WRONG MAN TRIED
The China Trial
We were there yesterday, not because we were obliged to go, but just because we wanted to. The more we see of this aggravated trial the more profound does our admiration for it become. It has more faces than the moon has in a chapter of the almanac.
It commenced as an assassination; the assassinated man neglected to die, and they turned it into assault and battery; after this the victim did die, whereupon his murderers were arrested and tried yesterday for perjury; they convicted one Chinaman, but when they found out it was the wrong one, they let him go - and why they should have been so almighty particular is beyond our comprehension; then, in the afternoon, the officers went down and arrested Chinatown again for the same old offense, and put it in jail,- but what shape the charge will take this time no man can foresee: the chances are that it will be about a standoff between arson and robbing the mail.
Capt. White hopes to get the murderers of the Chinaman hung one of these days, and so do we, for that matter, but we do not expect anything of the kind. You see, these Chinamen sire all alike, and they cannot identify each other. They mean well enough, and they really show a disinterested anxiety to get some of their friends and relatives hung, but the same misfortune overtakes them every time: they make mistakes and get the wrong man, with unvarying accuracy.
With a zeal in behalf of justice which cannot be too highly praised, the whole Chinese population have accused each other of this murder, each in his regular turn. But fate is against them. They cannot tell each other apart. There is only one way to manage this thing with strict equity: hang the gentle Chinese promiscuously until justice is satisfied. --Mark Twain
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