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who might escape into other States; that the slavetrade would remain open for twenty years, a period that would suffice for the supply of all the labor of that kind which the State would require; and that the admission of the blacks into the basis of representation was a concession in favor of the State, of singular importance as well as novelty; he had disposed of every ground of opposition relating to these points. And so the people of the State manifestly considered.

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But there was one part of the arrangements included in the Constitution, on which they appear to have thought that they had more reason to pause; and it is quite important that we should understand both the grounds of their doubt, and the grounds on which they yielded their assent to this part of the system. South Carolina was then, and was ever likely to be, a great exporting State. Some of her people feared that, if a full power to regulate commerce by the votes of a majority in the two houses of Congress were to be exercised in the passage of a navigation act, the Eastern States, in whose behalf they were asked to grant such a power, would not be able to furnish shipping enough to export the products of the planting States. This apprehension arose entirely from a want of information; which some of the friends of the Constitution supplied, while it was under discussion. They showed that, if all the exported products of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia were obliged to be carried in American bottoms, the Eastern States were then able to fur

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nish more than shipping enough for the purpose; and that this shipping must also compete with that of the Middle States. Still it remained true, that the grant of the commercial power would enable a majority in Congress to exclude foreign vessels from the carrying trade of the United States, and so far to enhance the freights on the products of South Carolina. What then were the motives which appear to have led the convention of that State to agree to this concession of the commercial power?

It is evident from the discussions which took place in the legislature, and which had great influence in the subsequent convention, that the attention of the people of South Carolina was not confined to the particular terms and arrangements of the compromises which took place in the formation of the Constitution. They looked to the propriety, expediency, and justice of a general power to regulate commerce, apart from the compromise in which it was involved. They admitted the commercial distresses of the Northern States; they saw the policy of increasing the maritime strength of those States, in order to encourage the growth of a navy; and they considered it neither prudent, nor fit, to give the vessels of all foreign nations a right to enter American ports at pleasure, in peace and in war, and whatever might be the commercial legislation of those nations towards the United States. For these reasons, a large majority of the people of South Carolina were willing to make so much sacrifice, be it more or less, as was involved in the sur

render to a majority in Congress of the power to regulate commerce.'

Still, the Constitution was not ratified without a good deal of opposition on the part of a considerable minority. As the convention drew towards the close of its proceedings, an effort was made to carry an adjournment to the following autumn, in order to gain time for the anticipated rejection of the Constitution by Virginia. This motion probably stimulated the convention to act more decisively than they might otherwise have done, for it touched the pride of the State in the wrong direction. After a spirited discussion it was rejected by a majority of forty-six votes, and the Constitution was thereupon ratified by a majority of seventy-six. Several amendments were then adopted, to be presented to Congress for consideration, three of which were substantially the same with three of those proposed by Massachusetts.2

On the 27th of May, there was a great procession of the trades, in Charleston, in honor of the accession of the State, in which the ship Federalist, drawn by eight white horses, was a conspicuous object, as it had been in the processions of other cities,

1 See the course of argument of Edward Rutledge, General Pinckney, Robert Barnwell, Commodore Gillon, and others, as given in Elliot, IV. 253-816.

2 See the Amendments, Journals of the Old Congress, Vol. XIII., Appendix.



SOUTH CAROLINA was the eighth State that had ratified the Constitution, and one other only was required for its inauguration. In this posture of affairs the month of May in the year 1788 was closed. An intense interest was to be concentrated into the next two months, which were to decide the question whether the Constitution was ever to be put into operation. The convention of Virginia was to meet on the 2d, and that of New York on the 17th, of June; the convention of New Hampshire stood adjourned to the 18th of the same month. The latter assembly was to meet at Concord, from which place intelligence would reach the Middle and Southern States through Boston and the city of New York. The town of Poughkeepsie, where the convention of New York was to sit, lay about midway between the cities of Albany and New York, on the east bank of the Hudson. The land route from the city of New York to Richmond, where the convention of Virginia was to meet, was of course through the city of Philadelphia. The distance from Concord to Pough

keepsie, through Boston, Springfield, and Hudson, was about two hundred and fifty miles. The distance from Poughkeepsie to Richmond, through the cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, was about four hundred and fifty miles. The public mails, over any part of these distances, were not carried at a rate of more than fifty miles for each day, and over a large part of them they could not have been carried so fast. The information needed at such a crisis could not wait the slow progress of the public conveyances.

No one could tell how long the conventions of New York and Virginia might be occupied with the momentous question that was to come before them. It was evident, however, that there was to be a great struggle in both of them, and it was extremely important that intelligence of the final action of New Hampshire should be received in both at the earliest practicable moment. For, whatever might be the weight due to the example of New Hampshire under other circumstances, if, before the conventions of New York and Virginia had decided, it should appear that nine States had ratified the Constitution, the course of those bodies might be materially influenced by a fact of so much consequence to the future position of the Union, and to the relations in which those two States were to stand to the new government. It was equally important, too, that whatever might occur in the conventions of New York and Virginia should be known respectively in each of them, as speedily as possible.


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