To the EDITOR of the PENNSYLVANIA HERALD.
SIR, The present is universally acknowledged to be a most momentous era, as likely to decide the fate of a world for future ages. This consideration renders it the duty of every individual to submit to the consideration of his fellow citizens whatever he may deem calculated to elucidate the grand subject in general discussion.
The opposition to the new constitution is said to be made by interested men. This assertion is true only in part. It is possible, indeed, that the most violent, the most active, and the most voluminous writers against the proposed system are generally influenced by sinister and personal considerations. But there are many persons, whose apprehensions have been excited by the Centinels, the Old Whigs, the Democratic Fœderalists, and the Catos, and whose opposition is patriotic and disinterested, as they are fearful for the liberty of posterity, and anxious to prevent future encroachments of Congress. To satisfy the minds of those people, I venture, but with great diffidence, to propose a plan, which may possibly remove great part of the present opposition.
Let a meeting of the citizens be called, and a proper committee appointed to frame a bill of rights, for securing the liberty of the press, and all other rights which the states hold sacred. Let this bill of rights be transmitted to the several state conventions, to be taken into consideration with the new constitution. Little doubt need be entertained but that it would be universally agreed to.
This measure, if adopted, would draw a line of distinction between the detestable few who would sacrifice the interest and happiness of not only the present, but distant generations to their own emolument, and those who oppose the new system from a patriotic, but perhaps mistaken, dread of danger. The former would be left destitute of the vain covering under which they shelter their want of virtue and public spirit:-and the latter would become zealous fœderalists.
To the friends of the proposed constitution, I beg leave to observe, that this measure cannot possibly retard or affect the success of a plan which has justly met with their admiration. Even admitting that no such precaution is really necessary, would it not be adviseable to indulge the honest prejudices of many of their fellow citizens? This much, at least, may be said in favor of my plan, that even if it does no good, it can do no possible injury.
I submit it to the candour of the opposers of the new constitution, whether it would not be better to unite in this or some similar plan, than to attempt to defeat the wishes and desires of the continent for an efficient form of government, which is confessedly all that is necessary to restore America to her lost splendor, consequence, credit, and happiness?
Should this hint be attended to, and produce the good effect I hope for, I shall esteem it the most fortunate idea that ever occurred to Your humble servant, M. C.
Market-street, Oct. 26, 1787