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the election of Lincoln that Mr. Douglas was preaching a heresy!
It was not until late in the fall, and not until after he had become a candidate for Congress, that Mr. Lyman Trumbull raised the banner of Anti-Nebraskaism, and put himself in open hostility to the Democratic party. A senatorial election was to take place at the approaching session, General Shields's term expiring March 4th, 1855.
The previous Legislature had been largely Democratic, and the senators holding over, if they continued as Democrats, would, with those Democrats certain to be elected, secure a Democratic senator. The elections in Indiana had gone “Fusion” by forty or fifty thousand majority; in Ohio by a majority reaching eighty thousand; in Michigan and Wisconsin by majorities equally overwhelming.
The candidates in Illinois for state treasurer were, James Miller, Whig, Abolition, Know-nothing, Anti-Nebraska, Fusion, and John Moore, Democrat. In November the election took place, resulting in the election to Congress of Richardson, Harris, Allen, and Marshal, Democrats, and Washburne, Woodworth, Norton, Knox, and Trumbull, by the combination. The Democrats elected their candidate for state treasurer.
In the Legislature the state of parties was not so clearly defined. In the House of Representatives, composed of seventyfive members, T.J. Turner (Fusion) was elected speaker, receiving forty votes. In the Senate, composed of twenty-five members, the Democrats had seventeen members who had been elected as Democrats. Of those three, N.B.Judd, B. C. Cook, and J. M. Palmer, senators holding over, had got“ tender-footed”—that is, were Anti-Nebraska Democrats, whose consciences would not allow them to vote for General Shields, or any Nebraska Democrat, and whose notions of political morality revolted at the idea of voting for a Whig.
The Legislature met in joint convention on the 8th of February, 1855, for the purpose of electing a senator of the United States to succeed General Shields, and the first ballot resulted -Shields (Democrat) 41, Ficklin (Dem.) 1, Denning (Dem.) 1, Matteson (Dem.) 1. Total (Dem.), 44. Abraham Lincoln 45, L. Trumbull 5, Ogden (Fusion) 1, Kellogg (Fusion) 1, Koerner (Fusion) 2, Edwards (Fusion) 1. Total, 55—one vacancy. On the seventh vote Lincoln received 38, Matteson
44, Trumbull 9, Shields 1, M'Clernand 1, Koerner 1. On the ninth Matteson received 47, Lincoln 15, Trumbull 35; and on the tenth Trumbull was elected, receiving 51 votes, Matteson 47, Williams 1-one Whig, Mr. Waters, refusing to take the apostate Democrat at the dictation of the men who had sacrificed Lincoln.
Resolutions upon the subject of slavery were introduced into both branches of the Legislature at that session, though no series received the concurrent approval of both branches. Trumbull having been elected to the Senate, his district chose the Hon. Robert Smith (Dem.) to fill the vacancy.
After the election, Mr. Douglas was invited by his political friends in Chicago to partake of a public dinner, and he accepted the invitation. The 9th of November was selected for the time, and on that evening some two hundred gentlemen sat down to a dinner at the Tremont House. In response to a complimentary sentiment, Mr. Douglas addressed the company in a very graceful, eloquent, and finished speech. It is part of the history of his life, was a noble vindication of his conduct, and was substantially the address which he would have made to the people of Chicago in September, had he not been prevented by the mob. Want of space prevents its insertion here. It was printed in pamphlet form, and, though it claimed for the people of the Territories full legislative control over the subject of slavery within their Territorial limits—a control limited only by the Constitution—no word of dissent was heard from any Democratic quarter as to the doctrines therein asserted.
A few days after this festive occasion Mr. Douglas left Chicago on a visit to Louisiana, and subsequently, when at Washington City, was invited to address a public meeting at Richmond, Virginia. At the South there was no opposition to the Nebraska Bill, but the great majority of the old opponents of the Democracy had united under the new and mysterious command of the Know-nothing order. Mr. Douglas addressed a very large meeting at the African Church," in Richmond, in defense of Democratic principles and in reprobation of the intolerant creed of the Know-nothings. Of this speech, which was remarkable for its general ability, one passage, in which he addressed a most impressive warning against American citizens rashly and inconsiderately binding themselves in political matters by solemn oaths, attracted universal attention
by its great applicability. The illustration employed, and the application made of it, has not been surpassed by any thing ever said upon the subject. He cited Herod's rash oath under which he bound himself to the death of John the Baptist. Mr. Douglas applied this with great effect to the hasty, inconsiderate, yet solemn and sweeping obligations assumed by the members of the Know-nothing order.
THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY. In January, 1855, the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, having had for some years the subject of affording to the members of the Supreme Court such relief as would enable them to perform fully their high duty as the court of last resort in the Union, reported a bill having in view that end. The bill reported by that committee discharged the justices of the Supreme Court from all circuit duty, allowing them, however, the same jurisdiction and powers now vested in them by law within any of the circuits in which they may reside, in allowing writs of habeas corpus and of error, granting injunctions, and generally all such powers as may be exercised under existing law at chambers and out of term. Instead of one term, there were to be two terms of the Supreme Court annually. The bill continued the existing judicial districts, but provided for their arrangement into eleven circuits-viz.: 1. Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; 2. New York, Connecticut, and Vermont; 3. Pennsylvania and New Jersey; 4. Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia; 5. North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; 6. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana; 7. Arkansas and Texas; 8. Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri; 9. Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan; 10. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa; 11. California. The bill provided for the appointment of eleven circuit judges, one for each of these circuits, at a salary of $4000 per annum each; the circuit judges to perform the circuit duties now performed by the justices of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Douglas, who had given to the subject considerable attention, proposed, on the 5th of January, when the bill came up, a substitute, involving a new plan, or adapting the exist
ing system to the present exigencies and wants of the country. He opposed most strenuously the separation of the Supreme Court judges from the people-from intercourse with the bar and courts throughout the Union. His plan continued the existing District Courts, and conferred on them all the powers and jurisdiction now possessed by the Circuit Courts. He then proposed to establish nine judicial circuits, as follows: 1. The six New England States; 2. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; 3. Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina; 4. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida; 5. Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas; 6. Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana; 7. Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota; 8. Missouri, New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska; 9. California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. The district judges within those districts to assemble once in each year, with one judge of the Supreme Court to preside, and to hear all appeals from the several District Courts within that circuit. The several judges of the Supreme Court to attend these circuits once in each year, and to alternate, so as that each judge in turn should attend all the circuits. In the debate on this question, Mr. Douglas explained in his peculiarly forcible manner, the practical workings of this plan proposed by him. He said :
I have been induced, Mr. President, to offer this substitute from a conviction that the plan proposed by the Judiciary Committee will not answer the purposes which they have in view, and will not remedy the evils which they desire to correct. They propose to make a separate Supreme Court, with no other duties than those which are imposed upon the Supreme Court of the United States sitting at Washington alone. Here I differ in toto with the committee. I think the Supreme Court ought to have other jurisdiction. I think it is for the good of the country, and for the good of that court, that its judges should be required to go into the country, hold courts in different localities, and mingle with the local judges and with the bar. I think that if the judges of that court be released from all duties outside the city of Washington, and stay here the whole year round, they will become, as a senator remarked to me a moment ago, mere paper judges. I think they will lose that weight of authority in the country which they ought to have just in proportion as they lose their knowledge of the local legislation, and of the practice and proceedings of the courts below. I believe, therefore, that the theory of the original plan on which our judiciary system was formed was right. In consequence of the increase of the judicial business of the country, some modification of that plan has become necessary in order to preserve the same principle, and render it applicable to our present condition. The plan which I propose in this substitute is simply this: that there shall be no new judges appointed, but the duties now performed by the District and Circuit Courts of the United States in each state shall hereafter be performed by the district judge in that state. According to it, the district judge
will hold the District and the Circuit Courts at the same time. Both will be open at the same time; the record of each will be before him, in the same manner as in a court of law with chancery jurisdiction. As both courts are open at the same time, the judge may take up a case on the law docket or the chancery docket, as may be convenient; so, according to my plan, the district judge could take up a case on the docket of either the District or the Circuit Court, both courts being held by the same judge. Then, having released the judges of the Supreme Court from the necessity of going into every district in each state-and where there are three districts in a state, as in Tennessee and other states, that must be a great labor—the question is, how much of this local duty can we devolve upon them without depriving them of the opportunity of performing all their duties at the seat of government ? It occurred to me that this point could be settled in the manner which I have proposed in my amendment; that is, to divide the whole United States into nine judicial circuits, and provide that there shall be held, once a year, in each of those circuits, a Court of Appeals, to be composed of the district judge of each district within the circuit, together with one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, who should preside. By way of illustration, suppose the New England States should be made one of the circuits; there are, in New England, six United States District Courts, and the Court of Appeals would therefore be composed these six district judges, with one judge of the Supreme Court of the United States presiding, which would make a court of seven judges. I provide for appeals to be taken directly from the District Court to this Court of Appeals, and then from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States, with certain restrictions. This illustration would apply to each of the other nine districts, comprehending all the states and all the Territories of the Union. This system would, it seems to me, have very great advantages, and would remedy several evils which we have known to grow up under our present system. You now find that in one district the rules of practice are one way, and in another district entirely different. One district judge decides a controverted principle in one way, and another in another way. If all the district judges in a circuit could come together once a year to review their own decisions, it would tend to bring about uniformity of thought and uniformity of practice within those districts. To secure this object, my substitute provides that the Court of Appeals in each circuit shall prescribe the rules of practice for the District Courts within the circuit. You thus infuse uniformity into all the District Courts within the same circuit, acting under the same rules, and the consequence would be that very few appeals would be taken from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States. I propose also to allow an appeal from the District Court to the Court of Appeals in every case in which it is now allowed by law from the District to the Circuit Courts; and to allow appeals from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, but to fix a higher sum than is now required to be the amount in controversy to entitle the parties to an appeal from a Circuit Court to the Supreme Court, so that small cases may stop at the Courts of Appeal, and none but cases involving large amounts and important principles be carried to the Supreme Court of the United States. Then, sir, with a view of remedying other evils which may now exist, I have introduced another principle, derived from the judicial system of some of the states of the Union. It is what is known as the rotary principle; that is to say, inasmuch as one of the judges of the Supreme Court is to preside in each of the Courts of Appeals once a year in each circuit throughout the United States, I require them to rotate ; so that if the chief justice presides in district No. 1 this year, he may next year go to district No. 2, and next to district No. 3, and so on until he come to district No. 9, at San Francisco, Then, the succeeding year, the next judge highest in