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tem of representation, and what shall we gain by the plan under which I came to this Convention, a recommitment : It is my most earnest desire to say nothing unless it should become absolutely that no man, who is favorable to this Convention, necessary-to make no set speech if I could help or who is opposed to it, either one or the other, it. I have been willing to sit here day after day, will support this motion.
and week after week, and hear others, and to Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. It seems to me draw what light I could from their experience that I am called for, in some measure, as one of and reflection. I am willing to acknowledge the the members of this Convention from the Old fairness with which the debate has been conColony, to say a few words. I regret very much ducted. I have seen no evidence of a disposition that any particular portion of the State should upon the part of the majority to limit the discushave been brought before the Convention, and sion or to force a vote upon any question conespecially so at this stage of our proceedings, uponnected with this subject. But I do believe that this subject. I regretted the motion made by the the small towns ask too much. I believe the gentleman from New Bedford, (Mr. French,) this people of Massachusetts—the good sense of the morning, and I regretted more that it should people of Massachusetts—is more ready to sanction have been supported by the gentleman from a plan which shall secure equality of representaFreetown, (Mr. Hathaway,) in the manner in tion than they are to see the distinct representawhich he saw fit to press it this morning. I have tion of the towns preserved. But, Sir, if I no sectional interest to represent in this Conven- believed, as many members of this Convention tion. I hold no member responsible for the state- seem to believe, that whatever we do, whether ments of another from the same, nor from a differ- right or wrong, the people are ready to sanction, ent section of the State. And for one, I did not I should have much less respect for the people consider, until called out by the gentleman from than I have now. I do not believe the people are Lowell who has just taken his seat, that another going to follow the dictates of this Convention member from the Old Colony was called upon to
without regard to the measures it recommends. disclaim the threats, for I could consider them But, Sir, as I said before, having, with others, nothing else, announced to the Convention this sat here without saying a word, but willing to morning by the gentleman from Freetown, (Mr. see the Report of the majority of the Committee Hathaway).
perfected as much as possible; willing that the The PRESIDENT. It is hardly in order for friends of that Report should make what amendthe gentleman to use that phrase. The Chairments they should think advisable, from time to understood no threats to have been made.
time, as the discussion continued, rather than Mr. DAVIS. Well, Sir, I am merely repeating drive their friends into opposition to it; having the language of the gentleman who has just taken deemed that the question would soon be taken ; his seat, (Mr. Butler). But, Sir, I will not call having seen that no scheme was to be presented them threats, I only say that to me they had very by the friends of this Report; being satisfied by much that bearing and appearance.
the course of the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. I said that I regretted that the gentleman from Butler,) who has just taken his seat, and from New Bedford felt called upon to make this motion that of the friends of his plan, that there was no to recommit this morning, but after the motion disposition upon their part to force this amendhas been made, after what has been said, and ment through, and not having seen any plan or after the feeling which cannot but have arisen, to scheme presented by which the different parts of a certain extent, in the minds of the members of the State—the different counties of the Statethe Coi ntion, I think it would, perhaps, be could secure anything like equal represe ation well that the motion should now prevail.
in the House of Representatives, it seems not imIt has been asked by the gentleman who last proper to me that this whole subject should be spoke, and by the gentleman who spoke before him, committed to a committee consisting of one from why those who were opposed to the Report of the each county. And without intending to endorse majority of the Committee, and opposed to the or to argue the views which have been presented proposition put forward by the gentleman from by any of the various gentlemen who have spoken Lowell, did not submit another proposition ? upon one side of this question or the other, in Well, Sir, I have to say for one, that I have not support of the country against the town, or town yet been convinced that it is proper, that it is ex- against country, and, without overlooking the pedient, that it is honest, or that it is right to arguments which have been presented to show submit this proposition to the people; but, not- why town representation should exist under our withstanding that opinion, I have sat here in Constitution, or that exact numerical equality is accordance with what I yesterday announced as impossible, and perhaps not desirable, I would
suggest that whatever may be the principles or committee, for this reason, among others. In the policy of gentlemen upon this floor, I do looking at the amendment of the gentleman from believe that this Convention have got to see to it Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) I am unable to comprehend that between the different sections of the State to its full extent precisely what it means, and I there is something like equality of representation, think that it should be recommitted in order to in proportion to the population, preserved. Gen- bring out precisely what the gentleman intends, tlemen must look at this as a principle which so that we may all understand it. It seems to me cannot be left out of consideration, whatever their that the language of the first paragraph is exceedfeelings may be with reference to separate town ingly obscure, so that it appears to be as capable representation. They must look at it as a fact, of one interpretation as of another. Several and as a practical consideration. It is a principle amendments have been adopted, but I do not that still exists, and if the Convention keep it out know really what they are, and for that reason, of sight, in the determination of this question, the among others, I should hope that this subject people will not overlook it.
might be recommitted. Gentlemen say that they But allusion has been made to the county of have sat here day after day, waiting for a plan to Barnstable
be proposed from others as a substitute for this. The PRESIDENT. It is not in order for the What have we seen here: Have we not seen gentleman to discuss that subject.
every individual proposition voted down as it Mr. DAVIS. I merely call the attention of the came in, simply because it was an individual Convention to it as a reason why the subject proposition ? Every man in this Convention may should be recomiritted. I am not arguing any- propose a plan and it will go through the same thing fully. I am only going to state, that under process. It will amount to the same thing. this proposition the county of Barnstable, with The PRESIDENT. It is not in order for the about thirty-three thousand population, is to have gentleman to refer to the proceedings in Comfourteen representatives in a year, while another mittee of the Whole. county, with three thousand less, is to have Mr. HOOPER. I think I am in order-as the twenty representatives. I ask gentlemen of the Chair will see when I come to make the appliConvention whether this is not a fact which peo- cation. ple will look at; and whether they believe that The PRESIDENT. The Chair suggests to the the people of the county of Barnstable or Bristol gentleman that the remark made by him, that the are to be blinded for the next six months. If Convention will vote down any pla 1, is not that be the case, if there is an inequality apparent, strictly in order. I say that it is a reason
Mr. HOOPER. The object of the recommitThe PRESIDENT. The Chair must remind ment of this subject is this. It is not likely that the gentleman that he is not speaking strictly any other plan will be presented which will to the question.
change the views of the Convention. It will be Mr. DAVIS. I say that the reason I have seen that every plan has been voted down, and I given is a sufficient one for submitting this whole have no reason to doubt that this will be the case question to a committee, cousisting of one from with all the individual plans which may be preeach county. I will trouble the Convention with sented. A report made by a special committee no further remarks.
may possibly combine the views of a larger portion Mr. HOOPER, of Fall River. For one I am of the Convention, and that is one reason why I not in favor of the reference to the committee as think this subject should be recommitted. I am proposed by the gentleman who made the motion, exceedingly anxious that some plan should be and before I sit down I shall move to amend that presented upon which we can all act togethermotion. It will be recollected, that on the very some proposition with which I can go home to first day of the session of this Convention, a my constituents and give them good and sufficient similar motion was made to raise a committee reasons why it should be adopted in preference to of one from each county, to which I then ob- the plan already in existence. I should like any jected, and moved an amendment which was not gentleman just to show me what kind of an aradopted, and a committee of one from each county gument I can present in favor of the proposition was adopted by an overwhelming majority. That which the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) set a precedent for committees to be raised here, has presented here, and which I can furnish to and I presume my friend from New Bedford, my constituents as a reason why it should be (Mr. French,) acted in conformity to the prece- adopted in preference to the existing system. I dent established upon that occasion. I am in believe, if gentlemen will suffer this subject to be favor of recommitting this subject to a special recommitted, that a plan may be so combined out Wednesday,]
BATES — GARDNER.
of the various propositions presented here, that it | Convention is as ready to decide upon this quesmay be carried almost unanimously. The gen- tion now, as at any other time. If this project tleman from Charlestown, (Mr. Thompson,) has is right or that one wrong, this Convention is just presented a plan much more just and equal in as competent to settle upon the one which is every respect than that of the gentleman from right, at the present, as at any future time. I Lowell, and I believe, if it can be presented by regret, exceedingly, the course which this debate even a minority of the committee, would com- has taken within the last two hours, as it seems mand the assent of a large portion of the members to be of a strictly sectional character in regard to of this Convention. It is for this reason that I the Old Colony, whether, under the Charter of wish to see this matter recommitted, but I hope, William and Mary she had a certain proportion if recommitted, it may not receive the fate of of her rights or not. This is a question which another matter, which I had the honor of report- may be discussed at some future time. As it ing, and which was recommitted to a committee. regards these intimations that there is to be any I move to amend the proposition so as to refer danger from the Old Colony if this subject is not this subject to a committee of one from each con- recommitted, I can assure the Convention, that gressional district.
no fears need be apprehended upon that subject, Mr. FRENCH, of New Bedford. I accept the and if any difficulty is anticipated from that amendment.
section of our Commonwealth, those apprehenMr. BATES, of Plymouth. Contrary to my sions have no foundation in fact. determination not to address this Convention, I Mr. GARDNER, of Seekonk. The other day, wish to say a word upon this question. For one, when the question of loaning the credit of the I hope that none of these representations with State was before the Convention, my excellent regard to the Old Colony, will have any effect friend on my right, (M. Hooper,) entertained upon this Convention. I assure the Convention one opinion in regard to it, and the gentleman that the Old Colony is a very harmless place, and from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,) precisely an oppothe people there are a peace-loving people, and site opinion. Both of these gentlemen are from there need be no apprehension of danger from the same county as myself, and both of them repthat quarter. In answer to the inquiry of the resent, as they suppose, the views of the people gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) whether of that county, and yet their opinions upon that the representation of the gentleman from Free- question seemed to be entirely different. With town, (Mr. Hathaway,) is a representation of the regard to the question now before the Convenreform members of the Old Colony, I say, tion, I do not know the opinions of my colleagues emphatically, no. I have only a few words to from the county from which I came, any farther say upon this point, and they are strictly to the than they have been expressed by the gentleman question. I will try not to trespass upon the on my right. I presume that they do not wish rule. In the first place, it is proposed to recom- to obtain any advantage which the people have mit this whole question which has been under not in other sections of the Commonwealth. I discussion three weeks, to a committee of one believe that they are a free and liberal minded from each congressional district. How is that people, and the people of Bristol County and the committee to be constituted: By the Chair, Old Colony, in wishing justice done to them, without doubt, and in two or three days we shall would like to see the like justice done to the have that committee appointed. So much time whole Commonwealth. I believe, noth withstandhas been lost. Then the different projects which ing the remarks of the gentleman from Freetown, have been presented here will go to that commit-(Mr. Hathaway,) that the county of Bristol tee, and as many other propositions as individuals would sooner lose a representative from that see fit to present. The result is, that after a de- section of the State, than gain one surreptitiously liberation of some week or two, the committee or improperly from any other section of the State. present a plan to the Convention. What course Therefore, I cannot fully agree with the remarks does the Convention take? The report is ordered which have been made by the gentleman from to be printed, and then it is referred to the Com- Freetown. I do not believe, that generally mittee of the Whole. We then go through the speaking, there can be the feeling manifested same process which has been repeated here for the among the people which the gentleman supposes last three weeks, and each individual case comes there will be, provided this amendment of the up in its turn to be considered, and be adopted or gentleman from Lowell shall be adopted. With rejected. Then we are precisely in the situation regard to this proposition for recommitting this in which we find ourselves at present. I hope subject, I am rather in favor of such recommitthat we shall go on with this matter now. This ment. I support it for the reason which has been Wednesday,]
PHINNEY -- GRISWOLD.
expressed by other gentlemen upon this floor, | Franklin, comes, it seems to me, from members because I have a sort of pet proposition of my representing the large towns and cities of the own to offer. I submitted it the other day, butCommonwealth, and is not entitled to very great it happened to be at a very unfortunate hour, weight, while it has, apparently, for its object, just before the Convention adjourned, and there the uniting the small towns into representative was no time for any gentleman, if so disposed, to districts. look at it all and see if it contained any merits. Mr. President: I am aware that I have not It was voted down instanter. For the sake of confined my remarks strictly to the subject under having that proposition referred to a committee, consideration, which is that of recommitment; I would be in favor of the recommitment of this but I had reason to believe the Convention would subject, if for no other reason. I hope, there- indulge me in a few words, as I have not prefore, that the whole subject may be recommitted viously spoken upon this subject. I have much to a committee; but it seems to me it would be preferred to be a listener to the eloquence of others better to refer it to a committee of one from each and profit by their experience. I shall therefore county, instead of one from each congressional be content, for the most part, with giving a silent district, as proposed by the gentleman from Fall vote upon the great questions which are to be River, (Mr. Hooper).
submitted to the people for their final decision. The PRESIDENT. The gentleman from The PRESIDENT. The Chair must remind New Bedford, (IIr. French,) has accepted the the gentleman that he is not strictly in order, and amendment.
that he should confine his remarks to the quesMr. GARDNER. I think the first proposition tion immediately pending before the Convention. was the best, because the committee would have Mr. PHINNEY. I rose merely to say that I been larger.
was opposed to the recommitment of this subject, Mr. PHINNEY, for Chatham. Mr. Presi- and that I believed the Report, as presented by dent: I rise to oppose the motion of the member the gentleman from Lowell, will meet the views from New Bedford, (Mr. French,) because I of the section of country from which I come. believe it will greatly delay the business of the Mr. GRISWOLD, for Erving. The question Convention to recommit the subject now under immediately before us is, upon the recommitdiscussion to a Special Committee. Should the ment of this subject to a Special Committee. ' motion of the gentleman prevail, some days would Having had the honor to be chairman of the be required by the committee to prepare another Committee to which this subject was referred, I report, and then the whole subject of representa- thought it proper for me to say a word or two at tion, which has been under discussion nearly ten this time. I wish to say here, so far as I am perdays, will be presented anew, and it will be ne- sonally concerned, as a member of that Commitcessary to go over the whole ground again. And tee, or as chairman of that Committee, I am permit me, Mr. President, to say a few words entirely indifferent upon this subject of the recomabout the great solicitude which seems to be felt mitment. I should like to have this matter take by certain members of this Convention for the that course which will develop, by the discusinjustice done to the Old Colony, and more espe- sion here, whether it goes to one committee or cially that portion of it which I have the honor to
the other, the plan which will be most acceptable represent. I see no cause for the alarm manifest
to the people of all portions of the Commonwealth. ed in the plan submitted by the gentleman from I have no other feeling or motive in this matter. Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) and I shall support it, after But is it best to refer this subject to a new combeing slightly modified.
mittee, the original committee, or any commitMy long and intimate acquaintance with the tee. It seems to me that such a course would not citizens of Barnstable County, convinces me that be advisable. The original committee, as is well they are, first, in favor of town representation ; known, had this matter under discussion some and second, that their strong objection to the dis- two or three weeks, the result of which was the trict system would compel me to oppose it as their presentation of the two Reports which have been humble representative, although it has received under discussion here for two or three weeks. If the support of some of the ablest members of this this matter is sent back to a new committee, or Convention. If the system of town representa- any committee, in what situation will it be? tion cannot be agreed upon by a majority of this Why, here are some seventeen propositions which Convention, I hope some system will be adopted have been liberally discussed by this Committee, which will approximate the nearest to it. Very either in Convention or Committee of the Whole. much of the sympathy which has been manifested Now, I undertake to say, that this Convention for Barnstable and Plymouth, in comparison with will never be much better prepared to express Wednesday,]
their judgment upon this matter than they are to- mind. If I supposed this proposition could be day. Not that I am in favor of cutting short any sent back to the Committee, and that it was in debate; not that I am in favor of forcing one pro- the power of fourteen or any number of men in position beyond another; but there must be an this Convention, in a reasonable time, to mature end to this matter somewhere.
a plan which would meet the approbation of this This is a great subject, confessedly the most Convention and of the people, I would go for it difficult one which is to come before this Conven- most heartily. But I apprehend that after any tion, and it must be met by us at some point, in
labors which that Committee may expend upon some manner; and when and where are we to this subject, we shall find ourselves precisely meet it? It is proposed, I suppose, that we shall, where we have been before, and all this matter must at some period during the summer, bring our dis- be gone over with again, and we shall not undercussions to a close and adjourn. Sir, if this sub- stand the subject any better then than we can now. ject goes back to committee, and the various This subject has been narrowed down to a few propositions come before that committee, they simple propositions. In the first place the quesmust either have time to examine and discuss tion is between town representation and the disthese propositions, or they must send in a Report trict system. Is that question settled ? If it is, within one or two days. If they send back a one proposition is laid out of the case. Then the proposition, without taking time to look over only thing left, if the district system is settled and these different plans, and mature the best one out of the case, is, how much can you do for the they can from the whole, what advantage is gain- small towns ? It seems to me that the subject is ed from the committee ? Nothing whatever. If narrowed down to so small a compass that it is that committee are to take these seventeen plans, unnecessary to go back to the committee. I which are now well and clearly understood by started, in the proposition which I had the honor every member of this Convention, and to take to submit, with a plan which I contend is based them up and discuss them, and eliminate from upon principle and on the entire practice of this them some plan which will be acceptable to this State for two hundred years. But my friends Convention, how long will it take? Sir, in that have thought we must adopt the district system committee you cannot prevent speech-making so far as cities are concerned, and that as an and discussion. We could not do it before; and equivalent for this, the small towns must yield in that committee men must be permitted to something, and I suppose we must do it although speak their half hour, or their hour, if they desire I dislike to. Is it necessary to go to a committee it. When are they to do that? Are they to hold for that We are balancing upon a narrow sessions of the committee when the Convention point to-day, and it seems to me that this Convenis in session ? I suppose it cannot be expected tion can meet the question as well to-day as at that they will do that? This Convention sits any other time. I do not know but gentlemen here from nine o'clock in the morning till nearly in this Convention are willing to take the respondark; and is it to be supposed that the commit- sibility of sending this question back to the comtee will sit after the adjournment of the Conven-mittee, which must, I apprehend, result in at tion? Most certainly the committee will not do least two week's delay, if not in breaking up the that. Is this Convention to stop its labors to give Convention altogether. that committee time to mature their plan: And I want to do what is best in the premises ; I even if the committee had full time, it would re- want to do what is nearest right, if I know what quire a week to present a plan, unless you stop that is, and what is nearest equal and fair to all all discussion in that committee.
portions of the Commonwealth.
I may have Then, again, where is the probability that they occasion, when it is in order, hereafter, to make will unite on any plan : You find no two plans some reply to some statements which have been at all alike among those which have been sub- made in reference to the different counties in the mitted here, and your former Commitete could Commonwealth ; but I will not go out of my way not agree on one. The committee must then either to do it now, if I do it at all, as it may be anticibring back a divided report, or this proposition pated by others. which they had before. Then where shall we But it seems to me that as a matter of business, find ourselves ten days hence ? Just where we if we will give ourselves to the consideration of were when this Committee reported, and we shall this matter, we may settle it in Convention in have to commence and go over all this discussion three days as well as to send it to the committee again, and when the last day of July comes round again. There is no charm about a committee. we may find ourselves discussing this question. The trouble is in the question itself, it being the
That is the way the matter presents itself to my most difficult of all questions upon which the