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SENATOR PITTMAN'S ADDRESS
very long period of time. In fact, I assume to assert that no other government has enjoyed the same undisturbed history.
The fundamental principles of our government, embodied in our great Constitution and its Bill of Rights, have remained unchanged. The right and power of our citizens under their Constitution to govern their own country has not been abridged, but has been broadened and strengthened. The three separate and independent branches of our government—legislative, executive, and judicial—have remained inviolate and have constituted the anchor of our safety which has kept us off the rocks of chaos and revolution. Our Congress has held firmly to the principles under which and for which it was created. The Senate and the House of Representatives have always conscientiously and loyally performed the respective functions of their offices, and will, I am sure, continue to do their part to protect our institutions and the liberty of our citizens. Their conduct and actions have conclusively demonstrated the wisdom of a representative form of government under a constitution such
Again I take the liberty of recalling to the minds of our citizensalthough the history is well known to those present—the very difficult conditions under which our government was formed, established, and maintained. Our population at that time consisted of only 4,000,000 people. These citizens were scattered over a pioneer country whose area was larger than that of Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy combined. There were no railroads in those days; there were few wagon roads, and such as did exist were at times almost impassable, Our states were independent sovereignties, jealous of their rights and fearful of domination by a central government. This jealousy and fear was a natural threat to the successful formation and establishment of a sound central government under a constitution. That it was ever accomplished is the highest tribute that could be paid to the greatness and patriotism of our statesmen of that day.
The remarkable history of the creation, adoption, and ratification of our Constitution is recorded in the histories of every country.
On yesterday I picked up a musty old volume entitled Annals of Congress, 1789–90. It is the original proceedings of the First Congress of the United States. I think for historical purposes I may be per
I mitted to read from this record just a few lines which to me are far more expressive than any language I could use relative to what actually took place upon the organization of the First Congress and the election of the first President and the first Vice President. I find
Proceedings of the Senate of the United States at the first session of the First Congress, begun at the City of New York, March 4, 1789.
And then follows this paragraph:
Wednesday, March 4, 1789. This being the day for the meeting of the New Congress, the following Members of the Senate appeared and took their seats:
From New Hampshire, John Langdon and Paine Wingate.
The Members present not being a quorum, they adjourned from day to day,
And so from day to day the Senate adjourned, awaiting the arrival of a quorum. The senators were dragging their way through the muddy roads along the coast and over the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains. And then I find this record:
Monday, April 6. Richard Henry Lee, from Virginia, then appearing, took his seat, and formed a quorum of the whole Senators of the United States.
The credentials of the Members present being read and ordered to be filed, the Senate proceeded, by ballot, to the choice of a President, for the sole purpose of opening and counting the votes for President of the United States.
John Langdon was elected.
This language may be confusing to one not familiar with the procedure. From March 4 until April 6, when Richard Henry Lee took his seat, there being no quorum, the Senate could take no action. Until the ballots were counted it could not be officially determined who was elected Vice President. It was, therefore, necessary to elect a presiding officer solely to count the ballots, in accordance with the directions of the Convention of 1787. As soon as the House had retired after the counting of the votes, the Senate elected Langdon president pro tempore, to serve until Adams arrived, this office being named in the Constitution.
This is the simple, yet dramatic statement of the organization of the United States Senate. Then continues the record of the counting of the electoral votes which resulted in the election of George Washington for President and John Adams for Vice President. It is but a brief statement, and, as it has probably been read by very few people, I believe it will be of interest to our citizens. I quote it:
Ordered, That Mr. Ellsworth inform the House of Representatives that a quorum of the Senate is formed; that a President is elected for the sole purpose of opening the certificates and counting the votes of the electors of the several States in the choice of a President and Vice President of the United States; and that the Senate is now ready, in the Senate chamber to proceed, in the ORGANIZATION OF THE SENATE
presence of the House, to discharge that duty; and that the Senate have appointed one of their Members to sit at the clerk's table to make a list of the votes as they shall be declared; submitting it to the wisdom of the House to appoint one or more of their members for the like purpose.
Mr. Ellsworth reported that he had delivered the message; and Mr. Boudinot, from the House of Representatives, informed the Senate that the House is ready forthwith to meet them, to attend the opening and counting of the votes of the electors of the President and Vice President of the United States.
The Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives attended in the Senate Chamber; and the President elected for the purpose of counting the votes declared that the Senate and House of Representatives had met, and that he, in their presence had opened and counted the votes of the electors for President and Vice President of the United States, which were as follows.
Then follows the vote of each state for each candidate. After the recording of this vote, we find the following entry in this old volume:
Whereby it appeared that George Washington, Esq. was elected President, and John Adams, Esq. Vice President of the United States of America.
Mr. Madison, from the House of Representatives, thus addressed the Senate:
“Mr. President: I am directed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate, that the House have agreed that the notifications of the election of the President and of the Vice President of the United States, should be made by such persons, and in such manner as the Senate shall be pleased to direct."
And he withdrew.
Whereupon, the Senate appointed Charles Thomson, Esq. to notify George Washington, Esq. of his election to the office of President of the United States of America, and Mr. Sylvanus Bourn, to notify John Adams, Esq. of his election to the office of Vice President of the said United States.
What a precious record! How wonderful it is that so few men, acting with another small body of men in the House of Representatives, could so expeditiously and with such certainty-without precedent-safely and soundly inaugurate the greatest government in the world!
The next step upon the part of the Senate was the inauguration of the Vice President. It is interesting to see how simply this was done. I again read briefly from the Annals of that First Congress. I quote:
Tuesday, April 21. The committee appointed to conduct the Vice President to the Senate chamber, executed their commission, and Mr. Langdon, the Vice President pro tempore, meeting the Vice President on the floor of the Senate chamber, addressed him as follows.
"Sir: I have it in charge from the Senate to introduce you to the chair of this House, and also to congratulate you on your appointment to the office of Vice President of the United States of America."
After which Mr. Langdon conducted the Vice President to the chair, when the Vice President addressed the Senate.
I wish I had time to read you that speech.
This First Congress organized the Supreme Court and the necessary inferior courts. It adopted complete rules for the government of the Senate. These rules remain substantially unchanged. There we find the rule providing for unlimited debate, which has made of the Senate the greatest deliberative body on earth.
On the 30th day of April George Washington took the oath of office and was inaugurated as President of the United States. And so was the modest beginning of our great government, which has brought a greater degree of liberty, prosperity, and happiness to our people than is enjoyed anywhere else in the world-a government that is at peace with the world and respected by the world.
Mr. John Charles Thomas sang “God Bless Our Native Land."
The VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Kentucky, Mr. BARKLEY.
Mr. BARKLEY. Mr. President, since the 4th day of March 1789 there have been 8,124 men and women who have served in the House of Representatives. One thousand three hundred and eightyfour men and women have served in the United States Senate. The number of those who have served in both Houses is 461. The total number of persons who have served in the Cabinets of all the Presidents is 313. The number of individuals who have served as Governors of the various states is 1,558. There have been 42 Speakers of the House of Representatives; 32 different persons have served as Vice Presidents, of whom 6 have succeeded to the Presidency by virtue of the death of the President; 31 individuals have served as President. On the Supreme Court there have been 70 Associate Justices and 11 Chief Justices of the United States.
The Senate is sometimes referred to as the nation's most exclusive club. In some respects it may be just that, but in many other respects it is no club. But if I might in my imagination create an exclusive club because of the small number of its members, I would refer to it as the Association of Chief Justices. Two of the Chief Justices, Marshall and Taney, served a total of 63 years; only 12 years short of one-half the entire period since the organization of Congress in 1789.
The Supreme Court of the United States and the Chief Justices who have presided over it have exercised profound influence upon the political, social, and economic history of America and will undoubtedly continue to do so as the complexity of modern life continues to develop.
It is my great honor and no less a pleasure to present to you today the eleventh Chief Justice of the United States. He has already served longer than five of the other ten. Whether he shall outserve all of his predecessors, I make no prediction. I am happy to record that he seems to be in robust health of mind and body.
But whether he shall serve as long as Marshall or Taney or Waite or Fuller or White, I think posterity will assign to him a place among the ablest, most influential, and most profound jurists and legal philosophers who have ever served upon the bench or as its presiding Justice. In profound legal learning, in impressive exposition, in the dignity of his bearing, I dare say no previous Chief Justice excelled him. We all take pride in his contributions to the administrative and judicial history of America. I take pride in the broad accomplishments of his intellectual processes, as well as the depth of his moral foundations, which are a part of his character and have made him so impressive a figure in whatever capacity he has chosen to occupy in his long public service.
I present to you the Chief Justice of the United States.
CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES
I thank you, Senator BARKLEY, from the depths of my heart for your very generous words.
The most significant fact in connection with this anniversary is that after 150 years, notwithstanding expansion of territory, enormous increase in population and profound economic changes, despite direct attack and subversive influences, there is every indication that the vastly preponderant sentiment of the American people is that our form of government shall be preserved.
We come from our distinct departments of governmental activity to testify to our unity of aim in maintaining that form of government in accordance with our common pledge. We are here not as masters, but as servants, not to glory in power, but to attest our loyalty to the commands and restrictions laid down by our sovereign, the people of the United States, in whose name and by whose will we exercise our brief authority. If as such representatives we have, as Benjamin Franklin said no more durable preeminence than the different grains in an hourglass”—we serve our hour by unremitting devotion to the principles which have given our government