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Clinton Monument Association of the State of New Y.

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THE




CLIITOI MOIUMENT.



M DCCC XL VIII.



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NEW YORK:



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i\ E W YORK;

W I I, I, 1 A M VAN N O R 1) E N , P R I N T E R ,

NO. 311 WIM.IAM BTRKET.






THE



CLINTON MONUMENT.



The erection of monuments to the memory of the illus-
trious dead is sanctioned by the practice of all nations, in
every age of the world. The remotest antiquity, and our
own times ; the rudest barbarism, and the highest civiliza-
tion, have alike concurred in this homage to departed
worth.

The modes in which this universal usa^je has manifested
itself, have been as various as the different characters
and conditions of the people, among whom it has pre-
vailed ; and the character of the monuments erected has
served to mark the taste, as their erection has to indicate
the appreciation of merit, of the various nations, and suc-
cessive generations of men.

The great purposes of this universal practice, like the
motives which have induced it, are twofold — to commem-
orate high virtues and distinguished services ; and, in so
doing, to encourage their repetition. In this double as-
pect, of justice to the dead, and encouragement to the
living, consists the motive, and the high moral influence,
of the practice in question.

To preserve this favorable influence, and assure its
legitimate fruits, great wisdom, and a just discrimination
should be exercised in the practice itself, both in the se-
lection of the persons to whom it is applied, and of the
virtues and services it is intended to commemorate. The






4 THE CLINTON MONUMENT.

■'former 3t^oul4 be ofsuch universally conceded excellence,
'' and tlie* Matter of such acknowledged merit, as at once
to commend them to the public admiration and grati-
tude, and thereby justif}^ their monumental commemora-
tion.

Few men have lived in our own, or any other country,
whose character and services come more fully within the
scope and spirit of the above general remark, than those
of De Witt Clintox. Few men have impressed them-
selves more strongly upon the age in which they lived,
or have left behind them more enduring memorials of
public usefulness, than this distinguislied statesman and
public benefactor. The services of few men have been
so early and so clearly apparent in tlie advancement of
great public interests; or their fruits so widely diffused,
or so universally acknowledged. Justice, that often
comes late to public men and public services, has long
since reached the memory of Clinton. The asperities of
political or party feeling, from the effects of which few
public men are wholly exempt, and which often, for a
time, derange the even scales of justice, have, in regard
to Clinton, like the evanescent vapour, already passed
away ; while the recollection of his great public services
remains deeply engraved upon the public admiration and
gratitude. Time will serve onty to deepen these just
public sentiments.

While, therefore, the public services of Clinton will
ever form the best and most enduring basis of his fame,
there has long been, in the public mind, an increasing
opinion that some public monument to his memory was
due alike to his character and services, and to the public
sense entertained of them. This has, at lenirth, led to the
formation of an Association for the accomplishment of this
public object. Tliis Association and its undertaking have
received the sanction of the Legislature of the State, by
the granting to it of an act of incorporation, and naming



THE CLINTON MONUMENT. 5

tlierein a board of trustees for carrying ou:; its purposes.
That act is as follows :

" STATE OF NEW YORK.
" AN AOT TO INCORPORATE THE CLINTO.V MONUMENT ASSO-
CIATION. PASSED FEBRUARY IItH, 1S43.

" The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate
and Assembhj, do enact as folloics :

" Section 1. William C. Bouck, Luther Brntlish, Wil-
lard Parker, Herman C. Adams, Sam>uel B. RuG;gles
and William W. Campbell, of the cit}'^ of New York,
Eleazcr Lord, of the county of Rockland, Rensselaer
Bently, of the county of Rensselaer, Daniel Cady, of the
county of Fulton, WiUiam Parmelee, of the city of Alba-
ny, Alfred Conkling, of the county of Cayuga, Henry K.
Smith and Millard FiUmore, of the city of Buffalo, Daniel
Grouse, of the county of Madison, Malcom Snowden, of
the county of Westchester, and Oliver Phelps, of the
county of Ontario, and such other associates as shall sub-
scribe and pay at least one dollar for the purpose contern-
plnted in this act, shall be and are hereby constituted a
body corporate, by the name of The Clinton Monument
Association of the State of New York, to erect a monu-
ment to the memory of De Witt Clinton, late Governor
of this state, and as such shall have the powers, and be
subject to the conditions, so far as applicable, contained in
title three of chapter eighteen of part first of the Revised
Statutes.

" Sec. 2. The persons named in the first section of this
act, shall be the first trustees of the said Clinton Monu-
ment Association hereby created, and shall hold their
offices until and including the first day of January, one
thousand eight hundred and forty-nine, and until others
shall be chosen in their places. The said trustees may
be divided into classes, and may consist of such members,



6 THE CLINTON MONUMENT.

and be elected at such times and places, and in such
manner, as shall be provided by the By-laws of said asso-
ciation.

" Sec. 3. It shall be the duty of the trustees to meet
at the city hall, in the city of New York, or a majority of
them, within thirty days after the passage of this act, and
elect by ballot a president and vice-president, a treasurer
and secretary of the association, who shall hold their
offices respectively until the first day of January, one
thousaud eight hundred and forty-nine, and until others
shall be chosen in their places. Five of the trustees, at
a meeting duly notified, shall be a quorum for the trans-
action of business ; vacancies occasioned by death, resig-
nation or otherwise, of the trustees named in this act,
may be filled by the board.

" Sec. 4. The treasurer of the association shall give
security in such manner-as the tiustees shall determine,
for the faithful performance of his duties; the trustees
may appoint a general agent for the purpose of collecting
subscriptions and donations for the purpose of carrying
into effect the objects of this association ; said general
agent to have power to appoint other agents for the like
purposes, by the advice and consent of the president and
secretary of said association. All moneys which shall be
subscribed and collected for the purpose of erecting such
monument, shall be paid over to the treasurer, or depo-
sited in some bank in this state to his cr6<.lit, and certi-
ficates of deposites forwarded to him from time to time,
and as often as once in sixty days ; and as often as once
in three months a statement, verified by his oath or affir-
mation, shall be made by the treasurer to the board of
trustees through their president, of all the moneys which
have been received by him, and of all the persons from
whom, and the persons by whom the same were collect-
ed ; and also a statement, verifietl in like manner, of all
the moneys which shall have been paid over by him, speci-
fying to whom the same were paid, and for what purpose.



THE CLINTON MONUMENT. 7

He shall pay over no moneys but by the direction of the
trustees, on the written order of the general agent, coun-
tersigned by the secretary, and accompanied by vouch-
ers duly audited and certified. The book to be kept by
him shall be at all times open for the inspection of the
trustees, and of any and every subscriber and donor to
the funds of the Association.

" Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the secretary to record
the acts and proceedings of the trustees, to keep a regis-
ter of the names of every subscriber and donor to the
funds of the association, the place of his residence, the
amount of his subscription, and the day on which the
same was paid over to the treasurer ; which register shall
be open to the inspection of the members of the Associa-
tion, and sfiall be published by the trustees in some pub-
lic newspaper, and in such manner as they shall deter-
mine.

" Sec. 6. The trustees shall commence the erection of
said monument as soon as practicable after the sum of
ten thousand dollars shall have been collected and
deposited in the treasurer's hands ; but no contract or
engagement shall be entered into by the trustees involv-
ing the expenditure of money, until ten thousand dollars
is collected and deposited as aforesaid ; nor shall any
contract at any time be made involving an expenditure of
money, beyond the amount actually deposited in the
treasurer's hands, without the personal liability of said
trustees.

" Sec. 7. The said monument shall be erected on such
site, in the state of New York, as the said trustees shall
think most suitable to carry out the objects intended bj -
this act, and by the erection of such monument.

" Sec. S. This act shall take eflfect immediately."

Under the foregoing legislative act, the Association it
incorporates was, at a meeting held at the City Hall, in
the city of New York, on the 8th day of March, 1848, duly



8 THE CLINTON MONUMENT.

organized, b\' the election of William C. Bouck, as Presi-
dent, Daniel Cady, as Vice-President, Samuel B. Rug-
gles, as Treasurer, and William W. Campbell, as Sec-
retary. The Association thus incorporated, and thus or-
ganized, assumed the responsibilities, and entered upon a
discharge of the duties of tlieir important trust.

To secure greater regularity in the transactions of the
Board of Trustees, and render more orderly its proceed-
ings, the Trustees, at a meeting held at the City Hall of
the cit}^ of New York, on the 19th of April, 1S48, adopted
a code of by-laws. On the 30th of May, 1S4S, the Trus-
tees met at the Capitol, in the city of Albany ; and, after
transacting other business, appointed a special Commit-
tee, consisting of Luther Bradish of New York, Millard
Fillmore of Buffiilo, and William Parmelee of Albany, "to
ascertain the probable expense of a suitable monument
to be erected to the memory of De Witt Clinton ; and the
form and material for such monument ; and whether the
relatives of the deceased would consent to the removal of
his remains to the place selected for such monument; and
where, and on what terms, suitable land could be obtained
for the erection of the same ; and to report thereon to the
next meeting."

The Special Committee, in performance of the duty thus
devolved upon them, addressed to Charles A. Clinton,
Esq., the following letter:

" New York, July 15th, 1848.

" Chaules a. Cltntox, Esq.

'• Dear Sir, — At the late session of the Legislature of
this State, an Association, consisting of William C. Bouck,
Luther Bradish, Willard Parker, Herman C. Adams,
Samuel B-Ruggles, William W. Campbell, Eleazer Lord,
Rensselaer Bentley, Daniel Cady, William Parmelee,
Alfred Conkling, Henry K. Smith, 3Iillard Fillmore,
Daniel Crouse, Malcom Snowden and Oliver Phelps, was
incorporated, with ample powers, for the purpose of erect-



THE CLINTON MONUMENT. 9

ing a monument to the memory of your distinguished
father, De Witt Clinton, late Governor of iliis State.
Uiider this Act, tlie Association it incorporated has been
duly organized, and the persohs above named constitut-
ed, by the Act itself, the lirst Trustees.

" At a regular meeting of the Trustees, held at the
Capitol in the city of Albany, on the 30th of May last,
the undersigned were appointed a committee ' to ascer-
tain the probable expense of a suitable monument to be
erected to the memory of De Witt Clinton ; and the form
and material for such monument; and whether the rela-
tives of the deceased would consent to the removal of the
remains to the place selected for such monument ; and
where, and on what terms, suitable land could be obtained
for the erection of the same ; and to report thereon to the
next meeting.'

" In performance of the duty thus devolved upon the
committee, the undersigned now take the liberty of [ad-
dressing you this communication, and beg you will have
the goodness to submit it to your family, and obtain and
transmit to us their and your own decision upon its sub-
ject, to the end that we may, in further discharge of our
duty, report the same to our constituents at their next
meeting, at the Capitol in the city of Albany, on the
second Tuesday (the 8th) of August next.

" As the decision of your family, upon the subject here-
in referred to them, may be, in some degree, influenced
by the character, the location, and the probable completion of
the proposed monument, the undersigned take occasion to
submit a few remarks upon these several points.

" As reirards the first two, the character and location of
the raonilment, these must necessarily depend, in a great
measure, upon the consent of your family to the removal
of the remains to the location of the monument ; for if the
monument is to cover or contain the remains, then it
should be sepulchral in its character, and its location some
public cemetery. If on the contiary, that consent be



10 THE CLINTON MONUMENT.

withheld, and the monument consequently is not to cover
or contain the remains, then it would seem that the monu-
ment should necessarily be cic'/c in its character, and its
location some public place or square, cither at the capital
or in some other prominent city of the State. But in
either case, it is the design of the Assoc;ation, that the
monument shall be worthy its subject, and becoming the
State.

"As regards the probable complctioii of the proposed
monument, the undersigned would simply remark, as has
been elsewhere observed, that the obhgation to erect such
a monument is becoming daily more strongly felt by the
people of this great commonwealth, as they more and more
experience the countless blessings, and increasing pros-
perity diffused throughout its ample borders, and which
flow as a legitimate consequence, and are gathered, in a
great degree, as the precious fruits, of the early and sa-
gacious forecast, the practical wisdom, and indomitable
energy of the eminently enlightened and patriotic states-
man to whose memory the monument is proposed to be
erected : and although these fruits of his wisdom and
public services will ever form a monument more fresh
and enduring than brass or marble, yet as a visible ex-
pression of the sense entertained by the public of that
wisdom, and of those services, a monument to his memory
such as is now* proposed, is universally felt to be as fitting
and proper, as its future erection is believed to be cer-
tain.

" Relying upon the strength and universal prevalence
of this public sentiment, the undersigned cannot doubt
that it will lead the people of this state, with alacrity, to
afford the Association all the co-operation and aid neces-
sary for the early and full accomplishment of their object ;
and that that object therefore will have its consummation so
soon as maybe consistent with the nature and magnitude
of the work itself. To this end, by the acceptance of the
act of incorporation, and the organization under it, the



THE CLINTON MONUMENT. H

good faith and character of the Ass6cialion stand pledged
to the public, and will, wc trust, be faithfully redeemed.
*'With sentiments of great personal respect and es-
teem, we remain, dear sir,

Your obd't servl's,

L. B RADISH, )

W.^r. PAKMKI.EE, } Committee:'

MILLARD FILLMORE, )

The Committee also, by advertisement published in
several newspapers in various parts of the State, invited
offers of sites, and designs for the proposed monument,
the latter to be accompanied by specifications of dimen-
sions and material, and estimates of cost. Several offers
of sites and designs for the proposed monument were in
consequence received by the Committee, and all duly re-
ported to the next meeting of the Board of Trustees, held
at the Capitol, in the city of Albany, on the Sth of Au-
gust, 1S4S.

At that meeting, among other business transacted, the
Special Committee, appointed on the 30th of May preced-
ing, was continued ; and was directed to present to the
Board, at its next meeting, "A report setting forth the
considerations, which occurred to them, in favor of the
erection of a civic, and those also in favor of a sepulchral
monument; and such suggestions relating to the selection
of a site appropriate to the respective styles of monu-
ment, and such information relating to particular loca-
tions, a^ should appear to them of importance."

On the 20th of October, 1S48, the Committee received
from Charles A. Clinton, Esquire, in answer to the let-
ter addsessed to him by the committee on the l-5th of
July, 1S4S, the following letter :

" New York, October 19, 1S4S.
" Gentlemen : On my return to the city a few days
since, after an absence of some months, I had the honor



12 THE CLINTON MONUMENT.

to receive j^our letter dated July 15, 1S48, and take the
earliest opportunity of acknowledging it.

It is hardly necessary for me to say how grateful to my
feelings are your intentions in reference to the memory of
my father ; and how sensibly I am touched by the kind
and friendly terms in which you have communicated
them to me.

It might be indelicate in me to refer to the essential
services rendered to our State by my father, or to the
great personal sacrifices that he made to the pubhc inter-
ests. This is matter of history, and if his fellow citizens
respect and honor his memory, it is the highest proof of
his merit: and whatever posthumous honors they may
pay to his name will be regarded, by all, as the impartial
judgment of posterity, after so many years have elapsed
since his death.

In reference to the removal of his remains, it is my
duty to say that it would not be agreeable to the feelings
of his family ; and although we appreciate the kind and
generous intentions of your Association, it would be most
painful to us to consent to a change of his present resting

place.

Allow me to express my sincere regret that I did not
receive your communication at an earlier day, and that
my answer to it has been unavoidably postponed to the
present time.

With great respect and esteem,

I am, gentlemen, your sincere friend,

and obedient servant,

C. A. CLINTON."
Hon. L. B RADISH, Hon. Millard Fillmore, and Hon.
William Parmelee, Committee.

On the 26th of October, 1S4S, the Committee received,
from James Renwick, junior, Esq., of New York, three de-
sio-ns for the proposed monument, accompanied by speci-
fications of dimensions and material, and estimates of



THE CLINTON MONUMENT. 13

cost. Of these three designs one was an obehsk and
colossal statue, one a single, nnd one a triple triumphal
arch. All these were duly reported to the Board of Trus-
tees at its next meeting, which was held at the City Hall
of the city of New York, on the 27th of October, 184S.

At that meeting the Special Committee, appointed in
Mav, and continued in August preceding, submitted to
the Board the following report :

"The Special Committee, appointed in May last, in
relation to the character, and location of the monument
proposed to be erected to the memory of De Witt Clin-
ton, was continued by resolution of the Board, at its
meeting in August. By the terms of the resolution con-
tinuing the committee, they were directed to present to
the Board at its next meeting, ' A report setting forth the
considerations which occurred to them, in favor of the
erection of a civic., and those also in favor of a sejmlchral
monument ; and such suggestions relating to the selec-
tion of a site appropriate to the respective styles of monu-
ment, and such information relating to particular loca-
tions, as should appear to them of importance.'

" The Committee, in the exercise of their continued
powers, and in performance of the new duties thus de-
volved upon them, now respectfully submit to the Board,



the following



REPORT:



" On the SOth'of October instant, the Committee received
from Charles A. Clinton, Esquire, an answer to the com-
munication which, by direction of the Board, they ad-
dressed to that gentleman, on the 15th ot July last, inquir-
ing the pleasure of the family of the deceased, as to the
removal of his remains from their present resting place,
to the location of the monument, proposed to be erected
to his memory.



14 THE CLINTON MONUMENT.

" Mr. Clinton's letter accompanies this report. B\' this
letter it will be perceived that the family of the deceased
do not yield their consent to the removal of his remains
from their present resting place in Greenwood Cemete^^^
Although notice of this decision of the family of the de-
ceased was not received by the Committee until after
their report had been prepared, yet in the judgment of
the committee, this decision does not, in any respect,
change the views or the conclusions presented in the re-
port: on the contrary, it furnishes an additional argument
in their favor, and a new reason for their adoption : In-
deed, independent of other sufficient considerations, it
would seem, to the Committee, to be conclusive as to the
character, and, of course, the location too, of the monument
in question.

"The Committee have not received anv further offers of
sites, or plans and estimates of cost for the proposed monu-
ment, in addition to those already reported to the Board at
its meeting in August last; except three designs, with
specifications of dimensions and material, and estimates of
cost, presented by James Renwick, Jun., Esq., qf New
York. These designs, with their accompanying specifica-
tions and estimates, arc submitted to the BoJird, with
this report.

"In regard to the other matters referred to theCommit-
mittee, as they involve mainly questions of individual
taste, and the expression oPindividual opinion, upon facts
as fully before the Board generally, as they are within
the knowledge of the Committee, the Committee would
perhaps act most discreetly by abstaining from any pre-
liminary expression of their own opinions, simply refer-
ring themselves to the decision of the Board upon all
these points. But inasmuch 'as the Board has referred
these matters to the Committee, and made it their duty
to present a report thereon at its present meeting, the
Committee will proceed to discharge this dut}'' in such
manner as the little opportunity afforded them for con-



THE CLINTON MONUMENT. 15

sultation, research, or consideration upon these several
interesting subjects, may have enabled them to do.'

The views of the Committee, in regard to tlie character
and location of tlie proposed monument, have been already
partially expressed in their communication above referred
to of July 15th, 1S4S, addressed, by direction of the
Board, to Charles A. Clinton, Esq., and reported to the
Board at its meeting in August last. To those views, the
■Committee still adhere ; and they, therefore, beg leave to
refer to them, so far as they go, for their present opinions
upon the subject.

The Committee suppose the object of the contemplated
monument to be to commemorate the public services,
rather than the private virtues, of the distinguished de-
ceased, to whose memory it is proposed to be erected :
It is to De Witt Clinton as a public man, a statesman, and
a public benefactor ; and not to him as an in dividual,


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Online LibraryClinton Monument Association of the State of New YThe Clinton monument. MDCCCXLVIII → online text (page 1 of 2)