Reply to "A Landholder," I

Elbridge Gerry

by Elbridge Gerry

You are desired to inform the publick from good authority, that Mr. GERRY, by giving his dissent to the proposed Constitution, could have no motives for preserving an office, for he holds none under the United States, or any of them; that he has not, as has been asserted, exchanged Continental for State Securities, and if he had, it would have been for his interest to have supported the new system, because thereby the states are restrained from impairing the obligation of contracts, and by a transfer of such securities, they may be recovered in the new federal court; that he never heard, in the Convention, a motion made, much less did make any, “for the redemption of the old continental money;” but that he proposed the public debt should be made neither better nor worse by the new system, but stand precisely on the same ground by the Articles of Confederation; that had there been such a motion, he was not interested in it, as he did not then, neither does he now, own the value of ten pounds in continental money; that he neither was called on for his reasons for not signing, but stated them fully in the progress of the business. His objections are chiefly contained in his letter to the Legislature; that he believes his colleagues men of too much honour to assert what is not truth; that his reasons in the Convention “were totally different from those which he published,” that his only motive for dissenting from the Constitution, was a firm persuasion that it would endanger the liberties of America; that if the people are of a different opinion, they have a right to adopt; but he was not authorized to an act, which appeared to him was a surrender of their liberties; that a representative of a free state, he was bound in honour to vote according to his idea of her true interest, and that he should do the same in similar circumstances.

Cambridge, January 3, 1788.

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