網頁圖片
PDF
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

course of remark. They had amounted to a large sum, say nine millions of dollars. Yesterday, a very moderate addition to the appropriation for arming, that is to say, rendering really effective and ready for use such as had been completed, had been refused by a large vote. There was no extensive interest engaged in the founding of cannon. The benefit from the disbursements for fortifications had been widely diffused. What, then, [inquired Mr. A.] was the real evil principle of our General Government . It was, that the national treasury came unavoidably to be regarded in a foreign rather than domestic aspect; as something different from the State treasuries; and that combinations would be in op". generation or activity to subject it to contributions. His colleague [Mr. BAR boun] had opened this view. He would take occasion to give it expansion and development. It was inevitable that the disbursements of the Government should be distributed with great ineuality. The largest grew out of the public debt. The j would accumulate with the accumulations of capital, necessarily; that is to say, in the region of commerce—on the seaboard. The naval expenditures, and those purely commercial, must follow the same course. The same frontier presented the quarter most demanding preparations of defence. The disbursements of a military character, therefore, whether for fortifications or the maintenance of troops, must, a large portion of them, seek the same direction. The seaboard must be the scene of the larger expenditures of the Government—the region to rofit by their direct influences. Not the whole seaboard, F. in equal proportions. To the south of Norfolk, in Virginia, ports occurred at remote distances, and not in circumstances favorable to the attraction of the Government disbursements. The direct benefit of these disbursements must, therefore, be realized unequally, even on the seaboard. The interior and extreme West were nearly excluded from participation of it. Did he state this in any way of censure or arraignment? Not at all. This course of things was inevitable. The revenue, however, presented a very different history as regarded the source of its supply. The great mass of it was derived from the duties on imports. The exports furnished the imports; agriculture furnished the great mass of the exrts. It was taxation on agriculture, therefore, that supplied nearly the entire amount of the revenue. . It was, in a peculiar degree, too, the character of agriculture to consume the whole amount of its production; and the market for it being chiefly foreign with us, the great mass of this production paid contribution to Government in the duties on the returns procured by its exportation. A much larger proportion of so revenue of agriculture sustained this burden, than of other occupations. Much of that of commerce was derived from a further charge on agricul. ture; and manufactures had not yet obtained external markets to a considerable extent. Whilst, then, the commercial portion of the community, constituted chiefly by a part only of the seaboard, received the larger proportion of the revenue of the nation, the agricultural and interior paid nearly the whole. Could this inequality fail to be felt with sensibility ? That was not to be supposed; and this sensibility was becoming the germ of the most menacing evils. The quarters which received most liberally from the public disbursements had the appetite for them whetted, not gratified. The parts which received nothing, or the least, anxiously sought indemnity. How was this to be obtained . By swelling disbursements in their own direction beyond occasion, or creating them when not required. Sympathies of artificial character tended, in this manner, to distend and multiply the expenditures of the Government. Disbursement became a thing good in itself, per se. Not one, but many interests were engendered in public prodigality; and, what was worse, these inte.

tion; that is to say, into that state in which factitious strength was acquired, and restraining shame was removed 1 Profusion, on the part of the Government, was rendered an interest to be nurtured and protected by the proper guardians of the States, in the focus of its safety, its halls of legislation 1 And how nurtured How protected Nurtured in corruption Protected by audacity l, And where was the chief channel of this profusion, and main organ of its introduc ion as a system, to be found ! The fact was notorious, [said Mr. A.] and his should be the voice to resound it through the land, this channel and organ were to be furnished by an extended application of the policy of internal improvement. This, this in hunc convertite telum, was the forehead on which public reprobation ought at once, and deeply, to burn its stigma for scorn to point “his unmoving finger at.” Reverting to this topic, one thing there was [he said] remarkable about this business of internal improvement, that, even in circumstances the most favorable, and in regard to projects the best conceived and executed, it was found, in a calculation of cost and profit, to prove a losing business. It did not make returns conformably to the average of ordinary pursuits on the eapital invested; and this, with inconsiderable and not unfrequently occurring exceptions, was the just test in regard to the public, no less than individuals, of a good or bad business. Its capital was the source of the wealth of the nation. Whether employed by the public or individuals, if any portion did not return the ordinary and average rate of interest, the investment must, in the general, and excluding from view F. circumstances, be regarded as injudicious. Of the act of the inability of even the best devised and most valuable works of internal improvement to sustain this test, very remarkable and entirely authentic evidence had just been furnished in New York. He referred to a report of the canal commissioners of that State, made the past winter, in answer to a call of the Senate. The canals of the State, it . not only did not reimburse the annual expenses and interest on the capital disbursed; it was made a. o whether, by any augmentation of tolls, they could be made to do so. If improvements, giving the largest and best founded promise, executed on the best terms, pervading an extensive and rich country, (he had seen and could youch from his own view,) commanding the transport of the products of a large port of a continent—if improvements, in these circumstances, marked by a distinction so peculiarly favorable, were found to fail, under the common test of judicious investment, what was to be said of all others inferior in pretension, and, yet more, for ageneral system spreading every where, and embracing every description as well as variety of projects? In New York, a question was agitated, not merely of the propriety of taxation, in aid of the proceeds of the canals, but of a character yet more calculated to produce disturbance. It related to the confinement of the taxation to the tracts more immediately benefited by contiguity to the canal, instead of making it a general burden on the State. The temper which must grow from a discussion of such a character was easily-appreciated. Yet this was the system, failing under circumstances the most favorable to pay, and threatening, even in the contracted and homogeneous sphere of a single State, to create disturbances, which was recommended as a bond of concord, as well as a source of profit, in a political community, contributing in different proportions to its expense, and deriving unequal advantages from its operation l Neighboring interests, which, when not intrinsically related, ran into easy reconcilement, were thrown into jar by it; yet its tendency to harmonize interests remote in position, and dissociated by character, was a principal argument in its support | Such was the logie which self-interest employed, when disposing of other interests, or those of the public l

rests ran inevitably into combinations for mutual sustenta.

Truly, [said Mr. A.] the best ground of vindication

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

on which to place such a system, was that which had been in effect assumed in the debate, and formed the real inducing consideration, its tendency to equalize the disproportionate and unfair disbursements of the Government, as regarded the different quarters of the country. He really esteemed this principle of defence as colored with the most plausible show of reason and fairness. The gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr... Isacks), with honest frankness, had stated this as a leading consideration in its support. He [Mr. A.] did not refer to the declaration with censure, but commendation. It proved, what he knew of this gentleman well before, that he was of too manly a character to refuse the avowal of a motive on which he was willing to act. [Mr. ISACKS explained. He had indeed adverted to the expenditure of the public money in the West, as one bene. ficial consequence attendant on the proposed measure; but he never insisted on that as the primary consideration which induced him to be its advocate.] Mr. ARCBER resumed. He was willing to trust to the considerations he had been stating, for evidence of the true character, both of the general policy and particular measure. . But if the equalization of disbursements were to be admitted as any part of the inducing consideration, then he asked whether this principle might not be expected to lead to a careless selection of routes for roads, and an equally careless construction of them. Would not the temptation be strong to remissness, not to say abuse, in the exercise of either function ? But this whole policy of internal improvement was it. self but a part and an instrument of a further and larger, eovered by a fair name, “the distribution system.” Internal improvements supplied, though a large, yet only a partial waste of revenue. This “distribution system" was designed to comprehend the scattered streams into a current which should discharge the entire reservoir. Trace the principle in its relation to its first object, the public

contributed. Was not the inducement, then, decisive to derive revenue, to tax, for no other purpose than to distribute # What was to obstruct? or where was the limit to this sort of operation ? The quarters deriving unequal advantages, would they not sustain each other? If it were one of the recommendations of internal improvements, that they operated to equalize the disbursements of the Government, here was an operation of an efficiency yet more extensive, by which more essential inequalities might be redressed. Were different quarters of the country in different conditions, as j pecuniary resources and wealth, from variety in the character of their products, the forms of their industry, or other causes, here was an engine of easy application for introducing a republican level, by the direct transfer of the redundancy of some parts to compensate the deficiencies of others. Where was the stopping point to men who could contemplate a policy founded on such a principle And what must the men be who would submit to its exertion on them? A large proportion of the national revenue was derived from the labor of slaves. Two-fifths of these would not be counted on the proposed principle of distribution; that is to say, their owners, and, through their owners, themselves, would be excluded, in this proportion, from or. in the fund raised from the fruits of their own industry. This system had been proposed—much argued—was almost certain to be fastened on us. We were destined, if it were, to realize the misadventures of Sinbad, the famous sailor, (with whose story we were so familiar in our early days) when he encountered the old man of the sea. The monster mounted on his neck with a pressure which no effort could shake off, and rode him with a remorselessness which no powers of endurance would long have been able to sustain. Sinbad contrived, by intoxicating the incubus, to destroy him. The case we were likely to present, was in every respect correspondent—the infliction no less remorseless—the relief no less hopeless, unless the drunk

lands. Particular States had ceded to the General Go-onness of triumph, should unlock, the death grasp from

vernment large tracts of territory. If the principle of this policy of distribution were just, then after these cessions, on the very day in which they had been made, aye, in the same hour, and before the ink of the signature was dry, it had been in the competency of the General Government to cut up the property among the States, returning their ratable shares to the proper owners. Was there a sense of justice so torpid, as not to be awakened to indignation at the statement of such a proposition? And yet if it were competent to the General Government now, it was equally eompetent then, to perpetrate this insolence of injustice; this proposition, coming, as it did, from a quarter to which no cession of lands had been ever made, might be supposed to labor under some defect of modesty. It stood entirely acquitted, however, upon this score, by comparison with another having reference to the same subject of the lands. He alluded to the claim advanced reeently in some of the new States to the property of the whole of the public lands comprehended within their respective limits, as a result of i. character of sovereignty which the United States had conceded to them, with this very condition annexed, of the reserve of this very property. A relation of war between States exposed to seizure and forfeiture the property of either within reach of the other. A relation of the closest amity of incorporation into a common political community, operated the same ef. feet, according to the principle of the doctrine alluded to.

The distribution system, in relation to the final object of its grasp, the surplus revenue, as the first, the public lands, presented the same character. The distributable

ortions would be restored by a varying rule; and in dif}. proportions, therefore, from those in which they were received. In the instant in which they were obtained by the one rule, they might be restored by the other, and the same parties receive more or less than they had

Wol. WI.-94.

our necks, and assist us to tumble the oppression from its seat. Sir, I have been asked, [said Mr. A.] in relation to this road, whether, as my State denied the constitutional authority on this subject of roads, she would not prohibit the construction of the part which fell with: in her limits. I have invariably and promptly answered no l for that would be to resist the laws of the Union. I have been asked, whether we would not resort to the nullifying doctrine, so much spoken of lately. My answer, with equal promptitude, has been no l for that would be to refuse .. to the laws of the Union. Virginia, while she feels with the keenest sensibility the irregular exercise of authority by this Government, of which she complains; while she continues, as she has ever been, foremost in vigilant and strenuous interposal to arrest all exercises of similar principle, will afford the spectacle of precedence, too, in endurance and in patience; whilst evil is sufferable, she will suffer; pursuing in the mean time her true doctrine of '98, to use every effort short of force or disunion, “to arrest its progress.” She did not relinquish the hope that the time would never come, in which she should be driven to resort to any doctrine of character ulterior to this. If it did come, she would make this resort in sorrow. She invoked the sense, not of justice only, but, stronger, of superior benefits and real interest, to subdue the spirit of combination for peculiar advantages, which was the evil genius of our Federal Government. And, as the instant evil was the first to be regarded, she prayed heartily as he [Mr. A.] did, that sinister omena might be averted; and this policy of internal improvement might not be made the instrument to wrench to pieces a frame of polity inexpressibly admirable; which formed the fortress, not only of our safety, but of the hopes, and the cause of freedom, in all time, and through the world. [Here the debate closed for this day.]

[ocr errors][merged small]

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 1830. JUDGE PECK.

Mr. PETTIS obtained the leave of the House (by a sus. nsion of the rule, 101 to 40) to offer the following resoution: Resolved, That James H. Peck, Judge of the district court of the United States for the district of Missouri, be permitted to make to this House any explanations he may think proper, in answer to the charges preferred against him by }. E. Lawless, Esq., which charges have been reported on by the Committee on the Judiciary. Mr. P. said he moved this resolution in pursuance of an intimation which he gave the other day when he moved to lay Judge Peck's memorial on the table, to try the sense of the House in granting Judge P.'s request. He thought the indulgence proposed was a matter of justice to the Judge; that there was no precedent against it, as he had examined the authorities as far back as 1640. A long debate ensued on the resolution, and on the modifications which were proposed to it, in which Messrs. STORRS, of New York, BUCHANAN, DODDRIDGE, DRAYTON, RAMSEY, CLAY, MARTIN, PETTIS, SPENCER, of New York, ELLSWORTH, HUNTINGTON, BATES, and BURGES engaged. In the beginning of the debate, Mr. MARTIN moved to strike out the word “explanation," and insert “any respectful written argument upon the law and matters of fact now in evidence before the House;" and after some time, to get rid of the debate. Mr. PETTIS, accepted this modification, and inserting further the words “ or oral” after the word “written.” Thus amended, after an unsuccessful motion by Mr. DRAYTON to strike out the words “or oral,” the resolution was agreed to without a count. [The publishers give below, as far as they have received it, the debate on this subject.] Mr. PETTIS, having offered his resolution, remarked, that he had examined all the precedents on this subject which he could discover, and there was no instance among them, in which a request, like that which he had made in behalf of Judge Peck, was denied. He adverted to the case of Lord Melville, and in truth to all which had occurred since 1640, . He confidently hoped the privilege solicited would be freely accorded by Congress. Mr. DODDRIDGE asked how many days it was sup. F. the Judge would require to prepare his defence. he time of the House, at this season, was peculiarly preclous. Mr. PETTIS supposed he would be prepared by Monday next. Mr. STORRS, of New York, inquired whether it was anticipated that the Judge intended to submit to, the House anything more than points of law and matters of * appertaining to the judicial proceedings complained o

Mr. PETTIS replied, he believed these were all that was to be expected from him.

Mr. ELLSWORTH observed, that the objection urged by the gentleman from New York [Mr. Storks] applied to the amendment as much as to the bill. We have no constitutional power to pass this amendment. We are only to inquire, and, if we see cause, direct an impeachment. Upon the merits we cannot act definitively; besides, we might do Judge Peck great injustice; he has yet had no opportunity to defend. Mr. E. said he was in favor of the report and the resolution as they came from the committee. When the papers in this case had been presented to the Judiciary Committee, he had read them again and again, with the greatest anxiety; and it was with the utmost reluctance that he came to the conclusion at which he finally arrived. He felt that it was a grave thing to Put a judicial officer of this Government to his trial for

his character, his office, his subsistence, and, in a word, for all that is dear to humanity, and to make the last and most sublime appeal known to the constitution, o placing him before the Senate in the last resort. But there was another view of theisubject, which struck his mind with equal force. He saw an officer occupying an elevated station, and clothed with the authority of this Government, calling before him a fellow-citizen, known as a man of talent and respectability in his profession, and, by a summary process, stripping him of the exercise of that profession, clothing him with shame, and incarcerating him in a felon's dungeon, the place of disgrace, and infamy. He had endenvored to view the case with impartiality, and not to give way to any undue feeling; and, after ho heard the statement of facts presented by Mr. Lawless, he had come to the conclusion that if these facts were substantiated by testimony, the impeachment ought to proceed. It was not now his intention to go into the merits of this case. The subject had been exhausted. But, as he had been a member,of the Judiciary Committee, and had given his voice for the impeachment of Judge Peck, he trusted the House would listen to him for a few moments. It appeared that the Judge, three months after delivering his opiuion in the case of Soulard, and three months after the final disposition of the case and the adjournment of his court, committed it to paper, and sent it to the public press. It was an opinion involving the landed titles of almost the whole territory where he resided. He publishedit, as it seemed, at the request of a lawyer, or lawyers; and manifestly for the purpose of spreading opinions, exciting feelings, and leading to a certain line of conduct in the community where it was published. Perhaps this might be all right; he should find no fault with it: shortly after the publication of this opinion of the Judge, a professional gentleman, nearly concerned in the result of that opinion, had come before the public in another paper, and exposed what he conceived to be certain errors into which the Judge had fallen, which might have been called for, to save his friends or clients from the grasp of speculators, until a final trial in the Supreme Court, and especially as such publicity had been given to the opinion. Mr. E. said he had looked over both these papers; and he there declared, in his place, and was willing to risk his reputation on the opinion, that there was not any thing in this commentary in the least degree reproachful to Judge Peck, either as a man or as a judge; nothing that looked in the least like a contempt of court, or an impeachment of the integrity or character of the presiding officer, unless pointing out error, if there really be any, is an offence. He had seen similar comments in the newspaper a thousand times before. And the House was now come to the crisis, when it must decide whether it would sanction the arrest and imprisonment of an individual by a judge for commenting on one of his opinions. This [said Mr. E. is the question we are called upon to settle this day. Find: ing that the rights of an individual had been violated, I put this query solemnly to myself: is there anything in the conduct of this individual to justify such a proceeding And I was compelled to answer it in the negative. Judge Peck had neither jurisdiction nor provocation. He had finished the case, adjourned the court, and descended from his judicial station to that of an essayist of a newspaper. The gentleman from Missouri [Mr. PETTIs] says that a spirit has gone abroad, of reckless and determined hostility to the judiciary; but let me tell that gentleman, that if conduct like this shall go abroad with the sanction and seal of this House upon it, he may bid adieu to the honor and independence of the judiciary henceforward. Sir, have the days of the star chamber come upon us? Shall it be declared to the American people, that, after a judge has given his opinion and dismissed the cause, he may arrest a citiZen, ão, him before his tribunal, and say to him, you have

[merged small][ocr errors][graphic]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

written strictures on my opinion, which I consider dero. gatory to me, and I, therefore, send you to prison, and take away your livelihood for eighteen months. I tell you, you are a base calumniator, a libeller, and, if you were in China, your house would be painted black, as an emblem of the blackness of your heart, and as a warning to society. Yet it is now proposed that this House shall say, it does not entirely approve of the conduct of the Judge, but impeachment is a solemn affair: the man has been punished enough already, now let him alone. Sir, I do not wish to appeal to the feelings of the House; but while I see a free citizen of this republic made the subject of high-handed oppression like this, I feel it to be the in perious duty of this House to send the man who appears to be guilty of it to his trial before another and constitutional tribunal. Let me now proceed to answer one or two objections, which have been urged by the opponents of impeachment. And, first, it has been said that we may not impeach unless there is evidence of corruption. There need not be corruption in the common sense in which that term is used. A wicked motive is enough. Error in judgment is not ing. but wicked conduct and a wicked motive are. ir, did any one vote to impeach Judge Pickering, of New Hampshire, for corruption : No, sir; he was impeached for intemperance, but not for corruption. Suppose the wicked conduct of the judge himself brings his court into contempt; suppose that conduct is arbitrary and oppressive, ought we to pass it over with slight language? In all the eight articles against Judge Chase, he was charged with an arbitrary exercise of judicial power. There was searce one article, if I remember right, which charged him with direct corruption. The whole prosecution was founded on the idea that his conduct was arbitrary, and though he was not finally convicted, it was because the facts did not bear out the charge. Though you cannot show that a judge has been bought, you may show his oppressive and wicked conduct, and that he ought to be turned out of office. The constitution says that judges shall hold their office during good behavior. I do not say that every species of wrong behavior is such as to forfeit his of: o but I say that there may be other ill behavior besides taking a bribe. I do on my soul believe that Judge Peck has been guilty of conduct, if not corrupt, certainly arbitrary in the extreme, . It has been said that Lawless was rsonally interested in the cases in which he was counsel, and that all the counsel were opposed in opinion to the Judge. Admit it. Is that any reason that the Judge should act oppressively His opinion and station were perfectly independent; he was not bound to regard the notions of counsel. Sir, the merits of this case lie within a very small compass. The question is, whether the eriticisms of Lawless were just or not, and whether, admitting them to be erroneous, the Judge might, on that account, shut him up in jail, and strip him of his profession. There appears to me to have been a sickly sensibility in this judge. ... He seems to have resolved to come out, and by his judicial thunder to demonstrate that he was yet alive, that he had a court, and that he was not to be contradicted or reviewed. He, therefore, sent out, brought in his victim, east him in prison, eovered him with infamy, and did what in him lay to deprive him of his livelihood. Unless it can be shown that he had authority so to do, and that he acted on justifiable cause, I, for one, am prepared to impeach him. r. BUCHANAN said, it was not his purpose to enter into any argument in this stage of the proceeding. He felt rather in favor of the resolution which had been moved by the gentleman from Missouri, [Mr. Perris.] He, too, had examined the British precedents, and found that in several cases the party had been admitted to the floor of the House of Commons, simply to make an argument on the testimony which had been previously given to the House. This was the utmost extent of the privilege, so

far as he had examined the cases, except in a single instance—that of Warren Hastings. The gentleman, as he understood, did not now ask that new witnesses should be sent for and examined: and if the request of the accused was limited to a mere permission to make an exposition of the law, and an argument upon the facts, as they appeared in the testimony already taken, he should not have the smallest objection. Mr. DRAYTON said, that, in moving to strike out the words “ or oral,” he had had no intention of preventing the individual concerned from availing himself of the full benefit of what the resolution proposed to grant to him, but had been influenced by the consideration, that, if his exposition should be made in writing, all the members of the House would have an opportunity of examining it; but, if made orally, it would be impossible that all the members should distinctly hear it, and, if they did, they would probably not retain the substance of it distinctly in their memories. This was one reason which actuated him. Another was, that, in his opinion, ill consequences would be likely to arise from the personal appearance of the memorialist before the House. He might aver that a material fact could be established by testimony incorrectly or imperfectly referred to in the report of the committee, and ask leave to introduce it fully. Should his application be rejected, he might regard the permission to be heard as illusory. Should his application be acceded to, we should be drawn into a trial of the cause. It had been said that this House was “the grand inquest of the nation,” thus as: similating its powers and jurisdiction to those of the British Parliament. This is a radical error. This House has no other inquisitorial authority than such as is expressly delegated to it by the constitution, and this is restricted to the power of impeaching certain civil officers of the United States for crimes and misdemeanors. The British House of Commons is “the grand inquest of the nation.” In the exercise of this prerogative, they may proceed against any persons, for any offences, and in any manner which they may deem expedient. They may prefer accusations, informations, or impeachments, or enact bills of pains and penalties, altering the rules of law and evidence. They have, accordingly, acted under all these modes. They have aecused an individual of misdemeanors, and ordered a jury to be empannelled for the trial, as in the case of Alice Pierce; they have impeached a clergyman for a libel, an offence cognizable by the courts of common law, as in the case of Sacheverel; they have passed bills of pains and penalties, as in the case of Sir John Fenwick, who was executed under a statute dispensing with the proof of two witnesses to an act of treason, as required by the statute of Edward III. From this brief statement, it must be apparent that analogies drawn between the inquisitorial powers of the British House of Commons and of the House of Representatives of the United States, are fallacious. The precedents, therefore, which have been cited, of the manner of proceeding when the British House of Commons accuse or impeach, are calculated to mislead, not to enlighten, our judgments. We must be regulated by our own constitution in the construction of the power of impeachment. That power is limited, in the constitution, to an inquiry to be instituted by this House, whether sufficient grounds exist to warrant the accusation of a civil officer of the United States before the Senate. Unless in this inquiry the House be confined to what is termed er parte testimony, there will be no bounds set to their inquiry—they must, then, hear all the evidence which can be adduced by him who prefers the charges, and by him against whom they are preferred, and thus the House will, in fact, try a cause over which the constitution has given to them no other power than to decide whether it shall be tried by another tribunal. In what I have said, I desire not to be understood as being opposed to granting permission to the memorialist to be heard, with the limitations expressed in the resolution. I am

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

willing that he should have an opportunity to eomment upon the statements and the facts which are contained in the report; but, as I think that it would be more advantageous to him to submit a written than an oral argument, and as the time of the House would be saved by the former mode of proceeding, I therefore am in favor of the amendment which I have offered. Mr. PETTIS said that the privilege would, in fact, amount to nothing, unless the J is: in his communication to the House, should be permitted to state the facts as they had appeared in testimony, and to show how the law applied to them. Mr. DRAYTON inquired what course was to be pursued, suppose the Judge should make some statement which was disputed, and should then ask to support it by testimony. #. PETTIS replied, that each gentleman would, of course, decide for himself. The Judge's statement could not certainly be received in opposition to the testimony delivered before the committee, nor would the House be in any wise bound by the statements he might make. If those statements conflicted with the evidence, it would be for the House to decide between them. Mr. RAMSEY observed, that, if Judge Peck, who was the accused party, was to be permitted to make his own statements before the House, he thought it would be no more than fair that Mr. Lawless, who was his accuser, should be allowed the same privilege. The one had as good a right to be heard as the other. Mr. R. accordingly moved so to amend the resolution, but withdrew his amendment at the request of Mr. CLAY, who said that he could not perceive any dif. ficulty in this case. The proposition was a single and a simple one. Let the Judge submit in writing an exposition both of the facts and the law. This would facilitate all gentlemen in coming to a conclusion. The Judge had not asked leave to state any facts which differed from those in the testimony. His friend had disclaimed, in his name, any such purpose. He thought it was a right which ought not to be denied to an accused person, and he was persuaded that the granting of it would lessen the difficulty of the House in coming to a just conclusion. MR. MARTIN said that he had an amendment which he presumed would answer the views of the House generally. He believed there were none who supposed that the Judge was to be permitted to state facts in his own favor, in contradiction to those which had appeared in the testimony before the committee; that thus an issue was to be made up, and that the House was to hear an argument on that issue. Such a thing could not be thought of for a moment. Mr. M. was not indeed fully prepared to say how far it would be proper to hear the Judge at all, but, in so important a case, he was for extending the rule of proceeding as far in favor of the accused as propriety would admit. He would not confine the Judge to too narrow rules in an investigation so important to his own individual reputation, and one having so near a bearing on our judiciary. The House surely were not afraid to trust themselves. He, for one, was disposed to listen to the Judge with all good feeling, but he should also, he hoped, exercise over his feelings a strong restraint of caution, while he endeavored to do strict justice between the accused party and the United States. Let him submit a written law argument. Let the House have an opportunity of hearing what his own views were. Few subjects involved more points of difficulty than the doctrine of contempts, and Mr. M., for one, was anxious to hear what could be said on both sides. In such a case, he should not stop to look at precedents. Mr. M. then moved an amendment, which was at first accepted by Mr. PETTIs as a modification; but, after that gentleman had conferred for a moment with the Judge, he concluded not to accept it, but modified his original resolution by inserting the word “written”

before “statement,” so as to propose that the Judge might deliver a written exposition of his views before the House. Mr. SPENCER, of New York, said that the object of the resolution, as he understood it, was to permit Judge Peck to be heard. This object differed materially from that expressed in the Judge's memorial, where he prayed not only that he might be heard, but that additional witnesses might be sent for to Missouri. As to receiving a written exposition from the accused, in relation to the law which he supposed to have authorized him in what he had done, and also his commentary on the facts which had appeared in evidence, Mr. S. had no objections. If there was any law which went to justify his conduct, let him have an opportunity of showing it. Mr. S. would willingly acquiesce, provided his explanation were made before Monday next. The session was now far advanced ; and, if Judge Peck were guilty, the justice of the country required that there should be no delay in bringing him to punishment. Mr. BUCHANAN said, he should not suffer himself to be betrayed into any feeling by the remarks which the gentleman from Missouri had made, or by any remarks which he could make. That gentleman had very evidently betrayed his own feelings in the case. He trusted he should treat the subject temperately and calmly. As to what my opinion is, fia Mr. B.] that is contained in the report of i. Judiciary Committee; nor had I ever an opinion on any subject more clear and decided. If the report “betrays” any feeling on my part, it is before the House, and before the country, and they will judge. The question now before us is this, and this only: What is the roper mode of proceeding for us to adopt?. My desire is that the House may establish such a precedent as shall rotect the interests of the accused in all future time. The udiciary Committee had Judge Chase's trial before them. The mode of proceeding in that trial they considered as strictly proper and delicate. The committee, in that case, were directed to report their opinion on the charges against Judge Chase, which had been made on the floor of the House. For the purpose of enabling them to do so, they procured all the testimony in their power. This they reported to the House, together with a simple statement of their own opinion upon it. Nothing else. And why? ... I presume that, as it was a judicial proceeding, the wished to leave every gentleman to decide for himself upon the naked testimony. They considered one member as competent to decide as another. Their report was referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and there it was fully discussed. With this precedent before us, the committee are not justly liable to the imputation of the gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. BELL] who thought it very singular that the committee did not specify the charges, and give the grounds and reasons of their conclusion. If the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union shall concur with the Judiciary Committee in their view of the case, then the House will appoint a committee to draught articles of impeachment, and thus present the charges in a specific form. These articles will be reported to the House, and the House will discuss and decide upon them. Until after this second decision shall have been made, the accused will not be called upon to answer. The course pursued in the case of Judge . gave to the party every thing he could reasonably esire. Sir, what does Judge Peck state in his memorial? I)oes he allege he had requested of the Judiciary Committee that other witnesses should be examined This he could not state, for the fact was not so. He made no such reuest; and I never even suspected that he had such a wish. ad he requested it, I, for one, should have thought it a very grave question, and one that demanded the most se

rious consideration. It is a question on which I confess

« 上一頁繼續 »