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[April 25, 1834.
of the wise and virtuous of ancient and modern times, tried public services recommended him to the confidence that no government is well constituted “unless the laws of the President and of the public. The Secretary of the prevail above the commands of men;" that they are ac- Treasury, Mr. Taney, I have long known as holding rank counted but little better than brutes who do not prefer a among the foremost of the profession of the law in bis na. government of laws before the fluctuating, irregular will tive State. I esteemed him for bis virtues. He came of one man.
into the public councils with a reputation for talents and They must have studied the dark ages of high-toned integrity fairly earned and richly deserved, as I believe. prerogative, of non-resistance, and passive obedience, with the Secretary of War, Mr. Cass, I became acquaintand become infected with the divine right of kings, and ed in 1807: I then esteemed him for his social qualities, enamored of the writings of Fillmer and such like. The and admired his talents as of a high order: I have never President who can assert, before the Senate and the ceased to esteem him, from my first acquaintance to this people, such claims to the custody and management of day: his acquirements and the qualities of his heart and the public property and money, coupled with such claims his head have risen in my esteem. Of the Secretary of to obedience from the civil officers, must be ill advised, the Navy, I need only say he was of the Senate; his capacity or so intoxicated with adulation and love of power as to and fitness for the office met my hearty advice and consent. have overlooked the elementary principles of civil liberty of the Postmaster General, Mr. Barry, I can speak and the spirit of the people. When I examined the pro- from an intimate acquaintance of thirty years. Many test and the doctrines asserted, I was startled and amazed honors had been conferred upon him by the people, by at their extravagance.
the Legislature, and by the Executive of Kentucky. By When the excitement of the times shall have subsided; the people he was elected, repeatedly, a representative when the finger of history shall point to this protest, and in the State Legislature, Lieutenant Governor, and Rep: an impartial, enlightened posterity shall judge it, the doc- resentative in the Congress. By the Legislature he was trines' it contains will be stamped with reprobation. 1 elected a member of this body. By the Governor of Ken; have confidence in the people of the present day, that tucky, with the advice of the Senate, he was appointed they will not prove themselves to be degenerate sons of first a judge of the general court, then the Secretary of a free and spirited ancestry; that they will preserve the State, and afterwards a judge of the supreme court. He inheritance of constitutional liberty, and transmit it, un- was appointed by Governor Shelby one of his aids, and impaired, to their children.
was by his side at the memorable battle of the Thames. I feel no pleasure in dissecting this protest, I gave to Through all these successive employments he has passed General Jackson a zealous and an early and continued with reputation. He has risen by the rich powers of his support, against fearful odds in the circle in which I mind and the qualities of his heart. In the proud conmoved. I sincerely desired, that to the military wreath flicts of intellect with intellect-in the sharpest contests which adorned his brow, a civic garland might be super- for the powers and influences of the State Government added. He has done much service to the state in time he maintained a lofty and honorable bearing. So he came of need. I desire that his hoary head and tottering frame, into his present official station. If he appears now under to which he has alluded, may go down to the grave in a cloud, that cloud has been thrown over him by the peace. But I am not content, as a tribute of gratitude to workings of an interior, invisible, irresponsible cabal, his military services, that he shall be master over the con- who, taking advantage of bis unsuspecting nature and the stitution and liberties of his country. I pray that no storm goodness of his heart, (for he cannot find it in biis heart to may come to teach him a lesson by its terrors and distrac- will an injury to any human being,) have thrown a retions. I pray that he may learn from his calm and sincere sponsibility upon him for that which they themselves con. friends, before it is too late to profit by the knowledge, trived. But my confidence in him induces a belief that that there is on ever-during difference between the firm he will emerge from the cloud and shine again by the friends to the constitution as well as to his personal fame, light of his own proper virtue and intellect. and the slippery sycophants of a court,
of the Attorney General, Mr. Butler, I can only say But the protest says the Secretary of the Treasury is that he came here preceded by a good report of bis qual“the mere instrument of the Chief Magistrate in the exe-ifications for the office. cution of the laws, subject, like all other heads of depart. The estimation which these men had acquired in their ments, to his supervision and control. No such idea as country, the good opinion and confidence of their fellow. an officer of the Congress can be found in the constitu- citizens, acquired by the general tenor of their actions, tion, or appears to have suggested itself to those who or- appear to me to be no mean pledges to the public that ganized the Government." “No joint power of appoint- they would not betray the trusts committed to them in ment is given to the two Houses of Congress; nor is there the high offices which they now hold. any accountability to them as one body. Here the Pres- I do not, therefore, suffer myself to believe that a counident seems to consider that responsibility follows the cil composed of these men, if left free to consult their power of appointment, as the shadow does the substance. own reason and judgments, could have consented to such And because there is no such idea as an officer of the doctrines as are set forth in the protest, or advised the Congress, and no appointments by the Congress, as one President that such prerogatives belonged to him by the body, therefore there is no accountability to Congress. constitution and the laws. In tenderness to the PresiNow the idea of an officer of the President, the mere in-dent, I must believe that, if left to himself alone, or to the strument of the Chief Magistrate, is not to be found in the advice of these heads of departments in council, according constitution; nor in the suggestions of those “ who organ- to the usage established by his predecessors, he would not ized the Government.” They are all officers of the Uni-have asserted such arbitrary doctrines as consonant with ted States, officers of the Government, officers of the law, the spirit or the letter of our happy constitution. I am responsible to the Government and the laws. And if the compelled, then, to ascribe these doctrines, not to the President makes out their responsibility to him, as he has visible, responsible cabinet, but to the workings of an irreclaimed it, he must make out that he is the Government, sponsible, interior, back stairs influence, called, in courts, the law, and the prophet.
cabinet double. Wheresoever and whensoever such an Who advised the President to this protest? I cannot interior double cabinet shall prevail, selfish, cunning men believe it to have received the advice and countenance of will creep in: the affairs of the Government will be cona council of the heads of departments. The Secretary of ducted on the plan of court favoritism, for the benefit of State, Mr. McLane, has a high and honorable reputation the receivers of salaries, jobs, and contracts, and not upon for talents, integrity, diligence, and firmness. His well-Iany great principles of policy to advance the general prosAPRIL 25, 1834.]
perity of the people. The partialities and prejudices, the ident.) As tribune, he could suspend all proceedings of policies and intrigues, of the back stairs influence of the the Senate, (so can the President, by his veto, suspend interior irresponsible cabal, will produce the most incon- legislation not suited to his will.) As censor, he was the sistent measures and principles. The double cabinets in fountain of honor-could promote or degrade, (so can the England have produced fickle, fluctuating councils and President, by the power of appointment and removal.) orders, to the disgrace of the administration at home and As imperator, he commanded the forces by sea and land, abroad. Such results must always happen from like (so does the President, and he commands the treasury
The cabinet who stand responsible in the eyes and an army of civil officers and receivers from the treasof the people, must break up the influence of the irre- ury.) The republic retained its forms; there were meetsponsible corps, or come out from the administration, or sings of the senate and assemblies of the people; laws were be disgraced. If they remain, and consent to serve their enacted, and elections made; affairs proceeded as usual, inferiors, then they will be in the awkward predicament in the name of the proper authorities—the consul, the of standing god-fathers for odious measures, and of ad- censor, the augur, the tribune of the people; but he himvising the President to principles in office to which he self acted in all these capacicties, dictated every resoluwas opposed before he came into office, or as serving, tion in the senate, and pointed out every candidate who after the loss of influence, for the gross emoluments of was to succeed in the pretended election. To constitute servitude.
a despotic power, it was not necessary to introduce any The powers and prerogatives claimed by the protest, new forms of office, nor to assume the name of dictator. united to those powers delegated by the constitution to The union of the offices of consul, tribune, censor, and the President, will leave us the substance of an absolute head of the army and navy, was sufficient.” monarchy, disguised by the forms of a commonwealth. Octavius, surnamed Augustus, most reluctantly would A writer, deeply read in ancient and modern history, who accept the power of dictatorship, (so is the modesty of had studied the liberties of Switzerland, and of England, all ambition in its first shoots,) for ten years only; but, examined the foundations of civil liberty, and traced the by successive elections, retained it during his life. His causes of the decline and downfall of Roman liberty, has successor retained the power, without the formality of the given us the definition of a monarchy, and the necessary decennial elections. Precedent never fails to transmit to elements for the protection of the public liberty. He the successor the power by a surer title. And an effort says: “The odvious definition of a monarchy, seems to be is now making, by the force of Executive influence, to that of a state in which a single person, by whatever name appoint the candidate who is to succeed to the office of he may be distinguished, is intrusted with the execution President. of the laws, the management of the revenue, and the com- By a letter from a friend who was at the convention in mand of the army. But, unless public liberty is protect- one of the States, and who vouches the truth of the state. ed by intrepid and vigilant guardians, the authority of so ment enclosed, an instructive lesson is taught, in characters formidable a magistrate will soon degenerate into des too legible to be overlooked, that the patronage of Govpotism."
ernment is brought into conflict with the freedom of elecAnd what have we come to in these days? A single tions. This convention was for the purpose of concerting person, intrusted with the execution of the laws, with the means for unity of action as to the next Presidency and command of the army and the navy, has laid claim to the Vice Presidency. custody and management of the public revenue and public The members of this convention consisted of 177 perproperty. He now manages the public treasury, which sons, of whom 106 were Federal and State office-holders, is continually replenishing under a permanent enactment and only 71 not holding office. This convention appointof taxes, by a system of his own; by the power of his ed committees of correspondence in nineteen congresveto; the voice of two-thirds of each House of Congress sional districts: of these committee men, amounting in all is necessary to repeal the taxes or take the custody and to fifty-two, thirty were office-holders, and only twentymanagement out of his hands, or to enact any system two holding no office. Of the thirty-six, sixteen were against his will. Add to this the doctrine that his power quartered upon the Government of the United States, the of control, by means of appointments and removals, is un- other fourteen, State officers. A State central commitqualified, that civil officers and all receivers from the tee was appointed for managing the affairs of the election, public treasury by salaries, jobs, and contracts, amount- consisting of nine members, seven were office-holders and ing to a very large number, are given to understand, by only two private citizens; and of the seven, five were the practice, that they are required to move in concert officers of the United States. Thus, throughout the with the plans of the court party, and we may truly say, whole machinery, the holders of offices and jobs were the that intrepid and vigilant guardians are necessary to pro- majority; and in or for the governing power of the systect the public liberty from the authority of a magistrate tem organized by the convention to operate upon elecso formidable. I thank my stars, that cast my destiniestions, the majority is composed of officers of the United in a land of liberty, that I am as yet free to raise my voice States. This is but a branch of the general system of the against the insidious sappers and miners of the foundations ruling dynasty, which is to be generally diffused through of free government; that I have compeers more power- the United States, to appoint the successor to the Presiful in argument and not less resolute in opposing those dency, and perpetuate the places and interests of the assaults upon the constitution. The great interests of the office-bolders and receivers from the public revenues: to country have been deeply affected, disordered, and bro-point out (as Augustus did) every candidate who is tu ken in upon by the mere act of the Executive. The mul- succeed in the pretended elections: to receive the voice titudes of sufferers, writhing under the tortures thus in- of public sentiment, as manufactured in the interior cabiflicted, attest this representation by their memorials day net in Washington, and return it in echo. after day presented to the Congress. And, as yet, I see Such a system, in the hands of men holding office at no remedy. The withering infuence of the Executive the will of one man, who claims an unqualified power of power is still exerted.
removal, is in conflict with the freedom of elections, corIt is not necessary to a despotic power, that the old rupting to the morals of the people, and dangerous to the forms of a free government should be demolished. Ano- existence of free government. Elections will be made to ther writer, of great learning and research into history, turn upon the question of support to the administration has given us an account of the Roman empire, after Au- of the Federal Government. The administration candigustus had established in himself a despotic power. “ As dates will be put up and supported by the office-holders consul, he was first executive magistrate, (so is the Pres- and the patronage of the Government-members will be
[APRIL 25, 1834.
elected who are to be pledged or averred to be pledged for the resolve of the Senate, I did not mean to impute in advance, to support all measures of the President, what was not charged, either the light and knowledge or known anul unknown, proposed or to be proposed, (like the corrupt motive. I can sincerely say, “Lord forgive those who swore to et ceteras,) whereby those who are him, he knew not what he did.” Even towards the inthe natural checks upon the power of the Executive do terior invisible cabinet, who advised and brought about but swell the train of his retainers. Have we not seen, the measure, I am charitably disposed to think, they did in the elections to the Legislature of an adjoining State, not foresee the extent of the mischiefs necessarily to administration candidates backed by the patronage and flow from their counsels and machinations. The agent influence of the Federal administration? looking to the selected by the President to confer with State banks, election of a Senator of the United States to support the says in his correspondence, and the President repeats in administration, rather than to the great interests of the his manifesto, that the funds of the Government will not State and State legislation? Have we not seen many other be annihilated by being transferred. They will immediexamples in the States of like character? It will require ately be issued for the benefit of trade, and if the Bank of time to corrupt the great body of the people. But this the United States curtails its loans, the State banks, deadly poison to our institutions will, in process of time, strengthened by the public deposites, will extend theirs; be circulated through the whole system, unless the people what comes in through one bank will go out through apply the antidote. The people of Ohio have manifested others, and the equilibrium will be preserved. The Pres. a movement to oppose the system of the office-holders, ident verily believes the bank has not the power to proand to assert their just rights and proper weights in elec- duce the calamities its friends threaten. But now, alas! tions. It is devoutly to be wished that they will counter- when the calamities have visited the great interests of the act the movements of the self-created guardians of their people, we are told the bank has produced them. How suffrages, and that resistance to arrogant assumptions grievous to the community, that the President did not elsewhere will be successful.
listen to the counsels of Mr. Duane, the Secretary of the The President has been made to say, that the resolu. Treasury, and such like “ friends of the bank,” rather tion of the Senate is a judicial proceeding, an impeach- than to the deceitful nostrums of mountebanks, and the ment; that he has been accused and found guilty, and whisperings of tinkers and pedlers in politics, dealing in convicted by less than two-thirds of the members present, court favor, and in slanders upon the Senate and House and without a hearing. I regret that the President of of Representatives. the United States, occupying such an elevated position, How unfortunate that the President, before he conshould have put his name to such a paper. The Senate demned the directors and inflicted the punishment on the have done no act which bears the form of a judicial pro- bank, was not reminded of the golden rule, “Hear the ceeding; no judgment of conviction, no award of punish- accused before you punish,” now so eloquently pleaded ment, no disability, is declared or adjudged or ordered. in his behalf. The Senate have not passed their resolve The President has labored to prove that the resolution touching the conduct of the President, without hearing convicts him of an impeachable offence, because it does him. We proceeded upon his own statements, his own not expressly acquit him of impure motives. The res-acts, his own words, his own communications, and upon olution of the Senate does not charge any traitorous the arguments of his own attorney, “his instrument, as design, or corrupt motives. And if the President, who he calls him; and if he has been convicted of error, put best knows his own motives, chooses to connect with the of his own mouth is he convicted. We have proceeded transaction, impure motives, as impelling him to those upon undisputed facts, not collected from secret informacts, I reply,“ Qui capit ille facit:" He who takes the im-ers, but proclaimed by himself, notorious to the millions putation, makes it. The resolution of the Senate has not suffering under the effects of his misguided policy. The made it. In treason, the traitorous design must be charged facts are matters of indelible history, the deduction and as well as the overt act. In high crimes, the corrupt mo. conclusions of the Senate from those facts are before the tive, the malice premeditated, must be charged: in mis- public; the censure and the praise will be bestowed demeanors in office, the mala fides must be alleged. An where it is due, by the intelligence of the public, now and accusation not founded on such allegations would be in- hereafter. sufficient. No judgment of conviction, based upon an ac- But the protest rebukes the Senate as having overcusation void of such averments, ought to be pronounced, leaped the boundaries assigned to them by the constituand no punishment would be inflicted in a judicial pro- tion. It is said they did not act in their judicial characceeding Judges Chase and Peck were acquitted by ter, as a court of impeachment, nor by any executive the high court for the trial of impeachments, because the powers conferred on the Senate; that the resolution ascorrupt motive was not fixed upon the accused. Judge serts no legislative action, possesses neither the form nor Peck had, under color of his office, imprisoned a citizen, attributes of a legislative measure, but is a prejudgment and suspended him from his rights and privileges and of an impeachable offence and a disqualification of the business, as an attorney of the court. These high-landed, Senators to try an impeachment if preferred by the House arbitrary acts of the judge were without authority of law. of Representatives for the same matters. That the SenYet he was voted not guilty of a crime or misdemeanor in ate, in passing the resolve, did not act as a court of office, because the wicked and corrupt motive was not impeachment, that it possesses neither the form nor fixed upon him. I was not a member of the court of im- any of the attributes" of the process of a court of impeachment, because I was absent by sickness until part peachment, I readily grant; but that it asserts no legisof the evidence had been given. But I was informed lative power, or has no view to legislative result
, I utby my honorable friend from Tennessee, (Mr. WHITE,] terly deny. Moreover, I utterly deny that the powers and by others, that they did not accord to the judge the of the Senate are circumscribed and limited to the crippowers and doctrines of contempt which he had assum- pled, impotent mode of action supposed in the protest. ed, but they voted him not guilty of the impeachment, If the whole body cannot express an opinion upon the because they were satisfied the judge really believed he conduct of the President, nor of other officers, because was exercising only lawful powers, although such opinion it is the trier of impeachments, then no individual memof the judge was a great mistake of the law. There the ber can express himself in debate in disapprobation of bad motive was not inferred from a most oppressive, ille. the conduct of the President, or any other officer. For gal assumption of undelegated power; it was required the objection that the body bad disqualified itself as the that a sin against light and knowledge, or from bad mo- trier of an impeachment, by prejudging the conduct of tive, should be brought home to the accused. In voting an officer who might be impeached for that conduct,
APRIL 25, 1834.)
(SENATE. would equally apply to each individual member who might in the person for doing the act, were both within the ia debate disapprove the conduct of an officer. Such a proper powers and deliberations of the Senate. The fact construction would convert the power of deciding im- was notorious, by the manifesto of the President, and the peachments, which is a power superadded to their other publication thereof by luis authority, that the removal powers, enjoyed in common with the House of Represent was ordered by him; that proclamation of the President is atives, into a curtailment and crippling of the powers acknowledged by his response to the Senate; the fact of expressly delegated to the Senate. When sitting as a removal by the President's command is confessed. The court of impeachment, a new and particular oath of office resolution of the Senate belonged to their legislative is prescribed by the constitution. No challenge of a Sen-power; it looked to legislative action; it looked to the ator is allowed because of opinions before expressed, restoration of the law to its proper vigor—to its unre. any more than a challenge of a judge on the bench for pealed and existing authority; and if the executive and opinions before delivered. As a court of impeachment, administrative faculties of the Government had been in the Senate pass a judicial opinion, and if the accused is sound and healthy action, the deposites would have been convicted of an impeachable offence, a judicial sentence restored in consequence of the resolution of either House of punishment is pronounced. A legal and effective con- disapproving the removal. For the act of 1816 is not resequence follows the judgment. But the expression of pealed-it could not be repealed, but by the assent of both an opinion upon the conduct of an officer not impeached, branches of the Legislature. The refusal of either branch can have only a moral effect and consequence. This to repeal, would leave the enacted law in force. So the moral effect to restrain public officers within proper refusal of either House of Congress to approve the reasons bounds, properly belongs to the powers of the Senate. for suspending this law, left that law in force, and ought The House of Representatives are under no obligation to to have awakened the Secretary of the Treasury to the impeach for every departure from the line of duty. Ev- restoration and observance of the law. ery aberration from duty, every assumption of power, by The resolution of the Senate does assert the legislative an officer, does not necessarily amount to a high crime, or power of the Congress over the public Treasury, by dehigh misdemeanor in office. "The Senate, as a part of the nying to the President the custody, control, and manage. Legislative department, have a right to guard their own ment, as exercised and asserted in his late proceedings, powers of legislation from encroachment by the Execu- in relation to the public revenue. It cannot be admitted, tire, by interposing a moral effect and restraint; by exert- as the theory of the constitution, that the President of the ing their political powers, by declaring their sense of the United States can take into his custody and management boundaries of the Legislative, Executive, or Judicial de. the public money, devise a system of financial operapartments; although their judicial power is not called into tions and agencies, and hold on until, by a concurrent vote action. Such political action, short of their judicial pow. of the two Houses of the Legislature, a limitation upon er, is one of the checks and guards against disorders and his system and a dispossession of his agents shall be de. aggression properly resulting from the structure of our vised, in a form which shall meet his approbation; or, if Government, and so intended.
not, shall command the concurrence of two-thirds of both As the act of Congress giving a discretionary power to Houses to overrule his veto. The powers over the puborder the deposites not to be made in the Bank of the lic Treasury are expressly delegated to the Congress. United States required the reasons to be reported to Con- The Senate of the United States is one branch of that de. gress in case that discretionary power was exercised, the pository of power-one of the trustees and guardians of message of the President and the report of the Secretary the public purse. The constitution has distributed the assigning the reasons for the removal, necessarily called powers of the Government between three departments, upon each House of Congress to approve or disapprove. Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; and has delegated to The general command of the law was, that the public each its appropriate powers by enumeration. If the moneys should be deposited in the Bank of the United Chief Magistrate endeavors to subvert this distribution, if States; but a special authority to suspend the execution of he overstrains his powers, and trenches upon the powers this general command, has been delegated by the Con- delegated to the Legislature, the Senate, as a component gress to the Secretary of the Treasury, the financial agent branch of that Legislature, have the right and are in of Congress. The message of the President and the re- duty bound to resist such encroachment, and to maintain port of the Secretary, informed us that the execution of their powers and authority. To be supine, to throw the ihe general command of this law had, in the recess of whole watch upon the House of Representatives, would Congress, been suspended. Whether the special author- be unworthy of the Senate, an abandonment of their trust, ity to suspend the execution of this law, delegated by a disregard of their oaths, and treachery to the constituCongress to another, had been pursued, or transcended, tion. When the distribution of the powers of the Gov.. was presented for the consideration of the Senate. Such ernment is assailed by the Chief Executive Magistratesuspension of the execution of law, made, not by the Le. when the public faith is brought into question-when the gislature, but by another power, necessarily involved three essential principles of free government are assaulted, considerations. First: the person to whom the special shall the Senate look on the conflict, connive by slothful authority to suspend had been committed. Secondly: indifference, and be silent as if turned to stone? Whether that special authority had been exercised by the When Great Britain overleaped the boundaries of the person or officer to whom it was delegated, or by some constitution, when the King stretched and abused his other, to whom it had not been intrusted. Thirdly: The powers and prerogative, to the detriment of the rights of esistence or non-existence of the reasons for suspending the colonies, our forefathers did not remain silent and inthe execution of the law contemplated by the Legislature active in their colonial assemblies. They declared their in the delegation of the authority.
rights by resolutions; and the spirit and courage of the The delegation of the authority was confided especially people maintained those rights. to the Secretary of the Treasury. If the suspension of The liberty now enjoyed in England has been prethe law by the removal of the deposites, had been effect. served by the Ilouse of Commons in resisting the ened by the Attorney General, that suspension of the com- croachments of the powers and prerogatives of the monmand of the law would have been palpably contrary to arch by spirited resolves, and by refusing to vote the monthe authority delegated by the Legislature; and it would eys to support government, until power was in the hands have been within the power of the Senate, and its duty, of persons acceptable to the people, or while factions to disapprove the removal for that cause. The insuffi- predominated in the court. Out of the many examples ciency of the reasons, and the want of competent power lwhich parliamentary history furnishes, I shall content my
[APRIL 25, 1834.
self with reference to two: In 1604 the Commons voted Washington, nominating a collector of Charleston. The that they were free to guard against the encroachments Senate rejected the person first nominated; the President. of arbitrary power-free to preserve the liberties and nominated another, (not a re-nomination of the person reproperty of the subject. In 1621 the Commons resolved, ljected,) and gave his reasons for the former nomination, s that redress of mischiefs and grievances which daily with kind suggestions, that he supposed the Senate rehappen in this land, are proper subjects and matter of fused their assent for the want of information of the per. counsel and debate in Parliament; and that in the hand son and his character; and it might conduce to mutual ling and proceedings of those businesses, every member of convenience, and the ends of justice, if the Senate would the House hath of right, and ought to have, freedom of in future ask the President for information where the perspeech, to propound, treat, reason, and bring to conclu. sons nominated were unknown to them. This suggestion sion the same; and that the Commons in Parliament have has been followed ever since. President Washington did like liberty and freedom to treat of those matters in such not rebuke the Senate; he did not persist in his first nomorder as in their judgment shall seem fittest," &c. This ination; he acquiesced in the authority and decision of the resolve was bighly offensive to the King, and he sent his Senate, manifesting his respect for that decision by nomi. letter missive to the Commons. All such like resolutions nating promptly a different person for the office. It is to condemning the acts of the ministry, and censuring the be regretted that this example of President Washington encroachments of executive power, were taken in ill part has not been imitated by President Jackson. by the King, but the Commons and the people ultimately The example of the House of Representatives of Pennprevailed.
sylvania has been cited in receiving a communication from The two Honses of the Congress, and the members in- Governor McKean. Articles of impeachment against the dividually and collectively of each House, are sentinels Governor had been reported by a committee. The House placed by the constitution in the watchtowers of liberty, refused to concur with the committee, and rejected the to sound the alarm when the ramparts are assaulted, and articles of impeachment. The response of the Governor to summon the people to the defence.
to the articles reported against him was received by the To receive and record the protest of the President House. This act of that body in receiving the message of would be to countenance, in a degree, the dangerous doc. the Governor, in accordance with their own decision, has trines it is intended to inculcate. It would be establishing been cited to induce the Senate to record a message rea precedent in favor of the Executive interference with buking them for their decision, and persisting in the conthe freedom of the proceedings of the two Houses of Con- duct and assertion of powers complained of in the resolugress.
tion. This message falls within no description of powers In furtherance of the Presidential rebuke and threatgiven by the constitution or the laws to the President, for ening of the Senate with the chastisement of the people, his intercourse with the Congress. It communicates no the case of Mr. Wilkes's expulsion by the House of Comnomination to office, no treaty, no measure for legislative mons of England, and his support by the people, have action, no information touching the state of the Union, re- been alluded to. In this I do see some analogy between commends no measure judged necessary or expedient for that which has happened in England, and what has hap: Congress to legislate for the general welfare, but it is in pened, and may happen, in the United States. I will name, face, and character, a protest against a proceeding state the case. Mr. Wilkes was a member of Parliament, of the Senate, and a Presidential rebuke of the body. I and in opposition to the administration. The ministry can neither consent to enlarge the prerogative of the prosecuted and convicted him in the King's bench, for President, nor to give the message a place on the Jour- printing and publishing what they called, and they ad. nals, to be quoted in after times, either as a precedent for judged, a seditious libel, and three obscene libels, and interference with the deliberations of either of the two outlawed him. The ministry, no doubt, did this “as neHouses of ongress, or by his successors in favor of the cessary to preserve the morals of the people” and “the all-absorbing powers of the Executive.
freedom of the press.” On the eve of a general election Precedents are seized with avidity to support Execu- for the next Parliament, Mr. Wilkes appeared in public, tive power, but weigh nothing when opposed to arbitrary the outlawry notwithstanding, and was elected a member will." Junius has given an impressive warning never to of Parliament by the votes of the county of Middlesex. suffer an invasion of the constitution, “however minute That Parliament, by the ministerial majority, expelled the instance may appear, to pass by without a determined, him for the seditious libel and the three obscene libels persevering resistance. One precedent creates another. for which the King's bench bad convicted him, and also They soon accumulate, and constitute law. What yester for having written a preface to a letter which had been day was fact, to-day is doctrine. Examples are supposed printed in the public papers, which they also called “an to justify the most dangerous measures, and where they insolent, scandalous, and seditious libel-and thereupon do not suit exactly, the defect is supplied by analogy." a writ of election issued. No doubt the ministerial party The disposition to justify the workings of arbitrary power did all this “as necessary to preserve the morals of the by precedents and forced analogies, is exemplified in the people, the freedom of the press, and the purity of the quotations resorted to by the President, and the support- elective franchise!" The voters of Middlesex, however, ers of his measures. The example of a former Secretary unanimously re-elected Mr. Wilkes. The ministerial of the Treasury, (Mr. Crawford,) in relation to the de- party voted that the former expulsion rendered him incaposites of the public moneys, has been referred to as jus. pable of being elected a member of that Parliament, and tifying the removal of the deposites in the case under con- another writ of election issued. sideration. But even in this instance, the authority con- The voters of Middlesex again unanimously re-elected ferred on Mr. Crawford by a joint resolution of both Mr. Wilkes. The ministerial majority again declared the Houses, for the purpose of inducing the State banks to election void, and issued another writ of election. The resume payments in specie, is overlooked. The actings voters of Middlesex again unanimously re-elected Mr. of the former Secretary, in cases which did not depend Wilkes. The ministerial party again declared the elec. upon his sole will, but requiring the concurrent acts and tion void, and ordered another election. Notwithstanding volition of the banks, are by forced analogy made to jus- the various resolutions of the House, Mr. Wilkes was tify the act of the Secretary in a case depending upon his elected the fourth time to the same Parliament, by a very sole will. An act done in pursuance of authority, is cited large majority. The King's party again declared the to justify an act done by breach of law.
election of Mr. Wilkes void; but Mr. Lutterell, the minAnother example cited, is the message of President isterial candidate, in this last election, had received some