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title:“Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention”
authors:Jeremy Belknap
date written:1788-1-25

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:57 a.m. UTC
retrieved:June 27, 2022, 3:37 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. 1350-51. Print.

Jeremy Belknap's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention (January 25, 1788)

right to be jealous of us? I think those gentlemen that are so very suspicious and jealous, that as soon as a man is made ruler he turns rogue, ought to look at home. We are by this Constitution allowed to send ten members to Congress—Have we not more than that number fit to go? Yes—I dare say if we pick out ten men to go to Congress, we shall have another ten left, and I hope ten times ten; and will not these be a check upon those that go? Will those go to Congress and abuse their power when they know they must return and look the other ten in the face, and be called to account for their conduct?1 Some gentlemen think that our liberties and properties are not safe in the hands of monied men and men of learning; for my part I think otherwise: Suppose you had a small farm of 50 acres, and your title to it was disputed, and you joined to a man that had 5000 acres, and was a monied man and a man of learning, and his title was involved in the same dispute—don't you think it would be an advantage to you to have him interested in your cause? Well the case is the same—These men of learning, these lawyers, these monied men, are all embarked with us, and we must all swim or sink together; and shall we throw the Constitution overboard because we don't like every part of it? Suppose you had been at great pains to clear up a rough piece of ground in company with a few neighbours, and sow it with wheat—would you let it be without a fence, because you could not agree what sort of a fence to make? Would it not be better to have a fence that did not please all your fancies than to have no fence at all?—Some gentlemen say,—Don't let us be in a hurry to adopt the Constitution—it is not time yet to do it—we had better let it alone for the present. No sir I say there is a time when things are ripe—there is a time to sow and a time to reap—we have been sowing our seed when we sent men to the federal convention, and now is the harvest—now let us reap the fruit of their labours—and if we do not do it now I am afraid we shall never have another opportunity. thence (the) necessity of such a form of Govt as that now under Considera[tio]n & adducing sev[era]l arg[umen]ts & answers to objections in plain familiar Style (with) a number of natural Comparisons in a strain of natural Eloquence (that) was very pleasing & popular.

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