The Columbia Democrat. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1837-1850, December 22, 1838, Image 1

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I have mwmh n'pon the Altar of God, eternal Inutility to every form of granny over the Wind Of fl W-ThomM Jefferson.
Volume II.
IVifUibcr 35
Next boon to Romson'o StauIj Offi'ck.
The COLtlMpfA DEMOCRAT will be e.ue.rti Hahiriltiii mnrninrr. at
jriVO DOLLM$:pzr annum, payable
heat y.eam m aavancc, or J. too iJoiiars
"fifth deitt if not naiil within the venr.
Wo subscr'ipli6)i will betaken for a shorter
period than sixyrionlhs: nor any discon-
"afe 'discharged.
ADVERTISEMENTS nol cxctelting 'a
ftjuare will fa conspicuously h)sjr(eU at
One Dollar for Vie first three imtrlionsj
'and Twenty-five ctfil'sjar every s'ubs'e-
mailt IU uwne iviiu u ivvi line uy jc uvui.
LETTERS Mdresscd on business, hust
be post paid. v
SYLVANIA. We, the democratic members of the Sen
te and House of Representatives of Penii
'sylvanla, arc reduced to the painful necessi
ty of calling your attention to the deplora
ble condition to which the affairs of the
'Commonwealth aro reduced, by the insane
efforts of a few unprincipled men, striving
to retain the power which a majority of
the people have Solemnly decided they must
iay down;
In doing this wo Will bo as brief as pos
sible. Knowing that neither arguntcnt nor
'exciting appeals aro necessary to call you
o the support of the Constitution -the laws
and the legally 'constituted government of
the State) We shall Use none of these; A
'correct knowledge '6f the fact's is all thai is
Necessary to enable the moil obtuse intellect
to arrive at jnst conclusions, and we shall,
therefore, confine ourselves to the 'simple
tewUl of those facts. Before proceeding
to do so, we claim your confidence in the
truth of our narration, for wo shall "noth
ing extenuate, nor ought set down in mal
ice." That you may the better compre
hend the full extent to which the Constitu
tion has been Infracted, and the laws tramp
led upon, by individuals claiming 16 rep'rV
tent a majority or ihe people in the Execu
tive & Legislative departments of the Gov't,
it becomes necessary to bring to notice some
Events which occurred prior to the assem
bling of the Legislature! Thobe tody be
known W rriost Of ydu, as for some time
they have engaged the public mind with
painful intensity: to oth'eis they may not bs
bo familiar. , , .
The county of Philadelphia is divided in
to seventeen election districts, and is entitled
to elect 8 members to the House of Repre
sentatives and to members two the Senato,of
his Statd. In pursuance Of the directions
bf the laws relating to the subject; one re
turn judge from each of these seventeen
districts met on the 12th day of Oct. last;
at Independence Hall in the Stato House in
Philadelphia, for the pnrposo of casting up
ihe votes giveti to each candidate, in the
'county, and to rriake out the proper return.
The Judges being thus assembled, in tho
'dischagre of n highly responsible and sol
emn duty, to be executed under tile sariction
bf an oath or affirmatibrii proceeded to the
xercise of their fuuctioiis; A question
Wing arison as to tho legality or the elec
tion held in tho incorporated prtrt of tho
Northern Liberties, being one of tho sevril
leen districts, after cxaming witnesses and
having tho argument of counsel a majority
bf the return judges being ten of the seven
teen decided that the returns from tho in
borporatcd Northern Liberties eodld not b'd
deceived. In pbint of law, this decision
Siay have Veen errotieo'us, and may be so
conceded it in rid wise affects ihe un
doubted and indispulablb election of the
Democratic candidates for seats in the Sen
ate, arid House of Representatives, as will
bowafter bo shown. After this decision thb
judges proceeded to ascertain the result of
th,o election in the temainlng districts,, all
of theni participating to tho necessary ex
amination, or being present whilo il pio
greased. When tho whole number of votes
Jiollcd in tho sixteen districts wero counted,
t was ascertained, that for.
Demo!. Fed.
C. Biown had 7880 Wrn. Wagoner
Stevenson 7870 j. Hanor
. Demo. . Fed.
Chas.l'ray 7870 bay
j'( iV. Ryan , 7817 A. Woe'lcppo
M. N. Carpenter 7869 W. P. Hughei
T. II. Drittam
,7893 M.Lu'yd
783V Win.J. Crans
7818 3. P. Reed
7819 11. R. Mcari
7922 J. F. Smith
A. Hclfensticn
J. W. Ncsbit
T. J". Heslon
I). Crispin
being jilt average majority for the democrat
ic candidates of about 1500 votes, exclud
ing the voles cast In the Northern Liberties.
In further prosecution 'oV their duties, the
Judgeb VIYbH proceeded to make out and cer
tify tho returns required by law, showing
tile above result, which were signed by ten
of lliem being a majority, in the presence
of tho whole number. Having thus execu
ted tho trust confided, to them, the meeting
'of the judges was adjourned', and the indi
vidual members left the room in wliich they
had 'convened. The next day, a dupH'eple
of the returns '-as deposited in the office
uf the Prothonotary of the City and Coun
ty of Philadelphia, and another sent to the
Secretary of the Commonwealth, who re
ceived it and depotited it in his office, as
by law and his oath of office he was bound
to do.
Shortly after tho adjdurnment of the
Jidges, six of them; retired to another
room iii the state house1, and there, m se
cret in the dead hour of the night, fraudu
lently concocted Another return', showing
the result only In the 7 districts they had
represented in the conference of the judges.
These 7 districts being the most federal in
the county showed the following result:
Federalists'. Democrats'.
Jas. Hanor rJ588 CHas. Drown
ttiiu Waiioner 6308 S; Stevenson
M. Day 631G Ciws. Trajr 4912
A. Wocleppet 6l26 J. W. Ryan 4767
W.F.Hughes 6438 M. N. Carpenter 4814
Wm, Loyd 6355 Ti II. Brillain 4849
V. J. Crani 6422 A. Hclfenstein 4771
S. P. Reed 0445 J. W. Nesbit 4770
H. R;Mears 634G T. J. Ilestoil 4779
J. F. SraitH '6372 13. Crispin 4849
For the pUrjiose of defrauding the demo
cratic members of the Senate and House,
of the seals to which they are entitled, by
the suffrages of tile people of their county,
these false, partial and garbled returns, were
on tho same night, sent by an express to
Ilarrisburg, as the truo return of tho slate
of the poll in tho county of Philadelphia,
in respect to Senators and Representatives,
and deposited in the office of the Secreta
ry of tho Comihdiiwealth.
Tho rejection of the Noithern Libetties
return is given as an apology for this gross
and monstrous violation, not only of their
duty but of their oaths. Miserable as it is,
rind impotent, in the slightest degree, to ex
tenuate conduct ancli ai wc have detailed,
this pretended excuse; at once; met and put
tli slinme, by the filet that the rejection or
addition of the Northern Liberties voto can
in no wiso affect the right of tho Demo
cratic members to seats. Let us prove it.
't'he voto in the Sixteeri districts we have
shown to bo;
For the Udm'ocratib candidate's an aver
age of more than 7800.
For the Federal candidate dri average of
0300 leaving an average democratic majori
ty of about 1000.
In the Northern Liberties the voto stbod,
For the Democratic candidates aii aver-
ago of 2140.
For tho Federal candidates ail average of
Leaving an average Federal mojotity in
tho Northern Liberties of 1000.
Democratic average majority irl
Sixteen districts.
Federal avorage majority in Nortiv
ern Liberties.
Democratic average In the whojo
We assert unhesitatingly and unequivo
cally, that the Secretary of the Common
wealth was, before the meeting of the Le
gislature, Cognizant of all these facts.
This gross wrong on the rights of sulTer-
age, the most sacred and invaluable known
to freemen living under a Rcpreseetative
form of government thus commenced in
Philadclnia has been carried out and con
summated at Ilarrisburg, by an usurpation
of power on the part of tho Secretary of the
Commonwealth, (the appointee and depend
ant of the Governor) unparalleled in the his
tory of this or any other State forming the
confederacy, and by the boldness and reck
less daring of an individual holding a seat
in the House of Representatives, whose fame
us an unprincipled tactition is but too notori
ous for the credit of the Slate he has adopt
ed for his residence.
How this consumation was effected we
proceed to show.
A day or two previous to the meeting of
the Legislature, a rumor was current in this
town, that the Secretary- a mere deposito
ry of the election returns would constitute
himself the arbiter to judge of the Validity
of the several returns, and refusing to obey
llib law which directs him t'ri deliver all the
returns addressed to the two Houses, would
assume tho responsibility of withholding
from the Senate and House of Representa
tives, the undenied and undeniable return,
legally made by a majority of the return
judges of the county of Philadelphia :
That, upon this action, the federal members
of the House would refuse to submit them
selves 16 the decision of the majority of the
membcis acknowledged On all sides to be
elected, and whose elections have not, up to
this moment, been disputed, and rejecting
all oilier evidence, except the return of the
minority judges sent in by tho Secretary,
receive the individuals shown to have been
beaten by at least live hundred Votes', and
proceed to a separate organization of the
House by the election of a Speaker of their
exclusive choice.
This scheme was 8f a character sri start
ling, and so utterly at varienco with all con
stitutional and legal propriety, that credence
was denied the report. It was not until
men were astounded by the intelligence
that it had actually been carried into effect,
that the public belief here gave it slow ad
mission) and we passed from astonishment
at the stupendous corruption which could
conceive such a project, to sadness in the
contemplation of fifty two American citi
zens iome of them selected by their fel
lows for the exercise of the highest legisla
tive functions lending themselves to carry
forward its perpetration.
Before we proceed to detail how the se
cession by the minority was effected and a
)rfncenionse of Representatives formed;
it is proper to say it would never have been
attempted, but for the accidental circum
stances that the party, to which the disor
ganizes profess to belong, enjoy a majori
ty in the Senate, and having possession,
for yet a little whiU, of the Exccutivechair
expected to be recognized by the Senate
and Governor, as tho legitimate House of
Representatives of this Commonwealth.
Thus far the fear not of an "armed mob"
but the fear of the popular indignation,
based upon popular intelligence, has pre
vented tlie exhibition of this last sceue of a
drama, to which folly has lent the character
istics of farce, but which a criminal disre
gard of trdtli, justice and propriety obstinate
ly persisted ili, threatened, atone instant of
time to convert into fearful tr?gedy.
In contemplating tile circumstances which
preceded and accompanied the secession of
ihe minority from the Hounoof Representa
tives and the subsequent proceedings in the
Senate, the first startling fart whichattracts
the attention of tho investigator is the here
tofore, unheard of assumption of power by
tho Secretary of tho Commonwealth' over
the roturns filed in his office. Iu assuming
as it will be seen he did, to give preference
to one return before another, he usurped an
authority conferred by tho constitution on
each house, alono to judgo of tho "qualifi
cations" of its members by refining to fur
nish the house legal evidence of those qual
ifications. If t his bo submitted tp hereafter
tho Secretary; a creature of the Governor!
and not the members elect, is to decide who
are and who aro not members of the Legis
lature of Pennsylvania; thUs consolidating
pt least for a limited period of time, distinct
branches of the government, which the fra
mets of our constitution anxiously endeavor
ed. to keep separate.
It is unnecessary to follow out all the
consequences which migM, nay must flow
from this illegal appropriation of power: Il
is enough for a free people, governed by
settled laws, to know that one of their a
gents has endeavored to appropriate a pow
er not belonging to him, and the posses
sion of which, by him, is utterly incompat
ible with the independence of the lcgish
body. . .
We proceed to submit a plain statement
of the facts which accompanied the organi
zation of the House as they occurred. From
it, it will be perceived that tho minority,
uonscious of its weakness, had recourse to
petty trick, in order to carry out a scheme,
concocted before they came into the Hall of
the House.
On Tuesday ,tno 4th lnst'.,the day appoint
ed by the Constitution, for the meeting of
the General Assembly, the membersi elected
to the House ol Representatives met at 1 1
o'clock, A, M. believed they wero all
present. Upon motion, it was unnanim'ous
ly ordered that the clerk of the House at the
last session, Francis R. Shunk, Esq. read
the returns of the late election for Represen
tatives. The Secretary of the Common
wealth having been introduced, laid upon
the Speaker's tabic, as he stattd,hc official
After the Clerk had read the return from
ihe City of Philadelphia, wliich was the
first return read; Mr. Pray of ihe county
of Philadelphia, required of hiin to state
by how manv judges the paper received
from the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
purporting to be a return of the election 'of
members in the couniy of Philadelphia was
signed; and li'ow many election of members
m the county of Philadelphia was signed,
and how many election districts were inclu
ded in it. The Clerk made the statement
requircd,roHi which it appeared that the
pretended return comprised but seven dis
tricts of the sevcnlesn and was signed but
by six judges. ,
Mr. Pray, then presented a copy; certi
fied by the Prothonotary of the country of
Philadelphia; of the return of the election
of representatives in the said county, signed
by a majority of the rettirn judges which
was read, after which the paper received
from the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
suppoitingto be a return, signed by six of
tlie seventeen return judges, and containing
tlie votes for Representatives in seven of the
Seventeen election districts In the said
county was also read.
Upon the presentation of tho certified
copy, a short debate occurred in which Mr.
T. S. Smltli, of Philadelphia, gave the first
intimation of an intended secession of the
minority; by slating that he hbped those
who thought with him wb'uld not vote upon
any question which might arise.
The Clerk having proceeded and read
the returns from all the other counties, then
called the names of the members returned
as representatives; The membcis who af
terwards seceded, declined to answer.
Fifty-six answered, wliich fact being an
nounced, on motion, they proceeded to the
choice bf a Speaker, and William Hopkins
was duly elected having received fifty-five
In the course of ihese proceedings, mark
ed by a strict observance of tho law and
the Constitution, and tho practice under
them, Thaddeus Stevens, a member re
turned from Adams couniy, mado a motion
in direct hostility with the uniform practice,
and without regard lo Ihe order of proceed
ing, that tellers bo appointed for tho pur
pose of electing a Speaker. On this mo
tion, ho said ho hoped only himself and
those who thought with him would vote;
and that those who differed from him and
his friends would be allowed to vote for
their Speaker, and that ho hoped there
would be room enough on the platform for
two speakers... He then put the question
hastily and Informally and pronounced
that it had carried, though undoubtedly vo
ted down by a majority of the members
present. f After which the teller by him,
named proceeded and held an irregular and
informal election disturbing in some degree
the orderly proceedings of the membero
who were ehgaged in tho regular discharge
of their duties. Thev continued this farce
by pronouncing a Speaker to bo elected,
wlio according to this novel plan did not re
ceive morejhan some twenty or thirty votes
some ol the scceders answering yes somo
here some answering Thomas S. Cun
ningham, and then administered oaths and
affirmations to thef seccders. , Soon after
the election of Mr. Hopkins, Speaker, the
seceding members withdrew, having taken
no part in the regular organization of tho
HoU3o. After Mr. Speaker Hopkins had
made his acknowledgements to the members
for the trust confided in him, the usual oaths
were administered to him by Mr. Smith, of
Franklin; when tho members present, fifty
five in number, took and subscribed the re
quisite oaths and affirmations. The House
then adopted the usual resolutions, and ad
During the whole df these proceedings
there Was in the gallery and upon part of
the floor of the House a verv larse assem !
iiiairc of citizens1, who, when Mr Cunninr'-
ham has conducted to the chair, exhibited
some symptoms of disapprobation', ,which
was, however instantly hushed at the rel
quest of Mr. Hill of Westmoreland, a de
mocratic member. In all other respects
they conducted themselves throughout with
tho utmost pr'opiiety.
It is well known that a larger collection
of people than is usual upon such occasions
assembled, because it was openly and phb
licly asserted that the secretary of the com
monwealth would withhold from the repre
sentetlves of the people the regular return
of tlie election of representatives in the coun
ty of Philadelphia, and present art illegal
and void paper purporting to be a return, by
which the representatives of the people le
gally elected would bo deprived of their,
scats'. That this threatened infraction of
popular sovreiguty should produce extraor
dinary vigilance in a pcoplejealous of their
rights, is as natural as it is honorable'.
That regular returns df l'epreseniaiives
were made by a majority of the return judg
es of Philadelphia county! was as wtlt
known in that district, and by all who ex
amined the facts, as that there was an elect
ion held on the second Tuesday in October!
That one of these returns was filed in tho
Prolhonotarie's office of the county, waa
equally well known, and was further at
tested by tlie certified copy, read at the or
ganization of the II .use. That another of
these returns was sent td the Secietary's of
fice and was in the possession of the Secro
tary of the Commonwealth) was notorious!.
And yet the fraudulent embezzlement of
this return was made the pretext of tho lead
ers of tho minority to destroy tho regular
action of the Legislature.
The whole of these proceedings wero
witnessed, as lias been already observed, by
a very largo concourse of citizens diawn to
gether by tlio reports of tho intended sup
pression of the rotUrns. Much indignation,
at tho unprecedented & unjustifiable course
of tho minority was doubt'.es3 felU Nono
was manifested until the afternoon, when
the Senate in which tho federalists have
the majority, meet to organize. ,
The members of tho Sena to assembled
in the Senate chamber at 3 o'clock P. M.
Tho dense crowd which had filled the gal
leries, and passages of tho lower House in
tho morning, now occupied the narrower
accommodations of (ho Senate chamber.
Here crowded together, in the most un
comfortable position, thoy remained (foc
from twp to three hours, listening with!
breathless interest to the discussion wh'icH