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title:“Notes for a speech by John Dickinson”
authors:John Dickinson
date written:1787-6-30

permanent link
to this version:
https://consource.org/document/notes-for-a-speech-by-john-dickinson-1787-6-30-3/20130122082657/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:26 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Oct. 15, 2019, 3:31 a.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
Dickinson, John. "Notes for a speech by John Dickinson." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 134-35. Print.
manuscript
source:
Autograph Document, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Notes for a speech by John Dickinson (June 30, 1787)

The sense of all Confederations 1. Policy in allowing an equal Vote 2. Justice In a Confederation no Danger from small states Their Interest is peace prosperity Ballance Their Condition teaches them political Virtues and suppresses political Vices. This Reason teaches Experience confirms Instances in several Republics The amphyctionic League Athens and Sparta Archaia 2. The following Dickinson documents form a unit. Document I is an outline of a speech; the other three contain phrases and ideas sketched in it. The speech for which these documents were the raw material was never delivered. Dickinson seems to have been moved to attempt a major speech by Madison's speech of June 28, for it is to that effort that he alludes in Document II by mentioning the "Distinctiaon made by Virginia," that is, the distinction made by Madison between the force of a compact and a treaty (Farrand, 1:446-47). In his June 28 speech Madison also surveyed ancient and modern confederacies from the Amphictyonic League to Austria; Dickinson treats the same topics. A more precise date for the preparation of Dickinson's notes can be derived from his use of the word "Lamb" in Document I, which he amplified in Document III to "Lessons in the Language of Fable," concerning a "Lamb." The only reference to a lamb in Farrand's Records is in William Paterson's notes of June 30, which indicate that he intended to examine the claim that "The Lesser States will destroy the larger—Lamb and Lyon" (1 :506). June 30, then, would appear to be an approximate date for Dick- inson's notes, a surmise strengthened by their subject matter—a plea for equal represen- tation of the smaller states, the issue that was monopolizing the Convention's attention at that time. SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 1787 Germany Call for opposite Instances What Experience in Congress What are the Causes of our Distress Not the Voice of smaller states but the Want of greater powers What Instances of Injury by the Interests of the smaller states being different from the rest None A Majority of States are large Others of competent size to be formed by them—as they a real Majority Little Being Enemy passed [two words undecipherable] neither great states to dictate to smaller ones nor smaller ones to great ones Large states may [undecipherable phrase] A large Commercial State ought to patronize the smaller ones in her Neighborhood that depend on her no harm I was of same opinion at the Beginning when representing Pennsylvania We are settling general Principles. The Eyes of Europe of the World upon Us. Great sentiments have settled often general principles that obtained the universal pleasing Homage of Mankind because approved by the under- standing and dear to the uncorrupted Heart. Liberty Benevolence Justice Lamb The equal Vote allowed in allmost every Confederation Compact. Dis- trust between State and Individuals unfounded. An Experiment more cruel than curious like opening a living Animal to examine the palpitations of its dying Heart. The World will know the Force. The Reasons urged against it. What will they say? The Highest Authority declaring that Justice and Compact must give way to Convenience—to Necessity. The Plea of Tyrant. A Necessity in words not in facts. Is this a foundation for Empire? What an Example Talk no more of Tender Laws and violations of Treaties. They were convenient. Let not the large states dictate to the smaller nor the smaller to the larger.

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