The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Seventeenth Congress, Second Session Page: 71
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HISTORY OF CONGRESS.
ment of such a precedent. Adopt this practice,
Mr. T. said, and we shall soon have here plain-
tiff and defendant—petitions will be presented by
collusion, to obtain grants from the Treasury, and j
.the stakes be divided between the parties. Mr. T.
took this occasion, in reply to some remarks that
tad been made, to protest against the appellate
jurisdiction assumed by the Supreme Court of
the United States. The power denied, was no
where to be found in the Constitution. Reluming ;
to the subjcct immediately under consideration,
.Mr. T. said, if military officers used the physical
force placed under their command, to oppress a
citizen, they ought to be the last who ought to be
excused ; they ought to be punished. This peti-
tioner either broke the law or he enforced the law.
If the former, ought Congress to protect him?
and, if the latter, ought the courts not to protect
him? This precedent, he repeated, wouid be a
bad one. It was more necessary to make the mil-
itary obedient to the law than any other class;
and he would not, by this unnecessary indemnity,
encourage them to break the law, to neglect their
defence before the proper tribunal, and then grant
them a privilege here not granted to any other class
of citizens. This was, indeed, granting an exclu-
sive privilege. Exclusive privileges ! exclaimed
Mr. T. He protested against them with vehe-
mence, as abhorrent to justice and repugnant to
the spirit of our institutions. Even in this case,
he observed, it might be (he would not assert it,
but merely suggest the idea) that the petitioner
came here in concert with the prosecution, to
squeeze a little out of the public Treasury. Mr.
T. again adverted to the power contended for
by tne Supreme Court, and spoke against the
supremacy asserted by that tribunal, which was
a mingling of jurisdictions, he said, which would
bring about a very different Government from
that which the Constitution intended to establish.
Mr. Eaton, of Tennessee, referred to the nature
of the present case, and the facts disclosed by the
most incontcstiblc evidence, to show that there
could exist no possible collusion between Colonel
Purdy and his prosecutor. If, however, Mr, E.
said, Colonel P. had taken the course recom-
mended by Mr. Taylor, there would have been
more room to hazard such a suggestion, il' the
character of the officer did not utterly forbid it.
But, Mr. E. said, it was not in the power of the
prisoner to appeal to the Supreme Court for re-
dress, because this was an action at common law,
and not one arising under a law of the United
States or of the Constitution. Another -reason,
Mr. E. said, why Colonel P. could not apply to
the Supreme Court, was, that the sum involved
was not sufficient to entitle him to an appeal, the
laws giving the right of appeal, limiting it to
sums not less than $1,000. If the gentleman (Mr.
Taylor) had been better acquainted with the
practice of the Senate, he would have known,
Mr. E. said, that there was no danger that it
would ever set itself' up as a revising body over
the Judiciary. It was but the very last session of
Congress that the gentleman's own colleague,
(Mr. Barbour.) had eloquently and most zeal-
ously advocated the expediency of revising and
declaring illegal an act of the Judiciary—he al-
luded to the case of Matthew Lyon—but, what-
ever might have been the opinions of the mem-
bers, as to the justice of the decision of the Court
in the case of Matthew Lyon, the Senate over-
ruled the opinion of the gentleman, and deter-
mined not to interfere with the Judicial Depart-
ment, but leave it to the undisturbed performance
of its duties. The Senate, Mr. E. said, had thus
solemnly decided against the principle which Mr.
Taylor seemed so much to dread ; the gentleman
might, therefore, let his fears subside as to the
assumption of power over the Judiciary by the
Senate, for all his arguments were thrown away
on such apprehension. As to the present case,
Mr. E. repeated, it was not one which it was com-
petent for the Supreme Court to relieve; it was
only in the power of Congress to do it; and, as it
was a case entitled to the interposition of Con-
gress, he hoped the bill would pass.
After a few further explanatory remarks from
Mr. Macon and Mr. Williams, the question was
taken on ordering the bill to be engrossed and
read a third time, and carried without a division.
Adjourned to Friday.
Friday, January 3, 1823.
Mr. Barbour moved, that the Committee on
Foreign Relations, to which was referred, on the
17th ultimo, the petition of Joseph Emerson, in
behalf of himself and others, be discharged from
the further consideration thereof; and, on motion,
it was laid on the table.
Mr. Boardman presented the memorial of Henry
P. Wilcox, administrator of Joseph Wilcox, pray-
ing compensation for carrying George A. Hughes,
the bearer of despatches, from Havre de Grace to
the United States. The petition was read, and
referred to the Committee of Claims.
On motion, by Mr. Barbour, the Committee
on Foreign Relations, to which was referred the
memorial of Benjamin I. Shain, master of the
schooner Ajax, were discharged from the further
consideration thereof, and it was referred to the
Secretary of State.
The following Message was received from the
President of the United States:
To the Senate of the United States :
In compliance with the three resolutions of the
Senate, of the 5th April, 1822, requesting the Presi-
dent of the United States to communicate, in detail,
the expenses of building each vessel of war authorized
by the act of the 2d of January, 1813, and its supple-
ments; and, also, the names, number, grade, &c., of
the officers and men employed at each naval station,
during the two years immediately preceding the first
of January, 1822, I herewith transmit a report from
the Secretary of the iSavy, with the accompanying
documents, which contain the desired information.
VVAsirii'OTOA', January 3, 1823.
The Message and documents were read, and
ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate.
A message Iron) the House of Representatives
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Gales and Seaton. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Seventeenth Congress, Second Session, book, 1855; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30367/m1/34/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.