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

C. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 10 October-10 November 1787,   pp. 180-223


Page 187

C. COMMENTARIES/17 OCT.
in a dispassionate and cool manner, some facts, which may tend to
illustrate to them their true interest, and repel the poison which the
late dissenters from the House of Assembly, in their insidious and
inflammatory address, have endeavored to infect them with.2
It is not now a question between those who have distracted the
state by the names of Republican and Constitutionalist which calls
for your attention; it is a subject of far greater magnitude involving
in it not the-fate of this state alone, but of all America. A Constitution
is offered to the people of the United States by their delegates in
Convention. On the awful fiat of the people of America does this
Constitution now depend. This Convention, composed of the most
celebrated characters, the collected wisdom of America, have ap-
pealed to you to judge of their proceedings. Suffer not yourselves
then to be carried by the artful and designing declaration of sixteen
men, whose names are recorded for a disgraceful abandonment of
you, their constituents. The Confederation was formed in a hasty
manner at a time of danger and distress. It was calculated for the
moment when a war raged in our country. It was not calculated for
civil purposes, nor for times of peace, and these states were only kept
together by a sense of common danger. But the moment peace was
established, and that sense of common danger was extinct, it was found
inadequate to the government of this extensive country. It wanted
that energy which in all governments has been found necessary for
the well regulating the people. It exposed us to ruin and distress at
home and disgrace abroad. At the peace, the United States were
esteemed, revered, and dreaded by foreign nations. America held a
most elevated rank among the powers of the earth; but how are the
mighty fallen! disgraced have we rendered ourselves abroad and ruined
at home. Bankrupt merchants, poor mechanics, and distressed farm-
ers are the effects of the weakness of the Confederation. America
saw it and assembled those amongst her sons celebrated for wisdom
and a knowledge of government; and she has not been disappointed
in her representatives. That assembly has produced a work which
immortalizes its fame, which will, if ambition and envy suffer it to
be adopted by us, raise us to that station which America should hold
among the nations of Europe.
The people of Pennsylvania, in general, are composed of men of
three occupations, the farmer, the merchant, the mechanic; the in-
terests of these three are intimately blended together. A government
then, which will be conducive to their happiness and best promote
their interest, is the government which these people should adopt.
The Constitution now presented to them is such a one. Every person
must long since have discovered the necessity of placing the exclu-
sive power of regulating the commerce of America in the same body;
187


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