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title:“John Vaughan to John Langdon”
authors:John Vaughan
date written:1788-6-6

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:03 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Oct. 7, 2022, 12:05 p.m. UTC

Vaughan, John. "Letter to John Langdon." 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. 167-69. Print.

John Vaughan to John Langdon (June 6, 1788)

I am happy to find you thought the pieces I sent you might be useful, others have appeared since, but in general they are argumentative upon particular points while these, conceding the possibility of Defects, shew how they may be amended, that no danger can arise from them which is not provided against, & that if we do not adopt we cannot correct-You have observed with great justice that the more The Constitution was examined, the better it appeared, & as a Confirmation of this truth, if we examine into the two classes which have approved or disapproved, we shall find amongst the former almost all the men [of] Virtue, sense & property who have had the means of information-amongst the others are some of these for the best of men may be mistaken, but in general it is composed of the violent, ignorant, & those who have been deprived of the means of information, & have made up their minds upon the misrepresentations made by a few industrious ill designing men who have magnified &created defects at will & alarmed the patriotism of the honest but uninformed Countryman-
I have the pleasure of handing an account of the raising of the Eight[h] Pillar to this important edifice South Carolina has adopted the Constitution 149-73 In addition to the account in the papers, Dr Ramsay informs me that there was a formidable oposition from the Back Count[r]y (which you will See by looking at the Carolina paper where the Votors are classed in Districts) "but they were treated with Candor, pains taken to remove prejudices & give information & Several who came down prejudiced against the Constitution, yet on Conviction of its utility voted for it.-An Infinity of Falsehoods were circulated to the prejudice of the FÅ“deralist, but were all removed in time to prevent mischief. There is no doubt of this State coming peaceably into it-The Virtue learning & Wealth of the Country are for it-The leaders of opposition promised to acquiesce in the determination of their Country & except two or three went home in good humor" "Thy anxiety about the Adoption of the Constitution is now at an end, my present anxiety is about Such a Wise administration of it as shall answer the expectations of its friends. I fear that either the public Interest will be unpaid, or the people be alarmed by the heaviness of the Burthen."
Another friend of the Convention writes me "the majority Comprehends everyman of property but Mr Bowman, & every man who distinguished himself in the last war except Genl Sumpter. Fearful of that Inveterate Spirit which appeared wth you, every Soothing measure was taken with the minority & the Spectators cautioned against those bursts of applause which might hurt their feelings"
Of The Instructions. If ever two of the amendments proposed by them were adopted the Governmt. would lose its force-I mean the appointing the time & place of Elections-& direct Taxation.-1I mention this that you may judge of the propriety of publishing this part- I Confess I find great impropriety in proposing amendments & binding delegates to propose them, before any trial is made whether they are wanting or not.-& I fear that the First assembly [fettered?] in this manner will have its attention drawn off from the main object. Solid organization to the parts which can with more ease & efficacy be afterwards considered-B2y letters from England I find that That Governmt. are looking Seriously towards this Country & Such is the present State of Europe that the Political existence or importance of this Country depends upon the Speedy operation of this New Government.- When any Commercial advantages are asked for, "what can you give us in return, where are your powers to Treat."-"where the Security that your States will be bound.["]-
It has been Said that a majority of the N York Convention were against it-I am of Opinion that they are at present about equal, but as no Instance has yet happened of a FÅ“deral turning antifcederal, & numerous ones of the Contrary, I have no doubt that notwithstanding all that passion & influence of certain persons can do, but that all will be well-indeed all agree there is not a doubt, if one more State only adopts-Virginia will be the first-
Hint to be made use of-Our Union is necessary to us not in general the Interest of European powers-Holland Spain & England-Their agents reside in N York-& New York State is the Seat of the most formidable opposition-
Your friend & Servt.

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