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abandon those great rights by the adoption of this system? Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury, and the liberty of the press, necessary for your liberty ? Will the abandonment of your most sacred rights, tend to the security of your liberty ? Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings-give us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else. But I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an old-fashioned fellow. Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned: if so, I am contented to be so. I say, the time has been when every pulse of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American. But suspicions have gone forth-suspicions of my integrity. It has been publicly reported that my professions are not real. Twenty three years ago was I supposed a traitor to my country: I was then said to be a bane of sedition, because I supported the rights of my country; I may be thought suspicious, when I say our privileges and rights are in danger : but, sir, a number of the people of this country are weak enough to think these things are too true. I am happy to find that the gentlemen on the other side, declare they are groundless: but, sir, suspicion is a virtue, as long as its object is the preservation of the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds: should it fall on me, I am contented: conscious rectitude is a powerful consolation: I trust there are many who think my professions for the public good to be real. Let your suspicion look to both sides : there are many on the other side, who, possibly may have been persuaded of the necessity of these measures, which I conceive to be dangerous to your liberty. Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it, but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. I am answered by gentlemen, that

though I may speak of terrors, yet the fact is, that we are surrounded by none of the dangers I apprehend. I conceive this new government to be one of those dangers: it has produced those horrors, which distress many of our best citizens. We are come hither to preserve the poor commonwealth of Virginia, if it can be possibly done : something must be done to preserve your liberty and mine. The confederation, this same despised government, merits, in my opinion, the highest encomium: it carried us through a long and dangerous war: it rendered us victorious in that bloody conflict with a powerful nation : it has secured us a territory greater than any European monarch possesses: and shall a government which has been thus strong and vigorous, be accused of imbecility, and abandoned for want of energy? Consider what you are about to do, before you part with this government. Take longer time in reckoning things : revolutions like this have happened in almost every country in Europe: similar examples are to be found in ancient Greece and ancient Rome: instances of the people losing their liberty by their own carelessness and the ambition of a few. We are cautioned by the honorable gentleman who presides, against faction and turbulence. I acknowledge that licentiousness is dangerous, and that it ought to be provided against: I acknowledge also the new form of government may effectually prevent it: yet, there is another thing it will as effectually do: it will oppress and ruin the people. There are sufficient guards placed against sedition and licentiousness : for when power is given to this government to suppress these, or, for any other purpose, the language it assumes is clear, express, and unequivocal; but when this constitution speaks of privileges, there is an ambiguity, sir, a fatal ambiguity-an ambiguity which is very astonishing. In the clause under consideration, there is the strangest language that I can conceive. I mean, when it says, that there shall not be more representatives, than one for

every 30,000. Now, sir, how easy is it to evade this privilege? “ The number shall not exceed one for every 30,000.” This may be satisfied by one representative from each state. Let our numbers be ever so great, this immense continent, may, by this artful expression, be reduced to have but thirteen representatives. I confess this construction is not natural; but the ambiguity of the expression lays a good ground for a quarrel. Why was it not clearly and unequivocally expressed, that they should be entitled to have one for every 30,000 ? This would have obviated all disputes; and was this difficult to be done? What is the inference ? When population increases, and a state shall send representatives in this proportion, Congress may remand them, because the right of having one for every 30,000 is not clearly expressed. This possibility of reducing the number to one for each state, approximates to probability by that other expression, “ but each state shall at least have one representative." Now is it not clear that, from the first expression, the number might be reduced so much, that some states should have no representative at all, were it not for the insertion of this last expression ? And as this is the only restriction upon them, we may fairly conclude that they may restrain the number to one from each state. Perhaps the same horrors may hang over my mind again. I shall be told I am continually afraid: but, sir, I have strong cause of apprehension. In some parts of the plan before you, the great rights of freemen are endangered, in other parts absolutely taken away. How does your trial by jury stand ? In civil cases gone-not sufficiently secured in criminal--this besť privilege is gone. But we are told that we need not fear, because those in power being our representatives, will not abuse the powers we put in their hands.' 'I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers. I imagine, sir, you will


find the balance on the side of tyranny. Happy wil you be, if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism! Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition, And those nations who have gone in search of deur, power and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice, and been the victims of their own folly. While they acquired those visionary blessings, they lost their freedom. My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights ; or, of waging war against tyrants. It is urged by some gentlemen, that this new plan will bring us an acquisition of strength; an army, and the militia of the states. This is an idea extremely ridiculous : gentlemen cannot be in earnest. This acquisition will trample on your fallen liberty. Let my beloved Americans guard against that fatal lethargy that has pervaded the universe. Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put into the hands of Congress ?

The honorable gentleman said, that great danger would ensue, if the convention rose without adopting this system. I ask, where is that danger? I see

Other gentlemen have told us, within these walls, that the union is gonemor, that the union will be gone. Is not this trifling with the judgment of their fellow-citizens ? Till they tell us the ground of their fears, I will consider them as imaginary. I rose to make inquiry where those dangers were; they could make no answer: I believe I never shall have that answer. Is there a disposition in the people of this country to revolt against the dominion of laws ? Has there been a single tumult in Virginia ? Have not the people of Virginia, when laboring under the severest pressure of accumulated distresses, manifested the most cordial acquiescence in the execution of the laws? What could be more awful, than their unani




mous acquiescence under general distresses ? Is there any revolution in Virginia ? Whither is the spirit of America gone? Whither is the genius of America fled ? It was but yesterday, when our enemies marched in triumph through our country. Yet the people of this country could not be appalled by their pompous armaments: they stopped their career, and victoriously captured them: where is the peril now, compared to that?

Some minds are agitated by foreign alarms. Happily for us, there is no real danger from Europe; that country is engaged in more arduous business; from that quarter, there is no cause of fear: you may sleep in safety forever for them. Where is the danger? If, sir, there was any, I would recur to the American spirit to defend us—that spirit which has enabled us to surmount the greatest difficulties: to that illustrious spirit, I address my most fervent prayer, to prevent our adopting a system destructive to liberty. Let not gentlemen be told, that it is not safe to reject this government. Wherefore is it not safe? We are told there are dangers; but those dangers are ideal; they cannot be demonstrated. To encourage us to adopt it, they tell us, that there is a plain, easy way of getting amendments. When I come to contemplate this part, I suppose

that I am mad, or, that my countrymen are The way to amendment is, in my conception, shut. Let us consider this plain, easy way. 6 The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shalldeem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitution; or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one, or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress. Provided, that no amendment which may be made

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