History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 6

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTEK III.
THE CONSTITUTION IN CONNECTICUT AND MASSACHUSETTS.
FROM 26 SEPTEMBER 1787 TO 6 FEBRUARY 1788.

ON the twenty-sixth of September Eoger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, two of the delegates from Connecticut to the federal convention, transmitted to Samuel Huntington, then governor of the state, a printed copy of the constitution to be laid before the legislature. In an accompanying official letter they observed that the proportion of suffrage accorded to the state remained the same as before; and they gave the assurance that the “additional powers vested in congrese extended only to matters respecting the common interests of the union, and were specially defined; so that the particular states retained their sovereignty in all other matters.”* The restraint on the legislatures of the several states respecting emitting bills of credit, making anything but money a tender in payment of debts, or impairing the obligation of contracts by ex post facto laws, was thought necessary as a security to commerce, in which the interest of foreigners as well as of the citizens of different states may be affected.†

The governor was a zealous friend of the new constitution. The legislature, on the sixteenth of October, unanimously‡ sailed a convention of the state. To this were chosen the retired and the present highest officers of its government; the judges of its courts; “ministers of the Gospel;” and nearly sixty who had fought for independence. Connecticut had a special interest in ratifying the constitution; the compromise

* Compare the remark of Wilson, supra, 385, 386.

† Elliot, i., 491, 492.

‡ Madison, i., 359.

-393-

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