« ForrigeFortsæt »
PROFESSORIAL AND JUDICIAL LIFE.
CASE OF EX PARTE CHRISTY - LETTERS ON THE ANNEXATION OF
TEXAS — REPORT OF MASSACHUSETTS ON THE EXPULSION OF MR. HOAR FROM South CAROLINA — LETTER ON THE RHODE ISLAND CONTROVERSY DICKENS'S CHRISTMAS CHIMES — DEATH OF JUDGE PRESCOTT LETTER OF JUDGE PRESCOTT — PROPOSES TO RESIGN HIS SEAT ON THE BENCH — Reasons — LETTERS RELATING TO IT LETTER WRITTEN ON THE RESIGNATION OF Hon. JOSIAH QUINCY AS PRESIDENT OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY DONATIONS OF MY FATHER TO THE UNIVERSITY - EXTRACT FROM A REPORT ON THE LAW SCHOOL AND HIS DONATIONS, BY CHARLES SUMNER, Esq. — PROPOSITION TO ERECT HIS STATUE BY THE MERCHANTS OF BOSTON SUBSTITUTION BY MY FATHER OF A PROFESSORSHIP OF COMMERCIAL LAW.
The winter found my father again at Washington in attendance upon the Supreme Court, and the following letter gives an account of the case of Ex parte Christy, (3 Howard's R. 292,) decided at this term.
TO WILLIAM W. STORY, ESQ.
Washington, January 1st, 1845. DEAR WILLIAM:
I wish you and Emelyn and Edith a happy new year, this being the first day, and a holiday it has been to us all in this city. Both Houses of Congress and the Court adjourned over until to-morrow, and thousands crowded to the “ White House” to pay their respects to the President, and to gaze at each other and exchange there and elsewhere mutual congratulations. It is here somewhat like new year's day in New York, a day for fun and frolic, and conviviality, but it wants the spirit and vivacity which give it a peculiar relish there.
We are going on in the Court slowly, but steadily. We have one hundred and fisty cases, all of which are for argument, and after one month we find ourselves just at No. 29. You may judge, therefore, that we are not likely to make a decisive impression upon the docket. Yesterday I delivered the opinion of the Court in a great Bankrupt case from New Orleans, embracing the question of the nature and extent of the jurisdiction of the District Court in matters of bankruptcy. It was an elaborate review of the whole statute, and we sustained the jurisdiction of the District Court over all matters whatsoever, and recognized (as indeed was one of the points) the right of the Court to grant an injunction to proceedings and suits in the State courts. The opinion covers the whole ground in Ex parte Foster, and also in the New Hampshire cases which have been so stoutly contested in the State courts.
I took great pains about it, and the Court fully confirmed all my views. Judge Catron alone dissented. Very truly and affectionately yours,
During this session, the annexation of Texas was debated and carried in Congress. While the question was yet pending, a Convention was held in Massachusetts to consider what action should be taken upon it, which was attended by a large number of the most able men in the State. After two days' earnest discussion, in the course of which many eloquent and vigorous speeches were made, an address to Congress drawn up with great ability, and in which the hand of Mr. Webster was plainly visible, was unanimously passed by the Convention. In this address the annexation of Texas is protested against as a violation of the Constitution of the United States, and a new sanction to the extension and perpetuation of slavery. In these proceedings my father was deeply interested, and his thorough approval of the grounds taken by this Convention will appear in the following letters. His judicial position alone prevented him from taking an active part in opposition to the measure. He considered it to be a violation of the whole spirit of the Constitution as well as its express provisions ; as calculated to carry the slave-holding power to an extent never contemplated in the establishment of this government; and as an attempt to enlarge an enormous evil, which was as unjustifiable in policy as in morals.
TO WILLIAM W. STORY, ESQ.
Washington, January 25th, 1845. DEAR WILLIAM :
The vote on the Texas question will probably be put today, and I entertain little doubt that in some shape it will pass. As usual the Northern and Middle States will be divided; the South will unite. Pray, do not ask me how all these things are brought about. I should blush to put on
belief is. There are ample means to accomplish any ends in power and patronage, "&c. &c. &c." and Lord Coke has told us that, “ &c. &c.” are signs full of meaning in the law. I think they have a still more pregnant meaning out of the law.
This government is becoming daily more and more corrupt; and the decline and fall of the American Republic will not be less a matter of history in an age or two at farthest, than that of other republics whose fate is recorded in past annals. However, the present crisis will soon be forgotten and forgiven by the people; and we shall go on as we may, until by some convulsion we come to a full stop. When that will be I pretend not to prophesy; you may live to be a witness of it. I am glad of your renewed health.
renewed health. You must take good care and cherish it, for sad experience has taught me, that if it is once fairly lost it can scarcely be fully regained. Nulla vestigia retrorsum, is the motto on many overworked constitutions and brains.
We are going on quietly in the Court, with very few causes of any real permanent interest. But there are some worth talking about, when we meet. I think that the Court will adjourn about the beginning of March; and when they do, I shall bid farewell to Washington with a light and buoyant spirit.
Give my love to Emelyn and Edith, and to Mary also, when you see her. I suppose that she is too intent on her household affairs to find time to write me.
Yours, most affectionately,
TO SIMON GREENLEAF, ESQ.
Washington, January 4th, 1845.
MY DEAR SIR:
I have been not a little vexed with the division among the Whigs in Boston. It argues ill for our future prospects, and I could ill afford at this moment to have our strength impaired, or union broken. I sympathized sincerely with the Native Americans in their first movements, because foreign influences have become most mischievous among us; but I am now persuaded that the party have ulterior views, and feeling their strength, are determined to use it, per fas aut nefas, for their own ambitious, if not sectarian purposes.
The Texas question is now before Congress. Opinions change every day, as to whether it will be annexed or not. One day it is said it will be, the next that it will not. My belief is, that the whole Democratic party will ultimately go for it, so unscrupulous and reckless, and disciplined for party action it is, and will continue to be. In the Senate, the question is doubtful, but it depends upon one or two votes; and what hope can be placed upon them, with such various influences, of which I will not speak, to bear upon them? If Texas is annexed, as I believe it will be, we owe it to the Abolitionists, and to the miserable time-servers in the North, who fawn and crouch to the South, and love whatever crumbs fall from their table. Give my kindest regards to Mrs. G. and believe me truly,
TO HON. STEPHEN C. PHILLIPS.
Washington, February 5th, 1845. MY DEAR SIR:
I have but a moment to write you to say, that I have read in the last newspaper which reached us from Boston, the Address to the people of the United States by the late State Convention. I think it a very masterly composition, and written in the right tone and spirit, becoming our ancient Commonwealth and our political principles. I hope it will be printed in a pamphlet form, so that it may circulate freely and be capable of preservation. Believe me, truly and respectfully,
Your obliged friend,
TO MRS. JOSEPH STORY.
Washington, February 9th, 1845. MY DEAR WIFE:
What could be more disgraceful than the rejoicings in Boston on the vote for Texas in the House of