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nose of wax, and the impropriety, not to say absurdity, of the provision, which compels the representatives of the people, in convention, to work in trammels, confining them to the adoption or rejection of each article proposed, without the least alteration, is very apparent. I wish I could write you more fully on this subject, but I have so nearly lost my eye-sight that writing, as you will perceive by this, has become extremely difficult.”
We have seen that the people of Pennsylvania had a great dislike to the provision for amending the Constitution through a Council of Consors. They looked upon it as the tree of evil, for its fruits were bitter, and they constantly assailed it from the very day it was planted, and so loosened its roots that it died, and before the end of the second septennary it rotted and fell, when there was not a breath of air to move it. But when the only tree of the same family was planted in Vermont, it was a great favorite with the people, they mistook it for the tree of liberty, for whoever looked upon it was assured that it would preserve the freedom of this Commonwealth inviolate for
And it has remained so long undisturbed -its roots have struck so deep in the earth, that it will require the whole strength of the people to remove it.
I will close this chapter with a single remark, that it would be more modest, if not more wise, to pay some deference to the opinion of all our sister States, than to assume that we have all the wisdom, and that it will die with us.
Little regard paid to the Constitution in the first Septenary.
-Address of the Council of Censors to the people, at the close of their deliberations,
In stating the alterations which were made in the first Constitution of Pennsylvania, in framing the Constitution of Vermont, I have given a gen. eral view of the course of legislation during the first septennary. No particular regard was paid to the Constitution. This was fortunate for the State, for if it had been understood that the (9 stitution was the supreme law, and that the power of legislation was limited by it, the government might not have been sustained. Gov. Chittenden, as has been seen, had a remarkable tact in adapting his measures to the existing state of things, and he was but very little disturbed by any constitutional restrictions. Judge Chipman, who came into the State soon after the govern. ment was organized, a young lawyer, and of course somewhat technical, did not in all cases approve of the course pursued by Gov. Chittenden; but he too was distinguished for his capacity in adapting legislation to the condition of the people, as he was afterwards distinguished as a judge, in adapting the law to the justice of the case before him, and generally acted with Gov. Chittenden.
He supported the quieting act so called, after its details were so amended as to do equal justice to land owners and settlers. And after the State had been carried through these troublous times and become one of the United States of America, I have often heard Judge Chipman remark that he did not believe the government would have been sustained, had any man but Gov. Chittenden been at the head of it.
At the close of the first septennary, the following persons were elected members of the Council of Censors: Lewis Bebee, Jona. Brace, Benjamin. Carpenter, Ebenezer Curtis, Jona. Hunt, Stephen Jacobs, Ebenezer Marvin, Increase Mosely, Elijah Robinson, John Sessions, Micah Townsend and Ebenezer Walbridge. The Coun
cil examined the proceedings of the legislature, of which they gave a detailed account in an able ad. dress to the people.
They proposed amendments to the Constitution, a number of which were adopted by the Conven. tion, holden at Manchester, in June, 1786, and the whole Constitution, as amended, was established and published with the revised laws of 1787. It is also contained in a volume of the Laws, published by Anthony Haswell, in 1791, and the reader may compare the amended Constitution with the first contained in this volume, and ascertain what amendments were made. Instead, therefore, of occupying the space necessary to give all the amendments in detail, I insert the above named address to the people, as it contains a history of our legislation, during the septennary.
OF THE COUNCIL OF CENSORS.
To the Freemen of the State of Vermont :
Your Council of Censors, elected agreeably to the XLIVth section of the Constitution, after having maturely considered the Frame of Government which has been the rule of political conduct for the inhabitants of this state, the last septenary; highly approving the principal part of it; with the greatest diffidence of their own judgment, and respect for the patriotism and abilities possessed by the formers of the present Constitution, have proposed certain alterations, heretofore offered to your consideration. In so doing, we principally had in view rendering government less expensive, and more wise and energetic ; objects, in the opinion of this Council, more especially during the infancy of a Commonwealth, worthy the attention of its freemen. The taxes which have been collected some years past for the support of government, demonstrate the expediency of the former; and every man's observation will suggest to him the necessity, for our political happiness and credit, of having government properly maintained, and the judicial and executive offices therein, filled by persons of the greatest wisdom and virtue.
In the proposed alterations, we endeavored to guard, in future, against what is esteemed by this Council (our circumstances considered) to have been an error in the Constitution-electing persons to judicial and executive trusts, during good behavior : as it invested them with estates in their offices, which, without an alteration of the Frame of Government, cannot be legally taken from them, but by proving, in a judicial course of proceeding, instances of mal-administration. We therefore left it in the power of the Governor, Council, and Assembly, (whom we view in the present condition of the State, to be most competent to the election of judicial, and the several