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(5.) I proceed next to consider the jurisdiction of the Dis- Civil juristrict Court, when proceeding as a court of common law. It the District extends to all minor crimes and offences, cognizable under the authority of the United States, and which are not strictly of admiralty cognizance; and to all seizures on land, and on waters not navigable from the sea; and to all suits for penalties and forfeitures there incurred; and to all suits by aliens, for torts done in violation of the law of nations, or of a treaty; and to suits against consuls and vice-consuls; and to all suits at common law, where the United States sue, and the mattter in dispute amounts to one hundred dollars." It has jurisdiction likewise of proceedings to repeal patents obtained surreptitiously, or upon false suggestions. This is given by the act of Congress of 21st February, 1793, chap. II., and it is a jurisdiction that leads frequently to the most intricate, nice, and perplexed investigations, respecting the originality of inventions and improvements in complicated machinery. It was made a question in the District Court of New-York, in the case Ex parte Wood, whether the process to be awarded to repeal the patent, was not in the nature of a scire facias at common law, upon which issue of fact might be taken and tried by a jury. The district judge decided, that the proceeding was summary, upon a rule to show cause, and that no process of scire facias was afterwards admissible. But upon appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, the decree of the District Court was reversed, and the District Court was directed by. mandamus to enter upon record the proceedings in the cause, antecedent to the granting of the rule to show cause why process should not issue to repeal the patent. The District Court was further directed to award process, in the nature of a scire facias, to the patentee, to show cause why the patent should not be repealed; and upon the return
a Judiciary Act of September, 1789, ecc. 9.
b 9 Wheaton, 603.
of the process, the Court was to proceed to try the cause upon the pleadings of the parties, and the issue of law or fact joined thereon, as the case might be; and that if the issue be an issue of fact, the trial thereof was to be by jury, according to the course of the common law.
This was a just and liberal decision of the Supreme Court; and it was observed, in the opinion which was pronounced, that it was not lightly to be presumed, that Congress, in this class of patent cases, placed peculiarly within their patronage and protection, involving some of the dearest and most valuable rights which society acknowledges, and the constitution itself meant to favour, would institute a new and summary process, which should finally adjudge upon those rights, without a trial by jury, without a right of appeal, and without any of those guards with which, in equity suits, it has fenced round the general administration of justice. The Supreme Court then went into an analytical examination of the 10th section of the act of 1793, on which the claim of summary jurisdiction rested, and vindicated the construction which they assumed, in opposition to that taken by the District Court.
The jurisdiction of the judges of the District Courts, in cases of bankruptcy, has presented for consideration some important questions on the point of jurisdiction. We have no bankrupt system in existence under the government of the United States; but there are some lingering traces of business yet arising and undetermined, under the bankrupt act of the year 1800 and we are in expectation, at every session of Congress, of a revival of that, or some other analogous system and code of national bankrupt law. In the case of Comfort Sands, in the District Court of New-York, it was observed, that, in England, the sole power of directing the execution, and controlling the administration of the bankrupt system, in all its departments,
a United States Law Journal, vol. 1. p. 15.
and in every stage of the proceeding, resided in the lord chancellor.
This jurisdiction of the English chancellor was not in the court of chancery, but in the individual who holds the great seal; and it is exercised summarily upon petition, and his judgment upon the petition is without appeal, unless the chancellor in his discretion allows a bill to be filed, in order to found an appeal thereon. The judge then proceeded to examine the several provisions of the bankrupt act of the United States of 1800, in order to show, that upon the principles of construction adopted in England, the district judge had the same jurisdiction in cases of bankruptcy as is exercised by the lord chancellor. The same course of reasoning which sustains the jurisdiction of the one, would confer that of the other. He insisted that the jurisdiction here was given, not to the District Court, but to the individual who happened to hold the office of district judge, and that, consequently, all his decisions in bankruptcy were without appeal, for appeals lie only from the decrees of the District Court. But that extraordinary doctrine has since been overruled, and it has been held, that the Circuit Courts of the United States had jurisdiction of matters arising under the bankrupt law, and the District Courts had not exclusive jurisdiction over the entire execution of such laws. They could not remove the assignees, nor compel them to account. An appeal lay in proceedings under the bankrupt act from the District to the Circuit Courts, and the state courts had a concurrent jurisdiction in matters of account between the bankrupt and his creditors, and which has been freely and extensively exercised."
(6.) Of the Territorial Courts of the United States. With respect to the vast territories belonging to the Uni- Territories ted States, and which are not distinct political societies, the U.States.
a Lucas v. Morris, 1 Paine, 396.
See the case of Codwise v. Sands, 4 Johnson's Rep. 536.
known to the constitution as states, Congress have assumed to exercise over them supreme powers of sovereignty. In the Michigan territory, Congress have, by the acts of 7th of August, 1789, and January 14th, 1805, adopted the principles of the ordinance of the confederation Congress of the date of the 13th of July, 1787. This ordinance was formed upon sound and enlightened maxims of civil jurisprudence, and the judges appointed in that territory hold their offices during good behaviour. In the Arkansaw territory, a greater subjection is created to the will of the president of the United States. The governor and judges are appointed by the president and senate, but they are removeable at the pleasure of the president, and the judges, subject to such removal, hold for four, and the governor for three years. The legislative power of the territory was originally vested in the governor, and the three judges of the Superior Court, by the act of March 2d, 1819. But a legislative assembly, to be composed of a council of nine members, appointed by the president and senate of the United States, and to continue in office for five years, and of a house of representatives, to be chosen by the inhabitants biennially, was provided by the act of 21st of April, 1820, adopting the act of June 4th, 1812, c. 95. The Superior Court of that territory has exclusive cognizance of all capital offences, and the trial by jury is secured, together with many of the other great fundamental principles of civil liberty.
The territorial legislatures, both of Michigan and
a In the case of The State v. New-Orleans Navigation Company, 11 Martin's Loui. R. 38. 309. in which a writ of scire facias had been issued on behalf of the state of Louisiana, to avoid the charter of the company, the right of the legislature of the Orleans territory to grant the charter was elaborately discussed by counsel, and with great force and eloquence. The Supreme Court of Louisiana decided, that the territorial legislature, acting under the authority of the government of the United States, was competent to grant the charter, and that it ought to be sustained, and was unaffected by the admission of Louisiana as a state into the Union.
Arkansaw, are prohibited from interfering with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States, or from taxing lands belonging to the United States, or from taxing the lands of non-resident proprietors, higher than those of residents, or from interrupting the navigable waters flowing into the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, as common highways, free to all the citizens of the United States.
In the organization of the territorial governments of East and West Florida, by the act of Congress of March 30th, 1822, the judges of the superior courts are appointed by the president and senate of the United States, and hold their offices for four years; but writs of error and appeal lie from their decisions to the Supreme Court of the United States, equally as from the Circuit Courts in the several states.
It would seem, from these various congressional regulations of the territories belonging to the United States, that Congress have supreme power in the government of them, depending on the exercise of their sound discretion. Neither the District of Columbia, nor a territory, is a state, within the meaning of the constitution, or entitled to claim the privileges secured to the members of the Union. This has been so adjudged by the Supreme Court. Nor will a writ of error or appeal lie from a territorial court to the Supreme Court, unless there be a special statute provision for the purpose. There is such a provision as to Florida, and there is a limited provision of that kind as to Arkansaw and Michigan, extending to cases in which the United States are concerned, and not extending further. If, therefore, the government of the United States should carry into execution the project of colonizing the great valley of the Oregan, to the west of the Rocky Mountains, it would afford a
a Hepburn v. Elizey, 2 Cranch, 445. Corporation of New-Orleans v. Winter, 1 Wheaton, 91.
b Clarke v. Bazadone, 1 Cranch, 212. United States v. Mere, 3 Ibid. 159.