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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 vo. lume 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 news. paper, 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 flourishing 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 have been recommended by the Convention. Scarcely a pillar has been left standing in the venerable fabric, erected by the political fathers of the state. TAE LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, and JUDICIAL DEPARTMENTS, have all been newmodelled, and undergone radical and important alterations. The APPOINTIng 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 about two millions of dollars, has been shifted to different hands, 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 rejection of the citizens of tbis 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 examination. In a word, there is scarcely a topic, conpected with the past history, the present situation, or future prospects of our state, which has not been introduced, in the course of these debates. Frequent reference has also been made to the governments of other states and other countries, exhibiting 2 comparalive 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 mingle 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 constitution, which will in a few weeks be submitted for their consideration, should 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 furnish none of the reasons, or principles, on which the amendments are grounded. Five thousand copies of the amended constitution, are the only official documents, which will go forth to the people, to guide and direct them 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 conddence 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 pature 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 unbeeded, 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 ali respect 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, 20th APRIL, 1777.
the king and parliament of Great-Britain, on the rights and Congresses and liberties of the people of the American colonies, bad reduced them to the necessity of introducing a government by congresses and com. mittees, as temporary expedients, and to exist no longer than the grievances of the people should remain without redress :
AND WAEREAS the congress of the colony of New-York diel, on the thirty-first day of May, now last past, resolve as follows, viz:
“ WHEREAS, the present government of this colony, by congress Its object tem. and committees, was instituted while the former government, under porary. the crown of Great-Britain, existed in full force ;-and was established for the sole purpose of opposing the usurpation of the British parliament, and was intended to cxpire on a reconciliation with Great-Britain, which it was then apprehended would soon take place, but is now considered as remote and uncertain.
"AND WHEREAS many and great inconveniences attend the said Its inconvenien. mode of government by congress and committees, as of necessity, in ces. many instances, legislative, judicial and executive powers have been vested therein, especially since the dissolution of the former govern. ment, by the abdication of the late 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, do wit:
"WHEREAS his Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with the lords and Recital, and commons of Great Britain, hias by a late act of parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these united colonies, from the protection of his crown : And wbereas no answers whatever, to the humble petition of the colonies for redress of grievances and reconciliation 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 exerted for the de. struction of tie good people of these colonies : And whereas it appears absolutely irreconcileable to reason and good conscience, for the 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 that 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,
its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instru. ment for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies :
" For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our guvernments :
“For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power, to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
“He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.
"He las plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
“ He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
“He has constrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the bigb seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their bands.
“ He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfure is an undistinguished de. struction fall ages, sexes, and conditions.
“ In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the mosi humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked, by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit iu be the ruler of a free people.
“Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and set. tlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimiiy, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kin. dred, to disavow tliese usurpations, which would inevitably inter. rupt our connexion, and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and
hold them as we hold the rest of mankind -enemies in war; in Declaration of
“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of Ame. Independence. rica, in general congress assembled, appealing to the supreme judge
of the world, for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly pub. lish and «leclare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are ab. solved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all politi. cal connexion between them and the stale of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved ; and that as free and independent States, they have tull power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes,
and our sacred honour. Approved.
AND WHEREAS this convention, having taken this declaration into their most seriou consideration, did, on the ninth day of July last past, unanimously resolve that the reasons assigned by the conti. nental congress, for declaring the united colonies free and independent states, are cogent, and conclusive ; and that, while we lament the cruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable, we approve the same, and will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes,
join with the other colonies in supporting it. Powers of the
By virtue of which several acis, declarations, and proceedings, convention, mentioned and contained in the afore-recited resolves or resolutions of