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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 502

cannot remain a doubt of its being cordially received here. Our Con-
vention consists of 175 members, of which tis very certain 112 are
decidedly for adopting it; the remaining 63 are doubtful.
1. RC, PCC, Item 49, Letters and Papers of Charles Thomson, 1781-89, pp. 129,
132, DNA. Parsons, a Middletown lawyer, was asking for his commission as one of the
judges of the Northwest Territory, a post to which Congress had appointed him
in October. Alden, deputy secretary of Congress, endorsed the letter: "Commission
delivered agreeable to his request-Decr. 28th 1787." For similar comments by
Parsons on the Constitution, see his letter to Henry Knox, 24 December, Mfm:Conn.
Ezra Stiles Diary
New Haven, 24 December (excerpt)1
Honorable Abraham      Baldwin of Augusta in Georgia spent the
evening with me.2
We conversed on the new Constitution formed by the Convention,
on which I have formed this as my opinion: (1) That it is not the
most perfect constitution yet. (2) That it is a very good one, and that it
is advisable to adopt it. However (3) That tho much of it will be
permanent and lasting, yet much of it will be hereafter altered by
future revisions. And (4) That the best one remains yet to be in-
When the Convention was proposed I doubted its expediency. (1)
Because I doubted whether our wisest men had yet attained light
enough to see and discern the best, and what ought finally to prevail.3
(2) Neither did I think the people were ripe for the reception of the
best one if it could be investigated. And yet (3) I did not doubt
but time and future experience would teach, open, and lead us to the
best one. And tho we have got a much better one than I expected, and
a very good one, yet my judgment still remains as before. I think
there is not power enough yet given to Congress for firm government.
Neither can I see how far it is safe to surrender the powers of the
states to the imperial body, without (1) prostrating the sovereignty of
the particular states, (2) without laying the foundation of the Presi-
dent's growing up into an uncontrollable and absolute monarch. And
yet I think the last as well guarded as possible; and I know not
whether it is possible to vest Congress with laws, revenues, and army
and navy without endangering the ruin of the interior powers and
liberties of the states.
1. MS, Bienecke Library, CtY (printed CC:370). The diary was published by
Franklin Bowditch Dexter as The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, D.D., LL.D., Presi-
dent of Yale College (3 vols., New York, 1901). Stiles was president of Yale College
from 1778 to 1795.

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