DAYTON, Tenn., July 11, 1925 (UP) - "Are we going to be permitted to defend ourselves?" is the issue sharply thrust into the Scopes evolution trial today by attorneys for the defense.
Clarence Darrow and his staff of legal assistants took advantage of the pause in the trial to confer on how best to meet the unexpected resistance of William Jennings Bryan and the prosecution to admission of scientific evidence.
The defense regard the evidence question as the most vital of the whole case and are ready for a spectacular battle in support of their right to introduce scientific evidence when court reconvenes Monday.
"It simply settles down to a clear-cut question," said Dudley Field Malone of Scopes' counsel today, "and that question is whether we are going to be permitted to defend ourselves."
The court's ruling on the point of scientific evidence possibly will have a major effect on the trial and may expedite its termination if the ruling is adverse to the defense.
Already at a disadvantage because of the dominant anti-evolution viewpoint of those who know anything about the subject at all when called to jury service, the defense is not in a happy frame of mind.
It was generally conceded that in so far as the case in this court is concerned, the procedure purely is perfunctory.
Scopes is expected to be found guilty, largely because the people hereabouts know and believe only one theory of the origin of man and that is the story of divine origin as related in the first chapter of Genesis.
Meanwhile, Dayton chafes during the lull in the battle. The harvest reaped by the concessionaires from the moderate crowd present for the opening of the trial whetted their appetites for more.
The townsfolk stood around the streets discussing the case. They were particularly proud of the showing made by the "Tennessee boys" on the prosecution side against Darrow, who they have been told is the greatest lawyer in America.
"Young Gordon showed himself mighty smart, I'll tell you," they said to each other. Gordon McKenzie crossed swords with Darrow from time to time during the examination of the jurors.
The big bare courtroom was deserted today, contrasting with the suffocating crowd yesterday.
Scarcely anybody came even to the courthouse grounds and the barbecue shed was void of customers, while the proprietor groaned about Dayton being a "bum fair town."
"I guess I shove on to Memphis or Birmingham if this keeps up," he said. "I make the round of all these carnivals." That was his opinion of Dayton's epoch-making event.
The tent shows, featuring Tom's comedians and the Trail of the Lonesome Pine, ballyhooed in vain last night for crowds that weren't here and then closed up shop for the night without playing.
Judge Raulston said he was going to "enjoy a rest." Mrs. Raulston, Mrs. Davis, her mother and the two Raulston girls left Dayton in their car for Winchester.
They came to attend only the opening session and pride-fully watched their relative launch what seems to them the greatest event in the world.
General Ben McKenzie, senior prosecution counsel, was recovering after fainting at his office during the noon hour yesterday following the morning session. He said he would be back on the job Monday to "match galluses with Darrow."
Judge John Godsey, who withdrew from the defense staff allegedly because of a nervous breakdown, was around Robinson's Drug Store today, apparently relieved at the burden taken off his shoulders.
He would not discuss his action, but it was forecast when he introduced Bryan Tuesday night, with such fervor, saying Dayton would follow him in a presidential campaign again if he would run.
The town as a whole could find words to discuss only incidents of the opening session.
They counted on Bryan to "show up" the defense, but that was the only way in which they expressed their conviction that the prosecution would win and John Thomas Scopes be found guilty.
They commiserated with J.T. Massengale, a Baptist minister in the neighborhood, and W.A. Ault, dry goods merchant, who they believe wanted to get on the jury but were challenged and rejected.
Massengale was back in the mountains today preparing for his round of four churches tomorrow. Ault was busy promoting his "clearance sale" at his little store on Main Street.
Uniformed police from Chattanooga gave the natives a thrill. It is the first time such a spectacle has been seen here.
Squire Smith of City Court said only one man had been pointed out to them to watch and all the rest were assumed to be law abiding.
Only two arrests have been made so far by all law officers combined; one for bootlegging, who was turned over to the grand jury, and one for parking. He was dismissed.
Electricians were busy on the radio broadcasting and amplifying system today, after a fruitless endeavor to get them started yesterday.
Two pedestals were installed near the judge's bench in the courtroom to hold the microphones, and the loudspeakers were tried out around the courthouse grounds for the benefit of the few overalled natives who were attracted by the noise.