But, Sir, it was to no purpose that the futility of their objections were shewn- when driven from the pretence that the equality of suffrage had been originally agreed to on principles of expediency and necessity, the representatives of the large States persisted in a declaration, that they wouldnever agree to admit the smaller States to an equality of suffrage- In answer to this, they were informed, and informed in terms the most strong and energetic that could possibly be used, that we never would agree to a system giving them the undue influence and superiority they proposed- That we would risque every possible consequence- That from anarchy and confusion order might arise- That slavery was the worst that could ensue, and we considered the system proposed to be the most complete, most abject system of slavery that the wit of man ever devised, under the pretence of forming government for free States- That we. never would submit tamely and servilely to a present certain evil in dread of a future, which might be imaginary- That we were sensible the eyes of our country and of the world were upon us- That we would not labour under the imputation of being unwilling to form a strong and energetic federal government; but we would publish the system which we approved, and also that which we opposed, and leave it to our country and the world at large to judge between us, who best understood the rights of free men and free States, and who best advocated them- and to the same tribunal we would submit who ought to be answerable for all the consequences which might arise to the union from the convention breaking up without proposing any system to their constituents- During this debate we were threatened, that if we did not agree to the system proposed, we never should have an opportunity of meeting in convention to deliberate on another, and this was frequently urged- In answer, we called upon them to shew what was to prevent it, and from what quarter was our danger to proceed- was it from a foreign enemy? Our distance from Europe, and the political situation of that country, left us but little to fear- Was there any ambitious State or States, who in violation of every sacred obligation was preparing to inslave the other States, and raise itself to consequence on the ruin of the others? Or was there any such ambitious individual? We did not apprehend it to be the case- But suppose it to be true, it rendered it the more necessary that we shouldsacredly guard against a system which might enable all those ambitious views to be carried into effect, even under the sanction of the constitution and government- in fine, Sir, all these threats were treated with contempt, and they were told that we apprehended but one reason to prevent the States meeting again in convention- that when they discovered the part this convention had acted, and how much its members were abusing the trust reposed in them, the States would never trust another convention.-
At length, Sir, after every argument had been exhausted by the advocates of equality representation, the question was called, when a majority decided in favour of the inequality- Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North-Carolina, South- Carolina and Georgia voting for it-Connecticut, New-York, Jersey, Delaware against it- Maryland divided.-3
It may be thought surprising, Sir, that Georgia, a State now small and comparatively trifling in the union, should advocate this system of unequal representation, giving up her present equality in the federal government, and sinking herself almost to total insignificance in the scale; but, Sir, it must be considered that Georgia has the most extensive territory in the union, being larger than the whole island of Great-Britain, and thirty times as large as Connecticut. This system being designed to preserve to the States their whole territory unbroken, and to prevent the erection of new States within the territory of any of them- Georgia looked forward when her population, being increased in some measure proportioned to her territory, she should rise in the scale and give law to the other States, and hence we found the delegation of Georgia warmly advocating the proposition of giving the States unequal representation.
Next day the question came on with respect to the inequality of representation in the second branch, but little debate took place; the subject had been exhausted on the former question. On the votes being taken, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North-Carolina and South-Carolina voted for the inequality. Connecticut, New-York, Jersey, Delaware and Maryland were in the negative. Georgia had only two representatives on the floor, one of whom (not I believe because he was against the measure, but from a conviction that we would go home, and thereby dissolve the convention before we would give up the question) voted also in the negative, by which that State was divided. Thus, Sir, on this great and important part of the system, the convention being equally divided, five States for the measure, five against, and one divided, there was a total stand, and we did not seem very likely to proceedany further.4
At length it was proposed, that a select committee should be ballotted for, composed of a member from each State, which committee should endeavour to devise some mode of conciliation or compromise; I had the honor to be on that committee; we met and discussed the subject of difference; the one side insisted on the inequality of suffrage in both branches, the other insisted on the equality in both; each party was tenacious of their sentiments, when it was found that nothing could induce us to yield the inequality in both branches; they at length proposed by way compromise, if we would accede to their wishes as to the first branch, they would agree to the equal representation in the second branch. To this it was answered, that there was no merit in the proposal; it was only consenting, after they had struggled, to put both their feet on our necks, to take one of them off provided we would consent to let them keep the other on, when they knew at the same time, that they could not put one foot on our necks, unless we would consent to it, and that by being permitted to keep on that one foot, they should afterwards be able to place the other foot on whenever they pleased.