Gambar halaman

has been adopted in practice since the first promulgation of that instrument for these last twenty-five years, an irresistible conviction must follow, that if any other con: struction could have been given to it, the same would have been long since adopted.

A scene of a very novel and extraordinary nature, which took place before the legislature on the day in which it was intended to have closed the session, has given rise to these remarks. That scene, and the causes from which it originated, shall now be detailed. On the 5th inst. the legislature passed a resolution, that the governor, with the consent of the council, should nominate three commissioners on the part of this state, to meet three commissioners to be appointed by the legislature of Pennsylvania and the agents of the Susquehanna canal company, to confer in the best mode to free the river Susquehanna of those obstructions which at present im. pede its navigation.

On Saturday, the 8th January, the council, in the morning, proceeded to consider of proper characters to be appointed commissioners under the resolutions of the legislature. A difference of opinion arose on the gentlemen put in nomination between the governor and the council; and, at the governor's special instance and request, an adjournment took place till five o'clock in the evening, when he promised to meet them, and complete the appointments.

At five o'clock the council met, and waited till be. tween seven and eight, when the governor not appear. ing, nor sending any message what detained him, the council proceeded to appoint Alexander C. Hanson, John Montgomery and James Houston, Esquires, commissioners in behalf of the state, who had immediatè notice given them of their appointments, that in case any of them declined serving the council might proceed to fill up the vacancy.

On Monday morning, the roth, the governor objected to the appointments made by the council on the preceding

Saturday, and proposed A. C. Hanson, Gabriel Duvall and John T. Mason, in lieu of the gentlemen who had been before nominated. On this proposal of the governor the council declined acting, which occasioned him immediately to address a letter to the speakers of each branch of the legislature, stating, that the council, in his absence, had proceeded to appoint the commissioners in flagrant violation of the spirit and meaning of the re. solutions passed by the legislature, claiming their interference to annul the appointments the council had alrea. dy made, and declaring they had treated him with great personal disrespect on the occasion.

The council being informed of this extraordinary proceeding on the part of the governor, addressed a letter to the legislature, disclaiming any intentional disrespect towards him, and stating, that the real difference between the governor and themselves had arisen on the right of nomination, and that they had not proceeded to make the appointments till all hopes and expectations had ceased that the governor would meet them, agreea. bly to his own appointment on the preceding Saturday evening.

The governor then addressed a letter, praying to be heard in person before the legislature, which was granted by a large majority, only 17 votes being in the nega. tive in the house of delegates.

The governor, in addressing the legislature, claimed the exclusive right to the nomination of the commission. ers, and said, if the legislature would not support him against the council, that he would return his power to those who gave it.

The senate passed a vote, unanimously declaring they had no control over the proceedings of the council, but in as much as the governor requested to know their sen. timents, they resolved, that the practice heretofore adopted by the council, of indiscriminately putting in nomination such person as was proposed by any member of the board, to be, in their opinion, legal and constitutional, and that the commissioners appointed were therefore legally nominated. This resolution was sent to the house of delegates, and negatived by one yote, on the ground, that the house had no right to interfere in the question submitted to them by the governor, but they made an order, declaring, that when they passed the re. solution directing the appointment of the commissioners, they intended such appointment should take place in the usual or ordinary way in which nominations had heretofore been made, and this resolution passed both houses.


Every member who voted for the resolution sent down from the senate in the house of delegates, was of the republican side of the house, but several republicans, or who at least wish to pass themselves as republicans, voted with every federal member present, by which the resolution was lost, and though the federalists in general admitted the grounds taken by the governor were unfounded and unconstitutional, yet they chose thus to abandon all principle whatever, and run the danger of throwing the state into utter confusion, that a chance might thereby be of fered for regaining their lost power, sooner than sanction that constitutional practice which had been adopted under their own banners, while the republicans manfully stood forth the champions and supporters of order and good government, which the federalists formerly chal, lenged as exclusively belonging to themselves. It is an old adage, a man may be known by his actions. The citizens of Maryland may thus form a correct judgment who are their real friends, and surely every cool and dispassionate federalist must acknowledge their members have given a convincing proof that the aggrandizement of their party, by any and every means, is their sole aim, or they would never have put the best interests of the state to hazard, by abandoning that superstructure, of which they themselves laid the first foundation. ?

The public being thus in possession of the facts as they really happened, which has occasioned the schism between the governor and council, a developement of those motives which has influenced the governor to take

the improper and ill judged steps he has done, will now be attempted. .

· It may be recollected, at the opening of the late session of the legislature that the governor sent them a communication, in which, amongst other things, he particu. larly recommended the adoption of certain propositions made to him by the Susquehanna canal company. These propositions were rejected by a majority of the house of delegates; when, therefore, the resolutions of the 5th January were passed by the legislature, it became the governor's policy to designate such characters, if possible, for commissioners on the part of this state, as might be supposed friendly to those measures the governor had recommended at the commencement of the session; from these motives the governor was decidedly hostile to the nomination made of Messieurs Montgomery and Houston, because he despaired of being able to gain them over to his views, these gentlemen having been opposed to the propositions made by the company to him ; but ano. ther ground of objection also existed against Mr. Montgomery. The firm and inflexible integrity of this gentleman had induced him to vote for general Samuel Smith as senator to congress, in preference to the governor, against every allurement that could be thrown out to persuade him to do otherwise. This sin could therefore never be forgiven, and when this unpardonable offence on the part of Mr. Montgomery was added to his opposition to the governor's other favourite measure, there can be no doubt he determined to oppose and frustrate his appointment in every event, and to accomplish this object by intrigue, when it could not be effected by open measures ; and that for this purpose, the governor proposed the adjournment of the council on Saturday 8th instant, to meet him at five in the evening, and from which meeting he likewise no doubt purposely absented himself, because the legislature were fully expected to rise on that evening, and one of the council had given the governor notice he should leave Annapolis with the members of the assembly. This would have reduced the members of the council to four, and as the governor had carried a recent appointment when one of the members was absent, although it had been previously agreed the appointment should not be gone into but with a fųh council, and that appointment having been made by the governor's casting voice, he certainly again intended at. tempting to play the same game, in the expectation the council might be again divided.

That such must have been the governor's motives, will appear from a revision of his conduct previous to the appointment of the commissioners, and the steps he af. terwards adopted. On Monday he proposed other characters than those appointed by the council, when he found his absenting himself and breaking his promise to meet them on Saturday had failed of effect, and because they declined acting according to his wishes, he instantly accused them before the legislature, with a flagrant violation of duty, in perverting the intentions of their resolution, and with having treated him with personal disrespect, by having gone into the appointments in his absence--from what other motive but deep rooted disappointment could this conduct spring from. The legislature absolved the council frorn the first part of the charge, and the latter part must evidently stand exposed, on a moment's consideration, to be as malignant as it was untrue. If a person in the morning meets a number of gentlemen on business, and at his own instance and request that business is postponed till the afternoon, when he promises to meet them, and instead of keeping his word, absents himself without assigning any cause or reason for his conduct, the disrespect is shewn to the gentlemen who meet, and not to the person who stays away. The governor, therefore, instead of being treated by the council with disrespect, was manifestly guilty of much rudeness and disrespect towards them, to speak of his conduct in the mildest terms, and it is equally manifest, he was guided by private views, and not by a sense of public duty, in taking the steps he did, and when it is consdered, that those views are in direct opposition to the de. cided sentiments of the legislature, his persisting, after the manifestation of these sentiments, in his refusal to commission the gentlemen appointed by the council, which it is understood is the case, and by which the best inte

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »