George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joshua Clayton, 19 February 1790

From Joshua Clayton

Delaware Feb: 19. 1790


Agreeably to the Directions of the General assembly of this State, I do myself the Honor to enclose your Excellency their Ratification of the Articles proposed by Congress to be added to the Constitution of the United States,1 and am, with every sentiment of Esteem, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servt2

Joshua Clayton

Copy, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; copy, DNA: RG 233, First Congress, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Journals.

Joshua Clayton (1744–1798) was president of Delaware from 1789 to 1793 and after the adoption of a new state constitution in 1792 served as governor from 1793 to 1796. Trained in Philadelphia as a physician, Clayton served briefly as a surgeon during the Revolution and saw combat as an aide to GW at the Battle of Brandywine. In 1778 he was appointed a justice of the peace for New Castle County, and he served thereafter as a member of the Delaware assembly and state treasurer before being elected president of the state. Clayton was a member of the circle of conservative Delaware Federalists associated with Bassett and George Read. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in January 1798 but died after contracting yellow fever in the Philadelphia epidemic of that year.

1GW had submitted the amendments to the Constitution proposed by Congress to the governors in October 1789. For the text of the amendments, see GW to the Governors of the States, 2 Oct. 1789, n.1. Although there had not been a significant Antifederalist movement in Delaware nor any extensive popular clamor for amendments to the Constitution, the Delaware assembly approved the remaining eleven articles proposed by Congress, including the ten amendments that ultimately formed the Bill of Rights.

2Lear transmitted these documents to Roger Alden, chief clerk of the domestic section of the State Department (Lear to Alden, 8 Mar. 1790, DLC:GW).

Index Entries