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frankly pointed out to the Convention the infirmities to which it was liable: and if it answered the fond expectations of the public, the community would be more indebted to him than to any other member; for, after its essential outlines were agreed to, he laboured most indefatigably to heal those infirmities, and to guard against the evils to which they might expose it."

Much of the real business of the Convention does not appear on the minutes; for it consisted in the reconciliation of opposing interests, in anticipation of the vote and argument before the formal meeting. The questions which disturbed the harmonious action of the Convention were as follows:

1. The equality of the votes of the respective states, as distinguished from a representation in proportion to population.

2. The representation of the slave population, which, it was urged on the one hand, ought to be excluded altogether, and, on the other, that it ought to be counted in full.

3. The question whether the importation of Africans should be permitted or prevented.

So irreconcilable did the opinions of the members from different sections of the country appear on these questions, that, after four or five weeks spent in fruitless discussions, Franklin, the Nestor of the Convention, inquired, "that, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and

scarce able to distinguish it when presented, how it had happened that they had hitherto not once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate their understandings?"

"We have been assured," said he, in continuation," in the sacred writings, that, except the Lord 'build the house, they labour in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also firmly believe, that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages; and, what is worse, mankind may henceforth, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest." He, in consequence, moved that the meetings of the Convention be opened by prayer.

In the closing scene of the Convention Hamilton strenuously urged upon all present to sign the Constitution that had been adopted by a majority of the members, and by a unanimous vote of the states represented. In corroboration of his appeal he stated his own case, who did not assent in his judgment to the plan as adopted, and yet had denined to sign the instrument, and maintain its nces in opposition to gainsayers..

It is very evident that his expressions of dissatisfaction with the provisions of the Constitution refer not to the practical working of the instrument, but to the difference between it and the model of perfection he had formed in his own mind. He had, indeed, combated those who differed from him in their views step by step, in the hopes of amending its provisions, or of introducing changes more likely to render the government stable and efficient; but he unquestionably agreed with Franklin in the opinion which that venerable patriot pronounced, that it was the best which could be carried, nay, perhaps the best for its objects which could be framed.

We have thus seen that Hamilton was the first to propose an amendment to the old articles of confederation by a convention of the states; that he in various ways rendered efficient aid in awakening the public mind to the importance of a more firm union, and of the necessity of a general government which should emanate from, and act directly upon, the people; that he was the framer of the address of the partial Convention at Annapolis, in conformity with which the general Congress recommended the Convention of 1789, and the several states appointed delegates; that he was an active member of the latter Convention, and the first to propose a constitution in such a form as could have been carried into effect

His admirers have therefore been fully warranted in claiming for him a conspicuous agency in giving to the country the blessings it now enjoys, of a stable, energetic, and yet popular form of government.


Discussions in respect to the Federal Constitution. -Hamilton unites with Jay and Madison in writing the Federalist.-Letters of Philo-Publius.-State Convention at Poughkeepsie.Hamilton is a member of that Convention, and takes an active part in its Proceedings. -The Federal Constitution Ratified by that Convention.-Reflections on the Constitution. -Change of Popular Feeling, and Rejoicings in New-York on its final Adoption.

No sooner had the Convention completed its labours, and the proposed Constitution been given to the public, than discussions arose in relation to the propriety of adopting it. The great majority of the members of the Convention had, in signing it, abandoned all their individual views, and, satisfied that it was the best plan of government which could be obtained, resolved to unite all their energies in procuring its ratification by Congress and by the Conventions of the States. There were, however, some members of the Convent longing to the party which had desired the equal influence of the states in the ment, who had not signed, or had even w

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