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H. OF R.
Official Conduct of Judge Chase.

JANUARY, 1801. pointed to attend, objected unanimously to that the Constitution belong to any other authority; appointment, because they had not confidence in every other method of proceeding would be as inhim; and the facts on which the resolution is geniously objected to as the one proposed, by those founded were stated on the floor, upon which the who wished to prevent further proceedings in the House altered the bill and appointed another judge case ; denying the means of bringing forward imto that district. This was a strong testimony that peachment

, had the same effect as if the power of Congress believed that this open expression of impeachment was renounced. want of confidence in that gentleman was justified The power of this House has been asserted to by the facts that had been stated. He said, that be similar to that of a grand jury; this seems to though he had not at that time a seat in the House, be conceded on both sides, but though it bears a he had expected an inquiry to be made into the resemblance, it was not strictly so—it was more causes of this want of confidence at that time. extensive. Grand juries were authorized to prePerhaps it was prevented by the shortness of the sent such indictments or such complaint or insession.

formation as were submitted to them by the AtIt is expedient for the character of the gentlemen torney General, or which they knew of their own and for the public good; for the gentlemen them- knowledge. The attorney also inquires if there selves, if they are innocent or have acted on jus- is probable ground for the complaint, and brings tifiable ground; it is necessary that their charac- the witnesses before the jury, who examine them ters may be vindicated, and confidence in their to establish the facts alleged; but this House has public conduct restored. It is expedient for the no officers authorized to make inquiry and bring public good, because if the judges are guilty in the forward the business in due form; therefore the manner stated—if they have justly lost the confi- House possess both the power of the Attorney dence of the people and of Congress, as it appears General and the grand jury, with relation to imby the transaction of last session, one of them has peachment; for where a power of decision is givdone, the case ought to be examined and the citi-en, all the powers necessary to carry that deciszens protected; for if he was unfit to preside on ion into effect are implied. The making inquiry, the bench for one district, he is unfit to preside in procuring witnesses, or other testimony, and preanother. It is expedient, in order to secure the paring the case in due form, is the object of the confidence of the citizens in the Government itself. resolution; and if the House does not do it in this

But precedents are called for by the gentlemen or some other such method, there is no other agent opposed to the resolution, and several of thein authorized to do it. contend that such special facts should be stated With respect to precedent and Parliamentary as would be unexceptionable ground of impeach- usage, Mr. F. said he had formerly examined ment, before the inquiry is gone into. A gentlemany, but was not prepared to state them at this man from Vermont, (Mr. Elliot,) who argued time, and did not ihink them necessary on this yesterday in favor of postponement for further in- occasion. In all the examples of impeachment by formation on the subject, in the same argument the British Parliament, from the reign of Henry said that he never would agree to the appointment VIII, when Parliamentary power was reduced to of a committee of inquiry, until the charges were a mere shadow, till the present time, when the first stated and proved to his satisfaction. Mr. F. Parliamentary power has been amply enlarged said he was astonished at this inconsistency. If and established, and their proceedings become the facts were first stated and established, appoint- more uniform, there will be shades of difference ing a committee of inquiry would be an absurd-found in all of them, arising from various circumity. What would they inquire after but what stances; we have few precedents of our own, and they already knew? That gentleman and others, of these few none of them apply to the present in order to defeat the resolution, gave the object case. It is the Constitutional duty of this House of it an odious designation: they called it an in- to impeach, when impeachment is necessary, and quisition and spoke of it in such terms as if it was of the Senate to decide on impeachments; but the well known Spanish law of that name. The with respect to the manner in which each House character of that court was too well known to the should proceed, they are not trammelled by forms members of this House to require definition; it nor entangled in precedents. was sufficient to say that in it witnesses were ex- There are, however, examples of proceedings amined without the knowledge of the party ac- both with the British Parliament and with us, as cused; that it compelled the accused to give tes- similar to the method now proposed as the various timony against themselves, and had authority to cases would admit. With ourselves, the case of pass sentence of the most dreadful kind, without the unfortunate Western expedition mentioned appeal. The gentlemen knew that'no such thing by my colleague (Mr. Gregg) yesterday, was was intended by the resolution. The character much more to the purpose than the gentleman of the judges had been impeached in public opin- from Connecticut (Mr. GrisWOLD) was willing ion, by numerous citizens of all descriptions. Con- to admit. Mr. F. said he had the honor to be one gress on that account gave a decisive testimony of the committee of inqury which sat on that subof want of confidence in one of them. The object ject a great proportion of two sessions. The exof the resolution was to inquire whether there was pedition was too late in setting out to the Indian a real foundation for this want of confidence and country; they were said to have been illy, proill fame. If Congress did not make inquiry vided with necessaries, and long detained for in such cases, who was to do it? It did not by I want of them; a large proportion of the army

JANUARY, 1804.

Official Conduct of Judge Chase.

H. OF R.

were killed or taken by the savages, and all the Mr. F. said he was a friend to the independence stores with the army left. The citizens were dis- of judges, but that all independence in all Govcontented, and numerous complaints were heard, ernments had its limits and restraints. It was not but none knew with certainty whom to blame; provided for the aggrandizement of the judges, a committee was appointed to examine witnesses but for the protection of the citizens. So far as and report the testimony to the House, in order to it is applicable to this purpose, it is necessary, but discover the party who had been to blame. Some any further, it is injurious and subjected to rehad charged it on the commanding General, oth- straint. Under no Government with which we ers on the Secretary of War, and others on the are acquainted are the judges rendered so indeCommissary of Military Stores, and these last en- pendent as that of the United States. In Britain, deavored to wrest the blame from themselves and from which we have derived the mode of our jufix it on the General. It was certain that a great diciary, the judges were appointed during pleasmisfortune had happened, but it was not certain ure; till little more than a century ago, they were that any officer was to blame; no charge had been rendered independent by the Revolution Parliamade to Congress against any officer, yet Con- ment for the security of the people against the gress thought proper to make an inquiry, and it encroachments of the Monarch, and the overbearwas not opposed on account of want of form, or ing influence of a very powerful nobility, and for want of precedents, by any of the friends of the this purpose it was not only salutary, but absoparties. Towards the close of the first session, lutely necessary. But even with that boasted inthe committee made a concise report, referring to dependence, that Judiciary is subjected to rea great amount of testimonies. Some of the par- straints and modes of correction not provided in ties implicated by the report thought themselves the Federal Constitution. The judges are liable injured by it, and it was alleged that other wit- to be removed from office by the vote of both nesses ought to be examined. Consequently, at Houses of Parliament, without trial. They are the next session, the business was recommitted to liable to be removed, or their standing changed the same committee, and as it was near the close by act of Parliament. That Parliament, on whose of the last session of that Congress, before all the act their independence depends, can repeal the witnesses were procured and examined, and the act; the two Houses of Parliament can make and parties heard by the committee, each of the par- unmake their Kings. They are also liable, by an ties wrote and delivered to the committee a large act of attainder, not only to lose their office, but book of explanations and defence. The commit their estate, the honor of their families, and even tee reported a large wooden box full of testimo- their lives. ny, of original letters and instructions, and the The Judiciaries in all the States of the Union three books of explanations and defence accom- are rendered less or more independent, some are panied with some observations. It was not pos- appointed for shorter and some for longer periods. sible for that Congress to enter on the business, In New Jersey, they are appointed for seven and the cause being of a transient nature, and the years; they were so in Pennsylvania formerly ; parties who applied for the second inquiry not since the revision of the Constitution they are apwishing a disclosure of the testimony, the busi-pointed during good behaviour; they are, however, ness was not afterwards entered on; but the mass subjected not only to removal by impeachment, of testimony, &c., is yet in possession of Con- but also by the vote of two-thirds of each House, gress. This, it is presumed, applies well in favor for any cause which the House do not think a of the present resolution.

sufficient cause of impeachment; but in the FedGentlemen object to the resolution because of eral Government there is no method provided for the indelicacy of implicating the character of a removing them for the most scandalous indiscrejudge. They seem to believe the character of a tions or incapacity, as even when they may unjudge to be sacred and immaculate. But are not fortunately be under mental derangement, except judges men ? Are they not men subject to like by impeachment, which is inapplicable to official passions and like feelings as other men ? Judges crimes, and conducted with tedious forms. The and other official characters voluntarily surrender power of impeaching being the only shield proa part of the rights they enjoyed in common with vided by the Government for the protection of the other citizens, in return for the honors and emol citizens from judicial oppression, and this House uments of office; others have a right to the privi- being the only Constitutional organ for obtaining lege of trial by jury, in the decision of all charges information of official excesses, and bringing foragainst them; but public officers, by accepting of ward'articles of impeachment, ought not to bind office, subject themselves, under this Government, up their own hands from doing their duty, and to trial by impeachmeni. Subjecting judges to this they will do if they reject the resolution now impeachment, indicates, unequivocally, a Consti- on the table. tutional opinion that judges would be even more But while the gentlemen consider the characliable to transgress than other citizens, and might ter of these judges so sacred that their conduct transgress in a more aggravated manner than cannot be inquired into, notwithstanding such mere citizens. This mode of trial, however, in proofs of want of confidence in them, and that as this country, is become almost a harmless thing; a gentleman near me from South Carolina (Mr. it is deprived of more than half its terrors. It does Lowndes) has said that he is afraid of impeachnot reach life or property, but only the officialment, and grounds his fears on the incapacity or character.

the unfitness of the members of this House, or be

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H. OF R.

Official Conduct of Judge Chase.

JANUARY, 1804.

cause the members of this House may abuse the ments or removals, and generally, if not always, power; Mr. F. asked, were not the members of the judges were reappointed, and justice was well this House selected and qualified for the discharge administered; but since they have been appointof this necessary duty ? Were they not appointed ed for good behaviour, there has, at least in Pennby as respectable authority as the judges ? Were sylvania, been both, and more complaints of inatthey not under a solemn oath of office for the tention, expense, and delays, in the administration faithful discharge of this as well as every part of of justice ihan had been formerly. Many of the their high trust ? And were they not protected by judges, however, are very respectable

, and enjoy special privileges and protection during the dis- a high degree of confidence, but not more conficharge of their trust equally with the judges, and dence than they did before the change of the contheir stations as respectable as the judges ? They stitution. There has been no attempt io remove are not only protected from civil actions, but are or impeach the judges of the supreme court of that not subjected to impeachment for misbehaviour State. in office as the judges are. They are, in their offi- To inquire into the conduct of the judges when cial capacity, subjected only to the censure of confidence in them is evidently wanting, is the public opinion. If this is true, it is improper, it is only true way to secure the respectability of the im politic, for the members of this House to de. Judiciary. If that necessary confidence is withgrade their own character: it amounts to saying, drawn without cause, an official inquiry will rethey are not capable of discharging the trust they store confidence and the usefulness of the judges. are solemnly bound to discharge, and ought not to This observation is supported by precedent and have been invested with. He knew, however, parliamentary usage. In that country from which that this was only introduced as an excuse for precedents are so frequently sought, one precedent unwillingness. But the same gentleman adds, offers itself to recollection. In the year 1730 a as a reason for opposing the resolution, that he is committee of the British House of Commons was not acquainted with the history of the business. appointed to examine the jails. In the course of That is probably the case with him and others, examination, the committee discovered that Sir especially such as had not a seat in the last ses- Robert Eyres, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, sion of Congress, or who resided at a great dis- a judge of very respectable character, was sustance from the scene alluded to in the resolution. pected, not of tyranny on the bench, or of putting Admitting this to be true, the best and the only any man's life in jeopardy, but of having held an regular way to become acquainted with the his- improper correspondence with person confined tory of the case, is to carry the resolution into for crime or misdemeanor, and this suspicion effect-to have a committee appointed with such chiefly supported by anonymous letters. A compower as would enable them to procure such in- miitee of the House of Commons were appointed formation as that genileman and every other to make inquiry, and it was found, 10 the satisfacmember could depend on. The gentleman's ob- tion of the committee and of the people, that the jection, in fact, is one of the strongest arguments allegations on which the suspicion was founded in favor of the resolution. The gentleman from were false, and the judge's character was vindicatSouth Carolina has, however, offered one other ed and restored. objection to the resolution, which merits some no- Mr. F. said this precedent applied well to the tice. He has said that if a committee is appoint present case. If the judges mentioned in the resed for the object proposed by the resolution, men olution had done their duty, their characters of character and talents will not accept of appoint- would be vindicated by the inquiry, and the pubments in the Judiciary. The solidity of this ob- lic confidence in their integrity restored ; if they jection will be best examined by the test of obser- were guilty, and not entitled to confidence, they vation and experience. It has been already men- ought to be removed from office, and neither the tioned that several States have appointed their one nor the other could be done unless the inquișupreme judges for short periods, and that others ry proposed was authorized. have vested the Legislature with the power of re- He said that the inquiry was necessary to semoving judges from office without impeachment, cure the purity, honor, and usefulness of the Jumerely on their own opinion. Can the gentle diciary department. If that House refused or man from South Carolina say—can any member neglected to exert the powers vested therein for on this floor, where all the States are represented, securing public confidence in the Judiciary, unsay—that these States are deficient in judges of principled men would find means of recommendrespectability and talents ? They cannot say so— ing themselves to appointments, avd would vitithere is no such complaint. The Judiciary of ate the streams where justice is expected to flow, New Jersey, where the judges are chosen but for and the citizens would be oppressed without the seven years, is as repectable, and the application means or hopes of redress, and would feel the efof her laws as well brought home to the security fects of tyrannical power in the administration of and happiness of her citizens as they are in the a Government which, in its other departments, was States where judges are appointed for life. The the greatest and best of any in the world. Let same may be asserted with confidence of the State proper inquiries be made where they are necessaof Pennsylvania, before the revision of her con- ry; let the character of judges unjustly charged stitution as they are since. There is this differ- be vindicated, and the vicious and unworthy be ence, however: where they have been appointed removed, and improper characters will cease to for limited periods there has been no impeach-intrude themselves; their friends will not dare to

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Official Conduct of Judge Chase.

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recommend, and Congress will have confidence in my opinion, at the instance of any member, to that the laws which they pass will be applied, send for all persons possessed of information calagreeably to their genuine principles, to the pro- culated to throw light upon the conduct of any tection and ease of the citizens; if we do not pro- individual inculpated. A contrary doctrine would vide for this, we had better cease to make laws. lead to the most uniortunate consequences. It

If virtuous men are appointed and the vicious would lead to this, that a minority would never be discouraged, Congress may, from particular cir- able to inquire into the conduct of a State offendcumstances, be called on to make inquiries, but er, unless such inquiry were favored by the mavery rarely indeed to be employed in impeach-jority. As it is now contended that the inquiry ments, (no men of real virtue and talents would is not a matter of right which any member may refuse a seat on the bench for fear of inquiry or demand, but a matter of favor, to be granted acimpeachment.) He said that the judges of the cording to the pleasure of the majority, it may supreme court in the State he had the honor of be said that, if a majority favor an individual, he representing, though they differed in political will always escape without an impeachment. opinions, administered justice with such purity But I believe otherwise ; and that the Senate, like and diligence, that though some of them had been a virtuous judge, will not suffer an atom of prelong in office, they enjoyed the confidence of the judice or partiality to fall into the scales of citizens, were in no danger of impeachment or re-justice. moval by vote, and he believed would not shrink But, say gentlemen, though it may be the duty from inquiry if necessary. The more extensive of the House to impeach an officer, it is necessary the confidence of the citizens that was reposed in that facts, warranting such an impeachment, the Judiciary, the easier it would be to supply va- should be first presented. This is not the course cancies with men of character and talents.' He pursued in cases where a grand jury is called upon said that among several other observations which io act. If a murder is commitied it is their duty occurred to his mind, with offering which he to inquire, and diligently inquire, who is guilty of would not now detain the House, he had once the act, and to send for all persons capable of give thought of stating other charges against the of- ing information respecting it. Such is the pracficial conduct of these judges, of which he had tice. If it shall be required to furnish facts, as is been well informed, but on due reflection he de urged by gentlemen, the consequence will be that clined mentioning them, and thought it most for offences of the highest nature will be committed the public good to insist on the appointment de- with impunity. It has been observed that it is manded by a member on the responsibility of his odious to undertake the task of a public informer. olvn official character, and as a matter of right, But what the Constitution and laws make our and would do nothing that would impair the duty, so far from being odious, is honorable; beweight of the precedent that he hoped would be cause we thereby discharge a duty imposed upon set by agreeing to the resolution as it stood. us by our oaths, and because we show ourselves

Mr. F. said that having so long engaged the at- unawed by the vicious conduct of bad men. If tention of the House he would conclude by ob. the character of a public informer be odious, are serving, that as the case now stond it is proper we to expect that private individuals will come for all the members to vote for the resolution; those forward with affidavits? In such a case, to say that believed as he did, that there was a want of the least of it, the duty would be of an unpleasant necessary confidence in those judges, and that this nature. want of confidence was occasioned by their unau- We have, in the course of this debate, been frethorized and oppressive conduct, were obliged in quently called upon for precedents, and been told conscience to vote for the inquiry; and every mem- that, when found, they ought to be adhered to. ber who believed the judges to have done their In a country from which we are accustomed to duty, and that the public confidence is withdrawn draw precedents-England-common report has from them without cause, are bound in duty 10 been considered as a sufficient authority for simivote for the resolution, in order that the judges lar inquiries. We do not, however, ask for an may have an opportunity to vindicate their char- inquiry in this case on common report, but on the acter, that confidence in them being restored they declaration of a member of this House, made in may become useful to the public; therefore, in his place. Suppose there was no such declaraevery light he could view it, he was convinced it rion, has not a common report, from Maine to was his duty to vote for the resolution, and would Georgia, condemned the conduct of the judge in act accordingly.

the case of Fries, and others, at Philadelphia, in Mr. Jackson.—As, Mr. Speaker, this subject is the case of a grand jury in Delaware, whom he novel in its nature, and may be important in its directed to inquire for seditious practices, and in consequences, I presume there exists a disposition the case of Callender, in Virginia ? Has not the to hear the reasoning which any gentleman may general sentiment of the country charged him be disposed to offer upon it. It is with this view with having, in these cases, abused his powers as that I rise to express my opinion in favor of cre- a judge by tyrannizing over those who were ating a committee of inquiry. I consider this brought before him? If we possess the right to House as the grand inquest of the nation, whose inquire, on common report, sarely we ought to duty it is to inquire, on a proper representation, institute this inquiry on the prevalence of so geninto the conduct of every official character under eral a sentiment. To such an inquiry I would the Government. Like a grand jury, we ought, I unhesitatingly agree, if the character of the Pres

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Official Conduct of Judge Chase.

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ident were implicated, the opinion of the gentle will be clothed with a power to send for persons, man from Vermont to the contrary notwithstand- and probably for papers. Is it consistent with ing. I would likewise agree to make the same principle to appoint a committee, which, from its inquiry in any other case ; because the inquiry nature, must be secret, with power to ransack the would redound to the honor of the individual im- country in the first instance for accusations against plicated, if innocent; and because, if guilty, he the judges, and then for proofs to support them ? ought to be punished.

Is this correct? Are genilemen prepared to say I am sorry my friend from Pennsylvania stated so ? to seek for accusations, and then for proofs to any facts, as I do not consider it necessary that support those accusations, against high officers of the House should be acquainted with any facts to the Government ? For one, I believe that this make this inquiry; and because I think the facts, course is not correct. I believe it to be dangerous. stated as grounds of impeachment, are not such I agree with the gentleman from Vermont, that it as will warrant an impeachment. Í have always operates in the nature of an inquisition. A comunderstood that it was the right of a judge to ex-mittee will be raised to act in secret, first to find pound the law, and I have known frequent instan- an accusation, and next to prove it. If there is ces where the court have resused the counsel the now any accusation against the judges, let it be liberty of discussing the law on points on which made; let it be made on this floor; and, as the they have made up iheir minds. While I am free gentleman from New Jersey has observed, let us to declare that the conduct of the court in the ascertain, if true, whether it will be a sufficient trial of Fries is not, in my opinion, such as to re- ground for an impeachment. This will be a corquire an impeachment, yet I am in favor of insti- rect course, and it will be the only safe course. If, tuting the inquiry. But, say gentlemen, by the on the contrary, we proceed in the manner propassage of this resolution, we shall censure the posed, it will be attended with this consequence: judge. I believe not. If I believed so, I would at the commencement of every session we shall first require testimony; for I hold it a good prin- raise a secret committee, to compose an inquisiciple, that no man ought to be condemned until tion. to ascertain whether there are not charges he has been heard. In my opinion, this resolution against some public officer; and to search for will have no such tendency; as, if the judge has proofs to justify them. Is the Government of not been guilty of misconduct, the inquiry will ihis country founded on this principle? I know redound to his honor, and as it is the duiy of a that this secret course of procedure is practised virtuous man to demand an inquiry whenever by the Spanish Government, and by some others, charged with an offence.

but I never thought that it would be the practice Gentlemen, in opposition to this measure, say of this Government. When a charge is made they wish to guard against suspicion. But suspi- against a public officer, it ought to be boldly made. cion has long since gone forth; has been heard It ought to be made here, and should be committed and re-echoed from every part of the Union; and to writing. Instead of this being done, there is the only way of defeating it, if ill-founded, is to no charge made. The resolution contains pone. institute an inquiry, and if the character of the It is merely calculated to raise a secret committee. judge be innocent, to pronounce it so. I am sur Why? Because the gentleman from Virginia is prised to find gentlemen, who profess a friendship of opinion that it is proper. Is his opinion, or the for the character of one of the persons implicated, opinion of any other gentleman, to govern this opposed to this inquiry, when they believe him House? Are we brought to this? I trust this is innocent. I should suppose it their peculiar duty not the case. I trust that gentlemen will think it to call for the inquiry, that the accused might necessary not only to consider his opinion, but to have an opportunity of proving to the world that form their own. What can gentlemen say, if they his characier has been assailed without cause. agree to this resolution ? That they voied to in

Mr. R. Griswold. After what has passed on vestigate the conduct of two judges. Why? this floor, there can be no doubt that the gentle- Because the gentleman from Virginia says it is men whose characters are implicated by this res necessary to investigate. Why investigate ? Beolution will ardently desire an investigation of cause the gentleman demands it. This is the their conduct; and if, on this floor, we were mere- language of that gentleman yesterday. Because ly to consult our own wishes, we should unani- a gentleman of this House gives his opinion of mously agree on an investigation. But this is the course proper to be pursued on this occasion, not our duty; our duty is to take on this, as well it does not follow that we are to be governed by as on all other occasions, a correct course; to take it. We may respect it; but we must respect our those steps only which are warranted. It is be- own opinions still more, if we faithfully discharge cause I doubt, after considerable deliberation, whe- our duty. I am sensible that some facts have ther this course is warranted, that I am opposed to been mentioned by the gentleman from Pennsylit. What, I ask, is the nature of the resolution vania, or rather, that that gentleman has heard a on the table ? li contains no charges against the story; but it is mere hearsay. judges implicated; it only proposes to raise a I ask, also, how this formidable charge has resto committee to inquire wheiher their official con- ed to this day? When and where did the transduct has been such as to justify the interposition action, on which it is founded, happen? In Philof the Constitutional power of this House. If a adelphia, and in the Winter of the year 1800, committee of inquiry is raised, what will be their when Congress were in session within twenty powers ? One thing will certainly follow. They rods of the place where the court was held. The

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