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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 19

COMMENTARIES, 16 OCTOBER 1787
Philadelphia, previous to their election for representatives, that I shall
take the liberty of closing with it.
"After all, my fellow-citisens, (says this excellent politician) it is nei-
ther extraordinary nor unexpected, that the Constitution offered to
your consideration should meet with opposition. It is the nature of man
to pursue his own interest in preference to the public good; and I do
not mean to make any personal reflection, when I add, that it is the
interest of a very numerous, powerful and respectable body to counteract and
destroy the excellent work produced by the late Convention. All the offices of
government, and all the appointments for the administration ofjustice,
and the collection of the public revenue, which are transferred from
the individual to the aggregate sovereignty of the States, will necessarily
turn the stream of influence and emolument into a new channel. Every
person, therefore, who either enjoys, or expects to enjoy, a place of profit under
the present establishment, will object to the proposed innovation, not, in truth,
because it is injurious to the liberties of his country; but because it affects his
schemes of wealth and consequence. I will confess, indeed, that I am not a
blind admirer of this plan of government, and that there are some parts
of it, which, if my wish had prevailed, would certainly have been altered.
But, when I reflect how widely men differ in their opinions, and that
every man (and the observation applies likewise to every state) has an
equal pretension to assert his own, I am satisfied that any thing nearer
to perfection could not have been accomplished. If there are errors, it
should be remembered, that the seeds of reformation are sown in the work
itself, and the concurrence of two thirds of the Congress may, at any
time, introduce alterations and amendments. Regarding it then, in every
point of view, with a candid and disinterested mind, I am bold to
assert, that it is the best form of government which has ever been offered to
the world."6
Baltimore, October 13, 1787.
1. This piece is a response to "Caution," Maryland Journal, 12 October (above).
2. The resolution stated that the Constitution be submitted to Congress "and that it
is the Opinion of the Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention
of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof ... for their Assent and Ratifi-
cation" (Appendix III, RCS:Md., 818).
3. For Samuel Chase's 26 September speech at the courthouse in Baltimore, see "Sam-
uel Chase: On Calling a State Convention," 28-30 September (RCS:Md., 10).
4. See note 2 (above).
5. See "Caution," Maryland Journal, 12 October, note 2 (above).
6. For a discussion of the speech, its circulation, and its impact in Maryland, see "The
Maryland Reprinting of James Wilson's State House Speech," 16-25 October (immedi-
ately below). The italics in the concluding paragraph to Wilson's speech printed above
were supplied by "A Friend to the Constitution."
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