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

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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. 135-36. Print.
Autograph Document, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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

I pass to the second point. The Justice Compact Distinction made by Virginia inadmissible between states and Individuals. What are Treaties? Compacts between states to be violated. No. Answer Reservation dreadfull that this Compact was temporary tho declared perpetual. A Despot may hereafter use the same Language. What Degradation of Character have we suffered on that Account? What Treaties what Compacts more solemn more sacred than those made by States Neighbours Brethren of the same Blood Family? In a [—] are imminent a dreadful Danger? Did not our Hearts dictate our Words. Our Hands confirm the stipulation by subscription for perpetual Remembrance. Did we not call the Nations of the Earth and Heaven itself to witness our agreement with each other?
All to be dissolved in the short period of II Years. Is American fidelity only to be retained in Clouds and Storms, like the Travelers Cloak, and to be thrown away, as soon as the bright and warm sun breaks thro them. Did our fellow Citizens shed their Blood, lose their Limbs, and encounter every difficulty Distress and Danger upon this Compact that an opportunity might be purchased by their suffering for violating it?
Is this the Return as above. Under the auspices of Heaven we are where we are and what we are. Let us recollect the Pythagorean maxim and "revere ourselves." What is the pretence for this Violation? No Injury in the public Councils no perfidy in the public Cause.
Not so well acquainted with Particulars as to the other smaller states. What has N. J. done or neglected to do to merit this treatment. Overwhelmed with hostile Armies. her people plundered her towns burnt her Matrons and Virgins butchered. Did New Jersey falter. No. A mournful Monument of human Virtues assailed yet faithful.
Thro the little State of Delaware, the Army of the Enemy passed, while her whole seaboard was exposed to the continual Hostilities of her naval forces darting upon her whereever they pleased and not to be protected because the points of attack were unknown, till the Injuries were committed. Weak as her arm was yet did her Mind ever waver? No. All succor cut off. Held by the Throat. swords incontinantly pointed. She was ready and willing to be sacrificed rather than renounce the Fate of her Country.
What pretence then for this Conduct to the smaller states. Is it necessary. I hope what has been said on the first Head demonstrates that it is not. Is Necessity a proper plea in the Mouths of those who are to gain by that Plea. What did the Patriots of England think and say of such a Plea in the Days of Charles the II. I will not repeat what they said. What did the patriots of America say of this Plea in the Days of George the 3d. I need not repeat what they said.
But it is perhaps convenient. Convenient for whom. for those who are to profit by it? So are Tender Laws to Debtors and the Violation of Treaties to some Individuals. But does this Convenience outweigh the Considerations for an adherence to sacred Obligations?

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