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the other, as the case between North Carolina and Virginia. Would not the refusal of justice to our citizens, from the courts of North Carolina, produce disputes between the states ? Would the federal judiciary swerve from their duty, in order to give partial and unjust decisions ?
The objection respecting the assignment of a bond to a citizen of another state, has been fully answered. But suppose it were to be tried as he says, what would be given more than was actually due in the case he mentioned ? It is possible, in our courts as they now stand, to obtain a judgment for more than justice. But the court of chancery grants relief. Would it not be so in the federal court? Would not depositions be taken to prove the payments, and if proved, would not the decision of the court be accordingly?
He objects, in the next place, to its jurisdiction in controversies between a state and a foreign state. Suppose, says he, in such a suit, a foreign state is cast, will she be bound by the decision? If a foreign state brought a suit against the commonwealth of Virginia, would she not be barred from the claim if the federal judiciary thought it unjust? The previous consent of the parties is necessary; and, as the federal judiciary will decide, each party will acquiesce. It will be the means of preventing disputes with foreign nations. On an attentive consideration of these courts, I trust every part will appear satisfactory to the committee.
The exclusion of trial by jury in this case, he urged, would prostrate our rights. Does the word court only mean the judges? Does not the determination of a jury, necessarily lead to the judgment of the court ? Is there any thing here which gives the judges exclusive jurisdiction of matters of fact ? What is the object of a jury trial ?—To inform the court of the facts. When a court has cognizance of facts, does it not follow, that they can make inquiry by a jury? It is impossible to be otherwise. I hope that in this country, where impartiality is so much admired, the laws will di
rect facts to be ascertained by a jury. But, says the honorable gentleman, the juries in the ten miles square will be mere tools of parties, with which he would not trust his person or property; which, he says, he would rather leave to the court. Because the government may have a district ten miles square, will no man stay there but the tools and officers of the government? Will nobody else be found there? Is it so in any other part of the world, where a government has legislative power? Are there none but officers and tools of the government of Virginia in Richmond ? Will there not be independent merchants, and respectable gentlemen of fortune, within the ten miles square ? Will there not be worthy farmers and mechanics ? Will not a good jury be found there as well as any where else? Will the officers of the government become improper to be on a jury? What is it to the government, whether this man or that man succeeds ? It is all one thing.
Does the constitution say, that juries shall consist of officers, or that the supreme court shall be held in the ten miles square ? It was acknowledged by the honorable member, that it was secure in England. What makes it secure there ? Is it their constitution? What part of their constitution is there, that the parliament cannot change? As the preservation of this right is in the hands of parliament, and it has ever been held sacred by them, will the government of America be less honest than that of Great Britain ? Here a restriction is to be found. The jury is not to be brought out of the state. There is no such restriction in that government; for the laws of parliament decide every thing respecting it. Yet gentlemen tell us, that there is safety there, and nothing here but danger. It seems to me, that the laws of the United States will generally secure trials by a jury of the vicinage, or in such manner as will be most safe and convenient for the people.
But it seems that the right of challenging the jurors,
is not secured in this constitution. Is this done by our own constitution, or by any provision of the English government? Is it done by their magna charta, or bill of rights ? This privilege is founded on their laws. If so, why should it be objected to the American constitution, that it is not inserted in it? If we are secure in Virginia, without mentioning it in our constitution, why should not this security be found in the federal court?
The honorable gentleman said much about the quit rents in the Northern Neck. I will refer it to the honorable gentleman himself. Has he not acknowledged that there was no complete title? Was he not satisfied, that the right of the legal representative of the proprietor did not exist at the time he mentioned ? If so, it cannot exist now. I will leave it to those gentlemen who come from that quarter. I trust they will not be intimidated on this account, in voting on this question. A law passed in 1782, which secures this. He says that many poor men may be harassed and injured by the representative of lord Fairfax. If he has no right, this cannot be done. If he has this right and comes to Virginia, what laws will his claims be determined by ?-By those of this state. By what tribunals will they be determined?—By our state courts. Would not the poor man, who was oppressed by an unjust prosecution, be abundantly protected and satisfied by the temper of his neighbors, and would he not find ample justice? What reason has the honorable member to apprehend partiality or injustice? He supposes, that if the judges be judges of both the federal and state courts, they will incline in favor of one government. If such contests should arise, who could more properly decide them, than those who are to swear to do justice? If we can expect a fair decision any where, may we not expect justice to be done by the judges of both the federal and state governments ? But, says the honorable member, laws may be executed
tyrannically. Where is the independency of your judges? If a law be executed tyrannically in Virginia, to what can you trust ?—To your judiciary. What security have you for justice ?Their independence. Will it not be so in the federal court?
Gentlemen ask what is meant by law cases, and if they be not distinct from facţs. Is there no law arising on cases in equity and admiralty? Look at the acts of assembly; have you not many cases, where law and fact are blended? Does not the jurisdiction in point of law as well as fact, find itself completely satisfied in law and fact? The honorable gentleman says, that no law of Congress can make any exception to the federal, appellate jurisdiction of fact as well as law. He has frequently spoken of technical terms, and the meaning of them. What is the meaning of the term exception? Does it not mean an alteration and diminution? Congress is empowered to make exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction, as to law and fact, of the supreme court. These exceptions certainly go as far as the legislature may think proper, for the interest and liberty of the people. Who can understand this word, exception, to extend to one case as well as the other? I am persuaded, that a reconsideration of this case will convince the gentleman, that he was mistaken. This may go to the cure of the mischief apprehended. Gentlemen must be satisfied, that this power will not be so much abused as they have said.
The honorable member says, that he derives no consolation from the wisdom and integrity of the legislature, because we call them to rectify defects which it is our duty to remove. We ought well to weigh the good and evil before we determine. We ought to be well convinced, that the evil will be really produced before we decide against it. If we be convinced that the good greatly preponderates, though there be small defects in it, shall we give up that which
is really good, when we can remove the little mischief it may contain, in the plain, easy method pointed out in the system itself?
I was astonished when I heard the honorable gentleman say, that he wished the trial by jury to be struck out entirely. Is there no justice to be expected by a jury of our fellow-citizens? Will any man prefer to be tried by a court, when the jury is to be of his countrymen, and probably of his vicinage? We have reason to believe the regulations with respect to juries will be such as shall be satisfactory. Because it does not contain all, does it contain nothing? But I conceive that this committee will see there is safety in the case, and that there is no mischief to be apprehended.
He states a case, that a man may be carried from a federal to an anti-federal corner, (and vice versa) where men are ready to destroy him. Is this probable? Is it presumable that they will make a law to punish men who are of different opinions in politics from them, selves ? Is it presumable, that they will do it in one single case, unless it be such a case as must satisfy the people at large ? The good opinion of the people at large must be consulted by their representatives; otherwise mischiefs would be produced, which would shake the government to its foundation. As it is late, I shall not mention all the gentleman's argument; but some parts of it are so glaring, that I cannot pass them over in silence. He says that the establishment of these tribunals, and more particularly in their jurisdiction of controversies between citizens of these states and foreign citizens and subjects, is like a retrospective law. Is there no difference between a tribunal which shall give justice and effect to an existing right, and creating a right that did not exist before? The debt or claim is created by the individual; he has bound himself to comply with it; does the creation of a new court amount to a retrospective law ?
We are satisfied with the provision made in this country on the subject of trial by jury. Does our con