Dred Scott: Score one for slaveholder rights

The Supreme Court… decision in the Dred Scott case…  is the most important decision ever made by any Court in this country…. It fortifies as by a wall of brass the rights of the slaveholder in the States and in the common territories.

The idea of the abolitionists, that a slave is free as soon as he touches the soil of a free State, is again exploded; for it is declared that he remains a slave, though sojourning in a free State, and the right of his owner to his body and to his services cannot be affected.”

— From the Raleigh Standard, March 11, 1857

In Raleigh, chief justice had to fend for himself

“As chief justice, [John] Marshall was assigned by the Judiciary Act of 1802 to [hold court on] the North Carolina circuit, which convened in Raleigh…. The state government had moved to Raleigh from coastal New Bern, and the new capital had all the trappings of a piedmont frontier town as it struggled to accommodate the various legislators and state officials who descended upon it. Jonathan Mason, a former United States senator from Massachusetts, described the town as ‘a miserable place, nothing but a few wooden buildings and a brick Court House.’

“In 1803 Raleigh’s population numbered fewer than 1,000. Marshall found lodging in the boardinghouse of Henry H. Cooke — a rickety frame building about a quarter of a mile from the courthouse.  The rooms were spartan, and Marshall had to gather his own wood and make his own fires. But for the next 32 years he stayed with Cooke whenever he held court in Raleigh.”

— From “John Marshall: Definer of a Nation” (1996) by Jean Edward Smith. Strange as it seems today, not until 1911 did Congress permanently free Supreme Court justices from circuit-riding duty.