Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

The traverser states, that under the auspices of the President our credit is reduced “ so low as to borrow money at 8 per cent. IN TIME OF PEACE.' Is this true ?-Do you believe it? You well know that the very expense incurred, upon which the loan is made, is in consequence of the conduct of France. Is there no war? no hostilities? Has not France plundered us to the amount of millions? Have we not of late been defending ourselves, and taken sone of their armed vessels, and is this PEACE? Alihough there has been no formal declaration of war, yet actual hostilities have taken place ; and to call this peace is not true, and the traverser must know it to be untrue.

Judge Chase passed over that part of the publication relating to projected embassies to Prussia, Russia, and the Sublime Porte, as matters of no consequence, and proceeded to that part of the publication which charged the President with interfering “ to influence the decisions of a court of justice."

Although this is to be considered as a mere sketch of the Judge's charge, and very inferior to it in point of language, yet in substance we believe we have been correct. His enquiry into the case of Thomas Nash, heretofore called Jonathan Robbins, contained an important judicial decision on that case, delivered in the most clear, correct, and precise manner. He stated the case-ihat Jonathan Robbins, whose real name appears to have been Thomas Nash, was charged with piracy and murder committed on board the British armed ship the Hermione that Nash was in America, and the British Minister made a requisition to the President that he should be delivered up the question then occurs, whether the President was obliged by treaty or law to deliver him up ? If so, the charge of interference to influence the decisions of a

court

court of justice is without foundation. This question then is to be enquired into. The requisition of the British Minister was made in consequence of mutual stipulations agreed on in the British treaty, that either of the contracting parties 6 will deliver up to justice, all persons who being charged with murder or forgery comınitted within the jurisdiction of either, shall seek an asylum within any of the countries of the other, provided this shall only be done on such evidence of criminality, as, according to the laws of ihe place where the fugitive or person so charged shall be found, would justify his apprehension and commitment for trial, if the offence had been there committed." The Judge considered the reason why this stipulation was introduced into the treaty, and observed that the one crime was an offence against the laws of God and man, and ought never to be committed with impunity—that the other was an offence which affected all commercial countries, and should always meet' with its proper punishment. Nash, then, was charged with murder committed on board a British armed ship. All countries have two kinds of jurisdiction; the one territorial, which is confined to the territories of the country; the other personal, which extends to their subjects in their armed ships on the ocean; all nations have this personal jurisdiction, and the reason is plain, for all countries are answerable for their citizens on the ocean ; unless it were so, crimes cominitted on board of armed ships would go unpunished, for no other country can claim jurisdiction. Nash, then, charged with having committed murder within the juris iction of Great Britain, and, on judicial exaarnation, such evidence of criminality appeared, as, acci.rding to the laws of this country, would justify his commitment for trial. if the offence had been here comunitted, was required by the British

Minister

Minister to be delivered' up by the government of the United States, which, by the mutual stipulauon contained in the treaty, is agreed upon, and this country bound to deliver him. But who is the proper person to deliver up the fugitive or person described in the article of the treaty? Does not the President of the United States represent this country with foreign powers ? If so, this measure solely belongs to the President of the United States, and not to the judiciary-it belongs to him, and him alone, and no court of justice can try or have jurisdiction over the offence of murder committed on board a British armed ship. Thus, then, in doing an act which the President was by law bound to do, of which a court of justice had no cognizance, the President is charged “ with an interference to influence the decisions of a court of justice." The Judge thought no charge could be more prejudicial to his character than this. Your safety, Gentlemen, said Judge Chase, greatly depends upon the independence of the judiciary. A judge, unless he acts corruptly, is alone answerable to his God and his conscience, and an attempt of the President to interfere or control his decisions, would be a high crime indeed.-Can you doubt it? But the President is charged with this crime, and with very aggravated circumstances attending it; that he interfered to influence the decisions of a court of justice, without precedent, against law and against inerty. What meaning does this convey to every reader? It is published by the traverser, that Nash was an American, not only an American, but a native citizen of America, delivered up" without precedent, against luw, and against Mercy,”—and that this native citizen of America was “ forcibly impressed by the British,and by the President delivered upto the mock trial of a British court-martial.”—This case is published in a manner greatly

to

you believe it,

to aggravate the offence, and is calculated to rouse the feelings of every American; for, there can be no charge of a more heinous nature against the President of the United States, and the manner in which it is made, is well calculated to operate on the passions of Americans, and I fear it has already done it. It appears, then, that this is a charge on the President, not only false and scandalous, but with intent to bring him into contempt and disrepute, and excite against him the hatred of the people of the United States, for if it will have this effect upon your minds. Indeed, this appears to have been the intent of the publisher, and the publication seems to have been designed to have an effect on the people previous to the approaching election, for the publication makes a further remark on the conduct of the President in the case of Nash, " a case,” says the traverser, too little known, but of which the people ought to be fully apprized BEFORE THE ELECTION, and they shall be." The Judge observed, that the traverser - should prove all he published to be true, or he would fail; he should prove that the President did interfere to influence the decisions of a court of justice that Nash, otherwise called Jonathan Robbins, was a native citizen of America, that he was impressed forcibly by the British, and that the interference of the President was against law. He fails if he does not prove that there is a standing arıny in this country, and each of the charges which he makes against the President-if he asserts three things, and proves but one, he fails ; if he proves but two, he fails. The Judge thought the traverser had displayed great novelty in his defence. He states that he has published this handbill, and all that he has said is true ; if you are of that opinion, you will acquit him ; or if you believe he has published it without malice or intent to defame the

President

President of the United States, you will acquit him. The Judge closed with directing the Jury, that it was with them to decide; they were to find the publication, and the intent, whether proved or justified.

The Jury found the prisoner GUILTY, and he was sentenced to pay a fine of four hundred dollars, and to be imprisoned six months amongst the felons in Philadelphia jail !

EMIGRATION SOCIETY. In my notes on Priestley's Charity Sermon for the benefit of Poor Einigrants (see Vol. IX. at the close), I have mentioned some facts relative to this, and other similar institutions. I shall here insert an address to the public, from the Emigration Society of Philadelphia, which I beg the English reader to peruse with great attention, “ The Philadelphia Society for the information and

assistance of Persons emigrating from Foreign Countries, having become a Corporate Body, and desirous so excellent an Institution should become extensively useful, have resolved the following Ad. dress be presented to the Public.

“ TO relieve distress, and to lessen the ills of life, from whatever cause they may arise, is a conduct worthy of every virtuous and benevolent mind; but it is more or less praise-worthy, in proportion as the objects of our regard are destitute, or otherwise. If this be so, can any objects have a stronger claim upon public benevolence than those for whose benefit this Society was instituted, viz. distressed Emigrants from foreign countries, who, if there were no such institution, would probably

« PředchozíPokračovat »