Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Mar 28, 1834.]

Kentucky Election.

[H. OF R.

to a seat.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

admite? by the committee opposed to Mr. Letcher's right the common concerns of life, and ordinary transactions of

The gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Jones) says business, day is distinguished from night, the one the time himself the votes of the deaf and dumb are good, but my of light, the other the time of darkness. When we emfriend from Louisville (Mr. Pope] says these yotes are ploy a laborer to do the work of day, we do not mean bad, which is only a difference, as there is between a lit- that he is to work all night; and when we speak of a day tle* lawyer and a big one. With regard to the opening of in the business of life, we mean from the rising of the sun the polls in Garrard county, before ten o'clock on the in the morning, until in the evening of its going down; first morning of the election, about which so much has and as an election is a business of great importance, no been said, I can say, with justice to myself, so far as my one can suppose it was ever intended that the people knowledge extends, the practice in Kentucky has been to should assemble in the time of darkness to perform this open the polls before that time, when convenience re- sacred public duty. According to this mode of reasoning, quired it. Such is the case in my own county, and I am the whole day is given by the constitution, from sun to informed of the surrounding counties. The people and sun, and cannot be restricted for the purpose of holding the officers who conduct elections, have put that construc- an election. The next inquiry is, how shall it be contion upon the law and constitution relative to the subject, ducted? The law provides that “ the justices of the sevand the correctness of which I never doubted. But the eral county courts shall, at their courts next preceding gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Jones] contends that the the first Monday in August, in every year, appoint two of House has nothing to do with the practice of Kentucky, their own body as judges of the election, then next ensu. but is to decide according to the laws and constitution of ing; and also a proper person to act as clerk.” And the State. Does he not know that the decisions of a State, again, “in case the county court shall fail to make such made upon the construction to be given to its owns stat- appointments, or the persons appointed, or any of them, utes, are always followed by the General Government, fail to attend, the sheriff shall, immediately preceding that whatever construction may be given by State tribu- every election, appoint proper persons to act in their nals upon statutes of that State, will be sustained and adopt- stead." And again, “ the sheriff, or other presiding offi. ed in the Supreme Court of the United States? This is a cer, shall, on the day of every election, open the polls by principle which must be familiar to his mind, and one 10 o'clock in the morning.” Now, the whole day being which it seems he did not notice. This is unpardonable. given by the constitution, as I think I have clearly shown, He is not a buck-eye-a term well understood in Ken- and it being the duty of the sheriff, or other officer, to lucky—but evidently one of the ablest lawyers in this open the polls, if the other officers do not attend, can the House.. I cannot excuse him. I intend to deal with my sheriff proceed to fill the place of the absentees? Beyond friends in the opposition, both jointly and severally, with a doubt; for such are the very words of the law. But it candor, freedom, and good humor; knowing that it would is contended that, before he can open the polls, the jusnot do to lose my temper, being but a small man, hoping tices appointed by the court must be in attendance. What they will receive my remarks with the same good feeling is the law? It does not say that the opening of the polls with which they are given. All must admit that the prac- shall be directed by the justices, or that they shall be tice of Kentucky in opening the polls before ten o'clock, present; that duty devolves not on them, but on the sheriff has put a construction which must be followed by the alone, or other presiding officer. It is clear that he has House.

the only right by express direction, and having the right, But it is contended that the sheriff has no power, be- it would be strange, indeed, that he could open the poll, fore 10 o'clock, to open the polls, unless the judges ap- but the election could not progress; that he could begin pointed by the court do attend; and, if they should be ab- the work, but could not go on with the work; that he sent, he cannot appoint others in their stead. What is should proclaim, Come and vote, yet nobody could lawthe conssitution and law upon the subject? The constitu- fully give a vote, notwithstanding voters should stand tion of the United States says, “the House of Repre- pressing at the polls, and the sheriff having the express tentatives shall be composed of members chosen every right of appointing persons to act in the stead of those second year, by the people of the several States." The failing to attend. Voters go to the polls before 10 o'clock, manner of electing the representatives belongs to the for their own convenience; they demand of the sheriff to States to fix and determine. The constitution of Ken- perform bis duty. He alone can open the poll--the offi. tucky, 3d section of the 2d article, provides that "repre-cers are absent-he sees in the law how he should act; in sentatives shall be chosen on the first Monday in August such a case, what shall he do? His duty is plain—to obey of each year, but the election shall continue three days, at the express direction of the law and the constitution, and the request of any candidate.” It is then clear that the the command of the sovereign people, time when to commence, and length of time to continue But the gentleman from Louisville (Mr. POPE] says the an election, is fixed by the express provisions of the con- time of voting for members of Congress is fixed by law, stitution; and, if so, equally clear that no law can be en- and not by the constitution of Kentucky; which, he conacted by the Legislature of the State to alter or restrict tends, only relates to representatives to the Legislature of the time. The first Monday in August is fixed, and the the State, and that the Legislature could limit the time of Legislature could not limit only part of the day for con- voting to only one hour of the day. This is strange doctinuing the poll, inasmuch as such a law would be wholly trine. I suppose no other gentleman but himself enterinconstitutional and void, and not even binding on the tains this opinion, as I have not heard it expressed before; ministerial officer, who is always bound to observe the but as it comes from one who ought to know something of constitution at his peril

. If the Legislature could restrict the constitution of Kentucky, it deserves a notice. In the the time to 10, or any other given bour, it could narrow first place, the constitution of the United States says, as I the time to the shortest possible period, and not only de- have read before, “representatives to Congress shall be feat the spirit, but also the letter of the clause referred to. chosen every two years;" and the constitution of Kentucky, But it is contended that, if the whole day is meant to be just referred to, declares that representatves shall be given, the polls could be opened at 1 o'clock in the morn-chosen on the first Monday in August,” &c. Now, what ing, or any other time after midnight. This construction representatives are here alluded to in this latter clause? is unreasonable, and not the evident meaning of the lan. Certainly all that are to be chosen; the expression is genequage used. Astronomers and almanac-makers speak of ral and comprehensive, and not confined to any particular days as consisting of 24 hours; but in common parlance, in class. The term cannot be restricted to the members of

the State Legislature, because, when those of the State • Meaning young lawyer.

alone are mentioned, different language is used, as sec.

H. OF R.]

Kentucky Election.

[May 28, 1834.

tion 5th - elections for representatives for the several He is one who is acting in office without having a legal counties entitled to representation, shall be holden at the appointment; but whilst in office, his acts are good as places of holding their respective courts,” &c. This latter concerns the public and third persons. Those of an clause shows that the terms are embraced in the general officer de jure are good against all the world. The term of the former; but the former is not restricted to the validity of the acts of an officer de facto are expressly latter, it is plain, because different expressions, not synony- recognised by the decisions of the supreme court of the mous, must mean different things, and convey different state of New York; for the truth of which, I appeal to ideas to the mind; and when the constitution speaks alone an honorable gentleman who is himself an able lawyerof representatives to the Legislature, the language is used I do not mean the gentleman before the Speaker's chair, according to the latter clause, specifically pointing out (Mr. VANDERPOEL,] but him who occupies the seat to representatives for the several counties; and then, again, my right, (Mr. BEARDSLEY.) I suppose I am right the clause recited concerning the qualifications of voters, when I call him lawyer. I judge from his very able speaks emphatically, that every citizen, having the said speech on the deposite question; although I differed qualifications, shall enjoy the right of an elcctor in all from him in every particular, he certainly searched the elections for representatives. Now, according to the three departments very closely, though some have said construction of the honorable gentleman, this latter ex- he was quite unfortunate in some few expressions, I pression does not include a representative to Congress, mean "perish credit, perish commerce;" but be that as but must mean a representative to the Legislature of the it may, it was certainly very wanton, yea, cruel, for tlie State; which would narrow down the meaning so as editors of newspapers to attack a member of Congress, to exclude State senators, governors, and lieutenant because, in the heat and fury of debate, he happened to governors; and from this argument the qualification of get hold of a few wrong words; but, perhaps, to revoters for these latter officers could be qualified and lieve the honorable gentleman from unnecessary trouble, changed by the Legislature just as they pleased; whilst I had better read the extract: that of the former would be permanently fixed, which “ Acts of an officer de faclo, who comes into office by would certainly be a strange state of things indeed. But color of title, are valid as it concerns the public or third it is plain that such reasoning is unsound, and the evi- persons who have an interest in his acts Johns. Reps. dent meaning of the expression, representative, as used p. 549." The gentleman from Kinderhook [Mr. VAN. throughout, is a word of general import, relating to all DERPOEL] has argued that, in this case, the sheriff of public agents chosen by the people at the general elec- Garrard county had no power under the law to make tions. If these considerations are duly weighed, I think an appointment before ten o'clock; that the power the gentleman will not persist farther with his doctrine being contingent was improperly exercised; and, conseof legislative restriction. It is now contended by the op- quently, Grant was not å legal judge; and from these position, generally, that the votes taken in Garrard coun-premises he has laid down the broad proposition, that ty, on the first day of the election, before the hour of ten whenever a contingent power is to be exercised, it can o'clock, were illegally taken, and cannot be counted, never be exercised until the contingency happens; that, the greater part of which were given for Mr. Letcher. if it should, an officer's appointment would be illegal and This is a position which I deny. What are the facts as his acts absolutely void.” To grant the premises, I deny stated in the depositions? An election had been hela the conclusion; because it is at war with reason and the for trustees of the town of Garrard county; on the first settled laws of the land. The gentleman from Philadel. morning of the election, voters were at the polls insist. phia (Mr. BINNEY) touched on this subject, but I proing to vote early in the morning for fear a crowd would pose to investigate the subject a little farther. The genproduce the cholera, which had just prevailed with tleman (Mr. VANDERPOEL) has presented legal proposialmost unparalleled mortality. The officers all being tions, but no law, no book; why did he not? I suppose present, except Mr. Wheeler, one of the judges appoint- be is a considerable lawyer; but that is not sufficient, I ed by the court, the sheriff appointed Moses Grant, Esq. want other evidence. He says he has not examined into in his stead, and the polls were opened about nine the law since the question was made. And why! Time was o'clock in the morning; Grant agreeing to act only until given; several days have elapsed since the gentleman from Wheeler should arrive, having first taken the necessary Philadelphia addressed the House. The library is near oath. The inquiry is now presented, What is a proper at hand, quite convenient for him at any time; and yet he construction of the law as to the time of opening the says he bas not examined into the law. That may be, but poll? The expression, by ten o'clock, shows, conclu- he has said enough to convince my mind that be either sively, that restriction of time was not intended; the does not understand the subject, or examined far enough preposition by, in the sense bere used, means at or be to find the law does not bear him out in his absurd posifore. This is merely a command to the officer, saying, tions. The gentleman does not stand alone in his doctrine You shall not delay the performance of your duties after of contingent power. I believe the same ground is taken that hour, leaving his discretion free to act before the by all who advocate that side of the question. As this is time in perfect accordance with the provision of the con- the foundation of all the arguments on this branch of the stitution, giving the whole day, as I think I have clearly subject, it deserves minute inquiry. demonstrated. This being the case, when Wheeler failed I will now present a case in point, decided in the court to attend, could the sheriff legally appoint Grant to act of appeals of Kentucky, which ought to be familiar to the in his stead? Most unequivocally; for such is the express mind of my colleague from Louisville, (Mr. Pope.] The authority given in such a case, as has been shown from case is, the justices of Jefferson county vs. Clark, reportthe law which I have read to the House. But to sup- ed in first Monro, page 82. The facts of the case were pose that I have been wrong in the positions which I these: the county court recommended Lawrence and have taken, and the gentlemen in the opposition are right Clark to the Governor of Kentucky, as fit persons, the when they say that the sheriff could not appoint before first to be commissioned a justice of the peace. Lawten o'clock, and that Grant was not a legal judge of the rence, who was commissioned, refused to accept the office, election, will these admissions prove that the votes taken and the governor without any further recommendation, are illegal and the election void? Certainly not. Gen-commissioned Clark a justice of the peace. The constitutlemen have not properly considered the difference be- tion of the Stale declares that, when a justice of the tween illegal officers and illegal acts; they seem entirely peace shall be needed in any county, the county court to have forgotten the validity of the acts of an officer de for the same shall recommend to the governor two perfacto, recognised by law. What is an officer de fac!o?) sons to fill the office, one of whom he shall appoint.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

After the appointment of Lawrence was made, it is plain o'clock, to attend the poll and take his seat as judge, witithat the governor had no power whatever to appoint out interfering with the sheriff's right to appoint before Clark on the same recommendation which bad performed that time; but be that as it may, whilst he acted as judge, its office. The court says: “It results, then, as under and was recognised as such, the same de facto principle the constitution the governor could appoint but one of applies to him with equal force, and it would be a great the persons recommended by the county court, and he hardship that, in the midst of an election, the people pressbad, in virtue of the recommendation in this instance, ap- ing to the polls must stop to inquire into the validity of pointed Lawrence, that the subsequent appointment of the appointment of all the officers who are performing Clark, on the same recommendation, was unconstitution- the several duties. The object of the election was the al

; and, if so, it is plain that Clark cannot have a legal benefit of the people themselves, and not that of Moore right to the office.' His official acts are no doubt valid; or Leteher. Can it be incumbent on the people to make for it has been repeatedly decided by this court that the such inquiry? Certainly not. If it should, how ridicuacts of an officer de facto are not void.”. Now this is a lous, how absurd. And such is the doctrine of gentle. case of contingent power. The governor had no author- men. Now let us test its practical effects. Suppose one ity to appoint unless through the means of another re- thousand men go to the polls to vote, as is contended, all commendation, (which is the contingency,) and baving must know whether all the officers have been appointed done so without authority, the appointment was unconsti- according to all the forms prescribed by law, each for tutional, and the person appointed had no legal right to himself: one will say it is all right, another it is all wrong; the office; yet his acts were recognised as an officer one will say I will vote, another will say I will not vote;

de facta, which destroys the position which the honora- one will say this is a legal judge, another will contend in 1 ble gentleman and his friends have taken.

opposition; and thus, in the midst of an election, the polls "Apply the principle of the case cited to the contingent must be stopped for unmeaning controversy, and the right power of the sheriff, and his appointment of Grant as a of suffrage end in riot and confusion. Yes, this is the judge of the election, and the principle established is, total sum and substance of the arguments of gentlemen, that, although Grant's appointment was not authorized by which they have endeavored, with so much zeal and aplaw, yet his acts are good so far as third persons and the parent earnestness, to press upon the good sense of this public are concerned; which is the very reverse of the House, for its serious and deliberate consideration. doctrine for which the gentleman has contended. If the I come now to discuss the legality of the votes taken on sheriff appoint only when the contingency shall have bap- the second day of the election, whilst the sheriff was abpened, the officer is at once de jure, and the gentleman sent from the poll. The facts are these: Kennedy, the has not shown us, in his reasoning, how an officer de facto sheriff

, left the poll, in consequence of the violent illness can exist at all, or be recognised in law. His position at of his wife, who shortly afterwards died, having first aponce destroys all idea of such an officer, which is quite pointed Spillman to attend the election in his stead. absurd.

Marksbury afterwards was appointed by the judges to The principles which I urge, I do not wish to prove by cry the votes, and who acted until the arrival of Yantis, argument, but by law, which the other side did not do the deputy sheriff. It is now contended that the votes in Bacon's Abridgment, title Offices and officers, the thus taken, amounting to some thirty or forty, shall be law is laid down thus: “Regularly a deputy cannot make rejected. The law which has been read, and the princia deputy; because it implies an assignment of his whole ples urged to sustain the votes whilst Grant was judge, power, which he cannot assign over, (note C.) for a dep- will apply with equal force to the person who attended uty being one only who is authorized himself, he cannot the poll

, and the votes taken whilst the sheriff was abdelegate that authurity; and if a deputy might make a sent. But I will examine some other principles; and the deputy, so such second deputy, and so ad infinitum, would question first occurs, Can the sheriff substitute one to act be highly inconvenient, (note D.) But when the deputy in bis stead, in any case whatever? If bis office were of a deputy of a collector, sitting in the custom-house judicial he could not. According to Bacon, “a judicial with other officers, his acts were held good as an officer officer, it is said, cannot make a deputy, unless he hath a de facto, though not de jure, and that it would be very clause in his patent to enable him, because his judgment hard to put those who have to do with custom-house offi- is relied on in matters relating to his office." But the cers to inquire into the legality of their institution.” sheriff, being a ministerial officer, the case is different. Cro. Eliz. 534. Here, then, is the law: that a person being Thus says the same book: “It is held that the office of appointed by one having not even a contingent power of constable, being wholly ministerial, and no way judicial, appointment, was held to be an officer de facto, and the he may appoint a deputy to execute a warrant directed great reason is the sake of convenience and public justice. to him, when, by reason of sickness, absence, or otherThis law, when applied to the Garrard election, will prove wise, he cannot do it himself; for the public good rethat although Grant had no legal appointment, yet the quires that there should be always some officer ready at votes taken are valid, because it would be hard to put the hand to execute such warrants; and too rigorous a repeople voting at the polls to the necessity and incon- straint of the service of them to the proper officer, could renience of inquiring into the legality of his appointment. not but sometimes cause a failure of justice.” Here, The case put in the book is much stronger than the one then, in the case of this election, the sheriff's wife was before us, because the custom-house officer was appoint- taken sick, and the public good required that the election ed by one who at no time had the appointing power, and should not be delayed; and if the sheriff had not appointsuch are the principles as contained in the common law, ed some person in his stead during his necessary absence, which is common sense, and common sense is much better he would have been guilty of a breach of his duty, upon than political sense, as experience will prove to every the clearest principles of common law. He can always man. Suppose Grant had no legal authority, yet he act- appoint a deputy, by parol, being answerable for all his ed and was recognised by sheriff, judge, clerk, and the acts. But the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. JONES] consovereign people themselves, who went to the polls, and tends that the deputy must be sworn, and calls on the had their votes recorded in all the forms of law. But it is members from Kentucky to state if such is not the fact. contended, that if Grant could legally act, he should con- I answer that it is; but if he acts and is not sworn, what tinue until the end, and Wheeler's right being gone, then? In England, a deputy is required also to be sworn; Wheeler could not legally act as judge. No doubt a fair and a case in Bacon says: -- The high constable appointed construction of the law, so far as concerns the right of a deputy to billet soldiers under the mutiny act. This Wheeler, would permit him to have until the time of ten appointment was hy parol only, and the deputy was not

H. of R.]

Kentucky Election.

(May 28, 1834.

sworn by the court. The hign constable hath power, by other presiding vfficer, sball open the poll. And wine is the act, to billet soldiers, and he may appoint a deputy to an officer in its legal sense? Jacob's Law Dictionary says: this particular ministerial act.” The same principle is "Officers are public or private; and it is said that every recognised by the court of appeals of Kentucky, in the man is a public officer who hath any duty concerning the case of the Commonwealth against Arnold, as read by my public.". The law recognises another officer than the colleague, (Mr. Hardin,] wherein a deputy clerk acted sheriff to open the polls; and it would be absurd to give by parol appointment, not having taken the necessary him that right, and deny the right to voters to give their oath; yet his acts were deemed good as an officer de facto; votes, because he was not a sheriff. A fair construction that is, so far as third persons and the public are concern- of the two clauses certainly gives the voters a right, in ed. Now, let us illustrate the principle, from some of the presence of him who shall be the presiding officer at the facts themselves. How will it stand, suppose Grant the polls; and no doubt this provision was intended in only to be a judge de facto, who is the second person in-case the sheriff could not attend; and, as the law does not terested? Certainly, Wheeler, the rightful judge, who provide for the appointment of that other officer which alone can question the right of Grant, and turn him out is recognised by law, the officers of the election must, by writ of quo warranto. Mr. Moore is the third person, from clear implification, and the necessity of the case, and is bound by the act, and surely the election greatly make the appointment, which was done at the Garrard concerns (if you please) the democrats of the fifth con- election. gressional district

I believe I have answered all the main arguments of the These principles are recognised as law in England, law gentleman from New York, [Mr. VANDERPOEL,] with the in Kentucky, law every where; and he who doubts it is exception of his long list of Latin quotations. I am quite himself a doubtful man, (pointing to Mr.) The rusty in the language, and cannot now stop in the middle gentleman from New York (Mr. VANDERPOEL) has drawn of my speech to make a translation. He is quite fluent, many parallels between elections and courts of justice. It and reminds me of the verse in Hudibrasis true the officers to conduct an election are all that “ He speaks the Latin and the Greek, would be necessary to constitute a legal tribunal; but As easy as a pig cap squeak." who will contend that if a sheriff were absent, the decrees Indeed, some of the gentleman's quotations I could not of a court would be null and void? Who will contend so very well tell whether they were Latin, Greek, or that if a sheriff be absent from a court but a short time, Dutch. hunting up a jury, that the acts of the court during such Mr. Speaker, I will now specially attend to the genabsence would be coram non judice? Does not every tleman from Ohio, (Mr. HAMER,) who contended in arguone know that the acts of ministerial officers cannot vitiatement that the forms of the election must be complied with the decrees of courts? Then, who are the judicial offi- strictly; that the people are bound to know the rules; cers of an election? Certainly the justices who are sworn and hence, he said, every man is bound to know the law; to act, and who are characterized as judges. The minis- that if a man be arraigned for crime, he cannot plead that terial officer is the sheriff, the appellation having a definite he did not know the law. This is well enough; and meaning, well known in the law; but the gentleman proves that when a man commits a crime he should be seems to confound these officers without distinction. I punished; but does it prove that every man is bound to will admit that, if the sheriff performed any judicial act know that every officer executing the law is appointed at an election, the arguments used would have some according to all the forms prescribed by law, in regulating weight; but such is not his duty. His presence is not ab- his appointment? Does it prove that every voter coming solutely necessary after the polls are opened. For con- to the polls in the midst of an election, must stop to in. venience, it is true, he should be present, for the pur-quire into, and to adjudge and determine whether the pose of keeping order, and performing other ministerial officers conducting the election, all and each of them, have acts of his office. But this clause is what they hang much been appointed according to all the forms of the law? weight upon: “The persons entitled to suffrage shall, in Certainly not. Then his whole argument is foreign to the presence of said judges and sheriff, vote," &c.; and, the case before us-as much so as if he had delivered also, this other clause: “ That unless the sheriff, or one himself on the constitutionality of the bank, or the reof the judges, shall know that the person offering to vote moval of the public deposites. The gentleman is pretty is entitled to suffrage under the constitution, the clerk of much in the same condition of a lawyer once in Kentucky, the poll shall administer to such person the following who produced some law to a shrewd client, who contend. oath,” &c. And hence is contended the indispensable ed that it proved nothing, and was foreign to bis case; necessity of the presence of the sheriff. It will appear, but the lawyer said it was his duty to hunt up the law, and from this laiter clause, that if the voter presenting him- if it did not apply, it was not his fault. He was certainself is unknown to either of the judges or the sheriff, he ly an honest fellow-a thing that does not always happen. takes the oath, &c.; and the sheriff's presence is only ne- But I will not bear too heavily upon my friend. I will cessary when the individual is unknown to either of the share with bim part of the burden, by a frank confession, judges; but if they know him to be a qualified and legal that whilst at the bar I have often been in the same for voter, the sheriff can perform no act. Now, when the lorn condition. election progressed, in the absence of Kennedy and his The honorable gentleman made use of an argument, deputy, the judges, or one of them, must have known the which I thought bad nothing in it; but, at the time, i voters, and that they possessed the requisite qualifica- thought I saw a smile of approbation proceed from the tions; the legal presumption is, that the judges did their countenance of the honorable chairman of the Committee duty, and knew the persons to be qualified. If they did of Ways and Means, (Mr. POLK,] with whom I bare not, the result, perhaps, might have been to stop the never yet had the honor of shaking hands, although, I poll and wait the arrival of the sheriff; but when the understand, he has his eye upon the Speaker's chair. I voters were known to the judges, the right of suffrage suppose, with this gentleman, the argument must have could be exercised, unaided by the sheriff, even if he stood had some weight; and, for his benefit alone, I shall give dumb and silent as a marble pillar.

it due consideration. The argument was predicated on a Let us go a little further into this matter. The gentle case supposed, that if a man having no authority, not beman contends that the law requires that the votes must ing sheriff, should claim to act as such, and an individual be given in the presence of the sheriff, according to the should pay him tax, the payment would not be good; and clause of the law which I have read, or they cannot be that the sheriff could afterwards come and collect the tas counted. Now, a clause preceding says that the sheriff, orl again. This is correct law. And why? Because the

MAY 28, 1834.)

Kentucky Election.

[H. Of R.

sheriff would be then acting, and in office, both in fact in the month of August last, just one month before the and of right; and the individual assuming to be sheriff, other responsibility. He speaks the language of Cromwould have no color of office, and could never have a well himself: all usurpers talk alike in every age and in color whilst the sheriff was acting. When the gentle- every clime. This deputy is the first man in this hemiman's argument is applied to the facts of the case of this sphere who took the "responsibility upon himself to put contested election, does it prove that the acts of an offi- down corruption.” He is the first to propagate the sen. cer of an election, or even one acting as such, recognised timent, the first discoverer, and is entitled to all the honor by the other officers, and also by the voters at the polls, and glory, as much so as Christopher Columbus for being no exceptions taken at the time by any body, the election the first discoverer of the continent of America, and no conducted fairly on the day, and at the place pointed out man has a right to rob him of it. Hocker is in bold array by the constitution: I say, does this argument prove that against Mr. J.etcher; so is the gentleman from Ohio. They votes are illegal and void, because the person acting has both act together in the same unrighteous cause against not been appointed according to the forms of the law? the Whigs, and for usurpation; and, notwithstanding the Certainly not. Now, I will put the case of the sheriff as it gentleman's declarations, bis candor must admit that he is should be. Suppose the sheriff should give his tax-book found in bad company, from which he should extricate to A, and tell bim, Go and receive the tax from B, who himself as soon as possible, and join the standard of the will pay you; which is done accordingly-could the Whigs. The gentleman speaks about original rights, and sheriff afterwards go to B and make him pay the tax inherent rights of suffrage, and denies that for which no again? Certainly not. I say that the payment would be one contended. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. good against the sheriff, and all the world besides, not- BANKS) contended for pre-existing rights secured in the withstanding A was a private individual, and had not taken constitution; and I also say the right of voting is not given the necessary oaths of office. I hope this will satisfy the in the act prescribing the mode of elections, but is prehonorable gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. Polk.] 1 existing; and such was also the meaning of my colleague, shall now again resume my business with the gentleman (Mr. HARDIN;] but the gentleman has run ahead of this from Ohio, (Mr. HAMER.]

into the orginal and natural rights of men and women, The honorable gentleman has taken great exception to and from thence contends that even a part of the ladies the word usurper, mentioned in the minority report of possess the inherent right of suffrage. If this is argu. the committee of investigation, and wonders why it is that inent, it is but half a one. Whilst be is contending for those who call themselves Whigs, after having said so a part to have the right of voting, I will go for the whole. much, should now be in favor of usurpers. He says that I have frequently seen men leading one another to the he is against all usurpers. I am heartily glad of that, but polls, but to my mind it would seem quite more genteel I am extremely sorry that the gentleman bas broached a to see a gentleman leading up a lady. Being a bachelor, subject which, I fear, is calculated to call up party feel- and yet undisposed of, I am now in favor of extending the ings. I hope he did not intend his remarks to have that right of suffrage to every female in the land. But, Mr. effect. Be that as it may, I know the Whigs are not for Speaker, pardon this digression, this appeal which, I conusurpation. What are they striving now to do? It is to fess, more appropriately belongs to the gallery than the put down the acts of Alfred Hocker, a great usurper; him Chair. But, to return again to the honorable gentleman: who has violated the laws of Kentucky, and trampled into I understood him, in the beginning of his speech, to addast the rights of the people of the fifth congressional mit the principle that a majority should rule, and that district; him who has defeated the elective franchise, and their voice should prevail in this contest; but he unfortudeprived the State of Kentucky of her full share of rep- nately ended by declaring that a large number of legal resentation in the Congress of the United States; him who voters for Mr. Letcher should be excluded; and when las controlled the political destiny of Robert P. Letcher, the two ends of the speech are compared together, they and given so much vexatious trouble to this House; him will be seen as the very antipodes themselves. who has violated his oath of office, and aimed at judicial Mr. Speaker: In the progress of my remarks, I now povers, which, when united with the Executive, accord come to another important branch of the subject-coning to Mr. Jefferson, is the very definition of tyranny it- cerning the students of the Danville college, in Mercer self. Yes, this deputy sheriff has done all these things, county, all of whom, I believe, but one, voted for Mr. and the Whigs are now trying to put him down. But Letcher. These votes have been rejected by a majority hear what he says, as is proved: "He had made a motion of the committee of investigation, on the ground of a before the sheriffs to admit evidence of the irregular and lack of residence; and the same gentleman, and others in illegal manner in which the election had been conducted their speeches, urge the rejection of these votes for that in Garrard, with the view, if the allegations on that bead cause alone. This leads to an inquiry concerning the turned out to be true, to exclude the Garrard poll from kind of residence required by the constitution and laws of the comparison of votes; that he did it because, from Kentucky. The majority report, which has been reitewhat be had heard, he thought it his duty to have that rated and vindicated by the gentleman from Georgia, atler inquired into by the sheriffs; and that when his (Mr. Jones,) has gone fully into a train of reasoning on the motion failed, he declined taking the Lincoln poll-book subject. It is contended that a person entitled to vote in into the court. He said he had done so from his own any county must have therein a fixed, permanent domicil, conviction of duty, without hope or offer of benefit in according to the civil law; that a construction has been any way; that perhaps some would think he had acted given to our constitution with regard to residence in the out of his duty, but he believed he had not. He said case of Williams and Mason, decided in the Senate of that he had consulted his judgment and feelings of right Kentucky, with regard to the vote of Stephenson Ellison, and duty alone; and he said that the inquiry he wished to which the report seems to regard as a precedent, and the make, be thought, would have a great effect in prevent majority of the committee consider that decision as fixing ing frauds, corruptions, and improper conduct in elec- a rule by which they are warranted in striking from the tions," or words to that effect. He said, “when he poll the votes of the Danville students. With due deferlearned how the election had been conducted in Garrard, fence to the honorable committee, I think they are not he thought the matter ought to be inquired into:” he said, warranted in this conclusion. What facts can be gathershe had taken great responsibility upon himself,” almost ed from the case of Williams and Mason as to the vote of the sery language of anotier celebrated document. Yes, Ellison? They are not attempted to be given. The facts tais deputy sheriff, as he says, to do his duty, prevent and circumstances are not detailed, as to the residence of frauds and corruption, took the responsibility on bimself Ellison. The depositions which governed the Senate of

« AnteriorContinuar »