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DEs. 15, 1836.]
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are unusual.. I detest the whole system of certifying which pervades every department of the Government, and can be traced from Reuben M. Whitney up, (I be. lieve you cannot go from Reuben down.) Yes, sir, a scoward, who shrinks and runs from an adversary whom he has injured, will get a certificate of his courage to use upon the stump; a traitor will get a certificate of his patriotism; a rogue of his honesty; and a perjured witness of his veracity; and if you attempt to fix upon either of these his true character, he will ensconce himself behind his certificate. We ask permission to go into the various departments, and see what their true condition is. But, says the gentleman, that is equivalent to an impeachment of the President, for here is his statement that all is well; “that there is no just cause of complaint from any quarter;” and the argument is, that if you find just cause of complaint, it will show that what the Presi. dent has said is not true; and, therefore, if you do not mean to attack the President, there must be no examination whatever. We hold these officers, whose conduct we propose to examine, to be trustees; and we have reason to believe that they have abused their trust, and abused the confidence of the President, and demand that they shall give an account of their own conduct to the representatives of the people, and are met at once, and told that you are putting the President upon his trial; it is an impeachment against him; make out your specifications and summon him to the bar of the Senate. Ali we ask, sir, is, that the representatives of the American people shall send a committee and examine the archives, records, and papers of their own Government, in any and all of its departments, and make their report of the facts to this House. We propose no criminal prosecution against any one, but an investigation into the condition of the departments, and the honesty and fidelity of the public agents; and this the gentleman calls disfranchisement under the common law. He was eloquent and extravagant in his eulogiums upon the heads of these departments; he spouted their praises in poetry, and I suppose he means they shall live in song and story. He says the Secretary of the Treasury has not slept upon his arms. No, sir, he has not slept; and the party should feel under the highest obligations to him, for he has so contrived as to make the Treasury and the public lands a powerful auxiliary to Mr. Van Buren in the late election. By the celebrated Treasury order, which he issued, requiring specie in payment for the public lands, with an exception in favor of citizens of the States in which those lands are situated, he in effect offered a bribe of one hundred dollars a head for votes in the States of Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Michigan, |
which was then looked upon as a State. For, sir, at the sale of public lands in Mississippi last fall, specie was worth at one time twenty per cent. ; and, while the citizens of Tennessee, then considered in rebellion against Mr. Van Buren, were required to pay this enormous tax, the citizens of Mississippi, a doubtful State in the election, were exempt from it. At Government price, three hundred and twenty acres of land would cost the Mississippian four hundred dollars, while the Tennesseean, for the same quantity, was compelled to pay the sum of five hundred dollars, from the necessity he was placed under, by this order, of raising specie. And, sir, this was not confined to the poor and needy, but extended to the nabob, with his hundreds of hands and thousands of balcs, while the specie was exacted from the most indigent and meritorious Tennesseean. This, sir, is what I call high-handed oppression on the one side, and wholesale bribery and corruption on the other. Philip of Macedon never made a more unblushing use of money to corrupt and enslave the people of Greece. This Secretary must be entitled to the praise, and some.
The President's Message.
thing more substantial still, to a portion of the spoils of Vol. XIII,-69
the party. The gentleman alluded, also, to the visit of the Secretary of State (Mr. Forsyth) to Georgia, which he calls unfortunate; true, his visit was unfortunate; and of the visit of the Secretary of the Navy (Mr. Dickerson) to New Jersey, which was also unfortunate. He seems unwilling to give them any credit for well-meant exertions, and “wishes to God they had staid at home.” This appears rather ungrateful, as they used their best exertions in the cause. It is true the gentleman attempts to conceal the fact; but it is notorious that the Secretary of State went to Georgia, and used every effort to rally his shattered forces; that he was openly electioneering for Mr. Van Buren. Amos, too, if I was correctly informed, made an excursion, for a like purpose, into New England. I am sure that I saw it stated that he had his face lithographed, and copies sent through the country, so that those who could not see “the divine original might at least gaze on love's counterfeit.” But, sir, the gentleman assumes another ground in defence of these “ministers,” as he calls them. He says the appointment of this committee would amount to a disfranchisement of those officers whose conduct it is proposed to scrutinize, by denying to them a trial according to the strict rules of the criminal law. This principle holds only where a man is on trial for crime. All laws are to be liberally expounded, so as to detect fraud, but strictly construed when you come to punish a criminal. The gentleman goes too fast; he leaps to the conclusion, leaving us at the beginning of this matter; while we are commencing the development of fraud and corruption, which the law abhors, he anticipates the awful result which may be brought about, and is appealing to your sympathy on behalf of the culprit. Now, if he will be patient, we will go on with him, and in due season we will lean to the side of mercy, and acquit wherever there is reasonable doubt. This is strange doctrine to come from that side of the House. These officers are the trustees of the people, and accountable to the people. They have been long in office, and are about entering upon a new lease; and now, when called upon to make an exhibition of their fidelity and ability, their friends upon this floor raise the cry of disfranchisement and summary punishment. I deny and utterly repudiate this doctrine. Sir, in private life, no one denies the right of a principal to look into the conduct of his agent. what would that principal think of an agent who would shut his books and say, I claim protection under the criminal code; you cannot examine these books, lest it may lead to a prosecution against me? What honest man would not say at once he was guilty? What judge would sustain the objection for an instant? Take the case of a guardian: a motion is made in court, a committee is appointed, and he is brought forthwith to a settlement; could he object, on the ground that the examination of his accounts might develop crime, and lead to punishment? And, sir, have not the American people the same power over these keepers of their treasure, and guardians of their constitution, laws, and liberties, which a court of justice can exercise over the guardian of an estate and the children who own it? Sir, because investigation may lead to such a discovery, it does not preclude investigation altogether. The gentleman's fancy seems to be haunted by the idea of criminal prosecutions and penitentiary punishments. Well, sir, his fancies may be realized; he may know something calculated to excite his alarm; it may lead to that, and I would not be surprised if, in some instances, it did; but we move no impeachment, no indictment, no presentment, at this time. We merely ask that this House, as the great inquest of the nation, shall inquire into the state of the departments; and upon a report of facts, by a committee, it will then be able to determine what steps are proper to be taken. If crime is developed in any quarter, then
it will be the proper time to bring offenders to trial, and they shall have all the benefits of the strict rules of common law, and criminal law, and the benefit of clergy likewise. Sir, there is something “rotten in Denmark,” or we would not have this resolute and continued opposition to all investigation, which is calculated to show mismanagement on the part of agents and officers of Government. At the adjournment of the last session of Congress there were pending motions and resolutions calculated to effect objects similar to those contemplated by this resolution, and they were all smothered by the party to which the gentleman belongs, and, I believe, with his assistance. The gentleman dreads a select committee, while he is willing to go to trial upon the certificate of the President, and seems to have full confidence in the result, if the matter be intrusted to the Committee of Ways and Means. Yet, sir, he is alarmed at the idea of a select committee, and says it will be a “faultfinding, censorious committee.” Have the gentleman and his friends any thing to dread in the appointment of this committee? Is the Speaker subject to the suspicion of doing injustice to any of the party in the appointment of committees? Sir, is it not a matter of absolute certainty that a majority of this committee, if appointed, will be composed of the friends of these officers? Cannot those gentlemen meet their own friends without fear and trembling? Is there not virtue and talent in this House sufficient to guaranty protection to the innocent, as well as to insure the detection and exposure of the guilty? Are gentlemen willing that it shall be understood, and go abroad to the country, that they cannot face such a committee, composed of gentlemen of the highest honor and purest principle, even though they are their own friends? And these, too, are the men in whose hands the Government of the country is placed, and who claim to be above suspicion, beyond the power of this House, forted in upon all sides by the ramparts of the President’s certificate. There is one other position assumed by the gentleman from Rhode Island, which is quite original, and merits particular attention; it is this, sir; that the direction given at the last session to the bill commonly called the executive patronage bill is conclusive as to the views of this House upon the subject of executive patronage. And he seems to draw an inference that the House then gave its sanction to all that had been or would be done in the way of executive patronage, in all its departments. What are the facts in relation to that case? A gentleman from New York, [Mr. MANN,) on the 25th February, 1836, moved “that said bill be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.” My colleague [Mr. BEL.] moved “it should be referred to a select committee;” and, pending these motions, a gentleman from Virginia [Mr. i) nowgoolej moved “that the executive patronage bill be committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union,” which motion took precedence of the others, and prevailed, and there the bill has slept ever since. The question of executive patronage was not taken up for consideration afterwards; and now the gentleman contends that the House having failed to act upon the subject, it was therefore against the bill, and in favor of executive patronage, to the fullest extent. Sir, during the last summer, in Tennessee, l endeavored to inculcate this doctrine, so far as to hold a majority of this House accountable for its failing to act upon this as well as some other important questions; but this doctrine was controverted by you and your friends. How would it hold upon another great question—the question of amending the constitution of the United States so as to secure the election of President and Vice President to the people, at all events and under all circumstances? For the last two sessions of Congress this has been a leading question, and afforded a fair opportunity for the
party to show their zeal in carrying out the measures of General Jackson. I, and the friends with whom I act, have ever been in favor of that measure. At the session before the last, soon aster it was known that Judge White was a candidate for the presidency, and while we were urging the House to take up the resolutions upon that subject, the present Speaker [Mr. JAMEs K. Polk made a speech, in which, after professing a willingnes, to go for the measure, objected to acting upon the sub. ject then, alleging a want of time, and also some im, perfection in the resolutions, I followed in a few re. marks, in which I urged the importance of speedy action on the subject, and reminded the Speaker of his former course in relation to the matter; and, though he spoke against us, he voted with us to take up the reso. lutions. His friends, however, took their cue, and sol. lowed his precept instead of his example, and the reso. lutions were postponed. At the last session of Congress the same subject came up, with no better fate than be: fore. It was with great difficulty we could get a report
from the committee at all. They all professed to be in favor of the amendment. Oh! yes; but they seemed to agree to difier as to the mode of effecting it; and, allo!, when the report came in, it took the same direction with the executive patronage bill, or something like it We could not bring the gentlemen to a vote on either, And is it to be understood, now the election is over, (I know that it would not have been admitted before,) that all those who voted to give those important meas: ures the go-by are to be set down as voting agains: them? If so, how do the party stand upon the great leading measures of General jackson's administration If we call upon gentlemen to walk in the footsteps." the President upon that oft-repeated but never heeded recommendation in regard to the election of Presid:" and Vice President, are we to be told that the House has already decided that question against the President's recommendations, by refusing to vote on the quest" Are we to be told, if we propose to limit executive Po romage, that the House has already decided tha; so tion in the same manner, and has sanctioned the fullo tent to which executive measures have been reco's carried? And, sir, what is that extent? It is sufficie", if not checked, and grows into a settled preceden'," rivet chains upon us and our children forever, Suo"? precedent will authorize a President to make the " nation of his successor a cabinet measure, issue his Ps" lamation calling a convention to confirm that nomina", and denounce, in advance, all who dare oppose the nominees before or after the convention acts, as "** ing public virtue, and opposing the right of the pool. to govern.” For, sir, this has been done in the late nomination of the “Government” candidates, as they a'" called in the English journals. Was that ticket so rt. markable for its purity and virtue that to oppose it wo to assail the virtue of the people? Mr. Van Bure" had promised to walk in the footsteps of General Jacks." and is, consequently, bound in due time to nominal?" colleague (Colonel Johnson) for the presidency, order a convention to ratisy his nomination, take the field, and secure his election by the use of all the ways and mo". in the power of the Executive. This, sir, is the ex" to which executive patronage has already gone, and which the gentleman contends has beforehand boo" sanctioned by this House. This, sir, is what I deo Whatever this House may be destined to do, it has * come to that yet. Sir, I was not prepared for such doctrines, and I mo" say that I was not prepared for the opposition to the P'o, posed investigation. I had hoped that gentlemen wo ilave become ashamed of screening these officers, who instead of running to General Jackson for certificates."
moral character, should be the first to demand an invo
DEc. 15, 1836.]
tigation. But, sir, will the people of the United States be satisfied forever that they shall shrink from responsibility, hold up General Jackson's character as their shield, and thereby escape a scrutiny of their conduct? If they have acted honorably, we wish them to show it; if those suspicions, so common, so universal, are groundless, we wish the country to know it. Innocence never seeks for safety in flight, in concealment, but rather courts investigation and defies scrutiny. How can gentlemen reconcile innocence with this trembling and shrinking—this shielding themselves under the numerical strength of their sriends in this House? This was their course at the last session of Congress. Remember, sir, what fatality attended every effort to obtain a committee of investigation then. Recollect the extraordinary and obstinate protection extended to that darling Treasury-pet, Reuben Whitney. Let it also be remembered that the Committee on Indian Affairs unanimously recommended an inquiry into the abuses of that bureau, which would have developed the causes of the late and present Indian wars in the South. That committee reported a resolution authorizing any two of its members to prosecute the inquiry by taking testimony for the information of the House at this session. But, sir, this resolution, reported by a committee a majority of whom were in favor of Mr. Van Buren, was rejected in the House. The citizens of Georgia and Alabama petitioned and implored the House to investigate that sub.ject, alleging the most unheard-of frauds and abuses. Upon this application the vote stood: Ayes 77, noes 77–– a tie; and the Speaker gave the casting vote against the investigation. Sir, men high in favor and high in office were suspected. The agent of the Government, John H. Hogan, gave the Department official information of the greatest outrages practised upon the Indians which were ever perpetrated upon any people, savage or civilized. He was very soon removed, or rather promoted, from Indian agent to be collector at the port of Mobile. And yet, sir, we have no account of prosecutions, convictions, and punishments, which have followed his disclosures. Why, sir, those speculators, or rather Indian robbers, would find an old chief upon his patrimonial estate, where the chiefs and kings of his race had lived for centuries before him, with his slaves and his farm around him, smoking his pipe amidst his own forest trees, spurn: ing any offer to purchase his home; and they would bribe some vagabond Indian to personate him in a trade to sell his land, forging his name; and the first intimation that he would have of the transaction would be his expulsion, by force, from his house! This was common; and not only so, but, under the pretext of reclaiming fugitive slaves, the wives and children (of mixed blood) of the Indians were seized and carried off in bondage. The famous Oceola himself had his wife taken from him, and that, too, it has been said, by a Government officer, and was chained by the same officer to a log. Sir, what else could be expected but that these scourged, plumdered, starving savages would glut their vengeance by the indiscriminate slaughter of the innocent and helpless families of the frontier, whose blood has cried to us in vain? This has caused the Florida war, which has produced such a waste of treasure, the loss of so much national and individual honor, and of so many valuable lives! This has called the gallant volunteers from my own State, and from my own district, who have traversed a thousand miles to fight the battle of strangers; to contend with a savage foe, while drinking those stagnant waters, whose malaria is death, many of whom are left in the wild woods of Florida, where “the foe and the stranger will tread o'er their heads,” while their fellowsoldiers are far away, happy at home with their friends and families. One--ah! sir, any one of those noble youths, who now sleep under a foreign sod, was worth
more than the whole army of plunderers who have caused the mischief. And yet, sir, such men as these were shielded at the last session of Congress by the casting vote of the Speaker. And now, according to the argument of the gentleman from Rhode Island, the House has sanctioned all they did. I think, sir, it is time for this course of things to cease. It is time for the people to know something of the conduct of those in whose hands the public business is intrusted, and who really administer the Government. They have been behind General Jackson long enough. I was present when Mr. Van Buren took his position there. It was a striking display of that paternal care which the President has extended over Mr. Van Buren. In the spring of 1834, the President, Mr. Van Buren, and a few other gentlemen, I amongst the number, rode out to the Washington course to witness a trial of speed, (an amusement of which I am very fond, and for which the President had not altogether lost his taste at that day.) It was a trial run between the celebrated Busiris and Emily. The horses were brought on the course; all was calm and quiet until the rider of Busiris mounted, when the old courser began to rear and plunge; this seemed to stir the mettle of Old Hickory; he reared upon his stirrups and took command: “Hold him,” (said he to the boy,) “don’t let him run against the fence.” “You must break him of that, sir,” (to the trainer,) “I could do it in an hour.” Turning to me, he said: “Take your stand there,” (pointing to a position on the side of the course;) “there is but one place from which a horse can be correctly timed.” I took my station with lever in hand. “Now,” said he, “come up, and give them a fair start.” At this moment he discovered the Vice President, who had come up and taken his position near me; he exclaimed with great emphasis and earnestness of manner, as he flashed his eye from the excited animals to the Vice President, “Mr. Van Buren, get behind me; they will run over you, sir.” It would have done you good to see how natural and easy it was for Van to slope off behind the old chief. And, sir, there he has been ever since. Old Hickory would not get out of the way for us to run over him; if he had given us a fair chance, on any stretch or turn during the whole race, we would have run over him, or made him fly the track. But, sir, we have got him on the repeat; the General will be out of the way; he is no game-horse, and we will make a case of him on the repeat. I do not complain so much that the President has fallen in love with Mr. Van Buren, but I claim the privilege of falling in love with whom I please; and this, sir, is the last privilege which will ever be surrendered by man, or woman either. But, sir, Mr. Van Buren is in love with the President, too; and he accidentally found it out. The manner of this discovery is somewhat curious. I do not know this to be true, but it was much talked of and universally believed in this city. Mr. Van Buren was in conversation with a lady, an intimate friend of the President, amiable, interesting, and remarkable for communicating to him whatever she thought would be agreeable for him to hear. Mr. Van Buren said to this lady “that he had been reading much, and thinking deeply, of late, upon the characters of great men, and had come to the conclusion that General Jackson was the greatest man that had ever lived in the tide of time; that he was the only man among them all who was without a fault.” The fair friend of the President was delighted. “But,” said he, “whatever you do, don't tell General Jackson what I have said. I would not have him to know it for the world.” You see, sir, that he was afraid she might forget it, and therefore thought it safest to jog her memory. But, sir, he might have saved himself that trouble, for the excellent lady flew to the President, and told him all that had passed. “Ab" madam,” said he, with tears H. of R.] in his eyes, “that man loves me; he tries to conceal it, but there is always some way fixed by which I can tell my friends from my enemies.” Now, sir, Van was like the Frenchman, (though I want it distinctly understood that I differ with him about this, as well as about many other things.) A Frenchman began to write his deed thus: “Know one woman by these presents.” “Why,” said the other party, “do you not put it, know all men by these presents?” “Well,” said he, “is it not de same ting? it out?” When Mr. PEyton had concluded, Mr. GLASCOCK said he should, in the first place, vote to sustain the resolution of the gentleman from Rhode Island; and, if the llouse should not adopt it, he would then vote for that of the gentleman from Virginia. It was, however, due to the administration, and due to those distinguished gentlemen who had filled the head executive offices in this Government, that the charges against them should be specifically made, and not on vague rumor. At the same time he was willing that both the gentlemen from Virginia and Tennessee should be named members of the committee, and have an opportunity of examining every document, and exploring all the archives, and ransacking every recess for information, if they had any suspicion of frauds. Mr. G. then went on at some length in reply to the remarks of the gentleman from Tennessee, which were uncalled for, especially at this time, so far as the President was concerned, from any thing contained in the brief passage quoted from the message. He said he knew that the President desired investigation. Mr. G. was authorized to say that it was the President’s own desire that, before his term of service should expire, a strict investigation should take place into all the different departments, and that all matters thcrewith connected should be inquired into. Mr. RIPLEY addressed the Chair as follows: Mr. Speaker: Had this been a proposition to inquire into the condition of the Department of State, of the Treasury, of the Navy and War Departments, and the General Post Office, with a view to investigate abuses, if they exist, no person would be more willing to join in the inquiry than myself. No individual would be more anxious to enforce the responsibility of subordinate officers. There are none who will go farther to ferret out any malepractices; and, if they really exist, to punish them with the high constitutional power of this House. , Had the resolution for inquiry had these objects solely and honestly in view, I should have been the last to oppose it. But, sir, the President is constitutionally responsible for the whole of the executive depart. ment; the various radii of its powers concentrate as well its responsibilities as its honors upon him; and when I take those circumstances into view, and consider also the spirit in which this debate has been conduct, d, the position of the President cannot be observed without exciting our share of sympathy. Shall we, at a moment when his connexion with the people of the United states is about to terminate forever, and all the aspirations of ambition are to be dissolved by age, infirmities, and sickness; when the consciousness of iis high and devoted services, which we all know he must possess, and the enthusiastic affection of the American people, were about to cheer the evening of his life, and to gild his expiring lamp; is it right or proper for the representatives of th: people whom he has succored and saved to cut off this deparolace, and to imbitter his last days, by adopt.ng a resolution which, if adopted, will sanction an op ion of this House, that corruption and Andrew J |. have been coupled together? Will ti 4. . ackson some specific charge willo in they do this without sustained at least o o, without some definite allegation, y the endorsement of one individual
The President's Message.
lf vone woman know it, will not all de mens find
 ec. 15, 1836.
in the Ilouse, who will be willing to give his name to posterity as the author of the allogation. In the speech of the lonorable member from Tennessee, marked with so much wit and pungency of satire, the allegations are made against Andrew Jackson, as the object who is to be convicted of the corruption which is so broadly insinuated in the resolution to exist in the executive department. I am not willing to exercise the high constitutional powers of this House, in the least degree, in sanctioning such an allegation. General Jackson, after a life spent in the service of his country, is about retiring from the elevated position he holds as presiding executive officer of these States, at an advanced age, and worn down by the labors spent in that service. He is now, sir, on the bed of sickness, which may prove his bed of death. God grant that it may not, but that he may live many, many years amongst that people whose rights he has so bravely and honestly defended, and whose prosperity under his successful administration has excited the astonishment of the whole civilized world. What, sir, is the relation that Andrew Jackson bears to the representatives of the people of the United States? From the period of your revolutionary war to the proent moment, he has been the losty, indefatigable defender of his country. In war and in peace, on the battle field and in your councils, his exertions, his toils, and unceas: ing energy and integrity, have done as much as oy other man, not excepting your Washington in the field, and your Jefferson and Madison in the cabinet, to elevate the character of this republic, to advance its prosperity, and to preserve its peace. His name has been a tower of strength, and under his administration the character of an American citizen, as was that formerly of a Roman citizen, is a passport throughout the world. Ay, sir, in foreign lands, wherever your star-spangled banner dio plays, from the high and giddy mast, the character of our republic, under the *gis of the losty virtues of the Prest dent, has that wall of strength that feels ever conscious of the protection of a great and powerful nation. And would you, sir, would this House, after a life thus spent, and which impartial history is about to take charge of for the benefit of his country; would they at the eve of his long life, so worthily spent in all that is patriotic and virtuous in the public service; would they pursue him with insinuations that corruption, with its blighting mil: dew, had found entrance into the bosom of Jackson's more than Roman virtue? If this House institutes the inquiry, it sanctions the charge; and will they, without any specific allegations, just at the close of General Jackson's career, hold the fatal chalice to his lips, which should poison and imbitter with the stings of ingratitude the evening of his life? We have had no precedent to justify such a measure. Party spirit has raged and misrepresented all your Presidents during their term of office; but they have passed and are passing off the stage, all with the award of official and personal integrity. Some have not been re-elected by the people, but against them no charge of corruption is found imbodied in the annals of the country. , Nor does any American citizen, at even this lapse of time, impeach their integrity; no one charges them with wilful or wanton corruption, While administering the affairs of the Commonwealth; The only allegations made against them, as they quit the scene of their labors, of their glories, and their services, were, that a distinguished member, formerly from Virginia, accused Mr. Jefferson of retiring with apo, focal falsehood in his mouth; and an equally distinguish; member from Massachusetts moved his solitary vote to impeach Mr. Madison. I have no doubt, sir, after the excitement of party was over, both of these gentlemen regretted these allegations. The charges never have and never will affect the great patriarch of liberty, the Dec. 15, 1836.)
author of the declaration of independence, or his equally illustrious friend, the founder and champion of our constitution. The one unfurled to the world the principles of popular government; the other, more than any man, connected liberty with law—secured an equality of political rights, by securing to society the fruits of labor. Wherever oppressed man rises to resist the oppressor, the declaration drawn up by Thomas Jefferson is invoked. Wherever constitutional law is appealed to, to secure those rights, the political writings of James Madison form the pure fountains of living water which diffuse liberty and tranquillity amongst the nations. Together, locked hand in hand, they are working their silent way, and they have planted that school of political liberty, of which this republic may arrogate to itself, through their exertions, the being the founder. Republics have been accused of being ungrateful. Aristides was ostracised for being called the Just, and Themistocles banished, after saving his country from desolation. The authors of these acts have not transmitted their names to posterity. How keen would be the reproaches of the history of the last two thousand years, how withering their infamy, if they had not escaped by this silence of history. General Jackson has been doomed to meet the same ingratitude, after preventing the dismemberment of our republic, after rescuing the fair and fertile fields of the State which I have the honor to represent. There, sir, helpless age and tender youth, and all the charms of resinement and beauty, were protected by his hand. There, sir, was effected one of those signal deliverances of a people which has already caused the plains of New Orleans to rank with Marathon and Platea, reflecting all its bright lustre upon the army of liberty that fought under him, and sending all its glowing light throughout the world, to elevate the character of this republic. Sir, almost at the moment this was effecting, and while painting, history, poetry, music, and sculpture, were giving greenness to his immortality, the Senate of the United States were denouncing him in the Seminole war. Sickening with the same feelings that were pained at hearing Aristides called the Just, the detractors of Andrew Jackson loathed the beau ideal of his character. Again, during the panic, that same body have impeached and condemned him, without a trial, for an alleged violation of the constitution of the United States. How, sir, have the people met these charges? They have almost by acclamation elected him President on each occasion. They have rallied to defend him. Where, sir, are his accusers? I ask again, where are they? And, sir, permit me to predict that if the present resolution passes, it will only reflect disgrace upon the present House of Representatives. The people will come to the rescue, and expunge the resolution from this House, as I trust they are about expunging a former one from the Senate. The whole future history of the country will hold up in proud relief their old chief, sans peur and sans reproche, and the ingratitude of this House in pursuing him with the odious charge of corruption, even upon the bed of sickness and of death, when I do not believe there can be a member here who conscientiously believes that Andrew Jackson ever was, in thought, word, or deed, unfaithful or inimical to the interests of this country. I regret that the honorable member from Tennessee should have been so excited by a warm election contest as to urge, upon such trivial grounds as he has alleged, so grave an inquiry into the corrupt conduct of the executive departments. The State of Tennessee has been reared under the fostering and paternal care of Andrew Jackson. He has done more than any other man to elevate and form its character. Intelligent, chivalric, patriotic, and virtuous, they will be the last portion of the people of the United States to sanction al
legations, either personal or as the constitutional head of the Government, against their veteran chief. Those brave men who followed his banner through the Creek nation, and on the plains of New Orleans, with the citizen soldiers of Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana, are not to prove so recreant to Andrew Jackson, and so unfaithful to themselves, as to imbitter the remnant of his days with so unjust an accusation. And what are all the allegations that the honorable member adduces to justify the exercise of the high constitutional power of this House? That the President, in a conversation with a friend, had remarked that Mr. Bell, another member from Tennessee, had stated lies about him, and that “Peyton could tell twenty lies to Bell’s one.” Now, sir, what were the facts in the case? The honorable members from Tennessee at the last session had indulged in pretty severe censures upon the President’s administration. In conversation with his neighbors, according to this statement, in naturally vindicating himself, he had pretty warmly recriminated. I think the language that he made use of, as is usual on such occasions, must have undergone, in the course of its gossip, some version before it reached ears of the honorable member; for it is not the language of that delicate and manly bearing which all know mark the character of Andrew Jackson. At any rate, is a mere controversy in an election, where the President and the honorable members from Tennessee, in the exercise of their constitutional rights, supported different candidates, to be the basis of an inquisitorial examination, on the part of this House, into the corduct of the executive departments? Again: the honorable member alleges that this House refused to institute an inquiry into frauds that were perpetrated upon the Indians of Alabama, by the citizens of that State, in the sales of their lands to individuals. When that resolution was introduced into the House, I had the honor of proposing an amendment to it, referring the subject to the President of the United States. The motive for this amendment was, that this House had no constitutional power to order the investigation by their authority; and, if it had been done, it would have been one of the most fatal precedents to the rights of the States. It was alleged that the Indians had been swindled out of their reserved lands, in many cases, by residents of Georgia and Alabama. Of course, if offences had been committed, as I know of no law of the United States providing for such cases, they were common law or statute law offences against those States, not cognizable by the United States tribunal. In a case where the State of Alabama secures a speedy trial by jury, and a cross-examination of witnesses, would any person arrogate to this House the power to send its committee to make an ex parte investigation, to hold up its citizens as malefactors, without being heard, without the privilege of counsel, and the cross-examining of witnesses? Suppose, sir, that, in obtaining the charter of a bank in a neighboring State, respectable citizens should be accused of fraud and bribery, an offence that is punishable by the common law of that State, does this House, sir, possess the power to trample upon State rights, and send its committee of inquisition into the halls of the State Legislature, to hunt up ex parte testimony as its basis, and to hunt down all that is respectable and venerable in the character of its citizens, to condemn them unheard, without grand juries or petit juries, and draw up a withering report, that would blast them as far as our language extended, before they had an opportunity of defending themselves? If this power had been exercised by the original resolutions of last session, like the Council of Ten, at Venice, or the Holy Inquisition of Spain, it would have sung the requiem of public liberty, and broken down the whole penal jurisdiction of the independent States. And I feel peculiar personal con