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ELECTION OF OFFICERS.-WILLIAMS-NAYSON - HOOPER.
Silvanus B. Phinney of Barnstable,
John A. Lowell,
John S. Sleeper,
Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, Yarmouth,
David C. Atwood, John Jenkins, Jr., Cyrus Weeks, Leander Crosby, Henry Paine, William Stutson, Solomon Davis, William Cleverly, Nathaniel Cogswell.
Horatio W. Tilton,
James Easton, 2d.,
The hour of twelve, M. having arrived,
Hon. ROBERT RANTOUL, of Beverly, senior member of the Convention and a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1820, called the Convention to order.
On motion by Mr. MORTON, of Taunton, Ordered, That a committee of five be appointed, by the Chair, to collect, examine, and report upon the credentials of members.
The Chair appointed Messrs. Morton, of Taunton, Briggs, of Pittsfield, Bartlett, of Boston, DeWitt, of Oxford, and Banks, of Waltham. The Committee subsequently reported that there were more than one hundred members present, that being the number required by law to constitute a quorum.
Mr. CUSHMAN, of Bernardston, submitted the following order, which was agreed to:
Whereas, It is wise and proper, at the commencement of any great and important work, to invoke the guidance and blessing of the Almighty Ruler of the nation,
Ordered, That the Chairman be requested to invite some clergyman, member of this body, to commence the proceedings of the Convention with prayer.
By invitation of the Chair,
performance of which we are responsible to our constituents, and they have a right to know how the power delegated to us has been exercised, not only in our votes upon the Constitution and its several parts, but also in the election of the officers of this convention. The choice of the presiding officer of any legislative body, is always a matter of importance, not only on account of the influence he may exercise in the government of its deliberations, but in the direction he may give to its action by the manner in which he may appoint its committees. If he perverts that influence in order to promote local, partizan, or selfish interests, he deserves the reprobation of the people, and those who elevated him to that position should be held responsible for that abuse of his power. For that reason I wish to have the vote given for these officers to be viva voce. I believe it is the only legitimate mode of electing officers. Vote by balot, or secret vote, belongs to the people, and may be rightly and properly exercised by them, as the citizen is responsible to none but himself. But the case is different here. We are acting in a representative capacity, and publicity in our votes and acts is necessary, in order to enforce our accountability to our constituents.
Rev. Dr. LOTHROP, of Boston, invoked the divine blessing.
Election of Officers.
Mr. HOOPER, of Fall River, moved, that a committee be appointed to collect, sort and count the votes for Secretary of the Convention.
Mr. WILLIAMS, of Taunton. I move to amend that motion, by striking out all after the word "that," and inserting in lieu thereof, the words," in the choice of the President and Secretaries of this Convention, a list of the Delegates be read over, and the vote of each Delegate be given vira voce."
Mr. NAYSON, of Amesbury. I wish to say in regard to the motion of the gentleman from Fall River (Mr. Hooper), and the amendment to that motion offered by the gentleman from Taunton (Mr. Williams), that I think that if the gentleman from Fall River will so far consent to modify his motion, as to provide, for the election of a President, instead of for the election of a Secretary, that being the usual mode of proceeding in such cases as the present, there will be but little difficulty about the matter. As to the manner of proceeding to the election of the President, I think the most appropriate course would be, to take the vote by ballot, as that is the usual mode of procedure. I take it for granted, that the expression of the opinions of this Convention will be as correctly shown by a vote by ballot, as by the mode suggested by the gentleman from Taunton (Mr. Williams). I hope, therefore, that the vote will be taken by ballot, and that it be first taken for President, if any change is to be made in the original motion.
I have but a few words to offer in support of the amendment I have proposed. We are met here in Convention, to exercise delegated, and not original, powers; we are here to act simply as the agents and servants of the people. We have been intrusted with a commission, for the faithful
Mr. HOOPER. I submitted the motion to proceed to the election of Secretary, following the precedent of the Convention of 1820. I find upon reference and examination, that they elected their Secretary first, and their President afterwards. There would seem to be more propriety in that course. That is the first act towards the organization of the Convention. When we have a Secretary to keep a record of our proceedings we are then ready to proceed to the election of our President. As to the mode proposed by the gentleman from Taunton (Mr. Williams), I must admit that the principle he asserts is generally correct in all cases of any great importance. But in cases of not sufficient importance to require that mode of action, we can consult our own convenience. In the present instance I think we can accomplish our purpose quite as well and quite as readily and without question more conveniently by proceeding to vote by ballot.
The question was then taken upon the amendment proposed by Mr. Williams, and it was not agreed to.
The question then recurred upon the original
ELECTION OF OFFICERS. — MORTON — GRISWOLD — ASPINWALL - KEYES — BANKS.
motion of Mr. Hooper, to appoint a Committee to collect, sort and count the votes for Secretary of the Convention.
Mr. NAYSON, of Amesbury, moved to amend that motion by striking out the word “Secretary,” and inserting in lieu thereof the word "President."
Mr. MORTON, of Taunton. I am sorry that a debate has arisen at this stage of our session, because I trusted that we should organize at once and proceed as readily as possible to the transaction of other business. I feel constrained, however, to say a word, because I think the gentleman from Fall River (Mr. Hooper) was entirely right in his motion. I know it has been the usage of former Conventions, to proceed first to elect their Secretary. The principle of his motion is therefore certainly correct. The first step towards the organization of a body is to choose a person competent to keep a record of the actions of that body. When we have done that, we can then proceed to the election of President.
I did feel, when I first arose, strongly tempted to say one word in support of the motion to amend, submitted by the gentleman from Taunton (Mr. Williams). Something more than thirteen years ago, in a very different capacity, I advocated precisely the doctrine which my friend from Taunton now maintains, and having been from that time to this, in my humble capacity, an advocate for secret ballot, I should like very well to explain the principles upon which I have acted. But unless some other opportunity should present itself, I will forbear, and will only express a hope that we will proceed at once to settle the question in regard to this matter.
The question being then taken upon the amend ment to strike out the word "Secretary," and insert the word "President," it was not agreed to. The question being then taken upon the motion of Mr. Hooper, it was agreed to.
On motion, it was then ordered that the committee consist of five members, to be appointed by the presiding officer.
The PRESIDING OFFICER appointed the following members to constitute said Committee, viz.: Messrs. Griswold, of Erving, Morey, of Boston, Allen, of Worcester, Upham, of Salem, and Graves, of Lowell.
Subsequently Mr. GRISWOLD, as Chairman of the Committee, reported to the Convention that they had discharged the duty devolved upon them, and had directed him to make the following report of the result of the ballot for Secretary of the Convention :
Whole number of votes cast,
Wm. S. Robinson, of Lowell, received 247 Charles W. Storey, of Roxbury, 46 144 Scattering, 3
The PRESIDING OFFICER thereupon declared WILLIAM S. ROBINSON duly elected to fill the office of Secretary of the Convention.
Mr. BROWN, of Lowell, moved that a committee of three be appointed by the Chair, to notify Mr. Robinson of his election; which motion was agreed to.
The PRESIDING OFFICER appointed as said Committee, Messrs. Hood, of Lynn, Hale, of Bridgewater, and Gray, of Boston.
On motion of Mr. KEYES, ordered that the Chair swear in the Secretary elect to the faithful performance of the duties of his office.
Mr. HOOD then conducted the Secretary elect
to the desk of the presiding officer, who administered the oath of office to him, and he then took his seat as the Secretary of this Convention.
Mr. KEYES, of Abington, moved that a committce of five be appointed to collect, sort, and count the votes for a second Secretary to the Convention.
Mr. ASPINWALL, of Brookline. It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that we should wait some little time before proceeding to ballot for a second Secretary, to see whether we need such an officer. At present, in my opinion, there can scarcely be work enough to occupy one Secretary, and I do not know what duties could be assigned to a second. If we look back to the Conventions of 1779 and of 1820, I believe we shall find that in each of those cases only one Secretary was appointed at the commencement of the session, and that was found to be sufficient. It is customary in the House of Representatives to elect only one Clerk at the commencement of a session; and after some days or weeks have elapsed, so that the state of business requires it, then they appoint an Assistant Clerk. I can, therefore, see no good reason why we should incur the additional expense of a second Secretary now. It may be that there are reasons; and if so, I for one would like to hear them stated, and I dare say there are many other gentlemen who would like to hear them also.
Mr. KEYES. It was the understanding that there were to be two Secretaries to the Convention, and accordingly I submitted the motion. It has been thought, in considering the organization of a Convention like this, that an Assistant Secretary would be necessary; for it has been usual in other conventions to appoint two, and sometimes three. It is supposed that the labor of these officers, in a Convention like this, will be much greater than in the House of Representatives, where they have two Clerks, because it is important to have the records of our proceedings more full, more complete, and more perfect than is ordinarily the case in respect to the doings of the House of Representatives. I am not strenuous, however, about this matter, although I have no doubt myself that after the election of two Secretaries there would be found to be enough for both of them to do, and they might even need additional assistance.
Mr. HOOPER, of Fall River. I am not averse to the appointment of a second Secretary, but it seems to me that this is not the proper time to proceed to that appointment. I think we would better proceed to the election of a President of the Convention, and we can elect the second Secretary afterwards. If the gentleman will withdraw his motion for that purpose, I will very cordially support it when it shall be renewed.
Mr. KEYES. I have not the slightest objection to withdrawing the motion for that purpose.
Mr. HOOPER then moved that a committee of five be appointed by the Chair, to receive, sort, and count the votes for President of the Convention, which was agreed to; and Messrs. Davis, of Worcester, Appleton, of Boston, Chapin, of Springfield, Walker, of North Brookfield, and Braman, of Danvers, were appointed as said Committee.
Mr. DAVIS, of Worcester, subsequently reported that the Committee had discharged the duty assigned them, and that the result was as follows: Whole number of votes, Necessary for a choice,
Nath'I P. Banks, Jr., of Waltham,
George N. Briggs, of Pittsfield, received, Scattering, NATHANIEL P. BANKS, J., was accordingly declared duly elected President of the Convention. On motion by Mr. MORTON, of Quincy, Ordered, That a committee of three be appointed by the Chair to wait upon the President and notify him of his election, and to conduct him to the chair.
The CHAIR appointed Messrs. Choate, of Boston, Weston, of Duxbury, and Walcott, of Salem. The Committee having performed that duty, Mr. BANKS addressed the Convention as follows:
Gentlemen of the Convention :—A second time in the history of the Commonwealth, a Convention has been ordered by the people for the reconstruction of their organic and fundamental law. An occasional revision of the institutions of government, and a frequent recurrence to its fundamental principles, is in accordance with the maxims of its founders, conveyed to us by their individual precepts, and embodied in their wellconsidered declarations of political faith. The importance of the commission with which you are charged, gentlemen, cannot well be over-estimated. It is not magnified by the high intelligence, enlarged experience, the brilliant attainments, or the dignity of official station, which distinguish the representatives of the people in this Convention.
The creation of a Constitution for a State, and in an age like ours, subject as we are to no restriction but our discretion, responsible to no power but the people whom we know and represent, cannot be a trivial incident in the life of men or of States. Happily for us, we are not called upon, by new and untried experiments to establish doubtful and questionable theories of government. The prosperity of the Commonwealth, the freedom and happiness of its people are partial tests, at least, of the truths of the great principles of government under which we thus far have lived. It is ours to confirm and enlarge, rather than to overthrow or deny; to make an extended and expansive application of universally received truths to exigencies which were anticipated, but could not be defined. Thus may we establish judicious and necessary reforms, without radical or startling changes. To reform is not necessarily to change.
We have other landmarks that may serve to identify the speculations of the present with the truths of the past. We are associated to-day, with some of those who were pioneers in the work of constitutional reconstruction; whose lives are harvests of the richest experience, monuments of integrity and usefulness; whoreceived large draughts of wisdom and eloquence in the councils of the early sages of the Commonwealth, and who are to-day with us, what Dane and Adams were in the Convention that preceded us. In such a presence, and under such auspicious influences, it were superfluous to invoke a happy termination to our labors.
To be associated with you, gentlemen, in your deliberations, were a privilege of which I might well be proud. For the distinguished part in these deliberations, which you have assigned me, for that generous and unexpected confidence which you have reposed in me, I am deeply and profoundly grateful. It is my desire, as it is my hope, to be able to execute the trust with
a faithful regard for the rights of the members of the Convention, and the interests of the people of the State; that I may discharge these duties with strict impartiality and with unremitting assiduity and attention. Beyond these, my own endeavors, gentlemen, I am, as every one must be who stands in the position that I now accept at your hands, a supplicant for your co-operation, consideration, and forbearance.
On motion by Mr. KEYES, of Abington, Ordered, That a committee of five be appointed by the Chair to receive, sort, and count the votes for a second Secretary of this Convention.
The CHAIR appointed Messrs. Griswold, of Erving, Morey, of Boston, Allen, of Worcester, Upham, of Salem, and Graves, of Lowell.
Mr. GRISWOLD subsequently reported the following result:
Mr. WILSON, of Natick, submitted the following Resolution :
Resolved, That a committee of one from each county be appointed by the President of the Convention to consider and report as to the best mode of proceeding to the revision of the Constitution of the Commonwealth.
Mr. HOOPER moved to amend the resolution, by striking out the word "County," and inserting the words "Congressional District."
Mr. WILSON. We know nothing in this Convention in regard to congressional districts. We are divided into towns and counties. I think it would be better and more appropriate that we should adhere to the word "County." I trust that the member will not press his amend
Mr. HOOPER. I will remark that appointing one from each congressional district will much more equally represent the population of the State, than the plan proposed of appointing one from each county, some of the counties being very small and others very large. I think that is a sufficient reason for making the change.
Mr. THOMPSON, of Charlestown. I hope the amendment will not prevail. It has been usual to appoint committees of one from each county, as being a better plan than one from each congressional district. The change would enlarge the Committee somewhat, and I think it would be preferable to adhere to the old established custom. The amendment was rejected.
The resolution was then agreed to.
The PRESIDENT appointed as the Committee, Messrs. Wilson, of Natick, Choate, of Boston, Nayson, of Amesbury, Earle, of Worcester, Beach, of Springfield, Gilbert, of Plainfield, Cushman, of Bernardston, Dawes, of Adams, Hathaway, of Frectown, Hale, of Bridgewater, Weeks, of Harwich, Meader, of Nantucket, Pease, of Tisbury, and Aspinwall, of Brookline.
On motion of Mr. HALL, of Haverhill,
WILSON-THOMPSON - HALLETT — WALKER.
Ordered, That a committee of five be appointed by the Chair, to report Rules and Orders for the regulation of the Convention; and that in the mean time, the Rules and Orders of the House of Representatives, so far as they are applicable, be the Rules of the Convention.
Mr. HALLETT, of Wilbraham, offered the following resolution, which was referred to the committee on the best mode of procedure for revision of the Constitution :
Resolved, That the several distinct subjects and provisions embraced in the Constitution of this Commonwealth be referred each to a committee, to take into consideration the propriety and expediency of making any, and if any, what alterations or amendments therein, with instructions to report thereon in printed form, at the adjourned meeting of this Convention, and with the power of conference between any and all of the committees herein appointed, namely:
1st. So much of the Constitution as is contained in the Preamble and Declaration of Rights. 2d. So much as relates to the General Court, in section 1 of chapter 1, and so much as relates to settling elections by the Legislature, in article 7 of section 3, chapter 2.
3d. So much as relates to the Senate in section 2 of chapter 1.
4th. So much as relates to the House of Representatives in section 3 of chapter 1.
5th. So much as relates to the Governor and the Militia, in section 1 of chapter 2.
6th. So much as relates to the Lieut. Governor, the Council and the Secretary and Treasurer, in sections 2, 3 and 4 of chapter 2, except article 7 of section 3.
7th. So much as relates to the Judiciary Power in chapter 3, and the last two clauses of article 13, section 1 of chapter 2, relating to Salaries.
8th. So much as relates to the University at Cambridge, and Encouragement of Literature, in sections 1 and 2 of chapter 5.
9th. So much as relates to Oaths, and Subscriptions, Incompatibility of Offices, Disqualifications, Commissions, Writs, Confirmation of Laws, Habeas Corpus, and the Enacting Style; including the first eight articles in chapter 6.
10th. So much as relates to the Qualifications of Voters, and Manner of Voting, Amendments of the Constitution and its Enrolment, in articles 9, 10 and 11 of chapter 6.
Mr. MORTON, of Fairhaven, submitted the following order :
Ordered, That a committee, to consist of seven, be appointed by the Chair, to take into consideration and report what course should be adopted for reporting the Proceedings of the Convention, and also for the publication of the same.
Mr. HALLETT, of Wilbraham. Before the question is taken on the adoption of that order, I wish to say one word upon it. I deem it very important, Mr. President, that an arrangement should be made to secure competent reporters of the proceedings of this Convention. It will be recollected that this duty was performed with very great accuracy in 1820, when a report was made by a gentleman, now a member of this Convention, (Mr. Hale,) assisted by another very learned and able gentleman, Octavius Pickering, Esq. We now have the benefits of that labor, and all will admit that it is a great assistance to us in entering upon the duties of this Convention. I think it is very important that this Convention
should take measures to insure accurate reports of its proceedings-something beyond the mere sketches which are published in the daily papers.
It is important that the reports should be more full and enlarged than these papers are able or willing to publish; and I trust that, acting upon these views, the Convention will provide for the employment of competent reporters of their proceedings.
The question being then taken upon the adoption of the order, it was agreed to.
Mr. WILSON, of Natick, submitted the following series of resolutions, which were referred to the committee on reporting proper modes of proceeding to the revision of the Constitution.
1. Resolved, That the Preamble and Bill of Rights, the Frame of Government and Article 7 of Chapter 6, concerning the writ of Habeas Corpus, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
2. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to the Right of Suffrage, and also the subject of the Ballot, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
3. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to the legislative power, the Senate and the House of Representatives, be referred to a committee of one from each county, to consider and report thereon.
4. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to the Governor, the Lieut. Governor, and the Council, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
5. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, Sheriffs, Coroners, Registers of Probate, and Notaries Public, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
6. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to the Judiciary, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
7. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to the University at Cambridge, and to the Encouragement of Literature, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
8. Resolved, That so much of the Constitution as relates to Oaths and Subscriptions, Incompatibility of and Exclusion from Office, Pecuniary Qualifications, Commissions, Writs, Confirmation of Laws, the Enacting Style, and Amendments of the Constitution, be referred to a committee of nine, to consider and report thereon.
Hall for the use of the Convention. Mr. WALKER, of North Brookfield, submitted the following order :
Ordered, That a committee of five be appointed by the Chair, to ascertain and report whether a suitable hall and committee rooms can be obtained for the use of this Convention.
The order being adopted, Messrs. Walker, Bartlett, of Boston, Knowlton, of Worcester, Morton, of Andover, and Abbott, of Danvers, were appointed as said committee.
Report of the Debates.
Mr. HALLETT, of Wilbraham, submitted the following order :
Ordered, That a committee of five be appointed, with authority to select and employ two competent reporters, to report the debates of this Con
PRESERVATION OF THE RECORDS. — SCHOULER — GOURGAS — BATES — WALKER,
Mr. SCHOULER, of Boston. I understand the order offered by the gentleman from Fairhaven, (Mr. Morton,) and which has been adopted by the Convention, to be substantially the same as that now submitted by the gentleman from Wilbraham; but I will remark, that if we are to have full reports of all the debates of this Convention, in my opinion two reporters will not be sufficient to furnish them. Inasmuch, however, as the committee appointed under the order submitted by the gentleman from Fairhaven, will have the whole subject under consideration, I ask that the order now before us may lie over until to-morrow. The order accordingly lies over one day, under the rule.
Mr. KNOWLTON, of Worcester, presented the memorial of Lemuel M. Parker, of Shirley, submitting a copy of the records of that town, in relation to the election of a delegate to the Convention; which was laid upon the table.
On motion of Mr. EARLE, of Worcester, Ordered, That when the Convention adjourn to-day, it be to meet at ten o'clock to-morrow morning.
Mr. HALE, of Bridgewater, subsequently moved a reconsideration of the order, in order that eleven o'clock might be moved as an amendment, so that committees should be allowed more time in the morning to prepare business for the Convention.
Mr. MORTON, of Fairhaven, asked that the motion to reconsider should lie over until tomorrow, under the rules. [Laughter.]
Mr. WILSON moved a suspension of the rules. No objection being made, the question was stated upon the motion to reconsider.
Mr. WILSON. I hope the Convention will not reconsider the vote which has been passed. I am sure that the reason given by the gentleman from Bridgewater should not influence the Convention. I trust that the members of the Convention all feel that we should be here at a reasonable hour. At the best, we can only prepare our business during this week. The House of Representatives meets in this chamber on Saturday; and we have but three days to prepare our business, and to decide whether we are to go on, or to adjourn for a given period. I think it of the greatest importance that we should meet at an early hour to-morrow. I should have preferred that we should meet at three or four o'clock this afternoon, in order that we might finish the preliminary business of the Convention in the briefest possible time.
The motion to reconsider was rejected.
Ordered, That the Secretary be instructed to furnish to the several members of the Convention, during its sitting, such newspapers published in the Commonwealth, as they may select, not exceeding three per diem.
On motion by Mr. CUSHMAN, of Bernards
Preservation of the Records.
Mr. GOURGAS, of Concord, submitted the following order :
Ordered, That a committee of five be appointed, to consider and report proper measures to be adopted by this Convention, to preserve and perpetuate its records,
Mr. GOURGAS. It is well known to members of the Convention, that in 1832, an order was passed by the Legislature, directing the Secretary of the Commonwealth, to compile and publish, for distribution among the towns of the Commonwealth, the journal of the Convention of 1780. On executing that task, it was found that many reports, and other documents connected with the journal, were missing; and they have never been found, to my knowledge. As to the journal and the records of the Convention of 1820, I understand that there is no trace of them whatever to be found. They are not in the State library; nor are they in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. A few scattered papers only remain. So that the only record worthy of authenticity which we have of the doings of that Convention, is the report of Mr. Hale.
It seems to me, that the journals of such conventions, and of similar bodies, are not the property of the Secretary, or of the Convention, but the property of the people of the Commonwealth. As the journals will be the only authentic record of the proceedings of the Convention, I hope that some measure will be taken to protect them from the fate which seems to have befallen the journals of preceding conventions; and it is for that reason that I have submitted this order. The order was agreed to.
On motion by Mr. BATES, of Plymouth. Ordered, That the Committee to whom was referred the Credentials of Members of this Convention, be directed to ascertain, by an examination of the credentials, and the records in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, what towns are represented, the several towns where vacancies are known to exist, and the number of delegates to which these towns are entitled.
A communication was read from BENJAMIN STEVENS, Esq., Sergeant-at-Arms, accompanied by a joint order of both houses of the legislature, directing him to make suitable provision for the accommodation of the Convention, and to act in the capacity of Sergeant-at-Arms, until otherwise ordered.
A communication was also read from Hon. HENRY WILSON, resigning his seat as a member from the town of Berlin, he having been also elected as a member from the town of Natick.
On motion by Mr. HOOPER.
Ordered, That the members be authorized to select copies of the reports of the transactions of this Convention, in lieu of an equal number of papers authorized by the order of yesterday, at the option of the members.
Appointment of Committees.
The PRESIDENT announced to the Convention, that he had appointed, in pursuance of an order adopted on yesterday, on motion of Mr.
Earle, of Worcester, the following gentlemen to constitute the Committee on Elections, viz. :—
Messrs. Abbott, of Lowell, Williams, of Taunton, Plunkett, of Adams, Dehon, of Boston, Simmons, of Hanover, White, of Quincy, and Ladd, of Cambridge.
The PRESIDENT also announced the appointment, in pursuance of an order adopted on yesterday, on motion of Mr. Morton, of Fairhaven, of the following gentlemen to constitute the Committee on Reporting the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention, viz. :—
Messrs. Hallet, of Wilbraham, Hale, of Boston, Sleeper, of Roxbury, Schouler, of Boston, Gourgas, of Concord, Bates, of Plymouth, and Greene, of Brookfield.
The following order, submitted on yesterday, by Mr. Hallet, of Wilbraham, was then taken up and agreed to :—
Ordered, That a committee of seven be appointed, with authority to select and employ two competent reporters to report the debates and proceedings of this Convention.
The PRESIDENT appointed, as that Committee, the members constituting the Committee on Reporting.
The PRESIDENT also appointed Mr. Brown, of Lowell, to fill the vacancy existing upon the Committee to receive the Credentials of Members of the Convention, which vacancy was caused by the election of one of the members of that committee to be the President of the Convention.
The following order, submitted by Mr. Wilson, of Natick, on yesterday, was then taken up, considered, and adopted :
Ordered, That the Secretary of the Convention be directed to furnish, for the use of the Convention, 500 copies of the reports of the proceedings and debates of the Constitutional Convention of 1820.
Mr. EARLE, of Worcester, submitted the following order, which was then considered, by unanimous consent, and agreed to, víz. :—
Ordered, That the Secretary of the Commonwealth be requested to send up to the Convention the credentials of the members thereof, together with a list of the same, and that they be referred, when received, to the Committee on Elections.
Place of Meeting of the Convention. Mr. WALKER, of North Brookfield, from the Committee appointed to ascertain and report whether a suitable hall and committee rooms could be obtained for the use of this Convention, reported,
That the Committee had discharged the duty assigned to them; and having visited the principal halls in this city, are unanimously of opinion, that the hall of the Lowell Institute is better adapted to the purpose than any other. It is capable of scating comfortably over 800 persons-the seats being arranged upon an inclined plane, and in a circular form around the room. The hall is commodious and pleasant, being situated upon Washington Street, but at such a distance therefrom in the rear of other buildings, as to be beyond the influence of the noise caused by the vehicles passing over that street. It is well ventilated, having ten very large windows, besides an opening in the ceiling. Accommodations can also be had for
PLACE OF MEETING. — GARDNER — WALKER — STETSON — HUBBARD.
the official reporters, and such visitors as may be invited within the bar. Lobbies can be obtained in which to hang up the hats and coats of members, and also two or three small rooms for the accommodation of the committees of the Convention. The charge for the hall and committee rooms will be $22 per day. The hall is well lighted with gas, and should the Convention desire it in the evening, it can be obtained after the interval of a fortnight. They will incur only such additional expense as may be deemed just and reasonable. The expense of fitting up a temporary railing to separate the Convention from the spectators, and providing such other accommodations as may be deemed necessary will be about $200. The Committee are informed that the condition of the business of the legislature is now such, that the committee rooms of the State House may be used by the committees of the Convention. The number of the members of this Convention is 422, and only 337 can be seated upon the floor of the House of Representatives-the remainder, about eighty members must be located in the galleries. In view of all these facts, the Committee take the liberty of recommending that the Convention make arrangements for obtaining the use of the hall of the Lowell Institute for such time as may be deemed expedient.
Mr. GARDNER, of Seekonk, said, that he did not understand that the Committee had given any information in regard to the expense that would be incurred by the Convention, should they decide to remove to the hall of the Lowell Institute. He thought that over $500 expense would be incurred in fitting up that hall for the use of the Convention, and that he considered to be a great objection to the course proposed by the Committee.
Mr. WALKER. I presume the gentleman from Seekonk did not hear the report read, as I may have read it somewhat indistinctly. The report states that the expense to be incurred in fitting up the hall and committee rooms for the use of the Convention, will probably be about $200. I do not see why it should exceed that sum, and I think it probable that it will be much less. Mr. HALLETT, of Wilbraham, moved to lay the report upon the table.
Mr. WALKER. I beg leave to suggest, that if anything is done in regard to this matter, the Convention will see the necessity of acting upon it at once.
The question being then taken upon the motion to lay the report upon the table, it was rejected.
Mr. SIMMONS, of Hanover, moved that the rules be suspended, in order that the Report of the Committee could be acted upon at once. The question being taken, the motion to suspend the rules was agreed to.
The question then recurred upon agreeing to the Report of the Committee.
Mr. STETSON, of Braintree. Mr. President, I have a word or two to say in regard to the adoption of this Report. We well know that we must adjourn, unless we conclude to take possession of the State House. Those who are in favor of the measure proposed, are undoubtedly in favor of allowing the legislature time to mature and pass, for the benefit of the Commonwealth, the reforms which they have now in hand. For one, I would give the legislature the full use of this hall, and ample time to mature and pass upon the several acts which they now have before them.
Now, it may be said that this body may adjourn to some other place of meeting, or after appointing their committees, may adjourn to meet at some future day. So we may. But upon reference to the course pursued by the Convention of 1820, it will be seen that they had not much time to spare after their organization, but pursued "the even tenor of their way" by the introduction of reports, etc., and the whole time of the Convention was at once taken up and occupied by action upon important reports and subjects. If any one will examine the journals of that Convention, he will find that some of the most important votes of that body were taken within a very few days after its meeting. Now, I apprehend that this Convention, after the appointment of its committees, cannot adjourn for any length of time, without so far adding to the continuation of the session of the Convention. The time covered by the adjournment will be added to the duration of the Convention.
I suppose it is the intention of the legislature to act upon and finish as soon as possible, the various matters before it. It may be thought by members of this Convention, that while they are thus finishing the business before them, the committees of this body may mature their reports and be ready to present them to the Convention upon its assembling at a future day. I think, for one, however, that should we now adjourn, the interim before our next meeting will be the same as lost, as the Convention will be so much the longer in session. That seems to me to be consistent with the experience of the last Convention. Judging from the records of that body, we may reasonably expect such to be the result in this
It seems to me, therefore, that should this Convention now adjourn to meet at some future day, the time for which we adjourn will be lost, as it will be added to the time of the session of this Convention.
Now, I am in favor of the Convention holding its session in this hall. It is said by many, that this place inspires genius. It may or it may not. I do not know. But I think that a place dedicated to a certain purpose may be more likely to inspire genius as far as that and similar purposes are concerned, than one not so dedicated. Now, I should much rather get up to plead a cause before a court in a room dedicated to the administration of law, than to do so in the open area of the Common. And I should much rather come here to the State House to alter and modify Constitutions and to make, amend or repeal laws, in a place dedicated to the amending and altering, repealing or making of laws, than to go for that purpose to the Lowell Institute, Music Hall, or any other place of the kind in the city.
For that reason, notwithstanding the time that may be lost, I hope and trust that this Convention, after appointing its Committees, will adjourn for a time to meet here again, and in no other place. That is what I consider to be the right and proper course to be pursued, and that is what I shall vote to do. If the Convention, however, shall see fit to decide otherwise, I shall cheerfully acquiesce in their decision. But I am for giving the legislature full time to mature the reforms they have under consideration, should it take six weeks for them to do so, for I do not wish it to be said after this body shall have finished its labors and adjourned, that the Constitutional Convention were close upon the heels of the legislature, and actu
ally drove them out of the State House before the reforms under consideration by them could be completed. I do not wish that to be given when they come before the people again next fall, as an excuse for not maturing and passing the reforms which were promised to the people at the last election of the legislature. I am for giving the legislature ample time to mature the reforms and laws which they have already in part matured, and then we can meet three, six, or nine weeks hence, and complete the business which our constituents sent us here to do.
And I trust that this body will meet in no other place than the hall in which they are now assembled. I know that there are many here who had much rather meet in the hall of the Lowell Institute, because it is much nearer their hotels, and more convenient on that account. [Laughter.] You know, Mr. President, how it affects many men to come up these steps after breakfast or a full dinner. [Laughter.] It will try their breath pretty severely. I know gentlemen who came in here this morning, who could hardly get their breath, and when asked what was the matter, they said that they had taken too full a breakfast to stand the fatigue of ascending the hill and coming up these steps. [Renewed laughter.] Now, to obviate that difficulty, I would vote for procuring some conveyances for those gentlemen, and would vote a part of my pay in order that gentlemen might be enabled to ride to the foot of the steps of this building, and then they might get up them as they best could.
I have merely to repeat that I trust this Convention, after appointing its committees, will adjourn to meet here again at some future day.
Mr. HUBBARD, of Boston. I understand the question before the Convention to be upon the acceptance of the Report of the Committee; and this, if I rightly understand it, operates merely to discharge the Committee, without binding the Convention to any course of action upon that Report. Am I correct in this, Mr. President?
The PRESIDENT. The acceptance of the Report of the Committee is simply a concurrence on the part of the Convention, with the Committee; by that action no order is taken.
Mr. HUBBARD. Then by the simple acceptance of the Report, the Convention do not decide whether they will adjourn or whether they will proceed forthwith; and an order will be necessary, if such be the desire of the Convention, to authorize the Committee to engage a hall temporarily. I trust, Mr. President that that course will be pursued; for even if it should be deemed expedient to go on where we are, it is desirable that we should have a place in which to meet, temporarily, while the legislature remains in session, without interfering with their free use of this hall until their deliberations shall have been brought to a close. And then if we can find another hall which is suitable for our accommodation, and in which gentlemen think they can become sufficiently inspired, as has been remarked, to discharge their duties as members of this Convention, it may be desirable that we should finish our labors in that place. I hope therefore, that the report of the Committee will be accepted, and that when they are discharged, the Convention will decide to occupy that hall temporarily, by way of experiment, at least; and then, by and by, after we have tried it a while, we shall be better able to determine whether that or this is the better place.