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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 759

COMMENTARIES, 11 IARCH 1790
remain untrodden, unless by men who are so unhappy as to be de-
prived of reason, or cease the exercise of the same.
Let us hear the advice that this sage statesman gives us.-"Let the
Constitution be immediately rejected, we have dallied with it too long
for our interest,-the revenue act of the State be repealed-and our
ports thrown open to all the world,-commerce will then revive, and
agriculture and manufactures flourish.-Our harbours will be covered
with the ships, and our stores be replenished with the produce of foreign
nations."-O delightful prospect! 0 halcyon days! may this golden age,
moved on more rapid than the car of time, soon be with us-then shall
the heads of the wise of the earth be converted into barbers blocks,
and when too late be convinced that virtue and honesty are mere chi-
meras and fit only to warm the brain of the enthusiast-and that old
rags possess more intrinsic worth than gold or silver, or the most du-
rable property.-But to be serious, I would beg that Greenwichiensis
would inform me what inducements foreign nations can have to cover
our harbours with their ships, or fill our stores with their produce? Is
it the practice of mercantile bodies to send their ships and produce to
countries where they can have nothing in return? And where are the
staples, or the circulating medium, that will induce foreigners to trade
with us, or those manufactures for which he tells us a high demand
will ensue? But if he should fail in answering those points, in any other
way, I suppose he will refer us to his piece, where he says, that "all the
States on the Continent of America will bring hither their produce,
their manufactures and their money to exchange for and to purchase
the foreign articles in which we shall abound,"-and to conclude, "we
shall soon become the wealthiest, the happiest and the most envied
State in the world."
I am surprised that a man possessed of such an amazing foresight
had not discovered, that a government, invested with such extensive
powers, as many of his party ascribe to the Federal Government, should
not have the authority and inclination to prevent any commercial in-
tercourse between this State and the States under their jurisdiction.
Would the other States, when they saw all that wealth and happiness,
which he has painted out4 rolling in full tides into this most "envied
State," set down contented with their situation? Would they acquiesce
in the idea, that that child whom they had fostered and nurtured, for
whom they had expended their blood and treasure, should now secede
from her Sister States and refuse to pay her quota of that debt by which
she purchased independence; and not only refuse to pay her propor-
tion, but prevent their discharging it, by intercepting their trade and
depriving them of their revenues? No-surely they will not tamely look
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