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title:“John McKesson's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:John McKesson
date written:1788-6-19

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:56 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 1, 2024, 9:29 p.m. UTC

McKesson, John. "John McKesson'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. 1689-90. Print.
McKesson's Notes, New-York Historical Society

John McKesson's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (June 19, 1788)

R. R. LIVINGSTON. Govermts. in Europe Arbitrary—we are freer It is safer to give up part of the Power of particular Govt. to a Genl Governt A perfect Govt. is Ideal— But one perfect Govt.—People rebelled &compelld God in his wrath to give them a King— Say nothing of the more wealthy States have adopted it Draw a Veil over our national Weakness—Decay of Trade &c Proper to mention peculiar Advantages of this State— Advantages of Staples—Trade of our Neighbours—best port— Domestic Debt in the Treasury—Back Lands will with a Vigorouss [government] will pay the Residue— All these like the Image in the Vision— The Effects of Disunion— The Capital disunited by Water within a Stones throw of a jealous Neighbour—An Extensive Coast opposed to the Depredations of other States—To the North East Vermont our Natural Enemy—To the Northwest our Natural Enemies who command the Savages The Center divided by a large River— Citizens of a Powerful State if united—weak if otherwise— We cannot form alliances—Manners dissimilar Madness in New England to enter into alliances with us—We are vulnerable we not— Jealosies between us and Jersey—she will join the middle States— I would not Sacrafice Liberty & Good Govt. to union— Let us then examine this Govt.
Where is union to be found? Either in the former Confederation if existing or in that now Offered to our Consideration— Some Gent suppose we might unite Under & Amend the old Confederat— Have we powers of Defence agt. foreign Enemies—why British hold our posts—Can we defend our State—how arose Vermont—how arose the new Western States— How comes our Commerce restricted— Powers of Congress repeated and considered—The Like powers in the proposed plan— The Powers we give to Congress but cannot be exercised— The Power to raise Troops is by requisitions to the States—These cannot relieve in breaking out of War—A State may refuse more than their Quota— Each State takes the Liberty to consider and determines for themselves— This State will most probably be the Seat of war when war Happens— No Power to compel the States to comply with the Requisitions of Congress but Arms— The like as to the raising Monies— The like as to the power to borrow or obtain Loans— perhaps involve the States in War when the day of paymt Comes To borrow without certain funds must be on extravagant Interest— Why make Treaties if there is not power to compel the Execution—These Treaties may involve us in a War— If they have not the Power each State may make Treaties clashing with each other— Federal purposes were never answered by fœderal Goverments— Are there not now States which never paid a farthing— Consider Germany—The Governor a powerful Prince—The Govermt wretched
Many Reasons for adding to Congress the power of Regulating Militia
The Voice of America agrees that Congress regulate Commerce—2 It will be necessary to add Judicial Powers as to Duties on Commerce and Determinations on Treaties— The Members of Congress only represent the Legislatures of the States but not the people of the States— More safety in have a Legislative Body divided—Still More safe to have the Executive divided— Let us give Congress the powers necessary— It will be admitted we must have a new Governmt.
Let us Consider the plan offered and in that Consideration let us consider ourselves only as Citizens, not as Magistrates— To go into this Consideration calmly, for that purpose examine by Paragraphs, without any Question until the Whole is discussed Clause by Clause—

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