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ject. If he understood the duties of the committee pockets of the people they understood very well. rights and privileges of citizens, would be left busy to No. 11, that was precisely the reference to make of These were matters that they looked into, and they study constitutional law in order to secure protection it. That committee takes charge of the rights and wanted no proposition of this kind in the Constitution. to the citizens. But if gentlemen however thought privileges of citizens of the State. This was a ques- There was another difficulty to a considerable extent: it the proper committee for this subject, he should not tion involving the rights of the citizens of the state to what committee shall the subject be given, and object to it. The committee would endeavor to do in point of taxation—whether they should be taxed where shall one be found favorable to it. It was an it justice. in one place or in another-for instance, in New York old rule and always pretty generally adhered to, that Mr. Rhoades hoped this proposition might go to a or Brooklyn. He should like to have this committee, we should not put the child to nurse where it would select committee. Every committee named that at the head of which was the venerable gentleman be strangled. No committee had as yet been found seemed to be regarded by the Convention as in any from Dutchess, (Mr. Tallmadge,) examine this subject, who were not opposed to it—who would receive the
way appropriate to take charge of it, seemed disposed and have the benefit of that examination. He was nursling, and for that reason a special committee was not to take it; to say hands off. And every gentlo inclined to concur with the gentleman from Herkimer, asked to take charge of it. He was opposed to refer- man who had spoken had proposed a different comin some of his views, but as he thought the subject || ring it to any committee that objected to it-it would mittee before he sat down, and concluded too with was not strictly before the Convention on a motion of be doing injustice to that subject and to the gentleman the hope that he would not be put on it. He, too, reference, he should refrain from any remarks upon it. froin New-York, so to refer it. He should vote-if
was going to propose a select committee ; and he was Mr. Bascom hoped no special committee would be compelled to vote at all, and he hoped he should not
going to say another thing. It would be recollectraised on this proposition. It would seem to the ob
be, although he should not move to lay the subject on ed that there was a time when the citizens of New. server that this Convention supposed itself possessed
the table, but hoped some other gentleman would- York opposed those works of internal improvement of all the wisdom in the land, past, present and pros
for a special committee. And while up, he would in our State, which had added so much to the wealth pective, We are entering into the consideration of
say, that he hoped he would not be placed on the of that city-or at least came tardily to their support.
committee, as he was eatirely opposed to the proposubjects it seemed to him, belonging, exclusively to
Now they seemed disposed to tax the property of legislation, and some even to the local authorities of sition. [Laughter, ]
every man who happened to be in their city transcounties. We are unnecessarily consuming time in
Mr. MORRIS asked for information, what was the acting business. He wished, briefly to say to the genthese discussions—and if we give importance to all question.
tleman from New-York, that the time may come when
The PRESIDENT said on the reference to the standthese matters by raising select committees for their
business men may recollect-out of the State as well consideration, we invite a thousand similar proposi- ing committee No. 3.
as in it—that there are such places as Boston, as Philtions for the reformation of the State laws." There Mr. Richmond thought that the question was first adelphia, as Montreal, and as New-Orleans. And was a great propriety in their consideration, he granted; on referring to committee No. 2.
that the time may come when this trade might be dibut it belonged to a legislative body. He hoped there
verted to these cities. He would not say any thing
Mr. WARD suggested that the question should be fore that consequence would not be given to this matfirst taken on the simple motion whether it should go
more about that. He esteemed highly the honorable ter by raising a select committee, but that it would to a standing committee. If this was decided, the
gentleinan and his colleagues, and as far as he was be allowed to take the usual reference. He cared not
acquainted with the business men of the city, they question as to which of the several committees it to which committee it went.
were honorable men-enlarged and liberal in their should go to could be decided afterwards. Mr. SHEPARD said that it seemed to him that the
views, but he hoped that the city of New-York would
The PRESIDENT said that the motion to refer to course of reference in this case was clear. It could,
not be found standing out against its own interests. He No. 3 was first in order. however, not be made to any one committee by itself.
should prefer that the proposition should be referred It seemed to him that the 14th committee had charge The question was then taken on the motion to refer to a select committee, composed of the delegates from of that part of the resolution which referred to the the resolution to committee No. 3, and it was rejected, the city and county of New-York. powers of cities and incorporated villages to tax and a count being had, ayes 42, nays 43.
Mr. Morris said a delegate from the city of Newassess. He thought there could be no doubt of that. The President announced the question now to be York might by excused, if he should offer thanks to There was then a considerable part of the resolution on the motion of the gentleman from Rensselaer, (Mr. the gentleman for selecting that delegation for the connot embraced in the plan of reference, and that he Van Schoonhoven,) to refer to standing committee No.
sideration of this proposition, were it not for the prethought would probably go to committee No. 2, which 11.
vious part of his speech-which was to inform us he supposed had general charge of matters of taxa- Mr. TALLMADGE asked to have the resolution read, gentlemen from New-York that there was a Boston, a tion-or to No. 3. It struck him, therefore, that the
(it was read.) Mr. T. had two views of this resolu- New Orleans and a Moutreal. As though the holding resolution in its reference should be divided. The
tion. He was not entirely suited with the resolution up before our faces of such places, was to frighten us part alluded to by him, to No. 14; and the other part as it stood. In the first place, the resolution as it all out of our sense of propriety, as the threatened to No. 2 or 3, as gentlemen might think in regard to stood, sent us forth, even to our newly acquired terri
flaggellation to the School boy-and that frightened this matter of taxation. Some allusion had been tory on the Rio Grande, and to the world, as having
thereat, we were immediately to retreat from any made by the gentleman from Kings, (Mr. Murphy,) agreed to the proposition. The motion therefore
honest conviction we might have of an important to the substantial part of this proposition, to its merits. should be made so as to be in fact one only of refer- principle. Now although a delegate from the city Now, upon that subject, as one of the representatives
On the other hand neither the second or the and county of New York, and he thanked God from of the city of New-York, he felt obliged to say this. eleventh committee was the proper committee to take
the State of New-York-he had yet to see-or rather Certainly, no greater injustice could be done to such
charge of the subject. When that committee, (the his memory had yet to return back to the first instance a corporation as the city of New-York, than by per- 11th) was created, he had not supposed that it was to
where local feeling perverted or destroyed his sense mitting citizens of Brooklyn to trade there to the ex- be a committee of what the Romans, in their law
of what was due to the whole. He introduced the tent of millions of dollars, and escape ihe burthens
Latin, called Omnium gatherum. He had not the proposition from an honest, thorough conviction that that should be imposed on that property. A question least objection to its being so occupied so far as he was
it was just in itself, without any reference to any loof considerable practical inconvenience also arises concerned. He was perfectly willing if the Conven
cality, or the residence of any individual whose property as to where property should be taxed. He supposed
tion thought proper to do so, but he thought it expedi- might be taxed and as equally important to every it to be impossible to settle the question so as to avoid ent then to alter its name. If it was considered a
locality in the State. Now, as matters now s'and, he that inconvenience, but it seemed to him that the
glorious privilege to be taxed, then of course it should found himself something in the position of the man nearest approximation to such an avoidance of the
go to the committee on the rights and privileges of who went to a certain village to sell a fox skin. He difficulties, was contained in the proposition of his the citizens. But he thought that this matter should
tried all over to sell it but could find no purchaser. colleague. He therefore hoped that the reference go to the delegation from New York and Kings—not He then tried to give it away, but no man would have would neither be made to a special committee, nor to to the black or white sheep alone--but to the two
it. At last he tried to lose it and accordingly he any of the others named and assented to by his colcrows to take it and settle it together. This would be
dropped it carefully and ran. But immediately ho league, but that it would be made as he suggested in in accordance with the rule in legislation, that all
heard the halloo of-“Mister, mister, you've lost your tho introductory part of his remarks--part of it to kindred subjects should be sent to a kindred commit- skin ” [laughter.] The poor fellow threw up his committee No. 14, and the other part, he would say tee-and if there was no standing committee, a select
hands in despair. He had tried to sell it and could not for the purpose of getting the sense of the conven- committee should be raised for that reason. When - he had tried to give it away, but could not-then tion on the question, to committee No. 2. any gentleman created or begot a doll he ought to
he tried to lose it, but in that even was he defeated. Mr. STRONG confessed that he had been somewhat be permitted to dress it in his own robes and present [Renewed laughter.] Now he (Mr. M.) had tried entertained by this debate. When we looked over it in his own garniture. And all nondescript resolu- not exactly to sell it—but to place it in such a position the speeches made by the gentlemen from the two tions of this sort should be similarly disposed of.
that those now opposed to it might receive it, and cities--the contending parties--it would be found that Having suggested this, he had no hesitation in saying after a thorough examination wake up to the justice no two of them agreed. He believed the whole mat- that it ought to go--if to any standing committee-- of his proposition. That would be called a sale. Then ter was out of order—this discussing the merits of a to No. 13. Most certainly it ought not to be sent to a
he tried to give it away. He had assented to all and resolution merely on a motion of reference. Suppose committee on the rights and privileges of citizens un
every suggestion as to where it should go and each that we should engraft into the Constitution all these less it was to be considered a glorious privilege to and all repudiated it, and would not touch it. He propositions, what kind of a Constitution would we
be taxed. It would indeed be amplifying the privi- therefore would ask to have it referred to a select have? There was another good reason-and that lege very much to let him have it without restraint committee, and he believed that under parliamentary was-we should not engraft on the Constitution, that -and to tax a man in every town where he hap- rule, the member who made the motion, is made the which had been rejected by the Legislature who had pened to own a cow, a horse, or an ox. But he
chairman of the committee. He did this openly and full power to grant it. He had seen it himself when had been reproved the other day for discussing the
would not shrink from the responsibility of examinhe had been here before, and he did not believe that merits of a propositon on a motion of reference, as had
ing this question, and placing it before the public on our time was well taken up, or that the people were been done all this morning, and he would refrain its merits. If he was wrong on the merits, he knew so ignorant as to the laws of taxation, as to suppose from further discussion. He hoped the motion to
that there was wisdom and firmness in the house to that we came here to investigate that matter and put refer the proposition to a committee of kindred associ
put him down. He would not attempt to designate it in the Constitution. Anything that touched the tions, would prevail, and that the committee on the
the committee, all he desired was that intelligent mon
should be placed upon it. He wished his learned
Monday, June 22. remain here a much longer period than any of us
dreamt of. He submitted that the legislature had friend from Rensselaer (Mr. V. S.) would oblige him
Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Clapp. 80 much as to withdraw his motion.
always had power over this whole subject of taxation. LOCAL TAXATION.
and that it must have that power, But if we attemptMr. VAN SCHOONHOVEN cheerfully withdrew it, and
The President announced the following as the com- ed to go into such details we should involve ourselves Mr. SHEPARD also withdrew his.
mittee on the resolution submitted by Mr. Morris on in difficulty. He concurred with the inover of the Mr. CHATFIELD said that he believed this motion to Saturday: - Messrs. Morris, MURPHY, Loomis, Per- resolution, and for the purpose of saying so he had raise a select committee was his proposition. [Laugh- KINS, and Vache.
risen, that there was an evil in the mode of assessing
the burdens of taxation. ter.] He did not wish to take from his friend from New-York the honor of being chairman of it, how
SATURDAY, June 27. The President interposed :—the merits were not ever, and he distinctly stated when he made the motion Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Fisher.
debateable under the motion of reference. that he did not desire to be put upon the committee
The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention a meat all. Still, according to parliamentary uruge, it morial asking that causes before justices of the peace
Mr. SHEPARD then withdrew his motion to refer,
and would belong to him. Perhaps he could give his may be decided by jury-Referred to the judiciary reasons for not desiring to be on the committee, and committee.
Mr. Marvin continued :—The occupants of land it would be only extending the fox skin story to its Also a report from the clerk of the sixth circuit, were taxed as the owners, while in point of fact, the conclusion. The fellow, after his repeated failure to furnishing the number of causes on the calender, property might all be in the land owner, being held get rid of his skin, as a last resort, said he would take &c., in answer to a resolution of the Convention- on contracts. There were difficulties requiring perit to Rhode Island, where they would steal it from Referred to the judiciary committee.
haps attention-but he apprehended that in fraining him. (Laughter.] Now, he thought if the gentle- Also, a report from the clerk of the fourth circuit, a constitution we were not to attempt to lay down a man would take his proposition over to Brooklyn, they in answer to a resolution requiring returns of the system of taxation. On looking over this resolution, would steal it from him, and he could thus dispose of value of the real estate of infants sold, moneys in- it would be seen, that it seemed to suppose that the it. (Laughter.]
vested, &c.—Referred to the judiciary committee. subject was before us as a legislature. It took the posiMr. RHOADES said this was not the first time he had
tion that bonds and mortgages should not be taxed, heard this fox story. It had occurred to him that his
but that the land on which they were a incvmbrance
Mr. STRONG called up his resolution which was friend was about to lose his fox skin, and it was for
should be, and that the occupant should deduct a prolaid on the table a few days since by consent--as that reason he proposed to refer it to a select commit
portionate share from the person who had a lien on follows:tee. The gentleman from New-York had spoken of
Resolved, That there be in the Constitution an
it by judgment, mortgage, or otherwise. How would the attempt he (Mr. R.) had made to frighten the
this operate? Here was a judgment of $1000. It citizens of New-York and its members in Convention article containing in substance the following provis
might be a lien on half a dozen farms, but the owner from their position. He had not intended any such ions ; That all bonds, mortgages, judgments and all
of the judgment was worth $1000, for the judgment other evidences of debt, which are liens on real estate, thing. He was led into the train of remark which had
was worth $1000 to him. When the occupant of thus been construed, not by what fell from the gentleshall not be taxed as personal property; and that all
one of these farms was taxed, was he to call upon man from New York, but from what his friend from real estate shall be taxed to the owner or occupant at
the holder of the lien to refund in part; and was his its fair value; and that any person or persons owning Kings (Mr. MURPHY,) had said. He was led to be
neighbor also to do the same? These were difficul. lieve that the object was to tax the inhabitants of
or holding any bond, mortgage judgment or any ties which should satisfy the gentleman from Monroe
other evidence of indebtedness which are liens on Brooklyn doing business in New York. And although
that this matter should be left to legislation. There the gentleman from New-York did not name that city,
real estate, shall be liable to the person or persons to were other difficulties also in the way, which he but referred to Albany, and asked if people were to whom the same shall have been taxed for his, her,
would not advert to now, further than to say, that on come and enjoy its pavements, its streets, its docks, or their portion of said tax, in proportion to the in.
framing a constitution we were not to interfere with its wharves, its lights, its police, &c., and not pay for it terest he, she or they may have, hold or own in said
vested rights, and contracts. If we should incorporeal estate. -it was from those remarks that he, (Mr. R.) sup
rate such a provision into it, he knew not to what posed that he intended to illustrate and state the con
Mr. KENNEDY suggested to the mover the propriety
it might not lead. dition of the people of the city of New-York. Then
of changing the form of the resolution, so as to make he (Mr. R.) had brought up the subject of its oppoit one of enquiry merely.
Mr. Strong replied that it seemed to be conceded Mr. Strong did not prefer that course. If there
that there was something wrong in our system of tion to the great works of internal improvement, which had done so much for it, and had felt at liberty were in his resolution any erroneous principle, he
taxation. But the objection was that we had nothing should be willing to have it pointed out; so far as the
to do with it, and that it belonged to the legislature. to suggest the idea that business people might learn details were concerned he was not much wedded to
Now, he took another view of the subject. Here that there were other places where they could do their business, -and that if they were to suffer—in addithem. He had prepared it on the reflection of a few
was a wrong that had existed as long as he could retion to the opposition on the part of New-York to moments, and though there might be an error in
member--and the legislature with full power to remedy form, he believed it contained correct principles. He
it, had not done it, and never would. This was a measures they deemed of vital importance-themwould not say that a provision should be made in the
day of reform. selves to be taxed for the purpose of using the pave
The people had sent us here to get ments, gas lights, of that city, they might feel disposed constitution precisely in the terms he had used ; his
the reforms which they could not get through the to trade elsewhere. It was for this reason that he
object was such a provision in substance. That there legislature. Hence it was that this or some similar felt inclined to admonish him, of the feeling which was something wrong about the taxing of real estate
principle should be in the constitution. He had heard had begun, at least to pervade the minds of our trading and personal property, he believed every gentleman
the dillicully suggested before that you could not apwould admit. One object he had in view was to cor
portion a tax where a judgment covered several pieces population. Mr. Murphy had no objection to the reference to rect a system by which a large amount of property
of property—but it was a very easy matter to calcuwas subject to double taxation ; another was to reach
late how much should be refunded to the occupant or a select committee, indeed he desired that it might go there, if, as he remarked before, the Convention should a large portion of personal property which every body
owner of each farm. Any body could cypher that knew had not been taxed at all. He had said, and it
But another case—the opposite, had been deem it a matter of sufficient importance to engage was not denied, that there was in the existing system
brought up—the case of a mortgage of $5,000 on a their attention. And in the few remarks he had subsomething wrong; but he might be answered that
farın assessed at only $2,000. In that case, it was mitted he had attempted to confine his attention to the remedy should be left to the legislature. But
said the man who held the mortgage would pay the the subject of reference. But in the course of the
whole tax on the land: That would be so under his debate we have been amused, by the gentleman from
looking at the past, we might form some judgment as New-York, who had told us a very interesting Joe to what might be expected for the future. We should
proposition ; out how would it be under the present Miller, which story had been taken up and finished obtain no remedy unless some provision like this were
system? The man who held the mortgage, unless he engrafted on the constitution.
covered up his lien would have to pay taxes on $3,000 by the gentleman frem Otsego. (Mr, Chatfield). Now Mr. SHEPARD moved the reference of the resolu
besides - whereas, under his system, ihis $3,000 would he thought the gentleman from Otsego was a little too tion to the fourteenth standing committee.
Was there any thing in that operation fast. The gentleman from New-York was not disposed to lose his propositien—he wished to take it. And
Mr. Rhoades objected to the form of the resolution
against the mortgage holder ? And on the other hand he (Mr. M.) hoped he would take it where Brooklyn -amounting as it did, to an affirmative expression of
the interest of the occupant would be to bring into opinion.
the assessment these mortgages that now escaped tax. would have no opportunity to steal it. Nor did Brook
ation in a great degree. Mr. S. had no objection to lyn ask to be placed in the category with stealing
Mr. SHEPARD thought that immaterial, as the ConRhode Island. vention would express no opinion by sending it to a
having his resolution referred ; but he did object to
its being laid on the table to sleep there. And there committee. Mr. WATERBURY said this was a serious and difficult
was nothing in the mere act of refering it that comquestion. The Legislature had for years been peti
Mr. Rhoades said he should have no objection to mitted the Convention to it-any more than there tioned on the subject,-for there was not a county in
the resolution if it were not in fact one of instruction. would be in referring a petition or memorial. If the the state where a similar condition of things did not
Mr. Marvin said the gentleman from Onondaga Convention passed a direct vote on the resolution, exist as had been referred to. The question was
was right. The resolution called for a positive ex- that would be adopting the principle. But he did whether the taxation should be levied in the town of
pression that there should be in the Constitution an not ask that. He only desired a reference of it-and a county or in its centre, where all the capital was
article in substance like that embodied in it. The be now moved to refer it to committee number two, drawn, and it was one not to be trified with. He
mover himself did not offer it with the view of send- which had already the subject of taxation before them. hoped therefore, it would have a candid and careful
ing it to a committee to enquire into the expediency Mr. RHOADES had no objection to a reference; but examination, not with reference to a particular locality,
of such a provision, but it was in such a shape as to as he asked the privilege of selecting his own combut to its effect on the State at large.
be imperative, if adopted. And if we attempted to mittee. Mr. R. insisted that he should put his resoThe question was then taken on the motion to refer
incorporate provisions like this into a constitution, lution in the shape in which all resolutions of enquiry to a select committee, and it prevailed.
we should have a constitution more voluminous than had been put. But he had a word to say on the any ever yet made, and we should be required to
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 ref
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 Chantauque (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 roference 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. This must arise from an unjust mode of assessment. But to return to an illustration drawn from his own city. There, the whole amount of property returned for taxation, was about $210,000,000. 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 10 number two, as desired by the mover.
The resolution was so referred.
any grants of lands within this state, made by authori. ty 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 aunul 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 bé. 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 Ameri. can 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
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 ont 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 col. league 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 out. This being the only alteration, he submitted whether, having allowed his resolution to lie on the
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
TUESDAY, June 23. ROYAL GRANTS, &c. 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
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.
ROYAL GRANTS. 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 atfect 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 pow. er, 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 said private rights, we meant the rights of corporations
From the Archives of British Board of Trade.
BROADHEAD PAPERS. New-York who did not believe that chartered rights were of such a nature as to prevent an exercise of “ New-York Papers, Bundle Ee. No. 42. sovereignty here, with a view to correct evils. No.
“Coll. Cosby to the Board. The spirit of Leggett still lived there, and there were
“ New-York, 29th Aug. 1733. many, very many there, who wished to see this doctrine of vested political rights broken up. With a
My Lords, view to have this matter brought before us dispassion- "I do myself the honor herewith to transmit to ately, and by a committee composed of no member your Lordships the minutes of the Council of this from such parts of the State as were peculiarly inter- province to the 14th day of October last, and the acts ested in it-he had moved the reference to committee of Assembly past here the last session of Assembly number eleven, at the head of which was one of the
markt from No. 1 to 23, and to save your Lordships most venerable and distinguished members of this the trouble of reading the titles of them I beg leave budy.
to refer to the numerical figures with which they are
markt. Mr. SHEPARD remarked that to examine the section “ Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 13, 15, 20, 21, 22, being Acts which the gentleman from Kings had introduced, which either revise or continue Acis formerly past, would be to discuss the merits of the question, with which I presume have been considered by your Lord. which at this time we had nothing to do. The gen- ships Board, need no remarks. tleman had not answered his objections. Supposing No. 2 is intended and necessary to preserve the that the seventh article of the present constitution was
breed of sheep. entirely made up of an enumeration of the rights and “No 3 is an Act wanted, and very aseful. privileges of the citizens of the state, that would prove "Nos. 5, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, the reason and necessity nothing in favor of the proposed, because they had of these will appear in the preamble of the Acts. appointed eighteen standing committees and referred “ No. 9 Several Acts of this kind have been formerly to them various subjects, without reference to the
past and some many years ago expired and not again various parts of the constitution in which they might revived; the wolves being entirely destroyed in some be now. His colleague (Mr. Morris) had reported on countys, but in the county's mentioned in this Acı, the the veto power, and on some other things which were wolves still remaining, and it being thought most proper not found in the same article of the present constitu- that the reward should be the same in every one of tion. The gentleman from Kings had placed in his them; this present act was thought proper to be now (Mr. S.'s) lips, arguments which he had not used; made. and these the gentleman had answered, not those “ No 16 is the Revenue Bill which needs no obserwhich Mr. S, had in fact used. Now, he did not stand vation. there the advocate of royal grants, except so far as “ No. 17 is the act for supporting Oswego, it is conthey were sanctioned by the people, and such vested
formable in a great measure to the last act made for rights he had supposed were secured, though the
that purpose, and in general makes the Trade of that gentleman seemed to think they were not. They
place detray the expense, the only probable method were protected by the genius und spirit of our laws.
whereby to maintain that place.
No. 23. is an Act to naturalize some foreigners ; ration, and stood in two relations to the people at large
many acts of this kind have been past in this province —first, as a large political corporation, exercising rights
heretofore, and I wish there were more frequent ocof political government; and next, as a large private
casions for them, for this province wants only people corporation, exercising the rights of a private corpo
to make it a flourishing country.* ration. Those rights had been secured by a long “No. 10 is an act for confirming the charter granted chain of statutes and charters, and it appeared to him to the city of New York by Gov. Montgomerie. My it would be unwise, as the gentleman stated, to avoid Lords, as to this act I would beg leave to observo a popular misconstruction, hastily and without exami- that the Charter which was desigued to be confirmed natic to cast aside sections of the constitution which by this act having passed away grants of a very exwere inserted by a wise foresight by the convention of traordinary nature that I thought it necessary for mo 1821, for the purpose of securing those private rights. to acquaint your lordships with some of the inconveHe wished the examination to be made by the proper niences arising from it. By this charter are granted committee. He had no objection to the committee all the Islands near and around his majesties' garrison of which the venerable gentleman from Dutchess here, the soil of the East River, as far as low water (Mr. Tallmadge) was chairman, except that according mark and extending in length to the utmost limit of to the order which the convention had adopted, that the island, whereby His Majesties prerogative and incommittee had nothing to do with the subject. This terest may be in danger of suffering, and his ships he thought a conclusive objection. He saw no alter- stationed here under the necessity of becoming petinative,--but he saw in the magnitude of the question tioners to the Corporation for a convenient place to itself everything that could call for a special com- carreen, or refit, for this charter having granted the mittee.
corporation all the islands, as well near and round as
before the fort which lay commodious for the security Mr. Morris agreed with the gentleman from Kings
and defence of it, in case of any eruptions, was as I that the proper reference was to the committee on the
conceive lodging too great a power in them, in case rights and privileges of citizens. He also agreed with
of any necessity, and by so much lessening of the the gentleman as to the law on this subject, and he
" I must own, my Lords, that I was merely suropinion to which the gentleman had referred. No prised into an assent to this act, it having been exhibman contended that political power given to a corpo
ited so very early after my arrival (as your Lordships ration could not be touched, but all contended that it will perceive by the act itself,) that I had not an oprequired a two-third vote under the constitution, portunity of being acquainted with the nature and whether the power was granted by king or given by
design of it, and from the general words of the title people. There had been no difference of opinion on
of it very little apprehended the nature of its extent. + that subject. There had been no man any where, “ The act in general terms confirms the city even though the spirit of Leggett were not there, that all the grants to them at any time heretofore made would contend for a doctrine such as his friend had without either referring to any grant in particular, or so eloquently argued against. And when we lawyers | mentioning what the grants were that were designed
THE VETO POWER.
to be confirmed by this act, so that your Lordships on a recognition of charters, &c. of the Colonial Gov- them as ports of delivery. At the port of Hartford, view of the act could not determine what rights,
This recital together with Gov. Cosby's
are stationed by the National Government, a Surveyor grants or particular privileges were to be confirmed
and an Inspector, whose duties are prescribed by the by the act and for aught appears some (if not many)
Letter, is conclusive. HERE IS NO ROYAL GRANT. laws of the United States. Congress has explicitly of these grants or charters may be (and as I believe This letter of Gov. Cosby is among the volumes of authorized the registered vessels of the United States, are) prejudicial to His Majesties' interests. the Brodhead papers in the office of the Secretary of
(with an exception,) and all eurolled and other vessels, • It were but lately my Lords that I came to any
sailing under a coasting license, to proceed to this knowledge of the charter designed to be confirmed State, and may be found in its place in chronological
port of delivery to unlade their cargoes. The ques. by this act, and that charter consisting of a vast numorder.
tion presented, therefore, is, whether the Legislature -ber of skins of parchiment, and the vessel by whom
+ Hasty Executive Acts.
of Connecticut can grant to a Corporation, the power I now write being to sail in a day or two, has ren- The Letter of Gov. Cosby as well as the Colonial to interrupt this navigation, by vessels of the United dered it improbable for me by this opportunity to
States, of the navigable waters of the United States, have sent to your Torships a copy of it, and without Act, will be found instructive by the members of the
between a port of delivery and the sea. which your Lordships could not judge of the act, the State Convention, in its whole extent. Executive The question is one of more than usual importance, act being worded in general terms, but shall send it officers are sometimes hasty in signing acts, as Gov.
not only to the people of this State, but to the whole by the next ship, and now hope that what I have
Union. If this State has the power to shut up, by offered will justify your Loruships to stop any proCosby fully admits in the recitals of his letter.
an act of her Legislature, the port of Hartford or the ceedings at your board upon that act until I have this
# Naturalization in olden times.
port of Middletown, every port of entry or delivery honor a second time to write further to your Lordships The remarks as to naturalizing foreigners is full of in the Union, can be shut up, not only without, but concerning it. force. Times have changed and the complaint now
against the authority of Congress. The ports of N. “ I am, my Lords, with the greatest respect imagin
York and the Hudson might be closed in like manner; able, your Lordships most obedient and most humble is that they eat our bread and the people are taxed the Delaware and Chesapeake bays mi ht be renderW. COSBY." for it. All the increase of consumption is made up
ed inaccessible to vessels of the United States, and An ACT for confirming unto the city of New-York, in the consequently enhanced price.
the mighty river of the West, whose banks will soon its rights and privileges.
be peopled by nations, might be encumbered by a
hundred bridges, to be passed with danger and diffi“ Passed the 14th of October, 1732.
STATE OF CONNECTICUT.
culty, by the immense, and immensely increasing "I. Be it declared and enacted by the Governor, the
multitudes of vessels that float upon her waters. Council, and the General Assembly of the colony, of
It will be admitted on all sides, that an act of the
We place before the Convention now assembled to New-York, and it is hereby enacted by the authority
State, prolibiting vessels engaged in the coasting trade of the same, That the Mayor, Aldermen and Com- form a Constitution for the People of the State of New- and sailing under a coasting license, from proceeding monalty, of the city of New-York, shall, and may, York, a copy of the Veto Message of the Governor to a port of entry or delivery, established by Congress, forever hereafter remain, continue, and be a body cor- of the State of Connecticut, addressed to the legisla
would be in conflict with :he laws of the United porate and politic, in re facto et nominee by the name ture of that Commonwealth, in which is involved a
States passed in pursuance of the Constitution and of the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city
would be utterly void, for the want of power in the of New-York ; and by that name to sue, plead, and bo question of vital importance. The objections of His State to pass it. If such an act of the State should impleaded, and to answer, and to be answered, without Excellency, are sound, but the legislature have disre- prohibit the passage of such vessels, not totally but any seizure or forejudger, for, or upon any, pretence garded thein-an evidence that legislative bodies are
partially, as for example for one half the day, or one of any forfeiture or misdemeanor at any time hereto
fifth or one tenth, or a less fraction of time, such act of fore done, committed, or suffered.
sometimes arbitrary, and in their zeal to carry a local the State would be in conflict with the laws of Con“ II. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, boundary and favorite measure, sometimes overstep the gress, and would be equally void. It is not the exThat all and singular letters patent, grants, charters, great land marks laid down by the Constitution, beyond
tent but the fact of such conflict, which makes void and gifts, sealed under the great seal of the colony of
the legislation of the State. New-York,t heretofore made and granted unto the which, they should not pass.
If the law of the State conflict but little, and thereMayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the city of
The bill passed the House of Representatives on fore be not void, that little might be repeated, until New-York, be, and are hereby declared to be, and shall Saturday, 13th ult. by a majority of 36, and the
the sum total entirely subverted the action of Conbe good, valid, perfect, authentic, and effectual in the law, and shall stand, be taken, reputed, deemed, Senate on Monday by a vote of 12 to 9. It was vetoed
gress. If one bridge but partially obstructs the navi
gation, and may therefore be permitted, then a second and adjuged good, perfect, sure, available authentic,
by the Governor on Tuesday, and on Wednesday was and a third bridge may be constructed, and by the and effectual in the law, against the King's Majesty, | again passed by 32 majority in the House, and in the same process of reasoning, the whole river may be his heirs, and successors, and all and every person and Senate by the same vote as before, viz. 12 to 9.
encumbered with bridges, from the port of Hartford persons, whomsoever, according to the tenor and
to its mouth, till the navigation is broken up, and reneffect of the said letters patent, grants, charlers, and Hasty re-consideration.
dered impracticable. MESSAGE OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOV. It will be readily admitted, that if Congress has not “ III. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, ERNOR, TO THE LEGISLATURE, RETURN.
exercised the power of regulating commerce, so as That all and singular letters patent, grants, charters,
to conflict with the legislation of the State, the latter and gifts, sealed under the great seal of the colony of
ING THE BILL CHARTERING THE NEW
will not be void. It has therefore been adjudged by New-York, heretofore made and granted unto the
YORK AND BOSTON RAILROAD COMPANY. the Supreme Court of the Union, that a navigable Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the city of To the Senate and House of Representatives : creek, which is an arm of the sea, may, by State auNew-York, be, and are, to all intents and purposes,
thority, be entirely closed by a dam, if the legislation hereby ratified and confirmed.
I return to the House of Representatives, the Joint
of Congress do not interfere; while in the same “ IV. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, Resolution of the General Assembly, creating a Cor
case it is held, that if Congress do interfere by the That the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the
poration by the name of the New-York and Boston city of New-York, and their successors, shall, and Railroad Company.
passage of an act, the law of the State, in conflict
with it, would be entirely void. If in such case, unay forever hereafter, peaceably have, hold, use, and
The Constitution of the State has provided, that enjoy, all and every the rights, gifts, charters, grants, every bill, which shall have passed both Houses of
Congress had established a port of entry or delivery
within the navigable waters thus closed up by a dam. powers,liberties, privileges, franchises, customs, usages, the General Assembly, shall be presented to the Gov
erected by authority of the State, the dam would be constitutions, immunities, markets, duties, tolls, lands, ernor, and if he approves, he shall sign and transmit
abated as a public nuisance. it to the Secretary; but if not, he shall return it to tenements, estates and hereditaments, which have heretofore been given, or granted, unto the Mayor, the House in which it originated, with his objections,
In one of the best judicial opinions to be found Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New York,
which shall be entered on the journal. As I do not upon record, pronounced by the late Chief Justice by any letters patent, grant, charter, or gist, sealed
approve this bill, I therefore return it to the house Marshall, in the great case of Gibbons vs. Ogden, the under the seal of the colony of New-York. in which it originated, and proceed to state my objec
power of Congress and the rights of the States are tions.
defined with almost unexampled clearness and pre“V. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, The general object of the charter, which is the
cision. The State of New-York had granted to LivThat this present act shall be accepted, taken, and grant of a Railroad from New Haven, by way of
ingston and Fulton the exclusive right to navigate her reputed, to be a general and public act of Assembly ; Middletown, to the eastern line of the State by the waters in vessels or boats propelled by steam, and of which all and every the judges and justices of this route proposed, has my unqualified approbation. The
her Chancellor and Judges, in all her Courts, had colony, in all courts, and all other persons, shall take
principal objection which will be presented, is against adjudged the law to be constitutional and valid. But notice on all occasions whatsoever, as if it were a the grant to this Corporation of a right to construct a the Supreme Court of the Union, in the judgment public act of assembly, relating to the whole colony; bridge across the Connecticut river, below a port of
alluded to, held the law of the State to be void, beany thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in delivery established by act of Congress.
cause it obstructed the trade and navigation of the any wise notwithstanding.
The City of Hartford is at the head of sloop navi
United States, as regulated and carried on under the * Note.
gation on the Connecticut river. The tides of the authority of Congress. A vessel, engaged in the ocean ebb and flow there, and thence to the mouth
coasting trade and sailing under a coasting license, We give in this number of our Gazette, the entire of the river, its waters are navigable by vessels engaged
though propelled by steam, could not, by all the copy of Gov. Cosby's letter to the Board of Trade, in the foreign and coasting trade, and constitute an power of the State, be obstructed in passing through together with the act of the Colonial Legislature to arm of the sea, and a portion of the navigable waters
her waters, to its port of destination. of the United States. By an act passed in the year which it refers as to the New-York city charter. It will
The question, therefore, presented to the General 1799, Congress opened the port of Hartford and other Assembly upon this charter, must be, will this bridge, be seen by this act that the Corporation only sought || places above the proposed bridge, and established with its numerous piers in the bed of the river, be an