Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to bear the expense of their members, in travelling to and from the seat of government.

Mr. MADISON. If the House of Representatives is to be chosen biennially, and the Senate to be constantly dependent on the Legislatures, which are chosen annually, he could not see any chance for that stability in the General Government the want of which was a principal evil in the State Governments. His fear was, that the organization of the Government supposing the Senate to be really independent for six years, would not effect our purpose. It was nothing more than a combination of the

peculiarities of two of the State Governments, which separately had been found insufficient. The Senate was formed on the model of that of Maryland. The revisionary check, on that of New York. What the effect of a union of these provisions might be, could not be foreseen. The enlargement of the sphere of the Government was, indeed a circumstance which he thought would be favorable, as he had on several occasions undertaken to show. He was, however, for fixing at least two extremes not to be exceeded by the National Legislature in the payment of themselves.

Mr. GERRY. There are difficulties on both sides. The observation of Mr. Butler has weight in it. On the other side, the State Legislatures may turn out the Senators by reducing their salaries. Such things have been practised.

Col. Mason. It has not yet been noticed, that the clause as it now stands makes the House of Representatives also dependent on the State Legislatures: so that both Houses will be made the instru

may be,

ments of the politics of the States, whatever they

. Mr. BROOM could see no danger in trusting the General Legislature with the payment of themselves. The State Legislatures had this power, and no complaint had been made of it.

Mr. SHERMAN was not afraid that the Legislature would make their own wages too high, but too low; so that men ever so fit could not serve unless they were at the same time rich. He thought the best plan would be, to fix a moderate allowance to be paid out of the national treasury, and let the States make such additions as they might judge fit. He moved that five dollars per day be the sum, any further emoluments to be added by the States.

Mr. CARROLL had been much surprised at seeing this clause in the Report. The dependence of both Houses on the State Legislatures is complete; especially as the members of the former are eligible to State offices. The States can now say: If you do not comply with our wishes, we will starve you; if you do, we will reward you. The new Government in this form was nothing more than a second edition of Congress, in two volumes instead of one, and perhaps with very few amendments.

Mr. DICKINSON took it for granted that all were convinced of the necessity of making the General Government independent of the prejudices, passions, and improper views of the State Legislatures. The contrary of this was effected by the section as it stands. On the other hand, there were objections against taking a permanent standard, as wheat, which had been suggested on a former occasion;

as well as against leaving the matter to the pleasure of the National Legislature. He proposed that an act should be passed, every twelve years, by the National Legislature settling the quantum of their wages. If the General Government should be left dependent on the State Legislatures, it would be happy for us if we had never met in this room.

Mr. ELLSWORTH was not unwilling himself to trust the Legislature with authority to regulate their own wages, but well knew that an unlimited discretion for that purpose would produce strong, though perhaps not insuperable objections. He thought changes in the value of money provided for by his motion in the words, “or the present value thereof."

Mr. L. MARTIN. As the Senate is to represent the States, the members of it ought to be paid by the States.

Mr. CARROLL. The Senate was to represent and manage the affairs of the whole, and not to be the advocates of State interests. They ought then not to be dependent on, nor paid by the States.

On the question for paying the members of the legislature out of the national treasury,–New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, aye—9; Massachusetts, South Carolina, no-2.

Mr. ELLSWORTH moved that the pay be fixed at five dollars, or the present value thereof, per day, during their attendance, and for every thirty miles in travelling to and from Congress.

Mr. Strong preferred four dollars, leaving the States at liberty to make additions.

On the question for fixing the pay at five dollars, VOL. I.-84

- Connecticut, Virginia, aye—2; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no-9.

Mr. DICKINSON proposed that the wages of the members of both Houses should be required to be the same.

Mr. BROOM seconded him.

Mr. GORHAM. This would be unreasonable. The Senate will be detained longer from home, will be obliged to remove their families, and in time of war perhaps to sit constantly. Their allowance should certainly be higher. The members of the Senates in the States are allowed more than those of the other House.

Mr. DICKINSON withdrew his motion.

It was moved and agreed, to amend the section by adding, “to be ascertained by law."

The section (Article 6, Section 10,) as amended, was then agreed to, nem. con.

Adjourned.

308

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15TH.

In Convention, -Article 6, Section 11, was agreed to, nem. con.

Article 6, Section 12, was then taken up:

Mr. STRONG moved to amend the article so as to read, “Each House shall possess the right of originating all bills, except bills for raising money for the purposes of revenue, or for appropriating the

same, and for fixing the salaries of the officers of the Government, which shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in other cases."

Colonel MASON seconds the motion. He was extremely earnest to take this power from the Senate, who he said could already sell the whole country by means of treaties.

Mr. GORHAM urged the amendment as of great importance. The Senate will first acquire the habit of preparing money-bills, and then the practice will grow into an exclusive right of preparing them.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS opposed it, as unnecessary and inconvenient.

Mr. WILLIAMSON. Some think this restriction on the Senate essential to liberty; others think it of no importance. Why should not the former be indulged? He was for an efficient and stable government; but many would not strengthen the Senate, if not restricted in the case of money-bills. The friends of the Senate, would therefore, lose more than they would gain, by refusing to gratify the other side. He moved to postpone the subject, till the powers of the Senate should be gone over.

Mr. RUTLEDGE seconds the motion,

Mr. Mercer should hereafter be against returning to a reconsideration of this section. He contended (alluding to Mr. Mason's observations) that the Senate ought not to have the power of treaties. This power belonged to the Executive department; adding, that treaties would not be final, so as to alter the laws of the land, till ratified by legislative authority. This was the case of treaties in Great

« ZurückWeiter »