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THE COUNCIL OF REVISION was created by the third section of the Constitution of 1777. The section was introduced on the 1st of April of that year, by Robert R. Livingston (afterward Chancellor of the State), in the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York,1 and the original draft is in his handwriting.2 After stating that "laws inconsistent with the spirit of this Constitution or with the public good may be hastily and unadvisedly passed;" it ordains "that the Governor for the time being, the Chancellor and Judges of the Supreme Court, or any two of them, together with the Governor, shall be and hereby are constituted a Council to revise all bills about to be passed into laws by the Legislature, and for that purpose shall assemble themselves from time to time, when the Legislature shall be convened; for which, nevertheless, they shall not receive any salary or consideration under any pretense whatever. And that all bills which have passed the Senate and Assembly shall, before they become laws,

1 Journal Provincial Convention, N. Y., vol. 1, p. 860.

Miscellaneous Papers (MSS.), 37, p. 540, in the Secretary of State's office,

N. Y.

be presented to the said Council for their revisal and consideration; and if, upon such revision and consideration, it should appear improper to the Council, or a majority of them, that the said bill should become a law of this State, that they return the same, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the Senate or House of Assembly, in whichsoever the same shall have originated, who shall enter the objections sent down by the Council, at large in their minutes, and proceed to reconsider the said bill.

"But if, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said Senate or House of Assembly shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the Legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and, if approved by two-thirds of the members present, shall be a law."

To prevent any unnecessary delays, it was ordained that if any bill should not be returned by the Council, within ten days after it should have been presented, the same should be a law, unless the Legislature should, by their adjournment, render a return of the bill within ten days impracticable; in which case the bill should be returned on the first day of the meeting of the Legislature, after the expiration of the said ten days.

It was also provided by the act entitled "An act further to organize the Government of this State," passed the 16th of March, 1778, "that whenever and as often as a bill shall have been revised by the Council, and they shall have thereon declared that it did not appear to them improper that the said bill should become a law of this State; or if the said bill shall have been before the said Council, by the space of ten days, and shall not have been returned by the said Council, with their objections thereto, as by the Constitution of this State is required; whereby the same shall have become a law of this State, a certificate thereof, as the case may be, to be subscribed by the person administering the govern ment of this State for the time being, shall be indorsed on such law. Whereupon the said person administering the government, shall, with his own proper hand, deliver such law to the Secretary of the State for the time being, or his sworn Deputy; who shall cause the same to be deposited in the Secretary's office, and recorded in a book or books, to be kept for that purpose.

"And that whenever, and as often as a bill returned by the said Council to be reconsidered, shall, notwithstanding, be passed into a law, the President of the Senate, or Speaker of the Assembly, in whichsoever the same shall, upon such reconsideration, last pass, shall deliver such law, with his own proper hand, to the Secretary of the State for the time being, or his sworn Deputy, to be deposited and recorded as aforesaid; and the said Secretary or his said Deputy shall attend at every session of the Legislature, for the purpose of receiving laws to be delivered to him as aforesaid."

The Council had a Clerk, and sat with closed doors. At first the Senate by one, and the Assembly by two of their members, sent to the Council the bills passed by them, and the Council directed the Chancellor, Chief Justice or one of the Justices, to deliver a copy of the resolution, signed by the Governor, that it did not appear improper that the bills submitted to them should become laws, to either the Senate or Assembly. If the Council objected to any of the bills, a copy of the objections, signed by the Governor, with the bill, was also delivered as above to the branch of the Legislature which last passed it.

In 1785, the Assembly reduced their number to one, but in 1788 restored it to two, the Senate then raising theirs also to two, which continued till 1808, when the Clerk of the Council, and the Clerks of the two Houses were directed to deliver the messages.

During the existence of the Council, they returned one hundred and sixty-nine bills with their objections to the Legislature. Fiftyone of the bills, so returned, were passed into laws by the Legislature by a two-third vote; the remainder (one hundred and eighteen) failed, in consequence of the objections, to become laws.

Objections to thirty-one bills, in addition, were submitted to the Council, by the members thereof, in whose charge they were placed, but were not sanctioned by a majority of the Council, and consequently not communicated to the Legislature.

The Council, after an existence of about forty-four years, was abolished by the Convention of 1821, and its power lodged solely in the hands of the Governor by the Constitution of that year.

THE COURT FOR THE TRIAL OF IMPEACHMENTS AND THE CORRECTION OF ERRORS, being the court of last resort in the State, was created also by the Constitution of 1777.

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