Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

all other officers appointed by law not therein otherwise provided for. But it is not yet settled what officers will be appointed under the sixth article of the Constitution, nor by what tenure such offices shall be held. Until this be settled, action on the subject is premature.

Mr. B. would not repeat the reasons which had been so ably set forth by the gentleman from Adams, and others, why they should vote against the amendment, but would merely say that they were sufftciently cogent and convincing to his mind, as with the other reasons he had heard, drawn from the amendment itself, to induce him to vote against it. It appeared to him that the Convention should go on to blend the exercise of the legislative and Executive powers in the same hands. Almost every one who had opposed the amendment, had expressed himself in favor of a diminution of Executive patronage. Appeals had been made to particular portions of the Convention. Such appeals were to be regreted. All here assembled were engaged in the discharge of responsible duties, and no patriotic object could be answered by drawing lines in this body, nor by creating party divisions.

Mr. CUNNINGHAM, of Mercer, observed that he had perceived there was a majority of the Convention disposed to make some amendment in the Constitution in regard to the appointing power, and the plan here proposed was to give it to the Governor and Senate. He confessed that it appeared to him that a great error had been commited, in vesting the appointing power in that manner. He was satisfied with the Constitution as it now was in this particular ; and he was not aware that the people had ever complained. He maintained that under the Constitution of Pennsylvania the people of the State had been as well secured in all their rights and privileges as under any written Constitution that had ever existed. The gentleman from Armstrong (Mr. CURLL) had intimated that although he was not what might be called a "whole hog" reformer, that he and his party were the friends of the people. Now, he (Mr. C.) would not dispute that assertion. As, however, a change was pected, he would propose an amendment, which would, undoubtedly, suit the radicals ; at least, it ought to; and that was to substitute the House of Representatives for the Senate, as the confirming power of the nominations of the Governor. The House of Representatives was much nearer the people than the Senate, and if local information was desired, the House ought to be substituted. He therefore moved to strike out the word “ Senate”, and insert “ House of Representatives”.

He would say now, as he had said before, that this amendment appeared to him to be more in accordance with the views of gentlemen who had spoken in favor of reform, than any other that could be proposed. He believed that the Chairman (Mr. ČLARKE) himself had only a few days ago advanced some strong reasons why an amendment of this character ought to be adopted. He thought that gentleman then stated that the Senate ought not to have the power of rejecting, and he went on to argue, generally, that the Senate was a body too far removed from the people, which was not the case with the House of Representatives.

It had been objected to the present provisions of the Constitution that the appointing power was too far removed from the people. If that was the case, then why not give the appointing power to the House of Representatives—to the immediate representatives of the people. The gen

ex

tleman from Philadelphia (Mr. Brown) said, some time ago, that he had lost all confidence in Senates, here, or in higher places. He thought, therefore, he should be sure of his vote for this amendment. The gentleman's colleague, (Mr. EARLE) who had been styled the Father of the Convention, would also, he was certain, agree with him that the appointing power, if altered at all, should be placed in the House of Representatatives and the Governor. The House of Representatives was so numerous a body that it could not be so easily corrupted as a smaller body, like the Senate, upon which also the influence of the Executive would be brought more directly to bear than upon the House of Representatives. In the late struggles between the Senate of the United States and the President, which had been alluded to in the discussion, the Senate was defeated." Great efforts were made with the States to effect a change in favor of the President. If there was any extraneous influence which could not be brought to sway the Senate more easily than the House, he did not know what it was. He would say no more on the subject, except to express his hope, that those who were in favor of reform, will not take the appointing power out of the hands of the people, and place it in the Senate, which was further removed from the people than the Governor. He would only add, as a further objection to placing the power in the Senate, that he would not wish to see the Senators from Philadelphia dictating appointments of officers for his county, and the other western counties of the State, of whose local concerns they necessarily had little knowledge, and in whose affairs they could feel little interest.

Mr. BROWN, of Philadelphia, would certainly go, he said, with the gentleman for his amendment. He had said, it was true, that he had little confidence in Senates, and he had now still 'less, after the strong testimony borne against them by a gentleman who recently presided over the State Senate. He should go for the proposition. But he apprehended, that when we had got through the sixth article, and given the election of county officers to the people, there would be few officers left for the Governor and Senate to appoint. He was in favor of giving most of the appointments to the people directly, perhaps all, except the judges of the higher courts.

Mr. BELL expressed the hope that the question would be taken without further debate, for it was evident the proposition was resorted to as one of the ways of smothering it. The gentleman from Adams told us the other day., that there were two ways of reaching an object--one to march up to it directly; and the other, to approach it by indirect means. The proposition of the gentleman was so entirely out of the question, that it would not admit of argument.

Mr. EARLE would like, he said, to have the yeas and nays on the motion. He should vote for it himself, having more confidence in the House of Representatives than in the Senate, and he was glad to find the gentleman who offered it on such democratic ground. It was his wish to put a check on the action of the Senate, and he would prefer giving a negative on appointments to the House of Representatives. Gentlemen had made speeches about responsibility. What do they mean by the term ? Let them consider the meaning of the word. 'It meant, as he understood it

, an obligation upon a person to give an account of his actions, under some penalty. "The gentleman says the Governor may

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

this

send in what nominations he pleases, without responsibility. This was a strange doctrine. Who ever heard it contended that the President was not responsible for his nominations of a Post Master General, or of a Minister to Russia, or any other officer. In this age of discoveries, was the newest and most extraordinary discovery, that the Governor would not be responsible for improper nominations. The confirmation of an improper nomination by the Senate, would not justify the Governor in making it. More responsibility is created by making the Senate the advisers of the Governor, and requiring their assent to appointments, and the Governor's responsibility is not lessened by it. It was said that we have had very good officers under the present system, and the people have been happy, and the State prosperous under it; but he said there had been great complaints of bad appointments. The Governor was under the less responsibility for them, because he could throw the blame on his advisers at a distance. We could not tell who his advisers were, and it was always the excuse for a bad appointment, that the Governor was deceived by some one or other. But if we constituted the Senate or the House of Representatives as his advisers, we should remove any ground for this excuse,

and we should know where to look for the source of bad appointinents. We should have two branches of the Government responsible to the people for the appointments, instead of one.

Mr. STEVENS should, he said, vote for the amendment; not because he was in favor of it, but because it was in strict accordance with parliamentary practice, to vote for such amendments as would render a proposition odious. With this view, he should vote for the amendment, and against the proposition as amended. With the gentleman who offered this amendment, ho thought the House of Representatives an infinitely more suitable body for the exercise of this power than the Senate. The House was composed of gentlemen from almost every county in the State, whereas only one half of the counties are represented in the Senate. We must give every county a representative in the Senate, or, by this proposition, we take away their right to be heard in the appointment of their own officers. How would it work with the large Senatorial district of Lycoming and Centre ? That large territory had but one Senator, and, in relation to all appointments in that district, there would be thirty-two votes from those who had no interest in them, for one who had. The House too, was a more responsible body, for the Senators were chosen for three

years,

and in a majority of districts, were never re-elected. Four out of five, served but for one term. What kind of responsibility would the Senate be under? They would care nothing about their appointments, because they are certain of their office for three years, and are equally certain that they can hold it no longer, whatever appointments they may make. But the members of the House of Representatives, who are elected yearly, and who wished to come back to their seats, so soft and so clean, would be very careful what appointments they assented to. He would prefer that the Judges should be elected by the Legislature, to having them nominated by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate. It would create less heart-burning dissensions and excitement. Then, too, there would be no secret contracts, no inquisitorial investigations of private character, but all the proceedings would be open.

seology. This word, appointment, means an absolute selection; and would not be proper if the gentleman meant to connect the Senate with the Executive in any of the appointments. In the Constitution of the United States the word nominate is used, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint. The meaning is, that the Governor shall in some case have the sole power of appointment, and that question they might just as well settle on the amendment of the gentleman from Chester as on the amendment of the gentleman from Beaver, he should, therefore, vote against this proposition in order to reach the amendment of the gentleman from Chester, so that we might get a decided expression upon this proposition which would put it to rest finally and forever. He was now prepared to vote upon this amendment of the gentleman from Chester, and he hoped the amendment of the gentleman from Beaver might be nega. tived so that they might meet the other question directly and have such an expression of the Convention upon it as might be relied on hereafter.

Mr. Dickey said he also was prepared to vote. But he wished to remark that there was more in the proposition of his colleague (Mr. AGNEW) than the gentleman seemed to think. It contemplated leaving the mode appointment to be disposed of under the sixth article, with the concy ence of the Senate or in any other way that may be decided on. The offices in that section may not be all provided for, and, if any should be created, the proposition of his colleague would be found useful. He himself thought it would have been better to leave this matter to be disposed of in the sixth article, because we could there tell better where the appointing power should rest, and to whom should be confided the appointment of the Comptroler of Public Works and others. In that point of view he did not think the amendment of his colleague was objectionable.

Mr. Bell said he was not at all surprised that his proposition met with opposition in such a variety of shapes. Gentlemen had racked their inge. nuity to find a mode of defeating it

. He was not surprised at this when he looked to the quarter from which this opposition came. It embraced a principle from which some gentlemen are disposed to recoil whenever it is presented to them-a principle which must now be settled, if we would not wish to see the scenes of the last two days re-acted here. He had this morning assigned the reasons which had directed his course, and he would not now recapitulate them, as he hoped they were within the recollection of the committee. He now only rose to brush away the cobwebs which had gathered round the perceptions of gentlemen, and to disabuse the minds of some who were favorably disposed towards his amendment. He did not expect that what he had to say would produce any effect on the opponents of his proposition, but it was to its friends that he addressed himself. One objection which had been made was to the word “ judicial”, and some thought it was introduced here with a view to give the Governor the power to appoint these officers, in the proper section. If any fears of this kind yet existed, he hoped they would vanish. It is a reiteration. Instead of reading—he shall appoint all officers—it will only read—he shall appoint all judicial officers " by and with the advice and consent of the Senate"; it therefore, cuts off all such judicial officers. What officers will be left for him to appoint? Justices ? No. When we roh the proper article for the appointment of Judges of Courts, J.

cou restrict him by designating a different course of appoir

tlemen are desi.

[ocr errors]

otherwise provided for, subject to the qualifications and restrictions hereinafter declared”.

Mr. AGNEw did not wish by this amendment to interfere with the principle contained in the amendment of the gentleman from Chester, but merely to carry out the views of the matter he had taken yesterday when he had addressed the committee. He wished by it to retain the residuary appointing power in the Executive, and leave to the sixth article the arrangement of the different offices, and the manner in which appointments are to be carried out. This, he thought, would be getting rid of a difficulty which appeared to exist at present in relation to this question. It would merely be retaining the residuary power of appointment in the hands of the Executive, and when we come to the sixth article, we can take up the officers separately, and every gentleman would have the liberty of voting separately on each. Some gentlemen would be in favor of appointments of officers by and with the consent of the Senate, except in some particular instances,such as Secretary of State, perhaps; others might be in favor of only appointing the judicial officers by the consent of the Senate and by this amendment every gentleman would have the liberty of voting sepaately on those offices; and this would be getting rid of the difficulty of

ving so many questions to be voted upon together. For his own part, I could not vote for the amendment of the gentleman from Chester, on account of its embracing the Secretary of State ; and because another set of officers to be created by the Legislature were to be left open for future determination as to the mode of appointment. He apprehended as the amendment now stood, the Legislature might create certain offices and say that the Governor should fill them or they might create offices and fill them themselves. Now this he considered improper and had introduced his amendment for the purpose of getting rid of this question which appeared to be so perplexing to the committee.

Mr. Smyth called for the yeas and nays, which were ordered.

Mr. STEVENS said he should vote for this amendment, and if carried, he should then vote for the amendment as amended, because it obviated one great difficulty, that of leaving the appointment of a vast number of officers unprovided for which must lead to the utmost confusion.

Mr. FORWARD did not think that the phraseology of the amendment corresponded with the explanation the gentleman had given. As he understood the gentleman, he said that a qualification might be inserted in another article by which a concurence of the Senate would be made necessary in appointments.

Mr. Agnew explained that there were certain qualifications and restrictions in the eighth section upon the power of appointment which he did not consider in their right place, and he proposed to refer them to the sixth article, and then make a general section relative to the restrictions to be placed upon the power of appointment, and with that view he had inserted in his amendment the words " subject to the qualifications and restrictions herein after declared”. You could determine also in that article what offi. cers were to be appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and what officers the Governor should have the power of appointing, This he considered the better mode as the question would then come up pn each officer as to the manner in which he should be appointed.

Mr. FORWARD said he was then not mistaken, in relation to the phra.

« AnteriorContinuar »