Page images


relating to the navy. A navy is the fleet, or ships of war, which a nation keeps to defend itself in time of war, and to protect the trade of its citizens on the high seas in time of peace. The salary of the secretary is $6,000 ; his chief clerk has $2,000; three navy commissioners, each $3,500; their secretary $2,000; and a chief clerk, $1,600

8. The atlorney-general prosecutes and conducts all suits in the supreme court in which the United States are con. cerned, and gives his advice upon questions of law, when requested by the president or heads of departments. His salary is $4,000.

9. The postmaster-general establishes post-offices, appoints postmasters, and provides for carrying the mails. The business of this department is very extensive. There is a postmaster in almost every town and township in the union; in some there are several. Letters and papers are sent by mail to the most distant parts of the United States in a few days.

10. Every postmaster is required to keep an account of all the letters sent from and received at his office, and of the names of the offices to which sent, and from which received; and also the letters on which the postage was paid when mailed, and on which it was unpaid, and of those which are sent free of postage; and at the end of every quarter such account is sent to the postmaster-general, together with a statement of all moneys received for postage and paid out by each postmaster. All letters which were advertised as remaining in his office at the end of the preceding quarter, and which still remain in the office, are put up in a package, and sent to the general post-office, where they are opened, and, if found to contain any thing of sufficient importance, are returned by mail to the writers of them.

11. The returns thus made to the postmaster-general are all examined, to see whether they are correct or not.

does thé secretary of the navy do? What is a navy ? Secretary's salary? His chief clerk's?, Salaries of the three navy commissioners ? Of their secretary and clerks? 8. What is the business of the attorney-general? His salary? 9. What are the principal duties of the postmaster-generali 10. What is required of the deputy postmasters? 12. What is franking? The examination of the account of every postmaster in the anion, the making of contracts for carrying mails on all the post-roads, and a variety of other business, require the labor of a great number of assistants and clerks.

12. Members of congress may receive letters, not exceeding two ounces in weight, free of postage during the recess of congress. And postmasters and other officers in the postoffice department may send free, letters and packages re. lating to their official duties or to the business of the department, by endorsing on the back of the letter or package the words, “ official business.” Sending free any letter or pack. age is called franking.

13. The number of post-offices in the union is about 14,000. The length of post-roads over which the mail was carried during the year ending June 30, 1842, was 149,732 miles; the number of miles of mail carriage was 34,835,991; the whole amount received for postages and fines, $4,546,246; and the whole amount paid for transporting the mail, with other expenses incurred during the year, $4,235,052.

14. The salary of the postmaster-general is $6,000; three assistants receive $2,500 each; and the auditor re. ceives $3,000. Postmasters receive, for their services, a certain rate per cent. on the money received by them at their respective offices. This per centage varies, however, being greater or less when the amount of postages for each quarter is over or under a certain sum.

15. All the secretaries and postmaster-general, except the secretary of the treasury, report annually to the presi. dent, who lays their reports before congress.

The secretary of the treasury reports directly to congress.

Who has this privilege ? Ilow is it done? 13. How many post-offices in the United States? Give the statistics of the year 1842. 14. What are the salaries of the postmaster-general and his under officers? What is the compensation of deputy postmasters ? 15. To whom do the heads of departments report?


Of the Judicial Department. 1. As has been stated, there was, before the adoption of the constitution, no established national judiciary. The ne. cessity of such a tribunal to decide disputes between states, and other matters of a national character, having become apparent, power was given to congress to establish national courts. (See Cons. Art. 1, § 8; Art. 3, § 1.]

2. It is proper that all cases arising between citizens of the same state, as well as all crimes committed against its laws, should be tried by the courts of the state. But when eases arise under the laws of the United States, or between different states, or citizens of different states; or when crimes are committed on the ocean, or elsewhere beyond the jurisdiction of a state, it is evident that some other than a state court ought to try such cases. For example, if a person should violate the laws of congress made for the col. lection of duties on goods imported, he must be prosecuted in a court of the United States. So a murder committed at sea, beyond the limits of a state, is properly tried in a na. tional court. Piracy, which is robbery on the high seas, is always tried in such court. And so all other cases men. tioned in article 2, section 2, of the constitution.

3. The lowest national courts are the district courts. Every state constitutes at least one district; a few of the large states, two each. In each district is a judge, who has power to hold a court. There are also in each district a district attorney to attend to suits on the part of the United States, and a marshal, whose duties in this court are like those of a sheriff in state courts. This court has four stated terms a year. It tries certain kinds of civil cases, and the lower crimes against the laws of the United States.

4. The circuits embrace larger territories than the dis

1. What is the object of having national courts? 2. What are some of the cases that properly come before these courts? What is piracy? 3. Which are the lowest national courts? What constitutes a district ? What cases does this court try? 4. Of what territory are the circuits


tricts. There are nine circuits in the United States, each including several states. In each there is a circuit judge, who holds a court in his circuit twice a year. The judge of the district within which the court is held, sits with the circuit judge in holding a circuit court. Besides certain kinds of civil causes, this court tries the highest crimes against the laws of the United States; as murder within forts, arsenals, and other territory, the property of the United States, or on the high seas.

5. The supreme court consists of all the judges of the circuit courts, one of whom is the chief justice of the supreme court. There are but few causes which originate or commence in this court; its principal business is to rejudge cases that are brought up from the circuit courts. It holds one session annually, at the seat of government, commencing on the second Monday of January, and continuing about eight weeks.

6. One important object of a supreme court of the Uni. ted States, is that a uniform meaning or interpretation may be given to the constitution and laws of the United States. One court may decide a law to be constitutional ; another may declare it to be unconstitutional. In one state the constitution may be taken to mean one thing; in another quite another thing. But when a case comes before the supreme court, and is there decided, such decision governs the judgment of all inferior courts throughout the union.

7. All judges of the United States' courts are appointed by the president and senate, and hold their offices for life, or during good behavior. The salary of the chief justice is $5,000; that of the associate judges, $4,500 each.

composed ? How many circuits are there? Who hold the circuit courts? What cases do they try ? 5. How is the supreme court constituted ? What is its business? Where and when does it meet? 6. What is one important advantage of this court ? 7. How are all United States' judges appointed? What are the salaries of the judges of the supreme court ? CHAPTER XLVI.

Of the Powers of the General Government. 1. Most of the important powers of the government of the United States are vested in congress, and will be found enumerated in the 1st article and 8th section of the consti. tution. Perhaps the want of none of these powers was so sensibly felt under the confederation, as the first three here mentioned ; and it is probably for this reason that they were placed at the beginning of the list.

2. The first of these is the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises ;" and the objects of this power are declared to be,“ to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States."

3. Congress had been obliged to borrow large sums of money to defray the expenses of the war. Several millions were borrowed from France and Holland. But congress had no power, as has been observed, to raise money by taxation. The government could not pay its debts, nor support itself. But by the power here given, it may raise money to any amount necessary for the objects stated in the constitution. And it may raise the money either by direct taxation, that is, by laying the tax directly upon the property of the citizens, or by indirect taxation, which is by duties, imposts, and ex. cises.

4. The nature of duties has been explained. [See du. ties.] Duties, or customs, and imposts, have nearly the same meaning. The last, however, are properly taxes on goods imported only; the first apply to taxes on goods exported as well as on those imported. But as our government does not impose duties on exports, these three words practically signify the same thing. But excise has no reference at all to the exportation or importation of goods; it is a tax laid upon an article manufactured, sold, or consumed, within the country.

1. What three powers of congress are first mentioned ? 2. Which is the first? 3. Why was this power necessary when the constitution was framed? What is direct taxation? Indirect taxation? 4. What is the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »