Consolidation of New York and Brooklyn 1857


The following is the Act to Consolidate the two cities, drawn by our Senator, C.P. Smith.

An Act to provide for the consolidation of the cities of New York and Brooklyn and the towns of the County of Kings into one municipal government under the name of the City of New York.

The people of the State of new York represented in Senate and Assembly do enact as follows:

Sec. 1. The Mayor, Aldermen and Commonality of the city of New York shall appoint seven Commissioners, the Common Council of the city of Brooklyn three Commissioners, and the Supervisors of the Towns of Flatbush, Flatlands, New Utrecht, Gravesend and New Lots, in the county of Kings, One Commissioner, which appointments shall be made on or before the first Monday of July, 1857, and the commission so appointed shall constitute a Board of Commissioners.

Sec. 2. In case of death resignation or removal, or inability to act of either of the commissioners so appointed, such vacancy shall be filled by the same authority and in like manner as other appointments are directed to be made in and by the first section of this act.

Sec. 3. Such Commissioners shall assemble at the Chamber of the Aldermen of the city of New York or such other room as the Mayor of New York shall direct, on the second Monday of July 1857, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, and those present shall organize by the appointment of one of their number as presiding officer, and shall have power to employ a suitable person as Clerk and Sergeant at Arms at a compensation to be fixed by the commissioners.

Sec. 4. The Board of Commissioners so organized shall have power to adjourn from day today, until they have adopted some plan of consolidation, as hereinafter provided.

Sec. 5. They shall have power to send for and compel the attendance and production of such persons and papers, books and accounts as they may deem necessary to furnish them with information upon the internal financial affairs of said cities and towns.

Sec. 6. Such Board shall proceed with all due diligence to devise a general plan upon which the said cities and towns shall be united and consolidated into one municipal Government or Corporation, to be called the city of New York. Such plan shall set forth as conclusively as may be the relative rate of taxation hereafter to be assessed upon the respective portions of the Territory embraced in the consolidated city, the general division of the same into wards and districts, and the proposed method of governing the same and electing and appointing the officers thereof, and the terms and conditions on which said consolidations shall be made.

Sec. 7. The said Board of Commissioners in preparing the plan of Consolidation shall retain the present city of Brooklyn, and Town of the County of Kings, as a district in which the conveyances of lands, in said County and other instruments to be recorded shall be recorded in the County of Kings, for the probate of Wills, and the collection of taxes and assessments.

The said town in the County of Kings shall be rural districts, not liable to taxation except for district and the present County purposes, and shall be entitled to representations in the City Government.

Sec. 8. When the Board shall have adopted such plan by a vote of two thirds of all the members appointed, they shall cause the same to be engrossed and signed by the President, and attested by the Clerk, and shall cause the same together with this Act, and the names of all the Commissioners, to be published at least twenty days in each of the daily newspapers published within the said cities at least once, and in pamphlet form for gratuitous distribution.

Sec. 9. Such plan shall be printed and published as aforesaid, at least one month before the next general election to be held in November next, when the same shall be submitted to the legal voters of said cities and towns.

Sec. 10. At such general election the proper authorities in each of said cities of New York and Brooklyn, and the said towns, shall provide additional ballot boxes, upon which shall be the word "Consolidation" they shall also cause to be prepared and printed a sufficient number of tickets for and against consolidation, to be used at said election, which shall be so endorsed as to read upon the outside when folded, "Consolidation," and one of said sets of tickets shall contain inside, the words, "for consolidation," and the other set "against consolidation," and shall cause the same to be distributed throughout the different election districts contained within the proposed consolidated city, in sufficient number for the use of the electors thereof.

Sec. 11. The Inspectors of Elections in the several districts embraced in said cities of New York and Brooklyn and in towns in said County of Kings shall place the ballots, endorsed "Consolidation" in the respective boxes provided therefore, and keep a poll list of the votes deposited therein, and all the laws of this State respecting elections, frauds, false swearing, shall apply as far as practicable to the ballots deposited and by them canvassed and file the same as returns of elections are now directed to be filed in said cities and towns.

Sec. 12. On the Tuesday following the said election, the said Board of Commissioners shall meet at the place provided in the fourth section of this act, at twelve o'clock noon, and shall send for the returns of the said election in relation to the question of Consolidation, and it shall be the duty of the officers having charge thereof to give the same to the said Board or its messenger duly authorized to receive them. If upon counting and adding up the returns of the Inspectors of elections in the several election districts embraced within the said cities and said towns in this Act mentioned, it shall appear that a majority of all the votes cast at such election, in each of said cities and said towns, were for "Consolidation," the said Board of Commissioners shall thereupon immediately proceed to prepare an Act in Accordance with the plan so published as hereinbefore described for the Consolidation of the said cities of New York and Brooklyn and the said towns in the said County or Kings, to be submitted to the Legislature of this State, at its next Session, uniting the said cities and the said towns in one municipal government to be called the city of New York, which act shall provide for an election to be held for the proper officers of the said city as consolidated, and the time when the officers shall commence and that of the present officers of said cities and towns shall terminate.

Sec. 13. If the majority of the votes cast in said towns in said County of Kings shall be found against Consolidation, then the said towns shall not be embraced in the said consolidated city; and in case a majority of the votes east in the said cities shall be found for consolidation, the said cities shall be consolidated without said towns.

Sec. 14. The Commissioners to be appointed by this Act shall severally receive as compensation for their services three dollars for every day necessarily spent in the discharge of their duties as such Commissioners.

Sec. 15. The said Board shall prepare a statement in writing of the expenses of said Board, which shall contain the amount of compensation of the members, the pay of the Clerk and Sergeant at arms, the expenses of printing and all other necessary disbursements, and shall apportion the amount of such account between the respective cities and towns, according to their several populations as exhibited by the last census; such statement and apportionment shall signed by the President and attested b y the Clerk, and shall be filed, one copy with the clerk of the city and county of New York, and one copy with the clerk of the county of Kings, and one copy thereof shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the Board of Aldermen in the city of New York, and one copy thereof with the clerk of the Common Council of Brooklyn.

Sec. 16. It shall be the duty of the Supervisors of new York and the county of Kings to levy the amount so certified and apportioned in accordance therewith, and it shall be the duty of the Comptroller of the city of New York and the County Treasurer of the county of Kings to p ay the amount to the several persons entitled thereto; and such sum shall be levied and collected in the manner now provided by law for levying and collecting city and county taxes.

Sec. 17. This act shall take effect immediately.


Website: The History
Article Name: Consolidation of New York and Brooklyn 1857
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle February 21, 1857
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