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FEB. 26, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. OF R.

The act of the first Congress, in 1789, establishing the retary, Congress might have made him perfectly indeExecutive Department of Foreign Affairs, the head of pendent of the Executive. They might have made the which is now called the Secretary of State, enacts in these tenure of his office to endure for life or good behavior; or words: “that he [the Secretary] shall perform and exe- have provided that he should hold his office for a term of cute such duties as shall from time to time be enjoined on years, liable to be removed only by impeachment; or reor intrusted to him by the President of the United States, movable at pleasure by the President in concurrence agreeably to the constitution, relative to correspondences, with the Senate. Any such guards thrown around the commissions, or instructions to and with public ministers public treasure as would have placed it completely beand consuls from the United States; or to negotiations with yond the control of the President, so far from infringing public ministers from foreign States or princes, &c., or upon any grant of executive power, would have been in to such other matters respecting foreign affairs as the strict compliance with the constitution. In this view of the President of the United States shall assign to the said de- power of Congress over the Treasury of the United States, partment; and, furthermore, that the said principal officer I am sustained by the act itself establishing that departshall conduct the business of said department in such ment. manner as the President of the United States shall from time to time order and direct."

By reference to the act, we find that it is not denominated "executive," as are the other departments intrusted The act establishing the Executive Department of War, with duties relating to the constitutional powers of the enacts "that the Secretary shall perform and execute such President, but simply "the Treasury Department." Why duties as shall from time to time be enjoined on or in this distinction in name, if there be none in the nature and trusted to him by the President of the United States, agree- character of the departments? No rational reason can be ably to the constitution, relative to military commissions, assigned, except that it was not intended by the authors the land or naval forces, ships and warlike stores of the of the act to make this department executive, in the same United States, or to such other matters respecting mili- sense as the other departments. As a further proof of tary affairs as the President of the United States shall this fact, all the powers conferred upon the Secretary of assign to the said department, &c.; and, furthermore, the Treasury, and the duties required to be performed by that the said principal officer shall conduet the business him, are fully set forth in the act establishing his departof the said department in such manner as the President ment; and all of which belong, by the constitution, to Conof the United States shall from time to time order or in- gress, and are made subservient to their direction and construct." trol.

The act of 1798, establishing the Executive Department The law enacts that it shall be the duty of the Secreof the Navy, enacts that it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury "to digest and prepare plans for the tary" to execute such orders as he shall receive from the management and improvement of the public revenue, and President of the United States relative to the procurement for the support of the public credit; to prepare and reof naval stores and materials, and the construction, equip- port estimates of the public revenue, and the public exment, and employment of vessels of war, as well as all penses; to superintend the collection of the public reveother matters connected with the naval establishment of the United States."

nue; to decide on the forms of keeping and stating accounts, and making returns; and to grant, under the limThe several acts establishing these departments render itations herein established, or to be hereafter provided, all them executive, not only by the nature of the duties re- warrants for moneys to be issued from the treasury in quired to be performed, and subjecting the heads of each pursuance of appropriations by law; to execute such serto the order and instructions of the President, but also by vices relative to the sale of the lands belonging to the Unithe title of the acts, denominating them executive. 1ted States, as may be by law required of him; to make would hold, therefore, that the President of the United report and give information to either branch of the LegisStates might securely rest his claim to a controlling power lature, in person or in writing, as he may be required, over these departments upon the authority of the law, in- respecting all matters referred to him by the Senate or dependent of the constitution. But, let him derive this House of Representatives, or which shall appertain to his power from what source he may, it is evident, so far as office; and, generally, to perform all such services relative these departments are concerned, he is the head, and all to the finances as he shall be directed to perform." the officers belonging to them are his agents, responsible to him, and he to the people and the people's representatives. But when he claims to exercise the same power over other departments, the duties of which do not relate to any of the powers vested in the President by the constitution, he must look for it solely to the law.

To these duties of the Secretary may be added the instructions and discretion given in the 16th section of t bank charter, which provides that "the deposites of the moneys of the United States shall be made in the Bank of the United States, or branches thereof, unless the Secretary of the Treasury shall at any time otherwise order The power of Congress to lay and collect taxes, to bor- and direct; in which case, the Secretary of the Treasury row money, to coin money, to appropriate money for all shall immediately lay before Congress, if in session, and, the purposes of Government, and take care that none be if not, immediately after the commencement of the next expended except in consequence of appropriations made session, the reasons of such order or direction." by law, places the public purse beyond the reach of Exe- Here we have before us the whole of the powers and cutive control. So complete and independent is the pow-duties of the Secretary of the Treasury, all of which are er of Congress over the public revenue, that all the duties regulated by law, and subject to the future direction of required to be performed by the Secretary of the Treas- the Legislature. There is not one duty prescribed in the ury might have been performed by Congress themselves, whole act which places this department upon the same without the help of an agent. In this case, who could footing with the other departments called executive; nor a have pretended that the President would have had any single word mentioned from which can be inferred, in the right either to complain or to interfere? The reasons slightest degree, the right of Executive control, except a which induced Congress to commit the care and manage-clause in the act recognising in the President the power ment of the financial concerns of the Government to the to remove the Secretary from office. Considering, howhands of an agent, are the very same that induced them to ever, the relation which the Secretary bears to the Presi divide the chief Executive Department into several sub-dent, in not being subject to his order, instruction, or diordinate departments. As by this act the dependance and rection, we are authorized to conclude that it was not the responsibility in the one case were not destroyed, neither intention of the Legislature, by investing the President are they in the other. In confiding this trust to the Sec- with the sole power to remove the Secretary, thereby to

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The Public Deposites.

[FEB. 26, 1834.

change the character of this department into executive. existence of public men with the approbation or disappro Therefore, I maintain that, whenever the President exer-bation of that body, which, from the great permanency of cises this power of removal with the view to take upon its own composition, will, in all probability, be less subhimself the responsibility of managing the fiscal concerns ject to inconsistency than any other member of Governof the nation according to his own notions of propriety, it ment." I regard this much higher evidence of the underis not only an abuse of power, but a dangerous usurpa- standing of the convention that formed, and the conven tion of a power, which, both by the laws and constitution, tions that adopted the federal constitution, respecting the belongs to the Legislative Department of this Govern- power of removal from office, than any argument since the adoption of the constitution in favor of a different con struction.

ment.

The power of the President to remove such officers as are intrusted with duties belonging by the constitution to In the first Congress under the new constitution, in 1789, the Executive Department of Government, I feel no dis- when they were about establishing the executive depart position to dispute. I regard the officers of the Departments, this question as to the power of removal from of ments of War, Navy, and State, as so many agents of the fice was for the first time seriously agitated. As a further President, commissioned by him to do what he has the proof that neither the federal convention nor State conright himself to do; and that it would be highly inexpedi- ventions considered this power as granted in the constitu ent, if not a violation of the federal compact, to destroy tion to the President, we find on this occasion some of that necessary connexion and dependance between them the distinguished statesmen who were then members of and him, as agents and principal. But this reasoning does Congress, that had been members of both conventions, arnot apply to the Secretary of the Treasury, whose duties rayed against each other. Messrs. Madison, Baldwin, and relate to subjects that exclusively belong to Congress, and others contended for the construction that then succeedover which the President can claim no control, unless ed, and has since been acquiesced in, while Messrs. Gerry, granted to him by law. Therefore, it is entirely to that Sherman, and others opposed it. When this question provision in the act recognising in the President the pow-came before the Senate, after a long and animated discuser to remove the Secretary of the Treasury, and not to sion, that body was equally divided, and the question was the constitution, that he is indebted for this power.

decided in favor of the present construction by the casting It has been contended that the sole power of the Presi- vote of the Vice President. ilence it was that the friends dent to remove from office is incidental to his power to of a consolidated Governmen', in the first session of the nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the first Congress, by a majority of one in the Senate, and Senate, to appoint. Such an idea as this does not appear twelve in the House, gave to the constitution, fresh from to have entered the mind of a single member of that illus- the hands of the people, a construction different from that trious body that formed the present constitution. From in which it had been conceived and adopted, clothing the all the evidence we have, either recorded or traditional, President with a power of which Mr. Hamilton himself it does not appear that the question as to the power of re- had never thought, and to which the people, if it had moval from office was ever agitated in the convention. been plainly expressed, or plainly inferrible from any Why not? Was it because the sole power of the Presi-thing expressed, might never have assented. To consum. dent to remove at pleasure was so clearly incidental to his mate this first act of legislative usurpation, and to give to it joint power with the Senate to appoint, and at the same the force, stability, and complexion of constitutionality, time so just and reasonable, that it was considered un- the clause was inserted in the act establishing the Depart worthy of a single remark? No, sir: it was either because ment of Foreign Affairs, and, subsequently, the Treasury it was not thought of in the convention, or the convention Department, which provides "that, whenever the Secreconsidered the tenure of office sufficiently provided for in [tary shall be removed from office by the President, or the constitution, by impeachment, or dependant upon the shall be absent or indisposed, another officer may, for the whole power to appoint- -a subject to be regulated by time being, discharge the duties of his office." Congress. Whatever may have been the views of the I am unwilling to consider this clause, recognising in the convention that formed, and the conventions that ratified President the sole power to remove the Secretary of the the federal constitution, with regard to this power, it is Treasury, any thing more than a legal provision, subject to certain that neither considered the sole power of removal be repealed at the pleasure of Congress; not only because as vested in the President. No higher proof of this fact the constitution does not warrant any other construction, could be desired than the opinions of one of the ablest but also because the main arguments of expediency, urged members of the federal convention, who exerted every in favor of its adoption, have, in the practice of our Govpower of his mighty intellect to strengthen the Executive ernment, entirely failed. Those who were opposed to Department of the Government. In the seventy-seventh vesting this power in the President alone, in addition to number of the Federalist, that able and valuable com- their constitutional objections, very justly contended that mentary upon the federal constitution, which contributed it was liable to great abuses, and would render officers so largely to dispel the fears of the people, and recom- entirely dependant upon the will-perhaps the whim and mend it to their adoption, Mr. Alexander Hamilton says: caprice-of one man. To destroy the force of these objec"One of the advantages to be expected from the co-ope- tions, the advocates of the constitution replied, that, for a ration of the Senate in the business of appointments is, wanton abuse of power, the President himself would be that it would contribute to the stability of the administra- liable to impeachment and removal from office. Mr. Lawtion. The consent of that body would be as necessary to rence, an able though violent federalist, asks the ques displace as to appoint. A change of the Chief Magistrate, tion: "If the President abuse his trust, will he escape the therefore, would not occasion so vehement or general a popular censure? and would he not be liable to impeachrevolution in the officers of Government as might be ex-ment for displacing an able and worthy man who enjoyed pected if he were the sole disposer of offices. Where a the confidence of the people?" Mr. Madison, whose man in any station had given satisfactory evidence of his opinions have been frequently quoted as high authority fitness for it, a new President would be restrained from at- upon this subject, entertained the same views with Mr. tempting a change in favor of a person more agreeable to Lawrence. The danger," says Mr. Madison, “consists him, by the apprehension that the discountenance of the then in this: the President can displace from office a man Senate might frustrate the attempt, and bring some de- whose merits require that he should be in it. What will gree of discredit upon himself. Those who can best esti- be the motives which the President can feel for such abuse mate the value of a steady administration, will be most of his power, and the restraints to operate to prevent it? disposed to prize a provision which connects the official | In the first place, he will be impeachable by this House

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before the Senate for such an act of mal-administration; tlemen, in this comprehensive sense of the word executive, for I contend that the wanton removal of meritorious offi-to draw any material distinction between the executive cers would subject him to impeachment and removal from character of the Clerk of this House and the head of the his own high trust." Treasury Department. The one is intrusted with the How do these views accord with the arguments of gen-contingent funds of the House, and the other with the tlemen who now claim for the President what I under- funds of the Government; the one subject to the orders stand to mean the irresponsible power of removal? The of this House, and the other to the joint orders of both very authority (Mr. Madison) upon which gentlemen Houses. But who ever thought of the President, by virhave relied to strengthen their arguments tells them tue of his executive character, pretending to claim a conthat the wanton removal of a meritorious officer would trol over our Clerk, either in the presence or absence of subject the President to impeachment and removal from the House, merely because his duties are executive? No, his own high trust. How does this comport with the idea, sir; that clause in the constitution which declares "the again and again urged upon this House, that the Pres- executive power shall be vested in a President of the ident's power to remove is absolute and unqualified-may United States of America," contains no grant of power. be exercised for any and every cause, however whimsical, We must look beyond this, into the constitution, to ascerwithout the assignment of a reason? tain what powers have been vested; and, besides these, I am constrained to acknowledge that gentlemen have he has no further claim to power, unless derived from the asserted here, for theory, what has proved but too true in law. From this sense of the word executive, it necessathe late practice of our Government. We have witness-rily follows that the President possesses no constitutional ed, in the course of the present administration, removal control over the financial officer of this confederacy, for after removal, in rapid succession, from the highest down the plain reason that none of his duties relate to any of to the lowest officer in the Government, without the the powers vested in the President by the constitution. shadow of a reason, except for the sake of reform. I am aware that it has been argued, with an air of triAt one time, all the heads of departments were hurled umph, that the judges of the United States courts, the from office with one fell swoop, yet was no cause assigned officers of each branch of the Legislature, and all such for this unusual, extraordinary exercise of power; not officers, whose appointments have been vested, by law, in even an inquiry was instituted. To think, therefore, of cor- the courts of law, or heads of departments, are constiturecting the abuse of this power by impeachment, is worse tional exceptions to the power of the President to control, than idle. The vast amount of Executive patronage is by appointments and removal, all the officers of the Govhis strong armor, that shields him, harmless, from every ernment. But where do gentlemen find this general assault that can be made. To hold a seat in Congress, power of the President, to which the particular cases just and to become a warm, devoted, zealous advocate of the enumerated are exceptions? It is not to be found amongst "powers that be," are, in these days of political degener- the express grants in the constitution; hence they are acy, the high roads to Executive favor. To question the obliged to resort to implication. I trust it has been satispropriety of the President's conduct, is to become at once factorily demonstrated that it cannot be fairly derived exposed to the rigid rules of proscription, the envenomed from the joint power of the President with the Senate to shafts of the thousands in office, and the bitter anathemas appoint to office. To fill and to vacate offices are two sepof the tens of thousands who are anxiously waiting at the arate and distinct powers, that may be exercised indefootstool of power for an occasion, by some act of partisan pendently of each other, and are thus exercised, in almost zeal, to enlist in the cause of the President, with the hope every instance, in the twenty-four Governments of the to merit the reward of office. These evils the President States comprising this confederacy. There is nothing in at one time (I believe before he came into power) saw, the federal constitution which places these two powers acknowledged, and deplored, as the evident symptoms of in the hands of one and the same person. The case, decay in the body politic that required an immediate therefore, of the judges of the United States courts, inremedy. Experience has taught us that it is in vain to stead of being a constitutional exception of the general look to impeachment as a cure for these maladies, or as a power of the President to control, by appointment and corrective of the most wanton and flagrant abuses of exe-removal, at pleasure, all the officers of the Government, cutive power. We are, therefore, without a remedy, is an exception to the single power of removal; while all unless it be found in the disposition and the power of the other cases mentioned are exceptions to the single Congress to limit, by law, the Executive discretion. That power of appointment. If I am asked in whom, or what there is nothing in the constitution to prevent the appli-department of Government, the power of removal from cation of this remedy in the case of the Secretary of the office has been vested-it is sufficient for the purpose of Treasury, I, for one, am as clearly of the opinion as I am my argument to answer, that it has not been vested by that recent events have proved it to be necessary.

the constitution in the President. Therefore, to make But gentlemen contend that we cannot take away from good the argument, that the cases alluded to are constithe President the sole power to remove, at pleasure, the tutional exceptions to the general power of Executive Secretary of the Treasury, because he claims this power control, gentlemen must find this general power someby virtue of the constitution, which declares that the where in the constitution, or adopt the comprehensive "executive power shall be vested in the President of the meaning of "executive," with all the evils and absurdities United States." This argument, I grant, would be true, against which I have been contending. Hence, according if executive means what some gentlemen have contended; to this sense of "executive," the President's right to conthat is, a general supervision, superintendence, direction, trol, by removal from office, all officers whose duties are and control over all the officers of the Government, of executive, remains unimpaired, whether the appointments every order, grade, or description. In this sense of the be made by himself, either or both branches of the Legisword, the President would have the indisputable right to lature, the courts of law, or heads of departments. Every control the judges of the United States courts, as well as reflecting mind must be convinced of the utter fallacy of the right, which I understand to be claimed for him in the principles which, if followed out, directly lead to such other branch of the Legislature, [Mr. SHEPLEY,] "to di-disastrous consequences.

rect the marshal in summoning a jury to try a great offend- The last ground upon which gentlemen rest the coner." According to this sense, the Clerk, the Sergeant-stitutional claim of the Executive to control the Treasury at-arms-in a word, all the officers of this House, whose Department is that clause in the constitution which enduties are neither judicial nor legislative, but executive, joins it on the President to "take care that the laws be would be subject to the President's control. I defy gen-faithfully executed." To what I humbly conceive to be

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[FEB. 26, 1834.

a mistaken conception of this clause of the constitution, concede to the President the constitutional right to con may be traced almost every act of Executive usurpation trol the Departments of War, Navy, and State, agreeably of which we have complained. Instead of considering it to his own discretion, restricted alone by the constitution, in its true character, as a mere duty, subservient to the I would deny to him any such power over the Secretary laws, it has been construed and acted upon as a distinct of the Treasury. Over all the officers whose duties relate grant of power, clothing the Executive with an authority to subjects which belong by the constitution to either of above the laws. If this be the true construction, it is in the other two co-ordinate departments of the Govern vain that we look to the Judiciary as an independent co-ment, he can claim no such right. For the power to call ordinate department of this Government in expounding forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, to sup the laws, or to the Legislature for the means and mode of press insurrections and repel invasions, the President is their execution. To faithfully execute the laws, consid- indebted, not to the constitution, but to the laws; and in ered as a power, necessarily implies not only the right of the exercise of this power he is not left to his own discre judgment as to the meaning and intention of the laws, tion, but is absolutely bound by the express provision of but also the employment of all the means necessary and the laws. I place the President's power over the Secre proper to enforce that judgment. Acting upon this con-tary of the Treasury precisely upon the same footing struction, the Executive, in 1827, considered he had the with his power over the militia in time of peace. Both right, and was in duty bound, to send an armed force into these powers belong by the constitution to Congress; the heart of one of the oldest members of this confeder- and it is a matter entirely for their consideration, if any, acy, to compel her, at the point of the bayonet, to surren- how much, to whom, and under what restrictions, they der her rights of jurisdiction and sovereignty over a large may be delegated. For the President, therefore, to reand valuable portion of her soil. To the honor of the then move the head of the Treasury Department without the Executive, if he did not abandon, he waived his claim to authority of Congress, or for a purpose incompatible with this extraordinary construction of power, and peace and the laws giving him the authority, would be as flagrant a the sovereign rights of the State were preserved. Scarcely violation both of the laws and the constitution as if he had the present Chief Magistrate come into power, by were to order out the militia under the pretence of exethe suffrages of those whose fears for the rights of the cuting the laws of the Union, without any legal authority, States had been so recently awakened by the mere men- and for the secret though manifest purpose of enslaving aces of his predecessor, than they were again roused by the people. The very same authority whence the Presi a thundering proclamation emanating from this same dent derives his power to remove the Secretary of the law-executing power-denouncing as treasonous the Treasury, binds him to act in strict obedience to the resolemn ordinances of the people of a State, passed in her quirements of the law. With these limitations on the lawsovereign character, and ordering their immediate revc-executing powers of the Executive, if rigidly adhered to, cation, as well as a repeal of the acts of her Legislature. our liberties are safe. Under this same specious pretext of taking care that the Let us now inquire what are the requisitions of the law laws be faithfully executed, we have seen the ministers respecting the Treasury Department, which both the Secof the laws and of public justice thrust aside, and the retary and the President are bound to observe. To Conarmy of the United States substituted as the ministers of gress the Secretary is indebted for the creation of his Executive displeasure. office, and, as the creature of their power, he is bound to In a time of profound peace, when no invasion threat-execute their will, and look to them for direction and inened, or combinations of lawless insurgents resisted struction in the performance of all his duties. His duties the execution of the laws, the arms of a hired soldiery are prescribed by the laws, and he is bound by the solemnwere turned upon the citizens of an independent State, ity of an oath to discharge them with fidelity. To his acting in obedience to her laws, to settle between the State care and management are committed the financial conand General Government a long disputed question of con- cerns of the Government, with the requirement that he stitutional right. To judge of the ordinances of the peo- report and give information, in person or in writing, to ple, and the acts of the Legislature of a free, sove- either branch of the Legislature, when required, respect. reign, and independent State; to pronounce the sentence ing all matters appertaining to his trust. He is directed of treason, and order an armed force to execute that by Congress to place the public moneys in the Bank of sentence upon the whole of the people of the State act-the United States and branches thereof, unless he should gf obedience to her laws, were done without the otherwise order and direct; in which case, he was immedicolor of authority, save this construction of the law-exe-ately to lay before Congress the reasons of such order or cuting duty of the Executive. It is true these high-hand- direction. The better to secure the faithful performance ed measures, at the modest request of the paternal Pres-of these duties, in addition to the oath of the Secretary, ident, have since been in some measure legalized by the President is armed with the power of removing hin Congress, in the enactment of the force bill-an act which from office, while the constitution clothes the Legislature has already been recorded in blood, and threatens ere with the same power, by impeachment. Hence, the Preslong the entire subversion of our liberties. It is by virident is only responsible that the Secretary faithfully pertue of this same construction that the President now claims form his duties according to the laws; and, however many the right to supervise and control the Treasury Depart- and great may be the evils resulting from this compliance ment. If, therefore, this law-executing duty be consid- with the laws, the Legislature is alone chargeable. ered as empowering the President to remove at pleasure: the Secretary of the Treasury, then, sir, every act of the present administration stands completely justified, as compatible with the constitution, without the sanction of the force bill. It becomes us, and particularly those of us who claim the name of State rights men, to pause before we embrace a doctrine like this, which must lead to tyranny, and end in the most absolute despotism.

In opposition to this doctrine, I contend that to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" confers no power, but is simply a duty; the power to perform which must be derived from the laws, or some other clause of the constitution. According to this view, while I would

Let us now inquire why the President removed the late honorable Secretary Duane from the head of the Treasury Department. Was it because he was indisposed, absent, insane, or in any respect disqualified to discharge the important duties of his trust? Was it because he neglected his duties, or violated his solemn obligations to the authors of his official existence, in departing from, or refusing to obey, their orders or instructions? For a correct answer, read Mr. Duane's exposé and the President's memorable manifesto to his cabinet; and there you will find the true cause to be, that the late honorable Secretary dared to differ with the President in his judgment with regard to a matter intrusted to his discretion, subject alone to a revi

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sion and correction by Congress. For this was he removed, ing committed such an important trust to his discretion. and another appointed whose opinions were previously If such a case were to occur under the existing laws, who known, and who was ready to act, and did act, in conform- would think of holding the President responsible, or the ity with the Executive will. Will any man pretend to Secretary of the Navy, the Attorney General, or the Postsay that this was a faithful execution of the law? master General, all of whom appear to have been conThe President, in his manifesto, does not pretend to sulted on the subject of the deposites, and some of whom deny the Secretary his legal right to judge for himself on are scarcely able to meet their own responsibilities? To the subject of the deposites; and it is in vain that he can make the President, or any one or all of those high funcpretend to claim the right to control that judgment, which tionaries, responsible for the conduct of the Treasurer, right belongs alone to Congress, as clearly reserved in the you must make his acts, by some means or other, their bank charter. Instead, therefore, of removing the Sec- acts; which, I humbly conceive, the law has not done. retary for this difference of opinion, it was the President's These are what I deem, with all due deference to the duty to have said to him, The law has made it your opinions of my State rights friends, to be common sense duty, for such reasons as you may deem good and suffi- rights, if they be not State rights. cient, to remove the public deposites; the free and inde- In applying the views I have taken of this subject to pendent exercise of your judgment, with regard to this the late conduct of the President, I feel no hesitation in matter, is all the law requires; to your unbiassed judg-coming to the conclusion that he has usurped an importment I am bound to yield: then will the laws have been ant power belonging to the Legislative Department of this faithfully executed, and I have discharged the important Government. In directing and controlling the Secretary trust confided to me by the power of removal. Such, of the Treasury in the exercise of a discretion committed sir, would have been a faithful compliance, not only with to him by Congress, the President has assumed to himself the letter of the law, but also with the plain manifest in- the power of the people, through their immediate repretention of the Legislature. This, sir, would have kept sentatives, over the public purse. To call this by the mild the public purse in the hands of the people's immediate name of an abuse of power, would be a betrayal of my representatives, where it had been wisely placed by the trust as one of the representatives. To dismiss from office constitution. an able and meritorious officer for some trifling party conIn this view I unfortunately differ with some of my State sideration, disconnected from the duties of his trust, might rights friends, who, while they deny to the President the be justly regarded an abuse of power; but to dismiss an right to compel an officer to do an act contrary to the able and faithful officer, for the purpose of acquiring a honest convictions of his duty, yet admit the right of re- power that belongs to another department of the Govmoval for the sake of a difference of opinion. I must ernment, and to exercise this newly acquired power confess that this denial and admission appear to me to be through the appointment of another, are daring acts of at open war with each other. To deny to the President the usurpation. That such were the views of the President right to do what they admit in the next breath he has the in dismissing from office the late honorable Secretary right to do, by every means in his power, appears to me, if Duane, and such both the views and effects of the apnot contradictory, at least an unmeaning restriction. The pointment of his successor, none can doubt who will but gentleman's argument seems to resolve itself into this: The examine the history of that transaction. After the PresPresident has no right to compel an officer to act against his ident had in vain attempted to persuade the late honorable will; yet, for a difference of opinion, he has the right to Secretary Duane, and that too by a powerful appeal to use all the means in his power to compel him. The truth of his interest, to act in a matter intrusted to his discretion this doctrine I will not controvert, when applied to the contrary to the honest convictions of his duty, he resolved officers of those departments that are strictly executive. to substitute his will for the legal discretion of the SecreThe great principle of responsibility for which Ames, tary, and act upon his own responsibility. In pursuance Madison, and others contended in 1789, and upon which of this settled resolve, and without the knowledge or conthe gentleman relies in support of this doctrine, I admit sent of the Secretary, the President caused his will to be to be applicable to the Departments of War, Navy, and announced to the public, on the 20th September, in the State. To execute the will of the President, all the offi- official organ of the administration, as follows: "The decers of these departments, whatever may be their own posites of public money will be changed from the Bank of private views or feelings, are bound by the express pro- the United States to the State banks as soon as the neces vision of the laws establishing these departments. Hence sary arrangements can be made for that purpose; and that the responsibility of the officers of these departments to it is believed they can be completed in Baltimore, Philathe President, and his responsibility as a unit to the peo- delphia, New York, and Boston, in time to make the change ple's representatives. by the 1st of October, and perhaps sooner, if circumstances should render an earlier action necessary on the part of Government."

But can gentlemen pretend that this same doctrine applies to the financial officer of this Government, who is not subject to the President's will, order, or direction, Indignant and astonished at this extraordinary assumpeither by the laws or the constitution? The principle of tion of power on the part of the President, the Secretary, responsibility, when applied to this officer, resolves itself on the 21st September, addressed him a letter, in which into this: the President is responsible that the Secretary he presented to his consideration the nature of his comperforms his duties according to the will, not of the Pres- mission, empowering and enjoining him to execute his ident, but of Congress, as prescribed by the laws; and, duty according to law; the solemn obligation of his oath when Congress has invested the Secretary with a discre- to execute the trust committed to him with fidelity; the tion, that he be permitted to exercise it upon his own re-discretion with which he was invested by Congress, in the sponsibility. Suppose the President should think the sixteenth section of the bank charter; the solemn pledge Secretary wrong in his judgment with regard to a matter of the President himself, in his letter on the 26th June, intrusted to his discretion, still the President has no right and repeated in his exposition on the 18th September, to interfere, because the power to inform, direct, control, not to interfere with the independent exercise of the disand correct his judgment belongs alone to Congress. cretion committed to him by the law over the subject of If, therefore, the Secretary, acting in strict and honest the deposites; the opinion of the House of Representacompliance with the laws, should happen to err against tives at the last session, that the public deposites were the advice and the opinions of the President and all his safe; and his own deliberate conviction of the want of cabinet, and the worst calamities should follow, the Le. sufficient reasons to justify the removal; and that the gislature could only complain against themselves for hav, measure, in the absence of sufficient reasons, would be a VOL. X.-176

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