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)

VI. The Connecticut Convention, 3-9 January 1788,   pp. 535-562


Page 541

1. For two brief newspaper accounts of this day's proceedings, see Mfm:Conn. 58.
2. Strong was clerk of the House of Representatives and Litchfield town clerk.
3. On 31 December 1787, the Connecticut Courant reported that the stoves were
being installed "in consequence of a vote of the First Society in this city [Hartford]"
(Mfm:Conn. 57).
4. This report was prefaced "STATE of CONNECTICUT, Jan. 3d, 1788." It
was also printed in the American Mercury on the same day and reprinted in six
other Connecticut newspapers by 14 January. It was reprinted, in whole or in part,
in twenty-one other newspapers from Maine to Maryland by 13 February.
5. Root, a Hartford lawyer and a justice of the peace for Hartford County, had
served in the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1782. In 1789 he was appointed
judge of the Superior Court, and in 1798 he was elevated to Chief Judge.
6. Strong was pastor of the First Church of Hartford (North Meeting House).
He became a prominent Federalist politician.
7. Chester was a Wethersfield representative in 1771-72, 1774, and almost con-
tinuously from 1777 to 1788, serving as Speaker from 1785 to 1788. In October 1787
and in May 1788 he was elected to the Confederation Congress.
The Connecticut Convention
Friday
4 January 1788
Convention Debates
OLIVER ELLSWORTH opened the debates of the day in a speech the
substance of which is as follows.
Mr. President. It is observable that there is no preface to the pro-
posed Constitution; but it evidently presupposes two things: one is
the necessity of a federal government; the other is the inefficiency of
the old Articles of Confederation. A union is necessary for the pur-
poses of national defense. United, we are strong; divided, we are
weak. It is easy for hostile nations to sweep off a number of separate
states one after another. Witness the states in the neighborhood of
ancient Rome. They were successively subdued by that ambitious
city, which they might have conquered with the utmost ease if they
had been united. Witness the Canaanitish nations, whose divided
situation rendered them an easy prey. Witness England, which, when
divided into a number of separate states, was twice conquered by an
inferior force. Thus it always happens to small states, and to great
ones, if divided. Or if to avoid this, they connect themselves with
some powerful state, their situation is not much better. This shows
us the necessity of our combining our whole force; and, as to national
purposes, becoming one state.
A union, sir, is likewise necessary considered with relation to econo-
my. Small states have enemies as well as great ones. They must pro-
vide for their defense. The expense of it, which would be moderate
541
VI. CONVENTION


Go up to Top of Page