Page:The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 Volume 3.djvu/190
agreed to on principles of necessity or expediency; on the contrary, that it was adopted on the principles of the rights of men and the rights of States, which were then well known, and which then influenced our conduct, although now they seem to be forgotten. For this, the Journals of Congress were appealed to; it was from them shown, that when the committee of Congress reported to that body the articles of confederation, the very first article, which became the subject of discussion, was that respecting equality of suffrage. That Virginia proposed divers modes of suffrage, all on the principle of inequality, which were almost unanimously rejected; that on the question for adopting the article, it passed, Virginia being the only State which voted in the negative. That, after the articles of confederation were submitted to the States, by them to be ratified, almost every State proposed certain amendments, which they instructed their delegates to endeavour to obtain before ratification, and that among all the amendments proposed, not one State, not even Virginia, proposed an amendment of that article, securing the equality of suffrage, — the most convincing proof it was agreed to and adopted, not from necessity, but upon a full conviction, that, according to the principles of free governments, the States had a right to that equality of suffrage.
 But, Sir, it was to no purpose that the futility of their objections were shown, when driven from the pretence, that the equality of suffrage had been originally agreed to on principles of expediency and necessity; the representatives of the large States persisting in a declaration, that they would never agree to admit the smaller States to an equality of suffrage. In answer to this, they were informed, and informed in terms the most strong and energetic that could possibly be used, that we never would agree to a system giving them the undue influence and superiority they proposed. That we would risk every possible consequence. That from anarchy and confusion, order might arise. That slavery was the worst that could ensue, and we considered the system proposed to be the most complete, most abject system of slavery that the wit of man ever devised, under the pretence of forming a government for free States. That we never would submit tamely and servilely, to a present certain evil, in dread of a future, which might be imaginary; that we were sensible the eyes of our country and the world were upon us. That we would not labor under the imputation of being unwilling to form a strong and energetic federal government; but we would publish the system which we approved, and also that which we opposed, and leave it to our country, and the world at large, to judge between us, who best understood the rights of free men and free States, and who