« PreviousContinue »
the court, no action was had by the legislature, and the matter passed over to the next session with other unfinished business. In the meantime, on the 2d of January 1794, a resolution was submitted in the U. S. Senate, proposing for adoption the eleventh amendment to the constitution; and on the 14th of the same month, the Senate adopted the resolution by a vote of 23 to 2. The Senators from Massachusetts and Vermont voted for the resolution, Messrs. Gallatin of Pennsylvania and Rutherford of New Jersey alone voting against it. The resolution was concurred in by the House. At the October session, 1794, the amendment was ratified by Vermont ; and Jan, 8 1798, it was declared by the President, in a message to the two Houses of Congress, to have been adopted by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT IN 1798, ON THE ELIGIBILITY OF CERTAIN FEDERAL OFFICERS.
STATE OF VERMONT. IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Oct. 12, 1798. The Speaker then laid before the house the communication from the Governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, alluded to in his Excellency's speech,3 which is in the words following, to wit.
"COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
BOSTON, July 12th, 1798.
"Sir,-The two branches of the Legislature of this Commonwealth, have thought it highly necessary that some constitutional barrier should be opposed, to the introduction of foreign influence into our National Councils; and have requested me to trausmit the enclosed resolutions to the supreme executive of the several states in the union, that the same may be submitted to the consideration of their respective Legislatures, in order that the constitution of the United States may be so amended as to effect more fully, the great objects for which it was designed.
"The legislature of this Commonwealth, strongly impressed with the necessity of the measure, have thought it expedient to take this preparatory step, and it is hoped, when the Legislature of the state over which you have the honor to preside, shall be in session, and contemplate the importance of the subject, this commonwealth will find itself greatly supported, by a concurrence in the measure.-To their wisdom it is submitted.
"I must take the liberty of requesting your Excellency, to inform me of the determination of the Legislature of your state upon the subject, as soon as it shall be known.
"I have the honor to be, With the highest respect, Your Excellency's very humble servant, INCREASE SUMNER.
"His Excellency Governor Tichenor."
"COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,
"IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, June 28th, '98. "Whereas it is highly expedient, that every constitutional barrier should be opposed, to the introduction of foreign influence, into our na
1 Benton's Abridgement of Debates in Congress. Vol. 1, pp. 445, 446. Printed Assembly Journal, 1794, p. 179.
See Appendix J, Governor's speech of 1798.
tional councils, and that the constitution of the United States should be so amended, as to effect and secure in the best manner, the great object for which it was designed:
Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives of this Commonwealth in the Congress of the United States, be and they hereby are requested to use their best endeavours, that Congress propose to the legislatures of the states, the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to wit: That (in addition to the other qualifications prescribed by the said Constitution,) no person shall be eligible as President, or Vice President of the United States, nor shall any person be a Senator or Representative in the Congress of the United States, except a natural born citizen, or unless he shall have been a resident in the United States, at the declaration of independence, and shall have continued either to reside within the same, or to be employed in its service, from that period to the time of his election.
"And whereas the spirit of amity and mutual concession, which produced the federal Constitution, ought always to be cultivated in the proposition and adoption of any amendments to the same:
"Resolved further, That in case the Senators and Representatives of this state in Congress, shall find that the amendment above proposed, is not perfectly conformable to the wishes and sentiments of a Constitutional majority, of both branches of the National Legislature, they are hereby empowered and requested so to modify the same, as to meet the sentiments of such majority. Provided however, and it is the opinion and wish of this Legislature, that any amendment, which may be agreed upon, should exclude at all events, from a seat in either branch of Congress, any person, who shall not have been actually naturalized at the time of making this amendment, and have been admitted a citizen of the United States, fourteen years at least, at the time of such election.
"Resolved, further, That his excellency the Governor, is hereby requested to communicate the foregoing resolves to the supreme executive of the several states, with a request, that the same may be submitted to the consideration of their respective Legislatures. And that the President of the senate, and speaker of this house, be requested forthwith to transmit the same to the senators and representatives of this state in Congress.
"Read and unanimously accepted. Sent up for concurrence.
EDWARD H. ROBBINS, Speaker. Read and unanimously concurred. SAMUEL PH LIPS, President. INCREASE SUMNER. Attest, JOHN AVERY, Secretary." Oct. 26 1798, the Vermont Assembly adopted the foregoing resolutions — yeas 152, nays 5.1
"IN SENATE, June 28th, 1798.
This proposition was made at a time when party spirit was strong throughout the country, and the second resolution was evidently suggested by the fact that Albert Gallatin had taken his seat in the United States Senate in 1793 when he had been a resident of the country less than fourteen years. His right was successfully resisted, he being unseated Feb. 28 1794, shortly after which he was elected to the House. Doubtless the resistance to Mr. Gallatin by the federalists brought the Jeffersonian Republican party into sympathy with Gallatin and hostility
Printed Assembly Journal for 1798, pp. 17-20, 103-105.
to the proposition of Massachusetts. The discussions of that time on this topic did result, however, in a more stringent naturalization act, in 1798, than had previously been passed.
TWELFTH AMENDMENT, SUBMITTED TO THE STATES IN 1803, AND RATIFIED IN 1804.
On the 18th of Oct. 1799, Gov. Tichenor laid before the Assembly resolutions of sundry States, and among them certain resolutions of New Hampshire on the mode of electing President and Vice President of the United States, which were referred to a committee. Nov. 5th, the committee reported in favor of the proposition; which report was accepted, and John W. Blake was appointed to report resolutions accordingly. On the same day he reported the following:
STATE OF VERMONT. Resolved, That the senators and representatives of this State, in Congress, be, and they are hereby requested to use thair best endeavors, that Congress propose to the legislatures of the several states the following amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to wit:
That the Electors of President and Vice President, in giving in their votes, shall respectively distinguish the person whom they desire to be President, from the one they desire to be Vice President, by annexing the words President, or Vice President, as the case may require, to the proper name voted for. And the person having the greatest number of votes for Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors chosen, shall be Vice President. And if there be no choice and two or more persons shall have the highest number of votes, and those equal, the senate shall immediately, by ballot, choose one of them for Vice President. And if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list, the senate shall in like manner choose the Vice President. But in choosing the Vice President the votes shall be taken by the states, the Senators from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.
And in case the Senators and Representatives of this state in Congress shall find that the aforesaid amendment is not conformable to the sentiments of a constitutional majority, of both branches of the national legislature, they are hereby requested so to modify the same as to meet the sentiments of such majority. Provided however, that any amendment which may be agreed upon shall oblige the electors to designate the person they desire to be President from the one they desire to be Vice President.
Resolved further, That his Excellency the Governor be, and he hereby is requested to communicate the foregoing resolve to the supreme executive of the several states; and also to transmit the same to the senators and representatives in Congress.
The question being put by yeas and nays, the resolutions were adopted by the House, 94 to 42, and the Governor and Council concurred. The purpose of this proposal was gained by the twelfth article of amendments to the constitution, which see. Senator Bradley of Vermont
advocated the proposition contained in these instructions, was a member of the committee of the Senate on the subject, and proposed and supported an amendment which is now a part of the constitution.-See Benton's Abridgement of the Debates of Congress, Vol. III, pp. 6, 7, 23, 24, 37.
In 1803, joint resolutions of instruction to the Vermont delegation in Congress, on this subject, were adopted.-See ante pp. 377-379. And Jan. 30 1804, the twelfth amendment was ratified by Vermont-in the Council unanimously, and in the House by a vote of 93 to 64.—See ante, pp. 399, 400, 402, 407; and printed Laws of Vermont, Feb. Session 1804, p. 4. Z. Thompson stated that in 1799 the Federalists voted in favor of this amendment, and the Jeffersonian Republicans against it; whereas in 1804 the votes of these parties were reversed.-See Thompson's Vermont, Part II, p. 92.
PROPOSALS FOR ELECTIONS of PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS, AND REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS, BY DISTRICTS.
Oct. 17 1801, Governor Tichenor communicated to the Legislature an amendment to the constitution proposed by the Legislature of Maryland, requiring the States to form electoral districts for the election, by the people, of Electors of President and Vice President, and Representatives in Congress. Oct. 19, on motion of Nathaniel Niles, the amendment as to Electors was adopted by a vote of 126 to 41; and that as to Representatives by a vote of 105 to 55.-See printed Assembly Journal of 1801, pp. 77-80, and 89-93. The Governor and Council concurred by a vote of 7 to 6.-See ante, pp. 308, 309. This amendment was not ratified by the requisite number of States.
LETTERS OF PUBLIC OFFICERS OF VERMONT, &c. 1791-1802.1
Samuel Knight to the General Assembly, on his appointment as Chief Justice.
WINDSOR October ye 19th. 1791. Sr I find myself wanting in words to express the warm feelings I have of gratitude towards this Honorable General Assembly for the undesarved Honor done me in appointing me Chief Judge of the Supreme Court. I am Convinced from the experiance I have [had] for two years past, that the office of Judge of the Supreme Court is attended with many and great Difficulties, and that the number of persons compleatly qualified to fill that place are very few among which number I cannot claim to be reckoned however considering the unanimity with which the Choice was made I have excepted the appointment notwithstanding the great Impediment it is to my other business and against my Intrest and the Intrest of those who I am under the strongest ties of human nature to provide for. allways esteeming it my greatest happiness to Serve my fellow men in that way which is most agreeable to them and am Determined however my abbilities may be Justly Doubted of that my Intigerity and Intentions to do right shall never be Justly questioned.
I am Sr your and the Honorable Assemblies most Obdt humble Sert SAMEL KNIGHT.
To Gideon Olin Esqr Speeker of the Honble House of Assembly.
Elijah Paine to the General Assembly, on his appointment as Judge of the Supreme Court.3
Sir My late election as one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, so far as it is a testimony of the Approbation of the Legislature of my con
'In most of the letters here printed, there is so high and just an appreciation of the dignity and responsibility of faithful public servants; so much modesty, courtesy, and gratitude in their authors, and evident consciousness of intended integrity and fidelity in every duty, as to make them examples not less worthy of imitation in this day than they were in theirs.
From the original, in Ms. Vt. State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 43.
From the original, in Ms. Vt. State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 42. ELIJAH PAINE was born in Brooklyn, Conn., Jan. 21, 1757, was son of Seth