Wednesday, March 11, 1801

Adams Centinel

Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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The Adams Centinel (Newspaper) - March 11, 1801, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania pi ams N J O WEDNESDAY n, 1801. Vol. I. OUR GUIDE----THE PUBLIC GOOD, OUK A1M.- T E DEBA ON THE Sedition (Continued from our laft.) MR. BAYARD In __ PRESUME, however, Sir. I (hall be told by the gentleman, chat vain bu the tafk for him to applv to this Iv.ufe to prefer an impeachment againft the judges, or if that could be accomplished, to carry the impeai.ii- raent before the Senate, becaufe a ma- }ofity of both houfes are governed by tlie fame party fpint w'uich prevails up- on the bench. This devclopes the na- ture of the complaint. The judges and a, majority of the two houfes are not cf the gentleman's party, they differ in opinion, thev differ in conduct. I have iio doubt of the fmccrity of the gentle- man, and that he believes himfelf right on the other hand, we as con- fciencioufly confider ourfelves right, and that the error is on the fide of that gentleman, and thus it is that we re- gard as our virtues what he charges as crimes. I am novvi Mr. Chairman, to take notice of an objection which has often been the fubject of difcuffion upon the floor of this houfe, We sre told, Sir, ihat the act in queftion is unconfhtuti- onal, that Congrefs IMS no power to pafs fuch a law, it ought to be enough to fay on this {object, that all the judges of rhe United have affirmed the constitutionality of the law. The au- thority of fuch judicial decifioi) J know v.'iil be little refpected by many, as within as beyond thefe wails. perhaps the tafk is vain to attempt to convince by argument, thofe whom fuch an authority does not influence.- It is not my intention to enter largely Into this point, but briefly to flate the principal ground on which I confider the law as bottomed. When the go- vernment of the United States was created, it was defigned to continue, is the government of the people they willed it into being, and have the pow- er of willing it out of exiftence. Suf- fer them to be lead into the opinion that the government is corrupt and prodicrate, that its power is abu'Vu with defipiis fatal to the geneial w el far-', and the power which gave. It. biri.h, will loon accomplish its luin, If, Sir, i he vilefi and mo (I beft blood, is now reprobated and ex- ploded. That common law which was the cradle of our rights, without which "we fhoulcl not have known the name of liberty, nor ever tailed of us bleffinss, is now denounced as an gine of tyranny and oppreilion. This i'o renowned for the of it-; irjflirutions, the parent of ihe trial by jury, that palladium of civil i, t _ 1 1 fc L 1' V> J j J i l falfeliooiSs may be uttered againlt the j arid uohtital rights, is new treated by government with impunity if rra- j tliem as an enemy of our freedom, duction however abominable ami fU- i gitiaus, is liable to punillinicnt, :s :t puiFible for the government to retain the confidence of the people It is idle to fay that truth will follow and counteract faHVhood. The evil will be complete before the remedy arrives my part. 1 arn perfuaded that no free can fubfift which has not the power of its calum power I confider as delegated to the general government by the provifton in the 8th feetion of the firft article of the Conftitution, which gives to Congrefs the power of making all laws neceffary or proper for carrying into execution all the powers veiled in the government or any department or officer thereof. Without retaining the confidence of the people, it is impofiible for i'tie go- vernment to carry into execution any one of'its powers. Belk-vii'p. fore thst a falfe and in its nature is calculated apd ro weaken the government, by cky.i. it of the contidence the Confidering that whatever wanc-os, tends to" difable the government from carrying its powers into execution, and that we have a right to law nccc'I'ary or proper line, I am not Iurprized at the ci.vnor svhich has beea raifed on this fubject. To me there is no myftery in the oppolition. It is not that the common law has loft its ancient vir- tues or ts character, but that a party arc unwiling that the general govern- ment fhculd be clothed in its armor. Is not th: common law at this moment the law cf the United it not adrnniitered daily in the (late j courts, ard cherifned as the belt irea- fure of thi country The queftion is not whetjer the common law exills among u-, but whether it belongs to the courts of the United States, as well as to thoe of the {tales. We have been prefed with the queftion, at perbd cf time we a flamed ilu: common and under what modili- cftablifhment of the ConfUtution ac- tracted the jurifdiction of the common When the courts have cognizance, the posvcrs of the common law are not exprefsly delegated, hut admitted by'cation ard con enri that by nn implication of fhp f.iirr.- na- ture, the e.hablilhmcnt of a runepi conferred upon its courts the ouimary jut ifu'.ctionsof the common law, fulted to the nature of the government, I do not mean to go beyond the pofition, that the eflablifhment of a govern- ment by neceffary implication, gives a right to punifn. ail offences im- mediately injurious fo that government, and having a right to puiulh fuch of- fences, the courts affume the jiiriiciic- tion and the rules of proceeding at common law. Wrc are afked, Sir, how we got ihe common Our ancaf- tors, when thev colonized the coun- trv, brought it wuh thrm from Thtv took no gland. than what luited the part did or did not extend to the i1 try was left to the judiciary to fettle as cafes arolc. So 1 lay that no tm.uc of" of the common law applies to the fe- deral government, than v, hat is necet- fary to its wants and to its cations. This qucltion I final! aniwrr natures, but how much that is. cxperi- frccly, becaufe 1 iim fenftbic of no bai-rafl'iTiciitontlic fubj'.-cb 'Hay, Sn, that v. e the for c- and not to pcnfli from any effential defects. Wkalcrer is neceffliry to main- tain its inuji be Lawful. The preiervation of the government I of the country, I fhall deem it impro- muft ever be a confuleration predomi- I per to detain the attention of the corn- It is folly to af- I mittee longer on the fuhject. thofc powers into execution, it appears j to me a clear deduction that v.'C have a power to punilli libels againft the government. It is not my intention to proceed further upon this point. I am of the difleient topics connected with it, but conndering that it: has been on different occafions fully difcuffcd, and aifo decided by the judicial authority lawv in. uie epoch u! ike ranlkntion of the cerifti- I tiuion, as u v.-as 'mod.iied by ihe laws the ftates. Ir is no objcc- I tion rj.aL in iuch caie the law will n--t be uniform it is not uniform in the country from which we borrow it. It is varied by partial flatutes'and by ufages f.n-'l cuttoms. But if we give up the common law, fhall we have a uniform law of the United States? The only conicquence will be. that the common law under all the ftate modifications will be administered in the i-ate courts, and net in the courts of the United States. L'r.e courts ro deo- -hcv u> ar- moral- is lo m r nant over all others. It is folly firm that it was not the original de- fign to endow the government with the means of fclf-prefervation, as it wouici be fully to aifitrn that it was i created, in ordtr to expire. T his go- vernment and all free governrriems, depend not in theory only, but in tact, upon the opinion of the people for their ftipport. Corrupt or alienate that opinion, and the fcrndatiou of the go- vernment is fubvertcd. Give me leave. Sir, to Efk a queflion, which 1 addrcls to ihe molt ieriuus j confidcraiioa uf the comrriiiu-e If the common law does not prevail in j I {hall now, Sir, be allowed to en- quire what will be the effect of fuffer- ing the fedition act to expire. It is plain, that the conference will be, that the offences deHiacd in the act become liable to the punifhincnts of the common law. At common law the puoifhment depends upon the clif- j tion cretion of the by act of tha Ccngrcis the pnnifnmcnt is limited as well as to tl'c fine as to ihe irnprifon- iTisnr. And ir will alfo be rerncmber- To nrotecl the public opinion from j error is to defend the bafis of the go- ed that at common law, the truth cf vernment. In a deipotic government, j the fa ft charged as a liijtl, rqnm.t be which is maintained by force and railed above the public will, a common libel is 'carcely an offence. But in a free Hate the aggravation of the crimcarifcs from its powerful operation and injuri- ous confequenccs. The punifhtnent of a libel is render- Ing a piece of juitice immediately due to the people. It is the people who arc abufed and impofed on by falfe pub- lications. In fact, a libel is intended fraudulently to cheat the people out of their honed opinions. It is defigned to transfer their confidence from good to bad men, ar.d oftentimes to fcduce them into aofs which may be followed by the lofs of their properties ami their lives. The peuylc are the fovcrcign. A libel on the is giving falfe to the Sovereign, of ihe conduct "1 public fervants. i The oiU'iiCw- is therefore agaiaft the Tl.c g-j- d given ;n it is a good defence, 'ffa? by the avt it is that the aft ameliorates anri improves the common lasv, and inijfh certainly preferred by tixfc who confidc-r the ia--V as the law of 'he United States. Bur. Sir, 1 {hull not affect ro difguife the knowledge which I have, that there are many gen- tlemen, nay A party in the country who deny that the common law belongs to the general government. On this fubject the committee will indulge me a fhort time its magnitude renders it worthy of their attention. I know that it is the practice of fome gentlemen to declaim with great violence againft the aclmifTion of the principle, that the common law is the law of the United States. That com- mon IdW which was once cnr and our folace, in defence "f which our aaccflors were ready to {hcd thvif the courts of rheUnilt-il by what law are the judges governed 1 hey have expteis juvifdiction in a yieat numb-cr of cafes civil as as crimi- nal. In fuch cafes in which the fiate courts are governed by the common law, the judges of the United Stales courts are without law. 11 mult follow then that the difcre- i the jucltie is the o'.xlv pnnciplr. eitiaii.s him. Is huh the dof> trii.e of trie advocates freedom I i havj bctti al vv avs taaahL and ed to i.-ciicve t'.ut law there j was no iibcity. And i have always Unw need lhau the necdh'ty of huniiin rhinus icfi fo much, in all cafes, to tl-.e i discretion of the courr. I could wifh fi ice onr lives and properties depend S nuire upon fettled rule, and lefs upon i ihicluaung will. The difcrction of the a great man, is the law of ic is always uncertain it depends up- j en constitution, temper and pailion jn the beft, it is oftentimes caprice in the woi ft, it is every vice, wtakne.fs ar.d folly, to which human natuie is liable." I give the fcmimcntas it oc- curs to rny pei haps I am correct as to the language. I know that fjme have gone fo far as to admit that where the have cognizance, common law is adopt- ed. This, in my opinion, abandons the m-iii ground "t" argument. If tl-t; cogtsixanctf of ti.c couvts at- tracis the rules of the common law, with en-.jl leaf-jn snuy it be faid the ncc alone can point i-ur alone aicertain. If it is pesfiible for gen' the i clouht of their tempt tociy down re'1- 'iy. iu? dclign in rne as evident as the lig Ic is a part of that fyfixm fo long anu fo unrcmitingly purfued, winch has for its object the reduction of the powers of the general government. This go- vernment has no power which is not occafionally queftinntd and denied. The defign is to exalt the fbie governments to dtbcjfe the general government, I fhould rather fay to exalt the govern- ment of Virginia, at the expencc of the federal compact. This Icheinr, fo deeply planned and fo long concealed, will f'jon he unveiled, and the citizens of th-.'fe Races difcover that the about and the cry of Arifiocracy, have been -inly a cloak of fiate and individual amhitinn.- thc Reprefyiitative uf a ! State, have lujeu of t flaxrt -A'e in the: fjcneru.l rnnru nr i iorni of c.-.-.'-U of L ilat I have laboured to fu'iport the f eneri'ies and powers ot ptinci- an attrmpr made to :m c uit-ic II: n GOD will ro 1, the orher cmnniou ir.cnr, but i neve; infiiunions with pk-. I tiow fee, u her t he linev.-r, rncnt, to (trip it of rvery r.ervt'. to ton. The attcftipt f fuccceJ. i ftrri ready with an eloquent i_ vnircr i of the water, the is rhe. charrc-r our exjft'-Ticej the banner under flionld ral- si is the fl'ig we nail to nirift of ihe confhitution, and go down with the vefl'c.1 rather ihan itrikc it.'" Gentlemen have, ,-nTcftfrl r.o tnat It is a novel docirinf., t'hat corrimon Law :s fh.- law of ihe U. S. I mean to (hew Sir that the doctrine is as old as the conit'turion, thar it is to be found in it and in the firll: ju.-Mcia! pa fled under it. It is n.oviclcd in the article of the amem'.ments to the concluded frage.) NEWSPAPERflRCHI

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