Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Ratifying Convention. First Speech of July 2 (John McKesson’s Version), [2 July 1788]

New York Ratifying Convention. First Speech of July 21
(John Mc Kesson’s Version)2

[Poughkeepsie, New York, July 2, 1788]

Mr. Hamilton

Loans in Time of Peace peculiar to our Govt. because made thro Necessity—

The Inconvenience of being in Debt is a sufficient restriction—

If I was reason I would

The Only Method of preventing Loans to an improper Degree [is to] give them all the Resources of the Country that they may be able by their Own Efforts to avoid the Necessity of Loans—

Neither should their Power be restrained—

When the Resourses of the Country are insufficient they ought to have the Unrestricted Power of making Loans—

This is restraining the Arm of Power which is necessary for its defence—

Gent. seem to dread Corruption3

Foreign Corruption is the most dangerous and to be dreaded—

If a foreign Power can corrupt a Small minority of your Counsel in Senate, only five, and they will prevent a Loan, which may be necessary for Your Common Defence—

Corruption has had its Effects in the Commonwealths of Holland and Sweden and other Republic’s—

We ought not to facilitate the like in our Govt—

We ought not to do any thing to impede a Loan when necessary—

As to the Gent from Ulster—4

It was a part of the policy between the Northn. & So. Navigatg & non Navigatg States that Treaties should not be made whereby many States might be Injured—

As to Impeachmts—They are the accusations of the Representatives of the People and therefore popular—

to guard Innocence it is necessary that ⅔ds. Should find the party guilty

Tho’ this may in some Cases be a proper Guard it cannot be necessary [in] other Cases—especially where the Genl defence is concerned—

Navigat Acts were contended to be made by ⅔ds. but at last a Majority prevailed—

In this Case it would Embarrass your defence—

The Power of the President to send an Act back with his objections does not weigh—Because tho he may do that it cannot be necessary to establish it so as always to have two thirds—

John McKesson MS Notes, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

1At the conclusion of a long debate, chiefly between Chancellor Robert R. Livingston and Melancton Smith, the Ratifying Convention on July 2 considered Sections 8, 9, and 10 of Article I of the Constitution. “As the secretary read the paragraphs,” Francis Childs recorded, “amendments were moved, in the order and form hereafter recited.” The first amendment was proposed by John Lansing, Jr., “to the paragraph respecting the borrowing of money.” It reads as follows: “Provided, That no money be borrowed on the credit of the United States, without the assent of two thirds of the members of both houses present” (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 , 136). H’s speech was in opposition to Lansing’s amendment.

3Governor George Clinton had said “that the Constitution had made two thirds necessary where there is as much danger of Influence or Corruption” (John McKesson MS Notes, New-York Historical Society). Clinton meant that two-thirds of Congress was as necessary to make loans as to convict on impeachment or to make treaties.

4George Clinton. See note 3.

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