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the States. It is gone. Another great bulwark is now to be removed, and you are told, that we must look to the States for protection. Your internal revenues are also to be swept away, so that no evidence, no exertion, no trace of the national power is to be perceived through the whole interior of America. And in order that it may be confined to your coasts, and be known there only at particular points, your sole reliance for revenue is henceforth to be placed upon commercial duties. In this reliance you will be deceived. But what is to be the effect of all these changes? I am afraid to say; I will leave it to the feelings, and to the consciences of gentlemen. But remember, the moment this union is dissolved, we shall no longer be governed by votes.

Examine the annals of history. Look into the records of time. See what has been the ruin of every Republic. The vile love of popularity. Why are we here? We are here to save the people from their most dangerous enemy, to save them from themselves. What caused the ruin of the Republics of Greece and of Rome? Demagogues, who by flattery prevailed on the populace to establish despotism. But if you will shut your eyes to the light of history, and your ears to the voice of experience, see, at least, what has happened in your own times. In 1789 it was no longer a doubt with enlightened statesmen, what would be the event of the French revolution. Before the first day of January, 1790, the only question was, who will become the despot. The word liberty, indeed, from that day to this, has been continually sounded and resounded, but the thing had no existence. There is nothing left but the word.

We are now about to violate our Constitution. Once touch it with unhallowed hands, sacrifice one of its important provisions, and we are gone. We commit the fate of America to the mercy of time and chance.

I hope the honorable gentleman from Maryland will pardon me, if, from the section of the law he has cited, I deduce an inference diametrically opposite to that, for which he has con

tended. He has told us, that the last Congress, in reducing the judges of the Supreme Court from six to five, have exercised the right which is now questioned, and made thereby a legislative construction of this clause in the Constitution, favorable to the motion on your table. But look at the law. It declares that the reduction shall not take place, until, by death or resignation, there shall remain only five. Thus, in the very moment when they express their opinion that five judges are sufficient, they acknowledge their incapacity to reremove the sixth. The legislative construction, therefore, is, that they have not the right which is now pretended.

The same honorable member has cited other cases from the same law, which if I understood his statement, amount to this, that Congress have increased the number of district judges; but surely this cannot prove, that we have a right to diminish the number. It will I think appear, Sir, that this law, so much complained of, is in no wise chargeable with maintaining the dangerous doctrine to be established by its repeal.

The whole argument in favor of the motion comes to this simple proposition, let us get rid of these judges to save expense. We can repeal the law, because we made the law; we have the power, let us exercise it. But, let me ask, Sir, if this argument will not go to prove anything. Will it not go to the abolition of the debts incurred by the last Congress? Shall it be said, that the cases differ because the debt results from a contract with the creditor sanctioned by the legislature? Sir, you have made a contract with the judges, sanctioned by higher authority. You indeed created the office, but when created, the Constitution fixed its duration. The first magistrate in our country, with this Constitution in his hand, applies to men of high character and great ability. He asks them to quit a lucrative and honorable profession, to abandon their former pursuits, to break their ancient connexions, and give their time, their talents, and their virtues, to the service of their country. What does he offer as a compensation? He offers

a high and honorable office, to be holden by no capricious will, to depend on no precarious favor. The duration is to be terminated only by death or misconduct. The legislature has affixed a salary, which they may increase, but cannot diminish. Upon these proffered terms, the judge accepts. The contract is then complete. A contract which rests no longer on the legislative will. He is immediately under the protection of the Constitution itself, which neither the President nor the legislature can defeat. His authority rests on the same foundation with yours. It is derived from the same source. Will you pretend, that you are bound by your contract with him, who lent you money at eight per cent interest, and that you are not bound by your contract with him, who devotes his life to your service! Will you say that the consideration you have received is to make a difference, and that paltry pelf is to be preferred to manly worth? Is that to be respected, and this despised? Surely, Sir, the contract with a judge is, of all others, the most solemn. It is sanctioned by the highest of all authority. Can you then violate it? If you can, you may throw this Constitution into the flames. It is gone-It is dead.





Delivered in the Senate of the United States, January 14th, 1802.


I had fostered the hope that some gentleman, who thinks with me, would have taken upon himself the task of replying to the observations made yesterday and this morning, in favor of the motion on your table. But since no gentleman has gone so fully into the subject as it seems to require, I am compelled to request your attention.

We were told yesterday by the honorable member from Virginia, that our objections were calculated for the bystanders, and made with a view to produce effect upon the people at large. I know not for whom this charge is intended. I certainly recollect no such observations. As I was personally charged with making a play upon words, it may have been intended for me. But surely, Sir, it will be recollected that I declined that paltry game, and declared that I considered the verbal criticism which had been relied on as irrelevant. can recollect what I said, from recollecting well what I thought and meant to say, sure I am, that I uttered nothing in the style of an appeal to the people. I hope no member of this House has so poor a sense of its dignity, as to make such an appeal. As to myself, it is now near thirty years since I was called into

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public office. During that period, I have frequently been the servant of the people, always their friend; but at no one moment of my life their flatterer, and God forbid that I ever should be. When the honorable gentleman considers the course we have taken, he must see that the observation he has thus pointed can light on no object. I trust, that it did not flow from a consciousness of his own intentions. He, I hope, had no view of this sort. If he had, he was much, very much mistakHad he looked around upon those, who honor us with their attendance, he would have seen that the splendid flashes of his wit excited no approbatory smile. The countenances of those, by whom we were surrounded, presented a different spectacle. They were impressed with the dignity of this House; they perceived in it the dignity of the American people, and felt with high and manly sentiment their own participation.


We have been told, Sir, by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, that there is no independent part of this government; that in popular governments, the force of every department, as well as the government itself, must depend upon popular opinion. And the honorable member from North Carolina has informed us, that there is no check for the overbearing powers of the legislature, but public opinion; and he has been pleased to notice a sentiment I had uttered. A sentiment which not only fell from my lips, but which flowed from my heart. It has, however, been misunderstood and misapplied. After reminding the House of the dangers to which popular governments are exposed, from the influence of designing demagogues upon popular passion, I took the liberty to say, that we, we the Senate of the United States, are assembled here to save the people from their most dangerous enemy, to save them from themselves;' to guard them against the baneful effects of their own precipitation, their passion, their misguided zeal. It is for these purposes that all our Constitutional checks are devised. If this be not the language of the Constitution, the Constitution is all nonsense. For why are the Senators chosen by communities, and the Representatives di

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