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[252] soon after his arrival at the Fort. Two children were born to them; Eliza, in 1838, on board the steamboat Gipsy, on their way down the Mississippi, but still north of the Missouri line; Lizzie, seven years later, at Jefferson Barracks, in the State of Missouri. The doctor, with Dred, Harriet, and Eliza, returned thence to St. Louis, and he there continued to hold them as his slaves, until he sold them, several years later, to John F. A. Sanford, of the State and City of New York. Finally, Dred brought suit for his freedom, on the above state of facts, in the State Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, and obtained a verdict and judgment in his favor. But this was reversed by a judgment on a writ of error to the Supreme Court of that State, from which an appeal was taken to the courts of the United States, and the case came to trial in May, 1854. Having been fully heard by the Supreme Court at Washington, that court was about to decide it at its term of 1855-6; but the controlling majority of its Judges concluded, in view of the pending Presidential election, and the strong excitement which the Nebraska bill and the Kansas outrages had aroused throughout the Free States, to defer rendering judgment until its next session. It is quite probable that its action in the premises, if made public at the time originally intended, would have reversed the issue of that Presidential election. The eminent Chief Justice John Marshall, who had so long presided over that tribunal, and whose opinions had won for it a weight and influence rarely accorded to any court, died in 1835 at the ripe age of eighty. None of the Judges appointed by any predecessor of Gen. Jackson survived. Of the nine who now composed that august tribunal, eight had been selected from the ranks of the Democratic party, and most of them for other considerations than those of eminent legal ability or acquirements. John McLean, of Ohio, was placed on the bench, in 1829, by Gen. Jackson, in order to make room for a Postmaster-General who would remove from office the postmasters who had supported Mr. Adams and appoint Jacksonians to their places; which McLean — having been continued in office by Mr. Adams, though himself for Jackson — could not decently do. Roger B. Taney, of Maryland, was likewise appointed by Jackson in 1836, as a reward for his services in accepting the post of Secretary of the Treasury and removing the Federal deposits from the United States Bank, upon the dismissal of William J. Duane, of Pennsylvania, for refusing to make such removal. Mr. Taney, born in 1777, was an ultra Federalist previously to his becoming a Jacksonian, but always a devotee of prerogative and power. Of his associates, beside Judge McLean, only Samuel Nelson, of New York, and Benjamin R. Curtis, of Massachusetts, were ever presumed qualified, either by nature or attainments, for judicial eminence.

The decision and opinions of this Court, in the case of Dred Scott, had not been made public when Mr. Buchanan was inaugurated;1 but that gentleman had undoubtedly been favored with a private intimation of their scope and bearing:

1 March 4th, 1857.

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