Pennsylvania daily telegraph. (Harrisburg, Pa.) 1857-1862, March 17, 1862, Image 1

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(, r Kt , lrnrisp twitiof,
IA IST ft.R 1 A MA%
Olt allP krlier
11(.)NUAY JANUARY 27th, 1862.
Trains of the Pennsylvania Railroad
Will depart iroin and arrive at Harrisburg and
&le iollows :7
L T 3% A
TRAIN Harrisburg daft).
4", &al %trivet at Waal, Plilladelplita, a t 1.40
ri I r.
,laud Harrisburg daily, (except Sunday,)
vt,i.tittlN eaves Harrisburg daily (exeept Holiday)
Rn 4 arrives at West Philadalptilt at 11.00
gurstaq u ;33 n. to., and irriaraa at wmiti
i on , i !: 3.5 V. ID.
Atxx)MiluDATiotv 'MAW* Cuing..
; liarriaaarg 1112.D0 M "60'4,4, 1
4,aphta Ili 20 V. M•
I~it,l6H ESPRES6 TRAIN leaves Pnliadelpnit
lUirrisburg 2! )5 co., Altoona 8.40; IA
I imry. ut Pittsburg at 1.26 p ni. •„
MAIL T'Al' learem Phitadulphis at B.UO In., and ar
7,1 mirri,burg et 1 20 p. tn.' leaves FlArrieburs at 9.00
p. m., sod Arrives at Pittsburg at
Lp, I nT e. Pniladelphia at 11 25 I. m., thirds.
111 , A 11.01311 at 9ln m., and arriving at
i:4l.lry at 1. 4n) IL. 1:11•
Aoooll'd KIATION TRAIN Wives Pbil
v. M., awl arrivc• at liarrisharg at 8.00
,y„1 N 1 I {CO ANIMATION via HuiNU Joy likvee
LyuLtma n y . m , arrive@ at Eia.rlaborg at 1.80
lar!tEtt , XPraFtis and PA.BENOICR TRAIN will leave
7 , t1`;.1,14. phi% at 4.00 a. za.; Lancialer 7.07 a. m.
t. 44 a. a.. Hid ll. , towa at 8.25 a. m., an d
rote at Ilarmbutg at 1145 a. In., COarleatilag with Mall
!Dn Hirrialrura, at 9.10 a. W.
Supt. RUM, Ley Railroad.
liarrt.tatr. January .4 1882 —4ltr
Northoru ieiitcltl itailvvay
, ,
ciom Collection made at Harrisburg
P Piandneer Trains. ,r tti,- ' , l6rthvr, ,: r •
." arrive at and ddpart from Flarriaburr and
4rnves Harrisburg 1.05 P
and leaves " 149 P. M.
1 1'41. , " arnve" at " 2.47 A. M.
and , eaves " 3.20 A M.
1440RT14. • •
KI.LnAIN Irmo halt rare at 2.2.1 A. M.
g: ...
and arrives at Harriabar, 1.00 P. MI
rliol irave North at 1.20 P. M.
L initN town% itaittatnr• at ....... am P. K
and arrives at Horrtsburg.• •• 8.00 P. K
and legros North at 8.10 P. K
for Baltimore ..... 8.46 A. M
aaMakin, at •••• • 8.30 P. It
I trm” Harrisburg 00 Huntley orbit be
- bias. south at 8.20 a. M.
,1”1..1111011.1i apply at the 11.111 M,
No. 13,
u9II .A , I)EI,PH I
Lb„, raggenger Trains will leave, the
*7,11, and rbilatte
/111 Reading Railroad Depot, at Harriaburg,
Ipaia, al follows. ids
BAST WlPS i ti s i,,l . .l , ,, l, S.
aleaves Harrisburg at 8.30 I. m., ar.
N li t imiroad Sim
ms ain [rem the
!t hz , 9 : °° °7 r t i tteVinBoa ft r . l:r n Tr
ittae abd ta% to the
Pittsburg without change.
Harrisburg at 8 a. m.. arriving
).t.l u , d o p. to , and Philadelphia at 1.215 p.
I,,ol,: nl i ss..Harrlsburg at 1.40 p •
in., on arrival
141111.041 d. riali arriving In New
and Philadelphia at 6.40 p. m.
:.., 13 ' .1. l€oss New York at 6a. m , and Phi!Adel.
1„, ~ 18 arrlong at Harrisburg at 1 p. tn.
; 4 ,7' , L RAIN leaser New York at 12.00 noon, and Plan.
~ 43.1ep. W. arming at Harrisburg at 8.10
it ,
%, 'I29IINE leaves New York at 8 p. m., ani•
~..}:iwrirhargat3.lo s. m., nd connecting wfth the
~,;',.1. !iris Ezpresa Train for Pittsburg. A sleeping
c !httt matted to Gus train
14?t;,,whoer are rustle at Harrisburg with' trate' on the
;rullat N orthern Central and Cumberland Valley
I. ..4 4t Zttad at Reading for Philadelphia, Pottsville,
tql:Tk, re. tentetwa, Easton, etc.
t. f or.looi through. Faro between New York
4 rtt between 'Harrisburg and Palle.
ro ke 44¢a N... 1 cars, and 82 70 In Nn. 2.
tt iOltlqt tniormatton apply t°
to t e
General Agont, Harrisb ur g.
1 41°111 P411 NEW STOCK !
rtztbi, writing esk,
1/6tllkalntnon Bolds,
kir ilage,
Purses, Wallets,
^Pueral assortment of Toilet Bottles,
'A ?
119, W, carols 4f4
1) W. GROSS & CO..
litmotiALet ^Nu tiffetAlL,
i NA 19
i • .
NI A4i, I< Elf' . STREET
We ate daily adding to our assortment of
goods all such articlee as are desirable, and
would fespedfully call your atention to the
largest and best selected stook iu this city, of
DOs ►arn`lehee and Glues,
Inweendre, Glum anti Putty,
Artist Colors and Tools,
Pars Ground Spleo.
Burning Fluid and Alcohol,
Lard, Sperm and Pine OIL,
Unifies. Vials and Lamp Global,
Gantt! a Soap, Spopgas and Cori's,
doh, dta, &e., &e , &c., &e., &el
With a general variety of
selected from the best manufacturers and Pe
'timers of Europe and this country.
Being very large dealers in
• t
. ...
- _.-- -
' 'ol"..triali.
')9V:17.',-.,,L1V it
13510 k. i P
We respectfully invite a call, feeling, cone
dent that we can supply the wants of all on
terms to their satisfaction.
Of all kinds, direct from the Proprietors.
Saponifier and aomintrated Lye
Wholesale Agents for Saponifier, Which/we sell
as low as it can be purchased In the cities.
Being large purchasers in these Oils, we can
otter Inducements to close buyers. Coal Oil
lamps of the most improved patterns, very
cheap.. All kinds of lamps changed to burn
Coal Oil.
Those of you who have not gives our HORSE
I„sooasnar. POWDERS a trial know no
tuna superiority, and the advantage they are
keeping Horses and Cattle healthy and in
g lud condition.
Thousands can testify to the profit they have
derived from the use.of our Cattle Powders by
the increasing quantity and quality of milk.
besides improving the general health and ap
pearance of . their Cattle.
Our long experience in the tumbles° gives us
the advantage of a thorough knowledge of the
trade, and our asrangements in the cities are
each that we can in a very short time furnish
anything appertaining to our business, on the
best of terms.
Thankfal for the liberel patronage bestowe
on our house, we hope by strict attention to
business, a careful selection of
at fair prices, and the desire to please all, to
merit a continuance of the favor of a discrini
ktatini public.
pUaE Cider Vinegar, for
BO at
1 4 00i11101 . /Wit & Market streets
It has been definitely ascertained that the
number of rebel troops still remaining on the
Lower Potomac does not exceed ten thousand
These are already crossing, and probably
have already crossed, the Rappahannock at
Fredericksburg, where they may make a stand.
Our reconnoitering forces on the Lower Poto
mac have found vast quantities of commissary
stores in the abandoned rebel works. •
. .
A large number of delegations arrived here
to-day with remonstrances against certain fea
tures of the tax bill.
Gen. Wadsworth, the new military Governor
of the Distriat of Columbia, enters upon his
duties to-day.
Gen. Hunter Win this city. It is rumored
that he is to be appointed to a command.
The Thirty-fifth and One Hundred-and
fourth Pennsylvania regiments, now in _this
city, yesterday hid their old tanakete exchanged
for the improved Springfield weapons.
Tax-Paxaas, Arrierrom I— All who are in
favor of having the finances of the city ably
administered, and the offices filled by honest,
capable and sound Union men, will please take
notice, that, at a preliminary meeting of the
Republicans and other good Union citizens of
the Third ward, at the liarke Rouse, on Satur
day evening, it was unanimously
Resolved, To adjourn over to meet at the Parke
House on Monday evening, the 17th inst., at
half-past seven o'clock, at which place and
time all resident voters of the 'third ward, who
are in favor of electing able and good men to
fill the various city and ward offices, are ear
nestly invited to be in punctual attendance.
Let no man who has the welfare of the city at
heart be absent on this occasion. The enor
mous taxation which is soon to be placed upon
the shoulders of the people by the Federal,
State, county and city governments, should be
sufficient to give a hearty response to this call.
Secretary, pro. &en.
Fight Between the Merrimac and
The following interesting account of this fight
is given by as eye witness:
"But look at the two iron-clad champions.
They still approach each other ; the Merrimac's
speed is perceptibly diminitthed. She has 'found
a foeman worthy of her oteel, , .no Azainaerti
fearfully as she cautiously approaches. They
stop and mancenvre, and advance again.—
The Merrimac shuts off her escape steam,
as if holding her breath for a fatal plunge.—
Suddenly she starts forward, and in a mo
ment the foam flashes from her prow, and one
taros the glass in dismay to see how the Moni
tor will receive it, but is happy to find the
movement anticipated, and the agile craft as
rapidly withdrawing. They seem but a short
distance apart, but the distance is maintained,
and two frightful shots are fired into the foe as
she presses forward. She stops. The Monitor
halts, too, and receives the howling metal mes
senger hurled at her unscathed. She then ad
vances, shying round to get a clean sweep at
the side of the Merrimac.
The latter having come to a dead rest, finds
it difficult to start, and the Monitor, passing
by her iron snout and along her exhaused broad
side, fires one of her guns into the Merrimac's
steering apparatus, and though fired at as she
passes the stern, turns her bows to the lar
board side of her foe and runs against her with
fearful force. As she did so, she fired her
other gun at a distance of a few -yards e and
reeled the rebel over to such an extent that we
thought she was sinking. All this time the
Merrimac was shaking the , very skies with the
stunning boom of her cannon. Bnt if any
struok the Monitor they did no harm, though I
believe nearly all of them passed harmlessly by
or over her.
"The Merrimac now drew off, and the Moni
tor rested. Again theY approached and wres
tled amid the fire and smoke, the Monitor par
rying the dash of her foe by presenting her
side at a very acute angle, so as to neutralize
the colliding force. Although it rolled her
over ccosiderably, and dashed the water over
her deck, it caused her no inconvenience what
ever. It was adroit'y done, as it enabled her
at the distance of two or three hundred yards
to fire her guns with telling effect.
When they parted, a large hole was torn
through the Merrimac's mail, and an addition
al port hole, not on the exaot line with the
original four, became clearly discernible. Sev
eral times did _hey then try to overreach each
other, but luckily no harm came to the Moni
tor. The Minnesota, meantime, whenever the
positions of the combatants would admit of it,
kept the air filled with howling shot and
shells, directed at the foe, bat, owing to defec
tive means of observation for overreaching the
mark, except in one or two instances, when
the hull of the Merrimac, near her bows, re
ceived a heavy shot.
Wrier xr COST.—It now appears that John
Ball's attempt "to bully" us has cost him a
great deal more than was at first supposed.
Among the recent items of English news is the
In the House of Commons, on the 17th inst.,
the sapplementary estimates for the naval and
military expenditure on the Trent affair,
amounting in all to 1978,000, were moved and
unanimously agreed to. In American money
that is $4,865,000.
It is no wonder that the English people are
taxed up to the eyelids, when every little ec
centricity .costs them so dearly. It would be
better for them to keep in a good humor,
endeavor to practice a cool philosophy. They
may save by it.
Tan Ittrarcuoan arm Owo RAILBOAD.--The re
opening of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad is
progressing with rapidity under the protection
of the military arm of the government. *A
large force are at work at both ends. The
bridge at Harper's Ferry will not be finished
before the expiration of ten days or more, the
high water having retarded the operations of
the workmen somewhat. The river has now
fallen, and the work will be Rushed forward,
night and day, with all possible despatch.—
The trick will be down from Harper's Ferry to
the 'West by the tine the bridge is ftnisheo.
rErim qr
Delivered in the House of Repraiesilatives . , Monday,
Marsh 10th, 1862, on the bill for the repeal of !he
ad for the Commutation of Tonnage Duties.
Mr. - ARMSTRONG. It is with reluctance
that I approach this subject ; and yt t, sir, I feel
that it is my duty to express my viewtrin this
matter, and I propose to do so very briefly.
It is well known to moat members of this
House that I voted against the tonnage tax
bill last year—that I joined hands very cor
dially with the gentleman from Allegheny in
opposing the repeal of the tonnage tax. I dis-
approved of that measure then, and I would
disapprove of it now, if the bill before us pro
posed as an independent measure to commute
the tonnage duties, as was done by the act of
1861. But, air, the bill now under considera
tion, proposes legislation not legitithately with
in the province of the Legislature.
- Sir, I have•an insuperable difficulty, and it is
this : As a member of this House, I cannot
escape the obligations which the oath I have
taken imposes, and under it I must meet every'
responsibility . which attaches to my duties
here, without attempting to cast them upon
other persons. We have no right to expect
greater integrity in the courts than we are
'willing to exercise ourselves. And, sir, for ono,
lam unwilling to stand in cowardly security
behind them, and shrink from discharging the
duties incumbent upon me, because I may
imagine myself able to devolve them upon the
judges. I believe, sir, in short, that the act cf
1881, earnestly as I was opposed to it; became,
on its passage, a.contract, which it is not com
petent for us to annul. The question is now one
of judicial determination, and has passed totally
beyond the jurisdiction and power.of the Le
gislature ; and it is upon this ground that lam
compelled to withhold my assent to its repeal.
If it is amstituticmal, it is a legislative grant,
under which the rights of the parties have been
irrevocably fixed, and is a contract which we
have no power to annul. If it be not constitu
tional, it is simply void, and needs no repeal. I
propose, sir, by the amendment I have offered,
that this question shall be submitted, in the
most direct and simple manner, to the adjudi
cation of the courts, where it must, of necessity,
come at last, whatever may be the action of this
My idea of the question is just this : What
ever act we may pass should be perfectly prac
tical. It is altogether and worse than idle for
us to attempt to enact laws which we have no
authority to do. Our legislation should at least
present a probable intention of doing that
which the Constitution will permit. Sir, I re
peat, the question results in just this : Either
this law can be repealed or it cannot. If it is a
contract, it cannot be repealed ; if it is uncon
stitutional, it needs no repeal ; or if it is void
from any cause, it needs no repeal.
The difference between the proposition which
I have submitted and that of the gentleman
from Allegheny is briefly this : The measure I
mop. is direct, and vdi.i initnedbllehr- -hrinB
the question before the proper tribunal for ad
judication and decision in the simplest manner
of which it is susceptible. It directs the At
torney General to issue execution upon the
judgments which are already recovered, and
which are now held against the Pennsylvania
railroad company. When issued, the Pennsyl
vania railroad company will immediately, inter
pose the act of 1861, and' ask that the execution
be set aside upon the ground that the act of
Assembly has discharged the debt. This raises
at once, directly and pointedly, the question,
the whole question, as to the constitutionality
of the act. It is practical legislation, because
if the act of Assembly is unconstitutional and
void, then the money will be paid by force of
the execution into the State treasury. If the
act be valid,then it follows that the question is
settled ; and the Pennsylvania railroad has
confirmed to it by the decision, whatever rights
were conveyed by the act, and the question is
The main question then is . this, is it a con
tract? And if it be EL contract, is it each an one
as this Legislature can or cannot repeal. My
convictions are clear that it is a contract and
that it cannot be repealed. I do not intend to
pursue this question very minutely nor in very
great detail, hat I desire to make myself ' ex
pressly understood.
Let us not forget what is a contract ; and I
beg the attention of the House to thia point,,for
it is just the point upon which this whole case
must hinge. "A contract is a deliberate engage
ment between competent parties upon a legal
consideration to do or to abstain from doing a
particular thing." Now, sir, were these parties
competent 1 It is not possible to raise a ques
tion on that point. The Legislature was a com
petent party, and the Pennsylvania railroad was
a competent party.
The question, then is not as to the compe
tency of the parties, because that cannot be
controverted ; they were both competent to
contract. Did they contract? Is it a contract?
And here, let me reply to a suggestion of the
gentleman from Allegheny, made when this
bill was last under consideration that there is
no consideration for the contract. Why, sir,
a legislative grant requires no consideration.
That which the Legislature does, is in the ex
ercise of a sovereign power vested in them,
under the Constitution, and it is a fallacy to
say that the grant of the Legislature is void,
unless there be a consideration to sustain it.
The consideration which underlies a legislative
grant, is whatever in the estimation of the law
making power may subserve the public good—
a consideration of what the public interests
may demand, and the grant requires no other
consideration. For the gentleman to attempt
to draw analogies between ordinary contracts
between private parties and the legislative
grant, which is always, as the gentleman him
self has more than once expressed it, in the
mere pleasure of the Legislature, is it seems to
me an idle fallacy. This question, then,
as to
the consideration, has really nothing to do
with the subject. What consideration I would
ask, underlies the granting of a charteil None
whatever, except that the Legislature, in its
sovereign pleasure, presumes that the public
interest Will be advanced by granting to certain
persons corporate priviliges. The State in the
exercise of this sovereign power having erected
a body politic, and clothed it with legal per
sonality, not only may, but by the universal
practice of this and all goverments, does con
tract with it as with any other person—not for
distinctive considerations, but because, as an
act of sovereign legislation, it sees fit to do so.
This suggestion of want of consideration, I
may be pardoned for saying, is an ingenious
' sophistry s and totally apart from the subject.
The consideration has nothing to do with the
validity of a legislative grant, bat if it had, in
this case, the consideration is ample and clear.
Now, fir, again I inquire, was this a con
tract? for I take it for grantedAhat the parties
were competent. What does this act of 1861
require ? The first itom tal
ttrf a atch .1A34 4 04 1 thB
meats upOn the purchase of the main line. They
had agreed to purehase those works for a cer
tain consideration ;• to pay within rk certain
limited time. Undir the act of 1861 . the term
of the original contract of sale were changed
and the company agreed Ahab instead of Waki ng
payment at the times designated by the to
of the original purchase, they would make pa
ment at an increased' rate, which should
equal to four hundred and sixty thousand do
lan a year. If you turn to the report of th
Auditor General, pages fifty-one and fifty-two
you will find that the " commutation on. to .
nage tax," paid under this vmy act of 1861 in
the treasury, was one hundred and thirty tho
sand dollars ; and that., in addition to that, they
paid to the State one hundred thousand dollars
of bonds on account of the original purchase
for the six months payment which, under th
act of 1861, became then due—making an •
gregate payment of two hundred and thirty
thousand dollars for the first six months
der the contract created by this very act. Part
of the express consideration of this act was th
absolute payment of this very money to th
Commonwealth, and it has been paid. Talk
about consideration—here is a contract which
hold, sir, would have been binding without pe
cuniary consideration, but which nevertheless
stands doubly fortified—not only by exp
consideration agreed, but by consideration pair
It is a contract executed. The Pennsylvani
railroad company have paid into the Ste
treasury two hundred and thirty thousand do
lays; a large part of which, without this act
they would not have been required to pay; and
in every succeeding six months they are ra t
quired to pay two hundred and thirty thousand
dollars more.
They were also required to file this contract
for increased payments in the office of the
Auditor General, and they have 'done so. 'lt
was 'duly executed and delivered to the pro
per State officer, as required by the act. It is,
therefore, a contract, sealed, signed and deliv
ered, by the parties, and executed to the full
extent of its requirements.
Further than this; the company were by this
act required—mark you, not permitted, but re
quired by the very terms of the act to make a
new and complete list of tolls. The discretion
of the company was limited by this act. They
were compelled to make their tolls according
to limited rates fixed by this act of Assembly.
Wow, sir, here were duties imperatively impo
sed upon the company, and these very duties,
discharged by the company; the amended toll
sheet was duly filed in the office of the Audi
tor General, as required by the act, and the
charges of the company cannot exceed its fixed
Further than this, the fourth section provides
that, "for the purpose of developing the re
sources of the State" —mark, for the purpose
of developing the resources of the State—the
Pennsylvania railroad company is required to
expend eight hundred and fifty thousand - dollars
in aid to certain railroads,, which are
larly designated. Now, sir, this is a provision
imposed for the advantage of the State at large
—in promoting the general development of its
resources. It was not left optional with this
company, but was absolutely required, and I
venture to say that without it, it could not have
pasSed. It entered largely into the considera
tion. The company was bound to make pay
ment of eight hundred and fifty thousand dol
lars, which the act required ; to be made in a
particular way, and with no discretionary con
trol of it left to the company, and to some ex
tent—how far, I am not informed, nok is it at
all important—the payments have been already
made. It was a thing which was required by
the act of Assembly, and which the Pennsylva
nia railroad company have done.
By the same provision, they were required
to purchase at their par value the bonds
of these companies. Now, sir, that is a con
tract which can be enforced ; and they can be
compelled to pay par for bonds whose intrinsic
value may be nothing at all. It is the solemn
covenant of this company, assumed irrevocably
by the acceptance of the bill. It is a part of
the contract and'can be' enforced by all the
powers of the courts.
Here then the contract stands, duly signed,
sealed and delivered—and reposing to-day
securely among the records of the State, and
fully and fairly executed to the full extent of
the covenants and conditions imposed upon the
company. And yet, sir, we are called on in
this House to repeal that act of Assembly—to
repe , al a contract entered into by the Stat.),
and already executed so far as its terms require,
and the treasury of the Stateihelding the very
money of the company paid in pursuance
of it ; and which would not have been paid
except for it, and which it has not been sug
gested that the State shall refund.
Now, sir, I wish to call the attention of this
House very briefly to some other considerations ;
for I intend to be as brief as possible. I have
not had leisure to examine =this case to the ex
tent which its importance demands. I take
this ground (and I repeat it as being the un
questionable law) that, if this be a contract, it
is not in the power of the Legislature to repeal
it. The question is simply whether or not
it is a contract ; and I suppose that no logic
of any gentleman here can establish that it is
not. In my judgment, it is a contract within
every meaning of the word. But, sir, it has
been alleged here, that even if this act be in
the form of a contract, it is void by reason of
the corruption of the Legislature which passed
it. It is attempted to maintain the position
that if .the law-making power has been cor
ruptly influenced in the passage of the act, the
State may, of its own motion, repeal the act,
even although it be a contract.
Now, sir, the gentleman from Allegheny,
who seems to have this bill especially in charge,
and every lawyer in. this House, knows full
well that it is an established maxim of the law
that the king can do no wrong. It is equally
an established maxim of the law with us, and
it amounts to the same thing, that the govern
ment can do no wrong. In the same sense, the
Legislature, in its legislative capacity, can do
no wrong. This is a wise principle of the com
mon law of the land.
Now, sir, you may pass this bill, and I think
it will be found that the. Supreme . Court will
speedily dedlare that we have transcended our
authority, and encroached upon the peculiar
power of the courts. With this deep conviction
of our constitutional incapacity, I could not
feel, air, that I had discharged my duty were I
to vote for the repeal of the act.
But, sir, no one knows better than • the gen
tleman from Allegheny; that the hair splitting
distinctions upon which the argument in sup
port of the-bill has thus far preceded are rather
ad capfmahen axgsunents, intended to patch the,
ear of improfeestonat gentlemen whosevotes it'
lie necessary to, swu m
.. The gentleman kne*s
full welt hat the wrong which any particular
individual member of the Legislature may
ctittitikis not the wrong of the Legislature.
Whyi 4hbk'at it.ffntopope that an act of As
, • Owed IMAM* 41 Mio_litY of
a sin : vote (which is quite sufficient to Yew
it;) suppose you can show that one man whose
vote determined the result was bribed. Is that
fact to vitiate the law? -It cannot be pretended
that it would; end I doubt whether the gentle
man from Allegheny- would assert it. Linder
such a rule legislation would epon - bieomer im
possible. I say that in suchlildifsA 'though it
may be proved that an individual whose single
vote has determined the passage of the measure,
was corrupted, yet that is not ground sufficient
to vitiate the law. I maintain the position for
this reason: it has been the wisdom of the
people to divide their government into three co
ordinate branches— the legislative, the execu
tive and the judicial. The very liberties of the
people depend upon keeping them distinct and
separate. They cannot safely be permitted to
intermingle or to trench upon one another. An
act of. Assembly is the united act of the House,
of the senate and the Governor. Will it be
tolerated by any people that one branch of
the gbvernment shall thus summarily arraign
another—its equal—a co-ordinate branch of the
government, and allege that that department
of the government was corrupt, or It may be
bribed? Why, sir, in the language of Judge
Marshall, in the case of Fletcher vs. Peck, such
a proceeding is "indecent and unseemly." I
need not refer again to that case, which has
been already discussed very 114137. in this House-
It is enough' to say that the decision in that
case has not been disputed from the time when
it was rendered until thopresent moment.
The gentleman .fretin Allegheny, iu the last
diatussion of this question, spoke about the
power of the courts to interfere and take away
a charter by sears lacks" or quo warrant°. It can
be done unquestionably ; but it is a judicial
process under the exclusive control of the court
—not a power to be exercised by the Legisla
ture by unprecedented innovation upon the
authority and province of the judiciary. Why,
air, this encroachment of one department upon
the legitimate functions of another must neces
sarily lead to incalculable mischief; it must
result in swallowing up the whole liberties of
the people. These liberties depend not alone
and singly upon the Legislature, but they rest
in the equal, co-ordinate division of the execu
tive, legislative and judicial powers. It is
equally dangerous for the legislative depart
ment to encroach upon the judicial as it is that
the judicial should encroach upon the legisla
tive, or that the executive should encroach upon
Now, sir, let me briefly turn your attention
.to the law as it is laid down by authority. I
read from Story's Commentaries on the Consti
tution, page -. And I beg the attention
of the House especially to the decisions of the
courts upon the very points which are now at
issue. Let us pause before we plunge into this
dangerous attempt to repeal an act which the
law asexpounded Ma thousand cases pronounces
to be a contract in which the faith of the Com
monweath stands securely pledged-
And here let me remind the House of the
constitutional pro - vision on which the decision
of the question depends.
The 10th section of article 1 of the Constitu
tion of the United States, declares that "Nn
State shall pass any law impairing the obligation
of conirads." And the Constitution of Penn
sylvania, in section 17 of article 9, declares that
"No expost facto law, nor any law impairing con
tracts shall be made.
The interpretation of these provisions—so
far as the n question now under consideration is
involved—has been uniform—and I believe
will be found to be conclusive when this ques
tion, whatever may be our action, comes for its
final decision before the judges, to whose arbi
trament it must come at last.
Let me then enquire, in the language of
Judge Story.
"What is a contract? What is the obliga
tion of a contract? What is impairing a con
tract ? To what classes of laws does the prohi
bition apply? To what •extent does it reach, so
as to control prospective legislation on the sub
ject of contracts? These and many other ques
tions, of no small nicety and intricacy, have
vexed the legislative halls, as well as the jndi
chit tribunals, with an uncounted variety and
frequency of litigation and speculations."
Speaking of these grants, he says:
"The Constitution is not chargeable with
such folly, or inconsistency. Every grant in
its own nature amounts to an extinguishment
of the right of the granter, and implies a con
tract not to re-assert it."
Now, this is the doctrine applicable‘ here.—
If this be, a contract, (and I think it cannot be
successfully maintained that it is not,) it is
incapable of repeal, except with consent of par
ties. Again,on this question, I read briefly.
I wish that time and your patience would per
mit me to drawithe attention of the Legislature
more fully to the discussion of this very point,
as contained in this volume and others.
Speaking of the Dartmouth college case,
familiar to all lawyers on this floor, the same
authority says:
"The constitutionality of the act was con
tested, and after solemn argument, it was de
liberately held by the Supreme Court that the
provincial charter was a contract, within the
meaning of the Constitution, and that the
amendatory act was utterly void as impairing
the obligation of that contract.
"The doctrine is held to be equally applicable
to grants of additional rights and privileges to
an existing corporation, and to the original
charter, by which a corporation is first brought
into existence, and established. As soon as
the latter become organized and in ease, the
charter becomes a contract with the corpo
"And the doctrine is equally applicable to
grants of additional rights and privileges."
But I will not weary the House by more ex
tended reference to the very numerous cases in
which this doctrine is discussed and approved.
Bit, sir, I have spoken of the danger to our
liberties, of this spirit of innovation and en
croachment by one department of government
upon the rights and prerogatives of another.
On this point the same author remarks:
" Where there is no judicial department to
interpret, pronounce and execute the law,
decide controversies, and %enforce rights, the
government must either perish by its own im
benuity, or the other departments of govern
ment must usurp 'powers, for the purpose of
commanding obedience to the destrudion of lib
erty. The will of those who govern will be
come under such circumstances, absolute and
despotic ; and it is wholly immaterial, whether
power is vested in a single tyrant, or in an assem
bly of , tyrants. No remark is better founded in
henian experience, than that of Montesquieu,
that 4 there is no liberty, if the judicial power
be not separated from the legislative and execu
ttve And it is no less true, that per
pectirity and private property rest entirely
riptiii Übe wistioth; the Stability and the integ
rity of the courts of justice."
[Coslusin ox FOOBTO PAM.]