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ing to the gentleman's own argument, as having a majority of !o suçoes.' sive legislatures acting with due deliberation and reflection? He (Mr. E.) should think not. He himself, would not value what might he done by three-fourths, if done under excitement. But that which was done year after year, he did value, because it was the result of judgment. He regarded it as much more safe to require a majority of the two houses, and iwo terms, than to say that nine-tenths should be necessary to alter constitution. When the gentleman from the city of Phile.delphia adınitted that it was a republican-a sound policy, for the legislature to grant an exclusive privilege for a thousand years, he at once maintained that the legislature have the power to do that without asking the people at all. And yet, the gentleman would not allow the people to change their constitution.
IIe proposes to make that which can not be changed, liable to be changed by the hastyaction of a single legislature and the consent of a governor ; but that which can be changed, he will not allow to be changed with deliberation and by the actual vote of the people.
The gentleman says, that the provisions of the constituton are made for the purpose of resiricting the people. This is not so. They are not made to restrict the people, but to restrict the agents of the people, and to prevent them from misrepresenting the people ;--it is, I say, i prevent unfaithfulness or misconstruction on the part of the agents of the people. I admit that the government ought to be stable ;-that it should be such as young ambitious lawyers or demagogues can not change at their will. But I say, also, that this convention is not the only wise and patriotic body that has ever existed in the land, or that may yet be expected to exist in future years. The city of Philadelphia and the county of Lycoming will yet send forth some valiant guardians of the rights of the people, who will hereafter go into the legislature and ask for certain changes, if they be.ieve those changes to be for the interest and the welfare of the state. That such men will rise up, there can not be a doubt; and we vleceive ourselves if we suppose that all wisdom, all patriotism or all public virLue will pass away with this convention or with this generation of men.
I hope that the amendment of the genileman from the city of Philadel. phia, will not be agreed to.
Mr. Smyth, of Centre, said. As I view this amendment in a different light from some who, on the former motion, voted in favor of the principle which it contains, I will briefly give my views upon it.
The amendment which has just been rejected by the vote of the con. vention, involves the same reasons in favor, and the same reasons in opposition to it, as the amendment which is now immediately before us. 1 presume, therefore, that it will be in order to speak to that question, and to the manner in which it was discussed by those who were in favor of it.
The gentleman from the city of Philadelphia, (Mr. Meredith) intimates that the question of trial by jury has been brought to bear in favor of altering the constitution, this endangering the liberties of the people of the commonwealth.
In answer to this intimation, 1, for one, take leave to say, that the trial by jury is as sacred to me and to those whom I represent on this Avor, as to any other inan, or set of men, in this convention or out it. I consider
that as one of the great bulwarks of our institutions, and am -as warmly attached to it as any man.
But the gentleman complains also that the bill of rights was indefinitely postponed, before the convention had gone through its provisions. It seems to me that such an argument would have come with a better grace from any other quarter than that from which it emanales, because, if I am not much mistaken, the gentleman himself was opposed to any amendment of any kind in the bill of rights. This, therefore, is a ground of argument with him which I do not think is tenable. If he was opposed, as I have said I believe he was, to all amendments, why should he complain that the indefinite postponement should have taken place. There is an inconsistency in this which I do not find it easy to reconcile.
Buy the gentleman goes a step further, and tells us 100 look to the executive for ihe will of the people. Now, if we are to took 10 the execvtive for the will of the people, we shall find that he was in favor of some important changes which, I hope, the legislature will carry out.
Mr. MEREDII asked leave to explain.
He had not asserted that the executive will was the will of the people. He had merely referred to it as a heresy which he had heard of, ihat the will of the executive was the will of the people.
Mr. Smyth resumed. Be that as it may.
The doctrine which 1 maintain, and the principle which I acknowledge as the rule and guide of my conduct is, that ihe will of the inajority should govern. This is the true principle upon which we ought to act; and I will give one reason which oughi to operate with the conservatives in particular. As the matler now stands in the constitution, I mean wider the amendments which we have made—which change the appoinment of tho justices of the peace, by the governor, to an election by ihe people and which change the appointment of the judges of the different courts from being that of the executive alone, to that of the executive, by and with the advice and consent of the senate.
Now, let us take a case. Suppose that a majority of the people should discover upon further inquiry or irial, that these parts of the constitution, as they have been altered by us, do not answer the end intended by those who voted in favor of them. And suppose that a proposition should be brought before the legislature to alter so much of the constitution as relates 10 the judges, and that a majority of the legislature should be found to be in favor of the alteration. What would be the consequence, according to the doctrine which is advocated here? Why, it would be in the power of one third of the legislature to withstand the will of a large majority of the people of this commonwealth,
Is it right, is it in accordance with the principles upon which our gov. ernment has been founded, that one-third of the legislature should control the will of a majority of the people, and should control the action of two. thirds of the legislature? Will not this two thirds' principle, if it should be adopted, operate against those conservatives who are opposed to any and all amendmenis, just as much as it will operate against the other porLions of our citizens, who are in favor of certain amendments ? Surely, sir, it will. The true republican doctrine, is, that the majority shall rule
- that the will of the majority, being clearly expressed, shall rule. This is a doctrine which, I hold, cannot be controverted.
But, sir, there is another feature in the amendment of the gentleman from the ciiy of Philadelphia, which, so far as I have heard, has not yet been taken notice of. The ainendment requires that the assent of isothirds of the whole number of the members of the legislature, shall be necessary to any proposition for amendment. Now, there may be eight or len members absent. We know it is frequently, if not generally, the case; and yet this amendment requires two-thirds of the whole number. This, therefore, is even a harder provision than that I had in the first instance iinagined it to be. After all, I repeat that the true principle is, that the majority shall rule; and, in doing so, we suffer those who are of the minority, to be represented as fairly as any other portion of the people; and it is to be borne in mind, that although some gentlemen may be now in the majority in this convention, it may hereafter turn out that ihey will be in the minority; and thus their own principle may work hard against themselves. I have merely taken one single amendment in illustration of my views; but the same rule which is applicable to one amendment is applicable to all.
I hope, therefore, that the majority principle will be retained. It is the only true democratic principle, and however other gentlemen may shape their course, I will still adhere to that principle ; nor will I consent, by any action or vote of mine, to sanction any measure which would, in the remotest degree, be violation of it. And I shall govern my vole accordingly.
And the question on the amendment of Mr. MEREDITH, was then taken.
And on the question,
'The yeas and navs were required by Mr. MEREDITH and Mr. Denny, and are as follow, viz:
Yras—Messrs. Agnew, Ayres, Baldwin, Barndollar, Brown, of Lancaster, Carey, Chambers, Chandler, of Philadelphia, Chauncey, Clapp, Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Cline, Coates, Cochran, Cope, Cox, Craig. Crum, Cunningham, Darliugton, Denny, Dickey, Dickerson, Donagan, Dunlıp, Forward, Harris, Hays, Henderson, of Allegheny, Henderson, of Dauphin, Hiester, Hopkinson, Jenks, Kerr, Konigmacher, Long, Maclay. M’Sherry. Meredith, Merrill, Merkel, Pennypacker, Porter, of Lancaster, Porter, of Northampton, Purvia ce, Reigart, Royer, Russell, Saeger, Scott, Serrill, Sill, Snively, Thomas, Todd, Weidman, Young, Sergeant, Presideni—59.
Nars-Messrs. Banks, Barclay, Bedford, Bell, Bigelow, Bonham, Brown, of Northampton, Brown, of Philadelphia, Clarke, of Indiana, Cleavinger, Crain, Crawford, Cummin, Curll
, Darrah, Dillinger. Donnel', Doran, Earle, Foulkrod, Fry, Fuller, Gamble, Gearhart, Gilmore, Grenell Hastings, Hayhurst, Helffenstein, High, Hyde, Ingersoil Keim, Kennedy, Krebs, Lyons, Magee, Mann, Martin, M'Cahen, Miller, Montgomery, Myers, Nevin, Overfield, Payne, Read, Riter, Ritter, Rogers, Scheetz, Sellers, Beltzer, Shellito, Smith, of Columbia, Smyth, of Centre, Sterigere, Stickel, Skurdevant, Taggart, White, Woodward-62.
So the motion was rejected.
Further to instruct the comınittee of the whole to amend the said article by striking therefrom, in the twelfth and thirteenth lines, the words .. a majority of the members elected to each house," and inserting in lieu
thereof the words “ two-thirds of the members elected to the house of representatives, and a majority of the members elecied to the senate.'
Mr. CurlL demanded the previous question.
Which said motion was seconded by the requisite number of delegates rising in their places.
And on the question, Shall the main question be now put? It was determined in the affirmative. And on the question, Will the convention agree to resolve itself into a committee of tho whole, for the purpose of amending the tenth article as agreed to on sec. ond reading, agreeably to the instructions of the convention ?
It was determined in the affirmative,
And, agreeably to order,
The convention resolved itself into a committee of the whole, Mr. DENNY in the chair, for the purpose of amending the tenth article of the constitution, as amended on second reading, by striking iherefrom in the fourth line, the words “ of the iwo houses,” and inserting in lieu thereof the word • house;" by striking thereform, in the thirteenih line, the word "all;" by striking therefrom, in the eighteenth line, the word “distant," and inserting in lieu thereof the words * after being so agreed to by the two houses ;" by striking from the iweniy.first line ihe words "who shall vote," and inserting in lieu thereof ihe word “ voting ;” by striking from the iwenty-fourth line, the word it,” and inserting in lieu thereof the word “they ;' and by inserting in the same line, after the word “ be,” where it occurs the second time, the word “submitted;" and by inserting after the word for," in the twenty-fifth line, the words or against.'
A motion was made by Mr. SrERIGERE,
That the coin miitee rise, and that the cliairman report the amendments agreeably to instructions.
Which was agreed to.
The PRESIDENT resumed the chair, and the chairman reported the amendments made to the said article by the commilice of the whole agreeably to instructions.
And the report of the committee of the whole was agreed to.
And the amendmenis made in the said article by the committee of the whole, were agreed to ; and,
Ordered, That the said amendments be referred to the committee to prepare and engross the same for the third reading.
A motion was made by Mr. REIGART,
That tlie said article as amended by the commitiee of the whole, be recommitted to the committee of ihe whole for the purpose of ómériding the said article by adding thereto the following new sec. tion, viz:
"SECTION 2. No secret society using or administering unauthorized oaths, or obligations in the nature of oaths, and using secret signs, tokens or passwords, operating by affiliated branches or kindred societies, shall hereaster be formed within this commonwealth, withont express authority of law; and no person shall hereafter join or become a member of any such society, or take any such oath or obligation in the nature of an oath, in any such secret society, now formed, or which may hereafter be formed."
The 'said motion being under consideration,
And the convention adjourned until half past three o'clock this afternoon.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 13, 1838.
The question recurring on the motion that the tenth article, as amend. ed, be re-committed :o the committee of the whole, for the purpose of amending the said article by adding thereto the following new section, viz :
« SECTION 2. No secret society, using or administering unauthorized oaths, or obligations in the nature of oaths, and using secret signs, tokens or passwords, operating by affiliated branches or kindred societies, shall hereafter be formed within this commonwealth, without express authority of law, and no person shall hereafter join or becorne a member of any such society, or take any such oath or obligation in the nature of an oath, in any such secret society now formed, or which may hereafter be formed.”
The amendment being under consideration,
Mr. President, having been elected to a seat in this honorable body, by constituents, who, for general intelligence, respectability and integrity, are second to none in this commonwealth, I take occasion to make some remarks on the propriety of incorporating this amendment in the constitution. They, like myself, porfess to be purely distinctive political anti-ma. sons. I am neither ashamed nor afraid to avow and advocate their political opinions and my own, here or elsewhere, in the walks of private life or on the floor of this house. I never have, nor never will conceal them; but will honestly avow, and on all proper occasions, advocate them here in my place as a member of this body, without b.ing intimidated by the frowne