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title:“Newspaper Report 3 of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings”
date written:1787-12-3

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:22 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 1, 2024, 10:07 a.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report 3 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. 461. Print.

Newspaper Report 3 of Pennsylvania Convention Proceedings (December 3, 1787)

Wilson: Take detached parts of any system whatsoever, in the manner these gentlemen have hitherto taken this Constitution, and you will make it absurd and inconsistent with itself. I do not confine this observation to human performances alone; it will apply to divine writings. An anecdote, which I have heard, exemplifies this observation. When Sternhold and Hopkin's version of the Psalms was usually sung in churches, a line was first read by the clerk, and then sung by the congregation. A sailor had stepped in, and heard the clerk read this line: "The Lord will come, and he will not" The sailor stared; and when the clerk read the next line, "Keep silence; but speak out," the sailor left the church, thinking the people were not in their senses.
This story may convey an idea of the treatment of the plan before you; for although it contains sound sense, when connected, yet by the detached manner of considering it, it appears highly absurd.

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