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title:“Elbridge Gerry in the House of Representatives”
authors:Elbridge Gerry
date written:1791-2-7

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Gerry, Elbridge. "Elbridge Gerry in the House of Representatives." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

Elbridge Gerry in the House of Representatives (February 7, 1791)

February 7, 1791.
The gentleman from Virginia has endeavored to support his interpretation of the Constitution by the sense of the Federal Convention; but how is this to be obtained? By applying proper rules of interpretation? If so, the sense of the Convention is in favor of the bill; or are we to depend on the memory of the gentleman for a history of their debates, and from thence to collect their sense? This would be improper, because the memories of different gentlemen would probably vary, as they had already done, with respect to those facts; and if not, the opinions of the individual members who debated are not to be considered as the opinions of the Convention. Indeed, if they were, no motion was made in that Convention, and therefore none could be rejected for establishing a National Bank; and the measure which the gentleman has referred to was a proposition merely to enable Congress to erect commercial corporations, which was, and always ought to be, negatived.

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