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define the misbehavior in such a manner as to subject it to a proper trial; and perhaps still more impossible to compel so high an offender, holding his office by such a tenure, to submit to a trial. He considered an Executive during good behavior as a softer name only for an Executive for life; and that the next would be an easy step to hereditary monarchy. If the motion should finally succeed, he might himself live to see such a revolution. If he did not, it was probable his children or grandchildren would. He trusted there were few men in that House who wished for it. No State, he was sure, had so far revolted from republican principles, as to have the least bias in its favor.
Mr. Madison was not apprehensive of being thought to favor any step towards monarchy. The real object with him was to prevent its introduction.. Experience had proved a tendency in our government to throw all power into legislative vortex. The Executives of the States are in general little more than ciphers; the Legislatures omni. potent. If no effectual check be devised for restraining the instability and encroachments of the latter, a revolution of some kind or other would be inevitable. The preservation of republican government, therefore, required some expedient for that purpose, but required evidently, at the same time, that, in devising it, the genuine principles of that form should be kept in view.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris was as little a friend to monarchy as any gentleman. He concurred in the opinion, that the way to keep out monarchical government was to establish such a republican government as would make the people happy, and prevent a desire of change.
Dr. McClurg was not so much afraid of the shadow of monarchy as to be unwilling to approach it; nor so wedded to republican government as not to be sensible of the tyrannies that had been and may be exercised under that form. It was an essential object with him to make the Executive independent of the Legislature; and the only mode left for effecting it after the vote destroying his eligibility a second time, was to appoint him during good behavior.
On the question for inserting “ during good behavior,” in place of “ seven years," (with a re-eligibility,) it passed in the negative.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, aye, 4; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6.
On the motion to strike out “ seven years," it passed in the negative.
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, aye, 4; Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, no, 6. Elliott's Deb., vol. v., 325.
On the question, “ Shall the Executive continue for seven years ?" it was negatived by the following vote :
Connecticut, South Carolina, Georgia, aye, 3; New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, no, 5; Massachusetts, North Carolina, divided.
Mr. King was afraid we should shorten the term too much. Mr. Gouverneur Morris was for a short term in order to avoid impeachments, which would be otherwise necessary. Mr. Butler was against the frequency of elections. Georgia and South Carolina were too distant to send electors often. Mr. Ellsworth was for six years. If the elections be too frequent the Executive will not be firm enough. There must be duties which will make him unpopular for the moment. There will be outs as well as ins. His administration, therefore, will be attacked and misrepresented. Mr. Williamson was for six years. The expense will be considerable, and ought not to be unnecessarily repeated. If the elections are too frequent, the best men will not undertake the service, and thoso of an inferior character will be liable to be corrupted.
On the question for six years-Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylva
nia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye, 9; Delaware, no. 5 Elliott's Deb., 339.
Afterwards, on motion of Col. Mason, it was agreed « That the Executive be appointed for seven years, and be ineligible a second time.” Ibid., 369.
The subject was subsequently referred to a Committee, which reported in favor of a term of four years, and that was finally adopted.
The tenure of Senators was at first fixed at seven years, which was opposed by Roger Sherinan, who preferred five years, and by Mr. Pierce, who was in favor of three years. Messrs. Randolph and Madison continued the discussion as follows:
Mr. Randolph was for the term of seven years. The democratic licentiousness of the State Legislatures proved the necessity of a firm Senate. The object of this second branch is to control the democratic branch of the National Legislature. If it be not a firm body, the other branch, being more numerous, and coming immediately from the people, will overwhelm it. The Senate of Maryland, constituted on like principles, bad been scarcely able to stem the popular torrent. No mischief can be apprehended, as the concurrence of the other branch, and in some measure of the Executive, will in all cases be necessary. A firmness and independence may be the more necessary, also, in this branch, as it ought to guard the Constitution against encroachments of the Executive, who will be apt to form combinations with the demagogues of the popular branch.
Mr. Madison considered seven years as å term by no means too long. What we wished was, to give to the government that stability which was everywhere called for, and which the enemies of the republican form alleged to be inconsistent with its nature. He was not afraid of giving too much stability by the term of seven years. His fear was, that the popular branch would still be too great an overmatch for it, It was to be much lamented that we had su little direct experience to guide us. The Constitution of Maryland was the only one that bore any analogy to this part of the plan. In no instance had the Senate of Maryland created just suspicions of danger from it. In some instances, perhaps, it may have erred by yielding to the House of Delegates. In every instance of their opposition to the measures of the House of Delegates, they had had with them the suffrages of the most enlightened and impartial people of the other States, as well as their own. In the States where the Senates were chosen in the same manner as the other branches of the Legislature, and held their seats for four years, the institution was found to be no check whatever against the instabilities of the other branches. He conceived it to be of great importance that a stable and firm government, organized in the republican form, should be held out to the people. If this be not done; and the people be left to judge of this species of government by the operations of the defective systems under which they now live, it is much to be feared the time is not distant, when, in 'universal disgust, they will renounce the blessing which they have purchased at so dear a rate, and be ready for any change that may be proposed to them. 5 Elliott's Debates, 186.
On the question for seven years as the term for senators, eight States gave their votes in the affirmative, Connecticut against it, and Massachusetts and New York were divided. 5 Ibid., 187. When the subject afterwards again came under consideration, Mr. Gorham suggested “four years, one-fourth to be elected every year.” Mr. Randolph "supported the idea of rotation as favorable to the wisdom and stability of the corps,
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, (hy 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
sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the propotion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feeling of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country; but symptoms of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared, in a certain quarter, to give notice of the future danger. How is this danger to be guarded against, on the republican principles; how is the danger, in all cases of interested conditions, to oppress the minority, to be guarded against ? Among other means, by the establishment of a body, in the government, sufficiently respectable for its wisdom and virtue, to aid, in such emergencies, the preponderance of justice, by throwing its weight into that scale. Such being the objects of the second branch in the proposed government, be thought a considerable duration ought to be given to it. He did not conceive that the term of nine years could threaten any real danger; but, in pursuing his particular ideas on the subject, he should require the long term allowed to the second branch should not commence till such a period of life as would render a perpetual disqualification to be re-elected, little inconvenient, either in a public or private view. He observed, that, as it was more than probable we were now digesting a plan which, in its operation, would decide forever the fate of republican government, we ought not only to provide every guard to liberty that its preservation could require, but be equally careful to supply the defects which our own experience had particularly pointed out.
Mr. Sherman. Government is instituted for those who live under it. It ought, therefore, to be so constituted as not to be dangerous to their liberties. The more permanency it has, the worse, if it be a bad government. Frequent elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the government, by preserving that good behavior, because it insures their re-election. In Connecticut elections have been frequent, yet great stability and uniformity, both as to persons and measures, have been experienced from its original establishment to the present time a period of more than a hundred and thirty years. He wished to have provision made for steadiness and wisdom, in the system to be adopted; but he thought six, or four years, would be sufficient. He should be content with either.
Mr. Read wished it to be observed, by the small States, that it was their interest that we should become one people as much as possible: the State attachments should be extinguished as much as possible ; that the Senate should be so constituted as to have the feelings of citizens of the whole.
Mr. Hamilton. He did not mean to enter particularly into the subject. He concurred with Mr. Madison in thinking we were now to decide forever the fate of republican government; and that if we did not give to that form due stability and wisdom, it would be disgraced and lost among ourselves, disgraced and lost to mankind forever. He acknowledged himself not to think favorably of republican government; but ad. dressed his remarks to those who did think favorably of it in order to prevail on them to tone to their government as high as possible. He professed himself to be as zealous an 'advocate for liberty as any man whatever ; and trusted he should be as willing a martyr to it, though he differed as to the form in which it was most eligible. He concurred, also, in the general observations of Mr. Madison on the subject, which might be supported by others if it were necessary. It was certainly true, that nothing like an equality of property existed ; that an inequality would exist as long as liberty existed, and that it would unavoidably result from that very liberty itself. This inequality of property constituted the great and fundamental distinction in society. When the tribunitial 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 tion, 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 finallv