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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 2512

The Federalist-controlled Senate considered the governor's message
separately from the Assembly. On 11 December, it committed the gov-
ernor's speech and the accompanying papers to a committee of the
whole. On 24 December, Abraham Yates, Jr., from the committee of
the whole reported a draft of an answer to the governor. The two par-
agraphs relating to the proceedings of the New York Convention read:
"We receive with pleasure your Excellency's communications, of the
proceedings of the State Convention, and consider their ratification of
the Foederal Constitution, as a happy means of cementing the Union,
and of relieving the United States from the many evils they experi-
enced, from the weakness and defects of their former confederation.
"Convinced Sir, of the truth of the observation, 'That no govern-
ment, however, constructed, can operate well, unless it possesses the
confidence and good will of the great body of the People,' we cannot
but contemplate the adoption of the present system, by so large a ma-
jority of the States, with the utmost satisfaction, as it affords a happy
presage, that it will experience that 'Confidence and good will' but
since it is susceptible of salutary improvement, and as it is our incli-
nation as well as duty, to pursue every constitutional measure, to ensure
to the government, the greatest possible degree of such 'confidence
and good will' and as respect for the late Convention, is an additional
motive, we shall without hesitation, recommend a submission of the
system, to a general Convention" (DHFFE, III, 245).
Yates then moved to expunge the report and replace it with a new
version. His substitute expressed "perfect concurrence" with the "sen-
timents" of the circular letter and Clinton's speech respecting amend-
ments. The defects of the Constitution, stated Yates, had to be cor-
rected and apprehensions "so justly and generally occasioned" by the
"exceptionable parts" of the Constitution had to be allayed. Yates also
wanted to bring about "an early revision of the system" as recommended
by the New York Convention and as "anxiously desired by our constit-
uents." Lastly, he deleted any reference to "the weakness and defects"
of the Confederation government. The Senate rejected Yates's substi-
tute (DHFFE, III, 245-46).
Thomas Tredwell, who had voted against ratification of the Consti-
tution in the state Convention, moved to expunge the above two par-
agraphs and substitute new language. Tredwell's substitute emphasized
that the ratification of the Constitution by the New York Convention
"was not unconditional and without reserve." The Senate hoped that
the circular letter would bring about the proposed amendments. Amend-
ments, declared Tredwell, would relieve "the minds of a great part of

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