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Mr. FLEMING moved to strike out all after the word " state,” in the fifth line.
The PRESIDENT decided that the motion was not in order.
Mr. FLEMING withdrew the motion.
Mr. EARLE said, the present constitution required one year's residence of the district, for which he is elected, before a person could be elected to the senate. He thought the amendment of importance, and he trusted there would be no doubt of its passage. He asked for the yeas and nays upon the adoption of the amendment.
The question was taken on agreeing to the report of the committee, as to the eighth section, as amended, and decided in the affirmative-yeas, 59; nays, 56; as follow : Yeas.—Messrs. Banks, Bedford, Bell
, Bigelow, Brown, of Northampton, Brown, of Philadelphia, Clarke, of Indiana, Cleavinger, Crain, Crawford, Crum, Cummin, Curll, Darrah; Donagan, Donnell, Doran, Earle, Foulkrod, Fry, Fuller, Gamble, Gearhart, Gilmore, Grenell, Harris, Hastings, Hayhurst, Helffenstein, Hiester, High. Hyde, Ingersoll, Keim, Kennedy, Krebs, Lyons, Magee, Mann, Martin, M'Cahen, M’Dowell, Miller, Nevin, Porter, of Northampton, Read, Riter, Ritter, Scheetz, Sellers, Shellito, Smith, of Columbia, Smyth, of Centre, Sterigere, Stickel, Taggart, Thomas, Weaver, Woodward—59.
Nays-Messrs. Agnew, Baldwin, Barndollar, Biddle, Brown, of Lancaster, Carey, Chambers. Chandler, of Chester, Chandler, of Philadelphia, Chauncey, Clark, of Dauphin, Cline, Coates, Cochran, Cope, Cox, Craig, Darlington, Denny, Dickey, Dickerson, Dunlop, Farrelly, Fleming, Forward, Hays, Henderson, of Allegheny, Henderson, of Dauphin, Hopkinson, Houpt, Jenks, Kerr, Konigmacher, Long, Maclay, M’Call, M'Sherry, Meredith, Merkel, Montgomery, Pennypacker, Pollock, Porter, of Lancaster, Roger, Russell, Saeger, Scott, Seltzer, Serrill, Sill, Snively, Sturdevant, Todd, Weidman, Young, Sergeant, President—56.
So the question was determined in the affirmative.
The convention then took up that part of the report of the committee of the whole, which proposed to strike out the ninth section of the old constitution, and insert the following:
" SECTION 9.-At the expiration of the term of any class of the present senators, successors shall be elected for the terın of three years. The senators who may be elected in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, shall be divided by lot, into three classes; the seats of the sena. tors of the first class, shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year, of the second class, at the expiration of the second year, and of the third class, at the expiration of the third year; so that thereafter one-third might be chosen every year.”
Mr. DARLINGTON wished to call the attention of the convention to the condition in which this section had been left by the committee of the whole.
It must be recollected, that we have made a change in relation to the senatorial term, from four to three years, and we are to classify our senators in a different manner from the old constitution. Well, then, let us look at the provisions of this amendment. It provides that at the expira. tion of the first class of senators, others are to be elected for a term of three years; but, we must recollect, that the first class is only one-fourth
of the senate ; at the expiration of the second class, senators are to be elected also for a term of three years, and so of the third class ; so that you will have three distinct classes of new senators. Then provision is made, that the senators who may be elected in the year eighteen hundred and forty-one, shall be divided into three classes by lot. It was not those who might be representatives at that time, but those who were elected in 1841, which were to be divided into three classes, and how many would they be? Why, only one-fourth of your senators. Nine senators were to be divided into three classes, and the term of the first class was to expire in one year; of the second, in two years ; and of the third, in three years.
Now, he would ask gentlemen to look into this matter, and see if it was what they desired to have adopted. When the constitution of 1790 went into operation, we had no senate. The whole of the senators were therefore elected together, so that the old section, on this subject, was plain and easily understood. They being all elected together, it was an easy matter to divide them into tour classes, and then have their seats vacated in successive years.
It seemed, however, now to be a difficult matter to adopt a system which would work properly in classifying the senators, unless the whole of the senators were elected anew, when the constitution went into opera. tion. Then there would be thirty-three senators only to be divided into three classes,
He confessed that he saw a difficulty in the way of adopting this section, and he thought it would be better if the convention were resolved to reduce the term of senators, from four to three years, to declare the seats of all the senators to be vacated, when the constitution went into operation, and have an entire new senate elected. Then, there would be no difficulty in classifying them properly.
He had, therefore, with a view of meeting this case, prepared an amendment, which he thought would answer the purpose.
Mr. D. then moved to strike out the section, proposed by the committee of the whole, and insert the following:
6. At the first election, subsequent to the next enumeration, the whole number of senators which shall then have been fixed by the legislature, shall be elected in the respective districts into which the state shall then be divided. Immediately after the senators shall be assembled, in consequence of such election, they shall be divided by lot, as equally as may be, into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class, shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year ; of the second class, at the expiration of the second year ; and of the third class, at the expiration of the third year; so that one-third may be chosen every year."
Mr. STERIGERE said, if the gentleman from Chester (Mr. Darlington) had acted on the advice he had given to others—to read the amendment -he would not have favored the convention with the speech he had deliv. ered. The difficulties that gentlemen apprehended existed in his own imagination, and not in the amendment. Mr. S. then read the amendment as follows:
“Sacrion 9. At the expiration of the term of any class of the present senators, successors shall be elected for the term of three years.
The senators who may be elected in the year 1841, shall be divided by lot into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year-of the second class at the expiratio. of the second year—and of the third class at the expiration of the third year ; so that thereafter one-third may be chosen every year.
This amendment is predicated on the idea that the amendment, if adopted by the people, will go into operation before the annual election in 1938. This will depend on wliat this convention may finally do in relation to this matter. If the convention provides for submitting the new constitution to the people in May or June next, and provides for its enactment before October next, the amendment is correct. On the contrary, if the new constitution should not go into operation before that time--the time mentioned for the classification must be postponed one year, viz: to 1812. This will be mere form-and can be easily arranged in the end, to be adapted to what may be provided respecting submitting the amendments to the people.
The senate, under the present constitution, is divided into four classes, one of which is elected annually for four years. The first part of the amendment provides for the continuation in office of the present senators for the term for which they were elected, and for the choice of their succes. sors. The term of the senators who were elected in 1837. under the present constitution, and those who may be elected in 1838 under the new one, if it should be adopted by the people, will expire in 1841. Consequently, two classes-a fourth, equal to seventeen senators, will be elected in 1841. The class of senators who may be elected in 1839, will expire in 1842— and will in 1811 have only one year to serve.
The class who
be elected in 1840, will expire in 1843 ; anil in 1841, will have two years to
Three of the senators who may be elected in 1841, will, under the amendment, be added to the class of eight senators whose tiine will expire in 1812, and their seats will be vacated at the expiration of the first year. Three more of them will be added to the class of eight, whose terin will expire in 1843—and their seats will be vacated at the expiration of the second year. The seats of the remaining eleven of the senators elected in 1841, will be vacated at the espiration of the thirl year, or in 1311. The senate at the session succeeding the election of 1811, will be divided into three classes, of eleven senators each, and thereafter one-third, or eleven, will be chosen every year.
This amendment occupies the same place that a similar provision does in the constitution of 1790, and only varies from it so much as is necessary, to provide for the continuance in office of the present senators during the time the people have chosen them—on an equal classification of the senators, some of whom held for four, and others for three years. The provi. sion was as plain and simple as could be wished. No doubt other schemes could be presented—every delegate might submit one different from this. I might also require less phraseology to provide for the classification of the senators, if the present one were swept overboard, and an entire new senate elected when the new constitution went into operation. To this he w13 opposed. He thought it unnecessary to explain the report of the com nit
tee further, as any gentleman would understand it, if he was disposed to
Mr. AGNEw thought there were some objections to this amendment which had not been alluded to either by the gentleman from Chester or the gentleman from Montgomery. As he viewed the amendment, it would place us in the predicament of having but twenty-four or twenty-five senators in the year 1841, instead of thirty-three. This was obvious, as he calculated. Mr. A. went into a calculation to show that this must inev. itably be the result; therefore he took it that there”must be some mistake about the calculation of the gentleman from Montgomery.
Mr. STERIGERE said he meant no disrespect to the delegate from Chester in the remarks he had made, when he before addressed the convention, and he hoped the gentleman would not think so. Mr. S. entered into a more minute explanation of the operation of the amendment. He thought it was just as practicable to put the new constitution into operation before the election of 1838, as at any other time. If it could not be, the amendment only required to change the year 1841 to 1842. He was glad to hear that the objections, at first mentioned, had been entirely explained away, and the only one remaining was the year the classification was proposed to be made. He was perfectly willing that it should be changed to 1842. As this was, however, a mere inatter of form, and depending on what time the convention might provide for the new constitution going into operation, we had better wait for the final decision of the convention on that subject.
He would be glad if the delegate from Chester county, (Mr. Darlington,) would withdraw his amendment to enable him to prepare an amendment to the report of the committee of the whole, which would remove all the objections urged last evening-[he not complying with this request] Mr. S. said he would then bring into the view of the convention wliat he proposed viz: to strike out" in the year one thousand eight hundred and foriy-one,” and insert "at the next election after the adoption of this constitution.” This was in conformity with a rule in the senate of the United States, upon the admission of new states into the Union, and the introduction of senators from such states.
It would make the classification more certain and better than the report of the coinmittee proposed to do ; and would remove some objections which some of the delegates entertained.
Mr. Dickey said gentlemen seemed to presume that this constitution would be adopted and go into operation before the election of senators in '38. This would not be the case. The law requires the returns of the votes for and against the constitution to be made to the next legislature, who did not meet till December, 1838. The first election under the new con. stitution must, therefore, be in 1839. The amendment was consequently wrong upon the gentleman's own calculations.
Mr. Porter, of Northampton, said he was not remarkably good at arithmetical calculations, but the delegate from the county of Montgomery might be right. If he was not, he would recommend an application to the gentleman from Bucks, (Mr. M’Dowell) or, if he was not in the way, he would send to Northampton for a large slate of his own manufacture, and see if he could make it out. He did not see, at present, that it would made any odds whether the time fixed was in 1838 or 1839.
Mr. AgNew said he had made a few figures to explain the matter.
At the expiration of the term of the present senators, their successors would be elected in 1841. Those last elected would hold their office longest. Those elected after 1838 would hold their office beyond the term of three years. The last class of the present senators would go out in 1841. It is evident that the last class of the present senators cannot be in office in 1841, because, elected for this year, their term of four years, under the present constitution, must expire with the session of 1840. Those, therefore, who are elected at the fall election of 1841, are elected under the new constitution for three years. This must be clear to the dullest capacity. If the last class of senators go out in 1841, they cannot be in the senate in 1841. The periods at which the members of the present senate go out is in 1838, '39, '40, and '41. Now, I apprehend that sour times eight will make thirty-two. The terms of all the senators who are in office will have expired in 1841. The next and last election under the old constitution, for senators, will take place next fall, and their terms will expire in 1841. So, no election can take place under the new constitution before the fall of 1839.
Mr. STERIGERE said, he would be obliged to the gentleman from Beaver, (Mr. Agnew) to show him what part of the amendment required that those senators whose terms expire in the year 1841, should be there in the session of 1841-'42. I regret to say a word because the gentleman cannot believe what he lays down as the right position. The provision is that those senators, whose terms expire in 1841, shall be succeeded by senators who shall be chosen for three years. The argument was based on the idea that the constitution would be adopted before the expiration of the year 1838. When we come to final action on the matter, all that we shall have to do will be to make the term 1841-2. That will be a mere matter of form.
Mr. BELL said his attention was never called to this matter before now, but it was evident that those gentlemen who had given the most attention to it, could not agree in regard to it. Afternoon sessions were not often favorable to calculations. He was not willing to vote in the dark on the subject. Every gentleman who speaks mystifies the matter more and
There is no necessity for passing it now, and I hope we shall pass on to another subject. I move to postpone this for the present.
Mr. Cox did not think, he said, there was any necessity for postponing it at all.
He understood what the operation of the clause was intended to be; and, as he was not willing to concede that the gentleman from Bucks county, was the only one who could figure out a matter of this sort, he would undertake to show how it was. It was perfectly plain according to his mode of cyphering. If the amendments should be adopted before the next election and the senators should be elected in 1838, under this new constitution, then their terms would expire at the session of 1840-41. Seventeen senators would then go out in 1841. The terms of those elected in 1839 would expire in 1842. Those who were elected in 1840 would go out in 1843. Those elected after 1841 will be classified. Eleven will go out in 1843, and the other eleven three years
after. Eleven will be elected every year after 1843. 'This must be the way in which they are classified. I shall vote for the proposition