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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)

VII-D. New York recommends the calling of a second constitutional convention,   pp. 2501-2530

Page 2510

states. (Only Smith had been a New York Convention delegate.) The
committee reported drafts on 4 November which insisted on the need
for amendments to the Constitution to protect political and civil lib-
erties against a government with excessive and dangerous powers. A
general convention, stated the committee, had been promised by Fed-
eralists and without such a promise the Constitution would not have
been ratified unconditionally. Since the committee believed that Feder-
alists could not be trusted to keep their promises, it was imperative that
Antifederalists cooperate and unite in obtaining amendments through a
general convention, "the only mode that is now left." On 13 November
the Society again met but could not obtain a quorum and adjourned.
(For the Society's proceedings, see VII-B, above.)
Soon after the Society adjourned, a few essays appeared in New York
City newspapers supporting the call of a general convention and the
election of congressmen who would support amendments. "A Feder-
alist who is for Amendments" reminded his readers that New York Con-
vention delegates had been unanimous in their belief that some amend-
ments were proper and that they favored the calling of another general
convention to obtain them. Many Americans supported amendments,
including some Federalists. "I hope," the writer concluded, "none of
those who made such professions will be guilty of such duplicity of
conduct as to oppose the calling a convention to propose amendments"
(Daily Advertiser, 22 November [Mfm:N.Y]).
On 27 November "A Federal Republican" published the first of two
essays in the Antifederalist New York Journal in which he described the
Constitution as "imperfect, capable of great improvements" and called
for the election of congressmen who would support amendments. He
promised, in future writings, to "point out the duplicity of conduct and
disregard to the public good of some, who now oppose any alterations
in it, though previous to its adoption they declared themselves in favor
of amendments" (DHFFE, III, 212-13). A week later "Sidney" (Anti-
federalist Abraham Yates, Jr.) recommended that the state legislature
"inhibit" New York's elected federal officials from taking an oath to
support the new government until amendments were adopted (New
York Journal, 4 December. [VII-B, above]). On 11 December "A Federal
Republican" was distressed because Federalists had dropped their sup-
port of a general convention in favor of giving the new government a
trial before making alterations. He called upon his readers to elect
congressmen who advocated amendments and who would "firmly pur-
sue the plan recommended by the convention of this state" (DHFFE,
III, 214-15).

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