Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Ridiculous Blunder

courtesy lrc.ky.gov
The Covington Journal of December 28, 1861 included this article about a recent action by the state legislature.

The Kentucky Legislature has committed an absurd blunder in requesting President Lincoln to remove Secretary Cameron from office. We don't often find in the Cincinnati Gazette an editorial we can commend to the approval of our readers, but in the following article from that paper there are points suggested which deserve consideration:

"KENTUCKY SOVEREIGNTY - The Kentucky Legislature has by resolution approved the President for modifying the Secretary of War, and called upon the President to dispense with Secretary Cameron's service. it is rather novel of a State Legislature to revise the private difference between the President and his Cabinet, which only became public by accident. It is a new feature also for States to interfere with the President's domestic arrangements, but the occasion is one to make precedents, and modesty is not a Kentucky failing. But certainly the Legislature has left its work very incomplete. There is just as much emancipation in the modified report and in the message, as in the report originally. So there is in Secretary Chase's report. The only difference is that Secretary Cameron thinks that if the negroes can be made to make daylight shine through the rebels in the regular way, according to military regulations, it would be both pleasing and fit to let them. 

Is it possible that the Kentucky Legislature has taken the unusual course of revising private Cabinet affairs, and calling upon the President to discharge a Cabinet officer on a question relating solely to the protection of the rebels from being hurt?

To be consistent, the Legislature should have demanded the resignation of the President, and that he should dispense with the services of the Secretary of the Treasury. 

What is the Kentucky Legislature going to do about it, if the President does not dispense with Mr. Cameron's services? Is that the ultimatum of Kentucky? Is there anybody else that Kentucky wants removed? Let her not lose anything for want of demanding; and since she has taken to revise the President's subordinates and recommendations, she will be held responsible if they are wrong." 

That the resolution was merely intended for Buncombe is evidenced by the fact that an officer of the Legislature who has heartily endorsed the infamous proclamation of Cameron, is allowed to retain his position undisturbed. This, however, only adds to the absurdity of the proceeding. 

The Gazette heads its article "State Sovereignty" - with a view, doubtless, to bring into contempt the good old doctrine that the State is supreme in everything pertaining to its domestic institutions. State Sovereignty, while resisting unwarranted interference, come from what quarter it may, claims no right to regulate or control the appointments of the Federal executive. The notion of the Kentucky Legislature in relation to Cameron, is nearer akin to that officious intermeddling inaugurated by politicians of the North, and which has had no small share in bringing on our present troubles.

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