committees, appointed to consider the propriety and expediency of making any alteration therein, shall be considered in Committee of the Whole before they are debated and finally acted upon in Convention.


Every resolution proposing any alteration in the Constitution, shall be read on two several days before it is finally acted upon and adopted by the Convention.

Place of Meeting.

Mr. LOTHROP, of Boston. Mr. President, when this Convention adjourns to-day to meet at ten o'clock on Monday morning, as they have already voted to do, I move that it adjourn to meet in the Music Hall, and that the Messenger of the Convention be directed to make the necessary arrangements for our assembling there. I will very briefly state the reasons why I make this motion. I do not propose again to go over and discuss the questions which have already been settled by the Convention. It is settled that this body will not adjourn for any length of time, but will continue to meet, and will proceed forthwith to business. It is settled, also, that gentlemen will not agree to hold their sessions for any time away from this hall-the house of the people. We have furthermore determined to appoint a Committee of Conference, to make arrangements with the House of Representatives in regard to alternate sessions. These questions have been already stled by strong votes in this body, and I do not propose by this motion to open them again. But, Mr. President, I conceive that the motion which I have made is absolutely requisite to the carrying out of the determination of this Convention. We have appointed a Committee of Conference, to confer with the House on the subject of holding alternate sessions in this hall. How can we adjourn to meet in this place, at any rate after three o'clock this afternoon, without possibly coming into conflict with the House of Representatives? What right have we to assume that this hall will be open to us at 9, 10, 12, or any other hour on Monday? I know, Sir, that there are members of the House now present as members of this body; but they are not authorized to speak for the House. It seems to me that we should be putting ourselves into a position somewhat antagonistic to the House, if we should adjourn to meet in this hall at any hour on Monday. We must go, for a brief period, at least, to some other place, in order to enable our committee to confer with the House, and give them an opportunity to report to us; and it is for that purpose only that I make the motion.

Mr. NAYSON. I rise to a point of order. I understand that this Convention have already voted that when we adjourn it be to meet on Monday next, at ten o'clock, in this hall.

The PRESIDENT. The motion, as agreed to, was that when we adjourn it be to meet on Monday, at the hour of ten.

Mr. NAYSON. It was understood by me, and by other gentlemen around me, that the place of meeting was specified in the original motion. The PRESIDENT. The inquiry was made as to the place to which the Convention would stand adjourned, and the answer of the Chair was, that until the Convention took further order, it would stand adjourned to this place.

Mr. NAYSON. If that is required, the motion of the gentleman from Boston will be in order; but we did not so understand it here.

The PRESIDENT. The Chair is confirmed in his impression by the record of the Secretary, made at the moment it was passed.

Mr. EARLE. I am very glad that motion has been made, for I think it would be better for us to adjourn to some other place for one day. The order for meeting at ten o'clock on Monday puts us in a position I do not like to see. The regular hour of meeting of the House of Representatives is ten o'clock. If we adjourn to that hour without fixing any other place of meeting, it is in effect saying that we will take this hall, whether the House choose to yield it to us or not. It is in effect putting ourselves in a condition of antagonism, to some extent. It is true that members of the House assure us, so far as they can give us any assurance, that the House will assent to any such arrangement. But I think that we ought to adjourn in such a way as not to have the appearance of placing ourselves in opposition to the House.

Another consideration seems to me important in reference to this. Suppose that the Committee of Conference should make some arrangement which should be satisfactory to the House of Representatives but not satisfactory to us, or, on the other hand, satisfactory to us and not to them. It seems to me that it would certainly be a great convenience to have both bodies in session upon that day, so that any arrangement which should be made, could be made entirely satisfactory to both bodies. Having already agreed to adjourn to meet at the same hour with the House of Representatives, I think we ought to adjourn to another place, and that the motion ought to prevail.

Mr. WILSON, of Natick. From the commencement, I have only been anxious that the Convention should continue together. Having been gratified in that wish, I am perfectly willing either to remain here or to go elsewhere. We know that the House of Representatives will meet in this hall on Monday next. They are to assemble this afternoon. They may or may not change their hour of meeting. If they should change it, there would be no difficulty or conflict. But if they should refuse to change it, they would meet here on Monday next, at ten o'clock, the same hour to which we have agreed to adjourn. Some of our friends in the Convention, who are also members of the House, assure us that the House will probably change their hour of meeting. We do not know whether they will or not. The proposition now is, that for one day we meet elsewhere. The Music Hall is one of the most beautiful halls ever erected in this country. There is ample room to transact our business there, on Monday, and we can return on Tuesday. I think, therefore, that we may as well adjourn to meet in the Music Hall on Monday. The negotiation with the House can then be made, and we can return here on Tuesday; or if we find that we can proceed better there than here, we can remain there.

Mr. UPTON, of Boston. I supposed that the discussion had been finally closed; but some gentlemen appear to fear a collision between this body and the House of Representatives. I have no fears whatever of that kind. Prominent members of this body, who are also prominent mem

[May 7th.

bers of the House of Representatives, have stated here after consultation with other members of the House, that the arrangement would be perfectly satisfactory to them for this body to adjourn to meet in this place on Monday, at ten o'clock. I think, Sir, that to doubt that they will agree to the arrangement, would itself be showing disrespect to the House, considering what they have done for this body. When prominent members of the House tell us that it will be agreeable to the House, I think that the discourtesy would be rather in declining the offer. But whatever doubt there may be as to the convenience of the House can be remedied by another motion which I will suggest, that in case the House should prefer to meet at ten o'clock on Monday, our Messenger be instructed to provide a place suitable for this Convention. That would cover the whole ground, and would probaly enable us to continue in this hall.

Mr. HATHAWAY. I am very happy that there is no principle involved in this question. It is a mere question of accommodation, how to accommodate ourselves to the necessities of the House of Representatives, and how they shall accommodate themselves to ours. As it seems to be fashionable for gentlemen to say what their wishes are, I will venture to obtrude mine. I wish that the proposition of the gentlemen from Boston, (Mr. Lothrop,) may be adopted. I wish gentlemen to take into consideration for one moment our position here, and the position of the House of Representatives. What are they? The House of Representatives, hold their sessions in this hall. They were sent here by the people. They have established a rule, and we are advertised of the fact, to meet here daily at 10 o'clock in the forenoon. That is a matter which is notorious. Since we have been in session the House of Representatives have not been in session. They have had no opportunity whatever to change their Rule. Knowing the existence of this Rule, we have decided to meet at 10 o'clock on Monday. Should no further action be taken with reference to that vote, where are we to meet? Most assuredly we meet here. Now, it is said by prominent members of the House that there will be no difficulty about the arrangement. But suppose the House of Representatives should not carry out the views of these gentlemen. We should certainly be in the wrong, because they have established their Rule, and we were aware of the existence of the Rule when we adopted our resolution. It can do no harm to avoid the possibility of a collision with the House of Representatives. Out of respect to ourselves, if we have no respect to the House of Representatives of this Commonwealth, we certainly ought not to bring ourselves, into conflict with the servants of the people. I hope, therefore, that, by the adoption of the motion of the gentleman from Boston, we shall avoid the possibility of any conflict.

Mr. HUBBARD, of Boston. I agree, fully, with the views expressed by the gentleman from Freetown (Mr. Hathaway). The House of Representatives have rightfully the possession of this hall. Its possession is prior to ours. They have done us the courtesy to yield that possession for a given time. It seems to me that it is due to them that we should treat them with all possible respect in this matter; and that we should not obtrude or claim the right to the hall on

- Monday,]


Monday without their previous assent. But are we not in the same situation so far as regards the proprietors of the Music Hall? What right have we to claim to take possession of that building without their previous assent that we shall do so? For one I should like to be informed whether, if we should agree to this motion, it is certain that we can have possession of that building.

Mr. WALKER, of North Brookfield. On the first day of the session of this Convention, a committee was appointed to procure a hall. The resolution appointing that committee was handed me by one of my colleagues with the request that I should attend to it. I did not seek the mission at all. The examination having been made, the Committee were unanimously of the opinion that although there were other very good halls, the hall of the Lowell Institute was the best hall. They reported accordingly, and, after a protracted debate that Report was accepted by a majority of 77. The business of the Committee, I supposed, was then ended. However, upon seeing the course of the debate, and the difficulty upon the next day of the session, I took the liberty, upon my own responsibility, of going to the proprietors of the Music Hall and asking them if we could have that hall in case the Convention should agree to occupy it. They said we might have it. I asked upon what terms. They replied $10 a day. Their usual price, I knew, was $100; but they were desirous of accommodating the Convention. They agreed also to do all the fitting up. I asked whether there were halls suitable for committee rooms. They replied that there were. There was one hall which would hold 1,500 persons, which the Convention could occupy during its sessions; and there were sundry other rooms, too numerous to mention, fitted up with hooks, &c., and supplied with all the accommodations of such a building. We might occupy it on Monday, if we pleased, or at any other time, for one day, or one month, or for months. Excepting only the 28th of May, when it was otherwise engaged, it was entirely at the service of the Convention. I obtained these facts supposing that they might be useful to the Convention; and seeing the proprietor just now, I asked him again whether there was any mistake, and whether the Convention could go there on Monday. He said that there was no mistake, and that the Convention might meet there on Monday next at nine o'clock, or at any hour thereafter, and the hall would be prepared for them. The Committee was not quite aware of the distaste of the Convention for the hall of the Lowell Institute. They supposed that might answer the purpose. It is considered a very respectable hall for lectures, and some of our most distinguished men have lectured there to large audiences of ladies and gentlemen. But it seems not to be sufficiently respectable for this Convention. I therefore anticipated that they might want the Music Hall; and I can assure gentlemen that there is no taint in the hall-no unpopular subjects have ever been discussed there. [Laughter.]

The motion was agreed to.


On motion by Mr. THOMPSON, of Charlestown,

The Secretary was directed to notify Benjamin Stevens, Esq., of his election as Messenger to the Convention.

Printing the Constitution.

Mr. MORTON, of Fairhaven, submitted the following order :

Ordered, That the Secretary cause the Act calling the Convention for revising the Constitution, to be printed and bound with the Rules and Orders of the Convention; also the Constitutions of this State and of the United States; also the names of the members of the Convention, with their boarding places and residences, substantially in the manner in which the Rules and Orders of the House of Representatives are printed and bound.

Mr. DURGIN suggested that the Committees be also inserted.

Mr. MORTON accepted the amendment as a modification of the Order.

Mr. HUBBARD. I believe, Sir, that the Rules and Orders of the House of Representatives contain what purports to be the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That is a compilation. It is not the Constitution of 1780 and the amendments connected with it; but the amendments were engrafted in that Constitution by a gentleman of some distinction in this city. I should like to have the Constitution of 1780, as it originally passed, with the amendments separately. If gentlemen wish also to have the Constitution thus compiled, making one piece of framework that might also be printed. I think it desirable that we should have the Constitution printed as I propose, in order that we may judge for ourselves, rather than take it for granted that the compilation has been correctly made. I move to insert after the word "State" the words "as adopted in 1780 with the subsequent amendments." Mr. MORTON, of Taunton. In support of that motion I will state that in making a comparison I have discovered what I think a very material error. Other gentlemen have noticed the same thing. It is in the chapter in relation to the election of the Senate. The Constitution as it reads in this compilation-of the authenticity of which we have the highest possible evidence -closes with this proviso:

"Provided, that in all cases at least one Senator shall be assigned to each district, and no district shall be entitled to choose more than six Senators."

The amendment provides that at least one Senator shall be assigned to each district, and the other clause I apprehend cannot be found in the amendment adopted in 1840. I hope, therefore, that the amendment will prevail.

Mr. HUBBARD. I wish to modify my amendment to make it more plain. I move to insert the words "as adopted in 1780, with the several amendments since adopted, specifying the dates when adopted, in the form printed in the Revised Statutes."

The amendment was agreed to, and the order as amended was adopted.

Mr. ASPINWALL moved that the Convention proceed to the consideration of the order moved by Mr. Brown, of Dracut, in relation to the Constitution of the United States.

On motion, at half past one, the Convention adjourned.

MONDAY, May 9, 1853. The Convention met, according to adjournment, in the Music Hall.

A letter from BENJAMIN STEVENS, Esq., accepting the office of Messenger, was laid before the Convention.

Place of Meeting.

[May 9th.

Mr. BRIGGS. The Chairman of the Committee appointed to confer with the House of Representatives upon the subject of the occupation of their Hall, (Mr. Bishop) is necessarily absent in court this morning. He has drawn up and handed to me a report, with the request that I should present it to the Convention. The Committee were unanimous in their decision. It is but justice to the members of the House, to say that their Committee stated it to be their desire to extend towards this body every courtesy and accommodation consistent with their own discharge of public duties.

The Report was read, the arrangement being that the House of Representatives occupy their Hall from 9 o'clock, A. M., until 3 o'clock, P. M., from and after which hour it should be at the service of the Convention, until further orders.

Mr. BRIGGS. Perhaps I should have stated that before the Committee separated, the Chairman of the Committee upon the part of the House notified us that the House had concurred with the Report, and had voted to sustain the proposition of the Committee.

On motion by Mr. THOMPSON, of Charlestown,

The rules were suspended in order to proceed to act upon the Report.

Mr. STETSON, of Braintree. For my own part I am sorry that the plan of the Committee has been sanctioned in the House. It appears to me that this Convention should have the occupation of the hall in the rning. It is well known that this body cannot have a great deal of business to do at present; not more than we could despatch in an hour or two in the morning. It appears to me that if the interests of the Commonwealth had been looked after more closely, the House would have taken the afternoon for their sessions, in order to be able to work in the evening, as is usually done at the close of the annual session of the legislature. I cannot, for one, willingly consent to an afternoon session by the Convention, and I should be glad to see the Report laid upon the table, and an order adopted to meet at this place until the legislature shall have completed its work and departed from the capital of the State.

Mr. GRAY. As one of the committee, it may be incumbent upon me to give some reason for the unanimity of the Report, with which my friend seems somewhat surprised. I am not prepared to retract or to qualify any opinion I may have heretofore expressed in relation to this subject. I went upon the Committee, believing it to be the settled purpose of the Convention that we should meet in the hall of the House of Representatives, and nowhere else. I suppose there is no better rule than for every gentleman, while a subject is unsettled, to maintain his own opinion, and when he considers it settled, to acquiesce in the decision of the majority, and do every thing to carry out that decision in the best manner. With these feelings, I was disposed to make the most convenient arrangement with the House which could be made. I suggested the expediency of the meeting of the Convention from nine to eleven in the morning, thinking that when the House had once taken up the business of the day, it would be more convenient for them to go on without interruption for the rest of the day, and despatch it. But the Committee on the part of the House


were unanimously of the opinion that that arrangement would not be convenient to the House, nor conducive to the proper despatch of the public business. And, after some consideration, we came to the conclusion that the Convention would better meet in the afternoon. I was the more reconciled to the arrangement for one important reason. It will be observed that the Chair has now under consideration the appointment of about a dozen committees, most of them of twelve or thirteen members, and some of them consisting of a larger number. So that about two hundred members of the Convention will be occupied upon committees. It must be manifest that the heaviest work will first be upon the part of the committees. I think there is an advantage in the meeting of the Convention, even if they seem to have little or nothing to do, as was well shown by a gentleman from Berkshire two or three days since. The committees will have the most difficult part of the work; and I suppose that most gentlemen would prefer to attend the sessions of the committees in the morning and of the Convention in the afternoon, rather than to reverse that arrangement. The gentleman from Pittsfield has done no more than justice to the Committee upon the part of the House. They manifested every disposition to extend the greatest courtesy to the Convention. It will be observed that this arrangement is to last until further orders." This was understood to mean until further orders from either party. I submit, Sir, that the reasons which I have given are conclusive in favor of sustaining the arrangement made by the Committee.

Mr. KEYES, of Abington. I propose before I sit down to make a motion to lay this Report on the table, and I shall do so thus early in order that should the Convention agree to it we may thereby save much time which otherwise will be taken up in debate. I have about made up my mind that the Convention have come to the conclusion that this Report should not be adopted, and that they have already been long enough in this hall [Music Hall,] to become satisfied that a better arrangement can be made than occupying the hall of the House of Representatives.

I do not see, however, that the Committee who made this Report could well have made any other, considering the impressions with which they went out. The Convention had determined not to adjourn over, and had determined not to remove to Marlborough Chapel, and thus, might be considered as having determined to remain in the State House. It seems to me that it would be very absurd for this Convention,-after having, as many of us think, voted to continue its own sessions, when it was believed by many, myself among the number, that we might adjourn for a fortnight without lengthening the session, and then be as likely to adjourn, finally, by the Fourth of July as we shall now be-to take such a course as will inevitably lengthen the session of the legislature also. I learn that this hall has been engaged for us to-day, for the sum of $40, and doubtless the price would be much less should we engage it for a fortnight. Now, what will be the expense of our holding our sessions in the State House? Not one mill less than $500 a day.

This body is not the place for me to allude to party matters, in the least. If any one has any doubt about that, now, perhaps he will learn better before we close our labors. But all will recollect that among the charges made against the adminis

[blocks in formation]

trations of this Commonwealth of 1850 and 1851,
was the charge of long sessions of the legisla-
ture, and thereby increased expenditure to the
Commonwealth. Whether this charge was just
or unjust, I will not say. But it was said that
the Whig party would not have occasion to repeat
anything of the sort hereafter. Now, if this
arrangement is entered into, which is proposed by
the Report of the Committee, it will give some
one an excuse, it seems to me, to charge the
lengthening of the session of the legislature upon
this body, instead of upon that where it should
fall if there is anything in the charge, which I
do not much think myself. It has been said,
that if the legislature could have all the time to
themselves, their session would probably last
about ten days. If that is true, under the ar-
rangement proposed here, it must last at least
twenty days, and perhaps longer. Now, we can
have in this hall accommodations enough for the
purposes of this Convention, especially for its
preliminary business when our committees are
out in the committee rooms of the State House,
which they can occupy. And if we should sit
in the morning, and our committees sit in the
afternoon, it would be no greater exertion for
them to go from their hotels and boarding houses
to the State House after dinner, than it would be
should we hold our sessions there in the after-
noon. The same person discharges the duties of
Messenger to this body, and Sergeant-at-arms to
the House of Representatives, and we could not
then be charged with interfering with the opera-
tions of the legislature, or wasting the public
money in any respect.

I think the legislature has been exceedingly
kind and courteous to this body. It adjourned
long enough to allow this Convention, had they
seen proper to do so, to come together, organize,
appoint its committees, make all other necessary
arrangements, and adjourn for a fortnight. We
did not see fit to take advantage of that courtesy
upon their part. They come forward now, and
offer us every convenience, and the question is
whether this Convention shall take undue advan-
tage of their courtesy. It strikes me that it would
do no good for us to do so, but will cost the State
at least $500 a day, if my conclusions are correct,
and I think they are.

With this view of the matter, and in order that the question may be determined before unnecessary time is consumed in debate upon the adoption of the Report, I move that this Report be laid upon the table. Should that motion succeed, I hope that this Convention will then pass some resolution, showing its appreciation of the kindness and courtesy which the legislature has extended towards us.

Mr. BRIGGS, of Pittsfield. Will the gentleman withdraw his motion for a few moments?

Mr. KEYES. I will do so with pleasure, to accommodate the gentleman.

The motion to lay the Report on the table was accordingly withdrawn.

Mr. BRIGGS. I do not know but what it may be as well, as long as the Chairman of the Committee is absent, to postpone the action of the Convention upon this subject, until he is present. With regard to the main question I have no feeling or wish. To be sure, I have an opinion upon the score of propriety, all other things being equal, as to where this Convention should hold its deliberations upon the great subject committed

[May 9th.

to them by the people of this Commonwealth. I
believe I can speak for our Committee, and
though I know but one gentleman upon the
Committee of the House, I would not hesitate to
say that no gentleman on either of those commit-
tees was in any way influenced by political or
party motives in coming to the conclusion em-
bodied in this Report. It was my opinion, as it
was also the opinion of the most, if not all the
others of our Committee, that upon the whole it
would be more agreeable to this Convention to
hold its sessions in the State House from nine to
eleven in the morning. But the Committee upon
the part of the House was of a different opinion.
Though it is not proper to state in this or any
other deliberative or parliamentary body, what
took place at the meeting of any committee, yet I
can well conceive why there was good reason to
lead the committee upon the part of the House to
that conclusion. They have now come to the
active part of their session. If this arrangement
is agreed to, and they meet at nine o'clock in the
morning, they will have over five hours of unin-
terrupted session. If they should, however, meet
in the afternoon, they would have to take their
chance of having a large number of their members
leaving between three and four o'clock, and to
be without their services and votes, and also take
their chances of having their labor of one day after
four o'clock, and with a thin house, reviewed
upon motions to reconsider on the next.
I am
therefore satisfied that the House would do more
from nine in the morning to three in the after-
noon, than they would if we were to take the
morning and leave the afternoon to them.

And again, it seems to me to be of less impor-
tance to this Convention which portion of the
day they will occupy, because, as I think must
apparent to every gentleman here, while the
legislature is in session, which is expected to be
but a few days, there will be no important busi-
ness before this Convention, requiring all of its
members to be present. When you, Mr. Presi-
dent, shall have performed the laborious and
difficult duty of appointing the committees of
this body, comprising in the aggregate more than
200 members, they will want to go to work, and
the only use of this Convention, if I may be
allowed the expression, for ten days or a fort-
night, will be to meet an hour or two each day
for what little business may come before us, per-
haps to give instructions to our committees, or
something of that kind. There will be nothing
of any serious import, which will make it incon-
venient for us to meet in the afternoon. I say
this upon the authority of the past experience of
legislative bodies within my knowledge, always
excepting, perhaps, the legislature of our neigh-
bor, the Green Mountain State, which is in the
habit of meeting together, getting through its busi-
ness, and adjourning in about the time it gener-
ally takes other legislative bodies to get fairly
at work. This body, however, is an exception
to the general rule. I am satisfied that this Con-
vention, in consequence of the little time required
to transact the business that may come before
them for the next ten days, will experience no
inconvenience in meeting at their old place of
meeting. This, to be sure, is a beautiful and
graceful hall, and no doubt would be an agreeable
place to meet in. But I think my friend from
Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) is mistaken in regard to
the subject of expense. I do not see how our



meeting in the hall of the House of Representatives, is to increase the expense to the Commonwealth one dollar, if I am right in my position, that as much will be done under that arrangement as any other.

Now one word before I sit down upon a subject which I am sorry to see has more than once been alluded to, in this Convention-the party relations of the members who compose this or any other body. I hope that we have come together here for a higher and holier purpose than to be influenced by party feelings. Parties do exist, and it is well and proper that they should. But we have been sent here to do that which if we do it well, will stand when we shall have passed away. A party Constitution would be unworthy of any Convention, and I must have strong and incontestible evidence to satisfy me that a Convention of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, called together to amend and alter the venerable Constitution, under which, by the aid of Divine Providence, we have prospered for more than two generations, have come together for any such unworthy purpose. And that sentiment, I believe will meet with a cordial response in the heart of every member of this Convention. I do not make these remarks to reprove any body; far from it. But I hope we shall proceed to the faithful discharge of the high and important duties assigned to us by our constituents, placing ourselves as far as possible-for we are all more or less subject to these influences-above party considerations, and endeavoring to complete a work, upon which we can hereafter look with pleasure; and those who shall follow us, when they shall look upon our names inscribed upon the records of this Commonwealth, after we shall have returned to dust, shall feel proud that their fathers mingled their labors in the important work of reviewing and remodeling their form of gov


Mr. FRENCH, of Berkley, obtained the floor. Mr. BRIGGS. I do not know, but what, as a matter of courtesy at least, I should renew the motion to lay upon the table, which was withdrawn by the gentleman from Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) at my request.

Mr. KEYES. I do not wish to cut off necessary discussion. My object was merely to have the Convention decide whether they would remain here, until the legislature should close its labors, which would be done upon a motion to lay upon the table, as well as upon any other.

The PRESIDENT. The gentleman from Berkley, (Mr. French,) is entitled to the floor.

Mr. FRENCH. I hope no reference will be made to party, at least, at this early period of our session. I hope this Convention will accept the Report of our Committee, for I think the State House is the best place for us to meet, as it was built for the very purpose for which we are convened, and for legislation. I hope there will be no long debate upon this subject, but that we shall agree to the Report of our Committee, proceed to arrange our other committees and go to work.

Mr. WHITNEY, of Boylston. I hope the Report of the Committee will be agreed to. I think sufficient arguments have been presented to justify our pursuing the course therein recommended. It may not be so convenient for some of us to assemble there in the afternoon, but I for one, believe we have no right to bring our own private interests into this matter at all.

If it shall be

found necessary for us to remain here every night in order to attend to our duties, let us do so. I hope the offer of the House of Representatives, will be accepted.

Mr. DURGIN, of Wilmington. If by the motion to lay upon the table, it is intended that we shall hold our sessions for a fortnight in this hall, I am opposed to any such movement. I have no doubt but some very good speeches have been made in the centre of this hall, but I have listened, and in vain, with the intention, if possible, of catching some of the arguments advanced. The gentleman, from Pittsfield, (Mr. Briggs,) no doubt, as he always does, made an excellent speech, but I did not hear a word of it. Gentlemen, speaking as they ordinarily do, cannot be heard by half of those present in this hall. Now 1 desire to hear; I wish to be instructed not only how to vote, but what the subject is upon which a vote is to be taken. Now place any gentleman in my position here under the gallery, and call upon him to vote, and the chances will be that he will not know what subject he is called to vote upon, more than the man in the moon. This is a beautiful hall, and may be admirably adapted to the purpose for which it was erected. But for our purposes, it is one of the worst that could be found. There is such a reverberation here, that I am almost drowned in the echo of my own voice. There is such a confusion of sounds that I can hardly hear myself think. [Laughter.]

Now, with regard to the question of expense. This dollar and cent business, this parsimoniousness, I know nothing about. I do not wish to throw away the money of the Commonwealth. But I think my friend from Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) is mistaken when he says it will cost this Commonwealth $500 a day for us to hold our sessions in the hall of the House of Representatives. If it were true, and no doubt he thinks it is, it would then be worthy of our consideration. But there are gentlemen here who know the fact by experience, that if the legislature should meet at nine o'clock in the morning, and sit till three in the afternoon, they would accomplish more than if they had the whole day to themselves. They would then feel inclined to hasten their business as much as possible. I do not believe it would cost the State $50 a day more for this Convention to meet in the State House. It is the opinion of many members of the legislature, that their business would not be delayed at all by such a course. and one man is confident that the business of the legislature would be facilitated. If so, then for heaven's sake, let us adopt the Report of the Committee.

I did not rise to make a speech, nor will I do so, for I doubt much whether I should be heard.

Mr. KEYES. The gentleman from Wilmington, (Mr. Durgin,) has informed us that not one word of what has been said in the centre of the hall, has been heard under the gallery, where he sits; and yet he has replied to an argument which I advanced. [Laughter.] Now, by what spiritual communication did he find it out.

Mr. DURGIN. I sat in the centre of the hall when you made your speech. I have heard little or nothing since I got in my present seat.

Mr. KEYES. Well, there are plenty of seats in the centre of the hall, where the gentleman can hear, and be heard, and he can be conducted to them, if he cannot find his way there himself. [Laughter.]

[May 9th.

Now, in regard to this question of extravagance and expense. I have been a member of the legislature myself, and know how business is done there, and am willing to trust my reputation for common sense before this Convention, upon the issue. In the early part of the session of that body, the morning may be equally as good, perhaps better, than the afternoon; but in the latter part of the session the afternoon is best. In the morning they are fresh, their tongues are loosened, and they talk; but in the afternoon they are a little tired and sleepy, and will do a great deal of business in order to get home again. I am satisfied, therefore, that if we hold our sessions in the State House, we will double the length of the session of the legislature. The only advantage that I have heard of to result from our going there, is to enable gentlemen who are members of both bodies to kill two birds with one stone, by giving them an opportunity to serve in both the legislature and the Convention. It has been the custom of the legislature during the latter part of their session, to meet both morning and afternoon, and proceed to pass the many bills before them, and thus hasten through with their business. But if we go up there, and use up a portion of the day that they would otherwise use, my impression is, that their session will be lengthened three times longer than would otherwise be the case. If there was any absolute necessity for us to pursue this course, why then we should have to submit to it. But I can see no necessity, no commensurate advantage, in thus taking even the chance of increasing the session and expense of the legislature. Would any man vote to come to this hall, if it was offered to us for $500 a day? And yet that must inevitably be the expense resulting from the course recommended in this Report, unless I am much mistaken as to the habits of the legislature.

Mr. THOMPSON, of Charlestown. I regret to hear remarks made here, reflecting upon the legislative body now holding its session in the State House. But I regret still more to hear any allusion made in this body to party. I hope that the members of this body have come here with higher motives than to act merely in reference to any party whatever.

As to the increase of expenditure by prolonging the session of the legislature, I apprehend we have nothing to do with that. That body is independent of this. We have certain duties to perform, and the State House is the proper place for that purpose. As I understand the matter, we came here to-day merely because we had no positive knowledge that we could make arrangements with the house of representatives. But they have made every possible concession to us, have met us in the most noble and conciliatory manner, and tendered the use of their hall of evenings to this Convention. For my own part, I was inclined to prefer the forenoon for our sessions. But upon a further consideration of the matter, I am inclined to think that it will be an advantage to hold the sessions of this body in the afternoon. Our committees, yet to be appointed and announced, if I calculate rightly, will absorb over two hundred members of this body. Other committees will probably be appointed. They require time to deliberate upon the subjec ́s to be referred to them. Hence the members left to meet in Convention must necessarily be few in number, and their duties limited, until they have



the reports of the committees to act upon. For the few days, therefore, that the legislature will probably remain in session, we can meet in the afternoon, while our committees will have the forenoon in which to meet and mature the subjects before them. I believe there will be no loss of money to the Commonwealth, but rather a gain of credit and respect to this body, by holding our sessions in the people's house, as proposed by our Committee.

Mr. GARDNER, of Seekonk. It seems to me that if we adopt this Report as it now stands, the legislature and Convention must necessarily be brought directly in conflict.. If I understand it, it contemplates the assembling of the Convention in the State House, at precisely the same hour when the legislature is to adjourn. I think, therefore, it would be better to amend the Report so as to fix the time of our meeting at fifteen minutes or half-past three, instead of having it at three o'clock precisely.

And I will take this opportunity again to state, although the subject is not now before this body, that I think it would have been much better for this Convention to have adjourned over for two weeks. The remarks of the gentleman from Wilmington, (Mr. Durgin,) in regard to the inconvenience of this hall, perhaps to be received with some allowance, I think are substantially correct. I am now nearly in the centre of this hall, and yet it was with very great difficulty that I could hear the remarks of the gentleman from Pittsfield, (Mr. Briggs,) when he was speaking. He spoke loud enough, yet there seems to be such a reverberation of sound as to cause some difficulty in understanding what is said.

If we are to continue our sessions, which question I suppose is now settled, I am rather inclined to favor the adoption of this Report. But I would suggest that the time of our meeting be changed to ten or fifteen minutes past three o'clock, in order that the members of the legislature may have ample opportunity to make their egress from the State House before the members of the Convention enter.

Mr. THOMPSON, of Charlestown. Does the adoption of the Report fix the time for our meeting?

The PRESIDENT. It does not: that can be done when we come to adjourn.

The question recurred upon the adoption of the Report.

Mr. KEYES, of Abington. I wish to renew the motion to lay upon the table, but before I do so I have one remark to make. One or two remarks have been made by gentlemen upon the propriety of referring to party. Now I accord fully with the remarks of the gentleman from Pittsfield, (Mr. Briggs,) and the gentleman from Charlestown, (Mr. Thompson.) But I do not know who it is who has said anything calling for those remarks. I certainly have not. I stated distinctly in advance, that I should be the last person to govern my actions here by party considerations, and said that every gentleman would find that to be the case before the Convention closed.

I now renew the motion to lay this Report upon the table.

The question being taken upon laying the Rereport on the table, upon a division, as followsayes, 56; noes, 140: the motion was not agreed


The Report of the Committee was then adopted.

Vacancies in the Convention.

Mr. ALLEN, of Worcester, from the Committee to whom was referred the order of the Convention of the 6th inst., respecting the choice of a delegate from the town of Berlin in the place of Hon. Henry Wilson, who declined, and also another order of the same day concerning vacancies from other towns of this Commonwealth, submitted the following order :

Ordered, That the Secretary of the Convention give notice to the town of Berlin that the Hon. Henry Wilson, who was returned as a delegate from that town, declines to act in that capacity.

Mr. ALLEN. This being a question of some importance and interest, the Committee have deemed it worthy of careful examination. They have referred to the course which has been pursued in the House of Representatives in analogous cases; for although the Committee have not gone upon the supposition that this Convention would be bound by the proceedings of the House, yet they believed that some light could be obtained by a reference to the reports of committees there. The Constitution of this Commonwealth makes provision for filling up vacancies in the Senate and the House of Representatives, in cases where individual members are appointed to certain offices in the Commonwealth; and the course which has been adopted by the House of Representatives to fill these vacancies has been sustained by decisions of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth. We find that wherever a vacancy exists in the House of Representatives by reason of the transfer of a member from one branch to the other, it has been customary for the House to issue a precept and to supply the place by a new election. We have also looked at the proceedings of the Convention which formed the Constitution in 1779-80, and we find that vacancies occurred in that body by reason of the absence of several of the delegates who had been chosen-in one instance caused by the appointment of the delegate to an embassy abroad, and in another instance by the death of a member of the Convention; and in each of these cases a precept was issued, and the towns were requested to appoint delegates in place of those whose seats had become vacant. We find also that that Convention, at an early period, passed a general order requesting such towns as were not represented to hold meetings and elect delegates to the Convention; and from time to time during the existence of the Convention, which extended over a considerable period, commencing in September, 1779, and ending in June, 1780, members were chosen at new elections in the several towns, and they were received by the Convention, and permitted to take seats and participate in the deliberations of the body. We have thus the authority of the Convention which framed the Constitution, for the admission of members chosen at a time subsequent to the time of the meeting of the Convention. And it will be remembered that although the Convention of 1779-80 was held in revolutionary times, yet a government was existing in the Commonwealth, and had existed for some time after the overthrow of the British authority-a government convened for the exigencies of the occasion--a government which passed ordinances and enacted laws, which

[May 9th.

constituted judges and appointed the other officers necessary for carrying on its affairs and enforcing its authority.

With these precedents before them, the Committee have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the town of Berlin, having elected a delegate to this Convention, and having lost the services of that delegate through no fault of its own, is entitled to choose another delegate at a new election to supply the vacancy; and inasmuch as this Convention have received official notice of the fact that the delegate who was chosen by the town of Berlin declines to serve in that capacity, it is deemed proper that a notice should be issued to the town of Berlin, informing them of that fact, in order that they may proceed to the election of another delegate if they see fit. The Committee do not recommend that a precept be issued to the town, authorizing or requiring a new election, for a majority of the Committee are of the opinion that this Convention, not being a legislative body, has no authority to confer any power on a town to send delegates to the body; but we may notify a town that there is a vacancy, and that notification is an assurance to the town that if they see fit to elect another member to this body he will be received by us and admitted to a If there were any constitutional difficulties in the minds of any of the Committee, they have been obviated by the adoption of this plan.


to us.

Other matters of the same general description were referred to the Committee by another order of the same day, submitted by the gentleman from Newburyport; but the Committee have not yet had an opportunity to come to a conclusion with regard to them, in consequence of the fact that one gentleman who was appointed on that Committee has been absent, and will not be able to resume his labors as a member of the Committee, which has somewhat delayed our proceedings. We shall at the proper time, ask the Convention, that another gentleman may be substituted in the room of the one who is thus necessarily absent; and we hope to be able, at an early day, to report to the Convention, upon all the subjects referred Mr. MORTON of Taunton. It is with very great reluctance, Mr. President, that I rise to present my views upon this subject. Some of the reasons of that reluctance, to which, perhaps, I ought not to refer, are personal. My voice, which at best is anything but music, has become very hoarse from some cause or other-perhaps from the cold air in this hall-and I fear it will be difficult for me to speak so as to be understood. But inasmuch as I have come to a conclusion in relation to this subject, which will probably differ from the view of the majority of the Convention, I feel called upon, in justification of the vote which I shall give, to submit my reasons for that vote, to this body. And in the first place, Mr. President, allow me to say that I regret the manner in which a subject which I deem very important, has been brought before this Convention. I am sorry, Sir, that the Report of the Committee, refuses to open the main question which we are to discuss and decide. It will be said, that as this is a mere notice to the town of Berlin

Mr. GARDNER, of Seekonk. If the gentleman from Taunton, will allow me to interrupt him a moment, I desire to suggest that he address the body from the platform. It is impossible to hear him in this part of the house.

« ForrigeFortsett »