Philadelphia Freeman’s Journal
October 24, 1787
To the PEOPLE of PENNSYLVANIA.
FRIENDS, COUNTRYMEN, and FELLOW-CITIZENS, As long as the liberty of the press continues unviolated, and the people have the right of expressing and publishing their sentiments upon every public measure, it is next to impossible to enslave a free nation. The state of society must be very corrupt and base’ indeed, when the people in possession of such a monitor as the press, can be induced to exchange the heavenborn blessings of liberty for the galling chains of despotism.’Men of an aspiring and tyrannical disposition, sensible of this truth, have ever been inimical to the press, and have considered the shackling of it, as the first step towards the accomplishment of their hateful domination, and the entire suppression of all liberty of public discussion, as necessary to its support.’For even a standing army, that grand engine of oppression, if it were as numerous as the abilities of any nation could maintain, would not be equal to the purposes of despotism over an enlightened people.
The abolition of that grand palladium of freedom, the liberty of the press, in the proposed plan of government, and the conduct of its authors, and patrons, is a striking exemplification of these observations. The reason assigned for the omission of a bill of rights, securing the liberty of the press, and other invaluable personal rights, is an insult on the understanding of the people.
The injunction of secrecy imposed on the members of the late Convention during their deliberations, was obviously dictated by the genius of Aristocracy; it was deemed impolitic to unfold the principles of the
intended government to the people, as this would have frustrated the object in view.
The projectors of the new plan, supposed that an ex parte discussion of the subject, was more likely to obtain unanimity in the Convention; which would give it such a sanction in the public opinion, as to banish all distrust, and lead the people into an implicit adoption of it without examination.
The greatest minds are forcibly impressed by the immediate circumstances with which they are connected; the particular sphere men move in, the prevailing sentiments of those they converse with, have an insensible and irresistible influence on the wisest and best of mankind; so that when we consider the abilities, talents, ingenuity and consummate address of a number of the members of the late Convention, whose principles are despotic, can we be surprised that men of the best intentions have been misled in the difficult science of government? Is it derogating from the character of the illustrious and highly revered WASHINGTON, to suppose him fallible on a subject that must be in a great measure novel to him?’As a patriotic hero, he stands unequalled in the annals of time.
The new plan was accordingly ushered to the public with such a splendor of names, as inspired the most unlimited confidence; the people were disposed to receive upon trust, without any examination on their part, what would have proved either a blessing or a curse to them and their posterity.’What astonishing infatuation! to stake their happiness on the wisdom and integrity of any set of men! In matters of infinitely smaller concern, the dictates of prudence are not disregarded! The celebrated Montesquieu, in his Spirit of Laws, says, that “slavery is ever preceded by sleep.” And again, in his account of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, page 97, “That it may be advanced as a general rule, that in a free State, whenever a perfect calm is visible, the spirit of liberty no longer subsists.” And Mr. Dickinson, in his Farmer’s Letters, No. XI. lays it down as a maxim, that “A perpetual jealousy respecting liberty is absolutely requisite in all free States.”
“Happy are the men, and happy the people, who grow wise by the misfortunes of others. Earnestly, my dear countrymen, do I beseech the author of all good gifts, that you may grow wise in this manner, and I beg leave to recommend to you in general, as the best method of obtaining this wisdom, diligently to study the histories of other countries. You will there find all the arts, that can possibly be practised by cunning rulers, or false patriots among yourselves, so fully delineated, that changing names, the account would serve for your own times.”
A few citizens of Philadelphia (too few, for the honour of human nature) who had the wisdom to think consideration ought to precede appro’bation, and the fortitude to avow that they would take time to judge for themselves on so momentous an occasion, were stigmatized as enemies to their country; as monsters, whose existence ought not to be suffered, and the destruction of them and their houses recommended, as meritorious.’The authors of the new plan, conscious that it would not stand the test of enlightened patriotism, tyrannically endeavoured to
preclude all investigation.’If their views were laudable; if they were honest,’the contrary would have been their conduct, they would have invited the freest discussion. Whatever specious reasons may be assigned for secrecy during the framing of the plan, no good one can exist, for leading the people blindfolded into the implicit adoption of it. Such an attempt does not augur the public good’It carries on the face of it an intention to juggle the people out of their liberties.
The virtuous and spirited exertions of a few patriots, have at length roused the people from their fatal infatuation to a due sense of the importance of the measure before them. The glare and fascination of names is rapidly abating, and the subject begins to be canvassed on its own merits; and so serious and general has been the impression of the objections urged against the new plan, on the minds of the people, that its advocates, finding mere declamation and scurrility will no longer avail, are reluctantly driven to defend it on the ground of argument. Mr. Wilson, one of the deputies of this State in the late Convention, has found it necessary to come forward. From so able a lawyer, and so profound a politician, what might not be expected, if this act of Convention be the heavenly dispensation which some represent it. Its divinity would certainly be illustrated by one of the principal instruments of the Revelation; for this gentleman has that transcendent merit!But if, on the other hand, this able advocate has failed to vindicate it from the objections of its adversaries, must we not consider it is as the production of frail and interested men.
Mr. Wilson has recourse to the most flimsey sophistry in his attempt to refute the charge that the new plan of general government will supersede and render powerless the state governments. His quibble upon the term Corporation, as sometimes equivalent to communities which possess sovereignty, is unworthy of him. The same comparison in the case of the British parliament assuming to tax the colonies, is made in the Xth of the Farmer’s Letters, and was not misunderstood in 1768 by any. He says that the existence of the proposed federal plan depends on the existence of the State governments, as the senators are to be appointed by the several legislatures, who are also to nominate the electors who chuse the President of the United States; and that hence all fears of the several States being melted down into one empire, are groundless and imaginary.’But who is so dull as not to comprehend, that the semblance and forms of an ancient establishment, may remain, after the reality is gone.’Augustus, by the aid of a great army, assumed despotic power, and notwithstanding this, we find even under Tiberius, Caligula and Nero, princes who disgraced human nature by their excesses, the shadows of the ancient constitution held up to amuse the people. The senate sat as formerly; consuls, tribunes of the people, censors and other officers were annually chosen as before, and the forms of republican government continued. Yet all this was in appearance only.’Every senatus consultum was dictated by him or his ministers, and every Roman found himself constrained to submit in all things to the despot.
Mr. Wilson, asks, “What controul can proceed from the federal government to shackle or destroy that sacred palladium of national freedom, the liberty of the press?” What!’Cannot Congress, when possessed of the immense authority proposed to be devolved, restrain the printers, and put them under regulation.’Recollect that the omnipotence of the federal legislature over the State establishments is recognized by a special article, viz.’”that) this Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitutions or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”’After such a declaration, what security does the Constitutions of the several States afford for the liberty of the press and other invaluable personal rights, not provided for by the new plan?’Does not this sweeping clause subject every thing to the controul of Congress?
In the plan of Confederation of 1778, now existing, it was thought proper by Article the 2d, to declare that “each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.” Positive grant was not then thought sufficiently descriptive and restraining upon Congress, and the omission of such a declaration now, when such great devolutions of power are proposed, manifests the design of reducing the several States to shadows. But Mr. Wilson tells you, that every right and power not specially granted to Congress is considered as withheld. How does this appear? Is this principle established by the proper authority? Has the Convention made such a stipulation? By no means. Quite the reverse; the laws of Congress are to be “the supreme law of the land, any thing in the Constitutions or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding;” and consequently, would be paramount to all State authorities. The lust of power is so universal, that a speculative unascertained rule of construction would be a poor security for the liberties of the people.
Such a body as the intended Congress, unless particularly inhibited and restrained, must grasp at omnipotence, and before long swallow up the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial powers of the several States.
In addition to the respectable authorities quoted in my first number, to shew that the right of taxation includes all the powers of government, I beg leave to adduce the Farmer’s Letters, see particularly letter 9th, in which Mr. Dickinson has clearly proved, that if the British Parliament assumed the power of taxing the colonies, internally, as well as externally, and it should be submitted to, the several colony legislatures would soon become contemptible, and before long fall into disuse.’Nothing, says he, would be left for them to do, higher than to frame bye-laws for empounding of cattle or the yoking of hogs.
By the proposed plan, there are divers cases of judicial authority to be given to the courts of the United States, besides the two mentioned by Mr. Wilson.’In maritime causes about property, jury trial has not been usual; but in suits in equity, with all due deference to Mr. Wilson’s professional abilities, (which he calls to his aid) jury trial, as to facts, is in full exercise. Will this jurisperitus say that if the question in equity should be, did John Doe make a will, that the chancellor of England would decide upon it? He well knows that in this case, there being no mode of jury trial before the chancellor, the question would be referred to the court of king’s bench for discussion according to the common law, and when the judge in equity should receive the verdict, the fact so established, could never be re-examined or controverted. Maritime causes and those appertaining to a court of equity, are, however, but two of the many and extensive subjects of federal cognizance mentioned in the plan. This jurisdiction will embrace all suits arising under the laws of impost, excise and other revenue of the United States. In England if goods be seized, if a ship be prosecuted for non-compliance with, or breach of the laws of the customs, or those for regulating trade, in the court of exchequer, the claimant is secured of the transcendent privilege of Englishmen, trial by a jury of his peers. Why not in the United States of America? This jurisdiction also goes to all cases under the laws of the United States, that is to say, under all statutes and ordinances of Congress. How far this may extend, it is easy to foresee; for upon the decay of the state powers of legislation, in consequence of the loss of the purse strings, it will be found necessary for the federal legislature to make laws upon every subject of legislation. Hence the state courts of justice, like the barony and hundred courts of England, will be eclipsed and gradually fall into disuse.
The jurisdiction of the federal court goes, likewise, to the laws to be created by treaties, made by the President and Senate, (a species of legislation) with other nations; “to all cases affecting foreign ministers and consuls; to controversies wherein the United States shall be a party; to controversies between citizens of different states,” as when an inhabitant of New-York has a demand on an inhabitant of New Jersey.’This last is a very invidious jurisdiction, implying an improper distrust of the impartiality and justice of the tribunals of the states. It will include all legal debates between foreigners in Britain, or elsewhere, and the people of this country.’A reason hath been assigned for it, viz. “That large tracts of land, in neighbouring states, are claimed under royal or other grants, disputed by the states where the lands lie, so that justice cannot be expected from the state tribunals.”’Suppose it were proper indeed to provide for such case, why include all cases, and for all time to come? Demands as to land for 21 years would have satisfied this. A London merchant shall come to America, and sue for his supposed debt, and the citizen of this country shall be deprived of jury trial, and subjected to an appeal (tho’ nothing but the fact is disputed) to a court 500 or 1000 miles from home; when if this American has a claim upon an inhabitant of England, his adversary is secured of the privilege of jury trial.’This jurisdiction goes also to controversies between any state and its citizens; which, though probably not intended, may hereafter be set up as a ground to divest the states, severally, of the trial of criminals; inasmuch as every charge of felony or misdemeanour, is a controversy between the state and a citizen of the same: that is to say, the state is plaintiff and the party accused is defendant in the prosecution. In all doubts about jurisprudence, as was observed before, the paramount courts of Congress will decide, and the judges of the state, being sub graviore lege, under the paramount law, must acquiesce.
Mr. Wilson says, that it would have been impracticable to have made a general rule for jury trial in the civil cases assigned to the federal judiciary, because of the want of uniformity in the mode of jury trial, as practised by the several states. This objection proves too much, and therefore amounts to nothing. If it precludes the mode of common law in civil cases, it certainly does in criminal. Yet in these we are told “the oppression of government is effectually barred by declaring that in all criminal cases trial by jury shall be preserved.” Astonishing, that provision could not be made for a jury in civil controversies, of 12 men, whose verdict should be unanimous, to be taken from the vicinage; a precaution which is omitted as to trial of crimes, which may be any where in the state within which they have been committed. So that an inhabitant of Kentucky may be tried for treason at Richmond.
The abolition of jury trial in civil cases, is the more considerable, as at length the courts of Congress will supersede the state courts, when such mode of trial will fall into disuse among the people of the United States.
The northern nations of the European continent, have all lost this invaluable privilege: Sweden, the last of them, by the artifices of the aristocratic senate, which depressed the king and reduced the house of com’mons to insignificance. But the nation a few years ago, preferring the absolute authority of a monarch to the vexatious domination of the well-born few, an end was suddenly put to their power.
“The policy of this right of juries, (says judge Blackstone) to decide upon fact, is founded on this: That if the power of judging were entirely trusted with the magistrates, or any select body of men, named by the executive authority, their decisions, in spite of their own natural integrity, would have a biass towards those of their own rank and dignity; for it is not to be expected, that the few should be attentive to the rights of the many. This therefore preserves in the hands of the people, that share which they ought to have in the administration of justice, and prevents the encroachments of the more powerful and wealthy citizens.”
The attempt of governor [Cadwallader] Colden, of New-York, before the revolution to re-examine the facts and re-consider the damages, in the case of Forsey against Cunningham, produced about the year 1764, a flame of patriotic and successful opposition, that will not be easily forgotten.
To manage the various and extensive judicial authority, proposed to be vested in Congress, there will be one or more inferior courts immediately requisite in each state; and laws and regulations must be forthwith provided to direct the judges’here is a wide door for inconvenience to enter. Contracts made under the acts of the states respectively, will come before courts acting under new laws and new modes of proceeding, not thought of when they were entered into.’An inhabitant of Pennsylvania residing at Pittsburgh, finds the goods of his debtor, who resides in Virginia, within the reach of his attachment; but no writ can be had to authorise the marshal, sheriff, or other officer of Congress, to seize the property, about to be removed, nearer than 200 miles: suppose that at Carlisle, for instance, such a writ may be had, mean while the object escapes. Or if an inferior court, whose judges have ample salaries, be established in every county, would not the expence be enormous? Every reader can extend in his imagination, the instances of difficulty which would proceed from this needless interference with the judicial rights of the separate states, and which as much as any other circumstance in the new plan, implies that the dissolution of their forms of government is designed.
Mr. Wilson skips very lightly over the danger apprehended from the standing army allowed by the new plan. This grand machine of power and oppression, may be made a fatal instrument to overturn the public liberties, especially as the funds to support the troops may be granted for two years, whereas in Britain, the grants ever since the revolution in 1688, have been from year to year. A standing army with regular provision of pay and contingencies, would afford a strong temptation to some ambitious man to step up into the throne, and to seize absolute power. The keeping on foot a hired military force in time of peace, ought not to be gone into, unless two thirds of the members of the federal legislature agree to the necessity of the measure, and adjust the numbers employed. Surely Mr. Wilson is not serious when he adduces the instance of the troops now stationed on the Ohio, as a proof of the propriety of a standing army.’They are a mere occasional armament for the purpose of restraining divers hostile tribes of savages. It is contended that under the present confederation, Congress possess the power of raising armies at pleasure; but the opportunity which the states severally have of withholding the supplies necessary to keep these armies on foot, is a sufficient check on the present Congress.
Mr. Wilson asserts, that never was charge made with less reason, than that which predicts the institution of a baneful aristocracy in the federal Senate.’In my first number, I stated that this body would be a very unequal representation of the several states, that the members being appointed for the long term of six years, and there being no exclusion by rotation, they might be continued for life, which would follow of course from their extensive means of influence, and that possessing a considerable share in the executive as well as legislative, it would become a permanent aristocracy, and swallow up the other orders in the government.
That these fears are not imaginary, a knowledge of the history of other nations, where the powers of government have been injudiciously placed, will fully demonstrate. Mr. Wilson says, “the senate branches into two characters; the one legislative and the other executive. In its legislative character it can effect no purpose, without the co-operation of the house of representatives, and in its executive character it can accomplish no object without the concurrence of the president. Thus fettered, I do not know any act which the senate can of itself perform, and such dependence necessarily precludes every idea of influence and superiority.” This I confess is very specious, but experience demonstrates, that checks in government, unless accompanied with adequate power and independently placed, prove merely nominal, and will be inoperative. Is it probable, that the president of the United States, limited as he is in power, and dependent on the will of the senate, in appointments to office, will either have the firmness or inclination to exercise his prerogative of a conditional controul upon the proceedings of that body, however injurious they may be to the public welfare: it will be his interest to coincide with the views of the senate, and thus become the head of the aristocratic junto. The king of England is a constituent part in the legislature, but although an hereditary monarch, in possession of the whole executive power, including the unrestrained appointment to offices, and an immense revenue, enjoys but in name the prerogative of a negative upon the parliament. Even the king of England, circumstanced as he is, has not dared to exercise it for near a century past. The check of the house of representatives upon the senate will likewise be rendered nugatory for want of due weight in the democratic branch, and from their constitution they may become so independent of the people as to be indifferent of its interests: nay as Congress would have the controul over the mode and place of their election, by ordering the representatives of a whole state to be elected at one, place, and that too the most inconvenient, the ruling power may govern the choice, and thus the house of representatives may be composed of the creatures of the senate. Still the semblance of checks, may remain but without operation.
This mixture of the legislative and executive moreover highly tends to corruption. The chief improvement in government, in modern times, has been the compleat separation of the great distinctions of power; placing the legislative in different hands from those which hold the executive; and again severing the judicial part from the ordinary administrative. “When the legislative and executive powers (says Montesquieu) are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty.”
Mr. Wilson confesses himself, not satisfied with the organization of the federal senate, and apologizes for it, by alledging a sort of compromise. It is well known, that some members of convention, apprized of the mischiefs of such a compound of authority, proposed to assign the supreme executive powers to the president and a small council, made personally responsible for every appointment to office, or other act, by having their opinions recorded; and that without the concurrence of the majority of the quorum of this council, the president should not be capable of taking any step. Such a check upon the chief magistrate would admirably secure the power of pardoning, now proposed to be exercised by the president alone, from abuse. For as it is placed he may shelter the traitors whom he himself or his coadjutors in the senate, have excited to plot against the liberties of the nation.
The delegation of the power of taxation to Congress, as far as duties on imported commodities, has not been objected to. But to extend this to excises, and every species of internal taxation, would necessarily require so many ordinances of Congress, affecting the body of the people, as would perpetually interfere with the State laws and personal concerns of the people. This alone would directly tend to annihilate the particular governments; for the people fatigued with the operations of two masters would be apt to rid themselves of the weaker. But we are cautioned against being alarmed with imaginary evils, for Mr. Wilson has predicted that the great revenue of the United States, will be raised by impost. Is there any ground for this? Will the impost supply the sums necessary to pay the interest and principal of the foreign loan, to defray the great additional expence of the new constitution; for the policy of the new government will lead it to institute numerous and lucrative civil offices, to extend its influence and provide for the swarms of expectants; (the people having in fact no controul upon its disbursements) and to afford pay and support for the proposed standing army, that darling and long wished for object of the well-born of America; and which, if we may judge from the principles of the intended government, will be no trifling establishment, for cantonments of troops in every district of America, will be necessary to compel the submission of the people to the arbitrary dictates of the ruling powers? I say will the impost be adequate? By no means.’To answer these there must be excises and other indirect duties imposed, and as land taxes will operate too equally to be agreeable to the wealthy aristocracy in the senate who will be possessed of the government, poll taxes will be substituted as provided for in the new plan; for the doctrine then will be, that slaves ought to pay for wearing their heads.
As the taxes necessary for these purposes, will drain your pockets of every penny, what is to become of that virtuous and meritorious class of citizens the public creditors. However well disposed the people of the United States may be to do them justice, it would not be in their power; and, after waiting year after year, without prospect of the payment of the interest or principal of the debt, they will be constrained to sacrifice their certificates in the purchase of waste lands in the far distant wilds of the western territory.
From the foregoing illustration of the powers proposed to be devolved to Congress, it is evident, that the general government would necessarily annihilate the particular governments, and that the security of the personal rights of the people by the state constitutions is superseded and destroyed; hence results the necessity of such security being provided for by a bill of rights to be inserted in the new plan of federal government. What excuse can we then make for the omission of this grand palladium, this barrier between liberty and oppression. For universal experience demonstrates the necessity of the most express declarations and restrictions, to protect the rights and liberties of mankind, from the silent, powerful and ever active conspiracy of those who govern.
The new plan, it is true, does propose to secure the people of the benefit of personal liberty by the habeas corpus; and trial by jury for all crimes, except in case of impeachment: but there is no declaration, that all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against his own free will and consent; and that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship: that the trial by jury in civil causes as well as criminal, and the modes prescribed by the common law for safety of life in criminal prosecutions shall be held sacred; that the requiring of excessive bail, imposing of excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishments be forbidden; that monopolies in trade or arts, other than to authors of books or inventors of useful arts, for a reasonable time, ought not to be suffered; that the right of the people to assemble peaceably for the purpose of consulting about public matters, and petitioning or remonstrating to the federal legislature ought not to be prevented; that the liberty of the press be held sacred; that the people have a right to hold themselves, their houses, papers and possessions free from search or seizure; and that therefore warrants without oaths or affirmations first made, affording a sufficient foundation for them, and whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded or required to search suspected places, or to seize any person or his property, not particularly described, are contrary to that right and ought not to be granted; and that standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be permitted but when absolutely necessary; all which is omitted to be done in the proposed government.
But Mr. Wilson, says, the new plan does not arrogate perfection, for it provides a mode of alteration and correction, if found necessary. This is one among the numerous deceptions attempted on this occasion. True, there is a mode prescribed for this purpose. But it is barely possible that amendments may be made. The fascination of power must first cease, the nature of mankind undergo a revolution, that is not to be expected on this side of eternity. For to effect this (Art. 6.) it is provided, that if two thirds of both houses of the federal legislature shall propose them; or when two thirds of the several states by their legislatures, shall apply for them, the federal assembly shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which when ratified by three fourths of the state legislatures, or conventions, as Congress shall see best, shall controul and alter the proposed confederation. Does history abound with examples of a voluntary relinquishment of power, however injurious to the community? No; it would require a general and successful rising of the people to effect any thing of this nature.’This provision therefore is mere sound.
The opposition to the new plan (says Mr. Wilson) proceeds from interested men, viz. the officers of the state governments. He had before denied that the proposed transfer of powers to Congress would annihilate the state governments. But he here lays aside the masque, and avows the fact. For, the truth of the charge against them must entirely rest on such consequence of the new plan. For if the state establishments are to remain unimpaired, why should officers peculiarly connected with them, be interested to oppose the adoption of the new plan? Except the collector of the impost, judge of the admiralty, and the collectors of excise (none of whom have been reckoned of the opposition) they would otherwise have nothing to apprehend.-But the charge is unworthy and may with more propriety be retorted on the expectants of office and emolument under the intended government.
The opposition is not so partial and interested as Mr. Wilson asserts. It consists of a respectable yeomanry throughout the union, of characters far removed above the reach of his unsupported assertions. It comprises many worthy members of the late convention, and a majority of the present Congress, for a motion made in that honorable body, for their approbation and recommendation of the new plan, was after two days animated discussion, prudently withdrawn by its advocates, and a simple transmission of the plan to the several states could only be obtained; yet this has been palmed upon the people as the approbation of Congress; and to strengthen the deception, the bells of the city of Philadelphia were rung for a whole day.
Are Mr. W’n, and many of his coadjutors in the late C’n, the disinterested patriots they would have us believe? Is their conduct any recommendation of their plan of government? View them the foremost and loudest on the floor of Congress, in our Assembly, at town meetings, in sounding its eulogiums:’View them preventing investigation and discussion, and in the most despotic manner endeavouring to compel its adoption by the people, with such precipitancy as to preclude the possibility of a due consideration, and then say whether the motives of these men can be pure.
My fellow citizens, such false detestable patriots in every nation, have led their blind confiding country, shouting their applauses, into the jaws of despotism and ruin. May the wisdom and virtue of the people of America, save them from the usual fate of nations.
(a) Upon the last motion being made, those who had strenuously and successfully opposed Congress giving any countenance of approbation or recommendation to this system of oppression, said, “We have no objection to transmit the new plan of government to the several states, that they may have an opportunity of judging for themselves on so momentous a subject.” Whereupon it was unanimously agreed to, in the following words, viz. “Congress having received the report of the Convention lately assembled in Philadelphia, resolved unanimously, That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention, made and provided in that case.”
Source: Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. 2.7.48-52.