Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

people themselves, who would be much less complaisant to individuals, and much more susceptible of impressions from the presence of a rival candidate, it must be supposed that the members from the most distant States would travel backwards and forwards at least as often as the elections should be repeated. Much was to be said, also, on the time requisite for new members, who would always form a large proportion, to acquire that knowledge of the affairs of the States in general, without which their trust could not be usefully discharged.

Mr. SHERMAN preferred annual elections, but would be content with biennial. He thought the Representatives ought to return home and mix with the people. By remaining at the seat of government, they would acquire the habits of the place, which might differ from those of their constituents.

Colonel Mason observed, that, the States being differently situated, such a rule ought to be formed as would put them as nearly as possible on a level. If elections were annual, the middle States would have a great advantage over the extreme ones. He wished them to be biennial, and the rather as in that case they would coincide with the periodical elections of South Carolina, as well of the other States.

Colonel HAMILTON urged the necessity of three years. There ought to be neither too much nor too little dependence on the popular sentiments. The checks in the other branches of the Government would be but feeble, and would need every auxiliary principle that could be interwoven. The British

House of Commons were elected septennially, yet the dernocratic spirit of the Constitution had not ceased. Frequency of elections tended to make the people listless to them; and to facilitate the success of little cabals. This evil was complained of in all the States. In Virginia it had been lately found necessary to force the attendance and voting of the people by severe regulations.

On the question for striking out “three years, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye—7; New York, Delaware, Maryland, no3; New Jer

[ocr errors]

sey divided.

The motion for “two years” was then inserted,

228 nem. con.

Adjourned.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22D.

In Convention,—The clause in the third Resolution,“ to receive fixed stipends, to be paid out of the National Treasury,” being considered,

Mr. ELLSWORTH moved to substitute payment by the States, out of their own treasuries: observing, that the manners of different States were very different in the style of living, and in the profits accruing from the exercise of like talents. What would be deemed, therefore, a reasonable compensation in some States, in others would be very unpopular, and might impede the system of which it made a part.

Mr. WillIAMSON favored the idea. He reminded the House of the prospect of new States to the westward. They would be too poor-would pay little into the common treasury—and would have a different interest from the old States. He did not think, therefore, that the latter ought to pay the expense of men who would be employed in thwarting their measures and interests.

Mr. GORHAM wished not to refer the matter to the State Legislatures, who were always paring down salaries in such a manner as to keep out of office men most capable of executing the functions of them. He thought, also, it would be wrong to fix the compensation by the Constitution, because we could not venture to make it as liberal as it ought to be, without exciting an enmity against the whole plan. Let the National Legislature provide for their own wages from time to time, as the State Legislatures do. He had not seen this part of their power abused, nor did he apprehend an abuse of it.

Mr. RANDOLPH said he feared we were going too far in consulting popular prejudices. Whatever respect might be due to them in lesser matters, or in cases where they formed the permanent character of the people, he thought it neither incumbent on, nor honorable for, the Convention, to sacrifice right and justice to that consideration. If the States were to pay the members of the National Legislature, a dependence would be created that would vitiate the whole system. The whole nation has an interest in the attendance and services of the members. The National Treasury therefore is the proper fund for supporting them.

Mr. King urged the danger of creating a dependence on the States by leaving to them the payment of the members of the National Legislature. He supposed it would be best to be explicit as to the compensation to be allowed. A reserve on that point, or a reference to the National Legislature of the quantum, would excite greater opposition than any sum that would be actually necessary or proper.

Mr. SHERMAN contended for referring both the quantum and the payment of it to the State Legislatures.

Mr. Wilson was against fixing the compensation, as circumstances would change and call for a change of the amount. He thought it of great moment that the members of the National Government should be left as independent as possible of the State Governments in all respects.

Mr. Madison concurred in the necessity of preserving the compensations for the National Government independent on the State Governments; but at the same time approved of fixing them by the Constitution, which might be done by taking a standard which would not vary with circumstances. He disliked particularly the policy, suggested by Mr. WilliaMSON, of leaving the members from the poor States beyond the mountains to the precarious and parsimonious support of their constituents. If the Western States hereafter arising should be admitted into the Union, they ought to be considered as equals and as brethren. If their representatives were to be associated in the common councils, it was of common concern that such provisions should be made as would invite the most capable and respectable characters into the service.

Mr. Hamilton apprehended inconvenience from fixing the wages. He was strenuous against making the national council dependent on the legislative rewards of the States. Those who pay are the masters of those who are paid. Payment by the States would be unequal, as the distant States would have to pay for the same term of attendance and more days in travelling to and from the seat of government. He expatiated emphatically on the difference between the feelings and views of the people and the governments of the States, arising from the personal interest and official inducements which must render the latter unfriendly to the General Government.

Mr. Wilson moved that the salaries of the first branch“ be ascertained by the National Legislature and be paid out of the National Treasury.”

Mr. Madison thought the members of the Legislature too much interested, to ascertain their own compensation. It would be indecent to put their hands into the public purse for the sake of their own pockets.

On this question, “shall the salaries of the first branch be ascertained by the national Legislature ?" -New Jersey, Pennsylvania, aye—2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, no——7; New York, Georgia, divided.

On the question for striking out “National Treasury," as moved by Mr. Ellsworth,

Mr. HAMILTON renewed his opposition to it. He

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »