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Who first suggested this difference, in relation to judicial power over legislative Acts, we do not pretend to know. It may have sprung up in some of those newspaper disquisitions, which once assailed every exercise of federal power, and laboured to cripple and confine it within the narrowest limits, while the omnipotence of states, and their legislatures, was exalted to the uttermost.
The other error we will advert to, as showing how imperfectly Judge Gibson investigated this subject, is his most extraordinary declaration, that, “ although the right in question has all along been claimed by the judiciary, no Judge has ventured to discuss it, except Chief Justice Marshall.” We can hardly trust our eyes, when we read this sentence; and those of our readers who will turn to the cases we have cited, will find it has been repeatedly discussed by Judges, much at large and with great ability, particularly in the courts of New-Hampshire, Maryland, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Kentucky; and in Pennsylvania too, it has received a considerable examination.
We must always bear in mind, that the judiciary do not claim a right directly to annul an Act of the legislature, by virtue of a superior or superintending power over that department; which would be an exercise of what, I presume, the Judge calls a “political power.” If they possessed such an authority, it would be competent to them, immediately on the passing of an unconstitutional Act, to declare it void. No such interference with the legislature is pretended-no such superiority over them claimed. But when the judiciary are called upon to execute the illegal Act--to become parties and auxiliaries to the usurpation, they may, not as a superior, but as a co-ordinate branch of the government, refuse this participation in the wrong; and use their own judgment in deciding it to be so. This they do judicially, or civilly, and not politically, in the strictest sense. The courts step not aside to know what the legislature has done; to supervise or control their proceedings. They sit in their own halls ; they are confined to their own tribunals, and lay their power upon nothing that is not brought there for their judgment. They seek no officious interference with the other departments of the government, or in the concerns of the citizen. "Their authority is exercised only when it is appealed to; their protection is afforded only when it is rightfully claimed. Should an Act of any legislature be a most decided encroachment on the executive power, and the president should choose to submit to it, and surrender his rights, the judiciary would not stir a finger to restrain the one, or protect the other. This would be to assume political superiority. Or should the Act be an absolute and unwarranted ini ion of the rights of a citizen, and he should silently yield to it, the judiciary would make no movement in his behalf. But if, in the ordinary course of their judicial duty, the Judges should be necessarily required to render their judgment upon such an Act-to give it operation and effect upon some suitor, demanding of them the protection of the Constitution and the law, can they refuse to give it? Must they actively unite in an unjust and unauthorized wrong; and become the instruments of oppression, believing and knowing it to be oppression? Shall they use their constitutional power to violate the Constitution, which they have sworn to maintain? Can they use the sword to destroy, which was given to save; and trample upon the rights and liberties of the people, by the very power which the people bestowed for their preservation? This would be to add treachery to violence; to be unfaithful guardians, as well as usurping despots. Yet such must be their character, and our condition, whenever it shall be understood and received as a principle of our government, that the judiciary are bound to consummate every wrong the legislature may devise.
1.-An Account of East Florida. By W. STORK, M. D.
With a Journal kept by John BARTRAM, of Philadelphia, Botanist to His Majesty, on a Journey from St. Augustine, up the River St. John. Syo. London:
1765. 2.- Travels in North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and
West Florida, &c. &c. By WILLIAM BARTRAM. 8vo.
Philadelphia : 1791. 3.—Sketches Topographical and Historical of the Floridas,
more particularly of East Florida. By J. GRANT
FORBES. With a map of Colinton. New-York: 1821. 4.-Notice of East Florida, with an Account of the Seminole
Nation of Indians. By a recent Traveller in the Pro
vince.. Charleston : 1822. 5.- Observations upon the Floridas. By Ch. VIGNOLLES.
New-York: 1823. 6.-Oration delivered before the Florida Institute of Agri
culture, Antiquities, and Sciences. By Colonel JAMES
GADSDEN.' Tallahassee: 1827. 7.-A View of West Florida. By John LEE WILLIAMS. With
a map of West Florida. Philadelphia : 1827. NotWITHSTANDING the numerous sketches and treatises hirto published on the subject, the extensive regions now
In all cases,
designated by the beautiful name of Florida, remain comparatively unknown, even to Americans. The flat and uninteresting appearance of its shores had induced many who have skirted the coast to conclude, that the whole country was little better than a dreary succession of sands, marshes, and lagoons, fit for few other inhabitants than reptiles or beasts of prey. The descriptions given by landjobbers, and others interested in the sale of property, are quite in the other extreme, and commonly consist of a series of exaggerations, which bestow fertility and beauty with a lavish hand, sinking all other parts of the continent into insignificance, in comparison with their newly-discovered terrestrial paradise.
The world has at present sufficient experience to be very slightly injured by such inaccuracy or extravagance, being in general prepared to make due allowance for the rash ignorance of one party, and the interestedness of the other. the judgment is to be withheld until a more discriminating examination be made, and facts have been sufficiently accumulated to serve for the basis of a correct account.
As the present appears to be a favourable opportunity for exhibiting a satisfactory view of this interesting portion of our country, we shall present a sketch of its civil and natural history, compiled from the most authentic sources, prior to a notice of the merits of the works whose titles are prefixed.
The whole of the vast territory east of the Mississippi, discovered in 1496 by Sebastian Cabot, for a long time bore the name of Florida. This title is now restricted to the country forming the southern extremity of the United States, lying between 25° and 31° north latitude, and 30 and 3° 10' west longitude ; which is bounded on the north by Alabama and Georgia, on the east by the Atlantic, and on the south and west by the Gulf of Mexico. The figure of the land is nearly triangular, having its basis towards the north, and its apex extending for about 385 miles towards the south, * where it is rather less than two degrees distant from the celebrated island of Cuba.
Cabot has the honour of being the first discoverer of this part of the continent; but it was Ponce de Leon, who first actually took possession of the land. It was on Easter day, 1512, that he arrived, at the season when the vegetation being in fullest luxuriance, the earth was profusely decked with flowers : he therefore bestowed the name of Pascha Florida, significant of the period of his arrival,
and the blooming prospects which were on all sides presented. The vivid descriptions given of this country on the return of the expedition to Europe, served to excite the cupidity of various sovereigns, and eventually led to much mis
* The mean breadth is computed to be 150 miles.
chief and bloodshed, in the settlement of claims growing out of supposed rights of discovery, possession, and conquest.
Between the years 1520 and 1524, three voyages were made, for the purpose of exploring or taking possession of Florida : one by Vasquez, who sailed from St. Domingo; a second by De Verrazini, a Florentine ; and the third by a Spaniard, named De Geray. The Emperor Charles V. made a grant to Pamphilo de Narvaes, of all the country lying between Cape Florida and the river Palmos, in the Gulf of Mexico. Narvaes commenced his voyage in the spring of 1528, and landed at Apalachee. He was met by the natives with the most hostile disposition, and determined resistance to his encroachments; and after various adventures, was finally shipwrecked in the vicinity of the river Palmos, where he perished with nearly all his crew.
The next who adventured to Florida, was Ferdinand de Soto, in the year 1539. After visiting various and remote parts of the country, and encountering numerous vicissitudes, he died in 1542, near the Mississippi river.
In the year 1560, a number of French Protestants sought refuge from intolerance in their native land, by emigrating to the wilds of Florida, where they hoped to enjoy liberty of conscience, at the expense of great privation. But their expectations were cruelly disappointed; for in 1564, the King of Spain, who who claimed the country by right of discovery, sent out a force to displace them. The greatest barbarities were inflicted upon these unfortunate beings, whose habitations were destroyed; many of them were put to death, and some were hung upon trees, with inscriptions over them, stating that they were thus treated, “not as Frenchmen, but heretics.” The French were not long, however, in exacting fearful retribution for these outrages against human nature. A Gascon, of great bravery and most determined resolution, raised a body of men, which he strengthened by the addition of a party of Indians. Breathing vengeance against the Spaniards, they stormed the fort, and executed the surviving Spaniards, upon the trees which still bore the bleaching skeletons of the unfortunate French settlers. Over the bodies of the Spaniards inscriptions were suspended, declaring that they were thus executed, not as Spaniards, but as murderous cut-throats.'
These events were not sufficient to deter the Spaniards from again endeavouring to secure possession of Florida, as in 1565 they established the fort and town of St. Augustine; this place was taken and plundered, in the year 1586, by the English admiral Drake. The northern coast of Florida had nominally been taken possession of for the Queen of England, by Amidon and Barlow. For a century subsequent to this period, the history of
rida is a blank.
In 1682, De La Salle visited Florida, and advanced as far as the country of the Illinois. About 1696, the French settled Pensacola, where they were subjected to great distresses and privations. So great was their discouragement, that the Abbé Raynal informs us, they would have altogether relinquished their enterprise, but for the ideas they indulged relative to the medicinal virtues and commercial importance of the sassafras tree, which grew abundantly in their immediate vicinity.
The Spaniards established in Florida, were much annoyed and injured both by the English and other buccaneers, and by the inroads of the neighbouring colonists. Governor Moore of Carolina, with an army of nearly a thousand meri, regular troops and Indians, made, in 1702, an attack upon St. Augustine, but was obliged to retire with the loss of his vessels and munitions of war, after a siege of three months. The Carolinians, however, took the fort of St. Mark's, in the year 1704, after which time, Florida enjoyed several advantagcous years of peace.
The country appeared to be of too much value to remain long undisturbed by the neighbouring governments. Oglethorpe, who founded a colony in Georgia, raised a force of about one thousand men, in the year 1740, and made an attempt to gain possession of St. Augustine, but was repulsed with so much vigour and effect by the Spaniards, that he was forced to draw off with considerable loss. A year before going upon this expedition, he had made a treaty with the Indians, by which it was arranged, that the lands between the Savannah and St. John's rivers, along with the adjacent islands, to Apalachicola bay, should belong to the Creek Indians. He also built a chain of forts from Frederica to St. John's, some of which still remain.
Between this period and the year 1763, when the claims of Spain, England, and France, were finally adjusted by treaty, few events of especial importance are recorded. By the treaty of 1763, the whole of Florida was given by Spain to England, in lieu of the island of Cuba, which a short time previously had been taken by the British. Under the latter government, the territory was divided into East and West Florida, which were separated from each other by the Apalachicola river. Settlers were invited by proclamation, and the most liberal terms were offered to emigrants. This policy caused a considerable influx of respectable inhabitants from the neighbouring colonies, and upwards of 1500 Greeks, Italians, &c. arrived from the Mediterranean. They formed a settlement about sixty miles from St. Augustine, for the purpose of cultivating the sugar-cane and indigo.
At the period of the American Revolution, a very small number of the inhabitants of Florida were in favour of the colonists. The mass of the people, Spaniards as well as English, were devoted to the royal cause, and by fitting out privateers, and excitVOL. II.--No3.