Elliot’s Debates: Volume 2

Convention of Massachusetts, February 7, 1788

Thursday, February 7, 1788.—The Convention met, when Major NASON, in a short address, intimated his determination to support the Constitution, and to exert himself to influence his constituents to do the same.

Mr. RANDAL said, he had been uniformly opposed to the Constitution. He had, he said, fought like a good soldier; but, as he was beaten, he should sit down contented, hoping the minority may be disappointed in their fears, and that the majority may reap the full fruition of the blessings they anticipate. In the hope that the amendments recommended by his excellency, the president, will take place, I shall, says he, go home and endeavor to satisfy those that have honored me by their choice, so that we may all live in peace.

Major SWAIN declared, that the Constitution had had a fair trial, and that there had not, to his knowledge, been any undue influence exercised to obtain the vote in its favor; that many doubts which lay on his mind had been removed; and that, although he was in the minority, he should support the Constitution as cheerfully and as heartily as though he had voted on the other side of the question.

The Convention then passed the pay-roll, amounting to £4499 2 s.; and, after unanimously passing votes of thanks to his excellency, the president, the honorable the vice-president, and the reverend clergymen of the town of Boston, who officiated as chaplains, for their services, it was voted, That, when the business of the Convention shall be completed, the members will proceed to the state-house to proclaim the ratification, and to take an affectionate leave of each other. An invitation from a number of the inhabitants of Boston, requesting the members of the Convention to take refreshment at the senate-chamber, when the ratification of the Constitution should be declared, was read, and thereon voted, That the thanks of the Convention be given to the inhabitants of Boston for their polite invitation, and that the Convention will attend, as requested.

The business being finished, the Convention proceeded to the statehouse, when the ratification was proclaimed by Joseph Henderson, Esq., high sheriff of the county of Suffolk; after which, the Convention was dissolved.

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Contents

General Overview

In 1787 and 1788, following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout America over the Constitution that had been proposed.

In-Doors Debate

View in-depth studies of the Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York state ratifying conventions.

The Federal Pillars

View drawings of the federal pillars rising published by the Massachusetts Centinel during the ratification debate.

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The Stages of Ratification: An Interactive Timeline

View the six stages of the ratification of the Constitution with links to many other features on this site.

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Interactive Ratification Map

View interactive maps showing the breakdown of Federalist-Antifederalist strength at the state level during the Ratification debate.

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