Introduction

The microfiche supplement to the debate over the Constitution in Massachusetts contains letters, newspaper items, town records, election certificates, and convention items. It also includes photographic copies of certain manuscript and printed items. These items are marked with an asterisk (*) in the List of Documents.

Many items which originated in Massachusetts or were reprinted in Massachusetts from other states had a regional or national circulation, and they are printed in Commentaries on the Constitution: Public and Private. These items are listed in an appendix.

Some letters and diary entries excerpted or not printed in RCS:Mass. but found in currently available editions have been excluded from the microfiche supplement. Frequent cross references to these items can be found in RCS:Mass. These editions are W. W. Abbot, ed, The Papers of George Washington: Confederation Series; David Grayson Allen et al., eds, Diary of John Quincy Adams; Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson; Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of the Members of the Continental Congress; John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington …; Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison; Paul H. Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789; and Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton.

The documents in the microfiche supplement are arranged chronologically except for several groupings of documents. These groupings are

  • Massachusetts Calls a State Convention, 18–25 October 1787
  • The Election of Convention Delegates, 19 November 1787–7 January 1788 (which includes the Election Certificates)
  • The Massachusetts Convention, 9 January–7 February 1788
  • Proculus Essay and Related Documents, 16 January–6 April 1788
  • Newspaper Accounts of the Boston Federal Procession of 8 February 1788
  • Philadelphia Commentaries on the Boston Federal Procession, 19 February–26 March 1788
  • The Massachusetts General Court, 27 February–1 April 1788
  • A Native of Boston, 14 August 1788 (and related correspondence and review)
  • Reminiscences (alphabetical by author)

The documents in each grouping and subsection (except the Election and Convention sections) are arranged chronologically.

Except for photographic copies, the documents are all literal transcriptions of the originals.

The document number for each individual item is placed immediately preceding its heading. Each document within a grouping is given a number with a letter extension (e.g., 18-A). In the Election Section, however, each town is given its own document number. Footnotes indicate newspaper reprintings and the sources of other printed material and of the manuscripts.