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furnish towards effecting the favorable fundamental principles of ! reception of the proposed Constitu- any and all of which requ
The labors of this august body were tion, by those whose votes may conbrought to a close on Friday evening, trol its destiny, will be our excuse for the ninth day of October last, at seven inviting our readers' attention to a brief o'clock, after a session of 131 days.- analysis of such of its contents as speThe result of its labors will be submit- cially deserve consideration. ted to the people for their approval or Before proceeding, however, with rejection on the 3d instant, when it will this analysis, it is proper to refer to probably receive their sanction by an two unfortunate circumstances conoverwhelming majority. The oppor- nected with the process of the Contunity is offered us to express our views vention which can hardly be too much of the proposed Constitution to our regretted. By the law under which readers before the fipal vote is taken; this body was called together, the memand we feel that we shall in no respect bers were directed to submit their labe chargeable with departing from the bors to the people at the general elecJegitimate province of a national maga- tion in November. They felt that zine, in devoting a portion of our col- three or four weeks at least were necesumns to the deliberations of the Con- sary for the people to have the subject vention, although its immediate labors under consideration before voting upon were designed for the State of New. it; and hence their deliberations were York alone. Many of the principles confined to the working days between which this Convention have proposed the 1st of June and 9th of October, to incorporate into the fundamental law within which period they were to subof the State of New-York have been, mit a report, whatever might be their or must in due time become, the sub- state of preparation. The absurdity of jects of political controversy and agita- such a restriction had not probably been tion in every state in this confederacy ; realized until it became apparent, as the and the disposition which has been time for the termination of their labors made of some of them by this body, may drew nigh, that the Convention must be merely an anticipation of the action inevitably leave a large portion of its of sister states, whose political experi- work entirely untouched, and a much ence is less mature, or whose efforts larger portion imperfectly executed. at constitutional reform have been less It was not considered, doubtless, successful.
when the original law was passed, that These considerations, together with a Constitutional Convention has to deal our desire to lend whatever aid we can almost exclusively with abstract and furnish towards effecting the favorable fundamental principles of governmentreception of the proposed Constitu- any and all of which required, for their
prompt and wise application to the ex- ly accepted by nearly every State in isting condition of political society in the Union, as well as by the people for this State, the most commanding intel- whom it was prepared, as the most lectual abilities, enlightened by a pro- perfect code of fundamental law ever found political philosophy and a large offered for the government of civilized political experience. Nor was it re- society. alized, perhaps, that no State in the This error to which we have allud. Union could furnish forth one hundred ed, however, is to be charged upon the and twenty-eight such men who would Legislature which prepared the law be competent to enter into council, and calling the Convention, and the Conwithout farther maturing their opinions vention are, therefore, in a great measby debate and reflection, sit down and ure, if not entirely, innocent of its conindite such a Constitution as would sequences. wisely erbody the political experience The other unfortunate circumstance of the people they should represent.— connected with the process of the ConIt therefore happened, as it must have vention, the Convention itself was solely happened in any other state, and as it responsible for, and it is the only inciwas to have been expected to happen in dent in their labors which is upworthy New-York, that the delegates chosen to of them in every point of view, in remodel the Constitution were quite which it can be estimated. We refer unstudied, and immature upon a large to the prohibition of written reports by proportion of the topics submitted to the several committees, setting forth them. Many were obliged to com reasons which led them to the conclumence their examination of the most sions they should recommend. It has important questions after they had always been our impression that the been submitted in Convention, and primary purpose of raising committees every one who has ever experienced in legislative bodies is to subdivide the the birth and developement of a new labors of their constituent body, so principle in his own mind, and the that the facts connected with any topic slowness with which one yields entire requiring legislative action, should be confidence to it and all its consequences, digested, arranged in a convenient will readily understand how improper shape, and where practicable, estimated and perilous a step it was to force such by the committee, in order that the a deliberative body as this to conclu- burden of this preliminary labor should sions by process of law-that its inevit- be spared the rest of the assembly. able effect would be constringere verba When the report of the committee non res.
is thus made up and presented, it It requires a long time for any large enables the aggregate assembly to deliberative assembly to become fa- glance through and appreciate the miliar with the views of its members; points with comparatively little labor, to discuss them in public and in private, and become qualified for final action and by discussion to bring out control- much more speedily, than would be ling considerations ; to realize their im- possible without this wise division of portance; to disabuse each other's labor. Quite otherwise appears to have minds of existing prejudices ; to learn thought the New-York Convention. when and what prejudices are to be They deliberately pronounced it an conciliated ; to receive or propagate the act of disrespect to the house, for a philosophy by which the body should committee to present, in writing, a be moved in common, and to which all single reason in favor of the legislation will agree in looking, as to a control- they advised the Convention to sancling centre. For all these results, the pe- tion. We have carefully examined riod allowed to the New York Conven- the debates to which this absurd retion was entirely too short. They re- striction gave rise, and have failed to quired at least a year; and if they had realize the force of any single argubeen at liberty to occupy thus much ment in its favor, while the circumtime, we have no hesitation in saying, stances under which the proposition without meaning in the least to dis- was initiated and adopted, have satisfied parage the present result of their la- us that the motives which instigated it bors, that the Constitution they would were discreditable in the highest degree lave furnished, would have been speedi- to those through whose immediate in
strumentality it was effected. We ministrative officers, and provides for are only susprised that others, whose their election by the people. All the motives were above suspicion, should judges, save justices of the peace, are have been found to support it, without made elective, as are also, the Secreperceiving its folly and the incon- tary of State, Comptroller, Treasurer, veniences it would involve. Instead Attorney General, State Engineer and of studying up the various questions Surveyor, Canal Commissioners and submitted by the committees quietly Inspectors of State Prisons. The from their reports, every man was, in horde of leeching inspectorships of consequence of this restriction, obliged commodities, is annihilated by the either to investigate each case at length following clause which should immorhimself, or to listen to a lengthy, awk- talize this Convention, if all its other ward, and necessarily imperfect expo- Jabors had been fruitless : sition of it in the debates, or vote without understanding the question at all.
Ø 8. All offices for the weighing, A sad waste of the time of the Con- gauging, measuring, culling or inspecting vention, was the inevitable consequence,
any merchandize, produce, manufacture as should have been anticipated from a ished, and no such office shall bereafter
or commodity whatever, are hereby abolprocedure so entirely at war with all be created by law; but nothing in this usage, with common sense, and with the section contained, shall abrogate any office common and sacred purpose of every created for the purpose of protecting the faithful reformer in the Convention. public health, or the interests of the State
We have pleasure in turning from in its property, revenue, tolls, or purthese, the most painful incidents in chases, or of supplying the people with
correct standards of weights and measures, the history of this Convention, to consider the fruits of its labors. Of them for such purposes hereafter."
or shall prevent the creation of any office we entertain the most exalted estimate, and most cordially unite with Mr. Indirectly, also, a multitude of subHoffman, a delegate from Herkimer, ordinate offices, civil and military, are in his declaration, made as the labors annihilated, or their choice made unof himself and associates were drawing available for purposes of party organito a close, on the last day but one of zation.* the session, that this Constitution We are of the opinion that the contains more excellent matter got elective principle has been unwisely together by this Convention than any extended to some of those officers Constitution on the whole earth.” whose duties are purely administrative,
To justify this estimate, we propose and too unimportant to deserve or rebriefly to enumerate some of the quire the whole voting community to effects it is designed, and, we think, lay aside their private affairs to indestined to accomplish.
vestigate the fitness of candidates to
discharge those duties. The inconI. It will secure a more free and fair venience to accrue from this source, representation of the people in the mak- however, will be comparatively trifling ing, and in the administration of the and easily remedied. The evils to be laws.
cured are numerous and oppressive. 1. By reducing and decentralizing 2. By dividing the State in single political patronage. It withdraws from Senate and Assembly Districts, the the Executive and Senate the appoint- delegate is brought nearer, and is made ment of all judicial and nearly all ad more directly responsible to his con
* The extent of the reforms in this direction effected by the late Convention was strikingly presented in the course of a low remarks made by Mr. Cainbreleng, one of the delegates from Suffolk county, ou the last day of the session, when he announced his intention to support the New Constitution. The passage to which we particularly refer is as follows :-"Should we, because there are defects and errors in soine parts of the structure-can we feel at liberty, for that reason, to reject the whole fabric? Would gentlemen vote against a Constitution which resis, as this does, upon a popular foundation-a Constitus tion which, for the first time in this country, had been placed upon such a foundation? Yes, (said Mr. C.,) I declare that this is the first in the whole world which rests purely upon the popular sentiment. It was the first in which the Executive, Legislative, and Administrative departments of government came direculy from the people themselves. Every other fundamental law in the whole Union made some portions of adıninistrativo governinout the offspring of executive or judicial authority ;-this was the first which makes all emanate directly from the people themselves. Every article was founded upon popular sentimeut, and he should go heartily for it, with all its defects ; for those defects were merely those of extent aud language-in principle, it was sound from beginning to end, and in every respect.”