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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 246   View pdf image
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Standing committees constitute a committee of
revision, to whom shall be referred all articles
of the constitution after they shall have been
passed upon by the Convention, to be examined
and printed for the use of the Convention prior
to their final adoption.
Mr. PHELPS said, he hoped the proposition
of the gentleman from Prince George's (Mr,
Tuck) would not prevail, but that a select com-
mittee of revision would be appointed by the
President, it was needless for him to say that
no member of this body appreciated more high-
ly than himself the ability and qualifications of
the distinguished gentlemen who were at the
head of the standing committees of this House;
but to constitute those gentlemen the committee
of revision upon the constitution would, in his
estimation, be doing injustice to other portions
of the State. A very cursory glance at the organizations
of the committees of this House
will show, that perhaps one-half the chairmen
of committees are selected from the first Con-
gressional district, whilst the sixth Congressional
district, from whence he came, with the
contiguous county of Caroline besides, was pas-
sed over totally unnoticed.
Mr, P. said that it might be urged by some
that this apparent neglect was because the peo-
ple of that section of the State refused to send
gentlemen to represent them here, qualified to
discharge the high and responsible duties which
attach to such positions. If this should be said,
he would remark we have a gentleman on this
floor from that district, whose position in Ma-
ryland was such as to induce one of the great
parties of the Slate, but a few years since, to
run him for the chief magistracy of this Com-
monwealth. There is one other gentleman
here, Mr. President, of sufficient distinction, as
to induce, but a short time since, his selection to
preside over the Senate of Maryland; and yet
two others, from this same neglected sixth Con-
gressional district, who have done good service
in the Congress of the United States. In con-
clusion, he would remark, that should a select
committee be raised, as now proposed, he
deemed it almost needless to say that he could
not serve upon such committee. After feeling
himself called upon to say what he had said, in
vindication of his section of country, delicacy,
if no higher considerations, would prevent his
doing so.
Mr. DORSEY rose, he said, for information.
He desired to be informed by the Chair, whether
the committee on Howard county was to be considered
as one of the standing committees? If so,
he desired to be excused from further service,
or to resign in favor of his friend from Dor-
chester, (Mr. Phelps.)
Mr. HOWARD, (to the Chair.) Will the Chair
be so good as to state how many standing committees
there are. it seems to me that a com-
mittee so constituted will be altogether too
numerous a body.
The PRESIDENT said that the Chair did not
recollect, on the moment, the number of the
standing committees.
Mr. BUCHANAN said there were, he believed,
some fourteen or fifteen.
Mr. HOWARD. Does the order mean that all
the chairmen must come together and constitute
one committee, or that each chairman of the
revisory committee is to have charge of the ar-
ticle reported by that committee? In the latter
case, the rule was, he thought, a good one.
But if they were all to meet together, and could
not act except when a quorum was present, it
was a bad rule.
Mr, CHAMBERS, of Kent, said he presumed
that the intention of the order was merely that
the chairmen of the several standing commit-
tees should, in the first instance, constitute the
committee, and they would, of course, subdi-
Mr. HOWARD. Then I have no objection to it.
Mr. THOMAS said, it was not his desire, in
any event, to be placed upon the committee, as
his engagements would not admit of his being
so. But he would take the liberty to suggest to
the gentleman from Kent, (Mr. Chambers,) that
great inconvenience would result from the adop-
tion of such a rule.
Mr. CHAMBERS, of Kent, interposed, and
suggested that the proposition was not his, but
that it had been introduced by the gentleman
from Prince George's, (Mr. Tuck.)
Mr. THOMAS moved to amend the said order,
by striking out the words "chairmen of the sev-
eral standing committees," and inserting in lieu
thereof, "President appoint a committee of five
Mr. T, said that the constitution ought to be
one entire proposition, and ought to be all put to-
gether at one and the same time; and a commit-
tee of three was much better calculated, in his
opinion, to answer the object, than a committee
of fourteen or fifteen, '
Mr. CHAMBERS, of Kent, said he had not the
slightest knowledge of the existence of the or-
der until it had this morning been read in his
hearing. The gentleman who had moved it
(Mr. Tuck) was not now in his seat. in the
absence of that gentleman, he (Mr. C.) would
say, as a mere matter of suggestion, that he
thought that if the gentleman from Frederick
(Mr. Thomas) would review his opinion, lie
would see that there were some difficulties in
his projet which did not attach to that of the
gentleman from Prince George's, (Mr. Tuck.)
it was impossible for any three gentlemen who
participated in the labors of this body, and who
at the same time had duties to attend to in their
rooms, to discharge the duties of a committee of
revision composed of three members only. It
would be unreasonable to expect them to do so.
For his own part, he would refuse to take any
part in the duties of such a committee.
Now, here were some fourteen or fifteen chair-
men of committees. Let it be understood among
themselves that there should be a general dis-
tribution of the work that was to be done—and
then each sub-division of the committee had per-
formed its particular duty, let the whole com-
mittee come together and see how the aggregate
work would consort. His own personal con-

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1850 Constitutional Convention
Volume 101, Volume 2, Debates 246   View pdf image
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