Address of the Albany Antifederal Committee - 1788

This statement was issued by a committee of Albany Anti-Federalists in support of Anti-Federal lists of candidates for the New York ratifying convention and the New York legislature. It is said to have been printed in the New York Journal on April 26, 1788. An imperfect transcription (taken as it appears in a number of sources) follows:

As we have been informed, that the advocates for the new constitution, have lately traveled through the several districts in the county, and propagated an opinion, that is a good system of government: we be leave to state in as few words as possible, some of the many objections against it.

1. The convention, who were appointed for the sole and express purpose of revisiting and amending the confederation, have taken upon themselves the power of making a new one.
2. The great and extensive powers granted to the new government over the lives, liberties, and property of every citizen.
3. The small number of members who are to compose the general legislature, which is to pass laws to govern so large and extensive a continent, inhabited by people of different laws, customs, and opinions, and many of them residing upwards of 400 miles from the seat of government.
4. The members of the government are not to be chosen by the people, but appointed by the legislature of each state for the term of six years. This will destroy their responsibility, and induce them to act like the masters and not the servants of the people.
5. The power to lay poll taxes, duties, imposts, excises, and other taxes.
6. Their laws are to be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state are to be bound thereby, notwithstanding the constitution or laws, of any state to the contrary – A sweeping clause, which subjects every thing to the controul of the new government.
7. Slaves are taken into the computation in apportioning the number of representatives, whereby 50,000 slaves, give an equal representation with 30,000 freemen…
8. The power to raise, support, and maintain a standing army in time of peace.

[ Albany, April 10, 1788 ]

By order of the Committee,
Jer. Van Rensselaer, Chairman
Mat. Visscher, Clerk

The subscribers being of opinion, that the reasons abovementioned, are conclusive against adopting the new constitution without previous ammendments, recommend the above named gentlemen as candidates for members of convention and the following, for members of senate and assembly: to wit, Peter Van Ness, for senator; John Lansing, jun., Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Cornelius Van Dyck, John Duncan, John Thompson, Henry K Van Rensselaer, and John Younglove, for assemblymen.

Jacob C. Ten Eyck
John R. Bleecker
Gerrit Lansing, jun.
Cornelius K. Van Den Berg
Abraham Yates, jun
Gysbert Fonda
Cornelius Wendell
Volkert A. Douw
Abraham Cuyler
Henry Ten Eyck   (2 possibilities)
Henry Wendell
Peter W. Douw
Wm. Mancius

Robert Lansing
John Price
Arie Lagrange
Henry Lansing
Jacob G. Lansing
John W. Wendell
Abraham Bloodgood
Gysbert Marselus
Peter W. Yates
Dirck B. Van Schoonhoven
Jacob Roseboom
Richard Lush
Peter Sharp


This often-utilized "teaching" document summarizes the antifederal objection to the Constitution. It is valuable in an Albany context as it identifies twenty-eight prominent Albany residents as opponents of ratification. Not surprizingly, the Albany Federal committee disagreed.

Candidates: Of the antifederal endorsees, Van Ness, Van Dyck, Duncan, Thompson, and Younglove were residents of greater Albany County but not of the city. Thus, they have not been further articulated here.

Transformed by SB

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first posted: 3/10/08; revised 1/14/12