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

B. The Dissent of the Minority of the Convention,   pp. 617-640


Page 618

III. PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION
The version of the "Dissent" printed below is from the Pennsylvania
Packet and follows the Packet and the broadside version in omitting
the use of capital letters. It may or may not be significant that the
two first printings do not capitalize such words as "Convention,"
"Constitution," "President," "Senator" and the like, but capitalize
"Congress" consistently.
In the Packet and the broadside versions, the "Dissent" is followed
by the roll-call vote on ratification, which is dated "Philadelphi7a,
Dec. 12, 1787." That vote is omitted below.
The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minorityi
of the Convention of the State of Pennsylvania
to their Constituents.
It was not until after the termination of the late glorious contest,
which made the people of the United States an independent nation,
that any defect was discovered in the present confederation. It was
formed by some of the ablest patriots in America. It carried us suc-
cessfully through the war; and the virtue and patriotism of the
people, with their disposition to promote the common cauSe, sup-
plied the want of power in Congress.
The requisition of Congress for the five percent impost was made
before the peace, so early as the first of February 1781,1 but was
prevented taking effect by the refusal of one state; yet it is probable
every state in the union would have agreed to this measure at that
period had it not been for the extravagant terms in which it was
demanded. The requisition was new molded in the year 1733, and
accompanied with an additional demand of certain supplementary
funds for 25 years.2 Peace had now taken place, and the United States
found themselves laboring under a considerable foreign and domestic
debt, incurred during the war. The requisition of 1783 was com-
mensurate with the interest of the debt, as it was then calculated; but
it has been more accurately ascertained since that time. The domestic
debt has been found to fall several millions of dollars short of the
calculation, and it has lately been considerably diminished by large
sales of the western lands. The states have been called on by Con-
gress annually for supplies until the general system of finance pro-
posed in 1783 should take place.
It was at this time that the want of an efficient federal government
was first complained of, and that the powers vested in Congress were
found to be inadequate to the procuring of the benefits that should
result from the union. The impost was granted by most of the states,
but many refused the supplementary funds; the annual requisitions
618


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