Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

* Mr. OPDYKE--Not the slightest. I will say put in the minority." Without parties we could to the gentleman from Rensselaer [Mr. M. I. not have good government. So much for the Townsend) that I speak in all kindness, and with original plan of Mr. Hare. We have before us the kindliest feelings. I have been an interested not that plan, but the new plan of the gentleman listener to the discussion of the question now from Westchester (Mr. Greeley), and a somewhat before the committee, without any intention of different form of that plan proposed by the gentlejoining in that discussion, because I felt that the man from Albany (Mr. A. J. Parker]. I am willing little attention I had given it placed me in to concede that neither of these would utterly a condition in which I can better perform my destroy party organization, but I am entirely duty by receiving instruction than by attempting satisfied they would do much to destroy its ellito impart it. But, sir, in the course of the dis- ciency, its vigilance and its usefulness. Another cussion there have been many views advanced objection is that they would transfer what power that have somewhat surprised me, and among remains to the people in the selection of others I must express some surprise at the per their representatives, to the politicians. That sistent efforts which have been made to intro- power is in a great measure already taken duce into the Constitution of this State a new and from the mass of the people. As I said untried idea ; and that is the representation of before, it is one of the inevitable and incidental minorities, a plan involved in the amendment evils of party organization. A nomination which now before the committee. That question and is made by the political organization itself, withthe question of large districts, which is necessarily out the consent of the mass of the people, is, in linked with it, are the questions now before very many instances, tantamount to an election. the committee. It is in relation to these, and more The plans proposed would make all nominations to explain the reasons which will govern my vote, tantamount to an election. What part would than in the hope of throwing further light on the the people have then in selecting their repreminds of others, that I desire to say a few words. sentatives, and what motive would remain to The representation of minorities is an idea started parties for vigilance, activity, watchfuluess and in Great Britain very recently ; it has not passed lidelity to the interests of the people? They through the ordeal or the crucible of scientific would rest supine under a conviction that they discussion; it has never been tried in practice would get a large portion of the power and eren in the smallest degree, and it would seem emoluments of office without effort. But, sir, to me most unreasonable, most unwise, if not the unanswerable objection as it seems to me dangeruus, to attempt to place it in the Constitu- is, that it is a proposition to take an idea tion of our State, where it must last for several which has never been tried in practice, and years at least, and perhaps. - for twenty. place it in the Constitution of the State. If we What is it, Mr. Chairman ? According to should attempt to do anything of the kind, all we the theory first started by Mr. Hare, and so warm- should do is to permit the Legislature to give ly indorsed by John Stuart Mill, its effect would that power in local elections, such as municipal be (and I have examined it carefully enough to or town elections, or something of that sort. I make that assertion with entire confidence) to have no doubt there may be merit iu it, but destroy party organization. There are, perhaps, it remains for investigation and practice to detersome who believe that this would be a blessing. I mine that point. It is altogether too soon for us to am not of that class. I am aware that there are embody it in the fundamental law of the State. many evils incident to party organization. But I But, sir, I object to it for another reason, and it is hold them as necessary for securing a much greater this, that it necessitates the large territorial disgood. I believe, sir, that parties are essential to tricts. All the reasons that I have heard advanced the preservation of freedoro. I believe that in favor of the large districts have failed to satisfy republican institutions would endure but a very me of their wisdom. I was very much surprised short time after their destruction. The principle yesterday to hear the eloquent gentleman from on which party organization is grounded is this: Onondaga (Mr. Andrews] pass the extraordinary It is to ignore differences of opinion on minor sub. eulogy he did upon what he termed the Albany jects and matters of detail for the sake of secur- regency. I agree with him entirely that the ing the success of more important measures. It is tendency of large districts is to place more ocly by that means that States can make progress. power in the hands of the central political power When one reform is securely accomplished, parties at the seat of government. I apprehend that that band together to secure another and another. gentleman referred, not to the regency of his own These are the steps by which we advance to a party, but to the regency of the democratic higher civilization." Without party organization party, which, when that party was in we could not secure them at all. That is one of power in this State, controlled its action the advantages of parties; and they have another and governed its policy. It belonged to a which is even greater. Without that vigilance and party for which I have no right to speak. watchfulness which is inherent in party, and which I will

, however, say this, that in my judgment, it is absolutely essential to its success, we could not was infinitely superior to that central power which expect fidelity in the administration of the govern- has governed the party to which I belong. I cannot ment. We all know that when the party in power believe that the gentleman intended his eulogy swerves a single step from the right, the oppo- for the central political power of tho republican site party stands ready to take advantage of it. party, which has existed here ever since its organIt cannot depart even in a very trifling degree ization, and which has stretched its long arm to from the line of strict duty and fidelity to the the State conventions to control its nominations, interests of the public, without being ousted and land to the senate and assembly districts and

endeavored to control them, and, if failing in in the city of New York to elect every Senthat, when those elected have come up to this ator. city, getting them within its folds and moulding The question was then announced on the first them to its base purposes here. If the gentle-part of the amendment of Mr. A. J. Parker, as man can pass a eulogy on such a power as that, follows: his experience must differ from mine. For one, Sec. 2. The Legislature for 1868 shall divide I am in favor of holding the representative the State into eight senate districts, to be numstrictly responsible to his constituents, and to bered from one to eight inclusive ; each district bring him as near to them as possible. That to contain, as nearly as may be, an equal number is the way we shall secure fidelity. I was of inhabitants, excluding aliens. No county shall equally surprised to hear the gentleman from be divided except it shall contain a greater popu. Ontario (Mr. Folger) pleading for the independ-lation than is necessary for one senate district. ence of the representative, and for the quadruple The question was put on the division, and it system of representation in order to divide the was declared lost. responsibility. If there is any force in the argu The question was then announced on the ment, it struck me then, as I fuel it must second part of the amendment of Mr. A. J. Parker, have struck the minds of almost every one as follows: who heard him, as an argument against rather There shall be thirty-two Senators, four to be than in favor of large districts. What we want is elected in each senate district. The term of office direct, immediate responsibility of the representa- shall be four years, except that the Senators tive to his constituency. This thing called chosen at the first election, in the first, third, fifth independence on the part of the representative, and seventh districts shall hold their offices for if it means anything, it means independeuco to do two years only. what the constituency does vot desire, and what The question was then put on the second part will not promote the public good. Whenever we as read, and it was declared lost. see a representative becoming independent, it is The question was then announced on the third with a view of promoting his own interest and not part as the amendment of Mr. A. J. Parker, as that of the public. For these reasons I voted last follows: evening in favor of small districts; I am satisfied The first election shall take place at the general they are best, and for the reasons I have slated I election in 1868, and no elector shall, either at the shall feel constrained to vote against the proposi- first or at any subsequent election, vote for more tion of the gentleman from Albany [Mr. A. J. than three candidates. Parker).

Mr. A. J. PARKER--I have no right to be Mr. PRINDLE-I do not wish to make a heard without the consent of the Convention, but speech, but I desire for two or three minutes I would like to answer a few of the objections to call the attention of the committee to that made by the gentleman from Chenango (Mr. portion of the plan proposed by the gentleman Prindle). from Albany (Mr. A. J. Parker), in which he Mr. FOLGER - I object. proposes to give a representation to minorities. The question was then put on the last part of The gentleman from Westchester (Mr. Greeley). the amendment of Mr. A. J. Parker, and it was last evening stated that this plan would declared lost. allow the majority in the city of New Mr. FLAGLER - I offer the following amendYork to elect all the Senators sent fron ment: Insert after the following words: “The New York. He stated this was a mistake State shall be divided into thirty-two senatorial because it would require a majority of four-lifths districts, each one of which shall choose one in order to elect. Now, sir, suppose that hero is Senator," the following: a sentorial district in which there are twenty "And the term of office shall be four years. thousand votes (I take this small number, because The Legislature, at its first session after the adopit is convenient for my illustration). Suppose tion of this constitution, shall make this division the majority have twelve thousand votes, the into thirty-two senate districts, which shall be minority have eight thousand, and the majority numbered from one to thirty-two inclusive. Said make four sets of tickets. Suppose A, B, C and districts shall be formed of contiguous territory, D, are the candidates proposed by the majority. and, as near as may be of an equal number of inThey make one set of tickets upon which they habitants, excluding aliens; and no county shall be place A, B and C, they make another set upon divided in the formation of a senate district exwhich they place B, C and D, and they make cept such as are equitably entitled to more than another set upon which they place C, D and A, ove Senator. and another on which they place D, A and B. “At the first election under said arrangement If they can distribute those votes equally among of districts, the Senators elected in districts havthe voters belonging to the party of the majority, ing odd numbers shall vacate their offices at the and they could easily do so by having men at the end of two years, and those elected in districts polls to distribute them equally, the twelve thou- having even numbers at the end of four years; sand majority in that senatorial district could cast and as vacancies occur by the expiration of term for each of their four Senators nine thousand they shall be filled by the election of Senators for votes apiece, more than the minority of eight the full term of four years," thousand could possibly cast for any one person; I have a single word of explanation to make in therefore, I say that the gentleman from West- regard to the change I propose in this substitute. chester (Mr. Greeley] was entirely correct when the proposition is to make the Senators elected, he stated that this plan would allow the majority one-half evory two years instead of being eleco

ted one-quarter each year. My preference is for will be in order to test the sense of the committee the proposition as I made or proposed to make by a resolution upou each of these propositions it

, to have ove-quarter of the Senators elected separately; first, that the sense of the committee each year. So many of the gentlemen have sugo be taken upon the question of a four-year senagested to me on this floor their preference for the atorial term; second, whether the terms of office election of one-half of the Senate, that I have of one-quarter or one-half of the Senators shall changed the proposition and presented it in the expire each year. form I have read. It will chauge the Senate by The CHAIRMAN In the opinion of the an election every two years, one-half being Chair, resolutions are not now in order. elected every two years instead of one-quarter Mr. LANDON - Before a vote is taken on this each year, thus taking four years to change the question I would like to ask the gentleman from entire body of the Senate. At this late hour I Niagara (Mr. Flagler) what his object is in directwill not further detain the committee, because ing the Legislature to make a now apportionment the proposition is so simple that all can com- of the senate districts, unless it is to superprehend it; and I will leave it for the committee sede the apportionment which has already been to dispose of as they, in their judgment, shall adopted by this committee ? If that is the object deem expedient.

I would like to have it expressed. Mr. HARDENBURGH - I move that the com. Mr. FLAGLER-The proposition I have made I mittee do now rise. We have performed arduous think is very plain. I think that any word of exlabors this day, and it is well known that we planation on my part is unnecessary. If the genhave been invited out."

ileman from Schenectady (Mr. Landon) will recall Mr. FOLGER -- I rise to a point of order. A the words of that amendment he will observe that motion for the committee to rise is not debatable. it proposes to strike out that part of the propo

The CHAIRMAN - The point of order is well sition as it stands before the committee and insert taken.

a proposition to refer the question of the appor. The question was then put on the motion of Mr. tionment of the districts to the Legislature. "I do Hardenburgh, and it was declared lost. it because I prefer that method. I think it better

Mr. BOWEN - Are amendments now in order ? it should be thus referred to the Legislature than The CHAIRMAN - In the opinion of the to take the time of this committee and encounter Chair another amendment is not now in order, the difficulties which would surround it if we there being two pending.

attempt to make this arrangement. Mr. FLAGLER - I would suggest that if the Mr. BALLARD-While I agree with the propchange I have made does not meet the approba. osition of the gentleman from Niagara (Mr. Flagtion of gentlemen, it would conform to my own ler], in regard to the terms of office aud classitifirst choice to have it passed as I originally drew cation, I do not agree with him in that portion of his it. If there is any ditficulty I ask for a division amendment which strikes out the present senate of the question.

districts of this state. It is that part of my amendMr. LEE—The amendment I proposed was to ment which was acted upon last night and adopted. try the question before the committee, as to the proposition of the gentleman from Niagara whether they prefer to elect one-quarter of thirty is to strike that out. It would have suited me two Senators every year, or one-half every two and I think a majority of the Convention better, years. I should prefer to have one-quarter elected if his proposition, instead of striking out, had every year distributed throughout the State. been to add after the words "each of which

Mr. BICKFORD - Could we not have unan- senate districts shall choose one Senator," imous consent that this amendment be these words: “who shall be chosen at the withdrawn to take a

the amend general election which shall be held next after ment offered by the gentleman from Rich the adoption of this Constitution, sixteen of moud (Mr. E. Brooks]? If it is determined whom, namely, those elected in the first, third, by the committee that there shall be thirty fifth, seventh ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, two Senators, and as this proposition will fifteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth, twenty-first, take the county of Jefferson from the third twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, twendistrict, had we not better take a vote on the ty.ninth and thirty-first districts, shall hold amendment I refer to, so that we can consider two their offices for two years, and those elected from propositions which are really germane to the sub- the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, twelfth, ject at the same time?

fourteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, twentieth, A division of the amendment was called for. twenty - second, twenty-fourth, twenty-sixth,

Mr. BARKER- It seems to me that as twenty-eighth, thirtieth and thirty-second disthe substitute offered by the gentleman from tricts, shall hold their offices for four years, and Cortland (Mr. Ballard) has been voted upon by every two years thereafter, beginning with the the committee and adopted, the amendment pro- sixteen districts first named, and then with the posed by the gentleman from Richmond (Mr. E. sixteen districts secondly above pamed, there Brooks) must fall, as it is not germane to any propo- shall be elected sixteen Senators, who shall hold sition that is left

, and that another amendment their offices for four years from and including might be entertained by the Chair without the the first day of January next following their violation of any rule, because it is entirely oppo- election." i do pot believe in meddling with site.

the districts as now organized. It would be betThe CHAIRMAN- The Chair is of the opinion ter, if we stand upon the single district system as the amendment now pending is in order. now organized, and which apportionment has been

Mr. SPENCER - I wish to inquire whether it made with full deliberation and care, to have a

vote on

four years'term of office, classifying the Senators in think it wiser to conform to that amendment as the manner I have indicated. I call for a division suggested by the gentleman from Cortland (Mr. of this question so that the Convention may un- Ballard] than to leave this matter to the Legislature. derstand what they are voting upon, in the first Mr. KETCHAM-The Legislatures have varied place, in regard to the term of office, and then the the apportionment provided for in the Constitunext question is whether there shall be a distribu- tion. tion of districts as they now exist, or whether that Mr. DALY – Those exceptions confirm the distribution shall be thrown over.

existence of the general rule. Mr. DALY - Do I understand the gentleman Mr. E. A. BROWN-I simply rise to ask a from Cortland [Mr. Ballard) as willing to accept question so that there will be no misunderstandthat portion of the proposition of the gentleman ing about it, whether the amendment of the genfrom Niagara (Mr. Flagler), making the term of tleman from Cortland (Mr. Ballard) as adopted office four years instead of two?

last night, includes the senate districts precisely Mr. BALLARD— Yes, sir.

as they were formed by the Legislature of 1866. The CHAIRMAN announced the question to be The CHAIRMAN - The Chair so understands on the first part of the amendment of Mr. Flagler, it. as follows:

Mr. BICKFORD-I apprehend that it is "Insert after the words, 'the State shall be di equitable to adopt this amendment and to vided into thirty-two senatorial districts, each one have a new apportionment for this reason. of which shall choose one Senator,' the follow. We propose a different basis of suffrage ing: "and the term of office shall be four years.'

.?" in the present Constitution from what has heretoThe question was then put on that portion of fore existed. The present apportionment was the amendment, and it was declared carried. made on the basis of excluding from the repreA count was called for.

sentative population of the State aliens and per. Mr. BICKFORD-I hope that the amendment sons of color not taxed. Now we propose to will be voted down.

admit persons of color to suffrage, and of course The CHAIRMAN-Discussion on the question equity requires a different apportionment. That is not pow in order.

is all I have to say on the subject. Mr. BICKFORD– I supposed it had been held The question was put on the second part of the that it was.

amendment of Mr. Flagler, and, on a division, it Mr. BALLARD-Let me inquire if an affirma. was declared lost. tive vote on the proposition strikes out the present Mr. BALLARD — Is an amendment now in apportionment.

order? Mr. FLAGLER-It will not. I do not desire The CHAIRMAN - The Chair will inform the to have any nuisunderstanding with regard to gentleman that an amendment is not in order, as this. If this clause is adopted, the term of office we have not yet got through with the amendwill be four years.

ment of the gentleman from Niagara (Mr. FlagThe question was again put on the first part of ler). the amoudmeut offered by Mr. Flagler, and it was The SECRETARY proceeded to read the declared adopted.

third portion of the amendment of Mr. Flagler, as Mr. FLAGLER-I move to amend the amend follows: ment of the gentleman from Cortland [Mr. Bal " At the first election under said arrangement lard], as it now stands, by striking out all after of districts, the Senators elected in districts the words "four years," just adopted, and insert- having odd numbers shall vacate their offices at ing the following, which is the second clause of the end of two years, and those elected in disthe amendment I offered:

tricts having even numbers at the eud of four "The Legislature, at its first session after the years, and as vacancies occur by the expiration of adoption of this Constitution, shall make this term, they shall be filled by the election of division into thirty-two senate districts, which Senators for the full term of four years." shall be numbered from one to thirty-two inclu Mr. EVARTS - I take it that on this question, sive. Said districts shall be formed of contiguous those who vote affirmatively, prefer a division of territory, and as near as may be an equal num- the Senate and an election of Senators biennially, ber of inbabitants, excluding aliens, and no county and those who vote negatively prefer to divide shall be divided in the formation of a senate the Senators into four classes and to elect one. district, except such as are equitably entitled to quarter annually. more than one Senator."

Mr. ALVORD-I shall vote against this propoMr. CORBETT — The point I desire to ascertain sition for this simple reason. I am opposed, is whether the adoption of that amendment will and decidedly opposed (and if geutlemen strike out the apportionment presented in the will recollect they will see that that must amendment of the gentleman from Cortland [Mr. be the feeling of the Convention), to a Ballard).

portion of this State electing a portion of Mr. ÉLAGLER - This amendment does; but I the Senate at different times and periods from would be glad to have the vote of the committee the entire State electing a Senate. I am in favor on that point to test its pleasure.

of a four years' continuance in office of a Senator. Mr. DALY-I have but one suggestion to I am in favor of it because it is the best thing we make in reference to the amendment. Hitherto can get, but I am not in favor of the western in the Constitutions of this State, the apportion portion of this State electing at the end of two meut has been fixed in the Constitution itself and years and the eastern portion of it electing at the has not been determined by the Legislature. Ilend of two years after that.

Mr. FLAGLER—It does not propose such a Mr. HATCH — I do not propose to take any division.

appeal from the decision of the Chair, but it seems Mr. ALVORD-I only put this by way of illus- to me a very plain question that we are going tration. You commence at No. 1 to elect at the over it again. Wu passed upon it two or three end of two years, and No. 2 at the end of four times this evening years, then district No. 1 again at the end of six Mr. BALLARD - This proposed amendment years, and so on. What I object to is an election involves the overthrow of the vote last evening over only half of the State at the same time for establishing thirty-two districts in the Slate. It Senators.

is not true to the extent that has been stated, that Mr. CORBETT—The illustration of the gentle. there would be no election except every four years; man from Onondaga (Mr. Alvord) would be worth elections would occur every two years. By laying something if the odd districts were in one part of that feature aside we lose the benefit of two the State and the even in the other.

years' experience in the Senate constantly, and it The question was put on the last portion of the has been admitted that there was a need of amendment of Mr. Flagler, and it was declared experience in the Senate. carried, on a division, by a vote of 69 to 33. Mr. RATHBUN-I rise to a question of order.

The CHAIRMAN — The question now is on I would like to know what question is pending the amendmont proposed by the gentleman from before the committee ? Richmond, Mr. E. Brooks, to the second section The CHAIRMAN — The pending question is as au:ended.

the motion of Mr. Schoonmaker, to strike out the Mr. SCHOONMAKER – I propose the follow- word "thirty-two" wherever it occurs, and insert ing amendment:

"sixteen," and to strike out the word "one" and Str.ke out the word "thirty-two" wherever it insert "two." occurs and insert “sixteen." Amend direction Mr. RATHBUN - Did the Chair decide that as to pumber of Senators for each district by strik- the amendment was proper ? ing out "one" and inserting “two," making two The CHAIRMAN - The Chair is of opinion it Senau rs from each district, the Legislature so to į is proper. regulate the term of office that eight Senators Mr. RATHBUN- Then I submit that there is shall be elected every year.

no question before the Convention, that the Mr. FLAGLER - I rise to a point of order, gentleman (Mr. Ballard] is wrong, and there can that the amendment of the gentleman is in direct be no appeal. coullict with the affirmative rote on the amend Mr. BALLARD - I am arguing the question rent already adopted.

of the amendment, not the question of order. The CHAIRMAN — The Chair is of opinion Mr. RATHBUN — The gentleman is arguing hat the amendment can be received.

that it is re-opening the decision of the Conven. Mr. BARKER-I do not rise to make a tion upon his amendment. That is his argument speech, so gentlemen need not put on long faces. The CHAIRMAN - The Chair understands I voted for the term of four years with the that he is arguing the impropriety of the com. expectation that before the subject was disposed mittee adopting the amendment. of the other propositions which bear upon the Mr. RATHBUN - That is an argument against amendment would be considered. I think electors the decision of the Chair. (Laughter.] should be allowed to participate in the choice of Mr. BALLARD - When the vote is taken it Senator oftener than once in four years. The ought to be understood by the committee what dividing of the State into small constituencies, the effect of adopting this amendment of the aud th n silencing the voice of the people for four gentleman from Ulster (Mr. Schoonmaker] will years, -o that it would not be heard in one of the be. It will be to overthrow the thirty-two or representative departments of the government, single district system, and to adopt the sixteen I say, is an injustice. If we had the large dis- district system. tricts, and had four Senators in each, and elect Mr. SCHOONMAKER-I did not intend say. one every year, then each elector in the district ing a word on this subject, but inasmuch as others could vote and his sentiment would come fresh into have spoken on it I wish to state the object of it. the Legislature each year. Now, I wish that It is now in contemplation, as I understand it, to this amendment as proposed may be adopted. have the term of the Senator four years, and to Then in each two years as they succeed have an election every two years for sixteen Sen. until the Constitution shall be amended again ators, to have sixteen Senators go out every two each elector may vote for a Senator, and he is years. My object is to divide the State oftener heard on the popular subjects which are into sixteen senatorial districts, giving two submitted to the people, and I beg delegates not Senators to each district, then having the to forget how often the popular issues of the day term of office four years, and having an election are changing, how often the people desire to be in every senate district for one Senator every heard on this subject of representation in the two years. Legislature of the State.

The question was then put upon the amendThe Chair announced the question to be on the ment of Mr. Schoonmaker, and it was declared amendment of Mr. Schoonmaker.

lost, on a division, by a vote of 40 to 69. Mr. HATCH - I would like to know whether Mr. SCHELL - I beg leave to offer the followthat is not bringing up the question again of iog amendment to section 2 as amended: thirty-two districts, practically?

Strike out after the words "four years," and The CHAIRMAN — The Chair has just decided insert : that the amendment is in order.

" And shall be constituted as follows: An enu.

« AnteriorContinuar »