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Address of the Republican Members of the New York Legislature, c14 April 1820


The Republican Members of the Legislature of the State of New-York, to their Constituents.

Fellow Citizens,

Your Representatives, feeling with you a common interest in the public welfare, and firmly believing that the future peace and prosperity of the state, essentially depend on the result of the ensuing election, take the liberty, before their separation, to make a second appeal to you, on that interesting subject.

In our communication to you, of the 22d of February last, speaking of the controversy which existed between the Comptroller and Governor Tompkins, we expressed to you our strong conviction that "a settlement of his accounts would speedily be effected on terms of equity and justiceunless the same was prevented by the unjust opposition and persecution of his enemies." Subsequent events compel us to state to you, that the desired adjustment has not been effected; that with the powers that be it cannot be effected, and truth and duty constrain us to declare, fearlessly and unequivocally to declare, that the prevention of a settlement of all his accounts with the state, is attributable to "the unjust opposition and persecution of his enemies," and to no other cause.

The times require brevity. To satisfy you of the undeniable truth and perfect justice of this assertion, we have only to ask you to read the bill which has recently passed the Assembly, directing the comptroller to prosecute the late Governor for the claims he has made against him, to compare it with what has been written, and to contrast it with what has been said upon this subject, by his unrelenting enemies, for the last two years. To remind you how often it has been published and alledged by them, that they were always willing to abandon the claim which the comptroller, in the name of the state, has made upon him, and that their only objection was to pay him a large balance out of the treasury, which they did insist, and would, against his own repeated and unequivocal disavowals, continue to insist, that he claimed—To state to you, that on the consideration before the Assembly, of the bill from the Senate for the final settlement of these matters, the friends of Governor Tompkins, to prevent all misunderstanding, to remove all pretended difficulties, to present the views of its adversaries naked to the public, and to put the sincerity of all that had been said and written upon the subject, to the simplest test, availed themselves of the permission given by the late governor, in his letter to the committee of the Senate, and consented to strike out the balance of $11,000, allowed by the bill, and to take the sense of that body, on the simple question of mutual releases. On this question the vote was taken, and the bill for his relief rejected by that honourable body, and a lawarming the Comptroller with new powers to harass the late Governor, passed in its stead.

Thus, by a series of measures, commenced last April, and continued from that moment to the present, with an appetite keen as death, and a perseverance relentless as the grave, has the settlement of this unpleasant business been protracted and finally defeated: and thus has a controversy between the state and a citizen, whose devotion to its interest, and whose sacrifices in its cause, are without precedent; a controversy gathering new animosities and increased irritation in its progress, been kept on foot, as we hesitate not to say, in opposition to the wishes of a vast majority of the people.

Fellow Citizens—We know you too well,—we have too often seen the proofs of your intelligence and good sense, to apprehend for a moment that you will be insensible to the motives which led to this course. We look, therefore, with entire confidence to your concurrence in our opinion, that the fact that Daniel D. Tompkins has been presented as a candidate for your favour, has been the moving and controlling consideration, with some at least of the most conspicuous actors in those scenes. That it was to enable our opponents to continue their efforts to alarm the good people of this state for the safety of the treasury—to repeat again and again the oft refuted falsehood, that the late Governor wishes or expects to receive large sums from the public, and to stifle the dictates of their hearts with appeals to their avarice; to array the basest against the noblest feelings of their nature; to put an end to to these labours of detraction, or if that is impracticable, to make them recoil on the heads of their authors, the late Governor, with the approbation of his friends, has executed the offer he voluntarily made to the Senate, by releasing forever, and in due form, all claim under the act of the last session, over and above the demand of the state against him, in the following words:

"Whereas in and by an act of the Legislature of the State of New-York, entitled "an act for the final settlement of the accounts of the late Governor of this state," passed the 13th April, 1819, it is provided, that certain allowances be made to Daniel D. Tompkins, on the current monies borrowed and obtained by him, and by him expended and disbursed in the public service: And also, that the treasurer of this state do pay, on the warrant of the comptroller, the balance, if there should be any found, due to the said Daniel D. Tompkins, late Governor, as aforesaid, on the final settlement of his accounts:

"Now, know all men by these presents, that for the purpose of removing all doubts as to the construction of the law, and in consideration of one dollar, the said Daniel D. Tompkins hath remised, released, and for ever quit-claimed, and by these presents doth remise and release, and forever quit-claim, unto the said state of New-York, and to the good people thereof, all balance, claim, demand and sums or sums of money, due, owing and belonging to the said Daniel D. Tompkins, under and pursuant to said act, over and above the claims and demands of the said state against him the said Daniel D. Tompkins.

"In witness whereof, the said Daniel D. Tompkins hath hereunto set his hand and seal the sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord 1820.


Sealed and delivered in the presence of 

Walter Bowne,

Isaac Q. Leake.

I hereby certify, that I, this day, as the attorney and counsel of Daniel D. Tompkins, late Governor of the state of New-York, tendered the annexed release to Archibald M'Intyre, Comptroller of the said state, and required from him as Comptroller, a correspondent release or discharge to the said Daniel D. Tompkins, which the said Archibald M'Intyre refused to give. Albany, 13th April, 1820.


State of New-York,

Secretary's Office.

I certify the preceding to be true copies of a release and certificate thereunto annexed, this day deposited in this office, by John V. Henry, Esquire, a counsel of Daniel D. Tompkins, Esquire.

J. V. N. YATES, Secretary.

Albany, April 13, 1820.

If he had aught of candour or of liberality to expect from his inveterate foes, we would hope, that by this magnanimous act, their mouths would be shut upon the subject at least—but in view of what has been, we cannot hope that such will be the case;—it is perhaps more probable that it will be made the subject of new calumnies—but let them rail on—the matter is referred to you, and in that conviction we feel safe.

It remains but for us, and justice to you and the injuried citizen of whom we are speaking demands, THAT WE SHOULD EXPRESS TO YOU OUR SOLEMN AND DECIDED CONVICTION, THAT DANIEL D. TOMPKINS HAS HONESTLY AND FAITHFULLY EXPENDED, IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE, ALL THE MONIES WITH WHICH HE HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED BY THE STATE—that his inability to render complete accounts therefor, is attributable to the causes he has assigned; and that in regard to these matters he has been vilely traduced and cruelly persecuted.

That persecution, Fellow Citizens, has not been confined to the subject of his accounts; his reputation has been most basely and vindictively assailed, and men who have sedulously sounded his praises for all the virtues which adorn the human character, are stigmatizing and calumniating him on every occasion. One of these charges alone we shall consider worthy of serious refutation—and this flagitious slander, in itself as contemptible, would be as harmless as the rest, were not men high in office, asserting it with the utmost confidence, and circulating it with the utmost avidity.

We allude to the declaration that he is the advocate of slavery. The hardihood of this falsehood is truly astonishing, and we need only remind you, that by special message to the Legislature, in 1817, page 126 of the journals, he recommended its total abolition in the following words: "I will now take the liberty of submitting to the Legislature, whether the dictates of humanity, the reputation of the state, and a just sense of gratitude to the Almighty, for the many favours he has conferred on us as a nation, do not demand that the reproach of slavery be expunged from our statute books." A law was passed upon this recommendation, taking effect in July, 1827. 

On this subject, as on every other connected with the rights of the people, and the soundest republican doctrines, Governor Tompkins is unaltered and unalterable—and he is the same ardent and zealously devoted servant of the state that has been so often presented to your suffrages.

Fellow Citizens—It remains for you to say, whether a citizen, whom most of you know, whose simplicity of manners, whose goodness of heart, and whose integrity of character you have all witnessed—whether a citizen who has sacrificed his property, his constitution, and even his happiness, in the public cause: whose noble efforts to save your country, at the moment of her utmost peril, excited the applause and admiration of the union—whether a citizen, possessing such imperious claims on your respect, your gratitude and your favour, shall be sacrificed at the shrine of "unchastened ambition."

You see before you, fellow citizens, one of the most unjust and unnatural revolutions that history records—You see the men who bore the brunt of the contest, during the late war; who yielded, and were ready to yield every thing for their country, by new and unprincipled combinations, subjected to the misrule and proscription of men who, in those eventful days, were found speculating on the distresses of the people, and increasing the public discontent by their unmanly lamentations over the days of departed prosperity. It is for you to say, how long this disgraceful state of things shall endure,—how long your patience shall continue to be abused by political coalitions, whose profligacies baffle all description—how long the repose of this great and powerful state shall remain disturbed, and its honour tarnished.—If you are content that such things should be, your will is law:—but if not, if the spirit which actuated your fathers has not deserted you, rise in the majesty of your strength, and the political doom of those who have abused your favour and rioted on your forbearance, will be soon and irreversibly fixed—Your character will be rescued from reproach, your state from degradation, and the days of your former greatness restored.

Moses Austin, Christian Haverley,
Stephen Barnum, James Hawks,
Walter Bowne, Cornelius Heeney,
Perry G. Childs, Nathaniel P. Hill,
Jonathan Dayton, Thomas Humphrey,
John D. Ditmis, Robert R. Hunter,
Charles E. Dudley, John T. Irving
David E. Evans, Gideon T. Jenkins,
John Knox, Charles H. Havens.
Peter R. Livingston, David Knapp,
William Mallory, Calvin M'Knight,
John T. More, Abraham Miller,
John Noyes, Abraham Moe,
Roger Skinner, Reueben Munson,
Peter Swart, William Nelson,
John Townsend, Abraham Parsons,
Isaac Wilson, Chester Patterson,
Henry Yates, Jun John Price.
Samuel Young, Samuel B. Romaine,
Martin Van Buren, Erastus Root,
Thomas Armstrong, Peter Pine,
Samuel Campbell, Robert S. Rose,
Ebenezer W. Case, Teunis Schenk,
Clarkson Crolius, Henry Seymour,
Jonathan Delano, Jun. Peter Sharpe,
Joseph Deyo, Lewis Smith,
Henry I. Deiffendorf, Samuel A. Smith,
Jacob Drake, Jacob Snyder,
Jonas Earl, Jun. Hiram Steele,
Henry Field, Selah Tuthill,
James Finch, Jun. Michael Ulshoeffer,
John L. Francisco, Abraham Vail,
Byram Green, Samuel G. Verbryck,
James Guion, Matthew Warner
Richard Hatfield, Samuel Watkins.
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Source: New-York (NY) American
Collection: N/A
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)