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HATHAWAY - JAMES - BUTLER.
Mr. HATHAWAY. I move to amend the articles—the article which gives the governor fifteenth article, by striking out the words “the power to discipline the army and navy, to put in legislature may by law prescribe,” and insert warlike posture the inhabitants of the Commonin lieu thereof the words “ may by law be pre- wealth, and to kill, slay, destroy and conquer, scribed," so that it shall read :
&c., the enemies of the Commonwealth, in all
manner of means, and in every way, &c.—as All officers commissioned or appointed to com- there is in these whole fifteen. There is, then, a mand in the militia, as well as all staff-officers and great improvement, as to length. musicians, may be removed from office by trial by court-martial, or by such other modes as may by
Another thing. If we leave this matter to stand law be prescribed.
as it does now, by striking out this resolve, do
not gentlemen see that they open that much The amendment was agreed to.
mooted point again, and make as a constitutional The PRESIDENT. The question recurs upon provision, the section by which the militia of the the final passage of the resolution.
State are, in no manner of means, to go out of Mr. JAMES, of South Scituate. I like the the State? I think this opposition to this reform Constitution as it now stands better than I should in the militia, has a strong smell, and looks much were this resolve incorporated in it. This amend- like the relic of one of those men, whom my ment is not called for, and not one person in a friend for Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) characterized thousand, in the Commonwealth of Massachu- as the back-bone patriots. I do not agree with setts, ever anticipated such an alteration, or de them; their back-bones are all the wrong way, sired it. Here are presented to us, for our adop- stiff where they should be limber, and limber tion and for incorporation into the Constitution, where they should be stiff. [Laughter.] I infifteen articles upon the subject of the militia— sist upon striking it out from the Constitution, as enough to form a whole Constitution, if we could I had the honor to say to the Committee a few have some man like Benjamin Franklin to draw days since, if we cannot insert a provision that
the militia of this State shall be a part of the The gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) militia of the Union ; for while I do not believe objects to any alteration of the resolution, be- in this cry of Union all the while, I do believe that cause it is the Report of a Committee, and, he there should be a provision, by which the militia says, we ought to respect its decision. Did the of this State should be under that command, and gentleman respect the decision of the Committee for those purposes for which we have agreed that which reported the resolves upon the subject of they shall be. If we vote down these resolves, plurality. We have a right to do as we will
we leave the objectionable provision in. with the resolutions which committees introduce But they say that these are mere provisions of here, provided we do what ought to be done, and law. Sir, every one of these provisions are in we should shape them exactly as our judgments the present Constitution, although they are somedictate.
what changed. If my friend had been among There is quite enough in the Constitution as it the military at all, as I have been for the last fifnow stands, and I do not want to insert this great teen years, he would have found that they have mass of matter into it. If every alteration of that expected some change in this provision. They instrument is to occupy as much room as this have asked over and over again why, while they proposed one, we shall have a book as large as the were allowed to elect their subalterns, their capRevised Statutes, or very much larger than it tains, colonels, and brigadiers, the legislature need be. I shall vote against the resolution be- should step in and put over them, as they have cause I prefer the Constitution as it now done, men who could no more set a brigade in stands.
the field, than they could do a sum in algebra. Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I trust it will now (Laughter.] They have hoped and looked forbe in order to say a word upon the subject mat- ward to this Convention for some reform in this ter of the resolve, and I wish gentlemen exactly respect. If for no other reason, as a matter of to understand what they vote for, when they vote taste, if there were no other reason to be found, to strike out this resolve, and to let the Constitu- | I would have this resolve passed. tion stand as it is.
I say again that the committees to whom subIn the first place, the gentleman opposite, (Mr. jects are referred, ought to have the confidence of James,) says he is opposed to this resolution, be- the Convention, but if the reports are not satiscause there is too much of it. There is not near factory, they should be recommitted. The House as much of it as there is in the present Constitu- has refused to recommit this resolve. Then we tion. There is as much in one of the present I must do one of two things ; either leave the matWednesday,]
ter as it stands, or adopt this Report. The gallant | want a perfect Constitution, a perfect frame of Colonel from Boston, (Mr. Schouler,) says he government for ourselves. wishes the matter to remain as it is, because we Now, Sir, I respectfully submit, that if gentlehave had a very good militia as matters are. men will look to the Military Digest—and gentleAnd why have we? It has been because the men will find it very good reading, by the by-I Constitution has been carried out in detail by the say if they will look at the digest of the laws upon laws upon our statute book, which contains some the subject, they will find that it is prepared with two hundred sections.
a great deal of care to render it in exact conformity, The laws now divide the militia of the State so far as we can understand them, to the laws of into the acting militia and the enrolled militia. the United States; and I never have heard in all The acting militia are liable to be called out at the trials by courts-martial, in all the trials by law, all times, but the enrolled militia are also liable where matters connected with the militia were to be called out on certain occasions. Every man made the subject of controversy, that any lawyer in this Convention, excepting, perhaps, the cler- has ever raised a constitutional objection to our gymen, are liable to be called for the purpose militia system. I have never heard that it has of suppressing insurrection or repelling invasion there been hinted that it was not in conformity in the United States. We have simply divided it with the Constitution and laws of the United for the purpose of convenience. We have done States. precisely as the laws of the United States say we It is true that some change has been made may. We are in full communion with the from time to time, and changes from the naauthorities of the United States upon this subject. ture of things must be made. The law provides Our drill, our tactics, our divisions, our brigades, that every man should provide himself with two are all in exact conformity with the militia of the spare flints. Well, Sir, flints are not now used at United States, and we can go into the field, take all, and it could not be expected, under the presright and left lines, understand and obey orders ent state of things, that every man would be renearly as well as they. We have discipline nearly quired to carry two spare flints in his pouch. as good as they. There are some companies in Again, the laws provide that every man shall have this city, and some out of this city, too, who can an “espontoon.” Well, Sir, I have never been drill through the manual with the skill of a prac- able to discover exactly what an “espontoon" tical soldier, as well as the United States troops was, but I am sure no one would think of carrythemselves. So, there is no conflict here be- ing that law into effect. Then other changes tween the Constitution and laws of the United have been made to conform with the times, but States and those of Massachusetts. We are not to place ourselves or our system in conflict ing in exact conformity to those laws, and are in with the laws of the United States. And I trust a condition to be called out whenever the United that what is provided in this Report will be States want us to suppress insurrection, or to granted to the volunteer militia. I hope they will repel invasion. We are not acting in opposition at least receive this much regard from the Conto the authorities of the United States. We are vention. The gentleman from Scituate, (Mr. a portion of the great national arm of defence. IJames,) undertook to tell us that this is a subject believe I express the sentiments of every officer of no consequence—that it is only to provide for and every soldier in the volunteer militia of the “mere militia.” Well, Sir, the soldiers who Massachusetts, when I say that they desire that fought at Bunker Hill were “mere militia," and the militia system shall be made as perfect as that is precisely what the British said of thempossible in the Constitution. Sir, I repeat what “mere militia !" The men who fought in the Judge Parker said in a former Convention, that revolution and achieved our Independence were we want a Constitution that shall be perfectly in “mere militia,” and I suppose the gentleman obedience to the Constitution and laws of the would say they were of no consequence. John United States ;
but we want a Constitution Adams said that there were four things, any one which will be perfect in itself, so that if we are of which would have led to the Revolution-our obliged to cut ourselves asunder, if we are obliged free schools, our congregational societies, our town to man our own boat, and go to sea on our own meetings and our volunteer militia. Sir, that account, it shall be a perfect boat, a perfect Con- volunteer militia has once been the salvation of stitution, so that we can sail alone, if alone we the country, and it is a salt, which, thank God, should have to go, which I hope in God may has not yet lost its savor in this city. Sir, I trust never happen. It is true that some things are left the gentleman will weigh his words well when he in this constitutional provision which might have talks about leaving out of the Constitution this been left to the provisions of law, because we great right arm of our defence—the sword, the
- JAMES — Morrox.
only emblem under which we have quiet, and, nized as a part of the Constitution and fundasays it is a question of “mere militia.”
mental law of the land. The militia is at least Now Sir, there is another change that this reso- entitled to this amount of consideration. lution makes, which I am glad to be reminded of. I did not intend to have spoken upon this quesWe have always had great difficulty in getting tion at all, but it seemed to me that we were out officers, among us, who were incompetent to about to pass upon it upon the mere consideration discharge their duties. We have had difficulty of how much paper the Constitution should be among us in this respect, as well as they have had printed on, or of how much space the provisions among the clergy. [Laughter.]
in reference to this subject, shall occupy. A MEMBER. Yes, and among the lawyers, too. Now, Sir, there are three questions which I
Mr. BUTLER. Well, all three were life offi- think we should ask ourselves, before we vote cers, but the great difficulty with the military down this Report. was that we could not vote them out. They were First. Will you vote that the militia shall commissioned for life and there they would stick, stand, in this State, on the “ Caleb Strong" docand there was no way of getting rid of them, trine? Are you ready to vote for that? Because until they became tired of it, and resigned. Now, if you are, I should like to see the man who bewe propose to commission them for three years, lieves in the Caleb Strong doctrine. I thought the same length of time for which you appoint that race of men had about passed away from the many of your civil officers. We propose to re- Commonwealth of Massachusetts. model the institution so that these incompetent Second. Are you ready to say that the legisofficers shall not remain an incubus and a clog lature shall put a major-general over your militia upon us, and when we propose these changes are who knows about as much of his duty as a genwe to be met with the remark of “Oh, this is the eral I heard of, who, when he came into the field mere militia?"
says, “this regiment kivers a good deal of ground,” Mr. JAMES, of South Scituate. I ask the slaughter,) and that was all he could say? gentleman to allow me to correct him. I did not The next thing which I desire to ask is, " Are make use of the expression “ mere militia" at all. you ready to vote to retain in your Constitution I said that the militia were well provided for in the life tenure of your militia officers and of your the Constitution as it now stands, and that the judges, for they now stand together in your Conlegislature could, in my opinion, supply the stitution: The tenure of your. judges and of remedy for any of the evils which may exist in your militia officers are precisely alike, and they the system.
are the only two things in your Constitution Mr. BUTLER. Well, Sir, I suppose I am which we are to be afflicted with during the natbound to take the gentleman's explanation, but ural life of man. at the same time I am bound to defend my own These are the three things which I understand ears. (Laughter.] My ears tell me that the gen- this resolution proposes to change, and upon tleman spoke of this matter as a question of the which I have hastily and crudely, as you all see, "mere militia.” The gentleman says he did not given you the result of my reflections. I will make use of that expression, and as I can settle only add, that I hope the Convention will adopt the difficulty better with my own ears than with these resolutions. the gentleman, in case of a contradiction between Mr. MORTON, of Quincy. I do not wish to them, I shall take it for granted that he is right be pertinacious, but I do believe we have heard and they are wrong. [Renewed laughter.] Au enough upon this subject. I am perfectly satisI ask, is, that this part of the Commonwealth, fied that there are not ten men in the Convention this minor and unimportant part of the Common- who care a copper one way or the other, whether wealth, if it be such-shall be fairly considered the resolutions are adopted or not. I hope, howin the revision of our Constitution. These reso- ever, that the Convention will adopt them, and lutions have been drawn up with a good deal of that we shall not permit them to consume any care. I have examined them as far as I could, more of our time. I move the previous quesand they commend themselves to my judgment. tion. I have not examined them as thoroughly as I Mr. SCHOULER, of Boston. I think it is ought to have done, but with what examination hardly fair to move the previous question just at I have been able to give them, they will command this time. It is true that it has got to be pretty my vote, and I trust that the Convention will at late in the afternoon, and gentlemen may be least give us these three great reforms in our militia wanting to go home in the cars, (laughter,] but I system. And, in addition to this, I think it well appeal, nevertheless, to the gentleman, to withthat it should be seen that the militia is recog- draw his motion. There were some things said Wednesday,]
MORTON - SCHOULER — OLIVER.
by the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) now appointed by the legislature, I think generwhich I think ought to be answered, and which ally in consequence of his being the senior in I think could be answered in a very short time. rank. He is a man who has been elected brigaI do not wish to make a long speech. I think I dier-general, and who has come up through all the can say all I wish to say, before half past four lower grades of office, and if the legislature have o'clock, and there would then be time enough for appointed a man who could not say anything but our friends to go home in the cars. I think the “this regiment kivers a good deal of ground, gentleman from Lowell has either misunderstood they have appointed just such a man as has been the Constitution, or that he has given a rather elected to fill the office of brigadier-general, which doubtful construction to some of its provisions. is one of quite as much importance so far as the He is either very much mistaken or I am. I duties are concerned. hope, therefore, the gentleman will withdraw his Mr. OLIVER. These officers rise in a regular motion for the previous question, for a moment. line of succession. The captains are made majors,
Mr. MORTON, of Quincy. I am very anx- the majors are made lieutenant-colonels, the lieuious to accommodate the gentleman from Boston, tenant-colonels are made colonels, and so on in as well as to hear his speech. I will withdraw regular succession. the motion, asking the gentleman to renew it as
Mr. SCHOULER. Well, Sir, suppose a man soon as he has concluded his remarks.
is elected a lieutenant, he receives the endorseMr. SCHOULER. Well, Sir, I understand ment of his company, then when he is elected the gentleman withdraws his motion for me then. captain, he again receives the endorsement o
The gentleman from Lowell advocates these his company; when he is elected major, we have resolutions in the first place, because if we re. the endorsement of all the commissioned officers tain the provisions as they now stand in the Con- in the regiment. We have the endorsement of all stitution, we keep in operation the “Caleb those officers again when he is elected lieutenantStrong" doctrine. Well, Sir, I am not going colonel, again when he is elected colonel, again into any definition of what the Caleb Strong doc- when he is elected brigadier-general, and when a trine is, but I will say that if we adopt the reso- man has received all these endorsements, it seems lutions as reported by the Committee, I do not to me the legislature cannot go far out of the way see how they will conflict with that doctrine. We when they m ke him major-general. had a speech from the chairman of this Commit- But, again, under this resolution only the peotee, (Mr. Oliver,) this morning, saying that the ple of a portion of the State can elect the majormen who enlisted in this Commonwealth, and general. Now if the time should come when the who were commissioned in this Commonwealth, militia of the Commonwealth should be called were taken into the United States army and went into actual service, I want to know why Berkto Mexico under requisition from congress; and shire, or Barnstable, or any of the other counties, that is the operation of the Caleb Strong doctrine which have no militia should not have a voice in under our existing Constitution.
the appointment of the major-general who is to The next objection which I understood the command the forces of the State ? I think every gentleman from Lowell to make, was, that the portion of the State should have a voice in that officers were elected for life. Now, Sir, I should election. like that gentleman to point to the clause of the I think, therefore, that part of his objection Constitution which provides that the major-gen- falls to the ground. The gentleman from Lowell, erals shall be elected for life. There is nothing (Mr. Butler,) in his zeal for the militia upset his in the Constitution in relation to the appointment own doctrine. He told us in what fine condition of these officers, except to provide that they “shall the militia were, and that we had several compabe appointed by the Senate and House of Rep- nies in Boston and Lowell, and in this I quite resentatives, each having a negative upon the agree with him, that are equal in point of drill other, and be commissioned by the governor.” and in all military tactics, to the United States That is all it says upon the subject, and if they troops. But why, in this very Constitution are appointed for life it is in pursuance of some which we are now about amending will you inprovision of law which the legislature can alter corporate these things which, as I think, are so whenever they please. Whenever it shall seem objectionable. I think it is much better, that we expedient to them to have the major-generals ap- should elect major-generals by the legislature, pointed for a term of three years, or for any term where the whole people of the Commonwealth are of years, they can so provide.
represented, because the militia of the State in The gentleman also spoke about the character active service are to come under their control. of the major-general. Well, Sir, that officer is / We should not allow a few men in Boston, Low
OLIVER - SCHOULER.
ell, and half a dozen other places, to elect the perfect a system as it is possible for us to have; and whole from beginning to end, corporals, lieuten- there is no more need of altering the Constitution ants, captains, colonels, majors, brigadier-gen- upon this question and the laws in regard to it, erals and major-generals, and thereby to control than there is for the gentleman to jump out of the whole militia of the State. I trust that this the window to get down stairs, instead of going Convention will never submit to any such policy down the proper way. It is merely piling amendas that. The gentleman who moved the previous ment upon amendment, and making confusion question, stated that there were three hundred worse confounded, sending forth amendments to men in this Convention who did not care a fig the people which they care nothing about.
friend from Cambridge says, that is true. I am ingly sorry to be called upon to say one single sorry that it is so, but I cannot dispute it, where word in defence of the Report of this Committee; there are two witnesses to substantiate the fact. and were it not for the severity of remark in The third objection I make is, that major-gen- which the gentleman has indulged, I should not erals are elected for life.
open my mouth in connection with this question. Mr. OLIVER, of Lawrence. The gentleman When I hear such assertions as the gentleman from Boston in making the argument he does is has made—with all due respect and deference to supposed to make it upon an entire knowledge of him-I must say a word or two in defence of the the facts about which he speaks. Without any Report which has been presented by the Commitintention of casting any reflection upon him in tee. I believe my friend's connection with the the least, I should like to ask him where that pro- militia was very brief indeed, not extending over viso is in regard to which he speaks with so much a long period of time. certainty, that major-generals are elected for life. Mr. SCHOULER. About ten years. Mr. SCHOULER. I am very sorry that the
Mr. OLIVER. During one of the last years gentleman from Lawrence, did not hear the gen- of which he was in commission tleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) who said that Mr. SCHOULER. I was in commission six the Constitution provided that they should be years. elected for life. I have been arguing that there is
Mr. OLIVER. That is not a very large slice nothing in the Constitution which says that they out of a man's life. I do not wish this Report to shall be elected for life. It says that they shall go to the Convention under any false issues or be elected by the legislature. I say that you sub- inaccurate ideas. The main ground of the argumit this thing to the people of the Commonwealth ment of my friend is, that we are hampering the with the other amendments which we will adopt, Constitution with amendments. I beg leave to and it will produce great confusion. We should ask my friend, in all candor, if he has carefully guard against submitting to the people a great compared the provisions of the Constitution as it pile of amendments, many of them of no conse- now stands with the provisions which are prequence whatever. I say that we can organize sented by this Committee. I desire to ask him in the militia under the Constitution as it now stands all frankness, and request him to answer me in as well as we can under these fifteen resolves con- like manner, whether he really intends to be so tained in this Report. I have not counted the understood by this Convention, when he states the words in them, but I have looked at the that this Committee have presented to the Conarticles. The gentleman from Lowell said that vention a confused mass of amendments which the Report of the Committee would be much nobody can understand, which would confuse shorter than the present provision of the Consti- the Convention and worse than confound the tution in regard to this subject. I take issue with people. him upon that matter. The whole subject of the Mr. SCHOULER. I do not suppose that I militia is contained in the seventh article of the touched upon that point. I acknowledge the Constitution, and one small article besides, and I ability of the Committee and the intelligence of say that they are not half so long as this Report the Convention. I referred to a remark made by We have grown up under this system and we a gentleman in the course of debate, that there know what it is. Our laws have been made to con- were not ten men in the State who cared anyform to it, and we have got a body of militia laws thing about this matter. I say if you submit and a Constitution, which are now well under- these things to the people, that a very large porstood by the people. If we adopt this Report, we tion of them will not understand the amendshall have to begin legislation anew upon this ments, and another portion will care nothing subject. If we let the Constitution remain just about them.
it is, and the laws just as they are, we have as Mr. OLIVER. If the people can understand