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ment rather than of an increased Federalist strength. During this adjournment another town, Middletown, changed its instructions. It had approved of ratification only if the amendments submitted by the first session of the convention became a part of the Constitution, with an additional amendment proposed by the town. Now it directed unconditional ratification. The town's two delegates had voted for the recess at the first meeting of the convention, but now followed the new instructions. The convention assembled on Saturday afternoon, May 29, and ratification was carried at 5:20 by 34 to 32. The Portsmouth delegate had remained obdurate, but, besides the change from Middletown, two others who had favored the recess now voted to ratify, and three did not vote, one of whom was from Portsmouth. The general opinion was that many others would have voted favorably but for their instructions, and that in time there would have been considerable change in these instructions; but time was precious and the majority sufficed. As the vote was so close, it was probably figured before the test was made; because rejection would have been more perilous than further delay.

The formal ratification begins with the many itemed bill of rights, and proceeds: "Under these impressions, and declaring, that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid, are consistant with the said constitution, and in confidence that the amendments hereafter mentioned, will receive an early and mature consideration, and conformably to the fifth article of said constitution, speedily become a part thereof; We . . . do by these presents, assent to, and ratify the said Constitution." 67 This they did "in full confidence nevertheless" that until the desired amendments had become a part of the Constitution, various things respecting the militia, elections, and taxes would not be attempted by Congress.

The great event was not without its augury. At precisely the time (as later ascertained) that the president of the convention announced the vote, a salmon weighing exactly thirteen pounds leaped from the Pawtuxet River into a fishing boat.68 Providence had the news of the ratification at 11:00 o'clock Saturday night and began its celebration at once. The Boston Independent Chronicle, printing the famous cartoon of the "pillars of the New Roof" brought down to date, invoked the muse, so often employed as an outlet of feeling during the formative period:

'Tis done! 'tis finished! guardian UNION binds,
In voluntary bands, a Nation's minds:

Behold the DOME compleat, the PILLARS rise

Phode Island,

Krepost June 9th 1790


I had on the 29

"Ille the Satisfaction of adduping

you after the Ratification of the Constitution of the Unitia Statis of America by the Convention of this strate. Shave

now the

Items of Incloving the Ratification as then agreed upon by the
Convention of the People of this State; the Segislature is
Ffeim in this Town,

in this Town, an Appointment of Senators will undoubt- etly take place in the present "Week, and from what appears to be the Jense of the Legislature, it may be expected that the Gentlenen be appointed will Immediately praceed to take their seats in the Senate of the United States.



I have the Honor to be with greate

her. Your obest humble levant Damil Owen p

President of the United States



From the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress

Earth for the BASIS, for the ARCH the skies!
Now the new world shall mighty scenes unfold;
Shall rise th' imperial Rival of the old;—
And Roman Freedom tread the Western Soil,
And a new Athens in the Desert smile.

O happy land!-O ever sacred Dome

Where PEACE and INDEPENDENCE own their Home:
COMMERCE and TILLAGE, hail the Queen of Marts
Th' Asylum of the world, the residence of ARTS. 69

The measures necessary to give practical effect to the ratification were put through at once. On June 7 all the state officers and legislators took the national oath, and all the amendments proposed by Congress, except the second, were approved. The legislators in grand committee "agreeably to the usage in the choice of state officers" elected the two senators. One, Theodore Foster, was a Federalist, or Law and Order man, the other, Joseph Stanton, an Antifederalist, but of known integrity and trusted throughout the state. They took their seats on June 25. The election of the state's representative was to be at town meeting on the last Tuesday in August. If no one had a majority, at the second election "the votes of the freemen shall be given only for such of the persons voted for at the first election as had the greatest number of votes, and the whole number of which votes make a majority of all the votes given in by the freemen at the first election."70 The third trial if necessary was to be between the two highest. Only one election was needed; Benjamin Bourne had a majority. He took his seat at the third session. Meanwhile, on June 14 and 23, Congress passed the acts to bring the state under the national laws.

* * *

The Wayward Sisters had returned in peace. After March 4, 1789, the proclamations and sessional laws of Rhode Island had no longer ended with "God save the United States." "God save the State" became the plea, except that Governor Collins' thanksgiving proclamation (for the same date as that by Washington) rang with "God save this State and the other States of America lately united under the same confederation." Now, however, the old appeal was restored; and "God save the United State" was echoed in Washington's heart as he replied to Governor Fenner's announcement of the ratification by Rhode Island: "Since the bond of Union is now complete, and we once more consider ourselves as one family, it is


499 much to be hoped that reproaches will cease and prejudices be done away; for we should all remember that we are members of that community upon whose general success depends our particular and individual welfare; and, therefore, if we mean to support the Liberty and Independence which it has cost us so much blood and treasure to establish, we must drive far away the dæmon of party spirit and local reproach." "1


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The Thirteen Links were once more in circle; the new Union complete, organized, and in successful operation. The future was bright. As Jefferson wrote Lafayette: "The opposition to our new constitution has almost totally disappeared. if the President can be preserved a few years till habits of authority & obedience can be established, generally, we have nothing to fear." 72 John Brown, representative from the Kentucky district of Virginia, as a legislator was equally optimistic: "Indeed our public affairs in every department go on so smoothly & with such propriety that I entertain sanguine hope that the present Government will answer all the reasonable expectations of its friends. Judgment impartiality & decision are conspicuous in every transaction of the President & from the Appointments which he has made there is every reason to expect that the different Departments will be conducted with Justice & Ability.'



NOTE. All manuscripts, unless otherwise specified in the first reference to them in each chapter, are in the Library of Congress.


1 Constitution, Art. VII.

2 Mass. Hist. Soc., Knox MSS., 22. 73.

3 Writings (Fitzpatrick ed.), 30. 9.

4 Cont. Cong., Journals, 34. 281.

5 Farrand, Records, 2. 665.

Journals, 34. 304.

7 Burnett, Letters from Cont. Cong., 8. 761.

8 Ibid, 767.

• Washington Papers, 241.

10 Burnett, Letters, 7. 378.

11 Ibid, 8. 789.

12 Knox MSS., 22. 118.

13 Ibid, 119.

14 Journals, 34. 396.

15 Knox MSS., 22. 120.

16 Burnett, Letters, 8. 785. 17 Ibid, 786.

18 Writings, 30. 33.

19 Burnett, Letters, 8. 784.

20 Hist. Mag., 16. 350. 21 Washington Papers, 241. 22 Writings, 30. 52.

23 Works (Lodge ed.), 8. 195. 24 Burnett, Letters, 8. 778. 25 Washington Papers, 241.

1 Jefferson Papers, 45. fol. 7747.

2 N. H. State Papers, 21. 443.

3 Pa. Packet, Nov. 13, 1788.

Works, 8. 484.

5 Mass. Hist. Soc., Sedgwick Papers.

King, Life and Corresp., 1. 345.

26 Writings, 30. 100.

27 Burnett, Letters, 8. 773.

28 Hist. Mag., 16. 350.

29 Pa. Packet, Aug. 22, 1788. 30 Madison Papers, 10. fol. 23. 31 Pa. Packet, Sept. 2, 1788.

32 Washington Papers, 241. 33 Writings, 30. 91.

34 Ibid, 62.

35 Madison Papers, 10. fol. 21.

36 Jefferson Papers, 44. fol. 7591.

37 Hist. Mag., 16. 350, 351.
38 Madison Papers, 9. fol. 87.
39 Pa. Packet, Sept. 16, 1788.
40 Journals, 34. 495.

41 Ibid, 515.

42 Madison Papers, 9. fol. 108.

43 Burnett, Letters, 8. 795.

44 Madison Papers, 10. fol. 10. 45 Knox MSS., 22. 148.

46 Madison Papers, 9. fol. 108. 47 Washington-Madison Papers, 96. 48 Laws of N. Y. (1792 ed.), 2. 308. 49 Writings, 31. 261.


7 Mass. Hist. Soc., Knox MSS., 23. 74.

8 Boston Independent Chronicle, Jan. 22,


Pa. Packet, March 7, 1789.

10 Sedgwick Papers.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Hamilton Papers, 7. fol. 942.
15 Washington Papers, 242.
16 Madison Papers, 10. fol. 53.

17 Works (Lodge ed.), 1. 572.

18 Hamilton Papers, 7. fol. 935.

19 Knox MSS., 23. 126.

20 N. Y. House, Journal, July 1789, 21.

21 King, Life and Corresp., 1. 355.

22 Chicago Hist. Soc.

23 Washington Papers, 242.

24 Madison Papers, 10. fol. 11.

25 Ibid, 27.

20 Lloyd, Pa. Gen. Assembly Debates, 4. 180-189.

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