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The eighth section of the act reads as follows:
"SECTION 8. For the purpose of ascertaining the sense of the citizens on the expediency of adopting the amendments so agreed upon by the convention, it shall be lawful for said convention to issue a writ of eleclion, directed to the sheriff of each and every county of this commonwealtlı, commanding notice to be given of the time and manner of holding an election for the said purpose, and it shall be the duty of the said sheriffs respectively to give notice accordingly; and is said election shall not be held on the day of holding the general elertion, it shall be the duty of the judges, inspectors and clerks, of the last preceding general election, in each of the townships, wards and districts of this commonwealih, to hold an election in obedience to the directions of the said convention, in each of the said townships, wards and districts, at the usual place or pla.es of holding the general elections therein, and it shall also be the duty of the said judges and inspectors, to receive at the said election, tickets, either written or printed, from citizens qualified to vote, and to deposit them in a box or boxes, to be for that purpose provided by the proper officers, which tickets shall be labelled on the outside " amend. menis," and those who are favorable to the amendments, may express their desire by voting each a printed or written ticket or ballot, containing the words “ For the amendments,” and those who are opposed to such amendinents, may express their opposition by voting each a printed or written ticket or ballot, containing the words * Against the amendments;" and a majority of the whole number of votes thus given for or against the ameniments, when ascertained, in the manner herein after directed, shall decide whether said amendments are or are not thereafter to be taken as a part of the constitution of this commonwealth,” &c.
So, continued Mr. B., if a majority of the people decide in favor of the amendments, what is the consequence ? Why, then, it is not that a whole constitution is to be adopted by the people of Pennsylvania, or a new one ; it is not that the constitution of 1790 is to be stricken from the statute book ; but if a majority of the people agree to the amendments, then, in the language of the act of assembly, the amendments are to become a part of the constitution framed, not in the year 1838 or 1839—but are to become a part of the constitution of 1790. This was the intention of the legislature, and this was the understanding of the whole people ; yes, sir, and this will be the action of the whole people.
Some of the members of this body appear to me to have fallen into a strange error.
It will be recollected that this question was agitated at Harrisburg, and I thought that the construction which should be put upon the provision in the act of assembly had been there settled. I did not anticipate that any further difficulty would be raised in reference to it. Some gentlemen, however, have fallen into a strange error, particularly the gentleman from Susquehanna (Mr. Read.) And what is the whole argu ivent ? It is founded upon the looseness of expression in the act of assembly, in the words “and when the amendments shall have been agreed upon by the convention, the constitution as amended shall be engrossed and signed by the officers thereof, and delivered to the secretary of the commonwealth."
The gentleman from Susquehanna being a legal man, does not need to be informed by me, that in putting a construction upon a statute (as in
other cases,) you must take every part of it, and reconcile, if it is possible to do so, every part of the instrument. When, therefore, the legis. lature declare in this act of assembly, that the amendments to be made by the convention, shall be subınitted to the people, and, if ratified by them, shall become a part of the constitution as it is now ; you are bound to take that with reference in the other part relied upon by the gentle.nan from Susquehanna, and which is that the constitution as amended shall be engrossed. Why, sir, the constitution is already engrossed, and deposited in the office of the secretary of state, so that there is no need of further engrossment of the constiiution of 1790. The evident intention of the legislature was that the amendments agreed upon should be engrossed together with the constitution, in such a way as ihat the people might understand at a single glance what alterations have been made, or been proposed to be made, in their constitution ; and the whole difficulty, as I have said, has arisen from a looseness of phraseology in the act of assembly, and upon a construction which, upon a candid examination, it will not bear. The legislature, therefore, obviously intended that we should submit our amendinents to the people, and that those ainendinents merely should be engrossed and signed. And, sir, I take upon inyself to assert that there are members on this floor who will refuse to sign a constitution which may have been engrossed entirely anew, because it would, in fact, be puuting out of ihe statute book the constitution of 1700, to many parts of which, as we all know, no amendments have been made or offered.
So far, then, as I can see, there is nothing in the objection of the gendeman from the county of Philadelphia (Mr. Brown.)
Before I take my seat. I will call for a division of the question on the amendments proposed by myself, so that the vote may be taken sepiarately on each. The division I propose is as follows :
First division :-To amend the said section by striking therefrom the word... under,' in the second line, and inserting in lieu thereof the words " after the adoption."
Second division :-To insert the words “ to the constitution," after the word “ amendments" in the tenih line.
Third division :- 'To strike therefrom the words “in operation" in the tenih line, and insert in lieu thereof the word “ adopied.”
of the other amendments said (Mr. B.) I will speak hereafter.
Mr. STERIGERE, of Montgomery, said that so far as concerned the amendments of the revisory committee, he was of opinion that they were persectly correct. The comniillee had no power to change any principle, but only to arrange the language. As to the objection which has been raised by the genileman from the county of Philadelphia (Mr. Brown) that we would not know what were and what were not amendmenis, i have only to say that comparison will sliew.
Mr. Brown, of Philadelphia county, referred to the history of the conventions which had been held in the state of Pennsylvania for the purpose of amending the constitution, with a view to shew that the course which he had advocated, was the course heretofore sanctioned and pursued. He found, he said, that the convention of 1790 forined a constitution, a part of which was the constitution of 1776, expressed in the same
words, and yet that the constitution of 1790 dated as the constitution of 1790, and not as the constilution of 1776 with amendments. No question, continued Mr. B., has ever been raised on that point--nor has any thing been said condemnatory of the framers of the constitution of 1790 in reference to that particular.
The words of the law under which we have met are these :-"and when the amendments shall have been agreed upon by the convention, ♡ I the constitution as amended sliall be engrossed and signed by the officers
and members thereof, and delivered io the secretary of the common
wealth, by whom, and under whose direction, it shall be entered of record le in his office, and be printed as soon as practicable," &c. (See section 6.]
The other part of the act to which the gentleman has referred proi vides as follows :—" and it shall also be the duty of the said judges and
inspectors to receive at the said election, tickets, either written or printed, * from citizens qualified to vole, and to deposit them in a box or boxes,
to be for that purpose provided by the proper officers, which tickets shall
be labelled on the outside o amendmenis;" and those who are favorable I to the amendments may express their desire by voting each a printed
or written ticket or ballot, containing the words. For the amendinents,"
and those who are opposed to such amendments, may express their oppo0, sition by voting each a printed or written ticket or ballot, containing the } words " Against the aniendments ;” and a majority of the whole number
of votes thus given for or against the amnendments, when ascertained, in the manner herein after directed, shall decide whether said amendmerits are or are not thereafter to be taken as a part of the constitution of this commonwealth." [See section 8.]
I can not perceive, continued Mr. B., that the one section is in any degree at variance with the other. The solution of the whole matter simply is, that the amendments shall be engrossell, &c., and that if they shall be agreed upon by the people, the constitution as ainended and engrossed will be the constitution of the state of Pennsylvania. And I do not well see how any other cunsliuction can be put upon the act. It is is certainly intended that this should be the constitution of Pennsylvania hereaster; that is to say, the constitution as amended, and with the signatures of the members of this body attached to it.
I feel anxious that the constitution should have some symmetry, that we should comply with the expectations of those who placed this great and responsible trust in our hands—that our work should be sem out finished as a whole, and not incomplete as a pari. The two constitutions must go down to all time, the one to explain the other. I hope, there. fore, that the amendments proposed by the gentleman from Chester will be rejected.
Mr. EARLE, of Philadelphia county, said he could not see the slightest aecessity for the adoption of the anendments proposed by the gentleman froin Chester. It appears to me, continued Mr. E., thai the section is perfectly clear-so much so that all can understand it--and shat, as it dow stands, it will answer every necessary purpose. I do not want to make any change unless it should be apparent that there is a necessity, for it.
Mr, WOODWARD rose to inquire of the gentleman from Chester (Mr.
Bell) whether it was bis intention to modify his motion in such a manner as to make the words "amendments to the constitution" read • amended constitution,” so as to meet the views of the gentleman from the county of Philadelphia (Mr. Brown)?
Mr. Bell said, he would state in reply to the inquiry of the gentleman froin Luzerne (Mr. Woodward) that, as a member of the revisory committee he (Mr. B.) had merely brought these amendments to the notice of the committee of the whole. He had acted simply as the organ of the revisory committee, and he must, therefore, stand to the amendments he had proposed.
And the question was then taken,
Will the cominittee of the whole agree to the first division of the said amendment, as follows, viz:
" To amend the said section by striking therefrom the word " under,' in the second line, and inserting in lieu thereof the words “after the adoption."
And it was letermined in the affirmative ;-ayes 68; noes, not counted.
Will the committee of the whole agree to the second division of the said amendment, as follows, viz :
To insert the words to the constitution,” after the word "amend. ments" in the tenth line. ?
It was determined in the affirmative without a division.
Will the comunittee of the whole agree to the third division, as follows, viz:
By striking therefrom the words in operation" in the tenth line, and inserting in lieu thereof the word "adopted ?"
It was determined in the affirin alive without a division.
A motion was then made by Mr. Wo IDWARD 10 amend the said seotion by striking out the words “ amendinents to the constitution" and inserting "amended constitution.”'
Mr. Dickey demanded the previous question, on which Messrs. McCahen and Brown, of Philadelphia, demanded the yeas and nays, when the previous question was not sustained-yeas 51, naye 54.
The question then recurred on the amendment proposed by Mr. Wood.
The CHAIRMAN said the first branch of the amendinent was strictly in order, but he had some doubt as to the latter branch.
Mr. WOODWARD then withdrew his amendinent.
Mr. Chambers moved that the convention now proceed 10 the consideration of section fifteen.
Mr. C. then withdrew the motion.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 9, 1838.
The convention again resolved itself into a committee of the whole Mr. Denny in the chair, on the amendments heretofore agreed to in the first article of the constitution.
The third section, as amended, having been read, and no amendment being offered the committee proceeded to the sixth section, which read, as follows, viz:
" SECTION 6. 'The senators shall be chosen for three years by the citixens of Philadelphia, and of the several counties, at the same time, in the same manner, and at the same places where they shall vote for representatives."
Mr. Payne rose to move an amendment by the introduction of a new section.
'The Chair decided that this motion was not now in order. Mr. Read appealed from the decision of the Chair.
[A debate took place on this appeal, in which Mr. Read, Mr. STERI. FBRE, Mr. MEREDITH, Mr. PAINE, Mr. Banks and Mr. EARLE took Part. 7
Mr. Read then withdrew his appeal.
Mr. MERRILL, of Union, asked for the yeas and nays on agreeing to the sixth section ; but the call was not sustained.
Mr. Woodward, of Luzerne, said tha: he was very much perplexed with this irregular mode of proceeding, and he protested against redebating and redeciding every vote that had been taken on the articles.
Mr. Merrill moved to strike out the word “three," and 10 insert the word - tour.” He asked for the
nays. Mr. Fuller. of Fayette, moved that the committee rise, report progress, and ask leare to sit again.
And on the question,
and naye were required by Mr. Dickey and nineteen others, and are as follow, viz:
YEA8—Messrs. Banks, Barclay, Barndollar, Bedford, Binge'ow, Bonham, Brown, of Northampton, Brown, of Philadelphia. Butler. Clapp. Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Clarke, of Indiana, Cleavinger Craig, Crawford Cummin. Curll, Darrah, Dickerson, Dillinger. Donagan, Donnell Doran, Earle, Fleming, Foulkrod, Fry, Fuller, Gamble, Gearhart, Gilmore, Grenell, Hastings Helffenstein, Hyde, Ingersoll
, Keim, Kennedy, Krebs, Magee, Mann, Martin, Meredith Merkel, Miller, Myers, Overfield, Payne, Read, Riter. Ritter, Seager, Suheetz, Sellers, Seltzer, Shellito, Smith, of Columbia, Smyth, of entie, Snively, Sterigere, Stickel, Taggart, Weaver, Weidman, Woodward, Young-67.
Nays-Messrs. Agnew, Ayres, Baldwin, Barnitz, Bell, Brown, of Lancaster, Chambers, Chandler. of hiladelphia, Chauncey, Cline, Coates, Cochran, Cope, Cox, Crum, Denny, Dickey, Forward, Harris, Hayhurst, Hays, Henderson, of Allegheny,