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Vice President—Duane Richardson, Schuyler.
Secretary—Wm. Dygert, Frankfort.
Treasurer—J. A. Rasbach, Ilion.
Resolved, That an executive committee of nine persons be appointed, whereupon the following gentlemen were chosen: Daniel Mason, Frankfort; James Folts, Frankfort; Geo. W. Joslin, Frankfort; Ezra Graves, Herkimer; Samuel H. Kinney, Litchfield; Wm. P. Pryme, Schuyler; J. D. Ingersoll, Ilion; Lemuel F. Hawks, Columbia; Amos Gilbert.
Resolved, That a corresponding secretary be appointed, from each town in the county.
The following gentlemen were then chosen: Conrad Oxner, Columbia; Ralph Simms, Danube; L. B. Arnold, Fairfield; Amos Mann, Frankfort; E. W. Patridge, German Flats; Samuel Earl, Herkimer; Jeremiah Kinney, Jr., Litchfield; Josiah Davis, Little Falls; John Markell, Manheim; Seth Fenner, Newport; Benjamin Hurd, Norway; Wm. Coppernoll, Ohio; Stephen Pryme, Russia; Lorenzo Carryl, Salisbury; Amos Bridenbecker, Schuyler; Daniel Hawn, Stark; Chas. Delong, Warren; Gardiner Hinckley, Wilmurt; E. W. Willcox, Winfield.
Resolved, That the secretary furnish each of the corresponding secretaries with a printed subscription to solicit persons to become members of the society.
Resolved, That the vice president act as chairman of the executive committee.
Resolved, That the several examining committees be direted to report in writing, the result of their examinations, before the delivery of the address.
Resolved, That the executive committee meet at the house of D. M. Golden, in Frankfort, on the first day of February next, at 10 o'clock A. M.
Resolved, That the secretary furnish the several papers of the county, with the proceedings of this meeting.
Resolved, That the next annual meeting be held at the Remington House, in Ilion, on the first Tuesday of January, 1856. Adjourned.
1783 To 1855.
Political Parties — Origin of, in this State — George Clinton—Leader of the Anti-federalists — Montgomery County Anti-federal in 1788 — Herkimer County, Federalfrom 1791, to 1800 — JudgeSanger— State of Parties change in 1801—Jay's Treaty — Alexander Hamilton — Germans Anti-federalists
— Mathias B. Tallmadge — Object of his settling at Herkimer — Success and Defeats of the Republican Party for 19 Years — Restrictive Measures of the U. S. Counsel of Appointment— Robert Williams — Removals from Office
— Contest in 1810 — Henry Hopkins — Clintonians and Bucktails — Meeting of the latter in 1819 — Secretary superseded — Success of Federalists in 1819 — The Reason of it—Policy of the Leaders — Federalists succeed in
1820 and 1821 — Clinton elected Governor, in 1820 — State Convention of
1821 — Popular Vote in the County, for and against — Prospects of Parties
— Simeon Ford, Richard Van Horne, Sanders Lansing, Sherman Wooster — Democratic Success — New Constitution adopted — Success of Democrats, from 1822 to 1847 —Political Excitement in 1824—People's Party — Electoral Law — Michael Hoffman — Democratic Assembly Ticket defeated
— Presidential Election — Martin Van Bnren — William H. Crawford —Aspect of the Election — Democratic Success in 1825 — Silas Wright — Prospective Troubles continue among Democrats — Call of a Convention to amend the Constitution of 1821 — Position of the Democratic Party in the County — Convention Law originated in this County — Vote for Convention— Vote for Delegates—Vote for and against Constitution — Democratic Party defeated in 1847— Henry P. Alexander elected to Congress in 1848 — Review of the Chapter — Vote amending the Financial Article — Senate Document No. 70 —1831, Characteristics of Population.
Distinct political party divisions and distinctions do not seem to have assumed any very definite shape, the first twelve years after the adoption of the Federal constitution. Until the formation of that instrument in 1787, and its submission to the states for ratification, there was no general subject on which the people of the states could well divide and array themselves in national party lines. New York was opposed, under the leadership of Gov. George Clinton, to the formation of a new government, or any material change in the articles of confederation, and this was emphatically declared in the resolution of the legislature at the time the three delegates, Messrs. Lansing, Yates and Hamilton were appointed to attend the national convention. When the constitution which emanated from that body came before the people of the country for consideration, and while under advisement, New York was the great battlefield; and in none of the states was the opposition to its ratification more decided, animated and emphatic than in this. A strong anti-federal feeling predominated among the inhabitants of the whole state, and notwithstanding the conditional ratification by the state in 1788, Gov. Clinton was able to sustain himself until 1795 against all the power and patronage of the general government, wielded by Gen. Hamilton and other distinguished adherents of President Washington's administration.
This fact shows most clearly that the ratification before mentioned was compelled by the necessities of the case, and was not a voluntary acquiescence. The people of the Mohawk valley placed as high an estimate upon the character and services of the commander in chief of the American armies as any other; they held the name of Washington in deep reverence and profound respect, but they had fought the battles of their country, and conquered for it independence and peace under the banner of New York. Theirs had been a seven years' campaign without retirement to winter quarters, and they felt little inclination to surrender to others any portion of the boon so dearly purchased. On the question of ratifying the federal constitution, Montgomery county was decidedly anti-federal.
From the organization of Herkimer county, in 1791, to 1800, federal members were chosen to the assembly, except the two years the county was represented by Judge Sanger, and the year before Oneida county was set off from Herkimer.
I assume that Judge Sanger was an anti-federalist in 1793-4, when he represented the county, because he was elected to the senate in 1800 by the republicans, and afterwards acted with the federalists. The members of the assembly elected in 1797, seem to have been taken from both parties; or rather, one anti-federalist was that year elected. The great influx of population from New England between 1790 and 1800 had changed the political aspect of the county, and especially in that part of the territory set off as Oneida, in 1798.
The political contest which preceded the election of Mr. Jefferson in 1801, had arrayed the voting population of the county into two political parties, which in that day were known as federalists and republicans; and it is a fact not unworthy of notice in this place, that while the eastern population seated within the territory of Oneida county, almost unanimously acted with the federal party, the immigration to Herkimer seems to have been more equally balanced, although a considerable majority of that population which settled in this county adhered to their New England proclivities.
The federalists, at that early day, possessed another great advantage over their opponents which was not unimproved. The establishment of county seats at Herkimer and Whitestown opened a new field for the legal profession, and it was not long left unoccupied by gentlemen of great weight of character, standing and talents, as their subsequent political and professional career abundantly shows. The mercantile interest was also strongly attached to that party, and the men at that time engaged in commercial pursuits, controlled much of the money capital of the country. The establishment of trade upon a permanent and favorable basis with England was by this class of our population deemed most essentially important. The commercial treaty negotiated by Mr. Jay with great Britain in 1794, had been assailed and denounced, by the planting or agricultural interests with persevering zeal and ardor; while other portions of the population not particularly identified with those interests, evinced their disapproval of the treaty and the negotiator by mobs and riotous burnings in effigy, unmistakable evidence of a misdirected popular feeling Such was the state of party feeling, its bearings and influences upon society, that a republican lawyer or a republican merchant was seldom to be found in the country villages of at the county seats in this part of the state, where it would be now difficult to point out one of either class who does not profess the true democratic creed of some sort.
The survivors of the revolution were slow to see the necessity of a strong government; the very name was distasteful and odious. They had gone through one war "to crush out" what they believed a monstrous evil, kingly rule, and they had yet to feel the necessity and be satisfied of the propriety of having any connection or intercourse with kings or kingly governments; and besides, the leading federalists were strongly suspected of sympathizing with Great Britain, then engaged in active hostilities to put down republican France. Alexander Hamilton, although nurtured in the revolution, was known to be favorable to strong and high toned governments; I say known, because his project of a constitution read to the convention at Philaphia in 1787, was spread far and wide over this broad land. He was the leader of the federal party in this state and exerted no small influence with that party in other states. And although he was a great man, holding rank with the most solid and brilliant of his compeers of the revolution, it' must be confessed he was not an adroit and skillful manager of a political party.
I do not believe, and never have, that the masses belonging to the federal party, when it maintained a political existence, ever gave their full adhesion to the extreme notions of some of their leaders; nor do I suppose every man professing to belong to the republican party is bound to adopt and defend the unwise or pernicious notions of some of his so called political friends, but, after all, the character of the leader is impressed upon his party, which