[UNITED STATES, CONSTITUTION]. Articles, Agreed upon by the Federal Convention of the United States of America, his Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq.; President. In Convention, September 17, 1787...We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [Imprint at bottom of page 4:] Albany [N.Y.], Printed For the Federal Committee, by Claxton & Babcock, at the Federal Printing Office, No.47, State-street, a few doors west of the Dutch Church, n.d. [late 1787 or early 1788]. 4 pages, folio, 13 9/16 x 8 5/8 in. (346 x 218 mm.), printed in two columns, bold heading on page 1, very minor foxing along two folds, otherwise in very fine condition.
"WE, THE PEOPLE...": A UNIQUE PRINTING OF THE CONSTITUTION, PROBABLY FOR DELEGATES TO THE NEW YORK CONVENTION TO RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION
A previously unrecorded printing of the Federal Compact, possibly intended for the use of delegates to New York's bitterly divided ratification convention which convened at Van Kleck's tavern in Poughkeepsie from June 17, 1788 (the official edition for the use of delegates was printed by Nicholas Power in Poughkeepsie in 1788, see Evans 21524). In the present edition, the full text of the Constitution is preceded by the letter of the Constitutional Convention (signed in type by Washington), submitting the Constitution to Congress (17 September 1787) with the assurance that "the constitution which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity," which "we hope and believe may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness." With the same date, following the certification of Washington and the enumeration of all the states' delegates, is the Convention's final resolution that the Constitution be laid before Congress and the states and implemented when nine states have ratified the Constitution, as provided in Article VIII.
The printing establishment of Babcock and Claxton and Babcock, close to the New York state capitol, occasionally printed texts of an official nature for New York state. Babcock's imprint (at the same address, 47 State Street) appears on a Dutch-language edition of the Constitution (Artyklen, die Geaccordeerd zyn by de Foederal Conventie, Evans 20792). Interestingly, that printing is also a four-page edition and also states that it is "Gedruckt voor de Foederale Committee." Evans assigns Babcock's Dutch printing to 1787, for unstated reasons, and it is probable that the present previously unknown printing was executed at about the same time.
Very few New Yorkers approved of the newly drafted Constitution. Two of the state's three delegates to the Convention had walked out of the Convention and only Hamilton signed the final document. The debate over ratification was particularly acrimonious in New York. Delegates to the Convention were not even selected until April 1788, and when chosen, the majority of delegates were Anti-Federalist. Both factions possessed strong, respected and outspoken leaders (Jay, Hamilton, Duane and Robert Livingston among Federalists, George Clinton and Melancthon Smith in the Anti-Federalist camp). The debates raged through July, while other states voted for ratification. Hamiltion himself paid for express riders to carry to the Convention the news that New Hampshire had become the ninth state to ratify. Finally, both factions realized the necessity of compromise and, with the addition of a proposed Bill of Rights, New York became the 11th state to vote for ratification, on 26 July 1788.
Unrecorded in Evans, Bristol and the American Antiquarian Society's Online Catalogue (Mark) of American imprints.