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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 779   View pdf image (33K)
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and leave him to look solely to the discharge
of his duties as State senator or delegate.
I will state a case which I know. Asenator
from our county was appointed to an office
under the United States Government—I think
in the military service. He held the office, I
believe, for eighteen months without an act-
ual acceptance of it, and discharged his duties.
But under the provisions of this section be
did not vacate the office of senator until he
actually accepted the federal office. So be
had a position under the Federal Govern-
ment, and at the same time was a member
of the State Legislature. He complied with
the law as it then stood. But under the
provisions of my amendment, he will be free
from all these influences, and can devote his
time entirely to the service of the State, and
will not seek it as an avenue to places else-
where. And it will place all gentlemen who
are aspirants tor seats in the United States
Senate upon the same footing—keep them all
outside of the body that is to elect. Those
are the reasons I have for offering this amend-
Mr. CHAMBERS. I presume it will hardly
be supposed that I anticipate any appoint-
ment from the General Government. And I
think I should rather feel disposed to decline
it, if such a remarkable event should occur,
as one being offered to me. On a late occa-
sion I expressed my opinion with regard to
the assumption of powers on the part of this
Convention that did not properly belong to
it. And I think a course of consistency de-
mands that I should differ from my worthy
friend from Prince George's (Mr. Clarke) in
regard to this proposition. It is conceded
that we have no power to act upon this sub-
ject; and that we can only by indirection
enforce such a prohibition upon members of
the Legislature. Now, have we a, right to
assume powers because we can indirectly
operate upon the persons of those in regard
to whom those" powers are proposed to be
exercised? I say—no. We have given to the
General Government exclusive authority to
control the qualifications of its officers. Now,
if the gentleman were in Congress—where he
ought, to be, by the way—and the question
was there discussed whether these qualifica-
tions should be requited, then his argument
would he very efficient and very applicable,
and deserve the highest respect.
Hut my friend must consider that when he
comes to us and asks us to assume, to take
back from the General Government that very
authority which we have granted to it—when
he asks us to assume to act for the General
Government in a matter in which they have
the sole power to act, and in which they
have thought proper to exercise that author-
ity, he makes a demand upon us which I
think is rather unreasonable. Now, is his
plan effectual? He requires the party taking
a seat in the Legislature to take an oath to
support the Constitution of the State. Now,
what is the Constitution of the State? Is a
provision, admitted to b beyond your pow-
er, any part of the Constitution? I doubt
it. At least there is great room for casuists
to discuss that question on either side. Sup-
pose yon adopt this provision, and a member
of your Legislature accepts an office under
the General Government; what are on go-
ing to do? Suppose that the gentleman from
Prince George's is a member of the Legisla-
ture. While in that position he is offered an
appointment as a major general in the army,
having perhaps every other qualification he
would be induced to accept the appointment
but for this provision of the Constitution.
He is advised that this provision is a dead
letter and he accepts the commission. Now,
how are you going to meet him? How are
the epaulettes to be torn from his shoulders
by any process in the State of Maryland ?
Mr. CLARKE. The only way to reach the
individual is through the obligation of his
Mr. CHAMBERS. But he considers the oath
as not obligatory, as a great many persona
do these official oaths now-a-days.
Mr. CLARKE. I have taken the oath as a
member of the Legislature, and I was not
aware that any casuist has said that oath
was not binding
Mr. CHAMBERS. Why, I thought the gen-
tlemen resided in a very populous and intel-
ligent portion of the State.
Mr. CLARKE. If a member of the Legisla-
ture takes the oath prescribed for him to take
is not that oath binding upon him ?
Mr. STIRLING. Not if it requires him to
violate the Constitution of the United States.
Mr. CLARKE I do not regard my propo-
sition as requiring any such thing.
Mr. CHAMBERS. The Constitution of the
United States expressly admits a member of
the Legislature of Maryland to be a member
of Congress or a major general.
Mr. CLARKE. I do not think there is any
such provision in the Constitution of the
United States. The fact may be so, but there
is no provision in the Constitution to that
Mr. CHAMBERS. The Constitution of the
United States provides limitations, qualifica-
tions, &c., for members of Congress. My
friend is a lawyer and he knows very well
that suppressio unius est exclusio allerius.
When the Constitution prescribes certain
qualifications, it denies that any other shall
be required.
Mr. CLARKE. The only point of difference
between the gentleman from Kent (Mr. Cham-
bers) and myself is this: because a member
of the senate or delegate is eligible under the
Constitution of the United States to aseat in
Congress, there is no obligation upon the
Legislature of the State or upon the people
of the State to send every man to the Senate

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 779   View pdf image (33K)
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