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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
3 (1978)

III. Commentaries on the Constitution, 17 October-12 November 1787,   pp. 372-404


Page 373

III. COMMENTARIES
transmitted to the several state conventions to be taken into considera-
tion with the new Constitution." It was reprinted in the New Haven
Gazette on 8 November.
On 17 and 24 October the Connecticut Journal published what
purported to be an Antifederalist essay in the form of a "letter" dated
"State of Massachusetts, Oct. 4th, A.D. 1787" written in reply to a
24 September letter from an unknown New Haven correspondent.
On 24 and 31 October the Journal published another "letter" dated
"State of New-York, 'Octo. 4, A. D. 1787,'" also purportedly written
in reply to a "letter" of 24 September from a New Haven correspon-
dent. The "letter" from New York quotes and paraphrases the
"letter" from Massachusetts in replying to its arguments. It seems
from the timing, style, and contents that both "letters" were Federalist
productions rather than a legitimate debate.
Some of the arguments in the "letter" from Massachusetts were
used by Connecticut Antifederalists. Dr. Benjamin Gale quoted from
and paraphrased it in drafting a speech to be delivered at the Killing-
worth town meeting on 12 November (IV below). Apparently other
Antifederalists also responded, for on 19 November, "Philanthrop"
warned that similar arguments were having an effect on "weaker
brethren" and should be attended to (American Mercury, V below).
Except where another location is indicated, the documents referred
to in this introduction are printed in this section.
Letter from Massachusetts and Letter from New York
Connecticut Journal, 17, 24, 31 October
Letter from Massachusetts, 17, 24 October'
[17 October] Dear Sir, I received your favor of the 24th ultimo
enclosing the doings of the Convention at Philadelphia, directed to
His Excellency the President of Congress [in?] three days after the
date, which favor I should have highly prized had you not, at the
same time, enjoined it upon me to make my objections to them (if
any I had), and likewise that I would point out any alterations that
may be made in our present Articles of Confederation which will bet-
ter secure the natural rights, privileges, and liberties of human na-
ture, and at the same time effectually support the authority and
dignity of the states, and public faith. I now sit down to perform
the first part you have enjoined upon me, but with great reluctance,
for reasons I shall assign in my next, which I esteem the most arduous
task you have assigned me, which you claim [as?] a debt due both
to the public and yourself,
373


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