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record their votes, and as he was anxious to record his, he would ask for the yeas and
nays. The inotion was not seconded.
Mr. STERIGERE moved the following, as a new section, to be called " section three".
Sect. 3. - The Canal Commissioners, the Auditor General Secretary of the Land Office, Surveyor General, State Treasurer, and Attorney General, shall be appointed annually, by the joint vote of the members of both branches of the Legislature—the clerks and other officers in the treasury and land departments, attornies at law, election officers, all officers relating to common schools, to taxes, to the poor, and to highways, constables, and other township officers, shall be appointed in such manner as is, or shall be directed, by law”.
Mr. Read suggested to the gentleman from Montgomery, that he had better withdraw his amendment, and offer it at another time.
Mr. STERIGERE replied, that it struck him as being as fit an oppotunity to present it now, as at any other time, and was the proper place in which to insert it.
The question being taken on the amendment, it was rejected.
So much of the report of the committee as is called section 5, being under consideration in the words following, viz :
Sect. 5. Justices of the Peace, or Aldermen, shall be elected in the several wards, boroughs and townships, for a term of five years.
Mr. DARLINGTON, of Chester, moved to amend by striking out all after the word "section", and inserting the following :
“ The Governor shall appoint such a number of Justices of the Peace, in such convenient districts in each county, as are or shall be directed by law. They shall be commissioned for the term of five years ; but may be removed on conviction of misbehaviour in office, or of any infa. mous crime, or on the address of both Houses of the Legislature".
Mr. Russell moved to amend the amendment, by inserting after the word “Governor”, in the first linc, the words following, viz: "
By and with the advice and consent of the Senate".
The question being taken on the amendment to the amendment, it was negatived.
Mr. DARLINGTON, of Chester, said it seemed to him that the amendment proposed, was only a slight alteration from the old Constitution. It gave the Governor power to appoint such a number of Justices of the Peace in each county, as are, or shall be directed, by law. The moti n which he had made to amend, raised the distinct question, whether the Convention would give the election of Justices of the Peace to the people. The election of Justices for a term of years, was tried under the Constitution of 1776. They held their offices for seven years. Under this Coustitution the people lived un'il 1790, when, for some reason, good or bad, the people, by common consent, abandoned the system, and gave the appointments to the Governor.
Here Mr. FLEMING, of Lycoming, said, that the Judiciary committee had made a report on the subject; and perhaps, this was not the proper place to introduce the amendment.
Mr. Darlisoron resumed: He was aware that the committee had made a report, and his opinion was, that this was the proper place for
it was the only place where we could test the principle of election, or appointment. It would be recollected by the committee, and he begged that they would bear it in mind, that under the Constitution of 1776, none but freeholders had any choice in choosing the Justices of the Peace. This system was not found to work well, if we might credit the assertions of those whom we occasionally meet with in the community, who were sufficiently aged to recollect public opinion at that time. He had heard it said, in the county in which he now resided, that the system had not answered the expectations of the people, and that they abandoned it in toto. Now, he would ask, why were we returning to a system, which had been tried, and found wanting? We were about to resort again to that system, on account of some imaginary inconvenience attending the present one. Ile would inquire what alteration was required? What was the inconvenience the people had suffered, and what was the appropriate remedy? The inconveniences, if he was not mistaken in his views, had arisen first, from there being too great a number of Justices of the Peace; and second, the difficulty of removing them from office when they became unfit, either from age or some other cause, to discharge the duties of their station. Under the Constitution of 1790, power was given to the Governor to appoint a competent number of Justices of the Peace, in each county, as should be directed by law, and they were to hold their offices during good behavior, at the discretion of the Governor. The giving of that discretionary power had led to the appointment of a larger number than the community required. Now, how should we remedy the evil of which he had spoken? By limiting the term of officeby giving the Legislature the power of creating so many districts in each county. And, as to dividing off the counties into districts, could there be any objection on the score of incompetency to the Legislature discharging this duty? He thought not. The Legislature passed an act in 1803, by which the County Commissioners were authorized to lay off the counties into districts, in order that appointments might be made of Justices of the Peace for them. The law was carried into effect in the county of Chester, and he apprehended in other counties also. This dividing of countics into districts, might be done through the instrumentality of the County Commissioners, or any local authority which the Legislature might point out. Now, the remedy which he had stated, thought would be found perfectly adequate to meet the evil complained of. He had already spoken of the mode in which the evils in relation to Justices of the Peace might be got rid of. He would say that, as a general rule, at the period of their appointment, the greater portion of those officers had been in accordance with the wishes of the people. He was opposed to the election of the Justices by the people, and to their participating with the Governor in the appointing power. It was not too much for us to imagine, that a Justice of the Peace would be found on the election ground, with his friends, endeavoring to secure his own election. Would he not have powerful temptations to delay the decision of cases before him, until after the election! It would be hazardous, he thought, to draw the Justices into the strife of elections. Mr. D. expressed fears that his amendment would not receive the sanction of the Convention. But he had felt it his duty to offer it, for it met the approbation of a very large majority of his constituents,
who desired an alteration of the Constitution in the respect which he had indicated.
Mr. FULLER, of Fayette, said he was opposed to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Chester, (Mr. DARLINGTON). He was in favor of electing Justices of the Peace, and this was one of the important amendments which the people had asked for. He was fully convinced by the expression of opinion in this Convention since the commencement of its session, and from the opinion expressed in his own district, that, had it not been for this and two or three other questions of reform, this Convention would not now be in session. This question was one of those the people had much at heart, and had desired for many years the privilege of choosing their Justices of the Peace by election : And what, he asked, were the arguments of the gentleman against this mode of selecting that class of judicial officers? Why, he urged his objections on the ground that the people are not capable of choosing the best men; for this was undoubtedly the conclusion of his whole argument, that injudicious selections would be made, and that the Governor would select better men. Would that gentleman say, that the people of any township, ward, or district in this Commonwealth, were incapable of electing Justices of the Peace? He thought the gentleman would not, and trusted that no member of this committee would say so. He knew that some of the present Justices of the Peace had been appointed by the Governor, without the knowledge of the people of this district, or even knowing that they were applicants. In one instance in the district in which he lived, a Justice of the Peace was appointed without more than ten or fifteen persons in the whole district being acquainted with the fact. How did he get the appointment? He prepared a petition, and sent a man and horse through the county with it, and by this mode, he succeeded in getting a hand. some number of signatures, and sending forward his petition to the Governor, he was appointed to the office before the people were aware of what he was doing. A great number of Justices of the Peace had been made in this way, without the knowledge of the people who lived in the district, by the recommendation of persons living out of the district, and having no interest in the manner in which the office might be filled.
Surely gentlemen would admit that these Justices were not properly appointed.With reference to the Justices of the Peace and Associate Judges, for many years, the people had wanted the privilege of electing them, for the purpose of preventing these injudicious appointments, and he did not think the remedy proposed by associating the Senate with the Governor in the Judicial appointments would be sufficient. Where the officers are to act immediately on them, the people are the most competent and the most proper to elect them. He did not believe any gentleman would assume that they were not competent. It was their interest to elect good officers, and was it to be supposed that they would not do it? Would any one believe they would not have a better set of officers ? Many of the Justices have made themselves incompetent, but this cannot be remedied because persons are not willing to petition against them. The consequence will be, if these officers are pinned down to a term of years, though incompetent men may be elected, the people would better bear the evil knowing that at the end of the term they will be rid of it. In reference to the Judges of Courts, the principle was the same ; the opinion of the majority was in favor of the limitation. He
had no doubt that a large majority of the committee would be in favor of electing the Justices of the Peace, because the people had been long and anxiously desiring such change.
Mr. Earle, of Philadelphia, said it was only repeating an old story to say this was one of the amendments which the people had called for. He looked at the abstractments of the question. It appeared to him that if the people were capable of electing a Governor whom they never saw, they were competent to elect Justices of the Peace whom they had often seen, and with whose character and talents they were well acquainted.To say that the people are incompetent, would be to establish the monarchical principle that the people are unfit to govern, and we ought then 10 reform the Constitution by establishing a monarchy. The people had an interest in the integrity and ability of the officers, and would select such as could not be swerved from their duty. He refered to the proceedings of the New York Convention, and to the opinions given by Chancellor Kent, in favor of the election of the Justices by the people. With this loss of the election of Justices of the Peace, and Triennial Parliament, the English had lost much of their liberty, and the degeneracy of the people and of the Government followed. The experience of New York was in favor of this change: the people of that State decided in favor of the principle by one hundred and twenty thousand to five thousand. And what was the result of the change? He had a letter from a member of the Reform Association, in reply to an interrogatory he had put to that gentleman on the subject. Mr. LANSING, says, it gives much satisfaction, and that no one would venture to propose a return to the system which previously prevailed. Another letter from a lawyer, who went from Bucks county, Pennsylvania, stated that not one person could be found who was in favor of the old system. In Ohio, also, the people are well satisfied with this system of electing Justices, as he was informed by a letter from a distinguished member of Congress, Mr, Whittlesy, from Trumbull county, who stated further, that the idea that Magistrates were influenced in their decisions by these elections, was entirely unfounded. From Mr. LYTLE, former member of Congress from Ohio, he had the same infornation. He had various other letiers from gentlemen in Ohio to the same effect, from which he read extracts. The gentleman from Chester, said good officers were not to be obtained by election. That would be because the term is too long. If they were to be elected every year it would be much better. Under the old Constitution of Pennsylvania, the Justices were better than they had been since. We had the authority of the gentleman from Montgomery, not now in his seat, that the people were satisfied. The term now proposed, he (Mr. Earls) considered too long. In the outset of our Government, the system of electing these officers prevailed here, and so it did in Rhode Island, Georgia, Tennessee, Vermont, where it has never changed. These States have never touched the annual election of Magistrates. The term should be shorter than is presented either in the aniendment of the gentleman froin Chester,or the report of the committee, because it would secure better officers. Three years had proved satisfactory in Ohio, and one year in other States. The election being for a short term, the people could reelect the officers when they choose. He would not go for the establishment of life officers. Frequent elections secured that responsibility to the people which would make good officers, for the
people would remove them if they did not fulfil their duty: 'The people were as honest as the members of this Convention ; and they would not elect a man unless they thought he would hold the scales of justice impartially. He would make the term of service very short; for the shortest term always gave the greatest satisfaction to the people. He believed that one year would give more satisfaction than a longer term. He, therefore, hoped the amendment would fail, and that some one would forward a proposition to reduce the term to one or two years. If an officer required time to prepare for the proper discharge of the duties of the office, the people would give him time. In one year's service he would qualify himself for reelection. In those States where the short term had been tried, they gave great satisfaction, and the same officers were frequently reelecied for many years, by short terms.
On motion of Mr. KONIGMACHER, the committee then rose.
WHEREAS, the remembrance of deeds of valor and the achievements of the patriots of the American revolution, to whom we are indebted for the independence and sovereignty of these United States from British thraldom and oppression, is the incumbent duty of all good citizens; and whereas, the anniversary of the declaration of American independence, as promulgated to the people by Congress on July 4, 1776, has been deemed at all times worthy of popular attention and regard, as the birthday of our national freedom; therefore, for the purpose of doing honor to that glorious occasion, be it
Resolved, That when this Convention adjourns, it will adjourn to meet again on Wednesday morning next, at nine o'clock.
Mr. Kein moved the second reading and consideration of the resolution.
Mr. DARLINGTON moved that the Convention do now adjourn. Agreed tomayes 53, noes 32.
The Convention then adjourned.
TUESDAY, JULY 4, 1837.
Mr. PennyPACKER, of Chester, presented a memorial from citizens of Chester county, praying that the sixth section of the ninih article of the Constitution, may
be so amended, as to read as follows, viz: “ The trial by jury shall be as heretofore, and on questions effecting life or liberty, shall be extended 10 every human being, and the right thereof shall remain inviolate”, which was relered to the committee on ihe ninih article.
Mr. CLARKE, of Inriana, presented a memorial from citizens of Clearfield county, praying for a Constitutional provision against the sale of monopolies and exclusive privileges by the Legislature, which was laid on the table.
Mr. PORTER, of Northampton, moved that the Convention proceed to the consideration of the resolution, which he submited yesterday, which was agreed to—ayes, 43 : nay3, 36. The question being on ihe second reading of the resolution, VOL. III.