Page images

These States, therefore, proceed to pronounce the acts in question was no law, and altogether void and of no force.”

Mr. Jefferson, in a letter to Wm. B. Giles, December, 1825, shows that, even at that period, his views were unchanged :

"Separate from our companions,” says he, "only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of authority."

Chief Justice Marshall denied that the Supreme Court had “any political power whatever.” This, of course, excludes from it all questions between the government and States. Even John Quincy Adams, in 1828, could say:

"The case of a conflict between these two powers, (i. e., the General and State governments,) has not been supposed, nor has any provision been made for it in our institutions,-as a virtuous nation of ancient times existed more than five centuries without a law for the punishment of parricide."

But we proceed. Nullification was a doctrine of the State of Georgia. At a late period she nullified the intercourse laws by a simple act of legislation; her governor declaring, in 1831, "I will disregard all unconstitutional requisitions, of whatever character or origin they may be.” Nullification was a doctrine of Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio and Alabama,-"adopted and practised openly, avowedly, decidedly, undeniably," as may be discovered in the "Genuine Book of Nullification by Hampden, 1831." * With these authorities we close the question.

We conclude this paper on the political annals of our State, with the utmost brevity. It has already grown too large. Since 1834, no successful attempt has been made to alter or amend the Constitution of the State. Its great principles remain now as they did then. Bold innovations are, to be sure, frequently discussed, but there seems little disposition to sustain them. To give the election of governor to the people, and break down the compromise of 1808, (provi. ding the ratio of representation,) is sometimes agitated among disaffected spirits. The project, however, is so clearly objectionable, that no reasonable man anticipates any change. The question of the Presidential Electors has, of late, assumed an aspect rather more serious. It is well known that South-Carolina has, ever since the adoption of the Federal

* 1 Stat. at Large, p. 218.

Constitution, exercised the appointment of this college of Electors in her legislative halls. In every other State, their election is given to the people. Whether any thing is gained by this last mode of appointment, is with us exceedingly questionable. On the other hand, it seems that to authorize a change in our present system, much more cogent reasoning than we have yet heard ought to be adduced. The present method of appointment prevents much of that popular excitement which is so deleterious to public morals. It prevents the occurrence of those disgraceful scenes, which are often presented in other States. The system, with little if any exception, bas worked well with us. We


well de liberate and hesitate, when told to change it. Under the Constitution of the United States, we think the argument very strong that the people have the right, of themselves, to appoint these Electors. They may, however, if they see fit, exercise this right through their legislative bodies. Either mode we think perfectly constitutional. The matter is one of choice. The people of South-Carolina have elected to deposit this power, and continue it, in their State Legislature. We trust, all things considered, that it will remain there. Those who advocate a change, maintain that the State, or (as they interpret it) the people of the State, are the only appointing body. The Legislature can only prescribe the manner of exercising the appointment. This, say they, was the understanding of the Federalist,-it was also the understanding of the Convention which framed the Constitution, for it negatived a proposition to give the appointment of Electors to the State Legislatures,-the deputies from South-Carolina voting against it. Finally, they present the authority of Calhoun, McDuffie, Hayne and Drayton, in their favor, deny that the present system has worked well, etc. We shall not delay to notice any of these positions. Were it necessary, we think we could meet them.

The Judiciary, too, has not escaped this radical spirit which has been gaining ground in our State. Touch every thing else, but do not assail the Judiciary. By our Constitution, as in England, the Judges hold their seats quamdiu se bene gesserint.* An attempt was made, in 1824, to limit

* The history of the System of Courts, or Judicial system in South-Carolina, might very appropriately be introduced here. It will not be uninteresting. In 1683, an act passed for the “Trial of small and mean causes," which is 40

VOL. VII.-NO. 14.

the tenure to sixty-five or seventy years, but failed. Another, in 1827, after passing one house, was lost in the other. A similar bill, limiting it to sixty-five years, in 1835, passed the house, but did not reach the senate. Again, in 1839, the same measure was rejected by a majority. In 1841 it passed the house by a vote of seventy-two to twenty-eight,--not a constitutional majority. In 1843, an amendment passed both houses with the necessary majority, limiting the period in which a Judge could hold his seat, to his sixty-fifth year, Upon this bill no further proceeding has been had. It is, therefore, no law. The admirable letters of "The Black Sluggard,” attributed to Mr. Bellinger, attacked it with vigor and followed it to its last lurking place. There let the measure rest,--and rest forever.

We now dismiss the Political Annals of South-Carolina, The history of our own country is the most important history to understand. Ignorance of this, evidences a want of high patriotic principle. The State is every thing to its citizens. Where they fail in affection here, they are incapable of affection elsewhere. The State, as it has been nobly expressed, not of "battlements,” or “mounds," or "cities proud," but of men,

“high-minded men,Men who their duties know."


the first we recognize. In fact, previous to 1682, Justice Trott could only find nineteen acts of any description whatever.

In 1700, the Courts of Sessions and gaol delivery established.

In 1721, act for establishing County and Precinct Courts. These Courts were very defective, and soon gave way to the General Court, held in Charlestown, which monopolized nearly all the business of the province. This Court being so remote from a great portion of the inhabitants, occasioned a lax administration of justice, and the whole system fell into disrepute. The planters, or regulators, attempted to administer justice for themselves.

In 1769, the Circuit Court system was adopted. Its evils gave rise to, In 1785, the County Courts ---but these, in consequence of the opposition of the inhabitants, never extended to Charleston, Georgetown or Beaufort.

1791, the whole system of Courts of Law and Equity re-modelled.

1799-at this period the District Courts had been established, and the County Courts forever abolished.

1808—State divided into Equity districts and circuits. 1824-Court of Appeals in Law and Equity, of three Judges, established.

1835–Court of Appeals of three Judges abolished, and one of all the Judges in Law and Equity established.

1836– Two former Courts abolished, and a Law Court of Appeals and Equity Court of Appeals established.

1836— Court of Errors of all the Judges in Law and Equity; to try constitutional questions -questions where the Law or Equity Couris of Appeals are divided, or questions carried before it by two Judges.


1.-Fiske Fund Prize Dissertations of the Rhode Island Medical Society.

Spinal Diseases, both Structural and Functional,—their Causes and Treatment. By USHER PARSONS, M. D.

“Vestræ petitioni respondeo diligenter.” Boston: Thomas H. Webb & Co. 1843.

DR. Parsons' great diligence and research upon this, as well as on former occasions, is fully exemplified in the condensed treatise now before us.

As he is called upon to furnish the Rhode Island Medical Society and the public, with information in regard to the structural as well as functional diseases of the spine,-to point out their causes and best mode of treatment,-Dr. Parsons very properly commences the investigation, by giving a somewhat minute description of the anatomy of the parts concerned in this increased, increasing, and consequently very important class of diseases. And this he is abundantly able to do, with very little trouble to himself,-being perfectly familiar with this part of the subject,-having been for several years Professor of Anatomy in the medical department of Brown University. After considering the structure and functions of the spinal column and its appendages, he proceeds to take a pathological view of the subject.

Dr. P. has since visited Europe, and has no doubt made himself well acquainted with all the improvements which have since taken place, and has himself established an Orthopedic Institution in Providence, Rhode. Island, which is now, we understand, in successful operation.

In noticing this excellent production, for which we are probably indebted to the foresight and liberality of the founder of the Fiske Fund, we regret that Dr. Parsons should have condescended to refer, with so much respect, to individuals who are in bad odor with the profession, and to speak of, and to recommend, with so much complacency, salt and brandy, champooing, and such like quack remedies, which ought to be scouted by every scientific member of the profession.

J. B. W.

2.—Oracles from the Poets ; a fanciful diversion for the drawing-room.

By CAROLINE GILMAN. New-York and London: Wiley & Putnam. 1844.

To have our destinies revealed by the poets--to hail the responses of genius struggling on its lofty heights and in its enthusiastic moments, with "fine phrensy" catching revelations of the invisible world,-poscere tempus fala,—this is rare felicity. Poetry is akin to prophecy. There

is an inspiration in song which reaches far into the future. It "wreaks" its high “thoughts upon expression.” Poetry has been the vehicle of noblest prophecy. The bard and the seer have occupied common ground. They occupy it in the "Oracles," where we commend our fair readers, if they would no longer "see through a glass darkly."


3.- A Lexicon of Free Masonry- containing a definition of all its

communicable terms, notices of its history, traditions and antiquities, and an account of all the rites and mysteries of the ancient world.

By ALRERT G. MACKEY, M. D., Knight Templar, Rose + Scott, K H-S. G. I. G. of the 33d Deg, Grand Secretary and Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of South-Carolina, etc.

φθέγξομαι ούς θέμις έστι, θύρας δ' επίθεσθε βεβήλοις --ΟΡΦ. Charleston : Burges & James. 1845.

Our esteemed friend Dr. Mackey's titles are, of course, all hieroglyphics to us, who are not so fortunate as to be among the initiated. We presume his lexicon explains the whole matter, and we shall be particular to look into it. At present we can only introduce the work generally to the reader; it has only been in our hands a few moments, and we are just about going to press. In our next numb we hope to give it its due. Dr. Mackey is well known in our community for sound scholarship and sound Masonry. His work must be high authority. A work of the same kind has never before been known in the English language. We who are Southern reviewers are always glad to see Southern writers and Southern publishers.


4.-Discourse on the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Wm.

Penn, delivered in the Independence Hall at Philadelphia, on the 24th Dec., 1844, before the Historical Society. By Job R. Tyson, one of the Vice-Presidents. Philad.: 1845.

Tuis is a very appropriate and beautiful address, and concentrates, in a narrow compass, the principal incidents in the life of the excellent founder of Pennsylvania,—a man whose memory is worthy of all honor. Mr. Tyson has succeeded in placing before us a very graphic picture of the leading peculiarities of his mind and temper, and of his early achieve. ments. No man was ever distinguished for greater decision of character than Penn, or for a more ardent love of personal independence. Liberty was his mistress,-civil and religious liberty.

if he was disposed to think and judge for himself, as a man and a Christian should,

« PreviousContinue »