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Kaminski, John P.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Fields, David P.; Conley, Patrick T.; Moore, Timothy D. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Rhode Island (3)
26 (2013)

VI. The debate over the Constitution in Rhode Island, 20 January-29 May 1790,   pp. 711-897

Page 725

chant and farmer are distinct, and have inflamed them to such a degree
against the former,4 as that they seem to delight in counteracting their
views, and even to glory in effecting their ruin.-Yea these base parti-
zans have gone such lengths to accomplish their purposes, as to rep-
resent a Constitution evidently calculated to extend commerce, pro-
mote agriculture, and manufactures, and to secure the liberties of the
state, as a system of government contrived to enslave the mass of the
people, and to aggrandize a few ambitious, avaricious characters.-
They have represented that the monies, drawn from the people, into
the public Treasury, instead of being under the control, and appropri-
ation of their representatives, may be taken from thence at the will of
individual Officers, and particularly that by the New Constitution the
President holds the keys of the Treasury; and may take out of it what
and when he pleases.-The most palpable falshoods delivered with so-
lemnity by those who have acquired a confidence with persons, who
have neither leisure, nor perhaps inclination, to examine into facts, too
frequently make impressions which cannot be easily erased.-By such
prepossessions a number of the good people of this State have, alas!
been too long governed.
The General Assembly of the State have at length by their letters to
Congress, and by the Act of the last session disclosed to the people,
that commerce is essential to the happiness of the State, that the pri-
viledges of it cannot be obtained but by adopting the New Constitu-
tion,-and sensible that a right understanding of the New Constitution
cannot be acquired without a full and free investigation, thereof by Del-
egates appointed by the people for that purpose; have recommended
a Convention to be called, and Delegates are accordingly chosen.-As
they will have sufficient leisure, and without doubt will be disposed to
communicate and receive light, and to embrace the truth with honest
minds on which side soever it may appear, it is to be hoped, that
seeing the evils which will ensue a rejection of the Constitution, and
the advantages which will result from adopting it they may be induced
to ratify it.
Having in general pointed out the misery and distress which will
attend the operation of the Act subjecting the trade of this State to
foreign tonnage and foreign duties, which Act will operate in full force
against us after the first day of April next, if the Constitution is not
previously ratified by this State-I now proceed to propose a few ques-
tions to the consideration of the Delegates to the Convention, leaving
the solution of them to their own judgments.-Will not our continuing
detached from the Union interfere with the Revenue Acts of the United
States,-with their plans for the common defence, and for establishing

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