Page images

tatives of the United States of America , in Congress assembled, Two thirds of both Houses concurring, that in lieu of the third paragraph of the first section of the second article of the Constitution of the United States, the following be proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, * when ratified by three-fourths of the legislatures of the several states, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, to wit:

The ten first of the preceding amendments were proposed at the first session of the first Congress, of the United States, 25 September, 1789, and were finally ratified by the constitutional number of States, on the 15th day of December, 1791. The eleventh amendment was proposed at the first session of the third Congress, 5 March, 1794, and was declared in a message from the President of the United States to both houses of Congress, dated Sth January, 1798, to have been adopted by the constitutional number of States. The twelfth amendment was proposed at the first session of the eighth Congress, 12 December, 1803, and was adopted by the constitutional number of States in 1804, according to a public notice thereof by the Secretary of State, dated 25th September, of the same year.



1. The tables of Electoral votes for President and Vice President of the United States, commencing with page 37, presents an historical synopsis of the leading political sentiments of the American people, from the adoption of the Constitution to the present time, as indicated by the votes given for the distinguished individuals whose opinions were supposed to embody, from time to time, those sentiments, and a biographical notice of the individuals themselves; the statement of whose names alone will recal to memory their meritorious public services and exalted characters.

2. The table commencing with page 56, of the terms of office and length of service, in the Senate, of the Vice Presidents and Presidents pro tempore, may be supposed, generally, to shew, from time to time, the leading political sentiments of the majority of that honorable body, as indicated by the choice of Senators to occupy the station of President pro tempore, whose political sentiments were, at the time, well known. This table also shews the commencement and termination of, as well as the number of days in, each session of Congress and special session of the Senate, from the 4th March, 1789, to the termination of the first session of the twenty-ninth Congress, being the 10th of August, 1846.

3. The table commencing with page 64 shews the names, and the commencement and termination of the service, of every Senator of the United States, from the 4th March, 1789, to the 10th August, 1846, being the termination of the 1st session 29th Congress. A geographical, rather than an alphabetical, arrange. ment was preferred, for the reason that a regular succession may be traced in the service of the several classes of Senators of each State, from the commencement of the Government, or the admission of such State into the Union, to the present time.

This table practically illustrates that provision of the Constitution which directs the arrangement of the Senators into three classes, whose terms of service expire alternately every two years, exhibiting the progressive application of the principle to the Senators from new States as they become qualified, by which the three classes are preserved equal in number, or as nearly so as practicable-one-third being elected biennially, and two-thirds being, at all times, prepared to attend the call of their country for the transaction of Legislative, Executive, or Judicial business; or, indeed, by a provident arrangement of the State Legislatures (as is the prevailing practice) in re-electing the Senators whose terms of service are about to expire, or electing others in anticipation of vacancies,

the Senate may preserve a continued existence in full force.

4. The table commencing with page 105, exhibits the names and terms of service of the Representatives in Congress who have been elected to, and have occupied, the distinguished station of Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, from the 4th March, 1789, to the 10th August, 1846, and the names of the States of which they were Representatives.

The second and fourth tables embrace the names of all those individuals who have occupied the stations of Vice President, President pro tempore, and Speaker of the House of Representatives; the occupants of which offices have been constituted a reserve corps by the provisions of the Constitution, and of the act of Congress of the 1st March, 1792, in the order in which they are here mentioned, to fill the office of President of the United States, in the event of its becoming vacant by any of the casualties enumerated in the Constitution. Hence has arisen the practice of the Vice President's retiring from the Chair of the Senate a short time previous to the adjournment of each session, with the view of affording the Senate an opportunity of choosing a President pro tempore, who, according to the prevailing practice, would hold that office until the reappearance of the Vice President in the Senate; and, should any casualty deprive the country of the services of the President, and Vice Presont acting as President, during the recess of Congrass, the President pro tempore so chosen, according to the prevailing understanding, would be prepared to ocupy that office until a President could be elected; which office would otherwise, however, devolve on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, should the vacancy happen during the existence of a Congress; but should there be no President pro tempore, and the vacancy occur during a recess, after the expiration of one Congress and previous to the assembling of another, while there was no Speaker, there would then be no officer to fill that high and responsible station.

These tables may afford a useful suggestion of the importance of preserving the biography of distinguished citizens who may have been, or may be called to important public stations, with a view of extending the practical political history of the country, which, perhaps, could not be more effectually developed than by a faithful delineation of the characters, principles, and acts of the American statesmen, whose wisdom and patriotism have elevated the character of the Republic, and will continue to guide its destinies, as it is fervently hoped, through the long vista of ages to the consummation of time.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »