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title:“Jonathan Dayton to David Brearley”
authors:Jonathan Dayton
date written:1787-6-7

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:26 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Feb. 25, 2024, 9:11 a.m. UTC

Dayton, Jonathan. "Letter to David Brearley." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 59. Print.
Autograph Letter Signed, Harvard University

Jonathan Dayton to David Brearley (June 7, 1787)

Contrary to my wish I have been nominated in the Assembly and very contrary to my expectation, appointed in the joint-meeting to a seat in the federal convention. Believe me sir, I feel about me on this occasion all that diffidence with which the consciousness of my youth and inexperience as well as inability to discharge so important a trust, cannot but impress me. The honor which must naturally attend my being associated with such very respectable characters as colleagues; The improvement to be derived from hearing the sentiments and communications of so learned an Assembly, were, I confess the motives which influenced me, perhaps too powerfully, to accept the appointment. Were I less assured of your friendly aid and advice wherever I might need it, were the gentlemen joined with you, men of less eminent abilities than they are, I should have been utterly discouraged from entering upon the task. I can never, sir, pretend to lay claim to any merit in common with you all but that which my zeal to serve and be useful to my country may give me a title to. I shall return to Elizabeth tomorrow to visit my family where I shall continue until I am informed by a letter from you or one of the other gentlemen that my attendance in Philadelphia is necessary to keep up the representation. When this happens I shall immediately repair thither regretting the necessity which calls either of you from his station and leaves it to be occupied by one so very far his inferior. Mr. Houston has formally resigned in consequence of his ill state of health—Mr. Clark has also resigned, but in his usual way that is very informally, because he thinks there is a kind of incompatibility in the two appointments, I am therefore unfortunately the only one on the list of supernumeraries. You will oblige me much by writing to me by the return of the first post, and at such other times and as often as your leisure will permit.

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