The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


My latest American intelligence is of the 24th of June, when nine certainly, and probably ten States, had accepted the new Constitution, and there was no doubt of the eleventh (North Carolina), because there was no opposition there. In New York, two-thirds of the State were against it, and certainly, if they had been called to the decision in any other stage of the business, they would have rejected it; but before they put it to the vote, they would certainly have heard that eleven States had joined in it, and they would find it safer to go with those eleven, than put themselves into opposition, with Rhode Island only. Though I am much pleased with this successful issue of the new Constitution, yet I am more so, to find that one of its principal defects (the want of a declaration of rights) will pretty certainly be remedied. I suppose this, because I see that both people and conventions, in almost every State, have concurred in demanding it. Another defect, the perpetual re-eligibility of the same President, will probably not be cured during the life of General Washington. His merit has blinded our countrymen to the danger of making so important an officer re-eligible. I presume there will not be a vote against him in the United States. It is more doubtful who will be Vice-President. The age of Dr. Franklin, and the doubt whether he would accept it, are the only circumstances that admit a question, but that he would be the man. After these two characters of first magnitude, there are so many which present themselves equally, on the second line, that we cannot see which of them will be singled out. John Adams, Hancock, Jay, Madison, Rutledge, will all be voted for. Congress has acceded to the prayer of Kentucky, to become an independent member of the Union. A committee was occupied in settling the plan of receiving them, and their government is to commence on the 1st day of January next.

to William Carmichael, 12 August 1788