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

A. Responses to ratification and to The Dissent of the Minority,   pp. 646-669


Page 650

IV. AFTERMATH OF RATIFICATION
Pennsylvania Gazette, 26 December
A correspondent has read, with astonishment, that part of the ad-
dress of the minority of our state Convention, wherein they ;ay, that
the new Federal Constitution enables the President, Senate, and
Representatives to perpetuate their political existence, whe a it ex-
pressly declares they shall continue for four, six, and two years, and
no longer. He is restrained from giving its proper name to such an
assertion by respect, not for those uncandid men, but for the public.
The members of the opposition to the new federal government in
this state are well-known to be attached to a single legislative body,
and to be very much opposed to a second and third branch; yet they
have not had firmness and sincerity enough to say so in their address
to their constituents, because they know the objection would be con-
sidered as a great and palpable political error by the conventions of
all the other states, to whom, and not to their constituents, have the
dissenters wished to address themselves. The federal legislature
not being a single house is, however, their great objection. The good
people of the Union, and particularly those skilled in political science,
will form their own opinions of such men, and such politicians.
It is asserted that the Federal Constitution will annihilate 1:he state
constitutions. Several arguments have been adduced to ev.ince the
error of such an assertion, but the following detail will show it is
impossible that government could be carried on, without the con-
tinuance of the state constitutions. The federal government neither
makes, nor can without alteration make, any provision for the choice
of probates of wills, land officers and surveyors, justices of the peace,
county lieutenants, county commissioners, receivers of quitrents,
sheriffs, coroners, overseers of the poor, and constables; nor does it
provide in any way for the important and innumerable trials that must
take place among the citizens of the same state, nor for criminal of-
fenses, breaches of the peace, nuisances, or other objects of i:he state
courts; nor for licensing marriages, and public houses; nor for county
roads, nor any other roads than the great post roads; nor the erection
of ferries and bridges, unless on post roads; nor for poorhouses; nor
incorporating religious and political societies, towns and boroughs;
nor for charity schools, administrations on estates, and many other
matters essential to the advancement of human happiness, and to
the existence of civil society.
John Clark to Jasper Yeates,
York, 28 December (excerpt)1
I congratulate you on your safe return and your success in Conven-
tion in support of the new Constitution; I flatter myself much good
650


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