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diligence, enterprise, and honesty of the Boston Merchant; let them recall the zeal for science, the devotion to liberty, the love for his country, its constitution and its union, — the firmness, the purity, the piety of the Massachusetts Patriot; and let them add to these the many estimable and eminent qualities which adorned the character of their more immediate benefactor; and they will agree with me, and you, Gentlemen, will agree with them, that it would be difficult to find a name in our history, which, within the same period of time, has furnished a nobler succession of examples for their admiration and imitation. And neither of you, I am sure, will regret the hour which has now been spent, in once more brushing off the dust and mould which had begun to gather and thicken upon memories, which, in these Halls at least, will never be permitted to perish.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE LEGISLATURE OF MASSACHUSETTS,
IN FAVOR OF A CONVENTION TO REVISE
THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATIOX.
[See page 43.]
Resolve, recommending a Convention of Delegates from all the States, for the purpose
mentioned, July 1, 1785.
As the prosperity and happiness of a nation cannot be secured without a due proportion of power lodged in the hands of the Supreme Rulers of the State, the present embarrassed situation of our public affairs must lead the mind of the most inattentive observer to realize the necessity of a revision of the powers vested in the Congress of the United States, by the articles of confederation.
And as we conceive it to be equally the duty and the privilege of every State in the Union, freely to communicate their sentiments to the rest on every subject relating to their common interest, and to solicit their concurrence in such measures as the exigency of their public affairs may require :
Therefore, Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Court, that the present powers of the Congress of the United States, as contained in the Articles of Confederation, are not fully adequate to the great purposes they were originally designed to effect.
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Court, that it is highly expedient, if not indispensably necessary, that there should be a convention of delegates from all the States in the Union, at some convenient place, as soon as may be, for the sole purpose of revising the Confederation, and reporting to Congress how far it may be necessary to alter or enlarge the same.
Resolved, That Congress be, and they are hereby requested to recommend a
onvention of Delegates from all the States, at such time and place as they may think convenient, to revise the Confederation, and to report to Congress how far it may be necessary, in their opinion, to alter or enlarge the same, in order to secure and perpetuate the primary objects of the Union.
LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Sir, — Impressed with the importance and necessity of revising the powers of the United States in Congress assembled, the General Court of the Massachusetts have taken the subject under their serious consideration, and have adopted the inclosed resolutions, which you are requested to communicate. Should the nature and importance of the subject appear to Congress in the same point of light that it does to this Court, they flatter themselves, that Congress will so far endeavor to carry their views into effect, as to recommend a Convention of the States, at some convenient place, on an early day, that the evils so severely experienced from the want of adequate powers in the Federal Government may find a remedy as soon as possible.
As a perfect harmony among the States is an object no less important than desirable, the Legislature of the Massachusetts have aimed at that unassuming openness of conduct, and respectful attention to the rights of every State in the Union, as they doubt not will secure their confidence, and meet the approbation of Congress.
A circular letter to the States is herewith transmitted to Congress, which they are requested to forward, with their recommendation for a Convention of Delegates from the States, if they should so far concur in sentiment with the Court, as to deem such a recommendation advisable.
TO THE SUPREME EXECUTIVE OF EACH STATE.
The unequal footing on which we find ourselves placed by all the powers with whom we have any commercial intercourse, has produced consequences too extensive not to be universally felt, and too important to be longer neglected.
As commerce, and our national credit and importance, must decline, unless our Representatives in Congress are vested with more efficient powers, we cannot doubt of your ready concurrence in measures necessary to accomplish so important a purpose.
We have, by a Resolve of this day, made application to the United States in Congress assembled, for such recommendation to the several States as shall be thought most conducive to the purposes aforesaid, a copy of which Resolve, with the letter inclosing it, addressed to the President of Congress, is herewith transmitted you. Should you
be in sentiment with us, that the measures proposed are the proper expedients to relieve us from the national embarrassments we labor under, you are requested to signify your approbation of them to Congress, as early as possible.
TO THE DELEGATES OF THIS STATE IN CONGRESS.
GENTLEMEN, – You have herewith transmitted you, copies of a Resolve of the General Court, accompanied by a letter to the President of Congress, and a Circular Letter to the States, upon business of the greatest importance to this, as well as every State in the Union, as you will readily perceive by a perusal of them.
You are, therefore, directed to take the earliest opportunity of laying them before Congress, and making every exertion in your power to carry the object of them into effect, and to give notice to the Governor as early as possible of the success of such application,
Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby requested, in behalf of the Legislature, to sign the foregoing letter to the President of Congress, the Supreme Executive of the several States, and to the Delegates of this Commonwealth in Congress, and to forward them accordingly.
FREE SCHOOLS AND FREE GOVERNMENTS.
A LECTURE DELIVERED BEFORE THE BOSTON LYCEUM,
DECEMBER 20, 1838.
I Have chosen no new topic for the subject of this evening's lecture; nor can I promise you any display of that rare faculty, which commands for an old subject new attention and commends it to fresh embraces, by exhibiting it in unworn robes and surrounding it with unwonted illustrations. It is my purpose to deal with old truths in the old way, and I must trust to the intrinsic importance and universal interest of those truths to secure for them a willing and patient attention.
It cannot fail to have been remarked by every intelligent observer of passing events, that the subject of Popular Education has attracted, within a few years past, a much larger share of both public and private attention than it formerly enjoyed. Evidences of an increased private attention to it may be seen in the various Conventions, Associations, and Institutes which are meeting daily upon the subject in all parts of the country. Proofs of an enlarged public regard for it may be found in the recent establishment, by the Legislatures of many of the States, of School Funds and Boards of School Commissioners. While the still more recent appropriation in our own Commonwealth of a considerable sum of money, in connection with the noble donation of Mr. Edmund Dwight, to institute the experiment of what are called Normal Schools, may be hailed as a cheering assurance that private munificence and public liberality are not, upon this subject as upon some others, seeking opposite or even separate ends, nor have any tendency to counteract or discourage each other, but are ready and resolved to coöperate together in promoting this great cause.