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

A. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 17 September-6 October 1787,   pp. 130-172


Page 135

A. COMMENTARIES/24 SEPT.
22 September, and by 15 October accounts of the meeting had been printed in
two other Pennsylvania newspapers and in twenty-one newspapers from Portland,
Maine, to Charleston, South Carolina.
David Redick to William Irvine,
Philadelphia, 24 September1
The new plan of government proposed by the Convention has made
a bustle in the city and its vicinity. All people, almost, are for swal-
lowing it down at once without examining its tendencies.
I have thought it unsafe within the wind of hurricane to utter a
syllable about it: but to you sir I may venture to say that, in my
opinion, the day on which we adopt the present proposed plan of
government, from that moment we may justly date the loss of
American liberty. Perhaps my fears hath contributed principally to
this opinion. I will change the moment that I see better. My dear
sir, why is not the liberty of the press provided for? Why will the
Congress have power to alter the plan or mode of choosing Repre-
sentatives? Why will they have power to lay direct taxes? Why will
[they] have power to keep standing armies in time of peace? Why
will they have power to make laws in direct contradiction to the
forms of government established in the several states? Why will they
have power to collect by law ten dollars for ever [y] German or
Irishman which may come to settle in America? Why is the trial by
jury destroyed in civil causes before Congress? And, above all, I
cannot imagine why the people in this city are so very anxious to
have it adopted instantly before it can be digested or deliberately
considered. If you were only here to see and hear those people,
to observe the means they are using to effect this purpose, to hear the
Tories declare they will draw their sword in its defense, to see the
[Quakers?] running about signing declarations and petitions in favor
of it before the [y] have time to examine it, to see gentlemen running
into the country and neighboring towns haranguing the rabble. I
say were you to see and hear these things as I do you would say with
me that the very soul of confidence itself ought to change into dis-
trust. If this government be a good one or even a tolerable one, the
necessities and the good sense of America will lead us to adopt it;
if otherwise give us time and it will be amended and then adopted;
but I think the measures pursued here is a strong evidence that these
people know it will not bear an examination and therefore wishes
to adopt it first and consider it afterward. I hope Congress will be
very deliberate and digest it thoroughly before they send it recom-
mended to the states. I sincerely hope that such gentlemen as were
135


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