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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 523

V. COMMENTARIES
WRONGHEAD.
On this new deluge may we safely ride,
Till ebbing waves succeed the raging tide;
Then, in good time, we'll send abroad a fowl,
And Bubo, though no dove, is yet an owl;
He, hooting round, will bring us in his bill,
Some sign to act, or longer to lie still.
1. (LT). This item, an attack upon James Wadsworth (i.e., "Wronghead") and
John Lamb, is also printed as CC:398. The poem, possibly by Lemuel Hopkins, a
Hartford physician and one of the "Connecticut Wits," was reprinted in the
Weekly Monitor on 7 January and in the Massachusetts Gazette on 8 January. It
was also published as a broadside by the printers of the Connecticut Courant. For
the background of this poem, see Leon Howard, The Connecticut Wits (Chicago,
1943), 196. For another New Year's verse, also critical of Antifederalists, see Mfm:
Conn. 65.
2. Probably Robert Yates and Samuel Jones, New York Antifederalists. "Yates"
could also be Abraham Yates, Jr., another New York Antifederalist.
3. General Benjamin Lincoln commanded the Massachusetts troops which sup-
pressed Shays's Rebellion.
4. For "Detector's" attacks upon Wadsworth as comptroller, see the Weekly
Monitor, 27 August, 15 October, and 3 December.
Ezra Stiles Diary
New Haven, 3 January 17881
The Convention sitting at Hartford, the grandest assemblage of
sensible and worthy characters that ever met together in this state.
It so happens that the present Governor [Samuel Huntington] and
Lieutenant Governor [Oliver Wolcott, Sr.], the late Governor [Matt-
hew] Grisw [o] ld, three members of the Continental Convention at
Philadelphia, Judge [Roger] Sherman, Dr. [William Samuel] John-
son now President of Columbia College, and Judge [Oliver] Els-
worth, all the judges of the Superior Court, the most of the Council,2
the Speaker of the Lower House [John Chester], etc. There are
twelve among them who have been members of Congress.3 There are
2 or 3 ministers.4 There are a number determined inferior members.
There is a great conflux of gentlemen from all parts of the state
to attend and hear the deliberations.
1. MS, Bienecke Library, CtY.
2. The councillors were William Samuel Johnson, Stephen Mix Mitchell, Jona-
than Sturges, John Treadwell, James Wadsworth, William Williams, and Erastus
Wolcott.
3. The twelve men who had actually served in Congress (as contrasted to those
elected) were Eliphalet Dyer, Oliver Ellsworth, Samuel Huntington, William Samuel
Johnson, Richard Law, Stephen Mix Mitchell, Jesse Root, Roger Sherman, Jonathan
Sturges, James Wadsworth, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott, Sr.
4. The two clergymen were Robert Robbins of Colchester and Andrew Lee of
Lisbon. See also Jonathan Trumbull to Jeremiah Wadsworth, 17 November, IV
above,
523


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