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made to a committee of their own body, or to an agent responsible to them, and subject to their supervision. Congress could not delegate, and therefore are not to be presumed to have delegated that power to the executive. Such a law would be unconstitutional and void. The act of Congress did delegate to the secretary a discretion properly their own, to remove these deposits. That discretion Congress intended he should exercise, when the deposits should be removed by him. It was his discretion, then, that should have been exercised, not the discretion of the President. Yet for the conscientious exercise of that discretion he was removed by the President, and the deposits were withdrawn from the bank, contrary to the judgment he gave in exercising that discretion. If it be true, then, that the President has assumed and exercised that discretion which Congress has reposed in the secretary, and could not constitutionally confer on the President, it irresistibly follows that the President has usurped the discretion and duties of the secretary. And it is precisely because it was such an usurpation, that the Secretary and President equivocate concerning their respective action on the subject, when they come before Congress. Now it is not the President who has removed the deposits, nor was it done upon his responsibility, but it is the secretary, Mr. Taney, and it was done upon his responsibility. It cannot be that such an evasion can avail. He that, as a legislator, will say that Mr. Taney, and not the President, removed these deposits, could, as a judge, say that a will was executed by a living testator, although one devisee supported his lifeless corse while another guided the hand which wrote the testament.
And how, sir, let me next inquire, is this usurpation excused or justified? Solely by the conceded power of the President to remove and appoint the Secretary of the Treasury, and his general duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed. Grant this a sufficient justification, and what follows? The President has unlimited command over the treasury. Upon the Secretary of the Treasury, and, therefore, according to the principle assumed, upon the President it is devolved to collect, preserve, and disburse the entire revenues. The Secretary at War, it is conceded on all hands, is an executive officer, and equally subordinate. It requires but little imagination to suppose what might have been done, (and if the position assumed by the President be true, lawfully done,) at another Cabinet council. "Rally the army," the Presi
dent might say to the Secretary of War, "that I may put myself at their head." The secretary refuses. "Colonel Benton, my gallant friend, will you issue the order?" “Ay, I will do anything to serve under such a chief."" "Sir, you are Secretary of War." The army is rallied. "An order for ten millions, on my responsibility, not on your oath," (says the President to the Secretary of the Treasury.) The conscientious secretary refuses. "Mr. Taney, you are Secretary of the Treasury," replies the President, and the order is instantly given. Such are the powers of the President of the United States, as assumed in these documents. And now, when Congress shall have conceded the power claimed, will gentlemen tell me where on the face of this earth is despotism to be found, if it be not here? Louis Philippe owed his elevation to the throne of France to his declaration to the citizens of Paris through General Lafayette, that he believed the Constitution of the United States the best that had ever been conceived. Sir, if this is that Constitution, it is more despotic than the prerogatives for which Louis XVI. suffered on the guillotine.
The usurpation of the secretary's powers is not the most alarming feature in this unprecedented transaction. It is the defiance of the supervisory power of Congress uttered by the President of the United States. Yes, sir, in this very document, under the President's own hand, we are told that the power of the secretary over these deposits is unqualified, and as the secretary is in all things responsible to the executive, it follows that the power of the President over them is also unqualified.
It is true the President, with the meekness of Cæsar, when he thrice refused the crown upon the Lupercal, regrets and is surprised to find his duties so great. But he does not shrink from the responsibility devolved upon him. Sir, have we lost sight of our Constitution? Or, in truth, have we none? Congress have sole and sovereign control over these deposits, the revenues of the nation. One year ago, this administration, "which you approve," thought so. Witness the communication of Mr. McLane to Congress, informing them that he had instituted an inquiry into the safety of the deposits, and recommending the subject to their consideration. That investigation was had, both in Congress and by the agent, and upon consideration and debate, the House of Representatives instructed the secretary not to remove the de
posits. Thus baffled in procuring from Congress the desired order for the removal, the President caused them to be removed upon his own responsibility, and says that although he submitted the matter to Congress, it was not to ask their action, but to procure that very advice which he defies.
So insulting a defiance, so bold an assumption of legislative power, might possibly be excused by urgent motives or by stern necessity. Sir, what are the motives alleged, and what was the necessity for this precipitant and violent departure from the constitutional limits of the executive prerogative? Was it to save the public money in danger of being wasted? No; that is not alleged. But to save the country from "the commercial distress which must ensue," if the deposits should be suffered to remain where by law they were required to be deposited until the expiration of the charter of the bank, "and to save the people from the corruption of the bank." These exigencies existed with equal force when the House of Representatives resolved, six months before, that the deposits ought to remain in the bank. Congress was to meet within sixty days after the time appointed for the removal, and if they had strangely overlooked these exigencies, there would then have been ample time to apply the remedy. There was then no extreme necessity for the interposition of the President.
And now I pray senators to consider what it is they are called upon to do? It is to instruct, not our representatives, but the representatives of the people of this state, to ratify and confirm this usurpation, and surrender to one man not only the treasures of this nation, but their own powers and duties with our own. If you will send these instructions, send one more with them. Tell them to forswear the memory of their fathers, their country and their God. You will then have left them no more of evil to commit, no more shame to incur. And who are we, sir, to give these instructions? Ourselves the representatives of that same betrayed people. Sir, I have confessed that I had no hope that any thing I could say would change a single vote in this house. Yet, when my fears are all excited by a view of the ruinous and lasting consequences of this usurpation, and when I reflect on the precipitancy which marks this act, I could kneel before this Senate and implore them, could conjure them by our common
hopes, our common interests, and our common recollections, to pause before the reckless measure be accomplished.
The third resolution is in these words:
Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That we approve of the communication made by the President of the United States to his Cabinet on the eighteenth of September last, and of the reasons given by the Secretary of the Treasury relative to the removal of the deposits."
Sir, to what limit of legislative self-abandonment is it proposed to us to go? Last year, in a debate upon the proceedings of the convention in South Carolina, another senator* and myself protested against adopting, in gross, an argumentative report, although made by a committee of this house. We had the success then, (unusual success for that senator and myself on such occasions,) to prevail upon the Senate to limit their approval to the general views and conclusions of a contradictory and unmeaning report. And what have we now before us? We are called upon to adopt and approve an official document, not of this house, nor even pertaining to this state, merely because it bears the President's name: although, when solemnly called upon by the Senate of the United States, he has refused to acknowledge it; a document for the authenticity of which we have only the imprint of a partisan newspaper; a document contradicted, too, by the other paper with which it is associated in the resolution, and by the annual message of the President to Congress. Sir, we do not pass a bill for a turnpike road, though it be introduced by a member of the house, until it is twice read, referred to a committee, reported upon by them, submitted to a committee of the whole house, and again solemnly read. And yet this document has never been, and in this house never will be, once read; it has been referred to no committee, and we are indebted, we are told, to courtesy to the minority for its being printed one day before we are required to discuss it. Sir, you will search in vain through your voluminous journals for a precedent for such legislation as this. And if you go back to the history of that country from which we derive our forms of legislative proceeding, you will look in vain for a parallel, until you reach the history of that pliant parliament which successively tendered its approval and ratification of the successive marriages and divorces of Henry VIII. Sir, there is no name in this nation which could exact so humiliating a sacrifice of legis
The Hon. Albert H. Tracy.
lative dignity as this, but the name of Andrew Jackson. And now, "in the name of all the gods at once," who is this Andrew Jackson that we 66 must bend our knees if he but look on us nay, that we must thus propitiate the condescension of a look— that, "when he bids" us, aye, unbidden, we must "mark him, and write his speeches in our books?" Is he greater than the father of our country? And yet, in all the enthusiasm of national gratitude for independence bestowed upon us, was never so humiliating a sacrifice offered to WASHINGTON? He, sir, would have spurned the legislature of a free state that would have laid such a resolution at his feet.
Sir, it is settled, whether wisely or unwisely, that the circulating medium of the country must be a paper currency. The condition of that currency concerns every man's weal in the land. When it is unsound, it produces those hard times which we have often only imagined, but are now experiencing. When it is sound, it produces those good times, the enjoyment of which makes us forgetful of the cause which produced them. That currency, when healthful, raises the value of your bank stock; it adds to the value, not only of the annual products of your farms, but of the farms themselves. Upon its condition it may depend whether your merchandise, judiciously prosecuted, shall be profitable or unprofitable, and whether your manufacturing or mechanical operations shall yield a reward for your industry; whether you be able to collect your credits, or pay your debts. That currency has, until recently, been a long time sound and uniform, and the world has never witnessed a scene of greater prosperity than has been exhibited in this country. That currency has, at one period of our history, been diseased, and then it brought on a train of evils for which legislative wisdom in vain tried the efficacy of relief laws; a state of suffering from which there was no escape but the return by the road of penance to a national bank, to produce a healthful and uniform state of the currency. So, sir, it will be now, with the only difference, that the aggravation of our distress will be proportioned to our recent unprecedented prosperity. That currency, sir, obeys no administration; the laws of its action are absolute and certain. It has none of the subserviency of secretaries, of political congresses, or of partisan legislatures. It owes no allegiance to him whom men call King Caucus; it is governed by no usages or customs of "the party." It defies the thunders of govern