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electing the President, says, “It was desirable that the more insidious in its approaches. It disguises itself under sense of the People should operate in the choice of the the name of moderation, and aversion to debate and strife, person to whom so important a trust was to be confided when it too often proceeds from a criminal indifference This end will be answered by committing the right of to those rights which our ancestors bled and died to semaking it, not to any pre-established body, but to men cure. They are men of business--they can't lose the (electors) chosen by the People, for the special purpose,and chance of turning a penny to promote any public meaat the particular conjuncture." "A small number of per- sure. It would seem, sir, as if some of them had taken, sons (electors) chosen by their fellow citizens from the gene- in earnest, the sarcastic advice of the Roman satiristral mass, will be most likely to possess the information and
“Virtus post nummos.” discernment requisite to so complicated an investigation."
The language of Mr. Madison, in the Convention of Let any man look abroad-through the Union, I mean, Virginia, which assembled in 1788, for the purpose of con- and deny, if he can, that this is a faithful picture. Suresidering whether they would adopt this Constitution, is ly, sir, it requires no prophetic voice to warn us against equally, or more, clear and explicit. Instead of the Peo- so dangerous a delusion. Surely, sir, we will spare a little ple's voting immediately for President, which he thought time to listen to the “Farewell Address" of the Father of the population and extent of our territory might render his country. impracticable : “instead of this, (immediate suffrage) I admit, sir, that it is not sufficient to show the existthe People choose the electors—this can be done with ence of an evil, unless it can be remedied, either wholly ease and convenience, and the choice will be more select." or partially--but, I insist, sir, that the adoption of the If we examine the debates of this Convention, we shall District System, as proposed by the good old State I have find that it was so understood, also, by those who opposed the honor, in part to represent, so inadequately—and a the Constitution. This meaning was assumed as the ba- direct vote, in Districts, for President and Vice President, sis of argument on both sides, and, if we reflect a mo- will cure the most alarming of these evils. The Constiment on the very many able men who sat in that Conven- tution, by interposing the electoral colleges, undoubtedly tion, it would be most violent presumption to say, they | intended that they should exercise a sound discretion in were mistaken, with all their talents and all their lights. the choice of a President-they were “to analyse his
If we assume, then, that this was the intention of the qualifications, and judiciously combine motives of choice." Constitution, let us see what has been its operation. Have Fed. No. 68. But, sir, the People of this country, as has the People chosen the electors? I ask this question, Mr. been shown in this debate and elsewhere, have not been Chairman, in the name of my constituents, and I wish an content with simply the right of originating the Colleges, explicit answer. From the omission in the Constitution even when committed to them by their State Legisla to prescribe a specific mode, (which I think I shall be tures—they have always required a pledge, or some eviable to show, if my strength will permit, was done inten- dence, of the Elector or Electors, for whom they intend. tionally and wisely)—from this omission, I say, sir, a ed to give their ultimate vote, before they would give great latitude of construction and a great diversity of their vote to him or them. Here, then, sir, the intention practice has originated. In some states the Legis. of the Constitution has been manifestly defeated—this latures appoint-in some the general ticket system seems to be a case in which experience suggests amendprevails in some few the district system and in others ment. The People, sir, although they will hear argua compound of some two or all of these modes. My ho- ment and reason, yet will finally judge for themselves. norable friend from South Carolina, (Mr. McDUFFIE) has But even here I would lay my hands on this venerated in. depicted the mischiefs of this confused and unsettled sys- strument with great reluctance. The pure and enlightened tem, in such strong and glowing colors, that I cannot pre- views of its framers plead strongly in its behalf; and al. sume to add any thiog to their effect. It is true, sir, that, though we may not now discover the evils which may result by the present mode, combinations may be, and have from the change, yet time-time and casualty may disclose been, formed, which have prevented a fair expression of them. But, sir, as I believe that the design of its framers the popular will. The People are called upon to vote a has been defeated, I would hazard this amendment. ticket, (under the general ticket system,) containing 15, It would have, sir, I think, the effect of rousing the 24, or 36 names to vote for, to choose persons, of whom People from their torpid quietism ; it will make them they may never have heard before-of whose qualifica- feel that their voice is heard that their vote is felt; and tions they have never had an opportunity of judging— the voting directly and immediately for the man of their whose integrity has never been tested and if this ticket choice, will of itself be productive of a lively satisfaction. had dropped from the clouds, they must take it or lose They will then know that their vote is given as they wishtheir vote. Call you this choice, sir? I always thought, ed it should be, and is beyond the control of any political sir, that choice involved selection of one or more from legerdemain. They will not be agitated by the merits of others—" froin the general mass"—that it involved know the several electoral candidates, but their eye will repose ledge, comparison, voluntary preference, and was a right singly on the man of their ultimate choice. I understand of more or less value, according to the importance of its a case has occurred in Maryland, where there were two object. What temptation and opportunity is presented, electoral candidates for the same Presidential candidate, by this system, for intrigue and management! What apa- and one for another Presidential candidate, and although thy and indifference are manifested by the People, for the district gave a large majority for the Presidential can. such a feeble and dubious exercise of this great Constitu- didate who had two friends as electoral candidates, yet the tional privilege! Even under the excitement of the late third candidate obtained the greatest plurality, and thus election, how many neglected the exercise of this right! the vote of the district was given to that candidate for And, should it not be, sir, the policy of every wise Go-the Presidency, against whom there was a large majority, vernment to interest its citizens in its organization ? Un- This cannot happen when the People vote directly for der the present system, how many worthy citizens re- the President. An honorable gentleman from New York, main at home, under the paralyzing influence of a convic- (Mr. STORNS) has asked those who contend for this extion that they can do no good that the election is in the pression of the popular will in this mode-why not extend hands of the cunning few, and that it is a mere mockery for the principle ? and has alluded to a species of popula. them singly--without concert ; without the animation de- tion which, without being citizens, is counted in estimatrived from a prospect of success, to pretend to withstanding the ratio of representation from the Southern States. the disciplined cohorts opposed to them. This lethargy Sir, if he had shewn us that this amendment would have is almost worse than faction itseff. It is more secret- conferred any additional power on these States, the obser
vation would have had some bearing; or if he had shewn Congress, which assembled for the first time at Carpen: that they would have derived any peculiar advantage, it ter's Hall, in Philadelphia, on the 5th September, 1774: would have been more plausibly introduced into debate ;| its object was to provide for the emergency occasioned but as it is—whatever it may be it is not an argument. by the differences with the mother country to unite the
The honorable gentleman from Virginia, who spoke resources of all the English Colonies ; and to adopt such first, (Mr. ARCHER) has discoursed with much State common measures for the redress of their grievances and pride on the freehold-viva voce suffrage of Virginia. establishment of their rights, as their situation required He has told us that the mode of voting by ballot is a and allowed. The Delegation of each Colony bad one sneaking way; that they “sneak up to the polls," and vote ; and although their powers were enforced by no that he would exile himself if the freebold qualification higher sanction than mere recommendation, yet never was abolished in Virginia. Now, Mr. Chairman, I have were imperial decrees more implicitly obeyed. They understood that a large portion of the citizens of Virgi-were, in fact, nothing more than a Congress of Ambassania, particularly in the West, are very anxious to have dors. It was, however, soon discovered, as the enthusitheir Constitution amended in order to be permitted to asm and zeal for liberty subsided, that all government exercise the elective franchise ; but, perhaps, after the must depend, for support and obedience, upon power, honorable gentleman's threat to leave them if they do, and must be able to address its mandates to other pas they may desist. I imagine, sir, that it would be an easy sions and interests than those of patriotism and love of matter for any other State to give her citizens the same the public weal. As early as June, '76, measures were independence as the citizens of Virginia have, by adopt- taken to form a Confederated Government, and in Noveming the same mode-by making a freehold necessary to ber, '77, Congress solemnly declared, that it could no lon vote, and by protecting that freehold from the payment ger be deferred, but was essential to their very existence of debts; they might then, sir, be so independent as not as a free People. Hence originated the Articles of Con only to tell a candidate viva voce, that they would not federation, which were not finally adopted by all the vote for him-but also, that they would not pay him a just States till March, 1781. By these, each State bad one debt-and that too " viva voce," sir. But, sir, with the vote-and that distinguishing feature of a confederated right of suffrage, the Constitution has laudably omitted government, that it operated upon States, instead of into interfere ; nor does this amendment seek to interfere. dividuals, was preserved. There were many other de. The Constitution has omitted it, sir, as I said, for the fects, unnecessary here to be enumerated-in a word, it wisest reasons.
was justly termed "a rope of sand," and a more ener The requisites to the right of suffrage are very differ-gotic government was loudly demanded by the wants and ent, in the different States, and even in adjoining States; wishes of the American People. in Virginia, as we have seen, none but freeholders can I will not impose upon the patience of the Committee, vote in North Carolina, sir, it is the birthright of every by attempting to detail the oceurrences which led to the freeman. If, therefore, the Constitution had attempted convention of Delegates at Philadelphia, in May, 1787 : to fix an uniform rule on this subject, the strange anomaly but, sir, I deem it very material to a just conception of tbe might have been presented of a man's voting for the nature of our Constitution, to view it in its rude othnes highest officer in the l'nion, who could not vote for the and imperfect state-to exainine it in its progressive lowest State officer. It might also have interfered mate- shapes through the Convention-at least those features af rially with the polity of a State. This amendment, there- it which are now under discussion. This Convention, , fore, sir, does not at all interfere with State rights : their bad several plans before them; one proposed by Edmund quantity of power remains the same : its ratio of adjust. Randolph of Virginia, and called the Virginia plan: by ment is not disturbed-and either with regard to the this it was proposed that the President should be elected Union, or each other, they preserve the same relative by the National Legislature. In the plan proposed by rights. It will also prevent the arraying of State against Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, it was not stated in State--as the supporters of the President will be diffused what manner he should be elected. The New Jersey through the Union ; unreasonable jealousies will thus be plan, offered by Mr Paterson, proposed that be shoglu prevented, and sectional feelings and appellations, against be elected by the United States in Congress. Col Han which the Father of his Country entertained so much ap. ilton's plan proposed that he should be elected by Elecprehension, will be deprived of one of their most power-tors, chosen by the People in Districts. fully exciting causes, and it may well be doubted, whe. By the draft of a Constitution reported by a Committee ther any citizen of any State, with an American feeling, of five, consisting of Messrs. Rutledge, Randolph, Gorwould not greatly prefer that the candidate of his choice ham, Ellsworth, and Wilson, on the 6th August '87, he should be President, than that his State should give an was to be elected by ballot by the Legislature. On the undivided vote.
| 4th September ensuing, a grand Committee of eleven, I will now pass, sir, to the other branch of the propos. one from each State, to whom the subject had been reed amendment. Shall the power of electing the Presi- ferred, reported a plan by which the mode, as it originaldent and Vice President, in the last resort, be taken from ly stood in the Constitution, was recommended, except the House of Representatives ? Upon this amendment, I that, if no one of the candidates had a majority, the S. confess, sir, I have entertained great and serious doubts ; nate were to choose from the five highest on the list. and these, sir, have arisen from an investigation which I A motion was made in Convention to substitute the have endeavored to make of the genius and spirit of our House of Representatives for the Senate, with the quali Constitution, and the principles of compromise upon which fication of the Delegation from each State having an equal it was founded. I came to the conclusion that I would vote, (one.) For this proposition, sir, there were ten abstain from this alteration--as far as I am concerned-at States; and against it, but one and that one, Mr. Chair least until I have more lights and experience. By leaving man, was the State which has the honor to be represent it as it is, we leave it as it has existed and flourished for ed by you, (Delaware) the smallest in the Convention half a century, and as our ancestors bequeathed it to us. This brief survey will show that this adjustment was most I will, however, sir, endeavor to disclose the reasons thoroughly considered which have led me to this conclusion, which I must do in a brief and hurried manner, as my laboring breast has al.
“Tantæ molis erat, conclere gentem." ready repeatedly admonished me to cease.
The proposition that the Senate should elect, points The first General Government of American origin was clearly to the State power; and this qualification beag composed of that illustrious body, the Old Continental retained when it was transferred to the House of Repre
INDEX TO THE DEBATES IN THE SENATE.
Accountability of Public Officers, bill to secure, taken, Army, bill to increase the compensation of Captains in
the, laid on the table, 753.
to a third reading, 51.
Bankruptcy, resolution on establishing an uniform system
referred to the Committee on Imprisonment for
bill reported, 108, 109.
taken up ; motion to postpone indefinitely, 643.
debate ibercon, 643, 644 ; negatived, 644.
on, 671,673 to 687.
river Mobile, laid on the table, 51.
Florida. See Florida Canal.
Louisville. See Louisville Canal.
motion to strike out 1st section, providing for the Capitol and Capitol Square, joint resolution for the pre-
servation of the, amended and re-committed, 691,
667. Chambers, Henry, notice of the death of, 79.
Claims on the Spanish Governinent, unfavorable report
on sundry, 698.
Columbian College, bill to exempt the Professors, Stu-
dents, &c. from militia duty, amended and order-
Commerce and Manufactures, debate on creating two
Committees, 1 to 4; adopted, 4.
Commerce, protection of. See Naval Force.
eligible after a second term, passed to a second Congress, opening of the 1st session of the 19th, 1.
Constitution, amendments to the. See Amendments.
Conversation between Messrs. Randolph and Holmesi
574 to 576.
Creek Indians. See McIntosh, Wm.
treaty, Senate insists on its amendment to the ap.
propriation for the, 707.
ence relative to the, 766 to 781.
report of committee resumed and agreed to, 785.
Cumberland Roal, debate on appropriation for continuing
the, 349 to 364.
132. bill for continuing, 689; read first time, 691.
bill for the preservation and repair of the, twice:
read and referred, 765.
resolution to cede the road to the States, laid on
the table, 765.
Senate refuses to take up the bill, 782, 784.
to make an appropriation for, 786
compensation of officers of the, 687, 688.
motion to lay on the table, 688.
bill re-committed with amendments, 688.
Deaf and Dumb, debate on bill granting lands to the Ken:
tucky Asylum for, 371, 372.
amendment, 371 ; bill ordered to 3d reading, 372:
Delassus, Don C. D. bill for the relief of, twice read and Habeas Corpus, extract from Journals of the Senate and
House of Representatives (of 1807) relative to
suspending the, 137 to 139.
motion to send to the House of Representatives
for a copy of the bill, 141 ; withdrawn, 142.
House, lot, &c. in New Orleans, bill to authorize the sale
of, amended and ordered to a 3d reading, 689.
bill, as amended, ordered to a third reading, 50. Mlinois, debate on granting land to aid a canal in, 688,
amendments, 688, 697.
bill amended and rejected, 698.
Import and tonnage duties, debate on bill further te
amend the act relative to, 53 to 55.
bill amended and ordered to a third reading, 407.
pediency of abolishing, 4.
590. debate thereon, 7 to 10.
720. committee ordered to consist of seren, 10.
Indiana, debate on bill granting land to aid a canal in,
590 to 597.
on amendment offered, 704.
Indian Department, appropriation bill for, taken up, 566.
motion to recommit; to lay on the table ; nega-
bill ordered to a third reading, 367.
bill to regulate the salaries of officers in the, or-
dered to a third reading, 664, 665.
Indian lands within the States, an asylum for debt.
ors and criminals, 346 to 349.
resolution authorizing process against residents
concurred in, 366.
Indian title in Alabama, resolution on the subject of es.
tinguishing, 79; adopted, so.
of Congress on, 20.
resolution offered to distribute $3,000,000 annually
for education and, 77.
cesses, 11, 12
to extend the Circuit Courts, 14 to 16.
to alter the time of holding the Supreme Court,
passed to a second reading, 30.
642, 645. bill from the House of Representatives, further te
amend the Judicial system, taken up, 409.
second section and proposed substitute for, 409.
debate thereon, 424 to 463 ; negatived, 463.
debate thereon, 463 to 525, 526 to 570 ; negatir.
motion to reduce the number of additional Judges
to two, 570 ; negatived, 571.
of the Whole concurred in, 571.
bill passed, 571.
amendment disagreed to by the House of Repre-
sentatives reconsidered, 668 to 671.
Senate arlheres, 671.
message from the House of Representatives re.
questing a conference, 688.
report of committee thereon, 691.
to processes, amended, 784.
bill laid on the table, 784.
Kentucky asylum. See Deaf and Dumb.
7 Panama mission, resolution of the Committee of Foreign
debate thereon, 152 to 341.
report of Secretary of State on, 333.
Reed, Mr. asks to be excused from roting, 341 to
two resolutions offered in secret session and with-
drawn, ordered to be inserted on the Journal,
the President of the United States to appoint
resolution modified, 404, 405; postponed, 405.
appropriation bill for, reported, 641.
proposed amendment, 641, 642.
debate thereon, 666.
bill ordered to a third reading, 667.
81. passed, 671."
third reading, 708.
Penitentiary in the District of Columbia, bill for erecting
a, ordered to a third reading, 754.
committee discharged from further consideration
of the, 786.
Porter, Commodore, call for proceedings of the Court of
Inquiry and Court Martial, relative to, 14.
referred to Naval Committee, 24.
referred to same committee, 26, 27.
report of committee, 50, 51.
debate thereon, 56 to 65,
extracts from letters of Messrs. Randal! and Moun.
tain, 57, 58.
from the orders of the Secretary of the Navy, 58,
report recommitted, 65.
repairing, 82 to 89.
debate on resolution for a survey between Balti.
more and Philadelphia, of a, 640, 641.
ordered to a third reading, 641.
President of the United States, resolution to render him
ineligible after a second term, 19, 374, 405.
debate on protesting against his competency to ap.
point Ministers, 384 to 404.
resolution modified, 404, 405.
debate resumed, 589, 597 to 619, 623 to 640.
laid on the table, 642.
President pro tem. elected, 785.
Public Buildings, appropriation bill for, amended and
motion to reconsider, negatived, resumed, 786.
amendments offered, 786.
Chair decides that they are not in order, 786. -
adding an appropriation for the Cumberland
Road, 786 ; adopted, 787.
to lay on the table, 786 ; negatived, 787.
bill reported with amendment, 787.
Chair decides in favor of again reading bill, 787.
bill passed and sent to House of Representatives,