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tion in public opinion had taken place before the introduction of this project; the people of the United States had determined to commit their affairs to new agents; already had the confidence of the people been transferred from their then rulers into other hands. After this exposition of the national will, and this new deposit of national confidence, the gentlemen should have left untouched this important and delicate subject-a subject on which the people could not be reconciled to their views, even in the flood-tide of their power and influence; they should have forborne, till agents, better acquainted with the national will, because more recently constituted its organs, had come into the government. This would have been more dignified, than to seize the critical moment when power was passing from them, to pass such a law as this. If there is error, it is our duty to correct it; and the truth was, no law was ever more execrated by the public.
Let it not be said, postpone the repeal till the next session. No-let us restore those gentlemen to private life, who have accepted appointments under this law. This will be doing them greater justice, than by keeping them in office another year, till the professional business, which once attached to them, is gone into other channels.
[Mr. Mason went into an examination of the number of suits depending at the time the law was passed, and particularly the number brought within the twelve months preceding its passage; from the fewness of which, and their being in a state of diminution rather than increase, he inferred the inutility of the additional judges. He continued]
If, on this review, we find the number of suits decreasing instead of increasing; if the courts then established were found competent to the prompt and faithful discharge of all the duties devolved upon them, the law was unnecessary; and if unnecessary, the additional expense incurred by it was unnecessary; and all unnecessary expense should be saved. It is true, that fifty thousand dollars, divided among the people of the United States, amounted to but one cent a man; but the principle was still the same. It has been very fashionable of late to justify every unnecessary expense by stating each item by itself, and dividing it among the whole people. In this way, every expense is held forth as of little consequence! Gentlemen say, in this case, it is only one cent a man! In the case of the Mausoleum, two hundred thousand dollars came to only four cents a man! In the direct tax, it is only forty cents! They talk of our army, it only comes to a few cents for each person, who may sell as many cabbages to the soldiers themselves as to pay it! So in a navy. In this way are the most extravagant expenses whittled down to a mere fraction. But this kind of federal arithmetic I can never accede to. It may suit an expensive government; but it is an
. imposition upon the people.
It has been urged with some force, by the gentlemen from New York and Connecticut, that the small number of suits is an evidence of the efficacy and ability of our courts of justice. I am willing to admit the force of this remark; but I must apply it very differently from those gentlemen. I must apply it to the state of the dockets when this law passed; and from their being very few at the time, I must infer that the system existing then was an excellent one, as it wielded the power of the laws so effectually, that there was but little necessity for enforcing the law against delinquents.
From the remarks made by the gentleman from Connecticut, it might be inferred that we were about to destroy all our courts, and that we were in future, to have no courts. Is this the case? Are we contending for breaking down the whole judiciary establishment? On the contrary, we barely say, the courts you had before the passage of this law were sufficient; return, therefore, to them. This law, which we wish repealed, imparts no new authorities to your judges ; it clothes them with no additional terrors; it adds not to their axes, nor increases the number of their rods. It only enlarges their number, which was before large enough.
The gentleman from New York has amused himself with a great deal of handsome rhetoric; but I apprehend without bearing much upon the question. There is one idea, however, which he has seized with ecstacy, the idea of a great state kneeling at the altar of federal power; and he deplores that this spectacle, the most sublime that his imagination can conceive, is vanished forever. But if he will consult those stores of history with which he so often amuses and instructs his audience, he will find still more splendid humiliations. He will find the proud monarchs of the east, surrounded with all the decorations of royalty, dragged at the chariot-wheel of the conqueror.
In more modern times, he will behold a king of England and of France, one holding the stirrup and the other the bridle, while the pope mounted his horse. If not contented with the contemplation of these illustrious degradations, he may resort to sacred writ, to which he so often appeals; and in the very book of Judges, he will behold a famous king of Jerusalem, surrounded by threescore and ten dependent kings, picking up the crumbs from under his table, and what made the humiliation more charming, all these kings had their thumbs and great-toes cut off.
But if the gentleman from New York wishes to be gratified with a more modern idea of sovereign degradation, I would refer him to the memorable threat of an individual, a servant of the people, to humble a whole state, a great state too, in dust and ashes. A state upon her knees before six venerable judges, decorated in party-colored robes, as ours formerly were, or arrayed in more solemn black, such as that they have lately assumed, hoping, though a state, that it might have some chance for justice, exhibits a spectacle of humble and degraded sovereignty far short of the dreadful denunciation to which I allude! If the
gentleman feels, as I know many do, rapture at the idea of a state being humiliated and humbled into the dust, I envy him not his feelings. At such a thought, I acknowledge I feel humbled. If the degradation were confined to kings and tyrants, to usurpers who had destroyed the liberties of nations, I should not feel much commiseration; but when applied to governments, instituted by the people for the protection of their liberties, and administered only to promote their happiness, I feel indignant at the idea of degraded sovereignty. I should feel the same interest for any state, large or small, whether it were the little state of Delaware herself, or the still more insignificant republic of St. Marino.
SPEECH OF GOVERNEUR MORRIS,
THE JUDICIARY ESTABLISHMENT,
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
JANUARY 14, 1802,
On the following motion, “ Resolved, that the act of Congress, pass
ed on the 13th day of February, 1801, entitled . An Act to provide for the more convenient organization of the courts of the United States, ought to be repealed.' »'*
MR. PRESIDENT, I had fostered the hope that some gentleman, who thinks with me, would have taken upon himself the task of replying to the observations made yesterday, and this morning, in favor of the motion on your table. But since no gentleman has gone so fully into the subject, as it seems to require, I am compelled to request
We were told, yesterday, by the honorable member from Virginia, that our objections were calculated for the by-standers, and made with a view to produce effect upon the people at large. I know not for whom this charge is intended. I certainly recollect no such observations. As I was personally charged with making a play upon words, it may have been intended for
But surely, sir, it will be recollected that I de. clined that paltry game, and declared that I considered the verbal criticism, which had been relied on, as irrelevant. If I can recollect what I said, from recollecting well what I thought, and meant to say, sure I am, that I uttered nothing in the style of an appeal to
* See page 82.