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

B. The Dissent of the Minority of the Convention,   pp. 617-640


Page 630

III. PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION
of the several states, we do not hesitate to pronounce that this power,
unaided by the legislative, would effect a consolidation of the states
under one government.
The powers of a court of equity, vested by this constitution in the
tribunals of Congress; powers which do not exist in Pennsylvania un-
less so far as they can be incorporated with jury trial, would, in this
state, greatly contribute to this event. The rich and wealthy suitors
would eagerly lay hold of the infinite mazes, perplexities, and delays,
which a court of chancery, with the appellate powers of the :iupreme
court in fact as well as law would furnish him with, and thus the
poor man being plunged in the bottomless pit of legal discussion would
drop his demand in despair.
In short, consolidation pervades the whole constitution. It begins
with an annunciation that such was the intention. The main pillars
of the fabric correspond with it, and the concluding paragraph is a
confirmation of it. The preamble begins with the words, "'We the
people of the United States," which is the style of a compact between
individuals entering into a state of society, and not that of a confedera-
tion of states. The other features of consolidation, we have before
noticed.
Thus we have fully established the position, that the powers vested
by this constitution in Congress will effect a consolidation of tie states
under one government, which even the advocates of this cons;titution
admit could not be done without the sacrifice of all liberty.
3. We dissent, thirdly, because if it were practicable to govern
so extensive a territory as these United States includes, on the plan
of a consolidated government, consistent with the principles of liberty
and the happiness of the people, yet the construction of this constitu-
tion is not calculated to attain the object, for independent of the
nature of the case, it would of itself, necessarily produce a despotism,
and that not by the usual gradations, but with the celerity that has
hitherto only attended revolutions effected by the sword.
To establish the truth of this position, a cursory investigation of the
principles and form of this constitution will suffice.
The first consideration that this review suggests is the emission of
a BILL OF RIGHTS ascertaining and fundamentally establishing
those unalienable and personal rights of men, without the full, free,
and secure enjoyment of which there can be no liberty, and over which
it is not necessary for a good government to have the contrA. The
principal of which are the rights of conscience, personal liberty by
the clear and unequivocal establishment of the writ of habea corpus,
jury trial in criminal and civil cases, by an impartial jury of the
vicinage or county; with the common law proceedings, for the safety of
630


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