1870-1879 News Articles
February 18, 1870, New-York Daily Tribune, ALBANY. THE STATE CAPITOL.
ALBANY, Feb. 17.—The Enormous rascalities connected with the construction of the New-York County Court-House is causing serious thoughts about the proposed appropriation's for the new State Capitol, on which latter subject the Capitol Commissioners have just been heard before the Assembly Committee of Ways and Means. If so many millions and so many years have been squandered on a County Court-House yet far from completion, how much greater number of years and millions would be required, under similar management, to complete the State Capitol, an edifice of far greater size? Few people, even now, "estimate" the new Capitol at less than ten millions; and all reasonable "estimates" at commencement are rendered proverbially fallacious long before completing such public works. But how many additional millions will the New Capitol cost under the engineering of Supervisor (now Senator) Tweed and his compeers of the Tammany Ring, now controlling our State legislation? This question of cost presents itself, vividly in connection with the proposed appropriations for the New Capitol, the present Commissioners of which work are now asking an appropriation of $1,300,000 for this year—$300,000 of which is to refund moneys borrowed for prosecuting the work to this time. What security is there that the present Capitol Commissioners will not be legislated out of office, and some hungry Tammany speculators placed in control of the public purse in connection with an edifice which would cost $20,000,000, if managed in the way that has rendered the New-York Court-House a monument of wholesale robbery?
February 25, 1870, New-York Tribune, Page 5, Column 1,
WORK TO BE SUSPENDED ON THE NEW CAPITOL.The presence in our Legislature of men notoriously connected with the corruption of the New-York Court House, suggests the danger of such men seizing control of the new Capitol building, by legislating the present Commissioners out of office. Right-minded men of all parties prefer to suspend operations on the new Capitol, rather than involve the State in an architectural luxury that would cost at least twenty millions, if reckoned by the outlays in the New-York (unfinished) Court-House, under the operations of Tweed, Sweeny, and their confederates in the Tammany Ring. The bill presented to-day, by Assemblyman Ray of Ontario, concerning the Capitol edifices, old and new, provides $10,000 for improving the mode of warming and ventilating the present Old Capitol, and then requires that "all work upon the New Capitol Building shall be suspended until the further affirmative action of the Legislature, directing its continuance; and the Board of Capitol Commissioners are directed to cease and entirely suspend the same until directed to proceed by the Legislature, and under the proper authority of law."
January 6, 1871, The World, Page 1, Column 3,LEGISLATURESALBANY, January 5.—A very large amount of money has been expended and a very huge amount of work already accomplished upon the new capitol. Its massive foundations have, it is thought, no superior in any work yet done in this country. They go deep and lay broad, and we who look on them to-day see something of that huge fabric of proportions which they saw who built the castles of old. Just that chapter in the history of this building has come which I predicted. I have for successive periods of correspondence urged upon its friends here, that to ensure its being a favorite work with the people, there must be moderation in the appropriations, and that is now said by the Governor.
To the citizen of Albany it is an increasing ornament to his city, adding to its wealth and prosperity a magnificent structure, adorning a favorite section of the town. This is the view of it, naturally enough, taken by the people around it; but the rest of the State see it only through an enlarged taxation, which is not much of a Claude Loraine glass through which to see objects. It is not too late yet for wiser counsels to prevail, and the construction of this edifice to go on in such degree as to satisfy a suffering people. In suggesting that a portion of the New Capitol should be arranged for an Executive Mansion, the Governor, I respectfully submit, has not looked at all the considerations that arise. Such direct proximity to the Capitol would give back some very obvious inconveniences, and the dwelling have the usual fate of being afterwards absorbed into the Capitol.
January 6, 1871, The World: New York, Page 2, Column 1,THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.Taxes have been high during the past year partly in consequence of the war bounty debt, which absorbs about one-third of the sum raised: partly in consequence of unpaid claims accumulated under former administrations for which Republican Legislatures failed to make appropriations, and which the State honor required to be paid; and partly by the expense of the gorgeous new capitol projected under Republican auspices. Taxation to discharge the bounty debt cannot be avoided; but of the other two sources of extra expenditure one is, and the other may be, dried up. The arrears inherited from the Republican regime are paid, and that account is closed. The Governor evidently thinks that further work on the new capitol had better be suspended until the bounty debt is paid and the finances of the State in an easier condition.
January 9, 1871, Albany Evening Journal,
The New Capitol.[From the Rochester Union
The fact of conferring authority on the Commissioners to erect a new Capitol (Chapter 630 of the Laws of 1868) explicitly provided "that they shall not proceed to the construction of the said new Capitol unless they shall be satisfied that the expense thereof shall not exceed, when completed, four millions of dollars." The foundation is hardly laid, and yet the expenditures are already between two and three millions.- To go on and complete the thing in accordance with the scheme and the start that has been given it, will involve a a tax upon the people of forty instead of four millions."]
The Union, as usual, speaks at random, or what it worse, intentionally misrepresents the facts.
It is true that, up to the close of the year, the expenditures for all purposes connected with the Capitol had reached between two and three millions, viz: $2,257,315.60. But of this amount only $1,562,809.38 have been expended on the building. The residue has gone for lands, interest and incidental expenses, as may be seen by reference to the Comptroller's report, as follows:
Expended by the Commissioners, as stated in detail in the schedule...$1,562,809.38
Paid for lands, etc. ..$659,695.16
Paid for interest on advance...$10,797.60
Expenses of Commissioners...$2,416.18
Balance in hands of Commissioners...$21,597.47
It is conceded that full one-third of the work on the building is performed. This would secure the completion of the edifice on the present plan, if pushed with the same vigor and economy, for the sum of $4,688,428.14. Competent men stand ready to take the contract at this price, and to ensure the completion of the work in four years.
It is doubtless possible to make the building cost "forty millions of dollars." If placed in the hands of the gentlemen who have had charge of the New York Court House, forty millions of money and thirty years of time would be a low estimate. But the Capitol Commissioners; made up of an equal representation from the two parties, have alone nothing to justify the suspicion that they have any desire to imitate so bad an example.
We have our ideas of just what all this bluster about the new Capitol means. But it is not worth while to ventilate them at present. The subject is in the hands of the people's representatives; and it is only proper to assume that they will do what is best to be done in the premises. We are content to watch and wait.
January 17, 1871, Syracuse Daily Journal,
The new Capitol Commissioners, in their annual report, submitted to the Senate on Monday, say the amount expended during the year and up to January 1, 1871, was $923,671.84. The total expenditures prior to 1870, per annual report of the Commissioners of 1869, were $689,003.14. The total expenditures from the commencement of the work to January 1, 1871, were $1,612,734.58. As to the probable cost of the building, they refer to the estimates already made, and state that no changes in the plan can be advantageously made now, and close by recommending a further appropriation of one million dollars, for an energetic advance of the work.
January 17, 1871, The World, Page 1,
Report of the New Capital Commissioners,
ALBANY, January 16.—In the Assembly to-night the resolution passed in the Senate last week directing the Comptroller to pay out to the amount of $44,000 for the stone cutting required for the new Capitol, was concurred in....The annual report of the newCapitol Commissioners for 1870 was received, together with a communication from... Mr. LORD offered a resolution calling on the new Capitol Commissioners to report the amount of expenditures in detail, and in what manner contracts have been awarded, with such other information as may be proper to communicate.
Mr. MURPHY moved to amend by adding: "And also the probable cost of the completion of said Capitol," which was agreed to.
Mr. KENNEDY moved to amend as follows: "And also whether any and what sum or sums have been expended for purposes other than upon the Capitol, and for what purpose such expenditures, if any, have been made." Agreed to.
Mr. TWEED moved an additional resolution as follows:
Resolved, If the Assembly concur, that the Comptroller be authorized and directed to pay from the funds now in the State Treasury for the construction of the new Capitol, upon certificates of the Commissioner of the New Capitol, the workmen employed at stone cutting and the laborers on said Capitol, out of moneys appropriated for that purpose; and that the sum shall not exceed $44,000, which shall be set apart for that purpose.
January 17, 1871, Oswego Daily Press,
Cost of the New State Capitol.
ALBANY, January 16.—The new Capitol Commissioners, in their annual report, submitted to the Senate to-night, say the amount expended during the year and up to January 1, 1871, was $923,671.84. The total expenditures prior to 1870, as per annual report of the Commissioners of 1869, were $680,003.14. The total expenditures from the commencement of the work to January 1, 1871, $1,612,734.98. As to the probable cost of the building they refer to the estimates already made, and state that no changes in the plan can be advantageously made now, and close by recommending a further appropriation of one million dollars for an energetic advance on the work.
January 20, 1871, The World: New York, FROM ALBANY,
The CapitalThe Capitol Commissioners report the money expended, all right, and that they cannot say what it will cost. That is the English of the report. But they do also show, what was in distinct legislative action, that it was to cost only four millions. Let the past know itself. What the people now ask is moderate appropriation, and to go on with the brakes down
January 7, 1871, The Evening Telegram, Page 2. Column 3,
The New Capitol Job.The politicians in New York city are notoriously fond of "fixing up" and "engineering" nice little jobs, which in the end puts money in their purse. Heretofor these rich placers have been worked and monopalized exclusively by the political magnates of this city: but hereafter some smal share of these peculiar "fat political pickings"' are to be ditributed among the faithful through out the State. The largest "job" of this kind now on foot is the new Capitol building at Albany, which, for gigantic proportions rivals our own "new Court House" swindle. When this structure was first commenced, experts were consulted, who estimated the entire cost of the building at a little less than four millions of dollars, more than half of which amount was immediately appropriated by the Legislature, in order that the work could be pushed through without delay. This was some three or four years ago, but the only part of the work finished up to the present time is the foundation, which alone has already cost over two millions of dollars. At this rate the new Capitol will cost about twenty millions of dollars before it is completed. This new Capitol job at Albany is just such another swindle as the "new Court House" in this city, which has been "new" so long that it is now regarded as quite old. Possibly the next generation may live to see the completion of both of these structures; meantime the citizens of the Empire State will doubtless be bled through the medium of "State appropriations" to such an extent than they will find themselves bankrupt before either of the buildings will be capped with a dome. The contractors of the new Capitol are already maneuvering and pipe-laying to get another appropriation from the Legislature, while Governor Hoffman, on the contrary, recommended in his message to that august holy of Solons, that the plans of the building be so reduced and altered as to come within the plans as originally contemplated, which limited the expenses to four millions of dollars. What will our legislators do in this matter"!
February 1, 1871, New York Times, WHAT THE SENATE FINDS TO DO.
ONE OF THE POSSIBILITIES OF POLITICS -DISCUSSING THE NEW CAPITOL APPROPRIATION —NEW BILLS INTRODUCED.
February 10, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 1, Column 5,
THE NEW CAPITOL.Mr. Murphy introduced a resolution in the Assembly this afternoon, calling on the New Capitol Commissioners for a statement of the reasons why work does not go on among the stone-cutters lately employed on the foundations of that edifice. It is somewhat remarkable that the Commissioners have as yet come to no conclusion and made no recommendations as to the material of which the superstructure should be built. Several owners of marble, granite, and other stone-quarries would be happy to get a contract to supply the material, and some of them would be glad to pay a handsome commisssion to the Commissioners for the privilege of swindling the State, in the same fashion the tax-payers of New-York were swindled in the building of the Court-House.
March 23, 1871, The Sun, Page 1, Column 3,
How To Get A Senatorship
March 24, 1871, New York Times,
The Annual Appropriations The New Capitol Commissioners, BUSINESS IN THE ASSEMBLY.
The Assembly passed the annual Appropriation bill this evening. W. D. Murphy's bill, introduced yesterday, to change the Capitol Commission by authorizing the Governor to appoint a new one, was favorably reported from the Judiciary Committee today. This is a partisan measure, and is said to have been instigated by Gov. Hoffman, who wants a little patronage. Brooklyn has its Ring organ as well as New York, and a bill worth from $75,000 to $100,000 was passed in that journal's interest to-night. The measure is entitled "An Act to provide for the proper care and preservation of the various public Departments in the City of Brooklyn and County of Kings." At the Eagle's list of prices for printing, as mentioned in the Times recently, quite a handsome profit will be realized.
April 20, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 5, Column 3,
THE ALBANY FARCE.In the evening that body [Senate] considered and passed the Supply bill. Several amendment were adopted, including one increasing the appropriation for the new Capitol to $650,000. The amount as fixed by the House was $250,000.
April 20, 1871, The Evening Telegram, Page 1, Column 1,
The New Capitol Commissioners Confirmed.The Senate has agreed to the names for the New Capitol Commission already published and put in the Supply bill by the Assembly, and increases the appropriation from $230,000 to $650,000. The bill has not yet been finally agreed to, and this may be changed.
The Supply Bill
The supply Bill was taken up in the Senate this morning at the point where it was left last night, on the new Capital Commission and Appropriation. The appropriation was made $650,000. Mr. Chapman moved to strike out all names, of commissioners, and leave the Governor to appoint all the commissioners. The Chair decided a motion to reconsider the vote naming commissioners, as put in by the Assembly and already published, was accessary, as the Senate had adopted those names. Mr. Chapman moved a reconsideration. Lust. So the Commission as named by the Assembly stands
April 21 1871, The World : New York,
Column 2,Meanwhile the Senate have been engaged up to midnight and after with the Supply bill, which passed the Assembly last week. It was sent to the senate, and hs since been in the hands of the appropriate committee there. As reported to the Senate early this evening, the bill was altered by an increase of the appropriation for the new Capitol from $250,000 to $650,000, by the striking out of the provision allowing Weed, Parsons & Co. pay for all completed work destroyed by the recent fire in their establishment, and directlug them to duplicate the same, and by several other amendnmuts. During tbe night appropriations amounting, besides the proposed increase to the new Capitol appropriation, to some $300,000, were tacked on to the bill. Including $40,000 for the Monroe County Lunatic Asylum, $52,000 for the State Lunatic Asylum at Utica, $200,000 for the Reformatory at Elmira, and about $15,000 for the State Normal Schools at Fredonia and Potsdam. A good deal of discussion was had upon various sections of the bill, but the most heated contest of the night was aroused by the proposition to change the commissioners for the new Capitol. Mr. Chapman moved to strike out the new names inserted, retain the present commissioners, and Senators Lord and Lewis were opposed to changing the commissioners except for good and sufficient reasons. Mr. Murphy advanced what he deemed the sufficient statement that the existing commission had, in utter disregard and defiance of law, gone on and laid out plans for a building which would cost $10,000,000 instead of the $4,000,000 originally contemplated; but without disposing of the question and leaving it and several important pages of the bill still unconsidered, the Senate adjourned.
May 31, 1871, The Evening Telegram, Page 2, Column 4,
POLITICAL PICKINGS.The State Capitol Commissioners have designated the 24 of June as the day for laying the corner stone of the new Capitol at Albany, it being the anniversary of St. John the Baptist. Hon. John H. Anthon, Grand Master of tne United States, has been invited to lay the stone.
June 3, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 4, Column 2,
Is it Wise?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 citzens, 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.
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.
From Our Own Correspondent
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
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
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 84
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
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.
June 24, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 7, Column 3,
June 24, 1871, Albany Evening Journal, THE NEW CAPITOL.
Laying of the Corner StonesThe Formal Proceedings at the Capitol.
The Opening Address or President Harris.
Rev. Dr. Halley's Dedicatory Prayer.
List of Articles Deposited in the Corner Stone.
Address of His Excellency Governor Hoffman.
Details of the Masonic Ceremonies.
The formal and deeply interesting ceremonies connected with laying the Cornerstone of the new Capitol were duly observed to-day. The unpropitious weather rendered it impracticable to carry out the programme in all its minute details: but the procession was large and the exercises were duly gone through with. A full record of the participants in the doings of the day, with the minor incidents of the occasion, are given in our local columns. Subjoined will be found the formal andollicial proceedings, including the Introductory Address of Hamilton Harris, Esq., President of the Board of Commissioners, Rev. Dr. Halley's Dedicatory Prayer, a List of the Contents of the Sealed Box which was deposited in the corner-stone, the Address of His Excellency Governor Hoffman, and the impressive Masonic ceremonies which followed. They make up a record of one of the most deeply interesting and important events in the history of the State.
BY HAMILTON HARRIS, PRESIDENT OF THE CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS.
Fellow Citizens:—On the first day of May, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, the people, through their representatives, decided that a new Capitol Building should be erected, adequate to the necessities and commensurate with the growth and greatness of the State.
Commissioners were appointed to execute the undertaking.
Plans were adopted by the Board, with the approval of the Land Commissioniers and the Governor, corresponding with the taste of the age and the rank and refinement of the commonwealth.
This Capitol Hill, in this ancient city, was selected, not only for its central position in respect to the business and population of the State, but also, for its commanding eminence and its historic traditions, as the site for the new edifice.
Here, on the ninth day of December, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the work of excavation commenced and proceeded to the depth of sixteen feet below the surface.
On the seventh day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine, the first stone in the foundation was laid, upon a solid bed of concrete masonry, three feet in thickness. To-day, the basement story, with foundatation walls of unsurpassed strength and solidity, having a height of twenty feet above the concrete, and covering an area of three acres, is completed.
And now, we are about to consecrate the enterprise by laying the corner-stone with solemnities befitting so august an occasion.
One-fifth of the work has been accomplished and if the people shall coincide in opinion with the Board of Commissioners, that true economy consists in prosecuting it on the largest and most energetic scale, the years will not be many before yonder old Capitol, which was erected at the beginning of the century to supply the wants of a population of seven hundred thousand, will give place to this new one, which shall be worthy the high debates and lofty decrees of four million people, and which shall stand for ages, the symbol of the resources, the power and the grandeur of the Empire State of the union.
Rev. Dr. Halley's Prayer.Eternal and Almighty God, in Thy hand are the destinies of all things Invisible to us, Thy presence extends to all space; Thy providence embraces all worlds. Nothing is too great, for Thee to accomplish, and nothing too minute to escape Thy notice. The rise and fall of kingdoms, the conflicting interests and passions of men, and the order in which events shall succeed each other, are under Thy divine government, and we behold Thee arranging these with a wisdom that the wisest cannot fathom, and executing them with a power that the mightiest are unable to control.
Assembled on this public, interesting occasion, which naturally calls up our country to our thoughts, we do most devoutly thank Thee for all Thy goodness in its behalf. Is not its past history a record rich in the most signal interpositions and marvelous tokens of Thy divine agency? In the infancy of our Republic, when its liberties were imperiled, didst Thou not raise up a band of men of singular sagacity and discernment, who steered our country through all its difficulties, and carried it to aggrandizement and renown; and didst Thou not crown with success the heroic efforts of those who vindicated the liberties of their country with their arms, and bequeathed it as a blood-bought legacy to their children and children's children? And not only at this memorable juncture of our national history, but in every subsequent stage has Thy good hand been around us. How often hast Thou exceeded our hopes, disappointed our fears, and turned apparent disaster in to real and substantial blessing. Hast Thou not presided in our national councils, educing from ferment of debate and the rivalries of political strife, measures the most favorable to our prosperity? Hast Thou not watched over our commerce by opening up new sources of wealth, and promoting, by the inventions of art, the most rapid communication between the most remote parts of our country? And art Thou not sending thousands to our shores every year, who find here a home for the indigent, an asylum for the oppressed; thus cultivating the waste places of our land, and causing before the onward march of industry, its forests to be cleared and its deserts to teem with the blessings and institutions of civilized life?
And we feel that the privileges which we enjoy, as citizens of this republic, are such as should awaken our most fervent gratitude. We thank Thee for our personal liberty, our social institutions, for the dignified remuneration given to labor: for the numerous avenues of commerce opened up to the industrious and enterprising; for our form of government, where the rights of all are secured, and the wrongs of the humbled are redressed; for a free press; for our public schools and seats of science; for an unclasped Bible; for the unchallanged right to worship Thee according to the dictates of conscience; for our schemes of benevolent effort and our sanctuaries of religion; for these and other blessings do we desire most gratefully to feel "that the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, and, that we have a goodly heritage."
And in harmony with the services of this occasion would we commend to Thee the interests of this city. We thank Thee for all its surroundings, so favorable to the health and comfort of its inhabitants, may Thee ever be its guardian God, defending it from danger and calamity. Bless its colleges and other seminaries of instruction; courts of justice, its places for exchange and commerce, its institntions of public charity, and the churches of the living God. May all these tend to refine and elevate the tone of public sentiment, and promote the interests of morality and religion. Bless our city as the seat of legislation. We have assembled this morning to testify our profound convivtion of the importance of this. Believing, that upon law must rest to a great degree the prosperity and stability of our institutions, feeling that its faithful administration is essential to the security of out lives, our liberties and our fortunes; recognizing this is an earthly jewel that has no compare, a pearl beyond price, the citizens of this Empire State have agreed, by their representatives, to erect this building, and thus to do homage in the majesty of law by enshrining it in an edifice worthy of its object. We place the strucurre to be here erected, of such architectural beauty and majestic proportions, under Thy care. Watch over it during the years required for its erection, may it arrive to its completion without the loss of life or limb; and may it long tower up in its colossal magnitude of this summit as a symbol of Thy guardian care, and an enduring monument of our national life and institutions. And do Thou raise up men, who, within its walls, shall faithfully and zealously advocate the best interests of their Country: men of principle, men of incorruptible fidelity, and devotedness to truth; men who shall act on the conviction that what is morally wrong can in no possible circumstance ever become politically right; men who spurn the aggrandizements of office when purchased by the surrender of principle or the shipwreck of a good conscience. Bless tho Governor of the State; endow him with all the qualifications necessary for his highly responsible duties, and may he find a compensation for the toils of office in the widely-diffused satisfaction which his public acts have given to his large and enlightened constituancy. Bless our Mayor and Aldermen, and may their measures tend to promote the health and good order of our city, the suppression of crime and the enoouragement of industry and art.
And now we commend to Thee the interests of this wide Union, agricultural, commercial, literary and religious. May the Chief Magistrate be always directed by Thee in his high official duties, and along With his Cabinet devise those measures which shall advance the best Interests of our country. May the feuds and jealousies engendered during our late unhappy war be speedily forgotten; and while we thank Thee for preserving our national individuality, and calling forth such a host of heroic defenders in the hour of its peril and extremity, do Thou who hast the hearts of all men in Thy hands, cause these heartburnings and enmities soon to subside, and may the two great sections of our Union, affiliated so closely by the ties of kindred and mutual interests, ever seek the peace and prosperity of each other. May our fields bring forth plentifully, and the labors of the husbandman be always rewarded by an abundant harvest. May commerce prosper through all its channels, that the enterprising may be rewarded in developing the resources of our country, and abundant employment secured for our laborers at home, as well as the thousands that are annually seeking our shores. May our colleges and schools be under Thy fostering care. Bless and eminently qualify those to whom the instruction of our youth is intrusted: and whether engaged in professional studies, or the humbler branches of knowledge, may there come from these every year a class of youths, intelligent, industrious, temperate, pruactical, honored for their integrity and social virtues, and who will wisely exercise the privileges entrusted to them as American citizens.
We commend to Thy fatherly love our numerous benevolent institutions" and charities, that so honorably characterize the presentage: our asylums, our hospitals for mitigating the sufferings of afflicted humanity; may these receive a large share of liberal support. Prosper the institutions of religion in our land: multiply it churches, give increased zeal and efficiency to it ministers. While recognizing its personal claims on our faith and practice, may we also fell how intimately its controling influence is bound up with the prosperity of our country; the parent of peace and social order; the fountain of all the virtues that gladden and adorn human life; the great bulwark of our national liberties and institutions. May the solemn scenes that have lately taken place in a distant land teach us that if we become a God-defying and Sabbath-profaining people, Thou mightst also give us up to blindness, to mildness, to insurrection and carnage; that, without this, in vain will be the wisdom of our statesmen, in vain the valor of our arms, in vain the thrift and skill of our people, in vain the enterprise of our commerce, in vain the perfection of our institutions; and that, in our doom, we shall furnish another illustration to the many of the truth of Thy word: Righteousness exalteth a nation, and sin is the reproach and final ruin of any people."
And now, O God, do Thou smile upon us in the further services of this occasion. Let everything be done decently and in order. May this Capitol, to be now inaugurated with imposing ceremonies, be watched over by Thee in all the stages of its erection. Carry it forward to its completion. Let it be a temple consecrated to the interests of justice and freedom. Let the eloquence that shall resound within its walls be always lifted up in defense of human rights. Let the laws and enactments here passed, be based on the unerring principles of the divine law. And when we here assembled, shall have passed from the stage, might this edifice remain for centuries to uphold our institutions of our free government, and proclaim Thy guardian care and protection of us as a nation. And now do Thou graciously listen to those our supplications, for the sake of our blessed Redeemer. And to the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost, we ascribe everlasting praise. Amen.
June 24, 1871, The Evening Post,
THE NEW STATE CAPITOL. Masonic and Other Ceremonies. THE PROCESSION TWO MILES LONG.[Despatch to the Associated Press.
ALBANY, June 21.—After several postponements on account of the storm the procession was started in a drenching rain at twelve o'clock, but marched only a portion of the route laid down in the programme.
At 1:15 o'clock P. M. the head of the column reached the capitol grounds, and at 2 o'clock the Grand Lodge entered the gates and proceeded to the platform where the Lodge was opened by M. W. John H. Anthon, Grand Master.
Hamilton Harris, chairman of the Capitol Commissioners, at 2:10 o'clock made an address, detailing the history of the erection of the building. Rev. Dr. Halley then made a prayer, and was followed by Governor Hoffman in an address in which he referred to our national and state interests, and particularly to the growth of the state as shown in the need for a building of such grand proportions as this. He closed by depositing in a cavity of the cornerstone a box containing various articles, a list of which had been read by Wm. A. Rice, secretary of the Capitol Commissioners.
Grand Master Anthon then laid the cornerstone, in accordance with the ritual of the Masonic order. Two odes were then sung, when the benediction was pronounced. The storm, which set in unexpectedly this morning, completely spoiled the demonstration.
The city was full of strangers, who came hither to witness it, and the delegations of masons were numerous and very full, not withstanding the rain fell in torrents. Besides the entire Ninth Brigade and two independent corps—the Burgesses and the Jackson—there were several thousand Masons and Knights Templar in the procession.
The city and state governments were also represented fully, and the line was over two miles long. Had the weather been pleasant the display would have been the most magnificent, as well as largest, of the kind ever witnessed in the state.
June 24, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 1, THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.
LAYING OF THE CORNER- STONE TO-DAY—PROGRAMME OF THE CEREMONIES
ALBANY, June 28.— The Hon. John H. Anthon, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, arrived this morning. Forty-five lodges have notified their intention to send representatives, and some of them, it is supposed, will send two or three hundred members. Robert H. Waterman, Grand Marshal of the day, issued an order this afternoon providing for a marching column of Masons in eight divisions, the first consisting of Visiting Knights Templars and the last of Albany Lodges. The following officers are announced:
Assistant Grand Marshals—Jackson H. Chase, Chief of Staff, Albany;
George F. Sims, Troy ; Albert C Judson. Albany.
Division Marshals—Edward L. Gual, New-York; John B. Leverich,
New-York; Daniel W. Tallott, West Troy; Simon W. Rosendale, Albany; Alexander W. King, Troy; Henry J. Boyle, Albany; Henry T.
Bradt. Albany; J. L. Lambert, Hoosick Falls; J. Wesley Smith, Albany;
Hale Kingsley, New-York.
The head of the Masonic procession will form at the corner of Green and State- sts., and the line of march will be as follows:
State to Eagle, Eagle to Hudson, Hudson to Broadway. Broadway to Clinton-ave., Clinton-ave. to North Pearl, North Pearl to State, State to Eagle, Eagle to Jay, Jay to Hawk, Hawk to State, State to Dove, Dove to Washington-ave., Washtngton-ave. to the Capitol.
The box to be placed in the corner-stone was sealed this evening.
The order of the general procession, including the Masonic, is announced as follows:
Brig-Gen. D. M. Woodhall, commanding Ninth Brigade and Staff.
Squadron of Cavalry. Maj. George Swartzman commanding.
10th Regiment of Infantry, N. G. S. N. Y., Col. J. G. Farnsworth commanding
25th Regiment of Infantry, N. G. S. N. Y., Col. Fred. Andes, commanding.
Battery of Artillery, Ninth Brigade, N. G. S. N. Y., Capt John Pochin, commanding.
Albany Burgesses Corps.
Capt William H. Taylor commanding.
The Common Council, and other City and County Officers in carriages.
The Mayors and Invited Guests from other cities in carriages.
Jackson Corps, Capt. James McFarlane commanding;
GOV. Hoffman and Staff.
State Officers in carriages.
Capitol Commissioners in carriages.
Major-Gen. Carr, commanding Third Division, and Other Invited Officers.
Robert H. Waterman, Grand Marshal, and Aids.
Temple Commandery No. 2, Sir Townsend Fondey, E. C., acting as escort to
Grand Lodge of F. and A. M. of the State of New-York, John H. Antbon,
On arriving at the Capitol the military and Masonic bodies will be massed, when the exercises will be as follows:
Music by Sullivan's Band.
Introductory address by Hamilton Harris, Chairman of the Board of New Capitol Commissioners.
Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Halley.
Reading by William A. Rice, Secretary of the Board, a list of historical documents and memorials to be placed in the corner-stone.
Address by His Excellency John T. Hoffman, Governor of the State.
Depositing the box containing the articles for preservation in the corner-stone by the Governor.
Music by the Band.
The ceremonies of laying the corner-stone by the Grand Lodge of Free Masons of New-York, M. W. John H. Anthon, Grand Master.
June 24, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 1,
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 canbe 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, J o hn 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.
June 25, 1871, New York Herald, Page 3, Columns 1-4, THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.
Impressive Services at the Laying of the Corner Stone.Addresses by Governor Hoffman and Hamilton Harris. The Grand Masonic Demonstration. A Procession Three Miles Long. THE MASONIC RITUAL.
June 26, 1871, New-York Tribune,
LAYING THE CORNER-STONE. MILITARY AND MASONIC PROCESSIONS—A RAINY DAY—THE GOVERNOR'S ADDRESS AND OTHER SPEECHES--SCENES AND INCIDENTS.
June 26, 1871, Albany Evening Journal,
The Capitol and the Stone-Cutters.
The stone-cutters employed on the work for the Capitol have received $4.50 for a day's work of ten hours. This is the established rate of wages for this class of labor both here and throughout the state. Last week the stone-cutters presented a demand that they should be paid $4.50 for eight hours' work. The Commissioners replied that they were entirely willing to employ them by the hour, paying them the standard rate of .45 cents per hour, but that they would not be justified by the people in paying ten hours wages for eight hours work, and could not consent to do so. The Commissioners have adopted the following order:
OFFICE OF NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS, June 26th, 1871. The New Capitol Commissioners being convinced that the wages heretofore paid to the mechanics and laborers employed upon the new Capitol work are fully equal to any paid elsewhere in the State, and in their opinion allow liberal compensation for the work required, and, not feeling authorized to pay more than is paid by other employers for similar labor, have unanimously adopted the following resolution: Resolved, That the Superintendent be directed to employ, and the Treasurer to pay the mechanics and laborers employed and to be employed on the new Capitol work the same rate of wages for the different classes of work that has heretofore been paid. By order of the Board.
HAMILTON HARRIS, Chairman.
WILLIAM A. RICE, Secretary.
June 27, 1871, The World,
THE NEW CAPITOL, Governor Hoffman's Address at the Stone Laying on Saturday, [Text Below]
June 27, 1871, The sun, Page 2, Column 1,
A Glaring ImproprietyAt 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 say 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 community 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.
July 27, 1871, New York Times,
THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.; A Tour of Inspection by the Commissioner, Singular Ideas of the Bidding Contractors.
The new Capitol Commissioners start this morning on a tour of inspection of the several quarries of the country from which bids have been received. They will go to Concord, Hollwell, Portland, the Keene Quarry, and several other places, and propose making a thorough.
June 27, 1871, Albany Evening Journal,
CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS VS. STONE CUTTERS.The following is the reply of the Stone Cutters' Union in answer to the resolution of the Capitol Commissioners, published yesterday: Whereas, the Capitol Commissioners have decided, in effect, that the "eight hour law" as passed by the Legislature of the State of New York, and approved by the Governor, requires a corresponding reduction of wages, which decision is in direct conflict with the opinion of the Attorney-General of the State who is sustained by many of the most influential lawyers and public men in the State, of all political parties; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we, the journeymen stonecutters of Albany and vicinity, recognize no construction of said law but that which is based on the fact that eight hours constitutes a legal days work.
Resolved, That we call upon our fellow-workmen in the state to assist us in maintaining our position against an arbitrary assumption of power by said Commissioners; and whereby notify our fellow-workmen in the State, and throughout the country, that we will recognize no violation of the eight hour law, or of these resolutions.
Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolutions be forwarded to our sister associations, and published in the leading papers of the state.
EDWARD HARRINGTON, President.
WILLIAM [GREENE?] Secretary.
June 27, 1871, The Daily Graphic, Page 3, Column 3,
THE NEW CAPITOL.
Governor Hoffman's Address at the Corner Laying on Saturday.
The immense multitude assembled at Albany on Saturday to witness the imposing ceremonies of the laying of the corner-stone of the new capitol listened to the following
ADDRESS BY GOVERNOR HOFFMAN.
The city in which we are assembled, the capital of the state, is the oldest existing settlement in the original thirteen States. Here Hudson, the discoverer of our noble river, landed from his Dutch ship in 1608. Here the Hollanders settled in 1612. Here they built Fort Orange in 1614. The fort and the colony having been taken by the English m 1664, this city received the name of Albany, in honor of the Duke of York and Albany; and so the first resting-place of the adventurous Dutchman got a Scotch name; we take good care, however, to pronounce the first syllable not in broad Scotch, but in still broader Dutch. In 1786 [sic...1686] New York and Albany received their charters from Governor Dongan, these two being the oldest chartered cities of the United States. Here assembled the first convention for the union of the colonies. It was held in 1764, [?] and Benjamin Franklin was its presiding officer. Its ostensible object was the defense of the colonies against the savages; but a plan of union was then drawn up and adopted, the first recorded in the history of the country. The first session of the Legislature of the State in Albany was in 1797, in pursuance of a law that it should meet here every year unless it adjourned to some other place or was convened elsewhere by the Governor. It assembled in the Stadt House or City Hall at the corner of what are now known as Hudson street and Broadway, where the courts of justice of that day were held; where stood the prison, the whipping-post, the stocks, and the pillory, and where freemen and slaves (for New York was then a slave state) were alike arraigned for trial and for punishment. It was about this time that the corporation of the city, the seat of government having been thus established here, made an offer to the State of any unappropriated ground as a site for public buildings; and the place where the Capitol now stands, on what was called Pinkster Hill, was chosen. The first act making provision for the capitol shows that some things could be done as well as others in those days to which we are accustomed to refer as halcyon days, when men were more honest than now, and when all legislation was pure and perfect; when the object of every bill was indicated by its title, and not concealed, as sometimes happens in these latter times. What think you was the title of this bill passed in 1804? You answer, perhaps, "An act to provide for the erection of a new Capitol in the city of Albany?" You are mistaken. It was entitled "An act making provision for improving Hudson River, below the City of Albany, and for other purposes." It first directed the managers of lotteries, under the act for the encouragement of literature, to raise $20,000, and to pay the same to commissioners for improving the navigation between Troy and Waterford (which you know are above, not below, Albany), and then proceeded as follows: "Whereas, the situation of the present court-house, in the City of Albany, is found by experience to be inconvenient for the transaction of business, and the corporation of said city having represented to the Legislature that they are willing to appropriate a lot of ground on the public square of the said city, for a site of a public building for the accommodation of the Legislature, and for a new City Hall, and have prayed that the present Court-house, and the lot used with the same, might be sold, and the proceeds thereof applied toward erecting and furnishing such new State-house; therefore, Be it enacted that John Taylor, Daniel Hall, Philip S. Van Rensselaer, Simon De Witt, and Nicholas W. Quackenbush be appointed commissioners for the erecting and completing a public building in the City of Albany, &c., &c., with sufficient and commodious accommodation for the Legislature, the Council of Revision, the courts of justice, and the Common Council," &c. It further provided that the managers of the lotteries aforesaid should raise by lottery $12,000, and pay the same to said commissioners for the purposes of the Capitol building. Not a word is found in the body of the bill about improving the Hudson River below the City of Albany. It nevertheless bears this indorsement:
IN COUNCIL OF REVISION, April 6, 1804.
Resolved, That it does not appear improper to the Council that this bill should become a law of the State.
How the ears of the Governor and of the Legislature would have tingled under the sting of criticism, and what a howl of indignation would have gone up from the partisan press on either side now if a Democratic or Republican Legislature of the present day had passed, and the Governor had approved, a bill for the creation of the new Capitol, the title of the bill being "An act to provide for the improvement of the Hudson River below Albany, and for other purposes," to say nothing of the money being raised, not by tax, but by lottery. Whether the Legislature, or honest and good George Clinton, the Governor, who, in the act of 1804, is described as ''the person administering the government of this State," was criticized according to the most approved style of the present day, I am unable to inform you. At the beginning of the present century the population of our State was but little more than half a million, and that of this city, its capital, a little over five thousand. A historian enumerates the public buildings then located here as follows: "A low Dutch church, one for Presbyterians, one for Germans, one for Episcopalians, a hospital, the City Hall, a brick gaol, the City Hotel, and a bank, established in 1784." In 1806, the corner-stone of what we now call the old capitol was laid by Philip S. Van Rensselaer, then mayor, in the presence of the chancellor, the judges of the Supreme Court, members of the corporation, the State House Commissioners the corporation, and the leading citizens, as we learn from the newspapers of the day: and, as was then said, with the usual enthusiastic accuracy of such occasions, it was to be built on "improved plans, embracing much elegance with great convenience and durability." There, my friends, it stands to-day, within our view, a monument of what we call the olden time; venerable, and though not yet three score years and ten of age, full of historic associations, with rich memories of the past of this great and prosperous State clustering around it. Almost the whole of our State history, in peace and in war, has been made and written within its portals. There have been raised the voices of the great men of other days, whose names and words and deeds are still fresh in the memory of our people ; Clinton and Tompkins, Van Buren, Marcy, and Wright, and others now numbered with the dead. There justice was administered with a firm, well-balanced hand by Kent, Spencer, Thompson, Beardsley, Jones, Savage, Lansing, Bronson, Walworth, and others, who made the reputation of New York law reports world-wide. There constitutions have been framed and laws enacted under the benign influence of which this State, during the present century, has grown from half a million to four millions and a half of people; a nation in itself. Where are now all who, less than seventy years ago, stood where we stand, when the old corner-stone was laid? Probably not one witness of that ceremonial is among us to-day. Man's work is more enduring than himself. Some facts about the old Capitol, in its early days, may be interesting to you. Its total cost was about $120,000, which was paid in part by the State and in part by this city. The governor and the council of revision, the Senate and Assembly, the Supreme Court, and Common council of the city, all, at first, had rooms in it. In the attic was the Mayor's Court and the State Library, the Society of Arts and the Board of Agriculture; while the county Clerk and the City Marshal occupied the basement. When completed, it was an object of excessive admiration. Travelers from abroad praised it. Dr. Stuart, of Edinburgh, described it as "a fine large object." Henry Nearan, an English traveler, says it presented a fine appearance. Professor Silliman, in 1818, speaks of it as a large and handsome building of stone, furnished with good rooms for the government and courts of law; and the furniture of some of the departments, he says, exhibited a good degree of elegance, and even some splendor; while another enthusiastic writer, born, I should guess, somewhere under our own starry banner, said, in 1833, "In the furniture of the rooms there is a liberal display of public munificence, and the American eagle assumes an imperial splendor." We can hardly realize the changes which have occurred since that corner-stone was laid. Then the number of the States was seventeen; their total population less than six millions. Republican government was an experiment just put upon its trial. The work of developing the energies of the country and its resources, agricultural and mineral, had hardly commenced. The group of what we call the Eastern and Middle States and three or four Southern States made up the republic. The star of empire had not yet taken its way westward. States and Territories now thronged with a busy, energetic population were then a dense wilderness, the abundant riches of which were not even imagined. Not only beyond, but far east of the Alleghenies, was an almost unknown land. Now thirty-seven States make up our beloved Union, which, thanks be to God, has been preserved even amid the fires of a terrible civil war. Forty millions of people constitute a brotherhood extending the band of a common citizenship, from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic coast, on which the early pilgrims landed, to the golden shores of the Pacific, where a quarter of a century ago no American citizen could be found, but where now exist two great and prosperous States of the American Union. Trials we have had, almost beyond endurance, it is true, the long smouldering fires of sectional differences and hate, kept in subjection as they were for many years by the earnest, self-sacrificing efforts of patriotic men, once burst forth into a flame in which the republic was very nearly consumed. But the Union was saved, and it was saved because the States of which it was made up were, each of them, an independent government, and had the self-reliance which comes of independence. The Union was saved, not because it had what is called a strong government, ruling, as oft strong governments do, over a weak people, but the people were strong and used self-reliance: and they were able, through their State, county, and town organization (our own beloved state being in the front rank) to defend the integrity of the Union, upon the maintenance of which as a union of sovereign states, they knew depended the welfare and happiness of all. Now our people, so lately at war, are again at peace, determined to maintain a republican form of government, and to preserve alike the integrity and independence of the several States, and the perfect and harmonious union of all. I have spoken of the population of this State, then and now. Since then it has made rapid progress, not only in population, but in all that makes a State great. Then we had few emigrants from Europe. Now every year a number nearly equal to the total population of the State at day land in the city of New York, and are distributed over our country as permanent citizens. Then we had peace; no need of soldiers. Since then, we have furnished hosts of brave men and true for the war of 1812 and the Mexican war; and in our late terrible civil contest our State alone sent to the field nearly 475,000 armed men, a number about equal to its total population less than seventy years ago; and to-day, in the midst of peace, with no paid army, the state of New York has, nevertheless, a volunteer force of 20,000 men, engaged otherwise peaceful industry, but armed, equipped, disciplined, officered, ready at a moment's notice to defend the honor of the state and the rights of its citizens as well as the Union of which it is the chief member. When the foundations of the old Capitol were laid no steamer had navigated the great river which is our pride and glory; now there are hundreds of them, many of them very beautiful and very fast. With all their speed, however, they move too slowly for the spirit of the age. Then we had no artificial channel of navigation; now we have l,000 miles of canals, the Erie uniting the great inland seas of our continent with the ocean. Then we had no railroads; now we have thousands of miles of them skirting our rivers, pushing through the valleys and around the mountain sides into the very wilderness. Then we were without telegraphs; now the obedient lightning carries our messages from the capital to the humblest villages within our borders and to the far corners of the world abroad. Then we had no common schools; now nearly twelve thousand school-houses are scattered over our State, in which every year 1,000,000 children are taught the rudiments of a good education. The children in our schools are twice as many as were the whole people in our State when the old corner-stone was laid. My fellow-citizens, in the seventy years since the building of the old Capitol our State has had a glorious and marvelous growth, true to its motto of "Excelsior." The old Capitol long ago ceased to be worthy of the State or to answer its requirements. Movements were set on foot for the erection of a new one. In 1863 the first appropriation was made for the purchase of ground. In the same year a resolution passed the Senate, directing the trustees of the Capitol and the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Buildings to procure plans for a new Capitol. In 1865 an act was passed authorizing the erection of a new capitol, on condition that the City of Albany should give to the State, towards the purpose, the ground commonly known as the Congress Hall block. This condition was complied with, and in 1866 the first appropriation of $250,000 was made for the building. The work was begun and has steadily gone on, each year fresh appropriations being made. I have mentioned these few facts relating to the old capitol and the new one, for the sole purpose of making up a brief record of history for those who shall come after us; a record more useful, I think, and therefore more appropriate than any display of rhetoric would be. I would not, with too much show of words, break in upon the simple beauty of the services for which tbe Commissioners of the Capitol have arranged. I have said that almost the whole of the past history of our State has been written within the portals of the old Capitol. Its future record is to be made up within the new one. Whether what is to be shall be as honorable and glorious as what has been will depend not upon the magnificence of the structure to be erected, nor upon the solidity of the foundation upon which it rests, but upon the intelligence, energy, virtue, and patriotism of the people whose representatives shall in coming years assemble here. From foundation to dome it may be of granite, firm as a rock, and lasting as the hills, yet it will be built in vain unless the State shall have its foundation deeply laid in truth, equity and justice, and shall have for its corner-stone a great and enduring reverence for those fundamental principles of government which the fathers of the republic contended for in the perils of war and left as a rich legacy to us.
Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city the watchmen waketh but in vain.
Our responsibilities as a people have increased step by step with the rapid growth of the State and country, and will continue to increase. It is wise for us all, as we fix our hopes upon the great future which is before us, to remember always the counsel of our fathers, and to walk by the light which experience throws upon our path. The material past of the country may stand in meager contrast to its great future, but the early history of the republic will be more glorious than anything which shall be hereafter written if we forget the men who made it and the great truths which are inscribed in every volume and on every page of that early record. Let us lay the cornerstone of our new Capitol with the prayer that our beloved State may continue to grow in the future as it has in the past; and that its growth may be made manifest not alone in the outward signs of prosperity and power, but also in a wider and wider diffusion of the elements of domestic happiness among its people. The glory and strength of a state consists not merely in its public edifices, its public works, its monuments of public or private splendor and munificence. Its sources of strength are to be found in the purity and vigor of character, the self-control of the men and women who constitute the state; its true glory in the general diffusion of virtue, peace and comfort among the homes of its people. That is the most perfect state in which the benefits of constantly added wealth reach furthest down on the scale of society, and in which self-government, the government of each man over himself, renders other government all but unnecessary. To this wholesome and substantial growth the efforts of every one of us can contribute, with the help of God. And may God grant to each of us the will to do his part.
THE CORNER-STONE FESTIVAL.
A letter from a correspondent not present has at least the merit of being a new view of the subject, if that sentence is not Hibernian. I appreciate fully the superb pageantry of the Masonic order, its regalia, its discipline, its jewels, and doubtless that never divulged secret behind all, whose mystery is the very thorn in the life of all of us who are not Masons. I can never cease to value the Masonic order, when I remember that Salem Town was, and Charles Roome is, distinguished in the places of its trust and confidence; but I confess to disappointment in the arrangement of the laying of the new capitol's corner-stone in this way, however brilliant and beautiful the thousands of glittering equipages have made the occasion. That was not my cherished idea of the proprieties of this State festival, so earnest in its indications.
I had hoped to have seen a historic celebration, one in which Governor Hoffman, as is his right as the chief magistrate of the era, assisted by the son of De Witt Clinton, and of Alexander Hamilton, and the grandson of Philip Schuyler would have been at is side, called there by official invitation. This should have been the personnel to whom the act of solemn institution of the forming edifice should have been committed. Nor was this all. I hoped that search would have been made in Albany (what there is perhaps yet to be found) of some still living who recollect when the corner-stone of the present Capitol was laid, and that their place would have been near the Governor—-themselves best able to declare the increasing magnificence of New York.
I do not doubt that the ritual of the occasion will be grandly set forth, that Grand Masters and all their staff will declare the stone well and truly laid, and that Knights Templars will show such elegance of decoration as would have made words of wonder at Malta, and would have amazed Saladin—a gorgeous array of honorable men.
Yet the Capitol is for the deeds and words of statesmen, and names I have cited being representatives, of the illustrious dead, would have made a bright link in the historical chain.
The Free and Accepted are a worthy and peaceful order of men, but the new capitol is for all the people, and all of us have not yet taken our degree.
The new commission show promptitude in this work—a foundation gained, a corner-stone laid, are all good indications of progress—but I can not but congratulate all the tax-payers that to-day the Legislature is not in session. I fear the heads of the grave and careful finance committees would have been turned in this splendor, and we should have seen some rash plunges into the Treasury. The spectacle is interesting, but it is surrounded with a tragedy in which the assessor and collector take star situations.
Yet, welcome the new Capitol, if but the men that are to occupy it in places of power themselves acknowledge the high, clear, just call of duty, shall all that is confused and careless and doubtful and evil be swept out with the last dust of the old building? If so, then, brilliant brethren, do well your mystic work, and most energetic builder, Bridg[e?]ford, give the structure the progress you so well know how to create. SENTINEL.
July 22, 1871, New-York Tribune, Page 8, Column 2,
THE WORKINGMEN'S UNION
January 5, 1872, The World: New York, THE STATE LEGISLATURE.
Capitol commissioners sent in their annual report to-day. it appears from this that the commissioners have expended during the past year [ ] which, added to the previous expenditures, makes the total amount expended on that great work thus far, $2,037,670.41. Of the $650,000 appropriated by the Legislature of 1871, only $385,000 has been expended, leaving a balance of that appropriation of $265,000. The commissioners ask for an appropriation of $1,000,000 this year.
January 26, 1872, New-York Tribune, Page 1, Column 5,
A Committee of the Workingmen's Assembly is engaged taking affidavits in the matter of charges of corrupt pratices in connection with the building of the new Capitol. It is charged that materials have been used for private purposes in constructing the building, etc.
January 27, 1872, New-York Tribune, Page 7, Column 2,
Mr. West reported that there was no infraction of the Eight-Hour law in work on the new Capitol.
Mr. I. D. Brown's resolution directing the investigation of the charges of corruption in the construction of the new Capitol, was adopted.
Jan. 30, 1872, The Sun, Page 1,
A NEW COURT HOUSE UP THE RIVER.
Private Dwellings and Houses of Worship Built, and Costly Monuments Erected with State Material and Labor. The State Trade Assembly, which was in session in Albany last week, adjourned sine dt* on Saturday. Nearly every county in the State was represented, and much important business was transacted. During the session a number of members of the Legislature sat in the Convention, and listened with interest to the debates on the Eight Hour law, the Apprentice law, and other measures intended to be presented to the Legislature. Charges were preferred against the new Capitol Commissioners, which, if substantiated, will give us another political earthquake. Mr. Connolly said that be held affidavits proving that not only private dwellings and churches bad been erected with the material and labor paid for by the State on the new Capitol building, but that costly monuments had been erected in the cemetery with shafts or blocks of marble taken from the new Capitol. It was Ordered that attention of the Legislature be called to this cross malversation. [Definition: misbehavior and especially corruption in an office, trust, or commission.]
February 01, 1872, New-York Tribune, Page 1, Column 2,
The workingmen's charges against the new Capitol Commissioners do not promise much. The Ways and Means Committee of the Assembly gave them a further hearing to-day.
February 8, 1872, New York Tribune,
THE TERWILLIGER CASE.
HIS COUNSEL. WITHOUT TESTIMONY FOR THE DEFENSE.
The Senate Committee in the case of charges against James Terwilliger, Clerk of the Senate met this evening. The Chairman of the Committee asked Hamilton Harris, Terwilliger's counsel, if he had any testimony to offer, and he replied that he had none at present, but might have to-morrow evening. The Chairman then adjourned the meeting until to-morrow evening, at Harris's request.
February 1, 1872, The Sun,
THE BILLS THAT WERE TAMPERED WITH IN FORMER YEARS.
ALBANY, Jan. 31.—The Governor this morning answered the resolution of Mr. Smythe calling for information as to bills which had been presented for his signature which he refused to sign until certain portions had been expunged. As intimated in my despatch of yesterday, the Governor in his answer does not confine himself to last year's legislation, but goes back to 1869 and cites Jim Swain's three-tier bill to one of those measures which had come before him without having first been approved of by both branches of the legislature. This bill, with, few alterations, has been again introduced this winter, and Swain is here lobbying for it. The Governor also cites last year's Supply bill and reads the Assembly a long and useful lesson, if they will heed it, on the necessity of paying better attention to the business transacted by them. The Governor's message completely exonerates the Ways and Means Committee of last year from suspicion of tampering with the Supply bill after it left the hands of the Conference Committee.
WHO TAMPERED WITH THE SUPPLY BILL.
It is not now much of a secret that nearly all if not every one of the steals inserted in the bill was the work of Mr. Secretary Corson. I am told that this resolution was introduced at the request of the Speaker, in order that the Governor might thus early in the session call the attention of members to the careless manner in which legislation has heretofore been conducted, and give weight to the oft-repeated cautions of the Speaker, who has the utmost difficulty in managing the primary department of the Legislature over which he presides. As a proof of the necessity of this warning, I may state that in less than half an hour after the reading of the message, no less than three "respectful messages" were sent to the Governor asking for the return, of bills which had been passed, and which, it was claimed, contained errors which were fatal and would cause the Governor to veto them. Notably among them was the Employees bill, which had been prepared by the Speaker and Old Salt in such haste that even they made mistakes, and the bill had to be called back, and amended so as to meet the Governor's objections. How much more necessary then, that the "small fry" should be careful what they do.
THE GOVERNOR'S FIRST VETO.
The Governor to-day sent in his first veto. It was a bill to legalize the election of one Harrison Clute as Superintendent of the Poor of Schenectady. The reasons given by him were the same as those urged by Mr. Jacobs against its passage, viz.: that this man was a Supervisor of the city of Schenectady at the time of his election, and under the existing laws was ineligible to the office he was elected to, and that consequently the passage of this law would be legalizing an illegal election. But Old Salt and the rest, who could then only see that it was getting rid of a Democratic Superintendent of the Poor and putting a Republican in his place, did not heed. Jacobs's protests, and the bill was passed by an almost strict party vote. When it was returned this morning, however, with the Governor's objections. Old Salt appeared to think it was best to "stop a little" before rushing it through over the veto, and therefore suggested that the matter be laid upon the table for the present, until he could have an opportunity to examine into it, which was done.
A NEW REFORM LEADER.
has come to the front in the Assembly, and he is none other than the Hon. Thomas C. Fields. Ever since this Legislature convened Fields has lost no opportunity of reminding the majority that this was a Reform Legislature, and that the people would expect great things of it. But not until last night did he really assume the leadership. When the Committee of Seventy's bill making public officers in the city of New York personally liable, &c, was under consideration he took entire charge of it, making the only real argument in its favor, and amending it so as to apply to every city and county in the State.
The gallant Col. Hawkins was the first to welcome the new recruit and follow in the wake of the gentleman from the Nineteenth District of New York, and Old Salt was not long behind him. Thus Mr. Fields has received the endorsement of both factions of the Republican party as a reformer, and if he will only keep on in the way he is going, by the close of the session he may see his name recorded high up on the roll of modern reformers.
THE CAPITOL COMMISSION SWINDLE.
The committee to investigate the charges brought against the Capitol Commissioners met to-night. A number of the workmen testified that they had been employed by Mr. Bridgeford in working on his farm near this city, and drew their pay for such labor from the funds of the Capitol Commission. They also testified that they had worked on various buildings which Bridgford was putting up, among them the house of Judge Amasa J. Parker, and drew their pay for such work from the same fund. At the last election Bridgford asked the workmen employed on the Capitol who lived in Speaker Smith's district to vote and work for that gentleman for the reason that if he was elected, an extra appropriation of $1,000,000 could be secured to carry on the work. He also asked them to carry the Democratic primaries for a weak candidate, so that a Republican might be elected in the First District of the county, and they did so. Nearly all the Capitol Commissioners were present, but nothing was elicited to criminate them. The testimony will be closed to-morrow, and very likely a report made to the House. The general impression is that Bridgford will be removed. He is a partner of Tweed's in his Lake Champlain ore mines.
February 2, 1872, The World, Page 5, Column 1
THE CAPITOL COMMISSION.
The Ways and Means Committee continued the examination of the charges against the Capitol Commissioners. They elicited no more facts against the commissioners than obtained yesterday. On the rebutting testimony it was shown that no man was paid unless be was there to answer to his name. It was also shown that the man who worked on Bridgeford's farm was paid by a man named Dwyer, and not out of the funds of the new Capitol. The same as to those on the church and other work. As to the election of Mr. Smith to the Assembly, Mr. Bridgeford testified that he did ask the men who lived in that district to vote for Mr. Smith; but did not threaten to discharge them If they did not. He got some tickets with the Democratic indorsement on the outside and Smith's name on the inside, and gave them to the workmen. The committee have closed their testimony in this case.
February 9, 1872, The Sun,
THE CAPITOL COMMISSION.
The Committee on Ways and Means resumed its investigation into the charges against the Capitol Commissioners and Superintendent of the Capitol buildings. Eleven witnesses on behalf or the prosecution were examined, each one of whom testified that he knew of no political influence being brought to bear up on the workmen on the new Capitol. They knew of no man being put on private work and paid out of the Capitol fund, and knew of no material belonging to the new Capitol being diverted to private use. Mr. Foot, of the committee, moved that the testimony be closed.
Mr. Jacobs recalled Mr. Bridgeford, Superintendent, and asked him if the Eight-Hour law was in force on the Capitol works.
Mr. Bridgeford said it was not; men worked by the hour, and he had them work so by direction of the Commissioners.
Mr. Harris, of the Commission, said the Eight Hour law provided for men working by the hour and being paid by the hour, and they followed the law in that respect.
Mr. Jacobs said that so far as the testimony went he could not see any proof that any political influence had been used, nor that work or materials belonging to the Capitol had been diverted to private use. He asked, however, that the report be delayed till Wednesday next, which was granted.
The committee then adjourned, Mr. Fort's motioned to close the testimony being adopted.
February 29, 1872, New-York Tribune, Page 1, Column 3
On motion of Mr. Jacobs, the report of the Committee on Ways and Means on the charges against the Commissioners and Superintendent of the new Capitol was made the special order for Monday evening next.
January 09, 1873, The Sun, Page 1, Column 7,
THE NEW CAPITOL.The report of the New Capitol Commission was sent in to the Senate. They report that they have expended in the construction of the Capitol during the past year $787,432, leaving a balance of about $21,000 of the appropriation of last year unexpended. They ask the Legislature to appropriate $1,500,000 for the ensuing year. This is $500,000 more than they got last year, but they will probably get it, as there is a general belief that the sooner the Capitol is completed the better.
April 23, 1873, The Sun, Page 1
It is understood the Assembly committee will report against the proposition to let out the finishing of the new Capitol by contract; also that they will make no recommendation concerning a change in the commission, but will propose that more power be given the Superintendent of the building.
May 2, 1873, The Daily Graphic, Page 6, Column 1,
ALBANY.To-day the great "bone" of contention was the appropriation of one million and a half dollars towards the construction of the new Capitol, and the commissioners for that purpose. On motion of Mr. Rose, the following persons were added to the commission: Chas. P. Easton and Wm. Ten Eyck, of Albany; Geo. W. Patterson, of Chautauqua; and Wm. Laimbeer, of New York. The commissioners were authorised to tear down Congress Hall whenever they deemed it necessary.
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?] 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.
December 18, 1873, The Evening Telegram, Page 4, Column 1,
THE NEW STATE CAPITAL.Arrangements Perfected For the lmmediate Commencement of Work.
ALBANY, Dec. 18.--A meeting of the joint committees of the board of Supervisors and Common Council was held yesterday, at which it was resolved to make early application to the Legislature to make an appropriation in order that the work may be resumed at once on the new Capitol with a full force of men. Subsequently the committee called on the Governor who said he would sign a concurrent resolution of the Legislature making such provision. The New Capitol Commissioners were then called upon and said they would set the men at work as soon as the appropriation was made.
January 6, 1874, The Evening Telegram, Page 4, Column 5,
The Capitol as the seat of government represents the sovereignty of the people of the State. The laws by which they are governed are enacted within its walls. It is right that it should bear, in its dimensions and the perfection of its architecture, a just relation to the dignity of the service to which it is dedicated; and the people will not object to any reasonable expenditure which may be necessary to make it a fitting symbol of their supremacy and power.
The proposed expenditure is nevertheless far greater than it should be, and it is believed that it may yet be reduced without impairing the architectural finish or proportions of the edifice.
In regard to buildings intended for the treatment and care or the insane, and for the custody, punishment or reformation of criminals, it is neither necessary nor appropriate that they should be ornamental or costly in their architecture. They should be plain and substantial, and should be constructed with the single purpose of adapting them to the uses for which they are designed. The cities and districts within which they are established will very naturally deire that they should be highly embellished as ornaments to their neighborhoods: and as the superintendence of their construction is usually confided to persons who reside near them, it will require great care on the part of the State, as experience has shown, to prevent the plans from being modified by costly alterations or additions.
The most effectual method of guarding against defective estimates of cost and changes to plan involving additional expenditure is to place the construction of the buildings to be erected at the expense of the State under a single superintending architect, with a salary sufficient to command the highest qualifications. Such an arrangement would also save to the State a large portion of the compensation now paid to a number of architects receiving a percentage on the amount expended in the construction of the buildings respectively in their charge. No plan should be finally adopted and no building commenced until all the working drawings are perfected; and when this is done an experienced builder is often more competent to carry on the work of construction than the architect by whom it was designed.
January 21, 1874, The Daily Graphic, FOURTH EDITION. ALBANY.
THE NEW CAPITOL.
ALBANY, January 21.--The Committee on Ways and Means reported a bill this morning, appropriating $200,000 to be expended immediately in dressing the stone now on hand for the new Capitol.
February 3, 1874, The Daily Graphic,
Albany, The New Capitol,
"They are investigating the new Capitol." Yes, a sub-committee of the Committee of Ways and Means, composed of Messrs. Brewer, Alvord, and Beebe, has been appointed, and they are examining witnesses to ascertain whether frauds have really been committed in the building of the new Capitol thus far or not. My prediction is that their report will be absolutely worthless. Alvord and Beebe are shrewd men, and would be pretty sure to discover frauds where they had been committed. But Brewer, who had to be made chairman of the Committee because he belongs to the "majority," is not an astute man. He is already very thick with the contractors, architect, &c, whose acquaintance he has made since the investigation began. This is a bad sign. Who can believe that there has been no "swindling" on this work, when it is found to have cost over four million dollars, and is yet only one-third done? It is a large building, it is true; but politicians and contractors have large pockets, too, nowadays. I don't believe that the frauds are so great as most people believe, but that frauds have been committed is but natural in the age we live in. The builder works to a disadvantage while he is laying the foundation, and in the present instance that part of the work was found to be unusually difficult. The foundation of the new Capitol is some twenty-four feet below the surface, and is built on clay intermingled with quicksand. It was a long time before the engineer decided how to proceed under the circumstances. The majority of his advisers recommended driving piles and building on them. But piles last only twenty-five years, and it was not certain that the people of New York would vote to do away with a Legislature within that time, so he went to work and filled the whole foundation with concrete to a thickness of three feet, so that the Capitol will rest on a vast rock three feet thick, and covering about three acres. It is calculated that this rock or concrete will settle into the clay about three-quarters of an inch. If Mr. Brewer reports that no frauds have been committed so far as he can discover, he will only show his inability in the art of discovering. Perhaps Mr. Beebe will present a minority report. If he does, that will be the report belief.
February 11, 1874, The Sun, Page 1, Column 1,
Senator Wood, having learned that the Governor would be compelled to veto the Capitol Appropriation bill for the reason that there are no funds from which the appropriation can be taken, this morning introduced a resolution calling upon the Comptroller for information as to whether the fund out of which the appropriation was to be made is exhausted. The Comptroller in his reply will show that it is, and that if any further appropriation is made for the new Capitol this year the money to meet It must be provided for, as he does not propose to take another penny out of the Sinking Fund for this or any other purpose contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
February 26, 1874,
TESTIMONY: PROCEEDINGS HAD BEFORE THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE PURSUANT TO THE FOLLOWING:
Resolved, That the Finance Committee of the Senate be directed to investigate the expenditures of the New Capitol Commissioners, and that said Committee have power to send for persons and papers. Albany, 1874, OCLC # 19618684 Description: 632 p.
March 7, 1874, The Daily Graphic, Column 2,
Affairs at Albany.The investigation of the new Capitol frauds is drawing to a close. The proceedings are held in a small, low room in Congress Hall, not more than fifty feet from the granite walls of the new building, which cost from six to seven dollars per cubic foot to build. There was a little sensation at the meeting last evening when James Burns, one of the witnesses, after testifying a short time, got up and in a very excited manner began making a speech to the investigating committee. They let him go on for a few moments. He swore that he had charge of a gang of men working on the new Capitol, and that when they were out at work he had to set them to hauling lumber up and down the street so as to make people believe they were really at work. Instead of giving him good carpenters who understood their trade, he was obliged to take on men sent from all parts of the State because they were recommended by influential men. He said he could do as much work in a day as any twelve of them did. It also came out that lumber which should have gone into the new Capitol was used on the St. Agnes School; and a lot was used to make a pigeon-house for Mr. Ira [sic] Harris, the head of the Capitol Commission
April 21, 1874, The Daily Graphic,
THE LEGISLATURE. SENATE. REPORTS PRESENTED.
Senator Wood announced that, as the new Capitol investigation would probably be finished at the session this afternoon, and as some appropriation in the Supply bill depended thereon, the bill would not be called up this evening.
FOURTH EDITION, Column 5, ALBANY.-THE NEW CAPITOL.
The building of the new Capitol has resulted in so much thieving, and the opportunities for future thieving being as good as ever, Senator Ganson, one of the soundest men in the Upper House, moved that the appropriation of $1,000,000 to carry on the work during the present year be stricken out from the annual Supply bill. During the debate that ensued Senator Dayton took occasion to offer an amendment requiring all the granite for the Capitol to be cut in this State; and here are the comments of one of the Albany journals on the proceedings:
Mr. Dayton here took a prominent part by moving that all the stone required in the construction of the building should be cut in this State, to which Senator Wood objected. He wanted the work done in New Hampshire or Maine. As New York labor pays for building the Capitol, New York labor should enjoy all the benefits connected with its erection. Wood's opposition to New York mechanics will cost Wood a great many votes when he runs for Governor, as he hopes to do next fall. Wood is a man of talent, but is sadly lacking in common sense or he would not expect to be made Governor by fighting the labor of the State.
This is a good representation of the caliber of the average Albany newspaper which depends on the State Administration for its sustenance. If it should be ascertained that Mr. Wood is really an honest man, and is in favor of having the work on the new Capitol done where it can be done cheapest, there is little danger of the working men of the State proving themselves as ignorant as the editor of the Albany Post, by going against him on that score, though the nomination of Mr. Wood for Governor is among the things improbable if not impossible.
March 3, 1874, The Sun, Page 1, Column 1,
A SUBJECT THAT WILL BEAR INVESTIGATION.The Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Wood, Chairman, held a meeting this afternoon to investigate the expenditures on the new Capitol building. John Clemishire testified that he entered into a contract with the Capitol Commissioners in 1859, [?] by which they were to pay him fifty cents a day profit on each man employed; that the average for each man's daily wages was not to exceed $3.50 per day. Paid some men as low as $2 and $2.75 per day. The time was kept on a memorandum book, and was carried in a gross sum on the ledger weekly. When the memorandum book was full he threw it away. He had not an account of the names or the men employed, nor the number of each man worked, nor what each one received.
March 3, 1874, Albany Evening Journal,
That Salary Clause,The Argus a publishes a letter which asks:
Is it not a little singular that in the reports of the proceedings of the Senate for April 30th, 1874, in the Evening Journal of that date, there was nothing said about the salary of the Superintendent of the new Capitol, when that matter was brought up in connection with the supply bill for action, by Mr. Wood, considering what a bone of contention it had been for days prior?
The letter proceeds to copy the Journal's report of Senator Wood's remarks on that occasion, and adds: "Not a syllable about the pay of the New Capitol Superintendent in the above. And the report of the Argus, the following morning on the same subject, was substantially the same."
Now, question of salary for the Superintendent had not been a "bone of contention" "for days prior." It was a mere matter of detail about which very little had been said. T he real questions which excited interest were whether the Capitol Commission should be abolished, how the Superintendent should be appointcd, and what should be the powers of the two. And it was naturally and properly to these points that the remarks of Senators and the report of the Journal were particularly addressed. Everybody understands that the newspaper reports of legislative debates, except on occasions, are sketches of abstracts and not full, verbatim reports. If we should undertake to publish every word that is spoken it would take pages. The report to which the Argus correspondent refers was an abstract and not a verbatim copy. It give all the important points that had attract d attention, but did not pretend to repeat every word that was spoken. So the whole argument of the Argus correspondent comes to nothing.
In order however, to satisfy this correspondent who don't seem to comprehend what every Intelligent person understands perfectly well, we publish to-day the full verbatim, official report of the debate In the Senate on the Conference report, as taken by the Stenographer of the Senate. This report is sworn to and is a part of the evidence in the present Investigation. It will be seen that in the course of his remarks while the Conference report was before the Senate, Gen. Wood said: "In relation to the Capitol Commission, the Commitee agreed upon this compromise—that the present Superintendent should be removed within thirty days, and that another should be appointed at a salary of $10,000," &c.
We hope the unenlightened correspondent of the Argus who wanted information is now is now satisfied.
April 23, 1874, The Evening Post, Third Edition, Page 3, Column 1,
THE SUPPLY BILLAt [ ] o'clock Mr. Wood moved to take the official vote on this bill. Mr. Jacobs argued against the injustice of forcing out of office the Capitol Commissioners without giving the Senate an opportunity of reading the evidence against them. The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mr. Wood, was in consultation with a high state officer a few days ago, when it was agreed to remove the present Commissioners, and the Senate was now called upon to carry out the programme.
Mr. [ ] anson argued that it was wrong to introduce this question of removal into a Supply bill. He would vote for a bill to appoint a Supervising Architect for all government buildings in the state, and the removal of all Commissioners.
Mr. Wood regretted the Finance Committee had been forced to make any reference to the conduct of affairs on the new capitol building. That committee had made no charges against the commissioners. It was the system of conducting the work by such commissioners which was wrong, and it is now proposed to aboIish the board and make one person responsible.
After a long debate the Senate passed the Supply bill with a clause providing for the removal of the present Capitol Commissioners, the appointment of a supervising builder at $ [ ] salary annualy, and the removal of every board of commissioners on every public building throughout the State.
April 23, 1874, The Daily Graphic,
ALBANY. ABOLITION OF STATE COMMISSIONSPASSAGE OF THE SUPPLY BILL IN THE SENATE. (SPECIAL DISPATCH TO THE GRAPHIC.)
ALBANY, April 23.—The Senate has followed up the action of last night in abolishing the New Capitol Commission by abolishing all similar commissions in the State, except the one having charge of the building of the Willard Asylum. Three superintendents and builders are to be appointed, who are to take charge of the new Capitol and all other State buildings now in process of erection. The Senate passed the Supply bill at 1:30 P. M. by a vote of 26 ayes to 3 noes. Senator Cole then moved to reconsider the vote by which the bill was passed. In order to strike out appropriations amounting to a million dollars on the ground that the State does not demand those expenditures. The motion to reconsider was lost by a vote of 4 to 19. STENCIL.
May 1, 1874, The Daily Graphic,
THE SUPPLY BILL,
In relation to the asylums and reformatories the Committee have agreed substantially upon the amendments which were adopted in the Senate, except that I have redrawn them and made them fuller. It provides that the Governor shall appoint a superintending builder to take charge of the asylums in Buffalo, Middletown, and Poughkeepsie, and also the reformatory at Elmira, leaving to him the entire control and management of the construction of the buildings, he taking the place of the Building Commissioners or Managers, and being clothed with the whole powers hitherto possessed by them so far as the construction of the buildings la concerned, subject to removal by the Governor at any time for cause. In relation to the new Capitol the committee have agreed upon this compromise: The present superintendent is to be removed within thirty days and another nominated by the Commissioners, and to be appointed by and with the consent and approval of the Governor; said superintendent shall be clothed with the same powers as were provided by the amendment offered by the Senator from the Eleventh (Mr. Ray). He is to be a man of large practical experience, and is to have exclusive control and management of the construction of the new Capitol, and is to take the place of the present superintendent so far as the construction of the building is concerned, subject to removal by the Governor on sufficient charges. The appointment of the officer to fill the vacancy is to be made in the same way as in the first instance. There is nothing in the amendments providing how the payments shall be made, but of course they will be made by the superintendent upon vouchers. We have appropriated to the new Capitol $1,000,000. In relation to the inquiry as regards the new Capitol investigation, I will say that the Committee have not concluded the investigation; information which we called for from the architect over six weeks ago has not been furnished. He was asked to show what alteration had been made in the plans after they had been adopted, in order that we might ascertain what additional expense was incurred by these alterations. There is also a large field that has not been traversed. The testimony is very voluminous, comprising 1,000 pages. It has but just been printed, and very few have had an opportunity to read more than ten pages. In relation to the architect, of course the power conferred upon the superintendent gives him the employment of every subordinate of every name and nature. We did not remove the present commissioners of the asylums and other institutions, and for this reason: in all cases except one the present commissioners are the managers of the institutions when completed ; therefore we transferred the building power from the commissioner to a new superintendent.
May 2, 1874, Buffalo Evening Courier and Republic,
THE STATE BUILDING COMMISSION.Text of the Supply Bill as Regards the New Capitol and Other State Buildings.
The following is the text of so much of the supply bill as relates to the new Capitol and other public buildings now in process of erection by state authority:
The new capitol commissioners shall within thirty days from the passage of this act, nominate and by and with the consent and approval of the governor, appoint a superintendent who shall be a person of large experience, and who shall have charge of the work of finishing the new capitol, the employment of the labor, and the purchasing of all the materials therefor. The term of office of the present superintendent shall terminate upon the appointment of his successor, and within thirty days from the passage of this act. The governor upon specific charges made and upon notice to any commissioner or superintendent, may remove such commissioner or superintendent, and may, in case of the removal of any such commissioner, appoint a person in his place who shall hold his office until the first day of May thereafter, unless the vacancy shall be sooner filled by appointment by the governor, by and with advice and consent of the senate. ln case of the removal of the superintendent the said new capitol commissioners shall, in the same manner and with the like consent and approval of the governor, appoint his successor. The salary of said superintendent shall be $10,000 per year....The new capitol commission are hereby directed forthwith to erect between the new capital building and Congress Hall a brick wall of sufficient length, thickness and height to protect the new capitol from injury by fire in case the Congress Hall building shall burn.
May 2, 1874, The Sun, Page 2, Column 2,
The appropriation of another million of dollars to the new Capitol building, and the mode of selecting the Commissioners for the work, has been the football of
the session; for every corruptionist in the Legislature and every cormorant [a gluttonous, greedy, or rapacious person] in the lobby recognize it as a job much more stupendous than our Court House, as that squat edifice dwindles in comparison with the towering structure which, when finished, will command an view both of the valley of the Mohawk and the valley of the Hudson.
June 2, 1874, Utica Weekly Herald, Page 4, Column 3,
The New Capitol Commissioners have named JAMES W. EATON, of Albany, for superintendent of the new capitol. The appointment is subject to the approval or veto of the Governor. It is understood he will give the nomination due consideration before announcing his decision. Mr. EATON is not widely known, but is spoken of at home as "honest, energetic and capable," and possessed of the "entire confidence of the community." Such a man is needed, and we shall take Governor Dix's approval of Mr. EATON'S nomination as assurance that the proper man for superintendent has been selected.
August 4, 1874, Albany Evening Journal,
A SENSATION. An Excitement at the New Capitol this Afternoon— A Seizure of Stones —Attachment Served on the Comptroller and Superintendent.
August 5, 1874, The Evening Post, Page 4, Column 1,
Trouble at the New State Capitol.The Albany Journal of last evening contains the following:
"Considerable excitement was occasioned at the new Capitol this afternoon by Sheriff Gallup, accompanied by Mr. N. C. Moak. making his appearance, and levying on all the stone in and about the grounds belonging to the Hallowell Maine Granite Company, by virtue of writs of an attachment issued by Recorder Greene this morning.
"The cause of this unlooked-for movement, as far as we can learn, is about as follows:
Several years since Mr. John Bridgeford was the owner of a valuable granite quarry at Hallowell, Maine, which he subsequently disposed of to a company of which Mr. J. R. Bodwell was president, known as the Hallowell Granite Company. Mr. Bodwell was also president of the Bodwell Granite Company, of Rockland. Me., from which two companies the new Capitol Commissioners have obtained a large portion of their supply of stone. For this quarry the Hallowell Granite Company agreed to pay the sum of $20,000. Soon after making the purchase, $10,000 of the amount was paid, leaving $10,000 due, which was to be paid on a certain specified day in February last.
The time came and passed by, the payment was not made, and now, it is alleged, the company have refused to pay the balance. Seeing that the company was not inclined to keep faith with him, Mr. Bridgeford yesterday consulted with Mr. N. C. Moak, and the result of that consultation was evidenced in the seizures made to-day. In order to make the company come to time. The Comptroller of the State, Mr. Nelson K. Hopkins, has been restrained from paying the company. Mr. Eaton, the superintendent, has been enjoined from using any of the company's stone, and the Capitol Commissioners from honoring the company's drafts on account, until the matter is finally adjusted and the claim of Mr. Bridgeford satisfied.
Sheriff Gallup also seized a carload of stone which arrived from the quarry this afternoon and will continue to seize it as fast as it arrives until the thing is settled. It is anticipated that every thing will be amicably adjusted in the course of a few days. In the meantime there will be no cessation of work on the Capitol it is thought, as some arrangement will be entered into between the claimant and Mr. Eaton, so that the work will contlnue without interruption. The matter has created considerable excitement and discussion on the streets owing to the many contradictory stories afloat. The above facts, however, are obtained from the best authority."
January 2, 1875, New-York Tribune,
THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.THREE-FIFTHS OF THE BUILDING COMPLETED. CONSIDERABLE PROGRESS MADE DURING THE PAST SEASON--EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS EXPENDED-- THE LEGISLATURE TO BE ASKED FOR TWO MILLION DOLLARS—GROUNDS ON WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS URGED—THE CAPITOL DESCRIBED--FORTHCOMING REPORT OF THE COMMISSION.
ALBANY, Dec. 31—The new State Capitol has begun to assume shape. The chaos which began with the first lunge of the shovel in December, 1867, by December, 1874, is resolved into something like order, and to the average eye, something promising beauty. But official architecture has been made so monstrous by Mullet—not alone the mighty Mullet, but the little Mulletts that have been and are—by Mullett as a class—that to point out a building as a city hall is enough to damn it beyond the reach of faint praise, while, generally speaking, the man who is heard to go into raptures over a State capitol may safely set down as a loot or a contractor. So that when the ordinary man finds himself admiring such a structure, he is inclined to doubt either his sanity or his taste, and in either case suppresses his opinion, thus perhaps losing an opportunity of distinguishing himself by his discrimination. But a building which is modeled after the New Louvre, the Hotel de Ville in Paris, and the Maison de Commerce in Lyons, ought to be beautiful, if for no other reason than that distance lends enchantment to every architectural view; and whether the critics commend or condemn this particular structure, there is no doubt that to the wayfaring man, who has no eyes for details and only two for general effects, the building is and promises to be beautiful. It is in the style of the French Renaissance, and is termed in one of the early reports to the Capitol Commission, "a composition in the bold and affective spirit which marks the most admired specimens of modern civil architecture."
PROGRESS DURING THE PAST SEASON.
The first stone was laid in July, 1869, and now, by the close of the season of 1874, the cellar story and two stories above the ground are completed, leaving the two upper stories and roof yet to be added. The progress made in the work since the opening of the season has been considerable. Five millions of bricks have been laid, with 120,000 feet of cut stone, and about $75,000 worth of iron beams and girders, in scarcely more than four months' working time. In the last item are included the beams and girders of both floors. The second, or entrance floor, so called from the fact that the principal entrance is on that floor, has been largely built since June. Its height is 27 feet, and while the average height of wall put up during the past season is 13 feet, in many parts the height of the whole story has been built. All the arches and rafters in this floor have also been laid, and 76 columns have been place in position. All the work exposed to the weather is carefully guarded from the inclemency of Winter, and now only awaits the genial warmth of Spring and the vivifying touch of an appropriation to rise into the third story. As far as the construction and expense of the building itself are concerned, the work is three-fifths done, but the finishing and decoration that must follow will necessarily involve a large expenditure of money and time, and it is more than likely that some of the members of the first legislature that will sit within its walls are yet too young and innocent to know what going to the Legislature means. The total cost of the building up to the beginning of the present season was $4,339,300, the land having cost $622,420. The expenditures of the past season have been over $800,000, bringing up the present cost, exclusive of land, to a little over $5,000,000. The Commissioners estimate that the two remaining stories can be built for $2,000,000, and the roof put on for $500,000, making the cost of the structure $7,500,000. The finishing and decoration will depend entirely upon the taste and economical tendencies of the Legislatures who vote the money, but the Hon. Hamilton Harris, the Chairman of the Commission, estimates that the work could be completed for $3,000,000, provided that the finish were not extravagant. This would bring the total cost of the structure to probably $12,000,000, including the site. It remains to be seen however whether it can be completed within that margin.
AN APPROPRIATION OF TWO MILLIONS TO BE ASKED FOR.
The Commission expect to ask the Legislature this Winter for an appropriation of $2,000,000, and Mr. Thomas Fuller, the architect who built the Parliament building at Ottawa, Canada, is confident that if he can obtain this amount this Winter and $500,000 next Winter, the roof can be on early in 1876, and the Capitol of the Empire State thus in a measure finished before the Centennial. Both Mr. Harris and Mr. Fuller deplore the lack of money which has compelled the almost total cessation of work at a time when, owing to the decline in wages, it would be possible to get labor at a reduced price, and when there are many laborers who have been employed on this very building who are out of work; and this fact will undoubtedly be used as a powerful argument with the Legislature. Only a very small force is at work now under Superintendent James W. Eaton. The original limit to the cost of the Capitol imposed by the Legislature was $4,000,000; but that was for a building which would have been much less elaborate and commodious than this, and those having charge of the work insist that the Legislature has accepted the modified plans, and made appropriations year after year without restriction or instructions for any change. Mr. Harris, in his testimony before the Investigating Committee last Winter, which only recently emerged from the printer's hands, urged that the cost of the new Capitol, which had been the subject of much extended criticism, would compare favorably with that of large buildings of granite in this country. For instance, the New-York Post-Office has just one-third the area of the Capitol, and has no granite in the interior. Mr. Mullett's last estimate was $7,000,000, the first having been $2,000,000. The Boston Post-Office is one-fifth the size of the Capitol, and the latest estimate of its cost was between three and four millions. The new State Department at Washington will certainly cost more than $3,000,000. The cost ot the Chicago Post-Office is set down at $5,000,000. The granite and marble alone of the new city building in Philadelphia were contracted for at the interesting figure to tax-payers of $5,300,000. Such instances, the Commissioners urge, are enough to show that the new Capitol has been made worthy of the Empire State at a moderate expense.
THE NEW CAPITOL DESCRIBED.
It is so long since the illustrated papers ceased to print the plan of the new Capitol that, some little description of it may seem new because it is so old. The square on which the building stands comprises nearly eight acres, and now contains also the old Capitol, the Library, and Congress Hall, which it is proposed to remove on the completion of the new building, leaving a park on the east of two and one-half acres, and a somewhat narrower park on the west. This will give an opportunity for architectural display which the cramped surroundings of the structure will not now permit. The exterior is 290 by 390 feet, the building lying east and west, and the height of the central tower from the ground will be 365 feet. The east front will be approached by a grand terrace of steps, which will add greatly to the beauty of the edifice and will surpass anything of the kind, it is said, in America. The entrance floor to which the terrace of steps rises will have lofty porticos at both the east and west fronts, rising the whole height of the building. Similar porticos, but without the approaching terrace of steps, will mark the north and south fronts and reach to the same height. Each or the four corners of the building is built in a tower-form, and will be crowned with a pavilion tower. Each of the four porticos is to be flanked by two towers, those by the smaller porticos being loftier and more massive than those on the east and west fronts, thus making 12 towers shooting up from the boundaries of the building, beside the square central tower, which rises between the east front and central court. This court is 137 by 92 feet, and affords light and ventilation to a large part of the Capitol. Between the central court and the west front there will be also two smaller courts, 30 feet by 22. The subject of ventilation has evidently been carefully considered by the architect. The large towers on the north and south fronts will serve as ventilating shafts, and Mr. Fuller has a plan which he thinks will make this one of the most thoroughly ventilated public buildings in the world,
SUBDIVISION OF THE INTERIOR.
The ground floor will probably be used for the heavier work of legislation, for document rooms and the like. The entrance floor will be occupied by State officers and judiciary. The Governor's reception room is in the south-east corner, and will be a very handsome apartment, 35 by 52 feet. Leading up to it is a private staircase by which the Governor may escape the crowd of needy patriots that hang on Governor's favors. The corresponding room on the north-east is intended for the Attorney-General that next to it for the Secretary of State, and beyond this, on the north side, is the room of the Court of Appeals, which is 70 feet by 77. On the next or principal floor will be the Senate and Assembly chambers and the State Library. All of those will be two stories in height, making 48 feet. The legislative chambers will both have ample galleries. The library will stretch along the whole east front of the building, commanding a beautiful view of the Hudson and the surrounding country. Its unbroken length will be 283 feet and its width 54 feet. The remaining rooms in this and the fourth story, called the gallery floor, will no doubt be assigned to committees, and officers and clerks of the two houses. The building is to be all of granite, mostly from Hallowell, Me.
REPORT OF THE CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS.
The new Capitol Commissioners, in their forthcoming report which will be presented to the Legislature at an early day, will describe the work that has been accomplished during the past few months, and give the expenditures in detail. They will urge that with an appropriation of $2,000,000 or $2,500,000, the work would be pushed at such speed and with such an economy of money as well as of time that the roof could be put on by May, 1875, within the limit or this amount Both labor and material are one-third cheaper than they were, and the labor is more productive for the reason that there is so much outside pressure from the unemployed workmen for something to do that those who have places redouble their exertions for fear of losing them. As has already been intimated, this argument will be pressed very strongly on the attention of the Legislature, and a large appropriation asked on the ground that in this case liberality will be true economy.
January 9, 1875, New-York Tribune, Page 2, Column 2,
THE COST OF THE NEW CAPITOL
REMARKABLE CARD FROM THE FORMER ARCHITECT--
ARTHUR 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 churge, 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.
January 12, 1875, New-York Tribune, Page 7, Column 2, THE NEW N. Y. CAPITOL
REPLY TO ARTHUR GILMAN BY A MEMBER OF THE BOARD.A CARD FROM GEN. E. A. MERRITT, ONE OF THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS.
To the Editor of The Tribune.
SIR: An editorial in to-day's TRIBUNE in regard to the new Capital is calculated to do injustice not only to the present Commissioners but to those immediately preceding the present Board. The article is based upon a letter of Mr. Arthur Gilman.
Under the law prior to 1868 the Commissioners were not to adopt a plan for a building exceeding in cost $4,000,000. Thereunder many plans were submitted, and all were rejected. Finally, in 1867, Mr. Gilman was employed to make a plan, which was also rejected. Thereupon Mr. Fuller, in connection with Mr. Gilman and Mr. Kendall, submitted a plan which was approved by the then Commissioners, the Land Commissioners, and on the 13th day of December, 1867, by the Governor, if certain modifications were made. This plan was submitted to the Legislature in 1868, and also three estimates that a building upon this plan could be built for less than $4,000,000 were submitted by Fuller and Gilman, Walter Jones, and J. T. Smith.
The Legislature, after a protracted examination of the plans, appointed a new Board of Commissioners, eight in number, and directed them to revise and modify the plans, or adopt new ones if they saw fit; and without limiting the plans to a building costing not more than $4,000,000, directed, however, that they should not proceed to the erection of a building if under the plans it was to cost more than $4,000,000.
The new Board appointed Mr. Fuller the architect, and adopted the old plans with modifications to be made by them. After careful studies, the Board adopted a modified design on the 8th day of July, 1869, and modified plans on the 13th of January, 1870, and submitted the same to the Legislature, and informed the Legislature that the building under these plans would cost from $8,000,000 to $10,00,000. With these facts before them, the Legislature made an appropriation for the commencement of the work, and similar appropriations have been made at every session of the Legislature since.
The walls of the building are now more than three-fifths done, and there has been expended upon the entire building to the present time $5,140,000. The third story; above the basement has been commenced, and three courses of granite have been laid in it. The third story, and the fourth and last story, can be erected, and the roof put on for $2,500,000 more, making $7,000,000 for the building roofed, which is less than any other public building of any pretension and near the magnitude erectced in this country within the last 10 years. The foundations of the new Capitol cover a little over three acres of ground; the foundations of the New-York Post-Office cover about one acre.
Mr. Gilman was never employed as architect of the building; he was only employed by the first Board of three to make a plan; after the Board of eight was appointed by the Legislature of 1868, with power to modify the plan of 1867 or adopt a new plan, Mr. Gilman was not employed. In his letter he refers to the old plan of 1867, which was abandoned, and during the period that Mr. Gilman was employed the Commissioners had no authority to make contracts or otherwise expend money for the actual construction of the building. The plan upon which the Capitol is being built is radically different from the one Mr. Gilman refers to; and Mr. G. seems to be entirely unacquainted with it or with the work since it was adopted, since he speaks of the work as if the first story was not yet completed, whereas the workmen are now on the third story, and is thus expressed in the Comptroller's report to which he refers, and which precedes the paragraph on which he based his letter, and which is as follows:
January 18, 1875, The Daily Graphic,
STATE CAPITAL, I learn that the new Capitol Commissioners will ask an appropriation of $2,500.000 this winter to push the work, which amount they claim will suffice to run up the walls and put on the roof. The correctness of their views may be doubted in view of the sum already expended. STENCIL.
January 18, 1875, The Evening Post, Page 4, Column 5,
THE NEW CAPITOL. Estimated Cost of Completing It.
[Special despatch to the Evening Post]
ALBANY, January 18.—Mr. Brooks this morning submitted in the Assembly the report of the New Capitol Commissioners, giving an estimate of the cost of completing and furnishing the building and grading the grounds. The following are the items: For granite, $1,429,557; sandstone, $1,103.088; plumbing and gasfitting, $55,445; tiling roof, $59,350; Ironwork, $298,680; carpenter work, $250,851; brickwork, $233,292; plastering, $102,500; tiling floor, $133,500; marble, $19,425; heating, $830,000; elevators, $120,000; terrace, $849,937; furniture $400,000; tearing down the old Capitol and other buildings, $150,000. Total, $5,198,625. The report containing no estimate for glazing, the latter item was roughly estimated at $50,000.
January 22, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 3
The bill appropriating $150,000 to enable the work on the new Capitol to to be gone on with passed the Assembly, By its provisions the ornamental superintendent, who was foisted upon the Commissioners last year as a sort of compromise, is ignored, and the Commissioners are to have the spending of the money.
February 5, 1875, The Evening Telegram, Page 1,
ANOTHER BIG STEAL.
Startling Disclosures Concerning the Building of the New Capitol at Albany.
ALBANY, Feb. 5.—The Finance Committee of the Senate held a meeting last evening at which the investigation into the management of the affairs of the new Capitol was continued.
Hon. Henry Smith appeared as counsel for the Committee and Hon. Matthew Hale on behalf of the new Capitol Commissioners.
The evidence adduced was of a startling character, and reveals a state of facts which warrants strong suspicion that the charges of waste, fraud and corruption are not entirely unfounded. Henry Crandell, president of the Albany Horse Railroad, testified that in December, 1869, the management of the railroad made a contract with the new Capi tol Commissioners for the transportation of stone over their tracks from the river to Capital Hill. By the terms of the ontract the company were to furnish horses and drivers, and the Capitol Commissioners the cuts and the men necessary to load and unload the stone. By the terms of another contract between the railroad and the Capitol Commissioners, all stone arriving by sloop at the Albany pier was to be transported by the company to the Capitol in wagons at seventy-five cents a ton. This latter contract was subsequently amended so as to give the company seventy-five cents per ton. The original capital stock of the comany amounted to $100,000 Before the new Capitol building was begun the stock of t he company amounted to $1111,000, which was worth nominally twenty-five cents on the dollar. After the contract was made the company began to make dividends of ten per cent.
There was no responsible person appointed to weigh the stone or prevent fraudulent entries of the weights; the railroad company seemed so certain of the protection of their interests that they relied entirely upon the weigher appointed by the Capitol Commissioners. The weigher was a clever rogue no doubt. Two of the new Capitol Commissioners are heavy stockholders in the Albany Railroad; their names are Delos de Wolf of canal ring fame, and William A. Rice, of Albany, and the weigher was appointed by them, and presumed not to love the tax payers less but to love De Wolf and Rice more.
The disclosures are not yet ended. Senator Wood, chairmen of the committee, is ferreting out the frauds which have been perpetrated on the new Capitol. Over five millions have already been spent on the building, when the original estimate was only four millions. The estimated cost of the structure is now tweleve millions. Is it not strange that the people can have no courthouse or other public building erected without suspecting their servants of dishonesty?
February 5, 1875, The Evening Telegram, Page 1,
SENATORS WOOD AND LORD.
Their Mud-throwing Yesterday—What was Back Of the Exhibition.
ALBANY, Feb. 4.—The encounter between distinguished Senators has supplied us with an unexpected sensation.
Lord charged Wood with fraud in smuggling the approprition of $10,000 for the superintendent of the new Capitol into last year's supply bill after the same had passed both Houses. Mr. Wood retorted by asserting that he had locked up in his bosom certain secrets, which, if he ever disclosed them, would materially affect Lord's good name. Wood would not tell what these secrets were beyond stating that Lord was president of a granite company which-- in Democratic times--furnished stone for the new Capitol at fabulous prices.
There is some curiosity to ascertain what the terrible secrets on deposit in Wood's bosom are. It is said that Wood wont dare reveal these secrets, because Lord has him by the hip, too. Wood, before he became Senator, was a canal claim lobbyist, and---. Well, a pretty fight it was, and the breath bullets flew fast and thick for an hour, and at one time there was danger that the magazine would explode. But ugly hints were heard, and menacing gestures seen and there it ended. It did not occur to any of the noble Senators to narrate the adage that men who live in glass houses should not fire stones. To the surprise of everybody Lord and Wood were soon in familiar discourse with each other after the Senate adjourned. This was unaccoutable to sensitive, unforgiving natures, but to initiated it was significant only.
February 11, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 3,
Messrs. Wood and Lord on the Ragged Edge.
It is said that in the days of Boss Tweed and the Tammany Ring tampering with bills in the engrossing room was a common occurrence, but it was supposed that with the era of reform all that sort of thing had passed away. Mr. Lord has not yet asked to be investigated, but it is probable that he will as soon as Mr. Wood's case has been disposed of. Wood can then unbosom himself of those terrible secrets he has locked in his breast affecting the good name of a brother Senator, and the dear people may perhaps learn how much of th $5,800,000 already expended on the new Capitol has gone into the pockets of political favorites.
February 12, 1875, The World,
FORMAL RECEPTION BY THE LEGISLATURE- SPEECHES BY MESSRS. BRYANT DORSHEIMER AND MAGUIRE.
February 17, 1875, The Sun, Page 1,
How the Albany Horse Railroad Company Feathered its Nest with State Money.
Albany, Feb. 16.--At the new Capitol investigation to-day Dewitt C. Van Deusen testified that while in the employ of the Albany Horse Railroad Company he had charge of the men, teams, and cars used in freighting for the new Capitol building. The repairs to the cars were all made on the new Capitol grounds by men in the employ of the State. One of the State cars was used as a sweeper by the railroad company; the time that was spent in oiling cars, the oil and packing for wheel boxes that were used were all charged to the Stato by the railroad company. Superintendent Crandall, of the horse railroad, directed witness to charge the State not less than half a day for every time he oiled up the cars. It took him from half an hour to two hours to oil up.
Mr. Hale, of counsel for the Capitol Commissioners, asked whether Superintendent Crandall had given him orders to charge time in the way stated more than once, and Van Deusen replied that once was enough.
Mr. Smith, of counsel for the Senate committee, said that he proposed to show that the sum of four or five thousand dollars paid by the State for repairs to the railroad cars was all fictitious, and that the work of repairing was done by
State workmen. There were many more men about the Capitol building than could work to advantage, and more especially just about election time.
Senator Lord asked the witness who was superintendent of the work in 1873.
Mr. Bridgeford was the answer.
"Was he a Republican?"
"I believe he was."
Senator Lord--Then it is fair to suppose that all the extra hands put on were Republicans.
Witness continued that he had complained to the superintendent and one of the Commissioners of the number of "hangers on " about the work, and they promised to remedy the matter.
One of the Finance Committee said that the railroad company had made $40 a day profit on Connolly's five teams, the owner receiving only $5 a day for their work, while the State paid at the rate of 75 cents a ton.
February 17, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 3,
Mr. Rice Smoked Out.
The investigation into the management of the new Capitol has at last grown too warm for W. A. Rice, and he has sent his resignation to the Governor, who, it is said, accepted it upon sight. In fact it is whispered that the resignation was sent in in response to an intimation from Gov. Tilden that it would be accepted. The same gentile hint is undwerstood to have been taken to Hamilton Harris, who is debating the question as to whether he will voluntarily step down and out, or wait to be kicked out. The probabilities are very strong that he will go with his friend Rice, who has been associated with him since 1868 in building the Capitol, Mr. Harris having been a Commissioner since 1866. It is said that the only Commissioners who have any way been put upon the ragged edge by the investigation are Hamilton Harris, W. A. Rice, and Delos De Wolf. The latter gentleman has, however, given a very satisfactory explanation of how he became possessed of the stock of the Albany City Horse Railroad Company, which is said to be the only item which was supposed to connect him with ways that were dark in expending the appropriation for the new Capitol.
The Senate this morning passed a resolution ordering the testimony taken by the committee of investigation to be printed and placed on file, and it is probable that they will report in a few days. One of the committee of Investigation to-day said that the report of the committee would show that the management of the new Capitol construction had been most corrupt, but that only two or three of the Commissioners would be implicated.
February 20, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 1,
The Supply Bill Investigation.
The Senate Investigating Committee, who are charged with the duty of finding out how the item of $10,000 salary for the New Capitol Superintendent got into the Supply Bill of last winter after it had been engrossed, commenced work yesterday. The first witness was Senator Wood, who swore that it was put there with the knowledge of the other members of the committees, and that the omission occurred when engrossing it, it having been in the original report of the Conference Committee. In this he was sustained by the engrossing clerk, Mr. Fanning, Col. Drake DeKay, late secretary to Gov. Dix, the messenger of the committee, and Mr. Northrup, who was then a newspaper correspondent for the Syracuse Courier, and the first to discover the omission.
Next week Gen. Batchelier, the chairman of the Assembly Conference Committee, and who still insists that the item was put in without his knowledge, will be examined.
The remaining Capitol Commissioners do not propose to resign. They say that they have not done anything wrong, and don't propose to run before they are hurt. This is rather severe on Messrs. Harris and Rice, who thought the rest of the commissioners would follow suit when they led.
February 26, 1875, New York Times,
THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.
March 12, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 1,
Another Question of Veracity Over the Supply Bill.
Sidney De Kay, late private secretary to Gov. Dix, yesterday testified in the matter of the alleged tampering with the Supply bill of last winter that the $10,000 item to pay the salary of
the superintendent of the new Capitol was made by direction of Gov. Dix. Mr. Fanning, the engrossing clerk, has testified that he made the correction at the request of Senator Wood. It
looks as though there was going to be another question of veracity in this case--this time between Gov. Dix and Senator Wood. The private secretary suggests, however, that the order might have been given by both the Governor and Mr. Wood. He also had a very faulty impression that while the topic was under discussion in the Executive Chamber either the Governor or Senator Wood suggested that the Lieutenant-Governor and Speaker of the House ought to be sent for, but was not aware that anything came of it.
The Senate Finance Committee continued the New Capitol investigation this evening. Architect Fuller testified that the detailed plans were prepared after the contract for granite was let.
The bed of the stone was directed to be from four to five feet. The large corner stones were made in solid pieces, so as to use more granite. Separate pieces would have answered just as well. The whole amount of Yarmouth granite that went into the walls and courts up to January, 1874, including the inch margin, was 43,258 cubic feet. Of all three granites, Yarmouth, Hallowell, and Keene, there were 46,573 more feet paid for than are in the walls or called for by the plans. It is possible that the missing granite is under the porticos, or used in some part of the walls.
On cross examination he said he knew nothing as to the correctness of the figures given him by Mr. Smith by which the above conclusions were arrived at. Granite was used in various parts of the building not shown in the plans. Some stones were broken in the shops.
Arthur Crooks, an expert and architect, doing business in New York, testified that he made a computation of the material in the basement of the New Capitol; examined Mr. Sweet's figures as given to the committee for material used, and find they exceed the granite in the building 94,377 cubic feet. Economy has not been studied in the bonding of the stone. Such large ones as were used were not essential. He thinks the building could be completed by contract work at an immense saving to the State.
March 12, 1875, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL INVESTIGATION.; ENORMOUS EXCESS OF GRANITE CHARGED FOR OVER THAT IN THE BUILDING.
March 13, 1875, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL INVESTIGATION.; OPINIONS OF AN ARCHITECT ON THE RELATIVE COST OF THE WORK BY CONTRACT.
March 13, 1875, The Evening Telegram, Page 1,
THE NEW CAPITOL.
The investigation continued this evening in this case. Authur Tillman, architect, was on the stand. He said that it was first proposed to have the building put up by vontract, and the estimates were that it could be built for less than $3,800,000. He chaeacterized the Dix Island granite, large staones, a piece of mismanagement, and that the granite now in the building could be duplicated for $260,000. He knew a party who would give bonds to furnish it at that. He said that the building could be finished ffor $3,500,000.It is the impression of the knowing ones that some one has made about $730,000 out of the granite contracts on this building. How is that for a steal?
April 21, 1875, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL INVESTIGATION.
April 30, 1875, The Daily Graphic, ALBANY MATTERS.
THE ALLEGED FRAUDS IN THE NEW CAPITOL CONSTRUCTION.
Ex-Speaker Smith made a very incisive and damaging argument to-day before the New Capitol Senate Investigating Committee, and the committee will probably report on Tuesday next. He presented a startling array of facts from the testimony adduced and figures which he had prepared. He argued that the granite paid for and not delivered exceeded in value the original estimate made to build the new Capitol four million dollars, if this be so, Governor Tilden has another "system'' to overhaul and other Ring people to pursue. Mr. Smith did not charge that all the Capitol Commissioners were guilty of either fraud or of stealing, but his language was, "all the commissioners are not free from suspicions as to their integrity." He also said that there was undeveloped testimony which could have been adduced which would implicate individual persons composing the commission. He also tells us that over $1,500,000 has been wasted—used to build up a street railway company in Albany; employed to enrich a granite ring, brick contractors, cement corporations, and others. He charged that none of the commission had aided to develop the facts adduced; that the so-called Larned and Dixon contract and the change of plan were a disgrace and a scandal, and he only wondered that a man could be found to stand up and sustain a "system" that was rotten and corrupt.
May 6, 1875, New York Times,
BUSINESS IN THE SENATE.; THE CAPITOL COMMISSION DISCUSSION. THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSION.
THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSION.
The disagreement between the Senate and the Assembly as to whether the three vacancies on the new Capitol Commission should be filled by the Governor or by the nomination in the Suppl Bill in the usual course, will probably result in the appointment of an entirely new form of commission. As was stated in THE TIMES of Sunday last, the Finance Committee of the Senate were anxious to appoint as such committee the Governor, Lieutenant-Governror and Controller. The suggestion was formally made, but as the Governor declined to serve, principally, it is said, because of the pressure of other duties, the commission will now be composed of the Lieutenant-Governor, Controller and Attorney General. Or at least a report to that effect will be made by the Finance Committee
May 8, 1875, The Daily Graphic,
FILIBUSTERING IN THE ASSEMBLY.
The somewhat unexpected agreement, of the Senate Committee on the Supply bill will tend very materially to usher into existence the day of final adjournment. The better opinion seems to be that the House will agree with the Senate in removing the remaining New Capitol Commissioners, substituting the reform, the Lieutenant-Governor, the State Comptroller, and the Attorney-General as a Board. The present Superintendent, Mr. Eaton, will probably retain his place.
May 11, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 1,
The Governor's message upon municipal affairs is to be dent to the Legislature to-morrow. It will call attention to the evils and abuses arising from the frequent changes in the organic laws governing cities and will recommend the appointment of a commission, either by the Governor or the LegisIature, to draft a general plan for the government of cities, to be submitted to the next Legislature. The committee which has been investigating the management of the construction of the new Capitol are to make their report on Wednesday. The burden of it will be an outcry against the system of erecting public buildings under the charge of Commissioners who serve without pay and are appointed simply on account of their eminent respectability. It will go extensively into the history of public buildings erected under this system, to show that it has uniformly resulted in extravagance, because the Commissioners, having their own business to attend to, neglected that of the State, and which was left to incompetent and dishonest subalternes. The report will be very lengthy, but will not hurt any one's feelings. It is intended to be an outrider to D. P. Wood's scheme to abolish the Capitol Commission. When taxpayers come to see the bill for counsel fees in the prosecution of this investigation, they will feel like abolishing Senator D. P. Wood and his committee.
May 17, 1875, The Sun, Page 1, Column 3,
The Scheming in Albany. Bargains of the Politicians Coming to the Surface.
ALBANY, May 16. There is not a probability that the present conference committee can agree upon the Supply Bill. At the long and stormy session of the committee yesterday it was found Impossible to agree upon the Item in relation to the new Capitol, which proposes to abolish the present commission and put the construction under the charge of the Lieutenant-Governor, Comptroller, and Attorney-General. The great objections appeared to be against the Comptroller, who, it is urged, would in reality have the full control of the buildling, which, from the fact that he is also the disbursing officer of the State, the Assembly committee believed would not be proper or safe. The Democrats likewise see that it would give him control of the patronage attached to the building, and this they do not propose to lose. The scheme is said to be one of the canal claim Senator's sharp tricks, but it will hardly work. The committee wiII probably report to their respective houses on so much of the bill as they can agree upon, and new committees will be appointed to pass upon the items in dispute.
May 19, 1875, New York Times,
ALBANY.; GENERAL BUSINESS IN THE LEGISISLATURE YESTERDAY. A MOB OF HANGERS-ON AT THE CAPITOL--THE SUPPLY BILL--THE REPORT ON THE GOVERNOR'S CHARTER MESSAGE--CIVIL JUSTICES BILL DEFEATED--CANAL APPROPRIATIONS--RAPID TRANSIT--MISCELLANEOUS. The Legislature is just now in the throes of dissolution, and, while it is surrounded by a perfect mob of harpies, who are urging the passage or "putting through" of all sorts of jobs, the general proceedings are marked by a "rush" and confusion that is largely in favor of the motives of this gang of hangers-on.
May 20, 1875, The Daily Graphic, LATEST FROM ALBANY.
THE CAPITOL INVESTIGATION.Senator Wood has made a report from the committee appointed to investigate the new Capitol matter, which is being read. It is quite severe in its language on the subject of extravagant outlays of moneys.
May 20, 1875, The Daily Graphic, Page 611, Column 1,
Mr. Wood asked consent of the Senate to present a report of the Committee of Investigation upon the new capitol, which was granted. The report covers about twelve hundred printed pages. It condemns the action of the superintendent of carpenters, and claims that he has been paid over $100,000 for carpenter work and some $152,000 for lumber. As this is a fire-proof building this seems to be excessive. There was also paid over $56,000 for hardware. The report also condemns the action regulating the contracts to furnish brick. About $168,360 has been paid for brick, and the large amount of sand used is also regarded as unsatisfactory. They believe that the work thus far advanced might have been done at least $1,000,000 cheaper than it has been done. On motion, the report was adopted and ordered printed
May 21, 1875, New York Times,
THE SUPPLY BILL.; THE DISPUTE IN THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE AN AGREEMENT REACHED REGARDING THE NEW CAPITOL.
May 21, 1875, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL, REPORT OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OF INVESTIGATION. A DOCUMENT SATISFACTORY TO NONE OF THE COMMITTEE, BUT SIGNED BY THEM ALL--A SHARP REVIEW OF EXTRAVAGANT CONTRACTS--HOW JARVIS LORD'S NEW-YORK QUARRY FURNISHED GRANITE FOR THE CAPITOL--THE PRICE OF BRICK AND CARPENTER WORK IN ALBANY--THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE COMMITTEE During the progress of the rapid-transit debate this morning Senator Wood temporarily interrupted the proceedings by asking unanimous consent to make a report from the Finance Committee upon the investigation into the affairs of the new Capitol Commission. The reason for his request, he said, was that he was compelled to attend a meeting.
May 25, 1875, Utica Weekly Herald, Page 4, Column 3,
THE NEW CAPITOL REPORT.
— The report of the new capitol investigation committee has been published. The committee summarizes briefly, but comprehensively, the mass of evidence taken during its many sittings. It finds that the capitol, whose cost was in the beginning limited by law to $4,000,000, will cost, when completed, $12,2.50,290.30. It finds that the State has suffered in every branch of the work—in carpentry contracts, in granite, sand, cement, and brick contracts, in local transportation contracts; has suffered at every turn and in every item connected with the new capitol work, while its construction was solely under the control of the commissioners. Our readers are familiar with the frauds in these matters and the nature of the transactions. The committee's impression regarding the evidence is the same as ours. It puts its finger on the frauds wherever they exist, and is clear that things should not have gone as they have gone. It also computes the losses sustained by the State in the various jobs, and is we think well within bounds in stating the amount of the stealings, up to the time absolute control of the work was taken from the commission, at $1,000,000. For the thoroughness and patience of its investigation, and for the statement of facts derived therefrom, the committee deserves commendation.
In other respects the report is not what the people had a right to expect at the hands of the Senate finance committee. It will indeed be satisfactory to no one. The commissioners will not be satisfied with the plain figures exposing their dereliction. The people will not be satisfied, in the face of proof that a million at least of their money has been wasted, with an apology for the waste. It needed not the announcement of Chairman WOOD that the report is a compromise affair. The fact is appar ent. It may have been necessary for the committee to compromise in order to reach a report. But that necessity does not exist with any one else. And people free to do so will found their judgment on the facts, "in this investigation * * we find nothing involving the personal integrity of the commissioners." "The system is to blame." These are the most positive conclusions the committee draws. It knows full well they are inadequate and trifling conclusions. It needed not sixteen months of examination to show that a commission, composed of gentlemen ignorant of building and of all its features is not as competent to conduct the erection of any edifice as an experienced builder. Neither did public interests demand that a legislative committee should devote so much, or any, of its time to the preparation of a certificate of integrity for a body of citizens.
The entire control of the new capitol work was in the hands of the commissioners up to the time at which the inquiry ends. Every dollar of expenditure was under their management. If CLEMSHIRE employed forty men when he only needed ten, and kept them on outside work while charging the State for them, the commissioners were responsible. If middlemen got from two to three dollars for "influence" in securing brick contracts for favorite companies at exorbitant prices, it was by permission of the commissioners. If a granite company was able to pocket #113 per cubic yard of rough material, which should have cost $40, it was the fault of the commissioners. If cement was paid for which was never received on the capitol grounds, the commissioners ought to have known it if they did not. If granite prices were paid for limestone, it was under the authority of the commissioners. If the State paid the Albany Street Railroad Company (in which Commissioners Rive and De Wolf were stockholders) large sums of money for work which the State did, and which were above the value of the service had it been done by the company, who can be blamed but the commissioners? If the pockets of the State were habitually picked by plumbers, gasfitters, carpenters, blacksmiths, architects, brick companies' middlemen, photographers, cement firms, granite companies, and every contractor connected with the new capitol, who had the immediate power to interfer but the commissioners? The people had a right to expect that such honorable and eminent gentlemen as Hamilton Harris, William A. Rice, William Kingsley, Chauncey M. DePew, Delos De Wolf, and Edwin A. Merritt, in accepting the position of ccommissioners, did so with the intention of guarding the people's interest. They have a right, now that the result of their stewardship is known, to demand that the Legislature shall not apologize for their incompetency and faithlessness. It is not enough that a system be condemned in this case. It is not enough, in the presence of the million stolen, to be told that those placed as guardians over it did not steal it. They permitted thefts, and the Senate committee, in failing to say so, and to pronounce, censure on the commissioners trifled with its duty, with public interests and with good morals, The committee compromised too much, but its leniency can not relieve the new capitol commissioners for responsibility for the stealings which it was their duty to prevent. Certificates of integrity will not hide the record.
May 26, 1875, The Evening Post, Page 2, Column 1,
A SUMMER OF INVESTIGATION.
The summer of 1875 will be memorable as a season of investigation. If the Inquiries are as productive as they are various, we ought to be able next year to celebrate the centennial of the republic with a general purification of public affairs in our city and state. The Governor's commission to investigate canal administration, the Senate committee to investigate municipal administration in New York, the Assembly committee to investigate criminal administration in this city, and the Assembly committee to investigate Quarantine administration at this port—all these will be at work with more or less activity until cold weather shall set in again. We hope that every investigation for truth will accomplish all that is expected of it. We certainly do not say that any of them will fail, and we do not propose to take the business out of the hands to which it has been entrusted, in order to show how it ought to be done. Still there are some things to be said in a negative way which we may as well say now as at any other time.
In indicating what the people do not want from these committees, we cannot do better than direct attention again to the new Capitol investigation, to which we referred the other day to illustrate another subject. The Senate Finance Committee, it will be remembered, reported that, though the cost of the building was limited by law to four million dollars and the estimates amounted to less than that sum, more than four millions had been expensed on it already, and it would cost when finished twelve millions and a quarter; that, though the building was fire-proof and "thus far constructed entirely of stone, brick and iron," nearly one hundred and sixty thousand dollars had been expended for timber and carpcnter work; that bricks for the building had been brought from abroad at a cost of thirteen dollar a thousand, though suitable bricks could have been bought in Albany for eight dollars a thousand; that the basement wall, contracted for at five hundred and five thousand dollars, had cost eight hundred and sixty five thousand dollars, and that contract prices had been largely exceeded in other particulars by means of "unbalanced bids;" that a railway company had pocketed more than fifteen thousand dollars in a single "job" of hauling, in which it employed the state's teams and the state's servants to do the work; that "temporary" plumbing and gasfitting had cost ten thousand dollars, and "photographs" four thousand; that more men had been paid for working on the building than could possibly have been employed there, and that no proper records were kept or vouchers furnished.
Evidently the committee did not exhaust the facts of this kind, and a fruitful field of inquiry was still open. But, supposing that these figures showed all tbe extravagance and misappropriation of money in connection with the building, it is manifest that when they were secured the work of the committee was only begun. It might be a matter of curiosity to learn where the state's money had gone, but if that was all that could be ascertained nothing but curiosity was satisfied. To make the investigation worth anything, in the present or in the future, it was necessary to know who were responsible for the waste and stealing, and whether they could be compelled to make restitution or could be punished, so that others might be warned and the state be protected. Nothing whatever in that direction was done by the committee. The report says that the Capitol Commissioners are excellent citizens. It must also be inferred that the carpenters and railroad managers, and contractors and plumbers, and photographers and day laborers, are "all honorable men." At all events, nothing is said against them. Not one of them is so much as named as having acted even injudiciously. Instead of telling us who are responsible for this gross abuse of a public trust and how they can be held to accountability, the report simply says that "the system under which the work has been carried on is not a wise one"!
The conclusion is preposterous. Why was a bad system adopted, and who are to blame for it? This is the really important point, and the report does not touch it. If a merchant or a banker should so manage his business as to be obliged to pay three times as much for his goods as the market or contract price, if through his neglect his clerks should rob him regularly, and if, owing to his stupidity or negligence, or with his connivance and consent, persons who trusted their interests to him should be ruined, he would be laughed at if, when exposure came, he should try to shift the responsibility from himself to the "unwise system" of doing business in his warehouse or counting room. He would be told that the system was the very thing he must look after if be expected to carry on business at all. We said just now that he would be laughed at— but he would rather he sent to jail to learn by personal experience the consequences of an "unwise system" of executing trusts and meeting obligations. Until just as swift and direct a responsibility is enforced in political affairs we cannot expect that public work will be done so well as private work.
The people want from the several investigating committees no such lame and impotent conclusion as that reached in the case of the new CapitoL It almost would be better to have no investigation at all. If the committees in the course of their inquiries can gather suggestions for improved systems, let them submit their views, but that is not the sole object of their appointment. On the contray, when the Canal Commlissioners discover frauds, they must also detect their authors, must trace them to the canal ring, and report fully upon the membership of that corrupt combination. If the Senate Committee discovers maladministration in this city, let it also tell us who are the guilty officers and how they can be punished. If the first-named Assembly Committee finds that the ministers of the law are in league with the thieves and murderers, or corruptly neglect to bring them to justice, let it name the official scoundrels and bring them in their turn to justice. If the Second Assembly Committee gets to the bottom of Quarenteen abuses, let it not be content only to recommend general reforms, but let it also make known the conspirators against the commercial supremacy of New York who by their extortion and robbery have driven away a large part of the trade that belongs to this port. Unless the labors of the committee take this practical shape, the manner of investigation will prove barren.
July 22, 1875, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL.
The Albany Argus says that before proceeding with the work on the new Capitol, the Commissioners have conclude to take the advice of three experts of national reputation, and, accordingly, are consulting with Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect of Central Park, New-York; Leopold Eidlitz, architect of the Jewish Synagogue in New-York, and Henry H. Richardson, architect of the Buffalo Insane Asylum, Trinity Church, Boston, and other large buildings in the country. These gentlemen made an inspection of the New Capitol work and surrounding grounds Saturday last, and in a few days will be prepared to advise the Commissioners in regard to the additional stories, roof, and towers, the administration of the work involved, and the plans for heating, lighting, and ventilation.
August 25, 1875, The Sun, Page 2, Column 3,
What Sharp Money Makers the Brooklyn Ring Are.
If we could stir up Mr. Thomas Kingsley and his wicked partners of the Brooklyn Ring to a realization of their sin so that they should make confession as to the doings of that Ring, we should get a body of facts that would alarm and much instruct the taxpayers. We fear, however, that their hearts are hardened against such appeal, though they do not seem to be in so high spirits as formerly. The connection between Mr. Kingsley, a leading proprietor of the Eagle, and the Brooklyn bridge, is full of food for reflection. We need not say that it was a profitable connection. The directors of the Bridge Company voted Mr. Kingsley fifteen per cent. on the disbursements of the company of all sorts, even including salaries. This was a rare bit of generosity on their part, for in total it would have amounted to millions. The Committee of Fifty, which pried into corrupt bargains generally connected with the Brooklyn improvements, interfered with the little arrangement, and caused it to be broken up. Mr. Kingsley's party paid back $50,000, and a new bargain was made. The entire facts as to this matter, just how the wires were pulled, and who were to share in the pool, would very much enlighten the Brooklyn taxpayers. But they do not wish an explanation lubricated with plausibility and decorated with high-toned sentiments. The unsightly facts would please them better. Now, as to that Hempstead reservoir project, contracted for in the winter of last year. Mr. Kingsley, and Keeney, his wicked partner, were to finish the reservoir for $1,187,000. Another contractor offered to do the work for $456,000 less than that amount; but he was nowhere when Kingsley and Keeney were around. Though they got so great a price, these contractors not only did not finish the reservoir at the stipulated time, but they also now ask for $500,000 to enable them to do it. This suggests our Dock Department's management at the Battery. A responsible contractor offered to give satisfactory sureties that he would build the whole pier for $450,000. The Commission has now built only about three-fifths of it, and that much has already cost about $600,000. Mr. Kingsley, who seems always to be around when there is a job in the air, was a Commissioner of that swallower of the people's money, the new Capitol building; he was also a member of the Brooklyn Water, Sewage, and Pavement Board, which laid down miles of Nicolson, and other patent pavements in that city, and in 1869 added to the fractitious assessed value of property twenty-five per cent., or more than thirty-seven millions. [more]
September 4, 1875, The Sag Harbor Corrector,
More Smirched Officials.
The Utica Observer publishes some serious disclosures affecting the integrity of three prominent Republican State officials, viz :
Nelson K. Hopkins, Comptroller; Thaddeus C. Davis, Canal Appraiser ; and Francis S. Thayer, Auditor of the Canal Department. It says, "they have forfeited the respect of the people and must be brought to justice."
It charges Davis with being a general striker, levying or attempting to levy contributions on everybody who approached the State Departments at Albany. He is called "a miserable black-mailer who still continnues to hold office."
It is charged against Hopkins that knowing Davis and rooming with him in Buffalo, he conspired with him to defraud claimants undertaking to secure money due them from the State.
Of Thayer it is charged that he used his position as Auditor to buy up at large discount awards which he knew would be paid in full, and collected them without the usual delays. It also puts upon the three, Hopkins, Davis, and Thayer, the responsibility of obtaining the fraudulent claim of Geo. D. Lord, out of the sinking fund. The claim amounted to $900,000 of which $120,00O was paid within two days, and long before it was legally due.
January 12, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL.; ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS. [Full Page]
Following is a synopsis of the annual report of the New Capitol Commissioners presented to the Senate. The Commissioners refer to the law under which they were appointed, and make allusions to the criticisms which have been passed upon the work. Before the new Capitol was begun the estimate of the architect placed the cost of the work at a little less than four millions, but when the present Commissioners entered on their duties the building had already cost $5,665,963 10. The plans and specifications of the legislative story were approved on the 4th of August, 1875, and the work has been carried on since that date. That portion of the building is not, however, yet completed. The plans and specifications for the rest of the building were submitted to the Commission on the 15th of December. As to these, the report says: "It is not possible for the Commission to pronounce upon them with a due regard to the interests of the State, and to ascertain and report the cost of carrying them into execution, under several months." The limitation contained in the law of last Winter operated to suspend work on the building on the 24th of December last.
A law passed last Winter provided that the Superintendent of the New Capitol should audit and settle the outstanding obligations of former Boards of Commissioners, subject to the concurrent, written approval of the Commissioners of the New Capitol. Under this provision a question arose as to the validity of certain granite contracts then existing. These were submitted to the Attorney General, who, in July last, reported that said contracts were valid and binding on the State.
The report concludes with a detailed statement of the receipts and expenditures of the commission up to December 31, 1875, and with the report of the Superintendent of the New Capitol, Mr. Eaton.
The following is a summary of the receipts and expenses of the year:
Appropriation for the year 1875...$1,000,000
Expended by James W. Eaton, Superintendent,
prior to the organization of the present commission..$30,000 00
Applied in payment of old accounts......................$277,618 28
Expended by the Commissioners on construction.....$491,349 28
Cash on deposit in National Commercial Bank.............$8,650 72
Unexpended of appropriation...............................$192,381 72
The Superintendent’s report gives the general progress of construction from the date of last report. The exterior walls are now built up to a uniform height of fourteen feet above the floor line of the principal story, excepting the pavilion and curbstone walls in the northeast quarter, which are twenty one feet six inches above the same line.
Here follows a detailed statement of the condition of the work in the different portions of the building.
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 expert. 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.
March 4, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL.; THE BUILDING CONDEMNED. REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ARCHITECTS--
THE PLANS DEFECTIVE IN LIGHT AND VENTILATION--THE ACOUSTIC PROPERTIES VERY POOR--OTHER IMPERFECTIONS POINTED OUT--MODIFICATIONS SUGGESTED. MODIFICATIONS PROPOSED.
From Our Own Correspondent.
ALBANY, Friday, March 3, 1876.--The Board of Architects appointed to consider the new Capitol building project has completed its report and presented it to the New Capitol Commission. The report relates in the outset that up to the meeting of the Legislature in 1875 $5,000,000 had been expended upon the shell of the building, which barely reached the bottom of the main story, and that it was estimated that $7,000,000 was needed to complete then structure. It was subsequently ascertained that this estimate was not based upon fully detailed plans and specifications, and it was then voted that no further money should be expended until detailed plans and specifications had been prepared and approved by the New Capitol Commission. A board of three persons was appointed by the commission and instructed to consider the possibility of so modifying the design of the building that it might be completed with the expenditure of less time and money than the original design seemed to call for. It was, however, provided that the design should not be altered to the detriment of architectural strength and beauty. The report states that the board has performed the work assigned to it, and proceeds at once to give the results of its investigations, speaking first of certain alleged defects of superintendence of the work already performed. Two specific charges had been made. The first was that the brick used in the interior walls of the building was of inferior quality. The board reports that having carefully examined the walls, and taken out of them sample bricks and subjected them to a test by which their amount of resistance was found to be on an average 3,600 pounds to the square inch, there is no doubt of the entire adequacy of the walls so far as the quality of the brick is concerned.
The second charge was as to the soundness of a part of a floor-arching over a passage twelve feet wide near the Court of Appeals room. The board finds this floor o be insecure, because one of the walls upon which it is designed to rest has spring away from it. There is also a much more serious matter than that described, consisting in the fact that this wall, which is fifty-six feet long and twenty inches thick, and upon which is superposed another wall, which in its turn supports the galleries over the Assembly chamber, rests throughout its entire length upon the arches of the entrance hall below, which arches it crosses transversely between their supporting piers. Iron columns have been introduced in the Court of Appeals room to take the weight they would otherwise have to carry off these walls, and to lessen their own weight they are made hollow. The whole arrangement is regarded as unsound.
The board was asked at the time of its appointment to consider, first, whether the Capitol is more spacious than is necessary; second, if so, whether it might be reduced in height with a gain of convenience, of architectural effect, and in economy of cost.
The reply of the board, after detailing fully the internal structure of the building, is that by no possibility can the accommodations which have been required in the New Capitol be conveniently arranged on the ground plan of the present building. The board also criticises the selection of the building site, alleging that it will be impossible on a parallelogram of so limited extent of hill-side ground, with its longest dimension trending diagonally to the slope and jammed in between rows of commonplace shops and dwellings of less than half its height, that a building of the necessary dimensions should not have a somewhat ill-conditioned aspect.
The report next considers what, at the present stage of the work, should be required in the plans for its completion. Under this head the policy of economy is treated. The conclusion of the board is that there must be throughout the building the greatest possible perfection of consistency, congruity, and unity of meaning. The Capitol is not only to serve the conveniences of business, but must also be an architectural monument, worthy of the grandeur of the Empire State, The foundations and basement already built are of vast strength, equal, as regards stability and power of endurance, to any modern civic structure. The State must not tell a story of unbounded resources in the basement and of straitened means in the top works.
The report next criticises the plans for the completion of the building. Objection is made to the treatment of the roofs. There are said to be too many elevated features breaking the sky line, the effect of which will dissipate the impression of massive strength which the building ought to produce. The treatment of the upper stories is alleged to be faulty, for it makes them inferior to the lower stories, whereas in point of fact these are much more important, and by right ought to be more elegantly formed, and richer in detail. And about the entire exterior of the building there is said to be a frequent change of motive unfavorable to unity, repose, and dignity, and tending to fritter away the effect which otherwise might be expected to result from the general simplicity of outline and the magnitude of the essential body of the structure. It is further submitted that there is not part of this detail that has any freshness of character, as if it had grown directly out of the special monumental purpose and the occasion in hand. And it is finally recommended to consider whether the Capitol, setting aside the great scale on which it is laid out, its positive magnitude and its exceedingly disturbed sky-line, is not likely to be more commonplace, conventional, and uninteresting in appearance than a structure for the State so costly and so lasting ought to be.
Considering the internal structure of the building the board first criticises the plans for the Assembly room. If the plans be followed the entrance will not be convenient nor dignified, the acoustic properties will be poor, the room badly lighted, and the ventilation altogether imperfect. The aesthetic qualities of the room are also in very poor taste. The plans for the Senate Chamber are open to similar objections, and there is alleged to be a sad mixture of iron and marble in the proposed arrangement of the Court of Appeals. As for the dome, cupola, or central tower, the board has only to say that, accepting the motive of its design to be with an eye to beauty, it is a bad failure. The balconies appear to be beyond the comprehension of the board. Regarded from the interior, they are not only useless but an obstruction of light; regarded from the exteriors, they give false impression as to the nature of the rooms with which they connect. The roof, it is said, does not look as if it was meant to be a cover but rather to produce a towering effect of ornamentation. In addition to this, its constructive plan is difficult and expensive. A better roof could be built for half the cost. The interior staircases are pronounced cramped and undignified, and the outer stairway, the grand entrance of the east front, devoid of all stateliness and beauty. The ornaments of the doors, windows, and the general internal finish are said to give a look of cheapness to the building, and are also criticised because of offering encouragement to fires.
The report next gives an estimate of the cost of completing the Capitol according to the plans of the architect as last revised. The summary is as follows:
Stone-work $2,849,612 50
Iron-work $332,329 02
Roof $101,796 59
Brick-work $571,734 81
Carpentry $371,223 85
Painting $31,160 00
Plastering $337,683 04
gas-fitting $50,000 00
Heating $230,000 00
Total $4,826,039 81
As to the manner in which the design could now be modified to advantage the board reports substantially as follows: At the time of the appointment of the board the estimated cost of completing the building was $7,101,393 94. It is now estimated that the work could be done at a reduction of $1,331,085 45, and according to the modifications entertained by the board the reduction would be $1,656,085 19. The reduction of the estimate on the architect's plans is due both to the reduced amounts of material he now proposes to use and to the reduction of prices from last year. The greater saving proposed by the modifications of the committee is chiefly obtained by dispensing with a number of useless projections on the roofs and by modifying the shape and slope of the roofs themselves. Otherwise the board's recommendations are all in the direction of stronger and more enduring work than that proposed by the present plans.
The board accompanies its report with a number of plans for modifications as regards the exterior. The first improvement is the leaving off of various features extraneous to the essential structure and character of the building. The portico balconies being practically useless, and indeed, objectionable above the entrance story, it is proposed that they be built no higher. An opportunity is thus at once obtained for displaying a large uninterrupted space of the main wall of the building clear of unnecessary and confusing features.
It is also proposed to drop the roof over that part of the building between the outer and middle divisions on the north and south sides, so that it will rest on the third, instead of the fourth story. The roof story being lighted by dormers, will then be equally valuable for the purposes to which these rooms included in this space are appropriated. The variation in the height of the walls thus obtained will, in a great degree, remove the objection of monotony on the two longer faces of the building. It is proposed to alter the windows of the topmost story so as to produce a better correspondence with other parts of the building. The cupola is to be retained without change of size, but with alteration of detail more consistent with the general style of the architecture. Internally the board recommends an interchange of the positions of the Assembly and Senate Chambers in order to secure a proper system of levels.
The stairs, it is proposed, shall be remedied so as to make them more easy of ascent and more stately in appearance. Should these and other similar alterations in the architect's plans be approved, the board reports that the estimates for the completion of the building would be modified as follows:
Stonework $3,123,215 05
Ironwork $196,744 77
Roof $50,567 68
Brickwork $495,901 72
Carpentry $217,156 85
Painting $23,378 00
Plastering $109,075 40 br> Plumbing &
gas fitting $50,000 00
Heating $230,000 00
The estimates do not include the preparation of the grounds surrounding the building. The need for improvement of the present grounds and streets about the Capitol, it is said, will be apparent as soon as the building is completed. That it may not seem in danger of sliding down the hill upon which it stands, it is recommended that an apparent level base should be formed by means of revetment walls on the north and south sides, at the boundary, exterior to the open area required for lighting the sub-basement. On the east side, however, it is recommended that it be extended in a semi-circular sweep, in order to answer the purpose of easy approach and in order to screen the excess of foundation work. This advance terrace is to be built of stone, with a series of vaulted arches supported upon columns, and presenting on its top a spacious platform of tessellated pavement. A staircase twenty-four feet in width is to lead from the street to the center of this platform, whence the building may be approached from the front. This structure also provides a covered carriage approach, by which passengers may be set down either to ascend to the entrance floor by the side stairs, which have been increased to a width of twenty-four feet, or to enter the basement story. The whole of the terrace is to be surmounted at the outer edge with a granite parapet.
Appended to the report is an estimate of the cost of the work described above and of the cost of furnishing the building ready for occupancy. There is also included an estimate of the cost of superintendence of the work. The schedule is as follows:
Cost of terrace, &c. $1,046,197 20
Decoration, furniture, &c. $400,000 00
Elevators $120,000 00
Park improvements, approaches,
lamps, telegraphs, &c. $300,000 00
Architect's and Superintendent's
office expenses and salaries,
(4 72/100 per cent. on cost
of $6,692,237) $315,873 58
Total $2,182,070 78
The report says in conclusion: "The building may be made available for use by an additional expenditure of $4,400,000 over and above the amount already expended, and if the appropriations for the ensuing two years are sufficient to cover the above-mentioned amount the building may be occupied at the opening of the session of the year 1878."
March 22, 1876, The Daily Graphic,
The State Legislature. Senate. ALBANY, March 22.—-A communication was revived from the New Capitol Commissioners stating that they have adopted the plans of the Advisory Board for so much of the building as remains to be constructed. They further report that the new Capitol may be completed and furnished according to the said plans, except the central tower and the eastern approaches, for the sum of $4,500,000, but by the application of the contract system a considerable saving may be made to this amount. The Commissioners think that under the plans alluded to the builder may be ready for occupation by the 1st of January, 1879.
March 23, 1876, New York Times,
ALBANY.; SHORT AND DULL SESSIONS IN BOTH HOUSES --REPORT OF THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS.
ALBANY, March 22.--This has been the dullest day of the session. The lower house met an hour later than usual, and adjourned without transacting any business of importance after a twenty minutes' session. Only two bills of general interest were introduced, one by Mr. Hayes, of New-York. ... In the Senate a large amount of routine business in the way of progressing bills in general orders was transacted. The President pro tem. presented the report of the New Capitol Commissioners announcing that they had determined upon and adopted the plans of the whole of the remainder of the new Capitol building yet to be constructed, embodying the recommendations set forth in the report of the Advisory Board of Architects and the plans accompanying the same, with certain modifications which have been directed by the Commissioners. The report further says that the building can be completed, save for the central tower and the eastern approaches, for $4,500,000; that by the contract system a large saving can be made in the cost of the structure. The report concludes with a statement that the building can be ready for occupation Jan. 1, 1879.
March 23, 1876, The Sun, Page 4, Column 3,
The New Capitol Plans. The Governor's Veto Sustained. What Investigations Cost.
The new Capitol Commissioners sent in a report saying that they have determined upon and adopted plans for the remainder of the building yet to be constructed. They embody the recommondations of the advisory board of architects and their plans, with some slight modifications. The Commissioners say that the building can be completed without the central tower and eastern approaches for $4,500,000, and that by the contract system a large savings can be made in the cost of the construction. They express their belief that the building can be ready for occupation by 1879.
March 30, 1876, Buffalo Evening Courier, Page 2, Column 1,
A GOOD BILL EMASCULATED.
The influence of "canal ring" sympathy on republican legislation is shown in the treatment received by the important pending bill to enlarge the powers of the canal board. If the republican tinkers do not hold up soon there will not be enough left of this measure to make it worth passing. By an amendment it sustained in the house the canal board is expressly debarred from conducting any investigation into bygone irregularities or rascalities of canal management. This was carried on a plea that the board would have enough to do attending to the affairs of the present and future, though it is easy to see that these are almost of necessity complicated with those of the past. Again, in the senate, Tuesday, the bill suffered another serious mutilation. This was done at the instance of Senator Hamilton Harris, ex-new-state-capitol commissioner, and one of the purest and most virtuous politicians that ever "fixed" a contract or packed a convention. The fourth section of the bill had aroused Senator Harris' jealous seal on behalf of liberty and the rights of man, and on his motion the bill was sent back to the judiciary committee with instructions to strike it out. Now this offending portion of the bill is that which empowers the canal board to constitute three of its members a committee to investigate any matters of canal business needing investigation, and gives the said committee power to send for persons and papors. In other words it does away with the excuse for partisan, whitewashing and spasmodic investigation as set on foot by the legislature, by vesting a permanent authority to investigate in the canal board. That this authority is needed and should be conceded as an indispensable requisite to a pure canal administration is self-evident. If the canal board has not the power to go to the bottom of every transaction in its department, how can it be held responsible for the prevention and punishment of dishonesty under its management ?
But this power the tender-hearted Harris fears might be too vigorously exercised. If there is any investigating to be done, he wants the legislature to have a hand in. And as an argument why the canal board should not be empowered to investigate recklessly on its own motion, he cited the sufferings inflicted on persons who fell into the clutches of the governor's canal commission last year. Two members of that remorseless body, he reminded the senate, were now members of the canal board. These two members might be constituted a majority of an investigating committee of the board, and thus the horrors of the inquisition be revived, without warning, in our midst. Mr. Harris' fellow-feeling for the thumbscrewed canal thieves may be quite natural and even praiseworthy, but we submit that neither the sympathies nor the interests of the general public lie in that direction. Legislation is needed which will be a terror to future thieves, and which will conserve the results of reform, and this even at the risk of occasional discomfort to the friends of Senator Harris. If the legislature now refuses to give the state the remedial and preventive machinery which costly experience has shown to be necessary, it must take the responsibility before the people.
April 3, 1876, New York Evening Telegram, Page 2, Column 2,
Let Us Have Peace.
Many years ago the State of New York began to build an immense new Capitol at Albany upon immature architectural plans and at an estimated total cost of four million dollars. A year ago the construction of the shell of the building had barely reached the floor of the first story, more than five million dollars had been spent in carrying it so far, and the architect in charge, Mr. Fuller, estimated, in the rough, that seven million dollars more would be necessary to carry it to completion, but as he had not prepared any fully detailed plans for completing it there was a reasonable doubt whether this computation might not be almost as erroneous as the original mis-estimate. Under these circumstances a New Capitol Commission was constituted by the Legislature of 1875, and the Lieutenant Governor put at its head, and was instructed to procure detailed and satisfactory plans and specifications to complete the building.
It is an old saying that all things must have one end, and some things do have two ends. When this New Capitol Commission J engaged the services of a board of three competent professional advisers, general satisfaction was expressed with their selection and the public heaved a sigh of relief. At last we thought, there is the beginning of the end. The Board comprised one member, Mr. Frederic L. Olmstead, who was chosen with reference to his experience in the administration of public works, and two others, Mr. Leopold Eidlitz and Mr. Henry H. Richardson, who were eminent in the profession of architects. They at once engaged in the task (which they describe as "a public service of an unusual and not altogether of a grateful character") of examining what the State had got for the money it had spent; of whether, in the interest of economy, it was desirable to modify the plans for completing the building; of what it would cost to complete it if those plans remained unmodified, and what if they should be modified, and of when the building could be advanced enough to be occupied by the Executive departments and the Legislature. On March 2, just a month ago, they rendered their report to the Commission, and the Commissioners submitted it to the Senate the next day. It accepts the architect's estimate of the expense of completing the building according to the original design, at the sum of $7,101,394. It estimates that the architect's plans, as revised and completed in detail during the past year, may be carried out at a reduction of $1,331,485 from this sum. It advises further modifications, of which it sketches the general character, which would increase the reduction to $l,657,086. (In the number of the American Architect of March 11 several heliotypes are published illustrating these further modification.) And finally it reports that the building may be made available for use by an expenditure of $1,400,000 above the amount already expended, and may be made ready for occupancy at the beginning of the legislative sessions of 1878.
For three weeks after the submission of this report the press abounded in congratulations that at last the State could see its way out of the job. But the fourth week has put a different aspect on affairs. The friends of the architect in charge of the building, headed by Senator Harris, and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (we wish that it would modify the architecture of its long name), which is in a chronic feud with Mr. Leopold Eidlitz, have combined to condemn all the recommendations of Messrs. Olmstead, Eidlitz and Richardson, and to put us back into the condition of doubt and distress about the whole job in which we were at the beginning of last year. An earnest effort is on foot to mix the subject up with the Supply bill in the Senate, and to appropriate a million dollars to prosecute the work in the old way, without any trustworthy assurance of how many millions more it may be necessary to have after it.
This condition of affairs has led us to devote a good deal of time to an uninteresting study of the documents on the subject, and to interrogating partisans of all the clashing parties, and since very few of our readers will have the leisure or the patience to do so themselves, and the matter is one which very much concerns their tax bills, they may value our conclusions, which are as follows:
1. The subject cannot be fully comprehended in its details by the public, because it requires nice technical knowledge and experience. Just as we hire judges learned in the law, to expound statutes, and generals, skilled in military science, to direct campaigns, so the wise way in this matter is for us to hire experts in architecture and the management of public works to advise us what to do.
2. This course has been pursued in the hiring of Messrs. Olmstead, Eidlitz and Richardson. The profession of architects is brimful of jealousies, rivalries and animosities. Like every profession which involves questions of taste, the feuds are very bitter. But it would be impossible to constitute an advisory board of three experts whose judgment, as a whole, would be entitled to greater confidence than theirs.
3. By reason of their minute investigation of the subject, they speak with a still higher claim to confidence than any of their opponents possibly can; and their own unanimity in their recommendations is also an element in their favor, since they certainly neither constitute nor represent a clique. Mr. Richardson is an active member of the Chapter of Architects, and Mr. Olmstead is an honorary member of the same body, while Mr. Eidlitz is a well known foe of its organization.
4. Nothing can justify us under these circumstances in discarding their advice, except the impeachment of their integrity, or the exhibition of some plan manifestly better than theirs to the common comprehension. There is no pretense that their report is not trustworthy in respect to integrity, and the only alternative plan which is suggested is to revert to the old ways which experience has demonstrated to be extravagant, uncertain and unsatisfactory.
Upon these grounds, unless some other reasons shall be presented to impeach the report of New Capitol Commission and its Advisory Board, than any which have come to our notice, we shall consider it a public misfortune if the Legislature departs from their recommendations.
April 8, 1876, New York Herald,
THE CAPITOL QUESTION ENDED IN THE SENATE.
After a lengthy and tedious debate the question of the new Capitol has at last been settled as far as the Senate is concerned. The Commissioners are directed to go up with the building on the present plans and to report to the Legislature at the opening of its next session full detailed plans and specifications for the completion of the whole work by contract or contracts.
They are also required to secure by advertisement estimates or bids for the construction of the work from responsible parties, which estimates or bids shall be accompanied by such sureties as the said Commissioners shall deem to be necessary in order to guarantee the faithful performance of any contract or contracts that may be made, all such estimates or bids shall be embraced in the report to be made to the Legislature.
There shall be imposed for the fiscal year commencing on the 1st day of October 1876, in addition to any other tax levy, a tax of $800,000 on the real and personal property taxable in this State, to be assessed, raised and collected upon and by the annual assessment and collection of taxes for the year 1876 in the manner prescribed by law3, to be paid by the county treasurers into the treasury of the State, to the credit of the fund for the construction of the new Capitol, which sum is hereby appropriated, together with the sum of $183,890 50 (being the unappropriated remainder of the tax levied for the same object for the fiscal year, commencing on the 1st day of October, 1875)
April 8, 1876, New York Times,
THE SUPPLY BILL.; ITS FINAL PASSAGE BY THE SENATE THE CONTEST OVER THE NEW CAPITOL SECTION THE WORK.
April 10, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL AT ALBANY.
June 12, 1876, New York Times,
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.; MR. EVARTS AS PRESIDENT. THE NEW CAPITOL. POLO AND HORSE-RACING. PUBLIC SCHOOLS .
June 1, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL STONE-OUTLERS.
July 12, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.
October 22, 1876, New York Times,
THE STATE CAPITOL.
October 21, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL BUILDING CASE.
October 14, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL BUILDING.; THE INVESTIGATION BEFORE COMMISSIONER VAN ALSTYNE--THE CASE FIXED FOR FRIDAY NEXT.
ALBANY, Oct. 13.--Judge Van Alstyne, Commissioner appointed to take testimony in the matter of the charges against Superintendent Eaton of the new capitol building, held a court at his office to-day. Hon. S.W. Rosendale appeared on behalf of the Attorney General, and Hon. Henry Smith appeared for Mr. Eaton. Judge Van Alstyne said the object of the meeting was to ascertain how soon and where they could make progress with the investigation.
November 23, 1876, New York Times,
THE NEW STATE CAPITOL.
ALBANY, Nov. 22.--The investigation of the charges against Mr. Eaton, Superintendent of the new Capitol, was resumed this afternoon before Judge Van Alstyne. Among the witnesses examined was Edward Foley, who testified that in the construction of the cranes of the Capitol the tool ring was such that the cross-walls cannot be banded together properly. He also said the second-story hall on the Washington avenue side, is over an inch out of plumb line. He also specified several other details which, in his judgment, went to show that the construction was defective.
January 2, 1877, New York Times, Page 2,
THE NEW CAPITOL,
The Albany Argus of the 1st inst says : "A meeting of the new Capitol Commissioners was held last week, and advertisements were ordered for iron work, masonry, granite, tiling, plastering, &c., sufficient to continue the work through the Winter and to carry the building forward well into the fourth story. The report required of the commissioners by the Legislature of last year in relation to the detailed plans and specifications will be ready at an early day, and says the building will probably be ready for roofing next year if a new appropriation is made early in the session. To have the building fully habitable by 1879 it will be necessary, however, to have liberal appropriations in the meantime."
January 31, 1877, The Daily Graphic.
THE NEW CAPITOL, Page 626, Column 1,
ALBANY, January 31.—The Assembly this morning passed a resolution reported by the Ways and Means Committee, instructing the New Capitol commissioners to suspend all work on the exterior of the building until the Legislature decides whether the new or old plan shall be used. This is caused by the fact that the Commissioners are tearing down a portion already constructed. The resolution was adopted with but four or five dissenting votes.
January 31, 1877, The Daily Graphic, Page 626, Column 2,
Assembly: The Committee on Ways and Means reported the following resolution:
Whereas, There Is now being expended $10,000 per week on the new Capitol, and the money may be wasted If the work goes on, as it is uncertain whether the Legislature will approve the plans or not: therefore
Resolved, That the New Capitol Commission be Instructed to suspend work on the exterior of the Capitol
January, 31, 1877, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL INVESTIGATION.
ALBANY, Jan. 30.--In the investigation of the charges against Superintendent Eaton, of the new Capitol building, this afternoon, a witness named Cox, one of the principal movers of the investigation, declined to answer the question whether he had been paid money to get up the investigation. [full text]
March 23, 1877, The Daily Graphic,
WHAT THE SENATE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS CONCERNING THE NEW CAPITOL.
PLANS THE FOR THE CONTINUATION OF INSURANCE INVESTIGATION.
ALBANY, March 23.—A majority of the Senate Committee on Finance reported this morning in favor of a return to the old plans for the construction of the new Capitol, as far as the outside is concerned. They give in length their reasons for this recommendation. Among them to the statement that it will save the State about $1,000,000.
May 17, 1877, The New York Times, Page 2, Veto of Supply Bill Items.
Gov. Robinson Rejects to Appropriations in the Supply Bill Amounting to Over a Million and a Half Dollars--The New Capitol...Rejected.
This item is objected to and not approved. The new Capitol is a great public calamity. At its commencement the people of the State were assured that it would be completed for $4,000,000. There have already been expended upon it $7,723,685 16. No reliance can be placed upon any estimate which can be obtained as to the cost of completing it. There is no probability that it can be fully finished, according to the original plans, for less than from $15,000,000 to $20,000,000. If the tax-payers of the State had not been deceived; if they had supposed that the whole expenditure would reach what it has already reached, it is not likely that they would have permitted the commencement of the work. It is without a parallel for extravagance and folly. It covers more than three acres of ground. Its proportions are enormous. It is more than double the size needed for a Capitol. At every step of its progress one idea has held supreme control, which was to make its exterior a great and magnificent architectural display, which should dazzle the eyes of all beholders, without the least regard to the interior arrangements for practical use. Indeed, but for the improvements in the interior plans made by the present Commissioners, the two houses of the Legislature would scarcely have been able to occupy it at all. Even now, after they have made all the changes for the better possible in a building already spoiled, it can only be used with very great inconvenience and discomfort. The legislative chambers must be reached by ascending to a height of 62 feet from the first steps of the main front, and this extraordinary elevation must be attained either by long stairways or else by steam power and elevators, such as are used to reach the fifth or sixth stories of first-class hotels. The halls are long, damp, and dark, the rooms badly lighted and ventilated. In cloudy weather very few of the rooms can be used without gaslight during the day as well as at night. When this great and useless structure can or will be completed it is idle to conjecture. When we consider the unlimited expense of heating and lighting three acres of a building 108 feet high; of its cleaning, care, and attendance, with six or eight steam engines, and their engineers and firemen, no one can feel in any haste to have it completed. The best estimate which I have been able to obtain of the amount of these expenses makes it about $250,000 per annum. In making the appropriation the Legislature directs the Commissioners to "build and complete the exterior of the new Capitol building in the Italian Renaissance style of architecture adopted in the original design," and according to the style upon which the building was being erected prior to the adoption of the so-called "medieval [?].....design." There are very great differences of opinion among eminent architects as to which style should be adopted. The direction of the Legislature compelled the Commissioners to return to the former style, and I understand that the change will involve a loss of at least $300,000. The new Capitol, like all other public buildings upon which the State has recently expended such extravagant amounts of money, was the outgrowth of a vicious system of finance and of the folly and madness which accompanied it. The inevitable disasters which come of such follies are now upon us in full force, and are everywhere felt with crushing effects. They admonish us, if we proceed at all, to do all with moderation. It is surely no time to increase appropriations when the power to pay taxes is so greatly diminished, yes, on examination of the supply bill, it will be found that in this period of financial embarrassment the appropriations for all the public buildings, and consequently the taxes to believed for them, are very largely in advance of those of preceding years. It is surely time to pause in this career. All prudent business men in the management of their own affairs move more slowly, and thousands are unable to move at all under the present circumstances. However convenient or desirable it maybe to complete the Capitol and the other public buildings, we can do without them for a time, as we have heretofore. They are not absolute necessities. In any event, it seems better to wait a year, even if it be finally decided that this building must be completed, to the end that it be devised by which better accommodations may be secured, at less expense than now appears inevitable.
May 18, 1877, Albany Evening Journal,
THE COST OF THE CAPITOL.
GOV. Robinson says of the new Capitol that "at its commencement the people of the State were assured that it would be completed for four millions of dollars." He intimates that they were deceived, and that their consent to the prosecution of the work was secured through false pretenses. That this is not true is clearly demonstrated by the following extract from the report of the Ways and Means Committee made April 30th, 1874:
The Commissioners have been held in some quarters responsible for the adoption of plans for the building that would necessarily cost more than the building originally contemplated by the Legislature for its completion. It is deemed by us a matter of justice to the Commissioners to say that, in 1870, before any step had been taken toward the erection of the superstructure, when the Legislature appropriated $1,000,000 for the Capitol, and particularly in 1871, when the legislature also appropriated $650,000 for the same purpose, after it had been authoritatively informed that the building , in the opinion of the Commissioners, if built upon the modified plans proposed by them, and which were authorized to be made by the Commissioners by the law of 1878, would cost over $10,000,000, the Legislature itself assumed all the responsibility for the plans of the building and adopted the same definitely.
This shows that seven years ago, before a single stone was laid, before the erection of the building was entered upon at all, the Legislature was fully informed that its completion upon the plan then proposed would cost over $10,000,000. It shows that with this knowledge, the Legislature definitely adopted the plan and began the work. There was no deception whatever, but, on the contrary, a distinct statement of what the enterprise involved, and as distinct and deliberate an approval. The Commissioners reported the facts and the legislature assumed the responsibility.
And it is equally true that the Capitol can be pretty nearly completed within the estimate thus made before it was started. The amount expended upon the building thus far is not the sum stated by the Governor, but only $7,000,000. The present Capitol Commissioners officially report that, with a million this year, the Assembly can be placed in the new structure, and that with another million next year, the Senate, Governor and State officers can occupy it. That would bring it into full use with an aggregate cost of $9,000,000—or $1,000,000 less than the estimate of 1870. Of course, come of the outside finish would remain to be done, but when the building was once occupied, that could be delayed if desirable.
Still further, responsible bids with the most complete guarantees are already in to finish the Capitol according to the plan for $4,000,000 or without the tower for $2,500,000. That would make the total cost of the building complete about $11,000,000, only one million beyond the estimate of 1870, or, without the tower, $9,500,000, which is half a million less than the estimate. What warrant then for the Governor's intimation that there was deception in the estimate, or for his wild and imaginary statement that it will cost "fifteen to twenty millions" to finish it?
May 19, 1877, The Daily Graphic,
MOBBING THE LEGISLATORS.
THE UPRISING OF THE LABORERS ON THE NEW CAPITOL BUILDING IN ALBANY.
THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER GUARDED BY THE POLICE TO-DAY--- HIDING FROM THE MOB.
ALBANY, May 19.—The approaches to the Capitol are all guarded by policemen to-day and police officers were stationed at each entrance to the galleries and Assembly Chamber to prevent any renewal of the demonstration of last night. No member was injured in the melee last night, but Mr. Childs, of Seneca, who was assaulted by three men in the crowd, and only saved from serious consequences by the assistance of Messrs. McGroarty, Bodwell and others present. Mr. Stein, Mr. Holahan, Mr. Cozans and others were followed to their rooms and threats of maltreatment were made, and Mr. Ecclesine was prevented from reaching his boarding-house and was compelled to seek quarters at the Delavan. The fact that the stonecutters were notified half an hour before the report of Mr. Husted was made to the Assembly that there was no more work for them, leaves the inference that there was a concerted plan for the demonstration, and that men who hold important positions are in a measure responsible for the disgraceful scenes. The men whom the mob were especially indignant at and threatened were Stein, Grady, Eccelsine, Spinola. Cozans, Childs, McGroarty, Purdy, Mitchell, Holahan, Fish, Niven and Tighe. Fortunately the only damage done has been the tearing of coats and the injury of hats, but that it was no worse is a miracle. W.
EFFORTS TO REMOVE THE CAUSE OF GRIEVANCE.
ALBANY, May 19.—Mr. Harris, in the Senate this morning, reported favorably the bill advanced by himself last night making an appropriation of $750,000 for the new Capitol and $100,000 for the Buffalo Insane Asylum, with the latter item stricken out. It was ordered to be considered in the first Committee of the Whole.
The Senate later went into an executive Committee of the Whole, and the bill for an appropriation for the new Capitol was considered. The amount was reduced from $750,000 to $500,000. An appropriation of $100,000 to the Buffalo Insane Asylum, and $50,000 to the Hudson River Hospital for the insane were put into the bill. The bill was ordered to a third reading. It was afterwards read a third time and passed, every Senator except Mr. Starbuck voting for it.
In the House Mr. Tighe introduced a bill appropriating $500,000 to be used for the purpose of paying the expense of labor only in carrying on work on the new Capitol. He asked unanimous consent to have the bill read a third time. Mr. Alvord objected, and the bill was reported to the Committee of Ways and Means.
Mr. Herrick asked unanimous consent, in the House, to introduce a bill in relation to the new Capitol. It is the same bill as was introduced by Mr. Harris in the Senate last night. Objection was made by Messrs. Purdy, Moore and Webb.
October 20, 1877, The Daily Graphic,
A SHORT TWEED SEANCE.
QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE SOURCE OF THE ALBANY CAPITOL STONE.
THE EX-BOSS NAMES A MYSTERIOUS INFORMANT---WAITING FOR THE EXPERT, TAINTOR.
There was but slight anticipation this morning that there would be developed, by the continuance of the Aldermanic examination of Tweed, anything of importance, and the public showed less interest than ever. Of all those engaged, Tweed is the only one who has recently displayed any desire to get at new information which could lead to any practical result, and it has been more than believed that his willingness or anxiety was rather apparent than real, and that he had nothing new to tell. The two parties in the committee have become more and more antagonistic at each successive session, and have displayed only an anxiety to prevent each other from obtaining any statements which might implicate their political friends. There was almost an assurance that the principal witness would not be placed on the stand at all, or that, if allowed to proceed, his examination would be confined to the correction of the testimony of the previous two days and to say statements which he might make concerning the lists of Republican office holders and party managers, which Mr. Cowing had promised to assist Mr. Cole in securing. This, however, judging by the result of the inquiry concerning the Tammany Hall and other Democratic lists which had been subject to discussion at so many sessions, was likely to result only in a wrangle, productive of nothing save a few folios of stenographers' notes, added labor to the reporters and an increase of popular disgust. The public may have learned wisdom, but it has gained no information from this amateur investigation. When the session began this morning t was pretty generally understood that Mr. Tweed would either not be placed on the stand, or that, if so, it would only be for a short time and probably for the last time. It had been desired, however, to extend the examination to other witnesses, several of whom had offered to testify, and some or whom would refuse to testify it they found it possible to do so. The witness whom it had been intended to produce first was Mr. H. F. Taintor, who was Comptroller Green's expert in the original Ring investigations, and although that gentleman had not been found up to last night, Mr. Cole had promised to produce him in the Aldermanic Chamber this morning. The probable absence or failure to testify of the man who has been the figurehead in all these examinations was sufficient to kill any little public interest which had not previously vanished, and the hour for the meeting found the room almost deserted, except by those whom business drew there. Of others there were only thirty-two persons outside the railing, and the policemen were relieved from the arduous duties which they had to perform at the meeting of two months ago. The time during the usual delay was spent in discussing the probabilities, two opinions prevailing--one that Mr. Tweed would go into the details of his relations to New York newspapers and newspaper men, and the other that there would be an adjournment immediately after the fifteen minutes which he would probably spend in correcting his testimony. Neither of these suppositions was destined to be correct. It was ten minutes after eleven o'clock when the members of the committee entered the room, preceded by Mr. Cole, and took their places behind the President's desk. It was fifteen minutes later when Mr. Charles Devlin and John D. Townsend entered, followed by Mr. Tweed, Mr. Edelstein and William M. Tweed, Jr., and took the usual seats. Mr. Townsend said that it was due to the committee to say that they had been unavoidably detained.
Mr. Cole said he had intended to examine Mr. Taintor, Mr. Green's expert, this morning, but that gentleman had gone to his home in Connecticut yesterday, quite ill, and be was afraid he would not return in time for an examination before Tuesday, until which time he moved to adjourn. Mr. Lewis then proceeded to ask the witness some questions concerning his connection with the Capitol at Albany.
Q. Did you have at that time any interest in the stone quarry? A Yes, I had an interest in a stone quarry. Then had been a committee of three, which afterwards was increased to eight. They had quarreled among themselves and there had been an investigation. We determined that it was necessary to get rid of Latham, and I consulted with Mr. Hamilton Harris, one of the Capitol commissioners, at my room in the Delavan House. I had known Mr. Harris in connection with the Erie Railway management, and also with the Albany building. We agreed that the only way to get rid of Latham was by the appointment of a new commission. It was to consist of six members, three Democrats and three Republicans, and it was to be so composed that Mr. Harris could have the control of it—in fast, he named the men without consulting me, and we gave them $650,000 in the Supply bill. This was in 1871.
Q. What quarry was this? A. The Hallowell stone quarry, I think, or the New York stone quarry, in Maine. My arrangement was made with Mr. Briggs, who had the management of it, and be gave me $250,000 in the stock of the company. They were to make their money by contracts, or out of contractors, and I was to divide commissions and percentages with him or he with me. There was never any division of commissions, however. These troubles came on me in 1871, and Mr. Briggs came to me about the matter. As I was no longer in a position to be of any assistance to him I returned the $250,000 of stock. The stone was afterward taken, I think, from the Bartlett quarry— the one from which the New York Bridge Company has been getting its material.
Q. Did Mr. Harris have an interest in this quarry? A. I think he did.
Q. Do you know of your own personal knowledge? A. No; but I think he had a considerable interest.
Q. You do not know this yourself? A. I know that he knew of my arrangement; and the gentleman who was in the room with us at the time told me that he had given Harris money as commissions,
Q. Was he a member of the State senate at that time? A. No; I think Mr. Harris held no political position—only an appointed position, as Capitol Commissioner
Mr. Cowing—Have you any knowledge of any other frauds in which you have been interested and upon which you have not been interrogated? A. Now, I cannot answer that. I cannot remember all the matters I have in my mind. I didn't remember about the Brooklyn Bridge business or the Capitol business until after I had been questioned about them. And there may be other matters that I do not recall at this moment. I cannot say there are not.
Mr. Cole- Now I want to ask you who told you that this gentleman had any interest in the quarry? A. I decline to answer that question for the present,
Q. Is he available? Can we reach him? A. Yes, he is. You can.
Q. Could yon point him out by name or residence? A. Yes, I can and will at the proper time and place.
Q. What do you regard as the proper time and place? A. Whenever the committee should meet in private session.
Q. Is it your judgment that he would answer a summons? A. I am satisfied that he would.
Q. Then, that being the case, on what ground do you base your refusal to answer the question ? A. Because, if I should mention his name publicly, he would get away himself, and it would damage me, as it has done in almost every case. I am, however, willing to name him to the committee in private.
Mr. Lewis—Weil, write the name on a slip of paper and hand it to the counsel for the committee. A. I will, if you will give me pencil and paper.
Here there was some consultation between counsel and the name was sent up.
October 30, 1877, New-York Tribune, Page 8, Columns 1 & 2,
HAMILTON HARRIS ACCUSED
BRIDGEFORD SUPPORTS TWEED'S CHARGES OF CORRUPTION
EMPHATIC DENIALS BY MR. HARRIS
Before the Aldermen's Investigating Committee, yesterday, John Bridgeford, formerly superintendent of the new Capitol Building, at Albany, supported Tweed's charges of corruption in contracts against Hamilton Harris, now State Senator from Albany. Mr. Harris denied, emphatically, and in detail, all the statements reflecting on his integrity.
October 30, 1877, New York Herald, TWEED'S CHARGES.
Ex-Senator Harris Before the Aldermanic Committee.
THE STATE CAPITOL COMMISSION.
Superintendent Bridgeford Charges Harris With Accepting Bribes.
COUNSEL AT LOGGERHEADS.
The Tweed investigation was enlivened yesterday by a continuance of the attempt to prove that Senator Hamilton Harris was bribed while acting as Commissioner of the State Capitol at Albany. This was the whole sum and substance of the proceedings, made somewhat spicy by spiteful and irritating expressions on the part of the three lawyers engaged in this peculiar drama. Messrs. Townsend, Cole and Cowing represent the legal side of the controversy. At yesterday's examination they gave decided exhibitions of bad temper, relieving the session of much of its dreariness. Tweed was present as usual in custody of the Sheriff's officers.
THE MAN WHO DIVIDED WITH HARRIS.
Hamilton Harris occupied a seat in the enclosure of the Aldermanic Chamber.
The first witness called was John Bridgeford, of Albany, formerly Superintendent of the State Capitol and a builder by occupation. He testified that he was present at an interview between Tweed and Hamilton Harris, when the subject under discussion was a change in the commission of the new Capitol building; the interview took place in Tweed's rooms at the Delavan House; Mr. Harris wanted the commission changed; there was some trouble as to one man whom they wanted to get rid of, and as a commission was to be appointed Harris and Tweed were to do the work and divide; it was then agreed to aslo who were to compose that commission; it was also agreed between Harris and Tweed that the latter was to get all necessary legislation and the former to manage the commission; they were to divide the profits; the bill was afterward pasted and the old commission went out and the new one went in; the new commission was composed of A. Ringsley, De Wolf, Hamilton Harris, and William A. Merritt; Harris was made chairman; witness was superintendent of the Capitol from the beginning until 1872.
TRACING THE PAYMENTS.
On the leading points as to payment of moneys to Harris the witness testified as follows:—
Q. Were there any illegitimate profits derived by any member of the commission? A. Ye s, sir; they were in the shape of commissions,
Q. To whom were they paid?
A. They wore paid to me and I paid them to Harris.
Q. Who gave out the contracts? A. The commission.
Q. Do you mean that persons who had contracts paid you money and you paid it over to Harris? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did these commissions amount to much money? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you collected from contractors more than once money and paid it to Mr. Harris? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of any of those commissioners being interested in a stone quarry that furnished stone? A. None, except Harris; he was from the New York Granite Company.
Q. Did you understand that Mr. Harris was interested as part owner? Yes, sir, and he furnished stone.
Q. Any other quarries that any of the commissioners had an interest in? A. No. sir.
Q. Were you discharged by the commissioners from your position? A. Not by the commissioners; I got a letter from W. McAlpin stating that my services were no longer required.
Q Did you have any intimation why you were discharged? A. No, sir.
A CERTIFICATE OF CHARACTER.
At this stage of the proceedings Mr. Townsend read a letter which had been given to Bridgeford at the time of his discharge, signed by Harris and Rice, stating that he had performed his duties with honesty and economy. The examination then proceeded as follows:—
Q. Was that letter given to you before or after you received the letter from Mr. McAlpin. A. Afterward.
Q. Did you tell Mr. Harris where you received the money from that you gave him? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he direct you to demand and receive money from him? A. Yes, sir.
Alderman Cowing—These commissions you received you were aware were dishonest? A. Ye s, sir.
Q. You were aware you were doing a dishonest thing at that time and so acted with full knowledge of your position? A. Yes, sir.
Harris to Alderman Cowing—Ask who paid the commissions.
IMPEDIMENTS IN THE WAY.
Mr. Townsend objected to this line of examination.
Alderman Cowing objected to Mr. Townsend defending this man (meaning Bridgeford).
The witness here rose and was about to make a speech to the committee when he was told to sit down. A scene of confusion ensued, Bridgeford evidently laboring under great excitement.
Alderman Cowing—Sit down, sir; sit down and don't make a speech.
Mr. Townsend—When the committee determined upon my duty here---
Alderman Cowing—I insist---
Mr. Bridgeford (again rising excitedly and waving his hand over his head)—lf you want to shield this man---
The Chairman here rapped his gavel vigorously in order to enjoin silence.
Alderman Cowing—Mr. Cole, you will take steps to compel this witness to testify.
Mr. Cole—I shall certainly try to do something, with pleasure, sir.
Q. Will you give the names of the parties from whom you received the moneys? A. Mr. Edward Leonard, Bangs & Gaynor, E. R. Seward, Jacob Haller; there are others, but I can't think of them.
Q. Will you give the amount you received? A. I cannot.
Q. When did this conversation take place between Mr. Tweed and Hamilton Harris? What year was it in? A. I can't tell.
Alderman Cowing—You must tell. Give the years and months.
Q. Have you not been here in this city on this matter before trying to make up your evidence? A. I have; yes, sir.
Q. Can you state how long you were talking this matter over in Mr. Tweed's room with Mr. Harris, and tell us what the conversation was? A. I cannot, sir.
Alderman Cowing—You are doing all the talking; now let me do some.
Q Do you know who spoke first and what it was that was said?
Mr. Bridgeford then repeated the remarks given in his direct testimony.
Q. You went there to assist in making up this steal? A. Yes. Sir.
Alderman Cowing—Well, that's all.
Mr. Cole—Now, Mr. Harris, we will hear you.
SENATOR HARRIS' DEFENSE.
Mr. Hamilton Harris was next called and sworn. The gentleman seemed perfectly at ease in the start, but as the examination progressed he became considerably excited and nervous. He is a tall, handsome man, about forty-five years old, with smooth face, dark hair, aquiline nose and high forehead. He was dressed in black. He swore that he was an old resident of Albany and had been twice elected to the State Senate.
Q. You have heard the testimony of the previous witness; is it true or false? A. It is absolutely and entirely false (rising and looking fiercely). The commission was agreed upon by a party of gentlemen in the Executive Chamber there was never a talk with Tweed and Bridgeford; it's false, it's lies. (fiercely and loudly.) I know of nobody receiving money on that work; it is certainly lies; the work has been under investigation since 1872; as Bridgeford has stated, he was discharged; and for what? a committee was called to investigate certain alleged wrongs which Mr. Bridgeford said existed; I reiterate and testify to what I swore to before the Committee of Ways and Means.
A SCENE OF EXCITEMENT.
Mr. Harris was dramatic in his delivery as, with extended hand, be emphatically contradicted the allegations of Bridgeford. Tweed watched Harris closely as he gave his testimony, while Bridgeford sat in front of him and laughed sarcastically at the Senator's efforts to extricate himself from the charges of corruption.
The witness continued by stating that Bridgeford was discharged because he could not agree with the commissioners. He next read a paper detailing an interview in 1874 with Bridgeford, in which the latter stated in substance that he was willing to discontinue his quarrel with him and "bury the hatchet." Mr. Harris then continued:—"From that time Mr. Bridgeford has been friendly to me—apparently so, at any rate." As to the letter of recommendation, Mr. Harris said that it was given to Bridgeford so as to show that he was not an incompetent workman. Witness next said that he frequently loaned money to Mr. Bridgeford, and at one time when he (the witness) was out of town a note of his was protested, and Mr. Harris had to pay the money. From that time he had been trying to plot against him, and the present case was a part of the plot.
CONTRACTS AND CONTRACTORS.
A statement from Mr. Bangs, of Bangs & Gaynor, was also read, asserting that the story of Bridgeford about commissions was not true.
Mr. Cola—Do I understand you to say that all the contracts for material were honest? A. So far as I know, and I believe it was so.
Q. What was done with the $15,000 raised by you and Mr. Bridgeford? A. A portion of it was for Congress Hall, to get it going; we had to get it in shape as a hotel, and also for newspaper correspondents.
Q. Entertainments given by the Commissioners to the Legislature—for what purpose? A. In order to make them good-natured. (Loud laughter.)
Harris also said that Bridgeford raised about one-half the money to give these entertainments; that the Capitol cost about $8,000,000, which "was expended as honestly as possible on such a building."
Mr. Harris was asked to explain what he meant by his statement that the money that had been spent on the new Capitol building was expended as honestly as upon any public building and replied:—
"I will not say as honestly as upon any public building in the world; I won't say exactly honestly, but as honestly as any building."
Q. That word "exactly" implies that there has been some little dishonesty? A. I take it for granted that there will be some little dishonesty in every public building of that kind, but it is a dishonesty that you cannot provide against; some man will steal a brick and some man will steal this and that; but I say my firm conviction is from what I know of it, that the money appropriated for the new Capitol at Albany has been as honestly expended for carrying forward the work as any money that was ever appropriated for any public building in this country; that is the idea; I won't say that there has been no stealing.
Q. Do you know of any dishonesty? A. I believe I have answered that, but I don't know of any.
Q. Even of this minor sort? A. I have heard of a good many cases of a minor sort, but I don't know; there were in these investigations which have been had during these series of winters many things of that kind brought up, and I could furnish the names of persons who made charges during these winters of such things, but I don't know that they know anything; they have tried to prove them thus far and
Q. And so far I understand you to say that you have never received any money from or on account of the contract in which Edward Learned or Bangs & Gaynor or Seward & Co. or Jacob Hoiler had any interest? A. Yes, sir; I say so.
Q. What was the fight Bridgeford said he was tired of? A. The Capitol fight, I suppose; it was because he was discharged, and he complained that be ought not to have been discharged; that was January 24,
Q. And he was discharged when? A. Mr. McAlpin was appointed Superintendent in June, 1873; as for the fight, I suppose he alluded to these Capitol matters, wherein he was charging me and the other Commissioners with having abused and improperly treated him, and charged us with receiving moneys.
Q. Did he charge the other Commissioners too? A. He charged Mr. Rice; I don't know about the others.
Q. The fight that he was going to stop, as you understood him, was that he would quit making these accusations about you and Rice? A. I suppose so.
Q. If you would do what? A. He didn't say what; he wanted peace, simply.
Q. What had you done? A. I had asked the Committee of Ways aud Means—considering the stories Bridgeford had told—for an investigation, and I had commenced and given my testimony four days before this conversation.
Q. Were you going to attack him in the investigation? A. No, sir.
WHAT THE FIGHT WAS ABOUT.
Q. I don't understand what the fight could have been about, then? A. We had asked for an investigation in vindication of ourselves, and after I had given the testimony which I have related here then he came into the office, and this conversation ensued that I have given. What he meant by the fight I cannot say. The impression which was left upon my mind was that he should not be overhauled in that investigation, but whether that was his motive I could not say.
Q. What had he done to be overhauled? A. Nothing except his conduct on the Capital.
Q. What was it? A. I don't know of anything against him except our clashing. He accused me of things and I accused him of things.
Q. What did you accuse him of? A. He wanted to run the Capitol independently of anybody else without taking the advice of any one.
Q. Do you mean running it fraudulently? A. No, sir.
Q. At the time of this conversation had you heard of his making these accusations against you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the fight on his side was accusing you of taking percentages? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the fight on your side was that he tried to run the Capitol independently of the Board? A. Yes, sir; I had no fight against him; I had nothing against him; as soon as he ceased to tackle me there was
Q. And yet this was after you had heard of his charges against you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you were willing to have peace as he was? A. I was; I had nothing against him.
Q. What was the reason of your discharging him? A. That he insisted upon running the work independently of the advice and counsel of the Commissioners.
Q. If he purchased the material honestly and economically, and you say that in your letter of recommendation, and no fault could be found, why was not that as good a plan as any other? A. Because we had to pay for it and we wanted to know about it.
Here Alderman Cowing asked Senator Harris if there was anything else he would like to state. In reply the Senator said, "I don't know of anything else."
SUPERINTENDENT BRIDGEFORD PROTESTS.
"Hold on!'' interrupted Mr. Bridgeford in rather a loud tone, rising in his seat. "You are not through yet. I want to put some questions."
Alderman Cowing told the witness sharply that he was not on the witness stand then and to cease talking.
Mr. Bridgeford said, with considerable excitement, "You ought not to back me off here—one moment, if you will allow me to have a little defence. This is this man's notion of doing things. He comes here with a big hurrah, but I have positive proof that he is lying, every word of it."
"I will have you committed for contempt of Court," emphatically said Alderman Cowing.
Mr. Bridgeford—If you will only allow me I have other proofs, gentlemen. I have come here under an attachment and have no chance for defence. I have no counsel. I am prevented from saying anything, and I want things to go in here in their proper place.
Mr. Townsend here reminded Alderman Cowing that in his (Townsend's) opinion the questions put by the Alderman had been the most leading possible, and if he would allow his client to put some questions now he would be delighted.
After considerable rather acrimonious discussion it was finally arranged that the questions of Mr. Bridgeford should be put through the mouth of Mr. Cole, who thereupon announced that while he did not exactly like his duty he would perform it—an arrangement that Mr. Bridgeford agreed to with great alacrity.
Q. When and where, and under what circumstances, was the letter which has been read in evidence indorsing the character of Mr. John Bridgeford written and signed by you and Mr. Rice? A. It was signed in my office, in the presence of Mr. Miller and Mr. Reynolds, my partner, and Mr. Rice.
Q. Was Mr. Smith present? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you ask Mr. Reynolds' advice with regard to signing that letter? A. I don't remember; we talked about it.
Q. Who wrote the letter ? A. I forget now.
Q. Who presented the letter to you to be signed? A. I think Mr. Rice did in the first place; I am not sure. I can give you the substance of the conversation; it was in regard to the possibility of Mr. Bridgeford's improperly using this letter in case he got offended with us. Mr. Bridgeford disclaimed any such purpose, and it was understood by us all that it could be used for no such purpose.
Q. Did Mr. Reynolds say he would not do it if he was in your place? A. I have forgotten.
Q. Did you suggest that the letter be put into the hands of Wesley Smith until after the investigation was completed? A. I don't remember. It was put into his hands. I don't remember at whose suggestion or whether at my suggestion or why. I know that it was put into his bands and that he was there.
Q. You did not take a minute of that conversation? A. No, sir.
Q. Was it your custom to take minutes of such conversations? A. No, sir; but it was of such conversations as the other. That was a confession that the man had done wrong, and the other was a statement that he had been honest, economical, &c.
Q. Do you recollect ever going to the house of John Bridgeford while this examination into your conduct as Commissioner of the Capitol was going on, and begging Bridgeford for God's sake to let up on you and not to make these accusations against you ? A. Never; I recollect going to his house, but I never made such expressions.
Q. Did you carry a letter to him at that time from Henry Smith? A. I went to see Henry Smith about that time, and after an interview with him Bridgeford and Smith and myself met, but whether I took a
letter to Bridgeford's house to have Bridgeford come down to Smith's, and exactly how the meeting was brought about I have forgotten. I think this letter was to have Bridgeford call. I cannot remember the
conversation between Smith and myself that led to the giving of the letter.
Q. You didn't take any minute of that conversation, did you? A. No, sir.
The witness was cross-examined at some length by Alderman Cowing, but nothing material was added to or detracted from his testimony, and the committee then adjourned until next Thursday morning, at ten o'clock, when Mr. Harris is expected to be again present.
November 3, 1877, The Sun, The New State Capitol,
The Several Millions Stolen From The People of This State. [especially untrustworthy text source. Verify dates and sums,]
ALBANY, Nov. 2.— The charge made by William M. Tweed that Mr. Hamilton Harris had received commissions from various contractors who furnished materials for the construction of the new Capitol at Albany, while he was one of the Commissioners, calls to mind the facts that were brought out during an investigation by a committee of the Senate in the years 1874 and 1875. It was shown that Mr. Harris was one of the first Commissioners at that building, he having been appointed in 1866, before any appropriation had been made by the Legislature. He remained a Commissioner until 1873, when he resigned while an investigation was in progress, thereby, as it was centrally believed at the time, saving himself from removal under charges which would have been made before the Governor. During these nine years Mr. Harris was the most active man in the Board of Commissioners; in fact, he was the commission. He resided in Albany, and was constantly on the ground, while the other Commissioners resided in different parts of the State and came to Albany only occasionally, to approve, without a thorough examination, what had been done by Mr. Harris.
The first appropriation for work upon the new Capitol was made by the Legislature in 1868. Then plans were adopted, and the total cost of the building, when completed, was limited to $4,000,000. In 1870 some changes in the building plans were made, but the Legislature was informed by the Commissioners that the changes would not involve any material increase in its cost. In 1874, however, when only one-third of the walls above the foundation were completed, the report of these same Commissioners showed that [$4.347.500.23] had been expended, and the architect who had originally fixed the total cost of the building, when completed, at $4,000,000, now estimated that it would require [$7,SS5.065] more to complete it, thus bringing its cost up to over twelve and one quarter millions of dollars.
The evidence before the committee which made this investigation shows that there was the utmost recklessness and mismanegement, if not something worse, on the part of the Commissioners. Large numbers of men were employed who never did any work except to draw their pay. A horde of inspectors, whose duty was supposed to be to inspect the lumber, brick, cement, &c., cost the State according to the books of the Commissioners, from $200 to upwards of $400 a week. The carpenter work upon this building, which was supposed to be built entirely of stone, had up to June, 1874, cost the State [$113,000]. Those who have visited Albany will remember the little ground floor building in which the model of the new Capitol is housed. That cost the people of the State, according to the books of the Commissioners, [$9,970.50.] and took 285 days' labor to build. Any builder in this city who could not have built it in less than a week, at a cost not to exceed $1,150, would soon find himself out of work.
The lucky man who had the contract for the carpenter work had bargained with the Commissioners, or, more properly, with Mr. Harris, that he should receive $3.50 per day for each hand employed, and then he hired all the men he wanted for $2.50. thus pocketing a profit $1.25 a day on every man. Up to this time there had been no joiners' work on the building, it being of the plainest and roughest character. Unless this contractor divided his perquisites with some one, he certainly had a very fat thing of it. The lumber used in this building of stone up to the same date, cost over $59,000—or, rather, charged as used, though the testimony shows that a large portion of it went to the shop of this same contractor, where all further trace of it was lost. The amount of hardware used upon this stone building, before its walls were one-third completed, is astonishing. It cost in the aggregate $56,025.66. of which one item is for over 3 tons of nails. One hundred and ninety-five padlocks and door locks had also been bought forth is building, in which a door had not yet been placed. The only other instance remembered of a building requiring locks before its doors were hung is that of the Sixth District Court House, in New York, when under the management of Mr. Harry Genet, over [ ] sledge and hammer handles, 2,414 pounds of white lead, and 199 cedar pails were said to have been used in constructing one-third of the walls of this building, while the temporary plumbing and gas fitting cost $10,466.11. But, perhaps, the most refreshing item of all is the Bum oil $4,422.25, which was expended for photographs—enough money to have furnished all the Commissioners and contractors, as well as each member of the Legislature, with a picture of every stone in the building.
This investigation also demonstrated clearly that the State has been swindled out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by a system of un-balanced bidding that rivals the palmiest days of the Canal Ring, together with favoritism to certain contractors and companies. In this way the State was made to pay over $20 per yard for limestone which was furnished to the Central Railroad for its bridge in Albany at $15 per yard. Granite which it was agreed to deliver to the State at a cost of $24.40 per yard is found to have cost under certain modifications of the contract agreed to by the Commissioners, not less than $113 a yard.
So, also, in the matter of cement. Over twenty thousand barrels more were paid for than the work showed could have been possibIy used up to June 1874, and the price paid was one-third greater than the bid of other parties. In the matter of sand, too, which was dredged from the bottom of the river, and one-third of which was unfit for use, the State was swindled both in the quantity furnished and the price paid. A favorite of the Commissioners was paid $I3 a thousand for bricks which were offered by other parties for $8 a thousand, and the investigation clearly demonstrated that in this item alone the State was swindled out of $75,000.
In fact, it seems that from the first day when work was begun upon the new Capitol up to the time of the investigation the State was systematically swindled in every possible way, so that the total amount stolen from the State must have aggregated nearly two millions of dollars. During all that time Mr. Hamilton Harris was the active man of the commission. Everyone who knows Harris knows that he is not a fool. He is a shrewd lawyer and a sharp businessman. People will be slow to believe that all of this stealing could have gone on directly under his eyes without his knowing something about it. Mr. Henry Smith of Albany, the counsel for the investigation, in his summing up before the Senate Committee, stated very pointedly his belief that some one had been guilty of acts that would not bear the light of a [ ] investigation. He said :
[two illegible paragraphs.]
November 4, 1877, New York Herald, Page 12, Column 3, HAMILTON HARRIS
THE TWEED INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE TAKES MORE EVIDENCE IN RELATION TO THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM.
Mr. Tweed was again present at yesterday's session of the Committee of Aldermen engaged in investigating the Ring frauds, he sat quietly apart by the side of the deputy sheriffs, and seemed but little interested in the proceedings. The session was devoted to examining several new witnesses in relation to the charges against Hamilton Harris, in connection with the new Capitol building, and after hearing these the committee adjourned until Monday November 12, at eleven o'clock. Mr. S. J. Davenport of Albany, was the first witness, and in answer to the questions of Alderman Cole, stated that he made a written contract with Commissioners Hamilton Harris and William C. Rice, to lay Scrimshaw pavement in the quadrangle of the new Capitol, at a cost of $250 per yard; nobody spoke of his allowing a margin, but he had an understanding with Superintendent John Bridgeford that he should contribute something for running expenses; witness never paid any money, but was requested by Mr. Bridgeford to see Mr. John L. Handall and buy some Champlain Shore and Corning iron Ore Company stock; witness purchased $8,000 at par; did not know anything about the value of the s lock then and did not know its present value; could not tell whether it had ever been quoted in the market at all To Alderman Cowing witness stated that Senator Harris had nothing to do with this transaction so far as he knew; he had never had any conversation with Harris in reference to it and never paid him any commissions.
SOME QUESTIONABLE TRANSACTIONS.
Mr. John L. Randall, of Albany, who stated his occupation as "mining and iron ores," was next examined. He remembered selling to Mr. Davenport, the previous witness, $85,000 worth of stock on the 23d of January, 1872; there were thirty-five shares of Champlain Shore and forty-five shares of Corning Iron Ore.
Mr. Bridgeford called at witness' office and said Davenport wanted to buy some stock, and that the money Davenport would pay for it was to go to Hamilton Harris; witness advised him not to do such dirty work, but the response was that he was obliged to do it or gel out; witness then agreed to let Davenport have the stock when he called for it; next day Davenport called and purchased the stock, paying $55,000 down and the balance on the following day; witness took the money over to the Capitol grounds and laid it upon a desk in the office of Superintendent Bridgeford within an hour or two alter he received it; as he walked out of the office Bridgeford entered and took the money.
To Alderman Cowing witness stated that he had no personal knowledge that any portion of the money went to Mr. Harris; all he knew was what Bridgeford told him; Bridgeford was to return to witness the same kind of stock and to the same amount. Mr. William C. Rice, one of the Capitol Commissioners with Harris, testified that frequently during the pending of the investigation of the Capitol matters by the legislative committee Bridgeford had said that he paid witness and Mr. Harris money; Bridgeford made that assertion in the presence of witness, Harris, and Commissioner De Woolf, and the latter was very indignant about it; witness resigned from the commission in 1875, during the pendency of the investigating committee and after they had been charged with getting money illegally; witness did not consider the moneys he received from Bridgeford in the light of commissions; in the early days of the enterprise—the building of the Capitol—money was raised on various occasions; there were various outside expenses that were borne by the citizens, and be contributed with others a food many times; away back in 1871 Mr. Bridgeford on two or three occasions gave him some money; he did not know where it came from; did not know that it was Bridgeford's own money; opposed he was willing to contribute to help along on these expenses; at the time Bridgeford gave the time Bridgeford gave the money he was superintendent of the new Capitol and witness was commissioner. Witness, alter leaving the stand, returned voluntarily to explain that all the money he had received from Bridgeford amounted to only $1,500.
January 15, 1878, The World, The New Capitol,
$1,800,000 WANTED TO GET THE TWO HOUSES AND THE GOVERNOR INTO IT.
ALBANY, January 11.—The annual report of the New Capitol Commissioners was presented in the Senate today. The expenditure during the year were $659,821.09. There remains unexpended of this appropriation of last year $45,932.42.The appropriation of last year was expended on the new Assembly Chamber, with a view of bringing that part of the new Capitol into use as soon at possible. The Commissioners express the belief that the Senate and Assembly may be accommodated in the new building by January 1, 1879, and that rooms may be provided as well for the Governor and his clerks. Under this arrangement the Governor will temporarily occupy the rooms which are destined for the Court of Appeals. January 1, 1880, the Senate Chamber proper, together with the Executive rooms, may be finished. All this can be done and the finished portion of the building furnished for $1,800,000. In order to do this, work most be pushed along vigorously through the winter. Should the Legislature approve the plans of the Commissioners of finishing part of the new building, the result may be obtained without further taxation, appropriating the surplus funds in the treasury of the State in accordance with the suggestion of the Comptroller in his annual report. Those parts of the new Capitol which remain unfinished, and which are not of urgent necessity, may be completed slowly and with a small annual appropriation. The Commissioners, therefore, recommend that a bill be passed without delay appropriating sufficient funds to carry forward the work during the winter, and that in the Supply bill a further appropriation be made for the work of next summer and for furnishing the completed section of the building.
The Ways and Means Committee continued the examination of the charges against the Capitol Commissioners. They elicited no more facts against the commissioners than obtained yesterday. On the rebutting testimony it was shown that no man was paid unless he was there to answer to his name. It was also shown that the man who worked on Bridgeford's farm was paid by a man named Dwyer, and not out of the funds of the new Capitol. The same as to those on the church and other work. As to the election of Mr. Smith to the Assembly,
Mr. Bridgeford testified that he did ask the men who lived in that district to vote for Mr. Smith; but did not threaten to discharge them if they did not. He got some tickets with the Democratic indorsement on the outside and Smith's name on the inside, and gave them to the workmen. The committee have closed their testimony in this case.
January 18, 1878, The Daily Graphic,
ALBANY, January 18.—The House met at eleven o'clock. Mr. Douglass introduced a bill to amend the Excise law of the city of Brooklyn. The new Capitol Commissioners, in answer to a resolution of the House, sent in their report as to the cost for completing that building, as follows: Granite $1,429,557; terrace, $849,937; furniture, $400,000; taking down the old buildings, fencing, &c., $150,000; sandstone, $1,103,088; gas fitting and plumbing, $55,445; roofing, $59,350; iron work, $208,680; carpenter work, $250,851; brick work, $233,292; plaster work, $102,500; marble, $19,425; heating, $83,000; elevators, $l20.000--total, $5,189,605. The plans for the terrace have not been approved by the Commissioners, and can be left till the last. No estimates have been made for care and light. All the above estimates have been made from actual bids except that of furniture, of the grounds and fencing.
February 21, 1878, Utica Morning Herald,
THE NEW CAPITOL.
The new capitol commissioners held a meeting this afternoon and approved the specifications for all work for the north Center, including iron, glass and stone work and gas fitting, and ordered the superintendent to advertise for proposals for the same.
June 6, 1878, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSION.
ALBANY, June 5.—At a meeting of the new Capitol Commissioners to-day, the contract for furnishing blue stone flagging was awarded to Williams & Co., of Catskill, whose bid was 10 3/4 cents per square foot. It was also resolved to purchase from the late architect of the new Capitol, Mr. Fuller, the plans and drawings made by him of the building at a cost of $1,000, and that they be placed in the archives of the State.
June 13, 1878, New York Times,
THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS.
June 27, 1878, New York Times. Page 5, Column 4,
THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS.
ALBANY, June 25.—The Capitol Commissioners held a long executive session this afternoon. It is understood they discussed some new plans for parts of the bui lding, and adjourned to meet in New York Monday evening next.
July 18, 1878, New York Times,
THE ELECTRIC LIGHT IN THE NEW CAPITOL.
The Albany Argus of the 11th inst. says: "The new Capitol Commissioners have for some time been considering the subject of lighting the Capitol. The electric light has been proposed, and Mr. Fred Law Olmstead [sic] who made a trip to Europe with authority from the Commissioners to purchase a light, reported favorably on the electric light which he saw in operation in Paris, but failed to purchase for the reason that he was of the opinion that as good a light as the gramme light, which he saw there, could be secured in this country at less expense. Last evening, by request of Architect Eidlitz, the Hochhausen dynamo- electric light was exhibited by its inventor in the Assembly Chamber for the purpose of testing its power to light the room, which is 84 by 96 feet and about 65 feet high. Auditor Schuyler, State Engineer Seymour, Superintendent Gilmour, Senator Harris, Robert H. Pruyn, William A. Rice, Theodore Townsend, and a number of professors and teachers in attendance at the University Convocation, including Henry Kiddle, Superintendent of Schools of New-York City, were present to witness the test. The single light which was suspended about two feet from the main arch of the ceiling of the Assembly Chamber, was of great brilliancy, and was of sufficient power to satisfactorily light the immense room, so that even the fine tracery of the decorations was plainly discernible across the room and in every portion of the ceiling. The light is a white light of very great power, and although the test of last evening was merely to ascertain its strength and lighting capacity, and was subject to some defects for the reason that a small hand machine was used and held unsteadily in position by a person in the loft who was unable to see the candle, it was much admired. The light is produced by electricity passing between two carbon points. The electricity is generated by means of a dynamoelectric machine operated by a steam-engine. The cost of the carbon points is about a cent and a half or two cents per inch, and about three inches per light; are consumed each hour. One candle, such as used last evening would produce sufficient light, but in order to obviate the shadows, it is proposed, if adopted, to place four lights in the chamber, one in each comer of the room. A machine, the cost of which ranges according to size from $20O to $600, is required for each light. The steam power necessary to operate the machines would be derived from the engines used for heating and ventilating the building. A machine very similar to the one used for lighting last evening was some time since invented by Mr. Hochhausen for use in electrotyping, and several of them are owned in this city."
October 30, 1878, Albany Evening Journal,
THE TWEED INVESTIGATION.
Mr. Bridgeford, of Albany, Appears. What He Knows About the Capitol. [same transcript text as NY Herald]
November 14, 1878, New York Evening Post,
The experiment of lighting the Assembly chamber in the new Capitol at Albany by means of electricity was tried last evening. The Albany Argus says of the result:
"The exhibition was a very satisfactory one. It was by no means a concentrated light, and the objection that such a light would be too intense was entirely dispelled by witnessing it. There was no troublesome glare nor the dark shadows that many exported. To us it appeared as a soft, clear light equally diffused, when the four burners were going, and under which the smallest print could be read easily and freely. The four score or hundred people who were present at the exhibition, which, of course, was experimental, were pronounced in their opinion regarding it, and in a felicitous way."
December 24, 1878, The World: New York,
THE NEW STATE CAPITAL. The Portions of the Building to be Occupied by the Coming Legislature.
THE EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE--THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER.
(From a Special Correspondent of The World.)
ALBANY, December 21.—There will probably be little dispute henceforth that the Commissioners of the new Capitol did a judicious thing when in 1876 they called in new professional advisers and remodeled the plans for the building. The limitations under which Messrs. Eidlitz, Richardson & Co., the architects, have worked are painfully apparent in many parts of the building, and are more or less apparent almost everywhere except in the Assembly Chamber. The portion of the building which will be ready for occupancy by the Legislature is the Assembly wing, with one front on Washington avenue and the other on the courtyard, and consists of the central pavilion on the north aide, with the curtain walls that connect it with the comer toe-era. These towers are not finished, nor likely to be until after the senate wing is done. The work which is done in about 300 feet by 100 in area. The central pavilion consists of a basement and three stories, flanked by small towers and crowned with a steep roof which uses eighty feet above the cornice line, and is broken only by three tall dormer windows on each side and by chimneys. The small towers, which rise only a few feet higher than the walls, are roofed with granite slabs.
The wings are a story lower than the centre. The material of the walls is a light gray granite, and of the roofs black slate. The walls, it must be remembered, were built to the spring of the arches on the second floor when the change of plan was decided upon. The chief architectural fault which the building then presented, after the general absence of intention, was the uneasy and huddled look which it derived from a multiplication of features, all of pretty nearly the same value, and none of much. The quality which was above all lacking was repose, and the modifications which have since been made in the exterior, before and since the statutory restriction about the style was imposed, have been directed to the amendment of this grievous fault. What could be done to remedy it has been done, it seems to me, with admirable skill, though the result is that the upper portions of the building are in some respects plainer than no doubt the architects would have made them had the lower been better designed. The mass, at any rate, no longer looks uneasy, but has a breadth and serenity very pleasant to see, and the relations of the subordinate masses, the towers and dormers and chimneys, with the central mass of the steep unbroken roof make up, from almost any point of view, an effective and picturesque grouping. When the porch comes to be built that is to extend the whole front of the central pavilion between the towers, it will be possible to forget the old work still more completely, to the great architectural advantage of the building. The statute concerning style only referred to the street site of the building, and the work upon the court side is executed in pursuance of the designs made before the law was passed. The dormers in particular are quite different in treatment from those on the street. The gables bear the arms of the colonial families of the State.
The basement contains an entrance hall furnished with two rows of granite piers and ceiled with flat brick arches, and a number of subordinate rooms--the first floor the Court of Appeals, which is this winter to be used as the Senate Chamber, and the second and third the Assembly Chamber. The only staircase as yet built is at the southeast corner, on the court side that is, of the finished work. It is unfortunately placed, its position being one of the mistakes of the original plan, where it receives little light except from the skylight which covers it, and where the approaches to it cannot be made ample and dignified enough to give it the effect which the staircase itself would produce. The well which contains it is 50 by 30, and the broad stairs rise from the basement by easy stages, making two landings in each story, to the gallery floor of the Assembly Chamber. The stairs and the wall which carries the inner side of them are of sandstone. Three pointed arches pierce this wall in each flight, following the inclination of the stairs, and from the upper and lower of the columns which sustain them transverse arches are sprung to corbels on the outer wall. The capitals, arches and cornels are profusely and beautifully carved in foliage, and the railing is richly traceried. At the top of the staircase it is proposed ultimately to crown the posts of the railing with statues and fill the wall space above with a decorative picture in each face. As workmen are now engaged in putting in elevators it may be expected that the staircase will only be used on occasions.
The first floor contains the Court of Appeals and the corridor. The latter, which is 140 feet by about 20, opens on the Central Court, from which it is lighted by seven large windows. In point of decoration it is perhaps the most successful, and certainly the most sumptuous piece of work in the building. It is divided into bays by transverse arches, and the ceiling of each bay is a groined arch in brick, plastered. The floor is covered with encaustic tiles, and the walls are wainscoted with the same material framed in sandstone, the faces of the piers and arches are red, with the moldings at the angle gilded. The walls have a ground of red carrying an ornament of yellow framed in gold, and the ceiling is decorated with blue, red and umber on a ground of gold. The ornament is minute, and the "tone" of the place is produced, as in Oriental work, by the combination in small quantities of positive colors. The effect of the room will be cooled as well as heightened by the green of growing plants, a box of which will be placed in each of the windows. The subordinate rooms on this floor which are to serve as committee rooms, are for the most part colored with plain tints. One, however, which was prepared for the temporary use of the governor, is more elaborately treated. The walls are covered with deep tints, the upper belt filled with geometrical ornament; an iron girder which traverses the ceiling is solidly gilded, the iron beams which carry the brick arches of the ceiling are gilded also, and the arches are covered with a damask of blue upon blue.
The Court of Appeals, this winter to be the Senate Chamber, is about sixty feet square and twenty-five feet high. It is divided, however, into the court room proper, which occupies about two-thirds of its area, and the space allotted for spectators, which takes up the other third. The division is effected by a line of polished granite columns bearing an arched marble wall. The room is lighted on the north side by three windows, and the bench will be at the north end, where workmen are now erecting the desk used by the Lieutenant-Governor in the old Capitol. The division of the room has given it a much more agreeable form than it otherwise would have had, and the disposition of the parts greatly helps the effect of it. The walls are wainscoted in sandstone, and the wall screen for ten or twelve feet above that is paneled in unvarnished oak, which already begins to look rich and mellower with time. The panels are filled with carving in diaper and the walls over the screen are painted in diaper upon a ground of red. The ceiling is very deeply paneled in oak and carried upon a system of beams and braces, the beams diminishing in size from the great girders, supported by braces, which rest upon the wall over the columns. The panels are carved in foliage. Even as it is, without its fittings or its furniture, the court-room has the character of dignity, retirement and sober richness which should belong to such a place.
One fault, however, even in the Court of Appeals, impressive as it is, much better as it is than any room hitherto built here for a like purpose, as if were more or less a makeshift, not so much the realization of an architectural idea as the attempt to redeem by grace of detail an essential ill-designed place. But whether the architect felt himself hampered or not in designing the Assembly Chamber, spectators of his work will not be sensible of his limitations.
The public entrance, at D, is by a large pointed doorway, which gives access to the lobby, a vaulted corridor 90 feet long 20 wide add about 25 high to the ridge of the vault. It is well lighted by a large window at each end. The ceiling, of which the vaulting is shown on the plan, is of cream-colored Ohio stone, as are the walls, the ribs and arches being of Dorchester stone, and the windows treated like those in the Chamber itself, which will be described presently. The features of the lobby are the large arches which span it on either side of the entrance to the Chamber, and which owe their effect to the vigor and spirit with which they are modeled. Over the central division of the lobby which they flank is a public gallery.
At the entrance one faces the Speaker's desk. Behind it rises a stone screen, pierced with three round arches and ci owned with a traceried railing, which is the front of the reporters' gallery. Behind this again, and above it, rises a public gallery with a like traceried railing, made smaller in scale to enhance the perspective effect. On either side of the Speaker's desk are two of the four great columns of polished red granite, four feet thick, which carry the vaulted ceiling. In the central space, from wall to wall, a space 85 by 56, are arranged the desks of the Assembly. The keystone of the central vault, the crowning point of the room, is held in place by the ribs which spring from columns forty feet away. The vault behind it is lower as well as shallower, and the vault behind this again is lower still and is made to seem more remote than it is by the contraction of the arch which frames it. The variations in shape, in size and in height of the different spaces into which the room is divided give wonderful fluency and movement to the room and a fresh effect with every new point of view. The mechanical difficulties arising in the course of a construction so novel here and so difficult, and where there are so few workmen who have ever cut or set a stone vault, have, of course, been many. The success with which they have been overcome is ascribed to the skill and care of Mr. James Sinclair, who has had charge of the stonecutting, and of Mr. Eaton, the superintendent of the new Capitol.
The main constructive features of the room, the great columns and the great arches, are modeled so as to enhance, and nowhere to reduce, the inherent effects of weight and power which belong to them. The architectural treatment is throughout of the same masculine vigor. The function of the parts determines their structure and is proclaimed by it. The same character pervades the profuse enrichment of the room, both by carving and by color. The ornament is bold and emphatic as well as abundant. Each voussoir of the window arches bears an incised ornament, the edges of which are gilded and the ground filled with crude vermilion. The molding which surrounds each window is filled with ultramarine and a gold band encircles it. The side-walls above the springing line of the lower windows are covered with incised ornament, on a deep red ground, up to the space (now blank) between the two ranges of windows, which is designed for a bas relief. The upper arcade of windows is treated like the lower, and directly over these, one on each side of the central space in which the Assembly site, come the pictures of Mr. Hunt, some account of which you have already printed. Each of them is bounded by the line of the vault above and at the sides, and by the window-heads below, and each is sixteen feet by forty-five in extreme dimensions. They are finished, but they cannot yet be seen as part, and the chief part, of the decoration of the room they were designed to decorate. The workmen begin to-night to strike the scaffolding which hides them from a spectator on the floor. They can already be seen as pictures from this scaffolding, and as pictures they are strangely impressive, and seem to be conceived in so large and unmodern a manner that they deserve and demand to be executed on a colossal scale. The artist has received several commissions, it is understood, for the decoration of other scenes in the Assembly Chamber.
The decoration of the ceiling is one of the novelties of the room. Each groin bears two bands of enrichment, one near the bottom, the other near the top. These bands are covered with rows of ornament in high relief, the surface of the stone being excavated to a depth of several inches. The principal ornament is very bold, and all is emphatic. The ground is filled with crude color, vermilion or ultramarine, and the edges of the ornament gilded. Before the walls were decorated so as to lead up to the ornament of the ceiling the latter by itself was somewhat glaring. Already it is softened by what has been done on the walls, and when the pictures are seen in connection with it, and the room has got its tone from the deep red carpet and the furniture which are yet to be put in, the effect of color must become as harmonious and mellow as it is sumptuous. The relief gives the ornament a life and brilliancy almost incredible to one who has not seen it, and unaccountable to one who sees it for the first time.
Of the room itself it is not perhaps very much to say that it is the noblest work of civic architecture in this country. It would be illustrious anywhere. Its distinction, to me, is not in the parts which I have been describing, but in the whole, which I cannot adequately describe, and from which these parts precede. It is the most highly developed and the most living organism which our architecture has produced. It is original in the sense of being a sincere answer to a new problem rather than of novelty, for though there are novelties in it, it is evident that nothing in it has been done for the sake of novelty. Upon this work, at least, the architects and commissioners of the new Capitol and the people of the State are to be congratulated. It is irritating to think how much more matter for congratulation there would have been if the design of the new Capitol had been an open question in 1876, instead of a question in great part badly closed.
Jan. 7, 1879, Utica Herald, Column 6,
STATE OFFICERS' REPORTS
The new capitol commissioners will report that they have nearly expended the $1,000,000 appropriated by the Legislature to carry on the work upon that immense building in 1878. It is the opinion of the Attorney General, one of the commissioners, that $1,500,000 might wisely be spent upon the building during the present year in pushing it to completion.
January 7, 1879, The Daily Graphic,
A BRIEF SESSION OF THE ASSEMBLY THIS AFTERNOON-AN ADJOURNMENT UNTIL TO-MORROW.
The Assembly has formally taken possession of its new chamber this morning. Those present are being sworn in, but there is to be no organization before to-morrow. The swearing in of members and the reception to-night wilt give a little lull in the button holing for Speaker Dixon.
January 9, 1879, The Daily Graphic, THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.
AN ELABORATE REVIEW OF OUR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS. THE NEW CAPITOL.
The Governor reviews at length the history of the new Capitol, which was to cost not more than $4,000,000, but which has already cost $9,276,615, and is yet far from completion. He recommends the suspension of all work upon it until it can be ascertained whether it will be worth while to complete it at all. To finish it on the present plans would cost $8,000,000 or $10,000,000 more. "It seems to me," says the Governor, "that in times like these the food and raiment of ur people are more to them than the development of schools of art."
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.
January 10, 1879, New York Times, Page 3,
The Governor's Message.
A Moral Lesson Suggested by the Gorgeous New Capitol.
THE GOVERNORS MESSAGE.; THE MESSAGE. FINANCES. DEBT. TAXATION. CANALS. STATE PRISONS. ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE. COUNTY JAILS AND POOR-HOUSES. THE INEBRIATE ASYLUM. SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' HOME. THE NEW CAPITOL. THE NATIONAL GUARD. COMMON SCHOOLS. LOCAL DEBT AND TAXATION. NIAGARA FALLS. GAME LAWS. THE CODE. LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT. INSURANCE AND SAVINGS BANKS. FEDERAL INTERFERENCE AT ELECTIONS. THE CITY OF NEW-YORK. HARBOR-MASTERS AND PORT-WARDENS. COMMISSIONERS OF EMIGRATION. EXCISE LAWS. RESUMPTION. UNEMPLOYED LABOR REVIVAL OF BUSINESS. CONCLUSION.
January 10, 1879, New York Times, Page 4, Editorial,
THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.
From the mass of verbiage under which Gov. ROBINSON has thought fit to hide the information which he had to convey to the Legislature the following facts may be picked out. The canal debt remains the only funded obligation of the State, and the net amount of that has been reduced to but little more than eight millions. The State tax of 2 9-10 mills for the current fiscal year, will yield about eight millions of dollars, and if the Legislature will only stop further expenditures on the new Capitol, and cut down the school tax applicable to academies and high schools, there is no reason why the rate for next year should not be greatly reduced. The Controller specifically recommends a rate of 2 17-50 mills for the next fiscal year. The Governor directs attention to the decreased cost of maintaining and managing the canals, and finds an additional subject of congratulation in the gradual approximation between the earnings and expenditures of the State Prisons. He pronounces the Utica and Willard Asylums for the Insane to be very ably and economically managed, makes a brief reference to the flagrant abuses prevalent in county jails and poor-houses, and recommends the conversion of the Inebriate Asylum at Binghamton into an Asylum for the insane. He believes that a new Capitol "far more becoming in exterior design and internal finish than the present one, and far superior to it in convenience," could be built for half the sum which will be necessary to complete the present building, and urges that, for the present, all further appropriations for the use of the Capitol Commissioners be stopped. To levy taxes for the support of a school system which gives anything more than the simple rudiments of education is, in the opinion of the Governor, nothing short of "legalized robbery," and an inquiry is recommended into the working of normal schools which, with two or three exceptions, are pronounced "wholly useless."
In dealing with the question of local debt and taxation, the Governor rises a little above the common-place level of the greater part of his Message. He makes a vigorous protest against the attempts of towns and counties which have loaded themselves with a bonded debt out of all proportion to their resources, to extricate themselves from their difficulties by any other method than the honest and straightforward one of fulfilling in perfect good faith the contract made with their creditors. Rigid retrenchment in local expenses, and judicious provision for sinking funds are, in the opinion of the Governor, the most needful preliminaries to the escape from debt of embarrassed towns and counties. He can evidently be trusted to oppose his veto to any attempt to saddle local indebtedness upon the State. In dealing with the necessity for reform in the administration of the affairs of this City, Gov. Robinson is somewhat vague in his recommendations. Rather more than enough has been heard from him already about the establishment of "local legislature" being the panaeea for all our Municipal ills. In 1877 the Governor vetoed certain bills calculated to decrease "the army of useless officials and the extravagant salaries paid to them," mainly because he considered Tammany Hall and the citizens of New York convertible terms. Last year, he deprived the City of the benefit of similar bills on grounds which were, for the most part, frivolous, but which had all more or less reference to the "local legislature" theory. If the Governor is to continue to veto bills for the relief of New-York tax-payers until he is satisfied about the constitutionality of the law creating the Board of Apportionment, or until a charter is framed giving the City the kind of self-government which he thinks it ought to have, another session may pass without a single contribution either to the economy or efficiency of local administration. But in that case, all the Gubernatorial verbiage would not convince the people of New-York that the Governor'a concern for their interests is anything more than the pretense of a rather narrow-minded partisan politician.
That is unquestionably the character in which the Governor appears in his comments on ''the organized attempt of the Federal authorities to interfere with the suffrage of our citizens." It is refreshing to turn from twaddle of this kind to the very sound reflections on the failure of the State superintendency of insurance companies and savings banks, and to the vigorons common-sense which the Governor displays in dealing with the questions of resumption and of the gradual absorption of unemployed labor. His protest against fallacious expectations from the revival of business is no less timeIy than his reminder that "there is no magic by which debts can be paid without money, nor by which individuals and corporations hopelessly insolvent can be restored to credit and prosperity." Prolix and tedious as a whole, absurd in some parts, and evasive in others, as the Message is, it still manifests so honest a repugnance to all forms of waste, extravagance, and jobbery in State and local administration as to compel respect for the motives of the author, and to invite confidence in his ability to protect the people against the evils of hasty or corrupt legislation.
January 23, 1879, New York Herald, Page 8, Column 3,
REPORT OF THE NEW CAPITOL COMMISSIONERS TO THE LEGISLATURE—FOUR MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS NEEDED TO FINISH THE STRUCTURE.
The following is the New Capitol Commissioners' report to the Legislature:—
The undersigned, New Capitol Commissioners, respectfully report that they have expended during the year 1878 the sum of $1,026,463 72, and that there was on hand the sum of $21,272 66, being the unexpended balance of the appropriation made by the act of May 13, 1876. The details of the aforesaid expenditure appear by the statement hereto appended, and also by the report of the superintendent, which is herewith transmitted. The act of January 24, 1878, contains the following provision:—
The said New Capitol Commissioners are hereby directed to take such measures as shall insure the completion and furnishing of that portion of the new Capitol containing the Assembly Chamber for occupation on the 1st day of January, 1879, by the Senate and Assembly.
The act of April 10, 1878, provides as follows:—
The said New Capitol Commissioners are hereby directed to take such measures as shall Insure the completion and furnishing of that portion of the new Capitol containing the Assembly Chamber for occupation on the 1st day of January, 1879, by the Senate and Assembly, and for that purpose to enter into contracts for the completion of such work, in anticipation of the appropriation therefor.
In accordance with the direction and powers contained in the said act, the Commissioners have made such contracts as were necessary to insure the completion and furnishing of the north centre section of the said new Capitol so that the same should be in readiness for occupation by the Legislature. There is now due and unpaid, and to become due upon said contracts, the sum of $340,910 14, the details whereof, together with a statement of the work and material contracted for, appears by schedule "A" here to annexed. There is also hereto appended and marked schedule "B" a statement of the actual cost of the work done during the year, including all amounts paid and all outstanding obligations. During the year 1878 the north centre section of the new Capitol has been finished and furnished. The Assembly Chamber with its appurtenances has been made ready for the Assembly. The room designed for the Court of Appeals has been prepared for the Use of the Senate and several adjoining apartments have been fitted up for the officers of that body. Four rooms have been furnished and set apart for the Governor, and about thirty minor apartments have been prepared for committee rooms and other purposes. The walls of the south centre section and those upon the court have been raised to the roofline. A sidewalk has been built along the north side of the building, the street in front thereof has been repaved and three crosswalks have been laid across Washington avenue. One-half of the basement of the whole building has been finished. All the exterior drains have been completed and pipe laid a distance of half a mile, giving the building an independent water supply.
ESTIMATES TO FINISH THE WORK.
On the 18th day of January, 1878, in answer to the resolution of the Assembly, the New Capitol Commissioners transmitted an estimate of the cost of the completion of the new Capitol made by the superintendent and architects, by whom it was stated that the building could be built and furnished for the sum of $5,198,625. Since the said estimate was made a large portion of the new Capitol has actually been finished and furnished, and we are therefore able to test the accuracy of our estimate by the result of last year. The finished portion is about one-quarter of the area of the whole building; but it is considered that it contains two of the three great rooms, one of the three staircases, one half of the beating apparatus, five of the seven elevators, one-third of the furniture, one -half of the entire water supply, the whole exterior drainage, and that one-half of the basement has been finished also. The walls of the court and the south centre section have been built up to the roof line. It is clear that the work done last year bears a larger proportion than one-fourth to the work estimated upon in 1878. One-quarter of the estimate of last year is $1,299,666 25. The work actually done and the materials actually purchased have cost $1,294,227 92. Therefore, if we are correct in supposing that one quarter of the work estimated for last year has been completed, it is clear that we are quite within our estimate. After carefully considering the subject, and in view of last year's experience, we renew our statement of January 1, 1878, and say that for the sum of $4,200,000 additional appropriation all existing liabilities may be paid and the new Capitol finished and furnished. The Commissioners have reason to believe that the building can be contracted for within the said sum, to be completed in two years from the date of contract. It is for the Legislature to determine whether the construction of the new Capitol shall be carried forward during this year, and upon that subject we will express no opinion. Should an appropriation be made we shall, unless otherwise directed, use it upon the south centre section of the building, which contains the Senate Chamber, the Governor's Room and offices designed for the Adjutant General.
DISCUSSING THE PLANS.
The plans and designs for the finished portion of the new Capitol were presented to the Legislature at the session of 1876 and at every subsequent session. It has since that date always been possible for anyone wishing to know what the Commissioners proposed to do to obtain full information by calling at the superintendent's office. The detailed plans and designs for the work this year, should an appropriation be made, will soon be in readiness for inspection. The expenditures made by the Commissioners have been regularly reported each mouth, with vouchers for the same, to the Comptroller for his audit. The resolution of the Assembly above referred to asks the commission for an estimate of the cost of administering the new Capitol after the same shall be completed. We were unable, at that time, to give the information asked for, but we have since given this subject careful attention and have ascertained the cost of administration in cases of other public buildings of similar dimensions. There is doubtless great danger of waste and extravagance in this direction.
PROBABLE COST OF ADMINISTRATION.
The expenditures of the Capitol at Washington amount, as we are informed, to about $300,000 per annum. We are of opinion, however, that the new Capitol may be cleaned, lighted, warmed, and in all respects, properly cared for for a moderate sum but to accomplish this it is, in our opinion, necessary that its administration should be kept free from partisan influence. To that end a force of forty-three men has been organized to serve during the session of the Legislature, who will take care of the machinery, attend the fires, run the elevators and do all the work of cleaning the building, and also perform all police duty. The appointments to this force have been equally divided between the political parties and it is proposed that the men shall serve during good behavior. We believe that upon a system like this the cost of maintaining the new Capitol, when the same shall be completed, may be brought within $75,000 a year and our estimates for maintenance during the year 1879 is $25,000. It will be remembered by the Legislature that the duties of the Commissioners of the New Capitol have been imposed upon us by the offices which we hold, and that they are incongruous with the ordinary requirements of our positions. We have endeavored to perform this onerous and unusual task to the advantage of the people of the State, and we invite an inquiry by the Legislature in to our official conduct, both as respects the economy and wisdom of our administration.
WILLIAM DORSHEIMER, Lieut. Governor.
A. SCHOONMAKER, Attorney General.
GEORGE W. SCHUYLER, Auditor.
January 24, 1879, New York Times, COST OF THE NEW CAPITOL.
THE COMMISSIONERS' REPORT OF THE PROGRESS OF THE WORK—THEY THINK THE STRUCTURE CAN BE COMPLETED FOR $4,200,000.
Albany, Jan. 23.—The New Capitol Commissioners have submitted to the Legislature their report of the work of the past year. Its main points are as follows:
They report that they have expended during 1878 the sum of $1,026,463 72, and that there was on hand the sum of $21,272.86, being the unexpended balance of the appropriation made by the act of May 13, 1876. There is now due and unpaid and to become due upon contracts $340,910 14. During the year 1878 the north centre section of the new Capitol has been finished and furnished. The Assembly Chamber, with its appurtenances, has been made ready for the Assembly. The room designed for the Court of Appeals has been prepared for the use of the Senate, and several adjoining apartments have been fitted up for the officers of that body. Four rooms have been furnished and set apart for the Governor, and about 30 minor apartments have been prepared for committee-rooms and other purposes. The walls of the south centre section, and those upon the court have been raised to the roof line. A sidewalk has been built along the north side of the building, the street In front thereof has been repaved, and three crosswalks-have been laid across Washington avenue. One-half of the basement of the whole building has been finished. All the exterior drains have been completed, and pipe laid a distance of half a mile, giving the building an independent water supply.
"On the 18th day of January, 1878," the report continues, "in answer to the resolution of the Assembly, the New Capitol Commissioners transmitted an estimate of the cost of the completion of the new Capitol made by the Superintendent and the architects, by whom It was stated that the building could be built and furnished for the sum of $5,198,622. Since the said estimate was made, a large portion of the new Capitol has actually been finished and furnished, and we are therefore, able to test the accuracy of our estimate by the result of last year. The finished portion is about one-quarter of the area of the whole building, but it is considered that it contains two of the three great rooms, one of the three staircases, one-half of the heating apparatus, five of the seven elevators, one-third of the furniture, one-half of the entire water supply, the whole exterior drainage, and that one-half of the basement has been finished ; also, the walls of the court and the south-centre section have been built up to the roof line. It is clear that the work done last year bears a larger proportion than one-fourth to the work estimated upon in 1878, One-quarter of the estimate last year is $I,299,666 25. The work actually done and the materials actually purchased have cost $1,294,227 92. Therefore, if we are correct in supposing that one-quarter of the work estimated for last year has been completed.
It is clear that we are quite within our estimate. After carefully considering the subject, and In view of last year's experience, we renew our statement of January, 1878, and say that for the sum of $4,200,000 additional appropriation all existing liabilities may be paid and the new Capitol finished and furnished. The Commissioners have reason to believe that the building can be contracted for within the said sum, to be completed in two years from the date of contract.
"The resolution of the Assembly above referred to asks the commission for an estimate of the cost of administering the new Capitol after the same shall be completed. There is doubtless great danger of waste and extravagance in this direction. The expenditures of the Capitol at Washington amount, as we are informed, to about $300,000 per annum. We are of opinion, however, that the new Capitol may be cleaned, lighted, warmed, and in all respects properly cared for a moderate sum ; but to accomplish this it is, in our opinion, necessary that its administration should be kept free from partisan influence To that end a force of 43 men has been organized to serve during the session of the Legislature, who will take care of the machinery, attend the fires, run the elevators, and do all the work of cleaning the building, and also perform all police duty. The appointments to this force have been equally divided between the political parties, and it is proposed that the men shall serve during good behavior. We believe that upon a system like this the cost of maintaining the new Capitol, when the same shall be completed, may be brought within $75,0O0 a year, and our estimate for maintenance during the year 1879 is $25,000.”
January 24, 1879, Syracuse Daily Standard,
The Report, of the New Capitol Commissioners.
January 24, 1879, New York Herald, Page 8, Column 1,
THE STATE CAPITAL,
The report of the New Capitol Commissioners, as given below, was read. It recites a great many things already known to the public, besides some things they don't care to know at all. The most striking passage in the report is one which states that by an expenditure of $4,200,000 the edifice can be completed and furnished in two years. Senator Harris asked for a temporary appropriation of $500,000 to carry on the work until spring, when a regular appropriation would be in order. The matter was referred to the Finance Committee. Then Mr. Harris got up on his feet and dilated upon the propriety of holding some sort of formal and official celebration of the occupation of the new building. His remarks were almost a repetition of those he made under similar circumstances a week ago. No action was taken.
Jan. 25, 1879, Syracuse Daily Courier,
THE NEW CAPITOL.
Some of the items of expenditures for the new Capitol are "mighty interesting reading." Those two ungainly mystical pictures painted by Hunt cost the State $15,000, which is at least $14,000 more than they are worth. The fine elevators will cost, when completed, $23,800; the Assembly Chamber furniture cost $14,786. The oak book cases for the committee rooms cost $329 each; the single item of curtains cost $5,400 ; the total cost of decorating in color was $15,948.88; two clocks cost $550; one rug $890; in the corridor of the Court of Appeals room are placed flower plants which cost $450. The cylindrical writing desks cost $175 each; the sofas $115 each; the large chairs $59 each. In the Governor's room the furniture items are: One chair, $95; table, $82; secretary's desk, $197; wardrobe. $295; desk, $107; wardrobe, $225; desk, $68.00; bill closet, $289; book case with plate, $844.50. There are twenty-four towel racks for committee rooms at $9.50 each. The cost of each of the chandeliers was as follows : Seven-light, $105 ; twelve-light, $150; four-light, $95; three-light, $37.50; eight-light, $125; twenty-four light standards each, $250.
Jan. 25, 1879, Syracuse Daily Courier,
THE NEW CAPITOL.
The New Capitol Commissioners report that they "expended during the past year $1,020,469.72, and that there was on hand, on the first day of January, $21,272.96. The amount due on the work of getting the Assembly and Senate quarters ready for occupancy is $840,910.14." As to what it will probably cost to complete the building, and the time it will take, the commissioners say:
The finished portion is about one-quarter of the area of the whole building; but when it is considered that it contains two of the three great rooms, one of the three staircases, one-half of the heating apparatus, five of the seven elevators, one third of the furniture, one-half of the plumbing, the entire water supply, the whole exterior drainage, and that one-half of the basement has been finished; also, that the walls of the court and the south centre section have been built up to the roof line, it is clear that the work done last year bears a larger proportion than one-fourth to the work estimated upon in 1878.
One-quarter of the estimate of last year is one million two hundred and ninety-nine thousand six hundred and sixty-six dollars and twenty-five cents. The work actually done, and the materials actually purchased, have cost $l,294,227.94, therefore, if we are correct in supposing that one-quarter of the work estimated for last year, has been completed, it is clear that we are quite within our estimate. After carefully considering the subject, and in view of last years’ experience, we renew our statement of January, 1878, and say that for the sum of $4,200,000 additional appropriation all existing liabilities may be paid and the new Capitol finished and furnished.
The Commissioners have reason to believe that the building can be contracted for within the said sum, to be completed in two years from the date of contract.
It is for the legislature to determine whether the construction of the New Capitol shall be carried forward during this year, and upon that subject we’ve express no opinion. Should an appropriation be made, we shall unless otherwise directed, use it upon the south centre section of the building, which contains the Senate Chamber, the Governor's room, and the office designed for the Adjutant-General.
As to the cost of "running" the Capitol after the same shall have been completed, the commissioners say:
"There is, doubtless, great danger of waste and extravagance in this direction; the expenditures of the Capitol at Washington amount, as we are told, to about three hundred thousand dollars per annum. We are of opinion, however, that the new Capitol may be cleaned, lighted, warmed, and in all respects properly cared for, for a moderate sum. But to accomplish this it is in our opinion necessary that its administration should be kept free from partisan influence. To that end, a force of forty-three men has been organized to serve during the mission of the Legislature, who take care of the machinery, attend the fires, run the elevators, and do all the work of cleaning the building and also perform all police duty. All appointments to this force have been equally divided between the political parties, and it is proposed that the men shall serve during good behavior.
"We believe that upon a system like this the cost of maintaining the New Capitol, when the same shall be completed, may be brought within seventy-five thousand dollars a year, and our ultimate for maintenance during the year 1879 is twenty-five thousand dollars."
If it costs $300,000 a year to administer the capitol at Washington, we fear the commissioners are far out of the way when they estimate that $75,000 a year will answer for the equally huge pile at Albany.
Senator Harris, the pater-familius of the "magnificent temple in which we are assembled," has introduced a bill appropriating $500,000 with which to pay outstanding debts against the new Capitol and to carry on the work. Of course another half million will be asked for before the session is over. Senator Harris had the audacity to tell the Senate the other day, that "there was nothing to complain of in the way of expenditures or taxation for the purpose of this building, for the past few years;" that "the people of the State have not paid one dollar of tax for the past few years, for the new Capitol;" that "the money used has all been taken from unexpended balances." Senator Jacobs very properly reminded the Albany Senator that the money necessarily came out of the people's pockets, whether directly or indirectly. It was easy enough to have large unexpended balances, when, as had been done, $1,300,000 was raised, when only $1,000,000 had been appropriated. Senator Jacobs then referred to the session laws, showing that a tax had been levied for the purposes of the new Capitol every year for several years past, except last year. The coolness of Senator Harris' assumption would chill even an Arctic iceberg.
The new Capitol is a creature of false pretenses. The State was persuaded to embark in the enterprise only after a solemn assurance that its cost would be within $4,000,000. The experts who were hired to make these false estimates undoubtedly knew them to be false, as did their employers. The foundation was laid for a $30,000,000 building instead of the estimate given the legislature. But the fatal wedge had entered the treasury, and succeeding legislatures, deluded by other fallacious estimates, were persuaded that after having spent so much it would never do to turn back and sacrifice what had already been expended. And so each successive legislature whispering it would ne'er consent, consented.
Each legislature grumbled and groaned, and then voted its appropriation, thus it has run on for a decade. And thus it will run on for a decade more. Years ago we set the boundary of cost at $20,000,000, and, notwithstanding rose-colored reports from the commissioners, we do not budge one inch from the stake we then set. Indeed, we are more and more convinced that that boundary line will eventually be reached, if not passed.
February 1, 1879, New York Times,
WHAT THE SENATE FINDS TO DO.
ONE 0F THE POSSIBILITIES OF POLITICS--DISCUSSING THE NEW CAPITOL APPROPRIATION—NEW BILLS INTRODUCED.
ALBANY, Jan. 31.—In the absence of Lieut.-Gov. Dorsheimer, and Senator Robinson, President pro tem., both of whom are out of the State, Senator Jacobs was chosen to preside over the Senate to-day, and a ripple of excitement was created by the discovery of some speculation upon the possibilities of politics that, in case of the sudden death of Lucius Robinson, Mr. Jacobs would become, for a time, the acting Governor of the State. Jacobs was not unduly excited when reminded of his close proximity to Gubernatorial honors, but it was noticed that the handled the gavel with rather more than his wonted dignity and emphasis.
There was not much for the Senate to do, and the session lasted little over an hour. The only subject discussed was the bill making a temporary appropriation of $500,000 for the new Capitol, to keep the work going through the present Winter and Spring, and to pay liabilities, amounting to $340,000, incurred by the Capitol Commissioners over and beyond the amount appropriated last year. Some difference of opinion exists among the lawyers of the Judiciary Committee at to the constitutionality of the action of the commission in incurring this liability, and it is suggested that Gov. Robinson, who watches every opportunity to get in a dig at the new Capitol, may veto the bill, on the ground that the commission exceeded its constitutional power by creating a debt against the State. This question was elaborately argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Attorney-General Schoonmaker, who is a member of the Capitol Commission, and who succeeded in convincing a majority of the committee that the action of the Commissioners was entirely legal and constitutional. But Mr. Schoonmaker, like most of the Capitol Commissioners, all of whom are Democrats, does not happen to been enthusiastic admirer of the Robinson-Tilden faction of the Democracy, and this, doubtless, furnishes an additional reason why the Governor would chuckle over an opportunity to crush them with a veto.
The Republican Senators take no particular interest in the personal bearings of this quarrel among Democratic officers, but they all agree with Attorney-General Schoonmaker that the Capitol Commissioners, in exceeding the appropriation, have not violated any provisions of the Constitution. The Commissioners have a very valid excuse for their conduct, if any excuse is necessary, which is that they were directed by a law of the last Legislature so far to complete the new Capitol as to fit it for the occupation of both branches of the Legislature by the 1st of January, 1879, and that, in carrying out this order, it became indispensable to exceed the appropriation. In the discussion of the bill to-day, Senators Hughes, and Ecclesine expressed their disagreement with the Attorney General on the constitutional question, and they insisted upon an amendment of the title of the bill so that it should clearly indicate that a portion of the $500,000 was to go to the payment of back debts. No one objected to such an amendment, and, having thus furnished the Governor a peg on which to hang his veto, both Hughes and Ecclesine voted for the bill, and it passed unanimously.
February 5, 1879, New York Times,
STATE LEGISLATORS BUSY. YESTERDAY'S WORK IN BOTH HOUSES MR. GRADY'S DEFENSE OF THE GOVERNOR'S INSURANCE SUGGESTIONS—RAPID TRANSIT IN BROOKLYN — PUBLISHING SESSION LAWS — TARE ON COTTON — OBJECTORS TO THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE.
February 13, 1879, New York Times, Page 2, Column 1,
NO IDLENESS AT ALBANY., DEFENDING AND ATTACKING THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.
SENATOR AINES DIPPING IN ANCIENT HISTORY — SENATOR JACOBS' SPEECH ANALYZED— A BILL TO PUNISH DISHONEST PARTNERS.
February 13, 1879, The Sun, Column 4,
HINTS FOR HUSTED AND HARRIS.
The Valuable Contributions they Might Have Made to the History of the Old Capitol.
ALBANY, Feb. 12.—"It is well to be off with the old love before you are on with the new," says the old song, and so, it is plain, thought the Hon. Hamilton Harris and his confreres in the movement for a grand memorial leave-taking of the old Capitol building, which was celebrated this evening.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, there was no one assigned to speak for that other branch of the Legislature, the lobby, which has borne so conspicuous a part in the legislation of the State. From the day of its organisation by Thurlow Weed down through the reigns of the Albany Regency, the Canal and Railroad Rings, the Tweed Ring, the Insurance Ring, and the various other Rings and cliques, this body has ruled almost supreme in the control of legislation upon questions in which it was interested.
Of the history and workings of the lobby from the days of Thurlow Weed down to those of A. D. Barber and E. R. Phelps, there is not probably in the entire State a man better qualified to give a full history than the Hon. Hamilton Harris. In all these years he has been a resident of Albany, much of the time holding positions of public trust in some way connected with the Legislature and the old building, and always taking an active part and interest in public affairs. What a master stroke it would have been for him to have told upon this occasion what he knows about the lobby and its influence! But it would unquestionably take too much time and space should Mr. Harris attempt to crowd all he knows about the Albany lobby into one address, and no doubt he would have filled the bill if he had confined himself for this occasion to the one great work of the lobby with which he has been himself the most conspicuously identified, and the triumph of which has called for these grand commemorative services, and that is the scheme for the erection of a new Capitol at Albany so costly that the people would not in future years consent to its abandonment and the removal of the seat of government to a more convenient and appropriate place. He could have told how many years ago there began to be whisperings that New York City was the proper place for the State Capital, and how the property holders and politicians at Albany became alarmed [at the] threat. How a bill providing for the building of a new Capitol was hastily drawn and rushed through the Senate and how it suddenly stopped short in its passage through the Assembly when upon its third reading, where it was killed and laid upon the table. Then he could have recalled the gathering in hot haste of a few of the solid men of Albany and the politicians in the office of a well-known banker, and how the situation was canvassed until it was determined that something must be done and the necessary amount to do it with was raised.
Then he might have narrated how a well known journalist, who has since gone from Albany, and is now printing a newspaper in New York and advocating Grant for a third term, was sent for to give an estimate as to how much he thought it would cost to take the dead bill off the table, overcome the objections, and pass it; and how the figures of this gentleman were so high that they frightened the solid men until they decided to take a day or two more for consideration. Then he might have explained how providentially the Lobby King, A. D. Barber, was called in and consulted with by the lamented Peter Cagger, and how Barber said that the bill could be revived and passed for as many thousands as he had fingers on his left hand; how gladly his offer was closed with, and how in less than forty-eight hours afterward, the bill was restored, passed, and sent to the Governor.
Then Mr. Harris might have given an interesting review of the progress of the building under the various boards and commissions, down to too grand opening of about one-fourth of it this winter, at a cost to the taxpayers, thus far, of about $10,000,000, with the assurance that it will cost about as much more to complete it; and perhaps he might have explained how all this was done, when the original act limited the cost to $4,000,000.
Then, too, it would have been very interesting to hear Senator Hamilton Harris's explanation or why Capitol Commissioner Hamilton Harris resigned while an investigation of his official conduct was pending. No doubt it would have proved that he was all right; but the dear people have not been set thoroughly straight upon that question, and this would have been a fine opportunity for Mr. Harris to do both them and himself justice, and to send tho record down to posterity.
Gen. Husted, in his lively way, might also have contributed much information about the new Capitol, especially the cost of the brick and some other materials. His narration would have been both new and interesting. But the General's strong point would have been in showing how the Railroad and Insurance Rings have controlled and shaped legislation in their interests, despite all he could do, and in pointing out to coming statesmen the danger of identifying themselves too closely with the interests of large moneyed corporations. How well he could have done this is proved by his speech renominating Rosco Conkling.
I am sure that by following these suggestions Mr. Harris and Mr. Husted would not only have added greatly to the interest in the commemorative service, but would have done acts of great justice to coming generations of statesmen by preserving the records of how the third house for nearly half a century shaped nearly all the important legislation of the State.
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.
February 20, 1879, New York Times, Page 8, Column 1,
APPORTIONMENT DISCUSSED IN THE ASSEMBLY; IN THE SENATE:
RELIEVING REPUBLICAN'S FROM UNJUST CHARGES IN THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.
February 21, 1879, Oswego Morning Herald,
THE CAPITOL APPROPRIATION BILL.
March 5, 1879, The Sun,
Page 3, Column 3,
The time in which the Governor had to act on the bill appropriating money to pay the debt of $340,000 contracted by the New Capitol Commissioners, in excess of no appropriation of last year, expires to-night. It is well understood here that he is satisfied in his own mind that the Commissioners had no authority to create this debt; but in this view the Attorney-General, who is his legal adviser, does not accord with him. The fact that that official is one of the Capitol Commissioners, and is in part responsible for the creation of this debt, may have something to do with shaping his construction of the Constitution upon this question. On Thursday last, upon the invitation of the Governor, the Capitol Commissioners and the Judiciary Committee of the Senate met in the Executive Chamber to consider this subject. The Governor called their attention to sections ten, eleven, and twelve of the seventh article of the Constitution, and desired to know how, in the face of these provisions, they could justify the creation of this debt. Section ten provides that the State may, to meet casual deficiencies or failures in revenues, or for expenses not provided for, contract debts not to exceed $1,000,000. Section eleven provides that debts may also be contracted to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or defend the State in war. Section twelve absolutely prohibits the contracting of any debt by the State for any other purpose except as so explained in sections ten and eleven, unless the proposal to create the debt shall have first been submitted to a vote of the people and have received a majority of all the votes cast. On behalf of the Commissioners, it was argued that the provision in the tenth section, authorizing the creation of a debt "to meet casual deficits," covered this case and gave them power to create this debt, and or the authority given by the last Legislature to the Commissioners to continue work on the building, so that the Legislature could meet on it this winter. On this the Governor took issue with the lawyers of the Senate and the Commissioners, and the conference broke up without any definite conclusion having been arrived at.
March 6, 1879, The Sun,
The bill appropriating $500,000 for the new Capitol became a law last night without the signature of the Governor, by the expiration of the ten days which he is allowed to consider bills reaching him while the Legislature is in session. Of this sum $340,000 is to pay for debts contracted in excess of last year’s appropriations by the Capitol Commissioners. The Governor filed to-day in the office of the Secretary of State his reasons for not signing the bill, and his protest against further legislation of this character. He says that the debt incurred by the Commissioners is, in his opinion, in conflict with the Constitution. The Attorney-General and a majority of the Capitol Commissioners, however, disagree with him on this point, and in deference to their opinion he neither signs nor vetoes the bill.
March 26, 1879, The Sun,
Page 1, Column 5,
Over a month ago THE SUN printed an interview with Lieut.-Gov. Dorsheimer relative to the new Capitol, in which that official said that responsible persons stood ready to contract to complete the building for a reasonable sum. Subsequently Gov. Robinson expressed himself as decidedly in favor of such a plan, believing that those people would be glad to get rid of this white elephant, it they could only know just what it was going to cost and when it would be done. The views of the Governor were also printed in THE SUN. Senator Jones this morning introduced a bill to carry out this scheme for the completion of the building. It appropriates $3,500,000 for such completion by the first day of January, 1882, in accordance with the present plans. The work is to be contracted for, the contractors to deposit with the Comptroller of the State $500,000 as security for faithful performance. Before the contract is let it must be approved by the Governor and the Capitol Commissioners. One-half the money is to be appropriated this year and the rest next year. This plan is certain to meet with the opposition of Harris and the Albany Ring, who for years have used this work as a political machine to control elections. This is the meaning of Harris's bill. Introduced last night to have the work carried on by taxing the corporations of the State. Should this latter scheme carry, it will take at least ten or fifteen years longer to finish the building, and In the meantime Harris and his friends, as long as they are in power, will control the patronage. By a judicious distribution of this patronage among Senators, it is said, he has been able to control their votes in the past and he may be able in that way to prevent the passage of Mr. Jones's bill, which would take all patronage from his hands.
October 28, 1879, The Sun, Page 1, Column 3,
THE HON. JOHN M'KEON's SPEECH
For three years we have had a strong hand on the reins of government in Abany. This administration was highly commended by a resolution passed in the Syracuse Convention before dissension was created there. The head and spirit of this administration, Lucius Robinson, [tremendous applause.] is certainly as intelligent and farseeing a man as ever sat in the gubernatorial chair. [Applause.] Of him it has been truly said, "He is a man who is not to be intimidated nor cajoled." [Cheers] From what I know of his character, I declare my opinion that he is more like the heroic Andrew Jackson than any other prominent Democrat now before the people [Cheers.] Take his action in regard to the new Capitol at Albany, if you please, as a clear exponent of his character. When I approached this structure recently, I saw before me not a lofty, simple, impressive building, suitable to the true American spirit, but a barbarous Moorish castle. Within red and gold tints prevail. A single showy staircase in this garish pile cost $500,000! In the Senate Chamber I saw an allegorical picture--a woman floating in a chariot, drawn by fiery horses. I understood that this cost $15,000. I could not comprehend the design. I tried to lug out of the lumber room of my memory school day mythology to set me right but I could not. Then I concluded that the picture must be intended to illustrate Byron's "Mazeppa." [Laughter.] But then I altered my mind. I could not tell where the design of this picture was drawn from until I looked up at the chandeliers of the Delavan House, loaded with prancing steeds [Laughter.] Gov. Robinson set his face against all of this un-American flummery. [Applause.] He remonstrated that the people of the State of New York needed every dollar that they could command for food, rather than the so-called development of American art as represented in the Capitol. [Cheers.]