The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, First Congress, First Session, Volume 1 Page: 439
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OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS.
June 8, 1789.] Collection
respect to them. As Rhode Island did not
send members to the first convention, there
was a delicacy in transmitting the pioceedings
to them, and Congress could not, perhaps, ap-
ply to them with the same propnety as to an-
othei. Rut all we aienow to consider, I believe,
is, that we invite the State of Rhode Island to
join qui confederacy; what will be the effect of
such a measure we cannot tell till we tiy it.
Mr. Page said, though he had a great defei -
ence foi the mover, yet he conceived the motion
ought not to c one befoie Congress. He leaied
they would make themselves a paity in the
business, if they uilerfeied; and he wished to
avoid having any thing to do with then bickei -
ings and disputes; it was enough foi us to do
the business we were sent upon, and not to
attempt woiks of supeierogalion. Fiom the
lespecthe had for the gentleman, and lioin (he
delicate situation in which the House was in-
volved, he hoped that the motion would be
Mi. Ames—It the situation ol the House
is delicate, it is also dangeious in some degiee;
but he did not think it would lelieve them by
Withdrawing the motion. It the gentleman lelt
serious on the subject, if theie were dangei in
the measure, it ought to be well examined.
But this was an aigument for going into a Com-
mittee of the whole. Surely gentlemen are
not adaid of knowing our situation. Then why
oppose the means ot coming at that knowledge?
It is not possible to conceive that this question
can be long evaded. Then what advantage is
proposed liom procrastination? Foi Ins part, he
could discovei none; and, theieloie, was in fa-
vor of resolving into a Committee of the whole.
Mi, Page had heard the woid dangei, but
did not hear distinctly the gentleman's aigu
inenK He thought the House mn the usk of
involving themselves as paities, and of mcui
nng all the dangeis to which such a situation
would expose them. He thought the best way
to avoid the dangei was to stay wheie we aie.
Mi. Madison.—I believe, Mi. Speakei,
there are cases in which itispiudent toa\oid
coming to a decision at all, and cases wheie it
is desnable to evade debate; if theie weie not
cases ot this kind, it would be unnectssaiy to
guaid our discussions with the pi evious ques-
tion My idea on the subject now before the
House is, that it would be unpropei in this
body to expose themselves to have such a pro-
position iejected by theLegislatuie of the State
of Rhode Island It would likewise be lmpro-
pei to ejpiess a desue on an occasion wheie a
fiee agency ought to be employed, which
would carry with it all the force of a command
How (at this is contemplated on the piesent
occasion, I cannot tell; but I heaitily wish that
as little may be said about it as possible. 1
coijcene this to be one of the cases to which
the pi evious question is applicable; and, it the
gentleman me ins to call the House to a dnect
decision on this motion, 1 shall step between,
and inteipose the pievious question.
if Revenue. [H. otR-
Mr. Ames.—I am against the previous ques-
tion being taken, because I wish the House to
consider the motion made by the gentleman
horn New York; it is admitted to be a ques-
tion of considerable importance; if it is, it
ought to be consideied; otherwise, We are
shutting the door on infoimation, and putting
it out of our powei to asceitam the propriety
or impiopiiety of the motion.
I should be glad to know if any gentleman
contemplates the State ot Rhode Island disse
vered Irom the Union; a mautime State, si-
tuated in the most convenient mannei for the
pui pose of smuggling, and defrauding our leve-
nue. Surely, a moment's reflection will induce
the House to lake measures to secure this ob-
ject. Do gentlemen imagine that State will
join the Union? If they do, whit is the injury
ausing fiom the adoption of the lesolution in-
tended to be submitted to the committee? Is
there any impiopriety in desiring them to con-
sider a question which they have not yet de-
cided? It has been suggested, by an honora-
ble gentleman, that this desne will opeiateas
a demand. If a wish of Congress can bung
ihem into the Union, why should we decline to
express such a wish?
It has been said, that Rhode Island has never
called a convention; the other States have.
Then why should we decline to lequest them
to do what every othei State has been called
upon to perfoim? The gentleman from Virgi-
nia seems afraid we should sacrifice our d'gnity
by making this request. Let it be i ememberetf,
Gieat Bntain lost her colonies by sacnficing
her inteiest to her dignity. We ought, there-
foie, to be caielul how we act upon ideas of
tins kind. Theie seems some disposition in
that State to join her sister States in adopting
the constitution. Then, why shall we decline
encouraging that good spirit by approving the
Mi. White thought it best to put the pie-
vious question, because it was unpropei for
this Legislatme to mteifeie in then delibera-
tion. If they weie disposed to adopt the con-
stitution, it would be best to let ihem exercise
then judgment, independent of any influence
which a recommendation fiom Congiess might
The piewous question being insisted upon,
was put—" Shall the ma.n question be now
put?" and it was deteimined in the negative.
Monday, June 8.
Michael Jenifer Stone, fiom Maryland,
appeared, and took his seat.
Mi. Goodhle piesented a petition from
Nicholas Pike, of Nevvbuiypoit, playing an
exclusive inteiest, foi a limited time, in the
publication of his System ol Arithmetic.—Re-
lened to a select committee.
AMENDMENTS 10 THE CONSTITUTION
Mi Madisov lose, and ltminded the House
Here’s what’s next.
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, First Congress, First Session, Volume 1, book, 1834; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29465/m1/222/: accessed July 27, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.