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MARCH 3, 1834.]

Virginia Resolutions.

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constitution, it is directly in conflict with the express the federal constitution, the effort was made to separate provisions of the constitution, by which the execution of the three departments to a great extent, and at the same the laws is committed to the Executive Department. time to preserve in the hands of each some check or conThe Legislature has the power and the right to make trol over the others. In this distribution of powers, what lays it may judge best concerning the revenue, as "the executive power is vested in the President of the well as every other matter within the sphere of federal United States." What is "executive power?" The exlegislation. They may alter and amend those laws at ecution and seeing to the execution of the laws which pleasure; but it devolves on the Executive to see them the Legislative Department make. When officers are faithfully executed, and to exert all the powers which created by law, it then becomes the duty of the Execubelong to him to insure their faithful execution. tive branch to appoint, and, where necessary, to displace One or the other of these three propositions must be an officer previously appointed. The power of appointembraced by the preamble. Which was intended, I do ment is, by the express terms of the constitution, qualified not know. If the first, then it appears to be wholly im- by the requisition of the concurrence of the Senate; but material to any question now in controversy; and if either the power of removal, not being thus qualified and reof the two last, they seem to be entirely unsound and fal- stricted, resides in the President, where it is vested by lacious. In the outset, then, it seems to me the Legislature the constitution, as a part of the executive power. It is have fallen into error. Having begun with wrong prem-in vain that the constitution has said in express terms that ises, it is natural to suppose that their conclusions the executive power shall be vested in a President of should be equally unsound. The foundation of their the United States, if by law it may be placed elsereasoning resting upon assumptions, not of power, but of where; if a part may be, the whole may be placed elseprinciple, it is not to be wondered at if the superstruc- where by law, and thus the constitutional distribution of ture should be unsteady, and unable to stand the touch of power utterly abrogated. It is a power confided to a reinvestigation. sponsible officer elected by the people, and whose term The first two resolutions, according to my understand-of service is limited. If, instead of relying on his responing of them, affirm, substantially, the same principle.sibility, you have no other protection than the power to They differ in only one feature, which, although not at impeach an officer, every one must see how unsafe, how first view very striking, gives an important expression to insecure would be the public interests. If the power of the whole. But at present I have to do with the general removal (except by impeachment) is not conferred by principle maintained in both these resolutions, viz: that the constitution on the President, it is not provided for at the act of the President, in causing to be withheld and all, for it is obviously not a legislative or judicial power. withdrawn "the public deposites from the Bank of the This right of removal was fully considered, discussed, United States," by "his recent interference with the and decided by the Congress of 1789, as well as the Treasury Department of the Federal Government," has grounds of constitutional authority and political expedi been guilty, in the judgment of the General Assembly, ency on which it rested; and although it was strenuof a dangerous and alarming assumption of power," ously resisted and denied at that time, yet it has ever which cannot be too strongly condemned. since been regarded as settled, and has been universally The act of the President in interfering with the Treas- acquiesced in. No one contends-I surely do not--that ury Department is what is denounced. The act of the this power of eviction from office may be exercised President was the removal of Mr. Duane from office; wantonly and capriciously; but bona fide and honestly, and I am willing to take it for granted that his removal for promoting the prompt and correct execution of the from office took place because he would not conform his law. This is necessarily and essentially, in its very nature, official action, as to the deposites, to the judgment of the an executive duty. It is idle to talk of it, or any part of President as to what was justified by the true interpreta- it, as a legislative duty. There is a moral as well as a tion of the law, and required by a due regard to the pub-constitutional impossibility and prohibition to the Legislalic interests; and, moreover, that his successor was chosen tive Department engaging in the execution of laws in because, among other reasons, his opinion was known such a Government as this. The constitution, it is true, to be in accordance with that of the President as to the gives the Senate a participation in the power of appointnecessity and propriety of the removal of the deposites.ment, as it also gives the President a participation in the And the inquiries presented are, "Has the President making of laws; these cases present exceptions to the the power of removal? and what are the principles on general rule. But why discuss this as a question of which that power may be rightfully exercised?" power? The Legislature, "the immediate representaIn every constitution there must be some provision tives of the people and of the States in Congress assemmade for carrying into effect the laws of the society; bled," have recognised it as a constitutional power, in some officer or officers who are to execute the laws. These the most solemn form, both in the law establishing the officers, whosoever they are, must quoad hoc be execu- Treasury Department, and in the laws establishing all tive officers; and, from the very nature of executive du- the other departments; so that the President undoubtedly ties, there must be a certain degree of promptness and has the power-whether by the law or the constitution, energy in those who have the execution of the laws, in is, as to this, unimportant. But, Mr. Speaker, this whole order to secure their efficient execution; and, at the same matter was debated more than forty years ago, much time, the greatest possible degree of responsibility ought more ably than I can, and by men not inferior even to to be preserved, in order that the safe and faithful execu- any of those who now grace the halls of legislation in tion of the laws may be insured. While these general this country. I will trouble the House with some exprinciples have been recognised by the framers of all tracts from the debates of that day, and I select especially Our republican constitutions, a great variety is found to from the various speeches made by Mr. Madison, whom exist in the forms adopted by them. In some, the jeal- I am proud to acknowledge as a political apostle of the usy of the Executive branch has been pushed to excess; faith in which I was bred, whose countenance I have enin others, an apprehension of danger from the usurpa-joyed as my guide and counsellor on many occasions, tion of power by the Legislative Department seems to and, I hope I may say, my friend always. have prevailed to a great extent; and in some, the Judicial It having been contended, in the debate in 1789, on the Department appears to have been regarded as most form-power of removal, that no officer could, under the condable, and this feeblest of all the departments made en- stitution, be removed but by impeachment, Mr. Madison tirely inefficient as a check on the others, by being said (I quote from Lloyd's Debates)—

made wholly dependant on one or the other of them. In "Such a construction of the constitution would, in ef

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fect, establish every officer on the firm tenure of good officers who are to aid him in the duties of that depart behavior; not the heads of departments only, but all ment responsible to him, he is not responsible to the. the inferior officers of those departments, would hold their offices during good behavior."

After stating that the power of impeachment was given to reach cases in which an officer might deserve impeachment whom the President would not remove, and that it might sometimes be necessary to impeach the President, he proceeds-

country."

Here permit me to remark, that I regret that the hono rable gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. BINNEY,] whose course here has been as conspicuously marked by the dig nity of the accomplished gentleman as his speech was characterized by great ability and candor, should have singled out the last paragraph from the whole debate in "I think it absolutely necessary that the President 1789, and placed it in such a connexion as to produce the should have the power of removing from office: it will impression that he had Mr. Madison's authority in support make him, in a peculiar manner, responsible for their of his argument that the Secretary of the Treasury was reconduct, and subject him to impeachment himself if he sponsible to Congress, and not to the President; when, in suffer them to perpetrate with impunity high crimes and misdemeanors against the United States, or neglect to superintend their conduct, so as to check their excesses. On the constitutionality of the declaration, I have no manner of doubt."

Mr. Madison again:

truth, it was part of an argument used by Mr. Madison to prove that all the executive officers were, by the constitution, responsible to the President, and in favor of a clause in the law designed to declare that responsibility, and which clause was inserted and now stands in the law establishing the Treasury.

"It is one of the most prominent features of the con- Mr. Madison proceeds to show that there is much danstitution, a principle that pervades the whole system, that ger that an officer appointed by the concurrence of the there should be the highest possible degree of responsi- Senate, if he were removable, too, only by their concur bility in all the executive officers thereof," &c. rence, might rely more on the favor of that body than "Now, if the heads of the executive departments are" on the discharge of his duties to the satisfaction of the subject to removal by the President alone, we have in Executive branch, which is constitutionally authorized to him security for the good behavior of the officers. If inspect and control his conduct. And (says he) if it should he does not conform to the judgment of the President, in doing the executive duties of his office, he can be displaced. This makes him responsible to the great executive power, and makes the President responsible to the public for the conduct of the person he has nominated and appointed to aid him in the administration of his department."

It having been asserted that the power of removal was incidental to the power of appointment, and, consequently, that the concurrence of the Senate was requisite, Mr. Madison replied:

"If you take this construction, and say an officer of the Executive Department shall not be displaced but by and with the consent of the Senate, the President is no longer answerable for the conduct of the officer. All will depend upon the Senate; you destroy a real responsibility, without obtaining even a shadow."

happen that the officers connect themselves with the Senate, they may naturally support each other, and, for want of efficacy, reduce the power of the President to a mere vapor; in which case, his responsibility would be an nihilated. The high executive officers, joined in cabal with the Senate, would lay the foundation of discord, and end in an assumption of executive power only to be removed by a revolution in the Government."

This is the warning voice of wisdom. God grant that it may not be prophetic!

I

There is another most striking passage in this debate. commend the whole of it to the dispassionate consideration of gentlemen, as delineating with a master's hand the line of demarcation between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Departments. I will only trouble the House with a small part of it.

"The constitution (says Mr. Madison) affirms that the "Bat why, it may be asked, was the Senate joined with executive power shall be vested in the President. Are the President in appointing to office, if they have no re- there exceptions? Yes, there are. The constitution says sponsibility?" "I answer," says Mr. Madison, "merely that the Senate shall be associated with the President in for the sake of advising; being supposed, from their na-appointing to office, unless in cases of inferior officers, ture, better acquainted with the character of the candidates than an individual."

&c. Can we extend this exception? I believe not.

"If the constitution has invested all executive power The declaration of the removability of the heads of de- in the President, I venture to assert that the Legislature partments was then carried by a vote of nearly two to one. has no right to diminish or modify his executive authority. The debate was subsequently resumed in the House; and "The question now resolves itself into this: is the some very animated and glowing pictures having been power of displacing an executive power? I conceive that drawn of the danger to liberty and the evils of an abuse if any power whatever is, in its nature, executive, it is of the power of removal, (the models after which many the power of appointing, overseeing, and controlling those of the speeches of the present day seem to be fashioned)--who execute the laws. Mr. Madison, in reply, said:

"And inasmuch as the power of removal is of an exe

"I believe the power here declared to be a high, and,cutive nature, and not affected by any constitutional excep in some respects, a dangerous one; but, in order to come tion, it is beyond the reach of the legislative body." to a right decision on this point, we must consider both sides of the question.

"When we consider that the Chief Magistrate is to be appointed by, at present, the suffrages of 3,000,000 of people, and, in a few years time, by double that number, it is not to be presumed that a vicious or bad character will be selected.

"Under these circumstances, although the trust is a high one, and, in some respects, a dangerous one, I am not sure but it will be safer here than placed where some gentlemen suppose it ought to be.

"It is evidently the intention of the constitution that the First Magistrate should be responsible for the Executive Department; so far, therefore, as we do not make the

About the close of the debate, after referring to the clause of the constitution which makes it the duty of the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Mr. Madison further said: "Now, if the officer, when once appointed, is not to depend on the President for his official existence, I confess I do not see how the President can take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

"Vest this power jointly with the Senate, and you abolish at once that great principle of unity and responsibility in the Executive Department, which was intended for the security of liberty and the public good." And again:

"You may set the Senate at the head of the Executive Department, or require officers to hold their places during

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the pleasure of the House of Representatives; and by this several clauses recognises the great departments as execumeans you link together two branches of the Government, tive departments. Their character of executive is derived which the preservation of liberty requires to be constantly from the nature of the functions they perform. The conSeparated." stitution authorizes the President to "demand from the principal officer of each of the executive departments his opinion, in writing, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices."

I have troubled the House by reading these passages, not merely as authority, but for the cogent arguments they contain in support of the general power of removal, and the principles on which it may be exercised. They Was it ever supposed, until now, that the Secretary of come from him who is the patriarch of the constitution, the Treasury was not comprehended in this provision? who has been appropriately called the author and finisher We know that the uniform practice and understanding of the faith of State rights; and of whom I hope I may have been otherwise. But if it be not an executive departbe permitted to say, that if there has ever lived a more ment, what sort of a department is it? There are, and enlightened statesman, a purer and more single-minded can be, but three kinds of political power-executive, patriot, and a wiser or more far-sighted politician, the Muse legislative, and judicial. The execution of the laws reof History has for once been unfaithful to her duty, and lating to the finances, as well as the execution of all other omitted to record his name. It is in the faith taught by laws, is an executive function; and the department to Madison-clarum et venerabile nomen-that I have been which is assigned their execution must necessarily be an bred; and I am not now going to be seduced from that faith executive department, no matter what name you give it. by the plaudits which the doctors of the new political church are constantly pouring forth upon the course which they see, or think they see, Virginia is going to pursue, and which they know is to place her in their wake. When we can be made to disregard the genuine chronicles of political doctrine which Madison and Jefferson have given us, I know not where to look for the canonical book of political scripture.

There is, however, a law which entirely dispels the idea that the Congress of 1789 intended that the Treasury should not be an executive department. The law establishing the Treasury Department passed the 2d September, 1789, and on the 11th of the same month another law passed, and stands in the statute book next in order to the law establishing the Treasury Department. The title of this act is "An act for the establishment of the salaries of the exIt must sound somewhat curiously for Virginians to hear ecutive officers of the Government." The first officer namthat State praised for her devotion to principle, her regarded in the law is the Secretary of the Treasury, and afterfor the constitution, by those who until now have habitu- wards the Treasurer, Register, Comptroller, Auditor, &c., ally sneered at and ridiculed her notions of constitutional besides other officers of the War and State Departments. construction as metaphysical refinements. When that an- Now, a department, all the officers of which are execient and venerable Commonwealth, "Virginia, the blessed cutive officers, and is not itself an executive department, nother of us all," finds herself suddenly in favor with our is a nondescript, which I leave to more acute political new allies in the cause of State rights-the force bill-metaphysicians than I am to classify. It is true the law democratic-Jeffersonian-United States Bank republicans, does not in terms call it an executive department, who present memorials here from all quarters-she may which I imagine was merely accidental; nor does the law well exclaim, "What has thy servant done that mine enemy define the duties of the several officers of the War, State, should praise me?" and Navy Departments, as it does those of the Treasury. I maintain, then, that the President has his general su- The reason of that is to be found, not in the idea that pervisory control over the executive officers-to be en-those officers were to be less responsible to the President, forced, if necessary, by removal. While I maintain the but to preserve a greater security to the people and their power and right of removal, that if an officer pertinaciously money, by preserving the responsibility both of the Presneglect to perform, or misconstrue the law, so as in the dent and officers of the Treasury, by compelling the officer judgment of the President to disappoint the intention of of the Treasury to act on his responsibility, and the Prethe law, it is his constitutional right and official duty to sident to meet his responsibility, if he controlled him imdisplace him, I deny that he has a right to do so without properly. And here i remark, that I do not censure Mr. cause. I am utterly opposed to what has been called the Duane for not resigning: on the contrary, I think he was proscriptive system-the removal of officers for opinion's right to compel the President to "take the responsibility" sake. The principle of punishing enemies and rewarding of removing him. If censurable at all, it was for giving a friends through the instrumentality of the removing power, pledge to resign in the first instance. I regard as a gross and flagrant abuse, and, whenever i shall be called on to act in any case of the sort, no one will go further than I will in condemning it. I hate and detest the principle, and will justify no man who avows it and practises it. It poisons the fountains of public purity, and degrades our political contests into a miserable scramble for power and plunder, in which the honors and offices of the country are converted into mere "spoils of the vanquished, to be divided among the victors."

66

To proceed: another reason is to be found in the peculiar functions of the Treasury Department, and the wish that the several officers of the Treasury, having distinct duties to perform, should mutually constitute checks on each other, without at all impairing the constitutional right and official duty of the President, as Chief Executive Magistrate to supervise the whole, and take care that each and all faithfully execute their respective duties. He ap points all these officers; he has the power of removing It is contended that, however true all this may be as to them all, given to him, as I have already shown, that he the other departments, it is not true as to the Treasury may 'supervise, oversee, and control them;" that they Department and the Treasury officers, and that they are not may be displaced, unless they conform to his judgment executive. "Where," it is asked with some triumph, of the requisitions of the law." They are commissioned "is the law making the Treasury an executive depart- by him, and during his pleasure. He is required by the ment?" All the reasoning which I have quoted from the constitution to see that the laws be faithfully executed; debate in 1789, as well as the whole debate, was just as and if he did not take the responsibility" of having them applicable to the Treasury as to any of the other depart- faithfully executed, when these officers neglect, or misments; and was applied to it, as any one will see by ex- understand, or pervert, or omit to perform their several amining it. It is true there is no law, or rather no legis- duties, he would be recreant to his trust, and betray the lative act, which declares the Treasury to be an executive confidence which had been reposed in him by the people. department. Nor is it the calling it so, or the not calling You will observe, sir, that I am arguing on the suppoit so, which makes it more or less an executive depart-sition that the President honestly believed that the occament. But there is a law-the fundamental law-which in sion for the removal of the deposites under the charter

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existed, and that the public interests required the exercise | produced by an unconstitutional exercise of power by the of this authority; and here I beg leave to offer an author- President make it necessary to restore them, if the reaity, which is from a high source. It is an extract from sons for the removal given by the Secretary are in themthe speech delivered on this subject by a gentleman of selves sufficient, or if any sufficient reasons now exist for very great talent-of whose character I entertain a high withholding them.

opinion, although I differ with him very decidedly on There is another decisive proof that the Treasury Desome political subjects; am not his advocate in the great partment was regarded by those who framed it as much contest for the succession, which it is said mixes itself an executive department as any other, which, as it has with all questions of power and principle here, and per- not been adverted to by any one, so far as I have seen, I haps may not ever be so, though it is not impossible. I will now refer to. When the Treasury Department law was read from the speech of Mr. CALHOUN: "I cannot doubt under consideration in the Congress of 1789, the clause that the President has, under the constitution, the right making it the duty of the Secretary to digest and report of removal from office; nor can I doubt that the power of plans for the improvement of the revenue, and the supremoval, wherever it exists, does, from necessity, involve port of public credit," was objected to by several gentlethe power of general supervision; nor can I doubt that it men, who had denied, be it remembered, the power of might be constitutionally exercised in reference to the de- removal. Let us hear what they thought of the Secreposites. Reverse the present case: suppose the late Sec-tary being an executive officer. Mr. Page objected to it retary, instead of being against, had been in favor of the as being a dangerous innovation on the privileges of the removal; and that the President had been against it, deem-House, and said, "I never can consent to establish by law ing the removal not only inexpedient, but, under circum- this interference of an executive officer in the business of stances, illegal: would any man doubt that, under such legislation." And again: "When the President requires circumstances, he had a right to remove his Secretary, if of this officer an opinion, the constitution commands him it were the only means of preventing the removal of the to give it." deposites? Nay, would it not be his indispensable duty to remove him? and had he not, would he not have been universally and justly held responsible?"

Where, I ask, but in the clause entitling the President to require" the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments?"

I answer, that I have no doubt of it. I have no hesita- Mr. Tucker, of South Carolina, said, "It would create tion in expressing the belief that, if such had been the case, an interference of the Executive with the legislative powbut for the infusion of political prejudices, party influers." No man who advocated the clause intimated an ences, and pecuniary interests, which would then, as in all opinion that the Treasury Department was not an execuother cases, influence human opinions, there could not tive department. It was universally so regarded at that have been found ten intelligent politicians, or ten in- day; and so was the President's power of removal then telligent men of any sort, who would have denied the Pres-distinctly recognised and established, and has been ever ident's right to remove his Secretary for not executing since uniformly admitted until this time, when it is swellthe law in conformity to the judgment of the President. ed, distorted, and blazoned forth as an enormous stretch Mr. CALHOUN, it is true, condemns the President's course of executive power. in this case, because he apprehends that the President But a great deal is said as to the President having seized has acted for other reasons than those he has alleged, and the treasury; that he has got hold of the purse of the nafor purposes which he thinks unwarranted and unconsti- tion, which belongs in an especial manner to the representtutional; and, therefore, he considers the removal of the atives of the people. And in order to give greater weight deposites an abuse of power. Now, sir, if it be true that to the resolution of the last session, which declared that the President has been actuated by any indirect motives; the deposites were safe in the United States Bank, it has if he has used the alleged reasons merely as pretexts for been said, (I do not refer to any thing said here,) that the gratifying a vindictive resentment and hostility to the House of Representatives are the peculiar guardians of the bank; if they are employed merely as signs to denote a treasury, and that the modern Cæsar (Andrew Jackson) foregone conclusion; then I would not split hairs between has driven away from the door of the treasury the mod. abuse and usurpation, but would say that the President ern Metellus, William J. Duane. had been guilty of a high misdemeanor in office-and this whether the alleged reasons of his conduct are good or bad in fact. I, for one, will give every facility to any gentleman, who entertains this opinion as to the President's motives for his conduct, my aid for the freest and fullest inquiry into the facts; and, after examining them, with a mind perfectly free from all desire either to hold up or to break down the administration, if I am satisfied that the President has committed any official misdemeanor, I will give my vote for his impeachment, fearless of all consequences.

Now, all this may do well enough for a stump speech, or for the columns of a partisan newspaper, but in sober truth scarcely deserves a serious refutation. General Jackson has not seized the treasury; what he has done has been done in compliance with the law. He has assumed no other control over the treasury or the treasure than he was authorized to do by the constitution and the laws; and “the representatives of the people and of the States in Congress assembled have now the same control over the matter that they had before.

Nor has he got hold of the nation's purse, by reason But if, on the contrary, the President has acted in good of any thing he has done, or claims the right to do. So far faith, in conformity with the honest convictions of his judg- as I have heard or seen, he cannot get one cent of his own ment as to what was required by the behests of public salary even, but by means of an appropriation by law; and duty, let us cease this clamor about usurpation. Whether then it must be drawn out by the regular warrants prehis judgment was right, or his reasons sufficient or not, can- scribed for drawing money out of the treasury, in pursunot affect the question of constitutional right and official ance of the constitution. Ah! but it is said he may remove duty. It is precisely the state of things which exists when the Secretary-remove the Treasurer-turn out the Compa judge, called on to decide a cause within the jurisdic- troller, Register, &c., until he gets men that will give tion of his court, decides wrong, but honestly. It would be a sad condition of things if every judge who pronounced an erroneous judgment should straightway be anathematized as a tyrant, usurper, and despot.

The insufficiency of the reasons for the removal would not make a usurpation, if he had the right to interfere. Nor would the fact that the removal of the deposites was

him the money for his own purposes, for the benefit of himself and his favorites, and without any appropriations. That is all true; such is his power, as conceded, I presume, by all. But in such cases it would be the exercise of power without right; it would be flagrantly unconstitutional. He would be impeached and turned out of office, and the indignation of an abused and betrayed people

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would scarcely be satisfied with any punishment short of not; and he did not see how any person who thought it his decapitation.

was could refuse to say so. When forced to vote on this The mode in which the President is elected-by the naked question, I had no difficulty how to vote. I thought, suffrages of twelve millions of people-and the short term as an individual founding my opinion upon the general of his service, furnish considerable security against his be- credit of the institution, that it was safe; and I said so. ing disposed to perpetrate such enormities; and the re- I never thought of the question whether the deposites sponsibility to punishment to which he is exposed is an ad- ought to be removed; and I am sure that many gentlemen ditional safeguard, in his fears of loss of life and reputation. who voted against the resolution did so without intending But, besides all this, to argue from possible abuses of to express the opinion that the deposites were unsafe, or power so flagrant and atrocious the denial of the grant that they ought to be removed; but for the same reason of power, or the exercise of it when granted, can never which induced me to move to lay the resolution on the come within the scope of fair reasoning. We might just table. Besides, this resolution is not at all in conflict with as well say that the Legislature should not have the power the reasons on which the deposites have been removed, of prescribing where the money shall be kept, and how it and so there is no "contempt" of the opinion of the House. shall be kept; because, peradventure, we might divide it But what foundation is there for the opinio that the among ourselves, to be kept until called for; or because House of Representatives is the peculiar guarded: f the we might divide the whole surplus revenue among our-treasury? The constitution contains no intimation even of selves, at the end of each session, in the shape of extra any peculiar control which the House of Representatives has and additional compensation. In short, when you have in relation to the treasury or the money in the public fisc. framed a constitution, and given to the President "the The only clause in the constitution which can be supposed executive power," it is just as extravagant to deny his to give any countenance to this idea is that which proright to exercise that power in some particular case com- vides that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the ing within the objects of the grant, because he may use House of Representatives. This does not touch the mat(or rather abuse) the power in other cases for sordid, cor- ter as to the disposition of the public money after it is rupt, or ambitious purposes, as it would be to argue that raised-where it shall be kept, and when and for what the Legislative Department ought not to be trusted to reasons the place of keeping shall be changed. These make laws at all, because it may, and does frequently, are all subjects of general legislation; as to which, each transgress the prescribed bounds of power. When power branch of the Legislature has the same concern, and the is granted by the constitution, we should endeavor to pro- same rights, as with regard to any other laws; and in the vide all practicable limitations and checks against abuse, execution of the laws concerning which, the Executive and every reasonable penalty and responsibility for its authority is as distinct from, and independent of, the wrongful or corrupt exercise. Power of the kind now House of Representatives, as in relation to any other laws. spoken of should not be lightly or incautiously interposed; The people of the United States have, in the constitution, but when it is exercised with due deliberation, and with distributed all the powers which they chose to confer on an honest conviction that the behests of public duty re- this Government between the several great departments. quire it, however we may differ as to the sufficiency of They have made no one, more than the others, a peculiar the reasons on which it was exercised, we must blame the guardian, either of their money or any thing else. They constitution, and not the agent acting under it. have constituted these several departments checks upon But it is said "the House of Representatives are the each other, and have relied for the guardianship of peculiar guardians of the public purse, and they passed a their interests confided to this Government upon each deresolution that the money was safe in the Bank of the partment keeping within its own orbit, and that thus the United States." I think the character of that proceeding whole will move on harmoniously together. This idea has been greatly misunderstood. I was one of the major about the peculiar guardianship of the purse by the House ity that passed that resolution. The message of the Pres- of Representatives is borrowed from the monarchial conident, intimating the propriety of enlarging the means by stitution of England, and is wholly inapplicable to this which the Executive might be enabled to examine into country, where all public functionaries derive their authe safety of the Bank of the United States, was referred thority from the people or the States, and in such modes to the Committee of Ways and Means. On Friday, the as to give greater security to liberty. In this Government 1st of March, the day before the adjournment of Congress, we represent, each of us, small sub-divisions of the people that committee made two reports-one from the majority of each State. The Senators are, respectively, or ought and one from the minority-accompanied by a mass of to be, the representatives of their respective States; and documents and evidence. These reports were ordered to the President is the representative of the people of all the be printed; and the next morning, the last day of the ex- States. sence of Congress, when I suppose no member of the It is contended, to be sure, that the chief Executive House, except the gentlemen on the committee, knew officer has been shorn of his authority by the bank charwhat was in the reports and documents, the resolution ter, which, it is said, makes the Secretary of the Treasury appended to the report of the majority was called up, and the agent of Congress-responsible to them, and not to the question forced on the House. The gag was applied the President. This idea is founded on the fact that the to the mouth of debate, and we were compelled to vote in Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to remove the dethe dark. I moved to lay the resolution on the table, posites, and that he is required to report to Congress. pending the call for the previous question, and was over- Now, this duty is conferred upon an executive officer, as ruled. My reason for doing so, which it was not in order such. I have already shown that, as such, he is by the then to give, was, that no matter how the House decided on law and the constitution to execute the duties of his office the resolution, it was calculated to produce erroneous im-under the supervision of the President, and bound to conpressions on the public mind: to wit, that the judgment form his judgment to that of the President, or submit to be of the House as to the safety of the bank was pronounced displaced. It must be intended, then, that when this duty after a deliberate and full investigation; and, consequently, was imposed on him, it was intrusted to him by Congress no matter how decided, injury might be done by produ- with the knowledge that such was the law and the consticing speculations in the stocks. I remember well that the tution; and, of course, his responsibility to the President gentleman from South Carolina, in the course of the very is just as great as if it had been expressed in the bank few remarks that were made on the occasion, emphati- charter; and, consequently, it is erroneous to say that this cally said that the question presented was simply whether authority was confided to the head of that department in our opinion the bank was a safe place of deposite or alone." And as to the idea that he is to report to Con

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