University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

A. Responses to ratification and to The Dissent of the Minority,   pp. 646-669


Page 669

A. RESPONSES TO RATIFICATION/16 FEB.
well-known that he was all along in the minority; that after long labor
the patriots of the minority procured some alterations to the better;
that Doctor Franklin never approved of it in the Federal Convention,
but even to the last expressed his apprehension that it would end in
despotism, though he and several others joined it out of submission
to the majority, and as the best they could obtain to lay before the
people. Messrs. [George] Mason, [Elbridge] Gerry, and [Edmund]
Randolph, who refused absolutely to sign the system, were also patriots
who souls had been tried, and many such characters retired hopeless
before the question was taken.
With respect to the majority, I do not doubt the testimony of a
dignified supporter of the system that they were all, or nearly all,
eminent lawyers; but I do doubt the patriotism and political virtue
of several of the most eminently active of them, but it is not with
the men, but with the plan to which they gave birth, we have to
contend, and to contend with such a degree of moderation and firm-
ness as will best promote political security shall be the endeavor of
HAMPDEN.
1. "Hampden" was apparently William Findley. Thomas Scott stated: "Mr.
Finley I am told behaves with considerable moderation, but he republished the
Dissent of the Minority in the Pittsburgh Gazette. and published his Hampden,
which I enclose you" (to Benjamin Rush, Washington, 3 March, Mfm:Pa. 476).
2. On 12 December 1787 Benjamin Rush declared that the hand of God was
employed in the creation of the new Constitution in the same manner as "God
had divided the Red Sea to give a passage to the children of Israel or had ful-
minated the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai" (Convention Debates, P.M.,
12 December, III above).
3. See "Pittsburgh Meeting," 9 November, II:F above.
4. The Pennsylvania act of 30 December 1786 elected delegates for "the purpose
of revising the Foederal Constitution" (CDR:VI, C).
5. For the action of the Constitutional Convention on the ratio of representation
on 17 September 1787, and for Washington's statement, see CC:75 and Pennsyl-
vania Herald, 7 November, CC:233-B.
6. See President of the Convention to the President of Congress, 17 September
1787, CDR:VIII, A.
669


Go up to Top of Page