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TIIE GOVERNOR. – WILSON - IIUBBARD — MORTON.
the amendment which would enable me to hold the other States of the l’nion. Now the amend- sugestion now, rather for the consideration of the the office of governor if such should ever be my ment of the gentleman from Plymouth, (Mr. gentleman from Plymouth, (Mr. Bates, ) than as fortune. (Laughter.)
Bates,) if I understand it rightly, provides, that a distinct motion, and if it should meet his views, Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. I would not ob- native citizens of this ('ommonwealth, forcigners I hope he will accept it, and that it will be adoptject to special legislation in favor of the gentleman or aliens, or in whatever manner you may choose ed by the Committee. We are acting here for the who has just taken his seat. I suppose it will be to designate them, who are naturalized, shall be sovereign people of Massachusetts, and I think sufficient to strike out the words “no person of eligible to the office of governor of this Common- that we ought to confine our action within the foreign birth," and insert the word "alien." wealth. I ask how that form of expression differs limits of our own State. The nation is in some
Mr. DAVIS, of Fall River. I would ask from that proposed by the Committee. It is respects a foreign government, and I should be whether a person can be a citizen until he is merely expressing in a different form the same sorry to have allusion made to other States or the naturalized, and if the Act of naturalization is not thing which is already suggested in the Report of United States, farther than is necessary. I supan l'nited States Act, so that a naturalized citizen the Committee. It is said truly, that the Consti- pose the object of the Committee was that citizens or foreigner, being a citizen by naturalization is tution as it now stands contains no provision that of Massachusetts should be eligible to the office in reality a eitizen of the United States, by the a party to be elected governor, shall be a citizen of governor. Therefore I beg leave to suggest, that Act of the l’nited States ?
of the Commonwealth. But what constituted by making a simple amendment, to strike out the Mr. WILSON, of Natick. The suggestions citizenship in Massachusetts, when this ('onstitu- words - I'nited States," and insert“ Massawhich I made, have no reference whatever to tion was formed? That he should be an in- chusetts," we shall attain the object of the genpersons of foreign birth, whether they are citi- habitant. If our fathers could have foreseen tlemen who have spoken upon this subject. zens of the United States or not. According to the arrangements which would have been made Mr. BATES I will accept the amendment. my understanding of the Constitution, a man by the confederation of States, united by the Mr. HOPKINSON, of Boston. I rise to make who is not a naturalized citizen of the State or the bonds of the Constitution as one great nation, an inquiry of the learned gentleman from TaunUnion could be elected governor of this ('ommon- I think we cm well imagine, that they would ton, (Mr. Morton,) what is legally a citizen of wealth to-day. The Constitution says that the have required citizenship certainly, to entitle a Massachusetts, as distinguished from a citizen of governor shall be an inhabitant of the Common- man to be elected governor of the Commonwealth. the l'nited States. wealth for seven years preceding his election, and I think that the modification proposed by the gen- Mr. MORTOX. A discussion of this nice that he shall pay taxes for a certain amount of tleman from Plymouth, (Mr. Bates,) is a change question, about which doctors disagree, was the property. These are the qualifications, and no not of substance, but is merely an indirect and cir- precise thing which I wished to avoid by the citizenship for the State, or the United States is cuitous mode of expression, making the same amendment I offer. It is enough for us, in fixing required. No qualification of age is required. I provision that is contained in the proposition of the election of our own officers, to take care of our care nothing about the place where a man was the Committee.
own citizens.- Let this question come before some born. I do not wish to bring this question into Objection has been made to the qualification other tribunal, and before men more learned than this discussion, and I do not like to have such requiring a certain age for the governor. It is myself, to decide this nice question. words as “foreign birth” incorporated in the said that any person who is entitled to vote, shall be Mr. Hl'BBARD, of Boston. I suppose in Constitution, as proposed by my friend. The esteemed a fit person to receive thevotes of the peo- Massachusetts we all agree that the Constitution suggestions which I made had reference to our ple for governor. I am fully willing to leave that of the l'nited States means what it says, and there own citizens. I would have preferred it better question for the action of the people of Massachu- can be no question with us that a citizen of Masif the Committee had used the term “ citizen of setts. But there might possibly be such a thing sachusetts is a citizen of the United States. If Massachusetts," rather than that of citizen of the under some circumstances under the operation of we reject this provision of the Committee, and United States, because I think there has been these caucuses and conventions, the character of say that a person who is a citizen of Massachudoubt about the question whether a citizen of which was so eloquently portrayed by the gen- setts only shall be eligible to the office of goverMassachusetts was deemed and taken by the tleman from Natick, (Mr. Wilson,) yesterday, nor, it seems to me that in some future generation, national government to be necessarily a citizen of that some man might be imposed upon the when more learned doctors of the laws are called the United States. Our courts so understand it citizens of Massachusetts, as being a man of dis- upon to consider this question-I will not say in this State, and if this is our understanding and cretion and fitness for the office, who had but the more learned than the gentleman from Taunton, intention I would not make any great objection day before his nomination, been deemed, by law, (Mr. Morton,)- it will be said that it means to it. But I do object to inserting anything in this unfit to take care of his own interests. A man something less than a citizen of the United States. Constitution which will make any distinction, just past twenty-one years of age, might be A man may come from Connecticut, or some under any circumstances, whatever, between any smuggled through some convention, or some other State, as it has been my misfortune to come, men or any race of men, and I would myself caucus, get the nomination, and be declared, be- and may be excluded, as the gentleman from recognize men of every race, clime and country, fore the people of Massachusetts, as a meet and Brookline, (Mr. Aspinwall,) thinks he may, from upon the ground of perfect equality.
fit person to hold the executive power in his being eligible to the office of governor, because he Mr. HUBBARD, of Boston. I am at a loss to hands. I think it is wise and proper that the was not native born, but was a citizen of the see the ground of objection taken by the gentle- Constitution should guard against imposition, so United States. It will be held up in future times, man from Natick, (Mr. Wilson,) to the proposi- that, perchance, if the people should be imposed when the debates and proceedings of this Contion as made by the Committee. It is declared upon in such a way, that when the man comes to vention shall become records of history, that we by the Constititution of the United States, that present himself to take the oaths of office, his refused to admit a citizen of the United States, the citizens of each State shall be entitled to the qualifications may be known by the legislature coming here and making himself an inhabitant of privileges and immunities of citizens in the several who are called upon to administer the oath, and the State, to be elected governor of the CommonStates. I suppose a citizen of Massachusetts, ac- if, by possibility, through the machinations of wealth ; and it will be said, by refusing to say a cording to this provision of the Constitution, if he caucuses and conventions, which have been so de- citizen of the United States, and using the term removes to any other State, is by the Constitution cried, the people should have been imposed upon,
citizen of Massachusetts, we meant to bring withentitled to all the privileges and immunities of that it may not be too late to correct the error, in a narrower limit and sphere, the class from citizens in that State. But it is for the local before he is invested with such high and impor
which we should select candidates for governor tribunals of the State to which he may migrate, tant responsibilities as are intrusted to the gover
than citizens of the United States who may have to settle the question what his rights are. It is nor of this Commonwealth.
resided in Massachusetts from the period of boyfor the national government in this case to deter- Mr. MORTON, of Taunton. I rise, not to hood, and even infancy, up to full manhood. mine who are the citizens of the United States, enter into this debate at all, but to make a single The provision inserted by the Committee, is the and who are entitled to certain privileges and suggestion. It seems to me that the distinction only provision which will shut out the question in benefits resulting from that relation. No action made here partakes of a verbal character alto- future as to who is a citizen of Massachusetts. of this Convention, or of the Commonwealth of gether, and that upon the question now before us, No one disputes, I believe, here in Massachusetts, Massachusetts, in their sovereign capacity can we really all think alike; and I think a mode of that a native born citizen, of whatever caste or control the action of the officers of the federal gov- expression may be suggested which will meet the color, is entitled to the privileges and immunities ernment, or the officers and judicial tribunals of views of all the gentlemen present. I make a of citizenship, but if we restrict it to citizens of Saturday,]
THE GOVERNOR. — KEYES — HOPKINSON.
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 prescribing 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 United 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 sees fit; and the Senate of the United States has declared publicly and boldly that even the representatives 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 principles 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 believed 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 Masquestion 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.' HOPKINSON, of Boston. Not having referring to the construction which the United heard the first part of the discussion, it may be States 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 trueit 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 Massachusetts" Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts, 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
abuses ; 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- fvelings 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 terin 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 Massachusetts, 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 Committee propose an unless he is excluded by some positive Aot; and amendment to the Constitution, not a substitute how can we go beyond that in Massachusetts ? for the section of the Constitution. Among other When wo say, oitizens of Massachusetts, what is provisions remaining in the Constitution, is one, the meaning : Who is to make citizens of Masthat the governor elected shall have been a resi- sąchusetts ? Have you any naturalization laws, Saturday,]
TIIE GOVERNOR. — KEYES — BIRD – LIVERMORE — BUTLER.
or have you any authority to make naturalization they find great difficulty in managing them suc- want the States to make their own regulations laws? Certainly not. How then is the man of cessfully now, when there are only about three about these matters, and prescribe who shall be foreign birth to become a citizen of Massachu- millions, what will they do when there are twenty citizens; and I do not see why we carfnot stand setts, except by becoming so under the naturali- millions held in bondage? There is no danger to up bravely upon the doctrine of State rigtits. We zation laws of the United States. I know very the l’nion. The only danger is that we shall lay are making a (onstitution for Massachusetts,well, Sir, that in making a Constitution, we have down our arms and yield to the insults of tyran- not to please the federal government--not to please a right to say whether persons shall vote in re- ny; but if we stand up manfully and demand the government of any other State of this l'uion gard to State matters; but conferring the power our rights, we shall obtain them. That is my -not to please the government of any other power to vote in State elections gives a man no rights as theory, although it may not be the gentleman's upon earth; we propose to make a Constitution a citizen of the l'nited States. We can give no theory. I do not feel alarmed about the disso- to please the people of Massachusetts alone. As rights of that kind-it is a matter altogether be- lution of the l’nion in consequence of anything it seems to me, then, we are to confine ourselves yond our control. I submit, then, that if the said in our debates here; if I did, perhaps I entirely to the formation of a Constitution for the words "citizen of Massachusetts” should be sub- might alter my course. I do not apprehend that interest and the welfare of the people of Massastituted, and even if we should be able exactly to anything which I may say or do is going to tear chusetts; and if, in any respect the Constitution define what a citizen of Massachusetts is, there this l'nion asunder. The gentleman wants to wl ich we form infringes upon the powers of the would be nothing gained; for while you would know who a citizen of Massachusetts is; but I general government, of course the Supreme Court have no opportunity to elect a man who is not a should like to have him tell me who a citizen of the will set us right about the matter; but so far as it citizen of the United States, you might exclude l'nited States is. I think it is much more difficult is competent for us to form a constitution within thousands from that office who were good citi- to answer that question than the one which seems the rights reserved to the people of Massachusetts, zens. It seems to me, therefore, that the argu- to puzzle him so much. I had supposed that a so far I trust we shall make that Constitution to ment of the gentleman representing Abington citizen of Massachusetts was a man entitled to be suit ourselves and not to suit any other power on does not accomplish the object which he intended a voter in Massachusetts. The amendment offered the face of the globe. it should, for the insertion of the words citizen by the gentleman from Essex, (Mr. Bradford,) Mr. LIVERMORE, of Cambridge. I do not of Massachusetts does not make the basis so large as was precisely equivalent to this, only expressed profess to have much legal knowledge, but it he desired that it should be. At all events, it | in different language. Legal voters in the State seems to me that this difficulty may be obviated leaves the matter in uncertainty; and I hope that of Massachusetts, as I suppose, are always con- without entering into considerations of that sort. some gentleman more versed in this subject than sidered citizens of Massachusetts; and that is I have thought that it might perhaps be well to I am, will give us some definition of the word what I understand to be the meaning of this amend the resolution by striking out all after the citizen, so that we can see who shall and who amendment. There may be questions asked word " that," in the second line, and inserting in shall not, under this Constitution, be eligible to which are very difficult to answer; but I think I lieu thereof the following :-" Any person who is the office of governor; and unless I can see some never before heard the question raised, “Who is a a legal voter in this Commonwealth, and who better reason than I have yet seen to satisfy my citizen of Massachusetts ?"
shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, mind that the langunge can be improved, I shall Mr. BIRD, of Walpole. I see no need of shall be eligible to the office of governor.” If be under the necessity of voting against the troubling ourselves about the difficulty of defin- that should be done, there would be no misunderamendment.
ing who a citizen of Massachusetts is, in the new standing as to who were meant by it, and I think Mr. KEYES, for Abington. The gentleman Constitution which we are forming, until some it would attain the object which this Convention seems to arraign me for the illustration which I inconvenience is found to arise from not knowing has in view. I simply rise for the purpose of sayused; but I wish to say that it came in very le- who a citizen is, as mentioned in the Constitution ing that if the amendment now under consideragitimately and very properly as an allusion in ac- under which we are now living. The ninth arti- tion shall not prevail, at the proper time I shall cordance with the general tenor of the debate, cle of the last chapter, says, " Every male citizen, offer that which I have suggested. and as it had already been referred to. What is of twenty-one years of age and upwards,” &c. Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I propose, after the that parchment, the Constitution of the United
&c., shall be a voter, and also "every citizen who present amendment shall have been disposed of, States? Is it anything more than a record of the shall be by law exempted from taxation," &c., to submit one, the purport of which I will state in power and authority of the government, confer- shall be a voter. Now I take it for granted that the course of my remarks. I am in favor of the red by the people who instituted it? Nothing it means every male citizen of Massachusetts shall amendment of the gentleman from Taunton, using more. It was referred to in the paragraph which be a voter, provided he has the specified qualifica- the expression, "citizen of Massachusetts,” bewas read, saying that citizens of Massachusetts tions. It does not mean every male citizen of cause we are making a Massachusetts Constituare citizens of the United States. I say that Rhode Island, or every male citizen of South tion; and although it may excite a smile, I will it is not so, notwithstanding that the Constitution Carolina, but every male citizen of Massachusetts. add that I want to make such a Constitution as says it is so; and I gave as a reason why it is not You have no right to infer that it means every we could live under if we should ever have the so, because we have got a Supreme Court who male citizen of the United States, for if it had misfortune not to live under the government of have determined to the contrary, and the court meant so it would have said so; and the inference the United States. I have good authority, Sir, had a right to determine to the contrary. That from its not saying " citizen of the United States," for a remark of that kind. I find that in 1820, is the law as applicable to certain sections of the must undoubtedly be that it means every male when the Chief Justice of this Commonwealth, Union; but whenever we have tried the experi- citizen of Massachusetts, and no one else. I am Judge Parker, proposed certain amendments to ment, you know very well what success we have willing, sir, to take the same phraseology in our the Declaration of the Bill of Rights, he made met with in endeavoring to carry out that prin- new Constitution which is used in that under use of the following language :-“ If, by misforciple. Now, Sir, I do not think that the govern- which we live. I think the question asked by the tune, we should ever cease to be governed by the ment of the United States is too sacred to be gentleman from Abington is a very pertinent one; Constitution of the United States, we should alluded to. It has been the policy of some per- although perhaps it is hardly fair to answer one want our Constitution as it now is." I consons to blind the eyes of the people of Massachu- question by asking another, yet I put the same tend, therefore, that the word “ Massachusetts,” setts to the state of ignominy and servitude in inquiry, will any legal gentleman tell me who a should be substituted, and then, according to which they live under the government of the citizen of the United States is: I have asked the provisions of the Constitution of the United United States, and they would make us believe several gentlemen who are learned in the law, but States, a citizen of Massachusetts would have the that if we do not surrender to the demands of an- I cannot get a satisfactory answer. I suppose privileges of a citizen of the United States. other section, the Union will be endangered. Sir, that citizens of the United States under the Con- Then, Sir, another difficulty arises here. If the nobody believes this is going to endanger the stitution are those who are declared to be citizens resolution should be adopted, leaving it as it Union. That old hypocritical cry about danger of the several States ; for the Constitution of the stands, perhaps you would be going farther than to the Union has been completely exposed, and United States, and the laws of the United States, you intend to. It might be construed to apply to the only fears with regard to the safety of the so far as I know anything about them, have not insane persons, paupers, or persons under guarUnion grow out of that peculiar institution, defined who are citizens of the United States, ex- dianship; and I want to know if you are going which, unless restricted, can destroy it, if the cept by saying that the citizens of each State shall to do that. It is best that we should see exactly lessons of history be not all false. Why, Sir, if enjoy the privileges of citizens of other States. I where we are going; and after seeing what the
THE GOVERNOR. — DAVIS - BUTLER - LIVERMORE - HALLETT.
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 Massachusetts, 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 legal voter therein," so that the article would read as follows:
“ The governor shall be chosen annually ; and no person shall be eligitle 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 govern, 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
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 mcans 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 term “ Massachusetts" will be adopted. 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 believe 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 difficulties 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 Convention 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 pounds." 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 elect a man for governor who is 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 man. 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 qualification should not confine the office to who are voters, but should allow the candlau. 3 to be taken from any branch of the people, or from any class of society, if they have that quality
THE GOVERNOR. -- HALLETT – MORTON - BRIGGS – WHITNEY.
of locality, which will identify them with the we had better confine our language to the State quently he is not afraid to trust the people, that the interests of the community. I hope we shall we represent. For this reason I proposed it, and people will do just as they please, and we cannot adopt this provision, for we hold that any person all this discussion, which has taken a wide range, 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 people to do t'is 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 hare their own way. They have sent us here to alized. There are some States which bestow the great and important reasons have been urged in propose amendments to the Constitution, and if privilege of voting, upon persons who have not its favor.
the amoudments we shall propo-e, meet their apbeen long enough in the United States, to reccive I do not know that it is materially better than probation, they will adopt t'em, and if not, t.ey their naturalization papers, and who consequently the proposition of the gentleman from Cambridge. will reject them. We can have no definite deare not citizens of the l'nited States.
I have no objection to that, and I am willing to cision of any matter connected with the ConstituNow you require your governor to reside seven vote for it ; but yet, instead of making it more cer- tion. years within the Commonwealth. . You therefore, tuin, it may make it more uncertain, because it Now, my friend for Wilbraham has taken extend the office to every alien who comes here, may happen that you have people in this Com- hig':er democratic ground upon this occasion than for if he remains here five years, he becomes nat- monwealth who may make very excellent gover. I ever knew him take before. He goes for making uralized. So it is no restriction upon aliens at nors, who yet are not voters. And this brings to women governors. Well, 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, lost his election because he this reason : they are our governors already. inform the Committee that every alien who resides was not a voter in the Commonwealth.
They hold a higher authority over us than here five years, becomes a citizen, as a matter of The term legal voter is very uncertain, because would be the case if they were made governors of course?
it depends upon the performance of various du- the Commonwealth by a political election. Now, I Mr. HALLETT. What I said was, that a resi- ties, and mainly upon the payment of taxes. It beg to ask my friend for Wilbraham, (Mr. Ilaldence here of five years, gives to every person who may so happen that some gentleman may neglect lett,) who advances this doctrine, 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 the 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, insane persons, nors : [Laugl.ter.) must make a previous declaration, but under no and paupers, that fact may have some weight with Mr. HALLEIT. I will answer the gentlecircumstances is he required to be in the l'nited them, but it has none with me. I go upon the man. States over five years. In that the gentleman will ground of opening a wide door.
Mr. BRIGGS. Let me ask the gentleman one agree with me as a matter of law.
I shall vote against 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 thirty 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 seals 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. HALLETT. 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 nothing 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 re"she" 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. Hallett,) 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. HALLETT. The gentleman must first ham, (Mr. Hallett). 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. paired by it. I 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
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 does 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 between man and wife,
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. HOOD, 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 lating for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, my friend for Wilbraham, who says so fre- the Convention, that with the course we are pur