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Upon reflection, as there are plans before the this Convention has great confidence, and they Convention which contemplate a higher number say it is a proposition which will be more just in than twelve hundred, as it it more parliamentary its operation, than any before us. to take the question upon the highest number The amendment which I propose to submit is first, and as I have another proposition, which is the following :in the hands of the Convention, and which I may Strike out from Mr. Butler's amendment all offer hereafter, I have concluded to withdraw the the paragraphs before the word Resolved, except amendment, and leave the question to be taken the second, and insert the following: upon the Report of the Committee. Mr. MARVIN, of Winchendon. I have a
Each town having five hundred inhabitants
and less, shall be entitled to five Representatives proposition which I desire to submit, but I do it
in ten years. with a great deal of diffidence, because I am
To all towns having between five hundred and entirely unused to the course of legislative pro- fifteen hundred inhabitants, an additional Repceedings, and because I am surrounded with men resentative, every ten years, shall be given for of such great experience and reputation, that any- every two hundred additional inhabitants. thing which they offer will be received with a
Each town having between fifteen hundred degree of respect, which cannot be hoped for in
and four thousand inhabitants, shall have one
Representative annually. relation to anything which may come from me. Each town having between four thousand and I may, however, ask for the candid attention of eight thousand inhabitants, shall have two Reprethe Convention for a few moments, although sentatives annually. what I have to offer may not be recommended by
Each town or city having between eight thou
sand and twelve thousand inhabitants, shall have experience or influence acquired in public bodies.
three Representatives annually. A very distinguished teacher, Dr. Dwight,
or city having between twelve being asked what his rules were in governing the thousand and sixteen thousand inhabitants, shall schools and higher institutions under his care, an- have four Representatives annually. swered that he never had but one rule, and that
Each town or city having between sixteen was to meet every case as it came up, and deal with
thousand and twenty thousand inhabitants, shall
have five Representatives annually. it in the best way that he could. His rule was
Each town or city having between twenty to use his common sense, and do right in every thousand and twenty-six thousand inhabitants, case. That was the only general rule. Now we shall have six Representatives annually; and have gentlemen here, who have some great rule each additional six thousand inhabitants shall or principle which they wish to drive through, entitle any town or city to an additional Repre
sentative, and regulate every thing by. But I believe that
Each town having less than fifteen hundred it will be found here, and in legislation generally, inhabitants, shall have one additional Representathat there is but one general rule never to be tive every ten years, for valuation year. departed from, and that is, in moral questions, that we should do right, and in practical matters, According to this plan,when we cannot do exactly right, do as nearly right as we possibly can.
23 towns would have 5 rep's in 10 years. Some wish to have the State districted, because 31
6 there is a great principle involved in it; but that 25
7 principle subjects the small towns to the larger. 34
8 Others wish to have all the towns represented
9 every year, because there is a great principle at
Besides an additional representative for valuation stake; but that principle gives the towns uncon
year. trolled power and swamps the cities. I suppose both of these great principles, so called, have
That is,already been rejected by the Committee, and the conclusion we have come to, is, that there must
23 towns would have 111 rep's every year.
11 be a compromise, while the great principle upon
25 which we shall be compelled to act, is, to do as
34 nearly right as possible.
27 I now wish to introduce an amendment to the
14 amendment now before us. It is one, I may say,
129 which has been seen by several gentlemen who represent the small towns, and it has been
Giving to these 129 towns an additional repreexamined by some gentlemen, in whose judgment sentative, valuation year, would give an annual
average addition of thirteen representatives, near- been several times brought up here, and I have ly. The total annual representation from 129 never heard a reply. As I have not heard all towns having less than 1,500 inhabitants would the debate upon this question, it may be that I amount to 100%.
shall go over the same ground that others have in Allowing each of the 146 towns containing adverting to it. The plan of town representation between 1,500 and 4,000 inhabitants, to have a has been compared to the rotton borough system representative annually ; it would give 146 rep- in England. Now, Sir, I want to know what resentatives. The ratio of increase is 2,500. system this Convention could possibly adopt
Allowing each of the thirty towns containing which would reduce the towns of Massachusetts between 4,000 and 8,000 inhabitants to have two to a system of rotten boroughs, like those in representatives annually, it would give sixty rep- England, or which could bring them within the resentatives. The ratio of increase is 4,000. range of comparison ?
And if it were true, Let each of the seven towns or cities contain- would gentlemen accomplish any object by making between 8,000 and 12,000 inhabitants, have ing the comparison ? Would such a comparison three representatives annually ; that would give do any good, or have any tendency to conciliate ? twenty-one representatives. The ratio of increase What is a rotten borough in England ? Does it is 4,000.
require a few people, or many, to make it a rotLet each of the four cities containing between ten borough? Is a small borough rotten while 12,000 and 16,000 inhabitants, have four repre- a large one is sound? I understand that a rotsentatives annually; that would give sixteen ten borough, in England, is one where the lands representatives.
and houses are in the hands of a single person, Let each of the three cities containing between or a few persons. When one of the ancestors of 16,000 and 20,000 inhabitants, have five repre- William Pitt returned from Madras, with his sentatives per annum; that would give fifteen great diamond, he bought up two of those representatives.
boroughs, and by controlling the electors, was enabled to return himself to parliament from one, and to secure a seat for his eldest
his brother, 129 towns containing less than 1,500 inhabi- or his creature, from the other. Lord Clive, who tants, would have annually 876 representatives.
came home rich from India, bought up several of 146 towns containing between 1,500 and
these boroughs, and thus secured a strong parlia4,500 inhabitants, would have annually 146 rep
mentary interest. Many other rabobs followed resentatives.
his example. Besides, many of the peers, and 30 towns would have annually 60 rep's
other landed gentlemen, owned boroughs by he7
reditary right, and thus controlled those electors 4 towns and cities
who were their tenants. 3
Such is the rotten borough system in Eng1 city would have
land. Now, is there anything like that in Mas1
sachusetts ? Is there anything like that in this country: Are the towns of Massachusetts rotten boroughs in this sense? Are they owned
by any one or two individuals who control their Average per annum, valuation year, 1210
elections: Are they similar, by any manner of Total,
means? No, Sir, they are owned by the people
who live in them; by the farmers, the mechanics, Now, I submit, that this is a fair plan, substan- the merchants, and others. They are generally tially like that we have adopted, but improved a divided off into small farms, and every man, little in detail; and if this matter is to be recom- almost, owns one of these farms, and the elecmitted to a Committee, and if the whole of these tions are controlled by the free choice of a majority plans which have been proposed are to go there, of the people. There is, therefore, no sort of I want to go with the rest. This plan, it will be resemblance between the two. But if there was perceived, will be favorable to the small towns; a rotten borough in Massachusetts, I will venbut I think it is the policy of the Convention to ture to say it would be owned in Boston. This give them some advantage in the House of Rep- remark is not made to provoke any gentleman resentatives, because the cities have much advan- from the city of Boston. If such a state of tage out of the legislature.
things should take place, it would be no fault of There is one point bearing on this general her citizens, it would rather be to their credit. question which I desire briefly to notice. It has | The wealth of the city is increasing very dispro
portionably to the increase in the country. To , land, the princes, the barons, and the rich men, this increase there can be no objection. With an who live in the city, have country residences and increase of wealth will come an increase of influ- estates, and it is there that they exert their influence, and there can be no objection to that; and ence; and therefore, so far as politics are conwhen I say, that if there is now, or ever will be, cerned, there is more of aristocracy and less of a rotten borough in the State of Massachusetts, democracy in the counties than in the city. But it will be owned in the city of Boston, I do not it is not so in Massachusetts. The Boston mersay it for the purpose of creating a jealousy be- chants and bankers cannot go out into the countween the city and country. However, I do not try and buy up large estates, and live upon them, believe the delegates from Boston, who are so and control the elections in the places where they ready to defend their city, have any strong objec- live.
There are but few of the princely men, tion to these comparisons being made between the doing business in Boston, who live in the country. relative wealth, influence and prosperity of the So that there can be no comparison in this recity and the country, as it gives them such a fine spect, between the state of things in England and opportunity to set forth the praises of Boston. I in Massachusetts. In England, there is more of am reminded of a picture, with a bit of descrip- the democratic spirit and principle in the cities, tion to it, which was hung up in our print shops and more of the aristocratic spirit and principle in a few years since. It represented a French girl the country; but here the case is precisely the who had a beau. There were several other girls reverse. It seems to me, therefore, that there is around, teasing her about him, at which she af- no occasion to draw comparisons of this descripfected great indignation. Seeing this, they left tion between England and Massachusetts, unless off their banter, when she cried out, “tease me it is by way of contraries. more !” (Laughter.] I very strongly suspect Now, Sir, I hope the plan I have indicated will that such would be the result with the Boston commend itself to the good sense of this Convendelegates, if we should cease talking about the tion. As I remarked before, there is no subwealth and influence, and political power of their stantial difference between it and the plan subconstituency. Sir, I hope Boston will go on in- mitted by the gentleman from Lowell. It is only creasing in wealth, in population, and in power. a modification of that plan. It seems to me that I hope her new library will increase, until it it need give rise to no jealousy upon the part of becomes the largest library in the country, and the people of Boston. The very fact of the rivals the great libraries of the Old World. I presence of the legislature in Boston gives that hope the Athenæum, with its galleries of painting city a very great advantage over the other porand of statuary, may increase, until it shall attain tions of the Commonwealth. The people of Bossufficient attractions to keep our young men of
ton are in constant communication with the memgenius at home, and attract the sons of genius from bers of the legislature, and in this way they are other countries here. But what is the effect of this constantly modifying their opinions. They are great increase of wealth, learning, and popula- constantly shaping the opinions and the course of tion? The greater their increase, the greater will the country representatives by means of the press, be the political influence and power of Boston; and their means of diffusing information through so that it is necessary for the small towns to se- the State are much greater. Here in the city you cure their interest in the legislature, before there can tell what towns will be likely to return is an overwhelming power to prevent them. And majorities for any particular party, and you are there can be no just cause for jealousy against able to send out lecturers into every part of the the country towns, because they desire to secure Commonwealth, and you have the money to spend for themselves a proportionate power and influ- in bringing out the voters to the polls whenever ence in your House, in respect to representation. it is desirable to change the result. So that alThey think it is only what they are justly enti- though you did not elect a single representative tled to, and therefore they come forward in this from Boston, you would, perhaps, have fifty memConvention and claim it as their right.
bers returned from other parts of the State devotAgain, if you will allow me, Sir, to allude once ed to its interests. I do not mean that this result more to the comparisons which have been made would be secured by bribery, but through your between the city and country, I think there is at influence, nevertheless. I, therefore, hope that all least as much intelligence and democratic spirit in jealousy between the city and country, if there the country as in the city. Gentlemen have said be any, will be discontinued and will be left out that there was more of the democratic spirit in of the question in the settlement of this subject. the city than in the country. It is not so in our Mr. WHITNEY, of Boylston. There has been country, however it may be elsewhere. In Eng- | much said in this Convention, and many speeches Wednesday,]
made by various gentleinen, in favor of reducing better to be represented three times or once in ten the House of Representatives. Now, Sir, I want years, than not to be represented at all, but I do not to say a word in favor of a large House. Some think we should submit to either. Mr. Presigentlemen think that the House should be re- dent, are we to surrender at discretion: I ask duced to one hundred and fifty or two hundred the farmers in this Convention if we are to surmembers. Now, Sir, it seems to me that this render at discretion. In my opinion we had betproposition is to reduce the representation, here, ter have your system of representation as it is, of your farmers and mechanics, and to increase and preserve what we already have. the number, relatively, of the lawyers and pro- I desire to say one word about centralization. fessional men. I would not say precisely that We have been challenged to give any definition there should be no attorney elected to the legisla- at all of centralization. I do not know that I can ture, as was provided on one occasion in the early define it better than by saying that it is the history of our institutions, but I certainly do de- absorbing of power by large masses in central sire to provide that the attorneys shall not pre- governments. It is the power by which the govdominate in the House.
ernment will send out and seize upon whatever By the way, it has been taken for granted here, men they choose to take and send them into interthat if you provide for small Houses, you will minable slavery without trial by judge or jury. secure a greater proportionate amount of tal- That is what I call centralization of power. It is ented men there; that although you will have the absorption of the powers of small towns by the less in number the material will be fewer. Well, large ones, as in Boston for instance. By this, I Sir, I am afraid it would be in this case very do not mean to say that Boston shall not have its much as it is in our business transactions, if you fair chance in the representation of the people, but get fine material you will have to pay a high price this large mass of 150,000 people here can do as for it. You cannot expect to go to one of your they please, no matter what the law is. They stores and get cloth worth ten dollars a yard for will have their own way, and the rights of free two dollars a yard. And to carry out the com- speech and the free press have been trampled parison, I think the expense would be about the under foot time and time again, in this city. I same to have one hundred and fifty members at have been present at meetings when my rights four dollars a day, as it would to have three hun- were trampled under foot. I considered that I dred members at two dollars a day.
had a right to come to this city and hear one of Now, I want to ask the representatives from the most eloquent men that ever ventured to the large towns—and you can always tell whether speak upon great national subjects, and yet I a man represents a large town or small one, by could not hear one word of what was said by this the speech he makes. Every man calculates the most eloquent man on account of the clamor and effect every proposition will have upon his own noise made by those who were endeavoring to particular town, and favors or opposes it in pro- suppress free thought and free speech. I say that portion to the number of representatives it will such an influence is centralization of power, for give that town. I say I want to ask these gen- it does what it will, despite the law. The legistlemen how they will demonstrate to us that tne lature of Massachusetts have passed a law regusmall towns will be the gainers on the whole by | lating the sale of intoxicating liquors, yet it a small House? They say we shall be compen- cannot be enforced here. I say then let us not sated by a larger relative power when we are rep- yield what little power there remains to us. The resented. Well, Sir, we do not regard that as com- danger which I fear the most proceeds from this pensation. I happened, not long since, to call upon centralizing influence. I say that I fear it, bean old gentleman in the town in which I live. cause if men can come in here and take whom Said he: “I am glad you have called. I hope they will they can come in and take me. I thank you will not agree to any system of district rep- the eloquent gentleman from Boston, (Mr. Choate,) resentation. I had rather be represented three for introducing a principle which is not often times in ten years than not to be represented at introduced into political matters, and that is, all.” Now, Sir, here is a proposition brought in, " that we should do unto others the same which to give each of the small towns three representa- we would that they should do unto us.” Some tives in ten years, and if we are to yield that, of us know no other rule than this. We should I see not why it will not go further, and that we all look with abhorrence, and only abhorrence, at shall have a proposition brought in by and by, the fact that another man who may be a little by which we shall be represented once in ten whiter or blacker than we are should be taken years. I tell gentlemen that is a compensation from Massachusetts and consigned to everlasting that we do not like. It may be true that it is slavery, without being tried by twelve men good Wednesday,]
and true, to say whether or not he has a right to tory to us and the Commonwealth. I therefore have a place as a freeman upon the soil of Massa- hope that this motion will prevail, as such a Comchusetts. This is what I call centralization, and mittee would have before them all the plans, what I fear. It is the great question that now tables, and figures which have been presented agitates the nation and the world, and we must before us, and they would have the benefit of the use our best endeavors to guard the Common- able and lengthy discussion that we have had to wealth against the danger to be apprehended from guide them in the discharge of their duty. I inthis centralizing influence.
tend to make the motion to recommit this subI hold we can do that better by standing where ject to a Committee of one from each county. we are upon our present representation than to Mr. GILES, of Boston. I favor the object of be absorbed in districts, wliere I take it we can the gentleman from New Bedford, (Mr. French,) be easily managed. I hope therefore that the if it be the sense of the Committee to recommit farmers, the mechanics, and all good men upon at this time. I thought he took his seat without this floor will stand by their rights, and manfully making the motion he intended, and that was the maintain them. If we must be absorbed let it be reason why I arose. But as the floor has been done inch by inch, and let us contend every inch yielded to me, I say now that I should be in of ground.
favor of a recommital of this subject to a special Mr. FRENCH, of New Bedford. I have committee of one from each county, or a comlistened to this debate with a great deal of inter- mittee formed in any way agreeable to the Conest. Certain gentlemen have discussed this sub- vention, who should consider all the plans and ject most ably and eloquently, and from the endeavor to reconcile and eliminate such an one opinions expressed on all sides I am inclined to as should receive the approbation of a large mathink that we may very soon come to a result. jority of this Convention. While I have the There are a great number of propositions in regard floor, I will say a few words upon this subject, to this matter of representation now before the and before I am done, if the gentleman from New Convention, and some of them differ widely from Bedford desires it, I will make the motion which each other. I cannot subscribe to the proposition he intended to make. Until yesterday, I had of the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) now made up my mind to listen in silence during the under discussion. I am satisfied, though very progress of the discussion, and watch, in a friendly many gentlemen might vote for it, that a better spirit, all the propositions that should be offered, plan might be submitted to this Convention than intending to vote for anything that I conscienthat-one that would unite a larger vote, prove tiously believed to be an improvement upon the inore satisfactory to ourselves, the country, and present system. The district system which I apthe large cities and towns. The plan proposed prove, was rejected by so decided a vote, early in by him seems to be unequal. We must expect the debate, before I had an opportunity to speak some inequality, for I am greatly in favor of town upon it, that I concluded not to speak upon the representation. I could wish that every town in subject at all. I adhered to that conclusion until this Commonwealth might have a representation the vote yesterday, by which the proposition of every year, were it practicable. The present sys- the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) was tem of giving twenty-six representatives to a coun- adopted. That vote encouraged me to hope for ty having 30,000 or 31,000 inhabitants, and only
some substantial improvement of the present systwenty-eight representatives to a county having tem in a direction towards the district system. 75,000, seems to be a little unequal. Besides, one The speech of the gentleman from Ipswich, (Mr. county having 30,000 or 31,000 inhabitants has Haskell,) has increased my disposition to say a twenty-six representatives while another, having word upon this subject, and increased my hope 31,900 inhabitants, has fourteen representatives. of a good result. We are not in a position to reIt seems to me, that it would be well to re- ject everything, unless it meets entirely our apcommit this whole subject, with all the various probation, because we have a system now to plans which have been submitted. Farther which we all object, and which we all desire to discussion upon this subject can do no good, improve, and we must vote for something as an and will bring us to no better result. It seems improvement, or adhere to the present system, to me if we will simply refer this whole sub- and, therefore, we are not in that position which ject with all the plans to a Special Committee will enable us, as between two evils, to do acconsisting of one from each county, with instruc- cording to the old maxim, naturally to choose tions to report at an early period, no matter how neither; but we are compelled, between two early, to-morrow if they please, that they will be evils, to choose the least. Therefore, if the amendable to devise a plan which will be more satisfac- ment of the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. But