xt74xg9f5045 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt74xg9f5045/data/mets.xml Robertson, George, 1790-1874. 1838  books b92-70-27082916 English A.G. Hodges, : Frankfort, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Boyle, John, 1774-1834 or 5. Transylvania University. Biographical sketch of the Hon. John Boyle  : an introductory lecture to the law class of Transylvania, November 7, 1838 / by George Robertson. text Biographical sketch of the Hon. John Boyle  : an introductory lecture to the law class of Transylvania, November 7, 1838 / by George Robertson. 1838 2002 true xt74xg9f5045 section xt74xg9f5045 


                 OF THE


                  IN AN


                 TO THE


          NOVEMBER 7, 1838.



        FRANKFORT, KY.


                                          LEXINGTON, November 27, 1838.
  Sir-We the undersigned having been appointed by the Law Class of Transylvania
University, a Committee to wait upon your honor, respectfully request a copy of your
Introductory Lecture for publication, believing it to be a just and able eulogy on the
life and public services of the late Hon. John Boyle.
             Respectfully, your ob't servants,
                                  WILLIAM T. BARBOUR,
                                  WM. R. CARRADINE,            Committee.
                                  WM. H. ROBARDS,            (
                                  M. R. SINGLETON,

                                        LEXINGTON, 28th November, 1838.
  Gentlermen-Thanking you and the Law Class for your kind sentiments, I commit
to your discretion and disposal the Introductory Lecture, a copy of which you have
requested for publication. Yours respectfully,

                                               GEORGE ROBERTSON.
Messrs. Wet. T. BARSOUR, X
        W. R. CARRADINE, Committee.
        W. H. RoBAGTDS,
        M. R. SINGLETON,)



  It is the sacred duty of every generation to preserve faithful
memorials of the character and conduct of its distinguished men.
The memory of the illustrious dead should never be lost in the
oblivion of time. Biography is the soul of history. The maxims
and motives and destiny of prominent men, as exemplified, from
age to age, in the moral drama of our race, constitute the ele-
ments of historic philosophy and impart to the annals of mankind
their only practical utility. When, and only when, illustrated by
the life of an eminent man, virtue or vice, knowledge or igno-
rance, thus personified, is seen and felt as the efficient lever of
the moral world. The lives of conspicuous men help to charac-
terise their day and country, and, like sign boards on the high-
ways and the bye-ways through the wilderness of human affairs,
tell the bewildered pilgrim where he is going, what way he should
go, and the weal or the wo of his journey's end.
  Here, with trembling hand, the gifted Burns points to the ruin
and despair which lie in ambush on the broad and voluptuous
turnpike on which his noble genius was driven to destruction-
here sits the cold bust of the captive Napoleon scowling on the
iron railway where the steam car of unrighteous ambition, ex-
ploding with a tremendous crash, shivered all his gigantic hopes
and projects of power-and here too stands the god-like statue
of our Washington, consecrating the straight and narrow path-
way of virtue, which leads the honest man to everlasting happi-
ness, and the pure patriot to immortal renown:-and here, every
where, we see exemplifications of the vanity of worldly riches,
the wretchedness of selfish ambition, the usefulness of industry,
and charity, and self-denial, and the blissfulness of cultivated fa-
culties and of moderation in all our desires and enjoyments.
  The lessons, thus only to be usefully taught, are practical truths
echoed from the tombs of buried generations, in the mother
tongue of all mankind.


  Greece, and Rome, and France, and England, have honored
their dead and contributed to the stock of useful knowledge
among men by graphic memoirs of their conspicuous Philoso-
phers, Heroes, Statesmen, and Bards. And Plutarch's parallel
Biographies of Greeks and Romans, and Johnson's Lives of the
British Poets,-scholastic as the one and garrulous as the other
must be admitted to be,-are among the most valuable of the re-
positories of practical wisdom.
  But it is in this our age of rectified reason and enlightened
liberty that the lives of the virtuous great who have lived and are
buried in our own America, would exhibit the most attractive
models of the virtues which made them and our country great,
and which alone will ever ennoble and bless the nations and coun-
tries of the earth.
  The Anglo-American heroes and statesmen, from the Pi]grim
Band of Plymouth Rock to that more illustrious group signalised
in our memorable revolution, stand out in bold relief on the col-
umn of history; and the humbler, but not less noble pioneers and
hunters of Kentucky and the primitive founders of the great so-
cial fabric of this blooming valley of the West, have left behind
them monuments more enduring than storied urns or animated
busts. But the personal history of most of these nobles of their
race is yet told only by the tongue of tradition. And the story
of the deeds of many of them is, even now among ourselves, list-
ened to as romance.
  Our own favored Commonwealth, though young in years, is
venerable in deeds. Kentucky has been the theatre of marvel-
lous events and of distinguished talents.
  Though not more than 63 years have run since the first track
of civilization was made in her dark and bloody wilderness, yet
she has already had her age of chivalry, her age of glory, and her
-age of reason and religion, liberty and law. She has her battle
fields as memorable, and almost as eventful, as those of Marathon
or Waterloo-and she has had heroes, orators,-jurists and law-
ivers who would have been conspicuous in any age or country.
Put neither biography nor general history has done justice to
their memories. Most of that class of them, whose lives were
peaceful and whose triumphs were merely civic, have been per-
mitted to slumber under our feet without either recorded eulogy
or biographic memorial.
  The memory of the Nicholases, the Breckinridges, the Browns,
and the Murrays, the Allans and the HLughes, the Talbotts and
the Bledsoes, the Daviesses and the 1lardins-the McKees and
the Andersons-the Todds, the Trimbles and the Boyles-of
whom, in their day, Kentucky was justly proud, should not lon-
ger remain thus unhonored and unsung.


  Influenced by a strong sense of personal and public obligation,
we will now attempt to sketch a brief outline of one of these our
departed great.
  Among the honored names of Kentucky, John Boyle, once
Chief Justice of the State. is deservedly conspicuous. Modest
and unpretending, his sterling merit alone elevated him, from
humble obscurity, to high places of public trust, which he filled
without reproach, and to a still more enviable place in public con-
fidence and esteem which but few men ever attained, and none
ever more deserved. Though his whole career was peaceful and
unaspiring, his life, "take it all in all," domestic and public, exhi-
bits a beautiful model of an honest man, a just citizen, a patriot-
ic statesman, and an enlightened jurist. The example of such a
man is worthy of imitation by all men living or to come-and the
memorials of such a life must be interesting to all good men, and
peculiarly profitable to the young who desire to be useful and
  John Boyle's genealogy cannot be traced through a long line
of ancestry. He inherited no ancestral honors, nor fortune, nor
memorial. Like most of the first race of illustrious Kentuckians,
descended from a sound but humble stock, he was the carver of
his own fortune and the ennobler of his own name. His only
patrimony was a vigorous constitution, a sound head, a pure heart,
and a simple, but virtuous education.
  He was born October 28th, 1774, in Virginia, at a place called
"Castle Woods," on Clinch river, in the (then) county of Botte-
tourt, now Russell or Tazewell; and in the year 1779 was brought
to Whitley's Station in Kentucky, by his father, who immigrated
in that year to try his fortune in the wild woods of the west-
and who, like the mass of early adventurers, reared in the old
school of provincial simplicity and backwoods equality, was a
plain, blunt man of independent spirit. The father first "settled"
in Madison county, but afterwards "moved" to the county of Gar-
rard, where he lived on a small estate until his death.
  Of the early history of the son, we have heard nothing signal
or peculiar. In his days of pupilage, a collegiate education was
not attainable in Kentucky. And those, who like him were poor,
were compelled to be content with such scholastic instruction as
might be derived from private tutors and voluntary country
  Emulous of such usefulness and fame as can be secured only by
moral and intellectual excellence, he eagerly availed himself of all
the means within his reach for improving his mind and cultivating
proper principles and habits. After acquiring an elementary
English education, he learned the rudiments of the Greek and
Latin languages and of the most useful of the sciences, in Madi-


son county, under the tutelage of the Rev. Samuel Finley, a Pres-
byterian clergyman-of exemplary piety and patriarchal simplici-
ty. With this humble preparation, having chosen the Law for
his professional pursuit, he read Blackstone's Commentaries and
a few other elementary and practical books under the direction of
Thomas Davis, then a member of Congress, whom he ssucceeded,
and who resided in the county of Mercer, in the neighborhood of
Jeremiah Tilford, a plain, pious and frugal farmer with whom the
pupil boarded, and one of whose daughters (Elizabeth)-a beautiful
and excellent woman-he married in 1797, about the commence-
ment of his professional career. His wife's estate dd not equal in
value 1,000, and his own patrimony was himself alone, just as
he was. With these humble means he bought an out-lot in Lan-
caster, Garrard county, on which, in 1798, he built a small log
house with only two rooms, in which not only himself, but three
other gentlemen, who successively followed him as a national
representative. and one of whom also succeeded him in the Chief
Justiceship of Kentucky, began the sober business of conjugal
life. There he lived happily and practised law successfully until
1802, when, being unanimously called to the House of Represen-
tatives of the United States, he settled on a farm of 125 acres
near Lancaster, where he continued to reside until 1811, when he
moved to a tract of land in the same county, a part of which had
been recently given to him by his father, and where he lived, in
cabins, until 1814, when he bought and removed to the tract in
Mercer on which his wife had been reared, and where he contin-
ued to reside until his death.
  Here let us pause a moment, and, from the eminence to which
the people spontaneously elevated the isolated and unambitious
Boyle, let us look back on the humble pathway which led him so
soon to the enviable place he occupied in the affections of those
who knew him first and best, and not one of whom ever faltered
in his confidence and esteem.
  Without the adventitious influence of wealth, or family, or
accident, and without any of the artifices of vulgar ambition or
selfish pretension, he was, as soon as known, honored with the
universal homage of that kind of cordial respect which nothing
but intrinsic and unobtrusive merit can ever command, and
which alone can be either gratifying or honorable to a man of
good taste and elevated mind. It was his general intelligence, his
undoubted probity, his child-like candor, his scrupulous honor and
undeviating rectitude, which alone extorted-what neither
money, nor office, nor flattery, nor duplicity, can ever secure-
the sincere esteem of all who knew him. And so conspicuous
and attractive was his unostentatious worth, that, though he
rather shunned than courted, official distinction, it sought him and


called him from his native obscurity and the cherished privacy of
domestic enjoyment. His education was unsophisticated and
practical. He learned things instead of names, principles of
moral truth and inductive philosophy instead of theoretic systems
and scholastic dogmatisms. His country education preserved and
fortified all his useful faculties, physical and moral,-his taste was
never perverted by false fashion-his purity was never contami-
nated by the examples or seduced by the temptations of demoral-
ising associations. Blessed with a robust constitution, his habitual
industry and "temperance in all things" preserved his organic
soundness and promoted the health and the vigor of his body and
his mind. What he knew to be right he always practised-and
that which he felt to be wrong he invariably avoided. In his pur-
suit after knowledge his sole objects were truth and utility. In
his social intercourse he was chaste, modest and kind-and all his
conduct, public and private, was characterised by scrupulous
fidelity, impartial justice, and an enlightened and liberal spirit of
philanthropy and benificence. Self-poised, he resolutely deter-
mined that his destiny should depend on his own conduct. Ob-
servant, studious, and discriminating, whatever he acquired from
books or from men he made his own by appropriate cogitation or
manipulation. And thus, as far as he went in the career of
knowledge, he reached, as if per saltem, the end of all learning-
practical truth and utility.
  Panoplied in such principles and habitudes, his merit could not
be concealed. In a just and deserving community, such a man is
as sure of honorable fame as substance is of shadow in the sun-
light of day. And have we. not here a striking illustration of the
importance of right education and self dependence Proper edu.
cation is that kind of instruction and discipline, moral, mental
and physical, which will teach the boy what he should do and
what he should shun when he becomes a man, and prepare him to
do well whatever an intelligent and upright man should do in all
the relations of social and civil life; and any system of education
which accomplishes either more or less than this is, so far, imper-
fect, or preposterous and pernicious. But, after all, the best
school-masters are a mediocrity of fortune, and a country society,
virtuous but not puritanical, religious but not fanatical, indepen-
dent but not rich, frugal but not penurious, free but not licen-
tious-a society which exemplifies the harmony and value of in-
dustry and morality, republican simplicity and practical equality.
  Reared in such a school and practically instructed in the ele-
ments of useful knowledge, a man of good capacity, who enters
on the business of life with no other fortune than his own faculties
and no other hope than his own honest efforts, can scarcely fail
to become both useful and great. But he who embarks destitute


of such tutilage or freighted with heriditary honor or wealthy in
in imminent danger o being wrecked in his voyage. Fortune
and illustrious lineage are, but too often, curses rather than bless-
ings. The industry and self-denial, which are indispensable to
true moral and intellectual greatness, have been but rarely prac-
tised without the lash of poverty or the incentive of total self-de-
pendence. And the son who cannot make fortune and fame for
himself, will not be apt to increase or even to keep inherited
wealth or reputation, however bounteously they may have been
showered on his early manhood. Parents should therefore be
solicitous to educate their children in such a manner as to make
them healthful in body and mind, and to enable them to be useful
and honorable, without extraneous wealth, which is but too apt to
paralize or ensnare the victims of perverted bounty and indis-
criminating affection.
  John Boyle, rightly reared and ulincurnbered by patrimonial
trash, started the journey of life alone and on foot-his own mind
his only guide, his own conduct his only hope: and though there
was nothing strikingly imposing in the character of his mind or
in his. manners, but few men on earth ever reached his earthly
goal of honor by a straighter or smoother path. During his short
professional career, he was eminently just and faithful to his cli-
ents; and though his elocution was neither copious nor graceful,
he was extensively patronized. For this success he was indebted
altogether to his intelligence, integrity, and fidelity. But with
much business-his fees being low, and not well collected-he
made but little money. He acquired however that which was
far more valuable-the reputation of an enlightened and "an
honest lawyer."
  Translated from the forensic to the political theatre, he declined
altogether the practice of the law. In the national legislature he
acted with the Jeffersonian and then dominant party. And
though not a speaking member, he was vigilant, active and useful,
and his disinterested patriotism, amiable modesty, unclouded in-
telligence and habitual candor, soon exalted him to an enviable
reputation. If there be any valid objection to his political course,
it is this only-that, agreeing, as he generally did, with a party
armed with power and flushed with a recent and great victory, in
the downfall of an opposing and previously governing party, he
was more of a partizan than perfect justice or abstract truth would
altogether have approved. But this aberration, which could not
have been easily avoided, was, in his case, as venial and slight as it
ever was in the case of any other man who ever lived. He did
not give"up to party what was meant for mankind"-nor was
he intolerant, proscriptive or factious, or ever influenced by any
selfish or sinister motive. And if, when he co-operated with his
political friends, he ever erred, the ardor of his patriotism and the


onsaspecting confidence of his own honest mind induced him to
believe, at the time, that his party was right. But he was never
charged with insincerity or obliquity of motive. And his char-
acter was always blaimless in the view even of those who did not
concur with him in opinion.
  If as much could be as truly said of more modern partizans, our
country would be blessed with more honor and tranquility than
can be admitted to prevail in this our day of comparative intoler-
ance and intellectual prostitution.
  Having no taste for political life, and finding moreover that the
duties of a representative in Congress were incompatible with his
domestic obligations, he had soon resolved to retire from the
theatre of public aflairs and devote himself to his family and his
legal profession. But such a man as John Boyle cannot always
dispose of himself according to his own personal wishes. His
constituents re-elected him twice without competition. And we
have heard that Mr. Jefferson, who justly appreciated his worth,
offered him more than one federal appointment which either his
diffidence or his romantic attachment to his family and home in-
duced him to decline. But, in March 1809, Mr. Madison, among
his first official acts as President, appointed him, without his so-
licitation, the first Governor of Illinois. This being, as it certainly
was, prospectively one of the most important and lucrative of ail
federal appointments, and his domestic duties having become still
more and more importunate, he was inclined to accept the pro-
vincial Governorship-and did accept it provisionally. But, on
his'return to his family, he was invited to elect between the ter-
ritorial office and that of a Circuit Judge, and also of an Appel-
late Judge of Kentucky, both of which latter appointments had
been tendered to him in anticipation of his retirement from Con-
gress. And though the salary of Appellate Judge'was then only
1000, and the duties of the office were peculiarly onerous, yet,
his local and personal attachments and associations prevailing
over his ambition and pecuniary interest, he took his seat on the
Appellate bench of his own State on the 4th of April, 1809-and
Ninian Edwards, the then Chief Justice of Kentucky, solicited
and obtained the abdicated proconsulship of Illinois.
  The election thus made by Boyle affords an impressive illustra-
tion of the cast of his mind and his affections. Illinois was ob-
viously the better theatre for an ambitious or avaricious man of
his talents. But he was neither ambitious nor avaricious. His
own domestic happiness and social sympathies prevailed over
every other consideration. And at last, perhaps his decision was
as prudent, as it was patriotic. His judicial career, for which he
was peculiarly fitted, forms an interesting epoch in the jurispru-
dence of the west-and he could not have left to his children a


better legacy than the fame he. acquired as Chief Justkce of hLb
own beloved Commonwealth-to which high and responsible of-
fice he was promoted on the 3d of April 1810, and which he con-
tinued to hold until the 8th of November 1826.
  When first called to the bench of justice his legal learning could
not have been either extensive, ready, or very exact. But he
possessed all the elements of a first rate judge, as time and trial
demonstrated. He soon became a distinguished jurist. His legal
knowledge, though never remarkably copious, was clear and scien-
tific. Many men had read more books, but none ever understood
better what they read. His law library contained only the most
comprehensive and approved volumes-and those he studied care-
fully, could use readily, and understood thoroughly. With the
elements of the common law and the philosophy of pleading, he
appeared to be perfectly acquainted.
  His miscellaneous reading was extensive-and in mental and
moral philosophy and polite literature, his attainments were emi-
nent. His colloquial style was plain and unpedantic, but fluent,
chaste and perspicuous; and his style of writing was pure, grace-
ful, and luminous.
  Though his perceptions were clear and quick, yet he was ha-
bitually cautious in forming his judical opinions. It was his max-
im that a Judge should never give an opinion until he had ex-
plored all the consequences, direct and collateral, and had a well
considered opinion to give. His associates on the bench, and the
members of his bar always felt for him perfect respect, and mani-
fested towards hin a becoming deference. His reported-opinions
are equal, in most, if not in all respects, with those of any other
Judge ancient or modern, and will associate his name, in after-
times, with those of the Hales and the Eldons of England, and
the Kents and the Marshalls of America.
  In politics, also, he was enlightened and orthodox. In his
more matured and tranquil season of life, he repudiated some of
the theories of his earlier and more impassioned days-and in
American politics, he was, long before his death, neither a centra-
list, nor a confederationist-a democrat, nor an aristocrat-but
was an honest and liberal republican, national as far as the com-
mon interests of the people of the United States were concerned,
and local so far as the municipal concerns of each State were
separately and exclusivery involved. He was a friend to that
kind of liberty and equality which are regulated by intelligence
and controlled and preserved by law-and was a foe to dema-
goguery, ignorance, licentiousness, and jacobinism.
  But it was as a Jurist that he was most distinguished. And as
an illustration of his influence, as well as rare modesty and public
spirit on the bench,we may notice the signal fact that, in his whole


judicial career, during a portion of which -about five hundred causes
were annually decided, he never, but once, dissented from the
opinion of the court, and then he magnanimously abstained from
intimating any reason against the judgment of the majority, lest
he might impair the authority of the decision which, until changed
by the court, should, as he thought, be deemed the law of the
   The only objection to him as a Judge, which we ever heard
 suggested, was that, in the opinion of some jurists, he adhered
 rather more rigidly to the ancient precedents and technicalities of
 the common law than was perfectly consistent with its progress-
 ive improvements and its inadaptableness, in some respects, to the
 genius of American institutions. But this criticism, though it
 may, in some slight degree, have been just, should not detract
 much from his superior merit as an Appellate Judge. So far
 as he misapplied any doctrine of the British common law
 to cases in this country to which the reason for it in England does
 not apply here, he certainly erred. But such a misapplication
 was rarely, if ever, made, by him. And for not extending or im-
 proving the Amrican common law, he was not justly obnoxious to
 censure. It is safer and more prudent to err sometimes in the recog-
 nition of an established doctrine of the law, than to make innovation
 by deciding upon principle against the authority of judicial prese-
 dents. And though one of the most valuable qualities of the com-
 mon law is its peculiar malliableness, in consequence of which it
 has been greatly improved from age to age by judicial modifica-
 tions corresponding with its reason and the spirit of the times,
 yet the Judge who leaves it as he finds it, is at least a safe deposi-
 tory. Such a Judge, was John Boyle. He was neither a Mans-
field nor a Hardwicke-he was more like Hale and Kenyon. If
he did not improve, he did not mar or unhinge the-law._ But, not
long before he commenced his judicial career, the Legislature of
Kentucky, as if to seal up the common law as it was understood
on the 4th of July 1776, and to hide it from the light of more
modern reason and improvement shed on it in the land of its
birth-interdicted the use-in any court in this State-of any
post revolutionary decision by a British court. And that pro-
scriptive enactment was scrupulously observed by Judge Boyle.
So far as it was so observed-however injuriously-the fault was
not so much his as that of the Legislative department. But it is
impossible altogether to proscribe enlightened reason, whether
foreign or domestic, ancient or modern, British or American. And
now, Judges more bold, but perhaps less prudent, virtually disre-
gard the legislative interdict, by consulting British decisions since
'76-not exactly as authorities, but as arguments to prove what
the common law now is and ever should have been held to be,
here as woell as in England.


  No man however, of his day, contributed more than Judge
Boyle contributed to establish the proper authoritativeness of ju-
dical decisions, to elevate the true dignity and to inspire confi-
dence in the purity of the judiciary department of the Govern-
ment, and to settle, on the stable basis of judicial authority, the
legal code of Kentucky. Truly he was-to his own State-what
Edmund Pendleton was to Virginia and John Marshall to the
United States-the Palinurus of our lawyers and our judges.
And a more honest and faithful pilot never stood at the helm of
jurisprudence. A careful review of his many judicial acts, as
published in our State Reports from 1st Bibb to 3d Monroe, in-
cluding fifteen volumes, will result in the conviction that he was
equalled by but few Judges and surpassed by still fewer of any
age or country. Such an analysis cannot be here attempted.
  But, for the purpose of illustrating his official firmness and pru-
dence, we will cursorily notice a few only of his decisions.
  1st. In the year 1813, the question whether a merely legal or
constructive seizin was sufficient for maintaining a "Writ of Right"
came up, for the first time, for decision by the Court of Appeals
of Kentucky. Few questions could have been more interesting
or eventful-especially as some of the best lands in our State,
which had been improved and occupied for many years by our
own citizens under titles deemed good by them, were claimed un-
der dormant, though superior titles held by non-residents, and the
ultimate assertion of which disturbed the tranquility of our so-
ciety and impaired the security of meritorious occupants of our
soil. If an actual seizin, or personal entry, orpedispossessio, were
indispensable to the maintenance of a writ of right, many of the
claims of non-residents could not have been successfully asserted
against an adversary occupant who had been possessed of the land
more than twenty years. But if a constructive seizin, resulting
from a perfect title, were alone sufficient to support a "urit of
right," many non-resident claimants, who would otherwise be
remediless, might evict the occupants in that species of action,
which could be maintained on the demandent's own seizin within
thirty years, and on that of his ancestor within fifty years, even
though he had never been on the land. In an opinion written by
Chief Justice Boyle, and reported in 3d Bibb, (Speed vs. Buford,)
our Court of Appeals decided that, according to the common law,
actual seizin was indispensable to the maintenance of a "writ of
right." A petition for a rehearing having been granted by the
Court, the Supreme Court of the United States, between the grant-
ing of the rehearing and the final decision upon it, unanimously
decided, in the case of Green vs. Liter, that mere legal seizin, re-
sulting from a perfect title, was sufficient to maintain a "writ of
right." But, as that decision, though conclusive in the case in


which it-was rendered, was not controlling authority for the State
Court on a question depending on the State law, and as to which
the National Court could not reverse or revise the judgment of
the highest Court of Kentucky, Chief Justice Boyle, as much as
he respected the tribunal which rendered it, and anxious as he un-
doubtedly was for harmony and uniformity, still clearly adhering
to his first opinion, firmly, but temperately and respectfully, re-
asserted and maintained it by affirming the coincident judgment
of the inferior court, even though Judge Logan, his only col-
league on the bench in that case, receded and yielded to the opin-
ion of the Supreme Court of the Union. And the decision, thus
given by Boyle alonqe, has never since been overruled.
  2d. Though Chief Justice Boyle had been inclined to thepopin-
ion that the Bank of the United States was unconstitutional, yet,
after the Supreme Court of the United States had decided unani-
mously that it was constitutional, he acquiesced and recognized
the authoritativeness of the opinion of the National Court on a
national question.
  3d. Nevertheless, although a majority of the Judges of the Su-
preme Court of the Union had decided, in a solitary case, that the
Kentucky statute of 1812, for securing to bona fide occupants a
prescribed rate of compensation for improvements before they
could be evicted by suit, was inconsistent with the compact be-
tween Virginia and Kentucky, and therefore unconstitutional-
Chief Justice Boyle, with the concurrence of his associates, main-
tained the validity of that protective enactment. And the doc-
trine thus settled by our State Court has never since been dis-
  In this instance-being clearly of the opinion that the compact
guaranteed only the titles to land according to the laws of Vir-
ginia under which they had been acquired, and did not restrict, in
any manner, the authority of Kentucky over the remedies for
asserting them, and that the occupant law did not impair the ob-
ligation of contracts-our distinguished Chief Justice did not feel
bound or even permitted to surrender his own judgment to the
conflicting judgment of a mere majority of the Judges of the Su-
preme National Court in a single case and never reasserted by
all the Judges, or even by a majority. And, in thus acting, he
exhibited, in a becoming manner, his own firmness and purity,
whilst he did not manifest any unjustifiable obstinacy or want of
due respect for the opinions of a majority of the federal Judges
on a national question. Had Boyle's opinion been indefensible,
the fair presu