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ASSEMBLED FOR THE PURPOSE OF AMENDING
ALL THE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS, RELATING TO THE SUBJECT, ANI>
fra volume which is now presented to the puhlie, is the work of differand lays claim to no other merit, than that of heing a faithful record of the proceedings of the Convention, which assemhled at Alhany, on the 28th of August, 1821, and closed its session on the 10th of Novemher following. It consists of the constitution of 1777—the acts of the legislature, of Mareh and April, 1821, recommending a Convention— a minute and full journal of the proceedings and dehates of the Convention, arranged in the order in which they occurred, including the reports of the littees—-the ayes and noes on all important questions—and , as amended—together with an appendix, containing several documents relating to the Convention—and a well digested index of the
In preparing the work for the press, its joint anthors have availed themselves, as far as practicahle, of the corrections suggested hy the memhers of the Convention, of that part of the proceedings, which has appeared in the pontic journals; and the speeches, which have not heen puhlished, are given with as much accuracy, as the rapidity with which the volume was executed would permit. The editors are not sensihle of any want of care or attention, to render these reports correct and satisfactory; hut with all their industry and lahour, it is not improhahle, that amidst other avocations, and the hurry in which the work went to press, errors may have escaped their ation; and in some cases, perhaps, injustice has heen done to the
If, on examination, such defects in the work shall he found, the reporters trust they will find an apology in the difficulty of hearing at all times distinctly, speakers in a remote part of the house; of apprehending their argnranti always when they were heard; and of following with minute accuracy the chain of proceedings, amidst the intricacies and confusion, in which the Convention sometimes found itself involved. On this topic they will merely add, that they have on all occasions assiduously lahoured to give a fair and impartial transcript of the remarks of the speaker.
The office of a reporter is in all respects invidious and ungrateful. While its duties are arduous and responsihle, requiring great lahour and patient mdustry, the most unwearied and faithful discharge of these duties is attendoo adequate reward, in a literary point of view. The nature of the precludes the exereise of those faculties of the mind, which can alone r dignity and reputation upon literary efforts; and the reporter, in his hest estate, is hut a manufacturer of intellectual wares, from such raw materials, as are furnished at his hands. This reduces his province to very narrow limits; and the only reputation he can expect, must arise from the exereise of his judgment, in moulding the materials into fahries for which they were intended. It would he equally incompatihle with the principles of correct taste, and witli the fidelity of the reporter, to attempt to invest plain sense and dry argument, with tho emhellishments of fancy, or the elahorate elegance of diction. It is the duty of the reporter to give the speeches, hoth in matter and manner, as they were delivered, except in such inadvertent inaccuracies as might he supposed to occur in the heat and hurry of dehate.
Conscious of these restrictions and limitations, the compilers of this volume did not undertake the work with the hope of acquiring literary reputation. Two of them are editors of puhlic journals ; and the immediate ohject in view, was to supply their own, and other papers, with the daily proceedings of the Convention. In addition to this primary ohject, it was helieved to he important, hoth to the present generation and to posterity, to preserve in a more regular and durahle form, than the fugitive columns of a newspaper, a full and accurate record of the proceedings of a hody, in which was to he agitated and settled the first principles of a free government, and to which was assigned the duty of amending, to an unlimited extent, the constitution of a great and flourishing repuhlic.
The compilers of this volume have not heen disappointed in their anticipations of the numher and importance of thn amendments, wmch would he proposed and discussed. Puhlic expectation has heen even surpassed, hoth in respect to the variety and magnitude of the changes, which have heen recommended hy the Convention. Scareely a pillar has heen left standing in the venerahle fahrie, erected hy the political fathers of the state. The LeGislative, Executive, and Judici Il Departments, have all heen newm,sl"lled, and undergone radical and important alterations. The AppomtIng Power, on the discreet regulation of which depend in a great measure the dignity and welfare of the state, and which has at its disposal an annual patronage, to the amount of ahout two millions of dollars, has heen shifted to different hands, and organized ou a new and untried plan. Other important alterations, of a miscellaneous nature, have heen recommended ; and analmost entirely new constitution will he suhmitted, for the adoption or re jection of the citizens of this state, on the third Tuesday of January next.
In tho discussion of these amendments, all the principles of a free government, and the interests of a great and free people, have passed in review. The political history of the state has heen retraced, and its vicissitudes exaimned, from the days of its colonial vassalage, to its present proud and enviahle condition. The gradual changes of the state, in its government, its laws, its civil, political, and religious institutions, have all undergone a rigid examination. In a word, there is scareely a topie, connected with the past history, the present situation, or future prospects of our state, which has not heen introduced, in the course of these dehates. Frequent reference has also heen made to the governments of other Mates and other coimtries, exhihiting a comparative and analogical view in relation to our own institutions. From