Mr. Chief Justice FULLER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court:
'How unjust, how cruel, what a mockery, what a sham, what a bloody crime, it would be, upon the part of this government, to send a man out into that Golgotha* to officers, and command them, in the solemn name of the president of the United States, to execute these processes, and say to them: 'Men may defy you; men may arm themselves, and hold you at bay; they may obstruct your process; they may intimidate your execution of it; they may hinder you in making [Page 153 U.S. 614, 627] the arrest; they may delay you in doing it by threats of armed violence upon you; and yet I am unable, as chief executive of this government, to assure you that you have any protection whatever!' ... What was this posse to do? What was he commanded to do? To go into the Indian country, and hunt up Mr. Starr, and say to him that on a certain day 'the judge of the federal court at Ft. Smith will want your attendance at a little trial down there, wherein you are charged with horse stealing, and you will be kind enough, sir, to put in your attendance on that day; and the judge sends his compliments to you, Mr. Starr?' Is that his mission? Is that the message from this court that is to be handed to Mr. Starr upon a silver platter, with all the formalities of polite society? Is that what Floyd Wilson was employed or engaged to do? No. This court did not have anything to do with that command. It does not go in the name of this court. It goes in the name of the chief executive officer,-the president of the United States. What does he say, of course acting for the people? ... Without these officers, what is the use of this court? It takes men who are brave to uphold the law here. I say, because of this, and because there is no protection unless the law is upheld by men of this kind, if it be true that you are satisfied of the fact, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Floyd Wilson was a man of this kind, that he was properly in the execution of the high duty devolving upon him, and while so properly executing it, by the light of these principles of the law I have given you, his life was taken by this defendant, your solemn duty would be to say that he is guilty of the crime of murder, because, if the law has been violated, it is to be vindicated. You are to stand by the nation. You are to say to all the people that no man can trample upon the law, wickedly, violently, and ruthlessly; that it must be upheld if it has been violated.'