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title:“Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Gilbert Livingston
date written:1788-7-22

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:58 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 11, 2023, 3:07 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. 2264-74. Print.
Gilbert Livingston, Notes, New York Public Library

Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (July 22, 1788)

CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. in Committee.-on the clause respecting a Nobility—amended on Ham[ilton']s Motion
—that no person shall accept &ct.1 unanimous—agreed that the president shall not be elected a 3d. time ALEXANDER HAMILTON. objects because—there is no security in it— the people are excluded from chusing perhaps Your best man—
MELANCTON SMITH. would rather have him elected for 8 y[ear]s & not eligible again—Movd. for it—Jay seconded his Motn.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. opposes—a temptation for an Avaritious Man—to plunder—& make the best of his time—has not the motive to please—
MELANCTON SMITH. much may be said on both sides—as the consn. stands his appointment will amount to an appointment for life—no system can be hit on which will not have objections to it—in this case he will be oblidged to steal from the people what in the other case he must wrest by violence.
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. does not see the danger—in Connecticut— it has never decended from the Father to son—safety in the mode of election—
GEORGE CLINTON. thinks it puts it too much out of the object of the prest. to make Not again eligible—
JOHN JAY. the amendt. does not leave him sufficiently independent—
JOHN WILLIAMS. wishes to have it 8 years in 12—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Check in the constn. agt. Mal. ad[ministratio]n as the senate must appoint—on his Nomination—his bad system would be discovered—
JOHN JAY. will not press—hardly knows how to chuse difficulties on every hand—a govt. as it was called opperated in this state 20 Years ago—the Legislature & Govr. playd. into each others hands—it may be so again-as it stands—the president is under eternal temptation to do wrong—senate a check what kind of a check?—to do wrong—& to do right—as it serves their interest—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. so long as we are pursuing republican Govts. we must submit to these risks a long chain &complication of influence Necessy. to do mischief—senate—Assy. & people—electors—&ct. in this business you have as Much security as any system can produce under a Republican Govt.—
NATHANIEL LAWRENCE. opposes Will[iam]s Motn. thinks it liable to the Object[ion]s to the clause—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. questn. on William's Motion—lost-questn. on Smith's Motn.—lost-questn on the Amendt.— that no person shall be eligible as prest. a third time—carried for the amendt.— Amendt that the president—shall never command the Army or Navy in person without the consent of congress—
MELANCTON SMITH. wishes to adopt the amendt proposed by the Gent. from N. Y, That the executive shall never not in person take the actual command of the Army or Navy in the field without the direction previous desire of the Legislature congress—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. agreed to—unanimously—shall may not have power at his discretion to grant pardon [for] treason but only repreave &ct. till the case be laid before congress— agreed—Unanimously-
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. that congress ap[p]oint, a council of Appointment impeachable &ct.
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. among other reasons agt. it—mentions the probability of having the appointments better thro' the states, as the senators represent all the states—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. for the amendt—10 against it— 46— All process in the Name of the People &ct agreed unanimously—No Judge of the Supm. Court shall hold any other office &ct agreed—Unanimously —All Officers of the United States—to take an oath to preserve not to infringe the constitutions & rights of the respective states-agreed unanimously—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS.—Congress shall not declare [war] without the concurrence of 2/3ds. present—agreed unan.
* * * * *
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. a false principle—in Govt. that a Minority should ever govern—especially in our states—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. On the question for the Amendment— for it— 32 against it— 25
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Ham[ilton] Moves to substitute the Amendt. proposed to this clause by the Gent from N. Y.—
JOHN LANSING, JR. 1. reason ass[erte]d why congress should have exclusive Jurisdn. is because no 1 state should have an influence Where they sit—by the last amendt they that is the 10 Mile inhabitants are to be represented in congress—&ct.
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. on division for substituting the last Amendt 18 against it—39 questn. on the amendt—carried—Forts—Magazines—Dock Yards &ct. may not be Cities of refuge— agreed—Unanimously—that an Account of expenditures—shall once in every year be submitted &ct.
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. improper in a warr, or in the case of a warr, to publish an state of accounts &ct to all the world—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. on questn.—lost—GL voted for it
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS.—Congress—shall not establish any inferior Court &ct
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. this will increase appeals—but does not much oppose—
SAMUEL JONES. this will seldom happen—&cannot last ALEXANDER HAMILTON. it may opperate to the prejudice of the poor—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. On the Question—for it—37 against it—16 —that persons aggrieved in Supm. Court—court of Errors constituted—by special commission—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. objects—because the Court apd. by Legislature
* * * * *
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. these Judges or commissioners may be under the same influence as the Legislature themselves—therefore to be avoid[e]d
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. of the same opinion
* * * * *
SAMUEL JONES. Wishes security under these Courts—sees great inconveniency—in having a Court totally independent—wishes some mode to remedy the evil—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. there Must be a Court—in the last resort-why not safely placed in the Supm. Court—rather than in an advanticious Court—or in the senate—
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. the Ionic Council—& Supm. Court in Germany—have both Original and appellate Jurisdictn.
* * * * *
SAMUEL JONES. this Mode now proposed has been long in Use in Engd. & is Used to this day—without complaint—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. if it goes to the causes in which the Supm Ct. have original Jurisdn. should not so strongly oppose it but if it goes to those causes which are brot before them on appeal—strenuously dissents—
JOHN BAY. if it is intended—only to contemplate causes in which the Supm Court have Origl. Jurisdn. it ought to go so forward—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. so altered—on the question—on the Clause as altered —agreed— —Habeas Corpus—agreed—Power of Congress over the Militia—& t Organising &ct—
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. wishes to know what objectns Gent. have to Congss. organizing the Militia—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. On the questn—for the Amendt— against it— agreed to strike out the clause withdraw the amendment, at present
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Moves an Amendt. that a court for trial of impeachments be constituted, [– – –] — thinks this Amendt. will obviate many of the objections against the senate—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. On the question—agreed.—that the vacancies in senate be filled by the state Legislats-agreed—that Laws for altering Wages of senate & Assemy shall not profit those who make the Law—agreed—that Journals of Congss. shall be published on[c]e a Year— agreed—Judiciary—with respect to the extention of its Jurisdiction &ct— agreed-Will[iam]s Moves that no cappitation tax be ever laid by congress— agreed unanimously— clause to divide for choosing a Citizen for one [of] the representatives &ct—Resident &ct. be a substancial freeholder &ct-agreed
* * * * *
JOHN LANSING, JR. wishes the clause to lay over till tomorrow.
* * * * *
JOHN JAY. no objections—
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. dont see the Utility in confining the choice of delegates to the particular district—is abridging the rights of election
* * * * *
MELANCTON SMITH. it is necessy. that a knowledge of the different parts—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. - Questn. that representa[ti]ves live in the district agreed adjourned—