arrangement was made for your city (and for Pittsburg also, to which it will soon apply), this just, equal, almost perfect system of voting, which I have spoken of to-night, was unknown; it had not then been announced abroad or considered here, and we did what best we could. Now, however, if a change were to be made, I suppose the same current of opinion and of sentiment would have course in this State which has prevailed in New York, where the system of single districts throughout the State for the election of members of the Assembly or lower legislative branch of that State has lost credit. The idea is very generally abandoned by thinking and reflecting men in that State. It is a failure; it has not produced the results which it was supposed would flow from it. Cumulative voting, however, comes in, and it is a principle which is capable of extended application to popular elections, where more than a single officer is to be chosen. It can be applied to the election of Senators and Representatives in the Legislature from your city and from each of the counties of the State, or from districts into which the State might be divided, and you may thus get in the government of your State that fair and equal representation which you ought to claim and which is your due as citizens of a free State.

After some further remarks, Mr. BUCKALEW concluded as follows:

Gentlemen, I have said most of what I proposed to say this evening, so far as points of argument are concerned. I omit some minor points, and I omit filling up the outline of the argument. I have said

what I supposed was most essential. And now, in conclusion, let me say that I appear here to discuss this subject before you for no purpose of idle display or of amusement, but with a proper object; with an idea to its examination and discussion by others; and what I shall desire, and what will repay me a thousandfold for any inconvenience in attending here and any effort in speaking, will be the support of the press and people of Philadelphia to a new, improved, and honorable system of electoral action by which our representative system in this country will be vastly improved, and by which the future of our country will receive an additional guarantee and security which will not fail it hereafter in peace or in war. [Great applause.]

[The foregoing address was delivered before a large and intelligent audience at the request of some gentlemen of Philadelphia, who desired the subject of reformed voting to be presented to the people of that city. Hon. Alexander Cummings presided over the meeting and introduced the speaker with appropriate remarks. The address was reported by D. F. Murphy, the accomplished United States Senate Reporter, and was published in the daily newspapers the following morning.]



MARCH 2, 1869.

Mr. BUCKALEW, from the Select Committee on Representative

Reform, submitted the following

[To accompany bill S. No. 772.]

THE bill referred to the committee, and now reported by them, presents a question which deserves deliberate examination both because it is important and because it is new. It proposes to secure fair and complete representation to every important political interest in the country; to strike an effectual blow at corruption in popular elections; to secure more of harmony and contentment than now exist among the people, and to improve the composition of the popular branch of Congress by facilitating the introduction and continuance of men of ability and merit in that body. That these results may to a great extent be secured by it is, by the friends of the measure, most positively affirmed. If the claim made by them on its behalf be substantially true,

* Congressional Globe, 3d Sess. 40th Cong., Appendix, p. 268. Sen. Com. Report, same sess., No. 271.

or true to any considerable extent, and the plan be capable of convenient application, it will merit strong commendation and prompt adoption.


Representatives being assigned to a State under the constitutional rule of distribution, each elector in the State shall possess as many votes as there are representatives to be chosen. He shall possess his due and equal share of electoral power as a member of the political body or State. Thus far we deal with familiar ideas which have heretofore obtained. It is next proposed that the elector shall exercise his right of suffrage according to his own judgment and discretion, and without compulsion of law. He shall bestow or distribute his votes upon or among candidates with entire freedom, and shall be relieved from that legal constraint to which he has been heretofore subjected. He may select his candidate or candidates anywhere within the limit of his State from among all its qualified citizens, and he may exert his political power upon the general representation of his State instead of the representation of a particular district within it. Here is unquestionably a large and valuable extension of privilege to the citizen, a withdrawal from him of inconvenient and odious restraint, and a more complete application of that principle of self-government upon which our political institutions are founded. And what is material for consideration is, that while all the advantages of a plan of election by general ticket are secured, all its inconveniences and evils are avoided.


Formerly when elections of representatives in Congress were had by general ticket, a great inconvenience resulted which became at last offensive and intolerable. For a political majority in a State, organized as a party, and casting its votes under a majority or plurality rule, secured in ordinary cases the entire representation from the State and the minority were wholly excluded from representation. To avoid this inconvenience and evil which had become general throughout the country, Congress interposed, and by statute required the States to select their representatives by single districts, that is to divide their territory into districts, each of which should elect one member. This contrivance, dictated by Congressional power, ameliorated our electoral system, mitigated the evil of which general complaint had been made, and was an unquestionable advance in the art of government amongst us. But retaining the majority or plurality rule for elections and restricting the power and free action of the elector, it was imperfect in its design and has been unsatisfactory in practice. It has not secured fair representation of political interests, and it has continued in existence in a somewhat mitigated form the evils of the plan of election by general ticket which it superseded. Still, one body of organized electors in a district vote down another; electoral corruption is not effectually checked, and the general result is unfair representation of political interests in the popular house of Congress. Besides, the single district plan has called into existence incon

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