Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Assembly. Remarks on a Motion that Five Delegates be Appointed to the Constitutional Convention, [16 April 1787]

New York Assembly. Remarks on a Motion that
Five Delegates be Appointed to the
Constitutional Convention1

[New York, April 16, 1787]

I think it proper to apprise the house of the gentlemen on some of whom I wish their choice to fall, and with a view to which I bring forward the present motion.2 Their abilities and experience in the general affairs of the country cannot but be useful upon such an occasion. I mean Mr. Chancellor [Robert R.] Livingston, Mr. [James] Duane, Mr. [Egbert] Benson, and Mr. [John] Jay. The particular situation of the latter may require an observation or two. His being a servant of Congress might seem an objection to his appointment, but surely this objection if it had any weight would have applied with equal force to the appointment of a member of that body. In the case of Mr. Lansing3 the two houses appear to have thought there was no force in it; and I am persuaded there can be no reason to apply a different rule to Mr. Jay. His acknowledged abilities, tried integrity and abundant experience in the affairs of this country, foreign and domestic will not permit us to allow any weight to any objection which would imply a want of confidence in a character that has every title to the fullest confidence.

The [New York] Daily Advertiser, April 24, 1787.

1The Advertiser of April 19 reported that, after the introduction of his motion on the appointment of five delegates to the Constitutional Convention. H “mentioned the great benefits that would arise from sending, either Mr. Chancellor Livingston, Mr. Benson, Mr. Duane, or Mr. Jay, particularly the latter. These were names he threw out for the consideration of the members.” In the issue of April 24, the paragraph was reprinted with the following comment by the editor: “On a review of our notes we find that there is an idea conveyed in the above short account of the matter which does not correspond with what was said. Mr. Hamilton after several introductory observations went on thus.”

3John Lansing, Jr., was one of the delegates appointed by the New York legislature as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He also had been appointed, on January 26, 1787, as a delegate to the Continental Congress.

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