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3 > Page 3 of Argument of J. Proctor Knott in re Varney Hatfield et al., on habeas corpus before the United States district court of Kentucky, February 28, 1888

ANCTUM EBNT. MAY IT PLEASE TILE COURT: We are admonished by Holy Writ that man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble; he cometh forth as a flower and is cut downl; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. To-day he puts forth The tender leaves o' hope; to-morrow blossoms, And bears his lslish ing honors thick upon him: The third came a trost, a killing frost; And when lie thinks, good, easy man, full surely His greatness is ripening," he falls, like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth. I have not the time, therefore, even if I had the inclination, to follow thle learne(l counsel who opened the case for the prisoners, in his excur- sions beyond the legitimate domain of the present inquiry, either to (lisdss questions which the Court has already expressed its de- termination not to consider; or to argue a supposititious case of murder upon an imaginary slate of facts; or to insist that the Court should not assume authority to twist the well-settled principles of law awry, in order to promote the (levelopment of the marvelous mineral resources which lie on either side of the line between this State and West Virginia. On the contrary, it is my purpose, in the remarks I shall have the honor to submit in relation to the matter at bar, to be as brief as II can, consistently, with the importance of the principles involved; and I trust in dealing with those principles I shall be controlled en- tirely by that decent respect and perfect candor that should always characterize the conduct of counsel towards courts of justice of what- ever dignity or degree. If, however, I should advert to propositions which may have been already discussed, or seem at any time to dwell at undue length upon principles with which your Honor is thoroughly familiar, it will be through no lack of confidence in your Honor's legal Thtelli- gence, nor from any disposition to abuse the courtesy or trifle with the patience of the Court, but nerely to preserve, as well as I can, the se- (quence of my argument. ( 3)