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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 506

CONNECTICUT/24 DEC.
however, that its enemies have great difficulties to encounter arising
from their disunion; in the different states where the opposition rages
the most their principles are totally opposite to each other and their
objections discordant and irreconcilable; so that no regular system
can be formed among you, and you will betray each other's motives.
In Massachusetts, the opposition began with you, and from motives
most pitifully selfish and despicable; you addressed yourself to the
feelings of the Shays faction, and that faction will be your only sup-
port. In New York, the opposition is not to this Constitution in par-
ticular, but to the federal impost; it is confined wholly to salary men
and their connections, men whose salary is paid by the state impost.
This class of citizens are endeavoring to convince the ignorant part of
the community that an annual income of fifty thousand pounds, ex-
torted from the citizens of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey,
is a great blessing to the State of New York. And although the regula-
tion of trade and other advantages of a federal government would
secure more than five times that sum to the people of that state,
yet, as this would not come through the same hands, these men find
fault with the Constitution. In Pennsylvania, the old quarrel respect-
ing their state constitution has thrown the state into parties for a
number of years. One of these parties happened to declare for the
new Federal Constitution, and this was a sufficient motive for the other
to oppose it.6 The dispute there is not upon the merits of the sub-
ject, but it is their old warfare carried on with different weapons, and it
was an even chance that the parties had taken different sides from
what they have taken, for there is no doubt but either party would
sacrifice the whole country to the destruction of their enemies. In
Virginia, the opposition wholly originated in two principles, the
madness of Mason and the enmity of the Lee faction to General Wash-
ington.7 Had the General not attended the Convention nor given his
sentiments respecting the Constitution, the Lee party would undoubt-
edly have supported it, and Colonel Mason would have vented his rage
to his own Negroes and to the wind. In Connecticut, our wrongheads
are few in number and feeble in their influence. The opposition here
is not one-half so great to the federal government as it was three
years ago to the federal impost; and the faction, such as it is, is from
the same blindfold party.
I thought it my duty to give you these articles of information, for
the reasons above mentioned. Wishing you more caution and better
success in your future maneuvers, I have the honor to be, sir, with great
respect your very humble servant.
1. "Landholder" VIII was also printed in the American Mercury on 24 December,
the Norwich Packet on 3 January 1788, and the Connecticut Gazette on 4 January.
(CC:371 for national circulation.) For earlier attacks on Gerry, see "Nobody," 19
November and "Landholder" IV-V, 26 November and 3 December (V above).
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