42. Draft of a Possible Newspaper Essay to be Signed Woodstock
c. October–December 17871

Sir: as that Honourl, Convention of 12 of ye States in ye federal union ware chosen by ye sd States to Consult on and Revise ye federal authority, and Render it more affectual and perminet, have, offered to our Consideration and meture Deliberation, an intire new model Constitution, with out any Special Reference to the former Confederation, which Demands our most Serious consideration, and Enlightned understandings and Judgments, in this most waty, most Searious most Binding, of all things that ever Came befor ye people of ye un[i]ted States of america and to them of ye gratest importance—

Suffer me then Sir, on this most Searious and important occation to address my Self to you, and my Brethren of the united States and Sir Before I take up ye new Constitution I would mention the Stile of ye old Confederation which is, ye Stile of the Confederacy Shall be, the un[i]ted States of america and ye last a[r]ticle of that Confederation is—Every State Shall abide by ye Determination of ye united States in Congress assembled, on all Questions which by this Confederation are Submitted to them and the articles of this Confederation Shall be inviolably observed by Every State, and ye union Shall be perpetual; nor Shall any alteration at any time here after be made in any of them, unless Such alteration Be agreed to in a Congress of the united States and Be afterwards Confirmed by ye legislatures of Every State and now Sir ye Searious Consideration of ye Stile of our confederacy and our faith pledg in this last article of ye federal union may bring us to consider whether we have a just Right to violate our former Compact and agreement which has So long Supported our independance and Gained our alliances, with foreign nations, and Ennabled us to borrow money of them to pay our Soldiers, and other debts we had contracted and furthermore if ye power that Congress is invested with is not Sufficient to levy taxes, lay imposts, Rais funds for a Revenue to defray our forreign Debts ought we not to Exart all our endeavours in the federal Capacity to Give and Grant to that august Body power Sufficient to do & which will make us Respectable in ye Eyes of all nations, but on ye other hand, if we brake our Compacts our Confederations our alliences and union with our own states, whom from abroad will trust us, and what hethen nation will not Dispise us and now Sir I would begin with the New preposed plan of goverment ye preamble or introduction to it is we, the people of the united States, in order to form a more perfect union, Establish Justice, in Sure domestick tranquility, provide for the Common Defence, promote ye general welfare, and Secure ye blessings of liberty to our Selves and our posterity, do ordain and Establish this Constitution for the united States of america—

with this preamble Join ye last article of ye Constitution which is the Ratification of ye conventions of nine States Shall Be Sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution betwen the States So rattifying the Same—which brakes the former union and introduces an intire New mode of governing, and will Let ye other, four States a Side Deprive them of ye name and titel we have given them, [(]or Rather Confederated with them to Bair the Same titel as Brethren to gether ye united States of america), which if not continued is a brea[c]h of faith and compact which we do desolve and Set aside if Even one State Should Refuse to Receive the preposed Constitution therefore my Brethren consider well with your Selves whether you are Doing justice to your Selves your Neighbours or posterity, to Swallow Down a thing Because it is new befor you have Perusd it Studied and Digested it, what is it you would intail to your posterity is freeddom and Religion, and a code of good laws, to protect and Defend their persons and property and to Secure to them their liberty and Religion then look on them, vew them, Read them, See that they are worth Entailing to posterity But alass where shall we find them, are they now Extant in this town, or are they in the State or Even on file in ye Jurnals of ye State no they are yet lock up in the heart and Brest of Some of our fellow Subjects who may Be chosen to compile them and give them barth, shall we then Receive this fruit Before it hath a Being and Eat it which is the most Dificult and hardest thing to Dijest that man Can take and often if not Brought Back by the way it Goes Down Deprives ye person of breath and Being

then let us a wake out of our Lethergy vew our Situation with Carefullness honesty and uprightness let Each of us put on honesty for our Daly Garb Seek the welfare of our neighbour as our Selves and willingly Contribute to ye good of the whole of ye american States and See if peace and harmoney Doth not Return to our states for it is Righteousness that Exal[t]eth a nation But Sin is a Reproach to any people then let us lay a Side this Dedly Enemy that in volves our land in Confusion and Blood

let us vew our Selves abroad how are we known are we known by the united States of america or are we known by the thirteen united States of america for proof of this let us turn to the treaties of alliance with his most Christian majesty there you will find the titel is ye thirteen united States of North america and youl find Every state Cald by name, and as Every state is in that Compact how Shall we dare to infinge on that treaty and Shall we not Do it, if by any of our proceedings we desolve ye union with every any state, and is it not desolved if any one State will not take ye Cup and drink his portion Judg for your Selves of these things Gentlemen and Read all treaties and Compacts betwen ye thirteen United State and forreign powers, consider then whether it will Be best to Renew and Strenghen ye former federal Compact or adopt a new one true it is that publick affairs are very Gloomey and dark at this day, and if an intire new Goverment must Be erected let us vew the one that is presented with Calmness and Delibration articel first ye first Sect is all legislative powers here in Granted Shall Be vested in a congress of the united States which Shall consist of a Senate and house of Representatives, now in justice to Every individual member of the thirteen States let us Calmly Consider, have we a write to Execept this titel of united States with out Every State Execepts it for if one State Swallows not this Dose [perfixet?] Can we with prop[r]iety Discard them, is their not hundreds of as worthy members in Such a state as in the State which most Readily Receive it nay and much more So perhaps their may Be hundreds who have offerd their all and are Redused to a near state of Beggery by that means, and many others who with one part of their blood have Seald your liberty and independance in ye field of Battel where many of you Dare not Be seen furthermore are their not many widows and orphans in Such a state whose husbands and parents have Seald your liberty and independance in the field of acton with their lives all to Ad to your temporal happiness and will you yet Discard them in their minorrity Because a majority of the state is not of your opinion in which they Dwel o yea heavens forbid this and yea endearing ties of humannity Restrain the passions of an un Relenting mind, my hart is fild at the thought of the Distresses of my Brother Soldier when I Recollect our feteagues and long travels and more Especially to Recollect when standing Shoulder to Shoulder our blood Running others wallowing in their blood bretheng out their Dying groans all to defend you and to Secure your intrest withe our own if any we had, now my Brethren will ye law of nature of Reason or of justice let you Except any plan that will make any Distinction Betwen us and you when we have spent our all to make you free Consider well whether what you are going to take is preffable to what you now have pray Determin for your Selves—

vew your liberties Doth not goverment Spring from the people consider then with your Selves whi[c]h is best whether to hold that wright which god and nature has given you or to Sell ye Same for a mess of pottage, look of your 2d Sect, Se your liberties Curtaild Representatives once in 2 years to be chosen pause a littel on this is their not Sum thirst for power in this, you are made competent Judges by natural Reason to answer this Question the longer a man Serves the more wages he has to Receive will you then Draw some inf[er]ences on this head look well to it I think this is Something craving—See ye 3d Sect, Senetors to Serve Six years a very short time in Deed no danger from this Quarter So few men as this branch is to Consist of only 26 in number if Every state in ye whole thirteen Sends their Senetors only 2 out of a state they will be the most perfect men on Earth they will do Every thing Right they will Consult nothing but the good of ye whole Community Spend all their time and Strength for the good of their Constituents and to Remove that heavy load from of[f] their shoulders, o wonderfull is this all true, Stop let us look on it, o they, have Just got to make a law how much shall Be collected from the States to pay them for their Services and to appoint a collector to collect them is that al[l?] no they have got to make a law to Regulate ye melitia and a law to Call them forth to inforce obedience to all laws that they and the house of Representatives with Consent of the president Shall make, and to ye fore going a Sallery must be [perfixet?] for ye persident vise president ye Judges of ye Supream Judicial Court and Judges of inferior Courts ye Sallery of ye President and vise president unalterable for four years for ye Judges of Each court During good behaviour is Six years time a noughf for al this to be done in Consider well of this my Brethren and if the term of six years is no infringment on our liberties nither will 12 years Be any and we may as well give ye 12 years as ye Six only on this ground it will Be entruding on them because they Did not ask it and why did thay not ask for it I answer be cause it might look long to Some men open their Eyes make them Start at So unreasonable a Request from whence Results this language let us be moderate in our first Demands, bring them on by Degrees thats ye way to gain this point look how very Easy Calm and moderate ye Qualifications of Representatives Senetors president and vice president no fixed value of Estate Requiset, why So, why Because ye poorer and Common Sort of people who have Small Estates will vote in this Cause Saying no Estates is Required to Quallify a member for a Representative I may Stand a Chance for one come lets take this Constitution ye poor are not Disposd in this this is a good constitution as Ever I Saw poverty no Excepton from offices in it—But Stop Sir lets look of ye 4th Sect, See what that is oh it is this the times places and manner of holding Elections for Senetors and Representatives Shal be prescribed in Each state by the legislature thereof oh wonderfull liberty and great priveledg who Can injoy a Grater [– – –] [– – –] what comes in the Rear of this—O! but ye Congress may at any time by law, make or alter Such Regulations, except as to the place of chusing Senetors gentelmen you will Remember the Senetors are chosen by ye legislature and you will find ye Congress are to garrantee a Republican form of Goverment to Each state See ye 4 articel and 4 Sect, in it there for there is no way whereby Congress you may See that nothing but a meer form of a Goverment is to be left us although at the beginning of this Constitution we are allowed to chuse Representatives but as Soon as a Congress is Erected they take ye Sole power of governing Except ye choice of Senetors By the legislature made only by a form of Republican Goverment gentelmen vew this matter to the bottom of it and believe me not if I am not wright, nither Condemn me till yea know I am Rong for he that gave you the Spirit of Disernment and understanding, has given me mine. Come lets look of ye 5 Sect of ye first articel Each house Shall be the Judg of the Elections Returns and Qualifications of its own members here my Brethren you will See the Qualifications of Representatives and Senetors take place in Congress assembled where Every law is to Recive its original and if they are pleasd to Say that ye Qualifications of a Representative Shall be an Estate of one hundred per anum and he a man of a liberal Education who among us Can gain Say it, we have given them that perogative we cannot Complain of them for mail administration for if we do you will find ye Sole power of impeachments is in their own brests look of ye last Clause of ye 2 Sect, the house of Representatives Shall chuse their Speaker and other officers, and Shall have ye Sole power of impeachments and you will find under ye 3d Sect, that the Senate Shall have ye Sole power to try all impeachments, when Sitting for that purpose and if ye above Be true then if we See ye Qualification for a Senetor to Be 2 hundred perranum with the Same Education and a member of ye Sinsinnati and what then my Berethren and friends why we must Calmly lay our hands on our mouths and Say that tis we that have Done this if we do not while it is in our power Reject it for if we Rivet the Shackkels on our Selves who can we Expect will Be at the pains to file them off for us—

Gentlemen I wish to See harmoney in all our Counsels peace and tranquility in Everry State a code of Good laws to govern ye whole but if this Constitution will answer this Sallutary purpose I am blinded, and would Beg your prayers for me, that god wold open mine Eyes to behold the exelency of it,—

Sect, ye 6 the Senetors and Representatives Shall Receive a compensation for their Services to be ascertaned by law and be paid out of the treasury of the united States as this wants But very small Comments on it weal pass it over and Consider ye Seventh Sect all bills for Rising Revenue shall originate in the house of Representatives, but ye Senate may popose or Concur with amendments as on other bills this Sect, is to lengthey to Repat ye whole but let us Consider Something of this Sect, wher all Bills that are to Be passed must be pesented to the president for his aprobation before it can be a law yet notwithstanding if he approve it not let us See who this president is and who makes him, Brethren do we Chuse this officer ye Supream majestrate of the States to Execute all laws that Shall Be made Commition all officers Sivil and military Call forth his melitia for we Shall have none only what are Regulated By him and the Disapline he shall [perfix?] he is our Sovereign to pardon or Condemn us

well then have we any wright to put in our vote for a person of Such Eminent Station no verely we have non have our Representatives in General assembly a wright to Chuse him no they have not, the General assemblies of this Vast great Continent have power to Chuse Seventy Eight members as Electors for the purpose of Chusing the president and vice president once in four years liberties and priviledges and freedom where art thou, do we Dispise thee I hope not, Gentelmen will you vew this Sean what is Representation Can Representation go any farther than our own Representatives who are impowerd By us to make laws and Rules of Regulations to govern the body politick to which we belong and I am Sure it cannot proseed any farther therefor we have no vote in Chusing this great officer who by this Constitution is impowerd with great athority and of great Consequnce to us Can we hissetate one moment on this are you not all Convinced of the infringements on your liberties, will you have any liberties left you if you Except of a plan to Elect your Govenor which is only a Representment a Representing a Representation

Gentelmen I Submit it to your Searious Consideration it being of the grates Concern and importance to you of all temporal things never had you So waty a matter before as this now is if you Except it you lanch you Selves in to an ocan with unlimeted Bounds with out any pylot or helm to Steer your Shatterd vessel in a tempestious Gale—I find their is a Rule proscribed for the Representatives and Senate to make a law but it is attended with Dificulty and perplexity Every order, Resolution, or vote which ye Concurrance of the Senate and house of Representatives may be nesary Except on a Question of ajurnment Shal be presented to the president of ye united States here you may See that their Can nothing pass with out coming under his Eye for apobation and if not approved by him must be Repassd By two thirds of ye Senate and house of Representatives Befor it Can be a law

Sect ye 8th under this Sect almost every thing is given into the hands of Congress

to lay and Collect taxes, duties, impost and Excise to Borrow money on ye credit of the united States to Regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among ye Several States and with ye indians to Coin money Regulate the value their of and fix the Standard of weights and measures to provide for the punishment of counterfitting Securities and coin of ye united States to Establish post offices and post Roads to Constitute tribunals inferior to the Supream Court to Declair war and make Rules Conserning Captures on land and water to Raise and Support armies to provide and maintain a navy to provide for Calling forth the militia to Execute ye laws of ye union Suppress insurrections and Repell invations here opens another large Sean a train of miseries will hear flow in if not prevented and is it possable to prevent it if the proposed plan takes place I cant see one gleam of athority left to the legislature of ye State Except Chusing Sentors and appointing Electors to chuse the president—

to provide for organising arming and Disaplining, the melitia, and governing Such part of them as may be imployed in the service of the united States, gentelmen who are this melitia is it the whole Body of free men or only a few of our Sons who are to be taken and armed and Disaplind and Quarterd in our own houses in that way and manner which Congress Shall Direct at any time, but they do Condesend to Reserve to ye Several State ye power of chusing officer and training the melitia according to their Disapline But they have power to make all laws which Shall Be necessary and propper for carriing in to Exeution the fore going powers and all other powers vested By this Constitution in the goverment of ye united States or in any Department or officer their of, gentelmen pray tell me what power is not vested in this Congress and So of consequence what law we Can have that they do not make for and if the power and athority of ye confederated States is not Desoved at the adoption of this Constitution—what need is their of grants to us of certain priveledgees under this constitution for you may See under ye 9th Sect, the migration or importation of Such persons as any of the States Now Existing Shall think proper to admit, Shall not Be prohibited by the congress for thirty years but a tax or Duty may be imposed on Such importation not Exceeding ten dollers for Each person, gentelmen Does imm migration belong to trade and Commarse if So their will no Dispute arise from this head

 

Boston oct ye 20: 1787  

it is devoutly to be wished (Says a writer upon federal Sentiments) that the States may Cherrish Each other with a Sisterly affection; (Excelent wish indeed, Strive not then, ye that wish, for Sisterly affection, to Desolve Sisterly union) (the federal Bond of union was wrought with toil and Distress—) (then let it Stand Sacred and perpettual according to Confederation. Except altered through Congress and the legislatures of Every State Rattifiing the Same) (A fatal Disunion would inevitably produce the horrid callamities of Sivil war, and forreign Conquest,) (pray what is more likely to Cause a Disunion than to brake former Compacts and Establish new Systems by a majority, wher the Excepttance of the whole is absolutely Necessary) (the constitution now offered does not assume an inch of unnecessary power,) oh mr writer hast thou the knowledg of the Supream being that thou can tell what frail men will practice on the power their assumed,

that you can Say,) perhaps it is Rather too free, and if not Received, the people are too bad to Be happy) (pray mr writer Did Ever unlimited power given to haughty men who are not abel to Redeem their Bretheren or give a Ransom meet for them make a nation happy) (ye votaries of Religion, consider how necessary civil order is for the promotion of piety and Every moral vertue,) (oh of wonderfull use where no Religion is Requisite for a Qualification to office a papistt or mehomitan or his holiness the pope may Send his legates to america to in Struct the votaries of Religion and who will have any Right to Say from whenc are ye)

 

Woodstock Decmber ye 23: 1787 

When there was but two persons on Earth transgression Did in Sue Some will Talk of

Woodstock  

1. MS, twenty-two pages, photocopy supplied by Mark E. Mitchell, Incorporated, of Fairfax, Virginia, in September 1993.