[June 25th,

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is probably the largest deliberative assembly, in sion of opinion. But the town system as preproportion to its population, known to the civil- sented, will provide for so large a House as to ized world. It averages over four hundred, and make it a great evil in my opinion, and the small in valuation years exceeds seven hundred. It towns, as well as the large ones, must be willing has become a by-word in our sister states, and is to sacrifice something to remedy the evil. The usually called a mob. In three of the largest, grade established by the gentleman for Erving, most intelligent and prosperous states in this (Mr. Griswold,) was a little too steep. The obUnion, the population and relative representation stacles could not be surmounted. The proposiare as follows:

tion of the gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,)

modifies the acclivity somewhat, but still the grade New York, Pop. 3,100,000 Reps. 128

is too steep in my judgment. Now, why cannot Pennsylvania,



some middle ground be adoptd? Why will not Ohio,



some gentleman bring in a proposition which will Total, 7,400,000

grade this at the proper angle? Why not raise

the proposed limit to 1,560, where it is now? I While Massachusetts, with a population of one believe that would reconcile more of the conflictmillion, has an average representation of about | ing interests and command a larger vote of the five hundred, or ten times as large as the states people than any proposition which has yet been above-named. Is there any necessity for this brought forward. Although the proposition now Is there anything peculiar in the mannars, cus under consideration may be driven through the toms or wants of the people in this State which House, yet let gentlemen remember that our requires such an army of legislators to control action is not final upon this subject. It seems to them? Perhaps it may be said we are better me impossible in the nature of things, that this governed-have better laws and purer legislation. proposition can ever receive the sanction of the Disparaging remarks have been thrown out here people of Massachusetts. I hope, therefore, before about the legislation of New York, but I think gentlemen make up their minds to support this New York will compare favorably with Massa- plan, that they will give these considerations their chusetts in respect to her laws, legislation, schools, due weight. I am not prepared to offer an amendand public institutions, and public works of every ment myself, but I hope, before the proposition description. Let gentlemen who make these receives its final disposition, an amendment will remarks, travel in that State and examine and be made, raising the grade up from 1,000 to where see whether their remarks are founded in justice. it is now, at 1,560, and then allow the other main

Sir, if there was any one thing among the features of the plan to remain where they are. people whom I represent that was distinctly called Mr. CHURCHILL, of Milton. I do not rise for by this Convention, it was, that your House of to oppose the proposition of the gentleman from Representatives should be reduced in numbers. | Lowell, nor to commit myself explicitly, before I believe that was the sentiment of the people all the close of the argument upon that proposition, over the State, yet here is a proposition to increase either one way or the other. I have been hoping, that House from fifty to one hundred members. like the gentleman who has just taken his seat, Now, I ask gentlemen all around me, whether this (Mr. Waters,) that we should have some propois an improvement upon our present system of sition brought forward which would meet the representation? If we cannot improve the present views of a larger proportion of the members of basis of representation as it now exists, why not the Committee than this will, and of a larger let it alone? Let us allow it to remain where it portion than will any proposition which has yet is. I would suggest to gentlemen who advocate been presented. I had hoped, and I still hope, this proposition, that the people are not to vote that some proposition will be brought forward, upon it in the proportion marked out in this bill, raising the limit to some point which shall secure but all the freemen in the Commonwealth are to the advantages of equal representation to some vote upon it per capita, and I appeal to those gen extent, as the district system proposes to do, and tlemen, to know whether they believe the people at the same time secure to us the advantages of of the Commonwealth will sanction such a town representation. I would preserve the rights measure?

of the small towns, if it can be done without too Now, Sir, we have had two extreme systems flagrant injustice to any other portion of the Combetore us. One called the District system, and monwealth. My opinion is, that the people of the other called the Town system. The former this Commonwealth will never sanction any prowas voted down by a large majority of this Com- position you may send forth to them which bears mittee, and I entirely coincide with that expres- | upon its face the evidence of injustice to any por




(June 25th,

tion of the Commonwealth. The opposition which I believe that there is virtue and intelligence that consideration will give rise to, cannot be com enough in the people to see, although I am not one pensated for by any support you may gain from of those who are perpetually harping upon that the portions of the Commonwealth which may be string, and I believe they will see in a very short favored by it.

time, that they must adopt the district system, as beSir, I do not believe the comparisons which ing the only fair, and just, and equitable system. have been drawn between the relative morality or And whether or not we can go before the people intelligence of the city and country furnish a successfully with this system, which carries with proper argument to be adduced in this Committee it necessity and justice combined, I had rather in support of this proposition, and especially when fall, if fall we must, with an equitable system, they come, as they do, from gentlemen representing than succeed with one which in a short time must the country. I was born and brought up in a be overthrown as unjust and inequitable. I do country town. I have always lived in the country, not believe in attempting to compensate one part and I have the honor to represent a country town of the State by your political system for the natuhere, but I believe there is about as much intel ral commercial, manufacturing, or other advanligence in the city as in the country. I believe tages of other parts. I believe that will be a there is about as much virtue in the city as in the mistake, a solecism and an error in any system country, and I am not in favor of granting to one which would attempt to make such distinctions, any peculiar rights and privileges at the expense and I believe that such a system would not meet of the other. I am not willing to take away the the approbation of the people. When you go rights of one portion of the Commonwealth for the among the people removed at a distance from the purpose of securing special privileges to any other excitement of these debates and from political portion.

feeling, they will inquire, not whether this or that I do not think that the basis of political repre- part of the Commonwealth is to be benefited by sentation here is to be placed upon intelligence,

this system, but whether it seems to be fair, just virtue, or respectability. I never heard of any

and right to themselves as well as the remainder commonwealth which has its political institutions

of the Commonwealth. I am not prepared to shaped entirely or chiefly upon such a basis. A vote for the measure now immediately before the proposition has been introduced here to deprive Committee. I may give my vote for something persons unable to read of the right to vote. I of the kind in a modified form, but I hope we presume that that proposition will not be sanctioned shall have more discussions and more proposiby this Convention. Now, it is proposed to com tions, until we can approximate to something pensate for the advantages which the city of which will more nearly meet the approbation of all. Boston and other cities have in their wealth, Mr. GARDNER, of Seekonk. I wish, Mr. talent, and intelligence, by giving other advanta Chairman, to offer the following amendment; to ges to the country. I do not recognize such a

strike out all after the word “ that" and substisystem of checks and balances as that, as a states tute the amendment contained in Document No. manlike system. If the people of Massachusetts 68, which reads as follows :and New England choose to aggregate in large

Resolved, That it is expedient so to amend the cities, you cannot resist that tendency by a system Constitution, as that the members of the House of of legislation. If the population of the smaller Representatives shall be apportioned in the foltowns is gradually leaving them for the cities, all lowing manner :your paper constitutions and laws cannot prohibit 1. Every town containing less than one thouthem. You may accelerate, hasten, or retard

sand inhabitants, shall be entitled

sentative five times in ten years. Or, any two or such a result, but you cannot prevent the depopu

more towns, containing less than one thousand lation of your small towns, in point of numbers, by inhabitants, may, by consent of a majority of the any system of representation which you may legal voters present at a legal meeting in each of choose to establish here. I do not think it is said towns respectively, called for that purpose, possible to foresee what will be the future charac

and held before the first day of October in the ter of the city of Boston. The present prospect themselves into a separate district, and so continue

year 1853, and every tenth year thereafter, form is, that it may become a Catholic and democratic

for the term of ten years; and such districts shall city before many years. Be that as it may, we have all the rights, in regard to representation, are here doing a work, as has been said, for years. which would belong to a town containing the We do not wish to leave a necessity for another

same number of inhabitants. Constitutional Convention in a short time. Let containing from one thousand to five thousand

2. All towns and cities in the Commonwealth, us adopt some system which shall seem to be just inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect one repreand right towards all parts of the Commonwealth. sentative annually.

elect a repre



[June 25th.


All the towns or cities in the Commonwealth, It is undoubtedly true, that the most important containing over five thousand inhabitants, shall reform which this Committee is called upon to be districted into single representative districts, as make, is that of a system of representation which follows: 3. Every town or city having from five thou

shall be just and equal, and which, at the same sand to ten thousand inhabitants, shall be enti time, shall meet the approbation of the people of tled to elect two representatives annually. the Commonwealth. Several plans have already

4. Every town or city containing from ten been proposed and laid before the Committee. We thousand to fifteen thousand inhabitants, shall be

have the Report of the majority and the minorentitled to elect three representatives annually.

5. Every town or city containing from fifteen ity of the Committee upon that subject. Neither to twenty thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled of these plans have seemed to meet with the apto elect four representatives annually.

probation of the Committee, and it is very doubtful 6. Every town or city containing from twenty whether if submitted to the people as they have thousand to twenty-five thousand inhabitants,

been presented to the Convention, they would shall be entitled to elect five representatives annu

meet the approval of the people of the Commonally. 7. Every town or city containing from twenty

wealth. Another plan has been presented by the five to thirty-one thousand inhabitants, shall be gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) as entitled to elect six representatives annually. amendment, and although it meets my approbation

8. Every town or city contain ng from thirty in some particulars, yet I cannot give to it my corone to thirty-eight thousand inhabitants, shall be

dial assent. It seems to me to be liable to great obentitled to elect seven representatives annually.

9. Every town or city containing from thirty- jection; and therefore, with a great deal of diffieight to forty-eight thousand inhabitants, shall be dence in regard to this matter, I have come to the entitled to elect eight representatives annually. conclusion to submit the proposition which has

10. Every town or city containing from forty been just read as an amendment to the amendeight to sixty thousand inhabitants, shall be

ment. The proposition itself will show to the mementitled to elect nine representatives annually. 11. Every town or city containing from sixty disposition which will be made of representatives

bers of the Committee, if they will refer to it, the to seventy-five thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect ten representatives annually. so far regards the counties of the Commonwealth,

12. Every town or city containing from seventy and I think it will be just to all sections of the five to one hundred thousand inhabitants, shall

State. It has not been presented as a proposition be entitled to elect twelve representatives annu from the eastern or western section of the State, ally. 13. Every town or city containing from one

and in my judgment, if it meets with the approvhundred to one hundred and twenty-five thousand

al of the Committee or Convention, it would be inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect twenty rep- approved by the people. If we cannot have a resentatives annually.

representation based upon population, or if we do 14. Every town or city containing from one

not intend to base it upon property, it does seem hundred to one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect twenty-five repre- size, that the proposition which I have presented,

to me, if we are to have a House of moderate sentatives.

15. Every town or city containing from one will be just the one that should be adopted. It hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy- provides, in the first place, in a satisfactory manfive thousand inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect

ner, for giving sixty-four towns one representathirty representatives ; and no town or city shall tive each, five times in ten years, by allowing be entitled to more than that number.

them to send one representative here every year The above plan will give to The County of Suffolk,

25 Reps.

for five years. Second, it gives two hundred and Essex,

nineteen towns the right of choosing one repre

42 Middlesex,

58 sentative annually. Third, it gives five cities and Worcester,


towns containing five and ten thousand inhabiHampden,


tants, twenty representatives. It gives Lowell, Hampshire,


containing thirty-two thousand inhabitants, the Franklin,

19 Berkshire,


right of sending seven representatives, which I Norfolk,


believe is one less than the gentleman from Bristol,


Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) contemplated in his plan. Plymouth,


The proposition which I submit is certainly very Barnstable,


liberal. It proposes to give Boston, with one Dukes County,

3 Nantucket,

hundred and thirty-eight thousand inhabitants, 2

twenty-five representatives. The plan now pre

363 sented is certainly a plain and simple proposition. With some fractions amounting to three or four. It contains a provision which may not be called






(June 25th:

into requisition, because there are no towns which and the rural portions of it, are unwise, and only contain a population ranging between that of injurious in their whole tendency. My views are, Lowell and Boston, yet I thought it necessary that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a to insert in the amendment a provision having body politic, and like a human body, every part reference to such towns as might increase in pop- and portion of it is connected with every other ulation, and which would bring them within this part and portion of it, and with the whole, and range. I hope that the question upon this mat as in the human body the hand cannot say to the ter will not be taken until gentlemen can have an foot, I have no need of thee, so it is in the body opportunity to advert to it and see whether it does politic. I deem it unwise and inexpedient that not contain provisions which they can adopt. I one part should claim to itself pre-eminence for am very anxious that whatever plan we adopt, its virtue and intelligence, at the expense of other shall be one which the people will sanction. portions. What is the population of our cities? From the disposition which has been made of the In some of them, to a large extent, the foreign propositions presented here, I think it very element prevails; but if you will look to the men of probable that this may share the same fate, and influence and standing in our various cities, from be voted down without any consideration or what quarter do they come. Are not the mer. deliberation whatever. I can only say, if such chant princes of Boston, as they are sometimes should be the opinion of the Committee, I shall called, the sons of the yeomen of the country? cheerfully acquiesce in the decision, and shall Have they not interests and sympathies in combe glad if we might adopt a plan which would mon with their fathers, brothers, and kindred in recieve the approbation of a large majority of our rural districts? And is it not the case that the Committee. I am opposed to the making of our citizens are frequently retiring from this place, long speeches. I think we have had already too where they have been successful in acquiring much, and more talk, than is necessary; and I property, and taking up their residences in the shall therefore submit this amendment to the various rural districts of the State ? Why, then, judgment of the Committee, hoping that they should comparisons be thus drawn, which, if not will give it a serious consideration, as I think with the purpose, still have the tendency, to preit is far preferable to the plan suggested by the judice one portion of the Commonwealth against gentleman from Lowell, (Mr. Butler).

another. Sir, if it be so, that the cities are to beThe question was then taken on Mr. Gardner's come the chief centres of population, may not amendment, and it was rejected.

the time come, when these cities will have an Mr. HUBBARD, of Boston. I was much overwhelming majority of the population of the pleased with the suggestion made yesterday by Commonwealth ; and if at the present day the the gentleman from Lynn, (Mr. Hood,) that this smaller towns of the Commonwealth are claiming whole matter, with the various propositions which that protecting power against the cities, on the have been submitted by different gentlemen, ground of their superior intelligence and wealth, should be referred to a large Committee, who may there not be a feeling enkindled in these cities, might meet together and eliminate from the which, when that not far distant day shall come, various propositions such features as might be will lead them to exercise the power which they combined into a whole, that would be likely to shall hold, with something of the same spirit unite a majority of this Committee in their ap which some gentlemen have exhibited in claimproval. Belonging to that unfortunate portion of ing for the small towns such great powers as they the Committee to whose counsels we have been ask, that four hundred persons in one portion of told that the majority should not listen, and of the Commonwealth shall count as much as four whom another gentleman has been pleased to say, thousand in another. We have had many illusthat its very aim and object is to embarrass the trations of the principles contended for by those action of the Committee, by embodying such fea who claim the right of town representation. I tures in the amendments submitted to the people, recollect that when I was a member of the legisas will secure their defeat by the people, I may lature, some years ago, a proposition was made not, perhaps, be able to suggest my views in such that every town should become a place where acceptable forin as will secure to them much favor deeds should be registered. It was pressed with from the Committee. It seems to me, that the great earnestness, on account of the great facilities grounds which have been taken here in this Com- which would thus be afforded to all portions of mittee while this subject has been under consider the Commonwealth ; and I recollect that the genation, have been at variance with sound principles tleman from Pittsfield, (Mr. Rockwell,) addressed and wise statesmanship. I think these com us then, and said he was disposed to carry out the parisons between the cities of the Commonwealth proposition to its legitimate results, in order to show




[June 25th.

its impropriety, and that if the object was to avoid | tation, the small towns will retain their numbers as much inconvenience as possible, perhaps the at the expense of those towns which are increasregistry of deeds had better be established in every ing, perhaps, in a still greater ratio than the small school district, and the girl that could write best, towns. Now, a proposition of that kind, embecome the register. Let me take another view. | bodying this growing system of inequality, I, for Suppose that the people of the various school dis one, am not disposed to favor. In passing from tricts in a town, when they come together in a this explanation of the operation of the propotown-meeting-the districts containing one hun- sition, according to my view of it, I will venture dred, one hundred and fifty, and three hundred- to throw out an observation which has been sugshould claim that the several districts had an gested to my mind, and which may have been equal voice in deciding the affairs of the town. I presented by some other member of the Commitsee not why there would not be as much justice tee while I was not present. The system of in such a proposition, as in the proposition to districting the State which has been heretofore allow the towns with a small population to come proposed, was that of the Senate, taking as a basis into the House of Representatives, and have the the absolute population which the State contains. same weight there as the large towns.

It has been suggested by another-and I venture But I will not enlarge upon the subject of to avail myself of it—that if the system of districtequality of representation, the Committee having ing the State upon the number of the population, rejected the only system which can operate to be objectionable, there might be a system of disproduce equality of representation. I will, how- tricting it upon the basis of the number of voters, ever, make a single remark with regard to the which would give a system that would serve as a subject now under consideration. An objection check upon the Senate, which has for its basis the has been made to the proposition which is now absolute population of the several districts. under consideration, that it is complicated, and I do not propose to offer any amendment, and not easily understood. There has been a constant I throw out this thought as one which, it seemed discussion as to what will be the operation of this to me, might be worthy of consideration, and system. With the aid of a gentleman who is which, if upon the motion of some member the pretty accurate in his calculations, I have pre-whole subject should be referred to a committee pared a statement which, I believe, will show the at a future time, might be examined and conworking of this proposition. The House of Rep- sidered by them, with a computation of what resentatives is to consist of three hundred and would be the results, and so that when such ninety members, as the population in the various committee shall have considered all the various towns is now. Taking out the thirty-two repre- plans which have been or may be proposed, they sentatives for the small towns of less than a may adopt some system which will avoid the difa thousand, leaves three hundred and fifty-eight ficulty I have suggested, and meet the approval of for the large towns. Suppose that by 1860 there this Committee, and perhaps, too, of the Convenshould be a considerable increase in the popula- tion. tion of the towns which now have less than a Mr. GARDNER, of Boston. I see, Mr. Chairthousand, so that they should be entitled to man,

that you are marking down the hour at which choose a representative every year; and also that I commence my remarks; but I will promise that some of the towns now entitled to one represent- I shall not occupy many minutes of the time of ative every year, should so increase as to be the Committee. I do not wish to embarrass the entitled to two. You will have to give a repre action of the Committee by introducing any fursentation half the time to the towns having under ther propositions at this time. I rise for the purone thousand, and an annual representation to pose of giving notice, and reading for the inforthe towns having over one thousand; but still, mation of the Committee, a proposition that I according to the proposition of the gentleman have in my hand, which, perhaps, when the suitfrom Lowell, three hundred and seventy is to able time comes, I may offer in Convention. I limit the representation of the towns which have am in favor of every individual in Massachusetts a population of one thousand and upwards. having a representative on this floor every year ; Now, as you have, according to the present state and I am in favor of every individual in the State of the population in this Commonwealth, large having an equal representation on the floor of towns enough to require a representation of three this House; and therefore I am at first desirous hundred and fifty-eight, you leave only twelve to of seeing adopted a proposition which has already meet the growing demand for representation for been made in this Committee. But I think that large towns. The consequence will be, that in the proposition which I have in my hand is a comestablishing the new apportionment for represen- promise. When it is read to the House, gen

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