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

V. Commentaries on the Constitution, 13 November 1787-7 January 1788,   pp. 456-534


Page 459

V. COMMENTARIES
Benjamin Gale to William Samuel Johnson
Killingworth, 13 November (excerpt)'
When I had the pleasure of seeing you after your return from
Convention, I congratulated you on the wisdom and prudence you
discovered in accepting the presidency of your university, and assigned
my reasons to you.2 The last and principal one was that I thought
you had wisely and judiciously stepped out of the Political Circle at
a time when a scene of blood and carnage was approaching, and I con-
ceived advancing by rapid strides, which I told you I thought I could
make very evident to you, being a gentleman of good sense and a
Revelationist, in which I also most firmly believe. And, if I am able
only to render my opinion in this matter highly probable, you cer-
tainly will not again mingle with the politicians of this world, whereby
you probably may endanger your own neck. This, sir, is my main
design by this epistle, and I wish you to accept of it as an evidence
of my sincere friendship and attachment to your interest.
Now dear doctor, viewing the prophecies and the period we are
now under as I do, did I not do well to advise you as I did, and now
do, to keep out of the political circle, if you intend to save your neck?
We yesterday met to choose delegates. There was about 150 voters
present, and we chose 2 delegates to meet in Convention. One was
chose by 14 votes and the other had 13. All the others would not vote
at all and are really against it, but you gentlemen of the [Constitu-
tional] Convention and- graes have fobbed off our Assembly and
the people nicely.3 You referred your doings to Congress-Congress re-
ferred the matter to the Assembly-but our Assembly had nothing to
do but to order the towns to meet, which they did in less than a fort-
night from the rising of the Assembly-and, when they came to read
the act of Assembly, they thought something was referred to them to
accept or reject it. But they found they had no right to determine
anything. Their business was only to choose delegates to say w [hethe] r
we shall or shall not submit to it; and so in choosing our King Presi-
dent, our Assembly have No voice in the matter, only to choose 7
Electors, to choose a King President for four years, and then to have
another squabble again. No Elective King-an Hereditary King is
preferable and if we have not Lords, we have a plenty of Lordly Fel-
lows; and we can furnish Congress as many Queer Dukes as they want.
To be short, it is an artful, dark, mysterious, complex, expensive form
of government. However, I conjecture it will pass, and, if it doth,
any power ceded into the hands of the civil magistrate never was
given back, nor were they ever recovered without shedding of Blood,
which I fear will not be long-for Military Civil Rulers are apt to
459


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