Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to George Washington
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.03762
Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806)
Place Written: New York, New York
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 14 January 1788
Pagination: 5 p. : docket ; 32.7 x 20.4 cm.
Summary of Content: Knox updates Washington on various state conventions meeting to decide on ratification of the United States Constitution. Writes, ”The new Constitution has hitherto been as well received as could have been expected considering the various existing opinions prejudices and parties in the respective states.” Reports that Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut have all voted in favor of ratification. Mentions Jeremiah and James Wadsworth, both part of the Connecticut convention. Thinks Connecticut’s decision to ratify will influence the Massachusetts convention (Massachusetts ratified the Constitution 6 February 1788). Discusses political factions in Massachusetts, including the ”commercial part,” the ”Eastern part,” and ”the insurgents and their favorers...” Notes that Samuel Adams, one of the Massachusetts state ratifying convention members, has declared opposition to the Constitution. Comments on his rheumatism. Knox’s retained draft.
People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806. , Washington, George, 1732-1799., Adams, Samuel, 1722-1803., Wadsworth, James, 1730-1817., Wadsworth, Jeremiah, 1743-1804.
Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815
Full Transcript: [draft], , New York 14 January 1788, My dear Sir, Some time has elapsed since I wrote you, [struck: because] [inserted: as] I had nothing to offer but what you [struck: would] were acquainted with through the medium of the public [struck: print] papers., The [inserted: new] constitution has hitherto been as well received as could have been expected considering the various existing opinions prejudices and parties in the respective states., [struck: Con] In addition to Delaware Pensylvania and Jersey, Connecticut has adopted [struck: last Thurs on the 9th instant] [inserted: the Constitution] by a noble Majority of 127, to 40. I call the majority a noble one because it included every character in the convention of any real importance excepting Genl James Wadsworth  whom you may remember [struck: as] commandant of a brigade of Connecticut militia in the year 1776 - Colonel Wadsworth writes me [strikeout] that the [struck: Governor] the present Governor & Lieutenant Governor, The late Governor The Judges of the Supreme Court [inserted: who] were all present excepting one, and all the Council excepting (James Wadsworth) were unanomous in favor of it., Massachusetts Convention [struck: were] to meet on the 9th - [struck: There can be no doubt] the decision of Connecticut will influence in a degree their determination and I have no doubt the Constitution will be adopted - But it is at this moment questionable whether with a large majority., There are three parties existing in that state at present not exceedingly  different in their respective [struck: strengths] [inserted: numbers] [struck: although] [inserted: and] greatly differing in wealth & ability., The 1st is the commercial part [inserted: of the state] to whom are added all the men of considerable property - The clergy - the Lawyers including all the judges of all the courts - [inserted: and all the officers of the late army] - [struck: not only the actively commercial part of the State, but] [inserted: and] the neighbours of all the great towns are of this party - [struck: which includes a very an] its strength in point of numbers may include 3/7 of the whole State - This party [struck: the [illegible]] are for the most vigorous Government, - perhaps many of them would have been more pleased with the new Constitution had it been still more analagous to the british Constitution, The 2d party, are the Eastern part of the state lying beyond New Hampshire  formerly the Provence of Main - This party are [struck: cheifly] mostly looking towards the erection of a new State, and the Majority will adopt or reject the New Constitution as it may facilitate or retard their designs, without much regard to the great merits of the question - This party may not be [struck: far distant of] [inserted: less than] 2/7 of the state., [struck: The 3] The third party are the insurgents and [inserted: their favorers] the great majority of whom, are for an annihilation of debts public and private and therefore cannot approve the new constitution - [inserted: This party may be more than 2/7ths.], If the 1st and 2d party agree as will be most probable & also some of the party stated as in the insurgent interest, the Constitution will be adopted [inserted: by a great majority] notwithstanding all exertions to the contrary,  Mr Saml Adams has declared that he will oppose it to the very great disgust of the people of Boston his constituents It is said [struck: they] Boston were about to take some spirited measures to prevent the effect of his opposition - It is probable the debates will be lengthy and that that Convention will sit one month before they decide, The disputes between france and England [struck: are] [inserted: were] [inserted: on the 27 Octr] accomodated as you will see by the enclosed paper. , I have been confined to my chamber for a fortnight past with the Rheumatism but am gotten better - , Mrs Knox joins with me in presenting our affectionate Compliments of the Season to you and Mrs Washington and your family, including Colo Humphreys, , I am my dear Sir, Your affectionate, H Knox, , His Excellency Genl Washington, , [docket: inserted in margin of page 4], No 2. Genl K. to Genl. W, Jany 14 1788]
Keywords/Subjects: US Constitution;, Ratification;, Revolutionary War General;, President, Government and Civics;, Federalists;, Politics;, Rebellion;, Mobs and Riots;, Shays’ Rebellion;, Commerce;, Health and Medical;, Disease;
Sub Era: Creating a New GovernmentOrder Image