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III. On November 15, in the Committee of the Whole, Mr. Lane of Gilford moved an amendment as a substitute for that under consideration offered by Mr. Hoit, as follows:

• Resolved, – That in fixing the basis of representation it is expedient that the same be so arranged that every town, parish, or ward, or place entitled to town privileges, having 150 ratable polls of twenty-one years of age and upwards, may elect one representative; if 750 ratable polls, may elect two representatives; and so proceeding, making 1,000 ratable polls the number required for each additional representative after the second. Such towns, parishes, wards or places as have less than 150 ratable polls, may elect a representative such portion of the time as the aggregate number of their ratable polls shall bear to the number of 150.”ı

IV. On December 12, after the Committee of the Whole had made their report to the convention, Mr. Plumer of Epping offered the following resolution :

" Resolved, — That a Committee of thirty-six members be raised to whom shall be referred the subject of dividing the state into thirty-six Senatorial Districts to be made by this Convention, and of providing that there shall be six representatives chosen from each Senatorial District, the representatives so chosen to be elected separately by the several towns, cities, or wards in said district, according to the number of their ratable polls, or in such other equitable mode as shall be provided by the Legislature, having regard as near as may be to town representation, no alteration to be made in such Senatorial Districts oftener than once in ten years, or the taking of a Census by the United States, and then only by a vote of two-thirds of both houses of the Legislature.”

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* The "Daily Patriot," November 16, 1850. ? The “Daily Patriot,” December 13, 1860.

These different proposals, for which various substitutes and amendments were offered, were discussed in the Committee of the Whole for four weeks.

On December 10, the chairman of the Committee of the Whole reported to the convention Mr. Lane's plan with amendments, as follows:

“ Resolved, — That in fixing the basis of representation it is expedient that the same be so arranged that every town, parish, ward, or place entitled to town privileges, having 150 ratable polls of twenty-one years of age and upwards, may elect one representative ; if 750 ratable polls, may elect two representatives ; if 1,550 ratable polls, may elect three representatives ; if 2,550 ratable polls, may elect four representatives; and so proceeding, making 1,000 ratable polls required for each additional representative after the third.

“ Such towns, parishes, wards, or places, as have less than 150 ratable polls, may elect a representative such portion of the time as the aggregate number of their ratable polls shall bear to the number of 150, provided that such towns or places as shall not have 150 ratable polls and shall be conveniently located for that object, may, on application to the Legislature, be classed for the choice of a representative, such classed towns not to contain less than 150 ratable polls in each representative district so formed.”ı

On December 12, Governor Steele of Peterborough introduced the following amendment to the foregoing plan, which was adopted by the convention :

* From the manuscript Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 185051, p. 171.

“ Provided, further, that all towns, cities, or places which now are or may hereafter be divided into sections or wards for the choice of representatives, shall, for the purpose of apportioning the number of representatives to the number of ratable polls, be considered as undivided.”

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On the same day, Mr. Bartlett of Portsmouth moved to amend the amendment by striking out all after the words, “ Resolved, That in fixing the basis of representation,” and inserting the following instead thereof, “ That the towns in each of the thirty-six senatorial districts be authorized to send to the house ( ) representatives, to be apportioned among the several towns in the districts as the Legislature may direct.”

This amendment was rejected—yeas, 92 ; nays, 174."

On December 13, Mr. Eastman of Conway introduced the following amendment to Mr. Lane's plan as modified by the convention : “ By striking out the word fifty wherever it occurs in the first proviso, and inserting the words seventy-five instead thereof."3

This amendment was adopted.

On the same day the question was put, " Will the Convention agree to the amendment reported by the Committee of the Whole relating to the basis and ratio of representation as amended, which is as follows:

• Resolved,—That on fixing the basis of representation it is expedient that the same be so arranged that every town, parish, ward, or place entitled to town privileges, have 175 ratable polls of twenty-one years of age and * From the manuscript Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1850

51, p. 186.

- Ibid., p. 191. 3 Ibid., p. 211.

or

upwards, who shall have resided in this state six months

more immediately preceding their enrollment, paupers and foreigners not naturalized excepted, may elect one representative; if 750 ratable polls, may elect two representatives; if 1,550 ratable polls, may elect three representatives; if 2,550 ratable polls, may

elect four representatives; and so proceeding, making 1,000 ratable polls the number required for each additional representative after the third; such towns, parishes, wards, or places as have less than 175 ratable polls, may elect a representative such portion of the time as the aggregate number of their ratable polls shall bear to the number of 175; Provided, That such towns or places as shall not have 175 ratable polls and shall be conveniently located for the object, may, on application to the Legislature, be classed for the choice of a representative, such classed towns not to contain less than 175 ratable polls in each representative district so formed: Provided, further, that all towns, cities, or places which now are or may hereafter be divided into sections or wards for the choice of representatives, shall, for the purpose of apportioning the number of representatives to the number of ratable polls, be considered as undivided.'”

The yeas and nays were called and the proposed amendment to the constitution was adopted-yeas, 129; nays, 119.'

This amendment was duly submitted to the people on the second Tuesday of March, 1851, in the form of the second question, as follows: “Do you approve of a House of Representatives to be constituted and chosen as provided in the amended Constitution?”

It was rejected-yeas, 6,147; nays, 33,750—more than four fifths of the votes having been cast against it.

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1 From the manuscript Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 185051, p. 212.

I.

Convention of 1876. In the convention that assembled at Concord, December 6, 1876, no part of the constitution was more continuously under discussion than that relating to the house of representatives.

Among the causes which led the convention to take up the subject of basis and ratio of representation, the three following were the most important:

There was a wide-spread feeling that the house of representatives was too large. The number of its members at the June session, 1876, was 391.

It was alleged that lax or corrupt officials often had interpreted the term “ratable polls”-upon which by the constitution representation had been based-s0 as to promote personal, local or partisan interests.

3. There was a provision in the constitution of 1783 giving the Legislature the power to issue a writ for the election of a representative to the General Court from any town containing less than 150 ratable polls and so situated that it could not conveniently be classed. The population of New Hampshire by the census of 1870 showed practically no gain over that of 1850; but the membership of the house of representatives had been increased from two hundred eighty-eight in 1851 to three hundred ninety-one in 1876. One potent cause for this remarkable increase was found in the fact that partisan considerations often had led the legislature to grant the petitions of small towns for the privilege of sending representatives.

The long discussion in the convention over the basis of representation began with the proposal that the number of members of the house of representatives be reduced by choice of one of the four following methods :

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