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car he might become embarrassed, confused, and unintelligible. Mr. D. said that gentlemen on the other side had based all their arguments upon the assumption that the introduction of the district system into the place of the general-ticket system was only altering the “manner of holding elections.” Thus far he had admitted that the “manner of holding elections” embraced in its meaning the institution of the one or other plan. The admission had been made for the sake of argument solely, in order that gentlemen raight be met and refuted upon their own ground. He came now utterly to deny that the division of the States into districts was included in the term “manner of holding elections.” He contended that the division of a State into districts equal in number to the number of representatives to be elected, and the assignment of one member to be elected from each district, was not a regulation of the “manner of holding the election,” but an apportionment of the quota of members among the people of the State. Such was the view entertained by the framers of the amended constitution in our own State, (said Mr. i),) as you very well know, Mr. Speaker; for you were of that body, and shared in their deliberations. It was not once hinted or suggested that the power of Congress to , alter the “manner of holding elections,” authorized the division of the State into districts for the election of one Imember from each district. It was mot questioned that Congress might and ought to apportion representatives among the several States, according to Some fixed and uniform ratio, applied to their numbers, to be determined in the mode designated in the constitution, But here the apportionment ceases, so far as the power of Congress can affect it, A common divisor is applied to the federal numbers of each State, the result is ascertained, and by law a certain number is apportioned to each. “These members who have been thus apportioned have been chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State are to have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most ourmerous branch of the State legislato re. The language of the constitution looks to the apportionment, simply, of a certain number to each State, to be chosen by the people. From the words of the constitution no inference can be drawn that a division of the number to which each State might be entitled, was intended to be confided to Congress. As to the choice of the members, reference is made by the constitution to the people aggregately, as also to the electors qualified to vote. The authority is not expressly given (nor can it be fairly implied) to subdivide the people and the territory of the several States into election districts, restricting the electors therein to a single vote for one member. On the Contrary, Congress, under a strict construction of the terms used in the constitution, must regard the whole number of members, parcelled to each State, subject to the choice of the people, the undivided people; and that in the actual choice, the electors generally, without restraint or limitation, have the right to vote for the whole number. Each elector, in the eye of Congress, so far as its own apportionment is concerned, has an equal, common, and undivided right to participate in the election of each—of all. Congress can find no warrantin the constitution to impair, abridge, alter, or subdivide this collective and general right of the electors; but it remains for the States themselves to provide for the exercise of the elective franchise,

by the electors generally, each eiector voting for the whole number; or to apportion the number among subdivisions of the State, securing the election of all by providing for the election of each separately, the electors of each subdivision or district being restricted to the choice of a single member. And whilst the power to apportion the number of each State among the people thereof, and to divide the State into districts for the better accomplishment of that purpose, is denied to Congress, it is readily conceded to the State legislatures. The State legislatures have full power to provide for giving effect to the right of the people to choose their representatives. The people, through the legitimate organ of their will—their general assembly—may decide to elect the representatives to which the State is entitled by the general aggregate voice of the electors; or, through the same channel, may agree and consent to apportion the number among themselves, and provide for the election of each member separately, from a defined district of the State, by the qualified electors thereof. And such authority is neither derived from the federal constitution or limited, or in any wise regulated by that instrument. The provision that “the times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof.” confers no power, not be-, fore possessed by the legislatures; nor does it profess or intend to enumerate all the cases and particulars embraced in the general legislative power of the States over the subject of the elections of members of Congress. It enjoins the duty specifically to exercise the power already possessed to prescribe the times, places, and manner of holding elections, because this enumeration and this injunction make more clear and intelligible the ultimate power given to Congress to supervise the State legislation in these enumerated cases. In this manner could be better expressed the extent of the powcrgiven to Congress to alter at any time, by law, such regulations as the States might make to prescribe the times, places, and manner of holding elections; or to make such regulations as the State legis. letures were enjoined to make, in case they should fail or neglect altogether to make them. The conclusion reached is, that dividing the State into dis. tricts is not any part of the manner of holding elec. tions and that therefore Congress is not empower. cd to make or alter the district system; that the States have the right, if they so will it, to elect their representatives to Congress by general ticket, and that Congress cannot interfere to prohibit it, destroy it, change or modify it; that the substitution of the district system for the plan of the general ticket, is essentially and truly an apportionment of members among specified districts: which the legislatures may rightfully make, but which Congress cannot prescribe or command; and cannot make, alter, or modify such apportion mant. The view which he had taken, (said Mr. D.,) and the construction he maintained, was abundantly sus. tained by a provision in the amended constitution of his own State, (Virginia,) adopted in convention on the 14th day of January, 1830, and subsequently ratified by a solemn and deliberate vote of the people. The provision referred to is the sixth section of the third article, and is in these words: “'The whole number of members to which the State may, at any time, be entitled in the House of Representatives of the United States, shall be apportioned, as nearly as may be, amongst the several

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counties, cities, boroughs, and towns of the State, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all their persons.” Although (said Mr. D.) his three colleagues, {Messrs. NEwton, Carlton, and SUMMERs, who had spoken on the other side, had, without reservation or doubt, admitted the right of Congress to establish the district system under the authority to alter the manner of holding elections, yet it was evident they had gone counter to the solemen act of the convention of the State, and of the deliberate affirmance and ratification thereof by the people in their sovereign capacity. It is a settled question—in Virginia at least;-it is not open to discussion. And (said Mr. D.) the opinions and actions of some of the illustrious men who composed that body, representing the sovereign people of the Commonwealth, and charged with the revision and amendment of their fundamental law, might well claim the respectful consideration of statesmen in every quarter of the confederacy. The people had an exalted veneration for their constitution adopted on the 29th day of June, 1776, with a bill of rights prefixed as the basis and foundation of government, unanimously adopted on the 12th day of June, 1776. They would not rashly assail that form of government which had announced them free and independent, even before the glorious declaration of the independence of the colonies, and which was identified with the revolutionary history, with the civil and military renown of their ancient Commonwealth. For the work of reformation, therefore, wherever it was practicable, high reputation, unSullied virtue, well-attested patriotism, acknowledged abilities, were selected. He hoped he would be excused for announcing the names of some of the members of that august body. Ex-Presidents Madison and Monroe, Chief Justice Marshall, Randolph, Tazewell, Leigh, Johnson, Giles, P. P. Bar. bour, Doddridge, Stamard, Upshur, the present President of the United States, members of the Supreme Court of the State, and many others of fame and distinction, were members of that body. With these, were associated others of minor fame and distinction: of the latter class he was himself an humble coroponent. Take out of the meaning of the phrase, “manYer of holding elections,” the district system,-and still you leave sufficient matter upon which it may operate. Here is a volume of the laws of Virginia, passed at the very first session of the legislature after the adoption of the amended constitution, containing the provision which has been cited. The volume opens with the constitution; and the first act in it, is an act concerning the general elections of the Commonwealth. The times, places, and manher of holding the elections are therein prescribed. But under these heads is no provision for arranging the congressional districts. That is a matter of separate and specific enactment. The manner of holding the elections is, however, fully and distinctly prescribed. The proper officers for superintending and conducting the elections are designated; their duties are prescribed, as also the oaths to be taken for their faithful discharge. Penalties are visited on them for corrupt practices, or neglect of duty. The form and ceremony of receiving and registering $he votes, and the mode of testing and ascertaining the qualifications of electors, are pointed out. The manner of comparing the polls, the meet

ing of the officers to sum up the whole number of votes, the mode of proclaiming the result, the form of the return to be made, the time within which it shall be made, all essentially belong to the manner of holding elections. Holding the election is one thing; whether the elector shall vote for one or all the representatives is another and very different thing. Whether the elector may vote for one repreentative or for all, need not affect the manner of holding the election. The number to be voted for does not constitute any part of the manner of hoid. ing the election. It is not the manner of holding the election which confers the right to vote; the right to vote is fixed by the constitution and the law. The manner of holding the election is the same, whether the right to vote be exercised in favor of a single individual or a plural number. He would remind his colleague [Mr. CHILTON]—who had spoken in high terms of commendation of the act of Congress—that the election was held in the same manner in Loudon (where each elector voted for three delegates) as in the little county of Greensville, where each elector voted for one only, But (said Mr. D.) give to Congress, under serablance of the right to alter the manner of holding elections, the power to lay off the States into districts, and you thereby draw within the vortex of federal legislation, subjects which surely could not have been contemplated by the framers of the constitation, or by the people of the States who severally ratified it. Laying off the States into districts, includes the right of territorial subdivisions, without reference to existing boundaries of counties or townships—without reference to population, or local interests. Federal numbers regulate the apportionment of members among the States; but such rule would not necessarily bind Congress in an arrange. ment of districts. An attempt might be made to apply a basis of numbers to the district system, variant from that applied to the States. Such. attempt to arrange the districts upon a different rule of numbers from that applied to the States, would produce excitement and alarm, and would open the door to the discussion of slavery and abolition. The provision in the constitution of Virginia guards against all sectional dispute, and consecrates, within the State, the just and equitable compromise contained in the constitution. if the division of a State into districts be included within the meaning of the term “manner of holding elections,” then the district system may be applied to the election of senators, by Congress. Congress has the same power of altering the time, or manner of holding elections for senators, as it has in the case of representatives. It may well be conceived that Congress might alter the manner of holding the election of senators, so far as to direct a joint vote of the two branches, instead of a concurrent vote, and vice versa; and might direct the votes of members of the legislature to be given by bailot or viva voce. Such alterations would be intelligible and operative. But a division of the State into two districts for the election of senators would be afarna. ing in principle, but for the fact that such division could in no way affect the election of senators, and would necessarily and unavoidably be utterly inoperative. The division of a State, in reference to the election of senators, could it have any operation at all, would be a direct attack upon its sovereignty and integrity. It would be a flagrant attempt to break down the unity of the republic, to uproot the great fundamental doctrine that the people within the defined liraits of the State corapose an indepen

dent sovereign political community, who, in that high character, became parties to the compact of union, and in the same character secured equal representation in the Senate. The division of the State into districts in reference to the choice of senators, would squint ominously at the destruction of its sovereignty by degrading it into mere local compartments. Fortunately, however, the Senate of the United States is to comsist of two senators from each State, to be chosen by the legislature. In the choice of a senator, the legislature may look through the broad Himits of the Commonwealth, and cannot be restricted to the choice of a sectional representative. If the legislature may (and, indeed, cannot be restrained) select from any part of the State, without reference to local residence, it is manifest that the division of the State into districts would not, in the least, affect or control the election, and would be entirely null and void. Mr. D. thought he had conclusively established, that Congress had no rightful authority to establish districts, either for the election of representatives or §§§at Oğ,

Mr. Speaker, (said Mr. D., if any yet entertain doubt, that doubt should be given in favor of popular rights. An affirmance of the right of the representatives from these four States to hold their seats here, as duly elected, will be a decision in favor of State rights, in favor of popular representation, and in favor of o and quiet. Who can undertake to anticipate all the unpleasant consequences of disfranchising four States? Will they tamely submit to the expulsion of the whole representation of their free choice? Will other States yield passive obedience to obnoxious laws, which could not have been enacted if the four States could have been heard by their representatives? A decision in favor of the members elected, will accord with the great popular voice which has been already uttered on this momentous question. That voice, in indignant

tones, has sternly rebuked the action of the 27th

Congress, and passed unqualified condemnation on this deformed feature of the apportionment bilj. The second section is doomed. he threatened appeal to the people will but heighten their indignation, and bring down upon the authors and advocates of this odious assumption of power aggräwated condemnation,

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so the House of Representatives, JMarch 6, 1844–On and advancer.ept, requires such an exposé, in order:
the bill introduced by him to regulate the election to illustrate the absolute necessity of this bill becom -

of electors for President and Vice President and
members of Congress throughout the United

Mr. DUNCAN spoke as follows:

here is no higher duty we owe to ourselves, to
each other, and to our country, in whatever situa-
tion we may be placed, or whatever sphere in life
we may fill, than to understand the nature of our
government, and the civil institutions by which our
rights are to be maintained as citizens, and by which
our civil duties and obligations towards each other
are to be regulated. This duty is not more binding
upon us in a civil than in a political sense. It is indis-
pensable to a faithful discharge of our duties as pri-
vate citizens that we should understand the duties of
a citizen. Those duties involve a knowledge of the
legal and political restraints which civil government
throws upon us and brings us under. These civil
duties and obligations are common to, and binding
upon, all men in a state of organized society, what-
ever the form of government may be; but we, as
American citizens, in addition, to these duties, owe
some of a higher character which may more proper-
ly, be denominated political duties, which I contra-
distinguish from civil duties for the purpose of
illustration. Civil duties, and a knowledge of the
obligations which civil duties impose, appertain to
the subjects of a monarchy or an aristocracy. The
same civil duties, in proportion to the requisitions of
law, appertain to the citizens of a republican gov-
ernment; but owing to the fact that each individual
here is not only a citizen, but also a member of the re-
public, and a part of the law-making power, he owes
some higher duties than a mere citizen. Those
higher duties I call political duties. Obedience is the
duty of the humble subject of the monarchichal gov-
ernment, while command, is the prerogative of the
monarch; but in a republican government, the duties
of obedience and submission are united with the pre-

rogative to command, in the same person. Such is
the nature of our government. With us, no

man can be so low as to shake off the du-
ties of legal and constitutional submission; no
man can be so high as to be exempt from them.
No man can be so low (in crime excepied) as to ex-
cuse himself from a participation in the duties of
governing. No Inan can be so high as to transcend
exemption from the obligations and duties of the
most humble citizen, or to exercise powers in the
establishment of rules of civil conduct, not common
to each and every citizen, only as that power is del-
egated to him by the suffrage of those he represents,
in whatever official position he may occupy. And
this leads me to an exposé of the character of our.
government. That I do, not only in conformity with


g a law.
Sir, our government is a government of the peo-
ple. It was created by the people; it is sustained by
the people; and the people are the government, to
every political purpose and intent. And in these
consist the great and fundamental difference between
a republican (or democratic) form of government and
all others. I believe there are but three distinct
forms of government regarded as fundamental, viz:
a monarchical, an aristocratical, and a republicas,
form; all others are modifications, or mixtures of
those. All governments were republican in their
origin; no people ever were so blind to their own.
interests, and so regardless of their individual privi-
leges and natural rights, as to surrender them into
the hands of any one man or set of men, to dispense
them at his or their pleasure or caprice. I make
another assertion—that is, that man possesses air
the requisites for self-government; and to deny those
requisites is a slander on the human family, and a
base imputation on the Almighty. I also assert,
that no government ever fell by the corruptions of
the people. Why, then (it has been and will be
asked) have all republics fallen? Why have ail gov-
|ernments which depended upon the aggregate wis-
dom and stability of the people, failed? it is part
of my purpose, in my support of the present bill, to
answer these interrogatories. At present, I wish to
define and illustrate the character of our government;
and, for that purpose, to illustrate the principles of
other governments, and to expose the difference, to
the end that ours may be the better understood. '
A monarchical government is that which concen.
trates all power, legislative, judicial, and ministe-
rial, in the hands of a single individual. An aris-
tocracy is that form of government which places,
the same powers, and the same amount of power, in
the hands of a few individuals. Such governments
are called absolute monarchies, or absolute aristoc-

racies, as the case may be—absolute, because the
mass of the people have uo participation in making,
adjudicating upon, or executing the laws by which
they are governed. Their civil duties consist in
submission and obedience; prerogative duties in
commanding submissive obedience to the laws which
they have no hand in making, and submission and
obedience to the adjudication of laws, without any
part in the adjudication and submission, and obe-
dience to the execution of the laws, without any
share in the execution, only as the subjects of exe.
cution. In such governments, the people are a kind
of political automatons, without political will or vo-
lition, which move merely as they are moved by

the will of the laws which govern them, or the will
of him or them who make the laws. Such a peo-

a high duty which I owe as a citizen in common, ple may bear, in their external form, the image of
but as a representative; I do it not only because we their Maker for a time, but have the soul of Ba-
cannot too frequently refer to first principles, laam's ass; and in time will become asses both in
whether in a private or in an official capacity; but soul and body. A monarchy and an aristocracy
because the bill woodex consideration, in its defence Boy both assoe a representative character, by a.

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delegation of the prerogatives of law making, law adjudication, and law execution, which is most generally the case in extensive monarchies and aristoc

racies: but representative change does not change

the character of the government; it only operates to the ease of the monarch, or to those holding power in an aristocracy, not to the relief or enfranchisement of the people. Those who receive the delegation of such prerogatives, are the representatives of the original power; and it is his will, power, and interests, they are bound to promote—not the interests of the people. , And it is most generally the case, that representative monarchies and aristocracies are the 3aost oppressive of all governments; they increase taxation, and oppress still more by means of collection, without, in any particular, elevating the character or condition of the subject. But I have neither time nor space to pursue the investigation in detail; it is sufficient to say they are, both in their nature and practical operation, calculated to oppress the subject, and are worse than no government. I would prefer anarchy; i would rather die in idefence of my matural rights, than live a slave. A republican government, I repeat, is a government of #he people. The people and the government, in a political sense, are the same. I have said, in all repubfics, all political prerogatives belong to the people: this is literally true. Though our government is a representative damocracy, yet all power is in the hands of the people; and their representatives are but their agents, bound by their will, responsible to them, and removable at their will. He was impossible, at the cominencement, that out's could be any thing but a representative democracy; our population was too great, and our territory was too wide spread to admit of a simple democracy. The framers of our government were compelled to give his a representative democracy—that is, to authorize us to appoint agents to do that for us, which we, according to the fundamental principles of democracy, should have dome ourselves. Our ancestors, in the formation of our government, provided the means by which we should appoint our agents. The power and the means by which we appoint our political agents or representatives, is called the elective franchise. To define all of our free institutions which make up our proud and glorious political fabric, is foreign to my present purpose, nor does the Support of the present bill require such a range. There is one of our free institutions which I propose very briefly to discuss—I mean the elective franchise. That is one which, of all others, demands our attention, our consideration, and our especial guardianship. Of all our proud institutions, that is the proudest; of all our free institutions, that is the most valuable. It is

the soul and the body of our republic; it is the basis'

of our political fabric; it is the foundation of all our free institutions. Destroy it, and our government Hoses its name, and all our free institutions are annihilated. They become, in an instant, a part of the dust of other republics; and, with them, must be mumbered among the things that are not. The elective franchise is not only the arch of our own, and every other republic, and the main pillar of the temple of liberty, but it is the rule by which freedom is measured; for, just in proportion to the exercise of the elective franchise, so are any people free and sovereign. Freedom and the elective franchise are synonomous terms and handmaidens. The one has no abiding-place without the other. They walk hand in hand together; they live together; they die

*ogether. The framers of our government were so.

and fundamental principle of the government.

conscious of the vast importance of the elective franchise, that they interwove it in the political institutions of our country in such a manner that it could not be destroyed without bringing ruin upon all others. Our ancestors had a right to expect that this franchise, which was purchased with the blood

# thousands, and with the treasure of millions, would be appreciated as a rich legacy—would never be squandered. They had a right to suppose that those moral, political, and patriotic obligations and sacred covenants which descended upon their posterity, would forever be a secure guaranty against all innovations upon that sacred institution. They had a right to suppose that no son of theirs would be so prodigal and reckless as to squander that lega

cy which was to provide peace, happiness, freedom, and independence to millions, and for all time. They had a right to hope that

no wretch would be found base enough to corrupt that franchise upon whose purity depended the duration of all the free institutions purchased with their blood and their treasure. But, not comtent with that hope and that confidence which they had a right to indulge—not content with the obligations of patriotism upon those who were to inherit the rich legacy of their toil, they superseded religion and morality. They interwove, in the official duties of all who were to have the safe keeping of the elective franchise, a solemn oath. They required the individual whom choice or the law was to select to guard the purity of the elective franchise, to appear at the throne of the Judge of the living and the dead, and in His presence and in His name to bind themselves to permit no unhallowed foot to tread upon that sacred franchise. Such is the value of the elective franchise, and such are the means provided to defend and preserve it in its purity. But, in order that this sacred institution shali remain pure, and shali the more completely maintain all our other free institutions, our constitutions and laws have wisely defined the manner in which it shall be used, the time when it shall be used, the place where it shall be used, by whom it shall be used, and the circumstances under which it shall be used. A violation of any of those provisions is a violation of the constitutions and of the laws regulating the use of the elective franchise, and a corruption and violationof the franchise itself; and he who is guilty of it, is guilty of treason the most damgerous and aggravated; and if the sworn officer, whose duty it is to guard and defend that franchise, has wilfully or negligently permitted such violation, he is guilty of both treason and perjury. And upon the same principle, he who holds an office in corruption of the elective franchise, and in violation of the constitution, is equally guilty of treason, inasmuch as both are violations of a sacred AII 'republics have placed a high estimate on the elective franchise, and have imposed penalties for its violations and abuses in proportion to its magnitude. I believe in the Grecian States, in their republican days, a violation of the elective franchise was punished by death. It was also a penal offence for a . citizen of one State to vote in, or meddle with, the institutions of another. Such an offence was looked upon and punished as treason. It is so, and is and has been considered so, in every republic. An abuse of the elective franchise is a violation of a funda, mental principle of the government, and an attempt to overthrow the government itself. No institution. should be guarded with such jealous care as that

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