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#### 387. APPORTIONMENT RATIO, Surplus Members.—

Where a phrase is susceptible

of two meanings, we ought certainly to

adopt that which will bring upon us the fewest

inconveniences. Let us weigh those resulting

from both constructions. From that

41

30,000 in that State results the single inconvenience

that there may be large portions unrepresented,

but it being a mere hazard on

which State this will fall, hazard will equalize

it in the long run. From the others result exactly

the same inconvenience. A thousand

cases may be imagined to prove it. Take

one. Suppose eight of the States had 45,000

inhabitants each, and the other seven 44,999

each, that is to say, each one less than each of

the others. The aggregate would be 674,993,

and the number of representatives at one for

30,000 of the aggregate, would be 22. Then,

after giving one member to each State, distribute

the seven residuary members among

the seven highest fractions, and though the

difference of population be only an unit, the

representation would be double. * * * Here a single inhabitant the more would

count as 30,000. Nor is this case imaginable

only, it will resemble the real one whenever

the fractions happen to be pretty equal

through the whole States. The numbers of

our census happen by accident to give the

fractions all very small, or very great, so as

to produce the strongest case of inequality

that could possibly have occurred, and which

may never occur again. The probability is

that the fractions will descend gradually

from 29,999 to 1. The inconvenience, then,

of large unrepresented fractions attends both

constructions; and while the most obvious

construction is liable to no other, that of the

bill incurs many and grievous ones. 1. If

you permit the large fraction in one State to

choose a representative for one of the small

fractions in another State, you take from the

latter its election, which constitutes real representation,

and substitute a virtual representation

of the disfranchised fractions. * * * 2. The bill does not say that it has given the

residuary representatives

*to the greatest fraction:*

though in fact it has done so. It seems

to have avoided establishing that into a rule,

lest it might not suit on another occasion.

Perhaps it may be found the next time more

convenient to distribute them

*among the*

smaller States;at another time

smaller States;

*among the*

larger States;at other times according to any

larger States;

other crotchet which ingenuity may invent and the combinations of the day give strength

to carry; or they may do it arbitrarily by open

bargains and cabal. In short, this construction

introduces into Congress a scramble, or a

vendue for the surplus members. It generates

waste of time, hot blood, and may at

some time, when the passions are high, extend

a disagreement between the two Houses,

to the perpetual loss of the thing, as happens

now in the Pennsylvania Assembly; whereas

the other construction reduces the apportionment

always to an arithmetical operation,

about which no two men can ever possibly

differ. 3. It leaves in full force the violation

of the precept which declares that representatives

shall be

*apportioned*among the States

according to their numbers

*i. e.,*by some common

ratio.—

Opinion on Apportionment Bill. Washington ed. vii, 599. Ford ed., v, 498.

(1792)

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