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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

A. The assembly calls the state convention,   pp. 58-111


Page 75

A. DEBATES/28 SEPT., A.M.
anyone can say then, what sort of a plan it will be? And as this may
happen, I hope the House, when they come to consider seriously,
will see the impropriety of going on at present. It will appear, that
it is necessary to give time for Congress to deliberate before they
recommend. It does appear that Congress have not recommended
it; and the recommendation of Congress ought to be waited for in
a matter that concerns the liberties and rights of the people of the
United States. I say this recommendation is not come forward to the
House, nor we don't know when (if ever) it will. We do not know
that Congress may be able to go thro with it this long time yet, and
why are we to determine on it before we know whether they will
allow of such change of the Confederation? We do not know that
Congress are even sitting or whether they will be in session.4 And
before we proceed to measures of this importance, do let us know what
we are going on, and let us not sport away the rights and liberties
of the people altogether. I say, is it not better to go safely on the
business, and let it lie over till the next house; when we have ad-
journed, let our constituents think of it and instruct their represen-
tatives to consider of the plan proper to be pursued. Will not the
next house be as able to determine as we are? And I would wish the
members to consider, that it never was supposed at our election,
that we had the power to determine on such a measure. When we
come to consider, it does appear to me better to leave it over to the
next house, and they will be better able, and better instructed, what
to do in this case. And what is the consequence the gentlemen pro-
pose by this hurry, that the State of Pennsylvania shall have the honor
of taking the lead. This may be preserved, sir, as well by letting it
lie over; for, can the other states go into it before us? Can the State
of Georgia receive it as soon, and send it forward for ratification, as
we can? No, to be sure they cannot. Therefore this hurry does ap-
pear too great in my opinion; because, if it is delayed, our determina-
tion can still be brought forward sooner than that of any other state.
If there are any objections of moment against calling the convention
at present, let us be prepared to make them; we may do that better,
perhaps, by deferring only till the afternoon for tho gentlemen say
they have had time, and have made up their minds, yet that has not
been my case, and I don't see why the business should be hurried
upon us at this rate. I hope when gentlemen consider, they will agree
to postpone for the present.
HUGH H. BRACKENRIDGE: I conceive, sir, that the member [Robert
Whitehill] has wandered from the point, whenever he went into re-
marks upon the new Constitution; but I did not interrupt, nor do I
mean now to reply to those observations, because I would not follow
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