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APRIL 30, 1834.]
control of the President's sole will; and the President he is guilty of an impeachable offence.” The President having free and unobstructed access to the public money. is also of opinion “ that the resolution does not expressly The Senate believes that the purse of the nation is, by allege that the assumption of power and authority which the constitution and laws, intrusted to the exclusive legis- it condemns, was intentional and corrupt, is no answer lative care of Congress. It has dared to avow and ex- to the preceding view of its character and effect. The press this opinion, in a resolution adopted on the 28th act thus condemned necessarily implies volition and deMarch last. That resolution was preceded by a debate sign in the individual to whom it is imputed; and, being of three months' duration, in the progress of which, the lawful in its character, the legal conclusion is, that it was able and zealous supporters of the Executive in the Sen- prompted by improper motives and committed with an ate, were attentively heard. Every argument which their unlawful intent.",
“« The President of ample resources, or those of the members of the Execu- the United States, therefore, has been, by a majority of tive, could supply, was listened to with respect, and duly his constitutional triers, accused and found guilty of an weighed. After full deliberation, the Senate expressed impeachable offence.” its conviction that the Executive had violated the consti. Such are the deliberate views, entertained by the Pres. tution and laws. It cautiously refrained, in the resolution, ident, of the implications, effects, and consequences of from all examination into the motives or intention of the the resolution. It is scarcely necessary to say that they Executive; it ascribed no bad ones to him; it restricted are totally different from any which were entertained by itself to a simple declaration of its solemn belief that the the Senate, or by the mover of the resolution. The constitution and laws had been violated.. This is the ex- Senate carefully abstained from looking into the quo animo, tent of the offence of the Senate. This is what it has from all examination into the motives or intention with done to excite the Executive indignation, and to bring which the violation of the constitution and laws was made. upon it the infliction of the denunciatory protest. No one knows those motives and intentions better than
The President comes down upon the Senate, and de- the President himself. If he chooses to supply the omismands that it record upon its Journal this protest. He sion of the resolution; if he thinks proper to pronounce recommends no measure—no legislation whatever. He his own self-condemnation; his guilt does not flow from proposes no Executive proceeding on the part of the Sen- what the Senate has done, but from his own avowal. ate. He requests the recording of his protest, and he re. Having cautiously avoided to pass upon his guilt by prequests nothing more nor less. The Senate has abstained judgment, so neither ought his acquittal to be pronounced from putting on its own record any vindication of the res- by anticipation. olution of which the President complains. It has not But, I would ask, in what tone, temper, and spirit, asked of him to place it, where he says he has put his pro- does the President come to the Senate? As a great state test, in the archives of the Executive. He desires, there culprit, who has been arraigned at the bar of justice, or fore, to be done for bim, on the Journal of the Senate, sentenced as guilty? Does he manifest any of those comwhat has not been done for itself. The Senate keeps no punctious visitings of conscience which a guilty violator recording office for protests, deeds, wills, or other in-lof the constitution and laws of the land ought to feel? struments. The constitution enjoins, that "each House Does he address bimself to a high court with the respect, shall keep a Journal of its proceedings.” In conformity to say nothing of humility, which a person accused or with this requirement, the Senate does keep a Journal of convicted would naturally feel? No, no. He comes as its proceedings not the proceedings of the Executive, or if the Senate were guilty; and as if he were in the judg. any other department of the Government, except so far ment seat, and the Senate stood accused before him. as they relate directly to the business of the Senate. The le arraigns the Senate; puts it upon trial; condemns it; President sometimes professes to favor a strict construc- he comes as if he felt bimself elevated far above the Sention of the constitution, at least in regard to the powers ate, and beyond all reach of the law, surrounded by inof all the departments of the Government other than that approacbable impunity. Ile who professes to be an inof which he is the chief. As to that, he is the greatest nocent and injured man, gravely accuses the Senate; latitudinarian that has ever filled the office of President. and modestly asks it to put upon its own record bis sen. Upon any fair construction of the constitution, how can tence of condemnation! When before did the arraigned the Senate be called upon to record upon its Journal any or convicted party demand of the court which was to try, proceedings but its own? It is true, that the ordinary or had condemned him, to enter upon their records a messages of the President are usually inserted at large in severe denunciation of their own conduct? The Presthe Journal. Strictly speaking, it perhaps ought never ident presents himself before the Senate, not in the garb to have been done; but they bave been heretofore regis- of suffering innocence, but in imperial and royal costume tered, because they relate to the general business of the -as a dictator, to rebuke a refractory Senate; to comSenate, either in its legislative or executive character, mand it to record bis solemn protest; to chastise it for and have been the basis of subsequent proceedings. The disobedience. protest stands upon totally distinct ground.
“ The hearts of princes kiss obedience, The President professes to consider himself
So much they love it; but to stubborii spirits by the resolution, with “ the high crime of violating the
They swell, and grow as terrible as storms." laws and constitution of my country.” Ile declares that We shall better comprehend the nature of the request “one of the most important branches of the Government, which the President has made of the Senate, by referring in its official capacity, in a public manner, and by its re- to his own opinions expressed in the protest. He says corded sentence, but without precedent, compeient au- that the resolution is a recorded sentence, “but withoit thority, or just cause, declares him guilty of a breach of precedent, just cause, or competent authority.” lle “is the laws and constitution.” The protest further alleges, perfectly convinced that the discussion and passage of the that such an act as the constitution describes “ constitutes above-mentioned resolutions were not only unauthorized a high crime-one of the highest, indeed, which the Pres. by the constitution, but in many respects repugnant to ident can commit-a crime which justly exposes him to its provisions, and subversive of ihe rights secured by it an impeachment by the House of Representatives; and, 10 other co-ordinate departments.” We had no right, it upon due conviction, to removal from office, and to the seems, then, even to discuss, much less express any complete and immutable disfranchisement prescribed by opinion, on the President's proceedings encroaching upon the constitution.” It also asserts: “ The resolution, then, our constitutional powers. And what righit had the Preswas an impeachment of the President; and in its passage ident to look at all into our discussions? What becomes amounts to a declaration by a majority of the Senate, that of the constitutional provision which, speaking of Con
[APRIL .30, 1834.
gress, declares, “ for any speech or debate in either leap the restraint of the constitution, which limits its Flouse, they shall not be questioned in any other place!" Journal to the record of its own proceedings, and place
The President thinks "the resolution of the Senate is alongside of them his sentence of condemnation of the wholly unauthorized by the constitution, and in deroga- Senate. tion of its entire spirit.” He proclaims that the passage,
That the President did not intend to make the Journal recording, and promulgation of the resolution, affixes guilt of the Senate a medium of conveying his sentiments to and disgrace to the President, “in a manner unauthorized the people, is manifest. He knows perfectly well how to by the constitution." But, says the President, if the address to them his appeals. And the remarkable fact is Senate had just cause to entertain the belief that the established, by his private Secretary, that, simultaneously House of Representatives would not impeach him, that with the transmission to the Senate of his protest, a ducannot justify “the assumption by the Senate of powers plicate was transmitted to the Globe, his official paper, not conferred by the constitution.” The protest con- for publication; and it was forthwith published accord tinues: “It is only necessary to look at the condition in ingly. For what purpose, then, was it sent here? It is which the Senate and the President have been placed by painful to avow the belief, but one is compelled to think this proceeding, to perceive its utter incompatibility with it was only sent in a spirit of insult and defiance. the provisions and the spirit of the constitution, and with The President is not content with vindicating his own the plainest dictates of humanity and justice." A ma- rights. He steps forward to maintain the privileges of the jority of the Senate assume the function which belongs House of Representatives also. Why? Was it to make to the House of Representatives, and “convert them- the House his ally, and to excite its indignation against selves into accusers, witnesses, counsel, and judges, and the offending Senate! is not the House perfectly compe. prejudge the whole case.” If the House of Represent-tent to sustain its own privileges against every assault? I atives shall consider that there is no cause of impeach- should like to see, sir, a resolution introduced into the ment, and prefer none, “then will the violation of privi- House, alleging a breach of its privileges by a resolution lege as it respects that House, of justice as it regards the of the Senate, which was intended to maintain unviolated President, and of the constitution as it relates to both, the constitutional rights of both Houses in regard to the be more conspicuous and impressive.” The Senate is public purse, and to be present at its discussion. charged with the “unconstitutional power of arraigning The President exhibits great irritation and impatience and censuring the official conduct of the Executive." at the presumptuousness of a resolution, which, without The people, says the protest, will be compelled to adopt the imputation of any bad intention or design, ventures the conclusion, “either that the Chief Magistrate was to allege that he has violated the constitution and laws. unworthy of their respect, or that the Senate was charge. His constitutional and official infallibility must not be able with calumny and injustice.” There can be no questioned. To controvert it is an act of injustice, inhudoubt which branch of this alternative was intended to be manity, and calumny. He is treated as a criminal, and, applied. The President, throughout the protest, labors without summons, he is prejudged, condemned, and sento prove himself worthy of all respect from the people. tenced. Is the President scrupulously careful of the Finally, the President says, “ It is due to the high trust memory of the dead, or the feelings of the living, in rewith which I have been charged, to those who may be spect to violations of the constitution? If a violation by called to succeed me in it, to the representatives of the him implies criminal guilt, a violation by them cannot be people whose constitutional prerogative has been unlaw. innocent and guiltless. And how has the President fully assumed, to the people and to the States, and to the treated the memory of the immortal Father of his Country? constitution they have established, that I should not per that great man, who, for purity of purpose and character, mit its provisions to be broken down by such an attack wisdom and muderation, unsullied virtue, and unsurpasson the Executive department, without at least some ed patriotism, is without competition in past history or effort 'to preserve, protect, and defend them.” among living men, and whose equal we scarcely dare bope
These are the opinions which the President expresses will ever be again presented as a blessing to mankind. in the protest, of the conduct of the Senate. In every How has he been treated by the President? Has he not form, and every variety of expression, he accuses it of again and again pronounced that, by approving the bill violating the express language and spirit of the constitu- chartering the first Bank of the United States, Washingtion; of encroaching not only on his prerogatives, but ton violated the constitution of his country? That viothose of the House of Representatives; of forgetting the lation, according to the President, included volition and sacred character and impartiality which belong to the design; was prompted by improper motives, and was comhighest court of justice in the Union; of injustice, of in- mitted with an unlawful intent. It was the more inex. humanity, and of calumny. And we are politely re- cusable in Washington, because he assisted and presided quested to spread upon our own Journal these opinions in the convention which formed the constitution. If it be entertained of us by the President, that they may be per- unjust to arraign, try unheard, and condemn as guilty, a petually preserved and handed down to posterity! The living man filling an exalted office, with all the splendor, President respectfully requests it! He' might' as well power, and influence which that office possesses, low have come to us and respectfully requested us to allow much more cruel is it to disturb the sacred and venerated him to pull our noses, or kick uş, or receive his stripes ashes of the illustrious dead, who can raise no voice and upon our backs. The degradation would not have been make no protests against the imputation of high crime? much more humiliating.
What has been the treatment of the President towards The President tells us, in the same protest, that any that other illustrious man, yet spared to us, but who is breach or violation of the constitution and laws, draws lingering upon the very verge of eternity? Has he abafter it, necessarily implies, volition and design, and that stained from charging the Father of the Constitution with the legal conclusion is, that it was prompted by improper criminal intent in violating the constitution? Mr. Madison, motives, and committed with an unlawful intent. He like Washington, assisted in the formation of the consti. pronounces, therefore, that the Senate, in the violationstution; was one of its ablest expounders and advocates; of the constitution which he deliberately imputes to it, is and was opposed, on constitutional ground, to the first guilty; that volition and design, on the part of the Senate, Bank of the United States. But, yielding to the force are necessarily implied; and that the legal conclusion is, of circumstances, and especially to the great principle, that the Senate was prompted by improper motives, and that the peace and stability of human society require that committed the violation with an unlawful intent. And be a controverted question, which has been finally settled most respectfully and kindly solicits of the Senate to over-lby all the departments of Government by long acqui.
APRIL 30, 1834.)
escence, and by the people themselves, should not be Jackson, the British minister, having given offence to the open to perpetual dispute and disturbance, he approved American Executive, Congress, on the 12th of January, the bill chartering the present Bank of the United States. 1810, passed a joint resolution, in which they declare that Even he, the name of James Madison, which is but the Executive Government has manifested a just reanother for purity, patriotism, profound learning, and en- gard to its own dignity and honor, as well as the characlightened experience, cannot escape the imputations of ter and interest of the American people;" and Congress his present successor.
pledged itself to stand by and support the Executive, and And, lastly, how often has he charged Congress itself to employ, if necessary, the whole force of the nation. with open violations of the constitution? Times almost If the then President, or Secretary of State, had been without number. During the present session he has sent subsequently impeached on account of their conduct toin a message, in regard to the land bill, in which he has wards the British minister, that joint resolution amounted charged it with an undisguised violation. A violation so to an acquittal, in anticipation. If the Senate may expalpable, that it is not even disguised; and must, there- press its approbation, can it not its disapprobation, of fore, necessarily imply a criminal intent. Sir, the ad. Executive conduct? visers of the President, whoever they are, deceive him The President supposes it was not intended to follow and themselves. They have vainly supposed that, by an up the resolution with any legislative action. I protest appeal to the people, and an exhibition of the wounds of against his right to inquire into that matter. He has no the President, they could enlist the sympathies and the authority to come to either branch of Congress, and, prycommiseration of the people—that the name of Andrew ing into our initiatory or inchoate proceedings, to proJackson would bear down the Senate and all opposition. nounce which of them will be, or will not be carried out They have yet to learn, what they will soon learn, that into the forms of legislative action. What right has he even a good and responsible name may be used so fre. to say in what form we shall conduct our deliberations, or quently, as an endorser, that its credit, and the public collect the sense of this body? It often happens, and is confidence in its solidity, have been seriously impaired. generally the best way, when there exists diversity of They mistake the intelligence of the people, who are not opinion among the members of the body, to ascertain the prepared to see and sanction the President putting forth general sense in the form of a resolution. Examples of indiscriminate charges of a violation of the constitution this course might be multiplied without number. On the against whomsoever he pleases, and exhibiting unmeas- subject of internal improvements, some twelve or fifteen ured rage and indignation, when his own infallibility is years ago, the late Mr. Lowndes, I think it was, presentGared to be questioned.
ed a series of propositions to the House of RepresentaI had supposed the right of the Senate to express its tives, in the form of resolutions, on which the House opinion, in any form, as to a violation of the constitutional voted, but did not afterwards particularly act. I will power of Congress, would not be seriously questioned. say, for the information of the country, that it was originWhat part of the constitution restrains it? 'All civil offi. ally in my contemplation, and I believe that of other memcers of Government are liable, on a proper case, to im- bers, if necessary, to follow up the resolutions by positive peachment. If the Senate cannot, without looking into legislative enactment, in some shape or other. The cirhis motives, express its opinion that the Chief Magistrate cumstances in which the two Houses of Congress find has violated the constitution, because, by possibility, he themselves, have prevented, and may continue to premay be impeached, neither could the Senate express such vent, the execution of that purpose. an opinion as to any impeachable officer, however low. If the present attempt be tolerated, where is it to stop? And it would come to this, that the Senate might behold The President pronounces the discussion as well as the a gross violation of the constitution by a register of a passage of a resolution never officially submitted to him, land office, or a collector of the customs, without being to be unconstitutional. Although the constitution exable to interpose any corrective or preventive remedy. pressly secures to the members of Congress the immuniIf the Senate, for the reason assigned, cannot express iy of not being questioned in any other place for any its opinion in the form of resolution, neither could speech or debate in either House, the President declares it, for the same reason, express it in the form of bill, the discussion of the resolution to have been a violation whether originating in the House of Representatives or of the constitution. The next step will be to scrutinize the Senate.
the votes of individual members. That, indeed, has been The right of every body, natural or artificial, individu- already taken in the protest. It is true the President al or corporate, to defend its faculties, powers, privileges, disclaims any intention to question the votes of the memand existence, against unjust attack, is an inherent and bers from New Jersey, Maine, and Ohio; but he has set constitutional right. Does not the President, on all occa- forth verbatim the instructions to them from their respecsions, defend the executive powers? And may not the tive Legislatures; and for what purpose? For what posSenate defend its legislative? How far the Senate may sible purpose, but to hold up those Senators as voting go in the exercise of that unquestionable right, and how contrary to their instructions and their obligations? The strongly it may express itself, in maintaining its just and next step may be, if this encroachment upon our freedom lawful authority, is for itself to judge, and not the vio- of deliberation be not arrested, to send for the two lator to prescribe. Doubtles the Senate will not, and has Houses, and to remonstrate against the passage of bills not, expressed itself in such manner as to imply criminal pending before them, as a British King once did, 'or to guilt in the violation. The alleged violator is neither im- send for individual members to the President's mansion, peached, summoned, nor arraigned. He has no right to and lecture them. anticipate whether he will be or will not be. When he Mr. President, this protest is but a new form of the is, it will be time enough for him to exercise the right, veto. That conservative provision of the constitution has if he has it
, to challenge the array, or individuals of the been most remarkably expanded and employed under the panel. If he has it not upon his arraignment, he has it present administration. The constitution provides for not previous to his arraignment.
but one description of it, but the present Chief MagisThe Senate and House of Representatives, I presume trate has divided it into at least five varieties. 1st. There the President will harldy question, may express their ap- is the legitimate constitutional veto, according to which probation of the Executive conduct, and declare that it the President may negative a bill, which the iwo Houses has been in perfect conformity with the constitution. may afterwards pass, if two-thirds in each shall vote for Many such instances of such expression may no doubt be it, notwithstanding the President's objections. 20. The found in our annals; but I will' mention only one. Mr.I absolute veto, by retaining a bill, and thereby depriving
[APRIL 30, 1834. Congress of all opportunity of passing it, if, after its return, lernor. He then requested the House to allow him to rethey should be unanimous in its favor, as was done with cord on its Journal his defence against the articles of the land bill. 3d. Then there is the veto subsequent - impeachment, and it was permitted to be done. Now, that is, when tbe President refuses to execute laws, al- that was a case in wbich the request of the Governor was though they have received the sanction of the Executive, in accordance with the decision of the majority, and tendand other co-ordinate branches of Government, upon ed to support it against the adverse opinion of the mithe ground that the present Chief Magistrate deems them nority. Here the protest is against the judgment of the unconstitutional. 4ih. The veto conditional, of which majority, and its tendency is to sustain the views of the there is at least one instance where the President ap- minority. That neither called in question the correctness proves of parts of a bill, which he will execute, but dis- of the motives, nor the judgment of the majority. This approves of another part, which he intimates he will not assails both. Suppose ihe Governor had been decided execute. 5th. The initiatory veto, as in the case of the by the majority to have justly subjected himself to impresent resolution, where, before any proceeding is con- peachment, (which the Senate had not done in regard to summated, and before the resolution is officially present-line President,) would the majority have allowed the ed to the President for his consideration, he sends in a Governor to enter a protest against its decision? Would protest, which is, in substance, the same thing as a veto. it have permitted such a protest, when he was neither i miglit add a sixth variety, that is, a precedent veto, accused, summoned, arraigned, nor on his trial? where the President, as in the case of the deposites, exer- The Senator from Tennessee (Mr. GRUNDI) has adcises, in advance of the meeting of Congress, his power vanced some legal opinions, to which I cannot subscribe. to bring it under the operation of the veto.
He has endeavored to countenance the President's opinSir, this protest is a plain and palpable breach of the ion, that the mere fact of a violation of the constitution, privileges of the Senate. They relate either to the body of itself implies guilt; and has contended that the existcollectively, or to the persons who compose it individual.ence of the fact of homicide alone, or that of a man bely. The abuse of privilege in England chiefly grew out ing found in the ranks of the enemy, per se, establishes of the vast extension of it to members of Parliament. his guilt of murder in one case, and ireason in the other. The constitution directs itself to that abuse, and defines That is not the law. Murder cannot be made out withand limits the privileges of members. As to them, it is out malice prepense, or the diabolical intention; nor trearestrained to exemption from arrest in all but excepted son without the traitorous intent. And an indictment, cases during their attendance at the session of their re which did not allege, or a special verdict which did not spective Houses, and in going to or returning from the find these essential facts, would be fatally defective. The same; and to exemption for any speech or debate in honorable Senator and myself have probably (he more either House, from being questioned in any other place. than 1) robbed the gallows of some of its just dues; but But as to the privileges of the body, collectively, it was his professional success would never have been attended impossible to foresee all the attacks, in any form, which with the reputation which he has acquired, if he had might be made upon their freedom of deliberation and of maintained in the defence of his clients such doctrines as legislative action; and they are, therefore, not defined or he now advances. expressly provided for. Whatever may be their actual And here, Mr. President, I might conclude the arguextent, all must agree that a deliberative body can never ment; having, I think, successfully shown that the Senfulfil the purposes of its institution, if it be not allowed ate is no general recording office; but that, by the confreely to consider, to deliberate, and to decide, upon all stitution, it keeps a Journal of its own proceedings only. matters which come before it. All must admit, that if the That the protest, proposing no measure whatever for the immense power and influence of the President of the Senate, but limiting itself to the mere request of the United States may be interposed on a subject of delibera- President to have it spread on the Journal, is not such a tion before either House of Congress, after the sense of paper as the President has a right to ask, or as the Senthe majority is declared, but before any act has regular- ate is constitutionally bound to put on its Journal. That ly emanated from the body to be officially presented to it contains reflections upon, and imputations against, the the President, there no longer exists that salutary free- Senate, demonstrating that if it were not sent in to indom of deliberation which is indispensable to an independ sult the Senate, it cannot be recorded on its Journal withent and faithful discharge of the duties of the body. The fout its performing an act of degradation and self-condemPresident bas so interposed; and his interposition is to nation. And, finally, that it is a breach of the privileges assert high and important powers in himself, and to deny of the Senate, threatening its independence and its freethem to the Senate, contrary to the constitution of the dom of deliberation. United States, as the Senate solemnly believes.
But, sir, there are some constitutional doctrines adIn support of this extraordinary interference, the Sen-vanced in the protest, in my judgment, so untenable, so ator from Tennessee, (Mr. GrundY,) and others, who, on extravagant, and so alarming, that I should not think I the same side, preceded him in the debate, have relied had performed my duty if I resumed my seat without enon a precedent drawn from the administration of Govern- tering my solemn protest against them. And I must or McKean, whilst Governor of Pennsylvania. I should first observe that, during the three months' arduous delike to make the preliminary inquiry, What right have bate which arose on the resolutions, we, on this side, the President and his partisans to avail themselves, in sup-Iconstantly maintained that they involved constitutional port of executive power or practices, of any precedents principles of transcendent importance, vitally affecting the What right have they whose course has been marked distribution of powers between the departments of Gov. by an utter contempt and derision of all precedents in this vernment, and directly tending to transform our republic Government, in respect to legislative power; whose aim into an elective monarchy. On the other side, it was, seems to have been to efface every trace, and to trample with apparent seriousness, urged that the whole question down and destroy every thing built up by their prede- was Bark or no Bank. In vain did we contest that issue; cessors; what right have they to resort to another Gov. aver our perfect convictions that a far different question vernment to supply them with the authority of a prece was presented; and appeal to the conclusive fact, that, on dent to uphold Executive power! But what was the our side, were several Senators who had expressly decase of Governor McKean? Articles of impeachment clared their fixed determination to vote against any bank; against him, as Governor, were reported by a committee whilst on the opposite side, there were several Senators of the House of Representatives. A majority of the equally resolved to vote for the bank, or for a bank. In House overruled the report, and thus acquitted the Gov-Ispite of these protestations, the delusion has been most
APRIL 30, 1834.)
industriously propagated by the partisans and the leading was it considered as amounting to any thing more than a presses of the aslministration, particularly to the South; solemn obligation to execute faithfully that trust and those and thousands of the people of the United States have powers which were to be found, not in the oath itself, been deceived and misguided by it.
but in the specific grants of the constitution or the laws. Well, sir, how stands the matter now? The President are not Senators equally bound with the President by has voluntarily dissipated the delusion: thrown off all dis- oath to support the constitution? And the variation in guise; and, dropping the bank altogether, comes before the terms of the oath, as well as its being prescribed in the Senate, in the protest, asserting for himself the most the constitution itself, contrary to what is done in other enormous powers. He has fully sustained and fortified cases, may be satisfactorily accounted for from the exaltthe precise ground which we have constantly taken, that ed station and the high duties attached to the office of the true question was one purely of power. He has even the Chief Magistrate. gone beyond the position which we took. During that The President places much stress upon bis assumed relong debate, we insisted that an attempt was made to sponsibility for all the executive officers of the Governunite the purse and the sword in the hands of the Presi-ment. Whenever I hear any one uttering the words, “I take dent. We flattered ourselves that the power would at upon myself the responsibility” of performing a particular least remain to Congress which the constitution has ex- act, I am sure that there is a lurking presumptuousness or pressly assigned to it, “ to dispose of and make all need purpose of usurpation in the case. He supposes that the ful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other weight and influence of his name will recommend and property belonging to the United States.” But the sword secure the public sanction for the deed. Why vauntingly and the purse do not satisfy the President; and he now take the responsibility? If it is inherent in the office, or contends for the custody of all the property of the na- is fairly attached to it by the constitution or laws, of course tion, whether it be the immense public domain, or build the functionary acts under his legitimate responsibility. ings, or merchandise, or provisions, or clothing, or arms He should feel, not proclaim it, and honestly and fearand munitions of war, or public money, which is but a lessly discharge his duty. This word “responsibility” is species of public property. And “whenever or howso- of frequent recurrence in the official papers which bear ever obtained, its custody always has been, and always the signature of the President. He seems to regard himmust be, unless the constitution be changed, intrusted to self as responsible for all that is done, no matter by whom, the Executive department. No officer can be created by in every branch of the Executive Government. He conCongress for the purpose of taking charge of it, whose templates the whole corps of executive officers as acting appointment would not, by the constitution, at once de- for him, by him, and according to his special commands. voive on the President, and who would not be responsi- He appears to look upon himself as the head of a great ble to him for the faithful performance of his duties.” army, whose operations, in all its ramifications, and whose
Congress cannot, therefore, take out of the hands of officers, in every grade, were to be directed and controlthe Executive department the custody of the public led by his absolute will." property or money, without an assumption of executive Mr. President, is this the true theory of our Governpower and a subversion of the first principles of the con- ment? Is the President actually responsible in the sense stitution.”
and to the extent which he alleges! It is worthy of parThe President claims to be invested with all executive ticular examination; and let us begin it by a true definipower, whatever its purpose or nature may be. He as. tion of the expression. What is responsibility? It is serts, if I understand him, original executive power, in- liability, accountability. When one is responsible for dependent of the constitution. His language is, “The another, he is liable, accountable, answerable for that power of removal, which, like that of appointment, is an other. To hold the President, therefore, responsible for original executive power, is left unchecked by the con-executive officers subordinate to him, is to subject him stitution, in relation to all executive officers for whose to a liability and accountability for them. Is this the case? conduct the President is responsible.” And, sir, is it suppose a subordinate civil officer so conducts himself as not remarkable, that, on the 28th March last, in the con- to render himself justly liable to impeachment; can the cluding speech wbich I made on the resolutions, I pre- President be impeached for his misdemeanors? I should dicted that the day would come when this, or some other be glad to see some of the supporters of the Executive President, if Executive encroachment were not arrested, prepare the form of such an impeachment. Take a strong would attempt to deduce power from his official oath; case, that has actually occurred, under the immediate eye and that the fulfilment has so quickly followed the pre- of the President. A head of a department borrows severdiction?. The President begins and ends the protest with al hundred thousand dollars, in direct violation of a posia resort to that official oath as a source of power, which tive provision of the constitution, which confers on Conno man before ever regarded as granting power. And gress exclusively the power “to borrow money on the he supposes that because his oath differs from that of credit of the United States.” I have not heard a voice every other functionary,” it implies a peculiar obligation raised on this floor to justify or excuse this breach of the on him. What is the oath? lle is "to preserve, pro- constitution. Can the President be impeached, tried, and lect, and defend the constitution of the United States." punished for it? Again: suppose officers charged with Taken in their largest and most extensive sense, and re. the receipt or disbursement of public money, embezzle it, garding the oath as a grant of power, these expressions and fail to account for it; can the President be made, by may be interpreted to create a right and duty, on the suit or otherwise, to restore it to the public treasury? part of the President, to preserve and protect the consti- Take another strong case. Twenty thousand dollars of tution, as he understands'it, against all violations, by the navy pension fund are invested in the stock of a whomsoever attempted. If the Supreme Court, State District bank, and are under the care and direction of Legislatures, or Governors, or even Congress, 'should one of the President's Secretaries, as he calls them. expound the constitution contrary to the President's sense The Secretary, by the exercise of ordinary vigilance, of its meaning, he may employ all the means at his com- ought to have been acquainted with the condition of mand, military, naval, and civil, to prevent the threaten- the bank, and should have averted the public loss by ed violation. The consequence would be, that we a sale of the stock. He did not do it; the bank has should have but one expounder of the constitution in the suspended specie payments, and the public interest is whole Government, and but one will controlling all its at hazard.
Can the President be impeached for this operations. Never before did any man regard the offi- neglect of the Secretary's duty, or compelled to pay cial oath as containing a grant of power. Never before to the navy pension fund ihe amount which it is in danger