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APRIL 7, 1830. ]

Judge Peck.

[H. of R.

my mind is not at this time fully made up. But that is not | I protest against reflecting upon the committee, as though the question before us. We are now called upon to de- they had not been disposed to elicit the truth, the whole cide whether, after Judge Peck had declined to make truth, and nothiog but the truth.

such a request in the committee, and after the committee In conclusion, I say, let a suitable precedent now be es! have reported the testimony, and their opinion upon it, to tablished for future times. Let it be solemnly determined

the House, it is proper to allow him at this stage of the whether a judge, when accused, shall be at liberty to deproceeding to make bis defence and examine his wit- mand that his whole cause shall he tried before the House nesses either before the same committee or before the of Representatives before an impeachment is resolved House.

upon. Our own precedents, it is said, differ from each other ; In deciding this question, I trust the House will come to but this is not the case, so far as they relate to proceedings such a conclusion as will best secure the rights of the against judges.

people and the accused, both now and bereafter. As to the case of the Vice President, he presented his Mr. ELLSWORTH observed that the amendment of own case before the House, and demanded an investiga- the gentleman from South Carolina brought the House to tion. All cases are not necessarily subject to the same what he considered the real question, and it was one rule. One case may demand one course of proceeding, and which involved a point of great interest, but not of much another ease require a different mode.

difficulty, though gentlemen Beemed not fully to agree. The remark which excited the ire of the gentlemau from Whether we are to follow precedents already established Missouri, was merely a response to an opinion expressed in the cases of Judges Chase and Pickering, or of William by the Judge in his memorial

. I said that be bad made Blount, Sedator, or are to mark a new course to be folbis case rather worse than better, by his cross-examina- lowed bereafter, it is important that we act with caution. I am still of that opinion.

tion, doing justice to the accuser and accused, as well as I believe the best course of proceeding in such cases, is to the public. If the House adopted the amendment, it that which the House bave bitherto adopted. Give a com- would be only on the idea that the Judge was to be immittee charge of the complaint, and they will seek for dis- peached or not, according to the judgment of the House

interested witnesses from all sources within their power; on the facts already in evidence. On those facts he should 1 they will inquire who is least excited? Who will be likely be glad to hear the commentary of the accused, who

to give the most correct statement of facts? If they shall ought certainly to bave an opportunity of saying in his do this, and honestly aim at attaining the ends of public own behalf whatever be had to say. But, if a cootrary

justice, without violating the rights of the accused, we course should be adopted, and the House should reject the 1 shall have taken the most correct course. I am in favor amendment, he must conclude the House intended, upon i of referring this whole case to the Committee of the Whole this inquiry, that the accused should have liberty to intro& on the state of the Union. If that course shall be adopted, duce such evidence as he pleased, and thus to put the mat

I shall not call up the report this day ; but will endeavor to ter into the hands of the accused. Mr. E. said be could not 5 examine the precedents as well in England as in this coud- consent to such a course. This House has no constitutional try, and lay the result before the House.

power to try the accused. We are to inquire after the opAs to the course pursued by the House of Representa pression complained of, and to inquire until we are satis

tives of Peopsylvania, in similar cases, which has been re-fied that an impeachment is necessary, but we can go no !

ferred to by my colleague, [Mr. SUTHERLAND) of bearing further; we cannot try the case. Is the accused to bring the defence of the accused, and examining bis witnesses, before us such witnesses as he pleases, to take the defence before voting an impeachment, it has never met my ap- into his own bands, employ counsel

, and try the charges probation. I think I have observed great inconvenience

, fully and perfectly. This is not our business. We have i if not great injustice, from that mode of proceeding. It no charges framed, nor can we have, until we decide to

must necessarily prejudice the cause. The accused, instead go forward. From what has been said on this debate, of going before the Senate without prejudice, shielded by (said Mr. E.) be was convinced some gentlemen misapthe presumption, both of law and justice, that he is inno- prebended the nature of the duties of the committee on

cent until he shall be proved to be guilty, will be arraign- which he served. ied at their bar, after having been convicted, upon a full This House was the grand inquest of the nation. A

trial, by the deliberate judgment of the House. I repeat judge of the United States' court was here complained of the opinion, that the best mode of attaining justice, is to by a private citizep, for an alleged trespass upon his rights. entrust such complaints to a standing committee, selected The complaint had been presented to this House, who

from all portions of the Union; and which, from its very bad referred the case to one of its own committees. The i constitution, must almost necessarily be impartial

. The committee, in the discharge of their duty, had sent for all members of such a committee, acting under the responsi- such witnesses as might enable thern best to elicit the bility which they owe to the House and to the country, and truth of the case ; but

he could assure the House that the clothed with the power of sending for persons and papers, selection bad not been made ex parte. The committee will ever be careful to draw their testimony from pure bad endeavored to obtain all such testimony as would enfountains. After having collected from impartial sources able them to present the case fairly to the House. The sufficient testimony to satisfy their consciences that the question now was, whether they should say to the accusaccused ought to be impeached, they will then report this ed, we will hear you on the testimony already obtained, or testimony, with their opinion, to the House, as has been whether they would go further, and suffer the accused to done upon the present occasion, and leave each member to introduce new testimony. judge of its effect for themselves. In this manner the rights Of the preliminary facts, he could say that they were not of the accused will be best protected, and the interests of of an ex parte nature. No doubt it was the duty of the justice best subserved.

House to get all the information they might deem necesIf Judge Peck bad insinuated, when before the com- sary to arrive at the truth; but he denied the policy mittee, that the parol testimony bad presented an incor- or the propriety of admitting an accused party to go reet statement of the transaction, and had asked that other before a committee into a thorough trial of bis whole witnesses might be examined, I should have felt much in- cause, with counsel to aid him, and then to call upon this clined, I confess, to grant the request. But no such re- House to say whether he was guilty or pot. The comquest was made or intimated. We might have called on mittee had sent to Missouri for A and B, for C and D, inthe geutleman from Missouri (Mr. PETTIS) to testify, and cluding persons both for and against the accused. They I am sorry Judge Peck did not make the suggestion. But might have procured other testimony, but they obtained

H. OF R.)

Judge Peck.

[APRIL 7, 1830

all that they thought necessary. It was now for the House It is an assumption of judicial power, exercised to the to say whether the accused should have another hearing injury of an individual

, and done malo animo. English precedents in Parliament have been searched, and To sustain this resolution, the committee must be satis. with the exception of Warren Hastings, who was im- fied that Judge Peck had po power to imprison, and erase peached by Edmund Burke, rising in his place, the accus- from the roll of attorneys the name of Mr. Lawless, for the ed has never introduced evidence on the preliminary in- causes which led him to do it; that the exercise of this quiry. If the amendment was adopted, he should under-power operated to the injury of Mr. Lawless; and that it stand the House as coming to the conclusion, that, as a was done with a corrupt motive. If either of these points grand jury, they were to get all the facts necessary to show is with the Judge, the resolution ought not to pass. If they whether there was or was not ground of impeachment are all against him, it ought to be adopted. But they were not to bear Judge Peck, as if he were ou I sball spend no time on the inquiry, wbether Mr. Lawhis trial before them; the House was not the body appoint- less sustained an injury by reason of the proceedings instied to try him; and he hoped they would proceed on the tuted against him, for it is obvious that a suspension from ground that the accused was to confine bis argument to practice for eighteen months, and the deprivation of his such facts alone as this House might choose to investigate, personal liberty for four bours, were both injurious to bim, and not to take the House in to his own hands, as though The right, on the part of the Judge, to do these acts, and he were to have a full trial on this floor.

the motives with which they were done, are the only toMr. HUNTINGTON addressed the Chair, in substance pics to which I shall ask the attention of the committee

. as follows:

As to the right. Was the conduct of Mr. Lawless such I have read the evidence on which the resolution now as to justify the court in treating it as a contempt, punishunder consideration is founded, with attention, not only able by imprisonment and suspension from practice! It because I am called to give my vote on that resolution, may be assumed as a correct, legal propositiop, that any but because the subject of it is of deep interest to the par- publication, the object and desigo of which is to corrupt ties immediately interested in it, and to the nation. If the the fountains of justice, by its tendency improperly to affect Judge, whose official conduct is condencned, has so conduct the due administration of it is causes which are depending ed us to require the constitutional interposition of this in the courts of law or equity, is a contempt, authorizing a House, in the form of impeachment, we ought not to summary proceeding by process of attachment, pupishable shrink from the duty imposed upon us, from a regard to by fine and imprisonment, and, in case of an attorney, by bis reputation, bis future standing, or the severity of the suspension from practice. And it is immaterial whether punishment which will follow conviction. It is due, in the effect is attempted to be produced by the operation of such case, to the indignity offered to the country, to the the publication on the judge, the jurors, the witnesses, or disgrace brought upon the judicial office, to the honor the public. It is equally immaterial what the text is

, and safety of the bar, that this House should seek to re- wbich is made the basis of the publication ; it may be the move from a high and important station a judge who fills opinion of a judge in a cause previously decided, or it may it so uoworthily. But it he has committed no offence be any thing else ; nor is it necessary that the design of the worthy such stripes-none embraced in the coustitution writer should have been accomplished. The essence of the from which we derive our authority to act--then it is due offence consists in the intent with which the publication is to him to give him our protection, to sustain his reputation, made, and its tendency improperly to affect the decision of and to declare bim innocent of that offence which would causes undetermined. Such is the law of contempts, as it endanger the loss both of office and character.

relales to the proceedings which bave led to the resolution Notwithstanding the respectable source from which this before us : and its application to these proceedings is now resolution has emanated, and with no feelings but those to be considered. wbich proceed from an anxious desire to judge righteous Before, however, this is done, I deem it necessary to ly, (for all the parties more immediately interested are notice some remarks wbich bave fallen from my friends strangers to me,) I cannot coucur in the result to wbich the from Pennsylvania and New York, (Mr. BUCHANAN and Committee on the Judiciary have come, on this interesting Mr. STORRS) which, in my judgment, have no connexion Bubject: and I hope that, in submitting the reasons op wbich with the merits of the question under consideration, and my opinion is founded, I shall not be justly obnoxious to are calculated to produce impressions not justified by the the imputation of favoring judicial tyranny, the worst of acts of the Judge which are complained of. I will not all tyranny, because so difficult to detect, and so oppres- stop to examine whether these gentlemen, in the style and sive in its consequences. I am a member of the same pro- manner of debate in which they indulged, exhibited more fession with the individual who is said to have been op: feeling than properly belonged to the station which they pressed, and I can surely wish no rule should be applied occupy; for I am perfectly sure that neither of them was to my brethren in Missouri, which I should repudiate when actuated by any other consideration than that high sense of sought to be applied to myself.

duty which we all ought to feel; but I must say, topies The resolution submitted to us is, that James H. Peck bave been introduced, which deserve, I will not say be impeached of high misdemeanors in office. It is some- reprebensions, but a reply. My friend from New York what difficult, if not impossible, to give a definition of the told the committee, yesterday, that Judge Peck, in his term misdemeanor, as used in the constitution, which will written apology, had stated that, if he had erred in this include every case embraced by that word. It does not matter, it was an error on the side of Government, and mean, merely, an indictable offence at common law; for if calculated to protect its interests. a judge should come on to the bench in a state of intoxi. [Here Mr. STORRS explained. The gentleman bad miscation, or, while there, should employ himself in playing apprehended him. The Judge, in the paper which be had games of chance, he ought, in either case, to be impeach- furnished, did show that he had erred on the side of the ed. Nor does the term include incompetency to dischurge Government, and enumerated a number of cases where his the duties of the office, arising from physical or mental io- decisions bad the effect of saving the public land.) ability. The judge bolds his office during good beba Exactly as I understood him, (said Mr. H.] though not vior;" but that phrase is the opposite of the causes for expressed in the same terms. Sir, the observation was which he may be impeached— high crimes and misde- calculated to impress the committee with the idea that the meanors." What constitutes a judicial misdemeanor, sub- Judge wished us to recollect that if he had proceeded in jecting to impeachment, must depend upon the circum- an unlawful manoer, he ought to be sbielded, because be stances of each case as they exist. As applied to this case, bad done so in order to favor the Government. Sir, no I think it susceptible of a precise definition.

such conclusion will follow an examination of that paper.

APRIL 7, 1830.)

Judge Peck.

(H. OF R.

All that the Judge says is this: that, as very numerous

The committee has been told, over and over, in a style claims were pending, which embraced the same princi- the most warm and animated, that his conduct was arbiiraples as the case of Soulard, he felt it to be bis duty to give ry, oppressive, unconstitutional-calculated to destroy the that case a most thorough and close examination; and I liberty of the press, and that this gross assumption of power say, that whoever reads that opinion, cannot avoid com- was called forih by the exercise, on the part of Lawless, of ing to the conclusion that it is both an elaborate produc- bis undeniable and unalienable right as a free citizen of this tion, and one written in good faith.

republic. Sir, let us desceod a little from this lofty pinpaBut we are told that the opivion of the Judge, except in cle, and let us calmly and coolly ask what did Mr. Lawless one particular, was extra-judicial. If this was intended to do? And was his act a contempt of court ? He published afford an excuse for the criticism of Mr. Lawless, I differ an article sigued “A Citizen" in one of the papers of St. most materially from the gentleman from Peposylvania, Louis, and which has been called "a respectful commen(Mr. BUCHANAN) and my friend from Virginia, (Mr. Dod- tary" on the Judge's opinion. Now, sir, there is no memDRIDGE] Neither do I agree with them in relation to these ber of this House, whose voice would be sooner or louder obiter dicta. My poor reading bas led me to conclude that raised against any attempt to suppress the legitimate freeit is not best to travel out of the record, and to express a dom of the press. I hope I shall not be charged with any legal opinion in a case pot before the court. But may I desire to violate it. And I hope that our courts of justice pot ask whether, in this opinion delivered by Judge Peck will never be held to be so sacred, that their adjudications iu the case of Soulard, any man cau see aught that looks may not be the subject of fair and temperate inimadver. like an extra-judicial opinion. He first settled the case, sion. No man is above, or ought to be above it. The and he needed not to bave gone any further; but he then moment you curtail the freedom of the press, you destroy proceeds as if be would say, if I bave been wrong thus far liberty. there is another point which makes equally against the But, sir, while I guard the freedom, I am as greatly opclaimants. That is all be bas done. He gives different posed to the licentiousness of the press ; I will take care reasons for coming to the same result. They are reasons that the object of such animadversions shall not be to bring called for by the case, and such as it was not only proper, down upon a court the vengeance of the public, and thus but bis duty, to consider and discuss. The gentleman from affect the great and vital interests of justice, and the peace Pennsylvania seems to lay stress on the fact that the Judge and well being of society. The case bas been treated as printed his opinion in a newspaper. If that remark was if this article, signed “A Citizen," was no more than a fair intended to bave any effect, it must be this, that such a and honest commentary on the opinion published by the proceeding was derogatory to his judicial station. The Judge. Sir, was this so? Were there not causes peuding, gentleman says that when the Judge had given bis opinion, of a similar kind with that which had been decided! It is there he ought to bave stopped; but I ask, was there any admitted-it appears in evidence, there were other causes thing improper in publishing his opinion ? It is a proceed- depending on Spanish concessions to be adjudged in that ing, which, if not frequent, yet sometimes occurs. court. Look theu at this publication, and see what its ob.

When the bar requested this publication, ought the ject was. What was its motive? And what was likely to be Judge to have told them that a compliance would be dero- its effect on the causes pending! Sir, what does Mr. Lawgatory to the profession? But the gentleman adds that less tell us? (No doubt he has a right to come here and the Judge published this opinion in a political newspaper. spread his wrongs before this House, if he has suffered Now, sir, I should be glad to know where he could have any—but he is the accuser--the witness in his own cause.) found any paper which was not political. If it was lawful And what other wituesses have we? His two counsel. for him to publish at all, I do not know where be must have I do not deny that these gentlemen nre competent witgone to do it.

nesses--but what does every man of common sense know? [Here Mr. BUCHANAN explained. As reference bad That a party in interest or bis counsel are to be heard with several times been made to what he had said on that sub- allowance for their natural bias. One of my friends bas ject, he wished to remind the committee that he had said related to me a fact on this subject. A judge was some at the time that he knew the character of the paper only time since trying a cause, when some point occurred of from the Judge himself; it had been designated by bim evident truth, but to wbich there was vo witness. One of as a “political newspaper."]

the counsel ip tbe cause offered himself as a witness to But the bonorable gentleman, I will not say in the co-prove the fact; but the judge suggested to him that it loring he gave to the testimony, but in his comments and would be better to let the cause go off, uutil a witness argument, inquired why Judge Peck solicited the name of could be obtained; because it did not seem becoming in the publisher. Did not the Judge know who he was? counsel, when a cause pinched, to offer himself to be Was not his name on the paper? Now, sir, if this was meant sworn. The lawyer, however, insisted. When the judge for any thing, it was to strengthen the idea that the Judge said to him, "you are a competent witness, and I may not had selected his victim. But surely the gentleman koows refuse to have you sworn, but, if you do testify, I shall iothat po attachment could issue to bring the party before struct the jury not to believe one word you say." The the cours, without an affidavit to found it upon. And judge may possibly have stretched the rule, but the cuuuthough the Judge might see on the face of the paper that sel will never forget it. And in this case I do not say the A B was the publisher, he could not issue a rule on such witnesses are not competent, but I say they are parties in evidence-it must be of record. There was, theo, nothing interest: aud yet such are the principal witnesses io the improper in taking steps to procure an affidavit.

case. Now, I ask, what could have been the motive of But the gentleman asks, why call particularly op Law- Mr. Lawless in writing that article? It is said that it was less, when all the bar and many other persons were pre- to put bis clients upon their guard, and to prevent them seat? Why, sir, Lawless was not specially called. The from becoming the prey of speculators. Sir, this article Judge inquired if any one present knew who was the pub- itself develops his secret motive—it seems to me that I lisher of tbat paper, and Dir. Lawless volunteered an an- can read bis heart as plainly in that transaction, as if it was swer to the question. Without that answer he could not laid open before my eyes. "Is it not demonstrable that bis have proceeded an inch. After Mr. Lawless (and the fact motive could not have been that which is assigned by his is creditable to himn certainly) had verified the fact, then advocates here? If it had been, what could have been the attachment issued. But I have more to do with the easier than to have inserted an article in the paper, stating matter than the manner of the Judge. And I proceed to that the decision in the case of Soulard was not final; that inquire. Did Judge Peck assume an authority which he an appeal had been taken to the Supreme Court of the did not rightfully possess 1

United States; and that the cause was to be considered

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as still pending, and recommending to his clients to wait the understood bim, that we need not look with eagle eyes issue before they took any steps in relation to their claims. into the motives of the accused, seeing that we were oply But, no: he did not take this course, but inserted an ar- taking the preliminary steps towards a prosecution. Now, ticle virtually holding out to his clients this language: Do sir, my limited practice bad led me to believe that in all not be affected by this opinion of Judge Peck-it is quite proceedings ex parte there was a peculiar necessity that the erroneous. And did he not know that it was to be this evidence should be full and satisfactory. And is it so that very Judge Peck who was to sit upon their causes to we must not look into the motives of the accused ! If not, try them And would his clients be deterred froin sell. then there is an end to all fairness. And what is the coning their land by this ? Was it not the very strongest clusion! The accused must look out for bimself. But reason why they should sell ? No, sir. It is impossible surely the presumption of malice may be rebutted by cirbis motives could bave been such as gentlemen suppose. cumstances; and I cannot conceive how the gentleman Charity believeth all things, and covereth a multitude of could bave supposed that there was any other motive in this sins; but charity herself can have no room here. If this publication than a design to bring the court into contempt. was not bis object, what was it! It was the object of that (Mr. STORRS here explained. What he had said was article to affect the adjudications in the other cases, either that the committee were not bound to look with eagle eyes in producing in the Judge an alarm, which might check for palliations of the offence, substantiated by testimony.] his progress, or, if he was not to be intimidated, then by Just as I understood bim, [said Mr. H.] and I enter my pre-occupying the minds of those who were to become entire dissent from the doctrine. I am a perfect non-bejurors and witnesses. This was the obvious tendency of liever in it. The question we bave to setile is, whether the publication. It was a direct appeal from the court to the circumstances are such as to infer an honest or a malithe public, stating that the Judge bad been guilty of errors, cious intent. If Judge Peck viewed thi anonymous artiboth in law and in fact. Every citizen who read the arti- cle as more calculated to impress the polic mind than if a cle and believed it, would say, this judge is not competent direct charge had been advanced of ignorance or corrupto his duty, and he should not be here. He has been tion, then I do not wonder that he came to the conclusion guilty of eighteen assumptions in one opinion, all of which that the intent of the writer was to embarrass the causes are erroneous. Sir, this was the only effect the article which might come into his court. I have looked at the could bave, and it is fair to infer that this was the end for criticism of the Judge's opinion, and I say that every which it was written. Now, if it was, then the act falls within charge has been bigbly colored, and that in others there the principle which governed the laws of contempts. It has been a complete distortion of the Judge's meaning. I 1 was intended to operate on cases still sub judice; whether ask every gentleman calmly to compare the article signed the author effected bis purpose or not, is immaterial. The " A Citizen" with the opinion of Judge Peck, and to say design of his publication was a contempt. I bave adverted whether it is not a perfect caricature of that opinion. And to this, not so much for the sake of stating my own opi- if the Judge entertained this opinion, then you find a monion iu relation to it, as with a view to correct the errone tive at opce for bis conduct. The article held him up to ous view wbich I think bas been given by every gentleman an abused public as incompetent to the duties of bis sta- A) who has spoken in favor of the impeachment. I appeal tion; and if it did so, then I say that the Judge acted from to all who hear me to say whether the resolution has not a motive wbich is fair, and becoming in every man who been advocated in fact upon the sole ground that the ob- means to protect himself; and I say further, that a judge, ject of the publication of Mr. Lawless was fair and honest believing that one of the counsel in his court had been and commendable, and not designed to have any effect up guilty of such an attempt to corrupt the fountains of jus on the causes pending. Now, can a design be called ho- tice, and did not lay a heavy band upon him, is not fit for nest and fair, which goes to corrupt the fountains of justice, bis station; and as long as I shall continue a lawyer at the no matter how this is effected, whether through the judge bar, I am perfectly willing to subject myself to the same himself, or through the jurors and witnesses? To test rule. I do not wonder that the Judge's commentary on the truth of this idea, let us suppose that, instead of the this production occupied three hours. The subject had article signed “ A Citizen,” Mr. Lawless had written one been laboriously examined by him, and bad been fully set in this form : "To all persons who may appear as jurors forth in his opinion; and I do not wonder that a circumstanor witnesses at the next terın of the district court for the tial examination of it, and refutation of the falsehouds in his district of Missouri, before the Hon. James H. Peck, Judge the article, should have taken him a considerable time. of the same: take notice, that, at the trial of Soulard's But, sir, we find a motive independent of this. In what heirs, the said Judge assumed eighteen points of fact and circumstances was the Judge placed when he made this of law, all of which were false." I ask, would any man have examination? He was surrounded by a number of gentley doubted whether this was designed and calculated to im- men, members of a profession honorable in itself, and as press the public mind in a manner unfavorable to the court! useful as it is respectable. Among them all he found no Sir, there is not a man who could read this notice, and voice in favor of the Government; but every merober of compare it with the opinion of Judge Peck, that must not the St. Louis bar, excepting, perhaps, the attorney of the suppose, if he believed it true, that the Judge was either United States, was retained, either as attorney or counsel, a very wicked man, or else a natural fool—that he was too for some of these claims. It is said that Mr. Lawless was ignorant or too corrupt, to hold his station. I now leave personally interested in the case of Soulard; whether he this part of the subject, and, after a word or two more, I and the other gentlemen were to sbare profits with the shall have done. If it will not be thought by my friends claimants, is not for me to say: but, in the State from which from Pennsylvania and Virginia to be extra-judicial, I will I come, a lawyer who would lend bis professional services go one step further. If I have been correct so far, nothing in a speculation of that kind would, if detected, be stricken more need be said; but suppose I have been mistaken, from the rolls with disgrace. What morality may prevail there remains another view to which I must advert, at the to the westward on this subject, I know not; perhaps the hazard of being charged with an obiter dictum ; and I ask practice there may be considered very honorable. 'All I whether, in the conduct of Judge Peck, there is reason to shall say is, that I am very glad such notions bave no place infer the absence of malice, whether we are obliged to in my State. A judge thus surrounded bad been publicly suppose that he had any other motive than to uphold the charged with not knowing the fact, or the law on which be honor and purity of the court. Sir, it is one of the most was called to decide. Now, sir, I confess I do not know any difficult things in the world to judge of men's intentions ; thing more calculated to touch his reputation or wound and I could not but feel some surprise at a remark of my bis feelings. Perhaps a charge of corruption might bave friend from New York, (Mr. STORRS) who observed, if Il been a little worse, but I believe that most men would

APRIL 8, 1830.)

Crimes in the District of Columbia.

(H. OF R.

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nearly as lief be charged with one as with the other. The An application was now made by the friend of the acJudge did show a little feeling on the occasion-I think I cused, that he might be permitted to make a communicashould have shown much more. He sat patiently, and tion to the House, orally or otherwise, as he might choose, heard the charge fully argued. The accuser himself says in relation to the law and the facts of his case. He hoped that he was permitted to discuss it so long as he wished, the privilege would be accorded. He was not for fetterand during this time there was nothing in the Judge's de- ing the Judge, and restrictiog and embarrassing him by meanor different from what it was at other times. Now too much regulation; or by the commitment of his friends I ask what motive could the Judge have had to oppress this in this House to this or that course. Let him be heard man? Was it his interest to do so ? Evidently not. Was in the way he might himself prefer. Mr. B. denied that it aby malicious resentment? Why, sir, Mr. Lawless him the House was to proceed in the character of a grand juself says that he and the Judge had always been on good ry. He had much doubt on the propriety of receiving only terms. I therefore conclude that he acted on this occasion ex parte evidence, in many cases, even before an ordinary in good faith, though it is possible that he mistook his grand jury; but the reasons for it there would not apply powers. But it seems to me that the very circumstance to this House. If the accused was desirous of being heard most insisted on as evidence of evil intent in the Judge, is either on the law or on the facts, Mr. B. was for hearing pregnant with evidence in his favor. It is said that he ex- him. He thought it due to him. He hoped the resoluhibited passion in his manner, and that his language was tion would be adopted, in the confidence that Judge Peck violent. Well, sir, I admit that he was somewbat indis- knew what belonged to this House, and what became him creet; but I am yet to learn that warmth of manner is as a judge and a gentleman. evidence of corruption. Is the manner of a person who [MĚr. BURGES followed Mr. BATES, of Massachusetts, designs to perpetrate oppression under the mask of judi- whose speech concluded the debate for this day.) cial power usually warm and passionate : No, sir I he comes On motion of Mr. HEMPHILL, the House went into coolly to his task of hypocrisy; he expresses great regret at Committee of the Whole, Mr. HAYNES in the chair, on the task imposed on him. He begins by degrees, looks

THE BUFFALO AND NEW ORLEANS ROAD BILL. earnest upon the assembly and compassionately upon the culprit, speaks of the enormity of his offence, regrets

Mr. MERCER rose and entered at large in defence of extremely that he should have been guilty of it, asks him the policy and expediency of the measure, and in reply to ii he is ready to apologize, and then proceeds to the blow the gentlemen who bad opposed it. He spoke about two for which all this preparation was made, and strikes his hours, when he gave way for the purpose, and the comvistim from the roll. Is that the deportment of the Judge? mitte rose. We find him warm and animated, over-excited, perhaps rash in his language; but does not this betray an honest

THURSDAY, APRIL 8, 1830. conviction that he would be faithless to his duty if he did

CRIMES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. not punish a flagrant outrage on the administration of justice? When altempting to ascertain the motive of the The House then, on motion of Mr. POWERS, went into Judge, ought we not to remember that he offered the of-Committee of the whole, Mr. BUCHANAN in the chair, and fender the opportunity of purging himself by oath, which took up the bill for the punishment of crimes in the Digwas refused; and my friend from New York thought it as-trict of Columbia. touishing that any one should consider this refusal as an A good deal of discussion took place on the details of aggravation of the contempt.

this bill, and on motions to modify them, in which Messrs. (Here Mr. SPENCER explained. He said that when in- POWERS, WICKLIFFE, SEMMES, SPENCER, of terrogatories were offered they were never limited, and New York, STORRS, of New York, BURGES, WHITthe accused could not know what would be the nature of TLESEY, BOULDIN, P. P. BARBOUR, WASHINGthem.

TON, DRAYTON, DODDRIDGE, TAYLOR, and VERSir, this circumstance furnishes my mind with a pre- PLANCK bore a part. The question which gave rise to sumption in favor of the Judge. The interrogatorie ne most of the debate was on a motion of Mr. WICKLIFFE cessary for the accused to purge bimself from intentional to insert the word “free” in the second section, so as to contempt, were few and simple. The question was put to limit the penitentiary punishment for certain offences to the printer, whether Lawless said that he did not intend free persons, and leave slaves to be punished according to anything like contempt towards the court, but afterwards the laws of Maryland and Virginia, now in force in the rewe bear nothing more of this. If the object of the Judgespective divisions of the District. This question was ultihad been the gratification of revenge, we should have mately

decided in the affirmative : yeas, 58--pays, 54. heard of no interrogatories. I will not say that the Judge Mr. POWERS, chairman of the Committee on the Diswas authorized in doing all that he did, but I insist that trict of Columbia, gave a general explanation of the views the offer of interrogatories was no addition to his guilt. of the committee in reporting the bill

, and showed the deI feel very thankful for the attention with which the cessity of its immediate passage. He observed that the eommittee bave indulged me. I felt that the case was a bill, in its essential features, was similar to one which had very important one; and as very distinguished friends held been prepared and reported several years since; that it an opinion with respect to it the reverse of my own, I was more simple, and the definition of offences had been considered it to be my duty briefly to state the reasons chiefly left as they were at common law. The draught of for my own opinion, and for the vote which I shall give the bill had been submitted to, and approved by, several agaiost the impeachment.

distinguished members of the bar in this District, who best Mr. BATES, of Massachusetts, observed that this was understood the defects in the existing laws. The propos& high criminal proceeding against a high officer of Go-ed code was mild in its character, and conformable to the vernment. The accused ought to be treated with the ut- improved and enlightened state of public opinion on the most liberality. He need not speak of the effects of the subject of criminal punishments. present proceeding, either on the character of the accus After further general remarks, Mr. P. adverted particued party or upon the Government

. Merely to allude to the larly to the offences of gaming and duelling, punishments expense and trouble incident to a trial at the bar of the for which were provided in the bill; and dwelt someSenate, and the necessary and consequent delay of busi: what at length on the enormous evils of gaming, as pracDess, would be sufficient to induce a proper degree of tised in this district, and which the corporate authorities caution on the part of this House, in instituting this con- bad found themselves, after their best efforts, unable to stitutional process.

suppress VOL. VI.-95.

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