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must increase the admiration with which this great constitutional effort is read, to know that the case came on in court a week or ten days earlier than Mr. Webster expected, and that it was late in the afternoon, after a severe debate in the House of Representatives on some of the details of the tariff bill, that he received the intimation that he must be ready to go into court and argue the cause the next morning. At this time his brief was not drawn out; and the statement of the argument, the selecting of the authorities, and the final digest of his materials, whether of reasoning or fact, were to be the work of the few intervening hours. It is superfluous to say that there was no long space for rest or sleep; though it seems hardly credible that the only specific premeditation of such an argument before such a tribunal should have been in the stolen watches of one night.

In the course of this session Mr. Webster, besides taking a leading part in the discussion of the details of the tariff law of 1824, made a carefully prepared speech, in reply to Mr. Clay, on some of the principles upon which he had supported it. His exposition of the popular errors on the subject of the balance of trade may be referred to as a very happy specimen of philosophical reasoning applied to commercial questions. Mr. Webster did not contest the constitutional right of Congress to lay duties for the protection of manufactures. He opposed the bill on grounds of expediency, drawn from the condition of the country at the time, and from the unfriendly bearing of some of its provisions on the navigating interests. He was the representative of the principal commercial city of New England. The great majority of his constituents were opposed to the bill; one member only from Massachusetts voted in its favor. The last sentence of the speech shows the general view which he took of the provisions of the act as a whole: "There are some parts of this bill which I highly approve; there are others in which I should acquiesce; but those to which I have now stated my objections appear to me so destitute of all justice, so burdensome and so dangerous to that interest which has steadily enriched, gallantly defended, and proudly distinguished us, that nothing can prevail upon me to give it my support." This sentence sufficiently shows with how little justice it was asserted, in 1828, that Mr. Webster had, in 1824, declared an uncompromising


hostility to all legislative provision for the encouragement and protection of manufactures.

No subject of great popular interest came up for debate in the second session of the Eighteenth Congress, but the attention of Mr. Webster, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was assiduously devoted to a subject of great practical importance; brought forward entirely without ostentation or display, but inferior in interest to scarce any act of legislation since the first organization of the government. We refer to the act of the 3d of March, 1825, " more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes." This chapter in the legislation of the United States had been comparatively overlooked. The original act of the 30th of April, 1790, "for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States," deserves, in common with much of the legislation of the First Congress, the praise of great sagacity and foresight in anticipating the wants and the operation of the new system of government. Still, however, there was a class of cases, arising out of the complex nature of our system, and the twofold jurisdiction existing in the United States, which, being entirely novel in the history of other governments, wa.s scarcely to be provided for in advance. The analysis of the English constitution here failed the able men upon whom it devolved to put the new system of government in operation. It is to be wondered at, not that some things were overlooked, but that so many were provided for.

Of the cases left thus unprovided for, more perhaps were to be found in the judiciary department than in any other. Many crimes committed on shipboard, beyond the jurisdiction of any State, or in places within the Union excepted from State jurisdiction, were unprovided for. Statutes had been enacted from time to time to supply these deficiencies; but the subject does not appear at any time to have attracted the special attention of any one whose professional knowledge and weight of character qualified him to propose a remedy. It was at length taken up by Mr. Webster, in the second session of the Eighteenth Congress. It fell appropriately within the sphere of the Committee on the Judiciary, of which he was chairman; and his owri extensive practice in the courts both of the United States and of the separate. States had made him well acquainted with the defects of the existing laws. He accordingly drew up what finally passed the two houses, as the sixty-fifth chapter of the laws of the second session of the Eighteenth Congress, and procured the assent of the Committee on the Judiciary to report it to the House. Some amendments of no great moment were made to it on its passage, partly on the motion of Mr. Webster himself, and partly on the suggestion of other members of the House. As it finally passed, in twenty-six sections, it covered all the cases which had occurred in the thirty-five years which had elapsed since the law of 1790 was enacted; and it amounted to a brief, but comprehensive, code of the criminal jurisprudence of the United States, as distinct from that of the separate States.

It was Mr. Webster's object in this statute, not to enact theoretical reforms, but to remedy practical evils; to make provision for crimes which, for want of jurisdiction, had hitherto gone unpunished. It was objected to the bill, on its passage through the House, that it created a considerable number of capital offences. But these were already, in every case, capital offences either at common law or by the criminal law of the States, whenever the State tribunals were competent to take cognizance of them. It was the effect of Mr. Webster's act, not to create new offences, but to bring within the reach of a proper tribunal crimes recognized as such by all the codes of taw, but which had hitherto escaped with impunity between separate jurisdictions. The bill was received with great favor by the House. Mr. Buchanan said that he highly approved its general features. "It was a disgrace," he added, "to our system of laws, that no provision had ever been made for the punishment of the crimes which it embraced, when committed in places within the jurisdiction of the United States." An eloquent argument was made by Mr. Livingston of Louisiana in favor of substituting lower penalties for capital punishment, but he failed to satisfy the House of the expediency of so great a revolution in our criminal jurisprudence. Some slight modifications of the bill were conceded to the sensitiveness of those who apprehended encroachment on State jurisdiction; but it passed substantially in the form in which it was reported by Mr. Webster. Twenty-seven years' experience have shown it to be one of the most, valuable laws in the statute-book.

At this session of Congress the election of a President of the United States devolved upon the House of Representatives, in default of a popular choice. The votes of the electoral colleges were ninety-nine for General Jackson, eighty-four for Mr. Adams, forty-one for Mr. Crawford, and thirty-seven for Mr. Clay. This was the second time since the adoption of the Constitution, in 1789, that such an event had occurred. The other case was in 1801, and under the Constitution in its original form, which required the electoral colleges to vote for two persons, without designating which of the two was to be President, and which Vice-President, the choice between the two to be decided by plurality. The Republican candidates, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, having received each an equal number of votes, it devolved upon the House of Representatives to designate one of them as President. The Constitution was immediately amended so as to require the candidates for the two offices to be designated as such in the electoral colleges; so that precisely such a case as that of 1801 can never recur. In 1824, however, no person having received a majority of all the votes, it became necessary for the House to choose a President from among the three candidates having the highest number. On these occasions the House votes, not per capita, but by States, the delegation of each State choosing its teller. Mr. Webster was appointed teller for the Massachusetts delegation. The number of States was twenty-four, and the tellers were seated in parties of twelve at two tables. Mr. Webster was appointed by the tellers at one of the tables to announce the result of the balloting; Mr. Randolph was appointed to the same service at the other table. The result was declared to be, for Mr. Adams thirteen votes, for General Jackson seven, and for Mr. Crawford four. The votes of most of the States were matters of confident calculation beforehand; those of Maryland and New York were in some degree doubtful. The former was supposed to depend upon the decision of Mr. Warfield; the latter on that of General Van Rensselaer. Mr. Webster possessed the political confidence of both these gentlemen; and is believed to have exerted a decisive influence in leading them to vote for Mr. Adams.

Kir. Webster had been elected to the Nineteenth Congress in the autumn of 1824, by a vote of four thousand nine hundred and ninety out of five thousand votes cast, the nearest approach to unanimity in a Congressional election, perhaps, that ever took place. The session which began in December, 1825, was of

course the first session under Mr. Adams's administration. The brief armistice in party warfare which existed under Mr. Monroe was over. The friends of General Jackson en masse, most of the friends of Mr. Crawford, and a portion of those of Mr. Clay, joined in a violent opposition to the new administration. It would be impossible in this place to unfold the griefs, the interests, the projects, the jealousies, and the mutual struggles, of the leaders and the factions, who, with no community of political principle, entered into this warfare. The absence of any well-defined division of parties, like that which had formerly existed, gave wide scope to personal intrigue and sectional preference. Although, estimated in reference to individual suffrages, Mr. Adams had received a popular majority; and although he was selected from the three highest candidates by an absolute majority of the States voting in the House of Representatives, and by a very large plurality over both his competitors, yet, as General Jackson had received a small plurality of votes in the electoral colleges (but a little more, however, than a third part of the entire electoral vote), he stood before the masses as a candidate wrongfully deprived of the place to which he was designated by the popular choice. Great sensibility was evinced at this defeat of the "Will of the People "; and none seemed to feel the wrong more than a portion of the friends of that one of the three candidates who had received the smallest vote, but whom there had been, nevertheless, a confident hope of electing in the House. The prejudice against Mr. Adams arising from this source derived strength from the widely circulated calumny of a corrupt understanding between him and Mr. Clay. The bare suspicion of an arrangement between party leaders to help each other into office, however groundless in point of fact, and however disproved by all the testimony which could be brought to bear on a negative proposition, was sufficient seriously to affect the popularity of both parties.

Great talent, the amplest civil experience, and the purest patriotism are an inadequate basis of strength for an administration. If the capricious and ill-defined element of what is called popularity is wanting, all else is of little avail. Mr. Adams's

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