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Kaminski, John P.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Fields, David P.; Conley, Patrick T.; Moore, Timothy D. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Rhode Island (3)

VI. The debate over the Constitution in Rhode Island, 20 January-29 May 1790,   pp. 711-897

Page 733

Should you adjourn, upon what principle could you do it? What
reason could you give, that would be satisfactory? One of the State
Conventions, it is true, did adjourn, but this was at an early period;' you
cannot have the same reason, because you have had two years longer to
consider of it, and their wisdom to guide you. Plausible as may be your
ostensible reasons for such a measure, will not another and perhaps
the true construction be put upon it? Will Congress be again induced
by any assurances, to further suspend the operation of their laws? You
must be sensible they will not:-Besides exposing our citizens to ruin,
do you not hazard the interest of the State? The general Government
hath been organized a year, and the revenues arising from the Impost
of the States now in Union, have paid the expences of it and left a
surplus in the Treasury towards discharging the interest of the public
debt; is it not then a privilege to be admited now (at the eleventh hour)
to a participation of the government, without having contributed to-
wards its establishment? Must we not expect, that if an adoption is
delayed, that Congress at least will require, our proportion of the gen-
eral expences, as a preliminary for admission?-And this at a time,
when we shall have no other resource left but taxation, for with the
stagnation that will take place in our trade, the revenues that have
arisen therefrom, will cease.
A rejection of the Constitution will be a solemn declaration of se-
ceding from an union with the other States:-If we were blessed with
the greatest domestic harmony, such a secession would be dangerous,
but when we consider the division that prevails, the numbers and re-
spectability of those, who advocate an adoption, will not a rejection be
madness in the extreme? Will the State have power to prevent a dis-
memberment of it? It is evident they will not. Or should we be called
upon for a payment of our quota of the foreign and domestic debt,
have we any funds provided? Or are there any resources that would
furnish it? There are none. Since then a rejection would be ruinous,
and an adjournment productive of numerous evils, what reason can
there be for delaying an adoption?
GENTLEMEN, The trust reposed in you, is of the highest importance,
and your responsibility is consequently great. -That you may discharge
your duty to the honor and interest of the State, and meet with the
just and grateful approbation of your Fellow Citizens, is the ardent wish
1. On 22 February 1788 the New Hampshire Convention adjourned to 18 June 1788
(CC:554). The reconvened Convention ratified the Constitution on 21 June (CC:785).

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