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title:“Newspaper Report 2 of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings”
date written:1787-11-26

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:06 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 1, 2024, 2:09 p.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report 2 of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 2. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976. 367-68. Print.

Newspaper Report 2 of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings (November 26, 1787)

While the Convention were debating on the propriety of referring the Constitution to a committee of the whole, Mr. Wilson made the following observation: "Shall we, sir, while we contemplate a great and magnificent edifice, condescend like a fly, with its microscopic eye, to scrutinize the imperfections of a single brick?" Mr. Findley, retorting the metaphor, said "Shall we not, sir, when we are about to erect a large and expensive fabric (for as far as it respects us, we are about to erect this mighty govermenment in Pennsylvania) examine and compare the materials of which we mean to compose it, fitting and combining the parts with each other, and rejecting everything that is useless and rotten?" "That," concluded Dr. Rush, "is not our situation. We are not, at this time, called upon to raise the structure. The house is already built for us; and are only asked, wheater we choose to occupy it? If we find its apartments commodious, and, upon the whole, that is well calculated to shelter us from the inclemencies of the storm that threatens, we shall act prudently in entering it; if otherwise, all that is required of us is to retun the key to those who have built it and offered it for our use."
It was observed in the Convention, that the Federal Convention had exceeded the powers given to them by the several legislatures; but Mr. Wilson observed, that however foreign the question was to the present business, he would place it in its proper light. The Federal Convention did not act at all upon the powers given to them by the states, but they proceeded upon original principles, and having framed a Constitution which they thought would promote the happiness of their country, they have submitted it to their consideration, who may either adopt or reject it, as they please.

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