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title:“Virginia's Application for a Second Convention”
date written:1789-5-5

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:20 a.m. UTC
retrieved:July 10, 2020, 1:38 p.m. UTC

"Virginia's Application for a Second Convention." Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 235-37. Print.

Virginia's Application for a Second Convention (May 5, 1789)

As to the subject of Amendments it is a weighty matter, and may bid fairest for a proper decision by delaying the subject for some time; cannot we venture to bring a little experience to the aid of all the prescience of opponents in order to form a right judgement. In short we trust that such an enlightened and benificent policy will pervade all the acts of the national - Legislature; that instead of the State governments awing them into improper measures, they will serve for a model to lookup to (for to enable them to square their local regulations by the general ones). A government of wise laws, faithfully administered will soon reconcile every body and restore the Commonwealth to its pristine vigour All this we may expect to see brought about in time, under the super- intendence of our wise and good President. But still we may dread commiting an error, by having our expectations too high raised, we attempt to precipitate such matters, that require time to mature.
Having thus shown themselves obedient to the voice of their constituents, all America will find that so far as it depended on them, that plan of government will be carried into immediate operation.
"But the sense of the people of Virginia would be but in part complied with and but little regarded, if we went no farther In the very moment ofadoption, and coeval with the ratification of the new plan of government, the general voice of the Convention of this State pointed to objects no less interesting to the people we represent, and equally entitled to ourt. attention. At the s1ame time that, from motives of affection to our sister States, the Convention yielded their assent to the ratification, they gave the most unequivocal proofs, that they dreaded its operation under the present form...,
"In acceding to the government under this impression, painful mustr, have been the prospect, had they not derived consolation from a full expectation of its imperfections being speedily amended. In this resource, therefore, they placed their confidence, a confidence that will continue to support them, whilst they have reason to believe that they have not calculated upon it in vain.2
"In making known to you the objections of the people of this Commonwealth to the new plan of government, we deem it unnecessary to enter into a particular detail of its defects, which they consider as involving all the great and unalienable rights of freemen. For their sense on this subject, we beg leave to refer you to the proceedings of their late Convention, and the sense of the House of Delegates as expressed in their resolutions of the thirtieth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight. "We think proper, however, to declare, that, in our opinion, as those objections were not founded in speculative theory but deduced from principles which have been established by the melancholy example of other nations in different ages; so they will never be removed, until the cause itself shall cease to exist.
The sooner, therefore, the public apprehensions are quieted, and the government is possessed of the confidence of the people, the more salutary will be its operations, and the longer its duration.
"The cause amendments we consider as a common cause, and since concessions have been made from political motives, which, we conceive, may endanger the republic, we trust, that a commendable zeal will be shown for obtaining those provisions, which, experience has taught us, are necessary to secure from danger the unalienable rights of human nature.
"The anxiety with which our countrymen press for the accomplishment of this important end, will admit of delay The slow forms of congressional discussion and recommendation, if, indeed, they should ever agree to any change, would, we fear, be less certain of success. Happily for their wishes, the Constitution hath presented an alternative, by admitting the submission to a convention of the states. To this, therefore, we resort, as the source from whence they are to derive relief from their present apprehensions.
"We do, therefore, in behalf of our constituents, in the most earnest and solemn manner, make this application to Congress, that a Convention be immediately called of deputies from the several states, with full power to take into their consideration the defects of this Constitution that have been suggested by the state Conventions, and report such amendments thereto, as they shall find best suited to promote our common interests, and secure to ourselves and our latest posterity the great and unalienable rights of mankind."
The application was presented to the House of Representatives by Rep. Theodorick Bland on 5 May.

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