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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
(1976)

A. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 17 September-6 October 1787,   pp. 130-172


Page 172

II. DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTION
enjoy a place of profit under the present establishment, will object
to the proposed innovation; not, in truth, because it is injurious to the
liberties of his country, but because it affects his schemes of wealth
and consequence. I will confess, indeed, that I am not a blind ad-
mirer of this plan of government, and that there are some parts of
it which, if my wish had prevailed, would certainly have been altered.
But, when I reflect how widely men differ in their opinions, and that
every man (and the observation applies likewise to every state) has an
equal pretension to assert his own, I am satisfied that anything nearer
to perfection could not have been accomplished. If there are errors,
it should be remembered, that the seeds of reformation are sown in
the work itself, and the concurrence of two-thirds of the Congress may
at any time introduce alterations and amendments. Regarding it then,
in every point of view, with a candid and disinterested mind, I am
bold to assert, that it is the best form of government which has ever
been offered to the world.
Mr. Wilson's speech was frequently interrupted with loud and unani-
mous testimonies of approbation, and the applause which was re-
iterated at the conclusion evinced the general sense of its excellence,
and the conviction which it had impressed upon every mind.
1. Pennsylvania Herald, 9 October, Extra. (CC: 134 for national circulation.)
Independent Gazetteer, 6 October'
Another correspondent observes, that although the tide seems to
run so high at present in favor of the new Constitution, there is no
doubt but the people will soon change their minds when they have
had time to examine it with coolness and impartiality.
Among the blessings of the new-proposed government our corres-
pondent enumerates the following: 1. The liberty of the press abol-
ished.2 2. A standing army. 3. A Prussian militia. 4. No annual elec-
tions. 5. Fivefold taxes. 6. No trial by jury in civil cases. 7. General
search warrants. 8. Excise laws, customhouse officers, tide and land
waiters, cellar rats, etc. 9. A free importation of Negroes for one and
twenty years. 10. Appeals to the supreme continental court, where
the rich may drag the poor from the furthermost parts of the continent.
11. Elections for Pennsylvania held at Pittsburgh or perhaps Wyoming.
12. Poll taxes for our heads, if we choose to wear them. 13. And death
if we dare to complain.3
1. CC 136 for national circulation.
2. For a reply to this charge, see "Avenging Justice," 17 October, II:C below.
3. For a Federalist counterpart of this Antifederalist item, see "A Slave," 25
October, CC: 197-A.
172


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