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(May 6, 1834.
when such a question arose as to the State Governments ligament will again be broken; but I tell gentlemen on and the Government of the United States, they who read the other side, that it will not be broken"until the danger the constitution better than we do, asserted that a State is passed away, and oppression has relaxed its grasp upon Government could not express an opinion as to any dif- the country. Then, if we choose to fall back into our ference between the President and any other department original minority, and shall discover danger from another of the Government. The contest between federalism and majority, we shall again be found warring against that democracy went on that principle. We have an unques majority with the same energy as we are now contending tionable right here to express any kind of opinions we We are the advocates of State rights—although small, may think proper, and the niore readily, when that ex. resolved and consistent in our purpose. When we were pression can lead to no legislative provisions, because, if before the world contending for our principles toe to toe, they were so to lead, it might require the co-operation of against our opponents, where was the President? Of what the co-ordinate branches; but we have the right to ex- party was he?' He stood by until the dispute was nearly press opinions. If gentlemen would put their sentiments settled, and then drew his sword, and calling his party to in the form of a negative proposition, that we shall not rally to the gleam of ii, directed his exterminating hostilpass any resolutions disapproving of any act of the Ex-ity against us. And when we were cold and stiff, true ecutive, we shall then understand that we have only still to his military propensity, he sought for some other the power to become a body of Aatterers of the Executive.object for his attack, and struck at the Bank of the United
The other House have passed a resolution that the States. In vain did the bank hold up the constitution for bank shall not be re-chartered, because it is unconstitu- its protection-he struck through it-in vain did the ven. tional. This resolution leads to no legislative action. On erated instrument resist the Executive mace. We, not the contrary, it excludes all legislation. Suppose a ven- yet dead, struck with horror at the baseness of the act, erable old man, not deadl, but standing on the verge, rushed with all our energies to the rescue, and now we were to rise up from his almost sepulchre at Montpelier, find ourselves in mingled ranks. If the struggle shall be and to say, “I, at one period, pronounced a bank un- pressed, let what may happen, whoever he be that joins constitutional; but, at another time, I approved of an act himself to us, it is immaterial what name he comes withi, to charter a bank. You have made me liable to impeach- I greet him as my brother in arms, until we shall have put ment for doing an unconstitutional act.” Mr. Madison clown the danger which threatens us. But the gentleman declared a bank to be unconstitutional, yet he signed from Georgia says, Who are ye? Ye are the sugar men the bank charter; and, if the positions in this protest are and the cotton men of the South; the rum men of the sustainable, he is liable to impeachment for that act. West, and the molasses men of New England. I stand What is the course of proceeding of all legislative bodies, on a cotton bale; where does the gentleman from Georgia as to matters of impeachment? Resolutions are passed, stand? Whom have we to oppose? A unit, an anti-bank in the first place, declaring certain acts done to be un party? Why, the gentleman from Georgia is a bank man. constitutional; and, upon these resolutions, are founded An anti-tariff party? Why, the gentleman from Penncharges which are sent to this body and exhibited here sylvania (Mr. WilkINS) is a tariff man. An anti-internal for our judgment upon them. This is every day's improvement party? Why, many of the gentleman's col. practice.
leagues are of that pariy. The gentleman from Missouri The gentleman from Georgia says that the constitution voted for the Cumberland road bill. But the gentlemen gives to this body no power to pass separate resolutions. are all leashed together, I will not say to hunt in covers, It is true, the constitution gives no specific power; but but they exhibit as great a variety of principles as is to be will any gentleman pretend that neither llouse has a right found in any party in the opposition-at least, I find as to pass any resolutions, except such as are joint resolu- many among them. tious! When it is desired to try the sense of a party, a But the gentleman from Georgia says we are the punch resolution may be separate in its character, and then the party. Let the people understand this appellation. If President has no veto upon it. And resolutions, separate ihe South forms the acid, who is it, I would ask, that has in their character, and consentaneous, but not joint, might held the press upon us? Who brought us out from the be adopted by both Houses, against the reasons of the South,and squeezed and pressed us until they have driven President for the removal of the deposites, and the Presi- our vitals oui? Why, the gentleman from Georgia, and dent could not then apply lis veto power to them. the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and those with whom
The gentleman from Georgia protests against the op- they act. They have presseri us until they have forced position taking the name of whigs, and recommends io us into this mixture, such as the mixture is, and I believe ihem to adopt the name of the punch party. I am not it is one which has been found to be not quite so agreea. very anxious to take the name of whig, but no power on ble to the President's palate as the real mixture is to the earih can take from me the whis principles. Whenever palate of the gentleman from Georgia. Tbe punch party! a name has been seized on, and the denomination has Let it go abroad, let it be told in the nurseries, that we struck all who are opposed to the administration will are the punch party, and every one will supply the corolsuch instant and universal sympathy-when the gentle lary. Punch and the clevil! The gentleman from Geor. man from Georgia has seen the same chord vibrating gia, and his friends, will have to take the cognomen of through the bosoms of those who stood in the contest the opposite party. against power in former times and now, and working up I think it proper to say, in a word, what are my views. everywhere, and in every heart, one common feeling or I concur with the gentleman from Massachusetts, that we harmony; and when he has seen all who have previously ought to receive the message. Indeed, we have already difl'ered from each other, bring here their differences, received it, and cannot now help ourselves. But I agree and lay them down together on the altar of their coun- with my colleague, that the President ought not to have try—oes it not strike him that there is something of a sent it here, and our best plan is to enter on our Journal peculiar character in the course of things? When all are the resolution that we deem the practice wrong, and shall driven together by the same foreign pressure; when na- decline receiving such communications in future. But, tionals and nullifiers, New England, South Carolina, Mis- although we may characterize the document as wrong, sissippi, New York-ay, New York!--are all penetrated let us not be guilty of the solecism of saying we will not by the same deep feeling, should it not strike with terror receive it, when we have already received and read it. the alministration, and those who are linked with it! It Mr. WEBSTER said, if the protest had been referred may be, when the danger shall be over, and the suffering to a committee, a report might have been drawn, which of the country shall have been relieved, that this strong Imight stand forever on the files of the Senate, as an ariMar 7, 1834.)
swer to it; but it had been convenient to make a different The question was then put, “Shall the decision of the
When defensive in its character, he thought it proper to send it
people, in an attitude truly ludicrous. A political quack
ful of the prescription, and hesitate. The honorable
The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr.
gia, Linn, McKean, Shepley, Tallmadge, Tipton, White,
NAYS.--Messrs. Bell, Bibb, Black, Calhoun, Clay,
The CHAIR said, that the yeas and nays having been Robbins, Silsbee, Smith, Sprague, Swist, Tomlinson, Ty.
On motion of Mr. WEBSTER,
The Senate then adjourned.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7.
After disposing of the usual morning business,
proceeded to the consideration of the special order, be-
Mr. Clay and Mr. Calhoun; when
(May 7, 1834.
Mr. WEBSTER rose and addressed the Chair as fol- lution declaring that in the late executive proceedings lows:
in relation to the public revenue, the President bad asMr. President: I feel, sir, the magnitude of this ques- sumed a power not conferred by the constitution and tion. We are coming to a vote which cannot fail to laws, but in derogation of both.” In that resolution I produce important effects on the character of the Senate, concurred. and the character of the Government.
It is not a direct question, now again before us, whether Unhappily, sir, the Senate finds itself involved in a con- the President really had assumed such illegal power; that troversy with the President of the United States; a man point is decided, so far as the Senate ever can decide it. who has rendered most distinguished services to his coun. But the protest denies that, supposing the President to try, has hitherto possessed a degree of popular favor, i have assumed such illegal power, the Senate could prop. perhaps never excelled, and whose honesty of motive, Serly pass the resolution; or, what is the same thing, it and integrity of purpose, are still maintained by those denies that the Senate could, in this way, express any who admit that his administration has fallen into lamenta- opinion about it. It denies that the Senate has any right, ble errors.
by resolution, in this or any other case, to express disapOn some of the interesting questions, in regard to which probation of the Presiden:'s conduct, let that conduct be the President and Senate hold opposite opinions, the more what it may; and this, one of the leading doctrines of the popular branch of the Legislature concurs with the Ex- protest, I propose to consider. But, as I concurred in the ecutive. It is not to be concealed that the Senate is en-resolutions of the 28th of March, and did not trouble gaged against imposing odds. It can sustain itself only by the Senate, at that time, with any statement of my own its own prudence and the justice of its cause. It has no reasons, I will avail myself of this opportunity to explain, patronage by which to secure friends; it can raise up no shortly, what those reasons were. advocates through the dispensation of favors, for it has no In the first place, then, I have to say, that I did not favors to dispense. Its very constitution, as a body vote for the resolution on the mere ground of the removal whose members are elected for a long term, is capable of of Mr. Duane from the office of Secretary of the Treasbeing rendered obnoxious, and is daily made a subject of ury. Although I disapprove of the removal altogether, opprobrious remark. It is already denounced as inde- yet the power of removal does exist in the President, acpendent of the people, and aristocratic. Nor is it, like cording to the established construction of the constitution; the other House, powerful in its numbers; not being, and, therefore, although in a particular case it may be like that, so large as that its members come constantly in abused, and, in my opinion, was abused in this case, yet direct and sympathetic contact with the whole people. its exercise cannot be justly said to be an assumption or Under these disadvantages, sir, which, we may be as usurpation. We must all agree that Mr. Duane is out of sured, will be pressed and urged to the utmost length, office. He has, therefore, been removed by a power there is but one course for us. The Senate must stand constitutionally competent to remove him, whatever may on its rendered reasons. It must put forth the grounds of be thought of the exercise of that power, under the cirits proceedings, and it must then rely on the intelligence cumstances of the case. and patriotism of the people to carry it through the contest. If, then, the act of removing the Secretary be not the
As an individual member of the Senate, it gives me assumption of power which the resolution declares, in great pain to be engaged in such a conflict with the Ex- what is that assumption found? Before giving a precise ecutive Government. The occurrences of the last ses- answer to this inquiry, allow me to recur to some of the sion are fresh in all our recollections, and, having felt it principal previous events. to be my duty, at that time, to give my cordial support At the end of the last session of Congress, the public to highly important measures of the administration, i ar- moneys of the United States were still in their proper dently hoped that nothing might occur to place me, af- place. That place was fixed by the law of the land, and terwards, in an attitude of opposition. In all respects, no power of change was conferred on any other human and in every way, it would have been far more agreeable being than the Secretary of the Treasury. On bim the to me to have found nothing in the measures of the Ex-power of change was conferred, to be exercised by himecutive Government which I could not cheerfully sup. sell, if emergency should arise, and to be exercised for port. The present occasion of difference has not been reasons which he was bound to lay before Congress. No sought or made by ine. It is thrust upon me, in oppo. other oflicer of the Government had the slightest presition to strong opinions and wishes, on my part not con- stence of authority to lay his hand on these moneys for the cealed. The interference with the public deposites dis- purpose of changing the place of their custody. All the pelled all hope of continued concurrence with the admin other heads of Departments together could not touch istration; and was a measure so uncalled for, so unneces. them. The President could not touch them. The sary, and, in my judgment, so illegal and indefensible, power of change was a trust confided to the discrethat, with whatever reluctance it might be opposed, op-tion of the Secretary, and to his discretion alone. The position was unavoidable.
President bad no more authority to take upon himThe paper before us has grown out of the consequences self this duty, thus assigned expressly by law to the Secof this interference. It is a paper which cannot be treat- retary, than he had to make the annual report to Congress, ed with indifference. The doctrines which it advances, for the annual commercial statements, or to perform any the circumstances which have attended its transmission to other service which the law specially requires of the the Senate, and the manner in which the Senate may now Secretary. He might just as well sign the warrants for dispose of it, will form a memorable era in the history of moneys, in the ordinary daily disbursements of Governthe Government. We are either to enter it on our Jour ment, instead of the Secretary. The statute had assignnals, assent to its sentiments, and submit to its rebuke; ed the especial duty of removing the deposites, if reor we n.ust answer it, with the respect due to the Chief moved at all, to the Secretary of the Treasury, and to Magistrate, but with such animadversion on its doctrines him alone. The consideration of the propriety, or ne. as they deserve, and with the firmness imposed upon us cessity of removal, must be the consideration of the by our public duties.
Secretary; the decision to remove, his decision; and the I shall proceed, then, sir, to consider the circumstances act of removal, his act. which gave rise to this protest; to examine the principles Now, sir, on the 18th day of September last, a resoluwhich it attempts to establishi; and to compare those prin. tion was taken to remove these deposites from their legisciples with the constitution and the laws.
lative (that is to say, their legal) custody. Whose resoOn the 28th day of March, the Senate adopted a reso- Ilution was this? On the first day of October they were Mar 7, 1834.]
removed. And by whose power was this done! The ties of executive officers would be less than it now is? papers necessary to accomplish the removal (that is, the The reason of the thing would seem to be the other way. orders and drafts) are, it is true, signed by the Secretary. If the President may remove an incumbent when he beThe President's vame does not appear to them; nor does comes satisfied of his unfaithfulness and incapacity, there the Secretary, in any of them, recite or declare that he would appear to be less necessity to give him also a does the act by direction of the President, or on the right of control, than there would be if he could not rePresident's responsibility. In form, the whole proceed- move him. ing is the proceeding of the Secretary, and, as such, had We may try this question by supposing it to arise in a the legal effect. The deposites were removed. But whose judicial proceeding. If the Secretary of the Treasury act was it in truth and reality? Whose will accom- were impeached for removing the deposites, could he plished it? On whose responsibility was it adopted? justify himself by saying that he did it by the President's
These questions are all explicitly answered by the Presi. direction? If he could, then no executive officer could dent himself, in the paper, under his own hand, read to ever be impeached who obeys the President; and the the cabinet on the 18th of September, and published by whole notion of making such officers impeachable at all his authority. In this paper the President declares, in so would be farcical. If he could not so justify himself, many words, that he begs his cabinet to consider the pro. (and all will allow he could not,) the reason can only be, posed measure as his own; that its responsibility has been that the act of removal is his own act: the power, a powassumed by him; and that he names the first day of Oc-er confided to him, for the just exercise of which the tober as a period proper for its execution.
law looks to his discretion, his honesty, and his direct reNow, sir, it is precisely this which I deein an assump-sponsibility. tion of power not conferred by the constitution and laws. Now, sir, the President wishes the world to understand I think the law did not give this authority to the Presi- that he himself decided on the question of the removal of dent, nor impose on him the responsibility of its exercise. the deposites; that be took the whole responsibility of the It is evident that in this removal the Secretary was in re- measure upon himself; that he wished it to be considered ality nothing but the scribe; he was the pen in the Presi. his own act; that he not only himself decided that the dent's hand, and no more. Nothing depended on his thing should be done, but that he regulated its details also, discretion, lus judgment, or his responsibility. The re- and named the day for carrying it into effect. moval, indeed, has been admitted and defended in the I have always entertained a very erroneous view of the Senale, as the direct act of the President himself. This, partition of powers, and of the true nature of official resir, is what I call assumption of power. If the President sponsibility under our constitution, if this be not a plain had issued an order for the removal of the deposites in case of the assumption of power. his own vame, and under his own hand, it would have The Legislature had fixed a place, by law, for the been an illegal order, and the bank would not have been keeping of the public money. They had at the same at liberty to obey it. For the same reason, if the Secre- time, and by the same law, created and conferred a powtary's order had recited that it was issued by the Presi. er of removal, to be exercised contingently. This power dent's direction, and on the President's authority, it would they had vested in the Secretary, by express words. The bave shownl, on its face, that it was illegal and invalid. law did not say that the deposites should be made in the No one can doubt that. The act of renoval, to be law. bank unless the President should order otherwise; but it ful, must be the bona fide act of the Secretary; his judg- did say that they should be made there unless the Secrement, the result of his deliberations, the volition of lus tary of the Treasury should order otherwise. I put it to mind. All are able to see the difference between the the plain sense and common candor of all men, whether power to remove the Secretary from office, and the pow. the discretion which was thus to be exercised over the er to control him, in all or any of his duties, while in of subject was not the Secretary's own personal discretion; fice. The law charges the officer, whoever he may be, and whether, therefore, the interposition of the authority with the performance of certain duties. The President, of another, acting directly and conclusively on the subwith the consent of the Senate, appoints an an individual ject, deciding the whole question, even in its particulars to be such officer, and this individual he may remove, if and details, be not an assumption of power? de so please; but, until removed, he is the officer, and The Senale regarded this interposition as an encroachremains charged with the duties of his station; duties ment, by the Executive, on other branches of the Gov. which nobody else can perform, and for the neglect or ernment; as an interference with the legislative disposiviolation of which he is liable to be impeached.
tion of the public treasure. It was strongly and forcibly The distinction is visible and broad between the power urged, yesterday, by the honorable member from South of removal and the power to control an officer not re- Carolina, that the true and only mode of preserving any moved. The President, it is true, may terminate his po- balance of power, in mixed governments, is to keep an litical life; but he cannot control his powers and functions exact balance. This is very true, and to this end enand act upon him as a mere machine, while he is allowed croachment must be resisted at the first step. The questo live.
This power of control and direction, nowhere tion is, therefore, whether, upon the true principles of given, certainly, by any express provision of the consti- the constitution, this exercise of power by the President tution or laws, is derived, by those who maintain it, from can be justified. Whether the consequences be prejudithe right of removal; that is to say, it is a constructive cial or not, if there be an illegal exercise of power, it is to power. But the right of removal itself is but a con- be resisted in the proper manner. Even if no harm or structive power: it has no express warrant in the con- inconvenience result from transgressing the boundary, stitution. A very important power, then, is raised by the intrusion is not to be suffered to pass unnoticed. Eveconstruction, in the first place; and, being thus raised, ry encroachment, great or small, is important enough to it becomes a fountain, out of which other important awaken the attention of those who are intrusted with the powers, raised also by construction, are to be supplied. preservation of a constitutional Government. We are There is no little danger that such a mode of reasoning not to wait till great public mischiefs come, till the Govmay be carried too far. It cannot be maintained that the ernment is overthrown, or liberty itself put in extreme power of direct control necessarily flows from the power jeopardy. We should not be worthy sons of our fathers, of reinoval. Suppose it had bcen decided in 1789, when were we so to regard great questions, affecting the generthe question was debated, that the President does not al freedom. Those fathers accomplished the Revolution possess the power of removal: will it be contended, that on a strict question of principle. The Parliament of in that case his riglit of interference with the acts and du- Great Britain asserted a right to tax the colonies in all
(Mar 7, 1834.
cases whatsoever, and it was precisely on this question a benefit, for which a bank may well afford to pay a large that they made the Revolution turn. The amount of tax. annual sum. The banks which now hold the deposites ation was trifling, but the claim itself was inconsistent pay nothing to the public; they give no bonus, they pay with liberty; and that was, in their eyes, enough. It was no annuity. But this loss of so much money is not the against the recital of an act of Parliament, rather than worst part of the case, nor that which ought most to alarm against any suffering under its enactments, that they took us. Although they pay nothing to the public, they do up arms. They went to war against a preamble. "They pay, nevertheless, such sums, and for such uses, as may fought seven years against a declaration. They poured be agreed upon between themselves and the Executive out their treasures and their blood like water, in a con- Government. We are officially informed that an officer test, in opposition to an assertion, which those less saga- is appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to inspect cious and not so well schooled in the principles of civil or superintend these selected banks; and this officer is liberty, would have regarded as barren phraseology, or compensated by a salary fixed by the Executive, agreed mere parade of words. They saw, in the claim of the to by the banks, and paid by them. I ask, sir, if there British Parliament, a seminal principle of mischief, the can be a more irregular, or a more illegal transaction than germ of unjust power; they detected it, dragged it forth (this? Whose money is it out of which this salary is paid? from underneath its plausible disguises, struck at it, nor Is it not money justly due to the United States, and paid, did it elude either their steady eye, or their well-direct. because it is so due, for the advantage of bolding the deed blow, till they had extirpated and destroyed it, to the posites? If a dollar is received on that account, is not smallest fibre. 'On this question of principle, while ac- its only true destination into the general treasury of the tual suffering was yet afar off, they raised their fag Government? And who has authority, without law, to against a power to which, for purposes of foreign con- create an office, to fix a salary, and to pay that salary out quest and subjugation, Rome, in the height of her glory, of this money? Here is an inspector, or supervisor of the is not to be compared; power, which has dotted over deposite banks. But what law has provided for such an the surface of the whole globe with her possessions and officer? What commission has he received? Who conmilitary posts; whose morning drum-beat, following the curred in his appointment? What oath does be take? sun, and keeping company with the hours, circles the How is he to be punished, or impeached, if he colludes earth daily with one continuous and unbroken strain of with any of these banks to embezzle the public money, the martial airs of England.
or defraud the Government? The value of the use of this The necessity of holding strictly to the principle upon public money to the deposite banks is probably two hun. which free governments are constructed, and to the pre- dred thousand dollars a year; or, if less than that, it is cise lines which fix the partitions of power between dif- yet, certainly, a very great sum. May the President ferent branches, is as plain, if not as cogent, as that of appoint whatever officers be pleases, with whatever du resisting, as our fathers did, the strides of the parent ties he pleases, and pay them as much as he pleases out of country upon the rights of the colonies; because, whether these moneys Uus paid by the banks, for the sake of the power which exceeds its juist limits be foreign or do- having the deposites? mestic, whether it be the encroachment of all branches Mr. President, the Executive claim of power is exactly on the rights of the people, or that of one branch on the this: that the President may keep the money of the pubrights of others, in either case the balanced and well-ad. lic in whatever banks he chooses, on whatever terms he justed machinery of free government is disturbed, and, if chooses, and to apply the sums which these banks are ihe derangement go on, the whole system must fall. willing to pay for its use to whatever purposes he chooses.
But the case before us is not a case of merely theoretic These sums are not to come into the general treasury. infringement, nor is it one of trifling importance. Far They are to be appropriated before they get there; they otherwise. It respects one of the highest and most im- are never to be brought under the control of Congress; portant of all the powers of Government; that is to say, they are to be paid to officers and agents not known to the custody and control of the public money. The act of the law, not nominated to the Senate, and responsible to removing the deposites, which I now consider as the nobody but the Executive itself. I ask gentlemen if all President's act, and which his friends on this floor defend this be lawful? Are they prepared to defend it? Will they as his act, took the national purse from beneath the se- stand up and justify it? In my opinion, sir, it is a clear curity and guardianship of the law, and disposed of its and a most dangerous assumption of power. It is the contents, in parcels, in such places of deposite as he creation of office, without law; the appointment to office, chose to select. At this very moment every dollar of without consulting the Senate; the establishment of a rab the public treasure is subject, so far as respects its cusio- ury, without law, and the payment of that salary out of a dy and safe keeping, to his unlimited control. We know fund which itself is derived from the use of the public not where it is today; still less do we know where it may treasures. This, sir, is my other reason for concurring be to-morrow.
in the vote of the 28th of March; and on these grounds But, Mr. President, this is not all. There is another I leave the propriety of that vote, so far as I am concernpart of the case, which has not been so much discussed, ed with it, to be judged of by the country. but which appears to me to be still more indefensible in But, sir, the President denies the power of the Senate its character. It is something which may well teach us to pass any such resolution, on any ground whatever. the tendency of power to move forward, with accelerated Suppose the declaration contained in the resolution to be pace, if it be allowed to take the first step: The Bank true; suppose the President had, in fact, assumed powers of the United States, in addition to the services rendered not granted to him; does the Senate possess the right to to the Treasury, gave for its charter, and for the use of declare its opinion, affirming this fact, or does it not? I the public deposites, a bonus, or outright sum of one maintain the Senate does possess such a power; the Presimillion and a half of dollars. This sum was paid by the dent denies it. bank into the treasury, soon after the commencement of Mr. President, we need not look far, nor search deep, its character. In the act which passed both Houses for for the foundation of this right in the Senate. It is clearrenewing the charter, in 1832, it was provided that the ly visible, and close at hand. In the first place, it is the bank, for the same consideration, should pay two hun- right of self-defence. In the second place, it is a right dred thousand dollars a year, during the period for which founded on the duty of representative bodies, in a free it was proposed to renew it. A similar provision is in the Government, to defend the public liberty against encroachbill which I asked leave to introduce some weeks ago. ment. We must presume that the Senate honestly enNow, sir, this shows ibat the custody of the doposites is tertained the opinion expressed in the resolution of the