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treasure of a free state. There is an infinite Kentucky; and we may confidently indulge expansibility in the mind of man; and it is the hope, that our University is destined to among the first and most important duties of reflect honor on the State, and lustre on the the government, to improve the elasticity and Union.

cultivate the intellectual energy of the whole But while we are thus wise and generous in commmunity. Thus, the common property of the patronage of the higher seminaries of society, which constitutes the basis of its learning, shall we neglect those of a more power and happiness, will be indefinitely humble, but not less essential or valuable augmented. Thus, and thus only, will liberty character? While we are thus benefitting the and equality, social peace and permanent state, by the facilities we afford to one class of prosperity, be preserved our citizens, is it judicious, is it republican, to "Knowledge is power;" and the only way withhold the aid it is in our power to afford to to preserve an equality of the latter, is to pro- those who need it most, the great mass of the mote a general diffusion of the former. But a community? While other states are wisely wholesome development of the moral, physi- laboring to improve the system, and extend cal, and intellectual faculties of all the people the advantages of common schools, shall Kenof both sexes, will make our institutions more tucky be careless or indifferent on the substable and our laws more efficacious-will ject? Shall she not be anxious to maintain elevate the character of our State, and promote her rank, in this important particular, as she both personal and social peace and happiness, has hitherto done in other respects, among and will afford the best of all safeguards of her sisters of the federal family? Kentucky public order and individual security. The abounds in resources, natural, moral, and inonly truly effectual law is that inscribed on tellectual. Let it then be our effort to call the Heart; and by enlightening the popular them forth, and render them useful. Let us Head, and rectifying the popular Heart, pub- be careful to husband them well, and rouse lic peace and private right will be made more into action all the dormant energies of our secure than they could possibly be made by citizens. This course, in the opinion of the the wisest code of human laws, backed by the committee, is due, not only to our own interbest of human sanctions; and consequently ests as a state, but to the great cause of freemuch more will be saved to the public and to dom and humanity. The American States individuals, by popular education, of the right are the depositories of the liberties of mansort, than will be expended in the universal kind. They are, by their political experidiffusion of it, even at the cost of the common-ment, fighting the great moral battle of sucwealth. It is, therefore, at once the interest ceeding generations. By the diffusion of and duty of government to afford facilities knowledge, and the promotion of virtue, our for education; so that, as far as possible, every free institutions may be rendered indestructiintellectual seed may be made to expand and ble, and the blessings of self-government exfructify. The general diffusion of scholastic tended and perpetuated. instruction cannot be expected from the spon- | Common schools have ever been considered taneous and unassisted efforts of the people. the best agents for circulating the rudiments The rich, it is true, can educate themselves; of knowledge. In most of the old states, they but the poor, and those in moderate circum- are, and long have been, in successful operastances, must depend, in a great measure, for tion. Kentucky, being the first offspring of the means of information, upon the care and the "original thirteen," and being the nucleus assistance of a parental government. Hence, of all the young states in the great valley of the propriety of legislative interposition and the Mississippi, owes it to herself and to them, patronage. By the tutelar assistance of the to set a good example, by instituting, as early state, many a brilliant mind, otherwise des- as possible, a system of education, that promtined to languish in obscurity, may be brought ises to be the source of such extensive and forth and expanded; many an humble indi- durable usefulness. vidual, otherwise without the means of cultivation and improvement, may be rendered an ornament and benefactor of mankind, and enabled to "pluck from the lofty cliff its deathless laurel."

The only doubt with the committee, is as to the practicability of maturing aud adopting an appropriate system at the present time.

They are inclined to believe, that an attempt to put any plan into immediate operation, Wherever common schools have been tried, might, for the want of maturity and systemat their results have been eminently beneficial. ic arrangement, be unsuccessful and inauspiIn Kentucky, the experiment has never yet cious. The Literary Fund, they fear, is at been made, only because the population has present insufficient to accomplish the object. not heretofore been deemed sufficiently dense It should, in the opinion of the committee, be and homogeneous, nor the condition of the so far enlarged, as, by its interest, to support people so much diversified by the inequalities the whole system. How and when this can of fortune, as to render its adoption expedient be effected, they think should be left to the or necessary. Literary institutions for the attainment of the higher branches of knowledge, and for the education of those whose funds are sufficient to pay for their own tuition, have, we are proud and happy to say, been sufficiently multiplied and liberally patronized in

decision of succeeding legislatures. That it may be effected, and that speedily, they are well convinced; and although the time does not appear to have arrived, when it would be prudent or practicable to commence the actual operations of the system, the committee are

extremely anxious that the legislature should begin, even now, by its preparatory measures, to give an impulse to public opinion, and to lay the foundation of the ultimate edifice.

object, and will unite in any judicious and appropriate plan for attaining it, there can be no doubt. The committee, therefore, deem it expedient to diffuse information on the subject, and call public attention to its consideraThe committee are neither prepared nor in- tion, which can be done, perhaps, in no other elined to submit any plan for adoption, at this way more effectually, than by the publication late period of the session. None has occurred and distribution of the report of the commisto them more eligible than that,suggested by sioners. Time enough will be afforded, bethe commissioners. Its general principles, tween this and the next session of the legislayour committee most sincerely and confident- ture, for examination and deliberation; and ly recommend. By uniting voluntary indi- then, it may be hoped, the representatives of vidual contributions with the public appro- the people will come together prepared to act priations, the rich will certainly educate their on this interesting subject, safely and decichildren, because they have paid for their ed- sively. The committee, therefore, respectfulucation, and can procure it at a moderate ex- ly recommend the adoption of the following pense; and the poor will avail themselves of resolution: the opportunity, because it will cost them Resolved by the General Assembly of the Comnothing. In this way, all classes of society monwealth of Kentucky, That five thousand may be sufficiently informed, with an expen- copies of the report of the commissioners on diture of money comparatively inconsiderable. Common Schools, and of the report of the house It is all-important, that the experiment of of representatives on Education, be printed in common schools, whenever made, should be a pamphlet, for the use of the people of Kensuccessful. A failure, in the first instance, tucky; and that it be the duty of the secretary might discourage future attempts, and be fatal of state to transmit to the clerk's office of each to the ultimate result. The system should be county court in the state, for distribution, as well matured, and adapted to the peculiar many of said pamphlets as each county shall condition and genius of our population; and be entitled to, at the rate of fifty for each reprethe people must approve it, or it will inevita- sentative. bly fail. That the people are favorable to the

G. ROBERTSON, Chairman.


Shortly after the close of the last war with England, the Legislature of Kentucky initiated, what has since been called, "the relief system," by extending the right to replevy judgments from three to twelve months. To minister still more relief to debtors" The Bank of the Commonwealth" was chartered by a statute passed on the 29th of November, 1820, and without any other capital than the net proceeds of the sales, as they might accrue, of some vacant lands, and for the debts or notes of which Bank the State was not to be responsible beyond the said capital, which was scarcely more than nominal. It was foreseen and, by the debtor class desired that the notes issued by that Bank would soon become depreciated; and in a short time, the depreciation fell to two dollars in paper of said Bank for one dollar in gold or silver. To effectuate the relief intended by the charter, the Legislature, on the 25th of December, passed an act providing that, if a judgment creditor would endorse on his execution that he would take the paper of said Bank at par in satisfaction of his judgment, the debtor should be entitled to a replevin of only three months; but that, if such endorsement should not be made, the debtor might replevy for two years; and, by an act of 1821, the ca-sa for debt was abolished, and the right to subject choses in action and equities to the satisfaction of judgments was substituted. These extensions of replevin and this abrogation of the ca-sa were, in terms, made applicable to all debts whenever or wherever contracted-and were, consequently, expressly retroactive in their operation-embracing contracts made in Kentucky before the date of the enactment as well as such as should be made afterwards. To the retrospective aspect many conservative men objected as inconsistent with that provision in the national constitution which prohibits any State enactment "impairing the obligation of contracts," and also with that of the constitution of Kentucky which forbids any legislative act "impairing contracts." A majority of the people of Kentucky, desiring legislative relief, either because they were in debt or sympathized with those who were, endeavored to uphold the whole relief system, while a firm and scrupulous minority denounced it as unconstitutional and void. That collision produced universal excitement, which controlled the local elections. The question was brought before the Court of Appeals of Kentucky, and at its Fall term, in 1823, that tribunal unanimously decided, in an opinion delivered on the 8th of October, 1823, by Ch. Jus. Boyle, in the case of Blair vs. Williams, and in opinions seriatim by the whole court on the 11th of the same month, in the case of Lapsley vs. Brashear, &c., that, so far as the Legislature had attempted to make the extension of replevin retroactive, its acts were interdicted by both the constitution of the State and of the Union. As was foreseen, those decisions produced very great exasperation and consequent denunciation of the court. The Judges were charged with arrogating supremacy over the popular will-their authority to declare void any act of the Legislature was denied, and

they were denounced by the organs and stump orators of the dominant relief party as usurpers and self-made kings. No popular controversy, waged without bloodshed, was ever more absorbing or acrimonious than that which raged, like a hurricane, over Kentucky for about three years succeeding the promulgation of those judicial decisions.

On the 10th day of December, 1823, the following resolutions, prefaced by a long, bombastic, denunciatory, and ad captandum preamble, were adopted by the following vote in the House of Representatives— Yeas-Messrs. Abel, Ashby, Breckinridge, Brown, Chenowith, Churchill, Cockerill, Daveiss, Dejarnett, Desha, H. S. Emerson, J. Emerson, Eward, Farrow, Fletcher, French, Galloway, Green, S. Griffith, Hall, Harald, Hayden, Holt, Joyes, Lecompte, Lee, Lynch, Macy, May, Mitchell, Mosley, Mullens, Munford, J. M'Connell, M'Dowell, M'Elroy, Napier, Nuttall, Oldham, O'Bannon, Porter, Prince, Railey, Riddle, Rodes, Rowan, Secrest, Selby, Stapp, Stephens, Stith, Thomas, Ward, Webber, Woolford and Younger-56.

Nays-Mr. Speaker, Messrs. Alexander, Berry, Caldwell, Cox, Cunningham, Duncan, Farmer, D. Garrard, Gist, W. R. Griffith, Hawes, Lander, Laughlin, Logan, Lyne, Marshall, Montgomery, Morgan, J. M. M'Connell, M'Millan, New, Oglesby, Pope, Rapier, Rumsey, Russell, G. Slaughter, P. C. Slaughter, Thomson, Tilford, Todd, True, Turner, Wickliffe, Wood, Woodson and Woodward-40.

Mr. Robertson, then Speaker of the House, made the following speech on that occasion, in opposition to that preamble and those resolutions.

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