John Jay and the Constitution

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A correspondent says, “his Excellency John Jay, (a gentleman of the first rate abilities, joined to a good heart) who at first was carried away with the new plan of government, is now very decidedly against it, and says it is as deep and wicked a conspiracy as has been ever invented in the darkest ages against the liberties of a free people. In New—York it goes by the name of the gilded trap, and very properly, for when we find men of the first abilities and best intentions at first taken with it, how very artfully must it be drawn up and glossed over, and who will then wonder that General Washington or any body else, should have signed it in Convention. The Governor of New—York is very active against it, and will not call the Assembly, who in that case will not meet this some months, in the mean time the people there will have time to think for themselves on this important subject.”

B. John Jay to John Vaughan New York, 1 December

Mr. OSWALD, I send you an extract of a letter I have received from Mr. Jay, which I beg you will insert in your paper.


Philadelphia, 7th Dec. 1787.

“New—York, 1st Dec. 1787.

“Dear Sir, I thank you for your obliging letter of the 24th ult. enclos—ing a paragraph respecting me in Mr. Oswald’s paper of the same date. You have my authority to deny the change of sentiments it imputes to me, and to declare, that in my opinion, it is adviseable for the people of America to adopt the constitution proposed by the late Convention. If you should think it expedient to publish this letter, I have no objections to its being done.


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