Imagens das páginas


stituency,-thus realizing more ade- stitutional reform, and due guaranties quately a perfect theory of political upon this subject should serve more representation.

than any other to purify the popular We object, decidedly, to the abbre, representation, by removing a giant viation of the Senatorial term from brood of temptations to its corruption. four to two years, which the Conven The Convention have provided in the tion has proposed. We have on a first place, as follows, against the conprevious occasion stated our preference traction of public debt :for longer legislative terms, and we are still unable to realize the wisdom ",8 8. No money shall ever be paid out of the course pursued by this Con- of the Treasury of this State, or any of its vention, or of the tendency which funds, or any of the funds under its maseems to exist generally throughout propriation by law;

nor unless such pay

nagement, except in pursuance of an apthe country, to shorten the tenure of ment be made within two years next after office. We are aware that it springs the passage of such appropriation act; and from a wise inclination on the part of every such law making anew appropriation, the people to increase the accountability or continuing or reviving an appropriation, of their officer and representative. shall distinctly specify the sum appropriatThe error consists in supposing, as

ed, and the object to which it is to be ap modern politicians seem prone to sup- law to refer to any other law to fix such

plied : and it shall not be sufficient for such pose, that the

more dependant an officer or representative is upon bis

" 9. The credit of the State shall not, constituency, the more valuable and in any manner, be given or loaned to, or faithful will be his service, and that his in aid of any individual, association or cordependence and accountability will in- poration. crease as the term for which he is "10. The State may, to meet casual de appointed, is shortened, neither of ficits of failures in revenues, or for expenses which propositions do we believe to be not provided for, contract debts; but such correct. Our grounds for this con

debts, direct and contingent, singly, or in

the viction may furnish an interesting ceed one million of dollars; and the mo

aggregate, shall not, at any time, extopic for consideration when we can

neys arising from the loans creating such give it our undivided attention. At debts

, shall be applied to the purpose for present we must content ourselves with which they were obtained, or to repay the simple expression of our regret, the debt so contracted, and to no other par. that the Convention should have made pose whatever. this one, we believe the only, step

“ý 11. In addition to the above limited backward in the philosophy of govern- power to contract debts, the State may ment; and we also regret, exceedingly, insurrection, or defend the State in war;

contract debts to repel invasion, suppress that the sessions of the Legislature but the money arising from the contracting were not limited to once in two years, of such debts shall be applied to the purunless for special cause.

pose for which it was raised, or to repay 3. It will farther perfect our popular such debts, and to no other purpose whatrepresentation by placing restrictions upon the appropriation of State power

"Ø 12. Except the debts specified in the and credit, to private uses.

tenth and eleventh sections of this article, The immense political patronage to

no debt shall hereafter be contracted by be swayed by the predominant political or on behalf of this state, unless such debt party, under a loose construction of gle work or object, to be distinctly speci

shall be authorized by a law for some sin. the old Constitution, and the exercise fied therein, and such law shall impose of which has furnished forth already and provide for the collection of a direct some of the darkest and most revolting annual tax to pay, and sufficient to pay the pages in our political history, render interest on such devt as it falls due, and any commendation of the provisions also to pay and discharge the principle of upon this subject in the new Constitu- such debt within eighteen years from the tion entirely superfluous. To protect

time of the contracting thereof. the credit of the State, and the honor shall, at a general election, have been sub

No such law shall take effect until it and property of its citizens from the mitted to the people, and have received a improvidence or corruption of legisla- majority of all the votes cast for and against tors, was the primary and controlling it, at such election. motive of the people in calling for con “On the final passage of such bill in


either house of the Legislature, the ques- with a calendar of three or four hundred tion shall be taken by ayes and noes, to be bills, including usually all of a general duly entered on the journals thereof, and and strictly public character, not disposshall be: Shall this bill pass, and ought ed of for the want of time. It accounts the same to receive the sanction of the also for the selection of delegates to people ?!"

the Legislature, with no qualifications The following excellent provisions for the duty, save pliancy and obediupon the subject of corporations are

ence to the instructions of the particudestined to diminish likewise the le- lar interest or clique for whose purposgislative patronage incalculably in ad- es, and by whose agency they obtain dition to the vast advantages in other their election.

These evils, we trust, will be materespects, with which every wise statesman will perceive them to be endow. rially mitigated under the proposed ed.

Constitution, by the operation of sever

al of its provisions, of which the followCorporations may be formed under ing are the most important : general laws; bat shall not be created by 1. No bill can pass without the assent special act, except for municipal purposes, of a majority of all the members of and in cases where, in the judgment of both Houses. the Legislature, the objects of the corpo. 2. No private or local bill, which ration cannot be attained under general may be passed by the Legislature, laws. All general laws and special acts shall embrace more than one subject, passed pursuant to this section, may be al and that shall be expressed in the title. tered from time to time or repealed. * The Legislature shall have no power

3. Corporations—not municipal-are to pass any act granting any special char to be formed under general laws, where ter for banking purposes; but corporations their objects can thus be attained. or associations may be formed for such 4. “The Legislature shall have no purposes under general laws.”

power to pass any act granting any

special charter for banking purposes, We have italicised a provision in the but corporations may be formed for first section, which we fear portends such purposes under general laws." an infinity of litigation and legislative 5. The credit of the State is not in pettifogging. It found a place there, any manner to be given or loaned to, or we suppose, from the want of sufficient in aid of, any individual assuciation or time for the members to become sure corporation. that they saw and appreciated all the The most important provision of all important consequences that could re to be made in the Constitution against sult from adopting the strict rule, which special legislation, was, unfortunately, in time they will find would have been stricken out. That would have made the wise one.

the State liable to be prosecuted in

courts of law. This mode of enforcing II. The new Constitution will dimin- the payment of State debts would have ish local and special legislation. furnished a righteous protection to hon

The private and special applications est State creditors, from the indifferto the Legislature have so multiplied ence or ignorance of the Legislature, under the present Constitution of New- and to the Legislature a measure of York, that it is almost impossible to se- protection against the corrupting influcure the thorough discussion and pas ences of dishonest creditors, and resage of any law of a strictly general lieve that body from a weight of busicharacter. Special laws occupy over ness which can only be disposed of in four-fifths of each volume of the laws a legislative assembly at the expense of which have been published in this State neglecting graver and more widely infor several years past. The fact that teresting legislative duties. the Legislature has the power to listen to and grant such applications, is the III. The proposed Constitution must foundation of the difficulty ; it explains inevitably secure a more speedy, pure, why that body is occupied incessantly and economical administration of jusfrom the commencement to the close of tice, for the following, among many its annual session in the passage of spe- other reasons : cialaets, and finally rises year after year 1. It provides for an entire separa

tion of the judicial from the legislative favorable to public morality and virtue, power, so that the people of New York which are unchangeable. By multimay have no apprehension for the fu- plying the judges, to be elected by a ture of beholding their Senate engaged constituency, their accountability is not in the passage of unconstitutional laws, divided nor weakened a particle. Juand then converting itself into a Court dicial responsibility is only divided by of Errors, to establish the constitution- multiplying the judges who occupy the ality of such laws by solemn adjudica- same bench in the same case. On the tion as a Court of Final Appeal. other hand, there is a clear injustice to

2. It makes the judges of all the a large portion of the State, who are courts elective by the people, and for a obliged to receive a judge to determine term in no case exceeding eight years the law for them in the court of last -securing thereby in the incumbent resort, who is elected from a district, accountability to his constituents—to comprising only an eighth, and that, the people, judges without reference to perhaps, in a remote part of the State, the partisan schemes and policy of a and who is only accountable to that faccentral appointing power, and also an tion of the State for his official conduct. opportunity to be rid of an objectiona- The determination of the Convention ble officer, without waiting for his su- upon this subject was demonstrably perannuation. For reasons which we undemocratic, unjust

, and inexpedient, have stated on a previous occasion, we even to those of our Whig friends, believe this change will bring to the through whose instrumentality it prebench a higher average of merit than vailed, and who are counting upon its the bench has been, or is likely to be, casual patronage. illustrated by, under the appointing sys 3. Another purifying and economistem.

ing change proposed in the judieial sysWe sincerely regret that the State tem, and one worth all the expense judges should have been made elective and labor of the Convention, is embofrom judicial districts, rather than by died in the following provision : general ticket from the whole State. It is a clear departure from the princi “ 20. No judicial officer, except justiple upon which the doctrine of popu ces of the peace, shall receive to his own lar elections is founded ; and will ren Use any fees or perquisites of office." der the exemplification of the elective principle, as applied to the judiciary, This one section will do more than less triumphantly successful than its any other change without it, could posfriends could have wished. The error, sibly have done, to exalt the dignity, doubtless, occurred, in part, from the self-respect, and public character of the desire of the minority party in the judiciary-to secure prompt and definiConvention to secure the occasional tive action upon cases in litigation—to election of an officer from their num- discourage litigious and sinister probers to the bench, and partly from an ceedings on the part of mischievous entire misunderstanding of the vital clients, or their lawyers--to discountedistinction between a representative dance and eradicate unnecessary form and a judicial officer. Nothing is clear- and technicality in our system of legal er than that the smaller the constitu- procedure—to discourage ill-considerency, the more adequately can it be re- ed, or procrastinating appeals — to presented by the delegate of its choice, cheapen necessary litigation, and finally and that dividing the responsibility of to elevate the character of the legal representing a constituency between profession, the members of which, as a two or more delegates weakens the ac- body, have far more influence for good countability and fidelity of all; and so or for evil upon the institutions and far disqualifies them for their re- opinion of the community they inhabit, presentative function. But a judicial than the same number 'selected from officer is not a representative officer. any other class or pursuit. He is simply an interpreter of the 4. The improvement in the judicial laws. It is most important that he system, to which we have referred, is should not take any opinion from the farther secured, by the abolition of shades of public sentiment about him, Courts of Equity, as distinct judicial except those pervading sentiments, tribunals, and the combination of law


and equity jurisdiction in the same offi- State, and report thereon to the Legiscers.

lature from time to time." The merit of this change consists ra The duty of these commissioners ther in the tendencies it will establish, wisely executed—and to attempt it, is to than in the direct results it can accom

an incalculable improvement plish. It will tend to do awny gradu- upon the present system of judicial ally with the absurd distinction between procedure in the State of New-Yorklaw and equity, and to occupy the ju- would, by the aid of the judicial organidiciary simply with the administration zation proposed by the Convention, of justice, by destroying the constant render the officers of the law, ministers temptation which besets separate juris- of justice, instead of being what they dictions, to enlarge their powers. are now too frequently forced to hecome

* If,” as we have previously had oc- legalised instruments of oppression. casion to remark in this journal, “a 8. It is likewise wisely provided, single officer administered both codes, that the “ laws and judicial decisions he would have a constant desire to unite shall be free for publication by any them, and step by step the differences person." For the destruction of the would merge, as they have grown up, infamous monopoly of this privilege, until finally, the name only will be left held at present by individuals, every to perpetuate the distinction."

class of the community should be grateIt is not hazarding much to say, also, ful, but most especially the legal prothat the necessity of administering both fession, upon whom, of course, it has codes, will make the judges themselves weighed most directly and oppressivemore accomplished and liberal-minded ly. lawyers.

We have chiefly to regret in the 5. The testimony in equity cases is proposed judiciary system, in addition to be taken in like manner, as in cases to the objections we have already alat law, and the interminable, expensive luded to, that the army of local justices and unsatisfactory examinations now of the peace had not been disbanded by required to be made before Masters and the construction of a simpler system of Examiners, are to be dispensed with, county justices, who should pass from thus guaranteeing to the parties the town to town throughout their counties, privilege of having the witnesses give and be occupied exclusively with judiin their testimony in the presence and cial business. The merit of such a within the observation of the court. change, we are assured, was apprecia

6. The district judges may be migra- ted by the Convention, but was not tory, and pass from county to county availed of, through fear of awakening each successive term, or as the Legis- the hostility of some four or five thoulature may determine. In this way a sand justices and their dependants, dangerous form of judicial favoritism to against the new Constitution. The the bar may be, in a great measure, only excuse for neglecting this change, prevented— local or sectional prejudices furnished the best evidence of the proescaped by the judges—a larger ac- priety of making it. quaintance with the range and opera We have also to regret that the jution of the law in its application to the diciary organization for the whole State wants and condition of society, acquir. had not been made uniform. There ed by them, and a check given to that was no propriety in excepting Newfamiliarity on the part of the bar and York city from the good or the evil suitors, with the chance infirmities consequences of the system which is of judges, which is calculated to to prevail over the rest of the State. weaken the moral authority and due But notwithstanding these, to us, sericredit of the tribunal over which they ous mistakes, we are satisfied that not preside.

only the State of New York, but the 7. The Legislature is required at its whole country, will have matter for first session, after the adoption of this congratulation in the adoption of the Constitution to provide for the appoint- judiciary plan we have been considerment of three commissioners to revise, ing. reform, simplify, and abridge the rules of practice, pleadings, forms and IV. The financial credit of the State ceedings of the Courts of Record of the will be effectually and permanently se

cured, and her eristing debts fully pro- to the citizen a more ample freedom of vided for.

opinion and pursuit. To these ends the new Constitution 1. The third article in the bill of provides that the State shall contract rights provides that the free exerno debt exceeding $1,000,000, unless cise and enjoyment of religious profesto meet the exigencies of insurrection sion and worship, without discriminaor war, except for some single specifi- tion or preference, shall for ever be ed object, and with the express appro- allowed in this State to all mankind; val of the people, signified by a direct and no person shall be rendered incomvote; and a direct tax must at the time petent to be a witness on account of his be levied sufficient to pay the annual opinions on matters of religious belief; interest of said debt, and extinguish the but the liberty of conscience hereby principal within eighteen years. secured, shall not be so construed as to

It was for such a guaranty, that the excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify necessity for a Convention was first ex- practices inconsistent with the peace perienced; and though other reforms or safety of this State." of perhaps greater intrinsic importance To measure the credibility of a withave been superadded, yet to those ness by the number or attributes of the who have shared in the heat and labor Gods he professes to believe in, is of those long and painful controversies, scarcely as wise as to make the length in the camp and on the plain, in the Le- of his hair the standard of his veracity. gislature, and before the people, grow- If he be dishonest, he can multiply or ing out of extravagant notions of public substract from the number of his Diviimprovement and expenditure entertain- nities, to suit the tastes of his tribunal. ed generally by our political opponents, On the other hand, he can only shorten and unfortunately by some of our poli- his hair, he cannot always lengthen it, tical allies—it is to those who have thus with the same facility to suit every combated this slovenly style of states emergency manship, a matter of just triumph and 2. The absurd exclusion of ministers congratulation, to find incorporated into of the Gospel from office, which is en

fundamental law, such ample forced under the old Constitution, will and comprehensive endorsement of be no longer known, and we trust now, every single point of doctrine which that these gentlemen will be led to they have ever clajmed or required. take their fair share in the practical, as

To secure the liquidation of existing well as spiritual interests and responsibidebts, and the completion of certain lities of life, and place themselves where unfinished public works, it is provided they may be judged upon their merils, that, of the net revenues arising from without having their characters and the canals of this State, $1,300,000 for conscience coddled and nursed by conten years and $1,700,000 thereafter are stitutional superintendance. to be set apart as a Sinking Fund, to pay the principal and interest of the

VI. It will secure greater purity and canal debt; $350,000, until the canal fairness in the enjoyment of the elective debt is paid, and atterward $1,500,000, franchise. to pay the other (or general fund) debt 1. By the first section of the second of the State, and $200,000 per annum, article of the proposed Constitution, it (which after eight years may be in- is provided that every person offering creased to $350,000,) are to be appro- to vote shall have been a citizen-napriated from the canal revenue toward turalized or otherwise—at least ten defraying generally the expense of the days, and for thirty days a resident of State Government, making $1,850,000 the district from which the officer immediately, and $2,400,000 after ten voted for is to be chosen. This will years, to be appropriated from the ca

prove a valuable restraint upon fraudunal revenues, until the State debt is ient voting, and in some measure conpaid. The balance of the canal reve tribute to exclude the votes of a large nues is to be sacredly appropriated to class of strangers, who are brought to the prosecution and completion of the the polls at every election, the blind Erio enlargement, Black River and instruments of corrupt and designing Genesee Valley Canals.


2. It has, likewise, wisely been deV. The new Constitution will secure termined by the Convention, to subinit


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