Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Secretary of the Interior for the Year 1872

Washington, (DC): GPO, 1872. First edition. 8vo. 318 pp. The report deals with immigration to western public lands, expansion of railroads, Native American issues, the Geological survey, etc. Judge Isaac Parker's copy, with his signature on the title page; Parker (1838-1896), remembered as the "hanging judge," oversaw 13,940 cases on his docket as the presiding U.S. District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith, Arkansas, between 1875 and 1895, overseeing much of the Indian Territory in addition to portions of Arkansas. Of this number, 9454 persons, about 70 per cent of those tried by him, were either convicted by a jury or entered pleas of guilty. 344 were tried to capital offenses and 151 convicted; of those 76 were executed, one was killed while attempting to escape, four died in jail, two were pardoned, and the remaining 68, all given sentenced to death by Parker, had their sentences commuted by the President to long terms in prison. "Cruel they have said I am, but they forget the utterly hardened character of the men I dealt with. They forget that in my court jurisdiction alone, sixty-five deputy marshals were murdered in the discharge of their duty. Wilson, who was connected with the Starr gang, was one of the men whom I sentenced to death. It did not appear to me to be an act of cruelty to sentence that fellow to hand by the neck until he was dead ... the trouble is with the bench and behind it the maudlin sentimentality that forgets and condones a crime upon which the blood stains have dried. The bench is indifferent and careless. The avarice, which is the curse of this age, has so poisoned the people that civil law for the protection of property concerns it more than the criminal law which protects life. 'Which is of greater value, your house or your life!" asks the bench, and the people by their attitude in specific instances answers: 'My house.' Small wonder that the bench comes to take the same view and adjudges accordingly" [from an 1896 interview with Ada Patterson at the Fort Smith National Historic Site webpage]. Marbled paper on the upper board eroded, but a very good copy with a nice association. Contemporary brown three-quarter leather (joints rubbed) and marbled boards, endpapers, and edges. (#8369). Item #61239

Price: $1,500.00

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