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FEB. 4, 1831.)
Post Office Department.
ber of mail routes.” And, seeing these things, he said to go into the causes of each of the five or six hundred cases; the gentleman from Tennessee, let no friend of the de- to send for the person of each removed officer to obtain partment, or its chief, lay the flattering unction to his soul, evidence, and to summon even third persons, without that, by suppressing this investigation, either directly or number, for explanation and support of either side? He indirectly, they can escape the consequences which in- could not see the utility, any more than the end, of such variably flow from attempts to conceal the true state of an investigation. But there might, he admitted, be some their affairs from an intelligent public.
benefit in our legislation by knowing the general causes Mr. WOODBURY, (also a member of the committee,) which influenced any department in its removals. said, that the question involved in the resolution stood The chairman was in error in supposing that he had forth singly, naked, and, as he believed, virtually adjudi- been a member of the Committee on Executive Patronage, cated by the Senate at the last session. He never anticipat- who had made the report referred to by that honorable ed that all the concerns of the Post Office Department, Senator. He was a member of a subsequent committee and all the proceedings of the select committee, would be on that subject, and approved most of the principles in drawn into its discussion. But the course just pursued by the report of the first one; and, therefore, would regulate, the honorable chairman left no alternative but assent to at all times, when practicable, the influence of the Post his allegations, or a reply. In relation to the personal Office Department, or any other Department, by additional imputation, that a portion of the committee had attempted laws, where laws could reach the evil, and where he had to exclude light, or to baffle inquiry, he would boldly ap- ascertained that the general grounds of remorals, or of peal to every other member of the committee for its con- other proceedings in the department, were such as to intradiction. Every proposition for information had been jure or to endanger the public interests. Hence, he had met and examined with promptitude, and sanctioned, not objected now to ask the general grounds of removal whenever a majority of the committee deemed it to be in that department, or to investigate, to the fullest extent, embraced within the reference, and presented in a shape its fiscal operations. These operations were conceded to best calculated to elicit the truth. The proceedings of have been the chief object of the original reference. It the committee on the very subject of the present resolu- was with a view to them that the power to send for pertion--the causes of the removal of officer's--furnished a sons and papers had been voted for by him: but now, very striking illustration on this topio.
when that power was attempted to be turned to a differAn interrogatory was, at an early moment, offereel by ent, and, as he believed, improper inquiry, it was high the chairman, addressed to the Postmaster General, ask-time, in his opinion, to ask the direction of the Senate. ing for the causes of removal in each case since his con He regretted that the member from Delaware had nexion with the department. This interrogatory was be- deemed it relevant, on the resolution now under considerlieved by a majority of the committee, as he supposed, ation, to discuss at all the comparative condition of the improper, after the repeated decisions of the Senate last fiscal concerns of that department, under its present and session against similar inquiries; and it was further thought under its former administration. He stood not here as to be derogatory and unjust to give publication and noto- the mere apologist or eulogist of any man. But the course riety to all the charges on file against five or six hundred of the honorable chairman demandled a brief reply; and individuals. The proposition was, therefore, amended, without any invidious contrast between the heads of that and the causes of removal left to be stated in general department, at different periods, he would endeavor to terms, without any personal application. This was set- satisfy the Senate, in a very few words, that the minority tled as a question of power and propriety, and not with of the committee had shown no unwillingness to probe to the least view, in any body, of escaping from any legiti-the quick the pecuniary affairs of the department at any mate inquiry.
period of time, and that, so far as these affairs were accu. But, to show the spirit and teniper prompting that in- rately known, their present condition was highly creditterrogatory, rather than those opposed to it, after the able to the great public objects of the creation of the delapse of many days, and after power was obtained to send partment, and to its general fiscal administration for the for persons and papers, in the examination of another sub- last two years. ject, a question to a witness, involving the same principle The first eight interrogatories proposed to the depart. as to the causes of removal, was again renewed; and a ment by the chairman, in the committee, so far as they remajority deciding in its favor, the minerity were compel-lated to its funds, had been adopted without a dissenting led to acquiesce, or, by this resolution, obtain the opinion vote. The extraordinary power to send for persons and of the Senate against the inquiry. Was not this correct papers with a view to the same object, had also been askand parliamentary on the part of the minority? Oughted for, without opposition, in the committee. The minothey first to have asked leave of the majority opposed to rity had been as anxious as the majority to obtain the truth, them? And was it not proper for the Senate to construe the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And when a their own reference, and even to amend or discharge it call on subordinate clerks had been proposed, it had been entirely, if expedient? The reference was the act of the merely changed into one to the head of the department, Senate. To the Senate the committee were amenable. as more decorous in the first instance, and as the only proThe Senate had their allegiance; could control all their per call until the head should decline or neglect to answer. movements; and to their decision, wliether for or against No such neglect had yet occurred. Calls macle at the the resolution, he, for one, should bow with all due de- last session, involving an unprecedented degree of labor, ference. He would sit and examine, early and late, in had precedence, and had put in requisition all the force session and out of session, if so directed.
of the department which could be spared from its current Having thus offered the vindication of the minority for business; calls, one of which, alone, he had no doubt, presenting this resolution to this body, the main, and in- from its character, would present an answer filling, if deed only proper question recurred: Ought the commit-printed, a thick octavo volume. He had so advertised the tee to be limited or not in their investigation of the causes committee, when some of their own troublesome interroof removal from office? He should not now argue what gatories had been propounded; and it would be oppreshad been so fully argued here only at the last session--sive to ask of the department to make brick without straw. both the uselessness and inexpediency, if not the encroach- The minority, therefore, to avoid delay, had expressed a ment on constitutional principles, of such an inquiry by willingness and wish to examine the books of the depart. this body. He supposed that the Senate was not now dis- ment without so much copying, and had stood rearly at all posed to cross its own path on this subject. What would times to proceed, and make the appropriate examination. It lead to in the present instance, were the committee to the Senate would thus judge how far any imputation was
Post Office Department.
[FEB. 4, 1831.
deserved by any of the committee, of a desire to shut out ditures been made on the same labor performed, or on the light, or to check or delay suitable inquiries in relation to increased and improved transportation of the mail for so the funds of the department.
many thousand miles further. One word as to the comparative state of these funds. Look to your documents also for an answer to the charge The chairman, (how impartially the Senate must decide,) that the department is bankrupt, and that the aid of Conbegan by saying, that if the salaries of the officers of the gress is invoked and is necessary to avert impending ruin. department, and the repairs of its buildings, were charged Did the Postmaster General say this? No, sir. So far to it, it would be found much in arrear, if not insolvent. from all that, the debts in arrear due to the Post Office, But is it pretended that those salaries and repairs have meet thus far more than all the annual balances against it; ever been charged to it under former administrations and the Postmaster General had officially informed us, Again, it was alleged that the expenditures now exceeded since the commencement of this very session, that, as the the receipts, and that some of its operations, without re contracts for the next four years had been renewed, and lief from Congress, would become entirely palsied. But in a way to save the department, annually, over 72,000 he contended that, on an examination of dates and figures, dollars, and as the increase of postage is progressive, and considering the effect of our own new laws on the fis- there is “a foundation for the belief which lias been escal concerns of the department, it was at this moment pressed, that the current revenue of the department for the more effectually answering the object of public accommo- succeeding year, will be sufficient for its disbursements." dation in the rapid and safe transportation of the mail, than He impugned the motives of no gentleman who differed at any former period of the Government; and that so far from him in opinion, either here or in the committee. Diffrom needing appropriations from Congress to prevent its ferences of opinion would honestly occur both in private bankruptcy, it only asked the forbearance of Congress on and public life. But the Senate would now enjoy an opits new, numerous, and burdensome routes.
portunity to decide whether the course pursued by his How stood the facts? In May, 1828, you passed a law friends and himself in the committee had been such as the establishing from two hundred to two hundred and fifty courtesy due to official intercourse with the department new post routes. Here they were; and any gentleman required, and such as the true interests of the Government who chose to read those in his own section of country, justified. would be satisfied, as he would from the nature and his In fine, they would see whether any thing thus far had tory of the establishment, that many of those new routes been developed in the condition of the General Post Office, were not only expensive in the first instance, but exceed- so alarming, so very terrifying, as some gentlemen desired ingly burdensome afterwards, by the income falling short them to believe. of the annual casli.
Mr. HOLMES said, if he were to consult his own indiWhat was the consequence? In the year ending July, vidual wishes, he should vote for this resolution. Its ob1828, while few or none of the new routes had been put ject was to limit the inquiry directed by the Senate. The into operation, and while the department was entirely in committee were to inquire into “the entire management” other bands, the balance against the department was of the Post Office Department, and to this end they were 25,000 dollars. He should use round numbers. He had empowered to send for persons and papers. The resoluno doubt that this deficit happened, not from any miscon- tion under consideration proposed to prohibit the commitduct in the then head of the department, but from the tee to ask a witness why he was removed from office by same kind of causes which had properly operated since the Postmaster General. Now, said Mr. H., as I deem a desire to extend the accommodations of the mail to the such an inquiry essential to the performance of the duty utmost extent the finances of the department would admit. assigned me, the Senate, I know, would not, if they could,
In the year ending July, 1829, only two or three months compel me to perform a duty in a manner which I conof which were under the administration of the present scientiously believe to be wrong. if, therefore, they head, the balance increased to 74,000 dollars. Many of should think proper to pass this resolution, I should ask to the new routes bad, doubtless, in the mean time, been put be excused from further service on the committee; thie Seinto operation at a large expense, and not, is presumed, nate would of course excuse me; and I should be thereby though then, as well as now, open to the imputation of relieved from this troublesome business. But were I the happening from profligacy and fraud.
particular, personal, and political friend of the Postmaster : In the year ending July, 1830, the balance was 82,000 General, I should vote against this resolution. So far from dollars. How? By corruption and extravagance? No, sir. being afraid of inquiring into the official conduct of my This balance was created by expenditures under the last, friend, I would court the strictest scrutiny. Let the witand under former laws, which the public interests demand-nesses be partial or impartial, an honest and faithful offied, and which can be seen in detail in our own documents cer can never suffer by inquiry. Let him submit to the of the present session. By these, it appears that, in the severest ordeal, let every thing be subjected to the strictlast year, still more new routes had been put into opera-est examination, and if he cannot stand, let him fall. These tion, or old ones extended, so as to carry the mail on horse- are no new doctrines with me--they have been the maxback thirty-one thousand miles further than at any former ims of my whole political life. In a Government like ours, period. Routes had also been extended, expedited, and those who receive and disburse your public moneys, should improved, for the safety of the mail, so that it was con- be watched with a vigilant, and even a jealous eye. Here veyed in carriages one hundred and eighteen thousand is the commission under which we are acting: miles more than in any former year. Yet the chairman “ Resolved, That a committee be appointed to examine talked as if nothing short of the grossest corruption and and report the present condition of the Post Office De. waste had produced an increased expenditure.
partment; in what manner the laws regulating the depart. But look a step further. If this imputed waste and cor- ment are administered; the distribution of labor, the num. ruption actually existed, not only would the mail not be ber and the duties assigned to each; the number of agents, transported in such increased distances, and in such im- where and how employed; the compensation of contractproved ways, but the whole amount of income would be ors; and, generally, the entire management of the departstationary or diminished; whereas, in truth, the receipts ment; and whether further and what legal provisions be of the department exceeded the last year what they were necessary to secure the proper administration of its affairs." in 1828, the last full year of the past administration, near In proceeding under this broad commission, it became ly 300,000 dollars.
necessary to have power to send for persons and papers, Had the funds been squandercd, then, to the winds and and the committee unanimously agreed to ask for this auwaves, or faithfully collected? Tad the increased expen-thority, and the Senate as unanimously granted it. The
committee had sent several interrogatories to the Postmas-nocent man could have objected to the inquiry; and had ter General, of which this was one: “What Postmasters an opposer of this administration done so, it would have have been removed since you came into office, and for been complained of as evidence of hostility. what causes? Please give the names and place of resi But my principal object was, I admit, ulterior. It was kence when removed, with the time and causes of their to ascertain the causes of the unprecedented number of removal--classifying the causes for brevity's sake.” This removals in this department. This, I know, is a tender interrogatory was put by me, but not in its present shape. subject. Neither the minions of power, nor the slaves of My inquiry was into the causes of removal of each; but ambition, like very well to give reasons. Let motives be the friends of the Postmaster General insisted upon a clas- rivulged, and tyranny would soon be banished the land. sification, which, whatever the intent, does in effect leave The post office, and the press, when free and unadulte. it in the power of the Postmaster General to evade the rated, are the efficient engines to demolish tyranny. To whole inquiry. Now, in this state of the case, and while corrupt these, is the prime object of every aspirant to abthis inquiry, thus modified, is before the Postmaster Gene- solute power. Put into the liands of talents, combined ral, Mr. Bradley, a former Assistant Postmaster General, with ambition, the press, the post offiee, and the purse, is summoned before the committee. The first question and you may talk of liberty--you may retain the shadow, put by Mr. Holmes was this: “ How long were you As- but you will have lost the substance. sistant Postmaster General, and what were the duties as Thus far the committee have “made haste slowly." signed you in the department?” This question was ob- We have scarcely entered upon the threshold of inquiry, jected to, wwless the interrogator would first state to what and now this resolution is offered, without the least notice examination it was intended to lead. The answer of course to the committee--the object of which is to arrest the was that no such explanation would be given; none was whole proceeiling: necessary; for the interrogatory carried the intent upon I shall not forejudge the case. I do not say that the the face of it. Even this mere preliminary question was Postmaster General has done right or wrong. This Seseriously opposed in committee, and was at last permitted nate has directed its committee to inquire, and has given to be put to the witness hy a majority of one only. Messrs. it ample powers, and I, as one, do not feel at liberty to Clayton, Holmes, and Hendricks, in the affirmative; Messrs. disobey. There is certainly a diminution of the funds of Grundy and Woodbury in the negative. The next ques- the department, indicating that it is insolvent, or verging tion, and which is the foundation of this extraordinary re- to insolvency; and the Postmaster General has officially insolution, was this: “ Were you removed from office; when; formed us, that, from the 4th March, 1829, to the 2d March, and, if you know, for what cause or causes?" During the 1830, four hundred and ninety-one post officers had been discussion whether this question should be put, a motion removed, not including those in the department, or in the was made by Mr. Hendricks to adjourn, and carried. post office of this city. Messrs. Grundy, Woodbury, and Hendricks in the affir. This administration owes its existence to its professions mative; Messrs. Clayton and Holmes in the negative. In of economy. The advocates of General Jackson told the this predicament were we, (an inquiry of the Postmaster people, what they were quite willing and very ready to General into his causes of removal
, a question to the late believe, that the funds had been squandered, and that GeAssistant Postmaster General why he was removed, then neral Jackson was the very man to correct the abuses. It pending,) and the Senator from Tennessee, without con- has been boldly asserted in this Senate, and gone out to sulting the rest of the committee, asks the Senate to stop the American people, that all this is a miserable pretext, the inquiry--to forbid us to ask the question! Were tlie and the whole affair is a mere system of “rewards and Senators from Tennessee and New Hampshire serious in punishments.” It appears, too, that more changes have their endeavors to obtain the causes of removal, when they been made in the post office than in any other departunited in inquiring of the Postmaster General himself, and ment, and that this seems most in embarrassment. Things do they object to an inquiry of the witness? None but the thus appearing, it is most extraordinarily proposed to stiremoving and removed are presumed to know the causes. Ale the inquiry which the Senate unanimously directed. You are forbidden to ask the officer removed, and are lim. We have heard much of “bargain and corruption,” as ited therefore to a general inquiry of the Postmaster Gen- well as of “ economy. It may turn out that all this “bareral himself, the very officer whose conduct is the subject gain and corruption" has occurred under this administraof investigation. This is a very easy way to let off a de- tion. If any of it was employed in establishing the former, linquent he is not only a witness, but is the only witness it has not been yet discovered. It was the general cry in his own case.
And we must not be too particular in during the last canvass; and if any proofs can be adduced, our inquiries even of him. He is to classify, “ for brevi- they may be elicited by this inquiry. ty's sake.” If he chooses to smother the design, let him The number and compensation of clerks in the departresort to generalization. And why are his friends so sen- ment could not have been extravagant, unless we are desitive! If your officer is innocent, he can very safely an-ceived by appearances. We find the number has been Sirer any interrogatory, however particular. "He is in no greatly increased, and there is a petition now pending danger from any witness, however strong his prejudices. before us for additional pay. Though this does not, to be an honest and faithful officer should never have cause to sure, look much like “retrenchment and reform,” still it fear investigation. Ours is a Government based entirely is possible that these additional expenditures may become on responsibility, where the acts of every agent should be necessary, from the increased duties of the department. open to public inspection. All secrets are grounds of sus- But I should think that to displace experience, and subpicion and jealousy, and especially when claimed by a sub- stitute inexperience, would sufficiently account for it. It ordinate officer.
is impossible, if you remove the most experienced and faithThe two questions which were put to Mr. Bradley, ful officers in a department so complex and ramified, that were manifestly preliminary: They, on the one hand, the business can be done so expeditiously or correctly. It went to show the extent of his means of knowing the state is impossible that the men the most intelligent, practical, of the department. He had held the office thirty years, and faithful, can perform duties so well as those who have and nearly the whole time had managed its fiscal concerns. been trained and disciplined by long practice. Had he been removed by the present Postmaster General, It is possible, though I cannot admit that it is probable, and if so, for what cause? This, on the other, would that all these six or seven hundred removals were for good show how far he might be prejudiced--presenting at once cause. The late Postmaster General was a faithful and his knowledge and his bias. Who could have apprehend- vigilant officer and a rigid disciplinarian. It would seem, any danger from such questions? No friend of an in- lat a first glance, that he could not have overlooked all
(FEB. 4, 1831. these unworthy men, or that, if he knew them, he would gislation; and although we found no instances where the have permitted them to remain. The friends of the pre-power of removal had been abused, we deemed it safe to sent incumbent profess to respect the character and merits regulate and restrain it. The mischief which might befal of the late Postmaster General, and we hope they are sin- us from Executive influence, by means of the post office cere; but surely it is a poor compliment to his talents or and the press, were foretold in the spirit of prophecy. integrity to impute to him the employment of such a regi- That report was drawn by the Senator from Missouri, ment of bad officers, either from ignorance or design. Sir, (Mr. Benton,] and the facts embodied there are good it is my prima facie opinion, that scarcely one in a hundred proof that the committee were not then over scrupulous has been removed for sufficient cause; but still, if, upon in their inquiry. The slavish doctrines of the present day inquiry, it should be otherwise, I will be the first to re- would not now tolerate a report couched in such language, tract, and exonerate the Postmaster General from all pro- and breathing such a spirit. The committee proceed: scription.
“The whole of this great power will centre in the PreThe Senator from Tennessee (Mr. Grundy) thinks it a sident. The King of England is the fountain of honor;' drudgery, a small business, to make this inquiry. He the President of the United States is the source of patronsurely cannot mean this as a reflection upon the Senate age. He presides over the entire system of federal ap. for directing it. If the Postmaster General shall have pros- pointments, jobs, and contracts. He has power over the tituted his office for purposes of proscription, and shall * support of the individuals who administer the system. have descended to an inquiry into the party preferences He makes and unmakes them. He chooses from the circle of every obscure deputy in the United States, for the pur- of his friends and supporters, and may dismiss them, and, pose of fixing the seal of reprobation upon every one who upon all the principles of human action, will dismiss them, would not sacrifice to this modern Moloch, is it humiliat- as often as they disappoint his expectations. His spirit will ing to follow him, and expose him in his degrading occu- animate their actions in all the elections to State and Fede. pation? No, sir; if an officer will descend to petty, con- ral offices. There may be exceptions, but the truth of a temptible persecutions, low as the business is, it is proper general rule is proved by the exception. The intended to ferret him out.
check and control of the Senate, without new constitutional I cast no imputation upon the members of the committee or statutory provisions, will cease to operate. Patronage who think differently. "They probably believe themselves will penetrate this body, subdue its capacity of resistance, to be right, and we are satisfied that we are right; and chain it to the car of power, and enable the President to thus the account is balanced between us.
rule as easily, and much more securely, with than without For myself, I cannot indulge a doubt that this inquiry the nominal check of the Senate. If the President was is not only legitimate, but necessary, and demanded by the himself the officer of the people, elected by them, and reAmerican people.
sponsible to them, there would be less danger from this Since the committee was appointed, not only have the concentration of all power in his hands; but it is the busipublic papers, but private letters from respectable indivi- ness of statesmen to act upon things as they are, and not duals, urged on the inquiry. And just as we are com- as they would wish them to be. We must then look formencing it with adequate power and authority, the whole ward to the time when the public revenue will be doubled; is to be suppressed!
when the civil and military officers of the Federal GovI hold in my band a letter from a highly respectable ernment will be quadrupled; when its influence over indiVirginian to one of its Senators here, making high charges viduals will be multiplied to an indefinite extent; when the of corruption and fraud in mail contracts, and naming the nomination by the President can carry any man through witnesses to be called to prove them. It was my opinion, the Senate, and his recommendation can carry any meaand that of the chairman, that the witnesses shoukl be sure through the two Houses of Congress; when the prinimmediately summoned to testify. But a znajority thought ciple of public action will be open and avowed--the Prethat we ought first to seek for evidence at the department; sident wants my vote, and I want his patronage; I will vote thus expecting that, if any thing was wrong, the Postmas- as he wishes, and he will give me the cffice I wish for. ter General would furnish the necessary evidence to con- What will this be but the government of one man? and vict himself. Now, if it be proper to inquire at all, why what is the government of one man but a monarchy? proceed in this circuitous way? When a respectable citi. Names are nothing. The nature of a thing is in its subzen alleges fraud, or that he believes it, and names the stance, and the name of a thing scon accommodates itself witnesses by whom he would prove it, why not send for to the substance. The first Roman Emperor was styled them, when our powers are so ample? It seems to me Emperor of the Republic, and the last French Emperor that so cautious a procedure as this is to induce a prema took the same title; and their respective countries were ture suspicion of error or guilt.
just as essentially monarchical before as after the assumpThe Postmaster General is in no danger of injustice by tion of these titles. It cannot be denied or dissembled but the inquiry into the causes of removal. If a man is re- that this Federal Government gravitates to the same point, moved for good cause, he would not be very forward to and that the election of the Executive by the Legislature complain or to testify, when he would know that thereby quickens the pulsation.” his own demerits would be made manifest. If these re. movals have been made as a punishment for the exercise “ The committee must, then, take things as they are. of the freedom of opinion, a remedy should be promptly Not being able to lay the axe to the root of the tree, they provided. Sir, the people of the United States will never must go to pruning among the limbs and branches. Not tamely suffer a department of such power and influence being able to reform the constitution in the election of Preto become an engine which may one day batter down their sident, they must go to work upon his powers, and trim liberties. Sir, the suppression of inquiry is among the down these by statutory enactments, wherever it can be new fashions introduced by this administration. Inquiry, done by law, and with a just regard to the proper efficiency hitherto, has been always popular; so much so, that a of the Government. For this purpose, they have reported member would scarcely hazard his reputation in opposing the six bills which have been enumerated. They do not it. No apprehension that we might ineet with impeacha- pretend to bave exhausted the subject, but only to have ble matter could deter us. Indeed, such an argument seized a few of prominent points. They have only would have been ridiculed. The Select Committee of the touched in four places the vast and pervading system of Senate of 1826, on the subject of Executive patronage, Federal Executive patronage--the press, the post office, were not so tiinid lest they should compromit their impar- the armed force, and the appointing power. They are tiality. They inquired into facts, as the foundation of le- few compared to the whole number of points which the
Feb. 7, 1831.]
(SENATE. system presents, but they are points vital to the liberties making the statements, besides preparing copies of about of the country. The press is put foremost, because it is fourteen hundred contracts, comprising together nearly the moving power of human action; the post office is the six thousand large folio pages, has required the constant handmaid of the press; the armed force its executor; and and diligent service of several clerks for about six months. the appointing power the directress of the whole. If the The current business of the department has been delayed, appointing power was itself an emanation of the popular so far as could be done without producing permanent loss; will
, if the President was himself the officer and the organ and, together with the new arrangements rendered neof the people, there would be less danger in leaving to his cessary in answering the several calls for information from will the sole direction of all these arbiters of human fate. the committee instituted by the Senate on the 15th of DeBut things must be taken as they are; statesmen must act cember, it has not been practicable, with all the force for the country they live in, and not for the island of Uto- that could be applied, to finish the report at an earlier pepia; they must act upon the state of facts in that country, riod.”] and not upon the visions of fancy. In the country for Mr. GRUNDY moved that it be referred to the Comwhich the committee act, the press, with some exceptions, mittee on the Post Office and Post Roads, with a view to the post office, the armed force, and the appointing power, a selection of such parts as it would be proper to have are in the hands of the President, and the President him- printer!. In its present shape it was too voluminous for self is not in the hands of the people. The President printing. The gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Burnet] who may, and, in the current of human affairs, will, be against Offered that resolution, calling for the information contained the people; and, in his hands, the arbiters of human fate in the report, belonged to that committee, and it seemed must be against them also. This will not do. The possi- proper that it should have that reference. bility of it must be avoided. The safety of the people is Mr. BURNET said he would not oppose the reference the 'supreme law;' and, to ensure that safety, these arbi- suggested by the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. Grunters of human fate must change position, and take post on py,] but he had supposed the subject would be referred to the side of the people.”
the select committee on the present state of the Post Sir, you can never legislate correctly without inquiring Office Department. into the necessity. You should search deep, and ascertain Mr. GRUNDY remarked that his object was to refer the the length, breadth, depth, and height of the mischief to subject to the coinmittee who had the least business before be remedied. Both Houses of Parliament, by their com- it. To himself it was totally immaterial, as he belonged to mittees, collect and embody the evidence on each subject both of the committees proposed. The standing Post of as a foundation for legislation; and who ever heard it ob- fice Committee were not overwhelmed with business, while jected that they might find impeachable matter?
the other was. The Committee of the House of Representatives of 1818 Mr. CLAYTON contended the report should be sent to had no scruples, no delicacy like that here manifested. the select committee, as that committee were now enThey summoned not only the clerks, but the chiefs of the gaged in the investigation of this very subject; and he did departments themselves. They used “the incision knife not apprehend that there was any inquiry before the other and the caustic," and searched the wound to the bottom. committee which bore any relation to it. As for the selecThey did not stop at a summons; but, when that was dis- tion of the documents which it would be proper to have obeyed, they issued a capias, and brought in the witness printed, the select committee could do it as well as any by force. No one then complained of want of decorum. Other. He hoped the gentleman would withdraw his proThe Representatives of the people spoke, by their com- position, and allow the report to go to the select committee, and their voice was obeyed.
mittee. We do not find another case where a call of such mag Mr. GRUNDY said he could not withdraw his motion. nitude was refused, and we ask the gentlemen on the other The gentleman from Ohio, who called for the report, be. side to give us a single example. Strange doctrines, in- longed to the standing committee, and it was proper he deed, which cover your executive officers with such a should have an opportunity of acting upon it. Besides, it panoply!
was useless to disguise another fact. The select com. (Here Mr. GRUNDY requested Mr. HOLMES to sus- mittee had taken so wide a field for its investigations that pend his remarks until to-morrow, as he had just under the prospect of its soon terminating its labors was but a stood that there was some executive business before the gloomy one.
These committees met in the same room, Senate, which it was indispensably necessary to act on to- and any information possessed by one could easily be com.
municated to the other. Mr. HOLMES acquiesced in the suggestion; when, The question was then taken on the first proposition to
On motion of Mr. TYLER, the Senate proceeded to the refer the report to the Committee on the Post Office and consideration of executive business, and spent half an hour Post Roads, and decided in the affirmative-yeas 19, nays within closed doors; and then adjourned until Monday. 18.
Mr. BARNARD submitted the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Committee on Naval Affairs be inA report was received from the Postmaster General, in pay and emoluments of Masters Commandant in the Navy
structed to inquire into the expediency of increasing the obedienice to a resolution of the Senate, giving a list of of the United States; and, also, of allowing additional comcontracts made by that department, together with the pensation to Lieutenants when acting as first Lieutenants number and compensation of clerks employed in that de- of a ship of the line, frigate, or sloop of war, according partment.
to the rate of the vessel. (The documents consisted of copies of all contracts made by him or his predecessor, on which additional al
DUTIES ON SUGAR. lowances had been made for additional services; copies of Mr. BROWN, of North Carolina, introduced a bill to all contracts existing when his immediate predecessor came reduce the duty on imported sugar. into office, on which similar allowances were made, and Mr. BROWN moved to refer the bill to the Committee copies of all contracts made by his immediate predecessor, on Commerce. The motion was rejected-yeas 16, Days on which similar allowances had been made. The letter 25. adds, “that the labor required for the investigation of On motion of Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, it was then each case, on more than seventeen hundred routes, and referred to the Committee on Manufactures.