Imágenes de páginas


This convention, in the name and by the authority of the people of this state, doth ordain, determine, and declare, that every bill which shall have passed the house of assembly, and the senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the governor; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections to that house in which it shall have originated; who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two thirds of the members present shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of the members present, it shall become a law. But in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of persons voting for and against the bill, shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively.

If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within ten days (Sunday excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the legislature by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless returned on the first day of the next meeting, afer the expiration of the said ten days.

GEN. TALLMADGE, moved, that the report be made the order of the day for to-morrow, and that the usual number of copies be printed for the use of the members.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER inquired what would be considered the usual number? He believed no precise number had been agreed on; and if not, he moved two hundred should hereafter be considered the usual number. Carried.

MR. FAIRLIE thought two hundred would not be sufficient, and moved a reconsideration of the vote, and that four hundred be considered the usual number. Lost. He then moved that three hundred be the number. Carried.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER remarked, that in most cases he thought one day was not sufficient time for deliberation, before acting on the reports, especially as they would not be printed in season for the use of the members. In the present case, however, he had no particular objection that the report just read should be made the order of the day for to-morrow, although he would not wish to have it established as a precedent.

GEN. TALLMADGE's motion was then agreed to.

MR. FAIRLIE Moved an adjournment. The committees would be engaged, and there would, probably, be no other business before the Convention to-day. COL. YOUNG wished the motion might be suspended for a moment; and moved that the journal of proceedings be printed in an octavo form, as being more convenient. Carried, and the secretary was directed to see that the order be complied with. Adjourned.


Prayer by the Rev. Mr. MAYER. The President then took his seat, and the minutes of yesterday were read and approved.

MR. SHARPE moved that the Convention rescive itself into a committee of the whole on the report of the committee relative to abolishing the Council of Revision. Mr. Root wished the motion suspended a moment, while he could present a report. To this Mr. Sharpe assented; and

GEN. ROOT, from the committee appointed on that part of the constitution which relates to the legislative year, asked leave to report by resolution, which was granted. The following report was then presented.

Resolved, That the following amendments ought to be made to the constitution of this state, to wit:

And be it further ordained by the people of this state, that the general election for governor, lieutenant-governor, senators and members of assembly, shall be held

at such a time in the month of October or November, as the legislature shall direct; and the persons so elected shall on the first day of January following, be entitled to the exercise of their respective functions in virtue of such elec


The governor and lieutenant-governor shall be elected annually, and the senators for three years.

The report having been read, was committed to a committee of the whole, and ordered to be printed.

GEN. TALLMADGE moved that it be made the special order of the day for to


MR. SHARPE could see no necessity of making this report the special business of to-morrow. Perhaps we shall not get through with the subject which has been made the special order for to-day.

MR. CRAMER also opposed the motion.

MR. HOGEBOOM thought the reports from the select committees ought to be taken up in the order in which they shall be presented to the Convention.

GEN. TALLMADGE wished some regular order should be established. He wished a regular calender of the business should be made; and by taking this course, when a call for the order of the day is made, we can take it up, or not, as may be expedient.

MR. CRAMER thought that the report ought not to be made a special order, until they could have time to examine, and see the substance of it.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER saw no necessity of making this report the order for to-morrow, or any other particular day, and wished that it should merely be referred to the committee of the whole, without limiting the time. There ought not to be a preference to any particular report, as in that way we shall fetter ourselves.

The motion for making the report the special order, was lost-only fourteen members rising in its favour.

MR. HOGEBOOM still hoped that the Convention would take up the business before it, in the order in which it would be presented for consideration by the respective committees, and made a motion to that effect.

MR. SHARPE was opposed to the motion. He hoped it would not be seconded. Should such a course be adopted, the convention would soon see the bad consequences resulting from it.


On motion of GEN. TALLMADGE, the Convention then resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the report of the committee presented yesterday for abolishing the third article of the constitution, (which provides for the council of revision,) and the amendment for placing a qualified veto in the hands of the governor-Mr. Huntington in the chair.

The report of the committee having been read,

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER called for the reading of the third article of the constitution, now proposed to be abolished, which was read accordingly in the words following:

3. And whereas laws inconsistent with the spirit of this constitution, or with the public good, may be hastily and unadvisedly passed: be it ordained, that the governor for the time being, the chancellor, and the judges of the supreme court, or any two of them, together with the governor, shall be, and hereby are, constituted a council to revise all bills about to he passed into laws by the legislature. And for that purpose shall assemble themselves, from time to time, when the legislature shall be convened; for which, nevertheless, they shall not receive any salary or consideration under any pretence whatever. And that all bills which have passed the senate or assembly shall, before they become laws, be presented to the said council, for their revisal and consideration; and if upon such revision and consideration, it should appear improper to the said council, or a majority of them, that the said bill should become a law of this state, that they return the same, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the senate or house of

assembly, in whichsoever the same shall have originated, who shall enter the objections sent down by the council, at large, in their minutes, and proceed to reconsider the said bill. But if after such reconsideration, two thirds of the said senate, or house of assembly, shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of the members present, shall be a law.

GEN. TALLMADGE briefly explained the views of the committee. The detail of the opinions entertained by the committee, why the council of revision ought to be abolished, was intentionally and very fortunately omitted. It was proper, however, now to communicate to this committee, that the committee of which he had the honour of being chairman, was unanimously of the opinion, that the principles of good government require that the legislative and judicial departments should be kept entirely distinct. The committee were likewise of the opinion, that a veto should be preserved; and in fixing upon the plan to be adopted they have resorted to the constitution of the United States, and copied the plain and simple language of that instrument. But in the concluding clause, the committee have preserved the spirit of that part of the third article of our constitution, which provided that bills not returned within ten days, should become laws in like manner as if they had been passed by the council of revision, or the power in which the veto is lodged. Mr. Tallmadge extended his remarks somewhat further; but he was not distinctly heard.

MR. JAY wished to have the phraseology of the resolution prefixed to the amendment proposed by the committee, amended. It now reads " Resolved, that the third article of the constitution of this state, be, and the same is hereby abolished." He presumed it was not the intention of the Convention at once to abolish the constitution: and concluded by moving to alter the resolution so as to make it read "ought to be abolished." This amendment was adopted.

COL. YOUNG moved that the resolution be so amended as to read-" Resolved, that the council of revision, provided by the third article of the constitution ought to be abolished." The object of the resolution would then be distinctly understood.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER opposed the motion, as he considered the resolution proper as it now stood.

MR. DUER suggested a variation of the amendment, so as to make it read-Resolved, that the third article of the constitution organizing the council of revision, ought to be abolished."

MR. SHARPE Would submit whether the following would not read better"Resolved, that the third aticle of the constitution ought to be amended as follows:"

MR. VAN BUREN thought too much importance was attached to the phraseology of the resolution. The object of this was only to ascertain the sense of the Convention in regard to this feature of the constitution. He was of the opinion that the time of the Convention could be better occupied than in discussing the form in which the resolution should stand. He had no particular objection to the amendments proposed, but he considered them unnecessary.

GEN. TALLMADGE. It is proper that this committee be informed as to the views of the select committee on this subject, which were to abolish the third article, and substitute the amendment; and they have accordingly presented it in the form of two distinct propositions-the one to abolish, and the other to amend.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER. The object now is, merely to take the sense of the committee; to have the question distinctly stated and settled. It is not therefore worth while to be fastidious as to the form of the resolution. After the amendments are agreed upon, they will all be put into a suitable form and properly arranged, by a committee which will be appointed for that purpose.

MR. SHARPE withdrew his amendment, and the question was taken on that proposed by Col. Young, which was negatived.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER remarked, that the Convention had been informed by the chairman of the standing committee, upon that part of the constitution relating to the council of revision, that they were unanimously of the opinion, that the judicial and legislative departments of government ought not to be mingled or exercised in conjunction; and likewise, that they had thought pro per to recommend to this Convention to abolish the third article of the constitution, as it now stands. He thought the principle a sound one, and might be extended further than it is carried in the report-that the executive, judicial, and legislative powers ought to be kept separate. We find this to be a fundamental principle in most of the constitutions of the United States; and we also find that in most instances, it has not been strictly preserved.

With regard to the proposition to abolish the council of revision, it might appear indelicate for him, situated as he was, to express his opinion on that subject; but he should throw himself upon the liberality of this body, and upon this, as on other topics, express his sentiments with the utmost freedom. He was willing that his conduct should be tested by the votes he should give on every question that might come before this body. He trusted he should never shrink from a faithful discharge of his duty; and he should never be backward to assign the reasons of his vote.

The duties enjoined by the constitution on the judiciary, as members of the council of revision, were arduous and painful; duties, from which they would gladly be relieved. The office of member of the council was an invidious one, which no judge would be anxious to perform.

When we are called on by a resolution to amend the constitution, under which we have lived almost half a century, it is incumbent on those, who offered the resolution, to explain the reasons, why such an amendment should be nade. He should not go into an examination of the alteration proposed.— He thought with the committee, that it was all important there should be some check provided upon the legislative power; and he was also decided in the opinion, that this check ought to be lodged with some firm, independent, and safe depository.

The Chief Justice here adverted to the important functions of the council of revision, and read from the constitution a part of the third article, and explained the important duties assigned to this department of the government.Facts would justify him in stating, that laws had frequently been hastily and unadvisedly made, and that the powers of the council had often been usefully exercised. In most cases, he believed, the acts of the council had met the decided approbation of the legislature, and the utility of such a revisory power had thus been acknowledged.

He was not opposed to the proposition reported by the committee, nor did he rise to speak against it-he thought the alteration necessary, and he would explain the conditions on which he would agree to it. He had already remarked, that in framing this article of the constitution, it was considered important, that this power should be deposited in independent hands. It was supposed that the governor was not alone sufficiently firm, to resist the will of the legisla ture. He believed this idea to be correct; and if an amendment in this part of the constitution should be adopted, he should make it an indispensable condition of giving his vote in its favour, that the revisory power be placed in the kands of a depository who was not dependent on the legislature.

The gentleman had stated, that the provision, as offered in the proposed amendment, was copied from the constitution of the United States. He did not believe the revisory power, deposited with the national executive, had ever been abused.

If instances of such abuse had occurred, they were rare, and had given rise to no serious complaints. But there was a wide difference between the executive of the United States, and the executive of this state. The President of the United States is elected for four years-the governor of this state, for only three. The federal constitution provides an annual salary for the president, and expressly states that it shall not be increased or diminished. We have no

such clause in our constitution; and the governor is left entirely dependent on the legislature for his salary.

He should therefore vote for this proposition under the express reservation, that the amendment shall be accompanied with a provision hereafter, that the governor of this state shall be placed in a situation, whereby he shall be rendered so far independent of the legislature, as not to depend on their will for his daily bread; since such a state of dependence might render him subservient to their wishes.

He was sensible that there were many forcible reasons, why the judicial should not interfere with the legislative department. It was a point which had often been urged by enlightened writers on constitutions of civil government. Without going into a consideration of these reasons, he was willing to vote for the resolution with an understanding, that such a provision as he had mentioned, should be inserted in the constitution.

GEN. ROOT called for the ayes and noes on the question of adopting the resolution.

MR. VAN BUREN. There will be many questions which will probably pass nearly unanimously. It will therefore be proper to have the ayes and noes taken, that the names of the members may be recorded. He therefore would second the call.

MR. FAIRLIE thought the amendment proposed by the committee ought first to be considered. Should that be adopted, it would then be proper to take up the resolution for abolishing the third article of the constitution. If this committee shall not agree to the amendment proposed, or any other, then we shall have abolished the third article of the constitution without having a substitute. The question on the resolution was then taken by ayes and noes, and it was adopted, (with Mr. Jay's amendment) unanimously; 121 members being pre


The amendment proposed by the committee was then again read.
MR. WHEELER moved that the committee rise and report.

Mr. Van BureN. If any proposition by way of amendment or substitute is to be offered, it had better be done in committee of the whole. He was not aware that any was to be offered. He hoped, however, that the committee would not rise.

COL. YOUNG moved to amend the report of the committee, by striking out of the two last lines the words, "after the expiration of the said ten days." They were tautological. Carried.

MR. JAY, after a few remarks, in which he stated that there was a provision of the kind in the constitution of the United States, moved to add the following by way of amendment, to the substitute for the third article proposed by the committee:

"And every order, resolution or vote, to which the concurrence of the senate and assembly may be necessary, (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the governor, and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the senate and house of assembly, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill."

MR. JAY wished it to lie on the table for consideration.

GEN. TALLMADGE suggested a verbal alteration, which was assented to by Mr. Jay.

COL. YOUNG hoped that the proposed amendment would not be adopted, because it would embarrass the proceedings of the legislature. He stated several inconveniencies which would in his opinion result from having every joint resolution of the two branches of the legislature submitted to the executive.

CHIEF JUSTICE SPENCER did not believe the amendment necessary. A joint resolution is here never considered as a law. Mr. S. pointed out the difference between the cases, and the inapplicability of the provision in the constitution of the United States. It might be well to have a provision in the constitution, declaring that no money should be drawn from the treasury on the authority oi

« AnteriorContinuar »