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H. OF R.
The engrossed bill to authorize the people of That, in reference to the conduct of William P. the Territory of Missouri to form a constitution Van Ness, Esq., judge of the southern district of New and State goveroment, aod for the admission of York, the committee have endeavored, by the examsuch State into the Union on an equal footing ination of voluminous documents and of a number of with the original States, was read the third time, witnesses, to arrive at a knowledge of the transactions and passed.
to which their attention was necessarily directed by A message from the Senate informed the House the report of the Judiciary Committee made to this that the Senate have passed bills of the following stated that $117,307 01 of the funds of the district
House on the 5th day of March last. That report titles, to wit: An act for the relief of Pierre Dennis de la Ronde ; an act for the relief of Rees court of the southern district of New York was unacHill; an act for the relief of Gabriel Godfroy; and that it has been most grossly and nefariously pur
counted for by Theron Rudd, the late clerk thereof, an act for the relief of Nathan Ford; an act for loined. As the resolution under which this comthe relief of David Henley; an act for the relief mittee was appointed emanated from the Judiciary of the heirs and legal representatives of Nicholas Committee, it became the first object of inquiry to Vreeland, deceased ; an act to authorize William ascertain how far Judge Van Ness was implicated in Prout to institute a bill in equity before the cir- the misconduct of the elerk. After a diligent exam. cuit court for the District of Columbia, against ination, no evidence has been discovered to establish the Commissioner of the Public Buildings, and any participation by Judge Van Ness in the embezzleto direct a defence therein; an act authorizing ment of the funds of the court; nor does it appear the purchase of live oak timber for Daval purpo- that he has received any of those funds, or derived ses; and an act to regulate the pay of the army any benefit from them. That there was, however, when employed on fatigue duty; in which bills a remissness on the part of Judge Van Ness, a want they ask the concurrence of the House.
of constant vigilance of the money of the court, and
of rigor in enforcing the provisions of the law and the COASTING TRADE.
rules of court, will, in the opinion of your committee, The bill from the Senate, “supplementary to appear from a statement of the facts. Rules bad exthe acts concerning the coasting trade,” which isted in the court from the 1st day of November, 1811, had been referred to the Committee of Ways and requiring the clerk to keep a distinct account in the Means, was reported by Mr. Smith, of Maryland, of the court,
subject to the inspection of the judge
bank where the court moneys were deposited, as clerk without amendment. [This bill proposes to divide the seacoast and rivers therein into four districts, drawing any such money from the bank without an
and the district attorney, and forbidding the withas beretofore stated in detail.]
order signed by the clerk and countersigned by the Mr. SilsBEE moved an amendment to the judge, stating the title of the cause, and the party to bill, which proposed, in effect, to divide the whom the same was to be paid. Soon after Judge seacoast of the United States into two districts, Van Ness took his seat on tho bench, he repealed that instead of four, as contemplated by the bill; the part of the rule requiring his signature; the reasons first district to extend from the eastern limits for which, as assigned by Judge Van Ness on a former of the United States to the southern limits of occasion, were, that the clerk was the responsible and the State of Georgia; the second district from accountable officer, in whose custody the law placed the river Perdido to the western limits of the the funds of the court; and that the check contemUnited States.
plated by the rule would give great and unnecessary This motion gave rise to a discussion of the trouble to the judge in adjusting the claims of indiviinerits of the bill, as well as of the particular duals, and to the suitors who might apply to him proposition; in which Messrs. Silsbee, Smith, during the vacations, at his residence, one hundred of Maryland, ORR, LIVERMORE, and WHITMAN, and thirty miles from New York. The committee, took part; and the debate bad proceeded for some however, think that, in most cases, the claims of time, when
suitors must have been ascertained in the judgment Mr. Trimble, to give further time for consid of the court; and to them it appears that, although ering a proposition so important in its character, cial occasion, yet the object of security to the funds
the rule may have been originally adopted on a spemoved to lay the bill on the table; which motion was so great as to supersede all considerations of inprevailed, and the bill was laid on the table.
convenience, and to require its continuance. The DISTRICT JUDGES.
rule subjecting the clerk's account to the inspection of
the judge and the district attorney was also so modified Mr. SPENCER, from the committee appointed by Judge Van Ness as to confine the right to the on the tenth day of April last, to inquire into the judges only. official conduct of William P. Van Ness, judge
It had been one of the rules of the court, and was of the southern district of New York, of Matthias adopted by Judge Van Ness, that the clerk should B. Tallmadge, judge of the northern district of exhibit to the court on the first day of each August New York, and of William Stepheos, judge of and February term a full account of all the moneys the district of Georgia, made a report on the case in his hands, or standing to his credit as clerk, to be of Judge Van Ness; which was read, and ordered examined by the court or a judge, and to be filed in to lie on the table.
the office of the clerk of the northern district. From Mr. S., from the same committee, also made the certificate of the clerk of the southern district, it a report, in part, on the case of Judge Tallmadge; appears that no such account has ever been renwhich was read, and ordered to lie on the table. dered. His certificate embraces a portion of time in The reports are as follows:
which Judge Tallmadge presided in the southern dis15th Con. 2d Sess.-39
H. OF R.
FEBRUARY, 1819. trict, and the whole time when Theron Rudd was him in the custody of a sheriff by virtue of an execuclerk.
tion issued out of one of the State courts of the State An old act of Congress requires the clerks of dis- of New York, and had therefore committed him to the trict courts to give bonds in the sum of $2,000 for the common jail of the county where he had found him. faithful discharge of their duties. Although this sum
Further proceedings on the attachment were disconis altogether inadequate to the security of such large tinued by direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, amounts as were paid into the district court of New who instructed the district attorney to proceed by acYork during the time Theron Rudd was clerk, yet tion against the clerk. The great delay in these prothe hazard of losing even that amount would induce ceedings is apparent, and it cannot be uscribed wholly some watchfulness on the part of the clerk's sureties. to the district attorney, as the law seems to havo mado Theron Rudd had been clerk of the district of New it the special duty of the judge to cause the money to York some time previous to the act dividing the State be deposited according to its provisions. into two districts, which passed 9th April, 1814, and, According to the fair import, if not to tho letter of pursuant to that division, on the 11th April, 1814, he the act of April 18, 1814, it became the duty of every was appointed clerk of the southern district. From court of the United States to designate a bank whore the certificates of the clerk of that district, and of the its money should be deposited, if there should be any northern district, it appears that there has not been incorporated bank within the judicial district. On the filed, in either of their offices, any bond by Theron 3d August, 1814, Judge Van Ness made a rule that Rudd for the faithful discharge of his duties as clerk all moneys which should thereafter be paid into his of the southern district. The omission is the more court should be paid to the clerk, who should deposito remarkable as Mr. Rudd had previously given several the same to his credit in some bank or banks to the bonds as clerk, under various reappointments, after north of the highlands, in the State of New York, having been removed.
until the further order of the court. The reason given It appears from the statements of the honorable for this rule was, the apprehension of danger from Mr. Daggett and the honorable Mr. Hunter, of the invasion by the enemy. "Your committee do not porSenate, that so late as the last of February, 1817, ceive how that reason could operate to prevent the Judge Van Ness appeared to be ignorant of the per- designation of some certain bank or banks. The reilous condition of the funds of the court, at a time port of the Judiciary Committee, made at the last serwhen apprehensions were entertained by several gen- sion, states the inability of that committee to prosecute tlemen of the city of New York, who had communi- its inquiries, from a want of knowing the particular cated them to their friends in Congress. Judge Van bank where the money was deposited. It is obvious Ness appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the that the omission of such a designation removed a Senate on the 1st March, 1817, and stated his objec: the funds by the clerk. The committee cannot dis
considerable check upon the improper disposition of tions to the passage of a bill then pending before that committee, and which afterwards became a law, by cover any satisfactory reason to account for the money which moneys in the courts of the United States were being suffered to remain in that situation for two years directed to be deposited within sixty days from the 3d after the peace was known in this country, or for its of March, 1817, in the office of the Bank of the United not being deposited in some bank in the city of New States, when there should be one within the district,
York. and requiring the signature of the judge to an order
The report which this committee have already made for the payment of such moneys. The objections respecting the official conduct of Judge Talsmadge were substantially the same as the reasons urged for will exhibit the courts held by Judge Van Ness, in the the repeal of the rule before mentioned, viz: that it northern district, during the time bo received an addiwould be unnecessary, and would give much trouble. tional allowance for his services in that district. Those He assured the committee of the Senate that the money services do not appear to have been so great as Conwas perfectly safe ; that it was in the Middle District | gress expected. With regard to the southern district, Bank, north of the highlands, where it had been carried Judge Van Ness appears to have given great attention from apprehensions of danger during the war ; that to its business. He has held all the stated terms of the bank was respectable, and the clerk was respons that district, excepting two, which have occurred since sible under his bond; and that it became his duty to his appointment, and he has also beld many long and see to the security of the money. The law
arduous special terms. making it the duty of the judges of the different courts There have been complaints against some decisions to cause the payment of the money, as before stated, and orders of Judge Van Ness. But the respect which and directing that any officer refusing or neglecting to this committee entertain for the Constitutional rights make such payment should be proceeded against by of a judge, and for the laws, wbich provide adequate attachment for contempt. On the 30th April, 1817, remedies for any errors he may commit, forbids their a rule was entered by Judge Van Ness, directing the questioning any judicial opinions. clerk to pay over the moneys of the court, according One instance, however, appears, from the papers to the provisions of the law, within sixty days from they have examined, to partake more of the ministethe 31 day of March then last. On the 16th day of rial than judicial character. It was the case of a cargo June, 1817, an order was entered for an attachment which was a prize to the privateer Tickler, which had against Theron Rudd for not complying with the rule been sold, and the money brought into court. The of the 30th April. A copy of an attachment is fur- judge authorized the clerk to draw out the money, exnished the committee, dated the 30th day of June. It ceeding $145,000, and to pay it over to the claimants, appears from a rule of the court, entered on the 230 | instead of directing the payment to be made to the day of June, that the clerk had then absconded. On claimants immediately; and he ordered the duties and the 8th January, 1818, Thomas Morris, the marshal the two per centum belonging to the navy pension of the district, returned that, by virtue of several writs | fund, exceeding $15,000, to be paid to the clerk, who of attachment, he had arrested Theron Rudd, but found) was to pay it over to the collector, whenever the court
H. OF R.
determined the amount due to that officer. It is not On the 7th September, 1815, and the 21st October
It appears satisfactorily, from the testimony of sev. Under a sense of the duty imposed upon them, the eral physicians, and of the honorable Nathan Sanford, committee submit these facts and observations, al- given on a former inquiry into the conduct of Judge though, in their opinion, they do not furnish any Tallmadge, that in 1810 his health became extreinely ground for the Constitutional interposition of the delicate, and that very great exertion of body, or any House.
unusual agitation of mind, invariably produced severe Respecting the official conduct of Matthias B. Tall-sickness, so as to disqualify him for any official duties; madge. The committee have not been apprized of and that his life was prolonged by visiting a more any other charge against the official conduct of Judge genial climate in the Winter season. Tallmadge than his having omitted to hold the terms On entering upon the duties of his office in 1805, of the district court for which he was appointed, ac- Judge Tallmadge encountered a mass of business cording to law. It appears that Judge Tallmadge took which had accumulated from the ill health and the bis seat on the bench as judge of the district of New death of his predecessor, and from the want of any York on the 16th day of July, 1805. From that time judge in the court for the time immediately preceding until May, 1810, he held all the stated and regular his appointment. The sickness of Judge Patterson, terms of the court, (excepting that the August term who should have presided in the circuit court, matoin 1809 was postponed two days,) and held thirty-five rially increased the labors of the district judge. special sessions. The May and August terms, 1810,
The committee are of opinion that there is nothing were not held; the November term was held, and he established in the official conduct of Judge Tallmadge presided at a special court in December of that year. to justify the Constitutional interposition of the House. La 1811, the stated terms of February, August, and They have deemed it their duty, however, to presont November, were adjourned without being opened; the the facts, to enable the House to form an opinion on May term was held, and special courts also were held the merits of the case. in June, October, and November, of that year. The
ARKANSAS TERRITORY. February and May terms of 1812 were not opened, The House then resolved itself into a Commit. but two special courts were held in May. On the 29th tee of the whole, on the bill to provide a Terof April, 1812, the act passed authorizing the appoint- ritorial government for the southern part (the ment of an additional judge of the district, and on Arkansas country) of the Missouri Territory. the 3d of July, 1812, Judge Van Ness, who had been appointed under that act, took his seat on the bench.
Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, moved to amend After that period, Judge Tallmadge held eight stated the bill by inserting a clause (similar to that interms and special courts at New York; two of the corporated, on the motion of Mr. TallmaDGE, in special courts with Judge Van Ness. Special courts the Missouri bill) to prohibit the existence of were held in August, September, October, and De- slavery in the new Territory. cember, of that year, and also the stated November This motion gave rise to a wide and long.conterm, by Judge Van Ness, who held a special court tinued debate, covering part of the ground prealso in January, 1813. The February and November viously occupied on this subject, but differing in terms of that year were adjourned, the latter by Judge part, as the present proposition was to impose a Tallmadge, the former by Judge Van Ness, who held condition on a Territorial goveroment, instead special courts in March, April, May, June, July, Sep- of, as in the former case, to enjoin the adoption of tember, and November, and the stated terms in May the principle in the constitution of a State, and and August.
as it applied to a more southern Territory. On the 9th April, 1814, the district was divided, and Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, in rising, said he Judge Tallmadge was assigned to the northern district. regretted being obliged to vote on this bill with Three stated terms and one special court had been so scanty information. The select committee held in the northern part of the State previous to the which reported it, had laid on our table no statedivision in September and October, 1812, by Judge ment of facts-no census showing the different Van Ness. The May, one of the September, and the kinds of population in the territory, nor even the October terms, in 1813, had been adjourned; a special aggregate of all descriptions. The situation and court was held in June, and one of the September condition of existing settlements are as little terms in that year was held by Judge Van Ness. No known. Ic, bowever, is generally understood courts appear to bave been held in that district after that the climate and soil are suited to the culture that period, until September, 1814, when Judge Van Ness held the stated term in that month, and also the of wheat, corn, cotton, and tobacco. The delestated terms in October, 1815, and April, 1817, and a gate from Missouri now informs me that the num. special court in November, 1817. One of the Sep- ber of inhabitants, exclusive of Indians, may be tember terms, and the October term of 1814, were ad estimated at 20,000, of which one-tenth are probjourned, and also the September term, 1816, and the ably slaves. Mr. T. said he was unwilling io al. September and October terms, 1816, and the January low the introduction of any more slaves: it could and Utica May terms, in 1818. The May terms in not be necessary for agricultural purposes. All 1814 and 1815, the September term, 1816, and the the productions before mentioned, could be brought May and September terms, 1816, in that district, en lo perfection, and raised in abundance, by free. tirely failed.
men. Corton, and tobacco, for exportation, had
FEBRUARY, 1819. been chiefly produced by the slaveholding States. does unhappily prevail in another section of this But is it not reasonable, asked Mr. T., that at least country; that it haunts its subjects in their dreams, one small portion of our country, capable of grow- and disturbs their waking hours. You, sir, have ing these staples, should be left open to the enter- lately seen its influence on one honorable gentleprise and industry of the North and East. He mad, (Mr. Colston,) who considered the appear. saw no good reason why that portion of the Union ance of a black face in the gallery, pending yeswhich he had the honor, in part, to represent, terday's discussion, of sufficient importance to should be excluded from participating in this justify a grave address to the Committee, and an valuable species of agriculture. That such would animated philippic upon the impropriety of this be the effect of allowing a free introduction of debate. To such gentlemen it may be " a delicate slaves, he had fully demonstated to the Commit. subject;" but to me I confess it is not. Ia my tee when the bill for the admission of Missouri estimation, said Mr. T., the delicacy of the subinto the Union was under consideration. Mr. T. ject is lost, and ought to be forgotten in its imsaid it must be evident from the present ratio of mense importance. "A delicate subject !” in population, as stated by the delegate from Mis- which is involved the security and happiness of souri, that the labor of the territory was now per- unborn millions; a subject too delicate for disformed chiefly by freemen. He hoped this siate cussion !-because our debate may be overheard of things might not only continue, but improve. by a negro in the gallery. Sir, it is a subject He therefore, could not consent to render labor vastly important to my children, and the children disgraceful--to connect it, in public sentiment, of my constituents, who shall hereafter emigrate with servility, and thereby degrade the condition to Arkansas; and, while I have the honor of a of laboring men.
seat on this floor, I will discuss it freely whenThe gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. Clay) ever public duty, in my judgment, requires it. has asked, said Mr. T., what the people of the The honorable Speaker, said Mr. TAYLOR, has South have done, that they are to be proscribed, asked, if we wish to coop up our brethren of the apd had expressed his deep regret at the introduc- slavebolding States, and prevent the extension of tion of this amendment.' We, sir, said Mr. T. their population and wealth. Mr. Chairman, cast do not proscribe them; we leave them in the your eye on that map; survey the immense and full enjoyment of all their rights; we only for- fertile regions which stretch from the Sabine to bid them to practise wrongs: we invite them to Georgia ; count, if you can, the millions of rich the territory in question, but we forbid their bring acres in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, ing into it a population which cannot but prove lying uncultivated and waste. "If gentlemen wish its misfortune and curse ; a population which, if to disperse their slaves, here is an abundant openonce introduced, will fasten like an incubus upon ing. In all these States, new as they are, slavery all its energies, and from which it can never be has already planted its roots too deep, I fear, to be relieved.
ever eradicated. With this opening I hope genI regret, said Mr. T., the pertinacity with which tlemen will be content. Let them not carry the gentlemen maintain their opposition. To my pestilence beyond the Mississippi, into a country mind the amendment is both reasonable and ne- where its existence, as yet, is but little known. cessary; and, if the welfare of the territory were Let them agree to the amendment, and every alone consulted, I should entertain no doubt of vestige of slavery will soon disappear from the ils adoption by an almost universal vote. But territory in question. other interests are to be protected ; and it is said A gentleman from Virginia (Mr. TYLER) has that, as the country was purchased with our com. added his lamentations on the existence of slavery mon fund, it ought to inure to the common bene- in this country to those of his colleagues who fit. This, said Mr. T., may be considered a truc preceded him. He informed us. 100, that the Leism; but, unfortunately for the argument of the gislature of that State had passed resolutions, now gentleman who adduced it, it has no application in this House, requesting ihe aid of Congress to to the case before us. If it were proposed that mitigate its evils. He nevertheless took care to the proceeds of the public lands in Arkansas give notice that he too should vote against the should be appropriated to the use of the com- exclusion of slavery from Arkansas. It is not my monwealth of Massachusetts, the objection would province, said Mr. T., to question the consistency have weight. But, said Mr. T., nothing like it is of any honorable member of this Committee, contemplated. The money to arise from the sale but certainly, Mr. Chairman, I should not have of lands in that territory, as in all others, will go anticipated such a conclusion, from the evidence. into the National Treasury, and be expended on before him. If Virginia has found slavery an innational objects.
tolerable burden; if she seek the aid of Congress The gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. Clay) to alleviate its evils, confessedly too great, and has charged us, said Mr. T., with being under the too inveterate for cure; if she deplore ihe policy influence of negrophobia. Sir, he mistook his by which it was introduced, I should not bave mark. I thank God that the disease mentioned expected to find a representative from Virginia by that gentleman, is unknown to my constitu- legislatiog for the prosperity of Arkansas, and ents; and it is because I wish to exclude it from unwilling to exclude it from ihat territory. Arkansas, that I have moved this amendment. Another gentleman from Virginia (Mr. HUGH But, sir, the excitement which this motion has Nelson) has charged us with fighting behind a produced, too clearly shows that the negrophobia masked battery. He considers This amendment