« ZurückWeiter »
Marc. 18, 1836.]
Each has its assigned part to act, and it is an invasion of | United States, but in the Bank of the United States! and privilege for either to assume the part of the other. If all that the Senate has done has been to copy the proceedthe tenth part of the matter so furiously urged against ing of which that institution was the author. A stateMr. Barry was true, or even founded in probability, he ment so material as this, (continued Mr. B.,) and which might come before the Senate for trial; and it would be goes to exhibit the Senate of the United States as fola horrid mockery of judicial forms for his future judges lowing the lead of the Bank of the United States in the to take the lead now in the case of accusation, and to ex- condemnation of the President, cannot be made without cite, promote, foment, and instigate charges against him. evidence at hand to support it. No assertion of such a To the House of Representatives belonged that painful thing should be made, except as an introduction to the part of the business; and the present proceedings in the proof. Fully aware of this, it is my intention to econoSenate must appear to them as an invasion of their priv- mize words, to dispense with assertion, and to proceed ilege, and an implied censure upon their negligence. | directly to the evidence. With this object, and without It did seem to him that the House of Representatives adverting at present to a mass of secondary evidence in might take notice of the proceeding, and feel itself the bank gazeltes of the autumn of 1833, I have recourse bound to vindicate its rights; and the two Houses thus at once to a publication issuing directly from the bank-a be brought into serious collision. To avoid these con pampblet of fifty pages, issued by the board of direcsequences, as well as to escape a compromise of the tors on Tuesday, the 3d day of December, 1833. This judicial character of the Senate, he was decidedly of was the same day on which the President of the United opinion that the debate and the proceeding should ter. States delivered his annual message to Congress, and the minate immediately. This would save the further evils, day on which it was known everywhere that he would to the Senate itself, which might ensue. As to the past, I deliver it. On that day the president of the Bank of the the proceedings already had, he declared that he thought United States sat at the head of his board of directors; them a fit subject for that operation which had been and, taking cognizance of the imputed delinquencies of performed upon the record of Wilkes's expulsion from President Jackson, they proceeded to try and condemn the British House of Conimons, upon the record of the him for a violation of the laws and constitution of his Yazoo fraud, and upon the record of the Massachusetts country-to denounce him for a despot, tyrant, and General Assembly, which declared it to be unbecoming usurper-lo assimilate him to counterfeiters-to load the character of a moral and religious people to rejoice bim with every odious and every infainous epithet-io in the victories of their country. He declared it to be indicate his impeachment to Congress—to argue at great his deliberate opinion that the history of the whole pro. length to prove him guilty- to order 5,000 copies of the ceeding against Mr. Barry ought to be expunged from argument and proceedings to be printed, and a copy to the journals of the Senate! Total expurgation from the be furnished to each member of the Senate and House journals was the most appropriate means in the power of Representatives. As a member of the Senate I had of the Senate to restore its own injured character to the honor to receive one of these pamphlets, the only make atonement to the invaded privileges and insulted favor I ever received from that institution, and for which feelings of the House of Representatives; and, what, I hope to show myself mindful by the use which I make perhaps, was still more important, to prevent this evil of it. It is from that pamphlet that I now quote; and I example, this horrid combination of the accusing and shall first read the order for its adoption and publitrying functions, from being drawn into precedent incation, to show the authenticity of its origin, the gravity future times, when the party in power, and predomi- of its character, and the formality with which the board nant in the Senate, might want the spoils of a victim. If of directors, sitting as a high court of justice, took cog. the American Cato, the venerable Macon, was here, it nizance of the imputed offences of the President, pra would be his part to become the guardian of the honor nounced him guilty, and promulgated their sentence to and dignity of the Senate; in his absence, that high duty the world. might devolve, at an appropriate time, upon some aged
"BANK OF THE UNITED STATES, Senator. If none such undertook it, it might become
“TUESDAY, December 3, 1833. bis part to consider how far their places ought to be sup.
" At an adjourned meeting of the board of directors, plied by a less worthy and a less efficient member."
held this evening-present: Nicholas Biddle, president, This, sir, is what I said in the case of Mr. Barry in the
Messrs. Willing, Eyre, Bevan, White, Sergeant, Fisher, month of February, 1831, just five years ago, and full
Lippincott, Chauncey, Newkirk, Macalester, Lewis, three years before the proceeding against President
| Holines, Gilpin, Sullivan, and Wager. Jackson. I took ground for him as promptly, as un. “Mr. Chauncey, from the special committee appointequivocally, as I took it for President Jackson. I took
ed on the 24th September, presented the following rethe same ground for him that I took for the President.
port, which was read. Gentlemen will, therefore, see how far they have been
“Whereupon Mr. Chauncey moved the following rescorrect in supposing that we have been inconsistent, or
olution: inattentive, or injust, and how far we have been detect.
"Resolved, That the said report, with the accompany. ed in keeping two measures for meting out justice to
ing resolution, be adopted. different ranks. They may see also how far my voice
"Upon this motion the yeas and pays were called for; has been prophetic in warning the Senate against the
when it was carried by a vote of 12 to 3, as follows: dangers of an evil example, which might be drawn into precedent at a future time, when the party in power,
“ Yeas-Messrs. Willing, Eyre, Bevan, White, Serand predominant in the Senate, might pant for the spoils
geant, Fisher, Lippincott, Chauncey, Newkirk, Lewis,
Holmes, and Biddle-12. of an illustrious victim! After this preliminary view of the rights and power |
“Nays-Messrs. Gilpin, Sullivari, and Wager--3.
"Oin motion, it was resolved, that 5,000 copies of the of the Senate over its journal, and in vindication of its
| said report be printed for the use of the stockholders of authority to expunge by total obliteration, and conse
the bank. quently to expunge by an order instead of an erasure,
" Extract from the minutes. Mr. B. came to the merits of the question, and said the
"S. JAUDON, Cashier." view which he proposed to take of the proceedings against President Jackson required him to proceed to Mr. B. then read the following extracts from the rethe fountain head and original source of this extraor- port, thus adopted by the board: dinary process. It did not originate in the Sepate of the "The commiltee to whom was referred, on the 24th SENATE.]
(March 18, 1836.
of September, a paper signed • Andrew Jackson, pur. because the removal may injure its interests; the Con. porting to have been read to a cabinet on the 18th; and I gress, because the removal may greatly incommode and also another paper signed H. D. Gilpin, John T. Sul. I distress their constituents. In this case they are depri. Jivan, Peter Wager, and Hugh McEldery,' bearing date ved of it by the unlawful interference of the President, 19th of August 1833, with instructions to consider the who assumes the responsibility,' which, being inter. same, and report to the board whether any, and what, preted, means, usurps the power of the Secretary. To steps may be necessary, on the part of the board, in make this usurpation more evident, his own language consequence of the publication of the said letter and re contradicts the very power which be asserts." * * port, beg leave to state that they have carefully exam. “But a judicial investigation of his charges is precisely ined these papers, and will now proceed to state the re what he dreaded. The more summary and illegal inva. sults of their reflections in regard to them." . *
sion of the powers of others seems to have more attrac“ of the paper itself, and of the individual who has tion than the legitimate exercise of his own." . * * signed it, the committee find it ditficult to speak with “But the wrong done to the pecuniary interests of the the plainness by wbich alone such a document, from such bank sinks into insignificance, when compared with the a source, should be described, without wounding their deeper injury inflicted on the country, by this usurpa. own self-respect, and violating the consideration which tion of all the powers of the Government.' . * all American citizens must feel for the chief magistracy" Certainly, since the foundation of this Government, of their country. Subduing, however, their feelings nothing has ever been done which more deeply wounds and their language down to that respectful tone which the spirit of our free institutions. It, in fact, resolves is due to the office, they will proceed to examine the his- itself into this, that whenever the laws prescribe certain tory of this measure, (removal of the deposites,) its char- duties to an officer, if that officer, acting under the acier, and the pretexts offered in palliation of it." * * sanctions of his official oath and private character, refu. “It would appear from its contents, and from other ses to violate that law, the President of the United States sources of information, that the President had a meeting may dismiss him, and appoint another; and if be, too, of what is called the cabinet, on Wednesday, the 18th should prove to be a refractory subordinate,' to con. of September, and there read this paper. Finding that tinue his removals until he at last discovers, in the de. it made no impression on the majority of persons as- scending scale of degradation, some irresponsible indi. sembled, the subject was postponed, and in the mean vidual fit to be the tool of bis designs. Unhappily there time the document was put into the newspapers. It are never wanting men who will think as their superi. was obviously published for two reasons. The first was ors wish them to think-men who regard more the com. to influence the members of the cabinet, by bringing to pensation than the duties of their office-men to whom bear upon their immediate decision the first public im daily bread is a sufficient consolation for daily shame." pression excited by misrepresentations, which the ob. . . " At this moment the whole revenue of this jects of them could not refute in time; the second was,
country is at the disposal, the absolute, uncontrolled disa by the same excitement, to affect the approaching elec- posal, of the President of the United States. The laws tions in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey." *
declare that the public funds shall be placed in the . . "The indelicacy of the form of these pro- | Bank of the United States, unless the Secretary of the ceedings corresponds well with the substance of them,
Treasury forbids it. The Secretary of the Treasury which is equally in violation of the rights of the bank will not forbid it. The President dismisses him, and the laws of the country.” * * . “Tbat
and appoints somebody that will. So the laws de. the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of the
clare that no money shall be drawn from the treasury Treasury alone, has the power to remove them, (the de.
except on warrants for appropriations made by law. if posites, ) that officer being specially designated to per- | the Treasurer refuses to draw his warrant for any disform that specific dnty, and the President of the United
bursement, the President may dismiss him, and appoint States being, by the clearest implication, forbidden to in.
some more fexible agent, who will not hesitate to gratiterfere." . " The whole structure of the Treas. fy his patron." * * * * " The power is asserted ury shows that the design of Congress was to make
in a tone fitter for the East than for any country claim. the Secretary as independent as possible of the Presi
ing to be governed by laws.”
. * * " At dent. The other Secretaries are merely executive offi. this moment the process of evading the law is in full cers; but the Secertary of the Treasury, the guardian of practice. By the constitution of the United States, no the public revenue, comes into more immediate sympa- money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consethy with the representatives of the people, who pay that quence of an appropriation made by law. But there has revenue; And although, according to the general scheme been a usage of transferring funds from one branch of appointment, he is nominated by the President to the of the Bank of the United States to another, or one Senale, yet lie is in fact the officer of Congress, and not
State bank to another, when the public service re. the officer of the President." .
* . * *
quired aisbursements at remote places. This transfer “ It is manifest that this removal of the deposites is not draft has been abused," &c. * * * . “ The commade by the order of the Secretary of the Treasury. mittee (of the bank) willingly leave to the Congress It is a perversion of language so to describe it. On the
of the United States the assertion of their own constitu. contrary, the reverse is openly avowed. The Secretary tional power, and the vindication of the principles of our of the Treasury refused to remove them, believing, as his
Government against the most violent assault they hare published letter declares, that the removal was 'unne ever yet encountered, and will now confine themselves cessary, unwise, vindictive, arbitrary, and unjust.' He to the more limited purpose of showing that the reasons was then dismissed because he would not remove them, assigned for the measures are as unfourided as the oband another was appointed because he would remove Lject itself is illegal.” them. Now, this is a palpable violation of the charter. When Mr. B. bad read thus far, he stopped, closed The bank and Congress agree upon certain terms, which the pamphlet, and said that he had arrived at the point no one can change but a particular officer, who, al where the bank divided the criminal from the civil prothough necessarily nominated to the Senate by the Pres. ceedings against the President, and, consigning him to ident, was designated by the bank and Congress as the Congress for the notice which was due to the violation umpire between them. Both Congress and the banks of the laws and constitution, it proceeded to make out have a right to the free, and honest, and impartial its own case for damages for the loss of the deposites, juilgment of that officer, whoever he may be: the bank, I and to adopt a resolve to claim redress for that injury.
March 18, 1836.]
The argument in the whole pamphlet is pertinent to the ry of the Treasury for the removal of the money of the motion now before the Senate, as showing the relation United States deposited in the Bank of the United States between the proceedings of the bank and the proceed- and its branches, communicated to Congress on the 3d day ings of the Senate against the President, and how close- of December, 1833, are unsatisfactory and insufficient." ly the latter, arguments and all, were copied from the The reasons assigned for the removal were voted by former. The whole pamphlet was pertinent to his mo- the bank to be unfounded; by the Senate they were tion, and it ought to be printed and preserved among voted to be unsatisfactory and insufficient; showing the the public documents, as a part of the history of the case; exact division of the subject in the Senate to be what it but time forbid bim to read any more; and having arrived was in the bank, and expressed in the same phrases. . a! the point where the bank turned over the President to The bank refers the paper which was read to what Congress for criminal prosecution, and where the Senate was called a cabinet to one of its committees, to report took it up, he went on to say: The three resolves which " what steps are necessary to be taken on the part of I have read, though varied in their forms, are all intend. the board.” They report two steps: First, to vindicate ed to accomplish what the bank indicated when it vouch the constitution and laws from the most violent assault safed “to leave to the Congress of the United States they had ever encountered, which, being interpreted, the assertion of their own constitutional power, and the signified to impeach him; and such was the language of vindication of the principles of our Government, against the bank gazettes, and a member actually named who the most violent assault they had ever encountered;" and was to move the impeachment. Secondly, to assert its the first of these three was accompanied by another re. own right to redress for the injury of removing the de. solve which pursued the civil branch of the subject which posites. Both these steps were pursued in the Senate; the bank had reserved to itself; namely, to show that the only, for want of a regular impeachment preferred by reasons assigned for the removal of the deposites were the House of Representatives, the Senate took it up
actory and insufficient,” or, as the bank pam- | irregularly, as indicated by the bank. phlet expresses it, “unfounded as the object itself is ille I do not detain the Senate, Mr. President, to make gal.” Thus the proceedings in the Senate and in the bank | any remark upon the unparalleled and almost incredible were identical; and, what is too obvious and s!riking to audacity of this moneyed institution, which, erecting escape observation, the very form of commencing the itself into a co-ordinate branch of the federal Governwork against the President, and the precise material ment, and assuming a political, judicial, and moral suupon which the work was commenced, was the same in premacy over the President of the United States, takes both bodies. The bank commenced its process, and took cognizance of his imputed offences, refers bis conduct for the foundation of its proceeding “a certain paper, to one of its committees as to a grand jury, receives a signed ' Andrew Jackson,' and purporting to have been report arraigning him for a public crime as well as for a read to what was called a cabinet on the 18th day of private injury, adopts it in both aspects, and adjudges September, in the year 1833." So of the proceeding him guilty of the crime, while it demands redress for the in the Senate. It takes for its commencement, and for injury, with the unceremonious indifference and perfect its foundation, the same identical paper, and, in every self-complacency which belongs to the conduct of an essential phrase, describes and calls for it in the same established constitutional tribunal. Nor do I comment words. Our journal of that period, at page 40, and for upon the significant intimation for an impeachment, Wednesday, the 11th of December, 1833, just nine days which their high mightinesses, the serene directors of after the promulgation of the bank proceedings, exhibits this moneyed corporation, so distinctly hold out to an entry in these words:
Congress. Nor shall I dwell upon the coincidence that “ The following motion, submitted by Mr. Clay, was the bank proceeding against the President should have considered:
made its appearance in Philadelphia cotemporaneously “ Resolved, That the President of the United States with the assembling of Congress in this city. All these be requested to communicate to the Senate a copy of circumstances, and many others, will naturally attract the paper which had been published, and which pur the attention and excite the reflections of the people. ports to have been read by him to the heads of the ex My purpose at present is quite different. It is to show ecutive Departments, dated the 15th day of September that the Bank of the United States is the original author last, relating to the removal of the deposites of the pub of all the proceedings against the President, and that lic money from the Bank of the United States and its what has been done in this chamber is nothing but a copy offices."
of what had first been done at the board of directors in I was adopted by the Senate. The President the city of Philadelphia. The extracts which I have was requested to furnish the paper described; and, upon read are sufficient for the present, and I shall only refer, his declining to do so, the Senate of the United States at this time, in confirmation of them, to the columns of proceeded, as the Bank of the United States had previ- the bank gazettes at that period; the meetings got up ously done, to use the copy of the paper, as found in the by the bank to condemn the President; the committees columns of the Globe.
and memorials sent here; the purchase by the bank of Upon the contents of this paper two distinct resolu. 800,000 copies of the speeches made against the Presitions were submitted by a Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. dent; its efforts to distress and alarm the country; and CLAY]-one criminal, the other civil. The criminal res. the palpable line which is still drawn in the Legislatures olution has been read. It stands at the head of the of all the States, between the friends of ihe bank and three resolves quoted in the preamble to the resolution the friends of the President, wherever expunging resowhich I have offered, and follows not only the charges lutions are brought forward. and the specifications which the bank had preferred These are sufficient to prove that the bank, from first against the President, but uses the very words which to last, took charge of this proceeding against the Presi. that institution had used. The civil resolution offered dent; that she originated it, followed it here, nursed and at the same time is not inserted in the preamble, because cherished it, adopted all that was done, and now opposes the expunging process is not proposed to reach it; but the expunging resolutions in the different States with it is necessary to read it by way of identifying the pro. such fidelity that the list of votes, except in Tennessee, ceedings of the bank and of the Senate, and to show how and some individual exceptions in the other States, shows faithfully the Senate took up the cause of the Bank. the question of expunging to be a mere bank question, This is it:
to be lost or carried as the bank party predominate or " Resolved, That the reasons assigned by the Secreta. I not in the Legislature.
(March 18, 1836.
Mr. B. then took up his expurgatory resolution, and er over the treasury of the United States not granted said that he had digested his motion, for the sake of a to him by the constitution and laws, and dangerous to more convenient and intelligible presentation of his sub- the liberties of the people; because he dismissed Mr. ject, into a series of distinct propositions, covering the Duane from the Treasury Department, and appointed whole ground of the case, yet separating the parts, so Mr. Taney to it. Secondly, with assuming the exercise that a distinct consideration and a distinct vote may be of a power over the treasury of the United States, not taken on each distinct point:
granted to him by the constitution and laws, and dan• I. The first proposition which I submit assumes the gerous to the liberties of the people; because he took cardinal position that the proceeding against President upon himself the responsibility of removing the depos. Jackson was for an impeachable offence; and that, be ites from the Bank of the United States; and, thirdly, ing conducted without the forms of an impeachment, it with assuming upon himself authority and power not was, by consequence, irregular, illegal, unconstitutional, conferred by the constitution and laws, but in derogaand subversive of the fundamental principles of law and tion of both; because of the late executive proceedings justice.
in relation to the revenue. These were the charges; The stress of this proposition lies in the position that and how much soever the specifications were again and the offence charged upon the President was impeacha again changed, and finally all dropped, yet the charge ble; and, to maintain this position, I shall show, first, itself remained the same, and wears its meaning plainly what it is that constitutes an impeachable offence under on its face, that of usurping power and authority, and our constitution; and next, what the offence is that the violating the laws and constitution of the land. This is President was charged with.
the plain meaning of the charge in every instance of its By section 4, article 2, of the constitution, the Presi. threefold repetition, and so was understood and ex. dent may be impeached:
pressed by every speaker, who constantly applied the
terms of usurper and violator of the laws and constitu. 1. For treason;
tion, and rummaged history to find, in the lives of the 2. For bribery;
most odious of tyrants, acts of usurpation and of lawless 3. For other high crimes;
violence sufficiently infamous, wicked, and dangerous, 4. For misdeineanors.
to exemplily the conduct which they charged upon the Here are four classes of offences for which impeach President. ment lies; two of them well defined by common and The precise words in the resolve adopted fully constitutional law; and two of them resting, not upon charge the violation, and that twice over. To assume strict legal definitions, but rather upon the general ac | power not conferred by the laws and constitution is to ceptation of terms, and the moral sense of the commu violate the laws and the constitution; to do an act in pity. Treason and bribery have their precise defini. derogation of both is, in the President, a violation of tions; other high crimes and misdemeanors have their both. The legislative power may derogate from a law, import, but have not been legally defined, so as to in that is to say, can repeal and take away a part of it; but clude all cases which may fall under their heads. They it cannot derogate from the constitution, that is to say, were evidently adopted by the framers of the constitu- , repeal or take away a part of it; and the attempt to do tion, on purpose to include all the unknown and all the it is to violate it. The President can neither derogate possible cases of malfeasance in office which should from the common law, nor from statute law, nor from amount either to a high offence, or to a petty offence, and the constitution. He has no repealing power over them; for which the officer might deserve actual punishment by consequence, to derogate from them is to violate at common law, or a mere removal from that particular them. office, or a general disqualification to hold any office Mr. B. well recollected that some of the gentlemen whatever. A crime is a great offence; a misdemeanor in opposition called the President's conduct a gross is a petty offence. A high crime is always understood abuse of power. Be it so. The smallest abuse of to be some great offence against the State or the public; power is a misbehaviour in office, and a misdemeanor, a misdemeanor is some petty offence in office, consist. for which the officer may be impeached; a gross abuse ing of any kind of misbehaviour, or ill behaviour. So of power is a high crime, for which impeachment also say the books. It would be sufficient for my argument lies. The charge then still continues impeachable, to show that the offence charged upon President Jack. whether qualified as a gross abuse of power, or charged son by the Senate of 1833-'34, was one of those petty as a direct violation of law. offences growing out of misbehaviour, or ill behaviour | The charge, then, stripped of its thin disguise, taken in in office, which constitutes a misdemeanor; for even its obvious sense, and put into the words proclaimed by that would be impeachable, and would sustain my posi every speaker, is a charge of usurpation of power and tion that the President was adjudged guilty of an im. l authority, and of a violation of the laws and constitution. peachable offence. But I will not wrong the Senators I do not make a separate head of the usurpation here who passed that judgment upon bim so far as to lower charged, because it is merely subsidiary in its reference, their charge to the petty offence, which constitutes a and explanatory in its import, of the main charge more mere misdemeanor. I will not undertake to deprive distinctly expressed. To usurp power and authority them of their excuse or justification for alarming and is to seize upon power and authority without right or agitating the country as they then did, and denouncing law; to violate the laws and constitution is to do the President Jackson with the violence then exhibited, by same thing; so that all the charges substantially end in reducing the offence with which they charged him to one, that of violating the laws and the constitution. Is the mere misbebaviour which amounts to misdemeanor. this a petty offence, or a great crime? It is sufficient But I will take the charge in its parural import, and for my argument that it should be a petty offence; but according to the understanding of it then manifested by truth and justice will qualify it as a great crime. In a gentlemen in all their speeches; and, according to these, country of law, the violation of law is always a crime. i say that President Jackson was charged with a great, In the mere citizen it is criminal, in the common magisheinous, and daring offence; and, being so charged, trate it is heinous, in the chief officer of a republic it is was impeachably charged, not with a petty misdemean. atrocious and parricidal. In a President of the United or, but with a high crime.
| States, bound by his oath not only to preserve, protect, How was he charged? The record answers that he and defend the constitution, but to cause all others faithwas charged, first, with assuming the exercise of a pow. | fully to execute the law's, the violation of the laws and MARCH 18, 1836.
constitution, involving as it does perjury to his con. their conduct then, gentlemen must now stick to the science, treachery to his trust, danger to the country, charge as then made, and maintain the President to have and evil example to all, becomes an offence of the great. been guilty of a high crime. To defend themselves est magnitude, inferior only in turpitude and mischief to from the censure of having violated the constitution, high treason itself. In republics the greatest jealousy subverted justice, and set a dreadful example, it is ne. is felt at assumptions of power beyond the law; and the cessary for them to maintain that he committed no crime more exalted the magistrate, the more eminent the citi. at all, not even the petty nffence and venial misconduct zen, who commits that offence, no matter how strong which will constitute a misdemeanor in office. In this the necessity, or how slight the consequence, the voice dilemma, it is not for me to anticipate what course gen. of offended justice is sure to be heard. Why was Cicero tlemen will take; whether they will retrace their steps, banished from Rome? Not for putting Lentulus and or advance further. It is not for me to decide whether Cethegus to death--for these parricides deserved to die it is a case in which the actors, far steeped in blood, may a thousand deaths-but because, in ordering Roman think it safer to go through than turn back; but, solely citizens to be strangled, the Consul had assumed the occupied with my own course, I proceed to establish exercise of a power not granted to him by the constitu- | my position, that ihe President was adjudged guilty of tion and the laws of Rome. What was the cause of that an imneachable offence, and that the Senate was unimmortal contest in Athens that contest for the crown, justifiable for proceeding against him without the forms not of royalty, but of honor and patriotism? Not that of an impeachment. Demosthenes did not deserve to wear it, but that Ctesi- ! The sentence against him is for violating the laws and phon bad transcended the law in causing it to be con- / the constitution. I have said that this offence was great ferred upon him. These were excusable, or venial vio- in a private citizen, still greater in a common magistrate, lations of law; yet their commission agitated the great and greatest of all in the Chief Magistrate of the counrepublics of antiquity, and their memory, at the end of try. Our own Chief Magistrate is laid under the most two thousand years, and in a new bemisphere, is fresh sacred and solemn responsibilities, to God and his counin the recollection of every reader. But why quote ex-l try, to abstain from this crime. He takes an oath to do amples? Why go to foreign countries? Why quit our so; and here is a copy of that oath which President own soil, this chamber, and this very case, to prove that Jackson actually took, administered by the late Chief the violation of law is the commission of a great crime | Justice Marshall, in the presence of assembled thou. Did not every gentleman, in arguing this very case, sands, and on the steps of that Capitol, and at the base treat it as a crime of the greatest enormity? Did they | of that column at which he came so near to pay the not denounce the President's conduct not merely as a I dreadful forfeit of a supposed violation of his oath: violation of the laws and the constitution, but an actual | "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute overtbrow of all Government? as the establishment of the office of President of the United States, and will, to one man's will in place of all law and government as the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend, being in itself x revolution? as an act pregnant with the constitution of the United States." every calamity; filling the country with distress and Preserve, protect, and defend, the constitution! Such alarm, ruining the currency, sinking the price of prop- ) is the oath. The sentence is, that he violated that conerty, paralyzing industry, stopping factories, bankrupt stitution, and, by consequence, that he violated that ing merchants and traders, destroying all confidence be oath. Here, then, is the aggravated charge of perjury tween man and man, and striking the whole country upon his conscience, treachery to his trust, mischief to down from a state of unparalleled prosperity to a state the people, and destruction to that which he was bound of unparalleled misery? Did not every speaker against to preserve, protect, and defend. Can such things be, the President assert all this, and infinitely more, and and not imply crime? that high crime for which not only worse! And did not one hundred and twenty thousand impeachment lies under our constitution, but indictment petitioners back their assertions, reiterate their denun and punishment also at common law? Surely, the point ciation, send it here for our information, and call upon is too plain for argument; and I must be permitted to us to undo what the President had done, as the only repeat that I cannot figure to my imagination any thing means of saving the country from utter ruin? And were so strange and wonderful as that gentlemen who pushed not these petitions received with all honor, and their the condemnation of President Jackson with such fury, contents made every speaker's own, by the manner in in 1834, should now deprive themselves of all justificawhich he
dopted and commented upon them? Certainly | tion for what they then did, by special pleading upon all these things were so; and during the six months that the verbality of the accusation which they themselves they were going on, the act of President Jackson, in re. drew up, and, pointing to the careful omission of impu. moving the deposites, was expressly treated as a crime ted bad motive, declare that his intentions were not of the direst import, and of the most calamitous conse impugned; and defend themselves from the consequences quences. Having personally witnessed all these things, of pronouncing him a criminal then, by intrenching and too well remembering them, it is incomprehensible themselves behind his innocency now! Far from it. to me, and my mind will remain incredulous to the ap The justification of gentlemen for what they did to agi. parition until I shall behold it, that any one of the sup- tate the country rests upon the conscientiousness of their porters of the proceedings against President Jackso! belief that the President was in reality the lawless and will now take a position in the rear of President Jack dangerous criminal which they described him to be; son's innocency, and rest the success of their defence and the moment they give up that, the moment they now, upon the overthrow of their attack then. I say admit that innocency of motive, without which crime upon bis innocency! for every denial of the criminality cannot exist that moment they condemn themselves, of his conduct is an allegation of his innocence; and and admit that they were factious agitators, unjust judges, every attempt to sink the charge against him below the and relentless persecutors of an innocent man. Instead degree of a high crime is an admission of the injustice of this, they and I should now act together, both mainof those who then denounced and condemned him; fortaining that a high crime was charged upon the Presi. nothing can excuse them for the course they then pur. dent; but as I have not conferred with gentlemen, and sued, and for the alarm and agitation in which they in- do not know upon which horn of this dilemma they prevolved the country, but the reality of their belief in the fer to hang themselves, I must proceed in my own way, high crimes which they then imputed to the President. and make out my case upon its own strength, without Here, then, lies a dilemma. To justify themselves for reference to their weakness.