New York state election, 1853

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The 1853 New York state election was held on November 8, 1853, to elect the Secretary of State, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Engineer, two Judges of the New York Court of Appeals, a Canal Commissioner, an Inspector of State Prisons and the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.

Background[edit]

After the split of the Democratic Party in 1848 over the slavery question, a large part of the Barnburner faction, who had joined the Free Soil Party, returned to the Democratic Party and re-united with the Hunkers. During the following years, the Hunkers split over the question of reconciliation with the Barnburners. The Hards were against it, denying the Barnburners to gain influence in the Party. The Softs favored reconciliation with the intention of maintaining enough strength to win the elections. Both Hards and Softs favored a compromise on the slavery question: to maintain the status quo and to leave the decision to the local population in new Territories or States if they want slavery or not, as expressed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Barnburners were against the permission of slavery in new Territories or States, but were now the minority in the party.

Nominations[edit]

The Free Democratic, or Independent Democratic, Party was the radical anti-slavery faction of the disbanding Free Soil Party which advocated the immediate abolition of slavery. Their State convention was held on August 31 at Syracuse, New York.[1]

The Democratic state convention met in September at Syracuse, New York. Two chairmen, one Hard and one Soft, were elected who sat one beside the other and commenced proceedings ignoring each other. After some ensuing confusion, the Hards moved out, convened elsewhere, and nominated a state ticket. The Softs and Barnburners nominated their own ticket. Only the nominees for the two judgeships of the Court of Appeals were nominated jointly by Hards and Softs.[2]

The Whig state convention met on October 5 at Syracuse, New York. Benjamin F. Bruce was Temporary Chairman until the choice of Ex-Governor Washington Hunt to preside over the convention. James M. Cook was nominated for Comptroller on the first ballot (vote: Cook 88, Spaulding 29, Josiah B. Williams 8). Elias W. Leavenworth was nominated for Secretary of State on the first ballot (vote: Leavenworth 82, Samuel J. Wilkin 41, Spaulding 3). Elbridge G. Spaulding was nominated for Treasurer on the first ballot (vote: Spaulding 82, Jeremiah Ellsworth 19, Epenetus Crosby 11, Myron H. Clark 10). Ogden Hoffman was nominated for Attorney General on the third ballot (first ballot: Daniel Ullmann 49, Hoffman 45, Roscoe Conkling 27, J. M. Van Cott 4, Thompson 3; second ballot: Hoffman 56, Ullmann 54, Conkling 16, blank 1; third ballot: Hoffman 74, Ullmann 48, Conkling 5, blank 1). Cornelius Gardinier was nominated for Canal Commissioner on the second ballot (first ballot: Gardinier 30, David S. Wright 28, Ebenezer Blakely 19, Samuel P. Russell 16, Thomas Clowes 13, Ogden N. Chapin 13; second ballot: Gardinier 75, Blakely 19, Wright 18, Russell 5, Clowes 3, Chapin 1, Peabody 1, blank 1). Thomas Kirkpatrick was nominated for Inspector of State Prisons on the third ballot (first ballot: Kirkpatrick 22, Henry Underwood 21, Josiah T. Everest 14, Norwood Bowne 13, Alexander H. Wells 9, A. F. Crocker 9, Henry Bradley 9, Abner Baker 7, Benjamin Squire 7, William Lyons 6, Epenetus Crosby 5, Joseph Garling House 5; second ballot: Kirkpatrick 55, Underwood 45, Bowne 17, Everest 11; third ballot: Kirkpatrick 70, Underwood 60). John T. Clark was nominated for State Engineer by acclamation. Benjamin F. Harwood was nominated for Clerk of the Court of Appeals on the first ballot (vote: Harwood 62, E. P. Cole 22, A. T. McCarty 10, J. T. Lamport 8, P. Smith 5, Robinson 2). George Wood was nominated for a full term as Judge of the Court of Appeals on the second vote (88 ayes, 20 noes) after William Rockwell had been rejected in the first vote. Joseph Mullin was nominated for the short term by acclamation. [3]

Results[edit]

Due to the split of the Democratic Party, almost the whole Whig ticket was elected. Only the jointly nominated Democratic judges of the Court of Appeals, Ruggles and Denio, were elected. The incumbent Ruggles was re-elected, the incumbent Mather was defeated.

23 Whigs, 7 Hards and 2 Softs were elected to a two-year term (1854-55) in the New York State Senate.

78 Whigs, 24 Hards, 24 Softs and 2 Free Democrats were elected for the session of 1854 to the New York State Assembly.

1853 state election results
Office Whig ticket Dem./Soft ticket Dem./Hard ticket Free Democratic ticket
Secretary of State Elias W. Leavenworth 160,043 Isaac A. Verplanck 96,137 George W. Clinton 99,835 Charles B. Sedgwick 14,985
Comptroller James M. Cook 164,628 Robert Kelly 97,130 James E. Cooley 92,888 Seth Merrill Gates 16,483
Attorney General Ogden Hoffman 166,165 Martin Grover 97,158 James T. Brady 92,512 John Jay 16,221
Treasurer Elbridge G. Spaulding 166,301 Francis Seger 97,054 Winslow C. Watson 96,931 Nathan Soule 14,957
State Engineer John T. Clark 164,949 Wheeler H. Bristol 97,101 John D. Fay 93,172 Silas Cornell[4] 14,214
Judge of the Court of Appeals (full term) George Wood 163,920 Charles H. Ruggles 182,615[5] Charles H. Ruggles Leonard Gibbs 12,968
Judge of the Court of Appeals (short term)[6] Joseph Mullin 158,964 Hiram Denio 187,137[7] Hiram Denio Edward I. Chase[8] 12,396
Canal Commissioner Cornelius Gardinier 162,030 Andrew J. Yates 96,273 John C. Mather 97,997 Charles G. Case 12,928
Inspector of State Prisons Thomas Kirkpatrick 159,667 William C. Dryer 96,434 Miles W. Bennett 98,489 Horace Boardman 16,339
Clerk of the Court of Appeals Benjamin F. Harwood 158,156 Albert Edgerton 96,267 Samuel S. Bowne 92,412 Thomas G. Frost 14,286

Sources[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Freeman's Manual (edition of September 10, 1853; page 118)
  2. ^ The Democratic State Convention; The Softs and the Hards in NYT on September 16, 1853
  3. ^ The Whig State Convention in NYT on October 6, 1853
  4. ^ Silas Cornell, Short bio
  5. ^ Total votes on Soft and Hard tickets
  6. ^ To fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Freeborn G. Jewett, a judge was elected for the remaining four years of the term.
  7. ^ Total votes on Soft and Hard tickets
  8. ^ Edward Ithamar Chase (1810-1862), of Lockport, US Marshal for the Northern District of NY 1861-1862, brother of Salmon P. Chase

See also[edit]