« ZurückWeiter »
H. OF R. and important charge for which he is a candidate. Connecticut, (Mr. SHERMAN,) that Lieutenant Under these circumstances, it is necessary that he Governors receive salaries in the several States, should be provided with a constant salary, to sup- and therefore it will be proper to grant one to the port that rank which we contemplate for him to Vice President, in order to comport with the bear; I therefore conceive it must be such a per- practice of the States individually, I shall only petual salary as the President is entitled to receive. remark, that in some States they have no such If the principles of the motion are inadmissible, officer; in others, where they have such an officer, it cannot be supported by argument, because very they give him no pay at all; in some, they are little informaţion can be obtained on which to paid according to their attendance on business, in ground our reasoning.
the manner that I propose to pay the Vice PresiMr. Seney said, that, according to the Consti- dent. But admitting that every State had an tution, a compensation is to be made for services officer of this kind, and that they paid him a salaperformed. The Vice President may absent ry like that proposed in the report, it would be no himself the whole time. He proposed giving him argument why the General Government should a handsome allowance while employed, but pursue a practice inconsistent with that economy thought he ought to be paid per diem.
and sense of propriety which it ought to be the Mr. SHERMAN adverted to the circumstance of study of the Representatives of the people of the salaries being allowed to Lieutenant Governors in United States to preserve to their constituents. the several States where such officers are appoint- Mr. Madison.-I do not concur, Mr. Speaker, ed; so that, according to this mode, the grant in sentiment, with my colleague on this subject. made to the Vice President would correspond I conceive, sir, if the Constitution is silent on this with the practice of the States individually. It point, that it is left to the Legislature to decide appeared also, he said, to be necessary, inasmuch according to its nature and its merits. The naas this officer would be taken from all other ture of the office will require that the Vice Presibusiness.
dent shall always be in readiness to render that Mr. Waite.—If I thought, sir, the attendance service which contingencies may require; but I of the Vice President as necessary as that of the do not apprehend it to be in our power to derive President, I would not hesitate to allow him an much advantage from any guides furnished by annual salary; but I do not conceive it to be so the examples of the several States; because we necessary; it is not made so by the Constitution. shall find them differently provided for by the If he had been appointed Vice President as a per- different Governments. If we consider that the petual counsel for the President, it would have al- Vice President may be taken from the extremity tered the case ; he would then have had services of the continent, and be from the nature of his to render, for which we ought to compensate him. office obliged to reside at or within the convenient The honorable gentleman from Connecticut reach of the seat of Government, to take upon (Mr. SHERMAN) has intimated that he will be him the exercise of the President's functions, in precluded from following any other business; case of any accident that may deprive the Union there is nothing in the Constitution which pre- of the services of their first officer, we must see, I cludes him from following what profession he think, it will often happen that he will be obliged thinks proper. I am willing to pay him a full to be constantly at the seat of Government. No and liberal allowance for all the services he ren- officer under a State Government can be so far ders; but I do not think we are authorized to in- removed as to make it inconvenient to be called stitute sinecures for any man.
upon when his services are required; so that, if It ought to be considered that the Vice Presi- he serve without a salary, it may be he can reside dent has personal advantages from the appoint- at home, and pursue his domestic business; therement to that office; it holds him up as the suc- fore the application in that case does not appear cessor of the President; the voice of the people is to me to be conclusive. shown to be considerably in his favor; and if he My colleague says that he will derive advanbe a deserving person, there will be but little tages from being in the line of appointment to the doubt of his succeeding to the Presidential chair; Presidential Chair. If he is to be considered as not that I would make this an argument to dimin- the apparent successor of the President, to qualify ish his compensation. I would pay him amply himself the better for that office, he must withfor all the services he renders, at least as amply draw from his other avocations, and direct his atas the Government and circumstances of the peo- tention to the obtaining a perfect knowledge of ple will admit. When performing the duties of his intended business. President, he should receive the salary as such. The idea that a man ought to be paid only in
The Constitution has stipulated, that the Presi- proportion to his services, holds good in some dent shall be compensated for his services, that cases
, but not in others. It holds good in Legislawe shall ascertain it by law; but it has not said tive business, but not in the Executive or Judicial one syllable with respect to the pay of the Vice departments. A judge will be sometimes unemPresident; hence I consider it would be improper ployed, as in the case of the Vice President; yet to pay him on any other principle than in propor- it is found necessary to claim the whole of his tion to his services. If these require five thou- time and attention to the duties for which he is sand dollars a year, it may be made to amount to appointed. If the principle of proportioning the that sum, at so much per diem.
allowance to the quantum of services performed As to the observations of the gentleman from obtains, it will be found that the Judiciary will be
H. OF R.]
Compensation to the President, fc.
as dependent on the Legislative authority, as if the occupations : but with respect to the Vice PresiLegislature was to declare what shall be their sa-dent, his acceptance must be considered as a lary for the succeeding year; because, by abridg- abandonment of every other pursuit; he must ing their services at every session, we could re- reside at the seat of Government, and will necesduce them to such a degree, as to require a very sarily incur extra expenses in consequence of his trifling compensation indeed. Neither do I, Mr. office. Speaker, consider this as a sinecure; but that will Mr. Stone.--I am for giving such salaries to appear from the reasons already given. The the officers of this Government, as will render office of a judge is liable, in some degree, to the them easy in their situation. But we are confined same objection; but these kinds of objections are by the Constitution; salaries are to be given for levelled against the institutions themselves. We services performed; they are considered in no are to consider his appointment as a part of the other light. The Vice President cannot be view Constitution; and if we mean to carry the Con- ed in any other light than that of the President of stitution into full effect, we ought to make provi- the Senate. I am for his being paid per diem, but sion for his support, adequate to the merits and would allow him a generous support. I do not nature of the office.
think five thousand dollars are sufficient; I would Mr. Ames said that the Vice President's accept- allow him a larger sum, which allowance, per ance of his appointment was a renunciation of diem, would amount to what would be fully adeevery other avacation. When a man is taken quate. from the mass of the people for a particular Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, said, that by the office, he is entitled to a compensation from the Constitution, the Vice President could not be conpublic ; during the time in which he is not par- sidered as a Senator, and therefore could not, with ticularly employed, he is supposed to be engaged any propriety, be paid as such. Considering him in political researches for the benefit of his coun- as an officer in the Government, next in dignity try.
to the President, and particularly designated by Every man is eligible, by the Constitution, to the Constitution, he must support a correspondent be chosen to this office; but if a competent sup- dignity in his style of living, and consequently port is not allowed, the choice will be confined ought to have a competent allowance for that purto opulent characters. This is an aristocratic pose. He did not think five thousand dollars idea, and contravenes the spirit of the Constitu- I would be considered too much, and would vote tion.
for that sum. The idea of a daily allowance must Mr. SENEY.—This, sir, is a subject of a delicate be given up, as inapplicable to the situation assignnature, and the discussion of it rather disagreea- ed him by the Constitution. He is there recogble; but I think it my duty to declare my senti- nised as Vice President, and as such ought to be ments freely upon it. No argument has been ad- provided for. A daily pay of twenty-five or thirty duced to convince me that the Vice President dollars would appear a large compensation; yet ought to receive an allowance any more than the if Congress sat but one hundred days, which, in other members of the Legislature. He cannot be all probability, would be the length of their future compelled to perform any duty. This is an im- sessions, it would be insufficient for his support. portant subject, and ought to be maturely consid- But suppose it one hundred and fifty days; this, at ered, as a great deal depends on the decision which thirty dollars per day, would come so near the will now take place.
proposed salary, that the saving would be an inMr. Burke observed that the situation of our considerable trifle; but if the session was longer, finances was so much embarrassed, as to disem- it might amount to more than is contemplated by power us from giving such ample salaries as we any gentleman. might, under different circumstances, think ne- Mr. Page was clearly for making the allowance cessary; that it was but reasonable the Vice Pre- by annual salary, because the office was permasident should receive a compensation adequate to nent; a daily allowance could pot be relied upon, the second officer in the Government. He will because if the Senate sat but a few days, it would be subject to extra expenses by living at the seat be incompetent, even at one hundred dollars per of Government, and will be obliged to maintain day; whereas, if the session was of long continuhis dignity. Mr. B. further suggested that the ance, that sum would be more than the services sum might not be fully sufficient, but in our could require, if they are to hold a comparison with present situation, it was as much as we could those of the President. If the House agreed to afford.
strike out the five thousand dollars, he would proMr. Ames, in his reply to Mr. SENEY's observa- pose eight thousand, which was not one-third of tions, pointed out the difference of the situation what was given to the President. of the Vice President and the members of the Mr. Boudinot.—The question seems to turn Legislature.
merely on this point, whether the Vice President Mr. Sedgwick made some additional remarks shall receive a per diem allowance, or an annual of a similar nature, and further observed, it would salary? The Constitution ought to serve as the be necessary that the members of the House ground on which to determine it; therefore we are should return and associate with their constitu- to consider the point of view in which this office ents, in order to learn their sentiments and their is placed by that instrument. The second article feelings, and witness their situation and wants, calls him into view with the President; he is to that they may consequently resume their former l be elected in the same manner as the President, in
[H.OF R. order to obtain the second best character in the tageous to the person, than a like sum laid out at Union to fill the place of the first, in case it should the other extremity of the continent; but he bebe vacated by any unforeseen accident. The Con- lieved, nevertheless, that something would be left stitution considers him a respectable officer; he is to those gentlemen, out of the five dollars per day, to supersede the President, when it shall happen after their expenses were paid; but even if a little that the First Magistrate dies, or is removed on self-denial was the consequence of this reduction, impeachment and conviction. These are the it would do but little harm; whereas the precegreat objects of his appointment. His duty as dent might have a salutary influence upon the President of the Senate is only collateral; con- future administration of the Government. sequently he ought to be respected, and provided Mr. Jackson.-I am opposed to this discrimifor according to the dignity and importance of nation, because all have alike abandoned their his principal character. If still inferior duties particular pursuits in life, and all have equally enwere attached to him, it would be an argument gaged in the service of their common country. for reducing the compensation to an equality with On what principle can this distinction then be what ought to be granted, if he performed such contended for ? " Is it expected that a Senator inferior duties only? I apprehend it is a princi- shall eat more, or drink more costly liquors than ple of this nature which urges gentlemen on to a member of the House of Representatives? I press the amendment. I cannot see any reason for presume it is not; their expenses must be nearly differing with the Constitution on a point in which equal. I can see but one reason that can be I think it ought to guide our decision.
assigned for this difference, which is, that the SenI think there is an affinity between the duration ate may sit longer than the House ; but considerof the office and the compensation. The Consti- ing they are to receive pay accordingly, this reatution establishes the office for four years; the son is of no weight. The duties of both Houses compensation ought to be made commensurate are equal, and the pay ought to be alike. with that idea.
I will submit to the gentleman who brought The question on Mr. White's motion was taken this motion forward, whether it is not much worse and lost, as was Mr. Page's motion for striking out to the personal interest of men in business to be 5,000 and inserting 8,000 dollars.
taken off in the prime of life, than after the sucThe proposition being then agreed to,
cessful pursuit of some profession at an advanced The House proceeded to consider the following: age, when the natural and proper time of retireThat the daily pay of the members of the Senate, ment arrives; and if so, his argument falls to the and House of Representatives, for their attend-, ground. But if the reverse is true, it will not ance at the time appointed for the meeting of support his motion, because, if we look around, their respective Houses, and for the time they our senses will inform us that this House contains shall be going to, and returning therefrom, allow-as venerable and aged members as any within the ing the travel of twenty miles for each day, be six walls of the Senate; thus again we are upon a dollars, and of the Speaker of the House of Repre- footing. Now, unless gentlemen mean that we sentatives twelve dollars.
should depress ourselves, and thereby set the SenMr. SEDGWICK moved to amend this proposi- ate above us, I cannot conceive what foundation tion, so as to give to the members of the Senate there will be for a discrimination. six dollars per day, and five to the members of the Mr. Lee.-I am in favor of the motion for disHouse of Representatives. His reasons for intro- crimination between the Senate and this House, ducing this distinction was, that the convention because the Constitution has done it in a variety had made it in the Constitution. The Senators of modes. The qualifications are superior; a are required to be of an advanced age, and are Senator must be a man advanced in life, and have elected for six years. Now this term taken out been nine years a citizen of the United States; of the life of a man, passed the middle age, may while a younger man, who has been but seven be fairly deemed equal to a whole life ; for it was years a citizen, may obtain a seat in this House. to be expected that few, if any, of the Senators The Constitution has made a difference in the could return to their former occupations, when mode of election. The Senators are selected the period for retirement arrived ; indeed, after with peculiar care; they are the purified choice of six years spent in other pursuits, it may be ques- the people, and the best men are likely to be pretioned whether a man would be qualified to return ferred by such a choice; those who have shown with any prospect of success.
the fullest proofs of their attachment to the pubHe did not say six dollars was more than a lic interest, and evinced to their countrymen their compensation for their services and expenses; but superior abilities. In order to bring forth such as economy ought to be particularly studied by characters to partake of our public councils, I the Legislature, he had moved to reduce it. He think every motive of honor and of interest ought hoped gentlemen would pay some deference to to be called into action. If men are not brought the public opinion, on the present occassion; this forth who will maintain their own dignity, and he thought to be in favor of small salaries. Not promote the public interest by a firm and inbut a different sentiment might prevail in some of dependent conduct, regardless of the voice of the States; perhaps different circumstances might calumny and popular clamor, our Government warrant the difference of opinion. was proba- will soon lose its importance and its energy. I ble that five dollars, laid out in that part of the contemplate, Mr. Speaker, the Senate as a barrier Union from which he came, would be more advan-1 between the Executive and this branch of the
[JULY, 1789 Legislature, shielding the people from any appre in particular. There the Senators were considhension of being attacked by an aspiring Magis- ered as possessing some degree of divinity, and the tracy on the one hand, and on the other from rest of the people were not admitted to associate being desolated by the 'anarchy often generated with them. Can it be supposed that the name of by a time-servingness to veering popularity. We Senators will render those members superior to shall gain these desirable objects at a trifling price their fellow-citizens? I cannot see any difference if we make a distinction of two or three dollars in the general estimation between a Senator and per day—a trifling allowance indeed to our most a Representative, however great their sentiments worthy sages. But, said the gentleman last up, may vary in their respective States; and cannot there are as young men in the Senate as in this conceive why any discrimination should be made House; although there be, the time will come in their allowances. when none but the most venerable and respect- The independence of the members of this able of our citizens, men whose hoary heads House may be injured by such a distinction; and are silvered over with the honors of an experi- the Senate, at some future day, may have it in enced old age, men illustrious by their virtues their power to carry points, and be enabled to and capacity, will have the public confidence prolong the session, when it may be of great in. ensured to them by the purity and notoriety of convenience to the House. their principles.
Mr. Madison was of opinion that a discrimiNow is the time to deliberate and view every nation was necessary; he observed that it had future circumstance which may arise from our been evidently contemplated by the Constitution, decision ; the importance of this principle here to distinguish in favor of the Senate, that men of after, is infinitely above every advantage which abilities and firm principles, whom the lore the present members may derive from it. By it and custom of a retired life might render averse alone you may secure dignity and permanency to the fatigues of a public one, may be induced to to the Government, and happiness under its devote the experience of years, and the acquisiadministration.
tions of study, to the service of their country. It is with difficulty, Mr. Speaker, that you can And unless something of this kind is adopted, it draw forth men of age and much experience to may be difficult to obtain proper characters to fill participate in the political concerns of their coun- the Senate, as men of enterprise and genius will try. Retirement and reflection are incident to naturally prefer a seat in the House, considering that period of life; they are sought for, and, when it to be a more conspicuous situation. obtained, they are highly prized. The wise and Mr. MOORE did not see the propriety of the virtuous sage, who, from the monitions of nature discrimination proposed; the business of each has discovered that his remaining years will be House is equal, or if there is a difference in their but few, must be incited by every motive that can legislative concerns, it is in favor of the House. operate on the human heart to continue those He had no idea of giving the public money for labors which he seeks to bury the remembrance such an idle purpose as the support of a fanciful of in the deeps of solitude. Honor may stimu- dignity and superiority. His idea of the business late the ingenuous mind; but interest is a great was, each member ought to be compensated for reason of action, and may be usefully employed his services and nothing further. to influence old age.
Mr. Vining. The arguments brought forward What I have now urged is in favor of the Con- by my honorable friend from Virginia, (Mr. LEE,) stitutional distinction; I approve of the amend- have not proved satisfactory to my mind, that his ment, but I wish the sum had been left out, favorite opinion with respect to discrimination is that the provision might be determined according right. He has told us that the sages of America to the sense of the House, and not affect the prin- will be selected, and placed in this distinguished cipal question of discrimination. I am satisfied, situation. True, sir, I expect venerable and resir, that there is no heart within these walls but spectable characters will find their way into every beats with patriotic ardor, and has determined branch of the Government; but when I consider to pursue the noblest object, the public good. the mode in which the Senate is elected, I appreNothing but the anxiety I feel for this, as con-hend we may have there men whose wealth has nected with the present question, could have in- created them the influence necessary to get in. duced me to trouble the House with a repetition If any thing is to be expected by this refined of what was dilated upon, on a former occasion. choice, it is that men of rank and opulence will Let it then be considered, that on our decision draw the regard of the small and select circle of depends the dignity of the Legislature, and the a State Legislature; while the Representatives perpetuity of that Government, the glory and the in this House, being the choice of their fellowhopes of the people of America, which, if now citizens, among whom rank and dignity is rather disappointed, must be succeeded by confusion and unpopular, will consist of men in middling circumgloomy despair.
Now if any thing is to be drawn from Mr. White.-I object, sir, to a discrimination. arguments like these, it is in favor of this House. I cannot perceive that difference in the Constitu- But the whole of this is a subject on which we tion alluded to by the gentlemen. Among the are better able to decide from our feelings, than Senators and the people in some of the ancient from our discussions. commonwealths, an artificial and political distinc- I am against the motion for another reason, sir; tion was established, which was the case at Rome, I it goes to reduce the compensation, which I think
Compensation to the President, fc.
[H. OF R.
is already sei too low, to furnish good security for but be the decision of the House what it may, the happy administration of the Government. In with respect to the quantum, or manner of comconsidering this subject, there are two important pensation, I shall never fear to deliver my sentiobjects necessary to engage the attention of the ments. On the present occasion, I wish them Legislature. First, that the compensation be not known to my constituents, and I am much mismade an object for indigence to pursue ; and se taken if they are not coincident with their own. cond, that it be not so low as to throw the busi- Mr. Seney.-I am sorry, sir, that the question ness of legislation into the hands of rich and as- of discrimination has been brought before the piring nabobs, but such as to compensate a man House. Can any reason be assigned for making in the middle grade of life. These are generally this distinction ?' Are the services of the Senate men of business, who are fittest to conduct the of more importance than those of the Repreconcerns of their fellow-citizens. Now, in com-sentatives? I think not. Gentlemen have brought pensating this class of men, (for I would have the forward the Constiution upon this occasion, but I compensation proportioned to this class,) I do not conceive it to be opposite to the very principle take into consideration the sacrifices they make, they mean to advocate. This will destroy the inby dedicating their time and abilities to the ser- dependence of the several branches, which is to yice of their country ; but I confine myself mere- be strictly observed. If a discrimination should ly to a compensation for their time and services. be established in favor of the Senate, will it not If the compensation is made an object for indi- naturally tend to create a sense of inferiority in gence, we shall have the sessions protracted to an the minds of the Representatives? And the time extreme length, and the expense will be increased; may come when they may find it their interest to if we make the reward barely commensurate with become subservient io the views of the Senate. I the services, you will have men of abilities, who feel so sensibly, sir, the impropriety and unconstiwill despatch the public business, and return to tutionality of this measure, ihat had I the most their private pursuits. If the business is done distant idea it would comport with the sentiments without pay, it may be productive of the most of a majority of the members of this House, I enormous evils. Were every member of the Bri- should call for the yeas and nays on a division of tish House of Commons allowed a thousand the House upon the question. But as I do not guineas a year, they would be less venal; we conceive that to be the case, I shall waive the should not find them purchasing their seats, and sell-proposition for the present. ing their votes for places and pensions. The very Mr. SEDGWICK said, that whenever he had a money given in this way would furnish a hand-motion to make before the House, he endeavored some compensation for every member, and add to satisfy himself of the reasonableness and prosomething considerable, annually, to their sinking priety of it. If he thought it proper, he did not fund.
consider the mode of decision that might be I apprehend, in establishing a compensation, adopted of any material consequence; but in dewe shall put it in the power of gentlemen, while termining the present question, he hoped the yeas here, to live as independent as they can at home. and nays would not be called. There is a princiPerhaps I hazard a conjecture, when I say there ple in mankind which revolts at the idea of infeis not a gentleman on this floor, I am certain riority : a proposition, for example, shall be made, there are not many, but have found, from expe- that has for its object the establishment of a superience, that six dollars per day is adequate to that riority (howsoever necessary ;) that principle is object; certainly, it cannot be the wish of any alarmed and excited to opposition; to discuss such man to make the public service unpleasant, by a question as the present, we ought to be divested rendering the situation of the members of Con- of every partiality and prejudice that might bias gress less eligible than a solitary retirement from our judgment in deciding an affair that will not patriotic pursuits would be. Any man who lives bear the test of reason and experience. I condecently, will find six dollars a day not more than ceive the precedence of the Senate has been sufficient to defray the expense of a casual resi- clearly pointed out by the Constitution. There dence in a splendid city.
are grades in society which are necessary to their The experiment has been made. If a gentle- very existence. This is a self-evident proposition; man keeps a servant and his horses, and means to it is recognised by every civilized nation, and by reciprocate the civilities he receives, I again as- the House in the report before us. For what sert the compensation is inadequate. It is true, reason have we made a difference between the we may live for two dollars a day; but how President and Vice President? Is it not on acThere is a dignity attached to the situation of a count of his superior station and his dignity? Representative, with respect to his country; and / And between the Vice President and the Senate ? the compensation might be 7 or 8 dollars per day, This distinction is likewise established by the without granting the members more than a bare Constitution in the difference of the terms for compensation. From all these considerations, I which the members of the Senate and those of am induced to hope that gentlemen will indulge the House of Representatives are chosen. The a little, and rather support an increase, than a time for which the Senate is chosen, demonstrates diminution of pay.
the propriety of a difference being made in the As to the discrimination, been once de- pay they ought to receive; the duties of their cided against by a considerable majority; I have office require they should renounce every other no doubt but it will now meet a similar fate; I avocation; their attention will be wholly taken