Alexander Hamilton Papers
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New York Ratifying Convention. Fourth Speech of June 21, [21 June 1788]

New York Ratifying Convention
Fourth Speech of June 21

[Poughkeepsie, New York, June 21, 1788]

Mr. Hamilton. I only rise to observe that the gentleman has misunderstood me.1 What I meant to express was this; that if we argued from possibilities only; if we reasoned from chances, or an ungovernable propensity to evil, instead of taking into view the controul, which the nature of things, or the form of the constitution provided; the argument would lead us to withdraw all confidence from our fellow-citizens, and discard the chimerical idea of government: This is a true deduction from such reasoning.2

Childs, Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York description begins The Debates and Proceedings of the State of New-York, Assembled at Poughkeepsie, on the 17th June, 1788. To deliberate and decide on the Form of Federal Government recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, on the 17th September, 1787. Taken in Short Hand (New York: Printed and Sold by Francis Childs, 1788). description ends , 47.

1H spoke in reply to the following remarks by Governor George Clinton:

“The gentleman [H] has attempted to give an unjust and unnatural coloring to my observations. I am really at a loss to determine whence he draws his inference. I declare, that the dissolution of the Union is, of all events, the remotest from my wishes. That gentleman may wish for a consolidated—I wish for a federal republic. The object of both of us is a firm energetic government: and we may both have the good of our country in view; though we disagree as to the means of procuring it. It is not fair reasoning, to infer that a man wants no government at all, because he attempts to qualify it so as to make it safe and easy.” (Childs, Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York description begins The Debates and Proceedings of the State of New-York, Assembled at Poughkeepsie, on the 17th June, 1788. To deliberate and decide on the Form of Federal Government recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, on the 17th September, 1787. Taken in Short Hand (New York: Printed and Sold by Francis Childs, 1788). description ends , 47.)

2John McKesson reported H as merely saying: “The State Governmt. will inform the People of the abuses of the State” (John McKesson MS Notes, New-York Historical Society, New York City).

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