Founding Fathers weigh in on a new constitutional convention

 

James Madison said he should tremble for the result of a second Con-Con:

Madison“You wish to know my sentiments on the project of another general Convention… I shall give them to you with great frankness… If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed to administer and support as well as to amend the system; it would consequently give greater agitation to the public mind; an election into it would be courted by the most violent partisans on both sides; it would probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters; would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. Under all these circumstances it seems scarcely to be presumable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America, and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned.”  James Madison, November 2, 1788 – Letter to George Thurberville

Patrick Henry said the 1787 Con-Con was a definite runaway:

Patrick Henry“I would make this enquiry about of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late federal convention…I have the highest veneration for those gentlemen; but sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, We the People?…who authorized them to speak the language of We the People instead of We the States?… The people gave them no power to use their name. That they exceeded their power is perfectly clear…The federal convention ought to have amended the old system –for this purpose they were solely delegated. The object of their mission extended to no other considerations.”  Patrick Henry – June 4, 1788, Speech at The Virginia Ratifying Convention 

Benjamin Franklin also expressed doubt as to the wisdom of another Con-Con:

Franklin“I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with 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, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats.”  Benjamin Franklin, September 17, 1787 – Speech at the Constitutional Convention 

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