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whole morning. He was very sorry, that these motions for adjournment prevented us from getting more than four or five days in the week for attention to our business. If any here were so anxious to go to their harvests, as had been represented, let ihem go, with leave or without leave, and be answerable for it to their constituents. He was anxious to despatch the business, and was willing to stay here till that was done, even if he laid his bones here.
Mr. WOODWARD modified his motion to amend so as to iusert, after the word “adjourn”, the following, viz: “so soon as the several articles of the Constitution shall have passed through committee of the whole".
Mr. SAEGER opposed the amendment, and also an adjournment of any sort, until the Convention finished the business they came to do. He said, that the idea of adjourning to accommodate the farmers, suggested to him the fact, that some gentlemen wished to pick chestnuts out of the hot coals, but did not wish to use their own fingers. They wished to adjourn, and wished to lay it to the farmers. The farmers were willing to stay and do the work which the people sent them to do.
Mr. BAYNE demanded the previous question, and it was called for by eighteen delegates, as follows: Messrs. BAYNE, HENDERSON, of Dauphin, DICKEY, Mann, Cox, SELLERS, SAEGER, FARRELLY, Hyde, Smyth, MAGEE, DONAGAN, Smith, CURLL, BIGELOW, CLARKE, of Beaver, TODD, and Crum.
The question being, shall the main question be now put,
Mr. WOODWARD asked the yeas and nays, and they were ordered, and were as follows:
Yeas-Messrs. Agnew, Ayres, Banks, Barndollar, Barnitz, Bayne, Bigelow, Brown of Lancaster, Brown, of Northampton, Butler, Chambers, Chauncey, Clapp, Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Cleavinger, Cline, Coates, Cochran, Cope, Craig, Crum, Cummin, Cunningham, Curll, Dickey, Farrelly, Fuller, Gamble, Gearhart, Gilmore, Grenell, Hastings, Hayhurst, Helffenstein, Henderson, of Allegheny, Henderson, of Dauphin, Hiester, Houpt, Hyde, Kennedy, Kerr, Long, Lyons, Maclay, Mann, M'Call, Merkel, Miller, Montgomery, Overfield, Pollock, Porter, of Lancaster, Reigart, Ritter, Rogers, Royer, Russel, Saeger, Sellers, Seltzer, Smith, Smyth, Snively, Sterigere, Thomas, Todd, Weaver, White, Sergeant, President-70.
Nays-Messrs. Bedford, Bell, Biddle, Brown, of Philadelphia, Chandler, of Chester, Clarke, of Indiana, Cox, Crain, Darlington, Darrah, Denny, Dickerson, Dillinger, Dona. gan, Doran, Earle, Fleming, Forward, Foulkrod, Fry, Hopkinson, Jenks, Konigmacher, Magee, Martin, M'Cahen, M’Dowell, M'Sherry, Merrill, Myers, Porter, of Northampton, Purviance, Read, Scott, Scheetz, Shellito, Swetland, Taggart, Woodward, Young_10.
So the main question was ordered to be put.
The question being then taken on the original resolution, as moved by Mr, MANN,
The yeas and nays were required by Mr. Hiester, and Mr, ReiGART, and were as follows, viz :
YEAS–Messrs. Bigelow, Brown, of Lancaster, Brown, of Northampton, Chandler, of Chester, Chauncey, Clepp, Cleavinger, Coates, Cope, Craig, Crum, Cunningham, Curll, Forward, Foulkrod, Grenell, Hastings, Houpt, Hyde, Jenks, Kennedy, Long, Lyons, Maclay, Mann, M'Call, Miller, Overfield, Porter, of Lancaster, Porter, of Northampton, Reigart, Royer, Russell, Scott, Sellers, Snively, Swetland_37.
Nars-Messrs. Agnew, Ayres, Banks, Barndollar, Bayne, Bedford, Bell, Biddle, Brown, of Philadelphia, Butler, Chambers, Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Clarke, of Indiana, Cline, Cochran, Cox, Crain, Cummin, Darlington, Darrah, Denny, Dickey, Dickerson, Dillinger, Donagan, Doran, Earle, Farrelly, Fleming, Fry, Fuller, Gamble, Gearhart, Gilmore, Hayburst, Helffenstein, Henderson, of Allegheny, Hiester, Hopkin
MONDAY, JUNE 26, 1837.
The Convention again resolved itself into committee of the whole, on the third article of the Constitution, Mr. KERR, of Washington, in the Chair.
The question pending being on the motion of Mr. HAYHURST, to amend the amendment, by inserting after the word “taxes", and before the word but”, the words following, viz: “And free male citizens, qualified by age and residence as aforesaid, who shall, within two years next before the election, have paid any public tax required by law, shall also be entitled to vote in the district in which they shall reside”.
Mr. WOODWARD, of Luzerne, rose to make one or two suggestions.It appeared to him to be the object of the mover of this amendment, to introduce some mode of identifying voters as residents of the district. He (Mr. W.) would prefer the adoption of any other mode to that of paying a tax. If it was the desire of the committee to establish a mode of de signating a species of record, to establish the fact of residence, it ought to be made on the most liberal principle. Ile did not believe, that a majority of this Convention were prepared to say that property is to be a basis of the right of suffrage, even to a limited extent, or that a tax qualification should be retained for any other purpose than as a record of citizenship. Gentlemen in favor of this principle, wish to make it rest on a certain length of residence. In this view, the mode of ascertaining the tax, in this amendment, is not so objectionable. In this view, it is more tolerable than when imposed under the idea that it confers any particular privilege. If a tax qualification be established for this purpose, it ought to embrace every man who pays any species of tax. A borough tax, for such purpose, would be as good evidence as a county tax; and, he who contributes by his labor, on the highways and public roads, should be equally entitled, because, owing to the great intercourse, he who pays the tax in this land of labor, stands in as much estimation, in public opinion, as he who pays a State or county tax of a shilling. Has he not as complete and full evidence of his right to vote, as if he paid a State tax? The object of the amendment is to extend the right, so as to allow him, who pays a township or borough tax, as well as him who pays a public and State tax, to exercise the right which is his, and this is sufficient evidence of the fact. He was in favor of this amendment. It extended the privilege to the honest laborer who may not have been able to save a sufficient sum to pay the State tax, There were many honest laborers, within his knowledge, who were not able to retain, from the necessary expenses of their families, the contingencies of sickness, and other incidents, enough to pay the State tax, but had contributed, by their working on the roads, and thus acquired a meritorious right to the exercise of the elective franchise. Might not this then be as satisfactory evidence as if they had been able to meet the hard faced collector. The man who has earned the right by the toil of his hands, as well as he who contributes his mite to the county tax, should be entitled to vote. And, who would object to this most reasonable extension of the right ? Whom could it injure? Whose
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES.
rights would it abridge? It diminishes, abridges the right of no one, while it extends the rights of the honest laborer, who has not the means to pay in money, but only by his honest labor. Whom is it to injure? Who is to be found on this floor to oppose a provision, which gives the privilege to that labor and sinew which works on your public highways, and which its possessor would be as willing to bring into the field in time of danger ? Who will say such are not qualified ? No one. If the pay. ment of taxes be only intended for evidence of qualification, here is such evidence as is not to be disputed. In regard to the terms of the amendment, the gentleman from Beaver took exception to the word public, as a vague and indefinite expression, not sufficiently intelligible. The gentleman from Beaver, he believed, was a lawyer, but all the legal talent of Beaver county could not have supplied a word more significant, or more plain. A public tax, to a lawyer and every one, conveys the idea of a tax imposed by a public law. What is a public law? The gentleman understands the difference between a public and a private law. What relates to the public, is a public law; while, a private law is that which relates to individuals. A tax is a publie tax when it relates to the com. munity. All taxes which relate to the community are public taxes.There is not the least ground for the exception taken by the gentleman. No term could have been selected more apt and appropriate. Why should not this amendment prevail. It injures no one, while it extends the rights of suffrage to a most meritorious class—not large, because most men, by means of their industry and economy, have accumulated something—those who cannot spare a pecuniary contribution, but have performed their duties on the soil, and are prepared to fulfil their duties, when required, in the field ?
Mr. HAYHURST asked for the yeas and nays on his motion to amend, and they were ordered.
Mr. ČOCHRAN, of Lancaster, said that, as (the yeas and nays had been called on this question, he wished to make a very few remarks. He had been ranked, as his votes would shew, among those who opposed many amendments to the Constitution, acting, as he believed, in consistency with the views of his constituents. He was well aware that his constituents were not disposed to make any considerable changes in the Constitution. There was a majority of votes cast in his county against a Convention; but in that majority there were many who were willing to amend the Constitution in parts, but they were fearful that too much would be done. He had not considered the amendments hitherto of much importance. One which was peculiarly entertained by his constituents was in reference to the diminution of the patronage of the Executive; but he did not think the amendment made on that point as in any way carrying out their views. They did not wish the responsibiliiy of the Executive divided with any other branch of the Government, but that it should be entirely vested in him. For that amendment, therefore, he had not voted, as his constituents desired the restrictions to be in a different form. As regarded the tax qualification, he had voted in favor of it; and he should also vote in favor of this, as he believed that he was thus carrying out their wishes. The tax qualification was the most honest test which could be desired ; and whatever may be said, and whatever arguments used to