Open main menu

Page:United States Reports, Volume 2.djvu/313

This page needs to be proofread.


Cmcmr Cesar, Penn/'yloanio Dmriét. go? III. He title wbielr tlve endant are under Pen una}:. r a ' This is the keyltone of K defenii.ant:?title,as onelgilliis coun- 2L fel v roperl exprefed it. It required no great fa cit to_ ·perceiiirh,Pthat die defendant'a hope of fuccefs was fouiiadedy on — a law of Penewluania, commonly called •• the quicting and con- iirming a£t." This aét, and the two fubfequent ones of a ful`- pending and a repealing nature, open an extenlive and impor- ‘ tant field for difeuliion. In general verdicts, it frequently be- . comes neceiiiiry for juries to decide upon the law as well as the · faéts. To form a correét judgment, legal principles mult be taken up and applied, and when this is done in a proper manner, it gives liability to judicial decilions, and fecurity to civil rights: Hence uniformity and certainty; hence the decilions of to- morrow will be like the decilions of to-day; they will run in the fame line, becaufe they are founded on the fame principles. To aid you, Gentlemen, in forming a `verdi£l:, I lhall COH- iider: ` - · I._ The conititutionality of the confirming atl; or, in other words, whether the Legillature had authority to make that a&? - Legillation is the exercife of fovereign authority. High and important powers are neceifarily veited in the Lcgillative body; · whofe ads, under fume forms of government, are irreiiiiible and fubjeét to no eontroul. In England, from whence moli of our legal principles and lcgillative notions are derived, the au- thority of the Parliament is tranfcendant and- has no bounds. •* The power and jurifdiéiion of Parliament, fays Sir Edward Cole, is fo tranfcendant and abfolute, that it cannot be confined, either for caufes or perfons, within any boundss And of this high court, he adds, it may be truly {aid, Si nntiqseitutmjoeder, · gr ; 5 Ugnitatem, f g capqci, ma. It has fovereign and uncontroulable authority in making,coniirming,e¤larging, reliraining, abrogating. repealing, reviving. and expounding of laws, concerning matters of all poi`- ` lihledenominations, ecclelialtical or temporal,. civil, military, maritime, or criminal: This being the place where that abio- lute dezpotic power, which tnuli all governments relide fome- where, is entrulied by the cogliéktion of thelic kingdoms. All _ mifchiefs and grievences, npiralions and remedies, that tran-- ‘ fcend the ordinarycosrfe 6 the laws, are within the reach of _ this extraordinary tribunal. It can regulate or new ·model the fuccellion to thc crown; as was done in the reign of Henry VIII. and William III. It can alter the ellabliihed religion ofthe land; as was done in a variety of inltances, in the reigns of king Henry VIII. and his three children. It can chan e and. create afrefh even the coniiitution of the kingdom and of Parlia- ments themfelves; as was done bythe ac} of union, and the feveralliatutes for trieunial and feptennial eleétions. It can, in 0`qa {hott-