George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Stuart, 17 October 1787

To David Stuart

Mount Vernon Octr 17th 1787.

Dear Sir,

As the enclosed Advertiser contains a speech of Mr Wilson’s (as able, candid, & honest a member as any in Convention) which will place the most of Colo. Mason’s objections in their true point of light, I send it to you. The re-publication (if you can get it done) will be of service at this juncture.1 His ipso facto objection does not, I believe, require an answer—every mind must recoil at the idea. And with respect to the Navigation act, I am mistaken if any three men, bodies of men, or Countries, will enter into any compact or treaty if one of the three is to have a negative controul over the other two2—There must be reciprocity or no union, which is preferable will not become a question in the mind of any true patriot. But granting it to be an evil, it will infallibly work its own cure, and an ultimate advantage to the Southern States. Sincerely & Affect⟨mutilated⟩ I am Dear Sir Yr Obedt Servt

Go: Washington


1James Wilson, a leading member of the federal Convention, delivered his speech defending the Constitution on 6 Oct. at a public meeting assembled outside the Pennsylvania state house to nominate candidates to represent Philadelphia at the state ratifying convention. The speech was first printed in the Pennsylvania Herald, and General Advertiser (Philadelphia) on 9 Oct., a copy of which GW was sending to Stuart. It appeared on 24 Oct. in the Virginia Independent Chronicle (Richmond) and on 25 Oct. in the Virginia Journal, and Alexandria Advertiser. The text of the speech is printed in Kaminski and Saladino, Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, description begins John P. Kaminski et al., eds. The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. 26 vols. to date. Madison, Wis., 1976—. description ends 13:337–44.

2See GW’s extract of George Mason’s statement of objections to the Constitution, printed in note 3, Mason to GW, 7 October.

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