Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Lafayette, [25? December 1787]

From Lafayette

Nemours tuesday [25? Dec. 1787]

Inclosed, My dear friend, I send You the Proposed Constitution which I Have Received on My Way. What do You think of the powers of the president? I am affraid that our friends are gone a little too far on the other side. But suppose it is the Case, and General Washington is the president, I know him too well not to think He will find the danger, and lessen the authority Before He Goes over. Adieu, my dear sir.—Pray write me Your opinion on this Constitution; I Confess those presidential powers seem to me too Great. Let me Have a printed Copy of the tobacco letter and the arrêt du Conseil as soon as You Can. What is your opinion about a form of election divided in two electionnering Houses, the Upper one Making a list of ten Clergyman or Nobles, the lower one Making a list of ten Commoners. Then Both House to Unite and out of the Number to choose One clergy man, one Noble, and two Commoners to Represent the district.—Adieu, My dear sir.

RC (DLC); without name of addressee, signature, or date, except the day of the week; in Lafayette’s hand and endorsed by TJ: “Fayette. M. de”; date assigned from internal evidence and the following facts. Washington sent TJ a copy of the proposed Constitution of the United States in his letter of 18 Sep. 1787, q.v., which arrived, with the other letters sent from America by John Paul Jones and James Jarvis, on 19 Dec. 1787. Washington probably used the same conveyance to send a copy to Lafayette; the first Tuesday after 19 Dec. was 25 Dec. in 1787. The two items which Lafayette requested in this letter—the arrêt of 29 Dec. 1787 (printed as an enclosure to Lambert to TJ, 29 Dec.), for which Lafayette had helped prepare the way and which he knew was in the process of being drawn up, and the printed copy of Calonne’s letter to TJ of 22 Oct. 1786 (Vol. 10: 474–8)-were enclosed in Lafayette’s letter to George Washington on 1 Jan. 1788, the following Tuesday (The Letters of Lafayette to Washington, ed. Gottschalk, N.Y., 1944, p. 334–6; Gottschalk, Lafayette, 1783–89 description begins Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette between the American Revolution and the French Revolution (1783–1789), Chicago, 1950 description ends , p. 334–5).

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