Part X of XIII
“… Happy Constitution Day Yank.”
“Smudge Day Johnny.”
“Tell the story again, about how George had the founders put a smudge on the Constitution.”
“I thought you might ask Gus.”
“So you have something prepared?”
“Let me present, Constitution Day 1787.”
“Let’s go Reb.”
“Nowhere to go Yank, as we can story-tell right here.”
“Conjure and imagine, if you will, the interior of …
INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA PA – DAY 17 SEP 1787
GEORGE WASHINGTON (55) is chairing the Constitutional Convention and it is the last day, signing day, 17 September 1787. The hall is full of founders, such as ALEXANDER HAMILTON (30), JAMES MADISON (36), and BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (81); they are all gathered to conclude the convention and begin their journeys home. The (almost) completed Constitution is read aloud as well as a speech written by Franklin. WE HEAR the MURMUR of restive and attentive voices as NATHANIAL GORHAM (49), someone known to all in the room, rises to speak; he is a Massachusetts delegate, Chairman of the Whole during the convention, and Washington acknowledges him from the podium.
I see Nathanial, the honorable Mr. Gorham, would like to speak.
Gentlemen, if it is not too late, I would like that the clause declaring, 'the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every forty Thousand,' be reconsidered.
You mean the representation clause.
Yes, and since it produced so much discussion, perhaps we should reconsider it.
For a greater representation of the people, I propose we strike out 'forty' Thousand and insert 'thirty' Thousand.
Madison nods agreement.
Although my situation has hitherto restrained me from offering sentiments on questions before the convention, and perhaps ought to now –
I can’t forbear expressing my wish that the change proposed might take place.
It is much desired that the objections to the plan recommended might be as few as possible, and the smallness of the proportion of Representatives was considered by many members of the Convention, an insufficient security for the rights and interests of the people.
The representation ratio had always seemed to me to be the exceptionable part of the plan, and late as the present moment was for admitting amendments, I believe it of so much consequence that it would give much satisfaction to see it adopted.
The founders then vote and the change is unanimously accepted. Madison and a clerk make the edit to the Constitution by altering the word 'forty' into 'thirty,' and in doing so leave a smudge.”
“Thanks for The Story of Smudge Day Johnny.”
“What’s the word on the usurpers and the surrender?”
“The Attorney General for We the People.”
“We’ve asked for support.”
“I like it.”
“Also, there’s some news about Sarah.”
Next Up: 1 October and part XI of the series Johnny Reb and Gus Yank Berryvillin’: Sarah.
Posted by Bryan W. Brickner