페이지 이미지
[blocks in formation]

Maclay wrote that the first debate in the Senate on the tariff bill was over the enacting style, "but the style of the law which had already passed was adopted." When the tariff bill came before the Senate the enacting style was, as the House had made it on the first bill, the "Congress." The House refused to concur in the Senate's change for this second bill, however; and the Senate in turn adhered to its vote. Finally, when the bill was again before the House on June 23, George Thacher of Massachusetts "moved to agree to the amendment of the Senate in the enacting style, with an amendment. The House originally sent the bill up in this form, 'Be it enacted by the Congress of the United States;' the Senate proposed as an amendment, 'Be it enacted by the Senate and Representatives;' and Mr. Thatcher wished to add the words 'House of' before 'Representatives' observing that the word Senate spoke of the collective body of the Senators, and the word Representatives alluded to the individual members of this House only, and did not comprehend their legislative function. There ought to be an equality in the enacting style; therefore the words 'House of' were necessary. This motion was agreed to." 82 The Senate also agreed, and thus the enacting style assumed its final form.

Washington approved the oath bill on June 1, and returned it to the House, which informed the Senate of the fact. As yet there was no legislation respecting the custody of the acts of Congress. On the 2d the Speaker swore in the members of the House, eighteen in number, who had not taken the earlier oath, a clause in the act stating that the taking of this earlier oath was sufficient. On the 3d the Senate asked the House for the act, and, receiving it, first the Vice President and then the senators took the oath that day.


THOUGH this is an account of the organization of Congress, not a history of its legislation, the bill concerning the salaries of the members is really a part of the organization and may be considered here, especially as it is enlightening on the attitude then toward public life. On May 1, 1789, the day after his inauguration, a motion was made in the House respecting the compensation of the President of the United States, which was referred to a committee of the whole. The matter came up again on May 25, when the reference to a committee of the whole was discharged, and a committee of twelve appointed to consider the compensation of the President, Vice President, and members of Congress. Baldwin of Georgia, as chairman of the committee, reported on June 1, and the

report was laid on the table and not taken up until July 13. Vining of Delaware, one of the committee, then expressed a desire for its consideration: ". . . . he wished gentlemen to consider the situation of every one concerned in this business, themselves, and the continent at large." 83 He thought that it could be disposed of in a day. A demand arose for a committee of the whole; FitzSimons, also of the committee, objected because members had been generally consulted by the committee before it reported, and the question was "delicate." Page of Virginia said: "We must also provide something for our own expenses, or it may reduce gentlemen . . . to depend upon a friend for what the public ought to furnish." The House did not go into committee, but spent the whole day in discussion, chiefly of the President's allowances. Discussion was resumed on July 16, executive salaries disposed of, and the question of pay of congressmen taken up.

The committee had proposed a per diem of $6.00 for senators and representatives "for their attendance at the time appointed for the meeting of their respective Houses," and $6.00 for every twenty (later twenty-five) miles of travel, the Speaker to have a per diem of $12.00. Sedgwick of Massachusetts moved to make the pay of representatives $5.00, the senators receiving $6.00: "His reasons for introducing this distinction was, that the convention had made it in the constitution. The Senators are required to be of an advanced age, and are elected for six years. Now this term taken out of the life of a man, passed the middle stage, may be fairly deemed equal to a whole life, for it was to be expected, that few, if any, of the Senators could return to their former occupations, when the period for retirement arrived; indeed, after six years spent in other pursuits, it may be questioned whether a man would be qualified to return with any prospect of success." As to the House pay: "He hoped gentlemen, would pay some deference to the public opinion, on the present occasion; this he thought to be in favor of small salaries."' 85

Jackson of Georgia denied Sedgwick's reasons for the distinction: "Now, unless gentlemen mean that we should depress ourselves and thereby set the Senate above us, I cannot conceive what foundation there will be for a discrimination." 86 Madison favored the discrimination: ". it had been evidently contemplated by the constitution, to distinguish in favor of the Senate, that men of abilities and firm principles, whom the love and custom of retired life might render averse to the fatigues of a public one, may be induced to devote the experience of years, and the acquisitions of study, to


253 the service of their country. And, unless something of this kind is adopted, it may be difficult to obtain proper characters to fill the Senate, as men of enterprise and genius will naturally prefer a seat in the House, considering it to be a more conspicuous situation." 87 But Vining held that those who became Senators would not be likely to be influenced by financial considerations, while "The Representatives in this House, being the choice of their fellow-citizens, among whom rank and dignity is rather unpopular, will consist of men in middling circumstances. Now if any thing is to be drawn from arguments like these, it is in favor of this House." Also, the House salary should be increased, "that it be not so low as to throw the business of legislation into the hands of rich and aspiring nabobs, but such as to compensate a man in the middle grade of life. . . . Any man who lives decently, will find six dollars a day not more than sufficient to defray the expense of a casual residence in a splendid city." 88 Seney of Maryland opposed the discrimination and threatened to call for the yeas and nays on it: "Gentlemen, have brought forward the constitution on this occasion but I conceive it to be opposite to the very principle they mean to advocate. This will destroy the independence of the several branches, which is to be strictly observed." 89

The rest of the debate rang the changes on these arguments, and the fear of an aristocracy was mentioned also. The discrimination was defeated, and a committee appointed to bring in a bill or bills. The committee reported a separate bill for congressional salaries on August 4, including compensation for the employees of the houses. On this the House went into a committee of the whole on August 5, when the whole matter was reviewed, and again next day in the House on the report of the committee of the whole. There was evidently considerable alarm over the public reaction to $6.00 a day, although it was pointed out that, except New Jersey, all of the states had allowed their delegates to the Continental Congress a per diem of $6.00 or more. There were some decidedly one-sided statements in the newspapers about the short time congressmen "worked" each day. The bill came up for passage on August 10, the opponents forcing the yeas and nays; but, bearing the $6.00 per diem, it passed by 30 to 16.

Madison, explaining what was probably the main reason for the amount, wrote to Archibald Stuart on August 12: "The rate allowed is unpopular in this quarter of the Union. But the truth is that 6 dollars [is more necessary] for the distant states . . . and a defective allowance would put the states at a distance under disadvantages of a very serious nature." 90

Sedgwick, too, recognized the sectional phase

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of the question. He wrote to his wife on July 23: "The ideas of the Southern gentleman as to allowances to officers of the government and as to their own wages are so very different from ours that I have much to fear on that account . Violently to oppose what they call liberal grants would only tend to create a suspicion that one was actuated by a mean desire to acquire popularity from that source. Indeed the habits of the two ends of the continent are so different that what would be a liberal allowance to the members of one might be considered as parsimonious by the other." 91

In the Senate the bill was first read on August 11, 1789, and consideration given on August 25. Maclay moved for $5.00: "Mr. Morris almost raged, and in his reply to me said he cared not for the arts people used to ingratiate themselves with the public. In reply I answered that I had avowed all my motives. I knew the public mind was discontented. I thought it our duty to attend to the voice of the public." 92 Morris moved for $8.00 for senators, being supported by Izard and Butler, the South Carolina members. The latter "said a great deal of stuff of the same kind; that a member of the Senate should not only have a handsome income, but should spend it all." 93 King declared the matter was "delicate" and moved for a committee of five. King, Morris, Carroll, Izard, and Lee made up the committee, which was not such a membership as Maclay would wish. It reported on August 27 an amended bill that gave senators $8.00 a day after March 4, 1795, and made twenty miles a day's travel. The Senate considered this on the next day, made the deferred increase $7.00 and, thus modified, returned the bill on the 31st. "The doctrine," exclaimed Maclay, "seemed to be that all worth was wealth, and all dignity of character consisted in expensive living. Izard, Butler, King, Morris, led boldly." Carroll, "though the richest man in the Union, was not with them." Maclay "was totally against all discrimination; that we were all equally servants of the public; that if there really was any difference in dignity, as some contended, it could not be increased by any act or assumption of ours-it must be derived from the Constitution, which afforded, in my opinion, no authority for such distinction." 94 Meanwhile, sometime during this month, President Washington had written Madison in confidence asking his opinion on various matters, among them: "Being clearly of opinion that there ought to be a difference in the wages of the members of the two branches of the Legislature would it be politic or prudent in the President when the Bill comes to him to send it back with his reasons for nonconcurring?" 95 Madison's reply has not survived.

[blocks in formation]

On September 1 the House disagreed to the Senate's amendment of discrimination. The Senate on September 7 adhered by 12 to 5. Maclay was absent, so we have no account of the proceedings. On September 8 the House asked a conference, and its committee reported on September 10: "... that they had come to no precise agreement; that the Senate could not be induced to recede from their amendment; but, by way of compromise, the committee, on the part of the Senate, proposed that the compensation provided for by the present bill should be limited to seven years, the last of which, the compensation of the Senate, to be at seven dollars: Or they proposed that the House should pass a law providing for their own compensation, without including the Senate." 96 A motion was made to recede and add a clause limiting the act to March 4, 1796. This was defeated by a vote of 24 to 29. Boudinot then moved for a committee to bring in a bill for compensation for one year only, which was not acted upon.

Burke of South Carolina the next day moved a reconsideration. He regretted that the House had not held up the bill to compensate the President and Vice President "as a hostage for the passage of the other through the Senate, . . . As the majority had not taken this precaution, he supposed they would be obliged to agree to the discrimination; the necessity of the case demanded all consideration, as they were obliged, by the constitution, to fix upon a compensation for their own services; . . ." 97 The end of the session was near, and there was much other business that had to be disposed of; none the less Jackson of Georgia insisted on holding the fort: ". . . for his part, he would rather go without pay than accept it with the condition proposed. He hoped the bill would not be reconsidered; perhaps some expedient might be devised to enable gentlemen to get money enough to defray their expenses, and so warrant them to let the bill die.98 Madison, though he favored the discrimination, considered. the motion out of order, as the bill was dead; but the Speaker declared against him, reconsideration was voted by 29 to 25, and by 28 to 26 the bill was limited to March 4, 1796, and passed.

The Senate agreed. Maclay wrote:

This week has been one of hard jockeying between the Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate insisted, and adhered, too, for a mark of superiority in their pay. It was a trial who should hold out longest. The House of Representatives gave way, more especially after the Senators told them that if you want your pay send us a bill for yourselves and we will pass it. I really wonder, in the temper the House is in, that they had not done it; but they were aware that the majority of the Senate would fly from this proposal,


« 이전계속 »