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Responsible Government

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I propose to expresa briofly my views in regard to rcsponsible govemmont a appiicable to onr democratie orrepublican theory, andfrom it if sudcessfül, shftll hopé to deduce something of practical benefit in the legislación before us. I express, sir, no novel sentiment in the deelaration that our democratie theory is in its essential elementa a revolutionary movemest in goveruments and in conflict with the theorics of the groat body of tlie nations of the world These nations, supportcd by the prestige of long ueago, recognize hereditary atfthority, "the divine right of kings ;" power acqnired by the accident of birth ; a singlo BOYereign, and he or she not such by virtue of eminent qnalificatlons or of patriotic dovotion to the public gooi, but as a right horeditary, by virtue of which the right to rule is confutad to one pel'soH, flrhlle themillions somponinc; tho uation are the subjecte, who, however gitted they inay be, or poasesaing whatever of superior ability, are the subjecte of that rule. Tuis, eir, ia iu brief the thoory of mqnarchical governments. And, although, as is well knowu, in it application in many of tho civilized nations it is limited and dKested of mauy of it severities, it ie in tho abstract, as beforo statod, the theory of the governments of tho great body oC the natious of the world. Our democratie system revolutionizes this, and founds its claim to favorable recognition in a denial of this "heieditary authority," and asaerts as its dogma of political faith that all "rightful and soveroign authority springs from and is vested in the people, " thereby transposing tho monarchieal theory of a "single sovereign and ho irresponsible, and millions of subjects and they reaponaible, " into the aystem of "millious of aovereigns" having a few eervanta of theirown selectioa, and they "responsible to them."' This grand conception of government framed by tho founderá of the Kepublic it is oura to protect and preserve. I shall not attempt argument as to ita coiTectness, but will assnme that all concedo it; nor shall I charge that any poiitical organizatiou or body of men in our country are intentionally disponed to thwart ite logitimate application or defeat its piu-poses, but will content myaelf with tho expression that in my judgment we are giadually. yet certainly, dnftiug bevond and away from it. xno sysiem aemanus tue constant rocognition of tho sovereignty of the peoplo, and of accountability to thoru by their aervants, who, as thoir agenta (selectod and chosen by them), exercise the functions of offico in tbeir name by virtue of their authority and for their good, the servants, from tho highent to the lowest, realizing ever a constant and abiding responaibility to the people, and they a mastcra denianding alwaya a strict complianoo wilh the full measure of their rightful sovereigu authoiity. Tho fathers of onr Republic not ouly underetood our democratie theory, hut atudiously acted in conformity to it. Aa an examplo, I propoae in thia connection to pteeeut the adminietration of Mr. Jefferson, .who is conceded to have been the maater spirit in its inauguration. Pervading every act and movoment of his administratioit, thero was the constant reminder of the sovereign authority of the people, and of the humility, accountability, and responüibüity of tho servant. This he evinced uumiatakably by the simple and unostentations exercise of his ofiicial duties, acknowledging constantly in his every act to hia countrymou that ho waa their norvaut, selected and commisaioned by them to ubscrvo their will, and to devote hia best enorgies to their welfare, aud not to subordínate hifi position to promoto Beliiah onda or personal aggrandizement. Henee he discountenauced and baniahed from the ejecutivo office aud the Executive Mansion all of the trappinga and idld meaningless flummery of aristocratie pretensions, and substitutod therefor the plain aud simple, yet intelligent and dignified, demosnor andsurroundings appropriate tó t!io republican simplicity of a nation not only of freemen, hut of BOveroigus owning their own Government. Appreciating fullyhis responsibility and accountability to the people, he made during his Presidential terms of oflice his permanent reaidence at the nation's capital, whero with watchful vigilanco he, as its hend, could direct and control the exocutivo administration, and, beiug at his poet of duty, could prevent corruption and detect ineflicieucy on the part of tho subordínate officials connected with the Government of which he had charge. llesidiug at tho nation'a .capital, willi the Government archives at hand, ho could direct aud properly instruet its diplomatic representativea abroad, and alao properly receivo aud coufcr with tho accredited embassadors of the nationa with which ours was on terma of political intorcourse. Kecognizing his responsibility as a servant, ho was extremoly cautious in guarding against all approachea to secure patrouago bj' deaigning men, who by intorested kindness or valuablc gitte seek to iugratiate themsolves into his favorable cousideration for tho selflah purpoao of obtaining oflieo, and whicli, whon obtained, they would uso to acquire fortunes for themselves by pluudering the poople's troasury. Conecioua that he, liko othor men, was Bessed cf the passions and impulses of a human íidturo, lio lcuow tbat it wan dangcrons, wuen acting as tho high nervant of the people, to allow himuolf to bo patronizod by the designing Bharper. He would accept no gifts, and honco had no improper inducementa to the granting of official favors, and therefore appointed none to orneo oxcept thoae who baaed thcir claims on merit, and who eouldsuccessfully witluitand rigid examination and Buatain character tbereby boüi for integrity and capability. As President of the Umted Staten, and recoguizing that hb held that station 88 tho servant of the people, with ita duties to bo diacharged so aa to promoto thoir protperity and happinesB, and deeply sensible of tho obligations tbereby imposed, the seiimh desire to enrich hiniHulf or by it to advanco tho foiciuiesof tlid.-i' connected wltb. him by the ties of rolationship could havo no controlling iniluence over him. Sir, he did uot, and would not, appoint any of bis relations or kiudrod to ofiico. He did not beliovo tbat tho vaiioua ollicos Bubject to lus bestowment wero bis individual porquiwitoa, nor flubjoct to distribution by him among his kindred and pernoual favoritee ; bat, on the rontrary, ho regarded tliem bh imply cominilted to him In trust as tho chief eervant of tho people, and that lúa duty was to dispense thcm in thoir interest to thoso, and io thono only, to whoni thd jiublic mind pointod as best fitted by expeiience, qualiüeatious and integrity, to diacharge tho incumbent dutics thereof with eiïicienoy and fidolity. In thus manifesting a knowledgo of tho charactor of bis responeibility, and acting in couformity to it, wo now, in roviewiug the eminent Bucceas of bin administration, readily roalize that hie was the only siu'o pathway of safety. I would not (irguo, nor do I boliovc, thnt tho reception of gifts, largo or small, would have corrujptod him. His was not tho material fiom which corruption readily prings. But thero was Bafety in putting hiinaelf in the position to assure the public that, in hi selectionf, no taint of bribesor acknowledgnieutof perBOual favore received had auy inlluenco in the dispenaation of the ofneial patronage liioi. Ñoiíher wonld I assöme that the publta fier'vice woülcl hvo mtfíefislly, if at all, snffered by tbe bestowment Of official stations ttpon lito kindred or relations. On the eantmiy, it iB but fair to presume that so puro and 80 great man was hardly of a relationsbip or kindred of iülnro and cotrnpt men. Yet such a case was pOBBibiej ííb'3 rvíthouí the establishment of an unyielding and iniiciil-l1 n)e %ainst it, it was poasible for kindred tie3 tó ClifOdj rtnd tin public welfare intrusted to hiin Buffer Üirertigti a human weakuess indulged to gratify the importunitiea of a needy relationship. Ani). aeain, a wholesome public sentiment, ever inuiöpfcn'iaTyie in a free government, was to bo conservod ; aüu it rflighf be diffleult for him, oven with hie untarnianed fttttie aod bit-b character for integrity, to satisfy that pritrlic sentiment that the reception of gratuities frorfi friends, or the strong ties of kindred, had not iiiduced or coustituted some element of influenco In his SOtlons, rather than that they were controlled purely ín the lnteresta ef the public. Hie high station demanded au abnegation of se'f, tmdof'aji selfish influencea, and an exalted, unlf'mmelefl effort iu all thiugs to moot the demanda of thö fnibllo will, and he was strong enough arid patriotic enemgh faithfully to áiHchargo ite dutié's. And f 't was principio that prompted him so it wan wftn iïl of the earty Chief Magistriites. The doctrine of "söTereign power in the people," aud responsibility and acconntabilitv to them by the servant, was a cardinal principie -with all of thera, to which high standard, faithfully acted up iC, thesafety and welfarof tho Repnblio was asourea. Bfii, fnrtnnatel? for ns, in these later Or9 we have bOeti dfifting iiay from these some precepta and these good e.taroplcs, and as a result, the public sentiment tó dëbauhedj pitbHc moráis corrupted, and misÉtianagetneöt, raisnile: anti widèSpread demoraliéation permeate the whole body-poliiic. Sir, I do not, and would not oh íhte occisión and in this presonce, make personal atta'iss. On the contrary, I would desire to treat fairly and deal kindly with all men in official or unofücial stations ; wonld profer, öir, and can with much rcaeon, attribute tho corruptions, frauds, and political demoraliüatioim. which admittedlyenstallaround the rapidly growing tendency of a vicious systeia which has sprung up among nu. This systetH, sir, Is simply a reverse of tho good onè that I hfete been descfibing. Officials now aro beginning to feel that they are not reRponsible to tho people as a sovereiga power stattdlng behind them, and whose sovereign will thoy ufo ti otioy, büt rather that they of themselves aro thö legiiitüat eonrees of authority. Should a chief magistrate feel thns, we coulil hardly expect of him an administration such as we have been describing. The master seldom oboys tho behonte of the subject. Nor ia the ir esponelble ruieï likely to manifest any nice sensu of duty or obedienee towafd those whose prerögative it is to rulo and control. And, now, sir; comparing the political teiidencics of the pf eêont wich thCfso illjistrating the adiniuistration of Mr. jeifereorii I venture the suggostion that it will be disovered that there is manlfested now a growing, vicious tendency on the part of officials to goverlt too much, or, to express the same idda in aiiothór fprm, tb ero io too little t'onfideuce in the aWIity of the peopïo to govern, and oonaeiu(íut!j' a diepositiön exhibited by political leaders to enCröaè'h öpon iheir authority. It appears to me, from the investigation that I have beou able to give to this subject, that if the political Retors who were contending for supremacy in the dfeys of Jeffernon and Han?ilton were ñow on the political stage, the followers of Hamilton would witneea in tho prene'it politicid aetion an eiomplification of his principies. Let us for a moment cousidSr Hie basis trpon which each of these eminent men ftfúflded tlieir diverse theories. Jcfferson, realizing that necessity was the author of progresa, favorei thn impoaition of the heaviest possible responnbiUties upon the people, realiang that when responsibility was devolved upon them it created domand for thought and aetion. thereby developing higher qualificationa and elevating tho general standard of capacity. fiamllton, on the other hand, conservativo and patriatical in his views, doubted all radical oncroachments on the theories of tho past, and therefore advocated the retention of pOTfer in the few. 7hile Jefferson doprecuted extensivo or exceseive legislation, for the fundamental reason that he desired the people for theif own advancomeut and security to act freely, Hamilton, under the iniluence of oppoaite theories of government, doubted their capacity and marshaled his forces across the pathway of progresa, To this divergence from the highways marked out and illustrated f ot us by Jefferson ia, in my judgment, attributablo the broad difference in tho externals of public administra tion now and Uien, and tho departnre from the high Standard of official moráis that then just[j eutitled na to the respect and admiratiou of the world. To it is to be ascribed tho corruptions that pervade all the social as well as political f orms that cnthrall us, the flippaney with which violations of the ballot-box, the people's emblem of power, are treated by the country, and tho general political demoralizations that. now juatly subject republican institutiona to adverse criticism by the advocates of the forma of governmeut of the Old World. I have, sir. thus f ar directed at tention main!y tö administrativo or executive aetion. But :he argument applies as forcibly to all other branchea of governmont ; and, in fact, perhaps qo department is eo hable to abuse tho sovBreign will as the legislativo. Our early Congresses were compoaed of men who reveronceu the Constitution, and conformed their actions strictly in obedience to the limitationa of tliat instrnnient, and acted constantly with a tull reeognition of the principie that they wore simply serrante, not matrs ; that the aovereigu pow r was lodged in thoae who elected and paid them, and that to it thoy were responaiblo and accountable. Acting np to thia standard, thero was doveloped a clase of membership which for integrity, ability and moral uprightness ehallenged the reapect and admiration of the civilized world. To be kuown in the early days of the Ropublie as a member of the American Congreaa Tvas of itaelf an accredited passport of reapoctability among the good ana the great wherever good and great men lived. A Congresa compoaed of men feeling that thoy were aimply reaponsible and acconntable ervanta of a sovereign constituency bohind them, with the eyes of that conatituenoy contautly iipon them, could not and would not wantonly lo an act in conflict with the soyereign will of that peoplo as oxpreased in their Conatitution. Sir, a CoDgresa of men who rully appreciate bis idea, and wlio, in the language of a digíinguiahed gentleman of thia Hoiise, "Saluto the auguat majesty of tho peoplo," will not fail to protect, defend, andpreaervefreegovernment. A Congreaa thuB composed will not careleasly imd reckleaaly vote away or appropriate the people's money or their laudcd heritage. With such a body uñguarded, nnconstitutional subsidies and grauta of lauda and money, to overgrown, aoulless corporations would be aii impoaaibility. Good servanta as legislutors, feeliug their rospousibility to their aovereign masterstho poople, could not and would not pass lawa of a doubtful constitutionality ; and apecially would they gaard againat doing bo when thoae lawa inrolved tho appropriatiou of large Bums of money wruug from that peoplo by onerous taiXation. With a Congross tluis composed the diagraceful taiut of a credit irobilier could have hai no existenco. Neither would the fury of a nation'd anger have ahakou tho Itepublic with the indignant and peremptory demand for a repeal of a " salary grab." Forthemembersof a Cougresa f oeling even thoir reeponaibility aa the peoplo'e servant could not have been comipted by the one nor have voted to make tho other. And now, sir, in attompting very briefly yot practically to preaont the reault of these unförtunato tendenciea, allow me to ciül attention to tho character of legialation that has received and now engroases a largo portion of the time of Congresa


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