University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
(1978)

V. Commentaries on the Constitution, 13 November 1787-7 January 1788,   pp. 456-534


Page 534

CONNECTICUT/7 JAN.
him to adopt a Constitution which yet he can't fully comprehend,
when he considers that it was framed by a number of characters as
respectable perhaps as ever convened in this empire, or could be
formed of the same number of men? And when he considers further
that they have had to form a Constitution for themselves as well as for
their constituents? and have been under the best advantages to know
the particular circumstances of the several states in the Union? Have
been upon the business for several months-have attended minutely
to every article, to every clause in the draft; and have heard and
weighed whatever could occur to the mind of each individual, either
for or against-and when he considers further that this National
Convention were under incomparably better advantages than he to
judge what rights each state must surrender, and what they may re-
serve, a matter peculiarly difficult in this instance, arising from
a great difference among the several states as to their situation, ex-
tent, habits, and particular interests, and in which are involved their
prosperity, felicity, safety, and perhaps their national existence. I say
when these things are taken into consideration, they will go far to-
ward making every candid and modest man very diffident of his own
ability to judge in this very important and intricate affair; and will
make him very jealous of every man who shall, in a confident and
noisy manner, reprobate the Constitution and try to raise the popular
spirit against it. For indeed it is not uncommon to hear persons
exclaim against the doings of the late Convention with a great deal of
warmth and bitterness or against their being referred to state conven-
tions rather than to the freemen at large, tho their objections discover
nothing more than their ignorance or their selfishness; and as to some
of these confident objectors, there is no room to doubt, but that
their main aim is to gain the ear and confidence of the people; and,
in this way, work themselves into some places of honor and profit.
Since we are in general very unequal to the task of forming a judg-
ment upon the Constitution, every man of common sense and suitable
candor will cheerfully refer the matter to the approaching state Con-
vention and peaceably acquiesce in their result, rather than by noisy
and bitter exclamations work himself and others into a ferment which
may tend to throw us into great confusion and contention.
1. This item was prefaced: "(Omitted last week [31 December] for want of
room.)"
534


Go up to Top of Page