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could not be balanced by them. The Legislature of a numerous people ought to be a numerous body.
Mr. Williamson preferred a small number of Senators, but wished that each State should at least have one.
Mr. Wilson. If we are to establish a national government, that government ought to flow from the people at large. If one branch of it should be chosen by the Legislatures, and the other by the people, the two branches will rest on different foundations, and dissensions will naturally rise between them. He wished the Senate to be elected by the people, as well as the other branch.
Mr. Madison. If the motion (of Mr. Dickinson) should be agreed to, we must either depart from the doctrine of proportional representation, or admit into the Senate a very large number of members. The first is inadmissible, being evidently unjust. The second is inexpedient. The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch. Enlarge their number, and you communicate to them the vices which they are meant to correct. He differed from Mr. Dickinson, who thought that the additional number would give additional weight to the body. On the contrary, it appeared to him that their weight would be in an inverse ratio to their numbers. The example of the Roman tributes was applicable. They lost their influence and power in proportion as their number was augmented. The reason seemed to be obvious. They were appointed to take care of the popular interests and pretensions at Rome; because the people, by reason of their numbers, could not act in concert, and were liable to fall into factions among themselves, and to become a prey to their aristocratic adversaries. The more the representatives of 'the people, therefore, were multiplied, the more they partook of the infirmities of their constituents, the more liable they became to be divided among themselves, either from their own indiscretions or the artifices of the opposite factions, and of course the less capable of fulfilling their trust. When the weight of a set of men depends merely on their personal characters, the greater the number, the greater the weight. When it depends on the degree of political authority lodged in them, the smaller the number, the greater the weight.
Mr. Gerry. Four modes of appointing the Senate have been mentioned. First, by the first branch of the National Legislature. This would create a dependence contrary to the end proposed. Secondly, by the national executive. This is a stride towards monarchy that few will think of. Thirdly, by the people. The people have two great interests, the landed interest, and the commercial, including the stock holders. To draw both branches from the people will leave no security to the latter interest; the people being chiefly · composed of the landed interest, and erroneously supposing that the other interests are adverse to it. Fourthly, by the individual Legislatures. The elections being carried through this refinement, will be most likely to provide some check in favor of the come mercial interest against the landed; without which, oppression will take place; and no free government can last long where that is the case. He was therefore in favor of this last.
Mr. Dickinson. The preservation of the States in a certain degree of agency is indispensable. It will produce that collision between the different authorities which should be wished for in order to check each other. To attempt to abolish the States altogether, would degrade the councils of our country, would be impracticable, would be ruinous. He compared the proposed national system to the solar system, in which
the States were the planets, and ought to be left to move freely in their proper orbits. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Wilson) wished, he said, to extinguish these planets. If the State governments were excluded from all agency in the national one, and all power drawn from the people at large, the consequence would be, that the national government would move in the same direction as the State governments now do, and would run into all the same mischiefs. The reform would only unite the thirteen small streams into one great current, pursuing the same course without any opposition what, ever. He adhered to the opinion that the Senate ought to be composed of a large number, and that their influence, from family weight and other causes, would be increased thereby. He did not admit that the tributes lost their weight in proportion as their number was augmented, and gave an historical sketch of this institution. If the reasoning (of Mr. Madison) was good, it would prove that the number of the Senate ought to be reduced below ten, the highest number of the tribunitial corps.
Mr. Wilson. The subject, it must be owned, is surrounded with doubts and difficulties. But we must surmount them. The British government cannot be our model. We have no materials for a similar one. Our manners, our laws, the abolition of entails and of primogeniture, the whole genius of the people, are opposed to it. He did not see the danger of the States being devoured by the National Government. On the contrary, he wished to keep them from devouring the National Government. He was not, however, for extinguishing these planets, as was supposed by Mr. Dickinson; neither did he, on the other hand, believe that they would warm or enlighten the sun. Within their proper orbits they must still be suffered to act, for subordinate purposes, for which their existence is made essential by the great extent of our country. He could not comprehend in what manner the landed interest would be rendered less predominant in the Senate by an election through the medium of the Legislatures than by the people themselves. If the Legislatures, as was now complained, sacrificed the commercial to the landed interest, what reason was there to expect such a choice from them as would defeat their own views ? He was for an election by the people, in large districts, which would be most likely to obtain men of intelligence and uprightness; subdividing the districts only for the accommodation of voters.
Mr. Madison could as little comprehend in what manner family weight, as desired by Mr. Dickinson, would be more certainly conveyed into the Senate through elections by the State Legislatures than in some other modes. The true question was, in what mode the best choice would be made. If an election by the people, or through any other channel than the State Legislatures, promised as uncorrupt and impartial a preference of merit, there could surely be no necessity for an appointment by those Legislatures. Nor was it apparent that a more useful check would be derived through that channel than from the people through some other. The great evils complained of were, that the State Legislatures ran into schemes of paper money, &c., whenever solicited by the people, and sometimes without even the sanction of the people. Their influence, then, instead of checking a like propensity in the National Legislature, may be expected to promote it. Nothing can be more contradictory than to say that the National Legislature, without a proper check, will follow the exam of the State Legislatures, and, in the same breath, that the State Legislatures are the only proper check.
Mr. Sherman opposed elections by the people, in districts, as not likely to produce such fit men as elections by the State Legislatures.
Mr. Gerry insisted, that the commercial and moneyed interest would be more secure in the hands of the State Legislatures, than of the people at large. The former have müre sense of character, and will be restrained by that from injustice. The people
are for paper money, when the Legislatures are against it. In Massachusetts, the county conventions had declared a wish for a depreciating paper that would sink itself.. Besides, in some states there are two branches in the Legislature, one of which is somewhat aristocratic. There would, therefore, be so far a better chance of refinement in the choice. There seemed, he thought, to be three powerful objections against elections by districts. First, it is impracticable; the people cannot be brought to one place for the purpose; and, whether brought to the same place or not, numberless frauds would be unavoidable. Secondly, small States, forming part of the same district with a large one, or a large part of a large one, would have no chance of gaining an appointment for its citizens of merit. Thirdly, a new source of discord would be opened between different parts of the same district.
Mr. Pinckney thought the second branch ought to be permanent and independent; and that the members of it would be rendered more so by receiving their appointments from the State Legislatures. This mode would avoid the rivalships and discontents incident to the election by districts. He was for dividing the States in three classes, according to their respective sizes, and for allowing to the first class three members ; to the second, two; and to the third, one.
Col. Mason. Whatever power may be necessary for the National Government, a certain portion must necessarily be left with the States. It is impossible for one power to pervade the extreme parts of the United States, so as to carry equal justice to them. The State Legislatures, also, ought to have some means of defending themselves against encroachments of the National Government. In every other department we have studiously endeavored to provide for its self-defence. Shall we leave the States alone, un. provided with the means for this purpose ? And what better means can we provide, than the giving them some share in, or rather to make them a constituent part of, the National Establishment! There is danger on both sides, no doubt ; but we have only seen the evils arising on the side of the State governments. Those on the other side remain to be displayed. The example of Congress does not apply. Congress had no power to carry their acts into execution, as the National Government will have. 5 El. liott's Debates, 166.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
The House of Representatives is composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, who are qualified electors of the most numerous branch of the Legislature of the State to which they belong. The Legislature prescribes the times, places, and manner of holding elections for representatives, but Congress may at any time make or alter such regulations. No person can be a representative until he has attained the age of twenty-five years, and has been seven years a citizen of the United States, and is, when elected, an inhabitant of the State in which he is chosen.
In the Convention which framed the Constitution, Col. Mason mored
to make twenty-five years of age a qualification for membership of the House of Representatives. He said :
He thought it absurd, that a man to-day should not be permitted by the law to make a bargain for himself, and to-morrow should be authorized to manage the affairs of a great nation. It was the more extraordinary, as every man carried with him, in his own experience, a scale for measuring the deficiency of young politicians; since he would, if interrogated, be obliged to declare that his political opinions, at the age of twenty-one, were too crude and erroneous to merit an influence on public measures. It had been said, that Congress had proved a good school for our young men. It might be so, for any thing he knew; but if it were, he chose that they should bear the expense of their own education,
Colonel Mason's motion prevailed-yeas seven, nays three, the States in the negative being Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Georgia, and New York divided. Ibid., 228. In regard to citizenship, Col. Mason
was for opening a wide door for immigrants, but did not choose to let foreigners and adventurers make laws for us and govern us. Citizenship for three years was not enough for ensuring that local knowledge which ought to be possessed by the representative. This was the principal ground of his objection to so short a term. It might also happen, that a rich foreign nation, for example, Great Britain, might send over her tools, who might bribe their way into the Legislature for insidious purposes. He moved that 'seven years, instead of three,' be inserted. Mr. Gouverneur Morris seconded the motion ; and on the question, all States agreed to it, except Connecticut.” Ibid., 389. A reconsideration was subsequently had of this vote, when the following motions were made and discussion took place :
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Randolph moved to strike out "seven years” and insert “ four years," as a requisite term of citizenship to qualify for the House of Representatives.
Mr. Wilson said it was very proper the electors should govern themselves by this consideration ; but unnecessary and improper that the Constitution should chain them down to it.
Mr, Gerry wished that in future the eligibility might be confined to nativesForeign powers will intermeddle in our affairs and spare no expense to influence them. Persons having foreign attachments will be sent among us and insinuated into our councils, in order to be made instruments for their purposes. Every one knows the vast sums laid out in Europe for secret services. He was not singular in these ideas. A great many of the most influential men in Massachusetts reasoned in the same manner. Mr. Williamson moved to insert nine years, instead of seven.
He wished this country to acquire, as fast as possible, national habits. Wealthy immigrants do more harm by their luxurious examples, than good by the money they bring with them.
Col. Hamilton was in general against embarrassing the government with minute restrictions. There was, on one side, the possible danger that had heen suggested. On the other side, the advantage of encouraging foreigners was obvious and admitted. Persons in Europe of moderate fortunes will be fond of coming here, where they will be on a level with the first citizens. He moved that the section be so altered as to
require 'merely s citizenship and inhabitancy." The right of determining the rule of naturalization will then leave a discretion to the Legislature on this subject, which will answer every purpose.
Mr. Madison seconded the motion. He wished to maintain the character of libera. lity which had been professed in all the constitutions and publications of America. He wished to invite foreigners of merit and republican principles among us. America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture, and the arts. There was a possible danger, he admitted, that men with foreign predilections might obtain appointments; but it was by no means probable that it would happen in any dangerous degree. For the same reason that they would be attached to their native country, our own people would prefer natives of this country to them. Experience proved this to be the case. Instances were rare of a foreigner being elected by the people within any short space after his coming among us. If bribery was to be practiced by foreign powers, it would not be attempted among the electors, but among the elected, and among natives having full confidence of the people ; not among strangers, who would be regarded with a jealous eye.
Mr. Wilson cited Pennsylvania as a proof of the adventure of encouraging immigrants. It was perhaps the youngest settlement (except Georgia) on the Atlantic ; yet it was at least among the foremost in population and prosperity. He remarked, that almost all the general officers of the Pennsylvania line of the late army were foreigners, and no complaint had ever been made against their fidelity or merit. Three of her deputies to the Convention, (Mr. R. Morris, Mr. Fitzsimmons, and himself,) were also not natives. He had no objection to Col. Hamilton's motion, and would withdraw the one made by himself.
Mr. Butler was strenuous against admitting foreigners into our public councils.
maye, 4; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia-no, 7.
On the question on Mr. Williamson's motion, to insert “ nine years" instead of “seven,
New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia-aye, 3; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina-no, 8.
Mr. Wilson renewed the motion for four years instead of seven ; and on the question,
Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia-aye, 3; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia—no, 8.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris moved to add to the end of the section (article 4, section 2) a proviso, that the limitation of seven years should not affect the rights of any person now a citizen.
Mr. Mercer seconded the motion. It was necessary, he said, to prevent a disfranchisement of persons who had become citizens, under the faith and according to the laws and Constitution, from their actual level in all respects with natives.
Mr. Rutledge. It might as well be said that all qualifications are disfranchisements, and that to require the age of twenty-five years was a disfranchisement. The policy of the precaution was as great with regard to foreigners, now citizens, as to those who are to be naturalized in future.
Mr. Sherman. The United States have not invited foreigners, nor pledged their faith that they should enjoy equal privileges with native citizens.