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title:“Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention”
authors:Jeremy Belknap
date written:1788-1-19

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:01 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 16, 2024, 8:35 a.m. UTC

Belknap, Jeremy. "Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 6. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2000. 1259-61. Print.
Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention (January 19, 1788)

Saturday 10. (the) Continental Senate under Consideran—(the) speakers as follows—
Cooley—(Querist) moved to pass it over Singletary fro[m] Sutton, against it—(the) Time for wh[ich] they are chosen is too long—
Deacon Davis, of Bo[ston] spoke in favor of it—
Dr. Taylor, of Douglas—agt it—
Tho Dawes —pro—
Singletary fro[m] Sutton—Danger to posterity—
Cooley (querist to query)
Gen Brooks jr—Senate unde[r] siffic[ien]t Checks—
Rufus King—explained & enlarged on (the) same Subject—said (that ) no certain Rule ever had been in (the) Power of Congress—therfore laid their Taxes as they found (the) States able—the) judgment founded on Conjecture—& (the) money paid considered as so much loaned on Credit by each state—& to be settled hereafter—(the) Case of Georgia was—before (the) War smal—much harrassed by it—since rapidly increasing—the No of Reps no more than w[ha]t they had or (would have) a right to considg their increasing popula[tio]n.
Parsons asked whether they (had) not suffd by Indian War.
Thomson—bro't in (the) Case of Bagaduce or Penobscot in wh[ich] we had advanced more (than our) proportion King answd—we never should gain a recompence but by such a Constitution as now proposed—
Thomson—a parcel of pathetic nonsense—
Dawes reads requisitions [i.e., resolutions] of Congress about money proportioned amg (the) States—
Dalton answers Thomson—(the) pres[en]t Constitn gives us an adv[anta]g[e]—over Georgia & other small states—(the) Confederan gave each one Vote—now we (have) 8 to their 3. or takg in NHampe 9 to 3
Wedgery asks whether their influence in the Senate was not as much as ever?
Dalton—answers gain upon (the) whole—
Snow—Somethg ab[ou]t a Porcupine by a member I know not who
Dana. The Senate represents & secures (the) Sovereignty of each State, therefore (equal) voice—
Strong. a detail of proceedges in Convention ab[ou]t Senate—(that) Gerry was of (the) Committee about proportiong (the) Senate (that the) Comtee was aptd [i.e., appointed] because (the) small states were jealous of (the) large ones—& (the) Convention was nigh breakg up but for4 this.
Dawes Query—Was (the) same Comtee about Rep—Ans[wer] no.
Jones of Bristol—obj[ects] to (the) duration of (the) Senate Ames. (the) Senate is to prevent (the) Consolidation of (the) States & keep alive their individuality & Sov[ereign]ty—
Shurtliff—obj[ects] to Consolidation—of (the) States Parsons distinguish Consolidation of (the) States from (that) of (the) Union—if (the) former then all States swallowed up in one—but (the) Union is rendered firm & indissoluble by the Constitution Jones renews objec[tio]n King answers—Senate will be checked by (the) Continental Reps—by (the) Legislat of each State who have a right to instruct & he is very bold who will dare disobey. it is nec[essar]y they sh[oul]d (have) a long duration nature of business requires it—
Taylor for recalling Delegates within (the) year—
Cooley Querist—Whether a Majority of Senators present make treaties if only 3—
Dana answers—'tis no Senate with[ou]t a Quorum 2/3 of a Quorum nec[essar]y.—
Gerry informed (the) President (that) he was stating a Number of facts respecting (the) Senate (he had been writing at (the) table for some time)—Dana—adverted to (the) Transaction of yesterday & moved (that) if G was preparing any thing it was proper (that) a Question should (be) proposed to him in writing G attempted to speak—Parsons insisted on his right (as) a Member to be heard—a long altercation ensued about G's attendance—his right to state facts & give reasons & (the) Time for adjournmt came without his having oppo[rtunity] to give in what he intended tho' a Q[uestio]n was reduced to writing by Wedgery—to this purpose—"(that) Mr G be desired to give Information respecting (the) Senate".
It appeared to me (that) Gerry was premature in offering his statement before he was called upon—(that) Dana was right in moving for a written Question & I suppose had not many other members interposed their Opinions (the) matter might (have) gone on but as they also insisted to be heard (the) matter was protracted till 1 a clock—G certainly was (the) first yesterday to insist on having a Question in writing—he then acquiesced in (the) determination to give his answer so—as he had now been preparing written statement he ought to have either waited till a Q[uestio]n was proposed—or to (have) privately procured somebody to put (the) Q[uestio]n-his offering it was premature & iregular.
after (the) adjornmt & before they got out of (the) Ho[use] Gerry & Dana had some pretty high words—on (the) affair—
It is my Opinion (that) if G had any regard to his own personal Dignity he (would) not sit there to be moved as a Machine only by (the) pull of both parties.—

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