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Hon. Warren Ransom Davis
(b. 8 May 1793 - d. 29 Jan 1835) Range 30 Site 66-68
A Representative from South Carolina. Graduated from the University of S. Carolina in 1810. Studied law and practiced in Pendleton, S. Carolina. Elected as a State Rights Democrat to the 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd Congresses and served from 1827 until his death.
The National Intelligencer, Saturday, January 31, 1835
The funeral of the late lamented Warren R. Davis, of S. Carolina, took place yesterday from the Capitol, according to previous arrangement. The gloom of the day rendered the occasion yet more gloomy. Neither House of Congress transacted business afterwards; the Senate adjourning over to Monday.
An occurrence took place at the close of the ceremony at the Capitol, which produced naturally a great sensation at the time, which can be heard by no one without shuddering, and which, if the consequence had been equal to the apparent purpose, would have signalized the day by a horrible catastrophe.
[We were not witnesses of it, and, in our account of it, speak from information, but from information entirely to be relied on.]
As the President of the United States (Jackson), who was present at the solemn ceremony of the funeral, came into the portico of the Capitol from the Rotundo, a person stepped forward from the crowd into the space in front of the President, and snapped a pistol at him, the percussion-cap of which exploded without igniting the charge! This person was struck down by a blow from Lieutenant Gedney, of the Navy, who happened to be near; he also received a blow promptly aimed at him by Mr. Secretary Woodbury; but, before receiving either blow, snapped a second pistol at the President. The cap of that lock also exploded without igniting the charge! The perpetrator of this daring outrage was of curse immediately seized and taken in custody by the Marshal of the District, by whom he was carried to the City Hall, where he underwent an examination before Chief Justice Cranch. His name, it appears, is Richard Lawrence, by trade a painter, a resident for tow or three years in the first ward of this city, and formerly of Georgetown. The gentlemen whose testimony was taken before the Judge, were Mr. Secretary Woodbury, Mr. Secretary Dickerson, Mr. Burd, Representative from Pennsylvania, Mr. Randolph, Sergeant at Arms of the House, Mr. Kingman, one of the Reporters for the National Intelligencer, and Lieutenant Gedney. The pistols, which had been secured by Mr Burd, were of brass, and, on examination in court, were found to be well loaded with powder and ball, which our readers would suppose, until the fact is stated, could hardly have been possible. How extraordinary (and O how fortunate!) the failure of the evident design of this miserable maniac, (for so he must be considered, under all the circumstances,) against the life of the President! We say he is a maniac because the act shews him to be insane, and not because any evidence of his insanity was produced on his examination; though we have heard that he has been heretofore confined for acts of violence indicating an unsound mind.
On his examination, the unhappy man declined making any explanation or cross-examining the witnesses. We have hard no rational motive even conjectured for his crime.
The offence being a bailable one, and excessive bail being forbidden, bail was demanded to the amount of a thousand dollars, for want of which the prisoner was committed for trial, the Judge intimating that if he had been able to give bail, sufficient securities would have been required, in addition, to insure his good behavior. He will be tried of course at the next term of the court.
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