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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
3 (1978)

V. Commentaries on the Constitution, 13 November 1787-7 January 1788,   pp. 456-534

Page 516

It is a condition which mankind will not long endure. To avoid
its distress, they will resort to any standard 'Which is erected and bless
the ambitious usurper as a messenger sent by Heaven to save a miser-
able people. We must not depend too much on the enlightened state
of the country. In deliberation this may preserve us; but when delib-
eration proves abortive, we are immediately to calculate on other
principles, and inquire to what may the passions of men lead them
when they have deliberated to the utmost extent of patience and
been foiled in every measure by a set of men who think their own
emoluments more safe upon a partial system than upon one which re-
gards the national good.
Politics ought to be free from passion-we ought to have patience
for a certain time with those who oppose a federal system. But have
they not been indulged until the state is on the brink of ruin and they
appear stubborn in error? Have they not been our scourge and the
perplexers of our councils for many years? Is it not thro their policy
that the State of New York draws an annual tribute of forty thousand
pounds from the citizens of Connecticut? Is it not by their means that
our foreign trade is ruined and the farmer unable to command a just
price for his commodities? The enlightened part of the people have
long seen their measures to be destructive, and it is only the ignorant
and jealous who give them support. The men who oppose this Con-
stitution are the same who have been unfederal from the beginning.
They were as unfriendly to the old Confederation as to the system
now proposed, but bore it with more patience because it was wholly
inefficacious. They talk of amendments-of dangerous articles which
must be corrected-that they will heartily join in a safe plan of federal
government; but when we look on their past conduct, can we think
them sincere. Doubtless their design is to procrastinate and, by this,
carry their own measures; but the artifice must not succeed. The peo-
ple are now ripe for a government which will do justice to their
interests, and if the Honorable Convention deny them, they will
despair of help. They have shown a noble spirit in appointing their
first citizens for this business. When convened, you will constitute the
most august assembly that were ever collected in the state, and your
duty is the greatest that can be expected from men, the salvation
of your country. If coolness and magnanimity of mind attend your
deliberations, all little objections will vanish, and the world will be
more astonished by your political wisdom than they were by the victory
of our arms.
1. This item was published in the American Mercury on the same day and re-
printed two more times in Connecticut and once in Massachusetts by 11 January

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