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as a representative of America; ho fattered himself he came here, in some degree, as a representative of the whole human race; for the whole human race will be affected by the proceedings of this Convention. He wished gentlemen to extend their views beyond the present moment of time; beyond the narrow limits of the place from which they derive their political origin. If he were to believe some things which he had heard, he should suppose that we were assembled to truck and bargótin for our particular States. He cannot descend to think, that any gentlemen are really actuated by these views. We must look forward to the effects of what we do. These alone ought to guide us.”
The Constitution having been finally adopted in the Federal Convention, was yet to be sent down for ratification to the several States, with the provision as expressed in Article VII, that "the ratification of the Conventions of nine States should be sufficient for the establishment of the Constitution between the States, so ratifying the same." State Conventions were accordingly brought together to act upon the subject. The debates which took place in these several bodies, together with other documents of public interest, hiave been collected with much care by Elliott, and published in four volumes, His reports of what occurred in some of the Conventions are brief and imperfect, as he had to depend chiefly on cotemporary publications. But in other cases his account is very full and satisfactory. His report of the debates in the Convention of Virginia fills his entire third volume. When the question was submitted to that body, the decision was admitted to be of paramount importance, as the Constitution had already been ratified by eight different States; and the ratification by Virginia would be conclusive on its final adoption for the government of the nation, The Convention itself is much divided in sentiment. The eloquent Patrick Henry led a powerful opposition; and it was not a little remarkable that the leader on the other side was Governor Edmund Randolph, who was one of the three that had declined to sign the Constitution when finally adopted in the Federal Convention. Subsequent reflection seems to have satisfied his mind that the welfare of the country demanded the ratification of the instrument as it then stood; and that amendments which her and others thought desirable, should be left to be afterwards introduced according to the mode prescribed in the Consticution itself.
* As with me," he said, “ the only question has ever been, between previous and subsequent amendments; so will I express my apprehensions, that the postponement of this Convention, to so late a day, has extinguished the probability of the former without inevitable ruin to the Union, and the Union is the anchor of our political salvation; and I will assent to the lopping of this limb (meaning his arm) before I assent to the dissolution of the Union."
In the progress of the debate we find him on one occasion declaring,
“ Were I convinced that the accession of eight states did not render our accession also necessary to preserve the Union, I would not accede to it, till it should be previously amended: bul, sir, I ain convinced that the Union will be lost by our rejection, Massachusetts has adopted it; she has recommended subsequent amendments; her influence must be very considerable to obtain them. I trust my countrymen have sufficient wisdom and virtue to entitle them to equal respect. It is urged, that being wiser we ought to prescribe amendments to the other states. I have considered this subject deliberately, wearied myself in endeavoring to find a possibility of preserving the Union without our unconditional ratification; but, sir, in vain. I find no other means **** I have every reason for determining within myself, that our rejection must dissolve the Union; and that our dissolution would destroy our political happiness."
In the course of his arguments he observed,
“We are now inquiring particularly whether Virginia, as contra-distinguished from the other states, can exist without the Union. A hard question, perhaps, after what has been said. I will venture, however, to say, she cannot. I shall not rest contented with asserting. I shall endeavor to prove."
In the conclusion of this powerful speech, he said,
" I shall conclude with a few observations which come from iny heart. I have labored for the continuance of the Union--the rock of our salvation. I believe that, as sure as there is a God in Heaven, our safety, our political happiness and existence depend on the union of the states; and that without this union, the people of this, and the other states, will undergo the unspeakable calamities, which discord, faction, turbulence, war, and bloodshed, have produced in other countries. The American spirit ought to be mixed with American pride to see the Union magnificently triumph, * * * * *
Let it not be recorded of Americans that, after having performed the most gallant exploits-after having overcome the most astonishing difficulties--and after having gained the admiration of the world by their uncomparable valor and policy, they lost their acquired reputation, their national consequence and happiness, by their own indiscretion. Let no future historian inform posterity that they wanted wisdom and virtue to concur in any regular efficient government. Should any writer, doomed to so disagreeable a task, feel the indignation of an honest historian, he would reprehend and recriminate our folly, with equal severity and justice. Catch the present moment; scize it with avidity and eagerness, for it may be lost, never to be regained. If the Union be now lost, I fear it will remain so for ever."
While the subject was under discussion, and one gen. tleman after another was called out, Mr. Corbin declared,
* By Union alone can we exist; by 110 other means can we be happy. Union must be the object of every gentleman here. I never yet have heard any gentleman so wild and frantic in his opposition as to avow an attachment to partial Confederacies,
By previous adoption, the Union will be preserved: by insisting on alterations, previous to our adoption, the Union may be lost, and our political happiness destroyed by internal dissensions."
When the deliberations were drawing towards a conclusion, some gentleman in the opposition having hinted a purpose to retire from the Convention, and go home, Governor Randolph appealed to them,
“I beg to milke a few remarks on the subject of secession. If there be, in this house, members who have in contemplation to secede from the majority, let me conjure them by all the ties of honor and duty to consider what they are about to do. * Such an idea of refusing to submit to the decision of the majority jy destructive of every republican principle.
It will kindle a civil war, and reduce everything to anarchy and confusion."
Feeling the responsibility which he had assumed in urging the adoption of the Constitution, although ably seconded by Madison, Marshall, Nicholas, Pendleton, Corl. bin and others; at the close of the Debate, he pled,
“ Mr. Chairman, one parting word I humbly supplicate: The suffrage which I shall give in favor of the Constitution, will be ascribed, by malice, to motives unknown to my breast. Lest, however, some future annalist should, in the spirit of party vengeance, deign to mention my name, let him recite these truths ----that I went lo the Federal Conrention with the strongest affec. tion for the Union ; that I acted there in full conformity with this affection; that I refused to subscribe, because I had, as I still have, objections to the Constitution, and wished a free inquiry into its merits; and that the accession of eight states reduced our deli.. berations to the single question of Union, or no Union."
Although the Reports of the proceedings and debates in the other Conventions are, as we have said, comparatively brief, yet they are sufficient to show that the attachment to the Union, so triumphant in Virgina, was also the predomi: nant feeling in the other States, and especially the States in the South. In the Convention of North Carolina, Mr. Iredell was a leading man. He urged the ratification of the Constitution, arguing
By adopting it we shall be in the Union with our sister states, which is the only foundation of our prosperity and safety. We shall avoid the danger of a separation, a danger of which the latent effects are unknown. So far am I convinced of the necessity of the Union, that I would give up many things against my own opinion to obtain it. If we sacrificed it by a rejection of the Constitution, or a refusal to adopt, (which amounts, I think, nearly to the same thing,) the very circumstance of disunion may occasion animosity between us and the inhabitants of the other states, which may be the means of severing us for ever."
In the Legislature of South Carolina, the proposition to call a State Convention was warmly opposed by Mr. Lowndes, and some others; but it was supported by the Rutledges, the Pinckneys, and such men as Pringle, Mathews, Barnwell, Read and Ramsay. During the discussion Mr. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney said,
* Without union with the other states, South Carolina must soon fall. Is there any one among us so much a Quixote as to suppose that this State could long maintain her independence, if she stood alone, or was only connected with the Southern States ? I scarcely believe there is.”
Having afterwards referred to the Declaration of Independence with high encomium, he proceeded,
"In that Declaration the several states are not even enumerated; but after reciting in nervous language and with convincing arguments, our right to independence, and the tyranny which compelled us to assert it, the Declaration is made in the following words:
-We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies