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MR. RADCLIFF was against the motion now made, because the governor has the veto, which he thought a complete substitution for the power proposed to be given. If the qualified negative could not check the legislature, they ought, when deciding by two-thirds, to prevail.

The question was then taken by ayes and nays, and lost.

AYES-Messrs. Barlow, Birdseye, Briggs, Brinkerhoff, Case, Child, Dodge, Fenton, Hunter, Huntington, Jay, Jones, Kent, Lefferts, Millikin, Nelson, Platt, Schenck, Sheldon, I. Smith, R. Smith, Sylvester, Tallmadge, Ten Eyck, J. R. Van Rensselaer, Ward, Young-27.

NOES-Messrs. Beckwith, Brooks, Buel, Burroughs, D. Clark, Collins, Cramer, Day, Dubois, Duer, Dyckman, Eastwood, Edwards, Ferris, Fish, Frost, Hogeboom, Hunt, Hunting Hurd, King, Knowles, Lansing, Lawrence, A. Livingston, P. R. Livingston, M'Call, Park, Pike, Pitcher, Porter, Price, Pumpelly, Radcliff, Rhinelander, Richards, Rockwell, Root, Rose, Rosebrugh, Ross, Russell, Sage, Sanders, N. Sanford, Seaman, Sharpe, Spencer, Starkweather, Steele, D. Southerland,, I. Sutherland, Swift, Taylor, Townley, Tripp, Tuttle, Van Buren, Van Fleet, Van Horne, S. Van Rensselaer, Verbryck, A. Webster, Wheaton, N. Williams, Woods, Wooster, Yates-68.

MR. Ross then moved to restore the following words stricken out in committee of the whole, making it necessary for the governor to report to the legislature the names of persons pardoned, and the reasons for their pardon.-The question was then put, and lost.

MR. STARKWEATHER wished to vary the motion so as to make it the duty of the governor to advertise all persons pardoned, the crimes of which they had been convicted, &c.—but upon some suggestion from Mr. Van Buren, he withdrew his motion.

After some discussion on the point of order, as to how the question on the whole report should be taken, it was thus put: "that this report, as amended, be engrossed, re-printed, and laid on the table"-which was carried.

On motion of MR. SPENCER, it was determined that the report on the right of suffrage should be made the order of the day for to-morrow. It was then moved and carried that the Convention do adjourn; and accordingly the Convention adjourned until to-morrow at 10 o'clock.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1821. The Convention met at 10 o'clock. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. DE WITT, when the minutes of yesterday were read and approved.


MR. SANFORD moved that the Convention go into committee of the whole, on his report relative to the right of suffrage, which was carried, and Mr. N. Williams was called to the chair.

The report having been read-

s is the right of suf The committee have existing distinctions,

MR. N. SANFORD took the floor. The question before frage-who shall, or who shall not, have the right to vote. presented the scheme they thought best; to abolish all and make the right of voting uniform. Is this not right? Where did these distinctions arise? They arose from British precedents. In England, they have their three estates, which must always have their separate interests represent ed. Here there is but one estate-the people. To me, the only qualifications seems to be, the virtue and morality of the people; and if they may be safely entrusted to vote for one class of our rulers, why not for all? In my opinion, these distinctions are fallacious. We have the experience of almost all the other states against them. The principle of the scheme now proposed, is, that those who bear the burthens of the state, should choose those that rule it. There is no privilege given to property, as such; but those who contribute to the public support, we consider as entitled to a share in the election of rulers.

The burthens are annual, and the elections are annual, and this appears proper. To me, and the majority of the committee, it appeared the only reasonable scheme that those who are to be affected by the acts of the government, should be annually entitled to vote for those who administer it. Our taxes are of two sorts, on real and personal property. The payment of a tax on either, we thought, equally entitled a man to a vote, and thus we intended to destroy the odious distinctions of property which now exist. But we have considered personal service, in some cases, equivalent to a tax on personal property, as in work on the high roads. This is a burthen, and should entitle those subject to it to equivalent privileges. The road duty is equal to a poll tax on every male citizen, of 21 years, of 62 1-2 cents per annum, which is about the value of each individual's work on the road. This work is a burthen imposed by the legislatare-a duty required by rulers, and which should entitle those subject to it, to a choice of those rulers. Then, sir, the militia next presents itself; the idea of personal service, as applicable to the road duty, is, in like manner, applicable here; and this criterion has been adopted in other states. In Mississippi, mere enrolment gives a vote. In Connecticut, as is proposed here, actual service, and that without the right of commutation, is required. The duty in the militia is obligatory and onerous. The militia man must find his arms and accoutrements, and lose his time. But, after admitting all these persons, what restrictions, it will be said, are left on the right of suffrage? ist. The voter must be a citizen. 2d. The service required must be performed within the year, on the principle that taxation is annual, and election annual; so that when the person ceases to contribute or serve, he ceases to vote.

A residence is also required. We proposed the term of six months, because we find it already in the constitution; but we propose this residence in the state, and not in the county or town, so that wherever a voter may be at the time of election, he may vote there, if he has been a resident of the state for six months. The object of this was to enable those who move, as very many do, in the six months preceding an election, out of the town or ward in which they have resided, to retain the right of voting in their new habitations. The term of six months is deemed long enough to qualify those who come into our state from abroad, to understand and exercise the privileges of a citizen here. Now, sir, this scheme will embrace almost the whole male population of the state. There is perhaps no subject so purely matter of opinion, as the question how far the right of suffrage may be safely carried. We propose to carry it almost as far as the male population of the state. The Convention may perhaps think this too broad. On this subject we have much experience; yet there are respectable citizens who think this extension of suffrage unfavourable to the rights of property. Certainly this would be a fatal objection, if well founded; for any government, however constituted, which does not secure property to its rightful owners, is a bad government. But how is the extension of the right of suffrage unfavourable to property? Will not our laws continue the same? Will not the administration of justice continue the same? And if so, how is private property to suffer? Unless these are changed, and upon them rest the rights and security of property, I am unable to perceive how property is to suffer by the extension of the right of suffrage. But we have abundant experience on this point in other states. Now, sir, in many of the states the right of suffrage has no restriction; every male inhabitant votes. Yet what harm has been done in those states? What evil has resulted to them from this cause? The course of things in this country is for the extenion, and not the restriction of popular rights. I do not know that in Ohio or Pennsylvania, where the right of suf frage is universal, there is not the same security for private rights and private happiness as elsewhere. Every gentleman is aware that the scheme now proposed, is derived from the law calling this Convention, and in the constitution of this body, we have the first fruits of the operation of the principle of extensive suffrage-and will any one say that this example is not one evincing the discretion with which our people exercise this right? In our town meetings too, throughout the state, we have the same principle. In our town elections we have the highest proof of the virtue and intelligence of our people; they assemble in town meetings as a pure democracy, and choose their officers and

local legislatures, if I may so call them; and if there is any part of our public business well done, it is that done in town meetings. Is not this a strong practical lesson of the beneficial operation of this principle? This scheme has been proposed by a majority of the committee; they think it safe and bem ficial, founded in just and rational principles, and in the experience of this and neighbouring states. The committee have no attachment, however, to this particular scheme, and are willing to see it amended or altered, if it shall be judged for the interest of the people.

MR. Ross. Mr. Chairman-In assigning the reasons which influenced the select committee in making the report now under consideration, I shall rely much on the honourable gentlemen, with whom I had the pleasure to be associated on that committee. But, sir, feeling a responsibility in common with the members of that committee, I may perhaps be permitted to state, as concisely as I can, in addition to the views just submitted by the honourable chairman of that committee (Mr. N. Sanford)some of the motives which led to the provisions contained in that report. The subject now submitted, may be viewed as one of deep and interesting importance; inasmuch as it discriminates who among our fellow citizens shall be allowed to exercise the high privilege of designating, by their votes, who shall represent them in their wants and their wishes, in the various and multiplied concerns of legislation and civil government. In every free state, the electors ought to form the basis, the soil from which every thing is to spring, relating to the administration of their political concerns. Otherwise it could not be denominated a government of the people. This results from the immutable principle, that civil government is instituted for the benefit of the governed. Consequently all, at least, who contribute to the support or defence of the state, have a just claim to exercise the elective privilege, if consistent with the safety and welfare of the citizens. It is immaterial whether that support or defence of the state be by the payment of money, or by personal service, which are precisely one and the same thing, that of taxation. Assuming this, then, as the basis, as being the least objectionable of any other, we are furnished with certain data by which the right to vote can be determined. By entering them in a register, we are able to test the qualification of electors, without resorting to the multiplication of oaths, which under the present constitution had grown into a most corrupting and alarming evil. After the most full and attentive consideration of the subject, the committee were led to the conclusion, that this would be the most simple and practical mode of ascertaining, with certainty, who are entitled to the privilege of electors. At the same time, it gives a liberal extension to that privilege, which, unquestionably, a vast majority of our constituents will demand at our hands, and which we can have no wish to withhold, unless to perpetuate those odious distinctions which have hitherto so long and so justly been complained of.-This is one of the crying evils for which we were sent here to provide a remedy. It is not to be expected, sir, that any general rules can be devised, that will extend to every possible case that it would be desirable to include, nor is it possible to exclude all who might abuse the privilege. Where evils must necessarily exist, the great object of this Convention, I trust, will be to choose the least-to settle down on such general principles as will result in conferring on the people of this state, the greatest possible sum of happiness and prosperity.

That all men are free and equal, according to the usual declarations, applies to them only in a state of nature, and not after the institution of civil government; for then many rights, flowing from a natural equality, are necessarily abridged, with a view to produce the greatest amount of security and happiness to the whole community. On this principle the right of suffrage is extended to white men only. But why, it will probably be asked, are blacks to be excluded? I answer, because they are seldom, if ever, required to share in the common burthens or defence of the state. There are also additional reasons; they are a peculiar people, incapable, in my judgment, of exercising that privilege with any sort of discretion, prudence, or independence. They have no just conceptions of civil liberty. They know not how to appreciate it, and are consequently indifferent to its prescrvation.

Under such circumstances, it would hardly be compatible with the safety of the state, to entrust such a people with this right. It is not thought advisable to permit aliens to vote, neither would it be safe to extend it to the blacks. We deny to minors this right, and why? Because they are deemed incapable of exercising it discreetly, and therefore not safely, for the good of the whole community. Even the better part of creation, as my honourable friend from Oneida, (Mr. N. Williams,) stiles them, are not permitted to participate in this right. No sympathies seemed to be awakened in their behalf, nor in behalf of the aborigines, the original and only rightful proprietors of our soil--a people altogether more acute and discerning, and in whose judicious exercise of the right I should repose far more confidence, than in the African race. In nearly all the western and southern states, indeed many others, even in Connecticut, where steady habits and correct principles prevail, the blacks are excluded. And gentlemen have been frequently in the habit of citing the precedents of our sister states for our guide; and would it not be well to listen to the decisive weight of precedents furnished in this case also? It is true that in many of the states the black population is more numerous than in ours. Then, sir, if the exclusion be unjust or improper, that injustice would be of so much greater extent. The truth is, this exclusion invades no inherent rights, nor has it any connectien at all with the question of slavery. The practice of every state in the union, is to make such exceptions, limitations, and provisions in relation to the elective privilege, under their respective constitutions, as are deemed to be necessary or consistent with public good-varied in each according to the existing circumstances under which they are made. It must therefore necessarily rest on the ground of expediency. And, sir, I fear that an extension to the blacks would serve to invite that kind of population to this state, an occurrence which I should most sincerely deplore. The petition presented in their behalf, now on your table, in all probability has been instigated by gentlemen of a different colour, who expect to control their votes. But whether this be so or not, next the blacks will claim to be represented by persons of their own colour, in your halls of legislation. And can you consistently refuse them? It would be well to be prepared for such a claim.

On the whole, sir, let your constitution, at a proper period, declare their cmancipation; exempt them from military service as the United States government directs, and from other burthens as heretofore; give them the full ber...fits of protection; and there, in mercy to themselves, and to us, let us stay our hands.

Sir, as to the propriety and justice of extending the elective privilege to all who perform military duty, and render services upon the public highways, 1 apprehend that it can easily be shewn that public policy, as well as justice, require this extension. In fact, those who have no other qualification to entitle them to vote, contribute more in proportion to their ability to pay, towards the defence and improvement of the state, than the wealthy. They are required to be at the expense of equipping themselves, and to serve three or four days in the year, and for what? Why to be ready to defend the lives and property of the wealthy. And this must be done, however oppressive their poverty, or urgent their business. If not, they must be subject to fine, and to imprisonment too, if they happen to be destitute of money to pay it. In time of war, the bur then is still more unequal; they must be shoved into the front of the battle; no money to procure them a substitute; their families, if they have any, must be left unprotected and unprovided for; themselves exposed to disease, slaughter, and death; and this too, in defence of a country which now denies them the only true badge of freemen, the right of suffrage. Deprive them of this badge, and where is the pledge that ensures their fidelity in defence of the state?

Does not true policy, then, enforce the propriety of strengthening their attachment to their country, by clothing them with the habiliments of freemen? I know, sir, the venerable gentleman from Albany (Gen. S. Van Rensselaer) with whom I bad the honour to be associated on that committee, is apprehensive that by extending the right of suffrage to all who perform these services, that we extend it to too many, who will not exercise it with independence and judgment. Sir, many of this description may be found among all orders of men,

rich as well as poor. However trifling he may suppose the burthen imposed on persons living in the cities, to comply with military requisitions, he may be assured, that in the country it amounts to a very serious burthen.

I have a deference and respect for that gentleman's opinions, his virtues, and his philanthropy, to which all bear testimony. And, sir, I am the more surprised that he should be averse to conferring this privilege on men he has once ied on to battle, as he himself must have witnessed their privations and their sufferings. In his operations upon the Niagara frontier during the late war, a great part of the forces under his command were composed of men who, with the provisions here reported, would be excluded from the right of suffrage. I have no wish, sir, to endanger the rights of property, by advocating the extension of this privilege. On the contrary, I am anxious those rights should be guaranteed by every necessary precaution. Let them be made amply secure ; require, if you please, that persons to be elected to office shall possess a certain amount of freehold estate. At the same time extend the right of suffrage to every citizen who is compelled to bear arms; for remember, that we are not always to be in a state of peace, and let us estimate the rights of the militia accordingly. During the late war, frequent were the calls on the militia, and as often were they promptly obeyed. They subjected themselves to immense sacrifices; exposed themselves to every hardship and danger incident to the vicissitudes of war, for the protection and defence of the state, and for the preservation of that privilege which they now claim a right to enjoy, Let me ask, sir, what would have been the fate of the brave army of Gen. Brown when pent up in Fort Eric, had not the militia fled to their relief, and averted their impending ruin? Enclosed by a superior force of the enemy, whose incessant and destructive fire from his batteries continually thinned their ranks, and wasted away our veteran little army, unable to secure a retreat, and too much weakened to advance. In this perilous crisis, the militia, without waiting to receive orders, but on appealing to their patriotism, instantly hurried to their protection. They crossed the Niagara in opposition to the pressing advice of their disaffected, but more wealthy neighbours; and, under the command of Gen. Porter, they rescued the remains of that army which had survived the glorious confict at Bridgewater from inevitabled cstruction. The militia, on that occasion, achieved what would have given lustre to the best disciplined troops. They met, and drove the enemy from his strong intrenchments; liberated our army, and saved the western part of the state from plunder and conflagration. It has since been well said, in allusion to that event, that the militia of NewOrleans have done much; the militia of other places have done much: but it remained for the militia of Genesee, and the Niagara frontier, to successfully storm and take possession of the enemy's batteries.

Considering, sir, the perilous situation of our country at this momentous period, the general government literally destitute of men and of money, pressed by a veteran foe on every side, a part of the union yielding to the contaminating spirit of disaffection-in this direful dilemma, the nation turned its last hope upon the militia, particularly of New-York. That hope, sir, was not disappointed. The then governor or commander in chief, by his patriotic and unexampled exertions, infused a universal spirit of emulation, and twenty thousand hardy champions of liberty rushed into the field at once from this single state. It was the militia, sir, that snatched the trembling liberties of the nation from the malignant grasp of the enemy. But for them, we might all of us at this moment have been compelled to deplore the loss of that high privilege, the right of suffrage. And what do they now ask? Simply to be allowed to participate with you in the rights of self-government. And shall they be denied? I trust not, sir. If their services are duly appreciated, I indulge the hope that no honours ble gentleman of this Convention will resist the justice of their claims.

GEN. S. VAN RENSSELAER felt called upon, as dissenting from the opinion of the committee, and as particularly pointed at by the gentleman last up, to state his motives for that dissent. He was willing to permit all who contributed in money to the state, or county, or town, who have residence in the towns, or a legal settlement, to vote; but he was not willing to give a wandering popula tion, men who are no where to be found when the enemy, or the tax gatherer,

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