THE CONSTITUTION IN OUTLINE.
14 MAY TO 13 JUNE 1787.
Do nations float darkling down the stream of the ages without hope or consolation, swaying with every wind and ignorant whither they are drifting ? or, is there a superior power of intelligence and love, which is moved by justice and shapes their course ?
From the ocean to the American outposts nearest the Mississippi, one desire prevailed for a closer connection, one belief that the only opportunity for its creation was come. Men who, from their greater attachment to the states, feared its hazards, neither coveted nor accepted an election to the convention, and in uneasy watchfulness awaited the course of events. Willie Jones of North Carolina, declining to serve, was replaced by Hugh Williamson, who had voted with Jefferson for excluding slavery from the territories. Patrick Henry, Thomas Nelson, and Richard Henry Lee refusing to be delegates, Edmund Randolph, then governor of Virginia and himself a delegate to the convention, named to one vacancy James McClurg, a professor in the college of William and Mary whom Madison had urged upon congrese for the office of secretary of foreign affairs. No state except New York sent a delegation insensible to the necessity of a vigorous union. Discordant passions were repressed by the solemnity of the moment; and, as the statesmen who were to create a new constitution, veterans in the war and in the halls of legislation, journeyed for the most part on horseback to their place of meeting, the high-wrought hopes of the nation went along with them. Nor did they deserve