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H. OF R.)
Admission of Michigan.
(Jan. 24, 1837.
from these halls? Have you the power to exclude those State Government set up under it was in the same preof any other State? Have you the power to refuse to dicament, and the Legislature had no authority whatever examine the electoral votes? You may do so, but you to call this convention. if valid, the objection is equally have not the right. You may exercise the power, but overthrown; for the Legislature, under that constitution, you ride over the constitution of the country, and tram had no authority, in any event whatever, to call a conple under foot the rights of every man it.
vention for the purpose indicated in the act of Congress. Why, then, should you not now acknowledge and de It was authorized, in a certain mode, to submit an amend. clare the admission of this Stale into the Union upon an ment to the people. It was authorized, also, in a cerequal footing with others? Are her limits not ultimately tain mode, to submit to the people the question of a and absolutely prescribed? Congress either had or had general convention; and, if ordered by the people, to not the power to prescribe them. If we had the power, make certain provisions in regard to it. But it was not auwe have exercised it, and the thing is done. The act is thorized to call a convention for any purpose, much less valid. It cannot be more than valid by any thing we can for the purpose of giving the assent required by this act do, or by any thing others can do; and the condition of of Congress. It had no power over the subject, none assent is little short of nugatory. If we had not the whatever. Its sanction, given or withheld, would be of power, if the constitution had not granted us the power, the same importance with that of any other equal nomthe act is void, and by no indirection can we make it ber of men, in or out of Michigan, who had no power otherwise. And the condition of assent, in that case, is over the subject; that is, of no importance at all. By what unconstitutional and void. As well might we annex a process of reasoning the conclusion is reached, that the condition that Michigan should assent for all time to come legal and constitutional effect of a legislative act, which to receive her Government from the President and Sen. cannot by possibility have any legal or constitutional efate. If we have not the power to do it directly, we can. fect whatever, should be deemed essential to the validity not do it indirectly. Will any member in this House of this convention, I am utterly unable to discover. The rise up in his place and say that the object was or is to process is quite too subtle for the grasp of ordinary force the people of Michigan to give their assent to an minds. unconstitutional and void act, by a denial of their consti The act of Congress requires no such thing. It is tutional rights, until the extorted assent should be given? entirely silent on the subject, nor can it be implied by I think not, sir. The act itself assumes that Congress construction. The law never, by implication, requires a had the power. That power is exercised in the form of void act; an act which in itself would be unauthorized absolute law. The object of the condition of assent was and void. And will any one say that Congress, with not to create power where it was denied, nor to give the constitution of Michigan before them, and accepted, validity to that law. It bad quite another object; and that ratified, and confirmed, by this very act, intended to exwas, to prevent dispute, conflict, litigation, agitation, act an impossibility--the exertion of legislative authority between two sovereign States of this Union; and that in which by that constitution had no existence, and reference to a law which we asserted the power to which Congress well knew had no existence, and to exenact, and did enact.
clude that State from the Union until that impossibility Why, then, I ask again, shall we not, without further bad been performed. delay, acknowledge and declare the admission of the This disposes, also, of a second objection which has State of Michigan into the Union upon an equal footing been made, not much insisted on-that the first convenwith all other States? She has fixed and unalterable tion, which refused its assent to this condition, had the limits given her by Congress, and your power is exbausto sanction of the Legislature of Michigan, wbich, at the ed. She has a constitution wbich Congress bas approved same time, disclaimed any authority over the subject. For as republican, and that work is done. She has set up a it has not been and will not be denied, that if the second State Government under it, without your previous as convention had the same authority without that sanction, sent, and Congress has ratified and confirmed it by its it could reverse the doings of the first; that is, if it had subsequent assent. All this has been done on the part the power of calling a convention of the people of Michiof Congress unconditionally. And the act goes even gan. further. It declares that she is thereby admitted into the The whole subject lies within a very narrow space. Union, upon the express condition that her jurisdiction From its very nature, it admits of but two questions: one shall be confined to certain boundaries; and then the of fact, the other of power. Was there a convention very act itself, if not founded in usurpation, effectually elected by the people of Michigan? If so, had they the executes that condition, by prescribing absolutely those power to give the assent required? Both propositions very boundaries. Why, ther, I repeat, sball we not ac bave been denied; and it is that denial which raises the knowledge and declare her admission to be absolute and only two questions deserving of much notice. complete?
I shall not detain the House at this lale hour by an Because it is said her admission, by the terms of the elaborate examination and argument of the question of act of Congress, is not to be deemed complete, and fact. It bas already been done in the most conclusive her representatives are not to be admitted to their seats, and unanswerable manner by my friends of the commituntil those boundaries have received the assent of a con tee to which this subject was referred, the member from vention of delegates elected by the people of Michigan Maryland, who spoke the other day, (Mr. Thomas,] and for the sole purpose of giving that assent; and it is urged the member from New York, (Mr. VANDERPOEL,] who that this assent has not been duly given. It is not denied, addressed the House this morning. Those who are not by any one, that a convention of delegates, claiming to already convinced that this convention was elected by have been elected by the people of Michigan for this the people of Michigan, received the sanction of the peosole purpose, have assented in their behalf to this act of ple of Michigan, and spoke the voice of the people of Congress. But various objections to that convention Michigan, will not be convinced. They were required have been made. If these can be removed out of the to elect this convention to obtain the benefits of this way, the assent will stand, and this condition--even this Union, which they had so much, so long, and so justly condition--will be acknowledged on all sides to have desired, and which they thought themselves unjustly de. been performed.
prived of. It was not a trifling occasion. They were In the first place, it is said that this convention was not appealed to with all the influence and authority of Concalled by the Legislature of Michigan. The constitution gress; they were appealed to by their own Executive; of Michigan was valid, or not valid. If not valid, the I they were appealed to by numerous assemblies, in vari:
Jar. 24, 1837.]
Admission of Michigan.
(H. OF R.
ous parts of the State. The public will had been clear- self-government, is abandoned; and an oligarchy, or tyrly disclosed in the recent elections, when convention or rany in some other form, is eslablished. no convention, assent or dissent, was the test question. By what authority exists every State Government in A great revolution of the public mind towards peace this Union? The impress is borne upon its face: the and harmony, and acquiescence in the doings of Con consent of the people. “We, the people of ihe State, gress, had taken place; so clear and decisive that it was do ordain and establish this constitution," It is the connot to be denied. The people were called upon, by ir. sent of the majority of the people; that is, of the people, resistible considerations, to act—to express their dissent, by the voice of the majority. It is this consent which if they did not assent. The vote was taken. Nearly gives the constitution its authority. It is not a prelimi. three thousand votes were given for assenting to the act nary law. It is not the form of proceeding. It is the of Congress more than were cast on both sides at the fact of this consent. The violation of form, or of previa previous election; and now, when the doings of the sec ous law, does not invalidate it. It is the supreme pow. ond convention are brought here, to be made the mere er, which is superior to previous law or mere form, and basis of our action, and to receive the sanction of this by its essential character sweeps both out of the way, body, and that known to every man in Michigan, the and the former constitution along with them. The forms whisper of remonstrance is not heard! It is in vain to and conditions, and embarrassments and entanglements, ay that this convention was not the convention of a large as long as they prevent the people from acting, are effeca majority of the people of Michigan. It was not and tual; but when they break through these, when the peocould not have been called in pursuance of any provision ple, by a majority, clearly and deliberately, in an authenin their constitution. It was not and could not have tic form, lay them aside, and declare it to be their will been called by their existing Legislature. It was not that a change be made, and with that solemn purpose and could not have been called by the act of Congress. decree that it is made, the supreme power is exerted, Aware of all this, it is to be presumed that Congress de and the thing is done. signedly left it to be the spontaneous act of the people, The supreme power of the people is very familiar in called by their authority, and clothed with their autliori this country. They make constitutions and they unmake ty. At all events, Congress, claiming the power to es them. The same authority which does the one can do tablish the boundary line, without the assent of the peo the other. They do not part with their sovereignty by ple of M chigan, and having exercised that power by setting up a State Government. They exercise it in that the enaciment of a law, was content to require it, as a mode. It does not pass out of them and into others. condition to her complete admission into the Union, that There is no grantee, but there are agents agents in ex. the line so established should receive the assent of a con. ecutive, judicial, and legislative partments, who are Fention of delegates, elected by the people of Michigan authorized and restrained by that sovereign will. The for the sole purpose of giving that assent. That has been constitution, while it continues, expresses that will. The done in the only possible mode; and the condition has will of the minority does not sustain it; neither can it been complied with. Compliance is one thing; the ef. overthrow it. The will of the majority, clearly and delect of the act of compliance is another. It is immaterial liberately expressed, and with that purpose, necessarily what may be the effect of that assent. If Congress bad does both. imposed the condition that the Legislature of Ohio or Put the strongest case that can be supposed. A conMissouri should assent, and that assent had been given, stitution is declared to be unchangeable and perpetual. the condition would have been complied with, though Will any man contend the people cannot amend it? I bath the condition and the compliance might have been of think not. We should see the issue made between the very little importance. I am satisfied that this conven. supreme power of a former generation over the present tion bad the sanction of the people of Michigan; was the generation, and the supreme power of the present gen, act of the majority, not of the minority; and ibat the eration over itself. The supreme power, the right of assent required by the act of Congress, in its true self-government, is at all times in the people. They spirit, to the very letter, has been given, and will be re. cannot part with it. It cannot be taken from them. It garded.
cannot be transferred to a minority any longer than the But, sir, another objection has been made, which, I majority consent; in other words, it cannot be transferthink it apparent, from what has already been said, can red at all. If it could be, the minority would have the bare but little application to the subject now under con supremacy over the sovereign power; a proposition insideration; and yet the monstrous doctrine which it in consistent upon its face. Disguise it as you will, the Volres I cannot pass by without a word of comment. It question is between the sovereignty of the people and is said that a majority of the people of a State cannot the sovereignty of the minority; the right of self-governLiter an existing constitution, unless it be in the manner ment and the condition of being governed. The compointed out by that constitution, or in pursuance of some munity of any State, not governed by its consent, but provision of law. Sir, I cannot consent to this propo. against its consent, not governed by its will, but against stion. It is at war with the fundamental fact of political its will, deliberately expressed for the purpose of throwscience, at least as understood in America--the supreme | ing off that control, is in bondage. power of the people, their right to govern themselves. Sir, it is this principle of the supreme power of the
Is there a man in this country who will deny that the people, of the right of the people to govern themselves, people are the source of all political authority? If they which was the chief controlling principle of the Ameriire so, then the exercise of it is by their consent, and can Revolution, which is the foundation of all our instilurequires their consent. Consent of whom? Of every lions, which is the basis of every State Government in tan? Of a unanimous people! That were impossible. the Union, and without which liberty is but a name. It Of necessity, the majority must give that consent. And is the contest of liberty every where, and at all times, Eben given, it continues until withdrawn. Its continu. for the power of the people against a smaller number ånce is the continuance of that authority. Its withdraw a few, or one. In whatever place and with whatever al clear, deliberate, and solemn withdrawal-is the ter fortune the contest may be going on, speed to it. Let mination of that authority, Otherwise, the supreme not its champions be disheartened. The cause is a good poser is in the minority; and however small that minor It must ultimately prevail-it will finally triumph. ty, even if it be a single man, the right is the same. It may be obstructed, it may languish, but, in the end, The fundamental principle of a representative republic it is sure to triumph. I abandoned; the sovereignty of the people, the right of I will detain the House no longer. I would not have
H. OF R.]
Mileage of Members.
(JAN, 25, 1837
detained it thus long, had not my sentiments been some. [Cries of “question! question!”] what different from those expressed by others. The Mr. U. then made a statement, in reply to some re people of Michigan bave been unjustly delayed. In this marks of the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. HARDIN chosen and favored land, where liberty has taken her | in relation to bis (Mr. U's) mileage; and he then callresidence, where the rights of men are best known and ed for the previous question. most regarded, the whole people of Michigan have been But the House refused to second the call: Ayes 38 made the victims of injustice. It is time that it should noes not counted. cease. I trust the House will not adjourn this night with. Mr. UNDERWOOD said that, as there seemed to be out giving a pledge to them, by ils action upon this bill, no disposition in the House now to put a stop to further that their rights are to be respected, without further em debate on this subject, he was willing to gratify them barrassment, vexation, or delay.
with making some observations. And he was ihe more Mr. STORER spoke in opposition to the bill.
disposed to do this, because he thought that, when the Mr. A. MANN said that, believing that Michigan was House had heard what he had to say, they would find entitled to come into the Union under the conditions con.
the necessity of adopting the resolution. tained in the bill of the last session, and believing that, The amendment of the gentleman from Mississippi at this advanced stage of the present session, there was (Mr. CLAIBORNE) proposed the appointment of a select no general disposition to protract the debate, he moved committee to inquire what members of the House had the previous question.
been in attendance on the Supreme Court, and (if he Mr. JENIFER moved a call of the House.
(Mr. U.) understood the purport of the resolution) how Mr. BRIGGS moved that the House adjourn. Mr. B. much money they had made; or, rather, how much mo. desired to inquire from the Chair whether, if the motion ney had been drawn from the public Treasury for time to adjourn prevailed, the motion of the gentleman from during which they were not in attendance here. He had New York would not come up first in order when the no objection to the resolution, if the gentleman from bill was again taken up.
Mississippi would offer it as a distinct proposition, so ay The SPEAKER said it would.
not to throw obstacles in the way of obtaining the proper And the question being taken, the motion to adjourn light in relation to the bill which would come up for prevailed: Ayes 83, noes 37.
consideration. If the gentleman was sincere in his propSo the House adjourned.
osition, why not offer the amendment as a resolution,
when bis Siate should be called in its order? WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25.
There was one aspect, however, in which be (Mr. William Herod, elected a member of this llouse to U.) disapproved of the inquiry, and which he thought fill the vacancy occasioned by the lamented death of Mr.
the gentleman from Mississippi had overlooked. The KINNARD, appeared, was qualified, and took his seat.
amendment seemed to contain an imputation against the
practice, on the part of members of Congress, of attendMILEAGE OF MEMBERS.
ing this court. He (Mr. U.) believed that the practice The unfinished business of the morning bour was the of representing the people of the several States, and the following resolution, heretofore offered by Mr. UNDER States themselves, before this tribunal, ought to be sanc.
tioned rather than suppressed. Mr. U. here alluded to “ Resolved, That the Clerk be directed to lay before the many questions of grave importance, involving the Ibis House a statement showing the mileage claimed and interest of the several States, which were constantly the sums paid therefor, to the members of this House brought before the Supreme Court; and argued that the and the Delegates from Territories, respectively, during representatives of the people of those States were much the last and present session of Congress; and that he al. better calculated to manage these questions to advan80 procure and lay before this House a similar statement tage, from their possessing a more perfect knowledge in regard to the Senators in Congress.”
of the local laws and policy of the several States, than To which Mr. CLAIBORNE, of Mississippi, heretofore resident counsel here could possibly be. The State of offered the following amendment:
Kentucky had not only sanctioned this practice, but had “And be it further resolved, That a select committee herself retained and paid fees to her members of Conof five be appointed, with power to send for persons gress to altend at this court, and vindicate the claims of and papers, to inquire into and report to this House her citizens. what deduction, if any, the members of the House of As to the amendment of the gentleman from Arkansas, Representatives bave made in tbeir accounts for per diem (Mr. YELL,) Mr. U. thought it was liable to the same obcompensation when absent in attendance upon the Su. jection of irrelevancy as the other. He thought, also, that preme Court of the United States, or on the courts of if any practical good was expected to result from this adjacent States, or on their own private business else- amendment, the gentleman should have extended it to where,”
the subject of mileage as well as to the reduction of pay. To which amendment Mr. Yell heretofore offered the Mr. Ü. moved for the yeas and nays on the adoption following amendment:
of the amendment. “ And that said committee be instructed to inquire Mr. BELL said that he thought, after the experiment into the expediency of providing by law for reducing of the gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. UNDERWOOD,] the compensation allowed to members of Congress to he (Mr. U.) should be satisfied that the House was not six dollars per diem; and also into the expediency of disposed immediately to act upon, or, at least, to adop: providing by law for the removal of the seat of Govern this resolution. That this resolution should become the ment of the United States to some point on the Ohio or back subject of the morning hour, was unfortunate bott Mississippi river, on or before the 1st day of January, for the feeling and the character of the House. It was 1840."
however, taking that direction now. That such a reso Tbe pending question was on the amendment to the lution could pass was an idea which he had not for a mo amendment.
ment entertained; not from any improper motive on the Mr. UNDERWOOD said if he could perceive that part of the House, but from feelings which were honor there was any disposition to take the question on his res able to it. He did not impugn the motives of the gen olution without further debate, he would move the pre tleman from Kentucky. He spoke from the experienc vious question upon it, after he had made a brief state. he had of similar questions to those, which had bee ment personally affecting bimself.
beretofore submitted to the House. The object of tbs
JAN. 25, 1837.)
Freedom of Elections.
(H. OF R.
gentleman was to correct the unequal rate of mileage Whereas complaints are also made that officers of ihe an object patriotic and proper. He (Mr: B.) would like United States, or persons holding offices or employto see it accomplished, and be trusted that it would ul ments under the authority of the same, are in the habit timately be adopted by the vote of a majority of the of intermeddling in elections, both State and Federal, House, without casting imputation upon any members otherwise than by giving their votes; and whereas such wbo, in the opinion of other members, might have taken a practice is a violation of the freedom of elections, and en extra mileage. A bill was now upon the table, on its a gross abuse, which ought to be discountenanced by third reading, which, when it came up, could be so mod. the appointing power, and prohibited by law; and ified as to embrace this desirable object-the equalisa Whereas complaints are also made that, pending the tion of the mileage.
That the mileage was at present late election of President and Vice President of the Uniunequal was a fact acknowledged on every side.' What ted States, offices and employments were distributed necessity existed, then, for adopting this resolution now? and conferred, in many instances, under circumstances Why should the same subject be brought twice under affording a strong presumption of corruption, or that discussion? Some gentlemen argued ibat the way to they were conferred as the inducements to, or the re. correct the evil would be to publish the statement of the ward of, influence employed, or to be employed, in said mileage of all members. That was already done at the election; and whereas such a practice, in the administraend of each session; and that object, therefore, was tion of the patronage of the Government, will speedily mainly accomplished. He thought the subject had bet- destroy the purity and freedom of the elective franchise, ter be discussed when the bill on the table should come and undermine the free system of government now hapup. With this view, he would move to lay the resolution pily established in these United States: Therefore, io and amendments on the table.
prevent the recurrence of any practices which may give Mr. LANE called for the yeas and nays on that mo rise to similar complaints in future, tion; which the House refused to order.
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senale and House of Rep. And the question being taken, the resolution and resentatives of the United States of America in Congress asamendments were ordered to lie on the table: Yeas 95, sembled, That from and after the fourth day of March, mays not counted.
one thousand eight hundred and thirly-seven, no officer, Resolutions were then called for, commencing where agent, or contractor, or other person, holding any office the call was last suspended.
or employment of trust or profit, under the constitution
and laws of the United States, shall, by the contribution FREEDOM OF ELECTIONS.
of money, or other valuable thing, or by the use of the Mr. BELL said he rose for the purpose of submitting franking privilege, or the abuse of any other official A motion, of which he had given so many notices, for privilege or function, or by threats and menaces, or in leave to introduce a bill to secure the freedom of elec. any other manner, intermeddle with the election of any tions; but he had himself felt so much of the inconven- member or members of either House of Congress, or of lence and disadvantage under which gentlemen labored the President or Vice President of the United States, or who had held resolutions for some time which they could of the Governor or other officer of any State, or of any not have an opportunity to present, ihat be was disposed member or members of the Legislature of any State; and bow, after having submitted his motion, to move that, every such officer or other person offending therein under the indulgence of the House, every gentleman shall be held to be guilty of a high misdemeanor, and, who had resolutions to offer stiould now offer them, pro. upon conviction in any court of the United States having vided they would not create debate. If no gentlemen jurisdiction thereof, shall pay a fine not exceeding one were desirous to present such resolutions, he was ready thousand dollars; and any officer other than the Presihow to proceed with his observations.
deni, Vice President, and judges of the courts of the No resolution having been offered,
United States, so convicted, shall be thereupon removed Mr. VANDERPOEL rose to a point of order. He from office, and shall be ever after incapable of holding wished to inquire whether a motion for leave to bring in any office or place of trust under the authority of the 1 bill was debatable.
United States: Provided, That nothing herein contained The CHAIR said he thought it was. The gentleman shall be so construed as to interfere with the right of had a right to state the character of the bill.
suffrage, as secured by the constitution: And provided, Mr. BELL then said that the remarks which he had further, That nothing herein contained shall so operate intended to submit might perhaps be better comprehend. as to prevent the President, or the head of any departed if he were to send to the Chair, to be read, the bill ment who is vested by law wi:h the power of appointing and preamble which he proposed to read. If the Chair inferior officers, from removing from office, at any time, thought the proceeding regular, Mr. B. would be glad any incumbent whom the President, or the head of a de. that the preamble and bill should be read.
partment, as the case may be, sball be satisfied has interThe CHAIR said that the regular way would be to meddled in any election, State or Federal. take the sense of the House whether the same should be feed for the information of the House.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, 'That from and after
the fourth day of March, one thousand eight hundred And the question being taken, the sense of the House and this ty-seven, no officer who, by the constitution and was declared in favor of the reading.
laws of the United States, is authorized to appoint, or The preamble and bill were accordingly read, as fol nominate and appoint, any officer or agent of the Gov.
ernment, shall, by himself, or by any other person or A bill to secure the freedom of elections.
persons in his behalf, give, or procure to be given, or Whereas complaints are made that officers of the Uni- promise to give or procure to be given, any office, place, and States, or persons holding offices and employments or employment, to any person or persons whatsoever, under the authority of the same, other than the heads of with intent to corrupt or bribe him or them, or upon le chief executive Departments, or such officers as stand agreement that such person or persons to whom, or for * the relation of constitutional advisers of the President, whose use, or on whose behalf, such gift or promise shall bave been removed from office, or dismissed from their be made, shall exert his or their influence in any elecployment, upon political grounds, or for opinion's tion, or by himself or themselves, or by any other person makes and whereas such a practice is manifestly a viola or persons, at his or their solicitations, endeavor to se. um of the freedom of elections, an attack upon the pub. cure the clection of any person or persons to represent le liberty, and a high misdemeanor; and
any Slate, or any district in any State, in Congress, or of
H. OF R.]
Freedom of Ecdctions.
[Jan. 25, 1837.
any person to be President or Vice President of the Uni- been given and distributed as the wages of political ted States, or of any person to be Governor or other of profligacy—the rewards of hireling service in the sup. ficer of any State, or of any person or persons to be a port of particular and favorite candidates. I know the member or members of the Logislature of any State; and extent of the responsibility I assume in making this every such officer offending therein shall be held to be charge. I know full well the difficulty which always guilty of a high misdemeanor, and, upon conviction in attends an attempt to make proof of any such charge, any court of the United States having jurisdiction there. when there is so much power to influence and intimiof, shall pay a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars; date on the one hand, and none, often, even to protect, and any officer, other than the Presiden', or the judges on the other. I know how often it happens that a whole of any of the courts of the United States, so convicted, community are convinced in their own minds, from cirshall be thereupon removed from office, and shall be in cumstances known to exist, that crime has been perpecapable, ever after, of holding any office or place of trated, yet the accuser is foiled in making out his charge trust under the authority of the United States; and every by clear and positive proof. But, after taking a full person who shall receive or accept, by himself, or by view of the responsibility I incur, I here solemnly reany other person or persons in trust for, or in behalf of, affiron the charge implied in the last clause of the preBuch person, any office, place, or employment, with the amble to the bill which I have submitted for the coninteni aforesaid, shall be held to be guilty of a misdesideration of the House. I beg leave to explain the meanor, and, upon conviction in any court of the United ground I mean to occupy in making this charge. I am States having jurisdiction thereof, shall pay a fine not not so illiberal as to infer a corrupt motive in giving or reexceeding one thousand dollars, be removed or dismiss.ceiving an office, during an exciting election, from the ed from such office, place, or employment, and shall be circumstance that the politics of the parties are the same, incapable, ever after, of holding any office or place of even when the person receiving the appointment is an trust under the authority of the United States.
active partisan. Officers must be appointed; the apSec. 3. And be it further enacted, that the several fines pointing power must be exercised; and when the per. imposed by this act shall, when collected, be paid into sons appointed are honest and capable, I have never the Treasury, as other moneys belonging to the United complained that they were selected from among political States.
friends. But, sir, when appointments are made from After the reading had been concluded,
among political opponents, who thereupon suddenly Mr. BELL addressed the House as follows:
change their politics, and become political adherents, or Mr. Speaker: In moving for leave to introduce the when the new convert from his late principles receives bill that has just been read for the information of the an office at the hands of his new political associates, ! House, I have been actuated by a motive which, I know, maintain that this is the highest and most conclusive evi. will be more acceptable to honorable members than dence of a corrupt understanding which the nature of merely to lay the foundation of a speech for ephemeral such a transaction admits. I have said as much upon effect, here or elsewhere. My object is, sincerely, this point as I designed on the opening of the subject. I temperately, but earnestly, to call the attention of boib may recur to it again before I sit down. sides of this House, and of the country, to the expe (Here Mr. Bell was interrupted by a call for the ordiency, the eminent expediency, not to say the necessi- ders of the day. Next day Mr. B. continued his speech.) ty, of immediate legislation upon the subject which it I have said enough, I hope, to satisfy the House that brings to view.
I do not intend to raise an idle clamor, based upon vague I admit the obligation of every gentleman upon this and unsupported charges or rumors. Supposing them foor, who ventures to bring forward charges of a grave for a moment to be true, is there a man who hears me nature, and upon which be proposes to call forth the who does not agree that the subject is of such magniaction of the House, to be sure that they are not un. Sude, and the evils so alarming, as to demand immediate founded in fact, and to take care tbat he may not be attention and redress? justly charged with an attempt to create unjust and false But, before I proceed furtber, I wish to anticipate an impressions, for pariy effect, or merely to gratify some objection as to the time at wbich I have thought proper unworthy passion to this respect, I feel that I stand to bring forward this measure. Many gentlemen, feel. upon perfectly sure ground. As to the allegations of ing the pressure of the great variety of business demandimproper practices and abuses, set forth or implied in ing the action of the blouse, and considering the short the preamble to the bill, I stand prepared to prove them period within which the session must necessarily terall by such evidence as would be satisfactory to any jury minate, may desire that this subject should be postponed of honest men; and I challenge the opportunity, under until another Congress. It is my opinion, sir, that there the authority and in the name of this House, to do so, is no time so fit as the present. The new administration to the satisfaction of the whole country. As to some of not yet committed, in practice, to the support of the the abuses assumed to exist in the preamble, I believe I abuses complained of. These charges cannot, there. will not be put to the proof. The practice which has fore, be construed into an attack upon it; and I take obtained to some, I believe I may say to a considerable this occasion to say that, for one, it is my intention to extent, of removals from office upon political grounds, give to the new administration every support to which or for opinion's sake, will not, I imagine, be denied by the members of it shall entitle tbemselves by the merit genilemen representing the Middle and Northern of their measures. I shall endeavor, as far as poss ble, Stales. Still, I may revert to this point again, inasmuch to forget the very exceptionable circumstances and inas in some sections of the country it has been denied Muences wbich brought them into power, in order that that such a practice has obtained, under this adıninis. | my judgınent may not be improperly biased. I am the tration, to any extent. I presume, sir, it will scarcely more inclined to this course, because, for any thing I be denied that a large proportion of the officers of the now see in the condition of parties, those who are now Federal Government, from the President down to the in power will be likely to govern the country for a long lowest grade of persons employed in its service, have time to come. At all events, the elements of opposition interfered, of late, in all federal elections, directly, must undergo a considerable modification, there must openly, and indus! riously. Then, the only charge im be further decompositions, different combinations, new plied in the preamble of the bill which may call for ex trials of political affinities, and a recasting of parts among planation, or proof, is, that, in the late election of Presi. the actors in the political drama--before there can be dent and Vice President, offices and employments have l any just ground to hope for success in opposing the ex