Huntingdon journal. (Huntingdon, Pa.) 1843-1859, March 05, 1850, Image 1

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Speech of A. Ht Comp, Esq.
'fait: the Bill to sled the judges—Delivered Peh.
marts Oth and Bth,. 1850.
'Mr. SPEAKER 1 would gladly avoid enter
ing upon the ihscussion of this question, at the
pkisent time, if I could at all reconcile it with
,rny ,convictions of duty—not merely duty to my
constituents and the Commonwealth, buten ini
perative duty I owe to myself.
Ilake it for granted 'that the present Con
ititution, as far as regards the Judiciary, is a
doomed instrument, and I have not the vanity
to suppose that any thing I may say, on this oc
' casion, will avert its fate. But I deem it my
duty, entertaining the deliberate convictions I
-do, to state fairly, fully and distinctly, the
ground I occupy on this subject.
I utterly deny the statement of the gentleman
from Philadelphia (Mr. BURDEN) that those
who oppose this resolution distrust the people ;
and I also deny that any amendment to the ori
ginal resolution, at this time, is any evidence of
a want of confidence in the people. • Sir, I have
as much confidence in the people as any man
can have; every act in the history of the Amer
ican people from the landing of the Pilgrims
slows to the present time has satisfied the world
that man is capable of self•government ; but I
will undertake to demonstrate that the issue at
tempted to be made by the gentleman from the
city is as false, as it is unjust. I solicit the pa
tient attention of the House first to what I have
to say in regard to the resolution itself; secondly
IS riiy objections to the principle of an elective
I may remark here and with great truth too,
that the Legielaiure of Pennsylvania has never
been engaged in the discussiou of a question of
so sober, so grave and important a nature, and
one too in which the people of the Common
wealth are so deeply and vitally interested.
And is it not important to consider well what
we are about to do 1 We are not tinkering and
tampering with the extremities, but we are
about to attack life's last citadel--.the heart.
Tl'ie Judicial branch O! this (Jo v by
far the most important of all its parts. The
Legislative and Executive are important in
themselves, but compared with the Judiciary
they dwindle into insignificance. The former
might fall in ruins around us ; but it the latter
survive the general destruction, the rights and
interests of the people would still be secure.
And how, Sir, and under what circumstances
are we approaching this subject ? And now in
order to show how the resolution was passed
and what little care and deliberation were ex
hibited on the occasion, I must refer to the
session of 1849. You will remember Mr. Spea
ker—for you were here at the time—that it was
brought into this house from the Senate near
the close of the last session and at a time when
the wildest and most ungovernable excitement
pervaded it, and was rushed rapidly through,
without a 'moment's time for reflection or ex
amination. I well remember that I stood on
the floor where the gentleman from Adams now
sits, desirous of having an opportunity of seeing
what it was, of offering some amendment, of
bringing its defects and absurdities before the
House, but my mouth was closed by an impe
rious call for the previous question, all discus
sion cut off, all deliberation and all amendment;
and thus this most important resolution, without
being discussed or examined, passed through
the House I It is now before us, and gentlemen
are anxiously pressing its passage and opposing
any amendment. Let it not be said that gen
tlemen who oppose the passage of this resolution
are opposed to the people ! On the other hand
it is because I have confidence in the people—
in their integrity and discrimination, and be
cause I feel a deep interest in their welfare and
prosperity that I take the course I have indi
cated. The people are not to be carried away
by a humbug I They are not to be deceived by
false issues ; they are not to be readily blinded
when their own interests are at stake. I know
well the risk I run and the imminent peril I
encounter in subjecting myself to misapprehen
sion from the honest, and designed misinterpre
tation from the demagogue ;—but none of these
things can move me, or drive me from the dis
charge of my duty.
Here, then, is this resolution with all its de
fects and its incongruities, passed in hot and in
decent haste at the last session, although days
and weeks are consumed in the discussion and
consideration of contemptible divorce cases;
but when it came to the great question—the
question affecting the organic law of the land,
the question in which every individual of the
Commonwealth is deeply interested; then there
was no time for deliberation, no time for inves
tigation. This resolution then passed under
those extraordinary circumstances, is again be
fore us, and gentlemen tell us we must pass it
without amendment because the people desire
it. Sir, I ask where is the evidence of the peo
ple's desire on this subject 1 where have they
spoken 7 where are the petitions asking it 1
It has been said that the Conventions, Whig and
Democratic, passed recolutions rtcommending it,
but I take it, passing said resolutions was no
part of their duty ; their duty was to nomi
nate a candidate for Canal Commissioner—not
to inquire into or recommend a reform in the ju
diciary system. There has never been a peti
tion presentee to to this House; the people have
not coma up here and demanded it ; they have
not exercised the only constitutional means they
possess of making known their wishes to the
Legislature; what then is the pressing necessi
ty for its hasty passage 1 Are the rights of the
people in this country not amply and broadly
secured already 1 are not the Courts of Justice
open to all—the rich and the poor alike ? There
is no allegation that the present judiciary is eith
er weak or corrupt; no complaints have come
up here on that score ; then, I submit, if the
present Juciciary is what it ought to be ; if it
has secured and protected every interest, public
and private as I believe it has ; if the State is
going on prosperously ; why shall this House
take a leap in the dark, that may lead us, God
in his infinite wisdom, only knows where
Now, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the
amendment of the gentleman from Northampton
(Mr. Poarsa) is obviously proper: which is,
to submit the broad and naked proposition, will
the people elect judges 7 curtailed of its absur
dities and shorn of its inconsistencies.
It will be remembered that no amendment
or amendments shall be submitted to the peo
ple oftener thau once in five years." If then
this resolution is liable to all the objections
which I will undertake to show it is, and will
entail upon the people all the evil results I ap
prehend it will, they must bear it for five long
years, for they have no remedy left to improve
er reform it. But if you adopt the amendment
of the gentleman from Northampton to submit
the simple propisitioa to the people—Will you,
elect your judges? and leaVe thd details t‘Y a
subsequent Legislatine, the difficulties I see can
be readily obviated. Again, the constitution in
Article Tenth says:" that if more than one
amendment be submitted, they shall be submit..
ted in such manner and fOrmi the people
may vote for or against each amendment sep
erately and distinctly." Thus it will be seen
that each propopition is to be submitted to life
people so that they can vote thereon distinctly,
and in this respect the amendment of the gentle.
man from Northampton is within the letter and
the meaning of the Constitution, while the ori
ginal resolution is directly in in its face. There
is not only one, but several propositions embrac
ed in the resolution, and eo embraced that j'dfl
must vote for all or none of them, or in other
words, that you cannot vote on each seperately
and distinctly.
I know it is contended on the other side that
the resolution forms but one proposition, but
this I apprehend is a clear mistake. The first
proposition in the resolution is, will the people
elect their judges I the next proposition is the
time when you will elect them; then the term
for which you will elect them; and how shall
you elect the Supreme judges, either by dis
tricts or the State at large; you will turn out
all the present judges without regard to the ex
piration of their commissions; shall the judges
so elected be re-eligible; shall all the power
over the judiciary be vested in the Legislative
department of the government; and shall the
Executive become the mere headsman to do its
bidding. All these propositions, it seems to
me, are embraced in the resolution and are so
inseperably connected, one with another, that
you must vote for all or none. I might with
great propriety say that the gentleman who ad
vocate the passage of this resolution without
amendment, are opposed to this reform ; that
they fear if the simple proposition be submit
ted to the people, they would vote for it, where
as their good sense would lead them to re
' ject the present resolution on account of its ob
jectionable features and its impracticable de
tails. And now I will proceed to state with
great brevity, what I conceive to be the prom
inent objections to the resolution. First, in
regard to the power of the Legislature over the
judiciary. The resolution goes on to say, " the
president judges of the several courtsof common
please & such other courts of record as areor shall
be established by law, and all the judges required
to be learned in the law, shall hold their offices
for the term of ten years if they shall so long
behave themselves well. The associate judges
of the courts of common please shall hold their
offices for the term of five years if they shall so
long behave themselves well ; all of whom
shall be commissioned by the 'iovernor, but for
any reasonable cause, which shall not be suffi
cient ground for impeachment, the Governor
shall remove any of them on the address of two
thirds of each branch of the Legislature." It
will be observed here, the word "shall" is
used, leaving the Executive no discretion, no
power, no authorito ; but vesting it all in the
Legislature.—Our government cannot be said
to be a pure democracy,but is what is more prop.
erly called a representative democracy, where
the people have agreed to part with a certain
portion of their power, and to place it in three
co-ordinate branches of the government. They
have parted with it on condition that it should
be so placed, and that neither branch should in
terfere with, or usurp the power of the other.
Sir, it will be seen, that if the doctrine of this
resolution be established, the power of the Ex
ecutive, so far as regards the judiciary is gone ;
he is peremptorily directed to carry out and ex
ecute the will of the Legislature, to do its bid
ding and become a mere axeman in its bands.
Thus the judiciary becomes entirely dependent
upon the Legislative branch, perhaps the most
unsafe depository of power in this government.
What I Sir, are the people of Pennsylvania pre
pared to vest all the power in the Legislature 1
Are they prepared to destroy that nicely ad
justed system of balances and checks under
which this country hasprospered, and under
which all their rights have been secured ?
What would be thought of a proposition to com
pel the Executive to sign every bill the Legis
lature might see fit to pass, without regard to
Its justice or constitutionality 1 and supposing
anch to be the case, what would become of the
rights of the people, in what would consist their
security ? how often have measures been car
ried through this House, in moments of the
highest excitement, under the spur and whip of
party measures that struck at the constitution,
and which if not arrested by the conservative
arm of the execvtive might have subverted the
rights of the people. And yet the proposit ion
contained in this resolution is nothing less than
this, but to all intents and purposes, so far as
regards the judiciary, the Legislature have the
whole and sole control. This then, it seems to
me, is an insuperable objection to the resolu
tion and wouid constrain me to vote against it,
evon were I strongly in favor of the elective
The next objection to the resolution, is the
re-elligibility of the judges. It the judges are
to be elected, let them be placed in eireumstan•
ces under which they would have no temptation
to err--no temptation to do what is wrong. I
know the gentleman from Adams, (Mr. Smy
ser,)has told us that if a man is honest and up
right he will discharge his duty regardless of
consequences. This is a fine theory ; a beauti
ful morality, but unfortunately it is seldom il
lustrated. I have as high an opinion of man
kind as the gentleman from Adams; but when
1 see all the penal enactments that cover our
statute books—all the bolts and bars, all the
jails and Penitentiaries that cover this land, I
begin to think that man is weak--that he needs
safeguards—and I begin to see the great pro
priety of that inimitable prayer "lead us not
into temptation." See to what temptations
you subject a judge. Suppose him to be a fair
and honest man, in the ordinary sense of the
term, arid anxious to do what is right. He is
presiding as a judge with two parties before
him ;
one of the parties perhaps a man of pow
erful influence from his wealth, his intelligence,
his connections, or no matter what—the other
poor and obscure, without influence and without ,
notoriety. The judge is looking forward to a I
re-election, with a family at home, perhaps,
whose comfort depends on that re-election ;
think you, air, he will he able to look beyond
himself, beyond his family, to forget everything
but the justice of the cause ? Think you under
such circumstance.. that poor and obscure man,
without wealth and without influence at his
command, would receive that fair and impartial
justice which would be meted out to him under
other circumstances 1 It is asking too much of
poor humanity. A judge desirous of re-election
instead of being the calm and impartial exposi
tor of the law he ought to be, neither looking to
the fight or the left, lace ti ear's wife, not only
tinstirfpected, but aboVe till suspicion, will be
found trimming his judicial sails to fall in with
that current which 'Will secure him possession
of his office.. That government, therefore, which
would be either just to. itself or just to its citi
zens, should be carefiil to remtiie every iedifi
tation that might seduce or destroy.
Supposing the judge td have risen superior to
the temptations which assailed him—supposing
him to have laid down the; law fairly and hon
estly as he believed it id tie, *odd that satielfy
the disappointed suitor that the decision 'Was
just? How readily would he attribute it to a
desire on the part of the judge to take the popu
lar side ! The personal security of ever? citi
ien in this country, as well as the rights of pro-
perty, all depend upon the respect and venera
tion we have for our courts of Justice. If
that respect which leads us to acquiesce quietly
and submit tamely to the decrees of our courts ;
and if it were otherwise, the rights of no man I
would be secure. Mob law and brute force
would assert their tight to reign. It will there
fore be seen that a judge ought not to be placed
under circumstances that will subject his con
duct to suspicion, and tend to destroy that re
spect and regard which should ever accompany
and follow the decisions of our courts. If the
judge is not re-elligible—if there is held out to
him no temptation in the way of popularity—
when it is known to him and the community in
which he resides, that he can but serve to the
expiration of a single term, then there is no in
ducement to err, no temptation to interfere with
the scales of justice. This, then, is another ob
jection to the resolution.
A third is, the time of the election. This
resolution provides that the "said election shall
take place at the general election of this Com
monwealth." Now it seems to me that if the
people are to elect the judges, they ought not to
elect them at the time of the general election.
But some other time should be fixed, when
there would be less political feeling to interfere
with the calm and impartial selection of a judge.
Need I ask you to turn your attention to some
of our past elections to see what political strife
and personal bitterness have characterized ma
ny, if not all of them,—to bring, for instance, to
your mind, that campaign of 1838, when Penn
sylvania was convulsed from one end to the oth
er with the most intense excitement—that cam
paign which had well nigh closed in the over
throw of the Government 1 Is such an occasion
a fit time to elect judges of our courts of jus
tice 1 Can they in the nature of things prevent
themselves from being mixed up with, and be
coming a part and portion of that bitterness and
that strife which are inseparable from political
contests 1 Can they be expected to remain
calm, quiet and self-poised, when all around is
tumult and excitement? We should never for
get that they are but men, and to ask of them
more than can be expected of us, is unfair and
unjust. A judge elected under such circumstan
ces is placed in a most painfully embarrassing
situation. All the inflections of law and viola
tions of right that have necessarily occurred du
ring the wild excitement of a contest in his own
district, are to be tried and adjudicated before
him, and we all know how propitious such a
season is for the disregard of all justice and all
right ; for how seldom does the indiscrimina
ting barbarity of party spirit spare anything, or
stop at anything which may hinder the accom
plishment of its fondest schemes ! It requires
no farther argument to show clearly the great
impropriety of electing them at such a time and
under such circumstances.
A fourth ojection is in relation to the injus
tice done the present judges, by taking from
them their commissions without regard to the
time of their expiration. When those judges
received their appointments, they took them
under an implied contract on the part of the
State that they were commissioned for the term
of ten years , with that understanding, and re
posing in the faith of that implied contract, ma
ny of them left a lucrative practice, some of
them their homes, to enter upon the discharge
of their duties. They have peen discharging
those ditties fairly, honestly and impartially ;
there has not been, nor Is there now any com
plaint, or allegation of wrong on their part.—
Now I submit whether to turn them out sud
denly, without notice and without cause, be in
accordance with that great injunction—"Do un
to others no ye would that others sliculd do un
to you 1" Nor is it in accordance with the
plain rules which govern a contract between
man and man. Take the case of a hireling for
a year or a term; the person so hired has com
menced and is prosecuting his labor under the
terms of his contract; he Is doing all he con
tracted to do ; he is discharging every duty and
obligation imposed upon him by its terms ; he
is meeting fully the very letter of the contract,
when he Is suddenly informed that his services
can be dispensed with although the period for
which he has hired hits not yet terminated.—
Between man and man, I say, this would be a
clear and unmitigated violation of a contract,
and would so be held by every court of justice
in the land ; how then can the Commonwealth
escape from this rule of law ? Is a less rigid
rule to be observed with regard to her contracts?
Is less faith and confidence to be reposed in her
than in the humblest citizen within her borders?
It may be said. and it has been said, that if those
judges are what they ought to be they would be
re-elected. This does not follow by any means,
and instead of being an answer to the argument,
is a mere evasion. Indeed, it cannot be an
swered ; it is too plain to admit of doubt.
The fifth objection is, the term for
which they shall hold their offices. If
the people are capable of electing judges
once in ten years, and God knows 1 do
not doubt their capability, they are ca
pable of electing them oftener, they are'
capable of electing them once in three
years or once in five years. Let the
term be three or five, as it ought to be,
instead of ten years, and the people will
have an opportunity to bring their pub
1k to a short and speedy ac
count. Ten years is entirely too long
to bear with either a weak or an unjust
judge, for of all curses which can be in
flicted upon a community is a corrupt
judge with no means of removing him.
But it may be said that if he is either
unjust or incapable, a mode is pointed
out by which the Legislature may re
move him. You can readily imagine,
sir, what a slow and difficult process this
might be and how uncertain would be
its result. It will not only depend upon
the man and his political standing but
on the nature and character of the Leg
islature, and the various and unfotseen
influences that might operate. We have
had lamentable evidences of this in
Pennsylvania before to-day. In , tead
therefore of giving the flower to the Leg
islature and vesting them with supreme
command, give it to the people, where
it rightly and legitimately belongs, for
in shortening the terms you do but in
crease the power of the people. And I
am amazed that the friends of this reso
lution, who seem to be so purely demo
cratic in their notions, and who seem to
entertain such a horror and disgust of
anything conservative, should involve
themselves in such a glaring inconsis
tency as to the taltiocate a term of ten
These are some of the objections, to
gether with many others which 1 have
not time now to enumerate or dwell upon.
I have made these in no captious spirit,
with no mere view of throwing areyfliring
in the way of the passage of this resolu
tion ; they have been made honestly and
in good faith, and I now ask whether
this reform is so imperatively demanded
by the people as to require the immedi
ate passage of this resolution with all
its manifest defects and insuperable ob
jections—taken in connection with the
tact that if we do pass it we thUst labor
under its evils without remedy for a pe
riod of five years 'I
So careful were the framers of the
Constitution, so apprehensive were they
of hasty legislation on this subject, that
in the Tenth Article they provided with
great wisdom, that "any amendment or
amendments to this Constitution may be
proposed in the Senate or House of Rep
resentatives, and if the same shall be
agreed to by a majority of the members
elected to each House, such proposed
amendment or amendments shall be en
on their journals with the yeas and
nays taken thereon and the Secretary of
the Commonwealth shall cause the same
to be published three months before the
next election in at least one newspaper
in every county in which a newspaper
shall be published, and if in the Legis
lature next afterwards chosen, such pro
posed amendment or amendments shall
be agreed to by a majority of the mem
bers elected to each House, the Secreta
ry of the Commonwealth shall cause
the same to be again published in man•
ner aforesaid and such proposed amend
ment or amendments shall be submitted
to the people in such manner and time,"
&c. Now it will be seen that the assent
of two Legislatures is required, and
why ? That care and deliberation, time
and reflection should be bestowed.—
These distinguished men seem to have
foreseen what has occured in a period of
twelve years, for never was the foresight
or sagacity of that convention more stri
kingly manifest than when it incorpora
ted this provision into the Constitution.
They seemed to foresee the state of things
which existed here at the session of '49; a
proposed amendment to the Constitution
brought into :his House and in a moment
of tumult and excitement, without ei
ther consideration or deliberation, pas
sed upon as though it was a matter of
no moment.
Well might they incorporate such a
provision in view of such a state of
facts. But if this resolution is to pass
in its present shape, and without amend
ment, and if we have no right to go be
hind the action of the last Legislature,
of what avail is such a provision ; what
is it but the action of one Legislature
instead of two, as required by the Con
stitution 1 And such action as that was!
The design of the framers of the Con
stitution was, that in subjecting it to the
inspection of a second Legislature, the
defects of the amendment ; if it had any,
might be perceived and the objections to
it obviated by wise and proper amend
ment. That this resolution is defective
is generally admitted; that the amend
ment of the gentleman from Northamp
ton is proper and right, is as generally
conceded. Why then will this House
not pause—why will it not deliberate 1
Thus much in regard to the resolution
itself. I now, sir, come to the principle
itself, the principle of an elective judi
ciary, and I do think the propriety of
adopting it may he well doubted, It
becomes us to pause and reflect—to take
a calm survey of ail that is around us
and about us, and to weigh well all we
are about to do. It is easy to tear down, '
it requires neither science nor skill to
prostrate the farost temple ever reared
by the hands of Freedom, but it is a
difficult task to re-build ; re-organize and
re-construct. We are now happy and
prosperous, this we know; in the his
tory of mankind there is nothing ap
proaching the public and private advan
tages that we possess, and yet we are
not satisfied. What more can we ask—
what more have we a right to expect
than our institutions have already done
for us 1 Who can foretell or even fore-
sed consequences that may flow freer!'
the adoption of the proposed reform,
whether it will benefit the people, wheth
er it will end sooner or later in anarchy
and confusion, in the whole and entire
overthrow of all we hold most dear 1—
No man can tell, sir. No man can pen
etrate the veil. We know the State is
now flourishing, that its citizens are pro
tected and secured in all their rights,
justice is now administered with.
'out "sale, denial or delay ;" is it wise
then is it prudent, to put all the blessings
and privileges we enjoy in jeopardy, to
hang the fate of this people on the haz
ard of a die, on a wild and untried ex
periment 1 What would be thought, sir,
Of that man, who was in n sound. and
healthy condition, with all his organs
performing their appropriate functions,
if under such circumstances he should
call in a physician and desire to under
go severe medical treatment—a treat
ment that might weaken, if not bring
hit down to a premature grave 1 Why,
air, he would be called a fool, a madman,
and yet we, in a sound and healthy con
condition, with all the functions of the
government performing their appropri
ate duties, are about to do the same
thing. The subject, sir, as I before ste.
ted, is surrounded on all sides with ev
everything to invest it with a deep and
soldnin importance. The judiciary to
us is everything; to it we are mainly
indebted for all we have, and on it we
must depend ; to it we must look for all
we hope to have. Let us be careful then,
1 beseech you, how we tamper with it,
lest in an unguarded moment we strike
a fatal blow.
To a free people, and a people who
desire to remain free, a written constitu
tion with justice and equality for its ba
sis is absolutely necessary; but, sir, that
constitution, however well defined—how
ever just and equitable in all its provis
ions and features, is not worth the paper
on which it is written, if there be no
power in the government to protect, de
fend and expound it. The Constitution
has often been assailed and Its prin
ciples attempted to be contravened by
hasty and inconsiderate legislation ; the
Legislature has often laid upon it its
rude and unsparing hand, and had it not
been for the timely interference of the
Supreme Court of the Commonwealth,
it would have received many a serious
wound, and in wounding it you wound
the people and their dearest rights.
13ut it may be said what has time to
do with the question. It has this to do,
sir ; under our wisely adjusted system
of jurisprudence, our courts of justice
arc not political arenas, where judicial
gladiators may meet to carry out some
favorite party project, where instead of
protecting and defending the Constitu
tion, they make sad and lamentable hav
oc of it—under our present system they
are in a great measure removed above
and beyond the swellings and surgings
of popular commotion, and of party
strife and party bitterness. They are
no part or portion of it, and as a conse
quence they are not its slaves to do its
bidding, and its dirty work. Their po
sition is rather neutral than otherwise,
and they are thus fitted to judge calmly
and decide impartially. This perhaps
is not the time to spealc of the present
Supreme Court as it deserves to be spo
ken of. When it has been struck down
by radicalism and poluted with party
spirit, the people will be able to see and
to feel what they have lost. I mat',
however, sir, speak of the head of that
court without being regarded as invidi
ous in any sense. The present chief
justice of the Commonwealth of Penn
sylvania is a man that the State and the
nation may well be proud of—with an
enlarged understanding, a powerful, vig
orous and discriminating mind, he has
shed a lustre upon the bench; and his
judicial opinions will be read and ad
mired as long as law and learning are
appreciated. Let his enemies be patient,
he is an old Mari, dud it may soon be
said of him as it was of Duncan; "after
life's fitful fever he sleeps well." But
when you come to elect the Supreme
judges by a party movement and a par
ty vote, you change the complexion of
affairs ; ynu give that court a party cast,
aye, sir and you give it,a party bearing
and a party leaning. You bring it into
the mire and filth of party politics, and
it is at once shorn of that regard and
that respect which should ever be en
tertained for it and its decisions. Make
It a party bench, as it would be, and
what becomes of the rights of the mi
nority 1 For remember, sir, the consti
tution was not made for the majority
alone, it was made for all ; yes, the
humblest citizen that walks is entitled
t o its provisions. He has a right to
hold it up as his shield and defence, and
to claim its protection ; but when the
supreme court, the court of the last re
sort of this great State, has become the
theatre for party to figure in, emit would
soon be under an elective system, God
VOL, XV, NU 10,
help minorities; for the court *Oultl
become the reti , •estintatiVe of the' inajoi
ity--that Majority who placed them' iii
power. . Hut' et' may be said, they need
not become party frien, they need tint be
influenced by parties. Is there a' thrift
in this House who is tfUt fd seiffie extent
influenced by consideratiobs that may
favor the party that elected him ; are
we not particularly anxious about the
fate of our party. Let any man look
at the voting here, and see how far par ,
ty feeling can and carry men; and
tell me are not to a considerable
extent its slaves. Why, then, will yod
ask more of judges thdO we ore willing
to do ourselves ? They nre but flesh
sand blood, as we are, subject tei
temptations, and is it fair, is it fight
that we should expect, that we should
ask them to do what we cannot do Show
me the man who can rise superior to
party spirit and party influence, especi
ally when he is a constituent portion of
it, as the judges would be if elected.--
There lives no each man,
To elect n judge by the people, yen
place him to a greater or less extent on ,
der obligations to all those who have
war/fined and supported him. Every
man who has voted for him or contribu
ted to his election, supposes that he has
some claims upon him, and when his
cause is to be tried and adjudicated be.
fore him, he will be led to expect much
favor at his hands. You thus place a
judge in circumstances its which he nev
er should be placed ; if one of the suit
ors before him for trial has been his bit
ter opponent, he goes into that Court
with little expectation of receiving jus
tice at its hands, and if defeated he goes
home, not satisfied that the weakness or
want of merit in his cause defeated him,
but that it was his opposition to the
judge that rendered the verdict against
him. However the truth of the case
might be, this would be the natural con
clusion to which he would come; and
men, under such circumstances, instead
of quieq and peaceably acquiescing in
the verdicts of our courts, would be led
to look upon them as the mere reward of
party, and the time would soon come
when decisions and verdicts would be
of no more value than the paper on which
they are recorded. But suppose anoth
er ease, Suppose there to be an elec
tion for judge in is certain district ;
pose the campaign to be warmly and
fiercely contested on both sides ; sup
posing I, sir, ns a voter in the district,
felt it to be my incumbent duty to op
pose with great energy the election of
the successful candidate. I do all in my
power to defeat him, and labor with
great warmth and great zeal for the
success of his opponent; think you, sir,
when I come into that court with a cli
ent, that I am going to receive that eon
sideration which is given to the lawy&
who was his fast friend 'I My client
then becomes the victim ; if it is in a
civil case, then he may appeal and take
it to a higher court ; but as the Speaker
has well remarked, there is no remedy
in a criminal case, there is no appeal ;
if injustice has been done him, he must
suffer without remedy. Take still an
other case. Supposing the candidates
for judge in a close district, canvassing
their district, meeting their fellow citi
zens at every point ; meeting men who
have causes to try, and those men talk
ing to them fully and freely about the
great merits of their cases, and the in
justice that has been done them. In a
word they are electioneering for the of.
fice, (for it will come to this, and it Is
idle to deny it,) and they must pass
through all the paraphernalia incident
to the successful politician. Is a man
under such circumstances, just emer
gitig from a fierce political strife with
all the feelings and prejudices fresh upon
him, fit to be a judge: fit to administer
the law as it should be administered,
without "fear, favor or affection."
But it has peen said by the gentleman
from Adams, that the appointing power
at present is the same thing. Not at all,
sir. The Governor who appoints and
the Senate who confirm, never in all
probability, come before that judge for
trial ; he will have nothing to do with
their interests or their rights. Never
perhaps embarrassed by having before
him, the man from whom he received
his office; while on the other hand it is
absoluWy certain that many, if not all
the voters in his district will at one time
or another be in his court as parties or
witnesses. Thus the case is widely dif.
feront and strikingly distinguished.
Let it not be said, however, that I lack
confidence in the people--that I doubt
their capability to choose good judges,
for I do not ; I believe the people might
and would elect a good judge, but that
is not the question. Sir, how long would
he remain a good judge under the infiu.
ences and temptations which surround
him 1 Would he adhere to Lis integrity
under all circumstances ands' all times