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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Moore, Timothy D. (Historian); Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Fields, David P. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Maryland (1)
11 (2015)

I. The debate over the Constitution in Maryland, 17 September-30 November 1787,   pp. 3-67


Page 15

COMMENTARIES, 12 OCTOBER 1787
they ought to call a Convention to ratify the new form of government
for the United States; but the real design of the promoters of the pe-
tition is to draw you into a declaration in favour of the whole system,
and to bind you hereafter to support it, which you must do, or allege
deception and surprise, if, on further reflection, you should discover
that you rashly gave an opinion against your real interests. If the real
intention of the promoters and carriers of this petition was only to
obtain your opinion in favour of calling a Convention, it might have
been expressed in a few lines; and no one would oppose such a petition,
although improper and unnecessary, because your Delegates will cer-
tainly move for, and exert themselves to procure, the calling a Conven-
tion; and no member of the General Assembly will deny that, in so
doing, your Delegates speak your sentiments.
In my opinion, it is not necessary or proper for you, at this time, to
express your approbation, or disapprobation, of the new constitution
for the United States, for the following reasons: First-because the de-
cision for or against the plan, is of the greatest consequence, as it in-
volves no less than the happiness or misery of you and all your posterity
forever; and therefore, I think, requires your dispassionate and most
deliberate consideration.-Secondly-because you want information,
and have not had time yourselves to examine the proposed system, and
to consider the consequences that may flow from rejecting or adopting
it.-Thirdly-because time is not given for your countrymen in this,
and the other States, to consider the subject, and to lay their sentiments
and reasons for or against the measure before you.-Fourthly-be-
cause you ought to hear both sides, as the man who determines on
hearing one party only, will almost always be mistaken in his judgment:
He may be in the right, but it will be by chance, and not by reason.-
Fifthly-because you are not pressed in point of time to determine on
the subject; you have at least three months for deliberation; to decide,
therefore, in a few days, will be rashness and folly.-Sixthly-when
men urge you to determine in haste, on so momentous a subject, it is
not unreasonable to inquire their motives; and it is not uncharitable to
suspect that they are improper; and no possible mischief or inconve-
nience can happen from delay.
October 11, 1787.
1. Reprinted: Pennsylvania Packet, 19 October; Philadephia Evening Chronicle, 20 Octo-
ber. "Caution" may have been written by Samuel Chase. (See "A Friend to the Consti-
tution," Maryland Journal, 16 October, and Daniel Carroll to James Madison, 28 October,
both below.) For a comment on "Caution," see "An Old Man," Baltimore Maryland
Gazette, 20 November (below). For another address by "Caution," see Baltimore Maryland
Gazette, 16 October (below).
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