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best estate, is but 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 exercise of his judgment, in moulding the materials into fabrics for which they were intended. It would be equally incompatible with the principles of correct taste, and with the fidelity of the reporter, to attempt to invest plain sense and dry argument, with the embellishments of fancy, or the elaborate elegance of diction. It is the duty of the reporter to give the speeches, both in matter and manner, as they were delivered, except in such inadvertent inaccuracies as might be supposed to occur in the heat and hurry of debate.
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 public journals; and the immediate object in view, was to supply their own, and other papers, with the daily proceedings of the Convention. In addition to this primary object, it was believed to be important, both to the present generation and to posterity, to preserve in a more regular and durable form, than the fugitive columns of a newspaper, a full and accurate record of the proceedings of a body, in which was to be 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 Nourishing republic.
The compilers of this volume have not been disappointed in their anticipations of the number and importance of the amendments, which would be proposed and discussed. Public expectation has been even surpassed, both in respect to the variety and magnitude of the changes, which bave been recominended by the Convention. Scarcely a pillar has been left standing in the venerable fabric, crected by the political fathers of the state. THE LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, and JUDICIAL DEPARTMENTS, have all been new, modelled, and undergone radical and important alterations. The APPOINTIni Powrr, on the discreet regulation of which depend in a great measure the diruity and welfare of the state, and which has at its disposal an annual patronage, to the amount of about two millions of dollars, has been shifted to dittirent liands, and organized on a new and untried plan. Other important alterations, of a miscellaneous nature, have been recommended ; and an almost entirely new constitution will be submitted, for the adoption or rejecrivu of the citizens of this state, on the third Tuesday of January next.
In the 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 been retraced, and its vicissitudes ex. amined, from the days of its colonial vassalage, to its present proud and enviable condition. The gradual changes of the state, in its government, its laws, its civil, political, and religious institutions, have all undergone a rigid exainination. In a word, there is scarcely a topic, connected with the past history, the present situation, or future prospects of our state, which has not been iotroduced, in the course of these debates. Frequent reference has also been made to the governments of other states and other countries, exhibiting a conparative and analogical view in relation to our own institutions. From
these considerations it must be evident, that in this volume will be found a great body of historical facts, and much political information, which it is important to preserve.
of the character of the Convention ; of the wisdom or indiscretion of its proceedings; and of the expediency or inexpediency of the proposed amendments, this is neither the time nor the place for discussion. The Reporters commenced their labours with a full determination, that whatever might be their own political sentiments and feelings, they should not be permitted to miogle in their duties, or give the slightest tinge of partiality to their reports ; nor will any opinion on the result of the Convention be now expressed.
Whatever may be the event of the conflicting sentiments of the community, with regard to the amended constitution, it cannot materially affect the value of this volume. The act of calling a Convention, of electing delegates with unlimited powers, and the proceedings of that body, constitute a great POLITICAL REVOLUTION, in which the people of this state, in a silent and peaceable manner, resumed for a time their delegated power, and original sovereignty; and claimed the privilege of revising and amending, by their representatives, the constitution, which forms the basis of their government, and the guarantee of their rights and liberties. Whether the amended constitution shall be adopted or not, an authentic record of the events, connected with this revolution, will be valuable, both as preparatory to the ultimate decision of the people, and as matter of history.
It is important that the people, previous to the adoption or rejection of the constitntion, which will in a few weeks be submitted for their consideration, shouid have a full view of the whole ground, and be made acquainted with the arguments, which have been advanced by their representatives, for and against the several amendments. The question which is about to be taken will be final; and the constitution which shall be adopted, on the last Tuesday of January next, will probably endure for ages. Before a decision of such magnitude, and so momentous in its consequences, shall be made, it is important that authentic and correct information should be extensively diffused through the community.
It is believed this volume contains a more full and accurate exposition of the views of the Convention, on the great variety of subjects, which were discussed and acted on by that body, than can be obtained from any other source. The official journal kept by the secretaries, however accurate, will contain little more than the outlines of the proceedings, and will fur. nish none of the reasons, or principles, on which the amendments are ground. ed. Five thousand copies of the amended constitution, are the only official documents, wbich will go forth to the people, to guide and direct thera in the decision they are about to make. These naked copies, blended as the amendments are with the provisions of the existing constitution, will afford no opportunity of contrasting the alterations with other propositions, on the same subjects, or of the arguments, which were urged in favour and against their adoption.
In the volume now presented to the public, the reader will find a copy of the old constitution; the amendments recommended, in a distinct form; and the amended constitution, as proposed to the people. He will also be able
to take 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 have 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 style of execution, which may recommend it to public patronage.
Albany, 15th November, 1821.
State of New-York.
In Convention of the Representatives of the State of New-York.
KINGSTON, 2012 APRIL, 1777.
AND WEEKBAs the congress of the colony of New York did, on the thirty-first day of May, now last pasi, resolve as follows, viz:
“ WHEREAS, the present government of his colony, by congress Its object term and committees, was instituted while the former government, under porary. the crown of Great Britain, existed in full force ;-and was eslablished for the sole purpose of opposing the usurpation of the British parliament, and was intended to expire on a reconciliation with Great-Britain, which it was then app: ehended would soon take place, but is now considered as remote and sinceriain.
" AND WHEREAS many and great inconveniences attend the said fus inconvenienmode of government by congress and commitees, as of necessity, in cts. many instances, legislative, judicial and executive powers bave been vested therein, especially since the dissolution of the former govern. ment, by the abdication of the la’e governor, and the exclusion of this colony from the protection of the king of Great-Britain.
“ AND WHEREAS the continental congress did resolve as followeth, co wit :
“Whentas bis Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with the lords and Recital, and commons of Great-Bri'ain, hias by a late act of parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these united colonies, from the protection of his crown : And whereas no answers whatever, to the humble petition of the colonies for redress of grievances and reconcilia :on with Great. Britain, has been, or is likely to be given, but the whole force of that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries, is to be exeried for the destruction of te good people of these colonies : And whereas it appears absolutely irreconcileable to reason and good conscience, for che people of these colonies, now to take the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown of Great Britain ; and it is necessary ihat the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown, should be totally suppressed, and all the powers of government exerted under the authority of the peo. ple of the colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and good order, as well as for the defence of our lives, liberties, and properties against the hostile invasions and cruel depredations of our enemies : Therefore,
Resolation of " RESOLVED, That it be recommended to the respective assemblies the General Congress, re.
and conventions of the united colonies, where no government suffi. commending cient to the exigencies of their affairs has been hitherto established, the institution to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the represen. of new govern
tatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of
their constituents in particular, and America in general." Powers of the Provincial Con
“AND WHEREAS doubts have arisen, whether this congress are gress inade invested with sufficient power and authority to deliberate and deter. quate. mine on so important a subject as the necessity of erecting and con.
stituting a new form of government and internal police, to the ex. clusion of all foreign jurisdiction, dominion, and control whatever. And whereas it appertains of riglit solely to the people of this co
lony to determine the said doubts : Therefore, Recommenda - RESOLVED, That it be recommended 10 the electors in the sev. tion to elect de- eral counties in this colony, by election in the manner and form puties with adequate powers.
prescribed for the election of the present congress, either to author. ize (in addition to the power vested in this congress) their pre. sent deputies, or others in the stead of their present deputies, or either of them, to take into consideration the necessity and propriety of in. stituting 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, shall be of opinion that such new government ought to be insiituted and established, then 10 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 Giezii Britain shall render the same Time and place
unnecessary. And of meeting:
" REBOlven, 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 suffi. cient time to repair to the city of New York by the second Monday in July next; on which day all the said depuiies ought punctually to give their aliendance.
" AND WHEneas the object of the aforegoing resolution is of the utnost importance to tie good people of this colony :
" Resolven), That it be, and it is hereby earnestly recommended to the committees, freeholders, and other electors, in the different
counties in this colony, diligently to carry she same into execution.” Appointment of AND WHEULAS the good people of the said colony, in pursuance this Cunvention. of ilie said resolution, and reposing special trust and confidence in
the members of this convention, have appointed, authorized, and empowered them, for the purposes, and in the manner, and with the poners in and by the said resolve, specified, declared, and mentioned.
AND WAENEAS the delegates of the United American States, in general congress convened, did, on the fourth day of July now last
past, solemnly publish and declare in the words following, viz: Proceedings of “Wirex, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for the Grneral
o'e people to dissolve the political bands which have connected ihem Congress.
with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the se. parate and equud station to wluch ihe laws of nature and of nature's God enzile inhem, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind re. quires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the
separat:0.1. Reasons there * \le bld these truths to be self evident, that all men are cre.
ated equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain un. alienable righes; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among inen, deriving their just powers from the consent of the go. verned ; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the riglic of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new governmeni, laying iis foundation on such princi