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grievances which do exist in the country, are, as I think, of two kinds; one, in the manner in which the business is conducted in the respective States; the other, that which exists in the Supreme Court itself: and this latter does not consist so much in the delay, as in the incorrectness of the decisions where the questions depend upon the municipal laws of the respective States.
The gentleman, Mr. W. said, had also abandoned the ground of this increase in Judicial representation-the ground of State pride, and the ground of the permanent increase of the business in the West-Judicial representation was not his ground-it was not his argument-he should never have alluded to this argument if it had not been pressed on him from different quarters, and in different shapes, that there must be three more Judges from These are the grievances which exist, and which it is the West on the ground of some kind of representation. the object of this bill to remedy: First, by extending to He had told gentlemen he would meet them on this ground nine States the circuit system, which is applicable to, and -would place his objections on their own hypothesis: practised in, beneficially, the other fifteen States: and, and it had turned out on examination upon this ground, secondly, to increase on the bench of the Supreme Court that the Northern States had not so many Judges on the a knowledge of the local laws. Those are its leading obBench as they ought to have, and the Western States jects. These nine States, when we look to them, we find had more than they are entitled to. They had no Judge thus circumstanced: six of them have never had, either from New Hampshire or Rhode Island, Maine or Ver- nominally, or in fact, the benefit of a circuit Judge : mont. They had a circuit; it was convenient for them three of these States have had nominally, and to a very under the present system: but it could not be extended limited extent, the benefit of the attendance of a Judge of to the West over large Territories with thin population, the Supreme Court from the year 1807 up to this time. I under the provisions of this bill, without changing the say they have had it nominally, but not so, in point of fact. Supreme Court radically; and thus putting in jeopardy When the Judge of the seventh circuit was in the vigor of the administration of federal justice for the whole Union. life, and in the enjoyment of perfect health, it was his Mr. W. said he had stated before, and he now repeated duty to attend and hold Circuit Courts in the Districts of it, that the remarks he had offered, had been urged out East and of West Tennessee, of Kentucky and Ohio, and of kin iness to the Western gentlemen, rather than from from the necessity he was under of leaving one Court in any other motive. He could not suppose they would time to arrive at the next, in his circuit, an opportunity wish to have a bill pass through this body, without hav-was not afforded him of disposing of the causes on either ing its principles canvassed; and he had made the pro- docket. For example, he would have suits enough in position to re-commt, that he might suggest his objec- West Tennessee to require a session of two months, but tions to the leading principle of the bill, and hear it vin- at the end of three or four weeks he was compelled to be dicated against then, if unsound. He was perfectly will- at Kentucky, distant two hundred miles, and so on; and ing that the West should be relieved, and he would spare thus it happened, either that the District Judges must no expense that should be proper, for that purpose; but continue the Courts after his departure, or the causes must let not that elief be afforded in such manner, as tends remain undecided. In important suits, parties would not to the injury and peril of the whole Union. be willing to trust the opinion of the District Judge alone, Mr. WHITE, of Tennessee, then rose and said, if it and he would willingly yield to applications for delay, until could be shewn that the remedy proposed to obviate the he could have the assistance of the Judge of the Supreme inconveniences complained of in those sections of coun- Court, and thus the business must be either long delayed, try, would be injurious to the whole Union, he ought not or, in most instances, decided in the Circuit Courts of to expect, or to wish, that their special inconveniences those three States, by the District Judge alone. For seshould be removed to the injury of the whole community. veral of the last years of Judge Todd's life, his want of The subject on which we are about to legislate, said Mr. health put it out of his power to attend his Circuit Courts, W. is, in my mind, one of infinite importance. We are and thus it has happened that the business in Tennessee, about to pass an act in relation to a department of the Kentucky, and Ohio, has accumulated to an unreasonable Government which every man feels and ought to un- extent, and those States have, in truth, been no better derstand. It is in vain we enact good laws unless they provided with an opportunity of obtaining a due adminisare well administered-it is that department of Govern-tration of justice in their Federal Courts, than the other ment which operates directly on the persons and property of individuals who happen to be citizens of the United States, so far as the jurisdiction is local, or so far as it relates to the internal concerns of the citizens of the respective States. So far as it may operate on general principles it is still more important-therefore have I heard with great attention every thing that has been urged by gentlemen who are opposed to it, and I shall still be glad to hear all further objections that can be urged.
six Western States; and how is it with regard to them? They have never had the benefit of the circuit system, even nominally? They have each a District Judge, who does all the duties which other District Judges perform, and vested with the jurisdiction which other Circuit Courts possess in the other States. So far as relates to the grie vances which exist in the country we are safe in consider ing the whole nine States to be practically in the same situation. When we come to look at the laws which vest We cannot judge whether the alteration will be bene- the courts with jurisdiction, we find that a large portion ficial or injurious, without first making ourselves acquaint- of the jurisdiction which is to be exercised in those nine ed with the inconveniences which are supposed to exist. States, is of that description which falls within the jurisdic Till we are acquainted with the disease, we cannot tell tion of a Circuit Court, and not within the jurisdiction of what will be a suitable remedy. I think I can, if favor- a District Court. A District Court, as such, can have no ed with the attention of the Senate, if not already satis-jurisdiction of suits between A and B, whether citizens fied on that point, satisfy them that the disease lies much of the United States, or of different States. deeper than the gentleman from Rhode Island seems to attempts have been made to get them to entertain suppose. I paid great attention to the argument, and he jurisdiction of suits between citizens of different States, seems to think, so far as I can understand it, that the main when the matter in dispute is of more value than twenty, grievance which we are called on to remedy, is the delay and of less than five hundred dollars, but, so far as I know, which takes place in the Supreme Court of the United they have been unsuccessful. States. He has not even, in his excellent argument, given the most distant glance at the situation of that section of the country which is on the other side of the mountains, to see what the local inconveniences are, and whether the remedy he proposes would be a suitable one or not. The
As it relates to a great portion of the jurisdiction which is to be exercised in those nine States, the Senate must see at once, it is of that class of cases which belongs to the circuit courts in the other States. What is the situation of these other States They have, in point of fact,
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as well as in point of law, a Circuit Court, composed of one Judge of the Supreme Court, and the District Judge. When a suit is brought, and the matter in dispute exceeds the sum of two thousand dollars, upon the trial the parties have the benefit of the opinions of two men, which will in most instances be satisfactory but if not, the unsuccessful party can remove it to the Supreme Court, and there have the judgment revised, and if wrong reversed. If the matter in dispute is less than two thousand dollars, and the Judges disagree in opinion upon any point, either party can have that point certified to the Supreme Court, there revised, and the judgment of the Circuit Court rendered in conformity with the opinion of the Supreme Court. In all criminal cases the defendant has the like advantage. How is it in those nine States? In no case, either civil, or criminal, can the parties, in the Circuit Court, have any opinion, but that of the District Judge, which, in every criminal case, and in every civil one, where the matter in dispute is of less value than two thousand dollars, is final and conclusive whether, right or wrong; and in all other civil causes, although an erroneous judgment may be revised in the Supreme Court, it is at an expense and trouble which would often be avoided if two Judges sat in the Circuit Court.
The gentleman from New Hampshire said yesterday we of the West would not compare wealth with those in the East; all true enough: and therefore there are many causes where the matter in dispute does not amount to two thousand dollars, and still it is very material to the parties that they should be correctly decided. It is certainly not just that a man should be punished as a criminal under an erroneous judgment, or that he should lose his all by the like means, while those living under the same Government are protected in their persons and property because more wealthy. We are one people living under a Government common to us all, and each State has a right to expect from the Federal Government, that a like provision will be made for her citizens, with that made for the citizens of the other States. This has not been done, and as we are to be one people, we have a right to expect it will not be longer delayed.
Fifteen of the States of this Union have more than double the chance for a correct exposition of your laws that the other nine have; these nine complain of this inequality, and the only wonder is, that their complaints have not been more loud and frequent against this crying injustice.
Tennessee was admitted into this Union, upon an equal footing with the original States, and so have the other Western States been. These States feel that this promised equality has not been extended to them; as sovereign States, they insist that their citizens must be placed in a situation that their persons and property shall be equally as safe in the Federal Courts, as the citizens of any other State, are in their persons or property. With nothing less than this, will they be contented. But, it is said, the proper time is not come; we are used as well as others have been used. I should be glad to know when the time will arrive? Tennessee is thirty years old, Kentucky is older. Ohio came into the Union in 1803, Louisiana in 1812, Indiana in 1816, Illinois in 1816, Missouri in 1821, Mississippi in 1817, Alabama several years ago. Will the gentleman tell us when it is, we shall have arrived at such mature age, as to entitle us to the same benefits of the Federal Judiciary that are enjoyed by the other States? Sometimes they are willing to recognize us as at years of discretion, to put their dearest interests in our keeping. Personal services, money, any thing we have, we are disposed to render freely our full share of, according to our abilities. We are willing to do our duty; and I call upon the Senate to say whether they do their duty to us, if they do not put the administration of justice on the same footing in the Western States, as it is in the others.
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Is not the life of a man in any one of these nine States, worth as much to society as it would be, if he were a constituent of the gentleman from New Hampshire, or Rhode Island? Is it not reasonable to afford the same man as good a chance for justice in the States where he now lives, as he would have if he lived in any other? Is that opportunity furnished? No sir, it is not.
It was intimated we had not applied in time. Why did we not apply at the time we were admitted into the Union? We did apply, and you promised us, and we now respectfully ask a compliance with that promise. Had we been of the original States, would we not have had the benefit we now ask you to extend to us? Surely we would; therefore do not put us off with less now. It may be said there is not much in all this; the wrong is on a limited scale, because the State Courts do the mass of the business. When the people are called to account for crimes, they are called before State Courts, to answer for offences against the State, and not for those against the United States. If gentlemen will think a little, they will see the case is not so. We have heard a good deal respecting Indians latterly there is a portion of the territory within the limits of the Western States, where the Indian title is not extinguished, and where that is the case, every offence committed by a white citizen against an Indian on the Indian side of the line, is a subject for Federal and not of State jurisdiction, according to our laws; so likewise of crimes committed by Indians on citizens, Trials for crimes under this branch of your laws are not unfrequent, and no matter whether the accused is a white, or a red man, a fair opportunity for a correct exposition and application of the laws ought to be furnished. Against the Indians prejudices invariably exist; they are ignorant, not only of our laws and forms of proceeding, but of our language also; and common humanity requires that at least the same measure of justice should be meted to them, as to a white citizen. I have witnessed several of those trials, and have no doubt they were conducted with perfect integrity; yet the legal correctness of some might well be doubted. The criminal cases then which have existed and may exist in the courts in some of these States, is not so limited as those at a distance might be inclined to believe.
But, sir, we are told that the accumulation of bus ness in some of these courts, in the three States, is produced by temporary causes that are passing away, and that there is no necessity for any alteration in the system on that account; that one circuit Judge can do all the business in those three States. It is not to pass away so rapidly as the gentlemen supposes. I do not doubt the correctness of the statement of any gentleman living in any one of those; he knows what the business is; therefore I do not choose to doubt the correctness of what was advanced by the gentleman from Kentucky. I have before me a certificate from the Clerk of the District and Circuit Court of Kentucky, and at the session of November last, the number of causes on the two dockets combined was 950. As very little business is to be done in the District Court, much the greater portion must be on the Circuit Court docket of that State. How is it in Tennessee? You have the statement of the gentlemen who belong to the Western part, and altogether it may be estimated at 200. But it is not the number of causes which prove the necessity of a Circuit Judge, and an extension of the system: this necessity is produced, more by the kind of causes that are to be decided, than by their number. These causes are, in their own nature, especially those brought into the Federal Court of Tennessee, of the most litigated description generally. Many of them relate to lands; for eigners claim titles to them, and assert them in the Federal Courts. It is necessary to go back and examine what was the situation of the country forty years ago, and you get into a set of difficulties, from which nothing can extricate
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you, but a patient, laborious, and protracted investigation. sel, who advises him that, according to the decisions of They necessarily consume a great deal of time, first in as- the State Courts, the man in possession has the better certaining the facts, before a jury who are to decide the title. The foreigner orders suit in the Federal Court-cause, and next in investigating the legal principles which there is but one Judge, and he, living in the State, will To investigate and decide likely follow the State decisions, and give judgment in are to govern that decision. one of those causes, has sometimes taken two weeks; favor of the defendant. The plaintiff takes a writ of error, suppose only one hundred causes on the docket, I ask if and carries the cause to the Supreme Court, before a set it would not be more necessary to extend the judicial sys- of Judges, who neither know, nor have they the means tem through a country like that, than to a place where of knowing, the local laws, or the true reasons of the dethere were 500 on the docket, of which 30 or 40 might cision; and, for want of this information, judgment is be disposed of in a day. If we were to be governed by the reversed, and thus the plaintiff becomes the owner of a mere number of causes we would make a most important piece of property, which he otherwise would not have mistake as relates to this matter. Many disputes in Tennes-acquired. Plaintiffs often commence suits in the Federal see relate to land, the titles to which are founded on the Courts expressly for the sake of gaining an advantage act of 1777 in North Carolina, or the act of 1783, or those over their adversaries, which they could not get in any acts which these two have given birth to, and in investigat- other tribunal whatever. And yet, this is the argument ing matters of fact it is necessary to go back and ascertain relied on to shew that Federal justice is well administerWhat, sir, is the situation of the other States, Louisiana what were the names of different places, at different times, ed to us. from those periods up to this time; the whole country was a wilderness, and every man who had a clain under for example? There are British, Spanish, and French these laws had a right to select a piece of land within a grants: so, also, in Mississippi and Missouri. All these certain boundary, of from four to five hundred miles one may go, and mostly do go, into the Federal Courts, princiway, and one hundred miles the other. We had not only pally for the sake of having these cases removed into the to investigate our titles derived from the State of North Supreme Court of the United States, if such a decision is Carolina, but in some instances those issued by Virginia, not given as is satisfactory to the plaintiff. So far as Tenperhaps Kentucky likewise, as disputes respecting boun-nessee is concerned, those who act under the belief that dary with those States once existed, upon adjusting which provision is made to secure individual rights.
in the main, mistaken to a limited extent, no doubt, our business has accumulated from temporary causes, are, I believe, if our Circuit had been one they are correct.
We have amongst our own citizens those who claim under Virginia grants, under Kentucky grants, under of reasonable extent, and we had had the benefit of our North Carolina grants, and under those issued by the State Circuit Judge, the number of suits on our docket would Whenever there is a dispute respecting have been much less. Where a man has a cause which he of Tennessee. any of these conflicting titles, they may go into the Fedc- thinks he ought to gain, if the law is well understood, he ral Court, although the parties may be citizens of the will not agree to have that cause tried before any one same State. You are extinguishing the Indian title as fast man, when there is another of a higher legal character. as those People are willing to sell; and, wherever you It is a very unpleasant thing to have to settle disputes bedo, the settlements will keep pace with the extinguish-tween man and man; and when it comes to the last stage, ment of title. In Tennessee there is a very large district there are few men who would not like to be eased of a of country, granted to individuals under the law of North portion of the responsibility of the decision. If a reasonCarolina, in 1783, which, until a very short time ago, the able excuse can be made to defer it to another term, the United States had secured to the Indians by treaty: that District Judge will fall in with it, because his associate will country is now settling, and every man has to look for then be with him, and he will have the benefit of his opithe land for which he obtained his patent. Many of these nion, and be better satisfied, if they agree, that he is right conflict, and whenever they do, and a foreigner happens than if there was none with him; and, if he should disto be the owner of one of these titles, the consequence agree in opinion with him, by certifying that there was a is, that the cause goes into the Federal Court. So long difference of opinion, it could be carried into the Supreme as this process of extinguishing the Indian title, and set- Court, and no mischief would arise. It is to their credit tling the country, is going on, it is in vain. for gentlemen that they have this disposition. I do not make unnecesto say that those disputes are produced by temporary sary complaints against the District Judge of the State in other judicial officer on the score of integrity; and, if eauses, or that they are passing away: they cannot pass which I live. He is entitled to as much character as any away until your settlements are completed. he ever does make mistakes, which, I think, is but seldom, it is in endeavoring to attain that which he thinks the justice of particular cases. The People of Tennessee have as much right as the People of any other State in the Union, to have the opinions of two men, who will concur, as to which is right in their disputes. It is vain to tell me we are placed on an equal footing with the other States, while they have one measure of justice meted to their citizens, and the citizens of Tennessee have a should lop off one of our Senators, or three of our Repredifferent measure meted to them. I would rather you sentatives-reduce us as to the power we have in the Executive and Legislative business of this Government, but let us have, when you come to the practical operations of this Government, that are to take away a man's life, liberty, or property, let our citizens have an equal opportunity, for the administration of justice, with any portion of the good People of the United States.
Do we not all know that, in 1794, and onward for several years, a great rage for speculation existed in Philadelphia, New York, and the Eastern States; that immense quantities of Western lands were bought up by foreigners, or citizens of other States? considerable quantities were purchased in Tennessee. These companies have found it convenient to part with their titles to various individuals; and those claimants who have got titles in this manner, living in other States, when they come forward to assert these titles, now that the Indian title is extinguished, assert them in the Federal Courts.
But, the gentleman says, you have Federal Courts, and
During the last session this subject was before you, and was put off by saying, we have not had time to examine to the wheel and accomplish this particular task. And it, and, at the next session, we will all lay our shoulders
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[APRIL 12, 1826.
sir, where are we now? About the 12th of April they the fountain-head of talent as much as will answer the took up this subject in the other House-the committee wants of the West, and give us the benefit of it. I wish made a report; the subject was examined and amply dis-justice administered. I indulge in no prejudices. From cussed, and they passed a bill, in substance, similar to the the East they have sent us out those who have made us one on your table. The same subject was referred to valuable officers, whom I should be sorry to part with. I the Judiciary Committee of this body, who concurred in wish them to remain with us as citizens of our State, and a similar report: and, after the bill from the other House if the present system should be adopted, and the Presiwas brought here, it was referred to them, and they re-dent should see fit to find the materials to fill the offices ported it, with an amendment, which is not calculated to in the East, let him make the experiment, and if it turns change very materially the principles of the bill. Every out that they are qualified, I shall never be disposed to be gentleman has matured his judgment on this subject, and, very clamorous on that subject. if he does not like the present proposition, let him give The gentlemen from Rhode Island and New Hampshire us his system in its stead. But now the worthy gentleman seem to think, that on this system, if it should pass, no from New Hampshire comes forward with a general pro- benefit to us can result as to an increase of knowledge position to refer the bill to the Judiciary Committee, to of local laws on the bench of the Supreme Court. In this see whether they cannot contrive, in some way or other, I disagree with the gentlemen. Take a man from Rhode to relieve our local distress and inconvenience, without Island, and I think it likely he is as ignorant of the laws adding any member to the Supreme Court. I put it to of Tennessee as I am of those of Rhode Island; place the gentleman himself, and to every member of the Se-him on the Supreme Court bench, and let him be comnate, whether, if they have solid objections to this bill;pelled to hold our Circuit Courts, and reside among us, if they are able to digest a system which they think bet-and I think that in the course of one year he will be better suited to put us on an equality with the rest of the ter qualified to decide our causes than any Judge in the Union; whether they do not owe it to their own justice, Supreme Court, in the present organization, will be in to their own character, to their own high standing, to have forty years. He sets out ignorant of our local laws-but brought forward a distinct proposition, containing another he is acquainted with his own profession; he is associated system that would have placed us in a similar condition at once with the District Judge, who is intimately acwith the other States of the Union? It is very easy to quainted with the local laws; he meets with that which raise objections; but you can never test the merits of this he never met with in the Supreme Court; he meets bill, compared with any other plan, until you have the with the most intelligent of the profession in that country other in detail likewise. Suppose, sir, that a majority of where he goes to do business. They have their own this Senate should believe that the number of Judges materials, their own books; they have had leisure to ought to be seven, and they send it back to the committee make preparations for every cause; they have looked to find out how the United States are to be divided into into every act of Assembly which relates to the subject, seven circuits; they try it every way; they cannot fix on into every record, into every case found which bears any any plan that is not liable to stronger objections than the relation to the subject; and this Judge, so called on to present bill-what then? are we to have no relief? If the dispense justice, after he has heard the arguments on both gentleman who made this proposition had given us some-sides, and has conferred with the District Judge, will be thing like a detailed plan for his seven Judges, and compared that plan with this, then there would have been something to test the principle he has so ably advocated on this @ccasion. It is a principle which seems plausible in itself; but when you come to detail it, to reduce it to practical operation, it is found to be one, which, when compared with the situation of the United States, cannot be used. I think we have cause to complain when we find that, after this matter has been postponed for eight or ten years, and the lapse of time which has taken place during the present session, those who are opposed to it say they are disposed to do what is just towards us, but find fault without submitting any plan which might keep up hopes that we are not to be always in the situation in which we are now placed.
very likely to decide correctly even in the first instancefor six weeks or two months his Court may continuedaily, causes depending on the local laws are under discussion; his leisure moments are spent in conversation relative to those local laws; at the end of his first term will he not have acquired more knowledge of the local laws than on the bench of the Supreme Court during his life? In the Supreme Court one cause, depending on those local laws, may be argued during a term, without the necessary books, without much preparation, by those illy informed of those laws; it is decided and perhaps for twelve months no other cause, depending on those same laws, come before the Court. The subject is then taken up as a new one; and thus he may go on from year to year, without any improvement in a knowledge of local law. Take a man of good natural capacity-a scientific, well-read lawyer, compel him to reside in the circuit; he immediately acquires a knowledge of the local laws of the States in his circuit: because he must continue his posed of perhaps fifty or one hundred without having it distracted by an attention to any other. He soon acquires a knowledge of the laws as a system, which is not to be forgotten. But upon the bench of the Supreme Court, he has no such advantage; and it would be strange if he did not go off almost as ignorant of local law as he came on it.
The gentleman from Rhode Island I can understand exactly. He wishes to get back to the good old system of 1801, because he thinks it is better than any other which can be devised. I do not intend for him any thing which I say upon the subject of unkindness; they are all intend-mind upon a succession of similar causes, until he has dised for the gentleman from New Hampshire, who sends us so many kind wishes, of which I wish to see the fruits. As to the Circuit Court part of the system, every one must be satisfied that we are not on an equal footing with the other States. Increase, then, the number of Judges to such an extent as to enable us, with reasonable circuits, to have the services of some one or other of the Judges of the Supreme Court. This is the remedy, and then Now, whether it be seven or ten, or of whatever numshall we be on an equal footing with the others. Let no ber it may be, I insist that it is a valuable feature in our gentleman object to this system because we cannot fur-system, and one that I would not part with any more nish good materials for Judges; if they cannot be found in that part of the country, we will receive, thankfully, the addition of talent from any quarter of the Union. That luminary which gives us light rises in the East and passes to the West. I suppose it is the same with genius and talent: let us then go to the morning, and draw from
than I would with that most valuable political privilege, of trial by jury; that the man who is ultimately to decide the cause, must be in a situation to have a reasonable opportunity of becoming acquainted with the laws that are to form the ground of that decision. Says the gentleman, by what mystery is it that you are going to communicate
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the information which that one Judge has obtained, to the the wisdom of Congress to apply the remedy. But he other nine? The moment a cause is brought into the Su- had stated that complaints had been made elsewhere.] preme Court, instead of their having to grope about with- Mr. WHITE resumed. I am very glad to receive the exout knowing how, or where to find the necessary statutes planation. It gave me pain to think our complaints should and authorities, they make common stock of all the know-be censured from so respectable a quarter, and am reledge they have acquired, and the judge who has made lieved to find I misunderstood the gentleman. By the himself acquainted with the local laws, applicable to the bill upon your table, we can be relieved-without some case in question, brings to their view at once, not only change, the causes of complaints must continue. The the statutes, but all the authorities he has had access to, gentleman from New Hampshire finds fault with the bill. in relation to the same question, and when these materials and chalks out no plan. The gentleman from Rhode Isare spread before them, then, sir, they are prepared to land excepts to the bill, and refers to a substitute. What come to a correct determination. There is no mystery in is his remedy? He wishes the Judges of the Supreme this. Each is not to lock up within his own breast all the Court to form an Appellate Court, and to be relieved information he has acquired upon legal subjects, and let from all circuit duties, and to have a separate set of Judghis brethren be groping about in darkness. They talk es, called Circuit Judges, to try all causes in the respectfreely on legal subjects amongst themselves, they make ive circuits. Indeed, sir, I should think (to use his own joint stock of their knowledge, they apply their natural language,) he would give us a remedy worse than the distalents, and then, sir, they bring out such a result as they ease; and I believe that no man who has reflected well think will be according to the justice and law of the on this subject, and is a friend to the Supreme Court of case. The moment you give me one Judge on the bench the United States, will ever put its high character in of the Supreme Court that has a knowledge of the laws jeopardy by any such system. As an American, I am of the country in which I live, the Supreme Court is placed proud of the character it now sustains. It is not only a in a situation that it can dispense justice between man blessing upon the whole to the nation, but some of its and man in Tennessee; but till that is done, it is as much members are a credit to the age in which we live. And a matter of accident, as any thing else, that justice should how did they become so? Not by being shut up in Washbe done. I have no complaint to make against the Judges ington, in New York, or in Rhode Island, but by letting of the Supreme Court, nor have I any eulogies to pro- them have a fair opportunity to become acquainted, not nounce on them. In some causes that have come from only with those things which are to be got out of books, Tennessee to the Supreme Court, I think their decisions but with those things which are going on in that society erroneous; I have the same opinion as it relates to some of which they are members. Let me not be told that I other States. But, in the situation in which they have wish to send the Judges out popularity hunting—to drink been placed, I am surprised they have not been oftener a dram with this ignorant man, or to take his breakfast wrong. It is the lot of human beings to err when they with another; but, I say, send the Judges of the Supreme have the best means of information, and it would be Court to administer and dispense justice in the respective strange if they did not err, when you compel them to act States, in the presence of the citizens of those States, of without the necessary means of information. There was the Counsel that attend the Bar, and of the Jury, let them one case in which their decision was in opposition to all hear the witnesses that depose as to the facts of the case. the decisions of the State Courts, in which they applied While the Judge in his circuit dispenses justice, he old principles that were inapplicable to our local laws, watches, with all possible care, the conduct of the Counand thereby reversed the decision of the District Judge sel, the course of the testimony, and sees its practical apdoing duty as a Circuit Judge, and sent the cause back to plication to the particular transactions of men; at the be retried; upon the second trial, a more enlarged view same time that he is dispensing justice, he is keeping up of the case was given in a Bill of Exceptions, and the an essential part of his education; he is keeping up his cause again brought to the Supreme Court, and they a personal knowledge of human nature; he sees its worksecond time reversed the judgment of the Circuit Court, ings as it is;-and of all the places on earth that a man but took great pains to explain away what seemed to be can be placed to acquire a knowledge of human nature, the ground of the first decision, thereby using their en- the best is a Court of Justice, where the Jury is to dedeavors to ward off the mischief likely to flow from the cide a matter of fact, and viva voce testimony is given, to first opinion. I mention these things, not as a ground on inform them on it. Put the question down in the most which to censure any man who is on that bench; I have careful state you can, in a bill of exceptions, and an Apas much confidence in them as any man who has no more pellate Court never can have the same impression made acquaintance with them, and who is as little capable of upon their minds, that they would have had, if they had forming opinions relative to their decisions. Still, I am seen and heard the same testimony delivered to a Jury. constrained to believe, that not only in the case alluded Do you believe there would have been the improvement to, but in some others, they have not correctly expound- there has been in the doctrine of evidence during the ed our municipal laws, and that mischiefs have been pro- last hundred years, if those who established these rules duced, and that more must inevitably be produced, if that had possessed no practical knowledge acquired at nisi Court is not placed on a different footing from that on prius, or elsewhere? How long is it since the distinction which it now stands. Had we not better pass the bill on has been drawn between a competent and a credible witthe table, than throw every thing into a state of confusion ness? But lock these Judges up in Westminster Hall, or by the reference? Had we not better refuse the gentle- in Rhode Island, or New York, or Washington, and you man's proposition? If you agree to it, where is there to take them from the source of information, and what bebe an end? The gentleman from New York stated that comes of them? If I wished to lessen their standing in there were grievances under which we labored, but that society; and to destroy public confidence in them; to put he did not deem them to be so great as to justify all the them in such a situation that, instead of doing justice beclamor that had been raised in that part of the country.tween man and man, they should become a curse to the I think he has not yet got to the bottom of our grievances, country, I would adopt the system recommended by the gentleman from Rhode Island.
[Mr. VAN BUREN rose to explain, he bad stated, on the Again, sir. It is a great object in the administration of part of Tennessee, that there had been no complaint-justice to keep mankind satisfied. If I could spare the property, I would almost as soon lose a portion of mine, they stated their grievances fairly and fully, and left it to by the decision of a man in whom I had entire confi
their memorials were such as they ought to have been