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The President - The condition of Mr. McKinstry's health and of Mr. Deady's renders it necessary for them to be absent. (Laughter.) No more excuses after Saturday will be entertained or put by the Chair, unless on account of illness, and the gentlemen that do not like that will have to depose the Chairman for the time being.
Mr. T. A. Sullivan - Mr. President, I have just received notice of my appointment for some children in a State matter, which requires my presence in Buffalo for Monday. However, if I can be away Saturday afternoon, I will go up to Buffalo and make some arrangements, if possible.
The application is out of order.
Mr. Sullivan-For Saturday afternoon?
No, not for Saturday afternoon.
Mr. Sullivan's request to be excused for Saturday afternoon was granted.
The President The Chair very much regrets the illness of Mr. Deady and Mr. McKinstry. (Laughter.)
Mr. Deady I think the Chair is laboring under a misapprehension. I did not ask to be excused for Monday.
The President-That is the only day for which you could ask, under the rule adopted last night.
Mr. Deady - I did not ask for Monday.
The President-For Saturday?
Mr. Deady For Saturday afternoon. That I do not think came within the resolution. Is my excuse accepted by the President?
Mr. Forbes Mr. President, I call up the resolution which I offered yesterday (No. 197), in regard to the special committee of five to be appointed by the President to consider what the State should do with its natural property, exclusive of the waters of the Niagara river, and report thereon with any proposed amendments to the Constitution they may deem proper.
The reason that I offer this resolution at the present time is this. This State is a very large owner of what may be denominated natural property; that is, land under water, water rights, the woods in our forests and other property of this kind. We have considered that it is proper to enter into this subject, because as a Convention we have appointed two committees to consider two local sections of this natural property. The people of this State are entitled to a broader consideration of the subject than can be given to it by two committees appointed for two special purposes, applicable only to little
patches, as it may be said, of this subject. The committee appointed
The President - The Chair begs the gentleman to remember that the time he takes comes out of that limited for the consideration of the apportionment article.
Mr. Forbes - Well, sir, I have got but one more word to say. The committee appointed or selected by the President need not be on party lines. It is not a political subject. But they may be appointed for their fitness to consider this question. Therefore, it seems to me, that in view of the fact that we have committed ourselves to the examination of this subject in the past, we should take it up as a whole, and that we should take it up in a non-partisan way by a committee specially appointed to consider the subject.
Mr. Goodelle -I move that the resolution lie upon the table. The motion to lay on the table the resolution of Mr. Forbes was put by the President, and it was determined in the affirmative.
Mr. Lauterbach I present from the Committee on Charities a substitute for the amendment now forming the general order which is to be considered, and desire that the same be printed and placed upon the files for consideration.
Mr. I. S. Johnson-I desire to be recorded as dissenting from the report of the Committee on Charities, no matter what the case may be.
The President Mr. Johnson's objection will be entered by the Clerk.
Mr. Forbes Now, Mr. President, one more question. There is a committee, or, rather, the Committee on Legislative Powers was at my request directed to consider the question of waters. That is one of these species of natural property. They were to report yesterday. They did not take the trouble to have a meeting until yesterday afternoon at two o'clock, long after the morning session. was over. Now, we ask that their time be extended until to-morrow morning. I think that the committee should be permitted to report to-morrow, because it is a large subject and it should not be deferred.
The President - Do you so move?
Mr. Forbes I do so move.
The President put the question.
Mr. Vedder Mr. President, I hope that resolution will not carry. I was sorry that Mr. Goodelle, of Onondaga, moved to lay the resolution of Mr. Forbes upon the table. I prefer that the com
mittee should be appointed as suggested by Mr. Forbes, because the Committee on Legislative Powers regards it as absolutely impossible with any intelligence whatever to report within the time Mr. Forbes desires. Let him have his committee, be chairman of it, and then report it at his own good pleasure whenever he thinks he has sufficient information on which to make a report. The Committee on Legislative Powers confesses its inability to grapple with a subject as mighty as that and dispose of it in twenty-four hours. I hope the motion will be voted down, the other taken from the table and the committee appointed as Mr. Forbes desires.
The President put the question on the motion to lay the resolution on the table, and it was adopted.
Mr. Forbes Will the gentleman make his motion to reconsider? Mr. Vedder - You make it; I will sustain it.
I move, Mr. President, that it be taken from the
The President put the motion, and it was determined in the negative.
The Convention then went into Committee of the Whole on the apportionment amendment, only one hour remaining for discussion, and Mr. Durfee took the chair.
Mr. Cookinham — Mr. Chairman, when we adjourned last evening I was presenting some salient points to the committee, which I claimed showed that this apportionment was as fair as it was possible to make it.
I now wish to call the attention of the committee to one more fact. It is this: that if county lines are preserved, it is almost impossible to create outside of the city of New York a single Democratic district by any combination of counties more than is created by the proposed apportionment. I have taken the pains to examine the vote of 1893 in every county in the State that I might ascertain what counties had given Democratic majorities, and I find that there are but two outside of the city of New York and Kings that gave very substantial Democratic majorities except those to which are given a State Senator. Those two counties are Chemung and Schoharie I mean that have given a substantial Democratic majority. There is no reasonable combination of counties that any gentleman upon. the other side can suggest that will make another Democratic senatorial district in the State of New York. I have before me the vote and it shows as follows: That outside of the city of New York and the counties which are awarded at least one Senator, there was a
Democratic majority in Chemung of 1,291; Greene, 184; Richmond, 879; Rockland, 135; Schenectady, 100; Schoharie, 1,318; Ulster, 47. In the last election Westchester county, ordinarily Democratic, gave a Republican majority of 125. So that I repeat it—it is almost impossible by any combination of counties to make a single Democratic district other than those that are made by the proposed apportionment.
And now just a word in regard to dividing the State. The gentlemen who are logical upon the other side must concede that it is true that a senatorial district cannot be constituted outside of the cities and those counties which alone are entitled to one Senator. They must concur that the only way a Democratic district could be reasonably made would be to disregard county lines and to divide by town lines or by new artificial boundaries. The last manner is impossible without an enumeration and even a survey of the State. The other is impracticable for two reasons. The first is, it would be extremely difficult to divide a county by town lines, and put part of one county and part of another county into a senatorial district. But there is a further objection, and that is that there would perhaps be no place for the records of election within the district. If, for instance, a portion of one county were taken off and put with a portion of another county that did not possess a county clerk's office, there would be no center where election returns could be put together and a result tabulated, except, perhaps, outside the senatorial district, that is, it might be outside of the senatorial district thus created.
But there is still another and more important reason why this should not be done. It is that there is no gentleman upon the other side, had he the power to divide a county and submit a constitutional provision to the voters of this State, that proposed such a division into senatorial districts, who does not know that it would be buried under hundreds of thousands of votes. He knows perfectly well that the one thing that the people would not tolerate would be to break in upon those lines that, since the State existed, have never been broken for any purpose whatever. So, it seems to me, we must all agree that there is but one way to apportion the State into senatorial districts, and that is to observe county lines. With that proposition, I repeat that no gentleman can put together the counties. of this State in any reasonable manner and make one single additional Democratic district.
The proposition made by Mr. Bowers to create new districts violates every principle that should be adopted in making an apportionment. I will simply suggest one and that is the topographical
condition of the counties. He put Herkimer, for instance, with St. Lawrence. Does the gentleman know that the southern part of St. Lawrence and the northern part of Herkimer are covered with a dense forest sixty miles through, and there is no way of passing from southern St. Lawrence to northern Herkimer, without going out of the county in a roundabout way, except to penetrate that forest? Is that a practical way of putting counties together? I mention this as an illustration to show that an important rule that should be followed is violated by the combination of counties proposed by Mr. Bowers. The proper rules are, first, to observe population; second, proximity of the counties to each other; thirdly, the means of communication between them. Taking all those rules into consideration, I pronounce the proposed apportionment just as nearly perfect as it is possible for man to make it, and I challenge the able gentlemen who are to follow me in this debate to show us how the counties may be combined to a better advantage.
One word now as to the proposed senatorial districts, and for the sake of showing the difference between the existing apportionment and the proposed one, I call attention to the position of the very estimable gentleman from Putnam. When he had finished his address I asked him a question which he courteously declined to
I proposed to present immediately following his speech. this proposition. I knew that he would answer honestly and fairly if he answered at all. I, therefore, asked him what was the disparity, at least the largest disparity between the population in the senatorial districts as proposed. He declined to answer. The fact is that unless you go into a county where a fraction must be represented, the largest difference is in the city of Brooklyn, and it is between the Fourth District and the Sixth District, and the difference is 26,321. And it is well to stop a moment right here and say that the largest district in Kings county is not a Democratic district. But Colonel Morton upon that committee took upon himself, acting for the Republican party, to put into one district a very large Republican majority. So that the largest district in Kings county is a Republican district, and it is, I think, the largest district in population in the entire State of New York. But whether I am correct in that or not, it is safe to say that the greatest disparity between senatorial districts in the same county, except where a fraction must be represented, is in the county of Kings, and it is between a Republican district and the smallest district, which is a Democratic district. I desire further to call attention to something that the gentleman from New York (Mr. Bowers) said in regard to the apportionment of 1879. I am not here to defend that apportionment. If any gen