Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ment on the former. It gets rid of one great evil, that of cabal and corruption; and continental characters will multiply as we more and more coalesce, so as to enable the Electors in every part of the Union to know and judge of them. It clears the way

also for a discussion of the question of re-eligibility, on its own merits, which the former mode of election seemed to forbid. He thought it might be better, however, to refer the eventual appointment to the Legislature than to the Senate, and to confine it to a smaller number than five of the candidates. The eventual election by the Legislature would not open cabal anew, as it would be restrained to certain designated objects of choice; and as these must have had the previous sanction of a number of the States; and if the election be made as it ought, as soon as the votes of the Electors are opened, and it is known that no one has a majority of the whole, there can be little danger of corruption. Another reason for preferring the Legislature to the Senate in this business was, that the House of Representatives will be so often changed as to be free from the influence, and faction, to which the permanence of the Senate may subject that branch.

Mr. RANDOLPH preferred the former mode of constituting the Executive; but if the change was to be made, he wished to know why the eventual election was referred to the Senate, and not to the Legislature? He saw no necessity for this, and many objections to it. He was apprehensive, also, that the advantage of the eventual appointment, would fall into the hands of the States near the seat of governmert.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRis said the Senate was preferred because fewer could then say to the President, you owe your appointment to us. He thought the President would not depend so much on the Senate for his re-appointment, as on his general good conduct.

The further consideration of the Report was postponed, that each member might take a copy of the remainder of it.

The following motion was referred to the Committee of Eleven, to wit, to prepare and report a plan for defraying the expenses of the Convention. 352

*Mr. PINCKNEY moved a clause declaring, that each House should be judge of the privileges of its own members.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion.

Mr. RANDOLPH and Mr. Madison expressed doubts as to the propriety of giving such a power, and wished for a postponement.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought it so plain a case, that no postponement could be necessary.

Mr. Wilson thought the power involved, and the express insertion of it needless. It might beget doubts as to the power of other public bodies, as courts, &c. Every court is the judge of its own privileges.

Mr. Madison distinguished between the power of judging of privileges previously and duly established, and the effect of the motion, which would give a discretion to each House as to the extent of its own privileges. He suggested that it would be better to

* This motion is not contained in the printed Journal.

make provision for ascertaining by law the privileges of each House, than to allow each House to decide for itself. He suggested also the necessity of considering what privileges ought to be allowed to the Executive.

Adjourned.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th.

In Convention,-Mr. BREARLY, from the Committee of Eleven, made a further Report, as follows:

"1. To add to the clause, 'to declare war,' the words, and grant letters of marque and reprisal.'

“2. To add to the clause, “to raise and support armies,' the words, ' but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.'

“3. Instead of Sect. 12, Article 6, say: 'All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, and shall be subject to alterations and amendments by the Senate: no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.'

“4. Immediately before the last clause of Section 1, Article 7, insert To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States and the acceptance of the Legislature, become the seat of the government of the United States; and to exercise like authority over all places purchased for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.'

“5. "To promote the progress of science and the

useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

This report being taken up, the first clause was agreed to, nem. con.

To the second clause Mr. Gerry objected, that it admitted of appropriations to an army for two years, instead of one; for which he could not conceive a reason; that it implied there was to be a standing army, which he inveighed against, as dangerous to liberty—as unncessary even for so great an extent of country as this—and if necessary, some restriction on the number and duration ought to be provided. Nor was this a proper time for such an innovation. The people would not bear it.

Mr. SHERMAN remarked, that the appropriations were permitted only, not required to be for two years. As the Legislature is to be biennally elected, it would be inconvenient to require appropriations to be for one year, as there might be no session within the time necessary to renew them. He should himself, he said, like a reasonable restriction on the number and continuance of an army in time of peace.

The second clause was then agreed to, nem. con.

The third clause Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to postpone. It had been agreed to in the Committee on the ground of compromise; and he should feel himself at liberty to dissent from it, if on the whole he should not be satisfied with certain other parts to be settled.

Mr. PINCKNEY seconded the motion.

Mr. SHERMAN was for giving immediate ease to those who looked on this clause as of great moment,

and for trusting to their concurrence in other proper

measures.

On the question for postponing,

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

So much of the fourth clause as related to the seat of government was agreed to, nem. con.

On the residue, to wit, “ to exercise like authority over all places purchased for forts, &c."

Mr. GERRY contended that this power might be made use of to enslave any particular State by buying up its territory, and that the strong holds proposed would be a means of awing the State into an undue obedience to the General Government.

Mr. King thought, himself, the provision unnecessary, the power being already involved; but would move to insert, after the word "purchased,” the words, “by the consent of the Legislature of the State." This would certainly make the power safe.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS seconded the motion, which was agreed to, nem con.; as was then the residue of the clause, as amended. ***

The fifth clause was agreed to, nem. con.

The following Resolution and order being reported from the Committee of Eleven, to wit:

Resolved, that the United States in Congress be requested to allow, and cause to be paid, to the Secretary and other officers of this Convention, such sums, in proportion to their respective times of service, as are allowed to the Secretary and similar officers of Congress.”

« ZurückWeiter »