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Carrington, Edward (1749-1810) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.04057 Author/Creator: Carrington, Edward (1749-1810) Place Written: Richmond, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 December 1788 Pagination: 6 p. : docket ; 24.2 x 18.3 cm.

Comments on the United States Constitution in Virginia. Notes that he was banished from the house of delegates, but returned to "one of the most antifederal assemblies that could possibly have been collected from amongst the people. This body met in [Phrenzy], and [Patrick] Henry took advantage of that circumstance to push and carry measures which could not have been obtained in the latter parts of the session." Refers to William Grayson, Richard Henry Lee, the evacuation of American Indians, and the possibility of George Clinton being elected as Vice President. Discusses political matters at great length. Extremely fragile.

The United States Constitution was ratified by Virginia 25 June 1788.

[draft]
My dear Sir, Richmond Decr 20th 1788
The Legislature of this State has just this moment adjourned, having set ever since the 20th of October. - for about 12 days I was banished from the House of delegates, by a decision against the validity of my Election while a member of Congress, and perhaps the determination was a just one. as soon as the re-election was effected, I reclaimed my seat in, I verily believe, one of the most antifederal assemblies that could possibly have been collected from amongst the people. This body met in Phrenzy, and Mr. Henry took advantage of that circumstance to push and carry measures which could not have been obtained in the latter parts of the session. He began with a majority of 40, and this majority diminished upon every subsequent question until it was reduced to about ten at the completion of his projects. It is with pleasure however that I can assure you of these proceedings having [given] considerable disgust amongst the people - the marks of intemperance and [motive] are so strongly exhibited that many who were of the most fixed Enemies to the Govt. have determined to desert that side of the question, holding its supporters, as unfounded in their opposition.
The inclosed Pamphlet contains some of the violent measures I allude to, together with [strikeout] strictures upon them, calculated to place them and their authors in their true light before the Eyes of the people. You will observe in [2] in the Pamphlet, mention made of a disqualifying Bill - this is a Bill disqualifying any person who shall hold an appointment under the Federal Govt. Legislative Executive, or Judicious, from holding any appointment of either description in the State. This Act is indeed the most striking evidence of Phrenzy, that madmen could have given because it discovers the most wicked design to embarrass the new Govt. while it can have [inserted: no] effect in fact, for the New Constitution binds every State Officer to oblige & Execute the Federal Laws: for instance the state courts must decide all causes of a Federal Nature according to the Laws which the Federal Govt shall pass concerning them. but [even] could it be in the power of a state to prevent these officers from Executing the Federal Laws, & a multiplication of [officers] amongst the people should be the consequence [struck: I apprehend] I apprehend the odium of such a circumstance would naturally turn upon the authors of the [receipts].
The Election of Senators was a transaction of early date in the session, and, of course, we [send] you Mr. R. H. Lee & Mr. grayson who are, by profession, Anti's - I think however the latter entertains [sentiments] upon govts. very [3] very different from those of his constituents. It is probable we shall also send you at least half our representation in the other Branch of the gov.t of the same description. The elections will come on too quickly for the measures of the assembly to operate the expected change amongst the people.
I am happy to find that the views of our Legislative are likely to be convened in by none of the Eastern States, or any others in your quarter except N York. The returns of Senators from the states whose elections have reached us, marks strongly the prevailing of federalism. it seems the South Carolina has also elected two federalists from Georgia we have heard nothing. but enough is discovered to give me the most flattering expectations that the destructive policy of another convention will not be adopted.
Mr. Henry is making a pact to get electors appointed who shall vote for his friend Clinton, as Vice President - and it is not unlikely that some votes for him will com from this state & South Carolina - from this circumstance I think it [4] it becomes necessary for the friends of the Government not to divide their votes too much. permit [inserted: me] my dear sir, to ask of you some information upon this point, as it will stand in you quarter. it has been brought into contemplation with some I know, & with them I have joined my own wishes, that this appointment should turn upon yourself. So, in confidence, tell me whether there is likely to be such a concurrence to the Eastward as to give you a prospect of the Election, or on what footing this business is likely to be placed in that quarter. without compliment I do assure you that it would gratify my first wishes to have this appointment in your hands, and should there be such an union for you to the Eastward as to five a tolerable prospect [inserted: of] a favorable issue in the Election, all the aid, that I can give here, shall be shown in - it will not however do to rely much upon the votes of this state for any other Character than Clinton - It is possible that I may be an Elector. The people are to choose there persons in districts - I am thrown into a mass of Antifederalism but have [5] have not withstanding ventured to say that if the people will Elect me I will serve - a Clintonian expressly offers himself, and it is for the people to decide whether that character may be the vice President as to that district.
I am under the same circumstances [inserted: of antifederalism] as to [struck: the Election for] my district for the election of a representative to Congress - upon a consultation with some of the best Characters in the district it is determined that it will be best for no decided Federalist to offer, as much an effort could be attended with nothing but disappointment, and would perpetuate divisions amongst the people which may possibly be done away by submitting in the first instance to the Election of an Anti - it is probable that [inserted: Col.o] Bland will be the Representative for my district.
Present me in the [6] the most friendly terms to Mrs. Knox and my other valuable Friend Mrs. Colden, and believe me to be with great sincerity
Your Afft Friend
& H Svt
Ed Carrington

[docket]
from Colo Carrington
Richmond Decr 30. 1788.
answered 21 Jany 1784
no copy

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