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and representation of slaves was cried against. Thomas Dawes of Boston answered: “Congress in the year 1808 may wholly prohibit the importation of them, leaving every particular state in the mean time its own option totally to prohibit their introduction into its own territories. Slavery could not be abolished by an act of congress in a moment; but it has received a mortal wound.” *

On the nineteenth a farmer of Worcester county complained: “There is no provision that men in power should have any religion; a Papist or an infidel is as eligible as Christians." John Brooks and Parsons spoke on the other side; and Daniel Shute, the minister of Hingham, said: “No conceivable advantage to the whole will result from a test.” William Jones of Maine rejoined: “It would be happy for the United States if our public men were to be of those who have a good standing in the church.” Philip Payson, the minister of Chelsea, retorted: “Human tribunals for the consciences of men are impious encroachments upon the prerogatives of God. A religious test, as a qualification for office, would have been a great blemish.”

William Jones of Maine objected to the long period of office for the senators. “One third of the senators," observed Fisher Ames, "are to be introduced every second year; the constitution, in practice as in theory, will be that of a federal republic.” “We cannot,” cortinued Jones, “recall the senators.” “Their duration,” answered King, “is not too long for a right discharge of their duty."

On the twenty-first, King explained the nature of the transition † from a league of states with only authority to make requisitions on each state, to a republic instituted by the people with the right to apply laws directly to the individual members of the states. He showed that without the power over the purse and the sword no government can give security to the people; analyzed and defended the grant of revenue alike from indirect and direct taxes, and insisted that the proposed constitution is the only efficient federal government that can be substituted for the old confederation. Thomas Dawes of Boston defended the power of laying * Elliot, ii., 41.

| Elliot, ii., 54–57.

imposts and excises in this wise: "For want of general laws of prohibition through the union, our coasting trade, our whole commerce, is going to ruin. A vessel from Halifax with its fish and whalebone finds as hearty a welcome at the southern ports as though built and navigated and freighted from Salem or Boston. South of Delaware three fourths of the exports and three fourths of the returns are made in British bottoms. Of timber, one half of the value of other produce shipped for London from a southern state, three tenths-go to the British carrier in the names of freight and charges. This is money which belongs to the New England states, because we can furnish the ships much better than the British. Our sister states are willing that these benefits should be secured to us by national laws; but we are slaves to Europe. We have no uniformity in duties, imposts, excises, or prohibitions. Congress has no authority to withhold advantages from foreigners in order to obtain reciprocal advantages from them. Our manufacturers have received no encouragement by national duties on foreign manufactures, and they never can by any authority in the confederation. The very face of our country, our numerous falls of water and places for mills, lead to manufactures: have they been encouraged? Has congress been able by national laws to prevent the importation of such foreign commodities as are made from such raw materials as we ourselves raise? The citizens of the United States within the last three years have contracted debts with the subjects of Great Britain to the amount of near six millions of dollars. If we wish to en. courage our own manufactures, to preserve our own commerce, to raise the value of our own lands, we must give congress the powers in question." *

Every day that passed showed the donbtfulness of the convention. “ The decision of Massachusetts either way," wrote Madison from congress,“ will involve the result in New York,” and a negative would rouse the minority in Pennsylvania to a stubborn resistance. Langdon of New Hampshire, and men from Newport and Providence who came to watch the course of the debates, reported that New Hampshire and Rhode Island would accept the constitution should it be adopted by

* Elliot, ii., 57-60.

Massachusetts. Gerry, under the influence of Richard Henry Lee, had written a letter to the two houses of Massachusetts, insinuating that the constitution needed amendments, and should not be adopted till they were made. These same suggestions had been circulated throughout Virginia, where, as has already been related, * Washington threw himself into the discussion and advised, as the only true policy, to accept the constitution and amend it by the methods which the constitution itself had established. The letter in which he had given this advice reached Boston in season to be published in the Boston “Centinel" of the twenty-third of January. In the convention the majority still seemed adverse to the constitution. To win votes from the ranks of its foes, its friends, following the counsels of Washington, resolved to combine with its ratification a recommendation of amendments. For this end Bowdoin and Hancock, Theophilus Parsons and Gorham, Samuel Adams, Heath, and a very few other resolute and trusty men, matured in secret council a plan of action.t

Meantime Samuel Thompson could see no safety but in a bill of rights. Bowdoin spoke at large for the new government with its ability to pay the public debts and to regulate commerce. “Power inadequate to its object is worse than none; checks are provided to prevent abuse. The whole constitution is a declaration of rights. It will complete the temple of American liberty, and consecrate it to justice. May this convention erect Massachusetts as one of its pillars on the foundation of perfect union, never to be dissolved but by the dissolution of nature." I

Parsons recapitulated and answered the objections brought against the constitution, and closed his remarks by saying: “An increase of the powers of the federal constitution by usurpation will be upon thirteen completely organized legislatures having means as well as inclination to oppose it successfully. The people themselves have power to resist it without an appeal to arms. An act of usurpation is not law, and therefore is not obligatory; and any man may be justified in his resistance. Let him be considered as a criminal by the general

* See page 380 of this volume.
| King to Madison, quoted in Madison's Writings, i., 373. Elliot, ii., 80–88.

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government; his own fellow-citizens are his jury; and if they pronounce him innocent, not all the powers of congress can hurt him.” *

On the morning of the twenty-fourth, Nason of Maine, an implacable enemy of the constitution, proposed to cease its discussion by paragraphs so as to open the whole question. This attempt to hurry the matter” was resisted by Samuel Adams in a speech so effective that the motion was negatived without a division.

On the next day Amos Singletary of Sutton, a husbandman venerable from age and from patriotic service from the very beginning of the troubles with England, resisted the con. stitution as an attempt to tax and bind the people in all cases whatsoever.

Jonathan Smith of Lanesborough, speaking to men who like himself followed the plough for their livelihood, began a reply by arguments drawn from the late insurrection, when he was called to order. Samuel Adams instantly said with authority: “ The gentleman is in order; let him go on in his own way.” The “plain man” then proceeded in homely words to show that farmers in the western counties, in their great distress during the insurrection, would have been glad to snatch at anything like a government for protection. “This constitution,” he said, “is just such a cure for these disorders as we wanted. Anarchy leads to tyranny."

Attention was arrested by the clause on the slave-trade. “My profession,” said James Neal of Maine, “obliges me to bear witness against anything that favors making merchandise of the bodies of men, and unless this objection is removed I cannot put my hand to the constitution." "Shall it be said," cried Samuel Thompson, “ that after we have established our own independence and freedom we make slaves of others? How has Washington immortalized himself! but he holds those in slavery who have as good a right to be free as he has.” Dana and Samuel Adams rejoiced that a door was to be opened for the total annihilation of the slave-trade after twenty years; but hatred of slavery influenced the final vote.t On the morning of the thirty-first of January, Hancock, * Elliot, ii., 94.

| Elliot, ii., 107, 120.

who till then had been kept from his place by painful illness, took the chair, and the concerted movement began. Conversation came to an end; and Parsons proposed “that the convention do assent to and ratify the constitution.”* Heath suggested that in ratifying it they should instruct their members of congress to endeavor to provide proper checks and guards in some of its paragraphs, and that the convention should correspond with their sister states, to request their concurrence." +

Hancock then spoke earnestly for the necessity of adopting the proposed form of government; and brought forward nine general amendments. Taken from the letters of Richard Henry Lee, the remonstrance of the minority in Pennsylvania, and the objections made in the Massachusetts debates, “they were the production of the federalists after mature deliberation,” and were clad in terse and fittest words, which revealed the workmanship of Parsons. “All powers not expressly delegated to congress,” so ran the most important of them, “ are reserved to the several states."

“I feel myself happy,” thus Samuel Adams addressed the chair, “in contemplating the idea that many benefits will result from your Excellency's conciliatory proposition to this commonwealth and to the whole United States. The objections made to this constitution as far as Virginia are similar. I have had my doubts; other gentlemen have had theirs; the proposition submitted will tend to remove such doubts, and conciliate the minds of the convention and of the people outof-doors. The measure of Massachusetts will from her importance have the most salutary effect in other states where conventions have not yet met, and throughout the union. The people should be united in a federal government to withstand the common enemy and to preserve their rights and liberties; I should fear the consequences of large minorities in the several states.

“ The article which empowers congress to regulate commerce and to form treaties I esteem particularly valuable. For want of this power in our national head our friends are grieved ; our enemies insult us; our minister at the court of Elliot, ii., 120.

| Elliot, ii., 122.

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