Connecticut Elects 168 delegates for State Conventioin

November 12, 1787

THE ELECTION OF CONVENTION DELEGATES

IV

The records of seventy-nine of the ninety-eight towns entitled to elect 175 delegates to the state Convention have been obtained and are printed below. Three towns did not act until 19 November, when Seffield and Woodstock elected delegates and Colebrook refused to do so. Most of the town clerks merely recorded the fact that delegates were elected, although Canterbury, Killingworth, Lebanon, and Stratford debated the Constitution, and in Woodstock there was a report of illegal voting.

Some towns did more than elect delegates. Of the seven towns that voted to approve the Constitution, three (Danbury, Greenwich, and Ridgefield) instructed their delegates to vote to ratify it. Of the seven towns that voted to disapprove the Constitution, Simsbury, and possibly Lebanon and Willington, instructed their delegates to vote against ratification. Preston instructed its delegates to vote either way, depending on whether or not the state Convention acted on the town’s detailed objection to the Constitution. Windham decided that it was not proper to “pass any vote” on the Constitution. A Norfolk committee advised against written instructions and suggested that “the whole matters” be left to the town’s delegates.

Twenty-four of the seventy-nine towns adjourned their 12 November meetings to a later date. For the most part, such adjournments permitted them to continue debate, to hear committee reports on the Constitution, and to accept of reject committee reports on instructions to delegates. In a few instances, the town clerks did not make complete entries in the town records, particularly for adjourned meetings. Some towns also conducted other business. Such material had usually been deleted from the documents printed below.

Most of the town records are transcribed from photocopies of the original manuscripts provided by the town and city clerks of Connecticut. The exceptions are the records of (1) Bristol from a printed town history; (2) Fairfield from a newspaper; (3) Canaan and Goshen from certified transcripts by the town clerks; and (4) Ashford, Southington, and Union from photocopies of the original manuscript records deposited in the Connecticut State Library. These exceptions are indicted in footnotes to the records of the towns concerned.

In addition to the town records, letters by Benjamin Gale and Robert Charles Johnson describe the meetings in Killingworth and Stratford. A speech by Benjamin Gale, which was possible delivered at the Killingworth town meeting, is also printed below.

Close to one-half of the delegates elected held important state offices. Among them were the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Chief Judge and the four judges of the Superior Court, seven members of the Council, sixty-seven members of the House of Representatives, and the three delegates to the Constitutional Convention Oliver Ellsworth, William Samuel Johnson, and Roger Sherman. Aside from New York, Connecticut was the only state to elect its entire Convention delegation to its state Convention.

Although complete returns were not published, seven Connecticut newspapers had reported partial returns by 22 November. The most complete were those in the Connecticut Journal on 14 and 21 November, which listed the names of 139 delegates. Although some of the delegates were from towns rejecting the Constitution, this fact was not mentioned. The Connecticut Courant was the only newspaper that indicates there was opposition. On 26 November a “correspondent” hinted that there would be “some Judases” in the Convention, but went on to express happiness that “some of the towns” had neglected “the wrong heads” who tried “to embarrass public measures by their narrow politics.” But it was not until 7 January 1788, two days before the state Convention ratified the Constitution, that the Connecticut Courant reported that some towns had instructed their delegates to vote against the Constitution.

Connecticut Federalists were reassured by the election returns. On 17 November, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. reported that he was “much pleased with the complexion of the election,” and on the 19th Ezra Stiles noted in his diary that 103 out of about 130 men were “Federal”. For out-of-state comments on the election, see Mfm: Conn. 35.

Except where another location is indicated, the documents referred to in this introduction are printed in this section.

Ashford

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and held at Ashford the 12th of November 1787, Benjn. Sumber, Esquire moderator.

Voted that the Constitution be read over again

Voted to choose delegates to attend the state Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Voted Simeon Smith, Esquire and Mr. Hendrick Dow be the delegates for the above purpose.

Voted to adjourn this meeting to the last Monday in December next at 9 o’clock.

{31 December} At a town meeting held by an adjournment from the 12th of November to the 31st of December 1787.

Voted to adjourn this meeting to Esquire [Isaac] Perkin’s bar room forthwith.

Bethlem

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Bethlem legally assembled on the 2d Monday of November 1787.

Daniel Everitt chosen moderator.

Moses Hawley chosen a delegate to meet in Convention at Hartford in January next.

The meeting dissolved.

Test, Moses Hawley, Register

Bozrah

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and holden at the meetinghouse in the town of Bozrah on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787.

Captain Isaac Huntington, moderator of said meeting.

Captain Issac Huntington was chosen delegate to meet in Convention to be holden on the first Thursday of January next in the city of Hartford to consult matters respecting the purposed Constitution of America.

Voted that this meeting be dismissed.

Test, Evener. Backus, Town Clerk

Bristol

{12 November} “At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Bristol assembled by special resolve of the General Assembly on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787 for the purpose of choosing a delegate to sit in Convention in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday in January next to ratify and assent to the Constitution proposed by the delegates of the United States lately assembled in the city of Philadelphia.

“Simeon Hart, Esquire chosen moderator to lead in said meeting.

“Zebulon Peck, Jr., Esquire chosen delegate by the major part of the members present.

“…voted to ratify the Constitution proposed by the Convention of delegates from the United States lately assembled at the city of Philadelphia by a majority as eight is to five nearly of the members present.”

Brooklyn

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and assembled November 12, 1787.

Seth Paine was chosen delegate to attend at the Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Canaan

November 12, 1787. At a town meeting legally warned and convened on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787

Colonel Charles Burrall was chosen moderator for the meeting.

Colonel Charles Burrall and Nathan Hale, Esquire, were chosen delegates to attend a Convention to be holden in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next for the purposes mentioned in a resolve of Assembly passed in their last sessions.

Voted that this meeting be dissolved.

Canterbury

November 12th 1787. At a legal meeting of the inhabitants of said town. Captain Asa Baron moderator.

Chose (by ballot) Asa Witter, Esquire and Captain Moses Cleavland delegates to meet in a Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday in January next agreeable to a resolve of the Assembly of this state in their October session.

This meeting then adjourned till Monday the 19th instant at one of the clock in the afternoon.

A true record of the doings of said meetings.

Test, Gideon Welles, Town Clerk

Colchester

{12 November} At a legal town meeting held in Colchester November 12th 1787, Asa Foot, Esquire chosen moderator.

The Reverend Mr. Robert Robins and Daniel Foot, Esquire were chosen delegates to represent this town in a Convention of delegates to be assembled in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Colebrook

November 12, 1787. At a town meeting legally warned and opened held in Colebrook in Litchfield County on the 12th day of November 1787 Mr. Daniel Eno chosen moderator of said meeting.

On motion whether the town would choose a representative to represent the town at the general Convention of the state to be holden at Hartford on January next.

Voted that the town will not choose a representative as aforesaid.

Voted that the swine belonging to the inhabitants of this town be admitted to run at large in the highways and commons till the twentieth day of May next.

Voted that this meeting be adjourned till the first Monday of December next to this place at one o’clock in the afternoon.

{3 December} At a town meeting holden in Colebrook by adjournment on the 3d day of December 1787.

Mr. Daniel Eno moderator of said meeting.

Voted that this meeting be dissolved.

Coventry

{12 November} At a town meeting (ordered by particular act of Assembly) legally warned and held at the meetinghouse in the First Society in Coventry on Monday the 12th of November 1787.

Jeremiah Ripley, Esquire chosen moderator.

Then Jeremiah Ripley, Esquire and Ephraim Root, Esquire were chosen delegates to meet in a state Convention to be holden at Hartford the first Thursday of January next.

Then was said meeting adjourned to the time of holding the annual town meeting.

{3 December} At an adjourned town meeting held on 3d day of December 1787.

Then voted to choose a committee to prepare instruction for the delegates lately chosen to meet in Convention at Hartford in January next and make report to the town at some future meeting.

Then was Major Elias Buell, Lieutenant Caleb Stanley, Captain Amaziah Rust, Captain Danl. White, and John Hale chosen a committee for the purpose above mentioned.

Then was said meeting adjourned to the 24th day of December instant.

Danbury

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned held in Danbury, November 12 1787, Captain Thomas Stevens chosen moderator.

At said meetings Messers. Elish Whittelsey and Joseph M. White were chosen delegates to represent this town in Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

The meeting by vote is adjourned to the first Monday of December next at nine of the clock, A.M.

Test, Major Taylor, Town Clerk

{3 December} At an adjourned town meeting held in Danbury 3d December 1787, moderator present.

At said meeting the question was put whether the town will up the matter of the new Constitution and discourse upon it. Passed in the affirmative.

At said meeting the question was put whether the town will instruct their delegates. Passed in the affirmative.

The meeting by vote instruct them to adopt the Constitution.

The meeting by vote dismissed.

Test, Major Taylor, Clerk

Derby

{12 November} At a lawful town meeting held in Derby November 12th 1787, Eliphalet Hotchkiss, Esquire chosen moderator of said meeting.

Captain Daniel Holbrook appointed 1st delegate to attend the state Convention to be holden at Hartford agreeable to resolve of the General Assembly.

Captain John Holbrook appointed 2d delegate to attend said Convention.

Voted this meeting be adjourned to the third Monday of December next at ten of the clock in the forenoon to this place.

{17 December} At lawful town meeting held in Derby December 17th 1787 by adjournment from November 12th 1787.

Said meeting dismissed without doing any business.

Durham

{12 November} At a special town meeting legally warned by the selectmen by order of the General Assembly at their sessions in October 1787 and holden in Durham on the second Monday of November being the 12th day of said November A.D. 1787.

At the same meeting by a major [ity] vote General James Wadsworth was chosen moderator.

At the same meeting the question was put whether you will accept and approve of the Constitution made by the Convention holden at Philadelphia in September 1787 and recommended by Congress to this state, voted in the negative by 67 and 4 in the affirmative.

At the same meeting by a major [ity] vote General James Wadsworth and Daniel Hall, esquires was chosen delegates to attend a Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Then by a major [ity] vote of the town, this meeting was dismissed.

East Haddam

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and held in East Haddam 12th November A.D. 1787.

For which meeting Captain James Green was chosen moderator.

At the same meeting General Dyar Throop, Esquire was chosen the first delegate for said town to attend the Convention to be held in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday in January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly at their last session.

At the same meeting Colonel Jabez Chapman, Esquire was chosen second delegate for said town to attend the Convention to be held in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday in January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly at their last session.

East Hartford

At a town meeting of the inhabitants of the town of East Hartford legally warned and convened on the 12th day of November 1787.

Voted Colonel John Pitkin be moderator of this meeting.

Voted Honorable William Pitkin be the first delegate to represent this town and elect members of Congress [Convention?] chosen by ballot.

Voted Elisha Pitkin, Esquire be second delegate to represent this town and elect member of Congress [Convention?].

Voted this meeting be adjourned without day. Adjourned accordingly.

A true record. Test, Jonathan Stanly, Jr., Register.

East Haven
{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and holden in East Haven on the 12th day of November 1787.

Voted that Captain Isaac Chidsey should [be] moderator of said meeting.

Voted that Mr. Samuel Daven port should represent the town of East Haven in a Convention to be holden to assemble in the city of Harford on the first Thursday of January next to conduct business relative to a Constitution recommended by Convention and Congress.

Voted that the meeting should be adjourned to the first Monday of December next at ten o’clock in the forenoon.

Test, Josiah Bradley, Clerk

East Windsor
{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of East Windsor legally held on the second Monday of November 1787.

Chose William Wolcott, Esquire moderator to conduct said meeting.

Chose the Honorable Erastus Wolcott, Esquire and Mr. John Watson delegates to meet in a Convention in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Voted that this meeting accept and approve the Constitution recommended by the Continental Convention.

Ellington

{12 November} At a town meeting held in Ellington on the second Monday of November A.D. 1787, Daniel Elsworth, Esquire chosen moderator. Mr. Ebenezer Nash was chosen delegate to represent said town in a Convention of delegates from the several towns in this state to meet at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next to take into consideration the Constitution agreed upon [and] reported by Convention of delegates from the United States lately assembled at Philadelphia and recommended to be transmitted to conventions of the several states for their assent and ratification.

{3 December} At a legal town meeting held in Ellington on the 3rd day of December A.D.1787.

Mr. Ithamer Bingham was chosen moderator.

Voted to adjourn to the 17th day of instant December at 10 o’clock in the forenoon.

{17 December} At an adjourned town meeting held at Ellington the 17th day of December 1787.

Question put to the town whether they approved of the proposed new Constitution recommended by the late Convention of the United States.

Voted in the negative.

Enfield

{12 November} At a legal town meeting holden at Enfield November 12th 1787, Eliphalet Terry, Esquire chosen moderator.

Agreeable to direction of the General Assembly holden at New Haven October 1787, we made choice of Captain Daniel Perkins and Mr. Joseph Kingsbery to represent the town in Convention to be holden at Hartford in January next on the first Thursday.

This meeting is adjourned to December 3d, 1787, at 9 o’clock.

{3 December} At an adjourned town meeting December 3d 1787l

There was no business transacted at said meeting.

Fairfield

{12 November} We have the pleasure to inform the public that [at] a very full meeting of the inhabitants of this town there passed an unanimous vote to send delegates to the Convention which is to be holden at Hartford in January next.

The Honorable Jonathan Sturges, Esquire and Thaddeus Burr, Esquire were appointed the delegates.

Farmington

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Farmington held by the legal voters on the 12th day of November 1787.

Voted that John Treadwell, Esquire be a moderator to lead in said meeting.

When the moderator represented said meeting that said meeting was warned on a recommendation of the General Assembly of this state to choose delegates to meet in Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next agreeable to the resolves of the Convention held at Philadelphia and Congress.

When the question was put, whether they would at this time proceed to choose delegates for said Convention, and voted in the affirmative 68 in the affirmative and 53 in the negative.

Whereupon voted that John Treadwell, Esquire and William Judd, Esquire were chosen delegates to attend said Convention.

This meeting by vote was then dissolved.

Franklin

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Franklin legally warned and convened at the meetinghouse in said Franklin November 12th 1787.

John Barker, Esquire was chosen moderator.

Eli Hyde was chosen delegate to attend the Convention of the state to be assembled in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Voted that this meeting be dismissed and it was dismissed accordingly.

Glastonbury

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and held in Glastonbury November 12th A.D. 1787, Jonathan Welles, Esquire chosen moderator.

After reading the Constitution lately drawn up by the Convention of delegates from the United States, the question was put whether this meeting would proceed to make choice of delegates to meet in a Convention to be held in the city of Harford on the first Thursday of January next and voted in the affirmative; and the moderator called upon the meeting to bring in their votes by ballot and they accordingly did, and Captain Joseph Moseley and Captain Wait Goodrich were chosen delegates by a majority of votes to attend said Convention,

Meeting dissolved.

Goshen

{12 November} At a town meeting held in Goshen November 12th A.D. 1787 pursuant to a resolve of the General Assembly at their session in October last; in order to attend a Convention to be holden at the city of Harford the [first] Thursday of January next. At the same meeting Mr. Daniel Miles, and Captain Asaph Hall were chosen delegates to attend said Convention.

Granby

{12 November} At a [special meeting of the?] inhabitants of the town of Granby assembled at the meetinghouse [in Salmon] Brook Society on the 12 day of November 1787, Colonel Ozius Petibone chosen moderatory. Captain Hezekiah Holcomb was chosen a delegate to attend the state Convention to be holden at the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next by the major part of the proxes of the inhabitants in said meeting.

Greenwich

{12 November} At a town meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Greenwich legally warned and holden in said Greenwich on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787. The town by vote made choice of General John Mead to be their moderator.

When the town voted by ballot for Amos Mead, Esquire and Colonel Jabez Fitch to be their delegates to represent them in Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next to assent to and ratify the Constitution recommended by the Federal Convention lately held at Philadelphia.

This meeting voted that they approve the doings of the Federal Convention lately held at Philadelphia and thereupon direct their delegates to use their influence in the Convention to be holden at Harford on the first Thursday of January next to establish and ratify the Constitution recommended by the said Federal Convention.

Further voted for this meeting to be dismissed.

Recorded by me, Jabez Fitch, Town Clerk.

Groton

{12 November} At a legal town meeting held in Groton, November 12th 1787.

Colonel Benadam Gallup chosen moderator of said meeting,

Mr. Joseph Woodbridge and Captain Stephen Billings were chose delegates to attend the Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday in January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly in October last.

Voted this meeting is dissolved.

Guilford

{12 November} At a town meeting held in Guilford, legally warned November 12th 1787.

John Burgis, Esquire was chosen moderator.

General Andrew Ward and Colonel John Elliot were chosen delegates to attend the state Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next to deliberate on the propriety of adopting the Constitution proposed by the Convention of delegates from the United States.

Test,Thos. Burgis, Jr., Town Clerk

Haddam

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Haddam legally assembled the 12th day of November 1787.

Joseph Brooks, Esquire chosen moderator.

Captain Cornelius Higgins and Doctor Hezekiah Brainerd were chosend delegates to attend the state Convention to be holden at Hartford the first Thursday in January next.

Hamden

{12 November} At a meeting of the town of Hamden on the second Monday of November 1787 pursuant to a recommendation of General Assembly of this state in their session in October last to choose a delegate to represent this town in a Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next to take into consideration the Constitution recommended by the late Convention of the United States of Philadelphia.

At the meeting aforesaid the question was put whether this town approve of the aforesaid Constitution. Voted in the negative: yeas 5, nays 73.

At the meeting aforesaid Mr. Theophilus Goodyear was chosen to represent this town in the Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Test, Simeon Bristol, Clerk

Hampton

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and held in Hampton on the 12th day of November 1787.

Isaac Bennet, Esquire chose moderator.

Amos Utley was chose a delegate to meet in a Convention on the first Thursday in January next in the city of Hartford according to the resolve of the General Assembly in September last.

Thomas Fuller, Elijah Walcutt, Philip Peairl, Ebenezer Hovey, Abner Ashley, James Stedman, James Howard, David Martin, Andrew Durke, Benjamin Durke, Thomas Stedman, John Brewster were choose a committee to consult on matters converning the Constitution reported by the delegates from the United States lately assembled in the city of Philadelphia and draw instructions for our delegate and make report to the adjourned town meeting.

Voted to adjourn the meeting to the third Monday in December next at one o’clock afternoon.

{17 December} At a town meeting held in Hampton by adjournment on the 17th day of December 1787.

Whereaas there was a committee chosen on the 12th day of November last to draw instructions for our delegate and make report to this meeting, and on this day made their report, and laid their instructions before the meeting.

Voted to accept of the instructions of said committee.

Voted to dissolve the meeting.

Hartford

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Hartford in the county of Hartford in the state of Connecticut (legally warned), holden at the usual place for town meetings in Hartford aforesaid, according to, and pursuance of, a certain special act and order of the General assembly of said state, in its session at New Haven, the 2d Thursday of October last. On this second Monday of November Anno Dom. 1787.

Voted, that Colonel Thomas Seymour be moderator of this meeting.

Voted, that Jeremiah Waddsworth and Jesse Root, esquires be delegates from the town of Hartford aforesaid to meet in a Convention of delegates, chosen or to be chosen in the several towns of this state, by the people thereof, to be holden at Hartford aforesaid on the first Thursday of January next for the purposes and business mentioned and referred to in the certain special act and order of the General Assembly of the state aforesaid in its session at New Haven, in October last, directing and appointing this meeting and the Convention aforesaid.

Voted, that this meeting be adjourned without day.

George Wyllys, Register

Hartland

{12 November} At a town meeting lawfully warned and met at the meetinghouse in the First Society in Hartland on the 12th day of November 1787.

They made choice of Major Urial Holms for their moderator, and also they made choice of Messers. Isaac Burnham and Mr. John Wileder for their delegates to attend the Convention at the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Hebron

{12 November} At town meeting legally warned and held in Hebron on the 12th day of November 1787, Captain Daniel Ingham, moderator.

At said meeting Captain Daniel Ingham and Elihu Marvin, Esquire were chosen delegates to represent said town in Convention at Hartford to be held on the 1st Thursday of January next, to take into consideration the new proposed Constitution agreeable to resolve of Assembly.

Test, Silvr. Gilbert, Clerk

Kent

{12 November} At a town meeting holden legal warning by the inhabitants of the town of Kent on the 12th day of November 1787.

Voted and made choice of Nathan Eliot, Esquire moderator.

Voted and made choice of Jedidiah Hubbel, Esquire delegate to attend the state Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Voted that this meeting is dissolved.

Killingly

{5 November} these are to warn all the inhabitants of said town, who have a right by law to vote in town meeting, to meet at the meetinghouse in the Middle Society in said town on Monday the 12th day of November instant at 9 o’clock in the forenoon to choose delegates to meet in a Convention to be holden on the first Thursday of January next in the city of Harford agreeable to resolve of the General Assembly Whereas the Convention of delegates from the United States lately assembled in the city of Philadelphia have reported a Constitution for said states, to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof, under the recommendation of its legislature for their assent and ratification, etc.

By order of the selectmen.

Samson Howe, Town Clerk

{12 November} Agreeable to the foregoing warnings, the inhabitants met at time, place and made choice of Mr. Eleazer Moffitt moderator [of] said meeting.

Then the proposed Constitution was read. Then voted and chose Samson Howe and Colonel Wm. Danielson, esquires delegates to attend the Convention to be holden in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday January next.

Voted to dissolve this meeting.

Recorded by me, Samson Howe, Town [Clerk]

Killingworth

{12 November} At a town meeting holden in Killingworth November the 12th A.D. 1787.

George Eliot, Esquire chosen moderator.

Pursuant to a resolve of the Honorable assembly of the State of Connecticut passed at their session at New Haven second Thursday of October last Theophilus Morgan and Hezekiah Lane, esquires were chosen delegates to meet in a Convention which is pursuant to said resolve to assemble in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Voted that said meeting be dissolved.

Test, Abraham Pierson, Town Clerk

Speech by Benjamin Gale, 12 November

At a town meeting appointed by act of Assembly 12 November 1787.

Gentlemen, We are summoned by act of Assembly to convene upon this day, and I should be glad to know what is the business of this meeting. Perhaps our representatives can explain to us what the business of this meeting may be.

I know it has been given out that we are called together to consider the new form of government, and that it is referred back to the people to say whether they will adopt it or reject it, but when I come to examine the act of assembly, you have no voice in the case. All our business, gentlemen, is to make choice of delegates to say whether you shall be made to submit to it or not, not whether you approve of it or not. That is not our business nor is it submitted to you.

The last Article of our federal Union says “The Articles of this Confederation shall be Inviolably Observed by every state and the Union shall be Perpetual, nor shall any Alteration at any time hereafter be made in Any of them, unless such Alteration be agreed to In [a] Congress of the United States, and be Afterwards Confirmed by the Legislature of Every State.” These Articles the people of these states have adopted and have sworn to support and maintain them, and by these Articles it was agreed that if any alteration was found necessary, Congress were first to agree to the alteration, and then afterwards that alteration was to have the sanction of the legislatures of every state. But now nine states shall bind all the rest to submission. But, gentlemen, this Convention has fobbed off our assemblies, just in the same manner as we are. It seems the Convention would not trust our assemblies to approve r reject their doings. They made us believe the assemblies had a right to judge of the matter, but, when all comes to all, our Assembly had no right to judge anything about it, but were permitted to order the towns to meet but not to judge or determine anything about the Constitution, but only to choose delegates for another convention in order to judge for you, not caring to trust either you or your representatives in our assemblies to judge in this matter. [The Convention] have left room for men of intrigue to get in such delegates elected for another convention as will answer their purposes, and the job will be done. This is the reason why, contrary to the Articles of Confederation, our assemblies might not be trusted to accept or reject this new Constitution, formed by our Convention, which without hesitation I openly declare and pronounce to be as dark, intricate, artful, crafty, and unintelligible [a] composition that I ever read or see composed by man; and, all the time, given to the people to consider of it to open their eyes or to be led into a right understanding of it by others. [But it] is not a fortnight from the rising of our Assembly to the time of choosing our delegates either to accept or reject it. This is another artful maneuver of our own domestic politicians thus to hurry on matters before the people have time to understand it so as to be able to make a judicious choice of delegates to act conformable to their own minds.

The State of Pennsylvania, where this scheme was first planned, immediately after the declaration of peace, have outdone us by far, and they even boast of it, and say “from the time the resolution of Congress was passed till its adoption by the State of Pennsylvania was only twenty hours. Such is the zeal of Pennsylvania to show her attachment to a vigorous, free, and wise frame of national government.” But, I must likewise tell you gentlemen, there were so many of that House that see through the whole scheme, and their unreasonable driving and pressing the matter before the people could have time to examine the new Constitution, that so many of the members withdrew from the House to prevent their hasty proceeding that there was not a quorum left so as to proceed upon business whereupon they procured some ruffians to go out and pick up so many of the members as to make a quorum, dragged them into the Assembly forcibly, and there forcibly held them until the rest passed upon the new Constitution by appointing the choice of delegates. This, gentlemen, might teach us, I should think, not to think very honorably either of this new Constitution or the rectitude of the Assembly of Pennsylvania. Our Assembly, it is true, did not proceed so violently, but those artful politicians so managed the matter that they have not left you a fortnight to weigh and consider of the most important affair that ever came before you. Doth it appear at all likely or probable, was there not some undue measure to be pursued, that such violent measure would be pursued by legislative bodies? You may perhaps, gentlemen, wonder what such men are driving at that. I will tell you gentlemen in plain English, and would the time admit, I can prove it. But this you all know. Congress have made a grant to the officers and army of a sum of money the annual interest of which sum is 99,000. The soldiers have been told the public securities given them were good for nothing, and they have sold them for 2 to 3 4 and 5/ on the*, and the present holders of those public securities thus purchased from the soldiers well know they can never prevail with our assemblies to pay them public securities tot the present possessors up to the nominal value. And the officers of the Army also well know that vote of Congress for their commutation was obtained by art and intrigue, by a pretended mutiny of the army just at the conclusion of the war, and then obtained by art and intrigue, be a pretended mutiny of the army just at the conclusion of the war, and then obtained in Congress but by a single vote, viz. of Colonel [Eliphalet] Dyer, which he immediately wrote up to our Assembly was extorted from him through fear. And they well know unless they alter our present for of government and convert it into a military government, they must and will finally lose their prize. Again, there are others who are promised to mount up higher in the saddle by promotion. All these combining have raised a mighty outcry of the weakness of the federal government, and they have continued it so long and so loud that many honest people are made to believe it. But, gentlemen, have not we the same power we ever have had; cannot every man recover his honest just dues. If any opposition is made to government, has not our sheriffs power to call to their assistance the militia to support him in the execution of his office, and is it not so in every state in the Union. Gentlemen, this outcry of the weakness of the federal government is only a specious pretense to cover the artful schemes of designing men who would recover their commutation securities and the notes purchased of the soldiers. And I know will make my objections to this new form of government planned out by this Convention.

My first objection is to the expense of it which at the same time doth not lessen our own, which must in fact crush the common people into the dust and reduce them to a state of vassalage and slavery. By the increase of the multiplicity of new offices and officers with such salaries as Congress gives them our ambassadors a salary of 11111 9/10 dollars per annum, exclusive of the expenses of their embassy, a large salary to their secretaries, 13000 dollars allowed to the President of Congress for to furnish his table, large salaries to the Secretary of War, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 1900 dollars each to 13 commissioners such as Mr. [William] Imlay at Hartford whose whole business may be executed in a month, etc., etc. And if this new form of government is adopted, a vast retinue of revenue officers must be appointed who must have ample salaries for the Southern States, who have 3, 4, 5, and six hundred slaves of their own, have high notions of things, and can bet more on a horse race than the value of one of our little farms. And 7 of the Southern States have 41 [38] votes in Congress, while 6 of the Northern States have but 27, and the disproportion will increase so that they can forever outvote us and have just what officers they please and load us with just what taxes they please.

And here gentlemen, I must acquaint you with what I presume you do not know that both our delegates in Congress voted against the Convention. I had it from Dr. [William Samuel] Johnson’s own mouth. He did not tell it to me in confidence, and therefore [I] speak of it openly, and he told me at the same time it would lay a foundation for a division in the Confederation.

My second objection is to the duplicity of the Articles themselves which are so artfully expressed and delegates greater power to Congress than by a common reader will readily be perceived, and seems to be artfully covered of design not to be understood. And I now will proceed to point out the passages severally.

Article 1. I shall consider section 1 and 8 together. My objections to them are our Congress is to consist but of 68 [65] members which will be of the higher class of people who know but little of the poverty, straits, and difficulties of the middling and lower class of men. I have ever thought we in this state had too many representatives, but I am now confirmed in my opinion that we have not. Every town and country, their true state and ability, ought to be known, especially in matters of taxation; and it is of great service likewise to guard against the intrigues of artful, crafty, and designing men, and even then they are not always discovered in their schemes, otherwise I am persuaded our Honorable Assembly would have given the people a little more time to have understood and considered of this new plan of government before we had been called together to choose our delegates.

Section 2, 3 paragraph. My second objection. There is but three ways to proportion the taxes of the states justly and equitably. The first is according to the 8th Article of our federal Union, but that method cannot be done to satisfaction of the states. The second is by the number of souls in each state the riches and strength of a state is determined by the number of the inhabitants it is capable of supporting. And the third way is by the number of square miles within its territorial jurisdiction. This is not so just and equitable as the other two. Consequently, I shall say nothing but with regard to the second, the first not being practicable. Here I will not only remark upon the injustice of this paragraph, but the art used to conceal the true meaning from common readers. Three-fifths of all other persons. Why could they not have spoke out in plain terms Negroes? Were they afraid of affronting the Negroes, or were they ashamed to exempt 3/5 of them from taxation [--] by outvoting. And here the language is uncertain and doubtful also I cannot say by the rules of grammar whether they are to included or excluded from taxation. But why must our apprentices in the Northern States be all taxed and included in the capitation and 3/5ths of the Negroes in the Southern States be exempted, where it doth not cost their masters so much to keep 10 of them, as it doth here in one of our Northern States to keep one genteel [--] horse.

I object also to the last paragraph of this section, to the small number of Representatives a mighty empire to have but 68 [65] Representatives to tax by duties, impost, excise, and direct taxation, and but 27 of them in the six Northern States, and to make laws for them likewise. I would ask you, gentlemen, whether you know of any 5 men in this state who should tell you they have a right to tax you as much as they please, to appropriate it as they please, and of the exorbitancy of their demands you have no constitutional liberty to judge. Not only to tax you by duties, impost, and excise but to levy direct taxes upon you, and these same five men also to make all laws respecting government of the state. And if you would think it impolitic to do it for this state separately, can you think it safe to trust it in the hands of five men when linked and fettered with 41 [38] Southern members who have no idea but that our day laborers may be treated just as they treat their African slaves.

The last clause of this paragraph limits the number of Representatives [to] 1 to 30 thousand. At present we are allowed 5, and there be 150 thousand inhabitants in this state to entitle us to five Representatives. So that when the number of our inhabitants are taken, after all our emigration to New York and Vermont, I suspect we shall not have more than 4 Representatives, if so many and can you think such a representation in Congress will be sufficient thus connected with and fettered with the Southern States, where they have such high notions; not only to tax us by duties, excises, and impost, but to make laws for us, when you see by their numbers they can force us to submit to 3 fifths of their slaves exempted. It seems to me, gentlemen, this alone might convince you of the impolicy of adopting this Constitution. While I am upon the subject of Negroes and the artful language they use to cover their meaning, I would object to the 9th section which is in these words: [Article 1,] section 9, [paragraph 1]. Why all this sly cunning and artful mode of expression unless to cover from your observation and notice that Negroes, was intended by the word persons, again used on this occasion, lest if should frighten people who may have some tender feelings and a just sense of the rights of human nature. What man, that has the feelings of a man, can once think it right to send our ships across the Atlantic to tear parents from their children, children from their parents, husbands from their wives, and wives from their husbands, stifle one-half of them in their crowded ships, and the remainder sell as we do our cattle to drag out the remainder of their lives in slavery, to be whipped and Iashed like horses, without being struck with horror and shudder at the deed? It might have been sufficient, one would have thought, not to have said anything about it in those articles of this blessed Constitution planed our for us by the Convention and hurried on to be established with as much precipitation as though the salvation of our soul depended upon our adopting it immediately. But it fills my mind with the highest resentment to read that they lay a restraint upon Congress that they shall not repractice of trading in bodies and souls of men for the space of 21 years yet to come. They need not have extended it to one-half of that time, if we adopt this system of government, of us will be slaves to all intents and purposes whatsoever without any trouble or expense of sending to Africa for slaves, for it is as perfect a system of slavery as I ever saw planned out by any nation, kingdom, or state whatever. For what have we been contending and shedding our blood and wasting our substance, but to support the natural rights of men. I am told our reverend clergy in general are much engaged to support in future preach and pray to the Africans that may be imported by virtue of this new Constitution. For my own part, any who vote for it, if I know them, will not offend my ears, neither with their prayers or preaching to the latest period of my life.

My next objection is to section 4-3 [Article I, section 4]. The plea has been, they wanted Congress to regulate trade, but it seems here again they make use of great art to disguise and conceal their meaning. They pretend to give us the right of election both of Senators and Representatives, and give our [state] representatives the right of elections of our Senators, but in section 4, which I have just now read to you, they tell us Congress may at any time alter both the time and manner, i.e., they may say none shall vote for Senators unless his annual income shall be worth 100 a year, and that when they may hold their seats during life.

Again under Article II, section 1 paragraph 3 they have another touch on election for they have been extremely careful to mix everything well that the reader might not have a full view of any one topic under one head, but they have so mixed and blended everything that it requires the greatest attention imaginable to comprehend all their meaning in its full extent and latitude.

Article II, section 1. Thus it is pretended as though we chose the President and Vice President or rather the King and his successor. But how do we choose them? Do our representatives in General Assembly choose them? No, by no means. That would not do. Article II, section 1. But our legislature must choose 7 Electors, i.e., as many Electors as we have Representatives and Senators, which for the present we are permitted to have 5 Representatives and 2 Senators so that after sifting the House we may perhaps get 7 men that may be trusted with the choice of a President or rather King, for the next 4 years, but if the election made by our representatives doth not happen to suit our Honorable Council, and they think he will not make pen to suit our Honorable Council, and they think he will not make a good Elector to choose a President for us or rather a King, they may negative the choice of our representatives, and if they cannot get those that will serve the turn, we must send a less number. To be short, all our pretended elections are so fettered and muzzled that I would as soon turn a copper for the choice as to pretend to elect, so that when we have once chose any officer, whether President or Senator, he is almost as much assured of being reelected, as though it was made hereditary. Indeed, I have rather have a hereditary King or President than an Elective King, as it will eternally embroil the states by schemers for the outs and ins, and lay the foundation of clamors, broils, and contentions that will end in blood.

My 4 objections is to [Article I,] section 6 [unto?] 7 paragraph and 2 Article [Article II, section 1, paragraph 7]. Congress never have informed the states what their civil list has been and I presume they never will and I have been told by a member of Congress, that is to say by one who has been a member of Congress, that I might never expect they will ever let us know. Indeed, Congress have as good as told us so in express terms. They have told us they have an absolute discretion to determine the quantum of revenue, of appropriating it when raised, and of the exorbitancy of their demands we have no constitutional liberty to judge. The fact is, gentlemen, they never have told us in full at any time what the annual expenses of the federal government is they never have told us what sums of money they have given away to individuals either as pensions or as presents, to show our grandeur and importance in our national character. Nor have they once told us what our quota of the public debt is, that we might fund it and make provision to pay the interest annually till the debt can be paid. They have told us that, by all we have paid, we never have lessened our foreign debt nor paid the interest of it, and they have further told us that what we do pay doth not pay the annual expenses of the federal government.

They tell us, it is true ([Article I], section 9, last paragraph but one), no money shall be drawn from the public treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law, and that expenditures shall be published from time to time. So they told us they would transmit to each state every half year all [the?] money they borrowed or emitted. Did they ever do it? I answer, no, they never did it once, not is it probable they ever will, and if you murmur or complain when you have taken the militia our of the hands of the governors, placed them under the President of Congress, and converted them into a standing army, and they can call them forth at any time either to subdue Wabash Indians or quell insurgents as they please, you may murmur, complain, or call for the public accounts as you will, you may as well content yourselves without complaining. Power once given up out of your hands never was given back again nor never was recovered back without shedding of blood. But, gentlemen, if you think you can pay such taxes to support this new federal government when it will not lessen the expenses of our own [state] government a single copper, I am content. I promise you as a Christian, when it is once established I will not resist the powers that be, nor will I recommend it to you therefore, by a friend and as Christian, to be very careful what powers you give up and very obedient when you have done it. This shall be the line of my own conduct.

My next or 5 objection is to the regulation of the militia and taking them from under the command of the several governors and converting into a standing army which is contained in these paragraphs:5 5 5 [Article I, section 8, paragraphs 15 and 16, and Article II, section 2, paragraph 1]. Upon this head I would only observe to you mankind, vile as they be, see the necessity of civil government and will submit to all reasonable laws and all reasonable demands of taxes to support that government, and whenever there are any stubborn refractory mortals that will not submit to civil government there are always men enough, when properly called upon, to support the civil magistrate in the execution of laws. But if the laws are oppressive and arbitrary, the public demands above the ability of the people to pay, they will eternally kick. You may depend upon it in a country governed by a standing army who carry with them the instruments of death if they are governed at all. But to take the militia of the state out of the command and from under the direction of our governors, place them under the President of Congress, which reduces our governors to the quality of drill sergeants only to discipline our militia, and fit them for the President of Congress to subdue either Wabash Indians or quell insurgents in the County of Hampshire true, it may save the states of the expense and trouble of declaring war against the Wabash Indians [and] in [the] future in these Northern States, when our militia, trained and well disciplined, will be ready to execute their commands. A mild government, gentlemen, wants no military force to support it, and an arbitrary and oppressive government doth not deserve it.

My 6th objection is to the 9 paragraph in the 8 section under the 1 Article and unto 1 section in the 3 Article, for I must skip about to look them up were they have scattered them in order to render them more mysterious and unintelligible, which should have been connected together if they intended they should be understood. 6 6 [Article I, section 8, paragraph 9 and Article III, section 1]. Here they tell us of a Supreme Court to be erected somewhere, but they don’t tell us where and that they shall have a compensation for their services, but they don’t tell us how much and that they shall hold their seats during good behavior, by that I understand as long as they live or, at most, until some fitter tool to serve their purposes shall appear to oust them and that their salaries shall not be diminished and that Congress shall have power to erect inferior tribunals under the Supreme Court of their appointment. Now, gentlemen, the designs of thse paragraphs is that these courts appointed by this newfangled Congress shall eat up our courts, of which our representatives have now the right of appointing the judges annually and if it would eat up all the lawyers likewise, if they would expunge that paragraph of the Negroes, I should be tempted to vote for all the remainder. If we cannot by this Constitution eat up the lawyers, they will soon eat us up.

I will now, gentlemen, finish my objections by my 7th and last objection, although I could spin them our with great propriety to 20 or 30 more, which is to the 2 paragraph of the 3 section under the 4 Article. 7[Article IV, section 3, paragraph 2]. I have reserved this for the last, as it is the butt cut for art and intrigue. Now, gentlemen, is there one in 40 of you that would judge this paragraph was a complete deed and absolute grant of all our western territory. They have taken care that we do enable them, if we adopt this new Constitution, that we resign into the hands of Congress the impost, excise, duties, and a power to tax us for as much more as they want, and to make all necessary laws to regulate them matters, to appoint their supreme and inferior courts, to eat up ours, and we take our militia out of the hands of our governors, reducing our governors into the quality of drill sergeants, [and] convert our militia into a standing army.

Benjamin Gale to William Samuel Johnson
Killingworth, 13 November (excerpt)

We yesterday met to choose delegates. There was about 150 voters present, and we chose 2 delegates to meet in Convention. One was chose by 14 votes and the other had 13. All the others would not vote at all and are really against it, but you gentlemen of the [Constitutional] Convention have fobbed off our Assembly and the people nicely.

Lebanon

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Lebanon warned by the selectmen, to be holden at the usual place, on Monday the 12th of instant November at 1 o’clock, P.M. to choose delegates to meet in Convention at Hartford on the 1st Thursday of January next, to take into consideration the late report of the Continental Convention, agreeable to a recommendation of the General Assembly of this state at their session in October last, and do any other business proper to be done at said meeting. Warning dated 1st November 1787.

Being met on said Monday, the 12th of November 1787, accordingly, they made choice of Wm. Williams, Esquire, moderator.

The act of the General Assembly, recommending the choosing such delegates, and appointing the day to ch[o]se them, or the same number as they have right to choose for representatives, etc. was read, and then, on motion.

The Constitution, agreed on, reported, and recommended by the late Convention of delegates from all the United States (Rhode Island excepted) held in Philadelphia, the last summer, for the purpose [of[ revising, amending, etc. the Confederation, and which is to be subject of the consideration, for adoption or not, of the proposed Convention at Hartford, etc., together with the letter of the Philadelphia Convention, accompanying the same, to Congress, and the act of Congress recommending the same to be laid before the legislatures of the states, were distinctly and audibly read in this meeting.

And after observations on the propriety of proceeding at this time, it was on the question voted that they will now proceed to the choice of two delegates to attend the Convention at Hartford.

And thereupon the ballots being given in, it appeared Colonel Wm. Williams, Esquire was chosen first delegate for the purpose; and the ballots being called and taken for the other, and being sorted and counted, no choice was made. And then being called and given in again, and sorted and counted, it appeared Captain Epm Carpenter was chosen.

Several motions were then made, relative to the town’s showing their sentiments, as to their approbation and adoption of the proposed Constitution or not, and as to instructing their delegates, adjourning the meeting, etc. Objections were made, etc.

And a question agreed to, was put in whether the town are now ready and prepared to show their minds on the merits and approbation or disapprobation of the new proposed Constitution. And on a division of the house, a majority were in the affirmative, but a large number appearing in the negative, the motion for proceeding to act on it at this time was waived and given up.

And on further motion, the question was put whether this meeting should be adjourned to Wednesday the 21st day of November instant at 1 o’clock, P.M. at this place with a view then and there to show their minds, as to approving or not the said Constitution and to instruct their delegates, if they think proper. And was voted in the affirmative and the moderator dissolved said meeting to be adjourned accordingly.

{Recorded?} per Wm Williams, Town Clerk

{21 November} At an adjourned town meeting, holden as per adjournment last before entered, holden at the meeting house in 1st Society Wednesday, 21 November 1787 (a very rainy day).

Being met, etc. on motion the new proposed Constitution was (again) distinctly read; and it was moved that some printed pieces, against and in favor of said Constitution, should be read, but the motions were waived and withdrawn.

It was then moved to try the question whether they give instructions to their delegates chosen at the last meeting relating to said Constitution. The motion in giving any instructions was objected to and urged pro and con. And the question being put was resolved in the affirmative (14 con, the rest for it).

Then moved that the minds of the town be tried whether they approve said Constitution, and agreed that it should be tried by years and nays. And being tried in that way, they resolved and voted that they do not approve said Constitution.

Yeas were 13. Nays were 49.

They then on motion voted to choose a committee to prepare and draw instructions for their delegates relative to the same, to be laid before the town at the time to which this meeting shall be adjourned.

And thereupon they made choice of Messrs. Elka [Elkana] Tisdale, Esquire, Captain Danl. Tilden, Dr. Those. Williams, Mr. Oliv. Huntington, Captiain [Nath.?] Williams, Colonel [Jon.?] Mason, Captain Danl. Dunham, Mr. Silus Clark, and Major Elijah Hyde a committee for that purpose.

And then on motion voted that this meeting shall be adjourned to the day of holding the annual town meeting in December next, to hear and consider said instructions. And the moderator declared it to be adjourned accordingly.

{10 December} At an adjourned town meeting on the day of the annual town meeting from the 12th November 1787 and adjourned to 21st. November and from thence again adjourned to this 10th day of December 1787, after the annual town meeting, the meeting opened for the purpose of hearing and considering the instruction, directed at the last meeting to be prepared for the delegates appointed to attend the Convention at Hartford 1st. Thursday of January next, etc.

Wm. Williams, moderator.

It was moved that considering the last meeting was holden on a stormy day, and but few attended, that the question for approving or disapproving the new proposed Federal Constitution might be reconsidered and tried again. Which motion was agreed to, all professing to give so important a question the most candid consideration. And to thereupon they voted to reconsider the vote passed at the last meeting disapproving said Constitution.

And the question was again considered and was argued pro and con; and the question being called for, and to be tried as before by yeas and nays, and being taken, there appeared to be forty-one in favor of and eighty-one against approving the said Constitution, and was declared in the negative, accordingly, by the moderator.

Then the instructions, prepared by the committee appointed at the last meeting, were called for, laid in and twice distinctly read and considered.

The question was put whether the town do approve and pass the said draft as their instruction to their delegates appointed to attend the state Convention at Hartford, 1st Thursday of January next, and

And the meeting voted and was declared to be dismissed.

Lisbon

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and holden in Newent Society to choose a delegate by ballot to meet in Convention at Hartford the first Thursday of January next pursuant to a late act of assembly. Elisha Lathrop, Esquire, moderator.

The Reverend Andrew Lee was chosen by ballot to meet in Convention the first Thursday of January Next at Hartford agreeable to a late requisition of Assembly.

Test, Jedh. Burnam, Town Clerk

Litchfield

{12 November} At a general meeting of the people of Litchfield qualified by law to vote in town meetings being previously warned and regularly convened in said Litchfield on the 12th day of November 1787. The Honorable Oliver Wolcott, Esquire chosen moderator.

Pursuant the special recommendation of the Honorable General Assembly in their lat sessions at New Haven: The Honorable Oliver Wolcott, Esquire and Mr. Jedidiah Strong were chosen delegates to attend the Convention proposed to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January 1788 to take into consideration and decide upon the Constitution for the United States, as reported by the Federal Convention lately assembled in Philadelphia to Congress, and thereupon transmitted to the said legislature to be submitted to such state Convention agreeably to the resolves, etc. accompanying the said proposed Constitution.

The meeting dissolved by adjournment, sine die.

Mansfield

{5 November} The inhabitants of the town of Mansfield who by law are qualified to vote in town meeting are hereby warned to meet at the meetinghouse in the First Society in said town on the second Monday of November instant at one o’clock in the afternoon, then and there to act on the following articles, viz.:

1. To choose a moderator to reside in said meeting.

2. To choose delegates, as provided by a law of this state, to attend on a general Convention of the delegates from the several towns in this state, to be holden at Hartford, the first Thursday of January next, for the purposes of accepting and ratification of a Constitution, recommended to the people of these states by a Convention of delegates held at Philadelphia the summer past.

3. To see if said inhabitants will take any measure to recover from the town of Simsbury in this state the expenses arisen on said inhabitants by the late sickness of Mary Basset, an inhabitant of said town of Simsbury.

Exp Storrs, Jabez Barrows, Jr., Samuel Thomson, Amaza. Wright, Selectmen.

{12 November} Town meeting, November 12th 1787.

John Salter, Esquire, moderator.

Con Southworth [and] Mr. Natha Attwood, delegates.

Adjourned to the first Monday in December next at 2 o’clock, P.M.

{3 December} Adjourned to the 3d Monday December instant at nine o’clock morning.

{17 December} December, 3d Monday (17th day) 1787.

Said meeting opened, and the question was put whether said inhabitants do approve of the new proposed Constitution.

Resolved in the negative.

C. Southwth, Clerk

Middletown

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of Middletown held by special order and warning from the selectmen of said town the 12th day of November 1787.

John Dickinson, Esquire was chosen moderator.

Voted that this meeting be adjourned one-quarter of an hour, and to be held at the meetinghouse. Met and opened according to adjournment.

This meeting by ballot chose Asher Miller and Saml H. Parsons, esquires, delegates to meet the general Convention at Hartford in January next.

Voted that Major George Phillips, Elijah Hubbard, Esquire, Matthew Tallcott, Esquire, Jno. Dickinson, Esquire, Mr. Elihu Stow, Captain Jared Shepard, Captain Saml. Chamberlain, Evenr. Bacon, Esquire, and Mr. Francis Clark to a committee to give instructions to the delegates chosen this day to meet in general Convention in Hartford in January next.

A true record Test, B. Fisk, Town Clerk

Montville

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Montville legally warned and held the 12th day November 1787 by order of Assembly.

Joshua Raymond, Esquire, moderator.

Mr. Joshua Raymond, Jr. chosen delegate to attend the Convention to be holden in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

Test, John Raymond, Jr., Town Clerk

New Hartford
1787 November 12th. At a legal meeting of the inhabitants of New Hartford the following votes were passed, viz.:

Voted Colonel Aaron Austin be moderator.

Voted Colonel Aaron Austin and Mr. Thomas Goodman be our delegates to meet the delegates from the several towns in this state at Hartford in January next, etc.

Voted to dissolve this meeting.

New Haven

{12 November} At a meeting of the town of New Haven holden in New Haven on the 2d Monday of Novemebr 1788 [i.e., 1787] agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly in October last, directing each town in the state to make choice of delegates to attend at Hartford in the Convention directed by said Assembly, to be holden on the 1st Thursday of January next, to take into consideration the Constitution lately made by the Convention of the United States at Philadelphia.

This town by vote made choice of the Honorable Rodger Sherman and Pierpoint Edwards, esquires, delegates to attend said Convention for the purpose aforesaid.

This meeting adjourned without day.

New London

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of New London November 12th 1787 for the purpose of choosing delegates to meet in a Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next, agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly.

John Deshon, Esquire, moderator.

Honorable Richard Law, Esquire [and] Mr. Amasa Learned were chosen delegates.

New Milford

{12 November} At a legal town meeting of the inhabitants of New Milford lawfully warned and holden on the 12th day of November 1787.

Colonel Ssaml. Canfield was chosen moderator for said meeting.

And Daniel Everitt and Colonel Saml. Canfield were chosen delegates to attend the Convention to be holden at Hartford in January next in conformity with a resolve of the General Assembly of this state on the 12th day of November 1787 [17 October].

And lastly this meeting was dissolved by vote.

Recorded per, E[lisha] Bostwick, Register

Newton

Federal

{30 October} In pursuance of a resolve of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut in America, holden at New Haven in said state on the second Thursday of October A. Dom. 1787 notice is hereby given to the inhabitants of the town of Newtown, who are qualified by law to vote in town meetings, to meet on the second Monday of November next at the town house in said Newtown at 9 o’clock in the forenoon in order to choose delegates to meet in a Convention of delegates to be assembled on the first Thursday of January next in the city of Hartford, agreeable to the recommendation and for the purposes as mentioned in said resolve of Assembly and to transact any other business necessary and proper to be done in said meeting.

Newtown, October 30th A.D> 1787

William Edmond, Davd. Baldwin, Selectmen in behalf of said Newtown selectmen

{12 November} The meeting legally convened and opened according to law and agreeable to the foregoing notification.

Voted at said meeting that Mr. Nehemiah Strong be moderator of said meeting.

Test, Caleb Baldwin, Town Clerk

Put to vote whether this town will instruct their delegates in Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next, voted in the affirmative.

Test, Caleb Baldwin, Town Clerk

Voted at said meeting that the meeting shall now proceed to choose delegates to attend said Convention.

Voted at said meeting that General John Chandler shall be the first delegate to said Convention. Voted at said meeting that John Beach, Esquire shall be the second delegate to attend said Convention.

Voted at said meeting that this meeting do rescind their former vote relative to instructing their delegates.

Test, Caleb Baldwin, Town Clerk

Norfolk

{12 November} At a legal town meeting in Norfolk on the 2 Monday of November A.D. 1787, Captain M[ichael] Mills chosen moderator for said meeting.

Voted and chose Mr. Asahel Humphry and Doctor [Hosea] Humphry delegates to attend the Convention at Hartford according to act of Assembly on the first Thursday of January next and voted [to] give written instructions to said delegates and voted and chose Captain Ariel Lawrance, Dudley Humphry, Esquire, Matthew Phelps, Major Giles Pettibone, Nathl Peaser, Hosea Willcocks, and Captain M. Mills a committee for the purpose aforesaid.

Voted to adjourn the meeting to first Monday of December next at 0 of clock in the forenoon.

{3 December} At a town meeting legally holden by adjournment from the 1nd Monday of November. A.D. 1787 the committee advise to leave the whole matters with the delegates and not give any written instructions to them, but to leave it with them to act as they shall think best.

The meeting voted to accept the committee advice.

Voted to dissolve the meeting.

Norwalk

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Norwalk on Monday the 12th day of November 1787.

Colonel Thomas Fitch, Esquire chosen moderator.

At the same meeting Major Hezekiah Rogers and Samual C. Silliman, Esquire were chosen delegates to meet in a Convention at Hartford in January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly in October last.

This meeting is Dismissed.

Norwich

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants, legal voters of the town of Norwich, legally warned and holden on the second Monday of November 1787.

General Jedidiah Huntington is chosen moderator.

His Excellency Samuel Huntington, Esquire and General Jedidiah Huntington, Esquire are chosen delegates to represent this town in a state Convention to be holden in Hartford on the first Thursday of January next for the purpose of taking into consideration the Federal Constitution proposed by a Convention of delegates from the United States, lately assembled in the city of Philadelphia and to act thereon as their wisdom shall direct, agreeable to the resolve of the General Assembly of this state at their sessions in October last.

Test, Benj Huntington, Jr., Town Clerk

Pomfret

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Pomfret legally convened on the 12th day of November 1787.

John Williams, Esquire was chosen moderator for said meeting.

And Jonathan Randall, Esquire and Deacon Simon Cotton were chosen delegates to meet in a Convention in the city of Hartford on the third day of January next.

Then the meeting was adjourned to the third Monday of December next at nine o’clock in the morning.

Attest, John Trowbridge, Town Clerk

{17 December} Meet by adjournment and dissolved.

Test, Josiah Sabin, Town Clerk

Preston

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Preston legally warned and held in said Preston South Society the 12th day of November A.D. 1787.

Dean. Huntinton [Deacon Andrew Huntington] was chosen moderator of said meeting.

The question was put whether this town will choose delegates to meet at Hartford to attend the state Convention in the usual way of choosing representatives.

Voted in the affirmative.

Colonel Jeremiah Halsey and Mr. Wheeler Coit were chosen delegates to attend the Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly at their session in October last.

The question was put whether this meeting will give instructions to the delegates above chosen.

Voted in the affirmative.

Voted by this meeting to choose Benjamin Coit, Esquire, Colonel Saml. Mott, Major Nathan Peters, Elias Brown, and Oliver Crary, esquires, a committee to draw up instructions for the delegates chosen in this meeting and exhibit said instructions in open town meeting on a future day.

Voted to adjourn this meeting a fortnight from this day then to meet at this place 12 o’clock on said day.

Entered by, Daniel Morgan, Jr., Town Clerk

{26 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Preston legally warned and held in said Preston, South Society be adjournment November 26th A.D. 1787.

Deacon Andrew Huntington was moderator of said meeting.

Voted to give the delegates chosen by this town to attend the state Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next the following instructions, viz.:

Colonel Jeremiah Halsey and Mr. Wheeler Coit.

Gentlemen: We the inhabitants of the town of Preston legally convened in town meeting having made choice of you, delegates to represent us in the Convention of this state to meet at Hartford in January next to consider of the Constitution proposed to be established in the United States by the late Federal Convention held in Philadelphia, and as we consider ourselves deeply interested and also our posterity in the matter of the proposed Constitution to which for us you are to assent or dissent, we esteem it our right and our duty to instruct you in our opinion and desire on this important subject. It is our arden wish that an efficient government may be established over these states so constructed that the people may retain all liberties, privileges, and immunities usual and necessary for citizens of a free country and yet sufficient provision made for carrying into execution all the powers vested in government. WE are willing to give up such a share of our rights as to enable government to support, defend, and preserve the rest. It is difficult to draw the line. All we agree that the people should retain so much power that if venality and corruption should prevail in our public councils and government should be perverted and not answer the end of its institution, viz., the well being of society and the good of the whole, in that care the people may resume their rights and put an end to the wantonness of power. In whatever government the people neglect to retain so much power in their hands as to be a check to their rulers, depravity and the love of power is so prevalent in the humane mind, even of the best of men, that tyranny and cruelty will inevitably take place, and the people will be undeceived too late. We agree that the people of these states have no energetic common compact or national existence strictly speaking, and in that respect they are as a number of individuals nearly in a state of natural liberty, and we believe it would be for the benefit of the people that a system of government should take place that we may enjoy national advantages and assume some national importance; but individuals should move with caution in giving up their individual and natural rights to society. Tis much easier to give more power into the hands of the government when more is necessary than to recover back where to much is already given. The want of attention to these maxims has enslaved almost all the nations of the world. When we view the compact or Constitution proposed to these states, we have the following objections to its acceptance without alteration, viz.:

1st. The unfrequent elections, the smallness of the representation, and the long continuance of power in the senatorial body after having been elected by a sort of secondary delegates and ultimately the power of election lodged in very few hands.

2nd. We object to the power of direct taxation without limitation or restraint being lodged in Congress, unless, upon trial, it should be found that the other resources about to be given to the legislative should be found inadequate to the exigencies of government. We do apprehend that the disposition of the avails of all the unappropriated territories of the United States, and having ample power for the regulation of trade, levying imposts, excises, and all kinds of duties on luxuries, etc. will be sufficient means in the hands of government for discharge [ing] the debts and supporting the dignity of the Union. If on trial we should find ourselves mistaken in this particular, it will be time enough in future to grant such further aid as shall be found necessary. We have not forgot the wormwood and the gall of an eighty-years severe and bloody war and all to defend our liberties and retain some pittance of property in [our?] hands that we might call our own, and now after every other means of revenue is [lodged?] in the hands of the federal government that those who are nigh and also those very distant from the seat of government should indiscriminately have their polls and freehold taxed also without having proper intelligence of the necessity of the tax, we fear would alienate the minds of the people from their system of government. It would render the sever assemblies of the different states and also their executives of little or no consequence, and leave as utterly without means of discharging the enormous load of debt incurred in the late war as individual states, and also destitute of resources for supplying government in our separate political existence.

3rd. We object to the mode of appointing the judges of the Supreme and other judicial courts so far as respects the duration of their appointment. Their continuance in office pursuant to their appointment ought, in our opinion, to be periodical and new appointments ought to take place as often as the new elections of the representative body of the legislative. Any longer term of holding the judicial powers are inconsistent in a free country.

4th. We find by the provisions [of the] fifth Article in the proposed Constitution that by a proposal of the legislative of the federal government, passed by two-thirds of that body, three-quarters of the separate state legislature are enable [d] to make any alterations in the Constitution. To all intents and purposes this power thus vested enables the several legislators to change the form of government at pleasure without ever consulting the people. We ever supposed legislative bodies chosen for the purpose of making laws and not for the purpose of altering the original compact of the people. Neither can they transfer the power of making laws to any other persons whatever.

5th. We observe that the right of trial by jury in civil causes is not secured in the federal courts. This is repugnant to the custom handed down from our ancestors and always set easy on the people and esteemed as a privilege.

These, gentlemen, are our sentiments, and these are our objections. If you find, when your join the Convention at Hartford on the matters which turn up in view, that there is a prospect of ratification of the Constitution proposes with some of the most material alterations here mentioned, we willingly would give our assen on them conditions. If there be no prospect of any alterations, but it must be accepted or rejected as it now stands, we trust from your candor you will peruse these our sentiments with deliberations, and we doubt not you will give your assent or dissent as you shall really think will terminate for the best good of the people of these states.

The question was put whether this meeting will do anything at this time respecting a division of this town. Voted in the negative.

Voted that this meeting be adjourned without day.

Entered by, Daniel Morgan, Jr., Town Clerk

Ridgefield

{12 November} At a town meeting held in Ridgefield on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787 agreeable to and in pursuance of a resolve and recommendation of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, for the purpose of choosing delegates to meet at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next, for the purposes of adopting or rejecting the Constitution proposed by the Convention and recommended by the Congress of the United States.

Mr. Timothy Keeler was chosen moderator of said meeting.

Colonel Phillip B. Bradley and Captain Nathan Dauchy were chosen delegates by ballot as abovesaid.

Voted unanimously that this meeting do approve of the Constitution made by said Convention and recommended by the Congress, and that their delegates are instructed to declare the voice of the people of this meeting at their meeting aforesaid at Hartford.

Voted also that said meeting is dismissed.

Attest, Ben, Smith, Town Clerk

Salisbury

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and holden at Salisbury November 12th 1787. Voted that Colonel Joshua Porter be moderator of this meeting.

Voted that Hezekiah Fitch, Esquire be our first and Colonel Joshua Porter our second delegate for Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next agreeable to resolve of Assembly passed at New Haven in October last.

Voted that this meeting be dissolved.

Sharon

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and held in Sharon the 12th day of November 1787.

David Downs, Esquire was chosen moderator of this meeting and Augustin Taylor clerk pro tempore.

At the same meeting Mr. Josiah Colman was chosen first deputy to represent the town at the state Convention to be holden at Hartford in January next to consider and weigh the proposed new Federal Constitution and whether to adopt it or not, and Mr. Jona. Gillet chosen the 2nd Deputy.

Voted this meeting dissolved.

Simsbury

{12 November} At a special town meeting of the inhabitants of Simsbury legally warned held in the First Society in said town on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787.

Captain Elisha Graham was chosen moderator of said meeting.

Colonel Noah Phelps and Daniel Humphrey, Esquire were chosen delegates for the Convention of the State of Connecticut to convene at Hartford in the county of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

And it was proposed to and taken into consideration by said meeting [whether] it would be advantageous to this and the other United States of America to adopt the new Constitution agreed upon by the Federal Convention lately held at Philadelphia. And after deliberating on the subject, it was voted by said meeting that it was the sense and opinion of the same that to adopt said proposed Constitution would institute and erect and aristocracy which they fear would end in despotism and tyranny and extinguish or nearly absorb our ancient charter privileges ever sacred and dear to us, and that instead of lessening our taxes and burdens, it would greatly increase and augment them and finally prove destructive of our most invaluable liberties and privileges. Therefore, this meeting do instruct their said delegates to the Convention of the State of Connecticut to be convened at Hartford on the 1st Thursday of January next to use their endeavors to oppose the adoption of said Constitution as it is now proposed.

Then dissolved this meeting.

Somers

{12 November} At a town meeting held in Somers on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787 Joshua Pomory moderator.

Deacon Joshua Pomory and Colonel Abiel Pease chosen delegates to attend the Convention to be held at Hartford on the first Tuesday [sic] of January next.

Southbury

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Southbury assembled (agreeable to warning given by the selectmen on a recommendation of the General Assembly held at New Haven on the second Thursday of October A.D. 1787) on the 12th day of November, 1787.

Captain Ebenezer Smith was chosen moderator.

On the desire of several members of the meeting, the Constitution proposed by the late Convention at Philadelphia for the United States of America was read, together with the letter to Congress from General Washington, the resolve of Congress on the subject, and the recommendation of the said General Assembly for a Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next on the matter of said proposed Constitution.

After sundry observations, the meeting proceeded to choose of delegate to represent this town at said Convention at the city of Hartford, and by ballot they made choice of Colonel Benjamin Hinman for that purpose.

The meeting then adjourned to the second Monday of December next at the meetinghouse in the Society of Southbury, at ten of the clock in the forenoon.

December 10th A.D. 1787. The meeting opened according to adjournment.

Being the day of the annual town meeting, adjourned to Thursday the 20th instant at three of the clock afternoon.

December 20th 1787. The town met according to adjournment from the 10th instant to consult on the subject of the new Constitution proposed by the late Convention at Philadelphia, for the United States of America. The matter being in some degree discussed.

The question was put by the moderator to the members present, separately, whether they would wish to have said Constitution adopted or not.

Passed in the affirmative, nem. Con.

The meeting was then dismissed.

Southington

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Southington (who have a right by law to vote in town meetings) legally warned and held on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787.

Captain John Curtiss chosen moderator.

At the same meeting Captain John Curtiss and Mr. Asa Barns were chosen delegates to attend a Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next according to a late resolve of Assembly.

The same meeting adjourned to the second Monday of December next at three o’clock in the afternoon.

Stonington

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and held in Stonington November 12th 1787.
Major Charles Phelps and Nathl. Minor, Esquire was chosen delegates to attend the Convention to be holden at the city of Hartford gates to attend the Convention to be holden at the city of Hartford on the first Thursday in January next.

Attest, P. Chesebrough, Register

Stratford
Town Meeting Records

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and convened at the town house in Stratford on the 2d Monday, the 12 day of November 1787 for the purpose of choosing delegates to meet at the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next, in order to consider of, assent to, and ratify the Constitution of government made and submitted to the respective states by a late Convention held in the city of Philadelphia for that purpose Major Agur Judson moderator of said meeting.

Upon motion the meeting was adjourned to the meetinghouse in the First Society.

The Constitution with the letter accompanying the same and the resolves of the General Assembly being read and duly considered,

The meeting then proceeded by ballot and made choice of Wm. Saml. Johnson, Esquire and Elisha Mills, Esquire delegates to meet in Convention at Hartford for the purpose aforesaid.

Robert Fairchild, Town Clerk

Robert Charles Johnson to William Samuel Johnson
Stratford, 12 13 November (excerpt)

This afternoon I spoke in the town meeting. I observed the outlines of the declamation you read. I chained down the attention of numerous audience for upwards of three-quarters of an hour. Silas Hubble [Hubbell], at the beginning of the debate, made a motion “that as I had been much with you, I should be requested to deliver my sentiments of the Constitution.” The proposition was laughed at and rejected. I was then determined I would speak. Major [Joseph] Walked held me by the arm, said I should ruin everything. I stayed till the moderator called for the votes. I then broke from him, jumped over the seats, mounted the pulpit stairs, and succeeded beyond by expectations, equal to my wishes. I closed with “launching and empire on the sea of glory” amidst a general clap of applause. Everyone shook me by the hand, told me I was an honor to Stratford, to myself, I merited my name. I went to hand in my vote. The moderator, Major [Agur] Judson, rose from his seat, shook me by the hand, said “he publicly thanked me for the information and pleasure I had given I was an honor to Stratford.” The selectmen unitedly requested I would [preserve?] the chain of my arguments that they might print [them]; it was a pity they should be lost after making such an impression. Can I not, sir, as I have once deluded them by declamation and rounded periods, again further deceive them and make an impression upon others. I have already told them I could only give them the sense of the speech. Can I not now, by writing the outlines of declamation and by close logical reasons intermingled, submit it to men of sense and confirm my reputation? I have the strongest prepossession in my favor and have only to exert my abilities to give a shading to the picture to bear the test of examination.

Tuesday morning [13 November].

Sir, please to write me as soon as convenient as the selectmen have already called on me for a copy of my speech. I am very sensible of its weakness as delivered; but cannot I give it the heightening of reasoning? You, sir, and Esquire [Elisha] Mills are chosen. I should certainly have been elected had not everyone been persuaded from my information that you would attend. Esquire [Daniel] Bennet and myself were exactly balanced, and had I had intriguing on my side, should have carried it against Esquire Mills. Forgive, sir, this effusion of vanity. I am sensible it will not bear examination. The speech neither deserved it, and I ought not therefore to be elated with the applause of the mob, but permit me to give indulgence to my feelings for a moment, and I flatter myself that it will tend only to increase my application, that if possible I may not be undeserving of the excellent education you have given me.

Suffield

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and convened at Suffield on the 2d Monday in November 1787, for the purpose of appointing delegates to attend the Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday in January next, to ratify or not the new Constitution recommended by the late Convention of the United States.

Major Elihu Kent appointed moderator.

The meeting adjourned to next Monday at 9 clock forenoon.

{19 November} 3d Monday in November 1787. Met according to adjournment and made choice of Messrs. Alexander King and David Todd to attend the Convention as delegates in behalf of said town.

Thompson

{5 November} Agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly, these are to warn all the inhabitants of the town of Thompson who are qualified by law to vote in town meeting to meet at the South Meting House in said town on Monday the 12 of this instants November at one of the o clock afternoon in order to choose a delegate to attend the Convention to be holden at the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next for the purpose mentioned in the resolve of the Convention and Congress and any other business that resolve the Convention and Congress and any other business that may be thought proper to act on said day by order of the selectmen.

Jacob Dresser, Town Clerk
{12 November} Agreeable to the warning, have meet at time and place and after reading [the Constitution?], voted and chose lieutenant Amos Carrill moderator for said meeting.

The [n] voted [and chose?] Major Daniel Larned a delegate to represent thee town of Thomspson [in the?] state Convention.

Then dissolved said meeting by a vote.

Test, Jacob Dresser, Town Clerk

Tolland

[12 November] At a legal town meeting held in Tolland November 12th 1787 Captain Ichabod Hinkley was chosen moderator of said meeting.

Doctor Jeremiah West and Colonel Samuel Chapman were chosen delegates to attend the general Convention to be convened at Hartford on the first Tuesday [sic[ of January next.

Benoni Shepherd, Town Clerk

Torrington

[12 November] At a town meeting held in Torrington, November 12th 1787 by order of the General Assembly.

Voted that captain Amos Wilson be moderator of said meeting.
Voted that General Epaphra Sheldon and Mr. Eliphelit Eno be delegates to attend the Convention to be held at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next as per order of Assembly.

Voted that those persons that have not showed their minds in respect to the doings of the Convention have liberty to enter their names and the side that they are of, whether for or against it, at General Sheldon , Mr. Noah North, or Mr. David Sopers between this or on the annual town meeting day next whether they are for approving or disapproving, and anyone that have approved or have disapproved may change as they please between this or on town meeting day as aforesaid.

Voted that the meeting be adjourned till the annual town meeting in December next and was adjourned accordingly.

{3 December} Opened according to adjournment, and the yeas and nays rec[eive]d and some names entered and then dissolved.

Union

{12 November} At a town meeting held by a legal warning of the inhabitants of the town of Union on the 12 day of November 1787, Captain Abijah Sessions chosen moderator.

Voted to choose Captain Abijah Sessions a delegate to represent this town at the Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly holden at new Haven on the 2d Thursday of October 1787.

Voted to dissolve this meeting. This meeting.

Recorded by me, Soln Wales, Town Clerk.

Voluntown

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitant[s] of Voluntown legally warned and held in said town on the 12th day of November A.D. 1787. Benjamin Dow was chosen moderator.

At the meeting above, said Benjamin Dow and Captain Moses Campbell was chosen delegates to attend a Convention to be holden at Hartford in the State of Connecticut on the first Thursday of January next.

Wallingford

{12 November} At a special town meeting in Wallingford, November 12, 1787.

Chose Eliakim Hall, esquire moderator of said meeting.

Chose Colonel Street Hall and Samuel Whiting, Esquire delegates to meet in a Convention on the first Thursday of January next in the city of Hartford for the purpose of considering the Constitution recommended by the Convention and according to the recommendation of the General Assembly.

A true record. Test, Elisha Whittlesey, Jr., Register

{18 December} At an annual town meeting in Wallingford, December 18, 1787.

Chose David Hall, Esquire moderator of said meeting.

Voted, that this meeting will not proceed to take the Constitution into consideration this day.

Washington

{12 November} At legal town meeting held at Washington, November 12th 1787. John Whittlesey, Esquire was chosen moderator.

Voted, and John Whittlesey and Danl N. Brinsmade, esquires were chosen to attend the state Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January 1788 for said town of Washington.

Voted to dissolve said meeting.

Recorded per, D N Brinsmade, Register

Watertown

{12 November} The town meeting convened agreeable to a notification of the selectmen.

Colonel David Smith was chosen moderator.

Thos. Fenn, Esquire and David Smith, Esquire were chosen delegates to attend the Convention to be held in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next for the purpose of taking into consideration the Constitution recommended by the General Convention lately held in Philadelphia.

Voted to dissolve this meeting.

Wethersfield

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Wethersfield legally assembled and held on the 12th day of November 1787 agreeable to a resolve of the Honorable general Assembly at their session in October last.

Stephen Mix Mitchell, Esquire was chosen moderator.

At said meeting Stephen mix Mitchell and John Chester, esquires were chosen delegates to meet in Convention at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next for the purpose mentioned in said resolve.

Willington

{12 November} At a town meeting legally holden in Willington on the second Monday of November A.D. 1787.

Chosen captain Timothy Pearl moderator of said meeting.

At said meeting chosen Mr. Caleb holt and Captain Seth Crocker delegates to attend a state Convention to be holden in the city of Hartford on the first Thursday of January next agreeable to a resolve of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut at their last session.

{3 December} At a town meeting legally held in Willington December the 3rd, 1787 for the election of town officers for the year ensuing.

Chose Moses Holmes, Esquire moderator for said meeting.

At said meeting voted to give instructions to the delegates appointed to attend the state Convention.

Voted to reject the new proposed Constitution.

At said meeting voted that the delegates to Convention be instructed to act agreeable to the vote of the town.

At said meeting voted that the above vote for instructing the delegates to Convention be reconsidered.

{1 January} At a town meeting holden in Willington January 1st, 1788.

Chose esquire [Moses] holmes moderator for said meeting.

At said meeting voted that this town disapprove of the new proposed Constitution as it now stands.

Winchester

{12 November} At a meeting of the town of Winchester holden on Monday the 12th day of November A.D. 1787.

Voted Robert McCune moderator for said meeting.

Voted to adjourn this meeting into the house of Lieutenant [Samuel] Hurlbut.

Voted to proceed according to the resolve of Assembly in appointing a delegate or delegates to attend the Convention in January next.

Voted Ensign Rover McCune delegate to attend the Convention in January next.

Voted to dissolve this meeting.

A true recod. Test, E[liphaz] Alvord, Town Clerk

Windham

{12 November} At a town meeting legally warned and holden at Windham, November 12th 1787, Colonel Eliphalet Dyer moderator.

Colonel Eliphalet Dyer and Colonel Jedidiah Elderkin were chosen delegates to attend a state Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next, to take under consideration the new Constitution proposed by the General Convention.

Voted to adjourn this meeting until the next annual town meeting.

{10 December} The town meeting adjourned from the 12th of November last is now opened.

Colonel Eliphalet Dyer moderator.

Voted to adjourn this meeting until the last Monday in December instant.

December 31st met according to adjournment and took into consideration the Constitution proposed by the Federal Convention, and, after a very able and lengthy discussion of the subject, the town resolved by a large majority that, as the proposed Constitution was to be determined on by a state Convention, it was not proper for this town to pass any vote on the subject; and, after choosing James Flint, Jr. constable and collector of town rates in the room of John Fitch, who refused to serve, dissolved the meeting.

Test, Hez Ripley, Town Clerk

Windsor

{12 November} At a town meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Windsor lawfully warned and held in Windsor First Society meetinghouse on the second Monday of November Anno Dom 1787.

Mr. Silvanus Griswold was chosen moderator to conduct said meeting.

The Honorable Oliver Elsworth and General Roger Newberry, esquires were chosen delegates to represent the town of Windsor at the Convention to be holden in the city of Hartford on the first Thrusday of January next for the purposes mentioned in a resolve of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut holden at New Haven on the second Thursday of October last.

Woodbridge

{12 November} At a town meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Woodbridge by order of the General Assembly on the 2d Monday of November 1787.

Voted John Dibble, Esquire be moderator of said meeting.

Also voted captain Saml. Osborn and Lieutenant Saml. Newton be delegates to the Convention to meet at Hartford in January next.

Woodbury

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Woodbury, November [12].

Daniel Sherman, Esquire chosen moderator.

Voted that this meeting approve of the system of government recommended by the Convention of the United States.

Samuel Orton and Daniel Sherman chosen delegates to the [Convention] to meet at Hartford.

Woodstock

{12 November} At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Woodstock regularly warned and assembled on the 12th day of November 1787, pursuant to a resolve of the General Assembly of this state at their sessions at new Haven in OCtover last for the purpose of choosing delegates to attend the Convention to be holden at Hartford on the first Thursday of January next.

On motion the new Constitution was read, and largely and warmly debated until t he dusk of the evening came on. An adjournment was proposed and was seconded; and after much debate and opposition thereto, said meeting was adjourned to Monday the 19th day of said November.

{19 November} And meeting according to adjournment, the meeting being uncommonly full and after some further debate on the Constitution, the moderator called for the votes for the first delegate; which were brought in, sorted, and counted. And the moderator was made choice of Mr. Stephen Paine for their first delegate. And the votes were called for, for a second delegate, brought in, sorted, and counted, and the moderator declared they had made choice of Deacon Timothy Perin for their second delegate. And many of the members immediately dispersed. But soon after the choice was then made, it was represented that the choice was not legal by reason that sundry persons who were present at said meeting and presumed to vote for delegates who were not legal voters. And one person then present being called upon and examined, he confessed he did vote in said meeting who had neither list nor estate in said Woodstock, neither had lived in the town for four years, and how was since been presented by the grand jury and has secured his fine to be paid, as the law requires.

Commentaries on the Elections, 13 26 November

Ashbel Baldwin to Tillotson Bronson

Litchfield, 13 November (excerpt)

The new Constitution is out; the eggshell is broke but tis impossible as yet to determine how it is relished. Yesterday members for a state Convention were appointed. It was a day “big with the fate of Cato and of Rome.” There will be powerful oppositions to it in Connecticut. But the struggles against it in Virginia and Pennsylvania are violent. The Southern papers are red hot; nothing is said on either side but “Firebrands, Arrows, and Death.” I am alarmed at the consequence of its being either received or rejected; the majority will not be sufficiently large on either side for a subject of such vast consequence. The members of state Convention in Litchfield are avowedly in favor of it. The yeas and nays in several adjacent towns were taken, and a great majority against it, and member appointed accordingly. In short we are much divided; anarchy, I am afraid, is approaching. But why should we be anxiously troubled? “Whatever is is right.” What would it avail us if we knew what our situation would be; it could neither alleviate nor mitigate our sufferings. The most influential characters in New York are against the Constitution.

Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. to Jeremiah Wadsworth Lebanon, 17 November (excerpt).

I thank you for the information in you last. I am much pleased with the complexion of the election. We have some doubtful characters this way, but in general I believe Federal. Colonel [Elihpalet] Dyer and [Jedidiah] Elderkin, I am told, have their objections. Our friend Moses [Cleaveland] is from Canterbury with a Mr. [Asa] Witter. Plainfield, I am informed, has good men. Lisbon have parson [Levi] Hart, but he refused. Colchester, you know, [have?] elected Parson [Robert] Robbins. It seems you are to have a [synod?] of Bishops, our brother [William] W[illia] ms says very improperly. I tell him the clergy are interested, as well as other men, if not so quences of a well regulated government and I would proscribe no set of [men?].

Montville it would seem don’t trust their Black Prince or his son a Mr. [Joshua] Raymond, [Jr.] (a Federal man) represents that town. [Jeremiah] Halsey and a Mr. Wheeler Coit from Preston.

You query whether Suffield can elect on an adjourned day. I think clearly not no more than representatives can be chosen on any other that the stated freeman’s meeting days.

My brother W[illia] ms, I think, will find himself on very [trickle?] ground. Among other objections, the consolidating idea has catched his noddle. He is afraid of being swallowed up at one gulp.

Oliver Wolcott, Sr. to Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

Litchfield, 18 November (excerpt)

Your favor by the last post has been received together with a list of delegates chosen in the county of Hartford and in return for which I have sent you a list (so far as I have been informed) of the delegates chosen in this county, together with their opinions relative to the new Constitution as far as they are known. I think that every town in this county will eventually accede to the adoption of the proposed Constitution except Sharon and Norfolk. Every member chosen in Fairfield County will support it except Major Baldwin of Newtown, and perhaps he, upon further information, will change his opinion. In New Haven County I hear that they are much divided. How the elections turn out in the eastern counties I have had but little information of, tho I suppose the Constitution will be adopted by this state without much opposition.

As to General [James] Wadsworth, you need give yourself no concern about him. His duplicity is, I believe, pretty well understood. He certainly will not be employed in his office of comptroller nor is any other that has any resemblance to it later than next May. An no more notice of Wadsworth than what the course of business renders indispensably necessary. It will be for your credit and interest to be thought to despise him. He undoubtedly would be willing to do you an injury, but it will not be in his power. I believe that I never knew a man whose hypocrisy was so [indelibly?] incorporated into the very substance of his soul and body as his is, but let him alone. That will be the worst punishment you can inflict upon him, for as he is perfectly ignorant, let him continue so.

P.S. The man it may be or it may not be is deeply distressed at his being chosen delegates. It exposes him in the extreme of being obliged to say yes or no. George is terribly mad at it and says he told their folks not to do so. It seems the new Constitution was expected to throw the state into violent [parties?] and some good was hoped from it by men of affected moderation. George has been talking very violently against the Constitution to no purpose. His brother, Hydracephalus, says nothing, but looks mad.

Connecticut Courant, 26 November

A correspondent remarks that all good men must be pleased with the prospect that this state will adopt the federal government without altercation or the violence of party. The Convention, notwithstanding some Judases, will be composed of the most respectable men in the state men venerable for their age and abilities, and possessed of the public confidence.

He remarks further that the choice of the people evinces their sense of the magnitude of the object on which the delegates are to decide, and he is happy that some of the towns have spirit enough to neglect the wrong heads that are using thief influence to embarrass public measures by their narrow politics.

The principal towns acted, at the election, with uncommon unanimity in favor of the Constitution. In many of them there was scarcely a dissenting voice; particularly in those where the people have the best means of information.

In other towns, it is expected that positive instructions in favor of the Constitution will be given to the delegates at the annual December meeting.

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