Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention the returns of the election for a senatorial delegate to represent the district composed of the counties of Venango, Warren, Jefferson, M'Kean, Potter and 'Tioga, in the Convention, centifying the election of Hiram Payne, in the place of Orlo J, Hamlin, resigned.

Mr. Mann, of Montgomery, presented a memerial from citizens of Montgomery county, praying that measures may be taken effectually to prevent all amalgamation between the white and coloured population, in regard to the government of the state.

Which was laid on the table.

Mr. Mann, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Bucks county;

Which was also lalu the table.

Mr. Selleks, of Montgomery, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Montgomery county.

Which was also laid on the table.

Mr. Sellers, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Bucks 'county.

Which was also laid on the table,

Mr. BONHAM, of York, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of York county.

Which was also laid on the table.

Mr. BIDDLE, of Philadelphia, presented a memorial from citizens of the county of Philadelphia, praying that no change may be made in the existing constitution, having a tendency to create distinctions in the rights and privileges of citizenship, based upon complexion.

Which was also laid on the table.

Mr. Coates, of Lancaster, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Lancaster county.

Which was also laid on the table.

Mr. Carey, of Bucks, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Bucks county.

Which was also laid on the table.

Mr. Earle, of Philadalphia county, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Philadelphia county.

Which was also laid on the table.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Mr. 'Thomas, of Chester, presented a memorial of like import, from citizens of Chester cuunty.

Which was also laid on the table.

Mr. Meredith, of Philedelphia, presented a memorial from citizens of Philadelpliia county, praying that the clause in the constitution u hich gives the qualifications of voters, should be amended by inserting the word " white,” so as to confine the right of suffrage exclusively to that class of citizens.

The petition being read,

Mr. STERIGERE, of Montgomery, moved that the petition be printed.

Mr. HLIESTER, of Lancaster, opposed the motion, and asked for the yeas

and nays on the question. Mr. MEREDITH, characterized the document as argumentative and worthy of being perused and circulated.

Mr. Cox, of Somerset, objected to the printing, on account of the expense.

Mri HIESTER, opposed it because he considered it a bad precedent.

Mr. Forward, of Allegheny, expressed his hope that the petition would be printed, in order that the members might be in possession of the whole of the argument brought forward in favor of restriction, and the abridgment of the liberties of any portion of our citizens. He felt some curiosity to see the argument, and to be in possession of it.

Mr. Brown, of Philadelphia county, said, that if the gentleman from Allegheny would wait until the question came up, he should have the argument, not in favor of the restriction of any existing rights, but to show that the rights to while that gentleman had reference, were rights not guarantied by the constitution.

Mr. Porier, of Northampton, was in favor of printing the petition. He had no desire to go into an argument on the subject at this time; but he should vote for the insertion of the word “white,” whenever the question should come up.

Mr. C'OCHRAN, of Lancaster, asked for the reading of the resolution adopted by the convention, requiring a vole of two-thirds to authorize the printing of a petition.

The resolution was accordingly read by the secretary.

Mr. Earle, of Philadelphia county, expressed his hope that the printing of inis document would be sanctioned by the requisite majority of Iwo-thirils, berause it was the first argument which had been presented on the subject. and ought to receive deliberate consideration at the hands of the convention.

Mr. Fullir, of Fayette, stated that he was opposed to the printing of the petition, although he was in favor of obtaining all the information which could be oblamed on the subject. All memorialists were entitled to equal favor, and if this were printed, other gentlemen presenting other petitions which they may deem it important to have printed, will demand the same privilege, and who can tell what will be the amount of printing required to be done? He hoped the motion to print would not be agreed 10. Any gentleman who desired to look on the petition for the purpose of informing himself of its purport, could do so by going to tho secretary's desk.

The question was then taken on the motion to print, and decided in the affirmative, as follows, viz:

Yeas-Messrs. Agnew, Baldwin, Barclay, Bell, Biddle, Bigelow, Bonham, Brown, of Lancaster, Brown, of Northampton, Brown, of Philade'phia, Carey, Chambers, Chandier, of Philade'phia, Chauncey, Clark, of Dauphin, C arke, of Indi ina, Cline, Coates, Cochran, Cope, Crain, Crawford, Crum, Cummin, Cunningham, (urll, Dar. lington, Denny, Dickey, Donagan, Donnell, Doran, Ear'e, Fleming, Forward, Grenell, Hays, Hig'i, Houpt, Hyde, Ingersoll, Keim, Kennedy, Kerr, Krebs, Long, loyons, Maclay, Migee, Mann, Martin, M'Dowell, M'sh'r y, Mered th, Montgimery, Penny. packer, Pollock, Porter, of Lancaster, Porter, of No:thampton, Read, Rit'er, Royer, Russell, Saeger, Scheetz, Scott, Sellers, Serrill, Shellito, Sill, Smyth, of Centre, Snively, Sterigere, Stickel, Thomas, Todd, Woodward, Sergeant, President -78.

Nays-Messrs. Banks, Barndollar, Cleaving r, Cox, Darrah, Dickerson. Dillinger Dun'op, Fry, Fuller, Gearhart, Gilmore, Hayhurst, Hi ster, Hopkinson, Jenks, Konig. macher, M'Call, Merkel, Se.tzer, Smith, of Columbia, Sturdevant, Weaver, Young-24

Mr. KONIGMACHER, called up for the second reading and consideration of the following resolution heretofore offered by him :

Resolved, That twenty copies of the Debatıs and Journal of this Convention in the English languag', and the like num'er in the German la guage, be deposited in the State Library ; tirty copies each le d-posited in ti.e office of the Secrea y of :he Cummnwealull, to be distributed among the heads of the State d partments; one copy each be d-posited in the prothonota y's and commiss one s' office of the al ciun. ties in the coumonwea'th ; that each of the secre'aries and stenograp!ers of vis Cone ventou receive one cpy each ; the balance to be distributed in qual nu uber of copies among the m·mbers of this Convenio, to be by them placed in such pub.ic libiaries lyceums and other places as they may deem beneficial and proper.

Which was agreed to.
The resolution being under consideration,
Mr. KonigMACHER modified it so as to read as follows:

Resolved, 'That the Deates and Journal of this Convention, ordered to be printed in the Englsh and German language, bu distributed in the following manner, to wit:

COPIES, To the members of the Convention, one copy each,

133 To the three members who have resigned, one copy cach,

3 To the State library,

20 To the prothonotary's and commissioners' office of each county, fifty-three counties, one copy eacli,

106 To the secretaries of the Convention, one copy each,

4 To the sergeant-at-arıms and door keepers, one copy each, To tie stenographers, one copy, To printers of Journal and Debites, one,

2 To ihe Congressional Library, To Governor and heads of departments,

6 seven copies to each member of Convention,

931 The balance to be deposited in the office of the Secretary of State.

[ocr errors]

Mr. STERIGERE moved to refer the resolution to a select committee of soven members, which motion was agreed 10. And,

Ordered, That Messrs. Konigmacher, Sterigere, M'Sherry, Fry, Agnew, M'Dowell, Cleavinger, Russell, and Smith of Columbia, be the committee for the purposes expressed in the resolution.


The Convention then resumed the consideration of the report of the committee on the first article of the constitution, and the 5th section was read as follows :

Section 5. The senators shall be chosen for three years, by the citizens of Philadelphia, and of the several counties, at the same time, in the same manner, and at the same place, where they shall vote for repreBej es.

Mr. EARLE moved to amend the section by substituting for it the following as section fifth, leaving section fisth to be adopted as section sixth.

“Not more than three counties shall be united to form a representative district. No two counties shall be so united unless one of them shall contain less than one-half of the average representative ratio of taxable population. And no three connties shall be so united, unless two of them combined shall contain less than one-half of the representative ratio aforesaid.”

Mr. DICKEY, said the motion was not in order.

M. Earle said, he hoped the motion would be received and adopted. He thought it a very proper and necessary amendment, and the form of offering it was quite immaterial. He had intended to offer it previously to the adoption of the last section, after the debate which we had upon the subject of gerrymandering, but he then found no opportunity. The present rules of proceeding greatly embarrassed the business, for, if we voted in the negative on a question, then the effect of the rules was to make a new law; but if the majority voted in the affirmative, then there was no new law. He offered this amendment for the purpose of preventing the practice of gerrymandering. He hoped there would be no objection to the motion. It was put off at the suggestion of several gentlemen till the second reading, which we were told was the proper time for offering such amendments. But the motion was lost in committee, by only two votes. This amendment was rather different in forın from the former cne. Its object was to reserve a fair and equal representation. He would ask if any gentleman here was not concerned in suppressing, by a fundamental law, the gross partiality and injustice that had been practised in districting representatives and senators by the legislature. Every political party being desirous of maintaining its power, is strongly tempted so to make the apportionment, as to favor its own interests. That had been exemplified by the legislature on many occasions. The legislature of 1835-6, as had been shown here had done much injustice in this way. The amendment if adopted would effectually prevent the practice in future. It would give the people security in their rights, and confidence in the legislature. Under the present system, they cannot feel safe. At every new appoint


ment, they have to run a gauntlet throngh the parties in the legislature. If the predominent party in the legislature be favorable to a particular district, they may be secure of an adequate representation; but the politica of a district or county differ from those of their legislative masters, they must expect to lose a portion of their fair and proper repre

He would ask whether there was a single person here who doubted or desired this? Was there a member on this floor, who was not convinced, in his judgment, that there had been gross partiality practised by the legislature, in making the apportionment of representatives? The gentlemen who offered the amendment, had not undertaken to prove that there was not fraud and partiality in the last apportionment. They did not deny it; nor was it denied, that the partiality evinced by the legislature was of a political character. They took care of their own political interests, giving an undue and uniform proportion of representatives and senators to those counties and districts that were of their own party. If these facts be not denied nor disproved, what reason will be offered for

preventing the practice in future? The operation of the amendment will be equally fair towards all parties. It cannot, like the amendment offered yesterday by the gentleman from Susquehanna, (Mr. Read) be considered as militating against the interests of the party by which the last appor tionment was made. Mr. E. Was himself in favor of some enumeration of taxables, and a new apportionment to be made at an early day. The earliest day in which we could cause a new apportionment to be made, was in 1839, and he was in favor of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Susquehanna, providing that the same enumeration should be ordered by the legislature at their first session after the adoption of the new constitution. But that amendment failed. It was evaded by the usual means of resorting to the previous question. But no good and sufficient argument was offered against the principle of that amendment. The object of this amendment was similar, but it did not provide for a new enumeration. It did not look to a remedy for present evils. It left them to be cured in process of time, by ordinary legislation. It only proposed to guard against the recurrence of those legislative frauds upon the people.

The member from Philadelphia city, who yesterday opposed a motion similar to this, proved conclusively that great abuses have been practised in the distribution of representatives. He contended that there had not been a fair enumeration of the taxables in the city of Philadelphia, and the city called upon the legislature for a remedy. They, he says, refused to approve it. Was not this a proof that an evil existed which must be remedied by a provision like that now offered ? That body also refused to do justice to the county of Philadelphia. Will not the gentleman from the city; go with the members of the county, after the county has suffered so much from the frauds of the legislature, in preventing those abuses hereafter? The members from the county, have been charged with a disposition to do injustice to the city of Philadelphia.

Mr. MEREDITH rose to order. He did not desire to see the city and the county brought again into collision. There had been too much of that. He irusied that the gentlemen from the county, would not press their local quarrels perpetually. They had been the constant theme of discusmon here, since the first meeting of this body. The gentleman's propo

« AnteriorContinuar »