Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Senate Debates, 19 March 1800

Notes on Senate Debates

Mar. 19. same subject. Dexter maintained that the Com. law as to crimes is in force in the courts of the US. Chipman says that the principles of Com. right are Common law. and he says the Com. 1. of England is in force here. there being no laws in Vermont for appointing juries which the Marshall can follow, he sais he may appoint them as directed by the Com. 1. of England tho’ that part of the Com. 1. was never adopted in Vermont.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 108:18558); entirely in TJ’s hand; final entry, on same sheet following Notes on Senate Debates, [after 5 Mch. 1800].

Same subject: Senate consideration of measures to be taken against William Duane for breach of privilege (see Notes on Senate Debates, [after 5 Mch. 1800], JS, description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:42–3, 52). On 10 Apr. the Philadelphia Gazette printed an undated speech by Nathaniel Chipman “on the subject of Privileges.” The Vermont senator noted that every community had principles of common justice, which were “exclusive of positive laws” and “positive institutions.” These were “the principles of common right, or more intelligibly expressed of common law.” He went on to assert: “The common law of England was and still is the common law of the several states; the people from the first colonization in the country claimed the common law as their birthright, and its rights and privileges as their unalienable inheritance.”

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