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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1317   View pdf image (33K)
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our constitution. I would like to hear some
explanation given for its introduction here.
Mr. SANDS. I should like to ask the com-
mittee the purpose of creating this office. It
is one hitherto unknown to our form of State
Mr. SMITH, of Carroll. I move to strike out
this section.
Mr. STIRLING. I do not wish to debate this
proposition. But I concur very heartily in
what this committee have done; and particu-
larly as the chairman of the committee (Mr.
Greene, ) with whom I know this is a favor-
ite idea, is not here, I desire to say a few
words in its support. It does strike me that
the suggestion on the part of the committee
is a suggestion that ought to be adopted
by this convention, I know it received very
careful consideration from the majority of the
committee that reported it; and it certainly
has very grave reasons in its favor.
In the first place, while it is a new office
in this State, it is an office which exists in a
large majority of the States of this Union. It
comes by virtue of analysis from the consti-
tution of the United States. And it has this
practical basis; that whereas, under our ex-
isting constitution, the succession, in case of
the death or disability of the governor, is
thrown upon the president of the senate, or
the speaker of the house of delegates, who are
two officers not elected by the people to those
offices, in regard to whom the people have no
direct agency, in regard to whose qualifica-
tions for governor the people have had no op-
portunity to exercise their judgment; this pro-
position of the committee enables the people,
with their eyes open to what this man is elected
for, to choose a lieutenant governor with the
knowledge on their part that he is the next
officer upon whom the executive functions
will devolve in case of the death, resignation
or disqualification of the governor, it gives
an additional popular feature to the constitution
by enabling the people to elect not only
a governor, but also a man to be governor,
in case the one elected for governor should go
out of office in any way. And those States
which have more and more adapted their
constitutions to democratic principles are the
very States that have provided for this officer
in their constitutions; and for the reason that
they are not willing to trust the devolution
of the executive power upon an officer not
elected fay the people. And I would call the
attention particularly of that portion of this
house who believe in popular representation,
to the fact that the senate of this State is the
least popular branch of the general assembly.
And it is not only the least popular branch,
but it is based upon a representation which
is less popular than the representation of any
senate in any State in this Union, unless it is
the State of South Carolina.
Now, by this provision of the committee, if
the governor should become disqualified, or
the office of governor be vacated in any way,
the functions of governor are devolved upon
an officer chosen by the people, instead of
upon the presiding officer of a body which is
furthest removed from the people. It does
still more. It is not a useless office. It puts
an additional life between the life of the gov-
ernor, and the vacancy of the. office. Every
body knows that in times like these there is
very strong reason why the people should be
enabled to elect a man to exercise the func-
tions of that office. And it only involves an
increased expense of about two hundred dol-
lars a year. The salary of a lieutenant gov-
ernor is to be the pay of a member of the
legislature; that is, two hundred dollars a
year, or four hundred dollars for two years.
The sessions of the legislature are to be biennial,
and the pay of a member of the legisla-
ture, is to be four hundred dollars for two
Mr. STOCKBRIDGE. It cannot exceed that.
Mr. STIRLING. It cannot exceed that; it
may be less. The lieutenant governor will be
entitled only to five dollars a day, for every
day he may preside over the senate. As I was
going on to say, it gives the people, in times
like these, to have two chances as to whom
they will select for governor * and not devolve
the functions of that office upon the presiding
officer of a body, a man who the people may
not know is to be the president of that body.
It may very well happen that the people of
this State are not willing to trust the devo-
lution of the executive power upon the presi-
dent of the senate; and it still more may hap-
pen that they will not be willing to trust its
devolution upon the speaker of the house of
delegates, I have no disrespect for him per-
sonally; I am on very good terms with him.
But I should be very sorry to see the speaker
of the last house of delegates become the gov-
ernor of this State. And yet when people's
houses are burned down in our days over
their heads, it may not be impossible that a
bullet may go through the brains of the gov-
ernor before the war is over. This question
of life and death is a very practical one just
now. And I believe this particular time is
the very time to adopt this provision.
And it is an office which men of respecta-
bility would be willing to take, notwith-
standing the smallness of the pay. It is an
office of dignity and honor, and one which
pays a compliment to the man who is selected
tor it. He occupies the dignified position of
president of the State senate, with a chance
to become the governor of the State, and it
secures to the senate an able, dignified and
impartial officer, and then to some slight
extent it decreases the exceedingly restricted
basis of the senate. Because the lieutenant
governor, being chosen by the whole people
of the State, and having the casting vote ill
all cases of a tie, that to a certain extent has
some slight tendency to popularize that

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 1317   View pdf image (33K)
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