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the country, and for which not the wish to state, for the understanding of slightest apology has been attempted to all, what these terms are, as we find be offered but what rests in the plea— them in a recent public card from Mr. false or true—of hard bargains and op- Van Rensselaer, at Watervliet. Having pressive exactions under them—it is bought off the quarter-sale for $30, and enough to say, and repeat, as we do, provided for any rent in arrear, the ocafter the fullest consideration, that the cupant may buy off the rent and all the terms offered and held out continually, covenants and reservations in his deed, of complete relief and full discharge from for a principal sum, which, at six per those contracts, have not been severe, cent., would yield an interest equal to oppressive or unjust. Take the case as what the rent would he by estimating the it stands in Albany County, in which wheat (the main item) at one dollar the the troubles commenced ; and let it be bushel. Now, the average market price remembered that the burthen of com- of wheat at Albany, for forty years past, plaint has been, first, against rent--not has been a fraction less than éleven shil. because it was not a debt contracted and lings; and for twenty years past it has due, but because it was rent, or rent in been a fraction less than ten shillings. perpetuity--and next, against its particu. On a farm paying 225 hushels of wheat, jar incidents and accessories in this case. with the four fowls and the day's serv. Well, there is not one alleged ground of ice, the average rent, strictly computed, dissatisfaction-real imaginary for the last twenty years, has been which might not be removed, at any thirty dollars, twenty cents, and a fraction moment, at the will of the complainant. over; and taking forty years together, it Is it rent in kind that he objects to--the has been thirty-three dollars, five-and-aday's work, the poultry and the wheat ? half cents. It is now proposed to call It can be turned into a money rent at the rent on such a farm just twenty-five any moment, at his simple request, so dollars, and to take such a principal sum, that it shall stand at a less sum ihan the on the outright sale of the rent and all average money value of the rent has been reservations, as, at six per cent., will for forty years past. Is it the quarter- produce an interest of twenty-five dollars. sale that he objects to ? (and it is only This principal sum would be (about) one in four that can raise this objection.) four hundred and sixteen dollars, sixtyThere has not been a day, since 1832, seven cents, or about $2,60 per acre on that this claim, in cases where it has such farms. This is a less price, per been most complained of, could not have acre, by more than one hundred per cent., been bought off forever for thirty dollars. than the average value of the farms in Is it the reservations of mines and water the four hill-towns of Albany Countythat are objected to ? The complainant the least valuable in the whole tractat knows very well that it will cost him the period when rent first became payable nothing to buy off a right which has no ироп them. These same farms are now real existence. Is it the preëmptive worth an average of twenty dollars an right that he objects to, as an ungracious acre, after having been depreciated 20 restraint on his freedom of will and per cent. in value, by the efforts and power of alienation ? This would fall at operations of the owners themselves, in any time, on buying out the quarter-sale, the last six years. Here, then, is one simply on condition of his undertaking offer of terms. And this is accompanied to give due notice of any sale, so that by an alternative offer ; by which it is the owner of the rent might know who proposed to call the rent on such a farm had become his debtor for it. Finally, $30,62}, which would be estimating the is it rent, as such, or rent in perpetuity, wheat at about the average at which it that he objects to--this particular form has been for twenty years past, and then of indebtedness, with the pledge under to take a principal sum which, at six which his personal effects and his farm per cent., would yield an interest equal lie for the payment? And does he desire to that rent; and for that principal sum to buy off the rent, or change the form of to discharge forever, not only the rent, the indebtedness? He may do either at but quarter-sales and all other reservaany moment. He might have done tions and covenants whatever. It should either at any time in the last six years, be added, that on accepting either of on terms in no degree unjust or oppres. these propositions, reasonable time may sive. At any rate, he may now do be had for making the payments. To either on terms the most Jiberal. We our plain understanding, we confess that
these offers seem to bring this whole is true, there is here a kind of perpetuity, subject of controversy to a single point. and one which, if it were, or could be, That point is, whether private property, rigorously insisted on, would be very existing in the form of rents, is any naturally deemed a fit subject of comlonger to be held and deemed to be pro- plaint. Fee-farm rent is perpetual, as it perty in the State of New York, and may depend on the will of the owner of protected and preserved as such under the rent whether the land, or the owner the law? And this presents, of course, of the land, shall ever be released from a collateral issue of tremendous import- it on any terms. That is to say, it dewhether private property, in any form, pends on his will while he is able to or of any description, can be respected hold the ownership, and to resist all fair and preserved, it property in the form of or tempting offers to part with it. It is rent is sacrificed !
true, it is not in his power—at least One other objection has been raised to under the deeds to which we have rethe tenures-so to call them--created by ferred—to hold any one man his debtor these deeds in fee, reserving rent, which for rent even from one day to another. we must notice. It is said that “perpe- If he will not sell his rent when his tuities” are created. Rents thus reserved debtor wishes to buy, his debtor can are called rents in perpetuity, because escape by selling the land ; though he they are reserved forever. But, in this may be obliged to do this at a sacritice-respect, as “ hereditaments” issuing out just as any man who has a bad neighbor of land, they are just what every title to may he compelled to buy him out, or land in fee is--which the grantee has to sell out himself, at a sacrifice. Doubthimseif and his heirs “forever.” In no less, in the general estimation, it would other sense is the rent a perpetuity. It be regarded as a serious inconvenience is a vendible and a descendible property, and an evil, that farming lands in this and it may be devised. The rents in country should have fastened on them a Rensselaerwyck are now held by devise. perpetual annual charge, payable forever And the present owners may sell the by the owners of the fee, without the whole to-morrow to the owners of the possibility of their relieving themselves fee, or to anybody else. They may from it by the payment of an equivalent create to-morrow as many different own sum in chief. It would be an annoyance ers of these rents, by selling them wher- in the case of any one individual, able ever they can find purchasers, as there and anxious to pay the commutation. are farms under rent. And there is as In the case of a large community the evil little ground to say that the soil is held would be increased. And, for ourselves, in perpetuity in the sense of property we would not care to be in the place of withdrawn from market, or tied up any man, who, without any nec
necessity, from sale and purchase. Our law al or any good reason, but merely to gralows the power of alienation to be sus. tify the pride of riches, or to feel its pended for a limited period; i. e., for two power, should keep even one farmer, lives in being. But here the power of much more a large agricultural commualienation is not suspended, and has not nity, in a state of involuntary indebtedbeen for an instant. Any owner of the ness, after the means of full satisfaction fee could have sold it at any hour since had been procured and tendered. We he has held it, or make any other dispo- know of no such case. The legal right, sition of it which any other owner of however, where contracts exist to this land could do. He could not sell his effect, is undisputed, and should be grantor's rent, any more than his grantor deemed indisputable. Nor is rent the could sell his fee. But any purchaser only kind of debt where this sort of perof his fee could also buy off the rent-as petuity might be created. An annuity in he himself might do. He can devise his fee, charged on the person of the grantor land as well as sell, or leave it to de- and his heirs, would be just such a perscend by law to his heirs. Or he may petuity, and just as much tinctured with convey a less estate in it than a fee-he feudalism." We should certainly hope may lease it for a short term, or a long that such perpetual charges, whether on term, or for life. He may become a persons or lands, would be little known landlord, as many an owner in Rensse. in the future history of this country; laerwyck has become, and have a pro. while, at the same time, we would leave perty in rents. But this is too plain a every man in this free land to make his matter to dwell upon. In one sense, it own contracts, provided only they do
not infringe on any law of morals or subject. Nor is it much that we shall say public policy. And we have little fear now on this point. But thus much, as that any such “ perpetuities” now exist- faithful public journalists, we feel bound ing, can last long in a country where to say, that, in our solemn conviction and changes are as rapid as they are in this. judgment, the high duty of patriotism and Death, and the division of estates, if no- of uncompromising fidelity to public oblithing else, will soon bring them to an gations, has not always been met in this end. In regard to the see-farm rents in case as it should have been. High pubthe county of Albany, and, we believe, lic functionaries have not always come elsewhere throughout the Anti-Rent re up to the stern demands of this trying gion, no man owing such rent, and hav- occasion. There has been no lack of ing the means of satisfying it, by paying, readiness that we know of, to bring the or securing an equivalent principal sum, military power of the State to bear, when need remain a debtor for such rent for violence, insurrection and overt rebellion a single hour. This we have seen al- have been offered or threatened. But ready. No such person can be an honest how has the civil power of the State-of “ Anti-Renter” on the ground of the infinitely more importance-how has that “ perpetuily” of his rent.
been exerted ? Has it met this outbreak It had been our purpose, as we intimated with that energy and resolution which the some distance back, to bave taken some case required ? Look at the paltry reparticular notice of the manner in which wards offered for the detection and apprethe subject of the Anti-Rent outrages, and hension of great offenders, utterly unequal the Anti-Rent cause generally, have been to the occasions, and despised and laughed met and treated by the community, and by at by the criminals themselves and their the public press; and also of the course confederates. The chief offender in the which has been pursued by the public Andes tragedy has been suffered to go authorities of New York, in regard to the clear. The whole power and resources matter. But the space we have already of Executive authority, open and secret, occupied forbids that we should do more, should have been exerted and exhausted at present, than submit a few general ob on these occasions. And after all the servations, when we must bring this arti- commendable energy which has been discle to a close.
played in reference to the Andes affair, In a matter of such very grave import, where prosecutions and convictions have where honest and considerate men of all taken place—but not for treason-has political parties should have but one opin- there not been a sort of judicial compoundion, as they have but one duty to perform; ing of offences, which may turn out to be when a deep-seated and wide-extended as deep and dangerous an error in point of popular disaffection and insubordination policy, as we certainly think it was in are seen to prevail, so that the peaceable point of law? But it was error on the and regular sway of the law and the legal side of mercy, if at all, and where every authorities is broken and lost in large dis. credit seems due for honesty of purpose tricts of country, for months and even and the highest judicial integrity, and that years together, and, in repeated instances, disarms us of censure. Our dissatisfaction the boldest acts of violenceare perpetrated, with the civil authorities has grounds and treason itself is committed; and when, more “ relative” than any of these. We connected with these alarming demonstra know that the strongest encouragement tions, we have claims openly presented has been taken by Anti-Renters” genand doctrines advocated, which strike erally, from nearly every document which directly, not at one kind of property has emanated from Executive sources, in merely, but at all property, and tending, relation to them or their cause. We dare essentially and necessarily, to the utter not say—we do not believe-that such an overthrow of all social order, and the ruin effect has been intended in any instanceof the whole social fabric; in a case of God forbid! But the fact is beyond all this sort, and of this unequivocal charac- question. And we do not hesitate to say ter, it is doubly painful and mortifying to that much of the responsibility, in respect be obliged to speak in terms of reproach to the long continuance of this dangerous or of severe animadversion of the con- excitement, the fearful head it has at last duct of any of our fellow-citizens, out of attained, and the doubtful promise of its the circle of this disaffection, who may speedy termination, rests in Executive have had occasion to exercise either au. and Legislative quarters. From the very thority or influence in reference to the beginning, the strongest sympathy with
the Anti-Rent cause has been expressed they have been heaping injuries on their from the highest sources, and their peti- own heads. They have greatly diminished tions, pronounced to be “ petitions for the value of their own property, have relief from tenures, oppressive, anti-repub- spoiled their own peace, and brought lican and degrading," have been recom- wretchedness, and sometimes utter ruin, mended to Legislative favor by the high- to their families and firesides. We desire est authority. We think there was in to see an end of this folly and this misery. this a great error in judgment. In the They may rest assured that they cannot, very Proclamation of the present Gover- in the end, escape from their lawful connor, which declares a county of the State in tracts. There are too many men of proa state of insurrection, « Anti-Renters” perty in this country, and too many creare distinctly informed that they have' A ditors, as well as too much principle, to GOOD CASUSE,' and they are warned against allow debts, in any form, finally to be the consequences of attempting “ to ac- repudiated. And the idea of forcing crecomplish a woRTHY END by unworthy ditors, by combinations, delays and anmeans ! The Legislature of the Siate, noyances, into heavy sacrifices, isa weak in more than one instance, through its as well as wicked one. We have not a committees, has tampered with the crimes doubt that the condition of the freeholders of • Anti-Renters,” by offering direct coun of Rensselaerwyck, taking a period of tenance and encouragement to some of forty or fifty years from their first entertheir most lawless and disorganizing doc- ingon their new lands, under their deeds, trines and demands. The most rational ought to be deemed a fortunate and happy of the measures of pretended relief that one, and would be found so on comparihave been proposed, look more like ven son with any population of equal extent geance towards one party, than relief for in the State, for the same period of time, the other; and they have had, and are entering on new lands and settling a new calculated to have, little other effect but country, on any other terms. We think to flatter and deceive. It is not, we may the time has now come when they should add, among the least alarming indications think of buying off the rents against of the times, that portions of both the them, and so ridding themselves of debt. two great political parties of the country, But it is debt, and not rent, merely, which in the particular quarters where this excite- oppresses them-as they would soon find ment prevails, have been bidding against by putting themselves under mortgage, each other, in the election which has just and paying interest. They must make taken place, for the support of “ Anti- up their minds to pay the principal of Renters,” by open offers, in which princi- their debts. It is time now to do it, or to ple, honor, patriotism, and country itself, begin to do it; and now they can have seemed ready to be sacrificed.
reasonable and moderate terms. With a We do not admit that that respectable determined and united effort, we have no portion of our fellow-citizens who hold doubt that the freeholders of Albany and lands subject to rent, have any truer or Rensselaer might sweep off the main burmore disinterested friend—when that then of the debt now resting upon them abused term is rightly understood-in the in much less than twice the number of whole country,than we are. We have spo- years that they have now misemployed in ken severely of the conduct and doctrines a fruitless, discreditable and criminal of some of those who call themselves war with those to whom they are in“Anti-Renters," as we felt bound to do; but debted. we have spoken more in sorrow than in We would that more moderate, more anger. While we can have no fellowship just and wiser counsels might be suffered with offences like theirs or with such doc- to prevail among the freeholders of Renstrines and practices, we can yet most selaerwyck. Here these troubles began, truly affirm that every sentiment of our here let them first end. Let them abandon hcart towards them is that of kindness. their unlawful combinations. Let them We know that the great body of them give up their political organizations. have been the victims of the foulest de. They are out of place where mere private ceptions by their pretended friends and contracts are in question. If they really advisers. We know the influences, almost doubt the title under which they hold, irresistible, to which they have been sub- let them procure the opinions of two or jected ; and we know that, under these three of the best men in the whole couninfluences, they have been, and now are, try, on the subject. A small part, only, their own worst enemies. For six years of the “ Anti-rent Fund” will suffice for
We would have them and it is no way to soften creditors' satisfy themselves on this point ; though hearts, if they chance to be hard, to make we deem it no very creditable feature in war upon them. If creditors are exacting their case, that thev have been induced to and severe, and yet keep within their raise an outcry against a title, which, if contracts, there is no help for it-except impeached, destroys their own—that title to purchase an escape as soon as possible. being one of the very oldest in the whole Debtors are the equals of their creditors, country, accompanied all the while by while they keep the faith of their bar: possession, and to which not a human gains with them. Dependence and serbeing in the wide world sets up an ad- vitude commence when a breach occurs. verse claim! And there is another topic We want to see those who owe rent, which they would do well to refer to the maintain their complete independence. opinions of the same advisers whom they Rent-payers may keep themselves on an should employ to look after the title. We equality with rent-owners forever. There mean the question of taxing the rents. It may, indeed, be cases where there is an has been a common thing, time out of utter inability to pay; and especially where mind, in leases and deeds reserving rent, unpaid rents have been suffered to accuto stipulate for a net sum as rent, after all mulate; but even here, a quarrel with taxes should be paid on the lands out of an ungracious landlord, if any such there which the rent issues. Such are the should be, would only make matters contracts in Rensselaerwyck. There is worse, and not better. God help the a covenant for the payment of all taxes poor, if they must needs add hatred, and by the purchasers, and this was a part of envy, and malice, and strife, to the necesthe entire contract for the purchase, and sary evils of poverty. It need not be so. was considered in fixing the amount of Let them try what virtue there is in genrent. Rent is “a profit issuing out of tleness and contentment, combined with land,” and is, as we suppose, necessarily a frank and manly spirit, as becomes good taxed with the land out of which it issues. men and good citizens. If they are opIt is real property, and not personal. Let pressed, the world will find it out, and its them take questions of this sort out of sympathies, springing warm from ten the hands of politicians and demagogues. thousand bosoms, will be quick to conLet them withdraw their privafe affairs sole, and quick to avenge them. Let from the public, or from parties, which them leave their oppressors, if they have have nothing to do with them, and are such, to the silent but expressive scorn the worst counselors they can have. of a virtuous and humane community, These are matters of private bargain, and and from which no wealth can purchase if the two parties cannot agree together, an exemption. We believe, that those then mutual friends, or arbitration, or the whose case we have now been considerlaw, should settle their controversies. ing, have little to complain of or to apBut we would have those who owe rents prehend on this score. The honest keep out of the law, if they can, just as fulfilment of just contracts is what is we would have them, by all means, keep required of them, and without which all out of rebellion. Controversy gratifies sympathy with them is only an insult and passion, and creates misery, much oftener a curse. than it brings advantage to any party.