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Washington, George (1732-1799) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.09417 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Mount Vernon, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 30 March 1788 Pagination: 1 p. : address : docket ; 32 x 20.2 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.09417 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Mount Vernon, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 30 March 1788 Pagination: 1 p. : address : docket ; 32 x 20.2 cm.

Summary of Content: Relates that he received a letter from Knox, and that Mr. Madison informed him Knox had recovered from a "severe indisposition." Discusses ratification of the Constitution at state conventions, commenting that New Hampshire's behavior has baffled other states due to a long adjournment. Notes that if Virginia rejects the Constitution, all those states following it will do the same, and the Constitution will not be adopted. Relates that northern Virginia supports the Constitution, while in general, southern Virginia is opposed. Comments that the Kentucke district (Kentucky County, which later became the State of Kentucky) will have great weight in deciding this question, and that residents of that area fear the new government will "barter away the right of Navigation to River Mississippi." Comments that New Hampshire's adjournment will give strength to the Constitution's opposition in New York. Sends his good wishes to Knox and his wife, Lucy.

Background Information: In March 1788, James Madison was participating in Virginia's convention for ratification of the Constitution. Nine states had to ratify for the Constitution to become binding, and by March 1788, six states ...had so far ratified. New Hampshire ratified as the ninth state in June 1788, and Virginia in July 1788.
Signer of the U.S. Constitution.
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Full Transcript:
Mount Vernon 30th. March 1788
My dear Sir;
Your favor of the 10th. came duly to hand, and by Mr. Madison I had the pleasure to hear that you had recovered ...from a severe indisposition, on which event I sincerely congratulate you.
The conduct of the State of New Hampshire has baffled all calculation, and happened extremely mal-apropos for the election of delegates to the Convention of this State; For be the real cause of the adjournment to so late a day, what it may, the antifederal party with us do not scruple to declare, that, it was done to await the issue of this Convention before it would decide - and add, that if this State should reject it, all those which are to follow will do the same; & consequently, the Constitution cannot obtain, as there will be only eight States in favor of the measure. -
Had it not been for this untoward event, the opposition in this State would have proved entirely unavailing, notwithstanding the unfair conduct (I might have bestowed a harsher epithet without doing injustice) which has been practiced to rouse the fears, and to inflame the passions of the people. - What will be the result now, is difficult [inserted: for me] to say with any degree of certainty, as I have seen but a partial return of the delegates, and not well acquainted with the political sentiments even of those few. - In the Northern part of the State the tide of Sentiment - I know - is generally in favor of the proposed system. - In the Southern part - I am told - it is the reverse. - While the middle, it is said, is pretty much divided. - The Kentucke district will have great weight in deciding this question; and the idea of its becoming an impediment to its seperation [sic], has got hold of them; while no pains is spared to inculcate a belief that the Government proposed will - without scruple or delay - barter away the right of Navigation to the River Mississippi. -
The postponement in New-Hampshire will also, unquestionably, give strength and vigor to the opposition in New York; and possibly, will render Rhode Island more backward than she otherwise would have been if [strikeout] all the New England States had finally decided in favor of the measure.
Mrs. Washington joins in every good wish for Mrs. Knox, yourself & family, with
Dear Sir
Yr. Affecte. friend & Obedt Sert
Go: Washington
The Honble Genl Knox.

[docket] Genl Washing[text loss]
30th March 1788.
Original No 16]

[address] The Honble. General Knox New York.
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People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Madison, James, 1751-1836

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentHealth and MedicalRatificationUS ConstitutionFederalistsPoliticsBoundary or Property DisputeGovernment and Civics

Sub Era: Creating a New Government

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