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MVB, Report on the petition of the trustees of the Hamilton and Lebanon manufacturing society, 30 March 1815

The attorney-general, to whom was referred the petition of the trustees of the Hamilton and Lebanon manufacturing society, reported—

That the prayer of the petitioners is, that the Legislature shall by law divest Horton Corwin and Lambert Wickwin, of their title to about twenty acres of land, in the town of Lebanon, in the county of Chenango, which are overflowed in consequence of a dam erected by the petitioners, across the middle branch of the Chenango river; on the petitioners paying the value thereof.

That the only reason alledged to induce the interference prayed for is, that they did not expect that the lands in question, would be overflown by the erection of the dam; and that the owners will not settle with them on equitable terms.

Without considering how far it would be competent, for the Legislature to divest a citizen of his private property, to promote the interest of individuals, when the promotion of that interest is not directly and necessarily connected with that of the public, the attorney-general respectfully suggests, that should the honorable the Legislature consider themselves vested with that right, it is certainly one which ought to be exercised with the utmost delicacy and caution; and that no circumstances have been presented to him, in the present case, which would, in his judgment, render the interference prayed for proper.

M. VAN BUREN, Att'y Gen.

March 30, 1815.

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Source: Journal of the Senate of the State of New York
Collection: N/A
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)