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H. OF R.
Amendment to the Constitution.
olution under consideration embraced two objects. The voice of the people, constitutionally proThe first part of it was intended to render the nounced at the poll of an election, is the only mode of electing the members of this House uni- sovereigo and independent exercise of authority form throughout the United States; the other acknowedged in this nation. part was intended to produce a uniformity in the And, sir, the further you remove an officer from mode of choosing Electors of the President and a direct dependence for political existence on the Vice President of the United States. He was io voice of the people thus expressed, in that proporfavor of both parts of the resolution, He would, tion you diminish the power and privileges of the he said, however, premise that he had no objec- citizen. If this doctrine be correct, it is then totion to ihe modification of the resolution in the tally inconsistent with the general principles of mapper proposed by his colleague, (Mr. Root,) our Government, that the elected should choose who had just resumed his seat.
Electors. This machinery is unnecessary in-asWith respect to the first part of the resolution, certaining the will of the majority of the people Mr. H. said, the States, immediately after the on the great question, " who shall be their Chief adoption of the Constitution, by their practice Magistrate."'. It is inconsistent with that repubUoder it might be said to have expressed an opinion lican simplicity which ought to characterize the favorable to the proposed amendment. Most, if government of a free people. It is, sir, a machinot all the States, immediately after the adoption nery which, in the bands of bad men, may be of the Constitution, had been divided into districts, used to thwart that very public will which, by an for the purpose of electing members in the House election, is supposed to be declared. The mode of Representatives of the United States, in the of choosing Electors by the people, by general mapper contemplated by the proposed amend- ticket, as it was called, Mr. H. said was equally ment. The same system would probably have objectionable. Almost all the arguments which been continued to the present time, bad it not had been, or could be urged agaiost choosing been for the struggle between the two great par members of Congress by general ticket, applied ties which had for several years past divided this with equal, if not stronger force, against choosing nation.
Presidential Electors in the same manner. lo Mr. H. said that he could not perceive that any those States where Electors were chosen by genserious inconvenience could arise from engrafting eral ticket, he believed it was universally the case this part of the resolution into the Constitution, that they were nominated by the members of the while at least one important advantage would State Legislature. Sir, said Mr. H., according result from it.
to the present laws of party, a nomination amounts If the Electors residing within a territory com- to a choice. prehending only thirty-five thousand inhabitants, But, said Mr. H., I contend that it is not right vote for one man only within that territory, their that the Legislatures of the respective States means of personally knowing the political princi- should have the power of determining the mode ples, talents, and morals of the candidate, would of choosing Electors for the President. The danbe far better than they could be where the mem- ger of a combination of great States to the prejubers of Congress are chosen by general ticket, in dice of small ones, furnishes to my mind a strong a State containing a population equal to New objection to allowing to the respective State LeJersey or New Hampshire.
gislatures the power of determining the mode of Mr. H. said, tbat, ia his view, the principal choosing Electors. One hundred and eleven votes value of the elective franchise consisted in this: will elect your President. The States of Massathat the Elector having in his eye several of his chusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, fellow-citizens, with whose moral characters and give one buodred and one votes These four mental endowments he was well acquainted, States therefore, connected with a comparatively would by his vote declare which of ihem he small State, can elect a President. Thus a mere thought most worthy to be intrusted with bis bald majority of one in the State Legislatures of righis. As, therefore, by adopting the proposed five Slates can impose a President on ihe fourteen amendment, the value of the elective franchise States, even if the inhabitants of the remaining would be increased, and no serious evil would, in fourteen States were to a mao opposed to him. It the opinion of Mr. H., result from it, he said he is unnecessary to pursue this part of the subject was decidedly in favor of that part of the resolu- further, because it must appear evident that, if tion.
the Constitution is not altered, the minority can But, said Mr. H., I consider that part of the reso. and possibly, nay probably, will govern the ma. lution which proposes so to alter the Constitution jority. It may be objected against the proposed as to render the inode of choosiog Electors for amendment, that if adopted it will diminish the President and Vice President uniform throughout influence of the great States. Be it so. I am the United States, far the most important. willing, sir, that the influence of the great Stales
The practice in many of the States under the in their corporate capacity in the election of a Constitution is, that the Electors for President President should be diminished. are chosen by the members of the State Legisla- While I say this, I do not forget that I come tures. This practice is, I think, inconsistent with from a great State. But, sir, when this question the genius of our Government. The American comes to be fairly submitted to the people of the Government is essentially a popular one. All State of New York, I have the fullest confidence power is declared to be derived from the people. that their patriotism will induce them to make a
Amendment to the Constitution.
H. OF R.
sacrifice of any advantage they may derive as a influence over the opinions of other citizens, ought Stale under the present provisions in the Consti- to be guarded against-ought to be resisted. And tution, for the purpose of placing the union, inde- sir, can it for a moment be doubted but that the pendence, and liberties of the United States on a State Legislatures present bodies of men on whom firmer basis. Sir, the question of who shall be the Executive influence can be brought to bear elected President, is not a State, but a National with more effect than on the whole mass of the question. The President is an officer who exists American people? I think not., for the benefit of the people of the United States, A practice, said Mr. H., has been resorted to, and not for any one siate or any part of the and will probably be resorted to again ; a practice States. He ought not, therefore, to be created by which, on this occasion, I beg leave io mention, the States, but by the people. The personal merit without either censure or approbation, of desigand political principles of the candidate are the nating the Presideatial candidate in a Congresonly proper objecis to which the attention of the sional caucus. Putting for a moment out of view Electors oughi to be directed. A great State, Executive patronage, surely no one will deny but therefore, cannot claim, because she is great, that that the political friends of the Executive, after she should furnish a Chief Magistrate for the a residence for some time in his immediate neighnation. But so long as the Legislatures of the borhood, will, at such meetings, be greatly ipfiurespective States choose or direct the mode of enced by the known wishes and views of the Exchoosing the Electors, so long State claims, as they ecutive. And, sir, when you add to the influence are called, will enter more or less into considera which political partialities and court blandishtion in the selection of a President. But, sir, ments will necessarily have on the minds of the alter your Constitution, cause the Presidential best of men, that influence which is produced by Electors to come direcily from the people, and the power to dispose of all offices of honor and they will bring with them the public sentiment, profi, it is not to be presumed that a majority of unbiassed and upadulterated. We shall then the political friends of the Executive will ever be hear no more of State claims. The great mass found who will designate a candidate in opposiof the people will pay homage to talent and polition to his wishes. The moment the designation tical virtue—and whether ihe man who chals is made, the minority in such caucuses will, from lenges their preference for these qualities is found a respect to the great political party to which they on the heights of the Green Mountains, at the are allached, and from at least an implied hononorthern extremity of the Union, or on the banks rary engagement, be disposed to give their sup; of the Mississippi, 10 then it will be indifferent. port to the Executive favorite. Thus the personal Mr. H. said he had another objection against the influence of the members of both Houses of Conchoice of Electors being made by order of the gress is brought to bear, in conjunction with ExState Legislatures. It was the danger arising ecutive influence, on the State Legislatures. from the influence of the Executive of the Uni- Can Electors chosen by the State Legislatures ted States on the State Legislatures exerted for upder such circumstances be presumed to prothe purpose of continuing himself in office or of nounce the wishes of the majority of the people ? selecting his successor. In the few remarks I No sir, they will be a species of machinery got wish to offer to the Committee on this subject, up to respond the will of the Executive, and not said Mr. H., I protest against the inference ihat men who apnounce to the nation the voice of the I inlend any allusion to transactions in relation people. It will be, as an honorable gentleman to any past Presidential election. It is not so. I from Virginia, (Mr. RandoLPA,) in some animadmean to state what in my opinion will be the versions which he made during the last session conduct of the Executive, taking man as he is. on this mode of choosing Electors, said, with an Sir, the person who will fill the Executive Chair energy and strength of language peculiar to bimwill bave his preferences. He will have views self "the shadow of a shade" of an election. of his own in relation to the great question re- Sir, the power of the States to choose, or direct specting the first office in the nation. He has a the manner of chuosing Electors for the President, righị to them-and his opinions are entitled 10 is a rotten, a gangrenous part of our Constitution, the same respect as those of any other individual which if not rernoved will infect and poison the possessed of equal experience and judgment. But body politic. I hope it will be extirpated. he has no right to make use of the official patron- If this in fact be a Government founded on the age given him by the Constitution for other pur- opinions of a majority of the people, if in truth poses, to aid bim in carrying those views into the people are not their own worst enemies, let effect. But, possessiog an inclination like all other your Electors be created immediately by, and men, to carry into effect his owo wishes, are we come directly from, the people. When you do not to presume that he will call to his aid in ac- that, and noi till then, you will be certain that complishing his views some of the patronage of your President holds his office by the consent and which he finds himself possessed ? He must be at the request of a majority of the people over more than man not to do so. If then it be desira- whom he presides. ble that the free unbiassed judgment of a majority Mr. Jewett, of Vermont, proposed a division of the people of this nation, pronounced at the the question, so as to take the sense separately election, should determine the momentous ques. on the iwo parts of the resolution ; as some gention, Who sball be the First Magistrale ? everyotlemen would be inclined to vote for one who thing which tends to give one citizen an undue I would not yote for the olber.
Mr. Ross, of Pennsylvania, said, that for his Society of Friends, held in Baltimore, praying own part he had not given this subject that atten- that other and stronger provisions may be enacttion which it merited, and was not prepared to ed to prevent the traffic in negro slaves from one vote on it at this moment. The views which had State to another, within the United States, in been presented by gentlemen who had spoken which traffic they allege that many persons of were impressive, and had excited his reflection. color, free, or entiiled to freedom at a given time, Still be was not convinced, until he had further are carried into perpetual slavery.-Referred to opportunity for consideration, that the mode pro- the committee appointed on that part of the posed by the resolve was the best possible ihat President's Message which relates to the African could be adopted. Mr. R. said he was not satis- slave trade. fied, if an amendment in regard to the mode of Mr. Lowndes, of South Carolina, from the choosing Electors was necessary, that one greatly Committee of Ways and Means, reported a bill preferable to that now before the House might for the relief of Henry Malcolm; and a bill to not be adopted. When the Constitution had discharge from his imprisonment John Ricaud, been originally framed, it had been supposed, he late a paymaster in the army; which were sevesaid, that the members of the Electoral Colleges rally twice read, and committed. would get together, and consult as to the best Mr. Caldwell, of Ohio, submitted for considerperson upon whom to bestow their votes; but ation the following resolution: the practice under the Constitution had shown
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire this expectation to be idle, and that the election into the expediency of authorizing the President to apdid not in fact turn upon the principle on which point Commissioners to locate and mark out the road the Convention bad intended to fix it. On the from the Ohio river, opposite to Wheeling, in the State contrary, the Presidential candidates were fixed of Virginia, through the State of Ohio, with leave to and announced before the election of Electors. report by bill or otherwise. Mr. R. thought the mode of election ought to be The resolution baving been amended on mochanged, but doubled whether the mode proposed tion of Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, so as to refer would be the best. Might not the election, he the subject to the standing Committee on Roads asked, be better trusted at once to the people ? and Canals, was agreed to. Why the intervention of Electors ? Surely the whole body of the people would be less subject
COMPENSATION LAW. to bribery or corruption than any smaller body. It did appear to his mind, as at present impressed, tee appointed on the subject, submitted a report
Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, from the committhat to the people, and io them only, could the relative to the compensation of the members of election be safely confided; and that all the pres- Congress, embracing an elaborate and ample ent machinery, for electing a President, which view of the subject, accompanied by a bill to resometimes is wielded by mere legerdemain, corruption, or unfair influence, be put out of the way. thereof to provide a daily allowance of
peal the present compensation law, and in lieu
- dol.. This power would be no longer dangerous when confined to the people themselves. As to the travelling to and from the Seat of Government.
lars, and dollars for every twenty miles mode of electiog Representatives, Mr. R. did not see any great objection to it; but to attain the gen
The report is as follows:
The committee to whom was referred the considetleman's object completely, the choice should be restricted to the district by which an individual ration of the expediency of repealing or modifying the is chosen. The feature, however, might be added law passed at the last session, relative to the compenby an amendment to the resolution. Not having, sation of members of Congress, ask leave to report. he said, made up his mind on this subject, and of providing for the pay of its own members
, is, doubt
The power, vested in Congress by the Constitution, presuming that a number of the Committee were less, a delicate trust; and it might have been apprein the saine situation, and considering the great hended, as well from the nature of the subject, as from importance of the subject on which they were former experience, that the most judicious exercise of about to act, he moved that the Committee rise that trust would not be exempt from some degreo of and report progress.
public animadversion. The committee, however, can. Mr. Calhoun, in acceding to this motion, took not perceive, either in the increase of compensation the opportunity to observe that be considered this provided by the late act, or in the mode of making that a question of great importance. He thought compensation, cause of excitement or alarm, adequate the proposed amendmeni to the Constitution, if to the effects which are understood to have been proadopted, would remove some evils which experi- duced. The addition which this law has made to the ence has shown to exist, and which in future time, public expenditure is not considerable ; and if it had if uncorrected, may menace the existence of the been created by other measures of Government, would Republic. He therefore thought this subject en- not, probably, of itself
, have been thought worthy of titled to the most mature consideration.
great attention. And the change in the mode of com. The Committee rose, reported progress, and ob- pensation, even if it be not attended with real and tained leave to sit again.
manifest advantage, does not still appear to be wrong, so clearly, and in such dangerous measure, as to fur.
nish grounds for any high degree of public inquietude. WEDNESDAY, December 18.
The committee, therefore, cannot but be of opinion, Mr. PICKERING presented a petition of the rep- that the law in question has not been considered with resentatives of the yearly meeting of the religious out some mixture of misapprehension of its principles
H. OF R.
and objects, and that a more accurate knowledge of its a faithful discharge of duty, in the face of these proba. provisions, and more mature reflection on its design ble consequences, is to be reckoned among dangerous and tendency, if they should not end in a conviction political errors. of its usefulness, would yet result in a different and At the commencement of this Government, it was of far more moderate estimate of its probable evils. It course among its first measures to fix, by law, agreewould not become the committee to claim any infalli- ably to the requisition of the Constitution, the pay of bility for the body of which they are members, nor to members of Congress. In the old Congress under the take it for granted, that every law which it may pass, Confederation, the members were paid, not out of the must, necessarily, be a wise and wholesome act of le- national Treasury, but, by the States which they repgislation. Human errors and imperfections find their resented. The rates of compensation were different way into all bodies. And there is, doubtless, existing in different Ştates ; some States paid to their delegates in the judgment of the community, a power under eight dollars a day ; others six; others less; and one whose revision this and other acts of Government must State at least paid them by annual provision six hunand ought to pass. If, however, on a review of this dred pounds sterling. It was natural to recur to subject, the House should still be of opinion, that the these precedents, when the subject was taken up by law in question, or some equivalent provision, has be- the first Congress, under this Constitution. Taking come essentially necessary for the useful exercise of as a just and obvious standard, by which to regulate the powers of Government, and for the safety, security, the amount of compensation, the average of the rates and honor of the people themselves, its members may which had been paid, by the different States, to their still hope, that in not bastily departing from it, they Delegates in the old Congress, it was found that such will be justified by the enlightened sense and generous average amounted to somewhat more than six dollars sentiments of the nation. The abandonment of a a day. The compensation was accordingly fixed at measure, which, accordingly to their most conscientious six dollars a day, by the law of 1789. conviction, is intimately connected with the general As it was foreseen, that the depreciation of money, good, would be no means of obtaining favor with the or the increased expense of living, might render this American people.
provision adequate, the law was limited in its duraIf, in passing the law in question, the House of Rep- tion, in order that it might be considered and altered, resentatives discharged any portion of its duty, it acted if necessary, at a future period. The subject was upon general and public principles, with an entire dis- again brought before Congress, in 1795, by the expiregard to the convenience of its own members, any ration of the former law. On this occasion, as the further than their convenience was supposed to be committee have learned, and indeed as some of them connected with the public service. It treated the ques- remember, there was much diversity of opinion in the tion, not as one belween them and the public, but as House of Representatives ; some members wished, exclusively of public and national concern. It regard. then, to change the mode from a daily sum to an aned it as a subject of general policy, by which the na- nual allowance; others preferred to retain the existing tion, and the nation only, was to be affected; as much mode, but to increase the sum; and a committee of so as any other act of legislation whatever. Any im. the House reported in favor of increasing the daily putation, so gross as to impeach its conduct in this pay to eight dollars, assigning for reason, a proporessential particular, a feeling of self-respect must com- tionate increase in the price of all commodities, and the pel the House to pass over in silence, and its members expense of living, since the passage of the act. Those must rely on their known character, as members of the who opposed this augmentation, admitted it would be Government, and as citizens of the community, to dis- reasonable, if the price of commodities and the expense prove it. The House would not presume to judge of living should keep up; but they hoped the rise whether its services, in the various and important mat- would be temporary, and that money would soon reters upon which it has acted, have deserved any con- sume, in relation to the expense of living, its former sideration or respect from the public ; but for those value. The proposition to increase the pay was lost services, such as they are, it has not sought, nor by one or two votes only, and a law passed establishwould accept, any reward which could be measured ing the former rate. out to it in a mere pecuniary compensation. And The state of things existing in the Government and while the members of the House would certainly not in the country, from 1796 to the close of the late war, think of claiming any merit for passing the law in ques- furnish obvious reasons to account for the circumtion, any more than for the discharge of what they stance that, during that period, no attempt was made thought their duty in any other case, the committee do to raise the pay of members of Congress. In the not see that they have any cause for taking humilia mean time, the seat of Government had been transtion upon themselves, on account of having passed an ferred to the City of Washington, and the expense act which they believed would be essentially useful of living, instead of returning to its former rate, as to the country, but which they must have foreseen was expected by some, has gone on increasing prowould be exposed, itself, and might expose its authors, gressively, untii money, in relation the means of to misapprehension and misrepresentation of all sorts. life, does not retain more than half its former value. Holding offices in the immediate gift of the people, of In other words, if six dollars a day was no more than short duration, and at a time when the people were a reasonable provision, in the cities of Philadelphia soon to exercise, in most districts, their accustomed and New York, eight-and-twenty years ago, twelve privilege of a new election, if these offices had been dollars would not be more than a reasonable and objects of their regard, and if they had permitted per- equal provision in the City of Washington, at the pressonal considerations to influence their conduct, it is ent time. Forty years ago, as bas been stated above, obvious that all such considerations pointed to a course some of the States paid their Delegates in Congress, different from that which they pursued. They must eight dollars a day; and yet it never was supposed, have known, that no measure could be more easily during the Revolution, or afterwards, that the people misconstrued and perverted to the purposes of obloquy of the United States had made unreasonable or exorand reproach. The committee cannot yet believe that I bitant provision for their public agents. But, unless
H. or R.
the early history of the country was marked by great adverted to for the purpose of showing that Congress extravagance in this particular, the rate of six dollars has been as favorable to others as to itself, or that it a day, fixed by the law of the first Congress, was no has made itself the latest object of its own bounty. more than a moderate and necessary allowance at that In neither case has it supposed itself to be bestowing time, because it was no more than the average of what bounty or conferring favor. It has sought only to all the States had found it necessary to pay to their make such provisions as the public interest demanded. respective delegates during the Revolution.
But the circumstance is referred to as furnishing eviThe only question then, is, whether there has been dence of the necessity of the late law, by showing that in truth such a change in the country, in the value of a similar necessity had been found to exist in other money and the expense of living, as to render that cases ; and that by that law, Congress had done nothprovision which was no more than sufficient in 1789, ing for its own members which Executive recommeninsufficient in 1816. It is a truth, plain to all whose dation, and its own opinion of propriety, with the genexperience or information enables them to judge, that eral concurrence of public sentiment, had not comso great has been the change in the foregoing particu- pelled it to do at an earlier period, and in ample mealars, which eight and twenty years have produced, sure, for other officers of Government. that it is not incorrect to estimate the expenditures
The State Legislatures, from the same necessity of necessarily attached to a seat in Congress at twice complying with the chang of circumstances, bave their former amount. This change has not been con- made corresponding changes in the salaries of the fined to the condition of members of Congress. It officers of their governments ; and it may not be inaphas extended all over the country, and as well the plicable to recent occurrences to remark, that the memNational Government as every State government has bers of these Legislatures have, in almost every State, been obliged to provide for it in a proportionate in- increased, in many doubled, in some trebled, their own crease in the salaries of their public officers.
pay, during the period in which the compensation to The Statute Book of this Government exhibits a members of Congress has remained at its original constant and progressive increase of compensation in rate. As far, also, as the committee can learn, this all the Departments of the Government, with the ex- increase of pay to members of State Legislatures has, ception of the Legislature and the Supreme Judiciary. in every instance, taken place in the same session in On the recommendation of the Executive, or its which it was voted. branches, the Legislature has repeatedly augmented Objections have been made to the manner of com. the provisions for that Department, patiently raising pensation introduced by the law of the last session. the pay of the clerks and of writers far above that of It has been said to have created salaries. If by this it its own members, without agitating either itself or the is intended that the law allows to every member a country with any question about its own compensation. defined and certain sum, without any deduction for From the Heads of the Departments to the lowest absence or omission of duty, it is not a correct repreclerkships in the public offices, a general augmontation sentation. Such dedactions are provided for by the has obtained throughout. A long enumeration of in- law, as completely as under the former mode. It has stances is not necessary. One may suffice. When already been observed, that a difference of opinion has members of Congress were first paid six dollars a day, long existed on this point, and it still exists. When the salary of the Attorney General was one thousand the law of 1796 was passed, there were those who five hundred dollars a year. This salary has since been thought it advisable to change the mode then in praca increased to three thousand dollars; and the Execu- tice, and to adopt the example of an annual allowance, tive has, at the present session, found it necessary to which had been formerly set by a very respectable recommend a still further increase, as essential to the State. There have been and still are those who are public service. If the duties of that officer have in not without fear that an augmentation of the daily pay, creased, so have the duties of members of Congress in at if it should not in fact tend in some cases to the proleast an equal proportion; and which of the two sta- traction of the session, might produce an evil of equal tions requires the greatest sacrifice of private pursuits magnitude, by subjecting the Legislature to such an may be easily discerned.
imputation. At the time of passing the late act, it ras found Nor is it at all true, that the inconvenience of attend. upon inquiry that from the organization of the Gov. ing a session of Congress is always in proportion to ernment to the commencement of the thirteenth Con- its length. The season of the year in which the sesgress, (1813) Congress had, on an average of all the sion is holden may be as material as its duration. The years, been in session one hundred and fifty-nine days length of the journey to the Seat of Government is in a year. For eight years, ending with the thirteenth the same in both cases; and both cases require an Congress, (1813,) it had been in session, on an aver- entire breaking off of all private engagements, and an age, one hundred and sixty-five days in each year. exclusive devotion to public business. It may be add. An easy computation will show that, supposing Con- ed, also, that while the compensation was computed by gress to sit hereafter as many days within the year as the day, as the sessions would naturally be longest in it has usually done heretofore, the present amount of times of war, the greatest expense would fall on the compensation, including travel and attendance, will Treasury, when it could bear it with the least conveexceed the amount received for travel and attendance nience. Thinking, however, that the measure of aug: under the former law, thirty-eight per centum. After menting the compensation was itself a necessary one, the lapse of eight-and-twenty years, then, Congress and that the form, if not the best, was a fair subject of has, for the first time, increased the pay of its mem- experiment, the House did not forbear to adopt it, from bers. It has increased it about one-third, and no more; difference of opinion in regard to the manner. It although, within the same period, it has been called passed the law in its present form, in the hope that upon to raise, and bas raised, the compensation of good would result from the change of mode, and with nearly all other officers of Government in a far greater the knowledge that if such should not be the conseproportion.
quence, the former mode could be easily, and at any This enhancement of other compensations is not time, again adopted.