« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
ter communication through the lakes, of which daily discoveries are opening unbounded prospects. Under such impressions, and none other, when an act of the legislature of Pennsylvania denying the right of the state of Maryland to grant an half toll on the bed of the river, directed a correspondence on the subject to be opened with him as governor of Maryland, he was unavoidably compelled to maintain the right of the state to the full jurisdiction over the river within her limits; a right which Pennsylvania will hereafter discover to be essenţial even to her best interests: situated as the Susquehanna is in one corner of the state, the representatives of Maryland will sparingly it is presumed employ the public treasure in improving its navigation, it is to be apprehended that this river must itself pay for all the improvements it will ever obtain; this can only be effected by tolls established under the authority of Maryland. It must be obvious then that to abandon the right of the state over the bed of the river, would be to close up for ever one of the fairest sources of public prosperity; but from the unpopularity which had attended the exercise of this right, in both states, the danger seemed evident that the right itself might be involved in the same fate with the exercise ; from this motive at the meeting at Susque. hanna he recommended to the company to compromise their claim and relinquish the grant--the company having complied, honour as well' as duty dictated the decent terms in which he recommended their proposals to the attention of the legislature, at the moment of hand. ing to them the letter of governor M.Kean. Believing, as he does, that the morality and happiness of the people must for ever depend on the examples of good faith and justice which are set by their rulers, he will never scruple we are assured to recommend, when within the line of his duty, a religious compliance with a public contract, or the substitution of a fair equivalent by voluntary compromise : but we again assert that he is no otherwise interested in, or connected with, this particu. lar measure, than as a responsible officer and a citizen of the state.
.. A CIVIL OFFICER OF MARYLAND.
FROM THE AMERICAN.
CONTROVERSY involving facts, that rest entirely upon the comparative degree of credit due to the assertions of adverse parties, can seldom be the source of public information. But where an appeal iš made to the public judgment; that judgment will doubt: less be formed upon the same principles of evidence, whether the transactions of men as citizens of the state, or as officers of the government, give rise to the appeal. In individual disputes, a decision on the truth or falsity of counter declarations, depends upon the reputation for veracity which the witnesses respectively support-This principle must govern the public decision in the contest between the governor and council, where opposite statements are made, and where no corroborative facts are established by indifferent testimony, to give the prepon derance to the assertions of either. .
But the “ Civil Officer,” by admitting that the gover. nor agreed conditionally to meet in the evening, makés à concession that will go very far in refuting the charge against the council of personal disrespect. If he agreed to ineet, it is of little importance whether that agreement wa's absolute or conditional: in either event it proves that the governor knew there would be an evening session, and it will never be contended, that the council agreed that their meeting should depend upon the contingency, of the governor's being enabled to dissuade Messieurs Houston and Montgomery from acting as commissioners.
It may now be proper to examine the other charge against the council, of having grossly violated the spirit of the resolution passed by the legislature. This question being less dependent upon assertion for its support, than the one previously discussed; the public will more readily form a correct opinion upon its merits. Whether the Civil Officer means that the governor has the exclusive right of nomination, or whether, (agreeably to the idea of “ Á Citizen," which was probably written by the same author,) the concurrent right of nomination is conceded,
whilst the governor's veto is claimed upon all appoint-
for the public good, the word may, (as was correctly observed by Republicanus, a late writer in the Americani,) is construed to be imperative, and must be considered in the constitution as synonimous with the word shall. If upon this principle, shall be substituted for may, the clause would be mandatory and not discretionary.—The words “ advice and consent,?. if taken separately, would make the right concurrent.--If the governor were to no. minate a character, and the majority of the council were to agree to appoint him, he would surely be appointed with their consent; but if; on the other hand, the council were to advise the appointment of a different person, all ahe expressions would be equally gratified; for by giving
their advice, (which they unquestionably can do, either before or after it is asked,) they at the same time give their consent-and then the injunction of the constitution, operating upon the governor by the substitution of the word shall, commands him to make the appointment, the council having advised and consented thereto.
Upon this single section of the constitution, the right claimed by the governor, may however be considered by some as questionable or uncertain.There is another rule in the construction of statutes or instruments of writing, which will serve to elucidate more clearly the fallacy of this new doctrine, of the governor's veto or exclusive nomination. Whenever there is a doubt as to the meaning of any one part of a law or piece of writing, the whole shall be taken together, to enable us the better to ascertain the will of those who framed or made it. The convention having, as before stated, vested in the governor and council the right of appointments, and having also intrusted to them all other executive business, 'nog confided to the governor alone, thought it expedient to prescribe the manner in which that business should be transacted. By the 34th section of the constitution they have declared, " that the members of the council, or any three or more of them, when convened, shall constitute a board for the transacting of business; that the governor for the time being shall preside in the council, and be entitled to a vote on all questions in which they shall be divided in opinion; and in the absence of the governor the first named of the council shall preside, and as such, shall also vote in all cases where the other members disagree in their opinion.”. By this clause, the gover. nor and council are evidently constituted into one board for the transaction of all such business as had not been committed to the governor alone. The convention here declare the number that should be authorised to transact that business, and that it might be conducted with regularity and order, they make the governor preside over the board—but with what power is he invested? Not with the extensive privilege of exclusively proposing all ques. tions himself; not with a controling negative upon the acts of the majority—but like the president of the con
vention itself, or perhaps like the president or speaker of every public body, then known to the convention, he is cloathed with the authority of giving the casting vote, when the body over which he presides shall be divided in opinion.
If he has the exclusive right of nomination, the consequence must inevitably result, that the council can in no case, where the governor and council sit together under the constitution, propose or suggest any thing that may be supposed to arise within the routine of business to be transacted by the board; because all acts of assembly conferring powers upon the governor and council, must upon every principle of rational construction, be understood to be directory, as to the persons to exercise the powers, and the manner in which those powers shall be exercised. To ascertain this manner, immediate reference must be had to the constitution, which recognizes the authority designated by the law. The manner in which the governor and council, when assembled, are authorised to transact business, must of course be adopted, where both are directed to discharge a legal duty. If it is contend. ed that all appointments must meet the approbation of the governor, and the exclusive right of nomination be aban. doned, the argument is equally strong against this power, which amounts to a negative in the governor, upon the proceedings of the majority of the board. By the section of the constitution last cited, the governor shall be entitled to vote in all cases in which the council shall be divided in opinion. It may be asked, what is meant by the right of voting in all cases where the council shall be divided Does it mean that he shall only vote where there is a di-. vision? Or did the convention intend to convey the absurd idea, that this right of rejection or disapprobation claimed by the governor, did not amount to a vote? If this be their meaning, then the question is at an end, and the council must relinquish their point for ever. But it may be remarked, that equally intelligible would be language, proclaiming that the senate had rejected a bill from the 'house of delegates, but had not voted upon it. If the power contended for by the governor be construed to convey the right of voting, then it must appear una