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APRIL 21, 1834.]

Explanatory Message.


cuss and declare the limits of the prerogative and power which I do not entertain, and more particularly am I soliof one who has extended his claims far beyond those of citous that I may not be supposed to claim for myself, or any British monarch since the English revolution, I shall my successors, any power or authority not clearly granted vote against the motion of the honorable member from to the President by the constitution and laws. I have Pennsylvania, and every other motion to proceed to any therefore respectfully to request that this communication other important business, before this paper has been dis- may be considered a part of that message; and that it may posed of

be entered therewith on the Journals of the Senate. Mr. CALHOUN followed on the same side, expressing April 21st, 1834.

ANDREW JACKSON. his hearty concurrence in the views taken by the Senator After the message had been readfrom Delaware, and his earnest hope that the Senate Mr. POINDEXTER moved that this message also be would refuse to proceed to any other business.

not received; and that certain resolutions, which he proMr. WILKINS replied that he only wished the Senate posed as a modification of his motion that the original proto consider a treaty.

test be not received, be printed; intending, at a proper Mr. SPRAGUE said the treaty was unimportant at this time, to move their adoption. time, and concurred fully in the views of Mr. CLAYTON. Mr. PRESTON took' occasion to say that he was de

Mr. WILKINS then withdrew the motion, and gave lighted at the message which the President of the United notice that he would renew it again on Monday, after the States had done the Senate the honor to send in to them gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Ewing) should have conclu- to-day. He was extremely gratified also at the message ded his remarks.

which had now been submitted, not only because it put On motion of Mr. EWING,

a gloss on the principles contained in the first paper, and The Senate then adjourned to Monday.

thus betrays the apprehension of the President, that, in

their original and naked form, the whole country, every MONDAY, APRIL 21.

man in the country, would revolt against them. And he EXPLANATORY MESSAGE.

was also delighted, because it proved that the ear of the

President had not been entirely closed against the deThe following message, explanatory of the protest sent bates of the Senate, and that these debates had been sucon the 17th instant, was received from the President of cessful in compelling him to change the expression of his the United States, by Mr. Donelson, his private Secre- views. He believe i that, before the termination of the tary.

session, there would be many such explanations; that To the Senate of the United States:

every day would be productive of them; until, finally, Having reason to believe that certain passages contain the text would be absolutely overwhelmed by the comed in my message and protest transmitted to the Senate mentaries. on the 17th instant, may be misunderstood, I think it Mr. FORSYTH did not understand very well wliat progproper to state, that it was not my intention to deny, in ress was to be made in this business. The honorable the said message, the power and right of the legislative Senator from Mississippi proposed that his condemnatory department to provide by law for the custody, safe keep-resolutions should be placed upon the Journals of the ing, and disposition, of the public money and property Senate, and that the message should not. He (Mr. of the United States.

F.) should imagine it must be decided, in the first Although I am well satisfied that such a construction is instance, whether the document would be received. not warranted by any thing contained in that message, He submitted to the gentleman whether it was not due yet, aware, from experience, that detached passages of an to the character of the Senate, and that of the Chief argumentative document, when disconnected from their Magistrate, that the paper, as well as the resulutions context, and considered without reference to previous condemning it, should be placed on the records. With limitations, and the particular positions they were intend-respect to the explanatory message to which reference ed to refute or to establish, may be made to bear a con- has been made, he was somewhat glad that it had been struction, varying altogether from the sentiments really sent to them this morning, not because it altered, in entertained and intended to be expressed; and deeply the slightest degree, in his opinion, the correctness of solicitous that my views on this point should not, either the opinions contained in the message of the President, now or hereafter, be misapprehended, I have deemed it but because it prevented a construction being given to due to the gravity of the subject, to the great interests it his language different from that which he intended. He involves, and to the Senate, as well as to myself, to (Mr. F.) understood the original message to assert only embrace the earliest opportunity to make this communi- a very simple proposition—that it was not possible for the cation.

legislature of the United States to create another execuI admit, without reserve, as I have before done, the tive power. The gentleman from South Carolina was constitutional power of the legislature to prescribé, by mistaken in regard to the object of the supplementary law, the place or places in which the public money or message; it was not sent to correct an error, but for the other property is to be deposited; and to make such reg- purpose of giving a more full explanation of a previously ulations concerning its custody, removal, or disposition, expressed opinion, to prevent an erroneous impression as they may think proper to enact. Nor do I claim for from being entertained. He (Mr. F.) hoped the bonorathe Executive any right to the possession or disposition of ble Senator from Mississippi, with bis usual candor, would the public property or treasure, or any authority to inter- withdraw his motion to print the resolutions, and let the fere with the same, except when such possession, dispo- Senate decide first whether it would or would not receive sition, or authority, is given to him by law. Nor do I the message.

It would be manifestly unjust to refuse to claim the right in any manner to supervise or interfere put the paper on the records while the resolutions were with the person intrusted with such property or treasure, placed there. It would be wrong to make any such disunless he be an officer whose appointment is, under the tinction. What would posterity think of the act-reconstitution and laws, devolved upon the President, cording a strong condemnation of a Chief Magistrate, alone, or in conjunction with the Senate, and for whose without doing him the justice to preserve his defence? conduct he is constitutionally responsible.

Would they think it just or unjust? Surely, surely, As the message and protest referred to may appear on Senators would not act so unfairly: Independent of all the Journals of the Senate, and remain among the record- other considerations, such as the high position he occued documents of the nation, I am unwilling that opinions pied in the confidence of the people, it would be most should be imputed to me, even through misconstruction, 'unjust to him as a simple individual.

Vol. X.-88


Explanatory Message.

[APRIL 21, 1834. Mr. EWING said, the gentleman from Georgia was

Mr. CALHOUN said, the motion to print a paper, promistaken, if he s'pposed the resolutions of the Senator posed to be offered for adoption, was one of those mofrom Mississippi were moved at all. They were mere- tions which were frequently made in the ordinary course ly laid on the table, to be taken up hereafter, when gen- of business. tlemen would have an opportunity of presenting their Mr. FORSYTH said, he might be mistaken, but it had views on the subject to which they related. He would occurred to him that the motion of the honorable Senator make an observation or two, with respect to what fell from Mississippi, to print the resolutions, which were from the honorable Senator from Georgia That gen- hereafter to be presented to the Senate, must go on the tleman had said, that it would be extremely unjust in the Journals. He (Mr. F.) took it for granted that the mesSenate to put upon its Journals the resolutions condem- sage, as well as the resolutions, would be put upon the natory of the protest, without that paper. Now, the Journals of the Senate. With respect to what had been honorable Senator could not have attended to the pro- said by the gentleman from Ohio, he was entirely mistest, or he would have discovered that the President taken. The President had done justice to the Senate, says he has entered it on the Executive Journal, as con- whose resolutions were spread in broad characters on the demnatury of the resolution of the Senate. The Senate protest. So that posterity would be able so see all the had not requested him to do it, and took it for granted it transaction. was not done. He had, no doubt, consulted his own Mr. CLAYTON said, that was the first time he had convenience by placing it there, as it would serve as a ever heard of the Executive Journals of the President, in reference. But, as for putting his protest on the Jour- which he might enter and record his manifestoes, or the nals of the Senate, he (Mr. B.) could not consent, be- resolutions either of this or the other House of Congress. cause it strongly reflected on their resolutions.

But with this, he (Mr. C.) had, at present, nothing to do. Mr. POINDEXTER said, he took the same view of He rose for the purpose merely of expressing his surprise the subject as the honorable Senator from Ohio; that, at the sentiment advanced by the gentleman from Georalthough the protest should not be recorded on their Jour- gia, that the paper sent to the Senate this morning renals, it was entered on the Executive Journal. It was a tracted nothing of what was stated in the original protest. part of the archives of the State Department, and the The principal argument of the first protest stood on this resolutions he had offered to the Senate would be no- ground—that the Executive was entiiled, by the constituthing more than an explanation to posterity, showing the tion, to the care of the public money, in defiance of any grounds upon which it refused to receive the paper. act of Congress. The honorable Senator from Virginia, That was all. It was an extra-official document, and and other gentlemen who spoke on Thursday and Friday such a one as could not be made to either House of last, contended that, if that was constitutional law, the neCongress, and therefore ought not to be received. He cessary inference to be drawn from it was, that should had shaped his resolutions so as to speak in general both Houses of Congress order a restoration of the determs of the paper, in order that hereafter it might be posites by a constitutional majority of two-thirds; still, the adverted to without difficulty. He would not, at present, President having the custody of the money, had the powgo into any discussion on the subject, but would merely er to retain it. He (Mr. č.) understood what was the move that the last message be laid on the table.

object of sending to the Senate this supplementary mes. Mr. P. then offered his resolutions, as follows, and sage. The President, having found out that such sentimoved that they be printed.

ments as were contained in his first communication, relaResolved, That the President, in transmitting the pa- tive to this topic, would not be very palatable to the peoper which he did to the Senate, on the 17th instant, ple, had attempted to explain away at least a part of his which he requested to be placed on its Journals, as an assumption, which was, to his (Mr. C.'s) mind, the most Executive protest against a resolution passed by the Sen-exceptionable feature in the document, and one which, if ate, made a communication not authorized by the consti- acquiesced in by the American people, would at once tution, nor warranted by that mutual interchange of com- reduce this Government to a despotism. It was a docmunications which the discharge of official duties renders trine, the principles of which, if admitted now, would necessary and proper between the legislative departments give the uncontrollable right to the present President, as of the Government.

well as all future Presidents, over the public purse, in adResolved, that the President, in the paper above re- dition to the sword of the nation. It would tax even the ferred to, assumes powers in relation to the Senate not ingenuity of the honorable gentleman from Georgia himauthorized by the constitution, and calculated, in its con- self, were he to take the sentences contained in the first sequences, to destroy that harmony which ought to exist protest, and read them in parallel columns with sentences between the co-ordinate departments of the General Gov. in the message which had been sent to the Senate that ernment; to interfere with the Senate in the discharge of morning, to make a plausible explanation of the one, its duties; to degrade it in the public opinion; and, finally, consistently with the doctrines contained in the other. to destroy its independence, by subjecting its rights and The honorable Senator from Georgia bad designated it a duties to the determination and control of the Chief mere “explanation,” and he (Mr. C.) should not quarrel Magistrate

with any one about the term.

He considered this paper ** Resolved, That the communication of a paper of such as retracting, withdrawing much of what had been boldly a character, with the declarations that accompanied it, is claimed in the other; and he heartily concurred with the a plain, an open breach of the constitutional rights and gentleman from South Carolina, that it was to the stand privileges of the Senate, and that it cannot be received taken in that Senate they were indebted for a restoration by the body, without a surrender of the just powers con- of even so much of the constitution and laws. fided to it by the constitution, in trust, to secure the lib Yes, sir, this paper was received in such a spirit as had erty and promote the prosperity of these States, and satisfied the Executive, that the doctrines which it conwhich the members are bound to maintain under the sa- lained would not be sustained by the free people of this cred obligation of an oath.

country. What course the Senate would take with re. Rcsolved, therefore, That the paper be not received by gard to the protest, in which there was still left so many the Senate."

objectionable features, he knew not, The President Mr. KING wished to know whether the resolutions still denied the constitutional right of the Senate to conpresented by the Senator from Mississippi were offered consider his prerogative or executive power, and to de. for consideration, or merely informally? If they are bate upon it, much more to express an opinion by a vote laid on the table, they must be before the Senate, with respect to its extent. That was a principle which

APRIL 21, 1834.]

Explanatory Message.


the President must fully and clearly retract, before he of the conduct of ministers of the crown? Yet they have (Mr. C.) should become satisfied with the document. His the power, and the sole power, of trying impeachments. next message must contain an acknowledgment of the The Senate has an undoubted right, in my opinion, to exright of the Senate to express its opinion, by resolutions press its opinions on the public conduct of executive of. or otherwise, as to it may seem best, defining the limits ficers. The contingency, that it may be called on to try. of his power for its own government, before such a docu- an impeachment, is no bar to the exercise of this right. ment would become palatable to him (Mr. C.) and mect Doubtless there may be cases in which the propriety of with his concurrence for its reception; and as a doubt, in its exercise might be much influenced by the considerathe opinion of many, is still left as to his entire meaning in tion that the Senate held the power of judging on imthis supplemental message, his next must, without any peachment. But this is matter of discretion. In every equivocation, distinctly renounce all claim to the uncon- case, the Senate must proceed upon its own sense of protrolled power over the public purse, before it can be priety and justice. There may be, sometimes, good reaadapted to the taste of the freemen of this country, son to refrain from expressing opinions, and sometimes

Mr. WEBSTER rose. He said he had arrived in the there may be the highest propriety in expressing such city and resumed his seat since the debate began, and he opinions in the strongest manner. The right of doing so rose to say that he thought the transmission of this pro- is clear, and is not to be disputed. The possession of test to be one of the most important and ominous occur- judicial power does not abridge the legislative power of rences of these extraordinary times. It is, said Mr. W., the Senate. It does not take away any of its rights as a a communication of so anomalous a character, in the first representative body. place, that it perplexed the discrimination of the Senate Sir, the President of the United States has been mis. to know what preliminary disposition to make of it. Some led. He is uninformed, or misinformed, as to the real are for receiving it, others are against receiving it, al- state of opinion in the country. I fear there are those though it has been read, and its contents commented on. who share his confidence, and who present to his view It seems to hang, at present, in a pendulous condition, be- only one side of things. The state of the country is tween reception and rejection. It has no resting place. alarming. Members of the Senate, who have not been It is like the coffin of Mahomet, suspended between hea- out of this city for five months, are not aware of the ven and earth, as unfit to go bigher, and finding no prop. depth and strength of the public feeling. I should like er abiding place below. But I am unwilling that the to know what advisers have recommended to the Presidiscussion of this great and grave topic should be embar- dent to send us this protest. Its circulation through the rassed by questions of form. I am obliged to the mem- country will add fuel to feelings already sufficiently enber from Mississippi for the strong grasp which he laid kindled. The President has around him the heads of deon the principles of this paper, at its first appearance, but partments. Can any body tell us whether any of those as to the form of proceeding with it, I confess I should heads, and if any, which of them, advised to send tbis have preferred to have passed over the question of re- paper to the Senate? Or which of them, if any, sat by, ception, and gone at once to the substantial character neither assenting nor dissenting, afraid to speak their of the protest itself. It is too interesting, and will prove minds, or unwilling to hazard their places? 50—too exciting, and will prove so--to go from the Sen Sir, it is not without some color of reason that the ate, till it shall have received such discussion and such re- President, in this paper, speaks of the heads of departply as it is entitled to.

ments as his Secretaries. One-half of them have never It is said that the paper is indecorous, and justly offen- been confirmed by the Senate. Three of them, usually sive to the self-respect of the Senate; but there is much called members of the cabinet, being one-half of the more ir it than indecorum, or want of respect to the Sen- whole, were appointed last year, in the recess of Conate; and I think we shall best consult the character of this gress, and now, when we are near the end of the fifth body, and better fulfil the expectation of the country, by month of the session, their appointments have not been going at once to the dangerous assertions of power which sent to the Senate for confirmation. This is a thing bethe paper sets up, and fully exposing those claims of pow. fore altogether unheard of. I hesitate not to say that

er to the people. The President denies that this House, this course is derogatory to the rights of the Senate, and or indeed either House of Congress, bas any right to ex- inconsistent with the intent and spirit of the constitution. press any opinion upon his conduct, except by way of It is altogether without precedent. Other Presidents impeachment. This is, indeed, new and startling. That have felt it their duty, when they have made appointin a popular representative government, the repre- ments in the recess, to send them to the Senate immedisentatives of the people may not express their opinions ately upon its assembling. Usually such nominations upon measures of the executive power, is a Jocirine, I come to us the first ten or twelve days of the session. It believe, now, for the very first time put forth. Who has has rarely happened that they have been delayed as long ever heard of it before?' Though this right is denied to as a month. But near five months have now elapsed, and either House, the President's reasons are urged mainly yet these nominations are not sent to us. When they do against the right of the Senate, and the chief reason is, come, I hope we shall know who has approved the send. that the Senate are judges in cases of impeachment, and ing of this protest. I hope we shall learn who has made that, therefore, until impeachment come, it should be si- himself partaker in it, by positive sanction or silent aclent. But this objection, it is obvious, would stop the quiescence. mouth of the Senate, with respect to every other offi Sir, I will not now discuss the assertions, the pretencer of the Government, as well as the President, be sions, the dangers, of this protest. Others are in pose cause all officers are equally impeachable, and the Sen- session of the debate. I do not see that the case is alate must try all impeachments.

tered by this codicil. The whole measure is of an alarm. I know not, sir, who drew this protest, but whoevering character. It attempts one great stride towards the he was, instead of looking for sound constitutional prin-accumulation of all power in executive hands; a stride ciples in the history of free governments, in the prac- which I doubt not the Senate will resist with firmness tice of legislatures in the United States, or elsewhere, he and constancy; and in that resistance they will be suphas contented himself with an ancient truism from the ported by the country. black-letter law books, that the House of Lords cannot Mr. FORSYTH said, it was very unimportant to him institute an impeachment, or frame articles, and then try whether the last message was considered an explanait themselves. But do not the Lords, as well as the Com- tion or a retraction. If the honorable gentleman from mons, express their opinions, by votes and resolutions, Delaware entertained such impressions as he had just


Explanatory Message.

[APRIL 21, 1834.

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stated, it was very easy to be accounted for. He had least a right to be heard by the people-10 one would probably read the message with a desire to see that pretend to deny it-and they would decide on his conthe Preside:t had committed an error, and, in conse- duct, and either sustain or condemn bim. How could the quence, might have formed an unfavorable judgment of Executive defend himself, without presenting to the Senit. Now, with regard to what had been said by the ale a statement of his case? If he had thought of comhonorable Senator from Massachusetts, he begged leave initting a fraud, he might have interwoven that message to say a word or two. That Senator had reiterated a with some legislative proposition, which the Senale would complaint, which he had heretofore made, in regard to have been compelled to have received, and could not have the withholding by the President of certain nominations resisted; but he had done no such thing. He bad preof high officers of the Government. He was mistaken in sented a fair statement of his case, and asked only that it point of fact. There was not one-half of the cabinet might be preserved, in order that his views might be whose nominations had not been sent to the Senate. seen by posterity and the world. And he had come to

(Mr. WEBSTER said there were three--the Secretary the Senate, not as a Chief Magistrate demanding that of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of his views might be preserved on ibe records of the counthe 'Treasury.]

try, but with a request that they might be preserved on Mr. Fonsity resumed. The principle was the same, the Journal of the Senate with the resolutions condemnwhether it was a portion only or the whole of the cabi- ing him—that no inference contrary to the executive ponnet. The honorable Senator had told the Senate that er hereafter might be drawn, and for the purpose of havthose officers were in the discharge of important duties, ing justice done to his opinions as an officer and a man. in violation of the principles of the constitution, and in He, Mr. F., entirely concurred with the honorable derogation of the rights of the Senate. He would ask Senator from Massachusetts, that the country expected the honorable gentleman if he had recently read the con- and would demand, at the hands of the Senate, that this stitution?

matter should be solemnly considered and decided; that (Mr. WEBSTER. Yes, sir.)

the question which it bad raised should be treated as it Mr. Forsyth continued. Then he would beg to call his deserved, neither forgetting what was due to the dignity attention to a particular part of it, which declared that of this body, nor to the high station and dignity of our persons commissioned by the President, shouk. hold to Chief Magistrate. There were most important and grave the termination of the next session of Congress. And considerations connected with this matter. Be they true this was an answer to the charge of a violation of the or false, they must be treated with that respect, moderaconstitution having been committed. They were the of. tion, and forbearance, which became the dignity of the ficers of the United States, as much as if they had been Senate, or that body would be lost, in the opinion of the confirmed by the Senate, and would remain so to the American people. Let the conduct of the President be termination of the session. It was true there would bave fairly examined, and no incorrect inferences be drawn. been some difference in their position, at this time, if their Yes, that was the way, and the only way, in which he nominations had been presented to the Senate, and they ought to be treated. His (Mr. F.'s) opinions on the whole had been condemned by it. And upon this was based matter were perfectly well understood. He considered the complaint. Honorable Senator's desired that the the charge which had been made against the President as nominations might be made, in order that they might sit uncalled for, unnecessary, and improper; but he trusted in judgment on them. He had reason to believe that that that the Senate, in its future conduct, would not forget was the fact, from the suggestion which had been made what was due to itself, and to the dignity of our Chief by the honorable Senator to-day, that some plausible rea- Magistrate, so that justice might be done him. He, Mr. son was always sought for, so that the presentation of F., was of opinion that the Senate had travelled beyond the nominations might be postponed. The gentleman the bounds of propriety, and deserved—what he believed bad expressed a wish to know which of the persons who would, in due time, be meted to them--a sentence of would have to come under the adjudication of the Senate condemnation by the people. had acquiesced in the message. Perhaps (said Mr. F.) Mr. WEBSTER replied. The gentleman from Georthere might be an occasion, before the end of the session, gia, said he, has referred to the decision of that high trito enlighten his judgment, and then he would know ex- bunal, by whose decision all public men, and all public actly how he should decide on another matter. He (Mr. bodies, must ultimately stand or fall. I cheerfully join in F.) would contend that they were officers, acting ac- the appeal, and have no fear of the result. It can never cording to the constitution, and that the President had be, that the people of the United States will, for no not derogated from his duty. It was his duty, and he earthly reason, submit to severe suffering and to encroachdare not do otherwise, to present the nominations in ques- ments on constitutional liberty; and, i doubt not, the tion before the adjournment of Congress.

same people will stand by ahe Senate in all just and conWith respect to this anomalous proceeding, it was un-stitutional'efforts to sustain its own rights and the rights precedented--the first instance in the history of the Gov- of Congress. I believe the Senate stands strong in the ernment, in which the Executive had been arraigned be-confidence of a majority of the nation, and that nothing fore the people by the extra-judicial conduct of the Sen-would more produce dismay and despair than that this

Did the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts body should be found to Ainch or falter in a moderate, think it a trilling matter that the President should have but firm and decided, opposition to the present course been charged with having violated his duty, and forgotten of public measures. the solemn obligations of his oath? And to whom was The gentleman supposes I am mistaken as to the numthe Executive to address himself but to those from whom ber of members of the cabinet not yet nominated to the the charge had emanated? The Senate had arraigned Senate. But there is no mistake.' The Secretary of him; and the honorable Senator particularly, and others, State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney had said that the remedy for all this lay with the people. General, have been in office six or seven months, and He (Mr. F.) would admit that it was for them to decide have neither of them been yet sent to the Senate for conwhether or not he was correct; and, if he was found guil-firmation. What reason is to be given for this departty, to punish him for violating the constitution and the laws. ure from all former practice of the Government? How is

But, he would ask, if it was not the right of a party, it to be justified? We may conjecture a reason, indeed, after being condemned without a bearing, to be heard but it is such a reason as ought not to exist. I know well thereafter? The question now before the people was that these officers hold commissions which run to the end placed there by the Senate. The President then had at of the session. Such is the constitutional provision. But

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