Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Mar 5, 1834.]

President's Protest.

(SENATE.

contend that any reference to the intention of the defend- perpetuated as a part of our national history. If it contain ant is ever made in the entry upon the record of a crim- evidence of Executive encroachments dangerous to our inal judgment. That entry merely pronounces the ac. civil institutions, ought we not to spread it upon our Journal, cused guilty of the crime charged in the most general as a solemn warning to all future Presidents against the language; and the judgment thus entered carries with it, like attempts? If it unjustly assail the Senate, or any of by necessary implication, all that is required to sustain it- its members, do we not owe it to ourselves and to our self

. It relates back to the proceedings anterior to the constituents to record the aggression and to place our anjudgment, for the form of accusation, the allegations of in- swer and defence by its side? On the other hand, if, as tention, and all else which should have existed to sustain I suppose, the Senate have encroached upon the constithe judgment, and in the absence of those proceedings, tutional rights of the Executive, and the message exposes the entry of the judgment simply must be held as the the violation of our powers, are we not bound, in strict strongest prima facie evidence that those preliminary pro- justice to the President, to give the exposition a place ceedings were regular and sufficient. Such, Mr. w. upon the same record which contains our violation. In said, was the light in which he viewed the resolution of any sense, Mr. W. said, in which he could view the subthe Senate. It pronounced the judgment of a majority ject, the message ought to be entered upon the Journal, of the Senate upon an impeachable offence charged and he was at a loss to know how gentlemen were able to against the President. This pronunciation of a judgment reconcile it to their feelings to pronounce the paper imof guilty was the only entry upon record, and that entry portant, and its wide circulation useful and desirable, and must, of necessity, carry with it the unavoidable implica- then contend that it ought not to be thus perpetuated. They tion of all the preliminary proceedings requisite to au- could not desire to fix upon it this mark of the disapprothorize the judgment to be so entered. Who, then, could bation of the Senate, to precede its circulation among the say that the protest was wrong in thus stating the case? people. They could not fear its effect in the hands of And who will say that the President was wrong in com- our enlightened citizens, unless that effect shall be moliplaining of and protesting against this conviction, to whom fied by this unfavorable treatment of the paper here. He it shall be known that no preliminary proceedings what did hope Senators would reflect upon the importance of ever were had? that no accusation was ever made, and the questions involved, and would give the message its that this general entry of a judgment of condemnation is place upon the Journal of the Senate. But, Mr. Presithe only step ever taken? Mr. W. said, if there were no dert, if the Senate shall conclude to refuse the paper an other reason for entering the protest upon the Journal of entry upon the Journal, will they enter upon that Journal the Senate, this consideration alone, in his judgment, the resolutions before you, characterizing and condemning made it their imperious duty so to enter it, as an act of it? Will they pronounce the message unconstitutional, sheer justice to the President, because, without it, the an encroachment of Executive power, and a breach of Journal would not show the true history of the transac- the privileges of the Senate, and not let that Journal show tion, and would not therefore be stript of the unjust, and, upon what that harsh judgment was forined? Will they as it would seem from the remarks of gentlemen in this compel us to record our names against the resolutions, debate, unintended implication to which he had alluded. and refuse us an entry of the paper to justify or condemn

Mr. President, said Mr. W., I was much pleased when our course? I hope not. If ile message is to be excluthe honorable Senator told us that this message of the ded, I do hope that the Senate will be conten! with its exPresident, ought to be diffused; that he hoped a copy of clusion simply, and that if its contents are to be examined it would reach the hands, and meet the eye and careful for grounds upon which to condemn it, the paper, itself, perusal of every man, woman, and child in the country; may be allowed a place by the side of our condemning and that he would gladly contribute from his own private sentence, that all who hereafter read our Journal may bemeans to give it circulation. I agree with loim fully' in this able to judge between those who approve and those who opinion, and this wish, but judging from the character disapprove it. and tendency of his remarks, we must have come to a like Mr. W. said, the honorable Senator bad told us that conclusion from very different views of the paper, and of the President had not come here in the bumbled and subthe effects to be produced upon the public mind by its dued tone of a convicted culprit, but in a tone and spirit extended distribution. I think it eminently calculated to indicating a feeling far above any tribunal of the country. justify not only the motives, but the acts of the President llc does not come here, sir, in ihe tone of a criminal or with the public; to arouse the public attention to the dan- convict, for he is lieither; but he comes here in the tone gerous, and as I think, unconstitutional exercise of power and spirit of an injured man. His personal and official by this body, in their late condemnation of the President, rights have been assailed and violated, and a sentence has without an impeachment, and without a trial; and to ex- been pronounced against him calc:ilated to have the mortend the popularity of that worthy public servant, and al influence upon his character and fame, of a conviction strengthen the salutary principles of his administration. for crime, while he has not even been constitutionally acThe honorable Senator must suppose that effects, pre-cused, much less tried or copricted. It is of this be comcisely the reverse of these, will be produced by the cir- plans. lle is not resisting a judicial sentence', regularly culation of this message, or, surely, he would not volun- pronounced, but an effort to visit upon him the evil contarily contribute to its circulation. He, no doubt, thinks sequences of such a sentence, without allowing him a that the paper is calculated to produce a belief in the ex- trial, and against the positive provis ons of tie constituiistence of those alarming encroachments of Executive tion. Should he then come in the subdued spirit of a power against which be su frequently and so eloquently convict? But where does the Senate find anthority for warns us. But whether the honorable Senator or inyself saying that the message displays a feeling in the President be correct in our impressions as to the effect to be pro- " far, far above any tribunal of the country?” To what duced by the circulation of the message, so long as we tribunals of the country is the President, as such, legally both agree that important and salutary purposes would subject? To the House of Representatives hy way of be accomplished by its universal distribution, ought we impeachment, and to this body by way of trial upou such not also to agree upon the propriety and duty of making impeachment, and to the great tribunal of the people. so important a paper, and from the reading of which we Has he not in the message expres-ly recognised and canticipate so inportant consequences, a matter of perpet, knowledged his subjection, according to the provisions of ual record upon our Journal?" I appeal to the honorable of the constitution, to the two Houses of Congress? Is Senator to say whether the consequence lie has himself not his complaint that the provisions of that instrument allached to the inessage does not show that it ought to be have not been regarded in the late action of the Senate,

SENATE.]

President's Protesi.

[May 5, 1834.

but that this House of Congress has stept by the other and nocent, and refuse to accuse him, the officer shall have assumed a jurisdiction not conferred iipon it by the con- the right to defend himself against the unsuccessful accustitution? And is not the message itself an appeal to the sations, and shall be permitted to spread his defence upon Senate against its own injustice, and, in effect, through the same record where the rejected accusations are to be the Senate, to the tribunal of public opinion, the only found; but if the body, not authorized to accuse, but jutribunal to which an appeal can be taken from the decis- dicially to try an accusation, shall overstep the accusing ions of the Senate? Is it right then to say that the Pres- power, and pronounce their sentence without either acident, in his me-sage, has exhibited a feeling above the cusation or trial, then the officer shall not be permitted tribunals of the country to which he is responsible? I am to offer his defence, or to liave it made a part of that recsure the Senator's sense of justice will show him that he ord which proclaims to the public his condemnation. does the President manifest wrong in this declaration. Surely the Senator will not, upon more reflection, con

The conduct of the President, in sending this protest tend for so inconsistent a rule as this. In the one case to the Senate, Mr. W. said, hal been the subject of se- the accusation is destroyed by the vote of a majority of vere animadversion, and the act bad been pronounced the body to which it is submitted, and then the officer's unprecedented and unauthorized. To rebut these sug- defence is received and recorded; in the other case the gestions, the Senator from Illinois [Mr. Kane) had pre. sentence of guilty is entered upon its record by the jusented a precedent from the Legislature of Pennsylvania, dicial body, while neither accusation nor trial have prewhich was supposed strongly to support the course pur- ceded it, and then the defence is refused a place upon sued by the President upon this occasion. The honora- that same record. Can any one fail to see, that, if the ble Senator from Kentucky had commented upon the Pennsylvania case is good parliamentary authority, the Pennsylvania case, and seemed to have satisfied himself case of the President, in this instance, is, in all respects, that it did not go, in any degree, to support the commu- much stronger? nication of the President now before the Senate, and the This, Mr. W. said, brought him to the consideration of request accompanying it, that it should be entered upon the resolution of the Senate, and of the various changes the Journal. Mr. W. said it would be his duty very briefly which it liad undergone between the time of its introducto examine the two cases, that the Senate might the bet- tion and the time when the vote of the Senate was taken ter determine how far the one would justify the other. upon it. The honorable Senator bad said that “the PresHe had understood the honorable Senator to say, that the ident had been declared by the Senate to have violated attempt was to impeach Governor McKean, then the Gov. the constitution and laws, in the particulars mentioned in ernor of the State of Pennsylvania, before the House of the resolution.” Mr. W. said ine remark struck him Representatives of that State, the body possessing, by the with peculiar force when it was made, as it appeared to State constitution, the power of impeachment; that a him to evince an unchanged purpose in the mind of the committee of the House reported certain accusations Senator, although it indicated a forgetfulness of the mateagainst the Governor, concluding with instructions that rial difference between the resolution in its present shape, articles of impeachment should be prepared; that a ma. and that resolution which he had at first proposed. One jority of the House, acting upon the report of the com- of the principal complaints in the protest, and one which Inittee, negatived the accusations, and refused to order an he, Mr. w., thoughii entitled to peculiar weighit, grew impeachment; that the resolutions, by way of accusation, out of these changes of the resolution; and that the force reported by the committee, althougli negatived by a ma- of that complaint might be accurately understood, he jority of the llouse, were entered upon ils Journal in the considered it his duty to call the attention of the Senate due course of the action of the House upon them; and to what the resolution was, as introduced, to what it is, that, subsequently to the final action of the House, the as passed, and to its progress from the one form to the Governor sent to it his defence against the accusations, other. The original resolution offered by the bonorable which was received, and ordered to be entered upon the Senator, was in these words: Journal, that the accusations and defence might remain Resolved, That by dismissing the late Secretary of the tugether as matter of record for all succeeding ages. Treasury, because he would not, contrary to his sense of This was the Pennsylvania case, as he had understood the his own duty, remove the money of the United States in honorable Senator lo relate it, and as he understood the deposite with the Bank of the United States and its facts to be. What was the case now before the Senate? brauches, in conformity with the President's opinion, and No attempt had been made to impeach the President be- by appointing his successor to effect such removal, which fore the House of Representatives, the body alone pos has been done, the President has assumed the exercise of sessing the constitutional power to find an impeachment a power over the Treasury of the United States, not grantagainst him; but the Senate, passing by the action of the ed to him by the constitution and laws, and dangerous to House, had proceeded in a summary manner, and without the liberties of the people.” impeachment or trial, to pass a sentence of condemnation Here, Mr. W. said, specific grounds of violation were against him for a high crime, not assuming to act in its assigned. In this shape of the resolution, the President judicial character, as trying an impeachment, but in its could know what acts of his were complained of. Here, legislative character, without any practical legislative pur- when he was charged with a violation of the constitution pose. Against this sentence, thus pronounced, the Pres- and laws, he was told wherein the alleged violations conident remonstrates, and sends his remonstrance to the sisted. The removal of the Secretary of the Treasury, Senate, and one of the questions before us is, Shall it be because he declined to do a specified act, and the appointentered upon the Journal? The Senator says, the case ment of a successor to do that act, were the violations asof Governor Mckean is not an authority in favor of allow- signed. In this shape the resolution remained, without ing ibe request of the President, because, in that case, an intimation that it was to undergo any material change, there was an unsuccessful attempt to impeach, and the until after the honorable Senator was in the occupation of majority of the body to which the protest was sent, justi. the floor to make a final close of the debate. For full fied the conduct of the officer; whereas, here has been three months the debate continued, and was entirely di. 10 attempt to impeach, but the majority of the Senate rected to these specified acts of the President, the one (the judicial tribunal) have condemned without impeach-side laboring to sustain the acts as constitutional and lawment, ard as a mere legislative expression. What is the ful, and the other side attempting, with equal perseveforce of this reasoning? Where an attempt is made to rance, to prove them to be above and beyond the authority accuse a public officer, which attempt is unsuccessful, be- conferred upon the President by the constitution and the Cause the majority of ile impeaching body think him in-law. On the morning of the second day of the honorable Mar 5, 1834.]

President's Protest.

(SENATE.

Senator's closing speech, he offered the following, as a posites by the latter officer; or, if gentlemen please, by the modlification of the original resolution:

President, through him, as his proper subordinate in the Resolved, That, in taking upon himself the responsi- performance of that duiy. But will it be now contended bility of removing the deposites of the public money from that these were the acts which influenced the majority of the Bank of the United States, the President of the the Senate in the passage of the resolution? The first of United States has assumed the exercise of a power over those acts, to wit, the removal of the one Secretary and the Treasury of the United States, not granted to him by the appointment of the other, were specifically assigned the constitution and laws, and dangerous to the liberties as the acts of violation, in the resolution as first offered of the people.”

by the honorable Senator. They remained the acts, and Here was a departure from the point which had been the only acts assigned, during the debate of three months. debated, and a new fact assumed, upon which the con- At the close of that debate they were withdrawn, surely demnation of the President was to rest. This modifica- for no other cause than that they would not sustain the tion charges upon him the removal of the deposites, and conclusion sought to be pronounced. The removal of assigns that act as the assumption of a power • not grant- " the deposites of the public moneys from the Bank of ed to him by the constitution and laws, and dangerous to the United States,” was then substituted as the act of the liberties of the people.” Although objectionable as violation which was to constitute the President's guilt. assuming new ground after the debate had closed, this This last act continued to be the specification during the proposition, like the original, pointed to a specific act, closing day of the Senator's closing speech, only when it and assigned that act as the violation charged. After the too was found insufficient to warrant the conclusion honorable Senator had closed his remarks, and at the mo- contained in the resolution, and was withdrawn to ment when the question was being stated from the Chair, give place to the last-named modification, containing no the modification above given was withdrawn, and the fol. other indication of the act or acts complained of, than lowing was offered in its place, and in the place of the the late executive proceedings in relation to the public original resolution:

revenue;" more properly speaking, containing no specifi"Resolved, that the President, in the late executive cation of the act or acts of violation. Who can now say proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has as- what act of the President has been pronounced by the sumed upon himself authority and power not conferred Senate an assumption of "authority and power not conby the constitution and laws, but in derogation of both." ferred by the constitution and laws, but in derogation of

No question having been taken upon the resolution, it both?" Is the removal of the late Secretary of the was in the power of the mover to modify it at his pleasure, Treasury from office, for the cause for which that removal without any vote of the Senate, and, by the exercise of is said to have been made? No; for that act and its al. that right, on his part, it was made to assume the above leged cause have been assigned to support the resolution, shape; in which shape it was adopted by the Senate, as and have been withdrawn. Is it the appointment of the stated in the protest. Mr. W. said, he considered this present Secretary of the Treasury, with the intention last modification of the resolution one of the most relihat he should remove the deposites. No; for that act and markable and indefensible steps in the proceeding of the intention have been assigned to support the resolution, Senate. Here the President'is charged with a violation and have been withdrawn. Is it both these acts, with the of the constitution and laws, and no act of his whatever cause assigned for the one, and the intention imputed to is named as constituting the violation complained of. The the other? No; for all were assigned together, and withPresident is not informed wherein his guilt consists, drawn together. Is it the removal of the deposites, and though he is pronounced guilty of a high crime, and no the agency which the President had in that removal? No; man can say what act of his was the act which, in the for that removal, an act, the responsibility of which he is mind of the Senate, constituted the violation the resolu- said to have taken upon himself, was assigned to support tion pronounces against him. “The late executive pro- the resolution, and' was, on the same day, withdrawn. ceedings in relation to the public revenue,” is the specifi. Who, then, can say what act of the President has made cation, while every one knows that there is not a day him

guilty of a violation of the law and the constitution? when "executive proceedings in relation to the public And yet we censure him for complaining that he has been revenue” do not take place. The President, then, may condemned without a hearing, and without being informjustify, to the satisfaction of every man in the country, ed what has been his offence. every executive act of his official life relating to the pub- Mr. W. said, the honorable Senator had told us that lic revenue, save one, and be that act what it may, he the President was the last man in the world who had a stands condemned by this resolution, in consequence of right to complain of the action of the Senate; that he it, of a violation of the constitution and the laws; and it should have left his grievances to the redress of public will be competent for those who voted for the resolution, opinion. And is it so? Is the man who finds himself to assign that act in justification of their votes, even under sentence for a high crime, without even having though the act itself shall never yet have been the subject known that he had been accused; without having been of attention in the Senate. Are citizens and high public allowed a trial by his peers; without having been heard officers in this free country to be not only accused, but in his defence—the last man in the world who hail a right condemned, in this blind and general manner? Is the to complain of the proceeding? Let me, said Mr. W., President of the United States, the first officer of the ask the honorable Senator, should he to-day find publishGovernment, to be thus pronounced guilty of a high ed to the world a judgment of the Supreme Court of the crime without notice and without a trial, and not to be United States, convicting him of a high crime, and should told what acts of his life have drawn down upon him the that publication be the first notice to him that he was heavy sentence! When this is done, as it has been done even accused, would he permit me to tell him, “You, by the action of the Senate, is he to be denied the poor sir, are the last man in the world who has a right to comprivilege of complaint, the humble satisfaction of pointing plain of the injustice. True it is, the sentence has gone out the injustice?

forth against you, and its moral influence visits itself upon Mr. W. said he was well aware that certain acts of the your character and fame, and upon the reputation and President were occupying the public attention, as the feelings of your family and friends; true it is that the senacts intended to be condemned by the Senate in the pas- tence has been passed in «irect violation of some of the sage of the resolution; and that those acts were the re. dearest rights secured to you by the constitution of your moral of the late, and the appointment of the present, country; but you must not complain; you must leave Secretary of the Treasury, and the change of the de- your grievances to be redressed by public opinion, and

SENATE.]

President's Protest.

(Mar 5, 1834.

you must not inform that public that your rights have umn of page four of the message, as published in pambeen thus invaded?" No, Mr. President, the honorable phlet at the Globe office. The language was as follows: Senator would not permit me to address to him this lan- “The resolution in question, was introduced, discussguage in the supposed case; he would complain, and give ed, and passed!, not as a joint, but as a separate resolution. bis complaints to the public, and I feel sure that reflection It asserts no legislative power; proposes 110 legislative will convince him that he lias laid down a rule for the action; and neither possesses the form nor any of the atPresident, in this instance, which he himself would not tributes of a legislative measure.

It does not appear to observe.

have been entertained or passed with any view or expectMr. W. said, he considered it proper, in this place, to ation of its issuing in a law or joint resolution, or in the notice an argument of the honorable Senator, which repeal of any law or joint resolution, or in any other leseemed to him rather specious than sound; but which was gislative action.". calculated to mislead the public mind. The honorable This, said Mr. W., is what the President has said upon gentleman, in his forcible and happy manner, inquired, the point, and I appeal to every Senator to say if the " if the Senate can pronounce the act of the President language bears out the declaration of the honorable Senconstitutional, can they not also pronounce that same act ator from Kentucky. It is merely that the resolution does unconstitutional?" And having thus shaped his position, not " appear” to liave been entertained or passed with a he went on to say, that the complaint was not that the view 10 legislation. The President does not assume to Senate had acted upon the subject and expressed its opin- assert the fact of intention and purpose, but merely the ion upon the President's official conduct, but that it had appearance. How then stands the case with the Senator pronounced that opinion unfavorable. The position, Mr. from New Jersey? He went so far us to say that the W. said, was gratuitous, and not warranted by any thing President had stated what was untrue, and what he knew to be found in the message; and that one of the premises to be untrue, in this particular. I believe, said Mr. W., taken for granted was distinctly denied, and without that that tbis was the first instance, in which a Senator had so the reasoning and conclusion féll to the ground. It was far forgotten himself, and what was due to his situation, not admitted, in a case where an impeachable charge was as, in his place, to charge the President of the United made, that the Senate could pronounce in favor of the States with known and intentional falsehood, and I shall officer accused, until the presentation of an impeachment make no other answer to such a charge than to refer again enabled it to assume its judicial character, and to hear, to what the President has said, and to what the Senator try, and determine the questions submitted. Mr. W. said did charge. he had, upon a former occasion, attempted to establish Mr. W. said he must, however, draw the attention of the position, that a judgment of acquittal was as much the Senate 10 the fact, that in the whole course of the judiciaļ as a judgment of conviction; and hence, that the debate upon the resolution referred to, from the first quo animo of a public officer, charged with a violation of sentence almost, in the remarks made by the honorable the constitution and law, could not be examined legisla. Senator from Missouri, (Mr. Berton,) in opening the de. tively, because such an examination, even for the sake of bate against the resolution, to the remarks made by himexcusing the officer from criminal intent, must of neces self, at the close of the debate upon that side, it had been sity be judicial. He now repeated the same opinion; asserted and repeated, that the resolution was judicial in and to make it more plain to the Senate that exculpatory its character, that it did not and could not lead to legislaaction in the case supposed would be a violation of its tion, and that the action of the Senate upon it, legislativeconstitutional powers and duties, he would suppose a ly, was palpably unconstitutional, and a usurpation of case growing out of the existing state of things. Sup- power. In answer to these assertions and arguments he pose, then, that the opinions of the two Houses of Con. had not once heard an attempt to point out the legislation gress upon the subject of the removal of the public de- designed to be promoted by the passage of the resolution, posites were reversed; that the majority of the Senate though it bad been contended that the Senate had a right believed that the Executive bad discharged his constitu- to pass it to protect its legislative powers. He had not tional duty faithfully, and that the majority of the House himself believed, when the resolution was before the Senof Representatives held a contrary opinion; that the ate, that it was calculated to lead to any legislative action, llouse was proceeding to impeach ihe President for his and on and since its passage, he had exercised his ingeacts upon that subject, and that the Senate shouid, pend- nuity in vain to conjecture what possible act of legislation ing that proceeding, in an assumed legislative character, could follow from it. His surprise, then, could be well originate and pass resolutions declaring constitutional and imagined when he had lieard the Chief Magistrate, a man legal those very acts of the President apon which the who had never, by his most bitter enemy, been accused Hlouse were, at the time, founding articles of impeach- of evasion or subterfuge, directly charged with intentionment, as being violations of the constitution and the law. al falsehood for saying that this resolution did not “ap. Will any one doubt that such a judgment of acquittal by pear” to have been entertained or passed with a view io the Senate would be a violation of its duty as a judicial legislation. He now called upon honorable gentlemen body, and a prejudging of a case about to be presented to point out the legislation intended to follow the expresjudicially before it? It is not then true that the Senate sion of opinion contained in this resolution, and he must can properly pronounce in favor of an accused officer, be permitted to hope, that the charge of falsehood against until he is regularly put upon his trial before the body; the President, for speaking of the appearance only of the and the argument of the Senator, based ripon this as- measure, would not be repeated, until this call should be sumption, wholly fails, and requires no further answer answered. The honorable Senator from Kentucky, while than the single allegation, that the position belongs to the he contended that the resolution was intended to lead to Senator himself, and not to any thing to be found in the legislation, admitted fully that any attempt to reduce the President's communication,

intent to practice was contingent, and depended upon the Again, the honorable Senator contends that the Pres-clisposition of the other branch of Congress to concur with ident says,

"the Senate did not originally intend any le. the views of the Senate. This was another fact going far gislation by the passage of the resolution.” As well in to justify the President, and much farther to show that no reference to the remarks the honorable Senator upon legislation, dependent upon such a contingency, could this point, as to those of the member from New Jersey, have been reasonably expected. who was not in his seat, [Mr. SOUTHARD,] Mr. W. said The honorable Senator next introduced the subject of he deemed it important to see what the President had in privilege, and, among other things, contended that the fact said. He would therefore read from the second col-I'message was a breach of the privileges of the Senate, in

MAT 5, 1834.]

President's Protest.

(SENATE.

its reference to the votes of individual Senators upon the peated, that the President, in this paper, had set up a resolution complained of. Mr. W. said he would make claim, on behalf of the Executive branch of the Govern10 other reply to this position, than to repeat what had ment, to the possession and custody of not only the treasbeen already said by the honorable Senator from Illinois: ure, but all the property of the Government, of every that the people of every State were as much the con- name and description whatsoever. To this argument, or stituents of the President as they were of the Senators rather allegation, he believed it was in his power to give, from the giver State; that the relations between them and Ire intended to give, a full and perfect answer. It and the President were more immediate than between will be recollected, said Mr. W., that the protest appearthem and their Senators; that the President had an equal ed here on the 17th of the last month, and that upon the right with any Senator to speak of the wishes of the 21st, four days after, an explanatory communication was people of the State from which the Senator might come, made by the President, to that part of the paper from to exhibit the evidence of what those wishes were, and which this position is drawn. Upon the reading of the to draw conclusions from that evidence. This, if any, explanatory communication, an honorable Senator from was the offence of the President here complained of South Carolina (Mr. PRESTON] took the floor, and conThe Legislatures of certain States had instructed their gratulated the Senate “upon the retraxit of the PresiSenators to support the President in the acts which the dent. Since that period, he, Mr. W., had understood resolution condemns. Some of the Senators, so instruct. the honorable gentleman to say that, upon a careful ex. erl, had felt it to be their duty to disregard their instruc- amination of the two papers, he had strong doubts whethtions, and to unite in the condemnation of the Presidenter the second paper was a "retraxit,and whether the for the acts which the Legislatures of their States have proper construction of the first message was not substanexpressly approved. The President is called upon to tially that given to it by the second. The honorable make his defence against the condemnation thus pro- Senator from Maine [Mr. Serague] had said distinctly, nounced upon him, and, among other things, be proceeds on a late day, that the second message was no modificato show that his measures have been in accordance with tion whatever of the first, but that all the claims of power the public will; that, in lis judgment, an expression from in the Executive departinent of the Government, made a State Legislature is the most authentic evidence of the in the first message, were wholly unimpaired, and only wishes of those whom that Legislature represents, when rendered more obscure and unintelligible by the second. the people have not had an opportunity, directly through The honorable Senator from Kentucky, in ihe course of the ballot-boxes, to make their expression upon the point his remarks, adopted, in their whole extent, the positions in controversy; that, assuming that evidence to be the taken by the Senator from Maine, and declared that they true index of the will of the States mentioned, he is sus- were so clear, so sound, and so fully applicable to the tained by them; and that, had their Senators acted in ac- facts, that he would not spend the time of the Senate in cordance with this will, thus expressed, he should have attempting further to establish them. been sustained, and not condeinned, by the Senate. The Here, then, Mr. President, said Mr. W., we have three President expressly disclaims all intention to interfere distinguished gentlemen of the opposition, all perfectly with the relations between the Senators and their constit. agreeing that the explanatory message does not retract dents, and says, in terms, that his only object in referring any thing from the true and fair construction of that com{ the action of their respective Legislatures, was to con- munication to which it was intended as an explanation, nect those expressions with the history of the acts for but that all the claims of power, be they right, or be which he had been accused. If this is to be denounced they wrong, which were made in the first message, are as a breach of the privileges of the Senate, we can ef-repeated and re-asserted in the second. I, sir, fully fectually seal the lips of the President so far as the opin- agree with the gentlemen that this is so, and I congratuions and wishes of the people of the States, or the ex- late the Senate and the country, that, while' every inch pressions of their respective Legislatures, are concerned, of ground upon this vexed topic is so strenuously contest. lest in speaking of them, although his immediate con-ed, we have here a single point upon which there is no stituents, he my be guilty of a trespass upon the privi- difference of opinion. Considering the point, therefore, leges of this boily

as fully settled, that both the messages make the same The kenorable Senator next tells us that the President claims of power in the Executive department of the Gov. has no right to ask the Senate to record a message which ernment, as to the possession and custudy of the public proposes no legislative action. It lias already been seen money and property, and that there is no longer any disthat the President does not demand that the message be- pute about that matter, Mr. W. said he would read from fore the Senate should be recorded as a matter of right, ihe explanatory message, to determine what these claims but respectfully requests it as a matter of justice; not in fact were. The language of the President, he said, that it has any relation to those messages, upon subjects was as follows: of legislation, which it is his duty, by the constitution, to “ I admit, without reserve, as I have before done, the senil to the Congress, but that it is a communication constitutional power of the Legislature to prescribe by called from him by resolution of the Senate, unjustly accu- law the place in which the public money or other propsing him of crime, and unconstitutionally encroaching erty is to be deposited; and to make such regulations upon his rights as a citizen and a public officer of the concerning its custody, removal, or disposition, as they Government. Thus much being premised, it is a sufficient may think proper to enact.

Nor do I claim for the Exanswer to this position to say, that when the Senate shall ecutive any right to the possession or disposition of the abstain from expressions, spread upon its Journal, con- public property or treasure, or any authority to interferc demning the President's official acts, and thus bringing with the sime, except when such possession, disposition, reproach upon him as a magistrate and a citizen, witlout or authority, is given to him by law. Nor do I claim the any reference to legislative action, that officer will have right in any manner to supervise or interfere with the no occasion to ask this body to record messages in answer person intrusted with such property or treasure, unless to such expressions, and in defence of himself, which he be an officer whose appointment is, under the constipropose no legislative action.

tution and laws, devolved upon the President alone, or in Mr. W. said he had now reached an argument not con- conjunction with the Senate, and for whose conduct he is fined to the honorable Senator from Kentucky, but which constitutionally responsible.” liad been used by most of those who had addressed the Here then, said Mr. W., by the consent of all, are the Senate upon the subject of the protest, on that side of claims of power upon this deeply important part of the the House. He referred to the allegation, so often re- subject, the possession and custody of the public proper

VOL. X.--103

« ZurückWeiter »