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if well administered; and I believe farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too, whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better constitution. For when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected ? It therefore astonishes me, sir; to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear, that our councils are confounded, like those of the builders of BabyJon, and that our states are on the point of separations' only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting each other's throats.

Thus I consent, sir, to this constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that this is not the best. The opinions 1 have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us, in returning to our constituents, were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavour to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being gene. rally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the

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strength and efficiency of any government, in procurg ing and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of that government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its governors.

I hope therefore, that for our own sakes, as part of the people, and for the sake of our posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this constitution, wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it well administered.

On the whole, sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every member of the convention, who may still have objections, would with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and, to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument. · [The motion was then made for adding the last formula, viz. : Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent, &o, which was agreed to, and added accordingly.)








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The Busy-Body.-No. I*.


28, TO TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1728,-9.

MR. ANDREW BRADFORD, I DESIGN this to acquaint you, that I, who have long been one of your courteous readers, have lately entertained some thought of setting up for an author myself; not out of the least vanity, I assure you, or desire of showing my parts, but purely for the good of my country.

I have often observed with concern, that your Mer cury is not always equally entertaining. The delay of ships expected in, and want of fresh advices from Europe, make it frequently very dull; and I find the freezing of our river has the same effect on news as trade. With more concern have I continually observed the

* These are the “ humorous pieces” mentioned by Dr. Franklin in his Memoirs, page 86. We are indebted for them to an American corres. pondent, who obtained a copy with great difficulty, some depredating hand having torn from the file of the Mercury, in the Philadelphia Library, several of the numbers containing the pieces in question. Editor.

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