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FROM THE ANTI-DEMOCRAT. · A CIVIL OFFICER OF MARYLANDNo. I. The substance of the verbal address of the Governor to the members of the Legislature of Maryland, January 1oth, 1803.
I WƠ letters addressed to the legislature of Maryland on the both of January last, the one by the governor and thie other by his council in reply, and se. veral mutilated extracts from the proceedings of the assembly, have been hurried into the common routine of publication: The agent who transmitted them to the press, has not noticed a subsequent note and address of the governor, nor the principal resolution which passed the senate and was rejected by the delegates, by the yeas and nays, and to which what have been published were oply appendages: The motives for these omissions are perhaps immaterial, but the effeet is unfavourable to truth.
A correct disclosure of the condujct of public functionaries is due to their constituents, and when a great constitutional question becomes involved, which can neither be explained, modified nor decided, but after an appeal to the people, it would be criminal to withhold any information that may enable them to repress usurpa. tion or correct abuses.
Until such a representation can be prepared, the facts which compelled' a resort to a verbal address to the legislature ought to be made known: They were thus dis. closed by the governor. " That his letter already pub• lished was written early on Monday morning as soon • as he was apprised of the transactions of the preceding * Saturday evening; it was immediately read to the coun
cil by himself and transmitted by the clerk to the assem'bly: The members of the council disappearing except • one or two, he remarked that he did not expect they
would do any business on that day, and that he should • retire home: This was done under the entire persua«sion that if they should reply to his letter, they could * not fail to observe a conduct equally frank, in commu
inicating its contents to him ; but notwithstanding the ofive members all concurred in, and forwarded to the • legislature, soon after his departure, the reply that has • been published, the governor had not the slightest in"timation of the transaction until late in the evening, • when he attended expecting to sign the laws.
Duty to himself and his constituents forbad an ac• quiescence under a statement calculated, in his judge'ment, to make erroneous impressions on the public mind; although on the facts disclosed in those letters,
the question might perhaps be safely rested; and it "might be asked under what part of a resolution worded ( That the governor, by and with the advice and con
sent of the council, be, and he is hereby authorised and re' quested to appoint, &c. the council without the knowledge ' and approbation of the governor, and indeed knowing
that it was contrary to his opinion, and in his absence, could . make the appointment themselves ? For admitting that " the word advice, as they seem to imply, contrary to the . common understanding of mankind, and contrary to • the universal and received constitutional construction • of the United States, is equivalent to a mandate, which o the governor was not at liberty to disobey ; yet in this • instance he has not been even the degraded and mechanical instrument to execute their orders; he had in fact no agency whatever in an appointment, for the merits 6 and consequences of which he was thus apparently re. • sponsible.
• Thus impressed, and by no means disposed to sustain • so humiliating and dangerous a position for the ensuing
twelve months, he found the usual and more eligible . mode of written communication no longer practicable; ! as the legislature were then ready to rise, and it was • already so dark as scarcely to admit his writing two • lines, stating, that previous to the signature of the
laws he was anxious to address a few verbal observati. • ons to the members of both houses collectively.'
• The two houses having assented to this request, he stated to them what will hereafter be fully detailed to the public with the proper references, but what can now be only briefly recapitulated ; substantially it was to the following effect.
• That with regard to the appointments under the reO solution cited, he had on Saturday morning proposed in
council, a selection of characters, above all suspicion of private interest, party prejudice, or predetermined • opinion; whose high reputation and known attachment 'to the state, would secure the public confidence, and • whose legal knowledge would protect the public inte• rests; he named the three gentlemen mentioned in his • letter published, but also added other names that would • be acceptable to him, requesting a free communication • of opinion on the part of the council; but when memobers of assembly were proposed, he had observed that • the warm altercations during two successive sessions, o had probably compelled the active characters to take • certain and determined ground, from which it was not o probable they could now be induced to recede; that ( with respect to the gentlemen whose names had been « user', he could feel no personal motive but what wag « entirely favourable to them-he expressed his sense of «ti eir merits, and his unwillingness to hazard what u might wound their feelings; but having been consider
ed as the prominent characters, who had successfully opposed the various applications, and offers of compro• mise on the part of the canal company, their appoint. «ment on this occasion might possibly be attributed to «party, and perhaps indecorous motives in the executive, 6 and would probably induce the company through deospair, to persist in an offer of their whole interest to • Pennsylvania, (a copy of which he had seen,) and from (which he apprehended pernicious consequences to this
state: that although he could make no appointment (without their advice and consent, yet in his opinion • the council could make none without his concurrence ; • they were intended mutually to check each other, and " that the responsibility must rest on the party preventoing a proper appointment, as was the case in the con• stitutions of the states and in the United States, where the executives acted by the advice and consent of
an no others for his part he could not then consent to aj. iton point both the members of assembly insisted on the
council rose, but it was by no means true that the go
vernor desired a meeting in the evening--this was proche ri (posed by a member, who said that he expected to leave ised in town next morning, and the governor observed that if zicion she could converse with certain members, and satisfy mined his mind, he would meet them, but as he could only do ment this partially, he did not attend and certainly that , and the council should proceed to appoint under a resolutio inte. "on so worded, and to notify those appointed, without n his "the ceremony of sending the door-keeper to inform the vould governor, was equally inconsistent with his ideas of
' their powers, and the common respect due to his offici.
al situation. that
In fact, the company and the canal itself had become • secondary objects with him from the time Pennsylvania • had questioned the right of Maryland to grant the half• toll; although the resolution has been cautiously word. • ed to exclude this question from discussion, yet it might • be incidentally decided, and a law had been actually pro(posed to the legislature involving this effect; it was
therefore by no means so easy with the governor to se•lect, at once, characters to whose talents and address • such complicate and delicate interests could with safety " be confided.
That as to the general powers of the governor and !council, although he had made every sacrifice of opinicon during the last year that a sense of absolute duty. ! would permit, yet he had early apprised the council of • his construction of the constitution ; “ that the gover: unor by its express words is authorised to make every ! appointment but one, and to do every executive act but • two, either by and with the advice and consent of ! council, or by his sole authority:" That for this pur• pose and with this view, the council were declared ex. pressly by the constitution, to be a council to the gover
nor-not a council to the state of Maryland. That instead of this, they had completely inverted the order,
• the expression and the sense of the constitution. They
clerk, to act even without his knowledge; that the o constitution had authorised them expressly to appoint • one officer, and to do two acts, as a council, without the
concurrence of the governor;"--But that these provisions must have been truly absurd and ridiculous, if the makers had ever contemplated that they were to appoint every officer of the state, and perform the duties of the executive, of their own mere motion, by their own authority, without consulting with and without the consent, or even knowledge of the governor. That every different article and part of the constitution was perfectly reconcileable and consistent, under the interpretation of the governor, but the whole would remain a mass of absurdity and a tissue of contradictions under that of the council. That the technical terms, by and with the advice and consent of council, had been transferred into diffe. rent constitutions of these states from the words of the old royal and proprietary commissions to the governor of the colonies; that their meaning had been established from their earliest settlement by uniform usage, and had been praclised under, without a doubt, for many years after the revolution, in the sense given to them by the governor, by the different states of the union: That they had been lately adopted into the constitution of the United States, where their meaning had been considered, both in theory and practice, as unequivocal, by the united opinion and admission of all the American union; that the president in making appointments and treaties, was to act by and with the advice and consent of the senate; yet i no one solitary suggestion, amidst the wilderness of mo
dern conjecture, could be adduced, to authorise the senate to appoint an officer, or make a treaty, without the consent or knowledge of the president. The practice had been for the president to propose equally the one