Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 031
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TSie Common Council in each of the cities has jurisdiction over municipal affairs within
limits fixed by law, and observes the usual formalities of legislative bodies in its proceedings. Two
aldermen are generally elected from each ward, who, with the mayor, constitute the Common
Council; but the organization of no two cities is in this respect exactly alike
.1 The enactments
of the Common Council are usually termed “ordinances,” and have the force of law. The council
usually has the appointment of a large class of minor city officers, including the keepers of parks
and public buildings, inspectors of various kinds, and in some instances the officers and membors
of the police and fire departments. These appointments are usually held at the pleasure of the
appointing power.

Town Meeting'S may pass laws regulating roads and bridges, the height of fences, the support
of the poor, the range of animals, the destruction of noxious weeds, the preservation of town pro¬
perty, and for such other purposes as may be directed by special acts. Every town is a corporate
body, may sue and be sued, may hold and convey lands within its limits for purposes specified
by law, and may appropriate moneys for public objects within the town.

Selaool ^Districts, at regular meetings, may pass rules concerning the support of schools,
employment of teachers, repairs, supplies, and similar affairs, which have tjje force of law.


Tlie Clovermor is elected once in two years.2 He is commander-
in-chief of the military and naval forces of the State, and possesses
the sole power of granting pardons and commutations of sentence
after conviction
.3 He issues requisitions for the return of crimi¬
nals in other States, and he is authorized to offer rewards for the
arrest of criminals within this State. He annually communicates
to the Legislature, at the commencement of each session, a state¬
ment of the condition of the public departments, and such other
matters as he may deem necessary. On extraordinary occasions
he may convene the Senate or Legislature
.4 Within ten days after
its passage by the Legislature, he may veto any act, by returning if
to the house in which it originated, with his objections; and such act
can become a law only by the concurrence of two-thirds of both houses

The Governor nominates, for appointment by the Senate, a large class of State and county and a
few military officers
,6 and may fill vacancies occurring in these offices during the recess of the Senate.
Some other classes of officers are appointed by the Governor alone,-^generally for specific terms,
but in some cases during pleasure. He may also fill vacancies occurring in elective offices, and

1 In New Y orlc, the Common Council consists of two branches,—
the Board of Aldermen, consisting of 17 members, chosen for 2
years; and the Board of Councilmen, consisting of 24 members,
chosen annually, 6 from each senatorial district. Each of these
branches elects one of its own number president; and the mayor
possesses a veto power upon their laws analogous to that of the
Governor upon those of the State Legislature.

2 To be eligible to the office of Governor a person must be a
citizen of the U. S., a resident of the State for the last 5 years
previous to election, and must have attained the age of 30 years.
The colonial governors of N. Y. were appointed by the crown.
Under the Constitution of 1777 they were elected for 3 years and
were required to be freeholders. Under the Constitution of 1822,
the governor was elected for 2 years, and, in addition to the pre¬
sent qualifications, was required to be a native of the U. S. and a
freeholder.    .

Under the first State Constitution electors were classified, apd
only those owning freehold property worth $250 and upward
were allowed to vote for Senators and Governor. The aggregate
of the several classes at different periods has been as follows:—


Worth $250 and

Worth $50 to

Not Freeholders,
but renting tene¬
ments worth

Other electors.






































3 In cases of treason and impeachment the Governor can only
suspend sentence until the next session of the Legislature, that
body alone possessing the pardoning power in such cases. Under
the Constitution of 1777, the same restriction was applied in cases
of murder.

* He also possessed under the Constitution of 1777 the power
to prorogue the Legislature for a period not exceeding 60 days
in one year. This rvas once done by Gov. Tompkins, to defeat
the passage of a bank charter, but without success.

6 The-first court created a council of revision, consisting of
the Governor, Chapeellor, and judges of the Supreme Court,
who sat with closed doors and observed the usual formalities
of legislative proceedings. During the continuance- of this
council it rejected 144 bills, several of which became laws not¬

6 The following officers are appointed by the Governor
and Senate:—1 Superintendent of Bank Department, 1 Au¬
ditor of Canal Department, 3 Canal Appraisers, 1 Superin¬
tendent of Onondaga Salt Springs, 6 Commissioners of Emi¬
gration, 5 Commissioners of Metropolitan Police, 11 Harbor
Masters, 9 Wardens of the Port of New York, 2 Sp'ecial
Wardens to reside at Quarantine, 1 Harbor Master at Al¬
bany, 1 Health Officer at Quarantine, 1 Physician of Marine
Hospital, 1 Agent for the Onondaga Nation, 1 Attorney to
Seneca Nation, directors in certain "banks of which the State
holds stock according to the amount held, as many Hellgate
pilots as the Board of Wardens may recommend, 5 trustees of
the Idiot Asylum, 9 trustees of State Lunatic Asylum, 2 com
missioners in each co. for loaning moneys of the United States,
as many notaries public as the law may allow or the Governor
determine, and such other officers and special commissioners as
are required from time to time by law. He appoints field
officers of regiments and generals of brigades, when such regi¬
ments and brigades are not fully organized. Under the first
constitution, almost every civil and military office was filled by
the Council of Appointment, consisting of the Governor and 4
Senators, chosen annually by the Assembly. In 1821, 8,287


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