Imagens das páginas

sing the number from one hundred and twenty-nearer at the sense of the people than by any eight to one hundred and thirty-nine will not other plan we can frame. This committee has destroy the eficiency of the Assembly, I am in already decided that small districts are most adfavor of the increase, and, as I said, against the visible in the election of Senators. The same argu. amendment of the gentleman from Albany (Mr. ments which apply in that case apply with equai A. J. Parker).

and with stronger force to members of Assembly. Mr. BERGEN I think, Mr. Chairman, that I hope, therefore, that the single district system the gentleman from Rensselaer (Mr. Seymour] for members of Assembly, which is now in force, was in error when he stated that in small dis- will be continued. As to the number of members tricts the people would be necessarily confined to to be selected for the Assembly, there may be a taking candidates from their districts. I know difference of opinion; and upon that point I have of no law, and doubt if the gentleman can point not exactly arrived at a conclusion whether it to any, that prevents the election or nomination should be increased or not, but I hope by all of individuals residing outside of their district as means, the small district system will be continued members of Assembly. They would have the as being most democratic and most likely to represame privilege they now have of selecting from sent the views of the people of this state. any part of the county or any part of the State Mr. LEE-The committee having decided to any elector of the State. There is nothing gained adopt the single senate district system, to carry out by that at all. I am not in favor of the large the idea will, I have no doubt, after due deliberation, district system. If the gentleman's argument decide to adopt the single assembly district syshas any weight, why not elect our members of tem, and thus preserve the system in all its symCongress from the whole State ? If his argu- metry. While I should not ohject to a moderate ments have any force, why not take our members increase of the members of the Assembly, I of the Senate from the whole State, so as to have think it better to favor the amendment of the genthe wide field the gentleman desires to select tleman from Albany (Mr. A. J. Parker), so far as from? We have the right to do it now.

it relates to the number, one hundred and twentyMr. SEYMOUR – Will the gentleman from eight. So far as it relates to the district, I should Kings [Mr. Bergen] permit me to ask him a favor the amendment of the gentleman from Jefquestion ? I wish to ask him if the right of se- ferson (Mr. Merwiu). It will be conceded, I lection is, as he says, so extensive, whether he think, by every member of the committee, that has ever known it to be exercised ?

in the Assembly, the inost popular branch of the Mr. BERGEN I have. There have been legislative body, it is proper to come down to the cases where it has been exercised. There are body of this people and select from the several members here now elected to this Constitutional localities in die State meu who will truly and corConvention who do not reside in the district from rectly, and from their intimate relations with their which they were elected; there are two from constituúlti, moru ubly represent them than it the county of Kings at this time. The cau be done by thu selection of men on a general right has been exercised on various occa- ticket. It is claimed that to nominate and elect sions. I hold that the small district system by counties wo se'nre abler men in the Legislais the democratic system. A pure democracy is ture than log singla districts. Now, to assume where the people assemble together, and each this is to assume that the whole is greater than man votes on every question; and the nearer we all its parts; for certainly by the single district can approach to this, the nearer we approach pure system we embrace the whole in the aggregate. democracy, which I hold to be the best democracy. I suppose in that respect no argument worth any. In a large population you cannot have all directly thing can bo drawn in favor of the ono or the participate in the government, but the nearer other on the score of getting abler men. If tho you get to that point the better. We have a people in a special locality choose to elect incomrepresentative, under our present system, from petent men, their interests must suffer, and theirs each locality--from each district; we bring him alone ; so there will be nono to complain it that in contact with the party he represents; he result should happen. They can remedy that knows their views and represents the views of difficulty. Perhaps, were I a citizen of Troy, or of that district.

Albany, or of Hudson, or of Schenectady, business Mr. SCHUMAKER—Did I understand the gen. centers of the counties in which they are, where tleman to say that there were two delegates there is an identity of interest, a community of elected from Kings county who do not reside feeling, I might, like gentlemen representing some there?

of those localities, at least be in favor of electing Mr. BERGEN-I say there are two members members of Assembly by county ticket. But, here now repres ing districts in Kings couuty sir, I represent in part a county differently circumwho do not reside in those districts.

stanced. The county of Oswego has sent, and will Mr. SCHUMAKER—Who are they?

continue to send if the number of 128 remains, Mr. BERGEN-Mr. Barnard and Mr. Lowrey ; three members to the Assembly. Each of these they reside in the district where I reside. several assembly districts, while they have cer

Mr. SCHUMAKER-This is news to me. tain interests in common, yet have a local interest

Mr. BERGEN-I understaud so. But I say to protect and foster; for example, one distriot the nearer we can bring these men to the people embracing the city of Oswego, while it has interthey represent the better. The small districts bring ests in common with the other districts, has a them in contact with the people they immediately commercial interest by lake and by canal, which represent, and by that means minorities have is the leading interest; another district lying on representation here, and by that means we arrive the borders of Oneida Lake and the Oneida Lake

Improvement, while it shares in common the Assembly, and it has always had it repcertain interests with the city of Oswego, has resented in the Assembly, and that is what has interests peculiar to its own locality, and the peo- been called the manor interest-the interest in conple in that district would desire to send to the nection with the title under which they held Assembly a man who was perfectly familiar with their land. We have none of that interest in the and knew the wishes of his constituents and Troy district, and they have very little of it in would honestly represent them. So, too, we have the upper district. The city of Troy, which has another district which has certain interests in been a separate assembly district, has had intercommon with the other two, but still its leading ests of its own every year, in which the rest of the interest is in railroad transportation-lying on county has had no interest whatever, and the true either side of the Rome and Watertown railroad. way of representing the county of Rensselaer has Its business interests are transacted over that been to allow the lower district to elect its own road and through that channel, consequently men according to its own notions to reprewhen the interests of that people in regard to sent it in the peculiar interests that affect the transportation are to be considered, they desire to whole people of that district. The city of be heard, and they desire to be heard through one Troy, has sent its men representing the whole who understands their interests, and who keeps interests of the city of Troy; and so it will be on guard to see those interests may not be inva- throughout the State. I think if you look ded. So that from these several considerations, at the counties in this State that have more and many others that might be furnished, I think than one representative you will find there are it is clear

several local interests they represent; but Here the gavel fell, the gentleman's time having whether that be so or not, I believe the true expired.

principle of representative government is to-day Mr. M. I. TOWNSEND - I am opposed to the what it was at the establishment of the governproposition of the gentleman from Albany (Mr. ment, that we should come as near to sending the A. J. Parker), and my opposition to it arises from man himself to sit in the Assembly at it is possi. the fact that I am in favor of the representation ble to come, that we shvuld come as near to of the people. I utterly repudiate this old federal actual personal representation as it is practicable doctrine, which I had hoped had died out of this to bring, the organization of government. country, that devices must be formed to pre Mr. DUGANNE-I am opposed to the county vent the representation of the people. The docor large and compound representation in the trine of a republican government is that, each man Assembly, because I believe it reverses the prin. who is an elector is to participate in the admin- ciple of immediate representation which ought to istration of the government, and if he cannot go be at the base of the popular House. I can see, himself, and participate in legislation, he sends sir, that instead of representing, as it should, the a representative and it has been the policy since single community and the small circle, it may repthis government was established to come as near resent a consolidation of interests which are elto the sending of the man himself to the tirely opposite to the interests of the people. I assembly as it was possible to come, and I can see that in some instauces a conuty reprebelieve myself that this policy has worked sentative may be nominated and controlled by a well. I do not believe in the doctrine that since county clique of politicians; I can suppose that the adoption of the Constitution of 1846 inferior in districts lying upon the Central railroad, that men have been sent to the Assembly of the great interest might control one connty after State. I do not believe there is a district in this another, aud send its agents or friends in a conState entitled to à representative in the solidated force to tho popular branch of the LegisAssembly that has not an abundance of lature; I believe that eveu the principle of municimen fully capable of coming here and sitting as pal representation, as such, might obtain, in this representatives of the district. I, sir, utterly respect

, wlien, as in the county of New York, the repudiate this doctrine of great men; I know city of New York could send the entire delega. very little about great men; men are only relation, and control that delegation for municipal tively great, and men that are great in one sub- interests against the interests of the people, and ject may be very small in another. I believe thus misrepresent a large minority, at least, of that the common-sense men upon this floor are as the voters in that city. For these reasons I am great as the greatest in matters of judgment; and opposed to the county representation, and, morethe more I seo of legislation, and the more I see over, I deny the fact that we can get better men of action in public assemblies, the more am I by such mode of representation. I look around confirmed in the impression with which I came me, in this chamber, and can recognize some of here, that the average common sense of men is the gentlemen who have argued that better men the best guide even in matters of legislation. I may be obtained by a county representation, and entirely differ from my colleaguo [Mr. Seymour] yet those gentlemen themselves have heretofore in regard to the doctrine he has laid down illustrated, by their presence in the Legislature, a what countios generally have


one system of election from single districts. I can interest. Sir, the assembly districts of the see the honorable gentleman from Onondaga (Mr. county in which I live have by no Alvord), the gentleman from New York (Afr. means a unity of interest. Since 1846 it has Opdyke], the gentleman from Oneida (Mr. Sheralways been the case that the south assembly man), the gentleman who now occupies the district-the district lying immediately across the chair [Mr. Archer), the chairman of the commitriver--has had an interest of its own, an interest tee which presented this report (Mr. Merritt), and which it has desired to have represented in many other men whom no one will contend are

not peers of any politician in the State in respect, in the legislative organization, or by somoto statesmaplike ability; and I contend that the thing else which has not been suggested. people know their representatives, know their We have had the reports of two committees, both neighbors, know their friends, and can select from committees, in point of numbers and character, in their immediate circles better men than could ever every way commanding the confidence of this be selected for them through cliques or com. Convention and of the people of the State, and we binations of politicians operating in county con. attach no importance whatever to their laventions.

bors. They spent nearly two months in the Mr. SPENCER-I am in favor of some increase consideration and formation of this report, and in the number of representatives, and for this reason. we are spending four or five days in tearing The number one hundred and twenty-eight was it to pieces. I say, Mr. Chairman, this adopted over forty-five years ago, nearly half a cen- may be all right, I may be entirely wrong, no remtury, when the population of the State was less than edy may be required, there may be no corruption one-third what it is now, and when a single repre- in the Legislature, we may have nothing to accomsentative represented only eight or ten thousand plish, and if that is the case I ask what occasion of the population, while with the present popula- there was for a Constitutional Convention ? tion of the State, and the proposed number of one Mr. M. H. LAWRENCE—The gentleman (Mr. hundred and twenty-eight each, he will represent Daly) says that the people of the State demand a about twenty-five thousand. It seems to me, sir, change in respect to the character of our Legislathat we should accommodate the number in some ture and its organization. I merely wish to state degree at least to the increased population of the that I represent here an assembly district-one Stato. I am in favor also, of an election by coun. of the rural districts of this State, and I do claim ties, and for this reason, that the county and the to be somewhat conversant with the popular feel. town and the city are the only political divisions ing of my district; and, sir, I never heard one senand the only political communities which are timent uttered by way of dissatisfaction with the known in the State, and there is no other reason. Constitution of 1846, in respect to the organizaable mode of apportioning the representatives of tion of the Legislature. And certainly one of the the people except by the political communities or wisest things the Convention of 1846 did was in the political divisions into which the State is the organization of single senate districts and the divided.

organization of the assembly districts in the manner Mr. DALY—I supposed when I came to this in which they did organize them. We have gen. Couvention that the people expected certain tlemen here on this floor arguing in favor of large changes from the Constitution of 1846. I supposed districts for county representation. Sir, I am only that there was such a thing as legislative corruption convinced of this one truth-that the gentlemen but from the character of the arguments here I distrust the people of this State and their ability am led to believe that I must have been mistaken, to govern themselves. What I shall do in this and that the Legislature during the last ten or Convention will be to try to vote here as my twelve years compares in every respect with any constituents would vote if they were able to deposit previous Legislature in the State. I believe the their ballots. I claim that that is the true repre. people think differently, whatever gentlemen may sentative government. Gentlemen talk about a think or say here-that they expect changes; but certain class of philosophers having expounded the only result so far has been that, with one what was the government in its foundation, and exception, we have been re-enacting the Con- they told us that its foundation was in the will of stitution of 1846. We have decided to have the God. Perhaps that view is correct. The gentlesame number of Senators, and it is now pro- man from Oneida (Mr. T. W. Dwight] told us that posed that should have the

should form the best Constitution we number of Assemblymen. I may be mistaken, could, and advise the people what to do. Mr. Chairman, but I anticipate that the people Sir, we the

of the people, expect something more. The gentleman from having come here to do their bidding and to obey Kings (Mr. Bergen) says it is desirable to bring their wishes, if we know what their wishes are. things down to a pure democracy. He knows I believe the voice of the people is the voice of something about the kind of pure democracy that God. That is my idea of a republican government. prevails. I knew something of it in former days, I believe that we should try to find out wliat the and something of it now. It is the assem- wishes of our constituents are, and then try to bling together of a certain number of men, conform to them, I hope, sir, that the present who arrange what the people shall do, and when organization of the Legislature, as adopted by the the people go to the polls they take in hand Convention of 1846, will be adhered to. a bundle of tickets merely to record the will of Mr. RATEBUN-I have been interested in these gentlemen. It is a mere matter of nomina- the course of this debate, and more especially tion, aud the only difference iu regard to it is with the argument of certain gentlemen, and I re. whether you have a county nomination or a district gret that there was not more of them who are so nomination. It is simply a question of whether entirely devoted to the interests of the people, and you will be controlled by larger politicians or who are under so great apprehension that the smaller, for the process is the same in each in people are to be ruined. Gentlemen have made it stance. In my judgment the people know this, a point to express with great vehemence their the people expect some change from this Conven- especial regret and their extreme apprebention, and, so far as I can see, there is no indi- sion that the people are going to be ruined in some cation of a desire to make any change. If any way by enlarging the field of representation. They thing is to be expected it is by a changel have urged this point, that the people ought not to


same we





be allowed to come together to elect a representa-, most of the great principles of civil rights and tive from the county because it removes the repre- liberty to which we now adhere, which were sentative so far from the people, and is a distrust brought over to this country by our fathers. of the people. My friend from Yates [Mr. M. H. Such divisions remain to-day in almost all the old Lawrence), who has just taken bis seat, who settled parts of the State the same as they represents a county that has but a single district, existed in our colonial state, which have has given bis warning to the members of the ever since been recognized politically and Convention who represent large counties that civilly in every possible way. The gentlemen they are about to abandon the people. Now, of this Convention desire to regulate cities and what is the differeuce whether the people of the other municipal corporations by general laws county, as a county, vote for the representative of which, of course, will necessarily take away the the county to be elected annually, or whether necessity of representing minute local interests they divide up the vote for the representative to by dividing the State into small districts. be elected appually. The peakness of the thing to Mr. SCHUMAKER-- Which country does the the people, as I understand it, is the frequency of gentleman refer to ? election. That is what brings it home to the Mr. ROBERTSON -I will answer that outpeople, not the large district nor the small dis- side after my six minutes are over. This division trict. That has nothing to do with the case at into counties, with county officers and governall. But how often do the people elect? That is ment, as continued down to the present time, has the nearness to the people. Now, sir, the propo- been found convenient, and has been respected sition is to elect members of the Legislature annu- by every Constitution of the State, and the repreally, Does the gentleman have any apprehension sentation of counties in this State has always that the people of the county cannot secure men been kept up to the present time. So sacred to represent the county by county lines as well have counties been held, that I find, even in reand as effectually, and men as well known gard to the divisions of the State for the purpose of and competent when they are electing Senators by districts which are required elected by a part of the county. We to be artificially made by the Legislature, and were told yesterday it would not do to have which, although provided for in the Constitution large senate districts, because the people could of the State, may be changed, that county lines are not know anybody outside of county lines. required to be so respected, that, even in this Nobody then dared to insinuate that the people artificial division, the people of the State have could not know anybody inside of county lines. always maintained, with religious respect, the inIf we are to take the argument to-day, it is that tegrity of the body commonly known as counties the people are not sufficiently intelligent to be having separate political organizations for able to choose anybody outside of the assembly local purposes, so as to have them repredistrict of the county. We have got one absurdi- sented in the Legislature of the State," alty, that seems to be fixed to go into the Constitu- though not represented in the Senate. We are tion as adopted by the Convention, and that is, to be divided, the whole people of the State the election of Senators by single districts, in are to be numerically divided, into separate order to keep them near the people; they are to districts, for the purpose of electing Senabe elected from single districts, and then give tors, and constituting a popular representation. them a run of four years. Is that what the gen. I therefore submit, we ought to maintain tleman calls keeping the thing near the people ? this political division into counties, with their train You elect a man and he runs for a period of four of sheriffs, district attorneys, and other officers, Fears, good or bad, and we have nobody to be and a separate organization, to be repreelected in the mean time to admonish him or to sented as a ody, by a body of men elected from advise with him; but the idea that the man is the county at large, and the county should not be near the people because he is elected from the cut up into separate artificial districts for the pursmall district and for a long time is perfectly pose of having members elected to represent absurd.

them. I have heard much on this subject in reMr. ROBERTSON-As my time is short, I gard to the advantages of small and large districts, will not attempt to contrast the reasons which in regard to preventing political corruption. It is urge me to support the election of representatives a most extraordinary thing, and I would be glad in the Assembly from a county by general ticket, if gentlemen would in some way solve the with those which induced me to vote against enigma, how it happens that notwithstand. large districts and numerous Senators in selecting ing these constant declamations against polirepresentatives for the Senate. I shall merely tical corruption in legislation, and personal content myself with giving a few reasons or per corruption in legislators, which has haps reduce them all to one, why, I am anxious formed the staple commodity of all the jourthe whole county should be represented by a nals in the land. who have nothing else to body of men chosen in one body rather than by say-how it has happened that the same poopie gentlemen selected from different districts into whom we are now so anxious to protect, should which the county is to be subdivided. The di- have sent again and again, by their votes, persons vision of this State into counties is a time honored said to be known as political and corrupt legisladivision, both in the name, and in the partstors to the Legislature of the State; and get the into which the State has continued from its crea- same people have sent here gentlemen so wise, so tion to be divided. It existed before the revolu- prudent, and having so much foresight, that they tion, and such division and name came across the can provide a bulwark, and a breakwater against ocean from that country from which we derived the corruption of these very representatives of


the same people, who are to legislate in another fore look to that body as being more pure, less capacity, and meet in this same chamber here likely to be corrupted, more honest in their legisafter. I would like to have this riddle solved, lative character and dealings, larger minded and and when it is solved I may be prepared then to more intelligent, than those aldermen who subscribe to all these succedanea which are are elected from small districts; and yet proposed here for the purpose of preventing I am proud to say that those aldermen, political corruption and preventing the people coming from those little districts as they do, from sending to the Legislature men who will for. have never been any more corrupt; that they feit their trust.

have been as honest in their legislative character Mr. VAN CAMPEN-I ought to apologize to and dealings; that they have in all things been the Convention for rising to make another speech, as careful of the public weal; that they have but what I wish to say is this: this charge of been as watchful over the interests of the city corruption, if such a thing exists, is not to be they represent; that they have in all things concorrected by a change of districts. When the formed themselves to the true principles which Committee on the Powers and Duties of the should actuate and govern legislators of the great Legislature report, I will have a proposition city of New York, just as much as those who to cure the difficulty, but not in the organization have come from the large districts in the board of the districts. I sympathize with the gentle- of councilmen. Is not this saying enough ? Those men from the city of New York who object to aldormen, from those small districts, have always having the county of New York elect the whole been as much on the alert to expose and scathdelegation, and if they will put me in possession of ingly rebuke bribery and corruption; they have the answer I can make to my constituents to the been as careful to scorn a bribe (laughter); they question I propound now, I will go with them. bave been in all things as careful as those dele. You have said that 26,000 of the people in my gates who are so carefully selected from those county are entitled to a representative on this very large districts. I see no difference, and you floor, and we are entitled to two. Now, if you will see no difference in the character of this enable me to answer them when I go home, how house, whether your members come here by and it is that you compel them to take counsel from through chicanery and mixing up of party cliques the people who live in other parts of the county in a county convention, or whether they come as to the man they shall send if you furnish me here direct from the people, by the smaller diswith a conclusive answer on that point, so that tricts. It is not the manner in which they are I will be able to say it was not for the reason. sent. It is the men themselves, and when those you are not competent yourselves, but must con- men can be taught their duty, either in the Legissult with the people in the other part of the lature by their peers, or by the courts, or at home county with regard to the selection of these men, by their constituents, we shall have an honest I may go with you. If you do not give me that Legislature, and not until them. answer I must go against your proposition.

Mr. BICKFORD– I rise for the purpose of callMr. STRATTON—I do not rise to give an ing for a division of the motion proposed by the answer to the gentleman from Cattaraugus (Mr. gentleman from Albany (Mr. A. J. Parker]. He Van Campen). If I had consulted my own feel. proposes to strike out, and then insert. "I will ings, laboring as I am under a very severe cold. call for the question to be first taken on the moI should say nothing. But I feel it a duty to say tion to strike out. a few words, more especially in answer to what The CHAIRMAN—The gentleman is informed has just been said by iwo of my colleagues (Mr. that the motion to strike out is one and indivisible Daly and Mr. Robertson). The whole argument Mr. PRINDLE—I desire to say a single word addressed to us here why we should elect delega. in regard to the increase of representatives tions to the House of Assembly by counties instead to one hundred and thirty-nine, as proposed of single districts, seems to simmer itself down to by the committee. I am in favor of that, and this: that we will get men, by that system, of a I am in favor of it for the reason stated by larger-minded class--men who would be less likely the gentleman from Cortland (Mr. Ballard), beto be corrupted when they come here, because, cause I believe that number is better calculated coming from large districts, they would necessa- to a fair apportionment of the districts, and allows rily be correspondingly greater in every respect large factions in this Stato which are now unrepthan members chosen from smaller districts. I resented to be represented. The gentleman from believe that both are wrong; and if I had time, 1 Cortland (Mr. Ballard] stated the effect of this think I could show by an argument why they are would be to give another member to the county in both wrong. But I will not argue the question which he resides. I would state, Mr. Chairman, further than by a home, and perhaps it may be that the same result would be had in the called before I get through a homely, illustration. county of Chenango. Before the last apporWe have in the city of New York a legislature, tiopment the county of Chenango had for composed of two branches, after the similitude of a great many years two members of Assem. our State Legislature. We have a board of alder bly, but by the last cepsus the population men, elected by small districts, holding their office fell a trifle short of the requisite number for two for two years; we have a board of councilmen, members. Now sir, we have always given and elected from larger districts; and the council

. we give now, in the county of Chenango, more manic district in which I reside is larger by far votes at every election than the adjoining county than the counties of Repsselaer and Washington which has two representatives. I suppose they together. Those in the board of councilmen are have in that county more women and children and elected from these large districts; we must there. I less voters. The number one hundred and thirty

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