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on the part of the smaller States, and as a useless restriction. It therefore, in their view, left in force all their objections against allowing each State an equal voice in the Senate. But it was voted to retain it in the report,2 and the equal vote of the States in the second branch was also retained.3
The scale of apportionment of representatives, recommended in the report of the committee, was also objected to on various grounds. It was said that a mere representation of persons was not what the circumstances of the case required; that property as well as persons ought to be taken into the account in order to obtain a just index of the relative rank of the States. It was also urged, that, if the system of representation were to be settled on a ratio confined to the population alone, the new States in the West would soon equal, and probably outnumber, the Atlantic States, and thus the latter would be in a minority for ever. For these reasons, the subject of apportioning the representatives was recommitted to five members, who subsequently proposed a scheme, by which the first House of Representatives should consist of fifty-six members, distributed among the States upon an estimate of their present condition, and authorizing the legis
1 Madison, Butler, Gouverneur Morris, and Wilson.
2 Five States voted to retain it, three voted against it, and three were divided. This was treated as an affirmative vote. Elliot, V. 255. 3 Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland,
North Carolina, ay, 6; Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, no, 3; Massachusetts, Georgia, divided. Ibid. 285, 286.
4 Gouverneur Morris, Gorham, Randolph, Rutledge, and King.
5 They gave to New Hampshire, 2; Massachusetts, 7; Rhode Island,
lature, as future circumstances might require, to increase the number of representatives, and to distribute them among the States upon a compound ratio of their wealth and the numbers of their inhabitants.1 The latter part of this proposition was adopted, but a new and different apportionment, of sixty-five members for the first meeting of the legislature, was sanctioned by a large vote of the States, after a second reference to a committee of one member from each State.2
These votes had been taken for the purpose of agreeing upon amendments to the original report of the compromise committee, which they would have so modified as to introduce into it, in place of a ratio of forty thousand inhabitants, including three fifths of the slaves, a fixed number of representatives for the first meeting of the legislature, distributed by estimate among the States, and for all subsequent meetings an apportionment by the legislature itself upon the combined principles of the wealth and numbers of inhabitants of the several States. But in order to understand the objections to the latter part of this proposition, and the modifications that were still to be made in it, it is necessary for us here to recur to that special interest which caused a new
1; Connecticut, 4; New York, 5; New Jersey, 3; Pennsylvania, 8; Delaware, 1; Maryland, 4; Virginia, 9; North Carolina, 5; South Carolina, 5; Georgia, 2.
1 Elliot, V. 287, 288.
2 This apportionment gave to
New Hampshire, 3; Massachusetts, 8; Rhode Island, 1; Connecticut, 5; New York, 6; New Jersey, 4; Pennsylvania, 8; Delaware, 1; Maryland, 6; Virginia, 10; North Carolina, 5; South Carolina, 5; Georgia, 3.
and most serious difficulty in the subject of representation, and which now began to be distinctly asserted by those whose duty it was to provide for it. There is no part of the history of the Constitution that more requires to be examined with a careful attention to facts, with an unprejudiced consideration of the purposes and motives of those who became the agents of its great compromises and compacts between sovereign States, and with an impartial survey of the difficulties with which they had to contend.
Twice had the Convention affirmed the propriety of counting the slaves, if the States were to be represented according to the numbers of their inhabitants; and on the part of the slaveholding States there had hitherto been no dissatisfaction manifested with the old proportion of three fifths, originally proposed under the Confederation as a rule for including them in the basis of taxable property. But the idea was now advanced, that numbers of inhabitants were not a sufficient measure of the wealth of a State, and that, in adjusting a system of representation between such States as those of the American Union, regard should be had to their relative wealth, since those which were to be the most heavily taxed ought to have a proportionate influence in the government. Hence the plan of combining numbers and wealth in the rule. This was mainly an expedient to prevent the balance of power from passing to the Western from the Atlantic States.' It was supposed that the former
1 See Mr. Gorham's explanation; Madison, Elliot, V. 288.
might in progress of time have the larger amount of population; but that, as the latter would at the commencement of the government have the power in their own hands, they might deal out the right of representation to new States in such proportions as would be most for their own interests. Still there were grave objections to this combined rule of numbers and wealth as applied to the slaveholding States. In the first place, it was extremely vague; it left the question wholly undetermined whether the slaves were to be regarded as persons or as property, and therefore left that question to be settled by the legislature at every revision of the system. Moreover, although this rule might enable the Atlantic States to retain the predominating influence in the government as against the Western interests, it might also enable the Northern to retain the control as against the Southern States, after the former had lost and the latter had gained a majority of population. The proposed conjectural apportionment of members for the first Congress would give thirty-six members to the States that held few or no slaves, and twenty-nine to the States that held many. Mason and Randolph, who represented in a candid manner the objections which Virginia must entertain to such a scheme, did not deny, that, according to the present population of the States, the Northern part had a right to preponderate; but they said that this might not always be the case; and yet that the power might be retained unjustly, if the proportion on which future apportionments were to be made
by the legislature were not ascertained by a definite rule, and peremptorily fixed by the Constitution. Gouverneur Morris, who strenuously maintained the necessity for guarding the interests of the Atlantic against those of the Western States, insisted that the combined principles of numbers and wealth gave a sufficient rule for the legislature; that it was a rule which they could execute; and that it would avoid the necessity of a distinct and special admission of the slaves into the census, — an idea which he was sure the people of Pennsylvania would reject. Mr. Madison argued, forcibly, that unfavorable distinctions against the new States that might be formed in the West would be both unjust and impolitic. He thought that their future contributions to the treasury had been much underrated; that the extent and fertility of the Western soil would create a vast agricultural interest; and that, whether the imposts on the foreign supplies which they would require were levied at the mouth of the Mississippi or in the Atlantic ports, their trade would certainly advance with their population, and would entitle them to a rule which should assume numbers to be a fair index of wealth.
The arguments against the combined principles of numbers and wealth, as a mere general direction to the legislature, and against their joint operation upon the contrasted interests of the Western and the Atlantic States, appear to have prevailed with some of the more prominent of the Northern members.1
1 Sherman and Gorham.