Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Short, 6 April 1788

From William Short

Paris April 6th. 1788

My dear Sir

Your letter of March 29. arrived here yesterday. I see that you have received all the letters I have written. I have not been so fortunate. Your first (from Leyden) never reached me. Yours from Amsterdam of the 13th was the first I received.

I have heard no complaints from the convent and consequently suppose your daughters are perfectly well. I know they were so some days ago.

Letters by the French Packet arrived here the latter end of last month. Papers came by her as late as the 20th. of Feb. Everything seems to be going on well. Massachusetts has accepted the constitution by a majority of 19. in a convention of 335. The acceptation was solemn and honorable. The leading members of the minority declared the matter had been fairly canvassed and that although they had hitherto opposed, they would in future support, the constitution and engage their constituents to do the same. The convention after accepting the constitution in the terms proposed, recommend certain alterations. At present six states have accepted the constitution, six others called conventions, and the thirteenth (R. Island) has its assembly I believe now sitting.

Boats have already passed from Westham to the navigation below the falls. This work has been accomplished much sooner than was expected. Mayo’s bridge advances also, 150 feet have been laid down and answers perfectly as the newspapers say.

The Packet brought also the information of Count de Moustier’s arrival at N. York. I saw Mr. Grand to-day and desired him to mention to Mr. Dupont the circumstance you speak of. I communicated to him at the same time the part of your letter respecting him. It seemed to give him great pleasure.

Cyrus Griffin is President of Congress! Hamilton, a member from N. York. Some think this a favorable symptom in so antifederal a State, as he is a federal man.

Genl. Washington writes to the Marquis de la f. that there no longer remains any doubt of the constitution being accepted by at least nine States.

A Conseil de marine is at length appointed here. They are for the most part obscure names, none I believe known to you, unless it be a M. du fresne, who was the Marechal de Castries’ right hand.—I do not send this letter to Frankfort because it is too late. It will be directed consequently to Strasburg, where I hope you will find it; I received the bill of exchange of 2400livre tournois and shall have it disposed of as you direct. No Plants have yet arrived from Virga. Poor Banister is in a great deal of distress. His father has lost his senses. Nobody knows why, supposed by many on account of his deranged affairs, and it is said that his son’s expences in Europe increased their disorder. You may judge how miserable such an idea must render such a man. Adieu my dear Sir, I hope we shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you here. All your friends desire it but none more than your friend & servant,

W Short

RC (DLC); endorsed, in part: “recd. at Strasbourg Apr. 16.” PrC (DLC: Short Papers).

The letter from Genl. Washington to Lafayette was written on 10 Jan. 1788 when only Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey had ratified the Constitution: Washington thought New England would “cheerfully and fully accept it” (aside from Rhode Island, “which seems itself, politically speaking, to be an exception from all that is good”), and that the southern states would do the same. In Virginia and New York he considered “its fate … somewhat more questionable: though, in my private opinion, I have no hesitation to believe there will be a Clear majority in its favor, in the former.” Washington concluded that “the highest probability exists that the proposed Constitution will be adopted by more than nine States, at some period early in the coming summer” (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxix, 376–77).

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