Log In Register

Source & Citation Info

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

permanent link
to this version:
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:18 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 14, 2021, 7:51 p.m. UTC

Smith, Melancton. "Melancton Smith'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. 1695-97. Print.
Melancton Smith, Notes, New York State Library, Albany, New York.

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

R. R. LIVINGSTON. not to speak on the Const
all power originates with the people1 and indifferent whether it be lodged in a general or partl. state govt perhaps better to divide it prays we may not lose the present opportunity trusts every man comes wt. a spirit of [patriotism?]
but fears from partial views from desire of perfection men cannot agree God gave a gove[rnmen]t the people did not alike A Union is necessary draw a veil over nationl. calamities says nothg abt. our national [distress?] decay of trade decay of credit The par[ticu]l[ar] Circ[umstance]s of this state we have plenty of the nec[essitie]s of Life to spare Our navigation, com[merce] our Domestic debt small & easily paid our back Lands will pay our Debts, under vigorous goverment.
Our importance has raised our pride like the wealth the effects of disunion cons[idere]d our strength is weakness The capital seperated from the rest, and in the neighbourhood of another State The frontiers exposed to a foreign Enemy Northeast, erected into the State [of Vermont]
Northwest, in possession of a foreign [power]
where is our Strength not here, we are seperated by a large river It may be said we will form alliances The Eastern States united by a similarity of manners disunited from us by the contrary and circumstances No inducement from Interest but the contrary N. Jersey will ally with the middle States Union very necessary but not an argument to conclude in fact two modes of union
1st. In the present confederation
2d. In the present proposed Const modified as we can agree the Ideas of some, that we can unite under alterations in the present C[onfederation]
The objects of union
1. Defence again[st] foreign Enemies
2. Domestic tranquility
3. protection of Commerce Defence we have not under present govt. because the foreigners hold posts Domestic tran[quility] because Verm[on]t and Western States Commerce regul[ate]d by G. B credit is destroyed, and national Character lost It follows there is defects must arise from want of power or want of means of exercise The same powers are given by that govt.
The powers are given but cant be exercised The power to raise Troops by requisition, attended wt [– – –] inconvenien[ce]s because they [might?] be marched from one end of the Cont. to the other4
Each State will take upon them to judge Missipi the eastern States will not raise Troops &c This State most interested from our having a great frontier No power to compel, but by arms The same objection to raising money The power of making Loans, either nugatory or injurious The power to borrow ought to be [founded?] on the ability to pay If those who borrow have funds to pledge they borrow on good terms The power of Treaties a power of involving us in distress because left in the will of the seperate States No example of federal Republics, have ever succeeded In the war with Spain, some States never pd., and holland marched a force in one of them Germany bids the fairest of any & yet constantly convulsed Common consent has dictated the necessity of commercial powers Judicial powers necessary to regulate revenue matters To construct treaties, and determining disputes The pres[en]t congress not Represts. of the people or govt proper while a diplomatic corps a Division of powers proper less liable to faction as an executive body too numerous but Montesquies principle of a division of power is so well accqud in.
Would propose the government of N. York as a Model — The happs. of millions depends on their vote the cause of humanity — Consider ourselves not as Magistr[ate]s as members of the Legislatures

Resource Metadata