Saturday, February 03, 2007

And here's a little something from Mr. Sedgwick....

I wish the words to be struck out, because I conceive them to be unnecessary in this place. I do conceive, Mr. Speaker, that this officer will be the mere creature of the law, and that very little need be said to prove to you that of necessity this ought to be the case. I apprehend, likewise, that it requires but a small share of abilities to point out certain causes for which a person ought to be removed from office, without being guilty of treason, bribery, or malfeasance; and the nature of things demands that it should be so. Suppose, sir, a man becomes insane by the visitation of God, and is likely to ruin our affairs; are the hands of government to be confined from warding off the evil? Suppose a person in office not possessing the talents he was judged to have at the time of the appointment; is the error not to be corrected? Suppose he acquires vicious habits, an incurable indolence, or total neglect of the duties of his office, which forebode mischief to the public welfare; is there no way to arrest the threatened danger? Suppose he becomes odious and unpopular by reason of the measures which he pursues,--and this he may do without committing any positive offence against the law, must he preserve his office in despite of the public will? Suppose him grasping at his own aggrandizement, and the elevation of his connections, by every means short of the treason defined by the Constitution,--hurrying your affairs to the precipice of destruction, endangering your domestic tranquility, plundering you of the means of defence, by alienating the affections of your allies, and promoting the spirit of discord,--is there no way suddenly to seize the worthless wretch, and hurl him from the pinnacle of power? Must the tardy, tedious, desultory road; by way of impeachment, be travelled to overtake the man who, barely confining himself within the letter of the law, is employed in drawing off the vital principle of the government? Sir, the nature of things, the great objects of society, the express objects of this Constitution, require that this thing should be otherwise. Well, sir, this is admitted by gentlemen; but they say the Senate is to be united with the President in the exercise of this power. I hope, sir, this is not the case, because it would involve us in the most serious difficulty. Suppose a discovery of any of those events which I have just enumerated were to take place when the Senate is not in session; how is the remedy to be applied? This is a serious consideration, and the evil could be avoided no other way than by the Senate's sitting always. Surely no gentleman of this house contemplates the necessity of incurring such au expense. I am sure it will be very objectionable to our constituents; and yet this must be done, or the public interest he endangered by keeping an unworthy officer in place until that body shall be assembled from the extremes of the Union.

- House of Representatives, June 16, 1789. "Removal by the President.--On the Bill for establishing an executive Department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs." [Elliot's Debates, Volume 4]

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