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title:“Notes on Debates by John Lansing”
authors:John Lansing, Jr.
date written:1787-6-20

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:31 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Jan. 18, 2018, 12:25 a.m. UTC

Lansing, John, Jr. "Notes on Debates by John Lansing." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 98-100. Print.

Notes on Debates by John Lansing (June 20, 1787)

Met according to Adjournment. Elseworth moved that first Resolve be amended so as to read that the Government of the United States ought to consist of a Supreme Legislative Judiciary and Executive. Agreed to. The second Resolve was then considered. Lansing—moved that it be postponed to take up the following—"Resolved that the Powers of Legislation be vested in the United States in Congress." Sherman seconded Motion. Explained Reasons why the Question on the Propositions from Jersey was not urged—It was brought forward to shew the general Principles on which we would determine. It was however found it could not discover Sentiments of Committee—this will bring it to a Point. I have urged two Reasons-1. Incompetency of Powers. 2. Public Mind not prep [ared?] The first—general Assertions have only been made that we have Powers—but most Gentlemen seem to have given it up—one Gentleman has offered the Mode of App[ointmen]t in two States as an Argument—Whatever Mode is adopted they are still Representatives of Sovereignties. Another Gentleman admits Incompetency of Powers but will step forward with a generous Confidence. To imitate him we must be convinced of Utility of System—We must be certain that it will secure important and equal Benefits to all. If destitute of these Convictions we should be Traitors to our Country. It is said to be unimportant because merely recommendatory. Let us examine some of Objections to vesting Powers in Congress. 1. Inequality of Representation—Britain has been instanced to prove Evils. So has R. Island. Neither of these applicable. The Boroughs contain few Inhabitants much impoverished—or the Property of some Man of large Estate. These easily corrupted but it is not from hence to be inferred that several Thousands can be corrupted with equal facility.1 Counties in England unequal in Extent Population and Wealth. No Complaints from that Source. Rhode Island acted without Confederation—She had a Right to deliberate and to dissent. 98 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 1787 99 But Congress represent State Interests and Prejudices. However Representation modified that will be the Case. One Branch appointed in same Mode—the second is intended to be composed of Men avowedly of a less liberal Turn— It has been said there can be no Inducements for large States to oppress small—If there are no seperate Interests why so solicitous ab[ou]t Represent[atio]n. The Share of Virginia to Deleware as 16 to 1 in Arithmetic Proportion—but in political as 40 to / at least. This Legislature to legislate in every Case—they cannot have the necessary Information. But Congress is more easily corrupted? To obviate this only one Observ [ation]. One appointed annually subject to recall—the other for 7 and 3 Years absolute. As long as State Sovergnties exist each much an equal Suffrage—this is equitable—it is necessary. On the new System cannot reason from Experience. Coercion—in both Systems equal as to their Objects. Mason—Want of Power strong Objection if we could conclude. We ought to risk it—In Eventual Treaty with G. Britain our Commiss[ioners] did so—Met Approbation of their Country. No Gentleman can think Citizens of America will trust their Powers to one Set of Men—Will they trust to a Conclave, subject to Corruption— certainly not. In 1778, 79, and 8o Factions in Congress.—States have refused to give Congress Power because one Body, and not elected by the People. There will be no Coercion in this Government. He will not consent to Abolition of State Sovereignties. Martin—The Legislatures have refused to give Congress Powers—no Objection could exist with them that People did not appoint. r o States must be injured by App [ortionmen]t of Representation. Coercion as compleat in one System as the other. If U. S. only exercise Powers which are not Objects of Odium and leave the Residuum to the individual States they must become completely odious and the Consequence is evident. Sherman—one Body is sufficient—the great States supposed themselves benefited by Confederacy—Virginia adopted it without a dissenting Vote— Massachusetts had no Objection. Would be content to have two Houses if one represented States. W[ilso]n—We go contrary to the Principles of App [ortionmen]t if we submit to limit it to one Branch. On Question 6 Negative Affirmative 4 Massachusetts Pennsylvania Connecticut Virginia New York I 00 SUPPLEMENT TO FARRAND'S RECORDS Maryland divided North Carolina New Jersey South Carolina Deleware Georgia Upon the President's rising to put the Question on original Resolution Bedford moved an Adjournment. Question 5 for-6 against it—The State of Deleware then put off Question—Adjourned till to Morrow.

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