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was mistaken for a racer. Although professedly less disinterested and patriotic, I trust (said Mr. P.) I am practically more so than him, who, like the tyrant DYONISIUS, is willing to punish all who refuse to chaunt his praises. To such, whose professions of disinterestedness and patriotism are so great, who are tired of the burthens of office, and desire to imitate the example of the great Grecian law-giver, I would say, carry out the principles of that much admired man- let him abjure the country, and immolate himself, like the fabulous bird, upon the pile of sweet woods and aromatic gums, and from his ashes, perhaps, another Phænix may arise, which, if less beautiful, wise, patriotic, and disinterested, may at least be less mischievous and troublesome than the first.
Mr. DARLINGTON rose to offer a reason for his vote. Nothing would be more proper as a general rule to govern us than to enquire, first, what was the inconvenience complained of, and, next, what was the remedy. The Governor was eligible for three successive terms and exerted an extensive patronage. The evil complained of was that the, Governor exerts his patronage to secure his re-election, and that the election, on account of the extent and value of the Governor's patronage, is always attended with great excitement. This was the mishief, and here was its source.
How, then, should the evil be remedied? By taking away the
patronage of the Governor, or by rendering him ineligible? Either will do it; and both are, therefore, unnecessasy. He apprehended that the reduction of the Executive patronage would render it unnecessary to limit his eligibility to one term. There could be no doubt that his patronage would be greatly reduced; and, for that reason, this amendment was unnecessary. It was said that a considerable portion of patronage must still be left to the Governor. He might have the appointment of Justices for a limited term ; but in few instances could a re-appointment take place during his term. The evils of losing a faithful, experienced, and efficient officer, were infinitely greater than any that could result from the small degree of patronage left with the Governor. For these reasons he was opposed to the amendment. As the general practice had been for the Governor to retire at the end of the second term, he should have no objection to adopting the report of the committee.
Mr. REIGART said, in offering this amendment, it might be perhaps proper for him to say a few words in explanation of his reasons for offering it. He did not care whether the term of office of the Governor was reduced from four to three years, but he did care much about his being rendered ineligible after having served for one term. We have heard much said about the independence of the Executive, and we have heard the charge frequently made, and not, perhaps, without reason, that the Executive was continually electioneering from the time he first came into office, until he had been elected for his last term. Now, he wished to take away all temptation of this kind from him, and establish him on a firm and independent basis, so that he would not be tempted to do wrong to advance his own political prospects. The gentleman from Chester thinks, if we take away the power of appointment
of judges, and some of the important offices, that this will cure the evil. Now, Mr. R. apprehends that this would not cure the evil, as there would be many offices left in his hands to be filled. The appointment of county officers of themselves would be an immense patronage, and they should, of all others, be taken away from the
Executive. But, some gentlemen have said, that the people have settled that two terms are sufficient; because they had elected some of the Governors for two terms; but he did not believe they had settled any He might as well say, that the people have determined that one term is sufficient, because they refused to elect Governor FINDLEY, and Governor HIESTER for more than one term. Here he had just as much evidence that the people had settled that one term should be sufficient, as gentlemen had that they had settled that two terms would be sufficient. He thought it was quite enough for a man to be Governor for one term ; and that any one should sit down contented after having filled the office for one term, with the consolation of having done his duty, without having had a single sinister object in view. He trusted that all possible inducements for the Governor to do wrong would be removed from him, and then he did not care whether he was elected for two, three, or four years.
Mr. SERGEANT (President) said that the various questions which are presented in regard to this matter of the constitution of the Executive department of Pennsylvania, seemed to bring up a consideration of services of a rather more general kind than any which had been yet taken. The first thing to be considered in regard to these changes, is the character and nature of the Commonwealth, and the character and nature of the Constitution, such as this Commonwealth ought to have. In his mind, it was a very great argument in favor of the existing Constitution, that while it has worked well, it has also been admited, throughout the United States, to be a Constitution in harmony with the interests, the dignity, the character, and, let me add, the duties of a great State like this. It has been found worthy of her elevated position, and capacitated her to fulfil all her obligations to the Union. It has been a security to us at home, and a source of pride and gratification when abroad. He was strongly attached to it, he confessed. On this question of appointment to office, he felt as little bias as any one could do, for it had so happened that he never had held any office under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He did not say that this had arisen from any patriotic self-denial on his part, because from an early period in life he had scarcely had an opportunity, and he did not now expect to be led into that temptation. But this was not the method of considering questions of this sort.
It has been said, and with perfect truth, that you must make up your Governors of the materials which you have. If they be corruptible, you must make them of corruptible materials, and if they be corrupted you must make them up of corrupt materials. He did not believe, that the materials in this committee were corrupt, nor did he believe they were corruptible to any thing like the extent to which the arguments of some gentlemen would seem to lead us to believe. You have, of course, in the community from which you have to choose, good and bad men; men good and bad by comparison ; none entirely good, and he hoped there were no such monsters as to be entirely bad, but still the community were made up of good and bad men. Now, with regard to a Constitution, like that of Pennsylvania, let us consider for a moment what it is, before we come to the question of the constitution of the Executive, and let us see in the course of those enquiries how far we are to derive any substantial or reliable examples from the operations of the Constitutions of other States. The first remark he should make, touching to Pennsylvania, was, that she has now an entirely free population, with perhaps an exception which did not
deserve consideration, and in this respect she is justly distinguished from those States where a large proportion of their population are not free. It must strike every one, that from this circumstance there arises à probability, at least, that the arrangement of the Government ought to be, and may
be somewhat different from that of a State which was not entirely free. But farther, there arises in all such States, a capacity, if he might so say, for exercising her rights and powers in a way which cannot be done in a State which is not entirely free. If you suppose a large mass of the community divested of all political rights, then the Government is in the hands of their masters. One portion has all power, the other none, political or civil. But, if you suppose the whole mass of the community to be equal in political rights, and free to exercise their rights civil and political, then your basis is different, and that which suits the one State, will not suit the other. The second remark he should make with regard to Pennsylvania is, that this Commonwealth is essentially, decidedly, and in a marked manner, a republican State. She was born and bred, if I may so say, a republican State, and it is inherent in us from the foundation of the Commonwealth as a Province. With the exception of the little power which the Government of England had over us, thrown off at the Revolution, she always, from the earliest time has been a free republican Commonwealth, so that she is, in a decided and marked manner, a republican State. The next enquiry you come to, is that which concerns the connexion this Commonwealth has with her sister States as a member of this great republican confederacy as one of the largest and most powerful of those States, one whose influence is, perhaps, from her resources and position, greater than any one State in the Union, unless it be our near neighbor to the north. This Commonwealth, thus free, thus distinguished by her republican character, and thus important in her connexion with the Federal Union, has been remarkable also for the stability and strength and consistency of her character. Now he did not here trouble himself to think how it had worked as to party politics; they were beneath consideration in a body like this; he would still say that a remarkable feature of her character was that she had increased continually in weight and importance, which had been extremely beneficial to her and to the Union too. A firm keystone is necessary to preserve the arch. He knew it had so worked that many of us here have, for a long period of time been in the minority, and it had happened that the individual now speaking had shared this fate for the greater part of his life. But that does not disturb or lessen the value of the great truth he was insisting upon, and which he desired, if possible, to impress upon this body. The Government of Pennsylvania has been stable and permanent, at the same time that she has been confessedly and eminently republican. Let a citizen of Pennsylvania go through the United States, wherever he might, he was more than gratified to find, that every where this is the acknowledged character of the State of Pennsylvania; that individual and political, and religious rights, were effectually guarded; that the enjoyment of property was made perfectly secure, and that your institutions had stability, dignity, and strength. It has been, and is, a pattern State. The fact is, that in regard to the department, he was now speaking of, it was modeled after the Constitution of the United States, except that in the Constitution of the United States, the Executive is left without any limitation at all, as to re-eligibility. Now, sir, how ought the
Executive department of such a Commonwealth to be constituted ? The question is easily answered: it has been already constituted, and it has surely worked well. Why should we change it. Let us see, whether in past experience we shall find any thing to warrant us? Your limitation of the office of Governor is for nine years in succession-he is no longer eligible than for three terms of three years. Your very first Governor, under the Constitution, was elected and re-elected for nine years. He retired from office at the end of the term, and afterwards became a member of the State Senate. Your next Governor was elected and re-elected for nine years, and he retired to private life for the few remaining years that he lived. Your next Governor was elected for a term of nine years, and after he retired he was elected to the State Senate. These were the Governors who held their offices during the full term allowed by the Constitution, and how did they hold these offices? Why, they held them by the election of their fellow citizens of Pennsylvania, and they held them independently. Let us see whether they did not. When the people chose to put a practical limitation upon these officers, they have done so; and now, let us see how it has operated. You had, after the term of Mr. SNYDER expired, WILLIAM FINDLEY elected, and he was continued for three years, when he was superseded by Mr. Hiester, and he was continued three years, when he was superseded by Mr. Shulze, he was continued six years, when he was superseded by Mr. WOLF, and he was continued six years, when he was superseded by the gentleman who is 'now Governor of the State. Where are those Governors who, without any limitation in the Constitution, have been turned out? Two of them are holding subordinate offioes under the Government of the United States. At this very moment, Governor WOLF is filling the office of Auditor of the Treasury of the United States, which is but an inferior station, and Governor FINDLEY is filling the office of Treasurer of the Mint, which is another inferior station under the Government of the United States. He had called the attention of the committee to this fact, in order to prepare it to come to the question of dependence, and independence, about which we have heard so much. He had been accustomed to feel, and he presumed there were other members of the committee who have entertained the same feeling, that a man who has held the high situation of Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and whose conduct has been approved so as to have him elected and re-elected, should feel that he held in his hands a portion of the honor of the Commonwealth, he should be satisfied with that, have a becoming sense of its worth, and should not be driven by necessity, or seduced by temptation, to dispose of it for rewards, or maintenance in posts so far below the high dignity of Governor of Pennsylvania. He should feel as MIFFLIN, M'KEAN and SNYDER, did. The proposition of the gentleman from Lancaster, (Mr. REIGART) for whose opinions Mr. S. had a very high respect, is founded upon the presumption, that it will make the Góvernor independent. Yes, sir, it will make him independent of the people of Pennsylvania ; because, she will then have done her best for him, and she can do no more, unless it is to send him to the Senate of the United States. Then, when he holds the office of Governor for three or four years, she says to him, now you must depart, we have done all we can for you? And where does he depart to? To independence ? No sir.
So long as there is an opening for office elsewhere, and you choose to curtail offices in Pennsylvania, in point of dignity and honor, so long you may destroy his dependence on Pennsylvania. But have you made his independent ? No sir. You create a dependence of a far worse sort. He would ten times rather see man in an office, dependent upon a majority of his fellow citizens, than to be dependent upon any one else, because, that dependence is a Constitutional dependence, and so long as it works right, no objection can be made to it
. But when you limit the term of office to make this officer independent
, how do you make him independent? Why, you no longer make him dependent upon the majority of the people of Pennsylvania, but you condemn him to look abroad, to see how he is to get a living elsewhere, and, at the same time, by degrading the office of Governor, you diminish his self respect, and make him less nice in his choice. If he be poor, and it is generally the fate of office holders to be poor, (for very often they do not make as much in office as they spend in getting there) then you make him any thing but independent. He had said one was a Constitutional and republican dependence, and that the other was not, but he was not going to trouble the committee with examples of actual instances. Those which he had refered to, had only been to show what effect such a limitation has actually had. What objection is there to a Constitutional dependence, with regard to a person who is an elective officer? There were various kinds of officers under the Constitution, and we have to deal with them according to the nature of their employments ; but, we are now speaking of the Chief Executive Magistrate who is elected by the people of the independence of the Governor, as it is supposed it ought to be. sort of independence is it? What sort of independence will you gain by this inevitable termination of his political career, however well he may have behaved himself? It will, instead of a dependence on the majority, which would actuate him to conduct himself in the most satisfactory manner, while he is in office, lead him so to conduct himself as to secure a provision for himself hereafter. Where will he look for it? Here is a neighboring Government, the Government of the United States, which has offices to give, and you will create a seeking in that direction, for what cannot be obtained at home. Your policy will be bent to the shape there prescribed—your true State interests will be sacrificed to the whims, passions, and views that may happen to prevail at Washington-your Governor enlisted in that army whose chief can boast that he never leaves his wounded on the field of battle. If you have not gained independence, what have you sacrificed by this change? The experience of that Exe cutive, which, as he had said on a former occasion, was one of the greatest evils under the existing practice in our State of frequent changes in public officers; and the possession of character, which the Governor has acquired by being in office, which becomes a valuable possession to him, and a powerful correcting motive in his conduct; because, besides the security of character which you had when he came in, you have the additional security of the character he has acquired since. Here then are sacrifices, and great sacrifices, which are to be made by this measure.Office was not created for the man, but it was created for the benefit of the people, he who is fittest to serve in it, is he, who ought to have it; and he is to be deemed fittest, (other qualifications being equal) who has had