Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Moore, Timothy D. (Historian); Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Fields, David P. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Maryland (1)
III. The debate over the Constitution in Maryland, 4 December 1787-29 April 1788, pp. 101-428 ff.
III. DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTION & Government-the most trifling events have been magnified into monstrous outrages.-Will the next generation credit us that, in the first twelve Years of the Independence of thirteen free powerful & se- perate States, only one Rebellion happen'd, and that that one termi- nated so speedily and honourably towards Govt.? The peoples judg- ments were no sooner inform'd than they return'd to allegiance, and were convinced that their grievences were immaginary, and that they were not oppressed in the manner a few desperate Characters had at- tempted to teach them.- I am obliged to own myself one of those, who do not wish to see the people more obedient to their rulers in the next twelve, or any other twelve years, than they have been in the last.-a proper spirit of resis- tance is the best security for their liberties, and they shou'd now & then warn their rulers of it. As I am in the legislature and shall be in the convention for the consideration of this proposed Constitution, and it is surely a question of the utmost consequence, I wish to acquire every possible information-. If your Excellency will indulge me with such observations on it as hath occur'd to you, it will indeed oblige me- rest assured that no other use shall be made of them, than the cor- recting of my judgment and opinion on the subject.4 1. RC, Jefferson Papers, DLC. Printed: Boyd, XII, 416-17. Forrest (1746-1805), a Georgetown merchant, was briefly in London on business probably for the firm of Forrest, Stoddert & Murdock. Forrest had served in the Continental Army, 1776-81, rising in rank to lieutenant colonel. He represented St. Mary's County in the House of Delegates, 1781-83, 1786-87, 1787-88, and Montgomery County, 1789, 1790. Forrest was a delegate to the Confederation Congress, 1787, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1793-94. In December 1788 he was defeated for election to the U.S. Senate. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and future secretary of state, vice president, and president, was American minister to France, 1785-89. 2. Jefferson agreed with Forrest's sentiments on Shays's Rebellion. See Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 13 November 1787 (CC:Vol. 2, pp. 464-65). 3. Forrest, whose Maryland residence was in Montgomery County, was elected in Oc- tober 1787 to represent St. Mary's County in the House of Delegates. He was not a member of the state Convention. 4. Jefferson replied to Forrest on 31 December and sent him a lengthy extract of a letter that he had written to James Madison on 20 December (CC:Vol. 2, pp. 488-92n. For Jefferson's original letter to Madison, which is significantly different from the extract, see pp. 482-85.). For more on the significance of both letters, see "The Maryland Re- printing of James Wilson's State House Speech," 16-25 October (RCS:Md., 21-22). Thomas Johnson to George Washington Annapolis, 11 December 1787 (excerpt)' . .. The Leven of your State is working in ours2-the Scale of power which I always suspected would be the most difficult to settle between 112
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