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two persons, one of whom at least should not be of his own State.
Mr. Madison also thought something valuable might be made of the suggestion, with the proposed amendment of it. The second best man in this case would probably be the first in fact. The only objection which occurred was, that each citizen, after having given his vote for his favorite fellow citizen, would throw away his second on some obscure citizen of another State, in order to ensure the object of his first choice. But it could hardly be supposed that the citizens of many States would be so sanguine of having their favorite elected, as not to give their second vote with sincerity to the next object of their choice. It might, moreover, be provided, in favor of the smaller States, that the Executive should not be eligible more than times in the same State.
Mr. Gerry. A popular election in this case is radically vicious. The ignorance of the people would put it in the power of some one set of men dispersed through the Union, and acting in concert, to delude them into any appointment. He observed that such a society of men existed in the Order of the Cincinnati. They are respectable, united and influential. They will, in fact, elect the Chief Magistrate in every instance, if the election be referred to the people. His respect for the characters composing this Society, could not blind him to the danger and impropriety of throwing such a power into their hands.
Mr. DICKINSON. As far as he could judge from the discussions which had taken place during his
attendance, insuperable objections lay against an election of the Executive by the National Legislature; as also by the Legislatures or Executives of the States. He had long leaned towards an election by the people, which he regarded as the best and purest source. Objections he was aware lay against this mode, but not so great, he thought, as against the other modes. The greatest difficulty, in the opinion of the House, seemed to arise from the
partiality of the States to their respective citizens. But might not this very partiality be turned to a useful purpose ? Let the people of each State choose its best citizen. The people will know the most eminent characters of their own States; and the people of different States will feel an emulation in selecting those of whom they will have the greatest reason to be proud. Out of the thirteen names thus selected, an Executive Magistrate may be chosen either by the National Legislature, or by Electors appointed by it.
On a question which was moved, for postponing Mr. PINCKNEY's motion, in order to make way for some such proposition as had been hinted by Mr. Williamson and others, it passed in the negative, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, aye—5; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no—6.
On Mr. PINCKNEY's motion, that no person shall serve in the Executive more than six years in twelve years, it passed in the negative,--New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—5; Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, no -6.
On a motion that the members of the Committee be furnished with copies of the proceedings, it was so determined, South Carolina alone being in the negative.
It was then moved, that the members of the House might take copies of the Resolutions which had been agreed to; which passed in the negative, -Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, aye—5; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, no—6.
Mr. GERRY and Mr. BUTLER moved to refer the resolution relating to the Executive (except the clause making it consist of a single person) to the Committee of detail.
Mr. Wilson hoped that so important a branch of the system would not be committed, until a general principle should be fixed by a vote of the House.
Mr. LANGDON was for the commitment.
THURSDAY, JULY 26TH.
In Convention,-Mr. Mason. In every stage of the question relative to the Executive, the difficulty of the subject and the diversity of the opinions concerning it, have appeared. Nor have any of the modes of constituting that Department been satisfactory. First, it has been proposed that the election should be made by the people at large; that is, that an act which ought to be performed by those who know most of eminent characters and qualifications, should be performed by those who know least; secondly, that the election should be made by the Legislatures of the States; thirdly, by the Executives of the States. Against these modes, also, strong objections have been urged. Fourthly, it has been proposed that the election should be made by Electors chosen by the people for that purpose. This
. was at first agreed to; but on further consideration has been rejected. Fifthly, since which, the mode of Mr. WillIAMSON, requiring each freeholder to vote for several candidates, has been proposed. This seemed, like many other propositions, to carry a plausible face, but on closer inspection is liable to fatal objections. A popular election in any form, as Mr. Gerry has observed, would throw the appointment into the hands of the Cincinnati, a society for the members of which he had a great respect, but which he never wished to have a preponderating influence in the government. Sixthly, another expedient was proposed by Mr. Dickinson, which is liable to so palpable and material an inconvenience, that he had little doubt of its being by this time rejected by himself. It would exclude every man who happened not to be popular within his own State; though the causes of his local unpopularity might be of such a nature, as to recommend him to the States at large. Seventhly, among other expedients, a lottery has been introduced. But as the
. tickets do not appear to be in much demand, it will
probably not be carried on, and nothing therefore need be said on that subject. After reviewing all these various modes, he was led to conclude, that an election by the National Legislature, as originally proposed, was the best. If it was liable to objections, it was liable to fewer than any other. He conceived, at the same time, that a second election ought to be absolutely prohibited. Having for his primary object--for the polar star of his political conduct—the preservation of the rights of the
people, he held it as an essential point, as the very palladium of civil liberty, that the great officers of state, and particularly the Executive, should at fixed periods return to that mass from which they were at first taken, in order that they may feel and respect those rights and interests which are again to be personally valuable to them. He concluded with moving, that the constitution of the Executive, as reported by the Committee of the Whole, be reinstated, viz. "that the Executive be appointed for seven years, and be ineligible a second time.”
Mr. DaVie seconded the motion.
Doctor FRANKLIN. It seems to have been imagined by some, that the returning to the mass of the people was degrading the magistrate. This he thought was contrary to republican principles. In free governments the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors and sovereigns. For the former, therefore, to return among the latter, was not to degrade, but to promote, them. And it would be imposing an unreasonable burden on them, to keep them always in a state of servitude, and not allow them to become again one of the masters.