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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."
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
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 Con
. gress, 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.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
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
influence of the new Government may extend, that may be one source of alleviation. It may be expected also that the British creditors will feel several motives to indulgence. And I will not suppress a hope that the new Government will be both able and willing to effect something by negotiation. Perhaps it might not be amiss for the Assembly to prepare the way by some act or other, for drawing the attention of the first session of the Congress to this subject. The possession of the posts by Great Britain, after the removal of the grounds of her complaint by the provision in the new Constitution with regard to the Treaty, will justify a renewal of our demands, and an interference in favor of American citizens on whom the performance of the Treaty on our side depends.
Congress have agreed to some resolutions in favor of the Mississippi which are well calculated to appease the discontents of our Western brethren. You shall soon have a copy of them. They are grounded on a remonstrance from North Carolina on that subject. By the way, how has it happened that the last resolutions of Virginia were never forwarded to the Delegation ?
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
New York, September 26, 1788. Dear Sir,
I subjoin two resolutions lately taken by Congress in relation to the Mississippi, which I hope may
have a critical and salutary effect on the temper of our Western brethren.
IN CONGRESS, SEPTEMBER 16TH.
On report of the Committee, consisting of Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Madison, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Dane, and Mr. Edwards, to whom was referred the Report of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs on a motion of the Delegates of North Carolina stating the uneasiness produced by a report that Congress are disposed to treat with Spain for the surrender of their claim to the navigation of the river Mississippi,' and proposing a Resolution intended to remove such apprehensions,
Resolved, that the said report not being founded in fact, the Delegates be at liberty to communicate all such circumstances as may be necessary to contradict the same, and to remove misconceptions.
Resolved, that the free navigation of the river Mississippi, is a clear and essential right of the United States, and that the same ought to be considered and supported as such.
In addition to these resolutions, which are not of a secret nature, another has passed arresting all negotiations with Spain, and handing over the subject, thus freed from bias from any former proceedings, to the ensuing Government. This last resolution is entered on the Secret Journal, but a tacit permission is given to the members to make a confidential use of it. 160
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, October 17, 1788. Dear Sir,
I have a letter from Mr. Jefferson, but it contains nothing of much consequence. His public letters to which it resers have not yet been communicated from the office of Foreign Affairs. Through other authentic channels I learn that the States General will pretty certainly be convened in May next. The efficacy of that cure for the public maladies will depend materially on the mode in which the deputies may be selected, which appears to be not yet settled. There is good reason also to presume, that, as the spirit which at present agitates the nation has been in a great measure caught from the American Revolution, so the result of the struggle there will be not a little affected by the character which liberty may receive from the experiment now on foot here. The tranquil and successful establishment of a great reform by the reason of the community, must give as much force to the doctrines urged on one side as a contrary event would do to the policy maintained on the other.
As Col. Carrington will be with you before this gets to hand, I leave it with him to detail all matters of a date previous to his departure. Of a subsequent date I recollect nothing worth adding. I requested him also to confer with you in full confidence on the appointments to the Senate and House of Representatives, so far as my friends may consider me in relation to either. He is fully possessed