« ÎnapoiContinuați »
he must differ from some of them. I confess my judgment would have been, that the power of removal did not belong to the President alone; that it was but a part of the power of appointment, since the power of appointing one man to office implies the power of vacating that office, by removing another out of it; and as the whole power of appointment is granted, not to the President alone, but to the President and Senate, the true interpretation of the Constitution would have carried the power of removal into the same hands. I have, however, so recently expressed my sentiments on this point in another place, that it would be improper to pursue this line of observation further.
In the course of the last session, Gentlemen, several bills passed the Senate, intended to correct abuses, to restrain useless expenditure, to curtail the discretionary authority of public officers, and to control government patronage. The post-office bill, the custom-house bill, and the bill respecting the tenure of office, were all of this class. None of them, however, received the fa
, vorable consideration of the other house. I believe, that in all these respects a reform, a real, honest reform, is decidedly necessary to the security of the Constitution; and while I continue in public life, I shall not halt in my endeavors to produce it. It is time to bring back the government to its true character as an agency for the people. It is time to declare that offices, created for the people, are public trusts, not private spoils. It is time to bring each and every department within its true original limits. It is time to assent, on one hand, to the just powers of Congress, in their full extent, and to resist, on the other, the progress and rapid growth of executive authority.
These, Gentlemen, are my opinions. I have spoken them frankly, and without reserve. Under present circumstances, I should wish to avoid any concealment, and to state my political opinions in their full length and breadth. I desire not to stand before the country as a man of no opinions, or of such a mixture of opposite opinions that the result has no character at all. On the contrary, I am desirous of standing as one who is bound to his own consistency by the frankest avowal of his sentiments, on all important and interesting subjects. I am not partly for the Constitution, and partly against it; I am wholly for it, for it altogether, for it as it is, and for the exercise, when occasion requires, of all its just powers, as they have heretofore been ex
ercised by Washington, and the great men who have followed him in its administration.
I disdain, altogether, the character of an uncommitted man. I am committed, fully committed; committed to the full extent of all that I am, and all that I hope, to the Constitution of the country, to its love and reverence, to its defence and maintenance, to its warm commendation to every American heart, and to its vindication and just praise, before all mankind. And I am committed against every thing which, in my judgment, may weaken, endanger, or destroy it. I am committed against the encouragement of local parties and local feelings; I am committed against all fostering of anti-national spirit; I am committed against the slightest infringement of the original compromise on which the Constitution was founded; I am committed against any and every derangement of the powers of the several departments of the government, against any derogation from the constitutional authority of Congress, and especially against all extension of executive power; and I am committed against any attempt to rule the free people of this country by the power and the patronage of the government itself. I am committed, fully and entirely committed, against making the government the people's master.
These, Gentlemen, are my opinions. I have purposely avowed them with the utmost frankness. They are not the sentiments of the moment, but the result of much reflection, and of some experience in the affairs of the country. I believe them to be such sentiments as are alone compatible with the permanent prosperity of the country, or the long continuance of its union.
And now, Gentlemen, having thus solemnly avowed these sentiments and these convictions, if you should find me hereafter to be false to them, or to falter in their support, I now conjure you, by all the duty you owe your country, by all your hopes of her prosperity and renown, by all your love for the general cause of liberty throughout the world, — I conjure you, that, renouncing me as a recreant, you yourselves go on, right on, straightforward, in maintaining, with your utmost zeal and with all your power, the true principles of the best, the happiest, the most glorious Constitution of a free government, with which it has pleased Providence, in any age, to bless any of the nations of the earth.
At a meeting of the political friends of the Hon. Daniel Webster, held • at Euterpian Hall, in the city of New York, on Tuesday evening, the 21st of February, 1837, Chancellor Kent was called to the chair, and Messrs. Hiram Ketchum and Gabriel P. Dissosway were appointed secretaries.
The object of the meeting having been explained, the following resolutions were, on motion, duly seconded and unanimously adopted :
“ Resolved, That this meeting has heard with deep concern of the intention of the Hon. Daniel Webster to resign his seat in the Senate of the United States at the close of the present session of Congress, or early in the next session.
" Resolved, That while we regret the resignation of Mr. Webster, it would be most unreasonable to censure the exercise of his right to seek repose, after fourteen years of unremitted, zealous, and highly distin. guished labors in the Congress of the United States; but we indulge the hope that the nation will, at no distant day, again profit by his ripe expe. rience as a statesman and his extensive knowledge of public affairs, by his wisdom in council and eloquence in debate.
“ Resolved, That in the judgment of this meeting there is none among the living or the dead who has given to the country more just or able expositions of the Constitution of the United States ; none who has enforced, with more lucid and impassionate eloquence, the necessity and importance of the preservation of the Union, or exhibited more zeal or ability in defending the Constitution from the foes without the government, and foes within it, than Daniel Webster.
“ Resolved, That there is no part of our widely extended country more deeply interested in the preservation of the Union than the city of New York; her motto should be · Union and Liberty, now and for ever, one and inseparable,' and her gratitude should be shown to the statesman who first gave utterance to this sentiment.
“ Resolved, That David B. Ogden, Peter Stagg, Jonathan Thompson, James Brown, Philip Hone, Samuel Stevens, Robert Smith, Joseph Tucker, Peter Sharpe, Egbert Benson, Hugh Maxwell, Peter A. Jay, Aaron Clark, Ira B. Wheeler, William W. Todd, Seth Grosvenor, Sim. eon Draper, Jr., Wm. Aspinwall, Nathaniel Weed, Jonathan Goodhue, Caleb Bartow, Hiram Ketchum, Gabriel P. Dissosway, Henry K. Bogert, James Kent, Wm. S. Johnson, and John W. Leavitt, Esqrs., be a com. mittee authorized and empowered to receive the Hon. Daniel Webster