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EARLE - KNOWLTON
- STEVENS – WALKER - ALLEN -- THOMPSON.
be rather inconsistent for him to accept it as an granting them leave, have gone on. That was all
A MEMBER suggested that all the subjects of more rapidly with the business, nothing had been importance had been before the Convention, and accomplished by it, and he believed no good had been discussed to a considerable extent, would be accomplished by the adoption of this and there was, therefore, no nore need of long limit. There was yet important business to come speeches.
before the Convention. The gentleman from Mr. EARLE, of Worcester, said, that so far as Worcester, (Mr. Knowlton,) had referred to an he was personally concerned, he did not care important matter which he had been for some whether the order was adopted or not, but if it time waiting for an opportunity to call up. was adopted, he hoped that members would not So far as the one hour system was concerned, be allowed to go on by general consent, beyond if any gentleman could not say all he wanted to the time allotted to them under the rule. If one say in that time, and it should be the general member was allowed, by general consent, to go wish for him to continue, he saw no objection. on beyond his time, no gentleman would think of He should vote against the adoption of the order.
desired also to speak more than his time. He that the motion would prevail, as the Convention hoped the rule would be rigidly enforced if it ought to adjourn next week, and the adoption of was adopted. And he gave notice that if, should this rule would facilitate such a result. The hour it become one of the rules of the Convention, and rule had worked well, and although in a few any member in future was allowed to go on beyond instances speakers had been allowed to go on his time, he would move to abrogate the rule beyond their hour, yet we had gained a good itself.
deal of time in the long run by its adoption. He Mr. KNOWLTON, of Worcester, said, he hoped, therefore, that the present proposition was as anxious as any member in the Convention would be adopted. to bring this session to a close. He had given a Mr. ALLEN moved the following amendment, practical demonstration of his anxiety in that res- to come in at the end of the resolution :-“Propect, by sitting quietly in his seat ever since the vided the chairman of each Committee of the session first commenced. But there were impor- Convention shall be allowed one hour upon the tant questions upon the table of the Convention, subject of his Report.” which had not been touched. There was one, The question was taken on the amendment, and especially, which he had been waiting a fortnight it was agreed to. for an opportunity to call up, but had not yet The question was then taken on the order as found a chance-a subject which is regarded by a amended, and it was agreed to. portion of the community, and an influential portion too, as one of the most important that can be
Loan of State Credit. brought before the Convention. While, there- The PRESIDENT. The first question before fore, he did not wish that any man should occupy the Convention is upon the motion of Mr. Thompthe time of the Convention for a moment more son, of Charlestown, to reconsider the vote by than necessity required, he desired that the sub- which the resolve concerning the loan of the ject to which he had referred should receive more State credit, was ordered to a second reading. consideration than it could receive in a half hour Mr. THOMPSON, of Charlestown. I have discussion. For that reason, he hoped the order but few words to say in reference to the motion would not be adopted.
I had the honor to submit a few days since. I Mr. STEVENS, of Rehoboth, remarked that deem the question to be too important, involving he had noticed, since the hour rule was adopted, as it does the great interests of the Commonthat when members had spoken to the extent wealth, to be settled by so thin a House as it was of their limit, there was a general cry of “go the day when the amendment was offered to the on," and they had taken it for granted that such original Report, and adopted by the Convention. was the desire of the Convention, and without any I am opposed to that amendment, and desire to formal action upon the part of the Convention submit some reasons why I am thus opposed.
Sir, I am opposed to thus restricting the legisla- up openly and boldly, and assert, in the organic ture in their action upon a matter of so much law, that the credit of the State shall never be interest to the Commonwealth. What has been loaned, than to attempt to prohibit it by such an the experience of the State in relation to the indirect measure as this amendment would pracaction heretofore taken by the legislature upon tically carry out. Sir, I am in favor, in all cases, this subject of loaning the credit of the State ? of doing things openly and boldly, and not by Has it not been promotive of her best interests ? any covert means, or the introduction of amend. I believe no one will deny that it has, at least no ments which may have some plausibility in them, member has as yet denied it. Has it not done but which, when they come to be applied practimore to develop the mineral and other resources cally, amount to a prohibition, as much as if exof the Commonwealth, to build up villages and plicit words to that effect had been used in the increase the taxable property of the State on the Constitution. I wish that the legislature may lines of the several roads to which the loans have stand, in reference to this matter, as they have been made, than any other cause? And I would stood heretofore; and, as I before remarked in ask, has the Commonwealth suffered any loss, or relation to the experience of the Commonwealth, is it within the range of probability that she can it does strike me that it is the dictate of wisdom suffer any loss, from the course pursued on this to profit by the experience of the past. Genermatter? I believe no one will for a moment pre- ally, in business matters, the lessons of experience tend that she has, or that she can.
are the most advantageous and profitable; and I rations to whom smaller loans have been made by think we need not fear any loss by following the the State, have been prepared to reimburse to the experience of the past in this matter, and allow State, and if I am correctly informed, have offered every case that comes up to be judged of or acted to redeem the whole, or a large portion of that upon in reference to its merits. There may be, loaned to them, but the Commonwealth declined and I have no doubt there will be, cases come up taking it. How stands the matter with reference when the interests of the Commonwealth may be to the other great corporation about which so promoted to as great an extent as they have been much has been said here, and to which the loan in times past; but if we allow this amendment to of four millions of dollars was made. The Com- remain as the action of this Convention, however monwealth holds stock of that corporation to great may be the necessity, and however much the the whole amount of the loan, besides having a interests of the Commonwealth might be propreference over the whole stock held by individu- moted by carrying out or adopting the same als in that corporation, which is now worth policy which has been heretofore pursued, the about par, and has been within a short time above gates are entirely closed against the adoption of par, and could have been sold in the market at a any such policy. I hope, therefore, that the reprofit of over $50,000. It may be asked, why strictive amendment will be rejected, upon farther was not that done: I believe a good and suffi- consideration, and that we shall trust the servants cient answer to that is, it was for the interest of of the people to legislate upon this subject as they the Commonwealth to allow it to remain, for the have in times past, believing, as I do most fully, reason that the State was receiving from that that the interests of the Commonwealth will be stock seven or eight per cent. interest, and she guarded and protected, and that we may expect a could not have obtained over five per cent. upon promotion of our true interests, instead of any the money derived from the sale thereof; hence, loss which may accrue from such a course. as a business transaction, I say it was a wise and Mr. GRISWOLD, for Erving. I have been judicious course for the executive to refuse to desirous, at some stage of the proceedings, to make sell the stock, or take any portion of the money. a few remarks in relation to this matter, and I
We are told these loans were an experiment. will now occupy but a few minutes of the time Admit they were; but does the success of an of the Convention. It seems to me that some experiment furnish any argument why it should false issues have been raised in the course of this not be repeated? I think not.
discussion. In the first place, the proposition The amendment which was adopted, I conceive which has been adopted by the Convention, and to be one that amounts to an entire prohibition of which it is now proposed to reconsider, will have loaning the credit of the State, under all or any the effect of putting it out of the power of the circumstances. What is it, and what does it re- legislature hereafter to make a loan in any case; quire? A vote of two-thirds of both branches of because, if you make a restriction that it shall the legislature—a greater vote than is required to require a vote of two-thirds of each branch of the amend the Constitution. I think, Sir, it would legislature, any gentleman can see that it is equivbe more to the credit of the Convention, to come alent to shutting down the gate altogether. I Friday,]
have taken the trouble to go back and examine | wealth. I have taken the trouble, in order to put the yeas and nays upon the loans which have this question at rest, to examine this matter mybeen made heretofore, and I find that where they self, and I have a letter also before me from the were taken in the IIouse, in no one instance-I auditor of the Commonwealth, who of course is have only examined those in relation to the West- perfectly familiar with this whole subject, in ern Railroad-did one of these loans pass by a which he says that there is no probability that vote of two-thirds of the members present. If the State will ever lose the first dollar by it. you require a vote of two-thirds of all elected, it Every one of these lines is perfectly secure; the is nearly absolutely certain that no loan hereafter interest has been promptly paid whenever it was can be passed by the legislature, so that the ques- due, and the principal itself is sufficiently secured tion before this Convention is, whether you will in future, and two of the roads have paid up the do as you have done in times past, and leave it to loans. If this be so, what is the reason for incorthe legislature to settle these matters upon their porating into the Constitution a provision such merits, or whether you will put an absolute pro- as this, when the legislature has hitherto been a hibition into the Constitution. That is the prac- wise and safe depository of this power. Why, tical effect of the proposition which we now pro- gentlemen say, because other States have run foolpose to reconsider. I am not a little surprised at ishly into debt. This reminds me of a person in the course which this question has taken. Who health sending for a physician. The physician supposed, when this Convention was called, that calls, and he tells his patient that he is not sick, the proposition would be seriously entertained and that he has no need of a physician ; but the here of incorporating a provision in your Consti- individual says, My neighbor is sick, and I shall tution which should forever after tie up the hands certainly be sick, and I must take some medicine; of the legislature, and put it out of their power to and thus, against the protestations of the physienter upon and maintain such a policy, however cian, he concludes to take medicine and thus degreat the emergency might be for a different stroys his health, when, if he had let it alone, he course of policy. This is a new proposition. It would have been quite well. The fact that other was not entertained by gentlemen who first advo- States, upon this subject of granting loans, have cated the proposition for calling this Convention. run into experiments, is no argument for MassaI think that our true policy requires that we chusetts. should make such changes, and such only, in the Allow me to say a single word in relation to Constitution as are clearly warranted and de- the matter of our farms being mortgaged. I do manded by the public sentiment of the Common- not know that I should have said anything upon wealth. I think it would be a short-sighted and this point, had it not been that an appeal was dangerous policy for this Convention to enter made to the Democratic portion of this Convenupon experiments and incorporate into the Consti- tion. I know very well that at one time there tution a provision in regard to which no great was a great cry in this Commonwealth that our feeling was entertained-a provision which, per- farms were all mortgaged in consequence of loans haps, in its results, might endanger the whole to the Western Railroad. I am free to confess Constitution. I say then, as a matter of expedi- that I joined in that cry myself; and it was one ency, let us confine ourselves in our action here of those things which the party with which I was to those changes which the public clearly de- associated used for political capital for several mands, and upon which there cannot be that years. I was honest in the sentiments I then endiversity of sentiment which must exist in regard tertained, that our farms were mortgaged, and to the question now before us. In the first place, that these loans were not safe ; but a most careis there any necessity, any exigency for incorpo- ful examination of the whole matter, together rating such a provision into the Constitution: I with the experience of eight or ten years, has do not now raise the question as to the expediency convinced me--and I am equally honest in sayor propriety of granting loans by the State at all; | ing now what I know to be true—that there is but is there anything in the past experience of no incumbrance whatever upon our farms in this Massachusetts which requires that any such pro- respect, but on the other hand, there can be no vision should be incorporated into the Constitu- doubt that the real and personal property of Mastion: None whatever. Massachusetts has loaned sachusetts has been advanced in value by these her credit to seven different railroad corporations. | loans, many millions. Almost every portion of the Commonwealth has Why, Sir, I speak from the book in relation to received the benefit of the resources of the Com- this matter, for I have been now nearly four years monwealth in this respect, and every one of these in the direction of the Western Railroad, as one loans has been perfectly safe to the Common- of the State Directors. Will gentlemen just look Friday,]
for one moment at the position of the Common- Mr. HOPKINSON. I think it is not more wealth of Massachusetts in relation to the Western than about three and a half per cent. since the Railroad. That road, in round numbers, cost stock was paid. $10,000,000 ; $5,000,000 of which is represented Mr. GRISWOLD. I presume that may be so. by capital stock, $4,000,000 of which is owned by Mr. HOPKINSON. Does the gentleman say private stockholders, and $1,000,000 by the State. that the double track was built out of the income The other $5,000,000 is represented by scrip; of the road $4,000,000 of which is State scrip, or sterling Mr. GRISWOLD. I suppose it was not. I bonds, and $1,000,000 of which is scrip of the am only stating general facts in relation to the city of Albany. Two sinking funds are provided, road. What I say is this,-and you will not rely one for each amount of scrip. These funds are on my authority, if you will look through the instituted by the premium on the sale of the scrip, | Auditor's Reports of the last few years, you will one per cent. which the Western Railroad is see the same facts stated there,—that you will obliged by law to pay, annually, into each fund, find that in 1870, these five millions of scrip will and the annual increase of the funds by interest. be nearly or quite paid off. Then how will the
Since the opening of the road from end to end, Western Railroad stand? Why, the entire income that is, since about 1844, the Western Railroad of that road will be applied upon the five milhas paid the interest on this five millions of scrip, lions of stock, one million of which the State owns. has paid one per cent. annually into each of the Now the interest which the Western Railroad sinking funds; has built a second track from pays annually on the $5,000,000 of scrip, and the Worcester to Springfield; has greatly improved one per cent. which it pay sinto the sinking funds, its baggage and passenger cars ; has built new, will then be divided upon the five millions of large and commodious depot buildings and freight stock, in addition to the eight per cent. which we houses along its whole line; has paid an annual now divide annually, making fifteen cents on the loss of from five to $8,000 on the guaranty on dollar, which they will divide after about 1870, the Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad; has upon the five millions of stock. So that, instead paid its president a salary of $5,000 annually, and of the State's ever losing a dollar from the other officers and agents in proportion, has suf- Western Railroad, if we can believe in the future, fered a defalcation which shocked the whole finan- she will double the value of her million dollars cial community, resulting in a loss of from $50,- of stock which she now owns. Every dollar will 000 to $75,000; has a contingent fund of over be worth double its par value. The auditor has $100,000, and during this period has paid upon reached the same conclusions in his reports for the five millions of stock a semi-annual dividend the last few years. of four per cent.
Now what incumbrance is that upon the farms Now, what is the state of this matter? The in Massachusetts ? It is the same incumbrance sinking fund of the Western Railroad loan is now which the issue of scrip in the city of Boston, nearly $800,000; the sinking fund of the Albany for obtaining Cochituate water is, or, rather it is loan is more than $350,000. The sterling bonds, not half as bad, for I understand that the inthe scrip issued by the State, is payable in thirty come from the water does not pay the interest on years from the time it was issued, and of course the scrip issued for obtaining this water. But about 1870, and the Albany scrip is payable, I the introduction of this water, at the expense of believe, about the same time. If you will go more than five million dollars of scrip of the city down to the auditor's room and see him, (he of Boston, has advanced the value of the real having made the calculations,) he will tell you estate in this city, and why? Because the benethat if the Western Railroad continues as it has fits, present and prospective, arising from the for the last few years, it is absolutely certain that Cochituate water, are greater than the interest on in 1870 it will be nearly or quite able to meet the the five millions or more of scrip which they $4,000,000 scrip, the sterling bonds, and the have issued to bring that water into the city of $1,000,000 Albany scrip. Then what have you ? Boston. It is just so in the matter of the State You will have
scrip, only it is a much better case. I am willing Mr. HOPKINSON, of Boston. I wish to ask to stand upon the facts in the case, and I dislike the gentleman for Erving, a question. I wish to to have gentlemen take us back to the old issue know if the Western Railroad Company has paid upon the subject of having our farms mortgaged. four per cent. annually from the time the stock I know very well that the party with which I was paid in.
was connected, thought, at that time, the loans Mr. GRISWOLD. I said from about the time would be unsafe, and I dare say, if I had been a the road was completed, which was in 1844 or 1845. | member of the legislature at that time, I should Friday,]
have voted against them myself. But all experi- | propriety of changing their Constitution, so that ence has shown us that the loans are safe, and a system of internal improvements could be carthat the State, so far from losing anything, will ried on by the general government, so powerfully make a half a million or a million of dollars, if were these great men impressed with the necessity she holds her stock till 1870.
of internal improvements, and with the belief that But the great point in this question, is this. the Constitution did not permit them to be made Will you leave this matter to the legislature, or by the general government, except to a limited will you submit it to the people, or require a extent. And several of them strongly recomtwo-thirds vote? The question of submitting it mended that, so long as it could not be done by to the people, I think, is now out of the case ; the general government with the United States that has been decided shall not be done. It seems Constitution unamended, it should be done by to me that as this policy has worked well hereto- the States themselves, which would better unfore, as the State has incurred no risk, as the derstand the wants of each locality. I do not State is in no possible danger from any loan wish to advise to enter upon any rash experiments. hitherto made, it is the part of wisdom and good I would not grant a loan in every case, but I policy to leave it where we find it. It will be would leave that power with the legislature; so soon enough to put in a constitutional provision that whenever there is a necessity, and wherever upon the subject, whenever the State is in danger there is a great public exigency, and the loan can in this respect.
be safely made, I would make it, at least. I I will say that, as something has been said in would leave it to the legislature, which is the relation to the Hoosac Tunnet, that is not the proper body to settle that question. Shall we issue before this Convention. It is not properly sit here to forge chains and shackles and sepulraised in this connection. The question is, whether chres, I may say, for the industry of Massachuwe will trust the legislature, who are the proper settsFor one, I will not do it. judges, and before whom the facts in one case I have not time, but I should like if I had a and another can be presented, so that they will few moments, and if I had the ability, to set forth be able to understand them. The question is, the advantages which have accrued to Massachunot as to this measure or that measure; and I setts, to Boston, and to every part of the State, from am not to be drawn into a controversy on such the great railroad enterprises which were aided, to an issue, for I am unwilling to tie up my hands a very great extent, by the credit of the Commonin that manner. Other counties, the county of wealth, many of which would, probably, not Bristol, the county of Plymouth, the county of have been built without that aid. And this aid Barnstable, the county of Essex, and even the has been granted, too, without the Commonwealth county of Suffolk, may need this aid. The time being in danger of losing the first mill, and by may come when it will be an object of immense simply endorsing this paper. I would like, if I importance that a loan should be nade by the had time, to set forth in my poor way, some State, for an object in one or the other of these advantages which have accrued to the people of counties, which every-body will agree is impor- this Commonwealth from these loans, or from the tant and safe. Now will you put a provision railroads to which they were loaned. Sir, standinto this Constitution which will tie forever the ing here, we seem to underrate the great advanhands of the legislature, when you might as well tages to the farmers, the mechanics, to the manuleave it as it has been left in the past, to the dis- facturers, to the mercantile interests, and to all cretion of the legislature, which has acted wisely the industrial pursuits in Massachusetts, accruing and safely heretofore ?
directly and immediately from the construction of I wish to say a single word farther. I dislike these railroads. Look over the valuation of 1850; to allude to matters that concern party, and I look at Pittsfield, and Springfield, and Worcester, rarely or never do it in debate. But an appeal and Boston, and Lowell, and Fitchburg, and all has been made, evidently with a design to influ- the main points where these great railroads pass, ence some gentlemen with whom I am politically and look at the millions and millions of increase connected, or the party with which I am asso- of property. It is a direct and immediate result, ciated. Now, allow me to say, it has always been to a very great extent, of the construction of these a Democratic doctrine in this country, so far as I roads. Sir, when the policy of Massachusetts has understand it, to favor internal improvements ; resulted in such beneficence and advantage to and every Democratic president, from Jefferson the State, I am surprised that there is any man down to president Pierce, has done it. Jefferson, of any party who will come up here and seriously Madison, Monroe, Jackson, and Polk, each in propose to shut down the gate entirely, and put urn, suggested to the people of this country, the it out of the power of the legislature, even in the