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Chair. There was no competition in the case, which you will wonder at, as Virginia has so lately supplied a President. New Jersey did not like it, I believe, very well, but acquiesced.
I postponed writing by the last mail, in hopes of being able by this to acquaint you with the probable result of the Convention of Massachusetts. It appears, however, that the prospect continues too equivocal to justify a conjecture on the subject. The representations vary somewhat, but they all tend to excite, rather than diminish, anxiety. Mr. Gerry had been introduced to a seat for the purpose of stating facts. On the arrival of the discussion at the Article concerning the Senate, he signified, without being called on, that he had important information to communicate on that subject. Mr. Dana and several others remarked on the impropriety of Mr. Gerry's conduct. Gerry rose to justify. Others opposed it as irregular. A warm conversation arose, and continued till the adjournment; after which a still warmer one took place between Gerry and Dana. The members gathered around them, took sides as they were for or against the Constitution, and strong symptoms of confusion appeared. At length, however, they separated. It was expected that the subject would be renewed in the Convention the next morning. This was the state of things when the post came off.
In one of the papers enclosed you will find your letter to the Assembly reviewed by some critic of this place. I can form no guess who he is. I have seen another attack grounded on a comparative view of your objections, Col. Mason's, and Mr. Ger
This was from Philadelphia. I have not the paper, or I would add it."
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
New York, February 3, 1788. DEAR SIR,
Another mail has arrived from Boston without terminating the conflict between our hopes and fears. I have a letter from Mr. King, of the twentyseventh, which, after dilating somewhat on the ideas in his former letters, concludes with the following paragraph: “We have avoided every question which would have shewn the division of the House. Of consequence we are not positive of the numbers on each side. By the last calculation we made on our side, we were doubtful whether we exceeded them, or they us, in numbers. They, however, say that they have a majority of eight or twelve against
We by no means despair.” Another letter of the same date, from another member, gives the following picture: "Never was there an Assembly in this State in possession of greater ability and information than the present Convention; yet I am in doubt whether they will approve the Constitution. There are unhappily three parties opposed to it, first, all men who are in favor of paper-money and tender laws, these are more or less in every part of the State; secondly, all the late insurgents and their abettors,—in the three great western counties they
are very numerous; we have in the Convention eighteen or twenty who were actually in Shays' army;thirdly, a great majority of the members from the
province of Maine. Many of them and their constituents are only squatters on other people's land, and they are afraid of being brought to account; they also think, though erroneously, that their favorite plan, of being a separate State, will be defeated. Add to these the honest doubting people, and they make a powerful host. The leaders of this party are-Mr. Widgery, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. Nasson, from the province of Maine; Doctor Taylor, from the county of Worcester, and Mr. Bishop, from the neighbourhood of Rhode Island. To manage the cause against them, are the present and late Governors, three Judges of the Supreme Court, fifteen members of the Senate, twenty from among the most respectable of the clergy, ten or twelve of the first characters at the bar, Judges of probate, High sheriffs of counties, and many other respectable people, merchants, &c., Generals Heath, Lincoln, Brooks, and others of the late army. With all this ability in support of the cause, I am pretty well satisfied we shall lose the question, unless we can take off some of the Opposition by amendments. I do not mean such as are to be made conditions of the ratification, but recommendations only. Upon this plan I flatter myself we may possibly get a majority of twelve or fifteen, if not more.
The Legislature of this State has voted a Convention on the seventeenth of June 185
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, March 3, 1788. Dear Sir,
The Convention of New Hampshire have disappointed the general expectation. They have not rejected the Constitution, but they have adjourned without adopting it. It was found that, on a final question, there would be a inajority of three or four in the negative; but in this number were included some who, with instructions from their towns against the Constitution, had been proselyted by the discussions. These concurring with the Federalists in the adjournment, carried it by fifty-seven against forty-seven, if I am rightly informed as to the numbers. The second meeting is not to be till the last week in June. I have inquired of the gentlemen from that quarter, what particularly recommended so late a day, supposing it might refer to the times fixed by New York and Virginia. They tell me it was governed by the intermediate annual elections and courts. If the Opposition in that State be such as they are described, it is not probable that they pursue any sort of plan, more than that of Massachusetts. This event, whatever cause may have produced it, or whatever consequences it may have in New Hampshire, is no small check to the progress of the business. The Opposition here, which are unquestionably hostile to every thing beyond the federal principle, will take new spirits. The event in Massachusetts had almost extinguished their hopes. That in Pennsylvania will probably be equally encouraged.'*
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, July 2, 1788. Dear SIR
There are public letters just arrived from Jefferson. The contents are not yet known. His private letters to me and others refer to his public for political news. I find that he is becoming more and more a friend to the new Constitution, his objections being gradually dispelled by his own further reflections on the subject. He particularly renounces his opinion concerning the expediency of a ratification by nine, and a repeal by four, States, considering the mode pursued by Massachusetts as the only rational one, but disapproving some of the alterations recommended by that State. He will see still more room for disapprobation in the recommendation of other States. The defects of the Constitution which he continues to criticise are, the omission of a Bill of Rights, and of the principle of rotation, at least in the Executive department.
Congress have been some days on the question where the first meeting of the new Congress shall be placed. Philadelphia failed by a single vote from Delaware, which ultimately aimed at that place, but wished to bring Wilmington into view. In that vote New Hampshire and Connecticut both concurred. New York is now in nomination, and if those States accede which I think probable, and Rhode Island which has yet refused to sit in the question can be prevailed on to vote, which I also think probable, the point will be carried. In this