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

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


Page 503

V. COMMENTARIES
2. Baldwin, who had moved from Connecticut to Georgia by 1784, had been a
Georgia delegate to the Constitutional Convention. On 21 December, Stiles record-
ed Baldwin's account of the Convention in his diary (Dexter, Stiles, III, 293-95).
3. In his diary on 6 June 1787, Stiles had written that the Constitutional Con-
vention "embosoms some of the most sensible and great characters in America; all
of them excellent" (Dexter, Stiles, III, 267).
A Landholder VIII
Connecticut Courant, 24 December1
To the Honorable ELBRIDGE GERRY, Esquire.
Sir, When a man in public life first deviates from the line of truth
and rectitude, an uncommon degree of art and attention becomes
necessary to secure him from detection. Duplicity of conduct in him
requires more than double caution; a caution which his former habits
of simplicity have never furnished him the means of calculating; and
his first leap into the region of treachery and falsehood is often as fatal
to himself as it was designed to be to his country. Whether you and
Mr. [George] Mason may be ranked in this class of transgressors, I
pretend not to determine. Certain it is that both your management
and his for a short time before and after the rising of the Federal
Convention impress us with a favorable opinion that you are great
novices in the arts of dissimulation. A small degree of forethought
would have taught you both a much more successful method of direct-
ing the rage of resentment which you caught at the close of the business
at Philadelphia, than the one you took. You ought to have considered
that you resided in regions very distant from each other, where dif-
ferent parts were to be acted, and then made your cast accordingly.
Mr. Mason was certainly wrong in telling the world that he acted a
double part; he ought not to have published two sets of reasons for
his dissent to the Constitution.2 His New England reasons would
have come better from you. He ought to have contented himself with
haranguing in the Southern States, that it was too popular, and was
calculated too much for the advantage of the Eastern States. At the
same time you might have come on and, in the coffeehouse at New
York, you might have found an excellent set of objections ready-made
to your hands; a set that with very little alteration would have exactly
suited the latitude of New England, the whole of which district ought
most clearly to have been submitted to your protection and patronage.
A Lamb, a Willet, a Smith, a Clinton, a Yates,3 or any other gentle-
man whose salary is paid by the state impost, as they had six months
the start of you in considering the subject, would have furnished you
with a good discourse upon the "liberty of the press," the "bill of
rights," the "blending of the executive and legislative," "internal taxa-
tion," or any other topic which you did not happen to think of while
in Convention.
503


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