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SENATE.]

Post Office Department.--Fort Delaware.— The Indians.

[Feb. 12, 14, 15, 1831.

take that the people are laughing at the wit, when, in fact,

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12. they are laughing at the author.

After disposing of some private bills and other morning Again: The same Senator, in another note, has stated businessthat by Mr. Bradley's evidence it appeared that when he left

The eclipse having reached the greatest obscuration of the department there were forty-two clerks, a large ma- the sun about this time, and the Senate appearing indisjority of whom were opposed to the present administra- posed to go on with businesstion, and that he was authorized to say that but three clerks

A motion was made and carried to adjourn. had been removed by the present Postmaster General. Authorized! How? “Never heard him” (the Postmas

Monday, FEBRUARY 14. ter General) “express or intimate a wish or opinion upon the subject,” and yet he is "authorized” to say this. The

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN laid on the table the following

resolution: public would have been better satisfied that the Senator had not been in close connexion with the Postmaster Ge

Resolved, That the President of the United States be neral during this investigation, if he had informed them required to inform the Senate whether the provisions of from whom he received this authority. Mr. Bradley is the act entitled “ An act to regulate trade and intercourse still under examination, and thus far no such fact appears tiers,” passed the 30th March, 1802, have been fully com

with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the fronas is stated in this note. When Mr. Bradley's examination is closed, we shall see the substance of his testimony: and, if they have not, that he inform the Senate of the rea

plied with on the part of the United States' Government; As it now stands, no such fact is proved, and this report of the testimony, on this point, is about as premature as sons that have induced the Government to decline the enthe rest of that Senator's facts and reasonings. Thus far, forcement of the said act. it does appear, that when Mr. Barry took the office, of the

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. forty-three clerks seventeen were believed to have been for The Senate resumed the resolution of Mr. GRUSDI, as General Jackson, twenty-one for Mr. Adams, and five neu- modified by Mr. Livingston. trals; that, since that time, several have been removed; and Mr. HOLMES, being in possession of the floor, then rose, that all the principal officers, including the two Assistant and observed, that though he fancied himself well prePostmasters General and the chief clerk, have been re-pared to go on with the discussion on the sulject of the moved. So the evidence now stands. Is it possible that inquiry, yet, as he had been given to understand that the a member of a committee of inquiry of the United States' gentlemen on the other side were quite willing that the Senate into the conduct of a United States' officer, has discussion should here, for the present, have an end, he reported to the Senate and the world the testimony of a was not indisposed to adopt that course, as he believed witness befcre it was finished, accompanied by a declara- enough had already been said by himself and the chairman tion of the offices accused as proof of his innocence? of the special committee (Mr. CLAYTON] to convince the

One word more in reply to what the Senator did not gentlemen that they were on the wrong side. (No, no, say. He did not threaten lis with the interposition of the from Mr. GRUNDY.] Well, then, continued Mr. Holmes, President to suppress this inquiry. No such language as if we let the discussion here drop, I can assure the gentlethis was used, or, if used, was not heard by Mr. H., viz. “I man it is not because we are not well prepared for the subhave said that I thought that neither the Senate nor the ject on our side, for I myself have taken some pains to committee have the constitutional right to make this de prepare myself, and have no doubt but I might be able to mand. Should the Chief Magistrate think so, of one thing enlighten the gentlemen something further in a good round I am certain, that he who never suffered his own private speech, if they were so inclined; but I shall content inyrights, or the rights of his country, to be invaded, will not self, since it seems to be the opinion that the matter has permit an encroachment upon the right of his official sta- been, on both sides, sufficiently discussed, by moving that

Here is a plain and unequivocal avowal of the the resolution be laid or the table, with the understandpower of the President to suppress an inquiry of the Sewing that the sense of the Senate, without further discusnate into the official conduct of the Postmaster General; sion, be taken on it to-morrow at one o'clock. The motion and, had it been spoken and heard in the Senate, Mr. H. prevailed. would have been umpardonable to let the speaker off without the severest animadversion of the President's pro

TUESDAY, FEBRUAU 15. hibition in this case, that Senator is “certain," and the in

FORT DELAWARE. ference is, of course, that he spcaks “by authority.” It would seem then that this resolution emanates from the Agrecably to notice yesterday given, Mr. CLAYTON palace, and is an injunction upon the Senate to stop their asked and obtained leave to report a bill for the relief of "encroachment upon the rights of his official station. In the officers and soldiers of Fort Delaware; which was twice brief, that the President has the right not only to shut the read, and referred. door of this department” against the Senate, but to suped that the officers and soldiers, during the conflagration

On introducing the bill, Mr. CLAYTON briefly remark. press even an outdoor inquiry.

It is moreover due to the chairman and to the people of of the fort, principally exerted themselves to save the
Maine, that one word should be added in regard to the re- public property, in consequence of which they had little
ported speech of the Senator from New Hampshire. Mr. or no time to save their own. No fire engine had been
II. was in the next seat to the chairman when the remark provided for the protection of property in case of fire, and
was made, which the Senator from New Hampshire con- the destruction was in consequence the greater. Under
strues into a charge of bribery, and he is sure that the these circumstances, he considered the in lividuals con-
chairman intimated no such thing. The two Senators from cerned entitled to relief.
New Hampshire and Tennessee had exultingly said that a

THE INDIANS.
verdict both in ‘Maine and New Hampshire in favor of the The resolution yesterday submitted by Mr. FRELIXG-
removals of the Postmaster General had been rendered. HUYSEX, was then taken up.
The answer was, that this very exercise of the removing Mr. BENTON objected to the form of the resolution,
power might sometimes influence a verdict; and the chair- and wished it so modified as to make the call more simple.
inan introduced the analogy of a verdict obtained by im. Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN was willing to modify, but
proper means, for no other purpose but to enforce and should have been pleased if the gentleman from Missouri
illustrate his position as to the general effect of Executive (had stated in what respect he desired the modification.
patronage on the elective franchise.

He could then be able to give a proper answer.

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tion.”

1

After a

Feb. 15, 1831.]

The Indians.

(SENATE.

few remarks from Mr. F. in favor of his resolution, and a 19th of December last, from Governor Blount to the Se. description of the views of the present Executive in rela- cretary of War, stating the avowal and daring designs of tion to the Indians,

certain persons to take possession of land belonging to the Mr. HOLMES addressed the Senate, and, in the course Cherokees, and which the United States have by treaty of his remarks, made allusion to the assumption of cer- solemnly guarantied to that nation. The injustice of such tain powers by the President on the Indian question, as intrusions, and the mischievous consequences which must encroaching on the legislative power and jurisdiction. necessarily result therefrom, demand that effectual provi

Mr. BELL asked for the yeas and nays on agreeing to sion be made to prevent them. the resolution, and they were ordered.

" GEORGE WASHINGTON." Mr. FORSYTH had hoped that the two Houses of Congress were done with the Indian discussion, more particu- intercourse are traced up to their head spring. We re

Here, said Mr. F., the principles and spirit of Indian larly as the matter had been brought before the Supreme joice to find their origin in the spirit of unbroken faith Court.

and sacred honor that sheds its radiance over this ExecuMr. NOBLE said a few words as to the oppressive na- tive document. Sir, this record of other times, now, ture of the laws of Georgia relative to the Indians within when to break faith with an Indian is construed down into that State, and made some reference to his vote of last something short of dishonor-now, when the clouds are session on this interesting question.

gathering over and around the hopes of these forsaken Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN said he had presented this re people at this gloomy epoch in their history, to look solution for the purpose of certainly ascertaining the views upon this solemn acknowledgment of all their rights as and purpose of the Executive in respect to the Indian a nation,” and our sacred obligations by "treaty,” and relations of the Government. We cannot, said Mr. F., under Washington's own hand, is a grateful subject for officially rely upon any report or information but that consolation. Would, sir, that General Jackson might be which comes to us under the official sanction of the Chief persuaded to put away from him all those hasty, ill-conMagistrate. And, sir, the Senate and the nation have a sidered counsels, that are leading him away from the right to know his policy. I am aware that the Secretary broad and luminous path of illustrious precedent. of War, in his report to the President, of December last,

But to proceed with the history. This message and has undertaken to dispose of the intercourse law of 1802, the letter were, in the first place, referred to the Commitby a very short process. He has, indeed, cut the gordian tee of the Whole House, and afterwards to a select comknot. He assumes the whole ground of the Indian con- mittee of sixteen members, composed of Mr. Hillhouse, troversy; takes as established, without argument or proof, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Findilay, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Franklin, the whole matter in issue, and then very gravely draws Mr. Henderson, Mr. Harper, Mr. White, Mr. Abiel Fosout the conclusion, that this law is unconstitutional, and ter, Mr. Dearborn, Mr. Malbone, Mr. Buck, Mr. Patten, ought not to be executed. He asserts the red men to be Mr. Milledge, Mr. Greenup, and Mr. Crabb. In the secitizens of the States, and inquires, as if surprised at the lection of this committee, we perceive the importance necessity of asking the question, whether a sovereign that was attached to the subject matter of General WashState bas not the right to legislate over all her citizens, ington's communication, and the principles that should white and red? Sir, he has not even undertaken to show regulate our Indian affairs. A committee of the first how the red men, the Cherokees, for example, became names in Congress, members from the different States, citizens of Georgia; and yet the suggestions of his report and Georgia of the number, took up the treaties made are put forth as a serious exposition of public law. with these tribes, and the duties, rights, and privileges

A brief reference to the provisions of this law, and the that grew out of our relations, and reported to Congress causes which led to its enactment, will shed very clear the first intercourse bill, which became a law in May, light upon its nature and obligation. Until the year 1796, 1796, and which, in all its material provisions, is now the the relations of the United States with the Indian tribes subsisting and unrepealed law of the land. chiefly rested upon the stipulations contained in our trea

These treaties, said Mr. F., had, amongst other things, ties made with these nations, and the principles of gene- traced and settled the boundary lines of territory between ral law. About the time first named, our Government the United States and the Indians. And in the few sec. considered this subject to be of sufficient importance to tions of this law, to which I shall invite the attention of the engross the distinct deliberation and legislation of Con- Senate, they will perceive that in the Congress of 1796, of gress, and accordingly, in the session of '96, the Congress 1799, and 'of 1802, the several periods when this law of the United States raised a committee on regulating came under public consideration, these boundaries specitrade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to pre tied in the treaties were recognised and adopted, and be. serve peace on the frontiers. While the matter was sub- came the governing line of territory, in the first section sisting before this committee, a communication was made of the bill. This law, like the treaties, runs the broad by the then President, (General Washington,) which, line between the State of Georgia and the Cherokees, and while it illustrates the character of that exalteıl statesman, recognises it as the boundary between separate and dis. affords a very valuable portion of history, that will refresh tinct nations between “citizens of the United States” the hearts and encourage the hopes of every friend of the and the Cherokees,” in specific and appropriate terms. Indians. After the treaties made by the United States No one of all the enlightened and exalted men who filled with the Cherokees in the years 1785 and 1791, usually the scats of power, and aided in the councils of the comknown by the names of the treaties of Hopewell and Hol

try in 1796, entertained the notion for a moment, that ston, intrusions were repeatedly meditated upon the terri- Georgia bad even the color of a claim to the property or tories of that nation, and Governor Blount, of thc territory persons of these tribes of free, and, as to her, indepen. south of the Ohio, in 1796, apprised President Washing- dent people, and they legislated concerning them accordton of these designs; upon which he addressed a message ingly. After thus fixing the boundary, the second section to Congress, as appears in the following extract from the of the law enacts, " that if any citizen of, or other person journals of the House of Representatives:

resident in, the United States, or either of the territorial “TUESDAY, February 2, 1796.-A message in writing districts of the United States, shall cross over or go within was received from the President of the United States, by the said boundary line to hunt, &c., or shall drive or otherMr. Dandridge, his secretary, as followeth:

wise convey any stock of horses or cattle to range on any “UNITED STATES, February 2, 1796. lands allotted or secured by treaty with the United States “Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representa- to any Indian tribes, he shall forfcit a sum not exceeding tives: I transmit herewith a copy of a letter, dated the one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned not exceeding six

SENATE.]

Post Office Department.

[Feb. 15, 1831.

months.

And by the fourth section it is further enacted, shall be so construed as to extend to white females, and that if any such citizen or other person shall go into any all male children under twenty years of age.” town, settlement, or territory belonging o: secured by Sir, said Mr. F., the crisis has arrived, when this conflict treaty with the United States, to any nation or tribe of must be decided. Here is direct repugnancy between the Indians, and shall there commit robbery, larceny, trespass, legislation of the United States, and that of Georgia. or other crime, against the person or property of any where is the Executive arm of the General Government friendly Indian or Indians, which would be punished if to protect our laws and our treaties from violation? I committed within the jurisdiction of any State, against a cannot, sir, anticipate that the President will refuse to excitizen of the United States, &c., such öffender shall for-ecute the laws of the land. I must hear it from himself. feit a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, and be im-1 maintain it, sir, as one of the soundest principles of our prisoned not exceeding twelve months.” Sir, who can constitution, that the Executive does not possess the trefail to perceive how perfectly palpable is the distinction mendous power of dispensing with the enforcement of between the jurisdiction of any State of the United States, public statutes. If a constitutional scruple shall affect the and the territory of the Indian nations? Every provision mind of a President of the United States, in respect to any of this law is based upon this distinction, and would be act of Congress, he must get rid of his scruples, or he absurd and incongruous without it.

may lay down his commission: but while he holds the ofAgain, sir, the fifth section provides that if any such fice, he must faithfully execute every law. It is absolutecitizen or other person shall make a settlement on any ly imperative. The people of this country will jealously lands belonging, or secured or guarantied by treaty with watch over this branch of Executive duty. They will exthe United States, to any Indian tribe, or shall survey or pect its fulfilment, sir, to the very letter. Of all the men attempt to survey such lands, or designate any of the in this nation, the President is the last wlio should pause boundaries, by marking trees or otherwise, such 'offender upon the requirements of any statute. He, at least, should shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, and be exemplary in obedience. suffer imprisonment not exceeding twelve months: and it It may be, and has been said, that the opinions of the shall moreover be lawful for the President of the United President may be inferred from the report of the SecreStates to take such measures and employ such military tary of War, made on this subject, and by the President force as he may judge necessary to remove from lands be- communicated to Congress. i know, sir, that a conclulonging or secured by treaty as aforesaid, to any indian sion might be drawn from the silence of the Executive. tribe, any such citizen or other person, who has made or But, on so momentous a question, I can leave nothing to shall hereafter make or attempt to make a settlement inference. I submit, sir, that it is just and fair to the thereon.” Here, again, the unambiguous principles of Chief Magistrate to propound a direct inquiry, and obour national policy are developed too plainly to be mista- tain from him a direct reply.. ken, or misunderstood.

A policy, thus sanctioned by the After some further discussion on the form as well as concurrent opinions of six successive Presidents, and by the substance of the resolution, the harmonious legislation of Congress for the last thirty Mr. BENTON moved to lay the resolution on the tafive years, is suddenly assailed by the opinion of the Se- ble, to give the Senator from New Jersey an opportunity cretary of War, and sought to be frustrated and avoided to modify it so as to call for certain specific information as and for what, sir? For what? To enable the State of to the Indian intercourse law of 1802; but the motion was Georgia to break over this boundary—this sacred boun- negatived—16 to 25. dary—to invade the possessions of our allies—and deprive The question was then put on the adoption of the resothem of their property and liberties.

lution, and decided in the affirmative by yeas and nays, as Let us for a moment review some of the features of follows: Georgia legislation. Our act, be it remembered, prohi. YEAS.- Messrs. Barnard, Barton, Bell, Benton, Burbits all surveys or attempts at surveying of Indian lands, net, Chambers, Chase, Clayton, Dickerson, Dudley, Elby any citizen of the United States, or other person. lis, Foot, Forsyth, Frelinghuysen, Grundy, Hayne, HenGeorgia has, by a late act of her Legislature, resolved to dricks, Holmes, Iredell, Johnston, Kane, King, Knight, survey the Cherokee country-now listen

Livingston, McKinley, Marks, Naudain, Noble, PoinderSec. 33. And be it further enacted, That any person or ter, Robbins, Robinson, Ruggles, Sanford, Seymour, persons who shall, by force, menaces, or other means, Silsbee, Smith, of Md., Smith, of s. C., Tazewell, Troup, prevent, or attempt to prevent, any surveyor or surveyors Webster, White, Willey, Woodbury.--43. from running any line or lines, or doing and performing NAYS.-Messrs. Bibb, Brown, Tyler.-3. any act required of him or them by this act, shall, on indictment, and conviction thereof, be sentenced to the

THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.
penitentiary, at hard labor, for the term of five years. The Senate then took up the following resolution of
And the following section still further discloses the nature Mr. Grundy, as modifed by Mr. Livingston, viz.
of the proceedings in tliat State, of which we complain. Resolved, That the select committee appointed on the

“Sec, 7.. And be it further enacted by the authority fifteenth day of December last to inquire into the condi-
aforesaid, That all white persons residing within the limits tion of the Post Office Department, are not authorized to
of the Cherokce nation on the 1st day of March next, or make inquiry into the reasons which have induced the
at any time thereafter, without a license or permit from Postmaster General to make any removals of his deputies.
his Excellency the Governor, or from such agent as his Mr. NOBLE made some remarks in opposition to the
Excellency the Governor shall authorize to grant such a resolution; when the question was taken on its adoption,
permit or license, and who shall not have taken the oath and carried in the affirmative, as follows:
hereinafter required, shall be guilty of high misdemeanor,

YEAS.— Messrs. Barnard, Benton, Bibb, Brown, Dick
and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by confine-erson, Dudley, Ellis, Forsyth, Grundy, Hayne, Iredell,
ment in the penitentiary, at hard labor, for a term not less Kane, King, Livingston, Poindexter, Robinson, Sanford,
than four years: Provided, That the provisions of this sec. Smith, of Md., Smith, of s. C., Tazewell, Troup, Tyler,
tion shall not be so construed as to extend to any autho- White, Woodbury.—24.
rized agent or agents of the Government of the United NAYS.--Messrs. Barton, Bell, Burnet, Chambers,
Slates, or of this state, or to any person or persons who Chase, Clayton, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Hendricks,
may rent any of those improvements which have been Holmes, Johnston, Knight, Marks, Naudain, Noble,
abandoned by Indians who have emigrated west of the Robbins, Ruggles, Seymour, Silsbee, Webster, Willey.
Mississippi: Provided, That nothing contained in this section|--21.

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FEB. 16, 17, 1831.]

Nutional Road.-- Punishment of Crimes in the District of Columbiu.

(SENATE.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16.

kindred offences, it seemed to him, would be productive of The Senate then took up the following resolution, sub- more evil than benefit. Under these circumstances, he mitted yesterday by Mr. LIVINGSTON:

moved to recommit the bill to the Committee on the Dis“Resolved, That a committee, to consist of three mem- strict of Columbia, to give an opportunity for its revisal in bers, be appointed to prepare and report, at the next ses

this particular. sion, a system of civil and criminal law for the District of

Mr. WOODBURY observed that there was another Columbia, and for the organization of the courts therein." clause in the bill which to him seemed rather extraordina

On this resolution a debate took place, which lasted ry. It was that which made the offence of gambling punishuntil near three o'clock, in which Messrs. LIVINGSTON, able by confinement in the penitentiary. He wished, if CHAMBERS, WEBSTER, FOOT, FORSYTH, HAYNE, the bill shoukl be recommitted, to draw the attention of BIBB, and NOBLE, took part.

the committee to this clause. After so long a discussion, the debate was arrested by

Mr. CHAMBERS said, the clausc alluded to by the genMr. FOOT, who read a paragraph from Jefferson's Mantleman from South Carolina, [MT. Harne,] that of duelling, ual, to show that, after an adjournment of Congress, no had met the attention of the committee, and the force of committee could sit in the recess, the two bodies being some of the objections had been felt. In his own view of clissolved. He moved to lay the resolution on the table; the subject, the most objectionable clause was that in relawhich motion prevailed.

tion to testimony in relation to duels, where witnesses

were called upon in cases of prosecutions for duels. He TurisDAY, FEBRUARY 17.

could not say that this was entirely reconcilable with his NATIONAL ROAD.

views of right; but, with regard to classing this crime with

others of an infamous character, it was conceived that the Mr. BURNET laid before the Senate a letter from the most effectual way of destroying those fatal ideas which Governor of the State of Ohio, transmitting a law passed honorable and high-minded men entertained of the pracby the General Assembly of the said State, entitled “Antice, was to degrade it, and place it on a level with crimes act for the preservation and repair of the United States of the most infamous hue. This course, it was believed, road" within the limits of that State.

would do more to exterminate this fell evil from the land Mr. B. remarked, that the first section of that law, and than any other. It was designed to assign it ibat low and the first clause of that section, declared that the act should degraded rank, in crimes, which should make it infamous, not take effect, or be in force, until the consent of Con- and thus save the honorable and high-minded portion of gress had been obtained; that, by the general provisions mankind from participating in it. It was evident to the of the law, the Governor was authorized to erect toll-gates committee that nothing but public sentiment could correct within the State, on such parts of the road as have been, this great evil; and if it was the sense of the Senate that or might hereafter be, finished, at distances not less than the provision of the bill was inexpedient, it would be twenty miles; that the law established a rate of toll; that it re shown by voting for its recommittal. quired the money collected to be paid into the State treasu The view taken by the gentleman from New Hampshire ry, and kept in a separate fund, to be called the United [Mr. Woodbury) on the penalty for certain kinds of States' Road fund, the whole of which was to be expended gambling, also deserved some consideration. He could, in the repair and preservation of the road, and for no other however, inform that gentleman that the provision was purpose whatever, and that no more money should be not entirely a new one. He instanced a case in his own collected than might be necessary for that purpose. He State, (Maryland,) where an individual had been incarcealso said, that the riglıts and privileges of the United States, rated in the penitentiary for this crime. In relation to the and of every individual State, were secured by the provi: evidence of this crime, 'also, it was well known that it was Bons of the law; that the mail was to pass free; that all difficult to procure it by any other means than througlı persons in the service or employ of the United States, or those who were themselves the victims, and were entrapped either of them, and all property belonging to the United in the toils of the gambler. States, or either of them, was to pass free of toll; and that Mr. C. said, if it was the sense of the Senate to recomthe law contained provisions for the punishment of persons mit the bill, he should not strenuously oppose it, though who might be detected in the perpetration of malicious he thought, as the subject was now before the Senate, its mischief, injurious to the road. Mr. B. moved that, for features could be regulated there. the present, the document lie on the table, and gave no Mr. WOODBURY said, in relation to the clause which tice that lie would, to-morrow, ask leave to introduce a bill he had alluded to, that of making gambling a penitentiary declaring the assent of Congress to the law which he hai offence, he would only remark, that in the State which he presented.

had the honor in part to represent, and, indeed, in all the The act was accordingly laid on the table.

Eastern States, where it was conceded that the people were PUNISHMENT OF CRIMES IN THE DISTRICT OF as strict in their moral views and feelings as in any part of COLUMBIA.

the world, the crime in question was only punishable by fine. The bill for the punishment of crimes in the District of It might be, that in other parts, where the evil was more Columbia was then taken up for a third reading. prevalent, stronger punishments were requisite. Of this When the bill had been read through,

he would not pretend to judge; though, in most of the Mr. HAYNE remarked that he had not paid that atten- constitutions of the Eastern and Northern States to which tion to the bill which would justify his acting upon it. He he had adverted, a clause was inserted declaring that no thought, however, that be lieard the Clerk read a clause new or inordinate punishments should be inflicted. in the 12th section) making it a penitentiary offence to Mr. POINDEXTER said that he was not an advocate for send a challenge to fight a duel. He asked that it might duelling. He referred to the laws of the several States again be read.

upon the subject; to those of New York, Virginia, and, [After the reading of the 12th section of the act, which he believed, North Carolina. In those States the penalty ranks duelling with forgery and other infamous crimes,] for duelling was disqualification from office; and officers

Mr. H. said he was no advocate of duelling. He would were required to take an oath that they had not been, and be very glad if any means could be devised to put an end would not be, engaged in a duel. 'l'his was as far to the practice. But his experience had taught him that any of the States went in their enactments on the subject. every attempt to legislate unreasonably upon that subject The honorable gentleman from Maryland, said Mr. P., had only tended to make the matter worse. To class it, must be aware that the most distinguished, the most honoras the present bill did, with the crime of perjury and its able, and high-minded men in this or any other country

Vol. VII.--14

as

SEYATE.]

Punishment of Crimes in the District of Columbia.

{FEB. 17, 1831.

have gone.

had been involved in duels; and be asked if there was not punish all such offensive words as come under the appelreason to fear that the suppression of the practice would lation of libels and slanders, but not those minor offences lead to a worse result, the introduction of the stiletto. If under the denomination of insults. In one case, the perduelling were rendered infamous or impracticable, would son aggrieved brings his suit at law; in the other, he sends not men find it necessary to wear a dirk to defend them- a challenge. The reason is obvious; for these are the only selves from insult? If a man of independent mind and remedies in his power. honorable feelings partook of none of the characteristics Mr. L. here introduced a letter on this subject, referring of a bully, he would still defend his honor at any hazard. to the effects of the course pursued by the State of VirHe asked if such a result had not been seen in Virginia, ginia, and an advocacy of that policy which renders duelwhere penalties had been imposed upon the practice. He lists incapable of holding office. In this, Mr. L. said did not advert to that State with any feelings of disrespect; there was high authority for the belief that the enactments far from it; for there were men who held it creditable of Virginia had been highly beneficial. Mr. L. said he difto be tenacious of their honor. But he believed that fered from his friend from Mississippi, (Mr. POINDEXTER,] the enactment of severe penalties would have the tenden- in the idea he had advanced that the suppression of duelcy of compelling men to resort to the knife to redress their ling would introduce the use of the stiletto. It was not in personal wrongs. In legislating for the District of Colum- the nature of the American people to resort to such instrubia, Congress should not go further than any of the States ments. It did not belong to them. But there was another

He was in any event opposed to ranking this evil to be feared. It was that of impunity; the difficulty offence with the most infamous of crimes.

of procuring testimony in cases of duels, and the strong Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN said he should oppose the re- feelings entertained by jurors themselves in exculpation of commitment of this bill. If no other consideration had offenders. The reason of this was obviously that the pudone so, the remarks of the gentleman from Mississippi nishment was altogether disproportionate to the offence. [Mr. POINDEXTER) had convinced him of the propriety Such he conceived to be the case in the present bill. He of its provisions. lle was ready to grant that high-minded would favor the plan of disfranchising offenders, and thus and honorable men had given countenance by their exam- affecting their pride and ambition, as the surest mode of ple to this barbarous usage. But would any man, in this preventing the commission of the offence. He should age, contend that it was essential to resort to the pistol or therefore vote for recommitting the bill. the stiletto to avenge personal injuries? He approved of Mr. TYLER said, he confessed he had not before untliis bill, and this mode of legislating upon this subject. It derstood the full force of this particular provision in the was saying to these high-minded and honorable men, if bill. For his own part, he was fully persuaded of the inyou persist in this infamous practice, we must show you; efficacy and inadequacy of all legislation upon this subject. that there is a power stronger than your false notions of The idea of preventing duelling by punishments was a honor. It is found in the laws of your country; and the futile one: and enacting laws providing for shutting a result of your perseverance must lead to disgrace, degra- man up in the penitentiary for the offence, was an absurdation, and infamy.

dity. Why, said Mr. 1., the very motive of the offender Mr. F. said he was about to state, before he heard the laughs at your bolts and bars; and shall he be deterred by remarks of the gentleman from Mississippi, [Mr. Poin such a motive, while he braves the hangman's halter? DEATER,] what his own experience had taught him on this The gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. FRELINGHUYsubject. In the State which he had the honor in part to sex] had attributed the decrease of the practice of duel. represent, the only way to put down the practice had ling in his State to the enactments of the Legislature; Lut been found to be to brand the act with infamy. Such if that gentleman would seriously reflect upon the matter, measures had been taken, and it had had the desired he believed he would coincide with him in attributing the effect. It would doubtless have the effect here; for when effect to a deeper cause than any influence of law. He the legislators of the country put their seal of condemna- must also reply to an observation of his friend from Missistion upon it—when the youth saw that their fathers and sippi, [Mr. POINDEXTEN,) who supposed that the people legislators were bent on putting it down, it would soon of the State which he had the honor in part to represent, grow into disrepute, and fall under the predominance of were driven to the use of the stiletto in consequence of the correct sentiments. In trying the experiment in the State enactments against duelling. of New Jersey, it was, indeed, found necessary to show that [Mr. POINDEXTER explained. ile believed the inthe pains and penalties enacted against the offence were stances were rare.] meant to be enforced. But when this was discovered, and Mr. T. said they were extremely rare; he had known the brand of infamy was affixed to the crime, it had, in a of none since the enactments of the law against duelling. measure, ceased to exist; it had had the effect of correcting At the time of its enactment, such anticipations had been the public sentiment. It is such an evil, said Mr. F., as barbored, but they proved to be mere creations of the every good man should unite his influence and his interest imagination. No such results had flown from it. The in correcting. Mr. F. said, in commencing the operation operation of the law had had directly the opposite effect; of the corrective in New Jersey, fears of some of the evils and this was felt by those whom it operated on. The predicted by the gentleman did seem to be justified. But fiery spirit of the South would sometimes manifest itself, now, since it had been rendered infamous, if the crime was said Mr. T., in their young men, and result in a challenge ever committed, it was done by stealth only.

to fight a duel. His experience taught him that the conMr. LIVINGSTON said, the difficulty here encountered sequence was a greater degree of urbanity in the interin this bill was a proof that it had been hastily drawn, and course of individuals, and he could safely say there were less had not received that attention and digestion which it re. personal difficulties or broils existing in the circles of sociquired. Of this he was before fully aware, when he bad ety among his constituents than could be found elsewhere. submitted his proposition of yesterday, which had been He could attribute it to no other cause than the one he had laid upon the table. He had not intended, however, to adverted to. If you would put down this evil, said Mr. T., have interfered with the progress of the bill by making a thrink not to do so by means of punishments. Attack the single remark. But since a motion had been made, on standing of the individuals in their eligibility to office, and which he must give a vote, he would make a few explana- you come nearer to the root of the offence. He agreed tory observations.

with the gentleman from Louisiana, that to shut the door Mr. L. said there was, perhaps, no subject in criminal to office, honor, and emolument, to the participators in the jurisprudence, on which so many inconsiderate steps had offence, was the most effectual method of correcting it. been taken, as that now under discussion. Existing laws Do this, and your work is accomplished.

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