Monday, December 26, 2011

Criminal Malfeasance.

August 5, 1890, New York Times, REPAIRING THE CAPITOL. MANY DEFECTS DISCOVERED
-- THE GOLDEN CORRIDOR A THING OF THE PAST.

ALBANY, Aug. 4. -- The restoration of the north central section of the Capitol is well under way, with prospects of its completion by Fall. The work was begun none too soon, for bad workmanship, together with frost disintegrations, had rendered six of the granite dormer windows and the heavy stone balustrade at the base of the steep roof over the Assembly Chamber unsafe, and the mass was ready to fall apart. These have been reset and made secure.

One of the greatest defects was found in the construction of the gutters. These were carved out of granite and the joints cemented. By degrees the water worked its way through the cementing, and as a result the walls were damp continually and frescos and expensive decorations were ruined. Commissioner Perry had just finished lining all the gutters with copper, and hopes thereby to preserve the walls from further damage. When he constructed the west end the gutters of it were all protected with copper.

The big chimneypieces in the Senate Chamber contained flues 8 inches square. These have been enlarged during the Summer to openings 18 inches by five feet. These, it is considered, will be sufficient to remove the vitiated air from the chamber and keep it pure. In other parts of the building the smoke flues have been enlarged and ventilating ducts and shafts cut in the solid masonry floors and walls, measuring from 8 to 10 inches to 5 by 6 feet. There was heretofore almost an entire absence of any ventilation.

The golden corridor, whose beauties were extolled during the early life of the Capitol, remains only in memory. Its space, with a little of that which was in the room originally set apart for the Court of Appeals, has been made into six spacious committee rooms. The corridor on the second floor floor north was broken by the old Court of Appeals room. Now it is carried continuously from east to west ends of the building.

In the execution of this work, which necessitated the tearing away of many hundred cubic feet of masonry, two discoveries were made. One was that the wall on the north side of the open court was never "tied." Experts who examined this wall at different times gave decisions that it was forced out by the pressure of the original stone ceiling of the Assembly Chamber. This proved to be not the fact. Now that the fractured work has been removed, it is shown that the wall was crowded out by the great east and west walls of the Assembly Chamber, which stands at right angles. These walls extended from the big arches in the golden corridor up to and on a line with the roof trusses.

It is evident that the weight of these walls was so great as to compress the arches, and thereby force the walls out. Four large wrought-iron tie rods extending through the granite wall of the court and connected with the four great plate girders which carry the Assembly floor, will hereafter hold the wall in position without doubt.

The Governor's Message, 1867.

January 8, 1867, The World: New York, Page 4, Column 5, THE NEW STATE CAPITOL

Governor FENTON'S message devotes ten lines of nothings to the subject of the erection of the new Capitol at Albany. As ten million dollars are to be used in the construction, it might be expected that the finest building of the kind in the country, and one fit for the seat of government of such a State as NEW-YORK, would be the result. The Capitol at Nashville, confessedly the most pretentious outside of Washington, cost but two millions; yet such a course has been pursued as to bar the competition of all architects whose designs are worthy consideration.

The Commission to whom was entrusted the construction advertised last year for specifications, the highest price attached to which was only three thousand dollars, and no assurance was given that he whose design was accepted should be appointed the architect of the building. In this miserly attire the embryo capitol has gone a-begging among the principal architects of the country. They refuse to consider such an impecunious proposition.

The American Institute for architects, among whom are included some of the best in the country, and to whose members are attributable such structures as our recent Academy of Music, that in Philadelphia, Mr. STEWART'S residence, the buildings at Jerome Park, and all constructions whose reputation is national, have unanimously issued a circular to the effect that the terms offered by the Capitol Commission are such as no capable designer can afford to entertain. They state to Hon. HAMILTON HARRIS, the Chairman of the Commission:
According to the established custom of business in our time, a building worth three millions of dollars pays to the architect employed to design it at least a commission of three per cent., one third of which would be due when the design and specifications, upon which the cost can be estimated, are fully prepared. This would probably amount, in the case before us, to a sum of thirty thousand dollars.
As a result of this short-sighted policy, we understand that the Commission has received no plans commensurate with the purposes of the new Capitol, but are inundated with ambitious specifications from inferior architects. The enterprise of securing fit designs seems to have died before it was born, from the miserable penuriousness we have indicated.

If the Legislature has time to spare from the congenial and compatible duties of governing New-York City, reconstructing the South, and repealing the neutrality laws, it would be well could they shake some common sense into the Capitol Commission, and arouse them to the fact that the new building will require more breadth and expenditure in design than the construction of a candy store or the erection of a Freedmen's schoolhouse.

More Freemasonry Bashing. It Didn't Start With Me.

(Where's Jimmy Buffett  when you need him?)

June 19, 1871, New York Times, THE NEW CAPITOL.; Preparations for the Laying of the Corner-Stone.
A Chapter from History Sketch of the Old Capitol. Origin of the New Movement and its Progress.
ALBANY, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 1871.--The near approach of the time when the corner-stone of the new Capitol is to be laid invests with some interest the proceedings that marked the construction of its predecessor, the present well-known building.

Up to 1804 the people were satisfied that the old structure, on the corner of Broadway and Hudson streets, in the City of Albany, was sufficiently capacious to do all of the business necessary to run the State of New-York, and they, therefore, made no movement toward superseding it by a better. In that, however, the citizens possessed themselves with the idea that the building was not large enough to properly honor the assembled wisdom of the State of New-York, and they therefore moved the Legislature to pass a law appointing Commissioners to proceed and build a State-house that should properly accommodate the demands of the State. This bill entitled "An act making provisions for improving Hudson River below the City of Albany, and for other purposes," was passed on the 6th day of April, 1804. It named John Tayler, Daniel Hale, Philip S. Van Rensselaer, (then Mayor of Albany,) Simeon De Witt and Nicholas N. Quackenbush, Commissioners to project and erect a building suitable for the public purposes of the State, and for the Courts and offices of the City of Albany. It authorized the levying of a tax upon the County of Albany of $3,000, and upon the City of Albany of a like sum. This is explained by the fact that at this time the building was intended to be built by and belong to the Corporation of Albany. The bill further authorized the managers of lotteries, created in "An act for the encouragement of literature," to raise the sum of $12,000, in addition to the sums already provided, and when such sum was raised to pay it over to the Commissioners. Each Commissioner gave a bond in the penal sum of $30,000 to the people of the State to faithfully perform his duties under the act, and to account every six months to the Controller. They were also empowered to sell the old State-house.

Having now a certain capital on which to proceed, the Commissioners proceeded to engage their architect, one HOOKER, and to make estimates of the probable cost of the venture. The amount upon which they finally proceeded appears in an estimate in the handwriting of Simeon De Witt, filed in the office of the State Engineer, to have been $120,000. Ground was broken, and for two years the work went on. On the 7th day of March, 1807, the available money having been expended, the Commissioners report to the Legislature as follows:

AMOUNT REQUIRED IN CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATE-HOUSE.

To inclose building...$16,000
To complete interior...$20,000
Portico...$6,800
Total...$42,800

This proposed a wooden cornice and roof, and if the work was done in stone and slate, then $10,000 additional would be needed

AMOUNT RECEIVED BY COMMISSIONERS.

From sale of City Hall...$17,200
Tax on City and County of Albany...$6,000
Given by Corporation of Albany...$10,000

This sum of $33,200 had already been expended, and there only remained provided for by law, the $12,000 authorized to be raised by lottery. The Commissioners report that not less than $30,000 more will be required. The report goes on to say that the work could have been done for a less sum if brick had been used instead of stone, but that the Commissioners would have considered that they had erred in their duty had they used less substantial material. That the State has as yet made no contribution, the whole burden of the building so far, except the $3,000 taxed upon the County of Albany, having been borne by the city. The Commissioners close by asking further aid, and saying that the strictest economy had marked the construction of the work. This was referred to a Committee composed of Messrs. Rudd, C. Platt, Sheldon, Van Olinda and Roseboom, on the 27th of March, 1807. This Committee asked to be discharged from further consideration of the report. This was done, and upon motion, a joint Committee were appointed, and they recommended that the State advance $20,000 to the Commissioners, to be repaid by a lottery. This was done, and the pot was kept boiling for a while longer.

On the 24th of March, 1808, the Commissioners made the following detailed report of the sums received by them:

From tax on City of Albany...$3,000
From tax on County of Albany...$3,000
From Corporation of Albany...$10,000
From sale of Court-house...$17,200
From proceeds of lottery...$12,000
From the State, to be reimbursed by a lottery...$20,000
From extra donation by Corporation of Albany...$4,000
Total...$69,200

They estimate that $25,000 more will be required, and state hat if that sum is given by the State the City of Albany will level and beautify the grounds about the building. This was referred to a committee, and on the 29th of March, 1808, they reported a bill, which was passed on the 8th of April, giving the $25,000 required on condition that the corporation of Albany secure to the people of the State the use of such apartments in the new buildings as the Legislature may require for public purposes, and that they further execute a bond to the people of the State, in the penal sum of $50,000, to faithfully perform such act; and also, that the Corporation of Albany immediately proceed to level and ornament the grounds. This was evidently done, for on the 11th day of March, 1809, the final report of the Commissioners is made, and they say nothing of any neglect by the City of Albany. The report is as follows:

Expended in erecting the State-house, furnishing, &c....$97,000
On hand in money and material...$3,000 00

and closes by saying, that the furniture to be used will vary in quality, so that no estimate can be made upon the additional amount required to complete the work. The report is signed by John Taylor, Chairman Board of Commissioners.

The Legislature in the Supply bill of 1809 appropriated $5,000 to complete the furnishing of the building. This failing to accomplish that result, on the 30th of March, 1809, the last act relating to the erection of the old Capitol was passed, and $5,000 was appropriated to finally end the job. Up to the date of this act the building had been known as the State-house, it now became known as the Capitol. According to these figures the entire cost of the building, furniture and all, was not less than $110,000. The Capitol building remained the property of the city until about the time the present City Hall was built, when for $20,000, and the privilege of quarrying marble from the Sing Sing Works, the city sold its interest to the State. Very little is said about the corner-stone of the Capitol building, and it is impossible to find any record of its situation or contents. In the Albany Gazette of April 23, 1806, the following appears:

"Yesterday the corner-stone of the new State-house, to be erected in this city, was laid by Hon. P.S. Van Rensselaer, in presence of the Chancellor, Judges of the Supreme Court, members of the Corporation, State-house Commissioners, and other respectable citizens. The site upon which this edifice is to be erected is at the head of State-street, on the west side of the public park. It is to be built of stone, is 100 by 80 feet, on an improved plan, embracing much elegance with convenience and durability."

And this is all that was said in the papers of that day of the laying of the corner-stone of the venerable building now the head-quarters of the Tammany organization. It was not considered necessary in those days to call in the Masons to perform the duty that lay directly in the province of the Mayor, as Mr. Van Rensselaer then was; and it is very unfortunate that Mr. Hoffman does not feel qualified to perform a duty which he, as the representative of the people, is justly called upon to perform.

The history of the new Capitol, since the time when it became an established fact by the action of the Legislature, may not be uninteresting. Certainly the vast sums of money already spent to bring it to a position when the first layer of superstructure may be laid interests the taxpayers of the State. The quarrels over appropriations, the jealousies of Commissioners---all these things have been frequently written; but now they are all to be buried under the corner-stone, and the work go on to an early completion. On the 27th day of January, 1865, the Senate adopted the following resolution, and thence-forward the building of a Capitol became a State burden:

Resolved, That a select committee of three be appointed by the President of the Senate, to ascertain by correspondence or otherwise, with the City of Buffalo and other municipalities of the State, on what terms the grounds and buildings necessary for a new Capitol and public offices can be obtained, and that said committee report as soon as possible.

On the Committee were appointed Wm. Lamibeer, Jr. C. J. Folger, O. M. Allaben, who, on the 16th of February, 1865, sent to the different cities and towns in the State a circular, stating the nature of their appointment, and asking that reports be made from different portions of the State of the premises available for the purposes of a new Capitol, the cost and ease of procuring building materials, facilities of travel, statistics of health, size and population of town, and other matters. An answer was required as early as the 1st of March. This was sent to the Mayor of the cities in the State and to two hundred villages. It not bringing the desired responses, another circular was sent on the 11th of March, asking that the request be attended to, and that the replies be sent in by the 20th inst. Further saying that a meeting would be held by the Committee on the 22d of March to hear any parties interested. On the 30th of March the Committee reported that they had received numerous letters in reply to their circular, that the City of New-York offered a site on the Battery, City Hall Park, Tompkins-square, Mount Morris-square, Central Park or Washington Heights, and to erect, free of expense to the State, all the necessary buildings, and to furnish a plot on Fifth-avenue one hundred feet square, opposite the Central Park, and to erect an executive mansion thereon. Yonkers tendered three beautiful sites for Capitol and State-houses, Saratoga Springs offered sites and such a sum of money as the State should think proper. The village of Whitestown proposed to donate any quantity of ground. The City of Albany offered the square known as the Congress Hall property. Buffalo, Oswego and Utica declined to have anything to do with the matter. The village of Athens, better known as the end of Vanderbilt's White Elephant Railroad, made liberal propositions, and one Alonzo Greene appeared before the Committee and made arguments in its favor. The strongest argument being that he was the only person who had attended the call of the Committee. The Committee say that if the capitol is removed they consider that the City of New-York is the proper place for it, but they doubt the propriety of its removal; and conclude with a recommendation that the bill for the erection of a new Capitol in Albany be passed. The Committee publish in an appendix twenty-four communications from different portions of the State. One from Margaretville. Delaware County, breaks into verse and opens thus:

"Amid the wilds of Delaware,
From politics and war afar, Encradled by the snow-clad hills,
And culled by trickling mountain rills,
There sleeps a little village white,
And from that pretty town I write.
What is its name? Well, if you will,
The people call it Margaretville."

This writer goes on to say that the postman, as usual, went his rounds that afternoon with a letter directed to the village President. The place had no President, and so the postmaster must break the seal. Then comes the picture of Margaretville, as the centre of hurrying crowds and the hope of future Legislatures. This fades away as the material questions of the Committee are appreciated. The poet offers everything:

"Take what you will--we'll naught refuse--
Pay when you will, and as you choose;
Or, like Van Rensselaer of old,
Possess the lands and keep your gold."

Closing with an appeal for the health of the Governor and the State officers who are to be saved by the air of Delaware, the poet subsides.

The other communications are tame and commonplace. On the 1st day of May, 1865, the Legislature passed a law providing that when the City of Albany shall donate to the State the plot of ground known as Congress Hall Block, then the Governor is authorized to appoint three Commissioners, who shall proceed to procure plans, &c., at the expense of the City of Albany, for a proper building to be used as a Capitol. The building to be located on the site of the present Capitol. Ten thousand dollars were appropriated by the State for general purposes. The city having made the donation of the property in the following February, the Governor appointed Hamilton Harris, Jno. V. L. Pruyn and O. B. Latham Commissioners. On the 14th of April, 1866, a bill was passed that stated that, inasmuch as the City of Albany had complied with the terms of the original act, the site of the Capitol is hereby ratified and confirmed. No money was appropriated this year. On the 23d of April, 1867, the sum of $250,000 was appropriated, followed May 19, 1868, by another amount of $250,000, and an increase in the Commission of five members, namely: J. S. Thayer, A. B. Cornell, W. A. Rice, James Terwilliger and John T. Hudson.

Constant quarrels had existed since the forming of the Commission between Messrs. Harris and Latham, resulting in memorials from the latter gentleman to the Legislature, in which he charged waste of public money, &c. This, however, did not avail anything, and in 1869 the Legislature appropriated $400,000 for buying lands and proceeding in the construction of the building. There had been a constant endeavor upon the part of the people from several localities to effect a change of location after it was found that the new Capitol was a certain thing, and bills were introduced to change the site, at every session. Endeavors to block the appropriations, &c., were the common labors of the Assembly. On the special bill of 1870 to levy a tax to raise $1,300,000, this opposition became very strong. But the danger blew over, and the appropriation was made. Up to this time, therefore, the account stands:

Appropriated by chapter 210, Laws 1863, to buy lands...$70,000
Donated by the City of Albany...$6,000
Appropriated by the State for plans, &c., 1865...$10,000
Donated by City of Albany, (Congress Hall) 1866...$65,200
Appropriated by chapter 445, laws 1867...$250,000
Appropriated by chapter 830, laws 1868 $250,000
Appropriated by chapters 645 and 824 laws 1869...$400,000
Appropriated by chapter 492, laws 1870...$1,300,000
Total...$2,351,200

Amount paid for land...$410,200
Expenses of building to Jan. 1, 1871...$1,941,000

This year the Legislature appropriated $650,000 and appointed a new Commission, composed of W. A. Rice, H. Harris, W. C. Kingsley, E.A. Merritt, Delos De Wolf and C. Depew. The Superintendent claims that he can finish the work so that the Assembly of 1874 can hold their sessions in the building, only asking for money. The law of 1868 limited the expenditure to four million dollars, but since the corner-stone rests on two million dollars, it is hardly possible that the intention of that body will be carried out. The Masons over the State are making every preparation to have the ceremonies of the 24th the most august that have ever illustrated the records of the country. Every Lodge in the Commonwealth will be represented by a committee, and the uniforms will be as gorgeous as the possibilities of Masonic properties will allow. At first a feeling of opposition developed among the anti-Masons of the State, but as the show is of no political significance, and the Order claim to have officiated at the inception of Solomon’s Temple, it has been judged best to let them go on and play their play.

This Shit Doesn't Stop.

And who the fuck is paying for it?

December 18, 1873, The Sun, Page 1, Column 5, A GREAT WORK BEGUN.
Laying the Corner of the New Bridge Across the Hudson at Poughkeepsie.
POUGHKEEPSIE, Dec. 16.--An immense concourse witnessed the laying of the corner stone of the proposed bridge to cross the Hudson at this place, A special train reached here from Hartford about noon, bringing the Major of that city and representatives of the Common Council and about one hundred of Hartford's influential citizens. The fast train up on the Hudson River road brought leading Pennsylvania Central Railroad folks, including J. Edgar Thompson, Mr. A. L. Dennis, John J. Blair, A. Carnega, [Carnegie perhaps?] G. F. McCandlaas, J. H. Lindville, and others.

At noon a grand procession was formed of all the military and civic societies--George Parker, Grand Marshal--and marched to Reynolds's Hill, where the corner stone was to be laid. Here thousands had congregated to witness the ceremonies, which were conducted by Grand Master James W. Husted of Westchester. The exercises were entirely Masonic, and similar to those which surrounded the laying of the corner stone of the new Capitol at Albany, After the corner stone was laid cannon were fired and the bells of the city were rung. The procession moved up town again, and there the distinguished guests were tendered a banquet at the Opera House. The welcome speech was made by Mayor Eastman. The Opera House was handsomely decorated, and the tables, which were provided for three hundred persons, were loaded with good things. After the speech-making and eating the most of the guests returned to their homes on the early evening trains.

When completed this bridge will save over one hundred miles of railroad track between the New England States and the Pennsylvania coal fields. The entire length will be about one mile, of which about half--a trifle less than 2,500 feet--is over the channel of the river, and the other half consists of approaches, being mainly on the east side. The height of the bridge from the water to the bottom chord of the huge trusses is 130 feet, and the trusses themselves will be about sixty-five feet high, so that the entire elevation of the track above high water mark will be nearly two hundred feet. There will be four piers in the channel, and one on each side close to the bank, so that the main bridge will consist of five immense spans, each five hundred feet long. The land approaches will be made up of shorter spans.

A Glaring Impropriety

The Sun., June 27, 1871, Page 2, Column 1, A Glaring Impropriety
At the laying of the corner-stone of the new Capitol at Albany, last Saturday, an impropriety was committed which admits of no excuse but a want of perception of its nature and extent on the part of the persons concerned in it. A private organization, known as the Freemasons, were not merely permitted to be present as spectators, but were invited to perform and did perform their peculiar rites as a part of the public ceremonies of the occasion. We have nothing to suy against Masonry as an institution, nor against its symbolic observances; but that its votaries should be thus officially recognized by our State authorities, is a thing of which all the rest of the commuuity has a right to complain.

If the Masons were, as they profess to have originally been, bona fide workers in stone and mortar, it would undoubtedly be fitting for them to do something like what they did on Saturday. They, and all the other mechanics whose skill and labor will be employed in erecting the new Capitol, might properly participate in the formal commencement of the building. But it is notorious that they are not masons at all, and that the technical jargon they make use of has only an allegorical meaning. Grand Master Anthon is a lawyer, who never did a day's mason work in his life; and the other Worshipfuls and Most Worshipfuls, who assisted him, are as innocent as he is of practical experience in the trade. They went through the form of applying the square and the level to the stone, but they would probably be puzzled to tell whether it was really well laid or not, notwithstanding their glib declaration that it was all right. The whole concern is secret and quasi-religious in its nature, and it is a gross assumption for it, on account of its name, to claim a prominent part in a ceremony of such general interest as the laying of the corner stone of a State Capitol.

Besides, there is a strong feeling of opposition to Masonry among a large and influential class of our people. The Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches formally condemn it as inconsistent with true religion, and other denominations view it with distrust if not with enmity. It was an open affront to all these citizens to thus conspicuously honor the object of their dislike. It is an if an Orange Lodge should be invited to assist in laying the cornerstone of a corporation building in this city. The other faction might well say that this was an insult to them, and so may the anti-Masons say of the prominence just given to the Masons at Albany. The whole thing was a blunder, which we hope will never be repeated.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Is it Wise?

June 3, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 4, Column 2, Link:
A dispatch, the, the other day, announced that the corner-stone of the new Capitol at Albany was to be laid with the ceremonial of the Masonic Order on their honored day, the anniversary of St. John the Baptist. There are some reasons why such a programme may seem at first view appropriate. The Freemasons are a large and powerful body, embracing a great many of our most trusted and honored citizens, having no political affiliations, and generally respected for their charitable deeds and useful purposes. Their gorgeous regalia and impressive ritual add a splendor to all public observances in which they take part, and under their auspices we may be sure that the beginning of the new State House will be honored with becoming parade. But is it wise to place the matter in their hands?
If it had been proposed that the Right Rev. Horatio Potter, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York, should lay the corner-stone, with a procession of his Clergy in surplices and stoles; or that Dr. Conroy, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Albany, should bless it with holy water and incense and the sign of the cross; or that the Presbyterian General Assembly should take it in charge, and appoint some of their leading divines to conduct the ceremonies, all parties and denominations would have objected. The Capitol is built for the whole people, without distinction of politics, creed, or opinion. The Freemasons, highly as they are esteemed, do not represent the whole people. To the majority their rites are incomprehensible. To a number not inconsiderable, especially among the Roman Catholics and Episcopalians, the order is, on general principles, offensive. Intrusting the ceremony to them seems to us scarcely less unwise than it would be to give it to a religious denomination, or the Sons of Temperance, or the Ancient Order of Hibernians, or the Anti-Slavery Society, or the Union League Club.
We say here no word against the Freemasons. The praise of their goods deeds is in the mouths of all men; if there are features of their organization to which some good citizens have objected, the time is long past since these were the topic of political dispute or any general bitterness. But we are sure that the most zealous Masons will agree with us in holding that this is an affair that can only be properly conducted by those fairly representing all the people of the State. It is not a work for any benevolent organization, howver holy, for any political party, however pure, for any private association whatsoever, however numerous and honored. It is the work of the people of the State, through the officers holding the certificate and seal of their elections.

A State Capitol On Steroids.

July 11, 1866, Albany Evening Journal, Page 1, Column 6,
From the N. Y. Evening Post, The New Capitol of this State.

The legislature of this State having fixed the location of the Capitol at Albany, the "New Capitol Commissioners," Messrs. Hamilton Harris, John V. L. Pruyn and O. B. Latham, have issued a circular containing instructions and details for architects who may prepare plans and designs for the proposed structure. The circular is accompanied by a map of the Capitol grounds and places surrounding them, prepared by Mr. R. H. Bingham, city surveyor of Albany.

The accommodations which are required in the New Capitol are as follows:

Executive Department—Five rooms for the Governor—one about twenty-two feet by thirty, a private room of about four hundred feet area, two rooms for his secretaries and clerks, each with about five hundred feet area, and an anteroom to each of about four hundred feet area. Four rooms for the Adjutant General, each of about five hundred feet area, with small anteroom attached, and two of about four hundred feet area each. The other members of the Governor's military staff will require six rooms of about four hundred feet area each, with small ante rooms. This department will require a record room, fire-proof, of about six hundred feet area, for books and papers.

The Senate —The Senate chamber must contain suitable arrangements for a body of thirty-two members, with galleries for spectators, and a reporter's gallery. A room will also be required of about four hundred feet area for the president; a cloak-room for senators of about six hundred feet; a reception room for visitors of about five hundred feet, with a suitable ante room; a library of about six hundred feet, two rooms for the clerk of about four hundred and fifty feet each; a room for the post office of about four hundred feet two rooms, one for the Sergeant-at-Arms, and one for doorkeepers of about four hundred feet, with a document room of about the same size; two committee rooms of about six hundred square feet each, and eight of about four hundred; a record room; fire proof, of about five hundred feet area. The committee rooms and president's room to have recesses in the walls for book shelves.

The Assembly --This chamber will have accomodations for one hundred and twenty-eight members, galleries for spectators, and a reporters' gallery. A room will be required for the Speaker; a cloak room for members; a reception room for visitors; a library; two rooms for the Clerk; a room for the post office; a room for the Sergeant-at-Arms; a room for Doorkeepers—most of whom are gentlemen of leisure; a document room, two eight hundred feet and fifteen four hundred foot committee rooms; a record room—all of about the same character as those of the Senate.

Court of Appeals.—The Court-room should contain about 2,000 feet, with a gallery and other suitable arrangements for reporters and visitors; a library of 800 feet area, and a consultation room of 600 feet, with an ante-room. There should be two rooms for the clerks of the court, and a record room, each 600 feet in area; also, a room of 400 feet for the officers of the court and the accommodation of counsol. Also one other court room is required, about 35 feet by 25, with an anteroom of 20 by 15.

Department of Public Instruction.—Three rooms are required for the Superintendent of Public Instruction—one of 600 and two of about 600 feet area, with an ante-room to one of them about 65 by 18.

Insurance Department.—This department will require one room of about 600 feet area, and two of 450 area each, one of them with an ante-room of about 15 by 18 feet.

The State Library.—It is desirable to keep the State Library in two separate apartments with one or more reading rooms attached to each. The law library will require room for about twenty-five thousand volumes; and the general library for seventy-five thousand. Requisite capacity is desired, by galleries or otherwise, to contain, the former fifty thousand and the latter one hundred and fifty thousand volumes.

A room of about five hundred feet area is wanted for the Regents of the University, in case the Constitutional Convention shall not do away with them; another for the Secretary; and another of about four hundred foot, for records, &.c; a packing-room and a room for duplicates, about four hundred feet area.

A range of about four rooms will be wanted in some retired part of the building for storing books and papers that will accumulate in the various departments. They should have each an area of about six hundred feet.

Suitable rooms will be required for the keeper of the Capitol, and for three assistants and watchmen; also storerooms for fuel and miscellaneous purposes.

The ground area of the proposed building gives a front of about 280 feet, a depth limited to 365 feet. The grounds are such as to render a sub-basement desirable. An inner court or quadragle is suggested. Special attention must be given to the best mode of ventilation, heating and lighting; any apparatus for the purpose which requires the use of steam power to be placed outside of the building in the reserved area of twenty-five feet, and extended under the sidewalk if necessary. Storerooms for fuel may be provided outside or in the main building. In addition to any other mode of heating that may be proposed, the system of open fire places is considered desirable.

The sad experience of the last quarter of a century, during which many members of the Legislature have been disabled and hurried to the grave by the pestilential atmosphere of the Chambers, appears to have fixed the Commissioners in the purpose to secure ventilation by the old-fashioned fire-place, till the discoveries of science shall have provided sure means of relief in other ways.

Among the suggestion's offered are the use of stone or iron for floors, groined arches and Iron girders to hoId the structure together, ample provision for water and gas, "hoists" to facilitate access to the upper stories, safes seven feet high by seven wide and four deep, for the Insurance Department, the offices of the clerks and the State Library, smaller safes for other rooms, written statements by each architect of his plans and designs, together with the building material to be employed, &c.

Drawings should be in outline only on white paper or card board, on a scale of one-tenth of an inch to the foot, with such internal views as the architects see fit to furnish. No colors should be used except to indicate materials of different kinds. Perspectives, if preferred, may be presented in color, and written descriptions may accompany drawings. An elevation of each of the fronts of the building should be given, and a prospective view showing the main front and the northern side of the building.

A premium of $2,500 will be awarded to the plan and design to which the Commissioners shall award the first place; and of $1,000 each to the two plans to which they award the second place. They reserve the right to purchase for $600 any set of plans having merit, but not entitled, in their judgment, to an award. They also reserve power to declare that none of them, or only one or more, are satisfactory; and to reduce or apportion between several parties any premium or premiums, as their merits may warrant. Rejected plans will be returned.

The legislature having made no appropriation for the work, it is left for future sessions to determine when it shall begin. It is estimated that about $500,000 annually will be required from the beginning till the completion of the undertaking; and that the aggregate will be about the same as the cost of building the Court House in this city.

No intelligent person will for a moment question the necessity of an early commencement of this work. The present accommodations are insufficient for the wants of the public service, and proper provisions should be made at as early a say as possible. Despite the insalubrity of the place and the defective accomodations for sojourners, the general sentiment appears to have fixed upon Albany as the most suitable point for the capital of the State. A metropolian city like New York seems to be considered as unsuitable; and only a minority favor removal to any western town. The legislature has accordingly accepted the situation, and what remains is to proceed to the work as soon as may be expedient.

June 24, 1871, The New-York Tribune, Page 1, Column 6,
HISTORY OF THE NEW CAPITOL—ITS ARCHITECTURE.
From The Albany Evening Journal, June 22

In the latter part of January, 1865, the Senate passed a resolution appointing a committee of three to ascertain from the different municipalities of the State, "on what terms the grounds and buildings necessary for a new Capitol and public offices can be obtained." The Committee appointed, in accordance with this resolution, at once proceeded to inquire by circular, of all the leading cities and towns of the State what they were willing to do in the way of "eligible offers." The responses to this circular were numerous from all parts of the State. Albany was among the cities that made overtures. She offered what was known as the Congress Hall property for the site of the proposed building. The Committee recommended a bill providing for the erection of a new Capitol at Albany. On May 1, 1866, a law was passed providing that whenever, within three years from the passage of the bill, the City of Albany should convey to the State the Congress Hall block, the Governor should appoint a Board of three Commissioners, to be known as " The New Capitol Commissioners," for the purpose of erecting a new Capitol. Ten thousand dollars was appropriated for the commencement of the work. In the year following, the City of Albany having complied with the requirements of the bill, the Governor appointed Hamilton Harris, John V. L. Pruyn, and O. B. Latham, Commissioners, and on the 14th of April, an act confirming the location of the Capitol at Albany was passed.

In 1867, $250,000 was appropriated toward the erection of the new Capitol by the legislature. In 1868, $250,000 more was appropriated, and the number of Commissioners increased. Hamilton Harris, V. L. Pruyn, Obadiah B. Latham, James S. Thayer, Alonzo B. Cornell, William A. Rice, James Terwilliger, John T. Hudson, constituting the then Board. In 1869, $400,000 was appropriated; in 1870, $1,300,000 This year the Commission was changed, and Hamilton Harris, William C. Kingsley, Wm. A. Rice, Chauncey M. Depew, De los DeWolf, and Edwin A. Merritt appointed as the new Board. The appropriation for 1871 is $650,000. On the 9th day of December, 1867, the work of excavating for the foundations of the new Capi tol was commenced, since which time the work, with occasional necessary and unavoidable interruptions, has been prosecuted with all energy. The Superintendent is said to affirm that if allowed to "push things" without lot or hindrance, he will put the Legislature in possession in 1874. The cost of the building is restricted by the statute of 1867, and also that of 1868, to "four million of dollars." It will probably not be built without considerable addition to those figures, but, as the Commissioners remark in their Annual Report for 1870, the matter is under the control of the Legislature, and any amount appropriated will be disbursed in any way the Legislature may direct.

The new Capitol is designed in the Renaissance or modern French style of architecture, the prevailing mode of modern Europe. In the exterior composition of the design there is a general adherence to the style of the pavilions of the New Louvre, of the Hotel de Ville of Paris, and the elegant hall or Maison de Commerce of Lyons. The terrace which forms the grand approach to the east or principal front will form an item of striking architectural detail nowhere else attempted on such an extensive scale, at least in America. The exterior is 290 feet north and south, and 390 east and west. The floor immediately above the level of the plateau of the terrace will be entered through the porticos on Washington-a ve. and State-st. and through a carriage entrance under the portico of the east front. The first, or main entrance floor, will be reached by a bold flight of steps on the east front and also on the west leading through the porticos to the halls of entrance, each having an area of 60 by 74 feet, and 25 feet in hight. Communicating directly with these halls are two grand staircases which form the principal means of communication with the second floor. On the left of east entrance hall are a suite of rooms for the use of the Governor and his secretaries and military staff. On the right are the rooms for the Secretary of State and Attorney-General, with a corridor leading to the rooms apportioned for the Court of Appeals, which is 70 by 77 feet.

On the second or principal floor are the chambers for the Senate and Assembly, and for the State Library, all of which (in elevation) will occupy two stories, making 43 feet of hight. Rooms for the committees and other purposes will occupy the remainder of these floors. The Senate Chamber will be 75 by 55 feet on the floor, with a gallery on three sides of 18 feet width. The Assembly Chamber will be 92 by 75 feet on the floor, and surrounded by a gallery similar to that of the Senate Chamber. The Library will occupy the whole of the east front of these stories, and will be 283 feet long and 64 feet wide. These chambers will all be lighted from the roof as well as from the side windows. Ample provision is made for the Board of Regents for packing and store-rooms required by the two Houses, and for a spacious and comfortable refreshment-room for the use of the members. When the building is completed the old Capitol, Library and Congress Hall will be removed, leaving a park on the east 472 feet long and 330 feet wide, or of a little more than 2 1/2 acres.

January 2, 1875, New-York Tribune, THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.
"...on the north side, is the room of the Court of Appeals, which is 70 feet by 77."
"The Governor's reception room is in the south-east corner, and will be a very handsome apartment, 35 by 52 feet."

Rembrandt Who?

Whatever became of the front runner, do you suppose?

March 15, 1866, The New York Sun, Page 2, Column 2,

The New Capitol Building at Albany.
The discussion in the Legislature upon the erection of a new Capitol building at Albany, is a subject of great interest to the people of the Empire State, who have for many years been convinced that some suitable building should replace the miserable apology now used as the Capitol of the first State in the Union. When the Legislature first considered the question of erecting a new building, various plans and models were submitted by different architects; and there is now on exhibition a number of these miniature representations of what the new Capitol will be, provided the Legislature adopt any one of the number now presented for inspection. At the present time only one complete model appears to embrace all those features which we think should be introduced into a public building designed for the occupation of our Legislative Assemblies and other State officers. As we believe the Empire State can afford to erect one of the handsomest structures---this side of the Capitol in Washington---we do not think the people will object to being taxed for as perfect a building, for such purposes, as our architects and builders are skillful enough to plan and erect.

The model of REMBRANDT LOCKWOOD, Esq., an architect of this city, combines grandeur and beauty with usefulness. According to the plan this building will cover an area of 170,714 square feet---having four fronts. The principle front will be 312 feet wide, the walls being carried up in the Roman Corinthian style of architecture to a height of over one hundred feet, and these ornamented with a cornice exceedingly rich and beautiful. An immense dome rises two hundred feet higher, being 317 feet above the pavement, and from its summit will be seen an extensive view of the country around Albany. The dimensions of this dome are said to be only a few feet smaller than those of the dome on the Church of St. Peter in Rome, but unlike the latter, this dome will appear self supported in the air by immense figures, or caryatides designed in harmony with other pieces of statuary, placed in niches and pedestals around the building.

The design of Mr. LOCKWOOD has received the unqualified praise of all who have visited it, and the indications are that it will be adopted, many of the members of the Legislature and the State Government having expressed themselves favorably. We presume the work of building will not be long delayed by the discussions that are going on in the Legislature, for as soon as our law makers understand that the people of this State desire a Capitol building that shall be worthy of our position in the Union, they will not hesitate to take the final legislative action necessary to produce such a structure.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ouch! Scathing!

So, apparently there was yet a third ceiling in the Assembly Chamber, one which predated the groin-vaulted stone ceiling which began to fail in its first season, and the fake-oak papier-mache ceiling with which it was replaced ten years later. This original ceiling is here criticized as a cheap, fraudulent conception in an ostensibly authentic structure, although the issues of acoustics were not addressed with the second ceiling, nor fire-proofing with the third, when the fire of 1911 sent a massive, 800 pound chandelier crashing to the floor when its supports burned away---or so we were told. Why such a heavy fitting would not have been attached to the iron-beam rafters herein described remains an architectural mystery.


Feb. 29, 1876, New York Times, HOW A CAPITOL IS BUILT.
The history of our State buildings for the Capitol at Albany is thus far one of the most instructive that has been offered of our system of carrying our public works of taste. Most intelligent men understand what a public building representing a wealthy and powerful community like the State of New-York ought to be. They can see that it should approach in its dignity, simplicity, and practical arrangement the great buildings for legislative or civil purposes which have become models for all succeeding ages. Above all, it should be genuine throughout, and, as in all good architecture, no ornamental feature should be introduced which was not a part and an expression of its practical character as a building. Then, whatever its external architecture, we had a right to expect that within its should be light, convenient, and suitable for its legislative and public purposes.

We have not space to relate the history in detail of the way in which the construction of the Capitol fell into the hands of its present architect and superintendent. It is no discredit to him to say that he does not in the least represent the best talent of the profession, and is not even an American. The Legislature have for some time been increasingly anxious as to the expense of the structure, and more and more doubtful as to its internal plan and external design. That they were reasonably so will appear from a few facts. Up to last year the building had only been finished to the main floor, and yet the cost had been $5,000,000. The architect had not even had the prudence or the ability to make an exact computation of the necessary expense of the remainder, but a careful professional estimate has shown that the building could not have been finished with the present designs for less than $14,000,000. The extravagance of this expense might have been paid for and forgotten. But the design itself was most defective.

In the elevation, as shown in the published designs, it presents a most singular and confused appearance. A Grecian pediment on the eastern front is relieved by semi-Gothic towers and a Renaissance roof and half tower. Though the foundation is as massive and genuine as anything known in modern architecture, yet here the roof ornaments are counterfeit, being of sheet-iron to represent stone, with a sort of cornice to represent stone-coping which turns out to be galvanized iron. The copper ornamentation around the half-towers is exceedingly tawdry and poor. The architect had a grand opportunity for a facade, so large is the plan, and yet the whole eastern and the southern sides are so broken as to lose all dignity, and yet not to attain picturesqueness. The balconies are uniformly put where they are not needed, and left out where they should be placed. Little of the ornamentation seems added where there is any architectural reason for it. The whole of this immense and almost tasteless structure is surmounted by a gigantic cupola, 313 feet high, of a singularly composite and unpleasing character. But bad as is the exterior, the interior arrangements are still worse. The ground plan, it will be remembered, is an immense cube, with a square hole in the middle. The corridors run the length of this cube, and it will hardly be believed by our readers, that there are two dark halls, each 340 feet in length, only lighted by a window at each end. Several rooms have no external means of lighting.

The legislative halls are not made conspicuous, and are difficult to find. The Assembly room is 141 1/2 feet long, 85 1/2 wide, and 42 high. The ceiling is a poor fire-proof cement ceiling, on iron rafters, and so hung as to make its acoustic properties very doubtful. The committee-rooms are double the size of those of the Capitol at Washington, very high, and dark, except near the windows. A number of the committee-rooms are two stories below the Senate and Assembly rooms. Throughout the interior the ornamentation is tawdry and poor, being of cheap plaster instead of wood or stone. The immense windows, with seventy-pound weights, are set in wooden (instead of iron) jambs, and are almost sure to warp under the sun, and give great annoyance. Nowhere within is there a dignified access to that which constitutes the object of the building--the legislative halls.

We have not space to criticise further the defects of this expensive structure, which are manifold. The Legislature, it will be remembered, finally referred the whole matter of the construction of this building to a committee, of which Mr. Dorsheimer was Chairman. These gentlemen initiated a reform in such proceedings, by referring the whole question to experts. They selected for this purpose Mr. F. L. Olmsted, well known for his taste, integrity, and knowledge of the expense of public works, Mr. Leopold Eidlitz, the builder of some of the most beautiful structures in this City, and Mr. Richardson, an architect in Boston of high repute. These gentlemen, for almost a nominal sum, have prepared a new plan, new specifications, and, while of course preserving the general character of the building, have corrected some of the defects, and now in their report to the committee of the Legislature, offer a new Capitol two millions of dollars cheaper than the former one, and a building of some taste and dignity. For the sake of the whole public, it is to be hoped that their plan will be adopted.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AUTHUR GILMAN.

January 9, 1875, New-York Tribune, Page 2, Column 2, THE COST OF THE NEW CAPITOL.

REMARKABLE CARD FROM THE FORMER ARCHITECT--

AUTHUR GILMAN SHOWS THE ENORMOUS WASTE WHICH HAS OCCURRED--THE BOARD Of COMMISSIONERS' SYSTEM RADICALLY WRONG.

Fluellen--There is occasions and causes why and wherefore, in all things. King Henry V. Act V., Scene 1.

To the Editor of The Tribune.

Sir: The tax paying publie of the State of New-York will read that portion of the Controller's Annual Report which relates to the cost of the New Capitol at Albany, as published in The Tribune of this morning, with no very tranquil or comfortable reflections. It is here stated that "there has been expended upon the New Capitol, to the present time, including $500,000 for the purchase of lands, and excluding unadjusted claims contracted by the Commissioners, fully $5,800,000.'' What the amount of those unadjusted claims may be there is no means of ascertaining from the report; but aside from these, we have an admitted expenditure of $5,300,000 upon the structure alone. And it is understood that the work has been carried but little, it any, above the first of the three stories which make up the elevation of the principal fronts.

Under such an official exhibit of waste and imbecility, it would be wrong for any one who is thoroughly conversant with all the facts of the case to remain silent. The original Board of Commissioners repeatedly pledged themselves to an expenditure not exceeding the appropriation of $4,00,000 for the entire structure---with the single exception of the ornamental sculpture alone. I was at that time one of the two "joint architects" of the Capitol, and furnished the design which was adopted by the Board, and which, in most of its leading features, is now being carried out. That the design has been somewhat changed by the present architect in charge, and perhaps with a material increase of expense, I am not disposed to deny. This fact is well alluded to by the Controller, in the concluding portion of his remarks on the subject. But I deem it a duty to inform the public that I procured at that time not estimates merely, but written tenders of contract from not less than three Separate firms of experienced builders in New-York to do and complete all the works on the plans as thus adopted, in each case for a sum within the said approptiation of four millions of dollars. And these tenders were accompanied in each case by the offer to furnish ample and undoubted security for the satisfactory completion of the whole work. Bills of quantities, exhibiting every item of the proposed contracts, were carefully taken out; and as a single instance of the ample eviidence that the sum named was abundant for completion of the design, I quote from the sworn testimony of one of the contractors referred to before a Committee of the Senate, as reported in The Albany Argus of the next day after, "that he estimated the cost of the new Capitol, according to the present plans, at $3,800,500, and he was willing and ready to furnish ample bonds, provided he could obtain the contract, to build it at that price."

But these tenders, although eagerly quoted by the then Commissioners as an inducement to the Legislature for further grants of ready money, seemed to be regarded by them as of no further consequence. Indeed, I rescued one of them from a waste-basket in the Senate Committee room within ten days after the foregoing testimony was given. And it very soon became evident to me that a majority of the Commissioners, at least, had no wish or intention to contract for the work. It even seemed to me---and to many others who were cognizant of the facts, now for the first time publicly stated---that some of the most active of the Board had not the slightest idea of limiting the expenses of the building. To secure a handsome annual appropriation appeared to be the limit of their intentions, and a distiguished citizen of Albany remarked to me at the time that "they would make a placer of it yet." How well this gentleman estimated the probable result appears from the official report of the Conroller as published in The Tribune of to-day.

It is due to the truth to state that there were gentlemen in the minority of each of the Boards of Commissioners under whom I served, who were sincerely and conscientiously anxious for a different mode of procedure. But their voices and influence were powerless to effect a change, and they, one after another, resigned, or were left out in successive reorganizations of the Board. And the only reply to my own often repeated and urgent applications to the Commissioners to put the whole work under a definite and satisfactory contract ---so as to assure its completion within the sum at which I had estimated the proper cost, as proved by the bids above mentioned---was to drop quietly my name from the "joint" design, and to dispense with my further services.

I hope that this simple and direct statement of facts will suffice to throw some light on the worse than folly of the prcsent system of executing important public works under the direction of a "Board of Commissioners." In this respect the message of Gov. Dix last year hit the exact point of the difficulty when he recommended the appointment of some known and tried, efficient, professional architect, whose whole character and reputation would be at stake in the proper conduct of his work, and who would be held strictly accountable in the public eye for the honest and economical discharge of his duties. If the State of New-York had occasion to send a ship and cargo to sea valued at $4,000,000 or $5,000,000, it is scarcely to be supposed that they would appoint a "Board of Commissioners" to dictate how she should be navigated. They would rather select a careful and experienced commander, with second and third officers of a like judicious selection, and confide the precious venture to their trained and habituated skill. Now, to build a Capitol well is a more arduous and difficult piece of work than to sail any ship in the world. And the public may be well assured that never will a straightforward administration of their public works, or an unembarrassed and economical execution of fine and creditable designs be secured to their service until some such course as that recommended by Gov. Hill be steadily, faithfully, und intelligently carried out.                          Yours, Arthur Gilman.

New-York, Jan. 7, 1875.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sword of Damocles, or Giving Toppled Themis Her Due.

November 18, 1882, The Sun, Page 2, Column 2, Will the Roof of the Assembly Chamber Tumble on the Assembly?

The architects of the Capitol at Albany have replied to the report of Gov. CORNELL'S expert Commission as to the question whether the vaulted ceiling of the Assembly Chamber ought to be taken down. There is no conclusive agreement of professional opinion in regard to the stability of the roof, nor is there likely to be such an agreement. The public must draw its own conclusions from the facts as it gets them.

The point of immediate interest is whether the Assembly can safely use the Chamber at the coming session. Is the vaulted ceiling likely to go to pieces "all at once and nothing first," like a soap bubble or the deacon's wonderful one-hoss shay? [a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes] There is a vague apprehension to this effect. Some of the gentlemen whom Gov. CORNELL has consulted on the subject evidently fear that the ceiling may tumble in without warning, covering the floor with flattened legislators. Harper's Weekly observes that the Assembly is not likely to sit next winter in a room with a stone roof which may fall upon it "at any moment." Probably not. That would be adding unnecssary solemnity to the responsibilities of office.

But this apprehension of a sudden collapse of the structure is sheer absurdity. The vault could give way only through a failure in itself, a failure in its abuttments, or a failure in its supports. Let us look briefly at the three possibilities in turn, to see whether common sense affords the members of the Assembly any ground for expecting a catastrophe next winter.

If the vaulted ceiling itself gave way, it would be because it was defective either in material or in form. Sandstone is the material of which this ceiling is constructed. The present Capitol Commissioners, we believe, make a mistake of not using sandstone in their work, but the fact remains that the great and lasting achievements of architecture, from Karnak to Cologne, are in sandstone. The Governor's Commision have tested the sandstone used in the Capitol. It is found to be "not uniform in quality or strength." But if it has been found that any particular piece of sandstone is not of the quality or strength required by the particular work assigned to it, the fact is not reported. Nor is it shown that the central vault is improperly constructed as to form. There is abundant evidence to the contrary. The side vaults, those over the walls on which Mr. HUNT'S paintings need some attentions: but the Commission agree that the defect in their construction can be readily remedied. As far as the vault itself is concerned, the ceiling is all right. There is no danger that it will suddenly tumble of its own accord.

Will it fall through any fault in the abuttments? The immense weight of the vaulted roof tends to spread or crush the walls and piers supporting it. The Governor's Commission criticizes the system of half arches and iron rods by which the lateral pressure of the vault is resisted; and as an original proposition there is much force in their criticism. They do not, however, express any fear, or intimate that there is the slightest reason for fearing, that the system will suddenly give way through the failure of the abutments. The Commission have discovered no indications of such an event; and the indications would be unmistakable were it impending.

The remaining source of danger is in the unequal settlement of the foundations. Here there is always danger when a huge mass of masonry is based upon anything but solid rock. The Capitol at Albany is built upon a bed of wet clay. The Commission report that the inequality of settlement has not as yet gone far enough to "imperil the safety of the structure." On the contrary, they find evidence that the settlement of the foundations has ceased, at least for the present. Since a year ago there has been no change perceptible by instruments.

The Commission are of the opinion that the foundations of the Capitol may yield when the bed of wet clay is finally dried out. But that remote possibility, depending upon a gradual geological process, affects not only the roof of the Assembly Chamber, but also the whole Capitol, and the whole town of Albany. If this possibility furnishes sufficient reason for taking down the vaulted roof of the Assembly Chamber, it affords equally good reason for taking down the entire Capitol, and, indeed, for removing Albany itself to some other and securer site. Nobody imagines that the foundations are going to dive suddenly into the clay after remaining motionless for a year. Even it they are sinking gradually and sinking unequally, the legislators will have plenty of warning—they will have weeks and months, and probably years, in which to escape from underneath the falling roof. They need not be alarmed now. From all that has appeared thus far in the technical discussion about the vaulted roof, there is no more reason to believe that it will collapse suddenly than there is to expect that it will violently explode. Whatever may be the verdict of remote times in regard to the stability of the roof, there is no immediate danger of its coming down on the heads of the legislators. It would be folly for them to abandon the Chamber in a panic. And it would be a grotesque piece of folly for them to leave it and occupy, as is proposed, the room directly underneath, where they would be in precisely the same, danger, if there was any danger.

It was a great mistake to build the Capitol where it stands. The vast structure is in several respects a monument of costly blundering. Jobs, changes of plan, professional jealousies, artistic inconsistency, and practical uncertainty have combined to give it a most unfortunate character. It ought to represent the best art of the age; it is, in fact, an architectural hybrid, like the TWEED Court House, with its remarkable addition. It ought to stand as solid as the Pyramid of Cheops; architects and builders are debating whether the roof will tumble in, and how soon the foundations will sink into the bowels of the earth. There is nothing assured and irrefutable about the new Capitol except the fact that it has cost the people of the State an enormous sum of money. It would be a gain every way if the undertaking were abandoned even now, and the seat of government transferred to this city, where it properly belongs.

The panic about the roof of the Assembly Chamber gives new force to these truths. So far as the safety of the Assemblymen this winter is concerned, however, the alarm is unnecessary.

THE FALLING CAPITOL.

October 18, 1882, The Sun, Page 2, Column 5, THE FALLING CAPITOL.

What a Taxpayer Saw in a Recent Visit to Albany.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE SUN—Sir: By to-day's papers I see that Gov. Cornell has called upon the New Capitol Commissioners, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Finance Committees of the two Houses of the Legislature to meet him in Albany to-morrow to consult as to the propriety of calling an extra session of the Legislature on "the condition of the Capitol." It is high time not only to consult, but to take some positive action in regard to this building, so aptly described by Gov. Lucius Robinson, in a message vetoing an appropriation to continue its construction, as "a great public calamity." I was present when this monstrosity was first occupied by the Legislature for business. Then the painting, the gliding, and the carving were all fresh, the brass chandeliers, weighing in some instances hundreds of pounds, were bright, the two pictures by Hunt on the walls of the Assembly Chamber were new and attractive. Everything was in the finest trim when the gas was lighted on that opening night. The Assembly Chamber was crowded with the elite of Albany, and distinguished men and women from nearly every county in the State were present to give eclat to the occasion. Lieut.-Gov. Dorsheimer, Thomas G. Alvord, who had voted for the original appropriation for a new Capitol when the limit of cost was fixed at $4,000,000 and also for nearly all the subsequent appropriations, swelling the cost to over $12,000,000 before a single room was fit for occupancy, the Hon. Erastus Brooks, and others vied with each other in lauding the building and the architect.

In THE SUN soon afterward there appeared, in its regular Albany despatches, criticisms upon the acoustics of the Assembly Chamber and the wasteful extravagance in the matter of ornamentation. This was received with howls of indignation by the friends of the architect and the local press. But before the Assembly had been in session a month the criticisms upon the acoustics of the chamber were justified by numerous resolutions offered by members for the appointment of committees to improve them it possible. The circles of seats for the members were moved forward, nearer the Speaker's desk, and fine wires were stretched midway in the air over the heads of members. At the close of the session a committee was appointed to sit during the recess and devise, if possible, some further method of improvement. That committee closed up the two immense vaults at each end of the chamber, known as the ladies' and gentlemen's galleries. It was all they could do. They shut of from public view perhaps $50.000 or $100,000 worth of carved sandstone and gaudy painting. But the acoustics of the chamber were improved a little, and the rough boards still stand in strong contrast to the gaudy painting and carved stone of the rest of the chamber.

Last week I again visited the Capitol. The contrast with its appearance on that first night was painful. Though it was high noon and a bright sun was shining, the corridors were dark, gloomy, and dirty. A lighted gas jet here and there only partly revealed the too evident lack of proper care, and, what is still worse, the criminal faults in the construction of the building. On the floor, on the window sills, on the glass, everywhere, in fact, the dust of months seemed to have settled. Occasionally I met a group of young men who wore blue caps and coats with gilt trimmings, supposed to be there to take care of the building. All that I saw them do was to run the elevator, chaperone visitors about the building, smoke cigars, and entertain each other telling stories. No sign of a brush or a broom was to be seen. I presume it would have been beneath their dignity to handle such articles.

On the first floor in the grand corridor I noticed that one of the granite base stones, over a foot square, was cracked entirely through. The crack could be traced ten or twelve feet up the ceiling. The sandstone steps of the grand staircase were worn and the edges were rounded. Through the dust on some of the chandeliers spots of verdigris were plainly visible. The ceiling in many places was stained, as though the rain had leaked through the roof. The sandstone in the corridors was damp and slimy. and the air was as chilly as the air of a vault. The Assembly Chamber was closed to all visitors, but through the courtesy of one of the blue-capped attendants. I was permitted a peep through one of the doors. Scaffolding hid the ceiling from view, and on it were workmen getting ready, as I was informed, to take down the stone ceiling before it should fall. These stones, it may not be generally known, had been finely carved, some of them polished, and then painted after the vault was put up. The paint was peeling from the polished stone in many places. I caught a glimpse of the painting of "Discovery." by Hunt, on one of the walls. It looked as though the dampness from the sandstone had struck through and nearly destroyed it. but the appearance may have been due to the accumulated dust. This picture and its companion. "Progress." cost the taxpayers $15,000, as I am informed. Albanians tell you proudly that the total cost of the Assembly Chamber is over $1,000,000, and invariably wind up with the assertion that it is the "most magnificent meeting room in the world." The closed doors prevented my making a close inspection of the room, but from my peep hole it looked as though the same general lack of attention and care visible in other parts of the building was to be seen there. In the Senate Chamber some little effort has been made to protect the leather upholstery by hanging cotton cloth in front of it to keep out the dust. But elsewhere about the room dust and neglect had full sway. The gaudy tinselling on the walls above the blocks of Mexican onyx had begun to peel off in places; two of the agate window panes in the rear of the Lieutenant-Governor's desk had disappeared, and the whole chamber had a sort of a run-down-at-the-heel appearance. Climbing to the story above the Assembly Chamber, the dust on the floor seemed never to have been disturbed since the roof was put on. Mingled with it were cigar stubs, old quids of tobacco, and other filth.

I retraced my steps down stairs and to the street, figuring upon the probable cost of the building when finished—if it stands long enough to be finished—which it is believed will not be less than $20,000,000, and wondering at the patience of the taxpayers who had submitted to this great swindle. Gov. Robinson was right. It is, indeed, a "great public calamity." The only portion of the building that showed any care was that in the immediate vicinity of Gov. Cornell's chambers and the rooms occupied by other State officials. I spoke to a well-known citizen of Albany of what I had seen. His indignation excelled my own.

"It is," said he, "a disgrace. The men who are placed in charge of that building are political bummers, put there through the influence of State officials, Senators, Assemblymen, and political bosses. They never did, and they never will, do any legitimate work. But even if they were the best men in the world, they could do nothing to counteract the mistakes that have been made in its construction. Gilding and painting carved and polished marble is not the worst thing about it Perhaps some day the whole thing will tumble down, and then the dear people will find out how they have been swindled.

To-morrow, when Gov. Cornell gets the Commissioners, Lieut.-Gov. Hoskins, Speaker Pattcrson, and the financial Solons of the Legislature together, would it not be well if he and they should make a minute inspection of the "public calamity," and, if as bad as pictured, why not recommend that it be abandoned, the stone that is good taken down, and another building erected suitable for its intended purpose? This can be done at a less cost than to go on and finish the building, if the plans and systems that have thus far prevailed in the construction are to be continued. I am told that the cost of heating, lighting, and caring for the building, as now planned, will not be far short of $50,000 a year.

I am neither an architect nor a builder. What I noted in my visit was entirely superficial. I believe that if competent architects and builders who were friends of the people, and not cronies of the supervising architect and the Commissioners, were to visit and critically inspect this building, they would find it much worse than I have pictured it.

Away with the "Public Calamity."

NEW YORK. Oct. 17. H. B. W.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daily Graphic Covers. Assembly Ceiling







"The Crack of Political Doom."



January 31, 1888, The Daily Graphic, Page 1 Illustration,

January 31, 1888, The Daily Graphic, Page 2, Column 2, THE CRACKED CEILING.

The cracked Assembly ceiling at Albany still menaces the pates of the august lawmakers who sit under it.

The possible catastrophe, introspectively treated on the first page of to-day's GRAPHIC, is, we hope, far distant. The gentlemen who sit under that ceiling and watch the widening crack as they lean back to listen to the eloquent address of the member from the Thirteenth District on the subject of sidedoors, must feel some degree of perturbation. When the member from Wayback arises to introduce a resolution against the use of lardine and feels a chunk of plaster glide down between his shirt collar and his neck he is in all probability slightly chilled and unable to properly present his views or the views of his constituents. When there is any little business being transacted between members which has nothing to do with public measures the sifting of a pint or two of dry mortar into their eyes is a reminder that they are there to look after the public interests and not their own affairs.

In several respects the cracked ceiling at Albany has its uses. It is a constant reminder of things done and undone, and while chunks of plaster and pints of pulverized mortar are not particularly pleasant interruptions, they serve to keep before the legislators the fact that the crack of political doom will menace them if they don't behave themselves.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mr. Strahan Gets an A For Double Entendre, and the New York Times Gets One For Prescience.



March 7, 1889, The Olean Democrat [Olean, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y.] Page 5, Column 1, THAT ASSEMBLY CEILING.

The more light that is thrown upon the assembly ceiling steal at Albany the more interesting the investigation grows. The whitewashing report made by the appropritions committee was extremely unsatisfactory to all honest men and even the republican assembly at last has decided to probe the matter farther and attempt to find out where that missing $105,000 has gone to. A bomb exploded in the assembly chamber when the report of the appropriations committee was being discussed. Some of the republican members were criticizing Chairman Ainsworth pretty severely when he retorted: "I am not responsible for a fraud in the bill. I did not draw it. There was politics in it thicker than the panels in the ceiling. I will confess that the only reason the appropriations committee was given charge of the bill last year was to take care of politics on the eve of a presidential election. It was unwise for the appropriations committee to have taken charge of that bill and it should have refused to take it. But if it had refused we would would have elected a democrat instead of a republican president." Ainsworth had been driven to the wall. This last startling statement which had been wrung from him sent a flutter through the galleries, and caused a loud buzzing of surprise in the crowd about the bar.

In speaking on the report General Batcheller declared "that it was a sham ceiling and an outrage to put in such a building as the capitol. It been wrong to let any member of the assembly have anything to do with its construction." Since the carelessness of the ceiling commission had been exposed he had been approached with appeals to shield them from censure of a political and personal and family nature that had been hard to withstand. Yet they had caused to be erected in a magnificent chamber a ceiling composed of eighty per cent plaster of paris, fifteen per cent of wood pulp and and five per cent of alum water. The committee has been taken in like a countryman at a country fair. Mr. Ainsworth tells us if Perry had been chose for the work Cleveland would have been elected. Then Andrews selection must have elected Harrison. "That is the only redeeming feature of the work."

When republicans themselves make such confessions of trickery and dereliction of duty the matter must be in a pitiable plight indeed. The whitewashing report was adopt however by a strictly party vote. Messrs Fish of Putnam, Aspinwall of Brooklyn, King of New York, McMaster of Stuben, republicans; Creamer of New York, McCann of Brooklyn and Bush of Ulster, democrats, were appointed a special committee to reinvestigate the whole sorry business, with power to select counsel, send for books and papers and to sit where it chose for the sole purpose of finding out, if possible, where the $105,000 or any portion of it has gone. The new committee is generally considered to be made up of clean, level headed men who will make the investigation thorough and complete. It is very evident that the assembly must discover and punish the offenders or imperil the popular confidence which is already pretty badly shaken.
"Mr. Strahan criticized the staining of the marble capitals surmounting the great pillars, which were originally white, but by the use of some material had been made to represent terra-cotta."

The Assemblymen had occupied their new quarters for less than six weeks at the point the Times article below was reporting on 132 years ago, and already the occupants were getting sick from drafts in the impossible-to-heat, fifty-seven-foot-high, acoustically-unreasonable legislative chamber, but imagine the failure of faux-craftsmanship a good ten years before the famous "papier-mache ceiling" had ever been installed---as a corrective to the stone-vaulted ceiling which failed in a decade instead of a century. Imagine how much it's cost over the years to keep that insane symbol still standing, but with sugar-taxpayers footing the bill and turning the other cheek, where's the checks and balances? There is an extensive pattern underlying the behavior in public officials who undertook this all, and it only got a tad more sophisticated with today's politicians, who have also been given a license to steal from common citizens by a ruling one-percent junta who fed their wallets and egos with this Versailles-complex.


February 19, 1879, New York Times, NEW-YORK'S LAW MAKERS. ANIMATED DEBATE ON THE NEW CAPITOL APPROPRIATION.
Tomorrow afternoon the Judiciary Committee will continue its investigation of the Mutual Life rebate plan. Prof. Elizur Wright will oppose the rebate system. It is doubtful whether Mr. Strahan will be able to attend. He is ill to-day, and all his neighbors in the upper left hand row of seats in the Assembly are and have been suffering from severe colds contracted by exposure to drafts of cold air that poured in through the cracks between the window casings and sashes. So uncomfortable had all the exposed members round this part of the room, that to-day Mr. Stratum's resolution, calling upon the Capitol Commissioners to attend to the matter, was adopted with alacrity. The chamber was not warm either to-day or yesterday, and it is probable that other resolutions pointing out sundry omissions, will follow that adopted to-day.

At the opening of the night session, Mr. Knowles, of Albany, provoked an animated debate about the new Capitol. He obtained consent of the Assembly to have the bill introduced by Senator Harris, and appropriating $500,000 for continuing work on the new Capitol through the Winter and Spring of 1879, considered in Committee of the Whole. With Mr. Chase, of Oswego, in the chair, the bill was discussed, first by Mr. Sloan and afterward by Mr. Hepburn, Mr. Strahan, Mr. Braman, Speaker Alvord, Mr. Brooks, and Dr. Hayes. Mr. Sloan explained that a part of the amount appropriated was needed to pay a debt of $300,000 incurred; after the debt was paid, $160,000 would remain to carry up the south section and to get it ready to roof on. The Committee of Ways and Means had considered it judicious, wise, and even absolutely necessary, to take provision for the work alluded to. In reply to questions by Mr. Hepburn, he explained that the amount would not provide a roof, but would only raise the walls of the section corresponding to that now occupied to position to receive a roof.

Mr. Strahan, who spoke at some length, took occasion to remark that the Capitol Commissioners had excavated a sort of "cave of the winds," and decorated it very beautifully. But until they made it comfortable by stopping up the drafts that threatened serious illness to some of the members of the House, he felt inclined to say that the Assembly ought to stop the Commissioners' drafts, at least until the Commissioners had stopped up the drafts of hot and cold air which no one could control or regulate.

Mr. Hepburn forbore to go into criticism of the building, although he admitted that he was tempted to do so. He insisted that the Commissioners had exceeded last year's appropriation of $1,000,000 without authority of law. Mr. Sloan admitted that Mr. Hepburn was technically correct, but he understood the law of 1878 as directing the Commissioners to complete the part of the building now occupied, even if it were necessary to exceed the appropriation. The authorization was: "To enter into contracts in anticipation of the appropriation therefor." Mr. Strahan, reading the section of the law alluded to and quoted, said that he believed that the language used had been adopted in order that the appropriation might be exceeded. There was no limit to the excess to which they might have gone if the logic of the gentleman from Albany was good. He not only criticized the crafty phraseology used, but be cautioned the Legislature against permitting laws to pass that were susceptible of such interpretation.

Mr. Fish argued with Mr. Strahan and Mr. Hepburn, but he saw no way out of the present difficulty but to pass the bill, with the Senate amendment. He believed that large amounts of money had been extravagantly expended. During the last four months $420,000 had been expended for sandstone for the building. He deprecated the constant cry of the Albany Representatives on behalf of the laboring men. That was merely a local cry, not heard 50 miles away from Albany.

Mr. Hepburn said he would vote for the appropriation asked for, but for no other this Winter. Mr. Varnum hoped the bill would pass, and believed the Capitol Commissioners had been justified in some of their expenditures. He did not believe there were 50 men in the House who would vote a larger appropriation this Winter. The Capitol should be completed gradually. Mr. Terry could not justify the Commissioners for exceeding the appropriation of last Winter, although he favored the passage of the bill before the House, Mr. Knowles returned to the fight bravely, hoping the bill would not be periled by extraneous criticisms. Mr. Hayes justified the expenditures of the Commissioners, and would approve them. He defended the Commissioners, who, he said, were not to be held accountable for the defective acoustics or the lack of adaptability complained of in the building. Mr. Strahan thought it was a trifle serious to justify and approve the entire action of the Capitol Commissioners. He knew Dr. Hayes would do it, "for there was nothing mean about him."

Mr. Strahan criticized the staining of the marble capitals surmounting the great pillars, which were originally white, but by the use of some material had been made to represent terra-cotta. That the money had not been judiciously expended was plain. He illustrated his assertion by calling attention to the oak water-tanks, which would contain water but not emit any, and which cost $95 each. He also pointed at the clock, which had stopped since the session had opened, and asked if $500 was not too much for such a piece of work. The house was frequently provoked to hearty laughter, which was general when Mr. Hepburn interrupted Mr. Strahan to call for an explanation of the allegories on the wall and made some ridiculous allusions to them.

Mr. Brooks took up the allegories, and in his turn criticised them, and at the same time complained of the criticism which sought to make them intelligible. He would have suggested that in their place historical subjects should have been selected. The Capitol Commissioners had done just what they had been ordered to do by the last Legislature. He alluded to the efforts he had made in the Constitutional Convention to limit the cost of the building to $5,000,000. Having been overruled, he could not but defend the Commissioners, who had done the best they could under the circumstances. The act of January and the amended act of April gave the Commissioners the authority to put the Senate and Assembly Chambers into condition for occupation. After an hour or more had been consumed in very entertaining discussion, the bill, on Mr. Sloan's motion, was progressed. When the committee rose it was ordered to a third reading without opposition.

Wipe Out Tammany Jobs



January 9, 1879, The New York Evening Express, Page 1, Column 3, THE GOVERNOR’S MESSAGE.

STATE OF NEW YORK. EXECUTIVE CHAMBER. ALBANY, January 7, 1879.

To the Legislature:

The event which first claims attention is your removal into the new Capitol. The condition of the appropriation of last year has been so far fulfilled that the Assembly chamber is substantially completed. The room intended for the Court of Appeals has been fitted up for temporary use of the Senate, the court in the meantime occupying the old Senate chamber. All the rest of the building, except the Attorney-General's office, remains unfinished. Many millions of dollars and years of time will be required to complete it, although the sum already expended upon it amounts to $9,276,615.36. My views in regard to the extravagant cost of the building, its ostentatious exterior and most inconvenient interior, have been frequently expressed, and they remain wholly unchanged. The subject of further appropriations for the work will be presented in another part of his message.

I sincerely hope that you will find the finance conducive to your health and comfort, and in every way so agreeable and convenient that you will not regret it. If the occupation of their new and gorgeous apartments shall lead the two houses of the Legislature to so emulate the exalted virtues which have, at different times, and on many occasions, adorned the history of the old chambers, that they shall enact only wise and good laws, that they shall honestIy and faithfully execute the great trust committed to them by the people, that they shall strictly obey the Constitution and the laws, that they shall establish and maintain a higher tone of public morality, the enormous cost of the building will be repaid in something better than money. But if, on the other hand, no such effects appear, if the lamentable vices which have too often marked the legislation of the old building shall stain that of the new, if the extravagant expenditure made upon it is to stimulate profuse and wasteful appropriations to other objects, if instead of encouraging a plain and honest republican simplicity, it is to cultivate a weak and vain desire to imitate the manners of European courts or to rival regal magnificence and imperial splendors; nay, more, if bribery and corruption, following naturally in the wake of such influences, shall soil the new chambers, the people will have cause to regret the erection of such a Capitol, and to wish that the earth might open and swallow it up.

I trust that you may be so enlightened and guided of the Divine wisdom, that you may choose and follow the better path.

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.