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title:“Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Gilbert Livingston
date written:1788-7-24

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https://consource.org/document/gilbert-livingstons-notes-of-the-new-york-ratification-convention-debates-1788-7-24/20130122080017/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:00 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Sept. 20, 2019, 5:55 a.m. UTC

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citation:
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. 2288-96. Print.
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Gilbert Livingston, Notes, New York Public Library

Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (July 24, 1788)

CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. met in Committee the paragraph last under consideration that is the ratification as amended also the Amendt. respecting the Militia— Platt—Moves the insertion for the Clause & Amendt 32, against 22
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. the amendment respecting elections read— agreed unanimously—
JOHN JAY. Most ardently wishes & hopes the business might be so carried thro' it is no more a paper—but it is a government—let us be Unanimous in pursuing the Object—to get a convention to reconsider the constitution thinks gent. are at liberty to consider the circumstances that we are in he himself wishes some amendments as well as others wishes we may go hand in hand—to obtain them— . . . .
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. The Amendment respecting excise read agreed—unanimously— . . . .
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. —Requisition clause—read—agreed— unanimy.
JOHN LANSING, JR. a gent. from Dutchess promised to bring forward a Motion for an adoption with right to withdraw in years if the Amends. are not submitted to a convention in the mode prescribed & t—as he has not done it—Lansing Moves it . . . .
JOHN JAY. feels great regret in this case was in hopes to have gone in unity— this is giving with one hand and taking back with the other—two clauses contradictory one comes in—the other provides to come out— will we at 4 Years end—be easier to be out than now—can we get this condn. without the Co-opperation of our sister states they as important as we as jealous as we is their not if we join 6 [of] the most important states are for a convention—nothing can possibly prevent a convention—it displays distrust—& is a condition a reservation will not the 10 states say we have come in without reservation Why should N. Y.—it will remove congress—consequences among ourselves one side will be pleased—because they have carried all their amendments—the other because we have adopted such measures as will bring us into the union all pleased because we have the highest possible prospect of a con vention for Amendments we are now one people all pledged for amendswe on opposite sides have formerly agreed Many I see here have formerly been with me in forming another constitution JOHN LANSING, JR. this Morning voted, on a presumpn. that this Motn. would be carried wishes peace & t. but does not expect it, till the convention does set—if there is so strong an Interest to bring about a Convnn. our reservation will not affect our union All we stipulate is a reconsideration present Congress—cannot anticipate if doubtful congress will remove thinks they have no business with it—but if they should their removal is not of so much importance as our Liberties
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Was in hopes this Morning of Unanimity when this Motion was first mentioned thot more favourably of it than the other one but since thinks otherwise has taken advice with men of character—they think it will not do proposed to read a Letter reads its supposesthis adoption—conditional—and would viciate the business & t himself wrote favourably for it— the terms of the constitution import a perpetual compact between the different states this certainly is nottreaties—and engagements with foreign Nations—are perpetual this cannot be under this adoption the oath to be taken stands in the way states & men are averse to inequality—they fully bound—& we partially— should we risk so much on so little Motives of expediency too much relied on if they do not accept us will they not sooner have a New conven [do] n than accept us so—is it worth the Jeopardy by which it must be obtained is it not of importance that we Join unanimously to procure a conven[tio]n? the obsern of Lansg does not meet the objetn—as they will contemplate wheather this is a ratificn. if they have any doubt, they will apt. Congss. to meet on certain federal Ground Interest of some states against us—if they are driven away by us—the people will be dissatisfied & t. We have done every thing which possibly can insure our wish this we shall loose by a second state convention we shall not be represented in Congress—& this for no real end Moves to have the question postponed & that a circular letter be wrote—
THOMAS TREDWELL. we will remove the arguments of the Gent. perpetual means—as long as from the time the confederation was formed till next feby.6 the other—federal Ground—this is not to be found in America unless Rhode Isld. unless you go to Switzerland & t JOHN JAY. wishes Gent. would seriously consider—not out humor— yet distressed high hopes before now distressed by this thread to be divided they will go with Gent. on this principle, that the consn. is adopted had on[c]e higher hopes of it than he now has it was tried in Virginia' believein his conscience it would keep us out of the union we cannot remain out of the Union—unpleasant—to have another convention do the work we are here come to do wishesto post— pone till tomorrow . . . .
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. withdraws his Motion—to let the question come on . . . .
MATTHEW ADGATE. wishes not to postpone—gent. think Much of Unanimity—but this only means that we should totally adopt—they ought to think of the parts of the state, that are opposed to the Consn. they ought to give up something too— . . . .
JOHN JAY. Gent right—but what ought we to do should We keep out of the Union?—no he does not wish this we think this would do it— we come in with them in every thing but a rejection—& that they themselves do not want— . . . .
MATTHEW ADGATE. this business has been effected by degrees this has heretofore been conceived to have been a Mode that would bring us in Gent. now say we cannot—but if we May does not doubt we shall— they must violate the old Confedn
• . . . .
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Adg [at] e intimates that they have come down to our Ideas—this is not so yet we are willing to go as far as we can and be received the Gent will see that we have made an effort to try to come to this have taken advice Who are of the same opin— ion which we now hold— has had a great inclination to meet the house on this ground but is now fully of opinion it will not do—
JOHN LANSING, JR. the Latter states the matter as an impression of the Moment—or as an opinion . . . .
DIRCK WYNKOOP. Many arguments have been thrown out—that we should forget from whence we came—% were agt an uncondl Adopn have been coold down now we wish an Adoptn. and a convnn to amend—the people different opinions about it like it others dislike for whom are we to act, for ourselves or constituents they will not be satisfied what can we say—do we not shew that we are not selfish they are to help to reconsider—we do not want to remain disunited Who are Congress they are from the different states the greater part from states who are discontented—but here we are brought down from one point to another till we are brought to an unconditional adoption— cannot see why gent. are so urgent for wewere not sent here to consider any thing respecting the removal of congress we are not to sacrifice the liberty of the people—dont think the people of the united states so haughty, as to refuse us—does not wish confusion how can we answer to give up the liberty of the people—
THOMAS TREDWELL. Would observe on the Bill of rights which if it was properly secured would alter his opinion on the present ques— tion— . . . .
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. On the question on Mr Lansings-Mation for it— against it . . . .
RICHARD MORRIS. the question is wheather it will bring us in the Union or not—treaties must be perpetual for those purposes we are not in the Union— . . . .
MATTHEW ADGATE. Would Answer that Gent. with respect to the treaties now in force-13 states made them—now possibly only 11—when that Union is broke what is to become of the treatie with Great Brittn. and the fortresses they hold on our frontiers—
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. the Gents Argument fails unless it seems to shew that we ought to come in— What is the object of the Motion to procure a convention? will it be possible for us to receed at the end of the term? no—then What effects will it have will not the people outdoors say you had better stay out than pretend to do a thing which is impossible for us to do—no good effects can possibly flow we are not satisfied with it—& why will our constituents be if he could believe the liberties of the Country were in danger—he would not advocate it—Moves the Committee to rise—
JOHN LANSING, JR. When he brought this Mo[tio]n forward he did not think this proposition as good as the first—yet if the constn. is not reconsidered—we can resist without being rebels—it will give some security—has never declared that he thot, that this would be distruc— tive of liberty . . . .
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Adgate—has mentioned an important Idea—What will be the effect of the treatie with great Brittn—if they all unite it will stand if we do not—those who do not come in will perhaps be excluded this a very important concern— Acquiescence of a time is a waver of a right—When the Liberties of the country are in danger—shall not wait for lone constructions . . . .
JOHN LANSING, JR. merely me[a]nt to state that it would become their interest as well as ours— . . . .
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. why will this Measure induce a convention More than the other Your Circular Letter will do it does not wish to have a right to take up arms when ever this Govt becomes unfriendly to liberty every state has a right to draw the sword let Gent. Ask them selves—Wheather it is worthy of them—
MATTHEW ADGATE. in regard to the treatie with G. B. it would not— opperate with a part—if there was a sepperation—the framers of the Constn. have been very negligent of a part—as 9 states may here unite— . . . .
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. the Convn. knew that every state would have an opportunity to agree or not agree with respect to the treatie— it is too late now as 10 states have adopted it JOHN JAY. wishes something may take place to bring us together— some express reservation of state rights—which would satisfie us all GEORGE CLINTON. the only thing which would make him solicitous, is that many Gent. heretofore voted under an impression that this questn. would be put— . . . .
THOMAS TREDWELL. thinks the constn. formed to enslave—
NATHANIEL LAWRENCE. wishes the committee to rise—
JOHN LANSING, JR. wishes to have the question—
JOHN JAY. has no particular plan wishesto do any thing possible would wish to meet some Gent. Who wanted to have the Bill of rights better guarded—Men—ought not to be influenced by a threat—if they act properly—they will not . . . .
GEORGE CLINTON. if the Gent. can convince him that there is threat in it, he will give it up if we rejected the constitun. our sister states could not find fault with us—here we go farther, we adopt—& only ask a reconsideratn does not rise to . . . .
JOHN JAY. takes the Gent. on his own ground—let us ask them—but not put it in before we ask them . . . .
GEORGE CLINTON. no threat for the reasons before mentd— there is a difference whether we adopt or ask a Reconsideration JOHN JAY. 5 other states want amends as well—they will trust us—but we will not trust them this looks like a threat— this qustn. reduces it to this point—will—ought they to receive us, on terms which none of the other states have thought of, & is it right in us to ask it—dont they love liberty &ct as well as we GEORGE CLINTON. rises to shew he does not wish to press the question— . . . .
JAMES DUANE. the questn.—is not wheather congress will not—it is his opinion congress cannot the terms proposed—alters the thing therefore they cannot—thinks they would incline to do it—if it was in their power if we agree to this proposition we go away and leave the constn. unratified— . . . .
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. committee rose—adjd. till tomorrow

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