Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

pt, whose appointment is not otherwise provided for in this constitution ; and the respective courts of common pleas of the said counties shall also recommend a list of the like number. And as often as any vacancies shall happen in the said office*, or either of them, the board of supervisors and court of common pleas in the counties in which such vocuncies may happen, shall recommend lists of persons •. <jn -I to the number of vacancies in such counties. And thai it shall be the duty of the said board of supervisors, and court of common pleas, to compare such lists at such time and place as the legislature may direct; and if on sucli comparison, the said board of supervisors and court of common pleas shall be found to agree in all or in part, they shall file a certificate of such recommendation and agreement in the office of the clerk of the county; and the person or penons in whom they shall agree shall by such agreement be appointed to the office fur which he was so recommended, and in case of disagreement in whole or in part, it shall be the further duty of the said boards of supervisors, and courts of Common pleas respectively, to transmit the said lists so far as they disagree in the same to the governor, whose duty it shall be to select from the said lists and appoint the taid justices of the pence and other officers, and to commission the same accordingly.

That the said justices of the peace shall hold their said offices for years,

and the other officers for the respective terms following, vis:

And sucli of them as are appointed by the board of supervisors and courts of common pleas, shall be removable by the united votes of the said board and courts separately given i and those selected and commissioned by the governor may be removed by him on the application of tho»c recommending them, stating the grounds why sucli removal is prayed for."

Mr. Duer proposed to amend the amendment of the gentleman from Otscgo, (Mr. Van Buren,) by striking out all that part after the word, "following," and by inserting the following substitute;

"That is to say, the judges of the courts of common pleas, and the supervisors of each of the counties of this state, or a majority of the said judges and supervisors respectively, shall once in every years, severally assemble in their respective counties, at such time as the legislature shall direct, and each of the laid judges and supervisors so assembled as aforesaid, shall openly nominate as many persons for justices of the peace in the several towns of tbeir respective counties, :.s may be equal in number to the seversl justices of the peace to be appointed therein. The said judges and supervisors shall then meet together tor the purpose of comparing their respective Dominations, and the persons whose names shall be found on Both lists shall be justices of the peace for tlie said counties respectively; and out of the persons whose names shall not be found on both lists, one half shall be choien by the joint ballot of the said judges and supervisor*, to supply the deficiency in the number of justices of the peace to be appointed.'1

The question being taken thereon, the same was lost.

Mm. Van Vkchten then moved to amend the amendment of the honourable gentleman from Otsego, (Mr. Van Buren,) by inserting, after the word, " recommend," the words following :—

"Appoint so many justices of the peace for each of the towns in such county, as ihe said towns may respectively be entitled to by law; and all other county officers who are not to he elected by the people, or whose appointment is not otherwise directed by this Convention; and shall certify a list of such appointments to the first judge of the county, whose duty it shall be forthwith to issue a commission under his hand and the seal of the court of common pleas of the county, to the said justices, and other officers to be appointed as aforesaid:—And as often as any vacancies shall happen, the board of supervisors of the county in which such vacancies may happen, shall fill the same; and that the justices appointed tor that purpose, shall be commissioned by the first judge in the manner aforesaid." Lost.

The question was then taken on Mr. Van Huron's amendment, by ayes and noes, and decided in the negative, as follows:

NOES.—Messrs. Bacon, Baker, Barlow, Briggs, Brooks, D. Clark, Colfcuf, Duhois, Duer, Dyckman, Edwards, Fish, Haliock, Hees, Hogehoom, Hunter, Huntington, Hurd, Jay, Jones, Kent, King, Lenerts, MsCall, Moore, Panlding, Piatt, Porter, Radeliff, Rhinelander, Rose, Sage, Sanders, N. Sanford, U. Sandford, Secley, Sharpe, I. Smith, R. Smith, Spencer, Stagg, D. Southerland, Sylvester, Tathnadge, Ten Eyck, Townley, Van Fleet, Van Nc6S, J. R. Van Rensselaer, S. Van Rensselaer, Van Vechten, Ward.E. Wehster, Wendover, Wlicaton, E. Williams, Woods, Woodward, Wooster—59.

AYES.—Messrs. Beckwith, Birdseye, Bowman, Breese, Brinkerhoff, Buel, Burrouglis, Carpenter, Carver, Case, Child, R. Clarke, Clyde, Cramer, Day, Eastwood, Fairlie, Fenton, Ferris, Frost, Howe, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunting, Cansing, A. Livingston, P. R. Livingston, Munro, Nelson, Piteher, President^ Price, Pumpelly, Reeve, Richards, Rockwell, Root, Ross, Russell, Schenck, Seaman, Sheldon, Starkweather, Steele, Swift, Taylor, Townsend, Tripp, Tuttle, Van Buren, Van Home, A. Wehster, N. Williams, Yates, Young.—56.

Col. Young moved to reconsider the motion of the honourahle memher from Orange, (Mr. Duer.) Carried.

A division was called upon the passage of the same, which was carried in the affirmative, as follows:

AYKS.—Messrs. Baker, Beckwith, Birdseye, Bowman, Breese, Brinkerhoff, Brooks, Buel, Burroughs, Carpenter, Carver, Child, D. Clark, R. Clarke, Clyde, Cramer, Day, Duhois, Duer, Dyckman, Eastwood, Fairlie, Fenton, Ferris, Frost, Howe, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunter, Hunting, Jones, Kent, King. Lansing, A. Livingston, MsCall, Moore, Munro, Nelson, Park, Panlding, Piteher, Porter, Price, Pumpelly, Radeliff, Reeve, Richards, Root, Rose, Ross, Russell, Sage, Sanders, N. Sanford, R. Sandford, Schenck, Seaman, Sceley, Sharpe, Sheldon. 1. Smith, R. Smith, Spencer, Stagg, Starkweather, Steele, D. Southerland, Swift, Sylvester, Tallmadge, Taylor, Townley, Townsend. Tripp, Tuttle, Van Buren, Van Fleet, Van Home, J. R. Van Rensselaer, S. Van Rensselaer, Van Vechten, Ward, A. Wehster, Wendover, Wheaton, Woods, Woodward, Yates, Young.—91.

NOES.—Messrs. Bacon, Barlow, Briggs, Collins, Edwards, Fish, Haliock, Hees, Hogehoom, Huntington, Hurd, Jay, Lnfferts, P. R. Livingston, Piatt, President, Rhinclander, Rockwell, Ten Eyck, Van Ness, E. Williams, N. Williams, Wooster.—23.

AVherenpon, the question was taken upon the whole section as amended, and carried without a division.

The third section was next considered. This section provided for the appointment of the clerks of courts, and clerks of counties, hy the courts of which they were clerks; and for the appointment of district attorneys hy the courts of common pleas.

Gkn. Root then moved to introduce the following, to come in hefore the third section, as it naturally preceded it in order.

"That sheriffs and county clerks shall he chosen hy the electors of their respective counties, once in every three years, and as often as vacancies shall happen. Sheriffs shall hold no other office, and he ineligihle for the next three years after the termmation of their offices respectively. They may he hy law required to renew their security from time to time, and in defanlt of giving such new security, their offices shall he deemed vacant."

Ckn. Root remarked, that a great contrariety of sentiment had prevailed with regard to the expediency of electing sheriffs hy the people, He should he opposed to it himself were the elections to he annual, and the sheriff to attend tlio polls with executions in his pocket, and deputies at his heels. But give him three years for the duration of his office, and make him ineligihle for the next three years; so that he may not suspend the collection of dehts with a view to his re-election. In this way the correct and faithful discharge of his duties would he secured, and an important office restored to the people. His proposition was calf nbtt'H to :rive to the people some of the wheat—net the chaHonly.

■\f»- X. Williajr said. he had not trouhled the committee Willi any remarks on the appointing power, except in expressing his dissent to the principle of eiecting justices, and he was glad to find that plan discarded hy the Convention. But we are now presented with one n hich, although not quite so odious, is to the full as ohjectionahle in many prominent points, He would not he suspected, he thought, of withholding from the people the privilege of electing any officer, properly eligihle hy the people, upon those plain and clear repuhlican principles whkth were compatihle with good government; hut it must he admitted, that in every well organized government certain officers should not he nhject to popular elections, hut he thrown upon some appointing power at a distance from the people. He would adopt this distinction on account of the peace and safety of the community. The chief magistrate of the state, and the legislative hodies, who were principally engaged in making laws, and in superintending their execution, with a jurisdiction co-extrusive with the whole hody politie, should undouhtedly he elected hy the people; hut those officers who were to execute important duties in immediate contact with the people, and frequently in hostility with their feelings and interesls, ought nover to derive their power directly from their hands. Such are the judges of every grado, and the high executive officers in the counties. Officers, whose duties and functions touch so nearly the husiness and hosoms of men, ought not to he dependant on these very men for their commissions. It did not alter the case much, he said, that hy this plan sheriffs were to he appointed hy the supervisors and judges f for it was evident, that if these hodies were to make the appointment, the election of supervisors would throw the whole people into commotion. And when elected, an excellent hoard, with these new duties, would he divided into factions. [Here Mr. Root informed Mr. W. that the proposition was to elect sheriffs hy the people.] So much the worse, said Mr. \V. By these elections party and faction would prevail more among the people, in a tenfold degree, than it now does. You cast among them the apple of discord, and much shall we lament it.

Gentlemen, lie said, had expressed a strong desire to cut up hy the roots all motive to party feelings. He was as anxious as any one to eradicate such feelings, and indeed they ought not to he spoken of hy, or influence, any memher of this Convention. An honourahle gentleman from Alhany, (the Chancellor) for whom he entertained the highest respect, had even gone so far as to express his fears lest our progress hereafter would he rapid towards the tempestuous sea of corruption. But was this the way to allay party feelings, or stop our career? Every gentleman acquainted with the country, must know, that, although the sheriff was to he eligihle for only one term, yet the ohject was worth contending for hy the most powerful men in the country; and his numerous deputies, with their retainers, would ho for months engaged in making interest and forming parties in support of their several pretensions td he his successor. In this way, heat and contention, and petty intrigue would he made the order of the day-, and every county in the state would he thrown into convulsions.

But the evil would not stop here. The sheriff would enter on the execution of his office, warm from the contest with the frionds nudopposers of his election under lits eye, and with his pocket full of paper and parehment sins of the peos pie, which he might visit upon his unfortunate enemies with a most cruel and destructive vengeance. While, on the other hand, he would he apt to execute the functions of his office against his friends with so lenilent a hand, that no monies would he collected from them, except through rules and attachment* almost without end. This, he contended, would he the natural course of things, under snch a system. Indeed, we had hefore us in one state, as he was informed, an example of this scheme once tried, and found so franght with evils that it Was laid a'ide, He alluded, he said, to New-Jersey.

Bat, sir, there is one great principle of government, which some of the wise and learned gentlemen who have spoken on this suhject, seem wholly to have overlooked or neglected. It was one which the greatest writers and state*men have ever deemed essential to the permanence of every government; indeed, a principle, without which no government could well carry on its plan* or enforee its laws. It was this — That there should he tome chaawel througw which the remotest parts of the state would feel the influence of the central ;\,\ ministration. Was it so, or not? Could it he expected, he asked, that without a community of feeling, without a single tie of interest, any government would long hang together? What ligament, what cement, would there ho to hind the head and the remote parts together? Without this, the government would he like a rope of sand. By this plan of electing judges, justices and sheriffs, which some gentlemen seem to dwell upon with rapture, hut which, he said, appeared to him so preposterous and dangerous, you allow none of this influence to exist. What hetter channel of influence can he found, than that of the magistrates and executive officers of the counties? The chief executive of tha state was hound to have the laws enforeed,and it must he done through these officers;; not that they were to he suhject to his commands,hut they ought to feel an interest in complying with his reasonahle requests. The time might come,when it would he necessary to call in aid some other principle in support of government than that of patriotism, which, alas! had heen found, in some cases, rather weak among us. The plan proposed would make our government no hetter than a confederacy of counties; hy which we shall have a wheel within a wheel, or rather a wheel without, not in the least moved or influenced hy any mainspring or machinery within. It would he somewhat like the confederacy of these United States, that existed hefore the present constitution was formed, and was found so deficient in this sound principle of government.

He did not wish to enlarge upon this suhject; and he was thankful that the committee had indulged him thus far. He considered this a most important suhject, and apprehended that some gentlemen, hy avoiding one mischief, were running directly into another.—He wished to treat every gentleman with delicacy; hut said he could not forhear to ohserve, that he thought, from the ohservations he heard delivered the other day hy a wise and experienced statesman, for whom he felt the highest respect and veneration—he alluded, he said, to the honourahle gentleman from Queens—that the high and elevated sphere in which that gentleman had acted for many years, had rendered him less qualified than many men of far less talents, to judge of the regulations necessary and proper to he adopted for our country towns and counties. Information of this sort did not so much depend on great talents as practical experience. He intended nothing disrespectful; and concluded hy expressing a strong hope that the motion of the gentleman from Delaware would he rejected.

Mr. Kmo stated, that although with regard to justices of the peace he had thought it proper to vest their election in the people, it did not, therefore, follow, that ihtviffi were to he appointed in the same manner. Very different considerations were applicahle to the two suhjects. In the election of the magistracy in the different towns of this state, the rapacity of the people to choose, was alone drawn in question. There was no unfitness, in the nature of things,in making the appointment in that mode; although he was perfectly satisfied with the plan which had heen adopted hy the Convention ; the great ohject heinjr to dissever and disconnect the magistracy from the central power at the scat of government, and to destroy this extensive means of patronage which might he improperly employed, and was not necessary to sustain the government.

But the case of the sheriffs was far different.

In all the free governments of this country, it had heen determined to divide political power into great departments, one of which was the executive. Ho was charged hy the constitution with the faithful execution of the laws. Ho Was responsihle to the people for the performance of this trust. If there was any power which in its very nature required to ho indivisihle, it was the executive. The unity of the executive was a quality indispensahle to the perfection of that department of the government. To divide that power, is to weaken and destroy it. The legislative and judicial departments may he wisely divided and suhdivided; hut nil experience shews, that the unitv of the executive must he preserved, in order to preserve its strength and its efficacy. All schemes, hy which the executive was attempted to he divided, had failed : and that of the Directory in Trance was a signal failure, attended with disgrace and disaster. The some might he expected from any plan of a council, presided over hy the Mpreme executive magistrate; or of any other, hy which he was attempted to he deprived of the ordinary means of executing the laws.

The Appointing power is not in general necetsarity connected with the executive department. Portions of it may safely and discreetly he given to other departments. But that portion of the appointing power which is executive in its very nature, must he given to the executive department. Such is the power of appointing to the office of sheriff. The magistracy is not necessarily connected with the execution of the laws hy the executive department. It is the lowest order of the judiciary. But the sheriffs are ministerial officers, directly connected with the supreme executive. He is responsihle for the execution of the law, and they are the agents and the instruments with which he is to execute them. How can he he responsihle for the faithful performance of this important trust, if you deprive him of the only means hy which he can execute it? As to executive offices, you must therefore re-emhody and re-unite them with the executive power, or destroy it hy rendering it utterly incapahle of performing its high functions.

The sheriffs should he responsihle to the executive, and derive their anthority from that souree. What is the analogy of the federal government? The marshals of the districti—are they appointed hy the states, or hy the people in the respective districts? No, sir; they are appointed hy the supreme executive of the union—hy the president and senate. Why are they thus appointed? Becanse the president is responsihle for the faithful execution of the laws of the onion, and for the supremacy of its power in the several states where the marshals are stationed. And if true in the United States, is not the same thing true in the several counties of this state? How can the governor he justly held responsihle for the faithful execution of the laws, if he has no control over those hy whom all processes, civil and criminal, are to he executed; who may command the power of the county and of the neighhouring counties to their aid in case of resistance? Suppose a peculiar state of property in particular districts of country—suppose a spirit of insuhordination and discontent to exist in certain counties, which it was a part of the appropriate duty of the executive to repress and suhdue: would you furnish him heforehand with the excuse, that though he had the hest disposition to perform his duty, you had deprived him of the means of doing it, hy vesting in other hands the nomination of the agents through whom alone he could enforee ohedience to the laws? Is it not risking the good order and harmony of society thus to weaken the responsihility of the executive? In order to secure this responsihility, the executive power must he united, consolidated, and connected in all its ramifications with the supreme government of the state. He did not mean hy this, that the appointment of every suhordinate, local, and municipal officer, was to he made hy the central anthority here. He had, on a former occasion, expressed his opinion that all such officers and magistrates, might safely he elected in the respective cities, towns, and counties; and he had still the same desire that this great mass of patronage and power might he hroken up into minute fragments, and disposed throughout the land: hut he trusted the Convention would not misapply this idea, and extend it to officers who were directly connected with the supreme executive, and essential to preserve its unity—to secure its responsihility, and the faithful and energetic execution of the laws.

Gen. Root would not make use of such arguments as had fallen from his honourahle friend from Oneida, to oppose the proposition. This gentleman, together with a gentleman from Alhany, had expressed great fears that we were ahout to lannch our political harque into a tempestuous sea of civil liherty. I Imve no such fears for our political harque. I can unite with the illustrious Jefferson in saying, that I prefer a tempestuous sea of political liherty, to a calm of despotism. We are told hy the gentleman from Oneida, and hy the gentleman from Queens, that it is necessary to have a connexion hetween the executive and these great county officers j it is necessary there should he some ligament or cement to hind them together: and hy whatever other honds of union they would have them hound, they have not conde scended to inform us. Some ligament or cement to hind these parties together, as the old council hound it* dependants—to cement the sheriff to the car of the executive. I should prefer

« ZurückWeiter »