Sidebilder
PDF

o - o o commuSICATIONs, &c.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

11

late in life: ilabored most sincerely to banish from my mind the suspicion of such gross duplicity, combined with much pitiable imbecility; but, in spite of me, it continually returned. The circumstance may admit of explanation. I state the fact, and the impression which it made, now almost confirmed by events. It would be doing injustice to myself, if I were not to take this occasion to declare my firm belief that the measure was resolved upon without the knowledge or approbation of Messrs. Livingston, McLane, and Taney, for whom, as well as for the other constitutional advisers of the President, I entertain the highest respect. I have known these gentlemen for more than twenty years, and consider myself honored by being ranked among their personal friends. They could not approve an act which must be condemned by everyman of sense and correctfeelings in the nation. But, with whomsoever it may have originated, the responsibility must be borne by General Jackson. I am not supplicating a barren sympathy on account of the loss of office, I know well the base and ungenerous advantage that will betaken of the circumstances under which my appeal is made. The cry will be: “heed him not; he is only a discontented man, who has been turned out of office—you must believe in General Jackson, and if you do so, you cannot think him in the wrong on any occasion.” I am well aware that too many of my fellow-citizens have bent their necks to this degrading servitude, and are unwilling to admit that afreeman in a public office, in the service of his country, is a freeman still, and not the humble instrument, and slave, of the highest servant of the republic. No, I trust that credit will be given me for a higher motive than the indulgence of complaint on account of my removal, and the injury which I may have sustained in my situation in life. I am discharging a duty which, as an American citizen, Iowe to my country, as well as to myself, in exposing the conduct of the highest functionary of the government. I am more than ten times repaid for my loss of office, by the spontaneous testimomy in my behalf of the people among whom I have so long fulfilled its duties. I am sufficiently rewared by the recommendation of my NAtive Possovoso, as expressed by the members of the State legislature, and the representation in Congress. I am sufficiently reward

ed by the voluntary testimony of the represen-
tatives in Congress of Maryland and Louisiana,
where I have been o with high and im-
portant public trusts.
This appeal has been rendered necessary by
the vile hypocrisy of the pretence, on the part
of the administration, that no one has been re-
moved without just cause. In publishing the
subjoined extracts of letters, written to me by
General Jackson himself, 1 violate no confi-
dence, norule of the most rigid honor. They
are testimonials in my favor, I should have a
right to use under any circumstances, and the:
use is forced upon me under the present. If

any change has taken place in his opinion since

[graphic]
[graphic]

those letters were written, he has never made \half, I therefore will be gratified to receive -
it known to me. a letter from you adressed to Nashville Ten- o
General Jackson expresses his gratitude for nessee, stating yhether so would prefer.”
the once trendered him in organizing ... seat in the Judicio other office within
administering the government of Florida!. He the Floridas, that would enable you to attend
might have gone further in his acknowledg: to the duties thereof, and pursue the practice -
mos." Every restraint which delicacy; under of the o afford me great pleasuo
other circumstances, might impose, he has re- forward by Dr. Bronaugh letters in your be-
oved. The time has arrived when it is due half to obtain such appointment as may be most
to myself, as well as to the county to Po agreeable to yon—therefore I request Yoo
rest the idiculous pretensions to literatureo write mesoon upon this subject-
ly set up for General Jackson by some indis. o + o o o -
ofeet fonds. As he has taken from me to Having left the administration of the govern-
on as not his, I will claim from him thatloo under charge of Col. Walton for whom
which is mine. Let others, also claim of him! have formed a friendship, my dear Sir Peo
that which is theirs, and the variegated birdmit me to ask of you, your aid to him, he is -
will then remindus of the Greek parody on theo and his situation a responsible one, and --
definition of Aristotle. have a great desire that he may administer the |
- government satisfactorately to the nation and -
|

[ocr errors]

Letit not be supposed that I come forward in subservience of the views of any party. I come forward to windicate my own cause, which, -hope, is still lawful for every American free

with credit to himself. - Accept my dear sit a tender of my sincere regard and unfeigned friendship,

man, although the blighting, contagious, and Yours, - corrupting breath of Hom has o - ANDREW JACKSON breathed over our fair political paradise. Inei- Judge BRAckrooroos ther assail the administration of General Jack- - o son, to which I have most sincerely wished so ocess, where I approved its principles, nor do I Honourage seas Nashvilio attempt to advance the pretensions of any rival November 22d 1821. o

candidate. He has decored—he has wronged Drau Sir: By yesterdays mail I had the
me—and he has wronged the pole of Flori-pleasure to receive your kind letter of the 26th o
da, by depriving them of tried officers, to whomoltimo with its enclosures, since my arival at
they believed they could confide their dearestlhome I have received a very friendly letter o
interests—those of life, property, liberty, and from Mr. Monroe, in which he has expressed
reputation. He has treated with contempt the his satisfaction in my having placed you in the
recommendation of the representatives of the office of Alcade—and from the mono he
great State of Pennsylvania, as well as those of speaks of you have no doubt, but he is dis-
- Maryland and Louisiana, And what wo the posed to extend to you any kindness in his
great and paramount moves which could out gift, as he speaks of your alents and merits -
weigh considerations which, in the mind of as they deserve:
every reasonable man, would be entitled to re-l. By yesterday's mail from the East I received |
spect? Let these motives be fairly laid before a letter from Mr. Adams Secretary of State,
the nation, that they may be submitted to its accompanied with Callava protest, Mr. Sol-
judgment. For the present, I take my leave of mons (Charge de Affairs of Spains) letter to -

the public—what I may have further to say, 1 Mr. Adams, and Mr. Adams letter to the Mio

| reserve for a future occasion. ote of soain in reply to Mr. Solmon, and a o o H. M. BRACKENRIDGE. copy of a letter to Judge Fromentine copies - - which is hera with enclosed to Col. Walton,

Copies of letters from General moon to Judge oth instructions to present them to you sor

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

sidence, you can render much good to your country and to yourself in a public capacity. good effect. And as far as my influence will extend, it will . . . * * * * afford me much pleasure in using it in your be." I shall take great pleasure in "* you to - o o |- --- o -

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

rect their Sergeant-at-Arms to seize and to hold him in custody. Mr. P. did not admit that the House possessed any such power; and he be: lieved that a great majority of that House, upon a deliberate and full examination of the question, would hold the same sentiments with himself. He did not feel himself prepared, now, to discuss the question, for the matter had lout just come to his knowledge. He had had time, however, to turn to one or two precedents; and he would recal the recollection of the House to one of them. He alluded to the assault which had been committed some three or four years ago on the private secretary of the President, when bearing an official communication from the Executive to the two Houses of Congress. That assault was committed in the rotundo of the Capitol, during the session of the two Houses, and when the Secretary was on his way from this House to the Senate, to deliver the message with which he was charg— ed to that body. No letter had been received, in that case, from the individual attacked; but the President of the United States had made it the subject of a message to the House, in which he expressly stated these facts. In consequence of the assault, he believed the secretary had been prevented from deliver. ing the message with which he was charged; though, of this, he was not certain. The at: tack was made in the Capitol, and during the ours in which the House was in session. In that case, certainly as aggravated as this, so far as the offence committed may be regarded as a contempt to the House, the House had gone no further than to appoint a committee. It had not deprived a citizen of his liberty, but had sem the subject to a select committee. The resul, was a divided report. The committee had been as equally divided as its numbers would admit, three of its members denying that the House had Power to punish, as a contempt, an act which had not interrupted its business. The report of the minority had been drawn up by Mr. Philio P. Bannoun, then a distinguished member of the House, a distinguished jurist, and now a judge of one of the courts of the U. mited States, in Virginia. He would readapa. rograph or two from that report, in which, after recounting a variety of cases from the Parliamentary annals of Great Britain, the report Proceeded to argue that the doctrines contain. edin those precedents of the House of com. moos, were utterly repugnant to the spirit and genius of one republican institutions. Mr. P. said, the English law of privilege, and the pow. er of the British Parliament to punish for con. tempowere undefined, unlimited, and unknown to the subject, except as particular cases occurred, in which the Parliament, in their om. nipotent discretion, chose voexerciseo. Mr. P. here read from the report as follows: “ Thus, it appears, from the nature of this parliamenta. ry law, and these Parliamentary privileges, that they are incompatible with the principles of our government, and against the dictates of justice. Nothing can, without a solecism in Jan

tion, which is published to those who are to be affected by it; whilst it is seen, that the law of Parliament, so miscalled, is locked up in their own bosoms, and nothing can be more unjust than to punish an individual for any offence against these privileges, the nature and charact ter of which, being indefinite, are utterly unknown, and which only become known as par

ence of the rule under which it is inflicted.” Mr. P. said, he heartly subscribed to the sentiments there laid down. The report went on to argue the case, and concluded by this position, that the House had no power to punish for contempts, unless on those cases. when its deliberations had been directly interfered with. The report of the majority of the committee affirmed that the House did possess the power, but that the case presented was no one in which it ought to act. Mr. P. contended that that case exhibited as gross a violation of privilege, (if such it could he called.) as the present. The exemptions conferred by the Constitution upon members of Congress wer: personal in their nature. [Here Mr. Piquoted that clause of the constitution which provides that members should be exempted from arrest in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to, and returning from, the same.) This clause, i.e. said, was perfectly understood as being altogether personal to the mo per in its scope and intention as exempting him. from arrest by legal process, except for * committed, and as not conferting any power to the House to punish for contempt, Mr. P. then went on farther to quote the constitution in those clauses which confer o the House of Representatives the power. punishing its own members, and determining the rules of its proceedings. Under the authority of this clause, the House had enacted a rule for the punishment of disorderly conduct, in its presence, and of disturbances in the gallery-The House had not made and promulged any law, warning the citizens that anything else would be viewed as a contempt of its privileges. And, Mr. P. inferred, that as the power now claimed was not enumerated amongst those conferred upon the House by the Constitution. and as the House, under the power to “determine the rules of its proceedings"—had enacted and promulged no rule declaring any thing happening out of the presence of the House, and not connected with its proceedings, to be a contempt to at the power was not possessed by the House. . what was this case? The deliberations of the House had not been interrupted. What were the circumstances of the transaction, Mr. P. did not know still less did he desire to be understood as justifying or expressing any opinion in relation to it. He did not appear there as the advocate of the person charged with the assault. He re

guage, be called a law, but some rule of ac

greated that the event had occurred. But he

ticular cases occur—thus making the infliction of punishment the first evidence of the exist

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

BREACH OF PRIVILEGE, 15 - - --spoke-fitnow only in reference to the power could not be so under our constitution. But, ---

[ocr errors]

Mr. P. would ask, whether it was not equally a contempt of the House for a citizen to challenge one of its members to mortal combat? Was that not as much a breach of its privilege as the present case! Should a member of a co-ordinate branch call a member of that House into the field, to mortal combat, would not that be as much a contempt also as this? And has not that been done, and been passed by without notice? Or if the head of an executive department should do the same thing, would not the breach of privilege be as great? And was not that done a few years ago? Where was the limit to such a power, if you take cognizance of such cases as this? How was it to be defined or restrained, Mr. P. could not perceive, and he therefore considered it as totally inconsistent with the spirit of our institutions. He would put another case or two, by which to test the power of the House. If the House possess the power to punish a citizen for an assault committed upon one of its mem. bers, in the streets of this city, when it is not in session, it posseses also the power to permit a citizen for an assault upon a member on his way from his residence to take his seat in this body. If either be, they are both contempts of the authority of the House. The assault in each case is upon a member of the House. Neither is committed in the presence of the House, or during its session, or so as to disturb its proceedings. A case of the latter kind had actually occurred just before the meeting of the last session of Congress. A member, when

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on his way to this city, had been engaged in a fight with one of his own constituents, the eftects of which had detained him for some time from his seat. The House did not send for that constituent and punish him for a contempt. Suppose a member on his way here should quarrel with a stage driver and be knocked down by him, would the House issue its capias,

bring the offender to the bar of the House, and

punish him for a contempt? Or would he be left to the laws cf. the land and the courts of justice? What ought to be done in the case? But first let him ask another question. Suppose a member of the House should be the aggressor, and until the facts in each case are examined, we cannot tell but he may be, and should beat, bruise, and maltreat a private citizen—would this House take cognizance of the case? or would it leave it to the judicial tribunals and to the laws of the land? Certainly the latter. A great constitutional question of the powers of this House was involved by this resolution, and one oth ought not hastily to be decided. Mr. Pos opinions, on first impressions, (for he had but a short time to consider the subject, and had not looked thoroughly into it,) was that the House had nothing to do with this matter as a contempt; the affair belonged to the courts, and the offender qught to: proceeded against by indictment. Mr. P. never could consent that the immense unlimited power claimed by the British House

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of Commons on this subject of contempts,

[graphic]
« ForrigeFortsett »