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(After two tries to agree on the question of Money Bills, the last being yesterday, the Convention put it aside and pressed on.)

Up next was Article VI Section 9, “The members of each House shall be ineligible to, and incapable of holding any office under the authority of the United States, during the time for which they shall respectively be elected: and the members of the Senate shall be ineligible to, and incapable of holding any such office for one year afterwards.”

Charles Pinckney (SC) considered it an insult to trust a man enough to elect him but not enough to allow him to also hold an appointive office as well. He viewed the Senate especially as a school for future ministers, a “Nursery of Statesmen.” He motioned to postpone the Section in order to offer, “the members of each House shall be incapable of holding any office under the U.S. for which they or any of others for their benefit receive any salary, fees, or emoluments of any kind- and the acceptance of such office shall vacate their seats respectively." His solution was to allow for non-emolument office holding.

Thomas Mifflin (PA) seconded the motion.

George Mason (VA) thought it best to strike the entire Section. Let the Aristocratic tendencies of some delegates prevail. Let them carve out lucrative positions for each other. (Mr. Mason was being sarcastic. He would not sign the Constitution in part because of its Aristocratic tendencies.)

John Mercer (MD) opened with a blast, “Wherever the rights of property are secured, an aristocracy will grow out of it.” Elected governments will become aristocratic as they draw wealth from the populace. “The Executive ought to have a Council, being members of both Houses.”

”Without such an influence, the war will be between the Aristocracy & the People. He wished it to be between the Aristocracy & the Executive. Nothing else can protect the people against those speculating Legislatures which are now plundering them throughout the U. States.”

As I understand Mr. Mercer, absent multiple Executives, an Aristocratic Congress will oppress the People. With multiple Executives, the conflict will be between an Aristocratic Congress and the Executive.

Elbridge Gerry (MA) could not agree with Mr. Pinckney’s assertion of debasement. The People of his State would not agree to members of Congress holding concurrent Offices. Few ministers and ambassadors were needed. He did not wish to establish nurseries for them. If expectations of well paid offices were necessary to attract people to serve in Congress, the country was in a sorry situation. If so, let us get it over with and select a despot right now. We must be ever so careful how we design the system. All eyes, from the States and countries around the world will be upon our Constitution. Do not expect the people who fought so hard, endured so much, to give up their precious liberties. He also feared an Aristocracy if the Senate was given the powers contemplated. We would be governed by a junta.

Mr. Gerry compared Congress under the Articles of Confederation and under the proposed system.

In the current Congress, each state could send up to seven delegates who theoretically served for annual terms and were term limited. They could be recalled by the States at any time. Nine State votes were necessary to pass what passed for legislation.

Under the developing Constitution, each State would have two Senators to serve for six years and be non-recallable. Eight individuals could determine great things.

He would prevent both Congressman and Senators from holding Executive branch offices for one year after departing Congress.

Governeur Morris (PA) would exempt officers of the Navy and Army. He thought they would develop dangerous attitudes toward the civil government if not allowed to participate. A military coup d’état was not out of the question. (Some great quotes here, “Talking Lords who dare not face the foe,” and brave politicians who will “Be entrenched in parchment to the teeth.”)

Hugh Williamson (NC) lamented the death of House only Money Bill origination. Its death would haunt us. We were left with a powerful House of Lords that will impose Money Bills. Far be it from us to inconvenience Lords from cutting out offices for one another. (Ouch!) A self denying clause for delegates to the Convention would be appropriate. Expunging the Money Bill Section was bad enough; do not worsen it by expunging the present Section. BTW, almost every corrupt measure in the NC Legislature could be traced to office hunting.

Roger Sherman (CN) thought the Constitution should offer as few temptations as reasonable.

Charles Pinckney (SC) defended his position. He drew upon the experience of SC in which Judges may hold seats in the Legislature.

James Wilson (PA) disapproved the section. He expounded on his duty to his State and the millions of citizens to follow. Shame would follow any appeal to emotional prejudices. Were not the people of PA virtuous enough to accept good Government? He did not think ambition to high offices an ignoble or culpable effort. His State had gone as far as any to fetter the powerful, yet let Legislative members hold offices of Government.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) did not think postponement for one year would be any great sacrifice or discouragement. Appointments will not be solely from Congress.

John Mercer (MD) let lose another blast. The “corruption and mutability” of the State Legislatures, were the reasons for the Convention. It will be men, and not the Constitution that will govern us. Government governs by force or influence.

The King of France did not govern the kingdom, but the 200,000 janissaries he employed. (Heck, that’ll never happen here.)

James Wilson (PA) was not satisfied with Mr. Ellsworth’s explanation.

Governeur Morris (PA) asked, without saying George Washington, what would have been the outcome of the late war if Mr. Washington had been a member of Congress and therefore inadmissible to serve the distinguished post he did? On the question to postpone the question of Article VI Section 9 in order to consider Mr. Pinckney’s motion, “The members of each House shall be incapable of holding any Office under the United States for which they, or any other for their benefit, receive any salary, fees, or emoluments of any kind — and the acceptance of such office shall vacate their seats respectively,” it failed 5-5-1.

Governeur Morris (PA) moved to exempt officers of the Navy and Army from the one year deferral. Jacob Broome (DE) seconded.

Governor Edmund Randolph strongly supported the Section, but would agree to the forceful argument for military exceptions as per Mr. Morris.

Pierce Butler (SC) and Charles Pinckney (SC), sensing a deadlock, motioned to postpone consideration of Article VI Section 9 until the enumerated powers of the Senate were settled. The motion was agreed to without opposition.

Article VI Section10, “The members of each House shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained and paid by the State, in which they shall be chosen,” was next.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) moved they “should be paid” out of the US Treasury and would set an inflation adjusted amount in the Constitution. He changed his mind on this topic from previous debates.

Governeur Morris (PA) thought the burden of supporting members by distant States was unjust. Pay them from the National Treasury at a rate determined by Congress. There was little to fear from them overpaying themselves. (They just put salary increases on autopilot and never have to vote on them again, despite the 27th Amendment. This is modern corruption at its finest.) Pierce Butler (SC) would have the States pay them, especially Senators who will be away from home for long periods of time and should be reminded of why they served.

John Langdon (NH) did not wish to burden the States. (Did this not illustrate the awful condition of State finances?)

James Madison (VA) connected payment of salaries by the National Government to the object of Government stability. With biannual House elections and annual State Legislature elections which could affect the stability of the Senate, Mr. Madison wanted to head off the possibility of non-attendance for want of money. (This was a demonstrable deficiency under the Articles of Confederation where Congress occasionally could not conduct business because States refused to fund attendance by their Congressmen. Also, the NH delegates were late to the convention because the State refused to fund their trip. They paid for it themselves.) Elbridge Gerry (MA) remained non-committed; the arguments of both sides carried weight.

George Mason (VA) brought up a new point. Members of the House, chosen by the people, would be dependent upon State Legislatures for salaries and could become instruments of them.

Jacob Broome (DE) could see no danger with salaries from the National Government.

Roger Sherman (CN) took a different tack. There was danger not from self serving high salaries, but salaries that were too low. It would make even the House an assembly of the rich. He would provide a modest sum from the National Government, say five dollars per day and allow the States to provide any additional wages.

Daniel Carroll (MD) hammered the problems with State supported salaries. Both houses of Congress would be reduced to appendages of the State Legislatures. Vote a particular way and be rewarded; vote against and be impoverished. The new Congress would be a two volume set of the old and just as ineffective. (Ouch!)

John Dickinson (DE) took the temperature of the Convention and knew it favored payment by the National Government. He proposed the National Legislature adjust salaries every twelve years. If Section 10 was allowed to stand as it was, it would unravel all of the other works of the Convention and they might as well go home.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) could let Congress regulate its own wages, though he acknowledged there would be opposition. What again of an inflation adjusted set wage?

Luther Martin (MD) said that since the Senate represents the States, Senators should be paid by them.

Daniel Carroll (MD) disagreed. Senators were to look toward the best interests of the Union, not their States.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN)’s motion to pay Senators and Congressmen from the National Treasury passed 9-2.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) motioned to fix Congressional salary and allow for inflation.

Caleb Strong (MA) would allow for extra State compensation.

Mr. Ellsworth’s motion to set a five dollar/day compensation adjusted for inflation failed, 9-2.

John Dickinson (DE) proposed and Jacob Broome (DE) seconded equal salaries for Congressmen and Senators.

Mr. Dickinson withdrew his motion on the argument of Mr. Gorham.

It was moved & agreed to amend the Section by adding-"to be ascertained by law."

The amended Article VI Section 10 passed without opposition.


1 posted on 08/14/2011 3:30:17 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...
Constitutional Convention Ping!

From Chris Collier’s book Decision in Philadelphia, “We remember that the delegates were very conscious of how King George had manipulated Parliament, and the royal governors, the colonial legislatures, by dangling lucrative appointments before influential politicians. In order to prevent this, the Virginia Plan expressly forbade congressmen from holding other public offices. Nonetheless, a president could easily get around the provision by offering plums to family or friends of congressmen; it seemed best to limit his (the President) appointing power as sharply as possible.”

Our Framers were determined to minimize the problem yet not discourage talented men from service. It was a delicate balancing act, for if there had been a ban during and up to one year after legislative service, George Washington would not have been appointed General during the late war.

2 posted on 08/14/2011 3:37:10 AM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamadollars, currency of Acorn Nation.)
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