Hon. Mr. KING rose to pursue the inquiry why the "place and manner" of holding elections were omitted in the section under debate. It was to be observed, he said, that in the constitution of Massachusetts, and other states, that the manner and place of elections were provided for; the manner was by ballot, and the places, towns—for said he, we happened to settle originally in townships. But it was different in the southern states; he would mention an instance. In Virginia, there are but 15 or 20 towns, and 70 or 80 counties: Therefore no rule could be adopted to apply to the whole. If it was practicable, he said, it would be necessary to have a district the fixed place—but this is liable to exceptions—as a district that may now be fully settled, may in time be sparcely inhabited—and the back country now sparcely inhabited, may be fully settled. Suppose this state thrown into eight districts—and member apportioned to each: If the numbers increase, the representatives and districts will be increased. The matter therefore, must be left subject to the regulation of the state legislature, or the general government.2
Suppose the state legislature, the circumstance will be the same. It is truly said, that our representatives are but a part of the union—and that they may be subject to the controul of the rest; but our representatives make a ninth part of the whole—and if any authority is vested in Congress it must be in our favour But to the subject; in Connecticut they do not chuse by numbers, but by corporations—Hartford of their largest towns, sends no more delegates than one of their smallest corporations, each town sending two, except latterly when a town was divided. The same rule is about to be adopted in Rhode-Island. The inequalityof such representation, where every corporation would have an equal right to send an equal number of representatives, was apparent. In the southern states, the inequality is greater.
By the constitution of South-Carolina, the city of Charleston has a right to send 30 representatives to the General Assembly; the whole number of which amount to 200. The back parts of Carolina have increased greatly since the adoption of their constitution, and have frequently attempted an alteration of this unequal mode of representation; but the members from Charleston having the balance so much in their favour will not consent to an alteration and we see that the delegates from Carolina in Congress, have always been chosen from the delegates of that city. The representatives, therefore, from that state, will not be chosen by the people but will be the representatives of a faction of that state. If the general government cannot controul in this case, how are the people secure? The idea of the Hon. Gentleman from Douglass [John Taylor], said he, transcends understanding; for the power of controul given by this sect. extends to the manner of election, not the qualifications of the electors.3
The qualifications are age and residence, and none can be preferable. On motion, Resolved as follows, viz.