« ZurückWeiter »
prohibiting a re-eligibilty, as the best expedient, both for preventing the effect of a false complaisance on the side of the Legislature towards unfit characters; and a temptation on the side of the Executive to intrigue with the Legislature for a re-appointment.
Mr. BEDFORD was strongly opposed to so long a term as seven years. He begged the Committee to consider what the situation of the country would be, in case the first magistrate should be saddled on it for such a period, and it should be found on trial that he did not possess the qualifications ascribed to him, or should lose them after his appointment. An impeachment, he said, would be no cure for this evil, as an impeachment would reach misfeasance only, not incapacity. He was for a triennial election, and for an ineligibility after a period of nine years.
On the question, for seven years,—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, aye --5; Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no 4; Massachusetts, divided. There being five ayes, four noes, and one divided, a question was asked, whether a majority had voted in the affirmative. The President decided that it was an affirmative vote. 185
The mode of appointing the Executive was the next question.
Mr. Wilson renewed his declarations in favor of an appointment by the people. He wished to derive not only both branches of the Legislature from the people without the intervention of the State Legislatures, but the Executive also, in order to make them as independent as possible of each other, as well as of the States.
Colonel Mason favors the idea, but thinks it impracticable. He wishes, however, that Mr. Wilson might have time to digest it into his own form. The clause, “ to be chosen by the National Legislature,” was accordingly postponed.
Mr. RUTLEDGE suggests an election of the Executive by the second branch only of the National Legislature.
The Committee then rose, and the House adjourned.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2ND.
William SAMUEL JOHNSON, from Connecticut, DANIEL OF ST. THOMAS JENIFER, from Maryland, and John LANSING, Jun., from New York, took their seats.
In Committee of the Whole, —It was moved and seconded to postpone the Resolutions of Mr. RANDOLPH respecting the Executive, in order to take
up the second branch of the Legislature; which being negatived,—by Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia—7; against New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland—3; the mode of appointing the Executive was resumed.
Mr. Wilson made the following motion, to be substituted for the mode proposed by Mr. RanDOLPH's Resolution," that the executive magistracy shall be elected in the following manner: That the States be divided into
districts and that the
persons qualified to vote in each district for members of the first branch of the National Legislature elect members for their respective districts to be electors of the executive magistracy; that the said electors of the executive magistracy meet at and they, or any
of them, so met, shall proceed to elect by ballot, but not out of their own body, person, in whom the executive authority of the National Government shall be vested.”
Mr. Wilson repeated his arguments in favor of an election without the intervention of the States. He supposed, too, that this mode would produce more confidence among the people in the first magistrate, than an election by the National Legislature.
Mr. GERRY opposed the election by the National Legislature. There would be a constant intrigue kept up for the appointment. The Legislature and the candidates would bargain and play into one another's hands. Votes would be given by the former under promises or expectations from the latter, of recompensing them by services to members of the Legislature or their friends. He liked the principle of Mr. Wilson's motion, but fears it would alarm and give a handle to the State partizans, as tending to supersede altogether the State authorities. He thought the community not yet ripe for stripping the States of their powers, even such as might not be requisite for local purposes. He was for waiting till the people should feel more the necessity of it. He seemed to prefer the taking the suffrages of the States, instead of electors; or
letting the Legislatures nominate, and the electors appoint. He was not clear that the people ought to act directly even in the choice of electors, being too little informed of personal characters in large districts, and liable to deceptions.
Mr. Williamson could see no advantage in the introduction of electors chosen by the people, who would stand in the same relation to them as the State Legislatures; whilst the expedient would be attended with great trouble and expense.
On the question for agreeing to Mr. Wilson's substitute, it was negatived, --Pennsylvania, Maryland, aye—2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York,* Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no~8.'
On the question, for electing the Executive by the National Legislature, for the term of seven years, it was agreed to,--Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—8; Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Doctor Franklin moved, that what related to the compensation for the services of the Executive be postponed, in order to substitute, “whose necessary expenses shall be defrayed, but who shall receive no salary, stipend, fee, or reward whatsoever for their services.” He said, that, being very sensible of the effect of age on his memory, he had been unwilling to trust to that for the observations which seemed to support his motion, and had reduced them to writing, that he might, with the permission of the Comınittee, read, instead of speaking, them. Mr. Wilson made an offer to read the paper, which was accepted. The following is a literal copy of
* New York, in the printed Journal, divided.
the paper :
“Sir, it is with reluctance that I rise to express a disapprobation of any one article of the plan for which we are so much obliged to the honorable gentleman who laid it before us. From its first reading I have borne a good will to it, and in general wished it success. In this particular of salaries to the Executive branch, I happen to differ: and as my opinion may appear new and chimerical, it is only from a persuasion that it is right, and from a sense of duty, that I hazard it. The Committee will judge of my reasons when they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly change mine. I think I see inconveniences in the appointment of salaries; I see none in refusing them, but, on the contrary, great advantages.
“Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. There are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true sources of all those factions, which are perpetually