Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THE GOVERNOR'S VETO OF THE CAPITOL APPROPRIATION

May 19, 1887, New York Times,

DEMOCRATS AND THE WORKINGMEN.

THE GOVERNOR'S VETO OF THE CAPITOL APPROPRIATION—AN EFFORT TO PROVIDE FOOD FOR IRISHMEN DEFEATED—CHEERS FOR REPUBLICANS AND GROANS FOR THE GOVERNOR—AN UNUSUAL SCENE.

Special Despatch to the New-York Times.

ALBANY, May 18.—The majority report of the Ways and Means Committee on the Message of the Governor vetoing certain items in the Supply bill was presented in the House this afternoon by the Chairman, Mr. Husted. Messrs. Bradley, Cozans, and Maynard, of the minority, made no report, but had their dissent entered upon the journal. The first step in the proceedings was the raising of several points of order by Messrs. Spinola, Ecclesine, Mitchell, and Cozans, to prevent the report being brought before the House at all. The Speaker ruled that the report of the committee was of the highest privilege, and could come before the House at any time. Mr. Husted was given permission to read the report himself instead of having it read at the Clerk's desk. During the reading there was the most profound stillness in the Chamber. When he had finished he moved that the report, with the testimony accompanying called upon Mr. Husted's motion, and when Mr. Cozans' name was called, he rose and made a powerful party speech, calling upon all the Democrats upon the floor to vote to sustain the Governor's veto. The roll-call proceeded slowly, one member after the other explaining his vote, and the motion prevailed. Mr. Husted then moved the appropriation for the new Capitol be passed notwithstanding the Governor's veto. This was the question on which the excitement rose to fever heat. It was now past 6 o'clock, and the news having spread around the city, the lobby and galleries had become jammed to suffocation. All work had stopped upon the Capitol building this afternoon, and the dis-charged workmen were present in force. Speaker Sloan, seeing the condition of affairs, warned the spectators that any demonstration would be immediately followed by the clearing of the House.

The debate which took place was very heated. The position assumed by the Republicans was briefly stated by Mr. Alvord and Mr. Gilbert, of Franklin. It was substantially this: We have an enormous building on our hands, which is, as the Governor says, a public calamity; but it is nearly two-thirds finished, and no one, not even the Governor, suggests that it be abandoned. If we must go on with it, let the work proceed as rapidly as possible, and let us get it ready for use, that we may get some return for our money. The Democratic argument was substantially this: The Governor of the State is a Democrat. We must stand by him, and all this money will be spent for contractors, none for the laboring men. An immense amount of pure buncombe [a variant spelling of bunkum] was poured out on both sides. Neither Republicans nor Democrats had any advantage over each other on this score; but the former voted as they talked, and the latter walked one way and voted the other. When the roll-call was completed it was found that 48 members had voted against passing the item over the Governor's veto and 76 had voted for it, just 12 short of the necessary two-thirds; so there to was sustained. The only Republican who voted among the 46 was Mr. Fish. Mr. Bradley, of Kings; Healy, of New-York; Barns, of Troy, and the two Democrats from Albany voted with the Republicans. With the declaration of the result, the Speaker declared the House adjourned.

A minute after the adjournment the Iong-pent excitement of the crowds of workmen broke forth. From gallery and lobby they poured forth the most dreadful imprecations on the men and the party that they declared had first deceived and then abandoned them. They cursed Tammany Hall; they cursed the Democratic Party; they cursed the individual members of it on the floor; they yelled, hooted and hissed Spinola, Ecclesine, and Grady above all the others. They called them by name, and invoked frightful curses upon them, for it seems that these-members had been lately attending the meetings, making speeches to the workmen, and promising to stand by them to the end. They had even gone so far as to head delegations to the Governor, asking him to sign the appropriation. The rage of these men was, therefore, specially directed against them, and they went so far as to threaten personal violence. The crowd formed in a solid body outside the Assembly Chamber, and the obnoxious members did not dare to come out. Mr. Childs, of Seneca, another Democratic member who had made speeches and then voted the other way, was quite roughly handled, and had to run back into the Chamber. No one seems to have been threatened except those members who had made themselves conspicuous as "friends of the working man," and when the time came to vote the way they talked had done the other thing. It was at last found necessary to bring up a strong force of Police and clear the Capitol building. It is an unfortunate affair, but certainly a most signal example of chickens coming borne to roost. The whole Winter long certain New-York members have absolutely nauseated the house with their everlasting talk to the galleries about their friendship for the working man. The galleries have now seen its value and expressed their appreciation. Lieut.-Gov. Dorsheimer was so frightened that he sent for a posse of Police to protect the Senate from the "unterrified."

ANSWER OF THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE.

The following is the text of the report of the Ways and Means Committee:

To the Assembly:

The Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred the Message of the Governor, transmitted a statement of the items of appropriation objected to by him in Assembly bill Su. 267, with his reasons for the same, beg leave respectfully to report: That while we have no recommendation to make for the action of the Legislature, beyond that of taking the usual votes on such occasions, we desire pointedly to dissent from the Message as to the importance, property, and urgency of many of the items objected to, and to point out some inconsistencies which are conspicuous in the Message.

The Governor objects to certain items for Mr. Eaton, for the sole reason that they had not been considered and approved by the Board of Audit, and yet be approves items in the bill of exactly the same class, to wit, for attorneys' fees, expenses of experts and stenographers originating out of the same transaction, and having no better claim to the favor of the Legislature and the Executive than the former. They also had not been adjudged by the Board of Audit. It may be insisted that the claims approved by the Governor are contained in an item for the Attorney-General for the benefit of the parties interested, and that no part of the appropriation will be paid to them except upon the audit and approval of that officer. But this cannot in the one case more than in the other authorize the appropriation until after the audit. The truth is that Mr. Eaton has no claim against the State which the Board of Audit can consider and allow.

&c.

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