« הקודםהמשך »
DELIVERED ON 26th NOVEMBER, 1787,
CONVENTION OF PENNSYLVANIA,
ASSEMBLED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE CONSTITUTION FRAMED, BY THE FEDERAL CONVENTION, FOR THE
SPEECH IN CONVENTION,
ON 26th NOVEMBER, 1787,
The system proposed, by the late convention, for the government of the United States, is now before you. Of that convention I had the honour to be a member. As I am the only member of that body who have the honour to be also a member of this, it may be expected that I should prepare
for the deliberations of this assembly, by unfolding the difficulties which the late convention were obliged to encounter; by pointing out the end which they proposed to accomplish; and by tracing the general principles which they have adopted for the accomplishment of that end.
To form a good system of government for a single city or state, however limited as to territory, or inconsiderable as to numbers, has been thought to require the strongest efforts of human genius. With what conscious diffidence,
then, must the members of the convention have revolved in their minds the immense undertaking which was before them.. Their views could not be confined to a small or a single community, but were expanded to a great number of states; several of which contain an extent of territory, and resources of population, equal to those of some of the most respectable kingdoms on the other side of the Atlantick. Nor were even these the only objects to be comprehended within their deliberations. Numerous states yet unformed, myriads of the human race, who will inhabit regions hitherto uncultivated, were to be affected by the result of their proceedings. It was 'necessary, therefore, to form their calculations on a scale commensurate to a large portion of the globe.
For my own part, I have been often lost in astonishment at the vastness of the prospect before us. To
open the navigation of a single river was lately thought, in Europe, an enterprise adequate to imperial glory. But could the commercial scenes of the Scheldt be compared with those that, under a good government, will be exhibited on the Hudson, the Delaware, the Potowmack, and the numerous other rivers, that water and are intended to enrich the dominions of the United States ?
The difficulty of the business was equal to its magnitude. No small share of wisdom and address is requisite to combine and reconcile the jarring interests, that prevail, or seem to prevail, in a single community. The United States contain already thirteen governments mutually independent. Those governments present to the Atlantick à front of fifteen hundred miles in extent. Their soil, their climates, their productions, their dimensions, their numbers are different. In many instances a