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cers referred to. The President, feeling under personal obligation to Mr. Washburne for important support, gave him a complimentary nomination, with the understanding that after confirmation he should forthwith resign. I cannot forget the indignant comment of the late Mr. Fessenden, as we passed out of the Senate Chamber immediately after the confirmation. "Who," said he, "ever heard before of a man nominated Secretary of State merely as a compliment?" But this is only another case of the public service subordinated to personal considerations.
Not only in the Cabinet, but in other offices, there is reason to believe that the President has been under the influence of patrons. Why was he so blind to Thomas Murphy? The custom-house of New York, with all its capacity as a political engine, was handed over to this agent, whose want of recognition in the Republican Party was outbalanced by Presidential favor, and whose gifts have become notorious. And when the demand for his removal was irresistible, the President accepted his resignation with an effusion of sentiment natural toward a patron, but without justification in the character of the retiring officer.
Shakespeare, who saw intuitively the springs of human conduct, touches more than once on the operation of the gift. "I'll do thee service for so good a gift," said Gloster to Warwick. Then, again, how truly spoke
the lord, who said of Timon,
"No gift to him
But breeds the giver a return exceeding
All use of quittance." 2
And such were the returns made by the President.
1 King Henry VI., Third Part, Act V. Sc. 1.
2 Timon of Athens, Act I. Sc. 1.
Thus much for gifts, reciprocated by office. The instance is original and without precedent in our history.
THE PRESIDENCY A PERQUISITE.
I HAVE now completed the survey of the two typical instances - Nepotism, and Gift-Taking with repayment by office in which we are compelled to see the President. In these things he shows himself. Here is no portrait drawn by critic or enemy; it is the original who stands forth, saying: "Behold the generosity I practise to my relations at the expense of the public service! also the gifts I take, and then my way of rewarding the patrons, always at the expense of the public service!" In this open exhibition we see how the Presidency, instead of a trust, has become a perquisite. Bad as are these two capital instances, and important as is their condemnation, so that they may not become a precedent, I dwell on them now as illustrating character. A President who can do such things, and not recognize at once the error he has committed, shows that supereminence of egotism under which Constitution, International Law, and Municipal Law, to say nothing of Republican Government in its primary principles, are all subordinated to the Presidential will; and this is Personal Government. Add an insensibility to the honest convictions of others, and you have a natural feature of this pretension.
Lawyers cite what are called "Leading Cases." A few of these show the Presidential will in constant operation with little regard to precedent or reason, so as to be a caprice, if it were not a pretension. Imitating the Popes in Nepotism, the President has imitated them in ostentatious assumption of Infallibility.
THE PRESIDENT'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS.
OTHER Presidents have entered upon their high office with a certain modesty and distrust. Washington in his Inaugural Address declared his "anxieties," also his sense of "the magnitude and difficulty of the trust," "awakening a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications."1 Jefferson, in his famous Inaugural, so replete with political wisdom, after declaring his "sincere consciousness that the task is above his talents," says: "I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire, . . . . and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking."2
Our soldier, absolutely untried in civil life, entirely a new man, entering upon the sublimest duties, before which Washington and Jefferson had shrunk, said in his Inaugural: "The responsibilities of the position I feel, but accept them without fear."3 Great predecessors, with ample preparation for the responsibilities, had shrunk back with fear. He had none. Either he did not see the responsibilities, or the Cæsar began to stir in his bosom.
SELECTION OF HIS CABINET.
NEXT after the Inaugural Address, his first official act was the selection of his Cabinet; and here the general disappointment was equalled by the general wonder. As the President was little known except from the victories which had commended him, it was not then seen
1 Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol. XII. p. 1.
2 Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 1.
3 Congressional Globe, 41st Cong. 1st Sess., p. 1.
how completely characteristic was this initial act. Look ing back upon it, we recognize the pretension by which all tradition, usage, and propriety were discarded, by which the just expectations of the party that had elected him were set at nought, and the safeguards of constitutional government were subordinated to the personal pretensions of One Man. In this Cabinet were persons having small relations with the Republican Party and little position in the country, some absolutely without claims from public service, and some actually disqualified by the gifts they had made to the President. Such was the political phenomenon presented for the first time in American history, while reported sayings of the President showed the simplicity with which he acted. To a committee he described his Cabinet as his "family," with which no stranger could be allowed to interfere, and to a member of Congress he announced that he selected his Cabinet "to please himself and nobody else," being good rules unquestionably for the organization of a household and the choice of domestics, to which the Cabinet seem to have been likened. This personal government flowered in the Navy Department, where a gift-bearing Greek was suddenly changed to a Secretary. No less a personage than the grand old Admiral, the brave, yet modest Farragut, was reported as asking, on the fifth of March, the very day when the Cabinet was announced, in unaffected ignorance, "Do you know anything of Borie?" And yet this unconspicuous citizen, bearer of gifts to the President, was constituted the naval superior of that historic character. If others were less obscure, the Cabinet as a unit was none the less notable as the creature of Presidential will, where Chance vied with Favoritism as arbiter.
All this is so strange, when we consider the true idea of a Cabinet. Though not named in the Constitution, yet by virtue of unbroken usage among us, and in harmony with constitutional governments everywhere, the Cabinet has become a constitutional body, hardly less than if expressly established by the Constitution itself. Its members, besides being the heads of great departments, are the counsellors of the President, with the duty to advise him of all matters within the sphere of his office, being nothing less than the great catalogue in the Preamble of the Constitution, beginning with duty to the Union, and ending with the duty to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Besides undoubted fitness for these exalted responsibilities, as head of a department and as counsellor, a member should have such acknowledged position in the country that his presence inspires confidence and gives strength to the Administration. How little these things were regarded by the President need not be said.
Unquestionably the President has a discretion in the appointment of his Cabinet; but it is a constitutional discretion, regulated by regard for the interests of the country and not by mere personal will, by statesmanship and not by favoritism. A Cabinet is a national institution and not a Presidential perquisite, unless our President is allowed to copy the example of Imperial France. In all constitutional governments, the Cabinet is selected on public reasons, and with a single eye to the public service; it is not in any respect the "family" of the sovereign, nor is it "to please himself and nobody else." English monarchs have often accepted statesmen personally disagreeable, when they had become representatives of the prevailing party, -as