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Feb. 18 to 21, 1831.) General Appropriation Bill.-- Turkish Negotiation.--Internal Improvements. [SENATE. Mr. T. said he should have been willing to have let the
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19. provision stand in the bill as it was reported, but it cer The Chair presented a letter from William A. Davis, of tainly went further than he was aware of.
Washington, in which he proposes to furnish five hunMr. CHAMBERS said, from his present situation in re- dred copies of the laws of the United States, in seven lation to this bill, he felt somewhat embarrassed and re-volumes, including those relating to the District of Columstrained in relation to his action upon it. The question bia, and the various treaties made by the United States certainly involved a great principle; and in order that the with foreign Powers, as well as with the Indians, aftwenty views of gentlemen might be deliberately made and calmly dollars per set, or one thousand copies at eighteen dollars expressed, in order to give ample time for its considera
per set; which was laid on the table. tion, he would move to lay the bill on the table for the
Mr. BARNARD presented two memorials from upwards present.
of five hundred citizens of the city of Philadelphia, enThe motion was agreed to; and,
gaged in the manufacture of iron, praying that the duties On motion of Mr. WHITE, the Senate went into the on foreign iron may not be reduced or rescinded; which consideration of executive business; and, after some time
was referred. spent therein,
THE TURKISH NEGOTIATION. The Senate adjourned.
The Senate resumed the consideration of the amendFRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18.
ments to the general appropriation bill--the question being
on Mr. TAZEWELL's motion to strike from the sixth amend. Agreeably to notice given, Mr. BURNET asked and ment of the Committee of Finance the compensation proebtained leave to introduce a bill declaring the assent of posed for the negotiation of the Turkish treaty. Congress to an act of the General Assembly of the State Mr. TAZEWELL was entitled to the foor; but, with of Ohio, therein recited; which was twice read, and re-his consent, Mr. ELLIS moved to lay the bill and amendferred.
ments on the table, with a view to going into the consideraMr. WOODBURY gave notice that he would, to-mor- tion of executive business. row, introduce a joint resolution, relative to a subscription, Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, remarked, that there would on the part of Congress, to a stereotype edition of the be no money to meet demands at the treasury until the laws of the United States.
Mr. ELLIS withdrew his motion.
Mr. KANE then submitted an amendment, to the folThe Senate then took up the general appropriation bill, lowing effect: together with the amendments reported by the Committee To strike out the items proposed by Mr. TAZEWELL to of Finance of the Senate.
be stricken out, and to insert, in lieu thereof, the following: The sixth amendment was as follows:
“ To the persons heretofore employed in our inter“For the outfit and salary of an envoy extraordinary course with the Sublime Porte, the further sum of $15,000, and minister plenipotentiary; for the salaries of a secretary in addition to the sum of $25,000, appropriated for the of legation; of a drogoman and a student of languages at contingent expenses of foreign intercourse." Constantinople, and for the contingent expenses of the le
Mr. ELLIS then renewed his motion; and the bill and gation, $74,000; that is to say, for the outfit of an envoy amendments were laid on the table, and the Senate went extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, $9,000; for into secret session, and remained with closed doors until salary of the same, $9,000; for salary of a secretary of le- the hour of adjournment. gation, $2,000; for the salary of a drogoman, $2,500; for the salary of a student of languages, $1,500; for the con
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21. tingent expenses of the legation, $50,000. ("For compensation to the commissioners employed in
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS. negotiating a treaty with the Sublime Porte.
Mr. HAYNE rose, and remarked, that, at the opening * To Charles Rhind, an outfit of $4,500, deducting of the present session, the message of the President of therefrom whatever sum may have been paid to him for the United States contained a clause relative to internal his personal expenses.
improvements, which was referred to the committee on "To Charles Rhind, David Oley, and James Biddle, that subject. His object in rising at this time was to ask at the rate of $4,500 per annuin for the time that each of of the chairman of that committee whether the committee them was engaged in the said negotiation.
would make a report on the subject during the present “ For compensation to the commissioners employed on session. a former occasion for a similar purpose.
Mr. HENDRICKS (chairman of the Committee on In. “To William M. Cranc and David Offey, at the rate ternal Improvements) said he could only reply, [he had of $4,500 per annum for the time that each of them was heard the gentleman from South Carolina indistinctly] that engaged in the said negotiation.”]
he could not say whether the committee would report or Mr. TAZEWELL moved to strike out the part above not at this session. He, for one, was not in favor of sub. included in brackets, and this motion gave rise to a debate mitting an abstract report on the subject. At the instance which occupied the Senate until past four o'clock, in the of the Senator from Virginia, (Mr. TYLER,] the matter had course of which allusion was made to the Panama mission, been referred to the committee of which he was chairand the power of the President denied to appoint com- man, and he had no doubt that gentleman could give the missioners to conclude a treaty without submitting to the Senate more information on the subject than it was in his Senate the appointment, for confirmation, at the next ensu- power to do. ing session after the appointment. The gentleman who Mr. TYLER said he was of opinion it was due to the participated in the debate were Messrs. TazewELL, CHAM- President to make some response on the subject named, BERS, Smith, of Maryland, BELI, KANE, King, and San- which had been noticed in his message. He himself had
devoted considerable time in the preparation of a report To give an opportunity for Mr. Tazewell to reply to on the subject, which he had intended to present to the gentlemen opposed to his motion to strike out that part of Senate; and he remarked, on the importance of a direct the amendment before noticed,
answer to the message of the President.
There was no The Senate adjourned.
reason to doubt that the draft of a report, which had been
prepared by him, would have been satisfactory to the who witness my present condition, to pardon this ungrateSenate, and to the people. He had received the co-opera- ful obtrusion upon their attention. tion of the Senator from Mississippi (Mr. PoindEXTER] In moving to expunge that portion of the amendment in the committee, though that gentleman and himself being proposed by the committee, which goes to provide for in the minority, they had been overruled. He felt this the payment of “an outfit and salaries” to “ the commisexplanation due to himself. Whether a report would be sioners," appointed as well by the late as by the present made, must, then, of course, depend on the majority of President, " to negotiate a treaty with the Sublime Porte," the committee. He had taken this opportunity to shake I stated most explicitly that it was not my purpose to off all responsibility, so far as he was concerned. deny to these persons the money which the committee
Mr. DÚDLEY said that the gentleman from Virginia proposed to award as compensation for the services they was correct in what he had stated. He could not, how-were supposed to have rendered; but that my object ever, sanction the report prepared by that gentleman, and was to express, in this manner, my own decided disapprowas, for himself, of opinion that it would be better for bation of what had been done in this behalf, as well as of the committee to make no report on the subject. the mode in which this remuneration was now proposed
Mr. HAYNE suggested, for the consideration of the to be awarded to them. I said, that if a bill having for committee, that when they had arrived at the conclusion its object the compensation of these persons, should be not to make a report, it would be well for them to move introduced into the other House, where it ought to origito be discharged from the further consideration of the nate, and should receive the sanction of that body, such subject.
a bill would meet my cordial support here, even if it Mr. HENDRICKS said, a motion like the one just sug- should bestow upon these individuals more than the comgested, he might probably have made, but for his opinion mittee proposed to allow them by their amendment. This that it would lead to a debate, tedious and unprofitable. explicit declaration, repeated more than once, I had supHe had no disposition unnecessarily to consume the time of posed, would have protected me against the imputation that body. There were matters for consideration before of the Senator from New York, (Mr. Sanfonn, } which was the committee, which he thought were of more importance, strongly implied in the question he propounded, when he and should have the preference. If any member of the so emphatically asked if I meant to claim to the United committee chose to make the motion suggested by the States the full benefit of the labor and time of these gentleman from South Carolina, certainly he should not persons, and deny to them any equivalent therefor. To object to it.
this question, thus asked, I will again answer with equal Mr. POINDEXTER said he had carefully examined emphasis, No. It is not my wish to refuse to these men the draft of a report before referred to, prepared by the one single cent. So far from it, inconsiderable, nay, gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. TYLER,) and he felt it due doubtful, as I believe the benefits to be, which they are to himself to say that he coincided with the views of that supposed to have rendered, yet I will go hand in hand gentleman, as expressed in the report. The question of with the Senator from New York, or any other, in awardconstitutionality was not dwelt upon in it: it had reftrence ing for their service, not a mere quantum meruit, but a to the expediency of involving the nation in a debt which, liberal and ample allowance for all their time and all their in his opinion, could never be paid. The influence which labor, nay, even for their honest though mistaken efforts such an extensive Executive patronage would have upon in this regard. the institutions of the country was also noticed. By rea Having said thus much, I must take the liberty of sig. son of the objections of the gentleman from New York, nifying to the honorable Senator from New York the (Mr. Dudler,] the committee had not agreed upon a re- very wide distinction (which to my own mind is quite obport. No report would be made, therefore, unless that vious) betwcen such a voluntary award of compensation gentleman would concur with the minority of the com- to those who intended well and acted honestly, and voting mittee; and on him, in consequence, would the responsi- an appropriation of money, upon the application of the bility rest.
Executive, in redemption of the faith of the State, said Mr. P. (no other gentleman rising to speak) then re- to be pledged by those who I cannot agree had any marked that there was soine business of a confidential authority so to cominit it. One would be the acknownature left unfinished at the time of adjournment on Sa- ledgment of a debt, of a demand of strict justice, which, turday, and he would now move to go into the considera- although Congress may have the physical power, they tion of executive business. The motion prevailed, and the have not the moral riglit to refuse. The other is a mere Senate sat with closed doors until near four o'clock; when application to our equity, not addressing itself in any The Senate adjourned.
way to our plglited faithi. One is a common exercise
of our power of appropriation, connected with nothing TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22.
but the special merits of the particular case, and consu
tuting no obligatory precedent for any other even of a THE TURKISH COMMISSION.
like kind. The other is a direct sanction of what I be, The Senate resumed the consideration of the amend- liere to be an unconstitutional act of the Executive, and ments to the bill for the support of Government for the a voluntary abandonnent on the part of the Senate of its year 1831; the amendment offered by Mr. Tazewell, and rights and privileges. One mode of proceeding would as further proposed to be amended by Mr. Kaxe, being furnish to the ouier House all the facts existing in the the pending question.
case, and necessary to a correct exercise of their discreMr. TAŽEWELL rose, and addressed the Senate as tion over it. The other is well calculated to mislead follows:
that body, by holding out the idea that the appointment If I had consulted my feelings, rather than my sense of of the persons for whom compensation is thus provided, duty, I certainly should not have made the motion I did a has received the confirmation of the Senate; and that the few days since, by which the discussion then commenced public faith is thereby pledged to award to them the has been produced. In this discussion, the infirmity un- allowance customary upon such occasions. der which I labor prevented me at that time, and, I fear, The Senate cannot fail to understand the broad differ. will still disable me, from doing justice to the subject. ence between the two cases; and, whatever may be their But, as I have commenced the task, (however laborious opinion of the correctness of the principles upon which and even painful it must be in my present situation,) I will this disinction depends, they will nevertheless see in the now endeavor to complete it, confiding in the Senate, distinction itself the reasons for the course I ain disposed who well know how I am connected with this matter, and to pursue.
This course will lead me to co-operate wil
FEB. 22, 1831.]
lingly with the most liberal, in awarding compensation to be exchanged against similar powers to be granted by these individuals for what they have done, whenever that him to others who might equally possess his confidence. subject shall be brought properly before me, but will not To whomsoever this seal was shown, it prored itself. permit me to vote one cent, in the mode now here pro- When recognised by any sovereign, it entitled those who posed.
bore the commission it authenticated, to all the rights, If any Senator, said Mr. T., shall concur with me in privileges, and immunities accorded to the ministers of any the opinion I have thus expressed, that the power which potentate on earth; and authorized them to pledge the has been exercised by the President upon this occasion faith and honor of this nation to the performance of any is not granted, but forbidden to him by the constitution, act within the scope of the full power it purported to be. and that its exercise has been in flagrant violation of the stow. This is the character of the commission granted rights and privileges of this body, conferred upon it for by the President upon the present occasion, a copy of the wisest purposes, then I know that my motion will re- which is now upon our files. ceive support. But if a majority of the Senate shall dif In pursuance of this commission, and of the instructions fer with me in this opinion, it will be rejected, as it ought that accompanied it, Mr. Rhind, one of the commissionto be. In any event, however, I shall have the satisfaction ers, proceeded from New York (where he then was) to of bringing this much vexed question to a conclusion. Constantinople. The other two commissioners were alrea. Presented as it now is, it must be decided one way or the dy near the scene of action; one of them being the com. other. There exists no mode of eluding it. It is the mander of our squadron in the Mediterranean sea, and the conviction of this, which gives to the present discussion other a commercial agent of the United States, resident all the interest it has for me; and which alone could have at Smyrna. Arrived at Constantinople, Mr. Rhind exinduced me to trespass upon the attention of the Senate hibited his commission to the Sultan, was received and at this time.
accredited as the representative of the United States, and It has now been so long since I presented to the Senate bis proposal to negotiate a treaty was accepted. Other a statement of the facts existing in this case, out of which ministers, clothed with equal authority, were then appointthe questions I mean to discuss arise, that it seems neces. ed by the Turkish monarch, to confer with him upon this sary to preface what I have to say by a brief recital of subject. They met, exchanged their powers, and began them again, that none may suppose I am about to waste the business of negotiation. This was terminated by a your time by an ille dissertation upon some mere abstract treaty, which, although it bears date early in May, 1830, proposition, which, whether true or false, is of little con. I will presently show was not concluded until several sequence to the country. I hope, therefore, that the weeks afterwards. Senate will favor me with their attention, while I repeat The Senate of the United States met on the first Monday the statement formerly given.
in December, 1829, and continued in session until the last Between the Ottoman empire and the United States no Monday (being the 31st day) of May, 1830. During this political connexion, or diplomatic relation of any kind, whole period, no information of these appointments was ever existed, from the hour which gave birth to this re. ever communicated to this body, nor were they at any public as an independent sovereignty, until the year 1829. time consulted, in any form whatever, as to the propriety it is true, ineffectual attempts were made to establish such of instituting this mission. The message of the President relations and connexions, by both the Adamses while they to both Houses, at the opening of the present session of presided in our Government. But the effort of the elder Congress, in announcing that a treaty had been entered Adams, although approved by the Senate, failed, by rea. into with the Sublime Porte, gave the first intimation to son of the refusal of the minister appointed by him to any Senator, that any negotiation had ever been had with accept his appointment, and the subsequent abandonment that Power. of this scheme by those with whom it originated. And Such are the facts existing in this case, as every meni. the secret efforts of the late President to establish such ber of the Senate well knows; and, by these facts, these relations, without the advice or knowledge of the Senate, two questions are presented: Did the President possess also failed, for reasons recently disclosed to this body, to any authority to institute such an original mission during which I will not now make any further allusion. What the recess, and without the advice and consent of the ever may have been the desires of these Presidents, bow- Senate? And if he did, was it not his bounden duty to ever, the fact is imdoubted, as I have stated it to be, that have nomirtated to the Senate at their next session the until the year 1829 there never was any connexion or re. persons he had so appointed during the recess? lation between the United States and the Sublime Porte, The amendment offered by the committee, proposing, more than now exists between the former and the empires as it does, to give “an outfit and salaries" to these “comof China and Japan.
missioners" thus appointed, is a direct affirmation of the In this state of things, on the 12th day of September, President's authority so to appoint them, and an appro1829, and during the recess of the Senate, the present bation of his course in withholding all knowledge of their President caused letters patent to be expedited from the appointments from the Senate. Then, the proposition Department of State, signed by his own proper hand, and involved in my motion is, will the Senate sanction this usurauthenticated by the great seal of the United States, pation of authority, which has been thus exercised in flawhereby ne commissioned the three persons named in the grant derogation of their rights? This is the question; amendment proposed by the committee, to be conimis- and it is vain for us to seek to hide it from ourselves. sioners on the part of the United States, and thereby power has been exeried by the President, without our endowed them with plenipotentiary powers to negotiate advice and consent; and he now comes here, asking an a treaty of commerce and navigation with the Oitoman appropriation of money, as the pledge of our acquiescence Porte.
in, and approbation of, that which he has so done. Ought I beg the Senate to bear in mind that this authority was we to grant the application which bas this object? I pray not conferred upon these persons by any private letter the Senate to consider the matter well, before they agree or warrant written by a Secretary, and intended for their thus voluntarily and forever to surrender their highest own guidance and governance merely; but that it purports privilege, conferred upon them by the constitution for the to be granted by the Chief Magistrate himself, is commu- wisest purposes. nicated to them by letters patent, under his own signa Before I undertake to examine the questions I have stat. ture, authenticated by the great seal of the United States, ed, let me call the attention of the Senate to the nature addressed to all whom they might concern, designed to be and character of what is supposed by some to be the "triexhibited to the inspection of a foreign sovereign, and to fing" power which has been exerted upon this occasion.
(FEB. 22, 1831.
If the President alone, without the advice and consent then, would be another anomaly in our Government; for of the Senate, may originate a mission to a State with which while Congress alone is authorized by the constitution to we have never before had any political connexion or di- declare war, by the mere exercise of this “trifling" power plomatic intercourse, all must concede that he may com- of despatching a minister to a new State, the President pound that mission of what inaterials he may think proper. alone would be authorized to bring about that very state if he may despatch one minister, he has the same autho- of things which the wise authors of that instrument cerrity to send three, as he has done, or five, as was done in tainly intended to commit to the discretion of Congress the negotiations at Ghent, or so many more as he may only. think fit. The same power he possesses to send ministers, Such is the nature, and such may be the effects, of the he must also possess to accompany them with such and so “trifling" power that has been exerted by the President many secretaries, interpreters, students of languages, and upon this occasion, and which we are now asked to apother attachís, as in his discretion he may judge useful to prove, to sanctify, and so to perpetuate in him and his his new legation. And if he may appoint all these, doubt- successors. Let me not be told, as has been more than less he may contract with all and each of the members of insinuated by some, that this vast power will be lodged in this newly recruited corps diplomatique, as to the quan- the discretion of the President; and that we should have tum of the compensation to be paid for their services. so much confidence in the wisdom and virtue of this offiThus he will have an unlimited power to pledge the pub- cer, as to believe that the power will not be abused or lic revenue to any extent he may choose. We shall then exercised indiscreetly. Sir, I never have had, and I never have these strange anomalies in our Government, that the can have, so muchconfidence in any President, as willingly President, who cannot touch one cent even of his own to confide to his unchecked discretion any important salary without the consent of both Houses of Congress, power, with even a hope that it will not be abused. It is may, nevertheless, by his own act, properly create any in the nature of man to covet power, and to abuse that charge upon the treasury in favor of another which he which he has, in order to acquire more; and, of all forms may think proper; and althouglı, as to our long establish- of Government, this elective monarchy of ours is least ed and approved diplomatic connexions, the President calculated to repress this natural proclivity of its tempomust not enlarge the establishments fixed by Congress, rary chief, especially if he desires to retain his place for yet, as to all new relations, bis own discretion is the only another term. Confidence in the discretion of their Es. check upon his own will.
ecutive has ever been the bane of republics, from the Nor is this all. If the President alone, without the ad- earliest day; and I speak in the spirit of our own constivice and consent of the Senate, may originate a new mis- tution when I say that, instead of such confidence, it in. sion to Turkey, a Power with which the United States culcates distrust in every line. Under the influence of never had any political connexion or diplomatic relation, this spirit, I denied the claim to this identical power, when he certainly must have the saine authority as to any other it was asserted by the immediate predecessor of the preState. Then, the moment the Senate adjourns, he may sent incumbent of the Presidential chair; and under the adopt the suggestion of Mr. Rhind, contained in one of same influence I now deny it to him. In the discreet exthe letters now on your table, which has been read, and ercise of all the powers conferred upon him by the constidespatch a troop of diplomatists to Armenia, and another tution, he ever has had, and ever shall have, my sincere to Persia, on missions to which I am very confident the and cordial support; but whenever he oversteps the limit Senate would never give their advice or consent. If the there prescribed, I will oppose his lawless acts with the matter should end here, although I, and the very few same zeal and freedom I have ever heretofore manifested others who still think as I do, might regret this unexpect- upon other like occasions. Has he done so in the instance ed extension of Executive patronage, and useless waste before us? This is the question, to which I now invite of the public treasure, yet it would not be productive pro- the attention of the Senate. bably of much other positive mischief at present. But it Mr. President, whatever may be the opinions of some might not end here.
as to the inherent powers supposed to be enjoyed by this Sir, we live in strange times. Revolutions of Govern- body, or some other departments of this Government, I ment, and the dismemberment of empires, events, which think we must all agree that the Executive has no such formerly were almost of as rare occurrence in the politi- inherent or undefined authority. All his powers must cal world, as those terrible convulsions of the natural be derived under some express grant contained in the conworld, which sometimes have shaken to its centre the stitution. Inherent power in him would be but a courtly globe we inhabit, have of late become quite common in- term to denote prerogative; and the exercise of any incidents. We now feel surprise if our newspapers do not granted authority by him is nothing else than mere usur: furnish us, daily, with the details of some sanguinary civil Pation. Let us then turn to the charter, and see if that conflict, of some new change in long established Govern-contains the concession of any such power as has been ments, or of some divulsion of ancient States and empires. here exerted. Old dominions are almost hourly tottering to their down It is true that the first section of the second article of the fill
, and new sovereignties, springing from their ruin, are constitution vests in the President “the Executive power;" claiming to be recognised as independent members of the and cqually true that the power which
has been exercisgreat family of nations. At such a season as this, while ed upon this occasion, is properly an Executive power: the thunder rolls and the lightning gleams in the distance Therefore, if there was no other provision in the constionly, it becomes us to look well to the ship in which our tution upon the subject than this, no doubt would exist all is embarked. Our country expects every man to do that the President was authorized to do that which he has his duty; and the first duty she enjoins is a faithful observ- done. But the constitution does not stop here. Very ance of the mandates of her constitution. If the Presi- soon after this general grant of the Executive power, and dent alone, without consulting either House of Congress, in the next section of the same article which contains the . may institute an original mission to Turkey, so he may to grant, the constitution proceeds to check and restrain the Greece, to Egypt, to Belgium, or to Poland. Now we power so granted, by prescribing the manner in which all know, not only what might be, but certainly would be, alone the President must exercise it. Thus, in the second the result of this. It would be just cause of war; and the paragraph of the second section of this same second article,it United States would at once be involved in that dreadful declares that " he shall have power, by and with the advice contiict which seems but to wait the return of spring to and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided twodeluge Europe once more with blood, and to threaten the thirds of the Senators present concur."and then, that " he r«pose of all christendom, perhaps of all the workl. Here, shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of
FEB. 22, 1831.]
the Senate, shall appoint, ambassadors, other public minis- the common sense that adopted, this constitution. Original ters and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court; and all existing vacancy, in non-existing and merely potential other officers of the United States, whose appointments offices, like original sin, is a mystery. Faith in revelation are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be may oblige us to adopt the belief of the latter, but each established by Jaw.” Hence it is obvious, that, although surpasses the powers of unaided human reason; and if we the Executive power is vested in the President alone, he yield assent to the former, like good Catholics we must is expressly inhibited from making treaties, (if indeed that say, Credo quia impossibile est. is an Executive power,) or appointing to any office of the If, however, any doubt could exist as to the meaning United States, (which certainly is such,) without the advice of this term “ vacancy,” when regarded alone, all such and consent of the Senate. But the officers in question doubt must vanish when we examine its context, and never have been nominated to the Senate, nor has this consider it in connexion with the other words with which body advised or consented to their appointment in any we find it here associated in the constitution. According way; therefore, the act of the President in conferring to these, it is not every vacancy which the President may these appointments without the concurrence of the Senate fill up without the advice and consent of the Senate, but can derive no sanction or support from this part of the such vacancies only as "may happen;" and which may constitution.
happen too “ during the recess of the Senate.” Now, If this act can be justified at all, its justification must be according to the common signification of the term bappen, sought for in the next paragraph of this same section, it is never applied to denote certain events, but it is which declares that “the President shall have power to applicable to denote such occurrences only as casualty fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of may produce, which are therefore either unforeseen, or if the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire seen, as possible in themselves, are quite uncertain as to at the end of their next session.” This is the only part the time of their occurrence. We should not speak of the constitution which has affinity to, or connexion reverently certainly, should we say that the sun happens with, the power in question. Let me then inquire whe- to rise, or that the tides happen to change. There is ther the desired justification can be found here.
nothing fortuitous in these events; they are foreseen, The general rule is such, as I have read it from the con- foreknown, and must occur, until it pleases Him who has stitution, that appointments to office must be made by the so ordained, to change the order of his own providence. President “by and with the advice and consent of the With as little propriety might we say that our chief Senate.”. Under this rule, the President alone has no magistracy happens to be clective, or the tenure of our more authority to appoint without nominating to the Se- judicial offices bappens to be during good behavior. pate, than the Senate have to advise the appointment of These things too are pre-ordained, and must exist while one not nominated by him. The exception to this rule is the constitution remains unaltered. Yet we may well contained in the clause I have just read. But to bring say of the death, resignation, removal, or disability of the case within the purview of this exception, and so to an officer, that it happens; because, even where the event take it out of the operation of the rule, these three things is certain, the time of its occurrence is unknown) and must occur: There must be a vacancy-this vacancy must uncertain. have happened—and this happening must have taken But if we could refer this term “happen,” which place during the recess of the Senate. Unless all these denotes casualty only, to the occurrence of events prethings concur, the President can find no support for the ordained by the constitution itself, still the happening of power he has exercised, in this exception. Now I under- such events must take place during the recess of the take to show that, instead of the concurrence of all these Senate, to enlarge the general power of the President. events, not one of them existed on the 12th day of Sep-Then, if we could adopt as real this mere vision of extember, 1829, when these appointments were made by isting vacancy in non-existing but possible offices, we the President alone.
should not aid him much by such a subtle refinement. Mr. President, as this constitution was certainly intend. For even if the office always existed potentially, it was ed by its authors to be exhibited to the people, to the end always actually vacant, until it was once filled; and who that it might be read and understood by them, in order can properly affirm of such an original and eternal that, when understood, if approved, it might be adopted vacancy, that it happened during the recess of the Senate, by them, I have ever believed that the true rule of con- rather than during its session? Unless it happened during struing it was to give to all its familiar terms their popu- the recess of the Senate, however, the President has no lar signification at the time of its adoption. In that sense, power to fill it up without their advice and consent. such terms were probably first used; in that sense, they Mr. President, this question is much too important, as were certainly afterwards understood; and, being adopted I have shown, I think, for me to permit it to rest even in that sense, their signification should ever afterwards reo here. What I have said, I should consider as sufficient main unchanged. If this is not so, then indeed is the con upon any ordinary occasion; but I will endeavor to make stitution" a mere nose of wax," which may be pressed it so plain, that tliere shall not remain a loop whereon to into any shape, not only by designing and ambitious states- hang a doubt. men, but by every drivelling philologist or moon-struck It is a sound and obvious rule for the construction of metaphysician who may choose to amuse himself by a dis- every instrument, that where the same words are repeated sertation upon the ever-varying meaning of words. in it, they must always receive the same interpretation.
Trying the provision I am now considering by this rule, Therefore, whenever we can fix their signification beI ask of every honorable Senator here present, if any yond doubt, in any one instance, that meaning must ever doubt ever did exist among the people of the State he afterwards be attached to them, when they again occur, represents, as to the meaning of the terms “vacancy in unless the context shall plainly show that they were used office.”. Throughout our whole land, their meaning was in a different sense. Now an inspection of the constituand is the same. Every where, and at all times, except in tion will show that the words used in the clause I am yonder public edifices, they have been considered as de- now examining, have been used twice before in the same noting an actually existing office, which, having been instrument. They are there used, too, linder circumstances once filled, by some cause has afterwards lost its incum- which defy doubt as to their signification; and their true bent, and is so made vacant. The idea of actual vacancy, interpretation has been fixed and settled, not only by the in mere possible offices, which never had been, and never decisions of this body, but by the uniform and unvarying might be filled, is much too subtle to have been suggested practice in all the States, from the year 1789 to this by the wisdom which dictated, and much too refined for hour. In this practice, cvery one, and at all times, has