« PreviousContinue »
sent to each member of the Convention; two copies to each Secretary; and the remainder were deposited with the Secretary of State. 41
The total cost of the Convention was $3,076.21. Each member of the Convention was allowed $2 per day for each day's attendance and $2 for each twenty-five miles traveled to and from the seat of government by the most usual route; the secretary and assistant secretaries received $3.50 per day for each day's attendance; the doorkeeper and assistant doorkeeper received $2 per day;43 Mann Butler was allowed $200 for printing and stitching the Constitution and Journals;44 $41.50 was appropriated for books, stationery, etc.; $27.50 for tables, benches, etc.; and $40 for overseeing the printing, stitching, and distribution of the Constitution and Journals.45
Criticisms of the Constitution of 1816.-So far as can be determined by an inspection of the meager contemporary literature of the subject, the Constitution of 1816 was received with general satisfaction and without serious protest from the people. 46 Some few of the provisions, of the new instrument of Government, because of obscurities and imperfections, aroused adverse criticism for a period of about 5 years immediately following its adoption. The provisions of the Constitution which evoked the most serious hostile criticism were the following: (1) Fixing the seat of Government at Corydon for a period of 9 years.47 The establishment or removal of the State capitol, it was contended, is a legislative act and cannot be made a part of a Constitution; if such a provision is incorporated in a Constitution, it can be altered only by the power which made it, and not by a legislative body, as the Constitution of 1816 provided; hence all acts done under cover of such a provision would be null and void. (2) Prohibiting the calling of a constitutional convention to alter, revise or amend the Constitution until the expiration of a full period of 12 years. 48 This unwise prohibition was neither a legislative act nor a legitimate exercise of power by a Convention, but an inalienable power which resides solely in the people.49 (3) Limiting the salaries of public officers, which was purely a legislative function.50 (4) Making all ministerial officers elective. This provision represented a retrocession to the people of a power which they had delegated to the Convention to be otherwise disposed of. “The people did not wish, from the reluctance which they manifest in attending elections, to vote for these officers." (5) Limiting the term of office of judges. The tenure of office of a judge should be determined by good behavior. Elected judges are too much inclined to yield their judicial independence to conciliate public opinion and secure their reëlection.51 (6) The failure to provide for an attorney-general or prosecuting attorneys to prosecute criminal
41. Conv. Jour. 67.
43. Laws, 1st Session, 171. The per diem of the members and officers was paid on presentation of a certificate signed by the President of the Convention. Conv. Jour. 67
44. Butler's claim for printing and stitching the Journals was presented at the second and fourth sessions of the General Assembly, but on the grounds that he had been paid $200, the claim was disallowed. House Journal, 2d Sess., 54 and 104. Ibid., 4th Session, 165 and 205.
45. Laws, 1st Session, 239.
46. Although the Western Sun, published at Vincennes by Elihu Stout, is the only available source of information for the period immediately following the year 1816, the absence of criticism, either favorable or unfavorable, is conspicuous and impres
47. Article XI, Section 11.
48. Article VIII. 49.
The assumption in this argument is that Article VIII of the Constitution was wholly mandatory and not partly mandatory and partly permissive, and, that, therefore, it was imposs to procure amendments to the Constitution prior to the year 1828. The arguments relative to the location of the seat of government and the amendment of the Constitution were advanced by one "Hortensius," the earliest critic of the Constitution, who contributed an article to the Cornucopia, a paper published in New Lexington, Kentucky, some time before the provisions of the Constitution were generally known to the people of Indiana. In this criticism, "Hortensius" says of the Constitution that "its general principles are truly republican," but it "contains provisions contrary to every principle of true republicanism, and subversive of the rights of the people." This was to be expected from “the frenzy and intrigue which marked the progress of the measure of a State government in every stage, from their commencement at Corydon in December last, to Washington city; from thence to your elections on the 2d Monday in May, till they again reached Corydon arraignment concludes by recommending the defeat at the approaching election of all those men who favored the adoption of these provisions. The Western Sun, which represented the Vincennes Junto, and was piqued because it had not received the printing contract authorized by the Convention, approved the criticisms of "Hortensius" and recommended the defeat of every man who had served in the Convention. The editor of the Sun had not yet seen a copy of the Constitution, which had been sent to Kentucky to be printed “either to delay the publication, or secure some extrinsic support
The Constitution was a "premature instrument"; "if these two provisions are in it, we are not, we cannot be safe." "Twelve years deprived of a right that is inalienable, by a body of men called a Convention, elected to secure our rights, not to deprive us of them!" Western Sun, July 20, 1816. See, also, articles by "A Citizen" and "A New-Comer" in the Western Sun of August 17, 1816, and July 20, 1818. The Constitution was printed and ready for sale on August 21, 1816. Western Sun, August 17 and 24, 1816.
50. Article XI, Section 16.
51. The dissertation on the provisions of the Constitution relative to the salaries of public officers, the election of ministerial officers, and the election and tenure of judges was written by a citizen of Ft. Harrison, under date of July 20, 1818, who signed himself "A New-Comer." He had lived in the State since the beginning of the year 1818. Sun and Advertiser, August 1, 1818.
accusations. (7) The existence of ambiguous and equivocal provisions.52
The arguments employed prior to and during the year 1816 in opposing the assumption of statehood were also used retrospectively for some time after the adoption of the Constitution. The Constitution was described as a "premature instrument" and “premature offspring,' and there were those who professed to fear that Indiana would resemble "a puny child, taken from nurse too soon
As late as 1821, when the bank controversy, then a leading political issue in the country, had become an acute public question in this State, the Constitution was described as “miserable, objectionable and disjointed." ”' As the ambitious intrigues of the banking junto, including Governor Jennings, were thwarted by the Territorial Government, “We were therefore hurried into the State Form to gratify a group of demagogues, who have since managed and manacled
In offering himself to the voters of Knox, Daviess and Martin counties for State senator, in 1821, John Ewing advanced the opinion that “some of our grievances had their origin in the formation of our State Constitution ... Another grievance, which was temporary in its operation, was the short time allowed by the Constitution for the election of State and local officers.56 On the other hand, most of the citizens of the State were undoubtedly proud of the fact that the territory had achieved Statehood, and their temporary and minor grievances
52. This criticism was made by one who signed himself “A Citizen." He calls attention to the fact that Section 8 of Article IV provides that the Governor, with the advice of the senate, shall commission all officers not otherwise directed. In another place in the same section it was provided that all “officers” created by the General Assembly shall be filled in a manner to be directed by law. The word "officers" should be "offices." The first paragraph of this section is explained away by Section 15 of Article XI, which provided that all town and township officers shall be appointed as designated by law. This, continues the writer, is “A Negative pregnant with an affirmative," and the latter provision repeals the former. There is no way to remedy these defects but by another Convention. Western Sun, August 17, 1816.
Letter "To the Citizens of Indiana" by “A Federal Republican", published in the Western Sun of July 27, 1816.
54. Statements by "A Republican" and "A Voter" in Western Sun of June 23, June 30, July 21 and August 4, 1821.
55. Western Sun, July 14, 1821.
56. Article XIII, Section 8. The Convention adjourned on June 29 and the elections were fixed for the first Monday in August (August 5). Under date of July 17, 1816, George R. C. Sullivan announced himself as a candidate for Congress, and referred, in his formal announcement, to the “Hasty and precipitate elections" which did not enable him to visit the electors of the several counties but only announce himself through the newspapers. Western Sun, July 20, 1816.
were mitigated by the reflection that if the Constitution was defective and imperfect, it could be corrected.57
Location of the Seat of Government. With two exceptions, the only method of amending the Constitution of 1816 was by a constitutional convention. By these two exceptions, the General Assembly was authorized to substitute viva voce voting for voting by ballot at the session of 1821, and to remove the seat of government from Corydon at the session of 1825 or at any subsequent session. Section 11 of Article XI of the Constitution provided that “Corydon, in Harrison county, shall be the seat of Government of the State of Indiana, until the year eighteen hundred and twenty-five, and until removed by law." This section was proposed on the floor of the Convention on June 26th, as an additional section, and was adopted by consent without a contest. Although historical evidence of the character of the combat is wanting, it is tolerably safe to conjecture that a struggle over the incorporation of this provision in the Constitution transpired before its formal presentation in the Convention; that all opposition had been compromised or effectually allayed; that a “gentlemen's agreement” had been entered into by the delegates; and that an arrangement, involving a tacit, unspecified consideration, had been perfected with the city of Corydon.58 This provision of the Constitution was unpopular from the first; rival secin of the Niat Mare palpably disgruntled; and the adoption of in pod non was alleged to be an unwarranted usurpation of
57. At a Fourth of July celebration at Ft. Harrison in 1816, the toast to Indiana was: “Another star upon the national banner, just rising into importance-may she always unite simplicity of manners with virtuous firmness and energetic patriotism." Western Sun, August 3, 1816. At a Fourth of July celebration at Vincennes in 1818, the toast to Indiana was: "A new star in the west;" the toast to "The present constitution and rulers of the State of Indiana" was: “If they are not what they should be the people can have them altered." In the oration of the day, John Ewing said that in assuming statehood, Indiana had the "examples and lessons of the old States to stimulate and guide her efforts." Whether this collective wisdom had enlightened the local statesmen it was for the people to say, and “that which exists, can only be changed by them." Western Sun, July 11, 1818, and Extra of the same date. At a Washington's birthday celebration at Vincennes in 1823, one toast was: “The State of Indiana-may our citizens duly consider that the Constitution was made by themselves, and that they can alter it at pleasure." Western Sun, March 1, 1823.
58. On January 18, 1825, Mr. Beckes of Knox county secured the adoption of a resolution requesting the Auditor of Public Accounts, the Secretary of State and the Treasurer of State to attend the session of the House on January 24 and give such information as they might have in their possession "relative to a bond heretofore given to the Governor for the use of the State, under arrangement between the members of the Convention and the citizens of Corydon, at the formation of the Constitution; in nursuance of which, it was agreed, and consequently a provision inserted in said Con
ution, fixing the seat of government at Corydon, until the year 1825; also, what eedings have been taken for the collection of said bond
." No further on was taken on this resolution. House Journal, 9th Session, 77. See, also, Laws, less., 252, for a lost Harrison county bond.
Moscow, the location of the capital on the extreme Aviathaneti propher of the now commonwealth had decided geogevanghelianenge, while the spread of population north* *011 romaneh Herunted the prevalent discontent. It was Horari della chim that a legislative contest would arise over *** Proxpranillo duplexmg question and it is not surprisHe this the most up to noure a modification of the Consti11. ** pro ho determination to modify or repeal this
The point which was imminent from the date when the produksi map of their woluciou had become generally known, was prenosimo in D All the necond annual session of the General
It will lead that the ('onstitution had not been naal te this posla u ratification; hence the sentiments of show the use or in the phablone of the location of the seat of Gov
to will man he other provisions of the Constitution,
mai somA mund falectural. It was now determined to "I; rore eformet fra submit the proposition to a direct vote
mes to where all undoubted plebiscite on an isolated si sret sapien, if sanctioned by popular approbation,
s ce mi vhows ohjectionable constitutional provision, 1 1.12 kerielga third which must elapse before moving the "Upratore di un ar to more convenient and strategic location. 1. Vergeet on Dormy 19, the House adopted a resolution ?? for the appoint of a committee "to take into con**** 03 the propriety of taking the sense of the people of this
of that part of the Chustitution which fixes the seat of 4-..-" bent at Corydon until the year 1825, with leave to report
...16 otherwise, 0 The speaker immediately appointed a -e, fittee of 9 representatives. This committee, impressed with the propriety of submitting the question t
eople, returned a favorable report and a joint resolution
mber 26. Sentiment in the House crystallized slowly.
9, an attempt to indefinitely postpone the measure w and it was immediately thefter consi
the Committee of the Whole. Th Vs later sideration of the measur
59. See pago xxii.
61. This committee con one each from Jefferson, Wash
o rep rison
unty, and lin.