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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
3 (1978)

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

Page 554

attempt to execute the laws of the Union by sending an armed
force against a delinquent state, it would involve the good and bad,
the innocent and guilty, in the same calamity. But this legal coer-
cion singles out the guilty individual and punishes him for breaking
the laws of the Union. All men Will see the reasonableness of this;
they will acquiesce and say, let the guilty suffer. How have the morals
of the people been depraved for the want of an efficient govern-
ment which might establish justice and righteousness. For the want
of this, iniquity has come in upon us like an overflowing flood. If
we wish to prevent this alarming evil, if we wish to protect the good
citizen in his right, we must lift up the standard of justice; we must
establish a national government to be enforced by the equal decisions
of law and the peaceable arm of the magistrate. [Connecticut Cou-
rant, 14 January,]
1. These debates were also printed in the American Mercury on the same day
and were reprinted in six other Connecticut newspapers by 21 January. They were
also reprinted nine times from Massachusetts to South Carolina by the second week
in May 1788 (CC:420).
In comparing Ellsworth's speech to his own, Pierpont Edwards declared that
Ellsworth's speech was so superior that he felt "like a lightning bug in broad day.
light" (William G. Brown, The Life of Oliver Ellsworth [New York, 1905], 174-75).
For a reference to Edwards' speeches, see Enoch Perkins to Simeon Baldwin, 15
January, VL:B below.
The Connecticut Convention
9 January 1788
Convention Proceedings and Debates'
The Convention got through with debating upon the Constitution by
sections. It was canvassed critically and fully. Every objection was
raised against it which the ingenuity and 'Invention of its opposers
could devise. The writer of this account could wish to exhibit to
public view, though he is sensible he could do it but imperfectly, the
whole of the debates upon this interesting subject; but they would
be so exceedingly prolix that he is obliged to give up any such at-
tempt. Suffice it to say that all the objections to the Constitution
vanished before the learning and eloquence of a Johnson, the genuine
good sense and discernment of a Sherman, and the Demosthenian
energy of an Ellsworth.
After the Convention had finished debating upon the Constitu-
tion by sections, General Samuel H. Parsons, in order to bring up
the subject for a general discussion, moved the grand question, "That

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