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but neither party so removing the cause, shall be allowed to plead or give evidence on the trial in the circuit court of any other title than that by him so stated as the ground of his claim. This is perfectly consistent with the principle, that in all controversies the most impartial tribunal that can be formed, shall be selected, and the propriety of adopting this somewhat circuitous mode, instead of enabling the claimant under the grant of another state to bring his action at once in the United States court, arises from the juridical rule that the defendant, unless some express provision is made to compel him, shall not at law be obliged to show on what title he relies, before the commencement of the trial. A citizen of another state or an alien, (in those cases where an alien may, hold land,) is not obliged nor indeed allowed to adopt this course, because he may commence his suit in the United States courts or remove it there, as noticed before, immediately on its being commenced against him, and it is his own folly not to avail himself of this benefit in the first instance.
No other court of the United States than the supreme court can entertain a suit brought by a state, either against another state or against individuals. In this respect, congress has no further legislated than to declare that the jurisdiction of the supreme court shall be exclusive, except between a state and its citizens. This inference would indeed flow from the words of the Constitution, which could never be so construed as to prevent a state from suing its own citizens, or those of other states or aliens, in its own courts. In regard to suits against states, they were unknown before the Constitution, and since the amendment already adverted to, the only remaining class is above the jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
Jurisdiction by way of appeal or writ of error, according to the nature of the case, is given to the circuit from the district court, and to the supreme from the circuit court. pecuniary qualification is annexed both to the original and
appellate jurisdiction in most cases. The district court has cognizance of all civil suits brought by the United States where the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, amounts to one hundred dollars. The original jurisdiction of the circuit court is described as applying to cases where the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, exceeds five hundred dollars. Yet it would seem, that if any sum exceeding three hundred dollars was found due, the court could sustain the jurisdiction, although the plaintiff would be liable to costs. To sustain the jurisdiction on a suit for the violation of a patent right, any sum, however small, that may be recovered, is sufficient.
To sustain the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on writs of error, the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, must exceed two thousand dollars. There is perhaps too much disproportion in these sums, and there seems little reason for excluding a stranger or a citizen of another state from the benefit of a revision of the judgment, for any sum below five hundred dollars. No pecuniary limit is adverted to in the Constitution, and although there is weight in the suggestion that the dignity of a court is impaired by giving an ear to trifling controversies, yet the humblest suitor is entitled in some shape to relief; and the principle on which the classification of the subjects of judicial cognizance is founded, ought not to be impaired by a standard of value, which to a poor man may amount to a denial of justice.
In this chapter, there is (as occasionally elsewhere) a deviation from the original plan of confining ourselves to an exposition of the Constitution. The legislative developement of principles, briefly expressed in the great text, when it correctly explains and applies those principles, is highly useful.
OF THE PLACES IN WHICH THE JURISDICTION IS TO BE
Having thus shown the subjects to which this jurisdiction extends, and the courts among which it is distributed, we shall proceed to consider the places in which it is to be exercised, and the rules and principles by which it is to be administered.
The geographical limits of the United States and those of the territories, are subject to the jurisdiction of all the courts of the United States, in all matters within the scope of their authority.
For the better administration of justice, the United States are divided into districts, in forming which, the convenience of suitors is chiefly consulted. It has ever been a principle with us, to bring justice as much as possible home to the doors of the people. These districts may be altered at the pleasure of congress. The jurisdiction of the particular courts is of course confined to them. But some courts possessing only a special jurisdiction as to the subject, are without restriction as to the place. Such is the senate in respect to impeachments, both houses when acting judicially in respect to contempts and breaches of privileges, and courts martial.
The extent of the admiralty jurisdiction at sea, has already been noticed.
In these the subjects are limited, but a general jurisdiction appertains to the United States over ceded territories or districts.
If the land, at the time of cession, is uninhabited, except by the Indians, of whose polity we take no account, it is in the power of congress to make such regulations for its government as they may think proper. Whoever subsequently becomes an inhabitant, is of course bound to conform to the system which may be thus established; if there be a number of civilized inhabitants previously settled there, enjoying the advantages of a particular code of laws, they have a just right to claim a continuance of those laws. Thus in the first cession of this kind, which was from the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Virginia, and formed what was termed the territory North-west of the Ohio, there was a saving to the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, St. Vincents, and the neighbouring villages, who had theretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, of the laws and customs then in force among them relative to the descent and conveyance of property, and in the treaty by which Louisiana was ceded to the United States in 1803, it was expressly stipulated that the inhabitants should retain their ancient laws and usages.
With these restrictions, congress has always been considered as entitled not only to regulate the form of government, but also to reserve to themselves the approbation or rejection of such laws, as may be passed by the legislative power which they may establish. In regulating the government of the territory north-west of the Ohio, which was the act of congress under the confederation, and which has been the model of most of the subsequent regulations of the same nature, it is declared that the governor and judges who, until the population amounted to
five thousand male inhabitants, were to compose their legislature, should adopt such laws of the original states as might be necessary and suitable to their circumstances, which, unless disapproved by congress, should be in force until the organization of a general assembly, which was to take place when the population reached the number before mentioned. These laws may therefore be considered as emanating from the United States, and the judicial authority is to be regarded as the judicial authority of the United States.
In respect to those portions of land which become the property of the United States for the purposes of arsenals, dockyards, &c. it may be observed, that exclusive legislation generally implies exclusive jurisdiction. Yet the peculiar nature of this possession may require some qualification, and, therefore, a reservation by a state of the power to serve its civil and criminal process therein by its own officers, is not objectionable. It prevents the particular spot from becoming a sanctuary for criminals or debtors, and from the assent of the United States it results, that the state officers, in executing such process, act under the authority of the United States. Indeed, a general provision to this effect has been made by an act of congress, although no reservation be made by the state.
The power of exercising exclusive legislation over such districts as should become the seat of government, like all others which are specified, is conferred on congress, not as a mere local legislature, but as the legislature of the Union, and cannot be exercised in any other character. A law passed in pursuance of it is the supreme law of the land; is binding as such on the states, and a law of a state to defeat it would be void. The power to pass such a law, carries with it all those incidental powers which are necessary to its complete and
* Commonwealth v. Clary, 8 Mass. 72.