« ForrigeFortsett »
EAMES — ALLEY.
would be to reduce the number of the members , much interest in the class of persons who are of the House of Representatives, and thereby les- to be benefitted by the appropriation and as sen the expense of legislation to the State. Sir, strong sympathies on their behalf as the large so far as the expense is concerned, I do not value it a straw, so long as we retain our republican Much has been said about exciting the prejuform of government and our republican institu- dice of one part of the State against the other. tions.
There is no such feeling in the town that I repIt has been contended by those who advocate resent. The people in my town feel proud that the district system, that all the population should we have such cities as Boston, and Lowell, and vote in their towns respectively, and that each Springfield, growing as they are. Most of the district should contain, as nearly as possible, an population of that town are engaged in agriculequal number of people. But, Sir, let me ask, is tural pursuits; and although they connot boast that a fair system? If it is, I must confess that I of the wealth and splendor which characterize do not see its fairness. The gentleman in the your cities, they are equally as independent. Are gallery from Boylston, (Mr. Whitney,) has eluci- we not, then, all connected as a brotherhood ? dated my views exactly. When I first came Are we not but as one large family? Ought we from home, my views were, to advocate that every not to cherish one feeling towards each other-a town should be represented on this floor; but feeling of right and justice ? So far as I know, under the district system that would not only be we have no feelings towards the cities but those impossible, but vast numbers of our population- of kindness. We wish all our cities and manufaclarge fractions, no doubt, in many instances over turing establishments to prosper.
These are and above the number necessary to constitute a simply my views, and I shall be glad if the propdistrict-would be entirely unrepresented ; andosition now before the Committee can be so far all the arguments adduced here by the gentleman amended as to give to every town in the Comfrom Pittsfield has failed to convince me that it monwealth a representation upon this floor. I would be otherwise. In my opinion, the small feel that it is right and just that it should be so, towns, so far as their political existence is con- and I think I have sufficiently elucidated it in the cerned, would be entirely annihilated; they would comparison which I instituted in regard to our cease to feel any interest in political matters. town representation, and the representation of the
Now, our Constitution says that taxation and States in the Federal government. representation shall go hand in hand; and I ask With the these few remarks, I leave the quesyou where this system of taxation and represen- tion with the Committee. tation is carried out when some fifty or one hun- Mr. ALLEY, of Lynn. It is not my purpose dred towns are disfranchised and utterly pre- to detain the Committee by any extended recluded from any representation on this floor? marks. I merely rise for the purpose of making Carry that system out, and then indeed it may be a personal explanation. I had not the pleasure said that we are unequally represented in our of hearing the remarks of the gentleman from town-meetings. Take a case of this sort: sup- Cambridge, (Mr. Sargent,) not now in his seat, pose a town of three or four hundred inhabitants but I am informed that that gentleman made this want to raise a sum of money for any particular declaration : “ That the gentleman from Lynn prrpose, and there are ten of these men who pay had said that the country needed protection from one-half of the tax; would you say that there- the intelligence of the great cities.” Now I subfore these ten men should have the privilege of mit that I made no such remark as that which the casting one-half of the votes? Would it be tol-gentleman has attributed to me. What I said erated that they should rise up in a town-meeting was substantially this: that the country did need and say, “Here; we pay one-half of all the taxes, protection against the wealth, talent, and power and you pay but a very little in proportion to of the cities and large towns, and which power what we do, and therefore we cannot allow you was greatly augmented by fixing the senatorial to have the same electoral privileges that we basis upon population, as there was a great prehave?” And yet, Sir, that is just the principle ponderance of foreign female population in such of the district system.
cities and towns. My views, then, Mr. Chairman, are, that every Now, Sir, far be it from me to disparage the town ought to be represented upon this floor. intelligence of the country. On the contrary, I They have different rights and interests to be believe that the average of intelligence in the guarded here. That of raising money is but one country is much greater than that of the cities. among many. Is there money to be appropriated I believe, Sir, as I said then, tha, the country does for benevolent purposes, the small towns have as need protection against the wealth, talent, and Saturday,]
power of great cities and towns. And, Sir, after they adopted it, mainly because it placed a limit the significant intimation of the eloquent gentle upon the magnitude of the House. man from Boston, with regard to receiving bread When the gentleman from Lowell presented from those who employ them, I think it does stand the plan before us as a substitute for the Report, the country in hand to protect themselves against it contained a certain, definite limit to the number this concentration of talent in the cities, for its pro- of representatives, which could never exceed three fession is not always accompanied by incorrupti- hundred and seventy, added to the representatives ble integrity. That is merely what I meant to for the small towns, making in all four hundred say, and if the gentleman understood me and two, which is about the number of the House making the remark which he quoted, he misap- as it now stands. But it became necessary, as the prehended me altogether.
gentleman for Erving and other gentlemen saw, Mr. BRADBURY, of Newton. Mr. Chair- to remove this limit from the plan, to avoid the man, the precise question before this Committee, enormous injustice which it might otherwise I conceive to be the amendment offered by the hereafter inflict upon towns entitled to more than gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler). The whole one representative ; for it was most manifest to general subject has come under discussion, but the Committee, that while the towns entitled to the peculiar features of his proposition have not constant representation were running up to three been much attended to. I came here to-day, hundred and seventy in number, those towns with great inconvenience to myself, to listen to entitled to more than one representative, would be what might be said in favor of and against this constantly losing their representation, until at new proposition. I do not rise now because I last, under the natural and inevitable operation have given it mature consideration, but because of the plan, as originally submitted by the gentleI think, as it presented itself to my mind yes- man from Lowell, we should find fewer repreterday, it embraces a feature which should be sentatives to apportion than towns to be supplied. fatal to it
; and that is, the one which is given to Now, as the matter stands, the House is withit by the amendment of the gentleman for out a limit, and what is to determine its magniErving, (Mr. Griswold). The Committee will tude? This is the point which deserves our most perceive, that by adopting that amendment to the serious consideration, in deciding the question proposition, as it now stands before them, they now before the Convention. The Committee, by have removed the limit to the size of the House their action, have removed all limit upon the of Representatives. The present Constitution number, and they now have the proposition beputs a certain limit upon the number, by the fore them, that for the present there shall be three provision by which the ratios are to be deter- hundred and seventy representatives, added to mined, as gentlemen will perceive by a reference thirty-two, making in all, if I am correct in the to that instrument, which it is not necessary to statement, four hundred and two members, and quote. The proposition before us, as originally that number will go on increasing as fast as new presented by the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. towns are made, and as fast as towns now conButler,) did fix a limit to the magnitude of the taining less than one thousand inhabitants rise House. Now, we have no limit whatever by the above that amount of population. Now the difproposition as modified; for, by the increase of ference between this plan as amended and the towns under one thousand, to that number of original one made by the gentleman from Lowell, inhabitants, they are taken from the category in is, that towns can, by the one, be all represented, which the plan places them, and raised to the and, by the other, with its maximum to the numcondition of annual representation. And so long ber of representatives, be deprived of their repreas local circumstances, political considerations, or sentation. diversity of views, affect legislative action, so long Now, it has been said, and often reiterated here, will the creation of new towns continue to that the existing basis of the House would never increase the number of representatives, as was have been accepted by the people, had its prosthe case prior to the adoption of the present basis pective operation been comprehended, but I do of the House. Every-body felt that the consti- not believe the statement. I have heard too tution of the House prior to that amendment, much during this and former debates upon this contained a principle exceedingly objectionable, subject, indicating the general conviction in the and at last its operation in the original Constitu- justice and equity of the district system, to betion, so far as it related to the number of repre- lieve that the intelligence of the Commonwealth sentatives, became so onerous upon the people, was inactive in the adoption of the existing basis. that they were willing to accept the amendment It was the fear that the time had not arrived for which now forms part of the Constitution ; and the establishment of district representation, and Saturday,]
the belief that it would be hastened by the accept- an analogy has been sought, as a defence of the ance of the existing amendments, and that we equal representation of towns, from the fact that should thereby ultimately secure a just system the federal government contains, in its highest and of representation, when the inhabitants of the most important branch of the legislative departsmaller towns, which had heretofore stood in the ment, an equal representation of States. Do way of the adoption of that plan, would find gentlemen suppose that the school-boys of Masit even for their interest to give up separate sachusetts will give any weight to that argument? municipal representation.
Is it possible that boys who read history, and This brings to my mind remarks which have somewhat of politics in their studies in the schools, been made to-day by one or two gentlemen, will give any credit to that theory? What were implying that the towns had an inherent right to the States originally? Were they not indepenmunicipal representation. Sir, I live in a country dent sovereignties, and had they not a right to town, and represent a rural district here in part, preserve themselves as such ? Had they not a and I am the last man to trench upon the rights right to make their own terms of compact ? Will of the rural districts, and I know well the value gentlemen undertake to say that these States were of the considerations in reference to character, a class of mere municipalities, and came together political and moral, upon which we depend on as such to form the Federal Constitution, in wi ich the country. But while I know that, I recollect they really stripped themselves of sovereignty ? still—and the examinations of this House haveNo, Sir, it cannot be sustained for a moment. proved it conclusively to every gentleman who The towns were the creations of the State, and has examined the statistics of this matter, and they were made corporations by the State, and watched the progress of debate here, (and proved were thereby enabled to administer a large but it too to the very great disappointment of some) controlable portion of the municipal law of the —that these great towns and aggregations of peo- Commonwealth. But I have lived where this ple have become what they are, mainly by acqui- was not so, and where there was no town legislasitions from the rural districts, and because the tion and no execution of the laws by the towns rural districts, instead of being great exporters of as municipalities; and I have lived where other products, have been the exporters of men. They plans have prevailed, which have been admired have exported voters, and not goods, to the and thought beautiful here, but I did not become commercial towns, the seaports, the marts of a convert to them. I admire the operation of trade, and to the manufacturing districts, where our system of town government and town legisthe improvements in machiney stimulate and lation; but will not the last twenty years exhibit encourage industry. Now you propose to strip much interference with, and regulation of, the these aggregations of intelligent citizens, who powers which have been conferred on towns ? grew up in the rural districts, of their relative Sir, our legislatures have divided towns without political strength. It has been asked here, if they their consent, and cut off most valued parts to were not willing to look to their homes, to their join to other towns. They have also curtailed fathers for protection. Sir, they went from home the powers of the towns, and imposed burdens because they were able to protect themselves, and upon them. I ask them what analogy there is the question might well be reversed, need their between the relation of towns to this State, and fathers and brothers in the rural districts fear to the relation of States in the Union ? And what allow their sons and brothers to exercise their just sort of analogy can gentlemen find between towns, political rights because they have chosen to live in corporations created by the State, and joint stock the bussier scenes of active life, and in the midst of companies ? None, whatever. I have been sursplendor and wealth ? Have they lost their prised to hear one attempted to be drawn in this virtue and intelligence since they left their coun- Committee. try homes ? Or have those homes sent out the But to come back to another point, have not inferior portion of their population and retained counties been already stripped by the Convention their virtue and intelligence at home? I imagine of all their political powers? Have not counties not, but rather that they have sent out the best as great, as important and as momentous an interstock they had, and although there are noble est in the legislation of this Commonwealth as the specimens left, they are not worthy of being the towns? Can we, indeed, compare the jurisdiction protectors of those who have gone forth to pro- of these corporations over the subject of highways, tect themselves.
or any of the peculiar and important powers of Another idea has been advanced to-day, which towns, with those vested in the counties. Sir, ought to be combatted here and everywhere. A the counties are no less legal units than the parallel has been drawn, and not for the first time, towns. The power of taxation is conferred on Saturday,]
both these classes of corporations, and I see no by centralization? I recollect that during the reason why counties should not enjoy represen- French Revolution there was a word much used tative rights as well as towns. So far as the doc
--the cant term of “ incivism"-which was very trine of vested or inherent right is concerned, difficult to define, but which the politicians were there is not the shadow of argument in favor of very fond of using. Sir, I do not understand town representation, which does not apply, with the meaning of that word “ centralization,” as more force, in favor of county representation applied in this connection. If we send men into They were represented when the government your cities, from the country, they go there not had its birth, and they were then entitled to rep- as enemies but as friends. They go there as resentation here because it was thought conve- friends of the country, and friends they remain. nient.
And more than that, we have sent men into your But the great question is, how can you bring cities who have acquired wealth, and knowledge, the House down to that reasonable limit as to size, and influence, which has been applied to some which will satisfy the people of the Common- purpose for the benefit of the country from which wealth, unless to a certain extent, you adopt the they come. Many an idle stream has been made district system, or do the most gross injustice to useful, and many a barren district in Massachuthe people of certain parts of the Commonwealth. setts has been converted into a populous and Is there any good, substantial reason, why the dis- wealthy region, because the men of Boston have trict system should not be adopted? That question accumulated wealth to carry back to their native has been asked but is not yet answered. At any places. This attempt to draw a distinction berate it has only been answered by urging the prin
tween the citizens who live in the crowded streets ciple of corporate rights from certain quarters of of the city, and those who live in your barren this House, and from gentlemen too, whose views, country districts, cannot prevail. It is an idle in regard to corporations, and corporate rights, distinction, and worse, it is a criminal distinction, as in conflict with individual and personal rights, according to my view of political ethics and morgave us a right to expect, that they would never
al duty. entertain and advance such sentiments. I say Sir, I rose to make these remarks on account this inequality of representation has never been of what was said yesterday, in the course of the justified except upon the ground of the corporate debate. This is not a new subject to me. I have rights of towns-that is, because you have seen heard it discussed in this Hall, three times as fit to incorporate a thousand or more men, pecu- long, probably, as this Convention will have the liarly situated, into a body to transact certain local patience to discuss it. It is a question which has affairs, because it was more convenient that they been discussed all over the State, and the people should have such powers ; because you have understand it. given them qualified powers over highways; be- When the plan before us was first offered to cause you gave them just such control over the Committee, I was astonished at the favor it schools, over paupers, and other town matters, as appeared to secure, because it appeared to have a you chose to invest them with; therefore, be- rule of apportionment and a limit of representacause they have been favored with these powers tives, not fully guaranteeing - the small towns and jurisdiction, they have a right to come here from the alleged dangers of “centralization.” and claim a portion of the State sovereignty, be- But the latent injustice of the scheme became yond what they are entitled to upon all principles apparent to the Committee, and its value to small of political equality. I have lived where such towns was destroyed by the amendment. By things would hardly be believed of Massachusetts, the adoption of the amendment, removing the where every man's vote, whether he lived upon maximum of the House from the plan, another the hills or in the valleys, or in the beautiful city difficulty has been introduced—a difficulty conof “ Brotherly Love,” no matter whether he were stituting a serious objection, in the minds of the the nabob of Chestnut street, or the resident of the people of the Commonwealth, to the whole plan. log cabin upon the Alleghanics, his vote at Har- You have, in it, no limit to the magnitude of the risburgh was just as strong and counted just as House of Representatives, except the pleasure of much as that of the other. But you are going to the legislature, and who is to limit the pleasure make the vote of the man who resides upon the of the legislature? The gentleman who occupies Berkshire hills four or five times as valuable, as your place in Convention, (Mr. Banks,) Mr. that of his brother who resides in the city. Chairman, assured us, with an eloquence which
You are apprehending centralization. Well, charmed us, that we might safely trust the peoSir, that is a word which I do not under- ple's representatives ; that there was no danger stand the pertinency of. What do you mean to be apprehended, in leaving the matter to their Saturday,]
good sense. Well, Sir, I do not wish to place your House of Representatives. That is, in my them in a position where their virtue and their judgment, and it must be in the judgment, as it integrity will be put to the test. We need not seems to me, of every one, a serious objection to place the temptation before them. But, Sir, I the proposition. I hope the amendment will not do not believe what the gentleman said in this
be adopted. respect. I can well suppose such an influx- Mr. WATERS, of Millbury. I do not prosuch an avalanche of foreign popılation into Bos- pose, at this stage of the debate, to make a speech ton and the cities, as we have never yet seen, upon this question. Indeed, I do not class myand which might create serious apprehensions in self among the speech-makers or orators of this the country towns. These apprehensions might assembly. Every deliberative assembly like this lead to the multiplication of towns, and dema- naturally resolves itself into three classes, analogogues would not be wanting to influence and gous to those we find in our courts of justice. aggravate such apprehensions for that purpose. We have one presiding officer, or judge. We A contest might be inflamed between the foreign have our speakers and orators, upon one side and and the native interests and prejudices, and the the other, and then we have much the largest legislatures might feel it their duty to avail them- proportion, constituting the jury, to which latter selves of the terrific instrumentality placed in class I profess to belong. This class seldom speak, their hands by this amendment, as now modified, except in their votes, and being the most numerto resist the power of numbers acting upon the ous, have finally to settle the various questions other powers of the government, and your towns, which come up for our consideration. which are susceptible of division, will divide and Now, I would say, in passing, to gentlemen send on their representatives here to secure their who address this Convention, that all mere flowascendency. The gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. ers of eloquence and rhetorical flourishes are lost Butler,) has said that Boston might cut herself upon this jury, who are governed in their conup into separate districts or municipalities, for clusions chiefly by calculation, by figures and the purpose of electing representatives. Sir, it facts. I rise for the purpose of presenting to the is not possible. Geographical considerations for- Committee a few facts which I have not heard bid it. But the country can cut itself up. presented by any one in connection. Wherever there is a town of 1500 or more in- It appears, by reference to Document No. 12, habitants in excess, it may divide and send two that the number of representatives which may representatives instead of one, and that will be now be annually elected to the House, according the result of the adoption of this proposition. to the census of 1850, cannot exceed two hundred Your House will soon become too large to de- and ninety-nine. The law now requires a populiberate with any degree of convenience or safety. lation of 1,560 to entitle any town to an annual
Mr. BATES, of Plymouth. I should like to representation. But the proposition now under have the gentleman from Newton tell me whether consideration proposes to reduce the number from there is, by the Constitution under which we live, 1,560 to 1,000. I find by Document No. 64, that any limit to the number of members of the legis- there are sixty-four towns in the Commonwealth lature
with a population of less than a thousand, and Mr. BRADBURY. Not in terms; but if any there are one hundred and thirty-nine towns gentleman will analyze the arithmetic of the sys- with a population of less than 1,560, making a tem, he will find that there is a limit. It was the difference of seventy-five towns. So that this belief, when that provision was adopted, that we proposition proposes to raise those seventy-five were in effect fixing a limit upon the members of towns to the grade of an annual representation. the House. It was the belief that we were re- The consequence of such a provision, of course, ducing it from about eight hundred to about four must necessarily be to increase the number of hundred, or less than that number, which made representatives in your House. That, Mr. Chairit acceptable to many of the people of the Com- man, I contend, is a great evil. There is an old monwealth, who, I believe, would otherwise have adage that "great bodies move slow," and, as a rejected it.
general rule, it may be said the larger a deliberaBut, Sir, what has been the course of the tive assembly is, the slower it moves and the friends of the proposition before us? In the first longer the session. Besides, in a large assembly, place, they fixed a maximum of members for the the sense of individual responsibility is greatly House, but finding that that maximum would impaired if not entirely lost. This fact accounts defeat their plan, they have thrown it away; and in part for the frequent disagreement of the Sennow the proposition is, to place it absolutely in the ate to the action of the House. hands of the legislature to fix the magnitude of The House of Representatives in Massachusetts