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become too large; and two plans for reducing the number of representatives were laid before the convention, as follows:
1. It was proposed to change the number of ratable polls required for a representative from 150 to 200.' This proposition was rejected—31 yeas and 70 nays.
2. Mr. Plumer of Epping proposed to limit the number of representatives to sixty, and to divide the state into districts for their election. This proposal was rejected-yeas, 22; nays, 73.?
On September 16 a Committee on Alterations and Amendments was appointed to take into consideration the constitution with the several resolutions and proposed amendments, and report at the next session, and the convention then adjourned to February 8, 1792.
At the adjourned session this committee reported in favor of the following clause to be added to the constitution of 1783 :
“ Provided, nevertheless, that whenever the number of members of the House of Representatives shall exceed 110, it shall be the duty of the legislature to make such arrangement as that the members shall not exceed at any time that number, nor shall the towns and districts entitled to send representatives at any time be less than 80." 3
Under date of February 21, 1792, is the following record :
1 Province and State Papers, Vol. X., p 44. • Province and State Papers, Vol. X., pp. 48, 49. 3 Province and State Papers, Vol. X., p. 67.
"Proceeded to the consideration of the several articles or paragraphs (of the proposed draft of a revised constitution) under the head House of Representatives.
“On the first paragraph much debate ensued and motion was made to strike out the words three hundred,' and insert · two hundred twenty-five' as the mean increasing number — to determine which the yeas and nays were called and were as follows:
19 yeas- 79 nays. So the motion was lost and no alteration was made to said article.
“ The next paragraph, contained in a proviso to prevent the number of representatives being more than 110 at any one time hereafter, &c., was rejected.”!
Thus the house of representatives, as constituted under the constitution of 1783, remained unchanged.
Convention of 1850-51. In the next convention called to revise the constitution of the State, which met in Concord, November 6, 1850, the basis and ratio of representation was one of the chief subjects of discussion. The population of the State, which in 1786 (the state census for that year was the first taken under the constitution) had been 95,801, had now grown to 317,976; and the membership of the house of representatives had increased from ninety-one to two hundred eighty-eight. It was generally recognized that so large a body was unwieldy, and incapable of legislating to the best advantage, and that it imposed an unnecessary burden upon the taxpayers. Many plans for reducing the number of members of the house of representatives were presented. Those most favored in the early stages of debate were the four following:
1 Province and State Papers, Vol. X., pp. 107, 108.
I. On November 13, Mr. Hoit of Exeter moved to strike out the whole of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh articles of the constitution, and insert the following: " House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives shall consist of not less than 200 nor more than 250 members, chosen annually by the cities, towns, and parishes entitled to town privileges according to population as shown decennially by the National Census. The population of the state shall be divided by 250, and the number of times the resulting quotient is contained in each town or city, will show the number of representatives to which each city or town shall be entitled. Provided, however, that in respect to those towns and those towns only which by this process could not be represented in the Legislature, a fraction of one-half or more shall be entitled to one representative. Provided, moreover, that each town however small in population shall be allowed one representative whenever a new apportionment of the state tax is made by the Legislature.'
II. On November 15, Mr. Hayes of Madbury offered in the convention the following resolution which was referred to the Committee of the Whole :
“ Resolved, — That every town or place in this state entitled to town privileges, shall be entitled to elect at least one representative; that every such town or place having 700 legal voters, shall be entitled to elect two representatives; every such town or place having 1,500 legal voters, shall be entitled to elect three representatives; every such town or place having 2,500 legal voters, shall be entitled to elect four representatives; every such town or place having 5,000 legal voters, shall be entitled to elect five representatives ; and no town or place shall elect more than five.” 2
· The “ Daily Patriot,” November 14, 1850. 2 The “Daily Patriot," November 16, 1850.
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.”
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.”
* The “Daily Patriot,” November 16, 1850. · The “Daily Patriot,” December 13, 1850.
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
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.”
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.