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protecting shield of the law, is entrusted to the Judiciary, and when a people have once lost confidence in its integrity and learning, the very pillars of the State are exposed to the shock of lawless violence and usurpation. Hence it becomes the very first duty of a people to guard the seats of justice against the intrusion of the demagogue and the pretender, and at all cost to secure and preserve to the State, in this department, the very first talents and the highest moral worth they can command.

Being assured that the great majority of the people of this State are of the same opinion with ourselves on this subject, and that the expression of these views is but the echo of their own, we do not hesitate to urge upon your Honorable Body the necessity of an early and effective interposition on behalf of our State Judiciary. It may not be known to all the members of your body, but the fact is, that this branch of the government is to-day in peril. As a State we are approaching a crisis, which in the opinion of your memorialists, menaces with no common danger the very highest interests of the public, and wisdom dictates an observance of the impending evil, while yet the threatened injury may

be averted.

Already one of the Judges of the Supreme Bench, esteemed for his many rare virtues and his high qualifications, has been compelled to resign his seat for the reason that he was annually involving himself in debt, by reason of the insufficiency of his salary; and it is well known that the virtue of economy was neither unknown nor unpractised by him in his private life. Another Judge informs his friends that since he has been on bench, now only five years, he has not only absorbed a small amount of personal property of which he was possessed when elected, but is now several hundred dollars in debt, and running more and more behind with every year. For this reason, he declines a renomination to the office, and is of necessity compelled to return again to the Bar. Others of the Judges express themselves in like manner, both as to their arrearages of personal debts, and the necessity of their abandoning the Bench, unless some relief is speedily afforded. These facts we know, and while a becoming modesty on the part of these gentlemen restrains them from open complaint, we deem it our duty to expose to the Legislature the precise position in which they are placed, for from them alone can come appropriate relief.

By the Constitution as it now stands, the Judges of the Circuit Court shall each receive an annual salary of one thousand five hundred dollars. (Art. IX. of Constitution, § 1.)

From this sum of fifteen hundred dollars there is to be annually deducted upwards of $400 or $500 by the Judges in their traveling and hotel expenses while engaged in the discharge of their official duties, thus leaving them the paltry sum of one thousand dollars, with which to maintain themselves and educate and support their families. It will be seen on a moment's reflection, that this cannot be done, and the experience of the judges has already demonstrated its impossibility. A good book keeper in our commercial cities is paid twelve hundred dollars a year, or two hundred dollars more than the available means of the judges; and it will not be disputed that this sum is but from a third to a fifth of what they could command as professional laborers at the Bar, were they to exchange the former place for the latter.

When this clause was enacted by the adoption of the State Constitution in 1850, it was not without opposition on the part of some of the members of the Convention, who observed in advance the evils. likely to grow out of a provision of this character. It was at a period too, when as yet, Michigan had no continuous railroad connection with the eastern markets, and the prices of all articles of living were very much below those of to-day. The locomotive did not then gather up into his capacious train, all the beef, pork, flour, and vegetables from the farmer, and within 48 hours land it in the city of New York-Michigan and New York prices were then very wide apart; now they are almost identical. The judge, with all the rest of our fellow citizens, pay today double the price of these articles beyond what they were when his salary was fixed by the Constitution, yet his annual stipend remains as small as ever.

The farmer, who in the midst of his abundance of fuel, flour and fruits, makes no account of his daily expenses in these respects, overlooks very often the fact that from the Judge's salary these articles have all to be purchased during the year at some such rates as those stated in the subjoined note.*

NOTE. These prices are not less than the following, viz.:

Flour, $7,00 per barrel,

M-at, 10c per pound,

Wood, $350 per cord,
Pontes, 75c. per bushel,

They therefore do very great injustice to the Judges, (though perhaps unwittingly), who assert that fifteen hundred dollars a year is a large salary, and sufficient for the support and education of a family, without first deducting from this sum five hundred dollars for traveling and hotel expenses, and a large sum in addition for articles of food purchased at such prices as those stated below. The man who can protect himself from outlay in these two important particulars, might possibly sustain himself and family on fifteen hundred dollars a year, otherwise he cannot.

The United States Congress, seasonably perceiving this change in the cost of living and the almost universal rise in the price of articles of food throughout the entire country, early interposed for the relief of her District Judges, whose salaries had previously been but $1,500, and at once increased them to $2,500. This is the present income of the U. S. District Judge, resident in Detroit, and he is not subjected to one dime's expense in holding courts throughout his district.

Your memorialists might here also appropriately refer to the onerous labors of the Circuit Judges during their respective terms of office, and especially to those of the Judge in the Third Circuit with which they are more familiar. From an examination of the cases both civil and criminal annually tried by him, and and an apportionment of his salary made thereon in the way of fees, it appears, that for each case tried and disposed of, he would receive less than one half the remuneration now allowed to Justices of the Peace for the trial of the most insignificant suit. But these burdens of the Judges are familiar to the various members of your Honorable body, and need not here be further enlarged upon. It is gratifying however to your memorialists to be able to say, that these labors however severe have all been cheerfully borne by the Judges, without (so far as your memorialists know) any murmuring or complaints.

During the last year there have been placed on file in the office of the Board of State Auditors, various representations on this subject of the insufficiency of the Judges' salaries. This has been done with a view of securing some action from them in the way of an allowance of their traveling expenses, and among other papers will be found an important opinion from the Honorable Attorney General of the State, affirming such an allowance to be strictly constitutional, in which opinion it is

probably known to your Honorable Body, the large majority of this Bar fully concurred. A reference to these files will disclose to your Honorable Body some important facts in connection with this subject, and your memorialists respectfully ask that your Honorable Body will cause such papers to be printed and laid before your Honorable Body, with a view to such action on the subject as is herein solicited.


From these it will be ascertained that the traveling expenses of the Judges on their several circuits, and in their attendance upon the Supreme Court's sessions, have been fully as large as we have herein represented. From the same source it will also appear that every newspaper press in the State (except two), representing all the different shades of political opinion, have united in urging it upon those holding the key of relief, as a high and paramount necessity, that these salaries should be increased, or at all events that their traveling expenses should be repaid. Very many citizens of all classes and professions and from all parts of the State, as well as the members of the Bar in every organized county in the State, have by letters and petitions addressed to the Board of Auditors, concurred in this effort to secure to the Judges at least a full and unbroken salary of fifteen hundred dollars, as contemplated by the Constitution.

Your memorialists therefore do not hesitate to say that in their opinion the great majority of citizens throughout the State regardless of all political preferences or predilections, are united in the desire that this palpable wrong, this severe assessment on the salary of the Judges (now already too small,) should be speedily abated; and that those who administer Justice for the State, should not longer be allowed to appeal to the people in vain for justice to themselves.

A neglect now and speedily to interfere in their behalf will, we very much fear, tend directly to lower the present high character of the Judiciary, and expose the State, through the ignorance of ambitious demagogues to that crude and vicious interpretation of the Constitution and the laws, which cannot fail greatly to impair, if not ultimately to defeat the permanency and harmony of our entire political organization, for it is the pure and faithful administration of a system of polity, which forms and constitutes the largest part of its establishment.

In view then, of all the facts herein referred to, and of those on file

the concurrent popular opinion on this now important subject, of the very onerous and practically unjust assessments that have been borne by the Circuit Judges of the State since their respective election to the Bench, and of the inestimable interests at stake in our future history, as connected with a learned, high-toned and independent Judiciary, your memoralists feel justified in asking, and in the name of the united bars of the State, and of a large majority of her citizens, representing all sentiments in politics, they would earnestly importune from your honorable body, the following legislative action on the general subject of Judicial Salaries, viz.:

First. The passage of a bill authorizing and directing the Board of State Auditors to pay from the State Treasury unto the various Circuit Judges, or to their representatives, and to such as shall or may have resigned their places upon the Bench prior to the passage of such bill, all such traveling and other expenses as they may have incurred in the dicharge of their official duties, during their terms of office respectively, and bills or memoranda of which may now be on file in the office of the Board of State Auditors, or which may hereafter be by them filed and duly verified by affidavit.

Second. That an amendment be proposed to the present constitution, by which article 9, of the same be repealed, and the power to fix the salaries of the Judges therein referred to and of State officers, be conferred upon the Legislature, so that said amendment may be submitted to the electors of the State, at the general election, in the year 1858.

Third. That a provision be inserted in the bill creating a new Supreme Court, by which the salary of the Judges thereof shall be fixed at a sum not less than thirty-five hundred dollars per annum, for the Chief Justice, and three thousand dollars per annum for the Associate Justices.

By order of the Detroit Bar.



DETROIT, January 19, 1857.

A. D. FRASER, President of the Detroit Bar.

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