A plea of mercy

Solo disponible en BuenasTareas
  • Páginas : 9 (2135 palabras )
  • Descarga(s) : 0
  • Publicado : 7 de junio de 2011
Leer documento completo
Vista previa del texto
A Plea for Mercy
Delivered by Clarence Darrow
September 1924
Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don’t know
whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I
joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe
because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong,justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world.
For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian
against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to
kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children
played at war. The toddling children on the street. Doyou suppose this world has
ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get
back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will
it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be
We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we
rejoiced in it-if it wasthe other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and
drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many
upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder,
some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned
to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were
brought up in it.The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their
schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common
frenzy-what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and
these boys were trained to this cruelty.
It will take fifty years to wipe it out of the human heart, if ever. I know this, that
after theCivil War in 1865, crimes of this sort increased, marvelously. No one
needs to tell me that crime has no cause. It has as definite a cause as any other
disease, and I know that out of the hatred and bitterness of the Civil War crime
increased as America had never seen before. I know that Europe is going through
the same experience to-day; I know it has followed every war; and I knowit has
influenced these boys so that life was not the same to them as it would have been if
the world had not made red with blood. I protest against the crimes and mistakes
of society being visited upon them. All of us have a share in it. I have mine. I cannot
tell and I shall never know how many words of mine might have given birth to
cruelty in place of love and kindness and charity.Your Honor knows that in this very court crimes of violence have increased
growing out of the war. Not necessarily by those who fought but by those that
learned that blood was cheap, and human life was cheap, and if the State could take
it lightly why not the boy? There are causes for this terrible crime. There are causes
as I have said for everything that happens in the world.War is a part of it;
education is a part of it; birth is a part of it; money is a part of it-all these conspired
to compass the destruction of these two poor boys.
Has the court any right to consider anything but these two boys? The State says
that your Honor has a right to consider the welfare of the community, as you have.
If the welfare of the community would be benefited bytaking these lives, well and
good. I think it would work evil that no one could measure. Has your Honor a right
to consider the families of these defendants? I have been sorry, and I am sorry for
the bereavement of Mr. and Mrs. Frank, for those broken ties that cannot be
healed. All I can hope and wish is that some good may come from it all. But as
compared with the families of Leopold...
tracking img