Obrazy na stronie

A difference has arisen between the President and the Congress in relation to the proper policy to be pursued in relation to the States lately in rebellion, who separated from us and formed themselves into a separate government, and between whom and us a fierce war raged for four years before we succeeded in conquering them. The President insists that, as the rebellion is put down and new State governments have been set up in those States, they are now entitled to be represented in the two Houses of Congress (if the members sent are loyal) and to participate in all respects in the administration of the General Government as if they had not rebelled. Congress, on the other hand, claim that all the legal relations between these States and the General Government having by the rebellion and war consequent upon it been severed, it rests with Congress as the law-making department of the Government to restore them again, and that, in doing so, it is their right and their duty to exact such assurances and guarantees as will protect the loyal part of the nation against all danger from those who have shown such a determination to destroy it.

Neither the President nor Congress as yet show any disposition to yield to the views and policy of the other, and apparently the question must be determined by an appeal to the people in the election of the next Congress.

result we desire to avoid? It is very reason-
able to suppose that the President would feel
great reluctance to remove men of his own
party, appointed either by himself or his mar-
tyred predecessor, even if they did not believe
in or advocate his policy. If we attempt to
prevent it by the use of such questionable, if
not unwarrantable legislation, as this amend
ment proposes, is there not danger, not only that
he will accept the challenge, but that this very
amendment will be accepted by the people as
a sufficient justification for that course, and
furnish a ground for saying that Congress was
the aggressive party? Situated as we are, it
seems to me that the adoption of this amend-
ment will be more likely to produce than to
prevent what we all hope to avoid.

But suppose that I am mistaken in my views,
and in consequence of a failure to adopt this
amendment the President undertakes to help
his case before the people by turning good
Union men who believe with Congress out of
office, and fills their places with men, either
Republicans or Democrats, who believe in his
policy, is there any such ground of alarm in
this as should frighten us out of our pro-
priety, and drive us to doubtful and desperate

The whole thing is founded in a mistaken lack of faith in the people. This has been a common error of politicians and public men always, but the mistake is greater now than ever before, and especially in regarding any past experience of the effect and power of political patronage as applicable to the present condition of things.

In former times, when the people regarded politics merely as a trade by which certain men obtained a living; when the issues between the parties were about internal improvements, the public lands, banks, tariffs, and the like, subjects the real merits of which the masses of the people really knew but little about, and cared less; when they had no real belief that the success or defeat of either party would make a farthing's difference with them or the country, then a body of stirring, active office-holders, to circulate documents, harangue the people, and get out the voters, could produce a very important influence upon an election. But this state of things has no existence now, and no reliance can be placed now upon the experience of those days. For four long years we were engaged in a most desperate and bloody war, which periled the very existence of the nation itself. The attention of the whole country was roused and was kept most painfully intent upon the causes and course of the war till it ended in the overthrow of the rebellion. Almost every family throughout the loyal North was repre

The President, and the majority in both Houses of Congress, were elected by the same political party, the great Union party of the country, which carried us so gloriously through the great rebellion; and the Federal offices of the country are generally filled by members of the same party, who were appointed by the President, or his predecessor, Mr. Lincoln. I suppose it to be true that the great majority of those persons now holding office, as well as the great mass of the Union party, concur with Congress in the proper policy to be pursued in the restoration of these rebel States. I suppose it is feared that in this contest before the people, as to which of these respective policies shall prevail, the President will attempt to strengthen his position by the use of his patronage, that is, that he will displace men who believe in and advocate the congressional policy, and fill the positions with either Union men, or Democrats who will advocate the policy of the President. And I do not know but it is feared that men now holding office, who really believe with Congress, will, for fear of losing their offices, profess to believe and act with the President. Now, I have no knowledge that the President designs any such course of action; he may or may not. I do know that the Democratic press and politicians of the country are urging this course upon him with great zeal, and with great promise of polit-sented in the Army of the Union by some father ical profit to him and his policy. I cannot help believing that they have their own profit and advantage much more at heart than his, or that of his policy, in giving this disinterested advice. Now, I should as deeply regret to have any good Union man removed from office, and especially one that fully sympathized with Congress in their difference with the President, as any Senator in this Chamber, or any Union man in the land. I like to have my political friends hold the offices, not only for their own advantage and profit, but because I am very apt to think they are the best men, and that the pub-public press, that the great anxiety of the lic service is more honestly attended to than it would be by men of the opposite political belief.

Now, if this amendment is adopted, will it have the effect to prevent the President from making changes in office for political causes? If he has no such purpose or intention, then there is certainly no need of such an extraordinary provision being attached to this bill. And I may be allowed to say that I am not prepared to believe that he designs to do any such foolish thing. But assuming that he has such a wish and purpose, will the adoption of such an amendment as this be likely to prevent him from accomplishing it? On the other hand, will it not look like daring and defying him to do it, and be very likely to produce the very

or brother or son, and mourning and sorrow
were carried into almost every northern home
by the death of some dear relative in the Army
by disease or on the battle-field, or the still
more cruel mode of starvation in prison. In
this way the people have come to comprehend
everything pertaining to the subject as fully
and completely as the first statesmen in the
land. Nor have they, since the close of the
war, lost any of their interest in it, and will
not until the whole matter is put at rest.

I have heard it said here, I have read in the
people was to have the matter settled, and get
all the States once more into the Union to-
gether. The people are anxious to have the
Union restored and all act again together, but
that is not their great anxiety. What they fear,
and about which they are earnestly anxious, is
that they should not again be admitted until it
is made perfectly certain that they are not again
to come under southern domination, and that
not even by combination with their old allies
in the North can they again control the Govern-
ment. The Union people of the North are not
revengeful or malignant, but they cannot for-
get their martyred brothers and sons, or their
own anxieties and sorrows; they cannot forget
the immense burden of public debt imposed
upon them; and they are too often reminded

of it by the tax-gatherer, all of which has been brought upon them by the conduct of the people of these States, to feel over-anxious for their return to participate in ruling the nation without the best and strongest assurances that they are safe in doing so. Another reason which keeps them watchful and careful is that almost every Union man in the whole North, who has any considerable property, is the holder of the bonds of the Government, which they feel would be put in peril if the southern men, even with northern help, could ever again hold the control of this Government. It is not true, sir, that the Union people of the North are dissatisfied with the policy or the action of Congress on this subject. What they do fear is that we shall not stand firm to the end; they fear the effect of patronage on us, and they have far more reason to than we have to fear for them. Now, Mr. President, what luck do you suppose some postmaster, or marshal, or assessor, made by the President out of a copperhead, or limping Republican, would have among these people arguing for the immediate and unconditional admission of the rebel States?

The idea is simply ridiculous. The truth is that the Union masses of the loyal States stand firmly with Congress in this matter and will do so to the end if we do not allow them to make issues against us by the adoption of untenable measures. Our platform is firm and strong, and all the Union party will stand with and by us upon it, unless we by our own folly let in a weak timber or rotten plank to frighten them from it. In this particular matter of the political patronage of the President, if we do nothing that can be made an excuse or cover for it, if the President turns out good Union men because they sustain Congress and concur with the mass of their party, and puts in others because they agree with him, he will raise a storm of indignation against himself among Union men as has not been witnessed before. The truth is that the President, if he entertains any such design, cannot build up for himself against the Union party, a presidential party of any considerable numbers without having in it the men who opposed every measure for the putting down the rebellion, who discouraged enlistments, opposed the draft, voted the war a failure, and many other things of that character. This very fact will destroy his party if he endeavors to make one. Where those men go the people will not. The people look upon this thing now as they did during the war, not as an ordinary question of politics, but as a question of loyalty or treason, and if the President abandons the great Union party to form one for himself, and his party is made up, as it must be in the main, by the men who opposed the war, they will soon be the only ones left in it.

If the President is ambitious to have such a party as this, shall we deny him the benefit of a few hired mercenaries in the shape of Federal office-holders if he desires? If he chooses to make changes, so far as my own State is concerned he will have to make them from men who do not belong to the Union party, if he must have men who support his policy, for I have never yet heard of a Union man there who does not most cordially support Congress. And I believe my State is not singular in this respect, but that the same will be found true of every loyal State. Let us then have faith in the people, stand firmly upon our principles, avoid all false and doubtful expedients, leave to the President the full and free exercise of every constitutional right and prerogative, so that any action of his hostile to the party that elected him, if he be guilty of any, shall be without excuse. If we can keep from killing ourselves, I have no fear of the President being able to do so, even if he entertains any such wicked

[blocks in formation]

or a conservative, or a Johnson man. I have seen in a leading Republican paper a notice of my motion to reconsider the vote by which this bill was passed, in which it was said that I had adopted the language of the copperhead press, and the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. Davis. My ideas on this subject may be odd and did fashioned, I admit, but they are such as have always obtained in Vermont.

Mr. President, I do not know anybody who can sustain such accusations with less danger of injury to themselves than Vermout and her representatives. Vermont has always upheld freedom and law. The doctrines of equal rights and equality before the law have been there maintained since the days of Ethan Allen. Her legislation, her officers, and her courts have ever faithfully fulfilled her will in sustaining liberty and freedom according to the Constitution and laws. When the war of the rebellion came upon the nation no State in the Union contributed her proportion of men more promptly than Vermont.

Her sons showed their patriotism and courage on many a bloody field, with equal credit at least to those of any other State. She paid as heavy a legacy of death, in proportion to her numbers, as any other. She bore her share in || putting down the rebellion most cheerfully, and she did it to preserve a Government of constitutional law. She does not desire to have her representatives here aid in frittering away what has cost us so dearly to maintain. She desires her representatives to stand firmly for her principles and their principles, but to make their fight clearly within the pale of constitutional law.

The two great measures of this session of Congress which elicited the difference of views between Congress and the President were the Freedmen's Bureau and civil rights bills. I assisted in the preparation and perfecting of both those great measures in committee. I voted for both on their original passage in the Senate, and voted for the passage of both notwithstanding the President's veto. I voted for the joint resolution declaring that no State which had been in rebellion was entitled to representation or to share in the Government of the nation until both Houses of Congress should agree thereto. I think I may safely claim to be ranked as a supporter of the policy of Congress. It might in reference to these measures be said of me as a political wag said of a leading Anti-Mason in my State in the days of the rule of that party, that he was such a fool that he believed in his party principles.'

I feel a firm and abiding confidence in the soundness of our position, and of being able to maintain it before the people. Our party pro fesses to be based upon something higher and nobler than mere temporary political expediency, and to stand upon the great doctrines of liberty and justice. It seems to me especially important that our practice should correspond with our professions; and that we should not undertake the acts of mere political adventur


In this if anywhere lies our danger. An open and manly stand upon our principles, disdaining all political quackery, relying upon the intelligence and patriotism of the people, will carry us safely through to ultimate victory.

Mr. TRUMBULL. Mr. President, much has been said by the Senator from Vermont to which I shall have no occasion to allude, as I am not in a position, nor about to assume a position, that makes it necessary for me to go over my political record in order to satisfy my friends at home, in the Senate, or elsewhere, that what I am about to do is not a departure from my previous course. I regret very much that in discussing this question the Senator from Vermont, in a prepared and written speech, should have reflected upon the majority of the Senate as he has felt at liberty to do. I regret, sir, that a Senator with whom it has usually been my pleasure to act, should have risen in his place and denounced a measure voted for by a majority of the Senate, by nearly all his political friends, and which he himself had once voted for, as political quackery, as

[ocr errors]

Read the documents upon your table from the different Departments and you will find there are many in office who have never taken the oath.

an indirect and sinister way of legislating, and as an attempt to do something in a way which is not open and honest. Does the Senator from Vermont mean to impute to a majority of this body dishonesty in its action, that it is Sir, it may be that the people of Vermont are in favor of saying to the President of the governed by sinister considerations, that it does not act openly and fairly? I will not suffer United States, "You may remove from office myself to be betrayed, Mr. President, into such whomsoever you please, you may put in office a reply to these remarks as I think they would whomsoever you please, without the constituwarrant. In a body where we are equals, where tional sanction of the Senate, and we are prethe motives of members are not to be assailed,pared to tax ourselves to pay the salary of the and where one is presumed to be as honest as another, I have never indulged in any remarks claiming for myself greater honesty than others; nor have I imputed to others sinister designs or dishonest motives.

The proposition under consideration has received but a small part of the Senator's attention. He has denounced it as monstrous; he has spoken of it as a resort to a doubtful and desperate measure, as one upon which no party can stand; and he has said that he is disposed to make the fight within the pale of the Constitution. Does he mean by that that anybody here is disposed to make a fight without the pale of the Constitution? Why, sir, I think the majority of the Senate who voted for this measure have as much respect for the Constitution as the Senator from Vermont, and as little inclination to resort to any sinister or dishonest mode of legislation to carry out their objects.

What, sir, is this amendment? And it is to that that I design to confine my remarks, and not to go into the history of the war, to recount the gallant deeds of the sons of Vermont or of any other State. Sir, the heroic boys who went from all the States into the Army to put down this rebellion did their duty, those from Vermont as well as from elsewhere; and, sir, our legislation here should be shaped to secure the fruits of the victories which their valor achieved; and we should not permit by our legislation the fruits of the victories which they won at such great sacrifices to be lost to the country and to posterity.

The pending proposition is simply this: that persons unconstitutionally in office shall not be paid. The Senator admits that he would have no objection to that portion of the amendment which provides that if the President shall undertake to fill a vacancy which existed when the Senate was in session, after the Senate has adjourned, the person with whom he fills that vacancy should not be paid; so that to do so much is not dishonest nor a resort to a desperate measure. He is willing to refuse pay to an appointee in that case; he makes no objection to the provision on this appropriation bill; and what does he object to? He objects to the refusal to pay a salary to a person who obtains his position by a removal without cause, and who is put into office for the purpose of breaking down the Union party of the country and turning the Government over into the hands of the men who have been fighting for five years to destroy it. He tells us that the people of Vermont, of whose gallant sons he has spoken, and to the bravery of whose people he has paid a just tribute, are in favor of saying to the President of the United States, "You may, without consulting the Senate, hurl from office without cause whomsoever you please, and put in their places anybody you please, a rebel from the rebel army if you will, and we, the people of Vermont, will pay the man you thus appoint in the recess of the Senate." He is willing to tax the fathers of the gallant boys who went from the State of Vermont and fought to put down the rebellion, for the purpose of paying a rebel, it may be, who is put into office without the sanction of the Senate, and, as 1 insist, in defiance of the Constitution, when to secure him a place a faithful officer is, in the recess of the Senate, removed without cause, except to make room for a partisan of presidential policy.

The Senator says he would require him to take the oath. Does not the Senator from Vermont know that there are hundreds of traitors in office to-day that have not taken the oath?

man you put in, though he be a traitor and ready again to conspire to overthrow the Gov ernment." Sir, it may be that the citizens of Vermont are for that, but the citizens of Illinois are not. I claim not to know the views of the Senator's constituents, but I think I know something of those whom I have the honor to represent.

The amendment, as originally proposed, related to the filling of the vacancies which existed during the session of the Senate, and which the President would have had an opportunity to fill in the constitutional way by the advice and consent of the Senate. That was the original proposition. The Senator from Ohio Mr. SHERMAN] thought it would not do to adopt it in that form because there might be connected with the revenue some officer who was squandering the public money, and if it was necessary to remove him for malpractice and put an honest man in his place it would not do to say that the successor appointed under such circumstances should not be paid until he was confirmed by the Senate. In order.to meet that objection the amendment was changed so as to provide that in case of a removal by the President during the recess of the Senate of an officer for any act or omis sion in violation of public duty, where a person was appointed to fill a vacancy thus occasioned he should be paid. The President can, if this amendment becomes a law, remove and appoint in case of malfeasance in office, and the appointee will be entitled to his salary. That does not satisfy the Senator from Vermont. What does he want? He wants the President to be vested with authority to remove without cause for partisan purposes, and it may be for the purpose of aiding to force into Congress representatives from States not fit, according to the Senator's own showing, to be represented. That is his object in moving this reconsideration. There can be no other. But he tells us the President either has the power to remove, or he has not the power to remove from office, and if he has the power at all it is unlimited. I do not so understand the Constitution. I do not so understand the practice under the Government.

The Senator from Vermont tells us that from the foundation of the Government this power of the President to remove and appoint at pleasure has been recognized. I would like to inquire of that Senator if it has been recognized in the Army and Navy. Has it not rather been denied? Will he point to the clause of the Con. stitution that restricts the power of the President in the appointment and removal of Army and Navy officers any more than it does in the appointment and removal of civil officers? Has not Congress from the foundation of the Gov. ernment denied the authority of the President to remove, except as provided by law, a very large class of officers, both in the Army and in the Navy? Have we not denied it also in relation to civil officers? It is not true that the President has from the foundation of the Government exercised this power ad libitum. I am not disposed to go into that argument. The Senator from Missouri [Mr. HENDERSON] exhausted that subject the other day. He showed how many removals had been made under the different Presidents, and I was astonished at the few that were made by the earlier Presidents. I shall not go over the argument to show whether the power to remove exists or not. I think that subject has been sufficiently argued. But, sir, if the President has not the authority to remove during the recess of the Senate, as a general proposition, does the Senator deny that we may

give him that authority? I take issue with the Senator from Vermont as to the authority of Congress in this respect. I insist that we may confer upon the President the power to remove in vacation by law, and wherever he does make a removal in vacation in pursuance of law and makes an appointment in pursuance of law in vacation, it is proper we should pay the appointee; but because we by statute confer upon the President authority for cause to remove and appoint in vacation, does it therefore follow that without legislation he can remove and appoint in vacation? Why, sir, we confer upon the President this power to appoint officers by creating the office. We establish a new Department of the Government; we increase the number of judges; we establish a judicial district; and how does the President get authority to appoint a judge or a marshal or an attorney? He gets it in pursuance of the law that creates the office; it is in pursuance of an act of Congress that he gets the power to make the appointments at all.

Just so in regard to the removal and appointment of incumbents in office. We may provide by a statute that for cause he may remove a man from office during the vacation and substitute another in his place, and submit to the Senate when the Senate convenes the question of whether they will advise and consent to the new appointment. Congress may go further. They may authorize the President to appoint and remove inferior officers without asking the advice and consent of the Senate, and we have often done so. The Constitution expressly authorizes Congress by law to invest the appointment of inferior officers either in the President alone or in the judges of the courts or in any of the heads of Departments; and in pursuance of this authority the appointments of various minor officers all over the country have been vested in the President alone and heads of Departments. Now, would it not be competent to provide in one of these statutes, when we give him the power of appointment without consulting us, that he should not have the power of removal without cause?

Mf. FESSENDEN. Will my friend allow me to make a suggestion?

Mr. TRUMBULL. Yes, sir.

Mr. FESSENDEN. In the case of the Comptroller of the Currency we provided by law that he should not be removed without the consent of the Senate.

Mr. TRUMBULL. I thank my friend from Maine for that suggestion. I recollect that there is such a provision, which was made, perhaps, in 1863; and the provision which it is now proposed to insert as an amendment to this bill also has a precedent the same year. The Senator from Vermont has denounced it as aggressive on the President, as inviting attack, as assailing him, whereas in 1863, when Congress was acting in harmony with the President, there was attached to an appropriation billthe Army appropriation bill, I think-a provision very similar to this, not going quite so far, but providing that no officer appointed without the advice and consent of the Senate to a vacancy to which their advice and consent might have been obtained, should receive any compensation until he was confirmed by the Senate. So, sir, this is no new proposition; it is no new proposition in an appropriation bill; it is no new proposition in the law to deny the authority of the President to remove from office without the consent of the Senate. It was denied, as I am informed expressly, and as I recollect in 1863, in regard to the Comptroller of the Currency.

So the Senator from Vermont is mistaken as to the power of removal having always been exercised by the President ad libitum, and I believe he is totally mistaken as to the exercise of this power in the removal of the officers of the Army and the Navy; and I should like him to draw the distinction between them and civil officers. No President, so far as I am advised, ever undertook at will and without authority of law to appoint and dismiss officers of the Army and officers of the Navy.

Mr. KIRKWOOD. During the war, by special law, the President was authorized to summarily dismiss officers of the Army.

Mr. TRUMBULL. If there was such a statute, it is in confirmation of my argument, because it shows that Congress specially conferred the authority upon the President. Perhaps there was a statute passed during the war on the supposition that it might be necessary at such a time for the President to have the power summarily to dismiss and appoint offi


Mr. FESSENDEN. I suggest that there is a statute of that kind. I have looked at it within a day or two; but the authority was not conferred upon the President by that statute; it had been exercised by the President before, with regard to striking the names of officers from the roll of the Army. He had been in the habit of doing it in special cases.

Mr. TRUMBULL. Had the President been in the habit of dismissing them from office? Mr. FESSENDEN. Yes; before that. Mr. JOHNSON. Certainly.

Mr. FESSENDEN. But that law gave particular authority to it.

Mr. TRUMBULL. Was not the power given after trial by courts-martial?

Mr. FESSENDEN. Generally it was; but there were some special cases where it was done by the President himself.

Mr. JOHNSON. The case of General Gratiot was one instance.

Mr. FESSENDEN. There were several instances in which the President exercised the power of striking the names of officers of the Army from the rolls at once. So it was in the Navy. I think there was a case recently; my impression is that Captain Preble was removed from the Navy, dismissed the service. Mr. TRUMBULL. Was not that since this act? Mr. FESSENDEN. No; before. Mr. ANTHONY. Was there not a court

martial? Mr. JOHNSON. General Jackson dismissed one or two for sending a challenge.

Mr. TRUMBULL. Was there not a law expressly prohibiting the sending of challenges?

Mr. JOHNSON. Of course there was; but there was no law giving the power to the President to remove a man for that reason. General Gratiot was dismissed by Mr. Van Buren without any court-martial.

Mr. TRUMBULL. I should like to inquire of the Senator from Maryland if that power has ever been conceded. It has been discussed and denied since I have been a member of the Senate. I mean the power to remove at pleasure an Army or Navy officer. Mr. JOHNSON. I know it has been denied, but it has always been exercised.

Mr. FESSENDEN. In a very few instances. Mr. JOHNSON. I mean to say that in every case where the President thought there ought to be a removal he has removed.

Mr. TRUMBULL. I do not so understand it. I understand the law provides for courtsmartial and trials to remove a military officer. Does the Senator from Maryland mean to say that in every case where the President thought a man ought to be removed, instead of putting him upon trial, he has assumed to remove him himself; that that is the general practice of the Government?

Mr. JOHNSON. No; I did not say that. Mr. TRUMBULL. Has not the practice been the other way in a large majority of cases, that the officer has been tried by a court-martial or in some other way, and been dismissed the service, if dismissed at all, in pursuance of the finding of a court? Does not the law provide for that?

Mr. FESSENDEN. That is done under the Army regulations; but although that is the general practice, yet, according to my recollection, there have been some instances where Presidents have, without any court-martial, taken the responsibility of striking the names of officers from the rolls of the Army.

Mr. TRUMBULL. I am bound to suppose

there have been such cases. I did not recollect them, but they are the exceptions; the general rule is the other way, and the very fact that the law provides a mode for trying incompe tent officers or officers guilty of malfeasance in office who are attached to the Army and Navy, goes upon the idea that without this authority the power to dismiss them summarily does not exist; and I am quite sure if the records are searched there will be found to be very few cases of the character alluded to by the Senators from Maryland and Maine. Mr. Van Buren, it seems, exercised the power. I was not aware that any President had done it, and I apprehend that it will be found that it is of recent origin, and that no such power was attempted to be exercised in the early history of the Government; and the general rule is unquestionably the other way.

The Senator from Vermont tells us it is an anomaly that a man may legally fill an office and yet not be entitled to pay. Is it an anomaly? There is a bill pending on the table now authorizing the appointment of commissioners without any pay. They legally fill the office created by law, commissioners to go to Europe without any pay at all. Is that an anomaly?

Mr. POLAND. The Senator misunderstands my position. Where a man holds an office and the law makes provision for his payment, provides what his pay shall be, it seems to me very strange that we should undertake to provide that he may hold the office and not have the compensation which the law provides.

Mr. TRUMBULL. The law would not provide any compensation when we took it away, would it? Is the old law any better than the one which repeals it? Then the Senator from Vermont takes this position, that we have a right to establish an office and not establish any salary to it; but having established an office with a salary, we cannot take the salary away. If that is satisfactory to him, he is entitled to the benefit of all that that argument can give him. I do not think because we once attach a salary to an office we are obliged to continue the salary, any more than when we create an office we are obliged to give a salary with it. If there is a former law giving a salary inconsist ent with this, of course this subsequent statute repeals it.

But the Senator tells us he has no knowledge that the President designs making any removals; he does not know that the President has any purpose of the kind. Well, sir, I have some knowledge that removals are being made throughout the country. It is not proper to speak here of removals which have been made and are now pending in executive session; but if it was, I think I could bring to the notice of the Senator quite a number of cases. But, sir, outside of executive session, I have seen it stated in the newspapers of the country that the marshal of the western district of Pennsyl vania has been removed, that the collector of internal revenue in the district of Pittsburg has been removed, that the postmaster in Pittsburg has been removed. Sir, I have heard of a number of removals, which are also noticed in the papers in my own State. Yes, sir, I have heard of a letter written to a man holding an insignificant office in Illinois from one of the Departments, informing him that, having taken part in a meeting which passed resolutions sustaining Congress, he would have an opportunity to explain the matter. The Senator seems not to have heard of any of these things.

Now, sir, I have as much confidence in the people as the Senator from Vermont. I do not believe the people of this country are to be corrupted by patronage; but I am opposed to fostering men for the very purpose of giving them the benefit of official position to defeat measures which I believe, and which the Senator from Vermont has told you he believes, essential to the best interests of the country, This amendment having been adopted, trust the Senate will not reconsider it. It was not an original proposition with me. The Senator from Missouri first proposed an amendment to this appropriation bill which seemed


to me defective, and I aided in trying to perfect it. This explains my connection with it. I thought it was proper then; I think so now; and I think that after having adopted this amendment by the deliberate vote of the Senate, if we now recall the bill and reconsider the vote by which it was adopted, it will be virtually saying to the President of the United States that the Senate is prepared to vote money to pay men put into office for the very purpose of defeating the measures which we believe essential to the preservation of the Government and the perpetuity of our free institutions, and put there, too, by displacing faithful officers against whom no complaint exists. I am sorry if the Senator from Vermont cannot stand upon this position before the people of Vermont. I regret that he feels he cannot stand upon the position of refusing to pay men put into office at the sacrifice of men who are discharging their whole duty to the Government. Sir, if a man in office has been guilty of any official act of omission or commission the President may remove him, and his appointee, whoever he may be, is entitled to pay; but if he has been guilty of no official delinquency whatever, and is removed by the President during the recess of the Senate simply for the purpose of giving place to a person who will do the behests of the President or of anybody else, except in the proper discharge of his official duty, I think he ought not to be paid till confirmed by the Senate; and I am willing to stand upon that position before the country and the people of my own State.

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. President, I am very much gratified that the Senator from Vermont has felt it to be his duty to submit a motion to reconsider the action of the Senate upon this amendment, and I think that we ought to discuss the matter without the slightest political feeling. It is a question which may become important, far more important than it appeared to be at the time it was first introduced by the|| Senator from Missouri.

This amendment is attached to an appropriation bill; it is a condition-precedent to the payment of any money for the support of the Post Office Department during the next fiscal year. Unless the President is willing to assent to this proposition affecting his power to remove and appoint to office this appropriation bill cannot pass. If he approves the bill, he approves it with all the conditions and qualifications attached to the appropriations. It is therefore a condition to an ordinary appropriation bill, and unless he does approve it, it must receive the sanction of two thirds of both branches of Congress or it cannot become a law; and in the event of his disapproval we shall either be called upon to pass the bill by a two-thirds vote of both branches, or we shall be compelled to abandon it and to lose the appropriations for the next fiscal year for the Post Office Depart


During the short period of my service in Congress I have passed through three or four scenes of this kind. Once the arbitrary will of one man in this body defeated the Post Office appropriation bill to the serious detriment of the public service and to the severe loss of the Treasury. That was the case of the defeat of the Post Office appropriation bill in 1859 by Robert Toombs in the Senate. On another occasion, last year, by a political amendment attached by the House of Representatives to the miscel laneous appropriation bill under the lead of a prominent gentleman in that House, an amendment which the Senate disapproved of and which the House sought to force upon the Senate, the result was the defeat of the miscellaneous appropriation bill to the very serious loss of the Treasury and very great inconvenience to the different Departments of the Government. There is another case where a condition proposed to be appended to an appropriation bill caused great injury to the public


In view of these circumstances I always hesitate when conditions are proposed to appropriation bills. I do not doubt the power of Con

gress to attach these conditions. We have the unlimited power over the public Treasury. No money can be drawn from the Treasury without an appropriation made by law, to which each House must assent; and therefore the Senate may, as a condition-precedent, impose terms upon the House of Representatives, or that House may impose upon the Senate, or both Houses may upon the President. The Constitution gives us that power; but I say it is a power which ought never to be exercised, and these political conditions ought never to be attached to appropriation bills unless it is to accomplish some great overriding good which is greater and higher than the evil of the defeat of an appropriation bill. That principle cannot be varied. We cannot attach qualifications or conditions to these bills unless we seek to accomplish some overriding good that cannot be accomplished in any other way, and to accomplish which we are willing to risk the defeat of the ordinary appropriations of the Government. That is a principle which cannot be departed from; and therefore, as a general rule, it is never wise to attach to these bills which are intended for the support of the Government any conditions or qualifications of a political character. What is the consequence of it? The Executive may differ from Congress. It has been so in the past. Many times Congress has differed from the President. Suppose that Congress exercising its power over the public money should attach conditions to appropriation bills which are not agreed to by the Presi dent, what is the result? Revolution; either the President will then be compelled in violation of the Constitution to seize upon the public Treasury and pay the expenses of your Government, contrary to law and contrary to his oath of office, or else he will have to suspend the operations of the Government. Suppose this amendment should lead to an open breach between Congress and the President, what can he do? There is the Post Office Department which affects every man's house and home, which carries his letters from his wife, from his children, which transacts all his business of that character, which affects all the intimate relations of life are we to endanger the ordinary appropriations for this great branch of the public service by a mere political controversy between Congress and the President as to his power of removing public officers?

I say that now is the time for us to consider this question before it goes further and before any such breach is made. It may be said that the President will sign this bill with this condition in it. I hope he will if it passes; but suppose he should not do so, we shall then have the question before us, and I prefer to meet

it now.

As a general rule to be applied in all cases, both in this and all other Administrations, I am opposed to attaching conditions to the appropriation bills. When Mr. Buchanan was in power, when Mr. Pierce was in power we had similar questions up and I always opposed any such efforts.

I say, then, that we ought to meet at the outset every effort to attach these political or disputed problems to an appropriation bill. There is no excuse, let me say to my fellow-Senators, for this proposition at this particular time, because we in Congress, representing the great Union party of the United States, supported, as I believe we are, by the great mass of the people, probably ninety-nine out of every hundred of those who sent us here, have the power to pass the laws we think necessary, without attaching them as qualifications to an appropriation bill. We can pass any law which meets the sanction of our political party, by the requisite vote, either of a majority, or, in case of a clear proposition, by a two-thirds vote. There is, therefore, no occasion, in order to accomplish any political object, to attach this as a condition to an appropriation bill. If, however, only a majority of both Houses of Congress could agree upon any bill that might be proposed, that shows that we ought not to attach that opinion of a majority of each House to an appropriation bill, because we should not

force upon the President any provision of law against his deliberate judgment unless we have the power to do it by the constitutional vote of two thirds of both Houses. We should not make the public necessities which demand that certain Departments of the Government be supplied with public funds a reason for forcing upon the President a provision that might not meet his sanction if it stood alone. It is impossible, it seems to me, to combat this plain proposition.

But, sir, beyond that-and upon this point alone I rested my argument before-I was willing to meet the object embraced by the amendment of the Senator from Missouri; but upon an examination it was found, and I think very clearly proved, that the law of 1863 met all the difficulty that he proposed to meet, and that was an attempt on the part of the President to fill offices the vacancies in which occur during the session of the Senate. The law of 1863 provides for that case. If the President after the adjournment of the Senate undertakes to fill an office the vacancy in which occurred during the session of the Senate, he does it without the authority of the Constitution. He has no power to fill vacancies which occur during the session of the Senate, except by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and if he attempts in violation of the Constitution to exercise a power not conferred by the Constitution, we are then perfectly justified in withholding appropriations; indeed, we should not do our duty unless we did withhold the appropriations, because if we should pay officers thus illegally appointed we should consent to a violation of the Constitution on his part. But now in the case provided for by this amendment there is no denial of the power of removal, but a denial of the right of the officer to receive his money. The Constitution provides for two classes of appointments: one class where a vacancy occurs during the session of the Senate; it must be filled by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; the other is the case of a vacancy which occurs during a recess of the Senate, and then the President from the nature of things and by the express provision of the Constitution has the power of appointing a man to office to fill that vacancy, but the vacancy is only filled by such an appointment until the end of the following session of the Senate. The officer thus appointed by the President is a legal officer. As

said the other day there is no power conferred by the Constitution upon the President to remove any one from office. That power is only inferential. That power may be regulated by law. That power is not limited or restrained in the least by the amendment of the Senator from Illinois. The amendment does not say that a Union man shall not be removed from office and a rebel put in. That seems to be the proposition he debated; but that is not the proposition he has submitted to us. that no man shall be removed from office except for such and such causes; that is, a man who during this whole war has enjoyed the honors and emoluments of office shall not be turned out and a loyal Union soldier put in. That is one effect of his amendment.

He says

Mr. TRUMBULL. Except by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Mr. SHERMAN. That is after the session is over. If there is a man who has held an office during all the years of the war, and received its emoluments, he shall not be turned out and a Union soldier without a leg or an arm put in, or if put in that soldier shall not draw his pay until the Senate meets and passes upon the reasons for the removal, and then if the Senate does not think the removal is sufficiently justifiable by the reasons stated, he shall not have any pay at all. That is the effect of this provision. This, therefore, does not reach the purpose contemplated by the Senator from Illinois. His purpose, I know, is to prevent the President from removing men for their political opinions; that we all know to be the purpose; but the President has, by the very terms of the amendment, the power to remove.

All he has got to do is to give us a reason, whether that reason is wise or unwise, sufficient or insufficient. He may give us a reason, and turn us off with a reason. Reasons are as plenty as blackberries. He may say he removes a man because he is a civilian and the person he appoints was a soldier.

Mr. TRUMBULL. The Senator does not remember the phraseology of the amendment in regard to that point. It is for an act done or omitted in violation of his duty.

Mr. SHERMAN. "For acts done or omitted in violation of the duties of his office." Take the case again which I formerly put: suppose an officer discharging the ordinary routine of his duties, say a clerk in one of the Departments, has enjoyed that office until after the adjournment of the Senate, there is no specific act to be alleged against him, but it is thought to be desirable to make a place for a Union officer, not a rebel

Mr. CLARK. The clerks are not touched by this.

Mr. SHERMAN. Well, take the case of an assessor or a collector or a consul or a diplo matic minister, and the thousands of officers covered by this amendment. Cabinet officers cannot be removed and anybody put in, rebel or loyal, except at the risk of not getting any pay in case the Senate disapproves the reasons for the removal. This amendment does not prevent the President from removing any man he chooses, and he may give us a reason or not just as pleases; the removal is complete and perfect by the will of the President; so that the amendment accomplishes nothing. It is true, the man who takes the office cannot draw his pay until the Senate meets; but do you punish the President, do you cripple his power, do you limit his control over the public officers? Do you accomplish what you desire to accomplish? Not at all. You may punish some poor devil who is compelled to exercise the duties of an office and not get any pay for it; but you do not hurt the President or hurt his feelings. The result will be that good men, poor men, may be deterred from accepting office under these conditions, while bad inen or rich men may be indifferent to the salary attached to the office. I say, therefore, with due deference to the Senator from Illinois, that the amendment does not accomplish the purpose that he has in view; it does not limit or control the power of the President over the public officers, but simply aggravates a controversy which may never arise. Now, sir, there is a way, I think, in which this matter can be accomplished-not by an amendment to an appropriation bill; not by a limitation of this character; but by the exercise of the power of Congress over the duration and term of the various public officers. Although it has been somewhat questioned at different times since the foundation of the Government, yet, as I have said before, I do not believe it has ever been successfully controverted that Congress may regulate the duration and term of a public officer, may limit the power of the President to remove him, may declare that such and such an officer shall not be removed except for such and such a cause. But a bill of that kind must be made with many discriminations, must be made after much


There are certain officers that the President ought to have the absolute power of removing; I can name Cabinet officers; it would be intolerable that the President should be expected to carry on the business of this great Government with a Cabinet council over whose members he had not the power of removal, the complete and absolute power. For that reason, hostile political parties have often confirmed the Cabinet ministers of a President of opposite politics, on the ground that the President from the very necessity of the case must have the power of removing Cabinet ministers and appointing such as he chooses. He must administer those great offices through his personal friends, and no party would require him to appoint any but personal friends around him to these great offices. He must, therefore, have power over the Cabinet ministers. So,

too, he must have a power over the diplomatic corps in a great measure. Those are officers appointed to represent our country abroad, holding confidential relations with the Secretary of State, and therefore the power over those officers ought not to be limited or controlled or crippled by Congress. But there are classes of officers who ought to hold their offices independent of the power of removal by the President-assessors, collectors, postmasters, and other officers who really may exercise political power; that ought by the law to be secured from unjust and arbitrary removal; and there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent Congress from passing a law on the subject, securing those officers in the discharge of their duties.

who placed him in his high position, and appoint rebels to office.

Mr. TRUMBULL. I trust the Senator did not understand me to say that the President would appoint rebels. I said they might be appointed, and we had a right to provide that they should not be paid; but I do not think I said that the President would appoint rebels to office.

Mr. SHERMAN. I do not wish to extend the language.

Mr. TRUMBULL. But I understand that we are asked to repeal the test oath so that rebels can take office.

Mr. SHERMAN. There were certain cases in which men who had taken part in this rebellion were appointed to office. They were appointed by the Postmaster General and the Secretary of the Treasury. The matter was referred to us in all cases, and we had a special message on the subject.

Mr. TRUMBULL. How was it with the provisional governors?

Mr. President, Congress has power over this subject much more ample than is generally supposed. Congress may prescribe that the judges of the Supreme Court or heads of Departments or courts of law may make a great variety of appointments. The provision of the Constitution is that "Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of Depart-mittee. They are not officers under the law; ments."

Now, who is an inferior officer? Is a collector an inferior officer or a superior officer? Is an assessor an inferior or a superior officer? The Constitution says that "Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of Departments." There is no limit in this relative character of officers except the wise discretion of Congress.

Mr. JOHNSON. The fair inference is that all not named are inferior officers.

Mr. SHERMAN. As the Senator from Maryland says, it is a fair inference that all officers not named in the clause of the Constitution, "embassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and

all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for," are inferior officers.

Mr. HENDERSON. Madison says that a Cabinet minister is not an inferior officer.

Mr. SHERMAN. I take it that exercising common sense in the construction of the clause, no one would say that Cabinet ministers, who are officers of the highest grade, were inferior officers; but with regard to the host of subor dinate officers, including postmasters, I have no doubt of the power of Congress to say that the power to appoint all the postmasters of the United States shall rest in the courts of law or with the heads of Departments. There can be no doubt of it; so that our power over this subject is substantially unlimited, and thus we have the right to control and check the power of removal. Why, sir, we declare by law that an Army officer shall not be deprived of his commission except by court-martial and trial by his peers; and the same is true of an officer of the Navy.. So of the various officers under the steamboat law, who are removed by the action of the judge of a court, and the supervising inspector, and a kind of a board that is organized; and so of the Comptroller of the Currency. Congress have repeatedly imposed limitations on the power of removal, and there is no difficulty in this Congress providing such a limitation. I only say that the exercise of the power in this form is objectionable as an amendment to an appropriation bill; that this particular proposition does not meet the evil complained of; and that on the other hand we have a remedy and a power to control removals by the President furnished us by the Constitution, and which may now be exercised with great ease by this Congress if they choose to set themselves to work upon it.

From all the developments that have been made up to this time, I do not believe that we have the right to say, as the honorable Senator from Illinois says, that rebels will be appointed to fill the offices of the Government; that the President will turn his back upon those men

Mr. SHERMAN. They are not officers under the law; they are simply agents; and I believe it was so held by the Judiciary Com

they are not officers whose nominations are to be submitted to us; they are simply agents for the time being, provisional in their character, I may say like spies or other persons employed in case of war, not officers in any sense of the word.

Mr. FESSENDEN. They are military officers or nothing.

Mr. SHERMAN. They are military agents and employés, but not officers. But waiving that question, two of the Departments of the Government have appointed subordinate officers who may be called "rebels." The Secretary of the Treasury has appointed certain of them subordinate agents to collect the reve nue, and the Postmaster General has appointed a few probably as postmasters; but it has been wisely checked by Congress, and I believe the practice has now been abandoned. I think, therefore, there is no danger of such a contest as we now seem to anticipate by this amendment. If there is such a danger, we have the power to guard against it by a law. If this power shall be attempted to be exercised dur ing the next summer after we adjourn; if the President of the United States shall seek to use the public money and the public offices for the purpose of breaking down any deliberate sentiment of the people of the United States, not only would the people of the United States be just and true enough to punish him, but we have it in our power next winter when we meet again to properly guard against such things in the future.

Let us not anticipate this danger. Let us not guard against it until it occurs. Let us not invite a controversy until it is upon us; and then we have ample and complete power over the whole subject. Let us not fear a foreign enemy, and arm our militia until he declares war against us and invades our country, and then we have the material within ourselves to repel the assault. I say Congress need fear no con troversy with the President. He may appoint here and there persons whom we do not ap prove; but we have the power over such ap pointments in the Senate, and therefore I am opposed to seeking a controversy of this kind until it is forced upon us.

I have already said more than I intended on this subject. It is one of those unpleasant questions that it is difficult to argue. I prefer to rest my opposition to this proposition solely upon the ground that it is unwise to attach such a provision as this as a condition-precedent to any appropriation bill.

Mr. STEWART obtained the floor. Mr. HENDERSON. If the Senator from Nevada will excuse me, I should like to ask the Senator from Ohio a question.

Mr. STEWART. I will yield, if it will not take too long.

Mr. HENDERSON. I shall not occupy much time. The Senator from Ohio says wê

« PoprzedniaDalej »