페이지 이미지
[blocks in formation]

as well as smaller body is equally subjected by law to censure or punishment; yet it is settled even to a proverb, that a large body, either from a consciousness of its increased power, or from a parasite propensity to lean on others, or from any other causes, which I cannot now stop to suggest, will at times adopt measures at which a smaller body or their own number would blush.

But the tendency of this great increase in the number of Judges of the Supreme Court ought to excite peculiar caution and alarm under our present Constitution. cause, under that, beside the smallness of number properly and customarily belonging to a ju licail body, we have retained no check whaever upon judicial officers, except in impeachment: this, in our virtuous state of society, is, as the gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. JOHNSON,) cited from Mr. Jefferson, a mere scare-crow; and in respect to judicial science, industry, and talent, never was intended to operate at all, and always must prove moonshine.

[APRIL 11, 1826.

can only be called “ a happy accident." The argument, if pushed to its legitimate extent, would justify us in abolishing all checks, and in throwing every thing, with unlimited confidence, and in the true spirit of despotism, into the iron hands of power.

Place a Judge in such a condition, and though, in the range of possibility or chance, he may continue to exercise equal diligence and fidelity, yet all experience and reasoning render it probable that his attention will be less Be-general, and his energies less highly excited, that in truth he will be likely to degenerate, and by being placed in a body legislative in number, but without legislative checks and excitements, he will naturally become, not, to be sure, in our state of society, so livid a curse as Jeffries, but a political partisan of the power which made and maintains him; a parasite for secretaryships and foreign embassies; or, if of a less busy temper, an idle dotard, or a servile pse dixit to some ambitious associate. What is here anticipation, is now history of a similar officer of a similar temperament. "He minds his ease, and lets things go how they will; if he can have his 8,000 dollars per annum, and a

Other Governments have generally provided other stimulants and securities for these qualities. Securities against an undue devotion to the power which creates, feeds, and alone can advance higher the Judges; securi-game at l'ombre, he is well.” ties against incapacity, idleness, ignorance, and datage, in Judges. In six of our State Constitutions, they are provided by making the Judges eligible for only a term of years; in ten of them, they are provided by making them liable to removal by address, as is done in England; and in almost all of them, are they provided, by making their salaries subject to reduction, as is also the case in Eng


These remarks are not made because I admire less than others lofty sentiments of judicial independence. I do not say, with two or three other gentlemen on Friday last, that I am willing to alter the tenure of judicial office. But I do say, that, with the views of those gentlemen, it is difficult to comprehend how they can consent, by increasing the Judges. to make still weaker our present checks, and to diminish a responsibility which they now consider too small.

Again-such an increase will not only tend to change the character of the individuais, but of the whole body. It will become a body of a legislative rather than judicial character, like the House of Lords and New York Court of Errors, without any redeeming legislative check and security, such as exist in those tribunals.

By the increased numerical force, and more widely diffused personal influence of such a Court, their decisions will acquire weight, not so much in proportion to their interest, learning, accuracy, and strength, (and which we have shown will probably be diminished,) as in proportion to the great number, rank, and individual popularity of the members. Thus shall we impart to a Court, which some of the Committee have already pronounced too powerful, an additional, and at the same time most dangerous pow. er, in a tribunal so little amenable to the scrutiny of public opinion, and of the co-ordinate departments of Government. Reflect a minute on the probable consequences of such a measure. It will tend to mar one of the great

and mind alone, for success. Next, it will tend to sap the very foundation of all just confidence in lofty judicial integrity, by opening a door to that lamentable state, when judgments of a grand Judiciary of the Union may be considered as mere sectional questions, settled on Eastern or Western votes, according to the majority on the Bench from either quarter-questions settled only for a season, as party victories or political expedients; and questions settled with such diminished science, research, and vigor in the judgments themselves, as in some instances to be obeyed only because their authors exercise command over the prison and the gallows.

No, Sir; I make these remarks because, in securing judicial independence by a tenure of office virtually for life; by salaries large and undiminishable; and by exemp-est beauties in judicial decision--their reliance upon mind, tion from removal on address; we have palpably gone beyond all ancient precedent or any modern example among transatlantic nations; and in such a new, if not hazardous experiment, I will not consent to go still farther, and transcend any precedent in any age or nation, by making a body, exclusively judicial, as large as ten, with no other checks or responsibility than are now devolved upon our Supreme Court. Gentlemen seem to forget the checks, securities, and responsibilities, of the large bodies to which they refer, and I now propose to them, frankly, that if they will cite to me a single body, solely judicial, and under no other checks and responsibilities than our Supreme Court-whether in republics, monarchies, or Especially in a government of laws, is it to be discoun despotisms, that I will, at once, withdraw my motion. No, tenanced, that any municipal body should be made so sir, we are launching our bark upon an unknown sea-we large as to confer on their doings a popularity derived are making an experiment, and, I fear, a rash one, in our from numbers and personal rank, without imposing on that highest judicial tribunal, merely to remove a local griev-body rigid and efficient responsibility; and least of all ance-we seem, I hope I may be pardoned the expression, almost sporting with the momentous subject of Judicial responsibility.

We knowingly and coolly proceed to lessen it, while avowing that it is already too small. I had always supposed, sir, that one essential feature in a Republic was extreme caution, lest those who receive power should forget right. That its governing principle was checks, constant checks, and eternal vigilance. And although I am ready to admit, that, with no constitutional or external restraint or stimulant whatever, some men may be so happily formed, and so singularly endowed, as to continue while in of fice to improve all their original excellencies; yet, in the sagacious language of a recently deceased Emperor, they

should be made so large any judicial body, and particularly one like the Supreme Court, where causes so delicate and momentous yearly come to judgment-where the parties in interest, sometimes empires within themselves, cannot and should not be satisfied with any thing short of the fullest scrutiny, the widest range of study, the sternest impartiality, the most elevated talents, all converged upon the questions in controversy, and then judgments pronounced, which, by their inherent excellence alone, may be destined to live, like much of the civil and common law, long after their authors have mouldered from memory. Thus, to be sure, they may operate more slowly and with less eclat, but, in the end, if they deserve it, triumphantly-like the silent labors of many

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


APRIL 11, 1826.]

master mi

The Judicial System.

minds, in correcting the abuses of Government, and in freeing from restraints and monopolies the commerce of the world. Thus alone, too, may some of their adjudications chance to become parts of the living and speaking law of every free people, and to accord well with that still wider and higher law, of which Hooker says "all things in heaven and earth do her homage; the very least as feeling her care, and the very greatest not exempt from her power."


our confederacy, which may hereafter wish to engraft
some species of new fruit upon the old stock. Certainly
not, with power and influence in any profligate hands,
that might seek hereafter to raze to its foundation any
I am not to be misunderstood: I speak solely of the
principle consecrated by their records.
tendency of this principle, and of the use which may be
some ill-starred crisis the winds blow and the waves beat;
made of it under the sanction of our precedent, when at
and not of the objects or motives, which now, in a politi-
I regret that the nature of the subject has forced me to
cal calm, may actuate any friend of the present bill.
make any sectional allusions or examinations, with a view
to ascertain the extent and character of the sectional
grievances the bill proposes to remedy. It has been pain-
ful. But I am not accustomed to shrink from what ap-
pears to me a duty, and feel conscious that no honorable
mind, no person who knows my real feelings and opinions
towards the regions to be affected by the local operation of
this bill, will suspect or impute to me, towards them, any
thing short of the highest respect and the kindest

Another mischief in this great increase of the Judges is, that, should experience require a return to the former, or a less number, under the adoption of some different system, you never can, by mere legislation, remove Judges of the Supreme Court from office. I speak now of the most prevalent doctrine on this point. But you have no power to remove them by address; their office is not for a term of years-they are not incapacitated at any advanced and nothing, therefore, will be able to disage; place them, but the grim tyrant who dethrones all. The gentleman on the committee from Maine docs, consequently, with great propriety, admit that this increase is If the passage of the other bill on your table, creating an experiment. How long should we pause upon the danger and magnitude of a similar experiment in the Executive Department, which, in its structure and nature, another district in the seventh circuit, will not remove all is most kindred to the Judiciary? A proposition to dou- their local grievances, I am anxious that two new districts ble the number of the Executive would not only require may be formed, with circuit powers; and then the Suan entire change in the constitution, but what patient re-preme Court would remain untouched and unendangered. Acction and long deliberation! But now, in the Judicial department, designed for the greatest stability, a similar change is to be completed in the hurry of a single session; and with no useful effect from it, even in anticipation, but the removal of a grievance in the local administration of justice in a single section of country. This removal can be effected by other remedies, which have the sanction of experience, and are entirely free from danger; and yet, can gentlemen still insist upon this experiment, so contrary to all experience, and so beset with the most imminent dangers?

The immediate consequence of adding to the Supreme Court, at once, a number equal to one half its original number, and equal to the whole now necessary to pronounce any decision, and all this addition to be made from one section of the country, it is not for me, at this time, to prophecy, but nobody can be so purblind as not to see the fatal example thus set to future Congresses, and to the different States in our Union. Do gentlemen believe, that hereafter equally plausible apologies cannot be found for a further increase? They exist even now in the East Because, pass this and North for a still larger increase. bill, and they are entitled to seven more Judges on some of the equal principles advanced in support of this. Moreover, these apologies will multiply on numberless grounds in every section, if we now pass this bill, and hereafter At the end push into practice the boasted expansiveness of the prinMark the progress of it. ciple it enforces. of the first eighteen years of our government, to remove a local grievance, we add a single Judge to the Bench of the Supreme Court-at the end of the next eighteen years, we are called on to add three more; and pursuing this course and ratio at the end of the next eighteen years, our Supreme Court will consist of nineteen Judges, and in only thirty-four years beyond that time, of one hundred and twenty-seven Judges.

If this will not satisfy the just wishes and claims of the six new States, I am willing to go farther, and adopt any reasonable plan, placing the whole Union, in all respects as to judicial system, on the most perfect equality; taking care, however, not to include in their plan any addi tion to the Supreme Court.

But I have not embarrassed this motion with the details of any such system, lest the force and bearing of the general principle and operation of this projected increase of details alone. Yet, that the Senate may not be in doubt Judges of the Supreme Court might be lost sight of in as to my particular views concerning such a system, I will merely suggest, that with only our present number of Judges in the Supreme Court, and the whole Union divided into seven circuits, with new districts whenever necessary, a most perfect equality would be caused as to the system in the whole Union, in the three old Atlantic States, as well as in the six new States; and this enlargement of the circuits would be in analogy to former chang es, including Vermont, Rhode Island, North Carolina, and Maine.

If to the District Judges in each district were given Circuit powers, all the business could be ransacted with despatch, and with the addition of neither a host of Circuit Judges, nor Judges of the Supreme Court.

Once a year only the Judges of the Supreme Court increase their knowledge of local law, by aiding the Dismight attend in each circuit, to sharpen their faculties and trict Judge, at nisi prius, and, at the same time, if thought best, to act as an intermediate tribunal, on law questions, between the District Judge and the Supreme Court. The District Judges are now competent to these duties, or should be made so the law even now devolving these duties on them in the absence of the Judge of the Supreme Court.

most imperiously demands consideration in any system, that it leaves to the Judges of the Supreme Court ample time for a grave and thorough and prompt discharge of all their cardinal duties, as the great balance wheel of the whole confederacy.

But a most important advantage in such a system would Whether we shall then have reached a point to be stop-be what is suggested by the Nashville memorial, and what ped by the fear of patronage or expense in so splendid a system, or whether we shall then have reached a point of practical inconvenience, will depend altogether upon the fashionable opinions of the age-on new judicial theories on plausible apologies on analogies and exigencies. It may then be justly said, as now, that the Court is not so large as the English House of Lords. Pardon me, sir, we shall never, in such a career, reach a point of fear or practical inconvenience in the opinions of any quarter of VOL. 11-32

"Were the Circuit Courts held in cach State or Dis trict but once a year, this would enable the Judges of the Supreme Court to hold their sessions for a much longer period of time to complete the business before them.


The Judicial System.

[APRIL 11, 1826.

almost convinced him there was not, for he had proved that justice was better administered when they had fewer law suits, and fewer appeals; it would only be necessary to go farther, and it would be proved that Courts of Justice were not necessary at all.

The inconvenience of having but one circuit a year would be much less than that arising from the great delay which now exist in the disposition of causes in the Supreme Court." -(Nashville Memorial....Congressional Register, Ap. 75.) But this project is merely a hint, en passant. I am not tenacious of any detail, in any change which shall be ne- The gentleman, Mr. II. said, had been answering argucessary and well adapted to remove all the existing griev-ments which he was not aware had been urged: this, he ances, if it shall not, at the same time, make any danger-thought, looked something like creating a man of straw, ous inroad upon the Supreme Court itself, or create a host of unnecessary Judges, at a time when I sincerely believe we have ample judicial materiel, if duly distributed, for all the legitimate business of our Federal Courts, without any increase whatever of Judges, except, perhaps, one or two new district ones in the Seventh Circuit.

Under these views, I had intended to offer some further remarks against this great increase of Judges on the general ground of its useless multiplication of offices-its useless increase of Executive patronage, and its useless addition to our present vast expenditures. Not losing sight in these remarks, however, of the important consideration, that we are now ten millions of People instead of three-twenty-four States instead of thirteen, with a Territory doubled, and a revenue trebled.

for the purpose of knocking him down. Mr. H. said, he
had not heard it argued on the broad ground contended
for by the gentleman from New Hampshire, that there
was to be a judicial representation. All he contended
for was, that there should be a sufficient number of
Judges to do the business required. Mr. H. said, he did
not expect to hear it said, after so much complaint, that
there was no evil existing in the Western country. It
was not treating them kindly to say so. The gentleman
had said there had been no petitious presented; there
had been no meetings and remonstrances on the subject.
And was it, indeed, true, Mr. H. said, there had been no
complaint on this subject? The committee of which he
was a member had received application after application,
applications, too, from State Legislatures, by resolutions,
and he should think it a circumstance entitled to some
consideration that the whole representation from the nine
States were unanimous, and called loudly for a change.
What more was necessary to convince them of the exist-
ence of a grievance? yet, at this period of the bill, they
were told that no grievance existed, and that justice was
as well administered under the present judicial system as
it could be under the one proposed, or any other.
them that an equality of system was insisted on. Mr. H.
The gentleman from New Hampshire had farther told
said he had heard no such argument. He did not believe
it would be possible in the United States, or even in an in-
dividual State, perfectly to equalize the administration of
justice so that every individual, in whatever part of the
State he might be located, would have the same advan-
tages from the administration of justice as the rest. It was
impossible in the nature of the thing. All that could be
they were to pursue the argument a little farther, he did
done was to get as near to it as possible. Mr. II. said, if
not know why they might not go home to the gentleman's
done in the small or new States, and, therefore, there was

But I cannot permit myself, at this time, to weary longer the patience of the Senate. I have invoked their attention to what I deem the fatal tendency of the present measure in the manner my sense of duty has enjoined; an if my warnings, like those of Cassandra, should be disregarded, I shall only add, that, for the welfare of my country, they will not, I hope, like hers, prove true. Mr. HOLMES then rose, and said, that, having been one of the Committee on the Judiciary whe had had this subject before them for several years, he must confess he was somewhat surprised at the proposition that had been made by the gentleman from New Hampshire. It was easy to point out the evils and difficulties in the best devised system under heaven, when it was not quite so easy to point out the remedy. There was no system to which an ingenious man could not object with some plausi bility and he did expect, when the gentleman from New Hampshire undertook to point out the evil, that he would likewise have indicated the remedy. What, said Mr. H. had he done? Had he proposed a resolution giving any definite instructions to the committee on the subject? Had he pointed out any system which he thought preferable to this? Had he proposed any amend-no ment to this? Nothing. It was to be referred back to the Judiciary Committee to seek out something else, he did not know what. If that were to be the case, it would only prove one thing, that it was a very easy matter to find fault, and was the most comfortable thing in the world to be in a minority, as he hoped that gentleman would find himself in regard to his resolution.

The gentleman from New Hampshire, Mr. H said, commenced by finding fault with the title of the bill. If it were not correct, there was a period at the last stage of the bill when it could be altered: it would be better to let that point alone till they came to it, as he trusted they would

The gentleman had gone on to show that this could not be a general inconvenience, that it must be local, and proves its locality by showing that it only affects nine States of the Union-very local, indeed! It was only a local injury that affected in point of territory more than half of the United States, and in point of population, one fourth. Would it not be as well for them to say it was a benefit to have it? the rest of the United States had it, and these nine States had it not; then turn the argument on the gentleman, that the benefit was a local one, there were then fifteen States that received this local benefit, and the other nine States did not why not, then, extend this benefit to all, if there was any benefit in having justice administered? for, Mr. H. said, the gentlemen had

own State. If it were true that but little business was

As re

necessity for Circuit Courts there, he would ask the hocuit Court in New Hampshire. For the last ten years, norable gentleman how many causes were tried in the CirMr. H. said, he believed it would not average ten. garded the State of Maine, there was a time when they could not expect that a perfect administration of justice should be extended to them for a few actions, but as the population and business increased it was extended to them. If the gentleman was to be met on his ground, the New England States might be cited, and three out of the six would be found where less business was done than in these Western States, where they had only a District Judge; and, Mr. H. said, if it was not necessary to make any additions to the Supreme Court, remove these Judges from New England, and let the Circuit Judge be placed where it was agreed on all sides he was wanted.

The gentleman from New Hampshire had suggested that in those States where there were two districts, or a district where the Circuit Judge did not meet the District Judge, there was an inconvenience similar to that which was complained of in the West. Mr. H. said, he did not understand it so; he understood there was an appeal from the one district where the Circuit Judge did not sit, to the one where he did sit.

Mr. H. said, he had never heard it said that they ought to have Circuit Courts on the score of State pride. Did that portion of the country require an addition to its judicial system? This was the question, and of this fact that it was required they had the concurrent testimony of the

APRIL 11, 1826.]

Judicial System.


West. That was enough for him. The question then might be prescribed. Mr. H. said, he thought so too; recurred what should that judicial system be. They had but the remedy was not prescribed. If cases between presented one; the gentleman from New Hampshire had citizens of different States, and some other descriptions of not presented a counter one, nor did he propose to do so. cases, should be transferred from the Federal to the State Mr. H. protested against the objection to asking for Courts, business would be diminished in your District and any equality, where there could not be a perfect equal- Circuit Courts; but till they repealed the law which autho ity. He wished justice to be administered equally to all | rized the citizen of another State to bring his suit in the portions in the Union, as nearly as could be. Some States Federal Court, so long would this business be accumulatsuffered much, whilst others suffered little or none-ing. In the Western country, there were controversies those must be relieved first if possible. It was proper to between citizens of the same State, arising under grants provide for the administration of justice in the Territo- of lands of several States; the parties had a right to go ries, but it was not proper that the judicial system of the into the Courts of the United States. Mr. H. said there United States should now be extended there; but Mr. H. had no remedy been yet provided for this accumula said, he was far from believing that the Territories were tion of business; and till the plaintiff was compelled to go in a worse condition, in that respect, or even half so bad, into the State Court, he would prefer going into the as the Western country. We had the right to delegate Courts of the United States. to the Territories legislation, to prescribe the jurisdiction of their Courts, and appoint their Judges; and Courts had been constituted, that did the business in a manner so satisfactory to the People, that very few appeals came from that quarter. And in the Territories of Florida and Michigan, Mr. H. said, he believed that justice was, at this time, more promptly and satisfactorily administered, than it had been for years past in the nine Western States.

Mr. H. said he did not know whether he could answer the objections urged by the gentleman from New Hampshire, as to whether the bill reported by the committee would remove the evils which were complained of. While they were passing a law to remedy the evil, no mortal could tell whether it would remove it or not. He was sure it would go far to remove it, and he thought himself it would be an effectual cure.

So far from the arguments that had been used having As to what the gentleman had said in reference to local been answered, Mr. H. said it appeared to him that the laws, the gentleman seemed to think that to make the arguments the gentleman had answered, had never been Judges perfect in that local law, they must make a Cirused. The position the committee had taken, was this:cuit Judge in every State in the Union. Mr. H. said he there was an existing grievance, not so very local, seeing did not think it followed at all from the gentleman's prethat it extended over nine States of the twenty four. It mises. The New England States have pretty nearly the was proper to extend the judicial system to all parts of same system of laws throughout. The Circuits could be the United States, where it could be done with propriety, so formed, where the Judges being acquainted with the making a difference according to the differences in loca- laws of one State, might readily become acquainted with tion and circumstances. If they could not arrive at per- the laws of the other States within his Circuit; and there fection, they should endeavor to get as near to it as they would be no difficulty in finding a lawyer who had praccould, to carry justice near the man's door, if they could tised in all the Courts in the Circuit. There was one not carry it quite there. Either this, or something else, subject, Mr. H. said, which had had much weight with him, must be done; and if the gentleman from New Hampshire and that was the only objection to increasing the number would give them that something else, they would be en- of Judges-their responsibility would be diminished. abled to compare the two systems and see which was There was, he thought, much weight in this remark; but best. It was not difficult to find fault, but a remedy could what number of men could be taken in order to create a not be produced, in which all would agree; and if every tribunal which should be most intelligent, and, at the same scheme were presented by the gentleman who disliked time, most responsible, is a question that has never yet the present one, it would be found there would be almost been settled. The gentleman had said, in reference to as many schemes as there were objections to this. all large bodies, in proportion as their number was increased, so was their responsibility diminished. The Senate, Mr. H. said, was once composed of twenty-six members; its number now was forty-eight. Comparisons were odious-but he did not know there was any member of it who thought his responsibility had been diminished, by the increase of its numbers. If responsibility was to be increas ed by diminishing the numbers, then it would be proper to descend to the lowest number possible-to one. That was the other extreme. All the responsibility was concentrated in the smallest number; but then the other benefit would be lost-intelligence. No man would be found to be so intelligent alone, as when associated with others. If a body of men did not feel their responsibility lessened as legislators, by being increased from twentysix to forty-eight, he should suppose that a judicial body of seven, would not feel theirs diminished very materially, by an increase of three.

The gentleman from New Hampshire had reference to the amount of business, and he seemed to think, that though a District Judge could not do the duty at present, yet, if a Circuit Judge was appointed, business would be so much diminished, he would hardly have any thing to do. According to the gentleman's own calculation, according to the amount of actions he considered necessary to be decided there, there would be three times as many as would be found in some of the circuits to the East; and here the argument recurred, if there was more business in the West than in the East, and it was not thought advisable to increase the number of Judges, why not transfer one from the East to the West? If these additional Judges were established, greater facilities would be afforded for trial of causes, and the presumption would be, that they would be more correctly decided. Men are not disposed to bring their suits, by appeal, into the Supreme Court of the United States, when they were cor rectly decided in the Circuit Courts. A District Judge, Mr. H. said, was a Judge of an inferior Court, his compensation was small, and it was not expected he should be a man of first rate talent-but if à Supreme Court Judge should go into the Circuit, very few causes would come up to the Supreme Court.

The gentleman from New Hampshire had said that much of this business might be taken from the Supreme Court by the will of the parties; they would prefer going into the Courts of the United States; and that a remedy

Whether, this Court could be diminished, or whether the system could be changed hereafter, Mr. H. said, was a point in which he had not made up his mind, and into the discussion of which he should not now attempt to enter. That question had once been discussed, in regard to the repeal of the Judiciary bill, passed in 1800. Then it was determined that the power that created the Court could abolish it. That was not exactly similar to the present case. This is a Supreme Court of the United States, created by the Constitution; but the numbers of that Court had not been indicated by the Constitution. They

[blocks in formation]

might be increased; he was not by any means sure, they had the right to diminish them. There would, however, never be any occasion to diminish the ten Judges of the Supreme Court, because the country is so extensive, and the population has so vastly increased, that, even if they should be made into a permanent tribunal, and remained fixed at Washington, it would be necessary to increase the number to ten, inasmuch as the moment their Circuit powers are taken from them, it would be necessary to select them from various parts of the United States, to bring with them some knowledge of the local laws.

[APRIL 11, 1826.

to give them a different one; and if they could not give them in perfection, it was their duty to make it as perfect as they could. Mr. H. concluded his remarks by expressing his conviction that this system was the best that could be devised to remedy the existing evil.

Mr. VAN BUREN said it was due to the gentleman from New Hampshire, to state that the remark he had alluded to, was made by Mr. V. B. In stating the various plans which had been proposed to relieve the Western States, he had mentioned that one had been a bill reported some years ago in the House of Representatives, and It was now proposed to re-commit this bill, and for which had also been offered by way of amendment to the what The gentleman from New Hampshire had not | bill proposed last year in the Senate, which went to provide told them. He had alluded to one system, to one alter- for such of the Western States to whom the circuit court ation, which he thought would suit his purpose; but system had not been extended, Circuit Judges who should whether he had made up his mind on that, Mr. H. said he not be Judges of the Supreme Court, and thus to place was not sure. The gentleman from New Hampshire had them on an inferior footing to the other States. When proposed no instructions to examine even that proposi- that amendment was acted on in the Senate, the Western tion; his plan was to throw the United States into seven cir- members said that the system which existed in the old cuits, and to require a Judge of the Supreme Court to go States, had not been extended to them; from the time once a year into each of those circuit: then there were they had been admitted into the Union, they had experito be District Courts having Circuit Court powers, held by enced an inferior system; but if the interest of the other a District Judge once, twice, or three times a year. In parts of the Union would not admit a full extension of the that case, Mr. H. said, one-fourth of the evil would, per- system to them they would wait; but when Congress prohaps, be removed. There was, however, one material in-posed to legislate on the subject, and to place them on a convenience attending the proposed system. In some of footing inferior to the other States, they would object on the States, such were the duties of the District Judge, it the ground of wounded pride, and as well as on the ground -would be impossible for him to be associated with the of injury to the States. This Mr. V. B. said he had statCircuit Judge in that way; but the principal objection is ed when up, and he thought it a legitimate ground of obthis in almost all the States, the suitors would preferjection on the part of the Western members. to have their causes carried to the Courts where the Mr. WOODBURY said, when he spoke of the compaCircuit Judge should attend: by agreement of the par-rative extent of territory, population, or wealth, nothing ties, therefore, all cases might be carried up to the Circuit Court; very few would want their causes tried by the District Judge, and come, for instance, from Louisiana to Washington to the Supreme Court, when there would be a Judge of the Supreme Court in their own Circuit, who would try their cause, and save them the trouble of an appeal. This, Mr. H. said, was his chief objection to the system of the gentleman from N. Hampshire. Many other systems had been proposed: one was proposed last year in the Senate, and was decidedly negatived. A proposition was made by a gentleman from Virginia, to refer this bill to the Committee on the Judiciary, with instructions to devise means to take from the Judges of the Supreme Court all their Circuit Court powers. Another proposition, which also failed, was, that three new Circuit Judges should be appointed, who should not be Judges of the Supreme Court. Another proposition, which was seriously investigated in the committee, was this: to divide the United States into eight Circuits. The Judges of the District Courts associated together, should constitute a Circuit Mr. HOLMES explained and said, it was perhaps Court; there should be an appeal from the District to the wrong as it regarded the division of a State into two JudiCircuit Court, each Judge in his own District deciding as cial Districts, it being a general principle that there was an a District Judge, and then these Judges deciding collec-appeal from the District Court in Maine to the Circuit tively as a Circuit Court. This plan was at the first view most plausible, but there seemed to be some existing objections, which it would be invidious to mention. These it was presumed would be done away with in course of time; but the business in some of the District Courts was found to be so great, that it would be impossible for them to attend to their Circuit duties also, hence, this plan was abandoned.

Another proposition was to restore the old system of 1801 To that there were many objections which it is not necessary to mention; the Senate would not now be disposed to restore that system. The Judiciary Committee had maturely investigated the subject for several years, and they had come to this conclusion: that the call on them from the Western States was imperative and must be obeyed; it was their duty to extend to them, as far as possible, the same judicial system which was enjoyed by the other States: it would be very unkind and invidious

was farther from his intention, than to make these reflections with any invidious view. They were forced from him by the assumed sectional character of the bill. When he spoke of expense, he meant useless expense. He did not object to an expensive judiciary if it was necessary. Dividing Kentucky, or Tennessee, or Ohio, into two districts, would probably remove all the real difficulties; and, therefore, it was that he spoke of unnecessary ex, pense. All the objections he had made, grew out of the due examination of the grounds of the bill, without saying any thing derogatory to the West. He had always entertained the highest feelings of respect for that portion of the Union, and he certainly had not had reason to lower them since he had been a member of this body. The gentleman from Maine had observed that there was an appeal from the Western District of Virginia or Pennsylvania to the Circuit Court of the State. Such, Mr. W. said, he believed was not proved to be the fact, on an examination of the statute Book.

Court of Massachusetts: and in another case it was so ; and, if it was not so, it might be made so by law.

Mr. EATON said it had been well remarked by a gentleman who preceded him in the debate, that from the West there had been nothing of clamorous demand made for relief. The State from which he came most certainly had not complained, nor would she; patient under long suffering, she had waite.l, in the hope that Congress would presently perceive the necessity of some change, and would, so soon as it was discovered, place her citizens on a footing, in all respects, correspondent with the original States of this Union. In addressing you, my purpose is, to assume no higher ground than she has done; not to complain, but in respectful remonstrance to urge, that her interests and her rights may be placed upon an equal footing with the original States. This, it is conceived, we possess an unquestioned right to do. The Senate will, however, bear in mind that, if the People of the West have

« 이전계속 »