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gislature, and his appearance in council, are entered at. large in the proceedings, but his name is entered in no other manner except to note when he was absent; the whole then must be considered as his acts unless when he is stated to be absent, and it will appear that great part of the business was actually transacted by him, when not a single counsellor was present; what was transacted in his absence was chiefly formal and of a trifling nature, although in the midst of the pressure of the war, and when the assembly were constantly delegating special powers to the executive, in such manner as circumstances might require. For several years under succeeding go, vernors, a strict investigation of the writer has not discovered the appointment of any civil officer, during the absence of the governor; it is true, that where five men, acting with one, differ with him about their respective powers, if they put it to the vote, they will always out vote him; and it will not be denied that the council have been gradually gaining, and the governor losing, until the degraded and humiliating situation to which the ne minal chief magistrate was reduced, compelled Mr. Hen, ry to retire from office, at the close of his first year, as he informed two of his confidential and very respectable friends in Annapolis ; but the office never reached the ultimatum of insignificance until the construction of the present council was carried into full operation : under that, una less the governor shall keep watch at the stadt-house, and may chance to find precisely the number of four coun: sellors assembled, he can have nothing to do with the general executive business of the state, unless he volun, teers to act as clerk: The extent of this abuse was foreseen and considered ; and influenced by the most chastised judgment he could form of the solemn obligations imposed upon him by the constitution and laws, the present governor had informed several of his connexions and friends of his determination to retire from office at the close of his first year, when a report was spread of fresh and decisive proof being obtained of his want of legal residence ; it then became a duty to himself, and perhaps to those who elected him, not to shrink from the in. quiry. After a re-election, which alone could test the truth of the report, to have quitted the office immediately, (if to be avoided,) would have incurred the inta putation of a censurable versatility ; and during the recess of the legislature, it would be inconvenient and expensive to the state, as among other extraordinary provisions of our constitution, on the resignation of the governor, although the president of the council shall qualify and act as governor, yet he must call the legislature immediately, giving not less than fourteen days notice, to elect, with the most solemn formality of a particular oath, the person best qualified in the state to supply the place for the rest of the year of this officer, whose duty the constitution intends should be to do-Nothing! as is now contended.
It is well known to every man used to our public couneils, that a few active partizans may by traversing a town during the night seeking and misleading the easy, the credulous and unthinking, give the tone of party, perhaps, by morning to a particular measure, and that then the informed and reflecting, finding themselves in a mi. nority, frequently acquiesce, to avoid the bickerings and denunciations of the violent. The rising light of political information will soon dispel these mists, that hover, over the dawn of our empire, fast bursting into meridian glory; to a prospect like this, the eye of the true republican turns with hope and delight, from the antic gestures and rude violence of self-created and self-important organs of the public will; and a benevolent mind will rejoice to spread the friendly mantle of oblivion over their folly and extravagance.
A CIVIL OFFICER OF MARYLAND.
FROM THE AMERICAN.
WERTAIN circumstances, which have lately taken place at Annapolis, having given rise to much dis. cussion, the following account may possibly be acceptable to the public.
By the 34th section of the constitution it is provided, chat the members of the council, or any three or more
of them, shall constitute a board for transacting business ---That the governor shall preside in the council, and be entitled to a vote on all questions on which the council shall be divided, and in the absence of the governor, the first named of the council shall preside, and as such, vote in all cases where the other members disagree in opinion.
.. The 48th section provides, that the governor for the time being, with the advice and consent of the council, may appoint the chancellor, all judges, &c.
The 41st section provides, that a register of wills shall be commissioned by the governor, on the joint recommendation of the senate and house of delegates, &c.
By the 48th section, the governor, with the advice and consent of the council may appoint, that is, he shall appoint, the chancellor, &c. shall and may being univer: sally construed to be imperative in legal definition. This clearly gives a concurrent nomination to the governor and council in all appointments, and totally prohibits any vote to such appointments on the part of the governor. There is not a word vesting the nomination in the governor alone in any part of the constitution; but in the 34th section there is an absolute power given to the council to constitute themselves into a board for transacting business. Now, what is the duty of the council, and what business are they to transact? The business must be the current business of the state ; and is not the appointment and nomination of the civil officers of the state amongst the current business? Or how, or in what manner, or in what way, can the current business of the state be carried on? If there are no such appointments, there can be no business carried on, and the state must be involved in anarchy and confusion-And if no business can be carried on, or no nominations made, but when the governor is present, of what use is the latter part of the 34th section, empowering the council to proceed to business in the governor's absence. Such a power must have been given for some use; but if no use can
be made of the power, the section is absurd and nugatory altogether; although wherever a ducy is attached to the execution of a trust, that duty is imperative, and must be performed; and the council being empowered, in the absence of the governor, to proceed to business. They are then to iransacl the current business of the state, as it shall happen to come before them; and if any appointments are amongst the matters which fall under their consideration, they are not only authorised, but bound by the constitution, to fill them up.
If the governor had a veto in the appointments made by the council, because the constitution says he may appoint, with the advice of the council-he has an equal right to a veto on the appointment of register of wills made by the senate and house of delegates. The language being, in one instance, he shall, and in the other, he may, commission them. Now, shall and may, being equally imperative, and of equal signification, he might, with equal propriety, and by the same construction, put his negative on the appointments of the legislature, as on those made with the advice and consent of the council.
If the council had the mere and only duties to perform, of putting a negative on the governor's nominations, the state might, at all times, be thrown into immediate confusion, and the citizens be deprived for a twelvemonth, at least, of all protection from the laws, either in person, liberty, property or life, it is therefore impossible the constitution could have contemplated or intended that such a monstrous state of things should ever take place, as that would be to subvert the very foundation of society, and render government the most hideous of curses, instead of the greatest of blessings; but the inference, that no. minations vested solely in the governor, or in the council, might, and probably would, produce this state of things. The fair deductions therefore to be grounded on the above plain and simple reasoning, would indubi. tably be, that neither party had such powers--but that when the governor was present, nominations vested in him and the council concurrently, and in his absence in the council alone.
Another strong ground to shew the constitution never contemplated that the governor should be invested with the exclusive right of nomination, is contained in the 34th section, where it is declared, “ That the governor shall preside in the council, and be entitled to a vote in all questions on which the council shall be divided.” If the governor had the power to make all appointments, and to control and set aside nominations made by the council, he is at once vested with absolute power to act at his will and pleasure, in which case the council could never discuss any questions, nor could it be necessary the governor shall decide by his casting vote, when they were divided, as he might tell the council, “ Gentlemen, it is my orders that such an appointment should take place"-dis. cussion would then be ridiculous ; and the council would thereby be reduced to mere nonentities, and converted into pageants of state, to increase the splendour of the governor's authority-state of things utterly repugnant to our republican institutions, and entirely suited to the despotism exercised by a Persian Satrap, instead of the functions of the first officer of a free people ; and yet, to this degrading situation, would the people of Maryland be reduced, if the construction, that the go. vernor had the sole right of nomination, was once admitted.
In those instances where the constitution intended the governor should exercise a sole and exclusive jurisdicti. on, they are expressly designated, as will appear on reference to the 38th section, where he is invested with the sole direction of the militia, when embodied, and of the regular land and sea forces; and may order embar. goes, &c. from whence this plain inference follows, that if the framers of the constitution had meant to place the nomination to all the appointments in the state in his hands, they would have specifically designated the same, in like manner as they have in the above cases, where he is to exercise an exclusive jurisdiction,
Hitherto, these reflections have been confined to the internal features of the constitution itself but when it is considered, that the right of concurrent nominatioa