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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 II: Robert R. Livingston on the Constitution, pre-26 July 1788,   pp. 2536-2548


Page 2536

Appendix II
Robert R. Livingston on the Constitution,
pre-26 July 1788
Robert R. Livingston spoke often and at length in the New York Convention.
His papers at the New-York Historical Society include drafts or notes of speeches
that he delivered and his notes on the speeches of other delegates. Many of
these notes are printed in Part V. Other items are in Mfm:N.Y. This appendix
contains two general items that are not specific to any one day. They are: (1)
a possible newspaper essay in defense of the Constitution found in the New-
York Historical Society, and (2) Livingston's annotations on a copy of the Con-
stitution that is in the William Wilson Papers, Clements Library, University of
Michigan.
Draft of a Possible Newspaper Essay in Defense of the Constitution'
It was my fortune not long since at an [inn] where I put up for the
evening to over hear a conversation between three two farmers & the
son of a third who had just returned from Yale College & was called
by the nei [gh] bourhood to keep a school while he imployed his leisure
hours in the study of divinity being designed for the church-The first
of them was a man of plain strong understanding [who] had gone thro'
the ro [u] tine of district & county offices & during the war (being a
staunch whig) had been a member of several committees & for some
time of the state convention-The third our Landlord was a character
very common in town & country a man who had no fixed & deter-
minate principles in politicks but was disposed rather to catch at the
weak side of an-argument a cause & to acquire consequence by sup-
porting it sometimes against his better Judgmt. retailing the arguments
which men equally interested & more ingeneous suggested to him-
sI ave forgot hisR real name I will in retailing this con)1versation call1
hirm       ]  He kept the Inn at which we were
A. I come now neighbour agreeably to my promise to hear your
objections to the new constitution & to tell you honestly what I think
about them And I am very glad the master happens to be here because
in doubtful points it will be very well to appeal to history & ask what
other nations have done on similar occasions-And young as he is, he
has had advantages which you & I neighour Landlord have wanted &
can inform us both-
L: Aye aye the young man is very well learned many a bushel of grain
has cost his father to keep him at college-I wish his learning may
bring him half as much back-Now for my part I chuse-
2536


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