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title:“NY Ratification Convention Debates (June 23, 1788) - New York Daily Advertiser”
date written:1788-6-28

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:01 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 18, 2021, 2:38 a.m. UTC

"NY Ratification Convention Debates (June 23, 1788) - New York Daily Advertiser." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 22. Ed. John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2008. 1829-30. Print.

NY Ratification Convention Debates (June 23, 1788) - New York Daily Advertiser (June 28, 1788)

"On Sunday [i.e., Saturday, 21 June], about three o'clock, I arrived at Poughkeepsie, where I was friendly received by Federal men, and very particular attention paid me by the Chancellor [Robert R. Livingston].
To-day, at the usual hour, the Convention was opened by a persona whose name I know not. The point which claimed the attention of the day, respected the number of Representatives.1 The argument was brought on by Richard Harrison, who spoke with modest diffidence, commanding respect and deserved attention:— he was on the floor about twenty-five minutes. He was followed by John Lansing, who was miserably wretched and deformed in every public feature. After him arose the Chancellor, who spoke charmingly indeed. He let his fancy rove unchecked, and such bold and figurative language I before had never heard. The house was prefect silence—the eyes and mouths of every man were fixed and open—and his eloquence, like a river which had been abridged for a time, burst forth irresistibly. When he first rose his eyes bespoke passion, his countenance indicated an injury received, and it required no great sagacity to pronounce him a speaker in quest of revenge. "The day before my arrival, it seems that Mr. Melancton Smith had taken some very improper liberties with the Chancellor;—such as pointing at his means, which were devoted to luxury; his apathy towards the poor; his extensive property; his great ambition:—subjects introduced to win the popular affections, and to create the most violent popular prejudices. In speaking of poverty and riches, the Chancellor was fancifully eloquent, and feelingly descriptive; in remarking on his property, he was delicately pleasing; but in speaking of his ambition, the greatness of his mind and the virtues of his soul shone brilliantly splendid, and even his enemies, who would feign be blind to his talents, could not but view his virtues with envy and admiration. Mr. Smith had hinted that the Chancellor wished an aristocratic form of government.
Smith pointed out the abilities necessary to the form of an aristocracy, and, in a great measure, discovered his ignorance of the plan of such a government. He having committed himself in this way, the Chancellor took him by the hand; and if ever a man was ridiculously introduced into a public assembly, HE was. The Chancellor embraced him about twenty minutes; during which contact the prayer of the House was, that the Lord should have mercy on his feelings!— When he took his leave of him he compared him, as a politician, to an airy phantom who had only a local habitation. "After the Chancellor had concluded, Mr. Jay arose, commanding great respect and remarkable attention; he was heard with great pleasure and satisfaction; and, no doubt, he spoke convincingly on the points raised. He has the most peculiar knack of expressing himself I ever heard. Fancy, passion, and in short every thing that marks an orator, he is a stranger to; and yet none who hear but are pleased with him, and captivated beyond expression. He appears to me not to speak as a scribe, but as a man having a right to speak, and at the same time having authority to command them to obey:— he was up about fifteen minutes. "We understand that the paragraph debated to-day was one of the favorite Antifederal points; but if their other objections are not more formidable than the ones they have raised, we shall carry the Government unquestionably—because I am satisfied that all sides to-day were abundantly convinced of the wisdom of the paragraph debated. The Governor nor any other gentlemen have not yet spoken."

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