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Jury Trial--no. 3: For The Signal Of Liberty

Jury Trial--no. 3: For The Signal Of Liberty image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
Letter to the Editor
OCR Text

Thanks, Mr. Editor, for the correction o my error as to the number of our colored citizens. Over seven hundred of our people hold their liberly, and of course every thing else, by a tenure, the most ('rail and uncer tain that tho lawa can contrive. Were uny species of property so poorly guarded, its valué would at once deprecíate many per cent We go on allowing the liberty of tliia largo number only that measure of protection which f applied to any species of property woüld meet with the instantaneous rejirototion of every citizen. Incredible, bul true! 'These öevcn hundred fotm a popolalion more considerable than the averago of our tovn8hip8. Supposo ihen a townahip of 150 families (iet it be your owu, render.) in which it ís coneidered tolerably certain that fifteen of the heads of thosO families hnve left a d3tant residence with an iudebtedness hanging over them of 3, or4, or 500 dollars each. What is now to be done? We have agreed with the governmenta of the States formerJy the abode of these fifteen houscholders, that our soil ehall not proiect them, and tnat they shall be cotnpellod lo pay. What then? Wliy plainly one would think that their oíd cieditors shall be allowcd to collect their debts on proof of indebtodness according to the constitution and laws of the State "Oh no!" say these creditors; "that is troublesotne and expensive - your mode uf trial ia tediouaand wo may sometimes lose ourdebt becauao we can not satisfy twelve men that it is due. Tliereforo make a law for us in particular- -it nced not extend lo any otheiv creditors - it need not embrace any other part ofyour State except this particular township, in jvhich our debtors live, so that no ono out orthat townehip can suffer by tt. Be 60 good as to paas a law that every householder in that town (sinco 15 of them aré owing us) may be seized at any moment, carried beforeajustice, and compelled to turn out his property at once, so tjoon aa we can satisfy the juatice that he owea us. This will bo a great convenience to us; we can hardly fttil to get our debts from those fifteen people, and if a justice 6hould make a mistake, now and then, it will be no great matter, sincenoone out of that town will be hurt by it. As to the alarm and insecurity of the rest of the people it ia rather hard, but they live in the same town with our debtors, and must, therefore, bear the hardship, or v.-e might sometimes fail of gcttingr our debt. After all, why should you carel You have good laws tor the protection of all the rest of the inhabitante of your State; you have for them the best defence the case adinits of; you are very careful to make your laws so that the tueanest citizen ehall 6uffer no wrong either in person or property. You cannot be so particular about this one township." The Legislature, thus nddressed, at first demurs - thinks the precedent a bad one - is afraid of the example and has somo httle sympathy for the people of the District, of whoru only one io ten is chargcd with any obligation to the foreign crédito r. It therefore institutes an enquiry into the condition, past and present, of this portion of the citizens, and examines into the nature of the claims made upon'a fractiou of tboir number. It finds that as a clasa it is poor, ignorant, and comparatively helpless- that in their old homes they were the eubjects of a most glanng and wicked oppression- that they had fled from cruel and intolerable hardshipa into our State as an asylum - ihat nine tenths were entirely free from all obligation and from every claim on the part of those vhoBö country they had forsaken - that of these nine tenths the greater part had been torn on our own eoil, and were entitled to 11 the privileges of the children of the soil -that the claim on the remaining tenth was f a nature utterly abhorrent to our Constitution and laws, and abhorrent too to evcry ■díctate of reason, and justice, and huraanity The inquiry having resulted in establishin these facto, the Legislature ie now called t pass upon the dcmand of the forejgn crédito - a demand that every one of these one hun dred and fifty families shall be stripped o the protectiotrof all legal ïorms-be subjec ted to the judgrnent of one man instead o twelve - havo no privilege of choice as't his judgo and no right of appeal from hi decisión. Would a legislature, made up of free men the representatives of a free people, yit hearts in their bosorns and acting under th 6olemnity of their oathB hesitate to return a indignan.! NQ to the demandl We ehall ae for a case etfonger than the above - thocae of allcged fugitives from elovery - will b presented at: the coming session. It wi be by far the most important measure upo which that Legislature scill be called to act Let every candidate make up his mind ho to act (if elected) in the premises and let ev