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title:“Notes on Debates by John Lansing”
authors:John Lansing, Jr.
date written:1787-6-29

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:05 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 17, 2024, 2:29 a.m. UTC

Lansing, John, Jr. "Notes on Debates by John Lansing." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 127-28. Print.

Notes on Debates by John Lansing (June 29, 1787)

Johnson—Must unite Ideas of States with Districts of Country containing a certain Number of Inhabitants.
Gorham—three Members of Massachusetts are Descendants of Persons who resided in three different Provinces now united in Massachusetts—
this Circumstance does not influence their Measures. If all the States go off excepting one—Massachusetts will stay with that one and recommend System.
Reed—Has no Doubt resp [ectin]g it—will agree to Report so far as respects this Point.
Hamilton—In the Course of his Experience he has found it difficult to convince Persons who have been in certain Habits of thinking. Some desultory Remarks may not be improper. We can modify Representation as we think proper.
The Question simply is, what is general Interest. Larger States may submit to an Inequality of Representation to their Prejudice for a short Time—but it cannot be durable. This is a Contest for Power—the People of all the States have an Inequality of Representation.
So long as State Governments prevail State Influence will be perpetuated.
There may be a Distinction of Interests but it arises merely from the carrying and noncarrying States.
Those Persons who have had frequent Opportunities of conversing with the Representatives of European Sovereignties know they are very anxious to perpetuate our Democracies. This is easily accounted for—Our weakness will make us more manageable. Unless your Government is respectable abroad your Tranquility cannot be preserved.
This is a critical Moment of American Liberty—We are still too weak to exist without Union. It is a Miracle that we have met—they seldom occur.
We must devise a System on the Spot—It ought to be strong and nervous,
hoping that the good Sense and principally the Necessity of our Affairs
will reconcile the People to it.
Pierce—The Difficulty of carrying on Business in Congress is owing to local Prejudices and Interests. Must sacrafice States Distinctions.
Madison—Examine Journals of Congres—ssee whether States have been influenced by Magnitude. Small States have embarrassed us—Embargo agreed to by twelve States during the War—Deleware declined it.
On Question whether not should be struck out. Massachusetts Pennsylvania Virginia North Carolina South Carolina and Georgia—Noes.
New York—New Jersey. Connecticut and Deleware—Ayes. Maryland divided.
Question put on Resolve carried—6 Ayes—4 Noes—1 divided.
Elseworth—moves to postpone Remainder of 7th Resolve to take up the
8th. Question 9 Ayes—2 Noes.
Elseworth—In first Branch you draw Representation from Numbers—
the Individuals will have their Rights protected here.
He will move that each State have an equal Vote in second Branch.
This will preserve State Sovereignties—
In any Community select a fifth, a tenth, or any other Proportion from all the different Classes of Citizens—give them an exclusive Right of governing—they will become a distinct Order and oppress the Rest. So it will be with the States.
It will be much easier for the three States to confederate than the others to join to defend themselves.
Baldwin—wishes Powers to be modified—but Property ought to be represented in one Branch—
Madison—If there was any Difference of Interests would agree to equal Representation.
Let Gentleman recollect the Experiments that have been made to amend Confederation—they always miscarried. The Dutch Republics made four several Experiments all ineffectual.
Adjourned till to Morrow.

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