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TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, October 7, 1787. DEAR SIR,
Congress are at present deliberating on the requisition. The Treasury Board has reported one in specie alone, alleging the mischiefs produced by “Indents.” It is proposed by a Committee that indents be received from the States, but that the conditions tying down the States to a particular mode of procuring them, be abolished ; and that the indents for one year be receivable in the quotas of any year.
St. Clair is appointed Governor of the Western country, and Major Sarjent, of Massachusetts, the Secretary of that establishment. A treaty with the Indians is on the anvil, as a supplemental provision for the Western country. It is not certain, however, that any thing will be done, as it involves money, and we shall have on the floor nine States one more day only.
We hear nothing decisive as yet concerning the general reception given to the act of the Convention. The advocates for it come forward more promptly than the adversaries. The sea coast seems every where fond of it. The party in Boston which was thought most likely to make opposition, are warm in espousing it. It is said that Mr. S. Adams objects to one point only, viz. the prohibition of a religious test. Mr. Bowdoin's objections are said to be against the great number of members composing the Legislature, and the intricate election of the President. You will no doubt have heard of the fermentation in the Assembly of Pennsylvania.""
Mr. Adams is permitted to return home after February next, with thanks for the zeal and fidelity of his services. As the commission of Smith expires at that time, and no provision is made for continuing him, or appointing a successor, the representation of the United States at the Court of London will cease at that period.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, October 21, 1787. DEAR SIR,
We hear that opinions are various in Virginia on the plan of the Convention. I have received, within a few days, a letter from the Chancellor, by which I find that he gives it his approbation; and another from the President of William and Mary, which, though it does not absolutely reject the Constitution, criticises it pretty freely. The newspapers in the Northern and Middle States begin to teem with controversial publications. The attacks seem to be principally levelled against the organization of the Government, and the omission of the provisions contended for in favor of the press, and juries, &c. A new combatant, however, with considerable address and plausibility, strikes at the foundation. He
represents the situation of the United States to be such as to render any government improper and impracticable which forms the States into one nation, and is to operate directly on the people. Judging from the newspapers, one would suppose that the adversaries were the most numerous and the most earnest. But there is no other evidence that it is the fact. On the contrary, we learn that the Assembly of New Hampshire, which received the Constitution on the point of their adjournment, were extremely pleased with it. All the information from Massachusetts denotes a favorable impression there. The Legislature of Connecticut have unanimously recommended the choice of a Convention in that State, and Mr. Baldwin, who is just from the spot, informs me, that, from present appearances, the opposition will be inconsiderable; that the Assembly, if it depended on them, would adopt the system almost unanimously; and that the clergy and all the literary men are exerting themselves in its favor. Rhode Island is divided; the majority being violently against it. The temper of this State cannot yet be fully discerned. A strong party is in favor of it. But they will probably be outnumbered, if those whose numbers are not yet known should take the opposite side. New Jersey appears to be zealous. Meetings of the people in different counties are declaring their approbation, and instructing their representatives. There will probably be a strong opposition in Pennsylvania. The other side, however, continue to be sanguine. Doctor Carroll, who came hither lately from Maryland, tells me, that the public voice there appears at present to be decidedly in favor of the Constitution. Notwithstanding all these circumstances, I am far from considering the public mind as fully known, or finally settled on the subject. They amount only to a strong presump
tion that the general sentiment in the Eastern and Middle States is friendly to the proposed system at this time.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
New York, October 24, 1787. DEAR Sir,
When the plan of the Constitution proposed by the Convention came before Congress for their sanction, a very serious effort was made by R. H. Lee and Mr. Dane, from Massachusetts, to embarrass it. It was first contended, that Congress could not properly give any positive countenance to a measure which had for its object the subversion of the Constitution under which they acted. This ground of attack failing, the former gentleman urged the expediency of sending out the plan with amendments, and proposed a number of them corresponding with the objections of Col. Mason. This experiment had still less effect. In order, however, to obtain unanimity, it was necessary to couch the resolution in very moderate terms.
Mr. Adams has received permission to return, with thanks for his services. No provision is made for supplying his place, or keeping up any representation there. Your reappointment for three years will be notified from the office of foreign affairs. It was made without a negative, eight States being present. Connecticut, notwithstanding, put in a blank ticket, the sense of that State having been declared against embassies. Massa
chusetts betrayed some scruple on like ground. Every personal consideration was avowed, and I believe with sincerity, to have militated against these scruples. It seems to be understood that letters to and from the foreign ministers of the United States are not free of postage; but that the charge is to be allowed in their accounts.
The exchange of our French for Dutch creditors has not been countenanced either by Congress or the Treasury Board. The paragraph in your last letter to Mr. Jay, on the subject of applying a loan in Holland to the discharge of the pay due to the foreign officers, has been referred to the Board since my arrival here. No report has yet been made. But I have little idea that the proposition will be adopted. Such is the state and prospect of our fiscal department, that any new loan, however small, that should now be made, would probably subject us to the reproach of premeditated deception. The balance of Mr. Adams's last loan will be wanted for the interest due in Holland, and, with all the income here, will, it is feared, not save our credit in Europe from farther wounds. It may well be doubted whether the present Government can be kept alive during the ensuing year, or until the new one may take its place.
Upwards of one hundred thousand acres of the lands of the United States have been disposed of in open market. Five millions of unsurveyed have been sold by private contract to a New England company, at two-thirds of a dollar per acre, payment to be made in the principal of the public securities. A negotiation is nearly closed with a New