31st New York State Legislature

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31st New York State Legislature
Old Albany City Hall.png
The Old Albany City Hall (undated)

Duration: July 1, 1807 – June 30, 1808

President of the State Senate: Lt. Gov. John Broome (Clintonian)
Temporary President of the State Senate:
Speaker of the State Assembly: Alexander Sheldon (Clintonian)
Members: 32 Senators
100 Assemblymen
Senate Majority: Clintonian
Assembly Majority: Clintonian

Sessions
1st: January 26 – April 11, 1808
<30th 32nd>

The 31st New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 26 to April 11, 1808, during the first year of Daniel D. Tompkins's governorship, in Albany.

Background[edit]

Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1777, amended by the Constitutional Convention of 1801, 32 Senators were elected on general tickets in the four senatorial districts for four-year terms. They were divided into four classes, and every year eight Senate seats came up for election. Assemblymen were elected countywide on general tickets to a one-year term, the whole Assembly being renewed annually.

In 1797, Albany was declared the State capital, and all subsequent Legislatures have been meeting there ever since. In 1799, the Legislature enacted that future Legislatures meet on the last Tuesday of January of each year unless called earlier by the governor.

State Senator Henry Huntington resigned in 1807, leaving a vacancy in the Western District.

At this time the politicians were divided into two opposing political parties: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.[1]

In 1805, the 28th Legislature had chartered the Merchant's Bank of New York which had been founded by Federalists in competition to the Democratic-Republican Bank of the Manhattan Company. The Democratic-Republican majority of the 27th Legislature had not only refused to grant a charter, but actually ordered the Merchant's Bank to shut down by May 1805. During the next session, the bank bribed enough legislators to have the charter approved, although the Democratic-Republican leaders advocated strongly against it. Gov. Morgan Lewis spoke out in favor of granting the charter[2] what was resented by the party leaders DeWitt Clinton and Ambrose Spencer, and soon led to the split of the party into "Lewisites" and "Clintonians".[3] The 30th Legislature had a Lewisite-Federalist majority and elected a Council of Appointment which removed most Clintonian office-holders. The Lewisites and the Federalists nominated Gov. Morgan Lewis for re-election and Thomas Storm as his running mate. The Clintonians nominated Supreme Court Justice Daniel D. Tompkins for governor, and the incumbent Lt. Gov. John Broome for re-election.

Elections[edit]

The State election was held from April 28 to 30, 1807. Tompkins and Broome were elected. For the first time in State history an incumbent governor ran for re-election and was defeated.

Senators DeWitt Clinton (Southern D.), Joshua H. Brett (Middle D.) and John Tayler (Eastern D.) were re-elected. Robert Williams (Middle D.), Isaac Kellogg, John McLean, Charles Selden (all three Eastern D.); and Assemblyman Alexander Rea (Western D.) were also elected to full terms in the Senate. William Floyd (Western D.) was elected to fill the vacancy. Brett and Williams were Lewisites, the other seven were Clintonians.

Sessions[edit]

The Legislature met at the Old City Hall in Albany on January 26, 1808; and adjourned on April 11.

Alexander Sheldon (Cl.) was again elected Speaker. Daniel Rodman (Cl.) was elected Clerk of the Assembly with 60 votes against 21 for the incumbent Gerrit Y. Lansing (Lew.).

On February 1, the Clintonian majority elected a new Council of Appointment which removed most Lewisite office-holders.

On February 5, the Legislature elected David Thomas (Cl.) to succeed Abraham G. Lansing (Lew.) as New York State Treasurer.

On February 8, 1808, State Senator Joseph C. Yates was appointed to the New York Supreme Court, leaving a vacancy in the Eastern District. The Legislature re-apportioned the Senate seats, and transferred one seat each from the Southern, the Middle and the Eastern (the vacant one) districts to the Western District.

On February 12, Sebastian Visscher was elected Clerk of the Senate to succeed Solomon Southwick.

On April 1, 1808, the Legislature also re-apportioned the Assembly districts. The total number of assemblymen was increased from 100 to 112. Broome and Tioga were separated with 1 seat each. Allegany, Genesee and Ontario were separated with 1 seat for Genesee, 5 for Ontario and Allegany was joined with Steuben. Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence were separated with 2 seats for Jefferson and 1 each for Lewis and St. Lawrence. Cayuga, Chenango, Madison and Onondaga gained 1 seat each; New York City and Oneida gained 2 each. Dutchess, Rensselaer, Washington and Westchester lost 1 seat each. Franklin County was split from Clinton County but remained in the same Assembly district. Niagara County was split from Genesee County, and had 1 seat in the Assembly.

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. Alexander Rea changed from the Assembly to the Senate.

District Senators Term left Party Notes
Southern William Denning* 1 year Dem.-Rep./Lewisite in April 1808, elected to the 11th United States Congress
Benjamin Coe* 1 year Dem.-Rep./Clintonian elected to the Council of Appointment
Thomas Thomas* 1 year Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Ezra L'Hommedieu* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Jonathan Ward* 3 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
DeWitt Clinton* 4 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian from February 1808, also Mayor of New York City
Middle Samuel Brewster* 1 year Dem.-Rep.
Stephen Hogeboom* 1 year Dem.-Rep.
Peter C. Adams* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian elected to the Council of Appointment
James G. Graham* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Elisha Barlow 3 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
James Burt* 3 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Joshua H. Brett* 4 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Robert Williams 4 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Eastern Stephen Thorn* 1 year Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Adam Comstock* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
John Veeder* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian elected to the Council of Appointment;
Joseph C. Yates* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian vacated his seat on February 8, 1808, upon
appointment to the New York Supreme Court
Jacob Snell* 3 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Isaac Kellogg 4 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
John McLean 4 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Charles Selden 4 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
John Tayler* 4 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Western William Floyd 1 year Dem.-Rep./Clintonian elected to fill vacancy, in place of Henry Huntington
Jedediah Peck* 1 year Dem.-Rep.
Nathaniel Locke* 2 years Dem.-Rep.
John Nicholas* 2 years Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
John Ballard* 3 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Salmon Buell* 3 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Jacob Gebhard* 3 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Nathan Smith*[4] 3 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian elected to the Council of Appointment
Alexander Rea* 4 years Dem.-Rep./Clintonian

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.

District Assemblymen Party Notes
Albany John Brown Federalist
Johann Jost Dietz* Federalist
Jonathan Jenkins
Stephen Van Rensselaer Federalist
Abraham Van Vechten Federalist until April 12, 1808, also Recorder of the City of Albany
Jacob Veeder* Federalist
Allegany,
Genesee
and Ontario
Amos Hall contested; seat vacated
William Ramsey Dem.-Rep. seated on January 29, 1808, in place of Amos Hall[5]
Philetus Swift* Dem.-Rep.
Asahel Warner Jr.
Broome
and Tioga
Emanuel Coryell Federalist
Cayuga Elijah Price
Richard Townley Dem.-Rep.
Chenango Peter Betts
Obadiah German* Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Clinton Elisha Arnold Dem.-Rep.
Columbia Thomas Brodhead
Jacob R. Van Rensselaer Federalist
Jason Warner Federalist
Elisha Williams Federalist
Delaware John T. More Federalist
Gabriel North Dem.-Rep.
Dutchess Albro Akin Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Devoue Bailey Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
George Casey Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Cyrenus Crosby Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
John Haight* Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Tobias L. Stoutenburgh* Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Martin E. Winchell* Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Essex Benjamin Pond Dem.-Rep.
Greene Coenradt T. Houghtaling
Perez Steele Federalist
Herkimer Aaron Budlong Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
John M. Petrie Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Westel Willoughby, Jr. Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Jefferson,
Lewis and
St. Lawrence
Lewis Graves
Kings John Hicks* Dem.-Rep.
Madison John W. Bulkley Federalist
Sylvanus Smalley* Dem.-Rep.
Montgomery Henry Fonda Dem.-Rep.
Peter C. Fox
Lawrence Gros* Dem.-Rep.
Alexander Sheldon* Dem.-Rep./Clintonian elected Speaker
Harmanus A. Vedder*
New York Francis Cooper* Dem.-Rep.
Thomas Farmar
Benjamin Ferris* Dem.-Rep.
William W. Gilbert* Dem.-Rep.
Silvanus Miller
Henry Rutgers* Dem.-Rep.
Solomon Townsend
James Warner* Dem.-Rep.
Augustus Wright Dem.-Rep.
Oneida Thomas R. Gold Federalist in April 1808, elected to the 11th United States Congress
Henry McNeil Federalist
Benjamin Wright
Onondaga Joshua Forman Federalist unsuccessfully contested by Jonathan Stanley Jr. (Dem.-Rep.)[6]
John McWhorter Dem.-Rep.
Orange William Ross Dem.-Rep.
Selah Strong Dem.-Rep.
Henry Tucker
James W. Wilkin Dem.-Rep.
Otsego Lemuel Fitch Dem.-Rep.
Gurdon Huntington* Dem.-Rep.
Robert Roseboom* Dem.-Rep.
Henry Scott* Dem.-Rep.
Queens Jacobus Monfoort Dem.-Rep.
Henry O. Seaman Dem.-Rep.
John W. Seaman* Dem.-Rep.
Rensselaer James L. Hogeboom Dem.-Rep./Lewisite until March 10, 1808, also
First Judge of the Rensselaer County Court
Ebenezer Jones
Adam Yates* Dem.-Rep.
Jacob Yates Dem.-Rep.
vacant
Richmond David Mersereau* Dem.-Rep.
Rockland Samuel G. Verbryck* Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Saratoga Chauncey Belding* Dem.-Rep.
Salmon Child Dem.-Rep.
John McClelland
Jesse Mott* Dem.-Rep.
Schoharie Henry Shafer* Dem.-Rep.
Peter Swart Jr.* Dem.-Rep.
Seneca John Sayre Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Steuben George Hornell Federalist
Suffolk Israel Carll* Dem.-Rep.
Jonathan Dayton Dem.-Rep.
Thomas S. Lester Dem.-Rep.
Ulster Abraham Ten Eyck DeWitt Federalist
Conrad Edmund Elmendorf
Isaac LeFever
Cornelius Low
Washington Kitchel Bishop* Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Thomas Cornell Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Lyman Hall Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
James Hill* Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Henry Mattison Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Gideon Taft Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Westchester Benjamin Ferris
Joel Frost Dem.-Rep.
Abraham Miller Dem.-Rep.
Ozias Osborn

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. ^ Lewis put thus his personal opinion above party discipline. He had been Chief Justice and was wealthy beyond corruptibility—nobody ever accused him of taking a bribe—and formed his opinion on legal and technical grounds. On the other side, he had been elected governor with the help of a minority of Federalists against his party-splitting opponent Aaron Burr.
  3. ^ see Hammond, pg. 219f
  4. ^ Nathan Smith (ca. 1769-1836), of Fairfield, First Judge of the Herkimer County Court 1814-1821; see bio in A History of Herkimer County by Nathaniel S. Benton (pages 357ff)
  5. ^ see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 22f)
  6. ^ see A Compilation of Cases of Contested Elections to Seats in the Assembly of the State of New York (1871; pg. 24f)

Sources[edit]