The Bedford gazette. (Bedford, Pa.) 1805-current, December 13, 1867, Image 1

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Fellow Citizens of t/ie Senate Home
of Representatives:
The continued disorganization of the
Union, to which the President iias so
often called the attention of Congress,
is yet a subject of profound and patriot
ic concern. We may, however, find
some relief from that anxiety in the re
flection that the painful political situa
tion, although before untried by our
selves, is not new in the experience of
nations. Political science, perhaps, as
highly perfected in our own times and
country as in any other, has not yet dis
covered any means by which civil wars
can be absolutely prevented. An en
lightened nation, however, with a
wise and beneficent Constitution of
free government, may diminish their
frequency and mitigate their severity
by directing all its proceedings in ac
cordance with its fundamental law.
Reconst ruction
When a civil war has been brought i
to a close, it is manifestly the first in-'
terest and duty of the State to repair
the injuries which the war has inflicted
and to secure the benefit of the lessons j
it teaches as fully and as speedily as
possible. This duty was upon the term- j
i nation of the rebel lion promptly ac
cepted, not only by the Executive Be- j
part men t, but by the insurrectionary
States themselves; and restoration in
the first moment of peace was believed ,
to be as easy and certain as it was in-1
dispensable. The expectations, howev-1
er, then so reasonably and confidently j
entertained, were disappointed by leg- j
islation from which I felt constraine I,
by my obligations to the Constitution,
to withhold my assent. It is therefore ,
a source of profound regret that in com- j
plying with the obligation imposed up
on th. President by the Constitution,!
to give to Congress from time to time
information ol the state of the Union,
I am unable to communicate any defin
itive adjustment satisfactory to the A
merican people, ofthe questions which
since the close of the rebellion, have j
agitated the public mind. On the con- 1
trary, candor compels me to declare j
that at this time there is no Union as
our fathers understood the term, and as
they meant it to be understood by us :
The Union which they established can
exist only where all the .-dates are rep-;
resented in both llous sot' Congress, j
"where one state is as free as another j
to regulate its internal concerns accor
ding to its own will," and where the j
laws ofthe Central Government, strict- .
ly confined to matters of national juris-!
diction, apply with equal force to a.l! j
the people of every section. That such j
is not the present "state of the Union" !
is a melancholy fact; and we all must
acknowledge that t lie restoration ofthe
States to their proper legal relations
with the Federal Government, and
with one another, according to the
terms of the original compact, would
he the greatest temporal blessing which j
God in his kindest Providence could
bestow upon this nation. It becomes j
our imperative duty to consider wheth
er or not it is impossible to effect this
most desirableconsummation. The U
nion and the Constitution are insepara
ble. As long as one is obeyed by all
parties, the other will be preserved,
and if one is destroyed both must per
ish together. The destruction of the
Constitution will be followed by other
arid still greater calamities. It was or
dained not only to form a more perfect
Union between the States, but to "estab
lish justice, insuredomestic tranquility,
provide for the common defence, pro
mote the general welfare and secure'
the blessings of liberty toourselves and
our posterity." No hing but impli
cit obedience to its requirements in all j
parts of the country will accomplish
these great ends. Without that obedi-,
auce, we can look forward only to con- j
tinual outrages upon individual rights, j
incessant breaches of the public peace, j
national weakness, financial dishonor, i
the total loss of our prosperity, the gen-1
eral corruption of morals and the final :
extinction of popular freedom. To
save our country from evils so appal
ling as thee we should renew our efforts
again and again. To nie the process j
of restoration seems perfectly plain
and simple. It consists merely in a j
faithful application of the Constitution
and laws. The execution of the laws ;
is not now obstructed or opposed by
physical force. There is no military
orotlier necessity, real or pretended,
which can prevent obedience to the
Constitution, either North or South.
AH the rights and all the obligations
of States and individuals can be pro
tected and enforced by means perfectly
consistent with the fundamental law.
The Courts may be everywhere open,
and if open, their process would be un- j
impeded. Crimes against the United
States can be prevented or punished by 1
the proper judicial authorities in a man
ner entirely practicable and legal.—
There is, therefore, no reason why the
Constitution should not be obeyed, un- j
less tnose who exercise its powers,
have determined that it shall be disr -
garded and violated. The mere naked
will of this Government, or of some j
one or more of its branches, is the only
obstacle that can exist to a perfect u
nionofall the States on this momen- j
tous question. On some of the meas- j
ures growing out of it, I have had the j
misfortune to differ from Congress, and
have expressed my convictions with
out reserve, though with becoming de- j
ference to the opinion of the Legislative .
Department. Those convictions are
not only unchanged, but strengthened
by subsequent events and further re
flection. The transcendent importance
of thesulyect will he a sufficient excuse
for calling your attention to some of;
the reasons which have so strongly in- j
fluenced my own judgment.
The hope that we may all finally con- j
cur in a mode of settieim nt consis er.t ■
at once with our true interest and with j
our sworn duties to the Constitution, is '
too natural and too just to be easily re-:
linquished. It is clear to my apprehen-1
sion hat the States lately in rebellion
are still nieinbersoftheNational Union.!
When did they cease to be so? The
"ordinances of secession," adopted by a
portion, in most of them by a very small j
portion of their citizens, were mere
nullities. If Jwe admit now that they j
were valid and effectual for the pur- 1
pose intended by their authors, we]
sweep from under our feet the whole
ground upon which we justified the
war. Were those States afterwards ex
pelled from the Union by the war?
The direct contrary was averred by
this Government to* be its purpose, and
was so understood by all those who
gave their blood and treasure to aid in
its prosecution. It cannot be that a
successful war, waged for the preserva
tion of the Union, had the legal effect
of dissolving it. The victory ofthe na
tion's arms was not the disgrace of her
policy. The defeat of secession on the
battle-field was not the triumph of its
lawless principle; nor could Congress,
with or without the consent ofthe Ex
ecutive, do anything which would
have the effect, directly or indirectly,
of separating States from each other.
To dissolve the Union is to repeal the
Constitution which holds it together,
and that is a power which does not
belong to any department of this Gov
ernment, or to all of them united.—
This is so plain that it has been ac
knowledged by all branches of the Fed-
eral Government. The Executive, (
(my predecessor as well as myself,) and
the* heads of all the departments, have j
uniformly acted upon the principle j
that the Union is notonly undi solved,
but indissoluble. Congress submitted an
amendment of the Constitution to be
ratified by the Southern States, and ac
cepted their acts of ratification as a nec
essary and lawful exercise of their high
est function. If they were not States, j
or were States, out of the Union, their
consent to a change in the fundamental
law of the Union would have been nu
gatory and Congress in asking it com
mitted a political absurdity. The Ju
diciary has also given the solemn sane-!
tion of its authority to I lie same view
of the case. The Judges of the Su
preme Court have included the South
ern States in their circuits, and they
are constantly, in banc and elsewhere,
exercising jurisdiction which does not
belong to them, unless those States are
States of the Union. If the Southern i
States are competent parts of the Union,
the Constitution is the supreme law for J
them, as it is for all the other States.
They are bound to obey it, and so are
we. The right ofthe Federal Govern
ment, which is clear and unquestiona
ble, to enforce the Constitution upon
them, implies the correlative obligation i
on our part to observe its limitations
and execute its guarantees. Without!
the Constitution weare nothing. By,
through and under the Constitution we !
are what it makes us. We may doubt i
the wisdom of the law; we may notap-'
prove of its provisions, but we cannot
violate it merely because it seems to ;
confine our powers within limits nar
rower than we could wish. It is not a
question of individual or class or sec
tional interest, much less of party pre
dominance, but of duty, of high and
sacred duty, which we are all sworn to
If we cannot support the Constitution
with the cheerful alacrity of those who !
love and believe in it, we must give to
it at least the fidelity of public servants
who act under solemn obligations and j
commands which they dare not disre- I
gard. The constitutional duty is not j
the only one which requires the States ]
to be restored. There isanotherconsid- j
eration, which, though of minor im
portance, is yet of great weight. On
the 22d day of July, 1861, Congress de
clared, by an almost unanimous vote j
of both Houses, that the war should be I
conducted solely for the purpose of
preserving the Union and maintaining
the supremacy of the Federal Consti
tution and laws, without impairing
the dignity, equality and rights of the
States, or of individuals, and that
when this was done, the war should
cease. Ido not say that this declara- j
tion is personally bindingon those who i
joined in making it any more than in- j
dividual members of Congress are per- j
sonally bound to pay a public debt cre
ated under a law for which they voted.
But it was a solemn public official
pledge ofthe national honor, and lean
not imagine upon what grounds the
repudiation of it is to be justified, if it
be remembered that this promise was
not made to Rebels only. Thousands
of true men in the South were drawn
to our standard by it, and hundreds of
thousands in the North gave their
lives 111 the belief that it would be car
ried out. It was made on the day af
ter the first great battle of the war had
been fought and lost. All patriotic
and intelligent men then saw the ne
cessity of giving such an assurance, and
believed that without it the war would
end in disaster to our cause. Having
given that assurance in the extremity
of our peril, the violation of it now in
the day of our power, would be a rude
rending of that good faith which holds
the moral world together; our country
would cease to have any claim upon
the confidenceof men. It would make
the war not only a failure but a fraud.
Being sincerely convinced that these
views are correct, I would be unfaith
ful to my duty if I did not recommend
the repeal ofthe acts of Congress wnich
place ten of the Southern States under
the domination of military masters. —
If calm reflection shall satisfy a majori
ty of your honorable bodies that the
acts referred to are not only a violation
ofthe national faith r but in direct con
flict with the Constitution, I dare not
permit myself to doubt that you will
immediately strike theuifrom thestat
ute book. To demonstrate the uncon
stitutional character of those acts 1
need do no more than refer to their
general provisions. It must be seen at
once that they are not authorized to
dictate what alterations shall be made
in the Constitutions of the several
States, to control the elections of State
Legislators and State officers, members
of Congress, and electors of President
and Vice President, by arbitrarily de
claring who shall vote and who shall
be excluded from that privilege, to ;
dissolve State Legislatures or prevent
them from assembling; to dismiss'
judges and other civil functionaries of j
the States, and appoint others, without j
regard to State laws; to organize j
and operate all the political machin
ery of the States ; to regulate the whole
administration of their domestic and j
local a flairs according to the mere will
of strange and irresponsible agents j
sent among them for that purpose— ,
these are powers not granted to the ■
Federal Government or to any one of ]
its branches. Not being granted, we
violate them in the face of a positive j
interdict, for the Constitution forbids ,
us to do whatever it does not attirma-!
tively authorize either by express
words or by clear implication. It the |
authority we desire to use does not;
come to us through the Constitution we j
can exercise it only by usurpation ; and j
usurpation is the most dangerous of
political crimes. By that crime, the j
| enemies of free government in all ages
| have worked out their designs against
public liberty and private right. It
leads directly and immediately to the
j establishment of absolute rule; for
undelegated power is always unlimited
and unrestrained. The acts of Con
gress in question are not only objec
tionable for their assumption of un
granted power, but many of their pro
visions are in conflict with the direct
| prohibitions of the onstitution. The!
I Constitution commands that a republi
can form of government shall be guar
anteed to all the States, that no per
-1 son shall be deprived of iife, liberty or
property without due process of law,
, arrested without a judicial warrant, or
; punished without a fair trial before
1 an impartial jury, that the privilege
of habeas corpus shall not be denied in
time of peace, and that no bill of at
tainder shall be passed even against a
single individual. Yet the system of
measures established by these acts of
Congress does totally subvert and de
stroy the form as well as the substance
of republican government in the ten
States to which they apply. It binds
i them hand and foot in absolute slavery
' and subjects them to a strange and
hostile power, more unlimited and
more likely to be abused than any oth
er now known among civilized ini n.
! It tramples down all those rights in
which the essence of liberty consists
and which a free government is al
l ways most careful to protect. It (ie
nies the hebeas corpus and the trial by
'jury. Personal freedom, property and
iile, if assailed by the passion, the pre
judice or the rapacity of the ruler, have
ino security whatever. It has the ef
fect of a bill of attainder or bill of pains
and penalties not upon a few individu
als, but upon whole masses, including
the mil ions who inhabit the sub
ject States, and even their unborn chil
These wrongs being expressly for
bidden, cannot be constitutionally in
flicted upon any portion of our people,
no matter now they may have come
! within our jurisdiction, and no matter
! whether they live in States, Territor
j ies or districts. I have no desire to
' save from the proper and just conse
quences of their great crime those who
engaged in rebellion against the Gov
ernment. But as a mode of punish
ment, the measures under considera
tion are the most unreasonable that
could he invented. Many of those
people are perfectly innocent; many
keep their fidelity to the Union un
tainted to the last; many were inca
pable of any legal offence; a large pro
portion even of the persons able to
bear arms were forced into rebellion
against their will, and of those who
are guilty with their own consent, the
degrees of guilt are as various ue tt;e
shades ol their character and temper.
But these acts of Congress confound
them all together, in onecoumiondoom.
indiscriminate vengeance upon clas
ses, sects and parties, or upon whole
communities, for offences committed
by them against the Governments to
which they owed obedience, was com
mon m the barbarous ages of the world.
But. Christianity and civilization have
made such progress that recourse to a
punishment so cruel and unjust would
meet with the condemnation of all un
prejudiced and right-minded men.—
flie punitive justice of this age, and
especially of this country, does not con
sist in stripping whole Htates of their
liberties and reducing all tliqir people,
without distinction,to the condition
of slavery. It deals separately with
each individual, confines itself to the
forms of law, and vindicates its own
purity by an impartial examination of
every case oefore a competent judicial
tribunal. If this does not satisfy all
our desires with regard to Southern
Rebels, let us console ourselves by re
flecting that a free Constitution, tri
umphant in war, and unbroken in
peace, is worth far more to us and our
children than the gratification of any
present feeling, lam aware it is as
sumed that this system of government
for the Southern States is not to be per
petual. It is true this Military Gov
ernment is to he only provisional, but
it is through this temporary evil that a
greater evii is to be made perpetual.—
if theguarntees of the Constitution can
be broken, provisionally, to servea tem
porary purpose, and in a part only of
the country, we can destroy them ev
erywhere and for all time. Arbitrary
measures often change, but they gen
erally change for the worse. It is the
curse of despotism that it has no halt
ing place. The intermitted exercise of
its power brings no sense of security to
its subjects, for they can never know
what more they will be called to endure
when its red right hand is armed io
plague them again. Nor is it possible
to conjecture how or where power, un
restrained by law, may seek its next
\ietim. The 8a es that are still free,
may be enslaved at any moment, for,
if the Constitution does not protect all,
it protects none. It is manifestly and
avowedly toe object of these laws to
confer upon negroes the privilege of
voting and to disfranchise such a num
ber of white citizens as will give the
former a clear majority at ali elections
in the Southern States. This to the
minds of some persons, is so important
that a violation of the Constitution is
justified as a means of bringing it a
Negro Suffrage.
The morality is always false which ]
excuses a wrong hi c uise it proposes to ]
accomplish a desirable end. We a"0 I
not permitted to do evil that good may
come. But in this case the end itscll
is evil as well as the means. The sub
jugation of States to negro domination
would be worse than the military des
potism under which they are now suff
ering. It was believed beforehand
that the people would endure any a
mount of military oppression for any j
length of time, rather than degrade
themselves by subjection to the negro
race. Therefore, they have been left
without a choice. Negro suffrage was
established by act of Congress, and the
military officers were commanded to
superintend the process of clothing the
negro race with the political privileges
torn from white men.
The blacks in the South are entitled
to he well and humanely governed, and
to have the protection of just laws for
all their rights of person and property.
11 it were practicable at this time to
give them a government exclusively
their own, under which they might
manage their own affairs in their own ]
way, it would become a grave ques- j
tion whether we ought to do so, or ,
whether common humanity would not j
require us to save them from them
selves. But under the circumstances, !
this is only a speculative point, it is
not proposed merely that they shall
govern themselves, but that they shall
rule the white race, make and admin
ister State laws, elect Presidents and
members of Congress, and shape to a
greater or less extent the future destiny
of the whole country. Would such a
trust and power be safe in such hands?
The peculiar qualities which should
1 characterize any people who are lit to
decide upon the management of pub
lic affairs for a great State have seldom
been combined. It is the glory of
white men to know that they have had
! these qualities in sufficient measure to
build upon this continent a great po
litical fabric and to preserve its stabili
ty for more than ninety years, while in
every other part of the world all simil
ar experiments have failed. But il
anything can be proved by known
, facts, if all reasoning upon evidence is
not abandoned, it must be acknowledg
ed thut in the progress of nations ne
groes have shown less capacity for go
, eminent than any other race of people.
No independent government of any
form has ever been successful in tiieir
: hands. On the contrary, wherever
they have been left to their own devi
ces they have shown a constant tendeu
,cy to relapse into barbarism. In the
Southern States, however, Congress
lias undertaken to confer upon them
the privilege of the ballot. Just re
leased from slavery, it may be doubted
whether, as a class, they know more
than their ancestors, how to organize
and regulate civil society. Indeed, it
is admitted that the blacks of the South
are not only regardless of the rights of
property, but so utterly ignorant of
public affairs, that their voting can con
sist of nothing more than carrying a
ballot to the place where they are di
rected to deposit it. I need not re
mind you that the exercise ofthe elec
tive franchise is the highest attribute
of an American citizen, and that, when
guided by virtue, intelligence, patriot
ism, and a proper appreciation of our
free institutions, it constitutes the true
basis of a democratic form of govern
ment, in which the sovereign power is
lodged in the body of the people ; a
trust artificially created, not for its own
sake, but solely as a means of promot
ing the general welfare. Its influence
for good must necessarily depend upon
the elevated character and true alle
giance of the
fore, to be reposed in none except those
who are fitted morally and mentally
to administer it well; for, if conferred
upon persons who do not justly esti
mate its value, and are indifferent as
to its results, it will only serve as a
means of placing power in the hands of
the unprincipled and ambitious, and
must eventuate in the complete de
struction of that liberty of which it
should be the most powerful conserva
tor. I have, therefore, heretofore urged
upon your attention the great danger
to he apprehended from an untimely
extension of the elective franchise to
any new class in our country, espec
ially when the large majority of that
class, in wielding the power thus plac
ed in their hands, cannot be expected
correctly to comprehend the duties and
responsibilities which pertain to suf
frage. Yesterday, as it were, four mil
lions of persons were held in a condi
tion of slavery, that had existed for
generations. To-day they are freemen,
and are assumed by law to be citizens.
11 cannot be presumed, from their pre
vious condition of servitude, that, as a
class, they are as well informed as to
the nature of our Government as the
intelligent foreigner who makes our
land the home of his choice. In the
case of the latter, neither a residence of
five years, and the knowledgeof our in
stitutions which it gives, nor attach
ment to the principles of the Constitu
tion, are the only conditions upon
which he can be admitted to citizen
ship. lie must prove, in addition, a
good moral character, and thus give
reasonable ground for the belief that
lie will be faithful to the obligations
which he assumes as a citizen of the
Republic. Where a people, the source
of all political power, speak, by their
suffrages, through the ballot-box, it
must be carefully guarded against the
control of those who are corrupt in
principle and enemies of free institu
tions, for it can only become to our po
litical and social system a safe conduc
tor of healthy popular sentiment when
kept free from demoralizing influences.
Controlled through fraud and usurpa
tion, by the designing, anarchy and
despotism must inevitably follow. In
the hands of the patriotic and worthy
our Government will be preserved up
on the principles of the Constitution
inherited from our fathers. It follows,
therefore, that in admitting to the bal
lot-box a new class of voters not quali
fied for the exercise of the elective fran
chise, we weaken our system of govern
ment instead of adding to its strength
and durability. I yield to 110 one in
attachment to that rule of general suf
frage which distinguishes our policy as
a nation. But there is a limit, wisely
ooserved hitherto, which makes the
ballot a privilege and a trust, and
which requires of some classes a time
suitable for probation and preparation.
To give it indiscriminately to a new
class, wholly unprepared by previous
habits and opportunities to perform
the trust which it demands, is to de
grade it and finally to destroy its pow
er, for it may be .-afelv assumed that
110 political truth is better established
than that such indiscriminate and all
embracing extension of popular suf
frage must end at last in its overthrow
and destruction.
I repeat the expression of my will
ingness to join in any plan within the
scope of our constitutional authority, |
which promises to better the condition
of the negroes in the South by encour
aging them in industry, enlightening
their minds, improving their morals,
and giving protection to all their just
rights as freed men; but the transfer of]
our political inheritance to them would,
in my opinion, bean abandonment of a
duty which we owe alike to the memo
ry of our fathers and the rights of our
children. The plan of putting the
Southern States wholly, and the Gen
eral Government partially, into the
hands of negroes, is proposed at a time
peculiarly unpropitioas. The found 1-
tious of society have been broken up oy
civil war; industry must be recognized;
justice re-established; public credit
maintained, and order brought out of
confusion. To accomplish these ends
would requireall the wisdom and vir
tue of the great men who formed our
institutions originally. I confidently
believe that their descendants will be
equal to the arduous task before them,
but it is worse than madness to expect
that the negroes will perform it for us.
Certainly we ought not to ask their as
sistance until we despair of our own
competency. The great difference be
tween the two races in physical, men
tal and moral characteristics will pre
vent an amalgamation or fusion of them
together in one homogeneous mass.
If the inferior obtains the ascendancy
over the other it will govern with ref
erence only to its own interests, for it
will recognize no common interest, and
create such a tyranny as this continent
has never yet witnessed. Already tlie
negroes are influenced by promise of
confiscation and plunder; they are
taught to regard as an enemy every
wiiite man who has any respect for the
rights of his own race. If this contin
ue sit must become worse and worse,
until all order will be subverted, all in
dustry cease, and the fertile fields of
the South grow up into a wilderness.
Of all the dangers which our nation
Ins yet encountered, none are equal to
j those which must result from the sue
: cess of the effort now making to Afri
canize the half of our country. I Would
not put considerations of money in
j competition with justice and right, hut
the expenses incident to reconstrue
] tion under the system adopted by Con
gress, aggravate what I regard as the
intrinsic wrong of the measure itself.
It has cost uncounted millions already,
; aid if persisted in, will add largely to
1 the weight of taxation already too op-
I pressive to be borne without just com
! plaint, and may finally reduce the
Treasury of the nation to a condition
jof bankruptcy. We must not delude
ourselves. It will require a strong
standing army and probably more
than two hundred millions of dollars
per annum to maintain the supremacy
of negro governments after they are
established. The sum thus thrown
away would, if properly used, form a
sinking fund large enough to pay the
whole national debt in less than fifteen
years. It is vain to hope that negroes
will maintain their ascendancy them
selves. Without military power they
are wholly incapableof holding in sub
jection the white people of the South.
I submit to the judgment of Congress
whether the public credit may not be
injuriously affected by a system of
measures like this. With our debt and
the vast private interests which are
complicated with it, we cannot be too
cautious of a policy which might by
possibility impair the confidence of
tiie world in our Government. That
confidence can only be retained by care
fully inculcating the principles of jus
tice and honor on the popular mind
and by the most scrupulous fidelity to
all our engagements of every sort.
Any serious breach of the organic law,
persisted in for a considerable time,
eannot but create fears for the stability
of our institutions. Habitual violation
of prescribed rules, which we hind our
selves to observe, must demoralize the
people; our only standard of civil duty
being set at naught, the sheet-anchor
of our political morality is lost, and
the public conscience swings from its
moorings and yields to every impulse
of passion and int< rest. If we repudi
ate the Constitution, we will not beex
pected to care much for mere pecuni
ary obligations. The violation of such
a pledge as we made on the 22(1 day of
July, 1801, will assuredly diminish the
market valueo* our other promises.
Besides, if we now acknowledge that
the national debt was created not to
hold the States in the Union, as tlie
taxpayers were led to suppose, but to
expel them from it, and hand them ov
er to be governed by negroes, the mor
al duty to pay it may seem much less
clear. I say it may seem so, for I do
not admit that this or any other argu
ment in favor of repudiation can be en
tertained as sound. But its influence
on some classes ol minus may well be
apprehended. The financial honor of
a great commercial nation, largely in
debted, and with a republican form of
government, administered by agents
of the popular choice, is a thing of such
delicate texture, and the destruction of
it would be followed by such unspeaka
ble calamity, that every true patriot
must desire to avoid whatever might
expose it to the slightest danger. The
great interests of the country require
immediate relief from theseenactments.
business in the South is paralyzed by
A sense of general insecurity, by a ter
ror of confiscation, and the dread of
negro supremacy. The Southern trade,
from which the North would have de
rived so great a profit under a govern
ment of law, still languishes, and can
never be revived until it ceases to be
fettered by .he arbitary power which
makes all its operations unsafe. That
rich country—the richest in natural
resources the world ever saw, is worse
than lost if it be not soon placed under
the protection of a free Constitution.
Instead of being as it ought to be, a
source of wealth aud power, it will be
come an intolerable, burden upon the
rest of the nation. Another reason for
retracing our steps will doubtless be
seen by Congress in the late manifesta
tions of public opinion upon this sub
ject. We live in a country where the
popular will always enforces obedience
to itself sooner or later. It is in vain
to think of opposing it with anything
short of legal authority backed by ov
erwhelming torce. It cannot have es
caped your attention that from the day
011 which Congress fairly and formally
presented the proposition to govern
the Southern States by military force,
with a view to the ultimate establish
ment of negro supremacy, every ex
pression ol the general sentiment has
been more or less adverse to it. The
affections of this generation cannot be
detached from the institutions of their
ancestors; their determination to pre
serve the inheritance of free Govern
ment in their own hands, and trans
mit it undivided and unimpaired to
their own posterity, is too strong to be
successfully opposed. Every weaker
passion will disappear before that love
of liberty and law for which the Ameri
can people are distinguished above all
others in the world.
Dutg of the President.
llow far tlie duty of the President to
preserve, protect and defend the (.'on
stitution requires him to go in oppos- i
iugan unconstitutional act of Congress,!
is a very serious and important ques
tion 011 which I have deliberated much j
and felt extremely anxious to reach a
proper conclusion. Where an act has |
been passed according to the forms of
the Constitution by the supreme legis- •
lative authority, and is regularly en-;
rolled among the public statutes of the ]
country, Executive resistance to it, es
pecially in times of high party excite
ment, would be likely to produce vio
lent collision between the respective
adherents ol the two branches of the.
Government. This would be simply
civil war, and civil war must be resor
ted to only as the last remedy for the!
worst of evils. Wiiatever might tend to >
provoke it should be most carefully j
avoided. A faithful ar.d conscientious
magistrate will concede very much to!
honest error, and something even to
personal malice, before he willendang- ]
er the public peace; and he will not
adopt forcible measures, or such as j
might lead to force, as long as those |
which are peaceable remain open to
him or to his constituents. It is true!
that cases may occur in which the Exo-:
cutive would be compelled to stand 011:
his own rights and maintain them re-1
gardless oi'all consequences, if Congress
should pass an act which is notonly in
palpable conflict with the Constitution,
but will certainly, if carried out, pro
duce immediate and irreparable injury
to the organic structure of the Gov
ernment; and if there be neither judi
cial remedy for the wrongs it inflicts,
nor power in the people to protect
themselves without the official aid of
their elected defender; if, for instance,
the legislative department should pass
an act, even through all the forms of
law, to abolish a co-ordinate depart
ment of the Government in such a
case the President must take the high
responsibility of hisottice and save the
life ol the nation at all hazards. The
so-called Reconstruction act, though as
plainly unconstitutional as any that
can be imagined, were not believed to
be within the class last mentioned.—
The people were not wholly disarmed
{ d%
VOL. 62.—WHOLE No. 5.422.
of the powor ofsolf defence. In all the
Northern States they still hehl in their
hands the sacred right of the ballot, !
I and it was safe to believe that in due
time they would come to the rescue of
their own constitution. Jt gives ine
pleasure to add that the appeal to our
common constituencies was not taken
in vain, and that my confidence in their j
wisdom and virtue seems not to have j
beer, misplaced.
Revenue Frauds —Tenure, a] Office Jiill.
Ir is well and publicly known that enor
mous frauds have been perpetrated on the
Treasury anci that colossal fortunes have
been made at the public expense. This spe
eies of corruption has increased, is increas
intr. and if not diminished, will soon brine
us into total ruin and disgrace. The public
creditors and tax payers are alike interested
in an honest administ ration of the finances,
and n idier class will long endure the largo
handed robberies of the recent past. For
this discreditable state of things there are
several causes. Some of the taxes are so
laid as to present an irresistible temptation
to evade payment: the great sums which
officers may win bvconnivance at fraud, ere
ate a pressure wlrch is more than the vir
tue of many can withstand, and there can
be no doubt that the open di regard of con
stitutional obligations, assumed by some of
the hit'best and most influential men in the
country, has greatly weakened the moral
sense of those who serve in subordinate pla
ces The expenses of the United States,
including interest on the public debt, arc
more than six times as much as they were
seven years ago. To collect and disburse
this vast amount requires careful supervis
ion as well as systematic vigilance. The
system, never perfected, was much disnr
ganized by the Tenure of Office bill, which
has almost destroyed official accountability.
The President maybe thoroughly convinced
that, an officer is incapable, dishonest or tin j
faithful to the Constitution, but under the
law which I have named, the utmost he can
do is to complain to the Senate and ask the
privilege of supplying his place with a better
man. If the Senate be regarded as person
ally or politically hostile to the President, it
is natural, and not altogether unreasonable,
for the officer to expect that it will take his
part as far as possible ; restore him to bis
place, and give him a triumph over his Ex
ecutive superior. The officer has other
chances of impunity, arising from accidental
defects of evidence; the mode of investi
gating it, and the secrecy of the hearing. —
It is not wonderful that, official malfeasance
should become bold in proportion as the
delinquents learn to think themselves safe.
I am entirelv persuaded that under such a
rule the President cannot perform the grear
duty assigned to hint of seeing thelaws faith
fully executed, and disables hint most
especially from enforcing that rigid accourtta
bility which is necessary to the due execu
tion of the revenue laws. The Constitution
invests the President with authority to de
cide whether a removal should bo made in
any given case ; the act of Congress declares
in substance that, he shall only accuse such
he supposes to be unwor hy of their trust.
The Constitution makes hint sole judge in
the premises, hut the statute takes away
his jurisdiction, transfers it to the St nate
and leaves hint nothing hut the odious and
sometimes impracticable duty of becoming
a prosecutor. The prosecution is to be con
ducted before a tribunal whose members are
not like hint—responsible to the whole peo
pie, hut to separate constituent bodies, and
who may hear his accusation with great dis
favor. The Senate is absolutely without
any known standard of decision applicable to
sueh a case. Its judgment cannot he an
ticipated, for it is not governed by any rule.
The law does not define what shall be
deemed good cause for removal, and it is
impossible even to conjecture what may or
inuv not be so considered hy the Senate. —
The nature of the subject forbid.-clear proof.
If the charge be incapacity, what will sup
port it? Fidelity to the Constitution maj
be understood or misunderstood in a thous
and different, ways, and hy violent party
men in violent party times, unfaithfulness
to the Constitution may even come to be
considered meritorious. It the officer be
accused of dishonesty, how shall it le made
out? Will it he inferred from acts union
neofed with pulieduty, front private history,
or from general reputation ! or must tin
President await, the commission of art acru
al misdemeanor in office? Shall he in the
mean time risk the character and interest of
the nation in the hands of men to wh.iin he
cannot give his confidence? Must he for
hear his complaint until tlie mischief is done
and cannot be prevented? If his zeal in
the public service should impel him to an
ticipat.e the overt act, must he move at the
peril of being tiied hiuiself for the offence
of slandering his suboidinates ? In the
present circumstances of the country some
one must be held responsible for official de
linquency of every kind. It i- extremely
difficult to say where that responsibility ;
should be thrown, if it be not left where it
has been placed hy the Constitution. _ I>u'
all just men will admit that the President
ought to he entirely relieved from such re
-p.uisibility, if he cannot meet it. by reason j
of restrictions placed by law upon his^ action, j
The unrestricted power of removal from of j
lice is a very great one to be trusted, even
to a magistrate chosen by the general suf
frage of the whole people, and accountable
directly to them for his acts; it is undoubt j
edly liable to abuse, and at some periods of j
our history perhaps has he en abused. It it
he thought desirable and Constitutional that
i should be so limited as to make the Pres
ident merely a coninmn informer against j
other public agents, he should at least be t
permitted to act in that capacity before !
some open tribunal, independent of party j
politics, ready to investigate the merits of :
every case, furnished with the means of;
taking evidence, and bound to decide accord- 1
ine to established rules. This would guar- j
antee the safety of the accuser when lie acts ,
in go. d faith, and the same time secure the j
lights of the other party. I speak, of j
course, with all proper respect for the pres .
ent Senate, hut it does not seem to me that j
any legislative body can be so constituted as ,
to insure its fitness for these functions. It
is not the theory of this Government, that
public offices are the property of those who
bold them. They are given merely as a !
trust for the public benefit, sometimes for a ;
fixed period, sometimes during good beha i
i vior, bur generally they are iiab e to be tor- i
initiated at the pleasure of the appointing ,
power which represents the collective uiajes- j
ty and speaks the will of the people, ihe j
forced retention in office of a single uishorr j
est person may work great injury to the
public interests. The danger to the public ;
service conies not from the power to remove j
' but from the power to appoint; therefore, .
i it was that the fraiuers of the constitution left j
the power of removal unrestricted, while
they gave the Senate a right to reject all
appointments which, in its opinion, weie
not fit to be made. A little reflection on
this subject will probably iati-ty all who
have the good of the country at heart, that
our best course is to take the Constitution
for our guide, walk in the path marked out
by the founders of the Republic, and
obey the rules made sacred by the obser
i vance of our great predecessors.
The Finances ami the Currency.
| The present Condition of our finances and
1 circulating medium is one of which your
i early consideration is invited. The propor
tion which~<fie currency of any country
should bear to the whole value of the an i*
ah produce circulated b.v its means is a ques
tion upon which political economists have
not agreed, nor can it be controlled by leg
islation, but must be left to the irrevocable
laws which everywhere regulate commerce
and trade. The circulating medium will
i ever irresi.tably flow to those points where it
is in greatest demand. The law of supply and
d' tnaiid is as unerring as that which regu
a e-1 he tidesofthe ocean; and hide* dc 'rri t cy
like the tides, has its t libs and flows itilough
out the commercial world. At the begin
ning oft lie rebellion tlie Lank note emula
tion of the country amounted to not much
more than two hundrtd millions of dollars;
now, the circulation of national bunk notes
and those known as legal tenders, is neatly
seven hundred millions. \\ bile it is utged
by some that this amount should be in
creased, others contend that a decided re
duction is absolutely essential to the best
ntcrests of the country. In view of these
diverse opinions, it may he well to ascertain
the real, value of our paper issues. When
compared'with a uietalie or convertible cur
rency tor this purpose, let us inquire how
much gold ami silver could he put chased by
the seven hundred millions of paper money
now in circulation. Probably not more than
half'of the amount of the latter, showing
that when our paper currency is compared
with gold and silver, its commercial value is
compressed into three hundred and finy
millions. This striking tact makes it. the
obvious duty of the Government, as early as
it may be consistent with the principles of
sound political economy, to take such meas
ures as will enable the holders < f its notes,
ami those of the national batiks, to convert
them without loss on specie or its equiva
lent. A reduction of our paper circulating
medium need not necessarily follow. This,
however, would depend upon the law of
demand and supply, though it should lie
borne in mind that by making legal tender
and hank notes convertible into Coin or its
equivalent, their present specie value in the
lutids of their holders would be enhanced
one hundred per cent. Legislation for the
accomplishment of a result so desirable is
demanded by the highest public considera
tions. The Constitution contemplates that
the circulating medium of the country shall
fie uniform in quality anil value at the
time of the fotniation of that instrument.
The country had just emerged from the
waroft lie Revolution, and was suffering from
the effects of a redundant and worthless pa
i or currency. The sages of that period were
anxious to protect their posterity from the
evils which they t heiuselves had experienced.
Hence in providing a circulating medium,
they conferred upon Congress the power to
coin money and regulate the value thereof,
at the same time prohibiting the States fu tu
making anything hut gold and silver a tender
in payment of debts. The anomalous con
dition of oar currency is in striking contrast
with that which was originally designed.
Our circulation now embraces first, notes of
the national hanks, which are made leceiv
able for all dues to the Government, t xelud
ing imports, and by all its creditors, except
ing in payment of interest upon its bonds
and the securities themselves; second, legal
tender notes issued by the United States,
and which the law requires shall he received
as well in payment ol all debts between citi
zens, as of all Government dues, excepting
imports ; and third, gold and silver coin.—
By the operation of our present system of
finance, however the metalic currency when
collect! d is r served only for one class of
Government creditors, who, holding its
bonds, semi-annually receive their interest
in coin tor the National Treasury._ Ihey
are thus made to occupy an invidious po
sition, which may be used to strengthen the
arguments of those who would bring into
disrepute the obligations of the nation. In
the payment of all its debts the plighted
faith of the Government should be invio a
bly maintained; hut, while it acts with
fidelity towards the bondholder who
loanded his money, that the integrity of the
Union might he preserved, it would at the
same time, observe good faith with the
great mass of the people who, having rescu
ed tin. Union from the perils of rebellion,
now bear the burdens of taxation that the
Government may he able to fulfil its engase
in• nfs. There i- no reason which will he
accepted as satisfactory by the people, why
tliune who defend us on the land and pro
tect us on the sea, the pensioners upon
the gratitude or the nation, braving the
scars and wounds received wliilein itsservice,
rite public servants in the various depart
ment-'of the Government, the farmer who
supplies the soldiers of the armv and the
sailors of the navy, the artisan who toils in
the nation's workshops, or the machanics
and lahoiers who build its edifices and con
struct its foits and vessels ot war, sho.qq .11
payment of their just and hard earned dues
receive depreciated paper, while another
class of their countrymen,no more deserving
are paid in coin of gold and silver. Equal
and exact justice requires that all the cred
itors of the Government should be paid in a
currency possessing a uniform value. This
can only he accomplished by the restoration
of the currency to the standard established
by the Constitution, and by this means we
would remove a discrimination which may,
it it has not already d me so, creato preju
dice that may la c um: deep rooted and wide
spread, and imperil tie national credit. The
feasibility of making mr currency correspond
with the Corist.itu i mal standard may he
•11 by reference to a few facts derived from
lor commercial statistics. The production
of precious metals in the United S'ates from
1840 to 1857, inclusive, amounted to $579-
OdO.OUO; from ISSS to 1860, inclusive, to
$107,600,001), and from 1861 to 1 <sf>7, inclu
sive, to $457,500,000. making the grand
aggregate of products since 1840 5>1, 114,000,-
000. The amount of specie coined from
1840 to 1857, inclusive, was $439,000,000;
from 1858 10 iB6O, inefusive, $152.000,000,
and from ISC 1 to 1807, inclu ive, $3lO 000,-
000. making total c<> nage since 1849. $874,-
000,000. From 1849 to 1857, inclu-ive, the
exports of specie amounted to $271,000,-
000; from 1808 to 1860, inclusive, $143.-
000.000 and f om 1861 to 1807. ii clus ve, it
w'a-, $322,000,000, makin-'the aggregate of
net exp -rts since 1849, $741,000,000. There
are in the Treasury $111,000,000 in coin,
something more than $40,000,000 in cireu
latinn on the Pacific Coast, and a lew mil
linns in the national and other banks, in all
aboutsl6o,ooo,ooo. This, however, taking
into aee< lint the specie in t 1 • oountry prior
to !849, leaves more than three hundred
millions of dollars which have not been ac
counted for by exportation, and therefore,
may yet remain in the country. These are
important facts, and show how completely
the inferior currency will supersede the bet
ter. forcing it from circulation among the
masses, and causing it to he expoited
as a mete article of trade to add to
the money capital of foreign ands.—
They show the necessity ot retiring our pa
per money, that the return of {old and stiver
to the avenues ot trade may be invited, and
a demand created which will cause the re
tentions at home of at least so much of the
productions of our ricli and inexhaustible
gold beanng fields as may be sufficient for
purposes of circulation. It is unreasonable
to expect a return to a sound currency so
Jong as the Government, hv continuing to
issue irredeemable notes, fills the channels
of circulation with depreciated paper. Not
withstanding a coinage by our mints sinei
1849 of eight hundred ami seventy four mil
lions ol dollars, the people are now strangers
to the currency which was designated for
their use and benefit, and specimens of the
precious uictals, hearing the national device
are seldom seen except when produced to
gratify the inteiest excited by their novelty.
If depreciated paper is to be continued as
the permanent currency of the country, and
all our coin to become a mere article ot
i Continued on Fourth Page.