Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Ratifying Convention. Fifth Speech of July 22, [22 July 1788]

New York Ratifying Convention. Fifth Speech of July 22

[Poughkeepsie, New York, July 22, 1788]

Ham[ilton]—objects—1 because the Court ap[pointed] by Legislature

Chan[cellor Robert R. Livingston]—these Judges or commisioners may be under the same influence as the Legislature themselves—therefore to be avoided.

Ham[ilton]—of the same opinion.

[Samuel] Jones—wishes security under these Courts—sees great inconveniency in having a Court totally independent—wishes some mode to remedy the evil—

Ham[ilton]—there Must be a Court—in the last resort—why not safely placed in the sup[re]me Court—rather than in an adventicious Court—as in the senate—

Chan[cellor Robert R. Livingston]—the Ionic Council—& sup[re]me Court in Germany—have both original—and appellate Jurisdict[io]n—

[Samuel] Jones—this Mode now proposed has been long in use in Eng[lan]d—& is used to this day—without complaint—

Ham[ilton]—if it goes to the causes in which the sup[re]me C[our]t have original Jurisd[ictio]n—should not so strongly oppose it but if it goes to those causes which are bro[ugh]t before them on appeal—strenuously dissents—2

Gilbert Livingston MS Notes, MS Division, New York Public Library.

1H was objecting to the following amendment:

“That persons aggrieved ⟨by⟩ any Judgment, Sentence or ⟨decision⟩ of the Supreme Court of the United States (in any cause in which that Court has original Jurisdiction) with such Exceptions & under such Regulations as the Congress shall make concerning the same shall upon Application have a Commission to be issued by the president of the United Sta⟨tes⟩ to such men learned in the Law as he shall nominate and by & with the Advice and Consent of the Senate appoint not less than seven authorizing such Commissioner⟨s⟩ or any seven or more of them to correct the Errors in such Judgment ⟨or to review such Sentence⟩ or Decree as the Case may be & ⟨to do⟩ Justice to the parties in the premisses.” (John McKesson Papers, New-York Historical Society, New York City.)

The phrase in parentheses—“(in any cause in which that Court has original Jurisdiction)”—was added in conformity with H’s objections.

2After adding the clause indicated in note 1, the Convention approved the amendment.

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