Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Wednesday,]

GILES.

(June 20th.

ler,) which has been adopted, shall eventuate in the country do not use it, and it is lost to them anything which I can deem a substantial im- now, practically, to a great extent. I would raprovement upon the present system, I shall go ther have the power used by the yeomanry of the for it, though it does not square entirely with country, even if they do it in derogation of my what I believe to be right and desirable. I am right, than not to have it used at all. I believe the willing to do so. I would say that I think it is power of representation to be good in itself, to be the duty, and I am happy to see that it has been beneficent, and that it is to be exercised so as to the disposition thus far, on the part of the Con- improve and bless the community. Therefore, I vention, to receive all these propositions made by do not wish to lodge this power in dead hands, various gentlemen in a friendly spirit. I believe under the mortmain principle, where the land of all the propositions have been offered with a sin- England once went. Now I accord to the plan cere desire to make, –and a belief on the part of which the Convention adopted in Committee yesthe gentlemen who have offered them,—that they | terday much merit. I believe it to have been made a substantial improvement upon the present made, in good faith, to improve the present syssystem, and therefore, they have all been received tem ; I believe it does improve the present sysin a friendly spirit. At the same time, I wish to tem; I believe it accomplishes all, or nearly all, be at liberty to express my views and principles, that can be accomplished upon that principle; but without being thought to criticize harshly any the principle I do not assent to. plan before us.

Now, Sir, what does it accomplish in reference What is the evil which now exists in re- to the first evil, to wit, a large House? It does gard to this matter, and what have we to do reduce the large House from its present maximum in reference to it? For what have the peo- of four hundred and forty-five, to a possible maxple sent us here in regard to this matter of imum of four hundred and twenty-five. It does representation: The first evil complained of, is that. Practically, three years out of ten it would that the House of Representatives is too large. do more. But it does not remove that first diffiThe maximum now may be 445. Large and culty, to wit, the large IIouse sufficiently, in my small are relative terms; but, I think, it is a fixed judgment, to go before the people and say to fact, that a House, the maximum of which may them: we have remedied that evil. I think the run up to 400, is, in the judgment of the people of people will turn upon us and say that we have the Commonwealth, too large a House. That is not, that they sent us here to reduce the House the first evil which is, to be cured, and we must and we have not done it. Therefore, I wish to devise a plan that shall remedy that defect. No see that plan, if it is to be adhered to, so far perplan is perfected to that extent which I believe it fected as to reduce the possible maximum. I should be, until it does remedy that defect. am willing that the House should range someWhat is the second evil ? It is this, and it where near three hundred in number, and I should touches a matter of principle, that, under your be glad not to have it go beyond three hundred present system, at this moment, one hundred and and twenty. I think that eight representatives thirty-nine of your towns are disfranchised. They to one senator would make things safe, and sound, have not a constant representation, which of right and pure. they are entitled to have. I say it is a right of every In reference to the second evil : does it enfraninhabitant in Massachusetts to be constantly rep- chise all your towns which are now disfranchised ? resented. This is a thing which the people want Does it give to every man who is an inhabitant of and which they will have. It is a thing that they Massachusetts a constant representation ? No, ought to have, and which we are bound to give Sir, it does not. Of the one hundred and thirtythem. Through the kindness of the officers in nine towns now disfranchised it will enfranchise the treasury department, I have a list, taken from all but sixty-four, and leave them in precisely the pay-roll of all the towns that have failed in the same predicament in which the one hundred representation for the last thirteen years. I do not and thirty-nine are now left. It does not, therefeel at liberty to ask the Committee to print it, fore, completely cure that evil, and that is an though it affords information, which is worth evil, in my judgment, of principle. One word printing. It is a formidable list, making seven upon that principle. As far as the future large folio pages of tables and columns, and it growth of the population is concerned, the plan, shows that there were 1,035 towns which failed in as it now stands,—and I understand my friend being represented from 1840 to 1852, inclusive. from Lowell is in favor of improving it, if it

But, at the same time, the friends of the district can be done in his judgment, and therefore he system may say, you are taking the representative will not take my criticisms in an unfriendly spirit, power from us and locking it up. Our friends in for they are not meant so,--the plan, as it now

Wednesday,]

GILES.

(June 29th.

stands, says, that as to future growth, every in- | bargain ; and town A. may desire it, and its habitant in sixty-four of your smallest towns is neighbor, town B., may decline; and though but a sixth part of a man, as compared with the that power of uniting was in the Constitution of inhabitants in two hu' dred and twenty-two other | 1778, and in the amendment of 1836, and in the towns; and it says to the inhabitants of twelve of amendment of 1841, the towns have not availed your largest towns and cities, that five of them themselves of it, because, practically, they canno:. shall count as only equal to three, as to future This is the very thing we are sent here to do for growth; that five of their future increase of pop- them, to district then into representative districts, ulation are only equal to three in the medium so that they may enjoy this right. A waiver, in towns. Therefore, I say, that we fail, in the first law, is when a man has the sole right to decline place, to remove these two evils to a degree which and he does decline. That is not the case here; I wish to see them removed, and to a degree it requires an agreement to accomplish anything. which I believe the people of the Commonwealth Now, are we quite ready. Mr. President, to say demand that they shall be removed, and to a de- that the increasing population in your large towns, gree which they have a right to require at our your twelve largest cities and towns, and in your hands that they should be removed. And, Sir, it sixty-four smallest towns shall be considered in cures these evils to the extent that it does go, at the ratio of five to three in the other towns. the expense of your twelve large towns and cities. That is an ominous ratio.

Look at congress. And the question which arises in the mind is, Representation in congress is for the purpose of whether that is not a greater evil than that which taxation; and the apportionment of representait removes, in enfranchising so many towns, now tion among the States is based upon population; deprived of representation ?

but in some of them, in making up the number Now, Mr. President, in a friendly spirit, I wish of the people, there is an ominous ratio. What to say one word upon the principle. I will not is that ratio : Why, that “three-fifths of all call things by party names. I wish to use the other persons shall be added"-so that five men word democratic, but I wish to use it in that of a certain color are equal to three, and shall be sense in which we are all, every man of us, demo- counted as three, of a certain other color. crats; to wit, in the sense that the people have the Mr. BUTLER. If the gentleman from Boston right to govern themselves, to which we all agree. will allow me, I would like to ask him where he

,

from Lowell, as it stands at present, nor unless it Mr. GILES. I allude to the growth in the

can be amended so that these sixty-four towns population of the towns containing between one which are now disfranchised, shall be released thousand and four thousand, compared with the from that inequality. I want every inhabitant growth in towns containing fifteen thousand. I of Massachusetts represented constantly. I do am treating of it in that way for the purpose of not look upon any one as a full man until he is. not going over the ground which has been gone Therefore, I say, you must adopt a system to over so ably by my friend on my right, (Mr. accomplish that. What is the matter, Mr. Presi- Haskell). I am considering the matter looking dent? Are you afraid of the people? Are we, to the future growth, and I take round numbers democrats, every man of us, to the back bone, in because fractions are not suitable to public debate. the sense I have defined the word, afraid of the Now, I do earnestly desire a plan, and will, with people, unless they are landholders ? Are we all my power, labor and coöperate with the most afraid of the people when they are aggregated in benevolent and yielding disposition, for any plan, numbers, as in the cities? Does not your Bill of coming from any quarter, that shall reduce the Rights say that the people have a right to aggre- House to the neighborhood of three hundred gate themselves anywhere, at any time, expressly members, and shall secure a constant representato address and influence the government? I go tion to every inhabitant of this Commonwealth. for the people, and with my friend, (Mr. Haskell,) I want this Convention to go before the people I say I will let the people go where they please, with a plan which shall accomplish those two and the power shall go with them, and the bless- objects, and if they do so, that plan will be triing of God upon it. And because they choose to umphantly adopted. I greatly apprehend that if live in a city I will not sunder from them the they do not, any plan will be rejected. Though, power of self-government, or because they must as I have said, condemning now, as I did in 1841, live in a small town, I will not sunder from them the existing plan, because it disfranchises a part the power of self-government. My friend has said of your citizens, and as I am compelled to choose that these small towns may be represented if they between two evils, I will go for the plan of my will unite. True, but it takes two to make a friend from Lowell, if I shall conscientiously be

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

lieve it, when perfected, to involve the least of and I believe these three principles, if we district the evils, but I should, naturally, choose neither the whole State, would preserve every town line, of them. Now my friend has said, and with would give a convenient number of inhabitants in great cogency-I hope the gentleman will not each district, and apportion the representatives to suppose that I wish to criticize his plan or the the entire satisfaction of the people, and to the plan of any other person—that it is an easier entire justice of the case. I speak now of the matter to pull down than to build up. It is substantial terms, for there always will be frac

And that is the "facilis descensus" to tions of a hundred or so, perhaps more, in fixing which our republican policy is tending. It is the numbers. But, in looking at this document, hard to build up, I admit; and if a proposition if it should be printed, or if it should not, you has been adopted without reason, it is very diffi- will notice one or two things, which, in my judgcult to change it by reason. A custom which has ment, have an important bearing on this matter. grown up inch by inch, day by day, and year by We have these 1,035 towns which have failed to year, must be changed in the same way. All that be represented within the last thirteen years; and I admit, and yet I respond to my friend when he how has that failure ranged? I have counted says, “ Before you condemn, produce your plan; up, and I will state the result very briefly. In do not say this will not do unless you have some- 1840, there were thirty-nine towns which failed ; thing that will ; do not cry out stop in that direc- in 1841, there were ten; in 1842, there were fiftytion unless you can point to a better course.” seven; in 1843, there were forty-four; in 1844, That is just; he is right to say so.

there were seventy-seven ; in 1845 there were one Now, I have not turned my attention to the hundred and seventeen ; in 1846, there were one production of a plan until within a very short hundred and twenty-two; in 1847, there were time, but I will indicate in the shortest possible one hundred and forty; in 1848, there were one outline what I would wish to see, and what I hundred and twenty-six; in 1849, there were one think will meet some of the desires expressed in hundred and thirty; in 1850, there were one this Convention, and avoid some of the evils. It hundred and ten; in 1851, there were thirtyis this: I would limit the House to three hundred three, and in 1852, there were thirty. And why and twenty. That should be a maximum, above did they fail? There were three causes, as I which the House could never go. I would judge from these statistics, which I have had apportion your representation according to the but a limited time to examine. The first and the inhabitants; or I am willing to say, as at present general cause is, because the Constitution foradvised, according to legal voters; and I would bids them to send; it forbids a large number district the State for that purpose, with no limit, of these towns to send, and they cannot do it. except it is that you should not divide the towns That is an evil to which I object, and that is an having less than twelve thousand inhabitants. evil which we must remove-we are under a These should be the principles embraced in my political and moral necessity to remove it. The plan, and it would not require this long agony of next reason why these towns have failed to send, mathematics which we have had for three weeks so far as I can judge, is, that many of them voted past, striving to conceive and bring forth an im- not to send. That is a town right, but, is it one possibility. I say, limit your House and limit it which the towns wish to preserve: Will you so as to cure that evil and fix the limit so that the

preserve the power of a majority of those who number shall never again rise. Then apportion happen to be present in town-meeting at the your representation either upon the basis of moment such a vote is put and carried, to deprive inhabitants, which is a definite term in the Con- the minority, or it may be the majority, of the stitution, or upon legal voters. I can conceive an actual voters of that town, of the right to be advantage in some instances in taking legal voters; represented ? I wish to see the Constitution so for the people seeing that their power is appor- amended, that no citizen of this Commonwealth tioned upon legal voters, will take care that proper shall, behind my back, take from me the right of persons and none others are legal voters. Then, representation. That is wrong, and it is unjust to save the town lines, I would put a limit inci- in practice. My friend, (Mr. Wood,) shakes his dentally, that no town having less than twelve head as though he thinks it is not unjust in thousand inhabitants should be divided, and that practice. But the principle was established when would secure your towns which have not a right the towns paid their representatives themselves, to become cities, and the instant they became and it seemed to be no more than just, where they cities they will district themselves into wards and paid the expense themselves, that they should vote upon the principle of a general ticket. have the right to refuse to send if they saw fit,

Now, one word upon the size of the districts ; and thus save the money. The question was

Wednesday,]

GILES - HATHAWAY.

[June 29th.

merely whether the money should come out or which I have just availed myself of; and, therestay in their purse. To be sure, the towns might fore, unless my friend from New Bedford requires be fined if they refused; but that is not material me to make the motion which he intended to to this point. Now, a district cannot disfranchise make, I will leave it to the sense of the Convenitself in that way, nor any of its members. tion to renew the motion for recommittal, when

The other reason was,- for I find I must con- ever any gentleman pleases, and I will vote for it. dense my remarks as much as possible,—that Mr. FRENCH, of New Bedford. If I was they could not elect. They tried to and could not understood to submit the motion, I will subnot succeed. Why could they not succeed? mit it now, that this whole subject be recommitBecause your small towns, which make up most ted to a Committee of one from each county in of that roll of towns which failed to be repre- the Commonwealth. sented; failed, before they were called upon to vote, The PRESIDENT. The Chair did not underto do certain things which must be done in order stand the gentleman to make the motion before. for them to have representative action. Public The question is now on the motion to recommit. opinion must be conciliated and concentrated Mr. HATHAWAY, of Freetown. I would upon one man, in order to secure an election; inquire of the Chair, whether that motion is deand this must be done before the day of voting as batable ? well as at the polls. If you mean to elect a gen- The PRESIDENT. The motion is debatable, eral ticket, you must conciliate and concentrate but the Chair will suggest, that it does not open public opinion upon your candidates. If you the whole merits of the question. It is merely a have but one candidate, it is not so easy a matter motion to recommit the subject. to do that; where there is a general ticket, people Mr. HATHAWAY. I will endeavor to conof every class in the community are represented fine my remarks to that point. I hope, Sir, that as far as possible by men of their own class, but the motion of the gentleman from New Bedford in a small place every class wants its man, and will prevail. We have been almost drowned and thus they break up and divide upon so many smothered with propositions in reference to the candidates that it is a hard matter to elect a single basis of the House of Representatives. There ticket. A town which is large enough to district, are so many propositions, that I confess I am at a is large enough to have two or three representa- loss to know which of them all is the preferable tives; and your nominating caucus can concen- one ; but, Sir, I feel the force of a remark that trate and conciliate public opinion upon that was communicated to me by a friend, a few days ticket so as to carry it. Do you find Boston in since, which a distinguished individual, formerly that list? No! Here is a ticket of between President of the United States,-1 allude to thirty and forty. Here we go to the other ex- John Quincy Adams,--made upon a certain treme, from an excess the other way, because the occasion. I feel that remark pressing upon me ticket is too large, and the delegation is liable to at this moment. Here, Sir, as to this very propohave weak timber in it. My principle of district- sition before this Convention, I feel that there are ing, therefore, would be, to arrange it so that a a majority of the delegates who are opposed to ticket should not be less than three nor over five. us—that any proposition which may come from That would give scope to arrange, and to concen- the small towns can be pressed here and carried, trate, and to conciliate as much as was necessary no matter how unjust. Yet here is a minority, before election ; and it would very generally Sir; and upon that topic I am happy to say, that secure the success of the ticket.

a minority of delegates represent the majority of I have thus hastily thrown out these views; the people, and we have eternal justice upon our and I think if I have accomplished nothing more, side, in reference to the matter of equal and fair I have demonstrated a good disposition to get rid representation. But yet I know what the vote is of these erils and to achieve this great boon for to be upon this question. Let me say, Mr. Presithe people, viz., a reasonably sized IIouse and dent, to gentlemen who press this motion to have constant representation; and I will strike hands the vote now taken, that there is behind us a with my friend from Lowell or any other gentle- power greater than them, or us; and let me say to man who will submit a proposition that I can them, that although a majority of the delegates conscientiously believe involves an improvement, upon this floor represent only about two-fifths of to any extent, upon our present system, which I the people of this Commonwealth, while a mido condemn, and feel a moral necessity to the nority here represent the other three-fifths, if this extent of my power to amend. I should be in matter is pressed upon us, and a more unjust profavor of recommittal, but I certainly do not desire position in reference to representation than even to deprive any gentleman of the same privilege of the one before us is adopted by the Convention, Wednesday, ]

HATHAWAY.

(June 29th.

the people have yet to pass upon it, and it is for Commonwealth is concerned, a large majority of them to judge whether it shall form a part of the the people of that section are opposed to increasConstitution of this Commonwealth or not. ing the number of the House of Representatives;

Mr. President, the “ Old Colony" has not been and the proposition of the gentleman from Lowell very forward in this debate. I have never before does increase it. opened my mouth in reference to this subject; Mr. BUTLER, (in his seat). That is a misbut, Sir, I wish gentlemen to be reminded that take. the “Old Colony," or Plymouth and Massachu- Mr. HATHAWAY. The gentleman from setts Colony, which now constitute the State of Lowell says that I am mistaken ; but I think I Massachusetts, were once independent of each can prove that I am correct. If gentlemen will other. Jacob and Esau, however, were brethren turn to document No. 12, they will find that 299 in one family; and we happened to be the older towns in this Commonwealth are entitled to send brother. If gentlemen are disposed to press this representatives annually; and of course, in ten proposition upon us to a vote now, however un- years, if they are fully represented, they would just the Commonwealth may have been towards send 2,990. The towns which are entitled to us heretofore, they must remember that we shall send fractional representatives, or in other words, not be content now to take up with a mess of those which are not entitled to send a representapottage. I say it in a spirit of kindness, how

tive every year, would have a right, in ten years, ever, and a spirit of brotherly love towards other to send 737. Then, according to my arithmetic, portions of the Commonwealth-I mean those if you add these two sums together, 2,990 and which belonged to Massachusetts Colony. If this 737, it makes 3,727, which is the maximum of proposition is pressed upon us with too much representation in this house for ten years. I am severity, I give gentlemen notice, that all the

aware that the valuation year is excluded. Then, blessing of Isaac upon his son may turn back if you will just divide it by ten, you will find upon them, and the yoke of Jacob may be broken. that the representation, annually, from all those I hope, Sir, that this proposition will be recom- towns, averages 372.7. All that is perfectly plain mitted, and at the same time, in reference to this and simple. Now, the proposition of the gentlematter, permit me to turn to my distinguished man from Lowell, as I understand it, gives us friend for Berlin, (Mr. Boutwell,) and refer to 391, and gives us somewhere about 32 or 34 more his argument the other day, that, although the in the valuation year. I am opposed to that, for present mode of representation and the principle I think that the people of this Commonwealth, upon which it rested, were unjust and unequal, generally, just as much believed that the number yet that is no reason under heaven why it should of the House of Representatives would be renot be continued. I am aware, Sir, that under duced, as they believed that this Convention was our present Constitution it is unjust and unequal, to come together. I am confident that such was but that is no reason why the inequality should the feeling in the southern section of the State. be made greater ; and unless I have very much If this matter is recommitted, as I hope it will miscalculated the proposition of the gentleman be, gentlemen' will have an opportunity to ex. from Lowell, it carries us a step or two beyond amine the practical operation of these systems, the wrong which we are now suffering in that and to offer other propositions to remedy their section of the State, so far as representation is defects. I have a proposition which, in that case, concerned. Permit me to say, in short, that if a I shall wish to submit. I have eliminated it, and fair basis of representation can be adopted, upon drawn it up, but I have no disposition to lay it which you will have your representatives ap- before the Convention, to take its chance with the proximating to equality,--for I do not expect numerous others that have been submitted, upon that it can be entirely equal; that is impossible in a question of amendment. I know what the fate the nature of things,-I shall be content with it, of it would be ; it would stand no chance at all. and will vote for it. But I shall vote against any My proposition, if carried out, would be this—to system which, instead of approximating to equal fix a general basis, and set the maximum of repréity, make it more unjust than the present system sentatives at 320. I confess, that if it had been under our present Constitution.

left to my own judgment, I would not have gone There is one other thing which I wish to say quite so high; but, yielding to what appeared to now, as, perhaps, I shall not have another oppor- be the sense of the Convention, I should put it at tunity. I go against increasing the number of 320, and have the House based upon the qualified the members of the House. I am satisfied, how- voters of the Commonwealth. After basing it ever other gentlemen may feel in regard to that upon the qualified voters, I would have the reprematter, that so far as the southern section of the sentatives elected by districts; and I should have

« ForrigeFortsett »