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Tamworth, Mason of Moultonborough, Gallinger of Concord, Shirley of Andover, Ramsdell of Nashua, Woodbury of Pelham, Hatch of Keene, Buffum of Walpole, Tolles of Claremont, Sturoc of Sunapee, Murray of Canaan, Putnam of Warren, Burton of Lancaster, Bedel of Colebrook.'
Mr. Marston of Exeter, in a long speech in which he defended the old basis of representation and the importance of a large house, said :
“ All the trouble as I think, and all the increase of representation which has created the whole desire and induced many people to think that there ought to be a diminution in the House of Representatives, arise from an abuse of the law
It went so far that the Legislature gave to the little town of Gosport (annexed to Rye in 1876) the right to send a representative, and it only cast 12 votes.”?
Mr. Bell of Exeter, for the special committee of twenty, to whom was referred the various propositions basing the representation upon population, reported that the committee, after consideration of the several propositions, recommended the adoption of the following amendments to the constitution :
Strike out Articles 9, 10 and 11, and insert the following:
" There shall be in the legislature of this state a representation of the people, biennially elected, and founded upon principles of equality; and in order that such representation may be as equal as circumstances will admit, every town and place entitled to town * Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1876, pp. 224, 225. » Ibid., pp. 234, 235.
privileges, and wards of cities, having 600 inhabitants by the last preceding general census of the State, taken by authority of the United States or of this State, may elect one representative; if 1800 such inhabitants, may elect two representatives; and so proceeding in that proportion, making 1200 such inhabitants the mean increasing number for every additional representative: Provided, that no town shall be divided, or the boundaries of the wards of any city so altered, as to increase the number of representatives to which such town or city may be entitled by the then next preceding census; and provided further, that the legislature in session next before these amendments shall take effect shall equitably apportion the representatives to those towns which may have been divided or whose boundaries have been changed since the last census, and in those cities the boundaries of the wards of which have been altered since the last census, in such manner that the number of representatives shall not be greater than it would have been had no division or alteration been made.
" ARTICLE 10. Such towns, places, or wards as have less than 600 such inhabitants shall be classed by the general court for the purpose of choosing a representative, so that each such class shall contain at least 600 such inhabitants, and be seasonably notified thereof; and in every class formed for the above mentioned purpose, the first annual meeting shall be held in the town, place, or ward wherein most of the inhabitants reside, and afterward in that which has the next highest number, and so on, biennially, in rotation through the several towns, places, or wards forming the district.
“ ARTICLE 11. Whenever any town or place entitled to town privileges, and wards of cities, shall not have 600 such inhabitants, and be so situated as to render the classing thereof with any other town, ward, or place very inconvenient, the general court shall determine when such town, place, or ward shall send a representative such proportionate part of the time as the number of its inhabitants shall bear to six hundred ; and the legislature shall not grant to any town, place, or ward, any special privilege to send a representative.”
In the debate upon the report of this committee of twenty, the chief objection urged was that it granted representation to the cities by wards in such a way that while three thousand inhabitants would give a town a right to three representatives, by division of a city of the same population into wards of six hundred each, it would be entitled to five representatives.
On December 15, the report of the special committee of twenty was adopted by the convention-yeas, 266; nays, 76.
This amendment was submitted to the legal voters of the State on the second Tuesday of March, 1877, in the form of question No. 4, as follows: “Do you approve of a House of Representatives based upon population, and constituted and chosen as provided in the amended Constitution?” It was ratified with the following vote : Yeas, 31,924; nays, 10,878. This amendment, by enactment of the Legislature, went into effect on August 17, 1878. (Laws of N. H., 1878, Chap. 67, Sect. 7.)
Convention of 1889. In the convention of 1889, several resolutions were introduced relating to the basis and ratio of representation. One proposed to change the mean increasing ratio from twelve hundred to eighteen hundred for an additional representative. Another * Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1876, pp. 230, 231.
Ibid., p. 252. 3 Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 54.
proposed to allow the voters in the classed towns to cast their ballots for representatives in the towns in which they dwelt.
By the amendment of 1876, it was provided that in every class the first meeting for the election of a representative “ should be held in the town, place or ward wherein most of the inhabitants reside, and afterwards in that which has the next highest number, and so on, biennially, in rotation through the several towns, places, and wards forming the district.” 2 Still another plan proposed to give every town a representative.3
All these resolutions were referred to the Committee on Future Amendments, which reported on January 10, that it was inexpedient to act on the subject.4
Mr. Harvey of Surry introduced the following resolution, which was reported favorably by the committee :
Resolved,- That Article 10 of the Constitution be stricken out, and Article II be amended so as to read as follows, · Whenever any town, place, or city ward shall have less than 600 such inhabitants, the General Court shall authorize such town, place, or ward, to elect and send to the General Court a representative such proportionate part of the time as the number of its inhabitants shall bear to 600. And the General Court shall not authorize any town, place, or ward, to elect and send such representative except as herein provided.'”
Many petitions from the inhabitants of classed towns were received, all showing that in those towns there 1 Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 60. * Amended Constitution 1876, Part II, Sect. 10. : Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 112. • Ibid., p. 145. s Ibid., pp. 138, 139; 212, 218.
was great dissatisfaction with that part of the constitution, as amended in 1876, which related to the classification of towns. The two principal reasons were, I. Where a small town was classed with a large one, the practical working of the plan showed that the large town always had the representative, and the smaller town was practically unrepresented; 2. In several towns it often had been necessary for voters to travel a distance of twenty miles to the polls in order to vote. This had resulted in practically disfranchising certain sections, and in some cases the vote cast had never equaled fifty per cent. of the legal voters.
The report of the committee was accepted by the convention on January 11, and the resolution adopted.'
This proposed amendment to the constitution was duly submitted by the convention to the legal voters of the State in the form of the question (No. 7) “ Do you approve of amending the Constitution with reference to representation in classed towns, as proposed in amended Constitution ?” It was adopted by them at the annual town meetings on the second Tuesday of March, 1889– yeas, 30,002; nays, 12,846.
Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 259.