« ПретходнаНастави »
In all the circuit courts of the United States, | always was " millions for defense, not a cent for except Maryland and Tennessee, the whole tribute.” I cannot consent to tax the people number of causes, of every description, insti- even one cent, as a tribute to men who distuted che spring of 1796, was two hundred respect their principles. and ninety-four; fall
, one hundred and ninety- Another objection I have to the new organitwo_1797, spring, four hundred and eighty-one; zation of the courts, is, their tendency to profall, three hundred and ninety-seven—1798, duce a gradual demolition of State courts, by spring, three hundred and twenty-five; fall
, mutiplying the number of courts, increasing three hundred and ninety-seven-1799, spring, their jurisdiction, making bonds or obligatory seven hundred and three, exclusive of ninety- bills assignable, with the privilege of bringing eight criminal prosecutions in Pennsylvania ; suits in the name of the assignee, &c., &c., or, fall, four hundred and fifty-five-1800, spring, as gentlemen say, bringing federal justice to four hundred and fifty-one, seventy criminal every man's door; the State conrts will be prosecutions in Pennsylvania ; fall, three hun- ousted of their jurisdiction, which I think by dred and fifty-five-1801, spring, three hundred no means a desirable event. Under this conand
fifty. Making the common calculation of suits sideration alone, and under the conviction I feel settled between the parties without trial, dismis- of the inutility of the courts, I shall vote for sions, abatements, &c., &c., and it will appear, the repeal. that the whole number of judgments against Upon the whole view of the subject, feeling solvent persons, would hardly compensate the firmest conviction, that there is no constithe expense of the institution. It also appears, tutional impediment in the way of repealing that the number of causes left to be tried, could the act in question, upon the most fair and caneasily be decided by the six former judges. did interpretation of the constitution; believ
Upon looking over the number of suits in the ing, that principles advanced in opposition, go eastern circuit, it appears to me strange, that directly to the destruction of the fundamental the members representing that part of the principle of the constitution, the responsibility country should insist upon increasing the ex- of all public agents to the people; that they go pense of the system, when the courts have there to the establishment of a permanent corporation scarcely any business to attend to; and that of individuals invested with ultimate, censorial gentlemen in the southern States, where the and controlling power over all the departments business is greater, should be willing to lessen of the government, over legislation, execution the expense. I never heard the smallest com- and decision, and irresponsible to the people ; plaint in the State I represent, respecting the believing that these principles are in direct incompetency of the former courts to discharge hostility with the great principle of representathe business in that State. I believe they have tive government ; believing that the courts, always gone through the docket, whenever formerly established, were fully competent to they attended, and as far as my own observa- the business they had to perform, and that the tions go, that is the fact. It appears strange present courts are useless, unnecessary and exto me, that the new courts and new expenses pensive; believing, that the Supreme Court should be called for in other parts of the United has heretofore discharged all the duties assignStates, when the old courts are competent to ed to it, in less than one month in the year, the business in that State, where the business and that its duties could be performed in half has been considerably more than in any other that time; considering the compensations of State, although it is now very much declined, the judges to be amongst the highest given to and probably will decline still more. In the any of the highest officers of the United States, courts of Maine, West Pennsylvania, West Vir- for the services of the whole year; considering ginia and West Tennessee, no suit at all had the compensations of all the judges greatly exbeen instituted in June last.
ceeding the services assigned to them, as well Under the view of the subject thus presented, as considering all the circumstances attending I consider the late courts as useless and un- the substitution of the new system for the old necessary, and the expense, therefore, is to me one, by increasing the number of judges, and highly objectionable. I do not consider it in compensations, and lessening their duties by the nature of a compensation, for there is no the distribution of the business into a greater equivalent rendition of service. I cannot help number of hands, &c.—whilst acting under considering it as a tribute for past services—as these impressions, I shall vote against the moa tribute for the zeal displayed by these gentle- tion now made for striking out the first section men in supporting principles which the people of the repealing bill. have denounced. I think the federal maxim
This distinguished diplomatist and civilian was born at Clermont, Livingston Manor, New York, in the year 1764. He attended school at Albany, and afterward at Esopus, in Ulster county, where he continued until the destruction of that village, by the British, in 1777. From that place he removed to Hurley, a few miles southwest of Kingston, and, after spending two years in diligent study, entered the junior class at Princeton College. On graduating in 1781, he devoted his energies to the profession of the law. In his preparatory studies he became thoroughly versed in the principles of common and civil law, and entering upon practice, he soon rose into fame. From this time until he was elected to the lower House of Congress, in 1794, he was continually and laboriously engaged in the duties of his profession, with the exception of the time he spent in the New York Convention, for the adoption of the Federal Constitution.
In Congress, Mr. Livingston became one of the most celebrated members of the republican, or democratic party. A few days after he had taken his seat, he called the attention of the House to the then existing provisions of the criminal code of the United States, and endeavored, though at that time without effect, to reform their sanguinary character, and adapt them more justly to the nature and quality of offences. He introduced, and finally carried, several laws for the protection and relief of American seamen left by accident or misfortune on foreign shores. He warmly advocated the establishment and gradual increase of the navy, and he supported the existing government, though opposed to its general policy, in every measure which was necessary to sustain the honor, or protect the rights of the country.*
The period at which Mr. Livingston entered Congress was important. The people of the United States had just finished the struggle for Independence, by adopting the Federal Government. “Washington had been selected to administer that government; and around him were gathered the tried spirits who, either in the council or the field, had assisted him in the mighty work of Revolution. The constitution, binding free and sovereign States in an indissoluble league, after long anxiety and deliberation, was about to be tried. Its strength and its weaknesses, its tendencies whether for good or for evil, were soon to develop themselves in practical operation. Parties, taking their principles from the bent of their dispositions toward a stronger government or a stronger people, were already formed.” At the head of one stood Thomas Jefferson, and at the head of the other was Alexander Hamilton. Livingston embraced the cause of the former and entered with enthusiasm into the support of his measures. Conceiving the treaty of 1794 to be disadvantageous to the American people, he opposed it. “I took on myself," said he, "for the first time in my whole representative career, to disregard the wish of my constituents. I attacked the treaty, and spared no effort to prevent its adoption. The issue justified the line of conduct I had held. Enlightened by the discussion and by the press, my constituents voted me their thanks for the course I had pursued.”+
* National Portrait Gallery. Article Edward Livingston, + See Democratic Review, vols. 8 and 9, to which the Editor is indebted for much of the material of this sketch.
Mr. Livingston continued in Congress until the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency. At that time he declined a re-election and determined to devote himself entirely to the practice of his profession. Not long after, however, he was elevated to the office of United States Attorney for New York, and in the year 1803, was chosen mayor of the city. The latter office he held two years, during which time he displayed the greatest industry, and manifested a zealous interest in the welfare of the people. About the time he entered upon the discharge of the duties of the mayoralty, the yellow fever broke out in New York with great violence. The dread of the contagion soon caused to disappear from the city all those whose fortune afforded them the means of iying. The indigent class alone remained exposed to the fury of the epidemic. Livingston devoted himself to the performance of the duties of his station. He visited every day the most destitute of the sick. He conducted the physicians wherever he knew that misfortune claimed the aid which poverty could not command. “I never remember," said he to his friend and biographer, in speaking of this calamity, "to have experienced a greater fulness of health than at this period. There is something healthful to a man in the consciousness of a duty well discharged. Notwithstanding the number of sick whom I saw every day, my recollection of their sufferings, of their distress, of the interest attaching to their families, to their various relations, did not present itself to my mind only in the mass: I knew each one individually. I identified myself with each one of the sick, for I could call each, with the physician, my patient. I shared in the regrets of the family of each victim, the joy of the wife, the children, of each convalescent restored to life, to labor, to the tenderness of family affections. After the first fears of contagion were surmounted, I ceased to experience the slightest apprehension of danger. My confidence was not fatalism-(my soul has always regarded with horror that cruel slavery of man to necessity)—but a profound sense of the task of humanity which Providence had assigned me. It was the unfavorable turn of an alternative contract (to speak the language of the law) which I had signed, in accepting the chief magistracy of a great city, then populous and flourishing. This contract must be executed in its letter and in its spirit.”
Near the close of the epidemic Mr. Livingston was attacked by it, and reduced to the point of death. On recovering from his illness, he found his private affairs sadly deranged, and being unjustly and suddenly subjected to heavy responsibilities, he resigned his office, and determined to remove to Louisiana. This he did in 1804. He arrived at New Orleans in February of that year; immediately commenced the practice of his profession, and soon amassed a fortune. Associated with others, he accomplished many important reforms in the law of Louisiana, which was, at that time, “a vast miscellany of Spanish customs, French decrees, English precedents, and conflicting legislative enactments.” This confusion had been brought about by the various fortunes of Louisiana, ander Spanish and French rule. Livingston set about correcting theso evils. “Rejecting alike the interminable proceedings of the French, and the absurd fictions of English practice, he formed a short and simple code of procedure, which combined the advantages of the various systems that prevailed, and was at the same time free from their vices."*
On the invasion of New Orleans by the British in 1812, Mr. Livingston was appointed by General Jackson, his aid-de-camp, and remained in his military family until the end of the
In the battle he was active and intrepid, and at the close of the conflict, was employed in the negotiation for the exchange of prisoners. At the return of peace he renewed the labors of his profession; continued in the execution of his plans of legal reform. In 1820, he was elected by the Legislature of Louisiana, to prepare a system of penal law for that State. The following year he presented a report containing a specimen of his system, which was approved, and he was further empowered to finish it. He entered upon the task with the greatest assiduity, acquiring a knowledge of all points pertaining to the subject, which had originated in his own country and in Europe, corresponding with distinguished and learned lawyers of all nations, comparing the principles of every theory-and, after spending four years in its completion, bad the satisfaction to see it approved. The beauty of its arrangement, says Mr. Livingston's biographer, the wisdom of its provisions, the simplicity of its forms, and the clearness of its language, equal, but do not surpass, the philanthropy, the wise views of human character, the knowledge of social intercourse, and the insight into the sources of happiness and misery, by all of which it is distinguished, far beyond any similar system of criminal law that has emanated from the jurists of any age or country." An elaborate and highly finished account of this important work will be found in the Democratic Review for July, 1841.
Edward Livingston and his Code. Democratic Review, vol. 9.
In 1823, Mr. Livingston was elected to represent Louisiana, in the Lower House of Congress. He took his seat in December of that year. In 1829, he was chosen by the legislature of his adopted State, to the United States Senate. His course in Congress was distinguished. In the several important measures that originated during his career, he took an active and dignified part. His speech, on Mr. Foot's resolution, is thought by many to be one of the most eloquent and able that were delivered on that occasion. Its extreme length, alone, precludes it from this collection.
Mr. Livingston continued in the Senate until the spring of 1831, when he was appointed by President Jackson, to the honorable position of Secretary of State. On his retirement from this office, in 1833, he was sent as minister to the Court of France. After spending two years abroad, “ with honor to himself and his country," he returned to America, and established his residence at Red Hook, on the Hudson River. On the afternoon of Monday, the twenty-fifth of May, 1836, he died, after a very short illness, induced by drinking cold water. His age was seventy-two. “ The last time I saw him—which was a few days before his death,"_said one of his friends," he talked with all the anticipations and apparent health of a youthful sportsman, about a trouting excursion he was contemplating to Long Island. His summons has been short and sudden for a more fearful journey."*
SPEECH ON THE ALIEN BILL.
Mr. Livingston delivered this speech in the On my arrival, I inquired, what subject occuHouse of Representatives of the United States pied the attention of the House; und being on the nineteenth of June, 1798.
told it was the alien bill, I directed the printed
copy to be brought to me, but to my great surMr. SPEAKER: I esteem it one of the most prise, seven or eight copies of different bills fortunate occurrences of my life, that, after an
on the same subject, were put into my hands; inevitable absence from my seat in this House, among them it was difficult (so strongly were I have arrived in time to express my dissent they marked by the same family features) to to the passage of this bill. It would have been discover the individual bill then ander discusa source of eternal regret, and the keenest re- that the principles of the measure were erro
sion. This circumstance gave me a suspicion, morse, if any private affairs, any domestic concerns, however interesting, had deprived me
neous. Truth marches directly to its end, by a of the opportunity, I am now about to use, of single, undeviating path. Error is either understating my objections, and recording my vote mining in its object, or pursues it through a against an act, which I believe to be in direct thousand winding ways; the multiplicity of violation of the constitution, and marked with propositions, therefore, to attain the same genevery characteristic of the most odious des- eral but doubtful end, led me to suspect, that potism.
neither the object, nor the means, proposed to attain it, were proper or necessary. These sur
mises have been confirmed by a more minute * New York American, 1886. + By the provisions of this bill, the President might order of statutes, it is a received rule to examine,
examination of the bill. In the construction dangerous or suspected aliens, to depart out of the territory what was the state of things when they were of the United States. The penalty, provided for disobedience of the President's order, was imprisonment and a
passed, and what were the evils they were perpetual exclusion from the rights of citizenship. The intended to remedy; as these circumstances bill provided, that, if any allen, ordered to depart, should will be applied in the construction of the law, prove to the satisfaction of the President, that no injury to it may be well to examine them minutely in the United States would arise from suffering him to remain, framing it. The state of things, if we are to the President might grant him a license to remain for such judge from the complexion of the bill, must be, time as he should deem proper, and at such place as he that a number of aliens, enjoying the protecshould designate.
tion of our government, are plotting its destruction; that they are engaged in treasonable aliens, as he shall judge dangerous to the peace machinations against a people, who have given and safety of the United States, or shall have them an asylum and support, and that there reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in exists no provision for their expulsion and pun- any treasonable or secret machinations against ishment. If these things are so, and no remedy the government thereof, to depart out of the exists for the evil, one ought speedily to be United States, in such time as shall be exprovided, but even then it must be a remedy pressed in such order." that is consistent with the constitution under Our government, sir, is founded on the estabwhich we act; for, by that instrument, all lishment of those principles, which constitute powers, not expressly given to it by the union, the difference between a free constitution and are reserved to the States; it follows, that a despotic power; a distribution of the legislaunless an express authority can be found, vest- tive, executive and judiciary powers into several ing us with the power, be the evil ever so hands; a distribution strongly marked in the great, it can only be remedied by the several three first and great divisions of the constituStates, who have never delegated the authority tion. By the first, all legislative power is to Congress.
given to Congress; the second vests all execuWe must legislate upon facts, not on sur- tive functions in the President, and the third mises; we must have evidence, not vague sus declares, that the judiciary powers shall be picions, if we mean to legislate with prudence. exercised by the supreme and inferior courts. What facts have been produced? What evi. Here then is a division of the governmental dence has been submitted to the House? I powers strongly marked, decisively pronounced, have heard, sir, of none; but if evidence of and every act of one or all of the branches, facts could not be procured, at least it might that tends to confound these powers, or alter have been expected, that reasonable cause of their arrangement, must be destructive of the suspicion should be shown. Here again, gen- constitution. Examine then, sir, the bill on tlemen are at fault; they cannot even show a your table, and declare, whether the few lines, suspicion why aliens ought to be suspected. I have repeated from the first section, do not We have, indeed, been told, that the fate of confound these fundamental powers of governVenice, Switzerland and Batavia, was produced ment, vest them all, in more unqualified terms, by the interference of foreigners. But the in one hand, and thus subvert the basis on instances are unfortunate; because all those which our liberties rest. powers have been overcome by foreign force, Legislative power prescribes the rule of or divided by domestic faction, not by the in- action; the judiciary applies the general rule fluence of aliens who resided among them; to particular cases, and it is the province of and if any instruction is to be gained from the the executive to see, that the laws are carried history of those republics, it is, that we ought into full effect. In all free governments, these to banish, not aliens, but all those citizens who powers are exercised by different men, and do not approve the executive acts. This doc- their union in the same hand is the peculiar trine, I believe, gentlemen are not ready to characteristic of despotism. If the same power, avow; but if this measure prevails, I shall not that makes the law, can construe it to suit his think the other remote. If it has been proved, interest, and apply it to gratify his vengeance; that these governments were destroyed by thé if he can go further, and execute, according to conspiracies of aliens, it yet remains to be his own passions, the judgment which he himshown, that we are in the same situation : or self has pronounced upon his own construction that any such plots have been detected, or are of laws which he alone has made, what other even reasonably suspected here. Nothing of features are wanted to complete the picture of this kind has yet been done. A modern The- tyranny? Yet all this, and more, is proposed seus, indeed, has told us, that he has procured to be done by this act; by it the President a clue, that will enable him to penetrate the alone is empowered to make the law, to fix in labyrinth and destroy this monster of sedition. his mind, what acts, what words, thoughts or Who the fair Ariadne is, who kindly gave him looks, shall constitute the crime contemplated the ball, he has not revealed; nor, though by the bill. He is not only authorized to make several days have elapsed since he undertook this law for his own conduct, but to vary it at the adventure, has hê yet told as where the pleasure, as every gust of passion, every cloud monster lurks. No evidence then being pro- of suspicion shall agitate or darken his mind. duced, we have a right to say, that none exists, The same power, that formed the law, then and yet we are about to sanction a most impor- applies it to the guilty or innocent victim, tant act, and on what grounds ?-Our individual whom his own suspicions, or the secret whisper suspicions, our private fears, our overheated of a spy, have designated as its object. The imaginations. Seeing nothing to excite these President then having construed and applied it, suspicions, and not feeling those fears, I cannot the same President is by the bill authorized to give my assent to the bill, even if Í did not execute his sentence, in case of disobedience, feel a superior obligation to reject it on other by imprisonment during his pleasure. This grounds.
then comes completely within the definition of The first section provides, that it shall be despotism; an union of legislative, executive lawful for the President “to order all such and judicial powers. But this bill, sir, does not