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of them certainly) by explicit legislative enactments, acknowledge and declare the religious authority of Sunday. Sir, these State laws do not merely notice this day, but they require in terms its religious observance, and prohibit its profanations under proper penalties. And yet these regulations may be assailed with equal propriety as the resolution I have submitted. A brief allusion to the course of public enactments by the States, will fully illustrate the high consideration that has been devoted to the Sabbath, as a portion of time which duty, sound policy, and our best interests require, should be set apart for religious service and moral improvement. I have selected two or three cases only, not that they are the strongest, but because they present a fair estimate of the views that have been entertained by the different legislatures of the Union. In the States of Georgia and North Carolina, so decided was the piety of their statesmen, that they not only prohibited the profanation, but required the observance of the Sabbath. Pursuing our researches into the legislation of all the old thirteen States, and most of the new western States, sections of a kindred spirit are found to be incorporated into their systems of laws. Sir, this forms a most grateful testimonial, that refutes all the outcry of “sectional conspiracies" and “unhallowed combinations.” It exhibits a full, harmonious and honorable commentary upon the great political truth, that a free people can preserve their liberties through moral influences alone; and that to cherish these, a Sabbath is vitally indispensable. Permit me, Mr. President, before I dismiss this part of the subject, to give an extract from a public law of the Territory of Michigan, adopted on the 15th of May, 1820–it is the preamble to “an act to enforce the observance of the Sabbath.” I deem it important, for the sound principles and practical wisdom which it combines. The extract follows: “Considering that, in every community, some portion of time ought to be set apart for relaxation from wordly cares and employments and devoted to the social worship of Almighty God, and the attainment of religious and moral instructiou, which are in the highest degree promotive of the peace, happiness and prosperity of a people: and whereas the first day of the week, commonly denominated the Sabbath, has at all times, among Christians in general, been devoted to these important purposes,” &c.; there. fore, it is by that act ordained, “that the first day of the week shall be kept and observed by the good people of the Territory as a Sabbath, holyday, or day of rest from all secular labor and employments." I cannot sorbear to re. mark, sir, that such indications of correct sentiment are heard by us with peculiar satisfaction, as coming from our territorial districts. They are the best pledges that could be given, of the stability and prosperity of the rising communities on our borders. The example of the old world also pleads powerfully on behalf of this sacred institution, London, with all its wealth, business, and enterprise, regards the Sabbath, No mail is opened or closed on this day. And although there is probably five times the commerce between London and Liverpool, as between New York and Philadelphia, no mail leaves the Metropolis for Liverpool be. tween Saturday evening and Monday morning; and the mercantile classes of these populous communities make no complaint of this interruption. No, sir, they rejoice at the relief and refreshment from the toils of wordly business, that one day in seven there may be a pause in the anxieties of eager speculation; and that even the rage of selfish cupidity, is compelled to suspend its pursuits.Now, sir, in this review of the case, it must appear a most singular prejudice that is now excited and raised, against all efforts to restore our national legislation to a consist. ency with its own principles, so often avowed. It is as absurd as it is unjust. Every State of the Union has, from its very origin, preserved just such a connection between Church and State, as is now deprecated, and by
menus much more vigorous than the repeal of this offen
sive section. They have fixed the day—they have enjoined its observance—they have specified and prohibited its profanations in particular details, and annexed the sanctions of legal penalities—and yet, after all this, when Congress are respectfully requested to be passive, and not to command its violation, but to leave the Sabbath alone, the note of alarm is sounded, (and many good men are deluded by it.) that some dangerous conspiracy is meditated against the freedom of conscience.
This ge, perhaps, deserves a more particular examination. If it be meant to impute to the petitioners a desire, that the Government should establish a particular system of religious doctrines, to form a national creed; that it should erect an ecclesiastical council to adjust all differences in opinion, no complaint was ever more unfounded. But if it amounts merely to the imputation of an earnest wish, that the whole conduct of the nation, in the administration of its laws, and the transaction of its business, should be conformed to Christian principles; that our rulers might acknowledge their obligations to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, respect his laws, and legislate in his fear, the charge is true, sir, every word of it. And is this a dangerous union of Church and State Does the expression of such pure and exalted sentiments in these memorials deserve to be driven from your doors, to be put aside with the traitorous purposes and evil deeds of “Catiline, Judas, and Arnold * Sir, this unfounded implication of the motives of the petitioners may become the watchword and apology for all manner of wickedness. Men may be guilty of blasphemy, drunkenness, and murder, and when you approach them with the looguage of rebuke or admonition, they may, behind this shield, turn to you with the cry of fanaticism, that you wish to bring religion into matters of cwil concern. They may tell you, that it is far better for her to move in her own proper and appropriate sphere: “better to be locked up in a man's own bosom, and not become a busybody in other men's matters. Sir, why may not individuals as well as States—when did the latter—obtain exemption from the claims of religion? The same e that proclaims condemnation to the sinner, also declares “ the nation that will not serve God shall perish.” Cougress are not asked to legislate into existence the precepts of piety. No, sir, these are enacted already ; they can never be repealed—and it is a most dangerous and destructive delusion to suppose, that, although as indivi. duals and families, we are bound to respect the princi: ples of religion, yet when we assume the character of States and Nations they cease to exert any legitimate influence. Such was not the political faith of the Father of his Country. Washington loved to cherish that con: nexion between Church and State which led to universal public and private virtue. And this result, he deeply realized, could flow alone from the prevalence of religious principle. Hear his forcible illo of it, in his last counsels given to his country, in his Farewell Address of 1796: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and chemish them. Let us with caution indulge, the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." The reflection and experience of this illustrious man convinced him, that all attempts at sustaining a moral community, without founding its principles upon religious obligations, would be utterly vain and fruitless. He clearly perceived that with. out this, morality had no vital principle, and would be a mere sounding brass to amuse the ear, but would exert no salutary restraint upon the conduct of men. Sir, he
made the connexion of religion with morality, the basis of all true patriotism. Let us ponder his admonition, and pursue his counsels. I trust that I have shown, upon the most satisfactory human authority, and by the almost universal consent of this great community, that the first day of the week is a consecrated portion of time: that so far as the laws of the country can have efficacy, in any case, they have ef. fectually established the Sabbath day, as a day of rest from labor. Now, sir, I hope that the argument for its preservation will not be impaired by showing that the dic. tates of policy and the sanctions of religion alike maintain its importance. I insist, with deference, that the reasons which have been suggested for Sabbath Mails are not satisfactory. Sir, it is said that the discontinuance of them would induce private expresses on that day, and that this would only increase the evil. This graduating of moral evil forms but a miserable apology. I ask, what have we to do with the probable increase or diminution of vicious or criminal practices amongst individuals, in a simple inquiry—whether we shall, as a Christian people, acknowledge or preserve a Sabbath—whether we shall, by our own conduct, countenance an institution of most salutary tendencies, or by our example break down its au. thority and rob it of all its energies? Let us do right, and leave the consequences of personal violations of duty to those who may dare to encounter them. But, Sir, E. expresses are subject to State laws, and would e controlled by their authority—while your mail stages claim an exemption (a doubtful one, certainly,) that is not reached by State prohibitions. Moreover, the exam. ple of the General Government is far more demoralizing than scores of private messengers. It goes down to the people with o the weight of authority, and exerts a tre. mendous influence. Mr. President, our constituents look up here for correct moral lessons—they wait to hear of laws that will terrify the evil doer—that will cherish those great interests of religion and morality, which Washington instruct. ed them to regard as the only sure foundation of politieal prosperity: and what, sir, will be their emotions, when they learn that this august body rejects their supplications, and decrees that servile and worldly labor shall be done on every day of the week, the commands of God to the contrary notwithstanding. Every good man will hang his head in despondeney; infidelity will ring her triumphs, and the cause of God and the country severely suffer in the discomfiture. Therefore, I have contended, that, if we must witness the violations of the Sabbath, let the guilt of them rest upon individuals, but let the Go vernment be clear. All these State regulations would be quickened into active enforcement by your example. You have hitherto aralyzed their influence, and many of them are become ifeless enactments. But should we speak out firmly— should we arrest our own profanation—it would awaken vigilance in all the State Governments, and we might hope very soon to behold our whole country in the enjoyment of a tranquil Sabbath. Again, sir, the plea has been made, that if the mail should be ...! every Sabbath day, the transmission of earlier information by other modes would be effected, to the injury of those who rely on the mail for advices. Why, sir, intelligence is communicated now, by expresses, with far greater dispatch than by your conveyance, and will continue to be so, whenever the occasion calls for extraordinary rapidity. Recollect the speed of the late Message. It flew as on the wings of the wind—it laughed at the progress of your mail. This is an objection, therefore, without any foundation in fact. But suppose it true; I wait for the evidence that any earlier information thus obtained ever contributes to the welfare of the merchant or manufacturer. No, sir, I believe it to be blighted with a curse on its way, which, whether seen or not, actually and certainly attends it. Let it be granted that the suspension of our business on
the Sabbath would diminish the amount of our profits, in proportion to the alleged loss of time, a very interesting question still remains to be solved—Will this be in any sense calamitous ! I think not, sir. Let the benefits on the other side be calculated. What shall we have in exchange? In the first place, the satisfaction of a peaceful conscience—a treasure not to be purchased or redeemed with money: in the second place, we shall possess a moral excellence as a people, a thousand fold more valuable than all the wealth and splendors of commercial greatness. Yes, Mr. President, grant me the intelligence and integrity, the public and private virtue which the Sabbath will cherish and promote; give me the people that love the repose of this day, that honor the institutions of religion, and I will point my country to her best earthly hope in the hour of peril—to her surest stay and defence. I trust, sir, that we shall never graduate public worth by dollars and cents. Let us, by arresting this national profanation, reject the miserable pelf that is amassed by labor pursued on a violated Sabbath. It may be enquired wherefore it is that our citizens have remained so long quiet on this subject. You are aware, sir, that unavailing efforts have been heretofore made. But the evils have become more palpable in later years. The rapid increase of our population—the emergencies of business—the rush of trade in all its various branches, with facilities of intercourse, have multiplied the encroachments on the Sabbath to such alarming extent, that unless some check be interposed, there is good reason to fear we shall in a very few years remember this day only in the melancholy spectacle of its universal desecration. It will be an aera of portentous import. Sir, this day is the aegis of a republican and free people. It is the poor man's, friend. It elevates him and his family, by promoting deeeney of manners, neatness, and order. It is the only time which the necessities of his condition and the constitution of society spare to him for rest and reflection; and hence every inroad upon its sacredness is a direct attack upon his best privilege. I believe, sir, that the grand Adversary of our race, could he be permitted to select the single object, would strike the blow at this divine institution. He would say, resign to me this great moral lever—let my votaries drive on the pursuit of business, the schemes of enterprise and ambition, without interruption— let there be no time for iman to reflect, to gather in his thoughts, to review his life, or to consider his origin and his destiny—and I desire no more. Mr. President—the Sabbath was made for man—not to be contemned and forgotten—the constitution of his nature requires o such a season. It is identified with his pursuits, and his moral tendencies. God has ordained it in infinite benevolence. The reason for its institution, as recorded in his word, was his own example. It began with creation. The first week of time was blessed with a Sabbath. The garden of Eden would not have smiled in all its loveliness, had not the light of this day shone upon it. Blot it out, and the hope of this world is extinguished. When the whirlwind raged in France, how was it, sir? They could not carry their measures of ferocity and blood, while this last palladium of virtue remained: Desolation seemed to pause in its course, its waves almost subsided: when the spirit of evil struck this hallowed day from the Calendar, and enacted a decade to the Goddess of Reason—after which the besom swept all before it. Our own experience must satisfy us that it is essential to the welfare of our condition. Put the mind to any action of its powers—let its energies be exerted incessantly, with no season for abstraction and repose, and it would very soon sink under a task so hostile to its nature: it would wear out in such hard service. So let the pursuits of business constantly engage our speculations, and the whole year become one unvaried calculation of profit and loss, with no Sabbath to open an hour for the return of higher and nobler feelings, and the heart will become the victim of a cold and debasing selfishness, and have no greater susceptibility than the nether millstone. And if in matters that are lawful, such consequences would issue, what will be the results of a constant, unbroken progression in vice | | Sir, I tremble at the prospect for my country. If this barrier against the augmenting flood of evil be prostrated, all your penalties and prisons will oppose an utterly inefficient check. Irreligion will attain to a magnitude and hardihood that will scorn the restraints of your laws. Law, sir! of what avail can this be against the corrupted sentiment of a whole people? Let us weigh the interesting truth—that a free people can only flourish under the control of moral eauses; and it is the Sabbath which gives vigor, and energy, and stability to these causes. The nation expects that the standard of sound principles will be raised here. Let us give it a commanding elevation. Let its tone be lofty. It is in this way we should expect to excite the enthusiasm of triotism, or any other virtue. When we would awaken in our youth the spirit of literary emulation, we spread out to their vision a rugged path and a difficult ascent, and raise the prize of fame high above the reach of any pursuit, but an ardent, laborious, and vigorous reach of effort. If we would enkindle the love of country, we do not humble her claims to a miserable posture, just above downright indifference—but we point to a devoted Leo. nidas, and the brightest names of the scroll, and thus urge our youth onward and upward. Let us, then, sir, be as wise and faithful in the cultivation of sound moral princiles.
Mr. President: I firmly believe that the repeal of this single section, and the suspension of the mail, would exert the happiest influence. It would call up public uttention. It would present the claims of the Sabbath with such force of interest and weight of influence, as would, I hope, establish and perpetuate it as an effective defence around our free institutions. The mail arrested, and the post-office closed on Sunday, by the solemn authority of Congress I Who can fail to perceive the noble in pulse that would be given. Sir, this would correct all false and degrading estimates of this sacred day—it would almost of itself form a public sentiment. The floods of vice and infidelity would be stayed in their course. Such high example would silence the cavils of the profane— And this, as I understand it, is the true old fashioned way to popularity. . It is not that sickly principle, which flatters public vices, and connives at national sins—but which, in the purity of its purposes, dares to rebuke them, and by wise and wholesome measures to correct
them. Suffer me to urge, as a further motive, the tendency
of our example in its influence upon the kingdoms of the old world. We have been greatly useful to them in the illustrations furnished by our history of the principles of civil liberty. The mass of their people begin to understand the true object of government. Until our political career commenced, power had long taught its subjects that this was a mysterious machinery, to be approached by no vulgar hand, and serutinized by no common eye. We have broken the spell for them, and men have learned the value of freedom. We have taught them that personal liberty, security, and property are inalienable rights, that are to be protected and cherished, but which cannot be impaired or destroyed by human governments. They are prepared to receive from us instructive examples on the efficacy of a sound moral code in sustaining these interests. I am persuaded that we shall not be deterred by the absurd imputation of a design to tyrannize over the consciences and rights of men. Sir, this charge is most unseasonable in an age of greater moral and intellectual light than the world has ever seen. It is, indeed, a strange engine of oppression. In all past time, to hold men in bondage it was found necessary to keep them in ignorance: but here is “a dangerous party.” which some affeet to fear, that none but tyrants have ever dreaded before. A party whose labors are spreading the means of general information; whose philanthropy is engaged in enlightening the ignorant and reclaiming the deluded; whose charities have penetrated the abodes of the convict and opened a ray of hope even to him; and such men are assailed and summoned to a defence of such couduct. I will not attempt the serious refutation of a groundless charge. I dismiss it, with this bare statement of its character. I ask for the demonstration of a fair experiment—this we can make without harm. Many of our constituents (and they are, permit me to say, among the best friends aud purest patriots of the country) believe that such a consecration of this day is fraught with signal blessings to all our interests, as a free people. They are a part of this nation, whose opinions upon any other subject would be respected. Grant them a practical exposition of their principles; and whenever we shall have suffered by a repeal of this offensive law—when it shall be seen that it has been in any degree disastrous to our public or individual prosperity, we may return to the practice of impiety, and proclaim abroad, that for a Christian People to regard the authority of God, and the repose of his Sabbath, is shown to be an injurious and unprofitable
[The revised report of the following speech of Mr. Buchanan did not reach the publishers until after the volume was printed. Although too late to insert it in its proper place, it is thought that justice to Mr. B., as chairman 9f the Judiciary Committee, and author of the report on Judge Peck's case, requires that the speech should not
be altogether omitted, and it is therefore inserted here.]
Mr. BUCHANAN, chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, rose, and addressed the House as follows: If, said he, the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union had been left to take up this subject simply on the report of the Judiciary Committee, I should have had, soin paratively little trouble. My task would, in that case, have been only to refer, on the one hand, to the language of the report, recommending the impeachment, and, on the other, to the testimony, to show that it was sufficient to support the charge. But Judge Peck having seen fit to introduce an extensive and elaborate defence, it has become my duty to investigate the whole case more at large.
I need not, I am sure, bespeak the candid attention of
the committee on the present occasion, as the dearest rights of the people of our country, on the one side, and, on the other, those of a citizen occupying a high and responsible judicial office, are deeply concerned in the in. vestigation. Besides, we are not now called upon to decide in a purely ex parte case, as the accused has crossexamined the witnesses before the Judiciary Committee, and has presented a defence embracing a very elaborate argument, both on the law and on the fact. The consequence of this interposition of the Judge, should it not influence the committee to vote against his impeachment, must be to cause a coutrary decision to bear more heavily against himself. Thus situated, it becomes us all to look well to the testimony. What is the offence charged It is illegal, arbitrary, and oppressive conduct, in his office as a judge, towards a citizen of the United States, by imprisoning his person, and depriving him, for the space of eighteen months, of the exercise of his profession. The Committee on the Judiciary, following former precedents, did not think it proper to reduce the charge to any specific form in their report to the House; but its true character is what I have just stated. I shall now proceed to inquire whether this charge is sustained by the testimony. This is a question which each gentleman must seriously consider for himself. I shall endeavor to present the material facts in as clear and distinct a manner as I am able. Intention, in every criminal charge, is necessary to constitute guilt. Even if the act be plainly illegal, the committee must still judge whether it proceeded from improper feelings, and sprung from a bad motive. Poor frail man is left to form this judgment from external conduct. He cannot search the heart, nor penetrate the springs of human action, Still, however, he has these general prin. ciples to guide his judgment, derived from the highest authority: “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh;" and “the tree is known by its fruit.” If, in addition to the illegality of the action, the committee shall be of opinion that the testimony manifests the existence of an evil intention, the case will then be fully made out. I trust I am one of the last men in this House, or in this country, who would seek, in the remotest manner, to interfere with the constitutional independence of the judi. ciary, I know that it is the great bulwark of our rights and liberties; and this House will never use its power of impeachment as a means of infringing upon an institution so sacred. But when an individual, elevated to the high and responsible rank of a judge, forgetting what he owes to his own dignity, to his country, and to the liberties of the people, shall, by arbitrary and oppressive conduct, prostrate the rights of a citizen of this republic, it is fit and proper that he should be held up as au example, and
is my deliberate conviction that such has been the conduct of Judge Peck; and I may add, that similar sentiments were held by every member of the Judiciary Committee. It was with the utmost reluctance that we found ourselves compelled to arrive at such a conclusion, and to present such a report to the House. Throughout all the stages of the examination, we endeavored to divest ourselves of every thing like feeling, and to be influenced solely by a regard to the demands of duty. I shall endeavor to do so, as far as possible, upon the present occasion, and shall now proceed to state such facts as the evidence before the committee has clearly established. Let me briefly refer to the origin of this subject. On the 26th May, 1824, Congress passed an act enabling claimants of lands in Missouri, under French and Spanish grants made before Louisiana passed into the posses: sion of the United States, to apply to the district court of Missouri for their confirmation. #. Peck then was, and still is, the sole judge of that court. On the 22d August, 1824, Antony Soulard, who had been the surveyor-general of Upper Louisiana, before the cession, presented for confirmation a claim of 10,000 arpents of land, the consideration for which consisted, not in money, but in his services as surveyor-general. The claim was peculiar in its character, and was founded on special circumstances belonging to itself alone. The quantity of land was greater than that of the concessions usually granted by the Spanish Government in Louisiana. Indeed, the entire case was one sui generis; but I shall not fatigue the committee by entering into its peculiarities. It was argued at..". length by the district o Mr. Bates) assisted by Mr. Lucas, on the part of the United States; and by Luke E. Lawless, the present complainant, and Colonel Strother, on behalf of Soulard. On the 25th December, 1825, the Judge pronounced his final decree, and gave judgment against the petitioner. Whereupon, an appeal was immediately taken to the Supreme Court of the United States—a circumstance which will be found to have a material bearing on the case now before the committee. This decree was drawn out at o and places his deeision upon grounds where the Judge ought to have suffered it to remain. This concession, according to the decree, was in opposition to the general principles upon which the Spanish authorities had granted land in Upper Louisiana, and therefore could not have been confirmed, even if the sovereignty of the country had not been transferred to the United States. Here the Judge ought to have permitted the matter to rest until after the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States; and if he had, we should never have heard of this impeachment. 1t ought to be the first object of every judge to do strict and impartial justice; and his second, to satisfy the public that strict and impartial justice has been done. Judge Peck knew that a great number of these land claims, under various circumstances, derived from Spanish concessions, must come before him for decision, and that many of them were then actually pending in his court. It was natural to suppose that the population of the country thus situated j take a deep interest in all his decisions. They had a right to expect a cool and deliberate investigation of each class of these claims, and that the Judge would approach them with candor, and hold the scales of justice even between all parties. A judge, under such circumstances, should be peculiarly cautious and 3rudent, and, above all, should never Fo any case. e ought to wait until each question is fairly brought before him, But what was the course of Judge Peck?
be made a victim to the offended majesty of the laws. It Vol. VI,
Although he had delivered no written opinion in the case
of Soulard, but had confined himself to an oral explanation of the reasons of his decree, yet, in March, 1826, more than three months after final judgment had been rendered, he carried a written opinion to the editor of the Missouri Republican at St. Louis, for publication. This opinion thus, for the first time, came before the public through a political newspaper. Let it be remembered that this is not my assertion; it is that of the Judge himself, who, in his defence, uses this very phrase, when speaking of that newspaper. Now, I ask, was this not an act calculated to arouse the feelings of all that numerous class of persons in Missouri who are interested in claims of this description ? What must have been their feelings, when they saw an opinion in which not only the case of Soulard, but all possible cases that could arise under these Spanish grants, were settled in anticipation against the claimants? The Judge at once deprived them of all hope. .Notwithstanding his opinion decides that the Spanish ordinance of 1754 never was in force in Upper Louisiana, he proceeds to examine minutely the terms of that ver ordinance, and decides against every possible claim o could have arisen under it, had it been extended to that province. In short, he tears up by the roots the claims of all persons under grants or concessions made by the subdelegate or lieutenant governor of Upper Louisiana. Now, sir, considering the existing excitement in that country on the subject, and the strong and general feeling in favor of these claims which prevails there, what must you think of such conduct Three mouths after the decision of the cause, and after it had been removed from his court by appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, he makes his appearance in this manner, in a political newspaper, and, to repeat a phrase for which I have been no little censured, he casts a firebrand into the community. Mr. Lawless was, at this time, counsel for many of the claimants; and what was his conduct Why, sir, he pursues a course with which I feel I never should have been content, under similar circumstances. He writes an article, merely suggesting the errors of fact and doctrine which he believed were contained in the opinion of the Judge; an article which I must say, considering the cha. racter of this opinion, was humble, tame, and submissive. Even the Judge himself seems to have been conscious of some impropriety in his own conduct. Hear what he says in the last paragraph of his opinion: “The title to more than a million, perhaps millions, of acres of land was supposed to depend upon the decision of the questions which have been considered; and the opinion having mainly proceeded upon a view which had not been taken at the bar, and having been extended to an inquiry into the source and nature of the Spanish titles to lands in Louisipna, and to an inquiry concerning the laws under which those titles were derived; and the decision of most of the points, therefore, having proceeded chiefly upon grounds which had been little or not at all examined in the argument of the cause, it is deemed proper to remark that counsel will not be excluded #. again stirring any of the points which have been here decided, when they may hereafter arise in any other cause."
Thus, sir, you perceive that the Judge himself declares
that he had made a sweeping decision which covers the whole ground, and yet that many of the points he had thus settled had not even been mooted at the bar; and, in consideration that they had thus been determined without argument, he gives public notice that they might be reexamined in court. A judge, who pays a proper regard to his own charac. ter and the authority of his own opinions, will never, in
delivering them to the public, throw out obiter dicta which himself the author, employing such language might embarrass him hereafter. But here Judge Peck, “Sir, you say so and so,” “your article states three months after he had delivered a verbal opinion in
court, in the case of Soulard, publishes a sort of general
commentary on the Spanish law as applying to the vince of Upper Louisiana, by which he decides, against the claimants all the questions which could possibly arise under Spauish concessions. I say all the questions, and, if there be any one which he has not virtually decided, I should be glad to hear what it is, Mr. Lawless, being of counsel in a large number of these cases, publishes in another newspaper, the Missouri Advocate and St. Louis Inquirer, the article signed “A Citizen " and as this publication is the foundation of the alleged contempt for which he was so severely punished. I shall ask that it may be read by the Clerk. [Here the article signed “A Citizen" was read accordingly. 4. sir, the Judge has spent many pages in proving that these strictures of Mr. Lawless are wilful misrepresentations. So far as I have examined the subject, I think that the decisions attributed by Mr. Lawless to the Judge are all to be found in the opinion. He may have been mistaken in two or three instances. But I shall not go into particulars, at least for the present. This, sir, is the dull, tame, flat article which was considered so flagrant à contempt against the court. To me it appears to have been written as if the author had throughout the fear of Judge Peck before his eyes. I do not believe there is a man in this House, who, in the like circumstances, would have written so mild and so tame an article. What motive could there have been for cousidering this production a contempt of court For my soul I never could imagine, (and I believe I am as much disposed to exercise charity as other gentlemen.) unless it might have been to prevent the public from discussing the merits of the opinion in the newspapers. Here is a judge who volunteers in a public journal o his opinions on all possible points of Spanish land law; a lawyer feeling a deep interest in these opinions ventures to set up his o: ment in opposition to them; and for this offence the Judge fastens upon him, as if resolved to make him an example to all others in like case offending. Accordingly, on the third Monday of April, 1826, at the meeting of the court, the Judge, ão. taken his seat upon the bench, produeed the Missouri Advocate, and inquired if any person present knew who was the editor of that paper. To this inquiry, which was not addressed to any particular person, Mr. Lawless answered that he did; and stated it was Stephen W. Foreman. Now the Judge must have known the name of the editor as well as Mr. Lawless. He resided in the same town, and the name was on the paper itself, yet he called upon Mr. Lawless to swear to the fact. He was selected from all the bar and all the by standers, and required to make this affidavit. The Judge then immediately dictated a rule upon Foreman, commanding him to show cause, on the next day, at 11 o'clock, why an attachment should not issue against him for publishing a false statement concerning the judicial decision in the case of Soulard. Sir, when I was up before, l expressed the opinion that Judge Peck had made his case worse by his cross-examination of the witnesses. From all the facts elicited by that cross-examination, it appears that the Judge had one object in his eye from the origin of these proceedings. His conduct shows that he knew Mr. Lawless to be the author of the article. He had the victim in his view from the very commencement. . When Lawless appeared as the counsel of Foreman, the witnesses declare that the Judge treated him throughout as the author of the publication: that his manner was vehement, that he was much excited, and that he was some: times quite rude. Although Lawless appeared only as counsel, the Judge constantly adverted to him as being as this: such and such things,” “I tell you what you say is false.” Under all these circumstances, aud under the many