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title:“Theophilus Parson's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention”
authors:Theophilus Parsons
date written:1788-1-23

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:36 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 17, 2024, 3:20 a.m. UTC

Parsons, Theophilus. "Theophilus Parson's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 6. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2000. 1330-32. Print.

Theophilus Parson's Notes of the Massachusetts Ratification Convention (January 23, 1788)

Mr. PIERCE, of Partridgefield. Is for a general government—if it will be safe—but if we grant a power to lay direct taxes, Congress will not lay imposts. Congress should not have power to lay direct taxes, but in war Senate chosen for too long a time—should not be chosen longer than the house, and the house may balance them. Hon. Mr. VARNUM. The powers of Congress are sufficiently defined in the grant, and no need of a bill of rights—Congress have not all our resources, they have only a concurrent right to taxes and excises, and can make laws only to support a concurrent right, and so no consolidation of States—union would answer no purpose with these powers. Congress may abuse the power but there is no probability. If Congress have no power to call on a delinquent State, it is an encouragement to delinquency He then considers the conduct of the States lately—Congress must have this power in peace as well as in war they can make no law but what is necessary for the common good.
Mr. CHOATE. Congress must defend us abroad, and preserve to us peace at home—they must therefore have the means, and the means are delegated by the people to their servants—depriving the delegates of these means, is depriving the people of the means of defence and self-preservation—it would also deprive us of the means of regulating our commerce and protecting our trade—there can be no dividing the supreme power—it must be wholly delegated, or wholly remain with the people, and limits are inconvenient—if direct tax was only when imposts and excises are insufficient, Congress might lay trifling imposts and excises if it was limited, as to war it would injure us in hiring, for the better security we can give, the easier will be the terms—we may lay aside party spirit, as it is a subject of the most importance—our security is in elections at stated times.
Mr. COOLEY asks, if Mr Choate means that if the people delegate any power they must delegate all?
Mr. CHOATE replies. He does not mean that if the people grant one kind of power they must grant all kinds of power but the kind of power we give, we must give all.
Dr. JARVIS. Mr Choate's ideas are agreeable to his own, but asks why the French are pointed out as our best friends.
Gen. THOMPSON. Against these powers—not necessary—standing mies are a curse—take care of the militia, they are virtuous men—soldiers in a standing army are the worst men—standing armies are never necessary witness Burgoyne—we are virtuous, enlightened, rich—raise our own produce—cannot be starved, or taken by Britain—can live without trade—the riches of the country are in a laboring people—Massachusetts will be one of the four he hopes, and will stand out—Clinton against it before he knew what it was, but had a hint of it—nations will not fall upon us—not true if one nation attacks us, another will defend us—we are in debt—that is an advantage, for they cannot carry the land—do not let us grow too fast, we shall grow out Met according to adjournmen
A motion was made and seconded that the vote for consideration the new constitution by paragraphs, be reconsidered, and that the convention take the whole constitution into consideration & mature deliberation.
A motion was made & seconded that the consideration of the said motion be referred to to-morrow 10. o Clk, and the question of reference being put, passed in the negative.
A motion was made & seconded that the Convention adjourn till tomorrow morng. 10. 0 Clk & the question of adjournment being put,

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