« PreviousContinue »
Dec. 2, 1833.)
Rhode Island Election.
elected, but prematurely. Were members to acknow. evidence of having been elected should be permitted to ledge the right of Rhode Island to decide upon this sub- sit; the matter was then referred to a committee, upon ject or not? If they did not, there was nothing to pre- whose report the Senate acted and decided. He thought rent Mr. Robbins from taking his seat amongst them. that in this case one of the parties ought to be permitted He (Mr. B.) never expected that a contested election to sit. It would be immaterial, then, whether the Senate could have made its way into the House. Had be to make proceeded at once to act on the prima facie evidence itself, a rule-to begin again de novo-he would propose that or referred the subject, as usual, to a committee; the neither gentleman should be elected until the matter had latter, however, was the customary mode of procedure. been decided. Mr. Lanman's case had been cited, but it The whole question then was, is ihere any prima facie was totally different from the one before the House. The evidence? That there was such evidence, was, in his Governor had thought fit to appoint Mr. Lanman to a va opinion, perfectly clear. What was the action in ordinary cancy which would occur, not one which had occurred. cases? A certificate was received from a State declaring His (the Governor's) act was consequently declared void. a certain party duly elected. Why was that certificate He (Mr. B.) hoped that those who voted upon the pre- received as evidence of the fact? Because there were seot, should not be considered disqualified to express their certain seals appended thereto, expressly designed to auopinion upon any subsequent occasion.
thenticate whatever they were attached to. Those seals Mr. BENTON little expected to hear such a debate as were appended to the credentials in this case. The electhat to which he had just listened. He knew something, tion was stated to have taken place in the usual time and it is true, of the matter from current report, but had not manner of elections for Senators in Rhode Island. On the looked deeply into it, and did not expect to have been face of the election, it was a good one. called upon to-day to say a single word upon the subject. The view taken of the matter by one of the Senators Yet the whole had been gone into, and members had re- from Kentucky appeared to him unanswerable: that if the fused to permit the matter to lie over even for a few days. Senate had sat after the 5th of March, there could have He bad little regard for precedents; no man, in fact, de- been nu dispute on the subject. What, he would ask, spised them more than himself; he considered that they was prima facie evidence? li was evidence being what it were the bane of this country and England; but that if purports to be. The credentials in this case were of that ever there was a precedent, the case of Mr. Lanman was character. The Legislature of Rhode Island had endeaone as connected with the subject before the House. vored to avoid this. But though he thought that Legis
Mr. B. continued, and contended that from the circum- lature was not the proper tribunal to adjudicate this stances attending this election, they were called upon to matter, he could not agree, if the Senate should think suspend their decision until the facts of the case were that Mr. Robbins had not a right to a seat on that floor, more fully explained and known. The Legislature had that from thence it must necessarily follow that Mr. Potseveral times refused to go into an election, and yet, at ZER's election was not good. If the Senate, on examinalast, with the knowledge that there would be a change tion, should be of opinion that the first election was void, he of parties, had gone into the election. Putting, then, could not see why the Legislature of Rhode Island, who these decisions against their own power, together with the had acted on the same opinion, should not be sustained in solemn decision against it, which they had heard, were their election of Mr. POTTER. As to the question of they not to wait one day--would there not another sun prima facie evidence, however, there could be no dispute. rise upon them—would they not wait until to-morrow, to He believed, from the plain language of the constitution, find out what were really the facts of the case? He hoped that Rhode Island had not a right to act definitively on the that he knew his place too well to read as authority what matter; if she did so, it was at her peril. Her legislawas not properly such to the Senate; but, with that paper tion had no weight with them; but if subsequent events which he held in his hand, he would undertake to suppose should sustain her in the course she had pursued in prothat the facts were as he had stated. Would they not al-nouncing the first election void, he thought it did not follos themselves till tomorrow to ascertain if they were low that the person last elected should not take his seat. So or not? Doubtless, his supposition might be injurious Mr. M. said, he regretted that it had been thought necesto one or both sides, and he had not had the most remote sary then to enter into the subject, with such an imperfect idea of expressing these opinions; nor should he have and mangled view of facts before them. He was indifdone so, had he not been driven into it by the course which ferent whether the matter was referred to the usual comthings had taken. Mr. B. concluded by moving that a mittee, or to a select committee. Whatever might be his select committee of five be appointed to investigate the personal feelings on the subject, they would have no inmatter, and report upon it to the Senate. He would fur-Auence on his determination. The whole matter in dispute ther ask not to be appointed a member of such committee, was as to tlie organization of the body; and there was high having expressed the opinions he had done upon the authority for believing that it was properly organized. He
thought that they ought to consider the first certificate as Mr. MANGUM inquired if the motion was in order? good until they had further evidence. The PRESIDENT pro tem. decided that it was.
Mr. POINDEXTER observed, that he had a few words Mr. POINDEXTER wished to be informed if the to say in regard to the constitution of the United States. motion of the Senator from Missouri (Mr. Benton] in- It gave the Senate power to judge with regard to the eleccluded an investigation into the credentials of Mr. POTTER tion of its own members. The State Legislatures were inas well as those of Mr. ROBBINS?
competent to decide. When testimony had been given Mr. BENTON replied in the affirmative.
that the Legislature had previously elected a Senator, Mr. POINDEXTER said he should conceive, then, that until there was some action of the Senate on the certificate the motion was not order, inasmuch as the credentials of there was nothing further subject to the Legislature; their Mr. Potter had already been laid upon the table. power was spent, and to resuscitate it required the action
Mr. MANGUM wished briefly to express his opinion on of the Senate of the United States. He concurred with the subject before the Senate.' Much had been said as to the Senator from Kentucky, that any act of the Legislathe disrespect which would be shown to Rhode Island, if tures, till the United States' Senate bad decided, was nugaeither Senator were permitted to sit; or, if they would tory. Two gentlemen had been presented for a seat not permit the Senator who presented his credentials last in the Senate; one had been chosen; his credentials had session to sit. Whenever, on an election, the question had been received and put on the journals of the Senate; a presented itself as to which of two or more had the right change of politics had taken place in the State; a new io sit, usage had been that he who produced prima facie trial had been made, and a verdict obtained to set aside
Government Deposites.—Rhode Island Senators.
[Dec. 3, 4, 1833.
the preceding election. If such a course of things were and none more than himself. In the course of it, a pespermitted, there would be no end to the mischief it would tilential disease had traversed his neighborhood, and swept occasion; every fluctuation in the state of parties might off many valuable citizens, among whom he numbered produce a new Senator; if we receive one, the Legislature some of his oldest friends and acquaintances. So it had may vacate his seat, and another, and another, without been in other parts of the country; but, amidst all this end. The rule was founded on common sense, that when desolation, there had occurred no instance of individual a Legislature had acted, its power was spent, and not re- loss more afflicting to him, nor more to be lamented on suscitated till the Senate had declared that act null and the public account, than that of the Senator from Louivoid. [Here Mr. P. read the constitution on the subject.] siana. He made a supposition, that a Senator had been elected With feelings oppressed with pain, be rose to ask the under thirty years of age, contrary to the constitution; and Senate to adopt a resolution similar to that which had just asked whether in that case it would be competent for the been agreed to, in reference to the late Senator Johnston. Legislature to vacate the seat? The proper course would No man in the country had attended more ardently and be to memorialize the United States Senate, stating that more faithfully to his public duties, or had brought to the member elect was in his political minority; and when their discharge a more clear, enlightened, and determined the Senate had determined the question, let them declare judgment. No man ever more happily united blandness so, and notify the Legislature to make a new appointment. and affability with firmness and decision. None could be Or, if the Senator elect had not been nine years a citizen more true and faithful to friends, nor more courteous and of the United States, or was not a citizen of the State, respectful towards opponents. This expression, he hoped, but should present bis credentials in due form of law, would be permitted from a beart which had bled profusely could the Senate refuse to administer the oath, because a when the tidings of this afflicting event reached him, subsequent Legislature lad determined that he was not amidst the wrecks which the pestilence had scattered qualified? The member whose credentials had been around him. brought forward and accepted was the sitting member, He had not expected to be called on to offer this resoeven admitting that he were under thirty, or not a citizen lution, but he trusted that it would be received, and unanof the State, till the Senate had determined these points; imously agreed to. they were subjects of investigation, and it was right that Mr. c. then submitted bis resolution, which was unanthey should be investigated; but, till that was done, there imously agreed to. was no power to deprive him of his seat; it was not even On motion of Mr. KING, in the power of the Senate to take his seat from bim. He Resolved, That a message be sent to the House of Re. thought it unnecessary to inquire into his legal right to his presentatives to inform that body that a quorum of the seat, till a committee should report; and then, if it ap- Senate has assembled, and that they are ready to proceed peared that the member was improperly chosen, he should to business. vote that bis seat should be vacated.
On motion of Mr. GRUNDY, Mr. CHAMBERS moved to lay the motion on the table; Resolved, 'That a committee be appointed by the Senate, but, after remarks and inquiries by several Senators, he to join such committee as may be appointed by the House withdrew his motion.
of Representatives, to wait on the President of the Uni. The question was then taken on Mr. Bexton's motion ted States, and inform him that Congress have assembled, to refer the whole subject to a special committee, and de- and are ready to receive any communication he may be cided in the negative, as follows:
pleased to make. YEAS-Messrs. Benton, Brown, Grundy, Hill, Kane, On motion of Mr. KNIGHT, the usual resolution orderKing, Morris, Rives, Robinson, Shepley, Tallmadge, Tip- ing the Senators to be furnished with the customary supton, White, Wilkins, Wriglit--15.
ply of newspapers was adopted.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3.
The annual message was received from the PresiThe question was then taken on the motion of Mr. dent of the United States, by Mr. A. J. Donelson, his POINDEXTER, and decided in the affirmative.
Secretary; which having been read, 5,000 extra copies of Mr. Robbins then took the oath.
the message, and 1,500 of the accompanying documents, Mr. BENTON, of Missouri, submitted a resolution pro- were ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate. posing the usual mourning in honor of the memory of Adjourned. Hon. R. A. BUCKNER, late a Senator from Missouri; which was read and agreed to.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4. Mr. CLAY then rose and said, that the adoption of
GOVERNMENT DEPOSITES. this resolution reminded him of a severe loss which the public and he himself had sustained since the last session,
The CHAIR laid before the Senate a report from the and concerning which he did not now deem bimselfqualified Secretary of the Treasury concerning the removal of the to speak. He felt regret that the gentleman had not been public deposites from the United States Bank and its able yet to take his seat, on whom it would more properly branches. (See Appendix.] have devolved to submit the motion which he now proposed
On motion of Mr. GRUNDY, 5,000 copies of the report, to offer. He desired to call the attention of the Senate to and 1,500 copies of the documents, were ordered to be the melancholy death of a member of this body, who had printed. been summoned away since they last met together, under
RHODE ISLAND SENATORS. circumstances of the most distressing nature. He was a Mr. S. WRIGHT offered the following resolution: man who possessed the rare quality of making a favorable Resolved, That the proceedings of the Legislature of impression on all persons who knew him, and who the State of Rhode Island, now upon the table of the never failed, on acquaintance, to conciliate the esteem Senate, showing the appointment of Elisha R. POTTER AS both of friends and of opponents; for whenever he fought, a Senator to represent that State in the Senate of the he fought manfully, but always afterwards cherished the United States, be referred to a select committee of five kindest feelings towards those who had been his adversa- Senators, to inquire and report upon the claim of the said ries. During the last summer, perhaps all the members Elisha R. Potter to the seat in the Senate now occupied of the Senate had had reason to regret some bereavements, by the Hon. Aster ROBBINS.
Dec. 5, 1833.]
(SENATE. Mr. WRIGHT said he was not sufficiently conversant Mr. CLAY rejoined. He was a matter-of-fact man; and with the rules of the Senate to determine if the resolution he preferred to guide himself by facts, rather than by was required to lie for a day on the table, or whether it mere speculative lights. The Chair had stated that it had would now be taken up for consideration.
been customary for him to appoint both the standing and The CHAIR replied that it was the usual practice of the select committees. He was unwilling to protract disthe Senate for resolutions to lie over for a day; but, as cussion; and if the gentleman who had submitted the this resolution had reference to papers which were lying resolution would agree so to modify its phraseology, as to on the table of the Senate, he considered that it did not make it requisite that the committee should be elected by come within the rule, and that it would come up now for the Senate, he would withdraw his objection to its immeconsideration.
diate consideration. Mr. CLAY then expressed a hope that the resolution Mr. WRIGHT said, that when he had offered his resolushould lie on the table until to-morrow. He adverted to tion, he expected that the committee would be appointed the rule of the Senate which required that the appoint- by the Senate; and, if the gentleman from Kentucky ment of committees should be made by the President of would make an insertion of the amendment to that effect, the Senate. That officer was not now in the chair. He he would pledge himself to make no objection to it. He had to doubt that good reasons could be shown for his had no desire to be a member of the committee, for it absence. But a time might come when the Senate might must be obvious to every gentleman that the investigation be deprived of the proper appointment of their commit. would be of a very unpleasant character. tees, by the intentional absence of the Vice President, Mr. CLAY declined puttiog bis suggestion in the shape and the devolvement of this important duty on bis tempo- of an amendment; but, if the mover would modify his rary substitute. He did not know that there was any such resolution, be would no longer object to its being taken intention in the present instance; but, if it were permit- up and acted on. ted to grow into a practice to appoint the committees in Mr. WRIGHT said he had no objection to make the the absence of the Vice President, the exception might modification. become the rule, and the rule the exception. Unless the The PRESIDENT pro tem. corrected the construction of President of the Senate should arrive shortly, the duty of the rule made by the Senator from Alabama. The rule appointing the standing committees would devolve on the had been changed, and no distinction was made between gentleman who is the temporary occupant of the chair. the appointment of the standing and the select comThis was a consideration of great importance; and al- mittees. On this principle the Chair bad acted during though he bad as much confidence in that gentleinan as the last session. in any other who would fill the chair, there might be Mr. WRIGHT then again rose, and said he desired it to some cases in which his fitness for the duties imposed on be understood that he had not intended to change the form him might not be equal to that of the Vice President him of the resolution himself; but if an amendment should be self. But, in the present case, he thought that the Se- moved, he would not object to it. nate ought to appoint the committees themselves. This Mr. CLAY then moved to lay the resolution on the was due to the dignity of the State of Rhode Island her. table, which was agreed to without a division. self, as well as to the intrinsic importance of a case involving a contested election. Some reflection on the subject
TaunsDAY, DECEMBER 5. was certainly necessary, and he wished the resolution to lie on the table until tomorrow, till the proper course
VETO OF THE LAND BILL. of proceeding should be determined.
A message was received from the President of the UniHe then moved to lay the resolution on the table, butted States, enclosing a communication of the reasons withdrew the motion at the instance of
which bad induced bim to refuse his assent to the bill of Mr. KING, of Alabama, who stated that the Senator the last session, authorizing an appropriation, for a limited from Kentucky had mistaken the operation of the rule. time, of the proceeds of the public lihids. (See Appendix.] The select committees were not appointed by the pre- The message having been read, siding officer, but were elected by the Senate, unless Mr. CLĂY rose and stated that this measure had been otherwise ordered by unanimous consent. In reference first introduced into Congress at the session before the to the appointment of the standing committees, if any evil last, under circumstances which must be within the recolwas likely to arise from the absence of the Vice President, lection of every member of the Senate. Its object was to the Senator from Kentucky could hereafter take any dispose of the proceeds of the public lands for a limited course he pleased. In this instance, however, the com- time. The subject had been greatly discussed, not only mittee would be created by election of the Senate, and in Congress, but throughout the country. The principles therefore the objection of the gentleman would not apply. and provisions of the bill were well and generally underIt was important that the Senate should act immediately stood. The subject bad attracted the attention of the in reference to the State of South Carolina-he begged Chief Magistrate bimself, and this bill was made the subpardon, he meant Rhode Island.
ject of commentary in his message at the commencement Mr. SPRAGUE asked for the reading of the rule of of the last session of Congress. It must, therefore, be the Senate which prescribes that the appointment of the considered as a subject perfectly well understood by the committees shall be made by the President, and remarked President; for it was not to be supposed that he would have that, as the language was general, unless the rule had commented upon it, and recommended it to the attention been altered by some subsequent action of the Senate, of Congress, if it had not been understood. During the the appointment of this committee would be made by the last session, this bill, which had previously been before presiding officer. He knew that it had been a practice for the House, was introduced in this body, and was passed,
the Senate to elect select committees when the President and sent to the other House, whence it was returneď with I was in the chair.
a slight amendment, taking away the discretion wbich bad The PRESIDENT pro lem. stated that it had been the been vested in the State Legislatures as to the disposal of the practice, since he had occupied the chair, to make no dis- proceeds. This bill, which had been before Congress the tinction between the modes of appointing the standing and session before the last, which had passed at the last session, the select committees. Both had been appointed by the having been before the country for a whole year when it Chair.
passed the two Houses, was placed before the ExecuMr. KING made a brief reply concerning the practice tive, with a number of other measures, just before the of the Senate, with a view to sustain his former view. close of the last Congress. As the subject had been beSENATE.]
Veto of the Land Bill.
(Dec. 5, 1833:
fore the President for consideration so long previous to and the President had sent his reasons here without in. the passage of the bill, and he had reflected upon it, it tending that there should be any reply to them. The was not to have been expected that he would take advan- paper, therefore, was sent out of time, like many other tage of the shortness of the session to retain the bill until papers which had been sent to the Senate from the same this time. Yet such had been the fact, and, a proceeding quarter, since he (Mr. P.) had been there ; and it was had taken place which was unprecedented and alarming, not competent to the Senate to take any course respect. and which, unless the people of this country were lost to sing it. It was a message to the people, through the Sen. all sense of what was due to the legislative branch of the ate; and that he presumed was the impression of the genGovernment, to themselves, and to those principles of tleman from Alabama, when he expressed a wish for the liberty which had been transmitted to them from the re-printing of an extraordinary number. If the bill had be. volution, they would not tolerate. It was at least due to come a law, no action of the Senate could annul it ; if not, the Legislature that the President should have sent a few they could do nothing to make it so. He was against conlines, courteously informing them that, when his own mind sidering it now, or at any time. was made up, he would communicate the result. But, Mr. BENTON expressed a hope that he might be perwithout deigning to make known his intention, or to im-mitted to take as wide a range as the gentleman from part the reasons which influenced him, he despotically Mississippi. He wished to ask the Secretary to turn to kept silence, and retained the bill. Mr. C. begged leave the journal, and inform him
on what day of the last sesto congratulate the Senate on the return of the bill. The sion the bill was sent to the President. [The Secretary, question which now presented itself was, whether the bill baving referred to the journal, replied, that it was sent was dead, in consequence of the non-action of the Presi- to him on the 2d of March.) He wished the Senate to dent, or whether it had become an existing law. He was bear in mind that, as the 3d of March fell on a Sunday, not now about to discuss that question; but he had felt the 20 was, in fact, the last day of the session. He ther: himself called on to make a few observations on this ex. asked if there was not an ancient rule of Congress that traordinary course, and to say that it was due to Congress, prohibited the sending a bill to the President on the last to the people, and to the Executive himself, to have in- day of the session? (Mr. KING answered that there was. ] formed the last Congress in reference to this subject, con. He then inquired if the sending of the bill on the 20 cerning which he must have made up his mind. He would of March, last session, was not a violation of this rule? now inove to lay this bill on the table, and would after. There was a precipitation and haste at the close of the wards give notice of a day when he should ask leave to session, which prevented not only the President, but the bring in a bill in order to submit it again to the action of members themselves, from knowing precisely what they the Senate.
were doing: The rule to which he bad adverted was Mr. KANE wished to know if it was the intention of set aside last session, and all the evils which accompany the Senator from Kentucky that the bill should lie perma. precipitation were the consequence. There were 142 pently on the table, or only to be called up at an early acts put on the statute book last session. The 52d of day.
these acts was signed on the 2d of March. So that there Mr. CLAY replied that the only alternative was to were about 90 acts signed on the last day of the session, consider the bill as defunct, or as an existing law. If the and thus a mass of business was thrown on the President, gentleman from Illinois could point out any other course, which it was almost impossible to perform. And now the he had read some clause in the constitution which he (Mr. people were called on to revolt, and denunciations had C.) had never yet been so fortunate as to find.
gone forth that, if the people would put up with this, Mr. BENTON said he would wish to make a remark; they would put up with any thing, because the Preand, if he was precluded by the pressing of this question, sident, in addition to all this mass of business, did not, he would find some other opportunity of making it. on that day, write the paper which had now been read,
The question was then taken on the motion to lay the and send the bill back. And this declaration was made bill upon the table, and decided in the affirmative-Ayes in the presence of members who knew that it some19.
times took them months to prepare a speech for the press, Mr. BENTON then moved to take up the message for with the help of the note-takers and the speakers themconsideration.
selves, and all that were concerned. Yet the people were Mr. MOORE said he thought that the Senator from called on to revolt against the President for not preparing Missouri would have another opportunity of offering what this paper in addition to all the legislative and executive busihe wished to say; and he was bimself desirous to move ness which pressed on him in the last few hours of the sesthe printing of an extra number of the Message. sion. He had risen not only to defend the President, but to
Mr. BENTON said that a shameful and unfounded at- claim for him the approbation of all reflecting persons, tack had been made on the President, and he wished to for retaining the bill until he could have sufficient time to repel it.
examine it, and prepare his reasons for objecting to it. Mr. POINDEXTER said he should have no objection Certainly, as far as he knew, the President had made up to vote for the motion, if he knew what was to be consid. his mind at once in opposition to the bill, but no human ered. If the gentleman would show that there could hands could have written out the document itself. It be any action on the subject, he would agree. This was had been found necessary to make several hundred reone of the acts of the Executive which was out of order. ferences, all requiring extensive examination; but, learHe had sent to the Senate his constitutional objections ing out all these, there was not time left even for the to a bill which had become defunct by the expiration of writing. He could not have gone through the mere manthe last Congress. It was a document intended not for ual labor. A great state paper was to be laid before the the Senate, but through that body to give to the people people; and the President was right to take time for rethe reasons by which he had been influenced. There Aection, and not throw back the bill instanter, as if he could be no action on the subject by the Senate. The kicked it back in their faces, as much as to say that they constitution prescribes that, when a bill was returned by had acted precipitately in their legislation. He repeated, the President, the ayes and noes should be taken, and if that the President had acted in the manner most respecttwo-thirds of both Houses should vote for its passage, it ful to the Legislature. He had examined the subject, and should become a law, the President's objections to the had now, as explicitly as possible, said that he had contrary notwithstanding. But it was necessary that the weighed all the reasons which had been advanced in fa: bill should be returned to the Congress by which it was vor of the bill, and all the counteracting reasons which passed. There could now be no action on the subject;) had operated upon him.
Dec. 5, 1833.]
Veto of the Land Bill.
He had risen to defend the President from what he con- to communicate to Congress what disposition he had made, sidered an unjustifiable and violent assault made upon or meant to make, of it, he permitted the body to rise in him for doing what was his duty. As to the bill itself, utter ignorance of his intentions. seeing the manner in which the Western elections had It may be true that there was a great press of business terminated, he was ready to meet it in any form. He on the President on the 2d of March, and that he may entirely concurred in the suggestion for the printing of have acted upon some ninety or one hundred bills. But an extra number of the message.
this is what occurs with every President on the day before Mr. CLAY said he did not rise to reply to any one the termination of the short session of Congress. With wbo had felt himself called upon to rise in the Senate to most of those bills the President must have been less acvindicate the President. If there were any such member, quainted than he was with the land bill. Of some of he did not wish to disturb him in his office of vindicator them he probably had never heard at all
. Not one of of the President, or to affect the complacency with them possessed the importance of the land bill. How which he might regard bis vindication. But he (Mr. C.) did it happen that the President could find time to decide stood here to sustain his own course, to vindicate thé on so many new bills, and yet had not time to examine constitution, and to vindicate the rights of Congress un. and dispose of one which had long been before him and der it. And he must repeat, that the withholding of the the public; one embracing a subject which he thought the land bill, at the last session, under all the circumstances union, harmony, and interest of the States required should of the case, was a violation of the constitution, and be speedily adjusted; one which he himself had pronoundisrespectful to the Senate. What were the circum- ced his judgment upon at the commencement of this sesstances?
sion? By withholding the bill, the President took upon At two different sessions of Congress, the land subject himself a responsibility beyond the exercise of the veto, was before it. At that which preceded the last, a bill He deprived Congress altogether of its constitutional had been introduced to distribute among the states the right to act upon the bill, and to pass it, his negative notproceeds of the public lands. The whole subject, by withstanding: the bill and by reports of committees, was laid before The President is, by the constitution, secured time to Congress and spread before the country. A copy of the consider bills which shall have passed both branches of bill, when it was first introduced, according to the con-Congress. But so is Congress equally secured the right stant practice of Congress, was sent to the President. to act upon bills which they have passed, and which the He was thus, as well as the country generally, put in President may have thought proper to reject. If he ex. entire possession of the matter. It attracted great pub-ercises his veto, and returns the bill, two-thirds may pass lie attention. It engaged that of the President. And, it. But if he withholds the bill, it cannot become a law, accordingly, at the commencernent of the last session, in even although the two Houses should be unanimously in his annual message, he adverted to it, in a manner which its favor. evidently showed that the writer of the message fully Mr. C. denied that the constitution gave to the Preunderstood it, and all the views which had been develop-sident ten days to consider bills, except at the long ed about it.
session. At that session, the period of its termination is (Here Mr. C. read the message of the last session, uncertain, and dependent upon the will of Congress. To so far as it related to the public lands, to show that the guard against a sudden adjournment, by which the PresiPresident had himself invited the attention of Congress dent might be deprived of due time to deliberate on to it, as one of urgent and pressing importance ; that an important bill, the constitution provides for ten days at the discretion of Congress to make any disposition of the that session. But, at the short session, it is not an adjourn. public lands, which they might deem best for the har-ment, but a dissolution of Congress, on the 3d of March; mony, union, and interest of the United States, was un- and the day of that dissolution is fixed in the constitution controlled; that the question ought speedily to be set. itself, and known to all. tled; and that the President had considered, but objected Mr. C. contended, therefore, that the act of withto the bill of the previous session, proposing, as a sub- holding the bill was arbitrary and unconstitutional; by stitute, a plan of his own, which, whilst the message on which Congress, and the Senate especially, in which the the table argued that the public lands belonged to all bill originated, were deprived of their constitutional right the States, proposed to give the unsold lands io some of of passing on the bill, after the President had exercised them.)
his powers. Respect to Congress required of the Presi. 1. Thus was Congress, at the commencement of the last dent, if he really had not time to form a judgment on the session, officially invited to act, and to act speedily, re- bill
, or, having formed it, had not time to lay his reasons specting the public lands; and thus did the President before the body, a communication to that effect. But, manifest his knowledge of the provisions of the bill of without condescending to transmit one word upon the the previous session. Well
, sir, (said Mr. C.) Congress subject to Congress, he suffered the session to terminate, again look up the question. The identical bill of the and the members to go home destitute of all information, previous session was again introduced, and again, prior until this day, of his intentions. to its passage, placed before the President, along with Mr. BENTON said that no quorum sat, in either House, the other printed documents, according to standing on the evening after the day on which the bill was sent usage. And it was passed by both Houses, substantially to the President. in the shape in which at the previous session it was passed The message was then laid on the table, when by the Senate, except that the restriction as to the power Mr. MOORE moved that 5,000 extra copies of the mes. of the States to apply the sum to be distributed among sage be printed for the use of the Senate; which motion the several States, after deduction of the twelve and a was adopted. half per cent. first set apart for the new States, was Mr. CLAY gave notice that he should ask leave, on stricken out.
Tuesday, to introduce a bill for the distribution of the In this forin the bill was laid before the President on proceeds of the sales of the public lands for a limited the 2d day of March last. It was no stranger, but an old time, and for other purposes. acquaintance. He had seen it repeatedly before; and he Mr. CALHOUN gave notice that he should, on Tuestrust have been well informed as to its progress in Con- day, ask leave to introduce a bill for the repeal of the act gress. He liad commented on the very project contained of last session in amendment to the several acts providing in the bill, when he had brought forward his own, in his for the collection of the public revenue, (commonly called message, at the opening of the session. Without deigning the force bill.)