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That in all cases or questions wherein the sovereign. the different counties, their wants, their abilities, ties of the individual states may be affected, or where their dispositions, and the characters of the principal by their authority over their own citizens may be di people, respecting their integrity, capacities, and quaminished, or the authority of the general government lifications for offices ? Does not the present construcwithin the several states augmented, each state shall tion of our executive provide well for these particuhave equal suffrage.

lars? And during the number of years it has existed, That in the appointment of all civil officers of the bave its errors or failures in answering the end of it general government, in the election of whom the second appointment been more or greater than might have branch may by the constitution have part, each stale been expected from a single person? shall have equal suffrage. That in fixing the salaries of such officers, in all al

"But an individual is more easily watched and controlled lowances for public services, and generally in all ap

than any groater number." propriations and dispositions of money to be drawn On this I would ask, who is to watch and control out of the general treasury, and in all laws for supply him? And by what means is he to be controlled? ing the treasury, the delegates of the several states will not those means, whatever they are, and in what shall have suffrage in proportion to the sums their respect ever body vested, be subject to the same inconvenienive states had actually contributed to that treasury from ces of expense, delay, obstruction of good intentions, their tares or internal cocines.

&c., which are objected to the present executive? That in case the general duties should be laid by im. post on goods imported, a liberal estimation shall be

II. THE DURATION OF THE APPOINTMENT. made of the amount of such impost paid in the price of the commodities by those states that import but lit. " This should be governed by the following principles, tle, and a proportionate addition shall be allowed of the independency of the magistrate, and the stability of suffrage to such states, and an equal diminution of the his administration : neither of which can be secured wat suffrage of the states importing.

by putting both beyond the reach of every annual gust of

folly and of faction." REMARKS.

On this it may be asked, ought it not also to be put

beyond the reach of every triennial, quinquennial, er The steady course of public measures is most proba septennial gust of folly and faction, and in short bebly to be expected from a number.

yond the reach of folly and of faction at any period A single person's measures may be good : the suc whatever ? Does not this reasoning aim at establish cessor often differs in opinion on those measures, and ing a monarchy at least for life, like that of Poland? adopts others: often is ambitious of distinguishing or, to prevent the inconveniences such as that king himself, by opposing them, and offering new projects : dom is gubject to in a new election on every decease! one is peaceably disposed ; another may be fond of war, Are the freemen of Pennsylvania convinced from a &c. Hence foreign states can never have that confi- view of the history of such governments, that it will be dence in the treaties or friendship of such a govern. for their advantage to submit themselves to a government, as in that which is conducted by a number. inent of such construction ?

The single head may be sick; who is to conduct the public affairs in that case? When he dies, who are to

III. ON THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. conduct till a new election ? If a council, why not continue ihem? Shall we not be harassed with fac.

A plural legislature is as necessary to good gorern. tions for the election of successors ? become, like Po. ment as a single erecutive. It is not enough that par? land, weak from our dissensions.

Legislature should be numerous, it should also be divided Consider the present distracted condition of Holland:

Numbers alone not a suffcient berrier against the they had at first a stadtholder, the prince of Orange, a impulses of passion, the combinations of interest, the man of undoubted and great merit ; they found some intrigues of faction, the haste of folly, or the spirit of inconveniences, however, in the extent of powers an. encroachment. One division should watch over and can nexed to that office, and exercised by a single person. trol the other; supply ils wants, correct its blundera, en On his death, they resumed and divided those powers cross its designs, should they be criminal or ETT ACUM among the states and cities; but there has been a con Wisdom is the specific quality of the legislature, groes out stant struggle since between that family and the na of the number of the body, and is made up of the portist: tion. In the last century the then prince of Orange of sense and knowledge which each member brings to L. found means to inflame the populace against their magistrates, excite a general insurrection, in which an

On this it inay be asked, may not the wisdom excellent minister, Dewit, was murdered, all the old brought to the legislature by each member be as eftextmagistrates displaced, and the stadtholder re-investual a barrier against the impulses of passion, de ed with all the former powers. In this century the

when the members are united in one body as wees father of the present stadtholder, baving married a they are divided? If one part of the legislature may British princess, did, by exciting another insurrection, pulses of passion, the combinations of interest, ibe 18

control the operations of the other, may not the re force from the nation a decree, that the stadtholdership trigues of faction, the baste of folly, or the spirit of er should be thenceforth hereditary in his family. And now his son, being suspected of having favoured Eng-croachment in one of those bodies obstruct the good land in the late war, and thereby lost the confidence proposed by the other, and frustrate its advantages 10 of the nation, is forming an internal faction to support when a province under the government of the proprie

the public ? Have we not experienced in this state, his power, and reinstate his favourite the duke of Brunswick; and he holds up his family alliances with tors, the mischiefs of a second branch existing in i England and Prussia to terrify opposition. It was this proprietary family countenanced and aided by an aris conduct of the stadtbolder which induced the states to

tocratic counsel ? How many delays and what great recur to the protection of France and put their troops business ; and what a train of mischiefs, even to the

expenses were occasioned in carrying on the publice under a French, rather than the stadtholder's German general, the duke of Brunswick : and this is the source preventing of the defence of the province during seve of all the present disorders in Holland, which if the

ral years, when distressed by an Indian war, by the in stadtholder has abilities equal to his inclinations, will, liquitous demand that the proprietary property should probably, after a ruinous and bloody civil war, end in

be exempt from taxation! The wisdom of a fer establishing an hereditary monarchy in his family.

members in one single legislative body, may it not frequently stifle bad motions in their infancy, and so pre

vent their being adopted ? whereas if those wise men QUERIES and REMARKS on a Paper, entitled, that branch wherein the motion did not arise, may s

in case of a double legislature, should happen to be se “ Hints for the Members of Convention.” not, after being adopted by the other, occasion long disNo. II. in the Federal Gazette of Tuesday, live to the public, obstructing the public business, and

putes and contentions between the two bodies, expen Nov. 3, 1789.

promoting factions among the people, many tempera HINT I. OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH.

naturally adhering obstinately to measures they base

once publicly adopted ? Have we not seen in one of " Your Executide should consist of a single person."

our neighbouring states, a bad measure adopted by one On this I would ask, is he to have no council ? How of some more intelligent members who had been pack

branch of the legislature, for want of the assistance is he to be informed of the state and circumstances of led into the other, occasion many debates, conducted

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with much asperity, which could not be settled but by a set of merchants who club their property in different an expensive general appeal to the public? And have proportions for building and freighting a ship, and may we not seen in another neighbouring state, a similar therefore have some right to vote in the disposition or

difference between the two branches, occasioning long the voyage in a greater or less degree, according to -1 debates and contentions, whereby he state was pre. their respective contributions: but the important ends # vented for many months enjoying the advantage of of civil society, and the personal securities of life and y having senators in the congress of the United States ? liberty, there remain the same in every member of the

And has our present legislative, in one assembly, com society; and the poorest continues to have an equal mitted any errors of importance, which they have not claim to them with the most opulent, whatever differ

remedied, or may not easily remedy; more easily pro-ence time, chance, or industry may occasion in their at bably than if divided into iwo branches? And if the circumstances. On these considerations I am sorry to

Wisdom brought by the members to the assembly is see the signs this paper I have been considering affords, divided into two branches, may it not be too weak in of a disposition among some of our people to commence tach. to support a good measure or obstruct a bad one? an aristocracy, by giving the rich a predominancy in The division of the legislature into two or three government, a choice peculiar to themselves in one branches in England, was it the product of wisdom, or half the legislature to be proudly called the UPPER the effect of necessity, arising from the pre-existing house, and the other branch chosen by the inajority of prevalence of an odious feudal system ? which govern. the people, degraded by the denomination of the Lower, ment, notwithstanding this division, is now become, and giving to this upper house a permanency of four in faci, an absolute monarchy; since the king, by brib. years, and but two to the lower. I hope therefore, that log the representatives with the people's money, car. our representatives in the convention will not hastily ries, by his ministers, all the measures that please go into these innovations, but take the advice of the him; which is equivalent to governing without a par. Prophet, ---" Stand in the old ways, view the ancient paths, liament, and renders the machine of government much consider them well, and be not among those that are giren more complex and expensive, and from its being more to change." comples, more easily put out of order. Has not the famous political fable of the snake with two heads and one body, some useful instruction contained in it? | Speech of Dr. Franklin in the Convention She was going to a brook to drink, and in her way

on the subject of Salaries. was to pass through a hedge, a twig of which opposed ber direct course; one head chose to go on the right

Sır, -It is with reluctance that I rise to express a side of the iwig, the other on the left: so that time was disapprobation of any one article of the plan, for which spent in the contest, and before the decision was com. we are so much obliged to the honourable gentleman pleird, the poor snake died with thirst.

who laid it before us. From its first reading I have " Hence it is that the two branches should be elected by borne a good will to it, and in general wished it sucperseus differently qualified; and in short, that, as far as cess. In this particular of salaries to the executive pessible, they should be inade to represent different inter branch, I happen to differ; and as my opinion may ap

Under this reasoning. I would establish a legisla pear new and chimerical, it is only from a persuasion lure of teco houses. The apper, should represent the


ihat it is right, and from a sense of duty that I hazard perty; the lower, the population of the state. The


it. The committee will judge of my reasons when they seould be chosen by freemen possessing in lands and have heard them, and their judgment may possibly kouses one thousand pounds; the lower, by all such as change mine.

I think I see inconveniencies in the apked resided four years in the country, and paid rares. pointment of salaries, I see none in refusing them, but To first should be chosen for four, the last for iroo years.

on the contrary great advantages. Tary should be ir authority co-equal."

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful Several questions may arise upon this proposition. influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition 141. What is the proportion of freemen possessing lands and avaricc; the love of power and the love of money. and houses of one thousand pounds value, compared to separately, each of these has great force in prompting that of freemen whose possessions are inferior? Are men to action; but when united in view of the same they as one to ten? Are they even as one to twenty? object, tbey have in many minds the most violent efI should doubt whether they are as one to fifty. If this fects. Place before the eyes of such men, a post of minority is to choose a body expressly to control that honour that shall at the same time be a place of profit, baich is to be chosen by the great majority of the free and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. men, what have this great majority done to forfeit so The vast number of such places it is, that renders the teat a portion of their right in elections? Why is this British government so tempestuous. The strucgles for power of control, contrary to the spirit of all democra. them are the true source of all those factions which are cies, to be vested in a minority, instead of a majority? perpetually dividing the nation, distracting its coun. Then is it intended, or is it not, that the rich should ciis, hurrying it sometimes into fruitless and mischiev. bave a vote in the choice of members for the lower ous wars, and often compelling a submission to disho. house, while those of inferior property are deprived of nourable terms of peace. the right of voting for members of the upper house ? And of what kind are the men that will strive for And why should the upper house, chosen by a minority, this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of have equal power with the lower chosen ajority ? cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual Is it supposed that wisdom is the necessary concomi. abuse of parties, tearing to picces the best of charac. tant of riches, and that one man worth a thousand ters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers pounds must have as much wisdom as twenty who of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. have each only nine hundred and ninety-nine; and It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong why is property to be represented at all ?-Suppose one passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish purof our Indian nations should now agree to form a civil suits. These will thrust themselves into your governsociety; each individual would bring into the stock of ment, and be your rulers. And these, 100, will be mis. the skiety little more property than his gun and his taken in the expected happiness of their situation; for blanket, for at present he has no other; we know that their vanquished competitors of the same spirit and when one of them has attempted to keep

a few swine, from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavourhe has not been able to maintain a property in them, ing to distress their administration, thwart their meahis neighbours thinking they have a right to kill and sures, and render them odious to the people. fat them whenever they want provision, it being one Besides these evils, sir, though we may set out in of tbeir maxims, that hunting is free for all: the accu. the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find mulation therefore of property in such a society, and that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons He security to individuals in every society, must be an will never be wanting for proposed augmentations; effect of ihe protection afforded to it by the joint and there will always be a party for giving more to strength of the society, in the execution of its laws. the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give Private property, therefore, is a creature of society, more to them. Hence, as all history informs us, there and is subject to the calls of that society whenever its has been in every state and kingdoin, a constant kind fecessities shail require it, even to its last farthing; of warfare between the governing and the governed ; its contributions, therefore, to the public exigencies, the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the are not to be considered as conferring a benefit on the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great public, entitling the contributors to the distinctions of convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dehonour and power; but as the return of an obligation throning of the princes or enslaving of the people. previously received, or the payment of a just debt.-- | Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries its point, The combinations of civil society are not like those of and we see the revenue of princes constantly increas

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over us.

ing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but al. is not seconded or accepted, I must be contented with ways in want of more. The more the people are dis. the satisfaction of having delivered my opinion frankiy, contented with the opprension of taxes, the greater and done my duty. need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not if Speech of Dr. Franklin in a Committee of he could, follow the example of Pharaoh,-get first all the Convention, on the Proportion of ihe people's money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever. It will be Representation and Votes. said, that we do not propose to establish kings.-I MR CHAIRMAN.-It has given me great pleasure to know it.-But there is a natural inclination in man. observe that till this point, the Proportion of Representkind to kingly governinent. It sometimes relieves ation, came before us, our debates were carried on them from aristocratic domination. They bad rather with great coolness and temper. If any thing of a have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of contrary kind has on this occasion appeared, I hope it the appearance of equality among citizens; and that will noi be repeated; for we are sent hither lo censalt, they like. I am apprehensive, therefore,--perhaps 100 not to contend, with each other; and declarations of a apprehensive,--that the government of these states, fixed opinion and of determined resolutions never lo may in future timesend in a monarchy. But this catas, change it, neither enlighten nor convince us : positive trophe, I think, may be long delayed, if in our proposed ness and warmth on one side naturally beget their system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction, like on the other; and tend to create and augineet and tumult, by making our posts of honour places of discord, and division, in a great concern, wberein profit. If we do, I fear, that though we employ at first harmony and union are extremely necessary, to give a number, and not a single person, the number will in weight io our councils, and render them effectuai ia time be set aside; it will only nourish the folus of a promoting and securing the common good. king, (as the respectable gentleman from Virginia very I must own, that I was originally of opinion it would aptly expressed it,) and a king will the sooner be sel be better if every member of congress, or our national

council, were to consider himself rather as a represent. It may be imagined by some, that this is an Utopian ative of the whole, than as an agent for the interests idea, and that we can never find men to serve us in the of a particular state, in which case the proportion of executive department, without paying them well for members for each state would be of less consequence, their services. I conceive this to be a mistake. Some and it would not be very material whether they voted existing facts present themselves to me, which incline by states or individually. But as I find this is not to me to a contrary opinion. The high sheriff of a county be expected, I now think the number of representa: in England is an honourable office, but not a profitable tives should bear some proportion to the number of one. It is rather expensive, and therefore not sought the represented, and thai the decisions should be by for. But yet it is executed, and well executed, usually the majority of members, not by the majority of states. by some of the principal gentlemen of the county. In This is objected to from an apprehension that the France, the office of counsellor, or member of their ju. greater states would then swallow up the smaller. I diciary parliament, is more honourable It is there do not at present clearly see whal advantage the fore purchased at a high price : there are indeed fees on greater states could propose to themselves, by swallow law proceedings, which are divided among them, but ing the smaller, and therefore do not apprehend they these fees do not amount to more than three per cent would attempt it. I recollect that in the beginning of on the sum paid for the place. Therefore, as legal in. this century, when the union was proposed of the two terest is there at five per cent., they in fact pay two kingdoms, England and Sco und, the Scotch patriots per cent., for being allowed to do the judiciary business were full of fears, that unless they had an equal num: of the nation, which is at the same time entirely ex ber of representatives in parliament, they should be empt from the burden of paying them any salaries for ruined by the superiority of the English. They finally their services. I do not, however, mean to recommend agreed, however, that the different proportions of im this as an eligible mode for our judiciary department. portance in the union, of the two nations, should be I only bring ine instance to show that the pleasure of attended to; whereby they were to have only forty doing good and serving their country, and the respect members in the house of commons, and only sixteen such conduct entitles them to, are sufficient motives of their peers were to sit in the house of Jords; a very with some ininds to give up a great portion of their great inferiority of numbers! And yet to this day I time to the public, without the mean inducement of do not recollect that any thing has been done in the pecuniary satisfaction.

parliament of Great Britain to the prejudice of Scot. Another instance is that of a respectable society, land; and whoever looks over the lists of public officers who bave made the experiment, and practised it with civil and military of that nation, will find, I believe, success, now more than a hundred years. -I mean the that the North Britons enjoy at least their full propor. Quakers. It is an established rule with them that they tion of emoluinent. are not to go to law, but in their controversies they But, sir, in the present mode of voting by states, it must apply to their monthly, quarterly, and yearly is equally in the power of the lesser states io swallow meetings. Committees of these sit with patience to up the greater; and this is mathematically demon. hear the parties, and spend much time in composing sirable. Suppose, for example, that seven smaller their differences. In doing this, they are supported by states had each three members in the house, and the a sense of duty; and the respect paid to usefulness. six larger to have, one with another, six members is honourable to be so employed, but it was never made And that upon a question, two members of each snalprofitable by salaries, fees, or perquusites. And indeed ler state should be in the affirmative, and one in the in all cases of public service, the less the profit the negative, they will make greater the honour.


Negatives 7 To bring the matter nearer home, have we not seen And that all the larger states the greatest and most important of our offices, that of should be unanimously in general of our arinies, executed for eight years together, the negative, they would without the smallest salary, by a patriot whom I will


Negatives 35 not now offend by any other praise; and this through fatigues and distresses, in common with the other

In all brave men his military friends and companions, and It is then apparent, that the 14 carry the question the constant anxieties peculiar to his station ? and against the 43, and the minority overpowers the mashall we doubt finding three or four men in all the jority, contrary to the common pracuice of assemblies United States, with public spirit enough to bear sitting in all countries and ages. in peaceful council, for perhaps an equal term, merely The greater states, sir, are naturally as unwilling to to preside over our civil concerns, and see that our have their property left in the disposition of the smallaws are duly executed? Sir, I have a better opinion ler, as the smaller are to leave ibeirs in the disposition of our country. I think we shall never be without a of the greater. An honourable gentleman has, to avoid sufficient number of wise and good men to undertake this difficulty, hinted a proposition of equalizing the and execute, well and faithfully, the office in question. states. It appears to me an equitable one; and I

Sir, the saving of the salaries, that may at first be should, for my owu part, not be avainst such a mea. proposed, is not an object with me. The subsequent sure, if it might be found practicable. Formerly, inmischiefs of proposing them are what I apprehend. deed, when almost every province had a different conAnd therefore it is that I move the amendment. If it stitution, some with greaier, others with fewer prisi

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leges, it was of importance to the borderers, when happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought their boundaries were contested, whether by running of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illumi. the division lines they were placed on one side or the nate our understandings ?-In the beginning of the other. At present, when such differences are done contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, away, it is less material. The interest of a state is we had daily prayers in this room for the divine pro

made up of the interests of its individual members. If tection! Our prayers, sir, were heard ;--and they in a Comore they are not injured, the state is not injured. Small were graciously answered.' All of us, who were en: ve Progetti States are more easily, well, and happily governed gaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent

than large ones. If, therefore, in such an equal di instances of a superintending Providence in our favour. vision, it should be found necessary to diminish Penn. To that kind Providence we owe this happy oppor

sylvania, I should not be averse to the giving a part tunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishPrasmanis

of it lo New Jersey, and another to Delaware; but asing our future national felicity. And have we now there would probably be considerable difficulties in ad. forgotten that powerful friend ?-or do we imagine we jusling such a division ; and however equally made at no longer need its assistance.-I have lived, sir, a long first, it would be continually varying by the augmenta: time; and the longer I live the more convincing proofs tion of inhabitants in some states, and their more fixed I see of this truth, Thet God governs in the affairs of proportion in others; and thence frequent occasion for men! And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground with new divisions; I beg leave to propose for the con out his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise sideration of the committee another mode, which ap without his aid? --We have been assured, sir, in the pears to me to be as equitable, more easily carried into Sacred Writings, thal “except the Lord build the practice, and more permanent in its nature.

house, they labour in vain that build it." I firmly be. Let the weakest state say what proportion of money lieve this; and I also believe, that without his conor force it is able and willing to furnish for the general curring aid, we shall succeed in this political building purposes of the union.

no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be di Let all the others oblige themselves to furnish each vided by our little partial local interests, our projects an equal proportion.

will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a The whole of these joint supplies 10 be absolutely in reproach and a by.word down to future ages. And the disposition of congress.

what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this un. The congress in this case to be composed of an equal fortunate instance, despair of establishing government number of delegates from each state:

by humau wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and And their decisions to be by the majority of indi. conquest sidual members voting.

I therefore beg leave to move, If these joint and equal supplies should on particular Thai henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance occasions not be sufficient, let congress make requisi. of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be lions on the richer and more powerful slates for fur: held in this assembly every morning before we proceed ther aids, to be voluntarily afforded; so leaving each to business; and that one or more of the clergy of this state the right of considering the necessity and utility city be requested to officiate in that service. of the aid desired, and of giving more or less as it [Note by Dr. Franklin.) “ The convention, except three should be found proper. This mode is not new; it was formerly practised

or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary!!" with success by the British government, with respect to Ireland and the colonies. We sometimes gave even more than thayexported or thonight just to accept; and in the lasi war, carried on while we were united, they gave us back in five years a million sterling. We

Dr. Franklin's private sentiments with res-
should probably have continued such voluntary on pect to this new constitution, may be gather-
tributions, whenever the occasion appeared to reguite ed from the following extracts from letters
them for the common good of the empire
till they chose to force us, and to deprive us of the he wrote about this time to some of his friends.
merit and pleasure of voluntary contributions, that we
refused and resisted. Those contributions, however,
were to be disposed of at the pleasure of a government

To M. Veillard, Passy.
in which we had no representative. I am therefore
persuaded that they will not be refused to one in which

“ PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 17th, 1788 the representation shall be equal.

.“ I sent you with my last a copy of My learned colleague has already mentioned, that the new constitution proposed for the United to originally by congress, under a conviction of its in States, by the late general convention. I propriety, inequality, and injustice. This appears in sent one also to our excellent friend the duke the words of their resolution. It is of Sept. 6, 1774.

de la Rochefoucault. The words are,

* Resolved. That in determining questions in this “I attended the business of the convention congress, each colony or province shall have one volt. faithfully for four months. Inclosed


have to procure, materials for ascertaining the importance the last speech I made in it. Six states have of each colony"

already adopted the constitution, and there is

now little doubt of its being accepted by a Dr. Franklin's Motion for Prayers in the sufficient number to carry it into execution, Convention.

if not immediately by the whole.—It has how

ever met with great opposition in some of the
MR. PRESIDENT,- The small progress we have made
after four or five weeks' close attendance and continual states; for we are at present a nation of po-
reasonings with each other, our different sentiments liticians. And though there is a general
on almost every question, several of the last producing dread of giving too much power to our go-
of the imperfection of the human understanding. We vernors, I think we are more in danger from
indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom the little obedience in the governed."
since we have been running all about in search of it.
We have gone back to ancient history for models of
government, and examined the ditferent forms of those

To the same.
tepablies, which, having been originally formed with
the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist;

" April 22, 1788. and we have viewed modern states all round Europe,

-" It is very possible, as you suppose, bat find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

that all the articles of the proposed new goIn this situation of this assembly, stoping, as it vernment will not remain unchanged after the able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it first meeting of congress. I am of opinion

Te 10


** Oct. 24, 1798.

with you,

that the two chambers were not ne- ! which you mentioned did not pass unnoticed cessary, and I disliked some other articles in the convention. Many, if I remember that are in, and wished for some that are not right, were for making the president incapain, the proposed plan: I nevertheless hope it ble of being chosen after the first four years; may be adopted, though I shall have nothing but the majority were for leaving the electors to do with the execution of it, being deter- free to choose whom they pleased; and it was mined to quit all public business with my pre- alleged that such incapacity might tend to sent employment.* At 83 one certainly has make the president less attentive to the duties a right to ambition repose."

of his office, and to the interests of the people,

than he would be if a second choice depended To the same.

on their good opinion of him. We are mak

ing experiments in polities; what knowledge PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 1788.

we shall gain by them will be more certain, “ My dear FRIEND,— I received a few days though perhaps we may hazard too much in ago your kind letter of the 3d January.

that mode of acquiring it." “ The arret in favour of the non-catholiques gives pleasure here, not only from its

To M. Veillard. present advantages, but as it is a good step towards general toleration, and to the abolishing in time all party spirit among christians into good order very fast." Never was any

“Our affairs mend daily, and are getting and the mischiefs that have so long attended it. Thank God, the world is growing wiser measure so thoroughly discussed as our pro

posed new constitution. Many objections and wiser; and as by degrees men are con were made to it in the public papers, and anvinced of the folly of wars for religion, for dominion, or for commerce, they will be happier there was, and some violent personal abuse.

swers to those objections. Much party heat and happier.

I kept out of the dispute, and wrote only one “ Eight states have now agreed to the pro- little paper on the occasion, which I enclose.* posed new constitution; there remain five You seem to be too apprehensive about our who have not yet discussed it; their appoint- presidents being perpetual. Neither he nor ed times of meeting not being yet arrived. Two are to meet this month, the rest later. there may be of such an event we are all

we have any such intentions: of what danger One more agreeing, it will be carried into execution. Probably some will not agree at aware, and shall take care effectually to prepresent, but time may bring them in; so that vent it

. The choice is from four years to five we have little doubt of its becoming general, years; the appointments will be small: thus perhaps with some corrections. As to your like his conduct, and he will have less induce

we may change our president if we do not friend's taking a share in the management of ment to struggle for a new election. As to it, his age and infirmities render him unfit for the two chambers I am of your opinion, that the business, as the business would be for him. After the expiration of his presidentship, friend, nothing in human affairs and schemes

one alone would be better; but, my dear which will now be in a few months, he is de- is perfect; and perhaps this is the case of our termined to engage no more in public affairs, even if required; but his countrymen will be

opinions." too reasonable to require it. You are not so

6. To Charles Carrol, Member of Congress. considerate; you are a hard task-master. You insist on his writing his life, already a

“ PHILADELPHIA, May 25, 1789. long work, and at the same time would have “ DEAR FRIEND, -I am glad to see by the him continually employed in augmenting the papers that our grand machine has at length subject, while the time shortens, in which the begun to work. I pray God to bless and guide work is to be executed. General Washington its operations. If any form of government is is the man that all our eyes are fixed on for capable of making a nation happy, ours I think president, and what little influence I may bids fair now for producing that effect. But have, is devoted to him.

after all, much depends upon the people who “B. FRANKLIN.” are to be governed. We have been guarding

against an evil that old states are most liable To the Duke de la Rochefoucault.

to, excess of power in the rulers; but our

present danger seems to be defect of obedi"PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 32, 1788. ence in the subjects. There is hope, however, “Our public affairs begin to wear a more from the enlightened state of this age and quiet aspect. The disputes about the faults country, we may guard effectually against of the new constitution are subsided. The that evil as well as the rest. first congress will probably mend the princi “ My grandson, William Temple Franklin, pal ones, and future congresses the rest. That

A comparison between the ancient Jews and Anti* President of the state of Pennsylvania,

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