Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Thursday,]

HILLARD.

(June 23d.

never

est to the people, the care of all the interests the influence which a man living in Boston exwhich can be devolved upon them. For instance, ercises, from that which he has simply because we intrust to the school district all that the school he lives in Boston. In the one case, his infludistrict can do, to the towns all that the towns ence comes from the fact that he lives in Boston ; ean do, and to the counties all that the counties and in the other, it is in spite of it. I ask any can do ; and the State is only the residuary lega- candid man to say, whether the forty-four men tee of the power which cannot be exercised by who are members from Boston have not less, any of the smaller communities or associations. rather than more, than their proportionate influNow, on the other hand, there is a system such ence in the legislature? I appeal to any lobby as obtains in France, in which all the administra- member here who perchance may be within the tion emanates from Paris. There you cannot sound of my voice, whether, when he has a make a road or build a bridge in Marseilles, with- measure which he is very anxious to carry out going up to some bureau in Paris. That, of through, he cares very much about getting the course, is an evil.

aid of a Boston member, and if, indeed, there is Thus, when men speak of centralization, be it not sometimes a very profound stroke of policy ever borne in mind, that they speak of a centrali- shown in getting some Boston member to oppose zation of administration, and not of a centraliza- the proposition which he wishes to have succeed ? tion of government; because, the moment the Mr. Chairman, is it not so ? Boston influence government ceases to be central, it ceases to be is a mere bugbear. My friend, the attorneygovernment. Now, it is true, as my friend has general, (Mr. Choate,) made a remark very remarked, that most of the political refugees that striking and very obvious—and I take it that to come here, cry out against centralization; and be at once striking and obvious is one of the why? For the same reason that poor King Lear, characteristics of genius—that sarcasm when he saw Edgar, said, “What, have his touches the farmers ; that around them there is a daughters brought him to this ?” He could not magic circle over which nobody ever passes. Is conceive of suffering coming from any other it true of Boston ? Is not the converse true? source than that which had lacerated his heart. Does not every young orator who opens a bottle So these men, when they come here, see dangers of foaming and flatulent declamation before a distbat do not exist.

trict convention, have some fling against the city Now, what is the state of Europe? It is true of Boston before he sits down? By their fruits, that centralization exists in France, in Russia and not their words, judge them. If the influence of a considerable portion of Germany. It does not Boston were so tremendous a thing, you would exist in England, Spain, Italy, or Switzerland ; not find these politicians braving its opposition and I doubt if it does in Holland, Belgium, Den- with such courage as they do. No man takes a mark, or Sweden.

lion by the beard with such coolness as they disAnd, if the tendency to centralization be an play. He may say it is a lion, but he knows it evil, the opposite tendency is also an evil. In is the tamest of kittens, in his heart. looking back upon the teachings of history, Nor, Sir, do I repose much confidence in the where do we find the most exact parallels to our calculations which have been made as to the fuown political institutions and relations : Beyond ture. It is sometimes said that figures cannot lie, all question, in the democracies of Greece, and but I submit that this is a fallacy. I do not the Italian republics of the middle ages. And know anything more mendacious than statistics, what was the destruction of both of these? It because, although you can get the truth from them was a want of the principle of centralization ; it you cannot get the whole truth. It was said by was the absence of the aggregating or fusing pow- the gentleman who was employed by Mr. Pitt to er; it was because they carried to the extreme make out his statistical tables, that he always the individual, the diffusing, the disintegrating asked that great minister before he began, on element, on account of which they were con- which side he wished the result to be. I do not stantly at strife with each other, and thus opened know anything more monstrous than the phanthe door for foreign conquest. I do not think toms begotten by a fertile imagination upon a that we are in any danger here of centralization. cloud of statistics. I think the whole course of public sentiment, and In 1797, or thereabouts, there was a gentleman the whole course of legislation, is against it. And in England, by the name of Thelluson, who left a I do not think-to bring the case down directly great fortune, about £600,000, which was to to the point before us—that Boston, as Boston, accumulate for two or three generations before it has even its proportionate share of influence in was to be divided among his descendants. This the councils of the State. We must distinguish matter came before parliament and before the Thursday,]

HILLARD.

(June 23d.

courts, and calculations were made that at the working, and decisive in its results ; but, on the time the property was to be divided—I believe other hand, it cuts and levels too much-it lacernot many years from the present time—it would ates too many tender fibres. Short cuts are have accumulated to one hundred and forty mil- desirable, everywhere, but in order to attain lions of pounds sterling-much more than the them we must not carry our roads through farmwhole civil list of Great Britain. We have lived yards and churchyards. The corporate system to see the result of these predictions, and, Sir, is dear to the feelings of the people of the Comthat fund is not much greater now than it was monwealth ; it is also commended by historical sixty years ago. What with administrators and associations, but when we come to carry it out, it trustees, and the benevolent appetite of the court creates enormous injustice—we cannot avoid that of chancery, its accumulations have been very result. Thus you have the question presented ; small indeed, and the property was at last given and while on the one hand we should not be too into the hands of the family, they giving security much entangled by precedents, on the other hand to pay the small residuary portion which courts, we should not be too much bound to abstract lawyers and trustees left.

principles. Bacon says: “Civil knowledge is of Sir James Mackintosh, in the course of a speech all others the most immersed in matter, and the during the debate upon the reform bill, said :- hardliest reduced to axioms." The same illus

trious thinker says in another place: “ General“Nothing human is one sense of the word final. ities are barren, and the multiplicity of single Of a distant futurity I know nothing; and I am therefore altogether unfitted to make laws for it. | facts present nothing but confusion. The middle Posterity may rightly measure their own wants principles alone are solid, orderly and fruitful.” and their capacity-we cannot ; the utmost that How admirably this is expressed—how brief, and we can aspire to, is to remove elements of discord yet how pertinent. from their path.”

I am willing, Sir, if there is supposed to be any I think gentlemen need not disturb themselves conflict between the large and small towns—I am as to what may be the necessities of the people in willing to yield more to the small towns than 1900. We shall have at least one Constitutional most of my colleagues, or most of my constituConvention before that time, and perhaps two. ents. I am willing to yield something of the

I have spoken about the questions before us, numerical proportion to which Boston is entitled. rather than to them; and I will reward the Take for instance, the pretty town of Hatfield, patience with which the Committee have listened with its broad green meadows, and respectable to me, by hastening to a close. The problem farm-houses, overshadowed by ancestral elms, before us is difficult, but not impossible. Indeed, against whose trunks the arrow of the Indian I know not any problem in politics or govern- hunter may perhaps have glanced. She has about ment which may not be solved by wisdom, a one thousand inhabitants, while Boston has about generous temper, and magnanimous spirit. It is one hundred and forty thousand. Now, I admit certain that we cannot attain our ideal in regard that we should not ask for one hundred and forty to this matter. We cannot have a system which times as many representatives in the legislature will secure to us a small House, which will pre- as Hatfield sends, because, besides the advantage serve to the corporate towns their entire rights of which we have in concentration, we have a representation, and at the same time work no larger proportion of the worthless classes, and a injustice to anybody. This combination is as larger proportion of the dangerous classes, than impossible as that of the smallest sized Bible with they have; and if by chance a man of either of the largest sized print. We must set out in a these classes is born in Hatfield, he sooner or spirit of accommodation and compromise. Start later finds his way to Boston ; and therefore we not at that word! We must approach the ques- do not claim so much representation in proportion in that mood which the apostle describes by tion to the population in Boston, as we are wilthe expression, " in honor preferring one another.” ling to concede to Hatfield. Nor do I feel my We must be prepared to make a sacrifice of our sensibilities much wounded at the prospect of personal predilections, of our local attachments, of having Boston districted. I think it would have our party ties—“ upon such sacrifices the gods been an advantage to Boston, and that the influthemselves throw incense.” Now we have two ence of our delegation would have been greater systems, the corporate system and the district sys- than it is now, if instead of having forty-four tem; for although we have set our seal of dissent representatives of one party, there had been thirtyupon the district system in its entirety, yet the four of one party and ten of the other. I think claims of that system as an ingredient must be these thirty-four would have more influence than considered. The district system is simple in its forty-four; they would have been more diligent

Thursday,]

HILLARD - DANA.

[June 23d.

in their calling, and more attentive to duties. As nimity and the generosity of our country friends, to the size of the House, personally I prefer a than to that which is wrung from them against small House, by which, I mean a House of about the convictions of their minds and against the two hundred and fifty members, although I would feelings of their hearts. not turn pale at the prospect of three hundred and I am willing to trust my life, my rights and my fifty. I think that too large is a better defect fortunes to the whole people of this Commonthan too small. I would rather have a House wealth ; and if that fatal day should ever come that is cumbrous than one that is corruptible. in which the rights, the fortunes, or the life of I think that there is an advantage in a House of the humblest individual cannot be trusted to the considerable size which has not yet been stated. discretion and protection of the whole, then life One of the advantages of the House of Repre- itself will cease to be worth the having. sentatives in Massachusetts is that there are a Mr. DANA, for Manchester. I do not rise, considerable proportion of its members who have Mr. Chairman, to reply, or to attempt to reply, to no prospective or ulterior views. They are here the argument made by my friend from Boston, who to do their work, and nothing else. Now look has just taken his seat; but, with the indulgence at the legislature of New York. New York is a of this House,—and perhaps, by the strict rule of very large State, and it has a very small House of order, I should throw myself a little upon their Representatives. There are only about three indulgence,—I would like to say one word upon times as many members in the lower House as that portion of his remarks which are particularly there are members of congress; therefore every personal to myself. It is true, as he said, that member of that body has one-third of a chance the most friendly relations have always subsisted towards being a member of congress. Now I between us, and that we have been brought up, say, as a general rule in legislation, just so far as to a great extent, in the same political school; the legislator comes to the place of legislation but if he will allow me to use a single phrase of with ulterior views, either with respect to himself his, inasmuch as a “drop of blistering dew" or his party—just so far as he legislates with one seemed to fall from him upon the member for eye upon the table before him, and the other eye Manchester, I would like to wipe it off before the upon some distant point, just so far his value as a record of this day be closed. legislator becomes impaired. This fact makes a My friend was entirely mistaken in saying that distinction between the Massacbusetts IIouse on the words which I had uttered in this House the the one hand, and that of New York and Penn- other day were carefully prepared and well consylvania on the other, which we ought to keep. sidered. Not only is it true that I had never put

Now, Mr. Chairman, we have these two sys- pen to paper, but I had no thought of addressing tems to combine. I think if we address ourselves the House whatever, until two or three minutes to the task in the spirit of common sense and the before I arose. I had laid out no plan of remarks, spirit of patriotism, we can see our way out of and every word I uttered was purely extemporathis maze of perplexity. I would approach the neous; and what I said about Boston, her citizens, subject in a flexible and yielding spirit. I would and the towns of the Commonwealth, and their not haggle about drams and pennyworths; I relative moral and intellectual character and cawould not cavil about the ninth part of a hair; I pacity, was something that occurred to me from would not be over nice about the exact propor- moment to moment, as I went on. Had I had tions in which the power is to be distributed time to consider and reflect and prepare my which is to be exercised by all, and for the good remarks, I might have made them better, or I of all. My reliance is upon the spirit of the might have made them worse; but whatever they people, and not upon the forms in which it may were, they stand as they came from my mouth, be manifested. Our legislatures and our laws are and it is not in my disposition to alter the record, but the instruments through which the mind and however it may be.

heart of this community are breathed ; and the My friend reminded me, and it is not the first

same instruments may send forth the golden har- time in the course of my life that I have been monies of peace or the harsh thunders of discord. reminded of it, that “the bread that he and I Forms are but dead matter ;—it is the living both eat, comes from the business community of spirit which animates them which is important. Boston, and that we should not strike at the In the most hideous despotisms of Nero and hand that feeds us." The hand that feeds us ! Calijula, the forms of a republic were sacredly The hand that feeds us! Sir, no hand feeds me preserved. I, for one, as a citizen of Boston, and that has any right to control my opinions ! a citizen of Massachusetts, would rather trust to For my friend from Boston I could not do him that which is freely given to us by the magna- a greater injustice-and it would be the grossest Thursday)

DANA.

[June 23d.

injustice-to take his carefully prepared language. I think that to these men full credit has never as being the sentiments of his heart. Can I sup- been given ; full justice has never been done, pose that the eloquent compliment which he paid either to those who originated the system, or to the city of Boston—the eulogy which he pro- the Appletons and the Lawrences who continued nounced upon her merchants and her manufac- | it. History will see in these men as wise and turers, and the expression of devotion beyond that liberal a forecast as any body of founders and of a lover for his mistress—had any connection colonizers ever exhibited, whatever with a thought in his mind of the hand But, Mr. Chairman, it was no part of my pur. which gives him bread?

pose to pay a tribute to Boston ; it was not I trust, Mr. Chairman, on that point, that lan- necessary that I should do so; there are always guage or intimation such as that, will never again persons enough to do it without any aid from me. be uttered in my presence. I do confess it would I have never seen the day nor the hour that in take me a good while to feel that I was entirely Boston there were not men enough to do all the restored to self-respect, after an intimation of that duty of commendation to her rich and powerful; sort has fallen from any one,

and therefore I did not feel myself particularly He furthermore applied to me the lines from called upon to enter into that field of emulation; Pope :

but I did pay a tribute of respect, in a particular "Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, quarter where I thought it was due; and I wish Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike."

my friend, instead of holding me up as the If the acquaintance of a number of years has calumniator of Boston, had presented all I said, left upon the mind of that gentleman an impres- so that it might not have been misunderstood. I sion that these are my characteristics,—that any

should have seen the hand of friendship in it far one of the characteristics embraced in these lines more clearly. attaches itself to me, or to my father's son,-I

But there were some things that I did say about should lose all confidence in moral impressions Boston, and to them I mean to adhere. Whether that could be produced by any character ; but it intimations come to me in the honied phrases of is not for me to say to this Convention whether my friend, or threats in the stronger and coarser it be true or whether it be not true. I will leave voice of the public press, the convictions of my it to their judgment.

understanding and heart I shall utter here, in the I should have been more gratified, I confess, if discharge of my duty. I do not believe, Sir, that my friend from Boston had alluded to a few personal independence and devotion to civil liberty, things I said favorable to the city of Boston, and is as strong in large trading communities as it is had not confined his benevolent attention solely among our rural population. I do not believe to what I said against the city of Boston.

that it is so strong in the Boston of 1850, 1851, Now, Mr. Chairman, it is true that all I said | 1852, and 1853, as it was in the Boston of 1775. when I spoke upon the subject was purely I can look back with as much pride as any man extemporaneous, and I do not undertake now to in the history of Boston, and especially to that remember precisely what it was. I do recollect period I have named; but, Sir, until my whole that I began by paying to the city of Boston a

nature shall undergo a change, I cannot look tribute for its unparalleled liberality and gener

upon the course of Boston during the past few osity, distinguished as she is for her encourage

years with that satisfaction which becomes a man ment of science and literature, and her great educated in the principles of liberty and indepenworks of benevolence in all departments where dence-educated in the belief that the rights and there is misery to relieve or ignorance to enlighten; liberties of the poorest, and the dignity of the and, Sir, I could have gone further, and I think I Commonwealth of Massachusetts must be maincould have adopted most of the tribute paid to tained at every pecuniary and every political hazard. Boston by my friend. No man is mor: sensible

Now, these being my convictions, and this of the liberality of her merchants than I am, I question being before us,-not one that I brought believe, Sir, that the present generation of Boston up,—I have taken the liberty to express them, merchants is the most liberal generation in money

and by these convictions I stand or fall. matters that Boston, or any city in this country, The gentleman from Boston, (Mr. Hillard,) ever saw. But, Sir, it was not my purpose to said that there was in Boston a great and greatly pronounce an eulogium upon Boston. There is increasing population-the poor aliens-persons another tribute which I wished to pay, and that having little interest in the prosperity and welfare was to the memory of the Lowells and the Jack- of the city ; persons against whom they eventusons who founded our manufacturing system upon ally must be protected. Now, I would ask him the basis of morals, and religion, and intelligence. I whether that is the class of persons on whom he Thursday,]

SCHOULER

HOOPER.

[June 23d.

wishes the government of this country to be based. in the legislature in consequence of these fears I would ask him whether the time may not yet which have been here expressed. Boston has her come, when the conservative citizens of Boston population accumulating and enlarging, and so will rejoice at the work which I hope we shall have the country towns; and because we have accomplish in this Convention that is, the this large population here in a small compass, maintaining, in their unimpaired dignity, the and see all these sores more easily than if they town republics spread over the soil of Massachu- were spread out over the counties, we are apt to setts ? But, Sir, if you take from them the right think that there are more of them, and that they of choosing their representatives, you take from are of a more aggravated character. them their entire political power and capacity. I merely rose to express this idea to do bare True, their municipal capacity remains ; but you justice to the city of Boston; to state that so far take from them their entire political power and from deteriorating in morality, both her history, capacity. If this class of population to which my and all the facts of the present day, will show that friend has alluded does increase, as he says they she is improving, that there are but few of that will, I can tell him that in advocating this plan of vicious class of persons in comparison with the town representation, I have not been governed by population-much fewer than there were fifty the present state of political parties, and I have years ago, and I have no doubt there will be wondered that certain others have not seen this fewer still fifty years hence than there are now. subject as I have. I think the time may come, Mr. HOOPER, of Fall River. Unfortunately when the rightly conservative people of Boston for me, and perhaps for the Convention, on some may look at these town representatives as the

accounts, I was necessarily absent during a conbulwark of their safety in the legislature, against siderable portion of last week, when this subject the overpowering numbers in their great city. was so fully discussed. I have, therefore, heard Sir, I believe it will work practical and humane but little of the discussion on the subject, and conservatism throughout the State, and that is the consequently, may be in danger of repeating what reason why I have supported it.

may have been repeated several times before. But, Sir, it was not for the purpose of debat

But, Sir, I happen to come from a portion of the ing this question that I rose. I have accomplished Commonwealth which is deeply interested in this the purpose for which I rose, and I yield the floor.

question, as the plan before you reported by a Mr. SCHOULER. I have but one word to say majority of the Committee, has an unequal and in reply to the remarks made by both of the gen- | injurious effect on that portion of the Commontlemen with regard to Boston. Sir, I disagree wealth. I believe that no one from that section entirely from the conclusion

which my col- has attempted to bring forward its claims, or to league has come in regard to the class of people state in what manner the interests of that particu" accumulating and increasing" in Boston, and lar section is to be affected by the preceding the class which he fears. I think, Sir, that the proposition. I believe that no voice has yet been facts are these : that so far from that class accu- heard from the county from which I come, in mulating in proportion to the rest of the popula- regard to this matter. tion, they are decreasing; that in accordance with I do not rise, Sir, for the purpose of going into the population, there are not nearly so many of a defence of any party or personal consistency. this class as there were fifty years ago; and I It strikes me, that all that is entirely out of place think it is perfectly clear that as Boston increases here; that we are convened for a particular and in that sort of population, she will increase ten per specific purpose for the transaction of specific cent. more in good population ; and therefore these business; and I, for one, wish to regard this sores, instead of increasing and becoming larger, matter in a business light, and hope that we may are, in fact, decreasing, both in their number and direct our attention at once to the matter in hand, their character.

and bring our deliberations to a conclusion at the Now, Mr. Chairman, I am not here to eulogize earliest possible day. Boston, nor do I mean to do so. I think she has When I heard the gentleman from Adams, the a great many faults, but I would ask the gentle- other day, undertaking to recite what had been man for Manchester whether, in a hundred and said by the several members upon this floor, who forty towns of this Commonwealth, having the had preceded him, I did not know but that he same number of people in them as the city of was doing a service to those who had been absent Boston, he cannot find as many vicious and bad -myself among the number— because the publipersons as he can find in the city of Boston ? cation of our reports is so far behind as to be of For my part, I have no doubt about it. And I scarcely any use. But, before he got through cannot conceive why we should lose our strength with his remarks, I became satisfied that his

« ForrigeFortsett »