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title:“Newspaper Report of Antifederalist Amendments Proposed”
date written:1788-6-28

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:57 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Aug. 18, 2022, 11:52 p.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report of Antifederalist Amendments Proposed." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 22. Ed. John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2008. 2028-31. Print.
New York Journal, 30 June 1788; Massachusetts Gazette, 8 July 1788

Newspaper Report of Antifederalist Amendments Proposed (June 28, 1788)

"Who can be so stupid as not to see, or so uncandid as not to confess that the doctrine of amendments to the proposed Constitution is reduced to a mathematical certainty against them, previous to its adoption? It is now asked the members of Convention, assembled at Poughkeepsie, whether they have the vanity to suppose that this State will be able to dictate amendments to the new system, in which all the other States will concur? We conjure you to lay aside party feelings, to be candid, to think how we suffer as a people, to view the situation of our western country, and behold us intercepted and robbed of the fur trade, and our late enemy possessing strong holds, which are, palpably, breaches of every thing sacred; and shall we suffer this, and numberless other wrongs, merely on account of a few imaginary defects in a proposed republican, energetic, Government? Government springs from the people, and in these States from an enlightened people; who will not be duped, who are not about to be made slaves—will that people, who, in the years 73 and 74, as it were, like a band of brethren and freemen, with one voice and consent, nobly and avowedly resisted the first attacks, on a very trifling subject, to enslave them; we ask, have that people so far degenerated, as not to have that same flame and spirit of liberty touch them, whenever they see their rulers, attempting to be arbitrary: We despise the idea, we are able of ourselves to awe tyranny—and who are these people that are about to enslave us? our countrymen, our brethren, chosen from among us—divided, we perish; united, we shall arrive to the state of a respectable, great and happy people."
Convention of New-York.
By a gentleman just arrived from Poughkeepsie we learn, that the Convention of this state had proceeded no further in their deliberations on the new constitution, and the amendments proposed thereto, than that part thereof which relates to the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, excises, &c. The debate on this subject commenced on Tuesday [24 June], continued until Saturday [28 June], and lies over until Monday for further deliberation. It was principally managed by Mr. Smith, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Chancellor Livingston and Mr. Lansing. The same gentleman also informs us, that the Convention, on Saturday last [28 June], had come to a determination to shorten their session as much as possible, by sitting twice a day.
In CONVENTION, at Poughkeepsie, the following AMENDMENTS have been proposed by the gentlemen whose names are annexed, and are under consideration:
[1.] Mr. M. SMITH. Resolved, That it is proper, that the number of representatives be fixed at the rate of one for every 20,000 inhabitants, to be ascertained on the principles mentioned in the 2d sect. of art. 1st of the constitution, until they amount to 300, after which they shall be apportioned among the states in proportion to the numbers of the inhabitants of the states respectively; and that, before the first enumeration shall be made, the several states shall be entitled to choose double the number of representatives for that purpose, mentioned in the constitution.
[2.] Mr. G. LIVINGSTON. Resolved, That no person shall be eligible as a senator for more than six years in any term of twelve; and that it shall be in the power of the legislatures of the several states to recall their senators, or either of them, and to elect others in their stead, to serve the remainder of the time for which such senator or senators, so recalled, was appointed.
[3.] Mr. JONES. Sec. 4, art. 1. (Resolved, As the opinion of this committee, that nothing in the constitution now under consideration, shall be construed to authorise Congress to make, or alter, any regulations in any state, respecting the times, places, or manner, of holding elections for senators or representatives, unless the legislature of such state shall neglect or refuse to make laws or regulations for the purpose, or from any circumstance be incapable of making the same, and then only until the legislature of such state shall make provision in the premises.) And that nothing in this constitution shall be construed to prevent the legislature of any state to pass laws, from time to time, to divide such state into as many convenient districts as the state shall be entitled to elect representatives for Congress; nor to prevent such legislature from making provision, that the electors in each district shall chuse a citizen of the United States, who shall have been an inhabitant of the district for the term of one year, immediately preceding the time of his election for one of the representatives of such state.
[4.] Mr. LANSING. Sec. 6, art. 1. No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any office under the authority of the United States. And no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.
[5.] Mr. WILLIAMS. Sec. 8, art. 1. That no excise shall be imposed on any article of the growth or manufacture of the United States, or any of them. And that Congress do not lay direct taxes, but when the monies arising from the impost and excise are insufficient for the public exigencies; nor then, until Congress shall first have made a requisition upon the states to assess, levy, and pay their respective proportions of such requisition, agreeably to the census fixed in the said constitution, in such way and manner as the legislatures of the respective states shall judge best; and in such case, if any state shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion, pursuant to such requisition, then Congress may assess and levy such state's proportion, together with interest thereon, at the rate of six per cent. per annum, from the time of payment prescribed in such requisition.

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