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form of government but what may be a blessing if well administered; and I believe farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic govern. ment, being incapable of any other. I doubt, too, whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better constitution : for when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected ? It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with con. fidence to hear that our councils are confounded, like those of the builders of Babylon, and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting each other's throats,
Thus I consent, sir, to this constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that this is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us, in returning to our constituents, were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavour to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion; on the general opinion of the goodness of that government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its governors.
I hope, therefore, that for our own akes, as part of the people, and for the sake of our posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recom. mending this constitution, wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it well admi. nistered.
On the whole, sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every member of the convention, who may still have objections, would, with me, ou this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and, to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.
[The motion was then made for adding the last forinula, viz.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent, &c. which was agreed to, and added accordingly.]
Page Observations concerning the increase of mankind, peo
pling of countries, &c. Plan for benefiting distant unprovided countries.
12 Concerning the provision made in China against famine 16 Positions to be examined concerning national wealth 17 On the price of corn, and management of the poor .
20 On the labouring poor
25 On luxury, idleness, and industry
31 On smuggling, and its various species ,
37 Observations on war
42 On the impress of seamen
44 On the criminal laws, and the practice of privateering On the slave trade
56 Account of the highest court of judicature in Pennsylvania viz. the court of the press
61 Causes of the American discontents before 1768 . 67 Concerning the dissensions between England and America
79 A Prussian edict, assuming claims over Britain Rules for reducing a great empire to a small one, pre
sented to a late minister, when he entered upon
87 On sending felons to America
98 A dialogue between Great Britain, France, Spain, Hol
Jand, Saxony, and America
• 101 · 106
of the interest and policy of that vast continent 114
T. Davison, Printer, Whitefriars.