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MVB, Motion and remarks on senate districts, 29 October 1821

Mr. Van Buren moved to amend the first section, by striking out Ulster and Sullivan from the second senatorial district, and Columbia from the third, and to transpose these counties.

Mr. V. B. remarked that with regard to contiguity of territory, it would be found that the south-east part of Westchester was nearly if not quite as remote from the extreme of Sullivan, as the latter county would be from Rensselaer. It was also desirable to form the districts in such manner as to divide them as far as is practicable by the Hudson's river, where the counties lay near to it. The difficulty of crossing, especially late in the fall, when our elections are hereafter to be held, must be obvious. By the proposed arrangement, all the third district will lie on the west side of the river, except Rensselaer, which can be approached at all seasons. It would also be more contiguous in regard to communication than the district proposed by the committee. The facilities afforded by the river for commercial and political intercourse, were such, that the extremes proposed by this arrangement would be nearer for all practical purposes, than to retain the form which the committee have proposed—for what earthly connexion, he would ask, was there between the counties of Sullivan and Westchester?

The conveniences of communication, therefore, were altogether in favour of the amendment he had proposed. But were they balanced, there was another consideration that must turn the scale in its favour. He alluded to the population, which, by reference to the tables, as exhibited in the report of the committee, it would be seen, would be essentially equalized by the arrangement he had proposed. It was a matter of general wish and of common right, that the same degree of efficiency should be given to the votes of electors of one district, as in another, and this could only be attained by securing the greatest practicable equality in the respective districts.

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Source: Nathaniel Carter and William L. Stone, Reports of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1821, Assembled for the Purpose of Amending the Constitution of the State of New-York: Containing All the Official Documents . . . (1821)
Collection: N/A
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)