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Letter to Henry Knox, March 30, 1788

George Washington. Letter signed: Mount Vernon, to Henry Knox, 1788 March 30. 1 p. + doc.

Mount Vernon 30th. March 1788

My dear Sir;

Your favor of the 10th came duly to hand, and by Mr. Madison I had the pleasure to hear that you had recovered from a severe indisposition, on which event I sincerely congratulate you.

The conduct of the State of New Hampshire has baffled all calculation, and happened extremely mal-apropos for the election of delegates to the Convention of this State; For be the real cause of the adjournment to so late a day, what it may, the anti-federal party with us do not scruple to declare, that, it was done to await the issue of this Convention before it would decide – and add, that if this State should reject it, all those which are to follow will do the same; & consequently, the Constitution cannot obtain, as there will be only eight States in favor of the measure. –

Had it not been for this untoward event, the opposition in this State would have proved entirely unavailing, notwithstanding the unfair conduct (I might have bestowed a harsher epithet without doing injustice) which has been practiced to rouse the fears, and to inflame the passions of the people. – What will be the result now, is difficult [inserted: for me] to say with any degree of certainty, as I have seen but a partial return of the delegates, and not well acquainted with the political sentiments even of those few. – In the Northern part of the State the tide of Sentiment – I know – is generally in favor of the proposed system. – In the Southern part – I am told – it is the reverse. – While the middle, it is said, is pretty much divided. – The Kentucke district will have great weight in deciding this question; and the idea of its becoming an impediment to its seperation, has got hold of them; while no pains is spared to inculcate a belief that the Government proposed will – without scruple or delay – barter away the right of Navigation to the River Mississippi. –

The postponement in New-Hampshire will also, unquestionably, give strength and vigor to the opposition in New York; and possibly, will render Rhode Island more backward than she otherwise would have been if [strike-out] all the New England States had finally decided in favor of the measure.

Mrs. Washington joins in every good wish for Mrs. Knox, yourself & family, with

Dear Sir
Yr. Affecte. Friend & Obedt Sert
Go: Washington
The Honble Genl Knox
[docket] Genl Washing 30th March 1788. g. sparks
[inserted – diff. hand: Original No 16]

[address] The Honble. General Knox New York

Notes: Published in Twohig, Dorothy, et al. The Papers of George Washington. v. 6, pp. 182-3. Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George Washington. v. 29, pp. 449-50.