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generally embrace the Constitution. It is impossible, however, that the example of Virginia and North Carolina should not have an influence on their politics. I consider every thing therefore problematical from Maryland southward. We have no Congress yet.
The number of States on the spot does not exceed five. It is probable that a quorum will now be soon made. A delegate from New Hampshire is expected, which will make up a representation from that State. The termination of the Connecticut Convention will set her Delegates at liberty, and the meeting of the Assembly of this State, will fill the vacancy which has some time existed in her Delegation.'*
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, January 20, 1788. DEAR SIR,
The Count de Moustier arrived a few days ago as successor to the Chevalier de la Luzerne. He had so long a passage that I do not know whether the dispatches brought by him contain much that is new. It seems that, although the affairs of Holland are put into a pacific train, those of the Russians and Turks may yet produce a general broil in Europe. The Prussian troops are to be withdrawn, and the fate of the Dutch regulated by negotiation.
The intelligence from Massachusetts begins to be rather ominous to the Constitution. The interest
opposed to it is reinforced by all connected with the late insurrection; and by the province of Maine which apprehends difficulties, under the new system, in obtaining a separate Government, greater than may be otherwise experienced. Judging from the present state of the intelligence, as I have it, the probability is, that the voice of the State will be in the negative. "The Legislature of this State is much divided at present. The House of Assembly are said to be friendly to the merits of the Constitution. The Senate, at least a majority of those actually assembled, are opposed even to the calling a Convention. The decision of Massachusetts, in either way,
will decide the voice of this State. The minority of Pennsylvania are extremely restless under their defeat; will endeavour at all events, if they can get an Assembly to their wish, to undermine what has been done there; and will, it is presumed, be emboldened by a negative from Massachusetts to give a more direct and violent form to their attack. So they are also from South Carolina, as far as they extend.
If I am not misinformed as to the arrival of some members of Congress in town, a quorum is at length
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, January 27, 1788. Dear Sir,
A Congress was made for the first time on Monday last, and our friend C. Griffin placed in the 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
I seen another attack grounded on a comparative view of your objections, Col. Mason's, and Mr. Ger
ry's. This was from Philadelphia. I have not the paper, or I would add it.
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
New York, February 3, 1788.
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 itfirst, 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 powersul 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."