Front Page Titles (by Subject) R. R. LIVINGSTON AND G. MORRIS TO JAY. 1 - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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R. R. LIVINGSTON AND G. MORRIS TO JAY. 1 - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 1 (1763-1781).
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R. R. LIVINGSTON AND G. MORRIS TO JAY.1
We were much surprised at your letter to Mr. Hobart, as we could not perceive the danger which would result from permitting the several courts to appoint their own clerks, while on the other hand great inconveniences must arise from suffering them to be independent of such Courts, and of consequence frequently ignorant, always inattentive. Neither had we the most distant idea that a clause of this sort could meet with your disapprobation since you was so fully of the opinion to appoint by judges of the Supreme Court not only clerks but all other civil officers in the government.
As to what you mention about the licensing of Attornies there might perhaps be a propriety in permitting one court to do this drudgery for the rest if we could agree upon the proper court, but as the Gentlemen who preside in each may think themselves qualified to determine as well upon the abilities of the several advocates as upon the merits of the causes advocated, it will not be quite easy to persuade them that they have not an equal right with others to say who shall and who shall not be entitled to practice.
The division of the State into Districts was in your own opinion as you will well remember improper as a part of the Constitution and only to be taken up by the Legislature. If this opinion was well founded there can be no great evil in the omission. Neither had you any ground to suppose that we would go into the Connecticut Plan of holding up which we have declared to be in our opinion inconvenient and by reason of the rotatory mode of electing entirely useless.
But if we had been so fortunate as to agree in all or any of your ideas yet as the Government was not only agreed to but solemnly published, it would have been highly improper to attempt any reconsideration. Besides this the difficulties we were obliged to wade thro’ in order to get any Government at all merely by reason of reconsiderations were so great and by us so highly reprobated that no persons could have stood in a more aukward situation to propose them. . . .
We wish you would get here soon, as many matters of considerable importance are on the carpet.
We are yours &c,
Robt. R. Livingston.
Kingston, 26 April, 1777.
[1 ]The first Constitution of the State of New York, with which Jay’s name is closely associated, was adopted April 20, 1777. Unfortunately no record of the deliberations of the committee that framed it is known to exist, and the debate upon its adoption in the Convention was but meagrely reported, while the only material bearing upon any of its features found among Jay’s papers consists of the above letter from Livingston and Morris, Jay’s reply following, and the letter from Duane of May 28, 1777. The main facts in the history of the Constitution are well known. A committee to draft the instrument, in accordance with a general recommendation from the Continental Congress (see note, p. 58), was appointed as early as August 1, 1776, but events delayed the submission of its report until March 11, 1777. This committee, a majority of whom were prominent lawyers, was composed of Messrs. Jay, Hobart, Smith, Duer, Morris, Livingston, Broome, Scott, Abraham and Robert Yates, Wisner, DeWitt, and Townhsend. According to Jay’s biographer, Chancellor Kent, and others, the first draft of the Constitution was presented in Jay’s handwriting, and reflected the committee’s mature deliberations. That he devoted much attention to it himself and stamped it largely with his own views is evident from the debate in the Convention and his letter of April 29, 1777. During the debate changes were made and amendments adopted. Jay, for example, moved the substitution of the ballot for the previous viva-voce method of electing representatives; he also proposed the Council of Appointment for the nomination of civil officers. Morris, Livingston, Scott, and others figure in the proceedings.