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It is, I believe, computed that there are about 120,000 Germans in the city, and that only two other German cities in the world, Vienna and Berlin, have a larger German population than New York. The Germans are good citizens and thriving men, and are to be found prospering all over the northern and western parts of the Union. It seems that they are excellently well adapted to colonization, though they have in no instance become the dominant people in a colony, or carried with them their own language or their own laws. The French have done so in Algeria, in some of the West India islands, and quite as essentially into Lower Canada, where their language and laws still prevail
. And yet it is, I think, beyond doubt that the French are not good colonists, as are the Ger
Of the ultimate destiny of New York as one of the ruling commercial cities of the world, it is, I think, impossible to doubt. Whether or no it will ever equal London in population I will not pretend to say. Even should it do so, should its numbers so increase as to enable it to say that it had done so, the question could not very well be settled. When it comes to pass that an assemblage of men in one so-called city have to be counted by millions, there arises the impossibility of defining the limits of that city, and of saying who belong to it and who do not. An arbitrary line may be drawn, but that arbitrary line, though perhaps false when drawn as including too much, soon becomes more false as including too little. Ealing, Acton, Fulham, Putney, Norwood, Sydenham, Blackheath, Woolwich, Greenwich, Stratford, Highgate, and Hampstead, are, in truth, component parts of London, and very shortly Brighton will be as much so.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. As New York is the most populous State of the Union, having the largest representation in Congress-on which account it has been called the Empire State,– I propose to mention, as shortly as may be, the nature of its separate Constitution as a State. Of course it will be understood that the constitutions of the different States are by no means the same. They have been arranged according to the judgment of the different people concerned, and have been altered from time to time to suit such altered judgment. But as the States together form one nation, and on such matters as foreign affairs, war, customs, and post-office regulations, are bound together as much as are the English counties, it is, of course, necessary that the constitution of each should in most matters assimilate itself to those of the others. These constitutions are very much alike. A Governor, with two houses of legislature, generally called the Senate and the House of Representatives, exists in each State. In the State of New York the lower house is called the Assembly. In most States the Governor is elected annually; but in some States for two years, as in New York. In Pennsylvania he is elected for three years. The House of Representatives or the Assembly is, I think, always elected for one session only; but as, in many of the States, the Legislature only sits once in two years, the election recurs of course at the same interval. The franchise in all the States is nearly universal, but in no State is it perfectly so. The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and other officers are elected by vote of the people as well as the members of the Legislature. Of course it will be understood that each State makes laws for itself,—that they are in nowise dependent on the Congress assembled at Washington for their laws,-unless for laws which refer to matters between the United States as a nation and other nations, or between one State and another. Each State declares with what punishment crimes shall be visited; what taxes shall be levied for the use of the State ; .what laws shall be passed as to education; what
! shall be the State judiciary. With reference to the judiciary, however, it must be understood, that the United States as a nation have separate national law courts before which come all cases litigated between State and State, and all cases which do not belong in every respect to any one individual State. In a subsequent chapter I will endeavour to explain this more fully In endeavouring to understand the constitution of the United States it is essentially necessary that we should remember that we have always to deal with two different political arrangements,—that which refers to the nation as a whole, and that which belongs to each State as a separate governing power in itself. What is law in one State is not law in another. Nevertheless there is a very great likeness throughout these various constitutions; and any political student who shall have thoroughly mastered one, will not have much to learn in mastering the others.
This State, now called New York, was first settled by the Dutch in 1614, on Manhattan Island. They established a government in 1629, under the name of the New Netherlands. In 1664 Charles II. granted the province to his brother, James II., then Duke of York, and possession was taken of the country on his behalf by one Colonel Nichols. In 1673 it was recaptured by the Dutch, but they could not hold it, and the Duke of York again took possession by patent. A legislative body was first assembled during the reign of Charles II., in 1683; from which it will be seen that parliamentary representation was introduced into the American colonies at a very early date. The declaration of independence was made by the revolted colonies in 1776, and in 1777 the first constitution was adopted by the State of New York. In 1822 this was changed for another; and the one of which I now purport to state some of the details was brought into action in 1847. In this constitution there is a provision that it shall be overhauled and remodelled, if needs be, once in twenty years. Article XIII. Sec. 2.--"At the general election to be held in 1866, and in each twentieth year thereafter, the question, 'Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same ?' shall be decided by the electors qualified to vote for members of the Legislature.” So that the New Yorkers cannot be twitted with the presumption of finality in reference to their legislative arrangements.
The present constitution begins with declaring the inviolability of trial by jury and of habeas corpus,-“ unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its suspension.” It does not say by whom it may be suspended, or who is to judge of the public safety, but, at any rate, it may be presumed that such suspension was supposed to come from the powers of the State which enacted the law. At the present moment the habeas corpus is suspended in New York, and this suspension has proceeded not from the powers of the State, but from the Federal Government, without the sanction even of the Federal Congress.
“Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.” Art. I. Sec. 8. But at the present moment liberty of speech and of the press is utterly abrogated in the State of New York, as it is in other States. I mention this not as a reproach against either the State or the Federal Government, but to show how vain all laws are for the protection of such rights. If they be not protected by the feelings of the people, --if the people are at any time, or from any cause, willing to abandon such privileges, no written laws will preserve them.
In Art. I. Sec. 14, there is a proviso that no land-land, that is, used for agricultural purposes—shall be let on lease for a longer period than twelve years. “No lease or grant of agricultural land for a longer period than twelve years hereafter made, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind, shall be valid.” I do not understand the intended virtue of this proviso, but it shows very clearly how different are the practices with reference to land in England and America. Farmers in the States almost always are the owners of the land which they farm, and such tenures as those, by which the occupiers of land generally hold their farms with us, are almost unknown. There is no such relation as that of landlord and ienant as regards agricultural holdings.
Every male citizen of New York may vote who is twentyone, who has been a citizen for ten days, who has lived in the State for a year, and for four months in the county in which he votes. He can vote for all “ officers that now are, or hereafter may be, elective by the people.” Art. II. Sec. 1. “But," the section goes on to say, “no man of colour, unless he shall have been for three years a citizen of the State, and for one year next preceding any election shall have been possessed of a freehold estate of the value of 250 dollars (507.), and shall have been actually rated, and paid a tax thereon, shall be entitled to vote at such election.” This is the only embargo with which universal suffrage is laden in the State of New York.
The third article provides for the election of the Senate and the Assembly. The Senate consists of thirty-two members. And it may here be remarked that large as is the State of New York, and great as is its population, its Senate is less numerous than that of many other States. In Massachusetts, for instance, there are forty senators, though the population of Massachusetts is barely one third that of New York. In Virginia there are fifty senators, whereas the free population is not one third of that of New York. As a consequence the Senate of New York is said to be filled with men of a higher class than are generally found in the Senates of other States. Then follows in the article a list of the districts which are to return the Senators. These districts consist of one, two, three, or in one case four counties, according to the population
The article does not give the number of members of the Lower House, nor does it even state what amount of population shall be held as entitled to a member. It merely provides for the division of the State into districts which shall contain an equal number, not of population, but of voters. The House of Assembly does consist of 128 members.
It is then stipulated that every member of both houses shall receive three dollars a day, or twelve shillings, for their services during the sitting of the legislature; but this sum is never to exceed 300 dollars, or sixty pounds, in one year, unless an extra Session be called. There is also an allowance for the travelling expenses of members. It is, I presume, generally known that the members of the Congress at Washington are all paid, and that the same is the case with reference to the legislatures of all the States.
No member of the New York legislature can also be a member of the Washington Congress, or hold any civil or military office under the general States Government.
A majority of each House must be present, or as the article says, “shall constitute a quorum to do business." Each House is to keep a journal of its proceedings. The doors are to be open,-except when the public welfare shall require secrecy. A singular proviso this, in a country boasting so much of freedom! For no speech or debate in either House shall the legislature be called in question in any other place. The legislature assembles on the first Tuesday in January, and sits for about three months. Its seat is at Albany.
The executive power, (Art. IV.) is to be vested in a Governor and a Lieutenant-Governor, both of whom shall be chosen for two years. The Governor must be a citizen of the United States, must be thirty years of age, and have lived for the last four years
in the State. He is to be commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces of the State, -as is the President of those of the Union. I see that this is also the case in inland States, which one would say can have no navies. And with reference to some States it is enacted that the Governor is commander-in-chief of the army, navy, and militia, showing that some army over and beyond the militia may be kept by the State. In Tennessee, which is an inland State, it is enacted that the Governor shall be "commander-in-chief of the army and navy of this State, and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States." In Ohio the same is the case, except that there is no mention of militia. In New York there is no proviso with reference to the service of the United States. I mention this as it bears with some strength on the question of the right of secession, and indicates the jealousy of the individual States with reference to the Federal Government. The Governor can convene extra Sessions of one House or of both. He makes a message to the legislature when it meets,—a sort of Queen's speech; and he receives