Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

FEB. 22, 1831.]

Turkish Commission.

(SENATE.

cases.

secretly appointed, and with secret instructions, but they form with every other; and if you will but consider its differ in nothing else from all other public ministers, inas- effects and consequences, none can doubt that it conmuch as their commissions are precisely the same in both stituted them officers of the United States. Suppose that

Any other idea than this would present a subject the-Grand Seignior, after accrediting these commissioners, here of quite as much mirth as the comic scene of Sheridan, had sent them to the Seven Towers, must not every body in which he describes a secret conference of two British admit that the honor of this nation would have obliged it to ministers, in the presence and hearing of the sentinels at resent the insult offered to itself by such an indignity to Tilbury fort, when one tells to the other as a profound its representatives, protected, as they would have been, by secret what he declares the other knew before. A secret the public law? Or suppose that any of these commisagent created by letters patent under the great seal, given sioners had been bribed, or had been guilty of any other to him to be shown, and addressed to all whom it may con- high crime against their faith and the duty confided to cern. This, sir, would far surpass the sarcastic irony them. Does any one doubt that they might have been of the author of “ The Critic,"

impeached? And yet, forsooth, they are not officers of Let me not be misunderstood. I do not mean to doubt the United States, but mere secret agents, like the bearers the power of the President to appoint secret agents when of despatches or newspapers, who, as we all know, receive and how he pleases; nor do I mean to advance any claim as little consideration at home as they are entitled to exon the part of the Senate to participate in the exercise pect abroad. of any such power. As a simple individual, I would hum The honorable Senator from Maryland, notwithstanding bly suggest to him, if I might be permitied so to do, that he affirms this to be exactly like the Panama case, and whenever he stands in need of secret agents who are really therefore clear, yet endeavors to distinguish it a little, in designed to be such, he had better abstain from putting order to make it clearer than that, if possible. He tells his own name to the warrant given to them, and never us that one of these commissioners, Mr. Rhind, was repermit it to be authenticated by the great seal. Such a gularly appointed consul at Odessa, by the President, proceeding may sometimes prove hazardous, and I think acting with the advice and consent of the Senate, given would not be very creditable to the nation whose seal it is. at our last session. That he being thus an officer of the But as a Senator, I do claim for the Senate, in the language United States, the President might charge him with whatof the constitution, the right of advising and consenting ever instructions might seem necessary, even to negotiate to the appointment of any and every oflicer of the United a treaty with Turkey. It is so common in this country States, no matter what may be his name, what his duties, (where the thirst for office is insatiable) to continue the or how he may be instructed to perform them. And it is titles of Governors of States, and militia officers, to those only because secret agents are not officers of the United who have once filled such places, not only wherever they States, but the mere agents of the President, or of his may be, but so long as they live, that I am not surprised Secretaries, or of his military or naval coinmanders, that the Senator from Maryland should feel disposed to enlarge I disclaim all participation in their appointment. this custom a little; especially when a barren name may

It is this distinction between officers of the Government, be made the fruitful parent of so much executive power and the mere agents of its officers, which constitutes the as he thus claims for it. Henceforward, we must not only striking difference between the cases referred to by the say, I suppose, that once a consul and always a consul, Senator from Illinois, and that now before us. In this but, also, that once a consul any where, and always a case, these commissioners were officers of the United consul every where. Nay, if it be true that this consul States--commissioned as such-authorized by that com- to the Russian port of Odessa may, virtute officii, be memission to pledge our faith and honor-entiiled, as the tamorphosed by the mere instructions of the President, bearers of our great seal, to be regarded every where or rather of the Secretary of State, into a negotiator at as the representatives of the sovereignty whose emblem Constantinople of a treaty with the Ottoman empire, it it is; and to claim all the immunities accorded by the public will be very difficult to find a limit to consular functions. law to such representatives of any Power on earth. Thus, that thing called a consul, the lowest in the diploWhereas, your secret agents in South America, your bearers matic scale, without pay, power, or privilege, may be of despatches or newspapers, et id omne genus, never had converted into the most important functionary the United any commission-had no authority to pledge your faith— States can have abroad. Sir, it would have been a subwere never trusted with your great seal--and had not a sin. ject worthy of Hogarth's pencil, I imagine, to have repre'gle privilege any where, which any other individual citizen sented the interview beiween Mr. Rhind and the Reis might not equally well claim. in short, they were not Effendi, the proud representative of his haughty sove. othcers of the United States, but the messengers (either reign, if, when they first met to exchange their powers, special or general) of their officers. Sir, it moruities me the "christian dog” had presented to him a consular dito hear the high functionaries of the nation degraded by ploma to Odessa, as the equivalent of his full powers. It a comparison with such gentry as these; and their secret would gratify me much to hear from any body what would commissions assimilated to the warrants of messengers, have been the state of the negotiation, if, pendente lite, or the secret letters to spies. I know but one of these the Russian autocrat had revoked Mr. Rhind’s exequatur, commissioners personally; but of him I will say, that the and so terminated his functions as consul at Odessa. But same lofty spirit which refused to bring his slip to Con- suppose we might thus justify Mr. Rhind's appointment, stantinople, unless with her ports triced up, her guns what is to be saird for Biddie? He was no con-ul to shown, and her fag and pennants all abroad, would have Odessa, nor any where else; nor did he bear any diplo. made him cast your parchment from him with scorn, if it matic authority, save what this commission conferred had even been hinted that it was intended to constitute upon him. It is true that he bore, and gallantly bore, him any other than a public minister of his country, the commission of a post captain in the navy of the United whose honor and whose interest he had so, proudly sus- States; but surely it will not be contended that a naval tained.

or military officer may, virtute officii, be transformed But, Mr. President, the question is not whether these into a diplomatic functionary of the highest grade, by commissioners were what the senator from Illinois calls the mere instructions of a Secretary of State, or a simple public ministers, but whether they were officers of the order of the President alone. The officers, I am sure, United States; for the President may not make an original ought to object to this; for if so little ceremony is necesappointment of any such officers, without the advice and sary in the one case, as little would be requisite in its consent of the Senate. To determine this question, you converse; and when naval officers may, by a word from must look to their commission. This you find in the same the President, or his Secretaries, be converted into public

SENATE.]

Turkish Commission.

[FEB. 22, 1831.

[ocr errors]

ministers to negotiate treaties, the latter, by a process reasons of State policy were of sufficient force to preclude equally summary, may be made the commanders of our all inquiry into the breaches of our own laws, much less fleets and armies.

into the violations of our constitution itself. A treaty is But the President himself has answered this argument. ratified, no matter how or by whom concluded, wlierHe did not suppose that orders and instructions alone ever it is believed to be promotive of the public good. would authorize consuls, post captains, or any body else, But if this ratification necessariiy implies a justification of to make treaties. He knew well that a plenipotentiary a violation of the constitution, in the appointment of the commission was requisite, and therefore granted these negotiators; and if by such ratification we are estopped to “ letters patent” for that very purpose. Nor will he, 1 deny this, then, indeed, has the time come, when our should think, feel much obliged to the honorable Senator opinion of the general welfare is the substitute for the refrom Maryland, for the imputation necessarily implied in quirements of the charter. this argument, the sum and substance of which is, that

But low does this question come before us? An amendimeaning to negotiate a treaty with Turkey, and to conceal ment to an appropriation bill is here proposed, the object this his object from the Senate, the President nominated of which amendment is to authorize the expenditure of to thein, as a mere consul to Odessa, him whom he had ap- more of the public revenue than was contemplated by the pointed a minister plenipotentiary for that purpose. other House, where the bill originated. If this amend

Mr. President, there is one more argument which I see ment obtains, the bill so amended must be sent back for I have to answer, and then I will have done with this part the approval of the House of Representatives. When of the subject. The honorable Senator from Illinois (Mr. there, who will be hardy enough to affirm that these conKANE) tells me that I come too late; that the Senate have stitutional guardians of the money of the people are already advised the ratification of the treaty; and, by so estopped from inquiring into the fitness of granting what doing, have approved the appointment of the ministers may be asked, and of the mode in which the grant should wło negotiated it. Therefore, I am now estopped to urge be made? Such an affirmation would be carrying the claim any objection to these appointments. For my particular of Executive power to an extent never before heard of. emancipation from this supposed estoppel, i appeal to Yet it must be conceded on all hands, that the power of the knowledge of all my brethren of the Senate, who the Senate over this appropriation bill is precisely the have heard my protestations, and witnessed my continual same, neither greater nor less than that of the other House. claim to the right which is now sought to be barred by What then becomes of this doctrine of estoppels, urged this strange limitation. Nor can 1 permit this argument, upon the Senate to prevent the assertion of their constituas applied to the Senate, to pass unnoticed.

As doctrine tional rights? it is not correct, however certain it may be as fact.

Mr. President, I have now done with this part of the I come too late. I stand here to vindicate the sanctity subject; and I will dletain you but a few moments in exof the constitution which has been violated--to assert the amining the second question. In discussing this, I am high privileges of this body which have been infringed; obliged to concede, gratia argumenti, that the President, and here, even here, in this its very hall, 1 am told by one during the recess of the Senate, might lawfully have inof its honorable members, that I come too late! I know stituted this mission, by making these original appointit, sir; I do come too late. “'Tis true; and pity 'tis, 'tis ments. Yet, granting this, I nevertheless conter that

But it is only true as fact, and not as doctrine. I it was his bounden duty to have submitted to the Senate, cannot undo what has been done, or prevent the wound at their vext session, the temporary appointment of these that has been already inflicted for this, I do come too ministers. I have not heard a single suggestion cen late. But I do not come too late to warn those who sent whispered, in excuse, much less in justification of this me here, that their constitution has been violated. I do omission, except the fact supposed by the honorable not come too late to satisfy those with whom I am here Senator from Jllinois, which he must pardon me for sayassociated, that their chartered rights have been impaired. ing, whether it may be as supposed or not, does not, in I do not come too late to heal those wounds which ought any way, alter the case. Nay, this solitary argument not to have been inflicted, or to strive to prevent the re- itself implies, that if the fact be not as is supposed, this petition of such injuries in future.

omission has no defence, Nor does the estoppel which has been relied upon, My friend from Illinois says, and says very truly, that constitute even a just technical objection to the assertion if the commission granted by the President io these ninof the high privileges which I have proposed to maintain. isters, on the 12th day of September, 1829, was properly There is no connexion between the ratification of a treaty, granted, it would have continued in full force until the and the appointment of the persons commissioned to ne end of the next session of the Senate, that is to say, until gotiate it, except what concerns the foreign State. To the 31st of May, 1830; and this without the advice and the Grand Seignior we need not, we must not say, that we consent of the Senate. lle then argues that the treaty ratify the treaty concluded with him, but deny the au

was concluded on the 7th of May, 1830, whereupon these thority of the persons appointed by ourselves to negotiate ministers became functi officiis, ceased to be the officers it. Ii would be idle, nay, it would be base to do so; for of the Government, and therefore it would have been he would hold up to us the “full power" granted to these quite idle and unnecessary for the President to have negotiators by our own Chief Magistrate, under the sacred nominated them to the Senate. seal of our own nation. This, indeed, we are estopped Now, if all this should be granted, it constitutes no justo deny to him; nor would it comport with the character tification to the Executive, because it is obviously an of our people, to suffer any other carthly sovereign to pass afterthought that could not have occurred to them until upon the question raised, as to its misuse. But here, at home, long after the session of the Senate. If Washington and it seems somewhat paradoxical to say that we may not Constantinople, instead of being separated as they are by deny to ourselves that which it is aftirmed by ourselves two seas, were connected by a raili oad, along which the that ourselves have done. This would be a most extra-conveyance might be as rapid as between Liverpool and ordinary estoppel indeed.

Manchester, the intelligence of any event occurring in Short as is our history, it nevertheless furnishes several the Turkish capital, on the 7th of May, could not be comexamples of ministers who have exceeded their instruc-municated much beyond the Western islands by the 31st tions, and of officers who have violated their orders. Rea of that month. Then the demand is of an impossibility, sons of policy have induced the Government to adopt some which would have us suppose that the Executive knew of of these acts, and to justify others to forcign States. But, the conclusion of this treaty, and therefore did not make until now, it has never been supposed by any, that these the nominations of these ministers to the Senate during

true.

FEB. 22, 1831.]

Turkish Commission.

(SENATE.

their last session. And the question is to be tried, not by These commissioners were ministers before they began to the fact, but by their knowledge of it. I pray the Senate negotiate-they were ministers throughout the negotiato notice the various and contradictory modes resorted to tion; and ministers they continued to be, at least while they for enlarging the power of the Executive. If Mr. Rhind remained at the Turkish court, whether engaged in perhad died on the 7th of May, and it had been judged ex- forming the special service for which they were deputed, pedient to fill up the vacancy happening by his death, or otherwise. The immunities conferred upon them by all agree that the President might properly have done so the public law attach not to the duty to be performed, but during the last recess. Because, although this event hap- the office created by the commission for its performance. pened, it could not have been known here during the last The Sultan would have offended just as much against the session of the Senate. But if Mr. Rhind makes a treaty law, by suffering indignity to be offered to any of these on the same day, this after-discovered fact, although equal ministers after the treaty was concluded, as before; as ly unknown to the President when the Senate adjourned, much if the negotiation had never commenced, or been is urged to justify him for not laying Mr. Rhind's appoint- broken off, as if it had continued. But we know that ment before the Senate at their last session, although this these commissioners remained at Constantinople certainly appointment was made here (and therefore well known) until the 8th of June, for we have upon our files official eight months before that session terininated.

| letters of that date, written by them at that place. Then Is it a fact, however, that this treaty was concluded on what becomes of this vindication, rested as it is upon the 7th of May? It is true the instrument bears that date; unknown events, occurring at some doubtful period of but we all know that it could not have been then con- time? cluded. Because it is absolutely certain that two of the Mr. President, my strength is almost gone, and your commissioners had not then reached Constantinople; and patience must be at least as much exhausted, yet a few that, without their approbation, even the Turkish Govern- words more-I hope they may be the last with which I ment would not consent to consider the projet as a treaty shall have occasion to trouble you. For many years have concluded. When then was it concluded? Certainly not I watched the workings of this Government, and have seen so late as the 29th of May. Because we have on our it steadily advancing to that condition to which our most files a letter of that date, written by one of these commis- sagacious statesmen long ago predicted it must one day sioners to another, urging many arguments to induce him come. Occasional obstructions to its onward motion have to sign it. On the next day, (the 30th,) another commis- sometimes clieered me with the hope that these predicsioner writes to the Secretary of State, saying that he tions would not be verified. Nor will I ever part with bad that day signed the treaty; but there is no evidence this hope, while this body remains true to itself, and faithbefore the Senate, showing when it was signed by his as- ful to the States whose sovereignties are here represented. sociates.

But what I have seen and heard of late, is not well calcuSuppose, however, that it was signed by all the commis- lated to cherish hope. The time is not far distant, nay, it is at sioners on or before the 30th of May. The instruments band, when the theoretic maxim, of the British law will were still to be exchanged, before tiie business of the ne- become a practical rule for thc American people. The gotiation could be concluded; and we have the strongest English jurists tell us that “the King can do no wrong,' presumptive evidence that this was not done on that day, and soon may we expect to hear this fiction of the British in the fact apparent upon our own journals, that the 30th Government transferred to ours, as a solemn truth affirmed of May last was Sunday. Now does any man believe that of our President. I wish we may be able to introduce these ministers of a christian people would have thus pub- with this principle the corrective it finds in the Governlicly profaned the christian sabbath, at a Mahometan court, ment from whence it is borrowed. Thiere, although the ani under the view of all the ministers of the Powers of King can do 10 wrong, his ministers are responsible for christendom there convened? I do not put this even upon all the bad advice they give him. the ground of their christian faith, but upon the ground In the instance before us, I am willing to believe that of national pride and national honor, always involved in the President has not knowingly violated the constitution, the conduct of the nation's ministers. My life upon it, or designed to impair the rights of the Senate, or desired there is one of these commissioners, who would have wil. to usurp for himself the entire and absolute control over lingly suffered even impaling, before he would liave so all appointments, although such certainly is the effect of degraded himself and his country in the eyes of all chris- his acts. In the inode in which business of this kind is tendom. But if this work was not completed on the 30th done, as we all know, many circumstances may have exMay, it could not have been done until the 31st; and on isted, to absolve the President from all design to exert the morning of this day, our journals show that the Senate any such power as has been here put in practice, in order adjourned. Now, whether the exchange of the treaties, to produce such effects. But what must we say of his (if made on that day,) or the adjournment of the Senate, ministers, the bounden duty of some of whom it is, to took place first, is a question which I will leave to be de present to him the facts as they know them to be. Of cided by those who can better calculate the difference of his cabinet, four were members of this body during the longitude, and who may know more of the etiquette of memorable Panama discussion. One of them (the Secre. the Turkish court than I do. This is done the more rea- tary of the Navy) was the mover of the resolution decladily, because I am satisfied that the work was not com- ratory of our rights, and denying to the President the pleted until the 1st of June. For I find a letter of that power then claimed, and here exercised. Another of date addressed to the Secretary of State, enclosing a copy them (the Secretary of State) stood by my side in that of the treaty, and giving the first intelligence of its con- debate, the able advocate of those rights, eloquently declusion; and I take it for granted that these commissioners nouncing the claim of power then preferrecl, as but a part would have lost no time in communicating to their Govern- of a long settled system covertly to increase the influence ment the consummation of this tedious affair.

and patronage of the Executive. And all four united Let it be, however, that the treaty was concluded at any with me in the vote given upon that occasion. Surroundtime gentlemen please. Did the ministers cease to be ed by such advisers, if no voice was raised to admonish such the moment their work was done? Will the "sala- him, if no friendly caution was given to him by any of ries" proposed to be allowed to them ceas at that time? those whose opinion upon this subject was so well known, Were they not entitled to the common privilege of a men- and one of whom had in his own office a full representaber of Congress, or even of a witness eundo manendo et tion of all the facts existing in the case, it ought not to redeundo? I pray, sir, that we may not continue to per- be matter of much astonishinent, if the President should plex ourselves, by confounding the officer with his duties. have regarded it as one of common occurrence; and the

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

omission to lay the appointments before the Senate at their originate in the other House, and to be included in a senext session may possibly have been accidental. I know parate bill. Now, it was well known, the treaty was not not how this matter stands; but this I know, that if such a ratified, and the business concluded, till after the approrepresentation had ever been made to the Senate, I should priation bill was reported in the other House; and in such never have been heard to censure mere oversights, or case it was usual to insert claims here. It was also proacts of any kind unconsciously done. When honorable per and manly on the part of the Secretary of State, Senators, however, instead of excusing, seek to justify though censured for it, to recommend the compensation what has been done, and this too by such arguments as to the old agents under the last administration as well as to we have heard, which, if sound, must suffice to perpetu- the new agents. What then is the whole difference, conate this power, the case assumes a very different aspect ceding, a moment, for argument, that these appointments indeed. Under this different aspect I have been obliged were irregular? Is it whether you shall pay them in a seto consider it.

parate bill, or in the general appropriation bill? And this For thus regarding it, I know well what I am to en- also at a late period in our session, when a separate bill. counter. I have seen the writing on the wall. I know could not probably be originated and passed in the usual the finger by which it is inscribed. It needs no Daniel to course of business. It resolves itself then entirely into a interpret it. But, sir, it is my consolation to know, that question of form. Every advantage to be obtained by a the balance in which I shall be weighed, will never be separate bill can be secured here. We can here, as in held by any executive officer of this Government, be he such a bill, limit the sum to the supposed benefit derived whom he may. They who sent me here, placed me as a to the public from the services of each agent, or leave it warder on the watch-tower, to warn of the approach of to be apportioned by the President. If, in our opinion, danger. I will not play the shepherd's boy, and cry out the services of any have been already amply paid, or were when there is none. But when the danger stands confessed useless to the country, we can here exclude them. But before me, come it in what“ questionable shape” it may, all must admit, that, so far as the country has profited by I will do my duty. That duty is now done, sir; to what their exertions, so far they ought in some way to be paid, end, the judgment of the Senate will decide.

whether their appointments were regular or irregular. Mr. KANE replied briefly to some of the remarks of In making the compensation, whether in this or a sepaMr. TaZEWELL.

rate bill, we could equally avoid the other difficulty of Mr. WOODBURY next rose, and observed, that in some using language calculated to express an opinion on the irrespects his position resembled the gentleman's from New regularity of their appointments. He was anxious as any Jersey; but in certain particulars they differed. He (Mr. body to avoid inconsistency, and to relieve any gentleman W.] had not spoken at all, nor voted on the resolution of from any set of words such as charges, outfits, &c., which 1826, so as to commit himself on the power of the Presi- might seem imply an expressed opinion that these dent to make known public and regular diplomatic ap- agents were regular charges, commissioners, or any other pointments without the advice and consent of the Senate. class, by whatever name, of public or accredited diploBilt on that subject he then formed decisive opinions, matic officers. On this point he deemed it embarrassing which still remained unchanged; and if that resolution had and unnecessary to go into any subtle investigations. The not been laid upon the table, contrary to his vote, he present administration had only followed the steps of the would have placed those opinions on our legislative re- past one in sending agents to Constantinople. If a part cords. He should not now, for a moment, hesitate to of the Senate deemed them legal and constitutional apavow that those opinions, so far as regarded the con- pointments of public regular agents, as made to fill va. struction of the constitution on that point, went the whole cancies, they could vote for the appropriation on that length of wliat had been detailed by the Senator from ground. If a portion deemed them not such appointVirginia. On that point, however much they might dif- ments, but private informal agents, equally legal and equalfer on other points, he agreed with him throughout, en-ly constitutional, they would vote for the appropriation tirely.

on that ground. If others deemed them to belong to Mr. W. said he never supposed that the enumeration neither of these classes, they might vote for it on the of ministers, judges, &c. in the constitution gave power broad ground before mentioned, and which the Senator to appoint any particular minister or judge, till a law or a from Virginia concedes, that is, having reaped advantages specific appropriation created a particular office; and that from their services, they are willing to bestow on them a then the President's power, as well as our own in such quid pro quo, or a quantum meruit. As the amendment cases, commenced, we acting with him as to future vacan- offered by his friend on the right, left no implication of a cies during the session of Congress, and he acting alone, specific opinion on these questions, it was the most preif he chooses, as to vacancies during our recess, so as to ferable, and should receive his support. It avoided a appoint until the close of the ensuing session. This was useless controversy; it relinquished no power on the part the fair and safe construction. He should not now dwell of the Senate, and opened no door to danger or encroachon the exceptions to this general principle, nor upon its ment. various limitations. The hour was too late, and the ques For self, he always believed that the President could tion too irrelevant to the real inquiry now before the Se appoint secret, informal, diplomatic agents, without our nate. That inquiry was, in his opinion, a very narrow advice, and pay them out of the contingent fund. By this

If the House would spare him a minute on the true amendment, we only increased that fund to meet this new question in issue, he would endeavor to satisfy them that and unusual burden of the Turkish negotiation by such the difficulty was wholly one of form rather than sub-agents; and one which all, probably, admitted to be a just stance, and that the amendment of his friend from Illinois burden on the treasury in some shape or other. Over that would, he hoped, remove even the objection of form. fund, to its whole extent, the President alone exercises a

What was the fear of the gentleman from Virginia? sound discretion, both as to the individuals employed, and That by voting for the present appropriation he might the amount of their salaries, whether $500 or $5,000 a year. seem to sanction what in 1826 he and all of us, who then Both Houses of Congress have deemed it wise and constithought with bim, gloried in having disapproved. We tutional to place in his hands, and his hands alone, a powall still disapprove of it. But he (Mr. TAZEWELL) dis- to appoint and expend to that extent; and if he exceeds tinctly admitted that a compensation ought to be made to it

, no remuneration can be had without our subsequent the agents to an extent equivalent to their services, though approbation. The agents thus employed have no fixed their appointments may have been irregular from mis- public diplomatic powers. They are not impeachable as takt', precedent, or otherwise. True, he wished it to officers.' They cannot commit either House of Congress

one.

FEB. 23, 1831.]

Turkish Commission.

(SENATE.

without our subsequent assent. They can make no trea- our adoption of the amendment, a participation in the ties without our subsequent consent. It is the President acts thus denounced, aggravated by a base surrender of and Senate who make treaties, who give them validity, rights, which are vested in us by the constitution. I re. and not the draughtsmen or signers, whether they be repeat, sir, literally, the charge. He has added, that it is gular or irregular agents. No danger could accrue from gross, palpable, to be justified by no construction of the this view of Executive powers. The cloings of agents, letter of the constitution, nor excused by its spirit; that, appointed without our advice, in making treaties, whether with respect to the President, the act is done, the sacriin the session or during the recess of Congress, may or fice is consummated; but that, on our parts, we may yet may not be approved by us in the ratification, and may or avoid the sacrilegious guilt of violating the constitution, by may not be approved by the two Houses of Congress voting with him for striking out the appropriation. We in subsequent appropriations to carry the treaties into have yet this resource. But, in a tone at once admonitory effect. In the case of the Florida treaty, made by Mr. and menacing, we are told that there is no other escape; Adams, without his nomination being submitted to the we stand on the brink; another step, and we are lost, enSenate, we not only approved the treaty, but Congress gulphed, with the President and his advisers, in the same afterwards appropriated five millions to carry it into effect. abyss of political profligacy and ruin. The late Austrian treaty was made in the same way by the Sir, I wish for no escape. If I desired one, I could present Secretary of State; and, if either of the agents find it behind the reasoning of the Senator himself. He on the part of the United States bad a commission under moves to strike out the appropriation, because it provides the broad seal or the narrow seal, they had it without con- for an outfit, and because it calls those who made the sulting the Senate. It was not intended, any more than treaty commissioners. Yet he is willing to pay the whole in this case, to give them the character of public diplo- sum—ay! and a much greater, as much as any member matic officers, but of mere temporary agents with special may deem a sufficient remuneration; he will be not only powers. Their additional pay likewise, if they had any, just, but generous. Why will he do this? Why, as a was either from the secret or from the contingent funds. guardian of the public treasure as well as of the constitu

He differed, however, from his friends who had spoken tion—why will he open it to these persons? Undoubtedly, on the same side, as to the imperative effect of the ratifica- because he thinks they have rendered a service; but in tion of the treaty by us, as imposing an obligation to pay what manner in what capacity? Clearly, in no other than the agents at all events. We ratified the treaty, because that of making a treaty, and as commissioners. Then, I we deemed it beneficial: certainly that was his opinion. ask, sir, is he not willing to sacrifice the substance for the But the agents, or some of them, might appear to us to form? Would not a provision for this payment, in any have been so little useful in the negotiation, as to justify manner that you could give it, sanction the service by no compensation on the ground of a quantum meruit. which it was earned? But the “rose" which, in another When the President employed and paid them out of the part of the gentleman's argument, he said would “smell contingent fund, he alone exercised a discretion on this, as sweet by any other name," here loses its fragrance. and went into those considerations, unless he had before Change its denomination, call it compensation for services, made with them specific contracts as to the amount of and its perfume is delicious; alter the name to outfit and their compensation. But, when we were called on to ap- salary, its odor is insupportable, and taints the very air; propriate anew, and in a specific or general form, for this every constitutional nerve of the Senator is shocked by it. object, we had the power to affix any reasonable limits to Now, sir, if I wished to escape the question, if I thought that appropriation. Here we proposed to add to the ge. the denunciation well supported, I might, as said, adopt neral contingent fun only fifteen thousand dollars, leav- this reasoning, and, by voting for the amendment offered ing the President, within that sum, to exercise his own by the Senator from Illinois, (Mr. Kane,) which avoids the discretion, and make such discriminations as justice re-objectionable terms, leave it in doubt whether ! did not quired.

assent to the doctrine of the Senator from Virginia. But, Mr. LIVINGSTON rose to address the Senate, but, after sir, I am not disposed to avail myself of such a subterfuge. a few words, be gave way for a motion to adjourn; and Whenever I have formed an opinion, and am properly The Senate adjourned.

called on by duty to express it, I will do it fearlessly, inde

pendently, as becomes a member of this august body, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23.

frankly to my fellow-Senators, explicitly to the nation;

but, at the same time, with a proper deference and reTHE TURKISH COMMISSION.

spect for the opinions of those with whom I have the mis'The Senate having again resumed the consideration of fortune to differ. In this spirit, sir, I will proceed to discuss the amendment proposed to the general appropriation the serious questions that have been raised by the Senator bill by Mr. TAZEWELL,

from Virginia, and to repel, as best I may, the charge of Mr. LIVINGSTON rose, and addressed the Senate as violating the constitution, and surrendering the rights of follows:

the body to which I have the honor to belong. A just difficlence of my power to impress upon otliers I do not, myself, deal in professions of attachment to the force of considerations which guide me in forming my the constitution—when made by others, I believe them, own opinion, has generally induced me to be silent, when unless their conduct, or character, has given me reason to in any debate others bad expressed the reasons wbich doubt their sincerity. In the case of the Senator from were to govern my vote. My rising to address you now, Virginia, no one who knows him can have such a doubt; Mr. President, is no departure from this rule. Dissent- but whilst the fullest confidence is felt that he is per. ing in every particular from the doctrines on which a most suaded of the truth of all he utters, and while he is congrave accusation has been made; feeling it a duty to re-vinced that the construction he puts on the constitution is fute that accusation, on grounds and for reasons which the true one; while he believes that those who think difhave not been expressed by others, I must reluctantly ferently are in the wrong, might not a slight suspicion ask the attention of the Senate while I endeavor to per- that he himself is deceived; that his judgment, strong as form this duty.

it naturally is, and invigorated as it has been by study and Sir, the Senator from Virginia has, in the most unquali- reflection, that even such a judgment might sometimes err? fied terins, characterized this whole transaction, from its and would not this reflection, had it occurred, have led very outset to its conclusion, as a lawless, unconstitutional him to think that this might be one of those rare occasions, usurpation of power on the part of the President; and and have induced him to qualify by some expression of a the acquiescence in it which he says will be involved in possibility that his reasoning might be ill-founded, the

Vol. VII.-16

« AnteriorContinuar »