University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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)

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

Page 2492

of what was said in Convention has been justly stated, yet he thinks an
apology due to the Gentlemen concerned, for the imperfect dress in
which their arguments are given to the Public. Not long accustomed
to the business, he cannot pretend to as much accuracy as might be
expected from a more experienced hand;-and it will easily be compre-
hended how difficult it must be to follow a copious and rapid Speaker,
in the train of his reasoning, much more in the turn of his expression.
New-York, Dec. 1, 1788.
Newspaper Report of Assembly Debates, Thursday, 8 January 17894
MATTHEW ADGATE.... I think, sir, that by some late publications that
have been made, the public is as liable to be misled as from any thing
that has appeared in the newspapers; what I mean is, that the speeches
that are made in public bodies ought to be published with great pre-
cision; and as newspapers have been produced, I shall beg leave to read
a short extract from one I have in my hand. (He then read some illiberal
and unjustifiable remarks that were published in an Albany paper against the
Editor of the Debates in Convention, accusing him of partiality to the federal-
ists.) 5 Having read the paper, for the truth of the observation, he said,
he must refer to the determination of every gentleman who had heard
the arguments, and had since read the publication. (Impliedly acknowl-
edging that he did not know whether the accusation was well founded;
how could he? he had not yet read the Debates!)
WILLIAM HARPER thought it was improper to introduce newspapers
into the house as proofs. With respect to the Debates, he thought they
were not impartially stated.
PHILIP LIVINGSTON.6 I have read the publication, and I agree that
the speeches are not exactly stated as they were delivered; nor do I
believe it is possible for a Short Hand writer to take down every word
that is said. But, with respect to partiality in that pamphlet, I think the
speeches of those who were opposed to the constitution are done more
justice to than what they deserved, particularly those of Melancton
Smith. Sir, I do not think there has been any partiality shewn to the
federalists-there is no facts on which such an assertion can be founded.
We are rather, therefore, to consider the remark as ill-natured-than
just. . ..
BROCKHOLST LIVINGSTON.... I trust, sir, that the gentlemen who
have brought forward Mr. Childs, did it on full conviction of their being
able, when called upon, to satisfy the house of the propriety of their
conduct: but if, contrary to their expectations, any serious allegations
should be supported against him, they will be as ready to abandon, as
they have hitherto been anxious to forward his pretensions.

Go up to Top of Page