The Northern Press on Underwood's Charge

May 10, 1867


Five black men have been appointed to the jury-box, creating a case that is extremely unique.This is very strange and unparalleled for the courts of Virginia and Richmond.


The Northern Press on Underwood's Charge. From the New York Herald. The charge of Judge Underwood to the grand jury in Richmond on Monday is without a parallel. With its whining cant of martyrdom, its bitter curses of the defunct Confederacy, and its foul-mouthed abuse of Richmond, with its spluttering poetic quotations, with its ecstatic applause of [Thad. Stevens], with all its angry and ridiculous rhetoric, this charge is the strangest mixture of drivel and furious nonsense which ever disgraced the bench. In getting himself up ambitiously to "act well his part,"Judge Underwood must have had a confused notion of taking for models Jeffreys, Parson Brownlow, and Robert Shallow, Esquire, justice of the peace, and Coram and Custalorum, and Ruto-Corum, too. None but some of Shakspeare's queerest original characters, if revived to-day, could utter such a farrago of rant and fustian as this unprecedented charge. It is certainly unique; and additional peculiarities of the occasion were the presence of five black men in the jury-box, and the appointment of John Minor Butts as foreman of the grand jury.
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“The Northern Press on Underwood's Charge,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 24, 2022,