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is very manifest in combinations amongst journeymen mechanics and laborers, to raise their wages, and regulate the hours of work. By laborers I mean all, in every department of art, who work for hire. All attempts to control employers will prove fruitless, even though they should be attended with momentary success. For every thing in society, like the ever-moving waves of the sea, is perpetually seeking a level. Business best regulates itself. Labor is high, because the price of the necessaries of life is high: and the price of labor will be always regulated by the value of other commodities in the market. When such a project is attended, as has often been the case in older countries, with a tumultuous assemblage of the people, or violence to the persons or property of individuals, or the writing of incendiary letters, or threats of mischief to masters or employers, it never has been doubted, that it was sufficient matter for a criminal indictment. 1 This subject, though somewhat difficult and novel, is worthy of attention; because our community was, in the course of the last spring, agitated by combinations, which, by interrupting the completion of contracts, produced, at the time, a sudden cessation of business, and implied a deliberate and mischievous purpose to distress both employers and the public. In proportion as our country, possessing inexhaustible sources of mechanical ingenuity, and wisely encouraging the inventive genius of its citizens, extends its manufacturing establishments, multitudes will be collected into confined situations, which will present facilities for acting in concert. Hence, the respective rights of laborers and employers acquire increased importance. The law, that universal guide, protector, and friend of human industry, is not silent on this subject: and although no complaint exists, and I am sure, I would not make any, it yet seems to me not unseasonable, to state the principles which govern such
'For every man is presumed to know the law, and required to observe it; because it would be an infinite evil, if men might escape from the consequences of their actions by the plea of ignorance. This maxim increases the obligation of a judge, to state with plainness, as he has opportunity, those legal principles, which must guide individuals in the performance of their duty, with the reasons on which they are founded, and for which they deserve our observance.
'Our laws secure to every man the right to put such value on his labor, ingenuity, and learning, as he pleases. He may work
'Hume's Commentaries on the Law of Scotland.
or refuse to work; and he cannot be deprived of this liberty, until he shall have forfeited it by a conviction of some crime. All who are engaged in trade, commerce, manufactures, the mechanic arts, agriculture, and the learned professions, all, in every varied pursuit of industry and talent, may freely contend together for profit in pursuit of their respective good. But the operations of society cannot proceed, unless the law, which, like the air, is over every thing, and pervades every thing, and is the life of every thing, protect, in full extent, the principle of equal and fair competition. If individuals may combine together, to gain an unfair advantage over others, it would violate this principle. Therefore the law punishes a conspiracy, although it be not carried into effect. Where persons combine to do an unlawful act, the law punishes the confederacy, in order to prevent the unlawful act thus "mercifully preventing the malignant from doing mischief, and the innocent from suffering it." In a very ancient case, it was decided to be criminal for persons to combine together to maintain each other, whether their matter be true or false, right or wrong, and although nothing be executed. In the case of the Journeymen Tailors of Cambridge, who were indicted for a conspiracy to raise their wages, it was decided, that a conspiracy of any kind is illegal, though the matter, about which they conspired, might have been lawful for them, or any of them to do, if they had not conspired to do it.2 In another case of great interest, which was decided in the court of King's Bench in the year 1769, it appeared that the officers in the service of the East India Company, under a certain grade, being dissatisfied at the reduction of
1 Lib. Ass. 27 E. 3. 44. p. 138. 9 Co. 56. The Poulterers' Case. "That a false conspiracy betwixt divers persons shall be punished, although nothing be put in execution, is full and manifest in our books; and therefore in 27 Ass. p. 44, in the articles of the charge of inquiry by the inquest in the King's Bench, there is a nota, that two were indicted of confederacy, each of them to maintain the other, whether their matter be true or false, and notwithstanding that nothing was supposed to be put in execution, the parties were forced to answer to it, because the thing is forbidden by the law, which are the very words of the book; which proves that such false confederacy is forbidden by the law, although it was not put in ure, or executed. So there in the next article in the same book, inquiry shall be of conspirators and confederates, who agree amongst themselves, &c. falsely to indict or acquit, &c. the manner of agreement, and betwixt whom; which proves also, that confederacy to indict or acquit, although nothing is executed, is punishable by law; and there is another article concerning conspiracy betwixt merchants; and in these cases the conspiracy or confederacy is punishable, although the conspiracy or confederacy be not executed.” 2 Mod. 10. Ib. 320. The King v. Edwards et al.
a perquisite, combined to throw up their commissions, and all of them, above two hundred in number, to resign at the same time. It was decided by Lord Mansfield and all the other Judges, after solemn argument and consideration, that the resignation of so many officers, in time of war, and under such circumstances, was meant to terrify and intimidate the company into a compliance with their demands, that the combination was a criminal act, and that the resignation was void. In a case, in our own reports, in which eminent counsel were concerned, the law on this subject was settled with great consideration of all the cases. In pronouncing the unanimous opinion of the court, Chief Justice Parsons says, "After fully considering the several cases, the court are satisfied that the gist of a conspiracy is the unlawful confederacy to do an unlawful act, or even a lawful act for unlawful purposes. That the offence is complete, when the confederacy is made, and any act done in pursuance of it is no constituent part of the offence, but merely an aggravation of it. This rule of the common law is to prevent unlawful combinations. A solitary offender may be easily detected and punished. But combinations. against law are always dangerous to the public peace, and to private security. To guard against the union of numbers to effect an unlawful design is not easy, and to detect and punish them is often difficult. The unlawful confederacy is therefore punished, to prevent the doing of any act in execution of it. Of this principle the adjudged cases leave no doubt." 2
Now who has the right to say that a workman may not agree, if he please, to work from sun-rise to sun-set for such sum as will satisfy him for his labor? Who may justly complain of the man, who shall refuse to employ another, who will not stipulate to work during certain hours of each day, or for any other period of time? While the parties are content, who may presume to interfere between the laborer and his employer? The claim to interfere is against the social compact, and violates the duty, which binds every man to maintain its principles. In society, the members are essentially dependent on each other. He who seeks to divide them, seeks to destroy them. If the blood will not flow to the heart, the body must perish. So, if members of the social system engage in mutual contest, the rich against the poor, the laborer against the employer, human industry will stop, to the ruin of individuals, if not of the system itself. But though the loss of any
1 4 Burr. 2472.
22 Mass. R. 329.
Vertue v. Lord Clive. Ib. 2419. Parker v. Lord Clive.
individual can hardly be perceptible in the system of society, it must never be forgotten, that one of the great ends of society is to protect and preserve individuals.
'Our government was constituted for the good of all, and not for the pofit of any one man or class of men: therefore there is the same law to protect the laborer and the consumer, as for him who derives profit from their labor and consumption. Suppose that the ship owners, for instance, should combine to depress the fair rate of the wages of the shipwright, and should take measures to prevent any of their number from paying to his workmen beyond a certain compensation. Suppose that the bakers should combine to raise the price of bread, and should restrain individuals from selling at a less price. In declaring combinations of this character criminal, the law but utters the voice of reason and good sense. All such acts infringe upon the freedom of the market, which it is one main object of policy in every well-regulated state to secure. They violate the freedom of the citizen, which consists not in liberty of person only, but of conduct, and in the right to do as one pleases in all matters not commanded or forbidden by law. They essentially interfere too with the rights of the government. Whenever individuals array themselves against the law, they should be promptly met, before combination manifests itself in mobs, insurrections, and other civil commotions, which the strong arm of government only can repress.'
Report of the Trial of Judge Peck, Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Missouri, before the Senate of the United States, on an Impeachment preferred by the House of Representatives against him for high misdemeanors in office. BY ARTHUR J. STANSBURY. Boston. Hilliard, Gray, & Co. We have just received a copy of the report of Judge Peck's Trial. It is an octavo volume of nearly six hundred large and closely printed pages. As far as we have been able to examine it, it appears to be very full, and faithfully executed. We find from an advertisement of the publishers, for the book itself contains no preface, that the testimony was taken down at the trial, and has since been submitted to the inspection of the witnesses, who have certified to its correctness; that the arguments of the council are all from under their own hands, full notes of their respective
speeches having been submitted to them by the reporter, which were revised, corrected, and extended by themselves; and that the details of the proceedings are taken from the Journals of the two houses of Congress. It would have been well to have stated these facts in a preface or advertisement to the volume, as they add materially to its value and authority.
We propose to give a more full account of this book in our next number.
A Practical Treatise on the Trustee Process, or Foreign Attachment, of the Laws of Massachusetts and Maine; with an Appendix containing the Statutes of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, on that subject. By L. S. CUSHING. Cambridge. Brown, Shattuck, & Co. 8vo. pp. xviii & 211.
The object and plan of this volume are thus stated in the author's advertisement.
'More than twenty years ago, the subject of Foreign Attachment, in Pennsylvania, was considered of sufficient importance, to warrant the publication of Mr. SERGEANT's Treatise on that subject.
'In the New England States, where the Trustee Process has, in many respects, the operation of the domestic as well as foreign attachment, and is therefore of frequent use in practice, the law relating to it is found scattered through more than forty volumes of Reports and Statutes, most of which must, of necessity, and all of which may, with propriety, be consulted, by the practising lawyer.
'To render this part of our law of more convenient access; to develope and arrange the principles upon which it is based; and thereby to facilitate the inquiries of those of the younger members of the profession, who are not perfectly familiar with the details of practice, are the principal objects of the following pages.
'The title of TRUSTEE PROCESS has been adopted for two reasons: first, because, this branch of our law is more generally known by that than by any other name; and, second, because it is conceived to be more appropriate. The foreign attachment, by the custom of London, is an ex parte proceeding and strictly in rem. That which is founded in the laws of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, is quite as much of a domestic as a
VOL. IX.NO. XVII.