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such; because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. 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 he 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 Babylon, and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting each other's throats.
Thus, I consent, Sir, to this constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that this is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us, in returning to our constituents, were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavour to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion; on the general opinion of the goodness of that government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its governors.
I hope, therefore, that for our 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 our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it well administered.
On the whole Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every member of the Convention, who may still have objections, would with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and, to make manifest our unanimity put his name to this instru
[The motion was then made for adding the last formula, viz.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent, &c. which was agreed to, and added accordingly.
PEEFERENCE OF BOWS AND ARROWS
TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.
Philadelphia, Feb. 11, 1776.
THE bearer, Mons. Arundel, is directed by the Con gress to repair to General Schuyler, in order to be employed by him in the artillery service. He proposes to wait on you in his way, and has requested me to introduce him by a line to you. He has been an officer in the French service, as you will see by his commissions; and, professing a good will to our cause, I hope he may be useful in instructing our gunners and matrosses: perhaps he may advise in opening the nailed cannon.
I received the inclosed the other day from an officer, Mr. Newland, who served in the two last wars, and was known by General Gates, who spoke well of
him to me when I was at Cainbridge. He is desirous now of entering into your service. I have advised him to wait upon you at New York.
They still talk big in England, and threaten hard: but their language is somewhat civiller, at least not quite so disrespectful to us. By degrees they come to their senses, but too late, I fancy, for their in
We have got a large quantity of saltpetre, one hundred and twenty ton, and thirty more expected. Powder mills are now wanting; believe we must set to work and make it by hand. But I still wish, with you, that pikes could be introduced, and I would add bows and arrows: these were good wea. pons, and not wisely laid aside.
1. Because a man may shoot as truly with a bow as with a common musket.
2. He can discharge four arrows in the time of charging and discharging one bullet.
3. His object is not taken from his view by the smoke of his own side.
4. A flight of arrows seen coming upon them terrifies and disturbs the enemy's attention to his business.
5. An arrow sticking in any part of a man, puts him hors du combat till it is extracted.
6. Bows and arrows are more easily provided every where than muskets and ammunition.
Polydore Virgil, speaking of one of our batdes against the French in Edward the Third's reign, mentions the great confusion the enemy was thrown into sagittarum nube, from the English; and concludes, Est res profecto dictu mirabilis ut tantus ac potens exercitus a solis ferè Anglicis sagittariis victus fuerit; adeo Anglus est sagittipotens, et id genus armorum valet." If so much execution was done by arrows when men wore some defensive armour, how much more might be done now that it is out of use !
I am glad you are come to New York, but I also wish you could be in Canada. There is a kind of suspense in men's minds here at present, waiting to see what terms will be offered from England. I expect none that we can accept; and when that is geerally seen, we shall be more unanimous and more
decisive: then your proposed solemn league and
I am always glad to hear from you, but I do not
ON THE THEORY OF THE EARTH,
TO ABB SOULIAVE.
Passy, September 22, 1782.
1 RETURN the papers with some corrections. I did not find coal mines, under the calcareous rock in Derbyshire. I only remarked, that at the lowest part of that rocky mountain, which was in sight, there were oyster shells mixed with the stone; and part of the high country of Derby being probably aş much above the level of the sea, as the coal mines of Whitehaven were below, it seemed a proof that there had been a great bouleversement in the surface of that island, some part of it having been depressed under the sea, and other parts, which had been under it, being raised above it. Such changes in the superficial parts of the globe seemed to me unlikely to hap pen, if the earth were solid at the centre. I there.
fore imagined that the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and of greater specific gravity than any of the solids we are acquainted with; which therefore might swim in or upon that fluid. Thus the surface of the globe would be a shell, capable of being broken and disordered by the violent movements of fluid on which it rested. And, as air has been compressed by art so as to be twice as dense as water, in which case, if such air and water could be contained in a strong glass vessel, the air would be seen to take the lowest place, and the water to float above and upon it; and, as we know not yet the degree of density to which air may be compressed, and M. Amontons calculated, that, its density increasing as it approached the centre in the same proportion as above the surface, it would at the depth of leagues, be heavier than gold, possibly the dense fluid occupying the internal parts of the globe might be air compressed. And as the force of expansion in dense air when heated, is in proportion to its density; this central air might afford another agent to move the surface, as well as be of use in keeping alive the central fires; though, as you observe, the sudden rarefaction of water, coming into contact with those fires, may be an agent sufficiently strong for that purpose, when acting between the incumbent and the fluid on which it rests.
If one might indulge imagination in supposing how such a globe was formed, I should conceive, that all the elements in separate particles, being originally mixed in confusion, and occupying a great space, they would as soou (as soon as the Almighty Gat ordained gravity, or the mutual attraction of certain parts, and the mutual repulsion of other parts, to exist) all move towards their common centre: that the air being a fluid whose parts repel each other, though drawn to the common centre by their gravity, would be densest towards the centre, and rarer as more remote; consequently, all bodies, lighter than the central parts of that air, and immersed in it, would recede from the centre, and rise till they arrive at that region of the air, which was of the saine specific gravity with themselves, where they would rest; while