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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 507

V. COMMENTARIES
2. For the two versions of Mason's objections, see CC:276 A-B.
3. John Lamb, Marinus Willet, Melancton Smith, Governor George Clinton, and
Robert Yates were New York Antifederalists.
4. For Gerry's objections in the Convention, see Farrand, passim. "Landholder's"
charges were denied by Gerry in the Massachusetts Centinel on 5 January 1788 and
by Luther Martin in the Maryland Journal on 18 January.
5. Gerry stopped in New York City for about ten days after leaving Philadelphia.
There he received a copy of the amendments to the Constitution which Richard
Henry Lee had presented to Congress on 27 September (CDR, 337-39, 342).
6. For party divisions over the Constitution in Pennsylvania, see RCS:Pa., passim.
7. See "Landholder" VI, 10 December, n. 1, V above, and "New England," 24
December, immediately below.
New England: To the Honorable Richard Henry Lee, Esquire
Connecticut Courant, 24 December1
We have by several conveyances received your labored essay against
the form of government proposed by the Convention, entitled Letters
from a Federal Farmer. We were at first ignorant to whom we were
indebted for that various information which you seem zealous to af-
ford. The collector of impost for New York [John Lamb], with whom
your pamphlets were left to be distributed, acquitted himself of his
trust as well as could be expected from a man too violent to be pru-
dent and too ignorant of the characters he addressed not to be fre-
quently mistaken. It was easy to discover that his intention was to
have committed your books to a set of men who are wrongheaded from
instinct and who are ever grateful to those who furnish them with
plausible arguments to justify the errors inherent in their under-
standings. But it has happened in some instances that the addresses
were made to gentlemen who despised the affront offered to their
reason and who consider it as a great misfortune that they have been
suspected to have been of your party.3 Your agent certainly cannot
be accused of negligence, though by doing too much he has injured
your cause. He ought, when he distributed the handbills and pamphlets
committed to his care, to have ascertained the nature of the objec-
tions they contained; for want of this attention, you have lost the
support of several very respectable wrongheads-the poison conveyed
from the Centinel has been counteracted by the different poison of
the Federal Farmer, and the patients left in their usual state of sanity
and dullness.
The active curiosity of the New England character has been employed
to discover the officious stranger who has thus familiarly undertaken
to advise, Whether the discovery has been accomplished by human or
necromantic arts cannot be material for you to know. We own that we
were much surprised to find that a delegate in Congress from the
Ancient Dominion of Virginia had descended from the imagined
dignity of a planter to unite with the G-v----r of N- Y-    [George
507


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