Слике страница

states retained in their elections virtually transfers their votes to a upon other principles than an ex- candidate whom they dislike. This pression of popular will ? By his argument contains within itself amendment, this inequality is pre- a fatal error. It indirectly assumes served; and the candidate actually that minorities are entitled to repchosen may be far from being the resentation as well as majorities. choice of a majority of the people But we must recollect that the of the United States.

same result must happen, more or He thonght that the amendment less, in the district system also. It was incompatible with our system can never be admitted, that ininoriof government; and he did not see ties have rights like these. If the that it was so desirable as the mo- elective power be a state power, ver described, that a uniformity in the general ticket system is the the exercise of the elective right, only sound one. If it be desirable should be thus established. The to obtain the sense of the majority uniformity was only one in form, of the people throughout the Unia and might produce great inequali- ted States, it should be done by a ties in practice. While the present general vote throughout the Union. diversity exists in the systems of The more you divide the mass into New York and Virginia, it may divisions and subdivisions, the farwell happen that the vote of the ther we remove the final result former may be neutralized; while from that which we profess to atVirginia gives an undivided vote tain—the will of the majority. Unfor the candidate of her choice. der the general ticket system no But the obvious remedy for this, is person can be elected unless he to restore to New York her gene- obtains a majority of the electoral ral ticket. To correct this ine- votes conferred by the people, voquality by districting Virginia, ting on the basis of their true conmight virtually annihilate the entire stitutional power-by states. But power of both these large states. by districts you place it within the Distraction of public opinion is in- power of the minority, to defeat the deed an evil in any of the states ; majority. but the remedy is not to be found To the argument in favor of the in the diffusion of a principle among amendment, that it is adapted to them all, which tends to spread the remedy the evils growing out of evil still wider.

the caucus system; Mr. Storrs reIt is said that the operation of a plied, that the true remedy for general ticket destroys the vote of those evils was to be found in the the minority in a state, and that it virtue and integrity of the people. That the system must necessarily motion by those who seek for powderive its power from public opi- er--the spirit of anarchy will say nion; and as long as it was con- to the north, “ Your commerce is fined at one point, its evils were to be annihilated;" to the south, more fully exposed. It then pre- "Your internal security is in dansented a single power, against which ger ;” and to the west, “ Your inthe energies of the state might be heritances are to be taken from directed. Diffused, it still opera- you, and your political power is to ted silently and unseen, and carried be trampled upon.” We may then its contaminating influence through- look among the people for those, out the body politic, tainting the who, flattering their prejudices whole system, and corrupting the fomenting their passionsstirring vitality of our social institutions. up the deadly elements of party

On the other branch of the hatred, and exasperating the bitteramendment he observed, that the est feelings of human infirmity, principal argument in favor of ta- persuade them to consider their king the election from the house, public men and statesmen as traiwas founded on the danger of the tors to their interests, and to treat abuse of that power. This argu- them as public enemies. If we ment directed itself against the ex- are really so unfit to be trusted istence of all political power and the mover of this amendment might government. It proves (if it prove have spared all his labor to conany thing) that it is better to go at vince us of its propriety. But, in once back to a state of nature, and my opinion, the experience of this adopt the social institutions of the country has taught a different lesaborigines in our vicinity. son ; and it is yet to be proved

He did not fear any danger to that the integrity of this house has the government, from the corrup- ever been made subservient to extion of the house. If the govern- ecutive influence. The tests which ment was to be demolished, (he the gentleman adopts, are such as said) it would not find the weapons no man can stand the trial. If the of destruction in that house. The executive appoints his friends to Pretorian bands would be led up office, 'tis corruption ; if he apto that fatal work, from other quar- points his enemies, 'tis corruption ters. The great masses of feeling still. If he appoints his friends he in different parts of the union, and pays ; if his enemies—he buys. the common interests affecting great Are these the unsparing judgsectional portions of the country, ments, which a generous peoplo must be first inflamed and put in will pass upon their public men ? Are we to cherish doctrines like fell by the lawless violence of their these, which lead to such denun- own citizens. Nor can any parallel ciations of all that our national be found between the election of a pride and the character of our in- president, and the absurd mockery stitutions lead us to respect. and violence of a Polish diet. This

Believe me, sir, the people of this union is not to be dissolved by viocountry will not respond to these lences like these. Its dissolution is rasentiments. They are too jealous ther to be expected from the operaof their own honor, and the reputa- tion of other causes. It can only be tion of their government, and too accomplished by first impairing the generous, to cherish such injustice confidence of the people in the to their own institutions, and their integrity of their representatives own statesmen. They will not and public councils—in raising up consider it as dishonorable to be against it the states, by violating called from this house, to the ser- their rights; and in combining vice or councils of the country. against the government the moral Public men must be educated for power of the country. Then you public stations. Soldiers may be will find how weak this political made by nature; but statesmen system is, without this support must be educated. They must de- from the nation; and it will expire vote themselves to the study of the without a struggle.” laws and institutions of their coun- He thought, that the best plan try; her history ; domestic and was, to go back to the original foreign relations ; the principles of constitution. That plan contained her public policy ; the temper of within itself an effectual remedy to the people, and the spirit of the the evils of the caucus system. It government. In this house, too, was always in the power of a few they must pass the ordeal of pub- electors to defeat a party candidate lic opinion, and manifest those for the presidency; and it insured, profound talents, sound political in the two highest stations in the principles, and great inoral quali- country, public men of the first fications, which alone can adorn grade of character. At present, the public councils, and perpetuate the vice-presidency is the mere rethe civil liberties of the country. ward of personal influence. By The examples drawn from the an- the amendment of 1802, the small cient republics are not applicable states lost much of their power in here. They were republics of sin- the election ; and the amendment glecities, uneducated, of condensed proposed to take from them the population and corrupt morals; and only remnant of their power. The

plan of sending back to the people They were opposed by Messrs. the two highest candidates, by no Stevenson, of Virginia ; Ingersoll, means secures the election of the of Connecticut; Bartlett, of New second choice of the nation. This Hampshire ; Everett, of Massamight well be the lowest of the chusetts ; Pearce, of Rhode Is: three highest, who by this amend- land; Wood, of New York ; ment, would be excluded from the Mitchell, of South Carolina ; Mielection.

ner, of Pennsylvania ; Trimble, of He concluded by asking, if this Kentucky; and Vance, of Ohio. was an auspicious moment for an After the very elaborate speeches amendment of the original com- of Mr. M’Duffie, and Mr. Storrs, pact. When that was formed, the there could be little room for states had been recently chastened material novelty. Mr. Everett, by adversity, and they deeply felt in a very eloquent and ingenious the greatness of their mutual obli- speech, in one point went farther gations. Now, circumstances are than Mr. Storrs. He contended, changed. We are in the days of that the proposition before the our prosperity. Great sectional in- house was a violation, and not an terests have sprung up in the states; amendment, of the constitution. and a whole nation has been brought That it subverted the fundamental into existence beyond the moun- principles of the constitution, in tains. Public feeling has been late- relation to the choice of an execuly deeply agitated, and the country is tive; and was inconsistent withi not yet quiet. And he submitted to the terms of the original compact. the committee whether it were dis. He also repelled, in the most forci. creet now to move in this matter ? ble terms, the insinuation against

Mr. Archer, of Virginia, and Mr. the integrity of congress, and the Kellogg, of New York, advocated character of the existing adminithe first branch of the amendment, stration. which took the election from the As the debate proceeded, it ashouse, and opposed the residue. sumed the aspect of a debate in

Mr. Saunders, of North Carolina, answer to an executive message ; advocated them both, as did Mr. or a resolution to consider the state Cambreling, of New York; Dray- of the nation. Most of those who ton, of South Carolina ; Isaacs, advocated the amendments, declarPolk, and Mitchell, of Tennessee ; ed themselves opposed to the preBryan, of North Carolina ; Le sent administration; and made maCompte, of Kentucky.

ny significant allusions to the elec: tion, and what they denominated, a to corrupt motives; and asserted that coalition between the friends of the his friends were induced, by his influpresident, and the secretary of state. ence, to vote contrary to their obliTo the charge of coalition, it was gations to their constituents. This replied, that no derelection of prin- charge, which was conveyed in the ciple was involved, in the support most unequivocal terms, was imgiven by their friends to an admi- mediately and promptly repelled nistration of which they were both by the western members who voted members; and it was asked, if with Mr. Clay, on that occasion. there was any impropriety in the The sentiments of the speaker's administration's seeking a union of own constituents were stated by councils, where there was no dif- Mr. Trimble, of Kentucky, to be ference of principles; when it was in favor of the course adopted by considered even virtuous to seek a him ; and the election, by an over' union of councils against it. If on whelming majority, of his succesone side there was a union of the sor, Mr. Clark, whose friendly feel-, supporters of the president and the ings towards the present adminisecretary of state ; on the other stration, were well known, was there was a coalition of the friends triumphantly appealed to as an of the late secretary of the trea- irrefragable proof of the approbasury and the vice president; of tion of his constituents. those who contended for a rigid In consequence of this charge interpretation of the constitution, against the secretary of state, by and those who resorted to the the mover of the resolutions, and utmost latitude of construction. the direct and personal retorts of These direct allusions to the exist- those, who were aimed at as his ing state of things, became more friends; a state of feeling. was profrequent towards the close of the duced in the house, very unfavoradebate; and finally produced a ble to the dispassionate decision of scene of crimination and recrimi- the proposed amendments. The nation, very derogatory to the dig- discussion on them had been pronity and character of the house. tracted nearly seven weeks, through

When the mover of the resolu- the indulgence of the house ; and tions, (Mr. M’Duffie,) came to as the debate finally seemed to bereply to the various objections come a vehicle for political harmade to hiş amendments, he went rangues, Mr. Webster, of Massainto a history of the late election, chusetts, moved to discharge the and imputed the support which the committee from any farther conlate speaker gave to the president, sideration of the subject. This

« ПретходнаНастави »