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title:“Melancton Smith's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Melancton Smith
date written:1788-7-17

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:01 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 13, 2021, 6:10 a.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. 2211-13. Print.
Smith Papers, Notes for Speech, New York State Library

Melancton Smith's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (July 17, 1788)

SMITH. When I laid before the Committee the propositions now before them, I did sincerely believe they propd. such a mode of ratification as Cong. could & would accept—Much has been said to shew that they cannot. I confess my mind is not yet convinced the constitution absolutely prohibits it—But candor at the same time obliges me to say, that there is weight in the objections—and that taken all circumstances together I beleive they would not—Perhaps my wish and the wishes of those who think with me on the merits of the system, to be admitted on these terms, may have been the reason that those arguments who appear to have the force of demonstration in the minds of those Gentn. who have offered them, may have not that evidence in our minds—Be that as it may I confess I see but little reason to expect that we shall be recd. on these terms—I presume Sir, the objects wch. those who advocate this had in view, was to bring the question of amendments before the people of America, as soon as possible—To effect this was the design of the condition of the suspension of the powers, for no one apprehends that any great inconveniency will result from the exercise of these powers for some time to come—It was supposed that a stipulation to restrain the exercise [of] these powers wd. be an inducement to call a Convention—The objection to this plan is that the Congress will have no authority under the Cons[titution] to suspend any powers.—If some other mode can be devised, to attain the end, we who oppose the Const. wish, the bringing these amends. before the people, with equal certy. & at the same time to avoid the object[ion] s, that are made agt. this plan, it ought to be embraced— We wish to be received into the union but to insure if possible a submission of the amendmts proposed to the people of America—The plan proposed it is said will not admit us—if it be true we lose our object by adhering to it—The question is can a way be devised, to secure both these objects— The plan I now have to propose, aims at both these whether it will obtain them the Committee must judge—I suspect it will not please either side of the house—I can only say it comes nearer the object, than any thing I can offer, and that in my conscience I beleive it will answer the end of the side of the house in wch I rank myself equal well w[it]h the other—And I think avoids all the objectn of any weight made against the other: If I am mistaken, I shall regret it, and can only say I propose it from the sincerest desire to accommodate—I only beg Gent. not to decide hastily but consider well—to lay aside passion & predj [i.e., prejudice] —I am well aware I stand on ticklish ground—That the proposition will not meet the entire approb[ation] of either side— Those who advocate the Cons. will say, we must adopt or reject with cond[itions]—this prop. is still condl.—Gen. on the other side will charge me w[it]h leaving the ground I have been striving to maintain & yielding the point [in dispute?] To the one I shall say, it is true it is not an uncondl. adopn., but still it is such an one as avoids the objections raised against this—To the other, that tho' it be true I have shifted the ground, it is only to take a better position—The objects we have in view will be better attained by this system than the former we shall better secure an admission into the union & procure a con— sidn. of amendmts by the people of america-
I entreat both sides, not to decide hastily, to consider well before they give an opinion to lay aside predjudices & passion & to consider from the nature of things neither side can be entirely Suited Before I read the proposal, I observe that they have been hastily penned—and will want correction—I only aim to bring forward the Ideas, shall chearfully consent that they shd. be moulded in any form that will retain the substance The first part states the sentiments of the majy. respg. the merits of the Constitution—& the induce[men] t upon the condn. on wch. we come in—and these are followed by Resol-
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