Old Judge Duffy
Old John Martin Duffy was judge in our court
In a small ranching town in the West;
Although he knew nothing about rules of the law.
For judge he was one of the best.
One night in the winter a murder occurred,
And our blacksmith accused of the crime.
They caught him red-handed and though he'd two trials,
The verdict was guilty each time.
Now he was the only good blacksmith we had,
And we wanted to spare him his life;
So Duffy rose up in the court like a lord,
And with these words he settled the strife:
"I move we discharge him. We need him in town,"
Then spoke out the words that have gained him renown:
"We've two Chinese laundrymen, everyone knows.
Why not save the poor blacksmith and hang one of those?"
From Southern Folk Ballads, McNeill. Collected from Clem Adams,
AK, 1978. Obviously a spiritual relation of Judge Roy Bean.