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trade,“ under any shape, is so repugnant to the natural rights of man and the dictates of justice, that it seems difficult to find for it any adequate justification.” I appeal to every letter in this book in which the subject of slavery is alluded to, as proof that his judgment and feelings were steadily hostile to that institution; and although I am well aware that he was opposed to violent measures for its abolition, it was because he considered them as worse than ineffectual; as operating to retard emancipation, and as threatening destruction to the Union, with no benefit to the slave. Instead of bitterness and invective, he would have had conciliation and counsel on this subject between the North and the South, and believed, that had such a course been pursued, ere this the institution of slavery would have steadily waned, without danger to the Union.
PROFESSORIAL AND JUDICIAL LIFE.
DEATH OF JUDGE HOPKINSON - LETTERS RELATING TO THE CRIMI
NAL CODE OF THE UNITED STATES - BANKRUPT ACT OF 1842 — SECRET SERVICE RENDERED TO THE LEGISLATION OF THE COUNTRY - ENJOYMENT IN THE SUCCESS AND FAME OF OTHERS — LETTER ACKNOWLEDGING THE DEDICATION OF MR. GREENLEAF's TREATISE ON EVIDENCE — INTEREST IN THE FOREIGN LAW – LETTERS ON THE REBELLION IN RHODE ISLAND – OPINION OF HAMILTON FAVORITE Poets.
Wile my father was absent at Washington in 1842, in attendance upon the Supreme Court, he received the news of the fatal illness of his friend Judge Hopkinson. To this he refers in the first of the following letters:
TO MRS. SARAH W. STORY.
Washington, January 10th, 1842. MY DEAR WIFE:
You will be grieved to learn that Judge Hopkinson was seized with apoplexy and paralysis while reading in the Athenæum at Philadelphia on Friday last. There is not the slightest hope of his recovery, and he will probably survive but a day or two. He is seventy-two years of age, and it is not desirable, after such an attack, that he should live to be a burden to his family, without the consciousness or power of doing good. I confess that few events could have occurred which would have come oter me with a more profound gloom. He is one of the best of men; generous, liberal in his principles, and full of the right spirit in literature, and scholarship, and politics. I hardly expect again to meet another man whom I could so sincerely esteem as a tried and constant friend. Well may it be said, that “our dying friends come o'er us like a cloud, to damp our brainless ardor."
TO MRS. SARAII W. STORY.
Washington, January 16th, 1842. MY DEAR WIFE:
This day will complete the first week of my sojourn in Washington, and I am really glad to have the time pass away without seeming to linger. My health continues, (as I think) to improve slowly. All the Judges are present, and we have entered resolutely into the business of the Court; the docket is heavy, and the term must be laborious.
My lodgings are comfortable, and there is one circumstance connected with the family occupying the house, which in the hands of a poet might serve for the foundation of a pleasant picture. The family consist of an aged father, now blind, who was formerly a man of some property in Ohio, and his wife. His name is White. His daughter is now married to a Mr. Duncan, who is a respectable stonecutter, and she is, I believe, a milliner and dress-maker. There is a brother, also, who lives under the same roof, whose occupation I do not know. The father and mother are maintained by the children. He is very religious; belongs, I believe, to the Methodist persuasion, and every morning and evening he offers up prayers in the presence of the family, previous to which they sing a hymn, and generally also reads a portion of the Scriptures. Judge McLean, whose room is in the same
story with theirs, informs me that he constantly hears the fervent prayers of this aged man, and among other things he every day offers up prayers for us, the Judges, in the family. I hear their singing very distinctly when they “ wale” their hymns. The old man seems cheerful and resigned, and the children contented and happy, contributing to his support with a ready and unpretending kindness. Yet they must be poor, and they let to us their best rooms, to eke out their means of maintenance. We may here see in humble life the excellent effects of piety and family kindness and right principles, under many privations. How much more affecting are such exhibitions than all the mawkish sentimentalism and imaginative pretensions of giddy enthusiasts in our day!
Truly and affectionately, with love to the children,
The important part taken by my father in the reform of the Criminal Law of the United States, has already appeared in the foregoing pages. The following letters, written during this year, avow his authorship of the Judiciary Act of 1818, and of a bill of seventy sections, drawn in 1825, twenty-five sections of which were passed, and are known as the “ Crimes Act.” Much as he had done, and often as he had been disappointed in his attempts to secure complete criminal jurisdiction to the United States Courts, his interest in the subject remained unabated. In consequence of the suggestions contained in the first of these letters to Mr. Berrien, a bill was drawn up by Judge Betts, of the District Court of New York, which was revised by my father, and partially passed by Congress. But the section extending the Common Law over all crimes against the United States, committed within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, was thrown out.
TO HON. MR. BERRIEN, OF THE SENATE.
Washington, February 8th, 1842. MY DEAR SIR:
I feel it my duty to lay before you, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, some considerations applicable to the present state of the Criminal Code of the United States. It is very grossly defective, and rarely does a single term of the Circuit Court occur, where a case is not presented which is wholly unprovided for by any law. The Act of 1790, ch. 36, was so defective as almost to amount to a dispensation from public criminal justice. The Crimes Act of 1825, ch. 276, was designed to cure some of the more important defects in the Act of 1790, ch. 36. That Act, as I know, contains only twenty-six sections out of a bill con. sisting of more than seventy sections, which was drawn from a careful revision of the Criminal Code of England and especially from the Criminal Law Consolidation Acts of Sir Robert Peel. The bill of seventy sections passed, I think, twice in the Senate, but was always passed over by the House of Representatives, from a supposed want of time to examine it. The Act of 1825, ch. 276, was then selected from the larger bill in the hope that from its being comparatively short, it might be passed, and it was passed, to cure some of the more important defects. These are the two principal Acts, although not the only ones, which now regulate the administration of criminal justice.
I know of but two ways by which the very great defects in our criminal Jurisprudence can be remedied. One is to authorize a general revisal and consolidation of all our criminal laws, not now entirely consistent with each other in their enactments. The other is, by some general provision extending the Common Law generally to all offences committed on