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ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY, &c.— SCIOULER - DAVIS.
that the United States are not republican ? Does well as any one in the world knows, that we he mean to say that the State of Virginia is not have not had a majority governor in this State republican, and the State of New York, and Ohio, for the last eight years. IIe knows that when the and Kentucky, and in fact, all the States except legislature met here two years ago, no man could South Carolina and some of the New England tell who was going to be governor; and he knows States, who still retain the majority principle--are that there was a meeting held up in one room, none of these republican? Sir, it is an absurdity. where the doors were locked, and men were staWe do live under a republican government, and tioned to keep interlopers outside, and that there we live under a republican government which has was another meeting in another room down below, this plurality principle applied to nearly all the and that certain individuals came together to talk offices. Wemust look at facts instead of theories; the matter over and to have the whole thing arwe must look at principles and the actual workings ranged. During all this time we were delayed of principles, instead of going back to abstract here, and no man knew who would be governor declarations of what democracy is, or of what re- until the whole matter had been settled in these publicanism is. I regret exceedingly, Sir, that
There was a proposition made in anything of a party nature should have been the Ilouse of Representatives, before the governalluded to in this debate. I know, and others ment was organized, to go into the election of know, that the party to which I belong, and to United States senators, before we went into the which I presume I always shall belong, is in a clection of governor; that was debated here for minority in this body; but, Sir, nothing of a nearly two days, but gentlemen said, and the genparty character will deter me from voting in this tleman from Natick said-and not only that, but Convention for any measure which I may deem he wrote it--and not only that, but he published to be a reform, and which I think is desired by it, and if any body wants to go into an examinathe people. I voted for the amendment before us tion of the files of newspapers, and to bring party the other day, to cut up the State into forty senato- politics into a discussion of this kind, it may there rial districts; and I had hoped that the gentleman be found that he said no governor should be who was held up as the representative of Young elected until certain other things should be done. America," and the new ideas of the age, would Now I wish to keep all such things as this out of have some better notions of progress than to be the hands of the legislature. I think that this is found still walking in the footsteps of the fathers a good deal worse than it is for a man to be of the republic-I thought he would try to adapt coming up the steps of the State IIouse to ask the our Constitution to the wants of the present time. governor for an office. I want to have these I know of no reason why we should not have this questions left to the people to decide; I think change as well as any other change which it is they will decide them better than we shall, and proposed to make.
we shall not have those combinations here which One thing more, Sir, and then I have done. I people outside condemn and consider wrong. I cannot understand the logic of the gentleman only speak of this because the subject has been from Satick, and others, who are continually brought up here, and not in any offensive sense; talking about the minority ruling under the plu- I allude to these things simply as historical facts, rality system. I cannot understand it, and I have in order to illustrate the principle that if we wish a better opinion of their good sense than to sup- to have a government free from all this mere pose they believe it themselves. They must know, machinery and trickery, we should leave this if they know anything about the history of the question outside of the walls of the capitol, to be country or the politics of the country-and the decided by the people in their primary capacity; gentleman said that he had been a student of those and as experience has shown it to be impossible, subjects for tifteen years—that the majority prin- to concentrate the voters upon two candidates so ciple provides that men may be elected by minori- long as this majority principle prevails, I wish ties. In those States where the majority princi- to have the plurality system substituted for it. ple prevails, men are elected in nine cases out of We have seen the workings of both systems. We ten-yes, Sir, I venture to say, in ninety-nine have seen that in the first meeting for the clection cases out of a hundred--by a minority. But on of members of congress there has been a division the other hand, when did you ever hear of a of sentiment, and no choice could be effected; but governor being elected in Kentucky, or Olio, or when the second trial came on, under the pluraliPennsylvania, or Virginia, or any one of those ty law, there was a giving way in parties on each States where they clect under the plurality prin
side- -men came together to settle their differences, ciple, who did not receive a majority of the votes. and I believe all were satisfied. Now what is They almost invariably receive a majority of the there so outrageous in the idea of attempting, by votes; and in the election of members of congress the plurality system, to put down the third party : the case is the same. The reason of this is, that I speak of the third party without any particular men combine. The natural effect of the plurality reference, for it is very hard to tell which is the system is to combine public sentiment and not to third party; and I ask if it is not just as bad to scatter it. If every man were to vote upon his have the representatives of the people combine own hook, there could be no government at all, — as it is to have the people themselves combine? the people would be so divided that there could I think it is a little worse. Now with regard to be nobody elected ; hence it is desirable that some what is said about third parties, let me remark means should be devised of combining public sen- that every one knows that there are three parties, timent and uniting it upon particular individuals, so that no election can be made by the majority and this is just what the plurality system does. principle. These three parties are represented in It thus gives tone and character to the legislation the House of Representatives in just about the of the country. The gentleman says that we live same proportion; and unless there is some sort of under a democratic government—under a repub- a combination, the result will be that there can lican government, because we have this theory of be no governor at all. There must be a combinamajorities. But the gentleman knows just as tion in order to have a governor; and as that is
I say let the combination go to the sovereigns and not to the servantslet it be among the people themselves. Now there has been, as is admitted, some corruption and log rolling in the House of Representatives of Massachusetts; but it is said that the reason why there has not been so much there as in some bodies which are smaller, is on account of the size of it. If that is the case, let us give the broadest scope; and if there can be very little corruption in the House because it is so large, there can be none at all among the people when they are assembled in their primary capacity in the different towns. I wish to place this matter on a common sense platform, for in making a Constitution I want to have a common sense Constitution-one that is suited to the wants of the present age-without any “rust" on it, or anything which can impede the people from giving a free expression of their sentiments, thus bringing the power closer to the people, which can be done without any violation of priciple. It is for this reason that I advocate the plurality principle; I believe it will free us from corruption, and from a great many inconveniences, and that it will give the power to the people in whose hands the power should rest. It will bring the public servants into closer relations with the people, and increase their responsibility for the interests which are intrusted to their keeping.
On motion of Mr. MORTON, of Quincy, the Committee rose, reported progress and asked leave to sit again.
Leave was granted.
On motion of Mr. SHELDON, of Easton, the Convention then, at 20 minutes to seven o'clock, adjourned.
SATURDAY, May 28, 1853. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
Prayer by the Chaplain.
The Journal of yesterday was read and approved.
Preliminary Motion. Mr. DAVIS, of Worcester, moved that the Convention resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, for the purpose of taking into consideration the resolutions relative to the amendment of the Constitution, so far as regards the subject of the governor of the Commonwealth.
Mr. DAVIS said that he made this motion at the request of a number of gentleman who were friends of the plurality law, and also at the request of a number of gentlemen opposed to it. It was a question of great interest, and they were desirous of being when the vote should be taken upon it. Several of these gentlemen had returned home on account of sickness, and inasmuch as these resolves relating to the governor embraced questions upon which the Convention would not be much divided, they had desired him to make the motion he did, in order that they might be here when the question upon the plurality system was to be taken.
Mr. SUMNER, for Otis, said he hoped this motion would not prevail. Although he was aware that there was not at present a full attendance of gentlemen of the Convention, yet there was a plurality, and let ‘us, he observed, try the
TIIE GOVERNOR. — ILILL - BUTLER – IIUBBARD) – JIOOPER - DAVIS.
The question was then taken upon the motion of Jr. Davin, of Worcester, that the convention rolve it-elf into a (ommittie of the Whole for the concilitation of the resolutions relating to the subject of the governor, and it was, upon a division, agreed to: ayes, 162; noes, 133.
CONVITTLE OF THE WHOLE. The ('onvention accordingly resolved itself into & Committee of the Whole, and proceeded to consider the Report of the ('ommitter on the subject of the governor. Mr. Ilooper, of Fall River, in the Chair.
The Governor. The rewolves reported by the Committee were reach, as follows:
experiment once, of settling a question by the plurality rule. He was oppo«ed to the adoption of the motion, beemse when que-tions had been presented here and di cussed, as had been the case in relation to the resolves propo-ing an amendment to the Constitution, regarding the establishment of the plurality principle, gentlemen should be in attendance when the time for tinal action arrived, and be prepared to vote. If this subject should be postponed on account of the absence of gentlemen, it would form a precedent to be tollowed hereafter in regard to other subjects of equal importance. It was a practice which ought not to prevail. And he was also reminded of the fact that the printed Report of the Committee had not been circulated among the members of the ('onvention, so that they had no opportunity of examining the question which the gentleman from Worce ter proposed to consider.
Vír. DAVIS, of Worcester, observed that the Raport hul been printed and in the hands of the members for more than ten days.
Mr. WILSOX, of Vatick, sail that many members had on file the document in question, and he saw three or four now who has files in their possession. He was not at all particular whether the ('onvention should consider this subject to-lay, or po-tpone it and take up another matter, but he thought it would be preferable, in taking a vote upon a question of so great importmee, that there should be a full house.
Mr. ILALL, of Haverhill, said he was opposed to the motion of the member froin Worcester, lle oberved that it would have been very convenient for him, had he known that the plurality question was to be laid over for one or two days, to be absent, but he thought it would be a bad precedent that when two or three gentlemen desired to be absent, a question of the magnitude and importance of this should be laid by for their accommodation. He hoped the motion would not prevail.
Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell, remarked that it was not usual in legislative bodies to take a question upon a subject of any great magnitude on Saturday or on Jonday, for the reason that gentlemen from the western part of the State have no other time for returning home, if they go at all. And it had been usually considered an act of courtesy towards the absent members, not to take a vote upon a vital and important question upon this day ; he had never known this custom to be departed from but once in the legislature, and then he had sat here until twelve o'clock one Saturday night. He thought the subject proposed by t'ie gentleman from Worcester was a fit one to discuss on a Saturday forenoon, whereas the plurality question was one of great importance, and would, if adopted, exort a great moral influence in the community nisie way or the other, and therefore ought not to be voted upon except by a full house. We hoped the motion would be agreed to.
Mr. STETSON, of Braintree, observed that as he understood the gentleman from Lowell, no question was to be taken except during four days in the week, excluding Saturday and Monday. If that was proposed as a rule of the Convention he would vote for it; but he would not vote for this motion to pass over the plurality question simply as a matter of convenience, as he did not deem it more important than many other questions.
Mr. BUTLER statul, in explanation, that he intended to be under toeul as suying that que tions of vast importance were not usually decided on these two days, and not that no question shall be taken on those days.
Mr. STETSON said, that in making or altıring ordinic laws, he did not consider one question above another, and he thought it was just as proper to tahe the vote upon the plurality question to-slay as it would be upon any other amendment of the Con-titution which has been brought before them. If the members intended to close the session before September, he hoped they would not consent to depart from the regular routine of business, and the order of the Convenition.
Jr. EAJES, of Washington, said that when the gentleman from Lowell, (.Wr. Butler, ) stated that no important question ought to be taken because members from the country desired to go lume, he was in error.
As far as he knew, the delegates from the country were ready to do busines4 every day in the week; and when the proper time came, he should make a motion to meet at nine o'clock instead of ten, as they now did.
Mr. DURGIX, of Wilmington, erpress the hope that the motion of the gentleman from Worce-ter would prevail. lle could not see why gentlemen were so tenacious of this specific point, and were not willing that the subject should be laid over until there was a full house. IIe would not say that it would advance business; but out of courtesy to the gentlemen ab-ent, he wished that the subject of the governor might be taken up and discussed in the place of the plurality question, and the latter defcrred until all the members were present.
Mr. HUBBARD), of Boston, said that he understood the reason assigned for the absence of some of the members, was ill health; but we were all liable to illness, and if que-tions were to be put off until that time when all shall be exempt from such liabilities, the business of the Convention could not go on. If this subject was in the last stage of action, there might be reason for postponement and delay; but this was not the cise.
Ile thought that the discussion had better be continued, and even if the ('ommittee were to rise and report, the question would then have passed through only one stage of its consideration, and would be assigned a place among the Orders of the Day, upon the calendar of subjects before the Convention, when it could be considered more fully if necessary.
Mr. JIOOPER, of Fall River, stated that when he made the motion yesterday, that the further consideration of the subject be postponed until next week, he was aware there were several members of the Convention who desired to return to their homes, and who could not conveniently stay in the city. IIe believed it could be laid over without detriment to the business of the body; and as it was generally admitted that it is the most important question to be acted upon during the session, why not let it be so disposed of until they could have a full expression in the Committee. There was other business which could occupy their time more advantageously.
Mr. KINSMAN, of Newburyport, said that he merely rose to call upon the Chair to enforce the rule by which no debate can be held on qucstions relating to priority of business.
Rt sredl, That it is expedient to alter and amend the Constitution, so its to provide that no per en except a citizin of the United States shall be eligille to the otice of Governor, nor shall any pronbe eligible to that oftice who shall not have attained to leave of thirty years.
R s'e'l, Tat it is espedient to alter and angond tie Constitution by abolishing the projxrty qualitication of Guvernor.
Risolert, That it is expedient to alter and amoud the Constitution, so as to provide for the ek ction of Governor, on the Tuesday next after te tir-t Monday in the month of November, annually.
Risulod, That it is expedient to alter and amend the Constitution, so as to provide that in Cave of the titlure of an election of Governor by the people, he shall be clected by the Senate and IIouse of Representatives, by joint ballot.
Jr. DAVIS, of Worcester, said : It may be expected, perhaps, by the Committee, that the ('ommittee who made this Report should give some explanation of the resolves which they have presented in reference to the subject of governor.
I will say that this is a Report by the Committee but in part. The Report, so far as it goes, was agreed upon almost unanimously by the Committee.
The first proposition, as to an alteration of the Constitution, is, that it shall be so altered as to require that the governor shall be a citizen of the United States.
By the terms of the present Constitution, the governor is not directly required to be a citizen of the United States. He was required to hold real estate to the amount of $7,000, or one thousand pounds. As long as that provision remained, it had the effect to prerent any person being gove ernor of this Commonwealth who was not a citizen of the United States. But the law was altered a year or two since, so that foreigners can hold real e-tate. The consequence of that change is, that a foreigner is eligible to the office of governor. The Committee therefore recommend that the governor shall be a citizen of the United States.
They also recommend that he shall have attained the age of thirty years. There is no provision in the Constitution that the governor may not be elected at any age. The age of thirty was fixed upon because it was thought that a man should arrive at that age before he should be considered capable of discharging the numerous and important duties which necessarily must devolve upon the governor of Massachusetts. The age required for a member of congress is twenty-tive, for a senator thirty, and for the president of the United States, thirty-five. In most of the States of the Union, the age of thirty is required to make an
THE GOVERNOR. – WILSON-HIATHAWAY - BRADBURY - MILLER.
individual eligible to the office of governor. crnor shall be commander-in-chief of the militia There is one State which requires the age of thir- of the Commonwealth, and of the army and ty-five, one twenty-five, and another twenty- navy.” eight; but most of the constitutions of the States I wish the chairman of the Committee would fix the age at thirty.
inform me whether it is their intention to report The next resolve proposes to abolish the property anything in accordance with these resolutions. qualification. The property qualification now Mr. DAVIS, of Worcester. I would state to required is £1,000. The Committee were of the gentleman that both of those subjects have opinion that a inan who is qualified in all other been considered by the Committee, but that they respects for governor of this Commonwealth, have come to no definite conclusion thereon. ought not to be required to have property in ad- The Report we have submitted is but a report in dition. They were further of opinion that prop- part. erty of itself is no qualification for office, and Mr. HATHAWAY, of Frectown. I perceive, they were unanimous in favor of striking it out Sir, that we have already encountered a difficulty of the Constitution.
which I apprehended before this matter was taken The next resolve provides that the governor up. Before we went into Committee I foresaw shall be elected on the Tuesday next after the first the difficulty, but hoping and believing that the Monday in November, annually. This alters the subject would not be taken up, I did not choose time of our election a very few days, so as to to trouble the Convention with any remarks upon make it correspond with the time of the national it. If the Committee will look at the Report elections. Once in four years we are called to- they will see at once that it is only a partial one. gether on that day to elect electors of president The difficulty is that we do not know what the of the United States. The result is, that on such Committee may report hereafter, they having years we have two elections taking place within said expressly that it is only a partial report. a few days of each other. The Committee there- They may change the very propositions they have fore recommend, in order to prevent the necessity already reported; they may report matters which of calling the people together twice every four I and other members may desire to have introyears, that the time of election be altered for a duced here, or they may not. When their report few days, and that the election for governor shall comes here as a whole, it may be such that every take place on the same day that electors of pres- member may be satisfied with it. ident of the United States are chosen. That day I would put the question to the respectable and is fixed by the statute law of the United States, honorable chairman, whether the Committee and it is uniform all over the United States, and intend to say that any citizen of the United will not probably be altered. This provision, if States without regard to his place of residenceadopted, will result in a great saving of time and whether in this State or in other States--is to be expense to the Commonwealth.
eligible to the office of governor? Whether a The next resolve provides that the Constitution gentleman from Virginia, or Ohio, or California, shall be so far altered that the governor, in case though he may never have seen the State of Masof a failure of election by the people, shall be sachusetts, shall be eligible to the oflice of the elected by the joint ballot of the Senate and House governor of this Commonwealth ? I do not know of Representatives. By that amendment the but that they may report hereafter that a residence machinery of electing a certain number of candi- of seven years, immediately preceding the election, dates, and sending them up to the Senate, is done within the State, shall be required as one of the away, and the IIouse and Senate will come qualifications to that office. together and elect by joint ballot. If the plurali
Mr. DAVIS. We mean that the Constitution ty system prevails the result will be that the shall remain, as far as regards the office of goverHouse and Senate will elect from those having nor, just precisely as it now stands, with the exan equal number of votes. If the majority prin- ception of the amendments proposed by these ciple is to prevail, then they will elect from the resolves. two or three highest candidates.
Mr. HATHAWAY. Then the Committee These are in part the simple amendments should have negatived the first article by saying recommended by the Committee to that part of
that no further amendments were necessary, the Constitution which relates to the governor.
whereas it is now left, by the Report, further Mr. WILSON, of Natick. I should like to open to amendments by the Committee. ask the chairman of the Committee whether it is If the Committee intend to make no further the intention of the Committee to report resolu
alterations in reference to the office of governor, I tions upon any other provisions of the Constitu- have an amendment to propose, as far as relates tion in relation to the office of governor! I have to the subject of the first resolve. It is this : a couple of resolves which Lwish to propose for " That no person except a citizen of the United the consideration of the Convention, if the Com- States, and who shall have been an inhabitant of mittee does not intend to report them. I will this Commonwealth for seven years next precedread them so that the Convention may know ing the clection, shall be eligible to the office what they are, and that the gentleman may be of governor.” But I do not know what the able to answer my inquiries.
Committee propose to do, and not having the The first is-Resolved, That it is proper and whole subject before me, I do not know how to expedient to alter and amend article first, section act in regard to the matter.
The whole Report first, chapter second of the Constitution by strik- should be laid before the Convention before it is ing out the words and whose title shall be His taken up for discussion. When the Committee Excellency."
shall say they are done with the whole subject, The second is-Resolred, That it is proper and then we can act understandingly upon the entire expedient to alter and amend article seventh of proposition they present.
I do not propose to section first, chapter two of the Constitution, by submit my amendment at this time, because, for substituting therefor the following: “The gov- aught I know, the Committee may change their
mind in reference to this very matter of the qualification for the office of chief magistrate. It would not be a very wonderful matter for the Committee to come to one conclusion this morning, and to-morrow morning change it, and report a different conclusion.
For these reasons and for the purpose of testing this question, I move that the Committee rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
Alr. MILLER. I rise merely for the purpose of making an explanation to the gentleman from Freetown, (Mr. Hathaway). I was upon the Committee which made this Report, and I do not know but we proceeded upon a wrong principle. I suppose that the whole Constitution is to remain as it is, in relation to governor, where we have not altered it.
Mr. HATHAWAY. Upon suggestion, Mr. Chairman, I will change the motion I made, and move that the Committee rise, report progress, and direct that this matter be referred to the Committee for further consideration.
Mr. BRADBURY, of Newton, I think the gentleman from Freetown, when he sees the effect of his motion, will withdraw it. The Committee undoubtedly have their reasons for making their Report as they have. They probably thought that this Convention would like to discuss distinct propositions, but the motion shuts out all debate.
Mr. HATIIAWAY. At the suggestion of several gentlemen around me, I will withdraw the motion that the Committee rise.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the whole subject is again open to discussion.
Mr. MILLER, of Wareham. I did not suppose this Committee were necessarily bound to report upon the whole of that portion which was referred to them in one 'entire report. As I remarked before, I supposed we to state to the Convention, by our report, such alterations or changes as we thought ought to be made, but that there was no necessity of stating that entire opinion in one single report, upon every subject referred to us. We proceeded upon this principle ; when there was nothing in the present Constitution which we thought advisable to alter in reference to a particular subject, we said nothing about it. In this manner we have prosecuted our investigations, and have completed them in every branch of the subject upon which we have reported with one exception. For instance, in the second article it is provided that the governor shall be chosen annually. We have said nothing about that. It provides that the governor shall be a resident of the Commonwealth for seven years preceding his election. We have said nothing about that, and we suppose those provisions are understood to remain a part of the Constitution. We recommend the alterations which are recommended in this Report, and no others relative to this subject, and for my own part, I am unable to discover why the Report of the Committee is not complete so far as the subjects to which it refers are concerned. I was averse to going into Committee of the Whole this morning upon this Report, because the last resolve embraces subjects which are not definitively settled. That resolve embraces the subject of plurality. If the Convention should declare in favor of the plurality system, that last resolve must necessarily be materially altered. But that is the only substantial reason I can discover why we should not proceed with this Report now.
TIIE GOVERNOR. - IIATILA 11 - BRADBURY - SUMNER - BRIGGS – WILSOS,
Every part of this Report--all the provisions of the Constitution which relate to the choice of Governor, have been considered, and the amendments proposed are contained in this Report, and can be now considered and decided as well as any time, with the single erception of the last resolve. If new subjects should be referred to the ('ominittee, or if they should see fit to report upon distinct subjects, in future, they may report further, and they will report. But with the exceptia, as I have said, of the last resolve, the Report is complete upon the subject to which it refers. This is all I propose to say at this time,
Mr. II. TILAWAY. I have listened with some degree of care to the explanations of the gentleman from Wareham, (Jr. Willer,) but I beg to ask him whether he has answered the objections which I made: I will again state those objections, and I ask his attention. I objected that this Committee had not reported in full. They expressly say so in their Report. They only ask leave to report in part. Now how is this ('onvention to know that they will not change these very resolves which we have before us when they come to make their report in full. The Constitution now provides that the governor shall have resided in the State seven years. The gentleman says the ('ommittee have said nothing about that, and that it is therefore to remain. But suppose they should in future change their decision upon this subject, and say that instead of a residence of seven years, a residence of seven days or one day should be the only qualification for governor of the Commonwealth, have not they the right to make such a report? I say, therefore, the gentleman from Wareham has not answered my objections. He may think that nothing further will be reported upon this subject, and I presume they will report nothing further; but it is entirely within their scope and power to do so. therefore, that it is important for us to know what to depend on before we proceed to the discussion of subjects contained in this Report.
Mr. BRADBURY, of Newton. As a member of the Committee who reported these resolves, I desire to say a single word. I had supposed that this Committee, as every other committee to which the different subjects in the Constitution were referred, had the right to report in full or in part, as they might see fit, and the necessity of reporting in part in this case must be manifest to every one, after a moment's reflection. If we had reported in full, we should have had to decide whether the governor shall be elected by a majority or by a plurality, and we should have been obliged to decide in what manner the judiciary shall be created. All this is in the hands of another committee, and we must wait for them to report and for the Convention to act upon their report before we can act definitely upon those subjects. From the very nature of the case, therefore, these committees must report in part. We must wait for the action of the Convention and of the other committees, to guide us in finally settling all the matters referred to us. fectly manifest, that in order for our committee or any other Committee, to come to any clear and intelligible understanding upon the subjects committed to us, we must take one thing at a time; if we undertake to do otherwise, we shall find ourselves in inextricable confusion. It is enough for this Convention to consider whether the gov. ernor shall be chosen for two or three years.
That question is enough for them to settle at one also an amendment which should commend its if vote. It seems to me that the convention has to the judment and under-tanding of every oue. enough and more than enough to occupy its time So far, tien, as the amendments are proposed to for the present, and t'iat the committees should this clause of the Constitution I see 110 possil le not be required to determine questions which, at objection to them. Now when some committee this period of our proceedings, are so complex s'hall be appointed, as doul tless such a comiuittee and so intimately connected with the subjects will be appointed, to take into consideration the committed to ottier committee, that their decis. arrangement of the amendments adopted, they ions may at any inoment be revered by the de- will arrange these amendments, and place each cisions of those other committees, when they shall one in its proper porition, and then present the come in with di-tinct propositions for the action ('onstitution as a whole for the action of the Conof the Convention.
vention. Then when that committee come to The subject of the council is also intimately con- these amendments they will engraft them upon nected with that of governor, and that may be the present article so as to make it perfect in its decided by another committee, which must ne- arrangement and phra-cology. I see no diftruity cessarily restrain the action of this. I think the in adopting all these amuraiments, and I entirely Convention will understand by this time that concur in the Report of the Committee. ours is not the only committee which must neces
Mr. SARGENT. Do I understand that only sarily report in part.
the fir-t resolve is under consideration : Mr. SUMNER, for Otis. I do not perceive The (ILAIRMAX. That is the question under that there is any difficulty whatsoever in proceeding consideration. in the discussion of the Report as presented by the
Mr. SIRGENT. Ii strikes me that the two Committee. I think it is not only a very proper resolves are intimately connected, and unless we mode, but in a great many instances a very judi- are to act ab-olutely upon each specific provision, cious mode of presenting subjects to this conven- separately and di-tinctly, I think it would be well tion, which thuis ('ommittee have adopted in refer- to act upon the two tirst resolves together. I had ence to this subject. And I would suggest, as the embodied them with the section of the present best mode for the ('ommittee to pursue in the Constitution to which they relate. Siould they consideration of these resolves, that they take both be adopted the section would then read :them up and discuss them, seriatim-i-cuss each one of them in the order in which it is pre-ented,
“The governor shall be chosen annually, and no
person shall be eligible to this office, unless at the or in any order they may see tit to prescribe, and time of his election he shall be a citizen of the to dispose of them in the same order. With the United States, shall have been an inhabitant of purpose, therefore, of getting something directly this Commonwealth for seven years next precedbefore the Committee for consideration, I will ing the time of his election, and shall have atmove that the Committee proceed to the consider
taimed to the age of thirty years." ation of the first resolve reported by this Com- I think that is precisely as this provision will mittee. I think we can settle everything in that read if these resolves are adopted. I think these resolve without danger of any disturbance which two may be considered as one, although I think may arise from its connection with any other certainly they should be taken separately and subjects or any other resolves which may here- distinctly from the others, reported by the Comafter be reported by any other committee or by mittee. this ('ommittee.
Mr. BRADFORD), of Essex. I move to amend Mr. BRIGGS, of Pittsfield. Mr. Chairman, I
the Report of the Committee by striking out all would inquire if there is any need of the motion after the word, Resolved," and inserting the made by the gentleman who has just taken his
following:seat? If the Chair will allow me, I think that
Every legal voter in the Commonwealth shall resolve comes up for the consideration of the Com
be eligible to the office of Governor." mittee as a matter of course.
Mr. WILSOX, of Natick. Mr. Chairman, I I entirely concur in the opinion of the gentle
do not know that I am prepared to vote for the man from Otis, (Mr. Sumner,) in all he has said amendment of the me nber from Essex, (lir. in relation to the Committee who reported these Bradford,) ånd at the same time I should hesitate resolves. But they have been reported to the in voting for this resolve as reported by the ComConvention, and by the Convention referred to mittee. this Committee of the Whole. I therefore think, In the first place, I am not clear that a limitathat, according to parliamentary usage, unless tion of thirty years of age should be placed upon some motion intervenes to prevent, they come up the candidate for governor. I have no special as a matter of course, and a motion to take them objection to that however. But, I have an objecup is unnecessary. I ask the Chair whether I am tion to another provision in the resolve, which, correct?
unless it be properly and satisfactorily explained The CILARJAN. The Chair thinks no mo- to the Committee by some one, I can hardly suption is necessary.
port. I refer to that which prescribes that the Mr. BRIGGS. This resolve relates to the
governor shall be a citizen of the United States. qualification for governor. In the first place, it I maintain that a citizen of Massachusetts should is provided in the present Constitution that the be eligible to any office in the gift of the people of governor shall have resided in the Commonwealth Massachusetts.
Besides, there is considerable for seven years prior to his election. This, it is doubt among different authorities, as to what conproposed to leave as it is, and I can see no ob- stitutes a man a citizen of the United States. I jection. Next, this resolve proposes that he shall do not believe any member of this Convention be a citizen of the United States. It seems to me
can tell us precisely what constitutes citizenship. that is an extremely proper amendment. Then That question has never to my knowledge becn it is provided that the governor shall have attained definitively settled. Now, I undertake to say, that the age of thirty years. It seems to me that is if a citizen of Massachusetts, or one of a certain
It is per
- BRADFORD- DAVIS - ASPINWALL.
class of the citizens of Massachusetts should be created governor of the Commonwealth, and should wish to visit Europe while holding the office of governor, he could not obtain a passport of the national government to protect him while abroad. Now, Sir, is a citizen of Massachusetts necessarily a citizen of the United States ? And, is he to be protected and considered cverywhere as a citizen of the United States by the national government? Or, if we should happen to elect some one of our citizens governor of Massachusetts, and he should desire to go abroad, must he be compelled to go abroad without carrying a passport from the national government for his protection ? Or, if he wishes to travel in some of the States of this Union, can he travel as governor of Massachusetts without incurring the risk of being locked up in the State of South Carolina ? No, Sir, I see no necessity of putting these words “citizens of the United States' into the Constitution. I am content that a citizen of Massachusetts shall be the governor of Massachusetts if the people choose to make him such. I do not say that I shall vote against the resolve as it now stands, though I shall hesitate very much to do it, unless some one learned in the law can show to this ('ommittee that every citizen of Massachusetts is a citizen of the United States. But, if that thing is not settled to my satisfaction, I shall vote against the resolution, as I will vote against every proposition in this Convention, which shall in any way compromise the rights of any citizen of the Commonwealth.
Mr. BRADFORD, of Essex. The object of the amendment is expressed in as plain language as I could express it, and it is, that all distinction whatever, of any sort between the citizen and an office holder in the Commonwealth, should be abolished. Our fathers, who framed the present Constitution, which has been in existence over seventy years, were men strongly imbued with the feeling and spirit of liberty, and with the idea of making this ('ommonwealth a good and republican government. They, were men born one hundred years before our day; and they were raised under a government very different from our own, and from that which they intended to establish here. They had, in their idea in forming a government here, reference constantly to the government of the mother country, for which, they had yet great respect and reverence. There was a great fear prevalent at that time—it may have been a very prudent and proper fear--that the people were incapable of self-government. The government they were about to establish was one of experiment altogether, and they feared they might establish a government that could not stand. The experience of this last generation, has shown that those fears with another population than our own, might have been very resonably indulged. We have seen in attempts to establish republics in other countries, that the people in all parts of the world are not fitted for self-government. That was the prevailing idea here when this Constitution was established. And, beside, that there was a great restraint upon the gentlemen who formed the Constitution, by the strong opinions of another party in the Commonwealth, who, were still more favorably inclined to the government existing at that time in England. The idea which they made to prevail in the Constitution was, that as small a number of persons as possible should participate in the government, and in order to carry out their
principles and prevent any danger to the Commonwealth, to restrict the government to as few hands as it was in England. They looked to the wisdom of eminent men to sustain this Commons wealth. Various restrictions were made to carry out this idea. There was a restriction upon the legal voters in the shape of a money qualification, and there was a qualification for each office holder, from the governor and senators, down to the members of the IIouse of Representatives. There were restrictions of age and residence required, and various other restrictions of that kind, all tending to one thing, all parts of one system, to confine the government of this State to as few hands as possible. Is there a man in this house, who believes if the original Convention of 1780, were now sitting in this place, instead of the gentlemen who are now sitting here, that there would be one vote in favor of adopting such a system at the present day. If the question were now originally to come upof forming anew constitution, who would propose or vote for, or in any manner sanction, this system. It seems to me, if there is any one just and proper reform which this Convention is called upon to undertake, it is to abolish all distinction whatever between the office holder and the voter. I do not care how much jealousy is exhibited towards the rulers or the existing government. You may make as many restrictions in this respect as you please, and I will vote for them, but I will vote for no restrictions whatever upon the people, or for anything that carries an intimation that the people of the Commonwealth are not capable of self-government to the fullest extent. I suppose that a majority of the gentlemen of this Convention will agree in the propriety of the amendment, and will think with myself, that there ought not to be any limit whatever to the election of any officer whatever, except that of the distinction of voters. I believe myself, that the distinction of voters is a perfect safeguard in the election of officers without any restriction whatever, and I wish that every man of twenty-one years of age, who is a voter in the Commonwealth may be made eligible to any office without any restrictions or limitations whatever, but the distinction of being a voter.
The question was then taken upon the adoption of the amendment, and it was not agreed to.
Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. I move to strike out the words, “ except a citizen of the United States," and add at the end of the resolve, the words, “and no person of foreign birth shall be eligible to the office of governor, unless he is a naturalized citizen."
I suppose the Committee intended that such should be the effect of the resolve. I have not time to put the amendment in writing, but it will be seen by the Committee what my object is. There may be some misapprehension as to what was intended by the words, “except a citizen of the United States.” Members of the Committee differ, as I understand, upon this question, as to whether a person can be a citizen of Massachusetts, and not a citizen of the United States. It seems to me, reference to foreigners, or persons who have been foreigners, in the way I have mentioned, would obviate the difficulty and be as explicit as the state of the case requires.
Mr. WILSON, of Vatick. I do not understand what
friend from Plymouth, (Mr. Davis,) is to gain by his amendment. I hope he will explain it to the Committee, so that they may see
the necessity for its adoption. I understand the resolution before the Committee settles this matter, and if so, I see no necessity for bringing in this provision. I wish the gentleman would give us his reason for adopting such an amendment.
Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. I supposed I made myself sufficiently understood. My ohject was to remove the doubt or misapprehension which seemed to exist in the minds of many members of the Committee, and the very doubt which was suggested by the gentleman from Natick, (Mr. Wilson). As the resolution reported by the Committee now reads, it seems to me, that it is subject to this doubt. If a colored person, for instance, is deemed or has been, by the laws of this State, a citizen of this State,-inasmuch as he has been deemed a citizen of this State, it becomes a matter of doubt in the minds of many, whether he can be deemed by the United States, under any circumstances, as a citizen of the United States. If, therefore, the Committee intended, as I do not believe they did, that no colored person should be eligible to office in the government, because he is not a citizen of the United States, -and it is a mere matter of construction, as you will perceive, Mr. Chairman. I say that that misapprehension may be cured by the amendment which I have stated. I suppose it was the intention of the Committee, when they added the provision that no person should be eligible to office but a man who is a citizen of the United States, to refer especially to those persons who. have been foreigners, but who afterwards reside in this country and become naturalized. I suppose in adding those words they merely intended that the foreigner should become naturalized before he should be eligible to offices in the government. If I understood the gentleman from Natick, (Mr. Wilson,) correctly, it was his own suggestion, and my amendment was intended merely to cure the difficulty which suggests itself to my mind. If gentlemen will refer to the Report of the Committee, and if they will suppose for a moment that a colored person is not a citizen of the United States, they will see the difficulty in which this matter appears under the phraseology adopted by the Committee. I think that all danger of misapprehension may be cured by the adoption of the amendment which I have offered.
Mr. ASPINWALL, of Brookline. I should like to ask the gentleman what he means by the words “foreign birth.” Does he mean persons born in a foreign land: I am sure he does not wish to cut off my hopes of being elected governor myself, and I hope that he will modify his amendment in such a manner as to place me among the persons eligible. (Laughter.] It unfortunately happens that I was not born in the United States, but yet was born a citizen of the United States, and I suppose that there is a very large class of persons at all times in the United States, who are not born within the limits of the United States, but yet born citizens of the United States. I refer to persons born abroad, the children of persons holding office under the United States government. I happen to be among that class, and was born in England, my father being a resident there holding office under the United States government, and by the rules of the common and civil law as recognized in this country, I became a citizen of the United States, without any process of naturalization. I would, therefore, suggest to the gentleman that he should make some alteration in