Robert Yates (1737–1801) and John Lansing, Jr. (1754–1829)

Letter to George Clinton
New York Journal

New York: January 14, 1788
New-York Historical Society Library

Yates and Lansing (along with Alexander Hamilton) were delegates to the Philadelphia Convention. Both of them favored revising the Articles of Confederation rather than adopting a totally new Constitution. Being in the minority, they left the Convention by July 10, never to return. They wrote this letter to the governor on December 21, 1788, just before the state legislature was to meet, to explain why they left the Convention and why they opposed the Constitution. Governor Clinton presented the letter to the legislature at the same time he presented the report of the Philadelphia Convention. It was reprinted widely. Yates and Lansing left the Convention because they opposed the strong national government the Convention was creating. They favored continuing the government under the Articles of Confederation but with increased powers given to Congress.