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title:“Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Gilbert Livingston
date written:1788-7-19

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:44 a.m. UTC
retrieved:June 1, 2023, 11:27 p.m. UTC

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. 2233-34. Print.
Gilbert Livingston, Notes, New York Public Library

Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (July 19, 1788)

Met—in Committee— JOHN LANSING, JR. now 3. proposi[tion]s before the committee best resort to his system to take one of the prop[ositio]ns as a basis—& go thro' it by clauses—Mov[e]s to take up the first—
* * * * *
MELANCTON SMITH supposes that this may be done by consent—as we go thro' Amends may be proposed—to any or all the different articles WILLIAM HARPER. it must be by Motion or it cannot come on the minutes GEORGE CLINTON thinks this is the proposition of M Smith himself when he moved it—Gent. are not bound—to the whole— but may object to any part—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Lansings motion read—question—
RICHARD MORRIS. explains order—
SAMUEL JONES. explains—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. on the question that all the propositions before the comee. be postponed—and to take up the first proposition of Smith as the basis— for the Motion—41— against it— 18—
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Govr [George Clinton] —Mov[e]s that we proceed to read the propositions by paragraphs Secretary read the first clause—agreed—to leave the formal part & proceed to the articles. 1—Articles of the Bill of rights read—
JOHN JAY. why not insert all the unallianible rights & these three selected WILLIAM HARPER. if the Gent. wants any added—wishes he would suggest them—
JOHN JAY. if there was any necessity to mention them or have a Bill of rights at all—he would do it.
JOHN LANSING, JR. if the line was to be drawn between the Jurisdictions of the State & Genl. Govt. so that the power of the Genl. Govt. shall not extend to individuals this may be proper— * * * * * * *
JOHN JAY. Govt. must have power to restrain—as the clause stands it is so inaccurate, he cannot vote for it—if the committe will agree to amend it he will agree the question put on the sentiment, or principle of the first article— Unanimous—
SAMUEL JONES. wishes the whole of the bill of rights should be committed to select comee—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. 2 Article read—agreed— 3. D[itt]o—
JOHN JAY. You cannot make a right—you can only declare what a right is—
GEORGE CLINTON. it is a polit[i] cal right—
MELANCTON SMITH. the source is—this is a right which we all enjoy before this New Govt. should be adopted THOMAS TREDWELL. we insert it here because, we cannot find it in the new constn.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. the spirit of the 2d. clause he agrees with— & will agree in—the Jury of the vicinage in some cases cannot be good—however will not insist on it—a Jury—is security sufficient—
without saying of the County—Moves to strike out—"of the county"
* * * * * * *
GEORGE CLINTON. wishes it should stand SAMUEL JONES. D[itt]o—who shall designate whence the Jury should be called—the prosecutor may lay his venue where he pleases—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. this could be done by the Legislature—in Engd. this has been done—as in the rebellion in Scotland.
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Questn. on the 3d article—agreed— 4th article read—agreed— 5—D[itt]o—D[itt]o—6—D[itt]o—7—D[itt]o—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. this article he thinks includes more than Gent intend—in the Admiralty—& Chancery there is no Jury —"to remain" may be intended to quallify this—in some states—the trial by Jury in both the Courts above mentd. are in use— On treaties & Laws of Nations—the supreme Judicial ought to be the last resort— difficulties to remedy this—so as to—agree to it—& Not clash with other states—
ROBERT YATES. the Object, to secure the trial by Jury in all cases where they heretofore were of use— this ought to be held inviolate—and was intended to provide agt. the Genl Govt. taking this right away JOHN JAY. the word "accustomed" will not take the objectn. away— because in admiralty cases an appeal should lay, where the whole matter should go up—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Comn Law—will not do in connecticut— neither — accustomed
GEORGE CLINTON. we wish to get the Idea—
SAMUEL JONES. we can get over the difficulty & yet retain our Idea— if we say—according to the com. Law. will do—the Court of Exchequer in Engd. proceed in both—with, in some cases—in other without a Jury—In Jersey & Connecticut since the revolution, have directed the Court of Admiralty, must be by Jury—
JOHN LANSING, JR. we only want the sentiment—
MELANCTON SMITH. the committee will word it—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. 7th. article as amended—agreed to— 8—Bail—or unusual excessive punisht—agreed— 9—every freeman secure agt. Genl Warrant—agreed. 10—rights of the people to consult and petition—agreed. 11—the freedom of the press—agreed— 12 Militia—according to ancient Usage—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. opposed to the leading idea of this clause— it tends to render the Militia of no service—in swisd & england—there must be select corps—the whole people can never be fully trained if we agree to this, you oblidge the Govt. to have a standing army— does not depend on regulations on paper for safety—but on the Genius of our country—was mistaken as to the clause— objects only to the words "past usages"
GEORGE CLINTON. the object is to keep the Militia well armed, the Comee. will word it—
SAMUEL JONES. will mention one difficulty—"past usages" are indiffinate—as there have been in our state many alterations—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. 12. Art. agreed- 13 standing armies—agreed- 14—quartering soldiers—agreed— 15—exemption of Quakers—
JOHN JAY. if it means Quakers—is content—but if it will comprehend every person who in time of War will declare they are concentious about it—he will not—
MELANCTON SMITH. this must be defined by the law—as there are more sects than one which are scrupulous—
SAMUEL JONES. it may opperate ill—those who are scrupulous to bear arms—object to pay the fine ALEXANDER HAMILTON. is willing those who are now scrupulous may be exempted—but does not wish to encourage this idea—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. the sence of the committee on this clause taken—to be transposed—agreed— 16—liberty of conscience agreed.— Smith—Movd. to accept the virginia—amendt.— to take this up in the Committee— explanitory amends. 1—Elections—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. an explanitory clause ought to explain, not to affix a new Idea— the dividing the state into districts is explanitory but the quallifying part is not—
JOHN JAY. wishes it to go farther—if recommendatory & would have a freeholder elected—
MELANCTON SMITH. consents to divide the proposition—
THOMAS TREDWELL. if it is not good—they will do no hurt—all the explanitory amends. ought to be recommendatory—
MELANCTON SMITH. wishes to adopt the Article as mentioned in the propositions introduced by Mr. Jay—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. questn. on the clause on the amended clause—agreed— 2d. No power to be exercised—but what is expresly given—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. combats the propriety of the word "expresly" - congress are to regulate trade—now they must do a thousand things— not expresly given—Virginia say not given
WILLIAM HARPER. the Committee may correct this— * * * * * * *
ROBERT YATES. agrees that in grantg genl. powers—the powers to execute are implied—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. questn on the paragraph—agreed - 3d. Habs. Corpus ex post facto, laws—agreed - 4—appeals—by writt of error—agreed—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. would not object to the Idea—recommends their amendt—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. 5—extention of the Judicial power — with respect to lands—agreed— 6—no suit to be brought against a state—agreed - 7—crimminal prosecutions—agreed— 8—farther explination—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. this cannot be by way of explanation— but may be by recommendation— question—agreed—may be by way of a recommendatory amendment—questn. agreed—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. 9—no Monopilies or companys—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. this not an explanitory amendt.—may be recommendatory—which he would wish— in regulating commerce—this power seems to be incident—thinks that it may be possible that it will be useful—therefore thinks it ought to be left out.
SAMUEL JONES. it cannot be an explanation—
JOHN LANSING, JR. Congress have no power about the business except a regulation of commerce—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. agrees—here the difficulty already occurs respecting the word "expresly" moves to transfer it to the list of recommendatory amends.—
GEORGE CLINTON. best to let it stand, at present—determining re—
specting the word "expresly" would fix his Mind—questn. on the Motion—for transferring Carried—for transferring—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. 10 No treaty to alter the Constin of any state—agreed - 11—Jurisdictn of the Courts not to be extended by fiction &ct agreed - 12—powers of congress—not to be extended by implication— agreed GEORGE CLINTON. the comee. now thro' the explanitory amends. Wishes A Comee. should be apointed—to take these matters and others not consid[ere]d—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. wishes rather to consider of the amendts. in the abstract—& leave the classing of them to an after consideration—
SAMUEL JONES. it will be impossible for the committe to arange before Monday—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. an informal committee appointed— Harrison, Duane—Yates, Smith— Adjourned—till-11 oClock—