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to the President's term under whom the member " By the Virginia convention, as follows: served as well as to his own-so as to cut off
61. That the members of the Senate and House the possibility for a member to receive an appoint- capable of holding, any civil office under the
of Representatives shall be ineligible to, and inment from the President to whom he might have authority of the United States, during the term lent a subservient vote: and the committee for which they shall respectively be elected.' directed their chairman (Mr. Benton) to report
“By the North Carolina convention, the same
amendment was recommended, in the accordingly. This was done; and a report was
words. made, chiefly founded upon the proceedings of the “In the first session of the first Congress, which federal convention which framed the constitution, was held under the constitution, a member of the and the proceedings of the conventions of the House of Representatives submitted a similar States which adopted it-showing that the total proposition of amendment; and, in the third
session of the eleventh Congress, James Madison exclusion of members of Congress from all federal being President, a like proposition was again appointments was actually adopted in the con- submitted, and being referred to a committee of vention on a full vote, and struck out in the ab- the House, was reported by them in the following
words: sence of some members; and afterwards modified
“ No senator or representative shall be apso as to leave an inadequate, and easily evaded pointed to any civil office
, place, or emolument, clause in the constitution in place of the full re- under the authority of the United States, untill medy which had been at first provided. It also the expiration of the presidential term in which
such person shall have served as a senator or showed that conventions of several of the States,
representative.' and some of the earlier Congresses, endeavored * Upon the question to adopt this resolution, the to obtain amendments to the constitution to cut vote stood 71 yeas, 40 nays; -wanting but three off members of Congress entirely from executive votes of the constitutional number for referring
it to the decision of the States. patronage. Some extracts from that report are
“ Having thus shown, by a reference to the here given to show the sense of the early friends venerable evidence of our early history, that the of the constitution on this important point. principle of the amendment now under considerThus:
ation, has had the support and approbation of the
first friends of the constitution, the committee “That, having had recourse to the history of the will now declare their own opinion in favor of its times in which the constitution was formed, the correctness, and expresses its belief that the rulcommittee find that the proposition now referred ing principle in the organization of the federal to them, had engaged the deliberations of the federal convention which framed the constitution,
government demands its adoption." and of several of the State conventions which It is thus seen that in the formation of the ratified it.
constitution, and in the early ages of our govern"In an early stage of the session of the federal convention, it was resolved, as follows:
ment, there was great jealousy on this head- Article 6, section 9. The members of each great fear of tampering between the President House (of Congress) shall be ineligible to, and in- and the members—and great efforts made to capable of holding, any office under the authority keep each independent of the other. For the of the United States, during the time for which safety of the President, and that Congress should they shall respectively be elected ; and the members of the Senate shall be ineligible to, and in- not have him in their power, he was made indecapable of holding any such office for one year pendent of them in point of salary. By a conafterwards.'
stitutional provision his compensation was neither " It further appears from the journal, that this
to be diminished nor increased during the term clause, in the first draft of the constitution, was adopted with great unanimity; and that after- for which he was elected ;—not diminished, lest wards, in the concluding days of the session, it Congress should starve him into acquiescence was altered, and its intention defeated, by a ma- in their views ;-not increased, lest Congress jority of a single vote, in the absence of one of should seduce him by tempting his cupidity with the States by which it had been supported. “ Following the constitution into the State con
an augmented compensation. That provision ventions which ratified it, and the committee find, secured the independence of the President; but that, in the New-York convention, it was recom- the independence of the two Hlouses was still to minded, as follows: -- · That no senator or representative shall,
be provided for; and that was imperfectly effectduring the time for which he was elected, be ed by two provisions—the first, prohibiting office appointed to any office under the authority of holders under the federal government from takthe United States.'
ing a seat in either House; the second, by prohibiting their appointment to any civil office that spirit, as done by Mr. Monroe, is but a very might have been created, or its emoluments in-' small restraint apon their appointment, only apcreased, during the term for which he should plying to the few cases of new offices created, or have been elected. These provisions were deemed of compensation increased, during the period of by the authors of the federalist (No. 55) sufi- their membership. The whole class of regular cient to protect the independence of Congress, and vacancies remain open! All the vacancies which would have been, if still observed in their spirit, the President pleases to create, by an exercise of as well as in their letter, as was done by the the removing power, are opened! and tetween earlier Presidents. A very strong instance of these two sources of supply, the fund is ample this observance was the case of Mr. Alexander for as large a commerce between members and Smythe, of Virginia, during the administration the President-between subservient votes on one of President Monroe. Mr. Smythe had been a side, and executive appointments on the othermember of the House of Representatives, and in as any President, or any set of members, might that capacity had voted for the establishment of a choose to carry on. And here is to be noted a judicial district in Western Virginia, and by which wide departure from the theory of the governthe office of judge was created. His term of service ment on this point, and how differently it has had expired: he was proposed for the judgeship: worked from what its carly friends and advocates the letter of the constitution permitted the ap- expected. I limit myself now to Hamilton, pointment: but its spirit did not. Mr. Smythu Madison and Jay; and it is no narrow limit was entirely fit for the place, and Mr. Monroe which includes thrce such men. Their names entirely willing to bestow it upon him. But he would have lived for ever in American history, looked to the spirit of the act, and the mischief among those of the wise and able founders of our it was intended to prevent, as well as to its let-government, without the crowning work of the ter; and could see no difference between bestow-" Essays” in behalf of the constitution which ing the appointment the day after, or the day have been embodied under the name of " FEDERbefore, the expiration of Mr. Smythe's term of alist”—and which made that name so respectservice: and he refused to make the appointment. able before party assumed it. The defects of the This was protecting the purity of legislation ac- constitution were not hidden from them in the cording to the intent of the constitution ; but it depths of the admiration which they felt for its has not always been so. A glaring case to the perfections; and these defects were noted, and as contrary occurred in the person of Mr. Thomas far as possible excused, in a work devoted to its Butler King, under the presidency of Mr. Fillmore. just advocation. This point (of dangerous comMr. King was elected a member of Congress for merce between the executive and the legislative the term at which the office of collector of the body) was obliged to be noticed-forced upor customs at San Francisco had been created, and their notice by the jealous attacks of the " ANTI had resigned his place : but the resignation could | FEDERALISTS".
-as the opponents of the constitunot work an evasion of the constitution, nor af- tion were called: and in the number 55 of their fect the principle of its provision. He had been work, they excused, and diminished, this defect appointed in the recess of Congress, and sent to in these terms: take the place before his two years had expired -and did take it; and that was against the words
“Sometimes we are told, that this fund of corof the constitution. His nomination was not hausted by the President in subduing the virtue
ruption (Executive appointments) is to be exsent in until his term expired—the day after it of the Senate. Now, the fidelity of the other expired-having been held back during the regu- House is to be the victim. The improbability of lar session; and was confirmed by the Senate. such a mercenary and perfidious combination of I had then ceased to be a member of the Senate, ing on as different foundations as republican prin
the several members of the government, standand know not whether any question was raised on ciples will well admit, and at the same time ae the nomination ; but if I had been, there should countable to the society over which they are have been a question.
placed, ought alone to quiet this apprehension. But the constitutional limitation upon the ap
But, fortunately, the constitution has provided
a still further safeguard. The members of the pointment of members of Congress, even when Congress are rendered ineligible to any civil executed beyond its letter and according to its offices that may be created, or of which the
emoluments may be increased, during the term officer, so the consent of the same body would of their election. No offices, therefore, can be be equally necessary to his dismission from dealt out to the existing members, but such as office. But this construction was overruled by may become vacant by ordinary casualties ; and to suppose that these would be sufficient to the first Congress which sat under the constitupurchase the guardians of the people, selected by tion. The power of dismission from office was ihe people themselves, is to renounce every rule abandoned to the President alone ; and, with the by which events ought to be calculated, and to substitute an indiscriminate and unbounded acquisition of this prerogative, the power and jealousy, with which all reasoning must be vain.” patronage of the presidential office was instantly
increased to an indefinite extent; and the arguSuch was their defence-the best which their ment of the Federalist against the capacity of the great abilities, and ardent zeal, and patriotic de- President to corrupt members of Congress, votion, could furnish. They could not deny the founded on the small number of places which danger. To diminish its quantum, and to cover he could use for that purpose, was totally overwith a brilliant declamation the little that re- thrown. This is what has been done by conmained, was their resource. And, certainly if struction. Now for the effects of legislation : the working of the government had been accord- and without going into an enumeration of staing to their supposition, their defence would have tutes so widely extending and increasing execubeen good. I have taken the liberty to mark in tive patronage in the multiplication of offices, italics the ruling words contained in the quota- jobs, contracts, agencies, retainers, and sequiturs tion which I have made from their works of all sorts, holding at the will of the President, “ordinary casualties.” And what were they? it is enough to point to a single act—the four deaths, resignations, removals upon impeach- years' limitation act ; which, by vacating almost ment, and dismissions by the President and Se- the entire civil list-the whole “Blue Book”nate. This, in fact, would constitute a very the 40,000 places which it registers—in every small amount of vacancies during the presidential period of a presidential term--puts more offices term; and as new offices, and those of increased at the command of the President than the authors compensation, were excluded, the answer was of the Federalist ever dreamed of; and enough to undoubtedly good, and even justified the visible equip all the members and all their kin if they contempt with which the objection was repulsed. chose to accept his favors. But this is not the But what has been the fact ? what has been the end. Large as it opens the field of patronage, working of the government at this point ? and it is not the end. There is a practice grown up how stands this narrow limitation of vacancies in these latter times, which, upon every revoluto “ordinary casualties ? " In the first place, tion of parties, makes a political exodus among the main stay of the argument in the Federalist the adversary office-holders, marching them off was knocked from under it at the outset of the into the wilderness, and leaving their places for government; and so knocked by a side-blow new-comers. This practice of itself, also unforefrom construction. In the very first year of the seen by the authors of the Federalist, again overconstitution a construction was put on that in- sets their whole argument, and leaves the misstrument which enabled the President to create chief from which they undertook to defend the as many vacancies as he pleased, and at any constitution in a degree of vigor and universality moment that he pleased. This was effected by of which the original opposers of that mischief Fielding to him the kingly prerogative of dismiss- had never formed the slightest conception. ing officers without the formality of a trial, or Besides the direct commerce which may take the consent of the other part of the appointing place between the Executive and a member, power. The authors of the Federalist had not there are other evils resulting from their apforeseen this construction : so far from it they pointment to office, wholly at war with the had asserted the contrary: and arguing logically theory of our government, and the purity of its from the premises, " that the dismissing power action. Responsibility to his constituents is the was appurtenant to the appointing power,” corner-stone and sheet-anchor, in the system of they had maintained in that able and patriotic representative government. It is the substance work-(No. 77)—that, as the consent of the without which representation is but a shadow. Senate was necessary to the appointment of an | To secure that responsibility the constitution
has provided that the members shall be periodi- When I first came to the Senate thirty years cally returned to their constituents—those of ago, aged members were accustomed to tell me the House at the end of every two years, those that there were always members in the market, of the Senate at the end of every six-to pass in waiting to render votes, and to receive office; review before them—to account for what may and that in any closely contested, or nearly have been done amiss, and to receive the reward balanced question, in which the administration or censure of good or bad conduct. This re- took an interest, they could turn the decision sponsibility is totally destroyed if the President which way they pleased by the help of these takes a member out of the hands of his constit- marketable votes. It was a humiliating revelauents, prevents his return home, and places him tion to a young senator—but true; and I have in a situation where he is independent of their seen too much of it in my time-seen members censure. Again : the constitution intended that whose every vote was at the service of governthe three departments of the government,—the ment-to whom a seat in Congress was but executive, the legislative, and the judicial — the stepping-stone to executive appointment—to should be independent of each other : and this whom federal office was the pabulum for which independence ceases, between the executive and their stomachs yearned—and who to obtain it, legislative, the moment the members become were ready to forget that they had either conexpectants and recipients of presidential favor; stituents or country. And now, why this mor-the more so if the President should have tifying exhibition of a disgusting depravity? I owed his office to their nomination. Then it answer—to correct it :-if not by law and conbecomes a commerce, upon the regular principle stitutional amendment (for it is hard to get of trade—a commerce of mutual benefit. For lawgivers to work against themselves), at least this reason Congress caucuses for the nomination by the force of public opinion, and the stern reof presidential candidates fell under the ban of buke of popular condemnation. public opinion, and were ostracised above twenty I have mentioned Mr. Monroe as a President years ago-only to be followed by the same evil who would not depart, even from the spirit of in a worse form, that of illegal and irresponsible the constitution, in appointing, not a member
, conventions ;”
” in which the nomination is an but an ex-member of Congress, to office. Others election, so far as party power is concerned ; and of the earlier Presidents were governed by the into which the member glides who no longer same principle, of whom I will only mention dares to go to a Congress caucus ;-whom the (for his example should stand for all) General constitution interdicts from being an elector- Washington, who entirely condemned the pracand of whom some do not blush to receive office, tice. In a letter to General Hamilton (vol. 6, and even to demand it, from the President whom page 53, of Ilamilton's Works), he speaks of his they have created. The framers of our govern- objections to these appointments as a thing well ment never foresaw-far-seeing as they were known to that gentleman, and which he was this state of things, otherwise the exclusion of only driven to think of in a particular instance, members from presidential appointments could from the difficulty of finding a Secretary of never have failed as part of the constitution, State, successor to Mr. Edmund Randolph. No (after having been first adopted in the original less than four persons had declined the offer of draught of that instrument); nor repulsed when it; and seeing no other suitable person without recommended by so many States at the adoption going into the Senate, he offered it to Mr. Rufus of the constitution ; nor rejected by a majority of King of that body—who did not accept it: and one in the Congress of 1789, when proposed as for this offer, thus made in a case of so much an amendment, and coming so near to adoption urgency, and to a citizen so eminently fit, Washby the House.
ington felt that the honor of his administration Thus far I have spoken of this abuse as a po- required him to show a justification.
What tentiality—as a possibility—as a thing which would the Father of his country have thought might happen : the inexorable law of history if members had come to him to solicit office ? requires it to be written that it has happened, is and especially, if these members (a thing alhappening, becomes more intense, and is ripen- most blasphemous to be imagined in connection ing into a chronic disease of the body politic. with his name) had mixed in caucuses and
conventions to procure his nomination for Presi- studies and pursuits, and entered early into the dent ? Certainly he would have given them a ripening contest with Great Britain—first in look which would have sent such suppliants for their counties and States, and then on the broader ever from his presence. And I, who was senator field of the General Congress of the Confederfor thirty years, and never had office for myself ated Colonies. They were both members of the or any one of my blood, have a right to con- Congress which declared Independence-both of demn a practice which my conduct rebukes, and the committee which reported the Declarationwhich the purity of the government requires to both signed it--were both employed in foreign be abolished, and which the early Presidents missions — both became Vice-Presidents --- and carefully avoided.
both became Presidents. They were both working men; and, in the great number of efficient laborers in the cause of Independence which the Congresses of the Revolution contained, they were doubtless the two most efficient-and Mr.
Adams the more so of the two. He was, as Mr. CHAPTER XXXI. Jefferson styled him, “the Colossus” of the
Congress - speaking, writing, counselling — a DEATH OF THE EX-PRESIDENTS JOHN ADAMS
member of ninety different committees, and AND THOMAS JEFFERSON.
(during his three years' service) chairman of
twenty-five-chairman also of the board of war It comes within the scope of this View to notice and board of appeals: his soul on fire with the the deaths and characters of eminent public men cause, left no rest to his head, hands, or tongue. who have died during my time, although not my Mr. Jefferson drew the Declaration of Indepencontemporaries, and who have been connected dence, but Mr. Adams was “the pillar of its supwith the founding or early working of the fed- port, and its ablest advocate and defender," eral government. This gives me a right to head during the forty days it was before the Congress. a chapter with the name
mes of Mr. John Adams In the letter which he wrote that night to Mrs. and Mr. Jefferson-two of the most eminent Adams (for, after all the labors of the day, and political men of the revolution, who, entering such a day, he could still write to her), he took public life together, died on the same day,- a glowing view of the future, and used those July 4th, 1826,-exactly fifty years after they expressions, "gloom” and “glory," which his had both put their hands to that Declaration of son repeated in the paragraph of his message to Independence which placed a new nation upon Congress in relation to the deaths of the two exthe theatre of the world. Doubtless there was Presidents, which I have heard criticized by enough of similitude in their lives and deaths to those who did not know their historical allusion, excuse the belief in the interposition of a direct and could not feel the force and beauty of their providence, and to justify the feeling of mys- application. They were words of hope and conterious reverence with which the news of their co-fidence when he wrote them, and of history incident demise was received throughout the when he died. “I am well aware of the toil, country. The parallel between them was com- and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to mainplete. Born nearly at the same time, Mr.tain this Declaration, and to support and defend Adams the elder, they took the same course in these States; yet through all the gloom, I can life--with the same success—and, ended their see the rays of light and glory!” and he lived to earthly career at the same time, and in the same see it—to see the glory-with the bodily, as well way:-in the regular course of nature, in the re- as with the mental eye. And (for the great fact pose and tranquillity of retirement, in the bosom will bear endless repetition, it was he that conof their families, and on the soil which their ceived the idea of making Washington commandlabors had contributed to make free.
er-in-chief, and prepared the way for his unaniBorn, one in Massachusetts, the other in Vir- mous nomination. ginia, they both received liberal educations, em- In the division of parties which ensued the braced the same profession (that of the law), establishment of the federal government, Mr. mixed literature and science with their legal Adams and Mr. Jefferson differed in systems of