Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

SENATE.]

National Defence.

(FEB. 8, 1836.

full knowledge that the indemnity proposed was not, in although mere justice required of us to demand of amount of money, a real indemnity for the wrongs which France to repay them for their losses. Had money (as had been inflicted upon us. We did it with a full knowl- has been most untruly alleged) been our only object, edge of all the immense advantages conceded to France we should never have concluded and ratified such a by that provision in the treaty which established a dis- treaty. Our object was peace and harmony with an criminating duty in favor of her wines and silks, in con- ancient ally and friend-with a nation towards whicla sideration of the return of our ancient friend and ally to every pulse in the American's heart has beat with symthat justice which had marked the period of our earliest pathy in all her sufferings, and towards which one of connexion with her. We thus, for the sake of harmony the most lofty, generous, and grateful of emotions which with France, introduced a principle into the exercise of man can feel or tell of, has ever been fondly cherished our treaty-making power, which, if not novel, is certainly and proudly expressed. The tranquillity of nations, the very unusual; for, in the exercise of our authority simply peace of the civilized world, and, above all other considto ratify the treaty, we pledged our own legislative erations, the cause of liberal principles, the preserva. power, and that of the other House of Congress, to tion and maintenance of harmony between those nations regulate the tariff of the nation according to the treaty. whose forms of Government, so far as they preserve the Immediately, and without delay, Congress did so regu- seminal principle of popular representation, now form late the tariff, and the discrimination in favor of the sta. the last best bope of all men-these, sir, were the ples of France over those of all other nations was im- powerful arguments which impelled the American Senbodied in our statute book. My honorable friend, but ate to ratify this treaty, and again to offer to France political opponent, from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buchanan,) not only forgiveness for the past, but benefits for the has said ibat, by means of this clause in the treaty, future. The honor of the nation had required of us to France has already gained more than the whole indem demand some indemnity for the past; and, however nity which she thus stipulated to pay to our citizens; that inadequate to the injuries we had suffered, we felt dishe has called upon the Secretary of the Treasury for the posed to overlook the amount of the damages for the purpose of ascertaining the amount; and he exhibited a acknowledgment of the outrages and the confession of tabular statement, prepared at his request, which proved the wrongs inflicted. But, after all this, what was done that, had the duties on French wines and silks remained by France? Year after year passed away after the ex. as they were at the date of the ratification of the treaty, change of the ratifications of ihis solemn treaty, during these articles since that time would have paid into the which France received an unquestioned benefit from it, treasury, on the 30th September, 1834, (more than a and our treasury sustained an unquestioned loss by it; year ago,) the sum of three million sixty-one thousand yet no law was passed to carry the treaty into effect, five hundred and twenty-five dollars. The honorable and no further act was done to admit these wrongs, or gentleman added, that, before the conclusion of the ten offer us a dolllar of remuneration for them. Passing by years mentioned in the treaty, France will have been all the irritating topics to which the gentleman from freed from the payment of duties to an amount con- Pennsylvania bas alluded, casting no imputation on any siderably above twelve millions of dollars. To this state. one branch of the French Government more than all the ment my honorable friend from Kentucky (Mr. Cut others, I say that France has not redeemed the pledge TENDEN] justly excepts, but considers the reduction of given in her solemn treaty with us, although we have duties as a benefit to the American consumer only. I redecmed ours to the very letter. The law to carry the Sir, both the gentlemen are in error. The gentleman | treaty into effect has been once actually rejected by the from Pennsylvania is wrong in considering that France French Chambers; and at last it has been passed with a alone bas pocketed the benefit resulting from the reduc- precedent condition annexed, requiring an explanation tion; and the gentleman from Kentucky is wrong, if he of the President's message to Congress of December, supposes that the importing merchant, as well as the 1834. producer of the articles of wines and silks in France, has This message, sir, was sent here after the first rejec. not enjoyed, together with the consumer here, the ad. tion of the treaty. It contained a recommendation to vantages derived from the discrimination. The fact is, invest the President himself with the discretionary powthat the duty on French wines and silks was reduced, as er to issue letters of marque and reprisal-10 make a I have stated, to take effect at the time of ratifying ihe quasi war with France at his discretion. The recomtreaty, and the duty of five per cent. on French silks mendation found no advocates in either branch of Conwas utterly abandoned by the subsequent act of March gress that I have ever heard of. It is possible there 2, 1833; so that the silks of France have ever since been may have been such, but I have not known them. It admitted here duty free, while silks of a much better was, in my private opinion, an ill-advised and most imquality, coming from beyond the Cape of Good Hope, prudent message. Such may have been the opinion of still are subjected to a duty of ten per cent. It is need the American people; such surely was the opinion of the less to stop here for the purpose of working out, by the American Congress. No motion was ever made in either different systems of political arithmetic, how much the House to carry out the recommendation of the message consumer, the importing merchant, and ihe French pro- by the grant of the power asked for; and the Senate did, ducer, have respectively gained by the establislied re- on the 14th of January, 1835, pass a unanimous vote, on duction; but one thing I take to be certain, that, while the recommendation of our Committee on Foreign Relathe French treasury has not received the benefit of the tions, declaring, in response to the message, that no sum mentioned by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, legislative provision whatever ought then to be adopted the treasury of the United States has lost every dollar in reference to the state of our relations with France. of it.

The report which led the committee to that conclusion Foreseeing the consequences of iliis discrimination in was drawn by their chairman, (Mr. Clay,) and will favor of French products, as we certainly did at the time stand for ever as one of the brightest leaves in the proud of ratifying the treaty, what, it may be asked, could chaplet wbich adorns that statesman's brow. That was possibly have been tlie motive for our ratification of that no partisan document. No, sir; all men, of all parties, treaty? Not, sir, as has been most unjustly charged, in this body, convinced by the argument and pleased for the sake of French gold; no, sir, not for the sake of with the tone of eloquent patriotism which spoke in any mere pecuniary advantage. It was not to enrich every sentence of that report, then concurred in the our own coffers, or to fill the pockets of American mer- opinion that no power should be granted to the Presi. chants whose ships bad been burnt by French cruisers, 1 dent to issue letters of marque and reprisal for the

Feb. 8, 1836.]

National Defence.

(SENATE.

a

seizure of French commerce. France received the bad used the same language in debate which the Presiintelligence of the passage of this resolution, and felt dent employed in his message of December, 1834, for assured, when she received it, that at least one entire which an explanation is demanded by France, the debranch of the American Government intended no mand of an explanation for it, and the refusal to pay the menace, and meant that this Government should give twenty-five millions of francs due to us under the treaty, no offence to her. But, after all this, the French Cham- | because of such exercise of the right of opinion in de. bers only at last passed the bill of indemnity with a bate, would have been held a gross infringement of the proviso that no part of the money due under the treaty constitutional provision that members of Congress, “ for should be paid us before an explanation of the message any speech or debate in either House, shall not be quesshould be given to France by the President.

tioned in any other place;" and the Government would We have now arrived at that part of the history of have been hield not responsible for any part or all that this controversy where the President has taken bis stand. , he had uttered. Were we now to demand of France We know that he will not, in any event, consent to an explanation for the language of every member of her make ang explanations of his former message, except Chambers who, in discussing the treaty, assailed, as sev. to Congress or the American people; but the President eral among them did, our national character, the de. fas, in the strongest terms, disclaimed, in his message mand would be met with an indignant frown and a perto Congress of December last, any intention to insult or einptory denial. Sir, we can never surrender to any menace the French Government by his message of De foreign nation the right of the Executive to communicember, 1834. Our own minister at Paris (Mr. Livings. cate, unquestioned by any authority other than our own, ton) bad long before denied that such was the intention what he thinks fit to Congress. The surrender of that of ihat message, in an official communication to the involves at once the surrender of a similar right to take French minister; and the French Government had been offence at, and compel an explanation for, every impruassured by an official letter from the Secretary of State, dent act or saying in every other department; and, in written by order of the President, that the President principle, it is nothing less than a surrender of the inapproved of the communication made by Mr. Livings. dependence of the Government. The President, we ton. It is said, however, that all this is unsatisfactory are assured, will never yield to such a demand. My own to France. If the message of December last, taken in conscientious convictions are, that he ought not to yield connexion with the previous disavowal of our minister to it; and, though I am not, never have been, and never at Paris, be now held to be insufficient, what alternative shall be, his partisan, yet I will stand by him in the asseris left us but 10 rescind all our resolutions to insist on the tion of his right to give to me and others here any opintreaty, and to abandon our claims on France, or to enter ions or advice which he may think fit to disclose by his upon a system of restrictive measures against French messages, unquestioned by any foreign nation whatever. commerce, as the President has lately recommended, Permit me here to add that, whatever my own opinions which must probably terminate in a war? It is answered of this or any future President may be, whether sustainby some, I know, sir, (and possibly there may be men ing or opposing his views, I shall ever hold it to be the of all parties who think so,) that, to avoid these difficul. true part of a Senator to resist all interference from ties, the President ought to be called on to make the abroad in our party divisions and domestic dissensions, requisite apology directly to the French Government. and to put down at once, so far as I may be able to do Such, sir, is not my opinion. I hold that the President so, every attempt of any foreign Power to come bemade the communication to Congress by his annual mes.

tween us, and make itself a party to any controversy sage in 1834, under the sanction and in obedience to among us. the requisitions of an express clause in our constitution

With this view of the President's own determination, which commands him to make such recommendations to and the reasons for adopting it, it is clear that, while Congress “ as he shall think fit;” and that, whether the France persists in her demand, we cannot recede from sentiments contained in that message be right or wrong,

our position, unless we abandon the treaty. Sir, we are be is responsible for them only to Congress and the at that point in the game of diplomacy where not another country. I hold, further, that, for any thing contained move is left us but to advance or surrender. France in such a message, no foreign Government has any right now has every opportunity afforded her to retreat with. to hold this Government responsible, unless the senti- out dishonor from her position, and to put an end to the ment be adopted and acted upon by the Government it. controversy by the payment of the indemnity. Nay, self. The mistake made by France, in this respect, she has no pretext left her to refuse it. The last an. arises out of the misconception which men living under nual message of the President ought to be held satisfaca monarchical Government are prone to fall into when tory to France. I trust she will act as becomes her; considering the powers of a mere President as resem- but, while it is solely at her option, or that of any other bling those of a King. The President is not the Gov. foreign nation, to select for itself at the next moment, ernment, although he has been too much accustomed to without further admonition to us, either pacific or warlike consider himself as such; and, in the discharge of his measures, I consider it our duty to prepare for either advisory duties, under ihe injunction which the consti- contingency. I would not avail myself of this opportutution imposes upon him to recommend to Congress nity to expose the errors of our Government in this consuch measures as he shall think fit,” he is no more the troversy, if I desired to expose them. The question organ of the Government than either House of Con- now is not a question of war or no war.

It is merely a gress, taken singly and apart from the other co-ordinate question of defence; and for that I am prepared to act, departments of that Government. Nay, this Govern. without the slightest reference to what party may have ment is no more responsible to a foreign nation for his provoked danger, or to what cause that danger may be sayings in a message under the constitution, than it is ascribed. for the exercise of the freedom of debate, which is the Before I take leave of the subject of our foreign relaright of every member on this Aoor; and it is not less tions, indulge me, sir, with a very few remarks in reply important that his right to express bimself freely and to a single observation made by the honorable gentleman fully to us in these messages should be preserved invio from Tennessee, (Mr. Grundr.] That gentleman, aflate, than that a member of this body should remain un. ter detailing with great care some of the events which questioned in any other place for the expression of his had transpired between us and France, and after asfree opinions on every subject which he may think fit saulting the Senate for not having last year voted for to discuss. Yet, if a member of this or the other House the then proposed amendment of $3,000,000 to the for

Vol. XII.-26

SENATE.]

National Defence.

(FEB. 8, 1836.

tification bill, called upon us all (as the gentleman from ed together. Passing over for the present the kind Kentucky has already stated) to come out freely and feeling exhibited by such a remark towards our chairfrankly, and to declare whether, in the present aspect man, (Mr. Clar,) and, indeed, all others here, and the of our affairs, we were willing to remain quiet, or whe- degree of decorum which it evinced towards the whole ther we would adopt a plan of non-intercourse with mass of members in a co-ordinate branch of the Govern. France. And, after this demand upon us all to leave ment, I ask now that the Senate may turn their atten. the non-committal policy, and declare our future course tion to the propriety of the vote thus condemned. On with candor, he proceeded, he said, to declare bis own the very day we thus voted, by way of response to the sentiments. But, when he had thus excited much atten- executive message recommending reprisals, Mr. Liv. tion by this preface to his expected annunciation, he ingston, in Paris, was inditing a despatch to our Secreleft us with a most lame and impotent conclusion, sim- tary of State, in which he uses the following language. ply declaring that, for bis part, he was-what?'why, Referring to the projet de loi, or bill of the French " not satisfied that things should remain exactly as they Chambers to make the appropriation for payment of are.” The message which announces the mediation our whole claim, he says, in his letter dated Paris, Janof England has since been received; and I hope the uary 14, 1835: “The law, it is said, will be presented togentleman will be content that things should remain, day, and I have very little doubt that it will pass. The for the present at least, exactly as they are. Let us ministerial pbalanx, re-enforced by those of the opposition wait, sir, till we learn the effect of the last annual mes. (and they are not a few) who will not take the respon. sage on France, and what is the feeling of that country sibility of involv the country in the difficulties which in regard to the English mediation. °And, in future, they now see must ensue, will be sufficient to carry the let me beg the honorable gentleman not to be so rash, vote. The recall of Serurier, and the notice to me, but adopt a little more of the non-committal policy, by are measures which are resorted to to save the pride of avoiding such hasty and inconsiderate avowals.

the Government and the nation." Sir, if Mr. LivingsThroughout the whole debate on this resolution, the ton had been present on the 14th of January last, hold. principal object of honorable gentlemen on the other ing the seat in this chamber which he formerly held, side of the House seems to have been not so much to he must, for the very reason assigned in this despatch, sustain the resolution itself as to inculpate those who, bave joined with us all in our vote. If we dodged the during the last session in this body, rejected what is question in Washington, he, too, was dodging it at the called the three million amendment to the bill making same time in Paris; for, at the very time we were voting appropriations for fortifications. Having now consider the resolution, he was writing ihe very reason for ed all the objections to the resolution before us, I shall adopting it in a letter. Yet this despatch and the confollow the gentlemen so far as to meet and repel their tents of this letter were wholly unknown to us until the unjust assault on the last Senate; and, in doing this, I 26th day of February, after our vote was given, when it shall not hesitate to put them on the defensive in return was communicated by the President in a message to the for their attack. I shall not follow the example of my other House, and ordered to be published. [Mr. C. honorable friend from North Carolina, (Mr. Mangum,] here referred to the document of that date, and, having by refusing to be tried for my votes on that fortification read it, continued.] bill before this Senale. I shall not plead, as he declared Sir, was there ever before presented to the mind of he would, to the jurisdiction. Here, or elsewhere, I more conclusive evidence of wisdom, foresight, stand prepared to refute and put down all accusations | firm, lofty, and patriotic purpose, in any stalesman, than that have been, or may be now, levelled against me for was given by the chairman of our Committee on Foreign my conduct as a member of this body, in regard to our Relations, (Mr. Clay,] who drew that report, and under foreign relations, as well as the great duty of providing whose lead we all, with one voice, yielding up, as we for the national defence. No matter where, or by all did that day, every party feeling on the altar of our whom, a charge against any vote of mine on those sub. country's welfare, voted a respectful but unanimous jects has been made, sir, I answer them all, that I have and decided dissent from the executive recommenda. been faithful to the country, and that I am ready to tion of reprisals, which we published to the world in prove it.

connexion with the report, vindicating to all mankind The first charge in which I, in common with every the justice of our claims on France, and avowing a other member of the Senate, am involved, was made by fixed resolve to insist on the execution of the treaty? a member of the House of Representatives from Massa- It was a moment when a mistake on our part would chusetts, (Mr. J. Q. Adams,] in his place, during the have been fatal to the peace and prosperity of the last session. After the proceedings of the Senate on whole country. It was a moment when, if we had the report of our Commitiee on Foreign Relations, and yielded to the impetuosity of the executive recommendour unanimous vote to sustain the resolution which was ation, war must have been inevitable. It was a moment recommended by that committee, as modified by the when, forming our own opinions from the data disclosed chairman, (Mr. Clar,] that member of the House, at in the report, without any knowledge of the existing the last session, pronounced in debate that the Senate views of our minister at Paris, and possessed of no such bad dodged the question. Yes, sir, according to his means of ascertaining them as the President enjoyed, judgment at the time, men of all parties here; men of we dared to differ with him, and frankly to express our the most opposite political opinions; friends and foes; determination not to comply with his desire for hostile administration men, whigs, and anti-masons, had all measures. At such a crisis in our affairs, we dared to combined to dodge the question, because all had united stake our character before the people by the firm exin a vote on the 14th of January, 1835, declaring that, pression of an opinion which, if erroneous, would have at that day, no legislative provision ought to be adopted prostrated us for ever. We staked upon it, under all in relation to the state of our affairs with France. The the disadvantages of our situation, as to means of infor. member from Missouri, (Mr. Benton,) and the chair- mation, compared with the Executive, all that the man, [Mr. Clar,] the members from Pennsylvania, statesman's aspirations can hope for, and all that the pa. New York, Georgia, Tennessee, and every other State; triot's heart can wish; feeling that, if we erred, we men who never were before arraigned together on the should be denounced, but that, if right, we had saved same charge, and who, whatever other faults may have our country from one of the greatest curses that could been imputed to them, were certainly never before befall it. The report, sanctioned by this unanimous charged with dodging any thing, were all thus arraign. | vote, was wafted across the Atlantic as rapidly as the

man

FEB. 8, 1836.)

National Defence.

(SENATE.

winds and waves could bear it; and the effect of its re. ed the very vote he now censures as that vote which, of ception in France was immediately perceptible there, all others, he would have recommended the House of in the general restoration of kind feeling towards our Representatives to adopt. This second assault upon countrymen. That proud, sensitive, and warlike na- that Senate (a majority of which was composed of bis tion, at once felt that there was a power in this country friends when a majority of the people had driven him to control the irritable and impetuous temper of the from power) is foiled and made powerless by the rash. Executive; equally prepared, on the one hand, to offer ness and folly of its author. It falls on all parties, and no insult to any foreign nation, and, on the other, to alike, unfortunately for the real object of the individual submit to no meditated injury when mild and pacific re- who made it. Its effect is to insult even the most violent monstrances should fail to obtain redress for it. Sir, it of the hot and high-toned advocates of executive power, vas eminently by the force of this powerful document, though its only design was to strike down the powerless this unanimous vote of the Senate, that the friends of but inflexible opponents to executive encroachment in justice and peace in the French Chamber of Deputies this body. I was pleased to be able to say to the honor. quelled the fierce spirits, eager there to find even a plausi- able members from Missouri and Pennsylvania themble pretext for a war, which, while it would have inflict selves, while I read this passage, stand up you who are ed incalculable damage upon France, must, also, in six so given to accusation against others, and hear the inmonths, have swept our commerce from the ocean. dictment against yourselves, for evincing by your vote The whole debate on the projet de loi shows it. Yet, for the Senate's resolution of the 14th of January last, a sir, for this act we were charged with having dodged the want of due and patriotic sensibility for the wrongs inquestion. The member of the other House who made Alicted on your country by France. Sir, those gentle. this charge was, at the time, a prominent candidate for men would do well to make some efforts to defend them. the vacant seat in the Senate from the State of Massa selves against the attacks of others, before they commence cbusetts. The election was still pending there when any more assaults upon us; and this I will now endeavor the charge was made. In a few days afterwards (I re- to demonstrate to their satisfaction, better than by read. fer to his speech of the 14th February, 1835, for the ing extracts from the speeches of the member of the faci) the same member appeared again in his place other House who has assailed them in common with all in the other House, and, by way of some atonement for the members of the last Senate. his own denunciation, made an effort to dodge its effects The principal attack on me and my political friends upon himself, by declaring that, had he not been stopped here rests on the fact that we refused to vote on the last at the time by the Speaker of the House for using disre. night of the last session for the following amendment, spectful language of the Senate, he would have recom. then proposed by the House of Representatives to the mended to the Representatives of the nation also to

fortification bill: dodge the question.

And be it further enacted, That the sum of three Sir, the Senate has been again attacked for the same millions of dollars be, and the same is hereby, approFote, and from the same quarter. Not satisfied with his priated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise last year's exploits in the field against iis, which were appropriated, to be expended, in whole or in part, under entirely unprovoked by us, but were passed over in pity the direction of the President of the United States, for to him and sincere respect for the feelings of his former the military and naval service, including fortifications and friends, the same individual has introduced into another ordnance and increase of the navy: Provided such ex. body a resolution to furnish him with a standing theme penditures shall be rendered necessary for the defence of declamation against us: and in a public newspaper of the country prior to the next meeting of Congress." has now assailed the very resolution in reference to Before this amendment was offered, the appropriation which he, last year, on the 14th February, declared in a bill providing for fortifications, which originated in the public speech in the other House, that she thought that other House, had passed the Senate, which had already the Senate had acted as it was their duty to do; and the added by way of amendment $421,000 to the sums conclusion to which they had unanimously arrived was originally proposed by the House as sufficient. It was the conclusion which he should have been desirous that not until about 8 o'clock at night of the very last day of the House should adopt.” Sir, is it not astonishing the session that the House proposed this amendment to that this very same gentleman should, but the other day, our amendments, after rejecting some of ours, and have published of ihis same resolution, that it was "a among which so rejected by the House was an increase resolution not only declining to do that which the Presi- of $75,000 made by the Senate to the appropriation to dent had recommended, to vindicate the rights and the rebuild Fort Delaware. honor of the nation, but positively determining to do The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Buchanan) nothing--not even to express a sense of the wrongs has misconceived the scope of the argument against this which the country was enduring from France;" that three million amendment, and particularly that of the "no trace was to be found upon the journals of the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. WEBSTER,) who Senate of the last session of Congress of sensibility to the preceded him in this debate. Independently of the wrongs which our country was enduring from France; notorious fact that no such extraordinary appropriation and if upon those journals such a trace could be found, was asked of us by the Executive, whose duty it was, it must be to clearer and more searching eyes than his;" this sum was wanted for defence, to communicate the that the simple vote of the other House that the treaty fact to Congress, most of those who voted down that should be maintained, and its execution insisted on, and amendment did hold, and did so express themselves at which, he says, was moved by him, was “not only a the time, that an appropriation in such general terms, departure from the do-nothing policy of the Senate, but proposing no object of expenditure but " the naval and might be felt to contain a pungent though tacit rebuke military service," was forbidden by the spirit and the upon that paralytic policy;" that, bad the Senate con- letter of the constitution. If it be new to him, it curred in the three million appropriation “that vote because the gentleman has entirely overlooked the prin• would have made the Senate the unwilling accessory to ciple upon wbich the Senate acted. Sir, I invite the implied censure upon its own quietism under foreign gentleman to examine the subject, which he says is wrong P Yes, sir; these and other like phrases, ac- novel to bim, and to defend his vote, if he thinks he can companied by charges of "overbearing arrogance," do so, when we who voted otherwise retaliate upon him bave been within a few days fulminated against that very and his associates who endeavored to carry this amend. Senale by tbe identical individual who last year proclaim. I ment, by charging thein with having, so far as they

SENATE.)

Nalional Defence.

(PEB. 8, 1836.

were able to effect it, assisted to break down the best support of Government, without any further designation barrier provided by the constitution against the absorp- of object or restriction of power than this—that the tion of the legislative in the executive power. With President shall expend it for the public service. In that the view to test the confidence of honorable gentlemen day, no Senator here shall dare raise bis voice against it, in their opinions, as well as the accuracy and extent of or, if one should follow our example, the charge of want their researches on this subject, it may be useful to as- of confidence in the President will crush him as a rebel. certain how far they will carry their principles. I beg lious subordinate, and a factious legislator; the people leave to know of the honorable gentleman from Penn. themselves will hunt him down, and the State Legislasylvania whether, if the proposition for which he voted tures will recall him, with a view to send another to exhad been to appropriate three or thirty millions, “to be

punge his vote.

If our Government is to endure for expended in whole or in part under the direction of the any considerable period, it will witness the elevation to President, for the civil, naval, and military service, in- power of many men far more popular than President cluding fortifications,” &c., he could have supported it Jackson has ever been; and shoulj the doctrine of the consistently with his constitutional obligations or not? I friends of the administration now become, by the prospause for a reply to this question.

tration of the Senate for this cause, the received expo. (Mr. BUCHANAN said he did not consider himself bound sition of the constitution, the next popular Esecutive, to declare any opinion beyond the one before expressed. pointing to this precedent, may demand it as due to the He would, therefore, decline answering the question character he possesses, and as evincive of the confidence put to him by the gentleman from Delaware.]

to which he is entitled, that a grant of three millions, Mr. Clayton continued. Sir, it was the part of pru- for naval and military service, to be expended under his dence not to answer. I put the question to him, be- direction, shall be annually inserted in the appropriation cause I know of no man here, advocating his doctrine, bill. Another, ambitious of still further exbibitions of better prepared or better able to resist or parry such a confidence, will soon demand a greater sum, under preblow than the honorable gentleman himself. I claim no text of some other exigency; and, at last, precedent beright to catechise bim; biit if he should think proper to ing built upon precedent, the legislative power will er. answer the question proposed to him on another day, pire under these reiterated blows, and, with it, the lib. after he has had ample time to select that horn of the erties of the people. Sir, I have set my face against all dilemma presented by it which pleases him best, it will this doctrine, with a stern resolution to resist it to the ut. gratify some of his friends here, among whom I rank my- most. I wiil make no terms, I will know no compromise self, to learn whether he can possibly be driven to the with it. I read in the constitution that no money shall absolute surrender of all legislative power to the Execu. be drawn from the treasury but by appropriations tive, so far as regards the appointment of the uses to made by law. And I have heard no plausible answer to which the public money shall be applied; or whether the simple but conclusive argument, that an appropriahe will preler, on reflection, to encounter the foregone tion does, ex vi termini, necessarily import a designation, conclusion which a denial of the constitutionality of so an allotment or setting apart, for specific objects, specific broad an appropriation as I have proposed for his con- sums of money. I go for the established definition of sideration must necessarily result in. That amendment, the word, as the English language was spoken, written, for which the honorable gentleman and his political and understood, when the constitution was made, and friends in this body did vote, proposed no other objects as it is now and has ever been understood. I deny that for expenditure than the naval and military service, in- a grant of fifty millions, “ for the public service," to be cluding fortifications, ordnance, and increase of the expended under the direction of the President, is any navy. One hundred, or even ten dollars, bestowed on appropriation. It is nothing more than an unconstituthe objects included in the sweeping phrase "naval and tional attempt to delegate representative power. It military service,” would satisfy the requisitions of the strikes at the root of the whole principle of representlaw, and leave, under the direction of the President, the ative government. I deny that a grant by Congress of whole residue of the three millions to be applied to any three millions of dollars to the President, for the "naval kind of naval and military service which he might desig- and military service," differs a whit in principle from a nate. A law, in the very same words, granting fifty general grant of all the revenue to be expended by the millions, to be expended by the President as he shall President for the naval and military service. In either think proper, “ for naval and military service," is not case he may raise an aridy or build a navy with the moprohibited by the constitution if this be not. A law ney. The eightli section of the first article of the congranting all the money in the treasury, to be expended stitution gives to Congress alove the power “to raise under his direction, or as he shall think proper," for and support armies," and " to provide and maintain a civil, naval, and military service," is not prohibited by navy.' In the execution of this trust power, we owe it the constitution if this be not. The result then is, that to the country and its constitution to define, if practica. whenever a popular President is in office, Congress ble at the time to do so, how many men shall compose must grant the whole money in the treasury, if required, the army which we undertake to raise and support; what or the whole sum requisite for civil, naval, and military kind of troops it shall consist of; how many ships shall service, which will embrace all the known objects of compose the navy which we undertake to provide and legitimate expenditure under this Government; or, maintain, and of what class they shall be; and, in genshould they fail to do so, they must subject themselves eral, the whole course and practice of Congress, under to the very exceptions taken to the vote of the Senate the constitution, ab urbe condita, has been in accordance by the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. GRUNDY,) who with this duty. The three million amendment was not intimated that the vote of his colleague [Mr. Wute] only objectionable because it was a departure from our and others bere indicated that they had not confidence whole course of legislation in these particulars, but bein the President. Such a construction breaks down the cause it was, if sustained, a grant of money to raise Legislature whenever a popular man is at the head of either an army or a navy at the discretion of the Presithe Government; and a popular Executive is the only dent alone, without even limiting the amount to be apone from which either the friends of the Legislature or plied to either purpose. It was an abandonment of the the constitution can have any thing to fear. Should whole trust confided to us, to the full extent of the sum such a construction be established, it must inevitably to be taken thus from the treasury. lead Congress at last to a vote, under the administration The power “to raise and support armies," and to of some popular chief, of all the money requisite for the 'provide and maintain a navy," conferred by the eighth

ور

« AnteriorContinua »