Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The PRESIDENT ruled that, as the question presented two independent propositions, it was divisible.

Mr. Doran, of Philadelphia, asked for the yeas and nays.

Mr- HIESTER, of Lancaster, demanded the previous question, which was sustained; and the question was then taken on agreeing to the resolution, which was negatived-yeas, 44, nays, 55, as follows:

YEAs—Messrs. Barclay, Carey, Chambers, Chandler, of Chester, Chauncey, Crum, Cammin, Darlington, Dillinger, Dunlop, Forward, Foulkrod, Fry, Fuller, Hastings, Henderson, of Allegheny, Hopkinson, Hyde, Jenks, Kennedy, Konigmacher, Krebs, Maclay, Mann, Martin, M'Call

, M'Dowell, Overfield, Penny packer, Pollock, Porter, of Northampton, Read, Russell, Saegar, Scott, Sellers, Serrill, Schoetz, Sill, Snively, Swetland, Thomas, Todd, Weidman-44.

Nays-Messrs. Agnew, Baldwin, Barndollar, Bayne, Bonham, Brown, of Northampton, Brown, of Philadelphia, Butler, Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Clarke, of Indiana, Cleavinger, Cline, Cochran, Crain, Curll, Darrah, Denny, Dickerson, Donnel, Doran, Earle, Farrelly, Fleming, Gamble, Gearbart, Gilmore, Grenell, Hayhurst, Helffenstein, Henderson, of Dauphin, Hiester, Houpt, Keim, Kerr, M'Sherry, Meredith, Merkle, Miller, Montgomery, Myers, Nevin, Purviance, Riter, Ritter, Rogers, Shellito, Smith, Smyth, Sterigere, Stevens, Stickel, Taggart, Young, Sergeant, President—55.

So the resolution was negatived. The Convention then took the usual recess, till 4 o'clock.

MONDAY AFTERNOON–4 O'CLOCK.

Mi. Bayne, 'on leave. moved that when the Convention adjourn, it adjourns to meet on Wednesday morning, at 9 o'clock-ayes 30, noes 59.

Mr. STERIGERE submited the following resolution as an additional rule, and moved its consideration, which was negatived, and the resolution was laid on the table :

Resolved, That the following be added to the standing rules of the Convention :

Rule 41. Not more than one hour in any day shall be devoted to the consideration of motions and resolutions.

SIXTH ARTICLE. The Convention again resolved itself into committee of the whole on the sixth article of the Constitution, Mr. CHAMBERS, of Franklin, in the Chair.

The question pending, being on so much of the report of the committee as relates to the third section, in the following words, viz:

SECTION 3. In every county, having for the time being five thousand or more taxable inhabitants, one person shall be elected Recorder of deeds and mortgages, and one person shall be elected Register of wills and testaments, and in every county, having for the time being less than five thousand taxable inhabitants, one person shall be elected, who shall be Recorder of deeds and mortgages, and Register of wills and testaments, to hold their offices for a term of three years; but, no person shall be more than twice elected in any term of nine years.

Mr. Hastings, of Jefferson, moved to amend the same, by striking therefrom all after the words " Section 3", and inserting in lieu thereof, the following, viz:

“The public improvements of this Commonwealth shall be under the control of three Canal Commissioners, who shall be elected by the citizens of the Commonwealth, at the same time and places of election of Representatives. At the first general election after the adoption of this Constitution, one shall be elected to serve for the term of one year, one shall be elected to serve for the term of two years, and one shall be elected to serve for the term of three years; and, annually thereafter, one shall be elected to serve for the term of three years. NO

person shall be eligible to that office for a longer period than three years, in any term of six years”.

The question being taken on this motion to amend, it was decided in the negative.

Mr. Brown, of Philadelphia, moved to amend the report, by striking out all after the words “ Section 3”, and inserting in lieu thereof, the following, viz:

" Three County Commissioners, one annually, and a County Treasurer shall, at the times and places of election of Representative, be chosen by the citizens of each county, who shall hold their offices for three years, and until others are elected and qualified. Vacancies in the board of County Commissioners shall be filled at the next annual election; but, no person shall be twice chosen commissioner in any term of six years”.

Mr. Brown said, this would only be placing in the Constitution what was now in the law. He considered it desirable that these officers should be made permanent, by being provided for in the Constitution, and not be liable to be turned out. On that account, the Clerks of the various courts had been so placed in a previous provision in the Constitution. These officers were now in the power of the County Commissioners. If one class of officers were placed in the Constitution, the other should. As many officers as were necessary to carry on the Government, should be permanent. For that purpose, he wished to place these officers in the Constitution, not with a design to change, but to fix their character beyond the reach of legal enactments. If the proposition were negatived now, he should renew it on the second reading.

Mr. READ, of Sesquehanna, did not understand the policy of the gentleman, in introducing amendments which threw every thing into confusion. The County Treasurer was provided for in the next section.

Mr. Brown modified his amendment, by striking out the words “and a County Treasurer”.

The question was then put, and the amendment of Mr. BROWN was negatived.

So much of the report, as is called the third section, was then agreed to.

So much of the report of the committee, as is called section fourth, was then taken up for consideration, as follows :

SECTION 4. One County Treasurer, one County Surveyor, and one Notary Public, shall be elected in each county ; the Treasurer for a term of two years ; the Surveyor and Notary for a term of three years ; but no person shall hold the office of County Treasurer more than four years in any term of eight years; the Legislature may provide, by law, for the election of so many additional Notaries Public, in any city or county, as shall be deemed necessary. All officers elected under this section, and under the second and third sections of this article, shall be elected at the times and places of election of Representatives.

Mr. PORTER, of Northampton, moved to amend by striking out the words “one County Surveyor, and one Notary Public".

Mr. PURVIANCE asked for a division of the question, to end with the words " County Surveyor".

Mr. PORTER stated, that the compensation of the County Surveyors, was frequently not enough to pay the expense of the commission. "The deputy Surveyorship, in his county, was not worth twenty dollars a year. The Notary Public is only necessary for the attestation of papers and protests. The accumulation of so many officers to be chosen on the day of the general election, was productive of much embarrassment to the people.

Mr. DARLINGTON, of Chester, thought it would be the best way to dispose of the whole section by a negative vote. As we were in such haste to get through our business, the time of the Convention should not be wasted. He had never heard a word of complaint from any quarter concerning these officers. The existing provisions on the subject were ample and sufficient.

Mr. Porter replied, that the County Surveyor was merely the Deputy of the Surveyor General, and, if elected by the people, would not be under the control of the Surveyor General. It would be an awkward thing, if the deputy was to set the Surveyor General at defiance, when the whole of his duties were under that officer.

Mr. Dunlop said it was important that the county Surveyor should reside at the county town.

Mr. Stevens said it seemed to him that the motion of the gentleman from Northampton ought not to prevail. If any part of the motion ought to stand, this part ought not to be stricken out. He saw no reason why these appointments ought not to be given to the people ; for the Surveyor General had nothing to do with the county Surveyor, except to receive their returns. Why should we create a central power here, and establish an officer at the seat of Government, with fifty-two sentinels stationed in different parts of the State ? Small as these offices were, still they were an accession to the strength of a party, and were of great use in maintain. ing the power which created them. They could be made useful as recruiting sergeants for the party. He hoped gentlemen would consent to give these appointments to the people,

Mr. CUMMIN said few officers were more necessary than a county Surveyor, and, if he resided ten or fifteen miles off, great inconvenience would take place in consequence of it. Sometimes his papers were very important testimony on trials; and, if he could not be found, the parties would be put to great trouble. He thought he ought to reside at the county town, and no one who would not agree to live in the town ought to be appointed. There was no town in the State where there was not some person qualified as a Surveyer, and it would be a great convenience to the people to have his residence fixed at the place where the county court is kept.

Mr. READ said the residence should be fixed in the ninth section-not here.

Mr. CUMMIN said he had not brought up the question, if it was not in order, he would defer his remarks.

The Chair said the question would come up after the pending amendment was disposed of.

Mr. PORTER said the Surveyor General was himself a creature of law, and the office was not provided for in the Constitution. Why, then, should the Deputy Surveyor be provided for in the Constitution. At one time we had a master of the rolls, whose duties were transfered to another office. Circumstances might require a transfer of the duties of the Surveyor; and, therefore, we had better not provide for their appointment in the Constitution. The Deputy Surveyor had very little to do with any central power at Harrisburg : though, perhaps, the gentleman may expect it will be different under the next King's reign. In the courts of Northampton, the office of Deputy Surveyor was tilled for fifiy-four years, by the same man, and he was finally removed for disability. He was a good officer, and never ningled with politics.

Mr. Stevens said, either the gentlem'ın was mistaken, or he was, in relation to this subject. He did not understand the appointment of a Sur. veyor General to be a matter of legislation. Under the present Constitution, no one but the Governor could appoint him. His whole official ex. istence is derived from the Governor. There was no necessary connection between that officer and ihe connty Surveyors. We wanted the latter in each county to draw lines, and aid in establishing titles to land. If the appointment to those offices were not made on party grounds in Northampton, it was because the office there, was not worih fifteen dollars a year.

That was the reason that the gentleman's democratic friends let his able friend, the Surveyor. remain in office so many years. He was not quite satisfied that our next Governor would be a King. He thought the people would prefer a plain republican farmer, to any King or lawyer. In his propositions of reform, he (Mr. S.) made no exceprions He was for giving the election of all county officers to the people. Let others who will act for reform, vote otherwise, if they liked.

Mr. PORTER said, his good old friend was kept in, till he had surveyed nearly all the lands in the county. He left liti e for his successors to do, for he began before the revolution, and kept on till he could surv«y no more. The gentleman thought, the next Governor would not be a lawyer, but it did not make much odds whether we had a lawyer for our Governor, or for our Deputy Governor.

Mr. Hayhurst, of Columbia, remarked that, in his county, the Tresurer was elected under a special act of Assembly; and he was in favor of having them all elected by the people. As to the office of Deputy Surveyor, he himself, filled it in his county, and it was not worth to him the price of printing the tickets. Very few were willing to take it. He had sig. nified a wish to give it up, if any one would accept it, but it was declined by every one. It was an office which required a special, and not a general qualification, and, for this reason, he would vote for the amendment. The county Surveyor ought to live in the county town, if possible, for he knew by woeful experience, the inconvenience attending his residence, at the distance of eight or ten miles from the town.

Mr. Read said, he had taken the trouble to look into the practical operations of the Land Office, and he found that it was an anomalous institution. The deputies were the principal officers, and the head of the department was merely a scribe for those who were called his deputies. It was not necessary to keep up the office of Surveyor, but if we did, we must provide some other mode for the appointment of the County Surveyor,

R3

VOL. III.

1

than by the Governor. The appointment should be made either by the people, or the Legislature. The office was a complete sinecure, and the returns from the County Surveyor, could as well be made directly to the Secretary of the Land Office, without the intervention of the Surveyor.He remarked, that he was daily asked, why he did not speak in support of this and that section of the report; but he did not feel any more bound to sustain the report, than any other member of the committee was. In many particulars, it did not meet his assent, and he was under no special obligations to mention it.

Mr. DARLINGTON said, if the committee should abolish the office of Surveyor General, the duties must be persormed by some one. The County Surveyors were the agents of the Surveyor General. The fact mentioned by the gentleman from Columbia, (Mr. HAYHURST) that the Legislature gave the people of that county the right to elect a County Treasurer, was à proof that the Legislature were able to regulate this matter. In his county, these officers were elected by the county Commissioners.

Mr. Forward said, it was due to this officer, (the Survyor General) to say, that he performs all the duties imposed on him by law. He performs those duties by deputies, in the manner prescribed by act of Assembly, but all the business passed through his hands. He had no control over the deputies, for their duties were provided by law. He had no more right to interfere with them, than the Governor had with the Prothonotaries. His duties are perfectly independent of the Surveyor General, and although they are exceedingly trifling in some of the counties, yet there may be good reasons for not electing him by the people. He apprehended, that the duties of this office were known to the law, and that he was no more a deputy than a Prothonotary, or any other officer.

Mr. Porter did not exactly know what the duties of a Deputy Surveyor were now, but he did know, that some years ago, a Deputy Surveyor was nothing more nor less than a Deputy of the Surveyor General. All orders were sent out to these officers from the Surveyor General, unless perhaps, it was some order from a board of property, and when the work is performed, and a return made, it is the duty of the Surveyor General, to er: amine it, and see whether it is right. The Surveyor General was in duty bound to send him out instructions along with his commission ; so that in fact, he can be nothing else than a deputy of that officer. He never had been known as an officer under the Constitution, and he considered it improper that he should be now introduced into it.

Mr. Forward admited that the gentleman from Northampton, Mr. PORTER), was generally correct, and he admited that the Surveyor General might send out instructions to the Deputy Surveyors; but these instructions were of a general character, and in conformity to a general law; and he contended that the duties of a Deputy Surveyor, notwithstanding that he acted under general instructions, were as well known to the laws as the duties of any other officer under our Government. The Surveyor General had no more right to meddle with this officer in the discharge of his duties, than he had to meddle with any other county officer. He was in form, to be sure, a Deputy, yet in point of fact his duties were as well known to the law, as ihe duties of a Prothonotary. He was not very solicitous on this subject; but he wished to be understood to say that we might just as well elect this officer by the people as allow him to be ap

« AnteriorContinuar »