صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

MARCH 3, 1834.]

Pennsylvania Memorials.

[H. OF R.

of a public meeting held in Chester county, on the sub- amount of distress and calamity, brought upon the counject of the removal of the public deposites from the Bank try by its trial, is to satisfy its authors of its futility. To of the United States, and the rechartering of that institution.

Mr. POTTS called for the reading of the resolutions; which being done, Mr. P. addressed the House as follows:

me, sir, it would seem that the prosperity, well-being, and happiness of the people, are the last things which should be made the subjects of "experiment." For my own part, I cannot, with indifference, see labor-honest, honorable labor-deprived of its hard-earned pittance. I cannot, with unconcern, see the fruits of years of laboring, persevering industry, swept at a single blow from its lawful owners; nor can I see ruin and desolation stalking over the land, and prostrating alike the highest and the lowest, without feeling some touch of human sympathy for the sufferings of their victims.

There may be those who, "accustomed to look on scenes of blood and carnage with composure," can stand unmoved at such spectacles of distress and ruin. I will only say, Mr. Speaker, that, if there be any such, I envy them not their stoicism, though it may be dignified with the name of Roman firmness.

Mr. Speaker, before any disposition is given to the paper which has just been read, I must bespeak the indulgence of the House whilst I submit a few remarks in relation to it. It comes, sir, from the county in which I reside, and it expresses the opinion of its citizens on a subject of great public moment. This meeting, as I understand both through the public newspapers and from private letters, was emphatically a meeting of the people, without reference to, or distinction of, party. It was composed of persons belonging to all parties, cordially aniting in the great and patriotic purpose that brought them together, viz: "to take into consideration," as expressed by the meeting, "the existing state of the cur- The hope is delusive that leads any one to suppose that rency of the country, and the evils arising from the pres- trade and industry will by degrees accommodate themsure now felt by the people." From both the sources selves to the new order of things, and that the people before indicated, I learn, also, that it was among the and the country may prosper, though the course of the largest and most respectable meetings ever held in that Executive should remain unchanged. Bad as is the populous and hitherto flourishing county. That it was present condition of affairs, it must become still worse, of a character most highly respectable, is evidenced, too, unless the Executive should retrace his steps; and, by by the fact of the persons who took part in its proceed- directing the restoration of the public deposites to the ings. The presiding officer is the immediate descendant Bank of the United States, and by bringing back that of a man whose name stands proudly conspicuous on the harmony and good-will that heretofore existed between page of his country's history. The name of Wayne, the Government and the bank, he shall heal the deep sir, is associated with all that is daring in valor, lofty wounds inflicted upon the public confidence. Can any in patriotism, and spotless in honor. As the sire, so rational hope be indulged that the President will change the son. Distinguished by the same chivalrous spirit, his course? or, rather, is it not reduced to a moral certhe same devotion to his country's good, the samne unsul- tainty that he is determined to persevere at all hazards? lied purity of character and of fame, his name alone What, then, becomes, in that event, the duty--the impewould be sufficient to give respectability and weight to rative duty-of all who seek their country's good? any meeting over which he might preside. With the gentlemen who were associated with Colonel Wayne on I that occasion, and with all the gentlemen named in the proceedings, (with, perhaps, a single exception,) I am personally acquainted, and can bear the fullest, as I do the most cheerful, testimony that they are among the most intelligent, high-minded, and honorable men in the county. They are attached to different political parties, and stand high in the confidence and esteem of those parties. This, therefore, was no party meeting, nor was it got up to subserve party purposes; but was truly what Relating to the same subject, and expressing the same it is represented to be-a meeting of the people upon views as contained in the proceedings of the meeting in great national and patriotic grounds; that they might, relation to the great questions of public concern emby unity of purpose, and determined action and co-oper-braced therein, and signed by three hundred and eleven ation, endeavor to avert the threatened danger to the of the same county, are the memorials which I now hold safety and stability of the Government. Believing that in my hand. To show the near approach to unanimity the distress that pervades the country has been brought among the people on these interesting subjects, I am inon by the fatal error cominitted by the President, in di-structed to say, that in one of the townships from which recting the public deposites to be removed from the Bank these memorials come, embracing between two and three of the United States, they see no hope of speedy relief hundred voters, a majority of them friendly to the present except in their restoration. And looking back to the administration of the General Government, but four have condition of the country after the dissolution of the not signed. I am further instructed to say, that, in the former Bank of the United States, and at the close of the townships embraced in the other memorials, but two or late war, and contrasting the deranged and unsettled three have not signed. Of the state of political parties in state of business, and the debased condition of the cur- these, I am not informed. I move the reference of the prorency at those periods, with its sound and uniform value, ceedings of the meeting, and the memorials, to the Comand the general prosperity of the country, since the pres-mittee of Ways and Means, and also the printing of the ent bank went into operation, they come to the conclu- proceedings of the meeting. sion that the best interests of the community imperatively require the recharter of that institution.

They should stand boldly forth to meet the crisis; and rejoice to see, sir, in the temperate though firm and decided tone of the resolutions adopted by the citizens of Chester county, a fixed determination to stand fast by their country in this her hour of peril. Could my voice cheer and animate them in the great cause, I would say to them, Go on; persevere in the course you have taken; it is the course of patriotism and of duty. The time has come when freemen must prove their title to the name, or lose it forever.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a memorial from citizens of the city and county of Philadelphia, To this, Mr. Speaker, we must come at last-either to friendly to General Jackson, but disapproving of the recharter the present bank, or to charter a new bank. removal of the deposites, and praying for their restoration. Without a bank-a national bank--I think the experience Mr. SUTHERLAND called for the reading of the meof the country has demonstrated that we cannot conve-morial, and it was read accordingly.

niently get along. The "experiment," so called, that Mr. S. said he had called for the reading of the memoriis now making, in my poor judgment, must fail. How al because he was well acquainted, especially with the long it is to be tried, sir, I know not; nor do I know what gentleman who presided at the meeting. He owed it to

VOL. X.-178

H. OF R.]

Pennsylvania and Newcastle Memorials.

MARCH 3, 1834.

the House to say that most, if not all, of those who had hitherto enjoyed, and determined, at all hazards, to trans signed the memorial, had long acted with himself in the mit those blessings unimpaired to their posterity. Their democratic party. The memorialists declared in this pa-language is not the language of despair, nor is it the lan per that it was their right to express their opinions; and guage of licentiousness, or of levity. It reaches you, Mr. he admitted that freemen ought to do so. One of the Speaker, in the deep and solemn tones of unalterable and resolutions adopted at this meeting showed that those determined resolution. who passed it were still the friends of the administration. He could vouch for all, or nearly all of them, that they had not abandoned the administration because they had sent such a paper to the House. If ever they should do so, he was well assured it would be because they thought it their duty to do so.

Sir, we have reached a solemn crisis in the affairs of our republic. From a state of unrivalled prosperity, of general confidence, of the most active business confidence, the memorialists inform you they are plunged into distress unparalleled, and altogether unanticipated. They clearly state to you what they are suffering, and their convictions Mr. HARPER, of Pennsylvania, agreed with his col- of the only remedy which can relieve them. But, sir, league in bearing testimony to the political character of they go further: they nobly forget the ills which press these memorialists. The meeting at which this memorial upon themselves and their children, and appeal to their had been adopted had been called, in the first instance, representatives in Congress to save their country, and its by three or four hundred of the friends of General Jack-once happy constitution, from a high-handed usurpation son. The meeting itself consisted of from six to eight thou-of executive power, and restore them both to their origi sand persons, and the memorial was adopted with scarcely nal purity. Sir, their appeal must not, and cannot be rea dissenting voice. Suffering must be deep, and must be fused.

severely felt, when men would go so far. Through I now present you, sir, the memorial of the mechanics every step they took, might be perceived the caution and and working-men of the Northern Liberties. The meet the reluctance of their movements. If there was any ing, the proceedings of which are here recorded, was one thing that went to show the sufferings of the people of of the largest ever held in the district of the Northern Philadelphia, it was a paper like this, every line of which Liberties; it was entirely unanimous in all its actions, and showed with what a lingering look they parted from it represented, as I believe, fully and completely, the those with whom they had so long acted; and should they classes of intelligent and industrious and upright citizens in the end be driven to a separation, it would be the re-whose names and occupations are therein stated. Under sult of dire necessity. The memorial was referred. these circumstances, therefore, Mr. Speaker, I confess !

Mr. KING presented certain resolutions adopted at have experienced no small degree of surprise at what has Limebrook, in Pennsylvania, approbatory of the course of this morning proceeded from my colleague. He has prethe administration in the removal of the deposites. They sented a memorial, purporting to be signed by four thou sand of the very individuals who now present themselves

were read.

Mr. COULTER inquired of his colleague whether these before you, and whose bold and animated language will proceedings had any thing to do with the House? There find a response in the bosom of every freeman, in terms was no reference to the House in them, and nothing diametrically opposite. Sir, I make no imputations here; asked.

Mr. KING replied, that there was no resolution requiring that the paper be laid before Congress; but it had been sent to him by the secretary of the meeting, with a request that he would present it to the House.

Mr. K. then presented two memorials, of a similar tenor, from Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, and one of an opposite character. They were all referred.

Mr. SUTHERLAND presented the proceedings of what was said to have been a great meeting held at Roxbury, in favor of the restoration of the deposites.

He next presented a number of memorials, said to have been signed by four thousand of the working men of the third district of Philadelphia, praying that the deposites might not be restored, and protesting against the recharter of the bank.

but that there is a discrepancy altogether unaccountable
and strange, is quite manifest. I leave it for the present.
My constituents are at work; they always do their work
well, and they will entirely clear the whole matter up. I
ask, sir, that the proceedings be read, and referred to the
Committee of Ways and Means, and printed.
All which was accordingly ordered.

This memorial having been disposed ofMr. WATMOUGH rose and said: Mr. Speaker, I now present to the House the other memorial to which I have alluded. It comes, sir, from those who reside beyond the incorporated parts of the city of Philadelphia--the farmers, manufacturers, and mechanics of the adjoining districts; the townships of Oxford and Dublin, Byberry, Moreland, and the unincorporated Northern Liberties. Sir, it was my intention, in presenting these memorials, to The presentation of this memorial led to a conversation have expressed at large my own sentiments in reference between Mr. SUTHERLAND and Mr. WATMOUGH; to the great principles which are so clearly and ably exthe latter gentleman having inquired respecting the me- posed in the memorial before you. Sir, I am proud to morial, and the former replying, and both glancing, in be sustained, as I find myself to be, by the voice of my their remarks, at the state of opinion in the district refer- constituents. That voice is of the most exalted character, red to, and its bearing on the approaching congressional and altogether worthy of the freemen from whom it ema election. It ended in an order to print the memorial and nates. But, sir, the occurrences of this morning, and the signatures. reply likely to come from the third district, in reference to them, will make it imperative upon me to trouble the House once more. I will therefore await that reply, and forbear to do more at present than move the reading of the memorial, its reference to the Committee of Way and Means, and that it be printed, with the names attach ed to it. The motion was agreed to.

Mr. WATMOUGH next addressed the House as follows:

Mr. Speaker: I have received from the hands of my constituents the two memorials I am about to present to the House. They come fresh from the people, and are intended to convey a faithful picture of the existing state of the country, and of the grievances under which the memorialists, in common with the whole community, labor. They propose the only remedy which the memorialists believe can have the least effect in alleviating their Mr. MILLIGAN, of Delaware, rose and said, that h present miseries, and averting the portentous evils of the had been requested to present to the House a memorial future. They speak the calm, bold, and decisive lan- signed by a numerous body of the citizens of Newcastl guage of freemen, conscious of the blessings they have county, in the State of Delaware, praying that the publi

NEWCASTLE (DEL.) MEMORIAL.

MARCH 3, 1834.]

Newcastle Memorial.

[H. OF R.

deposites may be restored to the Bank of the United States. present crisis; I witness that which could only have been Before moving the reference of this paper, I will beg effected by some great revolution in public sentiment; I leave (said Mr. M.) so far to imitate the usage which has perceive something which approaches to an amalgamation obtained here, as to say a few words in relation to its con-of parties. The petitioners themselves disclaim all party tents. But while I follow the example of other gentle-object in this proceeding; and I believe them. I see men in this particular, I will endeavor to avoid a violation here, it is true, those who raised their warning voices of those rules of order, the salutary influence of which, in against the elevation of the present Chief Magistrate, and guarding the rights of minorities, was so happily alluded predicted many of the very evils under which the country to the other day by my honorable friend from Pennsylva- is now groaning; but I see, in juxtaposition with them, nia, [Mr. BINNEY, when in the discharge of a similar duty. men who, from the outset, were among his firmest supI shall not, therefore, at this time, go into an argument on porters, and, in a moment of mistaken gratitude for his the general question, which so lately occupied our atten- military services, contributed their aid to lift him into tion, and which, by a sort of parliamentary coup de power. I rejoice at this indication of returning harmony; grace, was transferred to the safe-keeping of the Com-it proves that a spirit of enlightened patriotism is awakenmittee of Ways and Means. Whenever that committee ing among the people, and that love of country, when shall do us the favor to report, and the subject is again strongly excited by impending danger, can triumph over fairly before the House, I may possibly then feel con- the despotism of party. strained, by the interest which my constituents, in com- And what, sir, do these individuals, thus composed of all mon with the whole country, take in this measure, to classes, of all pursuits, of all grades of wealth, and of all throw aside the character of listener, in which I have parties, tell us? They state that they are suffering under hitherto been contented to appear, and embark in the dis- a pecuniary embarrassment which is almost without a cussion. At present, my object is briefly to indicate the parallel; they state that this difficulty has come upon them source from whence this petition comes, and to bear my within the last three months; that it has overtaken every testimony to the respectability, standing, and moral worth species of business; that it has palsied industry-arrested of those who have affixed their signatures to it. the arm of enterprise-locked up capital-destroyed conIn the first place, then, (said Mr. M.,) it comes from fidence-banished credit-depressed the price of prowhat hitherto has been one of the most flourishing manu- duce--carried misery and want into abodes where, before, facturing districts in the United States; indebted, perhaps, contentment and plenty reigned; and, unless a speedy in part, for its success, to its unrivalled water power and remedy be applied, will soon overwhelm them in one units vicinity to navigation, but mainly to the skill, enter-distinguishable ruin. Yes, sir, if the present state of things prise, and capital of its citizens. It comes from a district continue much longer, the farmer must abandon his plough, which is also highly agricultural, possessing but little if for he will have no market for his productions; the manuany foreign commerce, and which, after supplying its own facturer must stop his spindles, and turn the key of his wants, sends nearly all of its surplus productions to Palti-mill, for he cannot raise money to pay his workmen; the more, New York, or Philadelphia; and, of course, what- merchant must dismantle his ships, for there will be no ever affects the money concerns of these commercial em- freights to transport; the laborer must starve, or depend poriums, affects it. In the next place, sir, it is signed by upon charity, for the sources of employment will be dried upwards of sixteen hundred inhabitants; which number up; the mechanic and trader must close their concerns, constitutes a decided majority of all the voters in the for, without money, people can neither buy nor sell. county where the petitioners reside.

In looking around them for the cause of this sudden and From what, I fear, will be considered a misplaced par- wide-spread disaster, the petitioners declare that they can tiality, my fellow-citizens have been pleased to assign me find none which, in their judgments, so adequately aca trust which, of necessity, brings me into very general counts for it as the removal of the public deposites from intercourse with the community alluded to. Accordingly, the Bank of the United States, where they were safe and I recognise, appended to this memorial now offered to the available, to a place or places of doubtful security, and House, the names of very many individuals with whom I where they are of no use to any one. In illustration of am personally well acquainted; of others, again, whom this fact, they state (and, according to my apprehension, know but partially; and of some few who are known to they state truly,) that, up to the time when this blow was me only by report. But I think I may safely affirm of struck by the hand of arbitrary power, all was prosperous them all, that, for sagacity in the pursuit of business, for and well-capital abundant and actively employed-enteractivity, enterprise, public spirit, and general intelligence, prise everywhere beckoning to labor; and that, when they may challenge a comparison with the same number money was not to be obtained, they had that at least which, in any part of the United States. They are men, sir, in times of prosperity, is equivalent to money-credit. But, whose character for honor and probity was never stained sir, the whole picture is now reversed: credit, confidence, with a suspicion, and who would shrink in public, as they money, have all disappeared, as if by the order of a mawould in private, from the utterance of what they did not gician. And when they see it following so immediately believe to be true. They belong to every calling, pro- upon the late act of the Executive, can you wonder they fession, and pursuit-farmers, manufacturers, merchants, ascribe it to that cause? For myself, I do not entertain a lawyers, traders, mechanics, laborers, and citizens who doubt as to the correctness of their opinion. The cause have retired from all participation in any active business. is fully competent to produce the effect; but I cannot, at They consist of men of all degrees of wealth-from those this time, without overstepping the boundaries I promised who, so far as it relates to property, were supposed al- to observe, and without subjecting myself to the just remost beyond the reach of accident; to those who, under prehension of the Chair, attempt to illustrate and enforce the universal penalty pronounced on fallen man, “earn its truth, and shall therefore be content with simply detheir daily bread by the sweat of their brow;" men, sir, claring my unqualified conviction of it. give me leave to say, of honest hearts, though of hard The memorialists having thus stated affirmatively what hands-who have constituted in all times past, and must they believe to be the true cause of the distress, next asconstitute in all times to come, the largest and most im-sume a negative position. They deny that it has proceeded portant portion of society, and who, in this free country, with them, as it has been alleged with regard to other possessing a knowledge of their rights, mean to stand by places, from the fault of over-trading: they are essentially them to the last. But, above all, Mr. Speaker, in run-a manufacturing and farming people, who sell more than ning my eye over this paper, I perceive a still more re- they buy. They deny that it has proceeded from any exmarkable feature, and one which speaks volumes at the tension of credits beyond what was justified by the nature

Baltimore Memorials-Virginia Resolutions.

[MARCH 3, 1834.

cated in view, I am ready to join in the support of any In conclusion, sir, keeping the objects I have just indi measure which will have a tendency to afford relief to the country, to cicatrize the wounds inflicted on the public weal, and restore tranquillity to the public mind. I now move that the memorial, together with the proceedings of the county meeting where it was adopted, be read, refer red to the Committee of Ways and Means, and printed. The motion was agreed to.

House.

BALTIMORE MEMORIALS.

of their business. They deny that it has grown out of any improper action or want of solvency in the local banks in their vicinity; and, in connexion with this subject, they assert a fact which comes within the range of my own personal observation, viz: that the banking institutions in Delaware are as sound as any in the Union. They might have added, that their affairs are as prudently conducted, and that their issues have been as moderate, in proportion to their capital. But they have added, what is a very material fact to be known, that the curtailment in their discounts, which they have lately been compelled to make, has not been occasioned by an undue pressure of the Bank of the United States upon them, but has originated solely two memorials, signed by 3,624 citizens of Baltimore, Mr. McKIM rose and said: I am requested to present from the general destruction of confidence in the trading stating that they approve of the course of the administra community, which, creating a universal panic, began by tion in relation to the Bank of the United States, and making men doubt their own solvency, and ended in ren- praying that the charter of said bank may not be renewed. dering them skeptical as to that of every one else. Finally, sir, conscious that they are suffering very great by detailing the various trades and professions of the signers embarrassment in their pecuniary affairs, and believing to this memorial; it is sufficient for my purpose to say they I shall not, Mr. Speaker, trespass on the time of this House that the withdrawal of the public deposites from the Bank are American freemen, and, as such, entitled to be heard, of the United States, after the manner in which they were and to have equal weight and consideration, in proportion withdrawn, is a cause, if not the sole cause, they come to their numbers, with any memorial yet presented to this to this House, the proper guardian of the rights of the people, and firmly, but respectfully, petition for relief. That relief, in their opinion, can be obtained by immediately retracing the false step which has been taken; in other words, by restoring the public money to that custody to which the public law had confided it. But while they ask this course, they, at the same time, leave it to your superior wisdom to adopt any other which, in your Mr. GORDON, of Virginia, presented to the House judgment, you think calculated to fit the exigency of the the following resolutions of the Legislature of Virginia: case. They come to this House, and not to the executive Virginia, that the power to levy taxes, to appropriate money, and Whereas it is deemed essential by the General Assembly of branch of the Government, for aid; because, independently tice, where alone it has been confided by our constitution-in the to control the public revenue, should be made to abide, in pracof the edict which has gone forth, that an experiment immediate representatives of the people; and whereas all expemust be first tried before this controller of the public des-rience of the actual operations of Governments demonstrates tinies will vouchsafe to listen to a suffering people, my that the assumption and exercise by them of unauthorized powconstituents have been nurtured in a different reading of ers become precedents, if silently acquiesced in, for progressive the constitution. Looking to the provisions of that great charter of our freedom, they conceive that the whole the United States, exerting a control over the Federal revenue, by and still greater encroachment: power over the currency and the fiscal concerns of this causing the same to be removed, on his own responsibility, from Therefore, Resolved, That the recent act of the President of Government is a legislative power, and has been intrusted the United States Bank, where it had been deposited under auexclusively to Congress. They believe, in the language thority of an act of Congress, is, in the opinion of this General of that much abused and neglected instrument, that Con-Assembly, an unauthorized assumption, and a dangerous exercise gress alone has power to coin money and regulate the of executive power. value thereof;" and, consequently, when the monetary system of the country is assailed and deranged, it is through that organ alone that they look for an adjustment of the difficulty.

to be printed, and referred to the Committee of Ways and On motion of Mr. McK., the memorial was read, ordered Means.

VIRGINIA RESOLUTIONS.

tain the President of the United States in the exercise of such powers as the constitution has clearly confided to him, it neverResolved, That while this General Assembly will ever sustheless contemplates with anxiety and dismay the disposition tious of that instrument; a disposition clearly evinced in the reevinced of late to extend those powers beyond the proper limitacent subjugation of the Treasury Department of the Federal Government to Executive control, in the exercise of an importa discretion, for which it was made solely responsible to Congress. illegal and unconstitutional, and firmly persuaded that no na Deploring, as this General Assembly does, that interference as be grasped by the same hand, a power over the purse and the can long maintain its freedom, which surrenders to, or permits to sword:

And, sir, alive, as I hope I ever shall be, to every thing which touches their interests, and sympathizing, as I sincerely do, in their present embarrassment and distress, so long as I am honored by them with a seat upon this floor I will endeavor to sustain their appeal. I will exert my feeble aid to resist the assaults upon the constitution, and, through it, upon the liberty of my country, come from what quarter they may. I will do all in my power to break down this odious and new-fangled doctrine of Executive "responsibility," in matters that do not rightfully appertain to atives be requested, to adopt prompt and efficient measures te viuResolved, That our Senators be instructed, and our Representhis office. I will combat, likewise, that political empiri-dicate the constitution, and to redress the evils occasioned by the cism which seeks to introduce what is called a hard money late unauthorized assumption of power by the President over the system, in place of that system of paper credit founded public moneys of the United States. upon a specie or a metallic basis, and which, I firmly be- tion the power which has been claimed by Congress to establish Resolved, That the General Assembly of Virginia cannot sanelieve, was the very soul and life-blood of our past financial prosperity. a United States Bank, the power not being given to Congress by The idea of driving an intelligent community of free-solemnly decided by the General Assembly of Virginia. the constitution of the United States, as has been frequently and men into the condition of Russian serfs, or Italian lazaroni, who, from the circumstance of not knowing how to read declaration of its opinion in regard to the constitutionality of the Resolved, That the General Assembly does not intend, by the or write, require a hard money currency, is too prepos- Bank of the United States, to qualify, or in any manner to impair, terous to be maintained. It does not suit our hemisphere. the force of its disapprobation of the removal of the deposites. We are essentially a commercial people, who live and Resolved, That the Governor of the Commonwealth be breathe by paper and credit; and, although we may suf-ators and Representatives of Virginia in the Congress of the Uniquested to transmit a copy of these resolutions to each of the Senfer loss by it occasionally, yet, in the main, we are a whole ted States. century in advance of what we should be without it.

In offering these resolutions

re

MARCH 3, 1834.]

Virginia Resolutions.

[H. OF R.

Mr. GORDON said he rose for the purpose of pre- it be, whenever they are surrendered into the hands of any senting to the House resolutions passed by the General Executive Magistrate. He has no direct authority either Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the sub-to raise, appropriate, or in any manner to dispose of or use ject of the removal of the public treasure from its de- the public revenue.

pository, the Bank of the United States, where it had The General Assembly do not deny, no did he, (Mr. been placed by law. The General Assembly of Virginia G.,) the power of the President, under the law, to rehave been deeply impressed with the importance of the move from office an unworthy officer; but they do deny principles involved in this question; and, after the most to the President the right to remove a faithful officer, to deliberate consideration, have come to resolutions con-effect that which he had no rightful authority to effect in demning the course of the President of the United States, any way. This abuse of the power of removal, and asinstructing their Senators, and requesting the Represent-sumption of power over the treasure of the country, was atives from the State of Virginia, to use their efforts to a dangerous enlargement of the power and patronage of restore the deposites to the Bank of the United States. the President, already endangering the purity and indeThe General Assembly have considered this as a question pendence of the other departments of the Government, of liberty, in which the principles of a limited constitu- and calculated to enable the Executive Magistrate suction have been violated, by the practice of the Chief cessfully to appeal to the worst passions of his partisans, Magistrate, in assuming authority properly to be exer- instead of a reliance on the purity and wisdom of his adcised by other departments of the Government. The ministration.

General Assembly of Virginia, and the people of Vir- The patronage of this Government, wielded by one man, ginia, have heretofore yielded to no portion of this con- with the power of putting in and putting out, at his will federacy in respect and affection for the present Chief and pleasure, some forty thousand officers and agents, Magistrate of the United States; but the General Assem- great and small, to whom the immense revenues of this bly and the people, standing on their long-cherished and country are distributed, is a power, in his (Mr. G.'s) oft-defended ground of constitutional construction, and view, utterly inconsistent with the genius of a free contheir own estimation of the principles and practices of stitution.

government best calculated to secure the blessings of Men are not angels. "Lead us not into temptation," freedom, have spoken on this occasion in a language not was the wise and meck prayer taught by the Redeemer to be misunderstood. The General Assembly consider to fallen man. Human virtue is too frail to withstand the the removal of the deposites from the Bank of the Uni- temptations and influence which an ambitious and reckted States, in the manner it has been effected, on the re-less Chief Magistrate might wield; and the Executive sponsibility of the President, as a "dangerous and alarm-Department of the Government, absorbing all the vital ing assumption of authority," tending to concentrate in and essential powers of the other departments, would rethat officer all the powers of Government. The legisla-duce us, in fact, with the forms of a free constitution, in tive functions of Congress, and the judicial authority of effect, to a simple monarchy.

the courts, have both been invaded. The province of There is already a fearful proclivity of power towards the courts, patiently to examine and correctly to ascer- the Executive Magistrate; and if a construction be given tain facts, and the consecrated trial by jury, have been ut- to the constitution by which the President would have terly disregarded; and the Chief Executive officer of this the power to appoint and displace, at his mere will, or Government, although directed by law, if he deemed under the pretext of seeing that the laws are faithfully there had been an infraction of the bank charter, to di- executed, I should feel that the power given to the Lerect a scire facias to issue, in order to a trial by a court gislative Department of the Government was absorbed in and jury, has himself adjudged the question, on ex parte the pretended execution of the laws, and the representatestimony, and determined that the bank has forfeited its tives of the people had as well depart to their idle homes. charter--thus, in his own person, deciding the question He did not admit that the power of removal gave a right of the violation of the charter, involving high penalties to the President to control all the functionaries of the on the part of the bank, without sending it for adjudica- Government, in the estimate which they might make of tion to the tribunals marked out by the constitution and their duties under the law; nor did a faithful execution laws. The first clause of the constitution declares that of the law mean, in all cases, that there should be a wise "all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in administration of the law. A judge may make a faithful a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a execution of his office, and so may a Secretary of the Senate and House of Representatives." This legislative Treasury, without carrying any great degree of wisdom power had vested in the Secretary of the Treasury an into their administrations. Indeed, with a few illustrious important discretion, to remove the deposites from the exceptions, if a contrary doctrine is to prevail, the officers Bank of the United States. The President, consulting of all our Governments, State and Federal, might tremble with his then Secretary of the Treasury, found that the for their places. Would a judge be dismissed who gave Secretary did not think there was any good cause for the an erroneous but conscientious judgment? Would the removal of the deposites from the Bank of the United Legislature of Virginia, two-thirds of which have the right States; and, notwithstanding a divided cabinet on the sub- to remove a judge, exercise that high power, because he ject, dismissed the Secretary of the Treasury from office, had pronounced a judgment at variance with their own? and replaced him by one whose opinions were known to If this new version of the President's power be admitted, concur with his will on this subject-thus abusing his then, indeed, he may be considered as holding in his hand, power of removal, and interfering, injuriously, with that and exhibiting to the people and functionaries of the discretion which the law had confided to the Secretary of Government, a golden ladder of preferment, with forty the Treasury. By these assumptions and indirections, thousand rounds, to which so many climbers up are perthe President has done what he had no power to do di-petually turning their anxious and longing eyes, the ele rectly, under the constitution and laws of the country. vation or disgrace of each depending on the will of the There is not a man in America who will not deny to President, from the minister who represents this great the President the power directly to control the public confederacy in foreign courts, down to the most inconsid revenue, unless he derives his authority from appropriations made by law.

We, the representatives of the people, hold in our hands the pursestrings of the people's money; and fatal to their rights, and interests, and freedom-most fatal-will

erable postmaster. With such an appeal to the hopes and fears and interests of our citizens, used to effect any purpose on which the President is intent, all opposition, in the nature of things, must be fruitless, unless the people can be aroused to redeem their institutions from the

« السابقةمتابعة »