« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
evening, since the governor and they had alled together. He had surely forgotten that the governor himself attended at one afternoon's session when an associate justice was appointed for Anne-Arundel county—and at another, when measures were taken to demand of the common. wealth of Virginia a fugitive from justice. With a knowledge of these meetings how could he have made the above assertion? Did he mean to quibble on the term precedent, because they were not entered as post meridiem meetings on the proceedings of the council ? He must have known that they were not thus entered, because the 'same members attended in the evening as were present in the morning; and the clerk considers it unimportant in such cases, to state the particular hour or time of day when the business is transacted.
The Civil Officer has introduced different points un. connected with the present dispute. Whenever they shall be exhibited as specific charges, it is believed the council will be prepared to repel and to confute them. But there is an oblique insinuation about the resolutions of the senate, which the writer is constrained particularly to notice. These resolutions involve nothing mysterious in their origin or their progress. They were not the offspring of midnight association, but the production of the gentleman alone who moved and supported them They were prepared in the senate room, while the house of delegates were discussing the subject, in a different form. Confident that there is nothing in the proceedings on these resolutions that can compromit the character either of the assembly or the council, the “ Civil Officer” is invited to submit his prepared history to public inspection. But as general allegation, unsupported by proof, is more the evidence of malevolence than candour, the history, it is hoped, will be authenticated, by a reference to his authority,
As connected with this subject it may be observed, that the insinuation of “ Republicanus” against the few republican members of the house of delegates who voted in opposition to the senate's last resolution, is certainly unfounded. He is equally incorrect in the agrement that he states to have taken place in the council, on the
subject of a late election. No such agreement was ever made. This writer's good sense will, on a little reflection, cause him to retract these errors, which it is be. lieved have entirely flowed from misinformation.
A FRIEND TO CANDOUR.
FROM THE AMERICAN.
I UBLIC report has ascribed to the council the publication in your paper, under the signature of the " Friend to Candour;" if believed, still its truth should not be asserted without their avowal, as persons in their stations ought to know, that the preservation of decorum is a sacred duty of office.
The Civil Oficer has stated a well known principle of ethics as well as law, that the interested testimony of five men, in their own favour, was equally inadmissible with that of one man similarly circumstanced. Surely this could not be personally offensive! it was unnecessary to suggest an inquiry into the credibility of incompetent testimony; and if he still forbears to retort, he is not less restrained by motives of private delicacy, than by the duties of public decorum. But as all men are permitted, although not compelled, to give evidence against themselves, he feels himself justified now in repeating, and in somewhat stronger language, that the admission of the Friend to Candour, on behalf of the council, that some of them were positive, that the governor had proposed the evening meeting himself, was conclusive evi. dence, that i hey did not all agree in the same story; and their letter to the legislature, although only presumptive, was still record testimony, that the story itself was fabricated after the fact. This was not assertion resting on personal credibility,
It may be recollected, that one of these writers, dis. tinguished by the signature of Spectator, has been al. ready detected in four shameful crrors in eight short lines, by reference to the records of the assembly ;-that
the various misrecitals from the constitution by his coadjutor Republicanus, have been also exposed; and the public will now be enabled to form a correct estimate of the accuracy of a third, the Friend to Candour, when. they find that all his arguments are founded on a mere fabrication of his own; that the constitution is directly and expressly the reverse of what he states it to be ; and that he has scarcely related a fact but to misrepresent or distort.
It is scarcely worth premising, that the Civil Officer has offered nothing on this subject to the public under any other signature-He never therefore has conceded, as is falsely insinuated, a concurrent right of nomination, under the signature of a Citizen: the power or right of nomination he has uniformly maintained to be unknown, unnecessary and irrelative to our constitution and laws; and he has constantly derided the expressions as in their nature palpably absurd. To proceed however regularly with this writer, it must be observed that he first states, that “ by the 33d section of the constitution, the framers have expressly declared, what powers shall be invested in the governor alone.” This is the entering wedge, used not without some art, to introduce an inference, which is afterwards made from the same section, and on which it will be found that all the arguments of this writer, and every pretence of the council to the controverted powers they have exercised, must wholly rest. It is therefore proper here to refer the reader to the consti, tution itself, for this whole article is too long for inser. tion; he will there find that this misrecital of the candid Friend is destitute of truth, and we shall presently prove, that it must have been with a design, devoid of principle. The constitution is directly and expressly the re, verse of the Friend's statements, in words and in substance. This article, after enumerating certain powers, which the governor shall exercise alone—(in the discharge of which duties he is consequently not authorised to require the advice and consent of council, nor are they compelled to give it, if required; nor can they be compelled, even though a law should psss requiring it,) proceeds to vest all other the executive powers of gq.
vernment in the governor, to be exercised by him solely, unless the concurrence of council is required by law; all ether executive powers could neither have been foreseen, enumerated or expressed by the convention, they have been therefore granted by general description, they must, from the nature of things, for ever remain dependent on the eventful and uncertain destiny to which the fluctu. ating affairs of human society are naturally liable: if such events should require legislative provision by future laws, the constitution permits that those future laws may direct the governor to take the advice and consent of council, on each particular case that may occur, unprovided for by the constitution itself: but if such laws do not specially so direct, the constitution of Maryland vests the executive power, arising thereon, in the governor alone, In certain foreseen, important and specified cases, the constitution directs that he shall take the advice and consent of the council; but the constitution also expressly declares that in all such cases, this must be by their concurrence with the governor. The words used are, and may, (i.e, the governor may,) alone exercise all other the executive powers of government where the concur. rence of the council is not required according to the laws of this state ; the cases specified by the constitution are here included, or the constitution itself is not a law of the state, and the constitutional and technical meaning of the term concurrence; does not admit of an equivocal construction, it means that both the governor and council exercising their independent judgment, are to concur in the act.
The Friend to Candour proceeds to observe, that the important power of life and death is confided to the governor alone, and seems to intimate that this ought to satisfy him, withoạt desiring all power. The insinuati. on has been often repeated, that the governor has been actuated in this controversy, by a desire of power, and not by the imperative obligations of duty, created by the constitution, his solemn acceptance of the trust, and the still more solemn oaths he had taken. It is too contemptible to merit any other reply, than what will here. after arise from the publication of an extract, from the
the impais solemn a he had taken: what will her face
journals of the first day, the present governor ever off. cially met all the members of the present council, in the council chamber; and which, whilst it ascertains the impressions under which he accepted the office, and the uniformity of his conduct since, cannot fail to illustrate the conduct of the council, and some bold assertions of the Friend to Candour.
It is certain that the power of issuing death warrants, pardons and nolle prosequi, has been hitherto left undis. turbed by the council, to be exercised solely by the governor; perhaps it is the only executive authority which they have not effectually appropriated to themselves, to his exclusion. God forbid that criminals should ever so far multiply in Maryland, that this duty should occupy any great proportion of a governor's time! But it must appear strange, that the convention should have intend. ed to intrust so awful a power, to the sole discretion of a chief magistrate, who was all the rest of the year to sit by unconcerned, without a power of interfering—io preside in a private room over the forms of five men, who from their small number and concealed situation, would naturally observe little or no form at all and to sign whatever acts they might think proper for him to promul. gate, as the Friend to Candour terms it: they must have presumed that either of the counsellors would write their names as well as the governor, and that a clerk or rather a printer, would be a more convenient and less costly instrument to perform this mechanical and servile duty. But on this subject more hereafter; it is proper here only to remark, that the heart-rending anguish of cutting the thread of life of a fellow creature, tied perhaps to a wife and children, and all the endearing connexions of nature, whilst conscious of a power to save, is the most painful duty an individual can ever discharge to so. ciety; yet the Friend to Candour seems to look with jealousy to this authority: how often, no doubt, would the present governor have been willing to relinquish it to him, if in his power ! How happy, perhaps, would he feel could he bestow it at this moment ! But he has, we believe, hitherto supposed, that the office of hangwan-general of a state, could be envied only by the