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which might possibly be always sitting and aiding the Executive.?! Mr. Williamson “suggested six years," and Mr. Sherman seconded it. Mr. Read "proposed that they should hold their offices during good behavior," which was seconded by Robert Morris. Gen. Pinckney favored four years. Seven years were stricken out, seven States voting therefor, and three, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia, against it, Maryland being divided. Successive motions for six and then five years were negatived by a tie vote, when Mr. Gorham" moved to fill the blank with six years, one-third of the members to go out every second year," which was seconded by Mr. Wilson. Gen. Pinckney opposed it, and Mr. Read moved nine years, though he “still preferred during good behavior, but being little supported in that idea, he was willing to take the longest term that could be obtained,” which motion was seconded by Mr. Broome, when the following debate took place :
Mr. Madison. In order to judge of the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it. These were-first, to protect the people against their rulers; secondly, to protect the people against the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led. A people deliberating in a temperate moment, and with the experience of other nations before them, on the plan of government most likely to secure their happiness, would first be aware, that those charged with the public happiness might betray their trust. An obvious precaution against the danger would be, to divide the trust between different bodies of men, who might watch and check each other. In this they would be governed by the same prudence which has prevailed in organizing the subordinate departments of government, where all business liable to abuses is made to pass through separate hands, the one being a check upon the other. It would next occur to such a people, that they themselves were liable to temporary errors, through want of information as to their true interest, and that men chosen for a short term, and employed but a small portion of that in public affairs, might err from the same cause. This reflection would naturally suggest, that the government be so constituted as that one of its branches might have an opportunity of acquiring a . competent knowledge of the public interests. Another reflection equally becoming a people on such an occasion, would be, that they themselves, as well as a numerous body of representatives, were liable to err, also, from fickleness and passion. A necessary fence against this danger would be, to select a portion of enlightened citizens, whose limited number and firmness, might seasonably interpose against impetuous counsels. It ought, finally, to occur to a people deliberating on a government for themselves, that, as different interests necessarily result from the liberty meant to be secured, the major interest might, under sudden impulses, be tempted to commit injustice on the minority. In all civilized countries the people fall into different classes, having a real or supposed difference of interests. There will be creditors and debtors; farmers, merchants and manufacturers. There will be, particularly, the distinction of rich and poor. It was true, as had been observed, (by Mr. Pinckney,) we had not among us those hereditary distinctions of rank which were a great source of the contests in the ancient governments, as well as the modern States of Europe; nor those extremes of wealth or poverty which characterize the latter. We cannot, however, be regarded, even at this time, as one homogeneous mass, in which every thing that affects a part will affect in the same manner the whole. In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose
The small number, and long duration of the Senate, were intended to render them a safeguard, says Chancellor Kent, against the influence of those paroxysms of heat and passion, which prevail occasionally in the most enlightened communities, and enter into the deliberation of popular assemblies. In this point of view, a firm and independent Senate is justly regarded as an anchor of safety amidst the storms of political faction; and, for want of such a stable body, the republics of Athens and Florence were overturned, by the fury of commotions, which the Senates of Sparta, Carthage and Rome might have been able to withstand. The characteristical qualities of the Senate, in the intendment of the Constitution, are wisdom and stability. The legal presumption is, that the Senate will entertain more enlarged views of public policy, will feel a higher and juster sense of national character, and a greater regard for stability in the administration of the government. These qualities, it is true, may, in most cases, be found in the other branch of the Legislature; but the constitutional structure of the House is not equally calculated to produce them; for, as the House of Representatives comes more immediately from the people, and the members hold their seats for a much shorter time, they are presumed to partake, with a quicker sensibility, of the prevailing temper and irritable disposition of the times, and to be in much more danger of adopting measures with precipitation, and of changing them with levity. A mutable legislation is attended with a more formidable train of mischiefs to the community. It weakens the force, and increases the intricacy of the laws, hurts credit, lessens the value of property, and it is an infirmity very incident to republican establishments, and has been a constant source of anxiety and concern to their most enlightened admirers. A disposition to multiply and change laws, upon the spur of the occasion, and to be making constant and restless experiments with the statute code, seems to be the natural disease of popular assemblies. In order, therefore, to counteract such a dangerous propensity, and to maintain a due portion of confidence in the government, and to insure its safety and character at home and abroad, it is requisite that another body of men, coming likewise from the people, and equally responsible for their conduct, but resting on a more permanent basis, and constituted with stronger inducements to moderation in debate, and to tendency of purpose, should be placed as a check
nitial power had levelled the boundary between patricians and plebeians, what followed ? The distinction between rich and poor was substituted. He meant not, however, to enlarge on the subject. He rose principally to remark, that Mr. Sherman seemed not to recollect that one branch of the proposed government was so formed as to render it particularly the guardians of the poorer orders of citizens; nor to have adverted to the true causes of the stability which had been exemplified in Connecticut. Under the British system, as well as the federal, many of the great powers appertaining to government-particularly all those relating to foreign nations—were not in the hands of the government there. Their internal affairs, also, were extremely simple, owing to sundry causes, many of which were peculiar to that country. Of late the government had entirely given way to the people, and had in fact suspended many of its ordinary functions, in order to prevent those turbulent scenes which had appeared elsewhere. He asks Mr. 'Sherman, whether the State, at this time, dare impose and collect a tax on the people? To these causes, and not to the frequency of elections, the effect, as far as it existed, ought to be chiefly ascribed.
Mr. Gerry wished we could be united in our ideas concerning a permanent government. All aim at the same end, but there are great differences as to the means. One circumstance, he thought, should be carefully attended to. There were not one thousandth part of our fellow-citizens who were not against every approach towards monarchy,—will they ever agree to a plan which seems to make such an approach? The Convention ought to be extremely cautious in what they hold out to the people. Whatever plan may be proposed will be espoused with warmth by many, out of respect to the quarter it proceeds from, as well as from an approbation of the plan itself. And if the plan should be of such a nature as to rouse a violent opposition, it is easy to foresee that discord and confusion will ensue; and it is even possible that we may become a prey to foreign powers. He did not deny the position of Mr. Madison, that the majority will generally violate justice when they have an interest in so doing; but did not think there was any such temptation in this country. Our situation was different from that of Great Britain ; and the great body of lands yet to be parcelled out and settled, would very much prolong the difference. Notwithstanding the symptoms of injustice which had marked many of our public councils, they had not proceeded so far as not to leave hopes that there would be a sufficient sense of justice and virtue for the purpose of government. He admitted the evils arising from a frequency of elections, and would agree to give the Senate a duration of four or five years. A longer term would defeat itself. It never would be adopted by the people.
Mr. Wilson did not mean to repeat what had fallen from others, but would add an observation or two which he believed had not yet been suggested. Every nation may be regarded in two relations—first, to its own citizens; secondly, to foreign nations.' It is, therefore, not only liable to anarchy and tyranny within, but has wars to avoid, and treaties to obtain from abroad. The Senate will probably be the depository of the powers concerning the latter objects. It ought therefore to be made respectable in the eyes of foreign nations. The true reason why Great Britain has not yet listened to a commercial treaty with us, has been because she had no confidence in the stability or efficacy of our government. Nine years, with a rotation, will provide these desirable qualities, and give our government an advantage in this respect over monarchy itself. In a monarchy, much must always depend on the temper of the man. In such a body, the personal character will be lost in the political. He would add another observation. The popular objection against appointing any public body for a long term, was, that it might, by gradual encroachments, prolong itself first into a body for life, and finally
of the National Legislature, even by special acts of naturalization, to confer the full rank of citizens on meritorious strangers.
Mr. Butler was decidedly opposed to the admission of foreigners without a long residence in the country. They bring with them, not only attachments to other countries, but ideas of government so distinct from ours, that in every point of view they are dan.' gerous. He acknowledged that, if he himself had been called into public life within a short time after his coming to America, his foreign habits, opinions, and attachments would have rendered him an improper agent in public affairs. He mentioned the great strictness observed in Great Britain on this subject.
Dr. Franklin was not against a reasonable time, but should be very sorry to see any thing like illiberality inserted in the Constitution. It did not follow from an omission to insert the restriction in the Constitution, that the persons in question would be actually chosen.
Mr. Randolph did not know but it might be problematical whether immigrants to this country were, on the whole, useful or not, but he could never agree to the motion for disabling them, for fourteen years, to participate in the public honors.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris. The lesson we are taught is that we should be governed as much by our reason, and as little by our feelings, as possible. What is the language of reason on this subject? That we should not be polite at the expense of prudence. There was a moderation in all things. It is said that some tribes of Indians carried their hospitality so far as to offer to strangers their wives and daughters. Was this a proper model for us? He would admit them to his house ; he would invite them to his table, would provide for them comfortable lodgings, but would not carry the complai. sance so far as to bed them with his wife. He would let them worship at the same altar, but did not choose to make priests of them. He ran over the privileges which immigrants would enjoy among us, though they should be deprived of that of being eligible to the great offices of government ; observing that they exceeded the privileges allowed to foreigners in any part of the world, and that as every society, from a great nation down to a club, had the right of declaring the conditions on which new members should be admitted, there could be no room for complaint. As to those philosophical gentlemen, those citizens of the world, as they called themselves, he owned he did not wish to see any of them in our public councils. He would not trust them. The men who can shake off their attachments to their own country can never love any other. These attachments are the wholesome prejudices which uphold all governments. Admit a Frenchman into your Senate, and he will study to increase the commerce of France; an Englishman, and he will feel an equal bias in favor of that of England. It has been said that the Legislatures will not choose foreigners—at least, improper ones. There was no knowing what Legislatures would do. Some appointments made by them proved that every thing ought to be apprehended from the cabals practiced on such occasions. He mentioned the case of a foreigner who left this State in disgrace, and walked himself into an appointment from another to Congress. 5 Elliott's Debutes, 398.
The motion of Mr. Morris to insert fourteen was negatived-yeas four, nays seven. So also were motions to insert thirteen, and then ten; and a motion to insert nine years was agreed to-yeas six, nays foar, the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania, roting in the negative, and North Carolina being divided. 5 Elliott's Debates, 398. An effort was afterwards made by James Wilson to reduce