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The Cabinet tenure.

The Whig says: ‘"Objection is made to the proposed law of Congress limiting the term of service of Cabinet officers, but allowing a re-appointment, on the ground that it would lesson the power of the President."’ The objection, as we understand it, is, that it would violate the Constitution, or rather abrogate a portion of it, in order to limit the power and patronage in question The Constitution says: ‘"The principal officer in each of the Executive departments, and all persons connected with the diplomatic service, may be removed from office at the pleasure of the President."’ Plainly, the tenure by which these offices are held, is the will of the President. To make them two year offices, dependent upon the will of the Senate, as this bill proposes to do, is to alter the tenure. To alter the tenure is to change the Constitution. Congress has no power to alter for amend the Constitution. It cannot even initiate the steps necessary to bring about that result. Three States must assemble in Convention and demand of Congress a Convention of all the States, which Congress is compelled to summon. This Convention of all the States, voting by States, must first pass the proposed amendments — they must then be ratified by the Legislatures of two-thirds of the States, or by Conventions in two thirds of the States, and then, and not before; they will form a part of the Constitution.

The power and patronage which the Executive now enjoys may be too great or too small. We are not arguing that question at present. But be what they may, they are given to him by the Constitution, and they cannot be taken away by Congress. At the same time, we are fain to say that we greatly prefer seeing them where they are to seeing them lodged in the hands of the Senate. Of all forms of government, the most detestable is an oligarchy; and of all forms of oligarchy, the most detestable is an elective oligarchy. The Constitution vests the Executive power in a President. This bill seeks to invest it in the Senate. We submit that it is our duty to abide by the Constitution as long as it exists. If it be bad, let us amend it in the way prescribed, not get rid of it by what Blackstone calls a "side wind."

The Whig says ‘"the objection that it"’ (the Senate bill) ‘"will unduly augment the power of the Senate is a singular one, when we consider that the Senators are the envoys of the States, and the States are meant to be sovereign."’We do not regard it as singular at all. The power of the Senate, if augmented at all, must be so at the expense of the Constitution, by usurping powers which the Constitution never intended it should have. It is the envoy of sovereign States, secured with clearly-defined powers to be exercised in a certain way, and for certain, purposes clearly expressed. The sovereign States made this Constitution. They did not by it make an executive of their envoys. They placed that power in very different hands. They have told their envoys in their Constitution what they expect of them.

In all the Whig says with regard to the imperfection of the present Constitution, we agree with it perfectly. But it is an existent fact, and as long as it is so we must be guided by it. It should be remembered, in the meantime, that Lincoln became a despot, not in obedience to the Constitution of the United States, but by destroying it through misinterpretation, or perversion of its meaning. This we consider to be precisely the very thing the Senate bill is calculated to do for us.

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