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title:“Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Gilbert Livingston
date written:1788-7-16

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:03 a.m. UTC
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Livingston, Gilbert. "Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 22. Ed. John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2008. 2186-90. Print.
Gilbert Livingston, Notes, New York Public Library

Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (July 16, 1788)

JOHN SLOSS HOBART. wishes a pause for a time to consider of the highest consequence—on one hand a part of the state insist on an unconditional adoption—on the other a conditional one we had better adjourn—& give time for the people to consider—have we not reason to apprehend—dreadful consequences if—this question is taken this day— the Com[m]ercial people may—devise a mode to meet their Northern brethern—while there is a ray of hope—we ought not to loose sight of it—Moves for an adjournment— seconded by Mr Duane—and urges the propriety of it—as Mayor, the political father of a great City—has motives peculiar to himself—to wish for peace— Motion read by the secretary— [see Journal for 16 July]
* * * * *
JOHN LANSING, JR. opposes the motion—two—reasons urged one to consult with our constituants—that we might the better determine—Much has been said on the subject of the proposition before the committee of this house—condl. amends. no conviction has been produced by all that has been said—if we adjourn—the country will be in a flame—& when we return we shall not be able to deliberate as coolly as we now do—
WILLIAM HARPER. wishes a call of the Members in town—
THOMAS TREDWELL. objects to it as an argumentative Motion—it comes from the wrong side of the house—if the Gent. will say that their sentiments are changed—he will consent—
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. it is not for our sentiments but for our constituants—Gent. have said that they wish to meet us on middle ground—this supposes a change of sentiment in our constituants— Argumentative no objection—the rules say nothing about it—Lansing observd—that heat will be kept up—thinks not—they will be pleased by this appeal—the Conven[tio]n are convinced a conven[tio]n cannot be obtd. in the mode proposed—will not both sides of the house publish our sentiments which will tend to increase the heat—thinks the heats by this means will be allayed are the Gent. fully impressed that no other Mode can be adopted—preferable to the one before us—we do want to consult our friends—
JOHN JAY. mentn a few reasons—Lansg. supposes it would increase heats—some weight—at first sight—this will depend on the temper with which we go home—if—we go with an intention to investigate—it will have a different effect—the southern [counties] Wish an adoption unlimited the North wish conditions—if we go home and carry the proper information from both quarters—and give them a state of the business before us—with the general reasons for and against conditional amendments—
JOHN BAY. equally impressed with a desire of peace—but thinks it would have a different effect—will the people from the north stop here—they will ask us our opinions—we must tell them—we are not safe—if we go off the Ground we stand on—gent. from the southward will not tell their const[ituent]s that it is their opinion they ought to adopt with conds—we must tell our constituents]s our sentiments—News papers—would teem with different sentiments—ferment will continue till the final question is taken—the sooner it is taken the better—we have been in as perilous times as the present & have got safe thro'—
JOHN LANSING, JR. still of the same opinion—Jay has stated a process of language betwn us & our const[ituent] s before we can talk so—we must have a change of sentiments ourselves till that is done—we have nothing to ask from our const[ituent]s—we have gone a considerable length to meet the Gent—they have remained on the ground they first took—has determined on the main question on Mature deliberation—
WILLIAM HARPER. notices 1st. is there any Gent. here which can say there is a possibility that our const[ituent]s have changed their minds—the probability is they have not—the professional men too will not change—then it is us that Must change—
JAMES DUANE. thinks it is probable they will conciliate JOHN BAY. the Gent. Duane has painted sad scene himself—he faults me for [braving?] danger—cool reason ought to regulate us, not passion in the begin[n]ing of the warr we relied on providence—so we do now—
JOHN LANSING, JR. rises to Ansr. Duane he says we oppose conjectures to conjectures—the subjt. has been exhausted—is not convin[ce]d he is wrong—came here to express the sentiments of his const[ituent]s yet ought to be open to conviction— it is wise to chuse the least of two evils—the Gent himself acceeds to this in his own Mode—for if a conventn. do not mend the Consn. then we must according to the Gent's own proposition accept it— Lansg has objectd—that they have approachd us—not so—no middle ground only a right and a wrong—his principle, we have only a right to accept or reject—how can we do what would amount to a rejection—the Gent has given the strongest reason for an adjourn[men]t—for he says he is not satisfied with the mode of adoptn. therefore he ought to consider & Consult—
NATHANIEL LAWRENCE. advantages & disadvantages held up—wishes to be indulged with time—
JOHN JAY. wishes to give time—Gent. on the other side would run any risk—risk to be recd. into the Union—this a serious risk indeed would it not be prudent to let their constituents consult, whether they will be willing with us to run this risk—
THOMAS TREDWELL. thinks this Motion an affront to the house without giving evidences of a change of sentiment—we know the mind of our constituents—they will not accept without amends—
JOHN LANSING, JR. thinks it was not intend[e]d as an af[f]ront how ever it opperates to postpone the old questn—consents it should go off ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Gent supposes he meant that the questn. should be finally taken this day—did not Mean to preclude himself from offering any other matter—
JAMES DUANE. remarks on Mr. Lansg Tredwell's objn. of af[f]ront—is it an affront to wish time to consult—can he ansr. for every member of this house—wishes Gent would not wish to irritate—the Gents. observatn. indecent & tend to irritate—has never before observd. any want of temper in that Gent. every Gent. has a right to time—
THOMAS TREDWELL. does not mean to be warm—but still thinks it an affront—this Motn. ought to come from our side of the house—as the reasons mentd in the resolution—hold up the Idea of change of sentiment in our side of the house—which does not apr.
JOHN LANSING, JR. wished to have the general questn. yesterday it was put off—now on another questn.—one day more is requested—it might thus go on for 6 Months— cannot give Duane reprobates Tredl. for his expressn. yet themselves have held up a southern & northern interest—which was improper—
JOHN WILLIAMS. wishes to adjourn till four oClock—
JOHN WILLIAMS. consents—
Adjd. till 10 oClock to morrow

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