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title:“Aedanus Burke to John Lamb”
authors:Aedanus Burke
date written:1788-6-23

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:26 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 6, 2023, 11:42 a.m. UTC

Burke, Aedanus. "Letter to John Lamb." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 18. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 55-57. Print.
The New-York Historical Society

Aedanus Burke to John Lamb (June 23, 1788)

56 COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION day, one of our best speakers; in the Opposition, Doctor Fousseaux, gave notice he would quit that ground, as Maryland had acceded to it. Upon which we were every day afterwards losing ground & numbers going over to the Enemy, on an idea that further Opposition was useless. But notwithstanding these Misfortunes, the few of us who spoke, General Sumpter, Mr. John Bowman, gentleman of fortune and fine talents, of the low-country; myself and a few of the back countrymen, found it necessary, in supporting the Opposition, to exer tthe greater spirit and resolution, as our difficulties increased. (Our Minority is a respectable one, and I can with great truth assure you, that it represents by far a greater number of Citizens than the Majority - -The minority are chiefly from the back country where the Strength and numbers of our republick lie-And although the Vote of the Convention has carried it, that has not changed the opinion of the great body of people respecting its evil tendency. In the interiour Country, all is disgust, sorrow, and vindictive reproaches against the System, and those who voted for it. It is true, the ratification of it was solemnized in our City, with splended procession and shew. We hear from the back Country, however That in some places the people had a Coffin painted black, which, borne in funeral procession, was sol-emnly buried, as an emblem of the dissolution and interment of publick Liberty.1 You may rely upon it if a fair Opportunity offers itself to our back Countrymen they will join heart and hand to bring Ruin on the new Plan unless it be materially altered. They declare so publickly: They feel that they are the very men, who, as mere Militia, half-armed and half-clothed have fought and defeated the British regulars in sun-encounters-They think that after having disputed and gained the Laurel under the banners of Liberty, now, that they are likely to be robbed both of the honour and the fruits of it, by a Revolution purposely contrived for it. I know some able Men among us, or such as are thought so, affect to despise the general Opinion of the Multitude: For my own part I think that that Government rests on a very sandy foundation, the Subjects whereof are convinced that it is a bad one.) Time alone will convince us. This is the first time that I ever put pen to paper on the subject, (to another and it is not for want of inclination to do it. Nobody views this matter from the point of light and view in which I see it; or if anyone did, he must be crazy, if he told his mind. The true, open, rising ground, no one has dared to take, or will dare to do it, 'till the business is all over. If you live two or three years, you will find the World will ascribe to the right Author, this whole affair, and put the saddle on the right Horse, as we say. I find myself approaching too 18 MAY - 6 AUGUST, near to forbidden ground, and must desist. I am sorry it hath been my Lot not to be able to serve the Repub. on the present Business, Virginia and New York adopting it (and of which I have no doubt) they will proceed to put it into Motion, and then you, and I, and all of us, will be obliged to take it, as we take our Wives, "for better, for worse". I have only one remark to make-Should any event turn up with you, that would require to be known to our republican Friends here, only make us acquainted with it. Should either Virginia or New York State reject it, the system will fall to pieces, tho other nine States may agree to it, and in such an Event, or in any other that may give us an occasion to serve the Repub. your communication will be duly attended to by me. I forgot to mention, that Mr Lowndes, would not serve in the Convention, declining to take his Seat; out of disgust to some leading men in the parish that sent him, he abandoned a Cause, which, I believe, he thought a just one. Mr. John Bowman is capable of serving any Cause he espouses. Col. Thomas Taylor of the Congarees-Col Richard and Wade Hampton.- These three are from the back Country; their gallantry in the War, their Property, and some talents, give them great influence in that part of the Country. Richard Henry Lee to John Lamb Chantilly, Va., 27 June It is but this day I received the letter that you did me the honor to write to me on the 18th. of May last. Repeated experience having shewn me that I could not be at Richmond and be in health prevented me from attempting to be a Member of our State Convention but I have omitted no occasion of enforcing, to the utmost of my power, the propriety of so stating Amendments as to secure their adoption, as you will see by the letter I wrote to the president of our Convention, copy of which I have the honor to enclose to you. I lament that your letter did not reach me sooner, because I think your plan of correspondence would have produced salutary consequences; as it seems to have been the idea of our Assembly when they sent the proposed plan to a Convention. Every attempt has failed, either to get previous amendments or effectually to secure the obtaining them hereafter. Yet you will see Sir that the ratifying majority feel the propriety of amendments, altho, in my judgement, the mode they have pursued for obtaining - them is neither wise or manly. But, if nothing better can be obtained in the States that have not yet ratified, even this Mode of expressing the sense of the approving states, may operate to the ob- me advisable that the amendments proposed should originate from Your Quarter for several reasons which I forebear to [enumerate?]
Please to accept my sincere acknowledgments for the pamphlets, Communication, and polite address.

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