Joseph Barrell was a Boston merchant whose fleet of ships were converted to privateers during the Revolutionary War. And he was an American patriot.
In a December 20, 1787 letter to his brother Nathaniel concerning the proposed Constitution, he wrote, “. . . I think this one consideration alone will induce you to adopt it, vizt. because the present Confederation cannot be altered, unless all the 13 States agree and I was going to say Heaven and Earth may pass away before that event will take place! While the Constitution now proposed may be alterd when ever Nine States shall require it, Is it not therefore better to adopt this Constitution (even as it was not the best) which may be alterd rather than to retain the present Wretched System wch. never can? –
From The Debate on the Constitution, Part One, p. 588. The great American historian Bernard Bailyn selected the contents and wrote the headings and notes for this volume, copyright 1993 by Literary Classics of the United States, New York, N. Y.