University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 77

A. DEBATES/28 SEPT., A.M.
studious of accommodating the Constitution to the circumstances
and wishes of the state they represented, nothing could have been
effected. Do we not hear, that disposed as they were to make a sacri-
fice of the local interests to the general welfare, that five weeks elapsed
before they could determine the proportion of representation. If these
gentlemen met with such difficulties, who possessed the information
and knowledge of the continent, can it be supposed the United States
would submit to the amendments and alterations to be made by a few
inhabitants of Pennsylvania? Could it be expected that Virginia
(the Dominion of Virginia, as some people in derision call it, though
I say it is a land of liberty, a land of patriots, and the nurse of science)
I say will you expect, sir, that Virginia and the Southern States shall
coincide with alterations made only for the benefit of Pennsylvania?
No! Away with such idea, and let that unanimity prevail at its adop-
tion that it did at its formation. It is improper for gentlemen to
say, we ought not to enter on this business until it is ratified by
Congress. This, sir, is not the case, and let me, as setting my argu-
ment on a foundation of solidity, call your attention to the recom-
mendation made by the united sense and wisdom of our continent
to this legislature. Remember how strong the language of the vener-
able Franklin, when he addressed you to enforce this recommendation.
Remember the advantage and prosperity held out to Pennsylvania,
for her early and cheerful concurrence in a measure, whose perfections
are so clearly seen as to make hesitation criminal. Will all the art of
sophistry prove an inferiority to the present Confederation, which,
upon trial, is found to be loose and ineffectual? Shall we, by chicane
and artful procrastination, defeat the measure so loudly demanded
by every circumstance of happiness or preservation. Better would it
be, Mr. Speaker, to join in the glorious sentiment of that gallant
officer, who having quitted his station, and gained a signal victory
over his enemy, and when called to account for his breach of orders,
answered, that man holds his life too dear, who would not sacrifice
it for his country's safety.
If it is the interest of a few individuals to keep up the weak and
shattered government, which brings on us the contempt of every sur-
rounding tribe and the reproach and obloquy of every nation, let
them exert their opposition, but it will be all in vain, for should even
this House refuse, I think it the duty of people, as they value their
present and future welfare, to come forward and do that justice to
themselves which others would deny them.
As this subject is now before us, let us not hesitate, but eagerly
embrace the glorious opportunity of being foremost in its adoption.
Let us not hesitate; because it is damping the ardor with which it
77


Go up to Top of Page