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ject. If he understood the duties of the committee No. 11, that was precisely the reference to make of it. That committee takes charge of the rights and privileges of citizens of the State. This was question involving the rights of the citizens of the State in point of taxation-whether they should be taxed in one place or in another-for instance, in New-York or Brooklyn. He should like to have this committee, at the head of which was the venerable gentleman from Dutchess, (Mr. Tallmadge,) examine this subject, and have the benefit of that examination. He was inclined to concur with the gentleman from Herkimer, in some of his views, but as he thought the subject was not strictly before the Convention on a motion of reference, he should refrain from any remarks upon it.

Mr. BASCOM hoped no special committee would be raised on this proposition. It would seem to the observer that this Convention supposed itself possessed of all the wisdom in the land, past, present and prospective, We are entering into the consideration of subjects it seemed to him, belonging, exclusively to legislation, and some even to the local authorities of counties. We are unnecessarily consuming time in these discussions-and if we give importance to all these matters by raising select committees for their consideration, we invite a thousand similar propositions for the reformation of the State laws. There was a great propriety in their consideration, he granted; but it belonged to a legislative body. He hoped therefore that consequence would not be given to this matter by raising a select committee, but that it would be allowed to take the usual reference. He cared not to which committee it went.

Mr. SHEPARD said that it seemed to him that the course of reference in this case was clear. It could, however, not be made to any one committee by itself. It seemed to him that the 14th committee had charge of that part of the resolution which referred to the powers of cities and incorporated villages to tax and assess. He thought there could be no doubt of that. There was then a considerable part of the resolution not embraced in the plan of reference, and that he thought would probably go to committee No. 2, which he supposed had general charge of matters of taxation or to No. 3. It struck him, therefore, that the resolution in its reference should be divided. The part alluded to by him, to No. 14; and the other part to No. 2 or 3, as gentlemen might think in regard to this matter of taxation. Some allusion had been made by the gentleman from Kings, (Mr. Murphy,) to the substantial part of this proposition, to its merits. Now, upon that subject, as one of the representatives of the city of New-York, he felt obliged to say this. Certainly, no greater injustice could be done to such a corporation as the city of New-York, than by permitting citizens of Brooklyn to trade there to the extent of millions of dollars, and escape the burthens that should be imposed on that property. A question of considerable practical inconvenience also arisesas to where property should be taxed. He supposed it to be impossible to settle the question so as to avoid that inconvenience, but it seemed to him that the nearest approximation to such an avoidance of the difficulties, was contained in the proposition of his colleague. He therefore hoped that the reference would neither be made to a special committee, nor to any of the others named and assented to by his colleague, but that it would be made as he suggested in the introductory part of his remarks-part of it to committee No. 14, and the other part, he would say for the purpose of getting the sense of the convention on the question, to committee No. 2.

Mr. STRONG confessed that he had been somewhat entertained by this debate. When we looked over the speeches made by the gentlemen from the two cities-the contending parties-it would be found that no two of them agreed. He believed the whole matter was out of order-this discussing the merits of a resolution merely on a motion of reference. Suppose that we should engraft into the Constitution all these propositions, what kind of a Constitution would we have? There was another good reason-and that was-we should not engraft on the Constitution, that which had been rejected by the Legislature who had full power to grant it. He had seen it himself when he had been here before, and he did not believe that our time was well taken up, or that the people were so ignorant as to the laws of taxation, as to suppose that we came here to investigate that matter and put it in the Constitution. Anything that touched the

pockets of the people they understood very well. These were matters that they looked into, and they wanted no proposition of this kind in the Constitution. There was another difficulty to a considerable extent: to what committee shall the subject be given, and where shall one be found favorable to it. It was an old rule and always pretty generally adhered to, that we should not put the child to nurse where it would be strangled. No committee had as yet been found who were not opposed to it-who would receive the nursling, and for that reason a special committee was asked to take charge of it. He was opposed to referring it to any committee that objected to it-it would be doing injustice to that subject and to the gentleman from New-York, so to refer it. He should vote-if compelled to vote at all, and he hoped he should not be, although he should not move to lay the subject on the table, but hoped some other gentleman wouldfor a special committee. And while up, he would say, that he hoped he would not be placed on the committee, as he was entirely opposed to the proposition. [Laughter,]

Mr. MORRIS asked for information, what was the question.

The PRESIDENT said on the reference to the standing committee No. 3.

Mr. RICHMOND thought that the question was first on referring to committee No. 2.

Mr. WARD suggested that the question should be first taken on the simple motion whether it should go to a standing committee. If this was decided, the question as to which of the several committees it should go to could be decided afterwards.

The PRESIDENT said that the motion to refer to No. 3 was first in order.

The question was then taken on the motion to refer the resolution to committee No. 3, and it was rejected, a count being had, ayes 42, nays 43.

The PRESIDENT announced the question now to be on the motion of the gentleman from Rensselaer, (Mr. Van Schoonhoven,) to refer to standing committee No.


Mr. TALLMADGE asked to have the resolution read, (it was read.) Mr. T. had two views of this resolution. He was not entirely suited with the resolution as it stood. In the first place, the resolution as it stood, sent us forth, even to our newly acquired territory on the Rio Grande, and to the world, as having agreed to the proposition. The motion therefore should be made so as to be in fact one only of refer



On the other hand neither the second or the eleventh committee was the proper committee to take charge of the subject. When that committee, (the 11th) was created, he had not supposed that it was to be a committee of what the Romans, in their law Latin, called Omnium gatherum. He had not the least objection to its being so occupied so far as he was concerned. He was perfectly willing if the Convention thought proper to do so, but he thought it expedient then to alter its name. If it was considered a glorious privilege to be taxed, then of course it should go to the committee on the rights and privileges of the citizens. But he thought that this matter should go to the delegation from New-York and Kings-not to the black or white sheep alone--but to the two crows to take it and settle it together. This would be in accordance with the rule in legislation, that all kindred subjects should be sent to a kindred committee--and if there was no standing committee, a select committee should be raised for that reason. any gentleman created or begot a doll he ought to be permitted to dress it in his own robes and present it in his own garniture. And all nondescript resolutions of this sort should be similarly disposed of. Having suggested this, he had no hesitation in saying that it ought to go--if to any standing committee-to No. 13. Most certainly it ought not to be sent to a committee on the rights and privileges of citizens unless it was to be considered a glorious privilege to be taxed. It would indeed be amplifying the privilege very much to let him have it without restraint -and to tax a man in every town where he happened to own a cow, a horse, or an ox. But he had been reproved the other day for discussing the merits of a propositon on a motion of reference, as had been done all this morning, and he would refrain from further discussion. He hoped the motion to refer the proposition to a committee of kindred associtions, would prevail, and that the committee on the

rights and privileges of citizens, would be left busy to study constitutional law in order to secure protection to the citizens. But if gentlemen however thought it the proper committee for this subject, he should not object to it. The committee would endeavor to do it justice.

Mr. RHOADES hoped this proposition might go to a select committee. Every committee named that seemed to be regarded by the Convention as in any way appropriate to take charge of it, seemed disposed not to take it; to say hands off. And every gentleman who had spoken had proposed a different committee before he sat down, and concluded too with the hope that he would not be put on it. He, too, was going to propose a select committee; and he was going to say another thing. It would be recollected that there was a time when the citizens of NewYork opposed those works of internal improvement in our State, which had added so much to the wealth of that city-or at least came tardily to their support. Now they seemed disposed to tax the property of every man who happened to be in their city transacting business. He wished, briefly to say to the gentleman from New-York, that the time may come when business men may recollect-out of the State as well as in it-that there are such places as Boston, as Philadelphia, as Montreal, and as New-Orleans. And that the time may come when this trade might be diverted to these cities. He would not say any thing more about that. He esteemed highly the honorable gentleman and his colleagues, and as far as he was acquainted with the business men of the city, they were honorable men-enlarged and liberal in their views, but he hoped that the city of New-York would not be found standing out against its own interests. He should prefer that the proposition should be referred to a select committee, composed of the delegates from the city and county of New-York.

Mr. MORRIS said a delegate from the city of NewYork might by excused, if he should offer thanks to the gentleman for selecting that delegation for the consideration of this proposition, were it not for the previous part of his speech-which was to inform us gentlemen from New-York that there was a Boston, a New Orleans and a Montreal. As though the holding up before our faces of such places, was to frighten us all out of our sense of propriety, as the threatened flaggellation to the School boy-and that frightened thereat, we were immediately to retreat from any honest conviction we might have of an important principle. Now although a delegate from the city and county of New-York, and he thanked God from the State of New-York-he had yet to see-or rather his memory had yet to return back to the first instance where local feeling perverted or destroyed his sense of what was due to the whole. He introduced the proposition from an honest, thorough conviction that it was just in itself, without any reference to any locality, or the residence of any individual whose property might be taxed-and as equally important to every locality in the State. Now, as matters now stand, he found himself something in the position of the man who went to a certain village to sell a fox skin. He tried all over to sell it but could find no purchaser. He then tried to give it away, but no man would have it. At last he tried to lose it-and accordingly he dropped it carefully and ran. But immediately he heard the halloo of" Mister, mister, you've lost your skin" [laughter.] The poor fellow threw up his hands in despair. He had tried to sell it and could not

-he had tried to give it away, but could not-then he tried to lose it, but in that even was he defeated. [Renewed laughter.] Now he (Mr. M.) had tried— not exactly to sell it but to place it in such a position that those now opposed to it might receive it, and after a thorough examination wake up to the justice of his proposition. That would be called a sale. Then he tried to give it away. He had assented to all and every suggestion as to where it should go-and each and all repudiated it, and would not touch it. He therefore would ask to have it referred to a select committee, and he believed that under parliamentary rule, the member who made the motion, is made the chairman of the committee. He did this openly and would not shrink from the responsibility of examining this question, and placing it before the public on its merits. If he was wrong on the merits, he knew that there was wisdom and firmness in the house to put him down. He would not attempt to designate the committee, all he desired was that intelligent men

should be placed upon it. He wished his learned friend from Rensselaer (Mr. V. S.) would oblige him so much as to withdraw his motion.

Mr. VAN SCHOONHOVEN cheerfully withdrew it, and

Mr. SHEPARD also withdrew his.

Mr. CHATFIELD said that he believed this motion to raise a select committee was his proposition. [Laughter.] He did not wish to take from his friend from New-York the honor of being chairman of it, however, and he distinctly stated when he made the motion that he did not desire to be put upon the committee at all. Still, according to parliamentary usuge, it would belong to him. Perhaps he could give his reasons for not desiring to be on the committee, and it would be only extending the fox skin story to its conclusion. The fellow, after his repeated failure to get rid of his skin, as a last resort, said he would take it to Rhode Island, where they would steal it from him. [Laughter.] Now, he thought if the gentleman would take his proposition over to Brooklyn, they would steal it from him, and he could thus dispose of it. [Laughter.]

Mr. RHOADES said this was not the first time he had heard this fox story. It had occurred to him that his friend was about to lose his fox skin, and it was for that reason he proposed to refer it to a select committee. The gentleman from New-York had spoken of the attempt he (Mr. R.) had made to frighten the citizens of New-York and its members in Convention from their position. He had not intended any such thing. He was led into the train of remark which had thus been construed, not by what fell from the gentleman from New-York, but from what his friend from Kings (Mr. MURPHY,) had said. He was led to believe that the object was to tax the inhabitants of Brooklyn doing business in New-York. And although the gentleman from New-York did not name that city, but referred to Albany, and asked if people were to come and enjoy its pavements, its streets, its docks, its wharves, its lights, its police, &c., and not pay for it -it was from those remarks that he, (Mr. R.) supposed that he intended to illustrate and state the condition of the people of the city of New-York. Then he (Mr. R.) had brought up the subject of its oppotion to the great works of internal improvement, which had done so much for it, and had felt at liberty to suggest the idea that business people might learn that there were other places where they could do their business, and that if they were to suffer-in addition to the opposition on the part of New-York to measures they deemed of vital importance-themselves to be taxed for the purpose of using the pavements, gas lights, of that city, they might feel disposed to trade elsewhere. It was for this reason that he felt inclined to admonish him, of the feeling which had begun, at least to pervade the minds of our trading population.

Mr. MURPHY had no objection to the reference to a select committee, indeed he desired that it might go there, if, as he remarked before, the Convention should deem it a matter of sufficient importance to engage their attention. And in the few remarks he had submitted he had attempted to confine his attention to the subject of reference. But in the course of the debate we have been amused, by the gentleman from New-York, who had told us a very interesting Joe Miller, which story had been taken up and finished by the gentleman frem Otsego. (Mr, Chatfield). Now he thought the gentleman from Otsego was a little too fast. The gentleman from New-York was not disposed to lose his propositien-he wished to take it. And he (Mr. M.) hoped he would take it where Brooklyn would have no opportunity to steal it. Nor did Brooklyn ask to be placed in the category with stealing Rhode Island.

Mr. WATERBURY said this was a serious and difficult question. The Legislature had for years been petitioned on the subject,—for there was not a county in the state where a similar condition of things did not exist as had been referred to. The question was whether the taxation should be levied in the town of a county or in its centre, where all the capital was drawn, and it was one not to be trifled with. He hoped therefore, it would have a candid and careful examination, not with reference to a particular locality, but to its effect on the State at large.

The question was then taken on the motion to refer to a select committee, and it prevailed.

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. CLAPP.

MONDAY, June 22.


The PRESIDENT announced the following as the committee on the resolution submitted by Mr. MORRIS on Saturday: Messrs. MORRIS, MURPHY, LOOMIS, PERKINS, and VACHE.

SATURDAY, June 27.

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. FISHER. The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention a memorial asking that causes before justices of the peace may be decided by jury-Referred to the judiciary committee.

Also a report from the clerk of the sixth circuit, furnishing the number of causes on the calender, &c., in answer to a resolution of the ConventionReferred to the judiciary committee.

Also, a report from the clerk of the fourth circuit, in answer to a resolution requiring returns of the value of the real estate of infants sold, moneys invested, &c.-Referred to the judiciary committee. DOUBLE TAXATION.

Mr. STRONG called up his resolution which was laid on the table a few days since by consent-as follows:-

Resolved, That there be in the Constitution an article containing in substance the following provisions; That all bonds, mortgages, judgments and all other evidences of debt, which are liens on real estate, shall not be taxed as personal property; and that all real estate shall be taxed to the owner or occupant at its fair value; and that any person or persons owning or holding any bond, mortgage judgment or any other evidence of indebtedness which are liens on real estate, shall be liable to the person or persons to whom the same shall have been taxed for his, her, or their portion of said tax, in proportion to the interest he, she or they may have, hold or own in said real estate.

Mr. KENNEDY Suggested to the mover the propriety of changing the form of the resolution, so as to make it one of enquiry merely.

Mr. STRONG did not prefer that course. If there were in his resolution any erroneous principle, he should be willing to have it pointed out; so far as the details were concerned he was not much wedded to them. He had prepared it on the reflection of a few moments, and though there might be an error in form, he believed it contained correct principles. He would not say that a provision should be made in the constitution precisely in the terms he had used; his object was such a provision in substance. That there was something wrong about the taxing of real estate and personal property, he believed every gentleman would admit. One object he had in view was to correct a system by which a large amount of property was subject to double taxation; another was to reach a large portion of personal property which every body knew had not been taxed at all. He had said, and was not denied, that there was in the existing system something wrong; but he might be answered that the remedy should be left to the legislature. But looking at the past, we might form some judgment as to what might be expected for the future. We should obtain no remedy unless some provision like this were engrafted on the constitution.

Mr. SHEPARD moved the reference of the resolution to the fourteenth standing committee.

Mr. RHOADES objected to the form of the resolution -amounting as it did, to an affirmative expression of opinion.

Mr. SHEPARD thought that immaterial, as the Convention would express no opinion by sending it to a committee.

Mr. RHOADES said he should have no objection to the resolution if it were not in fact one of instruction.

Mr. MARVIN said the gentleman from Onondaga was right. The resolution called for a positive expression that there should be in the Constitution an article in substance like that embodied in it. The mover himself did not offer it with the view of sending it to a committee to enquire into the expediency of such a provision, but it was in such a shape as to be imperative, if adopted. And if we attempted to incorporate provisions like this into a constitution, we should have a constitution more voluminous than any ever yet made, and we should be required to

remain here a much longer period than any of us dreamt of. He submitted that the legislature had always had power over this whole subject of taxation. and that it must have that power, But if we attempted to go into such details we should involve ourselves in difficulty. He concurred with the mover of the resolution, and for the purpose of saying so he had risen, that there was an evil in the mode of assessing the burdens of taxation.

The PRESIDENT interposed :-the merits were not debateable under the motion of reference.

Mr. SHEPARD then withdrew his motion to refer, and

Mr. MARVIN continued:-The occupants of land were taxed as the owners, while in point of fact, the property might all be in the land owner, being held on contracts. There were difficulties requiring perhaps attention-but he apprehended that in framing a constitution we were not to attempt to lay down a system of taxation. On looking over this resolution, it would be seen, that it seemed to suppose that the subject was before us as a legislature. It took the position that bonds and mortgages should not be taxed, but that the land on which they were a incumbrance should be, and that the occupant should deduct a proportionate share from the person who had a lien on it by judgment, mortgage, or otherwise. How would this operate? Here was a judgment of $1000. It might be a lien on half a dozen farms, but the owner of the judgment was worth $1000, for the judgment was worth $1000 to him. When the occupant of one of these farms was taxed, was he to call upon the holder of the lien to refund in part; and was his neighbor also to do the same? These were difficul

ties which should satisfy the gentleman from Monroe that this matter should be left to legislation. There were other difficulties also in the way, which he would not advert to now, further than to say, that on framing a constitution we were not to interfere with vested rights, and contracts. If we should incorporate such a provision into it, he knew not to what it might not lead.

Mr. STRONG replied that it seemed to be conceded that there was something wrong in our system of taxation. But the objection was that we had nothing to do with it, and that it belonged to the legislature. Now, he took another view of the subject. Here was a wrong that had existed as long as he could remember--and the legislature with full power to remedy it, had not done it, and never would. This was a day of reform. The people had sent us here to get the reforms which they could not get through the legislature. Hence it was that this or some similar principle should be in the constitution. He had heard the difficulty suggested before that you could not apportion a tax where a judgment covered several pieces of property-but it was a very easy matter to calculate how much should be refunded to the occupant or owner of each farm. Any body could cypher that out. But another case-the opposite, had been brought up-the case of a mortgage of $5,000 on a farm assessed at only $2,000. In that case, it was said the man who held the mortgage would pay the whole tax on the land: That would be so under his proposition; but how would it be under the present system? The man who held the mortgage, unless he covered up his lien would have to pay taxes on $3,000 besides whereas, under his system, this $3,000 would pay nothing. Was there any thing in that operation against the mortgage holder? And on the other hand the interest of the occupant would be to bring into the assessment these mortgages that now escaped taxation in a great degree. Mr. S. had no objection to having his resolution referred; but he did object to its being laid on the table to sleep there. And there was nothing in the mere act of refering it that committed the Convention to it-any more than there would be in referring a petition or memorial. If the Convention passed a direct vote on the resolution, that would be adopting the principle. But he did not ask that. He only desired a reference of it-and he now moved to refer it to committee number two, which had already the subject of taxation before them.

Mr. RHOADES had no objection to a reference; but as he asked the privilege of selecting his own committee. Mr. R. insisted that he should put his resolution in the shape in which all resolutions of enquiry had been put. But he had a word to say on the merits.

Mr. STRONG interposed-saying that that would not be in order.

The PRESIDENT so ruled-the question being one of reference.

Mr. RHOADES said the gentleman from Monroe had gone into the merits, and then made a motion which precluded a reply. Mr. R. would not insist on going into the merits. But he would move to make it a resolution of enquiry.

The PRESIDENT remarked that that was in effect the motion now pending-to refer.

Mr. CROOKER thought there was an unusual degree of sensitiveness as to the form of the resolution. No matter what the form of it was, a reference committed nobody to any part of it. And it was no more than courtesy to the mover of a resolution to allow him to have it in the shape he desired-for reference. Mr. C. however thought a reference to comcommittee number fifteen would be the most appropriate. Still if the mover was tenacious of number two he had no objection.

Mr. TOWNSEND differed with the gentleman from Chautauque (Mr. Marvin) in the idea that this was a subject which peculiarly belonged to legislation. He thought the gentleman from Monroe was entitled to the thanks of the Convention for bringing this matter directly up for consideration, in this form. No doubt, the object was to give more importance to the subject than would be given to it by a mere resolution of enquiry. And Mr. T. was in hopes that it would have drawn out the opinions of gentlemen on the subject of taxation.

The PRESIDENT reminded the gentleman that the merits of the resolution were not debateable.

Mr. Townsend said he would then move to amend the resolution, so as to bring himself within the rule of order.

Mr. KENNEDY inquired if that would supersede the motion to refer ?

Mr. TOWNSEND had but a remark or two to offer. He went on to say that a gentleman who had held the office of canal commissioner, and more recently that of ward commissioner in the city of New-York, and in this capacity had had before him more immediately the subject of taxation, had deliberately avowed, after full reflection and an enlarged view of the subject, that in his judgment the public interest would be promoted essentially by levying taxes on real estate alone. He alluded to Mr. Ruggles. And a strong illustration of the truth of the position would be found by a reference to a single fact connected with taxation in the city of New-York.

The PRESIDENT interposed, saying that the motion to refer taking precedence of the motion to amend, the latter was not debateable.



Mr. TOWNSEND said he would not occupy five minutes longer. He was going to say, that by a reference to statistics which were within the reach of every body, it would be found that the city of NewYork paid about one half the half mill tax. must arise from an unjust mode of assessment. to return to an illustration drawn from his own city. There, the whole amount of property returned for taxation, was about $240,000,000. Of that, about $170,000,000 was real estate, some $30,000,000 was bank and insurance stock, leaving about $40,000,000 only to represent the personal property of the city. This fact illustrated the importance of this subject, and he had said all he intended in calling attention to it. He differed with gentlemen as to this being altogether a matter for legislation. If we could make such constitutional provision on this as on many other subjects, that would exempt us from legislation in regard to them, we should have done a great good. Whether this could be effected or not, was yet to be determined. He hoped the reference would be made to number two, as desired by the mover. The resolution was so referred.

FRIDAY, JUNE 17. ROYAL CHARTERS AND FRANCHISES. Mr. MURPHY offered the following: Resolved, That it be referred to the following committees respectively to inquire into the expediency of striking out of the constitution, as useless and unnecessary, and liable to popular misconstruction-as follows.

1. To the committee on the creation and division of estates in lands-so much of the constitution as declares that nothing contained therein shall effect

any grants of lands within this state, made by authority of the King of Great Britain, or his predecessors, before the 14th day of October 1775, or affect any such grants since made by this state or by persons acting under its authority.

2. To the committee on the organization of cities and villages, so much as declares that nothing contained therein shall annul any charters to bodies politic or corporate by the said King or his predecessors, made before the said day, or shall effect any such charters since made by this state, or by persons acting under its authority.

Mr. MURPHY said it would be proper in order to prevent misapprehension as to his object, to state that in offering this resolution he had no desire or wish to interfere with the rights of property, whether that property be in lands or in franchise in the nature of private property. If this provision be struck out of the Constitution, there will still remain the provision that nothing contained in that instrument should affect or impair the obligations of contracts or the rights of property, which would serve every purpose for which this proposition was originally introduced. The object for which he introduced this resolution was to prevent a very common error in this community-an extensive error-that there is something in charters granted prior to the formation of the constitution, so very sacred that they may not be touched, while charters granted since may be. Now the charter of the city of Buffalo or Brooklyn may be altered or repealed by the Legislature, but the moment you touched the ancient city of Albany, granted in 1686, by a royal Governor, you are touching something sacred. Now, he did not present an imaginary case here, but one in which we had before us every day the evidence of the truth of what he said. By the charter of the city of Albany, to which he referred, there is conferred on the Mayor the exclusive power to grant licenses to tavern keepers, as he was informed, (and if he was wrong the gentleman from Albany could correct him.) And he understood that the Mayor of that city-notwithstanding the supreme power of the State and the people of Albany, have united to say that no license shall be granted-persevered in granting them. He (Mr. M.) did not wish to be misunderstood on this subject. In regard to temperance he did hold that the great cause was more likely to be injured than benefitted by attempts to enforce obedience to a sumptuary law, as he regarded it. He merely referred to this as an illustration, and if it was law it should be obeyed as well in Albany as in Buffalo. He held that all public powers were held in trust for private purposes, and he did not wish that the error should prevail, as it did in the community, and in high places too, that the charter of a city was now protected by the Constitution from the exercise of the sovereign power. In regard to the form of the resolution a part of it referred to the committee of which he was chairman. Properly, perhaps that did not belong, under the present arrangement of committees, to that committee, but, however, in order that it might be before some committee he moved its reference there It was immaterial whether it went there or to the committee on the rights and privileges of the citizens. It was a mere matter of form.

Mr. JORDAN considered this a pretty important resolution in its principles, and he rose to move that it be laid on the table, so that in some form or other, the sense of the Convention might be taken on it before it was referred to a committee. It was a matter of very great question, whether, under the treaty of 1783, between the British Government and the American People, we are at liberty in any way, to legislate, either by Constitution or otherwise, so as to affect vested rights. He was not disposed to go into an explanation of his views at this time; he had risen but to move to lay the resolution on the table, in order to direct attention to it before it went to a committee. Because it was important that whatever committee it went to, should have the benefit of any examination that might be made, in their action on the basis of the resolution.

The resolution was laid on the table, with the assent of Mr. Murphy.

TUESDAY. June 23.


Mr. MURPHY here called up his resolution, laid on the table at the request of the gentleman from Columbia, (Mr. JORDAN,) referring it to several committees

to consider the propriety of striking out certain clauses of the constitution.

The resolution was taken up.

Mr. MURPHY said that when he offered his resolution, he had some doubts as to the propriety of the reference indicated in it. On reflection it appeared to him properly referrible to the committee on the rights and privileges of citizens, as the clauses proposed to be struck out were in that part of the constitution which was referred to that committee. Besides, one of the committees named in the resolution he had the honor to be a member of, and he preferred that the preliminary examination of the question should go to some other. He now, therefore offered a substitute for his resolution, giving the inquiry a new direction, and more clearly indicating his object. Mr. M. sent up the following:

Resolved, That it be referred to the committee on the rights and privileges of the citizens of this State, to inquire into the expediency of striking out so much of the fourteenth section of article 7 of the constitution as declares, that "nothing contained in this constitution shall affect any grants of land within this state, made by authority of the said king (of Great Britain) or his predecessors, or shall annul any charters to bodies politic or corporate, by him or them made before that day; or shall affect any such grants or charters since made by this state, or by persons acting under its authority," as useless and unnecessary, and liable to popular misconstruction; and of otherwise amending the said section so that the same shall read as follows:

"All grants of land within this state made by the king of Great Britain or persons acting under his authority, after the fifteenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be null and void; but nothing contained in this constitution shall impair the obligation of any debt or contract or any other rights of property, or any suits, actions, rights of actions, or proceedings in courts of justice." The substitute was adopted.

Mr. TOWNSEND suggested, that this question was not clearly understood all round. He supposed the question was on the reception of the substitute, and that the question would then be on its adoption. He hoped the Chair would so decide, as it was too important a matter, involving as it did chartered rights of great magnitude, to pass off in this way-without even being printed.

Mr. SHEPARD understood the question as his colleague did that it was not on the reference, but on the reception of the substitute. For one, before this reference was made, he wanted it printed. It involved a grave principle, and might involve an extensive infringement on vested rights of property. He did not suppose that his friend from Kings intended any such thing; but it was certainly treading very close on a line, where a great deal of mischief might be done by a false step. Hence, he wanted the substitute laid on the table and printed. He made that motion.

Mr. WARD remarked that the question having been taken, debate upon it was out of order.

The PRESIDENT ruled that the question could only be revised by a motion to re-consider-which without unanimous consent must lie over under the rule.

Mr. TOWNSEND, to relieve the question of all difficulty, in point of order, moved a reconsideration-expressing the hope that the convention would consent to the question being now put.

Mr. JORDAN presumed there would be no objection to that adding, that the substitute was in substance precisely the original-the reference of it being now to one committee instead of two.

Mr. Shepard thought there was a clear and distinct difference between the two propositions. This proposed an amendment to the constitution in terms. The question on reconsidering, by consent, was, here put and carried, and

Mr. SHEPARD then moved to lay on the table and print.

Mr. MURPHY remarked that the gentleman from New-York (Mr. SHEPARD) entirely misapprehended the purport of the substitute. It simply proposed to refer to one committee, what he before proposed to refer to two-with the addition, not substantive, but formal, providing that the article to be amended should read, as it would read, with these provisions struck This being the only alteration, he submitted whether, having allowed his resolution to lie on the


table two or three days, it was required of him in courtesy to let it lay there longer.

The resolution was however laid on the table, and ordered to be printed.

THURSDAY, June 23. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. FISHER.


Mr. MURPHY called up his resolution, referring to the committee on the rights and privileges of citizens the expediency of striking out of the constitution certain clauses in relation to Royal Grants [as heretofore published.]

Mr. SHEPARD had no objection to an appropriate reference, but he thought that direction had not been given to it. The clauses referred to related the one to grants of land, the other to charters of incorporation. He suggested that the subject of grants to individuals belonged to the committee designated, but not the other. Perhaps there was no appropriate committee for the other branch of the enquiry, unless it was the 14th, on the powers and organization of cities and incorporated villages. But it was very clear that a vested right of property in a city or village was not a matter of city or village organization. Under these circumstances, as this was a matter of vast importance to the city he in part represented, he moved the reference of the subject to a select committee of five.

Mr. MURPHY was happy to hear the gentleman say that the resolution did not affect the rights of citizens of any portion of the state.

Mr. SHEPARD meant to say that it did not so particularly affect citizens as to require its reference to the committee on their rights, &c. Every thing that could be done there must affect every citizen directly or indirectly.

Mr. MURPHY understood the gentleman. But the gentleman, in speaking of this reference, had fallen into the very error, which it was the design of the resolution to remove. Mr. M. originally proposed a reference to two committees; but upon reflection, gave the whole a direction to one committee-to that on the rights and privileges of citizens-and as he stated the other day, because the clauses proposed to be struck out, were in that article of the constitution which related entirely to that subject. True, so much of the resolution as related to corporations was not technically referrable there. But in reality, the subject intimately concerned the rights and privileges of citizens. Now Mr. M. did not propose to interfere with vested rights, as seemed to be supposed. This resolution, in fact, contained a reservation in favor of vested rights. He did not wish to attack vested rights. He did not want that question inquired into here. But he did propose an examination into political power, as exercised by corporations-which gentlemen seemed to regard as in a measure sacred, and beyond our examination. That he denied. He held with a distinguished writer who flourished many years ago, that the rights of man, were not the rights of one generation-that they could not be monopolized, but belonged to all. Powers which interfered with the political rights of man must fall before the spirit and genius of our government. They could not be vested. The gentleman had also fallen into a further error in supposing that there was any thing peculiarly strong in a royal grant. The people of this state succeeded to all the rights and prerogatives of royalty before the Revolution. Whatever the king of Great Britain might have done, they could now do, and what they could not do. he could not do. He desired to strike out of the constitution clauses which he deemed mischievous. We found men in high places, we found members here-we found legislative bodies, putting constructions on the constitution which had been repudiated by our own courts, and by very eminent men. These clauses had led to monstrous errors -not only in case of the city of Albany, to which he alluded the other day; but in the legislature. He had a case now in his mind which occurred in 1830 -when it was sought to divide a town in Suffolk county, where his honorable friend on his left, (Mr. Huntington) resided. A remonstrance was presented, setting up this same question of Royal grant. It was a royally chartered town. The legislature gravely referred it to the then Attorney General (now Chief Justice,) to determine whether the legislature had the power to divide the town of Huntington. The

Attorney General reported, as Mr. M. contended the law was that a division of empire worked no change in the rights of property-and that in regard to public rights, the legislature had full power. If gentlemen would refer to the then Attorney General's opinion, they would find that he declared these clauses which Mr. M. proposed to expunge, to be a perfect nullity, and as having no business there. Why then, should not this subject go to a committee selected from the body of the house, and peculiarly qualified to take charge of the rights of citizens, whether of the city of New-York or any other part of the state. And he knew that there were those in this city and New-York who did not believe that chartered rights were of such a nature as to prevent an exercise of Sovereignty here, with a view to correct evils. No. The spirit of Leggett still lived there, and there were many, very many there, who wished to see this doctrine of vested political rights broken up. With a view to have this matter brought before us dispassionately, and by a committee composed of no member from such parts of the State as were peculiarly interested in it-he had moved the reference to committee number eleven, at the head of which was one of the most venerable and distinguished members of this body.

Mr. SHEPARD remarked that to examine the section which the gentleman from Kings had introduced, would be to discuss the merits of the question, with which at this time we had nothing to do. The gentleman had not answered his objections. Supposing that the seventh article of the present constitution was entirely made up of an enumeration of the rights and privileges of the citizens of the state, that would prove nothing in favor of the proposed, because they had appointed eighteen standing committees and referred to them various subjects, without reference to the various parts of the constitution in which they might be now. His colleague (Mr. Morris) had reported on the veto power, and on some other things which were not found in the same article of the present constitution. The gentleman from Kings had placed in his (Mr. S.'s) lips, arguments which he had not used; and these the gentleman had answered, not those which Mr. S, had in fact used. Now, he did not stand there the advocate of royal grants, except so far as they were sanctioned by the people, and such vested rights he had supposed were secured, though the gentleman seemed to think they were not. They were protected by the genius end spirit of our laws. Now, there was a large class of rights which the city of New-York exercised. It was an extensive corporation, and stood in two relations to the people at large -first, as a large political corporation, exercising rights of political government; and next, as a large private corporation, exercising the rights of a private corporation. Those rights had been secured by a long chain of statutes and charters, and it appeared to him it would be unwise, as the gentleman stated, to avoid a popular misconstruction, hastily and without examination to cast aside sections of the constitution which were inserted by a wise foresight by the convention of 1821, for the purpose of securing those private rights. He wished the examination to be made by the proper committee. He had no objection to the committee of which the venerable gentleman from Dutchess (Mr. Tallmadge) was chairman, except that according to the order which the convention had adopted, that committee had nothing to do with the subject. This he thought a conclusive objection. He saw no alternative, but he saw in the magnitude of the question itself everything that could call for a special committee.

Mr. MORRIS agreed with the gentleman from Kings that the proper reference was to the committee on the rights and privileges of citizens. He also agreed with the gentleman as to the law on this subject, and he was not aware that there had been any different opinion entertained since the delivery of the learned opinion to which the gentleman had referred. No man contended that political power given to a corporation could not be touched, but all contended that it required a two-third vote under the constitution, whether the power was granted by king or given by people. There had been no difference of opinion on that subject. There had been no man any where, even though the spirit of Leggett were not there, that would contend for a doctrine such as his friend had so eloquently argued against. And when we lawyers

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"I do myself the honor herewith to transmit to your Lordships the minutes of the Council of this province to the 14th day of October last, and the acts of Assembly past here the last session of Assembly markt from No. 1 to 23, and to save your Lordships the trouble of reading the titles of them I beg leave to refer to the numerical figures with which they are markt.

"Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 13, 15, 20, 21, 22, being Acts which either revise or continue Acts formerly past, which I presume have been considered by your Lordships Board, need no remarks.

No. 2 is intended and necessary to preserve the breed of sheep.

"No 3 is an Act wanted, and very useful. "Nos. 5, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, the reason and necessity of these will appear in the preamble of the Acts. "No. 9 Several Acts of this kind have been formerly past and some many years ago expired and not again revived; the wolves being entirely destroyed in some countys, but in the county's mentioned in this Act, the wolves still remaining, and it being thought most proper that the reward should be the same in every one of them; this present act was thought proper to be now made.

"No 16 is the Revenue Bill which needs no observation.

"No. 17 is the act for supporting Oswego, it is conformable in a great measure to the last act made for that purpose, and in general makes the Trade of that place defray the expense, the only probable method whereby to maintain that place.

"No. 23. is an Act to naturalize some foreigners; many acts of this kind have been past in this province heretofore, and I wish there were more frequent occasions for them, for this province wants only people to make it a flourishing country.*

"No. 10 is an act for confirming the charter granted to the city of New-York by Gov. Montgomerie. My Lords, as to this act I would beg leave to observe that the Charter which was designed to be confirmed by this act having passed away grants of a very extraordinary nature that I thought it necessary for me to acquaint your lordships with some of the inconveniences arising from it. By this charter are granted all the Islands near and around his majesties' garrison here, the soil of the East River, as far as low water mark and extending in length to the utmost limit of the island, whereby His Majesties prerogative and interest may be in danger of suffering, and his ships stationed here under the necessity of becoming petitioners to the Corporation for a convenient place to carreen, or refit, for this charter having granted the corporation all the islands, as well near and round as before the fort which lay commodious for the security and defence of it, in case of any eruptions, was as I conceive lodging too great a power in them, in case of any necessity, and by so much lessening of the King's prerogative.

"I must own, my Lords, that I was merely surprised into an assent to this act, it having been exhibited so very early after my arrival (as your Lordships will perceive by the act itself,) that I had not an opportunity of being acquainted with the nature and design of it, and from the general words of the title of it very little apprehended the nature of its extent. †

The act in general terms confirms the city all the grants to them at any time heretofore made without either referring to any grant in particular, or mentioning what the grants were that were designed

to be confirmed by this act, so that your Lordships on view of the act could not determine what rights, grants or particular privileges were to be confirmed by the act and for aught appears some (if not many) of these grants or charters may be (and as I believe are) prejudicial to His Majesties' interests.

It were but lately my Lords that I came to any knowledge of the charter designed to be confirmed by this act, and that charter consisting of a vast number of skins of parchment, and the vessel by whom I now write being to sail in a day or two, has rendered it improbable for me by this opportunity to have sent to your Lorships a copy of it, and without which your Lordships could not judge of the act, the act being worded in general terms, but shall send it by the next ship, and now hope that what I have offered will justify your Lordships to stop any proceedings at your board upon that act until I have this honor a second time to write further to your Lordships concerning it.

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I am, my Lords, with the greatest respect imaginable, your Lordships most obedient and most humble W. COSBY."


An ACT for confirming unto the city of New-York, its rights and privileges.

"Passed the 14th of October, 1732.

"I. Be it declared and enacted by the Governor, the Council, and the General Assembly of the colony, of New-York, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty, of the city of New-York, shall, and may, forever hereafter remain, continue, and be a body corporate and politic, in re facto et nominee by the name of the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New-York; and by that name to sue, plead, and be impleaded, and to answer, and to be answered, without any seizure or forejudger, for, or upon any, pretence of any forfeiture or misdemeanor at any time heretofore done, committed, or suffered.

II. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and singular letters patent, grants, charters, and gifts, sealed under the great seal of the colony of New-York, heretofore made and granted unto the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the city of New-York, be, and are hereby declared to be, and shall be good, valid, perfect, authentic, and effectual in the law, and shall stand, be taken, reputed, deemed, and adjuged good, perfect, sure, available authentic, and effectual in the law, against the King's Majesty, his heirs, and successors, and all and every person and persons, whomsoever, according to the tenor and effect of the said letters patent, grants, charters, and gifts.

"III. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and singular letters patent, grants, charters, and gifts, sealed under the great seal of the colony of New-York, heretofore made and granted unto the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the city of New-York, be, and are, to all intents and purposes, hereby ratified and confirmed.

"IV. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New-York, and their successors, shall, and may forever hereafter, peaceably have, hold, use, and enjoy, all and every the rights, gifts, charters, grants, powers,liberties, privileges, franchises, customs, usages, constitutions, immunities, markets, duties, tolls, lands, tenements, estates and hereditaments, which have heretofore been given, or granted, unto the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New-York, by any letters patent, grant, charter, or gift, sealed under the seal of the colony of New-York.

"V. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this present act shall be accepted, taken, and reputed, to be a general and public act of Assembly; of which all and every the judges and justices of this colony, in all courts, and all other persons, shall take notice on all occasions whatsoever, as if it were a public act of assembly, relating to the whole colony; any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.


We give in this number of our Gazette, the entire copy of Gov. Cosby's letter to the Board of Trade, together with the act of the Colonial Legislature to which it refers as to the New-York city charter. It will be seen by this act that the Corporation only sought

a recognition of charters, &c. of the COLONIAL GOVERNOR. This recital together with Gov. Cosby's Letter, is conclusive. HERE IS NO ROYAL GRANT.

This letter of Gov. Cosby is among the volumes of the Brodhead papers in the office of the Secretary of State, and may be found in its place in chronological order.

Hasty Executive Acts.

The Letter of Gov. Cosby as well as the Colonial Act, will be found instructive by the members of the State Convention, in its whole extent. Executive officers are sometimes hasty in signing acts, as Gov. Cosby fully admits in the recitals of his letter.

Naturalization in olden times.

The remarks as to naturalizing foreigners is full of force. Times have changed and the complaint now is that they eat our bread and the people are taxed for it. All the increase of consumption is made up in the consequently enhanced price.



We place before the Convention now assembled to form a Constitution for the People of the State of NewYork, a copy of the Veto Message of the Governor of the State of Connecticut, addressed to the legislature of that Commonwealth, in which is involved a question of vital importance. The objections of His Excellency, are sound, but the legislature have disregarded them-an evidence that legislative bodies are sometimes arbitrary, and in their zeal to carry a local boundary and favorite measure, sometimes overstep the great land marks laid down by the Constitution, beyond which, they should not pass.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on Saturday, 13th ult. by a majority of 36, and the Senate on Monday by a vote of 12 to 9. It was vetoed by the Governor on Tuesday, and on Wednesday was again passed by 32 majority in the House, and in the Senate by the same vote as before, viz. 12 to 9.Hasty re-consideration. MESSAGE OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOV. ERNOR, TO THE LEGISLATURE, RETURNING THE BILL CHARTERING THE NEWYORK AND BOSTON RAILROAD COMPANY. To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I return to the House of Representatives, the Joint Resolution of the General Assembly, creating a Corporation by the name of the New-York and Boston Railroad Company.

The Constitution of the State has provided, that every bill, which shall have passed both Houses of the General Assembly, shall be presented to the Governor, and if he approves, he shall sign and transmit it to the Secretary; but if not, he shall return it to the House in which it originated, with his objections, which shall be entered on the journal. As I do not approve this bill, I therefore return it to the house in which it originated, and proceed to state my objections.

The general object of the charter, which is the grant of a Railroad from New-Haven, by way of Middletown, to the eastern line of the State by the route proposed, has my unqualified approbation. The principal objection which will be presented, is against the grant to this Corporation of a right to construct a bridge across the Connecticut river, below a port of delivery established by act of Congress.

The City of Hartford is at the head of sloop navigation on the Connecticut river. The tides of the ocean ebb and flow there, and thence to the mouth of the river, its waters are navigable by vessels engaged in the foreign and coasting trade, and constitute an arm of the sea, and a portion of the navigable waters of the United States. By an act passed in the year 1799, Congress opened the port of Hartford and other places above the proposed bridge, and established

them as ports of delivery. At the port of Hartford, are stationed by the National Government, a Surveyor and an Inspector, whose duties are prescribed by the laws of the United States. Congress has explicitly authorized the registered vessels of the United States, (with an exception,) and all enrolled and other vessels, sailing under a coasting license, to proceed to this port of delivery to unlade their cargoes. The question presented, therefore, is, whether the Legislature of Connecticut can grant to a Corporation, the power to interrupt this navigation, by vessels of the United States, of the navigable waters of the United States, between a port of delivery and the sea.

The question is one of more than usual importance, not only to the people of this State, but to the whole Union. If this State has the power to shut up, by an act of her Legislature, the port of Hartford or the port of Middletown, every port of entry or delivery in the Union, can be shut up, not only without, but against the authority of Congress. The ports of N. York and the Hudson might be closed in like manner; the Delaware and Chesapeake bays mi ht be rendered inaccessible to vessels of the United States, and the mighty river of the West, whose banks will soon be peopled by nations, might be encumbered by a hundred bridges, to be passed with danger and difficulty, by the immense, and immensely increasing multitudes of vessels that float upon her waters.

It will be admitted on all sides, that an act of the State, prohibiting vessels engaged in the coasting trade and sailing under a coasting license, from proceeding to a port of entry or delivery, established by Congress, would be in conflict with the laws of the United States passed in pursuance of the Constitution and would be utterly void, for the want of power in the State to pass it. If such an act of the State should prohibit the passage of such vessels, not totally but partially, as for example for one half the day, or one fifth or one tenth, or a less fraction of time, such act of the State would be in conflict with the laws of Congress, and would be equally void. It is not the extent but the fact of such conflict, which makes void the legislation of the State.

If the law of the State conflict but little, and therefore be not void, that little might be repeated, until the sum total entirely subverted the action of Congress. If one bridge but partially obstructs the navigation, and may therefore be permitted, then a second and a third bridge may be constructed, and by the same process of reasoning, the whole river may be encumbered with bridges, from the port of Hartford to its mouth, till the navigation is broken up, and rendered impracticable.

It will be readily admitted, that if Congress has not exercised the power of regulating commerce, so as to conflict with the legislation of the State, the latter will not be void. It has therefore been adjudged by the Supreme Court of the Union, that a navigable creek, which is an arm of the sea, may, by State authority, be entirely closed by a dam, if the legislation of Congress do not interfere; while in the same case it is held, that if Congress do interfere by the passage of an act, the law of the State, in conflict with it, would be entirely void. If in such case, Congress had established a port of entry or delivery within the navigable waters thus closed up by a dam. erected by authority of the State, the dam would be abated as a public nuisance.

In one of the best judicial opinions to be found upon record, pronounced by the late Chief Justice Marshall, in the great case of Gibbons vs. Ogden, the power of Congress and the rights of the States are defined with almost unexampled clearness and precision. The State of New-York had granted to Livingston and Fulton the exclusive right to navigate her waters in vessels or boats propelled by steam, and her Chancellor and Judges, in all her Courts, had adjudged the law to be constitutional and valid. But the Supreme Court of the Union, in the judgment alluded to, held the law of the State to be void, because it obstructed the trade and navigation of the United States, as regulated and carried on under the authority of Congress. A vessel, engaged in the coasting trade and sailing under a coasting license, though propelled by steam, could not, by all the power of the State, be obstructed in passing through her waters, to its port of destination.

The question, therefore, presented to the General Assembly upon this charter, must be, will this bridge, with its numerous piers in the bed of the river, be an

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