Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from George Wythe, 10 July 1788

From George Wythe

Williamsburgh 10 of July 1788

Dear Sir

The books, which you sent last september did not arrive here until this day. They shall be distributed according to your appointment. For my part of them i owe many thanks but indeed, my good sir, such presents are too costly. P. Carr still attends me daily. I think him well advanced in the greek and latin languages. Your directions for prosecution of his studies will be profitable to him and me too. The convention for discussing the american government sat almost two weeks. The result of their deliberations is inclosed with this. The general assembly also sat part of the same time. Their meeting was occasioned by a refusal of the judges to execute an act for establishing district courts, which passed the preceding session. Mr. Paradise was pleased with the country and people here. But, after he heard of his daughter’s death, the desires of all among us who knew him, could not prevale upon him to remain longer. To write is difficult, and sometimes a little painful; caused by a weakness in my right1 thumb. I should suppose it to be a gout, which i had slightly once in the foot, but that there is yet no swelling. This infirmity must apologize for the rarity and shortness of my letters. But for the same reason yours will be more acceptable: if any circumstances can make them more acceptable. I am dear sir your obliged humble servant,

G. Wythe

RC (DLC); endorsed; date-line is repeated at foot of text. The enclosed resolution of the Virginia Convention of 25 June 1788, presumably in broadside or newspaper form, reads as follows: “We the Delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly, and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Fœderal Convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberations hath enabled us, to decide thereon, Do in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any capacity, by the President or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes: and that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States. With these impressions, with a solemn appeal to the searcher of hearts for the purity of our intentions, and under the conviction, that, whatsoever imperfections may exist in the Constitution, ought rather to be examined in the mode prescribed therein, than to bring the Union into danger by a delay, with a hope of obtaining amendments, previous to the ratification: We the said Delegates, in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia, do by these presents assent to, and ratify the Constitution recommended on the seventeenth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven, by the Fœderal Convention for the Government of the United States; hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern, that the said Constitution is binding upon the said People” (Journal of the Convention of Virginia, Richmond, Augustine Davis, 1788, p. 28–9). Wythe may have enclosed one of the copies ordered to be printed by the Convention, for which a voucher was issued 3 July 1788; none of these copies is known to have survived (Swem, “Va. Bibliog.,” description begins Earl G. Swem, “A Bibliography of Virginia,” Virginia State Library, Bulletin, VIII, X, XII (1915–1919) description ends No. 7596).

On the BooksSent last September, see TJ to Wythe, 16 Sep. 1787.

1This word interlined in substitution for “left,” deleted.

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