Log In Register

Source & Citation Info

title:“Notes for a speech by John Dickinson”
authors:John Dickinson
date written:1787-6-29

permanent link
to this version:
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:01 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Jan. 17, 2018, 2:34 p.m. UTC

Dickinson, John. "Notes for a speech by John Dickinson." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 128-29. Print.
Autograph Document, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Notes for a speech by John Dickinson (June 29, 1787)

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 1787
129 against the latter. There are two more. 1st The national Influence of the larger states from a Variety of Causes of the larger, in the National Councils. This acknowledged with Candor by an Honorable Gentleman from Virginia Yesterday. 2d. The Representation in the first Branch of Legislature which will most probably take place with the future consent of the smaller states in Proportion to numbers or actual Contribution to the national Uses. Our situation from Delaware. Let the Property of the larger states be secured. Let the Property and Liberty of the lesser be also secured. Let Neither dictate to the other. What will be the Condition of the larger in this Case? Their Property cannot be disposed of without their Consent. What will be the situation of the smaller, if in both branches, the Representation is in the Proportion mentioned? They will [be] delivered up into the absolute power of the larger. They may injure them in a Variety of Ways. I will mention but two. They may destroy their Trade and draw it wholly to themselves. They may tax them to relieve themselves. Is this too monstrous a supposition? Athens did it. Britain attempted it. What did Athens. She with rash Hands tore Taxes from the Allies that were confederated with her in the most solemn Manner. For Prosperity of the Confederation. No. To exhibit with Asiatic Magnificence the Tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides.1
Signal Vengeance at length overtook the luxurious Tyrant. What has been may be. There is not a great State in the Union but is as eminent in every public and private Virtue as the Smaller, but power Grandeur and Prosperity mingle an intoxicating Draught. too generally too strong for the limited Understanding and fallible Virtue of Mortality.
We are not forming plans for a Day Month Year or Age, but for Eternity. Let us endeavour with united Councils to establish a Government that not only may render our Nation great respectable free and happy but also VIRTUOUS. Let us try to combine political Establishments with moral Virtue that if possible the first may be equal with the Duration of this World and an aid or at least not a Hindrance to the Enjoyment of another.

Resource Metadata