Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Monday,]

Banks.

[June 20th.

As I said, Mr. Chairman, I hope this Report , militia, he will see, not that he has absolute power will be incorporated into, and become a part of over the troops of the State and can march them the Constitution; and in reply to the remark of here and there according to his own arbitrary will, the gentleman upon my left, “that there were but that he is limited to the single power of calling some who were opponents of this Convention,” I out the troops to aid in the execution of the laws, answer that is true, unquestionably true, and I was to repel actual invasion, or what is nearly the one of those who opposed the calling of this Con- same thing, in case of imminent danger of invavention, the reasons for which I need not specify. sion; so that the only power which the federal I believe, if this Report, so vital to the interest of executive has over the troops of the United States thousands in this Commonwealth, is not put into or of the State of Massachusetts, is to call them the Constitution, a great part of the doings of this out under the circumstances to which I have just Convention will be rejected by the people. On alluded. Sir, I think no gentleman would be the other hand, I have no hesitancy in saying that disposed to deny this amount of military power if this Report is adopted and made a part of the to the president of the United States as comConstitution, and the militia of this State see mander-in-chief of the army and navy; and that that it is regarded with some interest and that we is all the power that in this respect he has. have given it healthful and well defined laws for Now, what power has the executive of the its guidance and protection in the fundamental State under this provision? He has exactly the law, five thousand votes in favor of the revision same power in regard to the State that the presiof the Constitution will be carried by those who dent of the United States has in regard to the were originally opposed to the calling of this whole Union—not unlimited power, as the genConvention. I see a number of military men tleman from Boston appears to imagine; but the upon this floor, and I think I can answer for language of that paragraph limits him in exactly them as well as myself, that the military in gen- the same way as the president of the United eral, are decidedly in favor of the amendment States is limited : He “shall have power to call proposed by this Report, and will be gratified to out the same (the troops] to aid in the execution see that we have given them a place to stand of the laws, to suppress insurrection, and repel upon. I hope, therefore, that the resolution will invasion.” That is the limit of his authority; pass in the form in which it has been reported and I ask, if any gentleman here would hesitate and recommended by the Committee, and that no to give to the governor of the State this authority change will be made in it. The experience and over the troops of the Commonwealth? It seems knowledge of the chairman of the Committee and

to me, that if any gentleman in this Convention other members of it, ought to give great weight were to study for the purpose of limiting in the to their recommendations; and I shall oppose all fullest degree the power of the executive, that modification or amendment of their Report unless limitation could not be expressed in more precise I shall hear some more convincing arguments terms than it is expressed in this article. I see, than I have yet listened to.

therefore, neither the danger nor the difficulty Mr. BANKS. I will ask permission of the suggested by the gentleman from Boston. Committee to say a word or two in regard to the Let me say one word in regard to the duties of seventh paragraph of this resolve. It seems to the federal executive in this respect. What me that, if the subject of the militia is to be em- should the Constitution of this State recognize? bodied in the Constitution at all, so much of that It should recognize and conform to the truth. organization as is covered by this article could And what is the truth in regard to the power of not be better expressed, nor more safely limited the commander-in-chief over the troops of this than it is in the exact phraseology in which we State? We find it in the Constitution of the now find it. If I concurred with my friend from United States, in this matter certainly the supreme Boston, over the way, (Mr. Hopkinson,) in be- law, The president of the United States is comlieving that it infringed in the slightest degree mander-in-chief of the militia of the States when upon the rights of this State as an independent in the service of the United States. I ask is there State, or in any way extended the power of the a reason of any kind why this limitation should federal executive, I might say that I would not be expressed in our Constitution ? The genhesitate whether I would support it or not. If | tleman from Walpole intimated that we should, the gentleman will look at it-and I suppose I as far as possible, make our Constitution indemay speak upon that matter, as the question is pendent of the Constitution of the United States. upon the proviso, which naturally refers us to the I concur in his opinion; but when we say that other provisions of the resolve—if he will refer the governor shall be commander-in-chief, withto the power of the federal executive over the out limitation, we do not state the truth. The Monday,]

Banks.

[June 20th.

Constitution of the United States declares, that and provisos—that it is not and cannot be indiswhen the militia is in the service of the United pensable in our Constitution. Who is the govStates the president of the United States, and not ernor of the Commonwealth ? He is the officer the governor of any State, shall be the commander- elected by the people in the month of November ; in-chief, and the amendment proposed provides who, among other duties, is to command the that when the militia is not in the service of the militia of the Commonwealth, and who, in the federal government the governor shall be the com- month of November following, is to lay down his mander-in-chief. That accords exactly with the command. And, Sir, cannot we trust him and fact, and therefore ought to be embodied in the the people for a twelvemonth? If we can trust a Constitution.

man with the administration of our civil affairs Let me now say a word in regard to the amend- for a twelvemonth, surely we can trust him and ment proposed by the gentleman from Essex. them with the military command of the State, for The proviso is of itself unnecessary, because, truly the same time. But if we seek to limit his comconsidered, every limitation of that proviso is in mand we ought to do so in such a manner as will the article as it stands now. The governor is to lead to no misconstruction or doubt. And in this have power to call out the troops " to suppress view, the addition of this proviso is not necesinsurrection and repel invasion,” and the proviso sary. does not check him in one single part of these The gentleman from Walpole, said we might be powers ; nor do the terms of the proviso limit called upon to send troops to China or Mexico, him in regard to this matter, should it be adopted. and he asks who is to judge of the propriety of What then will be the result of its adoption? It their going? The executive of the Commonwill be to attach to the command of the troops of wealth is to judge. The requisition is made the State, a number of delicate, difficult, and em- upon him, and he is to determine whether the barrassing questions. Instead of having a com- troops are to be called out, and whether the conmander who shall direct the troops according to his tingency upon which the requisition is based, is own judgment, who shall be responsible to the peo- among those in which the Constitution gives the ple at the end of his term, as he should, every man president power; and if he refuse, that refusal in the service of the Commonwealth is a command- shall be passed upon immediately by the people er, and upon every one of these limitations every of the Commonwealth. Suppose the executive man, so far as his own conduct and action is con- at Washington should notify the governor of cerned, is equal, if not superior, to the governor Massachusetts to furnish troops. We all know himself. Let me ask the attention of the gentle that the limitation of the power of the president man from Essex to this proviso:

of the United States, in this respect, is that he

may call upon the States for troops to suppress Provided, That the said governor shall not at insurrection, to repel actual invasion, or in case any time hereafter, by virtue of any power by this Constitution granted, or hereafter to be granted full extent of the militia power which he has.

of imminent danger of invasion; and this is the to him by the legislature, transport any of the inhabitants of this

Commonwealth, or oblige them And so with regard to our own executive. His to march out of the limits of the same, without power is limited in exactly the same way, and their free and voluntary consent.

exactly to the same extent. It is to aid in the

execution of the laws; to suppress insurrection Who is to be the judge upon these many pro- and repel invasion. Does the gentleman from visions and limitations? Upon whose discretion Walpole, or the gentleman from Essex, or the is ultimate action and responsibility to rest? Cer- gentleman from Boston object to that? It seems tainly every man under the command of the to me that the limitation is as clear, as positive, executive is the equal if not the superior of the as direct, as any member of the Convention can commander-in-chief in a case like this, so far as desire ; and therefore I think it should be adopted his own conduct and action is concerned, either without the amendment proposed either by the as regards the free and voluntary consent of the gentleman from Boston or the gentleman from militia man, or the construction of legislative Essex. enactments.

One word now in regard to the amendment Now, in regard to the third exception, their suggested by the gentleman from Boston, on my transportation, and again, as to the manner in right, (Mr. Hopkinson). He says that if the which the troops shall reach another part of the troops of the State are at any time to be called State, who is to judge ? Every private is to into the service of the United States, the governor determine for himself; and I submit to my friend of the Commonwealth should go with them. from Essex that this proviso is full of difficulties | Most assuredly he will not press such a propoMonday,]

BANKS - BRIGGS.

[June 20th.

sition as that in the Convention. Suppose a regi- | matters, and personally have no pride in them; ment or battalion should be called into the ser- but I have always regarded such organizations as vice of the United States

being not only useful, but necessary for the wellMr. HOPKINSON. The proposition is not being of society-more peculiarly so in the United that the governor ought to go with them, but that States, perhaps, than in any other country. They the legislature should have the power to say are provided for in the Constitution, and it is whether he should.

necessary that we should either strike out of that Mr. BANKS. Sir, the legislature may give instrument all the provisions relating to them, or that power, or the governor may take it. He from time to time to make such provisions as may resign his office as governor, and take a may be necessary for their regulation. And I commission as a colonel, or a command of more think the limitation of executive power cannot or less dignity. Let him, if it be necessary, or if be better expressed than it is in the seventh parahe desires military glory, resign his place at home graph of this resolve. and take the field against the enemy here or Mr. BRIGGS, of Pittsfield. I can hardly perabroad. But no such necessity will occur. Thereceive the object of this amendment, but from the are plenty of men in the Commonwealth who are current of remarks of gentlemen who have precapable of commanding a regiment or a battalion ; ceded me, I infer that the amendment to insert plenty of men who can command a division, if the proviso was offered because it was thought need be; and there is no necessity of degrading to be a necessary limitation of the powers of the the office and dignity of the commander-in-chief governor which would be conferred upon him by -the supreme executive of this Commonwealth- the Constitution, if this seventh section should be by sending him into another Commonwealth to incorporated into it. Now, Sir, if such is the suppress insurrection or repel invasion. There case, I concur with the gentleman who has just is no necessity for either of these changes—cer- taken his seat, in the belief that it is entirely untainly not for the change proposed by the gentle necessary. That provision of the Constitution man from Boston, and I trust that the Conven

both prescribes and limits the power of the govtion will not assent to such an arrangement. ernor, and without it what power would he have

Let me say one word now in regard to the over the militia ? That is the granting authority, necessity of a militia. This necessity arises from and the authority it confers is limited by clear many causes; and even before the hands of that and explicit terms, defining the purposes and occlock should indicate the hour of six, peaceful casions on which the governor may call out the and undisturbed as everything seems now to be, militia. And what are they? To execute the their services might be required in any city or laws. What laws? The laws of the Commontown of the Commonwealth. A militia is useful wealth. To suppress insurrection. What insurfor many purposes. Take the case of a city or rection : Insurrections within our own midst. village on fire, by night or by day; there may be To repel invasion. Invasions of what? Invain such case, a necessity for instant organization,sions of this Commonwealth. Well, Sir, under outside of existing fire departments, in order to that power, and that grant of power, may the protect both property and life. Where is an governor of Massachusetts order the militia of organization that, in an instant, can be brought Massachusetts to go into the western part of New out for such a purpose, except it be found in the York to repel an invasion from Canada into the militia. You may not have the power to bring State of New York: Is there any one here who them out by law in such case, but there is the believes that there is a color of authority for sayskeleton of the organization all ready at the tap of ing that the power is conferred for any such purthe drum ; men knowing their commander, know

pose ? Why, Sir, that is all the limitation there ing each other, disciplined for service, and capable is upon the president of the United States. There of rendering instant as well as efficient aid, not to is no limitation upon his power except such as is be attained by other means. So in the case of contained in the words “ he shall be the comriot. What has occurred in the city of Boston ? mander-in-chief of the army and navy of the What occurred a few years ago in the city of New United States, and of the militia of the several York ? in the city of Baltimore? and more lately States when called into the actual service of the in Montreal ? Every municipal corporation may United States." But the Constitution confers find itself in this position; unable to meet these power upon congress in this respect, and what is emergencies on the instant, except by means of it? To provide for organizing, arming and dismilitary organizations. But I did not mean to ciplining the militia, and for governing such part say anything, Mr. Chairman, on this subject. I of them as may be employed in the service of am not acquainted with the details of military the United States, and to call them forth to exeMonday,)

BRIGGS.

[June 20th.

cute the laws, suppress insurrections, and repel | language of the law will be impotent, and the invasions. These are the objects for which con- proclamations of your chief magistrates powerless, gress may provide for calling forth the militia, unless the law and the proclamation has behind and all the power of the federal government has something to enforce their behests, and that somenot authority to call forth the militia of the States thing, in this free country must be the soldiery for any other purpose whatever. There is no organized by its citizens. further limitation upon that power. Now, when I have frequently felt, and have often expressed that same language is applied to the governor of my feelings, that it is lamentable to witness the Massachusetts within the State of Massachusetts, change which has taken place in the public mind can any one suppose that any governor would within a few years upon this subject. Perhaps be so mad as to assume the authority of taking the almost uninterrupted course of peace and the militia of the State of Massachusetts out of prosperity which has attended us since we united the State, upon some Quixotic expedition ? ourselves into a “more perfect union" may, to

It seems to me that the adoption of this proviso some extent, have caused it. Look back into the is entirely unnecessary. I agree with the gentle- messages of the governors of your different States, man who last addressed the Committee, (Mr. and into the messages of the presidents of the Banks,) that the language is clear, definite, and United States, and what do you find? You unmistakable, and I would not encumber it with always fiud them commending the citizen-soldier another word.

militia, as the only authority to be relied upon to I do not know but it would have been well, execute the laws, suppress insurrection, and repel had my friend from Lawrence, (Mr. Oilver,) em- invasions, and as Jefferson said, to be relied upon bodied in this Report those matters which he re- in the first moments of war. But this old docferred to as being left for the legislature to act trine has become stale, and the militia is looked upon. But it is probably best as it is, for the upon as a show, a puppet exhibition. These Committee have looked into the whole matter, warm and ardent young men, who have been and under the direction of one, allow me to say, willing to spend their time and money in equipwho is no novice in these matters, and I have no ing and organizing themselves, instead of being doubt the provisions of the Report are very care- encouraged as they ought to be, have been negfully and cautiously guarded, more prudently ar- lected and overlooked, and given over to the ranged, and more wisely fixed, than they would multitude, who gather around to make them the be were they left to the action and control of any butt of their ridicule. Encourage these young legislature. If the subject were referred to the men, do everything to make their position respeclegislature, without any restriction upon them, it table, let them feel that they are the arm, under would be a mere accident, if any man should be Providence, upon which the State must rely in found in it who had the ability and the disposi- time of trouble and alarm. tion to give to it the thought and attention which The chief magistrate of this city told me a few has been bestowed upon it by this Committee. years ago of an incident which occurred at a I hope, therefore, that we shall adopt as the pro- time when there was great excitement here visions of the Constitution upon this subject, the and in the neighborhood, in consequence of Report of the Committee.

the announcement that a citizen of Boston had I am no military man, and I have none of the disappeared very suddenly, and that his remains military spirit about me. I believe if there are had been disposed of in a neighboring building. any peace men, I am one of the number. Yet I | The public heart was deeply affected, and strong would desire to have the militia of Massachusetts intimations were given that when the darkness organized in the most perfect manner. I would of the night should come over the city, that buildhave it with them, as it was said at a military ing would be levelled to the ground. The magisdinner, in the State of New York, where a new trate gave notice to these faithful sentinels, the fledged militia captain gave a sentiment, and in citizen soldiers, to be upon their arms, at the old the presence of old General Root. “I give you,” cradle of liberty, for it might be necessary to call said he, “the Militia of New York - may upon them during the night. There they assemthey never want," and there he paused, and Gen- bled and remained, and during the whole night, eral Root promptly finished the sentiment with from setting to rising sun, messages passed between the words " and never be wanted.” (Laughter.] him, and those faithful guardians of the public Now, that is my wish in regard to the militia of interest. He told me that one of the men who Massachusetts. But among frail human beings, were to have taken the lead in demolishing that subject to passions and the impulses of excitement, building, declared that nothing prevented the reason sometimes will lose her control, and the outbreak but the fact that they were informed of Monday,]

BRIGGS — KEYES.

[June 20th.

the arrangement between him and the military sions. Where? In Texas or in South Carocompanies of this city.

lina ? Such occasions, thanks to a kind Providence, Now, Sir, I suppose the meaning of this resoluhave not often occur

curred, and I hope will not oftention may be all right, because I have great confioccur. But they are possible, and even probable, dence not only in the military, but in the general in the course of human affairs, and under the good judgment of the gentlemen who framed this influence of human passions, and when they do bill. But I suppose that the gentleman who last occur what is there to fall back upon ? Nothing spoke, (Mr. Briggs,) recollects the circumstance but the militia. Sir, when there is an uprising when a governor of the Commonwealth, if he did of the people, through any great excitement, and not exactly order the troops of Massachusetts, did danger is threatened there, militia men are our urgently invite them to go some distance, viz., to only support. Let the multitude hear the beat Mexico. [Laughter.] I know he was charged of their drum, the sound of their fife, and see with it. (Laughter.] Here is that invitation ; their glittering bayonets, and they see the if there is anything in this document against the emblems of the power of the magistrate which said governor, (Briggs,) I do not want to read it. will be brought to bear upon them in case of (Laughter.] violence.

Mr. BRIGGS. What is it? Now, Sir, so long as man is man, and govern- Mr. KEYES. It is your proclamation when ment is government, until the millenium comes, governor. these things will happen in human governments,

Mr. BRIGGS. Read on. and it is the part of wisdom to guard against them.

Mr. KEYES. It says :I would then insert in the Constitution these resolves, and thereby give them the form and

To the People of Massachusetts : solemnity of that instrument, and give them a “ An Act of Congress passed on the thirteenth place where they will command respect.

day of May instant, declares that by an Act of the Mr. KEYES, for Abington. I find I shall have Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists between to be very careful in my remarks upon this, to

that government and the United States,' and said

Act authorizes the President to employ the militia, me, very delicate subject, for I have made several

the naval and military forces of the United States, attempts in the way of speaking upon it, and, to and to call for and accept the services of any use a common phrase, always “got my foot in number of volunteers not exceeding fifty thousand, it.” But I am constrained to make another at- who may offer their services.' tempt, influenced mainly by the remarks of the

“In pursuance of the provisions of that Act, I

have received from the Secretary of War a comgentleman behind me, who says that unless the

munication dated the 19th instant, in which he Constitution does contain “something" substan- says : •On the part of the President, I have to tially like these resolutions upon this subject, it request your Excellency to cause to be enrolled will be opposed by the military. Well, the Con- and held in readiness for ruster into the service stitution does contain considerable, and these of the United States, One REGIMENT OF INpeculiar friends of the militia propose to strike

FANTRY.'

“Whatever may be the difference of opinion out a main portion of it.

as to the origin or necessity of the war, the So far as I can see any force in the arguments constitutional authorities of the country have of the honorable President of the Convention, declared that war with a foreign country actually (Mr. Banks,) and the gentleman from Pittsfield,

exists. (Mr. Briggs,) it seems to me that there can be no

“ It is alike the dictate of patriotism and huobjection to putting this proviso into the new

manity that every means honorable to ourselves

and just to our enemy, should be employed to Constitution, on the ground that it can do no bring 'said war to a speedy and successful termiharm; as the gentlemen say that the limit of nation, and thus to alleviate its calamities, and power is just as well fixed by the seventh pro- save the sacrifice of human life, and the wasting posed amendment, as it would be were this pro

of the public treasure. viso inserted. Now that depends very much

A prompt and energetic co-operation of the

whole people in the use of those means is emiupon the man who may chance to be governor, nently calculated to produce that most desirable and upon the prevailing sentiment of the day, at result. the time it may be called into exercise. This “ To that end I call upon the citizen-soldiers of section says that the governor shall have power to

Massachusetts at once to enroll themselves in sufcall out the militia to aid in the execution of the

ficient numbers to meet this request of the Presilaws. What laws? To execute the fugitive in readiness to be mustered into the service of the

dent of the United States, and to hold themselves slave law in Maryland ? To suppress insurrec- Republic, when the exigencies of the country tions. Where? In Virginia? To repel inya- / shall require it.

« ForrigeFortsett »