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Extract of a Letter From New York dated December 7th

Massachusetts Centinel

December 19, 1787

Extract of a letter to the Printer of this paper, from his correspondent at New-York, dated Dec. 7, 1787.

“The copy of the objections of Col. Mason to the federal Constitution–which I sent you a few weeks since, I obtained from a certain antifederal character, in this city–who, it since appears, like a true anti-federalist, omitted one objection, which was the principal in Col. Mason’s mind–and which he well knew, would, if published in the northern States, be an inducement to them to accept of the Constitution. I shall only remark on this his Machiavelian conduct–that the enemies to the Federal plan, ought no longer to complain of deception–The article omitted, and which you may rely, is authentick, is as follows, viz.

“By requiring only a majority to make all commercial and navigation laws, the five southern States (whose produce and circumstances are totally different from that of the eight northern and eastern States) will be ruined; for such rigid and premature regulations may be made as will enable the merchants of the northern and eastern States not only to demand an exorbitant freight, but to monopolize the purchase of the commodities at their own price, for many years; to the great injury of the landed interest, and impoverishment of the people: And the danger is the greater, as the gain on one side will be in proportion to the loss on the other. Whereas requiring two thirds of the members present in both houses would have produced mutual moderation, promoted the general interest, and removed an insuperable objection to the adoption of the government.”

Source: : The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution Digital Edition, ed. John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, Richard Leffler, Charles H. Schoenleber and Margaret A. Hogan. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009.

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