Slike strani
PDF
ePub

H. Or R.]

Relief to Land Purchasers.

[Feb. 15, 1831.

But, sir, whence comes this violent opposition to the grants, I believe, were made to the same “Ohio Company bill on your table? From one of the Representatives from of Associates," amounting to more than a million of acres. Ohio-from a Representative from a Western State, and A grant was subsequently made to Jolin Cleves Symmes of a people who have, doubtless, in some degree, once for one million of acres, though afterwards modificd, and struggled with the same current of adversity which has the quantity somewhat reduced. Still another grant was so long threatened to overwhelm the people of Alabama. made to the inhabitants of Galliopolis, for twenty-four His constituents having escaped from the difficulty and thousand acres. There may have been other large grants danger which perhaps once embarrassed them, and ob- to companies or to individuals, which I have not noticed; tained a secure footing on firm ground, he would look but those stated amount to about two millions of acres. back upon us, still striving to extricate ourselves from the Now, sir, much of this land may, and doubtless does, reperil which surrounds us, and menaces our existence; and, main unsold; nor will it sell for profit while there is much so far from extending the helping hand, he would dissuade land in market on reasonable terms. Consequentiy, it others from doing so. Sir, can this be consistent with the would be to the interest of individuals or companies, so charity and magnanimity of the people of Ohio? Would situated, that po land should be brought into market; or, they, because they are now independent, and may possi- if any be offered for sale, that it shall be on terms so high bly have become so under a less liberal policy than we as to make it the interest of purchasers to buy of them raask, be willing to refuse us assistance when our situation ther than of the Government. On the same principle, requires it? Would they deny aid to others, because they relief to purchasers who have made ruinous contracts had not received it, (were it the fact,) or because they ought not to be granted, or, if granted at all, on cautious now stand in no need themselves? Sir, I am unwilling to terms, lest the value of real estate in the hands of indivibelieve it; and I will not ascribe to them a character so duals should be impaired. Such an interest as that to which selfish and illiberal.

I have alluded, is much better subserved by keeping up But the gentleman speaks of the prejudicial effect the price of the public lands, and by refusing relief to the which is to be produced on the value of lands owned by purchasers under the credit system, than the interest of individuals: he means what I have often heard bim ex- the great body of the people, or that of the Government. press, that such measures are calculated to unhinge the Sir, the people of Alabama have paid a larger amount value of real estate. Whose interest is likely to be so af- of money into the treasury, in proportion to the number fected? Not that of the planter or farmer, who usually of acres which have been sold within her limits, than those has only the quantity of land he wishes to occupy and cul- of any other State. By the report of a select committee, tivate for the support of his family, and to rear and edu- made in February, 1829, it appears that the whole quan. cate his children. Such men do not wish to sell; they do tity of land then sold amounted to twenty-one million six not regard the market price as matter of interest to them- hundred and seventy-eight thousand one hundred and selves; they generally expect to live and die on the parti- twenty-nine acres, for which the Government had receiv. cular places which they have selected for residence; but, ed thirty-six million thirteen thousand four hundred and if they did, the cheapness of land elsewhere would be three dollars. Of that sum, Alabama had then paid seren proportioned to the diminution of the value of their own, million two hundred and seventy-four thousand seren and would meet the wants and interests of their rising fa- hundred and forty-six dollars and twenty-four cents-be. milies. Would the gentleman insist, that, because some ing more than one-fifth of the total amount paid by all the of us may have made hard bargains, and have given high other States, for a little more than three millions of acres, prices for our lands, we should object to others getting or about one-seventh of the aggregate quantity of land theirs on reasonable terms? Sir, many of my constituents sold. Up to the same time, Ohio bad paid about sixteen bave given much more than the value of their lands; do millions of dollars for about nine millions of acres. The they oppose the relief sought by their neighbors and fel. average price paid by Ohio was one dollar and seventylow-citizens? By no means; but, on the contrary, would eight cents per acre, while Alabama had paid an average rejoice at their delis ce. I have given more than twen. price of two dollars and twenty-four cents per acre, and ty dollars per acre for a portion of the land I cultivate, exceeding the average price of Ohio forty-six cenis per for which I could not now obtain five dollars per acre; but acre. If gentlemen will take the trouble to make ihe estiwould I, on that account, refuse to let my neiglibor have mate, they will find the excess paid by the people of Alahis land on just terms, or envy his good fortune were he bama, over those of Ohio, for an equal quantity of land, to get it for less than its value, because the effect might according to this difference of price in the two States, be to cheapen mine? No, sir; far from it. Were I capa- amounts to nearly a million and a half of dollars. Is not ble of such illiberal sentiments, such want of magnanimity, this difference enormous to result from the sale of a little the high-minded and generous people whom I have the more than three millions of acres? Yet it is from a part honor to represent, would spurn me--they would discard of the representation from Ohio that we encounter the me from their confidence.

most prompt, decided, and unrelenting opposition to every Sir, it is not interest of the farmer or planter that is to measure proposed for the relief of purchasers in the State be affected by reducing the price of public lands, or ex- from which I come, and, I may add, to every measure tending relief to land debtors. It is only the interest of which is calculated to fitvor the growth and prosperity of the speculator; the interest of the landmonger, who buys the new States generally. and sells for profit, and who has large quantities on hand, Under this view of the subject, I appeal to gentlemen that can be injured by such measures; and they alone to say whether it is unreasonable to ask, or to expect, tlie would be likely to complain. I will not charge the gen- relief contemplated by the bill under consideration. We tleman from Ohio with intending to represent the interest do not propose to take a single acre for a less price than of large landholders and speculators, instead of that of the one dollar and twenty-five cents. We offer for this inferior great body of the people; but I will state some facts, from land such price as you have received (deducting sis mills which gentlemen can draw their own deductions, as to the per acre) for near a million and a balf of acres, sold in effect of his course of policy.

three of the new States, in three successive years precedl. Many years ago, certain grants were made to certain ing the last session of Congress; and within a few cents of agents and directors of the “Ohio Company of Associates." the price received for near half a million of acres sold, in I think the first was for seven hundred and fifty thousand the same three years, in the State which I, in part, have acres, a second tract contained about two hundred and the honor to represent. We offer the saine price for fourteen thousand two hundred and eighty-five acres, and which you sold several hundred thousandi acres during a third contained one hundred thousand acres. All those the last year, under the “act to grant pre-emption rights

FEB. 16, 1831.]
The Judiciary.--Slave Trade.--Revolutionary Soldiers.

(H. OF R. to settlers on the public lands;" a large portion of which [This bill, as usual on all bills making general proviwas, most likely, land of the best quality. Nor should it sion on the subject of pensions, gave rise to much debate; be forgotten that the individuals who now ask reljef, and especially on the often discussed question of including the seek the award of justice at your hand, “generally con- militia in the relief extended to the regular soldiers. The sist of the poorer classes of society," as they have them- debate on this question arose on a motion by Mr. TUCKselves remarked. This position is obviously true, judging ER, of South Carolina, to include the militia volunteers from the nature of things, and the experience and obser- and State troops in the present bill, which was ultimately vation of all. It is almost a necessary result of competi- adopted, almost by general consent. The gentlemen who tion at a sale of lands to the highest bidder, that men of entered into the discussion (some of them repeatedly) wealth shoull become the purchasers of the most fertile were, Messrs. VERPLANCK, DAVIS, of Mass., WILand valuable tracts, by the force of capital, driving those LIAMS, TUCKER, TAYLOR, CHILTON, CRAIG, who are poor to the more inferior lands. But, sir, if rea- BURGES, BATES, RICHARDSON, HUNTINGTON, soning be not sufficient to establish the fact, I have no SPENCER, of New York, McDUFFIE, A. H. SHEPhesit:incy in offering in its support the humble testimony PERD, STRONG,WILDE,CAMPBELL, ELLSWORTH, of my own knowledge of its truth, as a general proposi- SPEIGHT, BARRINGER, POLK, and SWIFT. The tion, from personal observation. As I urged in the com- following sketch embraces the principal features of the mittee at the last session, and have repeated at the pre-discussion.] sent one, the holders of this inferior description of land Mr. VERPLANCK, (on whose motion the House took are the class of persons who, above all others, have had up the bill,) said that the memorial of the parties was so the hardest bargains from the beginning, and have the succinct, and at the same time so expressive, that he should strongest clairns to favor and indulgence.

refrain from entering into an argument in support of their Sir, in any just aspect in which the subject can be pre-claims. He merely wished the memorial to be read. sented, the relief proposed by the bill is but fair and rea The memorial was then read. sonable. The grounds on which it is asked are fully sus Mr. VERPLANCK explained the object of the bill. It tained by the facts and views which have been presented, went to give to those individuals who had retired from the whether considered in reference to the interest or true service after the capture of Cornwallis, but before the policy of the Government. The relief prayed is from con- conclusion of the war, the benefits of the pension act of tracts the most hard and inequitable, made under circum- 1828. He moved, in amendment, that such of them as had stances against the influence of which no man's wisdom or served two years anıt six months, should be included. circumspection was a sufficient safeguard. I will not be Mr. TAYLOR said, that when it was considered what a lieve, until it is demonstrated by a vote of the House, that length of time had elapsed since these services were renyou will rigidly adhere to the unequal, unjust, and severe dered, he thought that a service of two years might be terins of the act of last session; or that you will deny considere:1 sufficient to entitle the parties to the benefit of relief commensurate with the most liberal principles of the act. He submitted a motion to this effect. equity and good conscience.

The motion was agreed to; and several other blanks in Mr. BAYLOR also supported the bill, and replied to the bill having being filled up, Mr. IRVIN.

The subject was further dehated by Messrs. VER. Mr. IRVIN rejoined more at large against the bill. PLANCK, TAYLOR, CHILTON, BURGES, DRAPER, Mr. WICKLIFFE commenced a speech in favor of the BATES, HUNTINGTON, DRAYTON, McDUFFIE, and bill, and had spoken some tiine, when he gave way to a A. H. SHEPPERD. motion to aljourn; and

Mr. TUCKER then moved the amendment providing The House acijourned.

for an extension of the bencfits of the bill to the militia of

the several States who actually served for six months in WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16.

the war of the revolution.

Mr. CHILTON moved that the committee rise, report, THE JUDICIARY.

and ask leave to sit aguin, in order that the House might The House resumed the consideration of the resolution go into a Committee of the Whole on the military pension proposing to print six thousand additional copies of the bills, as directed by the resolution passed on the precedreports of the majority and minority of the Judiciary com- ing day.

Mr. WILLIAMS was in favor of extending the proviMr. DANIEL resumed the floor, and consumed the re-sions of the bill to the militia of the States. He trusted mainder of the allotted hour, in the continuation of his that the committee would not rise until they came to a final speech on the judiciary--[as reported on a preceding decision on the subject. page.) When he had taken his seat,

Some discussion arose on a point of order, whether the Alr. BARRINGER gave notice that when this subject question of a motion for the committee to rise was debatcame up to-morrow, he should make a question of order, able. whether it was competent for members, on a simple mo. It was decided by the Chair that the question of a motion, to print the reports, to go into a general discussion tion to rise was not debatable. of the reports themselves, and the whole subject of the The question was then taken on Mr. Chilton's motion; judiciary.

which was negatived. SLAVE TRADE.

The subject under consideration was the amendment of Mr. MERCER moved to suspend the rule of the House Mr. Tucker. in regard to motions, for the purpose of enabling himself Mr. WILLIAMS resumed his observations in its supto submit a resolution requesting the Executive to enter port. into negotiations with the maritime Powers of Europe, to Mr. SPENCER, of New York, argued that if the amende induce them to enact laws declaring the African slave ment should be attached to the bill, it would, in his opitrade piracy, and punishing it as such; but the motion (rc. nion, be indubitably lost in the Senate. It would be betquiring two-thirds) was lost--63 to 54.

ter that, if the militia should be compensated in the same

manner with the regulur soldiers, a separate bill on the REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIERS.

subject should be brought before Congress. The House went into Committee of the Whole on the Mr. McDUFFIE was in faror of the amendment probill supplementary to the act of 1828, for the relief of cer-posed by his colleague, [Mr. Tucker,) and he assured the tain surviving officers and soldiers of the revolution. Igentleman from New York (Mr. SPENCER) that it was

mittec.

H. OF R.]

Revolutionary Soldiers.

(Feb. 16, 1851.

2

not with a view of defeating the bill, nor did he think it their lives in the great cause of liberty, when you had no should produce that effect. He thought, if “six months” | Government to raise or pay an army, or even to protect were stricken out, and" nine months" inserted in lieu, that your citizens from being executed as rebels and trators the bill ought to pass. If the regular soldier who served if they fell into the hands of the enemy? The militia; in the revolutionary war, was entitled to the relief of Con- and they carried on the memorable siege of Boston, and gress, he contended that the militia soldier, who was drove from the devoted State of Massachusetts the armies equally meritorious, was entitled to the same considera- and navies of Great Britain. This is service enough to tion. Since the year 1818, all regular soldiers who had immortalize them--but their achievements did not end served nine months in the revolutionary war, and were in here. The triumph at Bennington stands emblazoned on needy circumstances, had received pensions. It is now the page of history; and who was there? The militia of only asked that the same provision shall be made for the the granite State. The militia too had a large share of the militia man of equal merits, as was made twelve years ago glory and honor of arresting the career of Burgoyne. for the regular soldier.

The regular army was driven before him; but the men Mr. TUCKER had no objection to modify his amend- from the plough poured in to sustain them from all quar. ment so as to place the militia on the same footing as the ters, and the campaign ended by his defeat and surrender. soldiers of the line who had served nine months.

They were at Rhode Island in the midst of the fight and Mr. STRONG suggested that if Mr. Tucker should the peril there. Indeed, it would be difficult to name any withdraw his amendment, and the words “of the conti- one achievement in the North during the revolution which nental line" were erased from the bill, it would include the signalized the war, that did not owe much of its success to troops of all descriptions who served in that war.

the militia. Mr. TUCKER declined to accept of any modification But this is not all: there were dark, forlorn, and almost which would defeat his object. What that object was, hopeless periods of that war, when the country was withhe had before stated. It was to render one and the same out funds, without credit, without an army, and almost justice to the regular soldier and the militia man. Mr. T. without hope. In these times, when you could offer no subsequently modified it so as the bill should read, to in- bounty to invite enlistment, when you bad no reward to clude volunteer State troops and militia.

offer but the feeble hope of the future enjoyment of Mr. WILDE adverted to the eminent services rendered free Government, the militia were summoned to the field by the militia; to the battle of King's mountain; to the to sustain the sinking interests of the country, and they deeds of Generals Marion and Sumpter; and to numerous obeyed the call. They bore you triumphant through other actions, in which the militia and State troops had distin- these seasons of peril. They stopped not to ask for any guished themselves during the revolutionary contest, and assurance of pay--but it was enough for them to know contended that they deserved equally well of their country, that the country was in danger-for it was their country, with the continental troops.

and, if it fell, they fell with it. Mr. CAMPBELL moved that the committee rise; but What pay did they get for such important and patriotic the motion was negatived.

services? Some received nothing, others received a mi. Mr. TUCKER then modified his amendment, so as to serable depreciated paper currency, mere worthless rags. provide for compensating the officers and soldiers of the The pay of many months, as many of these veterans have militia in a proportion to the compensation allowed to the informed me, was insufficient to defray their expenses home officers and soldiers of the continental line.

from camp, when dismissed from the service. Now, sir, Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts, rose, and said his senti- these were men who left their families behind them to ments on this subject were so well known to most of the suffer, and their affairs to go to ruin; and ought they not members of the committee, that it would be a work of su- to be remembered by this Government, now that it is pererogation to make a formal expression of them. It rich and able to do them justice, while many of them are was well known that he was sincerely and ardently desir- not only old, but poor and needy? Sir, they have never ous of doing justice to all persons who belonged to the been paid, and the appeal is not made to your bounty, but army of the revolution. He was anxious they should all to your justice. They are not beggars, but rightful be paid for their services; and, had it depended on him, claimants, and it is a misnomer to call any grant made to this act of justice would not have been postponed to this them a pension upon your bounty. late day. Important, however, as time is to the House, he I have made these desultory remarks to rescue the mi. felt himself constrained to make some reply to the gen- litia of the North from reproach; and while I am up, I tleman from Georgia, (Mr. Wilde,] who, while he had will take occasion to say that I almost regret that the wordone ample justice to the militia of the South, had not thy gentleman from South Carolina has offered this amend. been equally true to history in his account of that class of ment: for, as has been observed by the gentleman from troops in the North. The services of these men, said New York, [Mr. Spencer,) it may endanger the passage Mr. 'D., are so identified with the great achievements of the bill in the Senate, where measures of this sort enof the revolution, and so revered and cherished in the counter great opposition. I should have preferred to act recollections of the population of the North, that they on this matter by itself; but, as it is before us, and as the need no vindication there; but there are persons less fa- Senate will in no shape be bound by it, but can strike it miliar with the story of the revolution, who may be mis- from the bill if they see fit, I shall support the amendled by the declaration of the gentleman that many of the ment, provided the mover will place the militia and the militia of the North were out who did little service, and troops of the line on the same footing: for I am not wil

. therefore are not entitled to the consideration of this Go- ling to deal more favorably by one class than by the other, vernment. I know this assertion was made without the and I am sure the same measure of justice to all will be slightest intention of giving offence; but, as it does great most acceptable. I hope, therefore, the amendment will injustice to this deserving class of persons, I cannot suffer be so modified, and it will then have my hearty approba. it to pass unnoticed.

tion. I have omitted to say any thing of the provisions The militia of the North did no service! Who, sir, for the troops of the line, not because they do not neet moved by the great impulses of patriotism and an ardent my most cordial approval, but because there seems to be love of liberty, opened the great avenue of the revolu- little opposition to that measure. Those troops did us tion at Lexington? The militia. Who were they that great service, and certainly had most miserable pays volunteered their services against oppression, left the Like the militia, they took what their country could give, peaceful occupations of private life, and marched under and cancelled the legal obl'gation, but the moral obliga. the standard of freedom to Bunker's hill, and offered up tion is still in force.

FEB. 17, 1831.]

The Judiciary.

[H. OF R.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mr. BURGES supported the proposition, and the subjects From the best information he was able to collect, he said, was further discussed by Mr. WILDE and Mr. BATES, this judge was worth more than one hundred thousand er the latter of whom suggested that a pro rata compensation dollars, and had an annual salary of sixteen hundred. 3 should be allowed to all who had served, whether in the He said that, in his opinion, it never was the intention of

line or the militia, either for nine or six months. This he this Government to grant pensions under such circumthought necessary to be done, and it was equally necessary stances, and suffer thousands of meritoriois soldiers to that it should be done speedily.

drag out the remainder of their days in poverty and want. Mr. TAYLOR moved an amendment, providing that He said that he felt but little interest on this subject; but the State troops, volunteers, or militia, who should at one he felt it to be his duty to bring it before the House, and or more times have served for two years, or for any period with their decision he would be satisfied. not less than six months, should be included within the Mir. DODDRIDGE moved the previous question; which, benefits of the act.

being sustained, cut off Mr. McCREENY's motion. Mr. ELLSWORTH opposed the amendment; but it Mr. SPEIGHT called for the yeas and nays on the prewas carried without a division.

vious question; but the House refused them. Mr. SPEIGHT moved an amendment providing that the Mr. LEWIS, of Alabama, moved a call of the House, provisions of the act should only extend to those who are but this also was negatired; and then now, and may be hereafter, reduced to the necessity of ap The question being put on ordering the bill to be enplying to their country for support.

grossed, and read a third time, it was carried by the fol. Mr. BARRINGER hoped his colleague [Mr. SprIGHT] lowing vote: would not press his amendment. It would continue and YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Angel, Arnold, Bailey, increase the odious distinction at present existing in pen-Noyes Barber, Barringer, Bartley, Bates, Baylor, Beeksion cases on the part of the rich and poor, by which the man, Boon, Brodhead, Brown, Buchanan, Burges, Butlatter were obliged, were compelled to prove themselves man, Cahoon, Cambreleng, Campbell, Chandler, Childs, to be paupers before they could be entitled to a reward Chilton, Clark, Coleman, Condict, Conner, Coules, for their services.

Crane, Crawford, Crockett, Creighton, Crowninshield, Mr. POLK said that he should vote for the amendment. John Davis, Deberry, Denny, De Witt, Dickinson, DodThe original pension law of 1818 contained a similar pro- aridge, Dorsey, Dudley, Duncan, Earll, Ellsworth, Geo. vision, as also did that of 1828.

Evans, Joshua Evans, Hurace Everett, Finallar, Fincli, Mr. TUCKER followed, and maintained that the pen-Ford, Forward, Gaither, Gilmore, Grennell, Ilalsey, Harsioning of the militia was nothing more than the payment vey, Hawkins, Hinds, "Holland, Hoffman, Hubbard,

of a debt of gratitucle due by the nation to those who had Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, Thrie, William W. Irvin, si fought for and obtained its independence. lle moved that Jarvis, Johns, Richard M. Jolinson, Kendall, Kincaid,

the committee rise, and report thie bill; but afterwards Perkins King, Adam King, Leavitt, Lecompte, Leiper, witlidrew his motion by request.

Lyon, Magee, Marr, Martindale, T. Maxwell, McCreery, The subject was further discussed by Messrs. A. II. dicintire, Mercer, Mitchell, Muhlenberg: Overton, Pearce, SHEPPERD, SPEIGHT, BATES, and BURGES. Pettis, Pierson, Randolph, Reed, Rencher, Richardson,

The question was then taken on Mr. Speight's amend- Russch, Sanford, Scott, im. B. Shepard, Aus. H. Shepment; which was negatived by a vote of yeas 34, nays perd, Shiekls, Semmes, Sill, Smith, Richard Spencer, not counted.

Sterigere, W. L. Storrs, Strong, Sutherland, Swann, On the motion of Mr. HUNTINGTON, a provision was Swift, Taylor, Test, John Thomson, Tracy, Tucker, Varaclopted to allow to the widow or children of a deceased num, Verplanck, Washington, Weeks, Whittlesey, C. pensioner the balance of the semi-annual pension following P. White, Edward D. White, Wille, Williams, Wilson, his decease.

Yancey, Young.--126. The committee then rose, and reported the bill as amend NAYS.--Messis. Alexander, Alston, Armstrong, Barned, and the House concurred in the amendments of the well, James Blair, John Blair, Bockee, Claiborne, Clay, is committee.

Coke, Craig, Crocheron, Davenport, W. R. Davis, DeMr. McCREERY then submitted the following amend-sha, Draper, Drayton, Foster, Fry, Gordon, Haynes,

lloward,' Cave Johnson, Lamar, Lea, Letcher, Lewis, And be it further enacted, That the provisions of the act Loyall, Lumpkin, McDuffie, Nuckolls, Polk, Potter, for the relief of certain officers and soldiers of the revo- Roane, Speight, Sprigg, Stan:lefer, Wiley Thompson, lution, passed the 15th day of May, 1828, shall not here- Trezvant, Vance, Vinton, Wayne, Wichile.--43.

after be extended to officers who were cominissioned after The house then adjourned. Š the 30th day of December, 1781, unless they were in the service prior to the date of their commissions; and that all

TOURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17. such officers who are now receiving pensions, be stricken

TILE JUDICIARY. from the roll from and after the passing of this act.

Mr. McC. said that he would, in a very few words, state The House resumed the consideration of the resolution his reason for offering to the consideration of the House proposing to print six thousand additional copies of the this amendment to the bill. He said that it was notorious reports of the majority and minority of the Judiciary cointhat commissions were granted to many after there was inittee. any active servicç performed, and that many of those who Mir. FOSTER l'osc, and intimated an intention of taking were thus commissioned, had not performed any kind of a course of some latitude on the general question, in the service prior to the date of their commissions, and, con- remarks which he should offer; when sequently performed none afterwards. He said that his Mr. BARRINGER rose to a question of order. Ile attention had been called to this subject by a fact, which desired to know o? the Chair whether, after a subject hnd came to his knowledge some time last session, which was, been before the House, and finally acted on, (as the bill that a certain presiding judge in Pennsylvania, through to repeal the 25tli section of the judiciary act had been,) the influence of some of his friends, received a coinmission it was in order for members to go into the merits of that in the latter part of the year 1782, when he was quite a subject, on an incidental question to print a document, young man; and, although he never performed any duty, 'The SPEAKER replieil, that it was not possible for either before or after he was commissioned, is now re- the Chair to prevent nembers from going into the merits ceiving a pension. If this judge was a poor man, le of the reports, to show why an exiva number ought or would not make any objection, but this was not the case. ought rot to be printed. They must be permitted to do

ment:

H. OF R.]

The Judiciary.

(FER. 17, 1891.

so if they chose, however much the House or the Chair ary act; and yet one clause of it has already been declared might regret it. It was a consticutional right which the by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. The Chair could not restrict. On the question simply to print 13th section of that act provides, among other things, that the reports for the House, the debate would not be in the Supreme Court “shall have the power to issue writs of order; but, on a motion to print an extra number, the mandainus in cases warranted by the principles and usages debate on the merits could not be restrained by the Chair. of law, to any courts appointed or persons holding office

Mr. BARRINGER would not contest the decision of under the authority of the United States.” But, in the the Chair, although lie still thought the latitude taken in celebrated case of Marbury versus Mr. Madison, as Secrethe debate irregular, and would be glad if some gentle. tary of State, the Supreme Court determined that the man would suggest a mode by which the sense of the authority thus given was not warranted by the constituHouse might be taken on it.

tion. So, sir, gentleman must admit that the passing of Mr. FOSTER then resumed, and entered into a review this law by the framers of the constitution and their coof the proceedings which had been had on this subject. temporaries is not conclusive as to its constitutionality, or Several weeks ago, the Committee on the Judiciary were that the Supreme Court have erred in their decision-heinstructed, by a resolution of the House, to inquire into resy which charity itself would scarcely tolerate at this day. the expediency of repealing or amending the 25th section But, Mr. Speaker, I will call the attention of the House of the judiciary act of 1789. Scarcely had this resolution to another section of this act. The constitution declares passed, when an alarm was sounded through the news that “the judicial power (of the United States) shall er. papers, and the people were warned that a deep and fatal tend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this blow was meditated against the great judicial tribunal of constitution" &c; and, after enumerating other subjects the country. The committee were denounced even in of jurisdiction, specifies“ controversies between citizens articipation; and we were threatened with the reproaches of different States.” The clause first read is general; the and indignation of the people, if we presumed to touch power extends to "all cases in law and equity, arising this hallowed law. But a majority of the committee, act- under the constitution," &c., and even the latter clause is ing under a conscious sense of duty, had the temerity, in entirely unqualified; no particular class of “controversies the midst of these alarms, and in the face of this galling between citizens of different Saites" is designated, and fire from the press, to make a report recommending the no power is given to Congress to limit the jurisdiction of repeal of the section in question, accompanies with a bill the court. And yet, sir, in providing for the exercise of for that purpose. The minority of our associates, under this juristliction by the circuit courts of the United States, a sense of duty equally conscientious, have submitted the "in suits of a civil nature at common law, or in equily, counter report which is now on the table.

where the United States are plaintiffs, or an alien is a The bill thus reported, said Mr. F., it was expected party, or the suit is between a citizen of the State where would have taken the usual course; but, instead of this, the suit is brought, and a citizen of another State," the even its second reading was objected to, and its rejection eleventh section of the judiciary act requires that the moved, and, on this motion, the previous question was matter in dispute should exceed, exclusive of costs, the ordered: so that all opportunity of discussing its principles sum or value of five hundred dollars." Will any gentle. was entirely prevented; and this, too, after a remark by man show me where the authority is given to regulate the the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. DonnrIDGF,] power of the courts, or the rights of the parties, by the that the bill reported was equivalent to a motion to dis- amount in controversy? What clause of the constitution solve the Union. Sir, we were not even allowed to repel gives Congress the power to throw open the doors of the the imputations thus cast on ns.

federal courts to an individual who has a demand of six [Here the SPEAKER reminded Mr. Fosten that it was hundred dollars, and close them against him who claims not in order to allude to the bill whiclı bad been reported only four hundred? None, sir; there is no such clause; by the committee, nor to the proceedings of the House the distinction is entirely arbitrary and unauthorized. with regard to it. lle must be confined to the princi Sir, there is another section of this act, wbich merits ples contained in the reports proposed to be printed.] some consideration. The twelfth section provides, that,

Mr. F. resumed. In order to confine himself to the "if a suit be commenced in any State court against an limits prescribed by the Chair, he must pass over some alien, or by a citizen of the State in which the suit is remarks he intended to have made, and coine immediately brought against a citizen of another State, and the matter to the reports.

in dispute exceeds thic sum of five hundred dollars, and The majority of the Judiciary committee, of whom, said the defendant shall, at the time of entering his appear Mr. F., I am one, maintain that the twenty-fifth section ance in such State court, file a petition for the removal of the judiciary act of 1789 confers upon the Supreme of the cause for trial into the next (United States') cir. Court of the United States powers not authorized nor con- cuit court to be held in the district where the suit is pend. templated by the constitution. It is my purpose to pre-ing,” thien, on certain conditions, the State court is prosent some views, in addition to those embraced in the bibited from proceeding any further, but the cause shall report, to establish this position. And, in the outset, 4 be removed to the circuit court, "and then proceed in will notice an argument with which we are so often met the same manner as if it had been brought there by origi. on questions of this kind. The law, of which the section nal process." Mr. Speaker, in my view, this is a most under cons' deration is a part, was passed shortly after the exraordinary provision. Here is an instance of a court's adoption of the federal constitution. Many of the mem- being ousted of its legitimate jurisdiction, without being bers of the Congress by which it was enacted, were also permitted to pronounce a judgment, and that without the members of the convention which framed the constitu- consent of one of the parties. I say its legitimate juristution; they, we are told, certainly knew what powers diction--for it is not pretended that the cause which may were intended to be conferred on the different depart. he thus removed is not cognizable by the State court. if ments of the Government, and would not have attempted this were the case, the party would have only to plead to to confer powers not authorized by the constitution. Mr. the jurisdiction of the court, and terminate the suit at once. Speaker, ihere is much force in this argument. I place But the law, from its phraseology, evidently contemplates great reliance on the exposition of constitutional powers causes in which the State courts have concurrent jurisiliemarle by those who aided in the formation and adoption of tion with the courts of the United States; and, if the dethe great charter of this Government. But, sir, the ar. fendant chooses to submit to the jurisdiction of the State guiment in this instance proves too much for our adversa- court, and permit bis cause to be tried, its judgment would, ries--it applies with equal force to every part of this juciici- (loubtless, be valid and binding. Here, ihen, the court is

« PrejšnjaNaprej »