The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 309
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while the men who knew it from the inside left no account of
it, little has been known about the Confederate judicial system.
The story could not be told without these records, and Colonel
Robinson's first task was to find them. In this he was surpris-
ingly successful, for although he did not recover them all, with
the aid of the Survey of Federal Archives he found enough to
outline the dimensions of the system and to fill in most of its
story. Some records are still missing, while others-like those
for the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas-were discov-
ered too late for use in preparing this work. Readers of The
Quarterly will recall the article by Dr. T. R. Havins two years
ago on the administration of the Confederate Sequestration
Act which was based upon the newly discovered records of
one of these courts.
Colonel Robinson's study has taken a wide range, but he has
covered each sector with meticulous detail. After examining
anew the plans in the Provisional and "Permanent" Constitu-
tions for a judicial system and analyzing the two fundamental
acts of the Provisional Congress which (1) provided for a
Department of Justice and (2) established "the judicial courts
of the Confederate States," he has looked closely into the or-
ganization, jurisdiction and functioning of the Confederate dis-
trict courts, the territorial and other inferior courts of the new
federal set-up, the military courts, the varied duties of the
Department of Justice, and even the several state judicial sys-
tems. On nearly all these subjects he has thrown much new
It is manifestly impossible to list all the contributions in a
work of such dimensions. Colonel Robinson believes, as do most
other students of the subject, that the changes the Confederates
made in the older constitutional system in adapting it to their
use were improvements. One of these, in the judicial branch,
was the omission of the circuit courts from the new federal
system and the consolidation of their jurisdiction and functions
with those of the district courts. Another was the raising of
the office of the Attorney General to the dignity of an executive
Department of Justice-the first such department in any Anglo-
Saxon country-and the assigning of additional duties to its
care. In the absence of the circuit courts and of a supreme
court-which, though required by the Constitution, was never
established-the district courts became the backbone of the Con-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/343/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.