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of my real sentiments, and will explain them more conveniently than can be done on paper. I mean not to decline an agency in launching the new Government if such should be assigned me in one of the Houses, and I prefer the House of Representatives, chiefly because, if I can render any service there, it can only be to the public, and, not even in imputation, to myself. At the same time my preference, I own, is somewhat founded on the supposition that the arrangements for the popular elections may secure me against any competition which would require on my part any step that would speak a solicitude which I do not feel, or have the appearance of a spirit of electioneering which I despise.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
New York, November %, 1788.
I received yesterday your favor of the twentythird ultimo. The first countenance of the Assembly corresponds with the picture which my imagination had formed of it. The views of the greater part of the opposition to the Federal Government have, ever since the Convention, been regarded by me as permanently hostile, and likely to produce every effort that might endanger or embarrass it.
My last letter, with Colonel Carrington's communications to which it referred, will have sufficiently explained my sentiments with regard to the legislative service under the new Constitution. My
first wish is to see the Government put into quiet and successful operation; and to afford any service that may be acceptable from me for that purpose. My second wish, if that were to be consulted, would prefer, for reasons formerly hinted, an opportunity of contributing that service in the House of Representatives, rather than in the Senate; provided the opportunity be attainable from the spontaneous suffrage of the Constituents. Should the real friends of the Constitution think this preference inconsistent with any primary object, as Colonel Carrington tells me is the case with some who are entitled to peculiar respect, and view my renouncing it as of any material consequence, I shall not hesitate to comply. You will not infer from the freedom with which these observations are made, that I am in the least unaware of the probability that, whatever my inclinations or those of my friends may be, they are likely to be of little avail in the present case. I take it for certain that a clear majority of the Assembly are enemies to the Government, and I have no reason to suppose that I can be less obnoxious than others on the opposite side. An election into the Senate, therefore, can hardly come into question. I know also that a good deal will depend on the arrangements for the election of the other branch; and that much may depend, moreover, on the steps to be taken by the candidates, which will not be taken by me. Here again, therefore, there must be
, great uncertainty, if not improbability, of my election. With these circumstances in view, it is impossible that I can be the dupe of false calculations, even if I were in other cases disposed to in
dulge them. I trust it is equally impossible for the result, whatever it may be, to rob me of any reflections which enter into the internal fund of comfort and happiness. Popular favor or disfavor is no criterion of the character maintained with those whose esteem an honorable ambition must court. Much less can it be a criterion of that maintained with one's self. And when the spirit of party directs the public voice, it must be a little mind, indeed, that can suffer in its own estimation, or apprehend danger of suffering in that of others.'61