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1788 - "One of the People Called Quakers" - Anonymous - March 12, 1787

Published in the Virginia Independent Chronicle, Richmond, March 12, 1788
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Mr. DAVIS, "A Virginian"1 might have a right to expect, and would perhaps have received, the thanks of "the people called Quakers in Virginia," for the "hint" he hath given them, if they thought it was wholly dictated by an unfeigned regard for their interests and happiness: but its seeming want of candor, the criterion, by which a plain simple people, lovers of truth, are led to judge, inclines them to think that it springs from some other motive.

He tells the Quakers, that they should "disapprove of the new constitution"—["]because it admits of the importation of slaves to America for a limited time." Hence it would seem, as if he inferred, and would have them to believe that the new constitution would introduce slaves into Virginia contrary to the inclination of the people: which the Quakers apprehend is not the case. Virginia indeed, may import slaves, but she may, as she now does, also prohibit, and which it is reasonable to expect she will continue to do; and therefore, the Quakers, or any other society opposed to the slave trade, have nothing to apprehend on that score; and more especially, when it is considered that the late convention, used every means in their power, to prevail upon the Carolina's and Georgia, the only states in the union, that at present import slaves, at once to put an end to this unjust traffic; but the representatives of these states being inflexible in their opposition thereto, occasioned the limited importation as the best compromise that could be made; hence it is but just to conclude, that the new fœderal government, if established, would eagerly embrace the opportunity not only of putting an end to the importation of slaves, but of abolishing slavery forever.

Though the Quakers, are fully sensible of the favors and protection that they have hitherto experienced under the present constitution, and government of Virginia, they see no great reason to apprehend that their principles would not be as safe under the new constitution, and better secured and protected, under a government of more weight, dignity, and stability.

This "hint" like most of the other hints and objections that have hitherto appeared, rather tend to fix, than to remove any favorable impressions that "the people called Quakers in Virginia" have received of the new constitution. A good cause, will always be supported by plain reasons, addressed to the most common understanding; while a bad one, stands in need of sophistry, subtilty, and even trifling "hints," calculated to operate upon the passions and prejudices of man, in order to mislead and confound, where they cannot convince.

[1. ]The author is responding to a letter from a "Virginian," published in the Virginia Independent Chronicle, 13 February 1788.

Notable Quotes

The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.

Ronald Reagan


Founder's Quotes

It is yet to be decided whether the Revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse: a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn millions be involved.

George Washington, Circular to the States, 1783


Did You Know?

Jefferson was quite unhappy about some of the edits made to his original draft of the Declaration of Independence. He had originally included language condemning the British promotion of the slave trade (even though Jefferson himself was a slave owner). This criticism of the slave trade was removed in spite of Jefferson’s objections.


A Government of Laws...

Article V - Amendment Process - United States Constitution

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.


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A Book You Should Read

Disaster by Decree: The Supreme Court Decisions on Race and the Schools, Lino Graglia; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1976.