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quite expressive saying, that we should be content to let well enough alone. We have found, that matters are very well conducted under the present state of things; and when the good consequences of a change are at all questionable, it is always serviceable to remember the familiar maxim of the logicians, that in dubiis pars tutior est eligenda.
In conclusion, if it should be asked, whether we are of opinion, that the public interest should be permitted to be prejudiced, we unhesitatingly answer by no means. We only advocate that course of conduct, which will enable us to enjoy the matured and sober wisdom of the sage, and reject the wandering intellect of the driveller. It was a practice
among the ancient Greeks, to enquire into such instances of heads of families, that were unable to attend properly to their duties: we read that Sophocles was summoned before the judges for some such offence, by his own children ; and a similar custom was not unknown to the Romans, even in cases of unexceptionable character, who were improperly conducting their affairs, in both instances, the parties were liable to be removed from the personal management of their property, on a proper case shown.* In some of the States of the Union, the Governor is authorized and empowered to remove the Judges from office, at any time on the address of two-thirds of each house of the general Assembly ; in others, a similar power is given to the Senate, on the recommendation of the Governor, for causes to be stated in such recommendation. In the State of South-Carolina, we have all that can possibly be properly demanded or accomplished in this respect. The State Constitution has been altered, in reference to the Judicial and other civil officers; and permanent bodily or mental infirmity, in the incumbent, is sufficient ground for the Legislature to declare his office vacant :
“If any civil officer shall become disabled from discharging the duties of his office, by reason of any permanent bodily or mental infirmity, his office may be declared to be vacant by joint resolution, agreed to by two-thirds of the whole representation in each branch of the Legislature ; Provided, that such resolution shall contain the grounds for the proposed removal, and before it shall pass either House, a copy of it shall be served on the officer, and a hearing be allowed him." 6 Stats. at Large, 356 and 7. This would seem to be abundantly sufficient for all pur
*Cic. de Senec. Cap. 7.
poses. Let the superannuated Judge be summoned before the Legislative body, and the fact inquired into, whether or not he is incompetent to the discharge of his official duties, precisely in the same manner as a Jury would proceed to try an individual on a writ de lunatico inquirendo.
We think such a course, for the reasons above suggested, would be much more rational and serviceable than that which would attempt, reasoning a priori, to lay down any arbitrary rule, dictating a precise and limited period of time, beyond which all men should be deemed incapable of discharging the Judicial functions.
ART. VII.-Mr. HoAr's Mission: Documents relative to
the recent Mission of the Hon. Samuel Hoar, of Massa
chusetts, to South-Carolina, including 1. Letter of Mr. Hoar to the Governor of South Carolina,
of 28th Nov., 1844. 2. Message of the Governor of South Carolina to the Le
gislature, of 30th Nov., 1844. 3. Report of the Committee of Federal Relations on the
Governor's Message. 4. Message of the Governor of Massachusetts to the Le
gislature of that State, of 6th January, 1845. 5. The Hon. Samuel Hoar's Statement of his Reception in
South-Carolina. 6. Resolutions of the Legislature of Massachusetts, pass
ed January, 1845.
The above documents embrace a case of considerable interest, and one which has produced much excitement and agitation throughout the country. The case is this : On the 29th day of December, 1835, South-Carolina passed the following act :
"That it shall not be lawful for any free negro, or person of color, to come into this State, on board any vessel, as a cook, steward or mariner, or in any other employment, on board such vessel ; and in case any vessel shall arrive in any port or harbor of this State, from any other State or foreign port, having on board any free negro, or person of color, employed on board such vessel as a cook, steward or mariner, or in any other employment, it shall be the duty the sheriff of the district, in which such port or harbor is situated, immediate
ly on the arrival of such vessel, to apprehend such free negro or person of color, so arriving contrary to this act, and to confine him or her closely in jail, until such vessel shall be hauled off from the wharf, and ready to proceed to sea. And that when said vessel is ready to sail, the captain of the said vessel shall be bound to carry away the said free negro, or person of color, and to pay the expenses of his or her commitment."
The State of Massachusetts complains of the character of this law, and of acts, from time to time, done under it. She insists that this law of South-Carolina is unconstitutional, passed and enforced in direct violation of two distinct provisions of the Constitution of the United States, -viz: Ist, of that clause in the Constitution which declares, that "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States ; -2dly, of that other clause in the Constitution, which confers on Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.” She complains that many of her colored citizens, who have entered the port of Charleston on board her vessels, in pursuit of a lawful commerce, have, under color and by force of this law, been seized by the officers of South Carolina, taken from her ships, confined in prison till her vessels were ready to depart, and their captains compelled to pay the expenses of their detention ; and that "the color of their skins has been the only offence of those citizens, which has subjected them to a felon's treatment.” Massachusetts is an advocate for the liberty of her citizens, whether black or white, and she complains of these acts of South-Carolina, not only as unconstitutional, but as arbitrary, unjust and oppressive. Under these impressions, she has, at different times, sought redress for the supposed wrongs she has suffered, first by appointing, as her agents, resident citizens of South Carolina, authorized by her to test the constitutionality of the obnoxious law, by carrying up cases, arising under it, from the District Circuit Court to the Supreme Court of the United States, at Washington, for adjudication. These agents, so appointed by Massachusetts
, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, have refused to act upder the authority given to them. In this emergency, Massachusetts, still aggrieved, recently sent a special agent to South-Carolina, the Hon. Samuel Hoar, with instructions to remain here and commence prosecutions, with a view to settle, one way or the other, the constitutionality and justice of the law in question. Mr. Hoar
arrived in Charleston on the 28th day of last November, and forth with communicated to the Governor of South-Carolina the fact of his arrival and the objects of his visit. The Governor, in a message, communicated the intelligence to the Legislature, then in session at Columbia. This message was referred to the Committee on Federal Relations, who reported thereon, and resolutions were passed unanimously, by both Houses, vindicating the position of South-Carolina, denouncing the conduct of Massachusetts in the premises, censuring her emissary for his interference with her local matters, and expelling him from the State. Before the last resolution was communicated to the agent, the excitement had become so great in the city of Charleston, where Mr. Hoar remained, and where he was assiduously prosecuting the objects of his mission, that he was under the necessity of abruptly leaving the State, which he did, carrying back to Massachusetts complaints of personal ill usage, and of great indignity offered to the State of Massachusetts, in this treatment of her legally appointed agent. The Governor of that State, communicated the statement of this agent to her Legislature with an elaborate message, setting forth her grievances, which message was referred to the Committee on Federal Relations, who reported thereon; and resolutions were unanimously passed by both houses of her Legislature, in which the obnoxious law, and the conduct of South-Carolina towards her agent, are declared to be good causes of war between Massachusetts and South-Carolina, if war between different States of the Union were permissible, and employing other inculpatory and threatening language, expressive of her indignation and resentment. It is very evident, that in this whole transaction, Massachusetts considers herself the aggrieved party,—that she has suffered great wrong but perpetrated none,-and under these views of her previous intentions and doings, though seriously angry, she expresses her determination to do nothing rash hereafter, but to act with becoming dignity. Such is the ground taken by the State of Massachusetts in reference to the case of Mr. Hoar, his mission, and the objects intended to be compassed
South-Carolina, on the other hand, insists that she alone, on the present occasion, is the aggrieved party ;-—that she has done no wrong to Massachusetts, or to any other State, by the laws she has enacted in respect to free negroes or
persons of color: on the contrary, that Massachusetts, by attempting to interfere with her local legislation in this matter, has forgotten what was due to her as a sovereign State, and has offered her a serious insult; and not only so, but by adopting and vehemently prosecuting measures calculated to disturb her peace and promote discord within her borders, has totally lost sight of the aims for which the Constitution of the Union was originally formed,--one of the principal objects of which was, to "ensure domestic tranquillity.” She insists that the Constitution was the result of a compromise between the slave-holding and non-slaveholding States of this Union ;-that all powers not expressly granted to the Federal government by the Constitution, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people ;—that the power to control and protect by suitable laws their slave population, has never been granted by the slave-holding States to the Federal government, but remains with them now in full force, as it always has done ;-that it is a power incidental to their sovereignty as States, one of their undoubted rights, recognized as inalienable by the Constitution; that the law in respect to free negroes and persons of color is a law of this character,-a humane regulation,--not unconstitutional,--dictated equally by prudence and necessity, and enacted with a clear view to self-preservation, and that alone ;-that free negroes and persons of color-so calledare not citizens under the Constitution,—that they are no where so designated by that instrument;—that the only language that instrument employs in reference to them, is that in which they are styled, not "citizens,” but simply "persons," as in the phrase, "all other persons;"_that the citizens of the United States, who formed the Constitution, were free white male inhabitants, descendants of the Caucasian race, and that they formed it for their own benefit and that of their posterity, and that it was not formed, either in whole or in part, by colored people, descendants of the African race, whether negroes, whose skin is black, or mulattoes, mustees or quadroons, in whose complexion there are different shades of white, and formed for their special benefit or that of their posterity ;-while she denies the charge impertinently preferred against her, and scouts with proper indignation the monstrous and senseless idea, that she ever has asserted, or ever could assert, that the color of a man's skin, which God has given him, is in its nature a felony, or any offence what