Page:The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 Volume 3.djvu/385
discretion to use them as the circumstances of the country should require. He had no doubt in saying, as well from the perusal of the instrument as from his own recollection, that many of them must have been considered as of very difficult execution, and that it must have been supposed that the existence of the power in Congress would effect the control which they desired, would check the abuses which might otherwise have taken place, and prevent the necessity of using it. Any other view of that instrument, he thought, would lead to great perplexity and embarrassment. He was sure it was the one which its best friends had originally indulged, and had made the administration of the Government much more practicable and successful than it otherwise could have been.
Feby 8, 1799.
The idea of publishing the Debates of the Convention ought to be well weighed before the expediency of it, in a public as well as personal view be decided on. Besides the intimate connection between them the whole volume ought to be examined with an eye to the use of which every part is susceptible. In the Despotism at present exercised over the rules of construction, and [illegible] reports of the proceedings that would perhaps be made out & mustered for the occasion, it is a problem what turn might be given to the impression on the public mind. But I shall be better able to form & explain my opinion by the time, which now approaches when I shall have the pleasure of seeing you. And you will have the advantage of looking into the sheets attentively before you finally make up your own.
It is a question, previous to the first meeting, what course shall be pursued. Men of decided temper, who, devoted to the public, overlooked prudential considerations, thought a form of government should be framed entirely new. But cautious men, with whom popularity was an object, deemed it fit to consult and comply with the wishes of the people. AMERICANS! — let the opinion then delivered by the greatest and best of men, be ever present to your remembrance. He was collected within himself. His countenance had more than usual solemnity — His eye was fixed, and seemed to
- Hunt, Writings, of Madison, Ⅵ, 329–330.
- G. Morris, An Oration upon the Death of General Washington, p. 20–21; delivered in New York, December 31, 1799.