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event a great handle, I fear, will be given to those who have opposed the new Government on account of the Eastern preponderance in the Federal system.157


New York, July 16, 1788. DEAR SIR,

The enclosed papers will give you the latest intelligence from Poughkeepsie. It seems by no means certain what the result there will be. Some of the most sanguine calculate on a ratification. The best informed apprehend some clog that will amount to a condition. The question is made

peculiarly interesting in this place, by its connexion with the question relative to the place to be recommended for the meeting of the first Congress under the new Government.

Thirteen States are at present represented. A plan for setting this new machine in motion has been reported some days, but will not be hurried to a conclusion. Having been but a little time here, I am not yet fully in the politics of Congress.


New York, July 22, 1788. Dear Sir,

The enclosed papers will give you a view of the business in the Convention at Poughkeepsie. It is

not as yet certain that the ratification will take any final shape than can make New York immediately a member of the new Union. The opponents cannot come to that point without yielding a complete victory to the Federalists, which must be a severe sacrifice of their pride. It is supposed too, that some of them would not be displeased at seeing a bar to the pretensions of this city to the first meeting of the new Government. On the other side, the zeal for an unconditional ratification is not a little increased by contrary wishes.


New York August 11, 1788. DEAR SIR,

The length of the interval since my last has proceeded from a daily expectation of being able to communicate the arrangements for introducing the new Government. The times necessary to be fixed by Congress have been many days agreed on. The place of meeting, has undergone many vicissitudes, and is still as uncertain as ever. Philadelphia was first named by a member from Connecticut, and was negatived by the voice of one from Delaware, who wished to make an experiment for Wilmington. New York came next into view. Lancaster was opposed to it, and failed. Baltimore was next tried, and, to the surprize of every one, had seven votes, South Carolina joining the Southern States and Pennsylvania in the question. It was not difficult

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to foresee that such a vote could not stand. Accordingly the next day, New York carried it on a second trial and at present fills the blank. Its success, however, was owing to Rhode Island, whose Delegates have refused to vote on the final question, and have actually gone home. There are not at present seven States for any place, and the result must depend (unless Rhode Island should return with instructions, as is given out) on the comparative flexibility of the Northern and Southern delegations.


New York, August 22, 1788. Dear SIR,

I have your favor of the thirteenth. The effect of Clinton's circular letter in Virginia does not surprize me. It is a signal of concord and hope to the enemies of the Constitution every where, and will, I fear, prove extremely dangerous. Notwithstanding your own remarks on the subject, I cannot but think that an early Convention will be an unadvised measure. It will evidently be the offspring of party and passion, and will probably for that reason alone be the parent of error and public injury. It is pretty clear that a majority of the people of the Union are in favor of the Constitution as it stands, or at least are not dissatisfied with it in that form; or if this be not the case, it is at least clear that a greater proportion unite in that system than are likely to unite in any other theory,

Should radical alterations take place, therefore, they will not result from the deliberate sense of the people, but will be obtained by management, or extorted by menaces, and will be a real sacrifice of the public will, as well as of the public good, to the views of individuals, and perhaps the ambition of State Legislatures.

Congress have come to no final decision as to the place for commencing the new Government..


New York, September 14, 1788. DEAR SIR,

Your favor of the third instant would have been acknowledged two days ago, but for the approaching completion of the arrangement for the new Government, which I wished to give you the earliest notice of. This subject has long employed Congress, and has, in its progress, assumed a variety of shapes, some of them not a little perplexing. The times, as finally settled, are, January for the choice of Electors, February for the choice of a President, and March for the meeting of Congress. The place, the present seat of the Federal Government. The last point was carried by the yielding of the smaller, to the inflexibility of the greater, number. I have myself been ready for bringing it to this issue for some time, perceiving that further delay could only discredit Congress, and injure the object in view. Those who had opposed New York along with me could not overcome their repugnance so soon.



ryland went away before the question was decided, in a temper which, I believe, would never have yielded. Delaware was equally inflexible. Previously to our final assent, a motion was made which tendered a blank for any place the majority would choose between the North river and the Potomac. This being rejected, the alternative remaining was, to agree to New York, or to strangle the Government in its birth. The former as the lesser evil was of course preferred, and must now be made the best of.



New York, September 24, 1788. Dear Sir,

I have been favored with yours of the twelfth instant. The picture it gives of the state of our country is the more distressing as it seems to exceed all the known resources for immediate relief. Nothing, in my opinion, can give the desired facility to the discharge of debts, but a re-establishment of that confidence which will at once make the creditor more patient and open to the solvent debtor other means than bringing his property to market. How far the new Government will produce these effects, cannot yet be decided. But the utmost success that can be hoped from it will leave in full force the causes of intermediate embarrassment. The additional pressure apprehended from British debts, is an evil also for which I perceive at present no certain remedy. As far, however, as the favorable

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