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Of the Inloihilanls of the Stale of JVcic- York, as ascertained hi/ the Fourth Census of the United Status, taken in the year 1820.
On motion of Mr. Kmg, the report was committed to a committee of the whole, and ordered to he printed.
Mr. ShAKpE moved that the convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the report of the committee on the hill of rights. He made this motion with a view of giving the memhers of the Convention time to hear the reports which are to he made hy the other committees, hefore they decided on the unfinished husiness of yesterday—(the term of service of the governor.) If driven to vote upon this question now, he should he compelled to vote against ha judgment, and in favour of filling the hlank with one year. He understood that the committee on the appointing power were ahout to report in favour 6( firing the governor an appointing power, which he should he unwilling to entrust to him if elected for more than one year. When the reports of the other ■committees have heen made, he might change his views.
Ge*. Root was opposed to this course. He wished to go on with the unfinished husiness of yesterday. It is said we must not determine the term for which the governor shall he elected, until we determine the power to he delegated to him. I think otherwise. The term of office should he fixed first, and the power to he delegated, he determined afterwards. After some discussion ahout a point of order, the question was ahout to he put—when
Mr- V^n BuUts stated, that as allusion had heen made to the prohahle resort of the committee on the appointing power, he would say, that that committee would prohahly report to-morrow.
The Convention, on motion of Gen. Root, then resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the unfinished husiness of yesterday, (the report of the executive committee.)—Mr. Radeliff in the chair.
Mi. Briogs of Schoharie said, it was alleged against us hy our sister states, that we have in this state much commotion and electioneering. We generally admit these charges to he true, sir. The great ohject of this Convention was t.i contrive some scheme hy which this commotion in our election might he ,lone away. sir. Mr. Briggs hegged leave to offer his scheme. He would have twelve senatorial districts—the senators to he elected annually. At the ,ame time he would have the governor and lientenant-governor chosen. The profile would in this manner hecome familiar with elections. His plans had teen suggested hy some remarks, which fell from the Chief Justice the other day. That gentleman had said, that when he had avertained that he was rlected a memher of this hody, he reflected within himself what was his duty. Mr. B. helieved that other gentlemen had entertained the same notions. He pit an example—suppose, sir, the chief justice was ahout to hold a cireuit in behoharie—lie should happen in company with a gentleman from that county— the conversation turned on the cireuit—Well, says the man, we are ahout to hare an important court held in our county—the duty is arduous, our jails are fall of prisoners—the docket is filled. Now, sir, in this case, would not the chief justice suppose he was competent to discharge the high responsihilities of ha station, and what would he say to such a lecture, sir? Would he not desprve the person, who should offer such suggestions. But if a friend on his election here, had given him such advice, would ho not have thanked him for it? Would he not on entering on this untried scene, when that faculty of the mind railed the imagination, would represent groat difficulties—would he not he f!i-ssed with such a cantion and advice. In ordinary matters, sir, we go with coafidence, hut in new and untrodden fields, the imagination operating uponrte understanding is apt to alarm us, sir, and we sec difficulties that do not exm. sir. Hence I infer, sir, that the great question to himself was the reswU of experience: hut in truth there is no difficulty in passing on our husinesi*-it i* a matter of common sense. So it is with the people; they do not need any great advice—the imagination is to he thus worked up ahout elections—soma great dark project is afoot—the great cirele for the election of a govarnor has 'ome round—the other side are hard at work, and we must heware, that they
du not out-peneral rs—handhills are afloat—demagogues are husy—hut make
The motion of Mr.
THE EXECUT1VE DEPARTMENT.
the election anunal, and all these squahhles and scuffles would have an endthere would not he thousands of dollars spent to secure a mere annual election —they would not attempt to excile the puhlic mind. Sir, w ho ought we to elect for governor and officers? amhitious politicians? No: the modest man,—who keeps retired—who says to himself, if my country wants my services, let them come and ask me for them. He would disdain this hrihery and corruptionhe would only serve when his country wanted his services, sir.
Gen. Root, hefore the question was taken, would ask permission of the committee to call its attention to some of the arguments offered yesterday, hy tlic gentleman from Schoharie, (Mr. Sutherland,) in favour of tilling the hlank with three years. The gentleman from Oneida, (Mr. N. Williams,) may charge me with some neglect, if I do not notice his argument on the name side, that it was necessary for the digesting and maturing of profound plans of policy. If the term were annual, this profound wisdom will float on the surface, hut in a triennial term, they would go to the hottom. (Mr. W. explained. He did not say that triennial terms would make a man wise; hut if wise, it would enahle him to excrei.-c his wisdom for the puhlic good,] Mr. Root continued. It is not material: we do not differ much, hut the gentleman may not like the dress in which I presented his idea, as well as his own. As to the wisdom of the governor, the presumption of law is, however the fact he, that he is wise al ter lits election. He must also he a discreet man, according to our present, constitution. The report of the committee, 1 helieve, does not require discretion in a governor. But suppose the governor's great plan is not wisely conceived—must he nevertheless have his three years to perfect it ? No, sir, let tlnpeople judge of the wisdom of those plans. If they are good, the people will re-elect and allow him to mature them. But the novelty of the arguments advanced hy the gentleman from Schoharie descrvi s attention-. They deserve; attention as cotnhig from the representative of the people of Schoharie; that county of solid farmers; and as heing so little in unison, as I helieve, with thesentiments of that people. One of the gentleman's arguments was, that the people have not complained of the triennial term of the governor. But I think they have complained. I have, indeed, scon no resolutions ahout it from Tammany-Hall, nor in the newspapers; nor has the gentleman prohahly, in his palace among the pines and hemlocks of Schoharie, heard any complaint. Bui. among the yeomanry of the county which I have the honour to represent, it has long heen a matter of complaint, that a man opposed to the wishes of the [ e pic. should lord it over them for three years. Another argumeut was that no governor for* year would evv-interpose his veto—lic would notdaiv to oppose tlnpopular will, and so the gentleman would set him ahove the popular frowns. Sir, I would not. If he should exereise his veto properly, the people will sustain him, and if not, I would not give him an exemption from the coesequenco nf his error. Another argument was, that an annual governor, having the appointing power, would make appointments for the purpose of securing areelection. And is this possihle? Can a puhlic man present him.clf lo t!ic people for their votes, and say the appointments 1 made were for the purpose of securing my election ? Are the minds of men influenced hy such motives? Do the virtuous yeomanry of Schoharie yield to such feelings;? I think not. They would reject with indignation a compliment like this. But the right of universal suffrage, it seems, is to cure all this evil—so that when yon allow the free negroes of New-York, taken from the hushes and kitehens, to vole for a governor, you will have a hetter governor than when he was the representative ol freeholders. But another argument ij, that in one year jon cannot fmd you governor out—in three years you will ascertain his virtues—and that in three years, the man will he so tested, that unless ho have conducted well, he will not he re-elected. I am sorry the gentleman from Schoharie did not find this out hefore the last election. Wo then had triennial elections, and the people reelected tlie same candidate. But the gentleman, (Mr. Sutherland,) if he had then found that tlits result was proper, might nave had his feelings spared the high rank which was assigned him in tho organized and disciplined corpj. But.sir, to leave the gentleman from Schoharie—when jou elect jour chief inftji.- irate for one term, and your assemhly for another, you have then two dof%rtiaentsio opposition. We have seen it in 1800, in 1813, 'M and '16, and from dm communications which passed hetween the executive and the legislature last year, a stranger might suppose some hostility existed hetween them; and without a spirit of prophecy, a similar spirit of hostility may he predicted at the next session of the legislature. This sort of hostility is not desirahle—it is not the sort of check contemplated hy our government. If the governor he elected, for two years, you should elect your assemhly for two years also, and they will go on harmoniously together. But who, in this Convention, will propose to have a house of assemhly chosen for two years?
Agam. You have given the governor a veto upon the acts of the legislature. It may happen, that he and the legislature will differ in its exereise, and this difference must he referred to the umpirage of the people. This is a strong reason why the official term of the governor should he hut one year; that hoth governor and the memhers of the legislature may he suhjected at the same time to the ordeal of puhlic opinion.
Ma. Van Burkn, hefore the question was taken, wished to explain the reasons of the vote he should give. There are three distinct propositions hefore this convention—one, for filling the hlanks with one year—another, with two— and a third, with three. He should consider each. One of the great ohjects of this Convention, to which the people looked with so much solicitude, is the hope that hy the amendments which shall he adopted, party violence, in our polities, will in a great measure he done away. It is not to he denied, that very many of our own citizens, and those of other states, entertain an opinion, that ihe soarec of our discord is in the great favour and patronage of the governor: and they think this discord can only he allayed hy making the governor a mere aominal head—a creature of the legislature. Though he did not assent in its extent to the propriety of this radical change, it would he unwise to neglect what puhlic sentiment has so distinctly pointed at. Yet we must not disguise to ourselves the fact, that we have already angmented rather than diminished the power of the executive. We have given him the exclusive veto hy an immense majority, and hy the voices of the judiciary themselves, who formerly partook of this power. We have also invested him with the power of pardoning, and ander these cireumstances, he would have preferred waiting till we know what other power will he given to the governor, hefore we decided on this term. The majority of this committee had decided otherwise; and the vote he should give on this question, would therefore he given under the expectation, that we •hall increase still more the power of the executive, hy a vast increase to his appointing power. The hranch in which this power formerly resided has heen gncquivocally condemned hy the puhlic opinion; and there is no other hand, in which it could he safely trusted, except the executive. With this feeling, then, he could not hut think, that as we increase the power of the executive, we should also increase the responsihility of the governor. We should hring liim more frequently hefore the people. His conflicts, if any, will not he with the legislature. He was rendered hy the provision now proposed, utterly and entirely independent of the legislature. Of the people he did not think ho should he rendered so independent. In the exereise of the veto, which will only take place on important occasions, he will he supported, if he should have acted manifestly for the puhlic good. He had not experienced the evils of trienoial elections; hut as we had vastly increased the power of the governor, a strong desire is manifested to ahridge his term, and in this sentiment he concurred. But how ahridge it? We wish the people to liave an opportunity of j their governor's conduct, not hy the feelings of temporary excitement, y that soher second thought, which is never wrong. Can that he effected i ahridge the term to one year? No, sir: it is necessary that his power f enough to survive that temporary excitement, which a measure of nee must occasion, and to enahle the people to detect the fallacy ich the acts of the government may he veiled as to their real motive;:, ir judgment of motives, or of the effect of measures, he made in a few sir—even a term longer than three years, must sometimes he nel us to judge of the effect of measures, lint we must not go in: we shall arouse the jealousies of the people, in v. cakenie.g the responsihility to them, of their puhlic officers. Let us test the question hy reason. You have a state and population, whose couccrns hear a strong analogy to the interests of the Union. Can a governor, in a term of one year, make himself acquainted with the interests, the wants, and condition of this great state? There was one remark he made with great deference—in all the eastern states, the tenure of the chief magistrate is for only one year; and the majority of this Convention have imhihed their notions under those constitutions, and naturally consider them wise. Others, who have lived under the constitution of this state, have preferred, as he had heen accustomed to do, the tenure of three years; and he asked, if there was not some rospect, some comity due, to those who have viewed this, among other provisions of our constitution, with reverence. For these roasous he hoped the hlank would he filled with two years.
The question was then taken hy ayes and noes, on filling the hlank with thre© years, and decided in the negative, 89 to 30, as follows
AYES Messrs. Buel, Edwards, Fairlie, Hunter, Jansen, Jay, Jones, Kent,
King, Lawrenoe, Monro, Nelson, Panlding, Piatt, Rhinelander, Rose, Russell, I. Smith, R. Smith, Spencer, I. Sutherland, Ten Eyck, Van Home. Van Ness, S. Van Rensselaer, Van Vechten, Whoa ton, E. Williams, NWilliams, Yates—30.
NOES.—Messrs. Bacon, Baker, Barlow, Beckwith, Birdseye, Bowman, Breese, Briggs, Brinkerhoff, Brooks, Burroughs, Carpenter, Carver, Case, Child, D.Clark, R. Clarke, Clvde, Collins, Cramer, Day, Dodge, Duhois, Dncr, Dyckman, Eastwood, Fenton, Ferris, Fish, Frost, Hallock, Hees, Hogehoom, Howe, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunting, Huntington, Hurd, Knowles, Lansing, Lrffcrts, A. Livingston, P. R. Livingston, M'Call, Moore, Park, Pike, Porter, President, Price, Pumpelly, Reeve, Richards, Rockwell, Rogers, Root, Rosehrugh, Ross, Russell, Sage, N. Sanford, R. Sandford, Schenck, Seamen, Secly, Sharpe.Sheldon, Starkweather, Stoele, D.Southerland, Rwift.Tallmadge, Taylor, Townley, Townsend. Tripp, TuMle, VanBuren, Van Fleet, Verhryck, Ward, A. Wehster, E. Wehster, Wendover, Wheeler, Woods, Woodward, Wooster.—09.
Mr. Hogi'doom. The question now is as to filling the hlank with two yeari. I have listened attentively to the reasons offered for continuing the governor in office for three years, hut I have heard none that satisfied me of its propriety. Tlic reasons offered hy gentlemen for three years, and for two years, am precisely those which would induce me to vote for one year. The state of Connecticut, we are lold, is small, and can, for that reason, elect annually. It is not so in New-York. Connecticut, it is said, is like one familv. They sec all things in the same way, and are easily governed. Now, sir, if this family ho so easily governed, why hring the governor so frequently to account. The people ofNcu-York are not so easily governed; hut the people are sovereign: and it is made a question that we shall transfer this sovereignty. Since the alteration of the time of holding the election, from spring to fall, there is lime enough nflhrdi'd to the people, to inquire into the acts of their puhlic servants. The legislature generally adjourns in April; and there will then he six months for the people to cousiderand pass upon their acts. The inhahitants of New-York, I acknowledge, are not so moral as those of Connecticut, and the eastern Slates generally. Why are we not so moral ? One reason, I think, is, that the people of New-York trust too much to their puhlic servants. Wo are very immoral and deserving of punishment, hut not at the hands of our servants. We have had punishment. We have had years of plenty,—a land overflowing with milk and honey; hut while the hlessings of that Beneficent Being, who rules the universe, were pouring upon us, our servants have heen ungrateful. Wc have acted like the prodigal. We have wasted the paternal patrimony. We have it in confession now from the president of this hody, whose heart knows no wrong, that the constituted anthorities have heen in the hahit of doing evil. We have heen increasing the power of the executive: and when we give great power, wo should create corresponding accountahility. The elections to the assemhly are annual; and oivin;j to the change in the time of holding that