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title:“John McKesson's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:John McKesson
date written:1788-6-26

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http://consource.org/document/john-mckessons-notes-of-the-new-york-ratification-convention-debates-1788-6-26/20130122083302/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:33 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 23, 2018, 12:37 p.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
McKesson, John. "John McKesson'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. 1910. Print.
manuscript
source:
McKesson's Notes, New-York Historical Society

John McKesson's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (June 26, 1788)

DUANE. The Amendmt. not so comprehensive as the Article and makes the Ground narrower—The Article provides for every possible Case—And when in any Case the State Legislature does not provide the Genl Govt may—
SAMUEL JONES. I confine myself to the Objections— It is said Neglect or Refusal does not take in all Cases—I say they do If the State does not do it, it will be neglect or refusal— But easy to add the word Inability—
MELANCTON SMITH. Moved for the following Amendmt.
Resolved that each State by the Legislature thereof, shall from time to time be divided into as many Convenient Districts as the state shall be entitled to have Representatives in Congress; and provision shall be made that the Electors in each District may chuse a Representative by a Majority of Votes who shall be an Inhabitant of the District, and shall have been an Inhabitant thereof for the Term of One year immediately preceding the Time of his Election—
JAMES DUANE desired the Gentlemen to assign Reasons—
MELANCTON SMITH expressed his surprise that the gentleman should want such an explanation. He conceived that the amendment was founded on the fundamental principles of representative government. As the constitution stood, the whole state might be a single district for election. This would be improper. The state should be divided into as many districts as it sends representatives. The whole number of representatives might otherwise be taken from a small part of the state, and the bulk of the people therefore might not be fully represented. He
* * * * *
MELANCTON SMITH. Moved for the following Amendmt. Resolved that each State by the Legislature thereof, shall from time to time be divided into as many Convenient Districts as the state shall be entitled to have Representatives in Congress; and provision shall be made that the Electors in each District may chuse a Representative by a Majority of Votes who shall be an Inhabitant of the District, and shall have been an Inhabitant thereof for the Term of One year immediately preceding the Time of his Election JAMES DUANE desired the Gentlemen to assign Reasons
* * * * *
SMITH. What use in Representation unless opportunity is given to them to elect—It should be practicable for them to elect— If that is not the Case Men may be sent by a Small part of the People—The Representative of the People should be one living among them—
* * * * *
DUANE. Perhaps the Measure may be wise and Salutary—The Legislature if found so, make provision— Why make Provision in the form of Govermt. The Precedent in our Constitution as to electg by Ballot the Legislature have power to alter— The Time may come when these Provisions may be improper— Will every State in the union adopt our Sentiments—Shall we make an Election Law for every State in the union—If it suits our Circumstances will it suit the other States. If this mode of Election will best preserve Liberty can it be supposed the Legislature will not go into it— It may operate in such a way as to be highly Inconvenient—
* * * * *
SMITH. The forms of Election in a Republican Govt. is and Should be part of the Constitution—It has been said that the Constitution has fixed the Qualificat of Electors and Elected—This will go as an Explanation in part—This Amendmt. is to fix the Elections in Districts— Members have frequently been returned & Elected by a Much less Number than a Majority of the Electors who polled—
* * * * *
DUANE. If a Majority of the Electors should be necessary the Districts are large—They never will so agree as to have any Representation—
* * * * *
SMITH. Every person who knows the police of the Eastern States knows it is practicable— . . . .
The People of this State do think the restraints there contained improper—Otherwise why go to New York for Members to represent Counties— . . . .
MELANCTON SMITH. Does not the Gent. Argumt. amount to this—This Clause Imposes a Duty on the Legislature which they cannot perform— . . . .
JAMES DUANE. The Legislature certainly can take up that principle and so modify it and make Such provisions as it may operate But this Convention cannot now make such provisions— . . . .
JOHN LANSING, JR. Mentions the Qualifications—It has been said That persons thus qualified cannot be refused— There is at least Doubt whether every Elector is not entitled to Vote for the whole Number of Representatives We think this should be amended— We ought not to embarass the other States—
* * * * *
CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS. Mr Smith withdrew his Amendmt. to make room for Mr Lansings followg Amendmt. which is to be ad[d]ed to the Resolution of yesterday— No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected
* * * * *
JOHN LANSING, JR. It appears that this Clause was intended to prevent the Executive from having or obtaining an undue Influence over Members of the Legislature— The Clause is ineffectual—The Executive must nominate— The Honor of Seats—The Power in senate—The power in both Houses will be sufficient Inducemts. to Gent. to Serve— It was also provided That no person a Represent in the Genl Govt should hold any State office—but that has been Struck out Mr. Lansing moved the followg Amendmt. "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"—NB. This Amendmt. made by Striking out Civil and the words which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall [have] been encreased during such Time.
* * * * *
ALEXANDER HAMILTON. This matter was fully debated in the Convention and left as it is—It will not be strenuously insisted on either Side—
* * * * *
WILLIAMS. If there is not some Amendmt. to this Clause there is an End of the State Governments— Taxes duties Imposts Excises
To Make all Laws which shall be necessary & proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers— This will induce many & Burthensome Laws— and a Swarm of Officers—When the Subjects for taxation were all Exhausted—See the refinemts. of Modern Times— No Case can be conceived which are not included in this Power— They will have the Sole Purse— They must then have the Sword— Can a State Governmt. Exist without a Revenue I Submit the following Resolution— "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 & 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 States Proportion, together with Interest thereon at the Rate of Six per Centum per Annum from the Time of Payment prescribed in such Requisition["]—

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