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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)
(2013)

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


Page 741

COMMENTARIES, 25 FEBRUARY 1790
the States for men and money, were they either refused, or treated with
silence and contempt-they were devoid of power to enforce obedi-
ence, and consequently were many times reduced to the brink of ruin
and slavery, and saved alone by the kind assistance of our European
allies, who advanced that property Congress had not credit to procure
at home. This inability since the war has been sufficiently exemplified.
Have not our enemies the Britons, in direct violation of the treaty of
peace, held subjected to them our Western Territory? have not the
Savages with impunity been murdering and stealing our Western Breth-
ren? and have not their cries for assistance been neglected? is there a
nation on earth to whom we carry the produce of our farms, or our
manufactures, who do not impose such heavy and intolerable burthens
as almost amount to a prohibition? our offers of treaties abroad were
spurned at with contempt, and knowing we had not power under our
divided inefficient government to retaliate, they have taken every ad-
vantage, and almost reduced our Commerce to a shadow, consequently
our lands and their produce to small, very small value.
In this contemptible situation we were the scorn of other nations,
the bye word, the reproach of all.-To remedy those defects the Con-
stitution you are I hope about to adopt was proposed;-the adoption
by the other States has gained them as many advantages as the most
sanguine admirers of it could promise.
Calmly then, my dear fellow-citizens, revert to our particular situa-
tion:-Consult your own unbiassed judgments; let your generous sen-
timents and views be coextensive with the welfare of the Union, and I
will answer for it, scarce one among you but will say, we ought and will
be once more united with those we love, from interest and connexion.
That there are objections, no one will have the presumption to deny-
a plan that would promote the exclusive interest of one, would be
injurious to the other States. The President of the General Convention
has told you, mutual concessions were made; they were indispensable,
and that they did not expect the entire approbation of each State;-
yet that he, with the members, religiously believed it would promote
the lasting welfare, and secure the freedom and happiness of our be-
loved country.2-Experience thus far has verified those predictions-
they increase in wealth and population.-Agriculture, Manufactures,
and Commerce flourish-whilst we, not gradually but rapidly, are driving
towards inevitable ruin and disgrace.-Our industrious and invaluable
inhabitants, starving for want of encouragement, quit their native soil,
emigrate westward and cultivate wildernesses; -Agriculture, the mis-
tress of all arts, droops her head; our farms are decreased in value at
least one half, and our dependent commerce, before limited by the
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