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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)
23 (2009)

Appendix III: A real Federalist: Albany Register, 5 January 1789 (supplement),   pp. 2549-2560


Page 2549

Appendix III
A Real Federalist
Albany Register, 5 January 1789 (Supplement)
After the publication of Francis Childs's Convention Debates on 16 December
1788, "A Real Federalist" complained that the Debates were biased against "the
advocates for Amendments." He declared that he was taking "the liberty to
publish [i.e., make known], for the information of the people ... a Speech,
which was actually prepared and intended to have been made by an Honorable
Member in the Convention." "A Real Federalist" suggested that Childs might
publish the speech "as an appendix" to his published Debates. Childs probably
read the "Speech" in the Albany Register since he was in Albany taking notes
of the legislative debates for publication in his Daily Advertiser. Childs, however,
did not print a second edition of the Debates, nor did he reprint the "Speech"
in any other venue.
"A Real Federalist" did not identify either the New York Convention dele-
gate who intended to deliver the speech nor the day on which it was to be
delivered. In fact, the speech could have been a ploy to publish an Antifederal
essay. The speech and the preface by "A Real Federalist" were reprinted in
installments by the Country Journal, 20, 27 January 1789, and by the Philadel-
phia Independent Gazetteer, 23, 25 February and 4 March.
In the 1820s and 1830s, Jonathan Elliot, the editor of a multivolume edition
of the debates of the state ratifying conventions, discovered the "Speech" and
published it under 2 July 1788, the last day in which Childs published full
debates. Elliot attributed the speech to Antifederalist delegate Thomas Tred-
well of Suffolk County, a strong proponent of amendments in the Convention
who voted against ratification of the Constitution. Elliot offered no explanation
for his identification of Tredwell nor did he give any reason for placing the
speech under 2 July. Perhaps, Elliot chose 2 July because the next day Antifed-
eralists proposed a large number of amendments, two of them submitted by
Tredwell. (The amendments concerned Article I, sections 8 and 9 of the Con-
stitution, both alluded to in the speech.) Tredwell could have submitted the
speech for publication in the Albany Register because he was in Albany repre-
senting the Southern District in the state Senate. Another possible author of
the speech could have been John Lansing, Jr., the mayor of Albany, who drafted
several plans of amendments in the New York Convention. Furthermore, Lan-
sing had revised his speeches for Childs's Debates, and perhaps he had not
gotten the speech ready in time for publication in the Debates.
For the publication of Francis Childs's Debates and the response to it, see
"Francis Childs and the Printed Convention Debates," 16 December 1788-23
February 1789 (VII-B, above).
Messrs. Printers,' Having constantly attended the late Convention of
this state during its sitting, my curiosity led me to an attentive perusal
of the Debates of that Honorable body, published by Mr. Childs for the
amusement of the public and the promotion of that cause, which, by
a strange abuse of language, has been termed Federal.2 As those debates,
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