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vided for the Convention, without any pointed recognition of them.
Our situation is becoming every day more and more critical. No money comes into the Federal Treasury; no respect is paid to the Federal authority; and people of reflection unanimously agree that the existing Confederacy is tottering to its foundation. Many individuals of weight, particularly in the Eastern district, are suspected of leaning toward monarchy. Other individuals predict a partition of the States into two or more confederacies. It is pretty certain that, if some radical amendment of the single one cannot be devised and introduced, one or other of these revolutions, the latter no doubt, will take place. I hope you are bending your thoughts seriously to the great work of guarding
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, March 11, 1787. DEAR SIR,
The Governor of this State is just returned from his trip to the upper parts of it. He found
every thing quiet in the place to which suspicions and reports carried him. He says also, as I am told, that Lincoln has restored a calm in that part of Massachusetts which borders on New York, as he had before done in the other disaffected parts. Notwithstanding these favorable accounts, there is reason to apprehend that every thing is not yet right in
Massachusetts, and that the discontents are rather silenced than subdued. The measures taken by the Legislature of that State prove that such is their view of the matter. They have disfranchized a considerable proportion of the disaffected voters; have voted a military force for the purpose of maintaining the tranquillity of the commonwealth; and their Delegates, in pursuance of instructions, have within a few days past, put on the Journals of Congress a representation including an assertion of right to Federal support in case of necessity.
The appointments for the Convention are still going on. Georgia has appointed her Delegates to Congress, her Representatives in that body also. The gentleman from that State here at present are Colonel Few, and Major Pierce, formerly Aid to General Green. I am told just now, that South Carolina has appointed the two Rutledges and Major Butler. Colonel Hamilton, with a Mr. Yates and a Mr. Lansing are appointed by New York. The two latter are supposed to lean too much towards State considerations to be good members of an assembly which will only be useful in proportion to its superiority to partial views and interests. Massachusetts has also appointed. Messrs. Gorham, Dana, King, Gerry and Strong compose her deputation. The resolution under which they are appointed restrains them from acceding to any departure from the principle of the fifth Article of Confederation. It is conjectured that this fetter, which originated with their Senate, will be knocked off. Its being introduced at all, denotes a very different spirit in that quarter from what some had been led to expect. Connecticut, it is now generally believed, will come into the measure.
Nothing has been yet done in the principal business before Congress; and I fear the number of States will not increase so far as to be competent to it. The negotiations with Spain are carried on, if they go on at all, entirely behind the curtain. The business has been put into such a form that it rests wholly with Jay how far he will proceed with Guardoqui, and how far he will communicate with Congress. The instructed States are hence under some embarrassment. They cannot demand information, of right; they are unwilling, by asking it of favor, to risk a refusal; and they cannot resort to the present thin Congress with any hope of success. Should Congress become pretty full, and Pennsylvania follow North Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, in giving instructions, the case may be altered.'*
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON,
New York, March 19, 1787. DEAR SIR,
Congress have continued so thin as to be incompetent to the dispatch of the more important business before them. We have at present nine States, and it is not improbable that something may now be done. The report of Mr. Jay on the mutual violations of the treaty of peace will be among the first subjects of deliberation. He favors the British claim of interest, but refers the question to the court. The amount of the report, which is an able one, is, that
the treaty should be put in force as a law, and the exposition of it left, like that of other laws, to the ordinary tribunals.
The Spanish project sleeps. A perusal of the attempt of seven States to make a new treaty, by repealing an essential condition of the old, satisfied me that Mr. Jay's caution would revolt at so irregular a sanction. A late accidental conversation with Guardoqui proved to me that the negotiation is arrested. It may appear strange that a member of Congress should be indebted to a foreign Minister for such information, yet such is the footing on which the intemperance of party has put the matter, that it rests wholly with Mr. Jay how far he will communicate with Congress, as well as how far he will negotiate with Guardoqui. But although it appears that the intended sacrifice of the Mississippi will not be made, the consequences of the intention and the attempt are likely to be very serious. I have already made known to you the light in which the subject was taken up by Virginia. Mr. Henry's disgust exceeds all measure, and I am not singular in ascribing his refusal to attend the Convention to the policy of keeping himself free to combat or espouse the result of it according to the result of the Mississippi business, among other circumstances. North Carolina also has given pointed instructions to her Delegates ; so has New Jersey. A proposition for the like purpose was a few days ago made in the Legislature of Pennsylvania, but went off without a decision on its merits. Her Delegates in Congress are equally divided on the subject. The tendency of this project to foment distrust among the Atlantic
States, at a crisis when harmony and confidence ought to have been studiously cherished, has not been more verified than its predicted effect on the ultramontane settlements. I have credible information that the people living on the Western waters are already in great agitation, and are taking measures for uniting their consultations. The ambition of individuals will quickly mix itself with the original motives of resentment and interest. Communication will gradually take place with their British neighbours. They will be led to set up for themselves, to seize on the vacant lands, to entice emigrants by bounties and an exemption from Federal burthens, and in all respects play the part of Vermont on a large theatre. It is hinted to me that British partizans are already feeling the pulse of some of the Western settlements. Should these
apprehensions not be imaginary, Spain may have equal reason with the United States to rue the unnatural attempt to shut the Mississippi. Guardoqui has been admonished of the danger, and, I believe, is not insensible to it, though he affects to be otherwise, and talks as if the dependence of Britain on the commercial favors of his Court would induce her to play into the hands of Spain. The eye of France also cannot fail to watch over the western prospects. I learn from those who confer here with Otto and De la Forest, that they favor the opening of the Mississippi, disclaiming at the same time any authority to speak the sentiments of their Court. I find that the Virginia Delegates, during the Mississippi discussions last fall, entered into very confidential interviews with these gentlemen. In one of them the