JAMES WILSON: The business of the Convention being brought before that honorable body on Saturday last by motion of the Honorable Mr. M'Kean (recited in our last), Mr. Wilson attracted the attention of the house by a speech which the celebrated Roman orator would not have blushed to own. He began by pointing out the difficulties that the late Convention had to encounter; the diversity of opinion, interest, and prejudice they had to combat.
He sketched the different forms of ancient and modern republics, and showed how imperfect models they were for our imitation; he proved to demonstration, that there was not among them one confederated republic; he mentioned these difficulties (he said) not to make a parade of the merits of the Convention in surmounting them but to show how visionary-how idle it is to expect that under them a government could be framed unexceptionable in all its parts to each individual of so extensive an empire. He forcibly contrasted the imbecility of our present Confederation with the energy which must result from the proffered Constitution. After defining (with an accuracy which marked his acquaintance with governmental history) the different kinds of government, and pointing out their respective advantages and wants, he concluded a speech which had justly won the admiration of his audience, by saying, that the late Convention had in view, and, he hoped, had in some measure executed a Constitution whose energy would pervade the Union and restore credit and happiness to a distracted empire.1