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Baltimore end Ohio Railroad.
[Mar 22, 1830.
therefore that he took this means of endeavoring to pre- this Canal Company, on which one hundred dollars had serve it.
been paid, were sold for twenty dollars; and at a period Mr. WEBSTER said he agreed with the Senator from very shortly prior to the commencement of its operations, Louisiana, in the principles laid down in his amendment the price was merely nominal, and it could not, probably, heretofore offered to this bill. He thought that the funds have been sold at a discount of twenty-five per cent., or of the General Government in works of internal improve- perhaps fisty. It had scarcely commenced its operations, ment ought to be a circulating fund, to be applied as cir- impeded as it is with difficulties, for the removal of some cumstances might demand, for the purpose of encourag- of which you have, within a few days, provided, and it al. ing and promoting those works in different sections of ready yields, we are told, a fair interest on the capital, the country; and when the works have been effected, the and a price less only by five or six per cent. than par. stock should be sold out, and again applied to the en- To construct an immense canal or railroad is a work of couragement of similar works. But he thought that the much time, and while in progress it is necessarily unprodisposal of these stocks required the exercise of great ductive. Few individuals have the ability to invest their prudence and discretion; because, if the market was glut- funds in an enterprise which places them for so long a peted with funds of this character, it would produce depre- riod out of active circulation, let the ultimate prospect of ciation in the price of these stocks, at once injurious to the profit be what it may. But, whenever the enterprise is so Government and the other stockholders.
far completed as to return a prompt and punctual interest Mr. CHAMBERS said he had already expressed to the or dividend, it becomes at once a saleable property. The Senate his views of the merits of the bill, as also the rea- various improvements to which the Government has consons why its passage should not be delayed; and he rose tributed its aid, are not advanced to this state of maturity, at this time to make a few remarks exclusively on the and, least of all, the Ohio and Chesapeake canal, the one amendment now proposed. He did not mean to oppose indicated by the Senator from Louisiana, (Mr. Lirisg. the principle which the amendment assumed, of return- ston.) ing to the Government the surns which might be advanced These considerations had convinced him that this was to promote various schemes of internal improvement. not the period at which our stocks could be sold to advanHe did not suppose the idea had any where been enter- tage. lle believed no prudent individual, owning such tained, that the Government was to remain permanently property, would, under such circumstances, think of sell. a stockholder in the numerous corporations to which, ing it; being himself uninformed of its amount, its proba. from time to time, it had contributed, or should hereafter ble future value, its present current price, and the contincontribute aid. At a proper period, and under a judi- gencies on which depended the period and the degree of cious system, he thought it was fit that the capital, so often its increase in value. necessary to bring into existence an improvement higlily But [said Mr. C.] the amendinent is still more objecuseful in itself, and which, in its incipient stage, might tail tionable on other grounds. This system of internal im. without our patronage, should be re-occupied, after its pur-provement can only be sustained by a fair and equal dispose was accomplished, and re-invested in some other im- tribution of the favor and assistance of the Government, in provement, equally useful, and equally requiring aid. In the proportion which the several objects may bear to the these general views, he concurred with the Senator from great interests of the country. The friends of this bill Louisiana; and if he would lay a foundation for this sys- present to your notice an object of vast importance in its tem, by procuring such information of the value and pe- relations to the Government, as well as to an immense niass culiar character of the various items of our property thus of individuals, and to many of the States. No scheme so engaged, he would unite in adopting and protecting it. grand, none of so great practical benefits, in a season of But was it wise to begin at the point whence the Senator war or in years of peace, has ever suggested itself as pracproposed to start his project? Could we be asked first ticable since the days of the “Father of his country," who to offer our property in the market, an afterwards in- first suggested this mode of connecting the Western Wa; form ourselves of its value? The question asked by the ters with the Atlantic by an interior communication; and Senator from Tennessee, [Mr. GRUNDY]and the answer of yet to the bill granting to this object the comparatively his colleague, (Gen. Smiru] fully illustrated this matter. small contribution of two hundred and seventy-five thouNeither of these Senators knew any thing of the value of sand dollars, in the way of subscription to its stock, it is the stock of the Ohio canal; and probably every other proposed to annex a limitation, a condition, a restraint, Senator on this floor was as uninformed on the subject. which has never before been annexed to any, the least of The same remark would, no doubt, apply to nearly all all your improvements. The Senator who offers this prostocks of the kind owned by the Government. The time vision, says he is a friend to this bill. He is, certainly, a firm had not yet arrived when these various works of internal and well known friend to fair and equal justice. Now I put improvement had been prosecuted to an extent to give to him [said Mr. C.) and to the Senate, ihe question, whe. them the value they must ultimately command, as articles ther it be fair and equal justice to imposc on this grant a of sale; nor could it be otherwise. It was only at a com-condition or restraint which has never been imposed on paratively late period that the finances and engagements any similar grant to others, either at a former session of of the Government had placed in its control the pecuniary Congress or during the present. We have for years past means of aiding in the accomplishment of great national bestowed our patronage on works of internal improveimprovements, involving more expenditure than individu- ment; the beneficent arm of the Government has been exal wealth could furnish. The character and nature of these tended to sustain and cherish these objects in various operations necessarily made the day of return too distant sections of the Union, and often when no other power from the day of expenditure, to justify the expectation of could have preserved them from destruction; but to all we their being now in a state of maturity, either to prove the ac- have given our aid without this condition or restraint. Dutual value of the investment, or to command that value if of- ring the six months to which the present session has ex fered for sale. The most striking evidence of this truth is to tended, we have again exerted this beveficent power of the be found in the history of one of these improvements, which Government; and in one case--the Maysville and Lexinghad been alluded to in debate a few days ago. It was ton road--of a character so doubtful in the view of some then said, the stock in the Chesapeake and Delaware ca- gentlemen, that the President of the United States is said nal was worth, in the market, one hundred and eighty-se- to hesitate whether he will approve the act of the two ven dollars per share, on which two hundred dollar's had Houses of Congress; yet we have seen no condition of te been paid. "Now (said Mr. C.] it is a matter within my straint imposed or attempted. personal knowledge, that, five or six years ago, shares in ed, why select this bill, and make it the victim of this new
Then, why, he again ask
Mar 24, 25, 1830.]
Impeachment of Judge Peck.
conception, never before suggested or even thought of as tensive appropriation bills that had passed already, besides a rider to such a bill. The grant asked for is moderate in the numerous applicants that were calling upon the counamount; estimating it by the object to be effected, the bill try for their just claims. He thought the nation ought to asks that it may be made on the terms on which all others, pay its just debts before it enters into further speculations without exception, have obtained it
. The demand then and appropriations of money, that it was not known what is for equal and exact justice. If the object is not merito- would remain in the treasury. If a transfer of the stock rious, give nothing. But if the object be such as deserves from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company would anyour countenance and assistance, (and the amendment as- swer the purpose, he would make no objection; but if the sumes this to be the case,) surely you cannot gratify this money for this project was to be drawn from the treasury, reasonable demand for equal and exact justice, by qualify- he would vote against it. ing this grant with conditions and restraints never before Mr. LIVINGSTON said, that he rose to exonerate himimposed. In all other cases a free and full authority has self from the charge of hostility to the bill, made by the been given to your disbursing officer to pay from the trea- Senator from Maryland, (Mr. CHAMBERS.) He seemed to sury the amount subscribed; and it is not fair, it is not equal, think it a great hardship that this bill should be selected as it is not just, to restrain him, in respect to this particular the base on which this system is to be founded. Now he case, to the proceeds of stock to be sold. What particu- could not see what difference it would make to that com. lar stock, we know not; where to be sold, we know not; pany, whether the General Government paid for the stock and at what sacrifice it will be sold, we know not. out of the Treasury of the Onion, or by a transfer of the
Sir, (said Mr. C.) the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. sales of other stocks, invested in similar projects. The WEBSTER) has saggested the propriety of preparing for gentleman from Maryland must have been led into this the introduction of a system of selling our stocks, by ask- error, from supposing that the Secretary of the Treasury ing information to be furnished at the next session.' The was only authorized to make the subscription, in the event only possible exception to it which could be urged by gen- of his being able to dispose of other stocks at par: but this tlemen who advocated this amendment, was the delay in is not the fact. The Secretary of the Treasury is requirbringing the system into actual execution. To remedy ed to sell that stock which would command the highest this objection, and to gratify the wishes of those who were price in market, and prove most conducive to the public anxious for its immediate commencement, he would sug- good. He would tell the gentleman from Maryland why gest a perfectly practicable mode of effecting their object. he was led to the introduction of the amendment to this Let a resolution be now submitted, directing that the Se bill. It was from a careful examination and enumeration cretary of the Treasury shall sell our stocks at such peri- of the different applications that are now before Congress ods, in such parcels, and on such terms, as in his judg- for similar investments of stocks: they extended to a most ment, or in the judgment of the Executive officer of the alarming amount; and if the Government were to go on nation, will best promote the interests of the country. subscribing to these stocks, all recommended and supportThis will at once, instantly, create the system, and the ed by the same principles, the treasury would be utterly sales will be made as soon as a due regard to the public in- unable to meet the demands that should thus be created. terest shall furnish, which he supposed was as soon as The whole system would be rendered unpopular, and its any one desired.
But this, he contended, should warmest friends would be reluctantly compelled to abanbe a substantive and separate legislative act. There don it. He, for one, would be forced to abandon it, if this is no
more propriety in its being connected with plan of appropriating the public money to every work of this railroad bill, than the Maysville bill, the Louis-internal improvement that may be presented to Congress, ville and Portland canal bill, the Chesapeake and Dela- were persevered in. It was, therefore, because he was ware canal bill, or even the light-house bill, or, in truth, anxious that the system of internal improvement should any other bill. Those had been discussed, and decided prosper, that he introduced the amendment, believing that on the abstract merits of their respective claims, un con- it was the only mode left to save it from ruin. siderations arising out of their connexion with the great Mr. McKINLEY moved that the bill be laid on the tainterests of the nation, their practicability, their general ble, which was agreed to, yeas 21, nays 19, as follows: utility, their cost, and the amount asked for. The friends YEAS--Mess: s. Adams, Benton, Bibb, Brown, Dickerof this bill are content to place their claim to your notice son, Dudley, Forsyth, Grundy, Hayne, Jredell, Kane, upon these considerations, and will fearlessly and confi- King, McKinley, Ellis, Sanford, Smith, of South Carolina, dently abide the result of such an issue. But in their Sprague, Troup, Tyler, White, Woodbury--21. name, in the name of fair and equal justice, he protested NAYS-Messrs. Barton, Bell, Burnet, Chambers, Chase, against uniting with these considerations, others growing Foot, Frelinghuysen, Hendricks, Holmes, Johnston, Livout of a new and undigested system, touching a general ingston, Marks, Naudain, Robbins, Ruggles, Silsbee, policy of the Government, and in relation to a large amount Smith, of Maryland, Webster-19. of its funds having no affinity to this subject, a policy now started, for the first time, when less than ten days remain
MONDAY, MAY 24, 1830. of a session of six months. Mr. GRUNDY said, the amendment of the gentleman deration of private bills. ]
(The Senate spent the best part of this day in the consifrom Louisiana had produced some difficulty. He could not agree with the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. CHAMBERS] nor concur in the force of his reasoning against the
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 1830. propriety of attaching the amendment to the bill at pre IMPEACHMENT OF JUDGE PECK. sent under consideration. If the principle be a correct Seats having been arranged on the right and left of the one, that the fund applied to the encouragement of inter- Chair, for the accommodation of the Senators, and their nal improvement ought to be transferable or circulating, seats assigned to the managers and members of the House he saw no good reason why this bill should not be selected of Representatives, and the accused and his counsel, as the foundation on which this system shall be commenc. At the hour of 12 o'clock, the Court was opened by proed. He went into an examination of the different stocks clamation in the usual form. which the Government had invested in works of this cha On motion by Mr. WEBSTER, it was racter, the price of the stock of the great canal in the Ordered, That the Secretary give notice to the House State of New York, and the depreciation it had undergone of Representatives that the Senate are now in their chamin value since that work went into operation, the demands ber, and are ready to proceed on the trial of the impeachthat were now pressing upon our treasury, from the ex-ment of James 11. Peck, Judge of the District Court of
Removal of the Indians.
-Close of the Session.
(Mar 26 to 31, 1830.
the United States for the District of Missouri; and that seats On motion by Mr. CLAYTON, to insert at the end of are provided for the accommodation of the members of the said second amendment, “Provided also, that the the House of Representatives.
provisions of this act shall extend only to the Indians reJudge Peck then appeared, accompanied by Mr. Wint siding within the State of Georgia”--it was rejected by and Mr. Meredith as his counsel, and occupied seats as the same vote. signed them to the right of the Chair; a short time after, The said second amendment was then agreed to. So it
The managers and members of the House of Represen-was tatives appeared, and took the seats usually occupied by Resolved, That the Senate concur in the said amendthe Senate.
ments of the House of Representatives. The VICE PRESIDENT then asked Judge Peck whether he was prepared to answer the article of impeachment (Thursday and Friday were almost wholly spent in the exhibited against him.
consideration of private bills and executive business.] Judge Peck replied, that his answer and plea were prepared, and desired that they might be read by his counsel.
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 1830. The VICE PRESIDENT asked Judge Peck whether the answer now to be made was to be considered as his ceeded, by ballot, to the election of a President pro tem
The VICE PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate profinal answer; and the Judge having answered in the affirmative, the counsel was directed to proceed to read it.
pore; and when the ballots were collected, it appeared Mr. MEREDITH read the answer, (which occupied up.
that twenty-six members had voted. wards of two hours,) concluding with the general plea ofed fifteen, was declared to be duly clected.
Of these votes, Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, having receiv. “not guilty.” Mr. STORRS, in behalf of the managers, moved
The Senate having disposed of every bill before it from That they have time to consult the House of Represen-ecutive business before ten o'clock P. M. and remained
the House of Representatives, proceeded to consider er: tatives on a replication, and that they be furnished with a copy of the answer of the respondent; which was agreed messages from the other House, and from the President
so engaged until the adjournment, interrupted only by
of the United States. On motion by Mr. WEBSTER, it was Ordered, That when this Court adjourn, it adjourn to
About four o'clock A. M. the Senate adjourned. meet again on the second Monday of the next session of Congress, at 12 o'clock, then to proceed with the said im
Monday, May 31, 1830. peachment.
A message was received from the President of the Unit. Mr. Wirt desired to know whether blank summons as ed States, and read, as follows : for the attendance of witnesses would be allowed to the re
WASHINGTON, 31st May, 1830. spondent. The VICE PRESIDENT' replied that they would.
To the Senate of the United States: The Court then auljourned to the second Monday of the
GENTLEMEN : I have considered the bill proposing " to next session of Congress.
authorize a subscription of stock in the Washington TurnOn motion by Mr. KING, it was
pike Road Company," and now return the same to the SeOrdered, That the articles of impeachment against Judge nate, in which it originated. Peck, with his answer and exhibits, be printed for the use I am unable to approve this bill; and would respectfully of the Senate.
refer the Senate to my message to the House of Repre
sentatives, on returning to that House the bill to authorize WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 1330,
"a subscription of stock in the Maysville, Washington,
Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road Company, " for a REMOVAL OF THE INDIANS.
statement of my objections to the bill herewith returned. The amendments from the House of Representatives to the message referred to bears date on the 27th instant, the bill " to provide for an exchange of lands with the In- and a printed copy of the same is here with transmitted. dians residing in any of the States or Territories, and for
ANDREW JACKSON. their removal west of the river Mississippi,” was received, The bill referred to in the foregoing message having and, being read-Nr. CLAYTON moved that they be postponed until to-said bill, in the manner prescribed in the seventh section
originated in the Senate, that body proceeded to reconsider morrow; which motion was rejected-yeas 19, nays 24. The first amendment being concurred in,
of the first article of the constitution; and two-thirds of
the Senators present not having voted for its passage, it Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN moved to amend the second
was rejected by the following vote : amendment, by inserting at the end thereof, “and that, until they shall choose to remove, the said tribes be pro- Chambers, Chase, Clayton, Hendricks, Johnston, King,
YEAS-Messrs. Barnard, Barton, Benton, Burnet, tected from all State encroachments , according to the pro- Livingston, McKinley, Naudain, Noble, Robbins, Ruggles
, visions of such treaties." Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN moved to amend his motion Seymour, Silsbee, Smith, of Maryland, Webster, Willey
21. by striking out the word “State,” which was disagreed to by yeas 18, nays 25.
NAYS-Messrs. Adams, Bibb, Brown, Dickerson, DudThe question recurring on agreeing to the amendment Smith, of South Carolina, Sprague, Tyler, White, Wood
ley, Ellis, Foot, Grundy, Iredell, Kane, Rowan, Sanford, as originally proposed by Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN, 'it was
bury--17. rejected-yeas 17, nays 26. Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN moved to insert at the end of
Thirty-eight members present; necessary do pass the sccond amendment of the House of Representatives,
bill, twenty-six. “and that all such tribes be protected, according to the
CLOSE OF THE SESSION. provisions of said treaties, until they shall choose to re A message was received from the House of Representsmove;" which was rejected--yeas 18, nays 24.
tives, stating that they had appointed a committee, to join On motion by Mr. SPRAGUE, tò insert at the end of such committee as might be appointed by the Senate, to the said second amendment, but such treaties shall be wait on the President of the United States, and inform executed and fulfilled according to the true intent and him that the two Houses, having finished the business bemeaning thereof”-it was rejected--yeas 18, nays 24. fore them, were prepared to adjourn, unless he have fur
March 17, 1830.]
[SENATE. ther communications to make; in which the Senate con- scription for the stock in the Louisville and Portland Cacurred, and Mr. WOODBURY and Mr. BURNET were i nal Company, and an act in relation to certain light-houses appointed on the part of the Senate.
and harbors, for further consideration. dir. WOODBURY reported that they had discharged The usual messages were interchanged between the the duty assigned them, and had been informed by the two Houses of their intention to arljourn. President that he had no further communication to make, The President then adjourned the Senate, sine die. except that he has detained the act in relation to the sub
DEBATE IN SECRET SESSION.
[The publishers have been furnished with the two fol. I displacing as well as of appointing federal officers, in lowing speeches, delivered in Secret Session.]
opposition to arbitrary Executive discretion, and servi
lity to Executive will; and of rendering the Senate the veMARCH 17, 1830.
nal register of Executive edicts! For the freedom of in
quiry into the exercise of Executive discretion and official EXECUTIVE POWERS OF REMOVAL.
trusts, in opposition to Executive irresponsibility, and The question being upon a resolution calling on the screening the Executive from the light of truth by a sup. President for the cause of removal of certain officers,
pression of free inquiry into our public affairs, as in the Mr. BARTON said, that, upon the important questions identical cases of removal now before the Senate. We of the power of the President of the United States to re contend for the freedom and purity of elections, unawed move from office, and of the Senate to restrain him in an by official punishments, and uncorrupted by official reabusive exercise of that power, depended the question wards, in opposition to removals from office for such whether we are to have, in each succeeding Presidency, causes as those above stated. a four years' despotism with an irresponsible tyrant, if he Here are the issues joined between us: and from your be so disposed; or a Republican Government of laws, decision, should it be against us, and against all your own with a checked and restrained Executive.
former decisions of the same questions when other men To the discussion of these questions, (said Mr. B.) in- were in power, we will appeal to the people of the United volved in the calls for information of the causes of remov- States, on whose behalf we contend, and who are always als now pending before the Senate, I come avowedly as a honest when righily informed of the merits of a cause. gleaner after the Senator from Delaware, [Mr. CLAYTON] These questions are of vastly more importance to the and if I can find any heads of wheat, worth notice, in this permanency and purity of our liberties, and to the great clean shorn field over which he has passed, I will endea. cause of free governments of laws, as contradistinguished vor to gather and preserve them; but if I find none, it will from arbitrary governments of Executive will, than either be no dishonor to rake and bind after such a cradler, in of the Presidential questions of themselves, that have agisuch a field.
tated this republic since its foundation; and of more imIt is no longer a dispute about names, such as Federalist portance than any question of public policy, political econ or Republican; Ultra Federalist or Democrat; National Re-omy, or expediency, that has divided the counsels of the publican or State-veto Republican; or any other cant words nation during the lapse of half a century. These are the or phrases, with which to deceive the public, and rally only questions on which I felt any desire to address the partisans around our respective standards. It is a dispute Senate. Myformer remarks sprang out of the occasions in which is involved the preservation of our republican in- that produced them; but on these I feel compelled, by the stitutions and our constitutional liberties. The issues are verbal and written injunction of some of the great minorinow fairly joined upon the great fundamental principles ty in Mississippi, to present their views and my own. of the Government, withont regard to party names. With that minority I have had the honor to act for many
The majority contend that the President has the pow- years, through good and through evil report, in all the at. er to remove federal officers of the class now before tacks made upon the constitution of the Union in that us, and that the Senate has no right to inquire into State, in the shape of relief laws; judge-breaking; stopthe cause of removal; but must presume the cause to have laws; and the loan office act—that bold attempt to issue been lawful! and cannot restrain the President in an abu. bills of credit by the authority of a State, to retrieve the sive exercise of that power, but must rely on impeaching fallen fortunes of adventurers and speculators, in violation him by the House of Representatives!
of the letter and spirit of that instrument! The minority deny all these positions except the remov In all attacks upon that best legacy of our ancestors, the ing power for cause; and claim that the settled practice of act of Union, we have stood together, sometimes in majothe Senate shall be adhered to. That the provisional rities, and sometimes in minorities, against the powers of power of removal from office by a President, when it ex- interest and ignorance; knowing that the preservation of ists at all, is a high leg:al trust, to be exercised only for the its principles, checks, and restraints, chiefly distinguishes public benefit, in sound discretion, for calise relating to the our government of law and liberty from those despotic official conduct or fitness of the incumbent; and should governments of arbitrary Executive discretion that have not be perverted from its high purposes to those of parti- so long despoiled the best rights of man over the greater san warfare, or personal vengeance, for opinion's sake, or portion of the earth. And in this most fearful of all atthe exercise of the elective franchise, or to make room tacks ever madle upon the constitution--introducing a four for rewards for votes, or influence in our Presidential years' despotism, if the President be so disposed, and elections--or, in a word, to purposes of tyranny and bribe- striking at our elective franchise, the root of all our conry combined.
stitutional liberties, we will stand together again, whether We contend for the restraining powers of the Senate in a majority or minority, and invite all who love the Preof the United States, as understood by the contemporary sident much, but love their country more, to join with us, expounders of the federal constitution, in matters of and rally around the standard of the constitution.
Executive Powers of Removal.
March 17, 1830.
It is no question whether a President may remove, at Will any Senator here avow the opinion that these officers his own will and pleasure, his Secretary of State. That and their emoluments, or the provisional removing power was the very question before Congress in the great debate of the President, were designed as either the means of of 1789. Such an officer is the mere pen, in the hand of bribery, or instruments of punishment, in the hands of a the President, to write with—bound to do just such things candidate for the Presidency, or of a President in office, as are prescribed by the personal orders of the President, to buy votes, or punish the opposing votes in our Presiin matters for which the President himself is responsible dential contests? Not one man will arow this. That as the head of the Executive Department; and consequent- would be grossly abusing a power conferred for the publy he must exercise his freedom of selections, or how could lic good, and corrupting the very sources of republican, he be responsible? In such case, the act of July, 1789, elective, and representative government--the great elec. settles the question, by acknowledging the lawful right in tive franchise itself. A removal of this class of public of the President to dismiss this instrument when he pleases. ficers is like a nomination for office, only provisional and
Nobody would wish to force a disagreeable member of inchoate, until it becomes absolute and definitive by the the cabinet on the President. The public interest re- subsequent sanction of the Senate, to be given in our es quires harmony between them. And the Senator from tablished and long practised manner of proceeding upon Tennessee (Mr. GRUNDY] might have spared himself all Executive business. his argument to prove this; for no one had denied or dis As in nominating to office, so also in removing or dis puted it. Still Mr. Madison, in the debate of 1789, ex- placing from office, in this class of the public officers, the pressed the opinion, that a wanton removal of this officer originating act is, and for the public convenience ought to of the President, and not of the public, might subject a be, with the President; and in ordinary cases and times President to impeachment-although the law had given the act of the President receives the undisputed sanction him the absolute power to make the removal—if the mo- of the Senate. All past experience shows this to be the tive could be ascertained before human tribunals: as a mo- fact, either because the representatives or Senators of the ther would chastise her boy for breaking his rattle from a person nominated or removed know his suitableness or peevish or wicked motive, or for a bad purpose. And qualification for office, or the cause of his remoral, or bewhat does this opinion assert more than the great princi- cause Presidents are not ordinarily disposed to abuse their ple of our rights, that all powers conferred upon the Ex- powers; but for the security of the public, if there be an ecutive are but trusts for the public benefit, and cannot be allegation or suggestion of the unfitness of the nominee, perverted to other ends? There might be difficulty in or of the illegality of the removal, it becomes the duty of ascertaining the motive or end of the act before human the Senate to inquire into the matter; and act accordingly, tribunals; but I see none in the abstract principle advanc- by an active exertion of their restraining power. One deed by Mr. Madison. It is purely republican.
sign of representation is to avail the public of the better I do not admit, for one, that the Senate can, by law, or lights from the scene of appointment or removal, than a otherwise, renounce the restraining power which belongs President, pent up in the Metropolis, can have. to their organization; but I admit that, in practice, the But let me examine the true nature and extent of the President should have great freedom in choosing and re- despotism now proclaimed by the majority; the arguments jecting his cabinet; and the act of 1789 cannot be consi- by which they attempt to sustain themselves in their net dered as going beyond that line. But the class of officers autocracy--contrary to all their arguments, reports, and now before the Senate, and their predecessors, atiempted votes heretofore; and, if possible, the causes and practical to be removed by the President, were not under consider- consequences of this astounding proclamation. ation in the debate of 1789. This is a class of public offi The founders of the republic, and the people of the cers--of officers of the law-whose term, tenure, and du- United States, when they adopted the federal constitution, ties of office are fixed and prescribed by the laws of the were especially jealous of the powers of the President, land, and not by the Executive will, as in the other class. and the encroaching spirit of Executive will. To that The first class are assistants to the President, and made point all their principal fears were concentrated; and the removable at his pleasure by law. But this class of fede- history of that day shows that it was with some difficulty ral officers are public property, and not removable at the the people of the United States could be induced to adapi arbitrary will of a President. If good and faithful, the the Union, lest the President, with the powers then accordpublic is interested in their services; if bad and unfaithful, ed to him, should become the destroyer of their liberties the public good requires their removal in the mode of pro- Their fears of Executive encroachment were not idle chute ceeding required by the respective tenures of their offi- meras of the fancy; nor were they affected from mere is. ces, as prescribed by the known law. A dark and secret patience of regulated liberty and a government of laws. To inquisition was never intended to be admitted into our in- them they were devoted. The histories of all nations wbich stitutions; nor was a refusal to tell the cause of objection had lost their liberties lay open before them; and they say and condemnation heretofore known to the genius of our on their pages that arbitrary Executive discretion and wil, republic; not even to the military, subject to orders; nor availing themselves of the spirit of discord among the peoto the culprit, arraigned at the bar.
ple, and the want of firmness among their representatives, We admit the legal right and duty of the President to in governments where the representative principle wus supersede, suspend the functions, or, if you prefer the adopted, had been the destroyers of national Iberty term, remove District Attorneys, Marshals, Registers and throughout the greater part of the world where wild as Receivers of Public Moneys, and Custom House Officers, archy had not supplanted them, and that they had effected and more especially the whole class of our money gather-their conquests by gradual approaches, and by corrupting ing agents, and such others as are male removable by him the sentinels of liberty; and the fathers did intend, and the for cause relating to their official conduct, or fitness for most of them have left this world in the paternal confidence their stations; but such removal or suspension is subject that they had effected the object, to establish a goverito the restraining powers of the Senate, on cause shown. ment of law, and of checks and restraints upon Executive The public interest and safety require that it should be so; will, in which no case should exist in which the fate of the and our institutions are conformed to the exigency. This, humblest citizen, whether in private or public life, could like other powers, is a public trust; and to pervert it from depend upon the arbitrary will of a single man. No to its original purpose is an abuse, and not a lawful use of the fears were not idle; and with such ligbts before them, and power. The cause of removal generates and gives life to the then recent claim to arbitrary power urged by the the power of removal, as the overt act of treason gives British crown thrilling in their bosoms, they never would application and life to the power to hang for treason. I have adopted the federal constitution without the restrain: