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In Convention, Mr. (mi .m-i moved that the committee of the whole be discharged from the further consideration of the subject, and that the same, together with whatever relates to the subject of appointment, not hitherto acted upon, be referred to a select committee.
After a desultory discussion of the subject, Mr. Soarpe withdrew his motion, to the end that gentlemen might take such course in relation to it as they might think proper.
Col. Young then moved that the whole subject of the appointing power be referred to a select committee.
Mb. Bacon was unwilling to travel over those parts of the report of the select committee on that subject, which had been already passed over and settled.
Mr. P. R. Livingston reduced to writing the object of Mr. Young, and presented the same in the terms of the following resolution:
"That the committee of the whole be discharged from the further consideration of the report of the committee on the subject of the appointing power, and thai the same be referred to a select committee of , to take the said report into consideration, and to make such ameudments and to report the same as they may think proper."
Col. Young assented to the resolution.
Mr. Van Vecbtkn was opposed to referring this subject to a select committee. Such a committee would not be at liberty to give and take, as had been suggested, from the principles adopted by the Convention. It appeared to him we were treading back the ground we had once traversed, and were preparing to protract our business, of which the people were already weary.
Mr. Van Buren wa» also opposed to this general reference. He thought it would create alarm and apprehension among the people, that the Convention were about to undo all they had done, and to extend the session to a great and unreasonable length.
Col. Young contended that the reference ought to be general, and not in detached parts, as one might have an important bearing upon the other.
Mr. Eowards said, that if any one subject had been thoroughly winnowed, it was this which respected the appointing power. The people were already wearied with our protracted session, and it was desirable to finish and complete our business as we advanced.
Mr. P. R. Livingston advocated his resolution, and contended that great good had been produced by former and similar references.
Mr. N. Williams rose to urge the propriety, at this stage of the discussion, on the appointing power, of referring the whole subject to a select committee. It was important not to lose time, but more important to the Convention, and the people, that every thing should be done with due deliberation.
The objection urged so strongly, that if the subject was now referred to a committee, the whole must be again discussed in the Convention, appeared to him not to have weight. The Committee would doubtless pay all proper regard to the principles settled in committee of the whole, and the report must be submitted sooner or later, to a special committee for revision and adjustment^
But why, he asked, do we find such extreme anxiety expressed by certain gentlemen in the covcntion, to have the appointing power of the city of NewYork, acted on by itself? Have we not more than once been told by some of the honourable gentlemen from that city, that they were willing, nay, solicitous, to be placed un the same footing with the country in relation to appointments? And yet, now, when there is a prospect of attaining that desired object, by a reference of the whole to a select committee, who will be able to adjust and report a uniform plan, an alarm is excited, and objections arc raised.
Although he could not well comprehend nil this discrepancy of action, he would be allowed to conjecture, and he would do it with all proper delicacy, that while there was some want of concert as to the regulation of city patronage and power, some of the honourable gentlemen from the city, came here perfectly well agreed as to their plans for governing the country; for they act "•i this point with fatal firmness, and almost entire unanimity. Indeed, he said, the confusion on this suhject had chiefly arisen from the various plans m relay tion to New-York, which had heen laid upon our tahles. One project had scareely heen printed and read, hefore another had come upon us hy surprise; and ere that was fully understood, the suhject must he referred to a select committee, He would not ohject to this, and only asked that the whole report might go together.
He would say very little ahout the appointing power in New-York. He did not pretend to know much ahout it, and did not wish to emharrass the suhject. As much power and patronage as it should he thought proper to he given to the common council of that city, he did not douht would he executed discreetly, wisely, and justly. But the question was, how much should he given ? Shall we give up to the city anthority the whole regulation of that grand emporinm, and thus create a power that might hecome, in process of time, greater than that of the state? He should question the wisdom of this. One honourahle gentleman from that city had said, to he sure, that there was no danger in placing patronago in their hands, for it would he exereised hy the fathers of the city. We had heard, said Mr. W. of the fathers of ancient Rome, the Patris Conscripti; and they were not hackward to grasp at power when opportunity presented. They first governed the imperial city; then all Italy; and then extended the arm of power over the mightiest and most extensive government in the world. Should the powers of the city and state he separated, and hecome independent, the one of the other, great evils might arise ; and these fathers of the city might, perehance, aim to he fathers of the state, and possihly endanger even the Grand Canal! [Here the gentleman was called to order; this suhject was not hefore the Convention.] Mr. W. continued, and said he did not intend to he out of order, and intended to shew that the appointing power of the state, as well as of the city, in order to have a perfect whole, ought to he referred to the same select committee. And with this view, proceeded to urge further reasons why this course ought to he adopted.
A further dehate ensued, in which Messrs. Ross and Briggs supported, and Messrs. Edwards, Van Buron, and Kent, opposed an unrestricted reference, when the question was taken hy ayes and noes, and decided in the negative, as follows:
NOES—Messrs. Bacon, Brooks, Bucl, Carpenter, Carver, Child, D. Clark, R. Clarke, Clyde, Collins, Day, Dodge, Duhois, Ducr, Dyckman, Eastwood, Edwards, Fairlie, Ferris, Fish, Frost, Hallock, Hees, Hogehoom, Howe, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunter, Hunting, Huntington, Hurd, Jay, Jones, Kent, King, Lansing, Eeflerts, M'Call, Millikin, Moore, Munro, Park, Panlding, Pike, Piteher, Porter, Price, Pumpelly, RadeIiff, Reeve, Rhinelander. Richards, Rogers, Rose, Roschiugh, Sage, Sanders, N. Sanford, R. Sandford, Seaman, Sccly, Sliarpe, Sheldon, R. Smith, I. Sutherland, Swift, Sylvester, Tallmadge, Townsend, Tripp, Tuttle, Van Buren, Van Fleet, Van Home, J. R. Van Rensselaer, S. Van Rensselaer, Van Vechten, Verhryck, Ward, A. Wehster, E. Wehster, Wendover, Wheaton, E. Williams, Woods—86.
AYKS—Messrs. Barlow, Beckwith,Briggs, Brinkerhoff, Burroughs, Case, Cramer, Fenton, Knowles, A. Livingston, P. R. Livingston, Nelson, Rockwell. Root, Ross, Russell, Schenck, Starkweather, Steele, Taylor, Wheeler, N. Williams, Wooster, Yates, Young—25.
Mr. Rapclikf then moved that that part of the report of the committee on
ihe appointing power which had not hitherto heen acted upon, he referred to a
select committee. Carried.
Col. You.ng moved that the same he referred to the delegates from the city
and county of New-York. LostIt was then ordered that said committee consist of the numher of thirteen. Mr. Munro offered a resolution, which after amendments hy the mover, and
hy the Convention, was referred to the foregoing committee, as follows:
', lletolverl, Thnt the mayor of the city of New-York ought to he appointed hy the governor, wild tlie consent of the senate.''
Mr. Ross proposed to refer the following resolution to the same committee:
"That in each of the towns of this state, there shall he elected at the annual town meetings thereof, one coroner, who shall he, ex-officio, a commissioner tor taking acknowledgments, and who shall, hefore entering on the dunes of his office, take and suhscrihe the oath of office hefore the clerk of the county.'' Lost.
On motion of Mr. Bitx, So much of the report of the committee on the legislative department, as had not heen referred to the new select committee, was referred to a committee of the whole, and the Convention therenpon resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on so much thereof as relates to the hill of rights, which had heen referred to this committee.—Mr. Van Huron in the chair.
The resolution of Gen. Tallmadge, in relation to slavery and involuntary tervitude, was called up.
Mr. Shelnon thought it ought not to pass. It went to anthorize a master, after his slave had hecome old, decrepit, and useless, to throw him as a hurthen on the community.
Col. Young said it was too hroad. It would release the apprentice from his indentures, and, in a great measure, tend to weaken parental anthority.
Go. Tallmanoe would make a few remarks explanatory of the resolution which he had the honour to suhmit. He alluded to the law of 1-99, which enacted, that all children horn of slaves after that time should he free,—males at the age of twenty-eight years, and females at the age of twenty-five. But the law of 1817, made no provision that would prevent the existence of slavery in this state until 1846, as it was to operate only prospectively. These acts, however, indicated the sentiment of the puhlie, and were in the nature of a pledge, which ought to he redeemed hy inserting this provision in the constitution. It was a mistake, he said, that slavery would, hy the existing laws, cease in this state, in the year 1827; hut he hoped the Convention would decide, that it should not continue after that time. In such case, the legislature would have an opportunity, hefore that period, to make proper provision for their support during their second infancy.
Mr. Sharpe was opposed to the resolution.
Gen. Root had two solid ohjections tp it, and one of minor importance. It provided that "from and after the 4th day of July, \S^7,V the slaves should he free. I Ie did not know why their annual festival should he put off one day later than that of the whites. Ours is held on the 4th, hut theirs is postponed to the 5th.
But he had ohjections of more importance. The first was, that it was unnecessary, as the legislature had already done what this provision contemplated their doing, and there was an act of that kind, that there was no prohahility they would ever recal. In the second place, he did not wish to deface and hlacken the constitution hy any provision in which slavery should he recognized.
Mr. Radcliff regarded it as a proper suhject for legislation. He was not ao advocate for slavery, hut he thought the legislature had advanced with equal pace in the progress of puhlic opinion, on the suhject of emancipation.
Mr. Briggs thought that posterity would find out that we had slaves here, whether we hlackened the features of the constitution with them or not.
Mr. Buel was in favour of the resolution. The gentleman from Delaware is disposed to omit this provision in the constitution, and is opposed to hlackening that instrument hy introducing it. But our puhlic records recognize the fact of the existence of slavery, and it had already heen inserted in the constitution in the distinction hetween white and hlack votes in the exereise of tlit right of suffrage. It was an important provision, and the suhject ought not to he luft to legislative discretion. Justice required it, and puhlic expectation would warrant its insertion.
Mn. E. Williams opposed it. It was a clanse in favour of common hefrgari. Nothing was more interesting to the people than the system of the poor hivs. Work-linnscs hail heen estahlished with salutary effect, and he helieved that these slaves turned loose would hecomo strolling panpers, and would he willing to remain so if they could avoid lahour.
Mn. Briggs said, lliat if in the work-houses they were compelled to lahour, it was with their own consent.
Mr. Sutherland proposed to offer a suhstitute if this should he rejected, the purport of which was, to confirm and make unalterahle the existing laws on the suhject of slavery.
Mr. Sharpe ohserved, that this resolution would turn slaves out of the warm kitehens of the farmers, where they had lived comfortahly, to perish in hovels. It was injurious to the slave. Slaves had heen sold on the faith of the law as now existing. Formerly, if a slave ran away, jJtOO dollars reward was offered for his apprehension. Now the kitehens of Long-Island are emptied upon the city of New-York, and the reward offered is six Cents, hut no charges!
Gen. Tallmanoe asked, in relation to the suhject of work-houses, whether gentlemen intended to repeal the law providing for their liheration in 1827? If they did not. it was our moral duty, hy a constitutional provision, to guaranty their emancipation. The law makes slaves of those children who were horn ol s.saves after 17UH, and hefore 1317, so that instead of a total emancipation in J827, slavery might he continued in this state until 1846, unless this provision should he adopted.
Gen. Root moved to amend, hv striking out the words "from and after the 4th day of July, li^'7." Curried. On the .section as amended.
Mr. N. Williams thought it was a matter peculiarly appropriate to legislation, hut he was not willing to let slaves loose on society, without any provision for their support.
Mr. Jav professed himself to he zealous in the canse of emancipation, hut he thought the law, as it now stands, was more wise and expedient than an immediate freedom. The canse of humanity would gain nothing hy instant emancipation.
Chancellor Kent helieved, that if a call for the previous question was ever proper, it was peculiarly so on the present occasion, He had no douht that it was hest, as well for the slave as the master, that the law should remain as it is. Slavery was universally reprohated, and no new constitutional provision was necessary to give that sentiment additional impulse. It would in his opinion he as proper to provide that the legislature should make no law to hang a man withoutn trial—or a law in favour of polygamy, or laws that might tolerate a violation of Ihe commandments of the decalogue.
Mr. Rapcliff moved to postpone the suhject to the first day of January next.
Gen. Tallmadke, thought nothing could he gained hy endeavouring to flee the question.
Mr. K. WIlli Ams remarked, that this was the first proposition that had heen presented for the confiscation of vested rights. Masters had rights that ought not to he violated; and ns to the slave it was a crusade against the last remaining hope of the miserahle African. He has now a claim to support—a claim which the laws of God and man contrihute to enforee. By this provision the master and the slave would he severed, and the rights of hoth essentially impaired.
The Avesand Noes heing called for, the question of postponement was decided in the negative as follows:
AYES—Messrs. Baron, Breese, Carpenter, D. Clark, Collins, Dodge, Duhois, Dickman, Fish, Frost, Flees, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunting, Huntington. Hurd, Kent, King, Lefferts, P. R. Livingston. M-Call, Millikin, Panlding, Pike, Porter, Radeliff, Reeve, Richards, Rosehrugh, Sage, Seaman, Sharpe, I. Smith, R. Smith, Starkweather, Swift, Taylor, Townley, Townsend, Van Home, J. R. Van Rensselaer, S. Van Rensselaer, Verhryck, E. Wehster, Wendover, Wheeler, E. Williams, Woods, N. Williams, Wooster.—50.
.\'OKS?—Messrs. Beckwith, Briggs, Brinkerhoff, Brooks, Buel, Burroughs, Carver. Case, Child, R. Clarke, Clyde, Cramer, Day, Ducr, Edwards, Fairlie, Fenton, Ferris, Hallock, Hogehoom, Howe, Hunter, Jay, Knowles, Linsing. A. Livingston, Moore, Munro, Nelson, Park, Piteher, Price, Pumpelly, Rhinelander, Rockwell, Rogers, Root, Ross, Russell, N. Sanford, R. Sandford, Schenck, Seely, Steele, I. Sutherland, Sylvester, Tallmadge, Tripp, Tuttle, Van Fleet, Ward, A. Wehster, Wheaton, Young—54.
Mr. Radcliff moved to amend hy adding "and the legislature shall provide hy raw for their support hy their present masters." Lost.
Mr. N. Williams then movod the previous question, which was carried, and a division heing called on the main question, it was decided in the negative, as follows:
, NOES—Messrs. Bacon, Barlow, Breese, Brinkerhotf, D. Clark, Dodge, Duhois, Ducr, Dyckman, Eastwood, Edwards, Fairlie, Fish, Frost, Hallock, Hets, Howe, Humphrey, Hunt, Hunter, Hunting, Jay, Jones, Kent, King, Lansing, Lefferts, P. R. Livingston, M'Call, Millikin, Munro, Nelson, Panlding, Pike, Porter, Pumpelly, Radeliff, Reeve, Rhinelander, Rockwell, Russell, Sage, R. Sanford, Schenck, Seaman, Seely, Sharpe, Sheldon, I. Smith, R. Smith, Starkweather, Steele, 1. Sutherland, Swift, Sylvester, Taylor, Tuttle, Van Home, J. R. Van Rensselaer, S. Van Rensselaer, Verhrick, Ward, A. Wehster, E. Wehster, Wendover, Wheaton, Wheeler, E. Williams, N. Williams, Wooster, Young—73.
AYES—Messrs. Beckwith, Briggs, Brooks, Buel, Burroughs, Carpenter, Carver, Case, Child, R. Clarke, Clyde, Collins, Cramer, Day, Ferris, Hogehoom, Huntington, Hurd, A. Livingston, Moore, Park, Piteher, Price, Richards, Rogers, Root, Roschrugh, Ross, N. Sanford, Tallmadge, Tripp, Van Fleet, Woods—33
The committee therenpon rose and reported: and on motion, in Convention, the report of the committee on the Judiciary Department was made the order of the day for to-morrow. Adjourned.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1821. The Convention assemhled as usual, and the President took the chair at 9 o'clock, when the minutes of yesterday were read and approved.
THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.
On motion of Mr. N. Sanford, the Convention resolved itself into a committee of the whole on that part of the unfinished husiness of yesterday, relating to the Legislative Department. Mr. Van Buren in the chair.
The question was stated to he on the fourth section of the report of the select committee, on the hill of rights, which had heen referred to this committee, and which was as follows:
"4. Every citizen may freely speak, write, and puhlish his sentiments on all suhjects, heing responsihle for the ahuse of that vight, and no law shall ever he passed to curtail, or restrain the liherty of speech, or of the press; and in all prosecutions, or indictments, for lihels, the truth may he given in evidence, if it he made to appear, thai the matter charged as lihellous, was puhlished with good motives, and for justifiahle ends; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact."
Mr. Bmggs called for the consideration of his amendment to that section which was, to insert after the words, "the truth shall he given in evidence," the words—" and shall he a justification."
The question on the amendment was taken and lost.'"
Mr. N. Sa.nford otfered the following amendment:
Strikeout all after the word "evidence," and insert the following: "to tho jury, if it he made to appear to the jury that the matter charged as lihellous, was puhlished from good motives, and for justifiahle ends, the party shall he acquitted."
Mr. E. Williams inquired whether it was intended that the truth might in