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"I am quite aware that Mr. O'Hara is not a graduate of Harvard and does not appear as a former student upon the printed list of such students. Also, I am pleased that a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former student of mine was elected Governor of Rhodo Island.
Mr. Quinn carried out the best traditions of our School in the admirable public statement that he made when he was Lieutenant Governor, as to the reforms that ought to be carried out by the proposed constitutional convention to bring up-to-date the antiquated features of the fundamental law of the State.
However, the previous careers of these two men and the question whether either or both of them was at Harvard can have nothing to with my opinions about the legal merits of the Governor's proclamation of martial law and about the unfairness of his midnight arrest of Mr. O'Hara in a private libel action for damages of astronomical proportions.
If I have sometimes found the law to be favorable to Mr. O'Hara, this is not due to any liking for him, because in newspapers he has frequently attacked two members of my family for whom I have the highest possible admiration. This personal dislike for Mr. O'Hara, shared by many of my former fellow-citizens in Rhode Island, throws on us an even heavier obligation to be sure that Mr. O'Hara's constitutional rights are not invaded.
Lord Justice Scrutton said in a great English decision upholding the liberties of a disagreeable Irish agitator:
"The law of this country has been very Jeaious of any infringement of personal liberty. This care is not to be exercised less vigllantly, because the citizen whose liberty is in question may not be particularly meritorious. It is indeed one test of belief in principles if you apply them to cases with which you have no sympathy at all."
And the late Judge Cuthbert Pound of New York pungently remarked:
"The rights of the best of men are secure only as the rights of the vilest and most abhorrent are protected."
If the Governor requests, I shall be glad to print his letter in my forthcoming pamphlet on Legal Problems of the Rhode Island Race-track Row."
Governor Quinn's Letter
"My attention has been called to a defense of Walter E. O'Hara which has, strangely enough, come out of Harvard University.
Writing in the Harvard CRIMSON, Professor Zechariah Chafee, Jr., getting his background on the race-track situation here from the Boston newspapers, has written a series of articles, parts of which Mr. O'Hara has seen fit to use in his newspaper in defense of himself.
The purport of Professor Chafee's article really amounts to no more than that I am responsible for my actions as Governor.
O'Hara Secretary's Telegram
Mr. O'Hara in New York and will return middle part next week. To best my knowledge Mr. O'Hara has never has been enrolled as student at Harvard and has never made statement that he was. He did operate News Service out of Crimson several years ago with Joseph Slocum. Margaret T. Boodry, Secretary
I wonder whether this defense of O'Hara has anything to do with the lie he has spread that he is a Harvard man?
Of course I am. I have acted all along with a full realization of that, and I am perfectly willing to have the people pass upon those actions at the proper time. I would call Professor Chafee's attention to the fact that I am a graduate of Harvard Law School.
But I would also like to call his attention to what Mr. O'Hara has said about his being a graduate of Harvard. This may show Professor Chafee something about the kind of man he is lending himself to defend.
When Walter E. O'Hara first came to Rhode Island he told the substantial citizens who were induced to invest money in his race track that he was a Harvard graduate.
This is a favorite story of his. The Boston Record carried a long story of the "career of Walter O'Hara", during which they printed a picture of "Walter E. O'Hara, Racing Czar of Rhode Island, as he appeared at the age of 23 when he was a student at Harvard.
The man who wrote that series even went to see O'Hara who told him "I was out of College five years before I was making as much money as I did as a student". And O'Hara provided him with details of his career at Harvard. Is the Harvard CRIMSON helping out an old Harvard grad?
Well, I have a telegram today from David W. Bailey of the Harvard Alumni Directory. This telegram from Cambridge states: "Name Walter E. O'Hara does not appear on official Harvard records of former students in any University department. Walter's brother Neal is a member of Class of 1915."
When Walter O'Hara was 23 he was not in Harvard; he was in Fall River . . . and he was a married man--married to a lady who later divorced him on the grounds of cruel and abusive treatment. But that is another story. What I wanted to make clear is the false protense of this man as to his Harvard connections.
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