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H. op R.]
Removal of the Deposites.
[Jan. 16, 1834.
Where, then, sir, is the executive power lodged? The throw them at one time; and the bloody bill, as it was constitution gives a ready and an emphatic answer to this called, to frighten children and make it odious, was to question. The executive power shall be vested in a give the finishing and fatal blow to American liberty! President of the United States of America." (Art. 2, Yet, sir, we live, and claim to exert, and in fact do enjoy sec. 1.). Not any part or proportion of it, but the entire and exert, a very fair proportion of liberty. Liberty of mass-the whole-vests in that high functionary. The speech is neither destroyed nor abridged; liberty of the constitution is established by the people in their original press is in the full tide of licentious indulgence: the rights and sovereign capacity, and is a law to every branch and of person and of property are well protected; they will department of Government; to officers of every grade, continue, I trust, to be so--the tariff, the bloody bill, the as well as to private individuals.
removal of the deposites, and political prophecies to the We have seen, sir, that legislative and judicial powers contrary notwithstanding. are alike incapable of alienation, and of being exerted I confess, Mr. Speaker, it has struck me as a little unthrough the intervention of agents. Not so with exec- usual, if not irregular-I do not mean that it is entirely utive power. Vested and remaining in a single magis- without precedent in this House-o impute the most trate, it may, nevertheless, be called into action through dangerous motives to the Chief Magistrate, and denounce the agency of subordinate individuals.
his official measures as acts of wanton and flagitious tyrUpon the President devolves the high duty of seeing anny. The Executive is a co-ordinate and co-equal that all the laws, of every description, and in every part branch of the Government with Congress, as also is the of the country, are faithfully executed. Such is the na- Judiciary. The right to canvass the measures of either is ture of the executive trust; such the plain terms of the not questioned, but that can hardly be supposed to reconstitution. Were the human faculties equal to the quire a course of indiscriminate censure, and an unspar: task, the whole executive power might be exerted by ing imputation of corrupt designs. Sir, the House would one man. But this is impossible. No man, singly and not tolerate such a course towards the Senate or the Jualone, is capable of these things. He cannot overlook diciary. It might be retorted upon us if we did, and the the extended region encompassed by our laws. He can- spectacle would add little to make us proud of our insti. not, singly and alone, bear the sword to avenge wrongs tutions. If the question were one of impeachment, I or repel aggressions. Aids, assistants, must be provided. grant that motives must be inquired into, for they are of What are those military and naval heroes whose names the essence of an impeachable offence. But why necesadorn and honor our country? Not of the legislative or sary in discussing the wisdom and policy of an open, pubjudicial establishments, but the hands, and eyes, and in. lic act of the Executive? On what ground tolerated or struments of executive power. War demands its armed admissible? If we claim it for ourselves, we must cerlegions. By these the law of arms is enforced, while the tainly concede it to the President; and then, sir, if an Jaws of peace are executed by other aids and instruments occasion should ever require it, this body should be the of one and the same executive head.
last to complain of any degree of censure or obloquy from I ask, sir, if this is not clear? Will any gentleman the Executive. But, sir, if the President is corrupt, imcontrovert it? Are not all officers of every grade in the peach him; if he has done an illegal act, the law will give Departments of State, Treasury, War, Navy, and the redress to the injured party; if he proves himself incompeGeneral Post Office-are they not all executive assistants, tent for bis station, the popular suffrage is a certain remappointed and employed in giving operation to the laws? edy. While he is' President, give him fair play; let him It is indeed so. Executive power, with its thousand eyes exert, without encountering the spirit of faction, and cal. and hands, like a well-organized cabinet, is but a unit. umny, the just powers of his station. The execution of All, by the constitution, vests in one magistrate, the Pres- the laws is committed to his care and superintendence. ident of the United States: his right to direct and control If those who are selected to aid him in that duty cannot his assistants is incontestable.
conform to his views, the executive head, armed with the I maintain, then, sir, that the Secretary of the Treasury power of removal, should feel no embarrassment. He is could not, in the nature of things, under our constitution, responsible; he, therefore, should direct, control, and, if be any other than an executive officer. As such officer, necessary, remove. all his official acts must necessarily be of that character, These are not put forth, sir, as new views; they are old and, of course, subject to the final direction of the Pres- as the constitution itself. Old, however, as they are, they ident, in whom is lodged the whole executive authority. are still controverted as applicable to this case. It has
Not, sir, that the orders of a President could justify been asserted that the Legislature, in establishing the individual wrong or an illegal act. But the President Treasury Department, took especial pains that it should for himself must decide what his own duty requires not be an executive department, or subject to the control should be done. He is to see that the laws are faithfully of the President; that the act of directing the removal, executed. Executive judgment and discretion are com- being legislative in its character, was rightfully exempt mitted to him; he therefore must determine what will from all interference on the part of the Executive. constitute a faithful execution of the laws. He decides, These doctrines, sir, have been inculcated here, as well and acts as all public agents do, at his peril, and upon his as out of this hall. The bank has given us its kindly responsibility to the laws, to public opinion, and to his admonition and advice to that effect, and the Richmond constituents. He may err: with the very best intentions, meeting solemnly resolved that these things were so.
If he may fall into mistakes. It is the common lot and the these doctrines could be taken on trust, I might admit the common hazard to which all human institutions are ex- respectability of the authorities, and become a convert. posed. The Legislative Department may not always de. But it is not a fair matter of faith. I choose to examine cide with wisdom, and eren the Judiciary'should not claim for myself. Let us go, then, “to the law and to the infallibility.
testimony"-to the fathers of this Government-the auBut this act of the President, says an honorable gen- thors and finishers of this constitution. Let us appeal, tleman, (Mr. McDUFFIE,] “if it be not arrested, will sir, to what they did, and to what they said; and abide most certainly destroy the liberties of this country.” Mr. the result. I am aware, sir, that this examination cannot, Speaker, I have heard acts of legislation denounced in in its nature, be otherwise than tedious. But how shall the same strain, and from the same quarter, on repeated "we reason but from what we know,” or at least believe? occasions. We hold our liberties quite too cheap. They How can we disprove unfounded assertions, but by an aphave, I trust, a firmer and a deeper root than the honor- peal to facts, which will unfold and establish the truth? able gentleman supposes. The tariff acts were to over- The Treasury Department was established at the first Jar. 16, 1834.)
Removal of the Deposites.
[H. or R.
session of the first Congress under the constitution. That that the Secretary was removable from office by the Presbody met on the 4th of March, 1789. In the succeeding ident alone, and that in virtue of the constitution. It May, the House of Representatives agreed to the follow- was the judgment of those bodies at their first session; it ing resolution:
was the judgment of men who were chief actors in origin" Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee ating the constitution, and sustaining it before the peothat there ought to be established the following executive ple; and it was a judgment which, from that day to this, departments, to wit: a Department of Foreign Affairs, at has been acquiesced in, and acted upon, by every adminthe head of which shall be an officer to be called Secre- istration and every branch of the Government. It was tary to the United States for the Department of Foreign reserved for this day, and this debate, to call it in quesAffairs, removable by the President; a Treasury Depart. tion; for it has not been questioned before. Sir, if i bement, at the head of which shall be an officer to be called lieved, as some gentlemen do, that a national bank was Secretary to the United States for the Treasury Depart. not only a national blessing, but a necessary check to the ment, removable by the President; a Department of War, improvidence or turpitude of the National Executive; if I at the head of which shall be an officer to be called Sec- desired that sort of bank "interposition" to regulate an retary to the United States for the Department of War, administration; or if I held to that more important, yet, removable by the President.”
perhaps, not more rational doctrine of “State interposiA committee was thereupon appointed to report the tion," to block the wheels of this Government: in plain necessary bills to the House,
terms, sir, if I professed the occult creed of nullification, This resolution, sir, expressed the solemn judgment of !, perhaps, should then assent to this new theory of the the House that the Treasury should be an executive independency of the Treasury Department. department, and the Secretary removable by the Presi- I have thus, Mr. Speaker, traced the history of the act dent. It was the first legislative act on the subject; the organizing the Department of Foreign Affairs, to ascerfirst vote of the House affirmed all for which I now tain precisely what was intended by its second section. contend.
If I have not misinterpreted that section; if, indeed, ConOn the 2d and 4th of June, bills to establish the three gress intended what they said--and it would seem that departments, Foreign Affairs, (now State,) Treasury, and they did we are prepared to examine and ascertain the War, were reported by the committee, in accordance meaning of similar sections in the acts creating the Treaswith this resolution. So far, sir, it is certain that the ury and War Departments. House intended to place these departments on the same The bill creating the Department of Foreign Affairs basis; to establish them as aids to the President, and to passed the House on the 24th of June, 1789. make the head of each removable by him. In these re- That for the War Department on the 27th, and the spects, the bills were all alike--all run in one and the same Treasury bill on the 2d of July: all within the space of mould.
eight days. The bill to establish the Department of Foreign Af- Those for the War and Treasury followed the pattern fairs was first acted upon in Committee of the Whole. It bill; each containing a section like the one I have read, contained a clause that the Secretary should be “remova- and in that shape they went through the Senate, and beble by the President of the United States.” A motion to came laws. strike these words from the bill led to the luminous discus- The Treasury section is as follows. I read it, that it sion which we find reported in Lloyd's Debates. The may be seen to be in its terms precisely like the bill first constitutionality of the clause was controverted. It was acted on, and cautiously amended in the House. insisted that the power of removal from office was not “That, whenever the Secretary shall be removed from vested in the President alone, but in the President and office by the President of the United States, or in any Senate; and that Congress could not subtract from the other case of vacancy in the office of Secretary, the aspower of the one, or add any thing to that of the other. sistant shall, during the vacancy, have the charge and cusOn the fourth day the debate ended, (for debates then tody of the records, books, and papers appertaining to were not interminable,) the motion to strike out being the office." lost by a vote of 34 to 20. In the House, to which the This is not all, sir. The same Congress, at the same bill was reported, two motions were made to amend: 1st, session, passed an act entitled “ An act for establishing To insert in the second enacting clause as follows: “When the salaries of the executive officers of Government, with ever the said principal officer shall be removed from their assistants and clerks.” One of the executive offi. office by the President of the United States, or in any cers provided for in that act was the Secretary of the other case of vacancy.” 22, To strike out the words Treasury, as also were the assistants and clerks of that "removable from office by the President of the United department. States."
Thus, sir, we see what the first Congress did. All its These amendments were moved by Mr. Benson, who acts harmonize; all speak the same language, and anurged, in favor of their adoption, that the words he pronounce as a truth, that she Treasury, like others, is an posed to strike out « appeared somewhat like a grant of executive department, and the Secretary removable at the power of removal by Congress," which it could not the pleasure of the President. make, as the President had it under the constitution, and If we advert, sir, to what was said by those who enactwhich would be recognised and affirmed by the words he ed these laws, we shall see that the bills were framed and proposed to insert. Both amendments were adopted, amended with precision and forecast; that they were and, it is but rational to believe, on the grounds urged by designed to express precisely the ideas which they natuthe mover. And thus this section of the bill was moulded rally convey to the mind. I have already alluded to the into the form in which it passed both Houses, and became debate in the House on the constitutional power of the law. It is in these words:
President to remove. On a controverted point like this, “There shall be in the said department an inferior it may be well to bring the language of the speakers in officer,” &c., “and who, whenever the said principal aid of the language of the acts themselves. Do they corofficer shall be removed from office by the President of respond? Do both inculcate the same principles, and the United States, or in any other case of vacancy, shall, impress us with the same truths! Let them speak for during such vacancy, have the charge and custody of all themselves. Those who enacted the laws, when we are records, books, and papers appertaining to the said de- in search of what they really intended, may well be perpartment.”
mitted to furnish their own explanations. I read, sir, In this we see the explicit declaration of both Houses from Lloyd's Debates,
H. Op R.)
Removal of the Deposites.
[Jar. 16, 1834.
Mr. Madison: “I think it absolutely necessary that|gument proves tuo much, and therefore proves nothing. the President should have the power of removing from if the President is not bound to direct the judges, neither office; it will make him, in a peculiar manner, responsible is he bound to see that the laws are faithfully executed for their conduct, and subject him to impeachment him- by other officers. This "rule in logic” is thus made to self if he suffer them to perpetrate with impunity high annihilate a plain clause in the constitution, that declares crimes or misdemeanors against the United States, or neg- that the President "shall take care that the laws be faithlect to superintend their conduct, so as to check their fully executed.” It is demolished by this fragment of a sylexcesses.
logism. And the constitution, thus frittered away, is made Again: “ Is the power of displacing an executive to mean literally any thing, every thing, or nothing. power? I conceive that if any power whatsoever is in But, sir, does the honorable gentleman intend to deny its nature executive, it is the power of appointing, over- the independency of the Legislative and Judicial Departseeing, and controlling those who execute the law's.” ments of each other, and of the Executive also? Does
Mr. Ames: “The constitution places all executive he question the independency of the Executive of the power in the hands of the President, and, could he per- other two departments? If he does not, how can the sonally execute all the laws, there would be no occasion honorable gentleman assert that “the same argument" for establishing auxiliaries; but the circumscribed pow. which proves that the President is bound to direct the ers of human nature in one man demand the aid of others. officers of the Executive Department in the performance When the objects be widely stretched out, or greatly di- of their duty would also prove that he had a right to versified, meandering through such an extent of territory direct the judges?" How does the same argument prove as what the United States possess, a minister cannot see both, or neither? I desire to submit it to the candor of with his own eyes every transaction, or feel with his hands the honorable member, if the two cases are at all parallel. the minutiæ that pass through his department; he must How, then, can he, in the face of the constitution, deny therefore have assistants. But, in order that he may be that it is the duty of the President to see that the laws are responsible to his country, he must have a choice in se faithfully executed—not, sir, by the judges; not by the lecting his assistants, a control over them, with power to Legislature; but by the executive officers? remove them when he finds the qualifications which in- But to return from this digression. In the very limited duced their appointment cease to exist."
debate which took place in the House upon the bill or Again: “The executive powers are delegated to the ganizing the Treasury Department, Mr. Sedgwick said, President, with a view to have a responsible officer to **He also conceived that a majority of the House bad desuperintend, control, inspect, and check the officers ne- cided that all officers concerned in executive business cessarily employed in administering the laws. The only should depend upon the will of the President for their bond between him and those he employs is the confidence continuance in office; and with good reason: for they he has in their integrity and talents. When that confidence were the eyes and arms of the principal magistrate-the ceases, the principal ought to have power to remove those instruments of execution.” whom he can no longer trust with safety."
Sir, we have the acts of the first Congress, and the exMr. Stone: "The power of appointing an officer arises planations of its members-I beg pardon, sir; the explafrom the power over the subject on which the officer is nations are from members of the House. The Senate to act; it arises from the principal who appoints having then sat with closed doors, and its debates are not reportan interest in, and a right to conduct, the business, which ed. Its views can only be gathered from its acts, which, he does by means of an agent: therefore, this officer ap- however, must have concurred with those of the House, pears to be nothing more than an agent appointed for the as both agreed in the passage of the same bills. convenient despatch of business. This is my opinion on It is insisted, however, that the Treasury Department, this subject, and the principle will operate from a minis in the character of its duties, is not executive; that the ter down to a tide-waiter."
Secretary is more the officer of Congress than of the Mr. Madison: “But there is another part of the con- Président, as he is required to make his annual report to stitution which inclines, in my judgment, to favor the that body, and not to ihe President; in fact, sir, that he, construction I put upon it. The President is required to of right, ought to be independent of the President. take care that the laws be faithfully executed. If the If we look into the act creating the Treasury Departduty to see the laws faithfully executed be required at the ment, we shall see that the duties of the Secretary are of bands of the Executive Magistrate, it would seem that it two descriptions. was generally intended he should have that species of First, he is required to do certain acts strictly execupower which is necessary to accomplish that end. Now, tive and official, such as to superintend the collection of if the officer, when once appointed, is not to depend the revenue; to execute such services relative to the sale upon the President for his official existence, but upon of the public lands as the law may require him to do; a distinct body, (for where there are two negatives re- and, generally, to perform all such services relative to the quired, either can prevent the removal,) I confess I do finances as he shall be directed to perform. These are not see how the President can take care that the laws be important duties affecting the rights of individuals and the faithfully executed.”
public; and if any acts are executive in their nature, Such, sir, was Mr. Madison's view of the duty and the ihese are. So far, then, sir, this act, on its face, bears power of the President to take care that the laws are the executive impress. faithfully executed. It is very different from that of the In the second place, other duties are, by this act, re. honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Binner.] quired of the Secretary; not acts strictly oficial, for, That honorable member, as reported, made these re- when executed, they work no change in individual or marks, to which I beg the attention of the House: public rights. They affect no interests-add nothing
“It was finally said that the President was bound to abate nothing-change nothing; in fact, sir, in legal comtake care that the laws were faithfully executed; and that, templation, these acts, when done, are absolute nullitics. therefore, he was bound to direct their execution. It was I refer to the duty which is thrown upon the Secretary a rule in logic, which he remembered since he was at by this act to digest and prepare plans for the improveschool, that the argument which proved too much proved ment of the revenue; to prepare and report to Congress too little. The same argument would prove that he had estimates, &c. a right to direct the judges in the administration of the These duties are merely clerical and advisory in their laws, and yet he had not the power to remove them." character. They are imposed with a view to enable Con
Such is the opinion of the honorable member: the ar-gress the better to perform its own legislative duties.
Jar. 16, 1834. ]
(H. OF R. They are not, in any intelligible sense, official acts; they duty it is to aid him are obstinate or contumacious, the neither require nor permit the use of any official authori- path of duty is plain, and the power commensurate with ty: information, fidelity, skill, alone are necessary. the exigency wbich calls it forth. And, happily, sir, for
I maintain, then, sir, that so far as the Secretary of the this people, it now has a chief at the helm who is enTreasury exerts any share of the public authority, his acts dowed with all the energy which the station and the exiare executive-clearly and indisputably so.
gency of the times demand; one who never fears to take Hence I infer the right of the President to superintend the responsibility of performing his own duties as he unand control the official acts of the Secretary; and hence derstands they should be performed. his right to remove from office, as a means of giving effect But this accumulates all the powers of Government in to the determinations of the executive head. Not, sir, the hands of the President. “He appoints the Chief Jus. that the power of removal should be exercised in passion, tice," says an honorable gentleman, (Mr. MoDUFFIE;] or capriciously. Such a wanton act of power, springing “ should he, therefore, control or dismiss him from office, from corrupt motives, would call for an impeachment. and put a pliant instrument in his place?" But, while the motives of the Executive are pure and Sir, are the cases parallel? Can any gentleman, in his patriotic, the constitution bas committed to him an un- own mind, confound them? What has the President to qualified control over every executive agent. His com- do with judicial duties? Is he responsible for their permission is found in the constitution, and Congress cannot, formance? Not at all. Judicial power is held by a perby any form of legislation—not even by express enact- manent tenure, as independent of the President as it is of ments-abridge powers which are thus vested. Is this Congress. He is not to see that judges perform their questioned? Let us illustrate it by examining the struc- duty; but only that the laws are faithfully executed by ture and operations of an extended department.
the officers of the Executive Department. The act organizing the General Post Office declares The novelty, not to say, sir, the extravagance of the that it shall be wunder the direction of a Postmaster opinions I have examined, is equalled only by the very General.” He “shall appoint two assistants." “ He remarkable reasons which have been advanced to sustain shall establish post offices, and appoint postmasters, at all them. The “Treasury Department," it is asserted, “was such places as shall appear to him expedient.” “He created as a distinct department, and not as one of the shall superintend the business of the department in all the executive departments, as all the others are;" and the duties that are or may be assigned to it."
"power of transferring the deposites was given to the This, sir, is plain language. Here, in terms, is estab- Secretary” as an independent officer, and not as a “mere lished the complete independency of the Postmaster instrument." •Why,” it is asked, “ was not the power General. He, not the President, is to appoint and dis- given at once to the President? Why, upon the most ob. place; to superintend all the duties of the department. vious principle—that nothing can be more dangerous than The act, moreover, does not declare that this shall be an to trust the purse and the sword of the nation in the same executive department. So far it corresponds with the hands.”—Mr. McDuffie. Treasury act, and comes up to the point of the argument This is given as the “ obvious" reason for the form, and of gentlemen opposed. Like that, also, to make the anal- the substance, too, of the sixteenth section of the bank ogy complete, it requires the Postmaster General “to charter. What, sir, is really intended by the celebrated report annually to Congress."
precept which forbids the union of the sword and the Here is a case precisely in point. Surely, then, sir, purse in the same bands? Let us endeavor to ascertain that. the Postmaster General is not an executive officer; he In England, the King declares war: the sword is placed must, beyond all doubt, be the agent of Congress, and in his bands. But Parliament alone can grant the supfree from executive control. His responsibility is to Con- plies for its support; the purse, therefore, is in the hands gress; he reports to that body. In the terms of the Rich- of Parliament. This is the check upon the war-making mond resolutions, the “Legislature” took “especial care propensities of the sovereign; for a concentration of the that it should not be an executive department!". It is war-making and tax-imposing powers in the same royal true, sir, that the paramount power of the President is hands would manifestly be dangerous to civil liberty: neither expressly declared nor recognised in the Post This pithy apothegm is but a condensation of the more Office law. Nor was that necessary. The constitution is enlarged and invaluable maxim, that the “accumulation the supreme law of the land, and rides over all legislative of all powers, legislative, executive, and judicial, in the enactments, be they what they may. The practice of the same hands, may justly be pronounced the very definiGovernment corresponds with this view of the executive tion of tyranny." It was on this maxim tbat Patrick power. It is notorious that, from its organization to this Henry erected his battery against the constitution. He time, the President has asserted his right to direct and objected against the entire mass of powers conferred on control the Postmaster General whenever he thought this Government, not to their distribution by the constiproper to exert it. But how exert that power? How tution. The States parted with too much: they gave up direct the operations of a department where its head as- the sword; they gave up the purse. Congress,” pires to independence? How, sir? The answer is at claimed, "by the power of taxation, by that of raising an hand. Dismiss him, and fill his place with one whose army, and by their control over the militia, have the views accord with those of the Executive. Concert, har- sword in one hand and the purse in the other. Shall we mony, energy, are the high requisites of that department. be safe without either? Congress have an unlimited power To secure these, the constitution vests the unshorn trust over both; they are entirely given up by us. Let him in a single magistrate. He must act by subordinate agents. candidly tell me where and when did freedom exist, when For this purpose, different departments are organized, and the sword and the purse were given up by the people! the executive duties distributed. If this distribution has Unless a miracle in human affairs interposed, no nation led to the independency of these departments, we have ever retained liberty after the loss of the sword and the all the weakness and vice of a plural executive magistra- purse." cy-distracted councils-want of union-want of ener Thus did that great and good man predict the loss of gy; nay, more: magistrates with no responsibility to liberty-not by any undue investment of power in the the people, and with little or none at all to the President President; not by ihe abuse of executive power; but by and Congress. Sir, it is not so. It was never designed confiding to Congress the war-making and the tax-imposthat it should be so. The whole executive authority ing prerogatives. Little honor, sir, is done to his veneresides in one officer; he is to see that the laws are execui- rated name by this perversion of his honest, but, I trust, ed-faithfully executed; and if those whose incumbent mistaken sentiments.
H. Or R.]
Removal of the Deposites.
[Jan. 16, 1834.
Sir, has the President the power of the sword? Can currence and approval. The Secretary acted not only he declare war? No. That is done by Congress. True, with pure and elevated motives, but on sure and solid he commands the army and the navy, but has no authori- grounds of propriety and justice. ty whatever to put them in a hostile attitude. Does he By the bank charter, the Secretary is, in terms, author. hold the purse! It is preposterous to pretend that he ized to change the deposites, and required to report the does. Can he in pose taxes! Can he draw a cent from reasons for that order and direction to Congress. The the people, or authorize the expenditure of any part, law contains no indication of the nature of these “reahowever small, of the public money? No. Congress, sons." They certainly should be good ones, and such and Congress alone, can do these things. Yet when Con- as ought to have influenced Congress to take the same gress by law direct an expenditure, or authorize a change step, had the power of removal been reserved by the in the place for keeping the public treasures, it becomes charter to that body, and not to the Executive Depart. the duty of the President to see these laws, like all oth- ment. Any reasons" which should have influenced ers, carried into effect. The transfer of money from Congress, ought equally to have impelled the Secretary. one place of deposite to another is confounded with its He was not to be influenced wholly by the question of expenditure, and denounced as pillage and robbery by safety. “The safety of the deposites, the ability of the the President, a union of the purse and the sword, and bank to meet its engagements, its fidelity in the performdangerous to the liberties of the people. Idle pretext! ance of its obligations," as correctly declared by the No man can be thus deceived. “He that runs may read, Secretary, "are only a part of the considerations by and a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err there- which his judgment must be guided. The general interin.” A union of the purse and the sword! I quit this est and convenience of the people," every thing which just but misapplied apothegm, and hope we shall hear should bave influenced Congress, “must regulate his no more of it as a reason for giving the Secretary, and conduct." The reasons reported by the Secretary are not the President, power to transfer the public deposites. all of this character. I appeal with confidence to every
But the Bank of the United States is the treasury of gentleman who hears me for the accuracy of what I state. the United States; and, by the constitution, “no money The matters of fact averred by the Secretary, if true, and shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of the views presented in his report, are all entitled to the appropriations." The President, in the act of removal, most respectful consideration from Congress. The ob. violated this clause of the constitution. This is the argu-jection is, that it was incompetent for the Secretary of the ment. One moment, to see what it is worth.
Treasury to entertain and act upon them; not that they If the bank is the treasury, and if the removal was should be disregarded by Congress. drawing money from the treasury, in the sense of the Sir, if the Secretary had required any authority to supconstitution, how could the Secretary be authorized by port the view taken by himself of his own power and du. the bank charter, in any event, to withdraw the public ty under the charter, he might have found it in the bank moneys from its vaults without an act of appropriation? direction. The honorable John Sergeant was a distinThe bank was a mere place of deposite: the State banks guished inember of this House in 1819. He is now one are the same. To draw money from the treasury, in the of the directors of the bank at Philadelphia. The opinions constitutional sense, is to expend or use it. That can of that gentleman are always entitled to great respect; only be done by an act of appropriation, and nothing like they are not the less so for concurring with those of the that has been attempted by either the President or Sec- Secretary of the Treasury, and being adverse to those retary.
now promulgated by the bank. In a speech in this hall, The President, then, sir, has not assumed to exercise growing out of the examination of the bank by a commitany power with which he was not clothed. His right to tee in 1818-'19, that gentleinau delivered his sentiments control the Secretary is clear: his right to dismiss him is as follows: equally clear. Yet he never requested the late Secretary “The power of this House (sec. 23) is confined to a to "perform any thing which his sense of duty did not single point of inquiry, namely, whether or not the charsanction.” If his sense of duty" would not permit him ter has been violated, in order that we may be enabled to "adopt such measures" as, in the President's view, to judge whether or not it is expedient to institute legal “ the public interest and a due execution of the laws" proceedings for its repeal. The examination we are aurendered proper, bis “sense of duty" should at least thorized to make is subordinate to this object; and, to my have dictated an immediate withdrawal from office. He mind, it is quite clear that we have no right to pursue it should not have remained to embarrass an Executive, further. The care of the remaining interests of the Gore whose measures he could not sustain. Instead of this, ernment in the institution is confided to the Executive." what do we find! A pertinacious determination to hold Again: “ The necessary sanction for enforcing the exon to office in defiance of the President; and that in viola-ercise of this power is also confided to the Executive. tion of a solemn engagement to resign if he could not The Executive has authority to appoint, and to bim is ultimately concur with the President; an engagement, too, given the authority to remove, the directors on the part founded, on honor, duty, and patriotism: all which were of the Government. A much more important sanction” violated in the refusal to resign. Bad faith, lack of con- an executive sanction-mark that, Mr. Speaker!" is the cert-these were abundant causes for the removal. Yet, power given to the Secretary of the Treastry, by section the simple refusal to execute the law, according to the 16, to withdraw the public deposites, laying before Con. President's judgment and sense of duty, was alone an gress his reasons for so doing." ample justification for the step. These allusions, sir, to Mr. Sergeant then proceeds to argue that the House the public course of one who is now a private citizen bad no right to examine into the general administration of have not been made gratuitously; they were called for the affairs of the bank. Why? It would involve the by the reckless course of censure which has been poured House in an interference with the Executive. Precisely out against the President for the performance of an im- the reverse is the argument now urged on the part of the perious and sacred duty.
bank—that it is for Congress, not the Executive, to make And, sir, the course of the present Secretary is equally such examination. This is his language: justifiable. He did nothing but what his own judgment “If this be a correct exposition of the terms of the approved. Was it less his own act because it received charter, our inquiry”-the inquiry by the House-"ought the sanction of the President? In the eyes of the con properly only to be, (what alone it can be effectually,) stitution, it was the act of the President himself, and for whether the charter has been violated. Any other course which he is responsible. Hence the reason for his con- will inevitably lead us into difficulty. If we undertake