« הקודםהמשך »
the fynods, &c.— Thus the whole presbyterian interest is judiciously como bined and governed.
The fynods of New-York and Philadelphia, during their session at Philadelphia, in May, 1788, resolved themselves into four fynods, viz. The fynod of New-York'; the synod of Philadelphia ; the synod of Virginia ; and the synod of Carolina. These fynods are to meet annually in their respective itates, whence they take their names ; and once a year, by their commissioners, in general council, at Philadelphia.
There are a number of Presbyterian churches, commonly called Soceeders, who have a separate ecclefiaftical jurisdiction. These, as well as the other presbyterians, and the Dutch reformed churches, hold the doctrines of the gospel upon the Calvinistic plan, without any essential differences.
The Dutch reformed churches in this state are divided into four classes ; viz. The classis of New York, comprehending eighteen churches; the classis of Kingston, twenty-three churches; the claflis of Albany, twentythree churches; a part of the classis of Hackinsak, four churches. These classes, together with the classes of Hackinsak and New-Brunswick, in New Jersey, compose the Dutch reformed fynod of New York and NewJersey. The classes consist of ministers and ruling elders; each classis delegates two ministers and an elder to represent them in fynod. From the firit planting of the Dutch churches in New York and New Jersey, they have, under the direction of the claflis of Amsterdam, been formed exactly upon the plan of the established church of Holland, as far as that is ecclefiaftical. A strict correspondence is maintained between the Dutch reformed fynod of New York and New-jersey, and the fynod of NorthHolland, and the classis of Amsterdam. The acts of their fynods are mutually exchanged every year, and mutual advice is given and received in disputes respecting doétrinal points and church discipline.
The principles and constitution of the Baptist churches have already been mentioned. · The Episcopalian churches hold the fame principles—hare the same mode of worship and church government--and are in every other respect constituted upon the same plan with the church of the same denomination in England.
For an account of the Friends and the Moravians, see Pennsylvania.
The Methodist interest, though small in this state, has greatly increased in the southern states since the revolution. They have eitimated their number at 37,800. But their numbers are so various in different places, at different times, that it would be a matter of no finall difficulty to find out their exact amount. The late famous Mr. John Wesley has been called the Father of this religious fect. They warmly oppose the Calvinistic doctrines of election and final perseverance, and maintain that finless perfection is attainable in this life. Their mode of preaching is entirely extemporaneous, very loud and animated, bordering on enthusiasm.
They appear ftudiously to avoid connection in their discourses, and are fond of introducing pathetic stories, which are calculated to affect the tender paffions. Their manner is very folemn, and their preaching is frequently attended with a surprising effect upon their audiences. Their churches are fup. plied by their preachers in rotation,
The Shakers are a sect who sprung up in Europe. A part of them came over from England to New York in 1774, and being joined by others, they settled at Nifqueaunia, above Albany, whence they spread their doctrines, and increased to a considerable number ; but their interest is now faft declining. The late Anna Leese, whom they ftiled the Elect Lady, was the head of this sect. Her followers asserted, that she was the woman spoken of in the twelfth chapter of the Revelation, and that the spoke seventy-twe tongues :- And although these tongues were unintelligible to the living, the conversed with the dead who understood her language. They alledged also that she was the mother of all the Elett :-that the travailed for the whole world--that no blessing could descend to any person but only by and through her, and that in the way of her being poffeffed of their fins, by their confesling and repenting of them, one by one, according to her direction. The Elect Lady used to allert that she was immortalihat the day of judgment had commenced, and that she and her followers were already set to judge the world. But her death has indisputably proved that she was not immortal as to her bodily presence ; and this circumstance, no doubt, has created suspicions in the minds of some of her followers respecting some other of her assertions and doctrines, and occasioned them to renounce the scheme.
Their worship, if such extravagant conduct may be so called, consists principally in dancing, singing, leaping, clapping their hands, falling on their knees, and uttering themselves in groans and fighs, in a found relembling that of the roaring of water; turning round on their heels with astonishing swiftness, to ihew, as they say, the power of God. All these gesticulations are performed in the most violent and boisterous manner, and occasion, at intervals, a shuddering not unlike that of a person in a ftrong fit of the ague. Hence they are cailed, not improperly, Shakers.
Before we leave this tead, we must mention, that in April, 1784, the legislature of this state passed an act enabling all religious denominations to appoint trustees, not less than three, or more than nine, who shall be a body corporate, for the purpose of taking care of the temporalities of their respective congregations, and for the other purposes therein mentioned.
The ministers of every denomination in the state are supported by the voluntary contributions of the people, raised generally by subscription, or by a tax upon the pews, except the Dutch churches in New-York, Albany, Skenectady, and Kingston, which have, except the two laft, large eftates confirmed by a charter. The Episcopal church also in New York possess a very large estate in and near the city.
Conftitution and Courts of Justice.] The present constitution of the state was eitablished by convention, authorised for the purpose, April 20, 1777
The fupreme legislative powers of the state are vested in two branches, a Scnate and Afsembly. The members of the senate are elected by the freeholders of the state, who possess freehold estates to the value of £.100, clear of debts. For the purpose of electing fenators, the state is divided into four great districts, each of which chooses a certain number, viz.
New York, Southern District,
Welt Chester, including the
District counties of
Middle | Dutchess
Eastern Cumberland, Three
Mont Six. District
Gloucester, The senators are divided by lot into four classes, fix in each class, and numbered, first, second, third, and fourth. The seats of the first class are vacated at the expiration of one yeat—the fecond, at the expiration of the next, &c. and their places filled by new elections. Thus a small change is made in the senate every year; but three-fourths of the members remaining, preserve a knowledge of the business of a former session. A majority of the senate is necessary to do business, and each branch of the legislature has
a negative upon the other.
The legislature can at any time alter this division of the state for the choice of fenators ; and an increase of electors in any district, to the amount of one-twenty-fourth of the electors in the whole ftate, entitles the district to another senator. But the number of senators can never exceed one hundred.
The assembly of the state is composed of representatives from the feve. ral counties, chosen annually in May, in the following proportion :
For the city and county of New York, nine.
For the city and county of Albany, feven.
Gloucester, By the constitution, however, it is ordered, that at the end of seven years after the termination of the late war, a census of the electors and inhabitants thall be taken, and the representation apportioned according to the number of electors in each county.
Every male inhabitant of full age, who has resided in the state fix months preceding the day of election, and possessing a freehold to the value of twenty pounds, in the county where he is to give his vote; or has rented a tenement therein of the yearly value of forty fillings, and has been rated and actụally paid taxes, is entitled to vote for representatives in assembly. The freedom of the cities of New-York and Albany likewise entitles a person to the privilege of voting for members of affembly in the city or county where he resides. The method of voting is now by ballot, but subject to alteration by the legislature. The house of af. sembly, a majority of which is necessary to proceed to business, chooses its own speaker, and is a judge of its own privileges.
In all debates on great questions, the house resolves itself into a commit. tee of the wholehe speaker leaves the chair, and a chairman is appointed for the occasion. After the business is completed, the committee rises. the speaker takes the chair-and the chairman reports to the house the proceedings of the committee. How far this imitation of the British house of commons is supported by good reasons, it may not be easy to determine. Certain it is, that in other legislatures, the proceedings are equally well conducted without this formality,
The number of representatives is limited to three hundred. The present number is fixty-five.
The fupreme executive power of the state is vested in a governor, (in whose absence a deputy-governor is appointed to serve) chosen once in three years by the freemen of the ftate. The lieutenant-governor is, by his office, president of the fenate ; and, upon an equal division of voices, has a casting vote; but has no voice on other occasions. The governor has not a seat in the legislature ; but as a member of the council of revision and council of appointment, he has a vast influence in the state.
The council of revision is composed of the chancellor, the judges of the supreme court, or any of them, and the governor. This council is empowcred to revise all bills which have passed the two houses of the legislature, and if it shall appear to the council that such bills ought not to pass into laws, they shall be returned to the house in which they originated, with the objections of the council. The house thall then proceed to reconsider the bills, with the objections, and if, notwithstanding, two-thirds of the house shall agree to the bills, they shall be sent to the other house, where they shall be reconsidered, and the allent of two-thirds of the members pass them into laws. But if a bill is not returned in ten days, it becomes a law of course.
The subordinate officers of the state are appointed by the council of appointment, which is composed of one senator from each district, io be chofen annually by the legislature, with the governor, or, in his absence, the lieutenant-governor, or the president of the senate, who has a casting vote only.
All military officers hold their commissions during pleasure. The chancellor, the judges of the fupreme court, and the firit judge of each county court, hold their offices during good behaviour. The officers can hold no other office at the same time, except that of delegate to Congress.
Sheriffs and coroners are appointed annually, and can serve but four years fuccellively.
A court of errors and impeachment is instituted, composed of the presi. dent of the senate, the senate, chancellor, and judges of the supreme court, or the major part of them, under the regulation of the legislature. The power of impeachment is vested in the house of representatives, and the members on trial muit be sworn.
Besides the court of errors and impeachment, there is, first, a Court of Chancery, consisting of a chancellor, appointed by the council of appointment, who holds his office during good behaviour, or until he arrive at the age of fixty years. Secondly, a Supreme Court, the judges of which are appointed in the fame manner, and for the fame time, as the chancellor.
This is a circuit court.--Thirdly, County Courts, held in each county, the judges of which are appointed in the manner above-mentioned, and the first judge holds his office during good behaviour. Besides these, there are the justices' courts, court of probates, court of admiralty, court of exchequer, a court of oyer and terminer and general goal delivery, and courts of quarter sessions.
The practice in the supreme court, to which an appeal lies from the courts below, is in imitation of the courts of commons pleas and king's bench in England.
All free governments abound with lawyers. Where men have the privilege of thinking and acting for themselves, they will involve themselves in debt, and quarrel with their neighbours. In proportion to the debts and disputes of the people, lawyers will multiply. Of these America furnishes a plentiful growth, and New-York has its share, as it contains not less than 120 licensed attornies. In this state, the practice of law is conformed to the English mode, and is perhaps better regulated than in the other states. The several degrees in the profession, the number of critical examinations that candidates are obliged to pass through before they can be admitted as counsellors in the higher courts; together with the time of ftudy required by the rules of admillion, render an access to the first ho. nouřs of the bar so difficult as to preclude ignorant pretenders to the important science of law. New-York can boaft of many. men eminent in every liberal profession, and which has hitherto furnished America with fome of her most able legislators. It is however to be feared, that a tog rigid adherence to the forms of legal process in England, has sometimes perplexed the road to justice, and prevented valuable improvements in the practice, not only in this, but of most of the states.
Mode of raising internal taxes.] The legislature fix upon the sum to be raised, and apportion it among the several counties. This being done, the supervisors, one from each township in the respective counties, afsemble, and aflign to each township its proportion of the quota of the county. The supervisor and assessors in each township then apportion their quota among the individuals of the township, according to the value of their real and personal estates. The tax, thus laid, is collected by the collector of the township, and lodged with the county treasurer, who transmits ic to the treasurer of the state.
Indians.] The Oxeidas inhabit on Oneida Creek, twenty-one miles west of Fort Stanwix. The tribe consists of about 400 men, women and children.
The Tufcaroras migrated from North Carolina and the frontiers of Virginia, and were adopted by the Oneidas, with whom they have ever since lived, upon the supposition that they were originally of the same nation, because there is a limilarity in their languages.
The Senecas inhabit on the Chenefiee river, at the Chenessee castle. The tribe confifts of about 800 souls. They have two towns, of fixty or seventy fouls each, on French Creek, in Pennsylvania; and another town on Buffaloe Creek, attached to the British ; and two small towns on Allegany river, attached to the Americans. Obeil or Corn-planter, one of the Seneca chiefs, resides here,
The Mohawks were acknowledged by the other tribes, to use their own expression, to be the true old lieads of the confederacy ;' and were formerly a powerful tribe, inhabiting on the Mohawks river. As they were strongly attached to the Johnson family, on account of Sir William Johnfon, they emigrated to Canada, with Sir John Johnson, abont the year 1776. There is now only one family of them in the fate, and they live about a mile from Fort Hunter. The father of this family was drowned in the winter of 1788.
All the confederated tribes, except the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, fided mich the Britih in the late war, and fought against the Americans.)