Slike strani

Dec. 20, 1830.]

Trial of Judge Peck.


ist on record. He would now barely call the attention of Mr. Lawless presented the strongest illustration of judicial this honorable court to one or two British authorities to despotism that had ever been exercised, from the first satisfy them that Judge Peck had been guilty of a high dawn of civil liberty to the present day. It must have remisdemeanor, even if we adınitted the force of the com- quired all the disordered imagination and furious passion mon law in this country. Some of the elementary Eng- of this judge to distort into a contemptuous libel one of the lish authors carried the doctrine of contempt further than most innocent publications ever issued from the press. As others.

God was his judge, if he did not know the respectable Blackstone, in whose work, unfortunately for many of counsel of the respondent, he should say, from the defence us, we were educated as a text book, supported the autho- of the judge, that he must have been deranged. No man rity of the King on all occasions, and spoke of the right in his senses could have tortured the publication of Mr. of the court to punish for consequential contempts. But Lawless as he had done. In the case of Soulard's heirs, even he did not push the doctrine as far as this iyrannical although the judge had decided against the claimants, ho judge had done. Hawkins broadly laid down the princi- said, in his published opinion, that it was still open for the ple, that any worels, however true or false, which might discussion of counsel. Mr. Lawless, therefore, combe uttered, reproachful of the judge, were immediately menced his publication, with an unbecoming humility to finable by the court; but that the better opinion was, that the court, such as no citizen ought to have manifested, by a man could not be punished for words said against a judge saying that he would avail bimself of the permission grantnot in the actual execution of his official duties. If a man ed by the judge, to point the public attention to some said that a judge was a numskull, and deserved to be of the principal errors which he thought he had discoverhanged for giving such an opinion, here was contemptu. ed in his opinion. This very apology had been seized on ous as well as reproachful language; but the man could by this jealous tyrant, and tortured into an insult upon the not be punished for it. This had been laid down by a court. The judge alleged that he had not said the case writer who pushed the King's prerogative to its utmost was open for newspaper discussion; nor had Mr. Lawless limits. Such a man might say to a judge, out of court, said so. But the judge scemed to suppose that Mr. Law"your opinion is a fair subject of investigation: I have a less had discovered a secret; that by the publication of his right to pronounce you a fool or a scoundrel.” This lan- opinion, Judge Peck had shown so little sense of judicial guage would not be a proper subject of indictment. He decency and decorum as to invite a newspaper discussion would not pretend to compare language so contemptuous of a case which had been decided in his court

. And this and disrespectful as this to the publication, by Mr. Law- was the insult which Mr. Lawless had committed! This less, of "A Citizen,” for which his majesty Judge Peck was the congeries of ridiculous absurditics uttered by the had imprisoned, suspended, and disfranchised the author. judge; this was the defence which he hasi dared to make His was a respectful and harmless publication. He would before the highest tribunal in the United States! Such produce another English elementary writer. According an idea never could have been conceived by any man of to Holt, it is held in England that a judicial opinion is a understanding. Humbly as the judge might estimate the fair subject of discussion, provided no bad or corrupt mo- land claimants in Missouri, no one of them would have tive be ascribed to the judge. Although he would not ad- been so deficient in common sense as to have put the conmit that it was punishable to say to a tyrannical judge, struction which he had put on the apology of Nr. Law"you are a judicial tyrant,” yet, even according to the less. Mr. McD. then consecutively and critically examEnglish law, as expounded by the writers to whom he had ined every specification in the publication of " A Citizen," referred, Judge Peck had no right to punish Mr. Lawless, with the commentary of the judge upon it; and, in relation who had ascribed no wrong or corrupt motive to his opi- to the first, he remarked, among other things, that, with nion in the case of Soulard. The power exercised by due deference to Mr. Lawless, he thought the only crime le that judge was the most arbitrary and dangerous ever ex-had committed was a violation of grammatical accuracy; a ercised by any court or idge in this country. It was a blunder which, he believed, was common to the Irish and pregnant proof of the danger of such an exercise of judi- Scotch Irish; he had construed a want of power in a subcial power, to say, as he would declare, that the power to delegate of Louisiana to grant land for services rendered, or punish for contempt, even in cases of necessity, was a to be rendered, into a prohibition from making such grants. Langerous power, a despotic power, an anomaly, utterly And for this monstrous and flagitious blunder in the King's incompatible with liberty, the essence of tyranny and des- English, committed by Mr. Lawless in the presence of his potisın. It was the very illustration of tyranny, that a honor Judge Peck; for thus wounding the vanity of the judge misht make the law, fix the punishment, and pun- julge, clothed in a little brief authority, Mr. Lawless was ish, at the same time. Could any man doubt that Judge charged with the suggestion of a falsehood, and sent to Peck had assumed the right to punish a contempt against prison for a contempt! In the progress of his analysis, his sacred person; that he had fixed the punishment, and Mr. McD. endeavored to demonstrate, that many of the enforced it too; that he had performed the functions of interpretations put by Judge Peck upon the publication legislator and judge in his own case? Could any man of Mr. Lawless could have been conceived only by the doubt that this judge, to gratify his vindictive passions, very spirit of judicial cavilling; by none but a tyrant in the hard, by an arbitrary and summary process, deprived an meridian of his tyranny; by nothing but the very, genius American citizen of his rights, subjected him to an igno- of despotism in its madidest freaks. He pronounced Judge mnious confinement in prison, and deprived him of the Peck himself to be the most accomplished libeller that had means of supporting his family? Was not such a man a ever appeared in a court of justice, and declared that his judicial tyrant, whose crimes called aloud for exemplary whole commentary upon the publication of “A Citizen," punishment?

was a tissue of libels offensive to clecency. The charge Mr. McDUFFLE then proceeded to call the attention of of falsehood, absurdity, libel, ran through it; it was the the Court to the publication of " A Citizen," which Judge phantom which haunted his imagination when he sent this Peck alleged to be a libel, punishable as a contempt; and man to prison. Frail would be the tenure by which the peohe analyzed it paragraph by paragraph, comparing it as ple would hold their liberties, if an American citizen could he went along with the opinion of the judge, on which it be punished by a judge for the coinage of his own brain; was a commentary, and with the answer to the article if, tic with rage, by a species of school-boy cavilling, he impeachment, in order to show that it was not even a mis- might perpetrate this indignity :pon an American citizen! representation, much less a disrespectful contempt, of the Mr. Lawless had a full knowledge of the facts and the opinion of Judge Peck. By this analytical process also, laws in relation to land claims in Nlissouri at the time of he would demonstrate that the conduct of that judge to writing and publishing the article for which he was pun


Trial of Judge Peck.

(Dec. 20, 1830.

ished. He had approached much nearer to grammatical the English law. The constitution of the United States and substantial accuracy than had been supposed by was more free, and allowed a greater latitude. What was Mr. McD. yesterday. Ile had correctly represented the the criticism of Mr. Lawless? Was it upon the opinion of opinions of Judge Peck. The judge had, nevertheless, the court? No, sir: that judgment had been pronounced declared, in his answer, in relation to almost every speci- six months before. The decree had been entered. Mr. fication in the publication of Mr. Lawless, that it was un. Lawless had not taken exception to it after the case had truc. Were Nir. Lawless the judge, Judge Peck himself been taken out of that court. The criticism was upon the would be liable to be attached and punished for contempt; long argument of Judge Peck, published in a newspaper, but God forbid that Mr. Lawless should, in that event, after the judgment had been rendered. The case was have the power to decide upon his own case. That gen- pending before the Supreme Court of the United States; tleman had, in his publication, imputed to the judge the and Judge Peck might have been attached for a contempt doctrine that the regulations of the Governor General of of that court, in publishing his argument in the new's. Louisiana had the effect of annulling the grants of lands papers, upon much better grounds than those upon for services. It was fortunate for Mr. Lawless that this which he attached and punished wir. Lawless. The opincase had occurred in 1826, before the great national ques- ion of Judge Peck, as published, had not been delivered tion of nullification had been raised: if it had not, Mr. in term time; it was published in vacation. Mr. Lawless Lawless might have been attached and punished for charg- had just as much right to criticise it as the Judge had to ing Judge Peck with nullifying the regulations of the publish it; and it was entitled to no more respect than if Governor General. The vanity of the judge had been it had been delivered on the hustings. We had heard cut, by giving his opinio:is without his remarks. Mr. Law- much about judicial decency and decorum. Judge Peck less had given the substance, stripped of the feathers. He had misconceived both by going into the newspapers; and had dared, with sacrilegious hands, to tear the opinion of his published opinion was not entitled to the decent and the judge from his sacred context, and to give it to the respectful notice which it had received from Mr. Lawless. public without his arguments; and for this he was to be Any citizen possessed a full, free, and clear right to invessent to jail, disfranchised, and deprived of his rights. tigate that opinion. He considered the judge to have been

Having completed his analysis of the publication of Mr. cxtremely censurable, in publishing his opinion while the Lawless, of which no sufficient idea can be formed from case was pending before the Supreme Court of the United this imperfect report, Mr. Mch. appealed to the can- States. Whatever might be the character of the contempt dor of the honorable court, to say whether that publica- imputed to Mr. Lawless, whatever might be thought of it, tion contained a solitary word or syllable disrespectful or the judge had transcended the limits of all authority in contemptuous to the court or the judge. It would be inflicting upon him the particular punishment which he difficult for them to lay their finger upon any political or had visited upon him for the offence. Fine and imprisonother publication so perfectly respectful as that was. Was ment were the only punishment of a citizen authorized by there in it a word of censure or of reproach? "It was the the law of England or of the United States in cases of conpractice in South Carolina for every lawyer to make his tempt. Certainly, Congress bad never delegated any own statement of any exceptions which he may take to an power to inflict a greater punishment for the bighest opinion of the judges in the courts below, and to lay it grades of contempt. Any officer of a court, any attorney before the same judges, who constituted the Court of Ap- practising in a court, for malversation, fraud, peculation, peals in that State. There was not one case in one hun- unfair dealing with his clients, for any base or disgraceful ured of that description in which the lawyers were as cor- act, where convicted of fraud or perjury, might be stricken rect in giving the opinion of the judges as Mr. Lawless from the rolls of the court, as unworthy of confidence. had been in representing the opinion of Judge Peck. For these causes, in England and the United States, the They were not expected to give the dress and the feathers courts bad assumed the power of striking from their lists of the judge. They were expected to give the opinion as of practising attorneys. But Judge Peck had not pretendthey understood it. Mr. McD. said he had never made ed that Mr. Lawless had been guilty of any of these. Did a statement in a bill of exceptions as correctly as that not this honorable court perceive that there was no relawhich had been made by Mr. Lawless, in liis publication, tion between the offence and the punishment of that genof the opinion of Judge Peck. Differing, as he did, from tleman? Because Judge Peck's dignity had been offended, the judge, it was natural that he should put a different because he chose to think the publication of Mr. Lawless construction upon his opinions; but for this no lawyer in calculated to bring ridicule and contempt upon his court, that State had ever been sent to jail. Every man, whe- had he a right to strike him from the list of attorneys practher in our courts or in the gladiatorial halls of legislation, lising in his court, and to deprive him and his family of the was liable to have his argument misunderstood and misre- means of subsistence? Mr. Lawless was a lawyer, a pub. presented: but he did not wince at this, or rise up on lic man, in relation to the pecuniary interest of hundreds every occasion, and say, I did not make that remark, or and thousands of the citizens of Missouri: they had a right that argument. Was every man to be punished for inis to his professional services, and this tyrannical judge lad conceiving an argument or an opinion?

said that he would deprive him of his and their rights. The Secretary having, at the request of Mr. McD., He had exercised a tremendous power, not called for by read to the court the publication of Mr. Lawless, that any public consideration, nor justified by any law, but ori. honorable manager appealed, with perfect confidence, to ginating in the malevolent passions of the petty judge by the court, to say whether a more harmless or respectful whom the sentence had been pronounced. Having prepublication could have been made; whether a man, who sented to the court the facts and the grounds upon which could regard that publication as a contempt, and punish the managers, on the part of the House of Representatives, it by sending its author to jail, and depriving him of his prayed its judgment in this case, Mr. McD. would offer a right to follow his professional occupation, and of the few general remarks on the danger, the real, great, and means of subsisting his family, was not a judicial tyrant, alarming danger, of the precedent which would be estabcalling for exemplary punishment at the hands of this au- lished by this honorable court, if Judge Peck should be gust tribunal? According to the principles which he had suffered to go unpunished for this high misdemeanor. cited from the English books, any subject of England

lle had violated the liberty of the press in the most might publish a commentary or an opinion of a judge, if dangerous form. He had violated the right of trial by he did not ascribe corrupt motives to it. It was public jury, by drawing to himself the power to try and punishi, property, and liable to animadversion, providied that the in a summary manner, an offence, which, if it were one, fair limits of criticism were not transcended. This was was a proper subject of ordinary indictment and trial.

Dec. 21, 1830.]

Trial of Judge Peck.


And he had defended his tyrannical conduct by the alle-ence of the judiciary to continue for a moment longer gation, that the charge of violating the liberty of the than he could help. A judge was as impalpable as air, if press was the stale declamation by which demagogues, you could not reach him through the public press. You slanderers, and libellers, attempted to justify themselves, must permit him to go on with his outrages, without comand to bring the Government into contempt. He trusted plaint, until you couli bring him before this august trithat liberty, the liberty of the press, was not thus to be bunal. You might bring liim to account here, but 110 laughed and sneered out of the capital of the United where else. Had we come to this, that we may not call States by a petty provincial judge. When a European a judicial tyrant by his right name; that we may not call monarch had been hurled from his throne for daring to him to account for his crimes and misdemeanors? In the violate the liberty of the press, were we to be told that worst days of Paris the cry of tyranny was allowed. the liberty of the press was only the theme of dema-“Down with the tyrant” was echoed and re-echoed from gogues? Tyrants, alone, would so designate it. It had one end of Paris to the other. But when a judge combeen justly said, that the liberties of mankind could not mitted an outrage, we may not characterize it in the ap. survive the destruction of the liberty of the press. Even propriate language. Hume, the English historian, the apologist of tyrants, had It was in vain to attempt to disguise it. If this judge declared, that no people having the liberty of the press should be held guiltless, there could be no judicial outcould be enslaved. He had said, that the only difference rage which would not be clearly justified by the precein Government, between his time and the reign of Eliza- dent. It had never occurred to a majority, in the most beth, was, that, when he wrote, England enjoyed the inflammable times, to punish so harmless an article as liberty of the press; that, with this privilege, Turkey her that for which Mr. Lawless had been punished. The self would be comparatively free. And yet we are told precedent of an acquittal in this case would justify any by this judge, that this was the theme of demagogues. judge iu laying down any principle to justify such an He called upon this honorable court to look at the danger outrage. The most insidious encroachments of power of the precipice on which they stood, if they set the pre- would be sanctioned by precedents of this kind. It was cedent of acquitting this judge. Suppose he should be no extravagant supposition to imagine that this Governcondemned by this tribunal; suppose he should go back ment might, at some period hereafter, be administered to Missouri, and proclaim that he had been made the under the influence of party passions; that a party night victim of party feeling, as he had said in defence before get into power by intrigue and management, and that it the other House, where he had grossly reflected upon might occur to that party, consisting of a minority, to that House; suppose, that when he arrived in Missouri

, attempt to maintain their power by muzzling or suppresshe should make the welkin ring with his charges against ing the freedom of the press. They might not pass a this court; would they, after the sedition law had been sedition law, but they miglit appoint ten thousand district driven from the statute book, make themselves the legis- and territorial judges; they might send justices of the lators, and judges, and executioners, of the law, by pun peace into every town and parish in the Union; and each ishing Judge Peck for his calumnies against them? Would of these, upon the doctrine of Judge Peck, might drag any man think of sending for him to answer for the free an editor before him, punish him for contempt, and thus investigation which he might think proper to indulge in? destroy the liberty of the press. It was impossible to tell Would this honorable court act upon the principle which the extent to which this principle might be carried by they would consecrate by the acquittal of Judige Peck? party judges, in party times. It must appear much bet. And yet sich would be the tendency of his acquittal. ter, in the view of every statesman, to suffer the most unEvery editor in the United States was liable to he im- just libels to be published in the newspapers, and to let mured within the walls of a prison, upon the principles their poisoned arrows recoil upon themselves, than to asserted by Judge Peck, unless this honorable court suppress the liberty of the press. But what was the liberty could say that it would be extremely dangerous for the of Mr. Lawless, according to the practical doctrine of President, Senate, and House of Representatives, to pun- Judge Peck? It was the liberty of being sent to prison, ish editors for the daily calumnies published upon tliem, incarcerated with common felons, and deprived of the as Judge Peck had punished Mr. Lawless. Should the means of his subsistence, for respectfully differing in Senate of Rome not punish a libel, and yet delegate the opinion with the judge. power to punish to its provincial proconsuls? Should it A wise man of antiquity, upon being asked what was be said that a proconsul, reeking with the blood of his the best form of Government, justified the character fellow-citizens, may exercise a power, may be trusted which he had received by the answer, that that was the with this power, rather than the Senate of Rome? It was best in which an injury done to a single citizen was felt said that the King of England could do no wrong, and as an injury done to the whole community. There was that the judges, deriving their authority from him, and not a man in the country that ought not to make the inadministering bis justice, were entitled to an equal pro- jury done to Luke E. Lawless his own. We were told tection. Judge Peck derived his power from the Presi-lihat he was an Irishman. IIe deserved infinite credit, dent and Senate. You may slander them as much as you when ordered to prison, for the moderation which he exchoose; and yet you may not slander this pitiful emanation hibited, for not dragging the tyrant, as Virginius had of their authority.

dragged the tyrant Appius, from the throne. As God Mr. McD. contended that, if any public functionary was his judge, he believed that if the case of Mr. Lawless ought to be held responsible to the press, which was the had been his; if he had been ordered to prison, he and organ, the only true organ, of the people, it was the his family, and deprived of the means of subsistence, he judges, who alone held their offices during good beha- should have dragged him from his seat on the bench. vior. If you would preserve the independence of the He had his whole life lived in abhorrence of despotism, judiciary, make them do their duty, and punish them for in every shape, whether in a judge, or an overseer of transgressing it. In this age, when tyrants were over- slaves; and he considered that this petty judge had been #helmed, and thrones overturned, for violating the liber- guilty of tyrannical conduct which would have disgraced iy of the press, would you suffer your judges to trample a slave-driver. upon it with impunity? He had always been in favor of the independence of the judiciary, and against the rotatory principle; but if the doctrine, that the judges were not

TUESDAY, DEC. 21. table to the anima: version of the public press, be esta- The Senate again resolved itself into a Court of Imblished, God forbid that he should permit the independ- peachment.

Vol. VII.--2


Trial of Judge Peck.

[Dec. 22, 23, 1830.

The House of Representatives came into the Senate was accordingly printed. Upon the exhibition to him by
Chamber and took their scats.

Mr. BưCHANAN, one of the honorable managers, of one of
Mr. McDUFFIE resumed the foor, and concluded his the printed copies of the argument, he said that it was the
opening speech, commenced yesterday, against the re- same. The demurer was subsequently withdrawn; and
spondent. [The remarks macic on both days are embo- the District Attorney filed his answer to the petition of
died above, instead of dividing them, as delivered.] the claimants. While taking the deposition of one of the

Mr. BUCHANAN then offered the documentary evi- former Lieutenant Governors of Upper Louisiana, Judge
dence in behalf of the prosecution.

Peck mentioned that he had read, or had caused to be
The Court then avljourned.

read to him, the argument of Mr. Lawless, a copy of

which that gentleman said he had sent to him before that WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22.

time. When the court again sat, Judge Peck directed an The Senate again resolved itself into a Court of Im- that under which the plaintiff's claimed the lands in ques

issue to try the question, whether such a concession as peachment.

The day was occupied in receiving the testimony of tion had ever been made? It was found that it had been
LUKE E. Lawless, and in examining him. Before the made; such as it was set forth to be in the petition of the
cross-examination was finished, the Court adjourned.

claimants. The calise then came on upon its merits and
the proofs. Mr. Lawless again argued it very much at


This was in the spring of 1825. The court

took the case under advisement, and reserved it for future
At twelve o'clock the Senate again resolved itself into decision. He was absent, and the judge decided it in his
a High Court of Impeachment.

absence. Mr. Lawless was not present when the decision
The cross-examination of Mr. Lawless was resumed, was made; but Judge Peck postponed making up the re-
and continued during the whole of the sitting of this day. cord for taking an appeal until the counsel returned.
in the course of that examination, both yesterday and to- When he returned, the record was made up, the appeal
day, a pariety of points were raised, and argued with great taken, and the appeal bond given. This was in Decem-
ability by the Managers and the Counsel for the respond- ber, 1825. In March following, about the 30th, he saw,
ent, on the admissibility of certain questions propounded in the Republican newspaper, published at St. Louis, an
to the witness. The most important of these, and that article headed, “Peck, Judge," and found it to purport
the decision of which will probably protract the cross- to be an opinion or argument in justification of the decree
examination at least a day or two, was the point, whether of the District Court entered in the case of Soulard's heirs
Mr. Lawless should be required to say, whether certain against the United States.
designated passages in the opinion of Judge Peck, in the It appeared to him to contain a great many errors, in
case of Soulard's heirs, were the parts of that opinion fact and in doctrine. It appeared to him to be calculated
upon which he based the assertion, made in the publica- injuriously to affect the public opinion upon that and a
tion of " A Citizer," that Judge Peck had assumed the variety of other similar claims, in which he was concerned
position, “that, by the Ordinance of 1754, a sub-delegate as counsel. The article was anonymous, and he looked
under the Spanish Government of Louisiana was prohi. on it as an argument not presented by the Judge, when
bited from making a grant of lands in consideration of his opinion was delivered. It produced a great sensation,
services rendered, or to be rendered?” The Senate, after tended to depress the hopes of his clients, and to depre-
ingenious and able arguments by Mr. Buchanan and Mr. ciate considerably the value of their property. It appear-
Storrs, in behalf of the Managers, and by Mr. Wirt, in ed to him rather to be an inquiry of what the law should
behalf of the respondent, deciderł, by a vote of thirty-two be, than a peremptory decision of what it was. In the
to ten, that the question might be put, and must be an- opening of that opinion, the Judge expressed doubts as
swered. This will, it is supposed, lead to a similar exami- to the law, and secmed to feel as if he were wandering
nation of the witness in relation to the grounds upon through a wilderness to reach the desired object. Further
which he advanced all the propositions contained in his discussion seemed to be invited of the points involved in
publication on the opinion of Judge Peck, for which he that decision. Taking all these considerations into view,
was committed and suspended from practice by the and believing that as a citizen, independently of his cha.

racter as counsel, he had an undoubted right to point out
The narrative part of the testimony of Mr. Lawless will the errors in the published opinion of the judge, and to
afford the means of information to the general reader as prevent, as far as he could, the injury they were likely to
to the circumstances which have led to this impeachment. produce, Mr. Lawless took up his pen, and wrote the ar.
It is therefore subjoined. Let it be remembered, that ticle signed “A Citizen," which was published in the
the heirs of Soulard filed a petition in the District Court Missouri Advocate and St. Louis Enquirer, of the 8th of
for Missouri, of which the respondent is and was the April, in the same year. Shortly after that the District
Judge, to try the validity of their claim to ten thousand Court sat by special adjournment. He attended, and took
arpents of land, under a concession alleged to have been his place in court. Upon taking his seat, and disposing
issued by Trudeau, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper of some business, the judge pulled a newspaper out of his
Louisiana, to Antoine Soulard, the ancestor of the peti- pocket, stated what paper it was, and asked, with appa-
tioners. Mr. Lawless was the counsel in the case. rent emotion, who was its editor, addressing himself, as

LUKE EDWARD LAWLESS, Esq. having been called and Mr. Lawless thought, particularly to the District Attorney, sworn, gave a historical narrative of the proceedings, so far or to the bar generally. Mr. Lawless replied, that he as related to the case of Soulard, in the District Court of knew who was the editor of the paper, and that it was the United States, for the State of Missouri, under the act one Stephen W. Foreman. He believed, from his manner, of Congress of 1824, enabling the claimants to lands in that the judge had in view the article which he had writ Missouri and Arkansas to institute proceedings to try the ten; and he was perfectly willing that it should be brought validity of their claims, and in relation to the circumstances up for discussion. The judge asked Mr. Lawless if he which had led to his commitment and suspension by that would swear to the fact as to the editor. He said he would, court. He testified, in substance, that, in the case of Sou- and was accordingly sworn. Describing the article, Judge Jard's heirs against the United States, he had, as counsel Peck dictated a rule upon the editor, to show cause why for the plaintiffs, argued it on a general demurrer. It he had published it. The rule was served upon the editor, was thought by some of the profession whom he consulted, and Mr. Lawless volunteered as counsel for him, he being that it would be well to have his argument printed; and it the author of the article, and considering it bis duty to

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Dec. 24, 27, 28, 1830.]

Trial of Judge Peck.


defend the editor. He applied to no other person to ap- to hin, as he understood him, for the purpose of enabling pear

for him. Mr. Lawless urged the editor by no means him to purge himself of the alleged contempt. to give up the author, using every argument that he could To this the witness replied, that he did not require any to satisfy him that it was his duty not to yield on such an interrogatories to be propounded to him; and, if pro. occasion. He appeared in court the day after the order pounded, he should not answer them. He did not recollect was issued, and defended the editor on all the grounds whether he then stated any reasons to the court for dewhich suggested themselves to his mind; on the ground clining: He tendered exceptions to the decision of the of the perfect truth of the article, and of the absence on judge, with his reasons, which the judge refused to file. its face of all intention to commit a contempt. In demon- An order was then made out for his commitment to prison strating the truth of the article, he recurred to the pub. for twenty-four hours, and for his suspension from praclished opinion of the judge, to all that the article con- tice in that court for eighteen months.

A copy of the tained, and pursued the same course of argument, with a order was put into the hands of the deputy marshal, and few exceptions, as far as his humble abilities would per- the witness was conducted to the jail of the county of St. mit, which had been taken by the honorable Manager Louis, locked up in a room where common felons bad who had opened this case. He produced all the authori- been imprisoned, as he was informed and believed. Mr. ties which he could rake up on the occasion, to show that Soularul and Mr. Rector accompanied him, and were the publication of " A Citizen” was not a contempt. Im- locked up in the room with him. After witness had been mediately after concluding his argument, which, he there some time, he called for the jailer, and requested thought, had occupied more than one day, he left the him to show him the order of commitment, which he did. court; and he understood that Mr. Geyer, a gentleman of After he had examined it, he determined to petition the the St. Louis bar, had also afterwards stepped forward in circuit court for a writ of habeas corpus, in order to apdefence of the editor.

ply for a release, on grounds which he thought he had When Mr. Lawless returned into court, he found discovered in the order itself. The judge of that court Judge Peck about to make the rule absolute for an at- granted the writ, and decided to discharge him from pritachment upon the editor. Considering that the judge son, on the ground that there was no seal to the order or appeared to point at him as the author of the article, in- signature of the judge. He was accordingly discharged, asmuch as the rights of his clients were involved in the and heard no more on the subject from Judge Peck. An case, he changed his view of the course which the editor order was also made out to suspend him from practice for onght to pursue, anul assented to the giving up of his own eighteen months, and he was not restored until his suspenname as the author. Mr. Foreman was then discharged sion had expired by limitation. It appeared further, from from the rule, and a rule was made on Mr. Lawless, to the testimony of the witness, that he was a native of Ireshow cause why an attachment should not issue against land; that he left that country in 1810; that he went to him, and why he should not be suspended from practice France, and that he came to the United States in 1816. in that court for having written the article as set forth in [It is said that he was an officer in the army of Napoleon the attachment. Mr. Geyer, Mr. Magennis, and Jir. at the battle of Waterloo.] He declared his intention in Strother, members of the bar, appeared before Judge the Marine Court of New York, as soon as he arrived in Peck, the next day, he believed, and argued the matter that city, to apply for a certificate of naturalization as an as his counsel. When they attempted to demonstrate the American citizen; and he accordingly obtained his certiintrinsic truth of the article of " A Citizen," they were ficate at St. Louis, in 1822. He had been admitted to stopped by the judge, told that he had decided and dis- practise in Kentucky, both by Judge Johnson and Judge posed of that question, and that it was not open for further Barry, the present Postmaster General of the United argument. They then proceeded to discuss the questions States, and moved on with the tide of emigration to St. of pure

law on the merits of the case. Their authorities Louis, in Missouri. and arguments on that point were overruled by the judge, who ordered the article to be read to him, paragraph by

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 24. paragraplı, by Mr. Bates, the District Attorney, and proceeded to examine and comment upon each paragraph as

After despatching several private subjects, and spending it was read. The manner of the judge, in treating the some time in Executive business, subject, was exceedingly vehement; he was more impas

The Senate again resolved itself into a Court of Imsioned than he had ever seen him. In his observations, peachment. he permitted himself to use expressions which Mr. Law

The cross-examination of Mr. LAWLESS was continued less considered offensive to him as a man and a gentleman. up to the hour of adjournment. It reached only to the The witness felt himself irritated by them, and perhaps sixth specification in the publication of “A Citizen.” bis countenance exhibited evidences of that irritation. He The searching ability displayed by Mr. Wuur on the ocwas apprehensive that he might betray his feelings by casion was met by unusual vigor, talent, and decision, on some expression or gesture, and he thought it best to the part of the witness. leave the court. He, therefore, asked his friend, Mr.

The Senate adjourned till eleven, and the court till Geyer, if he thought it would be a contempt for him to twelve o'clock, on Monday. leave the court while the judge was speaking: Mr. Geyer thought no contempt could be inferred from his leaving

MONDAY, DECEMBER 27. the court. He rose up and left the court, and went to The Senate again resolved itself into a High Court of the Circuit Court for the county of St. Louis, then sitting, Impeachment. before which it so happened that a case, in which he was Mr. Wirt, the leading counsel for the respondent, re. employed as leading counsel, was about to be tried. It suined and concluded the cross-examination of Mr. Law. was the case of some slaves, who had sued Peter Choteau for the recovery of their freedom. He was counsel for the defendant. While this trial was proceeding, he was

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 28. informed by the deputy marshal the rule of an attachment against him had been made absolute by Judge Peck; and he After the transaction of some minor business, Fas, therefore, obliged to leave the Circuit Court. When The Senate again resolved itself into a High Court of he appeared in the District Court, conducted by the deputy impeachment. marshal, he was informed by Julge Peck, that lie had a JENNY S. GEYER, a member of the Missouri bar, the right to demand that interrogatories should be propounded/ Rev. Thomas Honnell, anul Anthtr I. MAGENSIS, an

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