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specific sum is due to a creditor, the money can not be drawn therefor until Congress shall bave passed upon the validity of the claim, and ordered an appropriation. The whole matter is subject to the critical review and decision of Congress. The object of this provision is to secure strict faithfulness in the public expenditures. Neither the executive, nor the judiciary, nor the heads of departments, nor the officers of the army or navy, nor even members of Congress tiemselves, can draw a dollar of the public money except by appropriations made by law.
§ 2. The requirement that a regular account and statement of the receipts and expenditures of the public money shall be published from time to time puts a most salutary check on the possible profusion and extravagance of the National Legislature. The people have the right to know how, and for what purposes, their money is expended. The heads of the departments must make an annual exhibit of their transactions respectively.
§ 3. The fear that the army might possibly become a power too formidable to be consistent with the rights and liberties of the people led to this Constitutional limitation of army appropriations. It is necessary to raise and support armies even in time of peace; but not a dollar can be appropriated for this purpose without the sanction of Congress. And, lest Congress may be extravagant in this direction, or the administration acquire too much power over the army, they are forbidden to make appropriations extending beyond the period of two years. A Congress lasts for but two years; and, should they be profuse in their appropriations of army money, the people will be likely to correct the error in their election of the succeeding Congress.
ART. VI. - NCBILITY. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States. 50.
The government instituted in this country at the close of the Revolutionary War, and which took definite shape in the Constitution of the United States, was intended to be characterized for republican simplicity. The theory of our institutions is, all citizens are equal before the law. Orders of nobility are forbidden, in accordance with this theory. Alexander Hamilton says, “ This may
truly be denominated the corner-stone of republican government ; for, so long as titles of nobility are excluded, there can never be serious danger that the government will be any other than that of the people.”
ART. VII.- PENALTIES.
1. No bill of attainder shall be passed.
1st. Corruption of blood ; nor,
person against whom such an act is passed is rendered infamous, and is said to be attainted, or stained and disgraced. The person so attainted forfeited all his property, real and personal, to the Crown; and, by operation of law, his blood became so corrupted, that he could neither inherit any thing from his ancestry, nor transmit by hereditary descent to his heirs, lineal or collateral.
$ 2. An act of the legislature convicting a person of any crime, and inflicting any punishment short of death, is called a bill of pains and penalties.
The Constitution of the United States humanely forbids the pas sage of any bill of attainder.
§ 3. An ex post facto law is one that is retro-active, and which makes an act criminal which was not so when committed. It has to do entirely with past transactions, and of a criminal nature. The Supreme Court of the United States has defined an ex post facto law to be one
which renders an act punishable in a manner in which it was not punishable when it was committed.” For instance, from 1808 to 1820, the foreign slave-trade was punishable by fine and imprisonment. After 1820, it was punishable by death. Had the law of 1820 punished the infractions of the law which were
committed in 1818 with death, it would have been an ex post facto law. Laws which mitigate the punishment, however, are not regarded as ex post facto; for they are in favor of the accused.
§ 4. It would be grossly and manifestly unjust, as well as unpardonably cruel, to visit a crime with a severer penalty than was attached to it at the time of its commission ; yet laws of this kind have been passed in some of the European States.
$ 5. Treason is defined by the Constitution, and its punishment is left with Congress to provide for; but, whatever penalty may be attached to this crime, no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted." The crime of treason in England - that country from which we have largely borrowed many features of our institutions — was punishable by death in the most borrid and revolting forms. Not only so, but the criminal's blood became so corrupted by fiction of law, that all powers of transmission were destroyed. His lineal and collateral kindred were compelled to suffer for his offenses.
§ 6. Our Constitution is more consonant with justice and humanity, in that it takes it out of the power of Congress to punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. In affirmance of this Constitutional provision forbidding the working of corruption of blood and of forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted, Congress has by law declared that “no conviction or judgment for any capital or other offenses shall work corruption of blood, or any forfeiture of estate.”
1. By Congress, prior to 1808 (44); nor,
time. 78. § 1. Slavery has existed in every age of the world, not merely among the barbarous and savage nations, but among the most refined, civilized, and even Christian nations. Captives in war were sold as slaves, and were regarded and treated as property. This was considered as a favor to the captive, as his doom was slavery or death. If the captor saved the captive's life, this was viewed as a
mercy to the prisoner; for which he was to be reduced to perpetual servitude.
§ 2. It was but a slight remove from slavery to the slave trade. The strong and powerful soon came to regard it as their right to prey on the weak and defenseless. Among the ancients, slavery finally became a regular branch of commerce. Even in modern times and between Christian nations, treaties have been formed for he purpose of facilitating commerce in this species of property.
$ 3. But, towards the close of the eighteenth century, the slave trade began to excite a spirit of disapprobation ; and the conviction fastened itself on the consciences of men, that this traffic in buman beings was repugnant to the principles of Christian obligation. Many of the great and good men who formed the Constitution of the United States shared in this conviction. In that Convention, the foundation was laid to put a final stop to this outrage on the rights of bumanity, by vesting in Congress the power to probibit the traffic by citizens of the United States after 1807. Although the provision is expressed in negative terms, that Congress shall not probibit the practice prior to that time, yet, in legal parlance, it has all the effect of an affirmation that Congress may prohibit it after that time.
§ 4. Before the Declaration of Independence, as early as August, 1774, Virginia and North Carolina had resolved by their legislative assemblies to discontinue the importation of slaves. The first Continental Congress passed a similar resolution, which was to take effect from and after the first day of December of the same year.
§ 5. After the adoption of the Constitution, March 22, 1794, and May 10, 1800, acts were passed by Congress prohibiting the citizens of the United States, and residents within them, from engaging in the transportation of slaves from the United States to any foreign place or country, or from one foreign place or country to another, for the purposes of traffic. It will be observed that these acts prohibited our citizens from all participation in the foreign slave-.rade except by direct importation into the United States. Thus Congress did all they possibly could under the Constitution at that time to interdict this inhuman traffic.
$ 6. By act of March 2, 1807, Congress prohibited, under severe penalties, the importation of slaves into the United States from and after Jan. 1, 1808. By another act, passed April 20, 1818, the penalties of the act of Mar 2, 1807, were increased in severity. Another act was passed March 3, 1819, authorizing national armed vessels to be sent to the coast of Africa to prevent citizens or residents of the United States from engaging in the slave-trade. This act authorized the seizure and confiscation of any vessels found engaged in this business. Another act of Congress, passed May 15, 1820, made the foreign slave-trade piracy, and punishable by death.
§ 7. The reader should bear in mind that those various acts of Congress have nothing to do with the slave-trade as between the several States. That matter was regulated by the States themselves, and some of them passed laws on this subject. They did this before the final abolition of slavery, which was done by amendment of the Constitution of the United States in 1865.
§ 8. A few words may not be out of place here in reference to the progress
of other nations on this subject. The following facts are gathered from one of the lectures of the late Chancellor Kent on the law of nations. The first British statute that declares the slave-trade unlawful was passed in March, 1807. This was a great triumph of British justice. Afterwards, by act of Parliament, March 31, 1821, the slave-trade was declared to be piracy.
$ 9. Almost every maritime nation in Europe has deliberately and solemnly, either by legislative acts or by treaties and other formal engagements, acknowledged the injustice and inhumanity of the trade, and pledged itself to promote its abolition.
§ 10. By treaty between Great Britain and France, May 30, 1814, Louis XVIII. agreed that the traffic was repugnant to the principles of natural justice; and he engaged to add his efforts at the ensuing Congress to induce all the powers of Christendom to decree the abolition of the trade, and that, on the part of the French Government, it should definitely cease in the course of five years.
$ 11. The ministers of the eight principal European powers who met in Congress at Vienna, Feb. 8, 1815, solemnly declared, in the