Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, June 24, 1789, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    [No. XXI.]
THE table T. No. XXI.
, . I.lamented that men will be making themfehes greaterfools
" H turc intended theyJliouU be, by endeavoring to make them/elves
jif BE jre fame minds that are naturally fa weak or wrong
■ -J that every attempt to improve them Iccms only to
1 ale their inherent fmperfeftions. When a man of this (tamp
"Ta li to a labonous occupation, his mental crookedness and
•f'J " so concealed, that he may be a fool all his life, withou.
anv ftrikin? demonstrations of his folly. But ihould it so
r« that he is born to better fortune, as he will call it, he will
P1 aiveraine further and further from realon and propriety as
®° he lives We will iuppo<e his time is devoted to liteiary
t,H\. a In commencing his education he fcts out with lorn,
1, he had imbibed in his infancy ; and the fallacy
which, his mind is too weak to dctcft. Every Hep he takes in
only calculated to render his folly and weakness more
fhi That knowledge which is founded in the reason and na
!"lof things docs not affimilatc with his former imprcflTions.
Through the whole tenor oi his life, his mind fcems biassed both
fZ nature and habit, against the reception of truth. There is
. Mooenfity >n his understanding to distort or adulterate every idea,
noon which it is exercised. His discernment is so dcfe&ive, that
rverv error, he adopts from prejudice or caprice, becomes a per
octual one It is incrcdible what a mass of incongruous opinions,
rod ill-formed images can enter into a finale mind, where there is
not natural iagaeity to correct falfe impreflions by experience.
But it may be supposed that these error-makinz people have an
opportunity of acquiring ftich information, as results from feeing
•he world, in walks of life that are fafhionable and elevated. Here
it raav be expected they would adopt a juftcr way of thinking.
The event however will prove otherwise. It mult be confeffed,
t]iey sometimes have capacity to learn how to regulate their ex
terior deportment, by some rules of lafhion and propriety ; though
I have known instances, where their natural perverfenefe prevail
ed even in this refpe&. To lay nothing more of their manners,
we will turn our attention to the course of then sentiments. These,
it will be found, are perpetually (luftuating, but never change for
the better. If they are laughed out of some foibles, they are du
ped into many vices and follies, and every new turn is worfc than
the laA. Their want of penetration unavoidably dire&s them to
a bad choice of examples. Truth always eludes them ; and their
minds bccomc the receptacle of polite errors, inftcad of the liter
ary ones I have been delcribing. Such men never judge right of
anything they observe; and the Jess they fee, or the lets they know,
the less deformed does their understanding appear.
Wlfen foch men return from their travels, forthey probably will
travel we can form no idea, without being in their company, wbat
(illy and ufclefs psattlc they bring home. They determine noth
ing by any tcft of intrinsic merit, and will run into an extravagance
ofapplauicupon trifles too vain to be noticed ; while they deal in
aaecdoles too improbable to be believed, or too urfinterefting to
be regarded. Their indigeftcd opinions and half-ftattd fads con
vince every pcrfon who fees them, that such wrong-headed, or
weak-headed travellers encreafe their folly fafler than their infor
Where such an imbecility or obliquity of judgment is deeply
root?tj io nature, 1 question whether it admits of any remedy.
OMcurnymay hide it, but fludy and obfervationcan never improve
Wednesday, June 17, 1789.
The qutftion, Whether the Secretary of Fmtign Affairs fliculd be re
turnable by the President ? still under consideration.
Mr. Ha&tle'y advocated the principle. He made some in
troductory observations on the neccflity and importance of the
office under consideration, and its intimate connexion with the
executive department; and maintained that in whatever hands this
department was placed, the ottice ought to beimmediately depen
dent on, ardcontroulable by it. This was the policy of the con
stitution, and was the pra&ice, he believed, of all nations with
whom he was acquainted. It could not be confidercd an office
held during good behaviour. The constitution had particularly
pointea out those who held their places by this tenure; they were
■ 'le judges alone. He conceived that the gentleman trom South
Carolina deviated widely from juil conftruftion, in ftippoftng
that the clause refpeding impeachments extended to every office
in the government. This principle would be inconvenient, mif
chievousanddeftru&ivetoalldecifion in the administration. The
fane gentleman had,he said, contended that every man had a pro
perty in his office. This idea he hoped would never find ad
vocates in this house.
In Great-Britain it had prevailed to a pernicious degree. It
wasthe practice there to give a man a pension who was removed
f rom office, in consideration of the inter eft which he was deprived
°f. He hoped we should never admit this corrupt and ruinous
practice among us.
The gentleman, he observed, had qucftioned the right of the
legislature to make a conftrudion on the constitution, or in cafe it
wasfilent, to supply the defeat.—He could not agree to this. The
■oftronect had expressly given it the power to make all laws
recefiaryto carry the constitution intrt etfe&. If it was silent
therefore, in any point ncccflary to be fettled, in order to put it in
operation, the inference was clear, that Congress had a right to
fopply the defefi.
He concluded with Come observations to prove that the power
wcuid be more fafely lodged with the President than the Senate,
, that the conferring the power of removal on the Senate would
j-cpnvcj the President of some of the most important executive
it ions, which few as they were, ought not to fuffer the least
Mr. Laurance observed, that it had been obje&ed against
"C clause, that the powers which it vested were unconstitutional,
311 not only so but unnecefTarv, M the constitution rauft contain
,n >t.tlf somewhere the power under consideration which it had
fjiun to some man or tody of men. And therefore that it was un -
fiect ary (or a law to interfere, which could norther enlarge, di
: lni '' or this power. If it was unconstitutional to give
r o e . >rc ' l^ent i *1 VOv)4 only be because it had been vested in
• ™e other body ; it had not been contended that the constitution
vested it in the senate ; and otherwise it could not be
with ccrtainty that be uucouftitutional for thclegi
ore to declare that the President Ihould have it ; but the ob
iw 3 ecnco^c &cd from the nature of that body who Hid
n ?PP°' ntments > and from the clause in the constitution
ja lr ,S 'ppcachments. The constitution he observed, declar
lf thit 1 Jr®®* fiiould hold their officcs during good behavior,
there U ° U asto an >' cfFeft, it certainly must imply that
01 ior UC [ ° ero ® cers who held their placcs during plcafure,
good be! t ' me »or ofticers held their places during
we I r wei c removenble only by impeachment, then
»u c was ufclefs. The perfou have jtjifbehaved before
WEDNESDAY, June 24, 1789.
he could be impeached. But if he were infirm or incapable, he
could not be impeached, but mufton this principle be perpetuated
•n office.
But it had been urged that we -were to fcek for the power of
removal in\he nature of the authority which appointed. H re he
would be willing to meet the gentleman, if it were necelfary to
reft the cause on this point alone. He would a(k who, by the
onftitution, had the power of appointing. It was true, it had
iven the Senate an advisory power, but it had considered the ap
pointment to be by the President. It had expressly defclared,
that he (hould nominate and appoint, though their advice was
rendered necelfary. This was given in the strongest language.
' he appointment was in the President, and in him (hould be al
'o the removal. But it had been obje&ed that it would be an ex
tenfionof the executive power. This was not true ; or if there
was any weight in the argument, it would apply against the rea
soning of gentlemen in favour of veiling the power with the Pre
sident and Senate conjointly. If it could be said, that the Prefi
iident's functions and powers ought not to be extended, it could
also be said that t'nofeof the Senate could not.
The constitution he said was lilent on this fubjefl; it was also
iilent refpedling the removal of those whole appointment it had
enabled the legifiature to veil in the Piefidcnt, in the heads of
departments or n the courts of law—but nothing about their re
moval. Now the legifiature, having in pursuance of this autho
rity, veftcd the power of appointing in the President, could the
(.onftitution becarried intoeffett if the legifiature had no right to
determine in whom the powcT of difmiifing Ihoulc reside ? What
was the consequence? Why, in those cases, the power of remo
val muftbe in the President, and the Congress mull, from the ne
celfity of the thing have the right to determine this. Of course,
in cases where the constitution had originally given the power of
appointment to the President, he mull for the fake of consistency
have the power of r?moval. Certainly noperfon would pretend
that if the legifiature should give the President the sole power to
appoint in certain cases, and there was no special limitation of the
otftce, that he (hould not in those cases have the sole power to re
move. Thus then, he said, stood the business. There was no ex
press words prohibiting the power ; and all the ideas collected
from inference pointed out the legality and propriety of investing
the President with the power ; at Icaft they proved that he had
every constitutional right to it, which the Senate, together with
the President could claim. ,
This had, he said, been called a cafe omitted : But in omitted
cases in which a certain provifionwas absolutely elfential to the
acitniniftration, who was to make this provision and supply the
defe£l ? Undoubtedly the legifiature. It was the only authority
in any measure competent to it.
Mr. Laura nce a(ked if any gentleman supposed that the pow
er of expounding the constitution and of providing for the remo
val from office could be more securely trailed to the wildom and
integrity ot one branch of the legifiature than the whole; or if
it would be more fatisfaftory to tnc people to have the power of
displacing officers in the Senate than in the President? He said
the people looked up to the legislature as their great security and
the center of political wisdom. They naturally supposed that
where any provisions were neceftary to be made, conftru£live and
declarative of the constitution, that from this source, and this alone
they ought to From all thcfc circum fiances, he conclu
ded that the Congrcfs had the right, and that it was their duty to
supply the deficiency in the constitution.—The fame constitution,
which had given them the power of eftablilhing offices, had gi
ven them a right of making all the particular provisions, whene
ver the constitution was nlcnt, which were neceiTary to carry
that general power into effett.
In the contemplation of the constitution, he observed the heads
:>f the executive departments were mere servants and aids of the
President. He had the superintendence* the controul, and the
nfpe£lion into their conduct. They were not only to perform
the regular duties of their function, but, to aflift the President
with their occasional council, and to answer all questions which
he (hould put to them refpe&i'ng the execution of their offices.
Thefecircuijiftances would give him such advantages of discove
ring the secret delinquencies, the faults, the deficiency of abili
ties or know lege of those whom he employed, that he alone could
b-competent to an able excrcife of this authority. Under such
:ircumftanccs, would gentlemen deprive him of the power of
pursuing the; intereftso! the United States.
But it had been urged, said Mr. Laurakce, that the trust
cvas fubjett toabufes; that there might be wanton changes of of
ficers, and revolutions in all the departments, on the acccffion o!
"very new President.—He contended that changes were proper,
when he who was the only judge' of their necef&ty thought them
expedient. A new President ought to have the power on hisac
ceffion, to bring forward those men, in whom he was sure he
:ou!d place the highest confidence. Underthe guards and checks
under which the chief mag-.ftrate acted, it whs to be presumed
hat changes would not take place from capricious motives, but
from principles of policy, and propriety.
He said he did not make his calculations of the fafety of the ad
ministration upon the merit of the present chief magistrate, whoft
talents and virtues were the admiration of the world, but he had
the heft grounds to ptefume, that no man would ever be elected
to that exalted office, who had not given abundant proofsof his
anilities, integrity, and other great qualities requilite for such a sta
He begged gentlemen to consider that the President was liable
to impeaehmcnr, for ha\ ing difplaccd a good man who enjoyed
the confidence of the people.
But it was not proper he said to view the fubjeft on one fide
alone—the difficulties on one fide as well those on another, ought
to be contemplated.—He here mentioned the nece(fity, on the
gentleman's plan, of the Senate being perpetually assembled, or
of the President's convening them for the purpose of a removal,
from the extremes of the continent. He instanced the cafe of a
foreign minister negociating and intriguing to the injury of his
country, who before a sentence of recal could be procured from
the Senate, might have completed his machinations, and involved
the republic in ruin.
Mr. Jackson conceived this to be altogether a constitutional
question. He was convinced of the neceflity of energy in the
executive, but he was sure the liberties of the people deserved
equal attention and care. Of two evils it was proper to chose the
lenft. It had been mentioned, that in all governments the exe
cutive necessarily had the power of difmifling officers under him.
That might hold good in Europe, but it did not apply to our con
stitution, by which the President had not the executive powers
exclusively. The Senate was aflociated with him, and investing
them with any particular authority could not impair the energy
of the executive. If this arrangement was wrong, the fault was only
in the constitution, and it could be remedied only by amendment.
He dreaded the dangers to which this power would expose us .It
would eftabHfh a fatal system of influence in the government. We
(hould have a treasury bench, and a croud of the President's crea
tures in the house. His ministers would intrude here, and lead and
govern the measures of legislation.
The gentlemen, he said, had contended that there might be cases
where the officer was unfit for his station ; by reafonof infnrmity,
\Publijhed on Wednesday and Saturday.
incapacity, and other qualities not punishable—He might fink into
dotage* or be seized with a fit of lunacy. It was proper, therefore,
that some filcnt remedy should be applied. It was t rue this might
happen, and so it might happen to others, whom there was n »
mode of removing. Suppose the President should be taken with
a fit of lunacy, would he not continue in office during his four
years ? Suppose the Senate Ihould be seized, or the representatives
rhemfelves become lunatics, would not the people be obliged to
submit to this mad Congress ? We had alreaty, he faidj seen *
King of Great-Britain a lunatic, and the fame might be the cafe
with our President ; and although it was improbable that a majority
of this house should be lunatics, it was by no means impoflible.
It was also urged, that the judges alone were to hold their offices
during good behaviour. It was admitted that they ought to. Bun
was not a judge, as well as other exceutive officers, liable to the
ast of God, which might deprive him of his faculties and his le
gal knowledge ? Yet he must continue in office till impeached and
convicted of some crime.
Was it politic, he asked, to place the officers in such a situation
as to deprive them of all their independency and firmnefs ? Had
not the Prefidentthe command of the army, and would he not have
the treasury undrr his thumb ? Thefecretiry of the finances would
never dare oppose him, and would leave him unchecked to exer
cise his powers. Then, he said, we might bid adieu to liberty,
and all the blessings of genuine republicanism. He begged gen
tlemen to consider the deadly influence of the crown in England,
where offices were held during the pleasure of the King. Let gen
tlemen turn their eyes to Sweden, and behold the monarch (hut
ting the doors upon his Senate, and compelling them to submit to
his despotic ordinances. He affirmed that the error of gentlemen
lay in calculating upon the merit of the present chief magillrate,
as if he was to continue for ever. With him he was confident
every power might be lodged But he was not immortal ; the
period must come when he would be taken from us. Could we
be sure who would fuccced him ? Might not a man come into the
office who carried a Pandora's box in his breast.
The business of conftru&ion, he observed, was a dangerous busi
ness. One of the favorite amendments proposed to the constitu
tion was, a provision that all power which was not expressly given
to the Congress, was retained. Under this idea, the conftitutioh
was adopted ; and was it proper now to construe the constitution,
so as to give extraordinary powers not before vested? The legisla
ture had nothing but the letter of that compact to go by, and the
moment a deviation was made from this* the House was making!
an arbitrary stride towards an arbitrary government.
Mr. Jackson v/as willing to confcnt that in cafe of a recess of the
Senate, the President might have power to make a temporary sus
pension. If an officer was guilty of any misdemeanor, he truftcd
that there would be always virtue enough in the house of repre
sentatives to impeach him.
Mr. Clymek remarked, that were he to give his vote merely
as it refpefted the conilitution, he should be indifferent whether
the words were ft ruck out or not; for he was clear that the exe
cutive had the power of removal as incident to his department—
With refpcfl to appointments, the Senatt was only a check on the
Picfident, to prevent his filling offices with unworthy men. In
Uie cafe of removal there is not such a neceflity for this check ;
for suppose a worthy man should be difmifed, what great danger
or ineonvcnience would follow from it f Mull he not consult the
Senate in filling the vacancy ? and would he have a better chance
of procuring their consent to advance an improper chara&er, than
in the firft appointment ? The prcfumption therefore, only waft
that one good man would be changed for another.
If the power was not given to the executive, he would want
the btft power of doing good. He would be an inefficient officer ;
would only a£l by the agency of others, and would be,deftitute of
It would be entirely frivolous, he faidj to call the people toge
ther every four years to choose a President, if when chosen, he
ihould be a mere cypher in the government, to nominate for the
Senate to appoint ; and to propose in order for the Senate to re
move. It would be as proper to give the whole executive autho
rity to the senate at once. If this power was denied the President,
he declared that the government would be as destitute of energy
as any in the universe*
Mr. Pace was infavor of the motion. He contended that the
clause would cftablifh a dangerous power in the hands of the Pre
sident, and was in dirett opposition to that clause in the consti
tution which provides for the impeachment of officers. He af
fcrted, that the clause contained in it the feeds of royal preroga
tive. It appeared to him that everything which had been said
inlhe House refpefting energy in the executive, might he carried
to the deftru6tion of a free govercment. This very energy so
much talked of, had led many patriots to the Baftile, to the block,
and to the halter* If the President might take a man from the
hejid of a department without assigning a reafon,he might as well
be vested with a power, on certain occafvons, of taking away his
exiflence. The idea was not confonart to the principles of a free go
vernment, where no man ought to be condemned unheard; nor
till after a fair and solemn trial, He would rather fuffer for a
time the mifchiefs arising from the adminiftratiofl of a bad offi
cer* than to fee a dangerous prerogative vested in the chief magi
strate, which might lead to despotism. He knew that gentlemen
supported the principle from honest motives : He knew they
were friends to the g©vernment, but he thought they were in an
unhappy error.
Mr. Sherman wasoppofed to the clause.—He conceived that
the paragraph in theconftitution refpefting appoirrtmens, was pro
vided for some ufeful purpose; but it appeared to him that on rhc
conftruttion of the gentlemen, it would be defeated. He thought
that the concurrence of the Senate was as necessary to the very
nature of an appointment, as the nomination of the President.—
They were mutual checks and had each a negative. He consi
dered it as an established principle,that the appinting power should
have the right to remove, except where there was an express re
tyriftion, as in the cafe of the judges, who held their places du-*
ring good behaviour. Were it not for that reftriftion, the Pre
sident and Senate might displace them. It was, he said, a gene
ral principle in law as well as reason, that the fame authority
was necclfary to repeal as to establish. It was so in legi flat ion,
1 he several branches whose concurrence was requisite to pass an
a£t, must also concur to repeal it. He supposed that if a lav/ was
parted, giving the Prefidentthe exclusive appointment of certain
inferior officers, he would also have the power of removing them.
Butthis was not an inferior officer. Hewas placedat the head of a
great department, and his appointment was constitutionally vested
in the President and Senate. If gentlemen would suppose that
this was a subordinate officer who was to be in aid of the Pre
sident, there a question might arise, whether his appointment
could not, by law, be vested in the executive ? For being an
executive officer, and the President being the great executive, the
President might be supposed to be properly the head of that de
partment. This realoning however was not to be admitted—He
was an officer within the meaning of the constitution, who might
have authority given him to make subordinate appointments, and
therefore it was necessary that the Senate should have a voice in his
appointment. As the office was a mere creature of the legislature,
it might b« limited in its power and duration: the officer might