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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. - CHOATE.
this fashion, with this merit of equality? Did he not say, in so many words, that inequality was no great evil-meaning of course, comparatively no great one? And yet how could he well hold such language as this? In his own Report, from which I have read before, is not inequality of representation the very first evil enumerated? Was not the promise of a remedy for it the great persuasive everywhere to vote for the Convention ? And now that we are in Convention to find the remedy—and two plans are presented to your choice, one of which accomplishes the object perfectly, and the other totally fails, and makes the matter a great deal worse than before—is it all at once recollected that the difference between equality and inequality, in this behalf, is quite trivial after all -merely a little matter of arithmetic or so-that “black’s not so black, nor white so very white ?" Is it all at once recollected that almost anything is better than for the people to be equally represented in the House ; that that is very pretty talkgood words and commendable--a good enough topic for enthusiastic young dreamers, but that your solid man, who goes to the bottom of things, does not hold it important, any more than he holds it attainable? Is it all at once forgotten that equality of political right and power-among all the members of the State-unless an overruling necessity forbids it-is not a matter of mere convenience or caprice, but of justice, of humanity, a moral duty, a virtue—within the domain of conscience? Is it forgotten that justice is the one great concern of the State ; its fairest ornament; its surest defence ?
I may mistake, but I have always supposed that in a State perfectly homogeneous like Massachusetts, without ranks, orders, classes ; without antagonisms of interests, institutions, pursuits, or moral sentiments; for it is of a Commonwealth thus absolutely kindred, and the same everywhere, that I speak ; and it is the failure to discriminate between such an one and others, in these respects totally different, which has created some confusion and embarrassment to the chairman; in such a State, I have always supposed, that, according to our theories of liberty and justice, a system of representation in the popular branch was perfect, very much in proportion as it achieved an equal representation of every inhabitant, man, woman, or child; and that the nearest practicable approximation to this, was not merely a pretty good thing, a good enough thing in its way, a good thing to talk of, but that almost as much as all other things put together ; it was the one characteristic and distinguishing mark and triumph of a republican polity. Observe, Sir, I repeat, that it is with sole reference to a State like Massachusetts that I say this. To others, differently constituted, it has no application. From the practice of others, differently constituted, you can derive no instruction whatever on what is practicable or what is right for us. And, therefore, the chairman only embarrasses himself and the argument, by the irrelevant analogies of the government of the United States. Sır, we all perfectly well understand, that in the construction of such a stupendous system as that, for a country so vast and so diverse, expanded now across a continent, broken up at the time the Union was formed into States, every one independent, every one equally a sovereignty with every other, distinguished by great diversity of productions and pursuits, and foreseeing already
essential differences of opinion as to the industrial and general policy of the future nation ; every one separated from every other by the habits of a long colonial life, although attracted also to every other by the deep conviction of the necessity of uniting, and by a recent community of effort and glory; we all know that a representation of the whole American people as one mass, equally in both Houses of Congress, was neither possible nor desirable. The smallest States, equal exactly, in the eye of public law, to the largest, would not consent to such a thing. No man who has well studied our national system, and appreciated how indispensable is the existence and agency of State governments to save us from tyranny and corruption intolerable, could wish that they had. The result was a polity, elaborate, artificial, complex, heterogeneous in its structure, but in its working harmonized and glorious.
And so there are single States-such as Virginia, whose Blue Ridge, to some extent, divides her population, holding slaves, from that not holding them; and Kentucky, along whose margin on the Ohio, tendencies to emancipation have been said to be creeping, “ with fear of change perplexing her,”-in which those interested in the local institution would scarcely choose to oppose it without artificial security to the general suffrage of a people represented equally, and in mass, by the head.
On the true policy of such States I say nothing, and I know nothing. But this I believe, and this I say, that in Massachusetts-the most homoge
munity that ever existed--certainly none more so—a family of persons all related, as you may say, by blood or marriage, to one another; not so much spread over as clustered closely on a little area of seven thousand square miles; every man within a day's ride of every other; all occupations and interests distributed with remarkable uniformity everywhere, and no one tending, in the least degree, to conflict with any other ; town linked to country, and county to county, by “cords no man can break”-in such a state it should be our aim, our boast, to carry into practice the most genial and just politics; to bring civil rights and natural rights into the closest conformity; to raise this word or this thing equality, from an idea in the mind, a phrase in the Bill of Rights, into realized government; to clear the Constitution of whatever injustice it works ; to found it on the granite, and to adorn it with the beauty of a morality that is eternal.
This opinion I brought with me into the Convention. And what is the opinion of the Convention itself on the general proposition ? Has it not, under your lead, Mr. Chairman, with almost entire unanimity, divided the State into senatorial districts, each containing an equal population, and assigned a senator to each: What was the principle of that proceeding? On what reason was it that you have declared, that if here are two areas, side by side, each having on it the same number of human beings, every individual in one mass shall have the same amount of representation in the Senate-shall be equally near his representative in the Senate, with every individual in the other mass, although one area is larger, the other smaller ; one rich, the other poor; one in the country, and the other on the sea? Sir, that reason was very clearly stated in debate. It was agreed to by all who took part in it. The discussion was general and able, and it is now of record.
Shall I remind you what was, that day, the doctrine of this body? I understood it to be this: that every one is a human being equally with every other; and as such, has an equal right to be equally represented in government, with every other ; that to be represented is a vast good, existing in the social state, and indispensable to the secure and full enjoyment of all which the social state can do for man; but that it is a good which every one may possess, equally with every other, without impairing the value of the good itself, or in the least degree, abridging or displacing the possession of it by every other ; that, therefore, representation-the being represented—the haring a right to be represented—is not in the nature of property in things--the essence of which is appropriation to an owner excluding all others from participating---but is rather in the nature of a right to life; to liberty; to happiness ; to freedom of the soul; to freedom of the mind-whereof a state, a nation, a race, may share equally, and have, therefore, a right to share equally. It is a civil good ; a social good; a political good ; but it belongs to every human being alike; because his nature, the end of his existence, the will of his Maker, place him in the social, civil, and political state, and give him every good therein ; the enjoyment of which by him invades no other man's right, and no other man's power of enjoyment.
Or to state your reasons less abstractly. You thought and held that every one, of all this mass, has needs and interests that require for him, and make it humane and just to give him, an equal quantity of representation, so to speak, with every other. Every one is a human being, whose person may be outraged by violence—and who, therefore, needs a law to protect him, and a representative to make the law. He is a person whose moral and spiritual nature may be improved by culture, and who, therefore, needs a wise and beneficent legislature to provide such culture, and a representative to promote such legislation. The infant in the mother's arms needs a law of infancy, and a representative to make it. The insane in a mad-house need a law, and an asylum of insanity, and a representative to make it. Every one is a human being, on whom the general doom attaches alike; to whom may come alike "The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, the
law's delay; The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes; " to whom alike may happen all things which government and laws can cause or cure, and therefore every one needs, alike and equally, representation in that government which makes that law. And this need you thought and held it humane, just, and morally right to supply. Is not this principle decisive of this question ?
It is true, Sir,--and here is a distinction of some importance, in regard to which there is much confusion of ideas,--that when we come to determine who shall vote—that is, who shall act in bringing the particular representative into existence in the particular case,—then we have to look at something more, and other than the mere right or mere need of being represented. In such case, and for such objects, you have to require capacity also ; intelligence, free will, physical, and other qualifications. These all do not possess. Childhood is too immature ; the insane want discretion ; the pauper, and the person under guardian
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. - CHOATE.
ship, wants free will; woman is too delicate, and as elements entering into the proportion of repre- though it may, and sometimes does, dictate a disrefined, and retiring, to “jostle and elbow, and
sentation. The representation of land or money tasteful proceeding to an honest statesman-is win her way in a crowd." All do not possess
is a monstrous relic of ancient prejudice; men “the tyrant's plea" also; and affords a pretty
only can be represented; and population alone the indispensable qualifications to vote; and thereought to regulate the number of representatives
easy and tempting pretext to extenuate and gild fore you select a portion, say one-fifth or one-sixth, which any district delegates.”
the desertion of a great political principle. I who do possess them; and as my friend from
appeal to your consciences, then, to know what is Salem, (Mr. Lord,) speaking on another subject
I read now from Dr. Whewell:
the necessity for unequal representation ? the other day, expressed it,--with exact propriety
Well, the answer is, first, and broadly, thisof constitutional and legal language,-you choose
“ The events of history have at every step led that we must continue to elect our representatives them into the office, and bestow on them the
to present inequalities. What then is the course
by separate and single towns, and for separate name and duties of legal voters. Theirs it is to requires us to aim constantly to remedy the ine
and single towns. We must continue to attach bring the particular representative in the given case qualities which history produces. Such remedy- power, right and privilege, to place—not to men, into being. But this right, this power, they hold ing of injustice is a part of the general duty of not to inhabitants, not to ratable polls, not to in trust for themselves and for every-body. And so
moral progress which belongs to states as well as legal voters ; but to place. This will, of course, mark the distinction. The right to, the need of, to individuals. We have already said that the law
work inequality, for that is inseparable from strict must perpetually and slowly tend to the idea of an equal share of representation, an equal nearjustice.” “Natural rights are the ideal conditions
town representation ; but strict town representaness, so to speak, to the representative, is one of moral society; they may be suspended in fact; tion, inequality or no inequality, we must keep up thing. The capacity to go to the polls, and vote the idea being imperfectly realized. When this whether we will or not. This is the necessity. intelligently and freely, is another thing. The is so, it is the business of all good men constantly Well, Sir, if we must, we must. But is it right, the need, is found wherever a man, or
to make the fact approach to the idea ; to make quite clear that we must do any such thing?
law agree with humanity; to make civil rights woman, or child exists, inhabiting the State. The coincide with natural rights."
Who will take upon him to say that he knows capacity demands specific faculties, and is lodged
that we live too late or too early in the lifetime of in fewer hands. Yet remember, that although I have answered the question, how great an
Massachusetts to be able to be just? Who has these few compose ever the actual government, evil is inequality of representation; and how
shown, or may show, that our existing practice of and no other participates or is consulted; yet that, much better is ours for being equal, than yours
representation, however ancient, puts it out of our according to a sound political morality, they hold for being unequal. Ours cures the specific
power to establish reason and the right, in an it in trust; they hold it in trust for all; they grievance which brought the Convention to
amended Constitution. The chairman deprecates hold it in trust for all equally; and therefore, if gether ; yours does not. Ours is just ; yours is
our laying the towns upon the “Procrustean bed here is a civil or political thing called representa- unjust. Ours makes political rights coincide with
of an idea of equality.” I thought it had been tion,—the being represented,—which is a privi- natural rights; yours does not try to do so. Ours
the aim, the boast, of a true reform, quietly to lege, an enjoyment, a security, a good of priceless aims to remove certain inequalities produced by
adapt the contrivances which we inherit to the value; this also are they bound in conscience to history and accident, and substitute and vindicate
times in which we act, and to correct the inapportion equally to all, unless a controlling ne- an original justice; yours does not. Ours recog
equalities and injustice which history has transcessity forbids. nizes “right as the true sovereign of the world";
mitted. Gentlemen are becoming strangely disAll these, Mr. Chairman, I gather from its votes yours adheres to traditional forms. Ours recog
trustful of our ability all at once. Called together, to be the opinions of this Convention. They ex- nizes that inviolability of principles is the pal
as they have said, to apply relief to great vices in press a higher and a wiser estimate of the merit ladium of freedom and the palladium of virtue" ;
the government, to celebrate a supposed progress, of equality, and the vice of inequality, in repre- yours deserts principles.
to accomplish large and various reforms, representation, than the chairman advances in his And now, Mr. Chairman, I come to speak on
senting the primary and absolute sovereignty of speech, or exemplifies in his plan. They are the final, perhaps harder question; which is,
the people, uncontrolled by anything but the law American opinions ; and they are sound opinions. whether, after all, there is difficulty insuperable
under which we assemble, and our obligations to I do not say that they can be acted on with safety difficulty amounting to civil necessity that cannot
duty, are certain old usages-once more just, now elsewhere. I do not know that there is, or is not, be controlled—to prevent our putting into the
unjust—too strong for us? Is it all at once a foreign state on earth that is ripe for them. Constitution the equality which our reason and
found out that accident; that the past—and not Existing conditions of things, the product of an our conscience approve. I agree that if all this
reason, conscience, and free will-can alone deterold time, still ruling the world from which it has inequality which disfigures the chairman's plan is
mine the form of the Constitution? Why, if the passed away, may elsewhere, for centuries, resist necessary, there is an end to the matter. I know
Chairman will give me leave, it almost warrants their introduction. But their intrinsical beauty very well, and have keenly felt, and often said,
the adaptation of an appeal of Mr. Grattan to the and justice, the teachers whom I best love, all before to-day, that when you come to apply a
Irish House of Commons ! liberal writers and thinkers under all systems, great principle to practice, you must be sometimes
“Shall the historian, after tracing the earlier acknowledge and display. I find two ideas in content to rest in a very distant approximation to
stages of your proceedings, stop at equality of repsuch writers, which I commend to you; the first, the exactly true, and the exactly right. What, resentation, and observe, here the principal men that equality in representation, if attainable, is then, is the rule of morals for such a case? This among the reformers were found wanting-and matter of right, of justice, of humanity, of the precisely. If it is matter of necessity—if, under
when justice was within their grasp, and her higher morals, and not of caprice or convenience
temple opened its folding doors, fell down and the responsibilities of this place, to duty, to the only—and the second, that one great aim of true
were prostituted at the threshold !" Commonwealth, you can say that it is matter of reform, and a real progress, is peaceably and grad- necessity, to come short of perfect justice in ap- But let us sift this alleged necessity of adhering ually to remove the artificial inequalities which portioning political right and power, you are to the strict town representation, a little. And in history has produced ; to cause the law to tend excused. If it is necessary to put the govern- the first place, has any town, as such, a right to ever towards the perfectly humane, and the ment of Massachusetts into the hands of about the present mode of representation, which you perfectly just; and to bring civil and political one-third of its people or one-third of its voters, may not with perfect propriety, modify or take rights nearer and nearer to the rights of nature. you are excused in doing it. If it is necessary to away, if the general good requires it? That is to It is no place or time to verify this remark ; but put it into the hands of one man, and his heirs say, is the present mode of representation, property you will allow me to bring to your recollection a male and female, you are excused for doing that. -town property—and therefore beyond your sentiment of Sir James Macintosh, concerning If it is necessary to say that a farmer in Franklin, reach and control ? Nobody will venture to say representation of places, as distinct from persons ; being a legal voter, shall have three times, or It is simply and exactly political power, and another of Dr. Whewell, the Master of twice, as much right or power as a farmer or fish- holden in trust for the State, and under the conTrinity College, and an eminent living writer-on erman, being also a legal voter, in Essex, in trol of the State, that is all. It is given in trust the offices of reform and the nature of progress :- Bristol, in Barnstable—you are excused in giving by the Constitution, it may be taken away by the
it to him. “I must aro'y"-t is in his reply to Burke, on
Constitution. Property it is not, nor anything in the French Revolution, that Mackintosh says this
But then, in handling an allegation of necessity the least degree resembling it. Test it in any _" with the same frankness, equal disapproba
as an excuse for an apparent wrong, a good deal way. Can this Convention take the money of a tion of the admission of territory and contribution of delicacy is to be observed ; because necessity, I banking, or insurance, or manufacturing corpora
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. – CTOATE.
tion and give it to the schools of Massachusetts ? ed us in this debate in the history of our represent- That great Jurist although he advocated a propYou know you cannot. But can you not totally ation. Without engaging in any detail in that erty basis of the Senate, comprehended the whole change the existing practice of electing represent- research, I see one long and steady progress from spirit of the Constitution of 1780; appreciated atives by towns, and for towns, and perform the the day when the first ('onstitution was written perfectly that it meant to have the people equally the same office by districts? You know that you in the cabin of the Mayflower to this. l'nder represented in the other branch; saw that, in the can, as easily, and as innocently, if the public the colonial and provincial governments our rep- changes of circumstances, the means used defeated good requires it, as you can mend your pens. resentation may be admitted to have been some- the end aimed at; that place, not man, was This settles the question of property. “ Property what after the English type; and that was very coming to engross the representation; and that exists for the benefit of the proprietor. Political much a representation of place. It was more there was just one remedy. I read his words :power exists only for the service of the State.” popular ; but it was somewhat English; it was It is for the service of the State that towns exer- framed on a mixed idea; of a right in place, and
" In the select committee I was in favor of a cise this power, and the State may resume the also in man. “We tried to reflect, with a true
plan of representation in the House founded on
population, as the most just and equal in its opetrust whenever justice, equality, the best interests filial resemblance, the beauteous countenance of ration. I still retain that opinion. There were of the State require it. It is in its nature exactly British liberty," and we reilected some of its de- serious objections against this system, and it was such a right-if right you choose to call it-as formities also. That was, in one sense, the day believed by others that the towns could not be law and a usage of six hundred years had given of small things in freedom. “First the blade,
brought to consent to yield up the corporate priviGatton and Old Sarum in England-good while then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."
leges of representation, which had been enjoyed the law stood-good for nothing to prevent a I honor and love the strong, steri, much enduring
so long, and were so intimately connected with
their pride and their interests. I felt constrained change, or after a change of the law. It is just men of that time; I bless Almighty God for therefore, with great reluctance, to yield up a such a right as belongs to all old traditional what they were, and what they did, and what favorite plan." political privileges and things—to all things which they left us; yet saw they not all things, nor are “dragged down in the net of time”-and it counted themselves to have apprehended all of the same tendency you find more evidence is to be dealt with accordingly. If useful, they things. That season was infancy; the infancy of in the period from 1835 to 1810. The basis even are to be retained ; if indifferent, retained or not, a giant certainly; but yet infancy. A mighty of the Senate became changed from property to as sentiment or taste may prescribe; if useless, or future was before them, but it was all future. inhabitants-and the counties were made districts, certainly, if mischievous or unjust, to be abolished. Sir, we must remember that those days were days to elect, cach a number of senators according to the It is precisely such a right (I agree perfectly in of privilege somewhat; church members only number of its inhabitants-every district, however, this with my colleague, Mr. Schouler,) as our voted; orthodox believers only-freeholders also to have one, and none to have over six. And for counties have had heretofore to elect senators by as well as orthodox-could be eleeted to office. the House, by the proceedings of two successive a general county ticket, by the county and for the But time rolled on; the popular tendencies of our legislatures, sitting as conventions, and by the county. This practice was ancient too. This too, system developed themselves more and more; our people acting on their amendments-the idea that was authorized by the Constitution. The coun- mission of republican liberty became more and every town, as such, is to elect a representative, ties were attached to it. They were accustomed more pronounced; the great questions of the Rey- by itself, and for itself, every year, was dropped to it. It was a strict corporate function. Old as- olution were moved and discussed; blood flowed ; forever from the Constitution—and the original sociations gave its exercise interest and value. and by 1776 or certainly 1780 we grasped com- principle that equal representation of people-by Yet I heard no pathetic eloquence the other day pletely the American idea that the people were the whatever means—is the grand end to be kept in when you cut those counties up into senatorial source of sovereignty; that they are equal; that view-was vindicated, and reasserted; and more single districts, as coolly as the Judge of Probate they alone are to be represented in the popular completely than before, though still partially, cuts up the old homestead, and parcels it among branch of government, and that they are to be rep- carried into execution. the boys and girls, when the father is dead. resented equally there. This idea was embodied in So, Sir, it has been all a progress from the be
But it is said that although it is not a right, the its broadest and most intense expression in our ginning, hitherto. Every quarter of a century towns are attached to it, and will not give it up. own Constitution. The gentleman from Cam- the stream has been working itself clearer, and Sir, will you allow the people a chance to speak bridge, (Mr. Sargent,) read it yesterday. “There clearer; the one great complaint at this moment for themselves? How do you know they will shall be in the legislature of this Commonwealth, is that place yet confers privilege ; the remedy is not? They will give it up if they ought to do so, a representation of the people, annually elected, and clear to every man's apprehension ; with you, or will they not? They ought to if it works injus- founded upon the principle of equality.” There without you, time will certainly compel its adoptice. But it works inequality-gross-offensive- was the principle. But it was then thought that tion; and yet you are sure the people are not sectional, putting man over man
n-country over the great end, the great principle itself might be ready for it! town--and inequality is injustic — if you can wrought out by the existing instrumental means, But it is said they are so much attached to the prevent it and do not. Try them. Perhaps they that is, a representation of towns, and by towns ; existing system, that nothing can be done. may prove to be more equal to the appreciation and those means therefore were retained, not to Attached to what? To representation : Cerof a sound and large idea, than you imagine; defeat equality of representation of the people, but tainly. Their history has shown that. To unmore attached to things and less to forms; more to execute it. The people were accustomed to just and unequal representation? Sir, I would mindful of substance, and less mindful of shams ; those means. They were attached to them. not hear their enemy say so. I think that in more anxious for realities and rights, than for ar- Population was so distributed that, at that time, the chairman's discussion of this branch of the tificial regulations; more careful of living and the incompatibility of town representation with subject, with a good deal of ability, there was present interests, than of the traditions of a buried that equality and that justice, which formed the some exaggeration, and much fallacy. If he past. How do you know it will not turn out to essential constitutional principle, was not offen- means to say that the people are attached, deeply be popular to have done the right and the just sively apparent.
and reasonably attached, to our general town systhing, to all, and for all-even to the stranger But time still passed on; and that incompatibili- tem; to the preservation of the towns; and to within your gates ?
ty did become apparent; and the moment this was the administration of public business therein, as Besides. Does not every-body see that there 80 you may begin to remark an effort, a progress a general system, I agree with him-I agree with has been a constant progress in our system of towards dispensing with the means, and insur- them in that attachment. In our history, in our government towards a more complete and equal ing the end, towards substituting for a represent- public life, nothing is more beautiful, or more representation of the people—and that we have ation of towns--intended to accomplish, but not useful, than the existence, administration, and 'arrived at the moment when the last relics of a accomplishing an equal representation of the peo- influences of these municipalitics; and I agree, and representation of place are just ready to disappear ple-substituting for this a direct representation maintain, at the outset, that if to district the naturally and in the fullness of time? Causes of the people, on the principle of equality, by State for representatives is to abolish towns; or beyond our reach-tendencies which we could means which shall certainly accomplish the object, kill the town life of the State ; or impair its not control if we would, and ought not to if we that is, by representative districts.
utility, you ought not to do it. I would not have could, have they not long been conducting to Of this tendency of opinion, a brief extract equality of representation at that cost. I agree this consummation, and will they not inevitably, from a speech of Mr. Justice Story in the Con- with the chairman's estimate of our general and speedily effect it? Gentlemen have instruct- vention of 1820 may afford some illustration. municipal system; with what he read from Thursday,]
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De Tocqueville; with what he read from Mr. Jef- of votes for officers to represent the people in the
-if I understood him--that a system of perfect if districting for representatives impairs it a par- equality among men, or voters, would lead to ticle. The system is this. The inhabitants of centralization, or concentration, somewhere ; and these towns, as such, are charged with certain pub- to the swallowing up of somebody by somebody. lic affairs ; by the care of which they become Sir, I submit that he who advances such a sug. trained to business ; instructed; elevated. What gestion, as a reason why we cannot make the poare these affairs ? Education ; pauperism ; the litical rights of the people of such a State as this care of public ways; the police of the towns; its coincide with their natural rights, is bound to be finances; the election of its officers; the giving pretty precise in his statements, and pretty clear
in his proofs; and I protest, that with all the attention I gave him, I am not at all sure that I even comprehend his difficulty. “Concentration" is a word of good emphasis and command; "centralization," the readers of De Tocqueville at least, have to be reasonably familiar with ; and to be "swallowed up” is an intelligible, though unattractive idea ; but who is to be concentrated, or centralized; who is to be eat, or be eaten-or when, or where, or how-is not quite so clear.
I suppose that all these figures of speech were aimed at Boston. To any other locality in the State they are utterly, not to say ludicrously, inapplicable. But if so; if it is necessary, in your judgment, thus to disfranchise the tradesmen and mechanics ; and middle men, and all men, of Boston, because there are a great many of them in one place, will you let me ask, first how that excuses or explains such a plan as this? Is the fact that Boston tends to centralize or concentrate or swallow up anything, a very exquisite reason, why one-third of the people of Massachusetts should elect a majority of fifty in a House of four hundred? Is it a reason why Worcester with 126,000 inhabitants, should have some twentyseven more representatives than Essex with 127,000 inhabitants ? Is it a reason why you should bercave the entire sea-coast of its equal measure of right to bestow it on the centre and West ? Is it a reason why Bristol, and Barnstable, should have somewhere about one-third, man for man, of the power of Franklin, Hampshire, or Berkshire ? What are Barnstable, and Bristol and Essex likely to swallow: Sir, there is a harder question. What season, of centralization, or concentration, or anything else, is there, that within the same locality, the same county, you discriminate between people in a fashion so incomprehensible? The presence of my most esteemed and reverend friend from Danvers, (Mr. Braman,) suggests a single example of what I mean, of which there are scores just as extraordinary. In the county of Essex are two contiguous towns -Danvers and Middleton. They adjoin-parted by an invisible line, running through green fields. Middleton has a representative for eight hundred inhabitants. Danvers one for about four thousand. The man of Middleton will have about five times as much political power and right as his next door neighbor, in whose employment he works by the month. Why? Is it in order to protect the country from Boston centralization ? Not obviously. Is it to protect Middleton from Danvers? Is it to protect such towns as Middleton from such towns as Danvers? What diversity of interest, have they? One is larger; and the other smaller ; but what is the conflict of interest ? Both are farming towns mainly; each having some mechanical and manufacturing employmentsDanvers especially—but both chiefly farming towns; both industrious; law abiding; moral ; kindred, each to each. Nobody can see how in a hundred years one of these towns should demand general legislation adverse to the other-and yet to protect this poor little Swiss Canton of a Middleton, from being swallowed up by this Austria, this Prussia, this France of a Danvers, the inhabitant of Middleton has fives times as much power, and right, as his next neighbor who works on his bench, or holds his plough! Sir, that which is unintelligible or absurd in that case, is equally so in a hundred others throughout this plan.
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Indeed, if you lay Boston out of view, not one onet, it appeared to him as if he (Sir R. Peel) of its discriminations can be pretended to be made had been saying, because London is the greatest with a view to protect one interest; or one busi
city in the world-because it is the mart of all
wealth-because it is the centre of all knowledge ness against another ; farming against manufac
- because it is the hive of industry-for these tures; the country against the town; the makers
reasons, he would exclude it from the right of of shoes against the makers of cotton cloth, or having representatives. For his own part, he bewoollen cloth. They do not aspire to as much lieved that the time was now come when they show of principle as that. They give a great
might attach to the constitution the whole of the farmer in a little town four times as much power
middle classes of England, who, though they
loathed corruption, and writhed under oppres. as a little farmer in a great town. That is what
sion, felt as much interest in upholding the conthey do. But for what? Protection. Of whom, stitution as the highest noblemen in the country. against whom, and against what?
But if they were to withhold this privilege from But to return to the particular case of Boston.
the metropolitan districts, while they gave it to I know very well that some foreign theorists have
other parts of the country, he must confess that
he should think that the Bill, instead of ending moved the question how far it were safe to allow
the dispute, would only be the beginning of it; such, cities as London, and Paris, a representa- and he would never consent to do that which, in tion founded on equality of numbers if they were his opinion, would lead to the immediate engento vote by a general ticket-but where, as here, dering of ill will." we offer to divide a place like Boston into districts—I never heard it suggested before that
And would the chairman say, that because there was any danger. Such a city as Boston Boston has 138,000 inhabitants ; because it is has many cities in one. It has many cities the largest city in Massachusetts; in New Engkept under by one. The population of each dif
land; because, as he has reminded us, she rocked fers from every other, in occupations; perhaps, the cradle of liberty when men sought the child's in political opinions. Break it into districts and life, and the mother's; because-having once each develops its own individuality. Entire, the made, and gone through a war in order to conwhole city may realize the chairman's figurative
nect taxation and representation--she now pays fear, and devour you right and left. Distributed about one-third of the State tax; that she shall into a half dozen hydra heads, I suggest to him, have, man to man-voter to voter-less than onewhether, though the throats would be more, the quarter, or one-third part, of her fair proportion swallow would not be less-with a fair chance of power, and right? also of their eating one another !
Paris has been cited to show that Boston ought Some expressions of the chairman on this subject, not to be equally represented. Lord Brougham brought to mind an episode in the great struggle in generalizes on that case against the full representhe House of Commons, on the English Reform tation of a great city by single ticket. But what Bill in 1831. The reformers proposed- a little as is it to the purpose ? Always Paris has exerted we do--to allow the suburbs of London repre- abnormal, and artificial influence on France. It sentation, according to their numbers, somewhat did so in the great Revolution pre-eminently. It like the city itself. The opponents of reform always did. But it was not by her representaopposed it as the chairman does here. One of tives--few or many-on the floor of the Conventhem thus delivered himself :
tion; the Assembly; or the Chamber of Depu
ties--debating or voting, that she did so. No, " It was contended that the agricultural and indeed. It was by sending her mob into the galthe manufacturing population ought to be subject-lery to out-bellow the bellowing of the Mouned to the same rule-that was, that a manufac
tain; by her midnight clubs sitting in thronged turing and an agricultural population, of an equal amount in number, ought to have an equal num
halls--forging the thunder-generating the explober of representatives. To that he objected. An sive gas-of revolution; by her saloons of fashagricultural population was scattered, and so cir- ion and science; by her harlot beauty ; by her cumstanced as to be unable to combine, as a man- Marseilles music swelling through half a million ufacturing population might, and naturally would.
throats in the open air; it was thus, and not by The agricultural population was spread over the country, while the manufacturing population was
her legitimate and proportional representation in always in garrison, as it were, and ready for at
the place of the debate, and the vote--that she tack. The fact of the Parliament being held on a overawed the legislature of France. And now, particular spot, gave an influence to that spot, in- to argue from such a case as that, the danger of dependent altogether of its possessing representa- allowing your sons and brothers here-aye, or tives."
him of stranger blood within your gates-their I am glad, for the honor of literature and ge
just and equal natural rights, to be represented nius, that among others who espoused the side of
in this hall, would be simply ridiculous, it did representation, was Mr. Macaulay. Hear him :
not aspire to be unjust.
But a little further, Sir. The general frame of “He should like to know why, if Birmingham,
this plan, and much of the chairman's speech, Leeds and Manchester were to have representa- suppose and insinuate that the country may be in tives, the districts of the metropolis were to be danger from the town! May I ask if there is excluded ? To this query he had heard no an- one member of this body who will put his char“Now, with respect to their physical force, it
acter upon the assertion, that he believes, that, was to be observed, that that would neither be
under the most perfect equality of representation, augmented nor diminished by giving them repre
the agriculture of Massachusetts; the acres; the sentatives; and, in his opinion, so far from in- yeomen; are in danger from the sea-coast, and creasing the danger, he believed that their having
the larger inland towns and cities, in danger representatives would diminish it; because it
from capital, from commerce, from the fisheries, would be affording a legal outlet for the ebulition of their feelings.
from the manufacturer and the mechanic? I “ He must, therefore, confess, that when he had
doubt it, Sir. I do not believe that there has ever listened to the argument of the Right Hon. Bar- been a member of the general court, or a man
out of it not being a person under guardianship, who will say he believes any such thing. Straws show which way the wind blows. Did you ever happen in your lives to hear of any bright young demagogue, who began his career in this hall by a joke on the farmers: I have known very promising little reputations acquired-not very longlived—if that was all they stood on-by a fling at State Street; or Beacon Street ; at big purses and mushroom aristocracy-but did it ever come to your knowledge that anybody had tried to start himself by a sarcasm upon the country? I fancy not. Straws show, as I said, the way of the wind. Depend on it that the only interest which satire is certain, invariably and instinctively to spare, is the strongest interest in the State. The country in danger from the towns ! Safe-God bless her—in her own absolute and relative numbers ; safe in the affections and reason of us all; courted by every worshipper of power ; by every solicitor of votes; to which we are all bound by untramelled affection ; by every tie, and every duty; our birth-place; the place of our parents' graves; the place where ours, too, shall be made, when the long day's task is done, and we must sleep-how enormous is the exaggeration that the country is in danger from a handful of scattered manufacturing, commercial and fishing pointsand needs injustice to protect her! To recall Dr. Johnson's illustration, London is in a thousand times more danger of being drowned by the overflow of its own kennels. Sir, I shall help to make no Constitution on any such theory.
One word on a suggestion that such a plan as this is necessary in order to create a check and balance--and I have done. The topic was, indeed, disposed of by the gentleman from Middleboro', (Mr. Wood,) yesterday. We are to elect a House by a third of the people; and by the most various and intense inequality of representation, in order to check and balance, something, or somebody. To check whom? The Senate, of course. Why, Sir, if you are obliged to do all this injustice in electing a House, in order to get a check on the Senate, I would not have any Senate to check. Better have none at all, than be put to all this prodigality and enormity of political wrong in order to balance it. The thing, at such a rate, does not pay. Pray for what purpose do you establish two houses to check and balance each other? Exactly, and only, to the end that, thus, they may be sure to do less injustice, and more justice, to the whole people. And would it not be a delicate stratagem to found one branch of the legislature upon the most offensive and needless wrong, on a theory that the two will compel one another to do right? Sir, no statesman ever constitutes a chamber of legislation unjustly, and defends his work when it is done, on the ground that it will be, at any rate, a check on the other. IIe puts both, if he can, on a moral basis to begin with. Each may perfectly well rest on the same basis, that of the people, equally represented; because, after all, the sole value of a legislature of two houses rather than of one is, that it insures a double, and independent, deliberation. This, I repeat, and not any fanciful action and counteraction of opposing forces, and conflicting interests, gives it all its practical value.
Under no view, Mr. Chairman, can I discern any necessity to accept an unequal, in place of an equal, representation. Let us give the people