TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The following volumes furnish a collection of the Debates and Proceedings which took place in the different states, on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, as submitted by the General Convention, on the 17th of September, 1787. In the compilation, care has been taken to search into contemporary publications, in order to make the work as perfect as possible. Still, however, the Editor is sensible, from the daily experience of the newspaper reports of the present time, that the sentiments they contain may, in some instances, have been inaccurately taken down, and, in others, probably, too faintly sketched, fully to gratify the inquisitive politician; but they nevertheless disclose the opinions of many of the most distinguished revolutionary patriots and statesmen, in relation to the powers intended to be granted to the Congress of the United States under the Constitution, and certainly may form an excellent guide in expounding many doubtful points in that instrument. In forming a History of the Constitution, the materials they furnish must be also considered of the greatest importance. The lights, too, which they throw on the character and the men of those extraordinary times, will always give them a sufficient interest, in the eyes of an intelligent community, to confer a peculiar value on their publication, rescued from the ephemeral prints of that day, and now, for the first time, presented in a uniform and durable form.
In another point of view, these Debates must be acceptable, at the present moment. In the recent Congresses a