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these considerations it must he evident, that in this volume will he found a great hody of historical facts, and much political information, which it is important to preserve.
Ofthe character of the Convention; of the wisdom or indiscretion of its proceedings; and of the expediency or inexpediency of the proposed amendments, thi-i is neither the time nor the place for discussion. The Reporters commenced their lahours with a full determination, that whatever might he their own political sentiments and feelings, they should not he permitted to mingle in their duties, or give the slightest tinge of partiality to their reports; nor will any opinion on the result ofthe Convention he now expressed.
Whatever may he the event of the conflicting sentiments of the commnnitj, with regard to the amended constitution, it cannot materially affect the raioe of this volume. The act of calling a Convention, of electing dehjates with unlimited powers, and the proceedings of that hody, constitute a great Political Hevolution, in which the people of this state, in a silent and peaceahle manner, resumed for a lime their delegated power, and original sovereignty; and claimed the privilege of revising and amending, hy (heir representatives, the constitution, which forms the hasis of their government, and the guarantee of their rights and liherties. Whether the srneoded constitution sh.;ll he adopted or not, an anthentic record of the events, connected with this revolution, will he valuahle, hoth as preparatoJ) the ollimate decision of the people, and as ma'ter of history. It c important that the people, previous to the adoption or rejection ofthe Cgl-.titn!ion, which will m a tew weeks he suhmitted for their consideration, should have a full view of the whole ground, and he made acquainted with the arguments, which have heen advanced hy their representatives, for and aj-unst the several amendments. The question which is ahout to he taken will he filial; and the constitution which shall he adopted, on the last Tuesday of January next, will prohahly endure for ages. Before a decision of •neh magmtude, and so momentous in its consequences, shall he made, it is important that anthentic and correct information should he extensively diffused through the community.
Il H helieved this volume contains a more full and accurate exposition of ttW views of the Convention, on the great variety of suhjects, which were diicuased and acted on hy that hody, than can he ohtained from any other souree . The official journal kept hy the secretaries, however accurate, *ill contain little more than the outlines of the proceedings, and will furmih none of the reasons, or principles, on which the amendments are grounded. Fire thousand copies of the amended constitution, are the only official aocuments, which will go forth to the people, to guide and direct them in the dec is ion they are ahout to make. These naked copies, hlended as the amendments are with the provisions of the existing constitution, will afford no opportuoity of contrasting the alterations with other propositions, on the use suhjects, or of the arguments, which were urged in favour and against :iien- adoption.
In the volume now presented to the puhlie, the reader will find a copy of tie old constitution; the amendments recommended, in a distinct form ; and lie amended constitution, as proposed to the people. He will also he ahh
to lake a full and comprehensive view of the relative strength and confidence with which each amendment was adopted, and of analogous plans and propositions, out of which a choice was made.
Should the constitution, which has been recommended for the ratification of the people, be approved, this volume, it is conceived, will be a valuable historical memorial, embracing all the official documents connected with the Convention, and furnishing the best interpretation and exposition of the spirit of the constitution, by explaining the views and intentions of its framers.
To those who look upon the Convention and the events connected with it, as ordinary occurrences, and who do not reflect on the nature and extent of this revolution, and its remote bearing on the future character and history of the state, a volume of seven hundred pages may appear disproportionate to the subject to which it relates. But the compilers are among those who believe, that the last year will form a memorable period in the annals of the state; and that events which may now seem unimportant, from our familiarity with them, will hereafter assume a different character, and be sought for with avidity. Circumstantial records which now pass unheeded, may in time become valuable to the jurist, in deciding upon the construction of the constitution; to the historian, in delineating the character of the age; or at least to the antiquary, by enriching his library, without the labour of searching for documents, scattered amidst the rubbish and ruins of years.
These are some of the considerations, by which the reporters hare been actuated in incurring the labour and expense of compiling and publishing this volume. No pains have been spared to render it in all respects as complete as possible, and to present it in a dress, and ityle of execution, which may recommend it to public patronage.
Albany, \5th, November, 1821.
State of New-York.
hi Convention of the Representatives of the State of JVVw- York.
KLYGSTOA", 20th APRIL, 1777.
WHEREAS the many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations of J, ', i the king and parliament of Greai-B lau , on the rights ano commtaet* liherties of the people of ilie American colooies, lud reduced them to the necessity of introducing :, government hy congresses and comBailees, as emporarv expedients, and to exist no longer than the grievances of the people should remain without redress:
Asni walrus the rongress of the col■ ,ny of New-York did, on the thirty-first diy of May, now last past, resolve as thlloiv-., viz:
,s \\ H>iei>, the present government of'-his colony, hy congress iti0 and committees, was instituted while the former government, undei tie crown of Great Britain, existed in full foree ;—and wus estahlished for tie sole purpose of opposing the usurpation of the British aurtariwnt, and was mtended to expire on a reconciliation with G.-rai-Britan, which it was then appiehrnded would soon take place, but is Iviw considered as remote and uncertain.
ss Asa Wnireas many and great inconveniences attend the said tufa Bvtle of government hy congress and committees, as of necessity, in many mstances, legislative, judicial and executive powers have heen vested therein, especially smce the dissolution of the former governileit, hy the ahdication of the lae governor, and the exclusion of tan colony from ilie protection of tl.e king of Great-Britam.
"Asa wnsaus the continental congress did resolve as follow eth, (D wit:
"Wax a Lis his Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with the lords and mi commons of Great-Bi i;ain, liai hy a late act of parliament, excluded tlie mhahitants of these uoited colonies, from the protection of his crown: And whereas no answers whatever, to the hu.i h.e petition of the colomes for redress of grievances and reconcilia :uu With GreatBnta,n, has heen, or is likely to he given, hut the wliole foree of that kingdom, aided hy foreign mereenaries, is 10 he exerted for the dear mction of u e good people of these colooies: And whereas it ap\mt% ahsolutely irreconcileahle to reason and good conscience, for •ae people of these colomes, now to take the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown of Cnea-. Britain \ and it is necessary that the exereise of every kind ad asthonty under the said crown, should he totally suppressed, and a I the powers of government exerted under the anthority of tlie people of the colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and food order, as well as for the defence of our lives, liherties, and i against the hostile invasions and cruel depredations of : Therefore,
Reflation of «< Resolvid, Tltat it be recommended to the respective assemblies Conrrcisr re- an^ conventions of the united colonies, where no government suffieon.ni: miiiiir cient to the exigencies of their affairs has been hitherto established, the iniittutkin jo adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the represenntnii. ta'ives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of
their constituents in particular, and America in general."
Powenofthe "Ann Whereas doubts have arisen, whether this congress are Krai'iuide- TM" invested with sufficient power and authority to deliberate and deterqoatt. mine on so important a subject as ihe necessity of erecting and con
stituting a new form of government and internal police, to tlie exclusion of all foreign jurisdiction, dominion, and control whatever. And whereas it appertains uf right solely to the people of this colony to determine the said doubts: Therefore,
Xicommrnda- "Kesolvkp, That it be recommended 10 the electors in the sevtion to rim de- eral counties in this colony, by election in the manner and form qn«te poilen!"" prescribed for the election of the present congress, either to authorize (in addition to the power vested in this congress) their pregent deputies, or other* in the stead of their present deputies, or either of them, to take into consideration the necessity and propriety of indiluting such new government as in and by the said resolution of the continental congress is described and recommended: And, if the majority of the counties, by their deputies in provincial congress, slull be of opinion that such* new government ought to be instituted and established, then to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights, liberties, and happiness of the good people of this colony ; and to continue in force until a future peace with Gi>2 • Britain shall render the same unnecessary. And „ •
"KEsoLvsn, That the said election in the several counties ought to be had on such day, and at such place or places, as, by the committee of each county respectively shall be determined. And it is recommended to the said committees, to fix such early days for the said elections, as that all the deputies to be elected have sufficient time to repair to the city of New-York by the second Monday in July next, on which day all the said deputies ought punctually to give their attendance.
"Ann wiiEitEAH the object of the aforegoing resolution is of the utmost importance lo the good people of this colony:
"KesoLVEi), That it be, and it is hereby earnestly recommended, to the committees, freeholders, and uther electors, in the different counties in this colony, diligently to carry the same into execution." Appointment of ^xn Whuhas the good people of the said colony, in pursuance thu Ctinveniion. of the said resolution, and reposing special trust and confidence in the members of this convention, have appointed, authorized, and empowered tliem, for the purposes, and in the manner, and with the ponersin and by the said resolve, specified, declared, mid mentioned. Ami wiikusis the delegates of the United American Slates, in general congress convened, did, on the fourth day of July now last past, solemnly publish and declare in the words following, viz? r.-ormlinKi of "Wiiex, iii the course of human events, it becomes necessary for ""•' <*rn«ml o'ic people lo dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate andequ.il station to which the laws of nature and of nature's (iod pnviile tliem, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that tlit-y '.."ill ...i 1.;. the causes which impel them to the separation.
nnmu there- •. \\'e h»M these truths to be self evident, that all men are erealed equal: that llicy are endowed by their Creator with certain Iim. alienable rights j that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thai to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the govented i thai whenever any form of government becomes destructive ol those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its tbundalion on su,ch prinriples,md organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety aml happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long estahlished should not he changed for light and transient canses; and accoidingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufhrxhle, than to right themselves hy aholishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of ahuses and usurpations, pursuing invariahly the same ohject, evinces a design to reduce them under ahsolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their fiitore security. Such has heen the patient sufferance of these coloaies; and such now is the necessity which constrains them to alter their former system of government. The history of the present king of Great-Britain, is a history of repeated injuries and usurps' ions, all having in direct ohject the estahlishment of an ahsolute tyranny over these states. To prove this let facts he suhmitted to a candid world,
"He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and ne- Grievanie!, ctssary for the puhlic gsod.
"He has forhidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and presitng importance, unless suspended in their operation, till his aslent should he ohtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
« He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large distvicts of people, unless those people would relmquish the fight of representation in the legislature ; a right inestimahle to them and formidahle to tyrants only.
"He has called together leg's' \tive hodies at places unusual, uncomfortahle, and distant from the depository of their puhlic records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
"He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly 6rmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
« He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions to canse others to he elected; wherehy the legislative powers incapahle of anaihilation, have returned to the people at large, for their exereise; the state remaining in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
"He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states j for that purpose ohstructing the laws for naturaliz ition of foreigners; refusing to pass others, to encourage their migraiions hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
"He has ohstructed the admiaistration of justice, hy refusing his assent to latrs for estahlishing judiciary powers.
"He lus made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
* He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their suhstance.
"He has kep: among us, in times of peace, standing armies, withoat the consent of our legislatures.
"He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to ihe Civil power.
"He has comhined with others, to suhject us to a jurisdiction, fo-
stem of English laws in S neighhouring