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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)

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

Page 2494

him, or that he wishes it to have an influence on this house. Sir, it was
improper to read it without informing us who was the author of it-
but after all, what does the charge amount to?-Allow it all the weight
that can be wished for, and it will amount to no more than a charge
of not publishing the debates perfect and exactly as they were spoken.
If sir, this be a crime, we should never be indulged with the debates of
any public body. I believe it next to impossible to attain to such per-
fection in the art of short hand, as to take down the speech of any man
exactly as it is delivered. If the substance of the speeches and the gen-
eral train of the arguments be preserved, it is all we can expect. In this
light the pamphlet published by Mr. Childs deserves much commen-
dation, instead of those illiberal invectives contained in the publication
just read. With respect to its partiality to the Federalists in the conven-
tion, I can only observe, that I have heard one of the gentlemen of
that description (whose speeches form a considerable part of the work)
declare that he was refused the permission of revising the notes taken
by Mr. Childs, altho' that indulgence had been shewn to a gentleman
who argued against the adoption of the new constitution; and certain
it is, that the arguments of the gentleman last alluded to appear in a
dress that reflect no discredit on him. Indeed I know no better proof
that could be required of Mr. Childs's impartiality in this compilation,
than the censures which it has met with from individuals of both par-
ties. I do not mean that there is just room for these censures. We are
too apt to think that justice has not been done to what we have said,
and in the fulness of our pride to blame the printer for not making us
speak much better than we did....
New York Journal, 22 January 1789
MR. GREENLEAF, The debates of the convention being now published,
they become the subject of criticism. I travelled through the field of
political argument, observed a good and profitable soil, but very few
flowers to amuse and regale the jaded spirits of the weary traveller. Our
orators speak with all the keanness of syllogism to the reason and un-
derstanding of a mixed assembly; and there are few successful addresses
to the weaknesses, feelings, passions, and prejudices. The art of amus-
ing and interesting the attention and admiration, by bold and apt meta-
phor, seems not to have been studied.(a) An apt metaphor, taken from
rural life, would rouse and engage the attention of the legislative farm-
ers, who would not9 in the midst of a fine spun system of irritable
syllogism. The metaphor that must be used in an American legislature,

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