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4 fined in the Institutes of Justinian, nearly 2000 years ago, and as it is felt and understood by all who understand human relations and human rights, is- "Constans et perpetua voluntas, jus SUUM cuique tribuendi." "The constant and perpetual will to secure to every one HIS OWN right." And in a Court of Justice, where there are two parties present, justice demands that the rights of each party should be allowed to himself, as well as that each party has a right, to be secured and protected by the Court. This observation is important, because I appear here on the behalf of thirty-six individuals, the life and liberty of every one of whom depend on the decision of this Court. The Court, therefore, I trust, in deciding this case, will form no lumping judgment on these thirty-six individuals, but will act on the consideration that the life and the liberty of every one of them must be determined by its decision for himself alone. They are here, individually, under very different circumstances, and in very different characters. Some are in one predicament, some in another. In some of the proceedings by which they have been brought into the custody and under the protection of this Court, thirty-two or three of them have been charged with the crime of murder. Three or four of them are female children, incapable, in the judgment of our laws, of the crime of murder or piracy, or perhaps, of any other crime. Yet, from the day when the vessel was taken possession of by one of our naval officers, they have all been held as close prisoners, now for the period of eighteen long months, under custody and by authority of the Courts of the United States. I trust, therefore, that before the ultimate decision of this Court is established, its honorable members will pay due attention to the circumstances and condition of every individual concerned. When I say I derive consolation from the consideration that I stand before a Court of Justice, I am obliged to take this ground, because, as I shall show, another Department of the Government of the United States has taken, with reference to this case, the ground of utter injustice, and these individuals for whom I appear, stand before this Court, awaiting their fate from its decision, under the array of the whole Executive power of this nation against them, in addition to that of a foreign nation. And here arises a 5 consideration, the most painful of all others, in considering the duty I have to discharge, in which, in supporting the motion to dismiss the appeal, I shall be obliged not only to investigate and submit to the censure of this Court, the form and manner of the proceedings of the Executive in this case, but the validity, and the motive of the reasons assigned for its interference in this unusual manner in a suit between parties for their individual rights. At an early period of my life it was my fortune to witness the representation upon the stage of one of the tragic masterpieces of the great Dramatist of England, or I may rather say of the great Dramatist of the world, and in that scene which exhibits in action the sudden, the instantaneous fall from unbounded power into irretrievable disgrace of Cardinal Wolsey, by the abrupt declaration of displeasure and dismission from the service of his King, made by that monarch in the presence of Lord Surry and of the Lord Chamberlain; at the moment of Wolsey's humiliation and distress, Surry gives vent to his long suppressed resentments for the insolence and injuries which he has endured from the fallen favorite while in power, and breaks out into insulting and bitter reproaches, till checked by the Chamberlain, who says: "Oh! my Lords; Press not a falling man too far: 'tis Virtue." The repetition of that single line, in the relative position of the parties, struck me as a moral principle, and made upon my mind an impression which I have carried with me through all the changes of my life, and which I trust I shall carry with me to my grave. It is, therefore, peculiarly painful to me, under present circumstances, to be under the necessity of arraigning before this Court and before the civilized world, the course of the existing Administration in this case. But I must do it. That Government is still in power, and thus, subject to the control of the Court, the lives and liberties of all my clients are in its hands. And if I should pass over the course it has pursued, those who have not had an opportunity to examine the case and perhaps the Court itself, might decide that nothing improper had been done, and that the parties I represent had not been wronged by the course pursued by the Executive. In making this charge, or arraignment, as defensive of the rights of my clients, I now proceed to an examination of
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