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stood in the way of attaining their object! Upon the whole, therefore, it appears, that this doctrine of the irrepealability of laws derives no consideration from the consequences which naturally flow from it.
Having exhausted so great a portion of the time and attention of the committee, in discussing the constitutional question, which has been made the cardinal point in the debate, I propose to confine myself to very few observations upon the expediency of the contemplated repeal. I take it for granted, that the former judicial system was competent to the discharge of all the judicial business in the United States; but if that should be denied, I think it demonstrable from the document before the committee. The gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. Bayard,) has intimated a doubt whether the President acted correctly, in favoring us with the document. I shall only observe in reply, that the constitution imposes a duty upon the President, from time to time, to give to Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration, such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. The number of suits in the courts of the United States must always be very small, from the limited objects of their jurisdiction; this will appear by reading the second section of the third article of the constitution, limiting their jurisdiction. The whole expense of the existing system is one hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars, of which forty thousand or fifty thousand dollars may be attributable to the new system; the estimates differing between these two
Whether the expense be estimated, either according to the service to be rendered, or by comparison with any other system, it appears to me to be
I have examined the document before us, by way of ascertaining the relative view of expense and service, and also the competency of the former system to the discharge of the business. I would not, however, be responsible for precise clerical accuracy, my addition, which has also been deemed a subject
worthy of criticism against the President of the United States. But if it be within twenty-five per centum of being correct, it will demonstrate, first, that the former courts were competent to the business; second, that the number of causes bears no proportion to the expense of the institution. .
I will present to the view of the committee, the whole number of causes instituted at the respective sessions of the courts, from the spring of 1796 to the spring of 1801. I have fixed upon the year 1796, because the business began then to increase under the influence of the British treaty.
In all the circuit courts of the United States, except Maryland and Tennessee, the whole number of causes, of every description, instituted in the spring of 1796, was two hundred and ninety-four ; fall, one hundred and ninety-two—1797, spring, four hundred and eightyone; fall, three hundred and ninety-seven-1798, spring, three hundred and twenty-five; fall, three hundred and ninety-seven-1799, spring, seven hundred and three, exclusive of ninety-eight criminal prosecutions in Pennsylvania; fall, four hundred and fifty-five-1800, spring, four hundred and fifty-one, seventy criminal prosecutions in Pennsylvania; fall
, three hundred and fiftyfive-1801, spring, three hundred and fifty. Making the common calculation of suits settled between the parties without trial, dismissions, abatements, &c. &c. and it will appear, that the whole number of judgments against solvent persons, would hardly compensate the expense of the institution. It also appears, that the number of causes left to be tried, could easily be decided by the six former judges.
Upon looking over the number of suits in the eastern circuit, it appears to me strange, that the members representing that part of the country, should insist upon increasing the expense of the system, wnen the courts have there scarcely any business to attend to; and that gentlemen in the southern states, where the business is greater, should be willing to lessen the expense.
I never heard the smallest complaint in the state I represent, respecting the incompetency of the former courts to discharge the business in that state. I believe they have always gone through the docket, whenever they attended, and as far as my own observations go, that is the fact. It appears strange to me, that the new courts and new expenses should be called for in other parts of the United States, when the old courts are competent to the business in that state, where the business has been considerably more than in any other state, although it is now very much declined, and probably will decline still more. In the courts of Maine, West Pennsylvania, West Virginia and West Tennessee, no suit at all had been instituted in June last.
Under the view of the subject thus presented, I consider the late courts as useless and unnecessary, and the expense, therefore, is to me highly objectionable. I do not consider it in the nature of a compensation, for there is no equivalent rendition of service. I cannot help considering it as a tribute for past servicesas a tribute for the zeal displayed by these gentlemen in supporting principles which the people have denounced. I think the federal maxim always was. millions for defence, not a cent for tribute.' I cannot consent to tax the people even one cent, as a tribute to men who disrespect their principles.
Another objection I have to the new organization of the courts, is, their tendency to produce a gradual demolition of state courts, by multiplying the number of courts, increasing their jurisdiction, making bonds or obligatory bills assignable, with the privilege of bringing suits in the name of the assignee, &c. &c. or, as gentlemen say, bringing federal justice to every man's door; the state courts will be ousted of their jurisdiction, which, I think by no means a desirable
Under this consideration alone, and under the conviction I feel of the inutility of the courts, I shall vote for the repeal.
Upon the whole view of the subject, feeling the firmest conviction, that there is no constitutional impediment in the way of repealing the act in question, upon the most fair and candid interpretation of the constitution; believing, that principles advanced in opposition, go directly to the destruction of the fundamental principle of the constitution, the responsibility of all public agents to the people; that they go to the establishment of a permanent corporation of individuals invested with ultimate, censorial and controling power over all the departments of the government, over legis. lation, execution and decision, and irresponsible to the people; believing that these principles are in direct hostility with the great principle of representative government; believing that the courts, formerly established, were fully competent to the business they had to perform, and that the present courts are useless, unnecessary and expensive; believing, that the supreme court has heretofore discharged all the duties assigned to it, in less than one month in the year, and that its duties could be performed in half that time; considering the compensations of the judges to be amongst the highest, given to any of the highest officers of the United States, for the services of the whole year; considering the compensations of all the judges greatly exceeding the services assigned them, as well as considering all the circumstances attending the substitution of the new system for the old one, by increasing the number of judges, and compensations, and lessening their duties by the distribution of the business into a greater number of hands, &c.—-whilst acting under these impressions, I shall vote against the motion now made for striking out the first section of the repealing bill.
SPEECH OF JAMES A. BAYARD,
THE JUDICIARY BILL,
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
UNITED STATES, FEBRUARY 19, 1802.*
In committee of the whole, Mr. Bayard spoke as follows:
MR. CHAIRMAN, I must be allowed to express my surprize at the course pursued by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Giles,) in the remarks which he has made on the subject before us. I had expected that he would have adopted a different line of conduct. I had expected it as well from that sentiment of magnanimity which ought to have been inspired by a sense of the high ground he holds on the floor of this House, as from the professions of a desire to conciliate, which he has so repeatedly made during the session. We have been invited to bury the hatchet, and brighten the chain of peace. We were disposed to meet on middle ground. We had assurances from the gentleman that he would abstain from reflections on the past, and that his only wish was that we might unite in future in promoting the welfare of our common country. We confided in the gentleman's sincerity, and cherished the hope, that if the divisions of party were
* See page 126.