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title:“Elbridge Gerry to John Wendell”
authors:Elbridge Gerry
date written:1789-7-10

permanent link
to this version:
https://consource.org/document/elbridge-gerry-to-john-wendell-1789-7-10/20130122080934/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:09 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Aug. 21, 2019, 5:39 a.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
Gerry, Elbridge. "Letter to John Wendell." Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 261-62. Print.
manuscript
source:
Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Elbridge Gerry to John Wendell (July 10, 1789)

I never was for rejecting the constitution, but for suspending the ratification untill it could be amended, as may be seen by my letter to the legislature of our state soon after the dissolution of the federal Convention—indeed as objectionable as the constitution was in my mind I should have preferred an adoption of it, to an hazard of a dissolution of the Union, but, being very apprehensive that the necessary amendments would never be obtained unless previously to a ratification I tho't good policy directed a suspension, & time must determine whether or not I was mistaken, untill the effects of the efforts of the states for amendments could be ascertained.1 I shall chearfully submit to any form of government which my fellow citizens may choose, reserving always a right to remove from oppression should it ever prevail in my native country which I pray God may never be the case; but at the same time, I shall always exercise the natural right withholding my assent to any system which I think dangerous, whilst its adoption is a question of political discussion. Whether the present constitution will preserve the ballance, or change to an aristocracy or monarchy must depend on the alterations that shall be made in the constitution & on the administration thereof: should there be no amendments I am of opinion it will verge to a monarchy & verging to it that such a form of government upon hereditary establishment will soon be found more safe & advantageous than a system altogether elective & participating of principles both republican & monarchical, but the field widens & obliges me to quit it.2

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