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sive legislation“ in all cases whatsoever, * * over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State, in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings." I It must be true, in addition to the cases referred to in this clause, that all property already appropriated by the National Government, in the proper exercise of its power, and actually employed, for national purposes, is ex. empted from the Right of Eminent Domain, as exercised by the several States ; otherwise the action of the Federal Government, which is paramount, would be subject to check and embarrassment by the interference of the States. It must be as true of the Right of Eminent Domain as of the right of taxation, that while it ex. tends to everything existing by the authority of the State, or introduced by its permission, it does not reach the means or the materials employed by Congress to carry out the powers conferred on it by the people of the United States.2
As to the public lands situated in the several States and belong. ing to the Federal Government, but not appropriated or employed for national purposes, these would seem to be held by that government in the capacity of an ordinary landed proprietor, and so to be subject to the State Right of Eminent Domain, and, in general, to the same burdens as other lands under the same jurisdiction.
(5.) When private property has once been appropriated by any State, it loses its character of private property, and becomes, in some sense, the property of the public; and more than that, public property appropriated to a special use. Hence arises a limitaon upon the power of those State agents who may be invested with the Right of Eminent Domain for special or local purposes, to wit, that their power does not extend io such property ; unless it be otherwise provided, either expressly or by necessary implication.3
i Const. U. S., Art. 1, s. viii. 17. 2 McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 329; Prov. Bk. v. Billings, 4 Pet. 564.
3 Springfield v. R. R. Co., 4 Cush. 63 ; Barber v. Andover, 4 N. H. 398; Wellington's case, 16 Pick. 87.
[To be continued.]
ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
We have received, from an old and valued correspondent in Cincinnati, some strictures which he has published in one of the newspapers of that city, on the verdict recently rendered there in the case of William Arrison, indicted for the murder of Isaac Allison. Our readers will remember the outlines of the case. They are, if we have been correctly informed, substantially as follows:
On the 26th of June, 1854, at about nine o'clock in the evening, the deceased, who was steward of the marine hospital at Cincinnati, received a small walnut box, neatly tied up in brown paper, with his address, “ Mr. Allison, Marine Hospital, corner Western Row and Longworth," written on a card slipped under the string. The appearance of the parcel, and the message accompanying it, seemed to indicate a present for Mr. or Mrs. Allison. Mrs. Allison came into the room presently after the receipt of the box, and her husband proceeded to open it in her presence by sliding back the cover. Instantly an explosion took place, which blew out the windows of the room and shattered its walls, and the Allisons were horribly mangled by slugs and pieces of iron from the box, and died of their wounds — the husband in about three hours, and the wife in a day or two.
Some time after Arrison was arrested in Iowa, and brought to trial in December, 1850. The proof against him was circumstantial, but strong. It appeared that, in May, 1854, he had been one of the house surgeons of the hospital; that he had quarrelled and fought with the deceased, who had got the better of him, and knocked him down; that he had threatened revenge; had borrowed a pistol, for the purpose, as he said, of shooting a dog; had returned it a day or two before the murder, and said to the person of whom he borrowed it, that he would be even with Allison.
There was evidence also tending to show that he had procured the making of the box, had taken advice how to fit it so that it would instantly explode, had tried to buy powder, had procured the direction to be written on the card, and had hired two little boys to deliver it at the hospital. The proof of some of these points depended on the evidence of persons who bad never seen the prisoner before the occurrence of the interviews and conversations to which they testified, but who were, in general, quite positive as to his identity.
It was not denied that he left Cincinnati immediately after the murder, and lived in Iowa under a feigned name. It was shown, however, that he had previously prepared to leave, and it was contended that the change of name was made after a reward had been offered for his arrest, and that he was afraid to venture a trial on account of the prejudice existing against him in Cincinnati.
The prisoner was tried in December, 1854, and convicted of murder in the first degree. On error, the conviction was set aside for misdirection of the judge in matter of law. He was tried again about a year later, and the jury were unable to agree. His third trial has just taken place (in July, 1856,) and resulted in a verdict of manslaughter.
It is to this verdict that our correspondent takes exceptions, and if the facts are correctly stated to us, very properly. There may be doubt whether Arrison is the murderer; but the proof of premeditation and deliberate cold blooded malice in the person who made all the fatal preparations for the dreadful consummation is quite clear and convincing. If Arrison be guilty at all, it must be on the supposition that he is the man who prepared the box, caused it to be fitted, directed, and sent, and if so, he must have planned the perpetration of the murder for days, if not weeks.
The disproportion between the crime as committed and as found by the jury, remind us of the anti-climax of which our college friend S
What, murder his mother in cold blood! He ought to be kicked.”
But we have referred to this case, less with a view to discuss its particular features, than to notice it, as a sign of the times. How many instances of abortive and ridiculous criminal trials will readily occur to our readers? How many rogues have escaped, not only by the hereditary, and as we are prone to consider it, legitimate astuteness of the common law, in favor of all accused persons, but also in the face of the most convincing evidence, and on a faultless indictment, by the direct action of the jury? The evil is actual and serious ; it is also extensive in its range. No State can pride itself on a perfectly clean record in this respect; the propensity to acquit in face of evidence, and of all real justice, is bounded by no sectional lines, and is common to places which have little else in common from Maine to California.
We have no intention of entering upon a long discussion of this matter. Its truth is known to our readers. We
simply call renewed attention to it, and to some of its causes. The causes which we refer to may be summed up as a degradation of the bench, with its various consequences and effects. This process has been very successfully conducted in these United States, especially by introducing short tenures and low salaries, and by forbidding the judges (as is done by the laws of several of the States) to charge the jury at all. In proportion as the judges are degraded in these various ways, juries of course are elevated beyond their legitimate sphere.
The doctrine that juries should decide the law in criminal cases, an admirable one in the sense that there shall be no appeal from a general verdict of not guilty, is construed and extended so as to confer upon juries the whole authority of the court. Now a jury is an admirable and most ingeniously contrived institution; but it is not contrived with reference to a knowledge of the law, or a high responsibility for its public acts; its consultations are private, only the results of its decisions are known; there is nobody to take offence if the guilty escape punishinent; there are weeping neighbors to reproach a verdict of condemnation. Then, too, the ability which is kept from the bench often remains at the bar, and is not generally found on the side of the government. Thus we have the talent of the bar, the weakness of the bench and often of the prosecution, the natural humanity and credulity of the jury, all working against a stern and impartial administration of criminal justice in great causes, and where the punishment is the highest, and it is to these that we chiefly refer.
We have said that the evil is great and alarming, and the case of California will occur to every one. The present state of things in that country was brought about directly by a want of faith on the part of the best citizens in the impartial administration of justice in criminal trials. Whether the revolution or rebellion in California is justifiable or not, may depend, perhaps, upon the truth of the facts alleged; we have neither seen nor heard of any respectable man acquainted with the country, who hesitated to pronounce it not only justifiable but necessary. If it be so, it is a necessity to be avoided elsewhere. The government actually existing in California is as much a despotism as that of Louis Napoleon, and is founded on precisely the same plea. It is said (and perhaps truly) that honest men are safe there; but it is certain that rogues are POL. IX. — NO. V.- NEW SERIES.
not; and we have been taught to think that even rogues have certain rights until they commit some actual crime, and then a right to be tried in a certain previously established mode, and punished according to a previously established code or system.
The actual rogue of California has no such rights, and therefore, of course, the honest man may not have the right to show that he is not a rogue in the mode in which a republican American government is bound to allow.
But we have been already led too far into this digression. We do not wish to discuss a state of things which, we are led to hope, may soon be ended. If it should not be, we should prefer not to predict, though we can to some extent appreciate the consequences. We adduce the Vigilance Committee and its action as a notorious, and, on the whole, the most respectable and reputable example of Lynch law. We adduce it as a warning; for threats have been made, loud if not deep, of a resort to similar action in other quarters ; If such a want of faith in courts and juries as now prevails in California, should come to be at all general, these threats may be carried out. Which of the two evils is the greater, the insecurity of life and property under a bad administration of the law as it exists, or a resort to such violent and dangerous remedies, our readers may decide.
Let them see to it, that to the extent of their several powers and opportunities, they assist in elevating the administration of justice, and in freeing us from the reproach, that our liberty is a liberty to commit violence and fraud with impunity, and that our law is a terror only to them that do well.
Notes of Cases in New York.
Court of Appeals. THE MECHANIC's Bank v. The New YORK AND NEW
HAVEN RAILROAD COMPANY.
Corporation - Transfer agent — Spurious stock — Certificate whether
negoliable. This case was originally brought in the Superior Court of the City of New York, and was founded on an alleged contract by the defendants to transfer to the plaintiffs eighty