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powers committed to his care. If there is to be any advance in our political life, and if all progression comes from the people, it should no longer be left doubtful whether he will prepare himself for his work or not. As well leave a soldier's training to his own inclinations. The State has a certain property in each of her citizens, and the latter should be taught to regard the duty of serving her at the polls as sacred as that of bearing arms in her defense against an invading enemy. We believe that a clause making education compulsory throughout the State, while leaving the application of the law to the Legislature, should be a part of the new Constitution.
Another great source of corruption arises from the vast number of offices to be filled by election, and frequently to be paid by fees. The position of the professional politician is a lucrative one, and the frequent elections give the dullest man a training before which intelligence and honesty are generaily routed. To destroy this evil you must take away the nutriment on which it lives; starve it, and it will soon die a natural death. Abolish the whole system of fees; substitute for them fixed and sufficient salaries; reduce the number of elective officers as much as possible, and lengthen their tenure of office. Every officer who is not strictly political should be appointable and removable by the proper authorities, who should be held strictly responsible for the employment of their patronage. The municipal elections, too, should be held at such times that politics could by no possibility be introduced into them.
Still another cause, the vast effect of which is too generally ignored, is the influence and the result of a long-continued war. The enormous power thrown into the hands of the Executive, the tightening of those lines which always divide parties, and the principle that the end must be accomplished, no matter how or by whom, are but several out of many of the legitimate results of every war. These evils can only be cured by time, which is a slow agent. Let us strive to render the task as simple a one a possible.
The last cause to which we shall allude of our present imperfect system of government, is the much smaller number of men in America who unite both leisure and capacity than in any country in Europe, and the extreme difficulty of utilizing such men as we posses;. As the country grows richer, of course men of leisure will multiply; the other half of the difficulty might be much lessened by the means suggested. We have only to instance the Board of State Charities and the Philadelphia Park Commission, to prove how efficiently, and honestly, very arduous duties are performed in those positions by many of the best men in the State.
Let us now examine the principal features of the present Constitution of this State, and indicate, as we do so, what changes we believe to be desirable in that instrument. We shall make use of a general subdivision of the subject into
I. The Executive.
I. And first, we consider the tenure of office of the Governor a subject of considerable importance. In this State that officer is elected once every three years; it is therefore only once in every twelve years that the President of the United States and the Governor are chosen about the same time, and that the nomination of one can have much effect upon the election of the other. How bad is the result despite its rare recurrence was visible at the nomination and election of the present Governor elect. One of the strongest grounds urged for the nomination of Senator Buckalew was that he would draw more anti-Grant Republicans than any other candidate, and we all know that personal merit was less discussed during the campaign, than the question under which of the two great banners each candidate had enrolled himself. If it be desirable to remove State politics from the influence of the federal government, in three cases out of four, as at present, why not altogether; and this can be readily effected by lengthening the Governor's term of office to four years, and by electing him in the middle of the President's term. In Ohio the Governor is chosen for two years, but never in the same year with the President, and in that State this plan has been found to be of great advantage.
To the offices of Attorney General and Secretary of State, already appointed by the Governor, we should add those of State Treasurer and of Commissioner of Public Education, an office of which we shall have occasion to say a few words under the last di
vision of our subject. The election of so thoroughly an executive officer as the State Treasurer by either the legislature or the people must be fraught with evil, and is in direct violation of the spirit of our form of government, by which one of the most important duties vested in the head of the Executive department is that of appointing all subordinate executive officers. How can the fitness of a man whose qualifications are necessarily of such a nature that they can be known but to one or two before actually exercised, be determined by the nominating conventions of 600,000 voters ? As the matter stands, the appointment of this important officer is really placed in the hands of a few men, but they are unfortunately wholly irresponsible and cease to exist as soon as the end for which they have striven is accomplished. How would the governmental finances of Great Britain flourish if Mr. Lowe were elected by all the good and substantial freeholders in that kingdom ; and it would be withholding justice from Mr. Boutwell to deny that the Treasury Department might fare worse than at present, if a less honest and more popular financier should be chosen by universal suffrage to replace him. Our scheme of government can only be improved by rendering to the Executive what is due to the Executive, and then watching carefully how he dispenses his patronage, and making him strictly responsible for the exercise of it.
But of all the offices which it is most desirable to take from the hands of the irresponsible many, that of a judge is of most importance. The arguments in favor of this change are so numerous and those against it so opposed to the unanimous opinion of civilized Europe, that those persons who are still in favor of an elective judiciary can only defend it on the ground that it has worked pretty well in the State of Pennsylvania. To those, however, whose scientific education has taught them to expect an effect, however remote, when they observe the existence and unceasing operation of a cause, it is hardly necessary to state that if the system is founded upon a misconception it cannot long continue tolerable. With an elective judiciary the judge must court the suffrage of those whom he should be raised far above, and whether he does it with money or by inclining unfairly the even scales of justice, the result must be most deplorable, more dangerous perhaps in the latter case than in the former, because less capable of detection. The judge should be placed on a pedestal so high and
so firm that the winds and the waves of political and pecuniary temptation might dash against it in vain, and leave him as unyielding as he will always and only be when impure motives are so far below that they cannot reach him.
In this State we were once possessed of a system which is looked upon in the most benighted of European countries as the very foundation of justice and good government, but the disappointed ambition of a few men was strong enough to make us abandon the principle of nulla vestigia retrorsum, and that patient beast of burden, the State, was loaded with a weight which, if she does not soon refuse to carry it farther, will finally break her back. The judicial morality (?) of New York and of Missouri is but a precursor of what must follow here unless the destroying agencies are arrested. In the latter State, it is true, a sort of poetic justice is administered to the judiciary of a kind which it is certainly more blessed to give than to receive, and lynch law not infrequently lifts its head to punish those who have been derelict. So violent a remedy can only be used, however, in extreme cases, and is always liable to the misapplication of the most zealous, as in Missouri, where, about a year ago, two thoroughly dishonest judges were shot in a railroad car, together with an unfortunate man who was gifted by nature with a face which resembled too closely the third member of this exemplary court.
There is in the present Constitution of Pennsylvania an excellent proviso to the effect that the Governor shall remove any judicial officer, on the address of two-thirds of each branch of the Legislature, for any reasonable cause which shall not be a sufficient ground ofimpeachment. An appointed judiciary, to hold office during good behavior, with a provision that any memberof the court who should become incapacitated by age or by bodily or mental infirmity from the further discharge of his duties, should be retired for life upon a suitable pension—say one-half of his annual salary—would, we believe, secure the approbation of every intelligent member of the community. The proviso of a retiring pension we believe to be but scant justice. Republics, from the time of Athens, have been systematically ungrateful to their public officers—a sin which has frequently been returned by the public servant seeking to prepare himself, like the unjust steward, against the day of dismissal. It is the honest man that has worn out his faculties in the exacting service of his country who is often thrown aside like a cast-off habit. How often is he obliged to exclaim as Adam did to Oliver—" Is old dog my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service.”
One great objection to our present judicial system is the ease with which cases are appealed from the lower to the higher courts, the consequent overburdening of the latter, and in all cases where the amount involved is considerable the necessary delay of justice and the pr.ictical inutility of the lower court.
Two plans have been already suggested to remedy this evilthe one, that a pecuniary limit should be placed upon all cases appealed to the Supreme Court, involving we will say less than two thousand dollars; the other, that an expensive system of costs should be adopted, as in England, so that small cases could not be appealed with pecuniary success. Both of these plans are defective. Justice, like death, should knock with equal step at the door of rich and poor; and an important principle yet undecided is frequently involved in a case where but a few hundred dollars are claimed. We would suggest as a substitute the following general plan.
Let all appealed cases before going to the Supreme Court be argued before a kind of Court of Exchequer Chamber, to consist of the judges of the two Courts of Common Pleas of the counties most contiguous to that in which the case was first argued. Let the decision of this Court of Appeal be final in all cases under two thousand dollars, except where a majority of the judges composing it shall certify that the principle involved is sufficiently important to make it desirable that it should be decided by the Supreme Court.
In speaking of the judiciary, we must not fail to notice an abuse which has crept into the constitutions of many of the States, and which we hope to see absent from the new one for this State. We mean the provision by means of which the Chief-Justiceship of the Supreme Court is made a pretty toy with which to ornament in succession the venerable brows of the puisne judges. If it be an invidious distinction to clothe one judge with more honor than his companions upon the bench, let the office be aitogether abolished, but do not let it lose its meaning, authority and influence by making it a question