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

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to this version:
https://consource.org/document/notes-for-a-speech-by-john-dickinson-1787-6-30-4/20130122083201/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:32 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Nov. 14, 2019, 4:17 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. 138-39. Print.
manuscript
source:
Autograph Document, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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

1 3 8 SUPPLEMENT TO FARRAND'S RECORDS Lessons in the Language of Fable. I beg leave to recite one of them. A Lamb AD (Historical Society of Pennsylvania) JOHN DICKINSON: NOTES FOR A SPEECH (IV) I . Policy What Guilt? 2. Justice Benefit of Union Passed & signed Policy Throw all into common stock & divide de novo. If old Things are to be done away let all Things be new. My Opinion allways the same and advocated the Cause of the small states when I had the Honor of representing Pennsylvania in the first Congress. I speak in a public Character. The general Sense of Mankind in forming Confederations between independent and sovereign states of the Justice of allowing equal Votes to each. In a Confederation no Danger from smaller states. Their interest is peace Protection Ballance. Their Condition teaches them the political Virtues of a Confederation suppresses the political Vices of a Confederation. It is situation in Individuals and Societies that prompts and inflames Passions pernicious to Mankind. A Sulla and a Cromwell had virtue enough to serve their Country till Ambition convinced and urged them to enslave it. Athens was regarded as a tutelary Angel by her Allies, till she found she could plunder them with Impunity. And even Britain was the Idol of these states till in the Dream of Insolence she flattered herself she could make them Drawers of Wood. These Truths therefore Reason teaches History confirms. States of Greece ruined by Contests between the powerful states of Sparta and Athens. The same Dissensions ruined the Achaian League. Germany and Danger from the House of Austria. Prussia raised up as a Ballance. Call for opposite Doctrine of Mr. M. I recollect not any Confederation destroyed by smaller states unless irritated by greater. Macedon called in to oppose Sparta. Denmark. What are the Causes of our Distress. Not the Votes of the smaller states. Mention Cases if any. No. The Want of greater powers in Congress and a better organized Government. What single Instance of the Interests of the greater States being injured by the interests or votes of the smaller states? None. A Majority of states are large. They therefore may erect others of competent size to protect them from the dangerous Desires or daring Enterprises of their weaker Associates. The smaller states must of Necessity decrease in their Importance. They are content to dye a natural Death, for states as well as Men must dye. All they ask—and when I survey this Assembly I may say they ask with Confidence with utmost SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 1787 139 affection—that they may not be put to death by their Brethren. One Empire was founded in [word undecipherable] by Romulus, but his Brother had provoked him by Insults. This a changeful World. This Consideration reminds me of some words I have read in a little Book: "And they said one to another, we are verily guilty concerning your Brother, in that we saw the Anguish of his soul, when he besought Us; and we would not hear: therefore is this Distress come upon Us. And Reuben answered them saying, spake I not unto You, saying, Do not sin against that Child; and you would not hear? therefore, behold also, his Blood is required." I look for better Things. Yesterday's Vote proves that instead of a Giant unwieldy slow heavy. A Father surrounded by a Family of hearty, affectionate strong sons [undecipherable phrase] attached to him and each other not by fear or servile dependance but by a generous tender participation of Blessings and a Reciprocity of Kindnesses and Advantages. If in every small state should arise a Caesar as brave as Alexander as artful as Hannibal and as infamous as Borgia he could not injure the greater. What is their Situation one at each Extremity Two others separated by a very powerful a very commercial State closely connected with her by Blood by Marriage by Friendship by every kind of Interest and almost wholly dependent upon her in Commerce. The supplyers of her Exports The Consumers of her Imports. From the first Moment of their Existence they have been thus connected to, I had almost said, devoted to her, constantly and cheerfully contributing to extend her fleets and to spread her sails upon the ocean. Unsuspecting and affectionate they rejoice in the Connections. The deare Ties not to be dissolved but by an imprudent and unneighbourly Attempt on her side to stab them to the Heart. She will then be esteemed by them as selfish in her politics, as she is just liberal and magnanimous in every other point of View.

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