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APRIL 29, 1834.]
Hanover (Pa. Proceedings.
deeply impressed with this appalling state of public af- of that election, not to political considerations, but to the fairs, it became necessary for the Chief Magistrate to act. circumstance that it was the place that gave birth to a son He did not proceed rashly-he was at the source of in. so distinguished, and of whom she had every reason to be formation, and had continued intercourse with the friends so proud. Had the election terminated otherwise, and and adversaries of the bank. And after viewing the had not the good people of Hanover given their votes for whole ground, and ascertaining all the facts bearing upon their native son, I would then say they ought to suffer the existing state of things, he honestly formed his own Long-and-Hungry," to be trampled under “Negro. opinion, and, under all the solemnity and responsibility foot," and to have the name of their county changed to of his bigh office, on the 26th February last, in the per- that of “ Hell-town.” formance of his duty, made a communication to the Le- Mr. CLAY said, that he thought the Senator from gislature, on the disordered state of their financial con- Pennsylvania (Mr. Wilkins] sbould have imitated the cerns. At this time, the Governor, Executive officers, more prudent example of his colleague, and silently left Legislature, and a great portion of the people of Penn- the conduct of Governor Wolf to its own vindication. sylvania, took their stand, and assumed their present atti- The explanation of the Senator has not justified it. The tude, in reference to the conduct of the Bank of the people of Hanover district, in York county, charge their United States.
Chief Magistrate, in resolutions which relate to the deNow, Mr. President, I do not pretend to ascribe to that posites and the Bank of the United States, with a vacilmessage or that attitude, the success and prosperity which lating and time-serving course. The charge must be unimmediately followed; but, sir, it is very certain that, im- derstood as referring to the subject of the deposites and mediately after this frank but modest expression of opin- of the Bank. And what is the defence of the Senator? ion, our credit revived; the temporary loan of $300,000 That the Governor is very firm and uniform in respect to was presently taken; the larger loan of $729,000 at five the internal improvements of Pennsylvania! But he ex. per cent. was also contracted for; and the whole amount pressly admits the alleged vacillation, when he acknowl. of money necessary for the prosecution of our admirable edges that the Governor has recently been for the bank, policy is offered to us, and for which there will, no doubt, ard is now against it. be considerable competition. From the moment of which Mr. President, when the Governor's unexpected mesI speak, when we assumed this position adverse to the sage arrived here, it was felt by all parties that he had Bank of the United States, Pennsylvania stocks began to thrown his great weight into the scale of the President. rise, and they are already up at 108, and are ascending. It was blazoned forth by the administration party and The Senator from Kentucky asks me from what quarter prints, that the Governor had come out in favor of the comes this money? I answer, from the other side of the removal of the deposites, and against the bank. It was Atlantic, where our credit never has been impaired. Gov- felt here, as the Senator from Georgia expressed it, as a ernor Wolf was right when he intimated that the im- damper. It was believed that several votes in another proper conduct and machinations of the bank might part of the Capitol, which had been doubtful, were de. embarrass us at home, but could not affect us abroad, cided by it. where our vast resources, and our punctuality in comply- And on what evidence does the Governor, in his very ing with our engagements were well known and properly modest charge against the bank of carrying ruin into an appreciated. Surely, the Senator from Kentucky will unoffending community, rely? We have it officially, in not complain that our character stands so high with Eu- a document dated eight days after the date of the Governropean capitalists, and that they are willing to send their or's message, that, although about nine millions of public money, at a low interest, across the ocean, to build up our deposites had been withdrawn, the bank had only lessendomestic improvements, and to complete a policy upon ed its accommodations to the public about four millions. which Pennsylvania believes the happiness and prosperity Instead, therefore, of the bank withdrawing its accomof her citizens depend.
modations and preparing to wind up, as the President inI have no right to speak of the private sentiments of tended, and thereby inflicting distress upon the commuGovernor Wolf, in relation to the Bank of the United nity, it had actually forborne to call in a sum equal to States, not having had the honor of any correspondence one-half of the withdrawn deposites. with him this winter; but, if I am permitted to throw out But it seems, and he (Mr. C.) was glad of it, that before the Senate any presumption upon the subject, 1 Pennsylvania had obtained foreign capital to aid in the might say, I think it likely he is opposed to the re-charter completion of their laudable works of internal improve. of the present bank. What his opinion upon the ulti- ment-that foreign capital, the acquisition of which is mate question of a national bank may be, I cannot tell. reprobated by the President of the United States! He
Mr. W. concluded by saying: Mr. President, I ascribe (Mr. C.) would admit the great advantage to a young and what I will not call by the harsh name of an attack upon growing people of such acquisitions. But he would inthe Governor of Pennsylvania, but the error into which quire how the Bank of the United States did ever prethe Senator from Kentucky has fallen, in reference to his vent, or could prevent, at any time, the Governor of character, to the circumstance or curious coincidence of Pennsylvania from negotiating loans abroad? names which seems to have given him unusual animation With respect to the message of the Governor, Mr. C. of spirits on Friday last. It appears that upon that morn- believed it susceptible of proof that, not three days be. ing he received the news of the result of the elections in fore the message was sent in, the Governor expressed Hanover, Virginia, and, at the same time, these proceed. different sentiments, and avowed himself in favor of a ings from Hanover, Pennsylvania, were put into his hånds. re-charter of the Bank of the United States. The SenaThis coincidence appears to bave fushed the gentleman tor admits his change of opinion about the bank. What with certain victory, and his manner of communicating has produced it? Although the President asserts, in his the intelligence induced me, for a moment, to suppose we cabinet paper, that new facts had been disclosed since the were all prostrated, and, for a while, I was orercome by large majority of the House of Representatives declared, great political depression. I took my seat under great at the last session, the safety of the bank, not one solita* pressure" and "Jistress," not knowing that I possessed ry new fact of any importance has come out. As to the sufficient philosophy to bear me up under the overwhelm- circulation of printed documents by the bank, that fact, ing tidings of such political adversity. But I was imme- and all other charges made by the Executive against it, diately relieved and cheered when this Hanover, in Vir- were as well known at the last session of Congress, and ginia, was announced as the birth-place of the Senator as well known to the Governor at Harrisburg, when he from Kentucky. I then immediately ascribed the result expressed an official opinion in favor of the re-charter, as
[APRIL 29, 1834. they now are. What, then, has changed the opinion of a principle can be found. The language of this commuthis firm, consistent, and uniform magistrate?
nication is certainly respectful, decorous, and courteous Mr. President, our systems, Federal and State, are so to this body. Not one harsh expression is lised by the interwoven and blended; the public acts of one system Chief Magistrate. This, even the gentleman from Virexert such influence upon the other; that I feel myself ginia, (Mr. LEIGH,) who does not view this paper, or any fully authorized in commenting upon the official conduct other act of the President, with too favorable an eye, adof any public man; especially when I feel that it has pow- mits; therefore, no exception to its reception, in respect erfully operated on the public councils of which I ain an to the language employed, can be maintained. bumble member; and more especially when the people It is said, however, that some of the principles and of Pennsylvania had, without any solicitation, devolved doctrines it contains are unsound. Even if this were so, on me the duty of presenting resolutions, in which they which I by no means admit, it would constitute no obbring forward in bold relief the conduct of their Gov. jection to its reception; because the Senate, by receiv
ing it, gives no sanction to them. They are the PresiThe honorable Senator says, the great battle of Wa- dent's views and opinions, not the views and opinions of terloo was fought at Harrisburg. If it were, Governor the Senate, more than the sentiments contained in an anWolf was the Marshal Grouchy of the day, who fuiled to nual message, which may be entirely at variance with the bring up his corps on the side of the constitution, laws, opinions entertained by the Senate. Still, such commuand prosperity of his country.
nications, and all others, made in the progress of the ses. After some further remarks, by Mr. Maxgum and Mr. sion by the Chief Magistrate, are always received, entered Clay, the motion to refer the memorial was agreed to. upon the Journals, and printed by order of the Senate.
Mr. WEBSTER gave notice that he would to-morrow If, then, a well-founded objection exists, it must be in call up the military appropriation bill from the other this: that the President should not have addressed the House, now lying on the table; and that he should move Senate at all upon this subject. Gentlemen on the other to suspend the debate on the special order, for the pur-side say that such a message has never been transmitted pose of going into the consideration of Executive business. by any President of the United States to this body. To PRESIDENT'S PROTEST.
this I answer, that the Senate, at no former period, has
done an act which called for such a message. This body The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the never, until this session, has passed a vote of censure special order, being the resolutions offered by Mr. Porr. upon a Chief Magistrate. Was Washington ever acciDEXTER, as modified by Mr. Clar.
sed of crime by this body? Was the elder Adams, Jef. The question being on the motion of Mr. Bibe to ferson, Madison, Monroe, or the younger Adams, ever amend
condemned by a vote of the Senate? Were either of Mr. GRUNDY addressed the Chair as follows: them ever formally accused of usurping power not
Mr. President: Men are never so much exposed to er- granted by the constitution or the laws, and by a deliberror as when called on to decide upon the propriety of ate vote of this body pronounced to be guilty? No, their own conduct, or the extent of their own rights and never! privileges; and the danger is greatly increased when the If, then, there be any thing of novelty in this proceeddecision is to be made amidst high public excitement, ing of the Executive, it has its origin and justification in produced by the contests of political parties. This is at the conduct of the Senate; and is every controversy of ihis moment the condition of the American Senate. This this kind, it is material to ascertain which party is the asbody has done an act, the propriety of which is gravely sailant, and which merely stands on its defence, in order called in question by the head of another independent de to determine who should be answerable for the consepartment of the Government, who considers himself deep- quences that may follow. iy implicated, and much injured, by the proceedings of The power of the Senate, and the propriety of adoptthe Senate.
ing the resolution complained of by the President, is de. It is a controversy of no ordinary character. The par- fended upon the ground that it is preparatory to a legisties to it are high public functionariesmas high as any lative act. The history of this proceeding will best test known to our Government or constitution. This contro- the correctness of this allegation. The resolution was versy, if carried out to the extent contemplated by some introduced on the 26th of December last, in company with gentlemen, may even shake the pillars of the fairest polit- another, declaring that the reasons assigned by the Secreical fabric ever erected by the wisdom of man.
tary of the Treasury were insufficient and unsatisfactory. Under this view of the subject, can it be right that Sen. After a discussion of some months, the other resolution ators sbould act under the impulse of angry passions? So was referred to the Committee on Finance. This referfar from it, it seems to me that cool deliberation, sober ence was with a view to legislative action. This every reflection, and, I will add, extreme caution, befit the oc- Senator knew; it was so avowed and understood by all. casion. I will not, therefore, obey the invocation of the But this resolution remained upon the table of the Senate, Senator from Mississippi, (Mr. Poindexten,) when he because it was apparent that no legislative act could be asks Senators to bring their indignant feelings into action predicated upon it. If gentlemen designed that legislain the consideration of this subject. So far from it, ex- tion should spring out of this resolution, why was it not cept that agitation which the importance of the occasion referred also to the appropriate committee? The concluproduces, I will be calm, and command every turbulent sion is irresistible; none was designed by this body, wbat. and violent feeling to be still. Others may contend for ever may have been the expectation of particular memvictory. My humble Jabors shall be directed to the bers. The other resolution contains fit matters for Consafety of the republic, and the tranquillity of the country. gress to act upon. They can provide for the safe keep
For the first time in the history of this Government, ing of the public moneys in any depositories they please, now in operation 4.5 years, a motion is made to reject, or and they ought to do so; nor sball we have discharged not to receive, a message from the President" of the our duty to ihe country without making suitable provisUnited States. This step can derive no aid or sanction lions upon that subject at the present session. Congress from precedent. It has never been done before. No can also prescribe the terms and conditions upon which such proposition is to be found on the records of the the public inoneys shall be drawn from these depositories, proceedings of this body. If it can be justified, it must They can throw what safeguards they please around the be upon some principle existing in the case itself. public treasure; and the President and all other officers
I propose, in a brief manner, to examine whether such lwill be bound to conform to the regulations thus pre.
APRIL 29, 1834.]
scribed; and, in failure to do so, they will be guilty of the estimation of all men, he would be a traitor and an misconduct in the discharge of their public duties. enemy to his country. In case of homicide, the unlawful
Upon the resolution respecting the insufficiency of the killing being proved, the law presumes the evil intent reasons of the Secretary of the Treasury, which was re- from the unlawful act. This Senate has found the Chief ported upon favorably by the Committee on Finance, all Magistrate guilty of an unlawful act, which, if done with and every act of legislation can be founded which may an evil intent, makes him a high culprit. The law, acbe deemed necessary in relation to the safe keeping and cording to the principle I have laid down, accompanies preservation of the public money. But I should be glad the act with the criminal intent, unless he shall show the to hear what provision, in the form of law, can be based absence of any evil design on his part. upon the resolution now under consideration. If gentle- [Here Mr. Leigu asked Mr. Grundy to yield the floor men shall say, they mean to legislate so as to prohibit re- to him; and remarked, that he wholly disagreed to the movals from office without the consent of the Senate, in positions laid down by him.) order to prevent a recurrence of such circumstances as Mr. Grundy replied: This shows how fallible we are. have lately taken place, my answer is, that the constitu- We can't agree—such is the nature of our positions upon tion gives the power of removal in the unqualified man- the plainest and best established principles. The princi. ner in which it has been exercised, and Congress cannot ple I have laid down can be found even in Blackstone's take it away by law. Further, if the Senator from Ken. Commentaries; can be found in every elementary treatise tucky (Mr. CLAY) originally intended to proceed in this on criminal law. So familiar is it to my mind, that I can way, he abandoned that intention by the introduction of state it almost verbatim from memory, as found in East's another resolution now pending before the Senate, in Crown Law. The principle is, the implication of malice which it is declared expressly that this power of removal arises in every instance of homicide, amounting, in point is not given to the Executive by the constitution. of law, to murder; and in every charge of murder, the
I therefore conclude, that no legislative act was intend- fact of killing being first proved, all the circumstances of ed or could grow out of the resolution which has given accident, necessity, or infirmity, are to be satisfactorily rise to the protest of the President now under considera- proved by the prisoner, unless they arise out of the evi. tion. The language of the resolution is, "That the dence produced against him. President, in the late Executive proceedings in relation I think I can say without vanity, that however defecto the public revenue, has assumed upon himself author- tive in knowledge I may be on other subjects, I have some ity and power not conferred by the constitution and laws, acquaintance with the principles of criminal law, and I but in derogation of both." Upon its face, and by its am unwilling that it shall be believed that I misstate them language, it is wholly retrospective, and does not indicate here. My constituents and my colleagues of the other a design to legislate with a view to prevent repetitions of Ilouse, whom I see before me, would not have charity such infractions of the constitution and laws as are charged enough to believe that I had done it ignorantly. The in it. As I understand it, and as I believe the people will presumption with them would be, that it had been done understand it, it is wholly accusatory and condemnatory. Knowingly and with an evil intent. As further evidence of this, it has been adopted for sever- [Mr. Clay here asked Mr. Grundy, if an indictment al weeks, and no proposition to proceed further upon for treason would be good without charging that the overt the subject of its contents has been made by any Senator. act had been done traitorously.] It is a judgment against the President, pronounced by a Mr. Grundy replied, Certainly not. Nor is the indictmajority of this body, condemning him of high crimes and ment which we have found against the Chief Magistrate, misdemeanors a judgment inoperative, so far as to de- good and sufficient in law. It is defective in form, and prive him of office or disqualify bin from holding places wants a portion of the substance, but we have found all of trust under the constitution, because the accusation the facts necessary to a conviction, and we have prowas not preferred by the House of Representatives, the nounced the law upon them. We have said by our resuonly accusers known to the constitution; because not pro- lutions that the Chief Magistrate has done particular acts, nounced by this tribunal upon a case regularly presented and we have declared also, that the acts thus done were to its consideration and decision; and because not pro- unconstitutional and unlawful. His case is adjudged. It nounced by two-thirds of this body. But for every pur. lis decided, if the position assumed by me in reference to pose touching character and public standing, so far as tlie the criminal intent be correct. Now, what remains to be voice of twenty-six Senators can go, he stands condemned! done! Only that the House of Representatives present
Gentlemen say, that although the Senate has pro- their indictment or articles of impeachment drawn out in nounced the conduct of the Executive unconstitutional the usual form, stating that Andrew Jackson, President and illegal, it has not imputed to him a criminal intent of the United States, not having the fear of God before This is true; but surely I need not argue or produce au- his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation thority to prove to this tribunal, composed chiefly of of the devil, did do and perform certain acts, (specifying learned lawyers, the principle which exists in the criminal them,) upon which this resolution is based, with an evil jurisprudence of this and every other enlightened country, and wicked intent and purpose, &c. Then he stands that where an unlawful act is committed, which, if done before us for trial. with a criminal intent, would be punishable, the law Already have we done that which will relieve us from presumes or supplies the criminal intent; and it lies upon all serious difficulty and trouble. Should he deny the the party accused to show that it was committed under existence of the facts referred to by the resolution, the circumstances which do away or destroy that legal pre. Senate has solemnly declared that the facts do exist; they sumption. I will illustrate this. Suppose, on a day of were found before the trial commenced, before the acbattle, an American citizen shall be found in the ranks of cusation was preferred, and found by the ultimate triers the enemy; the law considers him a traitor; and upon of the facts, and their finding is on record. Witherto, it proof of that fact, and that alone, he would be convicted has been understood that the law and the facts were open and executed; because the presumption of the law, arising to a full and impartial investigation upon the final trial from the fact of his being in the ranks of the enemy, of a party accused. In this case, should the President would be, that he was there traitorously-still, he might be brought forward, and put upon his trial, and attempt prove that he had been taken captive; that he had been to show that all the powers exercised by him were conplaced in that situation by superior force. This would ferred by the constitution and laws, there stands the be a good defence. He would be acquitted: but until judgment of the Senate on record, declaring they are not ke shall make out his case, in the eye of the law and in lgiven; the law of the case is settled, as well as ihe facts. SENATE.)
(APRIL 29, 1834.
All this is done without notice, without defence, or op- of an infraction of the constitution and laws, can the other portunity of making defence; and done too, by the high- be charged with intrusion, or improper interference, when est judicial tribunal known to our Government. In other he shall say to him, “You have pronounced me guilty of tribunals, the trial precedes the judgment. Before this, the commission of error, or dereliction of duty; but our the sentence of condemnation is passed, and then comes constituents and superiors have declared that I have done the trial--a trial pro forma merely, to comply with the my duty, and you have committed an error; and in supletter of the constitution. But suppose the evil intent is port, and as evidence that I am not mistaken, the Legisnot to be legally inferred from the act, and that the ac-lature of New Jersey, the generally acknowledged organ cusers must bring proof to establish it. This kind of in- of the public will, have, upon their records, declared that vestigation depends on no known and fixed principles or I have not violated the constitution or laws?” Further, rules. Each individual most frequently decides according can it be wrong for the President to show to his contemto his predisposition to think favorably or unfavorably of poraries, and to posterity, that although certain Senators the party accused. Those who have habitually denounced did pronounce him guilty of misconduct, yet the Legisthe Chief Magistrate as a tyrant, despot, usurper, and that lature of the very States represented by those Senators he is endeavoring to concentrate all power in himself, approved of his conduct, and the vote of condemnation will feel inclined to think badly of his motives, whenever given against him by those Senators was an act of disobe. they are called on to judge of them. On the other hand, dience to legislative instructions? those who believe the Chief Magistrate to be a patriot, a These same gentlemen have often done the very acts friend to liberty and the constitution, will not readily ac- which they complain the President has done. How often quiesce in the opinion that he has been guilty of inten- has each of them in our hearing declared that the memtional error. So that, in fact, the mind of every Senator bers of the Legislatures have pronounced an erroneous is made up, as to what his judgment would be, were the judgment, and have taken an appeal from the decision of President now before us, on his final trial for the acts ineir Legislatures to the people themselves. This is complained of. According to my humble judgment, al. right when they do it
, but if the President of the United though the constitution designed that this body should States does not submit quietly under their judgment and be the ultimate judge between the state and its high of- denunciations, he is interfering improperly between them ficers, on account of its wisdom, independence, integrity, and their constituents. I think it will be difficult for genand impartiality, it has, by prejudging the acts of the tlemen to succeed in satisfying the people that they can Chief Magistrate in this case, unfitted and disqualified it- interfere between members of the State Legislatures and self from the discharge of its functions in the manner con- their constituents; can censure and condemn the Chief templated by the framers of the constitution; and the con- Magistrate, unimpeached by his constitutional accusers; clusion I draw from all this is, that the Senate of the Uni- and that the party thus treated has right to speak and ted States " has assumed upon itself authority and power be heard in his own vindication and defence. Sir, there not conferred by the constitution and laws, but in deroga- is a strong sense of justice in the people of the United tion of both."
States, which forbids me to believe that they will sancI will now proceed to say something upon what has tion such sentiments or such proceedings. been urged by others, who oppose the reception of this Gentlemen opposed to the protest and explanation, protest and its explanation.
change their position so frequently that it is impossible Some of the remarks made by the Senator from New to say on what proposition we are finally to vote. When Jersey, (Mr. SOUTHARD,] I will neither repeat nor reply it was first presented, the Senator from Mississippi [Mr. to. I can do neither, without the use of language which POINDEXTEN) moved its rejection. After a discussion of I do not indulge in elsewhere, much less will I do so in some days the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. ClAy] moved this honorable body; but upon this occasion, as upon all an amendment proposing a quasi reception of it, by wbich others touching the veracity of individuals, whenever it it was to be received, read, and sentence passed upon its may become my duty to decide, I claim the right, not contents, but it was to be refused a place upon our Jouronly for myself, but for every American citizen, of ma. nals. The other Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Bibb] now king the decision according to the convictions of my own moves an amendment, by which the original proposition mind, paying a due regard to the opportunities which is to be restored, and these papers to be rejected. I coneach of the parties may possess of knowing the facts of sider the proposition of the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. which they respectively speak. The same honorable Clar) as ihe most exceptionable course that can be sugSenator bas charged the Chief Magistrate with an imper- gested. If this protest be unfit to have a place upon our tinent intrusion or interference between him and his con- Journals, it is unfit to be considered and bave the judgstituents, in presenting in his protest the vote of the ment of the Senate upon the merits of its contents; beLegislature of New Jersey approving the acts of the Pres- sides, there would be an unfairness in this mode of proident, and instructing her senators to sustain him in the ceeding. The judgment of the Senate is to form a part of very measures for which the Senators of that State have, the record of our proceedings; we exhibit to the world by their votes, condemned bim. I say nothing of the the judgment passed by the Senate against the doctrines harshness of the language employed by that honorable contained in the protest, but we conceal from it the subSenator. The term indelicate would have conveyed his ject-matter itself, upon which that judgment is rendered, meaning sufficiently strong; but I have something to say Those who read our Journal have no opportunity afforded in regard to the right of the President to speak upon this them of judging for themselves, whether the decision we subject. The Chief Magistrate stands in a very different have rendered be just or unjust. The object of the conrelation to the people of New Jersey, to what I and other stitution, in providing that a Journal of the proceedings of Senators from different States stand. My first duties are each House of Congress should be kept, was to enable to the people of Tennessee – by them alone have I been our constituents to revise and rejudge our judgments. elected. To their interest my attention is particularly The Journal of this body is distributed throughout the directed, and to them I am accountable. But the Chief United States, not only for the purpose of general informMagistrate is the officer of New Jersey as well as of Vir- ation as to the course of the Government, but for the ginia, Tennessee, and the other States. The people of purpose of enabling our constituents, respectively, to see New Jersey are his constituents, as well as the constitu- land know bow each member has acted. By the course ents of the honorable Senator. They are both the pub- proposed to exclude this paper from the Journals, and at lic agents or servants of the people of New Jersey; and the same time giving a judgment upon its contents, we when one of these agents shall pronounce the other grily deprive our constituenis of an opportunity of deciding
April 29, 1834.]
upon the propriety of our own conduct. I shall vote protest sufficiently plain and intelligible; it is, however, against the resolution proposed by the Senator from Ken- subject to misconstruction. The explanatory message tucky (Mr. Clay) which condemns the contents of the puts the opinions of the President beyond all cavil. In protest
. When my constituents, or any of them, shall it, he states, distinctly and explicitly, what claim the Exsee this vote upon the Journals, how can they determine ecutive has, in reference to the public money, and shows whether I have voted right or wrong, unless they also see it not inconsistent with the uncontrolled power of Conand read that paper, upon the contents of which I have gress over the whole public treasure. And all we ask voted? So, on the other hand, a Senator gives a vote is, that these opinions may be placed before the people of condemnatory of the prutest, how can his constituents the United States, that they may judge of their sounddetermine whether he has acted correctly! Should the ness. Gentlemen have insisted that we have no preceproposition last named prevail, our judgment against the dent to justify a message of this character to the Senate. opinions and doctrines contained in the protest is sent They are mistaken. When the Senate of the United abroad through the country and is transmitted down to States rejected a nominee to office, President Washington posterity upon our records, but the protest itself is put sent them a message, in which he set forth the just claims away ainong the rubbish in the Secretary's office; it is of the nominee to public consideration, and bis qualificagiven to the moles and the bats, and will never, so far as tions to fill the office to which he had been nominated; depends on us, be exhibited to the present or future and he did chide the Senate, and suggest to them, that, generations. Will not this body expose itself to the sus- had they asked of him information, they would have repicion, at least, that they were afraid that the American ceived such an account of the individual as would have people should have a full and fair opportunity of deciding produced a different decision. He also suggested to them upon the merits of this controversy? If gentlemen are the propriety of making inquiries of him, in all future willing to meet this question fully and fairly, surely the cases, where they were not themselves sufficiently acway to do it is to receive the protest, enter it upon the quainted with the individual nominated. This message Journal, and answer it in solemn form.
was received, entered upon the Journals of the Senate, I should be willing to see a committee selected, com- and bad such an effect upon the proceedings of this body, posed of the best talents to be found on the other side, as that, from that day to the present, the course suggest. for the purpose of preparing a response to it. These ed by him has been pursued. In that case, the inconsidgentlemen, when they went to work and put down their erate and erroneous conduct of the Senate was distinctly reasons in opposition to the principles advanced by the pointed out, but the Senate were not disposed, unnecesPresident, and placed them side by side with his reasons sarily, to take exception to the conduct of the Chief in support of bis principles, would find more difficulty in Magistrate. There was no proposition then made to rethe execution of this duty than when resort is had to gen-ject the message, or to pass a vote of disapprobation eral assertion and declamation. If this course were pur- upon it. sued, then the people of the United States would have If we turn to the history of the State Governments, we both sides of this controversy presented to them. But, shall find that the present Chief Magistrate is not the by the course proposed, one side can only be heard or only aged patriot who, after baving spent almost a life of seen. If doctrines dangerous and unconstitutional be toil and usefulness for his country, has been assailed by contained in this protest, are gentlemen who entertain his political adversasies in his old age, and an effort made this opinion, doing their duty when they fail to expose to despoil him of bis well-earned fame. After Governor them? If gentlemen are serious in this opinion, and no McKean, of Pennsylvania, had spent a long life in the doubt they are, ought they not to take up the paper and service of his country; after he had acted as President of answer every principle advanced in it-strip it of its falla. the old Congress; had affixed his name to the Declaration cies, expose its deformities, or in other words, nullify it? of Independence; had contributed to the adoption of the Then the President can have no advantage over this body; Federal constitution, as a member of the convention that the refutation will go along with the protest, and its per- ratified it in his own State; after he had, with distinguish. nicious influence will be destroyed. But gentlemen will ed reputation, for many years, filled the highest judicial not agree to this course; they cannot answer it; therefore, station in his own State; when age had enfeebled bis they will not attempt it. If they were competent to the body, but left the vigor of his mind unimpaired, he was task, they would make the trial, overturn the arguments, elected Governor of Pennsylvania; he discharged all the and reason this protest down. Sir, I wish to see their duties of this high and difficult station, in the most trying skill put to this test; I wish to see them advance foot to times, with fidelity and ability. All this, however, could foot; lay bold of this protest, and prove, if they can, their not secure him from the virulence of party feelings. assertions, to the satisfaction of the American people. If When his sun was almost set, men, actuated by party hathey shall fail to adopt this course, I should think the con- tred, rose up in the Legislature of Pennsylvania, and clusion in the public mind would be, that the protest is charged him with a violation of the constitution and laws, not susceptible of a satisfactory refutation. I will not, at and attempted to expel him from the high and last office this time, go into an examination of the merits of this pa. he ever filled. Articles of impeachment were prepared per: if it shall be received and referred to a committee, by a committee, and preferred against him, charging him and that committee shall report that the doctrines and with high crimes and misdemeanors; and it is a little reopinions contained in it are dangerous and unconstitution-markable that, in their report, they indulge in that same al
, then the merits of the paper will be fairly before the anticipated triumph, and the same accusatory language, Senate, and an opportunity afforded for a full discussion; and broad assertion, which are so often employed in refand upon that occasion, I may ask the indulgence of the erence to the present Chief Magistrate. The committee, Senate to be heard upon the merits of the protest and in that case, said, “that they deemed it superfluous to explanation. I understood the Senator from South Caro- sustain the resolution which is submitted, by an appeal to lina (Mr. PRESTON) as expressing the opinion that the the patriotism or intelligence of the House. They are explanation contained in the second message amounted aware that they are anticipated by its judgment and into a retraxit of the obnoxious doctrines contained in the tegrity. The facts speak so loudly for themselves, that original protest.
the feeble voice of the committee cannot be raised to (Mr. Prestox here remarked that he ought not to be reach their tone-justice and the public welfare demand understood as assenting to the idea, that the second mes punishment. If we desire to preserve our constitution sage removed his objections to the first.]
in its letter and spirit, then punish the infraction of it. Mr. GRUNDY proceeded. I think, myself, the original Do we desire a government of laws, instead of the will