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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 533

V. COMMENTARIES
1. This item was dated "State of Connecticut, January 2, 1788."
2. Elbridge Gerry, George Mason, and Edmund Randolph refused to sign the
Constitution.
Connecticut Courant, 7 January'
The Constitution lately formed by the Federal Convention is justly
accounted a matter of great consequence not only to the community at
large, but to every individual. Everyone therefore has a right to judge
for himself and choose whether to adopt it or not. It is however
unhappy that mankind should so often form their opinions of the
most interesting and intricate matters under the influence of undue
bias; and commonly they are very hasty as well as confident in their
decisions. We need not, therefore, be surprised should we hear a
member of Assembly and of the approaching Convention, upon read-
ing a few paragraphs in the Constitution, exclaim, "It smells of
Hell"-and another that "if it should be adopted we should be reduced
to slavery, because it would appreciate public securities to a par with
silver and gold; and this would bring us into Lordships." Nor need
we wonder that towns should instruct their delegates to oppose a Con-
stitution so replete with mischief. We have remarks upon this per-
formance in the weekly papers that discover a good share of ingenuity;
and many of them appear to be written with candor-but tis hardly
to be expected that everyone, with all these helps, will be able to
form an opinion fully satisfactory to himself, or, at least, very ex-
pressive of much prudence.
The man of ordinary abilities and whose business and situation in
life have not led him to study into the nature of civil government nor
to gain any tolerable acquaintance with the particular circumstances
of the several states that compose this American empire (and this
is true of much the greatest part of the people) may expect to have
his discretion, his candor, and patriotism called in question if he
appear very hasty and confident in deciding whether for or against
the Constitution-before no man of a cool and candid mind, and
free from the undue bias of selfishness, will confidently exclaim against
it, when he considers that it was framed by a most respectable body
of men from the several states in the Union, who stood foremost
in the opinion of their constituents, for knowledge, wisdom, integrity,
and patriotism-and who were under every inducement to consult the
good of the whole, arising from duty, ingenuity, and interest.
Is there a man of common sense and prudence but would much
rather refer a matter of this nature, magnitude, and intricacy to a
number of men elected out of all the states, for that express purpose,
than to trust his own abilities? Will it not be safe and prudent for
538


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