Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

brought before us by the gentleman from Fayette, (Mr. FULLER) for limiting the tenure of the Judiciary, we were asked to give a solemn rote upon it; and vo one knew better the object of this vote than he (Mr. S.) did, li w:8 to have no effect in shortening cur lahors, and was not to supersede the neressity of our re-assembling again in this place. We were to come back here, at an immense expense to the Commonwealih, 10 senile and pui inio shape this opinion, which we were called upon to express. We were to come back here, when we recruited our healths and our stock of materials for further debate, and saddle upon the people the expenses of a session of six months; and then separate, after having done just what we propose to do now. The gentleman from Beaver has hrought forwari the very proposition in a definite and practicable form, wł ich ihe genıle. man from Fayıtle brought forward in a vague ind indefinite form; and when he proposes to give it 10 the people before we adjourn, 10 save the iminense expense of re-assembling here, he is denounced hy gentlemen, and by no one more reverely than by the çenilenian from Lancaater. On more occasirns than one has this gentleman's character been allacked in this Convention; hull, fortunately, he lias earned for hin:self a repruation which will list, when those who malign him will he forgotten. Is there any thing in this proposition which those who are now so declanatory api instii. have not a hurdred lines declared thieniselves prepared 'o act upon ? Is it the oljeet of ihe gentleman from Lancaster. thai we should spend on time here unul other yenilemien can be accommodated? Are we to remain in session until ile rime arrives for submiting our smendmenis, which will suit the particular views of some gentlemen here? Was this the magnanimity of gentlenien on this floor? Let gentlernen consider this question, and then they could determine whether it was the gentleman from Beaver, or the geinilem:n srom Lancasi's, who hest understood the duty he owed to his constituients, (ir 10 the perple of the Stile. Whil is there in the resolution sulimiteil by the gentleman from Beaver, that is noi in the propositions of amendment which we hare Jahored here for nine weeks to mature? And are they yet regaried, after all this waste of time and money, so crude and indigested, as to be unfit to be laid before the people? In addition to what we have already agreed to in committee of the whole, the limitation in the tenure of the Juiciary has been here introduced, and haveve not been told, over and over again, by the radical reformers, the very men wlo had their minds made up when they came here, ihat the people had decided that this change should be made?' We have been chargeil, 100, with attempts from the beginning, to defeat all reform; yel now, when we bring forwaril the very proposi. tions which gentlemen desire, and ask them to adopt them, in order io save expense to the Commonwealili, we are slenounced by these very consistent gentlemen. We have been told from the beginning, that the peuple desire these reforms, and that this Convention was only called as a means of making them and submiting them to the people; bit, all at once, these gentlemen discover that this is not the proper time to make this reform. We have been told, all along, that the people had desired that the lenure of the Judiciary was to be limited, but when this question conies to be Bubmited 10 yenilemen, they declare that they are not prepared 10 vote upon it, and he supposed that the gentleman from Lancaster, who had Lately become a reformer, had not made up his mind between a terin of

years and good behavior. For himself, his mind was made up on this question. He was in favor of an independent Judiciary, to adminisier the laws of the Commonwealth. He was in favor of a Judiciary that would discharge its duties with perfect independence, and honesty, and justice; and Judges appointed for good behavior, he believed to be better calculated to administer the laws independently, than Judges appointed for any other term. But, notwithstanding he believed this, he did not come here to shut his eyes to the light of day. He did not come here so blind, that he could not see that which a child of three years old would discover, namely, that there was a decided majority of this body in favor of limiting the tenure of the Judiciary. Was he to stand up, then, in blind opposition to the majority, and say, that if you do get the reforms you desire, it shall cost the Commonwealth a quarier of a million of dollars? Was this what gentleinen desired him to do? Now, he was prepared to go for this proposition, submited by the gentleman froin Beaver, not that he was pleased with the whole of it, because there were sone things in it which he would like to shun: there were some of its provisions which he would be pleased 10 omii, but if he knew the sentiments of this bo:ly at all, he knew there were twenty of a majority for limiting the tenure of the Juliciary, as he thought every member of this Convention must be convinced. He would, therefore, take the proposition as it stands, with all its objectionable features, and subniit the matter to the people at the next election, for the purpose of avoiding the inconvenience and expense of re-assembling this Convention in the fall of the year.

He supposed he would be again laken to task for mentioning this matter of expense, anvi have a lecture read 10 him, as has been read 10 other gentlemen, because they spoke the truth; and he supposed gentlemen would attempt to show who eaused this expense. He did not pretend to say who caused it, but if there were no other expenses incured than those desired by the conservatives in this Convention, they would be very small, indeed. They do not bring crude propositions before the body, but only take the liberty of answ ring such as are brought forward and advocated by other gentlemen. He did not stand here to charge any one with causing expense, but if we c.in now do all that can be done in the end, and save all the expense which will be incured by meeting again, why not do it? He knew, however, that it was in vain to argue this matier; while, on the one hand you find, not every reformer, but every reforiner of a particular party, going for putting off this question until after the election ; anid, on the other hand, you

find the magnanimous conservatives running their head, neck and shoulders into the very mouth of the lion. If this proposition of the genileman from Beaver is rejected, we will be going on to decide upon the proposition of the gentleman from Fayette, which must be more objectionable to gentlemen ihan this one. He hoped, therefore, that this proposition of the genileman from Beaver might be adopted, so that a termination might he put to our labors, and a vasi sum of money saved to the Cominonwealth.

Mr. Purviance said, he rose to express his astonishment at the very singular proposition of the genilenian from Beaver, (Mr. DICKEY) and al. so lo enter his protest against the repeater, stale, and worn out story of Conventional expenses. At an early siage of the session, he had made repeated efforts to procure a conference of the friends of reform, for the

purpose of bringing before the Convention something which would meet with the approbation of a majority of members; and, if possible, have it presented in the people at the ensuing October election. He was surpri. sed that, within thiee days of the adjourninent, a proposition should have emanated fiom the genileman from Beaver, (Mr. DICKEY) containing not even what had heen passed upon by the committee of the whole, and that this should be done withoui any hope of obtaining a final vote, without first rescinding t'e resolution of adjourminent. He had voted against the adjournment, and also in favor of prolonging the session, until the duties assigned by the Convention should be finally disposed of; but when, by a vote of eighty to forly, the question of adjournment had been settle), he was at a loss to know the reason for introducing so singular a proposition, with any hape of geuing it through in ihree days. The proposition of the gentleman from Beaver (Mr. Dickey) is the same as that offered by the gentleman from Adams. (Mr. STEVENS) a few days since, except that the former em'races a provision in relation to Judicial tenue, which was not in that of the later. Now, why was not something of this kind done at an earlier period? Why have gentlemen, who have consumed day after day, and week after week, in the discussion of amend. ments, nerer desired by the people, all at once, as if by magir, been brought to do what the honest friends of resorin have been laboring assidously to obtain sinre the first day of our meeting ? Who introduced excitin topics into this Convention, which consumed half the time of its 8.?ssion, and thereby wasted the public tim: and money? The very well.. tlemen who are now complaining most of expense, and who are now aboul to atone for the loss of time consequent upon their unnecessary dis. cissions. One of those gentlemen first introduced a proposition w limit t'ie city and county representation to six members ; and upon this, an es. cited. and I may ailul, a disreputable discussion ensued. Next a proposition is made, by the saibe genteman, against all banks, which was premiture and uncalled for, and ocasioned great and anecessary delar,Next came, froin the saine quarter, a proposition whiih went to disfran. chise ihe members of the Convention ; and this. like the vihers, producru a lungly and extremely unple sant debate. From the same quarter, we n''st hive a por 'position w elect inspectors of Aour, pork, laz relo plıy. sicians, &c., all done for the obvious purpose of consuming time, that an opportunity might be ofired to follow it up by complainis of the daily expenses of the Convention. All the propositions refered in, originated with the gentleman from Adams, (Mr. STEVENS) and, in their discussion, who participated more than the gentleman from Beaver (Mr. DICKEY)? The answer to this last enquiry, will be found by an examination of the Journal of our proceelings, where the eye will meet with that gentle. man's name on alınust every page. Alier such great, and uncalled for, anil inexcusable consumpii'in of time liy ihose two gentlemen, ther com. plain of the expenses, and spread esiimates of the daily cost of this body. Sir, (said Mr. P.) I protest against any thing like trick or management, let it coine from what quarter it may; and more particularly (!o I protest against these artifices, co:ning as they do from those who are unfriendly to reform, and designed as they are to influence and excite public opinion against the amendments which will be presented to the people. What (said Mr. P.) are the daily expenses of ihis body? Less by iwo hundred

dollars than those of the Legislature. What are our duties? Ten times more iniportant than those of any Legislative body in the world. He (Mr. P.) would state for the information of the genilemen from Adams, (Mr. Stevens) from Beaver, (Mı. Dickey) and Franklin, (Mr. Dunlop) that this Convention had made one amendmeni, lo wil: that of changiug the time of meeting of the Legislature, which, of itself, would save to the people of Pennsylvania, annually, forty-five thousand dollars, and which, in ten years, would amount to nearly five hundred thousand dol ars. He coucluded by repeating that the proposition of the gentleman from Beaver was what he (Mr. P.) had been endeavoring, in the early stage of the Convention, to bring about, but was arrested in bis intention, by the introduction of unnecessary propositions, in the discussion of which the gentlemen from Beaver, (Mr. Dickey) and from Adams, (Mr. Stevens) had largely participated; and intimated in reference to the gentleman from Beaver, (Mr. Dickey) that a change hall come over the spirit of his dreams, in consequence of the recent nomination of that gentleman for the Senate in Beaver county. He (Mr. P.) hoped that, in future, no gentleman would attempt to elevate himself at the expense of his fellow members, and that propositions would not, hereafter, be submited for the sake alone of seeking popularity.

Mr. Hopkinson, of Philadelphia, exceedingly lamented that, at this stage of the session, when we were about to adjourn fur some time, and perhaps some of us forever, that the subject hid been brought here, and treated in such a way—in a manner strongly partaking of a personal character. There had been animated debates, going far inio personal animosity, yet nothing had, as yet, occured, which had disturbed personal harmony. He trusted that a change-a turn in the argument before us would take place, because the practice of impugning motives, and looking to the personal motives of gentleinen, musi always excite relaliation. For his own part, he looked noi to the motives of gentlemen-he looked to their argumente. He looked to them alone, and let them answer as to their motives. With regard :o the proposition of the gentleman from Beaver, he was most decidedly opposed to it, and declared that is he stood alone here, he would never consent directly or indirecily to participate in destroying the independence of the Judiciary. Every member who voted for the amendment, did so, and must be silent before the people. The gentleman from the county of Philadelphia, had said to-day, or yesterday, that it was in vain to debate the matter the sentence had gone forth-hat we stood forth rather as executioners than Judges. That mighi be so, he had no idea of deciding the question. Ile consessed then, from the discussions which had taken place here, he had derived much light, and should go from here a wiser inan than he was. The gentleman said that he had made up his mind upon it. He (Mr. H.) would say, that there was not a question which liad came before the Convention, which was so liitle understood as the present. As to the Justices of the Peace, they saw them, and could judge of them. But, as to the principles of liberty, and the foundation upon which the Judiciary stood, he would say that there was no subject upon which the members of the Convention possessed so little inforination. Where, he would ask, were they to get it? They could not get it in the books: it was, indeed, but a new subject in England--a subject about which very little had been written. And, in this country, little more

04

VOL. III.

would be found in reference to the in:lependence of the Judiciary, and the principie of the Judges holding their offices during good behavior, than in the speeches of political arguments of pablic men. He had voted for re. scinding the resolution for adjourninent, in order to give us time; but the Convention had vot thought proper to reseind the resolution. le concluded by saying, that he would vote against the a:nendment of the gentleman from Fayette, and also, artinst that of the gentleman from Beaver.

Mr. Dickey, of Beaver, having been spoken of in the inanner he had been, felt himself constr.:ined to reply to the gentleman from Butler, or from Lincaster, to point to any part of his course which was inconsistent with the proposition he had now offered. He had come from a section of the country, which, on every occasion when the question had been presented to the people for the call of a Convention, voted for it by an overwhelming majoritv. Hic believeil, that he understood what his constituents wisliei and desire'l, and he thonght it was embraced in the proposition which he had submited. His opinion was, that his constituents wanted the time of the election lixed for the third Tuesday in October, and ine Legislature to meel in January. His constituents were in favor of many other measures of reform, and he was, therefore, anxious to submit to them those propositions which had undergone the action of the committee, and would not probably be defeated on a seconı reading. Why should not the gentleman from Butler be willing that the people should pass upon those propositions which he himself was in favor of, and whic': ke knew the people were in favor of, at the election in October next? This proposition contaired nothing which the Convention had not acted upon, except the limitation to the amount of Stue debt, and the alteration of the tenure of the Judiciary:Upon those subjeets, he did not wish to forre az division without debate, and he, therefore, had offered a mouton to rescind the resolution for adjournment, In a short time, they could be acted upon, and there was no good reason why the proposition should not be submited to the people in October.Mr. D. went on to express his entire willingness, if gentlemen would assist him to get the resolution of adjournment rescinded, to sit here until the whole of the business which the people expected to have done, should be finished. There were some who were anxious to be at home previous 10 the elections; but if any of the insinuations about nominations were intended for him, they would fall to the ground, for although he had seen his name in the papers, he had not solicited any nomination. Reference had been made to the author of the amendment. It was a copy of the resolutions offered by the gentleman from Adams, which had been lying on the table for tivo weeks; and he was one of those who were not unwilling to take a good thing, because it came from that quarter. He was willing that the opportunity should be allowed to every gentleman for a full discussion of the resolutions, and for that purpose, he was willing to rescind the resolu. tion of adjournment. He was willing to remain here until the business before the Convention was concluded, whether it was for four weeks, or four months. But he asked those who were bound to carry out the principles of reform to go with him ; and he believed it wonld then be possible to go through the whole in the course of a week. He believed the minds of the people were made up, and it was the duty of the Convention to carry out the views of the people.

Mr. HAXHURST moved to postpone ine further consideration of the sub

« AnteriorContinuar »