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gible a second time had been devised. This was as much as to say, we should give him the benefit of experience, and then deprive ourselves of the use of it. But make him ineligible a second time—and prolong his duration even to fifteen years—will he, by any wonderful interposition of Providence at that period, cease to be a man? No; he will be unwilling to quit his exaltation; the road to his object through the Constitution will be shut; he will be in possession of the sword; a civil war will ensue, and the commander of the victorious army, on which ever side, will be the despot of America. This consideration renders him particularly anxious that the Executive should be properly constituted. The vice here would not, as in some other parts of the system, be curable. It is the most difficult of all, rightly to balance the Executive. Make him too weak—the Legislature will usurp his power. Make him too strong—he will usurp on the Legislature. He preferred a short period, a re-eligibility, but a different mode of election. A long period would prevent an adoption of the plan. It ought to do so. He should himself be afraid to trust it. He was not prepared to decide on Mr. Wilson's mode of election just hinted by him. He thought it deserved consideration. It would be better that chance should decide than intrigue.
On the question to postpone the consideration of the resolution on the subject of the Executive, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, aye 24; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no–6; Delaware, divided.
Mr. Wilson then moved, that the Executive be
years by —
Electors, to be taken by lot from the National Legislature, who shall proceed immediately to the choice of the Executive, and not separate until it be made.
Mr. CARROLL seconds the motion.
Mr. GERRY. This is committing too much to chance. If the lot should fall on a set of unworthy men, an unworthy Executive must be saddled on the country. He thought it had been demonstrated that no possible mode of electing by the Legislature could be a good one.
Mr. King. The lot might fall on a majority from the same State, which would ensure the election of a man from that State. We ought to be governed by reason, not by chance. As nobody seemed to be satisfied, he wished the matter to be postponed.
Mr. Wilson did not move this as the best mode. His opinion remained unshaken, that we ought to resort to the people for the election. He seconded the postponement.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR Morris observed, that the chances were almost infinite against a majority of Electors from the same State.
On a question whether the last motion was in order, it was determined in the affirmative,-ayes, 7;
On the question of postponement, it was agreed to, nem. con.
Mr. CARROLL took occasion to observe, that he considered the clause declaring that direct taxation on the States should be in proportion to representation, previous to the obtaining an actual census, as very objectionable; and that he reserved to himself the right of opposing it, if the report of the Committee of detail should leave it in the plan.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS hoped the Committee would strike out the whole of the clause proportioning direct taxation to representation. He had only meant it as a bridge* to assist us over a certain gulf; having passed the gulf, the bridge may be removed. He thought the principle laid down with so much strictness liable to strong objections.
On a ballot for a committee to report a Constitution conformable to the Resolutions passed by the Convention, the members chosen were:
Mr. RUTLEDGE, Mr. RANDOLPH, Mr. GORHAM, Mr. ELLSWORTH, Mr. Wilson.
On motion to discharge the Committee of the Whole from the propositions submitted to the Convention by Mr. C. PINCKNEY as the basis of a Constitution, and to refer them to the Committee of Detail just appointed, it was agreed to, nem. con.
A like motion was then made and agreed to, nem. con., with respect
respect to the propositions of Mr. PATTERSON.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25TH.
In Convention, The clause relating to the Executive being again under consideration
* The object was to lessen the eagerness, on one side, for, and the opposition, on the other, 10 the share of representation claimed by the Southern States on account of the negroes.
Mr. ELLSWORTH Moved, “that the Executive be appointed by the Legislature, except when the magistrate last chosen shall have continued in office the whole term for which he was chosen, and be re-eligible; in which case the choice shall be by Electors appointed by the Legislatures of the States for that purpose." By this means a deserving magistrate may be re-elected without making him dependent on the Legislature.
Mr. Gerry repeated his remark, that an election at all by the National Legislature was radically and incurably wrong; and moved, " that the Executive be appointed by the Governors and Presidents of the States, with advice of their Councils; and where there are no Councils, by Electors chosen by the Legislatures. The Executives to vote in the following proportions, viz:
Mr. Madison. There are objections against every mode that has been, or perhaps can be, proposed. The election must be made, either by some existing authority under the National or State Constitutions, -or by some special authority derived from the people, or by the people themselves. The two existing authorities under the National Constitution would be the Legislative and Judiciary. The latter he presumed was out of the question. The former was, in his judgment, liable to insuperable objections. Besides the general influence of that mode on the independence of the Executive, in the first place, the election of the chief magistrate would agitate and divide the Legislature so much, that the public interest would materially suffer by it. Public bodies are always apt to be thrown into conten
tions, but into more violent ones by such occasions than by any others. In the second place, the candidate would intrigue with the Legislature; would derive his appointment from the predominant faction, and be apt to render his administration subservient to its views. In the third place, the ministers of foreign powers would have, and would make use of, the opportunity to mix their intrigues and influence with the election. Limited as the powers of the Executive are, it will be an object of great moment with the great rival powers of Europe who have American possessions, to have at the head of our government a man attached to their respective politics and interests. No pains, nor perhaps expense, will be spared, to gain from the Legislature an appointment favorable to their wishes. Germany and Poland are witnesses of this danger. In the former, the election of the Head of the Empire, till it became in a manner hereditary, interested all Europe, and was much influenced by foreign interference. In the latter, although the elective magistrate has very little real power, his election has at all times produced the most eager interference of foreign princes, and has in fact at length slid entirely into foreign hands. The existing authorities in the States are the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. The appointment of the National Executive by the first was objectionable in many points of view, some of which had been already mentioned. He would mention one which of itself would decide his opinion. The Legislatures of the States had betrayed a strong propensity to a variety of pernicious measures. One object of the National Legis