« PreviousContinue »
Life of Washington.
Writings on Federal Constitution, (selecSupreme Court Decisions.
tions by Justice Story). “ He was supremely fitted for high judicial station-a solid judgment, great reasoning powers, acute and penetrating mind;
attentive, patient, laborious; grave on the bench, social in the intercourse of life; simple in his tastes, and inexorably just.”—Thomas Hart Benton, in “ Thirty Years' View.”
POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.
From Case of Cohen vs. State of Virginia, given in Magruder's Life of Marshall.*)
It is authorized to decide all cases of every description arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States. From this general grant of jurisdiction no exception is made of those cases in which a State may be a party. When we consider the situation of the government of the Union and of a State in relation to each other, the nature of our Constitution, the subordination of the State governments to that Constitution, the great purpose for which jurisdiction over all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States is confided to the judicial department, are we at liberty to insert in this general grant an exception of those cases in which a State may be a party? Will the spirit of the Constitution justify this attempt to control its words ? Ve think it will not. We think a case arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States is cognizable in the courts of the Union, whoever may be the parties to that case. The laws must be executed by individuals acting within the several States. If these individuals may be exposed to penalties, and if the courts of the Union cannot correct the judgments by which these penalties may be enforced, the course of government may be at any time arrested by the will of one of its members. Each member will possess a veto on the will of the whole.
*By permission of Houghton, Miffin, and Company, of Boston, as also the following.
That the United States form, for many and most important purposes, a single nation has not yet been denied. These States are constituent parts of the United States. They are members of one great empire, for some purposes sovereign, for some purposes subordinate. In a government so constituted is it unreasonable that the judicial power should be competent to give efficacy to the constitutional laws of the legislature? That department can decide on the validity of the Constitution or law of a State, if it be repugnant to the Constitution or to a law of the United States. Is it unreasonable that it should also be empowered to decide on the judgment of a State tribunal enforcing such unconstitutional law ? Is it so very unreasonable as to furnish a justification for controlling the words of the Constitution ? We think not.
THE DUTIES OF A JUDGE.
Advert, sir, to the duties of a judge. He has to pass between the government and the man whom that government is prosecuting ; between the most powerful individual in the community and the poorest and most unpopular. It is of the last importance that, in the exercise of these duties he should observe the utmost fairness. Need I
the necessity of this? Does not every man feel that his own personal security and the security of his property depends on that fairness? The judicial department comes home, in its effects, to every man's fireside ; it passes on his property, his reputation, his life, his all. Is it not to the last degree important that he should be rendered perfectly and completely independent, with nothing to influence or control him, but God and his conscience?
I have always thought, from my earliest youth until now, that the greatest scourge an angry Heaven ever inflicted upon an ungrateful and sinning people was an ignorant, a corrupt, or a dependent judiciary. Our ancestors thought so; we thought so until very lately; and I trust that the vote of this day will show that we think so still. Will you draw down this curse.on Virginia ?
1756-1818. HENRY LEE, “Light-Horse Harry," of the Revolution, and father of General R. E. Lee, was born at Leesylvania, Westmoreland County, Virginia. His father was also named Henry Lee, and his mother was Lucy Grymes, the famous “ lowland beauty," who first captured Washington's heart. Her son was a favorite of his, and it is an interesting fact that it was this same Henry Lee who delivered by request of Congress the funeral oration on Washington. In it he used those now well-known words, “ First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen."
He was educated at Princeton, and joined the American army in 1777, with his company, as Captain Lee. He rose successively to be major, colonel, general; and after the war he served in the Continental Congress and in the Virginia Legislature. He was injured in a riot at Baltimore, while trying to defend a friend, and went to Cuba for his health; but he died on his way home, at Cumberland Island on the coast of Georgia, at the home of General Greene's daughter, Mrs. Shaw.
With his first wife, his cousin Matilda Lee, he obtained Stratford House, where R. E. Lee was born; whose mother, however, was the second wife, Anne Hill Carter of Shirley.
Memoirs of the War in the Southern De- his sons, Henry and R. E. Lee. partment of the United States, edited by
General Lee's “ Memoirs of the War" is a life-like and spirited narrative of events in which he was an actor. The style is plain and clear. His style as an orator is seen in his celebrated Funeral Oration, of which we give the closing sentences.
CAPTURE OF FORT MOTTE BY LEE AND MARION,
This post was the principal depot of the convoys from Charleston to Camden, and sometimes for those destined for Fort Granby and Ninety-Six. A large new mansion house, belonging to Mrs. Motte, situated on a high and commanding hill, had been selected for this establishment. surrounded with a deep trench, along the interior margin of which was raised a strong and lofty parapet. To this post had been regularly assigned an adequate garrison of about one hundred and fifty men, which was now accidentally increased by a small detachment of dragoons, which had arrived from Charleston a few hours before the appearance
of the American troops, on its way to Camden with despatches for Lord Rawdon. Captain M'Pherson commanded, an of. ficer highly and deservedly respected.
Opposite to Fort Motte, to the north, stood another hill, where Mrs. Motte, having been dismissed from her mansion, resided, in the old farmhouse. On this height LieutenantColonel Lee with his corps took post, while Brigadier Marion occupied the eastern declivity of the ridge on which the fort stood.
The vale which runs between the two hills admitted our safe approach within four hundred yards of the fort. This place was selected by Lee to break ground. Relays of working parties being provided for every four hours, and some of the negroes from the neighbouring plantations being brought, by the influence of Marion, to our assistance, the works advanced with rapidity. Such was their forwardness on the oth, that it was determined to summon the commandant.
A flag was accordingly despatched to Captain M'Pherson, stating to him with truth our relative situation, and admon. ishing him to avoid the disagreeable consequences of an arrogant temerity. To this the captain replied, that, disregarding consequences, he should continue to resist to the last moment. The retreat of Rawdon was known in the evening to the besiegers; and in the course of the night a rier arrived from General Greene confirming that event, urging redoubled activity, and communicating his determination to hasten to their support. Urged by these strong considerations, Marion and Lee persevered throughout the night in pressing the completion of their works. On the next day, Rawdon reached the country opposite to Fort Motte ; and in the succeeding night encamping on the highesc ground in his route, the illumination of his fires gave the joyful an. nunciation of his approach to the despairing garrison. But the hour was close at hand, when this joy was to be converted into sadness.
The large mansion in the centre of the encircling trench, left but a few yards of the ground within the enemy's works uncovered; burning the house must force their surrender.
Persuaded that our ditch would be within arrow shot before noon of the next day, Marion and Lee determined to