History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1384
image
<August 23> forked lightning’s flash; or sound of the arch angels trump; or voice of the Eternal  God, shall the souls of my enemies be made to feel in an instant, suddenly; and  shall be taken, and ensnared; and fall backwards, and stumble in the ditch they  have dug for my feet, and the feet of my friends; and perish in their own——  infamy and shame— be thrust down to an Eternal hell, for their murderous  and hellish deeds. I design to renew this subject at a future time.
Received an interesting visit from , and Aunt . My  health and spirits good. This afternoon received a few lines from informing  me that she would expect me home this evening, believing that she could take  care of me better at home than elsewhere, Accordingly soon after dark, I  started for home and arrived safe without being noticed by any person, all is  quiet in the .
24 August 1842 • Wednesday
<24> Wednesday 24. At home all day, received a visit from Brothers , and .
Augt. 24. 1842. Dear . Your letter of this date has just  been handed to me which recalls to my mind your great solicitude in reference  to the security and welfare of your husband; but I need not say it recalls  to my mind the subject matter of your solicitude, because that subject  except at short intervals, has not been absent from my mind. I can scarcely  furnish you a justifiable apology for delaying a reply so long, but be assured  , it is not for want of regard for you, and your peace of mind, that I  have postponed; but a crowd of public business, which has required my whole  time; together with very ill health since the receipt of your former letter, and it  would be most gratifying to my feelings now, if due regard to public duty, would  enable me to furnish such a reply as would fully conform to your wishes—  but my duty in reference to all demands made by Executives of other States,  for the surrender of fugitives from justice, appears to be plain and simple;  consisting entirely of an executive and not a judicial character leaving me no discretion—  or adjudication, as to the innocence, or guilt, of persons so demanded and charged  with crime, and it is plain that the Constitution and laws of the  in reference to fugitives from justice, presumes, and contemplates, that the laws  of the several States, are ample to do justice to all who may be charged with  crime. And the statute of this simply requires, “That whenever the——  Executive of any other State, or of any Territory of the , shall demand  of the Executive of this , any person as a fugitive from justice, and shall have  complied with the requisitions of the act of Congress in that <case > made and provided,  it shall be the duty of the Executive of this to issue his Warrant under the  seal of the , to apprehend the said fugitive” &c With the constitution and  laws before me, my duty is so plainly marked out, that it would be impossible  to err, so long as I abstain from usurping the right of adjudication. I am  aware that a strict enforcement of the laws by an Executive, or a rigid  administration of them by a judicial tribunal, often results in hardship  to those involved, and to you it doubtless appears to be peculiarly so, in the  present case of Mr. Smith. If however as you allege, he is innocent of any  crime, and the proceedings are illegal, it would be the more easy for him to——  procure an acquittal. In reference to the remark you attribute to me, that I [p. 1384]
August 23 forked lightning’s flash; or sound of the arch angels trump; or voice of the Eternal God, shall the souls of my enemies be made to feel in an instant, suddenly; and shall be taken, and ensnared; and fall backwards, and stumble in the ditch they have dug for my feet, and the feet of my friends; and perish in their own—— infamy and shame— be thrust down to an Eternal hell, for their murderous and hellish deeds. I design to renew this subject at a future time.
Received an interesting visit from , and Aunt . My health and spirits good. This afternoon received a few lines from informing me that she would expect me home this evening, believing that she could take care of me better at home than elsewhere, Accordingly soon after dark, I started for home and arrived safe without being noticed by any person, all is quiet in the .
24 August 1842 • Wednesday
24 Wednesday 24. At home all day, received a visit from Brothers , and .
Augt. 24. 1842. Dear . Your letter of this date has just been handed to me which recalls to my mind your great solicitude in reference to the security and welfare of your husband; but I need not say it recalls to my mind the subject matter of your solicitude, because that subject except at short intervals, has not been absent from my mind. I can scarcely furnish you a justifiable apology for delaying a reply so long, but be assured , it is not for want of regard for you, and your peace of mind, that I have postponed; but a crowd of public business, which has required my whole time; together with very ill health since the receipt of your former letter, and it would be most gratifying to my feelings now, if due regard to public duty, would enable me to furnish such a reply as would fully conform to your wishes— but my duty in reference to all demands made by Executives of other States, for the surrender of fugitives from justice, appears to be plain and simple; consisting entirely of an executive and not a judicial character leaving me no discretion— or adjudication, as to the innocence, or guilt, of persons so demanded and charged with crime, and it is plain that the Constitution and laws of the in reference to fugitives from justice, presumes, and contemplates, that the laws of the several States, are ample to do justice to all who may be charged with crime. And the statute of this simply requires, “That whenever the—— Executive of any other State, or of any Territory of the , shall demand of the Executive of this , any person as a fugitive from justice, and shall have complied with the requisitions of the act of Congress in that case made and provided, it shall be the duty of the Executive of this to issue his Warrant under the seal of the , to apprehend the said fugitive” &c With the constitution and laws before me, my duty is so plainly marked out, that it would be impossible to err, so long as I abstain from usurping the right of adjudication. I am aware that a strict enforcement of the laws by an Executive, or a rigid administration of them by a judicial tribunal, often results in hardship to those involved, and to you it doubtless appears to be peculiarly so, in the present case of Mr. Smith. If however as you allege, he is innocent of any crime, and the proceedings are illegal, it would be the more easy for him to—— procure an acquittal. In reference to the remark you attribute to me, that I [p. 1384]
Page 1384