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[Jan. 14, 1836.
When these amendments came from the House, and my mind, and felt some solicitude about it, seeing that were read at our table, though they caused a smile, they the session was drawing so near to a close. I took it for were yet adopted, and the law passed, almost with the granted, however, as I had not heard any thing to the rapidity of a comet, and with sometbing like the same contrary, that the amendments of the Senate would not length of tail.
be objected to, and that when a conrenient time should Now, sir, not one of these irregularities or incongrui arrive for taking up the bill in the House, it would be ties, no part of this jumbling together of distinct and passed at once into a law, and we should hear no more different subjects was, in the slightest degree, occa. about it. Not the slightest intimation was given, either sioned by any ihing done, or omitted to be done, on the that the Executive wished for any larger appropriation, part of the Senate. Their proceedings were all regular, or that it was intended in the House to insert such larger iheir decision prompt, their despatch of the public busi- appropriation. Not a syllable escaped from any body ness correct and seasonable. There was nothing of dis- and came to our knowledge, that any further alteration organization, nothing of procrastination, nothing evin- whatever was intended in the bill. cive of a temper to embarrass or obstruct the public At three o'clock in the afternoon of the 3d of March business. If the history which I have now truly given the Senate took its recess, as is usual in that period of shows that one thing was amended by another which the session, until five. At five we again assembled, and had no sort of connexion with it, that unusual expedients proceeded with the business of the Senate until eight were resorted to, and that the laws, instead of arrange. o'clock in the evening; and, at eight o'clock in the ment and symmetry, exbibit anomaly, confusion, and evening, and not before, the Clerk of the House appear. the most grotesque associations, it is nevertheless true ed at our door, and announced that the House of Rep. that no part of all this was made necessary by us. We resentatives had disagreed to one of the Senate's amenddeviated from the accustomed modes of legislation only ments, agreed to others, and to two of those amend. when we were supplicated to do so, in order to supply ments, viz: the fourth and fifth, it had agreed, with an bald and glaring deficiencies in measures which were be. amendment of its own. fore us.
Now, sir, these fourth and fifth amendments of ours But now, Mr. President, let me come to the fortifica. were-one a vote of $75,000 for the castle in Boston har. tion bill, the lost bill, which not only now, but on a bor, and the other a vote of $100,000 for certain de. graver occasion, has been lamented like the lost Pleiad. fences in Maryland. And what, sir, was the addition
This bill, sir, came from the House of Representatives which the House of Representatives proposed to make, to the Senate, in the usual way, and was referred to the by way of "amendment,” to a vote of $75,000 for reCommittee on Finance. Its appropriations were not pairing the works in Boston harbor? Here, sir, it is: large. Indeed, they appeared to the committee to be “ And be it further enacted, That the sum of three quite too small. It struck a majority of the committee, | millions of dollars be, and the same is hereby, appro. at once, that there were several fortifications on the priated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise coast either not provided for at all, or not adequately appropriated, to be expended, in whole or in part, provided for by this bill. The whole amount of its ap- under the direction of the President of the United propriations was $400,000 or $430,000. It contained no States, for the military and naval service, including fortifigrant of three millions, and if the Senate had passed it, cations and ordnance, and increase of the navy: Provided, the very day it came from the House, not only would such expenditures shall be rendered necessary for the there have been no appropriation of the three millions, defence of the country prior to the next meeting of but, sir, none of those other sums which the Senate did Congress." insert in the bill. Others, besides ourselves, saw the This proposition, sir, was thus unexpectedly and sud. deficiencies of this bill. We had communications with denly put to us, at eight o'clock in the evening of the and from the Departments, and we inserted in the bill last day of the session. Unusual, unprecedented, ex. every thing which any Department recommended to us. traordinary, as it obviously is, on the face of it, the We took care to await the proper period, to be sure that manner of presenting it was still more extraordinary. nothing else was coming; and we then reported the bill The President bad asked for no such grant of money; to the Senate with our proposed amendments. Among no Department had recommended it; no estimate bad these amendments, there was a sum of $75,000 for Castle suggested it; no reason whatever was given for it. No Island, in Boston harbor, $100,000 for defences in Mary- emergency had happened, and nothing new had oc. land, &c. These amendments were agreed to by the curred; every thing known to the administration at that Senate, and one or two others added, on the motion of hour, respecting our foreign relations, had certainly members; and the bill, being thus amended, was returned been known to it for days and for weeks before. to the House.
With what propriety, then, could the Senate be called And now, sir, it becomes important to ask when was on to sanction a proceeding so entirely irregular and this bill, thus amended, returned to the House of Rep. 1 anomalous? Sir, I recollect the occurrences of the resentatives? Was it unduly detained here, so that the moment very well, and I remember the impression House was obliged afterwards to act upon it suddenly? which this vote of the House seemed to make all around This question is material to be asked, and material to be the Senate. We had just come out of executive ses. answered, too, and the journal does satisfactorily answer sion; the doors were but just opened; and I hardly reit; for it appears by the journal that the bill was returned member whether there was a single spectator in the hall to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the 24th or the galleries. I had been been at the Clerk's table, of February, one whole week before the close of the and had not reached my seat when the message was session. And from Tuesday, the 24th of February, to read. All the Senators were in the chamber. I heard Tuesday, the 3d of March, we heard not one word from the message certainly with great surprise and astonish. this bill. Tuesday, the 3d of March, was, of course, the ment; and I immediately moved the Senate to disagree last day of the session. We assembled here at 10 or 11 to this vote of the House. My relation to the subject, o'clock in the morning of that day, and sat until three in consequence of my connexion with the Committee in the afternoon, and still we were not informed wheth. on Finance, made it my duty to propose some course, er the House had finally passed the bill. As it was an and I had not a moment's doubt or hesitation what that important matter, and belonging to that part of the pub. course ought to be. I took upon myself, then, sir, the lic business which usually receives particular attention responsibility of moving that the Senate should disagree from the Committee on Finance, Į bore the subject in to this vote, and I now acknowledge that responsibility.
Jan. 14, 1836.]
It might be presumptuous to say that I took a leading time, and he knows that I had come from the conferpart, but I certainly took an early part, a decided part, ence, and was in my seat, at a quarter past eleven. I and an earnest part, in rejecting this broad grant of have no reason to think that he is under any mistake in three millions of dollars, without limitation of purpose this particular. He says it so happened that he had or specification of object; called for by no recommend- occasion to take notice of the hour, and well rememation, founded on no estimate, made necessary by no bers it. It could not well have been later than this, aš state of things which was made known to us. Certain any one will be satisfied who will look at our journals, ly, sir, I took a part in its rejection; and I stand here, public and executive, and see what a mass of business in my place in the Senate, to-day, ready to defend the was despatched after I came from the committees, and part so taken by me; or rather, sir, I disclaim all de- before the adjournment of the Senate. Having made fence, and all occasion of defence, and I assert it as the report, sir, I had no doubt that both Houses would meritorious to have been among those who arrested, at concur in the result of the conference, and looked every the earliest moment, this extraordinary departure from moment for the officer of the House bringing the bill. all settled usage, and, as I think, from plain constitu He did not come, however, and I pretty soon learned tional injunction-this indefinite voting of a vast sum of that there was doubt whether the committee on the money to mere executive discretion, without limit as part of the House would report to the House the agreesigned, without object specified, without reason given, ment of the conferees. At first I did not at all credit and without the least control under heaven.
this; but it was confirmed by one communication after Sir, I am told that, in opposing this grant, I spoke another, until I was obliged to think it true. Seeing that with warmth, and I suppose I may have done so. If I the bill was thus in danger of being lost, and intending, did, it was a warmth springing from as honest a convic- / at any rate, that no blame should justly attach to the tion of duty as ever influenced a public man. It was Senate, I immediately moved the following resolution: spontaneous, unaffected, sincere. There had been “ Resolved, That a message be sent to the honorable among us, sir, no consultation, no concert. There could the House of Representatives, respectfully to remind the have been none. Between the reading of the message House of the report of the committee of conference apand my motion to disagree there was not time enough pointed on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on for any two members of the Senate to exchange five the amendment of the House to the amendment of the words on the subject. The proposition was sudden and Senate to the bill respecting the fortifications of the perfectly unexpected. I resisted it, as irregular, as United States." dangerous in itself, and dangerous in its precedent, as You recollect this resolution, sir, having, as I well wholly unnecessary, and as violating the plain intention, if remember, taken some part on the occasion.* not the express words, of the constitution. Before the This resolution was promptly passed; the Secretary Senate I ihen avowed, and before the country I now carried it to the House, and delivered it.
What was avow, my part in this opposition. Whatsoever is to done in the House on the receipt of this message now fall on those who sanctioned it, of that let me have my appears from the printed journal. I have no wish to full share.
comment on the proceedings there recorded-all may The Senate, sir, rejected this grant by a vote of read them, and each be able to form his own opinion. twenty-nine against nineteen. Those twenty-nine names Suffice it to say, that the House of Representatives, are on the journal; and whensoever the expunging pro- having then possession of the bill, chose to retain that cess may commence, or how far soever it may be car possession, and never acted on the report of the comried, I pray it, in mercy, not to erase mine from that mittee. The bill, therefore, was lost. It was lost in record.' i beseech it, in its sparing goodness, to leave the House of Representatives. It died there, and there me that proof of attachment to duty and to principle. its remains are to be found. No opportunity was given It may draw around it, over it, or through it, black to the members of the House to decide whether they lines, or red lines, or any lines; it may mark it in any would agree to the report of the two committees or not. way which either the most prostrate and fantastical From a quarter past eleven, when the report was spirit of man-worship, or the most ingenious and elab agreed to by the committees, until two or three o'clock orate study of self-degradation may devise, if only it will in the morning, the House remained in session. If at leave it so that those who inherit my blood, or who may any time there was not a quorum of members present, hereafter care for my reputation, shall be able to behold the attendance of a quorum, we are to presume, might it where it now stands.
have been commanded, as there was undoubtedly a great The House, sir, insisted on this amendment. The majority of the members still in the city. Senate adhered to its disagreement. The House asked But now, sir, there is one other transaction of the a conference, to which request the Senate immediately evening which I feel bound to state, because I think it acceded. The committees of conference met, and, in quite important, on several accounts, that it should be a short time, came to an agreement. They agreed to known. recommend to their respective Houses, as a substitute A nomination was pending before the Senate for a for the vote proposed by the House, the following: judge of the Supreme Court. In the course of the sit
“ As an additional appropriation for arming the for- ting that nomination was called up, and, on motion, was tifications of the United States, three hundred thousand indefinitely postponed. In other words, it was rejected; dollars."
for an indefinite postponement is a rejection. The of. “ As an additional appropriation for the repair and fice, of course, remained vacant, and the nomination of equipment of ships of war of the United States, five another person to fill it became necessary. The Presi. hundred thousand dollars."
dent of the United States was then in the Capitol, as is I immediately reported this agreement of the com usual on the evening of the last day of the session, in the mittees of conference to the Senate; but, inasmuch as chamber assigned to him, and with the heads of Depart. the bill was in the House of Representatives, the Senate ments around him. When nominations are rejected could not act further on the matter until the House under these circumstances, it has been usual for the should first have considered the report of the commit President immediately to transmit a new nomination to lees, decided thereon, and sent us the bill. I did not the Senate; otherwise the office must remain vacant till myself take any note of the particular hour of this part the next session, as the vacancy in such case has not of the transaction. The honorable member from Vir. ginia (Mr. Leigu] says he consulted his watch at the . * Mr. King, of Alabama, was in the chair.
(Jan. 14, 1836.
happened in the recess of Congress. The vote of the ment of each successive term; but no hour is fixed by Senate, indefinitely postponing this nomination, was law or practice. The true rule is, as I think, most carried to the President's room by the Secretary of the undoubtedly, that the session holden on the last day conSenate. The President told the Secretary that it was stitutes the last day, for all legislative and legal purmore than an hour past twelve o'clock, and that he poses. While the session commenced on that day concould receive no further communications from the Sen. tinues, the day itself continues, according to the estabate, and immediately after, as I have understood, left lished practice both of legislative and judicial bodies. the Capitol. The Secretary brought back the paper This could not well be otherwise. If the precise mo. containing the certified copy of the vote of the Senate, ment of actual time were to settle such a matter, it and endorsed thereon the substance of the President's would be material to ask, who shall settle the time? answer; and also added that, according to his own Shall it be done by public authority, or shall every man watch, it was a quarter past one o'clock.
observe the tick of his own watch? If absolute time is There are two views, sir, in which this occurrence to furnish a precise rule, the excess of a minute, it is may well deserve to be noticed. One is, a connexion obvious, would be as fatal as the excess of an hour. Sir, which it may perbaps have with the loss of the fortifica no bodies, judicial or legislative, have ever been so tion bill; the other is its general importance, as intro- hypercritical, so astute to no purpose, so much more ducing a new rule, or a new practice, respecting the nice than wise, as to govern themselves by any such intercourse between the President and the Houses of ideas. The session for the day, at whatever hour it Congress, on the last day of the session.
commences, or at whatever hour it breaks up, is the On the first point I shall only observe that the fact of legislative day. Everything has reference to the the President's having declined to receive this commu commencement of that diurnal session. For instance, nication from the Senate, and of his having left the this is the 14th day of January; we assembled here toCapitol, was immediately known in the House of Rep. day at 12 o'clock; our journal is dated January 14th, resentatives; that it was quite obvious that if he could and if we should remain here until five o'clock to-mornot receive a communication from the Senate, neither row morning, (and the Senate has sometimes sat so late,) could he receive a bill from the House of Representa our proceedings would still all bear date of the 14th of tives for his signature. It was equally obvious that if, January; they would be so stated upon the journal, and under these circumstances, the House of Representatives the journal is a record, and is a conclusive record, so should agree to the report of the committees of confer. far as respects the proceedings of the body. ence, so that the bill should pass, it must nevertheless It is so in judicial proceedings. If a man were on fail to become a law, for want of the President's signa- trial for his life, at a late hour on the last day allowed ture; and that, in that case, the blame of losing the bill, by law for the holding of the court, and the jury acon whomsoever else it might fall, could not be laid upon quitted him, but happened to remain so long in deliber. the Senate.
ation that they did not bring in their verdict till after On the more general point I must say, sir, that this 12 o'clock, is it all to be held for naught, and the man decision of the President, not to hold communication to be tried over again? Are all verdicts, judgments, with the Houses of Congress after 12 o'clock on the 3d and orders of courts, null and void if made after midof March, is quite new. No such objection has ever night on the day which the law prescribes as the last been made before, by any President. No one of them day? It would be easy to show by authority, if author. has ever declined communicating with either House at ity could be wanted for a thing the reason of which is any time during the continuance of its session on that so clear, that the day lasts while the daily session lasts. day. All Presidents, heretofore, have left it with the When the court or the legislative body adjourns for that Houses themselves to fix their hour of adjournment, and day, the day is over, and not before. to bring their session, for the day, to a close whenever I am told, indeed, sir, that it is true that, on this same they saw fit.
3d day of March last, not only were other things transIt is notorious, in point of fact, that nolbing is more acted, but that the bill for the repair of the Cumberland common than for both Houses to sit later than 12 o'clock, road, an important and much-litigated measure, actually for the purpose of completing measures which are in the received the signature of our presiding officer after 12 last stages of their progress. Amendments are proposed o'clock, was then sent to the President, and signed by and agreed to, bills passed, enrolled bills signed by the him. I do not affirm this, because I took no notice of presiding officers, and other important legislative acts the time, or do not remember it if I did; but I have performed, often at two or three o'clock in the morning. heard the matter so stated. All this is very well known to gentlemen who have been I see no reason, sir, for the introduc!ion of this new for any considerable time members of Congress. And practice; no principle on which it can be justified, no all Presidenis have signed bills, and have also made necessity for it, no propriety in it. As yet, it has been nominations to the Senate, without objection as to time, applied only to the President's intercourse with the wherever bills have been presented for signature, or Senate. Certainly it is equally applicable to his interwhenever it became necessary to make nominations to course with both Houses in legislative matters; and if it the Senate, at any time during the session of the re is to prevail hereafter, it is of much importance that it spective Houses for that day.
should be known. And all this, sir, I suppose to be perfectly right, cor The President of the United States, sir, has alluded rect, and legal. There is no clause of the constitution, to this loss of the fortification bill in his message at the nor is there any law, wbich declares that the term of opening of the session, and he has alluded, also, in the office of members of the House of Representatives shall same message, to the rejection of the vote of the three expire at 12 o'clock at night on the 3d of March. millions. On the first point, that is, the loss of the They are to hold for two years, but the precise hour for whole bill, and the cause of that loss, this is his language: tbe commencement of that term of two years is nowhere “Much loss and inconvenience have been experienced fixed by constitutional or legal provision. It has been in consequence of the failure of the bill containing the established by usage and by inference, and very prop. ordinary appropriations for fortifications, which passed erly established, that, since the first Congress com one branch of the national Legislature at the last sesmenced its existence on the first Wednesday in March, sion, but was lost in the other.” 1789, which happened to be the 4th day of ibat month, If the President intended to say that the bill, having therefore the 4th of March is the day of the commence: originated in the House of Representatives, passed the
Jax. 14, 1836.)
Senate, and was yet afterwards lost in the House of “ This failure was the more regretted, not only beRepresentatives, he was entirely correct. But he has cause it necessarily interrupted and delayed the progress been altogether wrongly informed, if he intended to of a system of national defence projected immediately state that the bill, having passed the House, was lost in after the last war, and since steadily pursued, but also the Senate. As I have already stated, the bill was lost because it contained a contingent appropriation, inserted in the House of Representatives. It drew its last breath in accordance with the views of the Executive, in aid there. That House never let go its hold on it, after the of this important object, and other branches of the nareport of the committees of conference. But it held it, tional defence, some portions of which might have been it retained it, and, of course, it died in its possession most usefully applied during the past season.” when the House adjourned. It is to be regretted that Taking these words of the message, sir, and connectthe President should have been misinformed in a matter ing them with the fact that the President had made no of this kind, when the slightest reference to the journals recommendation to Congress of any such appropriation, of the two Houses would have exhibited the correct his. it strikes me they furnish matter for very grave reflec. tory of the transaction.
tion. The President says that this proposed appropriaI recur again, Mr. President, to the proposed grant tion was “in accordance with the views of the Execuof the three millions, for the purpose of stating, some tive;" that it was “in aid of an important object;" and what more distinctly, the true grounds of objection to that "some portions of it might have been most usefully that grant.
applied during the past season. These grounds of objection were two: the first was, And now, sir, I ask, if this be so, why was not this that no such appropriation had been recommended by appropriation recommended to Congress by the Presithe President, or any of the Departments. And what dent?" I ask this question in the name of ihe constitu. made this ground the stronger was, that the proposed tion of the United States; I stand on its own clear augrant was defended, so far as it was defended at all, thority in asking it; and I invite all those who remember upon an alleged necessity, growing out of our foreign its injunctions, and who mean to respect them, to conrelations. The foreign relations of the country are in sider well how the question is to be answered. trusted by the constitution to thie lead and management Sir, the constitution is not yet an entire dead letter. of the executive government. The President not only There is yet some form of observance to its require. is supposed to be, but usually is, much better informed ments; and even while any degree of formal respect is on these interesting subjects than the Houses of Con- / paid to it, I must be permitted to continue the question, gress. If there be danger of rupture with a foreign why was not this appropriation recommended? It was State, he sees it soonest. All our ministers and agents in accordance with the President's views; it was for an abroad are but so many eyes, and ears, and organs, to important object; it might have been usefully expended. communicate to him whatsoever occurs in foreign places, The President being of opinion, therefore, that the apand to keep him well advised of all which may concern propriation was necessary and proper, how is it that it the interests of the United States. There is an especial was not recommended to Congress? For, sir, we all propriety, therefore, that, in this branch of the public know the plain and direct words in which the very first service, Congress should always be able to avail itself duty of the President is imposed by the constitution. of the distinct opinions and recommendations of the Here they are: President. The two Houses, and especially the Ilouse “He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress of Representatives, are the natural guardians of the information of the state of the Union, and recommend people's money. They are to keep it sacred, and to to their consideration such measures as he shall judge use it discreetly. They are not at liberty to spend it necessary and expedient.” where it is not needed, nor to offer it for any purpose After enumerating the powers of the President, this till a reasonable occasion for the expenditure be shown. is the first, the very first duty, which the constitution Now, in this case, I repeat again, the President had sent gravely enjoins upon him. And now, sir, in no lanus no recummendation for any such appropriation; no guage of taunt or reproach, in no language of party atDepartment had requested it; no estimate had contained tack, in terms of no asperity or exaggeration, but called it; in the whole history of the session, from the morning up by the necessity of defending my own vote upon the of the first day down to eight o'clock in the evening of subject, I now, as a public man, as a member of Conthe last day, not one syllable had been said to us, not gress here in my place, and as a citizen who feels as one hint suggested, showing that the President deemed warm an attachment to the constitution of the country any such measure either necessary or proper. I state as any other can, demand of any who may choose to this strongly, sir, but I state it truly; I state the matier give it, an answer to this question: “Why was not this as it is; and I wish to draw the attention of the Senate measure, which the President declares that he thought and of the country strongly to this part of the case. I necessary and expedient, recommended to Congress?” say, again, therefore, that when this vote for the three And why am I, and why are other members of Congress, millions was proposed to the Senate, there was nothing whose path of duty, the constitution says, shall be en. before us showing that the President recommended any lightened by the President's opinions and communicasuch appropriation. You very well know, sir, that this tions, to be charged with want of patriotism and want of objection was immediately stated as soon as the message fidelity to the country, because we refused an appropria from the House was read. We all well remember that ation which the President, though it was in accordance it was the very point put forth by the honorable mem with his views, and though he believed it important, ber from Tennessee (Mr. Wurte) as being, if I may say would not, and did not, recommend to us? When these 89, the butt-end of his argument in opposition to the questions are answered, sir, to the satisfaction of intellivote. He said, very significantly, and very forcibly, gent and impartial men, then, and not till then, let re" It is not asked for by those who best knew what the proach, let censure, let suspicion of any kind, rest on public service requires: how, then, are we to presume the twenty-nine names which stand opposed to this apthat it is needed?" This question, sir, was not answered propriation. then; it never has been answered since; it never can be How, sir, were we to know that this appropriation answered satisfactorily.
" was in accordance with the views of the Executive?” But let me here again, sir, recur to the message of He had not so told us, formally or informally. He had the President
. Speaking of the loss of the bill, he uses not only not recommended it to Congress, or either these words:
House of Congress, but nobody on this floor had under
[Jan. 14, 1836.
taken to speak in his behalf. No man got up to say, a question that cannot be settled by any precise rule. « The President desires this; he thinks it necessary, ex But “specific appropriation," that is to say, the desig. pedient, and proper.” But, sir, if any gentleman had nation of every object for which money is voted, as far risen to say this, it would not have answered the requi. as such designation is practicable, has been thought to sition of the constitution. Not at all. It is not a hint, be a most important republican principle. In times an intimation, the suggestion of a friend, by which the past, popular parties have claimed great merit from executive duty in this respect is to be fulfilled. By no professing to carry this doctrine much farther, and to
The President is to make a recommendation, adhere to it much more strictly, than their adversaries. a public recommendation, an official recommendation, a Mr. Jefferson, especially, was a great advocate for it, responsible recommendation; not to one House, but to and held it to be indispensable to a safe and economical both Houses; it is to be a recommendation to Congress. administration and disbursement of the public revenues. If, on receiving such recommendation, Congress fail to But what have the friends and admirers of Mr. Jeffer. pay it proper respect, the fault is theirs. °If, deeming son to say to this appropriation. Where do they find, the measure necessary and expedient, the President fail in this proposed grant of three millions, designation of to recommend it, the fault is his; clearly, distinctly, and object, and particular and specific application of money? exclusively his. This, sir, is the constitution of the Have they forgotten, all forgotten, and wholly abandon. United States, or else I do not understand the constitu ed, even all pretence for specific appropriation? If not, tion of the United States. Does not every man see how how could they sanction such a vote as this? Let me perfectly unconstitutional it is that the President should recall its terms. They are, that “the sum of three communicate his opinions or wishes to Congress on such millions of dollars be, and the same herehy is, apprograve and important subjects, otherwise than by a priated, out of any money in the treasury not otherdirect and responsible recommendation; a public and wise appropriated, to be expended, in whole or in open recommendation, equally addressed and equally part, under the direction of the President of the United known to all whose duty calls upon them to act on the States, for the military and naval service, including subject?. What would be the state of things if he might fortifications and ordnance, and to increase the navy: communicate his wishes or opinions privately to mem provided such expenditure shall be rendered necessary bers of one House, and make no such communication to for the defence of the country prior to the next members of the other? Would not the two Houses be meeting of Congress.” necessarily put in immediate collision? Would they In the first place it is to be observed, that whether stand on equal footing? Would they have equal infor- | the money shall be used at all or not, is made to depend mation? What could ensue from such a manner of con on the discretion of the President. This is sufficiently ducting the public business but quarrel, confusion, and liberal. It carries confidence far enough. But, if conflict? A member rises in the House of Representa- there had been no other objections, if the objects of tives, and moves a very large appropriation of money the appropriation had been sufficiently described, so for military purposes. If he says he does it upon exec that the President, if he expended the money at all, utive recommendation, where is his voucher? The must have expended it for purposes authorized by the President is not like the British King, whose ministers Legislature, and nothing had been left to his discretion and secretaries are in the House of Commons, and who but the question, whether an emergency had arisen in are authorized, in certain cases, to express the opinions which the authority ought to be exercised, I might not and wishes of their sovereign. We have no King's have felt bound to reject the vote.
There are some servants; at least we have none known to the constitu. precedents which might favor such a contingent provition. Congress can know the opinions of the President sion, though the practice is dangerous, and ought not to only as he officially communicates them. It would be a be followed except in cases of clear necessity. curious inquiry in either House, when a large appropri But the insurmountable objection to the proposed ation is moved, if it were necessary to ask whether the grant was, that it specified no ubjects. It was as gene. mover represented the President, spoke his sentiments, ral as language could make it. It embraced every ex. or, in other words, whether what he proposed were penditure that could be called either military or naval. “in accordance with the views of the Esecutive?" How It was to include " fortifications, ordnance, and increase could that be judged of? By the party lie belongs to of the navy;" but it was not confined to these. It Party is not quite unique enough for that. By the airs embraced the whole general subject of military service. he gives himself? Many might assume airs, if thereby Under the authority of such a law, the President might they could give themselves such importance as to be repair ships, build ships, buy ships, enlist seamen, and do esteemed authentic expositors of the executive will. Or any thing and every thing else touching the naval service, is this will 10 be circulated in whispers? made known to without restraint or control. meetings of party men? intimated through the press? or He might repair such fortifications as he saw fit, and communicated in any other form, which still leaves the neglect the rest; arm such as he saw fit, and neglect the Executive completely irresponsible? So that while ex. arming of others; or build new fortifications wherever ecutive purposes or wishes pervade the ranks of party he chose. And yet these unlimited powers over the friends, influence their conduct, and unite their efforts, fortifications and the navy constitute, by no means, the the open, direct, and constitutional responsibility is most dangerous part of the proposed authority; bewholly avoided. Sir, this is not the constitution of the cause, under that authority, his power to raise and United States, nor can it be consistent with any constitu. employ land forces was equally absolute and uncontion which professes to maintain separate departments in trolled. He might levy troops, imbody a new army, the Government.
call out the militia in numbers to suit his own discretion, Here, then, sir, is abundant ground, in my judgment, and employ them as he saw fit. for the vote of the Senate, and here I might rest it. Now, sir, does our legislation, under our constitution, But there is also another ground. The constitution de. furnish any precedent for all this? clares that no money shall be drawn from the treasury We make appropriations for the army, and we underbut in consequence of appropriations made by law. stand what we are doing, because it is "the army,” that What is meant by “appropriations? Does this lan-is to say, the army established by law. We make apguage not mean that particular sums shall be assigned, propriations for the navy; they, too, are for “the navy, by law, to particular objects? How far this pointing as provided for and established by law. We make apout and fixing the particular objects shall be carried, is propriations for fortifications, but we say what fortifica