« PreviousContinue »
& /? )!'
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Supreme Court of the eontwoittoealtft of $etmsslttmtttr,
BY DISINTER TED STENOGRAPHERS;
ALL THE PROCEEDINGS, TESTIMONY, AND ARGUMENTS AT NISI PRIUS, AND
CHARGE OF JUDGE ROGERS,
THE VERDICT OF THE JURY,
THE OPINION OF CHIEF JUSTICE GIBSON.
THE WHOLE COMPILED AND PREPARED FOR THE PRESS
REV. D. W. LATHHOP-
Entered according to act ef Congress, in the year 1839, by
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In preparing for the press, the report now submitted to the public, the single aim of the editor has been, accuracy in the exhibition of the facts, testimony, arguments and decisions, which make up the whole case, as it was actually developed in court.
To accomplish this object, all that could be effected, by unremitting perseverance in the use of the best materials for the purpose, has probably been attained.
No apprehension is entertained that any candid man, of any ecclesiastical party, will find occasion to complain of partiality or favoritism in this report.
The case necessarily involved the discussion, by distinguished civilians, of great principles of law, order, and constitutional and natural rights, which have given to it an importance, rarely if ever attached to a judicial investigation in our country. Eminent lawyers not connected with the case, have even said, that in view of the extensive range, and weighty character of the questions involved, it is the most important judicial case, to be found on the legal records of the world.
Its importance is perhaps not diminished by the condition in which it now stands on the records of the court, by the fact that it is yet undecided. Whether or not, this case in its present form, shall ever be prosecuted to an ultimate decision; it is hardly possible, if it be not, that other cases will not arise involving the same principles, and resting, indeed, on the precise facts of this case. So far, the case has elicited two official decisions in the same court, of a diametrically opposite character, and involving opposite legal opinions on points of fundamental import.
One of the parties now claim of right, on their side, the decided opinion officially promulgated, of the judge of the Supreme Court, who presided at the trial, in relation to the law, and the verdict of a jury of twelve enlightened freemen on the facts of the case, in coincidence with the opinion, as understood and admitted by all parties, of another judge of the same court; while the other side, with equal truth, claim the opposite opinion, both of the law and the facts, of the three other judges, being the majority, and including the chief justice of the same high court; the latter in the regular course of legal authority, suspending the verdict of the jury, super