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The clerk of the senate delivers the following letter:
COUNCIL CHAMBER, January 10, 1803. Gentlemen, PREVIOUS to the signature of the laws I am anxi. ous to address some observations verbally to the collected members of both houses.
With high consideration,
JOHN F. MERCER.
nourable the Speaker of the House of Delegaies. Which was read. And the following message:
By the SENATE, January 10, 1803. Gentlemen, WE herewith transmit to your consideration a message from his excellency the governor. We have agreed, and with the concurrence of your house propose, to receive any verbal communication the governor may be pleased to communicate, in the senate chamber, and pro. pose that Mr. Christie and Mr. Johnson, on the part of the senate, be appointed to join any gentlemen you may nominate to wait on his excellency the governor, and inform him that the two houses are now ready to re. ceive any information he may be pleased to submit to them,
By order, J. B. DUCKETT, clk. Which was read.
The following message being prepared, was read.
Gentlemen of the Senate, WE accede to vour proposition to receive any ver. bal communications the governor may be pleased to make to the legislature, and have appointed Mr. Goldsborough and Mr. Van-Horn to join the gentlemen appointed by
your house to inform his excellency that the houses are • now ready to receive such communications.
W. HARWOOD, clk. On the second reading of the said message, the question was put, That the house agree thereto? The yea and nays being required, appeared as follow:
- 35. Loyd,
So it was resolved in the affirmative. Sent to the senate by the clerk.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Christie informed the house that the governor is waiting in the senate chamber.
The speaker, with the members of the house, attend.. ed in the senate chamber, and after having heard the verbal communications of his excellency, the speaker, with the members, returned to the house, and the speaker resumed the chair.
The clerk of the senate delivers the following mess sage:
By the Senate, January 10, 1803. Gentlemen, THE situation of the state demands, in our opinion, that the legislature should not rise before some order is taken with respect to the difference of opinion that has unfortunately taken place in the executive. Should we
rise without a&ing on this subject, it is probable the proceedings of the government may be stopped, or an extra session required; to give time for reflection on this all important and unexpected subject, we propose to adjourn until to-morrow; it will then be the only subject for our consideration, and we hope the united wisdom of the legislature will adopt those measures our situation requires.
J. B. DUCKETT, clk Which was ready
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 1803. THE house having taken into consideration the communication from the senate, containing the separate representations of the governor and council, respecting the appointment of commissioners in behalf of this state to meet the commissioners to be appointed by the state of Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna canal company, for the purpose of making arrangements respecting the navigation of the river Susquehanna, and having also re. ceived the governor's verbal communication respecting a diversity of sentiment existing between him and the council, relative to the appointment of officers under the constitution, are of opinion, that the legislative body is not designated by the constitution to decide and determine on any question appertaining to the exercise of the legal and constitutional powers of the executive; but in as much as the legislature have been appealed to by the executive, and they being willing to adjust the differences existing in that body, so far as their opinion may have weight, do hereby declare, that the resolution adopted by the legislature at the present session, authorising the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the council, to appoint said commissioners, was passed for the purpose of enabling the governor and council to make said appointment according to the usual and customary mode heretofore adopted and practised by the executive in the appointment of officers under the constitution since its adoption.
On the second reading of the same, the question was put, That the further consideration thereof be postponed? Resolved in the affirmative.
The clerk of the senate delivers the following resolutions :
By the SENATE, January 11, 1803. BY the constitution the legislative, executive and judicial departments, are distinctly separated, neither have a right, within the sphere of action of the other, to control or expound the limits fixed by the constitution to each, therefore any opinion the legislature may express, or any construction they may give to the constitution, in which the executive authority is implicated, cannot in any manner conclude that department, nor will it be bound to adopt the legislative construction ; but as the governor and the council. have both expressed a desire that the legislature should give an opinion, and as that opinion may close the misunderstanding that has taken place in the board, although we disclaim any right of concluding by our decision, still we consider it by no means improper to comply with their mutual request; therefore RESOLVED, That at the time of passing the resolution respecting the appointment of commissioners on the part of this state to meet such commissioner or commissioners as may be appointed on the part of the state of Pennsylvania and on the part of che Susquehanna canal company, respecting the navigation of the river Susquehanna, it was the intention of the legislature, that those appointments should be made by the governor and council in the same manner, and not otherwise, that the civil officers of government are appointed.
AND RESOLVED, That it is the opinion of this legislature, that the practice that has long since prevailed in the executive, of indiscriminately nominating persons fur appointments by the governor, as well as by the council, or any member thereof, is the safest, and perhaps the best, construction that we can put upon the constitution, and that the person obtaining a majority of that number of the council that constitutes a quorum, is cons stitutionally elected.
By order, J. B. DUCKETT, clk. Which were read.
On the second reading of the said resolutions, the question was put, That the house assent to the preamble thereof? Resolved in the afirmative.
On progression in reading the said resolutions, the question was put, That the house assent to the first resolution ? Resolved in the affirmative.
On further progression in reading the said resolutions, the question was put, That the house assent to the last resolution? The yeas and nays being required, appeared as follow :
AFFIRMATIVE. Messrs. Hatcheson,
E. Davis, Tilghman,
Swearingen. 28. , Alexander,
NEGATIVE. Messrs. Frisby,
Tomlinson. 25. Cottman,
. So it was determined in the negative. The following message being prepared, was read, agreed to, and sent to the senate by the clerk.
By the House of DELEGATES, January 11, 1803.
Gentlemen of the Senate, WE have dissented from your last resolution which contains an expression of your opinion on the constitutionality of the practice which has heretofore obtained relative to appointments by the executive, because we decline expressing an opinion on the construction of the constitution relative to the duties to be performed by the executive.
By order, W. HARWOOD, clk.