« ForrigeFortsett »
United States, and it appears from the documents on you table, that at least ninety thousand dollars were actually disbursed, in a short time, by the agent of the United States, for these purposes. This fact furnishes abundant proof of the publi spirit and good faith with which the government of the United States, at that time, acted towards Georgia, but, as these payments were all prior to the treaty of cession, in 1802, they do not touch the position that the balance of the claim was adjusted under that treaty. Mr. HAMilton, after noticing, briefly, some observations which had been made in opposition to the report of the committee, concluded by remarking, that, if the House should come to the conclusion that the committee had erred in confirming the construction which Mr. Lincoln, and the several committees of that House, for a period of upwards of twenty years, had put on the treaty of 1802, he should only say, that, for one, (and he was certain that he spoke the sentiments of the whole committee,) he would be exceedingly gratified to receive its instructions to report a bill to provide for the payment of the surviving soldiers of the war to which the claims have reference, or to their legal representatives. All pride of opinion, in this event, would be lost in the conviction that the committee must have erred, and unintentionally have done injustice. But, until corrected by a contrary decision of the House, they were constrained to believe that the claims under discussion had been paid in the manner for which he had contended. Mr. FORSYTH, of Georgia, in reply to Mr. HAMILtox, said, the gentleman who had just taken his seat had committed several mistakes as to the facts of the case before the House, which it would be best to correct while the remembrance of his argument was fresh in the minds of the members. He stated that there had been no favorable decision from a standing committee; that all the favorable reports were from select committees. A bill was reported at the last Congress by a standing committee of the Senate. The bill passed the Senate, but was not acted upon formally here. [Mr. HAMILtoN explained, that his remark was confined to committees of the House of Representatives.] Mr. F. was not prepared to dispute the fact, that unfavorable reports had been made by standing committees and favorable by select committees. He did not perceive that this ought to prejudice the claimants iteports were not considered as authority: their value depended upon the matter contained in them, and they were confirmed or rejected according to the judgment of the House, after careful examination of their contents. The two reports against the claim, were, 1st, that of the Committee of Claims of 1803; 2d, that of the Military Committee of the last session. Both committees occupy the same ground, that the claims were due by Georgia in 1794, and that the responsibility of the United States was removed by the compact of 1802. Both committees, in my judgment, erred, from the want of due consideration of the documents. The gentleman from South Carolina has satisfied me by his argument of to-day, that the Military Com. mittee have in this case relied too much upon the previous reports, and have therefore failed to examine accurately the original papers. He says, with regret, that two letters of the Governor of Georgia are not to be had. This is a mistake. Both those letters are in a pamphlet now in my hand, printed at the present session of Congress. He states, also, that this business originated in an application from the Governor of Georgia for aid from the General Government in 1792. This was not so.The origin of this claim is a letter from the Secretary of War to the Governor, warning him of impending danger, and urging him to take preparatory measures. The letter to which the gentleman alludes, is the answer to the Secretary of War. The measures preparatory to meet the danger, were taken, and notice given to the War Department. A discretionary power was then giv
en. Troops were called out; a dispute arose about the number called out; an explanation was given, and the General Government was satisfied. The concluding part of the letter of the Secretary of War expresses a hope that the large force will be dismissed when the danger is passed, provided the safety of the frontier will admit of it. The Governor at this time received also au. thority to call out the militia of South Carolina, if neces. sary, through the Governor of that State, who was offcially informed, from the Department of War, that the expense incurred would be paid by the General Govern: ment. The Military Committee, with the Committee of Claims of 1803, both consider the Governor of Georgia as defending the state, under the constitution and laws of the United States, in his character of Governor. He acted as the special agent of the War Department under a written authority. He addressed himself as such to the Department. He gave notice as such of his move. ments. The United States knew the number of troops; never objected to the number until there was an approhension that they were to be used for invading the In. dian territory. This the Department wished to prevent, lest we should be involved in a war with Spain. The Governor had contemplated an invasion, and was making preparations for it. It was prevented by orders from the war Department. But, sir, if the Governor had invaded the Indian territory, and desolated the whole region to the banks of the Mississippi, this act could not have impaired the right of the militia to their daily pay. I pray the recollection of the House of the letter of the Governor of Georgia, written on the application of the war department, in 1794, after the Indian war had end. ed. This letter has also escaped the notice of the Mili. tary Committee. The Governor says the militia were used only defensively, or in pursuit of invading Indians; that their services were indispensable to the safety of the frontier. All difficulty is solved by the compact of 1802. This cuts the Gordian knot for all the committees, and releases the United States from all liability. What are the arguments in support of this opinion, now offered by the gen: tleman, or heretofore used by others? The gentleman applies to this contract for a sale of territory between Georgia and the United States, the rule of international law that, when nations have a treaty for the settlement of pecuniary claims, all those existing previously to the contract, are taken to be embraced by it. Without inquiry into the correctness of the rule, which might be disputed with safety, I have to say that this compact was not for the settlement of pecuniary. claims. The United States wanted to have a cession of territory, and Georgia was willing to make it. All that the state desired was, that the territory, itself, should pay all the debts due by Georgia, and for which that territory had been pledged by that state. But, the gentleman insists that these militia services were the consideration for which the one million and * quarter was paid Sir, this is a mockery of GeorgiaYou pay her a sum of money out of the proceeds of the property she gave you, and then gravely say this settles all disputes. You must pay all our obligations to your militia. I have already endeavored to show that the words in the compact were introduced to show the mo: tive which Justified Georgia in demanding any payment for the lands ceded for the general benefit. The stato troop bounties, the gentleman says, cannot be referred to, because the United States were not answerable" those debts. But, was not Georgia answerable; ho not bound herself to pay them out of this fund. ..!!!"; were the case, could the Commissioners of the United States refuse to provide the means of paying them out of the fund 2 the United states were, however, answerable "" every principle of equity. Georgia was a membo: the confederation. That confederation was bound"
pay for the common defence, and these expenses were incurred for the common defence. But, sir, the gentleman urges not upon the compact, but on Mr. Lincoln's vague recollections of the conversations of the commissioners who framed that compact. Look to the instrument, and there is no difficulty. The example of Virginia and North Carolina was followed, to the benefit of the Georgia claimants, and to that of the states formed out of the ceded territory. I will not repeat what has been already urged on this point. The gentleman says, suppose the United States' Commissioners thought the present claim ought to have been included, then it would have been included, to absolve the United States; and, from this supposition, he concludes that it was included. Now, sir, it appears that the United States’ Commissioners knew nothing about the claims intended to be included, but what was told to them by the Georgia Commissioners. The Georgia Commissioners, say, positively, the claims now under discussion, were not included, or intended to be included, in the words of the compact. But admitting that the United States’ Commissioners had knowledge of these claims, and wished to include them. Georgia was a party to the compact. What possible motive existed to induce her to have them included ? Georgia had no motive to intermeddle with the payment of the debts of the United States; her anxiety was to pay her own debts, and the stipulation applies to no other. It is confiness within still narrower limits. The stipulation is for the payment of “those expenses incurred by Georgia which had relation to the territory” ceded. Will the gentleman establish the relationship of the present claims with the territory ceded, or is he willing to rest upon the reasoning of Mr. Lincoln He reasons thous: The militia services of 1792, 3, and '4, were for the defence of Georgia. The ceded territory was part of Georgia in those years. The defence of the whole is the defence of all the parts, and therefore these services were the defence of the ceded territory, and thus had relation to it. This mode of argument will prove that the expense had relation to Vermont. It was incurred for the defence of Georgia, Georgia is a part of the United States; it was, therefore, for the defence of the United States; Vermont is a part of the United States; ergo, the expense incurred had relation to Vermont. What is amousing in this argument, is, that it proves Georgia was defending a territory which the militia were forbidden to invade lest they might offend the Indians. I defy any man to confine himself to the compact, and show any reasonable ground of doubt on this subject. It is merely by connecting the compact with Mr. Lincoln's in perfect recollections, that a doubt can be raised. What weight should be given to his declarations, I have already shown. One circumstance occurs to me, that has not been mentioned. Six months after the compact of 1802, the members of the administration were pertectly ignorant that a settlement of these claims of the Georgia militia could be considered as effected by that compact. General Dearborn, in February, 1803, reported favorably on these claims, and recommended their payment. The gentleman from South Carolina has told the House that Mr. Gallatin knew nothing about it. Mr. Madison was not better informed. Can the House presume, under these circumstances, that Mr. Lincoln was alone accurate in his remembrance Sir, it cannot, for Mr. L. himself speaks with becoming timidity of his remembrance, and in all that is material to the investigation, differs with the Georgia Cominissioners. That the parties never intended to include these tlaims is certain; that they are not included by the force of the terms used, is to me, irresistibly clear. The gentleman from South Carolina admits, that the 13,000 dollars still due, was a fair claim against the United States in 1794, and that the filure to pay in
paid Why do the committee neglect to pay it now * Georgia has not assumed this; there never was a dispute about it. Shall I state the cause to the Housethe same cause which has kept the Hall empty since this subject was discussed ? Apathy and indifference prevents a thorough examination. There are no strong feelings of interest excited by an antiquated claim. The subject has been frequently before Congress, and no provision has been made for it. How many members of this House, are, at this moment, aware that a whole troop has not been paid its just dues, because a Major in the regular army refused to authenticate its pay rolls in 1794 * 1 venture to say not twenty. How powerful is the effect of time, and an adverse report, I myself know. When 1 first had the honor to take a seat in Congress, I examined this claim as interesting to a portion of my constituents. The report made upon it by Mr. Secretary M'Henry, was the first and only document I read, and it induced me to throw down the papers, with a strong conviction that the claimants could not expect redress. Subsequent circumstances occasioned me to examine the original papers, and I saw with surprise, that the facts of the case were distorted by Mr. M'Henry's statement. The report of General Dearborn, then seen, for the first time, confirmed the opinion, that a fairer claim had never been presented to the justice of Congress. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would remark, that this claim is presented on the ground that the Governor of Georgia was acting, not as the Executive of the state, but as the agent of the United States. Considering him as fulfilling his duties under the Constitution, according to the rules established during the late war, the United States are bound to pay the amount. By the rule established, as we are told by the Military Committee, militia in service, in case of invasion, or imminent danger thereof, during the late war, whether called out by the Goveror of a state or not; whether called out by an officer of the General Government or not; were paid as a matter of course out of the public Treasury by the Department of War. What is to deprive the militia of Georgia of the benefit of this rule 2 Is there any difference between a British and an Indian war, in the rules for the settlement of accounts? Is the spontaneous gathering of the militia in time of danger in 1813 and 14, to charge the public Treasury directly, when the call of a Governor, acting under an authority vested by the General Government, is deemed insufficient, in 1792, 3, and 4, to fix any thing but a remote responsibility upon that General Government But Mr. Speaker, I have done; it remains for the House to decide the proposition before it. I should have the strongest confidence that a favorable decision would be made, if I was satisfied that the members had attentively read the documentary evidence printed by their order. Mr. M'COY observed, that much of the debate on this question might have been spared. We had not now to discuss the merits of the claim, but whether it had been paid or not. It was easy now, after the lapse of thirty years, when the persons and circumstances at first concerned, were nearly forgotten, to draw constructions either for or against the claim. For his own part, he should have no objection to pay, if he were not fully satisfied that this demand had been paid already. There was a report from the Committee of claims, in the year 1803, one year after the treaty of cession, in which the committee say that a question had arisen at the previous session of Congress, Whether or not this claim was embraced in that treaty. How did the House get this notion in 1802 * The Attorney General furnishes the clue to this question. The subject, it seems, had been talked of between the commissioners, and his understanding, from that conversation, was, that these claims were in
that year was accidental. Why has this sum not been
cluded. This officer, it will be observed, was called
On the Judiciary.
[Feb. 16, 1825.
course, be embraced in the treaty In the act of cession, on the part of Virginia, there is a clause similar to that in the treaty with Georgia, except that lands are stipulated instead of money. The expenses in relation to the lands now included in the state of Tennessee, and which were then stipulated for, were expenses of a military kind. The gentleman from Georgia is certainly mistaken in supposing that the General Government held itself bound for the expenses of these Georgia militia." On the contrary, they objected to the payment, and disputed the claim, because the operations on the Georgia frontier were of an offensive character. The Government did not pay the $13,000 referred to, because provision was made for it in the treaty. The question was then taken on Mr. TATTNALL’s motion for recommitment, and decided in the negative, and The report of the Committee on Military Affairs, adverse to the present claim, was agreed to.
IN SENATE–W Enxesday, FEBRUARY 16, 1825.
The Senate again took up, in committee of the whole, the bill to amend the Judicial System of the United States, and for the appointment of three additional Circuit Judges, (in the Western States,) the question pending being on the recommitment of the bill to the Judiciary Committee. Mir. HAYNE said he should vote for the recommitment, not because he was opposed to the system being extended to the Western states, but because it was useless to enter into a full discussion of the Judicial System during the short remaining period of the present ses. sion; it was impossible that the propositions submitted by the gentlemen from Virginia and Kentucky, could at present receive the attention they demanded. Had this subject been brought forward early in the session, they might have been prepared to act on it, but from some cause or other, it had been delayed, and now it was too late. A separate Court of Appeal had been proposed, and that question, if it received the discussion which it merits, would alone occupy the attention of the House for the whole week. He was perfectly willing to afford the relief asked for, but thought it would be lost time to discuss it at present. Mr. TALBOT said that the question to recommit the bill was a mere repetition of that decided yesterday; and as it had been then decided in their favor by such a large majority, he had no fears of failing now. He could assure the Senate, that the bill had been drawn up with the greatest care and attention, and had been examined and approved by the members of the Supreme Court. The details were inade perfect, as far as they could be, by those deeply interested in its success, and he thought its wanting shape or maturity could not be urged as an objection to it. It was, he said, merely an extension of the old system, and after having already suffered so long and so deeply for want of it, they surely did not intend that they should still suffer, even were it only till the next session, without relief being afforded. Mr. VAN BUREN offered a few remarks; he expressed his unwillingness to go into the discussion at so late a period of the session, but he did not see how it could be avoided. He therefore felt himself under some sense of obligation and duty to proceed to the examination and discussion of the subject, unless the motion to recommit should to-day be successful. Mr. BARBoust took it for granted, from the vote yes. terday, on the motion to postpone, that there was a de
sire on the part of the Senate to proceed in this business; but that was a distinct and very different question from the one now under consideration. Yielding, as he did, to the decision of yesterday, he should vote for the recommitment of the bill, because he wished to test the principle of separating the duties of the Supreme Court from those of the Circuit Court. The bill was not about to be sent to a committee of oblivion; but they wished to introduce into the organization of the judicial esta. blishment a salutary, if not an indispensable principle. He therefore hoped the bill would be recommitted, that they might give it a form satisfactory to the Senate. Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, said, if the bill were recom. mitted, they would have to adopt an entire new system, and they surely were not prepared to do that in the present session. One party were in favor of a new system, whilst another wished to consign the present bill to obli: vion; and as there was not time to adopt a new system, the question was, would they amend the old one to relieve the Western country from the distress under which it labored. The old system had been established in the year 1789; and an attempt was made to alter it, something similar to the mode proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, but it was unsuccessful, for this alteration lasted but a few months. They were not, he thought, prepared to go into a measure of that kind at present, and he should like to know what were the evils which would arise from an extension of that system which had been tried so long, and had been found sufficient. All they were asked to do for the people of the West, was to extend or amend the present system, so that it should operate for their benefit. The evil was found to be great in that country, and it was incumbent on them to remedy it, more especially when the remedy was so easy. There was not, he thought, any danger in extending the present system, but they saw some risk in adopting a new one. Mr. MILLS, of Massachusetts, said, from the arguments used by some gentlemen on this subject, it might be taken for granted that the western people only were interested in the question; this was not the case. Every part of the Union was equally interested in it, because the moment any alteration took place, whether by en: larging the number of Judges that at present composed the Supreme Court, or by forming two distinct courts, every state in the Union, and every individual who would be affected by the decisions of the court, would be as much interested as the people of the West could be: He thought some alteration should be made in the present system, and was convinced of the necessity and im: portance of adopting one that should act equally on all the states in the Union, and afford to all equal advantages; but he was not prepared to say that the one now before them was superior to all others. He hoped the bill would be recommitted, for then the three proposio tions that had been submitted, would be laid before the committee, who would duly consider them, and if there were time they would act on them during the presen: session; if not, the subject must necessarily be deferred till the ensuing session. Mr. Johnson, of Kentucky, said he was struck with the remark that had been made, that they only asked for an extension of the present system—he was willing to rest on that ground. The gentleman who had moved to recommit, had done so to endeavor to separate the Supreme Court from the Circuit system. The sense of the Senate on the subject would now therefore be asce: tained. If the vote were in favor of the recommitmen", it would be certain they were willing to change the sy". tem altogether; if not, they would be willing to extend the present system, and a bill for that purpose was already prepared, and was now before them. Mr. Edwards, of connecticut, said, he wished," hear the merits of the system discussed before giving his vote, and it was for that reason that he had voted fort*
Feb. 16, 1825.]
On the Judiciary.
postponement. There certainly was not time during the present session, to examine and do justice to the proposition. He thought it should be deferred till the next session, and wished that every gentleman who had framed any plan, would then bring it forward, so as to have the subject thoroughly discussed. He should vote for the recommitment of the bill, but in so doing, he should not consider himself pledged to support the system which had been suggested by the gentleman from Virginia, nor did he wish to be understood as being opposed to the extension of the one now existing. He was influenced by no other motive in giving his vote, than the conviction that there was not time now to act on so important a subject. The question was then taken on the motion to recommit the bill, and decided by yeas and nays, as follows: YEAS.–Messrs. Barbour, Barton, Benton, Bouligny, Branch, Clayton, Cobb, D'Wolf, Edwards, Elliott, Findlay, Hayne, King, of N. Y. Knight, Lowrie, McIlvaine, Mills, Parrott, Taylor, Tazewell, Van Buren, Van Dyke, Williams.-23. NAYS.–Messrs. Bell, Brown, Chandler, Dickerson, Eaton, Gaillard, Holmes, of Me. Holmes, of Miss. Jackson, Johnson of Ken., Kelly, King, of Alab., Lanman, Lloyd, of Mass. McLean, Macon, Noble, Palmer, Ruggles, Seymour, Smith, Talbot, Thomas.-23. The Senate being equally divided on the question, the motion to recommit was lost, and the consideration of the bill proceeded. Mr. TALBOT moved to add a section to the bill fixing, hereafter, the commencement of the annual term of the Supreme Court on the second Monday in January, and requiring its continuance each term, until it shall have disposed of all the business before it. This amendment was rejected, without debate, by the casting vote of the chair—18 members rising for it, and 18 against it. Mr. TAZEWELL, then, for the purpose, he said, of trying the sense of the Senate on the most important feature of the bill, moved so to amend it as to provide that the three additional circuit judges shall not be justices of the Supreme Court. Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said, that the effect of this amendment would be to degrade the Western States. There was a clause in the constitution, that States, on coming into the Union, should receive equal rights and privileges. He had said, on a former occasion, that it was not to be expected that these States were, in their infancy, to receive, at once, all the benefits of the system, but now, after so much time had passed, and their claims was so generally acknowledged, they were fully entitled to be placed on an equality with the other States; and what was it that was now offered to them They would allow them circuit Judges, but they were not to occupy a seat on the Supreme Bench of the Union. Against this he protested. Mr. J. made a few more remarks in opposition to this motion ; when Mr. TAZEW ELL offered, succinctly, his reasons for submitting his amendment, and to shew the unreasonableness and impropriety of different parts of the country claiming an exact portion of Judges on the bench of the Supreme Court, and the absurdity of resorting to the principle of judicial representation to procure impartial justice, &c. Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said he wished to say a few words in answer to the gentleman from Virginia, and first, as to judicial representation. He supposed that it was the duty of every individual to put the precise construction on the words in debate, which the individual using those words intended to communicate. If, therefore, from the defectiveness of his language, the gentleman had extended his meaning of the words judiCial . ntation, he hoped he should receive the pardon of that honorable body, in giving a short explanation of his meaning. It might be the same thing to the
honorable gentleman whether the man who was to decide on the rights of his constituents came from one of the distant states, or any corner of this Union. Mr. J. said he wanted Kentucky to decide for Kentucky.— They wanted the measure of justice extended to them that had been extended to the old states for forty years, and yet their doctrine was said to be heretical. He had said before, and he repeated it, they had a right to a judicial representation on the bench of the Supreme Court, in the sense in which he took it. He meant only the extension of the system to all the States--of that system which secured to Virginia two Supreme Judges, and he did not speak of it in any other point of view. M. J. wished to do away with the trouble and confu. sion that had arisen in this country from the words, impairing the obligation of contract, but he did not deny the solemnity of the principle the words contained. He only spoke of the confusion that had been introduced into the judiciary of the whole Union by those words. He thought the gentleman could not tell him what was the construction put on those words by the Supreme Court of the Union. It had been decided many times, in different ways, in the State he (Mr. J.) represented. He complained of the words because they allowed of a latitude that involved state rights and state sovereignty, of which Virginia had complained as loud as any. He did say, and he repeated it, those words were introduc. ed into the constitution without intending to give them any importance, yet more confusion had grown out of them than from any words in the constitution for many years past. If the doctrine were true, that responsibility diminished in an inverse ratio as numbers increased, then the body to whom he now addressed himself might as well consist of twenty-four as of forty-eight members. The House of Representatives would be better with half its present number. The same principle would apply—and the Supreme Court had better consist of one member than seven. He thought that equal justice would never be extend. ed to them, without they were fairly represented, each judge having a district allotted to him, in which he could reasonably move. They did not wish for inferior judges, who were, in a manner, disfranchised, to be sent amongst them that was not the remedy they wanted. What they asked for was a remedy which should strike at the root of the evil; and he did think they would be degraded if they received judges who were disfranchis. ed from setting on the Supreme Bench. He should, he said, be unwilling to trust the decision of those great constitutional questions, which might humble the state sovereignties to the dust, to any tribu. nal on earth that was not direct from the people, and for the decisions of such questions they ought to have a majority of six instead of three, by increasing the number of judges. He trusted, therefore, that the amendment of the gentleman from Virginia would not prevail. Mr. TALBOT, of Ken. rose and said, that the immense importance of the proposition which was the subject of this discussion, not only to that section of the Union, for whose immediate and more peculiar benefit it is calculated and intended to operate, but to every portion of this widely extended Union, must be his apology for attempting some opposition to the motion of the honorable gentleman from Virginia, who, in addition to the proposition of his honorable colleague (Mr. Bannoun,) has favored us with his new projet as a substitute for the bill upon your table. This last amendment, offered by the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Tazewell,) the subject of the present discussion is, to my mind, Mr. President, the more inadmissible—I inust say, intolerable, than all the propositions which have been submitted to this honorable body, or for the reformation or improvement of the present organization of our judicial system. Of the importance of this
On the Judiciary.
[Feb. 16, 1825,
department of our national institutions, of that department which is concerned in the daily administration of distributive justice to the citizens of these United States, by a speedy, correct, and impartial decision of their various controversies, which arise to disturb the happiness of domestic or social life, we cannot speak too strongly, or estimate too highly. The effects and operations of the other departments of your Govern. ment—of your legislative and executive—the law giving and the law executing functionaries of national authority, you feel the force and enjoy the benefits at intervals. But the action of the judicial functions, is that which, as it pervades more intimately the affairs and concerns of men, has an almost incessant and constant influence on the society, the peace and happiness of which it was insuituted to preserve and promote. With what caution and deliberate reflection, aided by all the lights of wisdom and matured experience, ought we to approach this interesting subject: Influenced by these considerations, the friends of the proposition embraced by the bill on your table, contemplate by its provisions, no radical change in the organization of your judicial system, which has been so long in operation; a system which framed by the experienced wisdom of many of those sages to whom the glorious charter of our liberties, the Federal Constitution, owes its birth, claims to participate largely in the advantages which so much wisdom, skill, and political knowledge and experience could bring to so great a work as the organization of a judicial system, corresponding to the wants, wishes, and interests of our extensive confederation. This system, Mr. President, established by the act of 1789, framed in so much wisdom and experience—sanctioned by such names as the Congress of the United States of that period enrolled in the catalogue o' its members—adopted as its model, for the outlines of its institution, that of the British Empire, from whom we derive our origin, and many of our inestimable institutions; and whose Judiciary, whatever we may think or say of the faults or defects of other departments of her Government—of the inequality of representation, or corruption of her House of Commons—of the aristocratic and dangerous character of her House of Lords, or of the arbitrary prerogatives of her King—as regards her Judiciary, it has been in its general organization, in the purity and correctness of its administration of distributive justice, the pride of that nation, and the admiration of the civilized world. The union of original and appellate jurisdiction in the twelve Judges of Westminster Hall, who, in their allotted circuits, traverse the extent of the British isle, holding in each county, or shire, of that kingdom, a court of Nisi Prius, for the trial of causes arising within them, and adjourning questions of novelty, difficulty, or peculiar magnitude, to the Court of King's Bench, or other revising and controlling court of appellate jurisdiction at Westminster—has never yet been held as a blemish, much less of fatal error in the organization of the British Courts, Nor has the number of twelve judges, of which the courts of Westminster are composed, been complained of as inadequate to the discharge of the functions incident to the holding the courts of Nisi Prius, from age, infirmity, or any of those causes which are alleged by honorable gentlemen, as disqualifying the judges of our own Supreme Court from the discharge of the functions of Circuit Judges, to which they have been found entirely competent through the course of our long experience for a period of five and thirty years. If this period, Mr. President, having its origin almost coeval with the origin and introduction of our happy form of Government, during which a generation has passed away, has marked the present system with no striking imperfection, with no flagrant abuse, indicating incurable defects in its general organization or promi. ment features—is, on the contrary, this faithful test of
long and tried experience, the surest foundation of hu. man wisdom, and best guarantee for the permanency, as well as value of all human institutions, has affixed the stamp of its approbation on its value and utility, this tried experienced, and this long approval of the present system, by the American People, ought to form a strong barrier, which they have thrown around these existing institutions, not to be lightly or easily prostrated by the experiments of new and untried theories of mere specu. lation. Unless, indeed, such new theories shall be found, on examination, to be based upon foundations of reason and argument of the most satisfactory and con: clusive character. Such, to my mind, Mr. President, have not been the character or force of the arguments presented to the Senate by either of the honorable gen. men from Virginia, in favor of their respective projets, with which we have been favored in the course of this debate. The plan of my honorable friend, (Mr. Baaboch,) who moved you for the recommitment of this bill, for the purpose of maturing his projet, is to exempt the present Judges, who constitute the Supreme Court of the United States, from all the duties of presiding in, or hold. ing the Circuit Courts, assigning, by his plan, all the du: ties of those courts, with any other appertaining to the exercise of original jurisdiction to a new corps of judges, to be created and appointed for this purpose, with the creation of salaries adequate to the attainment of this object. My honorable friend, passing by the considera. tions of the increase in the national e xpenditure, as mat. ters unworthy his sublime genius and contemplations; and forgetful that the plan in substance, which he now proposes, was not only offered, but adopted, and put into prompt and immediate operation some five and twen: ty years ago, and was then found so little adapted to the interests or the sentiments of the American People, as to call from them at once, in terms too loud and strong to be resisted, or denied, an imperious demand for its repeal. A repeal was as promptly acceded to by the councils of the Nation, and a newly created host of judges, stripped of their salaries, their offices, and their honors, before time had been given them to enjoy, or even taste the delicious flavor of the dainties, which had been placed before them—to warm the seats on which they had been placed, or to be warmed by the ermines with which they had been enshrouded. The honorable gentlemen from Virginia both ob. ject to increase the number of the Judges who at pre: sent compose this tribunal, which is urged and claimed to be one of the objects of the bill on your table. This objection, although plausible as it first presents itself, to increase the number of a tribunal now consisting of seven Judges, will soon vanish on the slightest examina. tion of the nature, extent, and importance of the functions bestowed, and which, by our constitution, as it now exists, must necessarily be vested in this most tremendous and awful tribunal; for, such are its characteristics o power, and jurisdiction, as legitimately vested in this Court by the terms as well as the fair scope and objects of the Federal Constitution: powers and jurisdiction far beyond those of the far famed Areopagus of Athens, Mr. President, transcendent, as they are known to have been, presiding as it did, in the pride and plenitude of its powers, not only over the laws, and deciding the controversies arising between the citizens of that powerful and splendid Republic, but empowered to watch over the police of the city of Athens and its vari: ous territories, but also to superintend the morals and the habits, and to regulate even the pleasures and amusements of the Athenian people. The Supreme Court of the United States is not only vested with powers and jurisdiction the most ample, for the decision of all questions and controversies arising under the constitution of the United States, the great charter of our
rights and liberties; of all laws enacted under its au.