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except that the principles of the government, But, said he, on the same page there is a or in other words the constitution, must con-threat in disguise. The author, in speaking

trol its legislation, which is good doctrine, aud decisive of this contest.

of what may be the consequences of the decision of the court, makes this quotation from the Holy Bible: "And David therefore departthence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam, and every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became their captain over them."

But on the next page, and in the same paragraph, we have, said he, a still more extraordi-ed nary idea. The author here says, "strange that in a republic the appellate court should have selected fear, the principle of despotism, as the motive to duty." What is the principle of all law, human and divine? Is it not to com- If there be a David here who wishes to hoist pel, by its sanctions, conformity to its provis- the standard of rebellion, round which may ions? Does the law persuade, or does it co- flock the desperate and discontented, let him erce? Why does the law denounce punish-be told that he is a traitor and not forget the ment on the criminal? Is it not to deter from traitor's fate. He who thinks that the people the perpetration of crime? And does the law of Kentucky are prepared for sedition and revin this instance appeal to our fears, or our vir-olution, will find himself, after experiment, as tue? If the virtue of mankind were our only much mistaken as Aaron Burr was. But if security, all government would be unnecessary. there be a David in this House who wishes to But it is the nature of all government to com- retire with his followers to the cave, let him pel submission to its mandates by force-a leg-go; it will close on him and hide him from the islative act would not be law unless it were light of virtue- and patriotism forever. His compulsory. The obligation of a contract name may thus acquire immortality, but it would be nothing unless the law should en- will be the immortality of infamy, such as that force it, whether the parties have virtue enough of Erostratus, who burnt the temple of Epheor not to comply. It is only when their own sense of justice will not prompt a compliance, that the law compels. This is the only object of the law, its only use.


ly necessary to prohibit that which they might have strong temptation to indulge in-retrospective legislation. The obligation of a contract cannot be impaired by a law in force when the contract is made, for it is the law in force at the time which alone constitutes the legal obligation.

On the next page, the author complains that, if the legislature cannot pass retrospective laws to operate on contracts made before their On the next page, it is asserted that if the passage, they cannot administer relief until afdecision of the court be correct, the states "are ter it shall have become unnecessary. And this in very deed dwarf vassals." If because the is the reason why the convention only profederal constitution must control the states, hibited laws impairing the obligation of conthey are vassals, amend the constitution, dis-tracts already made, because, as there would solve the union. The states have surrendered be no pressing motive influencing legislatures the right to impair the obligation of contracts, to pass prospective indulgence laws, it was onand cannot now complain that, without it, they are vassals. Besides, they have, by this surrender, only denied themselves the power to do wrong, to do injustice. The people will not believe that they are vassals, although the gentleman from Jefferson (Mr. Rowan) is so kind as to tell them so. They have never yet felt the yoke, nor heard the clanking of the chain. They know that they are free, and are determined to continue free. They know too that their liberty is constitutional-that it consists in the integrity and stability of their constitution, and as long as they shall revere that and their God as they should do, they will, they must be free. They are not vassals, because they have not the power to impair contracts; they are only the more secure, the more free.

In page 16, the author complains that the third judge invokes to his aid, in construing the contested clause in the constitution, "the ephemeral effusions of the revolutionary period of the American History." Of all the objections which the most fertile imagination, or the most fastidious criticism, or the most malignant envy, could have conjured up against the reasoning of the court, a man in his sober senses never could have conjectured that a recurrence to the history of the events which im. In the next page the author asks, "can the mediately preceded the adoption of the federal armor worm conquer Kentucky?" To this it constitution, and which alone induced the is only necessary to respond by retorting an- adoption of the clause in relation to the obligaother question! Can the little spark which, tion of contracts, could be deemed by any one by consuming the property of a citizen, involves in quest of truth, to be improper or useless. him in inextricable ruin, conquer the sover- When it is important to ascertain the import of eign power of Kentucky? Can the legislature any clause, what is a more sure mode of doing restore the unfortunate victim by taking from it than to recur to the causes which prompted his neighbors a portion of their superfluous it, and the objects of those who penned it? But property and giving it to him? If they cannot thus relieve him the author of the preamble would, according to his argument, infer that they are not sovereign. They cannot do it, and are, notwithstanding, as sovereign as it is proper that they should be.

the author is provoked with one of the judges, for adverting to these authentic sources for confirmation of his opinion, because they are authentic and decisive of the controversy. It would have been much better for him to have examined this history and endeavored to avoid

its illustrations. His not having done so is Whether the legislature have power to suspend evidence that he could not, and that, there- any particular law, is a question always to be fore, the conclusions drawn by the court are determined by examining the entire federal and just. But as he had already spoken in the state constitutions; and if the suspension be proper place on this subject, he would not, said contrary to any provision in either, it is unauhe, say more now; he had only referred to it to thorized. Why the suspending power was alshow the desperation to which the author of luded to in the preamble, it remains for some the printed book must be driven, when he at- one of more than common acumen to discover. tempts to make the use of it which he does.

The court in their decision have not repealed But a still more striking destitution of re- any law, as has been already shown, and it is source is displayed by the author on the same equally, and if possible more certain, that page. He here quotes the 13th and 14th sec- they have not repealed or disregarded any contions of the 10th article of the Kentucky con- stitutional provision or principle. If the legstitution, which declare "that courts shall be islature have the power to suspend all law, it open, and every person for an injury done him would be difficult to perceive the efficacy or in his lands, goods, &c., shall have remedy by object of many wise and important provisions due course of law, and right and justice admin- in the federal and state constitutions. istered without sale, denial, or delay," and On the next page the author gravely asks "that no power of suspending laws shall be ex- this question: "How happened it that the enercised, except by the legislature or its author- lightened state of Virginia has been violating ity," and then says that the "judges have not the obligation of contracts since the year 1748, only repealed the laws of their state, but they and that none of her statesmen or judges had have repealed the 14th article last above the acumen to discover it?" Before this quesquoted, of the constitution of their state." tion was propounded, the author ought not to What process of reasoning has conducted the have forgotten that the federal constitution did. author to this conclusion, it would be difficult not go into effect until the 4th day of March. to know. Does he suppose that the legislature 1789; and that before that era there was no of Kentucky can suspend the operation of any constitutional prohibition of the passage of law, in defiance of the federal constitution, or laws impairing obligations, and that to preeven of the constitution of Kentucky? Does he vent such legislation in future was the only ob suppose that the state constitution repeals the ject of the clause in the federal constitution federal? He says that Kentucky was received prohibiting it. The practice of Virginia, then, into the Union with this clause in her constitu- before 1789, proves nothing; and no evidence tion. True; but those who adopted her sup- has been produced of her since passing retro posed, as every honest man in his senses now spective laws extending replevies. If she ev believes, that the legislature would only have er did pass such since, they were soon repealed, power to suspend such laws, as they were not and a question was never submitted to her prohibited by the federal constitution and that courts on their constitutionality. If it could of Kentucky from suspending. If the legisla- be shown that such a law had been passed, ture pass a law which vests private rights, and decided to be valid by the courts, the they cannot suspend or repeal it so as to sus- case would present some shadow of argument; pend or divest the rights. The only meaning but until this be shown, there is nothing even of the clause is, that there shall be no power plausible in the idea suggested and intended to suspend laws, except by the legislature. It to be supported by the interrogatory. was not intended that the legislature should In page 19, the author urges an argument suspend any law, but only that such as could more futile than any which have been noticed. be constitutionally suspended, could only be He here seems to think, that if the two years' suspended by the legislature. No power of replevin act be void in its operation on conrepealing laws can be exercised except by the tracts, made before its passage, there would be legislature. But the legislature cannot repeal no replevin, because that act repeals all other laws so as to divest vested rights. It is only replevin acts! Has he forgotten that if the necessary to look at all the provisions of the con- two years' replevin act be void, it does not restitution to ascertain the extent of the suspend-peal the former acts? It would be difficult to ing power, if indeed any doubt can exist on the suppose that a nouentity could destroy an ensubject. The legislature alone can suspend tity. If the two years' act be void as to all laws; but the federal constitution declares that contracts made before its passage, it results they shall not impair the obligation of con- that the law which is intended to be repealed tracts. Place the two provisions in juxtaposi- by it is still in force, so far as those contracts tion, and the difficulty, if any exist, vanishes. are concerned.

The grant of power would then read thus:- On the same page the author expresses the "No power of suspending laws shall be exer- opinion, that if an extension of replevin be cised, except by the legislature or its authori-unconstitutional and injurious to the creditor, ty."-"But the legislature shall not impair the an abridgment of it would be equally so to the obligation of contracts." Whilst there is a debtor. It is not necessary to discuss this power to suspend laws, it is with the qualifica- point. But it may not be improper to observe, tion that in its exercise the obligation of con- that if the constitution had been silent on the tracts shall not be impaired; and if by suspend- subject, the state legislatures would yet have ing a particular law, the obligation be im- the power which they so much abused when paired-the suspension is unconstitutional. they had it, of impairing the obligation of con

tracts. The constitution only withdraws the ed by a sense of duty to his country, and to the power to impair, it does not deny all other cause of truth and the constitution. He hoped power, to make stronger and more binding, therefore that any thing which he had said &c., and there was no necessity to extend the would not wound the sensibilities of its author, prohibition further than the convention did; or of any one who may co-operate with him. for there was no danger of any other legisla- Each is entitled to his own opinion, and is retion in relation to contracts, than that which sponsible only to his conscience and his conis prohibited. stituents for its exercise; and it is the duty of all, so to act, as not only to deserve the approbation of the people, but to ensure the peace of sound conscience.

In the next page it is urged that the legislature may, by a re-organization of the courts, postpone consequentially the enforcement of contracts; and that therefore they can do it di- He would, he said, now, in a very few rectly. If the legislature make a convenient words, answer an argument he had heard in and reasonable change in the courts, for the conversation. It is not to be found in the purpose of improving them, the object being book. It is too fallacious even for a place legitimate, the act is constitutional, because it there. It is this: If a man make a contract in is expressly authorized by the constitution. Virginia under a three months' replevin law, But a total occlusion of the courts, or postpone- and afterwards come to Kentucky where the ment of their sessions, for the purpose of delay, replevin is two years, would he not have a would be an abuse of power-a perversion of it right to replevy two years, and would that imto an end interdicted by the constitution-and pair the obligation of the contract? He would would therefore be unconstitutional. A per- certainly have a right to replevy two years, and version of delegated power to a purpose for that would as certainly not impair the obliga which it was not only not intended, but which tion. And the reason is obvious; the legislais expressly prohibited, is as unconstitutional ture of Kentucky can only legislate over the and void as if the act were done without au- citizens and soil of the state; and, in doing so, thority. If the legislature cannot directly do not invade the rights of others; and when postpone the remedy, or suspend it so far as a citizen of Virginia comes to Kentucky, he previous contracts are affected, they cannot do must submit to the laws of Kentucky. In the it indirectly. Congress have power to declare case put, the contract is not impaired by the war-death may be one of its consequences-law of Kentucky. If it be impaired at all, it yet Congress would not have the power to or- is by the obligor, in withdrawing himself from der the death of the people by a direct law for the operation of the laws of Virginia. The that purpose. So the legislature have the lex loci governs the construction of the conpower to regulate the courts; delay may be one tract--the lex fori its enforcement. The legis of the consequences of exercising this power: ture of Kentucky can only legislate over conbut the legislature have not therefore the right tracts made in Kentucky, and they cannot imto legislate for the purpose of delay, or to pio-pair the obligation of those contracts. They duce it directly. It would be very absurd to cannot legislate over contracts made in Virsuppose that because an accidental inconven- ginia, and therefore do not, by any legislation, ience may result from the honest exrecise of a impair their obligation. general power, therefore it would be lawful to He had endeavored, he said, to sustain the effect the same consequence directly. A has decision of the court, by such arguments as the right to clear his own land; if, in the hon- had occurred to him; and he had taken the libest and faithful exercise of this right, a tree erty of fortifying those arguments, by the printaccidentally fall on B and kill him, A is inno-ed preamble to the resolutions, which he cent. But if the tree had been wantonly felled for the purpose of killing B, A would have been guilty of murder. In the one case he would be innocent, because the killing of B was an accidental consequence of A's exercising his right to fell his timber; in the other case he would be guilty, because he perverted his general right to cut down trees to an illegal purpose. These familiar cases are sufficient to illustrate the argument. It will not endure scrutiny.

thought he had done. He had perhaps manifested too much zeal. If he had, he hoped to be excused; it was an honest zeal in the cause of the constitution, and of the best interests of the people and their posterity. If the resolutions be adopted, a precedent will be established which will unhinge the constitution, and render the legislature supreme and above the constitution by which they are created.

The country may be thrown into commotion, and the public mind into great effervescence, The remainder of the book under review con- but no relief will be administered. It had sisted principally of references to the decision been stated that the principles which he advoof the Court of Appeals. He would not again cated are not republican. This had no ternotice these, he said, because he had before rors for him. He cared not for party names or done it. He would therefore leave the book, denunciations. His only aim and wish was after what he had said of it, to its fate. He to do right, and it would be very difficult to had examined it freely, but he thought candid-determine what some men meant by republi ly and fairly. It was now public property-canism. If the constitution is republican-if the state had paid for it and every citizen justice is republican, the principles which he had a right to think and speak without reserve had endeavored to defend are republican. If of its demerits as well as merits. He had done to pin one's faith on another man's sleeve; if to so; and felt sure that he had been only prompt- lact with the majority, right or wrong, Vicar of

Preserve the constituiion and the honor of Kentucky. This can only be done by rejecting the resolutions. Let me once more, said he, beseech you to appeal to your judgments, and let them control your votes. Refrain from an act at which your posterity may blush; transmit to them, as your best legacy, your constitution unimpaired, and consecrated by your veneration; this will ensure its longevity and their happiness..

Bray like; if to sacrifice conscience and judg- Violability consisted not only the sovereignty ment at the shrine of popularity; if to flatter of the people, but their peace, security, and the people and incite them and array them in- happiness. Let them alone, they will do right. to parties, to mount to power and influence, Do not entangle them in an unnatural and unwhilst their real interests are disregarded; if profitable contest among themselves; do not to play the mock patriot and proscribe freedom force them to deny the authority of their conof opinion, of conscience and of speech; if stitution, and perhaps the power of the general these constitute a republican, he disavowed re-government. publicanism emphatically and indignantly. But if to pursue the unbiassed dictates of conscience and judgment-if to think for one's self in defiance of the opinions of others-if to love the constitution and respect the peopleif to do right, however unpopular, and abjure error, however popular-if to express opinion candidly, independently, and fearlessly-if to revere one's country, and feel solicitude for its permanent happiness and honor-if to love equality and despise demagogueism; if these are badges of an orthodox republican, he would, without egotism, claim the honor of being an undeviating republican, in the most sterling import of the appellation. His republicanism was not in professions, but in practice-not in words, but in deeds. It recognized the sov-| ereignty of the people, but required their supremacy to be displayed conformably to their political compact. He believed that in its in

Every other state in the Union is now tran quil and prosperous. Why is it that Kentucky, the Delta of America, should be distracted and harassed! It is her legislation, her party and petty strifes and struggles. Bury them all--surrender them at the altar of your country's good. Return to a stable and constitutional policy, and Kentucky will be regenerated, and her people once more rallied under the standard of Justice and the Constitution.

On the 20th December, 1824, another long and fulminating preamble and resolutions for the removal of the Appellate Judges by address were adopted by the House of Representatives by the following vote:

Yeas Mr. Speaker, Messrs. Booker, H. O. Brown, Buckner, Buford, Caldwell, Carter, Chenowith, Clarkson, Coleman, Cosby, Dallam, A. H. Davis, S. Daviess, Forrest, Fulton, Galloway, Garth, J. G. Hardin, M. Hardin, Hodge, Holt, Hunter, Joyes, Litton, Marksberry, Mason, Maupin, Mayo, M'Brayer, J. M'Connell, Middleton, Morehead, Morgan, Mosely, Mullens, Napier, J. Patterson, Porter, Prince, Riddle, W. Robertson, Rodman, Roundtree, Rowan, Samuel, Shortridge, Slack, Spalding, Stephens, Stone, Summers, J. Taylor, Thomas, Triplett, Wade, Watkins, Wilcoxen, W. C. Williams, W. Wilson and Wingate-61.

Nays-Messrs. Bates, Breck, Brents, G. I. Brown, Chapeze, Cox, Crittenden, Cunningham, Evans, Farmer, Ford, Gibson, Goggin, Gordon, Green, Gresham, B. Hardin, Kennedy, J. M. M'Connell, Miller, Morris, New, Oldham, W. Patterson, H. C. Payne, W. C. Payne, G. Robertson,. Shepherd, Simpson, Sterrett, R. Taylor, Thruston, True, Turner, Wickliffe, L. Williams, Willis, T. P. Wilson and Woods-39.

Two-thirds, as required by the constitution, not concurring, the Judges were not removed. But the Senate, anticipating that result, had, on the 9th day of December, 1824, passed a bill to abolish the Court of Appeals, and organize a new court, under pretence of "reorganizing" the court.The Senate's vote on that bill was as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative, are, Messrs. C. H. Allen, J. Allen, Ballinger, Barrett, Beauchamp, Daniel, Dawson, Denny, Dudley, Ewing, Forsythe, Hughes, Lyon, Maccoun, Mayo, P. N. O'Bannon, W. B. O'Bannon, Selby, Smith, T. Ward, Worthington and Yancey.

Those who voted in the negative, are, Messrs. C. Allen, Beaty, Bowman, Carneal, Crutcher, Davidson, Faulkner, Flournoy, Hickman, Howard, Lockett, Muldrow, Stephens, J. Ward, White and Wickliffe.

And the House concurred in that bill on the 23d of the same month, at Midnight, in great tumult, by the following vote:

Yeas--Mr. Speaker, Messrs. Booker, H. O. Brown, Buckner, Buford, Caldwell, Carter, Chenowith, Clarkson, Coleman, Dallam, A. H. Davis, S. Daviess, Forrest, Fulton, Garth, J. G. Hardin, Hodge, Holt, Hunter, Joyes, Litton, Marksberry, Mason, Maupin, Mayo, M'Brayer, M'Connell, Middleton, Morehead, Mosely, Mullens, Napier, Porter, Prince, Riddle, W. Robertson, Rodman, Roundtree, Rowan, Samuel, Shortridge, Slack, Spalding, Stephens, Stone, Summers, J. Taylor, Thomas, Wade, Wilcoxen, W. C. Williams, W. Wilson and Wingate-4.

Nays-Messrs. Bates, Breck, Brents, G. I. Brown, Chapeze, Cosby, Cox, Crittenden, Cunningham, Evans, Farmer, Ford, Gibson, Goggin, Gordon, Green, Gresham, B. Hardin, M. Hardin, Kennedy, J. M. M'Connell, Miller, Morris, New, Oldham, J. Patterson, W. Patterson, H. C. Payne, W. C. Payne, G. Robertson, Shepherd, Simpson, Sterett, R. Taylor, Thruston, Triplett, True, Turner, Watkins, Wickliffe, L. Williams, Willis, T. P. Wilson and Woods-43.

The arguments against the bill were elaborate and exceedingly able. And, in that debate, Mr. Robertson delivered the subjoined speech.

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