15th New York State Legislature

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15th New York State Legislature
Federal Hall-Archibald Robertson.jpg
The Old New York City Hall, where the Legislature met in 1784. From January 1785 to August 1790, the Congress of the Confederation and the 1st United States Congress met here, and the building was renamed Federal Hall. From 1791 to 1793, the State Legislature met again here, and the building was demolished in 1812. (1798)

Duration: July 1, 1791 – June 30, 1792

President of the State Senate: Lt. Gov. Pierre Van Cortlandt
Temporary President of the State Senate:
Speaker of the State Assembly: John Watts (Fed.)
Members: 24 Senators
70 Assemblymen
Senate Majority:
Assembly Majority:

Sessions
1st: January 5, 1792 – April 12, 1792
<14th 16th>

The 15th New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 5 to April 12, 1792, during the fifteenth year of George Clinton's governorship, in New York City.

Background[edit]

Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1777, the State Senators were elected on general tickets in the senatorial districts, and were then divided into four classes. Six senators each drew lots for a term of 1, 2, 3 or 4 years and, beginning at the election in April 1778, every year six Senate seats came up for election to a four-year term. Assemblymen were elected countywide on general tickets to a one-year term, the whole assembly being renewed annually.

In March 1786, the Legislature enacted that future Legislatures meet on the first Tuesday of January of each year unless called earlier by the governor. No general meeting place was determined, leaving it to each Legislature to name the place where to reconvene, and if no place could be agreed upon, the Legislature should meet again where it adjourned.

On February 7, 1791, the Legislature re-apportioned the Senate and Assembly districts, according to the figures of the United States Census of 1790. The area of Columbia and Rensselaer counties were transferred from the Western to the Eastern District; and the Southern and the Western districts lost one senator each, which were added to the Eastern District. The total number of assemblymen was again set at 70; but several new counties were established: Herkimer (1 seat), Ontario (1), Otsego (1), Rensselaer (5), Saratoga (4) and Tioga (1); Kings, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester lost 1 seat, and Montgomery and New York lost 2; and Columbia won 3 seats.

At this time the politicians were divided into two opposing political parties: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.[1] Party lines were not as distinctly drawn then as they became during the 19th century. Some politicians changed sides, for example the Livingston faction of the Federalist Party who felt betrayed after the election of Rufus King over their candidate James Duane in the United States Senate election in New York, 1789 and later voted down Schuyler for re-election in 1791.

Elections[edit]

The State election was held from April 26 to 28, 1791. Senators Samuel Jones (Southern D.), Thomas Tillotson and Jacobus Swartwout (both Middle D.) were re-elected; and Joshua Sands (Southern D.), William Powers (Eastern D.) and Ex-U.S. Senator Philip Schuyler (Western D.) were also elected to the Senate.

Sessions[edit]

The Legislature was to meet for the regular session on January 3, 1792, at Federal Hall in New York City; both Houses assembled a quorum two days later; and adjourned on April 12.

On April 12, 1792, they enacted that the Legislature should meet on the first Tuesday of November every four years, beginning in 1792, to choose presidential electors. The electors should then meet as electoral college at Poughkeepsie.

State Senate[edit]

Districts[edit]

Note: There are now 62 counties in the State of New York. The counties which are not mentioned in this list had not yet been established, or sufficiently organized, the area being included in one or more of the abovementioned counties.

Members[edit]

The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued in office as members of this Legislature.

District Senators Term left Party Notes
Southern Ezra L'Hommedieu* 1 year Fed./Dem.-Rep.
Paul Micheau* 1 year Federalist
Isaac Roosevelt* 1 year Federalist
Philip Livingston*[2] 2 years Federalist
David Gelston* 3 years Dem.-Rep. also Surrogate of New York County
Philip Van Cortlandt* 3 years Federalist elected to the Council of Appointment
Samuel Jones* 4 years Dem.-Rep. also Recorder of New York City
Joshua Sands 4 years Federalist
Middle James Clinton* 1 year Dem.-Rep.
John Cantine* 2 years Dem.-Rep.
James Carpenter* 2 years
David Pye* 3 years Federalist elected to the Council of Appointment
Thomas Tillotson* 4 years Dem.-Rep.
Jacobus Swartwout* 4 years Dem.-Rep.
Eastern Edward Savage* 1 year Dem.-Rep.
Peter Van Ness* 1 year Dem.-Rep.[3] Van Ness lived in Columbia Co., and
was elected in the old Western D. in 1788
Alexander Webster* 2 years Dem.-Rep.
John Williams* 3 years Dem.-Rep.
William Powers 4 years Federalist elected to the Council of Appointment
Western Volkert P. Douw* 2 years
Leonard Gansevoort 2 years Federalist
(Peter Schuyler)*[4] 3 years Federalist died January 4, 1792, [5] before the Legislature convened
Stephen Van Rensselaer* 3 years Federalist elected to the Council of Appointment
Philip Schuyler 4 years Federalist

Employees[edit]

State Assembly[edit]

Districts[edit]

Note: There are now 62 counties in the State of New York. The counties which are not mentioned in this list had not yet been established, or sufficiently organized, the area being included in one or more of the abovementioned counties.

Assemblymen[edit]

The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued as members of this Legislature.

County Assemblymen Party Notes
Albany Jellis A. Fonda Federalist
Stephen Lush
David McCarty Dem.-Rep.
Francis Nicoll Federalist
William North Federalist
John Ten Broeck
Henry Ten Eyck
Columbia Benjamin Birdsall
Jared Coffin
Jacob Ford Federalist previously a member from Albany Co.
Lawrence Hogeboom
Henry Livingston Federalist
James Savage* Federalist
Dutchess Jonathan Akins* Dem.-Rep.
Samuel A. Barker*
Isaac Bloom*
Daniel Graham Dem.-Rep.
Morgan Lewis
Matthew Patterson
James Tallmadge*
Herkimer Michael Myers* previously a member from Montgomery Co.;
unsuccessfully contested[6]
Kings Charles Doughty
Montgomery Douw Fonda
John Frey* Dem.-Rep.
David McMasters
Silas Talbot Federalist
New York Josiah Ogden Hoffman* Federalist
William S. Livingston
Melancton Smith Dem.-Rep.
William Pitt Smith
John Watts* Federalist re-elected Speaker
Henry Will*
John Wylly
Ontario Eleazer Lindsley
Orange John D. Coe* Federalist
Seth Marvin* Federalist
John Smith*
Otsego James Cannon previously a member from Montgomery Co.
Queens Samuel Clowes*
Whitehead Cornwell Dem.-Rep.
Nathaniel Lawrence* Dem.-Rep.
Rensselaer Jonathan Brown* previously a member from Albany Co.
John Knickerbacker Jr. Federalist
John W. Schermerhorn* Federalist previously a member from Albany Co.
Thomas Sickles Federalist previously a member from Albany Co.
Moses Vail
Richmond Gozen Ryerss* Federalist
Saratoga[7] Sidney Berry* previously a member from Albany Co.;
seat vacated on January 20, 1792
Andrew Mitchell seat vacated on January 20, 1792
Elias Palmer
Benjamin Rosekrans
Suffolk John Gelston*
Jonathan N. Havens* Dem.-Rep.
Henry Scudder Dem.-Rep.
John Smith* Dem.-Rep.
Tioga Jonathan Fitch seat in doubt, but retained[8]
Ulster Ebenezer Clark Dem.-Rep.
Jacob De Lametter*
Ebenezer Foote Federalist
Joseph Hasbrouck*
vacant
Washington
and Clinton
John Conger
Thomas Converse*
Zina Hitchcock*
David Hopkins Dem.-Rep.
Westchester Samuel Haight*
Elias Newman
Ebenezer Purdy*
Jonathan G. Tompkins* Dem.-Rep.
Pierre Van Cortlandt Jr. Dem.-Rep.

Employees[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Anti-Federalists called themselves "Republicans." However, at the same time, the Federalists called them "Democrats" which was meant to be pejorative. After some time both terms got more and more confused, and sometimes used together as "Democratic Republicans" which later historians have adopted (with a hyphen) to describe the party from the beginning, to avoid confusion with both the later established and still existing Democratic and Republican parties.
  2. ^ Philip Livingston (1740-1810), son of Peter Van Brugh Livingston, father of Charles L. Livingston
  3. ^ Van Ness was elected in 1788 as an Anti-Federalist, but presided on February 13, 1792, over the Federalist meeting in New York City which nominated John Jay for Governor and Stephen Van Rensselaer for Lt. Gov.; see The History of Political Parties in the State of New-York, from the Ratification of the Federal Constition to 1840 by Jabez D. Hammond (4th ed., Vol. 1, H. & E. Phinney, Cooperstown, 1846; page 55)
  4. ^ Peter Schuyler, of Canajoharie (now Danube, New York), nephew of Philip Schuyler
  5. ^ Death notice in The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England, 1792; Vol. 72, pg. 182)
  6. ^ see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 14ff)
  7. ^ The seats of Sidney Berry and Andrew Mitchell were contested by Beriah Palmer and Adam Comstock. The ballots cast in the Town of Ballston were not counted because two persons who claimed to be Supervisor of the Town held separate elections; and all ballots from the county were burned by the canvass committee, so that the result could not be revised. The Assembly vacated the seats of Berry and Mitchell, but did not admit Palmer and Comstock, since the true election result could not be determined; see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 10–14)
  8. ^ see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 17f)

Sources[edit]