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[329] Constitution seemed in danger. Choate's defence of the judiciary surpassed in eloquence and political philosophy all other productions of the assembly; and his characteristic traits as an orator appear hardly less in his speech on the basis of representation. No member contributed more real power and insight, as well as independence of thought, to the debates than Dana,1 whose intellect and character, however, derived no added force from personal associations and political influence. Sumner in a speech said of the treatment of one question by the convention, ‘that the State, our common mother, may feel proud of the ability, the eloquence, and the good temper with which the debate has thus far been conducted. Gentlemen have addressed the convention in a manner which would grace any assembly that it has been my fortune to know at home or abroad.’2 But it would have been ungracious in him to have added in their presence what was equally true,—that the convention was wearied almost every day by lengthy and ill-digested homilies from certain members, who at last had obtained a long-coveted opportunity to make public their theories of government and the social state, and to prescribe their remedies for all the miseries and misfortunes of the human family.

Sumner was chosen a delegate without being consulted, and regretted, as has been seen, his election. His service as member postponed his plan for a journey to the West, which he had not before visited; and it confined him during the heats of the summer, with only a few days' interval of refreshment, after his return, April 21, from Washington. He, however, did his duty faithfully by attendance on the sessions, and as chairman of the committee on the preamble and declaration of rights, which held twenty meetings while engaged in preparing its work.3 He took no part in the debates till June 21 and 22, when he spoke upon resolutions concerning the militia,4 particularly upon the respective powers of the United States and of the States in relation to it,—the former exclusively controlling the national militia, and the latter having the power to organize and direct the volunteer

1 Sumner spoke of Dana afterwards ‘as the man of by far the greatest legislative promise, criticising only his tendency to over-debate, due to excessive readiness and facility.’ Adams's ‘Biography’ of R. H. Dana, vol. i. p. 233.

2 Speech on the representative system, July 7. Works, vol. III. p. 230.

3 He submitted the committee's report, July 8. He occupied, May 31, the chair in committee of the who'e.

4 Works, vol. III. pp. 216-227.

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