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DANA - KEYES.
to revive the dead Whig party. I did not know witness that I do it in reply-to charges made, that he attributed to me the power of working that gentlemen are governed by party motives. I miracles before; but it is quite true, that with wish to show that those motives are too unsound the countenance of the gentlemen for Berlin, for any to be governed by. No man can tell who (Mr. Boutwell,) the gentleman from Springfield, will be in the plurality here next November, and (Mr. Beach,) and the gentleman from Lowell, certainly not, a year from next November ; be(Mr. Butler,) the gentleman for Otis, (Mr. Sum- cause as the parties are now constituted, it is hard ner,) the gentleman from Charlestown, (Mr. Froth- to say what a day, and much more what a year, ingham,) and some others, I did try to revive the will bring forth ; and in settling these great conWhig party, if the plurality will revive it. Istitutional questions we are not far-seeing enough, wish that when a majority cannot be obtained, and I trust we are too honest, to be governed by and we cannot have a second trial, to say that speculations upon the future state of parties. I the people shall elect by a plurality.
believe the plurality principle is a political necesIt has been said by some Whig gentlemen, that sity. I think the resolve of this Committee shows the purpose of that first resolution is to enable it to be so; for this Committee have abandoned certain parties to govern the State; and by other the majority principle, let me say it again, in gentlemen-the gentleman for Abington among everything but the towns; and the only question others—that those who favor the plurality prin- now, is between the legislature and the people. ciple, do it to enable another party to govern the That is the only question; and it seems to me, that State. Now, I wish to put the question to my in a question like that, the principle is clear; and, Democratic friends whether they have so little as for party success, we must trust to Providence faith in their principles, so little confidence in for that. their star, as to sit down in despondency, in the Mr. KEYES, for Abington. The gentleman belief that the Whig party is always to be the for Manchester, says I have paid him two or three popular party in this Commonwealth ; whether, compliments. If I have, certainly they were with a popular New England man president, who given in sincerity. I do not know but I ought to had a majority of the voters of Boston in his balance the account, and say something on the favor, with the prestige of almost unbroken suc- other side. At any rate, after the long contest cess on their side throughout the Union, they had the other day, when there was a full house ; will sit down in despondency in the belief that when we talked about ending debate on this subthe Whig party is always to be in the ascendant ject; when we took it up, item by item, and here? I wish to put the question to the gentle- discussed it thoroughly and understood every part man for Abington, who is a member of an “un- of it, and voted in detail on the whole of it; I healthy organization,”—and better be unhealthy supposed that ended the whole matter, if anything than be dead, for while there is life there is hope, ever can end a matter in this House. Unless -whether the party to which we belong has so there is a limit somewhere, how shall we know little faith in its principles as to believe that we when we are beaten, and when victorious; where are never to prevail ; whether, with principles is to be the end ? It has been said of some of our which both the other parties have recognized as brave and popular generals that they never knew true, within ten years; and with principles which when they were beaten ; and it seems the gentlealmost all the leading public men in this State man for Manchester is in the same category, after have recognized within ten years, at some time or the contest the other day, when we made a fair other, to be true; whether, with principles in fight and the Report was victorious; that ought to support of which he can point to resolutions have been the end of the debate. If, therefore, passed unanimously, or nearly unanimously, by anybody under the circumstances should be perthe legislature of this State, within ten years ; hemitted to introduce amendments, it should not be will sit down in despondency, and make his the enemies, but the friends of the Report. I legislation in the belief that his party will never have no sympathy with persons who attempt to be the dominant party? I would ask him whether amend and prepare for the people articles which the necessity of having more votes than both the they utterly oppose from beginning to end, and great national parties together, has not been a which they mean to oppose forever. That is not discouraging fact in our history? Whether it the way; it is not natural that they should care has not operated so, and whether, under the plu- anything about the condition of this bantling, rality rule, it would not operate otherwise ? only to try to have it go forth in the most monstrous
But, I ask pardon of the Convention for sug- shape that it can. gesting any considerations like these. I do it in Now, Sir, the gentleman for Manchester is reply—and I wish the Convention to bear me the last whom I should suspect of improper Friday,]
KEYES - DANA — BIRD.
motives; and I have no wish to arraign the motives I know that the effect of the plurality system is to of anybody, for we cannot see the heart; but it is degrade, to demoralize, and dishonor any people, a little strange that he should be so anxious for or any government, where it is adopted. I say the adoption of a system so utterly opposed all that this change which is proposed, is one of the the sentiments of his whole life—a system which, most radical character; and it was so considered if it should prevail, would break down the old by the united Whig party two years ago; and landmarks of the Constitution and utterly revolu- their change, in this respect, has neither been by tionize the government. Sir, if this policy should reason, or common sense, or justice. It has been be adopted, it would be absurd to call this a repub- for a purpose—I do not charge anybody with imlican government—there is no such definition of proper motives, or with any motives at all—as I the word in any of the dictionaries, Latin, Greek, said before, I do not profess to look at the heart; French, or Sanscrit. I trust that if this Convention the motives may have been good, or they may has arrived at the period when it can justify itself in have been bad ; I do not care what they were, I limiting speeches to fifteen minutes, it can assume only look at the surface of things; but I know, and authority in other respects. Although originally every man here knows, that there are Democrats opposed to the previous question, still, I regard in Massachusetts who have done nothing else but this as a matter which has been fully discussed work in aid of the Whig party; they want to and settled by the Convention; and the only at- keep the Democratic party conveniently small, so tempts which are now made to make a change, that they, and their friends may absorb all the are by its bitterest enemies in all respects; and, spoils which fall to the State. But men who call therefore, I think the time has now come to put themselves Democrats, vote upon the other side ; the screws on.
that particular class of men to which he alluded, Mr. DANA. If the gentleman will allow me, and some of whom he pointed out, are, at heart, I would like to ask him one question. He says in favor of this, and yet have voted all the time that if we adopt the plurality rule instead of the in aid of the Whig party. Now, I do not wish majority rule, there is no republicanism. I want to act in such company, however distinguished to ask him what remains of the majority rule in the men may be. I do not suppose that any genthat Report?
tleman can find himself in such company on the Mr. KEYES. I am perfectly content to say, ground of reason, or common sense, or conscience. nothing remains; but then, if he thinks that this I beg to be understood that I charge no improper is all plurality, why does he not vote for it? If motives upon any one upon this floor; but the it is all plurality, what more does he want? grand argument which I would now impress upon These plurality men are not satisfied with that; the minds of this Convention is, that this thing has but if his argument is good for anything, they are been discussed over and over again, and it is time entirely unjustifiable in making any objection to that the discussion was brought to a close. I hope, it at all. It is said that we have surrendered therefore, that we shall take up the items one by nothing to that side ; but, Sir, it seems to the gen- one, and if it be possible to gain a victory upon tleman for Manchester, that we have surrendered this Report, that we shall stand by it under all the whole. I am glad that he has reminded me circumstances. of that point, for I had nearly forgotten it, al- Mr. BIRD, of Walpole. Mr. President: I though I took a note of it at the time. Mr. Presi- move to amend the Report by striking out the dent, we have surrendered almost everything, and third resolution, and substituting in lieu thereof yet they are not satisfied unless they get more the following :than the lion's share, Now, I ask him again, if
Resolved, That it is expedient so to amend the this is a good plurality system, why is he not Constitution as to provide that a majority of the satisfied with it? What does he want more? votes shall be necessary for the election of repreWhat he seems to desire is a mere forma'sty, and sentatives to the general court, until otherwise he ought to be willing to submit to a fair com
provided by law. promise, for the harmony of the Convention, I offer this amendment, Mr. President, prinwhich is almost equally divided on the subject. cipally because something of the kind is necesNow, I am strongly in favor of the majority sys- sary, in order to make this proposition at all of the tem; and, Sir, we have the gentleman's own character of a compromise. A great deal has been arguments in reference to all other subjects, in said about compromise in this resolution ; for one, its favor; the history and experience of this I must say, in relation to that, that I do not see country is in its favor; the history of every much of a compromise in it; and I never could country that is not disgraced and dishonored, is in give my support to such a resolution as this upon its favor. Sir, if I know anything about politics, the ground that it was a compromise.
BIRD - Gooch.
I do not know as anybody has told us, in the willing then to yield, and give that up too. I course of this debate, what the compromise con- say that this is what I consider a fair compromise. sisted in. It has been intimated, that it was a We give you all the State officers, councillors, compromise which was concocted in an eating- senators, judges of probate, county commissionhouse, or that some arrangements was made there ers and commissioners of insolvency, and all which foreshadowed the final result here. All county and district officers; and, all that we ask, that I have to say in relation to that matter, is, is simply the concession that we may retain the that I know of no such arrangements, and, least majority system for the election of representatives of all, in connection with this matter. The to the general court. charge, that the order of business here is the re- I should have been glad to have adopted the sult of caucus arrangements, is far from compli- rule indicated by my friend from Melrose, (Mr. mentary to the majority; for, if such arrange- Gooch,) the other day; and that is, that in the ments are made, nobody adheres to them. election of the law-making power, a majority
I do not regard these resolutions as being any vote should be required in all cases; but, in the compromise at all, as they give absolutely noth- election of administrative officers, who were not ing to the friends of the majority system. They to make laws, but merely to administer them, the provide that the governor and other State officers plurality system should be adopted. I considered shall be chosen by a majority at the first hallot; that as a very good rule, and a fair compromise, but that if there is not a majority at this popular that the governor, lieutenant-governor, senators, election, then they are to be chosen by the legis- and representatives—for I do not care much which lature. In the present state of parties in this rule you apply to the secretary, treasurer, audiState, these six State officers will not be chosen tor, and attorney-general, whether they are chosen by a majority of the popular vote at the first by plurality or not-should have been chosen by election. This gives us nothing at all; because the majority system; but I am willing to concede then the election is given to the legislature. The even more than that. I am not willing, however, county and district officers are all to be elected by to go farther than the amendment which I have a plurality; and the representatives to the general now submitted, indicates. Until the people shall court are to be chosen by a majority at the first decide that the plurality rule shall be adopted, I trial, and the plurality system at the second ; and am unwilling to yield the majority principle. I this is what they call a concession to the friends want to hold on to that, to the extent that we of the majority system! Sir, it is no concession shall at least have one branch of the legislatureat all. Every-body knows that it is a fact, that one branch of the law-making power, which is the election of representatives in a majority of to choose the governor under certain circumtowns, is not ordinarily made at the first ballot. stances-elected by the majority principle. I do not say that it is not made on the first day, But I will not go into this matter at length. If but not at the first ballot. Now as a party man, gentlemen are not disposed to yield us this one if I am going to have the plurality system at all, point-of applying the majority principle to our I want to have it at the first ballot rather than representatives—I do not suppose they can be the second. I do not want any second trial by argued into it by anything which I can say. I plurality for representatives to the general court. will add, however, that if we cannot secure this
But I do not look at this matter in a party recognition of the majority principle in the Conlight at all. I want to establish in our Consti- stitution on this one point, rather than to go for tution, some sort of recognition of the majority the Report as it stands now, I would go for the principle; and, unless we adopt the amendment plurality rule clean through from top to bottom. which I have proposed, I think we shall not have Rather than accept the proposition of the gentleit. Although I should prefer, personally, that man for Manchester, I would give up entirely, the majority rule should apply to a larger num- and let the plurality principle be applied to everyber of officers than even this amendment will thing. This amendment, which I have offered, include, still I am willing to go with our friends is submitted in a spirit of compromise, and I am who are in favor of the plurality rule, as a mat- willing to go more than half way for the sake of ter of compromise. I ask nothing unreasonable harmony; but, if we cannot agree upon a fair in this compromise; but simply that you will compromise, in God's name let us at least have a give us a chance to elect our representatives to principle, or something that looks like a uniform the general court by the majority system ; and, rule, to stand upon. if afterwards, the people, through the legislature, Mr. GOOCH, of Melrose. I wish to submit shall decide that it is better to apply the plurality an amendment to the amendment proposed by rule to the election of representatives, I will be the gentleman from Walpole ; and with the addi
GOOCH — HOOPER.
tion which I propose, I shall be in favor of his Sir, if a change takes place, it obtains the sanction, amendment. I move to add, at the end of the not of one legislature merely, but of two succesamendment, the following proviso :
sive legislatures ; and the sanction also of the Provided, that no law on this subject shall take people, because the members of the second legiseffect until two years after its passage.
lature will be chosen, knowing that the matter
might be altered or changed by the subsequent Mr. DENTON, of Chelsea. I rise to a ques- legislature; and of course, if the people are option of order. I will inquire if the gentleman for posed to it, they will elect members to the legisManchester did not propose an amendment to the lature who will put the matter right, and leave it resolution, and if the gentleman from Walpole in such a shape as the people desire to have it did not propose an amendment to his amendment: stand. I hope the amendment which is presented
The PRESIDENT. The Chair will state, by the gentleman from Walpole, and the amendfor the information of the gentleman, the position ment which I have moved to that amendment, of the question. The delegate for Manchester may both be adopted. moves to amend by striking out the resolution Mr. HOOPER, of Fall River. I moved the and inserting another resolution. The delegate previous question, in the outset, in the hope that from Walpole moves to amend the part to be this Report, as presented here, would satisfy all stricken out, which takes precedence of the motion parties. It is manifest that there is a difference to strike out. The vote must first be taken on of opinion among those who generally act together the amendment proposed by the delegate from in this Convention, and it is necessary that someWalpole, to amend the part which it is proposed thing should be conceded on both sides. I am in to strike out; and the delegate from Melrose favor of the plurality system throughout. I have moves to amend that amendment, which is in been so from the beginning, and I am so still; order.
but I find other gentlemen are opposed to it. Mr. GOOCH. The reason why I propose the There are certain instances in which I am desirous amendment which I have submitted, is this: 1 of having it applied more than in others, because think, that by the adoption of the amendment the convenience and the wishes of my constituproposed by the gentleman from Walpole, to- ents require it. Now, Sir, I am willing to give gether with my amendment, the matter will be up something, a part, to obtain the remainder-I placed where it ought to be, in the hands of the am willing to give up what the Report has given people. It will be placed so that the people shall up—the election of those officers who are to be have control over it. No one legislature can elected by the whole people at large. And I can have entire control over the matter, but it will be the more readily concede this, because the prinput in a position so that if one legislature sees fitciple is in accordance with the one which has to change the present rule to the plurality rule, been suggested by the gentleman for Manchester, and the people see fit to ratify that action, it can (Mr. Dana,) and other gentlemen here--that the be done; and otherwise it cannot be done. I am legislature, or those persons who are to be elected willing to leave the matter in this position. If by the people at large, can exercise those delethe people desire that the majority principle may gated powers as well as, and perhaps better, if be continued for the election of their representa- their doctrine is true, than the people themselves. tives, then, Sir, with this provision, they have He goes for having the governor, who is elected power to accomplish their object whenever they by the people at large, appoint the judges. choose to do so. If they send to the legislature Others contend that this is an election by the men who pass a law making a change to the plu- people. Now, if this be so, why is it not as well rality system, and if that measure is not repealed for the legislature, elected by the people of the by the subsequent legislature, then it goes into State, to elect those officers named in the Report, effect as a law of the Commonwealth, and the to be elected by them in a certain contingency? plurality rule is established. It takes it out of It is a business they have been accustomed to do the hands of any political party, and places in the in part, that is, to elect a secretary, treasurer, and hands of the people; because, if the legislature auditor, and a governor and lieutenant-governor, pass a law changing the majority rule, then, Sir, frequently. Now, I am willing to let the whole the people, if they do not approve of the change, matter rest where the Report of the Committee can send men to the next legislature who will leaves it, and sustain that Report, as the only repeal the law making the change. If the two safe ground on which we can stand, under existamendments are adopted, it requires two years to ing circumstances. carry the law into effect, and another legislature But it is proposed, on the other hand, to change must intervene before it can take effect. Then, the election of representatives and town officers. Friday)
HOOPER — HURLBUT.
That is a point, of all others, which I wish to re- elections by majority from complete and perpettain. It is the one in which my constituents feel ual ruin. the most interest. There I wish to have the plu- Sir, let us examine the several resolutions in rality system applied. I should prefer to have it their order. The first proposes that the governor in the first instance; but I am willing to concede and lieutenant-governor shall be elected by something even there.
majority ; but, Sir, who does not know that we are Now, this Report is the Report of a Committee to have but one trial, and in case there is no choice which was appointed expressly with the view of of State officers, provision has been made to elect making a compromise report upon this matter. them on this floor. And who does not know, Gentlemen will recollect that one Report that was too, that the people have failed to elect such offibrought in, recommended the plurality system cers in years past, and in all probability will fail throughout. That Report was in part accepted, to do so in years to come? Have the friends of and in part rejected. A Committee was appointed the majority principle anything to expect, then, to draw up a report incorporating the different from such an arrangement ? Certainly not. It views which had been expressed. They—the must then depend upon the manner of choosing Committee-supposed they had done this; and representatives whether your State officers are now I hope that gentlemen will stand upon the elected by majority or plurality. And how is it Report as it is. I am willing to stand upon it, for in regard to county officers? Why, we accede to one; but if this amendment is adopted, I shall the opposition the right to elect on the first ballot, be constrained to vote against that Report as a and by plurality. Now, then, we come to town whole. Let it therefore stand as it is, and I will representation, and how, I ask, do the Committee go for it. I think it is the only safe ground we propose to elect? By plurality, most clearlycan take.
and I appeal to every honest gentleman present, Mr. HURLBUT, of Sudbury. Mr. President: if it be not so. True, they say we may elect by On a former occasion, I expressed my views upon majority, if we can, on the first ballot. Sir, the this subject. Then, I attempted to show that the first ballot is only the bringing forward of candimajority principle was the only true one. My dates; and frequently, perhaps I may say genconvictions are the same to-day. Sir, I am not erally, gentlemen who are to lead off in the seveprepared to stand upon this Report, and for this ral parties are not named till declared by the reason: we are called upon to compromise ; and chair. Then for a second trial, and that is to what does that imply? Why, that two or more decide. The party then which happen to have a parties disagree, and that each shall surrender plurality of voters present, though it be a small something. When this question was under dis- minority in the city or town, must be triumphant. cussion before, so nearly were the Convention Are gentlemen prepared for this. I trust not. balanced between plurality and majority, that Let us not be deceived. If gentlemen intend to neither party were willing to press the matter. go for plurality, let it be done fairly, openly, For this reason, it was, Sir, that a new Commit- manfully. I can understand how gentlemen may tee was appointed, with the understanding that a vote on that principle. I can understand how different proposition should be submitted, recog- they may vote for majority, too, and I can see nizing the two principles ; not that one should with what propriety both parties may meet on a lose all, and the other gain everything; but that common platform of compromise ; but, Sir, I do each should yield to the other-that there should not understand why we should adopt these resobe mutual concession. And now, Sir, what lutions, which acknowledge neither plurality or have they presented us? A plan by which plu- majority, and are wanting in every important rality must elect every department of the govern- particular of a fair and honest compromise. ment. I submit, Sir, that there is no feature of Sir, the Report is without principle. I want a compromise in the whole bill. There is running compromise, or else I want to vote upon princithrough each resolve the cry of “ give, give.” | ple, and only upon principle. I am prepared to Sir, I am prepared to yield one-half, yes, more vote for the amendment of the gentleman from than that, much more, if need be; but I cannot Walpole, because we surrender everything but surrender everything; and I would much prefer town majorities, and if we can secure that to our to remain silent in my seat, did I not believe towns, we have a compromise; not such as in my gentlemen to be deceived in this matter. I humble judgment we had a right to expect, but apprehend, Sir, that the third resolve has quieted the best we shall be likely to obtain, at this late the fears of gentlemen ; that they do not fully stage of the bill. Should that amendment fail, understand its operation. It is for this reason, then I will vote for that of the gentleman for that I rise, to save, if possible, the principle of Manchester, which, in my judgment, is preferable