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I hope, therefore, that no such feature will be incorporated into our con. stitution; it will be the entering wedge for the present, for if it is good for the future, it is good also for the present. Apply the same principle to the proceedings of this convention. Suppose that you had counted every absent member as voting in the negative, and when would any amend. ments have prevailed? The proposition which was last evening rejected by a vole of thirty to sixty-two, would have been adopted, if the vote of every absent meinber had been counted in the negative. If the principle is a good one to govern the people of the commonwealth, it is good also to govern this convention; and if it is good to govern this convention, then it is manisest that the proposition which was submitted yesterday by the gentleman from Lancaster, (Mr. Reigart) and which, as I have said, was rejected by a vote of thirty to sixty-two, is honestly, justly and fairly pari of the amendments which ought to be submitted by this convention, to the ratification or rejection of the people of this commonwealth ; and we should be acting in violation of all principle, if we did not submit it to the people as such.
The better principle is to regulate the matter by the number of votes actually taken; and to regard the rest as indifferent, or else upon the principle that silence gives consent. Let the majority of the votes be taken as the actual rule.
Mr. MERRILL, of Union, said:
Let us look how this matter stands upon the amendment which we have adopted. It stands thus; that a majority of all the members elected
to both houses of two legislatures must vote in favor of any amendment 1. to the constitution before it can be submitted to the people. Why is this
80, if not upon the principle that an actual majority must be given in favor of any given proposition, before the provisions of the constitution can be touched.
But look at the mattar in another light. Suppose the terms of the provision were simply, that the two houses of two successive legislatures must pass a resolution, before any amendment could be submitted to the people.
The house of representatives is composed of fifty one members, and a majority of that number would be twenty-six. The senate is composed os of seventeen members and a majority of that number would be nine. So
that, under such a provision, the vote of twenty-six members of the house of representatives and the vote of nine members of the senate, of two successive legislatures, would be sufficient to authorize any amendment to be submitied to the people.
The very gentleman who proposed this amendment which has been adopted to the constitution, has said that you should not go to the people on any proposition for future amendinent, without the consent of a majority of all the members who should have been elected to each house--not who should have voted, but who should have been elected.
Now, I ask that the same principle may be carried out in the particular under consideration. Let us who are in the minority rest satisfied that We are secure against change, until a positive, an actual majority shall determine that changes shall be made.
Let gentlemen put it to this convention how many amendments have
been submitted and adopted here? How sew among them have received 6ixty-neven voies ? On the other hand, he did not ihink there was ono question which had been sent here for our consideration, which had nos received seventeen voies, and no one which had not been sustained by some portion of the people, had ever received sixty-seven votes. He did not mean 10 say that the trial was not yet to be had before the people, The amendmenis are all to be sent 10 the people, and it will be seen here aster, if a majority of the people will sanction them.
There was scarcely even a proposition which the people elected us lo consider which had received sixty-seven votes, and all these which they had not conmitted 10 us for consideration had not received seventeen,
He believed that if it should be found that there was not an actual ma jority in favor of changing the constitution, it would be because the people did not think it was bad enough to change. The ballot box should be ihe test until a majority of the people are in favor of a change.
It was said in time of mobs many joined the mob from fear, because then they would be safe. And were we to have no rights unless we choose 10 join a party to which we are opposed ? He thought we should have required a voie of Iwo-thirds, in order to make it a mailer of more difficul. ty to repeal the constitutional law of the land.
As the amendment now stands it requires only fifty-one members of the house and seventeen of the senate, to send a proposition of amendment to the people and to be acted on by two successive legislatures. He thought there should be more effectual check in these majorities of the legislature, than that of a majority of these who may happen to go to the polls. If a majority is to decide, let it be a niajority of all the roles. li has been asserted over and over again that no one amendment can obtain a majority of all the votes. It is said the will of the people is the will of the major. ity. It ought then to be a majority of the whole. ile say our constitu. tion ought to stand until a majority of the people shall change it. Let that majority consist of an actual majority of all the people, and not of merely such as may choose to go the polls.
Mr. Brown, of Philadelphia county, maintained that the effect of the amendment would be to introduce a registry law and compel every man to vote. Then it would be necessary if we adopt this amendment, io intro. duce another concerning the election of governor. A pretly principle ibis would be to establishto bring the dead against the living. The man who will not risk a collar, or spare a moment of his time, is to have the same power of suffrage as the inan who, at all hazard and inconvenience, will come to the polls.
He would advise those who wished to take the government out of the hands of those who feel an interest in it, to leave the state, and to go to Connecticut, or any other state to reside. He never desired 10 see the government in the hands of men who have to bring forward the votes of the dead, and of whose who will not leave their farm or country seats to como to the polls. This was his Pennsylvania policy ; this was his democracy; and the gentleman from the city was welcome to his creed of democracy.
I do not speak in reference to a party, (said Mr. B.) I see some here who, although not of the democratic party, sustain democratic principles. I
wish some of the democratic party were as good as these men are. I want to see equal rights—to see the people enjoying the power and the right to alter, reform or abolish their government. He complimented the gentleman froin the city for his new scheme of government. I hope (said Mr. B.) he will attain better laurels from some other source, or I shall not envy him his wreath.
Mr. MEREDITH, in explanation of his amendment, said that he would state ia reply to what had fallen from the gentleman from Columbia, (Mr. Hayhurst, and from the gentle nan from Philadelphia county, (Mr. Brown) thai his amendment would snstain the rights of ihose patriotic men who might be absent from the state defending it against a foreign enemy.
I was about to say (said Mr. M.) that whilst these patriotic men absent from the state defending their country against foreign foes, the domestic foes to whom the gentleman from the county of Philadelphia, (Mr. Brown) has alluded, might, before they got back, have destroyed the whole form of the government. I apprehend that such is not the desire of this convention.
Mr. M'Cahen said he supposed that the gentleman from the city of Philadelphia would not vote for the adoption of this amendment to the constitution when it should be finally submitted to the people. And as he (Mr. MC.) looked upon this as an ingenious inode of defeating the whole, he would ask for the immediate question.
Which said motion was seconded by the requisite number of delegates rising in their places.
And the question being taken,
The yeas and nays were required by Mr. Myers and Mr. Darrea, and are as follow, viz:
Yeas-Messrs. Agnew, Ayres, Baldwin, Barndollar, Carey, Chambers, Chandler, of Chester, Chauncey, Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Cline, Cochran, Copen Cox, Crum, Cunningham, Darlington, Denny, Dickey, Dickerson, Donagan, Forward, Hays, Henderson, of Allegheny, Henderson, of Dauphin. Hopkinson, Jenks, Kerr, Konigmacher, Long, M’Sherry, Meredith, Merrill, Merkel, l'ennypacker, Porter, of Lancaster, Royer, Russell, Saeger, Scott, -errill, Snively, Thomas, Todd, Weidman, Sergeant, President-46.
Nays Msssrs. Banks, Bedford, Bell Bigelow, Bonham, Brown, of Lancaster, Brown. of Northampton, Brown, of Philadelphia, Butler, Clapp, Clarke, of Indiana, Cleavinger, Coates, Crain, Crawford, Cummin, Curil, Darrah, Dillinger, Donell, Doran, Dunlop, Earle, Fleming, Foulkrod, Fry, Fuller, Gamble, Gearhart, Gilmore, Grenell, Harris Hastings, Hayhurst, Helffenstein, Hiester, High, Hyde, Ingersoll, Keim, Kennedy, Krebs, Lyons, Mann, Martin, M'Cahen, M’Dowell, Miller, Montgomery, Myers, Nevin, Overfield, Payne, Porter, of Northampton, Purviance, Reigart, Read, Riter, Ritter, Rogers, Scheetz, Sellers, Seltzer, Shel.ito, Smith, of Columbia, Smyth, of Centre, Sterigere, Stickol, Sturdevant, Taggart, Weaver, White, Woodward, Young
en he com;
That the amendments made to the said article, be referred to stitution, for the question of final
passage. And the said motion being onder consideration,
The question was called for by Mr. WOODWARD and twenty-nine others rising in their places.
And on the queation, Shall the question on said motion be now pui? It was determined in the affimative. And on the question, Will the convention agree to the motion ? It was determined in the affirmative. And the said amendments were referred accordingly. On leave given, A'motion was made by Mr. WooDWARD, That the convention proceed to the second reading and consideration of the report of the committee appointed to prepare and report a schedule to the amended constitution, to whom were reserred iħe inquiries when the amendments to the constitution should be submitted to a vote of the people, by what officers the election should be conducted, in what form and manner the amendments should be voted on, and when they should go into effect if adopted, read on the 12th of February instant.
Mr. BELL said, that he had some time since submitted a resolution on this subject, and which was in the following terms:
Resolved, That the amendments to the constitution agreed to by the convention, ough? not to be submitted to the people as a single proposition, to be approved or disapproved, but the same ought to be classified according to the subject matter, and submitted as sev. eral and distinct propositions, so that an opportunity may be given to approve some and disapprove others, if a majority of the people see fit; and that a committee be appointed to report to the committee a classification of the amendments, and the manner in which the same shall be submitted to the people of this commonwealth.”
It is my inten'ion, continued Mr. B., 10 call this resolution up sidera'ion, but I do not desire, so 10 do at the present moment. The report of the committee on the schedule lias only been on my files a short time, and as it contains important principles on which we shouid not act hastily, I move that its further consideration be postponed until to-morrow morning.
Mr. WOODWARD said, that his motion to proceed to the consideration of this report at the present time, had been made at the desire of the presiding officer of the convention who would have to issue writs of election upon the last day of the session of the convention. The President was desirous of having these writs prepared, and, unless an early hour was fixed upon, there would not be proper time allowed for the purpose. Mr. W. thought this was a consideration which ought have some weight with gentlemen.
'T'he PRESIDENT said, this whole debate was out of order. And the motion of the gentleman from Chester, (Mr. Bell) was out of order, because the convention had not yet deternined to consider the report on the schedule.
Mr.; SCOTT-said, there was a third report from the committee on the schedule which had not yet been laid on the table, and he would suggest to the gentleman from Luzerne, (Mr. Woodward) to suspend his motion, until the report should be laid before the convention.
Mr. WooDWARD said, he had supposed it was not the intention to bring up the third report to which the gentleman from the city of Philadelphia, (Mr. Scott) alluded ; although he (Mr. W.) was aware that such a repor, was in contemplation. He had thought, however, that it was to be offered as an amendment and not as a separate report. He would not press liis motion, although he did not feel himself authorized to withdraw ii.
And the question having been taken. The motion to proceed to the second reading and consideration of the said report was agreed to.
The convention then adjourned.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 14, 1838.
There being no quoram present, a call of the convention was ordered, and continued, until it was ascertained that seventy-four members were present, when
On motion of Mr. FOULKROD, the further proceeding was dispensed with.
Mr. Cox, of Somerset, moved that the convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole, for the purpose of considering the report of the committee on the schedule to the amended constitution, which was read on the twelfth instant.
Mr. Cox expressed a hope, that gentlemen would see the propriety of going into a committee on the report. The framing of a schedule was very important. In ordinary cases it was not necessary, but where we were about to form an organic law for the people of the commonwealth, it ought to be well considered. If the convention did not go into committee of the whole on this report, it would have but one reading in fact, and, although of more importance than the amendments would
with less consideration. The time agreed on for taking the vote of the people may determine the fate of the amendment, whether rejected or agreed to, contrary to the opinion of the people. It was then due to the importance of the subject, that we should go into committee of the whole on the report, and then let it pass through a second reading.
Mr. DARLINGTON, of Chester, asked for the yeas and naye on this motion.