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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Hogan, Margaret A.; Reid, Jonathan M. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: New York (5)
(2009)

VII-B. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 25 July 1788-23 February 1789,   pp. 2426-2498


Page 2496

VII. AFTERMATH OF NEW YoRK RATIFICATION
6. Philip Livingston (1740-1810), a nephew of the signer of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence of the same name, was a graduate of Columbia College (1760) and a wealthy
Westchester County landowner. He was a member of the state Assembly, 1788-89, and
the state Senate, 1789-93, 1796-98. Livingston voted to ratify the Constitution in the
New York Convention.
7. Samuel Jones had argued earlier in the day that "there are falsities in every news-
paper in the state, we are imposed upon every day, some way or other."
8. Between March and May 1788 Thomas Greenleaf was accused of printing at least
two false items, and in the case of the second one he became embroiled in a bitter
exchange with Francis Childs. According to Childs at the time of the exchange, Green-
leaf's behavior "excited general indignation." See RCS:N.Y, Vol. 1, lix; and CC:Vol. 4, p.
593, note 9.
9. In the copy of the New York Journal in the New-York Historical Society the word
"not" is crossed out and the word "sleep" is written in the margin.
10. The origin of this allusion is not certain but it probably became somewhat popular
with the appearance of Letters Written by the Late Honorable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of
Chesterfield to His Son Philip Stanhope, Esq..... (4 vols., Dublin, 1774-1775), III, 37. The
passage on Demosthenes reads: "Remember of what importance Demosthenes, and one
of the Gracchi, thought enunciation; read what stress Cicero, and Quintilian lay upon it;
even the herb-women at Athens were correct judges of it."
11. Robert R. Livingston used this metaphor. See Convention Debates, 1 July 1788
(RCS:N.Y, 2050).
12. Gilbert Livingston used this metaphor. See Convention Debates, 24 June 1788, at
note 1 (RCS:N.Y, 1837). On the same day, Robert R. Livingston ridiculed the metaphor
(RCS:N.Y, 1845).
13. New York Daily Advertiser, 5 March 1789. This excerpt represents the concluding
sentence of an editorial comment (in brackets) made by Francis Childs near the end of
his report of the events of 23 February 1789 in the state Assembly. On that day Antifed-
eralist assemblyman William Harper, who had voted against ratification of the Constitu-
tion in the state Convention, made a motion to censure Childs for "grossly" misrepre-
senting the Assembly's proceedings of 22 January and for having "endeavoured to cast
an odium on some of the members of this house, thereby to destroy the confidence their
constituents place in them." Harper's motion was debated, but it was postponed on a
motion made by Samuel Jones, which was carried "by an almost unanimous vote." Harper
had made a similar motion on 22 January, but that motion was defeated by a vote of 47
to 5. In his editorial comment, Childs accused Harper of acting, not to preserve the
freedom of the press as he asserted, "but to gratify his private pique and resentment."
By misusing his position as a legislator, declared Childs, Harper had shown himself to be
"unworthy of public trust, unimportant with his own party, worthless in his political opin-
ions, tyrannical in his desires and designs-and despicably weak in his understanding."
In this excerpt, Childs is explaining why he believes Harper held a "private pique and
resentment" against him.
14. See Convention Debates, 20 June 1788, at note 15 (RCS:N.Y, 1714). Melancton
Smith cited a passage from Daniel 7:7. See also Robert R. Livingston, Convention Debates,
2 July, at note 13, for his comment upon the metaphor (RCS:N.Y, 2068).
Melancton Smith to Gilbert Livingston
New York, 1 January 17891
All we hear of you is from the papers-We receive no more Letters
than if there was not in the City one person who did not beleive the
2496


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