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Dec. 12, 13, 1825.]
Imprisonment for Debt.
duce the gentleman from Kentucky, to permit bis reso-object of such a system was merely to benefit the debtor lution to lie on the table till the Standing Committees and, in consequence, the creditor became alarmed. This were elected, and if it was found that a large portion of was not the fact. One object certainly was to secure re. business was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, lief to the honest deb. P; but one equally important he could unite with him in referring it to a Select Com- would be considered, the securing the just rights of the mittee, provided the resolation offered by the gentleman creditor. Any one who had surveyed the United States from South Carolina, (Mr. HAINE,) should go to the same during the last six months, and had witnessed the tremenCommittee; both propositions, Mr. M. said, had reference dous effects of the bankrupcies that had prevailed in difto the relationship between debtor and creditor, and it was ferent parts of the Union, must have been convinced that difficult to legislate so as to preserve the rights of the the most crying evils existed in regard to that subjectcreditor, and yet give liberty to the honest debtor, which fraudulent debtors giving undue preference, making false they all had so much at heart. When the two subjects consignments, &c. and putting fair dealing at defiance. shoukl come before the same committee, they would con Mr. H. said, whilst he was disposed to join with the gensider them in every point of view, and digest such a sys- tleman from Kentucky, in affording relief to honest debttein as would be acceptable to the House. The gentle-ors of every class and description, he should be no less man from Kentucky had asserted, that no Standing Com- anxious to secure the just rights of creditors. All he demittee in either House had ever brought forward a pro-sired was, that the whole subject, in all its bearings position of this kind: the gentleman had himself, Mr. M. and relations, should go to the enlightened committee, sail, brought forward the subject on the first business who would deliberate seriously on it, and present the day of each Session for the last three years, and he would views which their deliberations would suggest; and he appeal to him and to others whether its failure was not had no doubt, if the talents and experience of the Senate to be attributed to its having been brought forward ori- were direcied to the subject, the result would be a wise ginally in an undigested form; and whether there was and beneficial law. not more probability of something being accomplished by Mr. MILLS then moved to postpone the further consileaving one Committee to consider both propositions to deration of the subject to Tuesday next, which, after a few gether, than by bringing each forward before distinct remarks from Mr. Jouxson, of Kentucky, was agreed to. Committees. With this explanation, Mr. M. said he The Senate adjourned to Monday. should more to lay the resolution on the table. Mr. MACON, observed, that, to his mind, there was a
Moxday, Dec. 12, 1825. clear distinction between the measure proposed by the This day was principally occupied in the clection of resolution and a bankrupt law. A law to abolish impri- Officers of the Senate. After several ballotings, WALTEIL soument for debt would apply to all honest debtors of Lowrie, of Pennsylvania, (late a member of this body) whatever class or vocation; whereas a bankrupt law was chosen Secretary: MountJoy BAILEY, was chosen would apply to a few comparatively, as he understood Sergeant at Arms, and HENRY Tims, Doorkeeper. The that bankrupt laws embraced merchants only; the lat. Rev. Dr. STaughtox was chosen Chaplain to the Senate, ter were also highly penal, and if a fraudulent bankrupt vas caught, he would be severely punished. [Hang
TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 1825. ed, said Mr. Mills, in an under voice.] The gentleman from Massachusetts says, hang him. I did not know, sir,
IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT. that the people in his part of the country were so fond of The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the folhanging; but I confess I prefer relieving debtors, honest lowing resolution, submitted on a former day, by Mr. Johnones, by the mode proposed by the gentleman from Ken- sox, of kentucky: tucky, and shall vote for his resolution.
“Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to inquire Mr. HAYNE, of s. C. said he had that morning the ho- into the expediency of abolishing Imprisonment for Debt.” nor of submitting resolution on the subject of bank. Mr. HAYNE, of s. C. thought the suggestion made on ruptcies; in so doing, his object was not to call for the the subject the other day, by the gentleman from Massaimmediate decision of the Senate on that proposition, but chusetts, (Mr. MILLs,) a very good one, and he hoped it to refer it to some committee, when they shall have been would meet the approbation of the honorable mover: he appointed. He should be particularly desirous, if the should, therefore, move to amend the resolution by adding gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. Johnsox,) should obtain the following words: his Select Committee, with a view of considering the “And, also, that they be instructed to inquire into the subject in all its bearings, to ascertain how far process in expediency of establishing an uniform systein of Bankruptthe Courts of the United States might be modified, and cy throughout the United States, with leave to report by how far general relief might be extended throughout the bill or otherwise." Union; that the committee, viewing the whole of the Mr. H. remarked, further, that, by referring both subsubject, might present the result of their deliberations to jects to the same committee, sufficient time would be givthe Senate. He should still maintain his resolution, and en for the inquiry, and the whole ground would be occuif the gentleman from Kentucky should succeed in his pied: the only objection would be, its not being referred proposition, he intended to move, at the proper time, to to the Committee on the Judiciary, but that committee refer it to that committee. He was not disposed to obiect would, he presuined, have so much to do, it would, probato that proposition, and he hoped that, in the spirit of bly, not be able to bestow the necessary attention on the mutual accommodation, he would not object to the sug- details of these measures. " gestion which he now made. The proposition of the Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said he should make no gentleroan from Kentucky, Mr. H. said, would afford re-objection, as far as he was concerned, but would vote for het to unfortunate debtors of a particular class, for that the proposition, provided no objection were made to it by mill never did propose to extend it bevond the Courts of the Committee on the Judiciary. the United States. The relief afforded would, therefore. The amendment was agreed to, and the resolution, as only be as one in a hundred; but a mild and judicious amended, adopted. bankrupt law would not be confined to this class, but its
The Committee was ordered to consist of seven members. benefits would be extended to every class throughout the
JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS. Union. This was a subject for fair inquiry-there existed, The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the Mr. H. said, in this House, and in the nation, a prejudice following resolution, submitted yesterday, by Mr. KANE, on the subject of bankruptcy. Many imagined that the l of Illinois:
On the Judiciary.
(Dec. 13, 1825.
“Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be in- a great constitutional question-one vitally interesting to structed to inquire into the expediency of so amending the the Union, and particularly to the State which he in part Acts of Congress regulating processes in the Courts of represented-a State which was unfortunate enough to be the United States as to place the persons and property the first member of this Confederacy, which had felt judi(with regard to the proceedings against them) of citizens cial power under the enactment of a code of laws issued of the States admitted into the Union since the 29th of Sep-, under the name of Rules of Court. Mr. J. said, that the tember, 1789, upon a footing of equal secuuity with the Federal Circuit and District Courts for the Kentucky Dispersons and property of citizens of the original States." trict, had issued certain rules of court, which operated, to
Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, said he should be much grati- all intents and purposes, as the execution laws of the State fied if the honorable gentleman who had moved the reso- of Kentucky, so far as related to judgments or decrees lution would briefiy state his object in making the motion, I obtained in the Federal Courts for that State. He had as his views would probably be useful to the Committee on not those rules of court to present to the Senate, which he the Judiciary.
called a code of execution laws; at a proper time, he hopMr. KANE then rose, and said, that the explanation reed to have it in his power to present them ; for the prequired by the honorable gentleman from Maine, lay within 1 sent he would say that these rules, if he recollected right, narrow limits, and might explained in few words. The regulated the ca. sa. which took the body of the debtor ; object is, as expressed upon the face of the resolution, to they regulated the forth-coming bond and the replevin procure such amendments in the acts of Congress, regu- bond; the terms upon which real and personal estate lating processes in the Courts of the United States, as will should be sold; at what time, and upon what credit; and, place the citizens of the several States upon a footing of in fine, he considered the rules a complete system (of its equal security in their persons and property. The Pro. kind) of execution laws; laws which were not in force in cess act of the 28th September, 1789, amongst other Virginia; laws which were not in force in Kentucky; and things, in effect, provided that the modes of process in the laws which were not in force by acts of Congress. These Circuit and District Courts, in suits at common law, Courts, acting under the authority of the United States, should conform to those then used in the Supreme Courts declared that this power had been exercised in conseof the States. By “modes of process" was meant, as is quence of a decision of the Supreme Court of the Union. decided in the case of Wayman vs. Southard, by the Su. He had not examined that opinion with so much accuracy preme Court, every step taken in a cause; and " indicates as to give an opinion whether he concurred with the the progressive course of the business from its commence- Judges of the Circuit and District Court for the State of ment to its termination.” Thus, the persons and proper- Kentucky as to latitude of principle which they believed ty of the citizens of the States then in existence, were the Supreme Court had assuined. It would, however, placed under the protection and guardianship of their own become the bounden duty of Congress to look into that laws. This provision continued in force, without modifi- matter, and see if it were possible that irresponsible judication, until the act of May, 1792, was passed, by which cial officers had assumed the right, and had exercised the the same was made subject to such alterations and addi- power, of making laws for a sovereign and independent tions as the Circuit and District Courts might make, and State. He thought they might be satisfied with the exerto such regulations as the Supreme Cout of the United cise of the power to declare State laws unconstitutional, States should, by rule, prescribe. He did not under at their will and pleasure, and leave to the Representastand, nor did he know that it was so understood any tives of the People to frame the laws. From what he where, that these “modes of proceeding” were by this could learn, he supposed the Judges had, in giving this latter act made subject to any alterations, additions, or re- opinion, doubted whether the regulation and creation of gulations, other than such as time and practice should rules, to regulate the sale of property, and the disposition show to be indispensable to the correct administration of of the body of the debtor, was the exercise of legislative justice. The benefits of the provisions of '89, have been power. Mr. Jonssos said he would appeal to every memadjudged to have application to the citizens of those ber of this body-he would appeal to every intelligent States only which had existence when the act was passed.jurist of this nation-whether, in England or America, if It was for the purpose of placing the citizens of other it was at all doubtful whether the system of execution States upon the same footing, that he ventured to intro-law's was not a substantive and a vitally important legisladuce this resolution. These citizens, in their persons and tive power'; and whether, in all the States, in the United property, are now subject to be dealt with, not in a man- States, and in Great Britain, the statute books did not inner prescribed by their own laws, but according to such variably prove that legislative bodies, the Representatives rules as the Courts may think proper to adopt. The State of the People, where they exist, have not at all times which he had the honor in pat to represent, as is the exercised this power exclusively. Mr. J. said, in many case with its neighbors, Indiana and Missouri, has no other cases the Court might be authorized to interfere in the than a District Judge. No inference was, however, to be forins of judicial proceedings; and, like the colors of the drawn from the few remarks he had submitted, that the rainbow, it might sometimes be doubtful where legislative Judges are blameable for the manner in which they have power ended and judicial power began. But, in the case exercised so large a discretion. The principle is to be incntioned, he could not conceive of a higher or more exdreaded; and the cause of complaint may be removed by clusively legislative question, than that which had domi. extending the benefits of the act of '89 to all the States, nion over the property and liberty of the citizen. But, or by the passage of a law establishing a system uniform he said, he should not longer trespass upon the patience and impartial in its operations. It was not essential to the and courtesy of the Senate, but should conclude by sayexplanation required of him, nor to the purpose of the re-ing that he believed that the exercise of such a power, by solution, that he should, on this occasion, indicate a pre-thc Judges, was as contrary to the spirit of our Constituference for any particular plan; but he would think himself tion, as if the King of England and his two Houses of fortunate if he had succeeded in convincing the Senate Lords and Commons had given us this code. that further legislation was necessary.
Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, said his object was attained Mr. R. M. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, remarked, that he by the clear explanation given by the honorable mover. had not taken notice of the proposition of the gentleman He had pointed out the evil and the remedy he proposed: from Illinois, until he found it on his table, and he was at this was the object he had in view in calling on him, and some loss to know the precise objects which the gentleman he was perfectly satisfied. . intended to embrace; but he was now extremely happy to The question was then taken and the resolution learı, from the explanation given, that the motion involved agreed to.
Dec. 14, 15, 1825.)
On the Judiciary.
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14, 1825.
ing of the gentleman froin Pennsylvania was correct. If The Senate proceeded to consider the following resolu- he recollected right, both the bills brought forward last tion, submitted yesterday by Mr. EATON :
year, had reference particularly to the prevention of smugHesolrad, That the Committee on the Judiciary inquire gling: in that view, he thought the subject came properly into the expediency of so amending the judicial system of before the Committee of Finance, and should hope that it the United States, as that each and all the States may went there now. equally participate in its benefits.
The resolutions were then agreed to. Mr. FATON said, he was not aware it was necessary to The Senate then proceeded to consider the following re. ofer any explanation of the resolution ; he merely desired solution, submitted by Mr. LLOYD, of Massachusetts, yesto call the attention of the Committee on the Judiciary to terday: the subject, as it was one of very great importance to the Resolved, That the Secretary of the Nary be directed to section of country where he resided. In the year 1789, cause to be laid before the Senate, the proceedings and fire Associate Justices and one Chief Justice had been judgment of the Court of Inquiry in relation to the employ. deemed necessary to discharge the judicial functions of ment of the squadron under Commodore Porter, for the the (nited States. At that period the population of the suppression of Piracy in the West Indies, and the transcountry was not greater than is the present population of portation of specie, in vessels of the United States, during the Western States, where but a single Associate Judge the years 1823 and 1824, and, also, the proceedings of
25 now assigned. He was now incompetent to the labor; the Court Martial in reference to the transactions at Fox. and in fact the performance of his duties had almost de ardo. stroved his constitution. Many complaints had been made | Mr. LLOYD observed, that the first part of the resolu. on the subject, but every application had been refused or tion--that relating to the proceedings of the Court of Input off for want of time or inclinntion to meet and act upon quiry-had been offered at the solicitation of Commodore it. He said there was much business in the country which Porter himself. The second part of the resolution, Mr. L. necessarily came into the United States' Courts, and in said, he had added because the proceedings of the Court which, if any error existed, there was no mean of correction Martial had been printed, by order of the Navy Departbrappeal to the Supreme Court. The People of the West ment, for the use of the Members of Congress, and were were not satisfied with the kind of justice which had been now ready for distribution ; and, as there could be no obextended to them. They had repeatedly applied for somejection to receiving them, he had thought it as well to amelioration. He hoped, therefore, that the Judiciary make the call for them while requiring the proceedings on Committee would give to the subject the earliest atten- | the first named subject. tion. The lvesteri country had not had fair dealing on The resolution was then agreed to. the subject, and, until they should be placed on the same footing with the other States of this Union, as respected
Tursday, DECEMBER 15, 1825. their Judiciary, they would never cease to complain, and The Senate procecded to consider the resolution subto ask redress.
mitted yesterday by Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, on the The resolution was then agreed to.
subject of the Judiciary. The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the Mr. JOHNSTON said, that the resolution he had subfollowing resolutions, submitted by Mr. lIoLMES :
mitted required no illustration. The subject was familiar Rezolred, That the Committee on Finance be instructed to the Senate, and especially to the Committee to whom it to inquire into the expediency of regulating the duties on was proposed to be referred. It had been repeatedly certain goods, so far as to prevent the illegal introduction pressed upon Congress ; and, at the past session, it had of such goods from Provinces or Territories adjacent to the been deferred, under the assurance, that, at the present, United States.
something definitive should be done. Mr. J. said, that, Resolved!, That the Committee on Finance be instructed when this subject was thrown open, so many different to inquire into the expediency of revising and altering the views were taken ; so many projects for the reorganizaseveral laws relating to the coasting trade.
tion of the Courts were presented ; such diversity of opi. Resoleed, That the Committee on Finance be instructed nion prevailed, that every scheme successively failed. The to inquire into the expediency of altering the law relative new States, aware of the difficulty of perfecting, in any to the seizure and forfeiture, so far as respects small par- short time, any new system of reconciling public opinion rebs or packages, of goods illegally brought into the United to it, as well as the tiine necessary to arrange all the deStates.
tails of an extensive and complicated plan, bad now to ask Mr. HOLMES observed, that, last year, separate bills of Congress to extend to them at once the benefits of Cirpassed the Senate on the subjects of the two latter resolu- cuit Courts ; and, at the saine time, to remedy all the intions, but were not acted on by the other House. The act conveniences from the defective arrangements of these which we passed in 1790 or 1792, regulating the coasting Courts, as well as the laws regulating the jurisdiction and trace, only related to the Atlantic coast, and the waters on the mode of proceeding. Mr. Johnston said, the first part of that coast. This act was altered in 1820, but no provision the resolution related to the Supreme Court, and, unless was made to regulate the trade on the interior waters. some amendment could be obtained in its terms, it would The end proposed by the bill relating to seizures and for- be useless to ask an extension of the Circuit Courts. He feitures, was, to provide for a more expeditious mode of said, he presumed that, at every tern, 70 or 80 causes seizure and forfeiture of goods illegally imported in small were left undecided ; and that, at this time, more than parcek, and thus lessen the expenses of adjudication. twice that mumber were on the docket, and that that Court
Sir. FINDLAT said, he was not so conversant with the could not, in the short space allotted to them, determine mbject as the honorable morer, but it appeared to liim half those causes. The effect was, that no judgment could that one, if not two, of the resolutions ought to be referrel be had in the Court of last resort under two years, and w the Committee on Commerce-if they were to be refer- sometimes three ; that the Court could not now keep pace red to the Committee on Finance, on the ground that any with the progress of business, and the docket would cor. regulations in the coasting trade would affect the Finances, stantly augment ; that a great mass had already accumu. then almost every subject coming before the Senate ought lated, involving constitutional construction, property to an to come before the Committee on Finance-it would be immense amount, and principles of great interest. Such difficult to make any regulation in commerce but would af.a distribution of the Circuit Courts must be made, as will feet finance,
afford a longer session to the Supreme Court, and, even Mr. LLOYD, of Massachusetts, said, the general reason.' then, it is feared that some fine will elapse before they
On the Judiciary-Amendment to the Constitution.
(Dec. 15, 1825.
will discharge the accumulated business. He said, the es. nience or expense. That justice was uniformly and imtablishment of Circuit Courts was required by nine States, partially administered. It was now known that the disthe state of the country imperiously demanded that the trust and jealousy of the States was without foundation. system should be equal and general, and he hoped it That, in fine, there was no necessity for a Court to decide would be no longer delayed, under the idea that some causes between citizens of different States. The Courts other system would be adopted. He concurred with all of the United States had unlimited jurisdiction over a great those States in asking this now at the hands of Congress.extent of country, and was often used oppressively. CitiWe shall then be upon an equality, and prepared to dis-zens of States are often sued at the distance of two hun. cuss any new project that may be submitted.
dred miles from the seat of justice ; they are inconvenientMr. J. then went at length into the inconvenience ly carried to a great distance, with an expense which they which had resulted from the expression of the Judiciary cannot afford, deprived of the means of defence, and re. act of 1789, prescribing to the Courts of the United States moved from their witnesses ; and what is gained by the the mode of proceeding. He said the mode of proceed other party? The cause is tried by the same laws by ing, in the several States, at the date of the act, had been a Judge and Jury, resident in the same State. He submit. prescribed. The consequence was, that the States ad- ted to the Committee whether it would not be advisable to mitted since had no law on the subject. He said, it was limit the jurisdiction; and, he said, as it was an onerous submitted to the gentlemen representing the old States, and odious jurisdiction, it ought to be restrained to the to be governed by that law still; but it deprived those immediate parties to the contract, even in commercial States of all improvement which might have been made cases. Mr. Johnston said, he had only taken a desultory since in their legislation, especially with regard to Execu- view of the subject, merely to point out these objects to tive laws. It destroyed the conformity which ought to the attention of the Committee, and to ask of them at once exist in the rules and practice in all the Courts administer to extend the Circuit Courts over all the States, and to ing justice, within the same limits, upon the same con- make some reformation in the Judiciary act. tracts. It created some confusion and some inequality, by The resolution was agreed to. prescribing different measures of justice to different par
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. ties ; besides, alınost every State had found it necessary to adapt her laws to the peculiar circumstances of the coun- The Senate proceeded to consider the following resolu. try, and sometimes to alter them under the pressure of tion, submitted yesterday by Mr. BENTON: events which the State thought justified their interpo. Resolved, That a Select Committee be appointed, with sition.
Tinstructions to inquire into the expediency of amending In regard to the States admitted into the Union since the Constitution of the United States, so as to provide for the Judiciary act, they had no law, and the Courts of the the election of President and Vice President, by a direct United States had undertaken, not only to prescribe rules vote of the People, in districts. of proceeding, but to exercise the highest act of sove- Mr. HAYNE was rejoiced to see that the gentleman reignty, by making laws to supply the defects of our legis from Missouri had thus early called the attention of the lation-a power which Congress cannot delegate. This Senate to this important subject ; but he thought he had subject was clearly explained yesterday by the honorable not made the inquiry sufficiently extensive ; he had conmember from Illinois, (Mr. KANE.) Mr. J. said, that, fined it merely to the mode of election, but Mr. H. if we prescribe the laws of the several States for the go-thought an attempt ought also to be made to secure the vernment of the United States' Courts, there is still ano-election of President of the United States from the interther difficulty-those laws may violate contracts; they vention of the House of Representatives ; and he, theremay be unconstitutional ; and, in that event, those Courts fore, moved to amend the resolution, by adding the folwould have no authority to enforce their judgments. The lowing: only law which they could employ, to give effect to their “And that the Committee be further instructed to injudgment, would be declared by themselves null and void. quire into the expediency of so amending the Constitution It must be our duty, therefore, to provide for such an oc- as to secure the election of President and Vice President currence by a general law applicable to such a state of of the United States, without the intervention of the Se. things. For himself, he could only wish, that the Courts natc or House of Representatives.” of the United States, in Louisiana, should be governed, in Mr. MACON said, that it would be wise, in adopting a all cases, by the laws of the State.
resolution of this kind, to give the Committee all the latiMr. J. said, that, under the present Judiciary act, a de- tude that could be given, that they might examine the subviation from the laws of all the States had been permitted, ject in every particular, and make the inquiry as broad as as unfriendly to civil liberty as it was vexatious and op- possible. He had not the same opinion of any particular pressive. It permitted the judgment creditor to take ex- mode of electing a President of the United States as he ecution : in the first instance against the body of the debt- formerly bad, but inclined to favor the district plan. or, to hold him in prison until the money was coerced Mr. DICKERSON said it was highly desirable that the either from him or his friends. It is arming a vindictive President and Vice President should be elected without creditor with a power over the personal liberty of the debt. the interposition of the Senate or House of Representa01—to exercise the most malignant vengeance, and at tives; but it was a question with him, whether it could be once to degrade and ruin him. He said that the law which completely effected. He did not think the Constitution permits a man to be deprived of his liberty, while he pos- could be so amended as to prevent, at some time or other, sesses property, on the faith of which the contract was and under some unforeseen contingency, the election ccnimade, can only be equalled in absurdity by a law which ing to the House of Representatives. If any mode had authorizes his perpetual imprisonment, because he has the been devised, it had not yet been shown to them. It was misfortune to have none. This power had been, in many hardly correct, that the incmbers should commit them.
instances, seized on and exercised in a most unfeeling inan- selves on this point, thus early, on preliminary proposi. ner. It is believed not to be consonant with the laws of tions, and he should, therefore, vote against the resolution, any of the States, and to be unworthy our legislation. Mr. Mr. HAYNE said, the proposition merely proposed an Johnston remarked, he had merely hinted the propriety inquiry. The gentleman allowed it was expedient that it of restraining the jurisdiction of the Courts in civil cases. should be done, and, by voting for the inquiry, he would It was known that the States had competent Courts for the not in any way commit himself. The only object was, for administration of justice, conveniently situated to the par- the Committee to ascertain whether the propositions conties, to which they could resort without much inconve- tained in the two branches of the resolution could be carDec. 15, 1825.
On amending the Constitution.
ned into effect. This was what had been done in Con- upon Congress, or either House. His desire was, by such gress the last session. A proposition was submitted, simi- amendment, to place the Members of Congress not only lar to that now submitted by the gentleman from Missouri, beyond temptation, but beyond suspicion. Till then, he but in a positive shape, not for an inquiry. It was refer- looked in vain for that harmony, concord, and affectionate red to a Committee; and a variety of propositions that feelings, which should always exist among those associated were made on the same subject, were referred to the for the same great object, of giving laws and rules of con. same Committee ; and if the gentleman from New Jersey duct and action to a free people. In vain he expected to should wish to submit any proposition himself, he should see a President elected by Congress hailed as the Presibe perfectly willing it should accompany this resolution to dent of the nation; and, finally, till this right was exclu. one Committee.
sively vested in the People, or some other agents than Mr. BÈNTON said, as one taking a deep interest in the Congress, we should never see members voting for and subiect, he should be glad that any gentleman in the against measures proposed by the Administration, without House, who had turned his attention to the subject, and being charged with being partizans on the one hand, or could suggest any mode that promised to be beneficial, opponents on the other. If we have any political princi. would submit his resolution, which should be referred to ples and maxims, Mr. J. said, in which we all concur, he the same Cominittee with the resolution he had submitted. thought it was, or would be, adınitted by all, that, whereWhatever Committee might be charged with this subject, ever it was practicable, the People should be vested with he should feel obliged to any gentleman that would con. the exclusive right of choosing men to rule over them. It tribute any thing that would tend to turn the attention of was as practicable, in this instance, he thought, as it was the Committee to it. He wished the proposition he had to elect Representatives to Congress. And why not give submitted should have an examination. Since it re the power ? The gentleman from New Jersey seemed to solved nothing, and committed nobody, it was perfectly doubt its practicability. This Mr. J. regretted very much; innocent and harinless in its present shape. As to the he thought the gentleman had given a timely caution how amendment of the gentleman from South Carolina, it only we committed ourselves on any one proposition, and, at tended to enlarge the field of inquiry, and he could not the saine time, expressed his conviction that the proposiobject to that or any other proposition that was calculated tion to give the exclusive right to the people could not be to promote that end.
realized. Mr. J. regretted this the more, when he recol. Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, said, he generally voted in
lected the long services, the general attainments, and the favor of resolutions of inquiry on almost every subject; 1
democratic principles of the worthy member from New but he had not much confidence in amendments of the
Jersey. For his part, Mr. J. said, he should pursue one Constitution, of any kind. He thought the time was gone
undeviating course in this matter, and that would be to vest by for amending the Constitution, and perhaps it was well
in the People at the polls the right exclusively, under all that it was so. It was easier for them to break it ten times
contingencies, to elect the President and Vice President
of the United States; and if he could not obtain that result, than it was for them to amend it once, and if they tried to
The would give such votes as would more nearly bring the mend it only in those places where they had broken it,
| power to the exercise of the People, and in no event to they would have enough to occupy them for a considerable
| vest the power in Congress. time. He should not vote for the resolution under the expectation that much would be done ; but he was willing
The question was taken on Mr. HAYNE'S amendment,
willing and carried. that an inquiry should be made. He was not in favor of
Mr. COBB then rose, and said that, without entering the measures of either of the gentlemen, but he should
into the inquiry whether they could strike out a mode for vote in favor of the amendment to the resolution, and then
the election of President and Vice President, without the for the resolution as amended.
intervention of either branch of Congress, he would offer Mr. R. M. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said, he was happy an amendinent that went to another point : its object was to find that the proposition to appoint a Committee em- to instruct this same Committee to inquire into the expe. braced a specific proposition to amend the Constitution diency of so amending the Constitution as to prohibit the relative to the choice of a President and Vice President appointment of any Member of Congress to any office of of the United States. The gentleman from Maine had, honor or trust under the United States during the term for he feared, uttered a solemn and awful truth when he said which such Senator or Representative should have been that the time had passed for amending the Constitution, elected. If this amendment were adopted, the evil would and that it could be broken with more facility than it not be so great in referring the election of President to the could be amended. Mr. J. said, he should be more ap- decision of either branch of Congress. While he had the prehensive of the truth of this belief, if this spirit of oppo- honor of being a member of the other House, he said, he sition should apply to amendments which proposed to submitted a similar proposition, and though there was not vest the People of this country with the exercise of the a sufficient vote to carry it through, he had the consolation great essential principles of self-government; principles of knowing that the vote in favor of it was very respectaupon which he conceived the prosperity, happiness, ble. He thought there could be no better time than the and perpetuity of our free institutions principally de present to renew the proposition ; if the Committee pended.
could not devise a mode by which the election could E, in the infancy of our Republic; if, in the first year of be effected, without the interposition of Congress, then it Gur political Jubilee, we discovered this opposition, what became the more proper to inquire whether they should might we expect in mature age ? He said our first politi- not remove from those on whom the election must devolve aljubilee commenced the 4th of July last. This was the all temptation that might bias them in that election. He fifueth year of our Independence. For his part, he said, would not make any observations as to the fact of how far he never wanted to see any friend of his called upon, as a any member of Congress might be influenced by the hope Member of Congress, to vote for the President and Vice of office, in voting : but every member would see, from President of the United States; for the world was invi- the fallibility of human nature, that it was almost impossidious, and no matter what purity Members could boast of, ble for men sometimes not to be influenced. Mr. C. said, even if they possessed the purity of angels, their vote, in he wished to cut off every thing that could tempt a man, many cases, would make them obnoxious to imputations. and entirely destroy all hope of office, and all imputation This was one reason why he was in favor of the proposed whether they should vote right or wrong. Mr. C. conAmendment, an amendment proposing that, in no event, cluded by moving an amendment to the resolution, cor ind in no contingency, should the duty of electing devolve responding to wbat he stated in his remarks; and