« ForrigeFortsett »
mittee say, would prevent the necessity of having more than one representative to the general court, two elections on two different days once in four shall be divided into as many districts, for the years. And they go into calculations to show the purpose of electing such representatives, as the saving thus made to the voters, and have the sum number to which said town or city is entitled to of $52,027 saved in a single election by this one send-said districts to include an equal number change in the Constitution.' Now, Sir, I am in of inhabitants, as nearly as conveniently may favor of this change."
be." Thus, throughout this long and able speech, the The gentleman for Erving, (Mr. Griswold,) voHon. Mr. Russell put himself, and those for ted for that proposition. Now, I regret that I was whom he spoke, upon grounds clear, distinct and not able to be present the other day, to hear the unequivocal, that they were in favor of distinct and
argument which he then adduced in favor of his important changes, and amendments of the Con- Majority Report. I understand that it was charstitution ; but, Sir, that they preferred to bring acterized by all that ability and elaborate research about those changes by and through the means for which he is so justly distinguished, and I reprovided in the Constitution itself. And some of gret it the more, because I desire to know by them went so far as to entertain doubts whether
what logical reasoning—for I know it could not that was not the only possible way of introducing have been otherwise — after having given his these amendments.
assent to the proposition contained in the bill I The gentleman for Erving, (Mr. Griswold,) have read, he should have arrived at the princiand his friends upon the other side claimed the ples of that Majority Report. right, as inherent in the people, to call a Conven It seems that all that sanctity of town lines, all tion for this purpose, and they maintained the
that importance of these municipalities, all that expediency of so doing, and after repeated trials hallowed influence of these town associations upthe people sanctioned that view.
on which the gentleman dwelt with so much This Convention came together under the beauty, and power, has entirely faded, is all deauthority of an Act thus passed. I, for one, never
stroyed, so far as the cities and large towns are entertained a doubt, from the moment that the concerned. Our friend will acknowledge virtue people, by a small majority though it was, adopted and patriotism to exist nowhere except in the the law, what was the duty of every man in this small towns. Commonwealth : That duty was that he should
But, Sir, the honorable gentleman who reprecoöperate with every other fellow citizen, whether
sents Berlin, (Mr. Boutwell,) has departed from on this floor or elsewhere, in any and every ca the principles of the Majority Report, as I underpacity, in bringing about the most healthy, wise stood from the tenor of his remarks, the other and permanent amendments of the Constitution, day, because he had found it necessary, on acin the way in which the people had decided that
count of the absolute injustice of that system, so they should
far as its application to the small towns is conBut, Sir, we were not alone in some of the views cerned. Justice compels him to group them towe entertained. I understood my learned friend, gether to a certain extent. Now, Sir, by looking the gentleman who here represents Berlin, (Mr. back a little I find that gentleman's views in refBoutwell,) a few days since to say, that although
erence to the large towns. In a communication he was distinctly in favor of town representation which the Constitution of the Commonwealth —and he took his stand with firmness and power made it his duty to make to the legislature of the and eloquence upon that principle—yet he could State in the year 1852, I find the following: not quite adopt the Majority Report. There was manifest injustice in that, in reference to the small “Heretofore the representatives of cities and large towns, and it was impossible for him to go to the
towns have been chosen by a general ticket. This
mode does not seem to be required by the Conextent which his friend for Erving, (Mr. Gris
stitution." wold,) went. There must be some grouping together of small towns. There would be a man Now, I ask the attention of the Convention to ifest inequality and injustice in giving to every what he says about single districts :town, however small, the same power as every other town, however large, having a population “And single districts are more in harmony not to exceed five thousand.
with the general character of our representative In 1851 there was introduced into the Senate of system, whether state or national." Massachusetts a proposition, three or four lines of which settled this question. It was as follows :
Now, Sir, the gentleman will pardon me when
I say that his "Swiss Cantons" are of a little later “Every city and town entitled by law to send | date than we have been led to suppose, for it is
these doctrines which are manifest in the pro the Commonwealth, in its House of Representavisions in the Minority Report, which are breath- tives, shall, for all time to come, be placed in the ing through the whole speech of the gentleman hands of one-third of the people; but when we for Berlin. Now, Sir, what is to become of his complain of that we are charged with inconsistency “Swiss Cantons?” The small towns are grouped because we advocate the doctrine that the majority together and the large towns are divided into of the voters may always elect if they choose, but single districts, "more in harmony with the gen if they do not choose to elect, then that number eral character of our representative system, whether which approaches the nearest to the majority state or national,” as proposed by the minority. shall elect, viz., a plurality. Sir, gentlemen forget
But, Sir, although it appears from the record that if it be inconsistent for us to advocate the that the party to which I belong has heretofore plurality system upon this ground and oppose the been in favor of the plurality system, although in Majority Report upon this subject upon the same 1845 the members of that party in both branches ground, those who advocate the majority principle of the legislature voted for the adoption of that against the plurality principle, and yet who advoprinciple; although the same was true in 1848, cate this Majority Report which puts the power 1849, 1850 and 1851, when it passed both Houses of the Commonwealth into the hands of a minority, almost unanimously, with only three men of all are themselves equally chargeable with inconparties in the Senate voting against it; although sistency. If it be inconsistent for us to advocate we thus stood upon the record, we are charged the plurality principle and oppose this Report, it with inconsistency in regard to this plurality is just as inconsistent for them to advocate the measure here. It is said that while we go for the majority principle and yet support the opposite plurality principle in the elections of the members principle contained in this Majority Report. of the legislature, and in the election of the public Gentlemen seem perfectly willing to convict themofficers of the State, yet we make complaints selves of inconsistency, provided they can also against the Majority Report now before us, upon convict us of the same offence. They are perthe ground that it puts the power of the Com fectly willing to build gallows for themselves monwealth into the hands of a minority of the provided they can draw up with them those whom people. It is said that we advocate the plurality they think oppose them in this matter. Sir, it is principle which is to put the power of electing a stretch of refinement even exceeding that of the our officers into the hands of a minority of the man in the fable who found himself in the stern people and then complain of this Majority Report, of a ship during a storm at sea, while his foe was which is upon the same principle, because it in the prow of the same vessel, and when they places the power of the Commonwealth in the were about being lost, he went up to the captain hands of one-third of the people of the Common and inquired which end of the ship would go wealth.
down first; and when he was satisfied that the Sir, is there no difference between placing a prow would sink first he resigned himself with rule in the Constitution by which a majority may perfect composure, willing to go to the bottom elect their representatives and other public officers since he had been assured that his foe went there if they will, but providing that if they do not before him. But, Sir, these men are willing to choose to elect them a plurality shall elect-I say, go there with their foes, at one and the same mois there no difference between that proposition and another which is to place the organic basis of The gentleman for Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) in your government unconditionally within the charging us with this inconsistency, remarked power of one-third of the people of the Common that he did not care about boasting much as to wealth, for all time to come, whether the majority his past life, but if any body could catch him in acquiesce or not? Sir, this feature was admitted such a scrape they might hold him up. Now, by the gentleman for Berlin, to exist in the Ma- Sir, I do not know as it would be perfectly safe jority Report of the Committee upon this subject, to touch the gentleman for Abington. Perhaps I and it was justified by him upon the ground of had better let him alone ; but as he seemed rather analogy-upon the ground that it could not to court inquiry, rather to invite me to the record, become a part of the organic law of the land I propose to show in what manner that gentleman unless a majority of the people sanctioned it, and in one instance kept himself out of a scrape. that the majority of the people had the right to The bill which was introduced into the legislasay that they would be governed by one-third if ture in 1851, establishing the plurality principle they chose. Now, Sir, it is admitted upon all in some of our elections, passed both branches of sides by the advocates of the majority system, that the legislature, and became the law of the land. it is based upon the principle that the power of But, in 1852, certain gentlemen, whose names are
recorded, in both branches of the legislature, pro- | government at all. I do not hold one man posed to repeal a portion of that law, and to abro- responsible for the doctrines of another who is gate the principle. For that purpose, a member associated with him, whatever they may be ; and of another party from that to which I belong, because there are marked instances of gentlemen intoduced a bill into the Senate of Massachusetts. here who had independence enough to stand out The honorable member for Abington was at that and openly advocate the majority principle, I do time a member of the Senate. He has announced, not think it fair for them to be held responsible upon this floor, that he has always been opposed for the sentiments and principles of almost tł. eir to the plurality principle, and in favor of the entire party. majority principle ; but when that bill came up But, Sir, the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. for its final passage in the Senate, the gentle Butler,) came very near committing himself to man for Abington found it convenient to be this very plurality principle. He was present at away from home. The gentleman succeeded in a convention which nominated the candidates of being absent - we sometimes call it dodging, his party for governor last year, was made chairdodging a scrape. Well, Sir, the eel has a con man of a committee for the purpose of drafting stitutional capacity for dodging a scrape, but he and submitting to the convention an address and seldom goes his way and boasts of it.
resolutions. Well, Sir, the gentleman reported But, Sir, the gentleman from Lowell, a few his resolutions indicative of the principles upon days since remarked, that if he had signed that which the canvass was to be based, and they were report, out of which grew this Constitutional exceedingly well calculated for the party upon Convention, as his learned friend for Erving, (Mr. | whom they were designed to operate, but he Griswold,) did, he should have been compelled, begged that he might have further time to prepare for the sake of consistency, to have made a speech his address. In due time the address made its in favor of the plurality principle, as the gentle appearance. It was not signed by the gentleman man for Erving did, or to have said nothing- from Lowell, and I do not know that he wrote it, indicating, as I understood him, that after the but I know that it came in answer to a request gentleman for Erving had signed that report it upon his part, which was granted by the conwould have been inconsistent for him to have vention. advocated the majority system. But, Sir, was Well, Sir, in that address the plurality system the gentleman for Erving the only man who com is claimed as “an essential democratic measure.” mitted himself by signing that report ? Every It says the plurality system has always been a gentleman, from all quarters of the Common- leading feature in the democratic policy. I have wealth, in both branches of the legislature, who not that ess pre me, but I recollect that recorded their names in favor of the adoption of the substance of it was that the plurality principle that report were as much committed in favor of
was essentially the democratic principle, and it the plurality principle as the gentleman for also said that this principle was to be made the Erving. I submit, that if it was inconsistent to issue in the last fall's election. It went on to say turn round and advocate the majority system, that if they triumphed, the plurality principle after having taken his stand in favor of that of would be retained; but if those who were opposed the plurality, it was just as inconsistent for every to them in politics triumphed the majority prinmember of his party, who voted for that report, ciple would be asserted. So I think the gento abandon that principle, for almost every one of tleman from Lowell will find a great many of them had committed themselves by voting for it his party in the same position of the distinguished in one branch of the legislature or in the other. gentleman who represents Erving. Sir, I do not
Mr. EARLE, of Worcester, (interposing.) If impugn the motives which have actuated that the gentleman from Adams will look at the record gentleman in his conduct in this Convention. I I think he will find that he is laboring under a bring no railing accusation against him or against mistake when he says that all the members of the any man. But, Sir, I submit, that in political party to which he alludes voted for that report. parties the test of consistency is a rather severe He will find that there were gentlemen associated with that party who defended the majority prin My friend —or rather the gentleman from ciple then as they always had done before, and Lowell, for I have not the pleasure of his acquaintas they do now.
ance—said that he loved consistency. I have no Mr. DAWES, (resuming.) There are always doubt that he does, and I repeat that consistency exceptions to every rule. I do not hold the gen- is a severe test to apply to any political party, for tleman responsible because there are those associ almost all political parties are sometimes placed in ated with him upon this floor who believe in no situations where perfect consistency is a rare
jewel. I do not know that I should like, myself, population of this entire Commonwealth will be to be brought rigidly to the test, but I say if we concentrated in this city, and eleven associate are to be charged with inconsistency we would a cities and towns, there is to be more than a millittle prefer that the charge should be brought by lion of souls in this city alone. And its property somebody else. Whoever is without sin let him and wealth, out of which the gentleman drew so cast the first stone.
many fears and alarms, and arrayed them in favor Mr. BUTLER. “He that is without sin among of the principles of the Majority Report, are to inyou let him cast the first stone." The gentleman crease from two hundred millions, the present is mistaken in his reading.
value, to more than fifty hundred millions of Mr. DAWES. Although I sought not to dollars, upon this basis. Who believes that, in quote the words, I accept the gentleman's correc seventeen years from this time, the city of Lowell tion, and say, well, Sir, if there is any man in the will have 78,000 inhabitants, the city of Worcesparty to which the gentleman belongs in that ter 81,000, the little town of Adams 16,681, and position, let him take the advice. I say to his the then city of Taunton nearly twice its present entire party, "he that is without sin among you population, somewhere about 18,000 ? It was by let him cast the first stone."
this process of reasoning that the gentleman who Now, Sir, asking the pardon of the Convention represents Berlin was enabled to produce here an for this tiresome exposé of the condition of parties argument of great weight and strength, upon a among us, I beg leave, if it be lawful for a humble basis which I think will satisfy any one who will member of the minority on this floor to express look at the question candidly, has no foundation. his views upon pending reforms, to submit a few Who believes that the city of Boston will ever remarks upon the principle involved in the have 377,000 inhabitants ? I repeat that the ratio majority and minority reports before us. And of increase between 1840 and 1850 will never be first, let me inquire what are the difficulties that
seen again in the city of Boston. It was during attend this question ?
that ten years that the great avenues of trade It is admitted, on all hands, and it is demon were opened, that her great arteries of communistrated by the discussion here, that this subject is cation were built anew, and that her system of one of great practical difficulty, as well as practi- Internal Improvements began to assume shape. cal importance. But the difficulties with which It was during these years that the city of Boston it is surrounded arise in the main, from the fact and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts scaled that the population of the State is not distributed the Alps, and went westward. It was during all over it equally, that portions enjoy the bless these ten years that she stretched forth her hand ings and advantages of the city, while other por eastward, and has been enabled to box the comtions enjoy the delights and sweets of the country. pass with railroads turning to every part of the This inequality has been marked as constantly State, all concentrating here, and bringing in a increasing, and it has been dwelt upon with great flood of population and wealth, which have given ability by the distinguished member for Berlin, a stimulus to every branch of industry, and (Mr. Boutwell,) and the future of it has been awakened anew her life. But that ten years will portrayed by him with great force. Upon that not be seen again in the city of Boston. The city future the gentleman has founded most of his ar of New York has opened her Erie Railroad, and gument. That future he drew from the ratio of the State, too, is opening her canals. The city of increase between 1840 and 1850—a ratio of in- Baltimore is building her Baltimore and Ohio crease, permit me to say, the like of which will Railroad. The whole South is met in convention not be seen in this Commonwealth again for half to devise means by which the trade of that storea century. Under that ratio of increase, and house of the wealth of the nation, the great that calculation, the gentleman stated here, that West, shall be diverted from Boston and turned in less than fifty years, more than one-half of the to other points, carrying with it all the incidents entire population of this Commonwealth would which have made Boston what she is to-day; and be in twelve towns and cities. By what sort he who builds an argument, as to the future posiof process does the gentleman make that out? tion of things here in Massachusetts, upon the According to that ratio, in seventeen years from ratio of increase, either in wealth or population, this time, the city of Boston will contain 377,000 between 1840 and 1850, makes a great mistake. inhabitants, more than twice the number she has Why, the present basis of the House of Repregot to-day. Does any body believe that there is sentatires was founded upon the ratio from 1830 to room enough to pack them within the present 1840, and hence the difficulty we now have with limits of the city of Boston? In 1900, the time it. Had that ratio continued between 1840 and when the gentleman finds that one-half of the 1850, the present basis of the House of Repre
sentatives would have answered the expectations, ing made this calculation, produces figures by of its friends. The distinguished gentleman who which he expected, in less than fifty years from represents Bernardston, upon this point gave us this time, a majority of the population of Massaa promise in 1840 of what would be expected of chusetts would reside within these few cities, and it. I do not bring up his report of that year for argued from this state of things that the time the purpose of charging him with inconsistency. would come when Massachusetts would be at the I make no charge of that kind. I produce the mercy of those cities. I did not learn from that report to show that the basis he founded upon gentleman's speech, or from the speeches of any the ratio between 1830 and 1840, has not found member of this Convention, that in the present its realization in the ratio of increase between state of things, any reasonable cause for the accu1840 and 1850. This is his language:
sation exists, that the city of Boston and its asso
ciate cities have undertaken to control legislation “ Considering all these circumstances, your here in Massachusetts. But the complaint was of Committee are of opinion that the plan here the future. All the fears and apprehensions of proposed will be as nearly equal and satisfactory to the people as any that can be devised.”
gentlemen arose from what was to be the state of
things in 1870 and 1900. The wealth of Boston Such was the opinion of the gentleman from
was one element of this concentration of power. Bernardston in 1840. In that opinion joined the Nobody is more astonished than I am at the aggrevenerable father of the honorable member for gate of wealth in Boston. I pay no homage to it; Erving—now gone hence, but, let me say, worthy neither do I fear it. It disarms itself. Is it not to be the father of that worthy member.
based upon diverse and opposite interests : Are Based upon that ratio, the present House of not the manufacturers who have accumulated Representatives was founded. Had that ratio their wealth here, dependent upon the prosperity continued, we should have found no complaint of the manufacturing interest of the country? Is existing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts there not a shipping interest, a commercial interto-day with the present basis, defective as it is in est, a banking interest, a railroad interest, and principle and in its application. I allude to the other important interests here, all forming the report here merely to show that we are upon the source of this great aggregate wealth of Boston, as verge of falling into precisely the same mistake. multiplied and diversified as the sands of the sea We are undertaking to found a system of repre -each holding in check the other, with no comsentation upon what is to be the probable state of mon interest or common policy. From what things here in 1870, seventeen years from to-day, source did all this wealth come, and where does or in 1900, forty-seven years from this time, upon it go! It was brought into Massachusetts from the basis of increase between 1840 and 1850, and the great West, from the islands of the sea. The with no other basis. I say it will be well for us sails of her ships whiten every ocean, and the to inquire into the probable continuance of this luxuries and wealth of nations have contributed to ratio. It would be well for us to see whether we increase and augment her great wealth. There is shall continue to go on, in some portions of the no interest in or out of Massachusetts, that has not State increasing and in other portions waning a representative in Boston. It is as impossible to and decreasing in this wonderful and incredible concentrate that wealth upon any given point, as ratio. Why the town of Nantucket has lost, in a it would be to concentrate all the opposing forces few years, about a thousand of her population, of nature, as they exist in the system in which who have gone to California. You take the basis this earth makes her journey, rendered stable and of increase or decrease, as the case may be, and eternal by the very fact that they are opposing Nantucket, before seventeen years are passed, will forces. In this view of the subject you plant one have lost five or six thousand ; and by what sort
interest here and another there; you may augment of rule are you going to form a basis of the House this and decrease that, but there is a compensating of Representatives upon any calculation like that. principle pervading the whole. But, is the wealth Nobody believes that Nantucket is going to be of Boston hoarded here? It was brought here by depopulated, or that she is going to suffer beyond men who came from the country. It has gone her present limits, to any great extent, in the de back into the country in many instances. There crease of her population. It is because we go are your institutions for the insane, for the blind, upon a mistaken principle that we are led into and for the deaf and dumb, for the reform of the these difficulties, and which would place us in erring, and there is Williams College at the the same predicament with those who formed the fartherest extreme of the State, all rejoicing, living present basis of the House of Representatives. and drawing their life-blood from the wealth of The gentlemen who represents Berlin, after hav Boston. She has given eyes to the blind, ears to