Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

SENATE.]

Expunging Resolution.

(Marca 18, 1836.

in a continuous line to the reign of Edward VI. The Manual is little more than an index to these books, and Clerk of the English House of Commons was the keeper is so deciared by himself; and intended to supply, in a of the journal, and he took an oath “to make true enslight degree, the want of those books in this country. tries, remembrances, and journals, of the things done His own words in bis preface, and the authority of Eng. and passed in the House of Commons.” As far back as | lish parliamentary practice, where not controlled by our 1641, the Clerk was moved against for suffering his own rules and constitution, will be too instructive on journals, or papers committed to his trust, to be taken this occasion to be omitted, and I shall accordingly read by members of the House from the table; and it was a passage from the preface to his Manual: declared that it was a fundamental order of the House “ Considering, therefore, the law of proceedings in that the Clerk, who is the sworn officer, and intrusted the Senate as composed of the precepts of the constituwith the entries and the custody of the records of the tion, the regulations of the Senate, and, where these are House, ought not to suffer any journal or record to be silent, of the rules of Parliament, I have endeavored to taken from the table or out of his custody; and that if collect and digest so much of these as is called for in or. he shall hereafter do it, after this warning, that at his dinary practice, collating the parliamentary with the peril he shall do it." Many instances occur in the par- senatorial rules, both where they agree and where they liamentary history of England, of severe reprimands vary. I have done this, as well to have them at hand upon members for slight and innocent alterations in the for my own government, as to deposite with the Senjournal, and merely to make them conformable to the ate the standard by which I judge, and am willing to fact; the House of Commons permitting none but the be judged. I could not doubt the necessity of quoting House itself to meddle with the journal; and when King the sources of my information, among which Mr. HalJames 1 sent for the journal, and tore out of it the cele. sell's most valuable book is pre-eminent; but as he has brated declaration of their privileges which the Com only treated some general beads, I have been obliged to mons had made, the House took effectual care that that recur to other authorities in support of a number of declaration should be the better known, and should be common rules of practice, to which bis plan did not held the more sacred, for that very attempt to annihilate | descend.” it. And, to comprise the whole in one word, and to The authority of the English parliamentary law is here show the reverence which the English Parliament had / recognised, and brought into action over the Senate, in for their journals, the two Houses, as far back as the every case in which the precepts of the constitution and reign of Henry VI, by act of Parliament, affirmed then the rules of the Senate are silent; and on the head of to be records, and compelled the judges to recognise expunging both are silent; the English parliamentary them as such.-(Sir Edward Coke, in 4 Inst. 23, 24.) law, therefore, takes effect. It is to no purpose that This suffices to show the high and sacred character of gentlemen may recur to that poor little word, keep; it their journals in the eyes of the English Parliament; | is in the English constitution, and in the English parliabut this bigh and sacred character did not prevent the | mentary law as much as it is in ours. But no one in two Houses, each in its sphere, from rectifying any mis. | England ever thought of that word except as an injunctake in the journal, or expunging from it, by total oblit. | tion to make a journal. No one ever thought of it as eration, any entry that was unconstitutional, or untrue constituting the House of Commons, or the House of in law or in fact, or unfit to be drawn into future pre | Lords, the custos, keeper, or preserver, of the journals, cedent. The business of rectifying mistaken or errone. an office which cannot be performed by a collective ous entries in the journals is as old as the journals them. | body; but there as here, and in law as well as in fact, the selves. The rectification is made by a committee | Secretary and the Clerk are the keepers of the history appointed to inquire into the facts, and to report them of their proceedings which the two Houses cause to be to the House; and there is no limitation of time upon | daily written. And thus I hold that the right of expungthese inquiries. Instances occur in which the erroneous | ing, even to the entire obliteration, is completely made entry has been corrected four years after the mistake out; of course that there can be no objection to the had occurred. The expunction or expurgation of the mode of expunging now proposed; a mode that saves journal, and that by toial obliteration of any improper | the remedy and avoids the objection, and eflectually exmatter put into it, is as early at least in England as Lord punges without the least obliteration. Strafford's case, in the reign of Charles I, and as late as Thus far, Mr. President, I have examined this objec. the Middlesex election case, in the reign of George III. tion in a mere verbal point of view, and shown that I have found no instance in which the right or the power there is nothing in it, even in that contracted aspect, to of the House to expunge has been questioned. I have prevent the Senate from executing justice upon this seen no instance in which the duty to keep a journal of journal. But gentlemen who brought it forward did its proceedings has been set up in opposition to any not limit themselves to tbat narrow view; they took a motion to expunge unfit matter from the journal; and, wider range, and argued earnestly that mischievous contherefore, I hold it to be the settled law of Parliament sequences would result, and actual injury would be inthat each House has power over its own journal, both to Aicted on themselves and the country, if my motion correct it and to efface objectionable malter from it. | should prevail. They maintain that a part of our legis. And this, Mr. President, brings me to the law of Con- | | lative history would be destroyed; that a part of the gress, and the power of the two Houses over their jour. journal would be annibilated; that the proceedings connals. What is the law of Congress in regard to its tained in the annibilated part would be lost to the pubpowers and duties? It is the Lex Parliamentaria—it is lic and to posterity; that their own proceedings would ihe law of Parliament, except where changed or modi- | become illegible; that they would be deprived of the fied by ourselves. This is so entirely the case, that means of showing what they did, and how they acted. every book that we have on parliamentary law is English. All these disastrous consequences, and all these actual We have not a book on the subject, nor even a treatise, wrongs and serious injuries to themselves and to the nothing but the Manual of Mr. Jefferson, which is in public, they stoutly maintained, would fall upon them if itself an abstract from the English books, with the the proposed obliteration of the journal took place. changes and modifications made by our rules and consti- | And ibey affirmed that it was no answer to all these real tution. Our whole code of parliamentary law is English; injuries to say that the expunged part would be transand whoever wishes to understand it goes to the four ferred to the new journal, and there preserved in full; quarto volumes of Ilatsell, and the less yoluminous com- , for, they declared, this transfer would mislead and empilations of Grey, Elsynge, and Dewes. Mr. Jefferson's barrass them; because they could not read the obliterated MARCH 18, 1836.7

Expunging Resolution.

(SENATE.

words in the place where they were first put, but would voluminous citation of cases, I refer you for a summary be disappointed in looking for them there, and might of them to Peake's Law of Evidence, American edition, not be able to find them in their new place, under a dif. by Norris, in the notes at the bottom of the pages 84, ferent date, on another page, and in a different volume. | 85. He says, “the printed journals of Congress have This is the substantive part of the objection to my mo- | been allowed to be read without proof of their authention; and if there happened to be any reality in the sup. | ticity," and refers to cases. This puts an end to all ob. posed existence of all these wrongs and injuries, there jections. It settles all questions. Take the constitution might be some apology for the resistance they set up; as you please, to make or to preserve journals, and it is but this is not the case; not one of these disastrous con- complied with; for both is done. One copy is directed sequences will ever occur. All is mistake and delusion, 1 to be made; a thousand and ten are made. Parts are the creation of fancy, the cheat of imagination, and the directed to be published; all is published. Suppose figment of the brain. There is nothing lost, nothing de preservation is intended; the most ample precautions are stroyed, nothing displaced. All will exist just as clearly, iaken to preserve them, and so to multiply them, that and just as usefully, for every practical and every legal every State in the Union, and every kingdom, republic purpose, as it now does; and this I will establish by and empire, in Europe and the two Americas, shall posproof in less time than it has taken me to state the prop. sess copies, in addition to all the departments of the osition.

federal Government, the library of Congress, and the I request the Secretary to show me the Senate jour. | offices of the Secretary of the Senate and of the Clerk nals for 1833–'34; to tell me what the journals are, and of the House. Besides all this, each Senator has two how they are kept or disposed of.

copies for himself. All these are equal in law, and (The SECRETARY stood up and said:

many ten thousand times superior in use, to the manuThere is a manuscript copy of the journal, and a script journal. Suppose that one be blacked up and printed copy. The manuscript journal is but a single blotted out according to the import of the word ex. copy, and is the same that is read in the Senate every punge; is the expunged matter lost? Is any fact supmorning in sheets, and which is afterwards bound in a pressed? Are gentlemen prevented from justifying themvolume. From this manuscript one thousand and ten selves by showing what they had done? Is the knowledge copies are printed, and distributed as follows: [The of any thing extinguished? So far from it, that if the Secretary here showed the list of distribution, from manuscript journal should be secretly withdrawn and which it appeared that twenty-five copies were to be burnt, not a Senator here would find it out to the end placed in the library of Congress; two hundred and of his life, unless gratuitously told of ir! so little does it twenty-five were to be furnished to the Governors, enter into the head of any one to think of that journal, Legislatures, universities, colleges, and incorporated much less to look at it or to use it! Suppression of historical societies, in each State; two copies each to facts! Suppression of the knowledge or the fact that each member of the Senate and of the House of Repre- | the Senate of the United States, in March, 1834, adsentatives; five copies each to the Vice President of the judged President Jackson to be guilty of baving violated United States, to the Speaker of the House of Repre. the laws and constitution of his country! The preposter. sentatives, the heads of Departments, Attorney General, our conception never entered our imaginations. We judges of the United States courts; two each to all bu. know that this act of the Senate is to live, and to live reau officers; twenty-five to the Secretary of State; while American history lasts. We know that it is to thirty-five copies for the offices of the Secretary of the gain new notoriety, and multiplied existences, from the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives; very motion which I now make. To say nothing of our and two copies each to the ministers from Great Britain, I own action, my resolution, our speeches, the newspaper France, Spain, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, the Nether. publications, and the universal attraction of the public lands, Denmark, Portugal, the Hanseatic Republics, mind to the subject, our own journals are again to beMexico, Colombia, Chili, Peru, Buenos Ayres, Brazil, come the recipient of its existence, and the instruments and Central America; and to the consul general of the of its diffusion over the Union, the two Americas, and two Sicilies.)

all Europe. The new manuscript journal, read this Mr. B. resumed. We now arrive upon firm ground, morning at our table, will contain every word of this and have solid matter to go upon. We can see and judgment; the one thousand and ten copies to be printed feel the question, and can handle both the objection and will, every one, be honored with its impression. the answer to it. The Secretary's answer is the plat. Nothing is suppressed; nothing so insane is intended. form of my battery, and has already expunged the ob The whole effect, and the whole design of the motion, jection to my motion, whether the motion shall succeed is to declare the solemn sense of the Senate that such in expunging the journal or not. He says there are two proceedings ought never to have taken place; that they sets of journals; the manuscript, which consists of one were wrong from the beginning, and require a remedy copy; and the printed, which is multiplied to one thou. which extirpates to the root. The order to expunge sand and ten copies. Hitherto the discussion has pro. does this; and there is no other remedy which can ceeded upon the assumption that there was but one copy amount to its equivalent, or stand for its substitute. It of the journal, and that any erasure of that copy would is the parliamentary phrase, and the only one in the be a total loss of the erased part. But now one thou- whole vocabulary of parliamentary language, which sand and ten other copies start up to our view, stand in implies that original, wrongful proceeding, which infers array before us, and offer their multiplied pages to our misconduct as will as error, and requires rebuke as free perusa); and the question now is, what are all these well as reversal. Take any other phrase-go into copies for? What use is made of them in fact, and in circumlocution-string epithets together-write an essay; law? And the answer comes as quickly as the question and all united will not express the meaning, and come can be put: first, in point of fact, that these printed | up to the import of this single word. Reverse-repealjournals are the only ones read, used, or referred to, rescind-annul—make void: none of them will do. either in this Senate, in the other House, before the They all admit either a legal or an innocent beginning, public, or by the members themselves; secondly, that, and fail in that flagrant conception of wrong which the in point of law, they are on an equal footing with the word expunge alone imports. Try them by their acoriginal manuscript volume, and received as legal evi- cepted meanings: we reverse an attainder, repeal a dence in every court of justice. Such are the decisions; law, and rescind an order; and none of these terms and, not to impede the march of my argument, by the limply either misconduct or defect of power in the

SENATE.)

Expunging Resolution.

[March 18, 1836.

Parliament which passed the attainder, enacted the law, 1 of his country, and shame upon every collared slave that or directed the order. A superior tribunal annuls and took his part? Where were comity and dignity then? makes void the judgment of the inferior; the legal error Trampled under foot in the hot pursuit after the devoted is corrected, but judicial misconduct is not rebuked. | victim! Banished from this floor; and not from this These terms are all inadequate, and not only inadequate, floor only, but from those galleries, where the satellites but inapplicable; for they imply remedies which have no of the bank assembled every day to applaud the asapplication to the state of the case against President sailants, and to hiss the defenders of the President, and Jackson. They all apply to future proceedings. They to triumph in the impunity which the benevolence of are all intended to arrest the progress of some meas- the majority accorded to their insolence. Expunge is a ure still in a course of execution. Thus: we reverse severe remedy, but it is a just one. It reflects reproach, an attainder, to stop the corruption of blood, and to but the fault is not ours, but of those who compel us to prevent the forfeiture of estates; we repeal a law, to pre. | use it. Let us go on, then, and neither compromise vent its further operation; we rescind an order, to arrest for difficulties, nor despair for failures. If we fail now, its fulfilment; we annul and make void a judgment, to let us try again. If we continue to fail, and have to reprevent execution from being taken out upon it. In all tire before the good work is accomplished, let us transthese cases there is something to be stopped or restored; mit and bequeath it to the democracy of America. Let but in President Jackson's case there is nothing; no cor- us give it to the aged sire, that he may hand it down to rupted blood to be purified or forfeited estates to be his heir; to the matron, that she may deliver it to her restored; no law in operation whose progress requires manly son; to the young mother, that she may teach to be arrested; no order which ought to be revoked; her infant babe to suck in the avenging word expunge, no judgment on which execution of person or property with the life-sustaining milk which it draws from her can be taken out. The judgment against him attacks bosom. his character, not his person or property. It is a pro Mr. B. said that he had chosen to make out his case ceeding to disgrace his name, and to dishonor his memo. upon reason and argument, with as little reference as ry; to cover him with odium now, and execration here- / possible to precedent and authority. I am, said he, in after. It is a denunciation, a stigma, a brand; and if he | favor of the arguments which convince the understandis willing to wear it, bis judges are content. No further ing, in contradistinction to the authorities and prece. proceeding is meditated. The Senate does not mean to dents which subdue the will. I wish always to receive chastise the guilt which it has denounced. They pro: reasons myself, and therefore feel bound to render pose no fine, no imprisonment, no corruption of blood, them. Addressing an enlightened Senate, and an intel. no forfeiture of estate, no removal from office, and no ligent community, I look to their understandings, and disqualification to hold office. Their mercy stops short feel safe while I speak to their judgment. I have, of all this. By a sort of gratuitous exercise of the par- therefore, postponed to the last an authority drawn doning power, they intermit the punishment which their from our own history-an authority drawn from the hisjudgment implies. They are content to let the culprittory of the American Senate--covering the whole run, unwhipt of justice, but bearing to his grave the ground of the present case, and going far beyond what stigma they have put upon him, and delivering down to I now propose to do. It is a precedent of thirty years' posterity the memory which they have attainted. This standing, occurring in the good days of Mr. Jefferson, is what the Senate proposes; and it is absurd and nuga- when the democracy were in the ascendant in both tory, it is irrelevant, inapt, and supererogatory in us to Houses of Congress, and when the fathers of the reapply a remedy which implies the arrestation of what public, the framers of the constitution, were in full is not impending. No, sir! our true remedy lies in the life and full power to protect their work, and to see knife, with which we are to cut out; in the fire, with that nothing was done to impair the constitution which which we are to burn out; in the potential cautery, with they had established. which we are to extirpate the brand which has been Mr. B. then read: stamped upon the first patriot of the age, for the most glorious action of his life. Expunge is the word, and

SENATE JOURNAL— Monday, April 21, 1806. expunge is the remedy. None of your reversals, re. “On motion that every thing in the journal relative peals, rescisions, annullings, or vacatings; but let our to the memorials of S. G. Ogden and William S. Smith Secretary bring the manuscript journal to his desk; open | be expunged therefrom, it was passed in the affirmit in the presence of an assembled Senate and of attend. | ative: ing multitudes, and, encircling the odious sentence with "Yeas-Messrs. Adair, Condit, Gilman, Kitchel, Lolines as black as its own injustice, let him inscribe upongan, Mitchell, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, its face the indelible decree: “Expunged by order of Stone, Thruston, Worthington, and Wright--13. the Senate.” Yes, sir; expunge is the word. It is the “Nays--Messrs. Adams, Baldwin, Hillhouse, Pickonly one that befits the occasion. It is the only one that ering, Plumer, Smith of Ohio, Tracy, and White-8." can render adequate justice to that man who bas done [Mr. PORTER, of Louisiana, rose to inquire of the more for the human race than any other mortal who has Senator from Missouri, at what time it was that this orever lived in the tide of times. It is true, the word der for expunging had been made by the Senate, and bears hard upon the Senate; it implies greal misconduct especially whether it was at the same session.] in them; it amounts to a reproach. But let us hear Mr. Benton replied that he was too well practised in nothing of that. Let us have no posthumous appeals to these contests to suffer his fire to be drawn until he was the comity and dignity of the Senate. Comity and ready to deliver it. He would answer the Senator from dignity! Where were they during that prolonged | Louisiana, but not until he had arrived at the point at denunciation of one hundred days, when this fell sen- which the answer and the reasons for showing the imtence of condemnation, like poison in the sick air, bung materiality of time in this case could be given together. suspended over the pale face of the country, and over | In the mean time, he would caution the gentleman the devoted head of the President? when history was against taking a position upon so small a point-upon a ransacked and language was tortured, to find examples | distinction without a difference; and to warn him, if he and epithets infamous enough and odious enough to paint | did, that he might find himself suddenly blown up. his crimes? when every furious passion, bursting from its This (said Mr. B.) is an entry which we find upon long confinement in the bosom, came ranging through our printed journal; and searching the same journal this hall, crying vengeance upon the wicked destruyer over to see what these memorials were, and what bad MARCH 18, 1836.]

Expunging Resolution.

(SENATE.

been the proceedings of the Senate upon them, and the conduct of officers of the executive Government, wherefore they were ordered to be expunged, nothing, who now intended to bring upon the memorialists the no, not any thing, no trace of these proceedings, could penalties of the laws, and to sacrifice their characters, forany where be found. Recourse was then had to the tunes, and liberty, in expiation of their own errors, or manuscript journal of that year, and searching it care. to deprecate the vengeance of foreign Governments, by fully over, not a speck of the expunged proceedings offering the memorialists as a victim to their resentment: could be found, nor even the place at which the expur- that they have also experienced great oppression and gation had been made. And here Mr. B. exhibited the injustice in the manner of conducting the said prosecit. manuscript journal to verify his statement. Unwilling tion; and praying such relief therein as the wisdom of to be foiled in the search, with the aid of a clerk, one Congress may think proper to grant." of his friends had ascended to the garret rooms of the “ The House then proceeded to consider the said me. Capitol, and there, at the top of the building, they had morial: whereupon, on motion of Mr. Early, and secondgot to the bottom of this affair, and found the original | ed, that the House do come to the following resolution: minutes of the session of 1806, drew them out from « Resolved, that the charges contained in the memotheir thirty years' sleep, and reconducted them into the rials of Samuel G. Ogden and William S. Smith are, in Senate chamber. [Here Mr. B. exhibited a large un. the opinion of this House, unsupported by any evidence bound volume of manuscript sheets, bearing strong which, in the least degree, criminates the executive marks of age. They were the minutes of 1806, from Government of this country; that the said memorials apwhich the fair copy of the bound journal had been pear to have been presented at a time and under cirmade.] On thiese original minutes every thing appear. cumstances insidiously calculated to excite unjust sus. ed-the presentation of the memorials - the statement picion in the minds of the good people of this nation of their contents--the Senate's leave to withdraw them against the existing administration of the general Govern-and, finally, the order to expunge every thing. Mr. ment, and that it would be highly improper in this B. then read the following extracts from these minutes: | House to take any step which might influence or pre

"Mr. Adams communicated two memorials, one from judice a cause now depending in a legal tribunal of the Samuel G. Ogden, and the other from William S. Smith, United States; therefore, stating that they are under a criminal prosecution for | " Resolved, That said memorials be, by the Clerk of certain proceedings into which they were led by the this House, returned to those from whom they came.” circumstances that their purpose was fully known to, Having read these entries from the journal, Mr. B. and approved by, the executive Government of the Uni- said the Senate would doubtless wish to see how the ted States; that on this prosecution they have been resolution of Mr. Early was disposed of, and whether treated by the judge of the district court of the United the memorials of Messrs. Ogden and Smith were actually Slates at New York, Mathias B. Tallmadge, Esq., in such returned to them. He said that such was the fact. The a manner that the same grand jury which found the resolution of Mr. Early was adopted, not in one resolve, bills against them made a presentment against the judge but piece by piece. Divisions were called, and separate himself, for his conduct in taking the examination and votes taken upon every separate member of the resoludeposition of the said Samuel G. Ogden. And the me- tion, making five sets of votes, and all carried in the morialists, considering Congress as the only power com- affirmative, by veas varying from 70 to 75, nays varying petent to relieve them, submit their case to the wisdom from 15 to 8. The first list of nays, were: Messrs. Silas of Congress, and pray such relief as the laws and con Betton, Christopher Clark, Samuel W. Dana, Caleb stitution of this country and the wisdom and goodness of Ellis, William Ely, Joseph Lewis, Jr., Jonathan 0. Congress may afford them; and the memorials were Mosely, Jeremiah Nelson, Timothy Pitkin, Jr., Josiah read; and, on motion,

Quincy, Benjamin Tallmadge, Samuel Tenney, Thomas “ Ordered, That the memorialists have leave to with. W. Thompson, William K. Van Renssellaer, Peleg draw their memorials, respectively."

Wadsworth. Mr. B. said that these entries showed a part of what Mr. B. then remarked upon the passages which he was wanted, but not the whole; they were deficient in had read from the Senate and House journals. He said showing the reasons upon which the Senate acted in that they established every point which was material to ordering the expurgation, although these reasons might be made out in support of his motion; they establish be well guessed at from the statement of the contents of both the right to expunge, and the duty to expunge, the petition. Other searches were then instituted into in such a case as is now presented in the proceedings the newspapers of the day, and the journal of the House against President Jackson. The memorials which were of Representatives. He was told, for he had not looked presented in the Senate and in the House of Representahimself, that the copy of the National Intelligencer in tives contained criminal charges against President Jefthe Library of Congress was either silent on the point, ferson. They went to criminate him as a conniver at a or minus a 'page, at that part; but the journal of the violation of the laws, and to stigmatize bim for bad faith House supplied the defect, and showed that the same to those who had been his dupes. The petitions were memorials were presented in that body, on the same day, in duplicate, and were presented simultaneously in the and that they had been ordered to be returned to the two Houses. In the House of Representatives they petitioners, for reasons set forth in a resolve of the were instantly met by a resolve denying their truth, House. These proceedings of the House he would declaring them to be unfit matter to be presented to the then read:

House, and ordering them to be returned to the petiJOURNAL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES— Mon

tioners. In the Senate they were first ordered to be

returned, but no reason assigned; they were then day, April 21, 1806.

ordered to be expunged from it; and were expunged in “ Mr. Quincy presented to the House two several the most effectual and irrecoverable manner. They memorials of Samuel G. Ogden and of William S. Smith, were dropped from the volume. The very pages which of the city of New York, which were received and read, I contained them were dropped and omitted. For the respectively stating that they are under a criminal pros- journal being still in loose sheets, the sheels which conecution, now depending in the circuit court of the tained the obnoxious proceedings were left out of the United States for the district of New York, for an albound volume, and thus all trace of their existence disleged offence against the laws of the United States, in appeared. It is only by looking to the minutes and the which, if guilty, they have been led into error by journal of the House of Representatives that we can find SENATE.)

Expunging Resolution.

(March 18, 1836.

out what these petitions were. Such is the case of or to criminate their opponents; I allude to the case of 1806. It is a complete and perfect precedent for the Mr. Barry, who was condemned for a violation of the case of 1836. The memorials were 'attacks upon Mr. laws by the unanimous vote of the Senate. This was Jefferson. They contained impeachable matter against done at the same session, and a few months later than him. They charged him with connivance and secret the President was condemned. Both parties voted for participation in the unlawful, disastrous, and tragical that condemnation of Mr. Barry; and it is argued this expedition of Miranda. The charges which they con- must sanction the proceeding against the President, or tained had filled all the opposition newspapers of the involve in an inconsistency those who voted for that day, and had been used for every purpose of party war-condemnation without objection, and now object to the fare against him. To get these criminal charges on the l proceeding in the case of the President. Not so the journals was the next object. In the Senate, and in fact or the consequence. The proceeding against Mr. the House of Representatives, they were presented by Barry was objected to, and that in the very first stages the political enemies of Mr. Jefferson, and so far as they l of it, upon the same grounds on which we now stand in received support or countenance, it was from the ranks

the case of the President; and the vote which was given of the opposition. So of the proceeding against Presi.

by me and my friends was a vote forced upon us by the dent Jackson. They are attacks upon him. They | majority of the Senate, and, being so forced upon us, charge him with violating the laws and the constitution.

was given, as we believed, according to the truth and They go to criminate and stigmatize bim. The charges the fact. I well recollect that vote, and the converwhich they exbibit were universally circulated in the sation among ourselves to which it gave rise. Some opposition newspapers before they were presented in thought we should vote against it, on the ground that the Senate. The Bank of the United States bad formally the proceeding was unconstitutional, and that a vote in accused the President, and all the publications of the in its favo: would commit us on that point; others, of day, periodical, diurnal, and what not, that espoused the whom I was one, objected to the negative vote, because cause of the bank, were filled with the charges. Pariy it would be against evidence, and would subject us to warfare had used them to the uttermost in the fall elec. / the imputation of voting as partisans, and not as Senators, tions of 1833; but that was not sufficient; the same party and because a negative vote admitted the jurisdiction, spirit, and the same party, the bank federal party, which just as much as an affirmative one. Upon these grounds, in 1806 wished to have its charges against President and because the majority had the power, and enforced Jefferson transferred from the newspapers to the journals it, to compel a vote, we took the alternative which of Congress, thence to be transmitted to posterity as a part truth seemed to require, and acted upon the same prinof the legislative history of the country; that same spirit, ciple in both cases, that of Mr. Barry and that of Presiand that same party, bas wished to do the same thing dent Jackson, voting according to what we believed to with the accusations against President Jackson. The be the fact in each case. But let no one delude him. Congress of 1806, both House and Senate, met this un self with the notion that the proceeding against Mr. constitutional attempt as it deserved. The House | Barry was not objected to! Let no one suppose that refused the memorial, and voted it to be unsustained by the difference in rank has made a difference in the evidence, and reprehensible in its character; the Senate opinions held in the two cases! - The proceeding against ordered the whole proceeding, and every trace and Mr. Barry was objected to, and runiy ang uneq

Mr. Barry was objected to, and fully and unequivocally, letter of it, to be expunged from the journal. It is to in open debate, and upon all the grounds assumed after. no purpose, Mr. President, that any one may attempt to wards in the case of President Jackson. Here is the proof, draw a distinction where there is no difference. It is to taken from the debate of February 10, 1831, and preno purpose that any one may attempt to draw a dis served in the congressional history of that period. The tinction between expunging at the same session, and debate was on the adoption of a resolution, of criminaat a subsequent one. Tivere is no difference between tive aspect, concerning the examination of witnesses as to the cases. The right to expunge rests upon the right the causes of their removal by the Postmaster General to keep the journal clear of what ought never to be from office, and the speaker the same that now adupon it. It rests upon the right to purify it from dresses you. any thing improper, which inadvertence, mistake, or “Mr. Benton then rose and said that he did not apthe injustice, virulence, and fury of party spirit, may have pear on the floor for the purpose of joining in the debate, put upon it. To this purification there is no limit of time, nor to express any opinion on the truth of the allegations either in law or in morals. It is not a case for a statute so violently urged against the Post master General. He of limitations. Thus, from its very nature, the purifi. had no opinion on the matter, and did not wish to have cation of the journal is to be effected when it can be; one, except it was that presumptive opinion of innocence and that always implies a time posterior to the wrong; | which the laws awarded to all that were accused, and and in the case of faction, it implies a time posterior to which the pure and elevated character of Mr. Barry so the downfall of the faction. The precedent of 1806 eminently claims. If impeached, it might be his duty to meets the objection of 1836. It meets it full and fair in sit in judgment upon him, or, if he had an opinion in the face. The objection is, that the Senate is bound to the case, to retire from the judgment seat; as he could preserve is proceedings; that it must write down all its neither reconcile it to the dictates of his conscience, nor proceedings in the journal, and then preserve them for the rights of the accused, to take the oath of a judge, with ever; never altering, changing, or effacing one word, a preconceived opinion in his bosom, to be dropped out one letter, one iota, one tittle, of the sacred work, from as soon as the forms would permit. He rose, he repeatthe moment it is to be done to the end of time. This is ed, not to accuse or to absolve Mr. Barry, but to es. the objection; and it has been repeated rather too often press his opinion of the character of the proceeding to be itself changed or altered to avoid the overpower. which was carrying on against him, and to intimate an ing authority of the precedent of 1806. And this, sir, idea of what might be proper to be done hereafter in is my answer to the Senator from Louisiana, [Mr. regard to it. He then affirmed that he looked upon PORTER] I tell him the expunging was not only at the the whole proceeding, from its first inception to that same session, but on the same day that the proceeding moment, as one of eminent impropriety, compromising took place.

the judical purity of ihe Senate on one hand, and invaI would here drop this head of my argument, but it ding the privileges of the House of Representatives on the seems that something has occurred in our own history other. The Senate, under the constitution, tries imon which gentlemen rely, either to justify themselves l peachments--the House of Representatives prefers them.

« ZurückWeiter »