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title:“Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention”
authors:Jeremy Belknap
date written:1788-1-21

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:17 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 9, 2023, 10:03 p.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. 1280-81. Print.
Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention (January 21, 1788)

On motion, Resolved as follows, viz.
Whereas there is a publication in "The Boston Gazette and the Country Journal," of this day as follows, viz.
"Bribery and Corruption!!!
"The most diabolical plan is on foot to corrupt the members of the Convention, who oppose the adoption of the new Constitution. Large sums of money have been brought from a neighbouring State for that purpose, contributed by the wealthy;—if, is it not probable there may be collections for the same accursed purpose nearer home?
Resolved, That this Convention will take measures for inquiring into the subject of the said publication, and for ascertaining the truth or falshood of the suggestion therein contained.
Ordered, That the Messenger be directed to request the Printers of the said Gazette, to appear before this Convention, forthwith, to give information respecting the said publication. vention—occasioned (the) appointment of a Committee to enquire into (the) matter—The article respecting (the) power of Congress to regulate (the) Time place & manner of holding Elections was under Consideration. The Speakers King, Dana, Parsons & Ames—Substance as follows—Sect 4—
It had been objected (that) this (would) give Congress power so to controul elections as to perpetuate themselves—
Ans[we]r. Reps must be chosen accordg to Numbers—& (the) people divided into districts—the first Elections must be made by (the) State-Legislatures—Men so chosen will not be fond of altering (the) mode of Elec[tio]n if they mean to keep (themselves) in Power—
If this State could confide in its own Legislature to regulate (the) Election of its own Members for Congress—yet w[ha]t controul could they (have) on (the) Legislatures of other States if they were to do wrong? (the) controul must be in the gen[era]l Govt-Rh[ode] I[sland]—have now a bill before (them) to confine Elections to Corporations as in Engl[an]d—& this is one of(the) great grievances complained of in Engl[an]d they want to reduce Newport & Providence to 2 members only as (the) smaller Towns—Conectict is represented by Corporations also—South Carolina by districts—Charlestown sends 30—the back Counties complain of inequality—they want an alteration in their Constitution—it cannot be made—but Congress are now to have power to see (that the) p[eo]ple are represented on (the) great Principle of Numbers.
The Senate & Reps cannot play into one anothers hands—for (the) Place of Elec[tio]n of Senators is limited & (the) Reps can[n]ot alter it—(the) Principle on wh[ich] Reps are elected is Numbers & this is unalterable—

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