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Kennedy, Krebs, Long. Lyons, Mann, M'Cahen, Merkel, Miller, Myers, Overfield, Per-
So the question was determined in the affirmative.
The convention accordingly resolved itself into a committee of the
Mr. WOODWARD, of Luzerne, moved that the committee proceed to the consideration of the fifth section of the said article, which is in the following words, viz:
** Section 5. 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 counties shall be so united, unless two of them combined shall contain less than one-half of the representative ratio aforesaid."
The question being put, the motion was decided in the affirmative.
Mr. Woonward moved to amend the article by striking therefrom the fifth seciion.
Mr. WOODWARD said he would, in a very few words, explain his motives. His objection to the section was that it might operate unjustly on the small counties. Take the three counties—Wayne, Pike and Monroe: Wayne has two thousand one hundred and twenty taxables, Pike has six hundred and thirty-one, and Monroe has one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five. Under this section “no two counties can be united, unless one of them shall contain less than one half of the average representative ratio of taxable population,” which is three thousand and a fraction. Wayne, therefore, has more than one-half of the average, Monroe has also more than hall, and Pike has less than half; Pike, therefore, may be united to Wayne on the one side, or to Munroe on the other. If she be united to Wayne as she now is, she loses her representation. But what becomes of Munroe? She has more than half the average of the ratio, and cannot, as she now is, be united with Northampton, which has seven thousand six hundred and ninety. Monroe has not less than half of the average, and cannot be united to Yorthampton. What is to be done?
I hold (said Mr. W.) that, under this fifth section Monroe would be thrown out. If you unite Pike with Monroe, Pike will have her representation, but Wayne will have the same representation, so that one county would be unrepresented. But it had been said that the fourth section makes provision in this case. The language of that section runs thus :
The number of representatives shall, at the several periods of such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the city of Philadelphia and the several counties, according to the number of taxable inhabitants in each ; and shall never be less than sixiy, nor greater than one hundred. Each county shall have at least one representative; but no county hereafter erected shall be entitled to a separate representacion, until a sufficient number of taxable inhabitants shall bo
contained within it to entitle them to one representaitve, agreeably to the ratio which shall then be established.”
This is the provision. If it was ascertained that Monroe had altogether one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five taxables, and the adjoining county had more, 'where would you go? Would you go to one of the large counties? Would they not tell you that they must have a representation in proportion to population? They would say that the representatives must be taken from themselves. It was very easy to suppose when after taking the ratio there would be in large counties a fraction which would exceed one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, or even two thousand. The question would then be--shall a representative be given to this fraction of two thousand, or to Monroe with her one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five? It would, properly according to population, be given to the larger counties.
Therefore, (said Mr. W.) it appears to me that, nothwithstanding the provision in the fourth section, Monroe would be disfranchised by the operation of this fifth section. Look at the counties of Tioga, Potter and Jefferson, on the northern line. These are still smaller than the other, and will be subject to the same power in the larger counties. It might be said that Monroe could be united to some other county. But her geographical position forbids this. Joined by Pike on one side, her eastern limit is the Delaware river, which forms the common boundary ; and unless she could be united to Jersey, he knew not what else could be done, as she had Northampton on two sides. Thus Monroe presented one case, and Wayne another. It had been said that the legislature would nút make any apportionment which would give a representative to these counties. It might be so. Perhaps they would not, but this wouli be unjust. lle was unwilling, however, that the small counties shouise be leit at the mercy of the larger ones. He was unwilling that the large counties should have the power left with them to disfranchise the small ones. They were entitled to have a representation, not by virtue of their separate population, but by the union of several small counties. In this way they were entitled to a full representa:ion, not quite satisfactory perhaps, becaus : each county would wish to be represented by her own citizens ; but the people of these counties would be represented by the individuals for whom they might give their voles. Under this section, they would be represented by those for whom they had not voled, in violation of every rule of republican government. The motion of the gentleman from Chester was to strike out of the fourth section, in the eighth and ninth lines, the words “each county shall have at least one representative, but." He had the same doubts as to the practical operation of this amendment.
The counties are not by reason of the taxable inhabitants within them, entitled to a separate representation; and the meaning of this section, asit slands in the constitution, could not, as it seems to me, give them a right to which they would not be entitled by the manner in which they have been erected. I take it, then, that in relation w these counties the commonwealth would stand precisely in the same condition in which she stood under the old constitution. The right of a county to a separate representation would depend on the number of taxable inhabitants, and not upon the date of erection, and you thus prevent the legislature from
making that arrangement in regard to the sinall counties under which they have heretofore enjoyed a representation in the house of representa tives by individuals for whom they voted. This is my objection, and it is illustrated by reference to the counties of Wayne, Pike and Monroe. Now I say that if any gentleman will shew me, hy a fair course of reasoning, that such is not or may not be the operation of this amendment, and that it will be harmless, I will raise no objection to its adoption ;or is it can be shown to be a proper and useful amendment, I have nothing further to say in opposition to it. But according 10 my present understanding, it will certainly lead to perplexity and trouble. I skall be glad to have these impressions removed by the gentleman from the county of Philadelphia, (Mr. Earle) or any other member of the convention.
Mr. Belt, of Chester, said that as this was a very important subject, and would occupy some time before it could be allopied, he would move that the con mittee now rise.
Which motion was rejected, ayes 39; --noes 40, and upwards.
Mr. EARLE, of Philadelphia county, said, I do not wish, Mr. President, to go at any length into this matter, at so late an hour in the evening, but I have risen for the purpose of throwing out a few observations for the consideration of the gentleman from Luzerne, (Mr. Woodward.)
I will state briefly the object I have in view, and if I have been so unsuccessful as not to induce gentlemen to vote for a provision which I believe would effect a good object, I ask the gentleman from Luzerne not to oppose the principle, if in his opinion the principle be good, but rather Jend me his aid towards making the section so perfect, that a good object may at length be attained by i1s adoption.
I say, then, that it is not a valid objection to this section, that it would deprive Monioe, or any other county, of her representation, for even if such were the fact, it would be very easy to bring in an amendment, by which Monroe, or any other county, might be secured against such an operation.
My object was to secure to Monroe, Juniata and Mifflin, each a sepaTate representation. My object was to prevent Gerrymandering, as it is called. Experience has shown us, that all legislatures will be disposed to resori 10 it in times of high party excitement.
I wish to have a rule, that will operate upon all parties alike. and not opon one only. If the majority are opposed to me in politics, I wish nevertheless that the majority should rule. But by means of this Gerrympandering, the majority may me prevented from ruling, by either pariy happening to have a legislative majority when the apportioninent of representatives shall be made.
Since the year 1790, we have had upwards of thirty ad litional counties made. If we make no change in the part of the coustitution now under consideration, then we leave it in the power of the legislature to unite all these counties just in such manner as it may please, with a view to sub. serve political and party purposes. It is my object to prevent this, and if
my amendment he not sufficient to prevent it, I ask the gentleman from Luzerne, (Mr. Woodward) or any other member of the convention, 10 whatever party he may belong, to bring in an amendment which will accoinplish the purpose.
And if he will do so, I will vote in favor of it. All I desire is, that the legislature shall never unite counties, unless there shall exist a necessity for so doing. It is to secure, and not to sacrifice the rights of the smaller counties, that I have brought in this amende ment; and I voted on the first reading in committee of the whole lo increase the number of representatives by five or six, so as to give to the smaller counties a better representation.
If the gentleman from Luzerne wishes to secure the two objects—that is to say, to secure the rights of the small counties and to prevent Gerrymandering, he should introduce an amendment, obviating what may appear to him objectionable in phraseology. As the constitution now stands, the new counties may have a fraction equal to the larger counties, and the legislatore may deprive them of a representation for it, while they give such representation to the larger sections, and thus the older counties may have a larger representation, compared with population, than the new counties. But retain this amendment in the constitution and you secure an equality. The influence of the large counties is already great, from the fact that they act in mass.
If there is any difficulty attending this matter, the way to remedy it will be to arlopt one of two courses--and if the gentleman from Luzerne is in favor of ihe oljects which I have in view-that is to say, to stand by the small counties and to prevent Gerry manding, he will either adopt one of the two ainendments which I am going to suggest, or he will bring forward a third.
From the best reflection, however, which I have given to the matter, I do not think that there will be any difficulty as it now stands; but if any should arise, I believe that, governing ourselves by the principles of justice, the proper plan would be to give to the small county its representative, and take it off the larger one.
One gentleman has said that he can not trust the legislature. Well, then, if that be so, my answer is, insert an amendment in the constitution which will effectually accomplish the object. There is a means of doing it. I had intended to strike out that part of the fourth section which reads as follows.
“The number of representatives shall at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the city of Philadelphia and the several counties, according to the number of laxable inhabitants in each: And shall nev'r be less than sixty nor greater than one hundred. Each county shall have at least one representative, but no county hereaster erect::d shall be entitled to a separate representation until a suflicient number of taxable inhabitants shall be contained within it, to entitle them to one representativc, agreeably to the ratio which shall then be established.”
And then continued Mr. E.) I would have inserted my resolution, No. 116, which is as follow :
" The number of representatives shall, at the several periods of enumeration of laxable inhabitants, be apportioned in the following manner, viz :
One hundredth part of the whole taxable population of the State shall be taken as the ratio of representation ; each representative district shall be entitled to as many representatives as it shall contain number of times the representative ratio, together with an additional representative for any surplus or fraction exceeding one-half of such ratio; not more than three counties shall be united to form a representative district; no two counties shall be united to form such district, unless one of them shall contain less than one-half of the representative ratio; and no three counties shall be united unless two of them combined shall contain less than one-half of such ratio, in which case such county or counties shall be united to such adjoining county, as will by such union render the representation most equal."
This (continued Mr. E.) would have ensured to Monroe its representa. rive without doubt. There was only one objection made to it. That objection consisted in the allegation that the number of representatives might considerably exceed one hundred. I offered a resolution, which was adopted, that the secretary of the convention should cause to be prepared a statement showing what the number of representatives would have been under the several enumerations, if regulated by a rule like the foregoing. The statement was prepared and has been presented to the convention. It shows that the number of representatives would never have varied more than two or three from one hundred. It was a certain, infallible, and invariable rule.
He repeated that he thought the proper motion for the gentlaman from Luzerne to make, would be to amend so as to remove every difficulty, if any there was in the way, but not to strike out a provision essential for the security of justice.
Mr. Gamble of Lycoming, moved that the convention do now adjourn: