Imagens das páginas

where the Legislature cannot reach it. There are doubt on the subject. Yet, I may be convincod certain rights in a government like this that we tho other way. do not desire to give even to tho majority, and Mr. COOKE–The argument of my colleague this is one, I think-the right to be protected (Mr. Hardenburgh) would be equally valid in the in our person and property. It is true you can mouth of every minority in whatever political or. take away private property for public use, giving ganization. Minorities every where complain that just compensation on taking it at its assessed they are taxed against their will; that a policy is value. That may be just, perhaps, and yet that pursued by the majority, that is detrimental to would be a very doubtful right in many cases; their interests. I do not rise to discuss the but I assure gentlemen here, and I call to my merits of this question, but simply to say that I aid the past experience of this people in support heartily concur in the position of my friend from of my assertion, that wherever it has become Steuben [Mr. Rumsey] that the discussion is prenecessary for a road to be built or an improvement mature. This is not the proper place to strike at to be made to develop this country and improve this evil, if it be an evil. Now, sir, no county, the condition of the people of this country, private town or village has the right except br special enterprise has ever been at hand to accomplish legislative enactme:t to become a stockholder in it, and the farmers, whom my friends say are any incorporated company. This proposed conwilling to bond their towns, need only give thirty- stitutional provision cannot be used or regarded three per cent—that is all. I take away from in any other character than as declaratory of the ther no right. Let him come to the farmer who existing law, and I therefore concur with those dreams night times of the business increase in gentlemen who claim that the provision has no bis properiy, and let him put thirty-three per business here. These towns, counties and villa. cent of his valuation in the common pool and take ges have no power now indopendently of legisla. his chances-I think it is a fair speculation. But tive provisions to tax themselves for the purpose I desire uot to enter in, and yet you turn around of building roads. Existing provisions conferhere with a host of men who do not pay one ring this power are the foundations of vested single shilling of tax, possessing their vote simply rights. Under the provisions or law as they now by reason of a dog tax or a road tax which they exist, towns have bonded themselves; they pay, and take away from my property.

have commenced the building of roads; they have Mr. HALE--Does not the gentleman know that incurred expense and placed themselves in a situ. in the laws upon this subject, it requires there ation where they will be seriously injured in case should be not only the consent of a majority of the government turns back upon its former action. the taxable inhabitants, but they shall also repre. They have been induced by legislative provisions sent a majority of the taxable property?

to incur expense and taxation for the purpose of Mr. HARDENBURGH-I do; but in that ma- building roads. Take the case referred to by my jority of the taxable property you include all per colleague, the road in which our county is insonal estate, and that can be drawn out immedi- terested. A number of towns, I think all the ately, and you can pever reach it by your tax, and towns through which the road is to pass (the Ron. then you leave upon me this whole 333 per cent. dout and Oswego road) have bonded themselves,

Mr. HALE-Could not that objection, if it ex. to at least a portion of the amount allowed by isted, be obviated by action of the Legislature ? the Legislature, for the purpose of building

Mr. HARDENBURGH--I doubt very much if that road. That money is being expended you build a road, if you will not let the personal with every prospect of success in the enterprise. estate escape, and put the tax all on the farmers. Pass this provision now and adopt it as a part of But if there is a single farmer that says, “I do nou the Constitution of the State, and they will be prowant my land disturbed, or my night sleeps dis- cluded, if it is put in the form reported by the turbed by the noise of the locomotive," I say he committee, from completing their subscription and has a right to say so, and the only way you can making up the whole amount they are authorized build a road over his property is in a constitutional to subscribe by the terms of the act under which way; but do not make him pay for this nuisance, they commenced. This would be entirely unfair or what he calls a nuisance. You pay him noth- to those enterprises that have been induced by ing, but you make him pay for the nuisance that the action of the Legislature to comience operahe says is a nuisance. It cannot be justified upon tions. The only proper way, I contend, to reach prinriple. No man has ever attempted, except this object, if it be necessary to impose absolute upon the plea that the country cannot be devel. prohibition or even restriction upon the right of oped, or that great sections will not be opened, localities to tax themselves, is to incorporate it in that the capital will not go it. The instant they an article relating to the powers and duties of tell me that, then I answer them by saying, the Legislature. Suppose this provision is adopt. " then the road has not become necessary.". The ed in the exact language of the committee, instant it is, and I have never seen it fail, the county town or village existing or hereafter to be capitai will go in. This Susquehanna road organized shall become stockholders,” etc. Is would be built, beyond all question, by the State there any difficulty, if the Legislature shall see aid, without adopting this pernicious practice. fit (we know they have sufficient ingenuity), to Upon this subject I trust there will be a full' and evade it. They can create, as in the case of free discussion, and if there can be shown by gen. the metropolitan districts, a railrvad district comtlemen any reason why the report of that commit- posed of several towns, and they can authorize them tee should not be adopted. It is of importance to subscribe for the stock, or they can divide tho enough Every man will admit that it should be counties into hundreds instead of towys, for this thoroughly ventilated here, and for one I have no particular purpose of allowing subscription for


railroad stock. I claim, therefore, that here is it not been for this power. Hundreds of thounot the proper place to correct the evil, if it be sands of dollars have been added to the wealth one. But if it be necessary to impose the re- of this State by the construction of that road. striction, or if it is the sense of this Convention And I ask you, Mr. Chairman, if it is wise in this to impose absolute prohibition upon the Legis- Convention without a strong demand on the part lature from granting ang power whatever to local of the people to lay its restricting or restraining ities to subscribe for this purpose, let it be done hand upon the enterprise that builds railroads in the article upon the powers and duties of the and adds to the wealth of this State? Is it legislature.

wise to deny to the people of any locality the Nr. PRINDLE-I have not given to this sub- power to build a railroad for their convenience, ject much consideration, for I was not aware and for the increaso of their wealth and power ? that it would come before the committee this Now, ask, Mr. Chairman, what evils can be morning; but I live in a section that is deeply mentioned by gentlemen of this Convention that affected by the principles contained in this pro- shall outweigh the vas: benefits that it must be posed amendment. It does seem to me that there conceded have been conferred upon the people is no necessity, at the present time whatever, for living in the vicinity of the Albany and Susquoany such amendment as has been proposed by hanna railroad, and I mention that because it is a this committee. I would ask, Mr. Chairman, noble example of the benefits resulting from the who has petitioned for any such amendment? power vested in towns to aid in building roads. I do not know, but there may have been petitions I believe that gentlemen of this Convention ought presented to this Convention with regard to this to consider this matter well before they lay their matter; but I am certain that there can have hands upon this power. We are making a Con. been but very few ; I kuow of none. Now, sir, Istitution which I suppose will last, if it is am opposed to amendments of our present Consti- adopted by the people, for the next twenty years tution that have not been demanded by the peo--twenty years, sir, that are to be fruitful in the ple; and I will ask, sir, wilai are the evils that growth and prosperity of this State. Let gentleare complained of? What are the evils to be men consider the difference that will be made in remedied? I know, sir, that evils have been the wealth of this State alone, in the next twenty talked about by gentlemen who are in favor of years, if the people of a particular vicinity are to this section. I know that it has been said here have no right to aid in the construction of roads that there are evils to be remedied and that ought by bonding their towns. I ask gentlemen who to be remedied; but I have listened in vain to are not taxed to build railroads, and who live havo gentlemen point out those evils. On away from the line of those roads, to consider this the other hand, what are the benefits that matter well before they deny to those who ask have been conferred by leaving to the towns it the privilege of increasing their wealth and the power which they now possess to aid convenience. I, sir, have not heard any comin the construction of railroads in this State ? plaints made by the people of this State that this Whs, sir

, it seems to me that the simple state- power has been abused; I have occasionally ment of facts made by the gentleman from Ot. heard some miserly owner of property protest sego (Mr. Eddy), and also the gentleman from against paying taxes; occasionally men will pro. Schoharie [Mr. Krum), are themselves a sufficient test against paying taxes for any purpose; there refutation of any argument that has been adduced are some men who protest against paying taxes by gentlemen who are opposed to this power. for the purposes of public instruction; they proTake, for an example, the action of the people in test against paying taxes for public improvements the case of the Albany and Susquehanna rail. of every kind; they protest against taxes even road. Wbo from the line of that railroad for sustaining the life of the government. These, comes here to protest against this power ? sir, aro the only protests that I have heard Who

from the line of that railroad against this power in towns to build rail. comes here to say aught against that power, roads. It

that there is no or to say that they have been oppressed by the necessity for this proposed section at all. It is building of that road or by the bonding of the safe to leave this matter in the hands of the Legtowns upon the line of that road? Not one. islature where it has been left ever since this Who stands here in this Convention, living in a State, I believe, was organized. What abuses, I vicinity that has been taxed for the building of a ask, have sprung up to render this change necesrailroad, to oppose it? I believe, sir, I have sary? Who has been impoverished? Who has heard of no one. I ask this Convention to con- been defrauded by bonds that are not good ? sider, before adopting this provision, what would Above all, I ask again, who that is interested in now be the condition of all that rich country this matter comes here to protest against it, or through which the Albany and Susquehanna road what locality has sent representatives here to rups, had not the towns along the line of that protest against it? Is it not safe in any particurailroad possessed this power to combine to build lar town, county or village to leave the interests it? Why, sir, had it not been for that power, of property there to those who own the majority that railroad would not have been built. Those of the property? Will they not look to their own who live along that line and are benefited by that interests ? Will not they who own a large porroad at the present time, would never have heard tion of the property in the town understand their the sound of the steam-whistle through those interests? Do they need gentlemen of this conFalleys and over those plains. The land would vention to tell them what their interests are ? I rot have increased in value, as we are told it has think not, sir. I think if a railroad ought by the gentleman from Schoharie (Mr. Krum), had | not to be built, I think if it is to




bo a profitloss affair, the property ownors of that, tions to this, but they are very few. The roadı town will see it just as quick as the members of that bare been built by privato capital in this this Convention, and will refuse to bond them. State, hare not proved remunerative to the selves for any such project. If they are unable capitalists or to the original stockholders; it is to protect themselves, if they are so short. well known that there is but one road of any sighted, that they will rush into insolvency by length in the State, that has proved remunerabuilding these roads, when that fact is demon- tive to the original stockholders. The capital. strated, the Legislature will refuse to give them ists who built the roads have generally sunk the privilege of entering into bonds for such pur their money. It is also well known to the poses. It is not necessary that a constitutional gentlemen of this Convention that in the great provision should be inserted to prevent it. Now, railroad morements in this country, now in the gentleman from Oswego (Mr. Lee) says wben progress, and tbat have been recently completed, roads ought to be built, capitalists will be ready large grants of land bave been made to the comto invest their money and build them. There panies by the general government, and without have been many roads' built in this State which this aid these roads could not be built and capitalists would never have built; a road may would not be built These beiog the facts, I not pay the capitalists; at the same time it will regard this action as a prohibition against tho pay the farmers who live along the line of that building of a railroad in any portion of the road by an increase in the price of their land, and State where privato capital cannot be secured to by the convenience afforded. Shall they not have build it. Take the section of the country wbich the privilege of building a road for their own I have the honor in part to represent, as stated convenience? Mr. Chairman, the gentlemen com- by one of my colleagues on the floor. there is a plain that this power takes away private property plan or scheme on toot to build a railroad; after from its owners without their consent. I say persistent efforts, aid has been secured from :be that the same principle will apply to many other Siate, to a certain extent, to build that road ; if things in this state. The Hudson river has been the road is built at all it will be by the property improved, and the property holders in this State along the line of the road. Arrangements have, have been taxed for that improvement without to a certain extent, been perfected, or they are their consent. The canals are built, and the peo- in process of perfection, but not completed. If ple are taxed to build them without their consent, this section is adopted, a stop will be put to the and they have been taxed to build them without movement of the building of that road, and there their consent. I ask if the same principle that is will be po road running through that region of contended for by the gentleman from Ulster (Mr. the country, and the resources of that por, Hardenburgh) would not have prevented the con- tion of the State will remain undeveloped. I struction of the Erie canal, that has added millions think it we were to strike out all after the word and millions to the wealth of this State. It is cer. “ No," in this section, and substitute some tainly necessary if this section is to be passed in any thing like the following, we should reach the shape it should be restricted, and I must confess result that would be attained by the adoption of that I am surprised that anybody, or any commit- this section, "No railroad shall hereafter be built tee, should propose in this body a section that in this State longer than forty or fifty miles." is to sweep out of existence at one biow, en. That would be about the result that would be terprises that are already engaged in like the reached by the adoption of this section. I Midland road, where the towns have gone on and think this question can be safely left to the peobonded themselves, and where the consent of the ple of the localities to be affected. From what tax payers has been given and where large I have observed durivg the past few months, I amounts of money have already been paid. Will see that the people are disposed to discuss these the gentlemen of this Convention sweep that en questions, and are not disposed to permit the terprise out of existence? I say it would operate towns to be bonded without having given careas à fraud upon the people living along the line of ful attention to the subject, and that no mere that railroad and who have invested their money visionary schemes can obtain or receive the in it, as they have to some considerable extent. sanction of the people: The people of the The Legislature of this State has passed a law by towns do not permit themselves to be bonded which and upon which they have proceeded; they without baving ample discussion on the subhave expended their money; they have acted up-ject, and I believe it is wise to give this atten. on it, and when the State turns round, and deprives tion, so that the people shall not allow them. them of all the benefits that they are to derive selves to be inveigled into schemes that are not from their action, it will operate as a fraud upon to be carried to a successful issue; but when them, upon sound principles of law and equity, the people, after fair discussion of the subject, and if this section is to pass at all, as I believe it bave decided that the benefit to be derived will should not, certainly it should be amended so as compensate them for the risk they run, I think not to affect enterprises, already on foot.

they should be allowed to make the investment. Mr. AXTELL - I suppose in this State, it is I shall, therefore, support the amendment of well sett.ed that only in rare instances can rail- the gentleman fromOnondaga (Mr. Alvord), roads be built by private capital, so that in but I would prefer to have the entire section localities where they need railroads the locaii- stricken out. ties must build them, and I mean by that, not Mr. SMITH-There is one point to which ! merely private capital in those localités, but the wish to draw the attention of the committee and roads must be built by the property in the gentlemen who favor the bonding of towns. It vicinity of those roads. There may be excep- seems to me that it is an invasion of the right



of private property, and I have as yet heard po, within the constitutional role, and the principle answer to that position from any gentleman who of fundamental right, by which you shall not has addressed the committee. It is understood take private property for publio use without to be a fandamental principle that private prop-compensation. Whatever the courts may have erty shall not be taken for yublic use without decided, the taking of private property for railjast compensation. It is incorporated in our road purposes in the manner inhibited by present Constitution, and I believe it is in every this section is not, iu my judgment, a publio Constitution in the Union; if it is not it ought use within the spirit of the great fundamental to be. If you permit a town or county to loan principle which protects private property. A its credit for private enterprises, you do more railroad company is a private corporation, and than violate this principle-you allow private has always been so considered, although it may property to be taken, not for publio use without operate incidentally as a public benefit. But compensation, but for private use without oom- whether public or private, the practice which pensation.

this provision interdicts is wrong, becauso it Mr. PRINDLE-Will the gentleman allow me takes private property without compensato ask him a question ? Have not the courts tion. But who sball decide whether & decided that it is for public use ?

projected enterprise will

will pot Me. SMITH-I will not undertake to say prove a public benefit ? The majority of tax whether they have or have not, but if they have payers assume to decide the question, and arbi. it is not easy to understand on what principle trarily tax the balance of the town, and tako they have made that decision. By what process tbeir money out of their pockets without their of reasoning, or by what trick of casui-try, can it consent and without compensation. TLG minorbe shown that taking private property for the use ity may not believe it to be a public benefit, of a private corporation without compensation is they may not agree with the majority who say within the spirit of the Constitution permitting that it will operate as a public benefit, private property to be taken for public uses on but, whether they believe it or not, they are making compensation ? If any gentleman can ex- forced to contribute to an enterprise which plain it I shall be glad to bear the explanation. I their judgment and interests condemo. This rise partly for the parpose of asking information is not just, not democratio, and not in accordanoe on this point, as it has not been explained satis- with the spirit of our free institutions. It is factorily to my mind.

absolutely taking the property of those whom Mr. HAND-If this State bad given to those you tax for the benefit of private corporations companies & sum raised by taxation, I would ask without their consent and without any compen. wbelber it does not involve the same incon- sation. It was suggested by the gentleman from sistency and violation of principle ?

Chenango (Mr. Prindle] that the appropriation 3 Mr. SMITH-Perhaps it does, but that does for the Hudson river and for the canals are all Dot justify the practice, if it is wrong. Two of a similar character. I would ask the gentlewrongs do not make a right.

inan whether there is not a distinotion between Mr. HALE — Will the gentleman give way these public highways which are owned and for one moment? I wish to make a suggestion controlled by the public, and private enterprise in reply to the inquiry of the gentleman from which are originated and managed by private Fulton (Mr. Smith). I will not do it, however, persons ? It seems to me there is a plaiu disif the gentleman prefers to go on and occupy tinction. It is said by gentlemen that it is safe his own time in his remarks

to leave this matter 10 ihe Legislature, but we Mr. SMITH - I have no objection.

see in the history of the past, that it is not safe Mr. HALE-I would ask whether a railroad to leave it to that body. If it be an invasion of bailt especially through a country now without private rights, of a great fundamental principle, facilities is not in a certaiu sense a public enter to tako private property for this purpose with prise, whether the mere fact, that it is owned out compensation, then the Legislature has by stockholders and is legally private property repeatedly made this invasion, and should not is inconsistent with the other fact tbat it is an be intrusted with the power. The Constitution institution for the benefit of the public, and by should protect the rights of all. It is said by wbich the public are to be benefited and I geotlemen, also, that the majority of the people would ask whether there is, so fir as its effect in the localities cau decide these enterprises for upon the public interests are concerned, any themselves and decide correctly. Perhaps distinction between a bridge, as suggested by they would, and perhaps they would not. The the gentleman from Broome [Mr. Hand), built hisiory of other States shows that many of those by taxation, and which nominally belongs to enterprises are disastrous in the extrome. But the public, and the railroad which, although suppose the majority do decide correctly, I claim bailt by a private corporation, is mainly for the under the Constitution tho right to decide for bent it of the scction through wbich it rods? myself how my property shall be used. I claim

Mr. SMITH — The gentleman's question has that I shall not be forced into an enterprise maltiplied somewhat, but I will answer him, if that my judgment condemns because my neighI understand the scope of his inquiry. It often bor may think it expedient. Every man in happens, doubtless, that these private enter- this country, under our free government, bas a prises operate as a public benefit, and it often right to decide for himself for what onterprises happens, on the contrary, that they are disas- he shall appropriate his property. But there trous; but an iocidental public benefit, resulting is a single suggestion in regard to the mode of from a private enterprise, does not bring it reaching this difficulty which I wish to make

before I sit down. I do not know but this is nearness of that market, or the short distance by the right way, but the suggestion made by the which they could reach the city of Buffalo. On gentleman from Steuben (Mr. Rousey) struck such principles as claimed by the gentleman my mind with some force. Ho proposes to here in regard to the provision before us, I ask, reach the difñculty by inbibiting the Legisla. if you shall make it absolute that the people of ture from authorizivg towns and counties to bood those tuwns, il, say i wo-thirds of them desire to themselves or loan their credit for these private bond theinselves ior that purpose, they shall enterprises. This section under consideration is not do so. I trust tbe Convention will not put for the purpose of organizivg the towns, coud- into the Constitution any such provision, bui, i ties and villages, and prescribing their ordinary am in lavor of inserting a provision in the Couand general powers. As I understand it, the stitution to guard the people ia regard to these rule has been correctly stated by gentlemen things, and, I think, if such provision shall prohere, that counties and towns do not now pos- vide that it shall require two-thirds of the tax se63 such power. If this section be adopted, payers in every town, that your protection is would there not be danger that it might be con- sufficient. If the case is so doubtful or, if it is strued to be a mere declaration of the ordinary not clear enough to obtain two-thirds of the tas and general powers of towns and counties, stiil payers of the town, I think the town had better leaving the paramount power in the Legislature ! not be bonded. With that provision I shall be It is true this section provides that towns and in favor of the provisions of the section. counties shall not be permitted to bond them Mr. LUDINGTON—Mr. Chairman, I do not selves, but the courts may hold that this merely rise for the purpose of going into a discussion prescribes their ordinary inherent powers, and of the general principles involved in the section that the Logislature might still authorize them under consideration. Although if I were to to do what we are seeking to prevens. Would treat it as an original proposition, I should hesit not be belter to have a provision like that itate a long time before giving it my dissent, suggested liy the gentleman from Steuben (Mr. I could not so lightly appreciate a system of Rumsey) inhibiting the Legislature from confer- building railroads which has so generally obring ihe power upon towns and counties ? Such tained in Iowa and other Wester i States, and a provision would strike at the root of the evil, without which that vast fertile region would and leave no room for construction or doubt. comparatively have remained undeveloped, so It is with some reluctance that I have made that to-day one railroad connectivg us with the these remarks, because I know of certain sec. West would be suflicient to accommodate all the tions of the State where these enterprises have travel and freight between the East and the proved beneficial, and the representatives of West. It was by the system which this section those sections in this body quite naturally feel ignores that nearly all the lateral roads and sensitive on the subject. If I felt at liberty to some of the main lines at the West were built. depart from the great fundamental principles The citizens of Cleveland bonded themselves of our government, it would afford me pleasure and took stock to build their road to Cincinnati, to favor the views of these gentlemen; but we the bonds have all been paid by the earnings of are making an organic law for the whole State, the road, and they hold the stock which never and for all the people; we are not legislating cost them a dollar. The same is true of many for the county of Schoharie, for the benefit of other roads in other sections of our country. The my friend from that county (Mr. Krum), or my city of Albany bonded herself twenty years ago friend from Chenango (Mr. Prindle), or for the to build the Stockbridge railroad ; the boods locality it which my friend from Clinton (Mr. bave been paid without the cost of a dollar to Axtell] resides. We are constructing a Consti- the city; she has recently, after full experience, tution, and our first care should be to recognize bonded herself again to the amount of $1,000,and obey great fundamertal principles, and to 000 to build the Albany and Susquehanna railprotect the natural and inalienable rights of the road. Go, sir, where any roads have been people. If we do this, localities will take care built on this plan, and ask their bonded of themselves, and the prosperity of the State builders if they desire their roads abandoned be placed upon a sure and permanent basis. on condition that their bonds be canceled,

Mr. VAN CAMPEN–I do not desire to tax and learn a lesson from their negative rethe patience of this committee, but I wish to sponses. It is, in short, the only way such imstate ihat there is a railroad project which is provements in new regions can be constructed. organized, going out of the city of Buffalo to the I have ever belonged to that party in this State coal mines of McKean county, Pennsylvania. I which has been in favor of a liberal system of am very well satisfied that if you shall submit internal improvements. I have always favored to the towns along the line of that railroad the all the appropriations by the State that I DON question whether they will be bonded or not to can call to mind for the improvement and enthe amount they think expedient, you can largement of the canals of the State, and pearly obtain two-thirds of the tax-payers of those all the appropriations that have been made for the towns to bond themselves for the purpose of construction of our railways, because I cannot aiding in the construction of that line of road. perceive any distinction between the character I think there are some towns in the county of; of a railroad owned and held by a private corCattaraugus, that the real estate therein poration and a railroad owned and held by the would be doubled in value by the completion of State. The courts hold them alike to be public that line of railroad to the city of Buffalo; the improvemonts. I believe, sir, it is to that system lumber alone would be doubled in value by the to which I have ever been attached, of making

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