« ZurückWeiter »
might happen in the Senate, which would be but seldom.
Mr. RANDOLPH concurred in the opposition to the clause.
Mr. WILLIAMSON observed, that such an officer as Vice-President was not wanted. He was introduced merely for the sake of a valuable mode of election, which required two to be chosen at the same time.
Colonel Mason thought the office of Vice-President an encroachment on the rights of the Senate; and that it mixed too much the Legislative and the Executive, which, as well as the Judiciary department, ought to be kept as separate as possible. He took occasion to express his dislike of any reference whatever, of the power to make appointments, to either branch of the Legislature. On the other hand, he was averse to vest so dangerous a power in the President alone. As a method for avoiding both, he suggested that a Privy Council, of six members, to the President, should be established; to be chosen for six years by the Senate, two out of the Eastern, two out of the Middle, and two out of the Southern quarters of the Union; and to go out in rotation, two every second year; the concurrence of the Senate to be required only in the appointment of ambassadors, and in making treaties, which are more of a legislative nature. This would prevent the constant sitting of the Senate, which he thought dangerous; as well as keep the departments separate and distinct. It would also save the expense of constant sessions of the Senate, He had, he said, always considered the Senate as too unwieldy and expensive for appointing
officers, especially the smallest, such as tide-waiters, &c., He had not reduced his idea to writing, but it could be easily done, if it should be found acceptable.
On the question, shall the Vice-President be ex officio President of the Senate ?
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—8; New Jersey, Maryland, no-2; North Carolina, absent.
The other parts of the same Section were then agreed to.
The fourth section, to wit: “The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall have power to make treaties," &c., was then taken up.
Mr. Wilson moved to add, after the word “Senate," the words, “and House of Representatives.” As treaties, he said, are to have the operation of laws, they ought to have the sanction of laws also. The circumstance of secrecy in the business of treaties formed the only objection; but this, he thought, so far as it was inconsistent with obtaining the legislative sanction, was outweighed by the necessity of the latter.
Mr. SHERMAN thought the only question that could be made was, whether the power could be safely trusted to the Senate. He thought it could; and that the necessity of secrecy in the case of treaties forbade a reference of them to the whole Legislature.
Mr. FITZSIMONS seconded the motion of Mr. WilSON; and on the question,
Pennsylvania, aye-1; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no-10.
The first sentence, as to making treaties, was then agreed to, nem. con.
On the clausé,“ He shall nominate, &c.-appoint ambassadors,” &c.,
Mr. Wilson objected to the mode of appointing, as blending a branch of the Legislature with the Executive. Good laws are of no effect, without a good Executive; and there can be no good Executive, without a responsible appointment of officers to execute. Responsibility is in a manner destroyed by such an agency of the Senate. He would prefer the Council proposed by Colonel Mason; provided its advice should not be made obligatory on the President.
Mr. PINCKNEY was against joining the Senate in these appointments, except in the instances of ambassadors, who he thought ought not to be appointed by the President.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS said, that as the President was to nominate, there would be responsibility; and as the Senate was to concur, there would be security. As Congress now make appointments, there is no responsibility.
Mr. Gerry. The idea of responsibility in the nomination to offices is chimerical. The President cannot know all characters, and can therefore always plead ignorance.
Mr. King. As the idea of a Council, proposed by Col. Mason, has been supported by Mr. Wilson, he
would remark, that most of the inconveniences charged on the Senate are incident to a Council of advice. He differed from those who thought the Senate would sit constantly. He did not suppose it was meant that all the minute officers were to be appointed by the Senate, or any other original source, but by the higher officers of the departments to which they belong. He was of opinion, also, that the people would be alarmed at an unnecessary creation of new corps, which must increase the expense as well as influence of the Government.
On the question on these words in the clause, viz. “He shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint, ambassadors, and other public ministers and consuls, and Judges of the Supreme Court," it was agreed to, nem. con., the insertion of “and consuls” having first taken place.
On the question on the following words: “and all other officers of the United States,"
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, aye—9; Pennsylvania, South Carolina, no-2.
On motion of Mr. Spaight, that “the President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of the next session of the Senate," it was agreed to, nem. con.
The fourth section. “The President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall have power to make treaties. But no treaty shall be made without the consent of two-thirds of the members pres
ent,”—being considered, and the last clause being before the House,
Mr. Wilson thought it objectionable to require the concurrence of two-thirds, which puts it into the power of a minority to control the will of a majority.
Mr. King concurred in the objection; remarking that as the Executive was here joined in the business, there was a check which did not exist in Congress, where the concurrence of two-thirds was required.
Mr. MADISON moved to insert, after the word “ treaty,” the words “except treaties of peace;" allowing these to be made with less difficulty than other treaties. It was agreed to, nem. con.
Mr. MADISON then moved to authorize a concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate to make treaties of peace, without the concurrence of the President. The President, he said, would necessarily derive so much power and importance from a state of war, that he might be tempted, if authorized, to impede a treaty of peace.
Mr. BUTLER seconded the motion.
Mr. GORHAM thought the security unnecessary, as the means of carrying on the war would not be in the hands of the President, but of the Legislature.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought the power of the President in this case harmless; and that no peace ought to be made without the concurrence of the President, who was the general guardian of the national interests. · Mr. BUTLER was strenuous for the motion, as a necessary security against ambitious and corrupt Presidents. He mentioned the late perfidious policy