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the Supreme Court in and for the First Judicial Department for the term of five years from and after the first day of January 1900, his prior designation as such Associate Justice being about to expire. GIVEN under my hand and the Privy Seal of the

State at the Capitol in the city of Albany this [L s] twelfth day of December in the year of our

Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninetynine.


Secretary to the Governor




Executive Chamber



In the matter of the charges preferred against Eleazir S.

Mashbir Dismissal of charges. Charges of misconduct in office having been preferred against Eleazir S. Mashbir, a notary public in and for the county of New York, which charges were duly served upon him with an order dated November 29, 1899, that he show cause why he should not be removed from the office of notary public, and the said Mashbir having subsequent to the service of said order tendered to the Governor his resignation as notary public for the county of New York, which resignation was placed on file in the Executive Chamber of date December 9, instant; and the resignation aforesaid having rendered unnecessary any further proceedings in this matter;

THEREFORE it is hereby ordered that the charges preferred against the said Eleazir S. Mashbir as notary public be, and the same are hereby, dismissed.

GIVEN under my hand and the Privy Seal of the

State at the Capitol in the city of Albany this [L s] thirteenth day of December in the year of our •

Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-

By the Governor:

Secretary to the Governor




Executive Chamber


I have received your communication, together with supplemental communications from the Attorney-General and the Secretary of State, in regard to the Astoria land grant. I have looked into the matter thoroughly and have come to the conclusion not only that your action was entirely proper and that the grant should be made, but that any other action would have been a grave and flagrant wrong — so gross a wrong as to be explicable only on the theory

that some other purpose than the good of the City or the State was to be subserved. It appears that the Astoria Gas Company has asked nothing whatever which it has not been the immemorial custom of the State to grant in such cases, and had you refused to make the grant in the way you have made it, you would have been inexcusably derelict in your duty. It is a matter of common notoriety that a rival gas company would have an immense pecuniary interest in securing a refusal of justice to the Astoria Gas Company. The extraordinary course taken by the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York in writing me about this grant, although he has never communicated with me in reference to any previous grant, and in urging that I take action in reference to it such as I have never taken, and such as has never been suggested that I take, in reference to any other grant, made it necessary for me to communicate with you as I did.

The case is perfectly simple. It appears that the State of New York has always exercised ownership over lands like those in question, and that such rights of ownership over these lands have never been exercised by the City of New York. It further appears that the only private owner who has a right to enter into possession of these riparian lands is the owner of the adjacent upland, and that the public authorities can enter into possession only by paying to this upland owner their value. In many thousands of cases, for an indefinite number of years, the State has exercised the right of granting these lands, usually for a rather small sum. For instance, in the ten years from 1884 to 1894 the average grant of land under water within the limits of the present Greater New York, such as that desired by the Astoria Company, was made at a price of about $19.83 an acre. Since then the price has been raised and within the last two years the price of these lands under water in the Greater New York has averaged about $87.00 an acre. When only a small fraction of an acre has been sold, the price has sometimes been more than this, but no considerable tract of land of the size now granted to the Astoria Company has been sold by the State at as high a rate as it now demands of the Astoria Gas Company. It has always been the policy of the State, and is obviously the proper policy, to build up the water front, and therefore, wherever it did not desire to acquire the land itself for purposes of improvement, to sell it to owners who would improve it. Prior to the action of the present Land Board the custom was to make these grants without restrictions. The present Board has adopted the wise rule of making the grant on condition that it lapses within a fixed period unless the land under water is actually reclaimed and used for the purposes set forth in the grant. The Land Board has no power to grant leases with rights of renewal. Where the land is granted, not for the purpose of improvement, it is my belief that the Land Board should have power to make a lease with right of renewal. It does not seem to me that as yet it would be wise to introduce the lease system in cases where the grantee fills in the land and builds docks, warehouses or similar structures upon it.

Within the past few months the State has made numerous grants within the limits of the Greater New York, exactly similar in character to the Astoria grant, and of tracts of land of about the same size. The conditions under which these grants have been made have been more favorASTORIA Gas COMPANY LAND GRANT




able to the grantees than the conditions under which the Astoria grant is made.

It further appears that the land within the limits of the Greater New York along the shore line of the territory on both sides of the Astoria grant, was granted to private owners of the adjacent uplands twenty-six and twentyeight years ago. These grants were then made for about a dollar an acre - a merely. nominal sum. The Astoria grant is made for $250.00 an acre on condition that within five years the improvements shall be well under way. The contention of the Corporation Counsel that the privilege granted is of such enormous value that the sixteen acres are worth about three million dollars, is so absurd as scarcely to merit serious discussion. Of course this land is not worth a particle more than the land on either side, which has lain unimproved for so many years, which cost less than a dollar an acre to the grantees, and which the City could have bought at any time for an insignificant sum compared with the sum the Corporation Counsel now mentions. It must be remembered that the City could only get possession of the land by paying its value to the owner of the adjacent upland, and the Corporation Counsel's position is therefore that it would be worth the City's while to pay three million dollars for a small fraction of the Astoria Gas Company's interest in its property. When it is remembered that for the entire property, amounting to several hundred acres, including the riparian rights to the sixteen acres under discussion, the Astoria Gas Company paid about three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the preposterous nature of the Corporation Counsel's contention is at

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