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title:“Notes on Debates by John Lansing”
authors:John Lansing, Jr.
date written:1787-6-8

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:56 a.m. UTC
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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. 60-61. Print.
Photostat, Library of Congress

Notes on Debates by John Lansing (June 8, 1787)

Met according to Adjournm't. Motion by Mr. C. Pinkney to reconsider 6th Resolve to substitute instead of the Words contravening in the Opinion of the national Legislature the Articles of the Union the Words which shall appear improper.1 Maddison, C. Pinkney and Dickenson spoke in Favor of it—Williamson, Bedford and Sherman against it. Question—Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania for it, one divided and other 7 States against it. C. Pinkney—on the above Subject. Indispensibly necessary to vest a great controuling Power in national Legislature, which may like the Centre of the plenetary System retain all the surrounding Planets in their proper Orbits—the Individual States must submit to this Controul for the general Benefit. The Power as expressed in the Resolution must be productive of Contention and if a Difference in Sentiment arises who is to be the Arbiter? Williamson—The national Legislature ought not to have a Right to negative any Laws but such as may operate to the Prejudice of the Nation. Madison—wished the precise Line of Power could be ascertained—But totally impracticable—for if a Dispute arises the State Judiciaries are compelled to expound the Laws so as to give those of the individual State an Operation—National Government centrifugal. Gerry—Is doubtful whether it is the Intention of Gentle[men] to give this Power a retrospective Effect—wishes it explained—has no Objection [among others] to extend it to Emission of paper Money. C. Pinkney—If this acceded to it will operate to abrogate all State Laws and even Constitutions incompatible with national Government. Wilson—National Government implies the Idea of an Absorbtion of State Sovereignty. Congress in compliance with Wishes of Individual States and from an accomodating Disposition lost those Essential Powers without which a general Government was a mere Sound—The original D[esig]n of Confederation materially different. Dickenson—repeats some Reasons already urged—for Motion. Bedford—Objects to these Powers because an undue Weight is intended to be given to some States—Pennsylvania and Virginia are intended to have one third of Representation—The smaller States will be so unconsequential in the general Scale that their Interests will be uniformly sacraficed whenever they are adverse to those of larger States, and the Voice of the solitary Member from Deleware it is not probable will be attended to. Adjourned till to Morrow.

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