666. James Wilkinson to Esteban Miro and Martin Navarro
post-6 February 17881

The crude memorandoms which I am about to commit to this paper are intended for the amusement & information of Mr. Miro & Mr. Navarra they are formed in a hurry & have no other merit but that of being founded on Facts.

New Fœderal Government.—

This is a subject which engrosses the consideration of the Citizens of the U:S: and attracts the attention of Europe; the present Confederacy is universally acknowledged to be inadequate to any single object of good Government, but at the same time the proposed fœderal constitution is condemned by many, as being replete with the seeds of Aristocratic domination; all [feel?] the Calamities produced by the present Government, & pant for relief, yet multitudes resist the proposed remedy, as being fraught with greater evils than those which they at present sustain

The Pamphlet inclosed in paper no. 3 will manifest the Opposition of Sentiment held by some of the Great Men,—The People are nearly divided on the Question—parties are much heated, & civil broils run high—Yet, Six States have adopted it, to wit, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, & Georgia, the three latter States are small [– – –], weak in Numbers & of little political weight in the Union; Kentucky is stronger in men than Georgia & Delaware together.—but Connecticut is respectable, and Pennsylvania & Massachusetts powerfull, those two last States are however much distracted in their Politicks & the Government has been adopted by a very small Majority, of consequence the exercise of it will be resisted, & must be introduced under great disadvantages—My Eastern correspondents inform me that N: Hampshire is opposed to it, R: Island has hitherto declined paying any regard to the Subject, N: York is much divided; Maryland is said to be for the Government, Virginia & North Carolina opposed to it, & South Carolina in favour of it.—By this division of Interests it appears that Maryland & So: Carolina are for it, and of consequence that 8 States are certainly to adopt it, & we may reasonably suppose that either No: Carolina, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire will be influenced to adopt it as they are small States—hence it may be concluded that the Government will be introduced agreeable to the manner prescribed by the Fœderal Convention, but if Virginia, New York & two other States hold out in their Opposition, it must necessarily involve confusion, Delay & possibly blood Shed; for it will be impossible that the other Nine States should exercise the Government with the smallest degree of promptitude, energy or effect whilst these States resist the connexion: because Virginia, by her Territorial extent Separates the Middle States from the Southern, as New York does the Eastern States from the Middle. When I reflect on these circumstances and the vigorous opposition given to the Government in the States of Pennsylvania & Massachusetts, notwithstanding its adoption by a majority, I feel myself perfectly at a loss to form a Conjecture of the probable Issue of the Question—a few months will throw light upon this Subject, & therefore I will not hazard, at this time, an Opinion tho’ I think I may venture to pronounce with safety that there will be no efficient Government in the United States under three or four Years.—

Settlement on the Ohio

Whilst trade Languishes, whilst Taxation oppresses, whilst poverty pinches & faction distracts the atlantic States, their Inhabitants are meditateng an escape to the Banks of the Ohio, Whither large Bodies (independent of the emigrations to Kentuckey) are preparing to repair in Companies, as will appear from papers No 4 & 5, but more particularly by the information for which I refer you to major Dunn—No: 6 exhibits the constitution ordained by the U: States for the Government of the Fœderal Territory North West of the Ohio, the Officers are all appointed, & Several Characters of Dignity will be out during the ensuing Summer—The Governor General St: Clair is my particular friend & Major Dunn was his Aid de Camp during the war—two of the Judges Generals Parsons & Varnum are likewise particular acquaintances—These Measures have been precipitated by a threat from the People of post Vincents & Kaskaskia that they would revolt to the British—they help to give us Strength & cannot affect our true policy; it is no matter what a mans Opinions are when he first enters the Country, if he possesses a ray of discernment he will immediately see that we must live by the Mississippi & will embrace such means as are necessary to [procure?] the Ends

1. MS, Papeles de Cuba, Legajo 2373, Doc. 56, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain. (Photostat in the Library of Congress.)