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close window Benjamin Franklin"s Final Speech in the Constitutional Conventionfrom the notes of James MadisonMr. President:I confess that I execute not entirely give of this Constitution at present, but Sir, I am not sure I shall never before provide it: For having actually lived long, I have competent many type of Instances of being oblig"d, by much better Indevelopment or fuller Factor to consider, to readjust Opinions even on crucial Subjects, which I when assumed right, yet uncovered to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I flourish the more apt I am to doubt my own Judgment, and to pay more Respect to the Judgment of others. Many Men indeed and also most Sects in Religion, think themselves in Possession of all Truth, and also that wherever before others differ from them it is so far Error. Steele, a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only Difference between our 2 Churches in their Opinions of the Certainty of their Doctrine, is, the Romish Church is infallible, and the Church of England is never in the Wrong. But tho" many type of personal Persons think practically as very of their own Infallibility, as of that of their Sect, few expush it so naturally as a particular French Lady, that in a tiny Dispute through her Sister, said, I do not recognize exactly how it happens, Sister, yet I meet with no body however myself that"s constantly in the best. Il n"y a que moi qui a toujours raison. In these Sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, via all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government crucial for us, and there is no Form of Government yet what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I think farther that this is most likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and have the right to only end in Despotism as various other Forms have actually done prior to it, when the People shall become so corrupted regarding need Despotic Government, being incapable of any type of other. I doubt as well whether any type of other Convention we can attain, may be able to make a far better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble through those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their regional Interests, and also their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to uncover this System approaching so close to to Perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our Enemies, who are waiting via Confidence to hear that our Councils are confounded, like those of the Builders of Babel, and that our States are on the Point of Separation, just to satisfy hereafter for the Purpose of cutting one another"s throats. Hence I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I mean no better, and bereason I am not sure that it is not the finest. The Opinions I have actually had actually of its Errors, I sacrifice to the Public Good. I have never before whispered a Syllable of them awide. Within these Walls they were born, and also below they shall die. If eexceptionally one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the Objections he has actually had actually to it, and usage his Influence to get Partisan in assistance of them, we could prevent its being mainly got, and also thereby lose all the salutary Effects and great Advanteras resulting normally in our favour among international Nations, and among ourselves, from our real or apparent Unanimity. Much of the Strength and Efficiency of any type of Government, in procuring and securing Happiness to the People relies on Opinion, on the general Opinion of the Goodness of that Government and also of the Wisdom and Integrity of its Governors.


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I hope therefore that for our very own Sakes, as a Part of the People, and for the sake of our Posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution, wherever before our Influence might extend, and turn our future Thoughts and also Endeavours to the Means of having it well administered. On the totality, Sir, I cannot assist expushing a Wish, that eexceptionally Member of the Convention, who might still have actually Objections to it, would through me on this Occasion doubt a tiny of his very own Infallibility, and also to make manifest our Unanimity, put his Name to this instrument. close window