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Kaminski, John P.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Fields, David P.; Conley, Patrick T.; Moore, Timothy D. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Rhode Island (3)
26 (2013)

VI. The debate over the Constitution in Rhode Island, 20 January-29 May 1790,   pp. 711-897


Page 722

VI. DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTION
William Peck to Henry Knox
Providence, 15 February 1790 (excerpt)'
. .. When the Legislature of Rhode Island Order'd a convention of
the State to meet the first of March next, our Federal Friends were
happy in the (almost) certainty of soon becoming a part of the Union;
nor had they any cause to change their opinion, untill they found the
Antis, by their unremitted exertions, had elected a Majority of their
own people to decide upon the Constitution-What their decision will
be is yet uncertain-We however hope for the best-Our Federal Del-
egates are many of them men of abilities and good Speakers; this cir-
cumstance justifies us in the hope that ignorance & obstinacy will give
way to Eloquence & fair reasoning-but should we fail in this, we ex-
pect that Solid Arguments, a principle by which many of them have been
frequently Sway'd will again have its desired effect....
1. RC, Knox Papers, GLC 02437.04513. The Gilder Lehrman Collection, courtesy of
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, at the New-York Historical Society.
In the rest of the letter, Peck asked Knox to recommend him for the position of naval
officer at Providence in the customs service. Peck also wrote President George Washing-
ton directly on 15 February saying that, because a state convention had been called and
there was hope that Rhode Island would soon join the Union, he wished to be considered
for the position of naval officer (Abbot, Washington, Presidential Series, V, 149-50n). Peck
(1755-1832), a native of Lyme, Conn., and a Yale College graduate (1775), was a Con-
tinental Army officer, 1776-81, serving as deputy adjutant of the general forces in Rhode
Island, 1777-81. After the war, he moved to Providence. He was appointed the U.S.
marshal for Rhode Island in July 1790, serving until 1810.
Newport Mercury, 15 February 1790
From a Correspondent.
In a few Days our political Happiness or Misery will be determined-
But before that Day arrives, it is hinted to those Gentlemen, who are
opposed to the Federal Government, that they be cautious, lest they
plunge themselves into irretrievable Ruin and Disgrace.
Much is expected from the Convention who meet the first Monday
in March. Congress have suspended all Acts respecting this State, in
Consequence of the Request of the Legislature of this State, and their
Declaration that there was every Reason to hope that this State would
in a short Time accede to the Federal Government.'-Expectation is on
tip toe, and Fame, with Wings expanded, and a Trumpet in her Hand,2
waits earnestly to waft the happy Intelligence to our Sister States.-
Consider, ye who are to decide upon the all important Question-Let
your Hearts be open to Conviction-Remember that you cannot stand
alone-but united to the other Pillars you will be protected, and be-
come respectable.
722


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