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title:“Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Gilbert Livingston
date written:1788-7-25

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http://consource.org/document/gilbert-livingstons-notes-of-the-new-york-ratification-convention-debates-1788-7-25/20130122083747/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:37 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 30, 2017, 7:28 a.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
Livingston, Gilbert. "Gilbert Livingston'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. 2300-04. Print.
manuscript
source:
Gilbert Livingston, Notes, New York Public Library

Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (July 25, 1788)

CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. met—in Committee.— Proposition of Yesterday read JOHN JAY. rises—not to debate— yesterday gave the fullest Assurances that they meant to go hand in hand with us—& produces draft [of] a Letter intended to be sent to the several states—
ZEPHANIAH PLATT. for duties he owes himself. wishes to exp[lai]n when this proposition was broug[h]t forward it was supposed—it would bring us into the Union—What was the object? to come into the Union fears this proposn. will not—
MELANCTON SMITH. this proposn. was submitted by him as a Middle Ground—& hoped both sides of the house would be pleased with it— but finding that neither will be pleased— that the plan itself will not ansr. the end—proposed as to the constitution—or the house for it would make the breach worse—must be against it—
GILBERT LIVINGSTON. said he was formerly for it but now has a doubt on Ac[coun]t of Congss. makeing treaties—which must endure perpetually & thinks congss cannot make a treaty for a longer time than they stand for, which doubt he wished to have removed by any Gent—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. no person spoke before the questn. On the question for adopting the amendment— for it— 28— against it—31—
SAMUEL JONES. as it stands it
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. That Mr. Tredwell then made a motion that the committee would reconsider that paragraph which respected the mode of introducing the declaration of rights and explanatory amendments.
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Tredwell. Movd. to have the introduction of the bill of rights altered—
SAMUEL JONES. thinks it stands better as it is THOMAS TREDWELL. As it stands—not a single right—remains JAMES DUANE. better as it stands—
NATHANIEL LAWRENCE. wishes to have the expressions as strong as possible—
GEORGE CLINTON. was content before—as it stood—but now from what Duane has said—he has doubts—
WILLIAM HARPER. never expected to hear passive obedience preached in an Assembly of Americans—we will preserve our rights if we can, if we cannot, & must surrender at discretion we must abide the consequences—
MELANCTON SMITH. as it stands—it perfectly secures you as much—as any other words possibly can— NATHANIEL LAWRENCE. a great difference between the words reservation & Confidence
MELANCTON SMITH. still thinks it as secure in the one case as the other—the word confidence reservation
NATHANIEL LAWRENCE.
GEORGE CLINTON. wants to know if the rights are really secured or not—this he will insist on—not to depend on an illusion—
MELANCTON SMITH. what security can any one have respecting any right— but the confidence you put in the government which is to exercise the power GEORGE CLINTON. Smiths reasoning proves too much if it proves any thing— if the confidence we had in govt. was to be our only safety—why have we sat here so long—let us have these rights clearly expressed—
MELANCTON SMITH. did not by any means intend what the Hon[orabl]e Gent. supposed—
JOHN JAY. not very anctious—is willing to have it expressed as strongly as possible— even expressly reserving all the rights not granted in the constitution—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. on the question for reconsideration on Mr. Tredwells Motion— for it —37—, against it—21—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. That the paragraph in Mr. Tredwell's motion [mentioned] was accordingly reconsidered, amended and agreed to: and as amended and agreed to, is in the words following, viz.
"Under these impression, and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged of violated, and that the explanations aforesaid are consistent with the said Constitution, and in confidence that the amendments which shall have been proposed to the said Constitution will receive an early and mature consideration, WE the said Delegates in the name and in the behalf of the People of the State of New-York, DO by these presents assent to, and ratify the said Constitution."
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS.—on the motion— SAMUEL JONES. Wishes to know what greater security we have under one word, than another word—
THOMAS TREDWELL. the difference between words—is greater in one case than the other—
JOHN LANSING, JR. movd. an amendment— [– – –] —
WILLIAM HARPER. dont like it as well, as it stood—yet we seem to be so fluctuating—as that we must vote for it—
THOMAS TREDWELL. cant vote for it—& yet dont like to vote for it wishes to have it altered—
MELANCTON SMITH. 2 things may be consistant—and yet not have all the things expressed in both CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. the question on Lansings Motion— put—and carried unanimously—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. That the draft of the Declaration of Rights, Ratification of the Constitution and Explanatory Amendments beng read, as amended, are in the words following, viz.
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. The Ratification read—with the amends.
The question put, on the form of the ratification—for it —31—, against it —28
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. committee rose— and reported the form of the ratification agreed on in committee—
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. President in the Chair— On the question wheather the convention agree to the report of the committee— for it— 30— against it— 25—
Ordered the report be engrossed—Motion that a commee. be appointed to take into considn. a prepare a circular Letter & t— agreed unanimously—
Mr Jay, Mr Lansing, Committee, Mr Smith Convention adjourned till 5 o'Clock this afternoon—
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Met in Comee went thro the amendments— Adjourned till 9 o'Clock tomorrow Morng

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