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to the migration or importation of the slaves or other persons. It, therefore, left Congress at liberty to legislate on the subject of the slave-trade when prosecuted out of the limits of the United States by citizens of the United States. In the exercise of this power, Congress, by an act passed March 22, 1794, forbade citizens and other persons from fitting out any vessel in any place within the United States, for the purpose of carrying on any traffic in slaves to any foreign country.
$326. Many other acts have been passed on the subject, the object of which is the entire suppression of the slavetrade by American citizens, and by any and all others in American vessels.
[Clause 2.] “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”
$ 327. Writ is a legal term, and means in general a command in writing, under seal, in the name of a king, judge, or other magistrate, directed to a public officer or private individual, requiring him to do something in relation to a suit or other legal proceeding.
§ 328. The writ of habeas corpus mentioned in the above clause is a writ directed to a person charged with detaining another unlawfully in his custody, commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner, and to declare the reason of his detention. It is “a great and efficacious writ,” intended to secure personal liberty, and provide a means of redress for all manner of illegal imprisonment and unlawful restraint of the person.
§ 329. The courts of the United States issue this writ in cases falling within their jurisdiction, upon the written application of any person who alleges that he is deprived of his liberty contrary to law, or upon the application of others in behalf of such person. The writ is directed to him who has the prisoner in custody, commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner, together with the cause of his detention, before the judge by whose allowance the writ is issued.
§ 330. The prisoner must be produced, in obedience to the writ, and then the judge examines the whole matter, and if the imprisonment is illegal, he discharges the party from custody; if legal, he remands him again into custody.
§ 331. This clause provides for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus only in cases of rebellion or invasion, when the public safety requires it; but Congress has never suspended the writ since the Constitution went into operation.
[Clause 3.] “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”
$332. Bills of attainder are acts of a legislature which inflict the punishment of death upon persons supposed to be guilty of great offences, without a trial had before a judicial tribunal according to law. Such bills have frequently been passed by the British Parliament in former times, during seasons of violent political excitement, by which the accused have unjustly been deprived of life, without a trial, and upon insufficient or illegal evidence, and even without an opportunity to answer the charge.
$333. Ex post facto laws are such as are passed after the act to which they refer has been committed. This clause has been considered as applying only to criminal acts, or to laws for penalties and punishments. Laws which make an act a crime, and punishable as such, which was not a crime when done, or which render an act punishable in a more aggravated manner than that in which it was punishable when done, or which make the crime greater than it was when committed, or require different or less testimony to convict for the offence than was required when the act was done, are instances of ex post facto laws. Such laws are prohibited, because they are clearly unjust and arbitrary.
[Clause 4.] “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”
$334. We have already considered the nature of capi
tation and other direct taxes, and the rule of apportion
ment according to the census, by which they are to be imposed. See § 78 and $ 190.
[Clause 5.] “No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.”
$335. The articles exported from the different States are so various in their nature, that if a tax were imposed on any single article of export, the burden would fall almost altogether upon the particular State or States exporting that article, and the States exporting other articles . would be comparatively untaxed. It is to prevent such an unequal distribution of taxes or duties, that Congress is prohibited from laying them on articles exported from any State.
[Clause 6.] “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Wessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.”
$336. The declaration that no preference shal. be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue, to the ports of one State over those of another, is intended to secure fairness and equality, in this respect, to all the States, so that one shall not enjoy any privileges above another.
$ 337. If vessels bound to, or from one State, could be compelled to enter, clear, or pay duties in another, it is easy to see that a single State would have an opportunity of imposing obstacles and restrictions upon the general commerce of the States, which would be of the most vexatious and ruinous character. Such an unjust proceeding is prevented by the prohibition in this clause.
[Clause 7.] “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
$338. This clause prevents, any money from being drawn from the Treasury of the United States, by any person, even the President of the United States, without an appropriation made by Congress. The money in the Treasury belongs to the whole people, and it is therefore proper that it should not be expended except by a vote of the representatives of the people. The accounts of the Treasury, showing all the receipts and expenditures of the government, are kept under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, who makes a full annual report thereof to the President, which he transmits to Congress along with his annual message.
$339. As no money can be drawn from the Treasury except in consequence of an. appropriation made by law, neither the Secretary of the Treasury or any other person is authorized to draw money from the Treasury, even to pay the debts of the United States, unless authorized by law to do so. The government of the United States cannot be sued by persons who have claims against it. Their only mode of redress, is to obtain an act of Congress appropriating money from the Treasury to pay their claims.
[Clause 8.] “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
§ 340. The political equality of all the citizens is a fundamental principle in our government. Titles of nobility by the United States are prohibited, because they create ranks and lead to distinctions in society, which are contrary to a spirit of equality.
§ 341. The latter part of the clause is intended to prevent foreign kings, princes, or States, from obtaining an influence in our government, and tempting our officers from their fidelity, by means of presents, emoluments, offices, or titles. Such gifts cannot be received by a person holding an office of profit or trust under the United States, without the consent of Congress. The prohibition does not extend to citizens who hold offices of profit or trust under a State, although such was the case with the corresponding prohibition in the Articles of Confederation, (art. 6, sec. 1.)
§ 342. Gifts from foreign princes are sometimes sent to