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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut

V. The aftermath of ratification,   pp. 285-307

Page 307

sales take place, property, real or personal, for want of specie, would
sell for a trifle only, so that the real value of 1000 f. would not fetch
100 E. and so on. A law, framed for the purpose of allotment, would,
I imagine, extend only to debts contracted previous to the war, to
certain judgments already obtained, and to a few other cases, but to
such only as come within a particular description. Such a law ought
to be restricted to debts of a certain magnitude; small sums should
be paid in the common way. If the creditor is a foreigner, let him, in
justice, be admitted to all the rights of citizenship, except only voting
for and holding places of public trust in government, which partial
disability might also in time, for good reasons, be taken off. In fram-
ing such a law, within the lines of our constitution, I presume a su-
perior court would be appointed to be held in each county on
the same day, suppose the last Tuesday in August; a special jury
being summoned, let the creditor or debtor be authorized, by peti-
tion, stating the amount of debt, to apply for three referees to be ap-
pointed agreeable to the mutual nomination of the court, jury, and
party, to take the whole circumstances of the case into consideration,
and, on oath, award the sum equitably due, and the allotment pro-
posed to the amount thereof, and make a return to another special
court, to be held by adjournment, suppose on the last Tuesday of Sep-
tember, which court should be authorized to confirm the allotment
and discharge the debtor. Such a law will be made with proper pro-
visos, many of which occur, but I have not room to mention them.
I only mean to show that such a law may be made with propriety,
and constitutionally, and I will venture to say, that unless a law of
this complexion is made, and put into execution immediately, the
opportunity will be forever lost, and then, in spite of paper emis-
sions, in spite of installment laws, and in spite of Congress, the
debtor A (referring to the case above cited) will lie at the mercy of
his creditor B, and the chain of bondage will soon be riveted.
1. Reprinted in the Georgia State Gazette on 9 August. Edward Telfair was the
author of "A Planter." See letter to Edward Telfair, 5 January 1789, Telfair Pa-
pers, Duke University Library.

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