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the people. I hope no member of this House has so poor a sense of its dignity as to make such an appeal. As to myself, it is now near thirty years since I was called into public office. During that period, I have frequently been the servant of the people, always their friend; but at no one moment of my life their flatterer, and God forbid that I ever should be. When the honorable gentleman considers the course we have taken, he must see, that the observation he has thus pointed, can light on no object. I trust, that it did not flow from the consciousness of his own intentions. He, I hope, had no view of this sort. If he had, he was much, very much mistaken. Had he looked round upon those, who honor us with their attendance, he would have seen that the splendid flashes of his wit excited no approbatory smile. The countenances of those by whom we were surrounded, presented a different spectacle. They were impressed with the dignity of this House; they perceived in it the dignity of the American people, and felt, with high and manly sentiment, their own participation.
We have been told, sir, by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, that there is no independent part of this government; that in popular governments, the force of every department, as well as the government itself, must depend upon popular opinion. The honorable member from North Carolina has informed us, that there is no check for the overbearing powers of the legislature but public opinion; and he has been pleased to notice a sentiment I had uttered-a sentiment which not only fell from my lips, but which flowed from my heart. It has, however, been misunderstood and misapplied. After reminding the House of the dangers to which popular governments are exposed from the influence of designing demagogues upon popular passion, I took the liberty to say, that we, we the Senate of the United States, are assembled here to save the people from their most dangerous enemy, to save them from themselves; to guard them against
the baneful effects of their own precipitation, their passion, their misguided zeal. It is for these purposes that all our constitutional checks are devised. If this be not the language of the constitution, the constitution is all nonsense. For why are the senators chosen by communities, and the representatives directly by the people? Why are the one chosen for a longer term than the other? Why give one branch of the legislature a negative upon the acts of the other? Why give the President a right to arrest the proceedings of both, till two thirds of each should concur? Why all these multiplied precautions, unless to check and control that impetuous spirit, that headlong torrent of opinion, which has swept away every popular government that ever existed.
With the most respectful attention, I heard the declaration of the gentleman from Virginia, of his own sentiment. - Whatever,” said he, “ may be my opin
6 ion of the constitution, I hold myself bound to respect it.” He disdained, sir, to profess an attachment he did not feel, and I accept his candor as a pledge for the performance of his duty. But he will admit this necessary inference from that frank confession, that although he will struggle (against his inclination,) to support the constitution, even to the last moment; yet, when in spite of all his efforts it shall fall, he will rejoice in its destruction. Far different are my feelings. It is possible that we are both prejudiced, and that in taking the ground, on which we respectively stand, our judgments are influenced by the sentiments which glow in our hearts. I, sir, wish to support this consti
I tution, because I love it; and I love it, because I consider it as the bond of our union; because in my soul I believe, that on it depends our harmony and our peace; that without it, we should soon be plunged in all the horrors of civil war ; that this country would be deluged with the blood of its inhabitants, and a brother's hand raised against the bosom of a brother.
After these preliminary remarks, I hope I shall be indulged while I consider the subject in reference to the two points which have been taken, the expediency and the constitutionality of the repeal.
In considering the expediency, I hope I shall be pardoned for asking your attention to some parts of the constitution, which have not yet been dwelt upon, , and which tend to elucidate this part of our inquiry. I agree fully with the gentleman, that every section, every sentence, and every word of the constitution, ought to be deliberately weighed and examined; nay, I am content to go along with him, and give its due value and importance to every stop and comma. In the beginning, we find a declaration of the motives which induced the American people to bind themselves by this compact. And in the foreground of that declaration, we find these objects specified; “ to form a more per
; 66 fect union, to establish justice, and to insure domestic tranquillity.” But how are these objects effected? The people intended to establish justice. What provision have they made to fulfil that intention ? After pointing out the courts, which should be established, the second section of the third article informs us, 6 the judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or which shall be made, under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of different states; between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states; and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.
“ In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the
supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both us to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.”
Thus then we find that the judicial power shall extend to a great variety of cases, but that the supreme court shall have only appellate jurisdiction in all admiralty and maritime causes, in all controversies between the United States and private citizens, between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under different states, and between a citizen of the United States and foreign states, citizens or subjects. The honorable gentleman from Kentucky, who made the motion on your table, has told us that the constitution, in its judiciary provisions, contemplated only those cases which could not be tried in the state courts. But he will, I hope, pardon me when I contend that the constitution did not merely contemplate, but did by express words, reserve to the national tribunals a right to decide, and did secure to the citizens of America a right to demand their decision, in many cases evidently cognizable in the state courts. And what are these cases? They are those, in respect to which, it is by the constitution presumed, that the state courts would not always make a cool and calm investigation, a fair and just decision. To form, therefore, a more perfect union, and to insure domestic tranquillity, the constitution has said there shall be courts of the union to try causes, by the wrongful decision of which, the union might be endangered or domestic tranquillity be disturbed. And what courts? Look again at the cases designated. The supreme court has no original jurisdiction. The constitution has said that the judicial powers shall be vested in the supreme and inferior courts. It has declared that the judicial power, so vested, shall extend to the cases mentioned, and that the supreme court shall not have original jurisdiction in those cases. Evidently, therefore, it has declared, that they shall (in the first instance) be tried by inferior courts, with
appeal to the supreme court. This, therefore, amounts to a declaration, that the inferior courts shall exist. Since, without them, the citizen is deprived of those rights for which he stipulated, or rather those rights verbally granted, would be actually withheld; and that great security of our union, that necessary guard of our tranquillity, be completely paralyzed, if not destroyed. In declaring, then, that these tribunals shall exist, it equally declares, that the Congress shall ordain and establish them. I say they shall; this is the evident intention, if not the express words, of the constitution. The convention in framing, the American people in adopting that compact, did not, could not presume, that the Congress would omit to do what they were thus bound to do. They could not presume, that the legislature would hesitate one moment, in establishing the organs necessary to carry into effect those wholesome, those important provisions.
The honorable member from Virginia has given us a history of the judicial system, and, in the course of it, has told us, that the judges of the supreme court knew, when they accepted their offices, the duties they had to perform, and the salaries they were to receive. He thence infers, that if again called on to do the same duties, they have no right to complain. Agreed—but that is not the question between us. Admitting that they have made a hard bargain, and that we may hold them to a strict performance, is it wise to exact their compliance to the injury of our constituents? We are urged to go back to the old system; but let us first examine the effects of that system. The judges of the supreme court rode the circuits, and two of them, with the assistance of a district judge, held circuit courts and tried causes.
As a supreme court, they have in most cases only an appellate jurisdiction. In the first instance, therefore, they tried a cause, sitting as an inferior court, and then, on appeal, tried it over again, as a supreme court. Thus then the appeal was from the sentence of the judges to the judges them