(May 28th.

the amendment which would enable me to hold the other States of the Union. Now the anendthe office of governor if such should ever be my ment of the gentleman from Plymout, (Mr. fortune. Laughter.]

Bates, ) if I understand it riglıtly, provider, that Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. I would not ob- native citizens of this commonwealth, foreillers ject to special legislation in favor of the gentleman or aliens, or in whatever manner you may chose who has just taken his seat. I suppose it will be to di signate then, who are naturalized, shall be sufficient to strike out the word "10 person of eligible to the officer of governor of ('ommonforeign birth," and insert the word “ alien." wealth. I and how that form of expression ditfirs

Mr. DAVIS, of Fall Iliver. I would ask from that proposed by the committe. It is whether a person can be a citizen until he is merely expressing in a different foriu the same naturalized, and if the Act of naturalization is not thing which is already surveted in the Report of an United States Act, so that a naturalized citizen the CommitteeIt is said truly, that the constior foreigner, being a citizen by naturalization is tution as it now stands contains no provision that in reality a citizen of the United States, by the a party to be clected governor, shall be a citizen Act of the United States?

of the Commuonwealth. But what constituted Mr. WILSOX, of Vatick. The sugeestions citizenship in Massachusetts, when t'ris ('onstituwhich I made, have no referrnce whatever to tion was formed: That he should be an inpersons of foreign birth, whether they are citi- habitant. If our father could have foreseen zens of the United States or not. According to the arrangements which would have been made my understanding of the Constitution, a man by the confederation of states, united by the who is not a naturalized citizen of the State or the bonds of the constitution as one great nation, Union could be elected governor of this common- I think we cm well imagine, that they woull wealth to-day. The Constitution says that the have required citizenslip certainly, to entitle a governor shall be an inhabitant of the ('ommon.

man to be elected overnor of the Commonwealth. wealth for seven years preceding his clection, and I think that the modification proposed by the genthat he shall pay taxes for a certain amount of tleman from Plymout, (Mr. Bates,) is a change property. These are the qualifications, and no not of sub-tance, but is mert ly an indirect and circitizenship for the State, or the United States is cuitous mode of expression, making the same required. No qualification of age is required. I provision that is contained in the proposition of care nothing about the place where a man was the Committee. born. I do not wish to bring this que-tion into Objection has been made to the qualification this discussion, and I do not like to have such requiring a certain age for the governor. It is words as “ • foreign birth” incorporated in the said that any person who is entitled to vote, shall be Constitution, as proposed by my friend. The esteemed a tit person to receive the votes of the peosuggestions which I made had reference to our ple for governor. I am fully willing to leave that own citizens. I would have preferred it better question for the action of the people of Massachuif the Committee had used the term "citizen of setts. But there might possibly be such a thing Massachusetts," rather than that of citizen of the under some circumstances under the operation of United States, because I think there has been these caucuses and conventions, the character of doubt about the question whether a citizen of which was so eloquently portrayed by the genMassachusetts was deemed and taken by the tleman from Natick, (Mr. Wilson,) yesterday, national government to be necessarily a citizen of that some man might be imposed upon the the United States. Our courts so understand it citizens of Massachusetts, as being a man of disin this State, and if this is our understanding and cretion and fitness for the office, who had but the intention I would not make any great objection day before his nomination, been decmed, by law, to it. But I do object to inserting anything in this untit to take care of his own interests. A man Constitution which will make any distinction, just past twenty-one years of age, might be under any circumstances, whatever, between any smuggled through some convention, or men or any race of men, and I would myself caucus, get the nomination, and be declared, berecognize men of every race, clime and country, fore the people of Massachusetts, as a meet and upon the ground of perfect equality.

fit person to hold the executive power in his Mr. IIUBBARD, of Boston. I am at a loss to hands. I think it is wise and proper that the see the ground of objection taken by the gentle- Constitution should guard against imposition, so man from Natiek, (Mr. Wilson,) to the proposi- that, perchance, if the people should be imposed tion as made by the Committee. It is declared upon in such a way, that when the man comes to by the Constititution of the United States, that present himself to take the oaths of office, his the citizens of each State shall be entitled to the

qualifications may be known by the legislature privileges and immunities of citizens in the several

who are called upon to administer the oath, and States. I suppose a citizen of Massachusetts, ac

if, by possibility, through the machinations of cording to this provision of the Constitution, if he

caucuses and conventions, which have been so deremoves to any other State, is by the Constitution cried, the people should have been imposed upon, entitled to all the privileges and immunities of

that it may not be too late to correct the error, citizens in that State. But it is for the local before he is invested with such high and importribunals of the State to which he may migrate, tant responsibilities as are intrusted to the goverto settle the question what his rights are. It is nor of this Commonwealth. for the national government in this case to deter- Mr. HORTON, of Taunton. I rise, not to mine who are the citizens of the United States, enter into this debate at all, but to make a single and who are entitled to certain privileges and suggestion. It seems to me that the distinction benefits resulting from that relation. No action

made here partakes of a verbal character altoof this Convention, or of the Commonwealth of

gether, and that upon the question now before us, Massachusetts, in their sovereign capacity can we really all think alike; and I think a mode of control the action of the officers of the federal gov- expression may be suggested which will meet the ernment, or the officers and judicial tribunals of

views of all the gentlemen present. I make a

ution now, rather for the consideration of the gentle man from Plymouth, Jr. Butex, ) than as a distinct motion, and if it should meet his views, I hope he will acerpt it, and that it will be adoptcu by the committe. We are acting here for the sovereign pople of Massachusetts, and I think t' at we ought to contine our action within the liinit of our own State. The nation is in some romperen a foreign gwrument, and I should be sorry to have alluvion made to other States or the United States, farther than is necessary. I xuppose the object of the Committee was that citizens of Isachusetts should be eligible to the office of govermor. Therefore I beg leave to suggest, that by making a simple amendment, to strike out the words "l'nited States," and inert “ Maxachusetts," we shall attain the object of the gentlezen who have spoken upon this subject.

Mr. BATES I will accept the amendment.

Mr. HOPKINSOX, of Boston. I rise to make an inquiry of the learned gentleman from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,) what is legally a citizen of Jassachusetts, as di-tinguished from a citizen of the t'nited States.

Mr. MORTO.. A disenssion of this nice que-tion, about which doctors disagree, was the precise thing which I wished to avoid by the amendment I offer. It is enough for us, in fixing the election of our own officers, to take care of our own citizens.- Let this question come before some other tribunal, and before men more learned than myself, to decide this nice question.

Mr. IIUBBARI), of Boston. I suppose in Massachusetts we all agree that the Constitution of the United States means what it says, and there can be no question with us that a citizen of Massachusetts is a citizen of the United States. If we reject this provision of the Committee, and say that a person who is a citizen of Massachusetts only shall be eligible to the office of governor, it seems to me that in some future generation, when more learned doctors of the laws are called upon to consider this question-I will not say more learned than the gentleman from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,)— it will be said that it means something less than a citizen of the United States. A man may come from Connecticut, or some other State, as it has been my misfortune to come, and may be excluded, as the gentleman from Brookline, ( Ir. Aspinwall,) thinks he may, from being eligible to the office of governor, because he was not native born, but was a citizen of the United States. It will be held up in future times, when the debates and proceedings of this Convention shall become records of history, that we refused to admit a citizen of the United States, coming here and making himself an inhabitant of the State, to be elected governor of the Commonwealth; and it will be said, by refusing to say a citizen of the United States, and using the term citizen of Massachusetts, we meant to bring within a narrower limit and sphere, the class from which we should select candidates for governor than citizens of the United States who may have resided in Massachusetts from the period of boyhood, and even infancy, up to full manhood. The provision inserted by the Committee, is the only provision which will shut out the question in future as to who is a citizen of Massachusetts. No one disputes, I believe, here in Massachusetts, that a native born citizen, of whatever caste or color, is entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizenship, but if we restrict it to citizens of





(May 28th.

[ocr errors]




Massachusetts, it will give rise, I apprehend, to a discussion here, as to whether we did not intend to limit and restrict it to our own native born citizens. I shall therefore object to the amendment, and I humbly submit that the provision, as it is contained in the Report of the Committee, is a more fitting mode of pre-cribing citizenship.

Mr. KEYES, for Abington. It seems to me, if the theory of those gentlemen who object to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,) is correct—if the two terms, a citizen of Massachusetts and a citizen of the United States are exactly alike, and there is no difference between them--the only question is, whether the term citizen of the United States or citizen of Massachusetts should be retained. It strikes me it would sound better, if there were no other reason, that we should say citizen of Massachusetts ; but I think there are important reasons why the term citizen of Massachusetts should be retained. The congress of the United States is competent to declare who are citizens of the United States. The Constitution of the United States is a document which is translated very differently in one section of the country from what it is in another. We know that a citizen of Massachusetts, according to the Constitution of the l'nited States, is not regarded by the United States Government as a citizen of the United States. One power—a great power in the country-tramples upon that Constitution whenever it sces fit; and the Senate of the United States has declared publicly and boldly that even the reprezentatives of New England are not fit to belong to healthy political organizations, unless they indorsed a certain infamous law. Well, who knows but what that same congress of the United States may declare nobody to be a citizen of the United States unless he will indorse some law like that. This, I think, is no mere theory, but history, founded upon the facts of the case. The Supreme Judicial Court of the United States was organized and manufactured on purpose to declare slave law and not the law of the Constitution, for that Court is composed of nine members five of whom are from the slave States, representing not more than one-half of the white population of the free States. Our Circuits, with double the population of the Southern Circuits, have one judge less than they have in the Supreme Court. We have it on record that that Court is organized, not for the purpose of carrying out the principles of the Constitution, but in all cases to carry out a certain kind of Southern law, which we know has disfranchised citizens of Massachusettswhich has regarded them not as citizens of the United States—which has imprisoned them like felons in Southern dungeons; and the North apparently is satisfied with it and are content.

I do not suppose there is any great fear that a negro--for I take it that is all the objection there is, and that in no other sense is it objected to–will ever be elected governor of Massachusetts. But if we are establishing priuciples and theories we ought to look at what may be their possible issue. I understand the theory of the Constitution is, that if one drop of African blood runs through the veins of any human being, then he is not a citizen of the United States. It is barely possible that by some sort of phlebotomizing or chemical analysis it may be found that some of our best men may have, in some generation long back, been tinctured with this African blood, but ac

cording to that theory, as I understand it, laid dent in the Commonwealth for seven years, down and carried out to the extreme, they which secures residence, and therefore if this would be no longer citizens of the United States. term “citizen of the United States” is put into If I belicved that that Constitution was exe- the Constitution, the courts will necessarily infer cuted thoroughly, and that the congress and that we mean something by it-that it is not executive of the United States would see it intended to be synonymous with inhabitant or executed thoroughly, I would not say one word resident, but something more. I ask for informaagainst it. But the records of the country's tion from those gentlemen who are better posted history are alive and full with facts entirely in up in legal matters, constitutional law, and the contradistinction to that theory. The Constitu- law of the United States, than myself, what shall tion of the United States may answer for citizens be the meaning of the term “citizen of Massaof South Carolina when they come here, in all chusetts." Will you exclude every person born cases, but it will not answer for a citizen of out of her jurisdiction, by saying that it means Massachusetts in South Carolina. If the gentle- native;" or will you say that it means every men who have spoken upon the other side of the person who is a resident and inhabitant of Mas. question are satisfied with the paragraph to which sachusetts. I am confident that the Committee reference has been so often had in this discussion, do not mean that, because they have provided a that the terms mean precisely the same thing, I seven years' residence as a qualification for holdcan scarcely see why they can have any objection ing the office of governor. Let us go back to the certainly to the adoption of the term " citizen of question suggested by the gentleman for AbingMassachusetts.”

ton, (Mr. Keyes). I do not see any necessity of Mr. IIOPKINSON, of Boston. Not having referring to the construction which the United heard the first part of the discussion, it may be State3 courts may give of it, because I suppose it that the ideas which occur to my mind have been perfectly clear that a citizen of the United States, all considered, and the difficulties of this question

if he unitez residence, is also a citizen of Massasettled, before I came in. It appears to me that chusetts. I do not say that the converse is true, it is a question of some importance, and I should that every citizen of Massachusetts is a citizen of like to know whether it has been considered in

the United States, but I mean to say that every all its bearings. My objection to this amendment citizen of the United States, who is a resident in is not that the term “ citizen of MassachusettsMassachusetts, is a citizen of Massachusetts. means the same thing as “ citizen of the United Upon that point I have something to present, States.” If I believed it did, I certainly should which, I think, will be satisfactory; and if I am not question the propriety of the amendment for wrong in the view which I take, I hope gentlethose who have doubts upon this subject, and men will correct me. think that its adoption would improve the matter, Now I repeat the inquiry, when we speak of It is not, therefore, a mere verbal distinction citizens of Massachusetts, what do we mean? which I have in my mind. The question which Where are our limits? I regret to hear reflections I asked some little time ago of the gentleman cast upon the government of the United States ; from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,) I asked in good I regret to hear it said here in this dignified asfaith, because I supposed, from his knowledge of semblage of the people of Massachu etts, by any kindred subjects, he could probably give an of their delegates, that their courts are packed, answer which would clear up some of my doubts and are not fit to decide questions of law. I think and difficulties. The difficulty which presents

we should forbear, either here or elsewhere, makitself to my mind is this. I do not know what a ing any such issue between the two governments. citizen of Massachusetts means, for it is to have a

All should be harmonious, and go on together, technical and legal interpretation, and not a loose for the greatest good of the whole people. Let us and conversational one. I ask gentlemen, then, not array them in hostility one against the other. who are citizens of Massachusetts ? I cannot

Let us understand that when we are citizens of very easily tell who would be so considered if

Massachusetts, in a popular and general sense, we you look to that uncertain and somewhat vague are always citizens of the United States; and and indistinct code called the law of nations, I palsied be the arm that wishes to peril the Union. suppose that it is everywhere recognized that I am ready to act here, and to do all I can, for persons born on the soil are citizens of the United the purpose of improving the laws of the landStates, unless there is some positive exclusion. I as well of the United States as of the State in do not suppose that gentlemen mean to con

which I have the honor to live. I am ready to fine the term "citizen" to the term “native,"

use all the power which we have, to correct otherwise they would exclude every man born

abusez; and I think we should all join heart and out of the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, just hand in correcting them, but I am not willing to as effectually as they would every man born out declare war-I do not mean a war with the of the United States, because we are now told sword, for nobody resorts to such hostile demonthat that is a foreign government which we are strations as that, but a war of words by which ill not called upon to recognize. I suppose, there- fuelings are excited against the government of the fore, that they do not mean to say “native," Do United States; and it seems to me that there is no they mean to say that the term shall be co- necessity for the indulgence of such a strain of extensive with the term inhabitant? I

presume remarks as we have listened to in this body. I not; because I do not think that the courts, assume, Sir, that every native born African and either in Massachusetts, or elsewhere, will ever Indian, either in or out of Vassachusetts, in the give that construction to the clause. It will be United States, is a citizen of the United States, borne in mind that the Committec propose an unless he is excluded hy some positive .lct; and amendment to the Constitution, not a substitute how can we go boyand that in Massachusetts for the section of the Constitution. Among other Whon wo say, oitizens of Massachusetts, what is provisions remaining in the Constitution, is one, the meaning: Who is to make oitizens of Masthat the governor elected shall have been a resi- sachusetts: Have you any naturalization laws,

[ocr errors]



(May 28th.

[ocr errors]


or have you any authority to make naturalization laws. C'ertainly not. Ilow then is the man of foreign birth to become a citizen of Massachu. setts, except by becoming so under the naturali. zation laws of the I'nited States? I know very well, Sir, that in making a Constitution, we have a right to say whether persons shall vote in regird to State matters; but conferring the power to vote in State elections gives a mu no rigits as a citizen of the United States. We can give no rights of that kind-it is a matter altogether beyond our control. I submit, then, that if the words "citizen of Massachusetts" should be substituteil, and even if we should be able exactly to define what a citizen of Massachusetts is, there would be nothing gainedl; for while you would have no opportunity to elect a man who is not a citizen of the United States, you might exclude thousands from that office who were good citizens. It seems to me, therefore, that the argument of the gentleman represcuting Abington does not accomplish the object which he intended it should, for the insertion of the words citizen of Massachusetts does not make the basis so largeas he desired that it should be. At all events, it leaves the matter in uncertainty; and I hope that some gentleman more ver-ed in this subject than I am, will give us some definition of the word citizen, so that we can see who shall and who shall not, under this Constitution, be eligible to the office of governor; and unless I can see some better reason than I have yet seen to satisfy my mind that the language can be improved, I shall be under the necessity of voting against the amendinent.

Mr. KEYES, for Abington. The gentleman seems to arraigu me for the illustration which I used; but I wish to say that it came in very legitimately and very properly as an allusion in accordance with the general tenor of the debate, and as it had already been referred to. What is that parchment, the Constitution of the United States ? Is it anything more than a record of the power and authority of the government, conferred by the people who instituted it? Nothing

It was referred to in the paragraph which was read, saying that citizens of Massachusetts are citizens of the United States. I say that it is not so, notwithstanding that the Constitution says it is so; and I gave as a reason why it is not so, because we have got a Supreme Court who have determined to the contrary, and the court had a right to determine to the contrary. That is the law as applicable to certain sections of the Union; but whenever we have tried the experiment, you know very well what success we have met with in endeavoring to carry out that principle. Now, Sir, I do not think that the government of the United States is too sacred to be alluded to. It has been the policy of some persons to blind the eyes of the people of Massachu. setts to the state of ignominy and servitude in which they live under the government of the United States, and they would make us believe that if we do not surrender to the demands of another section, the Union will be endangered. Sir, nobody believes this is going to endanger the Union.

That old hypocritical cry about danger to the Union has been completely exposed, and the only fears with regard to the safety of the Union grow out of that peculiar institution, which, unless restricted, can destroy it, if the lessons of history be not all false,

Why, Sir, if

they find great difficulty in managing them suc- want t!e Siates to make their own regulations
cefully now, when there are only about thrue about this matters, and prescribe who shall be
millions, what will they do when there art twenty citizens; and I do not see why we caufnot stand
millions held in bondise: There is no diger to up bravely upon the dortrine of State rig'ls. Wc
the Union. The only danzer is that we shall lay | are m.king a (on-titution for Massachusetts, –
down our arnus and yield to the insults of tyran- hot to please tih teletal overnment-200 to please
ny; but if we stand up manfully and demand the government of any other State of this l'uion
our rights, we shall obtain them. That is my --not to please the government of any other power
theory, although it may not be the gentleman's upon carth; we propose to make a Constitution
theory. I do not feel alarmed about the disso. to please the poole of Massachusetts alone. As
lution of the Union in consequence of anything it seems to iue, then, we are to contine our elves
said in our dibutes lere; if I did, perliajas I entirely to the formation of a Constitution for the
might alter my coure. I do not apprehend t?sat interest and the welfare of the people of Mu«d-
anything which I may say or do is going to tvar chutt; and if, in any re-péct the Constitution
this Union asunder. The gentleman wants to wł ich we form infringes upon the powers of the
know who a citizen of Massachu-tts is; but I general government, of course the Supreme Court
should like to have himn tell me who a citizen oft'te will set us right about the matter; but so far as it
United States is. I think it is much more difficult is competent for us to forin a con-titution within
to answer that question than the one which seems te rights reserved to the people of Jíassachusetts,
to puzzle him so much. I had supposed that a so far I trust we shall make that constitution to
citizen of Massachusetts was a man entitled to be suit ourselvey and not to suit any other power on
a voter in Massachusetts. The amend.nent offered the face of the globe.
by the gentleman from Exsex, (Mr. Bradford,) Mr. LIVERJORE, of Cambrilse. I do not
was precisely equivalent to this, only expressed profess to have inuch lezal kuowledge, but it
in different language. Legal voters in the State seems to me that this difficulty may be obviated
of Massachusetts, as I suppose, are always con- without entering into considerations of that sort.
sidered citizens of Massachusetts; and that is I have thought that it might perhaps be well to
what I understand to be the meaning of this amend the resolution by striking out all after the
amendment. There may be questions asked word “ that,” in the second line, and inserting in
which are very difficult to answer; but I think I lieu thereof the following :-" Any persor who is
never before heard the question raised, "Who is a a legal voter in this Commonwealth, and who
citizen of Massachu«etts?"

shall have attained the age of twenty-five years,
Mr. BIRD, of Walpole. I see no need of shall be eligible to the office of governor." If
troubling ourselves about the difficulty of defin- that should be done, there would be no misunder-
ing who a citizen of Massachusetts is, in the new standing as to who were meant by it, and I think
('onstitution which we are forming, until some it would attain the object which this Convention
inconvenience is found to arise from not knowing has in view. I simply rise for the purpose of say-
who a citizen is, as mentioned in the Constitution ing that if the amendment now under considera-
under which we are now living. The ninth arti- tion shall not prevail, at the proper time I shall
cle of the last chapter, says, “ Every male citizen, offer that which I have suggested.
of twenty-one years of age and upwards,” &c. Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I propose, after the
&c., shall be a voter, and also “every citizen who present amendment shall have been disposed of,
shall be by law exempted from taxation," &c., to submit one, the purport of which I will state in
shall be a voter. Now I take it for granted that the course of my remarks. I am in favor of the
it means every male citizen of Massachusetts shall amendment of the gentleman from Taunton, using
be a voter, provided he has the specitied qualifica- the expression, "citizen of Massachusetts,” be-
tions. It does not mean every male citizen of cause we are making a Massachusetts Constitu-
Rhode Island, or every male citizen of South tion; and although it may excite a smile, I will
Carolina, but every male citizen of Massachusetts. add that I want to make such a Constitution as
You have no right to infer that it means every we could live under if we should ever have the
male citizen of the United States, for if it had misfortune not to live under the government of
meant so it would have said so ; and the inference the United States. I have good authority, Sir,
from its not saying "citizen of the United States," for a remark of that kind. I find that in 1820,
must undoubtedly be that it means every male when the Chief Justice of this Commonwealth,
citizen of Massachusetts, and no one else. I am Judge Parker, proposed certain amendments to
willing, sir, to take the same phraseology in our the Declaration of the Bill of Rights, he made
new Constitution which is used in that under use of the following language :-
which we live. I think the question asked by the tune, we should ever cease to be governed by the
gentleinan from Abington is a very pertinent one; Constitution of the United States, we should
althougperhaps it is hardly fair to answer one want our Constitution as it now is." I con-
question by asking another, yet I put the same tend, therefore, that the word “ Massachusetts,"
inquiry, will any legal gentleman tell me who a should be substituted, and then, according to
citizen of the United States is: I have asked the provisions of the Constitution of the United
several gentlemen who are learned in the law, but States, a citizen of Massachusetts would have the
I cannot get a satisfactory answer. I suppose

privileges of a citizen of the l'uited States. that citizens of the United States under the Con- Then, Sir, another difficulty arises here. If the stitution are those who are declared to be citizens resolution should be adopted, leaving it as it of the several States ; for the Constitution of the stands, perhaps you would be going farther than United States, and the laws of the United States, you intend to. It might be construed to apply to so far as I know anything about them, have not insane persons, paupers, or persons under guardefined who are citizens of the Cnited States, ex- dianship; and I want to know if you are going cept by saying that the citizens of each State shall to do that. It is best that we should see exactly enjoy the privileges of citizens of other States. I where we are going; and after seeing what the




May 28th.

[ocr errors]

effect is, if the Convention choose to adopt it, I have nothing more to say.

Mr. DAVIS, of Worcester. If the gentleman from Lowell will allow me, I would like to ask him whether he considers paupers and insane persons as citizens.

Mr. BUTLER. In the name of all that is right, yes. I do not think that a man ceases to be a citizen because he has the misfortune to be poor or insane.

Mr. DAVIS. They cannot exercise the duties of citizens.

Mr. BUTLER. That depends upon the provisions of the Constitution. I know of no reason why paupers should be disfranchised. Paupers do exercise the right of voting in the State of New York at the present time. If a man loses his money, he does not lose the right of citizenship there, and perhaps it may be so here before we get through amending our Constitution—I cannot tell how that may be. In amending the Constitution of New York, the matter was discussed; and while they would not allow colored persons to vote, they took care that all paupers should be allowed to vote. The article, if amended as proposed, would read something like this: “ The governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office unless at the time of his election he shall be a citizen of Vassachusetts, and shall have been an inhabitant of this Commonwealth for seven years next preceding, and attained the age of thirty years.” Now there are insane persons and paupers who would come within all these provisions. I throw out these suggestions to call the attention of the Convention to the subject; and it seems to me that this difficulty might be obviated by inserting after the word “Massachusetts” the words “and a lezal voter therein,” so that the article would read as follows:

framed to get any light to show how it ought to be construed. It is not sufficient that these matters are understood among ourselves-what is said here in the discussion of the amendments will not give any light to those who are to come after us, and we have got to leave the Constitution so that its phraseology will express exactly what we mean, because the courts may say that these debates cannot be used to give a construction to the instrument. I make these remarks, because there is a case in point to illustrate this very thing. Our Constitution says that certain officers shall be chosen by written votes; and when that matter came before the court for explanation, the question was raised whether “ written" should be construed to mean “printed ;" and although the distinct proposition that the word written should mcan printed had been voted down in the Convention, yet our court decided that it should mean printed. Thus they allowed printed votes to be used, although the Constitution expressly declared that the votes should be written, and the proposition to allow printed votes had been voted down in the Convention ; the court decided against the understanding and wishes of the Convention, because they would not allow the debates to be brought in as evidence-they would not look into the book.

I am by no manner of means saying that it is not a right decision. Far be that from me, when I am in the performance of practice before courts of law. Of course it is right. But I mean to say this, if nothing more, that we must look at the language we use in framing a fundamental law. I hope the terin “ Jassachusettswill be adoptcd. That saves the question ; because if a man is a citizen of “ Massachusetts,” then by the law of the land and the Constitution of the United States, he is a citizen of every other State of the Union--that is, he is entitled to all the immunities and privileges of citizens of the other States, and he is protected in his rights of person and property. By the law of land he is entitled to that. Let us so frame the Constitution that we may have a Constitution, according to the language of Chief Justice Parker already cited, which shall be a sufficient protection for us, if the time shall ever come when the Union shall be dissolved; which I pray heaven may never come. I do not belicve it will soon come, and I believe the Union will be preserved, although the apprehensions of the gentleman for Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) seems to be of a different character. I want the word “Massachusetts" inserted, and then, unless some good reason is perceived for the contrary, I will cordially agree to the insertion of the words proposed by the gentleman from Cambridge ; and then, I think, no man will have any difficulty in agreeing to the provisions, except upon the ground of age. Perhaps some gentleman will remark that Napoleon commanded the armies of Italy some years before the age of thirty.

Mr. LIVERMORE, of Cambridge. I believe that the amendment that I shall propose, will cover the whole ground, and leave nothing for legal gentlemen to decide hereafter. I will once more read the proposition which I shall submit to the Convention.

“ That it is expedient to alter and amend the Constitution so as to provide that any person who is a legal voter in this Commonwealth, and shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, shall be eligible to the office of governor."

By passing the resolution in that shape, all the legal ditliculties which gentlemen have suggested, as to who is to be considered a citizen of the United States, or a citizen of Massachusetts, will be obviated, and all can understand it.

Mr. IIALLETT. I would inquire of the gentleman from Cambridge, and of the gentleman from Lowell, whether they mean the full force of their suggestions in regard to this matter: Do they mean to confine the office of governor of this Commonwealth to legal voters? What will be the result: If you happen to choose a man who has been out of the State for two years, or one who has not paid his tax, he is ineligible to that office. Do you intend that result: Now, the principle with which I came into this ('onvention and mean to carry through with me, is to seek everywhere the largest liberty, consistent with the security and interest of the people. By and by, I dare say I shall be more conservative, in the application of principles, than others are, but when we lay down principles, I desire that they shall be as large as the people. The Constitution as it now reads, is “that no person shall be eligible to this office, unless, at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this Commonwealth for seven years next preceding; and unless he shall, at the same time, be seized, in his own right, of a freehold within the Commonwealth, of the value of one thousand rounds.” That first restriction I hope we shall knock off, to some extent at least; and we shall undoubtedly dispense with the freehold qualification. Now, shall we enlarge or restrict that provision: Now this resolution is, that we shall say to the people, that we do not consider it expedient that they should clect a man for governor who not thirty years of age. Now, any farmer in our Commonwealth knows when a man arrives at an age when he is capable of managing a farm, or a school commissioner at what age a man can manage a school. I think it is a simple absurdity to put a restriction of that kind upon your candidate for governor. I believe the people who send us here are as wise as we ourselves are, and I propose to leave that matter to them.

Again, he shall have been, immediately preceding the election, an inhabitant of this Commonwealth, for seven years. Now, the only amendment offered, which I should consider as worthy of adoption, is that which proposes, that in addition to being an inhabitant, he shall he a citizen of the United States. Now that enlarges the sphere of eligibility, and because it enlarges it, I am in favor of the proposition.

The gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) says that it includes women, That is the very reason why I am in favor of it. I go for the right of the people of this Commonwealth to choose women for their governors, if they see fit to do so. I say if the people of Great Britain have a right to make a woman their queen, we ought to have the right to make women governors. De Loam said that the power of Parliament is such as to do anything except to make a man a woman, or a woman a

Lord Bacon in his comment upon that passage, declared that Parliament had the power even of making a woman a man, for they declared a woman to be Lord Mayor of London. The qualitication should not confine the office to ** who are voters, but should allow the candius. 3 to be taken from any branch of the people, or from any class of society, if they have that quality

"The governor shall he chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office unless at the time of his election he shall be a citizen of Massachusetts and a legal voter therein, and shall have been an inhabitant of this Commonwealth for seven years next preceding, and attained the age of thirty years."

If it should be amended so as to read in that manner, it will cover all classes of persons whom we shall, by constitutional law, consider entitled to exercise the duties of citizenship, without including paupers, insane persons, persons under guardianship or any others whom it may be thought best to omit. Now while I think of it, I will ask this Convention and the learned chairman of the Committee in particular, if women are not citizens. I believe the ladies are citizens; at least, I know one who is-I am pretty certain upon that point, (laughter,) and that being so, you have left it so that ladies will be eligible to the office of governor. My friend over the way nods at me, as much as to say that they generally do gover, as it is; but that is not what I am alluding to. Perhaps some gentlemen will think that this is hypercriticism, but we are framing a Constitution which is to last after we shall have passed away from the stage of action, and if any doubts arise as to the construction of any portions of it, they will have to go to the courts for an explanation. The courts may say then just what the courts say with regard to the present Constitution; they say they cannot look into the debates which took place when the Constitution was





(May 28th.


[ocr errors]


of locality, which will identify them with the | we liad butter contine our language to the State į quently he is not afraid to tru-t the j cople, that the interests of the community. I hope we shall we represent. Fortis reason I proposed it, and pole will do just as t.ley please, and we cannot adopt this provision, for we hold that any person all this discussion, which has taken a wide range, i Help our-elves. We need not talk about allowwho is a citizen of this State, is thereby a citizen has not changed my mind upon the que-tion. It ing the puo;le to do this or that, for they will of the United States, provided he has been natur- may not prevail, but if it does it may be because have their own way. They have sent us liere to alized. There are some States which be-tow the great and important reasons have been urged in propose amendments to tie Con-titution, and if privilege of voting, upon j«rsons who have not its favor.

the amt lidments we xhill propo-e, meet their apbeen long enough in the United States, to receive I do not know that it is materially better tian prubation, they will adopt t'em, and if not, t.ey their naturalization papers, and who consequently the proposition of t'ie gentleman from ('an'ıridge. will reject them. We can have no detinite de are not citizens of the United States.

I have no objection to t'at, and I am willing to cixion of any matter connected with the ConstituNow you require your governor to reside seren vote for it; but yet, instead of making it mor cor- tion. years within the Commonwealth. . You therefore, tnin, it may micke it more uncertain, because it Now, my friend for Wil'ra'am has taken extend the office to every alien who comes here, Phan that you have people in this Com- hig' er democratic ground upon this occasion than for if he remains here tive years, he becomes nat- monwealth who may make very excellent gover. I ever knew him take bevore. He goes for mikiug uralized. So it is no restriction upon aliens at non, who yet are not voters. And this brings to women governors. Will, Sir, I shall object to all,

my mind the fact, that a person who was a can putting that provision into the Constitution, for Mr. BUTLER. Does the gentleman mean to didate for governor, lo t election because he this reason: they are our gernors alrcady. inform the Committee that every alien who resides was not a voter in the Commonwealth.

They boli a higier aut ority over us than here five years, becomes a citizen, as a matter of The term legal voter is very uncertain, because would be t'ic case if they were inale governors of course?

it depends upon the performance of various du- the Commonwealth by a political election. Now, I Mr. IIALLETT. What I said was, that a resi- tiev, and mainly upon the payment of taxes. It les to ask my friend for Wilsyraham, (Mr. Haldence here of five years, gives to every person who may so happen that some gentleman may neglect lett,) who advances this dxtrine, what the comes to this country, a right to be a citizen. If to pay his taxes, and thus be excluded from being authority of the Fathers is upon this subject? he comes here when under eighteen years of age, eligible to te office of governor.

What is the authority of the Democratic Fathers : he may be naturalized without any previous de- In relation to the apprehension of some gentle- What have they said about women being goverclaration. If he is over twenty-one years, he men, that it may include women, in-ane persons, nors: (Lau 'ter.) must make a previous declaration, but under no and paupers, that fact may have some weight with Mr. ILILLEIT. I will answer the gentlecircumstances is he required to be in the l'uted them, but it has none with me. I go upon the States over five years. In that the gentleman will ground of opening a wide door.

Jr. BRIGGS. Let me ask the gentleman one agree with me as a matter of law.

I shall vote aga'nst the proposition, because of question more, and then he can answer both at Now I say if a person comes to this country not the restriction of the age of tiirty years, though the same time. If you were to exclude women intending to be a citizen, I have no idea of extend- I believe that the greatest minister who ever held from being governors, would this be a republican ing to him citizenship. What I want is, that the scals of Great Britain, went into office at the government : the foreigner who puts his foot upon our soil, and age of twenty-one, and Washington saved the Mr. IIALLETT. The gentleman states my says that he comes here to identify himself with army of General Braddock at the age of twenty- proposition rather backhandedly. I think I said our institutions, shall, after a sufficient and proper two. But these instances are rare. I should notring about women being elected governors. I time be incorporated among us; that he shall be never want to elect a very young man for gover- only said that I am not going to restrict the power made bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. nor, but there is no danger in leaving the people of the people, nor am I going to ask them to reTherefore I say I would make no amendment to to take the man they please.

strict their own power. If they choose to make the existing provision, unless it be to say that the I do not know that I have any very substan- women their governors, I would not prevent person eligible to the office, shall be a citizen of tial objection to making it citizens of the United them from making that choice. Now that is the United States.

States, though I should rather prefer making it something entirely distinct from placing a proAnd while I am upon this subject, let me say citizens of Massachusetts. I do not know that vision in the Constitution making women goverin regard to this possessive pronoun “his" which there is any certainty about one more than the nors, and making them voters. What I said, and appears in the law, that we have a general provi- other. I think it is a mere matter of preference. all I said upon this subject was that I do not wish sion of law by which “he" may mean “she" and I do hope, however, that we shall settle the ques- to restrict the people, nor to ask the people to reshe” may mean “he," and therefore that does tion in some way, and whether you decide that strict themselves, in their choice for governor. not interfere with the proposition.

he shall be a citizen of the United States, a citizen There is my position, and that is my democracy. Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. I wish to ask the of Massachusetts, or a legal voter, I shall be con- My democracy is to allow the people the widest gentleman for Wilbraham, (Mr. IIallett,) whether tent, for I do not believe it involves a matter of range in the selection of their candidates for office a person born in servitude, who may have escaped any very vital importance.

and I have confidence in them that they will to this State, or a person who may have been Mr. BRIGGS, of Pittsfield. Mr. Chairman, I make a judicious selection. manumitted and has arrived in this State, is a desire to say a single word in reference to some But the gentleman from Pittsfield says that we citizen of the United States ?

remarks which fell from my friend for Wilbra- cannot dictate to the people what they shall do; Mr. IIALLETT. The gentleman must first ham, (Mr. IIallett). That gentleman used several that the people have the absolute power in their make him a citizen of this Commonwealth. If he times, the expression that he was opposed to re- own hands, and will do as they choose. Now, is a slave he is not a citizen. When he is free, strictions; that he was not afraid to trust the

peo. Sir, it often happens that those who talk the and then remains seven years in the State, he is ple to chose their own governor, and expressions largest of the power of the people, are the very eligible to the office of governor.

of that nature. Now, Sir, what are this Conven- ones, when they come to restrictions, to go for, Mr. MORTON, of Taunton. When I sug- tion doing? Are we making laws which shall and to induce the people to go for, the largest regested this alteration it was not because I had

bind the people, whether they will or no : No strictions, which shall take from the people the any great objection to the amendment as it stood, Sir, all we can do is simply to propose amend- largest amount of power. These are all the reor because I thought any great principle was im

ments for the people to adopt or reject, as they marks I propose to make. threw it out as a peace offering, may see fit. If we adopt, as a qualification for Mr. WHITNEY, of Boylston. The gentleman as one upon which all could stand, and as tend

governor, that he shall be thirty years of age, that for Wilbraham enlarges upon the idea of having ing to put an end to this discussion. But it some

does not make it obligatory upon the people. the word “United States” retained. Now I do times happens that a man attempts to do a thing The proposition must be submitted to their judg- not like that idea. I do not think it is necessary. and fails; and in this instance it turns out, as it ment before it can become binding upon anybody. It carries with it the fact that a slave is not a generally docs when a man interferes in a quarrel

If they think it more prudent to fix the age at thirty citizen. Now, according to my impression, a

years, they will do so, and if not, they will do slave cannot tread the soil of Massachusetts. I have no particular attachment to my mode of otherwise; and the same is true with regard to Mr. H100D, of Lynn.

Mr. Chairman, it expression; but I thought that as we were legis

every other proposition. Therefore, let me say to strikes me, and it must strike every member of dating for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

my friend for Wilbraham, who says so fre- the Convention, that with the course we are pur



paired by it.

between man and wife,

« ForrigeFortsett »