887. The trouble about money matters did not diminish,
nor the acerbity of the family ruptures lessen, and Mr. Borden gave
each girl ten shares in the Crystal Spring Bleachery Company, which
he paid $100 a share for. They sold them soon after for less than $40
a share. He also gave them some bank stock at various times, allowing
them of course, the entire income from them. In addition to this he
gave them a weekly stipend, amounting to $200 a year. In spite of all
this the dispute about their not being allowed enough went on with
equal bitterness. Lizzie did most of the demonstrative contention,
as Emma is very quiet and unassuming, and would feel very deeply any
disparaging or angry word from her father. Lizzie on the contrary,
was haughty and domineering with the stubborn will of her father and
bound to contest for her rights. There were many animated interviews
between father and daughter on this point. Lizzie is of a repellant
disposition, and, after an unsuccessful passage with her father, would
become sulky and refuse to speak to him for days at a time. She moved
in the best society in Fall River, was a member of the Congregational
church, and is a brilliant conversationalist. She thought she ought to
entertain as others did, and felt that with her father’s wealth she
was expected to hold her end up with others of her set. Her father’s
constant refusal to allow her to entertain lavishly angered her. I
have heard many bitter things she has said of her father, and know she
was deeply resentful of her father’s maintained stand in this matter.
This house on Ferry street was an old one, and was in constant need of
repairs. There were two tenants paying $16.50 and $14 a month, but with
taxes and repairs there was very little income from the property. It
was a great deal of trouble for the girls to keep the house in repair,
and a month or two ago they got disgusted and deeded the house back to
their father. I am positive that Emma knows nothing of the murder.”


The Search of the House.

Friday morning came and with it little but mystery to add to the awful
tragedy. The police had guarded the house all night. Marshal Hilliard
had been active to an unusual degree, but the solution of the great
murder mystery seemed to be as far distant as at any time since the
discovery of the bodies. It was stated early Friday morning that
arrests would be made during the day, but they were not. Miss Lizzie
Borden was suspected but there was no evidence against her. It would
have been a serious matter to arrest a person for such a terrible crime
as this double murder, especially when it is considered that the one
suspected occupied a high social position in the community. Besides,
she had a spotless reputation, not one word of criticism had passed
upon her before this time; and, furthermore, she was an heiress to a
fortune of not less than $300,000. The officers of the law must have
more evidence, and with this idea in view they again visited the house
for the purpose of a more thorough search. On the afternoon before
the report had gone out that Miss Lizzie had refused the officers
permission to search her room. This was promptly denied. However, they
were not satisfied, and the ground was carefully gone over again. Five
officers spent over three hours ransacking rooms, bureaus, beds, boxes,
trunks and everything else where it was thought that anything which
they would like to find might be hidden.

Not a thing was discovered which afforded the slightest clue to the
perpetrator of the bold and blood curdling crimes.


The searching party consisted of Marshal Hilliard, Assistant Marshal
Fleet, State Detective Seaver, Medical Examiner Dolan and Capt.
Desmond. They went to the house shortly after 3 o’clock, and did not
leave until nearly 6 o’clock. There were a number of people in the
house beside the two daughters, the servant and John V. Morse. Among
them were Mrs. Holmes and Miss Russell, friends of the family, who had
been sent for by the Misses Borden to keep them company.

The squad of police surrounding the house were given instructions not
to let any one enter or leave while the search was in progress, and
they obeyed their orders to the letter.

Attorney Andrew J. Jennings of Fall River, was also present. He had
been retained by the Misses Borden to look after their interests, but
made no attempt to interfere in any way with the searching party. Mr.
Morse offered his services to the officers, but they were declined with
thanks. The police were satisfied after an hour’s work on the first
floor and cellar, and then they passed to the second floor. Miss Lizzie
was in her room when they approached the door. She opened her trunk
and said “Is there anything I can do or show you, gentlemen?” She was
told that nothing further was expected of her. They spent another hour
ransacking the rooms on this floor but their efforts were unrewarded.
Then the yard and barn were again searched but with the same result.
Nothing was found and nothing was taken from the premises, if the words
of a policeman at the time were to be depended upon. After the party
left one of the officers in conversation dwelt particularly upon the
demeanor of Miss Lizzie at the time of the search. He said:—“I was
surprised at the way she carried herself and I must say that I admire
her nerve. I did not think that a woman could have so much. She did not
appear to be in the least bit excited or worried. I have wondered why
she did not faint upon her discovery of the dead body of her father.
Most women would have done so, for a more horrible sight I never saw,
and I have walked over a battlefield where thousands lay mangled and
dead. She is a woman of remarkable nerve and self control and her
sister Emma is very much of the same disposition, although not so

After so thorough a search of the house it was expected that some
startling developments would be made, but the public was doomed to
disappointment. Contrary to the expectations of all it was announced
that absolutely nothing had been discovered which would lead to a clue
or assist in any way in clearing up the great mystery.

There was one thing of importance which the police did accomplish on
the second day after the murder. The time of the taking off of Mr.
Borden was fixed at between 10:50 and 11:03 o’clock, and it was assumed
that Mrs. Borden was killed before that time.

[Illustration: BRIDGET SULLIVAN.]

They arrive at their decision regarding the old gentleman by the
following facts:

It was known that Mr. Borden was talking to Mr. Charles M. Horton at
10:30 o’clock, as they were seen together by persons on the Chace Mill
car that leaves City Hall for Bedford and Quarry streets at 10:30. The
car was standing in front of the building. After leaving Mr. Horton Mr.
Borden walked up South Main street, stopping for a minute or two at
this block and then going through Borden street to Second and to his
home. Bridget Sullivan was positive that she admitted him at the front
door between 10:45 and 10:50; it was before 11 and after 10:45. Marshal
Hilliard made special inquiries of the persons in the office with him
concerning the time that he received the telephone message, and it
has been fixed at within a minute of 11:15. Officer Allen was sent to
investigate, and positively asserts that he was at the house at 10:20.
A man who heard the alarm on the street says that at the time there was
no one in sight except the person who informed him. He was able to fix
the time to within a minute of 10:45 by attending circumstances that he
can recall clearly. The clock at Dr. Bowen’s had struck 11 just before
Miss Lizzie came to the door for the doctor, and Dr. Bowen reached Mr.
Borden’s house at 11:30.

The murder was reported within fifteen minutes from the time that Mr.
Borden is known to have been alive.

With this detail were involved many issues. It practically broke down
any theories that a mysterious assassin slyly entered the house,
sneaked into the rooms and then killed his victims. The intervening
space of time was too brief. It became perfectly apparent to the
police that the body of Mrs. Borden lay for an hour or more, in the
room where Mr. Morse slept, brutally hacked, the work of a murderer,
showing beyond all question and cavil that the blows were administered,
not in a frenzy at the sight of blood, but with one all absorbing
purpose—immediate death. There was evidence of fiendish brutality in
the work, shown not alone in the manner in which it was done, but in
the apparent sole desire of the guilty one to complete the crime so
that the victim could not by any chance escape from the fate intended.
They became more and more convinced that the body of Mrs. Borden could
not have lain in the room for one or two hours, without having been
discovered by some one in the house. In the minds of the police the
proposition resolved itself into this form. Could there have been a
dead body and an assassin in the house for nearly two hours unknown to
and undiscovered by Miss Lizzie or the servant?


The Funeral.

The funeral of the murdered people took place on the morning of August
6th. Crowds of people numbering between 3000 and 4000 appeared on
Second street in front of the house, and about twenty policemen stood
around and maintained a clear passage. Rev. Dr. Adams of the First
Congregational Church and City Missionary Buck soon arrived and entered
the house. The bodies were laid in two black cloth-covered caskets in
the sitting room, where Mr. Borden was killed. An ivy wreath was placed
on Mr. Borden’s bier and a bouquet of white roses and fern leaves, tied
with a white satin ribbon, was placed over Mrs. Borden. There were
about 75 persons present at the funeral services in the house. The
services consisted of reading from the scriptures and prayer. There
were no singing and no remarks.

The bodies of the victims were laid in the caskets with the mutilated
portions of the head turned down, so that the cuts could not be
noticed. The caskets were open and the faces of both looked wonderfully

The mourners who were present were Mrs. Oliver Gray, the step-mother of
the deceased woman; G. F. Fish and wife of Hartford, Ct., the latter
a sister of Mrs. Borden; Dr. Bowen and wife, Southard H. Miller and a
very few of the neighbors who had been invited to attend the services
in the house.

The funeral was private—that is, only a very few of the immediate
friends were asked to accompany the remains to the cemetery. But from
11 o’clock until 11:30, when the funeral procession of eleven hacks and
two hearses started on its way, there were immense crowds of people
lining every sidewalk. There was a detachment of police at the cemetery
and another posse accompanied the remains on their way through Borden
and Rock streets to the northern end of the city, where the cemetery is

The pallbearers were: For Mr. Borden—Abram G. Hart, cashier of the
Union Savings Bank; George W. Dean, a retired capitalist; Jerome C.
Borden, a relative of the deceased; Richard B. Borden, treasurer of
the Troy mills, in which Mr. Borden was a director; James M. Osborn an
associate of the deceased in several mills; Andrew Borden, treasurer of
the Merchants’ mill, in which Mr. Borden was a large owner. For Mrs.
Borden—James C. Eddy, Henry S. Buffington, Frank L. Almy, J. Henry
Wells, Simeon B. Chase, John H. Boone, all of them gentlemen in the
highest local social and business circles.

As the procession wended its way along North Main street many old
associates of Mr. Borden were seen to raise their hats. They forgot all
knowledge of the curiosity seekers who stood gaping beside them.

Miss Lizzie and Miss Emma Borden were, of course, the principal
mourners. Miss Lizzie went out of the house first, leaning on
Undertaker Winward’s arm.

Miss Emma was calm and she walked quickly, and took her seat without
hardly glancing at the crowds staring at her.

Both ladies were without veils.

The last person to leave the house was Mr. Morse, who went into a
carriage with Rev. Mr. Buck and Dr. Adams.

The procession arrived at the cemetery about 12:23 o’clock, when
several hundred people stood about the grounds awaiting the burial. The
crowd was kept back by a dozen policemen under direction of Sergt. John
Brocklehurst. No one left any of the carriages during the ceremonies
except the officiating clergy, the bearers and Mr. Morse.

[Illustration: MRS. CHURCHILL.]

Rev. E. A. Buck began the funeral exercises by reading New Testament
passages introduced with “I am the resurrection and the life.” He was
followed by Rev. Dr. Adams, who prayed for the spiritual guidance of
all and the inclination of all to submit to divine control, besought
that justice should overtake the wrong that had been done, also that
those who are seeking to serve the ends of justice might be delivered
from mistake, be helped to possess all mercifulness, as well as all
righteousness, and in conclusion prayed that all might be delivered
from the dominion of evil.

There was a pause of perhaps five minutes, during which the carriages
kept their places and no one stirred toward the grave except an
elderly lady in plain dress, who hastened to the casket of Mrs. Borden,
and was about to kneel in reverence before it, when she was moved away
by an officer, and went to the fence around the ground, where, with
back to the crowd, she buried her head in tears. It was whispered that
she had been employed long ago by the Bordens.

The bodies were not interred in the graves, as a telegraphic order had
been received from Boston instructing that they should not be buried.
Both caskets were returned to the hearses and were deposited in a
receiving tomb.


A Reward Offered.

On the morning after the tragedy the following notice was sent to the

    “Five thousand dollars reward. The above reward will be paid to
    any one who may secure the arrest and conviction of the person
    or persons, who occasioned the death of Andrew J. Borden and
    his wife.

                    Signed, Emma L. Borden and Lizzie A. Borden.”

Here was an incentive calculated to invigorate the work of those who
were bent on solving the great mystery. But the police officers did not
stop to read this announcement. It was as plain as a pike staff that
they were not devoting their entire time and energies toward hunting
up farm hands, mysterious Portuguese and Westport horse traders. Yet
it is an unquestionable fact that City Marshal Hilliard left no stone
unturned to follow every clue of this kind to its end. They all ended
in smoke.

The hatchets which had been found in the cellar had been sent to Prof.
Wood for critical examination, and the public awaited with almost
breathless anxiety the making of his report. Upon it depended much
which would assist in clearing up the case. After the bodies had been
placed in the receiving vault at Oak Grove, Mr. Morse concluded to bury
the clothing which the victims wore at the time of death. He employed
men to do the work. Under orders the clothing was interred in the yard
back of the barn. Just after this incident, Mr. Morse locked the barn
door with two Boston reporters on the inside, and when they demanded
their release he found considerable fault with the liberties people
were taking on the premises. He was reminded that a reward of $5,000
had been offered, and that therefore everybody was intensely interested.

On the same afternoon Andrew J. Jennings, an astute lawyer and a
conservative man, who had been employed by the Misses Borden, as before
stated, was questioned about the case. He had no particular desire to
talk about the family affairs of the Borden’s, but he admitted that as
far as he knew, the murdered man left no will. The estate would as
a matter of course, go to the daughters. As to the crime itself, Mr.
Jennings said:

“I have read many cases in books, in newspapers and in fiction—in
novels—and I never heard of a case as remarkable as this. A most
outrageous, brutal crime, perpetrated in mid-day in an open house
on a prominent thoroughfare, and absolutely motiveless. The theory
advanced—these quarrels about wages and about the possession of stores
and that sort of thing—are simply ridiculous. They do not offer a
motive. If it was shown that the thing was done during even such a
quarrel, in the heat of passion, it would be different; but to suppose
that for such a matter a man will lie in wait or steal upon his victim
while asleep and hack him to death is preposterous. Even with revenge
in his heart, the sight of his victim asleep would disarm most any
man. Then for a man to enter, commit the deed and escape without being
discovered, would be a remarkable combination of circumstances.”

In answer to a question as to what he thought about the possibility of
the murder being committed by a member of the family, he replied:

“Well, there are but two women of the household and this man Morse.
He accounts so satisfactorily for every hour of that morning, showing
him to be out of the house, that there seems to be no ground to base
a reasonable suspicion. Further than that, he appeared on the scene
almost immediately after the discovery, from the outside, and in
the same clothes that he had worn in the morning. Now it is almost
impossible that this frightful work could have been done without the
clothes of the person who did it being bespattered with blood. Then
came Lizzie Borden, dressed in the same clothes she wore before the
killing. This, together with the improbability that any woman could do
such a piece of work, makes the suspicion seem altogether irrational.”

Complication after complication arose as the facts in the case slowly
came to light. Not a scream nor a groan was heard coming from the
Borden house that morning; neither did the family living in the
Buffington house which stands next north of the Borden house, see
anybody coming out on that morning except Mr. Borden himself. He left
his home, as has been stated, about 9 o’clock. Mrs. Churchill, who
lives with her mother, Mrs. E. P. Buffington, across the yard, watched
Mr. Borden go out. There is a fence between the two houses, and Mrs.
Buffington’s kitchen windows look over the fence into the Borden yard,
directly opposite the side door, and not twenty-eight feet from the
Borden house. The barn is but twenty feet behind the house, and the
distance from the east end of the house to the east end of the barn is
not more than fifty feet. Behind the barn is a fence eight feet high,
protected by barbed wire. This fence divides the Borden estate from
that of Dr. J. B. Chagnon, whose house fronts on Third street. On the
rear of Dr. Chagnon’s place are half a dozen apple and pear trees that
stand up against the fence which partitions the Borden estate from that
of Dr. Chagnon.

On the south side of the Borden house is Dr. Kelly’s residence. A low
fence stands between.

Miss Addie Cheetham lives with her mother and Mrs. Churchill with
Mrs. Buffington. All these persons were about their own houses all of
Thursday morning. Miss Cheetham sat writing a letter at 10 o’clock and
at 10:55 went to the post office. She saw no one come out of the Borden
house during the time she sat near the window fronting on the Borden
lawn. She could hear the side door bang if it opened at all, but it did
not, she says. Mrs. Churchill was about the house until 10:15, when
she went to the market to secure dinner. She returned about 10:50, and
it was perhaps twenty-five minutes later when she had occasion to go
into the kitchen. She looked out of the window and just at that moment
Lizzie Borden pushed open the side door of her own house.


Mrs. Churchill ran over to Mrs. Borden’s, and just at that minute
Bridget, who had been sent to summon Dr. Bowen, returned, saying that
she could not find the doctor. Mrs. Churchill then went over to Lew
Hall’s sail loft, where her hired man, Tom Bolles, was talking and
asked him to run for Dr. Chagnon. Bolles ran around the square to find
the Chagnon house locked up. The family had that day gone to Pawtucket
and the hired girl was down street from 10:30 until nearly 12 o’clock.

Bolles came back and while running up Second street saw Dr. Bowen
driving in front of his office, and then it was that the family
physician was notified.

Bolles saw Bridget cleaning windows on the north and west side of the
house early in the forenoon, but she was not in sight at 11:20. All the
members of the Buffington household agreed that if there had been any
scream from inside the Borden house it would certainly have been heard
by them.

In Dr. Kelly’s yard some men were working, and if the assassin
proceeding on the theory that a man attempted to scale the fence at
that place, he would perhaps have been seen by the laborers. He would
also have to pass the barn where Lizzie was, provided, of course, he
got out of the house between 10:55 and 11:20. If he jumped over the
Buffington fence, he might have been seen by the inmates of the house,
and to try to escape by cutting his way over the Kelly fence would
have been to fall into the hands of the laborers. It would have been
dangerous for him to go out by the Second street entrance, for there
are always passers by on this thoroughfare, as well as on Third street.

Clues are absolutely indispensable adjuncts to all criminal operations
and in the Borden case they were omnipresent. Everybody seemed to have
a suggestion to offer. Around the police headquarters there congregated
all kinds of men, including a number of cranks. Those of the latter
class who could not report in form, sent in their contributions by mail
until Marshal Hilliard’s desk was piled high with curious and original
documents. But the police themselves worked night and day and kept
their doings as secret as possible, under the circumstances. Before two
days passed the press all over the country began to assail the work of
the officers, and it was kept up with a vigor worthy a better cause.
Undoubtedly this criticism was brought about by the fact that the
twenty-five or more newspaper men who interviewed the Marshal daily,
or said they did, gleaned the fact that he harbored the suspicion that
a member of the family had committed the crimes. But it was clear to
all who wished to see it, that he paid as much attention to hunting
down “outside clues” as he did in pursuing his inquiries in the other
direction. The more plausible clues were diligently followed.

A theory which gave promise of good results was as follows:

On Tuesday before the murder, about 9 o’clock in the morning, a horse
and buggy turned into Second street out of Spring street, and came
to a halt in front of the Borden House. A young man who was employed
near by sat in his buggy which stood opposite the house and was facing
south. He took the trouble to watch closely the two men who occupied
the buggy. One of them got out and rang the door bell. Mr. Borden
answered the call and the stranger was admitted. In about ten minutes
he came out and resumed his seat in the buggy and the pair drove off
in the direction of Pleasant street. This circumstance was considered
of importance, when it became known that the police had information of
another person who had seen a strange man about the premises. A boy
named Kierouack, aged twelve, who resided on Central street, told the
authorities that he was passing the house at about 11 o’clock that
morning and that he saw a man scale the fence which separates the
Borden and Chagnon estates. Young Kierouack was put to the most rigid
examination by the police and he stuck to his story. This clue was
effectually disposed of by the authorities who found another person who
was with Kierouack at the time of his trip down Second street. This man
gave a particular story of his movements that morning and denied that
young Kierouack had seen a suspicious character. Adjoining the yard of
the Borden place is the house occupied by Dr. Chagnon. On the evening
in question the physician was unexpectedly summoned away and asked
Dr. Collet, if, as a favor, he would allow the latter’s little son
to attend to the telephone during Dr. Chagnon’s absence. The boy was
absent, and Dr. Collet sent his daughter to Dr. Chagnon’s residence,
but upon her arrival the doctor had departed and the office was locked.
The little girl decided to await the arrival of some one and sat down
in the yard for that purpose. Soon the man who had driven the doctor
away returned, and the office was opened. Miss Chagnon remained in
the yard adjoining the Borden place. She was there at the time it was
alleged the unknown man jumped the fence, and she declares that she
saw no one attempt anything of the kind, but the fact that there was
a considerable extent of barbed wire along its top was submitted in
answer. Barbed wire necessitates careful handling, and it was argued
in support of the truth of the girl’s statement and the falsity of the
other story that the passage of a man over such a barrier would require
such time as to render detection possible.

Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Morse had clearly established an
alibi there were those who insisted that he knew more of the murder
than he had made public. Proceeding on this theory the officers took up
the task of investigating Mr. Morse. Officer Medley was given the work,
and in company with Inspector Hathaway of the New Bedford police, he
discovered that Mr. Morse had lived, as before stated, in Dartmouth.

There was at that time a camp of itinerant horse traders in the town
of Westport. It was related that Mr. Morse had had dealings with these
men and the sensational press soon coupled his name with a possible
hired assassin, a member of the gang of traders. This story was given
color by the then unexploded story of young Kierouack, especially when
it became known that officer Medley had discovered a man who seemed to
fit the description of the stranger alleged to have been seen around
the premises. This suspect was the head trader in the Westport Camp and
when accosted he readily consented to come to Fall River and surrender
himself. He succeeded in showing beyond a reasonable doubt that he was
in the city of New Bedford at the time of the Borden murders.

Within a few hours after the murder was reported a detail of police was
sent to guard the house. This policy was kept up for more than a week
and as early as Friday morning the officers on guard had instructions
to keep the Misses Borden, John V. Morse and Bridget Sullivan under the
strictest surveillance and not allow either of them to leave the city.
If they left the premises they were followed. The Medical Examiner, the
Marshal and the officers at work on the case were constantly coming and
going about the house, and while it may have appeared to them that the
problem was in a fair way of solution, the public was getting more and
more hopelessly involved in the mass of stories which were circulated
from day to day.


The letter which was alleged to have been received by Mrs. Borden on
the morning of the tragedy, continued to excite public interest. “_Once
a Week_,” the New York journal, offered a reward of $500 for the writer
of the note, and the _Fall River News_ implored its readers to unite
in one effort in the cause of justice, and if possible, find the note
and deliver it into the editor’s hands. The missive, however, was not
found. Miss Lizzie A. Borden seemingly put an end to that theory when
she told Dr. Dolan that she had attempted to find the note and being
unsuccessful, she feared it had been burned in the kitchen stove. Not
one of the household seemed to be able to give more than a general idea
of the contents of the note. It was from a friend who was ill, but as
neither the friend nor the note could be found by the united efforts of
the police and members of the family, the matter was dropped early in
the investigation.


A Sermon on the Murders.

On Saturday the case took on an unexpected phaze. Superintendent O.
M. Hanscom of the Boston office of the Pinkerton Detective Agency
appeared on the scene. He was not employed by the Mayor of Fall River
nor the Marshal of Police and it soon became noised abroad that he was
present in the interests of the Misses Borden with the avowed intention
of clearing up the mystery. In company with Mr. Jennings he visited
the Borden house and was in consultation with members of the family
for about two hours. Detective Hanscom remained in Fall River nearly
two days and then disappeared as mysteriously as he came. It was the
universal opinion at the time that the Pinkertons would unearth the
assassin in a short while, but the public was never informed as to the
reasons why they withdrew from the case. It was believed, however, that
there was a rupture between Marshal Hilliard’s men and the Pinkertons.
This may or may not have been the cause of their sudden disappearance.

Sunday morning the Central Church worshippers met with the First Church
congregation in the stone church on Main street. All of the pews were
filled, many being in their seats some half hour before the service
began. It was supposed that the Rev. W. Walker Jubb, who occupied the
pulpit, would make some allusion to the awful experiences through
which one family in his charge had been compelled to pass during the
week, and the supposition was correct. Mr. Jubb read for the morning
lesson a portion of Matthew, containing the significant words which
imply that what is concealed shall be revealed. In his prayer, Mr. Jubb
evoked the divine blessing on the community, rendering thanks for the
blessings bestowed on many, and, pausing, referred to the murder of
two innocent persons. He prayed fervently that right might prevail,
and that in good time the terrible mystery might be cleared away; that
the people of the city might do everything in their power to assist
the authorities, and asked for divine guidance for the police, that
they might prosecute unflinchingly and unceasingly the search for the
murderer. Mr. Jubb prayed that their hands might be strengthened, that
their movements might be characterized by discretion, and that wisdom
and great power of discernment might be given to them in their work.
“And while we hope,” he continued, “for the triumph of justice, let our
acts be tempered with mercy. Help us to refrain from giving voice to
those insinuations and innuendoes which we have no right to utter. Save
us from blasting a life, innocent and blameless; keep us from taking
the sweetness from a future by our ill-advised words, and let us be
charitable as we remember the poor, grief-stricken family and minister
unto them.”

The clergyman asked that those who were writing of the crime might be
careful of the reputations of the living, which could so easily be

For his text, Mr. Jubb took the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, ninth
verse: “The thing that hath been is that which shall be; and that which
is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under
the sun.” The speaker considered the monotonies of life, and expatiated
on the causes of indifference in persons who would be nothing if not
geniuses, drawing lessons from successes in humble sphere. At the end
of the sermon Mr. Jubb stepped to the side of the pulpit and said
slowly and impressively:

“I cannot close my sermon this morning without speaking of the horrible
crime that has startled our beloved city this week, ruthlessly taking
from our church household two respected and esteemed members. I cannot
close without referring to my pain and surprise at the atrocity of the
outrage. A more brutal, cunning, daring and fiendish murder I never
heard of in all my life. What must have been the person who could have
been guilty of such a revolting crime? One to commit such a murder
must have been without heart, without soul, a fiend incarnate, the
very vilest of degraded and depraved humanity, or he must have been a
maniac. The circumstances, execution and all the surroundings cover it
with mystery profound. Explanations and evidence as to both perpetrator
and motive are shrouded in a mystery that is almost inexplicable. That
such a crime could have been committed during the busy hours of the
day, right in the heart of a populous city, is passing comprehension.
As we ponder, we exclaim in our perplexity, why was the deed done?
What could have induced anybody to engage in such a butchery? Where
is the motive? When men resort to crime it is for plunder, for gain,
from enmity, in sudden anger or for revenge. Strangely, nothing of this
nature enters into this case, and again I ask—what was the motive?
I believe, and am only voicing your feelings fully when I say that I
hope the criminal will be speedily brought to justice. This city cannot
afford to have in its midst such an inhuman brute as the murderer
of Andrew J. Borden and his wife. Why, a man who could conceive and
execute such a murder as that would not hesitate to burn the city.

“I trust that the police may do their duty and lose no opportunity
which might lead to the capture of the criminal. I would impress upon
them that they should not say too much and thus unconsciously assist
in defeating the ends of justice. I also trust that the press (and I
say this because I recognize its influence and power), I trust that
it will use discretion in disseminating its theories and conclusions,
and that pens may be guided by consideration and charity. I would wish
the papers to remember that by casting a groundless or undeserved
insinuation that they may blacken and blast a life forever, like a
tree smitten by a bolt of lightning; a life which has always commanded
respect, whose acts and motives have always been pure and holy. Let
us ourselves curb our tongues and preserve a blameless life from
undeserved suspicions. I think I have the right to ask for the prayers
of this church and of my own congregation. The murdered husband and
wife were members of this church, and a daughter now stands in the same
relation to each one of you, as you, as church members, do to each
other. God help and comfort her. Poor stricken girls, may they both be
comforted, and may they both realize how fully God is their refuge.”

Marshal Hilliard and his officers after two days and two nights work
concluded that the case was of so much importance that it was advisable
to call District Attorney Hosea M. Knowlton, of New Bedford, Mass.,
into their counsels, and accordingly he arrived from his home in New
Bedford, on Saturday morning. A short consultation was held at police
headquarters and then adjourned until the afternoon. The District
Attorney, Marshal Hilliard, State Officer Seaver, Mayor Coughlin and
Dr. Dolan met according to agreement in one of the parlors of the
Mellen House.

The Marshal took all the evidence which he had collected in the shape
of notes, papers, etc., together with other documents bearing on
the case, into the room where the five men were closeted and they
commenced at the beginning. At the close of the conference held earlier
in the afternoon, the District Attorney had advised the officers to
proceed with the utmost caution, and was extremely conservative in
the conclusions which he found. At that time he had not been made
acquainted with all the details. At the Mellen House consultation the
same caution was observed. The quintet were working on one of the most
remarkable criminal records in history, and were obliged to proceed
slowly. The Marshal began at the beginning and continued to the end. He
was assisted in his explanation by the Mayor and the Medical Examiner.
Mr. Seaver listened. There were details almost without end, and all
of them were picked to pieces and viewed in every conceivable light.
Considerable new evidence was introduced, and then the testimony of
officers not present was submitted, which showed that Miss Lizzie
Borden might have been mistaken in one important particular. The
Marshal informed the District Attorney that the murder had occurred
between ten minutes of 11 o’clock and thirteen minutes after 11 on
Thursday morning. The time was as accurate as they could get it, and
they had spared no pains to fix it.

The alarm had been given by Miss Lizzie Borden, the daughter of the
murdered man, when she returned from the barn. At the moment of the
discovery she did not know that her stepmother was also dead, though
she explained afterwards that she thought her mother had left the
house. It was but a short distance from the barn to the house. Nobody
had been found who had seen anybody leaving the yard of the Borden
house or entering it, although a number of people, who were named,
were sitting by their windows close by. It was also true that nobody
had seen Miss Borden enter or leave the barn. She had explained that
she went to the stable to procure some lead for a fish line, which she
was going to use at Warren. Here there was a stumbling block which
puzzled the District Attorney and his assistants. On the day of the
murder Miss Lizzie had explained that she went to the loft of the
barn for the lead, and an officer who was examining the premises also
went to the loft. It was covered with dust and there were no tracks
to prove that any person had been there for weeks. He took particular
notice of the fact, and reported back that he had walked about on the
dust-covered floor on purpose to discover whether or not his own feet
left any tracks. He said that they did and thought it singular that
anybody could have visited the floor a short time before him and make
no impression on the dust. The lower floor of the stable told no such
tale, as it was evident that it had been used more frequently and the
dust had not accumulated there. The conclusion reached was that in the
excitement incident to the awful discovery, Miss Borden had forgotten
just where she went for the lead. When she found her father lying on
the lounge, she ran to the stairs and ascended three or four steps to
call Maggie. Maggie is the name by which Bridget Sullivan was called by
members of the family. She did not call for her stepmother, because,
as she stated afterward, she did not think she was in. Then came the
history of the mysterious letter. Miss Lizzie had said that on the
morning of the tragedy her stepmother received a letter asking her to
visit a sick friend. She knew that at about 9 o’clock her stepmother
went upstairs to put shams on the pillows, and she did not see her
again. It was that letter which led her to believe that her stepmother
had gone out. Here was stumbling block number two. The officers had
searched all over the house for that letter, the Marshal said, but had
failed to find any trace of it. Miss Lizzie had feared that it had been
burned in the kitchen stove.

The Marshal’s men had found other letters and fragments of letters
in the waste paper basket and had put them together piece by piece.
The one letter that was wanted had not been found. It was considered
singular that, with all the furore that has been raised over this note,
the woman who wrote it has not come forward before this and cleared up
the mystery. It is also strange that the boy who delivered the note
has not made himself known. It was believed that every boy in town old
enough to do an errand had visited the house since the tragedy, but the
particular boy has kept in the background.

It was presumed that Mrs. Borden’s correspondent feared the notoriety
which would come to her if she disclosed her identity, but it was
unfortunate that she should allow any such scruples to overcome what
ought to be a desire to assist in every way possible in unravelling the

The Marshal, Medical Examiner and Mayor then carefully rehearsed, step
by step, the summoning of Dr. Bowen, who was not at home when the
murder was committed, and his ghastly discovery on the second floor. No
theory other than that Mrs. Borden was murdered first was entertained.
Miss Lizzie Borden’s demeanor during the many interviews which the
police had with her was described at length, and the story of John V.
Morse’s whereabouts was retold.

Thorough investigation of theories advanced upon the strength of
Bridget Sullivan’s statement that the crime was committed by the
Portuguese employed upon the farm of Andrew Borden in Somerset,
resulted in placing them with the other numerous opinions and
possibilities which have been exploded by the authorities. In the
excitement attending the discovery of the bodies of the murdered
couple, inquiries directed to the domestic, elicited answers to the
effect that the Portuguese must have done it. The individual referred
to was a Swede laborer, and Marshal Hilliard thereupon drove to the
Somerset farm. The investigation there was necessarily brief in its
character, but such as it was, satisfied the Marshal that the laborer,
whom the Sullivan woman designated as the Portuguese, was far removed
from the house on Second street at the time the murders were committed.
In their persistent following of every possible clue the authorities
deemed it advisable to make an exhaustive examination regarding the
whereabouts of the Swedish laborer, at the time of the tragedy, and
with this end in view another trip had been made to Somerset. The
result confirmed the opinion of Marshal Hilliard. The man established a
thoroughly satisfactory alibi, and the officials were forced to acquit
him of the possibility of any knowledge or of complicity in the affair.

Some time before Andrew Borden had purchased some property located
across the river. This property was owned by a number of persons, heirs
of a former owner, and among them was one who was strangely disinclined
to part with the place, at least at the figures satisfactory to the
other owners. His dissatisfaction was made manifest to such an extent
that among the stories circulated regarding the affair was one which
suggested the possibility of this dissatisfied individual having some
knowledge of the ones responsible for the tragedy. This story, although
without reliable foundation, it was deemed best to investigate also,
and accordingly the person referred to received a visit from the
Government officials. The desired knowledge was easily secured, and the
fact readily established that the party in question had no connection
whatever with the murder of the aged couple.

After this extended conference of the highest authorities in the county
it was given out that the District Attorney was much pleased with the
work of the police and that an inquest would be held immediately,
before Judge Josiah C. Blaisdell of the Second District Court of
Bristol, which is the Fall River local Court.


Theories Advanced.

By Monday morning following the tragedy, the fact that some member of
the Borden family was suspected of the crime by the police, became a
matter of public comment. But withal there was nothing to substantiate
this suspicion, except that the officers kept up their daily and
nightly watch of the house and its surroundings. Public sentiment began
to be divided. The police had a large following who believed implicitly
in their ability to ferret out the crimes, and it soon became noised
about that no less a person than the District Attorney himself was in
hearty co-operation with the officers and shared with them the fear
that some member of the household was the author of the crime. Whether
this rumor was based upon fact or not will be decided by those who
follow the course of subsequent events. Friends of the Borden household
became mightily aroused to the trend of public opinion and to the now
undisguised work of the police. Four days had passed and the officers
of the law seemed to find no other clue than that which kept them
inside the Borden yard. Those people who found that it was beyond the
pale of human conception to suspect that the crime could have been
committed by a member of the household, began to rally to the support
of the suspected parties; and their influence was felt in certain
quarters; yet it did not disarm the frightful suspicion, cruel and
groundless though it might have been.

The public had been led to suspect that arrests would be made on or
before Saturday night. People became confirmed in the view that there
never would be a conviction and sentence of the guilty party. Up to
this time, absolutely nothing but circumstantial evidence, had been
discovered, and for the most part it was fair to suppose that no
evidence of any other nature had been gathered. This was an unpleasant
conclusion to reach and men did not arrive at it cheerfully, but they
were forced to accept it, nevertheless. They saw but one bright spot in
the murky horizon, and that was a tiny one. The government might sooner
or later strike a clue which would put them on the right track of the
assassin, who, whether male or female, might break down and confess.
But if the assassin had no confederates and kept his own counsel, he
was safe. Such was the course of reasoning pursued on Monday, and it
seemed to be logical.

The police had been terribly in earnest in their work and they had
pursued it efficiently and effectively. They had been severely
criticised as they undoubtedly expected to be, but perhaps that was
unjust. At the start they were caught at a disadvantage, they were the
victims of circumstances which could entangle them but one day in the
year, and perhaps a mistake was made when they did not take absolute
and immediate possession of the house, barn and yard and place a guard
in every room. Yet had this been done the well meaning public would
perhaps have been more caustic in criticism. If they did make a mistake
it was a matter which no human being could sit in judgment upon. They
had to deal with a horror calculated to stagger any detective force in
the world whatever its training, skill or experience. An unparalleled
horror it may be, but one without an equal in the annals of New England
crime. That a false step was taken during the first hour of the
commotion was not surprising.

[Illustration: INSPECTOR WM. H. MEDLEY.]

Among the many theories which were advanced as to who was responsible
for the crime, that of Mr. John Beattie, then an Alderman of Fall
River, will suffice to show how deeply the people had thought upon the
subject. Mr. Beattie said in a published interview: “My theory—and
it is mine alone—is one formed from the circumstances of the case.
The brain which devised this crime was cunning enough to devise
beforehand, the means to escape detention. Supposing it was a woman,
she was cunning enough to wear a loose wrapper which would have covered
her clothes, and gloves which would have protected her hands from the
stains of blood. If so there was time to burn both wrapper and gloves
in the hot fire, which was known to have been burning in the kitchen
stove at the time of the tragedy.” The Alderman’s theory is simply
given here to show the trend of public opinion, and while it was
perhaps his own, there were many conservative people who shared it with

On Sunday two “outside clues” came up for consideration of the
authorities. Special officers, Harrington and Doherty, were sent out
to find one Thomas Walker and succeeded. The man was taken to task
concerning his whereabouts on Thursday and he told his story. He was a
tailor and worked for Thomas Carey on Main street, had been recently
married and moved into a tenement belonging to Andrew J. Borden, which
was located on Fourth street. The rumor had been that Walker had
experienced domestic troubles and after a long period of temperance
had taken some intoxicants. Three weeks before the tragedy Mr. Borden
called at Carey’s shop and had a talk with Walker. The rent was due and
Mr. Borden wanted it paid or else he wanted Walker to move out. After
some argument the tenant concluded to move and did so. It was rumored
that unpleasant words had passed between the two men and the police
deemed it advisable to give Walker a chance to make an explanation. Mr.
Walker told so straight and clear a story of his whereabouts on that
day that it was taken for truth and especially so when Mr. Carey, his
employer, corroborated every statement which he had made.

The other clue was to the effect that a Portuguese had been seen
burying a bloody hatchet on the Borden farm in Swansea. Officer Medley
visited the farm and searched in vain where the axe was alleged to have
been buried. He found a Portuguese laborer who had been on the farm all
day Thursday and who had killed some chickens for market.

Another clue which showed a strong point in support of Miss Borden’s
story of having been in the barn was that told by one Hyman Lubinsky.
He said that while driving on Second street at 10:30 a. m., on
Thursday, he saw a woman in the Borden yard; noticed her walk from the
barn to the side door on the north and enter. The description which he
gave of the woman fitted that of Miss Lizzie and it appeared to verify
her story of having been in the barn as before stated. This man was not
introduced by the defense at the preliminary trial.

But there was a clue which caused no end of comment, both personal and
in the press. Information reached the police that Officer Joseph Hyde
had seen a suspicious looking stranger in the vicinity of Second street
on that morning. On the following Tuesday, Dr. B. J. Handy, one of the
best known physicians in the city, made public the fact that he also
saw a very strange appearing man on Second street on the morning of the
murder between 10:25 and 10:45 o’clock.

The doctor took some notice of this man and in the afternoon while in
conversation with his wife he became more and more impressed with the
idea that the stranger had some connection with the awful crime. This
theory became a matter of much importance and Dr. Handy did not at
this time know that Officer Hyde was reported to have seen a similar
person. Dr. Handy’s statement was that at some time within fifteen
minutes of 10:30 o’clock that morning he was driving down Second
street. When as he was passing the residence of Dr. Kelly,—which
is the next house south of the Borden premises,—his attention was
attracted to a pedestrian walking slowly along the sidewalk near the
Borden house. Ordinarily the face of a stranger would not excite much
interest in the mind of Dr. Handy, inasmuch as he was continually
passing the streets of the city on his professional calls. In this
case, however, he looked twice at the passerby, and even turned in
his carriage to inspect him more closely. Just what caused him to do
this the doctor did not definitely explain. There was a peculiarity
about the man which he could not exactly describe. The individual was
about 30 years of age, five feet five inches in height, weight perhaps
about 125 or 130 pounds. His clothes were of light gray of just what
cut and texture the doctor could not positively state; nor could he
tell whether the man’s hat was of felt or straw. It was not the dress
which attracted Dr. Handy, it was the man’s features, which he saw. He
was pale, almost white; not with the ghastly pallor of a sick man, but
rather the whitish appearance of a man whose face had not been touched
by the sun’s rays; who might have been in confinement, or whose work
was of such a nature as to keep him constantly in a cellar. There was
something beyond this paleness which aroused the doctor particularly to
observe him, and that was that he appeared to be in a state of intense

Within an hour after Dr. Handy had heard of the terrible tragedy and
within three hours after he had seen the queer looking stranger he had
in his own mind decided that the unknown knew something of the murders.
He communicated his suspicions to the police and gave a complete
description of the man. More unfavorable comment was directed at the
authorities because they failed to find this man as readily as they
did other suspects than was apparently absolutely necessary. Column
after column of the leading newspapers were devoted to the discussion
of this stranger until he became known as “Dr. Handy’s Wild Eyed
Man,” and while the police were accused of neglecting this seemingly
important clue there are trustworthy men who know and can show beyond
contradiction that he was sought after in the most diligent manner.
So faithfully in fact did the officers search for the stranger, all
the while neglecting, if it may be called by that name, to follow more
plausible clues; many of them finally said they were forced to the
conclusion that the wild eyed man was a myth, and that with all due
respect to Dr. Handy’s opinions and conclusions. But myth or reality
some of the friends of Miss Lizzie insisted that he be materialized
if the former, or produced if the latter. There was a man known to
the police as “Mike the Soldier” and he in a measure seemed to fit
the description of the “Wild Eyed.” Pursuing the plan which Marshal
Hilliard did from the beginning, of following every clue no matter how
trivial or unimportant, his men were sent in every direction to hunt
the curious stranger. “Mike the Soldier” was discovered, as will be
seen later.

[Illustration: MR. ANDREW J. BORDEN.]




    1. Room where Mr. and Mrs. Borden Slept.
    2. Chamber.
    3. Miss Emma Borden’s Bed Chamber.
    4. Miss Lizzie Borden’s Bed Chamber.
    5. Guest Chamber where Mrs. Borden’s Body was Found.]


There was intense excitement in Fall River the day the murder was
reported. It grew hourly and showed no signs of abatement, but rather
continued on the increase, until on Tuesday following it was at fever
heat. Men no longer gathered in knots on the sidewalks. On some of the
streets, and particularly the thoroughfares in the vicinity of the
police station, people were scattered along the curbing for blocks.
The report that an inquest was to be held in the Second District Court
before Judge J. C. Blaisdell, was sufficient to draw the crowds.
Everything was in readiness by 10 o’clock and when a hack started for
the Borden house to convey Miss Lizzie and a friend to the police
station where the inquest was to be held, the news spread with great
rapidity. Business was partially suspended in the center of the city
as it had been on Thursday noon, when the story of the tragedy was
first made known. The report went out that a hack, containing Marshal
Hilliard and Officer Harrington had gone to the Borden house. Groups of
men found time to rush to Court Square, and to the streets approaching
and await developments. Others still more curious ran after the
carriage, and others more on the alert, to jump toward Main street in
case the driver took that route. Hundreds who were not so well informed
were content to join the groups mentioned, and to stand still without
asking questions. What was there to see? A hack drawn by two horses,
with two ladies on the back seat and two officers in the front seat,
dressed in citizen’s clothes. Men on wagons saw the vehicle coming and
they drove post haste for the police station. Men, women and children
joined in a wild scramble for the narrow alleyway, and Court Square was
choked in a twinkling. The crowd would have waited complacently all the
afternoon, rather than have missed one brief glance at the carriage
and its occupants. The driver saw what was going to happen and he laid
the whip on his horses, but to no purpose. The sightseers would not
be outdone and they arrived ahead of time. Windows were thrown open,
heads were thrust out, crowds pushed through the streets and for
ten minutes it seemed as if the whole town within a stone’s throw of
police headquarters was vibrating. It was not strange that the tension
tightened. The community had reached a point when it felt that it must
clear up the mystery or go insane. Men complained that they went to bed
with murder on the brain, and that the same grim phantom was visible
the moment they opened their eyes in the morning. It is the pace that
tells, and for five days the pace had been furious. The human mind
will not cease to work. Its possessor has no control over it when it
takes hold of such a subject as this. It demands an assassin caught
red-handed with the dripping axe concealed beneath his coat. It asks
that the evidence of his guilt be made conclusive. It wants no guess
work. Then it attempts to rid itself of the horrible theory on which
it had been feeding for one hundred and twenty hours and travels off
in another direction. It conceals a maniac in the upper part of the
Borden house, watches him kill the woman, follows him as he descends
the stairs and slays Mr. Borden, sees him pass out unobserved and takes
him off and sets him down a thousand miles from the scene of his work,
safe from capture. This would be a relief to the mind if it were more
than temporary; but the mind does all this in the twinkling of an eye,
and in the next moment asks why the maniac could not be appeased with
one slaughter, and is back again at the beginning, asking questions
and hunting clues. This is not overstating the mental condition of the
populace during the first few weeks subsequent to the killing.


Up to the time of opening the inquest there had been nothing but
circumstantial evidence found whereon to base a suspicion of guilt,
and the fact that District Attorney Knowlton and Attorney General
Albert E. Pillsbury, a distinguished and acute lawyer, had been called
into the case, showed that the authorities needed the wise counsel
of the foremost legal talent in Massachusetts, before taking the all
important step of making an arrest. If, after a thorough sifting of
this circumstantial evidence, it was discovered that the theory of the
state was wrong, then the guard would be called away from the Borden
house, and the authorities would be compelled to start on a new trail.
The police were free to admit that there was but one theory, one clue,
and if it proved unsuccessful, they had no other to take its place.

Officer Doherty was sent to the Borden house to bring Bridget Sullivan
to the police station to appear as the first witness at the inquest. He
had some difficulty at the house because the impression had gone forth
that he intended to arrest the servant girl. For a time there were
tears and lamentation, but finally the officer made it understood that
the only intention was to have the young woman talk to the District
Attorney. On the way to the station Miss Sullivan’s tears came forth
again. She told the office that she had given all information in her
power to the police, and that she knew nothing more than what she had
stated. Talking about the family relations, she remarked that things
didn’t go in the house as they should, and that she wanted to leave
and had threatened to do so several times in the past two years. “But
Mrs. Borden,” she declared, “was a lovely woman, and I remained there
because she wanted me to. Now that she is gone, however, I will stay
there no longer than I have to, and will leave just as soon as the
police will allow me.” Bridget also said that the strain of remaining
in the place was intense. All the women there who were members of
the household—the Borden girls and Miss Sullivan—were almost ready
to give way to nervous prostration. Awaiting her presence were
District Attorney Knowlton, State Officer Seaver, Marshal Hilliard
and Medical Examiner Dolan, and soon after they were joined by Mayor
Coughlin. A report that an inquest was under way quickly spread, but
received prompt denial by the Marshal. When asked the meaning of the
gathering he said it was an inquiry and the officers were searching
for information. The domestic was in the presence of the officials for
several hours and was subject to a searching cross examination, every
detail of the tragedy being gone over exhaustively. After this informed
conference in the Marshal’s office the party adjourned to the District
Court room which is situated on the second floor in the building. There
were present Judge Blaisdell, District Attorney Knowlton, City Marshal
Hilliard, District Officers Seaver and Rhodes, Medical Examiner Dolan,
the District Attorney’s stenographer, Miss Annie White, and a couple
of police officials, who were among the first called to the house of
the Bordens. Bridget Sullivan was in deep distress, and, if she had
not already cried her eyes out, would probably have been very much
agitated. On the contrary, while tremulous in voice and now and then
crying a little, she was calm enough to receive the interrogatories
without exhibiting much emotion and answered them comprehensively. The
first question put to her was in regard to her whereabouts all through
the morning of Thursday up to the time of the murder. She answered that
she had been doing her regular work in the kitchen on the first floor.
She had washed the breakfast dishes. She saw Miss Lizzie pass through
the kitchen after breakfast time and the young lady might have passed
through again. Bridget continued that she had finished up her work
down-stairs and resumed window washing on the third floor, which had
been begun the preceding day. She might have seen Mrs. Borden as she
went up-stairs. She could hardly remember. Mr. Borden had already left
the house.

The witness went up into the third floor, and while washing windows
talked down to the sidewalk with a friend. She went on with the windows
and might have made considerable noise as she raised and lowered
them. She heard no noise inside the house in the meantime. By-and-by
she heard Miss Lizzie call her. She answered at once, and went down
stairs to the first floor, not thinking of looking about on the second
floor, where Mrs. Borden was found dead shortly afterwards, because
there was nothing to make her look around as she obeyed Miss Lizzie’s
call. She found Mr. Borden dead and Lizzie at the door of the room.
The last point touched was the letter sent to Mrs. Borden warning her
that she might be poisoned. Bridget said she knew nothing about this
matter at all. Bridget finished her testimony shortly after noon and
then returned to the matron’s apartments. City Marshal Hilliard had
served the summons on Miss Lizzie at the house and she arrived at the
station about 2 o’clock. About this time Attorney Andrew J. Jennings
appeared at the City Marshal’s office and applied for permission to
be present at the inquest in order to look after the interests of the
witnesses, but he was refused. The Counsel argued at length against
being excluded, but the Court would not yield and he was compelled
to withdraw. All the afternoon Miss Lizzie was kept on the witness
stand and testified to what she knew of the killing of her father and
stepmother; and at the close of the day District Attorney Knowlton
gave out a bulletin stating that two witnesses had been examined. As
the inquest was held behind doors closed and doubly guarded by the
police, there was no way of finding out what had transpired within.
Although the inquest was held in secret, the day was marked by
numerous happenings which lent interest to the already famous case.
The Attorney General who had been in consultation with the local
authorities left the city in the afternoon, but before going he took
occasion to say to an assembly of newspaper men that the case was not
so mysterious as had been reported, and bantered them concerning their
clues. Perhaps his conversation was a bit of sarcasm. He was informed
that the murder was mysterious enough to baffle the police, and that
five days had elapsed and that there had been no arrest. Somebody
took the pains further to inform him that the evidence was purely
circumstantial. “You newspaper men know, or ought to know,” said Mr.
Pillsbury, “that you may not be in a position to pronounce on the case.
There may be some things which you have not heard of and which may
have an important bearing.” The reply was to the effect that the head
men who had been working on the case, had conceded at noon that day,
that they had no other evidence, and that they ought to be pretty good
authority. “Police officers do not always tell what they know,” was the
parting shot of the Attorney General as he withdrew.

At 5 o’clock Bridget Sullivan left the police station in company with
Officer Doherty and passed down Court Square. She was dressed in a
green gown with hat to match and appeared to be nervous and excited.
Nobody knew her, however, and she attracted no attention whatever.
She went to the Borden house for a bundle and, still accompanied by
Officer Doherty, walked to No. 95 Division street, where her cousin,
Patrick Harrington lives, and where she passed the night. She was
allowed to go on her own recognizance and seemed to be much relieved
to get away from the Borden house. The Government impressed her with
the necessity of saying nothing about the proceedings at the inquest
and she was warned not to talk with anybody regarding her testimony.
Bridget Sullivan is one of fourteen children. She came to this country
six years ago. For three years she worked for a number of families
in this city and the police reported that she bore an excellent
reputation. For three years she had lived with the Borden family and
for some time had been threatening to return to Ireland. She said
that Mrs. Borden was a very kind mistress and that she was very much
attached to her. Mrs. Borden used to talk to her about going home to
Ireland, and used to tell her that she would be lonely without her.
Accordingly, the girl said that she did not have the heart to leave,
but she never expected to be in such an awful predicament. She had been
terrified ever since the tragedy. Prof. Wood, of Cambridge, arrived on
the 4 o’clock train Monday afternoon, but was not called to testify
at the inquest on Tuesday. He was questioned regarding the nature
of his visit, and stated that he had come to Fall River to see what
there was for him to do. “Have you examined any axe, Professor?” was
asked. Prof. Wood hesitated a moment, and said: “I have seen an axe.”
“Will you make an examination down here?” was the next question. “I
do not expect to,” was the reply. “I could not very well bring down
my laboratory.” At 6 o’clock Miss Lizzie Borden, accompanied by her
friend, Mrs. George Brigham, and Marshal Hilliard, entered a carriage
and drove to Miss Borden’s home. The excitement was not over for the
day, but the District Attorney’s bulletin made it plain that the
authorities would make no further move that night. When the inquest
adjourned, the situation in a nutshell was this: The authorities were
evidently convinced that they could rely on Bridget Sullivan, and she
was released from custody. She had been in custody since Thursday noon.
Miss Lizzie Borden had been partially examined, and the police had
completed their work on the case, so far as the collection of evidence
was concerned.

There was almost as much mystery about the scenes incidental to
the inquest as there was about the murder. In the first place the
authorities seemed to want it understood that there was no inquest.
Some of them intimated that the Government was simply conducting an
informal examination with a view to drawing from the witnesses their
last stories and making a comparison of them. In fact, that was the
impression which prevailed up to noon, and it was reported that the
oath was not administered. Nevertheless, the great pains which all
connected with the proceedings took to keep information from the public
made it plain that the officials were attempting to conclude the case.
It was common talk around the police station Tuesday evening that there
was something very significant in the fact that Bridget Sullivan, the
only government witness, with the exception of Miss Lizzie Borden,
and a person on whom the prosecution must rely to explain certain
occurrences before and after the tragedy, was allowed to go upon her
own recognizance; and the bearing of the officials who had worked up
the case indicated that they were in possession of information which
they considered very valuable and which they had before been unable to

At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen held that evening the following
order was adopted: “Inasmuch as a terrible crime has been committed
in this city requiring an unusually large number of men to do police
duty, it is hereby ordered that the City Marshal be and he is hereby
directed to employ such extra constables as he may deem necessary
for the detection of the criminals, the expense to be charged to
the appropriation for police.” Up to this time, for all the public
knew, the police had been unsuccessful in the hunt for the weapon.
That was still one of the missing links in the chain of evidence
which was claimed. In the afternoon, a story became circulated that
Peleg Brightman, a paper-hanger, had been at work in South Somerset,
near the two farms owned by the late Mr. Borden in that region. The
story went that a bloody hatchet had been found on one of the Brayton
Farms, the implement being wrapped up in a piece of newspaper and
hidden in a laborer’s house. As the story circulated a great breeze of
inquiry and excitement arose. Several vehicles containing newspaper
reporters, started immediately for the scene of the alleged discovery.
Officer Harrington was also dispatched to the farm by the Marshal.
The several parties reached the place about 4:30 o’clock and found a
Portuguese woman in charge of the house. The woman was frightened by
her visitors, and being unable to understand English well, there was
no little excitement. She called her husband from the fields and he
understood. He said he knew nothing about the finding of such a hatchet
as had been described, but gave the squad of investigators leave to
search the house. They looked it all over. The only weapon with an
edge which they found was a hatchet lying on the kitchen shelf. It
had no blood stains upon it. The police returned to the city in the
evening, but some of the newspaper men continued their search to the
two Borden farms and did not return till late. After the issuance of
the official bulletin, with its practical announcement that there would
be no further developments before the continuation of the inquest on
Wednesday morning, there was a decided lull in the feeling of general
anticipation which had existed for the past few days. This brief lull
and the authoritative knowledge that nothing of importance would
develop until the renewal of the inquest and the re-appearance of
Bridget Sullivan and Lizzie Borden before the authorities came as a
great relief, temporary though its character was, and confident in the
assurance, the wearied people and the weary workers retired from the
streets and at midnight the city was asleep.

As was natural, the newspapers throughout the country began at about
this stage of the proceedings to take sides upon the question of the
wisdom exhibited by the police. The editorial quoted below is from the
_Springfield Republican_ and is a fair sample of the opinions of those
who saw the investigation from a distance. It read:

“All through the investigations carried on by the Fall River police, a
lack of ability has been shown seldom equalled, and causes they assign
for connecting the daughter with the murder are on a par with their
other exhibitions of lack of wisdom. Because some one, unknown to them
and too smart for them to catch, butchered two people in the daytime
on a principal street of the city, using brute force, far in excess
of that possessed by this girl, they conclude that there is probable
reason to believe that she is the murderess. Because they found no one
walking along the street with his hands and clothes reeking with blood,
they conclude that it is probable, after swinging the axe with the
precision and effect of a butcher, she washed the blood from her hands
and clothes.”

Wednesday morning the inquest was resumed. At its close the District
Attorney issued the following bulletin:

“Inquest continued at 10 to-day. Witnesses examined were Lizzie Borden,
Dr. S. W. Bowen, Adelaide B. Churchill, Hiram C. Harrington, John V.
Morse and Emma Borden. Nothing developed for publication.”

Among those present, in addition to the prosecuting officials, was
Prof. Wood of Harvard, to whom the stomachs of the murdered couple had
been sent for analysis. After an hour’s stay in the Police Station
a carriage was ordered by the Marshal, and, upon its arrival, Prof.
Wood entered. Next a trunk was brought out under the charge of Medical
Examiner Dolan and placed upon the carriage. The latter bade Prof.
Wood good-bye and the Cambridge man was driven to the station. It was
promptly presumed that included in the contents of the trunk were
the axe and articles requiring analysis, and an inquiry covering
these points was directed to Dr. Dolan. He declined to affirm or deny
anything, and informed the newspaper representatives in a jocular vein
that all the clues and secrets of the case were carefully secreted in
the trunk. All this time public interest was centred in the fact of
Miss Lizzie’s presence in the court room, and it was felt that the
most important hours of the investigation were dragging along. If the
young woman, toward whom such suspicion had been directed, should come
forth and retire to her home, but little more could be expected in
this direction. Certainly, after the searching examination, which all
knew she was undergoing, any further questioning could but be useless,
and there were those in the gathered crowds in the vicinity of Court
Square who openly proclaimed their earnest convictions that with the
exit of Lizzie Borden from the station house the cloud of suspicions
which had hovered about her must be dispelled, with the accompanying
practical admission by the authorities that they were unable to connect
her with the commission of the crime. This statement was based upon
the wide-spread knowledge that the police had been moving with the
greatest caution in their investigation upon the thoroughly understood

The members of the Borden family held a high position, their wealth
was great, and, apart from the fact that their interests were being
guarded by one of the ablest attorneys in the city, it was known that
influential friends of the family had deemed it wise to request the
Marshal to move with the utmost care before taking active steps toward
the arrest of any member of that household. Perhaps the accusation
that, had certain suspected persons been possessed of less wealth and
influence, they would long ere this have been apprehended was unjust
to the hard-working police, but the fact was patent to everybody
that the extreme care in this particular case reached far beyond the
usual, particularly as all the time every movement of the Borden
girls was only made under the surveillance of a police officer.
During the afternoon carpenter Maurice Daly, the Marshal and Officer
Harrington appeared at the Borden house. The first mentioned had a
kit of carpenter’s tools in his hand and the three men entered the
house. After half an hour they came out and were noticed carrying
three bundles. These contained parts of the woodwork about the doors
and windows which showed blood spots. Marshal Hilliard, previous to
the opening of the inquest, had employed Detective Edwin D. McHenry
of Providence, R. I., to assist his men in running down clues. Mr.
McHenry was destined to form an important factor in the case and its
subsequent developments, as will be seen farther on. His first work,
so far as the police knew, was in connection with Officer Medley in
following the clue given to the police by Dr. Handy. It was at a
cottage at Marion, owned by Dr. Handy, that Miss Lizzie Borden intended
to spend her vacation, and this, coupled with the prominence of the
physician, made the authorities feel particularly anxious to ascertain
the personality of this “wild eyed man,” confident though they were
that he was entirely innocent of any complicity in the tragedy at the
Borden house. The chase was not a difficult one, and the individual was
located promptly by the officers. He was Michael Graham, better known
as “Mike, the Soldier,” a weaver employed in Border City Mill No. 2,
and for some days previous to Thursday he had been drinking freely.
The officers learned that Graham was in the vicinity of the Borden
house just before 10 o’clock on the morning of the murder and that his
physical condition, as a result of his excesses, was such as to render
his countenance almost ghastly in its color. He reached the mills where
he is employed shortly after 10 o’clock, and his condition was at once
apparent, and the men in charge there declined to allow him to go to

The officers found the saloons in which Graham spent Wednesday
night, and learned there that he drank immoderately, and was feeling
badly as a result. The description of Graham corresponded in every
particular with that given by Officer Hyde, who furnished more details
as to the clothing of the man than could be advanced by Dr. Handy.
His trousers were of a peculiar texture and hue, and were rendered
extremely noticeable on this account. This, in itself, was believed to
be sufficient identification, but in all other particulars there was
an unmistaken similarity, and the authorities arrived at once at the
conclusion that the man was identical with the person described by Dr.
Handy and the police officer. The explosion of this theory afforded
much satisfaction to the authorities. Yet there appeared many weeks
afterward reasons known to the Marshal alone which caused him to start
Officer Medley in search of “Mike the Soldier” again. The search ended
in a day and the suspect was again located. Superintendent Hanscom of
the Pinkerton Agency, was in Fall River for several days about the
time of the inquest. He declined to be interviewed about his work and
as the public observed, made numerous visits to the law office of Mr.
Jennings. The conclusion of some police officers, perhaps erroneous,
was that he was present to protect the members of the household. He
talked very little but was credited with saying with a smile, that
Marshal Hilliard was doing good work. The local authorities, however,
expressed themselves in very strong terms regarding the doubts which
the Pinkerton man cast upon the reliability of a portion of their
accumulated wisdom.


Miss Lizzie Borden Arrested.

Thursday was the last day of the inquest, and in its evening hours a
veritable sensation was produced. The same impenetrable secrecy was
maintained all day long, and no one knew what progress was being made
behind the grim stone walls of the Central Police Station wherein Judge
Blaisdell and the chosen few sat in solemn conclave. The scenes of the
day before were enacted in the guard room and the streets about the
building. Crowds surged about the doors and a double guard of patrolmen
were doing duty in the hallways. The forenoon session developed nothing
so far as the public was concerned. In the afternoon, Eli Bence, the
drug clerk, Fred Hart, another clerk, and Frank Kilroy, who saw Mr.
Borden on the morning of the tragedy, strolled into the guard room and
were shown upstairs. Later, Bridget Sullivan, escorted by two officers,
walked up the alley. She attracted no attention and appeared to be at
her ease. The fact that Bridget walked from her temporary residence at
95 Division street to the police station, a distance of more than a
mile in the heat of an August day, while other women witnesses rode in
a hack from the Borden house, a distance of less than an eighth of a
mile, caused some comment. About 3 o’clock in the afternoon the closed
carriage which had become almost as familiar a sight as the police
patrol, rattled over the rough pavement. Half a dozen men were in
sight, and in a twinkling two hundred men, women and children swarmed
around the coach. The City Marshal gave an order, Steward Geagan
cracked a whip, officers hustled the crowd back and Mrs. George S.
Brigham alighted. She was followed by Misses Emma and Lizzie Borden.
Then Officer Doherty disappeared with the hack and returned with
another witness. The same crowd collected but no one tried to drive it
back. The excitement subsided. It was growing tiresome in Fall River.

The reaction had set in, the community was losing its patience. For
two days it had been informed that the end was near and that the die
was about to be cast; but at 3 o’clock the bulletin boards announced
that no action had been taken and no verdict had been rendered, and
the crowds muttered and grumbled. They wanted something done; their
interest in clues and theories and suspicious characters had about
died out. More than that, they were no longer satisfied with reports
of the proceedings at the inquest detailed step by step. They demanded
the grand finale which would bring the drama to a close or ring the
curtain up on a new scene; but it seemed as if the grand finale had
been indefinitely postponed. The hour dragged along and the gray walls
of the Court House in the Square kept their secrets, if they had any
to keep. It was the same story over and over again. Witnesses known
to be connected with the case appeared and disappeared; officers were
sent hither and thither and various rumors were afloat regarding the
probable outcome.

[Illustration: LIEUT. JOHN DEVINE.]

From the time that the carriage rolled up to the entrance to the
Central Police Station at 4:30 o’clock and Lizzie Borden, Emma Borden
and Mrs. George Brigham dismounted under the watchful eye of Marshal
Hilliard, people commenced to congregate about the streets contiguous
to the station house. By that intuitive perception by which the general
public becomes aware of all important proceedings looking towards the
capture or apprehension of criminals in noted cases, it was recognized
that the most important movements of the long investigation had been
entered upon; and that their passing were fraught with the greatest
import to all directly concerned in the case as well as the public,
restless under the week’s delay in clearing the way for the arrest
of the murderer. There was nothing remarkable in the appearance of
the party, Miss Emma Borden being evidently the most agitated. The
excitement grew as the hour passed, and there was no movement from the
court room. In the meanwhile information arrived that an expert safe
opener had arrived from Boston, and had been driven hurriedly to the
Borden house on Second street. Investigation showed the truth of this
story, and the further fact that he had commenced work upon the safe in
which Andrew J. Borden kept his books and papers. This safe was found
locked at the time of the tragedy, and the secret of the combination
died with the murdered man. The expert believed he could easily open
the safe, but he found the combination most intricate, and he worked
away without apparent result.

At 5 o’clock Marshal Hilliard and District Attorney Knowlton came
from the court room and entered a carriage. Soon the Marshal returned,
but the District Attorney was absent for nearly an hour, and it was
reported that he had visited the Borden house and had learned that
the safe opener had not completed his work. Outside the court room
the stalwart officers kept guard, and at the foot of the stairs in
the station house the large force of newspaper representatives were
on guard. The subordinate officers who had been working upon the case
expressed their convictions that the long delayed arrest was about to
be made, and that Lizzie Borden would not depart from the station with
the remaining members of the household. Soon Bridget Sullivan emerged,
and escorted by a police officer walked slowly down the street. The
gravity of the situation was apparent, for the natural sternness of
some of the officials, including the Marshal, was increased to such
an extent as to warrant the inference that something of importance in
connection with the case was about to happen. Soon the inquisition was
apparently ended, and then Lizzie Borden, her sister and Mrs. Brigham
were escorted across the entry from the court room to the matron’s
room, which is situated upon the same floor. An officer came out and
soon returned with supper for the party. Miss Lizzie Borden threw
herself upon the lounge in the room, and the repast was disturbed but

Across the room there was grave work, and the decision of the
authorities to arrest Lizzie Borden was arrived at after a consultation
lasting but ten minutes. The services of Clerk were called into
requisition. The warrant was quickly drawn, and the result of the long
examinations and the week’s work of the Government was in the hands of
the police force of Fall River. At this time the news was among the
reporters, but none were certain enough of the fact to dispatch the
intelligence to the journals they represented. The excitement became
general, and men, women and children stood about the street and waited.
Soon Marshal Hilliard came out accompanied by Mr. Knowlton, and as they
entered a carriage a telephone message informed Andrew J. Jennings,
attorney for the family, that the two men were about to pay him a visit
at his residence. This information obtained but little publicity, and
not a few in the assembled crowds believed that Mr. Knowlton was being
driven to the Boston train. The Marshal and the District Attorney
proceeded to Mr. Jennings’ residence and informed that gentleman that
the Government had decided upon the arrest of Lizzie Borden, and,
recognizing that his presence at the station would be desirable, had
deemed it wise to notify him of the decision arrived at and the
contemplated action. The officials returned to the court room and were
followed in a few moments by the attorney. George Brigham also came
to the station and entered the presence of the women in the matron’s

There was a moment’s preparation, and then Lizzie Borden was informed
that she was held by the Government on the charge of having murdered
her father. Marshal Hilliard and Detective Seaver entered the room, the
former holding in his hand a sheet of paper—the warrant for Lizzie
Borden’s arrest—and, after requesting Mrs. Brigham to leave the room,
addressing the prostrate woman in the gentlest possible manner, said:
“I have here a warrant for your arrest—issued by the judge of the
District Court. I shall read it to you if you desire, but you have
the right to waive the reading of it?” He looked at Lawyer Jennings
as he completed the latter part of the statement, and that gentleman
turned toward Lizzie and said: “Waive the reading.” The first and
only time during the scene that the accused woman uttered a word was
in response to the direction of her attorney. Turning slightly in her
position, she flashed a look at the Marshal, one of those queer glances
which nobody has attempted to describe, except by saying that they
are a part and parcel of Lizzie Borden, and replied: “You need not
read it.” The information had a most depressing effect upon all the
others present, particularly upon Miss Emma Borden, who was greatly
affected. Upon the face of the prisoner there was a pallor, and while
her eyes were moist with tears there was little evidence of emotion
in the almost stolid countenance. The remaining members of the party
then prepared to depart, and the effects of the arrest became apparent
upon the prisoner. She still displayed all the characteristics of her
peculiarly unemotional nature, and though almost prostrated, she did
not shed a tear. A carriage was ordered and Miss Emma Borden and Mr.
and Mrs. Brigham prepared to leave. As they emerged from the station
into the view of the curious crowds, the women, particularly Miss Emma,
looked about with almost a pathetic glance. The people crowded forward
and the police pushed them back. Miss Borden appeared to be suffering
intensely, and all the external evidences of agitation were visible
upon her countenance. Mrs. Brigham was more composed, but was evidently
deeply concerned. The party entered the carriage and were driven
rapidly towards Second street.

Lizzie A. Borden was accused of the murder of her father, Andrew J.
Borden. The warrant made no reference to the killing of Abbie D.
Borden. That night the prisoner was overcome by the great mental
strain to which she had been subjected for nearly a week and when all
had departed, except the kindly matron, the burden proved heavier than
she could bear. She gave way to her feelings and sobbed as if her heart
would break. Then she gave up to a violent fit of vomiting and the
efforts of the matrons to stop it were unavailing. Dr. Bowen was sent
for and he succeeded in relieving her physical sufferings. The prisoner
was not confined in a cell room of the lockup down stairs.

Judge Blaisdell, District Attorney Knowlton and Marshal Hilliard are
men of experience, good sense and reliable judgment, and no other three
men on earth regretted the step they had taken more than they. But
from their point of view it was duty, not sentiment which guided their
actions. No other prisoner arrested in Bristol county had been accorded
the delicate and patient consideration which Marshal Hilliard bestowed
upon Miss Lizzie Borden. No cell doors closed upon her until after an
open, fair and impartial trial before a competent judge, and defended
by her chosen legal counsel, she was adjudged “probably guilty.”

During the afternoon Medical Examiner Dolan, Drs. Cone, Leary and
Medical Examiner Draper of Boston, held another autopsy on the bodies
of the murdered people at receiving vault in Oak Grove Cemetery. They
discovered a wound in Mrs. Borden back, between the shoulder blades.
It was a frightful cut and was made by an axe or hatchet which entered
the flesh and bone clear up to the helve. It alone would have produced
instant death. In addition to this the doctors severed the poor,
mutilated heads from both the bodies, and Dr. Dolan took possession
of the ghastly objects. They were taken to a suitable place and the
flesh and blood removed from the bones. The glaring white skulls with
great rents, where the murderous axe had crushed, then were added to
Dr. Dolan’s collection of evidence which could not properly be called
“circumstantial.” The skulls were photographed.

In view of the severe criticism which had been directed towards the
police from many quarters and by newspapers from all parts of the
country, a review of their conduct of this case might be interesting.
City Marshal Hilliard, his position corresponding to that of the Chief
of Police in other cities, was sitting in his office at 11 o’clock
on Thursday, Aug. 4, when a telephone message from John Cunningham
announced that a stabbing affray had occurred on Second street.
Assistant Marshal Fleet was engaged in the Second District Court, and
more than half the members of the police department were at Rocky
Point on their annual excursion. Officer George Allen was alone on duty
at the station. The Marshal came from the office and sent Officer Allen
to investigate the case.

Allen ran to 92 Second street and was dumbfounded at the sight which
met his gaze. He stopped long enough to see Andrew J. Borden’s body
lying on the sitting room sofa. The officer was back at the station
in short order, and this action alone has caused the most severe
criticism. The officer was, to put it mildly, taken considerably
aback by the sight in the house, and, to put it not too strongly, was
frightened out of his wits. He left no guard upon the house when he
ran back to the station. A general alarm was sent out, and in half an
hour every officer in the city had been notified and a dozen of them
were at the scene. They invaded the house and searched the yard and
barn for some evidence to assist them in starting the work. The cry
went out from some source or other that a Swedish farm hand, dubbed
“the Portuguese,” had done the deed. This was the first clue, and it
started half a dozen policemen and the City Marshal over the river to
the Borden farm. The hunt ended the same afternoon and the clue was
promptly exploded, for the farm hands were all in their accustomed
places, and it was impossible to connect any of them with this crime.

Before morning six new clues, all more or less promising, had
developed. Among them was one which pointed to the startling suspicion
that some member of the family might have been a participant, directly
or indirectly, in the awful crime. This was early, and naturally looked
upon as the most important of all, and the officers worked day and
night towards its solution. Others were not neglected, and all the
different clues were investigated by officers especially detailed to
do the work assisted by officers in neighboring cities and private
detectives. A small boy reported that he had seen a man jump over the
back fence. A Frenchman had helped the same man escape toward New
Bedford, and it was stated that he was the chief of a gang of gypsy
horse traders encamped at Westport. Two officers from Fall River and
as many from New Bedford searched for this man and found Bearsley S.
Cooper, who accurately answered the description. Cooper promptly proved
an alibi. He was in New Bedford on the day of the murder selling a
horse to a well-known citizen.

John V. Morse was at first suspected of having had something to do
with these horse traders. Morse had told the officers a story of his
whereabouts on that day, and a detail was sent out to verify his
statement or find something to the contrary. Morse’s movements were
easily followed and it was soon well understood that he was not in the
house at the time of the tragedy. During the time that had elapsed
since the murder a police cordon had surrounded the house day and
night. The night after the murder Officers Harrington and Doherty
were detailed to search the drug stores of the city to see if any
member of the family had endeavored to purchase poison, a hint to this
effect having been received by the department. At the store of D. R.
Smith they found that Lizzie had but recently endeavored to purchase
ten cents worth of hydrocyanic acid. The clerk was taken that night
before Miss Borden, and identified her. This was considered important.
A report was received that a stranger had boarded the train at Mount
Pleasant on the afternoon of the murder. He was said to have been
covered with dust and his clothes showed spots of blood. Investigation
showed that he was a respectable citizen of New Bedford, and was in
no way connected with this affair. Dr. Handy reported that he had
seen a man acting wildly and strangely on Second street that morning.
The police ran down two men, one of them in Boston, who answered the
description. One was a Fall River man, and he was doubtless intensely
surprised at being chased by detectives and police officers who were
imbued with the idea that he might in some way have been connected
with the Borden murder. The Boston man was badly frightened at being
seized as a suspect, and established an alibi without difficulty. Mrs.
Chase said she saw a man on the back fence in the Borden yard at 11
o’clock. He was found and admitted, with some hesitation, that he was
there, the hesitation being due to the fact that he had been engaged in
the reprehensible occupation of stealing pears. A stonemason, who was
working near by, saw him and informed the police of his whereabouts.
On Saturday the police narrowed down to the theory to which all their
efforts appeared to direct in spite of themselves, and searched the
Borden house and premises. On Monday they made another search. Tuesday
the house was again besieged by the officers. Monday night the bloody
hatchet was found on the farm in South Somerset. It belonged to an old
man named Sylvia. The only thing that it had killed was a chicken.

On Tuesday the District Attorney and Attorney General were called into
the case, and an inquest was ordered by Judge Blaisdell. For three days
it was in session, and all the evidence accumulated by the police was
submitted. Medical Examiner Dolan, Prof. Wood of Harvard and Medical
Examiner Draper held an autopsy on the bodies and worked in conjunction
with the police. In addition to all this an endless number of minor
clues were worked out, and they all resulted in failure to connect the
parties alleged to have been concerned with the murder of Mr. and Mrs.
Borden. While the detectives were running down clues, Marshal Hilliard
and State Detective Seaver were giving their personal attention to
everything that might establish the connection of any member of the
Borden household with the crime. The conditions were such that haste
would have availed nothing, for there was no possibility from the time
that suspicion was first cast in that direction of any of the parties
in question leaving the city.

Thursday the work of the police, as far as establishing in their minds
beyond a reasonable doubt the identity of the murderer of the aged
couple, was finished, and at 4:20 o’clock in the afternoon Lizzie
Borden, daughter of the victim, was brought to the Central Police
Station and retained there as a prisoner. This, in substance, comprised
the labors of the police force of Fall River upon this celebrated case
so far as the public was informed.


Lizzie Borden Pleads “Not Guilty.”

Miss Lizzie A. Borden was to be arraigned in the Second District Court,
on Friday morning. By 9 o’clock a crowd of people thronged the streets
and stood in a drenching rain to await the opening of the door of the
room in which the court held its sittings. It was not a well-dressed
crowd, nor was there anybody in it from the acquaintance circle of the
Borden family in Fall River. Soon after 9 o’clock, a hack rolled up
to the side door and Emma Borden and John V. Morse alighted and went
up the stairs. They were not admitted at once to the matron’s room.
Rev. E. A. Buck was already present and was at the time, engaged in
conversation with the prisoner. Judge Blaisdell passed up the stairs,
while Miss Emma was waiting to see her sister, and entered the court
room. Mr. Jennings, the counsel, also arrived. The District Attorney
was already in the court room, and soon the Marshal brought in his
large book of complaints, and took his seat at the desk. The door of
the matron’s room opened and Mr. Jennings, Miss Emma Borden and Mr.
Morse met the prisoner. All retired within the room. A few moments
later Mr. Jennings came out and entered the court room. He at once
secured a blank sheet of legal cap and began to write. The City Marshal
approached him, and Mr. Jennings nodded an assent to an inquiry if the
prisoner could now be brought in.

Lizzie Borden entered the room immediately after on the arm of Rev. Mr.
Buck. She was dressed in a dark blue suit and her hat was black with
red flowers on the front. She was escorted to a chair. The prisoner was
not crying, but her features were far from firm. She has a face and
chin betokening strength of character, but a rather sensitive mouth,
and on this occasion the sensitiveness of the lips especially betrayed
itself. She was constantly moving her lips as she sat in the court
room in a way to show that she was not altogether unemotional. Clerk
Leonard called the case of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against
Lizzie Borden, on complaint of murder. Mr. Jennings, who was still
writing, asked for a little more time. He soon arose and went over to
the prisoner. He spoke to her, and then she arose and went to his desk.
He read what he had been writing to her, and then gave her a pen. She
signed the paper.

Mr. Jennings then addressed the court saying:

“Your Honor, before the prisoner pleads she wishes to present the
following.” He then read as follows:

“Bristol ss. Second District Court. Commonwealth vs. Lizzie A. Borden.
Complaint for homicide. Defendant’s plea.

“And now comes the defendant in the above entitled complaint and
before pleading thereto says that the Hon. Josiah C. Blaisdell, the
presiding Justice of the Second District Court of Bristol, before which
said complaint is returnable, has been and believes is still engaged
as the presiding magistrate at an inquest upon the death of said
Andrew J. Borden, the person whom it is alleged in said complaint the
defendant killed, and has received and heard and is still engaged in
receiving and hearing evidence in relation to said killing and to said
defendant’s connection therewith which is not and has not been allowed
to hear or know the report of, whereof she says that said Hon. Josiah
C. Blaisdell is disqualified to hear this complaint, and she objects to
his so doing, and all of this she is ready to verify.

“Lizzie A. Borden, by her attorney, Andrew J. Jennings, (Her signature)
Lizzie A. Borden. Sworn to this the 12th day of August, A. D.,
1892, before me, Andrew J. Jennings, Justice of the peace.”

When Mr. Jennings concluded the District Attorney arose and asked the
Court if this paper was to delay the prisoner’s plea. The Court said it
was not to, and ordered the Clerk, to read the warrant.

“You needn’t read it,” said Mr. Jennings, “the prisoner pleads not

The text of the warrant however was as follows:

    “Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
    To Augustus B. Leonard, Clerk of the Second District Court of Bristol,
    in the county Bristol, and Justice of the Peace:

Rufus B. Hilliard, City Marshal of Fall River, in said county, in
behalf of said Commonwealth, on oath, complains that Lizzie A. Borden
of Fall River, in the county of Bristol, at Fall River, aforesaid, in
the county aforesaid, on the fourth day of August, in the year of our
Lord 1892, in and upon one Andrew J. Borden, feloniously, willfully and
of her malice aforethought, did make assault and that the said Lizzie
A. Borden, then and there with a certain weapon, to wit, a hatchet,
in and upon the head of the said Andrew J. Borden, then and there
feloniously, willfully and of her malice aforethought, did strike,
giving unto the said Andrew J. Borden, then and there, with the hatchet
aforesaid, by the stroke aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, in and upon
the head of the said Andrew J. Borden, one mortal wound, of which said
mortal wound the said Andrew J. Borden then and there instantly died.
And so the complainant aforesaid, upon his oath aforesaid, further
complains and says that the said Lizzie A. Borden, the said Andrew
J. Borden, in manner and form aforesaid, then and there feloniously,
wilfully and of her malice aforethought did kill and murder.

                                   (Signed)      R. B. HILLIARD.”

“The prisoner must plead in person,” said Judge Blaisdell. At a sign
from City Marshal Hilliard the prisoner arose in her seat.

“What is your plea?” asked the Clerk.

“Not guilty,” said the girl, and then, having said this indistinctly
and the clerk repeating his question, she answered the same thing in a
louder voice and, with a very clearly cut emphasis on the word “Not.”

Mr. Jennings now arose. “It seems to me,” said he, “your Honor, that
this proceeding is most extraordinary. This girl is called to plead to
a complaint issued in the progress of an inquest now only in its early
stages. The complaint has been brought in spite of the fact that she
was not allowed to be represented by counsel in the hearing before the
inquest. She has no knowledge of the evidence on which the complaint
is made. I spoke to the District Attorney about this fact before she
testified at the inquest, and I admitted that it might be legally done.
But this has left the girl in this position, that she is charged with a
crime in a complaint issued during the inquest, and I understand that
inquest is still open. Your Honor sits here to hear this case, which is
returnable before you, when you have already been sitting on the case
in another capacity. We do not know what you have heard on this case in
the inquest or of the purport of the testimony there. By all the laws
of human nature you cannot help being prejudiced from the character of
the evidence which has been submitted to you. You might look at things
differently from what you do, if certain questions that may have been
asked in the inquest had been excluded, or if you had been allowed to
hear both sides, with counsel to ask for rulings upon the character
of the interrogatories. So it seems to me that you are sitting in a
double capacity to hear a charge against my client based upon evidence
of which we know nothing, and for all that we know you may have formed
opinions which make you incompetent to hear this complaint under the
rules of law. The constitution does not allow a Judge to sit in such
a double capacity and it guarantees a defendant from a prejudiced

District Attorney Knowlton answered saying: “The commonwealth demurs
from the plea. My brother is entirely in error in stating that there
is anything extraordinary in this proceeding. This is exactly the line
laid down that has been followed in other cases that have excited
less attention than this one. More than twenty times to my certain
knowledge, has a similar thing been done, and I should not be doing
my duty if this thing should not be done now. You have your duty at
the inquest and you are also obliged by statute to hear cases of this
kind. I must respectfully submit that it is not a compliment to your
Honor’s conception of your duty, to suggest that you cannot faithfully
and impartially perform the duties that devolve upon you in this case.
The inquest was against no one. It was to ascertain who committed these
murders. The inquest is still proceeding, and the evidence before it
has nothing to do with this case. It is your Honor’s duty to hear this
complaint and you ought not to be deterred.”

Mr. Jennings then said: “I don’t think that the District Attorney
comprehended my point. The inquest is generally held early in a case
of this kind, and you can see where suspicion falls. The difference
between the custom and this case is, that after the police determined
whom they thought the guilty person was, then, without holding an open
trial at once, they settled on the guilty party and held an inquest to
examine her, without anybody to defend her. That’s what this inquest
is, and because your Honor has been sitting here before the inquest you
can’t help being prejudiced. To illustrate: A person comes to your law
office and states his case, and then after that you go into court to
hear the case and pronounce judgment on it.”

Judge Blaisdell—“I think Mr. Jennings is mistaken. The statutes
make it my imperative duty to hold an inquest and upon the testimony
introduced at that hearing, to direct the issuance of warrants. The
motion is overruled and the demurred sustained.”

Mr. Jennings—“Then, your Honor, we are ready for trial.”

Mr. Knowlton—“The evidence in this case could not be completed at
once. It could hardly all be gathered by next week.” He moved a
continuance till one week, Monday, August 22, at 2 o’clock, when the
State hoped to be entirely ready with the case.

Mr. Jennings—“We are very anxious to proceed at once. We ask for a
trial at the earliest possible moment.”

District Attorney Knowlton—“I didn’t know but what you would waive
examination here, so I am not ready now.”

The two lawyers consulted for a moment, and then announced they had
agreed on Monday, August 22, as the date of the preliminary hearing.

District Attorney Knowlton moved that the prisoner be committed till
that date. Judge Blaisdell granted the motion, remarking that other
procedure was impossible, the offence not being a bailable one.

Bridget Sullivan had entered the court room during the talk between the
court and the lawyers. Mr. Morse had not entered the room. Neither had
Miss Emma Borden. The District Attorney now addressed the Court again.
He said the importance of Mr. Morse and Bridget Sullivan to the case of
the State was so great that he wished to move that they be placed under
bonds to guarantee their presence inside the Court’s jurisdiction.
Judge Blaisdell said he would grant the request, and asked how much the
bonds should be.

[Illustration: MAYOR JOHN W. COUGHLIN.]

Mr. Knowlton—“Three hundred dollars is the usual amount, but on
account of the gravity of this case I suggest the amount be $500. Mr.
Morse can procure bail, we suppose; but we don’t know about Bridget
Sullivan.” The servant girl was called from the corner where she sat,
and Mr. Morse got up. Bridget was as pale as a ghost and her eyes
plainly said she did not understand what was going on. The order of the
Court was read to the man and woman, they standing side by side. They
were then led across the room by the Marshal and given seats far away
from the outside door. Mr. Jennings had two of the Notary Publics whom
he keeps at his office in the court room, and he at once dispatched
one of them down town for a bondsman or bondsmen. Lizzie Borden had
in the interval left the room on the arm of Rev. Mr. Buck. She went
back to the matron’s room. Her sister and Mr. Buck remained with her
for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then Mr. Morse, having obtained bail,
came out. The elder sister soon after left the court building with
Mr. Morse, being driven home in the same carriage they came in. The
crowd about the carriage when the old man and his niece entered it was
a large one. Messrs. Almy and Milne, proprietors of the _Fall River
Daily News_, went bail for Mr. Morse. Bridget returned to her friend’s
residence on Division street. The prisoner remained in the matron’s
room to await transportation to the County Jail at Taunton.

For the first time in six days the strain was lifted from Fall River
and people breathed and thought and transacted routine business more
naturally. The suspense was temporarily over and everybody felt
relieved. This would have been the result whatever the verdict reached
Thursday evening. A decisive step had to be taken in one direction
or another, and when the final announcement came, the mind of the
community grew more settled. There was more or less excitement, of
course, and the impulse to dart into Court Square whenever a coach or
the patrol wagon made its appearance, was nearly as strong as ever, but
on the whole, men talked and acted more rationally. They were anxious
to learn what the breaking of the safe had revealed, how the prisoner
passed the night, the particulars of the arraignment and other minor
details, but when they were informed that the safe had hidden nothing
which bore on the case, that Miss Borden had slept quietly and appeared
to be self-contained and composed in her quarters in the matron’s
room, and that there were likely to be no further developments of
importance for a week or more, the life of the town settled back into
the old ruts. Rev. E. A. Buck called on the prisoner at noon and from
the sidewalk near the station a bouquet could be seen in the windows
of the matron’s apartments. After the vigorous protest of Andrew J.
Jennings, Esq., relative to the preliminary trial had electrified the
court room audience, and his motion had been overruled, it was decided
to take the prisoner to Taunton on the 3:40 train. Fall River has no
house of detention and no quarters suitable for sheltering persons who
are held on suspicion. Court Square was choked as usual with a crowd
of sightseers. One carriage drew up at the main entrance and Miss Emma
Borden and Andrew J. Jennings, Esq., entered it and were driven to
the depot. Miss Lizzie Borden, the prisoner, stepped into a carriage
which was in waiting at the side entrance and was also driven off. To
all outward appearances, she was as calm as though she had been going
for a visit to relatives. Rev. E. A. Buck, City Marshal Hilliard and
State Officer Seaver accompanied her. A small valise containing the
prisoner’s clothing was placed on the box.

The representatives of the press followed the carriage containing the
prisoner in cabs, and at 3:30 Court Square was quiet. The newsboys, who
had taken possession and held high revel in it for a week, had gone off
with their bundles, the curious no longer loitered on the sidewalks,
and no more rumors floated out from the guard room. On Thursday night
when the finale was known, the friends of the Borden family were cool
and philosophical. Friday they denounced the course pursued by the
authorities from beginning to end. In partnership with her sister, Miss
Emma Borden had offered a reward of $5000 for the conviction of the
murderer of her father and stepmother, and had secured the services
of a detective to track the butcher. On the Government side it was
fair and natural to presume, that she, above any person on the face
of the earth, desired to bring the wretch who had committed the deed
to the gallows. The very fact that she was suspected, was of itself
sufficient to warrant such a conclusion, all other considerations
aside. The only surmise possible, therefore, was that she would assist
the authorities to the best of her ability in unravelling the mystery
and in freeing herself from the chain of circumstances, weak or
strong, which surrounded her. It was to be supposed that she would not
only answer every question cheerfully, but that she would volunteer
every particle of information in her possession, and that the more
searching the examination, the better she would be satisfied. She had
everything to gain and nothing to lose by a full revelation of the
truth. Anybody in his sober senses would have been slow to even suggest
that District Attorney Knowlton, or any other prosecuting officer, was
eager to convict the innocent, to embarrass witnesses, or to impose any
unnecessary hardships upon them. At the inquest every person examined
was a government witness; there was no defendant, and of course, no
witnesses for the defense. Whether Miss Borden did assist the court and
the authorities to clear up the grim problem which confronted them, was
not known. If the government officers were possessed of the ordinary
intelligence, they were aware that it was a terrible thing to swear out
a warrant for the arrest of a young lady and charge her with killing
her father. If, as it was openly alleged at the time, the government
did so, because it did not appreciate the full significance of such
a charge, it must be admitted their conduct was more extraordinary
and inexplicable than any feature of the crime itself. The government
authorities knew that once the warrant had been issued, Miss Borden’s
character, at the time of trial which had always been irreproachable,
was blotted forever; it must have known that even if she left the
Superior Court room acquitted, nothing that it could do could lift the
blight from her life.

The route taken by the carriage containing Lizzie Borden, Marshal
Hilliard, Officer Seaver and Rev. Mr. Buck toward the Fall River
railroad depot was most peculiar. It is a direct road from the Central
Station to the depot. Along the main thoroughfare were people eager
to catch a glimpse of the prisoner, and the Marshal, considerate of
his charge, decided to disappoint the curiosity seekers. Accordingly,
the journey was up hill and down dale, through side streets and along
thoroughfares skirting the river. Following the carriage were others
containing the representatives of the leading newspapers of the East,
and these latter drew up at the depot a few seconds in advance of the
official vehicle. A squad of officers was on duty there, and as the
crowd surged they pushed it back. The train for Taunton was a few
minutes late, and until its arrival Lizzie Borden and Mr. Buck remained
in the carriage. As the clang of the engine bell was heard, the Marshal
pulled up the carriage curtains and assisted Lizzie Borden to alight.
She was prettily dressed and appeared quite prepossessing. She wore a
blue dress of new design, and a short blue veil. At the realization
that the moment for departure had arrived she seemed overcome by a
momentary weakness and almost tottered. She was at once supported by
the Marshal and Mr. Buck, and leaning upon the arms of these two she
walked through the ladies’ waiting room and out towards the cars. The
eager crowd pushed and stared and gossipped as the party entered the
rear car of the train. Rev. Mr. Buck carried a box containing a number
of religious and other papers and magazines, and also some books. A
telescope bag containing Miss Borden’s apparel was placed in the cars.
The prisoner sat near the window in a seat with Mr. Buck, and behind
them was Mr. Hilliard. The blinds were drawn in order to prevent
annoyance to Miss Borden by curious persons. Her glance was vacant and
her thoughts were manifestly removed from her present surroundings. Not
a word was exchanged between the members of the party, and the prisoner
still remained in the same position, staring at nothing. In some manner
the information that Miss Borden was upon the train spread, and at the
few stations at which it stopped small knots of inquisitive people were

Taunton was reached at 4:20 o’clock. Awaiting her arrival was a
gathering of hundreds, and they crowded about every car. Officer
Seaver in order to attract their attention, hurried to the north end
of the station, and the throng hurried in that direction. At this time
Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Buck escorted the prisoner from the south end
of the station and into a carriage. Mr. Seaver joined them, and the
crowd found itself disappointed. After the vehicle rolled the cabs of
the newspaper men. Taunton Jail is not far removed from the centre
of the city and is a picturesque looking stone structure. There is
the main building and the keeper’s residence, which is attached. On
the outside of the structure ivy grows in profusion and the building
does not resemble, except in the material of its construction, the
generally accepted appearance of a place of confinement. It has
accommodations for sixty-five prisoners, and the women’s department is
on the southeast side. In this portion of the building there are but
nine cells, and before the arrival of Lizzie Borden but five of these
were occupied. These were confined for offences of a minor nature,
as it was not customary for the officials of Bristol County to send
many women to Taunton, the majority being committed to the jail at
New Bedford, where there is employment for them. The matron is Mrs.
Wright, wife of Sheriff Andrew J. Wright, keeper of the jail, and her
personal attention is given to the female prisoners. The officers
had been notified of the coming of Miss Borden, and her arrival was
unattended by any unusual ceremony inside the jail. Her step was firmer
than ever, as, unassisted, she walked up the three steps and into the
office of the keeper. From there she was directed to the corridor which
runs along the cells of the women’s department, and here Mr. Hilliard
left her. Returning to the office he handed the committing mittimus to
Sheriff Wright, who examined it and found it correct.

In the meanwhile Lizzie Borden was alone with the clergyman. He spoke
words of cheer to her and left her in the care of the matron. Mr. Buck
said she was not shocked at the sight of the cells, and, knowing that
she was innocent, accepted the situation with a calm resignation. He
said her friends would call upon her from time to time, this being
allowed by the institution.

The cell in which Lizzie Borden was confined is nine and one-half feet
high and seven and one-half feet wide. Across the corridor, looking
through the iron bars, her gaze will rest upon whitewashed walls. The
furniture of the cell consists of a bedstead, chair and washbowl. At
her personal request she saw none of the daily newspapers. Consequently
she was not familiar with the comments of the papers regarding the
case. Taken in charge by the matron, Lizzie Borden was escorted to
the cell, and the iron doors clanged behind her. Perhaps no person
in Taunton experienced a greater surprise and shock at the arrival of
Lizzie Borden than Mrs. Wright, the matron, in whose care the prisoner
was committed. Sheriff Wright was for years a resident of Fall River,
and at one time held the position of Marshal of the city police,
the place now occupied by Mr. Hilliard. Mr. and Mrs. Wright were
well acquainted with the Borden family, but the first names of their
acquaintances had slipped from their memory, and the Sheriff and his
wife did not connect the Borden they formerly knew with the prominent
actors in this tragedy. When Lizzie Borden entered the presence of the
matron, the latter noticed something familiar in the countenance of
the young woman, and after the retirement of Rev. Mr. Buck commenced
to question her. Finally, after a number of questions, Mrs. Wright
asked, “Are you not the Lizzie Borden who used as a child to play
with my daughter Isabel?” The answer was an affirmative one, and the
information touched Mrs. Wright to the quick. When she appeared in the
keeper’s office a few moments later her eyes were moist with tears.


The Preliminary Hearing Adjourned.

About ten days elapsed between the date of Miss Borden’s commitment to
Taunton Jail and the date set for the preliminary trial. During this
time there was no end of theories advanced by both sides as to the
guilt or innocence of the accused. Meanwhile she remained in custody of
Sheriff Wright and was apparently undisturbed by circumstances which
surrounded her. The days went by in a quiet uneventful manner and those
who predicted a collapse of her mental or physical system, while she
was a temporary inmate of the jail were disappointed; as there was no
outward evidence that the prisoner was at all alarmed at the gravity
of her position. In many ways the consideration extended to her by the
authorities was manifest. During her incarceration she was visited
regularly by Rev. E. A. Buck, her sister Emma and her legal counsel.
From all parts of the country came assurances that the prisoner had
a host of devoted friends. Ministers of the gospel took occasion to
proclaim her innocence from the pulpit. A sample of this friendliness
can be seen from the following words of Rev. Dr. Mason of Bowden
College Church, Brunswick, Me. He occupied the pulpit of the Central
Church in Fall River and in the course of his sermon said “A great,
dark cloud has settled down upon one of our families. But God is in
that cloud. He is with that poor, tried tempest-tossed girl; he will
give her strength and peace; he will make her glad. It is impossible
for a wrong to be done in this world that eternity will not undo. Good
is coming; good out of evil; light out of darkness. The father is over
all. He will vindicate, and raise and glorify.”

At a meeting of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Young Men’s Christian
Association of Fall River held about this time a prayer was offered
for Miss Borden by Mrs. Hezekiah C. Brayton of Fall River, and the
religious societies all over the country called upon the Divinity to
assist the unfortunate woman. Throughout the whole proceeding against
Miss Borden she was called “unfortunate,” but no man or woman, good,
bad, or indifferent was heard to say that the murdered man and woman
were “unfortunate.”

[Illustration: TAUNTON JAIL.]

Judge Blaisdell, who presided at the inquest and who, being the
Justice of the Second District Court, was to be the presiding justice
in the coming preliminary trial came in for more than his share of
criticism. He was a man of advanced years and remarkable vitality, had
served in both branches of the State legislature and was one of the
first mayors of the city of Fall River. He had presided as Justice of
the Second District Court since its establishment about twenty years
ago. He said that he thought he knew enough to attend to his duties no
matter who sought to criticise him. A sample of the editorial attacks
which were being made upon the Judge was shown to him. It related to
the harsh words used in the complaint which accused Lizzie A. Borden
of murdering her father. The Judge said that he did not know before
that such ignorance existed. The form of complaint was decided upon
at least one hundred and fifty years before Miss Borden was born, and
was adapted to fit capital crimes. Rev. W. W. Jubb, Miss Borden’s
pastor, characterized Judge Blaisdell’s action in sitting on the bench
while presiding at the inquest as indecent, outrageous and not to be
tolerated in any civilized community. He proposed to use every means
to have another Judge preside at the preliminary hearing. Rev. Mr.
Jubb, formerly of Morsley, England, had at that time been a resident
in America about twelve months. The act which he criticised was an
American constitution nearly two hundred years old.

The preliminary trial of Miss Borden was assigned for Monday, August
22, and the prisoner was on the morning of that day taken from Taunton
Jail and brought by rail to Fall River. Clad in the same gown that she
wore at the time of her departure from Fall River, and with her face
partly concealed with the same blue veil, she stepped from the train
in custody of Marshal Hilliard and Rev. Mr. Buck. As she was still
possessed of all that wonderful nerve there was no indication in her
manner nor bearing that she was a prisoner who had been taken from jail
after several days confinement to face the mass of evidence which the
State announced it had accumulated against her. And for aught that her
appearance might indicate she was the same undemonstrative traveler
returning to her home and quietly welcomed by her friends. The trip
to Fall River had been made without incident, she sitting motionless
in her seat and not even raising her eyes to see the passengers who
walked through the car in ostensible search for seats, but really to
satisfy their curiosity with a glance at the young woman. In Fall River
it was common knowledge that she was to arrive just before 2 o’clock,
and so the arrival of Miss Emma Borden and Mrs. Holmes at the police
station at 10:30 attracted no attention. The police gave no sign,
but after the arrival of Miss Emma, half a dozen of them sauntered
slowly towards the depot. As the train from Taunton pulled up at 11
o’clock, Lizzie Borden and the others alighted. Some newspaper men
were on the train and others were at the depot. The services of the
police were not needed, for there was no crowd to keep back, and the
carriage of the authorities drove away in an opposite direction to
that of the police station. Then it wound around through alleys and
back streets, and finally reached the police headquarters through a
rear thoroughfare. As a result there were just five persons at the
side entrance through which the party passed, and before the gathering
had swelled to hundreds, which it did very promptly, Miss Borden was
greeting her sister and friend in the room of the matron, adjoining
the court room. Lunch was served there and preparations were made for
facing the ordeal of the afternoon. Soon after noon the regular session
of the Second District Court concluded. City Marshal Hilliard, acting
under orders from the Judge, did not allow everybody to enter the court
room. Only those persons who had good reasons for being present were
to be at any sessions of the hearing. The scenes attendant upon the
commencement of the hearing, which, in public estimation was to take
more of the form of a trial, will long be remembered in Fall River.
During the noon hour the crowds commenced to gather in Court Square,
and the passageway through the centre of the narrow streets upon which
the Central Police Station stands was rendered impassable. There are
two entrances to the building on the side, and from each of these,
lines strung out, formed at first of men in single file, and then
widening out until toward the end they formed large crowds. There they
stood for hours and perspired while the police labored strenuously
to keep them in order. In the meanwhile the little courtroom, with
seating capacity for three hundred, was rapidly being occupied without
the knowledge of the patient crowds who were waiting for the doors to
open. The curious individuals were not confined to the males, for at
12:30 o’clock all the seats in the large guard room of the station were
occupied by women. Apparently none of them were from the lower walks
of life and the majority were good looking and well dressed. In but a
very few cases were they accompanied by escorts, and an hour before the
announced time for the commencement of proceedings they were allowed to
file up-stairs. Upon arriving in the court room they promptly occupied
all the best seats and then spread out on the sides. After them
prominent citizens of Fall River were admitted and these comprised a
goodly number. Judge Carter, of the Haverhill Police Court, a friend of
Judge Blaisdell, accompanied by his wife, were prominent figures in the
centre of the room. Despite all the talk about limited accommodations
for the press, tables and chairs in sufficient quantities were placed
inside the railing. There were about forty newspaper representatives
present. Many members of the Massachusetts bar came to the building and
were admitted, and other professional men came into the court room. A
peculiar feature was the presence of a large number of physicians, and
they manifested a great curiosity in everything relating to the affair.
As time passed the crowds outside the building received accessions and
a few minutes before 2 o’clock the jam was almost frightful.

An immense delegation of mill girls had swelled the throngs at the
entrances and had managed to get near the doors. There they waited
while the hundreds in back pushed them about and created work for the
officers. At the main entrance a large force of women had succeeded in
getting into the guard room, and this compelled the placing of more
officers at the stairway leading from there to the court room. At any
of the doors it was worth one’s life to attempt to enter or leave the
building, and traffic in the vicinity was necessarily abandoned.
The seats on the left of the court room were reserved for witnesses
and those on the right for friends of the family. The first person
of consequence to enter was Bridget Sullivan, and she grew white
under the glances of the crowd and the buzz of conversation that her
presence created among the women. She was followed by Dr. S. W. Bowen,
Mayor John W. Coughlin and others prominent in the case, the advent
of each adding excitement to the occasion. Five minutes later the
District Attorney entered. Inside the court room the atmosphere was
torrid. Judge Blaisdell entered the room at 2 o’clock and took his
seat. All the witnesses were present. Half an hour passed and there
was no movement toward commencing the proceedings. Attorney Jennings’
books and documents were piled up on his table, but he was nowhere to
be seen. It was finally learned that he was closeted with his client.
The presence of Eli Bence, the drug clerk, among the witnesses, caused
general belief that one of the theories upon which the State was
placing dependence was that relating to the purchase and use of poison.
Rev. Mr. Burnham, Andrew J. Borden’s former pastor, now occupying a
pulpit in Springfield, was also present. Mr. Jennings’ consultation
with his client lasted but a few moments, and then he commenced a
conference with District Attorney Knowlton. Time passed slowly in the
court room, and the presiding Justice frequently glanced impatiently
at his watch. Everybody was offering surmises as to the cause of the
delay, and it was finally learned that there was a disagreement of
opinion between the attorneys representing the prosecution and defence
regarding the amount of testimony to be submitted by the Government.
Mr. Adams, associated with Mr. Jennings for the defence, was also
present at the conference, and the attorneys continued to argue as the
minutes dragged along. The Government desired to place in evidence the
reports of certain experts, and the attorneys for the defence insisted
that they should be furnished in evidence at the hearing. It was
understood that the report upon which there was a disagreement was that
of Professor Wood, of Harvard. Finally, at 2:50 o’clock, the attorneys
entered the court room. A few minutes conversation ensued between the
lawyers, and then District Attorney Knowlton addressing Judge Blaisdell
said: “Your Honor, some parts of this case required the examination
of various things belonging in the house of the prisoner and attached
to her person, and these things are now in the hands of gentlemen who
are experts in the examination of such matters. We have not been able
to get reports of the examinations sufficiently extensive to allow the
experts to be called as witnesses. My learned friends both agree that
this case cannot, therefore, be ready to-day, to-morrow or the next
day, and we are thus forced to ask that the trial be adjourned till
Thursday at 10 o’clock. I think my brother will agree to what I ask.”

Mr. Jennings arose and assented to what Mr. Knowlton had said, and
Judge Blaisdell at once declared the hearing adjourned till Thursday
the 25th, at ten o’clock, a. m. The prisoner remained in charge of the
police matron and was not taken back to Taunton Jail.

The day before the preliminary hearing commenced, a scene was reported
to have occurred in the matron’s room between Misses Lizzie and Emma
Borden which surprised the attendant, Matron Reagan. During the day,
Miss Emma entered the matron’s room and to her great surprise was
greeted with this remark from Miss Lizzie:—“You gave me away, Emma,
didn’t you?” Then said Emma “I only told Mr. Jennings what I thought he
ought to know.” Miss Lizzie was apparently very much agitated at this
and said to her sister, “Remember, Emma, that I will never give in one
inch, never.” Mrs. Reagan was interviewed by the writer shortly after
this incident and next day some of the leading newspapers published an
account of the quarrel. The doubting Thomases stamped it as a “fake”
and an effort to prejudice the public against the prisoner. Next day
and after the court had adjourned Attorney Jennings made himself the
object of much interest in and around the police station. He and his
associate, Col. Melvin O. Adams, of Boston, with Rev. Mr. Buck and
other staunch friends of the accused, attempted to show to the public
that the story of a quarrel between the sisters was a lie, pure and
simple. But the plan probably did not succeed as well as anticipated.
Detective Edwin D. McHenry, of Providence, who had from the beginning
been actively engaged under orders of Marshal Hilliard, happened to
see the friends of Miss Borden in the act of drawing up a document
which he learned was to be presented to Matron Reagan to sign. He
promptly notified Assistant Marshal Fleet and the two officers awaited
developments. The paper was drawn up and its contents set forth that
Mrs. Reagan, the undersigned, never overheard a quarrel between the
two women as related in the many papers of that day and that moreover
she never told anybody that she had. It also set forth that she was
to assert upon her oath that the story of a quarrel was false from
beginning to end. This carefully prepared statement was placed in the
hands of Mr. Buck and he was entrusted with the delicate mission of
inducing Matron Reagan to affix her name thereunto. But Mrs. Reagan
refused, saying that she would have to consult the marshal. Meanwhile
the two officers mentioned had informed the Marshal of what was passing
and he was prepared for the advent of Lawyer Jennings. This action on
the part of the defense had taken place up stairs; and upon the refusal
of Mrs. Reagan to sign, lawyer Jennings carried the document to the
Marshal’s office. The writer was present when the Marshal refused to
allow Mrs. Reagan to sign the paper, even if she were willing to, and
Mr. Hilliard’s advice to Mrs. Reagan was that she remain silent until
called upon to testify to what she had heard. To say that Mr. Jennings
was excited would be putting it mildly. He left the Marshal’s office
in a state of rage and with the paper in his hand called loudly to
the half hundred newspaper men in the guard room, saying:—“This is
an outrage, the Marshal has refused to allow Mrs. Reagan to sign this
denial of the quarrel story.” The lawyer was informed that Mrs. Reagan
had not agreed to sign it; therefore the Marshal had nothing to do in
the matter. An exciting scene followed in which there was animated talk.

On the morning of August the 25th, the day set for the beginning of
the trial, the same old scenes were enacted in and around the police
station. At 8 o’clock crowds of men, women and children were upon the
sidewalks, and half an hour later their numbers had been increased
to such an extent that an extra detail of police was placed at the
entrance in a vain endeavor to keep the roadways passable for vehicles.
The ordinary session of the Court commenced at 9 o’clock, and at that
very hour every seat outside the railing was occupied. As before,
the gathering was composed almost exclusively of women, many of whom
marched boldly into the court room swinging lunch baskets in their
hands. There were fewer of these from the station of life occupied by
the Borden family than on Monday, but those who were present listened
eagerly while a man was tried and convicted of being a common drunkard;
craned their ears to listen to the testimony of wives who bore marks of
their husband’s brutality, and smiled at the children who were charged
with violating the laws of the Commonwealth by refusing obedience to
their parents.

In the room of the matron across the passageway Lizzie Borden awaited
the commencement of the hearing. Her first visitor of the day was
her sister, and soon after Rev. Mr. Buck arrived full of solicitude
for the comfort of the prisoner. In the meanwhile the session of the
court dragged on in the midst of considerable disorder. This was
not occasioned by those in the spectators row, for they were fully
occupied, and no more were admitted. Inside the railing however, the
great body of newspaper correspondents labored vigorously while the
court officers hurried in and out with chairs and tables in their
efforts to accommodate the largely increased number of reporters. These
latter reached nearly fifty, and they touched elbows all around as
they wrote. Attorneys from near-by cities were present, courtesy of
admittance being extended to them. The Fall River bar and the medical
profession were as before largely represented in that section of the
room generally reserved for witnesses, and there were clergymen of all
denominations scattered about in the place. The entrance of Bridget
Sullivan at ten minutes before 10 o’clock transferred the interest of
the spectators from the trial of a Sunday liquor seller to the most
important government witness in the Borden case. Miss Sullivan stood
the curious glances and loud whispers much better than on Monday, and,
though evidently a trifle disconcerted, the pallor noticeable upon her
countenance at her previous entrance to the court room was absent. She
was accompanied by her attorney, James T. Cummings. The other witnesses
commenced to arrive at this time and then Mr. Jennings entered the
matron’s room for a consultation with his client. At 10 o’clock the
session of the ordinary court was still in progress, and the gathering
was amusing itself by listening to the trial of an individual who
declared that he had purchased many hogsheads of beer to celebrate the
accession of Gladstone to power, and had no intention of selling the
stuff. This concluded the minor cases and there was a great bustle of
expectation as the numerous prisoners were taken from the room. Their
places were quickly occupied, while outside the building the waiting
hundreds stood patiently in the streets. The latter included many
out of town people, who had come to the place in the hope that they
might secure admission to the court room. So large was this influx
of visitors that all the rooms in the hotel were engaged at an early
hour of the morning. At 10:15 o’clock Attorneys Jennings and Adams of
the defence entered and took positions at the table, two green bags
filled with books being brought after them. The excitement immediately
increased, and the eyes of all the spectators were riveted on the door,
awaiting the entrance of the prisoner. “Make way for the witnesses,”
called out the court officer, and the remaining persons summoned filed
into the room. Their number was a general surprise, for they extended
in a long line around the room. Among them the figures of John V.
Morse, Dr. Bowen and the drug clerk Bence were conspicuous and their
presence heightened the interest. Conversation was brisk and loud for
a few moments and then it lagged perceptibly and everybody fell to
wondering why District Attorney Knowlton was not present, and when
Lizzie Borden would come into the sight of the curious throng. The
District Attorney arrived at 10:30 o’clock, and a few minutes later
Lizzie Borden entered. First came Emma Borden, escorted by Mr. Holmes.
She was dressed in black, and appeared somewhat excited. Following her
came Mrs. Holmes and Mrs. Brigham, and behind them was the prisoner,
leaning on the arm of Rev. Mr. Buck. Lizzie Borden was dressed in the
blue gown which she wore to Taunton, and at her entrance everybody grew
so excited that nearly half of those present were on their feet almost
unconsciously. The prisoner was composed, and beyond a slight twitching
of the lips betrayed no excitement whatever.


At 10:31 o’clock District Attorney Knowlton arose and asked the Judge,
“Is Your Honor all ready?” Judge Blaisdell answered that he was. Then
without other words of introduction he called on the Medical Examiner,
Dr. William A. Dolan, to testify. Dr. Dolan testified as follows: “Have
made a good many autopsies. First saw the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Borden
about a quarter of 12, Aug. 4. Saw the body of Andrew Borden first. It
was lying on the north side of a lounge which was on the south side
of the room. The head of the sofa was to the west. There was a Prince
Albert coat on the top of the sofa cushion. On that rested Mr. Borden’s
head. His feet were on the floor, his head was toward the front door
and the face was looking toward the sitting room windows. Examined the
wounds sufficiently to make a view then, and removed and sealed up the
contents of the stomach and sent same to an expert. Saw the body of
Mrs. Borden a few moments after I saw Mr. Borden’s body. She was lying
face down on the floor. She was dressed in a calico dress. There was a
silk handkerchief on the floor that might have been on her head. It was
touching her head as she lay there. Can’t say if it was cut.”

At this moment Thomas Kieran, an architect, who had drawn plans,
was sworn. He said he was at the house August 10, and described the
plans in detail. Mr. Jennings and Mr. Knowlton looked over the plans
together. Mr. Kieran said the length of the room where he had found
the carpet taken up was fifteen feet and five inches, and that there
was a space of two feet eleven inches. A board had been taken up in
this room, and witness had seen a spot of blood on it when the Marshal
showed it to him at the police station Sunday. Mr. Kieran said he had
also drawn a map of the outside of the house, with measurements of
the height of the fences and the character of the fences. Witness had
seen a spot on the casing of the kitchen door leading to the sitting
room, and one on the wall paper by the sofa. The witness was asked to
designate the head of the sofa on which Mr. Borden’s body was found,
and said that it was towards the parlor. There was also a spot of
blood on a picture in the sitting room hanging on the wall back of the
sofa. After questions bringing out these replies the District Attorney
inquired of Judge Blaisdell if he were familiar with the premises, and
upon an affirmative response from the Judge the District Attorney said
he would not bring out any further facts in relation to measurements.

Dr. Dolan was called back to the stand. He testified that when he
removed the sheet that had been over Mr. Borden’s head, he saw one
of the most ghastly sights he had ever known. He was told to speak
without generalizing and drew from his pocket a report of the autopsy
taken one week after the murders. He proceeded to read a description
of the wounds from his report. Mr. Jennings objected to the reading of
these notes and Mr. Knowlton told him to put them away. Dr. Dolan put
up his paper and gave a description of the wounds from memory. There
were ten in all from four to an inch and a half long. The largest was
four inches long and two and a half inches wide. There was no other
cause of death. The body was warm when he got there, blood oozing from
the wounds. Mr. Borden, the witness thought, could not have been
dead half an hour. There were in all eighty-eight blood spots behind
Andrew Borden’s head, dropping towards the east on the wall. These
eighty-eight blood spots were in a cluster, beginning three or four
inches from Mr. Borden’s head. “I then found on the paper of the wall
a spot of blood six feet, one inch and three-quarters from the floor.
Another spot was near that one. These two were the highest spots of any
except one found on the ceiling. They were the largest spots of blood
found. They were about three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The blood
spot on the picture was fifty-eight inches from the floor. I found
spots on the moulding back of the lounge also. Had to move the lounge
to find the spots. Also found seven blood spots on the upper two panels
of the parlor door. There were two spots on the ceiling, but only one
of them was human blood. I think an insect had been killed on the other
spot. Another spot was on the west door jamb of the door leading to the
dining room. It was not a spot, but a string, so to speak, of blood,
two and one-half inches long, as it was drawn out. There were two spots
on the kitchen door, one in the groove of the door and another on the
edge of the casing. The spot I describe as a stain on the jamb of the
door leading to the dining room, was such a mark that the murderer of
Andrew J. Borden might have made. A hatchet or axe was, in my opinion,
the weapon with which the murder was committed. A weapon weighing four
or five pounds could easily have made the cuts.”

[Illustration: OFFICER A. E. CHACE.]

“Couldn’t see any part of Mrs. Borden’s face, for the arms were thrown
about it. As it lay there you could see there were a number of wounds.
There were at least seven or eight blows which went through the skull
into the brain. I turned the body up. Altogether there were eighteen
distinct wounds on the head, and all but four of them were on the right
side of the head. Imagine a line drawn from the nape of the neck around
the ear. That would include fourteen of the wounds. They were from the
left side back and downward to the right side. One of them was five
inches in length. They were diagonally. Seven or eight of them went
through the skull into the brain. Others took pieces of the skull out.
The other four were on the left side, but none of them went through
the skull. Those on the left were flat scalp wounds half an inch in
depth. There was a contusion on the nose and two over the left eye.
They were such as might be made by falling. I found one immediately
over the spine some time later. It was two and one-half inches long and
two and one-half inches deep. It was a conical wound. These were made
by a sharp cutting instrument and might have been caused by a hatchet
or small axe. Under her head and pretty well down on her breast she
was lying in a pool of clotted blood. The front of the clothing was
very much soaked and also the back. On the pillow sham there were three
spots, on the rail of the bed were thirty or forty spots. Those on the
sham were near the wall. The sham was eighteen inches from her head.
The spots on the rail were lateral. On the drawers of the dressing
case there were three or four spots on the first one and six or seven
on the second, as if they had gone up in the air and come down. On the
moulding of the east window there was a spot, and above that and about
two feet there was a spot on the paper. These were six or seven feet
from the head, on an angle.”

The witness saw Mrs. Borden’s body immediately after viewing that
of Mr. Borden and was asked by Mr. Knowlton if there was anything
inconsistent in his opinion in the appearance of the body with the
supposition that she had been dead for two hours?

Mr. Adams objected and Mr. Knowlton said he had asked a similar
question in every murder case he had tried. Mr. Adams retorted that
there were a number of bad habits the District Attorney had acquired
which should be corrected. The Court thought the question could be
allowed. Mr. Jennings thereupon objected and commenced to argue. Mr.
Knowlton said the habit of arguing after a decision was not one of his
bad ones, and Mr. Adams objected to Mr. Knowlton’s hitting him over Mr.
Jennings’ shoulder.

Dr. Dolan said there was nothing inconsistent with the appearance
of the body and the opinion that she had been dead for two hours.
Mrs. Borden died from shock. He removed her stomach and forwarded it
by express to Prof. Wood. “I went down the cellar stairs and found
four axes or hatchets resting against the cellar partition. One was
a peculiar hatchet, the head being a hammer claw. There were three
others, and all were lying six or eight feet from the cellar door. I
examined two of them, which were brought to me by the officers. One
of them looked as though it had been scraped on the blade. This had
a cutting surface of five inches and would weigh from three to five
pounds. The officer took it. Afterwards I examined it with a glass and
found two hairs upon it and what appeared to be blood. I could not
swear it was blood. I gave this hatchet and the axes to Prof. Wood, on
all of them there was what appeared to be blood. Took certain dresses
also. Told Mr. Jennings I wanted them and he got them of Miss Borden.
Sent them to Prof. Wood.”

The court then took a recess for dinner and Mr. Adams furnished for
publication a copy of a letter received by Emma Borden. He produced
the original copy and the envelope, and according to the latter it was
mailed in Waltham, Mass., August 18, at 11:30 a. m., and received in
Fall River on the same day at 4:30 p. m. The letter is as follows:

                                   Waltham, Mass., Aug. 17, 1892.

    Miss Emma Borden:

    Dear Madam—You must excuse that I take the liberty in sending
    you these few lines. I ought to have written to you before
    this, as I was unable to do so, as I was travelling every day.
    My name is Samuel Robinsky. I am a Jewish pedler. When the
    fatal murder in Fall River occurred I was only a few miles
    from Fall River. That day, while sitting on the roadside,
    towards New Bedford, I met a man who was covered with blood.
    He told me that he worked on a farm and that he never could
    get his wages, so he had a fight with the farmer. He said he
    ran away and did not get any money after all. All he had was
    a five-dollar bill. He bought from me four handkerchiefs, one
    looking glass, one necktie, collar and shoe blacking. His boots
    were covered with blood, and he put lots of blacking on them.
    I helped him to fix up again and get cleaned, but by this time
    I did not know anything about the murder. I felt sorry for him
    and thought only he gave the farmer a good licking. I advised
    him to travel at night, which he said he would do, as he feared
    arrest during the day. I gave him my lunch, and he gave me a
    quarter, and told me not to say anything that I met him. He
    asked me what time the train left for Boston after 8 o’clock at
    night and I told him. He had also a bundle with him which was
    about two feet thick or big; when I was peddling I did not read
    any papers only Sundays, as I am studying the English language.
    When I was in Boston last Sunday a friend of mine told me about
    the Fall River murder. I told him about the stranger, and my
    friend said: “And why did you not report this to the police?” I
    told him I was afraid, as they would lock me up as a witness,
    and another thing, I did not have any license, so I was afraid.
    I told my friend I would write to you, or Mr. Jennings, I read
    last Sunday’s Boston _Globe_, and thought that I might have
    seen the murderer. If I should see him in Boston, I am sure,
    yes, dead sure, I know him again. He is of medium height, dark
    brown hair, reddish whiskers or moustache, weight about 135
    pounds, a gray suit, brown derby hat. His shoes were what they
    call Russian leather. No blacking on so-called summer shoes.
    He put my blacking on to make them look black, so that people
    could not see the blood. It was about 1 o’clock noon that day.
    I only heard about the murder at 6 or 7 o’clock that night.
    I kept quiet as I had no license and feared to be arrested.
    My stranger was very much afraid. He asked me a million times
    if he looked all right again, and I brushed him off with my
    shoe brush and told him to wait till dark. If I come again
    to Fall River next week I shall call on you, if you think it
    is necessary, but all I can swear he is the stranger which I
    have seen that afternoon. This is all; but if this man was the
    murderer I cannot say, but I shall find him out of fifteen
    thousand. Will close now. Will go to Fitchburg to-morrow
    morning and return to Boston Saturday night. Please do not say
    anything to the police. I would be arrested. If I had known
    about the murder the time I met my stranger it would have been
    different, as I would have followed him up and perhaps got the
    reward. I thought it was a poor farm hand and so took pity on
    him, as I know as a rule, farmers seldom pay their hands during
    summer. Hoping that my information may be of some use to you,

                         I remain very respectfully,
                                                 SAMUEL ROBINSKY.

    P. S.—Please excuse paper and mistakes as I am a foreigner.

Immediately upon the receipt of this letter Mr. Jennings dispatched the
following telegram:

“Aug. 19, 1892—To George L. Mayberry, Mayor, Waltham, Mass.—Does
Samuel Robinsky, a Jewish peddler, live in Waltham? Andrew J. Jennings.”

The answer received from the Mayor of Waltham was as follows, dated
Waltham, Mass., Aug., 20, 1892:

To Andrew J. Jennings, Fall River. “Cannot find that he lives here. Am
told that a peddler of that name is living in Boston, and sometimes
comes out here. Signed, G. L. Mayberry.”

This satisfied the attorneys for the defence that such a person as
Robinsky existed and Mr. Adams assured the newspaper representatives
that they were making strenuous efforts to find him. He said a search
had been made around the vicinity of Manchester, and that they were now
looking for the man. He appeared to think that the publicity attendant
upon publication of the letter might assist in locating the individual.


Dr. Dolan Cross-Examined.

In the afternoon Dr. Dolan was placed upon the stand and continued his
testimony under the cross-examination of Col. Adams. He said: “It was
about noonday when I got to Andrew J. Borden’s house. First heard of
the murder when I was in front of the Borden house. Was out driving to
visit patients. It was in consequence of questions I asked when I saw
the crowd before the house that I learned what had happened. I went
into the hall or entry-way in the rear of the house. I met Bridget
Sullivan and Dr. Bowen in the kitchen. I then went into the sitting
room. Andrew Borden lay in such a way as to face me. There were two
officers present. I looked at the body and inquired where Mrs. Borden
was. I went up the stairs; they were winding stairs to a certain
extent; there was a Brussels carpet on the floor; I had to turn to the
left to enter the doorway. On my left side between me and the bureau
was a bedstead; the bedstead was opposite the front of the house; can’t
remember if anybody was in the room when I entered it. Dr. Bowen gave
me my information about Mrs. Borden; Dr. Tourtellot and Dr. Hartley
were with me afterwards to examine the room; I looked across the bed
when I got into the room and saw the body; the woman’s arms were raised
a circle above her jaw, and her head lay in the circle, the woman lying
on her face; I pointed out three things to the architect or engineer
when he was there. As nearly as I saw then, should say the distance
between the bureau or dressing case and bed was more than two feet ten
inches which the architect gave as the distance this morning. Mrs.
Borden was a stout woman; her body did not fill up the space between
the bureau and the bedstead; there was a foot of space left on either
side of her. She was lying a little on her left side; it was diagonally
on her left side; this left the right and a portion of the left side
of her head fairly well exposed; it must have been 12 o’clock nearly
before I went upstairs; the body had not been changed in position at
that time; I was told by Dr. Bowen it had not been. I put my hands into
the wounds of the old lady; am very confident no blood dropped from my
hands when I drew them away; I got several spots of blood on me either
upstairs or down stairs—I think down stairs. Cannot recollect if my
hands touched Mr. Borden before I went up stairs: I think I touched
Mrs. Borden first, when I saw her the second time.”


Col. Adams spent an hour in questioning the witness about irrelative
matters and then the Medical Examiner continued saying: “I took notes
the second time I was in the room; after that I assisted Officers
Mullaly and Doherty in searching the house. We searched the lower floor
first, I think. Don’t know where Miss Lizzie was at this time. She was
up in her room, where I saw her last before the search. I think she was
up in her room when we began the search; think she went upstairs by
the front way; saw her in her room three or four times; wouldn’t say
I saw her in her room when I took the view; am not positive whether I
made the examination of Mrs. Borden before or after the search; saw
Miss Lizzie last at 1:30 o’clock. At the time of the examination of Mr.
Borden others were also present. Mrs. Borden was dressed in a calico
gown.” The lawyers for the defence now both began to cut the strings
of a bundle which had been placed on Mr. Jennings’ desk. As they were
doing it Judge Blaisdell asked Dr. Dolan if he wouldn’t sit down. The
doctor said not just yet, but Mr. Adams, looking up, asked if he was
the one referred to. The Court said he wasn’t, and Mr. Adams remarked
that he wasn’t quite ready yet. Out of the bundle which Messrs.
Jennings and Adams were opening there now rolled a doll about ten
inches in height, and the head of a record doll. Mr. Adams called the
doll a manikin in talking to the Court afterwards, but it was simply a
doll. As it was produced the crowd in the court room laughed.

Dr. Dolan testified that a pillow sham with spots of blood on it was on
the bed in the room where Mrs. Borden was. The piece of door jamb was
brought in and with it a piece of plastering. After careful examination
of the moulding Dr. Dolan indicated a tiny spot on the paint. It was
about the size of two pin heads. After Mr. Adams had finished with the
piece of moulding, Mr. Jennings took it and showed it to Rev. Mr. Buck,
who sat behind him, pointing out the spots to the reverend gentleman.
Rev. Mr. Buck smiled incredulously and settled back in his chair. Mr.
Brigham, whose wife was the firm friend of the Borden girls, looked at
the moulding and said nothing. The relic was being passed along further
when Mr. Knowlton suggested it be returned to the desk and it was
placed there. Mr. Adams discussed the wounds of Mr. Borden next, and
had them carefully described to him with marks in the doll’s head and
by measuring the extent of the blows on his own face.

Dr. Dolan continued: “Did not go to the house Friday; went there
Saturday and met Marshal Hilliard, Mr. Jennings, Assistant Marshal
Fleet and Mr. Seaver; took up and carried away a great many things;
took away a white underskirt; there was a spot of blood on the meshes
of this skirt; the spot was about a foot from the ground. There was
also a smooch found at the upper part of the opening to a pocket in a
dress. I saw this through a microscope. All these things went to Prof.
Wood. I think Mr. Jennings gave them to me. There were in all a dress,
a blouse waist and underskirt and a pair of shoes. The shoes were sent
for afterward. We had searched everywhere on Saturday and been afforded
every opportunity for looking around. There were two hairs on one of
the hatchets found in the cellar. They were gray hairs and one was
very short. The short one was three-quarters of an inch long and was
caught in the rough end surface of the handle. I looked at it under a
microscope. I do not know whether or not this was a human hair, but it
looked as if one end was broken; the other end was fine.”

At this point the hearing was adjourned to Friday morning at 10
o’clock. District Attorney Knowlton stated that as his presence at
the hearing was purely voluntary, he would ask the Court to question
three or four witnesses who might be called before his arrival in the
morning. He said they would testify to the movements of Mr. Borden
while out doors on the morning of the tragedy.


Second Day of the Trial.

Dr. Dolan was placed upon the stand again and dwelt at length upon the
question of his opinion as to which of the Bordens was murdered first.
He said: “I will say that the condition of the blood indicated that it
had been out of the living tissues an hour and a half to two hours. Did
not, the first time I was up-stairs, examine the edges of the wounds of
Mrs. Borden. Formed my opinion of the time since Mrs. Borden’s death
when I first saw her. Think she must have been dead an hour and a half
to two hours.”

Abram G. Hart was then called to the stand. He is the Treasurer of the
Union Savings Bank, of which the late Mr. Borden was President. He
testified: “Saw Mr. Borden about 9:30 o’clock at the bank on the day of
his death. He usually called at the bank at that time in the morning.
The day before, at a quarterly meeting of the trustees, he was not
present. He said on the morning of the day he died that he would have
been present on the preceding day, but had been ill.” The defence did
not cross-examine the witness.

John T. Burrell, cashier of the National Union Bank, in which
institution Mr. Borden was a depositor and stockholder, saw Mr. Borden
come into his bank on the morning of Aug. 4, the day he died. Did not
know if Mr. Borden came back to the bank again. The two banks are in
the same building. The defence did not cross-examine.

Everett Cook, cashier of the First National Bank, of which Mr. Borden
was a director, saw Mr. Borden at the bank Aug. 4. He came in about
quarter of 10 and went out five minutes of 10. He did not come in again
that day. He usually came in daily. Charles T. Cook, insurance agent,
had charge of one of Mr. Borden’s business blocks on the corner of
Anawan and South Main streets. He had been in the habit of seeing Mr.
Borden, but did not see him on the day of the murder. The last time the
witness talked with Mr. Borden was on the Sunday before the murder.
There was no talk with reference to a will. Three weeks before that he
had told the witness he had no will, but said nothing about making
one. The witness positively denied that he had spoken to Inspector
Medley about the fact that Mr. Borden was making a will.

Mrs. Dr. Kelly who lives next door south of the Borden residence,
testified that she was at home on the morning of August 4th and saw
Mr. Borden walking around from the back door as if he had been trying
to get into the house. He had a small white package in his hand at
the time. This was at twenty-seven or twenty-eight minutes before 11
o’clock, and she fixed the time, by an appointment which she had with
the dentist. Jonathan Clegg saw Mr. Borden in his store on the morning
of the murder at 10:20 o’clock, and he left there exactly at 10:29
o’clock. On leaving the store Mr. Borden went south.

John Cunningham, a newsdealer, testified that he was in front of a
house four houses north of the Borden place when he first heard of
the murder. Saw Mrs. Churchill cross the street. Was told that Mrs.
Churchill wanted a policeman and telephoned to the City Marshal by a
clerk in the paint shop. It was ten minutes to 11. Cross-examined by
Mr. Jennings—“When I telephoned I was going up towards the store.
Mrs. Churchill I saw coming from her own house, I should think. Mrs.
Churchill came over to some men. I passed them, and after I had gone
three or four feet a boy told me Mrs. Churchill wanted me to telephone.
Officer Allen then came along. He went in the house right off and came
out. Charles Sawyer went into the house with Mr. Allen. Then I went
down street, and when Mr. Allen came out I asked him what the matter
was and went in. Found Mr. Manning and Mr. Stevens, two reporters, in
the yard. Did not notice anybody go in the barn.”

Mr. Jennings—“Did you notice the cellar door, Mr. Cunningham?” “I did
particularly. I tried it and it was locked. I remained there about ten
minutes more. Officers Doherty and Mullaly came.”

Francis H. Wixon, a deputy sheriff, was in the Marshal’s office when
he heard of the murder. The Marshal was talking through the telephone.
It was about ten or fifteen minutes past 11, as on his way to the
office he heard the bell in the city hall strike 11. The witness went
up five or six minutes after the message was received and arrived at
about 11:30 o’clock. There were not many people in the house and the
witness saw Dr. Bowen there upon his arrival. Officer Doherty overtook
the speaker in the yard, and together they went in the house, and
looked at the body of Mr. Borden. He knew nothing about Mrs. Borden’s
murder and had some consultation with Dr. Bowen. The result was that
the witness removed Mr. Borden’s watch. Saw nothing of Lizzie Borden.
Dr. Bowen then went upstairs and the witness and the officer followed.
He saw Dr. Dolan there before the witness left. Continuing, Mr. Wixon
said, “I went out in the yard and looked south. There I saw a man in an
open space, who was sawing wood. In the same lot I saw two other men at
work. They had not heard of the murder and I told them.”

At this point the court took a recess for dinner, and upon coming in
again, John Shortsleeves testified to having seen Mr. Borden in a shop
on South Main street at 10:30 or 10:40 o’clock. Then John V. Morse, a
brother of Mr. Borden’s first wife, was called, and said:

“I am 59 years old; live at present at the Borden house. My permanent
home is Dartmouth. I used to live in Iowa, in the West. I returned
from the West after living there 20 years, three years ago last April.
I first lived in Warren and then in Dartmouth. My sister, the past
Mrs. Borden, died about 1863. Heard of the marriage to the second
wife before I came from the West. Have resided in Dartmouth the past
year, coming to Fall River every month or two. In connection with the
tragedy, left New Bedford to come here August 3 on 12:35 train. Saw
Lizzie at the Borden house. Arrived there about 1:30 o’clock; dined
there, stayed till after 3, then went over to Swansea; hired a horse
and wagon, and got back about a quarter of 9. Visited Borden’s farm
and another place; went there on business relating to Mr. Borden; went
there to see about cattle that day; invited Mr. Borden to go with me.
I saw Mr. and Mrs. Borden on my return. Emma did not arrive until the
night of the tragedy at about 6 o’clock. I did not see Lizzie until
after the couple were killed. I heard her come in the night before and
go up the front stairs. This was about 9:15. Her room was at the head
of the front stairs, and I occupied the spare chamber. This room was
not accessible at night from the stairs. Mr. and Mrs. Borden slept in
the east room next to Lizzie’s room. Miss Emma’s room was just north of
Lizzie’s, just back of the spare room. Stairs lead from Miss Lizzie’s
room to the spare room. I did not hear Miss Lizzie’s voice when she
entered. I retired about 10 o’clock. Mrs. Borden retired first. I rose
about 6 o’clock and came down stairs a few minutes afterwards. When I
came down I found no one, and I first saw Mr. Borden. This was fifteen
minutes after I came down. He entered the sitting room and Mrs. Borden
appeared soon afterwards. I took breakfast with the family, Mr. and
Mrs. Borden and myself. We ate breakfast at about 7 o’clock, and I
then saw the servant. She waited upon the table, coming in when the
bell was rung. There were bananas on the table. After breakfast we went
into the sitting room and engaged in conversation. Mrs. Borden came in
and out of the room, and was dusting. She had nothing on her head. I
went away at a quarter before 9, and Miss Lizzie had not been down, to
my knowledge. I went down to the post office and mailed a letter. Then
I went up Pleasant to Weybosset street to visit a niece at the home of
Daniel Emery. This is about a mile away.”

District Attorney—“Where did you go when you went away from the house?
I don’t ask this for my own sake. The witness is no client of mine, but
it’s only fair in view of what has been said that he should tell his


“The last I saw of Mrs. Borden she was in the front entry. The last
words Mr. Borden said were: ‘John, come back to dinner.’ I fix the time
I left the Borden house at a quarter of 9 by having my watch with me.
I saw Mrs. Borden go into the front hall before I left home. Can’t say
if she had a feather duster in her hand. It was the last time I saw
her alive. It was Mr. Borden who let me out that morning. The letter I
posted was, I think, to Mr. William Lincoln. I walked up to Emery’s;
left there at 11:20 o’clock. The dinner hour at the Borden house was
usually 12 o’clock. I came back on the horse car down Pleasant street,
and went right up Second street. At the door the servant girl told me
of the affair. Inside the house were Mr. Sawyer, Dr. Bowen and two
policemen. I did not see Dr. Dolan there. Then it was about a quarter
of 12, I should estimate. After I had been in the house two or three
minutes I saw Miss Lizzie in the dining room on the sofa. I spoke to
her, but I do not remember what I said. I saw the bodies and then went
down stairs and saw Lizzie. I did no searching. The last time I was at
the house before this was in the middle of July. I did not see Miss
Lizzie then. I was there in June and stayed a day and did not see Miss
Lizzie at that time. I was on corresponding terms with Mr. Borden and
Emma when I was West. I never had a letter from Lizzie in my life.”

Mr. Morse testified that Mr. Borden had told him that most of the
family had been sick the day before. He was also questioned at length
concerning the condition of things at the house when he arrived.

Bridget Sullivan was then called and said: “My name is Bridget
Sullivan, and I was known by the name of Maggie at the Borden house.
I was employed there for two years and nine months. I swept the front
hall every other week and had no duties in the bedrooms. At the time
of the tragedy Miss Emma was not at home. She had been out of town
for a week, and when she was gone the family consisted of Mr. and
Mrs. Borden and Miss Lizzie. Miss Lizzie went with Miss Emma when
she went away, but came back. I first saw Mr. Morse between 1:30 and
2 o’clock on the day he arrived. I saw him again walking out in the
afternoon. I did not see him when he arrived home that night. I got
up at 6:15 o’clock Thursday morning, and it was 10 o’clock the night
before when I retired. I locked the screen door and the back wooden
door before I went to bed. When I came down in the morning I found the
doors exactly as I had left them, and I opened them. I went out for
milk, and afterward hooked up the screen door. The back door remained
open. Nobody else came in or out that I can remember, except members
of the house. I did not go out of the house again until Mr. Borden
went out. Nobody was up when I came down, and the first one I saw was
Mrs. Borden. I saw her in the kitchen and on the back stairs at half
past 6. Never knew anybody to go up the back way to the front part, or
the front way to the back part; Mr. Borden came down about two minutes
after Mrs. Borden; he went out doors before breakfast; he went into
the barn and got some water; he emptied a pail from the house and came
back; I was in the kitchen all the time; after Mr. Borden came in with
his pail he washed up; he put his dressing coat on after washing up;
think he put his necktie and collar on after breakfast; we had for
breakfast cold mutton, soup, johnny cakes and coffee; breakfast, as
nearly as I recollect, was at 7:15; after breakfast they were in the
sitting room; Mr. Morse had come down to breakfast; he went out at
quarter of 9, I should judge; Mr. Borden let him out; Mrs. Borden, I
expect, was in the sitting room when Mr. Morse went; I saw Mr. Borden
there about 9; don’t know when Mr. Morse went; after Morse went, Mr.
Borden went up the back stairs; did not see him when he came down or
went out; don’t know if he went out the front or back door; I went out
in the back yard awhile; I was sick at my stomach and vomited; did not
see Mrs. Borden when I came back; was out in the yard four or five
minutes, and came back into the kitchen and washed dishes. Mrs. Borden
told me she wanted the windows washed inside and outside all around the
house. I did not see Mrs. Borden after that. She went into the kitchen.
The next time I saw her she was dead. Lizzie was then through with her
breakfast. She came down stairs before I went outside. She was then
in the kitchen. When I came back I don’t know where she was. I asked
Lizzie what she wanted for breakfast and she said she didn’t feel like
eating anything. When I saw Mrs. Borden she had a dusting cloth and was
dusting the dining room. I didn’t know where Lizzie was. That was after
both men had gone. I don’t know whether or not I locked the screen
door after I came in from vomiting. I then cleaned up the kitchen and
straightened up and commenced to prepare to wash the windows. I went
down cellar and got a pail, got a brush from the closet and went out
to the barn to get a stick. Miss Lizzie then came into the back entry
and asked where I was going. I told her I was going to wash windows
and that she need not hook the door. I told her I’d get the water in
the barn, and she said all right. The door was then hooked and I had
to unhook it. I was down in the cellar earlier in the morning to get
coal and wood. The next time I went down was when I got the pail. It
was half an hour after Mrs. Borden told me to wash the windows before
I commenced. During that time I did not see Miss Lizzie except when
she came to the screen door. Where she was I don’t know. I had not
been doing any work in the spare room; Lizzie Borden never did work
in the spare room when her friends had occupied it. After I went out
to wash the windows I saw Lizzie; she had asked me as I went out if I
was going to wash the windows; I told her yes, and that if she wanted
to close the windows I would get water in the barn; five windows I had
to wash; I shut three before I went out, and two others were already
shut. I did not see Miss Lizzie after I got out; I had not seen anybody
while I was in the barn after the dipper. When I went down stairs after
the pail, I went down the kitchen stairs. We wash on Monday, and iron
Tuesday, and on Monday and Tuesday the cellar door was open. I opened
the door the day I hung my clothes out, and don’t know if anybody else
went in or out of it that week before the murder. I shut and locked
the door Tuesday, myself. I got through washing the windows at twenty
minutes past 10, I think. Washed the sitting room side first and then
the parlor and last the dining room. The windows were shut upstairs.
I then went inside at the screen door, hooked it, and getting a hand
basin washed the sitting room windows inside. Did not see Lizzie or
Mr. Borden in the house while I was washing the sitting room windows.
Didn’t see anybody outside or in the house while I was washing windows.
I heard Mr. Borden try to get in at the front door. Afterwards went
to the front door and found the bolt and lock turned. Miss Lizzie was
upstairs at that time. She might have been in the hall, for I heard her
laugh upstairs as I let Mr. Borden in. I went to open the door and it
was locked, and I made some exclamation when she laughed aloud. I did
not see her until five or ten minutes afterwards. I was in the sitting
room. Mr. Borden came in and sat down at the head of the lounge in
the dining room. He was reading and I was in the sitting room washing
windows. I did not see her when I let Mr. Borden in. I heard her tell
her father that Mrs. Borden got a note and went out. Lizzie spoke very
low. I don’t know where Lizzie went then, and I don’t know whether or
not she stayed in her room. After I finished in the sitting room, Mr.
Borden took the key from the sitting room shelf and started upstairs
the back way. When he came down I was just going into the dining room.
I did not see Miss Lizzie then. She was not in the dining room, sitting
room or kitchen. Then Mr. Borden sat down near the window in the
sitting room, with a book or paper in his hand. He brought the key back
and put it on the shelf. He sat in an easy chair, and I had started to
wash the first window in the dining room. I did not see Miss Lizzie,
and only saw her when she came into the dining room, and then to the
kitchen, and then back again to the dining room with an ironing board.
She placed the ironing board on the dining room table. Where she came
from I do not know. She put the ironing board on a corner of the table.
It was about two feet long. She always ironed the handkerchiefs. I did
not hear Mr. Borden leave the chair in which he was sitting. After I
finished I came into the kitchen, and Miss Lizzie asked me if I was
going out. I told her I didn’t know, as I was feeling sick, and she
said if I went out to be sure and lock the door, as “I may be out,”
and Mrs. Borden had got a note and gone out. I then went upstairs to
my room, and Miss Lizzie was down stairs working at the ironing board.
She came out and told me there was a sale of dry goods at Sargent’s.
If Mr. Borden changed his position to the sofa, I didn’t know it. Soon
after I got upstairs it struck 11 o’clock. I was then lying in bed,
but I didn’t take my clothes off. I thought I had time enough to get
dinner at half past 11. I always went upstairs before dinner if I had
time. Didn’t look at the fire before I went upstairs. The dinner was
to be soup to warm over and cold mutton. Had not put the soup on, and
the potatoes were in the soup. A coal fire was started in the morning.
I was going down stairs about 11:30. Had not gone out of the screen
door again after I commenced to wash the windows inside. I next heard
something when Lizzie called me. It might have been ten or fifteen
minutes after I came upstairs. She hollored at me. I knew from the way
she hollored something was the matter. She hollored loud; she said her
father was dead. She told me to run after Dr. Bowen. I wanted to run in
ahead and see, but she told me to run quick and tell the doctor. I went
and told Mrs. Bowen about it. Mrs. Bowen told me to tell Miss Russell
about it and I went back and told Miss Lizzie. She told me to go after
Miss Russell. When I got back from the Bowens, Miss Lizzie was still at
the door. When I got back from Miss Russell’s Dr. Bowen had just got
out of his wagon, and I think Mrs. Churchill was there. Miss Lizzie
was then in the kitchen. We talked, and Miss Lizzie said she’d like us
to search for Mrs. Borden. I said I’d go upstairs, and Mrs. Churchill
said she’d go with me. I went up and saw Mrs. Borden before I went in.
When the house was searched that day a box of hatchets was behind the
furnace. I don’t know if the cellar door was open when the officers
were searching the house the day of the murder. I asked Lizzie where
she was, and she said she was out in the back yard.”

“When was it she said that?” “After I got back from Mrs. Russell’s.”
“Do you know what dress she had on?” “I don’t know.” “Had Mrs. Borden
said anything to you about going out?” “No, sir.” “Was it her habit to
notify you when she went out?” Mr. Adams promptly objected to this and
the Court excluded the question. “Then the only thing you know about
her going out was what Lizzie told you?” Mr. Jennings objected to this
question and said that while he did not object to the District Attorney
asking leading questions on unimportant matters, this was altogether
too serious a point to allow such queries. District Attorney Knowlton
declined to take this view of the matter, and a discussion commenced,
pending which an adjournment for the day was taken.


Third and Fourth Days of the Trial.

Mr. Knowlton called Bridget Sullivan to the stand and she continued
her testimony—“Mrs. Borden came down stairs Wednesday morning, saying
she and Mr. Borden had been sick that night. They looked pretty sick.
Lizzie said she had been sick all night, too. I came down to start the
fire. Miss Lizzie had been ironing eight or nine minutes when I went
up stairs. There used to be a horse kept in the barn. Since the horse
was kept there, I have seen Lizzie go to the barn. Miss Lizzie spoke
about her mother going out and said her mother had received a note that

Mr. Knowlton—“Did Lizzie say anything about hearing her mother groan?”

Bridget—“She said she heard her father groan.”

Mr. Knowlton—“Did you at any time that day see Lizzie crying?”

Bridget—“No, not in all the day.”

Mr. Adams conducted the cross-examination, and commenced by politely
asking the witness if she would be seated. She declined a chair, and
questions commenced rapidly. The counsel required her to review the
history of her life and then commenced questioning her regarding her
movements on the fatal day. She said—“I always carry a night key and
lock the doors, as I pass in and out. The night before the murders
I was out, but came home alone. Never had a man call on me at that
house. When some one came it was not a Fall River man. Was out in the
yard Wednesday morning and Lizzie told me she had been sick. That day
had pork steak, ‘johnny cakes’ and coffee for breakfast. Had soup and
mutton for dinner. Soup, bread, cake and tea for supper.

“Tuesday night, when they were taken sick, we had swordfish warmed
over for dinner. Had baker’s bread, too. Got the bread myself. Went of
my own notion to get the bread, and when I got back Mrs. Borden gave
me five cents. I didn’t eat any of that bread. I was taken sick that
night. Didn’t see Lizzie Wednesday after breakfast. They were all
sick. Wednesday morning I went down stairs after coal and kindlings.
Then opened the blinds in the dining room. I never rang a bell for
breakfast. They all got up without calling. Didn’t have anything
particular to do in the dining room till breakfast. Mrs. Borden came
down stairs and told me Mr. Morse was in the house. I asked her if
he slept in the attic, and she said no, in the spare chamber. That
Thursday morning Mr. Borden had brought in a basket of pears from the
tree. He had brought in some a day or two before. They got rotten
and he had dumped them under the barn. The only rooms I had been in
Thursday morning up to breakfast time were the kitchen and dining room.
Mrs. Borden often asked after breakfast what I had to do that day. The
ice chest was in a closet opening from the entry. We went upstairs out
of that entry-way. Never saw any clothes but my own on the nails in
the entry. There was a shawl sometimes hanging there. It belonged to
the house. Didn’t see a felt hat that morning. In the closet were kept
the bonnets and shawl of Mrs. Borden, that she would come and get and
go out with any time. Sure I didn’t go into any room except the dining
room and kitchen the day of the murder. Think it was before 9 o’clock
when Mrs. Borden said, ‘What have you got to do to-day, Maggie?’ She
told me that I had better wash the windows outside and in. Lizzie took
her breakfast in the kitchen. She took coffee. Am sure of that. Lizzie
was in the dining room, I think, when her mother asked me what I had
to do. Lizzie said, coming out into the kitchen, that she was going to
have a cookie and coffee for breakfast. She sat down by the kitchen
table. There were old magazines in the closet. Had seen Lizzie sit
down in the kitchen sometimes and read the old magazines. When I went
out into the back yard she was eating her breakfast. Didn’t mean to
say the first time I saw Lizzie was when I saw her at the screen door.
First saw her coming out of the dining room door to the kitchen when
I was at the sink. It was about an hour after she came down that she
came to the screen door. During that hour I was washing up the dishes.
I was out in the yard when she was at her breakfast. I felt sick that
morning getting up. I drank some of the milk, but I didn’t eat any of
the bread. I don’t know whether they drank milk before being taken sick
or not. I had eaten some mutton soup and some of my own bread before
being taken sick. I had not eaten any of the pears, for I’m no great
lover of them. I came back in again and Lizzie had had her breakfast.
I went to work washing windows, I didn’t know where Lizzie was then,
but she wasn’t in the kitchen. Mr. Morse went away while I was washing
the dishes, but I don’t know whether this was before or after Lizzie
had had her breakfast. When I was taken sick to my stomach and came
back Mr. Morse had gone out. I went down stairs into the laundry, got a
pail and brush and then went out into the barn to get a handle for the
brush. I got it in one of the stalls. As I went out I spoke to Lizzie
at one of the screen doors. Lizzie asked me if I was going to wash the
windows, and I said yes. She followed me into the entry. Didn’t say
yesterday that I came back from the barn and then spoke to Lizzie at
the screen door. When I told her she needn’t fasten the screen door,
she didn’t do it. Must have got six or seven pails of water from the
barn to wash the windows. The dipper I went in and got was an ordinary
tin dipper. Got it in the kitchen. Mr. Borden was in the habit of going
out the back door, but I didn’t see him. Didn’t see Mr. Borden go out
before I washed the windows. Raised the sitting room windows to wash
them from the inside. The window nearest the hall was open when I heard
Mr. Borden at the front door. Can’t say if the bell rang. Made a coal
fire that morning. Didn’t finish the dishes in the house. They always
put the ironing board on the dining room table. Washed Monday, hanging
out the clothes Tuesday and ironed Wednesday. Finished ironing that
evening. Then I laid the clothes ironed out in piles and Mrs. Borden
and the girls took them up stairs. I mean Lizzie took hers up instead
of the girls took them up. They took the piles of clothes up Thursday
morning, I separated the clothes before breakfast. The little ironing
board was not quite as big as a large board. Sometimes in hot weather
the girls ironed in the kitchen, but usually it was in the dining room.
Can’t say if Lizzie was in the dining room when I came in for the
dipper.” The court then adjourned until next morning, when the hearing
was resumed.

Mrs. Adelaide B. Churchill, a neighbor and friend of the Bordens, was
called to the witness stand as soon as Judge Blaisdell announced that
he was ready. She said: “The first that I knew about the tragedy was
when I saw Bridget Sullivan going to Dr. Bowen’s house. I was on Second
street, coming from the City Hall. She was going in the direction of
Dr. Bowen’s house and appeared frightened. I went to my house, into the
kitchen. The back door of my house is opposite the back door of the
dining room. I looked out to the Borden house and saw Lizzie Borden
standing inside the screen door. She looked distressed. She had her
hand to her head. I asked her what was the matter. She said: ‘Somebody
has killed father, come over.’ I went over and went into the house.
Lizzie was sitting on the second stair inside the screen door. The
stairway is at the right as you come in. I put my hand on her arm and
said, ‘O, Lizzie, where is your father?’ She said, ‘In the sitting
room.’ I said, ‘Where were you?’ She said, ‘I went out to the barn to
get a piece of iron. I heard a distressing noise and came back and
found the screen door open.’ I asked Lizzie where her mother was. She
said she had a note, inviting her to go visit some one who was sick.
She didn’t know but she was killed, too, and wished we’d try and find
her, for she thought she had heard her come in. She said, ‘Father must
have an enemy, for we have all been sick.’ She thought they must have
been poisoned. Then she said she must have a doctor. I said I would get
one, and went to find somebody. There was no one in the sitting room I
thought. I saw no one else in the house or coming to it. I went down
Second street to Hall’s stable to get a young man I thought I could
find there. I went back again, and in a few moments Dr. Bowen came.
Lizzie told him to go into the sitting room. We went, Bridget, Lizzie
and I, to the dining room door. Pretty soon Dr. Bowen came out and
asked for a sheet. Bridget did not want to go up stairs alone, so I
went up with her. Bridget got the sheets and gave one to Dr. Bowen. I
think Dr. Bowen went out then. Soon after Miss Russell came in Lizzie
said she wished somebody would hunt for her mother. Bridget would
not go up alone and I went with her. I went up the stairs and saw on
the far or north side of the bed the prostrate form. I didn’t go any
further. I was half way up the stairs, and my eyes were about on a
level with the floor. I went right down. Miss Russell asked if I made
the noise, and asked me if I had found another. Dr. Bowen was not there
then. A gentleman named Allen came in next, and then Charles Sawyer. I
saw Mr. Borden in the yard about 9 o’clock, before he went down street.
He stood by the screen door. Afterwards saw him headed down street.” In
the cross-examination concluded by Mr. Jennings the witness said that
she saw one of the windows open. It was opposite the screen door.

Miss Alice C. Russell was then called. She said she lived on Borden
street, three hundred yards from the Borden house, and had known Lizzie
eleven years. She thought it was about 11:30, Bridget Sullivan told her
of the affair and she went right over. Lizzie was there in the door.
“Did you say anything to Lizzie or she to you?” “I don’t remember.”
“Was Dr. Bowen there?” “I didn’t see him.” “Did you go in and see the
bodies?” “No, sir.” “Do you remember how Lizzie was dressed?” “No, I
don’t.” “Do you remember anything about it?” “Nothing very connected.”
“Do you remember talking to Miss Lizzie after that?” “Yes, but I don’t
remember what was said. I remember she said she was out in the barn
getting a piece of tin or iron with which to fit the screens.” “Do you
recall when that was that she said that?” “I think it was up stairs.”
“Were there many people there, and did you remain there, Miss Russell?”
“There were people down stairs. I stayed four nights at the house.”
Mr. Knowlton—“Have you often visited the house, Miss Russell?” “Yes;
have stayed there nights. Have been the guest of the girls. Made my
quarters in the guest chamber with the girls. Went there as often as I
had reason to go, sometimes twice or three times a week.” “Was there a
bed in that chamber?” “Yes sir.” Mr. Jennings—“When you went in where
did you say Lizzie was?” “She was standing at the screen door, and
asked me to sit down in the chair in the kitchen. Saw no blood on her
dress. Saw her hands. Rubbed them. There was no blood on them. Rubbed
her cheeks. There was no blood on them or her hair. Her hair, I think,
was done up as usual. Her clothes had no blood on them. Don’t know
if she had on the same shoes I have seen her wear before.” “Was she
fainting from exertion?” “No, she wasn’t fainting.” “Do you remember if
Lizzie went upstairs before the officers did?” “No, she did not.” “How
do you know?” “Because I remember they were all down talking to her.”
“Do you know if an officer went up stairs?” “They went up stairs. I
don’t know if I went with them. I can’t connect it with them, if I went
too. I remember being up stairs.” “Did they go into Miss Lizzie’s room
before she went up?” “Yes; they tried to open Miss Lizzie’s door and
it was locked. They had to break it in and pull the hook out. I told
them to let me look in first. I went in and they came in after I looked
around. Do not know who the officers were. Did not know Officer Doherty
by sight. Know him now. I was in the parlor with them down-stairs. Do
recollect now one of the officers. It was Assistant Marshal Fleet.”
“Did the officers go up to Miss Lizzie’s room when she was there?”
“Yes; they went up then and afterwards. It seems to me they were coming
all day. They asked her questions and she answered them freely.”


Miss Lucy Collette said that she was at Dr. Chagnon’s house on August
4. She went there at ten minutes before 11 in answer to a telephone
message from a clerk at Dr. Chagnon’s. She was to take any telephone
message, for Dr. Chagnon’s family were away. All the doors were locked
and so the witness sat on the piazza in front of the house. She was
there up to 12 o’clock and saw nobody either in the yard or pass
through. She could see the whole yard and there was nobody there during
the time she sat on the piazza.

The calling of the next witness, in the judgment of many of the
spectators in Court, produced evidence of uneasiness on the part of
Lizzie Borden. He was Eli Bence, the drug clerk. He said he remembered
the day of the tragedy and knew the defendant. She was in his store the
day before the tragedy between 10 and 11:30 o’clock. “She asked me for
ten cents worth of prussic acid. I told her we didn’t sell it without
a doctor’s prescription. She said she wanted to use it on a sealskin
cape and I again told her we couldn’t sell it without a prescription,
and she said she had bought it before. Then she went out.” “Is the
defendant the person who tried to purchase this poison?” “She is,” was
the answer. “Who was there?” “Mr. Hart and Mr. Kilroy, the clerks.”
This was all that Mr. Bence was required to tell by Mr. Knowlton, but
Mr. Adams cross-examined him at great length. His testimony was not

Frederick E. Hart, who worked for Smith the druggist, said he saw Miss
Borden between 10 and 10:30 Wednesday morning: “A woman came in and
said she wanted ten cents worth of prussic acid to put around the edges
of a seal skin sacque or cape. She did not speak to me, though she was
very close to me.” “Is the defendant the woman?” “Yes, sir.”

Frank H. Kilroy was in Smith’s drug store at the time. He said “I saw
this lady come in. She went to the counter and asked for prussic acid.
Mr. Bence said: “I can’t sell prussic acid without a prescription.” The
only other thing I heard was the woman use the words, ‘seal skin cape.’
She left the store then. That was all I heard.” Mr. Knowlton “Are you
sure this is the woman?” “Yes, sir.”

Assistant Marshal John Fleet testified as follows: “I was home when the
news came from the Marshal, who had sent word to me by a man in a team.
I drove down to the Borden house and arrived about ten minutes of 12.
I saw officer Allen and Mr. Manning at the front door. Mr. Sawyer was
at the rear door. Inside I found Bridget, Mr. Morse, Dr. Dolan, Dr.
Bowen and Miss Lizzie. I went into the sitting room and saw Dr. Dolan
standing over Mr. Borden. Then I went upstairs and saw Mrs. Borden.
Soon after I went into Miss Lizzie’s room and had a conversation with
her. She was sitting in the room with Rev. Mr. Buck. I asked her if
she knew anything about the man who killed her father and mother? She
said it was not her mother, but her step-mother. Her mother was dead.
I asked her if she had seen anyone around the premises, and she said
she had not. Then she said she heard a man talking to her father at 9
or half-past 9, and she thought they were talking about some store. I
asked her if this man would do her father any injury, and she said no.
I asked her if she knew this man, and she said no. She said she did not
know that any one had threatened her father or would do him harm. At
this point Miss Russell said: ‘Lizzie, tell him all about that man.’
Then Lizzie said that two weeks ago a man had come to the front door
and had held a long conversation with her father. The man seemed to be
angry, and was talking about a store he wanted her father to let. She
said she heard Mr. Borden say he wouldn’t let it for that purpose. She
said she thought the man was a stranger in Fall River. I asked her if
Bridget was in the house during the morning, and she said she had been
washing windows and came in after her father came and then went up
stairs. She said she didn’t think Bridget had anything to do with it.
Lizzie said that when Bridget went up stairs she went up in the barn.
‘Up in the barn?’ I said, and she said ‘Yes.’ ‘What do you mean by up?’
I asked. ‘Up stairs,’ she said. I asked her how long she remained in
the barn and she said half an hour. She said her father was lying upon
a lounge in the sitting room when she went out, and when she came back
she found him all cut up, lying in the same position as she had left
him. She also said John V. Morse had been there, and I asked her if Mr.
Morse had anything to do with it. She said it was impossible, for he
went away at 9 o’clock in the morning and didn’t come back. She didn’t
tell me what she was doing in the yard. Rev. Mr. Buck and Miss Russell
were present during the conversation. I then started to search all the
rooms I could go into.”

“What did you find down in the cellar?”

“Found Mr. Mullaly, with a number of axes on the floor of the washroom.
We reached the cellar, and found nothing other than the two axes and
two hatchets. The two axes were dusty, or covered with ashes, and so
was the little hatchet. The large hatchet was clean with the exception
of a small rust spot. It was about four inches long from the head, to
the edge six inches, and it had a claw handle. I tried the cellar
door, and then went out to the barn. I satisfied myself there was
nobody there to do this deed. Then I went into the house again and
consulted with two of my officers and State Officer Dexter. I made
another search and saw Lizzie again in the presence of two officers,
Dr. Bowen was holding the door. I told him I wanted to search the room.
He said something to her. He went in. He came out and asked me if I
must search the room. I said I must examine the room to make my report.
He let me in then. When I got in, Miss Borden said: “How long will it
take you?” I said I didn’t know, but that I had to search the room. She
said: “I do hope you will get through soon, this is making me sick.” I
searched the room.”

Mr. Knowlton—“Did you say anything more to Miss Borden?”

Assistant Marshal Fleet—“Yes, I said: ‘You say, Miss Borden, that you
went out to the barn, and that you were out there half an hour, while
your father and mother were killed. You still say that?’ She said: ‘I
do not. I say I was in the barn twenty minutes to half an hour.’ Said
I ‘You told me this morning that you were out there half an hour.’ ‘I
don’t say so now,’ she said, ‘It was twenty minutes to half an hour.’
‘What makes you say twenty minutes to half an hour?’ I asked her;
‘Which is it now, twenty minutes or half an hour?’ She said, ‘It was
twenty minutes to half an hour.’”

Mr. Knowlton—“Did you search the premises then? Did you have any more
talk with her then?”


Marshal Fleet—“I searched the room and bureau and then went behind
Lizzie’s door to another door. It was locked. I asked her what room
that was. She said: ‘That is father’s room.’ ‘Is there another way to
get into it?’ I asked. She said there was, by going by way of the back
stairs; that the door from her room was always locked. I started to go
around, as there was no other way. When I got into the entry I asked
her what was in the clothes press. She asked me if I must search that.
I told her I must. She said she had the key and would open it. She
produced the key and opened it.”

Mr. Knowlton—“Describe the room.”

Marshal Fleet—“It was about five by eight; there was a window in it,
but it had not been opened in some time. We took nothing, and then we
searched the rest of the house. I tried the door of Mrs. Borden’s
room, from Miss Lizzie’s room. It was fastened by a bolt, I think, on
the other side.” Mr. Knowlton—“Did you go in there? What else did you
say to Miss Borden?” Marshal Fleet—“When I went into Miss Borden’s
room, Miss Lizzie said there was no use going there, that she always
locked her door, and there was no possible way for anybody to get into
it. I asked her when she saw her mother last. She said about 9 o’clock,
when she was going down stairs. Her mother was in the room where she
was found murdered. Miss Lizzie also said that Mrs. Borden had received
a note or letter from some one that morning. She thought it was from
somebody of the house.” Mr. Knowlton—“Was Lizzie in tears while in
her room.” Marshal Fleet—“No.” The cross-examination of the witness
brought out nothing of importance.




Fifth Day of the Trial.

There was a deathly stillness in the little court room as Prof. Edward
S. Wood of Harvard College, the expert in chemistry, upon whose
evidence it was believed so much would depend, was called to the stand.
Lizzie Borden did not look as strong as on preceding days, and the
look which she concentrated upon the countenance of Prof. Wood was
absolutely pitiful. Emma Borden’s face wore a slight flush and the
other members of the party did not stir a muscle. Every eye in the
room was upon the witness and not a sound broke the silence except the
startling testimony which the professor at once commenced to give.

He said: “I received a package containing two stomachs August 5. The
package contained four jars. The first one was labelled ‘Milk of August
4,’ the second was labelled ‘Milk of August 5,’ the third was labelled
‘Stomach of Andrew J. Borden,’ and the fourth, ‘Stomach of Mrs. Andrew
J. Borden.’ I opened the packages, which bore their original seals,
and found both stomachs perfectly natural in appearance. There was no
evidence of any inflammation. I opened and examined the contents of
the stomachs. The stomach of Mrs. Andrew J. Borden contained eleven
ounces of semi-solid food, the rest being water. At least four-fifths
and perhaps nine-tenths was solid food. The rest was water. It was
partially digested. The solid food contained bread or rather wheat,
starch and a good deal of fat. That is, the contents were chiefly
bread, or similar food, meat and oil. It also contained many vegetable
pulp cells; which might be potatoes, and also some vegetable tissue,
which might be apple or onion skins. The digestion seemed to be
advanced two or three hours. To the best of my opinion it had advanced
two and one-half hours more or less. The stomach was immediately tested
for prussic acid with negative results. There was no prussic acid
in the stomach. I made a more complete analysis later with the same
result. The stomach of Mr. Borden contained six ounces, mostly water.
Nine-tenths was water and one-tenth solid material. In connection
with Mrs. Borden’s stomach there were many solid bits of meat. In Mr.
Borden’s stomach the food contained but small quantities of starch. The
principal part of the solid food was vegetable pulp, and digestion in
his stomach had advanced three and one-half to four hours. Digestion
was very much further advanced than in the case of Mrs. Borden. There
was about two and one-half hours difference. There were a few shreds
of vegetable tissue in his stomach. I tested Mr. Borden’s stomach for
prussic acid with negative results. I did not test it for any other
poison, but there was no evidence of irritation in either. I have not
yet analyzed the milk.”

There was a pause as Prof. Wood concluded the sentences and a notable
relaxation of the tension which prevailed through the room. It was but
momentary, however, and in a second everybody was on edge again, as the
District Attorney propounded the next inquiry.

“Did you receive a trunk?” he asked.

“I did,” answered the professor. “I was in Fall River, August 9, and on
August 10 I received from Dr. Dolan a trunk. In the trunk there was a
hatchet and two axes, a blue dress skirt, a blue dress waist, a white
starched skirt, a lounge cover and a large envelope which contained
three small envelopes. One was marked, ‘Hair taken from Andrew J.
Borden,’ a second, ‘Hair taken from Mrs. Andrew J. Borden,’ a third,
‘Hair taken from the hatchet.’ On Aug. 16, I received from Marshal
Hilliard a box containing a pair of shoes and a pair of woman’s black
stockings. Of these I examined the hatchet. It contained quite a number
of suspicious looking spots, which looked as if they might be blood
spots. They were on the edge and handle. There were no blood spots,
however, on the hatchet, as my examination showed. The same was true of
the axes. Every spot that it seemed possible might be blood I tested,
and found no blood whatever on the instruments. On the blue dress there
was a stain near the pocket. It was a smirch and looked as if it might
be a blood smooch, but it was not. There was a lower stain of similar
appearance, but it was not blood. There was no spot whatever on the
blue dress waist. The white skirt had one very small spot, which was
plainer outside than on the inside of the garment. It was almost a
foot and six inches from the bottom. It was one-sixteenth of an inch
in diameter. That was a spot of blood, and there was no other spot on
the skirt. The carpet was light Brussels and had two dried pools of
blood. I recognized it as the sitting room carpet. The other carpet
was saturated. It was from the spare room and was found under the body.
There was a stain on the lounge cover, which looked like blood, but it
was not. The envelope marked hair from Andrew J. Borden, contained a
lock of white hair stained with blood. The envelope marked hair from
Mrs. Andrew J. Borden, contained a lock of dark gray hair, stained with
blood. The envelope marked hair from the hatchet, contained a hair of
red brown color. The root and end were there and the hair was like that
of a cow or some other animal. It was not a human hair. I next examined
the pair of shoes. On the bottom of the right shoe there was a stain
that looked like blood, but a careful testing showed that it came from
the tanning. There was no spot on the shoe, and I found nothing on
either of the other two axes.”


Then pent-up excitement could be contained no longer, and great sighs
of relief from the strain were heard as the professor concluded the
important portion of his testimony. The friends of Miss Borden looked
greatly relieved and the prisoner herself appeared easier, but there
was no change upon the placid countenance of the District Attorney. Mr.
Knowlton then asked some questions regarding the stains on the hatchet.
Professor Wood said the material that looked like blood was chiefly
wood and other fibres. There was a little stain and a long narrow
stain on the bended edge, and on the blade was a spatter of water and
iron rust. “I examined the stains on the handle for blood spots with
negative results.” This ended Prof. Wood’s testimony and Captain Philip
Harrington was called. He said: “After hearing of the murders, I went
to the house, and entered at the side door. Went into the sitting room
and on the lounge was a body. It was very much mutilated. Went up
stairs and saw Mrs. Borden’s body. Came down and looking into a room
saw Miss Lizzie and Miss Russell. I stepped into the room and asked
Miss Lizzie if she knew anything about the crime, and she said ‘No.’
She was cool and collected, and said she could tell me nothing at
all. I then asked her when she last saw her father. She said: ‘When he
returned from the Post Office.’ She said Maggie was in the house and
she was in the barn. I asked her how long she was there and she said,
‘twenty minutes.’ I asked her if she was sure it was fifteen minutes or
half an hour, and she said, ‘No, it was twenty minutes.’ Then I told
her she had better be careful what she said, and that to-morrow she
might have a clearer frame of mind. She made a courtesy and said, ‘No,
sir, I can tell you all I know now, just as well as at any other time.’
I asked her if she had seen anybody go by, and she said no. I said,
‘The barn is not a great distance, and as the screen door would have
made a noise if anybody had passed it, would she not have heard it.’
She said she was up in the loft. She said she saw nobody in the yard
or about. I asked her if she had any suspicion, and she told me about
a man who had angry words with her father about a store. She heard her
father say he would never let his store for that business. The man came
again about two months ago, and there was another angry interview. Then
she heard her father tell him the next time he was in town to call and
see about it. I asked her if the man was from out of town, and she said
yes, she should judge so. I said, ‘Miss Borden, I would advise you
not to submit to any further interviews. By to-morrow you may be able
to recollect more about this man.’ I asked her if she had heard her
father say anything about this and she said no. I then went down stairs
and Dr. Bowen was there. There was a small fire in the stove and what
appeared to be the remains of some burned paper lay in the fireplace of
the stove. The fire was very low.” Officer Harrington then detailed the
story of the search of the barn. The hay, he said, was tossed about.

[Illustration: REV. E. A. BUCK.]

When he had finished, the District Attorney read the short-hand report
of the testimony of Miss Lizzie Borden given at the inquest, and taken
by Miss White, the official stenographer. It was as follows: “My father
and stepmother were married twenty-seven years ago. I have no idea how
much my father was worth and have never heard him form an opinion. I
know something about what real estate my father owned.” “How do you
know?” Mr. Adams promptly objected. He said he did so on the ground
of the admissibility of a statement, which was detrimental to her.
Judge Blaisdell said he didn’t know that any statement the defendant
might make would not be competent. Mr. Adams argued in support of his
objection. He said any statement that did not bear directly on the
issue between the prosecution and the defence was not material. Judge
Blaisdell allowed the introduction of the question and the answer was
“two farms in Swansea, the homestead, some property on North Main
street, Borden Block, some land further south and some he had recently
purchased.” “Did you ever deed him any property?” “He gave us some
land, but my father bought it back. Had no other transaction with him.
He paid in five thousand dollars cash for this property. Never knew my
father made a will, but heard so from Uncle Morse.” “Did you know of
anybody that your father had trouble with?” “There was a man who came
there some weeks before, but I do not know who he was. He came to the
house one day, and I heard them talk about a store. My father told him
he could not have a store. The man said: ‘I thought with your liking
for money you would let anybody in.’ I heard my father order him out
of the house. Think he lived out of town, because he said he could go
back and talk with father.” “Did your father and anybody else have
bad feelings between them?” “Yes, Hiram C. Harrington. He married my
father’s only sister.” “Nobody else?” “I have no reason to suppose that
that man had seen my father before that day.” “Did you ever have any
trouble with your stepmother?” “No.” “Within a year?” “No.” “Within
three years?” “No. About five years ago.” “What was it about?” “About
my stepmother’s stepsister, Mrs. George Whitehead.” “Was it a violent
expression of feeling?” “It was simply a difference of opinion.”
“Were you always cordial with your stepmother?” “That depends upon
one’s idea of cordiality.” “Was it cordial according to your ideas of
cordiality?” “Yes.” Continuing: “I did not regard her as my mother,
though she came there when I was young. I decline to say whether my
relations between her and myself were those of mother and daughter or
not. I called her Mrs. Borden and sometimes mother. I stopped calling
her mother after the affair regarding her sister-in-law.” “Why did you
leave off calling her mother?” “Because I wanted to.” “Have you any
other answer to give me?” “No, sir. I always went to my sister. She
was older than I was. I don’t know but that my father and stepmother
were happily united. I never knew of any difficulty between them, and
they seemed to be affectionate. The day they were killed I had on a
blue dress. I changed it in the afternoon and put on a print dress.
Mr. Morse came into our house whenever he wanted to. He has been here
once since the river was frozen over. I don’t know how often he came
to spend the nights, because I had been away so much. I have not been
away much during the year. He has been there very little during the
past year. I have been away a great deal in the daytime during the
last year. I don’t think I have been away much at night, except once
when I was in New Bedford. I was abroad in 1890. I first saw Morse
Thursday noon. Wednesday evening I was with Miss Russell at 9 o’clock,
and I don’t know whether the family were in or not. I went direct to my
room. I locked the front door when I came in. Was in my room Wednesday,
not feeling well all day. Did not go down to supper. Went out that
evening and came in and locked the front door. Came down about 9 next
morning. Did not inquire about Mr. Morse that morning. Did not go to
Marion at that time, because they could go sooner than I. I had taken
the Secretaryship of the Christian Endeavor Society and had to remain
over till the 10th. There had been nobody else around there that week
but the man I have spoken of. I did not say that he came a week before,
but that week. Mr. Morse slept in the spare room Wednesday night. It
was my habit to close my room door when I was in it. That Wednesday
afternoon they made such a noise that I closed the door. First saw my
father Thursday morning down stairs reading the _Providence Journal_.
Saw my mother with a dust cloth in her hand. Maggie was putting a cloth
into a mop. Don’t know whether I ate cookies and tea that morning.
Know the coffee pot was on the stove. My father went down town after
9 o’clock. I did not finish the handkerchiefs because the irons were
not right. I was in the kitchen reading when he returned. I am not
sure that I was in the kitchen when my father returned. I stayed in my
room long enough to sew a piece of lace on a garment. That was before
he came back. I don’t know where Maggie was. I think she let my father
in, and that he rang the bell. I understood Maggie to say he said he
had forgotten his key. I think I was up stairs when my father came in,
and I think I was on the stairs when he entered. I don’t know whether
Maggie was washing windows or not when my father came in.” At this
point the District Attorney had called Miss Borden’s attention to her
conflicting statements regarding her position when her father came in,
and her answer was: “You have asked me so many questions, I don’t know
what I have said.” Later, she said she was reading in the kitchen and
had gone into the other room for a copy of the _Providence Journal_. “I
last saw my mother when I was down stairs. She was dusting the dining
room. She said she had been up stairs and made the bed and was going up
stairs to put on the pillow slips. She had some cotton cloth pillows up
there, and she said she was going to work on them. If she had remained
down stairs I should have seen her. She would have gone up the back
way to go to her room. If she had gone to the kitchen I would have seen
her. There is no reason to suppose I would not have seen her when she
was down stairs or in her room, except when I went down stairs once for
two or three minutes.” “I ask you again what you suppose she was doing
from the time you saw her till 11 o’clock?” “I don’t know, unless she
was making her bed.” “She would have had to pass your room, and you
would have seen her, wouldn’t you?” “Yes, unless I was in my room or
down cellar. I supposed she had gone away, because she told me she was
going, and we talked about the dinner. Didn’t hear her go out or come
back. When I first came down stairs saw Maggie coming in, and my mother
asked me how I was feeling. My father was still there, still reading.
My mother used to go and do the marketing.” “Now I call your attention
to the fact you said twice yesterday that you first saw your father
after he came in when you were standing on the stairs.” “I did not. I
was in the kitchen when he came in, or in one of the three rooms, the
dining room, kitchen and sitting room. It would have been difficult for
anybody to pass through these rooms unless they passed through while
I was in the dining room.” “A portion of the time the girl was out of
doors, wasn’t she?” “Yes.” “So far as I know, I was alone in the house
the larger part of the time while my father was away. I was eating a
pear when my father came in. I had put a stick of wood into the fire
to see if I could start it. I did no more ironing after my father came
in. I then went in to tell him. I did not put away the ironing board.
I don’t know what time my father came in. When I went out to the barn
I left him on the sofa. The last thing I said was to ask him if he
wanted the window left that way. Then I went to the barn to get some
lead for a sinker. I went upstairs in the barn. There was a bench there
which contained some lead. I unhooked the screen door when I went out.
I don’t know when Bridget got through washing the windows inside. I
knew she washed the windows outside. I knew she didn’t wash the kitchen
windows, but I don’t know whether she washed the sitting room windows
or not. I thought the flats would be hot by the time I got back. I had
not fishing apparatus, but there was some at the farm. It is five years
since I used the fish line. I don’t think there was any sinker on my
line. I don’t think there were any fish lines suitable for use at the
farm.” “What! did you think you would find sinkers in the barn?” “My
father once told me that there was some lead and nails in the barn.”
“How long do you think you occupied in looking for the sinkers?” “About
fifteen or twenty minutes.” “Did you do nothing besides look for
sinkers in the twenty minutes?” “Yes, sir. I ate some pears.” “Would
it take you all that time to eat a few pears?” “I do not do things in
a hurry.” “Was Bridget not washing the dining room windows and the
sitting room windows?” “I do not know. I did not see her.” “Did you
tell Bridget to wash the windows?” “No, sir.” “Who did?” “My mother.”
“Did you see Bridget after your mother told her to wash the windows?”
“Yes, sir.” “What was she doing?” “She had got a long pole and was
sticking it in a brush, and she had a pail of water.” “About what time
did you go out into the barn?” “About as near as I can recollect, 10
o’clock.” “What did you go into the barn for?” “To find some sinkers.”
“How many pears did you eat in that twenty minutes?” “Three.” “Is that
all you did?” “No. I went over to the window and opened it.” “Why did
you do that?” “Because it was too hot.” “I suppose that it is the
hottest place on the premises?” “Yes sir.” “Could you, while standing
looking out of that window, see anybody enter the kitchen?” “No, sir.”
“I thought you said you could see people from the barn?” “Not after you
pass a jog in the barn. It obstructs the view of the back door.” “What
kind of lead were you looking for, for sinkers? Hard lead?” “No, sir;
soft lead.” “Did you expect to find the sinkers already made?” “Well,
no. I thought I might find one with a hole through it.” “Was the lead
referred to tea lead or lead that comes in tea chests?” “I don’t know.”
“When were you going fishing?” “Monday.” “The next Monday after the
fatal day?” “Yes, sir.” “Had you lines all ready?” “No, sir.” “Did you
have a line?” “Yes sir.” “Where was your line?” “Down to the farm.” “Do
you know whether there were any sinkers on the line you left at the
farm?” “I think there was none on the line.” “Did you have any hooks?”
“No, sir.” “Then you were making all this preparation without either
hook or line. Why did you go into the barn after sinkers?” “Because I
was going down town to buy some hooks and line, and thought it would
save me from buying them.” “Now, to the barn again. Do you not think I
could go into the barn and do the same as you in a few minutes?” “I do
not do things in a hurry.” “Did you then think there were no sinkers
at the barn?” “I thought there were no sinkers anywhere there. I had no
idea of using my lines. I thought you understood that I wasn’t going
to use these lines at the farm, because they hadn’t sinkers. I went
upstairs to the kind of bench there. I had heard my father say there
was lead there. Looked for lead in a box up there. There were nails
and perhaps an old door knob. Did not find any lead as thin as tea
lead in the box. Did not look anywhere except on the bench. I ate some
pears up there. I have now told you everything that took place up in
the barn. It was the hottest place in the premises. I suppose I ate my
pears when I first went up there. I stood looking out of the window. I
was feeling well enough to eat pears, but don’t know how to answer the
question if I was feeling better than I was in the morning, because I
was feeling better that morning. I picked the pears up from the ground.
I was not in the rear of the barn. I was in the front of it. Don’t see
how anybody could leave the house then without my seeing them. I pulled
over boards to look for the lead. That took me some time. I returned
from the barn and put my hat in the dining room. I found my father and
called to Maggie. I found the fire gone out. I went to the barn because
the irons were not hot enough and the fire had gone out. I made no
efforts to find my mother at all. Sent Maggie for Dr. Bowen. Didn’t see
or find anything after the murders to tell me my mother had been sewing
in the spare room that morning.” “What did your mother say when you saw
her?” “She told me she had had a note and was going out. She said she
would get the dinner.” The District Attorney continued to read: “My
mother did not tell when she was coming back. I did not know Mr. Morse
was coming to dinner. I don’t know whether I was at tea Wednesday night
or not. I had no apron on Thursday; that is, I don’t think I had. I
don’t remember surely. I had no occasion to use the axe or hatchet. I
knew there was an old axe down stairs and last time I saw it it was on
the old chopping block. I don’t know whether my father owned a hatchet
or not. Assuming a hatchet was found in the cellar I don’t know how
it got there, and if there was blood on it I have no idea as to how
it got there. My father killed some pigeons last May. When I found my
father I did not think of Mrs. Borden, for I believed she was out. I
remember asking Mrs. Churchill to look for my mother. I left the screen
door closed when I left, and it was open when I came from the barn. I
can give no idea of the time my father came home. I went right to the
barn. I don’t know whether he came to the sitting room at once or not.
I don’t remember his being in the sitting room or sitting down. I think
I was in there when I asked him if there was any mail. I do not think
he went upstairs. He had a letter in his hand. I did not help him to
lie down and did not touch the sofa. He was taking medicine for some
time. Mrs. Borden’s father’s house was for sale on Fourth street. My
father bought Mrs. Borden’s half sister’s share and gave it to her.
We thought what he did for her people he ought to do for his own and
he then gave us grandfather’s house. I always thought my stepmother
induced him to purchase the interest. I don’t know when the windows
were last washed before that day. All day Tuesday I was at the table. I
gave the officer the same skirt I wore that day, and if there was any
blood on it I can give an explanation as to how it got there. If the
blood came from the outside, I cannot say how it got there. I wore tie
shoes that day and black stockings. I was under the pear trees four
or five minutes. I came down the front stairs when I came down in the
morning. The dress I wore that forenoon was a white and blue stripe
of some sort. It is at home in the attic. I did not go to Smith’s
drug store to buy prussic acid. Did not go to the rooms where mother
or father lay after the murder. Went through when I went up stairs
that day. I wore the shoes I gave to the officer all day Thursday
and Friday.” “I now ask you if you can furnish any other suspicion
concerning any person who might have committed the crime?” “Yes; one
night as I was coming home not long ago I saw the shadow of a man on
the house at the east end. I thought it was a man because I could not
see any skirts. I hurried in the front door. It was about 8:45 o’clock;
not later than 9. I saw somebody run around the house last winter. The
last time I saw anybody lately was since my sister went to Marion.
I told Mr. Jennings, may have told Mr. Hanscom.” “Who suggested the
reward offered, you or your sister?” “I don’t know. I may have.” Mr.
Knowlton now stopped reading, and announced: “This is the case of the


Col. Adams for the defence called Dr. Bowen who testified to the facts
as related in the interview published before. City Marshal Rufus B.
Hilliard was also called by the defence and gave his testimony which
was not different from that of the other officers. The evidence was
then concluded and the court adjourned for the day.


Sixth Day of the Trial.

The proceedings opened by Judge Blaisdell announcing that he was ready
to hear the arguments of counsel. Mr. Jennings arose and said: “May it
please Your Honor, this complaint upon which you have to pass to-day,
in substance, alleges that on the 4th of August last Andrew J. Borden
was murdered by his daughter Lizzie. I must say I close this case with
feelings entirely different from those I have ever experienced at the
conclusion of any case. This man was not merely my client, he was my
friend. I had known him from boyhood days, and if three short weeks ago
any one had told me that I should stand here defending his youngest
daughter from the charge of murdering him, I should have pronounced it
beyond the realm of human credibility. But such is the fact, and upon
the decision of Your Honor will rest the liberty and good name of this
young woman. There are some things of which there is no doubt. There
is no doubt that Andrew J. Borden was murdered in his house at the
time given by Bridget Sullivan, Mr. Shortsleeves and Jonathan Clegg.
All these give the time from the City Hall clock. Mr. Clegg sees Mr.
Borden leave his store at 10:30 o’clock, a time he fixes by looking
at the clock. As Mr. Borden entered his other store, one of the men
working there saw it was twenty minutes before 11. It seems to me it is
fixed almost beyond a peradventure that the last time Andrew J. Borden
entered the house was between quarter and ten minutes before 11. Mrs.
Kelly is wrong unless the others are wrong. Mr. Borden did not enter
his home at twenty minutes before 11 unless Mr. Shortsleeves is wrong
and Bridget Sullivan is wrong. The time between his entering the house
and the giving of the alarm is from twenty-five minutes to half an
hour. Now what took place after he got there? Bridget Sullivan says
she left him in the sitting room reading the paper, and within this
narrow limit of half an hour Andrew Borden has to talk with Lizzie,
talk with Bridget, go up stairs, go down-stairs, compose himself in the
chair and place himself upon the sofa. If the theory of the Government
is correct, it certainly took five minutes or perhaps ten minutes
from the time Miss Lizzie gave the alarm to the time information was
received at the Central Station. Now, I claim that you must deduct
ten minutes from the time at which he left the centre of the city to
the time he was found dead. If you do that you limit the time of the
committing of this crime to fifteen, to thirteen, or perhaps to not
more than ten minutes. We have had a description of the injuries, and I
suggest that even the learned District Attorney himself cannot imagine
that any person could have committed that crime unless his heart was as
black with hatred as hell itself.” At this point, for the first time in
public since the commission of the crime, Lizzie Borden almost broke
down. Her form was convulsed, her lips were trembling, and she shaded
her eyes with her hands in order to partially conceal the tears, which
were freely flowing.

Mr. Jennings continued as follows: “Blow after blow was showered upon
them, cutting through blood, bone and flesh into the very brain. Not
one, not two, but in the case of the woman, eighteen. I know it will
be said that the person who did this wanted to make sure. There is an
unnecessary brutality about this that suggests nothing but insanity
or brutal hatred. There is another thing. Every blow showed that the
person who wielded that hatchet was a person of experience with the
instrument. Every blow shows its own line of demarcation and, taking
with this the fact that all the blows were parallel, I venture to say
that no hand could strike those blows that had not a powerful wrist and
experience in handling a hatchet. But now, Your Honor, it is a maxim
of law that better one hundred guilty persons should escape than one
innocent man perish. But more of these wounds. Prof. Wood told you it
was almost impossible for a person to commit these crimes without being
almost covered with blood, from the waist upward in the case of Mr.
Borden, and from the feet upward in the case of Mrs. Borden. Now, what
takes place? It becomes the duty of the Commonwealth to investigate
an atrocious crime like this with the greatest care. It is of the
utmost importance that the guilty party should be found and not someone
accused of it. The Commonwealth seems to have made up its mind that the
crime was committed by some one in that house. All their labors have
been directed with that view. It is perfectly evident to lawyers that
this was one of the views the Commonwealth was taking in presenting its
case. They say no one could get out on the south because Mrs. Kelly
is there, Crowe’s yard is there, men are working there and there is
the Chagnon house. You have Mrs. Churchill on the north and others on
the west. The first thing they’ve got to do in order to draw the line
around the people in the house is to isolate that house. Now, what is
the fact? They know that the house has been burglarized and the barn
broken into within a few months. Whether they know it or not, a person
would say they ought to think that there was someone who knew that
there was money in Mr. Borden’s room. You know that Mrs. Manley saw a
man standing at that gate. The police have had I don’t know how many
men in this case, but they never found this woman. They never found
the man Dr. Handy saw. They can find the axes Lizzie Borden killed her
father with, but they can not find this man. I don’t say they haven’t
tried to, but the fact is they haven’t. Certain men got over that
back fence that day and Mrs. Churchill didn’t see them, nor did Miss
Collette. Miss Collette didn’t see Frank Wixon get over that fence and
walk on it before 12 o’clock that day. John Crowe’s man didn’t see him
either. The District Attorney will tell you that Mrs. Chagnon and her
daughter heard pounding. They described it as of some one getting over
a fence. If Your Honor will think a minute, you will see that it was
not pounding which was in their minds, but the thought of a man getting
over a fence. We claim, Your Honor, that this shows an idea that nobody
else could have got into that house and escaped. Mr. John Morse appears
to have satisfactorily accounted for his time, and that brings us to
two parties, Bridget Sullivan and Lizzie Borden. In the natural course
of things who would be the party to be suspected? Whose clothing would
be examined, and who would have to account for every movement of her
time? Would it be the stranger, or would it be the one bound to the
murdered man by ties of love? And right here, what does it mean when we
say the youngest daughter? The last one whose baby fingers have been
lovingly entwined about her father’s head. Is there nothing in the ties
of love and affection?” The words of Mr. Jennings about the youngest
daughter caused the prisoner strong feelings. She bit her lips and then
the tears began to shine in her eyes. She raised her hand to her eyes
and then placed her handkerchief there. She did not cry, however, and
as soon as Mr. Jennings left this line of talk she wiped her eyes and
was as before, except that her eyes were now red as any woman’s who
lets tears get the best of her. “And I do not wish to be misunderstood.
I do not believe that Bridget Sullivan committed that murder any more
than I believe Lizzie Borden did. Why don’t the District Attorney make
Bridget Sullivan explain what she was doing during the twenty minutes
which elapsed while she is supposed to be washing the upper sitting
room windows? Does it take her twenty minutes to wash the upper part
of one window? Why isn’t she questioned regarding every second as
Lizzie Borden was? Yet, according to her story, it was three-quarters
of an hour. She didn’t wash in all but three windows and a half. Yet
the prosecution thinks nothing of this. If Miss Lizzie cannot escape
being tripped up by one officer and another, she must be guilty. Now,
to commit a crime there must be opportunity. I submit that unless she
alone had an opportunity to commit the crime there is no ground for
holding her. Bridget Sullivan was out washing windows. Nobody saw her
but Mrs. Churchill. Bridget was three-quarters of an hour washing
windows. Mind you, I don’t say Bridget Sullivan did it. I distinctly
state she did not, but I call attention to these points, which the
State haven’t considered yet. Now in regard to the length of time
which those two people had been dead. Prof. Wood testified under
cross-examination that, providing the digestion had been normal, Mrs.
Borden was killed an hour and a half or two hours before Mr. Borden.
If she was killed at 9:30 or 10 o’clock, Mr. Borden was there in the
house. He goes to the Union Savings Bank a few minutes before 9:30.
Surely Lizzie never killed her mother while her father was in the
house. Surely she did not get her father out of the house to kill the
mother. Now, in regard to this, it is perfectly clear to me why the
answers to the questions of her whereabouts at the time of the killing
of her mother and later that morning should be inconsistent. I have
stated before that I considered the inquisition of the girl an outrage.
Here was a girl they had been suspecting for days. She was virtually
under arrest, and yet for the purpose of extracting a confession from
her to support their theory, they brought her here and put her upon the
rack, a thing they knew they would have no right to do if they placed
her under arrest. As in the days of the rack and thumb screws, so she
was racked mentally again and again. Day after day the same questions
were repeated to her in the hope to elicit some information that would
criminate her. Is it a wonder there are conflicting statements? Here
is an intelligent lady, Mrs. Churchill, who went into the house with
Bridget Sullivan and can’t tell what became of the servant. Bridget
Sullivan could not melt into thin air, but this intelligent lady
can’t tell whether she went upstairs or down. Here is Lizzie Borden,
who has been under surveillance for days, who has been compelled to
take preparations to induce sleep. She is brought here, and because
she couldn’t remember the minutest details, that is a sign of guilt.
Now she tells that she got up that morning, goes down stairs about 9
o’clock, not feeling very well. Bridget Sullivan saw her, but can’t
say if she was reading an old magazine. She goes upstairs and then
comes down again. She irons some handkerchiefs. I don’t know but the
State is going to say those handkerchiefs were being cleaned of blood.
It wouldn’t be more presumptuous than several other ideas they have
tried. How about that fire? I am surprised the State hasn’t taken up
that. Perhaps he has not found out that it is hard to start a fire. Now
about her whereabouts at the time her father came in. She first says
she is upstairs. Then she says she is down stairs, and sticks to that.
I submit that, if she was on the stairs when Bridget opened the door to
let Mr. Borden in and laughed, as Bridget says she did, she must have
been insane, and was insane at the time of the commission of the crime.
No human being could do a deed like that and then stand and laugh at a
remark like that made by Bridget Sullivan. It is beyond the bounds of
human belief. Then she says she went out in the yard and stayed there,
and then went into the barn. I don’t believe she can tell how long she
was in the barn. Look at the testimony in this case and see if you
ascribe guilt to Lizzie Borden because she couldn’t tell whether she
was in the barn twenty minutes or half an hour. She goes into the barn
and looks for this lead. Is there anything improbable or unreasonable
in this? If one theory is correct, she couldn’t have been there twenty
minutes or half an hour. It is simply a guess. Then she comes in and
finds her father. It is said that she is guilty because she didn’t call
for her mother. She knew Bridget was in the house, and she hollered and
called her down. Is she the calm, collected being who hasn’t been moved
by this? Mrs. Churchill looks over and sees a sign of distress. She
says ‘What’s the matter?’ and Lizzie says, ‘Come over quick, my father
is killed.’ Then her emotion is such that she requires the attention of
her two friends. The testimony of everybody else in the case is that
this girl had received a terrible shock. She asks her friends to search
for her mother. She tells them her mother had said that she was going
out to see a sick friend and that she thought she had heard her come
in. Was it unnatural that, being unable to find Mrs. Borden, she should
think she had been killed. Now Lizzie’s story conflicts with Bridget’s.
Lizzie says she thinks her mother went out. Bridget says no. Bridget
don’t see Mr. Borden go out. Why should she see Mr. Borden? Now the
Government is bound to show that there is a motive for this crime. In
the absence of it, unless there is direct evidence, their case has got
to fall. What was the motive? The papers all over the country have
published it as it was given out to them. Has there been a motive shown
here? No, only that five years ago something happened. It was as a
result of Mr. Borden’s giving his wife’s stepsister a residence, and
the girls said they thought their father ought to have done as much as
that for them. After that Lizzie called her Mrs. Borden. But now what
kind of a motive would it have required to commit this crime. A man
sometimes when pressed for money will commit crime, and in the case of
Mrs. Robinson we know there was murder to get insurance money. I beg
you to remember if crimes of this sort are committed unless there is a
pressing want of money. And yet to get the motive they’ve got to say
that without hatred, bitterness or previous quarrel, she murders him
to get possession of the money which, in the natural course of events
would be hers within a few years. I say that this is beyond the bounds
of human credibility. They say the attempted purchase of prussic acid
by Lizzie Borden shows she was going to do some deadly deed. If there
is one thing which is weakest in criminal cases it is the matter of
mistaken identity. The books are full of such references. These three
persons say it was Lizzie Borden who went into that store and attempted
to buy prussic acid. Neither of them knows her, but all three assert
it is she. One of them, Bence, is taken to her house and he says he
recognized her by her voice. He says he recognized it because it was
tremulous. Kilroy says her voice was clear and distinct, yet Bence,
with the life and liberty of this girl hanging upon his words, says he
identified her by her voice. If it pleases Your Honor, Lizzie Borden
did not attempt to purchase prussic acid, and she has asked to have her
testimony taken upon this point. She declares that she never left her
home Wednesday morning, and by a special providence, which seems to
have watched over us in parts of this case, her words are corroborated
by the dead woman who told John Morse that Lizzie had been sick in her
room all day and had not left the house, and later, when Mrs. Bowen
comes to the house and asks for Lizzie, Mr. Borden says: she was in
the house all day and only went out at night, when she called on Miss
Russell. I ask you, Your Honor, taking the testimony of Prof. Wood that
no prussic acid was found in the stomachs of the murdered couple, who
told the truth? I don’t mean to say that these young men meant to tell
anything untrue, but in the light of these facts was it Lizzie Borden
who entered that drug store and attempted to purchase prussic acid,
or was it some person who looked like her? Now, if they had proved
a motive, if the motive they have given satisfies you, let us look
at other evidence in the case. This girl has got at the most ten to
fifteen minutes to commit the crime and conceal the weapon. Why didn’t
she wait before she called Bridget Sullivan downstairs? What is her
condition just afterwards? Is there anything on her when the neighbors
come to show that she committed the crime? If she did have time to kill
her mother and clear the blood stains from her garments, she did not
have time to clear up the evidence of her work down stairs. If she had
on an apron, where is the apron? Officer Doherty attempted to describe
the dress he saw her have on. Mrs. Churchill thinks it was of another
color. The lighter the dress the better to find out if she did it,
and, if she did it with the white skirt on, where are the blood spots?
Where did she get rid of the weapons? The dress, the shoes she had on
that morning. Are there any shoe buttons found in the fire? Is there
any smell of burnt clothing? No. Why, at the time of the arrest of this
girl we were enveloped in an atmosphere of poison, gore, hatchets and
bloody hairs. Why, until Prof. Wood stepped on the stand, it had been
given out, whether by the police I do not know, that the hatchet Prof.
Wood had was the weapon with which the crime was committed, and that it
bore signs of having been used to commit it. I confess that until Prof.
Wood went upon the stand my heart almost stood still with anxiety.
The Government is in this position. The more closely they hold Lizzie
Borden in that house, the more they show she couldn’t get out, they
shut that bloody hatchet up there with her. Day after day, hour after
hour they have searched and examined, and the only thing they produced
was the hatchet, which Prof. Wood says contained no blood. I don’t
believe Dr. Dolan would willingly harm a hair of this defendant’s head,
and yet his description of this hatchet was one of the most terrible
things of this trial. It would be such a hatchet as would commit this
deed, he said, and it appeared to have upon it what seemed to him
was a blood spot. The end he said was such as to cause the crushing
wound in the head. But then comes Prof. Draper, who says there was no
such crushing wound. You can imagine, Your Honor, the feelings of the
counsel, who sat here almost heart sick day after day, waiting for that
report and guarding the interests of a client whom they believe to be
innocent, and who insist she is innocent. I have no doubt that every
person with a feeling of sympathy for that girl felt their hearts leap
with joy as Prof. Wood gave his testimony. If I could have had my way I
would have shouted for joy. That was the deliverance of Lizzie Borden.
If that hatchet had been lost on the way by a railroad accident,
Lizzie Borden would have been a condemned woman upon the testimony of
Dr. Dolan, regarding the description of that hatchet. Lizzie Borden’s
life was in Dr. Dolan’s hands and by the goodness of God’s providence
Prof. Wood came, and, like that shot at Concord, which rang round the
world, his story went like a song of joy from Maine to Mexico and from
the Atlantic to the Pacific. They haven’t proved that this girl had
anything to do with the murder. They can’t find any blood on her dress,
on her hair, on her shoes. They can’t find any motive. They can’t
find the axes, and couldn’t clean the axe, and so I say I demand the
woman’s release. The grand jury, if they meet more evidence, can indict
her. She is here—she can’t flee. She isn’t going to flee. The great
public is going to take your decision as they took the arrest upon the
strength of Mr. Knowlton’s experience. They can’t find a motive, no
blood, no poison, and so I say that this woman shan’t be sent to prison
on such evidence as this, shan’t be sent to jail for three months,
shan’t be deprived of her liberty and her good name. Don’t, Your
Honor, when they don’t show an incriminating circumstance, don’t put
the stigma of guilt upon this woman, reared as she has been and with a
past character beyond reproach. Don’t let it go out in the world as the
decision of a just judge that she is probably guilty. God grant Your
Honor wisdom to decide, and, while you do your duty, do it as God tells
you to do it, giving to the accused the benefit of the doubt.”


As Mr. Jennings concluded, there were tears in the eyes of a majority
of those present. Col. Adams, the associate counsel, was deeply
affected, and Mr. Phillips, Mr. Jennings’ assistant, was weeping. The
prisoner’s lips were trembling, and the tears in her eyes were hidden
from view by her hands, which were placed there. As Mayor Coughlin, Dr.
Dolan and other prominent persons stepped forward to grasp the hand
of the attorney, a ripple of applause started, which rapidly swelled
into a loud expression of admiration and sympathy, and with the echo of
this applause, which there was no attempt to suppress, the Court was
adjourned till the afternoon.


District Attorney Knowlton’s Argument.

Knowledge of the splendid presentation of the case of the defence by
Mr. Jennings reached the streets almost in advance of its conclusion,
and the effect was apparent at the opening of the afternoon session.
The court room was crowded to excess, and there were larger throngs at
the entrances on the square than had been noticed since the opening
of the hearing. Everybody expected an interesting answer from the
District Attorney, and the gathering assembled to listen to it included
the leading professional men of the city. Attorney General Pillsbury
arrived at noon, and was seated beside the District Attorney, as the
latter began to speak. Lizzie Borden was pale as she entered, but she
flushed a vivid crimson as the District Attorney arose to speak. He
said: “I can fully appreciate Your Honor’s feelings, now that the end
of this hearing is about to be reached. The crime of murder touches
the deepest sensibilities of feeling. There is the deepest feeling
of horror about it, and above all in the unnaturalness that brings
the thrill of horror to every mind. The man who is accustomed even to
conflicts of arms may not be expected to be free from horror at the
thought of the assassin. While it was not a pleasant summons that came
to me, the almost despairing cry that came to me to come over here, I
should not have been true to duty if I had not undertaken to ferret out
the criminal. It was so causeless a crime. The people interested in
it were so free from ordinary bickerings or strife that of all cases
that transcend the ideas of men, this case was that case. The murdered
man’s daughter was arrested. I perfectly understood the surprise and
indignation that started up. I am sorry that Your Honor was criticised.
Does not Your Honor believe my own soul is filled with anguish that I
must go on and believe the prisoner guilty, and yet the path of duty
is not always the path of pleasure. The straight and narrow path is
often full of anguish, and does not have the popular voice behind it.
What is it we have done? There are three stages, yes, four, which are
junctions of the law in a case like this. First, the stage of simple
inquiry. I am sworn on that book before Your Honor that an inquest
shall be held, which is necessarily private. That step has been taken.
There then comes another stage, when by the laws of inquiry it finally
sees the evidence points to any particular person and such an occasion
as this follows. That is the present state. To that tribunal it is Your
Honor’s duty to direct such cases as seem too grave for Your Honor
to decide. Then the evidence appears to indicate that the balance of
probabilities is in favor of finding the accursed guilty of the act.
The Commonwealth advances no statements as to probable guilt. Your
Honor’s duty is before you. Let us go back to the pictures. They are
before you. Such was the scene presented four weeks ago this morning.
What are they? One is a man retired from business, of simple and frugal
habits, and so far as we know without an enemy in the world. If there
was some friction between him and his wife’s relatives, that domestic
and honorable lady was absolutely without harsh feelings on the part of
the world, yet she was murdered, and there was a hand that dealt those
blows, and a brain that directed them. There was not a man, woman or
child in the world of whom we could not have said, they would have done
it. But it was done. The presumption that some enemy killed him and
then killed her, for I presume that Your Honor will prefer the evidence
of the chemist, Prof. Wood, rather than the story of a Medical Examiner
who has not examined the stomachs, is that Mrs. Borden was dead fully
an hour and a half before the murder of Mr. Borden. Who could have done
it? As an eminent attorney once said, there is no motive for murder.
There is reason for it, but no motive. I never in all my experience saw
a man so utterly low as to believe him guilty of such a deed. But it
was done. By what? Obviously by a hatchet. The blows were struck from
behind. It was the act of a physical, if not a moral coward. It was
the act of a person who, while willing to murder, was not willing to
let the murdered people see who was doing it. As you listened to the
description of the blows, you are convinced of the fact that no man
could have struck them. You are struck with the thought that it was an
irresolute, imperfect feminine hand that could strike, and yet not with
the strength of a man, and we do not know who did it. It was not the
result of spite as first thought, but the blows were fast, swift blows
of somebody who had a reason for doing it. The first obvious inquiry
is, who is benefited by that removal. God forbid I should impute that
motive, but what have we before us? I don’t know what was the cause of
it. I have discovered the fact that she has repudiated the relation of
mother and daughter. I knew once two boys who in growing to be men
discovered that their father had committed a crime and called him Mr.,
but I never heard of another case of that sort. We’ve got the terrible
fact. She has repudiated the name of mother. Has Your Honor, as I have,
ever learned that no more lasting hatred ever springs up than between
step-parents and their children? We have seen that he didn’t provide
the house with gas, that he hadn’t in the house what those daughters
very much wanted, a bath tub, and that they quarrelled about property.
Do you suppose that was a sufficient motive? I grant that that is not
an adequate motive for killing her. There is no adequate motive for
killing her. But I have found the only person in the world with whom
she was not in accord. Let us look around and it cannot be imagined how
anybody could have got in or out. I listened to the eloquent remarks of
my brother and failed to hear him tell how anybody could have got in
there, remained an hour and a half, killed the two people and then have
gone out without being observed. Doors locked and windows closed. Here
was a house with the front door locked, the windows closed, the cellar
door locked and the screen door closed, with somebody on guard in the
kitchen. Nay, Mr. Borden locked the barn every night, and you can’t go
from one part of the house to the other without keys. That makes us
begin to think. Of course, this is negative evidence. Of course it is
neither sufficient, reliable or conclusive, but all evidence is made
up of circumstances of more or less weight. Yet from this house, on a
main street, near the centre of the city, passed by hundreds of people
daily, no man could depart without being seen. And that isn’t the most
difficult part of it. I can’t devise any way by which anybody could
have avoided those locks. Tell me not about the barn which Mr. Borden
always locked himself; the front door was locked when Mr. Borden came
in; there was not a hiding place when they came in; they could not
get upstairs to the front of the house by the back way; they must be
seen passing through the house; and I haven’t dwelt on the chances of
anybody escaping the notice of these five people and the refusal of the
human mind to accept such a possibility. I can conceive of a villain. I
can’t conceive of the villain who did this; and I can’t also conceive
of a villain who is a fool. All the movements of this family must
have been known, and so the mind, not the mind which is actuated by
sympathy and which I understand but cannot follow, because I am sworn
to my duty, but the impartial mind looks toward the house. There has
been no idle and unjust suspicion. It was natural that suspicion should
be directed towards the inmates of that house. Morse is out of the way
and then comes the servant girl, perhaps the next one thought of. The
discharge of my duties have found in my eyes no difference between
one class and another. When I came to Fall River I knew no difference
between honest and reputable Lizzie Borden and honest and reputable
Bridget Sullivan, and so Bridget Sullivan was brought here to what my
learned friend calls a star chamber inquiry, and was questioned as
closely and minutely as any other member of the family. The innocent
do not need fear questioning. In all my twenty-five years experience
will my learned brother say that he ever heard or knew me to treat
a female witness discourteously. She sitting in one chair and the
inquirer in another, presumably as innocent as anybody; and yet fault
is found that she is suspected when she answers questions in two ways.
I’m going to assume that Your Honor believes Bridget Sullivan has told
the exact truth. What took place, Bridget Sullivan? Mr. Morse went
off that morning and left Lizzie in the kitchen alone. The only time
when Mrs. Borden could have been killed. Mrs. Borden told her to wash
windows and she goes out to do it. Lizzie didn’t go up the back way
because she couldn’t get up that way. In the lower part of the house
there was no person left and Lizzie and her mother were upstairs. Then
Lizzie comes to the screen door. Maggie says, don’t lock the screen
door. Mr. Borden was then alive. Mrs. Churchill saw Mr. Borden go off
and then saw Bridget washing windows. Then the hatchet was driven
into the brain of Abby Borden. Many a man has been convicted because
he alone could have committed a crime. Maggie finishes her work, and
then, until Mr. Borden comes in, Lizzie and Mrs. Borden are alone
upstairs, and this is not all; Mr. Borden comes to the front door. I
don’t care to comment on Lizzie’s laughter at Bridget’s exclamation,
but Lizzie was where, if Mrs. Borden fell to the floor, she could not
have been twenty feet away from her, and where, if the old lady made
any noise, she could have heard it. Then Lizzie comes down stairs and
commences to iron. Bridget leaves her alone with her father. Less
than fifteen minutes later the death of Mr. Borden takes place. She
could have but one alibi, she could not be down stairs; she could not
be anywhere except where she could not see any person come from the
house. It is now more difficult in the cool of September than it was
at the inquest, to imagine the improbability of the story told by Miss
Lizzie. Where he was she can’t tell; where he came from she didn’t
know; where was she between the hours of nine and ten, when her mother
was killed; whatever else I may not say of Lizzie Borden, I will say
that for one to even suggest that from the time she found her father
dead she was not in full control of all her faculties, is to confess
that they do not know the facts. She has not shed a tear, and it is
idle for any one to say she has been confused or dazed. I asked her
where she was when her father came back, and we get this story: ‘I
was down in the kitchen.’ That’s the kind of thumbscrew I apply, and
it was a most vital thing. Almost a moment after: ‘Where were you
when the bell rung?’ ‘I think I was upstairs in my room.’ ‘Were you
upstairs when you heard the bell?’ No thinking now, no daze: ‘I think
I was on the steps coming down.’ Isn’t it singular, isn’t it a vital
thing that upon this most important subject she should not tell the
same story upon two pages of the testimony. I prefer to take the story
of one who gives the same answer twice, for I am not affected by the
heat and the turmoil which surrounds this case, and for which I have no
hard feelings towards anybody. Then I asked her: ‘What were you doing
while your father was out?’ and she said she was waiting for the irons
to heat. Unsatisfactory explanations. Isn’t it singular that I can’t
get a satisfactory explanation from her as to how she spent the hour
and fifteen minutes while her father was out and her mother was being
killed upstairs. Finally, however, she says after urging twice, she saw
him take off his slippers, when the photographs show he did not take
off his boots, and after speaking to her father she tells him that she
thinks her mother has gone out; and then she tells us that she went to
the barn. And when we asked her ‘where was your mother?’ She answers,
‘she is not my mother, but my stepmother,’ and her bosom friend, Miss
Russell, is compelled to testify that Lizzie told her she went out to
get a piece of something to fix her window. Then she tells Dr. Bowen it
was to get a piece of iron; then she tells the story of the fish line
and the sinker. I say to her, ‘Where did you spend twenty minutes or
half an hour on that hot morning?’ She says she went to fix a curtain
at the west end of the barn and ate pears there. Let me say I never saw
an alibi labor as this one does; you can see by reading that testimony
how she was away from home during the questioning. She was going to
that barn on the hottest of days to get something unnecessary. I don’t
say this is enough to convict her, but with Maggie’s story that she
had been where she could have committed the crime, there is something
to challenge our credulity. Relation of mother and daughter. There was
so little in common between the daughter and the mother that it was to
Bridget the mother gave notice of her intended movement, and not to the
daughter. We have it from Lizzie that her mother received a note from
sick friends. Who sent it? Where did it come from? It did not come in
the screen door, because Bridget was in the kitchen. Mr. Borden knew
nothing about it. Lizzie says she told him. Some laughter was heard
when a witness said a reporter was found sitting on the steps when the
first officer arrived. I am not one who joined in that laughter, for
the reporter in this case represents the anxious and agonized public,
who wish to know any fact in this matter and every point of evidence,
true or false. If there was any person in the world who wrote that note
would he not in the interest of humanity come forward. There never was
a note sent. It was a part of the whole cunning scheme, and if there
had been, and the writer of it had been in the remotest corner of the
world, he would certainly have come forward. It’s an easy thing to
say, but it is one of those things that, when a matter becomes public
property, cannot be concealed. Nobody, Your Honor, has said this family
was poisoned with prussic acid. All that the Commonwealth says is that
this was the first proposition. I intended to say at the outset that
the crime was done as a matter of deliberate preparation. Those young
men recognized her not by her voice, but recognized her and her voice.
Is there any different point of view in Lizzie Borden from any other
person who is accused of crime. We find here the suggestion of a motive
which speaks volumes. The druggist told her plainly she couldn’t have
it. Then how could this thing be done? Not by the pistol, not by the
knife, not by arsenical poisoning. There was but one way of removing
that woman, and that was to attack her from behind. That is a dreadful
thing. It makes one’s heart bleed to think of it. But it is done. I’d
rather resign my office than deal with it, but I will not flee from
duty. I haven’t alluded to and I think I will not comment upon the
demeanor of the defendant. It is certainly singular. While everybody
is dazed there is but one person who, throughout the whole business,
has not been seen to express emotion. This somewhat removes from our
minds the horror of the thing which we naturally come to. Atrocious and
wicked crime is laid to the door of some women. The great poet makes
murderesses, and I am somewhat relieved that these facts do not point
to a woman who expressed any feminine feeling. When Fleet came there
she was annoyed that any one should want to search her room for the
murderer of her father and step-mother. I know there are things that
have not been explained. It has been a source of immense disappointment
that we have not been able to find the apron with which she must have
covered her dress, and which must contain blood, just as surely as
did the shoes. It is a source of regret that we have not been able to
find the packet, but she had fifteen minutes in which to conceal it.
This was not a crime of a moment. It was conceived in the head of a
cunning, cool woman, and well has she concealed these things. If Your
Honor yielded to the applause which spontaneously greeted the close of
the remarks of my earnest, passionate brother, if Your Honor could but
yield to the loyalty of his feelings, we would all be proud of it, and
would be pleased to hear him say: ‘We will let this woman go.’ But that
would be but temporary satisfaction. We are constrained to find that
she has been dealing in poisonous things; that her story is absurd, and
that hers and hers alone has been the opportunity for the commission of
the crime. Yielding to clamor is not to be compared to that only and
greatest satisfaction that of a duty well done.”


There was a deathly silence in the crowded court room as the District
Attorney concluded, and every eye was upon Judge Blaisdell. The
features of the kindly old magistrate were saddened, and he was visibly
affected as he commenced his remarks. He said: “The long examination
is now concluded, and there remains but for the magistrate to perform
what he believes to be his duty. It would be a pleasure for him, and he
would doubtless receive much sympathy if he could say ‘Lizzie, I judge
you probably not guilty. You may go home.’ But upon the character of
the evidence presented through the witnesses who have been so closely
and thoroughly examined, there is but one thing to be done. Suppose
for a single moment a man was standing there. He was found close by
that guest chamber which, to Mrs. Borden, was a chamber of death.
Suppose a man had been found in the vicinity of Mr. Borden; was the
first to find the body, and the only account he could give of himself
was the unreasonable one that he was out in the barn looking for
sinkers; then he was out in the yard; then he was out for something
else; would there be any question in the minds of men what should be
done with such a man?” There was a brief, painful pause, and the eyes
of the Judge were wet with tears. Then he resumed: “So there is only
one thing to do, painful as it may be—the judgment of the Court is
that you are probably guilty, and you are ordered committed to await
the action of the Superior Court.” The glance of every person in the
room was on Lizzie as the finding of the Court was announced. She sat
like a statue of stone, totally unmoved, and without the slightest
evidence of emotion or interest in the proceedings. Her aged pastor
beside her placed his hands over his ears. He knew what was coming,
and could not hear the words. The white faces of all in the court room
rendered the seance particularly impressive. Then the prisoner stood
up, still with that same impassive countenance, and far-away look.
She listened quietly while the clerk read the sentence of the Court,
ordering her confinement in Taunton Jail until the session of the grand
jury on the first Monday in November. At the conclusion of the words,
she seated herself quietly, and after a few minutes left the court room
escorted by the sorrowing old clergyman. After this there were a few
formalities. The recognizances of Bridget Sullivan and John V. Morse
were renewed, Marshal Hilliard and Officer Seaver becoming bondsmen
for the domestic and ex-Congressman Davis for Mr. Morse. Col. Adams
announced that the attorneys had agreed that the piece of blood-stained
plaster should remain in the possession of the Clerk, and with that,
the case came temporarily to an end.

[Illustration: ELI BENCE.]

[Illustration: THE GRAND JURY.]


Lizzie A. Borden Indicted.

Contrary to the expectations of a great many people, Judge Blaisdell
held that Lizzie Borden was “probably guilty” of the murder of her
father. She was not tried nor accused of the murder of her stepmother;
all that the State desired was to hold her to await the action of the
grand jury of Bristol County. The prisoner was transferred to the
county jail at Taunton and delivered into the keeping of Sheriff Wright
and his wife. The latter, the matron of the institution, formerly lived
in Fall River, where she knew the Bordens very well. The accused was
therefore in the hands of the kindliest of persons who undoubtedly
made her stay as pleasant as it was possible under the circumstances.
She was allowed certain privileges, and for the most part occupied her
cell as an ordinary prisoner. Her sister Emma, Rev. Mr. Buck, Rev. Mr.
Jubb and her lawyers made frequent visits to the jail. Her life in the
county bastile was that of the other inmates, and nothing happened
until November, to attract to her more than passing interest. The
newspapers made frequent reference to the case, but as she never read
the daily papers she was not disturbed by them. One New York newspaper
printed a magnificent “fake” interview which its representative was
supposed to have had with the accused, and ever and anon there would
appear something to awaken interest in the case. The grand jury,
composed of twenty-four men, assembled on November 7th to consider the
criminal cases in Bristol county. The Borden case was reserved for the
last. The greater part of the week ending November 21st, was devoted to
this case. The State submitted most of its evidence and the District
Attorney established a precedent by notifying Attorney Jennings that he
would be allowed to present to the jury the evidence for the defense.
This meant that Mr. Knowlton was so manifestly fair in conducting the
case in the grand jury room, that he was willing and anxious that the
jury hear not only the evidence against Miss Borden, but the testimony
in her behalf. If after hearing both sides the jury found her not
guilty, he would be well satisfied, and if on the other hand she was
found to be guilty he would be equally satisfied. On the 21st the news
of the adjournment of the jury without action in the case was heralded
throughout the land. No one seemed to know what it meant, but almost
everybody had a theory. Very few of these theories were alike, and
perhaps none of them were correct. The grand jury simply adjourned
until December 1st, and that was all the public knew.

On the day set, it convened again and the State presented more evidence.

Miss Alice Russell, an important witness, reappeared voluntarily, and
relieved her mind of a few facts which it is said, had been forgotten
or overlooked at the time of her first appearance.

The next day, the 2d of December, the grand jury returned three
indictments against Lizzie Borden. One charged her with the murder of
her father, Andrew J. Borden, another charged her with the murder of
her stepmother, Abbie D. Borden, and the third charged her jointly with
the murder of both. At the time the vote was taken on the question
of her indictment by the jury there were twenty-one members present.
Of these, twenty voted “yes” and one voted “no.” So it happened that
twenty men had said upon their oaths, after having heard the evidence
impartially given, that Lizzie Borden was guilty. There were thousands
of people who had maintained all along that the Fall River police, the
Medical Examiner, the Judge of the District Court and the District
Attorney had labored in vain, and that the grand jury would fail to
find a true bill; but alas for those good people who had traduced the
City Marshal’s character, yes, assailed his honesty of purpose and
doubted his capabilities, and in some instances gone even further—his
acts as well as those of his associates had been endorsed. It was
an hour of triumph for them even if it was one of sadness for the
prisoner’s friends.

The criticism of the City Marshal assumed various and in many instances
unique forms. One instance will suffice to show to what extremities
a few foolhardy editors carried their prejudices. An afternoon
newspaper published in Worcester, Mass., inflicted upon its readers a
screed worthy the ablest efforts of a Chicago anarchist. It printed
an editorial, at the time of the cholera scare in New York, in which
it expressed a desire that the Asiatic pestilence would come up
Narragansett Bay and destroy every man connected with the prosecution
of Lizzie Borden. It drew a pen picture of the dread disease in the
act of purging the city of Fall River of such men as would dare to
insinuate that the young woman was guilty. Then it sat back on its
haunches, that editorial, and chuckled with goulish glee at the
prospect. Looking at this case in the light of the action of the grand
jury it would seem that the author of that editorial was a trifle
hasty. This was an extreme case, and yet there were many instances
wherein a similar sentiment was expressed.

Miss Borden remained in Taunton Jail until the 8th of May, 1893, when
she was taken to New Bedford, Mass., and arraigned before Judge J. W.
Hammond of the Superior Court to plead to the indictments. Her plea on
each charge was “not guilty.” The date of her trial was set for June
5 following, to take place in New Bedford—and she was taken back to
Taunton. Meanwhile, Ex-Governor George D. Robinson was retained to
assist in her defense. Her arraignment created anew public interest in
the case and a few days later the news was sent out from Taunton that
she was very ill with a cold contracted on the journey to and from New
Bedford. Still another story was circulated to the effect that her mind
was weakening under the great strain and worry, but it was promptly
denied the next day.

About this time Mrs. Mary A. Livermore paid the accused a visit and was
accorded an interview at Taunton Jail. The next day New England people
were treated to a very pathetic story over the name of Amy Robsart,
which was contrary to the report of Miss Borden’s mental condition.
Mrs. Livermore had told Miss Robsart and the latter had painted the


The Trickey-McHenry Affair.

The history of the Borden murder would be incomplete without reference
to the affair in which Henry G. Trickey, the talented reporter of the
_Boston Globe_, and Detective Edwin D. McHenry figured so prominently.
They were not alone in the deal which resulted in the _Boston Globe_
publishing on the 12th of October, 1892, a story which has since became
famous as the most gigantic “fake” ever laid before the reading public.
A dozen people, a majority of whom rank high in the estimation of the
public were directly connected with this matter and while the writer of
this book would be justified in giving each and every man’s connection
therewith, circumstances have arisen which would seem to indicate that
by the publication of these names, an unfortunate occurrence would
be stirred into action again, and perhaps no particular good would
result. So delicate in fact has the matter become that no newspaper has
attempted to publish anything more than an occasional reference to it;
although more than one great daily is in possession of the main facts.
It is a delicate matter because it has many sides to be presented,
and each participant maintains that he was right in his actions and
that the others were wrong. After hearing the story from many sources,
each of which is apparently authentic, it becomes more confusing and
treacherous. There are some things however upon which all parties
agree, and they will be discussed in this chapter.

Henry G. Trickey bargained with Detective McHenry for an exclusive
story of the Borden case and the price to be paid was $500, according
to Mr. Trickey. The story was delivered, paid for and published in
the _Boston Globe_. It was false in every particular, and the _Globe_
discovered its mistake ten hours after it had been made. Mr. Trickey
left Boston soon afterward and was accidentally killed by a railroad
train in Canada in the latter part of November. His friends insisted
that he was unjustly dealt with by McHenry, and that his death was
the indirect result of the transaction. They claim also that he
represented a great newspaper and that his efforts in getting the
story for publication were honest, praiseworthy, and done in a manner
which is to be expected of the live newspaper man of the day. But the
State represented in this matter by McHenry, makes a different claim,
and it submitted evidence to the grand jury whereby Mr. Trickey was
indicted for his connection with the affair. Had the unfortunate Mr.
Trickey lived to meet his accusers the result would no doubt have
been as interesting and quite as sensational as the killing of the
Bordens. As the Fall River police in connection with McHenry secured
the evidence upon which Mr. Trickey was indicted, it is but natural
to expect that they had reasons for so doing. To offset this, the
friends of the reporter claim that he was the victim of a plot of which
McHenry was the moving spirit and they shoulder most of the blame on
the detective. He, however, appears to be able to bear the burden, as
Marshal Hilliard has repeatedly said that he found McHenry a capable,
reliable and trustworthy, officer so far as his connection with him
had been. Thus it will be seen that if Mr. Trickey was innocent of the
charges preferred against him he was at a disadvantage, for the Fall
River police, as well as the District Attorney and the Attorney-General
were kept thoroughly posted on what was taking place between the
reporter and the detective. In order that both sides may be presented
to the public the story of the transaction as told by McHenry as well
as that of Trickey is given and can be taken for what it is worth. The
detective has been unmercifully criticised by almost every newspaper in
the country. Perhaps he deserved it richly and perhaps he did not. The
following is his statement made to the writer. He said:—


“I was in New York the day of the Borden murders, and left that night
for Fall River. Upon arriving on Friday morning, I, in company with
State Officer Seaver, went to the Borden house to make a survey of the
premises. This trip I took upon my own responsibility, as it were,
prompted merely by a desire to look over the ground where so terrible
a tragedy had been enacted. While in the yard I learned the story of
the man who was said to have jumped over the back fence, and out of
curiosity searched that part of the premises for a trace which the
escaping man might have left. I was engaged in this work about three
hours. I talked with John Cunningham who was the first man on the
premises, and from him learned that the back cellar door was locked
when he made an effort to open it shortly after the murders were
reported. I then went to the door and counted eleven weekly cobwebs,
that is cobwebs which had been in place a week or more. Assistant
Marshal Fleet and I opened the door and concluded that no one had
passed through it for a week at least. We then went to the barn and
made further search. We were told that the place had been locked.
After that, we made search of the Chagnon fence, and I measured it and
took other observations. From the house, I went to the City Marshal’s
office and there met Mr. Hilliard and Mayor Coughlin. The two men were
discussing the case. It was then that the Marshal employed me on the
case, and the Mayor authorized his action. I was engaged in various
work until Saturday afternoon or evening, when the Marshal said to me,
‘Mr. McHenry, I understand that there is a Pinkerton man in the city.
I want you to take care of him.’ The Mayor was also present at this
interview, and gave his sanction to the order. I learned afterward
that the Marshal referred to the fact that Assistant Superintendent O.
M. Hanscom of the Boston Agency was in the city, and believed that he
was in the employ of Attorney Jennings and the Borden family. But the
same night I found Mr. Hanscom, and watched him according to orders.
It happened that the Marshal, Officer Seaver and myself were at the
Marshal’s residence during the early part of the night in consultation
on the case. Mr. Hilliard was at supper, and I took occasion to go out
and look around the premises. As I did so, I saw two Pinkerton men at
the back window evidently in the act of eavesdropping. I very quickly
told them to get out, as we did not want any such cattle around. I did
not mention the incident to the Marshal at the time, but later, as
we walked up to the city, I informed him of what I had seen. He was
naturally angry at the audacity of the men whom I had seen around his
house. On the way to the police station we met Henry G. Trickey, and
he immediately entered into conversation with the Marshal. I heard
Mr. Hilliard say, ‘I am making no special mark of anybody in this
investigation, but I do intend to probe this affair to the bottom,
no matter who it hits. I want you to convey this information to your
friend. Outside detectives must not interfere with the work of my men.’
Right here I want to state, by way of parenthesis, that I did not go
to the post office in Providence and offer to sell the evidence in
the Graves-Barnaby case to Mr. Trickey, although he said that I did.
And the reason that I state that, is that this very night, of which
I am speaking, saw the beginning of the Trickey-McHenry affair, and
it was but three nights after the Borden murders. It did not have its
origin in me at all, as you will see as we progress. You will remember
that yesterday I told you of an alleged truce which was said by the
newspapers, in fact by Mr. Trickey himself, to have been patched up
between us. The fact is that three months before the Bordens were
murdered, I, in company with two friends, were in the Adams House,
Boston, when Mr. Trickey came up. We had not been on friendly terms,
as you know, since the Graves trial in Denver, and at that time we did
shake hands, and apparently the hatchet was buried. In Mr. Trickey’s
own statement of this affair, which was printed over his signature
in the _Boston Globe_ of October 11th, 1892, appears this sentence,
“I went to Providence to see about the lawyer story.” Now that was
manifestly incorrect, as you know yourself that the _Boston Globe_
published the whole story ten days before, and I know that Mr. Trickey
got it from State Officer Seaver. I merely mention this to show to you
some of the glaring inconsistencies which are prominent in the story of
the affair from which that sentence was read. But that is not the point
for discussion now. On the night to which I referred awhile ago, which
was the 7th of August, Mr. Trickey, before meeting us as before stated,
had left Superintendent Hanscom across the street and Mayor Coughlin
had joined the party, which then consisted of Marshal Hilliard,
the Mayor, Officer Seaver, Mr. Trickey and myself. After the short
conversation with the Marshal, Mr. Trickey then turned to the Mayor
and commenced to abuse the Attorney-General for his course in the then
pending Trefethen-Davis case. Mr. Trickey said, ‘Hanscom had prevented
the conviction of Trefethen so far, and he will lead Pillsbury yet;
more than that, he will prevent the Fall River police from hanging
Lizzie Borden.’ This thread of conversation was kept up for awhile, and
then Mr. Trickey, turning to me said, ‘Just a minute, Ned, I want to
speak to you.’ I stepped aside with him. The Mayor and Officer Seaver
walked along; the Marshal heeled up a few feet away. Then Mr. Trickey
delivered himself as follows:—‘Ned, you are a big chump if you don’t
throw that big clam digger, (meaning the Marshal) and deal to me.
There is just 5000 bobs in this job for us.’ The Marshal overhead this
statement. I replied, ‘What do you mean, Trickey?’ Then he said, ‘You
know how I stood with Hanscom in the Graves matter, don’t you? I just
about own that Pinkerton Agency, and the men do just about as I say
in these matters. Now, I am in a position to give you a chance to get
square with the Pinkertons and at the same time catch 5000 nice juicy

“This was a tempting offer, I must say, for a poor man to hear made,
and I said, ‘Well, Henry, I will consider your proposition awhile
and see you again later.’ Hardly had the words been uttered than he
grabbed me with both hands, and at the same time spoke in a loud voice
to the Marshal, who still remained near by, saying, ‘I’ll let Mack go
in a minute, Marshal; I want to speak to him about a lady we knew in
Denver.’ Then lowering his voice he continued, ‘Has Lizzie Borden got
a lover? Can’t I allege that she has in my story to-morrow morning?
I want something big to scoop this gang of newspaper fellows who are
in the town.’ My reply to this was, ‘Great God, Henry, no.’ He talked
on, saying, ‘Judging from what I heard to-day, somebody is in love
with Lizzie.’ ‘No, sir,’ said I, ‘the utmost consideration is and has
been shown to Miss Borden, and I never heard that she had a lover.’
The suggestion which Mr. Trickey made then was used in the great
story which he bought some months afterward, and you can begin to see
now, perhaps, why I was suspicious of the honesty of Mr. Trickey’s
intentions. He continued, however, saying, ‘I know a great deal more
about this case than the Fall River police, and right here I want to
give you a straight tip, and you take it to Hilliard. It will give
him a valuable clue to work on. If my friend Hanscom, on his return
from the next interview with Lizzie Borden, is satisfied that she is
guilty, he is going to pull up stakes and leave the town.’ This very
statement, Mr. Trickey made again in the police office the next day in
the presence of the Marshal and others. ‘So,‘ said Mr. Trickey, ‘if he
leaves the town, you can jump Lizzie immediately.’ Then in parting from
me, he said, ‘Don’t forget to consider my proposition, and connect with
me to-morrow. Then I will square myself with you for the dirty deal
I gave you in the Graves case.’ I would have smashed him in the nose
right there, had not the Marshal been in hearing distance. I promised
him to think the matter over and see him again. I walked up to the
Marshal, and we entered my room at the Wilbur House. Then and there
I related what I have just told you, and also told of Mr. Trickey’s
conduct in the Graves case. Went through it all from end to end. The
Marshal said that he had overheard a part of the conversation, and
that Mr. Trickey was up to just what he suspected. The Marshal said to
me in the course of the talk, ‘Ned, if this man is what he represents
himself to be, in connection with these people, you watch him, and look
to me personally for help. Take plenty of time and use good judgment.
Have everything in black and white.’ As I stated to you before, I had
told him of my connection with the Graves case, and I suggested the
advisability of my keeping in the background and under cover as much as
possible, in the work before us. Dr. Graves was then under conviction
of murder, and the Supreme Court had not passed upon his motion for
a new trial. Until this was settled, I did not feel that I should be
prominently mentioned in the Borden case, as there were many men,
enemies to me, who would antagonize me at every step if they knew that
I was a factor in the investigation. He told me to go ahead and follow
these people to the end, and to spare no pains or expense to do the job

“Next morning I was given a great many anonymous letters which the
Marshal had read, and in company with Inspector Medley, ran them down.
That is, established a clue for work which was afterward carried out by
Captains Harrington and Doherty. This was part of the work which I did
for the police, and secrecy of it kept me in the background. I kept my
eye on the movements of the people I have mentioned before, and at the
end of the first month, made out my bill to the City of Fall River. It
was allowed by the Board of Aldermen, but the _Fall River Herald_, in
an alleged editorial, severely criticised the Marshal for allowing me
to work on the case, and objected to me being paid for what I had done.
I never rendered another bill to the City of Fall River, although I
worked night and day for months. In view of the _Herald’s_ criticism, I
concluded not to bring the editor’s unjust ravings onto the heads of my
friends, and so ever after that I paid my own expenses. I spent every
cent of money I could rake and scrape to carry out the work assigned to
me, until my family were all but destitute. I gave up all my time to
this work, and stood still under the fierce and unjust thrusts of every
editorial pen, with few exceptions, in New England. It made me a poor
man, and eventually brought on an attack of nervous prostration, when I
fell exhausted, penniless and perhaps friendless, in the streets of New
York, and was carried into the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where I lay among
perfect strangers, while my wife and child fought alone the battle
for life in Providence. Yes, I did this rather than have such learned
men as the editor of the _Fall River Herald_ spill his gall over the
magnanimous sum of $106.00, which I claimed for work and expenses,
while upholding in my humble way the dignity of, and straining every
nerve to assist, the Fall River police. I took a solemn vow that no
act of Ned McHenry should ever again compromise my friends Rufus B.
Hilliard and His Honor John W. Coughlin. Therefore I plodded through
in silence, and where is my reward? A few dollars for six months work
of myself and wife, and half a dozen men whom I paid regularly. But I
would not have you understand that I am complaining. Perhaps the City
of Fall River will reimburse me when the end of the Borden murder case
is reached. Now, in regard to all this bosh about my attempting to rob
and defame newspaper men as a rule. I refer you to the _Boston Post_
of October 11th, and there you will see how I saved a paper which has
been friendly to me. You may ask the managing editor how I treated him
and his men in this case, and I think it only fair that he give you an

At this point the writer asked Mr. McHenry if he furnished Mr. Trickey
with a list of the witnesses for the government. He replied, “The only
living evidence that I furnished Mr. Trickey with the names of living
witnesses, is that I did tell him that I, my wife and Bridget Sullivan
were witnesses for the prosecution, and that he knew before I told him.
I defy contradiction of this statement.”

“Did you furnish him with that list of names which it is alleged that
he showed the managing editor of the _Globe_, in order to convince him
that the story which he had bought from you was true?” Mr. McHenry
answered, “That list of names is in Mr. Trickey’s own handwriting,
and if you or anybody else want further evidence of the truth of
this statement, examine the affidavits of those persons who were
present when he wrote the list, and which are now locked up in the
Attorney-General’s office, Commonwealth Building, Boston.”

[Illustration: MRS. NELLIE MCHENRY.]

“Who made these affidavits?” I asked, and he answered, “Several
persons, but all of them were not summoned to the Grand Jury to
testify. For instance, there are two Providence policemen, two
Providence lawyers, two of my men, and Captain Desmond of Fall River,
who know about this case, but were not called. All this documentary
evidence against Mr. Trickey is in his own handwriting and laid away
in the same place, and marked exhibit No. 1. I want to say here and
now that Andrew J. Jennings has been clean and free in this whole
business. In justice to the man I do not believe that he did in any
way give his sanction to the action of other friends of the accused
woman. I say this through no fear of Mr. Jennings, but because he
would not countenance any such actions as Trickey represented to have
come from those friends. As to the story I furnished Mr. Trickey, he
had the gist of it in his pocket three weeks before it was printed
in the _Globe_. I gave him a skeleton of what the alleged witnesses
would testify to, and he carried that around with him, I suppose.
The Attorney-General has the affidavits of eight witnesses to this
transaction, all of whom heard what was said at the time I gave him the
story. In an editorial of the _Globe_ of October 12th, this statement
appears: ‘Reports are examined at short notice, and sometimes under
great hurry and excitement, etc.’ Now, that was no excuse for printing
the stuff I sold Mr. Trickey, for he had the skeleton of the story
for three weeks at least, and if he had wanted it primarily for the
_Globe_, there was no reason why he could not have examined it at his
leisure. The editorial goes on to say the story was so well written
and on the face of it appeared to be so plausible, that it was used
without attempt at verification. Now, I never read stronger language
than that, and I consider it a great compliment to me from the editor
of the _Boston Globe_. After Mr. Trickey had made the proposition to
buy the State’s case from me, I lay in bed that day and thought the
matter over, and formed some idea of the story which I would give out.
That night Trickey came down and he and I worked on the story, writing
it out from the skeleton. He wrote and I dictated. We were at it until
three o’clock in the morning. This was on Thursday before the Monday on
which the story appeared in print. Mind you, I had not given the bogus
witnesses names to him until that night. In the skeleton there appeared
no names. But the separate statement of each witness was numbered, from
1 to 25, and it read something like this: Witness No. 1 will testify
to so-and-so; Witness No. 2 will testify to so-and-so; and in this
manner through the whole list. That night I told him who the witnesses
were and he used their names instead of the numbers. After this was
completed he showed me a draft made out by a certain gentleman payable
to me in the sum of $5000. It was drawn on Andrew J. Jennings, and was
in payment for the government’s case. That draft was never honored.
With it was a letter authorizing the expenditure of any sum of money
to get at the whole case of the prosecution. That letter was laid in
a convenient place, and I got Trickey out of my office long enough to
afford other people a chance to get a good look at it and to read it.
I consider that movement a nice piece of detective work. During the
evening, Captains Harrington and Desmond sat behind the curtain in my
office and heard Mr. Trickey say to me that he had bribed them and that
they had told him many of the State’s secrets. Why, Trickey went so far
as to accuse the Mayor of the city of accepting a bribe and selling out
to him, the representative of the defense.”

At this point the writer asked McHenry, “How on earth did Mr. Trickey
escape, in the face of such accusations as this?” McHenry replied
at once, “He never met his match before.” Continuing, McHenry said,
“Trickey did agree in the hearing of the usual number of witnesses to
give me twenty-four hours notice before he published the story.

“In his published statement of October 11th, he says I asked him two
questions on the night of the 10th. This, mind you, was at the time
of his first and last visit to my office after the alleged evidence
had been published. The first question he quoted correctly, except he
did not use the word “skeleton” as he should have done. The second is
entirely wrong. I did ask him this question, ‘Trickey, did you not
promise to come down to my office with the balance of that $5000?’ and
he replied, ‘Yes.’

“I did inveigle Trickey into Massachusetts, for I wanted him to commit
that crime in that State. By agreement I was in Attleboro and waiting
to hear from Trickey. He telephoned to me from Boston that he would
be in Attleboro on the 3 o’clock train, and he kept his engagement.
I met him in front of the Park Hotel. The message was received by
the proprietor of the Park Hotel, and he has a record of it. In Mr.
Trickey’s published account of this matter, he says that he has eight
affidavits of parties to the effect that the alleged evidence was
true and that they were sworn to before me as a notary in Providence.
If he has, why don’t they show them? I defy any man to produce such


“On Monday night after the _Globe_ published its story, I was in Fall
River and started for home. I expected that there would be trouble,
and so Captains Desmond and Harrington went up on a late train to get
behind the curtain and watch the fun which was sure to come. I left
on an afternoon train by way of Mansfield. Mr. Carberry, a _Globe_
reporter, followed me on the train and harrassed me until forbearance
ceased to be a virtue. Arriving in Providence, I was met by about four
newspaper men, including Charley Kirby and Mr. Trickey. They surrounded
me at the entrance to the station, and demanded an audience. I eluded
them, and was on my way home when they again caught sight of me, and
when near Engine Company No. 4, matters almost came to a crisis. Mr.
Trickey had his hand thrust into his pocket as if to draw a pistol, and
he wore on his face the most aggravated look of desperation that it
has ever been my misfortune to behold. I felt that he was in a state
of mind which would lead him to do something rash. I feared he might
attempt to take my life. I was not armed at the time, but I determined
to make a bold stand, and so I told him that if he made a move I would
kill him on the spot. Before leaving Fall River, I had telephoned to my
wife that I would arrive home at a certain hour, and she had already
made preparations for receiving me. Hardly had I made this threat to
Mr. Trickey, than one of my men from the office rushed up and handed
me a pistol. With this I ordered Mr. Kirby to stand aside, and told
Mr. Trickey that if he wanted to speak with me, to proceed to my
house, where I would hear what he had to say. Before moving from his
tracks, he said, ‘McHenry, I ought to kill you instantly.’ I learned
afterward that he had made the statement in Boston that there would
be a funeral in Providence if he ever laid his eyes on me. In his
published statement before referred to, he says that he was instructed
before leaving Boston to treat me with the ‘utmost consideration.’ You
can judge for yourself whether he did or not. I believe that he had
been instructed to shoot me on the spot, and he would have done so had
he the courage. We moved toward the house, and he marched in front. We
entered, and left Kirby on the outside. We had a more rational talk
about the publication and authenticity of the story, and he finally
withdrew. As he backed down the steps, I told him I would shoot him
dead in his tracks if he ever entered my house again. The next time I
saw Trickey was on Broadway, New York, after he had left Boston. I was
sent to this city to shadow and watch his movements, and I had kept
track of him all the time up to the meeting of the Grand Jury. At the
session of that body he was indicted on six counts. In the preparation
and attempt at service of these warrants, there was some queer work,
and I know that Trickey would have been arrested, had he not received
a tip and skipped to Canada. He was in Boston when the warrants were
issued, and had been for three days. I had him located, and was at the
Attorney-General’s office to get instructions as to how to proceed. He
gave me a sealed letter of instructions to the clerk of the District
Court in Taunton, and this I delivered in person. Instead of making
out the warrant according to his orders, the clerk made them out to
the Sheriff Constable, etc., of Bristol County. I did not know this
at the time. There was in the room at the time the warrants were made
out, State Officer Seaver, and he demanded that the clerk deliver the
warrants to him for service. To this I most strenuously objected, and
then there was a clash as to who was entitled to possession of the
papers. I told Mr. Seaver that I was sorry to quarrel with a man whom
I had always looked upon as a friend, but that I had been into this
transaction from the start, and I proposed to stay in it until the
finish. Without more ado I laid hands on the warrants and took them to
Deputy Sheriff Brown of Attleboro, who in turn, delivered them into
the hands of the Boston police. At police headquarters in Boston it
was soon learned that the warrants were defective, inasmuch as they
were made out in such a manner as not to be serviceable in any County
except Bristol County. They had to be returned to the District Court in
Taunton and rectified. This necessitated a delay of about twenty-eight
hours, and gave somebody an opportunity to get Trickey out of the
State. That is why he was not arrested. Mr. Seaver was especially
desirous that I allow him to make the arrest of Mr. Trickey, but to
this, as I said before, I successfully objected. There were some very
strange things done in connection with these warrants, and if you doubt
what I have said, I refer you to the records of the Boston police on
the 15th of last October. This, briefly, is my connection with the
Trickey-McHenry affair.”

In closing the interview I asked Mr. McHenry how many times Mr. Trickey
visited his office in Providence during the carrying out of this work,
and to this he replied, “Twelve.” “My wife,” said Mr. McHenry, “did a
great deal of work in this case, and was of much service to the Fall
River police. She was, I believe, the only woman who could and did
succeed in getting the confidence of Bridget Sullivan. She was also of
much assistance as a shadow, and was the famous veiled lady who was so
mystifying to the newspaper men. She shadowed Trickey to Boston time
and again, and on each occasion found that he went to the Pinkerton
Detective Agency. Mr. Trickey always, after leaving my office, went to
this place before he went to the office of the _Globe_.”

Such is the statement of McHenry and it is but fair to say that the
Fall River police admit that Captain Harrington was sent to Providence
several times to overhear the conversation between Trickey and McHenry,
and that Captain Desmond went one or more times. The police also admit
that Mr. Trickey was indicted for tampering with a government witness.

There is, however, another side to this case, and that is the
explanation made by Mr. Trickey of his conduct. It is conceded that he
was one of the ablest and at the same time most brilliant man in his
profession in the State, and there is no attempt made here to reflect
discredit upon his methods or to question his honesty of purpose. Thus
it is justice to him in giving his version of the affair. Before his
departure from Boston and after the _Globe_ had published its big story
he made a written statement of connection with it, telling plainly
of every move he made and of all the talk he had had with McHenry
before and after the purchase of the story. This written statement
was delivered into the hands of Superintendent John Cornish of the
Pinkerton Detective Agency, and served as a basis for an extended
investigation which the Pinkerton’s carried on for months in Fall
River, Providence, New York and Boston, with the intention of sifting
the entire matter to its foundation. Mr. Trickey alleged, and his
friends believe him, that McHenry was responsible for the injustice
done the _Boston Globe_ and that the detective actuated by motives
of personal gain and revenge not only sacrificed Mr. Trickey and the
_Globe_ but deliberately misled the Fall River police and secured
their sanction and co-operation in the deal. He starts out by saying
that he was in Providence the early part of September on the lookout
for the “lawyer story” and that he saw McHenry on the street. That the
detective called him across and the two men entered into conversation,
during which McHenry said that he had a good story to sell. “Well
Mack” said Trickey “the _Globe_ will pay as much for it as any other
paper.” “Yes” said the detective, “but it’s worth a great deal more to
somebody else.” “Who?” asked Trickey. “The defense” replied McHenry.
Then Trickey was given to understand that he could have the entire
evidence in the Borden case for $1200. He says that McHenry gave him
to understand that the matter would be sold only for the use of the
defense and not for publication. Trickey didn’t care anything about
the defense, all he wanted was a story for his paper and with a view
of getting it he humored McHenry by agreeing to call upon Col. Adams
and ask him if he wanted to hire a good detective, one who could get
at all the state’s evidence against Miss Borden. Trickey did call upon
Col. Adams and had a conversation about this matter with the result
according to Trickey’s statement that the lawyer didn’t have any use
for a detective and didn’t care anything about investing his client’s
money in the purchase of the Commonwealth’s case. In other words,
Col. Adams refused to have anything to do with the proposed deal. But
the reporter, knowing that his chances of securing the “stuff” for
publication would be very materially lessened if he made known the
result of his visit, concluded to act the part of an agent for the
defense and represent to McHenry that Col. Adams did in reality desire
to buy the story. With this conclusion in mind he again visited the
detective and reported, (but wrongfully as he says) that the Colonel
would buy if the price was lowered. McHenry then agreed to sell for
$1000 and divide the money with Trickey. This was the reporter’s
opportunity. He knew that the _Globe_ would give $500 and that sum he
intended to pay over to the detective, representing that it came from
Col. Adams, and that he had kept the other $500 as his share, according
to agreement.

It might be said here that if any such deal as this was made the
supporters of Mr. Trickey have failed to find a witness who overheard
the bargain, while on the other hand the police deny that such a
conversation ever took place and claim that Captain Harrington and
others were in a position to hear all that was said upon the subject
by Mr. Trickey and the detective. But this chapter is not an argument
either for or against Mr. Trickey. His declaration goes on to say that
after the 15th of September, or thereabout, he made numberless visits
to the detective, and in this particular he agrees with the police
version of the affair. He admits receiving the “skeleton” story first
and later the names of the alleged witnesses, and that he did play the
part of an agent for the defense prompted purely by a desire to get the
story for publication. The fact that he hastened to print the story
without further attempt to verify it, is due to two causes. First,
he feared that McHenry would sell it to the _Boston Herald_. Second,
that he had given a Fall River police officer (one whose name does not
appear in this chapter,) the sum of $100 for a list of the witnesses
in the case and they agreed with the names furnished by McHenry in the
latter part of the transaction. The fact that it did agree convinced
him that the story was all right and he did not want to take the
chances of McHenry selling out to the _Herald_, so the agreement about
the twenty-four hours notice was violated.

The writer has been assured by the police that if Mr. Trickey had
given the twenty-four hours notice before publication the _Boston
Globe_ would have been spared the trouble of printing the “fake.” In
Justice to the _Boston Globe_ it must be said that its editors made the
most humble and abject apology for the wrong done Miss Borden by the
publication of the “thirteen columns of lies” which Detective McHenry
had sold to Mr. Trickey. The apology was made as prominent as the
story had been and the Globe’s position, although not an enviable one,
appeared to be as graceful as the circumstances would admit.

It has been stated by persons who are in a position to know whereof
they speak, that not only Mr. Trickey, but others were indicted for
their apparent connection with this affair.


Beginning of the Superior Court Trial.

According to the arrangements already made, the trial of Miss Lizzie
Borden commenced in New Bedford on the morning of the 5th of June,
1893. It was conducted before three Superior Court Judges. They were
Chief Justice Albert Mason and Associate Justices Caleb Blodgett and
Justin Dewey.

No spectators were allowed in the court room the first day of the
trial, but this rule was not observed later. The only persons
present at the opening were the 150 jurors from which twelve were to
be selected, the court officers, a few of the intimate friends of
the prisoner and thirty-five newspaper correspondents. Miss Borden
was escorted to the court-house by Deputy Sheriff Kirby and to all
appearances had not changed in the least during her ten months of
confinement in Taunton jail. The court was opened by prayer by Rev. M.
C. Julien, who spoke as follows:

“Almighty and all-wise God, our Father, we look to Thee as the only
source of wisdom, as the only source of courage. We pray Thee that Thou
wouldst grant that in entering on the solemn duties of this court,
we shall have not only such help as comes from the experience of the
past, through the history of the world, but such help as Thou, by Thy
providence, wilt and canst give to Thy earthly children. We pray Thee
that so innocence may be revealed and guilt exposed, to the glory of
Thy own great name and the well being of the world. We ask it all for
Thy name’s sake. Amen.”

The first day was devoted entirely to the selection of the Jury which
was made up of the following named gentlemen.

Charles I. Richards, foreman, of North Attleboro; George Potter of
Westport; William F. Deane of Taunton; John Wilbur of Somerset;
Frederick C. Wilbar, of Raynham; Lemuel K. Wilber of Easton; Louis D.
Hodges of Taunton; Augustus Swift of New Bedford; Frank G. Cole of
Attleboro; John C. Finn of Taunton; William Wescott of Seekonk; and
Allen H. Wordell of Dartmouth.

The second day of the trial was devoted to the opening of the case
by the government’s representative, Mr. William H. Moody, District
Attorney of Essex County and assistant to District Attorney Knowlton of
Bristol County.

During the afternoon of that day the Jury visited the scenes of the
murder in Fall River. Mr. Moody spoke as follows:

    _May it please Your Honors, Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury:_

Upon the fourth day of August of the last year, an old man and woman,
husband and wife, each without a known enemy in the world, in their
own home, upon a frequented street in the most populous city in this
county, under the light of day and in the midst of its activities,
were, first one, then, after an interval of an hour, another, severally
killed by unlawful human agency. To-day, a woman of good social
position, of hitherto unquestioned character, a member of a Christian
church and active in its good works, the own daughter of one of the
victims, is at the bar of this court accused by the Grand Jury of
this county of these crimes. There is no language, gentlemen, at my
command, which can better measure the solemn importance of the inquiry
which you are about to begin than this simple statement of facts.
For the sake of these crimes and for the sake of these accusations,
every man may well pause at the threshold of this trial and carefully
search his understanding and conscience for any vestige of prejudice,
and, finding it, cast it aside as an unclean thing. It is my purpose,
gentlemen, and it is my duty to state to you at this time so much of
the history of the cause and so much of the evidence which is to be
introduced upon this trial as shall best enable you to understand the
claim of the Government and to appreciate the force and application of
the testimony as it comes from the witnesses on the stand. It is my
purpose to do that in the plainest, simplest and most direct manner.
And it is not my purpose to weary you with a recital of all the details
of the evidence which is to come before you. Andrew Jackson Borden,
the person named in the second part of the indictment, was at the time
of his death a man of considerable property—somewhere, I believe,
between $250,000 and $300,000. He had been retired from business for a
number of years. He was a man who had obtained his fortune by earning
and saving, and he retained the habit of saving up to the time of
his death; and it will appear in the course of this trial that the
family establishment was upon what might well be called, for a person
in his circumstances, a narrow scale. He had been twice married. The
first wife died some twenty-seven or twenty-eight years before he
died, leaving two children, now alive—the prisoner at the bar, Lizzie
Andrew Borden, the younger, and then somewhere between two and three
years of age, a sister, Miss Emma Borden, being a woman at the present
time in the neighborhood of ten years older than the prisoner. Not long
after the death of the first wife Andrew Borden married again a woman
whose maiden name, I believe, was Abby Durfee Gray. The marriage, I
believe, was something over twenty-five years before the time of their
deaths, and there was no issue of the second marriage, at least none
living and none that I have been informed of at any time. Abby Durfee
Borden, at the time of her death, was about six years younger than
her husband, and that would make her, of course, sixty-four years of
age. Mr. Borden, I may say here, was a spare, thin man and somewhat
tall. Mrs. Borden was a short, fat woman, weighing, I believe, in
the neighborhood of two hundred pounds. The house in which these
homicides were committed had been occupied by the Borden family for
some twenty years. I shall have occasion to consider its construction
and its relation to other buildings and streets later on in the course
of this opening. There was, or came to be, between the prisoner and
her stepmother, an unkindly feeling. From the nature of the case,
from the fact that those who know the most about that feeling, except
the prisoner at the bar, are dead, it will be impossible for us at
this hearing to get anything more than suggestive glimpses of that
feeling. It will appear that some five years before the death of Mr.
and Mrs. Borden some controversy had arisen about some property, not
important in itself. Mr. Borden had seen fit to do some benefaction
for a relative of Mrs. Borden, and in consequence of that fact the
daughters thought that something should be done for them by way of
pecuniary provision as an offset. The details of what happened at that
time are, as I have said, by no means important. It is significant,
however, that enough of feeling has been created by the discussion
which arose to cause a change in the relations between the prisoner
and Mrs. Borden. Up to that time she had addressed her stepmother as
“mother.” From that time she substantially ceased to do so. We shall
show to you that the spring before these homicides, upon some occasion
where a talk arose between the prisoner and a person who did the cloak
making for the family, the latter spoke of Mrs. Borden as “mother.”
The prisoner at once repudiated that relation and said, “Don’t call
her mother. She is a mean thing, and we hate her. We have as little to
do with her as possible.” “Well, don’t you have your meals with her?”
“Yes, we do sometimes; but we try not to, and a great many times we
wait until they are over with their meals, and we stay in our own
rooms as much as possible.” I know of nothing that will appear in this
case more significant of the feeling that existed between Mrs. Borden
and the prisoner than a little incident which occurred not long after
the discovery of these homicides. When one of the officers of the law,
while the father and the step-mother lay at the very place where they
had fallen under the blows of the assassin, was seeking information
from the prisoner, he said, “When did you last see your mother?” “She
is not my mother. My mother is dead.” You cannot fail, I think, to be
impressed in this respect with what will appear as to the method of
living of this family. It will appear later on in the evidence that,
although they occupied the same household, there was built up between
them by locks and bolts and bars almost an impassable wall. In the
early part of August of last year the older daughter, Miss Emma, was
away, I believe at Fairhaven at the time. When Miss Emma was away the
household that was left consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Borden and a servant,
who had been in the service of the family nearly three years, Bridget
Sullivan, and the prisoner. Upon the day preceding the homicides,
John V. Morse, a brother of Mr. Borden’s first wife, and, therefore,
the uncle of his daughters, came upon a visit, or a passing visit, to
the Bordens. The homicides, I may say now, were upon a Thursday, and
the visit of Mr. Morse was on Wednesday. He came a little after the
completion of the dinner; went away, I think, during the afternoon,
returned in the evening and slept at the house upon the Wednesday
night. Upon Tuesday night, Tuesday, August 2, an illness occurred in
the household. Mr. and Mrs. Borden were taken suddenly ill with a
violent retching and vomiting sickness, and it is said to a less degree
the prisoner herself was affected by this illness. Bridget Sullivan
was not. Upon the Wednesday morning Mr. and Mrs. Borden rose, feeling,
of course, in the condition that people would be in after a night of
that character, and Mrs. Borden consulted a physician with reference
to her condition. Upon the noon of Wednesday, which you will keep in
mind was the very day before these homicides, the prisoner went to a
drug store in Fall River, the situation of which will be pointed out to
you, and there asked the clerk for ten cents worth of prussic acid for
the purpose of cleaning a sealskin cape. She was told that that was a
poison which was not sold except on the prescription of a physician,
and after some little talk went away. I think, gentlemen, you will be
satisfied that there can be no question that the person who made this
application for this deadly poison was the prisoner. There were three
persons in the drug store, two of whom knew her by name and sight; one
of these, too, knew her as the daughter of Andrew J. Borden, and the
third recognized her at once as he saw her.



On the evening of the Wednesday the prisoner made a call, not in itself
unusual or peculiar, upon a friend of hers, Miss Alice Russell, and
we shall commend to your careful attention what occurred during that
interview. It will appear that the prisoner had been intending to
spend a vacation with a party of her friends at Marion, and had made
some arrangements about going to Marion, and the talk between the two
friends started upon that topic. The prisoner said: “I have made up my
mind, Alice, to take your advice and go to Marion, and I have written
there to them that I shall go, but I cannot help feeling depressed; I
cannot help feeling that something is going to happen to me; I cannot
shake it off. Last night,” she said, “we were all sick; Mr. and Mrs.
Borden were quite sick and vomited; I did not vomit, and we are afraid
that we have been poisoned; the girl did not eat the baker’s bread
and we did, and we think it may have been the baker’s bread.” “No.”
said Miss Russell. “If it had been that some other people would have
been sick in the same way.” “Well, it might have been the milk; our
milk is left outside upon the steps.” “What time is your milk left?”
“At 4 o’clock in the morning.” “It is light then, and no one would
dare to come in and touch it at that time.” “Well,” said the prisoner,
“probably that is so. But father has been having so much trouble with
those with whom he has dealings that I am afraid some of them will do
something to him. I expect nothing but that the building will be burned
down over our heads. The barn has been broken into twice.” “That,”
said Miss Russell “was merely boys after pigeons.” “Well, the house
has been broken into in broad daylight when Maggie and Emma and I were
the only ones in the house. I saw a man the other night when I went
home lurking about the buildings, and as I came he jumped and ran away.
Father had trouble with a man the other day about a store. There were
angry words, and he turned him out of the house.” And so the talk went.
That, I beg you to keep in your minds, was with Miss Russell—Alice M.
Russell. There comes now the most difficult duty which I have in this
opening. I am consoled, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, by the fact that
you will be aided beyond any explanation that I give you by a view of
these premises that I am about to explain. I hope I shall be able, even
without the view, to make myself entirely intelligible to you, because
no one can understand this testimony that is to come and rightly reason
upon it without an exact knowledge of the interior and exterior of
that house. In the first place, I may say that the house occupied by
this family was a common type of house in this community and in this
State, a house with the end to the street and the front door upon the
end. It was a rectangular house. It was situated upon Second street
in Fall River, which is one of the most frequented streets outside of
the main thoroughfares in the city, and is within, as all probably
know, a very short distance of the City Hall. It may fairly be called
a thoroughfare as well for foot passengers as for carriages. It is a
street used partly for residences and partly for business purposes.
Second Street runs substantially north and south. It is a street which
ascends toward the south. The higher part is south, the lower part is
north, and upon the east side of Second Street this house is situated.
At the south of the house is the residence of Dr. Kelly, and also very
near the house. To the north of the house, and also near it, is the
residence occupied by Mrs. Churchill, and diagonally in the rear of the
house is the residence occupied by Dr. Chagnon. The house is separated
from the sidewalk by a wooden fence, a picket fence, with two gates and
in the rear of the yard, in which is situated a barn, there is a high
board fence, on the top and the bottom of which there was at the time,
and is, I believe, now, a line of barbed wire. There are three exterior
doors, three entrances to these premises, and only three, excepting of
course, the windows. There is the front door leading directly from the
sidewalk up a pair of steps into the hall. There is a side door upon
the north side, facing Mrs. Churchill’s house, leading into a small
entryway which leads into the kitchen. There is a third door exactly
in the rear of the house, which leads down to the cellar. There is
what might be called a porch, and a door leading into it, as you will
see. As you enter the front door you enter a hall, from which lead two
doors, a door into a parlor, which is the front room in the house,
making the northwest corner of the first story, a door leading into the
sitting room, and a stairway leading upstairs. Let us, in the first
place, go upstairs and see the arrangements there. It will aid us in
considering this arrangement to remember that this house was originally
a double tenement house, and with the slight exception that I shall
refer to later on, the arrangement as it is upstairs is as it is upon
the first story. As you are about to see the premises, gentlemen, I do
not deem it wise to detain you at the present time by explaining this
plan in detail. I will try to make it as clear as I can by stating
it to you. As you turn and go upstairs from the front entry, you come
into a hallway. From that hallway lead three doors: first, a door
which leads into a large closet, used at this time for the keeping
of dresses, and which is almost large enough to be a small bedroom;
another door, which leads into the guest chamber, which is directly
over the parlor below, and corresponds to it in every respect. The
guest chamber is the chamber in which you will subsequently hear that
Mrs. Borden was found dead. It is a matter which is to be carefully
considered, that as you turn upon the journey upstairs, as the stairs
wind about, and to begin to face into the hall toward the north, you
can look directly into the door of the guest chamber. The other door
which leads from the hall is a door which leads into a bedroom, and
leads toward the rear of the house. Following, then, my direction,
gentlemen, as you come up the stairs, turn to your left. As you
approach the entry in front of you is the door leading into the guest
chamber, and to your right is the door leading into a chamber which at
that time was occupied by the prisoner. Between the guest chamber and
the bedroom of the prisoner there was a door. I may as well dispose of
it now for good. It was a door which always, including the day of this
homicide, was kept locked upon both sides, and upon the side toward
the prisoner’s room there was against the door a desk which she used.
In other words it was not a practicable opening. When you have got up
into this part of the house, gentlemen, you can go nowhere except into
this clothes closet, into this guest chamber and into the room occupied
by the prisoner. It is important to remember that. All access to the
other part of the house is cut off not by the natural construction of
the house but by the way in which the house was kept. Follow me, if you
please, then, into the prisoner’s bedroom. As you enter the bedroom a
door leads to the left into a room which has no other entrance than
that door. That is the room that was occupied by Miss Emma when she
was at home. The only access to it was through the prisoner’s room.
There is another door at the rear of the prisoner’s room, and directly
opposite the door of entrance which leads into the room occupied by Mr.
and Mrs. Borden, which is over the kitchen. The prisoner’s room was
exactly over the sitting room. The room in the rear of the prisoner’s
room was exactly over the kitchen, and was occupied as the bedroom
of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. That door leading into that room was kept
always locked upon both sides. It was locked upon the front toward the
prisoner’s room by a hook. It was locked in the rear toward Mr. and
Mrs. Borden’s room by a bolt, and I may as well say here as at any time
that the proof that that door was locked upon both sides upon this
morning, from the morning down to the time of the arrival of those who
came alarmed by this homicide, will be ample and complete. But as we go
further, passing to the rear into Mr. and Mrs. Borden’s room, we find
a door, and only a single door, leading out into the entryway, which
is over the entryway leading into the kitchen. That door, it will be
clearly, amply and satisfactorily proved, was locked all through this
day up to and beyond the time of the homicide. Now then, gentlemen, if
I have made myself clear upon this description, which is wearisome, I
know, but it is one of the wearisome duties that we must undertake in
this cause. I have made it clear to you that as you go up the hallway
you get access to but four rooms, the hallway itself, if you call
that a room, the closet, the guest chamber in which Mrs. Borden was
found, and the room of the prisoner and the room leading out of that,
the blind room, so to speak, that was occupied by Miss Emma when she
was at home, and there is no other access whatever to the rear of the
house. Now, gentlemen, let me, at the expense of being tedious, go
below. As you enter the hallway below, it is, I believe, exactly as
above, except, of course, there is no clothes closet there as there
is above. There are two small closets, very small ones, as you will
see. To your left as you enter is the door which leads into the parlor
under the room where Mrs. Borden was found dead. Going straight ahead
you enter into the sitting room, which is a room in the rear of the
hall at the south of the house, and directly under and corresponding to
the prisoner’s bed room. Now you come to a difference of construction
in the two stories. You turn to the left from the sitting room as you
enter and you enter the dining room, which is upon the north side of
the house and is directly under Miss Emma’s room, and a large room,
which was used as a closet by Mr. Borden and which joined his room,
another blind room. That difference is made either by the taking down
or putting up of a partition. You enter the dining room and there is
a door of exit which goes into the kitchen. Above, that arrangement
is varied by a partition directly down through the room, which would
correspond to the door leading from the sitting room to the dining
room, leads from Miss Emma’s room to the bedroom of the prisoner, and
the door corresponding to the door leading from the dining room to
the kitchen leads from the room which adjoins the blind room, which
adjoin the bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Borden, so that the effect of that
partition is that while there is free communication two ways from
the kitchen to the front part of the house downstairs, upstairs this
partition reduces those ways of communication to one, and that one,
you will recall, always and upon the day of the homicide was barred
by two doors, locked. Again, gentlemen, I say that the difficulty of
understanding this is great, but I am confronted by the fact that you
will be aided by a view of these premises. Mr. Morse returned upon a
Wednesday night. It is important to show who occupied the house on
Wednesday night. Let us go first to the front part of the house. The
prisoner came in the last one that night and locked the front door.
Upon that front doer were three fastenings, a spring latch, a bolt
and a lock which operated by key. Those three fastenings were closed,
by the way, when she came in, the last person that night by the front
way of the house. The door leading into the cellar, the other exterior
door, had been closed since Tuesday, the washing day, and by complete
and ample evidence will be proved to you to have been closed all
through Wednesday night and on Thursday morning including up to and
beyond the time of those homicides. Bridget came in through the back
door that night, found the back door locked when she came, unlocked
it, locked it as she went in, went upstairs and went to bed. So, when
Bridget and the prisoner had come in at their respective doors, every
exterior approach to this house was closed.

Now, in the front part of the house that night the prisoner slept in
one room, Mr. Morse slept in the guest chamber. There was no other room
in that part of the house, except Miss Emma’s room, which led out, as
you still remember, of Miss Lizzie’s room. Mr. and Mrs. Borden slept
in the room over the kitchen, and Bridget slept in some room above in
the third story of the house. Now, then, it becomes my duty to relate
in considerable detail all that occurred in that household down to the
time of the discovery of these homicides. In the morning Bridget was
the first person up. We may safely assume that upon the proof the only
human beings who were in that house at the time were Bridget, Mr. and
Mrs. Borden, John V. Morse and the prisoner at the bar. Bridget comes
down stairs first, the back way, goes down cellar and gets her fuel,
builds up a fire in the stove; then she went to the door, took in the
milk, unlocking the door, locked it after she got through. The rear
door, I may explain here, was a double door; it was an ordinary wooden
panel door which was used at night, and a screen door, which was used,
at least, in hot weather, during the day time and was fastened by a
hook on the inside. When the outside door was opened by Bridget at that
time it was opened for good for the day, and the method of security was
keeping the screen door locked from that time on. The next person who
came down was Mrs. Borden. Bridget came down a little after 6; Mrs.
Borden came down a little before 7. Next Mr. Borden comes down, and
after coming down goes out into the yard and empties his slop pail and
unlocks the door to the barn. Bridget saw him do that. Bridget did not
see Mr. Morse until they all met at breakfast, a little after 7. Mr.
and Mrs. Borden and Mr. Morse taking breakfast together. It will appear
what the material of their breakfast was, but it is not important at
all for me to state it at this time. After breakfast the first one to
depart is Mr. Morse. He goes away at a quarter of 8, and Mr. Borden
lets him out and locks the screen door behind him. Soon after Mr. Morse
went away the prisoner came down stairs and began eating her breakfast,
or what took the place of a breakfast, in the kitchen. While she was
there Mr. Borden went upstairs, and while Mr. Borden was upstairs
Bridget went out into the yard, because she was sick and desired to
vomit. She was gone some minutes, just how long I cannot tell. When
she came back, Mr. Borden had apparently gone down town. The prisoner
was in the kitchen and Mrs. Borden was in the dining room dusting.
There was some talk then between Mrs. Borden and Bridget about washing
the windows on the inside and the outside, and Bridget received the
directions from Mrs. Borden to do that service. Mrs. Borden disappeared
at this time, and it will appear that she told the prisoner that,
having made the bed in the spare room, she was going upstairs to put
two pillow cases upon two pillows that were there—a trifling duty,
a duty which would take less than a minute. You will be satisfied,
gentlemen, that that was not far from half-past nine o’clock, and upon
the evidence you will be satisfied that she never left that room alive,
and that she was killed within a very few moments after she left the
room, because no living person saw Mrs. Borden from that time until her
death, except the assailant. In the course of beginning the duty of
washing these windows Bridget had to go to the barn and down cellar to
get some of the implements for doing the work. As she was at the screen
door, about to go out, the prisoner appeared at that back door, and
Bridget said to her. “You needn’t lock that door, because I am coming
in to get my water to wash the windows; but you may,” she said, “if you
wish, and I will get my water from the barn,” as she did. The prisoner
said nothing, and I believe it to be the fact, as the evidence will
disclose it, that the door was not locked at that time. Then Bridget
went into the kitchen and dining room and sitting room to close the
windows in the sitting room and the dining room, and there was nobody
there—neither the prisoner nor Mrs. Borden, who were the only two
human beings in the house at that time except Bridget. In washing these
windows there were two of the sitting room windows upon the south side
of the house which were out of sight of the screen door, because they
were on the other side of the house. Those two windows were washed
first on the outside. Then Bridget came to the front of the house,
washed two windows facing the street; then she came to the south side
of the house, the Mrs. Churchill side, and washed the parlor window
and the two dining room windows. During all the time that Bridget was
washing those windows she saw neither Mrs. Borden nor the prisoner in
any part of the lower part of the house or anywhere else. When she
finished washing the windows on the outside she came in at the screen
door and hooked it behind her, and began to wash the windows upon the
inside of the same windows that she had washed upon the outside. First,
she went into the sitting room, which is upon the Kelly side, the south
side of the house. She had partly washed one of the two sitting room
windows when somebody was heard at the front door.

Now, gentlemen, let us pause a moment and find out, as well as we can,
what time that somebody came to the front door, because it was Mr.
Borden. Mr. Borden, it will appear, left the house some time between
9 and 9:30 o’clock in the morning. He was at two banks, two or three
banks, between 9:30 or at twenty-nine minutes of 11—I am not quite
sure which—he was at the store of a Mr. Clegg, who fixes the exact
time. The next place we find him is at another store, which belonged to
him, upon South Main street, near the corner of Spring and not far from
his own home. He left there, apparently in the direction of his home,
at twenty minutes of 11. That was a moment or two’s walk from there to
his house. The next we see of him is that he is seen by Mrs. Kelly, who
lived upon one side of his house, and who was going down town, coming
around, apparently, from the screen door, where he had attempted to get
in, out upon the sidewalk and toward his own front door, taking out
his key to open it. Mrs. Kelly will fix that time at twenty-seven or
twenty-eight minutes of 11, which cannot be reconciled with the other
time that I have stated here. There will be some explanation of that,
and we think you will be satisfied that the clock by which she obtained
this time was not one that could be depended upon, and that the real
fact is that at twenty minutes of 11 Mr. Borden started to his home,
which was but a moment or two’s walk away. Now, then, we fix that as
well as we can. When Mr. Borden came home, contrary to the usual custom
in that house, Bridget found the front door locked with the key and
bolted, as well as secured by the spring lock. Mr. Borden had not rung
the bell. He had put his key in and made the noise which people usually
do who expect to get in the house by the use of a latch key. But the
door was locked and bolted. He came into the house, and as Bridget
let him in made some talk or explanation about the difficulty of
unloosening the locks. The prisoner from the hall above made some laugh
or exclamation. At that time, gentlemen, Mrs. Borden’s body lay within
plain view of that hall, dead, probably, more than an hour. Mr. Borden
came in, went first into the dining room. There the prisoner came to
him, asked him if there was any mail and said to him, “Mrs. Borden has
gone out; she had a note from somebody who was sick.” That, gentlemen,
we put to you as a lie, intended for no purpose except to stifle
inquiry as to the whereabouts of Mrs. Borden. Mr. Borden then took his
key, went upstairs, came down again, and, as he came down, Bridget had
finished the other window and a half in the sitting room and was just
going into the dining room to finish those windows. As she was washing
the windows in the dining room the prisoner again appeared from the
front part of the house, went to the kitchen, got an ironing board and
began to iron her handkerchiefs. While there she told Bridget this
falsehood about the note. She said, “Are you going out, Bridget, by and
by?” Bridget said: “I don’t know; I am not feeling very well to-day.”
“Well,” she said, “if you do I want you to be careful about the locks;
I may go out myself. Mrs. Borden has gone out.” “Where is she?” said
Bridget. “I don’t know; it must be somewhere in town, because she
received a note to go to a sick friend.” Bridget finished the washing
of the windows in the dining room and her work was done. She went out
into the kitchen, put her cloth away, emptied the water and was about
to go upstairs, when the prisoner said to her: “There is a cheap sale
of goods down town, Bridget, where they are selling some kind of cloth
for eight cents a yard.” Bridget says: “Well, I guess I will have
some.” And Bridget went upstairs. Now, gentlemen, probably all that
occurred after Mr. Borden came in occurred in less time than perhaps
it has taken me to tell it. We can measure time better by seeing what
is done in the time than by the estimate of any witness of the time.
After Bridget went upstairs there is nothing more that happened until
the alarm is given to her. Now, pursuing the same course, let me so
far as possible fix the time of that alarm. I shall have to anticipate
somewhat in doing it. Bridget, upon the alarm, came down stairs, was
immediately sent diagonally across the street for Dr. Bowen; returned
rapidly, and was sent away for Miss Russell. As Bridget went away Mrs.
Churchill by accident came to the house, or got the alarm and came
to the house. There was a moment’s conversation between the prisoner
and Mrs. Churchill. Mrs. Churchill ran out, ran diagonally across the
street to a stable, there gave some sort of alarm, was seen by a man
named Cunningham, who heard what she said and went to a telephone in a
paint shop near by, telephoned to the Marshal of Fall River, who gave
directions to an officer to go to the spot. The officer, having a duty
which called his attention to the time, looked at his watch and found
it was quarter-past eleven. Now, then, gentlemen, stopping a moment,
let us try to find out as well as we can these times. It could not
have been, upon the evidence, far from quarter of 11 o’clock when Mr.
Borden returned. It could not, upon this evidence, have been far from
quarter-past 11 when the alarm reached the station. Therefore the time
between Bridget’s going upstairs and down again must be diminished on
the one side by the time consumed by the washing of a window and a half
in the sitting room and two windows in the dining room and the putting
away of the cloth and water. On the other side, the half hour between
11 o’clock and half-past 11 must be diminished by the acts of Bridget
and the acts of Mrs. Churchill and the acts of Cunningham, which I have
described. I shall not attempt to fix that time; you can fix it better
and measure it better yourself when you come to hear the evidence of
what was done by Bridget between the time Mr. Borden came and the noise
was heard upstairs and what was done between the time when the alarm
took place and the alarm reached the station house and the Marshal of
Fall River.

Now, gentlemen, you will be struck by the fact through the evidence
that is to come, that instinctively there leaped to the lips of every
inquiring person, of the prisoner, where were you before a thought of
the suspicion was over her head. She had been the last person left
with her father alive. When Bridget came down that question arose,
and she says: “Where were you, Miss Lizzie?” It is not clear what the
prisoner told Bridget, whether he was sick, or killed, or dead. That is
not important, but the moment the information was received arose the
question: “Where were you?” She said: “I was out in the back yard; I
heard a groan, came in and found the door open and found my father.”
Bridget was then sent to Dr. Bowen. She came down, found the prisoner
somewhat agitated standing by the screen door and inside. There had
been no screech, no alarm of any kind, and there was an attempt simply
to secure the presence of Dr. Bowen. She came back unsuccessful from
the search for Dr. Bowen. As she came back she was seen by Mrs.
Churchill, who, looking out of her kitchen window, saw the prisoner
standing inside the door, and something in her appearance attracted
her and she called out to her. In the meantime the prisoner had said
to Bridget, “You go down to Miss Russell’s house.” And gentlemen, it
will in this connection occur to you that Miss Russell, though she
lived a long distance away from this house, was the person to whom this
prisoner was predicting disaster the very night before. Mrs. Churchill
came there by accident, and she will testify in detail as to what had
occurred after she came there. She, too, said, “Lizzie, where were
you?” “I was out in the barn. I was going for a piece of iron when I
heard a distressed noise, came in and found the door open, and found my
father dead.” Bridget returns from Miss Russell’s, and, returning says:
“Shall I not go down to Mrs. Whitehead’s for Mrs. Borden?” “No,” said
the prisoner, “I am almost sure I heard her come in.” Up to that time,
by alarm, by screaming or by any attempt had there not been an effort
on the part of the prisoner to communicate with Mrs. Borden. “I wish
you would look,” she said, “and see if you can’t find Mrs. Borden.”
Mrs. Churchill and Bridget together went up this front stairway,
turned, as they do turn, to their left, and as they turned Mrs.
Churchill turned her head above the level of the floor. She looked in
and saw Mrs. Borden’s dead body as she looked under the bed. It is to
be regretted that Dr. Bowen, a witness accustomed to observation, was
the family physician and friend, and, therefore, affected, naturally,
by this dreadful series of murders, for we might expect from him
something of accurate observation, but Dr. Bowen thought Mrs. Borden
had died of fright, and so expressed himself at the time. I do not and
shall not attempt in detail to tell you all that occurred for an hour
or two after the discovery of these homicides. Soon after people came
in. The prisoner, who had never been in the room where her father lay
dead, passed from the dining room diagonally through the corner of the
sitting room, without stopping to look at her dead father, upstairs by
the room where her step-mother lay dead, without an inquiry, without a
thought; went into her own room, lay down; soon, without a suggestion
from any one, changed her dress and put on a loose pink wrapper.
There are one or two things, however, in what she said that I ought
to call your attention to at the present time. She told Dr. Bowen at
that time that she was out in the barn for a piece of iron; she told
Miss Russell that she went into the barn for a piece of iron or tin
to fix a screen; she told Officer Mullaly that she went out into the
barn, and upon being asked whether she heard anything or not, she said
she heard a peculiar noise, something like a scraping noise, and came
in and found the door open. There is, therefore, Bridget Sullivan,
to whom she said she heard a groan, rushed in and found her father;
Mrs. Churchill, to whom she said she heard a distressed noise, came in
and found her father; Officer Mullaly, to whom she said she heard a
peculiar noise like scraping, came in and found her father dead; and
all these, gentlemen, you see in substance are stories which include
the fact that while she was outside she heard some alarming noise which
caused her to rush in and discover the homicide. Well, gentlemen, as
inquiry begins to multiply upon her as to her whereabouts, another
story comes into view, and she repeats it again and again, and finally
repeats it under oath, that at the time Bridget went upstairs she
went out into the barn, and into the loft of the barn to get lead to
make sinkers. Now, gentlemen, having in view the character of her
statements, that she heard the noise, you will find that when she gave
a later and detailed account, she said that she went into the loft of
the barn, opened the window, ate some pears up there, and looked over
some lead for sinkers, came down, looked in the stove to see if the
fire was hot enough that she might go on with her ironing, found it was
not, put her hat down, started to go upstairs to await the fire which
Bridget was to build for the noonday, and discovered her father. It is
not, gentlemen, and I pray your attention to it, a difference of words
here. In the one case the statement is that she was alarmed by the
noise of the homicide. In the other side the statement is that she came
coolly, deliberately about her business, looking after her ironing,
putting down her hat, and accidentally discovered the homicide as she
went upstairs. Gentlemen, upon this point it is my duty to point out
to you a piece of testimony which will be for your consideration. This
day, August 4, 1892, was one of the hottest days of the last summer
in this vicinity. The loft of the barn was stifling in the intensity
of its heat. Officer Medley, who came there quite early after the
alarm, went to the barn and went up the stairs of the barn. He had, at
that time heard of her going up into the loft, and as his head came
up on a level with the floor of the barn he saw that it was thickly
covered with dust. He stopped, put his hands upon the floor and drew
them across, and saw the marks of them. He looked again, stepped up,
counting his footsteps upon a part of the barn floor, came down into
his position again and saw plainly every footstep which he made. I
have said to you, gentlemen, that Mrs. Borden died some time before
her husband, and it is my duty to open to you the proof upon that
question. There will be many here who observed the two bodies as they
lay. I shall not attempt to state their evidence in detail. It will
tend to show that Mr. Borden’s body showed freshly flowing blood; was
warm and was not rigid in death; that Mrs. Borden’s body showed blood
that was coagulated and hardened and dry; that her body was cold, and
that she was stiffened in death. There will be the judgments of some
professional men who observed the two bodies soon after the discovery
of the homicides. There will be other important testimony in this case.
The stomachs of the two victims were taken to Prof. Edward S. Wood,
who examined them and is prepared to state their exact contents. The
stomach of Mrs. Borden contained eleven ounces of food in progress of
digestion. One-fifth of that eleven ounces was water and four-fifths of
it was this partially digested food. Mr. Borden’s stomach—and you will
remember that they ate breakfast at the same time—contained only six
ounces of matter, and nine-tenths of that was water, and only one-tenth
solid food; so you will see there was a very marked difference in the
contents of their stomachs. Upon the autopsy it appeared that the upper
intestines, leading directly from the stomach—the intestine into which
the contents of the stomach first pass—in Mrs. Borden’s case was empty
of food. Now, gentlemen, you will have the opinion of many who are
competent to give an opinion upon all these facts, and they will say
to you that upon those facts alone they are able to give a judgment
that Mrs. Borden must have died at least an hour before her husband.
And that, gentlemen, you will remember and take into view with the fact
that anywhere between nine and half-past nine o’clock she went upstairs
for a mere temporary purpose, and apparently never left the room that
she went to.

Now, gentlemen, it will appear that about the two rooms in which
the homicides were committed there was blood spattered in various
directions, so that it would make it probable that one or more
spatters of blood would be upon the person or upon the clothing of
the assailant. And there has been produced for the inspection of the
Commonwealth—it was produced a good many days after the homicide—the
clothing said to have been worn by the prisoner on the morning of
August 4—the shoes, stockings, dress, skirt. At this point the
articles of clothing mentioned were produced and placed on the table,
after which Mr. Moody continued as follows: The most rigid examination
by the most competent expert in this country fails to disclose any
marks of blood upon the dress which is produced as the one she wore on
the morning of the homicide, and upon the skirt which she is said to
have worn upon that morning is one minute spot of blood, which I do not
think it worth while to call to your attention at the present time. I
must go back a moment in this story. You have in mind, of course, the
interval which elapsed between the two homicides. The prisoner has
said—and it is important to consider, and we shall prove that she
has said—that the reason she left her ironing was because she found
the fire was low; that she took a stick of wood, put it on top of the
embers of the fire and went out to the barn to await its kindling; that
when she went out it was smoking and smoldering, as if it was going
to catch; that when she came back the stick of wood was there and the
fire had all gone out. It will appear—and it was pure accident that
this observation was made—that soon after the alarm an officer of
Fall River was attracted by something that Dr. Bowen was doing to the
stove—I do not mean to suggest anything—but the fact that he was
tearing up a note and was going to put it into the stove, and he looked
in and saw what was there, and found a large roll of what appeared to
be burnt paper. The prisoner had a calico, or cotton dress, perhaps I
ought to say, which she was in the habit of wearing mornings. It was
a light blue dress, with a fixed figure, a geometrical figure of some
sort, and the figure was not white, but navy-blue—a darker blue. Dr.
Bowen has said, and I have no doubt will say here now, that she had on
a cheap calico dress, a sort of drab colored dress. Mrs. Churchill says
she had on, that morning, a light blue ground with white in it—that
is, white in the blue, not a white figure, but white in the blue, to
make it lighter blue, I suppose, and a mixed figure of navy blue,
without a white spot in it at all, a diamond figure of navy blue, as
she will describe it. And upon being shown that dress (showing dress
to the jury), she will say that it is not the dress that the prisoner
at the bar had on when she came in upon the morning of the homicide.
You will recall that soon after the homicide Miss Russell and the
prisoner went to the bed room of the prisoner. While they were there
the prisoner said, “I think I had better have Winwood for undertaker,”
and Miss Russell went away upon the errand of getting Dr. Bowen to
see about the undertaker. And as Miss Russell came back she found the
prisoner coming from Emma’s room with the pink wrapper on that I have
described to you before—the loose wrapper. Upon Saturday night the
chief executive officer of the city of Fall River, Mayor Coughlin,
informed Lizzie Andrew Borden that she was under suspicion for these
murders. Saturday night Bridget Sullivan left the house. Alice Russell
was staying with her friend, and of course Miss Emma was at home at
that time.

On the morning of Sunday Miss Russell came into the kitchen. There
were officers about on the outside of the house, but none in, and
there was the prisoner with the skirt of her dress upon her arm, and
what appeared to be its waist lying upon some shelf, and we will
describe that dress. It was a dress which the prisoner had purchased
in the spring of that year, a cotton dress and not a silk dress like
this (holding a dark blue silk dress up to view). It was a light blue
dress. You will recall Mrs. Churchill’s description of that in this
connection. It was a light blue dress with a fixed navy blue spot
on it. The dress ordinarily worn in the morning corresponds to that
description, and was also bought in the spring. As she saw the prisoner
standing by the stove and as she approached her, Miss Emma turned round
and said, “Lizzie, what are you going to do?” The prisoner replied,
“I am going to burn this dress, it is all covered with paint.” Miss
Russell turned away. She came again into the room and she found the
prisoner standing with the waist of the light blue dress, apparently
tearing it in parts, and said, “Lizzie, I would not do that where
people can see you.” The only response which the prisoner made was to
take a step or two further out of observation. Miss Russell turned
again and went away. Upon the following day, in consequence of some
talk with Mr. Hanscom, a Pinkerton detective not in the employ of the
Government, Miss Russell went into the room where the prisoner and her
sister Emma were sitting and said: “Lizzie, I am afraid the burning of
that dress was the worst thing that you could have done.” She said:
“Oh, why did you let me do it then?” A considerable search had been
made by the officers for clothing and for weapons, and they will say
that no clothing unconcealed covered with paint could have escaped
their observation. You have noticed, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, this
indictment, a more particular description of which is to the jurors
unknown. It is the duty of the Government to bring forward all its
information upon this subject, and I propose to open it all to you at
the present time. Upon the premises that day were found two hatchets
and two axes. Upon one of those hatchets spots were discovered, which,
upon view, were thought to be blood. It is extremely difficult,
impossible, in fact, Dr. Wood, the highest authority on this subject
in this country, if not in the world, will say, to distinguish between
blood and some other substances. Attention upon the view then was
directed to one of these hatchets, it is not important which (holding
both hatchets in hand before the jury.) It is said to be the one I
hold in my right hand. These axes, gentlemen, are so far out of the
question that I need not waste any time on them. They could not have
been the weapons with which these homicides were committed. Upon
careful examination neither of these hatchets is seen to contain
the slightest evidence of blood stain. The appearances which were
thought to be blood turned out to be something else. You will observe,
gentlemen, that there are ragged pieces near and about the entrance
of the handle to the blade of this hatchet, that the same appearances
exist there in that weapon, also on the outside of the handle, and Dr.
Wood will say to you that those weapons could not in all probability
have been used for these homicides, and have been washed so as to
have prevented the traces of blood from being caught on those ragged
surfaces. In that view of the fact we may well lay those weapons aside
as entirely innocent. Upon the day of the homicide another weapon, or
part of a weapon, that was thought to be a bloody hatchet, had been
discovered and attracted little attention. It was seen by one officer,
and left where it was. At that time this fragment of the handle was
in its appropriate place in the helve, if that is the proper name,
of the hatchet, in the place fitted in the head. It was covered with
an adhesion of ashes, not the fine dust which floats about the room
where ashes are emptied, but a coarse dust of ashes adhering more or
less to all sides of the hatchet. Upon the Monday morning this hatchet
was taken away, and its custody from that time to the present will be

You will observe, gentlemen, that both hatchets are rusty, the hatchet
which is innocent, the handless hatchet now under discussion, but the
rust in the case of the handless hatchet is uniform upon both sides and
upon all parts of its surface, such rust, for instance, as might be the
result of exposure upon wet grass to the night’s dew, such rust as must
result from an exposure uniform in its extent upon all parts of the
hatchet. Prof. Wood will say to you—he saw this hatchet soon after it
was found—that while there were ragged fragments of wood which would
detain absolutely no indications of the blood in these weapons, that
if that weapon had had upon it the remainder of the hatchet, and was as
smooth as he saw, by the application of water soon after the homicide,
blood could be readily, effectually and completely removed. Dr. Wood
will also tell you that that break which had not the color then which
it has now—it has been subjected to some acid process—was a new break
and was a fresh break. By that I do not mean to be understood as a
break which had necessarily occurred within twenty-four hours, within
forty-eight hours, or within a week, but perhaps a break which might
have been a day or might have been a month old. It was a fresh break.
In accordance, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, with the unbroken practice of
the authorities in this Commonwealth, such parts of the mortal remains
of the victims as would tend to throw light either in the protection
of innocence or the detection of guilt, have been preserved and must
be presented here before you for your consideration. I do not think
it is necessary for me to allude to them at this time. There is one
story that is unmistakably told by those skulls and by the chipping
blows that are upon them, and that is that the weapon which produced
them was a sharp weapon. There is another thing that is unmistakably
told by one of the skulls—I think that of Mr. Borden—and that is that
the weapon which brought him to his death was just three and one half
inches on its blade, no more, no less. That is the exact measurement
of the blade of that hatchet. Let there be no mistake, Mr. Foreman and
gentlemen, about my meaning. The Government does not insist that these
homicides were committed by this handleless hatchet. It may have been
the weapon. It may well have been the weapon. The one significant fact
which in this respect is emphasized is that the bloody weapon was not
found by the sides of the victims, upon the premises, or near them.
Doubtless you will consider that fact well when you come to consider
whether these homicides were the acts of an intruder or stranger flying
from his crimes with the bloody weapon in his possession, through
the streets of Fall River at noonday, or the acts of an inmate of
the house, familiar with its resources for destruction, obliteration
and concealment. When these bodies were found it was discovered that
not a thing in the house had been disturbed. No property had been
taken. No drawers had been ransacked. Mr. Borden had upon his person
a considerable sum of money as well as his watch and chain. We almost
might hope that it was not necessary to exclude another motive, but
sad experience tells us that age of a woman is no protection from an
assault from lustful purpose, but I may say, gentlemen, there was
nothing to indicate a motive of that sort. In and about the rooms where
these two homicides were committed there was not the slightest trace
of a struggle. The assailant, whoever he or she may have been, was
able to approach each victim in broad daylight and without a struggle
and without a murmur to lay them low before him. Mrs. Borden was found
prostrated between the bureau and the bed, her face upon the floor and
the right side of her head hacked to pieces by blows, some of great
force, some of uncertain and vacillating weakness. Mr. Borden was found
reclining on a sofa in the sitting room and apparently had passed
from life to death without a struggle or a movement, and his head,
too, bore the same marks as the head of his wife bore. It will appear
that no one, and it is confirmatory evidence, not in itself of the
strongest character, but confirmatory of the conclusive evidence of the
opportunity in the house—it will appear that no one was seen to escape
from any side of that house nor to enter that house on the morning of
August 4.

Gentlemen, let me stop a moment and see where we are. The Commonwealth
will prove that there was an unkindly feeling between the prisoner
and her step-mother; that upon Wednesday, August 3, she was dwelling
upon murder and preparing herself with a weapon which had no innocent
use; that upon the evening of Wednesday, August 3, she was predicting
disaster and cataloguing defences; that from the time when Mrs. Borden
left the dining room to go upstairs for this momentary errand, up to
the time when the prisoner came down stairs an hour later from this
hallway which led only to her chamber and that in which Mrs. Borden
was found, there was no other human being except the prisoner at the
bar present; that these acts were the acts of a human being; that they
were the acts of a person who, to have selected time and place as it
was selected in this case, must have had a familiar knowledge of the
interior of the premises and of the whereabouts and the habits of
those who were in occupation of them at that time. We shall prove that
this prisoner made contradictory statements about her whereabouts,
and, above all, gave a statement virtually different upon the manner
in which she discovered these homicides. We shall prove beyond all
reasonable doubt that this death of Mrs. Borden was a prior death. Then
we shall ask you to say, if say you can, whether any other reasonable
hypothesis except that of the guilt of this prisoner can account for
the said occurrence which happened upon the morning of August 4. Now,
gentlemen, my present duty is drawing to its close. The time for idle
rumor, for partial, insufficient information, for hasty and inexact
reasoning, is past. We are to be guided from this time forth by the
law and the evidence only. I conjure you to keep your minds in that
same open and receptive condition in which you have sworn they were;
I pray you to keep them so to the end. If, when that end comes, after
you have heard the evidence upon both sides, the arguments of counsel,
the instructions of the Court, the evidence fails, God forbid that
you should move one step against the law or beyond the evidence to
the injury of this prisoner. But if your minds, considering all these
circumstances, are led irresistibly to the conclusion of her guilt, we
ask you in your verdict to declare the truth: and by so doing, and only
by so doing, shall you make true deliverance of the great issue which
has been committed to your keeping.


Third Day of the Trial.

Civil Engineer Thomas Kieran gave an exhaustive statement of
measurements he had made on the premises. James A. Walsh, photographer,
of Fall River, testified as to the accuracy of the pictures he had made
of the victims and the house on the day of the killing. John Vinnecum
Morse was the third witness called. His examination was conducted by
District Attorney Moody, and was not different in any manner from that
at the preliminary trial. Abram G. Hart, treasurer of the Union Savings
Bank, testified as to Mr. Borden’s movements on the morning of the 4th
of August. As also did John T. Burrill, cashier of the Union National
Bank, Everett M. Cook, cashier of the First National Bank, Jonathan
Clegg, a hat dealer, Joseph Shortsleeves, a carpenter, and John Maher a

The afternoon of Wednesday, the third day of the trial was devoted
entirely to the examination of Bridget Sullivan. Bridget’s testimony
did not differ materially from that given in the lower courts. Her
direct examination was the same as appears heretofore. On cross
examination by Mr. Robinson these facts were disclosed.

She had lived with the Bordens nearly three years and it was a pleasant
family to live with so far as she knew. She never saw any quarrelling
but she didn’t see the family all this time. It was customary for
Lizzie and Emma to eat alone; sometimes, however, they ate with the
family. They usually slept later than the others. Lizzie spoke to Mrs.
Borden and Mrs. Borden spoke to her. Lizzie gave her a civil answer on
the morning of the murder. Going back to the house with his questioning
Mr. Robinson asked her if she locked the screen door when she returned
from the yard, and told her that she had testified before that she did
not know whether she had hooked it or not. This confused the witness
and she finally said she didn’t know whether she hooked it or not. She
did not remember what was asked her about the family eating together,
when she was questioned at the inquest, but she was ready to say now
that they always ate together so far as she knew. Bridget had nothing
to do with the front part of the house and seldom went in those rooms;
she could not go into those rooms unless she got a key, which was kept
on the mantel in the sitting room; there was a door bell for upstairs,
but she knew nothing about it; nobody else occupied the attic with the
witness the night before the murder. She got up at 6:15 by her bedroom
clock. There was a clock in every room. Mr. Robinson required her to
tell again what was on the breakfast table. Bridget added that they
had butter, which occasioned some little merriment. He tried Bridget’s
memory by asking her what Mrs. Borden did on Wednesday morning. He
got an answer. She was positive that Lizzie had on a blue wrapper
Wednesday morning, but she could not tell the kind of dress she wore
Thursday morning. In the afternoon she had on a pink wrapper. There
was a kitchen closet in the back corner of the north side of the house
which she had occasion to enter; it had a window in it, but she did not
know how it was—open or shut; all the time she was washing windows the
screen door was unhooked; she did not anticipate that there would be
any trouble, and she went to the barn six or seven times to get water;
this was while the door was unhooked. She went to the corner of the
yard on the south side of the house and talked to Mrs. Kelly’s girl,
and anybody could have entered the side door and not be seen by her.
“Well,” said Robinson, “the coast was clear while you stood talking to
the Kelly girl!” “Yes,” said Bridget, “I could see the front door but
I could not see the side door.” Bridget did not enter the front part
of the house that morning until she heard a noise at the front door;
the last time she saw Mr. Borden before he went out was when he took
his pitcher and key and went up the back stairs; while she was drawing
water in the barn, she saw no one and did not look for any one. She
might have seen them if they came and might not; witness could not tell
anything about the parlor or its windows; if any one was in that room
she would not have known it; after she had finished work she came into
the house and locked the door on the inside; as she let Mr. Borden in
the front door she heard Lizzie laugh, but did not see her; Lizzie was
afterward talking with her father about the mail; she did not pay any
attention to what was said, but the talk was pleasant.

Didn’t pay any attention to the fire and didn’t know whether it was
out or not; the flats were on the stove; thinks Lizzie had them there;
while Lizzie ate her cookies and coffee witness was out in the back
yard; thinks she got upstairs about three minutes before 11 o’clock
and had seen nothing wrong about the house; Lizzie said to her,
“Maggie, come down quick; father is killed,” or words which meant the
same; then she went right off to get Dr. Bowen; she could not tell
whether the door was locked or not; in fact, she was confused and
cannot remember just what did happen for awhile. When she returned
from Alice Russell’s house, Dr. Bowen was in the house and so was Mrs.
Churchill; she did not see any blood on Lizzie; after awhile Lizzie
went upstairs. “I did not see anybody come with a note; I think I would
have seen them had they entered the back door,” said Bridget. When she
went to go upstairs with Mrs. Churchill she passed through the dining
room, and Lizzie was then left in the kitchen. Mr. Borden was then on
the sofa covered up with a sheet, and when Lizzie went upstairs she
passed through the sitting room also. Witness thought it was about
10:30 o’clock when Mr. Borden entered the front door. On Wednesday
morning she learned that all of the family had been ill the night
before. That is the day she had on the light blue wrapper. Mr. Moody
asked her if this dress she had on Wednesday was the same one referred
to as made in the spring, and the answer was “yes.” There was a time
when Mrs. Borden was sick, and neither of the girls went into the room.


Fourth Day of the Trial.

Dr. S. W. Bowen, the family physician, was the first witness called.
After telling of his arrival at home he said: “I saw Miss Lizzie Borden
and Mrs. Churchill in the side hall, just at the end of it, the kitchen
door; I said, ‘Lizzie, what’s the matter?’ she said, ‘Father has been
killed or stabbed’; I asked, ‘Where is your father?’ she said, ‘In the
sitting room.’ That was all she said in that conversation at that time.
In consequence of what she said I went into the dining room and then
into the sitting room; I saw the form of Mr. Borden lying on the sofa
at the left of the sitting room door; I found upon inspection that his
face was badly cut, apparently with a sharp instrument; felt of his
pulse and was satisfied that he was dead; I glanced about the room and
saw that nothing was disturbed; he was lying on his right side with
his face toward the south; the face was hardly recognizable. I don’t
think the photograph shows the case of a person asleep; in this the
form has sunk down from where I first saw it; by sinking I mean the
general collapse.” During the showing of the picture Lizzie kept her
eyes riveted on the floor, never once glancing up. Witness said, in
explaining the picture to the jury—“The head is lower than it was; the
sofa has been moved; it was, when I saw it, even with the door. With
reference to the back of the sofa the head is substantially as when I
saw it. As I went into the sitting room Lizzie followed me part way,
and as I turned to go out after finding he was dead I asked her if she
had seen anyone and she said no; I asked her where she had been and
she said, ‘In the barn to get some iron,’ then she said she was afraid
her father had had trouble with some of his tenants; then I asked her
to get something to cover Mr. Borden. Bridget brought me a sheet; the
sheet was brought from Mr. Borden’s room and the key was taken from
the mantel, I believe, where it was usually kept. After the sheet was
used, Lizzie asked me if I would telegraph to Emma, and in consequence
of that request I did so; up to that time nothing had been said of Mrs.
Borden, but just before I went to the telegraph office somebody asked
where Mrs. Borden was and Lizzie said she had received a note to visit
a sick friend and had gone out. As I was going out I met Officer Allen.
On my return from the telegraph office I met in the kitchen hallway
Mrs. Churchill, and she said they had found Mrs. Borden up stairs in
the front room; she said I had better go upstairs and see her; I went
through the dining room and sitting room and up the front stairs,
stopping a moment at the door of the guest chamber; at that point I
looked over the bed and saw the prostrate form of Mrs. Borden; then
I was standing in the doorway; I went around at the foot of the bed,
placed my hand on her head, and found a wound in her head; then I felt
her pulse and found she was dead. I never said to any one that she died
of fright or in a faint; but I will say this, my first thought was that
she had fainted; I went down stairs and told the people Mrs. Borden was
dead; that I thought she was killed by the same instrument with which
Mr. Borden was killed and that I considered it fortunate that Lizzie
was out of the way.

[Illustration: C. C. RUSSELL.]

When I went downstairs first Lizzie was in the kitchen; Lizzie, Mrs.
Churchill, Miss Russell and my wife and Bridget were in the kitchen;
they were fanning her and working over her; she afterwards went in the
dining room and I told her then that she had better go to her room,
where I saw her that day; between 1 and 2 Miss Russell came to me
about some medicine for her and I gave her bromo caffeine to allay the
nervous excitement. I left directions and a second dose and carried
a bottle there for her; I ordered morphine for her on Friday, and on
Saturday I doubled the dose, continuing it on Saturday and Sunday; at
the inquest I know Lizzie testified before I did; on Friday I gave her
one-eighth grain, on Saturday I doubled it and continued the treatment
all the time up to her arrest and while she was in the station; there
is no question about the effect of morphine on the mind; by changing
and allaying their views and gives them hallucinations. I saw her take
the medicine on Thursday; that was bromo-caffeine, which will not
create hallucinations.”

Miss Adelaide B. Churchill was called and said: “On the morning of
Aug. 4, I saw Mr. Borden first about nine o’clock; I was then in the
kitchen; he was by his steps but don’t know where he went; he was
standing there; it was on the barn side of the steps; that morning
I went out and purchased something for dinner; returning I walked
southward and upwards towards my house; in going that way I had to pass
the Borden house first; when I reached my house I saw Bridget Sullivan
going across the street from Dr. Bowen’s to her house. She was white
and going rapidly; I went in the side door of my house and into the
kitchen, laying my bundles on a long table, and looking out of the
window saw Lizzie inside of the screen door leaning against the east
side of the door casing. I opened the window and asked Lizzie, what
is the matter? She said: ‘Oh, Mrs. Churchill, come over; some one has
killed father.’ I went right out the front door over to their house;
when I stepped inside the screen door, she was sitting on the second
step; I put my hand in her right arm and said: ‘Oh, Lizzie, how did it
happen?’ She said: ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Where were you?’ ‘I was in the barn
to get a piece of iron, and when I came back I found the screen door
open.’ She said they must have some enemies, and she thought they had
all been poisoned, as they were all sick in the night. I offered to go
for a doctor and returned, after going to where my brother worked and
getting him to telephone. Dr. Bowen was there and wanted me to go in
and see the body of Mr. Borden, but I refused to go in; he asked for
a sheet and someone handed Bridget a key. She and I went up in Mrs.
Borden’s room, where Bridget unlocked the door for us; we got a sheet
and brought it down; Lizzie asked Dr. Bowen to send a telegram to Emma;
then Miss Russell came in and Lizzie said she wished somebody would try
to find Mrs. Borden as she thought she heard her come in; I volunteered
to go with Bridget, and as we went up the stairs and when my head was
on a level with the floor, I saw the body, then I turned about and went

“Miss Russell said ‘Is there another,’ and I said ‘Yes, she is up
there.’ On the day of the tragedy the agitation of Lizzie wasn’t
manifested by tears; I don’t remember whether Lizzie said to me that
the reason she came in from the barn was because she heard a distressed
noise; the dress she had while I was there was a light blue calico or
cambric with a dark navy blue diamond, printed. The whole dress was
alike; I don’t remember how often I saw her wearing this dress, and I
don’t know how long she had owned it.”

Miss Alice M. Russell was the next witness called, and when her name
was mentioned, Lizzie straightened up in her chair and began to watch
the door. When Miss Russell came in, she looked everywhere but where
Lizzie was seated. “About two years ago I lived in Dr. Kelly’s house,”
said Miss Russell; “I knew all of the family well. On Aug. 4, 1892,
I lived on Borden street, between Third and Fourth streets, and near
by a baker shop; occasionally Lizzie and I visited each other; when I
went to her home she received me, generally, in the guests’ room. On
Wednesday night, Aug. 3, Lizzie came to see me; she came alone, and
stayed till about 9 o’clock. We conversed and during the evening we
spoke about going to Marion. I think when she came in she said, ‘I have
taken your advice, and am going to Marion.’ I said ‘I’m glad you’re
going’; I spoke about her having a good time, but she said, ‘I don’t
know; I feel distressed; when I was at Marion the other day the girls
were laughing and they asked me what was the matter with me.’ Then she
spoke of her father and mother and her being sick the night before,
but Maggie wasn’t sick; she (Lizzie) wasn’t sick enough to vomit; she
heard the others vomiting and stepped to the door to help them; she
spoke of the bread and the milk and we talked about that, and I said it
couldn’t possibly be the bread, because others would have been sick.
Lizzie spoke about believing her father had enemies and spoke of the
man who came there and wanted to hire a place, and of the quarrel;
then she spoke of seeing a man about the place at night; about the
barn being broken into, and about the burglary in the houses. I said
that I never heard of the burglary before, and Lizzie said her father
had forbidden them to speak of it; she described the robbery to me and
said it was done in Mrs. Borden’s room; she was afraid somebody would
burn the house down, and that she was afraid to go to sleep at night.
Lizzie also spoke about the manner of her father treating his friends
and how badly he used Dr. Bowen at one time. On the morning of August
4th, while I was at work, Bridget Sullivan came to me; I changed my
dress and went at once to the Borden house and saw Lizzie down stairs;
she was standing up when I went there and I asked her to sit down,
which she did. She told me when I asked her, about going to the barn
and her reason, that she went to the barn to get a piece of iron to fix
her screen; I don’t remember that she spoke about the note, but I heard
it talked over. While I was downstairs she looked faint and I started
to loosen her dress, but she said she wasn’t faint; I only unloosened
it a little at the lower part. When she went upstairs I was with her;
she spoke about getting an undertaker and I went down and spoke to Dr.
Bowen; when I went back, met her coming out of Emma’s room tying the
strings of her wrapper; at one time when I was in the room I saw her
going to the closet door, unlock it and go in; I don’t know whether
Mr. Fleet went in that closet or not. Saturday and Sunday nights
I occupied Miss Emma’s room; on Sunday I got the breakfast; after
breakfast I left the lower part of the house and returned before noon;
when I came back, I went in the kitchen and saw Lizzie standing by the
stove, Emma by the sink; Lizzie had a dress and I asked her what she
was going to do with it and Lizzie said she was going to burn it, it
was all covered with paint. I said nothing and went out. When I came in
the room again, Lizzie was tearing the dress, I said: ‘I wouldn’t let
anybody see me doing that,’ and she stepped one step back; it was the
waist she was tearing; I didn’t remember about the skirt; there were no
officers in the house at that time, though there were some about the
premises; Bridget had left before that. I saw Mr. Hanscom and saw him
at the Borden house on Monday and conversed with him in the parlor; in
consequence of that talk I saw Miss Lizzie and Emma in the dining room
and I said—‘I’m afraid the worst thing you could have done was to burn
that dress; I have been asked about your dresses, and she said, ‘why
did you let me do it?’”

John Cunningham told the story of how he had telephoned news of the
horror to the Central police station; and Deputy Sheriff Francis H.
Wixon related that he was in the station when the message was received.

Officer George W. Allen said he was sent to the Borden house at 11:15
on the morning of the 4th. He described the manner in which he went
and about enlisting Mr. Sawyer for an outside guard. He saw Lizzie at
the table in the kitchen and he also saw the body of Mr. Borden. He
saw that the front door was locked with a night lock and a bolt. When
he went to the station and reported to the Marshall he hadn’t heard
of Mrs. Borden’s death. He detailed his coming again and his searches
through the house and his finding the cellar door locked on the inside,
or bolted. Witness said that when he saw the body of Mrs. Borden, there
was a small stand upon which were two books and a small oil lamp about
three feet away, but there were no marks of blood on the books or the
stand. He noticed a bloody handkerchief on the guest chamber floor,
lying about midway between the body and the wall.

Assistant City Marshal John Fleet, when sworn, testified that he went
to the house arriving at 11:35. Saw several persons and went into the
house and saw the bodies. Came out and found the door at the head of
the stairs locked; it leads into a closet; then went into Lizzie’s
bedroom upstairs; she sat with Mr. Buck; told her that he was an
officer and asked her if she knew anything about the killing; she
said she did not; all that she knew was that she was ironing when her
father came home and saw him sit on the sofa; he was feeble and she
assisted him to lay down; then she went out and up to the barn and
remained about half an hour upstairs in the barn. She came back and
found her father on the sofa in the position she had left him, except
that he was dead; she then called Maggie; asked her who Maggie was,
and she said the servant girl; said she sent her after Dr. Bowen and
Miss Russell; told me there was no one else in the house beside the
family and her uncle, John Morse; said Morse could not have killed the
people because he left the house and did not return till nearly 12;
said Maggie could not have done it, because she had gone upstairs after
her father came in. I then asked her if she knew who could have killed
her father and mother. She answered: “She is not my mother; she is my
stepmother; my own mother died when I was a child.” Witness said that
on the way up he tried the door of Mr. Borden’s bedroom and found it
locked; all the rooms except Bridget’s was locked; the witness went
into the cellar and found a lot of officers; Mr. Mullaly had two axes
and hatchets on the floor; searched the cellar for any instrument, but
found none at the time. A few days before, her father had some angry
talk with a man in the back yard about a storeroom. Mr. Fleet then
went down stairs through the rooms on the lower floor and then up to
Bridget’s room. The weapons which Mullaly had were placed behind some
boxes in the cellar. At this point Mr. Moody brought out his collection
of axes and hatchets which Mr. Fleet identified as the ones he had
seen in the cellar. The red stain which he had seen on the handle of
one hatchet had disappeared. Then Mr. Fleet went to Lizzie’s door and
rapped; Dr. Bowen came, and holding the door eight inches open, asked,
‘what is wanted.’ I told him we came to search. He said, ‘Wait a a
moment,’ shut the door and talked with Lizzie, opened it and asked if
it was absolutely necessary to search it, and I said, ‘Yes;’ I said
again to Lizzie, ‘You said this morning that you were up in the barn
half an hour; what do you say now?’ She replied, ‘I say from twenty
minutes to half an hour.’ Asked her when she saw Mrs. Borden last and
she said, ‘In the guest room, about nine o’clock,’ and that some one
brought a letter or note to Mrs. Borden and that she supposed Mrs.
Borden had gone out. Then went to a door leading into another bedroom
and found it was hooked; opened it and went in; saw a bed standing in
the middle of the room; Lizzie told him that she hoped he would get
through as soon as possible, as she was getting tired of it and he
told her that he would; she also said there was no use in searching
her own room, because she always locked it and no one could get into
it or throw anything into it. He then came down stairs; saw Dr. Dolan
and the officers in the cellar; spoke to them and then found in the
middle cellar, on a shelf near the chimney, the head of a hatchet; the
shelf was about six feet from the ground; at the time he found the
hatchet there was a small piece of wood sticking in the head, it was a
part of the handle. The hatchet was covered with a heavy coat of white
ashes upon both sides of the blade; in fact all over the hatchet; the
substance, as he thought, was fine ashes; there were other tools on the
box at the time, they were covered with a light dust but not ashes; the
dust on the other tools was lighter and finer than the ashes on the
hatchet; he saw that the piece of the handle was a new break; the break
was also covered with ashes; he put it back into the box with the other
tools. He then went outside.


Fifth Day of the Trial.

The forenoon was devoted to an exhaustive cross examination of Mr.
Fleet by Mr. Robinson. Captain Philip Harrington was the next witness.
“I was at dinner on the day of the tragedy, and it was 12 o’clock when
my attention was first called; I went in by the front gate, along the
north side, and went in at the north door; I saw Mr. Sawyer at the
door; I didn’t see Lizzie there, but there were some ladies and some
officers. I asked a question or two, and was directed to the sitting
room, where Mr. Borden’s body was on the lounge, covered with a sheet;
I looked at the face, but could not recognize it; some of the blood
was very dark, some very bright; it all had a fresh appearance, and
as I stood there a small drop came down the side of his face; when I
was there one or two persons stood beside me; then I went up to the
room where Mrs. Borden’s body lay; I saw the body when I was on the
stairs, my head being just on a level with the floor. I went in, looked
at the body, saw blood on her dress, on the pillow sham, and some on
the spread. The blood was quite dark; then I went out and met two
officers in the doorway; in the doorway on the east I looked and saw
Miss Russell and Lizzie; I had a conversation with Miss Borden, asking
her to tell me all she knew, but she said ‘I can tell you nothing at
all;’ she said her father came home from the post office with a small
package in his hand; ‘I asked him if he had any mail for me; then I
went out in the yard, and into the barn,’ saying she had heard nobody
in the meantime; she said she was up in the loft. I asked her if the
motive was robbery and she said no; everything was all right, even to
the watch in his pocket and the ring on his finger; I asked her if she
had any reason to suspect anybody. ‘No-o-o, I have not.’ Said I, ‘Why
hesitate?’ ‘Well,’ she said, ‘a few weeks ago father had angry words
with a man about something.’ ‘What was it?’ ‘I don’t know, but they
were very angry at the time, and the stranger went away.’ ‘Did you see
him at all?’ ‘No, sir: they were in another room—but from the tone of
their voices I knew everything wasn’t pleasant between them.’ ‘Did you
hear your father say anything about him?’ ‘No, sir. About two weeks
ago he came again. They had a very animated conversation, during which
they got angry again, and I heard father say, ‘No, sir, I will not let
my store for any such business.’ But before they separated I heard
father say, ‘When you are in town, come again, and I will let you know
about it.’’ She was dressed in a plain—or in a house wrap, striped in
pattern, a pink and light stripe alternating—pink the most prominent
color or shade. On the light stripe was a diamond figure formed by
small bars or stripes, some of which ran parallel with the stripe and
others biased to it, or diagonally. It was fitted to the form on the
sides, standup collar, plaited on the sides and closely shirred in

Captain Harrington’s testimony was a comprehensive story of what he had
seen and heard at the house on that day.

Captain Patrick H. Doherty said that he heard of the murder at 11:39,
and went direct to the house, overtaking Deputy Sheriff Wixon on the
way; both went in together; witness described going into the house and
his wanderings about it; he was asked to state what Dr. Bowen had said
about the body before he (witness) examined it, but the court ruled the
question out as being incompetent. “Mrs. Borden, when I saw her, was
lying face down with her hands up over her head; the head was close to
the wall, six or seven inches away; I lifted the head and looked at it;
the furniture in the room wasn’t disturbed, that I remember; on the
floor was a bunch of hair, as big as my fist, which appeared to have
been cut off; the first time I went there I didn’t see Miss Borden,
Miss Russell or Mrs. Churchill. During the afternoon I saw Miss Borden
in the kitchen; I asked her where she was when this was done; she said
it must have been done while she was in the barn; she said she heard no
outcry or screams, but she did hear some noise like scraping; then I
had some talk with Bridget and Mr. Mullaly and I went about the house
and looked it over pretty thoroughly, going into a room we found open,
and then we went down cellar where Mullaly and I found a hatchet. I
think it was a claw-headed one. Then I went out in the yard and then to
the office; I saw Miss Borden in her room that day before I went away;
I went to her room and she came to the door and said ‘One minute,’ and
went in and shut the door; It was a minute before she opened it; we
looked about the room; when she was down stairs I thought she had on
a light blue dress, with a small spot, and there was a ‘bosom’ to the
dress. On Friday morning Lizzie had a talk with Bridget about the back
cellar door; she asked ‘Maggie’ if she was sure the cellar door was
fastened, and ‘Maggie’ said she was.”

Officer Michael Mullaly said he was sent to the Borden house and
arrived there at 11:37; he looked at his watch and fixed the time thus;
“I saw Miss Borden and she told me she was in the yard and when she
came in he was dead on the sofa; she told me what property her father
had on his person. I asked if there were any hatchets or axes on the
premises, and she said Bridget Sullivan would show me where they were;
Officer Doherty searched the body and found things as Lizzie had said
they were.” Witness described at length his search of the premises.
On cross-examination he testified to finding a hatchet handle in the
cellar box. District Attorney Knowlton, on being asked for this extra
piece of handle, said he did not have it, and this was the first time
he had ever heard of it. Mr. Fleet was recalled and asked about the
broken handled hatchet, where he found it and what else he found. He
said he found nothing in the nature of a piece of wood with a new break
in it. This created a decided sensation. Charles H. Wilson, a police
officer, testified that he went to the house about 1 o’clock on the
afternoon of the 4th; heard the talk between Miss Borden and Mr. Fleet;
Mr. Fleet asked her where her mother was, and she answered that she saw
her last in the guest chamber about 9 o’clock; that she had received a
note and gone out; witness described the search of the house.

Annie M. White, the court stenographer of Bristol County, was called
to tell her story of what took place at the inquest in Fall River.
Gov. Robinson arose and asked that the further examination of this
witness be dispensed with until a full explanation could be made of
the important question which the testimony proposed to be submitted,
brought up.


Seventh Day of the Trial.

On Monday morning the Court came in and Mr. Moody argued at length in
support of his claim that the testimony given by Lizzie Borden at the
inquest be allowed to go before the jury. It was a verbatim report of
this testimony which Miss White would have testified to. Mr. Robinson
made an extensive reply and in the afternoon it was decided that the
testimony was incompetent, and therefore ruled out. Thus the strongest
prop of the State’s case was broken down. Officer Joseph Hyde told the
story of a search of the premises.

Medical Examiner Dr. William A. Dolan said he had been a practising
physician for eleven years; “I first went to the Borden house at 11:45
a. m.; I was passing by the house; I was in there ten or fifteen
minutes when the City Hall clock struck 12; I first saw Mr. Sawyer,
then Dr. Bowen, Bridget Sullivan and Mr. Morse, also Miss Russell and
Mrs. Churchill, Officers Allen, Mullaly and Doherty were there. I had
a little talk with Lizzie Borden that morning; she was in her room;
I asked her about that note and she said Mrs. Borden had received a
note to go and see somebody who was sick; I asked her what had become
of it, and she said she supposed she had thrown it in the stove; when
I first went in I saw a form lying on a sofa; the end of the sofa was
flush with the jamb of the dining room door; the body was covered with
a sheet. Dr. Bowen and I went together; I looked at the body, touched
it and saw the body was warm and that blood was still oozing from the
wounds in the head; the head was resting on a small sofa cushion; a
coat was under that and an afghan under that; I made no particular
examination of the wounds; I then went upstairs to see Mrs. Borden.
I got Mr. Kieran to take some measurements for me; some time after I
noticed the blood was coagulated; Mrs. Borden was lying more on the
left side of her face, so as to expose the rear of the right back of
the head; there I found a handkerchief, it was an old one, of silk,
and was bloody; it was near her head; I did not take the handkerchief,
but it was buried with the rest of the clothes. I was only there two
or three minutes at that time; I had a thermometer with me, but I
didn’t use it; I found the temperature of Mr. Borden to be very high;
I learned this from the hands; at that time the blood was dripping in
two places down the head of the sofa; there was no blood on top of
the carpet, but it had soaked in; I saw no coagulated blood on Mr.
Borden; I touched the body of Mrs. Borden, and it was much colder than
Mr. Borden’s. I made an examination of Mr. Borden’s wounds, and found
there what seemed to be from eight to ten.” In his pocket book witness
found eighty-one dollars and sixty-five cents in money; his watch
and chain were in their usual place; there was a ring on his finger;
witness collected a sample of the morning’s milk, in consequence of
what was told him, and afterwards analyzed it. Continuing he said:
“Then I went into the cellar and found some axes and hatchets; I saw
one a claw hammer, which appeared to have been scraped. It was 12:30 or
thereabouts that first day when I first saw those axes; I went away and
went back again about 3 or 3:30; then I had the bodies photographed;
the bodies were in the same position as when I first saw them except
that I think Mrs. Borden’s hands were moved.”


Eighth and Ninth Days of the Trial.

The greater part of the forenoon of the eighth day was devoted to the
examination of Dr. Dolan and he told a comprehensive story of what he
had seen and done in his official capacity.

Prof. Edward S. Wood of Harvard College, had received the stomachs of
the murdered Bordens and had tested them for prussic acid poisoning
with negative results. He then said “afterwards they were analyzed
in the regular way for other poisonous substances, with a negative
result. There was nothing abnormal or irregular in the condition of the
stomachs; assuming that they both ate at the same time and of the same
kind of food, the difference in the time of death, from the condition
of the stomachs, would be about one and one-half hours; digestion stops
at death; I have heard all the evidence thus far, and taking all these
facts and the examination I made myself, the most important facts to
show the time of death are the condition of the blood and the condition
of the stomachs and the heat of the bodies.” In this opinion he agreed
with Dr. Dolan. He had examined all the hatchets and found no blood.
All of the prisoner’s clothes, shoes and stockings were found to be
bloodless, except a white skirt. This had one drop of blood less than
the size of a pin’s head and on the back part eight inches above the
hem. Dr. Frank W. Draper of Boston, medical examiner of Suffolk county,
testified to the condition of the bodies and wounds at the time he
assisted Dr. Dolan at the Oak Grove autopsy. He talked at length upon
the kind of weapon which could have made the wounds and told of the way
in which the blood might have scattered. Dr. R. W. Chever of Boston,
had examined the skulls of the Bordens and testified as to the kind of
weapon which made the wounds.


Tenth Day of the Trial.

City Marshal Rufus B. Hilliard was the witness called. He testified
as had the other officers about his search at the house. He said: “On
Saturday evening following the killing, I went to the house in company
with Dr. Coughlin; there was a large crowd of people present, perhaps
two or three hundred people; I sent for officers and had the crowd
removed to the street; then I went into the house, where I saw the
prisoner, her sister and Mr. Morse; there was a conversation between
Dr. Coughlin and the others; after we entered the parlor Dr. Coughlin
asked that the family remain in the house for a few days; that there
was much excitement and he thought it would be better they should
remain there and not go on the street. I think he told them if they
were annoyed by the people to send word to the city marshal or himself
and they should be protected; Mr. Morse asked about the mail and he was
told they had better send for it; then Miss Lizzie asked, ‘What, is
there anybody in this house suspected?’ the Mayor said, ‘Perhaps Mr.
Morse could answer that from what occurred last night;’ Lizzie then
said, ‘I want to know the truth,’ and the Mayor said he was sorry to
say it, but that she was suspected; then Emma spoke up and said, ‘We
have tried to keep it from you as long as we could.’ Then the Mayor
asked Lizzie where she was when the affair happened, and she said in
the barn for twenty minutes, looking for lead sinkers; Lizzie said,
after Emma spoke, ‘Well, I am ready to go any time.’” The witness was
cross-examined at great length and told of all his connections with the

Dr. John W. Coughlin, Mayor of Fall River, said that on Saturday
evening following the Borden murder he went to the house with the
marshal; there was a large crowd present and he instructed the marshal
to disperse the crowd; it was done; in the house the first person he
saw was Miss Emma; then he saw Lizzie and Mr. Morse. “We all went into
the parlor where I said, ‘I have a request to make of the family, and
that is that you remain in the house for a few days, since I think it
would be best for you all.’ Lizzie asked, ‘Why, is there anybody in
this house suspected?’ and I said, ‘Well, perhaps Mr. Morse can answer
better, as his experience of last evening might tend to convince him
that somebody in the house was suspected;’ then Emma said, ‘We have
tried to keep it from her the best we could,’ and Lizzie said, ‘Well,
if I am suspected I am ready to go at any time;’ then Miss Lizzie, in
answer to my questions, told where she was when the murders occurred;
Miss Emma then said she wanted us to do everything we could for them,
after I had told them to call on me for any protection needed.”

Mrs. Hannah H. Gifford said: “I am a cloak maker and did work for the
Bordens. I made a sack for Lizzie in March, 1892, and had a talk with
her about her stepmother. I spoke, and called Mrs. Borden, ‘mother.’
She said, ‘Don’t call her mother, she is only my stepmother, and she
is a mean, hateful old thing;’ I said ‘Oh Lizzie, don’t say that,’ and
then she said she always kept apart from her, and ate her meals alone.”

The evidence which Miss Anna H. Borden (not a relative) was about to
give in relation to something she had heard the prisoner say about her
stepmother was excluded.

Miss Lucy Collett who sat on the veranda of Dr. Chagnon’s residence
most of the forenoon testified that she saw no one pass out across the
Chagnon yard. Thomas Bolles was washing a carriage in Mrs. Churchill’s
yard and saw no one. Patrick McGowan, Joseph Desrosiers and John Denny,
stone cutters, were at work all the forenoon in John Crowe’s stone yard
adjoining and back of the Borden premises, and they each swore that
they saw no one pass out that way. Mrs. Hannah Reagan, matron of the
Central Police Station and who had the care of Miss Borden at the time
of the preliminary trial said: “On the 24th of August Emma came in to
see Lizzie in the morning; I was in the room, cleaning up; she spoke
with her sister and I went into a toilet room and hearing loud talk,
looked out and saw Lizzie lying on her side and Emma bending down over
her. Lizzie said: ‘You have given me away, Emma, but I don’t care,
I won’t give in one inch,’ measuring on her finger. Emma said: ‘Oh,
Lizzie, I didn’t;’ at the same time sitting down; they sat there until
11 o’clock, when Mr. Jennings came, but Lizzie made no talk at all with
her sister after; never opened her mouth to her; when I first heard
the noise of loud talking I was about four feet away, in a closet;
when Emma left that morning there was nothing said by either and no
‘good-bye’ exchanged.” This testimony created a decided sensation.
Cross-examined by Mr. Jennings—“Emma remained there in that room
until you came, and when you came you said to Emma, ‘Have you told her
all?’ and Emma said she had told her all she had to tell; Emma came
back again in the afternoon, but I can’t tell just when; Mr. Buck was
there, I am quite sure; he came every day. When Miss Emma came in the
afternoon I can’t tell; there was no one there in the morning but her
sister and you; I don’t remember whether Mrs. Holmes, Miss Annie Holmes
or Mrs. Brigham were there or not; I know that Miss Borden looked more
excited when you (Mr. Jennings) left the room than she did before.
I do remember something about an egg one afternoon; it was over the
fact that I said an egg could be broken one way and not another, and I
made a bet with Mrs. Brigham about it; Lizzie took the egg and tried
to break it her way, and failing, said this was the first time she
ever attempted to do anything and didn’t succeed; when I spoke of the
affair between the sisters I spoke of it as a quarrel; this was before
the first hearing. I don’t know whether the story of the quarrel was
published in the morning papers; I was asked about it by reporters;
it was that very afternoon, and also in the morning; I never told any
reporter that it was all a lie, that there wasn’t a word of truth in
it; Mr. Buck spoke to me about it in my room, but I never told him it
wasn’t true; I never said a word to Mrs. Holmes about it. There was a
paper drawn up subsequently, in relation to this story, it was brought
to me by Mr. Buck.” (Statement was here read, in which it was set forth
that there had not been a quarrel between the sisters, and that she had
never said so.) She said she never expressed a willingness to sign the
paper, and that Marshal Hilliard never said a word to her about signing
the paper; he never said, to her remembrance, “If you sign that paper
you sign it against my express orders.” Mr. Buck never asked her about
signing the paper if the marshal was willing. “The marshal told me to
go to my room; there was no one in the room when I went back for I had
the door locked and the key in my pocket; I never said to the marshal
that I’d rather leave my place than have such lies told about me; I
never had any conversation with Mrs. Holmes about this paper; I never
said to Mrs. Holmes in referring to the story, ‘You know they didn’t
quarrel because you were here and we were talking about the egg.’ The
reporter to whom I told the story in the afternoon was Mr. Porter of
the _Fall River Globe_; I never saw the contents of any paper, but Mr.
Buck came to me and said he had heard of such a report, that he had
seen it in a paper, and I said, ‘You can’t always believe all you see
in the papers;’ he wanted me to sign the paper; said that if I did it
would be all right between the sisters; I said I would go and see the
marshal about it. We went down to the marshal’s office and he told me
to go to my room, told Mr. Buck to mind his own business, and he would
attend to his; the marshal said then what story I had to tell I would
tell in court; I do not remember your (Mr. Jennings) being in the
marshal’s room and I don’t remember your conversation with him; I never
heard you say to the marshal ‘If you refuse to let this woman sign this
paper, I’ll publish you to the world.’”

Eli Bence, a drug clerk, was then called. He was prepared to tell
the story of how the prisoner attempted to buy ten cents worth of
hydrocianic acid from him on the day before the murders, but Gov.
Robinson objected. The Jury was sent out and counsel argued the
question of the admissibility of the testimony. The State claimed
that it would show the state of Miss Borden’s mind the day before the
homicides. The Judges decided that it was incompetent and therefore
must be ruled out. This was the second prop knocked from under the
Government’s case. This ended the testimony for the prosecution and the
case rested.


Eleventh Day of the Trial.

During the forenoon of the eleventh day, Andrew J. Jennings Esq.,
presented the defendant’s case as follows: “May it please your honors,
Mr. Foreman and gentlemen of the jury,—I want to make a personal
allusion before referring directly to the case. One of the victims of
the murder charged in this indictment was for many years my client
and my personal friend. I had known him since my boyhood. I had known
his oldest daughter for the same length of time; and I want to say
right here and now, if I manifest more feeling than perhaps you think
necessary in making an opening statement for the defence in this
case you will ascribe it to that cause. The counsel, Mr. Foreman and
gentlemen, does not cease to be a man when he becomes a lawyer. Fact
and fiction have furnished many extraordinary examples of crime that
have shocked the feelings and staggered the reason of men, but I
think no one has ever surpassed in its mystery the case that you are
now considering. The brutal character of the wounds is only equalled
by the audacity, by the time and the place chosen here: and, Mr.
Foreman and gentlemen, it needed but the accusation of the youngest
daughter of one of the victims to make this the act, as it would seem
to most men, of an insane person or a fiend. I do not propose to go
into details about the character of those wounds or the appearance
that was presented. I think you have heard sufficiently about that
already. But, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, knowing what they were, the
person who is arrested for doing the deed which I have characterized
as I have was the youngest daughter of one of the victims themselves.
A young woman, thirty-two years of age, up to that time of spotless
character and reputation, who had spent her life nearly in that
immediate neighborhood, who had moved in and out of that old house for
twenty or twenty-one years, living there with her father and with her
step-mother and with her sister—this crime that shocked the whole
civilized world, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, seemed from the very first
to be laid at her door by those who represented the government in the
investigation of the case. We shall show you that this young woman as
I have said had apparently led an honorable, spotless life: she was a
member of the church: she was interested in the church matters: she
was connected with various organizations for charitable work: she was
ever ready to help in any good thing, in any good deed, and yet for
some reason or other the government in its investigation seemed to
fasten the crime upon her. Now a crime like this naturally awakens at
its first result a sort of a selfish fear in men. There is really an
outcry of human hearts to have somebody punished for the crime. But,
Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, no matter how much you may want somebody
punished for the crime, it is the guilty and not the innocent that
you want. The law of blood for blood and life for life, Mr. Foreman
and gentlemen, even in its most stringent form in the past, never,
except in barbarous and uncivilized nations, called for the blood of
the innocent in return for the blood or life of the murdered one. Our
law—and it is the law that you have sworn to apply to the evidence in
this case—presumes every man innocent until he is proved guilty, not
guilty until he is proved innocent. I know you may say it is the duty
of the State to vindicate the death of one of its citizens. Mr. Foreman
and gentlemen, it is a higher duty, and one recognized by the law of
this State, that it shall protect the lives of its living citizens.
The law of Massachusetts to-day draws about every person accused of
this crime or any other the circle of the presumption of his or her
innocence, and allows no juryman or jury to cross it until they have
fulfilled the conditions required: until they show that it has been
proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she is the guilty party,
they are not allowed to cross the line and take the life of the party
who is accused. The commonwealth here has charged that Lizzie Andrew
Borden, in a certain way, at a certain time, killed Andrew Jackson
Borden and Abby Durfee Borden with malice aforethought. And that alone
is the question that you are to answer: Did she on that day commit
that deed? Did she commit it in the way alleged, or to put it in its
other form, have they satisfied you beyond a reasonable doubt that she
did it? And what is a reasonable doubt? Well, I saw a definition, and
it struck me it was a very good one. A reasonable doubt is a doubt
for which you can give a reason. If you can conceive of any other
hypothesis that will exclude the guilt of this prisoner and make it
possible or probable that somebody else might have done this deed, then
you have got a reasonable doubt in your mind. Now, Mr. Foreman and
gentlemen, I want to say a word about the kind of evidence. There are
two kinds of evidence, direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.
Direct evidence is the testimony of persons who have seen, heard or
felt the thing or things about which they are testifying. They are
telling you something which they have observed or perceived by their
senses. For instance, if this was a case of murder by stabbing, and a
man should come before you and testify that he saw the prisoner strike
the murdered person with a knife, that is direct evidence; that tends
directly to connect the prisoner with the crime itself. Circumstantial
evidence is entirely different and I want to say right here, Mr.
Foreman and gentlemen—I call your attention to it now, and I do not
think that the commonwealth will question the statement when I make
it—that there is not one particle of direct evidence in this case from
beginning to end against Lizzie Andrew Borden. There is not a spot of
blood, there is not a weapon that they have connected with her in any
way, shape or fashion. They have not had her hand touch it, or her eye
see it, or her ear hear it. There is not, I say, a particle of direct
testimony in the case connecting her with this crime. It is wholly and
absolutely circumstantial. In proving a murder it is necessary for the
government to prove that all of the facts existed which to your minds
make you morally certain that the murder must have followed from it.
In other words, in circumstantial evidence it is simply an opinion on
your part, it is simply an inference drawn by you as to the facts that
are proved as to whether the essential issue has been proved or not.”
Here Mr. Jennings cited several cases intended to show how uncertain is
circumstantial evidence. Continuing he said: “It is not then, as I said
before I started upon this long talk about circumstantial evidence, and
I hope you will pardon me, for I think it is very important that you
get this point in your mind, it is not for you to unravel the mystery
of how he died. It is not for you to withhold your decision until you
have satisfied your mind as to how it was done, and just who did it.
It is, have they furnished the proof, the proof that the law requires,
that Lizzie Andrew Borden did it, and that there is absolutely no
opportunity for anybody else. Now, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, I have
taken a little more time than I intended to in discussing the question
of circumstantial evidence. I have said that it was necessary for them
to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the allegation of the indictment.
Circumstantial evidence has often been likened to a chain. These facts
which have to be proven in order to allow you to draw the inference
as to her guilt or innocence have been called links in the chain,
and every essential fact, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, every essential
fact in that chain must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt—every one
of them. You cannot have it tied together with weak links and strong
links. You cannot have certain facts in there which you believe and
tie them to some other facts of which you have a reasonable doubt. You
cannot put them together. You must throw aside every fact about which
you have any reasonable doubt, and unless with the lines which you have
left you can tie this defendant to the body of Andrew J. Borden and
Abby Durfee Borden, you must acquit her. That is the law, and that is
the law you have sworn to apply to the evidence. Now Mr. Foreman, we
contend that with the evidence that has already appeared in this case,
and what will be shown to you, there is absolutely no motive whatever
for the commission of this crime by this defendant. They have not a
scrap of evidence in the case but that which was given by Mrs. Gifford,
and you have heard also the evidence of Bridget Sullivan. But it may
be said that it is not necessary to prove the motive. Somebody killed
them; what motive did somebody else have? We cannot tell, Mr. Foreman
and gentlemen. One of these persons that is killed is this girl’s own
father. And while in direct evidence, where the person was seen to
kill, where they have been directly connected with the killing, it is
of little or no importance whether a motive is shown or not, (if you
kill, the law infers a motive, the law infers a motive there, direct
evidence connects you with the crime,) yet, where, Mr. Foreman and
gentlemen, you want the motive in order to have it as one of the links
in the chain which connects the crime with its defendant, it becomes of
tremendous importance. Tremendous importance; and we shall show you, if
not already shown that this defendant lived quietly with her father;
that the relations between them were the relations that ordinarily
exist between parent and daughter. We shall show you by various little
things, perhaps, that there was nothing whatever between this father
and his daughter that would cause her to do such a wicked, wicked act
as this. And I want to say right here, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, that
the government’s testimony and claim, so far as I have been able to
understand it, is that whoever killed Abby Durfee Borden killed Andrew
J. Borden; and even if they furnish you with a motive on her part to
kill the step-mother, they have shown you absolutely none to kill the
father. Absolutely none; unless they advance what seems to me the
ridiculous proposition that she, instead of leaving the house after
killing the mother, waits there an hour or an hour and a half for the
express purpose of killing her own father, between whom and herself
there is shown not the slightest trouble or disagreement whatsoever.
In measuring the question of motive you have got to measure it in this
case as applied between the defendant and her father, because, as I
understand it, the government claims that whoever killed one killed
both. Now as to the weapon, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, I do not know as
it is necessary for me to say much about that. The blood that was shown
upon the axes, which was guarded so carefully at first in this case, as
shown by the evidence, has disappeared like mist in the morning sun.
The claw-headed hatchet that Dr. Dolan was so sure committed the deed
at the Fall River hearing, so sure that he could even see the print
which the claw head of the hatchet made in the head of Mr. Borden has
disappeared from the case. And I would like to remark in passing, Mr.
Foreman and gentlemen, that it didn’t disappear until after Prof. Wood
had testified so absolutely on that, to the counsel for the defense,
glorious morning in Fall River, that there was not a particle of blood
upon either one of those hatchets, and that they could not be cleaned
in any reasonable time from blood if they had been used in killing
those persons.

“And Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, I want to call your attention right
here that there has not been a living soul put upon the stand here to
testify that they saw Andrew J. Borden come down street from his house.
From his house to the Union Savings Bank he was actually invisible.
Was it any easier for him to be than it would be for somebody escaping
from this house if they walked quietly away? But we shall show you, in
addition to that, there were other strange people about that house;
people who have not been located or identified. We shall show you
that the government’s claim here about Miss Lizzie’s not having been
out to the barn is false, and that this—well, if it was not for the
tremendous importance, I should be tempted to call it cakewalk of
Officer Medley in the barn, exists in his imagination alone. We shall
show you by evidence which I think will convince you—as we are not
bound to convince you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that people were
up and around and in that barn and all over it before Officer Medley
opened the door. And I think we shall satisfy you that Miss Lizzie did
go out to that barn, as she stated in those conversations, and was out
there when this deed was committed, so far as Mr. Borden was concerned.
As to the burning of this dress, we shall show you that it did have
paint on it, according to the statement which was made by Miss Lizzie
in the testimony of Alice Russell; that it was made some time in May;
that soon after it was made this was got upon it; that the dress was
soiled and useless, and that it was burned there right in the broad
light of day in the presence of witnesses, with windows open, with the
inside door open, with officers on every side of that house. And so,
Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, without spending further time, we shall ask
you, if you believe this testimony which has been offered or drawn
out, rather, from the government witnesses by the cross-examination
of the defense, supplemented as it will be by the evidence which I
have suggested, we shall ask you to say in view of the presumption in
favor of human nature, in view of the feelings which exist between a
father and a daughter who stand here, so far as the evidence to-day
is concerned, just as every other father and child stood, from the
presumption of innocence which the law says you shall consider, from
the fact that there is no blood, not a spot upon her hand, her head,
her dress or any part of her, no connection with any weapon whatever
shown by any direct evidence in this case, with an opportunity for
others to do the deed, with herself in the barn when the deed was
done, we shall ask you to say, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, whether the
government has satisfied you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she did
kill not only her stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden, but her loved and
loving father, Andrew Jackson Borden, on the fourth day of August last.”

The first witness for the defense was Sarah R. Hart, of Tiverton, and
she said: “I knew Andrew J. Borden by sight, and knew where he lived; I
had a sister who lived in the Dr. Kelly house some fifteen years, and I
was in the habit of going there frequently; on the day of the murders I
passed by Mr. Borden’s house with my sister-in-law, Mrs. Manley; it was
about 9:50; we passed by the north gate and stopped there to speak to
my nephew, who was there in a carriage, and went up to the back of his
carriage. While I was there I saw a young man standing in the gateway;
it was not Mr. Borden; he was resting his head on his left hand, his
elbow being on the gatepost; I was there five minutes and he was there
when I went away.”

Charles S. Sawyer was then called: “I was in No. 61 Second street, Mr.
Rich’s shop, when I heard that a man had been stabbed, and I went out
on to the street; I saw Mr. Hall and Miss Russell; she was going up on
the other side of the street and I went over to talk with her; I walked
along with her until I got to the gate of the Borden house, when I
turned around and walked away; when I turned away, I met Officer Allen
at Mrs. Churchill’s gate; I went back with him and he put me on guard
at the side door, after we had been in the house. When I was in there
Miss Russell, Mrs. Churchill, Miss Lizzie and Miss Bridget Sullivan
were in the kitchen; Miss Lizzie was sitting in a rocking chair and
the others seemed to be working over her, fanning her and rubbing her
hands; I was close to her all the time; she appeared to be somewhat
distressed; I saw no signs of blood on her head, hair, hands, or dress;
I cannot tell what kind of a dress she had on, whether it was dark or
light; after that I was back and forward in the entry, and when people
came I let them in; sometimes I was out on the steps.”

Mark Chace testified to having seen a strange man in a buggy in front
of the Borden house that forenoon.

Dr. Benjamin J. Handy. “I went by the house on the morning of the
murder at 9 and 10:30; saw a medium-sized young man very pale in
complexion, with eyes fixed on the sidewalk passing slowly towards the
south; he was acting strangely: in consequence of his appearance I
turned in my carriage to watch him; he was acting different from any
person I ever saw on the street in my life; he was agitated and seemed
to be weak; he half stopped at times and then walked on; he seemed to
be mentally agitated, by the intensely agitated expression on his face;
I think I had seen him before, some other day; there was nobody else on
the sidewalk.”

John J. Manning, reporter. “I first heard of the Borden murder some
time before 11:30; Mr. O’Neil, city editor of the _Fall River Globe_,
told me to go up Second street as there had been a stabbing affray
there, and I ran most of the way; when I was going there I saw Mr.
Cunningham, Bolles and one or two others; I went into the yard and up
to the house, and found Mr. Sawyer at the door; he wouldn’t allow me
to go in, and I sat down on the steps. Dr. Bowen came, but I wasn’t
allowed to go in; then Officer Doherty and Mr. Wixon came and I was
allowed to go in with them; I went into the kitchen and found Miss
Borden, Miss Russell and Mrs. Churchill near her, fanning her; went
into the sitting room and Dr. Bowen showed me the body of Mr. Borden
and described the wounds; then I went up in the guest chamber with Dr.
Bowen; my recollection as to this room is that it was not very light;
Officer Doherty pulled the bed away so a better view could be obtained
of the body; then I went down stairs and into the kitchen, but the
people had gone from there; Bridget Sullivan was sitting on the back
stairs; I can’t say how long I had been in the house; but when I came
out I think I saw Mr. Fleet on the north side of the house; then I
went around on the east side, walked along the Kelly fence, walked
along a pile of lumber and then came to the barn, where I think there
were two or three persons inside; there were other people about the
yard, but I don’t recall any boys there. Coming out of the barn, Walter
Stevens and I went around the house looking for footprints; we tried
the cellar door, but found it fast; I never saw Medley there; I got
back to the office at 11:50; I remember the story of the publication of
Mrs. Reagan’s story, and I had an interview with her; I think it was
the same night of the publication; in answer to a question from me, she
said there was nothing in it; I wanted to know whether it was true or
not, and I wanted a negative or affirmative statement.”

Thomas F. Hickey, reporter, of the _Fall River Globe_. “As reporter I
saw Mrs. Reagan on Friday about the story referred to above; I said:
‘I see you’re getting yourself in the paper, Mrs. Reagan;’ she said:
‘Yes, but they have got to take that all back;’ I asked her about the
quarrel and she said there had been no quarrel; I asked her if she had
repeated any of the words of the sisters; asked her if there was any
truth in the report, and she said absolutely none.” Cross-examined—“I
represent the _Boston Herald_, and the _Boston Globe_ published the
story. The _Globe_ had what is called a ‘scoop,’ although I understood
that morning that the _Herald_ had published the story; I went into her
room where she was on duty and was alone; I knew her; I was sent by Mr.
Billings and was after something to offset the _Globe’s_ ‘scoop.’”

Mrs. Mary R. Holmes, Fall River, wife of Charles J. Holmes. “I know
Miss Borden and have known who she was from childhood; she is a member
of the church I attend, the Central Congregational; she has been a
member five years and has taken part in much of the church work; I was
engaged with her in some of the special work of the church; she was on
the hospital board with me, but she was engaged in the Chinese work
while I was in the Bible class; I am considerably older than she. I
was but little acquainted with Mrs. Abbie D. Borden, although she was
a member of the same church; I have seen Miss Lizzie Borden and her
stepmother at church together; I first heard of the Borden murder at
11:45; I went to the house about 1 o’clock and sat down in the kitchen;
someone told me soon after that Lizzie would like to see me; she was
in her room and some men were talking with her; I don’t think Officer
Fleet was there then; I think Dr. Bowen came up a few minutes after,
and before Officer Fleet came; we locked the door because there were
so many men about that we didn’t want them to come in the room. I had
a talk with Mrs. Reagan about the quarrel story, and she said, ‘Mrs.
Holmes, you know it is not so.’”

Charles J. Holmes, Fall River, banker, testified that he had lived in
Fall River fifty years; “I know Miss Lizzie Borden; I was present at
the hearing on the first day in the Fall River court house; I know
about the paper given Mrs. Reagan to sign; it was read to Mrs. Reagan;
I heard it read; I have a copy of the original paper in my pocket; I
have a copy of the newspaper in which it was published also.” Here
witness produced a copy of the _Fall River Herald_ saying, when he saw
it, that he supposed it was a copy of the _Daily News_ of that city,
but after diligent search the article was found and vouched for by Mr.
Jennings. Witness was shown a type written copy of the same, identified
it and read it; it was essentially a denial of the story. “It was read
to Mrs. Reagan and she said it was true and that she would sign it, if
the marshal would allow her; then Mr. Buck and she went down to the
marshal’s office; then they came back and went into the matron’s room,
and I don’t know personally what happened there; down stairs, after the
marshal refused to allow her to sign, I had a part in the altercation
which ensued.”

Cross-examined—“I heard Mr. Jennings’ voice and a reporter whom I
think was Mr. Porter; there was a very heated conversation, and I had
an idea that he was connected with a Fall River paper; I attended the
trial all through as a friend of Miss Borden; I don’t think that Mrs.
Reagan had ever been summoned as a witness, and the only reference
to the taking back of anything was as to what was published in a
newspaper; the day was one of a great deal of excitement; I was trying
to get a denial from Mrs. Reagan of the story over her own signature,
and it had no bearing upon the case then going on in court; it was
simply to correct one newspaper story; she never signed it.”

John R. Caldwell, reporter, New York. “I reported the trial in Fall
River; I recall the date when Mrs. Reagan was asked to sign the paper,
and saw it read to her, but was too far off to hear what was said; Mrs.
Reagan took the paper to Marshal Hilliard and he said if she signed it,
it would be against his orders; then she went out and he ordered me
out.” Cross-examined—“I don’t know that Hilliard said she would say
what she had to say in court; there was quite a crowd in the corridors
when Mrs. Reagan went down, most of it being reporters; Mr. Percy,
another reporter and I were the only ones who went into the office; Mr.
Percy is now in Italy.”

Mrs. Mary E. Brigham, Fall River. “I know Lizzie Borden, and have
known her all my life; we were life-long friends, and attended the
same church; I visited her quite frequently; Mrs. Reagan told me one
day, after court, when we were in the matron’s room, about a quarrel
between the sisters; I saw Mr. Buck with a paper in his hand, which he
read to her; they both went out, and she came back mad; she said she
was willing to sign the papers, but the marshal wouldn’t let her; that
she would rather leave her place than to stay where she had been lied
about; that it was all a lie and there had been no quarrel.”

Miss Emma L. Borden, sister of Lizzie Borden. “We have lived in the
house we now live in twenty-one years last May; at the time of the
murder Lizzie was possessed of property as follows: $170 in the B. M.
C. Durfee Safe Deposit and Trust Co., $2000 in the Massasoit National
Bank, $500 in the Union Savings Bank, $141 in the Fall River Five Cents
Savings Bank, two shares of the Fall River National Bank stock, four
shares of the Merchants Mfg. Co. stock and five shares of same, another
date. My father wore a ring on his finger,” said witness, after the
property list had been read; “it was given him by Lizzie; she had worn
it herself before; he constantly wore it after, and it was buried with
him; I have an inventory of the clothes in the closet on the afternoon
it was searched, made up about a week ago, from recollection; there
were eighteen or nineteen dresses in there; only one belonged to Mrs.
Borden; the others were Lizzie’s and mine; there were ten dresses there
in which blue was a marked color; eight were Lizzie’s, two were mine; I
was there when the search was going on. Lizzie and I both went to the
attic to assist them in opening a trunk; we never made the slightest
objection to their searches and told them to come as often as they
could and make as thorough searches as they could; the Bedford cord
dress was made the first week in May at our home; it was a very cheap
dress, twelve and a half or fifteen cents a yard, and about eight or
nine yards in it; plainly trimmed; not more than two days were used in
making the dress; Lizzie and I assisted, as we always did; the work
was done in the guest room where it was always done; the dressmaker
made several for us at the same time. The painters began work after
the dress was made; Lizzie got some paint on this dress within two
weeks after it was made; she got the paint on the front breadth and
on the side; that dress was hanging in the front closet on the day I
came home; I know because I went in to hang up a dress and found there
was no nail. I said, ‘You have not destroyed that old dress yet; why
don’t you do so?’ It was very dirty, badly faded, and I don’t remember
having seen her use it for some time; it couldn’t have been made over
because, besides being badly soiled, the material and collar were such
as to render it impossible; it was a very long dress, an inch and a
half longer than her pink wrapper; the sleeves were full and the waist
was a blouse; the back skirt was longer than any other dress except
those cut en train. She had no other dress which she could have got on
over that dress, because they were too snug; she could not have had it
on under the pink wrapper, because it would have shown; the next I saw
of the Bedford cord dress was in the kitchen on Saturday, when I heard
my sister’s voice; I looked around and saw her with the dress on her;
she said, ‘I’m going to burn this old dress,’ and I said, ‘I would,’ or
‘Why don’t you,’ and turned away; I didn’t see her burn the dress; Miss
Russell was there at the time. On Monday Miss Russell came to us in the
dining room and said she had told Mr. Hanscom a falsehood, and I asked
her what that was for; she said he asked her if all the dresses were in
the house that were there at the time of the murder, and she had said
yes; and then it was decided between us all that she should go and tell
Mr. Hanscom she had told a falsehood; my sister said at the time, ‘Why
didn’t you tell him about it; why did you let me do it?’ I remember
the story about the quarrel between my sister and I; it was told me by
you (Mr. Jennings) the morning the story was published; I never had
any such conversation with my sister as was reported; there was never
any trouble or quarrel in the matron’s room between us while she was
there or anything that could be construed into a quarrel; Lizzie never
did put up her finger and say anything about giving in; there was no
conversation about you (Mr. Jennings) telling her (Lizzie) all.”

[Illustration: W. T. BILLINGS.]

Mrs. Mary Raymond, dressmaker. “I have done dressmaking for Lizzie
Borden at her home; I also worked for Mrs. Borden; I made some dresses
for Lizzie last spring (1892); I went to the house the first week in
May and was there three weeks; the Bedford cord dress I made, the
first one because she needed it; it took about three weeks and the
sisters helped me; it was a light blue dress with a dark figure; it
was made with a blouse waist and full skirt; the skirt was longer by
half a finger than she had been in the habit of wearing; it was a
cheap cotton dress with little trimming. The painters were painting
the house when Lizzie was wearing the dress; she put it on as soon as
it was done; I saw the dress after it was ‘painted’; the paint was on
the front and back; she had an old wrapper which this was to take the
place of; she cut some pieces out of the old wrapper while I was there
and took it down stairs; she couldn’t get that dress on under any other

Hyman Lubinsky was called, and there was a show of interest manifested
in the audience. “I am a pedler, and remember the time of the Borden
murder, but I did not know where the house was until afterwards; I keep
my horse at Gardner’s stable; that morning I went by the Borden house
in my team, leaving the stable a few minutes after. When I got to the
Borden house I saw a lady come out of the barn and walk to the side
door steps; she had on a dark colored dress and nothing on her dress;
I don’t remember whether she went into the house; I was in my team; I
know the servant and have delivered her ice cream; I am sure she was
not the lady I saw approaching the house.” This ended the testimony for
the defense and the court adjourned until Monday.


Twelfth Day of the Trial.

On Monday morning Ex-Governor George D. Robinson made his plea for the
prisoner which was as follows:

May it Please Your Honors, Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen—One of the
most dastardly and diabolical of crimes that was ever committed in
Massachusetts was perpetrated in August, 1892, in the city of Fall
River. The enormity of it startled everybody, and set all into diligent
inquiry as to the perpetrator of such terrible acts. Our society is
so constituted, gentlemen, that every man feels that the right must
be done and the wrong punished and the wicked doer brought to his
account as promptly as due procedure of law will permit. Here, then,
was a crime with all its horrors, and well may those who stood first
to look at the victims have felt sickened and distressed at heart,
and human nature be broken so that the experience of a lifetime will
never bring other such pictures. “Who could have done such an act?”
says everybody. In the quiet of home, in the broad light of an August
day, upon a street of a populous city, with houses within a stone’s
throw, nay, almost within touch, who could have done it? Inspection of
the victims disclosed that Mrs. Borden had been slain by the use of
some sharp and terrible instrument, inflicting upon her head eighteen
blows, thirteen of them crushing through the skull; and below, lying
upon the sofa, was Mr. Borden’s dead and mutilated body, with eleven
strokes upon the head, four of them crushing the skull. The terrors of
those scenes no language can portray. The horrors of that moment we can
all fail to describe. And so we are charged at once, at the outset, to
find somebody that is equal to that enormity, whose heart is blackened
with depravity, whose whole life is a tissue of crime, whose past is a
prophecy of that present. A maniac or fiend we say. Not a man in his
senses and who has heart right, but one of those abnormal productions
that deity creates or suffers, a lunatic or a devil. So do we measure
the degree of character or want of it, that could possibly prompt a
human being to such acts. They were well-directed blows. They were not
the result of blundering. They were aimed steadily and constantly for
a purpose, each one finding its place where it was aimed, and none
going amiss on the one side or the other. Surely we are prompted to say
at the outset that the perpetrator of that act knew how to handle the
instrument, was experienced in its control, had directed it before or
others like it, and it was not the sudden, untrained doing of somebody
who had been unfamiliar with such implements. Now, suspicion began to
fall here and there. Everybody about there was called to account so far
as could be. That is proper. That is right and necessary. Investigation
proceeds. The police intervene. They form their theories. They proceed
to act. They concern this one and that one. They follow out this and
that clew. They are human only. When once a theory possesses our minds
you know how tenaciously it holds the place, and how slow the mind
is to find lodgment in something else. Now, no decent man complains
of investigation. No one says there ought not to have been anything
done. Everything ought to have been done. Nay, more, we say everything
was not done and that the proper pursuit was not taken. Now, proceed
with this matter a little and let us see how it stands. A person is
charged with a crime, like this defendant, suspicions surround her,
investigations in regard to her proceed, and inevitably, naturally, if
the matter is deemed of consequence, she is brought before the court,
the district court in that instance, to have an examination preliminary
into the probabilities of the crime on her part. Then if she, having
nothing to do with it, having no control of it, having no opportunity
to accept, to be heard, be bound and compelled to answer to this
court, what then? Then the grand jury of the county is called together
and sits by itself under the direction of the district attorney,
to investigate and see whether it ought to come before a jury like
yourselves. Now remember that at that time, and when this indictment of
last December was framed, this defendant had no voice, it was purely
one sided. They said, “We make this charge, serious as it is, against
the defendant. We will ask her to come to the Bristol county court
house and meet that charge, and if we cannot prove it against her in
the ordinary way she shall go free: she is not guilty.”

Now, that is one sided up to that point, practically, and so you are
to draw no inference whatever, and I know you will not; you will draw
no inference whatever as against this defendant until you have heard
the evidence in this case, in this court room, at this time. You have
nothing to do with what was done in Fall River any more than you
have with what is now proceeding in Australia. The finding of Judge
Blaisdell of the district court in Fall River, worthy man as he may
be, is of no sort of consequence here, and has no sort of influence
or obligation over you. We would not be safe if in these great crises
our lives hung upon the decision of a single man in a prejudiced and
excited community. No, we walk away from Fall River, we come down
to the broad seashore, we sniff the breezes of the sea, and here is
freedom, here is right, here are you, gentlemen. I say, then, at
the outset, as you begin to contemplate this crime and its possible
perpetration by the defendant, you must conclude at the outset that
such acts as those are morally and physically impossible for this
young woman defendant. To foully murder her stepmother, and then
go straightway and slay her own father is a wreck of human morals;
it is a contradiction of her physical capacity and her character.
Now, before I pass, let me say that this defendant complains of no
prosecution on the part of the district attorney of this district. He
has only one duty, and that is, as a gentleman and lawyer, to conduct
this investigation so that the truth as to her may be elicited. With
his well-earned reputation and his high standing at the bar he would
have no need to search for laurels for his fame, and he is one of
the last men that would demean himself so as even to think of it. He
stands above the miserable assertions that unthinking people will
make, and he walks into this court room only as the representative
of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, that is, yours and mine and
his, and says: Gentlemen, all I have to show you is the case we have
against this woman. And if the case I have brought to me by the Fall
River police is not sufficient, or you have any doubt about it, he
will say, if he speaks what his heart prompts him to utter, he will
say, “For God’s sake, say so, like men, and Bristol county will be the
happier and the securer afterward.” He is not here for blood, neither
is he helped to such dishonorable work, if it were attempted, by our
excellent friend, the district attorney from the great county of Essex,
one of our best and most reliable lawyers. So you will see no small
play, you will see no mean tactics on the part of the commonwealth
here, but only a presentation not overstrained in one jot or one
tittle, a presentation of what has been proven here, and only that.
So merciful is our provision of the law that a defendant shall have a
decent chance that she becomes convinced how faithfully that is carried
out when she recalls the numerous kindnesses and considerations on
the part of the sheriff of this county. He has done with her, not as
a convicted criminal, but as a young woman of his county, entitled
to her rights, guaranteed to her in the constitution and laws of our
State. And so she comes into this court, presided over by our best of
the judiciary, clean, able, honorable gentlemen, who sit vigilantly
upon the bench to guard against any possible wrong, who want the
commonwealth’s case tried, but the defendant to pass without abuse or
wrong, and taking the law into your hands as they will give it to you,
you have only to deal with the facts. I said the case was brought to
the district attorney by the Fall River police. I have not time to go
into sarcasm or denunciation of those gentlemen. They are like a great
many bodies of police that you find in all communities. Policemen are
human, made out of men, and nothing else, and the blue coat and the
brass buttons only cover the kind of a man that is inside. And you do
not get the greatest ability in the world inside a policeman’s coat.
You may perhaps get what you want, and what is sufficient, but you must
only call upon him for such services as he can render. Now, when a
police officer undertakes to investigate a crime, he is possessed and
saturated with the thoughts and experiences he has with bad people. He
is drifting and turning in the way of finding a criminal, magnifying
this, minimizing that, throwing himself on this side in order to catch
somebody, standing before a community that demands the detection and
punishment of the criminal, blamed if he does not get somebody into the
lockup before morning. “What are the police doing?” says the newspaper,
and the newspapers, you know, are not always right, mostly. Saying to
him: “Look here, Mr. Marshal, these murders were committed yesterday
and we haven’t a murderer in the lockup. Get somebody in.” Now they are
sensitive to all those expressions. Naturally policemen, feeling the
responsibility of their office, must go there and do just such work as
that, in that way. That can only be expected of them. And when they
come upon the witness stand they reveal their weakness, do they not?
They knock their own heads together. They make themselves, as a body
of men, ridiculous, insisting that a defendant shall know everything
that was done on a particular time, shall account for every moment of
that time, shall tell it three or four times alike, shall never waver
or quiver, shall have tears, or not have tears, shall make no mistakes.
But they, stripped of their blue clothes, and in their citizens’ garb,
show themselves to be only men here, and liable to human infirmities
and errors. Now I dismiss them without any unpleasant reflection. I
will talk about them a little later on: but I have nothing to say
now, any more than this, that you must not ask of them more than they
ought to give, you must not be surprised that they fail even of the
standard that they set up for everybody else. So I say to you, as a
distinguished advocate in a similar cause expressed himself to the
jury: This defendant comes before you perfectly satisfied that the jury
is the most refreshing prospect in the eye of accused innocence ever
met in human tribunal. Who are you twelve men, and how came you here?
Selected out of one hundred and fifty men that were drawn from the
body of this county, passing the gauntlet of criticism and objections
put upon you by the court or the attorneys, you are sworn here in this
cause. Who are you? Men: Bristol county men. Men with hearts and men
with heads, with souls, and men with rights. You come here in obedience
to the laws that we prescribe for the orderly administration of our
courts. You come here because, in answer to the demand, you feel that
you must render this great service, unpleasant and trying as it may
be, exhaustive as are its labors; you come here because you are loyal
men to the State. Nay, more. You are out of families, you come from
firesides, you are members of households, you have wives and daughters
and sisters and you have had mothers, you recognize the bond that
unites and the flash that plays throughout the households. Now bring
your hearts and your homes and your intellects here and let us talk to
you as men, not as unmeaning things.

The clerk swore you to your duty, and perhaps you did not hear that
oath so closely as I did. But I heard him say, “You shall well and
truly try and true deliverance make between the commonwealth and the
defendant, whom you shall have in charge.” In no case except a capital
case is the oath offered in that way—“whom you shall have in charge.”
And Lizzie Andrew Borden from the days when we opened this trial until
this hour, has been in your charge, gentlemen. That is the oath you
took. And not alone with you, Mr. Foreman, or any one of you, but with
each and all of you. You have her in charge. Now has come the time
when not alone her lawyers are to speak for her, not alone the judges
are to watch for protection, not alone is the learned attorney of the
commonwealth to ask no more than he ought to have, but the twelve men
who sit here to try this question take the woman in this charge, and
the commonwealth says, “We intrust her to you.” Now that is your duty.
She is not a horse, she is not a house, she is not a parcel of land,
she is not the property of anybody, but she is a free, intelligent,
thinking, innocent woman, in your charge. I noticed one day as we were
proceeding with this trial, a little scene that struck me forcibly. It
was one morning as the court was about to open, when you were coming
into your seats and standing there and the judges were passing to
the bench to take their positions and the defendant was asked to pass
around from the place where she now sits in order that she might come
in so as to be near her counsel, and right at that moment of transition
she stood here waiting between the court and the jury; and waited in
her quietness and calmness until it was time for her properly to come
forward. It flashed through my mind in a minute; there she stands
protected, watched over, kept in charge by the judges of this court and
by the jury who have her in charge.

If the little sparrow does not fall unnoticed to the ground, indeed,
in God’s great providence this woman has not been alone in this court
room, but ever shielded by his providence from above and by the
sympathy and watchful care of those who have her to look after. You are
trying a capital case, a case that involves a human life, a verdict
in which against her calls for the imposition of but one penalty, and
that is that she shall walk to her death. You are then to say, “I will
critically consider this question, and I will make no mistake, because
if I do, no power on earth or in heaven can right the wrong.” You come
here without prejudice or bias, I take it. You said you did. I believed
you. I believe you now. You said that though you might have read
about this transaction, you might have formed an opinion, might have
expressed an opinion, as I think some of you with perfect honesty said,
because in this intelligent age people do think and read and talk, and
it is all right they should, but when a man is big enough to walk up
and say in answer to the questions the chief justice put to him, “I
have read and thought and judged about it, and I stand up here now,
and before my God and my people, say I will find a true verdict on the
evidence under the law.” That is a man we all want to see in the jury
box. I would rather see him there than to have one of these miserable
pieces of putty on whom the last man who stuck his finger into him
can make an impression. You will need at the outset, gentlemen, to
dismiss from your minds entirely everything that the press ever said
about the case, anything that your neighbors have ever said about it,
anything that you have ever heard about it except in this court room
at this time. Every rumor, every idle tale or every true tale that has
been told you must banish from your minds absolutely and forever. Why,
gentlemen, if we were to try the case on the street we need not have
spent these days and you would have been enjoying your entire freedom
like the rest of us, you would not have been prisoners yourselves. But
we are not trying the case in this way. And so certainly, I believe,
does the court guard it, that you are shut off from reading the
newspapers, from having communications, from indulging in conversation
about the case during the progress of the trial. What use in taking
these precautions if you are all coming in with your heads brim full of
what you have heard before and will not give that up? Now every man of
you is man enough to say, when you go to the jury room to deliberate
on this thing, and somebody presents an idea. “Well, that is not in
this case. You have no right to consider any such thing. You have no
more right to do it than you have to take a knife and cut this woman’s
throat”—I mean under your duties as prescribed by the law. Then
you come here patiently day after day, and you will sit here again
and again until this case is concluded, and then proceed with your
deliberation with that calmness and fidelity that is guaranteed in the
expression of your countenance.

    When the life of man is in debate
    No time can be too long, no care too great.

Hear all, weigh all with caution. Now, gentlemen, it is not your
business to unravel the mystery. You are not here to find out the
solution of that problem. You are not here to find out the murderer.
You are not here to pursue anything else. You are simply and solely
here to say, is this woman defendant guilty? That is all, and though
the real criminal shall never be found, better a million times that
than you find a verdict against this woman upon insufficient evidence
and against your human experience and contrary to the law, so that an
unhealthy appetite may be satisfied, and blood be given that belongs to
the owner of it beyond anybody’s taking. Not who is it? Not how could
it have been done? Did she do it? That is all. Reflect if you have not
yet been able to bring that evidence with a certainty and a reasonable
construction to a conclusion, so that you, as decent gentlemen, can
go to your homes and sit down and say, “We have done our whole duty.
We have brought in a verdict against her,” although perhaps, within a
week we wish we had not, when we think of it. Nor must you think for
a moment that this defendant is set to the business of finding out
who did it. If she cannot find out and tell you who perpetrated these
acts, somebody says, “Go hang her.” She is not a detective, and the
commonwealth has put her in a place for the last ten months so she
could not be very vigilant or active if she had all the ability in the
world. She has been in jail in this county; she has been under control
of the police from the very time, from Thursday, August 4, as you know
from all these facts, and do not expect her to do things that are
impossible. Pray, do not load upon her the responsibility of setting
her to go when she cannot go, or do what she cannot do, or else hold
her to account for it with the severest penalty known in the law. The
commonwealth does not want any victim, either. In the old days they
had sacrifices of lambs and goats, and even human beings were offered
in expiation and in sacrifice. But we have got over all that. We do
not even burn witches now in Massachusetts. The commonwealth wants
no victim, and so, gentlemen, I have attempted in this way to array
before you what I consider, in my own manner, the duties that lie upon
you and the limitations under which you act. And what is the call upon
you? Why, simply to be true to yourselves. “To thine own self be true,
and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false
to any man.” Now there always goes with any person the presumption of
innocence of crime. I stand here at this moment addressing you, and I
am clad all over with that presumption of innocence of every crime; so
is each one of you. That is your bulwark; that is born with you, nay,
rather is given to you out of the great consent of all the people, and
you say “guilty?” Why I think not. I am innocent, and the court will
tell you that that presumption started with this prisoner on August 4,
and has been with her by night and by day. When you had her in charge
that presumption of innocence has been in her favor and it never leaves
her until by the verdict of a jury that presumption is overcome and she
is declared guilty.

It is true that people who have heretofore been innocent commit
crime, and so the law says, “We will not demand the unreasonable and
impossible thing, but you, the defendant, shall have that presumption
go with you until it is entirely overturned and it says that you are
of a criminal heart and criminal act.” Now, bear that in mind, if it
comes to any question in the discussion of the evidence of a doubtful
consideration, then that presumption is all the time in the scale.
The beam of the scale does not stand level to start with. We say the
scales of justice hang even, but there is always with the defendant
the presumption of innocence that tips the scale in her favor, and the
commonwealth must begin and load in on the other side facts until they
shall overcome the presumption—nay, more, and overbalance the facts
that the defendant shall produce.

I shall not attempt to talk to you at length about the different kinds
of evidence, direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. The learned
court will explain those different features to you, and the lines
have been drawn so clearly in the many cases that have been tried that
it is wholly unnecessary for me to take your time and your patience.
You know, or will know, when his honor has uttered to you the charge
in the best way what we mean by direct evidence, and what we mean
by circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence, testimony from actual
observation and actual knowledge, is what we very frequently rely upon.
But that is not always certain. I am bound to say to you, not always
sure, because the man who gives the direct evidence may be a miserable
liar and you would not believe him under oath unless you kept your hand
on him. Now, that is direct evidence and then sometimes facts are found
out by circumstances. You reason from hearing a noise or from seeing
a person in a given place. You see a man going somewhere and you say
he has gone in there for that particular business there, whether it is
banking or insurance or grocery. Well, you may be right or you may be
wrong. You have been given different circumstances to try to draw out a
reasonable conclusion, but I am not going to enlarge upon that because
I deem it unnecessary and because I have other things in my mind
which are more important. You do not start in here to try to convict
anybody—other people may, but you do not. If you are asked to convict
upon any evidence, whether that is direct or circumstantial, you will,
of course, bring it your clearest perception and strict honesty, and
look to see whether it fits in, whether it is all right, and whether
it has not run against this corner and also knocked itself to pieces,
whether the circumstances are all in and whether something has not been
left out, whether the chain is not broken with which it is sought to
bind the defendant. Look it over, search it through and through, as I
will in the argument as I proceed, and discover whether there is any
claim that is insufficiently proved. Then, too, the court will tell you
that by whichever method you proceed as to this defendant, the proof
must come up in your mind as a moral certainty—not a mathematical
certainty, but a moral certainty. It must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Now, you saw in criminal cases before—very likely you have had a man
before you on trial who had stolen five dollars or something of that
kind, and the same rule applies. And you are told that you must not
convict him unless you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt. It is
not different in this case. In the one case you are perhaps dealing
with a man who will be subjected to a penalty of a fine, or a brief
imprisonment at the most. Here the same rule applies, and you are
dealing with a woman, whose life is at stake, and nothing else. Now,
you will see that while the rule of law is the same in the one case as
in the other, the magnitude of a mistake about it is not to be lightly
considered. So that when you are asked to find these essential facts
beyond a reasonable doubt of a curmudgeon who sits off in a corner and
says, “I won’t talk with anybody; I am an ugly fellow: I will make
myself disagreeable in this jury room,” that is not it. That is not
a reasonable doubt, no matter which side he is on. He is not fit for
service in the jury room. It is the doubt of such men as I take you to
be, with your home influences, with your church belongings, with your
business associations, with your social relations, with all that binds
you up to each of us.

It is the reasonable doubt of a reasonable man, confronted with the
greatest crisis he has ever met in the world. Yes, the greatest crisis;
because, though I doubt not some of you have worn the blue and faced
the cannon shot, though you may have heard and felt the thunders of
war, and you may have seen blood flow in streams, yet that is one
thing; this—to sit here and to have in charge this young woman and
to say upon your oaths you are satisfied that she is guilty or not
guilty, is a duty to which very likely none of you have ever been
called, and which probably you will never be asked to perform again.
You will go to your graves thinking of how you performed this task, and
it ought not to be that you can have any compunctions that you made
a mistake which nobody could retrieve. Then again, under the laws of
this State, the defendant in a criminal case is permitted to testify
upon the stand as she desires to, but if she does not desire to she
can refrain from testifying, and then the statute says, specifically
and directly, no inference shall be drawn against her from the fact
that she has not testified. And so the learned district attorney in his
closing argument will not by the slightest suggestion or insinuation
insult this court and jury by intimating that the defendant ought to
have testified. That law was born under two considerations. Formerly
the defendant could not testify. Later it seemed to be wise to give
a defendant an opportunity to testify, but it says at once, although
he does not come to the stand, you shall not take that against him in
any way. And again, too, as if in the charity of human nature our law
givers felt that it was too great a strain oftentimes to put upon a
defendant to place him in such a position that he must either go upon
the stand or have that argument laid against him, that he ought to have
done it, the law which I have cited to you—not in its exact term, but
in its essential features and expressions—was framed in the way I have
stated. And I dismiss that again. The court will tell you in emphatic
and clear language, and it will look you in the eye, and touching your
sense of justice, say to you: Gentlemen, you must not consider that,
and you will not as you go to yonder room under your oath depart from
that, because if you do so what is the use in having scales for justice
to hold or courts for the apparent administration of it either. Now
I said you must leave out rumors, reports, statements which you have
heard before the trial commenced. That is true. I repeat it; but more,
you must leave out of your minds absolutely every single thing that the
learned gentleman who opened this case, Mr. Moody, said that he was
going to prove, unless he has actually proven it. Now I would not like
to say that about him in private affairs. I would not be pleased to
intimate to you that he would say anything that he was not going to do,
because he is the soul of honor. But he speaks for the commonwealth,
that is all, and the commonwealth tells him: “You must not say anything
but what you are going to do and you must tell them that and that
only.” And I shall expect the learned district attorney to withdraw
the things that brother Moody said he was going to prove, because he
has not proved them. The court room ought not to echo still with the
utterances of the gentleman who opened this case, because they tend to
create a prejudice against the defendant. Now let us tell you about
that so that you will understand it. Mr. Moody said that the government
was going to claim and prove that this defendant was preparing a
dangerous weapon on August 3, the day before the murder. You heard him
say that. I did. He said it. They have not proved it, have they? Was
there a thing about it in the evidence? You have heard some discussion
that we have had at the bar because, in order that there should be no
prejudice, you have been asked to stop. Many of those things which have
been offered in good faith have not been proved, because the court has
said that they are not proper to be proved in this case. They have
nothing to do with it. They will only mislead the jury, and the jury
shall not hear them in this case. Whenever another case arises, if
these things are pertinent and proper they shall be heard, but not now.
No, the commonwealth came with the idea of putting these things before
you, I say, with good intention, but the court says, “No, though your
intention is good, it is not proper, and we will not complicate this
thing. It will create a bias against the prisoner which may divert
the course of justice, and that shall not be introduced here: it has
no right here though you mean to be right.” Now, there is no proof at
all, gentlemen, about any dangerous weapon having been prepared upon
the 3d of August. And to make it more specific, Mr. Moody said in his
opening that they would prove that this young woman went out to buy a
poison on August 3. You have not heard any such evidence. It is not
proved: the court did not allow it to be proved, and it is not in the
case. Now you will not go to the jury room with the thought that if it
had been allowed you would have considered that it was proven. But it
is not allowed: no such evidence came before you, and I shall expect
the district attorney, man fashion, to get up and say so, and I think
you will, and I shall be disappointed in him if he does not. He will
tell you that upon that subject, and that the case is not touched at
all. Then he said that they were going to show you that the defendant
had contradicted herself under oath about these occurrences. Well,
there is another question which went to the court, and the court said:
“That is not proper in this case. You cannot show that.” And so there
is nothing of the kind. Now, are you not going to sit back there and
say, “Well, I rather think Mr. Knowlton and Mr. Moody would not have
offered it unless there is something behind it.” That is not the way
to try cases. That is not the way you hold this defendant in charge.
You might just as well have got your verdict before you started, and
said, “Guilty, because she is here.” You might as well say, “We don’t
want to hear any evidence.” You do not want to say that you do not care
whether you hang her right or wrong,—“give us somebody.” Now, the
court sits here to guard you and all of us against any such mistake.
That will not do. The court says: “Here, gentlemen, decide this case
on the evidence given right here from the witness stand and on nothing
else.” When you stand there in the box ready to answer, and somebody
says to you, “O, don’t mind what they put in about particular evidence,
whether competent or incompetent,” you say, “No, I want my rights. I
am here under the protection of the law, and I call upon these twelve
men, decent men, under their oaths, to stand by me and see that I am
not wronged.” So you will leave those things out, gentlemen. No prussic
acid, no preparation of a weapon by this woman, no statement made by
her under oath in this trial, or anywhere that you know anything about
or have a right to consider—I do not care what you have read. Now, we
shall agree in the consideration of this case very largely upon many
things. My position in this case, in speaking for the defendant, is not
to misrepresent or distort facts, but to take the proofs as they are,
put them against each other and find out what is right. This defendant
wants nothing but justice, and she desires to have it in the proper
administration of the law. Things that are not in dispute I hope I
shall not contest. I hope I shall array before you the facts altogether
in an intelligent and clear way, and then ask you to give me your
judgment on them by and by, and I just as sincerely trust that I will
not, even by a single letter, step over the line of the proof or deal
unjustly, even with the commonwealth that is really so dear to us all.
Now, let us see if we cannot get at these things in a fair way without

Mr. Andrew J. Borden left his house and went down street that morning,
Thursday, August 4, about 9:30 o’clock, so that he arrived at the
Savings Bank, upon the evidence, about 9:30. He went into several
places along the street, not material now to consider, walked back
along South Main street toward his house, stopped at a store of his
that was being repaired, talked with Shortsleeves and Mr. Mather, and
after picking up an old block, which he wrapped up in paper and took
home, he started to go to his house. You recollect something was said
that it is not material to consider in this connection, but he walked
along up toward his house, arriving there, the defendant thinks, about
10:45. It did not vary, probably, more than two, or possibly three
minutes from that time. It must have been as much as that because you
recollect how Mr. Mather put it, his looking at the clock and the time
that Mr. Borden lingered at the store, went upstairs, came down, went
out into the middle of the street, went back and talked with Mather and
Shortsleeves a minute or two and then went on. It was 10:40, twenty
minutes of 11, as he came up to the store. Now he probably consumed two
or three or four minutes in doing those things that they have spoken
of, and so you may well, perhaps, infer that he reached his house about
10:45. We have learned of several things that he did, that he came
into the house, sat down, went upstairs to his room, laid down his
little package, and so on, was occupied with a few things that would
consume a short space of time, so that we can say that he was murdered
somewhere within a given fifteen or twenty minutes of time which may be
between five minutes of 11 and ten minutes past 11. I presume that the
commonwealth will not differ with me about this. At any rate, if there
is a clearer statement of it to be made, the defendant has no objection
if it lies within the proofs. That is the way I propose to argue, to
take that as a fact. Mrs. Borden had died earlier. On the testimony of
the physicians, inspecting the character of the wounds, the condition
of the blood, the state of the stomachs and the intestines, they put
it from an hour to an hour and a half earlier than he died. That is
probably correct. At any rate, no issue is made about it; and so, if
I may be permitted to state it, she would seem to have died between
9:45 o’clock and 10:15, somewhere within that half hour, taking all
the evidence into account. That answers the demands of the physicians,
and seems to me, if I may be permitted to say it, to accord to the
facts. Now you have those tragedies within that short space of time in
that place, and it is for us to see whether the defendant is connected
with them: whether the defendant alone or the defendant with any
confederate, if there is any proof about it, did the deed. I am at
a loss to know where there is any evidence about any accomplice or
anybody else connected with it at all, and so it is only my inquiry
to find out if there is any truth as to this defendant. Of course, I
need only suggest to you that until there is some sort of evidence
that connects somebody with it, it is not well to assume that she must
have had somebody, because you cannot think of anything else. That is
not the way to try this case. Now it will be my endeavor in discussion
of these questions to be very guarded about giving my opinion of the
evidence. I have no right to put in whatever personal weight I may have
in my construction of the evidence. That is bad practice, and I should
expect, if I get over the line, for the learned court to call me to
order, because I trust I know my place.

I have no right to tell you that I believe so and so about this case. I
may believe all I want to, but my duty is to keep it inside of me, that
is all. And so the district attorney will do the same: carrying his
great weight and the strength of his convictions every way into this
case, he is not so to demean himself as to tell you that he believes so
and so. You do not want our beliefs, we want yours and your judgment.
Now there sits the defendant. In yonder city were the crimes. Those
crimes were the foulest and the darkest kind. She comes here under
this presumption of innocence. It must be overcome absolutely and you
must bind her up to the acts before you can say she is guilty. What is
the cord that holds her to those terrible criminal acts? Let us see
where it is to be found. It is not in the charge that is read in the
indictment; it is not in the procedure of the court, but it must be
in that chain of circumstances or in that line of direct proof that
shall show you that she is tied up to this thing, that she is the one,
and that it is not reasonable that anybody else did it or could have
done it; that there is no reasonable way of accounting for the things
that are proved except that she did it. That is the kind of bond that
you must frame in order to hold her or to permit you even to think of
holding her.

If a person commits a murder like this and we know it, we have no
occasion to inquire for what reason he did it. If he did it then it
does not make any difference whether he had any motive or not. He might
have done it for pure deviltry, without a motive. He may have done it
in insanity, and then the law comes in, in another way, to intervene
in his behalf. But if it is proved—proved, I say, not guessed, but
proved—that he did it, it is not of the slightest importance whether
he had a motive or not. If he did it, that is all there is about it.
Now, why is the commonwealth bound in this case to attempt to show a
motive for doing? merely this, gentlemen, because they say here are
the crimes—there are the crimes, there sits the defendant, you see
her over there? Now, in order to hold her responsible for the crimes
we have got to bind her up to the crimes. We have no direct evidence
that puts her there, we have some circumstances that look as if she
might get there: and so in order to bring her to it, we must show
a reason why she would do it. What moved her to do it, that is the
motive, that is to say the motive in this case, is only to explain the
evidence. You get my idea I think. It is only to tell you how you can
explain her acts or her words. If you can explain them in a reasonable
and honorable way she is entitled to that. But if they cannot explain
except that you find a criminal thought running through them, then that
motive operates against her. Not to make her commit the crime, but to
show you that what is said about it is a reasonable construction, that
she was led to do it. That is it, if I understand the case properly,
and I state it just as I believe it to be—the court will correct me
if I am wrong—and I believe I state it about as the commonwealth
attorneys would state it, intentionally I do; and so that motive is
only to be inquired into to help out about the circumstances, and I
think I can explain it to you—and I am guarding myself against saying
anything I ought not to. Suppose the crime were committed in another
place, and a man was suspected of it, and he proved that he were in the
state of Georgia at the time, at the very instant, and everybody knew
it. Well, now, you could not bind him for doing the crime anyway, no
matter if he stood down there and swore profanely that if he could only
get home he would have killed that man. That would not be anything,
because the circumstances do not come up to it, they are not connected.
So you do not want his motive to explain his acts. He hasn’t any acts
to explain. Now, the government says that Miss Lizzie Borden has some
acts to explain, therefore they will find out whether there is anything
in her motives that will put a color on it. I think you see that, and
they are inseparable from the conditions. Now, I say that the argument
will be only this, that you are to look at the motive to see what
effect you shall give to the evidence. It will not do to say that no
adequate motive is shown and none is necessary. That is true when the
crime is proved. That is true when you have the facts. But that is not
true when you are trying to show the motive in order to explain the
facts. Now there is absolutely (and I think the commonwealth will say
it) no direct evidence against Miss Borden, the defendant. You know
what I mean. Nobody saw or heard anything or experienced anything that
connects her with the tragedies. No weapon whatever, and no knowledge
of the use of one, as to her, has been shown. You know if you had
found her with some weapon of that kind in her control, or in her
room, or with her belongings, that would be direct evidence. But there
is nothing of that kind. It is not claimed. It is not shown that she
ever used an implement of the character that must have produced these
murders. It is not shown that she ever touched one, or knew of one, or
bought one, or had one. In fact, the evidence is that she did not know
where the ordinary things in the house of that kind were.

And the murders did not tell any tales on her either. There was no
blood on her, and blood speaks out, although it is voiceless; it speaks
out against the criminal. Not a spot on her from her hair to her feet,
on her dress or person anywhere. Think of it. Think of it for an
instant. Yes, there was one drop of blood on the white skirt as big as
the head of the smallest pin, says Prof. Wood. Less than a sixteenth
of an inch in diameter; and that is every particle of blood that was
found upon her clothing. And that was not where you could expect it to
be; not in the front of the skirt that must, if she had it on and had
done these foul deeds, have first come in contact, but around back down
toward the bottom near the placket, as I believe the women call it, out
of the way. I do not know but the government are going to say that she
turned her skirt round hind side before, before she began, in order to
get at it in a practical way. I don’t know what they are going to say
yet. I shall have occasion to speak of that by and by. But Prof. Wood
does not claim now—I don’t know as there is a Fall River policeman,
from the top down, that claims now—that that little fly speck, as it
were, of blood tells any tale here. I forbear to allude to what is
proved in this case—Miss Borden’s illness, monthly illness, at that
time—and to tell you or remind you that Prof. Wood said he would not
undertake to say that that blood was not the menstrual blood. You know
the facts. I need not give them in detail. You know enough in your own
households; you know all about it. You are men and human. You have your
feelings about it. I am not going to drag them up, but you must not
lose sight of these things. Then there was some talk about a roll of
burned paper in the stove, where Mr. Philip Harrington, I believe, was
the officer. He took off the cover and saw what he said looked like the
embers of a rolled up piece of paper, burned, that is all. And there
was some sort of dark insinuations here floating around that didn’t
clothe themselves in words, but there was something in the manner that
meanly intimated that Dr. Bowen was doing something about it—Dr.
Bowen—I suppose they don’t make any allegation that he committed these
murders, or helped to cover up, or assisted in doing anything about it.
When the evidence is heard, it seems that Mr. Philip Harrington says
that Dr. Bowen was throwing in some pieces of an old letter that had
nothing to do with these transactions, something about his own family
matters of no account. And Mr. Harrington, I think I am right in the
name of the officer, when they were thrown in, saw some little piece
of paper, rolled up paper, about an inch in diameter, that had been
rolled up and was lying there, the embers of it, and there was a small,
low fire. Well, we thought the handle was in there. We thought that
was the plan that the government possessed itself with the idea that
that handle was rolled up by the defendant in a piece of paper and put
down in there to burn; and it had all burned up except the envelope of
paper. Did you ever see such a funny fire in the world? What a funny
fire that was. A hard stick inside a newspaper and the hardwood stick
would go out beyond recall, and the newspaper that lives forever would
stay there. What a funny idea; what a theory that is. And we wrestled
with that proposition here, on the part of the defense, through weary
nights, troubled about it, until Fleet and Mullaly got here together,
and then we were relieved from every doubt. For the handle is in it,
and it is out of it. Fleet did not see it; Mullaly did see it. Fleet
did not take it out of the box, and Mullaly saw him do it. And it is
in the box now, and they run over to Fall River to get it, or they
wanted to, and can’t get into our house, and explain about it. So we
rather think that the handle is still flying in the air, a poor orphan
handle without a hatchet, flying around somewhere. For heaven’s sake
get the one hundred and twenty-five policemen of Fall River and chase
it till they can drive it in somewhere and hitch it up to its family
belongings. Then, too, upon the best testimony of the experts, and
probably in your own common sense, whoever committed that murder of
Mrs. Borden stood astride her body. She was a large, stout, fleshy
woman, weighing two hundred pounds. Conceive of the situation. You
looked at the place. You saw the little gap between the bureau and the
bed, stated to be about thirty to thirty-four inches, and you are to
conceive of the murderer standing over the body in this way. Here she
lies, there, and the murderer standing over her and literally chopping
her head to pieces. I shall have more to say about that by and by, but
I call it to your attention. And they all agreed that Mr. Borden was
butchered by somebody who stood at the head of the sofa and between
that and the parlor door. You know how it is placed and we make no
question about it. That looks reasonable, we will say, and so we take
the things as they are. Now, what reason is there for saying that this
defendant is guilty? The commonwealth asks you to come up here and
hear all this evidence and point out whether you think she is guilty
or not. If you do not think she is, why, you say, “Not guilty;” and
the commonwealth is satisfied, and the district attorney goes away,
having done his whole duty, satisfied to let it alone. He does not
find any fault about it, he is relieved of it. It is a great relief
to him to get rid of the case. He does not enjoy it. He says, come up
and hear all we have got against her and let the jury say she is not
guilty and that will stop this matter, or if you come up and hear it
and you say she is guilty, then that relieves me about it. I put this
responsibility on you. And the court says, “I put this woman into your
charge.” Now you have got it all. Now what right have they to say
anything about it? Well, I want to run it through, which I have done
with some care, and tell you why they claim that she did it.

In the first place, they say she was in the house in the forenoon.
Well, that may look to you like a very wrong place for her to be in.
But it is her home. I suspect you have kind of an impression that it
would be a little better for her than it would be out traveling the
streets. I don’t know where I would want my daughter to be, at home
ordinarily, or where it would speak more for her honor and care, and
reflect somewhat of credit upon me and her mother (who is my wife,
I want to say), than to say that she was at home, attending to the
ordinary vocations of life, as a dutiful member of the household, as
belonging there. So I don’t think there is any criminal look about
that. She was at home. She is shown to have been upstairs to her
room, the government says, about ten minutes before ten, and she must
have seen, as they claim, the dead body of Mrs. Borden, as she, the
defendant, went up and down the stairs. Now, let us look at that,
because that is an important feature in the case, important for the
commonwealth, important for the defendant. You went there and saw the
situation. You know how the stairs go up, turning around as you go up,
and at the top of the landing you are right there at Miss Lizzie’s
door. When you stand at the top of the landing you cannot see into the
guest chamber, you know. It is as if you stood over there where the
officer stands, or a little further. You are not looking into the door
at all. It is not like a good many houses where you come up at the top
and are looking in at both doors at the same time. Then it is said that
at a certain point on the staircase, right on one tread of one stair,
if you look in under the bed across the floor of the guest chamber you
could see any object that was over between the bed and bureau. And
you were all asked to do that by traveling up and traveling down—you
remember the experience you had—and looking. And therefore they say
that, although Miss Lizzie, when she was at her door as she undertook
to pass down, could not see Mrs. Borden over there behind the bed, that
if she went downstairs she could have seen Mrs. Borden lying there
behind the bed, and, therefore, that she must have seen her. Now if
we had marched up and down the stairs and told you nothing of what we
wanted you to look at, there is not one of you that would have squinted
under that bed on that particular tread of the stairs. You would not
have thought of it. But you were going to see if you could see, and
you were told to look all you could, and see if you could see. So you
got ready to see, and made up your minds that you were going to see
if there was anything to see. You have not been home for the last two
weeks. But when you get home, and after you get over this in two or
three weeks from now, and I meet you, I want you to tell me where you
looked when you came down stairs that morning, and whether you looked
to see what you could see at any particular stair. How was it the last
day you were at home? Do you remember anything about it? What time in
the morning did you come down? At what stair did you look to see what
you could see? Right in your own house where nothing had happened. Now
we are talking of a time with regard to Miss Lizzie when nothing had
happened, when everything was all right. It was so at that time as
to her. Now people do not go searching and squinting and playing the
detective and all that to begin with. I do not. If I did I should think
I was a rascal some way or other, and that something was happening to
me. If she did that thing, if she was looking to see if anybody could
see it, if she walked down and looked under and not said anything about
it—there goes the murderess, see her; she didn’t see it, and she
might. Therefore she is the criminal. She did see it because she could,
and, therefore, she is the criminal. No, no. You and I, until we get
to be too old, run up and down stairs just as we have a mind to. They
are our stairs. We do not ask anybody’s pardon or qualify our act a
particle. Then there is not the slightest evidence that that door was
open at that time. Remember that there is evidence that it was open
later but no evidence that it was open before Mr. Borden came in. I am
right about that, and that is very important. So that if, when Miss
Lizzie was down stairs and went upstairs, as she undoubtedly did during
that forenoon, to her room, if she went up and down stairs and the door
was closed or nearly closed or stood ajar, then, of course, she could
not see. She had no occasion to go into that spare room. Wouldn’t go in
there. As you know about the habits of the family in which she lived,
the spare room was closed up practically. Mrs. Borden had gone there
to make the beds, and after she had left it all right, undoubtedly she
would push to the door. The door was pushed to, at any rate. There is
no evidence that it was wide open. Now the government starts out with
the idea that the door was standing wide open, and, therefore, that she
could see: and I have told you how you can reason it very plainly out
in your own common experience you wouldn’t look. If she had been lying
right in front of the bed, outside, why I should have said it would be
very improbable that a passer up and down the stairs would not have
seen her, and yet that is not impossible. You walk along the streets
sometimes, possibly—I do not want to say anything wrong about you—and
you meet your own wife and don’t see her, go right along. They used to
tell a story about Prof. Peirce over at Cambridge who didn’t know his
own wife when he met her, and he had been spoken to about it so much
that finally he thought to make amends, he would speak to the first
thing he met, and that was a cow. He said “Good morning.” He didn’t
make any more mistakes. People are not looking for everything at every
minute, especially if they are innocent. It is the guilty man that is
always looking around to see when there is somebody round going to
catch him, lay hand on him. Now do not ask her to do things that nobody
else does. Besides, you remember the testimony from Dr. Bowen and
Mr. Manning and some others—it is not necessary to state them—that
the upper hall was dark when they went up there, and that the guest
chamber was dark. You remember that in that guest chamber there are
these tight board shutters that shut up. And you know the New England
housewife does not like to have her carpet fade, and the more they live
in the old style the more careful they are.

I remember with some reflections about my old mother, how she looked
after the carpet and the boys, and they did not get the light in. The
boys wanted to live out in the sunlight, and she did not want her
carpets there. And so the natural thing in that room in the Borden
house was to keep the shutters shut, those tight shutters. And the
doctors say, they all of them say, that when they went in it was
dark and they had to open them so they could see something. Now you
recollect that we tried that on you over there. You marched up and down
in the first place, with the shutters all flung open, so that that room
was as light as this, or more so. Then we shut the shutters and asked
you to go up. You know the instance. You can see across the street, but
it is always difficult to look down into a well and see what is at the
bottom. Now, they say further, as a reason, that she is guilty, or they
claim it, that Mr. Fleet tells you that Lizzie said she saw Mrs. Borden
about 9 o’clock, when she, meaning Mrs. Borden, was making the bed.
Now, taking that as true, there is no contradiction of it, I am bound
to say, however, in fairness to the defendant, that it is possible that
Mr. Fleet was mistaken. But it is of no great account, as the defense
looks at this case. Admit that, then, for the time being, for this
discussion, to be true, I do not say it is, but just assume it. See
what it comes to, then: that is, Miss Lizzie said to Mr. Fleet—assume
that it is a fact—that as she went down stairs or went upstairs she
saw Mrs. Borden making the bed in the spare room. Well, what of it?
what of it? True, you say. Your daughter goes upstairs this morning
to her room and she sees her mother in the spare room making the bed.
Well, what of it? Well, they say she was upstairs when Mrs. Borden was
making the bed. That is true. But she was upstairs in her own house, in
her own room, at a time when the orderly woman of a house goes to look
after the morning work. It does not appear one way or the other whether
they were in conversation or not, and it does not appear whether she
went up and down stairs that morning two or three or more times or
not. Why, you would naturally infer, I should say, that it would be
the commonest thing in the world for this young woman to pass up and
down stairs to her room in the ordinary way of living? Why not? Do you
suppose that your wives and daughters can tell the number of times they
went up and down stairs six months ago on a given day? Not at all, or
even the day before, unless they were very careful about something.
Now, there is no doubt at all in my mind that she did go up and down
stairs. Mrs. Borden was making the bed. That was before she had been
killed, of course. And while she was there, pursuing that work, nothing
whatever except the passing up and down is what is claimed here. Now,
grant it all. Grant that she did go up and down stairs that morning
about 9 o’clock. Mrs. Borden was alive. It is not claimed that she
killed them at that time. But the commonwealth undertakes to tell you
without any evidence, gentlemen, without any evidence that she stayed
up there that forenoon, practically, until her father came in. I say
there is no evidence of it, and I will show you that later. That she
went up and down I do not care to question. I should expect it. That
she stayed up, no; or that she was there, having stayed all the time
until her father came, no. Now, she told about the note, they say, and
that is evidence of guilt. She told about Mrs. Borden having a note.
Now, there is considerable interest in that question, and I ask your
attention to it. You know that after the tragedies, when Miss Lizzie
was asked about where Mrs. Borden was, she told Bridget, so Bridget
tells us, that Mrs. Borden had a note and had gone out. I said: “Who is
sick?” “I don’t know; she had a note this morning; it must be in town.”
Now, that is what Bridget said to Mrs. Churchill and she says: “I
said,” meaning herself, “I said, ‘where is your mother?’ She said, ‘I
don’t know: she’s just had a note to see some one who is sick.’” Next
question: listen to it. “What did Bridget tell about Mrs. Borden having
a note?” and, “She said Mrs. Borden had a note to go and see some one
that was sick, and she was dusting the sitting room, and she hurried
off and said she didn’t tell me where she was going: she generally
does.” Now, that is what Bridget told Mrs. Churchill. You get the idea.
Both Bridget and Lizzie had learned from Mrs. Borden that she had had
a note. Mrs. Borden had told Lizzie. Mrs. Borden had told Bridget. She
had given Bridget the work to do, washing the windows. She says to her:
“I have got a note to go out and see some one that was sick.” That was
when she was dusting in the sitting room. That is when Bridget says it
was to Mrs. Churchill: that was at the first, when there was no mistake
about it. And Bridget says: “She didn’t tell me. She hurried off.” No,
Lizzie didn’t say anything about her hurrying off; nobody says that.
Bridget told it to Mrs. Churchill. She hurried off, and “She, Mrs.
Borden, didn’t tell me, Bridget, where she was going; she generally
does.” Now have you the slightest doubt about that Mrs. Churchill
you saw? She was called upon three times to tell that and she told
it very clearly and I think convincingly. Now notice the questioning
that follows: “That was what Bridget told you?” “Yes, sir.” “That was
not what Lizzie told you?” “No, sir.” “Bridget said Mrs. Borden had
a note?” “Yes.” “And she hurried off?” “Yes, sir.” “She was dusting
the sitting room?” “Yes, sir.” “And Bridget says, ‘she didn’t tell me
where she was going; she generally does,’ Bridget says.” “Bridget said
that?” “Yes, sir.” “That was not what Lizzie said?” “No, sir.” “Now,
you have got that right, haven’t you; no doubt about that?” “Bridget
said that Mrs. Borden had a note to go and see some one who was sick.
‘She was dusting in the sitting room; she hurried off. She didn’t tell
me where she was going: she generally does.’” Now, my friend who opened
this case for the commonwealth said that Lizzie told a lie about that
note. He used that word. I submit that that will hardly stand upon his
evidence. If he had heard the evidence fully through he would not have
uttered that expression, because here you have proved that Bridget gave
the clearest and fullest statement about this matter, and you will
probably infer from this that Lizzie learned from Bridget that Mrs.
Borden had gone out, and she had a note to go because Bridget tells it
with exact detail and holds it down herself. That is not criminal on
the part of Bridget at all. I am only calling your attention to the
directness of the testimony at the time, right on the very moment.
Now, there is not anything in the testimony that really qualifies that
at all. Miss Russell says that she heard the talk about the note, but
she did not know who told it. Now notice that, and Bridget was there,
Lizzie there, Mrs. Churchill there, and Miss Russell says she heard the
talk about the note, but she does not know who told it, so that you
see that you are uncertain there. Then Miss Russell tells about the
conversation with Dr. Bowen, and with Lizzie about the note. Listen to
it: “Lizzie, do you know anything about the note your mother had?” And
she hesitated and said, well, no, she didn’t. Said Dr. Bowen, “I had
looked in the waste basket,” and Miss Russell said “have you looked
in your pocket?” and I think I said, “Well, then, she must have put
it in the fire.” And Lizzie said, “Yes, she must have put it in the
fire.” You see that the suggestion of putting it in the fire came from
Miss Russell, not from Lizzie. Dr. Bowen had been searching the waste
basket. He had looked around to see if he could find the note. He did
not succeed, he calls their attention to it in this way I have stated,
and they all assent to it and very likely that was true. It was not of
any account. The woman had got the note and had tossed it away, very
likely threw it in the kitchen stove and burned it, but we do not know
anything about it. But they all seemed satisfied right there on the


Then he said that he had searched for it, Dr. Bowen; it is Miss Russell
telling it, and at any rate she says what was said about that was said
in the presence of Lizzie and “the same person said she must have
burned it?” “I think I answered that question.” That is Miss Russell.
Well now you get nothing from the officers, merely that Mr. Fleet
learned from Miss Lizzie that Mrs. Borden had a note and had gone out.
Officer Wilson says the same thing, that she said she had received a
note and that she thought she had gone out. That was after the murder,
and she said that Mrs. Borden had a note and she thought she had gone
out, that is during the forenoon she thought she had gone out. Dr.
Dolan says the same thing, so that when you come to consider it you see
that the evidence in regard to the note comes from what was told at
the very first. If you believe that Mrs. Borden told both Lizzie and
Bridget about the note it all looks plain. And why should it not? They
were all in the family there together, and she receives a note to go
out, and she did have the note, or else they both tell something that
Mrs. Borden told that was not true, and we are not going to believe
that. Taking the evidence that comes from the living and that drops
from the lips of the dead, you must find that Mrs. Borden did have
the note and that she told the two women about it and hurried off, as
they thought, and did not tell Bridget or either one of them where she
was going. It was not of any great account probably. She got a note
to go out, and see a woman, and did go out, as far as we learn to the
contrary. It was a natural and ordinary thing, and the note was thrown
away and tossed into the fire. It was not a bank note to be kept, but
a little scrap of paper probably indicating what was wanted. Now, a
person may say “Where is the note?” Well, we would be very glad to
see it, very glad. They looked after it and they could not find it.
The construction of Miss Russell was that she had burned it up. Very
likely that was it. They say that nobody has come forward to say that
she has sent it. That is true. You will find men now, perhaps living
in this county, who do not know that this trial is going on. They do
not know anything about it, don’t pay much attention to it, they are
about their own business: do not consider it of any consequence. And
after a lawsuit, it very often happens in every court room that some
one will come forward and say, “Well, if I had really known that that
question was in dispute, I could have told you all about it.” Bless
his dear heart, why didn’t he come out of the cellar so we could see
him? Well, sometimes people don’t want to have anything to do with
it. They don’t want to get into the court room, even if a life is in
danger—women especially; they have a dread of all sorts of things.
The note may have been a part of the scheme in regard to Mrs. Borden.
It may have got there through foul means and with a criminal purpose.
We don’t know anything about it. But that a note came there on this
evidence you cannot question. That Lizzie lied about it is a wrongful
aspersion, born out of the ignorance of the facts as they were to be
developed in this case, not with a purpose to wrong her but mis-stating
the evidence as we all do when we do not know quite what is coming,
really anticipating something that is not proven. So I say that it is
not true that Lizzie told a lie about it. If she did Bridget did the
same. I would not say that for a minute. There is nothing to connect
Bridget with this transaction. See how quickly you would suspect
anybody because you get them under pressure. Now look at it. Suppose
that Bridget were suspected of this crime, and Mrs. Churchill came
forward and told that Bridget said these words that I read, how quick
some people would be to say, “O, Bridget!” “She did it. She did it
because she told a lie about that note.” Do you see it? It is plain,
it is a demonstration. Now I dismiss it with the remark that nobody
thinks that Bridget Sullivan had anything to do with this crime at
all. Lizzie does not think so, because she has said so openly. Now she
told about her visit out to the barn they say. She told the officers
that she went out to the barn; went out in the yard, some twenty or
thirty minutes. Now remember that we get this information in regard to
the time from the police officers. The others tell us that she said she
went to the yard and the barn. It takes assistant marshal Fleet here to
tell us about the thirty minutes. You see him. You see the set of that
moustache and the firmness of those lips and the distinction he wrought
in the court room telling that story.

And there he was, up in this young woman’s room in the afternoon,
attended with some other officers, plying her with all sorts of
questions in a pretty direct and peremptory way, saying to her: “You
said thirty minutes, and now you say twenty minutes: which way will
you have it?” Is that the way for an officer of the law to deal with a
woman in her own house? What would you do with a man—I don’t care if
he had blue on him—that got into your house and was talking to your
wife or daughter in that way? You would do just what Marshal Hilliard
did with Caldwell, get him out. That is the way to do. Recollect that
this was after the tragedies, this was when the terrible pall was
over that house and the neighborhood, and an officer should be pretty
careful. Recollect that the air was full of policemen at that time;
they were running all over that house, putting her to every possible
strain, asking her in her loneliness, her absence from any friend, her
sister gone—following her up in this way, insinuating in that way and
talking to her as if she were a liar. Well I can tell the truth and
behave pretty well, if a man treats me decently, but I want to get
him out if he talks to me as a liar to begin with. Now she told about
her visit to the barn, and they undertake to tell you that she did
not go out to the barn. Now let us see about it. They say that it’s
another lie. We have got so we know what the small words in the English
language mean in the idea of the commonwealth. We can get rid of three
letters pretty quick, but you cannot dispose of the facts. Now, let’s
see about that. Did she go to the yard or the barn? She told them she
did, and they bring it in here, and they say she could not have gone
to the yard or the barn. Now let us see whether she did or not. If she
did not go out to the yard or the barn then she was there upon her own
showing at the time when the murder of her father was committed. You
see that. That will end the case if you see it. Now, Bridget Sullivan
said: “I went right over to Dr. Bowen’s and when I came back I asked
her, ‘Miss Lizzie, where was you?’ I says ‘Didn’t I leave the screen
door hooked?’ She says, ‘I was out in the back yard and heard a groan
and came in and the screen door was open.’”

I am going to talk about going to the barn, and by and by talk about
the groan—take them separately. Now, she says that she went into the
yard. You understand? What did they have in the yard? Pear trees.
That is the evidence, and the evidence that in the partially digested
contents of the stomachs pear skins were found. Bridget says Mr. Borden
had been out and had brought in a basket of pears and they had these
in abundance. You saw the trees; the neighbors saw the trees; Patrick
McGowan saw them and got in one of them and helped himself. We know
that there is no lie about it. This was an August morning, and it
appeared that before this time Lizzie had been ironing, had been around
the kitchen trying to iron some handkerchiefs. No doubt about that.
She had been in and out about her work. She tells us she has been out
in the yard. That was true, we will say, upon that statement. Now,
Dr. Bowen said, “where have you been?” Her reply was, “in the barn,
looking for some irons,” or “iron.” Both can be reasonably true, can’t
they? She could not get into the barn unless she went into the yard,
naturally, and that she should stop there by the trees five or ten
minutes is perfectly consistent. Does that look unreasonable? Do you
not see families out in the yard, strolling about in your own yards,
stopping under the trees, sitting under the trees, especially when they
have a right to have a little leisure. Mrs. Churchill says, “I stepped
inside the screen door, and she was sitting on the second stair, at
the right of the door. I put my right hand on her arm, and said, ‘O
Lizzie.’ I then said: ‘Where is your father?’ She said, ‘In the sitting
room,’ and I said, ‘Where were you when it happened?’ and said she,
‘I went to the barn to get a piece of iron.’” Miss Russell says, “she
told about going to the barn, she says she went to the barn, she told
us when she came in she saw her father, and he was killed.” “Did she
say anything about why she went to the barn?” “Not until I asked her.”
“State what you asked her and what she replied?” “I said ‘What did
you go to the barn for, Lizzie?’ and she said, ‘I went to get a piece
of tin or iron to fix my screen.’” “Did she refer to any screen in
particular, or simply ’my screen?’” “My screen.”

Now, Mr. Fleet told us that she went into the dining room, she said
that her father lay down and that she went out into the barn: and he
brings in the half-hour—he is the only one that does. And then he goes
there and talks to her about it, as to whether she means a half-hour
or twenty minutes. Now just listen to this man. Recollect when this
was, Thursday afternoon. Recollect he is the same man that said “Dr
Bowen was holding the door on him—holding the fort.” Think of it.
And Mrs. Holmes and Dr. Bowen and Miss Russell tell you, and Wilson,
the officer who went with him, comes right up here and says there was
not the slightest resistance, that he knocked at the door, and just
as soon as Dr. Bowen could ask them if they were ready to have the
officers come in, and I am sure that was perfectly proper—they were
admitted without any trouble. Now this man Fleet was troubled, and he
was ascent for a job. He was ferreting out a crime. He had a theory.
He was a detective. And so he says, “You said this morning you were up
in the barn for half an hour. Will you say that now?” I think the man
impertinent. I beg your pardon, the defendant thinks he was: thinks he
was impertinent. She said, “I do not say half an hour; I say twenty
minutes to half an hour.” “Well, we will call it twenty minutes then.”
Much obliged to him. He was ready to call it twenty minutes, was he?
What a favor that was; now Lizzie has some sense of her own, and she
says, “I say from twenty minutes to half an hour, sir?” He had not awed
her into silence. She still breathed although he was there. Think about
a woman saying something, ordering something in the presence of a man
who talks that way to her, under such circumstances. Mr. Harrington
states that she said to him that she was there about twenty minutes. He
asks her whether she would not have heard the opening or closing of the
door. Why not? “You were but a short distance away, and you would have
heard the noise if any was made.” But Bridget said she did not hear
the screen door shut at all and she said she would not hear it in her
room, and never heard it when it shut unless somebody slammed it or was
careless about it. You remember that.

Now you see there is no inference to be drawn from the fact that Miss
Lizzie did not hear it when she was in the barn or in the yard for that
matter. And you recollect how the side door stands with reference to
the yard. That when a person is out around the corner, under the pear
tree, or even under the first pear tree that stood from the south door
to the barn, he cannot see up to that door because of that jog. So that
if she was even out under that pear tree anybody could have passed in
or out that side door without her hearing him, much more if she were
in the barn, either upstairs or down stairs. Wilson has told us that
she said, “twenty minutes to half an hour.” He was there with Fleet.
Medley says, “She says she was upstairs in the barn—I am not positive
as to the stairs part, she was up in the barn.” Now take that, is there
anything unnatural or improbable in her going to the barn for anything
she wanted? She was, you will say, a person who was free to go about,
and did go about, and went in the natural call of things that she was
going to do. You have heard talk of the party at Marion, and you know
where it is better than I do, but I suspect from what has been said
about it that it is somewhere near the water and where the fish swim,
and it would not be strange if a party of women were going there, they
would try to catch something—I mean fish; and when they got there they
would want something to catch fish with. Perhaps they do; that is the
way we bob around for fish up in the country. We don’t have much to do
with seafish, but isn’t that common? She said she wanted some lead for
sinkers. She also said she wanted something to fix the screen. Perhaps
she had both things in her mind. It is perfectly natural. She wanted
a piece of tin or iron to fix the screen. If she had set out to be
this arch criminal that they claim, she would have had it all set down
in her mind so that she would tell it every time just the same, line
for line and dot for dot. He had to stay in the court room until the
other fellow was heard to hold him. We had twins here; they didn’t look
alike. We kept them here; that is Mr. Mullaly.

Now you are going to say, gentlemen, whether you believe Mr. Lobinsky,
who stands uncontradicted and undisputed, or believe another man who is
fully contradicted by a man with him who was his own associate in the
police court. Now, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, the government knew where
Mr. Lobinsky was, and that was at the tinshop of Mr. Wilkinson. They
knew where he was. And they knew, too, that Lobinsky’s horse was kept
at Mr. Gardner’s stable on Second street, corner of Rodman, and they
could have found whether Lobinsky had left the stable at 11 o’clock
or 10:30. But we have not troubled them to do that. Mr. Gardner, who
owns the stable has told his own story, and has he not told you that
Lobinsky’s statement is correct, that he did not leave the stable until
after 11 o’clock? He testified that that was because other teams were
to be hitched up to go ahead of Lobinsky, and he was late, so that he
did not get away until 11 or five minutes past 11 o’clock. My friend
Knowlton in cross-examining him wanted to know whether he told the
time on his watch by the long hand or the short hand. But that is all
right. Its good practice, but it is no test. Gardner remembers it, and
gives it, even, but Lobinsky did not have the watch. He told us what
time he left and the time he was passing by the yard on Second street.
And then we have Mr. Newhall, a man from Worcester, who happened to be
there; he comes here and tells you he went along the street, and he
fixes the time by the hour that he went to the bank, and the places
where he was that morning, and you have these three men that hold it
down to the time I refer to, that is 10:30 o’clock. Is it not fair
to say Mr. Mullaly is mistaken, to say the least? Then if they want
to find anything more about it, we land Mr. Douglass in this case,
who was there at the time, in Fall River. They knew about it and they
could have proved about it and they know it was as we say, and yet
they did not try to prove it. They say a story is true because told
all times alike, but those of us that have dealings with witnesses
in court know that witnesses that tell the truth often have slight
variations in their stories and we have learned to suspect the ones
that get off their testimony like parrots, as if they had learned
it by heart. Honest people are not particular about punctuation and
prepositions all the time. Now did she go to the barn? She says she
did and her statement is entitled to credit as she gave it on the spot
the moment when Bridget was upstairs and might know about it. Did she
go to the barn? Well, we find she did, find it by independent, outside
witnesses, thanks to somebody who saw her. Possibly this life of hers
is saved by the observation of a passenger on the street. There comes
along a pedler, an ice cream man, known to everybody in Fall River.
He is not a distinguished lawyer or a great minister or a successful
doctor. He is only an ice cream pedler, but he knows what an oath is,
and he tells the truth about it, and he says he passed down that street
that morning, and as he passed right along it was at a time when, he
says, he saw a woman, not Bridget Sullivan whom he knew, coming along,
walking slowly round the corner just before she would ascend those
side steps. Now there was no other woman alive in the house except
Bridget and Lizzie at that time. He knew it was not Bridget by the best
instinct, because he had sold her ice cream and he knew her. He says
“it was the other woman whom I had never sold ice cream.” Recollect,
that was Lizzie or some stranger in the yard. You will say undoubtedly
it was Lizzie as she comes back from the barn. It may be asked why did
he look in. I say because anyone might do so. They say Lizzie must have
looked under the bed. I say Lubinsky must have looked into the yard.
He was an enterprising young man, he was looking for business because
he has sold ice cream there before, and therefore, he noticed the
yard. Now is that something he remembers today and comes up here to
tell about or anybody has brought him to tell about? Nobody will make
that insinuation in regard to the defendant. Was he got to tell it? Let
us see. He told it on the 8th of August to the police, and they had
it all in their possession. Now, that is not a yarn made up for the
occasion at all, and the only sort of conflict about it is attempted in
this way, not to dispute it but to admit or say that Mr. Lubinsky is
mistaken about a half-hour of time.

Mr. Mullaly is one of the knights of the handle, you know. You know
who he is—Mr. Mullaly. Mr. Mullaly comes with a book, and it is
thrown down here on the table with a great display to us, for us to
pick it up, and with something written in it. It is not competent
evidence and has no business on the table, because it might be lost
and carried away, and it should be, but Mr. Mullaly says that on the
8th of August he had a talk with Mr. Lubinsky and Mr. Lubinsky told
him it was half-past ten o’clock. Now, if Mr. Lubinsky went by that
yard at half-past ten he did not see Miss Lizzie go to the barn. Is
Mr. Mullaly mistaken? Gentlemen, as you take cases in court, carefully
weighing the evidence, would not you say that Lubinsky went there at
the time he states and that the two others passed along that street and
that he saw Miss Lizzie going into the house? If that is true, then
the commonwealth must take back the charge that she lied about going
to the barn. She was out of the house at the very time when the slayer
murdered Mr. Borden. I will stop at this time for a moment.

Chief Justice Mason: “The jury may withdraw with the officers for a
recess of five minutes.”

One other thought, as you remember, that Lubinsky saw Manning as he
was going down and I think Gardner and Newhall also and you know when
Manning got there to the house all about it, so that you see it is
confirmed again in another way. Then they have an opportunity to find
out by Mr. Wilkinson whether this man was really late that day or not,
and as they have not told anything to the contrary, we will assume
that that is proved. Now the district attorney brought out the fact
from Mrs. Bowen that when Lizzie sat there in the kitchen her hands
were white and she was pale and distressed, as you know from other
witnesses. And I suppose from that he is going to argue to you that
she was not all covered with rust and dust that she got in the barn.
Well, you will see the strength of that argument, and think what it
amounts to. Think whether she could not go up there and look; whether
she picked up anything there or not nobody knows. I don’t know how
he can tell whether she was fumbling around with dusty iron and lead.
There is no evidence here about it, and I have seen many a young woman,
and I presume most of them, who could walk out into the barn and come
back without getting their hands dirty. So I will not stop long about
that. Bridget told about the groan and Mullaly told about the scraping,
speaking of her statements, but there is nothing else.

Whether she said that or not, we don’t know. If she did, it was
nothing more than the statement that all of us are likely to make.
When anything happens we imagine that we heard something; if it had
not happened we should not have heard anything. How common that is.
Then there were noises not connected with this tragedy which might
actually have been heard. There are noises in that street; you were
there long enough to find out about that; such noises are a common
occurrence. Then it may be that the people in their excitement—Bridget
in great excitement because she was running about breathless to find
something and Mullaly in the breathlessness of his search may have got
it wrong—may not have got it just right. It is not a serious matter.
They may argue it for all it is worth on the part of the commonwealth.
She thought she heard Mrs. Borden come in. They undoubtedly will make
something out of that, so I want your attention there to see about
that. This comes now in the first place from Bridget Sullivan. She is
asked, after detailing the circumstances to a certain point, “What
happened then?” You recollect that Bridget had told Mrs. Churchill that
Mrs. Borden had a note and had gone out—“hurried off, did not tell me
where she was going.” So you see anything from Bridget about that note
and about Mrs. Borden coming in is all sustained. Now Bridget Sullivan
says, in answer to the question, “What happened then?” “O, I says,
Lizzie, if I knew where Mrs. Whitehead’s was I would go and see if Mrs.
Borden was there, and tell her that Mr. Borden was very sick.” You see
the confirmation about that note business right there right off. What
should she say that she should go and see Mrs. Whitehead for if Mrs.
Borden was there, unless she (Bridget) knew that Mrs. Borden had a
note and supposed she had gone out as they both did. Then Lizzie said,
“Maggie, I am almost positive I heard her coming in, and won’t you go
up stairs and see.” Bridget said: “I am not going up stairs alone.”
Now, following the testimony down, the very next question is: “Before
that time that she said that, had you been up stairs?” “No, sir: I had
been upstairs after sheets for Dr. Bowen.”

Now remember how that occurred. When Dr. Bowen came he wanted a sheet
to cover up the body of Mr. Borden and he called upon Bridget and Mrs.
Churchill to get one. They went into the sitting room and took the key
off the mantel and went up the back stairs (where you went) unlocked
the door to Mrs. Borden’s room, got the sheets and came down the back.
So Bridget had been up the back stairs to that room, but she had not
been up the front stairs. Therefore when they got down stairs with
the sheets Bridget and Mrs. Churchill knew that Mrs. Borden was not
in her own room, because they had been up there. Therefore they knew
that she was not in the back of the house, and Lizzie knew that she
was not in the back part of the house, because they went up to get the
sheets into Mrs. Borden’s room. See how plain that is when you look
at the testimony, and it is brought out plainly in the testimony in
the questions that are asked by the commonwealth. So you see that when
Lizzie spoke about going upstairs to see if Mrs. Borden was in, Lizzie
meant the front stairs, because they all knew, the three of them, that
Mrs. Borden was not in her own room, and that if she was anywhere in
the house she must be in the front part of the house. So Lizzie knew
that Mrs. Borden had had a note and had gone out, and Bridget knew
that she had a note and had gone out, as they both believed; that
Lizzie had seen her up in the room making the beds and finishing up
before 9 o’clock, and she had not seen her since, believing that she
had gone out, and she recalled that she might have heard her come in
before her father came back, before Mr. Borden did, and she said at
once, “Go up at once and see if Mrs. Borden is not up in her room.
Mrs. Borden is not here. I heard a noise as though she came in, and
she must be upstairs in the front room somewhere. Go and see.” Now,
that is natural. They thought she was in the upper and back part of
the house, and there can be no doubt about that, because Miss Russell
testifies to the same thing Mrs. Churchill does, Bridget Sullivan does,
and then, after they came down, there it was that conversation about
going to Mrs. Whitehead’s occurred. “What happened then?” “Oh,” I says,
“Lizzie, if I knew where Mrs. Whitehead’s was, I would go and see if
Mrs. Borden was there.” These two women acting in perfect good faith
about it, relying upon the truth of that note story, which Mrs. Borden
had told them. Then Bridget would not go up the front stairs, because
in order to go up the front stairs they must necessarily pass through
the room where Mr. Borden’s dead body was lying, or else they must pass
through the dining room way and go by the corner of the room. They
went that way, and found Mrs. Borden killed. Mrs. Churchill and Miss
Russell tell precisely the same thing in substance about going up and
finding Mrs. Borden. Now the suggestion on the part of the commonwealth
would be, if this evidence was not so clear, that Lizzie knew that she
was up there, and if you assume Lizzie had killed her, then, of course,
it would be quite plain that she knew where she was, but if you do not
presume the defendant guilty to begin with, it shows nothing until
she is proved guilty. Then we have no difficulty with the statement
of these three women. They define and make it very plain. Mr. Borden,
you will remember, came in, as I have said, about 10:45 o’clock. Now
the inference that Mrs. Borden had come in was the most natural thing
in the world; hearing some noise in the house, perhaps the shutting
of a door. By and by we will say something about who might have shut
it—perhaps the movement of somebody else in that house that she
heard—she had no occasion to go to look and see, she was not called
to, and her father came in, and as Mrs. Borden had not appeared in the
sitting room, you understand, and as the two women going upstairs found
she was not in the back room upstairs, they would undoubtedly think if
she had come in she was in the front part of the house, and then she
recalled as she thought she did the fact that she had heard a noise
which indicated to her Mrs. Borden had come in. Now, I submit to you,
gentlemen, that, taking the testimony as it is here, and there is no
other that I know of, it exactly and clearly gives the situation as it
was, and just as they acted. Then they said that she showed no feeling
when her stepmother was lying dead on the guest-room floor; that she
laughed on the stairs.

Well, Bridget said something about opening the door. She said she said,
“O, pshaw,” and she said it in such a way that Lizzie laughed, standing
somewhere at her room door, a room where she could not see into the
guest chamber, and the door of which, so far as we know, was closed.
Nobody knows anything about it. What was there then why she shouldn’t
laugh? O, they say, she had murdered her step-mother. Oh, hold on. That
is not proved yet. You might think that everything was all right in
your house, and somebody track a joke on you and you laugh, but if the
evidence should turn out that your son had fallen dead on the floor
above, that does not warrant the conclusion that you were laughing
when his dead body was lying on the floor, because you did not know
it. They say she knew it. Well, then, I should agree if she knew it
and was laughing and joking about what Bridget said that she should be
blamed, and we would criticize her and condemn her, but they have not
any evidence of it. They assume it, and the district attorney opened
it, that while the dead body of Mrs. Borden was lying in the guest
chamber Lizzie laughed. Well, the inference was that she had murdered
her and then laughed. But that is assuming what they have not proved.
They say she did not look at her dead father. Well, she had looked at
him with horror. She had come in from the outside into the back hallway
and come into the kitchen, and the door stood ajar, and she started to
go into the sitting room when this horrible sight met her gaze. She had
seen her father. Did they ask her to go and wring her heart over the
remains that were mutilated beyond recognition? and because she did
not rush into the sitting room and stand over against that mutilated
body they say she is guilty. Why, Mrs. Churchill and Bridget Sullivan
and Miss Russell could not pass through there unless they touched the
corner after the body was covered. Let us ask of other innocent people
the same thing that you would ask of Lizzie. They say that Miss Lizzie
did not show any signs of fear, but that Dr. Bowen and Mrs. Sawyer were
afraid. They told you about it. Well, how do they know she did not
show any signs of fear? Why do they make any such statement as that?
Because she said to Bridget, “You must go get somebody, for I can’t
stay in this house alone.” Look at things in a natural and easy way, in
a common sense way, assuming her innocence and not assuming her guilt.
That is the way you will meet these things and all of the facts. Then
they start off on another track, and they say she killed her stepmother
and her father because that was a house without any comforts in it.
Well, gentlemen, I hope you all live in a better way than the Borden
family lived, so far as having good furniture and conveniences. Are
your houses all warmed with steam? Do you have carpets on every one
of your floors, stairs and all? Do you have pictures and pianos and a
library and all conveniences and luxury? Do you? Well, I congratulate
you, if you do.

This is not a down-trodden people. There is lots of comfort in our
country homes. I know something of them, but I remember back in my
boyhood we did not have gas and running water in every room. We were
not brought up that way. We did not have such things as you saw in
the Borden house. It wasn’t in poverty-stricken, desolate quarters
like a shanty, where the folks simply live and breathe and do not eat
anything. They paraded here the bill of fare for breakfast. I do not
know what they are going to talk about, what sort of breakfast the
ordinary country people have in the houses. They do not live as well
as we do in hotels, perhaps they live better. I do not wish to say a
word against the hotel, but perhaps a coarser fare is as good as the
fixed-up notions that we get on the hotel table, but at any rate it is
the way people live in our towns and cities, and no considerable number
of people have come to harm.

Andrew Borden was a simple man, an old-fashioned man. He did not dress
himself up with jewelry. He carried a silver watch. He was a plain man
of the every day sort of fifty years ago. He was living along in that
way. His daughters were brought up with him. They had become connected
with prominent things in Fall River, for they lived at home. They had
the things which you saw upon them. You will know well enough they
were not poorly supplied, and were not pinched and were not starved
into doing this thing. Do you think it looked as if they were starved
into the crime and pinched into wrong? Here was a young woman with
property of her own. Starved to death, they say; pinched so that she
could not live, wrought up to frenzy and madness, so that she would
murder her own father for the want of things, and yet, as has been
shown here worth in her own right of money and personal property from
$4000 to $5000, owning also real estate in common with her sister there
in Fall River. What is the use of talking about that? Did she want any
more to live on in comfort? Do they say she wanted to get her father’s
property or a half of it? Do they reason that she went and killed the
stepmother first so that when the property came by inheritance it would
pass to herself and sister. They must say something. They say she
killed her stepmother because of trouble. That is one of the arguments
about which I will speak by and by, but then there is no trouble with
her father, as they see, and then she had a change of purpose, or she
had a double purpose, to kill Mrs. Borden because she did not like
her, and to kill her father because she liked him, but she wanted his
money. What sort of a compound! Two motives are running through that
argument inconsistent with each other, each directed independently to
a specific end: Carried out as to one in the early part of the murder,
and then she not only changed her dress and cleaned herself and became
another woman, but found herself inhabited with a distinct motive and
then slaughtered her father. Sometimes when a young man goes on a rig
and becomes dissolute and a spendthrift he will do almost anything
to retrieve what he calls the misfortune which he has brought upon
himself, and many an old father has found the gray hairs in his head
multiplied because of the waywardness of his boy. Sometimes these
great crimes are committed in that way, but if you expect to find in
this case that a young woman like her was slaughtering her father
when she herself was moral and upright and christian and charitable
and devoted to good things in this world, you will find something that
the books have never recorded, and which will be a greater mystery
than the murder itself. They tell us about the ill-feelings. Well,
gentlemen, I am going to consider that in a very few words, because I
say to you that the government has made a lamentable failure on that
question. They say that is the motive that so qualifies the different
acts that are testified to here that it puts this defendant in close
connection with the murder of Mrs. Borden, and then they say that Mrs.
Borden being murdered, Lizzie murdered Mr. Borden for his property,
or possibly they may say, murdered him to conceal her crime—for that
or some other reason, but it does not rest at all on this foundation
of family relations. Let us see what there was in it. What have they
proved? They have proved that from five or six years ago Lizzie did
not call Mrs. Borden mother. Lizzie is now a woman of thirty-one or
thirty-three years old, thirty-two when these crimes were committed.
Mrs. Borden was her stepmother, and she was not her own mother. It is
true that Mrs. Borden came there when Lizzie was a little child of two
or three years, and sometimes we see that where a stepmother has come
into a large family and has brought up a family the children know no
difference and always call her mother just the same. That is true in
a very large degree, happily so, too: but sometimes when the children
get grown up, and when they are told about their mother that died long
ago, somehow or other there springs up in the mind of the children a
yearning or a longing to know of the parent that they really had; and
how many a man says, in speaking of the family from which he came, “She
is not my mother.”

He calls her mother, perhaps. He introduces her as “my mother,” but
the first words after you engage him in conversation are, “She is not
my mother, she is my stepmother. My mother died long ago. She lies
buried twenty-five years, but still she was my mother.” I suspect that
man never lets into the inner chambers of his heart the feeling that
anybody else in the world can stand where his mother did. You may gloss
it over, you may talk about it as much as you will, but happy is the
man that remembers his mother, that pure mother that lived to see him
grow up, and kind as anybody else may be, there never goes out of his
heart the feeling for that dead one that is gone, that stood first and
foremost to him, and nursed him in his babyhood. It does not require
passion or ill will to hold that feeling, begotten in the heart. Show
me the man that does not stand for the reputation and character of his
mother, for nobody forgets that his own mother was the one he first was
interested in, although he from a prattling child has never known her
to remember her. Now, says Mr. Fleet, in his emphatic police manner,
Miss Lizzie said to him, “She is not my mother; she is my stepmother.”
Perhaps she did. We will assume she said it, but there is nothing
criminal about it, or nothing that indicated it, or nothing savoring
of a murderous purpose, is there? Why, Martha Chagnon, a very good
looking little girl that was here a day or two ago, stepped on the
stand and began to talk about Mrs. Chagnon as her stepmother. Well,
I advise the city marshal to put a cordon around that house so that
there will not be another murder there. Right here in your presence she
spoke of her stepmother. And a good-looking woman came on the stand
afterward, and I believe the blood of neither of them has been spilled
since. Why, Lizzie, who undoubtedly speaks in just that positive way,
when the police asked her about where she was and what she was doing,
spoke positively. There are a good many people living in New England
who would do the same. They know when they are insulted, and are free
in expressing their minds, and sometimes do so too freely and talk
too much, but we never think they are going to murder any one. Now
you have got the whole thing right there in that statement, as they
call it. Now, they say that Mrs. Gifford told us this. It was told on
the stand. Let us have it for all it is worth. She is the cloakmaker,
you remember. I do not discredit her. “Don’t say mother to me. She
is a mean, good-for-nothing thing.” “I said, ‘O.’ She said, ‘I don’t
have much to do with her. I stay in my room most of the time.’ And I
said, ‘You come down to your meals, don’t you?’ and she said ‘Yes, but
we don’t eat with them if we can help it.’” That is the whole of it.
That was a year ago last March. Now, my learned friend who opened the
case said that Mrs. Gifford would say that she hated her. My friend,
the district attorney, who makes the argument, will take out that,
will admit she did not say any such thing. You heard her story on
the stand, and that was not so. Now I agree with you that Lizzie A.
Borden is not a saint, and, saving your presence, I have some doubts
whether all of you are saints; that is to say, whether you really
never speak hurriedly or impatiently. I hope that is so for the peace
of our families, but I do know good-looking men, just as good-looking
as you, if you will allow me to say it, that speak sometimes in their
households a little hastily and quickly, and sometimes the daughters,
too, and sometimes their fathers and mothers do. It is to be regretted
that they do, but they will. Yet you don’t read of murders in those
houses. There is nothing to indicate any deep-seated feeling. You will
hear people speak to each other on the street in such a way that if
you thought it really amounted to anything it would shock you. Now, is
there anything bad about this case, where a woman like this defendant
speaks openly and frankly, and says right out, “She is not my mother:
she is my stepmother.” She spoke so about the man who was called a
Portuguese. What did she say? “He is not a Portuguese. He is a Swede,”
in just the same tone of voice. That is her way of speaking, you will
find on this testimony, and she speaks right out. Now these people
are not the ones who do the harm in this world. The ones who do harm
are like the dog that does not make any noises about it. The dog that
comes round your heels and barks is not the one that bites. It is the
one that stays inside and looks serious, you will find. So it is with
individuals. It is not the outspoken, blunt and hearty that do the
injury. But now I do not want to trouble myself about that.

Bridget Sullivan, who lived in the family two years and nine months,
who was nearer to all of them than anybody else, tells you the
condition of the household. She says, though brought in constant
contact with them, she never heard anything out of the way. There was
no quarreling. Everything seemed cordial among them. The girls did not
always go to the table. They were often out late, and I suppose they
did not get down to breakfast as early as the old folks. The longer
ago you were born the earlier you will probably rise now. If you
were born seventy years ago, you will probably be up in the morning
at 4 o’clock, and be disposed to find fault with the Creator that it
cannot be summer all the time with more light and longer days. But the
girls did not come until they wanted to. They had a right to do that.
Bridget says she never heard a word of complaint. And mark you, that
Thursday morning on which they tell you that Lizzie was entertaining
that purpose or plan to murder both those people—that is, their
theory is what they will undertake to satisfy you of—that Lizzie was
talking to Mrs. Borden. Bridget Sullivan says: “I heard them talking
together calmly, without the least trouble, everything all right.”
Mr. Borden talks about the meal, and the conversation goes on in the
usual way without the slightest indication of any ill-feeling. That is
the way my people do at home. That is the way your family greets you
in ordinary conversation. They are waiting for you to come back just
now, and they will meet you in the same way I know, and there will
be no suspicion about it. O, they say, just look at her, wretch and
fiend and villain that she was, she could put all this on when she had
terrors unimaginable in her heart and purposes that no language could
describe. Well, gentlemen, you have to judge of people according to the
ordinary things. There being no proof of such purposes on her part,
you will not justify yourselves in ascribing them to her. You will
remember that Mrs. Raymond, the dressmaker, a lady to all appearances,
came and testified of their being together a few months before, four of
them being dressmaking, sitting in the guest chamber sewing, a regular
dressmaking party. Philip Harrington ought to have been there and had
the whole style developed to him, to learn more than he knows, if it is
possible to put anything into his head on the subject. There they are.
Was that an angry family? Was that a murderous group? You take another
thing. You have them there, as Bridget says, and there is no evidence
to the contrary; they have told you the whole thing; when Emma Borden
comes on the stand to tell the inside condition of the family they
will say to you that Miss Emma Borden, the sister who was away from
home on a visit at this time, against whom they have not the slightest
suspicion, but they will say that her sisterly affection carries her
along to swing her from the truth. You’ll judge of her. I will not
apologize for her. She has a right to be where her sister is. It is
creditable that she does stand by her and it will take a long time for
a man in his heart to say she is untruthful for telling what she does

She went on to say that they had trouble five or six years ago in
regard to property and there was no resentment so far as Lizzie was
concerned; it was all adjusted. When we get the open and unrestrained
testimony of Miss Emma we are told there was trouble. The father had
put in Mrs. Borden’s hands a piece of property, and she says: “we did
not feel satisfied, and we told him so, and then came the word to
us through another person, ‘your father is all ready to give you a
property for yourselves to make it even if you will only ask for it.’”
They asked for it and got it. And Emma says she never felt right about
it afterward. She says up to the day of the death of Mrs. Borden she
had not overlooked it, but she says as to Lizzie there never was any
trouble about it—never was after that time. There is a difference
between the two girls. One blurts out exactly as she feels, the other
bears what she is called upon to endure in silence. You will find the
same separate and distinct dispositions often in the same family. From
that time, five years, more than half of it covered by the residence
of Bridget Sullivan, there is no word of any trouble or indication of
anything except this remark made by Mrs. Gifford. If you take it all,
what is there in it that signifies anything, enough to find the motive
for these dastardly crimes?

But there is another thing: Here was an old man with two daughters,
an elderly one and a younger one. They had gone on together. He was a
man that wore nothing in the way of ornament or jewelry but one ring,
and that ring was Lizzie’s. It had been put on many years ago when
Lizzie was a little girl, and the old man wore it and it lies buried
with him in the cemetery. He liked Lizzie, did he not? He loved her as
his child. And the ring that stands as the pledge of plighted faith
and love, that typifies the dearest relationship that is ever created
in life, that ring was the bond of union between the father and the
daughter. No man should be heard to say that she murdered the man that
so loved her. The old-fashioned man lived in a simple way, did not care
anything about the frivolities of life, was not attractive, perhaps, to
some of the younger and go-ahead people, but was one who lived in his
own way, had worked himself up to what would be called a fortune, had
taken care of it, was then superintending its use and the income, and
for all that on his little finger was that ring which belonged to his
little girl. You may tell me, if you want, that the relation between
that parent and child was such that alienation was complete, and wrong
was the purpose of her heart, but you will not ask me to believe it.
Mind you that on this question of the relations of these people there
is not a word that comes from Mr. Morse of any ill-feeling, or from
Miss Russell or any other living person, and so I think you will agree
with me that there is not anything whatever in this assumption that the
feelings were such that the defendant could have had guilty intent and
worked out this guilty act. I pass. The learned district attorney, in
his opening, said that there was an impassable wall built up through
that house. But the moment we got at the wall, down it went, doors flew
open and instead of showing a line in the house shut in and hedged
in by locks, we find that Mr. Borden’s room was doubly and trebly
locked, Bridget’s room was locked and Mrs. Borden’s door was locked,
and you find Miss Lizzie’s room locked, as well as Emma’s, the guest
chamber is locked, the parlor and sitting room—I don’t know but what
everything, and that was all because there had been a burglary in the
house and barn, and Mr. Borden, old-fashioned, in that he was, thought
they wanted to lock the house pretty securely. He kept a safe in that
back room which kept valuables. This was locked day and night, and not
a little care was given to the fastening of the doors and all parts
of the house. But you see the impassable wall was not as against the
two girls, but was simply a matter of protection to keep people out.
If it was an impassable wall, and not to keep people out, why did they
have a lock on the door to the back stairs, and why did they lock up
the attics? They say she rushed in from the outside and discovered the
homicide. There is no proof of that. In another place they say she
did not go out of the house. They claim in one breath that she did
not go to the barn and then say that she ran in and discovered the
homicide. Rushed in from where, if she did not go out? But if after she
discovered it, she passed in and saw the horrid sight, the testimony
shows that she retreated to the side room, and got as far from it as
she could. She undoubtedly dreaded an attack from the murderer who
had killed her father, and she stood at the closed screen door with
the open wood door behind it and shouted to Bridget. Bridget was the
quickest to respond. She could not go to the front part of the house
without passing the horrible sight, her dead father. Where could she
go? Where would you go under the circumstances? She called for Bridget
to run and get some one as quickly as she could. If she had murdered
those two people do you think she would have called for Bridget as
quick as that? Wouldn’t she have gone down the street or done something
of that kind where she would not have been in such close proximity to
the scene of this tragedy? But she went and shouted for Bridget and
asked her to come down, all in the trepidation and alarm, to find Mr.
Borden killed. You cannot faint away, you cannot look pale when you try
to, and so when Bridget had gone this woman stood pale and trembling
by that open door on that August morning. Looking over she saw Mrs.
Churchill; Mrs. Churchill, too, saw her, and noticed the distress she
was in, and as she stood by the closed window where she could not speak
to her she hurried at once to the open window and called out, “O,
Lizzie, what is the matter?”

Have you any patience with any man who will tell you that Lizzie stood
at that door that morning like a marble statue, without any feeling? I
have told you about Mrs. Borden. All those three people were sick in
the house on Tuesday, including Lizzie. It was in August weather, and
whether they had eaten something or the weather had caused it, we do
not know, but the government seems to be floundering around with the
idea that because Bridget was not sick, they had been poisoned. There
was talk about poison, and poison was feared in the family, because all
had been made sick. Then they say for some reason, I do not know what,
that Miss Lizzie went downstairs in the cellar that Thursday night.
There had been people there examining the rooms and looking over the
bodies, and there was water in the pitcher up in her room, and people
had been washing there during the day, that Mrs. Holmes said, “If I
should stay there all night I should want the slop-pail emptied.”

But that house was surrounded by policemen, and Officer Hyde was there,
and Miss Lizzie had a full-grown kerosene lamp in her hand and the
windows were all open with ample opportunity for observers outside to
see in and those within the house knew that policemen were all around
so that there was nothing concealed. Now, a person who is going to do
anything to cover up crime will not carry an electric light with him.
The criminal goes into the dark to do his dark deed. Miss Lizzie did
not see anybody, though they say Officer Ferguson was in front, but he
is not brought forward, and if he were he could not see through two
high board partitions. That would tax the energy and perspicacity of
even a Fall River policeman. Then they say she burned a dress. Well,
the general thought in the mind of everybody is that if a person burns
up anything in connection with some important transaction, he does it
to get it out of the way for the purpose of avoiding observation. That
is natural. The government stakes its case on that dress.

The government says: “You gave us up the blue dress that lies before
me. That is not the dress. You practically commit a falsehood by giving
us that.” The defendant says that this is the dress. The government
says we want that bedford cord, and if we had that bedford cord we
should know all about it, and you burned the bedford cord. Now, let us
look at it. There is a dispute here, a disagreement, not intentional,
but unavoidable, among the persons who saw what Lizzie had on that
morning, some of them saying that she had on this very dress, or a dark
blue dress and another, and Mrs. Churchill speaking of it as a light
blue coming almost up to a bay blue, or something a good deal lighter
than this.

Now between the two there is a difference of recollection; just as good
people on one side say it was a dark blue as those on the other who
say it was a light blue. But you will remember that at that time there
were several ladies and Bridget was there with a lighter-colored dress,
and that those who speak of a lighter-colored dress may have had in
mind what Bridget had on. It was not a time for examining colors, and
afterward they recollected as well as they could. They are good, honest
people, but some of them are mistaken, and of course are not wilfully
stating what they do not believe to be the fact. So that there is a
conflict of testimony about that. That dark blue dress lying here is
given as the one that Lizzie had on. They say, “You had a light blue
dress on.” We say it is not so, but we say to you when we produced the
dark blue dress you took it and put into the hands of Dr. Dolan, the
medical examiner, and you went away with it and used it in framing
your indictment, and now you find through Prof. Wood, a man who knows
something, instructing Dr. Dolan, that there is not and never was any
blood on it.

[Illustration: CHIEF JUSTICE MASON.]

Then the government does not want that dress, but another. They want
the bedford cord. We will talk about it, then. Let us look at it.
Suppose they had this bedford cord. Lizzie had it on this morning,
you say. This is the present theory. The government said she had it
on up to 12 o’clock, so that she did not change to the pink wrapper
until that time. The witnesses all say and every single person who has
testified that while she was there and about with them, including Mrs.
Churchill, Bridget and Dr. Bowen, Mrs. Bowen and others, there was not
a particular spot of blood on it. They say there was no blood on her
hands, her face or hair. I am talking now of the dress principally.
Now recollect that she had that on. Policemen were coming in all about
there. She was lying on the lounge. They tell you that that dress
was covered or had blood spots on it and not a living person saw or
suggested it. Suppose she did burn it up—the time that had elapsed
for observation would be long enough. They had all had it to look at
at that time. They had all seen her and every one says there was not
a spot of blood on it. So you see you start with a dress that every
one of the witnesses they produced says did not have blood upon it.
Now, you have removed from that all idea that that dress was burned
with a wrongful intent, because all the witnesses say it was perfectly
clear of blood. Now, what more? That dress was in that closet. You,
gentlemen, saw it over the front door, and there it remained. In that
closet were eighteen or twenty dresses, and the government witnesses
claimed that they did not see any such dress, notwithstanding that
Miss Lizzie had eight blue dresses of different shades in that hall
closet. They examined and did not see any that had a particle of blood
upon them, and so the pretense of the government is that the dress was
not in there, but Miss Emma says that when she came home on Thursday
night she went to the closet room to put away her clothes and that on
Saturday night she was there again and that dress was hanging on the
second row of the nails that were driven into the edge of the shelf.
She says she discovered that old dress hanging there that had been
covered with paint ever since May, and by covered with paint I mean
stained and daubed with it. She spoke to Lizzie about it, saying, “Why
don’t you get rid of that thing. I can’t find a place to hang my dress
on?” It had been in there, and on Saturday night they ransacked this
place and found the dress which they supposed had blood upon it. They
carried it to Dr. Dolan, who made the discovery, certain to their mind,
that would convict this woman, and so they did not want anything else.
They went through the form of looking over everything else, but had got
the damning evidence here; but when Dr. Dolan conversed with a man who
knew something, they were told it was not blood at all, and then they
said: “Get another dress.”

Now, is it true? Was there grease or paint on it? We have brought you
the painter here that painted that house a week earlier in May, and we
have brought a dressmaker who made the dress, and the painter has told
us that Lizzie did the superintending of the painting, and got up at 6
o’clock in the morning to see that the paint was of the proper color,
and says that she tried it upon the side of the house. You have heard
Mr. Grouard, who testified that that dress had got soiled, and said
that it was not fit to wear. And then it was not worn of any account
except on the days when she had dirty work to do, and Emma knew about
it, Mrs. Raymond knew about it, and it is the indisputable fact that
it was besmeared with paint and it was not fit for anything else. Why,
we are talking about a dress that did not cost but twelve-and-a-half
or fifteen cents a yard and took eight or nine yards to make it,
and did not cost altogether when it was commenced probably over two
dollars, and was not good for anything after they got it done, because
the material was so poor, wearing out and fading out. And then it got
dirty, got paint on it, and what more did they want of it? As Emma
said, “Put it out of the way. Why do you keep the old thing?” This
morning, you remember, was after the police had searched everything
in the house so completely that there was nothing more to be found
unless they took the paper off the walls and the carpets off floors,
and we will take their word for it. Unless that, there was nothing
more to be seen and nothing more to be found, and they had all they
wanted, and had got her clothes and her stockings, and even an unmade
dress pattern, and wanted to see if that had not been made up into
some sort of a mantle to wrap her up in. They had got the whole thing,
and had looked over everything, and had taken all they could find and
all they wanted, and notified them they had all got through. Then, in
obedience to Emma’s injunction, Lizzie walks down into the kitchen
with it that Sunday morning, the windows all open, no blinds shut,
policemen in the yard looking right in at everything, that was going
on, and deliberately and in the presence of Emma—Emma saying to her
“Well, I think you had better do it”—put it into the fire and burned
it up. Had not she time enough Thursday morning down to that time to
burn it up without anybody knowing it, if it was covered with blood?
Had not she time enough to get it out of the way, and if she had that
purpose to cover up this crime, if she had committed it, would she have
burned it in the presence of her sister and Miss Russell and said she
was going to do it? That is not humanly probable. Now, you have got the
whole thing about the dress. There is no concealment about it. And when
Miss Russell, in her trepidation, and having been advised by somebody
about it, came to her and said: “I think you have done the worst thing
you could in burning that dress,” Lizzie spoke up in her prompt and
honest way, saying, “O, why did you let me do it, then?” reproaching
them for not advising her against it. And, truthful as they are, when
they knew Miss Russell had been questioned about the matter, they said
tell all you know about it. And Miss Russell walks to the man Hanscom
and says she has come to tell him because they said go and tell about
it. Lizzie said: “Go and tell all about it.” It does not hurt people,
sometimes, to tell the truth, to tell all about it. But, gentlemen,
hang upon that one blue dress. They have it in the testimony now; they
know all about it. Their own witnesses that they bring do not help them
at all in this theory. But I ask them this: If Lizzie Borden killed her
mother at 9:45 o’clock that morning and then was ready to come down
stairs and greet her father and meet him, having on the blue dress, do
you think that is probable, besmeared and bedaubed as she would have
been with the blood of the first victim, standing astride and chopping
her head into pieces by these numerous blows, blood flying all over the
walls and furniture, on the bed and everywhere, and she wasn’t touched
at all with blood? Then, of course, they are going to say: “O, but she
changed her dress, and then, when she killed her father she either had
that back again or put on another.” Did she have it back again? Then
she had to put that on over her clothes again, and over her person,
exposing herself to have her underclothing soiled in that way, a thing
not probable in any way. And then, if she put on another dress, then
there were two dresses to burn instead of one. The government only
wants one; they have all the rest. Think of it. She walked right into
that sea of blood, and stood there, slashing it over herself in the
first murder; then went and took off that dress and laid it away until
her father came in, and then dressed herself for the second slaughter.
Then they say that she murdered these two people because Mrs. Reagan,
I forbear almost to mention her name, came up here and told you that
those sisters had a quarrel, and that Lizzie said to Emma, “You have
given me away.” Gentlemen, if there is anybody given away in this case,
it is Mrs. Hannah Reagan.

We have got right over among the reporters for the solid truth, now,
and we have got John R. Caldwell and Thomas F. Hickey, and John J.
Manning. They came from different papers and different cities, and
these gentlemen tell you they went to Mrs. Reagan and she said there
was not a word of truth in it, and while Mr. Caldwell was trying
to find out the facts from Marshal Hilliard, that official, in the
abundance of his politeness, told him to get out. My learned friend
asked Hickey if it was not a “scoop” between the _Boston Globe_ and the
_Boston Herald_.

And they say that possibly she contradicted herself on some little
things, and you noticed the humor there was about it when Philip
Harrington said, “I advised her not to submit to another interview
that day.” I thank him. But in walked the rest of the score, and they
proceeded to interview, not asking Harrington’s leave, and Harrington
himself went there that night again to try his search over with her.
That is the way they dealt with her. Now, gentlemen, there is not
one of them that, interpreted in the light of the common every-day
transactions in the household, is entitled to your credit. And if
not, then you cannot group them so as to make them strong or of any
influence. She did not try to get Bridget out of the house. If she had
undertaken to do these deeds, think you not that she would not have
sent Bridget down street to buy something, to go for the marketing, to
go to the store, one thing and another? Or send her on some errand, and
then have had time undisturbed. You know that she would. But instead
of that, everything goes on as usual, and Bridget was about the work.
Lizzie happens to walk out to the door, and Bridget says to her, “You
need not lock the door, I will be around here.” Bridget knew what the
habit of that house was, and so she said, “You need not lock that door,
I will be around here.” So Lizzie did not lock it. Lizzie called her
attention later after she got the work done, and that they say, after
Mrs. Borden was killed, she called her attention to locking the doors
if she went out, because she herself might go out. And she spoke to her
about the cheap sale at Sargent’s, and there is no doubt about that
being true, because they could readily find out in Fall River whether
there was any cheap sale at Sargent’s at that time. Now, these are the
grounds on which the government will claim or has claimed, and I don’t
know what other theories they have claimed, the guilt of the prisoner.

Who did it, and what did it? You see last year they had the theory
about these other things, and if they could have tried the case at
that time they would have sought to convict this woman on those first
four. They now do not dare to say that they would ask to convict her
even upon these. They say it may have been. Is the government, trying a
case of may-have-beens? Will the judges tell you, as they charge you,
that you can convict this defendant upon a theory that it may have
been. I think not. Never. And, if they cannot tell you that that is
the implement that committed the crimes, where is it. Fall River seems
to be prolific of hatchets. Perhaps if we wait awhile there will be
another one born. Possibly the district attorney, or the officers over
there—not the district attorney, for I don’t think he has anything to
do with it, to do justice to him, or possibly some officer, will find
some other hatchet and want to bring it in. Well, we are thankful,
gentlemen, that this woman was not tried last August or September,
because then, if she had gone to trial on the things that are now
declared to be innocent, and they had convicted her with the cow’s hair
and the appearances of blood, she possibly would now have been beyond
their recall, although they had actually put her to death wrongfully.
So much for the theory of experts. And now we are asked at this time to
take up another one that they do not vouch for and that they did not
dare to stand on, and we are asked to submit this defendant to that
incriminating evidence which they say they are not sure about or may
have been, and they want to convict her now on things they do not know
anything about and do not claim to know anything about, and put it out
of their power, six months hence, to tell them if she knows anything
about somebody else committing these murders. They have had her for ten
months in close control. It has been irksome and wearisome and wearing.
Bad as the government would represent her home to be, and falsely so;
bad as they would picture it, it is a paradise compared with a jail,
and they have transferred her, such is the process of the law, from her
home into the custody of the State. And they thought that Tuesday’s
sickness and Wednesday morning’s sickness was caused by some irritant
poison. But Mr. Wood said: “No, everything is all right; no blood,
no poison, nothing whatever.” He has practically said to these men:
“Hold on, you are going too far; you cannot go this way.” Now failing
in that, as I argue to you, they have unmistakably, they proceed upon
the theory, who did it? Now we are not obliged to resort to that, as
I told you at the outset. The question is, is this defendant a guilty
person, and that is all. But they say, and they said they would prove
to you, that there is exclusive opportunity. Well, gentlemen, I meet
it right squarely. I say that if they can lock into that house Bridget
and Lizzie alone and without having any other way for any other person
to get in, and no other person does get in, and two persons are found
dead, I am ready to say that Mr. Borden did not kill his wife in that
way and then afterward kill himself. I am sure about that. But the
exclusive opportunity is nothing but an anticipation that was not
realized, as I think we have shown you.

They said nobody else could have done it. Emma was gone. Morse was
gone. There is no doubt about that. Bridget was out doors, they said,
and later in her room. They said that the defendant was really shut
up in the house with the two victims and that everybody else was
actually and absolutely shut out. Now I think you and I will agree
about the evidence. The cellar door was undoubtedly locked; I mean
the one outside. I have no doubt of that. The front door in the usual
course, so says the evidence, was bolted up by Lizzie Wednesday night
and unbolted by her Thursday morning. Now they assume she bolted it
Wednesday night, but they are not going to assume, I suppose, that in
the usual course she unbolted it Thursday morning, but I do, because
that is the evidence, leaving only the spring lock on when she unbolted
it. They say you do not know that. Well, I say, you do not know it, and
you have got the burden of proof, not I. It was fastened by the bolt
when Bridget let Mr. Borden in, that is true—the bolt and the key.

The side screen door, gentlemen, was unfastened from about 9 o’clock
to 10:45 or 11. That is when Bridget was washing windows and about the
house and around the premises in the way she said she was. Now, if that
door wasn’t locked, gentlemen, Lizzie wasn’t locked in and everybody
else wasn’t locked out. Was it so, the screen door unfastened? You
know Bridget said to Lizzie, “You needn’t lock the door, I am going to
be around here.” There is no doubt about it. Bridget says she didn’t
lock it. Then there was a perfect entrance to that house by that rear
screen door, wasn’t there? And when the person got in all he had to
do was to avoid meeting Bridget and Lizzie. Bridget was outdoors,
she wasn’t in the way, and therefore there was but one person in the
house so far as appears, one person below, against whom the intruder
could run. Now, look at it. Bridget was outside talking with the Kelly
girl, over there on the south side, away off at the corner. She said
plainly and decidedly there was nothing to hinder anybody going right
in. Mr. Borden had gone down street and there was nobody there on the
outside but Bridget, and she was everywhere on the outside. She washed
the parlor windows. You know how those are. She couldn’t see the side
door when she was there. She went to the barn seven or eight times for
water, she says: it may have been more. She was at the dining room
windows on the north side of the house; and she said that when she was
there she couldn’t even see into the dining room, because the windows
are so high that unless a person stood up close to the window they
couldn’t see in.

Now, see the significance of that. The government will be going to
claim that she stood there and she could have seen way across into the
sitting room. But she could not. She was washing the windows with a
pole and brush, she wasn’t up on the steps on the outside. And then
Lizzie was about the house as usual. She was in the house and about the
house. Doing just the same as any decent woman does, attending to her
work. Ironing handkerchiefs, going up and down stairs, going down to
the cellar, to the closet. You say these things are not all proved? No,
but I am taking you into the house just as I would go into the house,
for instance, and say, what are your wives doing now? Well, doing the
ordinary work around the house, getting dinner. Well, where do they go?
Undoubtedly they are going down stairs for potatoes, going out into
the kitchen, to the sink room, here and there. You can see the whole
thing. It is photographed in your mind. It is just the same there. She
was ironing, she was in the dining room. Bridget says she don’t know
but she had the dining room door shut to keep the heat out, and she
would have occasion to go down cellar for reasons stated. Might she
have gone into the parlor for anything? There was a clock there. There
are various things you might think about. Now, suppose the assassin
came there, and I have shown you he could without question, the house
was all open on the north side, and suppose he came there and passed
through. Suppose Lizzie was upstairs, suppose she were downstairs in
the cellar. He passed through. Where could he go? Plenty of places.
He could go upstairs into the spare room, right up the front stairs,
and go in there; he could go into that hall closet where you opened
it and looked in, and where two men can go in and stand; he could go
into the sitting room closet; he could go into the pantry there in the
kitchen; you saw that. He could go into various places. He could go
into just such places in that house as all these thieves run into if
they can find a door open. So it was easy enough for a man to do that.
It was easy enough for him to go up into that bed chamber and secrete
himself. Now, what is going to be done? He is there for the murder; not
to murder Mrs. Borden, but to murder Mr. Borden. And he is confronted
and surprised by the former. And he knows—possibly he is somebody that
she knew—you do not know, she cannot tell us—somebody that would be
recognized and identified, and he must strike her down; and his purpose
to kill Mr. Borden would not stop at the intervention of another
person, and Lizzie and Bridget and Mrs. Borden, any or all of them,
would be slaughtered if they came in that fellow’s way.

Now, at that time in the morning, with the opportunity to go in there
and go up into all the house, and when he went in there and had
murdered Mrs. Borden in that front chamber, Lizzie could pass up and
down stairs, and could go to her room, and know nothing about it, see
nothing about it, because of course he did not have the door open and
disclose himself. She could pass up and down stairs. There is no
trouble about that, closed door or open door. And when he had done
his work, and Mr. Borden had come in, as he could hear him, he made
ready then to come down at the first opportunity, and when he came
down he would very naturally leave the door open, and so they found
it afterward, the door, I mean, to the spare chamber. He could come
down, and he was right at the scene ready. Bridget was outdoors, Lizzie
outdoors, on all the evidence, which you certainly believe. And then he
could do his work quickly and securely, and pass out the same door, if
you please, that he came in at, the side door. Now, that is not all. It
is well enough to see that a person could come in at the front door.
The bolt slid back in the morning, the latch locked, a man can open
that door, they all say, by giving it a pressure and trying to come in.
And when he gets in what does he do? He doesn’t want to be surprised.
He locks the door himself, he takes care of himself, and then when Mr.
Borden comes it is slid back by Bridget and left in that way. It is
easy to see all these things. You can see then how everything in this
idea of exclusive opportunity falls to the ground, because there was no
exclusive opportunity.

Now, it is not for us to maintain a theory. It is for the government
to prove theirs. You may adopt a theory just as well as I. You may
find other theories, as I have no doubt you will as you look at this
evidence. You will see other ways in which persons could enter that
house by which the exclusive opportunity theory is overturned. It
is not a matter for you to sit down in the jury room and criticise
the theory that I have advanced to you, because you are going to sit
down in the jury room and criticise the theory that the government
advances, and you will see that it is vulnerable, and when you see
that a person can take one of those theories as well as another, you
will hear from the court that you cannot convict upon such evidence,
because all the essential facts must be in harmony with this charge
against the prisoner, and must not be in harmony with any other theory
or any other reasonable explanation. Now, there are two or three things
which in the hurry of speaking this morning—perhaps you thought I
had not hurried, but speaking rapidly, they were inadvertently passed
by—little things, but I want to speak of them before I pass on. Miss
Lizzie was ironing downstairs, and there cannot be any question about
that. Bridget says so and you recollect the testimony of Miss Russell
and Mrs. Holmes, that that morning when they were clearing up they
found the handkerchiefs that she had ironed in part, and the sprinkled
ones were carried upstairs and put away separately by themselves, a
dozen or more. You see that it is genuine; it is not a fiction. It is
really one of those little things that help to establish the truth. I
must also in this connection speak of Mr. Medley’s testimony, because
the commonwealth relied upon Mr. Medley to make the examination, as
he said, of the dust in the barn, to show you that Miss Lizzie could
not have walked on the upper floor. Now, if you could be sure of that
there would be some test in it. If you did not see a track through
freshly fallen snow you would say no person had passed there. It would
be a little more doubtful about walking on a floor, but when you find
a detective looking after this thing, you begin to suspect that he may
be in error, and when you find as you do by the testimony, a half a
dozen or more people up there in that barn walking around before Mr.
Medley got there at all, as it was proved upon the testimony there had
been when he got there, and when he met Mr. Fleet and where he met him,
between the gateway and the back steps, and then went directly into the
house, Sawyer being at the door, you see how unreliable his testimony
is. Well, then, you have the testimony of Mr. Clarkson and you have
that of Mr. Manning and Mr. Stevens and the two boys that called
themselves “Me and Brown,” Barlowe and Brown. Now, those boys, like
all boys, just the same as you and I when we were boys, wanted to go
upstairs, to look at things about there and stay as long as they could,
and it appears they went there and were out in that barn before Mr.
Medley came there. He went into the house and talked with Miss Lizzie
and was some minutes in the house before he went to the barn. So when
he got there there had been people all about there, and those people
give their testimony in such a way as to carry the conviction of truth
in their statement, so that you find them up there and walking around
in the very place where Mr. Medley went to look, and it shows you that
Mr. Medley must have been in error. His detection was not so sure as
he thought. He was mistaken about it, consequently while he may have
honestly meant what he said, I do not call that in question for the
time being, but I want to say that that is not anything which you can
depend upon under these circumstances, and when you find him confronted
with three or four other witnesses, John Donnelly and the boys and
Clarkson, there can be no question that Mr. Medley is mistaken, so that
we have in addition to the positive proof that Miss Lizzie went to the
barn, to which I called your attention this morning, the affirmation of
these other witnesses that they were there, and Mr. Medley finds nobody
to support him.

Why, do you not all think with me of what a blessed Providence it was
that interfered with that girl, so that as she walked about that house,
passing from the sitting room into the dining room and hall, she did
not step on some of the blood and have it on her shoes? Anybody else,
according to the theory of the government, could have stepped on that
blood and have bloody shoes, but if Lizzie had walked there just the
same as any other person innocently, and there had been so much as a
pin head stain upon one of her shoes, it would have led her to the
severest penalty on their theory. See within what close limitation we
walk in commonest things and see how close we come to precipitate of
danger when we find any part in the wrong. Why, upon the theory of the
government—no, it isn’t the theory of the government, for I really
do not know what it is, but the handleless hatchet down there in the
box, the theory being for the time, if it is a theory and is indulged,
that she ran down and put that through a course of washing, scraping
with ashes, etc., and threw it up in the box after breaking the handle
off, as claimed, and then got rid of the handle; they say that they
found it there, and put it right up into the box to which she directed
Bridget to go with the officers and find the hatchets and axes. Why
gentlemen, she is not a lunatic or an idiot. She is a great colossal
contriver of wrong and murder, shrewd, discriminating, far-seeing, with
premeditated malice aforethought, and planned all this thing. Well, she
did not plan so foolishly as that. She would not send officers to find
the very thing and in the very place where she had put it. She burned
no clothing that day. She put none away. They tell us nothing about
that with all the vigilance of their searches, and you know that the
officers say that when they went there first, and looked in that box
down cellar, they took out the two smaller hatchets that were on top.
Now, whatever the theory, or any theory of the government in regard to
that hatchet, you have got to assume she was down there and washed it
up and got it all clean beyond what science can do, and got the blood
out of it, and then broke off the handle, and went herself and took out
the other two hatchets so as to get this old one underneath, and then
she had it all covered with ashes, too. And when they found it that
Thursday afternoon it was all dry and covered with dust like the other.
They undertake to tell you it was coarser dust. Just see into what a
labyrinth of impossibilities and improbabilities they try to lead this
woman. Then she had to run upstairs, run up to her own room and make
a change, run down cellar and take care of herself, and take care of
the hatchets, upon their theory, run back again and get up there and
call Bridget—all in that short space of time. I said it was morally
and physically impossible. You may find her not guilty, if that be your
judgment, for two reasons. One because you know that it has not been
proven. And the court will tell you that if, when you reach that point
in your decision, you are not satisfied and convinced as reasonable
men, beyond a reasonable doubt, no matter what your suspicions may be
and what you may think about it otherwise, you have but one duty to
perform and one that is safe to you to render in this case.

You may have heretofore thought things looked dark for her. You
may have said, “If they can come into the court and show all the
things I have seen in the newspapers, gossip and rumor and report,
I might feel that I ought to, but now that I find the government’s
case only the thing that it is, insufficient, weak, contradictory,
critical, lame, why, I have nothing else to do in my conscience but
to say to Massachusetts, we have this woman in charge, you have not
proved it against her, we still keep charge of her, and we say to
you, you have not proven this against her and she is not guilty.”
But there is another ground. If, when you see through this evidence,
you are satisfied again, convinced—which is more—you are convinced
affirmatively that the woman is innocent, that you are entitled to
say, “Not guilty,” and you are bound so to speak. It is rare that the
defendant goes so far as to prove her innocence. It is not a task that
is set before her. But I dare to speak to you upon that branch in this
case with full confidence. Look at it for a period. Take the facts
as they are, and I would not misrepresent or belittle any of them. I
have not knowingly omitted any of them, for a purpose of benefit to
the defendant. Take them as they are. What is there to prove to you
absolutely, as sensible men, the innocence of this defendant? You go
and search some other man’s house and let me alone. Search somebody
else, I think he had some trouble with my father: that would be the
policy of such a defendant. What was her conduct? Uniformly, openly
frank every time, shutting all the doors against any person that might
be put under this foul suspicion. Why, you say, shutting them against
herself. Yes, it was the impulse, the outcome of an honest woman. Were
she a villain and a rascal, she would have done as villains and rascals
do. There was her uncle, John Morse, suspected as you heard, followed
up, inquired about, and she is asked and she said, no, he did not do
it. He went away from the house this morning at nine o’clock. Some
one said Bridget did it. Now there were but two persons around that
house as we now find out, so far as we can locate anybody, and the
busy finger was pointed at Bridget Sullivan—Bridget Sullivan, only an
Irish girl, working in the family, working for her weekly pay, been
faithful to them, been there two years and nine months, lived happily
and peacefully with them and they have had no trouble, and Lizzie spoke
out right determinedly, as you know, and promptly: Why, Bridget did not
do it. Then somebody said: Why, the Portuguese on the farm. No, says
Lizzie, he is not a Portuguese; he is a Swede, and my father has not
any men that ever worked for him that would do that to him. Not Alfred
Johnson that worked for them, not Mr. Eddy, another farmer that worked
for them, no assistant—I cannot believe it of any of them.

How do you account for that except in one way? She was virtually, if
she was a criminal, virtually putting everybody away from suspicion and
leaving herself to stand as the only one to whom all would turn their
eyes. Suppose she had been wicked and designing and Bridget as innocent
as Bridget is to-day. Suppose Lizzie had undertaken to tell something
that would involve Bridget, would it not have been easy? And it might
have been. Then if she had led the way in treachery and repeated crime
Lizzie might have led Bridget right into the toils in which she herself
became involved to the relief of Bridget by her statement that Bridget
is not to be suspected. It is not every human being who can stand that
strain. It is not every man that has strength of purpose and purity of

Did she ever stand in the way, or her sister likewise? Go, search
everything, we will come and help you open everything. We will join
you; find out all you can. Do all you want to here. Never a sign of
reluctance. Never an intimation of objection is the unanimous testimony
of everybody that went there. They say she was cool. Thank the Lord
there was enough left of her so that she could be cool under the
visitations of gentlemen who flocked there by the score. Her clothes,
her dress, her unmade dress, her shoes, her stockings, everything,
her absolute freedom from the marks of the crime, her readiness to do
anything that was wanted, and then that scene of Saturday night which
transcends all in exhibition of innocence. There has been that woman
shut up in that house, the premises crowded by the police. She was
virtually under arrest. She could almost feel the pressure of a hand
upon her arm, and in that house on that Saturday night were the mayor
and city marshal of Fall River, and in the parlor they called her, her
sister and uncle together, and then they began that advising them—now
notice how it was done, for this is an essential part of their case,
they advised them that the family had better remain in the house.

Miss Lizzie says, why? Well, the mayor says, Mr. Morse, perhaps, can
tell you. It was something that occurred down street last night, and
then comes the question that from there Morse went down street and had
some trouble. Now, that seemed to indicate that Mr. Morse was probably
under suspicion, and Lizzie spoke at once as they spoke of putting
officers around the house and said, “Why, is there anybody in this
house suspected?” and the mayor says, “I regret to say, Miss Borden,
that you are suspected.” Then she says, “I am ready to go now, or at
any time.”

Gentlemen, murderers do not talk that way. Criminals are not so
situated as to have committed this great and monstrous wrong and then
have had that superb quietness of spirit and that confident feeling
that wrong had been done her in the charge that is made, and the
assurance within herself that, God knowing it, she is free and pure.
Gentlemen, as you look upon her you will pass your judgment that she
is not insane. To find her guilty you must believe she is a fiend.
Does she look it? As she sat here these long, weary days and moved in
and out before you have you seen anything that shows the lack of human
feeling and womanly bearing. A word more. There must be no mistake,
gentlemen. That would be irreparable. There can be but one mistake
which nobody can ever right, and for which there can never be any
atonement to her. If you make a mistake as against the commonwealth
that is something which the future may correct, but if you go wrong
as to this woman now, and go to the length of saying that she is
guilty, and you have done it upon insufficient grounds and the improper
findings, the case and the woman have gone beyond your control, and, so
far as you can know, beyond the power of man. To condemn her as guilty
of the diabolical crimes that have been described to you, when there
remains any reasonable doubt in the minds of any one of you of the true
verdict, would be so deplorable an evil that the tongue can never speak
its wickedness. We say, the crier utters it, God save the commonwealth
of Massachusetts, and the prayer is heard in the prosperity of the old
bay state, but little it amounts to if we hear some one pray to God
for his guidance of the old commonwealth that when we have a prisoner
in charge we forget that we can do a good deal toward saving the
commonwealth and all her people. It will be little worth preserving if
the innocent are to be executed and one calamity and wrong step fast
upon the heels of another, and that, too, under the forms of law made
as well to shield the innocent as to punish the guilty.

Do I plead for her sister? No. Do I plead for Lizzie Andrew Borden
herself? Yes. I ask you to consider her, to put her into the scale
as a woman among us all, to say as you have her in charge to the
commonwealth which you represent, it is not just to hold her a minute
longer, and pleading for her I plead for you and myself and all of us
that the verdict you shall register in this most important case shall
not only command your approval now, unqualified and beyond reasonable
doubt, but shall stand sanctioned and commended by the people
everywhere in the world, who are listening by the telegraphic wire to
know what is the outcome as to her.

She is not without sympathy in this world. She is not having people by
day and by night thinking it is not to be found out in Massachusetts
that so great a wrong against her can be committed as to condemn
her upon the evidence that has been offered. Gentlemen, with great
weariness on your part, but with abundant patience and intelligence and
care, you have listened to what I have had to offer. So far as you are
concerned, it is the last word of the defendant to you. Take it: take
care of her as you have, and give us promptly your verdict not guilty,
that she may go home and be Lizzie Andrew Borden of Fall River in that
blood-stained and wrecked home where she has passed her life so many


District Attorney Knowlton’s Plea.

Hosea M. Knowlton, attorney for the State, spoke as follows: May it
please your honors, Mr. Foreman and you, gentlemen of the jury—Upon
one common ground in this case all human men can stand together.
However we may differ about many of the issues in this trial, there can
be no doubt, and I do not disguise my full appreciation of the fact,
that it is a most heartrending case. Whether we consider the tragedy
that we are trying and the circumstances that surround it, the charge
that followed it, the necessary course of the trial that has been had
before you, the difficult and painful duty of the counsel upon both
sides of the case, or the duty that shall finally be committed to your
charge, there is that in it all which lacerates the heart strings of
humanity. It was an incredible crime, incredible but for the cold and
merciful facts which confront and defeat that incredulity.

There is that in the tidings of a murder that thrills the human heart
to its depths. When the word passes from lip to lip and from mouth to
mouth that a human life has been taken by an assassin, the stoutest
hearts stop beating, lips pale and cheeks blanch, strong men grow pale
with the terror of the unknown and mysterious, and if that be so with
what I may, perhaps, by comparison call an ordinary assassination, what
were the feelings that overpowered the community when the news of this
tragedy was spread by the lightning to the ends of the world? Nay,
gentlemen, I need not ask you to imagine it. You were a part of the
community. It came to you in your daily avocations, it sent a thrill
through your beings and you felt that life was not secure. Every man
turned detective. Every act and fact and thought that occurred to the
thousand, to the million men all over the United States, was spread
abroad and furnished and given for the identification of the criminal,
and still it remained an impenetrable mystery. My distinguished friend
says, Who could have done it? The answer would have been, nobody could
have done it. If you had read the account of these cold and heartless
facts in any tale of fiction before this thing had happened, would you
not have said, Mr. Foreman—you would have said, That will do for a
story, but such things never happen.

In the midst of the largest city of this county, in the midst of his
household, surrounded by people and houses and teams and civilization,
in the midst of the day, right in that household, while they were
attending to their household duties in the midst of their families, an
aged man and an aged woman are suddenly and brutally assassinated. It
was a terrible crime. It is an impossible crime. But it was committed.
And very much, very much, Mr. Foreman, of the difficulty of solving
this awful tragedy starts from the very impossibility of the thing
itself. Set any human being you can think of, put any degraded man or
woman you ever heard of at the bar, and say to them, “You did this
thing,” and it would seem incredible. And yet it was done; it was done.
And I am bound to say, Mr. Foreman, and I say it out of a full heart,
that it is scarcely more credible to believe the charge that followed
the crime. I would not for one moment lose sight of the incredibility
of that charge, nor ask you to believe it, unless you find it supported
by facts that you cannot explain or deny. The prisoner at the bar is
a woman, and a christian woman, as the expression is used. It is no
ordinary criminal that we are trying to-day. It is one of the rank of
lady, the equal of your wife and mine, of your friends and mine, of
whom such things had never been suspected or dreamed before. I hope
I may never forget nor in anything that I say here to-day lose sight
of the terrible significance of that fact. We are trying a crime that
would have been deemed impossible but for the fact that it was, and
are charging with the commission of it a woman whom we would have
believed incapable of doing it but for the evidence that it is my duty,
my painful duty, to call to your attention. But I beg you to observe,
Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, that you cannot dispose of the case upon
that consideration. Alas, that it is so! But no station in life is a
pledge or a security against the commission of crime, and we all know
it. Those who are intrusted with the most precious savings of the widow
and the orphan, who stand in the community as towers of strength and
fidelity, suddenly fall, and their wreck involves the ruin of many
happy homes. They were christian men, they were devout men, they were
members of some christian church, they had every inducement around them
to preserve the lives that they were supposed to be living, and yet,
when the crash came, it was found that they were rotten to the core.
Nay, Mr. Foreman, those who are installed with the sacred robes of the
church are not exempt from the lot of humanity. Time and again have we
been grieved to learn, pained to find, that those who are set up to
teach us the way of correct life have been found themselves to be foul
as hell inside. Is youth a protection against crime. It is a matter
of the history of the commonwealth that a boy of tender years was the
most brutal, the most unrelenting, the most cruel, the most fiendish
murderer that the commonwealth ever knew. Is sex a protection to crime?
Is it not a matter of common knowledge that within the remembrance of
every man I am talking to, a woman has been found who murdered a whole
cart load of relatives for the sake of obtaining a miserable pittance
of a fortune. Ah, gentlemen, I do not underestimate, I do not speak
lightly of the strength of a christian character. Far be it from me to
join in the sneers which are sometimes thoughtlessly indulged in that a
man who is a good Christian is not therefore a good man. Most of them
are. Many times all of them are. But they are all sons of Adam and Eve.
They fall because they are human. They fall all at once because they
have never been shown to the light, and their fall is all the greater
because their outward lives have been pure before. I do not forget what
a bulwark it is to you and me, Mr. Foreman, that we have heretofore
borne a reputation that is above the suspicion of crimes and felonies.
It is sometimes the only refuge of a man put in straits. But nobody is
beyond the rank of men. Else would it not have been said even by the
disciples themselves, “Lead not thy servant into presumptuous sins.”
It was not ordained by the Saviour that the weak and the trembling and
the wicked and the easily turned only should utter the prayer, lead
us not into temptation. We are none of us secure. Have you led, sir,
an honorable, an upright life? Thank your Heavenly Father that the
temptations have not been too strong for you. Have you, sir, never been
guilty of heinous crime? Is it your strength of character or is it your
fortune that you have been able to resist what has been brought against
you? Mr. Foreman, let me not be misunderstood. Not for one moment would
I urge that because a man or a woman has led an upright and devout
life that therefore there should be any reason for suspecting him or
her of a crime. On the contrary, it is a buttress to the foundation,
to the presumption of innocence with which we start to try anybody.
I am obliged to tread now upon a more delicate ground. The prisoner
is a woman, one of that sex that all high-minded men revere, that all
generous men love, that all wise men acknowledge their indebtedness to.
It is hard, it

[Illustration: HOSEA M. KNOWLTON.]

is hard, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, to conceive that woman can be
guilty of crime. It is not a pleasant thing to reflect upon. But I
am obliged to say what strikes the justice of every man to whom I am
talking, that while we revere the sex, while we show our courtesies to
them, they are human like unto us. They are no better than we; they are
no worse than we. If they lack in strength and coarseness and vigor,
they make up for it in cunning, in dispatch, in celerity, in ferocity.
If their loves are stronger and more enduring than those of men, am I
saying too much that, on the other hand, their hates are more undying,
more unyielding, more persistent? We must face this case as men, not
as gallants. You will be slow to believe it is within the capacity of
a man to have done it. But it was done. You will be slower to believe
that it was within the capacity of a woman to have done it, and I
should not count you men if you did not, but it was done. It was done
for a purpose. It was done by hatred. But who did it? You have been
educated to believe, you are proud to recognize your loyalty, your
fealty to the sex. Gentlemen, that consideration has no place under
the oath you have taken. We are to find the facts. I am said to be
impervious to criticism, but those who have said one thing of me may
have the consolation of knowing that the shaft has struck home. When it
has been said of me that in the trial of this cause, in the prosecution
of this case, there entered into it anything but the spirit of duty,
anything like a spirit of revenge, any unworthy motives like ambition
or personal glory, if they had known how I shrank from this horrible
duty, those slanderous tongues would never have uttered those words.
Gentlemen, it is the saddest duty of my life—it is the saddest duty
of my life. Gladly would I have shrunk from it if I could have done
so and been a man. Gladly would I have yielded the office with which
I have been intrusted by the votes of this district if I could have
done so honorably. And if now any word I say, any evidence I state, any
inference I draw, shall be done with any purpose or intent to do that
woman an injustice, may my right hand wither and my tongue cleave to
the roof of my mouth. With that spirit, gentlemen, let me ask you to
enter upon this case. It was a crime that may well challenge your most
sober and sacred attention. That aged man, that aged woman, had gone
by the noonday of their lives. They had borne the burden and heat of
the day. They had accumulated a competency which they felt would carry
them through the waning years of their lives, and hand and hand they
expected to go down to the sunset of their days in quiet and happiness.

But for that crime they would be enjoying the air of this day. But
for that assassin many years of their life, like yours, I hope, sir,
would have been before them, when the cares of life were past, when
the anxieties of their daily avocation had ceased to trouble them, and
together they would have gone down the hill of life serene in an old
age that was happy because the happiness had been earned by a life
of fidelity and toil. Over those bodies we stand, Mr. Foreman. We
sometimes forget the past. Over those bodies we stand, and we say to
ourselves, is it possible that this crime cannot be discovered. You
are standing, as has been suggested, in the presence of death itself.
It is only what comes hereafter, but it is the double death that comes
before. There is a place—it is the chamber of death—where all these
personal animosities, passions and prejudices have no room, where all
matters of sentiment are one side, where nothing but the truth, the
naked truth, finds room and lodgment. In that spirit I adjure you to
enter upon the trial of this case. It is the most solemn duty of your
lives. We have brought before you as fully and frankly as we could,
every witness whom we thought had any knowledge of any surrounding of
this transaction, I do not know of one that has been kept back.

They were not merely the officers of the police. They were the domestic
of that establishment, the tried and faithful servant, and, for aught
that I know or have heard, the friend of these girls to-day. They
were the physician who was the first one called on the discovery of
the tragedy. They are the faithful friends and companions of this
defendant. And we have called them all before you and listened to
what they had to say, whether it was for her or against her. Nay, we
called the relative himself and had his story of what he knew in the
matter, and all the people who by any possibility could have known
anything about this thing we have tried to produce to you to tell all
that they could tell. Then there came another class of witnesses, if
I may classify them. As soon as this crime was discovered it became,
Mr. Foreman, did it not, the duty of those who are intrusted with the
detection of crime to take such measures as they thought were proper
for the discovery of the criminal. They are officers of the police.
When you go home, sir, to your family, after this long agony is over,
and a crime has been committed that approaches this in magnitude, or
any crime whatever, where will you go? to whom will you appeal? on
whom will you rely? Upon the very men that my distinguished friend
has seen fit by direction to criticise as interested in this case. He
put a question the other day which I forgave him for because it came
in heat, but it illustrates what I am saying—saying to one of these
officers, “speaking to you not as a police officer but as a man.” It
is true they are police officers, but they are men, too. They are
to find out what the truth of it is. They made many mistakes. The
crime was beyond the experience of any man in this country or in this
world; what wonder that they did? They left many things undone that
they might have done; what wonder that they did? It was beyond the
scope of any men to grasp in its entirety at that time. But honestly,
faithfully, as thoroughly as God had given them ability, they pursued
the various avenues by which they thought they might find the criminal.
My distinguished friend has not charged in words, and it is not true
that their energies have been bent to this unfortunate prisoner. It
was in evidence that many things were followed up, that many trails
were pursued, and I am not permitted even to tell you how many men were
followed with the thought that perhaps they had something to do with
this crime, how many towns and cities were investigated, and how many
people were watched and followed, how many trails have been pursued.
Don’t you suppose, Mr. Foreman, they would be glad to-day if it could
be found that this woman did not do this thing? Is there a man so base
in all this world that hopes she did it, that wants to believe she did
it, that tries to believe she did it? Nay, nay, Mr. Foreman. All the
evidence in this case that is entitled to great weight from the police
officers came before (as I shall show you by and by) any suspicion came
to them that she was connected with it. And it was only after they had
investigated the facts, had gotten her stories and put them together,
that the conviction forced itself upon them, as perhaps it may upon
you, that there is no better explanation which will answer the facts
that cannot be denied.

A blue coat does not make a man any better; it ought not to make him
any worse. They are men; Mr. Fleet is a man, Mr. Mullaly is a man,
Mr. Medley is a man, and they are not to be stood up in a row and
characterized as good or bad because they are officers, but upon what
you think of them as men. There is another thing that troubles my
friends—I now include the learned advocate who opened this case as
well as the distinguished counsel who closed it—and which perhaps
from your ordinary and accustomed channel of thought may have troubled
you. I speak of it frankly, for many honest men have been heard to
say—I have heard many an honest man say, that he could not believe
circumstantial evidence. And I respect the honesty of the man who says
it: But, gentlemen, the crime we are trying is a crime of an assassin.
It is the work of one who does his foul deeds beyond the sight and
hearing of men. All it means is this: That when one sees the crime
committed or one hears the crime committed then the testimony of him
that sees or hears is the testimony of a witness who saw it or heard it
and is direct evidence. All other evidence is circumstantial evidence.
That is the exact distinction. Did you ever hear of a murderer getting
a witness to his work who could see it or hear it? Murder is the work
of stealth and craft in which there are not only no witnesses, but
the traces are attempted to be obliterated. What is called sometimes
circumstantial evidence is nothing in the world but that presumption
of circumstances, it may be one or fifty. There isn’t any chain
about it: the word “chain” is a misnomer as applied to it; it is the
presentation of circumstances from which one is irresistibly driven
to the conclusion that crime has been committed. Talk about a chain
of circumstances! When that solitary man had lived on this island for
twenty years and believed that he was the only human being there and
that the cannibals and savages that lived around him had not found him
nor had not come to his island, he walked out one day on the beach, and
there he saw the fresh print in the sand of a naked foot.

He had no lawyer to tell him that was nothing but a circumstance. He
had no distinguished counsel to urge upon his fears that there was no
chain about that thing which led him to a conclusion. His heart beat
fast, his knees shook beneath him, he fell to the ground in fright,
because Robinson Crusoe knew when he saw that circumstance that man had
been there that was not himself. It was circumstantial evidence; it was
nothing but circumstantial evidence, but it satisfied him. It is not a
question of circumstantial evidence, Mr. Foreman; it is a question of
the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence. It is like the refuse that
floats upon the surface of the stream. You stand upon the banks of the
river and you see a chip go by; that is only a circumstance. You see
another chip go by. That is another circumstance. You see another chip
in front of you going the other way. That is only another circumstance.
By and by you see a hundred in the great body of the stream, all moving
one way, and a dozen or two in this little eddy in front of you going
the other way. The chain is not complete, some of the chips go up the
stream; but you would not have any doubt, you would not hesitate for
a moment, Mr. Foreman, to say that you knew which way the current of
that river was, and yet you have not put your hand in the water, and
yet have only seen things from which you inferred it, and even the
things themselves did not go the same way. But you had the wit and the
sense and the human and common experience to observe that those that
went the other way could be explained, and the great body of them went
that way. Mr. Foreman, there have been very few cases of assassination
in which there was direct testimony. My learned friend, the counsel,
who opened this case, has culled out from the billion of cases that
have been tried by juries in English-speaking countries—I think I do
not exaggerate—from the thousand million of cases which have been
tried upon circumstantial evidence in English-speaking countries, an
instance here and an instance there where it was found, perhaps, that
there was a mistake; and even those cases, with one single exception
(and in that case the man never got hanged) are open to great doubt and
discredit. But every lawyer knows, every man who is accustomed to the
trying of cases is familiar with the fact that the testimony of men is
wrong a hundred times where facts are wrong once. What impresses one as
the remarkable and distinguishing feature of this case is the gradual
discovery of the surprising fact that these two people did not come to
their death at the same time. I have no doubt that each one of you, as
you heard the stories as they came flashed over the wires, had the idea
that was common to everybody who did not know anything about it, and
there was nobody that did, that some man had come in, rushed through
the house, killed the old gentleman, rushed upstairs and killed the
old lady, and then had made his escape. But it was found that that was
not so. It has been proved so conclusively that counsel do not dispute
the proposition. It is scarcely worth while for me to recapitulate the
evidence. I will not do it. Mr. Wixon, Mr. Pettee, who is not in any
way connected with the government and holds no government office—came
in there and made their explanation, and as Dr. Dedrick put it, it
appeared to him—for he is a physician of experience, that the deaths
were several hours apart. Dr. Dolan examined more carefully the blood
and the wounds and the head, and he thought there was a difference of
from an hour to an hour and a half.

But, Gentlemen, there is within us, provided by the Almighty, a clock
by which the eye of science can tell the time. When a man falls
into the water and drowns, his watch stops and fixes the time when
he drowns; anybody can tell that. But when the human life stops, if
precautionary measures are taken, as were taken in this case, a man who
is skilled in the examination of these things can tell as accurately
the relative time of the death of that man as we can tell the time
by that clock up there. And so we proved—ah, it was a suspicion born
of consciousness and not of anything we said in this case when it was
suggested that we were trying to show the poverty of the mode of her
life here; there never has been a word of that on our side of the case;
my learned associate did not even hint that we were going to claim
there was anything mean or poverty-stricken in this family, and it
never was said until my distinguished friend saw fit to defend that
family from what never was charged. But for the purpose of scientific
investigation which was necessary, we proved—and for no other purpose
whatever—what was the breakfast of that family that morning, and
that the members of it sat down and partook together. It was a good
breakfast, it was the ordinary New England breakfast, and nobody has
said the contrary. Do not let me be misunderstood for one single moment
in this case. And for that purpose we showed you that these people sat
down to breakfast at from seven to quarter past seven, and finished
from half past seven to quarter of eight, and ate together and ate at
the same time. They lived their lives out prematurely cut off by the
hand of the assassin: their bodies lay upon the floor. Their stomachs
were taken out, digestion stopped when they stopped, and were sent
to the eminent, that scientific, that honest, that utterly fair man,
Prof. Wood, whom my learned friends will join with me in saying is
the most honest expert there is in Massachusetts to-day. He alone was
able to determine accurately the time of their death, assuming that
digestion went on normally within them, and he says that in all human
probability the time of her death preceded his by an hour and a half;
it might possibly have been a half hour less; it might possibly have
been a half hour more: Singularly enough, science is corroborated by
the facts. Singularly enough, everything fits into that proposition.
Andrew Jackson Borden probably never heard the clock strike 11 as it
pealed forth from the tower of city hall; and she was found dead with
the implement with which she had been engaged in dusting the rooms at
her head and close by her death. She was stricken down while she was
in that morning work in which she was engaged the last time anybody
saw her. And all the evidence in the case points to the irresistible
conviction that when Andrew Borden was down at his accustomed place
in the bank of Mr. Abraham Hart, the faithful wife he had left at
home was prone in death in the chamber of the house he had left her
in. At half-past nine, if we are to believe the consensus of all this
testimony, the assassin met her in that room and put an end to her
innocent old life.

Gentlemen, that is a tremendous fact. It is a controlling fact in
this case. It is the key of the case. Why do I say that? Because the
murderer of this man was the murderer of Mrs. Borden. It was the malice
against Mrs. Borden that inspired the assassin. It was Mrs. Borden
whose life that wicked person sought, and all the motive that we have
to consider, all we have to say about this case, bears on her. It is
a tremendous fact for another thing, a significant fact for another
thing. We are driven to the alternative of finding that there was a
human being who had the unparalleled audacity to penetrate that house
when the entire family were in and about it, so far as he knew, to
pursue his murderers with a deadly weapon in his hand, to the furthest
corner of the house, and there to select an innocent and unoffending
old lady for his first victim, and then lie in wait until the family
should, all get together an hour and a half later that he might kill
the other one.

This murderer was no fool: he was obedient to craft and cunning. He
could not forsee that Bridget would go upstairs. He could not forsee
that Lizzie would go to the barn. He might have known from the habits
of Andrew Borden that he would come back, but it would be back to a
house full of people—Morse might come at any time: he knew not when
Emma might come. He was waiting for the family to assemble, this man
who committed this deed. It was no sudden act of a man coming in and
out. It was the act of a person who spent the forenoon in this domestic
establishment, killing the woman at her early work and waiting till the
man returned for his noon-day meal in order that he could be killed
when everybody would be likely to be around him. It is a tremendous
fact, Mr. Foreman. It appears in this case from the beginning to end.
She had not an enemy in the world. You and I sometimes have our jars
and discords. Andrew J. Borden had had his little petty quarrels with
his tenants, nothing out of the ordinary, but Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden
had not an enemy in all the world. There she lay bleeding, dead, prone
by the hand of an assassin. Somebody went up there to kill her. In all
this universe there could not be found a person who could have had any
motive to do it.

We must now go into this establishment and see what manner of family
this was. It is said that there is a skeleton in the household of every
man, but the Borden skeleton—if there was one—was fairly well locked
up from view. They were a close-mouthed family. They did not parade
their difficulties. Last of all would you expect they would tell the
domestic in the kitchen, which is the whole tower of strength of the
defense, and yet, Mr. Foreman, there was a skeleton in the closet of
that house which was not adequate to this matter—O, no, not adequate
to this thing. There is not anything in human nature that is adequate
to this thing—remember that. But there was a skeleton of which we
have seen the grinning eyeballs and the dangling limbs. It is useless
to tell you that there was peace and harmony in that family. We know
better. We know better. The remark that was made to Mrs. Gifford, the
cloakmaker, was not a petulant outburst, such as might come and go.
That correction of Mr. Fleet, at the very moment the poor woman who
had reared that girl lay dead within ten feet of her voice, was not
merely accidental. It went down deep into the springs of human nature.
Lizzie Borden had never known her mother. She was not three years
old when that woman passed away, and her youthful lips had scarcely
learned to pronounce the tender word mamma, and no picture of her lay
in the girl’s mind. And yet she had a mother—she had a mother. Before
she was old enough to go to school, before she arrived at the age of
five years, this woman, the choice of her father, the companion of her
father, who had lost and mourned and loved again, had come in and had
done her duty by that girl and had reared her, had stood in all the
attitudes which characterize the tenderest of all human relations.
Through all her childhood’s sicknesses that woman had cared for her.
When she came in weary with her sports, feeble and tired, it was on her
breast that girl had sunk as have our children on the breast of their
mothers. She had been her mother, faithful persevering, and had brought
her up to be at least an honorable and worthy woman in appearance and

This girl owed everything to her. Mrs. Borden was the only mother
she had ever known, and she had given to this girl her mother’s love
and had given her this love when a child when it was not her own and
she had not gone through the pains of childbirth, because it was her
husband’s daughter. And then a quarrel; what a quarrel. What a quarrel,
Mr. Foreman. A man worth more than a quarter of a million of dollars,
wants to give his wife, his faithful wife who has served him thirty
years for her board and clothes, who has done his work, who has kept
his house, who has reared his children, wants to buy and get with her
the interest in a little homestead where her sister lives.

How wicked to have found fault with it. How petty to have found fault
with it. Nay, if it was a man sitting in that dock instead of a
woman, I would characterize it in more opprobrious terms than those.
I trust that in none of the discussion that I engage in to-day shall
I forget the courtesy due from a man to a woman; and although it is
my horrible and painful duty to point to the fact of this woman being
a murderess, I trust I shall not forget that she is a woman, and I
hope I never have. And she repudiated the title that that woman should
have had from her. Did you ever hear of such a case as that? It was
a living insult to that woman, a living expression of contempt, and
that woman repeated it day in and day out, saying to her, as Emma has
said, you are not interested in us. You have worked round our father
and have got a little miserable pittance of $1,500 out of him, and
you shall be my mother no more. Am I exaggerating this thing? She
kept her own counsel. Bridget did not know anything about it. She was
in the kitchen. This woman never betrayed her feelings except when
some one else tried to make her call her mother, and then her temper
broke forth. Living or dead, no person should use that word mother to
that poor woman unchallenged by Lizzie Borden. She had left it off
herself; all through her childhood days, all through her young life
Mrs. Borden had been a mother to her as is the mother of every other
child to its offspring, and the time comes when they still live in the
same house and this child will no longer call her by that name. Mr.
Foreman, it means much. It means much. Why does it mean much? They
did not eat together. Bridget says so. My distinguished friend tried
to get her to take it back, and she did partly. The woman would have
taken most anything back under that cross-examination, but this is her
testimony: “That is so, they always ate together.” “Yes, they always
ate in the same dining-room.” Bridget is going to have her own way yet.
But I do not put it on Bridget. I put it on Lizzie herself. When Mrs.
Gifford spoke to her, talking about her mother, she said, “Don’t say
mother to me.”—that mother who had reared her and was her father’s
companion under the roof with whom she was then living, whose household
she shared, to whom every debt of gratitude was due and whom she had
repudiated as her mother, she could not find the heart to say to this
cloakmaker was her mother, for I believe that you believe this story
is true—“she is a mean, good for nothing old thing.” Nay, that is not
all—“We do not have much to do with her. I stay in my room most of the

Is not that so? Uncle John Morse came to visit them, stayed over night,
and during the afternoon and evening, and next morning, and never saw
Lizzie at all—her own uncle. “Why, you come down to your meals?” said
Mrs. Gifford, and Lizzie said, “Yes, but we don’t eat with them if
we can help it.” I heard what Miss Emma said Friday, and I could but
admire the loyalty and fidelity of that unfortunate girl to her still
more unfortunate sister. I could not find it in my heart to ask her
many questions. She was in the most desperate strait that any innocent
woman could be in, her next of kin, her only sister, stood in peril,
and she must come to the rescue. She faintly tells us the relations
in the family were peaceful, but we sadly know they were not. But
you will say, you will fairly say, Mr. Foreman—let me not underrate
this thing one atom—you will fairly say, what is that? I don’t know.
I don’t know how deep this cancer had eaten in. It makes but little
show on the surface. A woman can preserve her appearance of health
and strength even when the roots of this foul disease have gone and
wound clear around her heart and vital organs. This was a cancer. It
was an interruption of what should have been the natural agreeable
relations between mother and daughter, a quarrel about property, not
her property, but her father’s, and property that he alone had the
right to dispose of. A man does not surrender his rights to his own
until he is dead, and not even then if he chooses to make a will. She
could not brook that that woman should have influence enough over her
father to let him procure the little remnant of her own property that
had fallen to her from her own folks. She had repudiated the title of
mother. She had lived with her in hatred. She had gone on increasing
in that hatred until we do not know, we can only guess, how far that
sore had festered, how far the blood in that family had been poisoned
by the misfortune of these unfortunate relations between them. I come
back to that poor woman lying prone, as has been described, in the
parlor. It is wicked to have to say it, it is wicked to have to say
it, but, gentlemen, there is no escape from the truth. Had she an
enemy in all the world? She had one. Was anybody in the world to be
benefitted by her taking away? There was one. There was one. It is hard
to believe that mere property would have influenced this belief. We are
not obliged to, although it appears that property was that which made
or broke the relations of that family, and a small amount of property,
too. But there was one woman in the world who believed that that dead
woman stood between her and her father, and was the enemy of her and
the friend of her father, and between whom there had grown up that
feeling that prevented her from giving her the title that the ordinary
instincts of decency would have entitled her to. Let us examine the
wounds upon that woman. So we look at the skull and we look at these
wounds, and what do we read there? We know afterwards, by another
examination downstairs, that no thief did this thing; there was no
object of plunder. We are spared the suspicion that any base animal
purposes had to do with this crime. No, Mr. Foreman, there was nothing
in these blows but hatred, but hatred, and a desire to kill. What sort
of blows were they? Some struck here at an angle, badly aimed; some
struck here in the neck, badly directed; some pattered on top of the
head and didn’t go through; some, where the skull was weaker, went
through. A great strong man would have taken a blow of that hatchet
and made an end of it. The hand that held the weapon was not the hand
of masculine strength. It was the hand of a person strong only in hate
and desire to kill. We have not proved anything yet, but we must take
things as they come, no matter where they lead us. It was not the work
of a man who, with a blow of that hatchet, could have smashed any part
of that skull, and whose unerring aim would have made no false blow or
false work. It was the indecisive blow of hatred, the weak, puttering,
badly aimed, nerveless blows—I forbear for the present to bring that
sentence to a conclusion, for I won’t do it until I am obliged to. I
won’t ask you, until I am obliged to, to listen to it. Now we must go
back and see what the circumstances of that crime were, for that is the
crime we are trying. We will come at the other one by and by, and see
how and when and why they happened. But now we are trying that crime,
the motive of that crime, the probable author of that crime, who could
have committed that crime, what sort of person committed that crime,
and why it was done. We find, Mr. Foreman, perhaps the most remarkable
house that you ever heard of. My distinguished friend has admitted so
many things that I am saved the necessity of arguing very much about
the circumstances surrounding the house. Everything was locked up.
Why, did you notice there was even the barbed wire at the bottom of
the fence as well as on the top and on the stringers? Everything was
shut up. It was the most zealously guarded house I ever heard of. The
cellar door was found locked by all the witnesses that examined it.
The barn door was locked at night and was kept locked all night and
opened in the morning, by the undisputed testimony of Bridget, whom
nobody has suggested or ventured to suggest has told anything more than
she knows in the case. The closet door, up to the head of the stairs,
was found locked by Mr. Fleet, and every time that he wanted to go in
there, or anybody else wanted to go in there, or Lizzie herself, she
furnished the keys that unlocked it. So that door was locked up. The
front door was a door which had been kept by a spring lock until that
day. The day before, when Dr. Bowen called, Bridget let him in by the
spring lock. That night, when Lizzie came home from her call on Miss
Russell, she let herself in by the spring lock. There isn’t an atom of
evidence that up to the time of this tragedy and when people began to
come in and out and upset the ordinary arrangements of that house, but
that the front door had always been kept by a spring lock and opened
in the morning. That morning it was not opened. It was that woman’s
business to open it, and she did not open it. She came down stairs and
went into the kitchen and went about her ordinary avocations, and by
and by, when Mr. Borden came home, he expected to find it unlocked,
because he tried his key to it and it wouldn’t fit, and he had to call
her attention to get in. And it was not only with the spring lock,
but with the bolt and with the lower lock (all three put together) as
people lock their door when they go to bed. Not the shutting in of an
assassin, as my distinguished friend has suggested, who was trying to
lock himself into the house, wild and improbable as that suggestion is.
Then the screen door. It may be, perhaps, as good a way to do as any
to refresh your memories about it as well as my own. I will go back
to the night before. That afternoon at 5 o’clock that screen door was
locked. That night when Bridget went out she locked the back door after
her. That night when she came back she found it locked, and she locked
up the screen door and the outside door and went upstairs to bed. No
chance for anybody to get in that day. The cellar was never unlocked
except on the Tuesday before—and I get this right from the testimony
because I do not want to argue anything but what is strictly correct.
The next morning Bridget got up at 6:15 and took in the milk and hooked
the screen door, unlocked the big door. A little while afterwards Mrs.
Borden came down, some time between 6:30 and 6:45, and went into the
sitting room. Mr. Borden came a little while afterwards, put his key on
the shelf, and unhooked the screen door and went into the yard, Bridget
remaining in the kitchen all the time. When he came back Bridget was
out of view of the screen door and don’t know whether he hooked it or

But the next person that went out was Morse, and Mr. Morse tells
us—for he fills all that cavity up—Mr. Morse tells us that he
unhooked the screen door when he went out and Mr. Borden hooked it
after him, so that Mr. Borden must have hooked it when he came in.
Then, when Mr. Borden came in he hooked the screen door again, Bridget
being on guard in the kitchen all the time. Then Bridget went about
her work, eating her breakfast, clearing off the dining room dishes,
right there on guard in the kitchen all the time. By and by Lizzie came
down. Lizzie came into the kitchen, and her father had not then gone
and Bridget went out into the yard a few minutes, because she was sick,
too. She remained there in the yard for a moment or two, and when she
came to, Lizzie had got through her breakfast and had got back into the
other part of the house, she didn’t know where, and Mr. Borden had gone
off down town. When she came in she hooked the screen door. Up to that
time, Mr. Foreman, no human being could have got into that house. We
go further than that. By and by Bridget goes into the dining room to
clear off her dining room things, and sees Mrs. Borden dusting in and
out of the sitting room and the dining room, and Mrs. Borden directs
her, when she gets through her work, to wash the windows. Bridget goes
on about her work and Mrs. Borden disappears upstairs and Lizzie is out
of sight. She gets through with her work—and I call your particular
attention to this. She gets through with her work, Bridget does, goes
down cellar and gets her pail, comes back into the house, goes through
the house and puts down the windows and there isn’t anybody below the
stairs. Mr. Borden has long since gone down town. It must have been
about half past nine when Bridget went out to wash the windows, or
possibly a little later. She goes out of the screen door, which up
to that time no human being could have gone through. She has no more
than got out of doors than Lizzie, who had not been down stairs up to
that time, who had not gone away from the house, and, as she herself
says, saw her mother up there making the bed, or working in that guest
chamber, Lizzie comes to the back door to see if Bridget is fairly out
of doors, goes back into the house, and the murder is then done, as
Prof. Wood’s clock tells us.

Never mind the impossibility—I won’t argue that now, Mr.
Foreman—never mind the impossibility for the present of imagining a
person who was so familiar with the habits of that family, who was so
familiar with the interior of that house, who could forsee the things
that the family themselves could not see, who was so lost to all
human reason, who was so utterly criminal as to set out without any
motive whatever, as to have gone to that house that morning, to have
penetrated through the cordon of Bridget and Lizzie, and pursued that
poor woman up the stairs to her death, and then waited, weapon in hand
until the house should be filled up with people again that he might
complete his work.

I won’t discuss with you the impossibility of that thing for the
present. I will come back to the facts in this case and ask you whether
or not, at that time when the murder was done—up to that time there
had been no room for the assassin to come in, and after that time the
house was there alone with Lizzie and her murdered victim. The dead
body tells us another thing. It is a circumstance, but it is one of
those circumstances that cannot be cross-examined nor made fun of nor
talked out of court. The poor woman was standing when she was struck,
and fell with all the force of that two hundred pounds of flesh, flat
and prone dead on the floor. That jar could not have failed to have
been heard all over that house. They talk about its being a noisy
street. Why, Bridget tells us that she could hear the screen door
from her room when it slammed. She did hear Andrew Borden trying the
lock of the front door and went to let him in without the bell being
rung. Lizzie heard her down there letting her father in. Nothing
happened in one part of the house that wasn’t heard in the other. My
friend has spent some time in demonstrating, as he believes, to you,
the unlikelihood of her seeing her murdered mother as she went up and
down the stairs. But Lizzie Borden has ears as well as eyes. If she
was downstairs she was in the passageway of the assassin. If she was
upstairs there was nothing to separate her from the murder but the
thinness of that deal door that you saw. And do you believe for a
moment, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, do you believe for a moment that
those blows could have been struck—that woman was struck in a way that
did not make her insensible—that she could have been struck without
groaning or screaming; that she could have fallen without a jar, a
woman as heavy as I am (I just use that by way of illustration), on
that floor, nearer than I am to you, sir, from Lizzie, and she know
nothing of it? If the facts I have put to you, Mr. Foreman, are true,
at the very instant when the murders were committed we leave Lizzie
and Mrs. Borden in the house together. Was she in the passageway when
this assassin came in? She alone knows. Was she in her room when that
heavy body fell to the floor? She alone knows. But we know, alas, we
know, Mr. Foreman, that when Bridget opened that screen door and went
out to wash the windows, after Mr. Borden had met his half-past nine
appointment at the bank, that she left in the house this poor woman
and the only enemy she had in the world. And there had been no more
chance, if there was any conceivable possibility existing to mankind
that anybody else got in than there would be of getting into this room
and you and I not seeing them. But that is not all. It is provided, as
I humbly and devoutly believe, by the divine justice itself, that no
matter how craftily murder is planned, there is always some point where
the skill and cunning of the assassin fails him. It failed her. It
failed her at a vital point, a point which my distinguished friend has
attempted to answer, if I may be permitted to say so, and has utterly
failed. She was alone in that house with that murdered woman. She could
not have fallen without her knowledge. The assassin could not have come
in without her knowledge. She was out of sight and Mrs. Borden was out
of sight, and by and by there was coming into the house a stern and
just man, who knew all the bitterness there was between them. There
came into that house a stern and just man who would have noticed the
absence of his wife, and who would have said to her, as the Almighty
said to Cain. “Where is Abel, thy brother?” And that question must be
answered. He came in; he sat down; she came to him, and she said to
him: “Mrs. Borden”—she would not even call her “mother” then—“Mrs.
Borden has had a note and gone out.” That stilled his fears; that
quieted any apprehensions he might have felt or reason of her absence
either from the sitting room or the kitchen, or her own room upstairs,
where he was sure to go with his key, as he did. When Bridget went
to her room, and I call your attention to this as being the first
information that Bridget had of it—it will appear by and by by the
evidence itself—before Bridget went upstairs to her room Lizzie says
to her, “If you go out, be sure and lock the door, for Mrs. Borden has
gone out on a sick call and I might go out, too.” Bridget says, “Miss
Lizzie, who is sick?” naturally enough. She said. “I don’t know, but
she had a note this morning and it must be in town.”

Mrs. Churchill came over. “Where is mother, Lizzie?” She said: “I don’t
know. She had a note to go to see some one who was sick, but I don’t
know but she is killed, too, for I think I heard her come in.” I will
talk about that by and by, if I don’t weary you too much. Then she said
something to Fleet. Although she told Fleet that the last time she saw
her stepmother was 9 o’clock, and she was then making her bed in the
room where she was found dead, she said, “some one brought a letter
or a note to Mrs. Borden,” and she thought she had gone out, and had
not known of her return. Then when Bridget came back she wanted to
find her. She knew that one of the mother’s only relatives was Mrs.
Whitehead, the sister of her husband, as it turned out, because it
turned out by Miss Emma’s cross-examination and she said: “Oh, Lizzie,
if I knew where Mrs. Whitehead lived I would go and see if Mrs. Borden
is there and tell her that Mr. Borden is very sick.” Mr. Foreman,
charged with the responsibility of the solemn trust imposed upon him,
my learned associate said in opening this case that that statement was
a lie. Conscious as I am, Mr. Foreman, that any unjust or harsh word of
mine might do injury that I never could recover my peace of conscience
for, I reaffirm that serious charge. No note came; no note was written;
nobody brought a note; nobody was sick. Mrs. Borden had not had a note.
My learned friend said, “I would stake the case on the hatchet.” I
will stake it on your belief or disbelief in the truth or falsity of
that proposition. Afterwards, after Lizzie had told Bridget that Mrs.
Borden had had a note to go out and see some one, that Mrs. Borden had
gone out on a sick call and had had the note come that morning, she
told her before she went to the room and that murder was discovered,
and after it was a matter of common talk, and when Mrs. Churchill was
asking Bridget not as a source of original information but for all
the news there could be had about it, Bridget then said to her, not
“to my own knowledge Mrs. Borden had a note to go out to see some one
who was sick,” but repeated it as the story of the original and only
author, Lizzie Borden. Obviously that is so, because when my learned
and distinguished friend comes to the cross-examination of Bridget,
this is what Bridget said, that she never had any knowledge of a note
at all, except what Lizzie told her. Pardon me for reading it, because
this is vital to the case. “You simply say that you didn’t see anybody
come with a note?” “No, sir; I did not.” “Easy enough for anybody to
come with a note to the house and you not know it, wasn’t it?” “Well,
I don’t know if a note came to the back door that I wouldn’t know.
The door bell never rang that morning at all.” “But they wouldn’t
necessarily go to the back door, would they?” “No. I never heard
anything about a note; whether they got it or not, I don’t know. I
never heard anything about a note.” She was obviously telling the story
as Lizzie had told it to her. Bridget had last seen Mrs. Borden dusting
in the sitting room. She had been told by Lizzie that she had got a
note and gone out.

No, gentlemen. In the first place, Bridget was on guard at that back
door until she had washed the windows, and no note came that way.
She testifies, and you can easily believe her testimony, because the
front door was locked with three locks all the time, that nobody came
to the front door and rang the bell with a note. I said that Almighty
providence directed the course of this world to bring murderers to
grief and justice. Little did it occur to Lizzie Borden when she told
that lie to her father that there would be manifold witnesses of the
fatality of it. They have advertised for the writer of the note,
which was never written and which never came. Gentlemen, incredulity
sometimes can be dismissed by evidence, but I am not looking in the
face of one single man that will believe for an instant that the writer
of that note would not months ago have come forward and cleared that
thing up. There never was one. Ah, but my distinguished friend is
pleased to suggest—he hardly dares to argue it, such is his insight
and fairness—he is pleased to suggest that it was part of the scheme
of assassination. How! To write a note to get a woman away when he was
going there to assassinate her? What earthly use was there in writing
a note to get rid of Mrs. Borden, when there would still be left
Lizzie and Bridget in the house? O, no, that is too wild and absurd.
The whole falsehood of that note came from the woman in whose keeping
Mrs. Borden was left by Andrew Borden, and it was as false as was the
answer that Cain gave to his Maker when he said to him, “Where is thy
brother Abel?” I regret to ask you so to believe, gentlemen. It pains
me beyond expression to be compelled to state these things. God forbid
that anybody should have committed this murder, but somebody did, and
when I have found that she was killed, not by the strong hand of man,
but by the weak and ineffectual blows of woman, when I find that those
are the blows of hatred rather than of strength, when I find that she
is left alone at the very moment of murder, shut up in that house
where every sound went from one end to the other, with the only person
in all God’s universe who could say she was not her friend, with the
only person in the universe who could be benefited by her taking away,
and when I find, as I found, and as you must find, if you answer your
consciences in this case, that the story told about a note coming is
as false as the crime itself, I am not responsible, Mr. Foreman, you
are not responsible for the conclusion to which you are driven. Bridget
finished the washing of her windows, came into the house, no one being
below the stairs, took her step ladder and began the work upon the
inside of the windows. Meanwhile the old gentleman was finishing the
last walk of his life. You find him leaving his house by the back
door, where Mrs. Churchill saw him, probably, although it may not have
been the occasion of his leaving. We certainly find him down at his
accustomed place in the bank that had honored him by making him its
president, at his usual hour of 9:30. We find him going on from this
to the other bank that honored him by making him a trustee, a little
later in the day. The malice was all before this fact. The wickedness
was all before the fourth day of August. The ingratitude, the
poisoning, the hate, the stabbing of the mind, which is worse than the
stabbing of the body, had gone on under that roof for many, many moons.
All we know is that there was a jealousy which was unworthy of that
woman. All we know is that, as Emma expressed it herself, they felt
that he was not interested in them and no step could be taken by that
poor man, no suggestion could be made by that poor man, that would not
fan the embers of that discontent into the active fires of hatred that
we have seen, alas, too many times manifested in many an unhappy home.
I speak of these things, Mr. Foreman, at this time because I have left
the dead body of that aged woman lying upon the guest chamber floor,
in the room where she was last at work, and am asking you to come down
with me to a far sadder tragedy, to the most horrible word that the
English language knows, to a parricide. I do not undertake, far be it
from me to seek to detract one iota from the terrible significance
of that word; and when I am asked to fight and prove and declare and
explain a motive for that act, well may my feeble powers quail at the

There may be that in this case which saves us from the idea that Lizzie
Borden planned to kill her father. I hope she did not. But Lizzie
Andrew Borden, the daughter of Andrew Jackson Borden, never came
down those stairs. It was not Lizzie Andrew Borden, the daughter of
Andrew Jackson Borden, that came down those stairs, but a murderess,
transformed from all the thirty-three years of an honest life,
transformed from the daughter, transformed from the ties of affections
to the most consummate criminal we have read of in all our history or
works of fiction. She came down to meet that stern old man. His picture
shows that, if nothing more, even in death. That just old man, of the
stern puritan stock, that most of you are from, gentlemen, that man
who loved his daughters, but who also loved his wife, as the Bible
commanded him to. And, above all, the one man in all this universe who
would know who killed his wife. She had not thought of that. She had
gone on. There is cunning in crime, but there is blindness in crime,
too. She had gone on with stealth and cunning, but she had forgotten
the hereafter. They always do. And when the deed was done she was
coming downstairs to face Nemesis. There wouldn’t be any question
of what he would know of the reason why that woman lay in death. He
knew who disliked her. He knew who could not tolerate her presence
under the roof. He knew the discussion which had led up to the pitch
of frenzy which resulted in her death, and she didn’t dare to let him
live, father though he was, and bound to her by every tie of affection.
It is the melancholy, the inevitable attribute of crime that it is
the necessary and fruitful parent of crime. He moved slowly. He went
to the back door, as was his custom, but nobody was there to open it,
and so he went around to the front door, as very likely he often did,
supposing, of course, that he could gain entrance, as any man does
into his own house in the day time, by the use of a spring lock. We
have heard something about the noise and confusion of that street, but
Bridget’s ears, which are no quicker than Lizzie’s, heard him as he put
the key into the lock, and came to the door and let him in. He came in
and passed into the dining room, because she was, I presume, working in
the sitting room, took off his coat and sat down and replaced it with
a cardigan jacket and down came Lizzie from the very place where Mrs.
Borden lay dead and told him what we cannot believe to be true about
where his wife was. I am told, gentlemen, that circumstances are to be
regarded with suspicion. Mr. Foreman, a falsehood that goes right to
the very vitals of crime is not a circumstance; it is proof. Where was
that mother? She knew. She told what never was true. That would pass
off for awhile; that would keep the old man quiet for a time, but it
would not last.


She took out her ironing-board. Why had she not been ironing in the
cellar part of the house. Mr. Foreman, we do not know. She had no
duties around the household, so Emma tells us. There was nothing for
her to do. Bridget goes into the dining room. Having finished her
windows in the sitting room, it took only a moment to go inside. Comes
into the dining room to wash the windows and the old gentleman comes
down from his room and goes into the sitting room and sits down. She
suggests to him, with the spirit in which Judas kissed his master,
that, as he is weary with his day’s work, it would be well for him to
lie down upon the sofa and rest. Then she goes into the dining room
again, gets her ironing board, and proceeds to iron her handkerchiefs.
Bridget finishes her work. She tells Bridget, and that is the first
time that Bridget heard it directly, as I stated to you yesterday, that
if she goes out that afternoon to be sure to lock the doors, because
Mrs. Borden had gone out on a sick call. And she says: “Miss Lizzie,
who is sick?” Miss Lizzie replies: “I don’t know, but it must be in
town, for she had a note this morning.” She never did, and Bridget
goes upstairs to take her little rest and leaves this woman ironing
those handkerchiefs nearer to her father as he lay on that sofa than my
distinguished friend is to me, at this moment. Again she was alone with
her victim. O, unfortunate combination of circumstances, always. Again
she is alone in the house with the man who was found murdered. It may
be safely said to be less than twenty minutes from that time she calls
Bridget down stairs and tells her that her father is killed. There is
another straw, Mr. Foreman, another chip on the surface, not floating
in an eddy, but always out in the middle of the currant, that tells
us with irresistible distinctness of what happened after Bridget went
upstairs. She had a good fire to iron the clothes with. Why do I say
that? I will not speak without the evidence if I can help it. Officer
Harrington comes along, takes a car that reaches city hall at 12:15,
goes along Main street, goes to the house, talks with Lizzie, and, last
of all, takes the cover off the stove and sees there, and I will read
his own words: “The fire was near extinguished; on the end there was
a little fire, I should judge about as large as the palm of my hand.
The embers were about dying.” That was as early as 12:30. I need not
say to you that if there was fire enough to be seen at 12:30 there was
fire enough to work with an hour and a half before 11 o’clock. There
was fire enough. There is no trouble on that account. It was a little
job she had to do, nine handkerchiefs at the outside, perhaps eight or
seven, and when this thing is over Miss Russell gets the handkerchiefs
and takes them upstairs, where we find a fatal thing, we find that four
or five, I give the exact words of those handkerchiefs: “Are ironed
and two or three are sprinkled ready to iron.” Whatever else is true,
she had begun her work before Bridget went upstairs, she was engaged
in it when Bridget left her. It was a job that could not have taken
her any more than ten minutes at the outside, if I may use the common
expression of mankind in that sort of work, and the clock of Lizzie’s
course of life stopped the instant Bridget left the room. What for?
What for, gentlemen? It would have taken but a minute or so to finish
them. The day was well gone, the dinner hour was approaching. There
were four or five to take away and but two or three to finish, and in
less time than I am speaking it would have been done.

It is terribly significant. There is that in this case which is far
deeper than these accidental variations. She says to Bridget, not to
an officer, “I was out in the back yard and heard a groan, and came in
and the screen door was wide open,” I may have occasion to say that
that story was not true either, and was not consistent with any other
story that she told. Dr. Bowen came next, I believe. He says, “Where
have you been?” O, pregnant question that nobody could fail to ask. “In
the barn looking for some irons or iron,” she answers. Mrs. Churchill
came next—I may not have the order right—and that honest woman asked
it the first thing, “Where were you when it happened, Lizzie?” “I went
to the barn to get a piece of iron.” Miss Russell heard the remark. She
does not distinctly remember asking it, and she is her friend: “What
did you go to the barn for, Lizzie?” “I went to get a piece of tin or
iron to fix my screen.” And Mr. Fleet came in, and politely, as you may
believe, courteously, as you are glad to think, he talked to her about
that important question of where she was when this thing happened. Let
me read it word for word, for it is vital and significant and Mr. Buck
will not say that one word of it is misconstrued or misremembered or
falsely stated. He asked her if she knew anything about the murders.
“She said that she did not, all she knew was that her father came home
about 10:30 or 10:45, went into the sitting room, sat down in a large
chair, took out some papers and looked at them. She was ironing in the
dining room some handkerchiefs, as she stated. She saw that her father
was feeble, and she went to him and advised and assisted him to lie
down upon the sofa. She then went into the dining room to her ironing,
but left after her father was lain down, and went out into the yard and
went up in the barn. I asked her how long she remained in the barn;
she said she remained in the barn about half an hour. I then asked her
what she meant by ‘up in the barn.’ She said, ‘I mean up in the barn,
upstairs, sir.’ She said after she had been up there about half an hour
she came down again, went into the house and found her father lying on
the lounge.” Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, we must judge all facts, all
circumstances as they appeal to your common sense. There is no other
test; there is no other duty; there is no other way of arriving at
justice, and tried by that standard I assert that that story is simply
incredible. I assert that that story is simply absurd. I assert that
that story is not within the bounds of reasonable possibilities.

That is not all. Saturday again the mayor of the city, who I assume
is a gentleman, whom I know you will believe to be one, and Marshal
Hilliard, who has answered by his dignified and courteous and wholly
respectable presence all the slanders you have heard about him in
his simple and unaffected way of testifying in this case, which is
refutation enough of all the wicked things that have been said of
him—that men came there Saturday evening, and again incidentally that
story was referred to. She told her friend Alice that she went to get
a piece of iron to fix her screen. She told them that she went out
into the barn to get some sinkers. It is not so much the contradiction
I call your attention to, for I want to be entirely fair, for both
errands might have been in her mind.

Why could we not have had somebody to have told us what was the screen
that needed fixing, and to have corroborated that story by finding the
piece of iron that was put into the screen when she was left alone and
when she came back in her fright. Show us the fish line that these
sinkers went on. It was easy to do if they were in existence, if
there was any truth in the story. Show us something by which we can
verify this ferocious fact, that the alibi she was driven to put for
herself is a good one. I will spend a little time in the prosecution
of this argument to discuss Mr. Lubinsky. What he saw and when he saw
it are absolutely indefinite. Let me treat him with entire fairness
and justice. To begin with, he is a discarded witness. He went with
his story first to Wilkinson and then to Mr. Mullaly and then to Mr.
Phillips before the hearing in the district court. Mr. Mullaly tells
you just what he told him. He saw Mr. Mullaly and told him it was
about half past 10 when he went by and saw somebody coming from the
barn. That was on the 8th day of August. About two weeks after the
time—I do not need the record, for I remember it as though it was
yesterday—about two weeks after that time he told Mr. Phillips. Yes,
it would be the 22d of August. This hearing ran through the 24th, 25th,
26th, 27th, and into the first day of September. He told a reporter,
and I presume it was published, although I do not know about that.
I won’t say that, for I don’t know. Mr. Phillips was present there
in court; witnesses were called for the defense, and Lubinsky was
not called. He had not got things patched up. And I want to know in
this connection what was the necessity of having that line drawn so
carefully by the surveyor across the plan of the first day. What has
been the significance of that thing by which it was made to appear
that a surveyor could find a line clear from a point on the street
to the barn door? And you were asked to squint across there. You saw
that you could not see the fraction of a rabbit that came out of that
barn door. Has that any connection with the first attempt at Lubinsky?
I do not know. It is one of those things they have started and have
flashed in the pan. Medley was the first one there. He got the news
before 11:30. He took a team that was coming up the street, and drove
as fast as he could drive it. He went to the station house and got the
men, started for the Borden house, and as he went by the city hall
clock it was nineteen or twenty minutes before 12. He went there; he
went into the house. He saw Miss Borden. He came out and went into
the barn. Other men did the same thing. It occurred to many, he went
there first because he was the one that found the door shut, and the
others, excepting these wonderful boy detectives, found it open. All
the contradiction of Medley is an attempt to contradict him about time.
Something has been said, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, as to the conduct
of the defendant during this trying time. In my desire to say no word
that is not borne out by the exact facts, I forbear to criticise or
to ask you to consider against her her general demeanor after this
tragedy. I quite agree for once with my distinguished friend in his
suggestion that the absence of tears, that the icy demeanor may have
either meant consciousness of guilt or consciousness of loss.

I would not lift the weight of my finger to urge that this woman
remarkable though she is, nervy as she is, brave as she is, cool as
she is, should be condemned because grief, it may have been, but for
other things in the case, drove back the tears to their source and
forbade her to show the emotions that belong to the sex. But there
are some things that are pregnant. My distinguished friend tells of
the frequency of presentiments. They are frequent in the storybooks,
Mr. Foreman. If they occur in real life they are usually thought of
afterward. Did you ever hear one expressed beforehand? Tell me that
this woman was physically incapable of that deed? My distinguished
friend has not read female character enough to know that when a woman
dares she dares, and when she will she will, and that given a woman
that has that absolute command of herself who told Mrs. Reagan even,
that the failure to break that egg was the first time she had ever
failed in anything she undertook, a woman whose courage surpassed that
of any man I am talking to, I very humbly believe—tell me that she is
physically incapable of this act? But those are trifles, Mr. Foreman.
Those are trifles. Those are little chips that do not perhaps directly
indicate which way the current flows. But there is more in the case
than that. Of course the question arises to one’s lips. How could she
have avoided the spattering of her dress with blood if she was the
author of these crimes? As to the first crime, it is scarcely necessary
to attempt to answer the question. In the solitude of that house, with
ample fire in the stove, with ample wit of woman nobody has suggested
that as to the first crime there was not ample opportunity, ample means
and that nothing could be suggested as a reason why all the evidence
of that crime could not have been amply and successfully concealed.
But as to the second murder the question is one of more difficulty. I
cannot answer it. You cannot answer it. You are neither murderers nor
women. You have neither the craft of the assassin nor the cunning and
deftness of the sex. There are some things, however, in the case that
we know, and one of them is, and perhaps one of the pregnant facts
in the case is, that when the officers had completed their search,
and in good faith had asked her to produce the dress she was wearing
that morning, they were fooled with that garment which lies on that
trunk, which was not upon her when any human being saw her. That is a
pretty bold assertion. Let us see what the evidence of it is, because
as to that matter the evidence is contradictory, and it is the first
proposition, I believe that I have addressed touching which there is
even an attempt to show contradictory evidence. I have trod on ground
on which no attempt has been made to block the ordinary course of
reasoning, and I now approach the first subject in which there is any
attempt to show contradiction, and it turns out to be no contradiction
whatever. This dress has been described to you as a silk dress and
dark blue evidently, a dress with a figure which is not at all like a
diamond, a dress which is not cheap, a dress which would not be worn in
ironing by any prudent woman, of course not. It is an afternoon dress.
Do your wives dress in silk when they go down in the kitchen to work,
and in their household duties in the morning before dinner? But I am
not compelled to stay at suppositions of reasoning: I come to facts.
There was one woman in this world who saw Lizzie Borden after these
murders were done, and when she saw her did not suspect that murder had
been done.

Who was that? It was that clear, intelligent, honest daughter of one of
Fall River’s most honored citizens, Adelaide Churchill. Everybody else
saw her when they knew murder had been done. Addie Churchill saw her
when the most she suspected was that somebody had become sick again.
She describes the dress she had on that morning. I will read it, word
for word, to you, because it is vital: “It looked like a light blue
and white ground work; it seemed like calico or cambric, and it had
a light blue and white ground work with a navy blue diamond printed
on it.” Was the whole dress alike, the skirt and waist? It looked so
to me. Was that the dress she had on this morning (showing dark blue
dress?) She did not wish to harm a hair of Lizzie’s head. She was her
neighbor and her friend, and she would avoid it if she could. But she
answered, “It does not look like it.” Mr. Moody puts it again: “Was it,
was it?” Ah, Addie Churchill will have to give an answer which will
convict this woman of putting up a dress which is not the one she wore.
She is no police detective conspiring against her life, but her next
door neighbor, her friend, and her friend to-day. When Mr. Moody puts
the straight question to her: “Was it?” she answers: “That is not the
dress I have described.” Still it is not quite close enough. My learned
friend wants it answered more closely, and asks, “Was it the dress she
had on?” Mrs. Churchill can avoid answering no longer, and she says,
“I did not see her with it on that morning.” She further describes the
dress as having the ground work of a color “like blue and white mixed.”
It is not the testimony of one who wants her convicted. I may well
believe, I am glad to believe, although I know nothing of it, that it
is the testimony of one who would rejoice if she were not convicted.
Now comes another witness, who I believe would cut his heart strings
before he would say a word against that woman if he could help it, and
that is her physician and friend, Dr. Seabury W. Bowen, who away back
in the early stages of this case gave testimony, and the testimony
is all the more valuable because it comes from her intimate friend,
and was given at a time when it was not supposed there was ever to be
any discussion about it. He undertakes to describe the dress. Do you
remember how Lizzie was dressed that morning? “It is pretty hard work
for me. Probably if I could see a dress something like it I could
guess, but I could not describe it; it was a sort of drab, not much
color to it to attract my attention—a sort of morning calico dress,
I should judge.” That is not all. The morning dress she had worn many
times, as Miss Emma is obliged to say, poor girl. She put it in her
testimony (she wanted to help her sister) that it was very early in the
morning. Oh, unfortunate expression. Did you ever know a girl to change
her dress twice a morning, ever in the world? It was a morning dress,
and the day before the tragedy happened Bridget tells us that that
cheap morning dress, light blue with a dark figure, Wednesday morning
the dress she had on was of that description, and it was this very
bedford cord. Undoubtedly. She never wore it afterward. Friday she has
on this dress. Saturday she has on this dress, mornings and afternoon.
It is good enough for her to wear then. Perhaps there is not any
distinction of morning and afternoon then in that house of the dead. We
have had evidence of the character of the search that was made in the
house. It can, perhaps, all be well summed up in the suggestion that
the search of Thursday was perfunctory, insufficient and indecisive. It
was with no particular definite aim in view. It was absolutely without
any idea that the inmates of the house knew of this crime. It was that
sort of a search which goes through and does not see what it ought to
see. But it was enough to set them on their guard. There was in that
house somewhere a bedford cord dress. That bedford cord dress had been
stained with paint. I welcome that fact. My learned associate never
said it had not been stained with paint. I believe it had. No, I ought
not to say that. I hope, I may be corrected if I say that I believe it
at any time. There is no assertion or pretence that it had not been
stained with paint. It had not stopped the wearing of it, though.

It was good enough for a morning dress, good enough for an ironing
dress, good enough for a chore dress around the house in the morning.
But the Thursday’s search had put them on their guard, and when,
Saturday afternoon, the officers came there, they were prepared for
the most absolutely thorough search that could be made in that house.
Where was that paint stained bedford cord? Where was that dress with
paint spots on it, so thickly covering it that it was not fit to wear
any more? Where was it that the officers did not see it? Emma alone can
tell us, and Emma tries to tell us that it was in that closet. Emma
says that Saturday night she saw that dress upon the hook, and said to
Lizzie “You’d better destroy this dress,” and Lizzie said she would.
Nobody heard that conversation but Lizzie and Emma. So we cannot
contradict their words excepting by what followed. Mark the exact use
of language. Alice Russell said that when she came down stairs that
morning she went into the kitchen and Lizzie stood by the stove with
a dress skirt in her hand and a waist on the shelf near by, and Emma
turned round and said to her, “Lizzie, what are you going to do?” “I
am going to burn this old thing up. It is all covered with paint.”
There is scarcely a fact that is not incriminating against Lizzie. Mrs.
Reagan has come on the stand and told upon her oath against a woman who
is her friend, with whom she had no difficulties and who is of her own
sex, against whom she can have no object of resentment or hatred, as
to induce her to commit the foulest of crimes, has told a story which
is extremely significant. I should have hesitated to express myself as
to its significance were it not for the attestation of that fact by
the agitation, the hurrying and scurrying, the extraordinary efforts
put forth by her friends as soon as it was unadvisedly published to
suppress and deny it. They saw its significance, they are unwilling
witnesses to the character of the story and the way it bears upon the
case. That thing took place. Mrs. Reagan has appeared before you and
you are to judge whether you like her looks or not. You are to be
judges of her evidence. Miss Emma, who knew what took place, never came
to Mrs. Reagan, and said, “You have told a lie!” They were the ones
to have denied it. They were the ones to have asked her to take it
back. Miss Emma was in there the next day after the publication, and
she never found it out in her heart to say to Mrs. Reagan: “Why, Mrs.
Reagan, you have published an infamous and wicked lie about us!” It was
these same self-constituted friends who have filled the newspapers with
denunciations of delay in a trial of this cause because the appointed
officer was lying sick at his home and could not attend to it, when the
courteous and accomplished gentlemen, who had her interests in charge,
my learned friends never complained and do not to this day complain, to
their credit be it said.

I had intended, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, at this point, to attempt
to recapitulate these things to you. I do not think I will do it. If I
have not made them plain they cannot be made plainer. Every one of them
excepting the incident of the burning of the dress and the accuracy of
the witnesses as to the dress that is produced, depend upon facts that
there is no denial of. We find a woman murdered by blows which were
struck with a weak and indecisive hand. We find that that woman had no
enemies in all the world excepting the daughter that had repudiated
her. We find that that woman was killed at half past nine, when it
passes the bounds of human credulity to believe that it could have
been done without her knowledge, her presence, her sight, her hearing.
We find a house guarded by night and by day so that no assassin could
find lodgment in it for a moment. We find that after that body had been
murdered a falsehood of the very essence of this whole case is told by
that girl to explain the story to the father, who would revenge it and
delay him from looking for her. We find her then set in her purpose
turned into a mania, so far as responsibility is concerned, considering
the question of what to do with this witness who could tell everything
of that skeleton if he saw fit. He had not always told all he knew.
He had forbidden telling of that burglary of Mrs. Borden’s things for
reasons that I do not know anything about, but which I presume were
satisfactory to him, but he would not have so suppressed or concealed
this tragedy, and so the devil came to her as God grant it may never
come to you or me, but it may. When the old man lay sleeping she was
prompted to cover her person in some imperfect way and remove him from
life and conceal the evidences, so far as she could in the hurried time
that was left her. She did not call Maggie until she got ready. She had
fifteen minutes, which is a long time, and then called her down, and
without helping the officers in one single thing, but remonstrating
with them for going into her room and asking her questions—those
servants of the law who were trying to favor her, never opening her
mouth except to tell the story of the barn, and then a story of the
note, which is all she ever told in the world. We find that woman
in a house where is found in the cellar a hatchet which answers
every requirement of this case, where no outside assassin could have
concealed it, and where she alone could have put it. We find in that
house a dress which was concealed from the officers until it was found
that the search was to be resumed and safety was not longer assured.
The dress was hidden from public gaze by the most extraordinary act of
burning that you ever heard of in all your lives by an innocent person.

We say these things float on the great current of our thought and tell
just where the stream leads to. We get down now to the elements of
ordinary crime. We get hatred, we get malice, we get falsehood about
the position and disposition of the body. We get absurd and impossible
alibis. We get contradictory stories that are not attempted to be
verified. We get fraud upon the officers by the substitution of an
afternoon silk dress as the one that she was wearing that morning
ironing, and capping the climax by the production of evidence that is
beyond all question, that there was a guilty destruction of the dress
that she feared the eye of the microscope might find the blood upon.
What is the defense, Mr. Foreman? What is the answer to this array of
impregnable facts? Nothing, nothing. I stop and think, and I say again,
nothing. Some dust thrown upon the story of Mrs. Reagan which is not
of the essence of the case, some question about time put upon the acts
of Mr. Medley which is not of the essence of the case; some absurd and
trifling stories about drunken men the night before and dogs in the
yard the night before. Of men standing quietly on the street the same
day of the tragedy, exposing their bloody persons for the inspection
of passersby, of a pale, irresolute man walking up the street in broad
daylight. Nothing, nothing. The distinguished counsel, with all his
eloquence, which I can’t hope to match or approach, has attempted
nothing but to say, “Not proven.” But it is proven; it is proven. We
cannot measure facts, Mr. Foreman. We cannot put a yardstick to them.
We cannot determine the length and breadth and the thickness of them.
There is only one test of facts. Do they lead us to firm belief? if
they do they have done the only duty they are capable of. You cannot
measure the light that shines about you; you cannot weigh it, but we
know when it is light because it shines into our hearts and eyes. That
is all there is to this question of reasonable doubt. Give the prisoner
every vestige of benefit of it. The last question to be answered is
taken from these facts together. Are you satisfied that it was done by
her? I have attempted, Mr. Foreman, how imperfectly none but myself can
say, to discharge the sad duty which has devolved upon me.

He who could have charmed and entertained and inspired you is still
detained by sickness, and it has fallen to my lot to fill unworthily
the place of the chief lawgiver of this commonwealth. But I submit
these facts to you with the confidence that you are men of courage and
truth. I have no other suggestion to make to you than that you shall
deal with them with that courage that befits sons of Massachusetts. I
do not put it on so low a ground as to ask you to avenge these horrid
deaths. O, no, I do not put it even on the ground of asking you to do
credit to the good old commonwealth of Massachusetts. I lift you higher
than that, gentlemen. I advance you to the altitude of the conscience
that must be the final master of us all. You are merciful men. The
wells of mercy, I hope, are not dried up in any of us. But this is not
the time nor the place for the exercise of it. That mighty prerogative
of mercy is not absent from the jurisprudence of this glorious old
commonwealth. It is vested in magistrates, one of the most conspicuous
of whom was the honored gentleman who has addressed you before me, and
to whom no appeal for mercy ever fell upon harsh or unwilling ears. Let
mercy be taken care of by those to whom you have intrusted the quality
of mercy. It is not strained in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. It
is not for us to discuss that. It is for us to answer questions, the
responsibility of which is not with you nor with me. We neither made
these laws, nor do we execute them. We are responsible only for the
justice, the courage, the ability with which we meet to find an answer
to the truth. Rise, gentlemen, rise to the altitude of your duty. Act
as as you would act when you stand before the great white throne at
the last day. What shall be your reward? The ineffable consciousness
of duty done. There is no strait so hard, there is no affliction so
bitter, that it is not made light and easy by the consciousness that
in times of trial you have done your duty and your whole duty. There
is no applause of the world, there is no station of hight, there is no
seduction of fame that can compensate for the gnawings of an outraged
conscience. Only he who hears the voice of his inner consciousness, it
is the voice of God himself saying to him “Well done, good and faithful
servant,” can enter into the reward and lay hold of eternal life.


Judge Dewey’s Charge to the Jury.

The chief justice addressed the prisoner as follows: Lizzie Andrew
Borden—Although you have now been fully heard by counsel, it is your
privilege to add any word which you may desire to say in person to the
jury. You now have that opportunity.

The prisoner arose and responded: “I am innocent. I leave it to my
counsel to speak for me.” The charge to the jury was then delivered by
Mr. Justice Dewey, as follows:

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury—You have listened with attention
to the evidence in this case, and to the arguments of the defendant’s
counsel and of the district attorney. It now remains for me, acting in
behalf of the court, to give you such aid towards a proper performance
of your duty as I may be able to give within the limits for judicial
action prescribed by law; and, to prevent any erroneous impression, it
may be well for me to bring to your attention, at the outset, that it
is provided by a statute of this state that the court shall not charge
juries with respect to matters of fact, but may state the testimony and
the law.

I understand the government to concede that defendant’s character
has been good: that it has not been merely a negative and natural
one that nobody had heard anything against, but one of positive, of
active benevolence in religious and charitable work. The question is
whether the defendant, being such as she was, did the acts charged
upon her. You are not inquiring into the action of some imaginary
being, but into the actions of a real person, the defendant, with
her character, with her habits, with her education, with her ways of
life, as they have been disclosed in the case. Judging of this subject
as reasonable men, you have the right to take into consideration her
character such as is admitted or apparent. In some cases it may
not be esteemed of much importance. In other cases it may raise a
reasonable doubt of a defendant’s guilt even in the face of strongly
criminating circumstances. What shall be its effect here rests in your
reasonable discretion. I understand the counsel for the government to
claim that defendant had towards her stepmother a strong feeling of
illwill, nearly if not quite amounting to hatred. And Mrs. Gifford’s
testimony as to a conversation with defendant in the early spring of
1892 is relied upon largely as a basis for that claim, supplemented
by whatever evidence there is as to defendant’s conduct towards her
stepmother. Now, gentlemen, in judging wisely of a case you need to
keep all parts of it in their natural and proper proportion, and not
put on any particular piece of evidence a greater weight than it
will reasonably bear, and not to magnify or intensify or depreciate
and belittle any piece of evidence to meet an emergency. I shall say
something before I have done on the caution to be used in considering
testimony as to conversations. But take Mrs. Gifford’s just as she
gave it, and consider whether or not it will fairly amount to the
significance attached to it, remembering that it is the language of a
young woman and not of a philosopher or a jurist.

[Illustration: THE JURY.]

What, according to common observation, is the habit of young women
in the use of language? Is it not rather that of intense expression,
whether that of admiration or dislike? Consider whether or not they
do not often use words which, strictly taken, would go far beyond
their real meaning. What you wish, of course, is a true conception of
the state of the mind of the defendant towards her stepmother, not
years ago, but later and nearer the time of the homicide, and to get
such a true conception you must not separate Mrs. Gifford’s testimony
from all the rest, but consider also the evidence as to how they
lived in the family, whether as Mrs. Raymond, I believe, said, they
sewed together on each other’s dresses, whether they went to church
together, sat together, returned together, in a word, the general tenor
of their life. You will particularly recall the testimony of Bridget
Sullivan and of defendant’s sister Emma bearing on the same subject.
Weigh carefully all the testimony on the subject, in connection with
the suggestions of counsel, and then judge whether or not there is
clearly proved such a permanent state of mind on the part of defendant
toward her stepmother as to justify you in drawing against her upon
that ground inferences unfavorable to her innocence. The law requires
that before a defendant can be found guilty upon either count in the
indictment every material allegation in it shall be proved beyond a
reasonable doubt.

Now you observe, gentlemen, that the government submits this case to
you upon circumstantial evidence. No witness testifies to seeing the
defendant in the act of doing the crime charged, but the government
seeks to establish by proof a body of facts and circumstances from
which you are asked to infer or conclude that the defendant killed
Mr. and Mrs. Borden. This is a legal and not unusual way of proving a
criminal case, and it is clearly competent for a jury to find a person
guilty of murder upon circumstantial evidence alone. Then, after you
have determined what specific facts are proved, you have remaining
the important duty of deciding whether or not you are justified in
drawing, and will draw, from those facts the conclusion of guilt.
Here, therefore, is a two-fold liability to error, first, in deciding
upon the evidence what facts are proved, and second, in deciding what
inference or conclusion shall be drawn from the facts. This is often
the critical or turning point in a case resting on circumstantial
evidence. The law warrants you in acting firmly and with confidence
on such evidence, but does require you to exercise a deliberate and
sober judgment, and use great caution not to form a hasty or erroneous
conclusion. You are allowed to deal with this matter with your minds
untrammeled by any artificial or arbitrary rule of law. As a great
judge has said: “The common law appeals to the plain dictates of common
experience and sound judgment.”

In other words, failure to prove a fact essential to the conclusion
of guilt, and without which that conclusion would not be reached, is
fatal to the government’s case, but failure to prove a helpful but not
an essential fact may not be fatal. Take an essential fact. All would
admit that the necessity of establishing the presence of the defendant
in the house, when, for instance, her father was killed, is a necessary
fact. The government could not expect that you would find her guilty of
the murder of her father by her own hand unless you are satisfied that
she was where he was when he was murdered. And if the evidence left you
in reasonable doubt as to that fact, so vital, so absolutely essential,
the government must fail of its case, whatever may be the force and
significance of other facts, that is, so far as it is claimed that she
did the murder with her own hands. The question of the relation of this
handleless hatchet to the murder. It may have an important bearing
upon the case, upon your judgment of the relations of the defendant to
these crimes, whether the crime was done by that particular hatchet or
not, but it cannot be said, and is not claimed by the government, that
it bears the same essential and necessary relation to the case that
the matter of her presence in the house does. It is not claimed by the
government but what that killing might have been done with some other
instrument. I understand the government to claim substantially that the
alleged fact that the defendant made a false statement in regard to
her stepmother’s having received a note or letter that morning bears
an essential relation to the case, bears the relation of an essential
fact, not merely the relation of a useful fact. And so the counsel,
in his opening, referring to that matter, charged deliberately upon
the defendant that she had told a falsehood in regard to that note. In
other words, that she had made statements about it which she knew at
the time of making them were untrue, and the learned district attorney,
in his closing argument, adopts and reaffirms that charge against the
defendant. Now what are the grounds on which the government claims
that that charge is false, knowingly false? There are three, as I
understand them. First, that the one who wrote it has not been found:
second, that the party who brought it has not been found, and third,
that no letter has been found. And substantially, if I understand the
position correctly, upon those three grounds you are asked to find that
an essential fact, a deliberate falsehood on the part of the defendant,
has been established. Now what answer or reply is made to this charge?
First, that the defendant had time to think of it; she was not put
in a position upon the evidence where she was compelled to make that
statement without an opportunity for reflection. If as the government
claims, she had killed her stepmother some little time before, she
had a period in which she could turn over the matter in her mind. She
must naturally anticipate, if she knew the facts, that the question
at no remote period would be asked her where Mrs. Borden was, or if
she knew where she was. She might reasonably and naturally expect that
that question would arise. Again, it would be urged in her behalf,
what motive had she to invent a story like this? What motive? Would it
not have answered every purpose to have her say, and would it not have
been more natural for her to say simply that her stepmother had gone
out on an errand or to make a call? What motive had she to take upon
herself the responsibility of giving utterance to this distinct and
independent fact of a letter or note received, with which she might be
confronted and which she might afterwards find it difficult to explain,
if she knew that no such thing was true? Was it a natural thing to say,
situated as they were, living as they were, living as they did, taking
the general tenor of their ordinary life, was it a natural thing for
her to invent? But it is said no letter was found. Suppose you look at
the case for a moment from her standpoint, contemplate the possibility
of there being another assassin than herself, might it not be a part
of the plan or scheme of such a person by such a document or paper to
withdraw Mrs. Borden from the house? If he afterward came in there,
came upon her, killed her, might he not have found the letter or note
with her, if there was one already in the room. Might he not have a
reasonable and natural wish to remove that as one possible link in
tracing himself? Taking the suggestions on the one side and the other,
judging the matter fairly, not assuming beforehand that the defendant
is guilty does the evidence satisfy you as reasonable men, beyond any
reasonable doubt, that these statements of the defendant in regard to
that note must necessarily be false.

However numerous may be the facts in the government’s process of
proof tending to show defendant’s guilt, yet if there is a fact
established—whether in that line of proof or outside of it—which
cannot reasonably be reconciled with her guilt, then guilt cannot
be said to be established. In order to warrant a conviction on
circumstantial evidence it is not necessary for the government to show
that by no possibility was it in the power of any other person than the
defendant to commit the crimes; but the evidence must be such as to
produce a conviction amounting to a reasonable and moral certainty that
the defendant and no one else did commit them. The government claims
that you should be satisfied upon the evidence that the defendant
was so situated that she had an opportunity to perpetrate both the
crimes charged upon her. Whether this claim is sustained is for your
judgment. By itself alone, the fact, if shown, that the defendant had
the opportunity to commit the crimes, would not justify a conviction;
but this fact, if established, becomes a matter for your consideration
in connection with the other evidence. When was Mrs. Borden killed?
At what time was Mr. Borden killed? Did the same person kill both of
them? Was defendant in the house when Mrs. Borden was killed? Was she
in the house when Mr. Borden was killed? Gentlemen, something has been
said to you by counsel as to defendant’s not testifying. I must speak
to you on this subject. The constitution of our State, in its bill of
rights, provides that: “No subject shall be compelled to secure or
furnish evidence against himself.” By the common law persons on trial
for crime have no right to testify in their own defense. We have now a
statute in these words: “In the trial of all indictments, complaints
and other proceedings against persons charged with the commission of
crimes or offences, a person so charged shall, at his own request,
but not otherwise, be deemed a competent witness; and his neglect or
refusal to testify shall not create any presumption against him.”
You will notice that guarded language of the statute. It recognizes
and affirms the common law rule that the defendant in a criminal
prosecution is an incompetent witness for himself, but it provides that
on one condition only, namely, his own request, he shall be deemed
competent. Till that request is made he remains incompetent. In this
case the defendant has made no such request, and she stands before you,
therefore, as a witness incompetent, and it is clearly your duty to
consider this case and form your judgment upon it as if the defendant
had no right whatever to testify. The Superior Court, speaking of a
defendant’s right and protection under the constitution and statutes,
uses these words: “Nor can any inference be drawn against him from
his failure to testify.” Therefore I say to you, and I mean all that
my words express, any argument, any implication, any suggestion, any
consideration in your minds unfavorable to defendant, based on her
failure to testify, is unwarranted in law. Nor is defendant called
upon to offer any explanation of her neglect to testify. If she were
required to explain, others might think the explanation insufficient.
Then she would lose the protection of the statute. It is a matter which
the law submits to her own discretion, and to that alone. The defendant
may say: “I have already told to the officers all that I know about
this case, and my statements have been put in evidence. Whatever is
mysterious to others is also a mystery to me. I have no knowledge more
than others have. I have never professed to be able to explain how or
by whom these homicides were committed.” There is another reason why
defendant might not wish to testify. Now she is sacredly guarded by
the law from all unfavorable inferences drawn from her silence. If she
testifies she becomes a witness, with less than the privileges of an
ordinary witness. She is subject to cross-examination. She may be asked
questions that are legally competent, which she is not able to answer,
or she may answer questions truly, and yet it may be argued against her
that her answers were untrue, and her neglect to answer perverse. Being
a party she is exposed to peculiar danger of having her conduct on the
stand and her testimony severely scrutinized and perhaps misjudged, of
having her evidence claimed to be of little weight, if favorable to
herself, and of great weight so far as any part of it shall admit of an
adverse construction. She is left free, therefore, to avoid such risks.

If, proceeding with due caution, and observant of the principles
which have been stated, you are convinced beyond reasonable doubt of
the defendant’s guilt, it will be your plain duty to declare that
conviction by your verdict. If the evidence falls short of producing
such conviction in your mind, although it may raise a suspicion of
guilt, or even a strong probability of guilt, it would be your plain
duty to return a verdict of not guilty. If not legally proved to be
guilty, the defendant is entitled to a verdict of not guilty. Then
take the matter of Mrs. Reagan’s testimony. It is suggested that there
has been no denial of that testimony, or, rather, that the persons who
busied themselves about getting the certificate from Mrs. Reagan had
no denial of it. Mr. Knowlton; “Not by me, sir. I admit it.” Judge
Dewey; “Admit what?” Mr. Knowlton; “That she did deny it.” Judge Dewey;
“Mrs. Reagan?” Mr. Knowlton; “Yes, sir.” Judge Dewey; “O, no doubt
about that. It is not claimed that Mrs. Reagan does not deny it. But
I say it is suggested that the parties who represented the defendant
in the matter, and who were seeking to get a certificate from Mrs.
Reagan were proceeding without having received any authority to get
the certificate, and without having had any assurance from anybody
that the statement was false and one that ought to be denied. You have
heard the statement of Miss Emma about it here; and it would be for
you to judge as reasonable men, whether such men as Mr. Holmes and the
clergymen and the other parties who were interesting themselves in that
matter, started off attempting to get a certificate from Mrs. Reagan
contradicting that report without first having taken any steps to
satisfy themselves that it was a report that ought to be contradicted.
Gentlemen, I know not what views you may take of the case, but it is
the gravest importance that it should be decided. If decided at all,
it must be decided by a jury. I know of no reason to expect that any
other jury could be supplied with more evidence or be better assisted
by the efforts of counsel. The case on both sides has been conducted
by counsel with great fairness, industry and ability. The law requires
that the jury shall be unanimous in their verdict, and it is their
duty to agree if they can conscientiously do so. And now, gentlemen,
the case is committed into your hands, the tragedy which has given to
this investigation such widespread interest and deeply excited public
attention and feeling. The press has ministered to this excitement by
publishing, without moderation, rumors and reports of all kinds. This
makes it difficult to secure a trial free from prejudice. You have
doubtless read, previous to the trial, more or less of the accounts
and discussions in the newspapers. You must guard, so far as possible,
against all impressions derived from having read in the newspapers
accounts relating to the question you have now to decide. You cannot,
consistently with your duty, go into discussion of those accounts in
any way. Use evidence only, for the discovery of the facts, and any
other course would be contrary to your duty. And, entering on your
deliberations with no pride of opinion, with impartial and thoughtful
minds, seeking only for the truth, you will lift the case above the
range of passion and prejudice and excited feeling, into the clear
atmosphere of reason and law. If you shall be able to do this, we can
hope that, in some high sense, this trial may be adopted into the order
of providence, and may express in its results somewhat of that justice
with which God governs the world.”

The jury retired to its room and remained one hour and ten minutes.

The jurors having answered to their names, the clerk said: Lizzie
Andrew Borden, stand up.

The prisoner arose.

The clerk—Gentlemen of the jury, have you agreed upon your verdict?

The foreman—We have.

The clerk—Please return the papers to the court.

The officer returned the papers to the clerk.

The clerk—Lizzie Andrew Borden, hold up your right hand. Mr. Foreman,
look upon the prisoner; prisoner, look upon the foreman. What say you,
Mr. Foreman.

The foreman (interrupting)—NOT GUILTY.

There was an outburst of applause from the spectators which was at once
checked by the officers. The prisoner dropped into her seat.

The clerk—Gentlemen of the jury, you upon your oaths do say that
Lizzie Andrew Borden, the prisoner at the bar, is not guilty?

Several jurors—We do.

The clerk—So say you, Mr. Foreman; so say all of you, gentlemen?

The foreman—We do.

Mr. Knowlton—May it please the court. There are pending two indictments
against the same defendant, one charging the murder which is charged in
this indictment on the first count, and the other charging the murder
which is charged in this indictment on the second count. An entry
should be made in those cases of _nol prossed_ by reason of the verdict
in this case. Now, congratulating the defendant and the counsel for
the defendant on the result of the trial, I believe the duties are

Judge Mason—The jurors may be seated.

The clerk—Lizzie Andrew Borden. (The prisoner arose.) The court order
that you be discharged of this indictment and go thereof without delay.

Judge Mason—The court desires to express to the jury its appreciation
of their faithful service, and recognize its performance under
conditions imposing great hardship upon the members of the jury. I
trust it is not necessary to assure them that it is only in deference
to the usages of the law and to what is deemed essential for the
safety of rights that they have been subjected to the inconvenience
in question. I trust that they will have the satisfaction of having
faithfully performed an important duty as their compensation for this
inconvenience. You are now discharged from any further attendance.

Thus ended, on the thirteenth day, the famous trial of Lizzie Andrew
Borden, and she returned guiltless to her friends and home in Fall



Times referenced in the original text sometimes use a period between
the digits and sometimes a colon. Periods between the digits have been
replaced with colons.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation remain as in the original.

The following corrections have been made to the original text:

    Page 11: two sat alone for some time[original has “sometime”]

    Page 12: “[quotation mark missing in original]No sir,”
    responded Miss Lizzie

    Page 15: stomachs could determine[original has “detemine”] that

    Page 17: to find under similar[original has “similiar”]

    Page 19: produces none of the ante-mortem[original has
    “anti-mortem”] symptoms

    Page 23: For twenty[original has “tweny”] years he was separated

    Page 24: He said in an interview[original has “inteview”]

    Page 27: “[quotation mark missing in original]Miss Borden then
    gave it

    Page 28: disposition, although not so strong.”[quotation mark
    missing in original]

    Page 31: bier and a bouquet[original has “boquet”] of white

    Page 36: went to the post office[original has “postoffice”]

    Page 46: elicited[original has “elicted”] answers to the effect

    Page 48: An unparalleled[original has “unparalelled”] horror it
    may be

    Page 49: story of his whereabouts[original has “wherabouts”] on
    that day

    Page 50: who might have been in confinement[original has

    Page 53: for five days the pace had been furious[original has

    Page 62: There may be some[original has “besome”] things which

    Page 62: never expected to be in such an awful
    predicament[original has “perdicament”]

    Page 64: proceeded to Mr. Jennings’[original has “Jenning’s”]

    Page 65: after requesting Mrs. Brigham[original has
    “Brightman”] to leave

    Page 71: “[quotation mark missing in original]Lizzie A. Borden,
    by her attorney

    Page 74: but we don’t know about Bridget Sullivan.”[quotation
    mark missing in original]

    Page 75: his motion had been overruled[original has “overuled”]

    Page 77: Officer Seaver and Rev. Mr.[period missing in original]

    Page 78: as it was[“was” missing in original] not customary

    Page 82: that day taken from[original has “trom”] Taunton Jail
    and brought by rail to Fall River.[original has a comma]

    Page 82: be at any sessions[original has “sessons”] of the

    Page 86: followed in which there was animated talk.[period
    missing in original]

    Page 86: a vain endeavor[original has “endeaver”] to keep the

    Page 87: largely increased number of reporters.[period missing
    in original]

    Pages 107-8: She said: ‘[original has single quote]Somebody has
    killed father

    Page 108: “I didn’t see him.”[original has single quote]

    Page 109: iron with which to fit the screens.”[quotation mark
    missing in original]

    Page 109: I have seen her wear before.”[original has single

    Page 110: Then she went out.”[quotation mark missing in

    Page 112: asked me if I must search[original has “seach”] that

    Page 112: I searched the room.”[quotation mark missing in

    Page 113: I think, on the other side.”[quotation mark missing
    in original]

    Page 114: labelled ‘[original has double quote]Milk of August

    Page 118: could go back and talk with father.”[original has
    single quote]

    Page 119: when my father returned.[period missing in original]

    Page 121: the window and opened it.”[original has quotation
    mark followed by a period]

    Page 121: “[quotation mark missing in original]I thought you
    said you could see

    Page 121: the same as you in a few minutes?[original has a
    period preceding the question mark]

    Page 122: spare room that morning.”[quotation mark missing in

    Page 124: [original has extraneous quotation mark]Mr. Knowlton
    now stopped reading

    Page 132: Mr. Phillips, Mr. Jennings’[original has “Jenning’s”]

    Page 135: can’t also conceive of a villain[original has

    Page 140: await the action of the Superior[original has
    “Supertor”] Court

    Page 140: Marshal Hilliard[original has “Hillard”] and Officer

    Page 140: and ex-Congressman Davis for Mr.[period missing in
    original] Morse

    Page 144: are some things[original has “somethings”] however
    upon which all parties agree

    Page 148: saying, ‘[original has double quote]I know a great

    Page 152: question, ‘[original has double quote]Trickey, did
    you not promise to come down to my office with the balance of
    that $5000?’[original has double quote] and he replied, ‘Yes.’

    Page 156: “Who?[original has ”who?”]” asked Trickey.

    Page 162: prisoner, “[quotation mark missing in
    original]probably that is so

    Page 172: changed her dress[original has “dressed”] and put on

    Page 174: shoes, stockings, dress, skirt.[original has
    extraneous quotation mark]

    Page 174: follows: “[original has extraneous quotation mark]The
    most rigid examination

    Page 181: she could not go[original has “not got go”] into
    those rooms

    Page 185: “[quotation mark missing in original]I knew all of
    the family well

    Page 185: some one has killed father.’[quotation mark missing in

    Page 191: and I will let you know about it.’’[quotation mark
    missing in original]

    Page 195: blood might have scattered.[period missing in

    Page 197: [original has extraneous quotation mark]I spoke, and
    called Mrs. Borden

    Page 197: and no ‘[quotation mark missing in original]good-bye’

    Page 203: that the government’s[original has “goverment’s”]
    testimony and claim

    Page 205: door open, with officers[original has “offices”] on
    every side

    Page 208: I heard Mr. Jennings’[original has “Jenning’s”] voice

    Page 214: [original has extraneous quotation mark]Gentlemen,
    all I have to show you

    Page 216: [original has extraneous quotation mark]This
    defendant comes before you

    Page 226: there sits the defendant[original has “defendent”]

    Page 238: piece of tin or iron to fix my screen.’”[single quote
    missing in original]

    Page 242: Mr. Mullaly[original has “Mullally”] is one of the

    Page 245: go by the corner of[“of” missing in original] the room

    Page 246: horrible sight met her gaze[original has “gase”]

    Page 250: be up in the morning at[original has “a”] 4 o’clock

    Page 254: commit a falsehood by giving us that.”[quotation mark
    missing in original]

    Page 258: [original has extraneous quotation mark]But,
    gentlemen, hang upon that

    Page 266: Were she a villain[original has “villian”] and
    a rascal, she would have done as villains[original has
    “villians”] and rascals do.

    Page 279: utterly fair man, Prof.[period missing in original]

    Page 284: It[original has “In”] was the indecisive blow of

    Page 287: I won’t[original has “wont”] discuss with you the

    Page 291: as the Bible commanded him to.[original has a comma]

    Page 291: They always[original has “alway”] do.

    Page 292: vitals of crime is[“is” missing in original] not a

    Page 294: the screen door was wide open,”[quotation mark
    missing in original]

    Page 295: treat him with entire fairness[original has

    Page 298: blue diamond printed on it.”[quotation mark missing
    in original]

    Page 303: have intrusted the quality[original has “quallty”] of

    Page 304: concede that defendant’s[original has “defendants’”]

    Page 308: compelled to secure or furnish[original has
    “furnsih”] evidence

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Fall River Tragedy - A History of the Borden Murders" ***

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