Adams Papers

To John Adams from Arthur Lee, 3 October 1787

Ocr. 3d. 1787

Dear Sir,

I enclose you the long expected production of the Convention. I am inclined to think you will deem it somewhat too Aristocratic. An Oligarchy however I think will spring from it in the powers of the President & Vice President, who, if they understand one another, will easily govern the two Houses to their will. The omission of a Declaration of rights—the appointment of a vice President, whose sole business seems to be to intrigue—securing trial by Jury in criminal cases only—making the federal Court original instead of appellent, & that in the case of a Citizen of any State & one of another, vrs. a foreigner with the citizen of any State—the omission of a Council—& vesting legislative, executive & judicial Powers in the Senate—the making this Senate Counsellors to the President & Judges on his impeachment which may happen to be for the very thing may have advised—are errors, if errors, gross as a Mountain I say if errors, for I am very much inclined to to beleive they were designed

Congress, having three States represented by those who were members of Convention and three of the most influential each in three other States, resolved to send it on without any recommendation, because it opponents insisted upon having their reasons on the Journals if they offerd to rerecommend it. The States present were N.H. 2 Convention men—Mass: 2 Convention, one not. Connecticut one Convention one not. N.Y—N Jersey—Pens:—Delaware—Virg: 1 Convention 3 not—N. Car: one Convention one not—S.C. one Conv: 2 not. Georgia 2 Convention. Pensylvania has ordered the State Convention to meet on the 3d Novr. to determine on its adoption. All the other Assemblies will direct Conventions when they meet. From the present appearances of things, it seems probable it will become our Constitution just as it is. No opposition is declared to it, but in Virginia where it will be opposd, I imagine by the Govr. R.H. Lee, Mr. Mason & Mr. Henry. In this State, the Governor & all his friends are in opposition.

I wish it may be amended & cannot see why it should not.

My Br. R. H. Lee is here & desires to be affectionately rememberd to you. Please to remember me to Mrs. Adams, Mr. & Mrs. Smith & to my nephew, to whom I have not had time to write.


A. Lee

MHi: Adams Papers.

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