Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THURSDAY, JANUARY 16.

The moral effect of one institution connected with the

currency, is brought into consideration by one departTHE PENSION LAWS.

ment. My colleague, acting upon the same principle toThe resolution offered by Mr. CHilton, on the subject day, proposes to inquire whether the community are not of extending the provisions of the pension laws to those losing their respect for the obligation of an oath, in conwho were engaged in the Indian wars on the frontier, sequence of these pension laws. To-morrow, perhaps, from the peace of '83 to the treaty of Greenville in 1795; an inquiry may be proposed into the moral tendencies of together with the amendment thereto proposed by Mr. those laws, which, in certain portions of the confederacy, BOOLDIN, suggesting an inquiry as to the moral efiects of secure to us a particular species of property. The printhe pension system, and the propriety of repealing the ciple is of the most diffusive character; and, whenever pension laws, coming up as the unfinished business adopted as a principle of action for this Government, all

Mr. ALLEN, of Virginia, said it was not his intention constitutional restrictions are swept away. to detain the House with a discussion on the policy of the That abuses have been committed, that many unwor. pension laws, the motives which led to their passage, or thy individuals are now in the enjoyment of pensions the moral tendency of such a system on the community. which their services never merited, will not be denied. We find the system established (said Mr. A.) To grant Owing to the difficulty in obtaining proof at this period, pensions to the surviving soldiers of the revolution, ap- some confidence must be given to the statements of the pears to be the settled policy of the country; and as long applicant. No system would be of much practical benas the system is continued, equal justice would seem to efit, which exacted from the applicant strict proof of all require that all who rendered services of a similar char- his services. Men are prompted by the strongest of all acter should participate in the bounty of the nation. The motives the hope of benefit to themselves to give a faresolution of the gentleman from Kentucky did no more vorable view of their case. And that many should yield than propose an inquiry into the claims of a most merito-to temptation, and attempt to practise frauds on the Gov. rious class of our fellow-citizens; men who encountered ernment, is not to be wondered at. Congress, wben perils as great, rendered services as important, and sub- legislating on this subject, must have been aware of these mitted to exposures as severe, as most of those who are consequences. Their knowledge of human nature, the now receiving pensions. In adopting the resolution, the experience they had of the practical operation of other House would not commit itself in favor of the application; laws, must have satisfied them that, under any system it would decide nothing. Under these circumstances, I they might adopt, frauds would be attempted, and frecannot but regret that my colleague has conceived it to quently, notwithstanding all the vigilance of the officers be his duty to embarrass this resolution by the amend of Government, they would be imposed upon. But this ment proposed—an amendment which opens for discus- consideration did not deter them from the measure. And sion the whole policy of the system. Had the amendment it appears to me the moral sense of the community would been offered as an original independent proposition, it now be more offended at a total repeal of the pension would, perhaps, have encountered no opposition—at least, laws, than it ever has been, or will be, by the abuses not from me; for, though I do not concur in the opin- which have occurred, or may occur, under them. But ions entertained by my colleague on this subject, I con- if the amendment were offered as an original proposiceive it due to every representative of the people on this tion, I would not object to it. If the law is defective, or floor that every facility should be afforded him to inves- if the rules and regulations adopted are not sufficient to tigate the policy and practical effect of every measure of guard the treasury, I will give my vote for any amend. this Government. But I must remark, that, whether it was ments which may appear to promise more efficiency. wise or not to adopt this system in the first instance, we Nor, Mr. Speaker, can I give my assent to all the have gone too far, and persevered in it too long, to retrace opinions advanced by the gentleman from Rhode Island. our steps. My colleague, though he may feel it to be his Pensions, if I understood that gentleman correctly, produty to oppose every effort to extend the system, can ceed upon the principle that the revolutionary soldier scarcely anticipate an abandonment of it by this House, or never received the remuneration for his services promised by any Congress which may convene here in future times. by the Government. If this is correct, Congress adoptWhat object has my colleague in view! Does he propose ed a strange method to carry out the principle into pracwe should stop at the point we have reached, and grant tice. If we are paying a debt, discharging a mere legal no more pensions? Does he propose to leave those who obligation, why are not men paid in proportion to their have been placed on the roll in the enjoyment of their services? Why give to the soldier who served twelve pensions? Or does he contemplate a total repeal of the months, and to him who served throughout the revolulaws?

tion, the same compensation? Upon the mere score of If we stop now, we shall do gross injustice to many ap- economy, it would have been better to allow every plicants, in all respects as meritorious as those whose soldier full pay for the time he was in service, and this, claims have been acted on. With what feelings would too, without deducting any thing for what he may have these men, or the community, contemplate such an act of received during the revolution. And why, if we recoginjustice!

nise this as the true principle, do we not carry it out to And would not a total repeal of the laws fall with pe- its legitimate consequences? The death of our creditor culiar hardship upon the pensioners? They have relied does not release us from the debt. We should not stop with confidence on a continuance of the bounty of the at the survivors; common honesty would require us to Government; upon the faith of your legislation, they compensate the heirs and representatives of such of the have made arrangements for the balance of their days; soldiers of the revolution as died before the passage of and, to repeal the laws now, and deprive them of their the pension laws. It appears to me, Mr. Speaker, the pensions, would be an act of harshness and cruelty. It principle upon which these laws are predicated was corwould have been better a thousand times never to have rectly stated by the gentleman from Kentucky. They are extended relief to them, than to deprive them of it now. not claims for debts, or compensation due as a matter of

An inquiry into the moral tendency of particular acts or right. We avail ourselves of this opportunity, not to institutions appears to be introducing a new principle of discharge the debt of gratitude due to the heroes of the action in the administration of our national affairs. If revolution-the wealth of worlds would not acquit us of sanctioned, the extent of the powers of this Government, that; but to testify our sense of the value of their services, as well as the propriety of its measures, will be tested by and to manifest to all the feelings of gratitude we enterthe supposed effect on the morals of the community. tain for them.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

It appears to me, too, Mr. Speaker, that the gentleman come within the spirit of the pension laws, and are as from Rhode Island is somewhat mistaken in his recollec- clearly entitled, upon every principle, to the bounty of the tions of the history of the Indian wars in the West. They Government, as any of those whose names are inscribed were not, according to the impressions made upon my on the pension roll? mind, from all that I have heard and learned upon the The resolution also proposes to inquire whether all subject, mere private wars, carried on by individuals for who were engaged in these wars, down to the treaty of plunder, or any other account--such hostilities as usually 1795, are not, upon the principles of the pension laws, occur upon a savage frontier. On the contrary, it was a entitled to the benefit of these provisions. They allege general war maintained against the whites by the Indian the Indian war was brought upon them by the revolution; tribes, with but little intermission, from 1774 down to it was that part of the revolutionary war which occurred the treaty of 1795. The whole western frontier had been in the West; and, with them, it never terminated until the desolated in the old French war. Hostilities with the treaty of 1795. The signing of a treaty does not of itself Indians continued after the treaty of Paris, and were terminate hostilities; they may continue; and, in the closed at last by the treaty entered into with them by Sir West, did continue, after the treaty of 1783. This treaty William Johnson, in 1765. After the conclusion of hos- gave repose to the East. But did it silence the wartilities, the settlements were gradually extended from the whoop, or extinguish the conflagration, or quench the Alleghany to the Ohio river. Men lived on their farms torch of sacrifice in the West? It did not. The war and improvements in a state of comparative security; and continued, and with redoubled fury. The attention of though there may have been occasional disturbances, the British Government and her agents was withdrawn instances of individual outrages on both sides, there was from the East, but they stimulated the savages to reno general war-no hostilities in which the tribes gene- newed efforts. From motives of revenge, or to impede rally participated. In 1774, the controversy between the the settlement of the western country, they exerted mother country and the colonies began to assume a more themselves to inflame the Indians against us. The whole threatening aspect. The tea had been destroyed in frontier was desolated, and, as late as 1794, outrages March, and the Boston port bill was to go into operation were committed in the district I have the honor to repon the 1st of June, 1774. The course of Virginia, at resent. this period, is matter of history, familiar to all. A reso Sir, the application of these men is entitled to a favor. lution was adopted by the House of Burgesses, recom- able consideration, from my colleague at least, on other mending that the 1st of June should be observed as a day accounts. A very large proportion of those who would of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. The Governor im- be benefited by the proposed modification of the system mediately dissolved the Assembly; and, alarmed at the are Virginians. You are well acquainted with the condispirit'which the measures of the British Government were tion of our native State during the revolution. Her treas. producing in that colony, the royal Governor determined ury was bankrupt. Her principal reliance for the payto divert their attention from the scenes going on in the ment of her expenses was the proceeds arising from the North, by furnishing employment nearer home. Few sale of her public domain. As an inducement, too, to enwho have taken the trouble to investigate the matter now list in her service, she promised donations of land to such entertain a doubt that the war, usually called Dunmore's as should enter the ariny, and continue in service to the war, was brought about through the instrumentality of close of the war. This clomain she confided to the defence the agents of the Crown. The facts now mostly rest upon of these western gettlers. And did they disappoint her tradition, but they all tend to prove that the Indians were expectations? You know they did not. While to the excited by the agents sent amongst them.

North it became necessary to detach a part of the regular These hostilities were, it is true, checked for a moment army to check the incursions of the Indians in the coun. by the battle of Point Pleasant, in October, 1774, and the try bordering on the Susquebannah, and another division treaty which shortly afterwards ensued. But the interval was despatched to chastise the southern Indians, these of peace was but short. War was again commenced as western settlers of Virginia defended the whole of her soon as the open rupture took place between England exposed frontier. They did more, sir. They extended and the Colonies; and it continued without intermission your dominion, by the conquest of the western posts, until the treaty of 1795, making up the full term assigned over the immense regions of the West. The expedition for its duration by the gentleman from Tennessee. Dur. under the command of George Rogers Clarke was coming the greater part of this time the dispersed settlements posed almost entirely of these men. Your constituents, were broken up; the settlers were driven from their and those of your colleague, have reaped the benefits of farms; they were compelled to unite in block-houses and their valor. Though they did not participate in the boun. forts for their mutual protection; and they cultivated ties of the State, they never murmured. They rejoiced their fields in parties, with their rifles near at hand. that, by their exertions, their native State was enabled to They were literally encamped during all this period in fulfil her engagements to perform her promises to the the presence of an enemy in alliance with and irged on soldier of the revolution. Nor have they ever imporby England. The resolution of the gentleman from Ken-tuned you for favors. They have never been begtucky proposes an inquiry into two classes of cases. Un-gars for your bounties. But when they perceive a pen. der the law, as it now stands, the applicant, to entitle sion systein is in full operation that every man who served himself to the benefit of its provisions, must show a service for a limited period during the revolution is in the enat one or more periods, amounting in all to six months. joyment of a pension, they cannot perceive the justice Many of those who were most efficient in the Indian of the rule which excludes them from its benefits. They wars during the revolution, before the treaty of peace, believe that if long, important, and hazardous services, never enlisted, nor were they called out to perform a rendered during the revolution, and in that war which tour of duty in the militia. 1'he frontier of Virginia then they have been accustomed to look upon as a continuance extended from Pittsburg to the mouth of Green river. of it, entitled any to the favorable consideration of the The State relied upon these western seitlers to defend country, they were so entitled. They ask that an inquithis extended frontier, and they were therefore never ry, at least, may be directed. And I trust the amendment called out to perform duty in the East. They protected of my colleague will be rejected, and the resolution the settlements more in ihe interior, and thus enabled directing this inquiry will be adopted. the State to direct her energies against the more power-/ Mr. PEYTON said he had risen yesterday, from the ful foe. Under these circumstances, though they may impulse of the moment, not to make a speech, but not be embraced in the letter, who can doubt that they rather to repel what he considered an imputation cast

Jan. 16, 1834.)

The Pension Laws.

[H. OF R.

upon men whom he had been early taught to look Boon and Spenser thought that nature did not intend upon as patriots, most of whom are gone, than to ask that mighty West-all that valley which is watered by the for them an act of justice and charity from their coun. • king of floods” and its tributary streams-to be kept try.

forever for the savage war-dance-a wild hunting ground. The venerable gentleman from Rhode Island, (Mr. I know that some few gentlemen have always differed BURGES) spoke lightly (said Mr. P.) of the early settlers with them, and have opposed emigration to the West, and of the West-talked of their scalps-classed them with looked with jealousy upon its rising prospects have “plunderers and savage murderers." I, sir, am proud saved their sympathy for the red man, and their spear to trace my origin to that race of men. But, sir, no pen- and darts for the white man. I never could understand sion law can benefit my ancestors now. It would come such enlarged patriotic sympathy, much less did I extoo late for them. They never asked a pension while pect to find ope ready to pierce the dead. I agree with they lived. I value the reputation of that band of pat- Boon and Spenser that the West should have been settled; riots as dearer than gold. You have a right to deny and how was that to be accomplished! My answer is, the survivors bread, but no right to cast obloquy upon by just such men as did effect it, and such a race we will their names.

never see again: so resolutely brave, so pure and warm They were no “plunderers.” No, sir; they were solo in patriotism, so kind to one another, (I wish their spirit diers, true and pure; and a soldier never stains his hand filled these legislative halls,) so patient under all the pangs with "plunder." The brave are always tender and hu- of war, and wants, and wretchedness. Women then were mane. They "plunderers!” What temptation was there more than soldiers. in the frowning forest of the West to invite to “plun. I question, sir, if old Mrs. Buchanan did not distinder?” None, sir, none.

guish herself in these “petty feuds,” of which the genThe wild beast, and the naked savage, armed with all tleman seems never to have heard, as much as that his instruments of death-the gun, the knife, the axe, worthy and venerable man has done in all the mighty and faggot-were the allurements held out. It was not struggles through which his country has passed. Women every one whose taste would have led him to partake in then, sir, would come around, with bullets in their aprons, such “plunder.” I question if the gentleman, in the un- encouraging their husbands, sons, and brothers. They restrained ardor of his youth, could have been induced to would hold an aching head, or bind a bleeding wound; throw a sickle in, and reap for “plunder" there. The and all this was in the service of the country in the war harvest, sir, was often smoking cabins, murdered wives of the revolution. and children, scalped and mangled sires. They “mur The gentleman seems to be uninformed of the early derers!” They left their firesides and patrimonial farms occurrences in the West, and looks down with scorn in Carolina and Virginia, to protect our mothers from upon the struggles there. I could refer him to a man murder, from savage torture; and, sir, the social and do. who would be able to supply his want of local knowledge mestic virtues found an asylum in the forest. The strong- -a venerable man about his own age--his name is Genest rampart was thrown around them—the chivalry of nings--Edmund Gennings. He was in Dunmore's war; these men. And this reflection soothed and quieted the fought all day long in the battle of the Point at Big Kenpang which wrung their bosoms when they stood upon awha. The gentleman, no doubt, remembers that battle; the last hill which overlooked their homes, where youth- it was fought in 1774, just twenty years before Wayne's ful feeling clung and hovered.

victory in 1794. But, sir, this old soldier, bent by war What! cast an imputation upon the names of Boon, Rob- and time, who is now a wanderer, without a home--I left inson, and Spenser, and their brave compeers! Class him in my district when I came away-he performed an these men with the savage, in want of honor and buman. exploit in the Nicojack expedition worthy of a monuity! They were patriots, benefactors of the West, who ment. Now, sir, perhaps that gentleman never heard deserved to live in marble, and not to be remembered of Nicojack; if so, he should talk no more of Indian with reproach and scorn.

wars in the West, but keep close upon the borders of The history of Boon and Robinson is known. Robinson Rhode Island. Whitley was at Nicojack, brought down was to Tennessee what Boon was to Kentucky. Spen- his soldiers from Kentucky, and joined Robinson at the ser, who lias been referred to by my friend and colleague, French Lick station, (now Nashville.) There are men (Mr. DICKINSON,) was the first white man who spent a alive, and now upon this floor, who can attest that Whitwinter in my native county, (Sumner county.) He lived ley deserves not to be degraded to the level of a savage; in the hollow of a tree at Bledsve's Lick, alone, surround- he was the patriot of two wars. But, sir, Edmund Gened by the savages, and no other of bis race on that side of nings--he swam a river in the dark, a mile in width, (the the mighty mountains which lay between him and his Tennessee, below the Muscle shoals,) and went into an native Carolina. When the spring opened, and the desert Indian town, which lined its banks, with one companion bloomed around him, he returned, described the country, only, ascertained its strength, and brought the canoes its game, its fertility, its rich inviting loveliness. His over to Robinson and Whitley. His companion was Joshneighbors went; he was their pilot; he killed their meat; ua Thomas. He went the way which the gentleman seems he stood sentry while they slept. Thus he spent his time to think was right, for he was scalped; a truer soldier for years. At last, upon the bill which bears bis name, never lived or died. That gentleman may think such lie fell-valiantly fell-fighting between the women and men “murderers” and “plunderers," and that it is a the ambushed savage. His flesh was devoured, and his bad example to reward or even admire them. But, sir, bones bleached and mouldered in the woods, until an old I rank them with the bravest of the brave-the most deman, the companion of his youth, collected them together, serving of the revolutionary soldiers. and placed them in a cave, where they are yet. No mar. Mr. Speaker, if i were to ask you to point me to the ble pillar marks the spot; but nature, in that proud hill most cruel, bloody, and vindictive of all the mother counwhich rears its head above the clouds, has raised for him try's acts, which marked her war upon the colonies, what a grander monument than man can raise. It is Spenser's would be the answer? That she excited the savages, un. Hill, and will so remain forever. But, sir, he was no kennelled the blood-hounds of the forest, who knew no “plunderer," but a generous, kind, and hospitable man. mercy, who spared neither age nor sex, to war upon the He would divide his meat to the last morsel with a hun. American people. “In the issue which was made begry dog. He was no "murderer," but a soldier, who fore bigh Heaven,” “whether England should rule or would defend himself and friend; fit to have stood by America be free,” were not the savages used as instruBruce, Leonidas, or Kosciusco.

ments and allies of Great Britain to subjugate the colo.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

nies? Was it not a part of our revolutionary struggle to found exasperated to desperation against the Government, resist those savages? Where did this vindictive and un- and in its frantic rage reckless of consequences, if not relenting policy fall most heavily? Upon the West; and, bent on the destruction of all around it. Yet, sir, in that sir, the West met it, as she has since met perils from ihe spirit it was found to act. same quarter, and as I trust she will ever meet them, . The removal of the deposites was a step indisputably come from where they may,

lawful and valid. The Secretary of the Treasury was It was patriotic in Washington to resist the civilized clearly authorized to do what he did. The expediency armies of Great Britain, but not so in Boon to resist her of the measure was another question, but one with which gentle and persuasive instruments of savage warfare in the the bank had no concern. The measure was met by the West. What kept back the depredations of these allies bank in anger and in menace-not so much at the Gov. from the interior? The best of ramparts for a nation's erpment, which happily is above its reach, as at the State safety--the chivalry of its frontier citizens. And, sir, institutions and the prosperity of individuals. It aimed shall such a race of men, who achieved so much, be to crush the former, and to bring the latter in pliant sub. branded with epithets?--have their scalps put, in their mission, or in ruin, at its feet. country's estimation, against an Indian's scalp--their hu. The attempt was made, and made at the time the bank manity against the humanity of an Indian-their honor deemed most propitious for its own objects. A new against the bonor of a savage-while other soldiers of the Congress was about to convene; it was hoped, by raising revolution have won for themselves immortal honor, and a loud cry of distress, to alarm the representatives of the freedom for their country? No, sir; it is not just to treat people here, and shake their otherwise fixed determinathem so. If any soldier of the revolution should stand in tion. At such a time, and for such a purpose, all tho patriotic merit above another, it is he who fought the fury of this mighty “ legal entity" was poured out upon solitary fight in far and distant parts. No flag like that the devoted cities of the seaboard. (pointing to the flag in the House)-no spirit-stirring fife Where men congregate, they are easily agitated, and and drum to cheer him on-no Washington to lead him can be moved in masses. Money in large cities is the up in confidence to battle--no pay, no arms, nor ammuni. bread of life. Curtail the supply, and you excite the tion furnished-no clothes nor meat-his name upon no wildest and the deepest passions. A whole community roll-he fights from high impulse and love of country, not heaving to and fro, and tossed about by its own convul. for pay or “plunder;" and, if he falls, no stone to tell sions, is incapable of reflection. It feels and fears: no the spot--no book is written about him; but if a monu- one stops to inquire or reason. Give, then, to this per. ment at all, it is left by the hand of a hunter, carved in turbed mass some cause, little matter how trivial or ab. the bark of the tree that shades his grave. And if he surd, for its own agitation and distress, and it is seized lives, and is old and poor, a wanderer from house to house, upon as the true and the only one. The bank managers there is no pension for him. No, sir, no pension. Why? knew all this: they had studied human nature, and they His name is not enrolled in a book.

would now practise upon it. They coolly went to work And was not he who found his own arms, and grappled to create alarm, to destroy confidence, to produce the with the foe in the deep forest, in that sacred cause greatest possible pecuniary distress; and as coolly to inwbich won so much for man, without the aid of any thing duce the belief that it was all produced by the change of but valor—was not he a soldier of the revolution, stand the public deposites. Thus local banks and commercial ing on prouder ground than if he had been draughted, associations were to be compelled, as some have been, and forced to follow his commander and that glorious ban- to ask a restoration of the deposites, and, of consequence, ner?-[pointing again to the flag in the House.)

a recharter of this institution. The compressive and Mr. P. was here cut short in his remarks by the expi. coercive energies of the bank were applied, and, it must ration of the hour allotted to morning business; and the be admitted, with some effect. Not a few of its victims House proceeded to the order of the day, being

have been made to kiss the rod of the scourger. THE DEPOSITE QUESTION.

The bank, sir, was badly advised. Instead of aggra

vating what it affected to regard as an evil, had it exerted Mr. BEARDSLEY, who had possession of the floor, its great power to alleviate it; bad it been just, and genrose. Mr. B., in addressing the Speaker, began by ob- erous, and magnanimous; had it even bebaved with ordi. serving that, had the Bank of the United States for the nary moderation and mercy; it would have planted itself last three months been wisely directed; had its operations deeply in the affections of many who now regard it with been conducted in a becoming spirit, and with a proper horror. It adopted an opposite course. It commenced regard for the general interest; it could not have failed a systematic and unparalleled persecution. State banks, to gain greatly in the public favor, and to-day would have bank debtors, men largely commercial-all felt, though been stronger in the affections of the country than at any few have fallen beneath its vengeance. former period. The public moneys had been withdrawn And now, sir, all having been felt which the bank from its keeping. That would, to some extent, curtail could inflict, is it not matter of astonishment that no its ability to yield its accustomed facilities to business. greater ruin should have followed from so mighty a cause? These moneys were placed in other banks, and in differ. Let us be consoled. It proves the solid foundation of ent parts of the country. Their ability to extend their the local currency, and the firm basis of commercial opeown operations was of course increased. Some derange- rations. I trust, sir, we may hope to weather the storm ment in the money market would inevitably follow, from in safety, merciless and ruinous as it was intended it should this change in the circumstances and condition of differ-be. Let us be consoled. “The blood of the martyrs ent institutions; but, if each and all would act with a nourished the church!”—the distress, and suffering, and view to the general good, no serious injury could be ap- ruin, thus wantonly inflicted and designed by the bank, prehended.

will make men see and feel the justice of its complete Justice demanded such a course from the Bank of the and speedy overthrow. United States. It had been created, not only to aid the For two months, sir, before the meeting of Congress, fiscal operations of the Government, but to support and it was notorious that the Bank of the United States bad facilitate the commerce of the country. Gratitude deceased to be a depository of the public treasures. An manded this course from the bank. It had partaken order for their removal had gone forth, and that order largely of the public patronage and the public favor. It had been obeyed. At an early period of the session, the had gathered golden harvests from the use of the public Secretary of the Treasury reported the reasons for that money. It was not to be supposed that it could ever be order and direction.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Secretary informs us that he gave the order; the teenth section of the bank charter, is legislative in its reasons assigned are given as his reasons. That the Pres- character; “the Secretary of the Treasury was the agent, ident concurred with him, is admitted: he has told us so the fiscal agent, of Congress, and not of the President." in his message. Yet the Secretary has not sought to So says the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Mcshelter himself behind the President. Far from it, sir. Duppie,) and so argues the gentleman from PennsylvaThe step was taken as his own; upon his own conviction nia, (Mr. Bixxer.] of its propriety; and for the sacred duty which demanded. These positions are stated clearly. We know what is it at his hands.

| said, and what is meant. The argument is, that the SecBut although this order is thus officially announced by retary of the Treasury is independent of the President, the Secretary as his own, yet the truth of the annunciation and responsible to Congress only. I will venture to meet is denied. The Secretary did not remove the deposites, this argument as it is presented, and I hope to show that says an honorable gentleman, (Mr. McDUFFIE;] he was there is not a particle of foundation for the assertion that the passive instrument of tyranny: the President usurped the Treasury is not an executive department, and that his power, and did the deed himself. Following up the this act was not, of right, subject to the control of the same strain of crimination, we are told that the present President. Secretary came into power through a breach of the con. The act, sir, was simply an order; the official organ by stitution; that the late Secretary was hurled from office which it was made, the Secretary of the Treasury. The without cause, and in defiance of the constitution; and order presupposes consideration, judgment, determinathat all these enormities were perpetrated to gratify the tion. These do not necessarily characterize the act as mad passions of a reckless tyrant.

legislative or judicial; it may still be executive; for the . I purpose, sir, to look at these rough charges, imputing duties of the Executive Magistracy, although very distinthe most corrupt motives to the President, and the most guishable from those of the Legislative and Judicial Deservile spirit to the Secretary of the Treasury, with some-partments, do still require for their faithful performance what of particularity and detail; but, I hope, without any deep reflection and judgment, as well as unshaken firmgreat consumption of the precious time of this House. ness and energy.

And I remark, sir, that, having the order of the Sec- But, sir, if we cannot, from the nature of the act itself, retary before us--an order submitted to and acted upon ascertain with certainty its proper character, let us ad. by the bank as a full compliance with the act of Con- vert to the officer by whom it was performed, and, by asgress, and now transmitted by the Secretary, with his signing him his proper place in the Government, solve reasons--we ought, in fairness to that officer, to regard it the problem. as what it purports to be-the independent official act of It is clear, sir, that this removal was not made by the the Secretary himself, the result of his own judgment, exertion of legislative power; for all legislative power and not an act done under coercion or a threat." This, granted by the constitution is “vested in a Congress of sir, is but just towards the individual, although in no re- the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and spect essential to the validity of the act itself. If I have House of Representatives."-(Art. 1, sec. 1.) rightly appreciated the character of the Secretary, he is Thus the Legislative Department is established. Connot to be driven by fear, or made to do on compulsion gress bas the law-making power—a power, in its nature, wbat his conscience and judgment tell him is wrong. His unalienable. It can neither be delegated, nor exerted report, sir, will be an enduring evidence of the manly through the medium of agents or deputies. The con. powers of his mind; while those who believe him capable stitution bas placed it in Congress, and there, while that of being swayed by the trappings or the love of office constitution endures, it must remain. These principles may be pointed to the tenure of the post which he held, are unqualified, except by the constitutional right of the and relinquished to take the station which he now fills, President to approve or object to a bill before it becomes and with the tenure by which he knew he must hold a law. This is the sole exception, and this, in no respect, it. He quit an office which he held at the pleasure of a impugns the principles stated. This removal of the de. friend, and stepped into one which he knew he could posites, therefore, was not a legislative act. True, it continue to hold only with the consent of political foes. was done under the authority of an act of Congress. Laws Sir, the chivalry of the act will be admired, be the fate of are enacted by the legislative branch of the Government; the individual what it may.

their execution is committed to other departments. I I deny, sir, (said Mr. 'B.,) that the late Secretary was cannot, therefore, sir, regard the Secretary of the Treas. dismissed because he would not transfer the deposites; ury as the agent of Congress, as has been asserted, in yet I am ready to maintain that that, of itself, would have directing this removal Congress cannot delegate its justified his removal. Nay, more, sir; I am free to ex- power-cannot constitute an agency for any sucb purpress my own belief that he would, if other causes had pose. The Secretary of the Treasury was executing, not existed, been dismissed for that alone.

applying, and giving effect to the law, not exerting the * The President, sir, had the paramount right to direct law-making power itself. the removal of the deposites, and it was the incumbent Nor, sir, was the order of removal a judicial act-the duty of the Secretary to conform to his directions, or re- exertion of judicial power. The same constitution vests sign his post. · Standing in the place of the President, that-the whole of it--in the supreme and inferior courts. to give effect to his judgment, if conscience forbade a (Art. 3, sec. 1.) compliance with the directions of his superior, he could "Congress cannot," (such is the language of the Suresign, and preserve his purity. Delicacy and propriety preme Court,) “ Congress cannot vest any portion of the demanded this course. He should not have clenched judicial power of the United States, except in courts or. office with a death gripe, to embarrass his principal, dained and established by itself.” This will not be conwhose especial duty it was to see the law faithfully exe-troverted, and need not be discussed. cuted. He thought, or at least acted, otherwise; and he Three departments of Government, and no more, are found, as lie deserved to find, that a subordinate in an contemplated by the constitution-Legislative, Execu. executive department should never be permitted to stand tive, and Judicial. In these, collectively, all the constiin the way of a faithful execution of the laws.

tutional powers of this Government are deposited. We But the Treasury is an independent branch of the Gov. have seen that the power in question can be neither legis. ernment; it is “ not an executive department in the con- lative nor judicial. It must, therefore, necessarily be ex. stitutional sense;" the Secretary is not an executive offi. ecutive in its character, and devolve on that department cer; the power to remove the deposites, under the six- for its execution.

Vol. X.-153

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »