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H. OF R.
Amendment to the Constitution.
able objections, I hoped they would not upite the provision discriminating between the Presi-
the States, and the Vice President will become a I put it to the gentleman himself whether he weight to secure the election of President; that could under such circumstances have relinquished he will be selected rather with a view to the State his own judgment and principles. I ask if he of which he is a citizen, or to his influence with could have justified to himself the giving of such particular Electors, than his worth or abilities. a vote? I answer for him that he could not. I So far is this from being true, in my opinion, that take upon me to say so, because I could not have a designation is absolutely necessary to secure the justified it in myself. I never could have justified election of a fit person for the office of Vice Presimyself, because the House of Representatives are dent. When the Electors designate the offices directed to choose a President, in abandoning a and persons, respectively, for whom they vote, candidate for whom I had the highest confidence, after choosing the person highest in their confiand voting for one of whom I felt the greatesidence for President, they will naturally make diffidence. The Constitution enjoins it upon this choice of him who stands next in their esteem for House to make an election, but it cannoi enjoin Vice President; but where they are not permitupon any man an abandonment of his judgment ted to make this discrimination, they will, 10 seand his principles. When we have conscien- cure the most important election, give all their tiously given our votes we have discharged our votes to him whom they wish to be President, duty. It is equally our business to pass laws and and scatter the other votes; thus leaving to chance to perform other important functions. But does to decide who shall be Vice President. Where a that imply an obligation on any man to vote for discrimination takes place, the Vice President will laws which he believes impolitic, oppressive, or necessarily be a man standing high in the public unjust ? If the case which I have put had actu- confidence. Where it does not take place, it is ally occurred, I presume we should have broken more than probable that he will be a secondary up without an election. For one I do not hesitate character. But we are told that it is degrading in to say, that I would have continued balloting till the lowest degree to suppose that there is but one the 4th of March, and let things take their course. person in the United States equal to the Presi
Let us suppose such a case to have happened. dency. Far be this idea from me. Were I of
Amendment to the Constitution.
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vive the Constitution--since I may reasonably in restoring the federal principle to this de partexpect to survive the term of the present Chief ment of Government. I wish to see the day Magistrate. But whilst I admit that there are when the jurisdiction of the Federal courts shall hundreds capable of filling the office, I do not be- be confined to cases arising under the Federal lieve it possible to present to the public, or to an laws. individual, two candidates between whom there Mr. R. apologized for the digression into which will not exist a preference. This is the nature of he had been carried by the view which the genman, and it is the nature of free Governments to tleman from Connecticut had taken of the pringratify this preference.
ciples of our Government. It is contended that But the gentleman from Connecticut has gone the discriminating principle of this amendment into a wide field. He takes a view of the element- goes to destroy the compromise between the ary principles of our Government, which he states States, since it will annihilate the power of the to be consolidating and federal, and he declares small States. To this I conceive it is an unanthat the discrimination attempted to be introduced swerable reply that if such be its effect it can never will violate the last of those principles, to which become a part of the Constitution. he professes himself particularly attached. It is Five States may put their veto upon it. Rhode a matter of some surprise to me that, agreeing so Island, Delaware, Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia, nearly as we do in general principles, we should are five as small States as can be found in the differ so widely in our conclusions. With some Union. They belong to the great subdivisions of variation of expression, (perhaps of ideas,) I sub- the country, Eastern, Middle, Western, and Southscribe to his general doctrine. With him, I con- These five States, judging from their repsider this a Government of States—as a Federal resentation, contain less than one-twelfth of the Government. Inasmuch as it tends to consol- population of the United States. Eleven-lwelfths idation, by so much is it objectionable to me.- of the Union may be forbidden by these States With him, I prize the federal principles on which from adding this amendment to the Constitution. it is founded, and I will join that gentleman, or An additional proof that this proposition is not any other, in heightening every federal feature of injurious to the smaller States is, that the Reprethe Constitution. I consider it, too, not only a sentatives of those very States have expressed their Government of States, but as a compromise be- approbation of it. If, on the contrary, as has been tween States of various dimensions and interests. contended by other gentlemen, this amendment When embarked in one common bottom, with a impairs the influence of the large States, Massacommon sword and common Treasury, it became chusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and necessary to give the large States a superior de- North Carolina, will reject it. But a strong proof gree of influence, to induce them to put their that it neither affects the interest of the one nor the superior wealth and population at the disposal of other is, that objections have been made to it on the Confederacy; whilst the small States were both these grounds. Whilst, however, the gento be secured against encroachment. While, tleman from Connecticut combats this discrimitherefore, they are equal in the Senate, on this nation as subversive of the rights of the small floor the States are represented in proportion to States his friend from Maryland (Mr. DENN19) their population and wealth-their influence in objects to it because the last provision renders nuthe choice of President is compounded of their gatory the discriminating principle. Does the influence in both branches of the Legislature. gentleman mean to disarm his friends of their obThis is the basis of the Constitution, and carries jections to the amendments and induce them to compromise in every feature. I will venture to support it; or does he, relying on their stability, say, that even this House is not organized on the expect to excite alarm in its friends and thereby principle of a consolidated Government, because deleat it? The gentleman and his friends have the representation on this floor is not of the whole uniformly opposed all discrimination, and now it mass of the people of the United States, but it is seems, he objects because that object is likely to a representation of each State. The United States be defeated. This objection the gentleman from are not divided into as many districts as there are Connecticut had, with his usual clear sightedness, members, nor is there a general election, but each cautiously avoided. He knew better the real bearState sends its own delegation; and the rule of ing of the amendment, and if such had been the apportionment of representatives is an additional effect of the last provision, the amendment would proof that this is a federative Government and a a
never have received so strenuous an opposition Government of compromise. If I were to point from him. No sir, it is because he sees this prinout the part of this Constitution which tends ciple, so obnoxious to him, existing unimpaired most to consolidation, I should lay my hand on in this amendment, that he has thrown every obthe Judiciary. The giving to that department stacle in his power against it. He has indeed jurisdiction not only under Federal laws, but in taken the objection that it will open the door to cases between man and man, arising under the intrigue-for so soon as any man is put in reach laws of a State, where one of the parties is a for- of the Presidency you arm him with the power, eigner, or citizen of another State, and even be- whilst you give him the disposition to corrupt the tween citizens of the same State under the bank- Electors. It will therefore be the interest of the rupt system, is the strongest feature of consolida- Vice President to defeat an election by this House. tion in this Government. I will go all lengths But will not the disposition and power to intrigue with gentlemen in abrogating this jurisdiction, be equally brought into action as the Constitu
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Amendment to the Constitution.
tion now stands, when two or more candidates voted for as Vice President, will be respectively shall be presented to that House for their selec- designated in distinct ballots. This is the alieration ? And is not the probability of such an event tion contemplated in the resolution which passed diminished by discriminating beiween the officers? the House-ihis embraces the whole of the change I conceive this provision, by lessening the chance contemplated by the House and by the public of an election by this House, has done much. It this is the amendment which I continue to apwill tend in a great degree to strengthen the union prove, and against which I have heard no subof these States, which never was more endangered stantial objection. than at the last election. The gentleman from The second amendment proposed by the Senate, Connecticut complains that the events of that it may also be recollected, was objected to on two period have been grossly misrepresented. Wheth- grounds: first, that it contemplated another imer that be the case or not, I have no hesitation to portant alteration in the Constitution in a point state that it was, in my opinion, a period of immi- where no evil had resulted, and where no inconnent danger to this country. It was a crisis such venience had been experienced. Without any as I hope we shall never again be exposed to, and reason, it proposed to narrow the choice of the to avoid its recurrence is my motive for advoca- House from five to three. It has been contended ting the amendment which has been sent to us, -and I hope the gentleman from North Carolina and which is as unexceptionable as any which I will take this as an answer to his observationsbelieve at this time atiainable. The worst that it has been contended by that gentleman, as well can befall us will be the exercise of the duties of as others, and with some ingenuity, that the PrePresident by the same person who would be called sident and Vice President are to be chosen from upon to discharge them in case of his death, resig- the five highest candidates, by the Constitution ; nation, or removal from office.
and as, by the resolution, the President is to be Mr. Eustis.-If at this late hour I could expect chosen from the three highest, and the Vice Prethe attention of this House, I should derive a pe- sident from the two highest, that the three and culiar satisfaction in replying to the observations the two make five, and of course there is no difof my friend from Virginia; and as from present ference; and the gentleman, therefore, does not indications I have a right to experience that in- see how the resolution can be objected to on this dulgence, I shall proceed with the same candor ground. But it will be seen that at present, and which has distinguished the remarks of that gen- under the Constitution, the President is chosen tleman, with whom it would be my pleasure to from five; if the proposed amendment be adopted, act on this as on other occasions.
he must be chosen from three candidates; making That gentleman expresses his hope, as the reso- a change, and narrowing the choice from among lution under consideration embraces the great ob- the candidates, from five to three. The election ject had in view, that those who are desirous of of Vice President, by this amendment, is totally attaining this object will not refuse their assent to changed; he is to be chosen ai another time and it because the resolution contains other provisions in another place, and gentlemen must see that his which he terms of an inferior or secondary nature. election bears no relation to, and cannot be couIt is necessary to review the resolution, and I pled with, that of the President. must repeat the objections which were made when The second objection to this amendment was it first came under consideration. I stated at that grounded on the indefinite mode of expression time that it differed widely and materially from from the persons having the highest numbers, the resolution sent up by this House to the Sen. not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for ate, and on which it does not appear that the Sen- ' as President, the House of Representatives shall ate have acted. That resolution contemplated a . choose immediately by ballot." "There is a want single object, viz: a designation of the persons of precision in these words. Some gentlemen unvoted for as President and Vice President. The derstand it as limiting the choice to the three highresolution of the Senate I also stated to consist of est candidates, while others suppose them intended three distinct and separate propositions: the first to embrace five, ten, or fifteen, if there be so many containing what has been termed the designating having an equal number of votes in the three principle; the second reducing the Constitutional highest grades; and, if gentlemen on this floor number of candidates from whom the House of differ in their construction, is it not to be expected Representatives are to choose, in case there be that the State Legislatures, when they come to no choice by the Electors, from five to three; the consider, and the House of Representatives of the third providing in case there shall be no choice by United States, when they come to act under it, the House of Representatives, that the Vice Pre will also differ? sident' shall be President of the United States. The third proposition provides that, if the House The first provision, that of designating, appears of Representatives shall not choose a President to me, and the House will recollect, and the gen- before the fourth of March following, the Vice tleman from Virginia will also recollect, that I President shall act as President, as in case of his then stated this to be a modification rather than resignation or death-another and a still more a change of a Constitutional rule or principle, by important change in the Constitution. To this I which the votes of the Electors, given in that did object, and I do still object, because it is precase as they are now given under the Constitution, dicated on a concession which I am not willing to will be subject only to this alteration, that the have ingrafted in that instrument. It is predicated person voted for as President, and the person on a presumption that the House of Representa
Amendment to the Constitution.
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tives may refuse to carry into effect the public may become dangerous to the public peace and will-that they will refuse to obey the imperative destructive to ihe public happiness. language of the Constitution, which ordains that, These are the objections which I made to the res. in case there be no choice by the Electors, they olution under consideration : a review of the subshall immediately proceed to a choice; because it ject has not diminished them. We continue to apassails a first and fundamental principle-il pre- prove the designating principle-we approve the sumes on a privation or absence of political mo- number five of candidates from which the House rality, on which all our institutions rest. The is to make a choice when the election shall be Constitution cannot exist if this principle become brought there. My friend from Virginia was with extinct.
us in opinion on these points; our affirmative vote The formation of this House-which is the is on the Journals; if there be any change of democratic branch of the Government-how is opinion, that change is not with us, it is the mait effected? In apportioning the representation jority of the House who have changed. And of the several States, the words of the Constitu- what reason is assigned for the change? What tion are- The State of New Hampshire shall is the reason assigned by the gentleman from be entitled to three Representatives." Suppose Virginia ? That this is the best or the most he the people of the State of New Hampshire had can attain, or that, as he gains the discriminating declined to choose their Representatives, has this principle, he is willing to take the two other House the power to compel that State to exercise amendments which the Senate have added. We this right ?' They have not; and if other States ask to be satisfied that we are reduced to this alterhad, from whatever motives, pursued a similar native. It is not satisfactory to be told that the course, this House could not have been formed, Senate will not recede when they shall be made and the Constitution must have been defeated. acquainted with the objections of the House; we
A sense of interest and of political obligation ask for an intercourse with them-we desire that are the basis and the security of the Constitution, the rules of procedure in ordinary business be oband distinguish the people and Government of served in this. With this view, I moved yesterthis from those of other countries; if you presume day that the resolution might be committed; that on its absence, you discourage, you diminish, you we might send a message to the Senate, asking an destroy it. " If the House of Representatives answer to the proposal made to them for their shall not choose.” The House of Representatives concurrence in the resolution which passed the will not refuse, they will not dare to refuse; the House, or to propose a committee of conference. transaction which is passed proves they dare not The motion was negatived-it was said not to defeat the will of the people. But if you make have been a custom in this Government to send this amendment you furnish them with an apolo- such an order or message. Without pretensions gy, with an excuse, with a justification for refus- to much experience. I know it must be in order. ing; and, what is worse, you tempt them to refuse; I know it must be consistent with parliamentary you presume, at least, that they may refuse. The rule to send messages of this nature. In what high responsibility imposed on the House by the other manner is the sense of one House to be Constitution is destroyed. This provision will be made known to the other? On a subject of this pleaded in justification of their refusal to make a importance, where there appears a difference of choice; and when they shall refuse what is to be sentiment in the iwo Houses, some intercourse the consequence? The officer whom it is intend ought to be had, and some explanation is required. ed to be defeated, by the first resolution. is pro- Perhaps the Senate, when they shall become posmoted; the man whom the people never intended sessed of the objections of the House, will be willshould be President, the Vice President, becomes ing to recede from one or both the alterations President of the United States. The Vice Presi- which they have made in our resolution. When dency will thenceforth become the office of im- we ask them to institute this inquiry, gentlemen portance to be secured in the Government, and rise in their places and tell us, the Senate will not by the means, and with the temptation, which recede; and this is all we can have—this is not will be in his power to offer and to use, he will satisfactory. finally become President.
By what means can gentlemen know this? It I.am sensible this is a provision in a last resort, is due to those who object, and it is due to the and which cannot take effect excepting in case House, that the inquiry should be made, that the of a failure of two other processes: that of the ordinary course should be pursued. The resoluElectors first, and that of the House in the second tion in the meantime will remain in custody of instance; and I am also sensible that the three the House, and if there shall be a conviction that provisions for securing a President stand separate the Senate will give up nothing for the sake of from each other; but it is true, and it will be found accommodation, it may finally be adopted; until in practice, that they have each a relation to, and this course shall have been pursued it is unreasonbearing on the other. The responsibility of the able to press a decision. Many gentlemen who Electors will be diminished, the House of Repre- approve of the designating principle are opposed sentatives will feel less responsibility, encourage to the amendments proposed by the Senate. Some ment will be given to intrigue, and the means of those gentlemen have expressed their disapprowhich have been; perhaps, too often alluded to on bation; some of them will be compelled to vote this floor, will receive a facility in the hands of the against the resolution if insisted on at this time. person who shall be chosen Vice President, which On the subject of amendments generally, two
H. OF R.
Amendment to the Constitution.
of my colleagues have expressed sentiments not and Mr. SPEAKER declaring himself with the founded in a knowledge of the letter or spirit of yeas. the Constitution. One of them, a reverend gen- YEAS—Nathaniel Macon, (Speaker,) Willis Alston, tleman, (Mr. Taggart,) speaking of the consti- jun., Nathaniel Alexander, Isaac Anderson, John Artution of Massachusetts, ascribed great wisdom to cher, David Bard, George Michael Bedinger, William the framers of that instrument, because they had Blackledge, John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, provided that it should not be amended until after William Butler, George W. Campbell, Levi Casey, the expiration of fifteen years; that within that Thomas Claiborne, Joseph Clay, John Clopton, Fredterm an insurrection had prevailed in the State, erick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, Jno. and if the constitution had admitted of being Dawson, William Dickson, John B. Earle, Peter Early, amended or altered at that time, the temper and John W. Eppes, William Findley, John Fowler, Jas. disposition of what he has called the public mind Gillespie, Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Andrew were such as would have cast the State afloat Gregg, Samuel Hammond, John A. Hanna, Josiah on the ocean of anarchy. Sir, that worthy gen- Hasbrouck, Daniel Heister, Joseph Heister, James Holtleman is not acquainted with the constitution of land, David Holmes, John G. Jackson, Walter Jones, his own State. That constitution is bottomed on John B. C. Lucas, Matthew Lyon, Andrew McCord,
William Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight, Michael Leib, the principle that the people have at all times a right to alter, to amend, and change their form of William McCreery, David Meriwether, Samuel L. Mit
chill, Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Government, whenever their own interest or their Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, jun., Gideon own happiness shall in their opinion require it.
Olin, Beriah Palmer, John Patterson, John Randolph, Impressed with this principle, the framers of jun., Thomas M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, that constitution provided by an express article John Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Cæsar A. that the General Court which should be in session Rodney, Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons, Thomas fifteen years after the adoption, “shall issue pre- Sandford, Tompson J. Skinner, John Smilie, John cepts to the several towns and plantations, calling Smith of New York, Richard Stanford, Joseph Stana convention in order to take the sense of the ton, John Stewart, David Thomas, Philip R. Thomppeople, whether they wished for any alteration." son, Abram Trigg, John Trigg, Isaac Van Horne, DanUnderstanding their own constitution, and know-iel C. Verplanck, Matthew Walton, John Whitehill
, ing that they have at all times the right to alter Marmaduke Williams, Richard Winn, Joseph Winsand amend it, the people of the State have rested ton, and Thomas Wynns. easy under it without alteration.
Nays—Simeon Baldwin, Silas Betton, Phan. Bishop, With respect to the Federal Constitution, are John Campbell
, William Chamberlin, Martin Chitgentlemen ignorant of the difficulty with which tenden, Clifton Claggett, Matthew Clay, Manasseh the convention of Massachusetts finally adopted
Cutler, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, John Denit? Do they recollect that amendments were for nis, Thomas Dwight, James Elliot, William Eustis, a long time insisted on as a condition of the ratifi- Seth Hastings, William Hoge, David Hough, Benja
Calvin Goddard, Gaylord Griswold, Roger Griswold, cation ; that the people of that State having gone min Huger, Samuel Hunt, Joseph Lewis, jun., Thos. through the war under a federative Government Lewis, Henry W. Livingston, Thomas Lowndes, Navery different from this, were afraid of the powers hum Mitchell, Thomas Plater, Samuel D. Purviance, granted by the new Constitution ; that their fears Ebenezer Seaver, John Cotton Smith, William Stedwere extensive and influential; and that this Con- man, James Stephenson, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin stitution was finally adopted, because it carried Tallmadge, Samuel Tenney, Samuel Thatcher, George with it the means of being altered and amended Tibbits, Joseph B. Varnum, Peleg Wadsworth, and as time and experience should suggest, and be- Lemuel Williams. cause the State Legislatures as well as Congress had a right to institute amendments ? One of the gentlemen (Mr. ThatchER) has
MONDAY, December 12. quoted an authority to which every member of this The House resolved itself into a Committee of House will bend with respect and attention. But the Whole on the bill for the relief of the officers the passage he has quoted, makes directly against of Government, and other citizens. who suffered him. Whilst we are cautioned against altera- in their properly by the insurgents in the western tions under the garb of amendments, we are in-counties of Pennsylvania; and, after some time, vited to adopt such as “ experience" shall recom- spent therein, the Committee rose and reported mend, and the object of ihis amendment so far the bill without amendment. as it respects the designating principle is suggested Ordered, That the said bill be engrossed, and by experience ; that the true way to preserve the read the third time to-morrow. affections of the people for this Constitution is, to On motion, it was Resolved, That a committee recur to the principles and conditions with which be appointed to inquire whether any, and if any, it was adopted, and instead of objecting, 10 give what alteration is necessary to be made in the facility to such amendments as experience shall law regulating the mode of selecting jurors to suggest.
serve in the courts of the United States. When Mr. Eustis had concluded, the ques- Ordered, That Messrs. Early, GEORGE W. tion was taken, and decided in the affirmative, Campbell, Dennis, Eppes, and Hastings, be by yeas and nays, two-thirds of the members pres- appuinted a committee pursuant to the said resoent concurring in their agreement to the said res. lution. olution of the Senate, to wit-yeas 83, nays 42–1 Mr. John RANDOLPH, jun., from the Commit