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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 76

1. ASSEMBLY AND CONSTITUTION
him in a subject which is not before the House. But if it should be
necessary to speak on the general principles, I trust that he would
be fully answered. At present, sir, I understand the question to be,
whether sufficient time has not elapsed to give every member, who
respects his duty, sufficient opportunity to iave made up his mind
on the propriety of calling a convention of the people. If this is the
case, the House will not surely postpone.
DANIEL CLYMER: The member from Cumberland [Robert White-
hill] seems to think it highly improper, that we should proceed in
this business until Congress shall recommend it to our attention and
have given it the stamp of their approbation; but this, sir, is extremely
fallacious. For if Congress are to determine the point, where was the
necessity for the Federal Convention to recommend calling state
conventions? Or pray, sir, were the delegates to that important under-
taking ordered even to report to Congress? No, sir, they were not.
But I take it that their reason for having done so was that as they
meant to report to the people of the United States at large, they
thought Congress would be a proper channel to convey it to every
part from New Hampshire to Georgia and I think the mode of con-
veyance very proper; but I never entertained an idea, that it was
submitted to their cognizance, as the gentleman says, for alteration
or amendment. He supposes too, that the convention of the state may
adopt some part of the frame of government and refuse the other.
But not so, sir, they must adopt in toto or refuse altogether for it
must be a plan that is formed by the United States, which can be
agreeable to all, and not one formed upon the narrow policy and
convenience of any one particular state. Such, sir, is the Constitution
lately presented to you, framed by the collective wisdom of a con-
tinent, centered in a venerable band of patriots, worthies, heroes, legis-
lators and philosophers-the admiration of a world. This, sir, is a
subject the member from the city [Thomas FitzSimons] did well to
submit to your feelings. Vain is every attempt to do justice to its
merits. No longer shall thirty thousand people engage all our atten-
tion-all our efforts to procure happiness. No! The extended embrace
of fraternal love shall enclose three millions, and ere fifty years are
elapsed thirty millions, as a band of brothers! And will the State
of Pennsylvania, will a few of her inhabitants I should say, attempt to
defeat this long-expected and wished-for moment, by entering into
a discussion of the minutiae? How her interest is preserved? Why,
sir, to form a happy Union, the weakest eye must perceive the necessity
of mutual concessions-mutual sacrifices. Had the late Convention
not been composed of gentlemen of liberal sentiments, patriotism,
and integrity, it might never have been perfected. Had each been
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