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any sense. It does not give them strength, but the legislative department of the government of the on the contrary, their strength is derived from a United States, one branch should be composed of source entirely independent of any right of rep- delegates representing the people, and the other resentation. It depends upon the exercise of their composed of delegates representing the sovmunicipal institutions. Representation is only ereignty of the States. incident to them. It is only a means of produc- It was thought necessary that each one of these ing the representation of the people of the Com- sovereignties should be present in the national monwealth, and not a right to the towns in any council to see that its interests were properly atsense.
tended to its rights properly respected, and that I have two or three quotations from standard none of its powers were infringed upon. So that writers upon this point. Of what is essential to there is not a particle of likeness between the repmunicipality, one says :
résentation of the States which compose the Union
in the United States Senate, and the representa• The characteristic of a town, is a municipal ticn of the towns which compose Massachusetts constitution. It is constituted for municipal pur
or any other State, in the legislature of that poses."
State. Another says:
The present system of representation has two
great evils. First, inequality of representation, “ That characteristic of a borough in which its and second, an inconveniently large House. It existence originally and essentially resides—its
was to remedy those two defects that the people organization for local government, forming the natural and necessary basis of its political charac of the State demanded a Convention. The propter and efficiency."
osition of the majority of the Committee does not
touch either of these evils. It does not cure, but Town representation is then only the basis and rather increases, the evil of inequalty, to a very not in any sense the element of representation, as great degree. I do not know how any man can declared by the Constitution.
hesitate between retaining the old system which Sir, there was not under the colony law any now exists in this Commonwealth and adopting perfect representation of corporations or towns. this new one, which increases, to a great degree,
That law provided that there should be a union the very evil which we are called upon to remedy. into districts of the small towns with less than a
One gentleman-I believe it was the delegate repcertain number of inhabitants and that towns resenting Wilbraham, (Mr. Hallett,) — made a containing a certain number of population should remark, which carried the intimation that town send one representative.
representation or something similar to it, is found The delegate for Erving, has likened the town in all the States of the Union. Now, in fact, representation to the representation in the Senate there is not a State in the Union, out of New of the United States, under the Constitution of England, having a town representation or anythe United States. He says that the little State of thing like it. In many of the States the repreRhode Island has as large a representation there sentation is by counties, and in others by districts. as the great State of New York, and from that he In all of the original thirteen States, out of New argues that the little towns in Massachusetts should England, it is by districts or by counties. In New have as large a representation in our House of York it is by districts. In New Jersey, by counRepresentatives to be provided for under this ties. In Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Constitution, as the large towns of the Common- | Virginia, by counties. In North Carolina by wealth. Now it seems to me that every gentleman counties principally, except in three or four large must see there is no analogy whatever between the towns. All the new States have representation cases. The senators of the United States are rep-by districts with the exception of Missouri, Iowa resentatives of the States of the Union, and the and Arkansas, where the representation is by States which compose the Union, are all sovereign counties. Louisiana has parishes. The gentlein themselves, having sovereign powers. They man representing Berlin, (Mr. Boutwell,) intiare as sovereign as the States of Great Britain, or mated that the representation of Louisiana by France, and having conferred some portion of parishes was simply a form of representation by their sovereignty upon the national government, towns. But a parish in Louisiana comprises a it was therefore necessary in the congress of the territory larger than any one of the Connecticut United States, that there should not only be a River counties. It is provided by the laws of representation of the people, but that there Louisiana, that a parish shall not consist of less should be representation of State sovereignty. It than six hundred and twenty-five square miles, was accordingly provided that in the formation of which will be a territory of twenty-five miles Thursday,]
BRADFORD - EARLE – GARDNER.
square-a larger territory than any of the coun
AFTERNOON SESSION. ties upon the Connecticut River. It is in fact a
The Convention reassembled at three o'clock. representation by districts, and it makes the list complete; every State in the Union, out of New
Election of Justices, &c. England, being represented either by districts or
On motion by Mr. EARLE, of Worcester, it counties. There is one particular in which the proposition reported by the majority of the Committee must appear to every member of the Con- Ordered, That the Committee on the Secretary, vention as operating great injustice and great Treasurer, &c., consider the expediency of a con
stitutional provision for the limitation of the terms political enormity in the action of the legislature.
of service of Justices and Clerks of Police Courts, A little more than one-fourth part of the popula- and for their election by the voters of the towns tion of the State will, by the Report of the Com- or cities respectively in which they may be located. mittee, be able to elect an United States senator. I should like to know if the people of the State of
Plan of Representation. Massachusetts are ready to say that a little over Mr. GARDNER, of Seekonk, submitted the one-fourth of the people of the State shall have following Plan of Representation in the House of the power in their hands of electing a senator of Representatives, which was referred to the Comthe United States, against the wishes of nearly mittee of the Whole, and ordered to be printed :three-fourths of the people of the State? But the proposition of the majority of the Committee is
Resolved, That it is expedient so to amend the
Constitution as that the members of the House not consistent in itself. It does not adhere to this
of Representatives shall be apportioned in the corporate right, which has been so much eulo- following manner :gized, and upon which so much has been said.
1. Every town containing less than one thouIf representation is a corporate right, and if our
sand inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect a Repsystem is to be made analogous to the system of resentative five times in ten years. Or, any two the United States Senate, then why should one or more towns, containing less than one thousand corporation have one representative and another inhabitants, may, by consent of a majority of the one five or ten? That is a departure from the legal voters present at a legal meeting in each of whole plan, and it is giving up the whole prin- and held before the first day of October in
said towns respectively called for that purpose, ciple. If our system is to be similar to that of the year 1853, and every tenth year thereafter, the United States Senate, or if the right of corpo- form themselves into a separate District, and so rate representation is a strict right, then the large continue for the term of ten years; and such corporation has no more right than the small one.
districts shall have all the rights, in regard to Every corporation stands exactly upon the same
representation, which would belong to a town
containing the same number of inhabitants. footing, and must be entitled to a like representa- 2. All towns and cities in the Commonwealth, tion. I have not drawn up any plan of my own, containing from one thousand to five thousand but it seems to me impossible that the proposition inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect one Reprepresented to us by the majority of the Committee
All the towns or cities in the Commonwealth can be accepted. Mr. ALLEY, of Lynn. I move that the Com-containing over five thousand inhabitants, shall
be districted into single Representative Districts, mittee rise, report progess, and ask leave to sit as follows :again.
3. Every town or city having from five thouThe question was taken, and it was decided in sand to ten thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled the affirmative.
to elect two Representatives annually. The President having resumed the Chair of thousand to fifteen thousand inhabitants, shall be
4. Every town or city containing from ten
entitled to elect three Representatives annually. THE CONVENTION,
5. Every town or city containing from fifteen the chairman reported that the Committee of the
to twenty thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled Whole had had under consideration the Report to elect four Representatives annually. of the Committee on the subject of the Basis of thousand to twenty-five thousand inhabitants,
6. Every town or city containing from twenty Representation in the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to elect five Representatives had made some progress therein, but had come to annually. no conclusion thereon, and asked leave to sit
7. Every town or city containing from twentyagain.
five to thirty-one thousand inhabitants, shall be
entitled to elect six Representatives annually. Leave was granted.
8. Every town or city containing from thirtyOn motion of Mr. ALLEY, the Convention
one to thirty-eight thousand inhabitants, shall be adjourned until three o'clock P. M.
entitled to elect seven Representatives annually. Thursday,]
9. Every town or city containing from thirty- | Report of the Committee be adopted. I have eight to forty-eight thousand inhabitants, shall be listened, with a great deal of interest, to the deentitled to elect eight Representatives annually. bate upon this question, but I have not heard
10. Every town or city containing from fortyeight to sixty thousand inhabitants, shall be anything submitted to the consideration of the entitled to elect nine Representatives annually.
Convention, which exactly meets my views, and 11. Every town or city containing from sixty it seems to me that the reports of both the majorto seventy-five thousand inhabitants, shall be ity and minority Committees are eminently unentitled to elect ten Representatives annually. 12. Every town or city containing from just
, unequal and impracticable. I heard the seventy-five to one hundred thousandinhabitants,
able argument of my friend, the distinguished shall be entitled to elect twelve Representatives gentleman representing Berlin, (Mr. Boutwell,) annuauy:
the other day, with very great pleasure, and I 13. Every town or city containing from one fully concurred with his views in regard to the hundred to one hundred and twenty-five thou- importance of town representation, but he failed sand inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect twenty
to convince me that it was absolutely essential to Representatives annually. 14. Every town or city containing from one
the preservation of the interests of the rural dishundred to one hundred and fifty thousand tricts, and for the protection of the country inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect twenty-five against the centralization and concentration of Representatives annually.
wealth and population in the cities, that town 15. Every town or city containing from one
representation should be in all cases strictly prehundred and fifty to one hundred and seventyfive thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect
served. No man appreciates, more fully than I thirty Representatives ; and no town or city shall do, the importance and necessity of preserving be entitled to more than that number.
town representation. So far as the Report of the The above plan will give to
majority of the Committee is concerned, I think The county of Suffolk 25 Representatives. it is a foregone conclusion, that it cannot receive Essex, 42 the sanction of this Convention.
So far as Middlesex 58
the interests of my constituents are concerned, it Worcester, 59
affects them vitally, reduces their representaHampden, 21 Hampshire, 20
tion in the House of Representatives for the next Franklin, 19
ten years, one-fourth, and it gives to three conBerkshire, 27
tiguous towns containing less than one-fourth of Norfolk, 24
the population of the city of Lynn, three repreBristol, 27 Plymouth,
sentatives. It will give, in the next decennial 23 Barnstable, 13
period, to the little town of Nahant, which has Dukes, 3
been separated from the city of Lynn this very Nantucket,
year, one representative, which would be twenty
five times as much representation as the city of 363
Lynn would have. There was an objection With some fractions amounting to three or four.
made the other day, which struck me at the time On motion of Mr. KNOWLTON, of Worces
as being of paramount importance, in the very ter, the Convention resolved itself into
able speech made by the gentleman from Middle
boro', (Mr. Wood,) in relation to the introducCOMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE,
tion of a new political element into the legislaMr. Wilson, of Natick, in the Chair, upon the ture, occasioned by the division of towns, in case resolves on the subject of
this Majority Report is accepted, and town rep
resentation in all cases is preserved. If it should The Basis of Representation,
be made a condition in the Constitution, that The question being on agreeing to said resolves. every town should have a representative, it seems
Mr. ALLEY, of Lynn. Mr. Chairman. It to me that you will have numberless towns in was my intention not to have said a single word
this Commonwealth clamoring at the doors of the upon this question; to have listened to the argu- legislature for a division, and frequently upon ments and contented myself with giving merely political grounds. I know it has been the case, a silent vote, but this is a matter in which my heretofore, that political considerations have actuconstituents feel deeply interested, and I feel it ated the legislature in the division of some of incumbent upon me, therefore, to submit a very these large towns. Within two years, the city few remarks to the Committee. This question which I have the honor, in part, to represent, has will affect them, probably, as much as any other been dismembered twice of a portion of its tersection of the Commonwealth, especially if the ritory. The towns of Swampscot and Nahant
have been incorporated within two years, from who claims to be a progressive, I hesitate not to territory belonging to the city of Lynn. I will declare that I believe representation upon the banot say that these towns ought not to have been sis of the Minority Report will be much more incorporated, I will not say that there were not unequal, unjust and oppressive, than that based good and sufficient reasons given to the legisla- exclusively upon town corporations. ture why such a division should be made, but I Whatever may be said to the contrary, I neverstand here to say, and I say it without fear of theless believe that the country does need protecsuccessful contradiction, that so far as the town of tion against the cities and large towns. Sir, it Swampscot was concerned, political considera- needs protection against the influences of the tions occasioned that division. Votes enough | wealth, the talent, and concentrated power of the were procured, by appeals to such considerations, cities and large towns. This system of checks and to create that division. One gentleman, who balances which has been so much talked about voted against what he told me previously were here, is a system which has been recognized by his convictions, when asked by me for a reason this government, and by all other governments for his vote, replied, that he was told by his po- which we should have any desire to imitate. In litical friends that if Swampscot was taken from the Convention of 1820, Mr. Webster took the Lynn, that Lynn would be a Whig city, and he ground that it was absolutely essential to the said that many of his political associates voted preservation of government that we should have upon the same ground. He was a high-minded these checks and balances ; and in this connecand honorable man, one who would not inten- tion, I will read an extract from his celebrated tionally do wrong, but I thought much better of speech, which has been so much commented his candor than of his judgment. I have known upon, delivered in the Convention of 1820, other cases which have come under my observa- wherein he made the startling declaration that it tion, where I had no reason to doubt that politi- was but the prompting of wisdom to found gova cal considerations produced their effect in occa- ernment on property. In that speech, he took sioning divisions. If this be the case, it does strong ground in favor of checks and balances, as seem to me, I do not know how it may strike the being indispensably necessary to protect the libremainder of the Convention, to be a question of erties of the people. He says :paramount importance.
Within a few years past the disposition to divide the large towns has
“In my opinion, Sir, there are two questions been much more prevalent than formerly. There
before the Committee; the first is, shall the legis
lative department be constructed with any other have been incorporated twenty-four new towns check than such as arises simply from dividing the since 1838. Thirty-two towns have been incor- members of this department into two Houses ? porated since 1820. Seven new towns have been | The second is, if such other and further check incorporated since 1850, thereby showing an in- ought to exist, in what manner shall it be created ? creasing disposition to make new towns. I shall
“If the two Houses are to be chosen in the man
ner proposed by the resolutions of the member be as glad as any one to preserve town representa- from Roxbury, there is obviously no other check tion, if it can be done with any degree of pro- or control than a division into separate chambers. priety, but I am unwilling to make that a sine The members of both houses are to be chosen at qua non. I am unwilling that town representa- the same time, by the same electors, in the same tion shall be preserved at the expense of every districts, and for the same term of office.” principle of justice, every axiom of liberty, and every sentiment of propriety, as it seems to me
But now, Mr. President, if you base the House
of Representatives on the basis proposed in the is done by this Majority Report. I know it has been pretty well established, that the precedents Minority Report, or anything analogous to it, are all in favor of town representation, and that since the basis of your Senate is already agreed the people of Massachusetts have adhered, with upon, you will have just such a legislature as is
here drawn out:great tenacity, to town representation, during nearly the whole period of its colonial and con
They will, of course, be actuated by the same stitutional history. I have but a slight regard feelings and interests. Whatever motives may for precedents, unless they accord with my own at the moment exist, to elect particular members convictions ; so that makes but little difference of one House, will operate equally on the choice with me. I would not attach much importance of members of the other. There is so little of to them. I consider the Report of the Minority done, it would be more expedient to choose all
real utility in this mode, that if nothing more be Committee much more objectionable than that of the members of the legislature, without distinction, the Majority, much more unequal and unjust simply as members of the legislature, and to For, however paradoxical it may seem, for one make the division into two Houses, either by lot, Thursday,]
or otherwise, after these members thus chosen
any extent, in any of the States. A difference of should have come up to the capitol.
age in the persons elected is sometimes required; “ I understand the reason of checks and balances, but this is found to be equally unimportant. It in the legislative power, to arise from the truth has not happened, either, that any consideration that in representative governments that depart- of the relative rank of the members of the two ment is the leading and predominating power ; Houses has had much effect on the character of and if its will may be at any time suddenly and their constituent members. In this State, the hastily expressed, there is great danger that it qualification of the voters is the same, and there may overthrow all other powers. Legislative is no essential difference in that of the persons bodies naturally feel strong because they are chosen. But in apportioning the Senate to the numerous, and because they consider themselves different districts of the State, the present Constias the immediate representatives of the people. tution assigns to each district a number proporThey depend on public opinion to sustain their tioned to its taxes. Whether this be the best measures, and they undoubtedly possess great mode of producing a difference in the construcmeans of influencing public opinion. With all tion of the two Houses, is not now the question ; the guards which can be raised by constitutional but the question is whether this be better than provisions, we are not likely to be too well no mode." secured against cases of improper, or hasty, or intemperate legislation.”
Now, with regard to what has been said here
in reference to the tendency to centralization and It will be seen, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Web- the influence which property has upon the adster was applying these views to the other branch ministration of government and upon the legislaof the government. But as we are now situated, tion of the State, Mr. Webster says :having agreed upon the basis of the Senate, and that it shall be based upon population in equal “ It seems to me to be plain, that, in the absenatorial districts, it seems to me these remarks
sence of a military force, political power naturally
and necessarily goes into the hands which hold are peculiarly applicable to the House of Repre
the property.” sentatives under the existing circumstances. He says again
Although he was contending in that speech for “The Senate is not to be a check on the people, founding government upon property, yet, notwithbut on the Ilouse of Representatives. It is the standing, the argument as applied to the constitucase of an authority given to one agent to check tion of the House of Representatives, it seems to and control the acts of another. The people | me, is peculiarly forcible. We have agreed, Sir, having conferred on the House of Representatives upon the basis of the Senate, and although it is powers which are great, and, from their nature, nominally and theoretically the popular branch, liable to abuse, require for their own security another house, which shall possess an effectual yet, practically, it is the conservative body as herenegative on the first. This does not limit the tofore. By the division which has been made—as power of the people, but only the authority of the representation is based upon population and their agents. It is not a restraint on their rights,
not upon voters, and as the foreign population but a restraint on that power which they have
concentrates in Boston and the large towns, and delegated. It limits the authority of agents in
females constitute so large a portion of the popumaking laws to bind their principals. And if it be wise to give one agent the power of checking lation also in the large manufacturing towns and or controlling another, it is equally wise, most cities—it will naturally happen that these large manifestly, that there should be some difference of towns and cities will secure a greater proportion character, sentiment, feeling, or origin, in that of representation than they are entitled to, in my agent who is to possess this control. Otherwise, judgment of equality. Therefore I say that, alit is not at all probable that the control will ever be exercised. To require the consent of two
though theoretically it is the popular branch, yet, agents to the validity of an act, and yet to ap- for all purposes of practical legislation, it is the point agents so similar in all respects, as to create conservative body; and it represents to a greater à moral certainty that what one does the other degree than this branch does now or ever has will do also, would be inconsistent and nugatory. done, the conservative interest in the CommonThere can be no effectual control without some difference of origin, or character, or interest, or
wealth. feeling, or sentiment. And the great question, Sir, I am the last person to disparage Boston, in this country, has been where to find, or how or to do or say anything which will affect injuto create this difference, in governments entirely riously her interests. Whatever affects the proselective and popular. Various modes have been attempted, in various States. In some, a differ
perity, interest, or glory of Boston, affects me. ence of qualification is required in the persons to
Here I spend the greater portion of my time; be elected. This obviously produces little or no
here is the majority of my business, and I would effect. All property qualification, even the not consent to any proposition which will have a highest, is so low as to produce no exclusion, to tendency to injure substantially the rightful in