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THE OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

Chemists in those days were few, and the prosecution subpoenaed the only one within a radius of 300 miles. It was proved on the trial that the husband had eaten a cake in which arsenic had been put, and he testified that one grain was a fatal done. "Well I took the chemist, judge and jury to a bakery and had the baker mix a" cake in their presence and put in two grains of arsenic and bake the cake while they looked on. When done it was brought to the court by the judge.
"I began by saying that the celebrated chemist had sworn that one grain of arsenic would produce death. In this cake were two grains, a fact which judge, jury and chemist acknowledged. I thereupon ate the cake, after which I began my address to the jury and spoke for three hours, at the end of which time I drew their attention to the fact that I was not dead yet and demanded the acquittal of my client, which the jury did without leaving their seats. ' "'How did you account for your escape?' asked the reporter.
" 'Oh ? laughed the jolly Colonel, 'at that time I was used to eating from six to seven grains of arsenic without feeling the worse for it.
"The case was a celebrated one in Michigan and as yet remembered by old settlers, particularly in and about Hillsdale county, and it was the making of Col. Van Arman. " Van Annan was an honest lawyer; let the following vouch for it: Charles Lay, now of Chicago, was justice of the peace in LeRoy, Calhoun county, when, in 1843, John Kewney, of Battle Creek, was tried before him for the crime of burning the barn of William Wilson. His brother-in-law, Van Arman, was Wilson's counsel. During the trial Justice Lay, after listening to the discussion of a point of law by the lawyers, for an hour or more, and I still being so fogged that he could not come to a clear decision on the point, finally called Van Arman aside and asked him which one was right on the question.

Michigan


Page 22


 


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