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PART II.

SPEECH ON THE JUDICIARY.

MR. MERCER of Virginia, introduced a resolution in relation to the Judiciary of the United States, in the House of Representatives, in December, 1825; which was subsequently modified as follows:

"Resolved, That the Bill, be re-committed to the Committee, that brought it in, with an instruction so to amend it, as to discharge the Judges of the Supreme Court from attendance on the Circuit Court of the United States; and further to provide an uniform efficient system for the administration of justice in the inferior Courts of the United States.'

Mr. Burges, addressed the House in the following

SPEECH.

MR. SPEAKER-Unused to occasions like the present, and without any practice, other than forensic, I find myself, unadvisedly, engaged in deliberative debate, where nothing is worthy of attention, unless most valuable in material, and in detail most finished. If I could now fairly retreat, it would be impossible for me to proceed. Abandoning myself, therefore, to your candor, Sir, and that of the House, I will look to the question for that support which a great question never fails to afford.

This great question is the entire Judiciary of the United States. It was placed before Congress by the President; has been by this House referred to the appropriate committee; and they have detailed to us the great judicial diseases of the country, and proposed, by this Bill, a remedy for them. It, therefore, concerns the adminis

tration of national justice, and our attention is moreover loudly called to it by a great and respectable portion of the American People.

The resolution moved by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Mercer,) proposes a recommittment of the whole subject; to the intent that, the Judiciary, built at several times, and in distinct parcels, may be re-edified into one great whole, and accommodated to the present and future wants of the nation. The system of the Bill is a Supreme Court, holding one term only, each year, sitting at Washington only; and beginning that term on the first Monday of February, as now is done; a Circuit Court, according to the present Circuits, and four new ones, to be formed from the Circuit and the Districts comprehending the nine States in the Valley of the Mississippi. These ten Circuits are to embrace all the Districts in the United States, excepting those of West New-York, West Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, alone. In every District but these three, District Judges alone shall be compelled to sustain District jurisdiction only, hold District rank, and receive District salary; in these three, with the same pay, and same rank, they shall be obliged to perform Circuit duties, and sustain Circuit jurisdiction. In each of the other Districts, formed into ten Circuits, justice shall be administered by a Circuit Judge, sustaining the jurisdiction, holding the rank, and receiving the salary, of a Circuit Judge and a Supreme Judge, at the same time; and these, united together, shall form a Supreme Court of ten Judges. These, Sir, are the peculiar provisions of the Bill.

The resolution is intended to embrace another system. Each District shall remain as now. All the Districts of the United States shall be formed into ten Circuits. The whole United States shall be arranged into three great Supreme Court Departments; an Eastern, a Central, and a Western. In each District, as now, shall be a District Court, holden as at present, by the same Judge, with the same jurisdiction, rank, and salary. In each Circuit shall be a Circuit Court, holden at the same times and places as at present, and a Circuit Judge shall be appointed for each Circuit, with only Circuit Court salary, rank, and jurisdiction. In each of the Supreme Court Departments, shall be holden a term of the Supreme Court once in each year. At Washington, Philadelphia, or Richmond, on the first Monday of January; at Columbus, Lexington, or a city in Tennessee, once in each year, on the first Monday in June; and at

New-York or Boston once in each year, and on the first Monday of September. This Court, so soon as constitutional causes shall have reduced it to that number, shall consist of six Judges, sustaining all the constitutional jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States, and bearing the same rank, and receiving the same salary, as Judges of the Supreme Judicial Court of the United States now bear and receive. These, Sir, are the provisions intended to be secured by the Resolution. You therefore perceive, Sir, that the subject of debate is a choice between the provisions of the Bill and the proposals of the Resolution. To me, it seems proper, first to speak concerning the Bill, and then to say a few things concerning the Resolution.

Perhaps it may be needful, before debating the question, to remove some general and specific objections. It has been said, that this is an improper time to amend the Judiciary. Because, 1st-One of the States is agitated and embroiled with the General Government; 2d-Another is deeply dissatisfied with the result of the Presidential Election; 3d-Resolutions are poured in from every quarter for altering the Constitution; 4th-The President is not yet quietly seated on his throne, To all these it may be replied, that the agitations of that State sound more in words than in substantial damages. Men whom we daily see here with us from that State, are too wise and too patriotic to suffer that or their country to receive any serious injury from these discords. One eminent citizen lately returned to her bosom, has exchanged too many and too high pledges with the nation, ever to give the aid of his influence to any unreasonable sectional demands; and without that aid, no such demands can be dangerous to this Union. After all, none of us can fairly say, that this question, growing as it does out of a Treaty, either fairly or fraudulently made, threatening as it is represented to be, is of legislative, and not rather of judicial jurisdiction. It would be indeed surprising if a suit either at law or in equity, between parties of the highest rank, should ever agitate or endanger the Government of this country. The other dissatisfied State has deposited a stake in the Union, too dear to her ambition to do or consent to a single deed, perilous to that depository. Her illustrious citizen is a candi. date for the next Presidency. Will she abate the title, and sink the fee simple of the whole estate, before she can place her tenant in possession of his term?

The numerous resolutions for altering the form of our Government, will follow the numerous generations of the same race, which have gone before them. We shall discourse and vote concerning them; bind, letter, and deposite them in the Legislative archives; and the million copies of them printed, and spread over the country, will survive as long, and subserve the same purpose, as does the fugitive fabric "in which they live, and move, and have their being." The People will (thanks be to Him who has blessed them with the right) if they please, and when they please, amend their Constitution; all our profound reasonings, and patriotic recommendations, to the contrary notwithstanding.

The President does not, and I trust no Chief Magistrate of the United States ever will, set on a throne. There now lives, and delightful is the hope that for many coming centuries there will live, in this first, and perhaps last, region of genuine Republican Governments, many a Junius ready to raise the hand, brandish the crimson steel, and swear by the Guardian Power of Nations, that in our Rome, while he lives, no king shall ever reign. The distinguished gentleman, now directing the Executive affairs of the United States, was placed in his seat, in the same Constitutional manner, as was one other great citizen of our nation, heretofore placed there; and I trust he will hold his place as securely, and as prosperously, as did that illustrious individual. Whether he will have another term, is another question. The solution of it depends on the nation and on himself. If that be not oblivious of its own interest; and if he continue to be the same profound scholar, the same enlightened statesman, the same ardent patriot, the same exemplary Christian, prophecy need not be invoked to tell us, that the nation will, for the usual period, continue to enjoy the benefit of his labors, and to participate in his fame.

Throughout the whole debate, the opposers of the system of the Resolution misconceive, for they continually misstate, the objections made by the opposers to the system of the Bill. They call them, 1st-A denial of Justice. 2d-They pronounce them to be the same oppressive measures which originated the war of Independence. 3d-They denounce against them the lex talionis. 4th-They warn them that their Supreme Court will become odious to the People.

Does the present system deny justice to any man? Extra judicial causes may obstruct the course of it; but is that a denial of the

right to justice itself? As well may they say, that, because the snags and sawyers of their rivers obstruct the passage of their vessels upon them, Government, unless she remove those obstructions, denies the right of these people to navigate those waters. The opposers of this Bill are not answerable for the inconvenient structure and slow movements of the old judiciary machine, or the diminished quantity of work produced by its operations. Neither do they propose to repair it by some two or three additional wheels, or any quantity of supplemental gearing. They do not believe it worth repairing; or that any amount of costs will put it in condition to do the judicial work of the nation even pretty well," for any thing like "twenty years." They propose to rebuild it on the true Constitutional model; and accommodate its structure, speed, and production, to the movements and wants of the present, and probable future condition of the nation. Adopt the system of the Resolution, and you will have no obstruction, no delay, no denial of justice.

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Are the

What is there, in the opposition to this Bill, resembling the unfeeling and oppressive cases of the Revolutionary War? opposers kings? Are the advocates of it their colonists? Do these men, at their own pleasure, appoint, pay, and displace the Judges of those Courts? Do they deprive them of the trial by Jury? or do they, for trial, transport them out of the vicinage, and beyond sea? These were among the causes which produced the War of the Revolution; and separated these States from the parent nation. What in this procedure resembles those causes? Yet this parallel has been drawn in this House; and the sketch, such as it is, published, sent over our country, and will be spread over Europe. "On eagles' wings, immortal scandals fly." The next importation of Reviews will bring us a profound discourse on the probable disunion of these States; so, and so grossly, do we abuse "Heaven's first, best gift to man," language-the rich medium, by which alone, any portion of the treasured capital of intellectual opulence can be circulated in the world. We debase it to the very offices of the miser's woollen purse, which, elastic in its texture, adheres closely to his thumb and finger, cautiously introduced to extract a four pence-half-penny; or stretches to the extended hand of his heir, thrust in up to his elbow, to clutch and draw out a fist full of eagles. Well might the lad swear "his sister should have no name; because a name was a word, and a word might be abused:

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