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Significant Collection of the Worcester Magazine, Publisher Isaiah Thomas’ Protest against Advertising Tax. Filled with News of Shays’ Rebellion, and Federalist and Anti-Federalist Essays
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In 1785, the state of Massachusetts instituted a stamp tax on newspapers but soon replaced it with a tax on newspaper advertisements. To protest the tax on advertisements, Thomas suspended his weekly newspaper, Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy; or, the Worcester Gazette, at the end of March 1786. In April 1786, Thomas began publishing the Worcester Magazine, which was not subject to the tax, as a substitute for the Massachusetts Spy. Although a magazine in name, the Worcester Magazine continued the same kind of news as Thomas had printed in his newspaper. Its most valuable features were political pieces and “intelligence,” including essays for and against the new proposed U.S. Constitution. It also included a series entitled “The Worcester Speculator” (16 essays from September 1787 to March 1788), along with agricultural articles, medical notes, recipes, anecdotes, and other items.

Thomas continued publishing the Worcester Magazine for twenty-four months (approximately 104 issues) until Massachusetts repealed the advertising tax effective in March 1788, then Thomas resumed publishing the Massachusetts Spy on April 3, 1788. The Worcester Magazine includes extensive coverage of the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention to consider the proposed federal Constitution, which met from January 9 to February 6, 1788.

Ownership signatures of “Coln E. Crafts” on some issues indicate they belonged to Ebenezer Crafts (1740-1810). Crafts was born in Connecticut and graduated from Yale College in 1759. He purchased a farm and built a tavern in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. During the Revolutionary War, he commanded a company of cavalry as captain. From 1785 to 1791, Crafts led a regiment of cavalry from Worcester County, Massachusetts, and he helped suppress Shays’ Rebellion in 1786-1787. He was one of the founders of Leicester Academy in Leicester, Massachusetts, and later moved to northern Vermont, where he helped found Craftsbury, which was named after him.

ISAIAH THOMAS. Magazine. Worcester Magazine, 56 issues from September 1786 to March 1788. Worcester, MA: Isaiah Thomas. Each issue approximately 16 pp., 5½ x 9½ in.

Inventory #24829       Price: $8,500

Worcester Magazine (1786-1788) was a weekly magazine published in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831). To protest a state tax on newspaper advertisements, Thomas suspended his weekly newspaper, Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy; or, the Worcester Gazette, at the end of March 1786 and began publishing the Worcester Magazine, which was not subject to the tax, as a substitute. Thomas published the Worcester Magazine until Massachusetts repealed the advertising tax in March 1788.

This collection includes 56 issues:

1786: Numbers 24-26, 30-37, 39 (12 issues)

1787: Numbers 43-44, 3:6-15, 17-25, 4:1-13 (34 issues)

1788: Numbers 4:16-17, 19-26 (10 issues)

“The Worcester Speculator”: Numbers 2, 4-9, 12-16


Specific damage to the following issues—Second Week of September 1786: 3 x 3 in. tear to lower right/left corner of pp. 289-90; Fourth Week of October 1786: 2 x 1 in. tears to pp. 355-360, 2 x 4 in. irregular tear to top center of pp. 361-62; Fourth Week of December 1786: lacking back cover; Fourth Week of January 1787: 1-2 in. loss across top of back cover page; First Week of February 1787: lacking front and back cover; First Week of July 1787: lacking front cover; Fourth Week of August 1787: lacking pp. 291-94; First Week of October 1787: lacking front cover and pp. 13-16; Fourth Week of December 1787: lacking back cover; Fourth Week of January 1788: lacking front cover; First Week of February 1788: lacking front cover, loss of 1 x 7½ in. portion of right/left margin of pp. 235-36, barely affecting text; Second Week of February 1788: lacking front cover; First Week of March 1788: lacking pp. 301-2; Second Week of March 1788: lacking front cover; Fourth Week of March 1788: lacking pp. 341-42 and back cover.  Generally Good or better condition.

Highlights and Excerpts:

Second Week of September 1786

Proceedings of Congress, August 8, 1786

Resolved, That the board of treasury endeavor to negociate with the legal proprietor of West Point, on Hudson’s river, the purchase of the same for the United States, on an equitable appraisement, together with so much land contiguous thereto as shall be deemed by the secretary at war necessary to be included within the limits of the garrison....” (p285/c1)

Resolved, That the standard of the United States of America, for gold and silver, shall be eleven parts fine and one part alloy. That the money unit of the United States, being by the resolve of Congress of the 6th July, 1785, a dollar, shall contain, of fine silver, three hundred and seventy-five grains, and sixty-four hundredths of a grain.” (p285/c1)


First Week of November 1786

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Reports of Courts in Taunton and Middlesex. (inside back cover)


Second Week of November 1786

Shays’ Rebellion Content

An ACT to prevent Routs, Riots, and tumultuous Assemblies, and the evil consequences thereof.” (p388/c1-p389/c2)


Third Week of November 1786

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Adjournment of courts in Springfield and suspension of writ of habeas corpus. (p402-inside back cover)


Fourth Week of November 1786

An ORDINANCE for the establishing of the MINT of the United States of America; and for regulating the VALUE and ALLOY of COIN,” passed by Confederation Congress, October 16, 1786. (pp. 413-414)

Address of Governor James Bowdoin to Militia (p416)


First Week of December 1786

Shays’ Rebellion Content

An ACT granting INDEMNITY to sundry offenders on certain conditions…” (p434)

An ACT for suspending the privilege of the Writ of HABEAS CORPUS.” (p435)

An ACT for suspending the laws for the collection of private Debts under certain limitations.” (p436-37)


Second Week of December 1786

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Petition of Shays’ rebels to Governor James Bowdoin, December 1786 (p452/c1-p453/c1)


Fourth Week of January 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Petition of Shays’ rebels to Governor James Bowdoin, January 17, 1787 (p520/c1-2)

Address of Governor James Bowdoin, January 12, 1787 (p522/c1-p523/c2)

Arrival of General Lincoln and militia in Worcester (p526/c1)


First Week of February 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Daniel Shays to Major General Benjamin Lincoln, January 25, 1787

Unwilling to be any way accessary to the shedding of blood, and greatly desirous of restoring peace and harmony to this convulsed Commonwealth, we propose that all the troops on the part of the government be disbanded immediately, and that all and every person, who has been acting, or any way aiding or assisting in any of the late risings of the people, may be indemnified in their person and property, until the sitting of the next General Court.... On which conditions, the people now in arms, in defence of their lives and liberties, will quietly return to their respective habitations, patiently waiting and hoping for constitutional relief, from the insupportable burdens they now labour under.” (p534/c1-p535/c2)


Second Week of May 1787

Circular Letter from Confederation Congress to Governors of the States regarding state laws in violation of treaty with Great Britain

Resolved, That the legislatures of the several states cannot of right, pass any act or acts for interpreting, explaining or construing a national treaty, or any part or clause of it; nor for restraining, limiting, or in any manner, impeding, retarding, or counteracting the operation and execution of the same....” (p69/c1-2)

Massachusetts “Report of the Committee for pardoning Persons concerned in the REBELLION.” (p70/c1-p72/c2)


Fourth Week of May 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

letters...contain accounts of the Rebels, to the amount of 7 or 800 being collected in the state of Vermont, in the vicinity of this Commonwealth, and that it was given out by them, that they intended in the course of the present week, to make incursions into several parts of this state, and to kill, plunder, burn and destroy whatever comes in their way. That Shays, Day and Parsons, &c. had been seen at Crown Point, on their way to join them.” (p100/c1)


Last Week of May 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Judge Cushing’s CHARGE to the Middlesex Grand Jury,” May 9, 1787 (p106/c1-p111/c2)

PHILADELPHIA, May 18. Monday last being the day appointed for the meeting of the Federal Convention, in this city, a number of Gentlemen, Delegates from the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina, assembled at the State House.” (p112/c1)


First Week of June 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Sentence of Death Against John Wheeler, Henry McCullock, Jason Parmiter, Daniel Luddington, Alpheus Colten, and James White, for TREASON, passed at the Supreme Judicial Court at Northampton, the 21st of April, 1787. Pronounced by the Hon. William Cushing, Esq; Chief Justice.” (p117/c1-p119/c2)

General Election Results; John Hancock elected Governor (p119/c1-p123/c2)

Whether the shattered fabric of the original constitution is to be repaired and enlarged, or a new and stately building erected upon the old foundation—whether, on the one hand, the vast continent is to be distributed into distinct republicks, or, on the other, the majesty of a world, centered in an individual, are questions that respect only the forms and not the objects of government; for there are immutable laws in civil societies, independent of times, places and circumstances....” (p125/c1)

A majority of the States being fully represented in Convention, at Philadelphia, on Friday, the 25th of May, they proceeded to the choice of a President, when his Excellency General Washington was unanimously elected to that important office.” (p127/c2)


Third Week of June 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Act for Raising TROOPS, and granting INDEMNITY,” June 13, 1787 (p148/c1-p149/c2)

Governor John Hancock to General Court, June 5, 1787, regarding troops in western counties (p152/c1-2)


Fourth Week of June 1787

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Proclamation by John Hancock, June 15, 1787

the Legislature of this Commonwealth, with an intention, not only to adopt every vigorous and efficacious method, necessary to suppress the present traitorous opposition to the laws, and to restore peace and harmony to the Commonwealth, but also to repeat the offers of grace and mercy to the penitent citizen, and to extend the same as far as may be consistent with the true interest of the Commonwealth, and the security of her citizens in future; have...made provision for the raising and supporting a force, to defend the Commonwealth, against all wicked and rebellious men; and have also with a very extensive clemency, by the same resolve, provided, that ‘each and every citizen of this Commonwealth, who have committed any treasons or misprisions of treasons against the, and they thereby are indemnified for the same....’” (p161/c1-p162/c1)

Reprieve of several Shays’ rebels sentenced to death

It is hoped the lenient measures adopted by government will have the happy tendency of restoring the tranquility of this Commonwealth; but should they fail, it is said those of a different complexion will be pursued.” (p167/c2)


First Week of July 1787

Advertisement of the expected return of the COMET of 1532 and 1661 in the year 1789. By the Rev. Nevil Makelyne, D.D. F.R.S. and Astronomer Royal.” (p172/c1-p174/c2)

Case of Mistaken Identity: “Whereas...the clemency of government is extended to all persons who have committed any treasons...during the present rebellion, excepting certain persons therein described and named: And whereas one of the persons so excepted, is, therein, named David Dunham, which Christian name was inserted by a mistake; and the person thereby intended, is Gideon Dunham, of Sheffield, in the county of Berkshire, yeoman. And the said Gideon Dunham being a malignant and incorrigible offender...the said Gideon Dunham shall not, by virtue thereof, receive any benefit or advantage whatsoever, but is excepted therefrom, and shall be so adjudged.... the said David Dunham shall not be considered as within the exceptions of the said resolution.” (p174/c1-2)

Whatever measure may be recommended by the Federal Convention, whether an addition to the old constitution, or the adoption of a new one, it will, in effect, be a revolution in government, accomplished by reasoning and deliberation; an event that has never occurred since the formation of society, and which will be strongly characteristick of the philosophick and tolerant spirit of the age.” (p177/c2)

List of delegates to the “Federal Convention

By this very respectable delegation, ELEVEN States are represented. The delegates from the State of New Hampshire, though appointed, have not yet made their appearance. Rhode Island is the only State in the Union that has refused to take a seat at this honourable board of counsellors; but a very short period will unfold, whether her refusal will redound to her honour or disgrace.” (p178/c1-2)


Second Week of July 1787

The present Confederation may be compared to a hut or tent, accommodated to the emergencies of war—but it is now time to erect a castle of durable materials, with a tight roof, and substantial bolts and bars, to secure our persons and property, from violence and external injuries of all kinds. May this building rise like a pyramid upon the broad basis of the people! and may they have wisdom to see, that if they delegate a little more power to their rulers, the more liberty they will possess themselves, provided they take care to secure their sovereignty and importance, by frequent elections, and rotation of offices.” (p191/c1)

Petition of Shays’ rebel Henry Gale to Governor John Hancock and Council, June 11, 1787

Your petitioner...pleads for that mercy he has so justly forfeited—and prays your Excellency and Honours, in your great wisdom, and justly acknowledged goodness, would be pleased to pardon your guilty distressed petitioner, who has aged parents bowed with grief....” (p195/c1-2)

Gale was marched to the scaffold, had a noose placed around his neck, and then the sheriff read a pardon by Governor Hancock. He was released in September 1787.


Last Week of July 1787

An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio,” popularly known as the Northwest Ordinance, passed by the Confederation Congress on July 13, 1787. (p225/c1-p228/c2)

The ordinance created the Northwest Territory, prohibited slavery in the territory, encouraged education, and created a mechanism for the admission of new states. The First Congress reaffirmed and renewed it through the Northwest Ordinance of 1789.

Report of Commencement at Harvard College, at which the college awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Thomas Jefferson (p230/c2)

More than a year later, in September 1788, President Joseph Willard of Harvard sent the diploma to Jefferson in France via a French naval lieutenant; Jefferson received it in February 1789.


Third Week of August 1787

The whole of the United States, are now waiting with anxious expectation for the result of the Federal Convention, which it is expected will in a few days be made publick.” (p279/c2)


Fourth Week of August 1787

We are well informed, that many letters have been written to the members of the federal convention from different quarters, respecting the reports idly circulating, that it is intended to establish a monarchical government, to send for the Bishop of Osnaburgh, &c. &c.—to which it has been uniformly answered, ‘tho’ we cannot, affirmatively, tell you what we are doing; we can, negatively, tell you what we are not doing—we never once thought of a king.’” (p290/c1)


Second Week of September 1787

The Worcester Speculator. No. I.” (p311/c1-p313/c2)

The end proposed, by the creation of man, was, undoubtedly, the communication of happiness. How to bring this design into effect, demands the earliest and ripest thoughts of the human mind. Infinitely various are the means fitted for the accomplishment of this design; and innumerable are the ways, which may, with success, be pursued for this purpose.” (p311/c1-2)

Every enterprize, publick as well as private, in the United States (says a correspondent) seems suspended, until it is known what kind of government we are to receive from our National Convention.... In short, the pulse of industry, ingenuity, and enterprize, in every art and occupation of man, now stands still in the United States, and every look—and wish—and hope—is only to, and every prayer to heaven, that has for its object the safety of our country, is only for, the present august National Convention.” (p318/c2)


First Week of October 1787

Beginning of letter from George Washington to Congress accompanying proposed Federal Constitution, September 17, 1787:

We now have the honour to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most adviseable.

The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace, and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: But the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident—Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

It is obviously impractical in the federal government of these states, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all: Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstances, as on the object to be obtained.” (p12/c1-2) [Text incomplete: lacking front cover and pp. 13-16]


Second Week of October 1787

We are informed that the Constitution proposed by the late Federal Convention promises to be highly popular with the citizens in New York; and that the distinguished person, from whom an opposition was predicted, has expressed himself in terms favorably to the plan. Perhaps there never was a subject indeed, upon which men were more unanimous, for even those who cavil at the system itself, are impressed with the necessity of adopting it.” (p25/c2)

George Washington, Esq; has already been destined by a thousand voices, to fill the place of the first President of the United States, under the new frame of government. While the deliverers of a nation, in other countries have hewn out a way to power with the sword, or seized upon it by stratagems and fraud, our illustrious hero peaceably retired to his farm after the war, from whence it is expected he will be called, by the suffrages of three millions of people to govern that country by his wisdom (agreeably to fixed laws) which he had previously made free by his arms. Can Europe boast of such a man?—Or can the history of the world, shew an instance of such a voluntary compact between the Deliverer and the Delivered of any country, as will probably soon take place in the United States?” (p26/c2)


Third Week of October 1787

PROCEEDINGS of the UNITED STATES in CONGRESS assembled, Friday September 28, 1787.

Congress having received the report of the Convention, lately assembled in Philadelphia.

Resolved unanimously, That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention, made and provided in that case.” (p34/c1)


First Week of November 1787

Summary of late Intelligence. / New York, October 26. (Excerpt from Federalist No. 1)

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.” (p75/c1)

The Federal Constitution is now the subject of conversation from Newhampshire to Georgia. In some places there are persons who appear to be raving mad, both for and against the plan. It is but reasonable to observe, that if ever there was occasion for a people to deliberate with calmness, on as important a measure, as ever did, or ever will come under their consideration, now is the time. The federal system ought to have a fair examination—it is a plan of government not for one particular state, but for all the states—we therefore should not approve or disapprove of the measure, until we have given it a most thorough and impartial examination....” (p76/c1-2)

We wish not to prejudice our readers either one way or the other by our publications—we wish them to judge for themselves—it will therefore be needless for us to republish the flighty rhapsodies for, and the ill natured anathemas against, the federal constitution, which have appeared in some newspapers. We mean to give them facts, and to extract from other periodical publications such observations only, as are made by gentlemen who are known to be fully acquainted with the subject—we think it our duty to lay before our readers Mr. Gerry’s letter, addressed to the Hon. President of the Senate, and the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives of this Commonwealth, together with Mr. Wilson’s address to the citizens of Philadelphia. These gentlemen were both members of the Federal Convention, Mr. Gerry from this State, and Mr. Wilson from Pennsylvania. Mr. Gerry appears to be opposed to the plan, and Mr. Wilson is in favor of it—they both candidly give their opinions, and the reasons on which their opinions are grounded....” (p76/c2)


Second Week of November 1787

Elbridge Gerry to Samuel Adams, President of the Senate, and James Warren, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, October 18, 1787.

I have the honour to inclose, pursuant to my commission, the constitution proposed by the Federal Convention.

To this system I gave my dissent, and shall submit my objections to the honourable Legislature.

It was painful for me, on a subject of such national importance, to differ from the respectable members who signed the constitution: but conceiving as I did, that the liberties of America were not secured by the system, it was my duty to oppose it.

My principal objections to the plan, are, that there is no adequate provision for a representation of the people—that they have no security for the right of election—that some of the powers of the Legislature are ambiguous, and others indefinite and dangerous—that the Executive is blended with and will have an undue influence over the Legislature—that the judicial department will be oppressive—that treaties of the highest importance may be formed by the President with the advice of two thirds of a quorum of the Senate—and that the system is without the security of a bill of rights. These are objections which are not local, but apply equally to all the States.” (p79/c1-2)

Speech of James Wilson at the State House in Philadelphia

It will be proper however, before I enter into the refutation of the charges that are alledged, to mark the leading discrimination between the state constitutions, and the constitution of the United States. When the people established the powers of legislation under their separate governments, they invested their representatives with every right and authority which they did not in explicit terms reserve: and therefore upon every question, respecting the jurisdiction of the house of assembly, if the frame of government is silent, the jurisdiction is efficient and complete. But in delegating federal powers, another criterion was necessarily introduced, and the congressional authority is to be collected, not from tacit implication, but from the positive grant expressed in the instrument of union. Hence it is evident, that in the former case everything which is not reserved is given, but in the latter the reverse of the proposition prevails, and every thing which is not given, is reserved. This distinction being recognized, will furnish an answer to those who think the omission of a bill of rights, a defect in the proposed constitution....” (p81/c1)

This constitution, it has been further argued, is of pernicious tendency, because it tolerates a standing army in the time of peace.—This has always been a topic of popular declamation; and yet, I do not know a nation in the world, which has not found it necessary and useful to maintain the appearance of strength in a season of the most profound tranquility.... But what would be our national situation were it otherwise? Every principle of policy must be subverted, and the government must declare war, before they are prepared to carry it on.... no man, who regards the dignity and safety of his country, can deny the necessity of a military force, under the control and with the restrictions which the new constitution provides.” (p82/c1-2)

The power of direct taxation has likewise been treated as an improper delegation to the federal government; but when we consider it as the duty of that body to provide for the national safety, to support the dignity of the union, and to discharge the debts contracted upon the collective faith of the states for their common benefit, it must be acknowledged, that those upon whom such important obligations are imposed, ought in justice and in policy to possess every means requisite for a faithful performance of their trust.” (p83/c2)

After all, my fellow citizens, it is neither extraordinary or unexpected, that the constitution offered to your consideration, should meet with opposition. It is the nature of man to pursue his own interest, in preference to the public good; and I do not mean to make any personal reflection, when I add, that it is the interest of a very numerous, powerful, and respectable body to counteract and destroy the excellent work produced by the late Convention.... I will confess, indeed, that I am not a blind admirer of this plan of government, and that there are some parts of it, which if my wish had prevailed, would certainly have been altered. But, when I reflect how widely men differ in their opinions, and that every man (and the observation applies likewise to every State) has an equal pretention to assert his own, I am satisfied that any thing nearer to perfection could not have been accomplished.... Regarding it then, in every point of view, with a candid and disinterested mind, I am bold to assert, that it is the best form of government which has ever been offered to the world.” (p84/c1-2)

Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth to Governor Samuel Huntington of Connecticut regarding proposed Constitution, September 26, 1787. (p85/c1-2)


Fourth Week of November 1787

The town of Northampton, and the District of Easthampton, assembled together on Thursday last, in legal town meeting, and made choice of the Hon. Caleb Strong, Esq; and Mr. Benjamin Sheldon, to represent them in Convention for the purpose of ratifying the reported Federal Constitution....

In conformity to a resolution of the General Court, passed the 25th of October last, we have delegated you to meet in State Convention, on the second Wednesday of January next, for the purpose of adopting or rejecting the reported Constitution for the United States of America.” (p113/c1)


First Week of December 1787

The following ADDRESS of His Excellency BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Esquire, to the President of the late CONTINENTAL CONVENTION, was delivered by him immediately before his signing the proposed Constitution for the United States.” (inside front cover)

I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present; but sir, I am not sure I shall never approve of it: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.” (inside front cover/c1)

I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does....” (inside front cover/c1-2)

Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.” (inside front cover/c2)

On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every Member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would, with me on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.” (inside front cover/c2)


Second Week of December 1787

“AGAINST the New Federal Constitution.

The following are the so much talked of Objections against the New Federal Constitution, of the Hon. GEORGE MASON, Esq; one of the Delegates to the late Federal Convention from the State of Virginia.” (p130/c1-p132/c2)

FOR the New Federal Constitution.

REMARKS on the OBJECTIONS made by the Hon. ELBRIDGE GERRY, to the NEW CONSTITUTIION.” (p132/c1-p134/c2)


Third Week of December 1787

Another SPEECH of Mr. WILSON’s, so much talked of,” to Pennsylvania State Convention November 24, 1787. (p141/c1-p147/c2)

The deputies of the State Convention of Delaware met at Dover on Monday the 3d instant, December, and a house being formed, they elected James Latimer, Esq; President. On Thursday they ratified the New Federal Constitution by an unanimous vote, and on Friday every member signed the ratification as follows:

‘WE, the Deputies of the people of the Delaware State, in Convention met, having taken into our serious consideration, the Federal Constitution, proposed in a General Convention, held at the city of Philadelphia, on the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eightyseven, have approved of, assented to, ratified and confirmed, and by these presents DO in virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, for, and in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, fully, freely and entirely approve of, assent to, ratify and confirm the said CONSTITUTION.’” (p152/c2)


Fourth Week of December 1787

FOR the Federal Constitution.

Continuation of the REMARKS on the Hon. ELBRIDGE GERRY’s Objections to the new Constitution.” (p155/c1-p157/c2)

REMARKS on Col. MASON’s OBJECTIONS to the proposed Federal Constitution.” (p157/c1-p160/c2)

“AGAINST the Federal Constitution.

From the FREEMAN’s JOURNAL, of November 7. / To the CITIZENS of PHILADELPHIA.” by “An Officer of the late Continental Army.” (p160/c1-p162/c2)


Third Week of January 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 9-12 (p199/c1-p201/c2)

Proceedings of the Connecticut State Convention in Hartford, January 9, 1788 (p201/c1-2)

            Connecticut ratified the Constitution on January 9 by a vote of 128-40.

The Conventions of Four States have adopted the Federal Constitution, viz. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Newjersey, and Connecticut. It is said Georgia has also adopted it, but of this we have no authentick account.

At present we cannot venture a conjecture of what will be the fate of the Federal Constitution in the Convention of this state, now assembled in our metropolis; we have not the least doubt but it will be thoroughly discussed; and we hope the arguments on both sides will have a fair and candid hearing.” (p204/c2)

            The Georgia Convention ratified the Constitution on January 2 by a vote of 26-0.


Fourth Week of January 1788

OBJECTIONS to the FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, by his Excellency EDMUND RANDOLPH, Governour of Virginia,” October 10, 1787. (p205/c1-p210/c2)

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 14-16 (p211/c1-p215/c2)

List of Delegates to the Massachusetts State Convention up to January 15 (p217-p218)


First Week of February 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 18-22 (p233/c1-p242/c2)


[The following was a few days since sent us for publication; as it is the first piece written in this county, against the Federal Constitution, that has been offered to us for publication, we think proper, in order to shew impartiality, to publish it, notwithstanding the author evidently appears to be much mistaken in some of his assertions.]” (p242/c1-p243/c2)

Governor John Hancock, President of the Convention, proposed the following:

The Convention having impartially discussed, and fully considered the Constitution of the United States of America, reported to Congress by the Convention of delegates from the United States of America, an submitted to us by a resolution of the General Court of the said Commonwealth, passed the twentyfifth day of October last past; and acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the supreme Ruler of the universe, in affording the people of the United States, in the course of his providence, an opportunity deliberately and peaceably, without fraud or surprise, of entering into an explicit and solemn compact with each other, by assenting to, and ratifying a new Constitution, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestick tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity; do in the name and in behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, assent to and ratify the said Constitution of the United States of America.

And as it is the opinion of this Convention that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution, would remove the fears and quiet the apprehensions of many of the good people of this Commonwealth, and more especially guard against an undue administration of the federal government; the Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations and provisions be introduced into the said Constitution:

[Followed by a list of nine proposed amendments.] (p244/c2-p245/c1)


Second Week of February 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 22-23 (p247/c1-p254/c2)

RATIFICATION of the Federal Constitution by the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. / Proceedings of the Convention of this Commonwealth, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, last week.

On Tuesday in the forenoon, a motion, which had been expected for some days, was made by Capt. Gilbert Dench, to this purport:—That for the purpose of informing the good people of this Commonwealth of the principles of the proposed Constitution, and the amendments offered by his Excellency the President, this Convention do adjourn to a future day. This motion occasioned much debate—it was warmly advocated by the gentlemen who were against the adoption of the Constitution, and strongly opposed by the friends of the proposed system. The question on the motion was taken in the evening, when his Excellency the President, said, he had the great pleasure to declare, that the motion for adjournment had not obtained....

Wednesday afternoon, at five o’clock, the Convention of this Commonwealth, ASSENTED TO, and on Thursday RATIFIED the CONSTITUTION, proposed by the late Federal Convention.

Includes names of 187 in favor of and 168 opposed to ratification. (p254/c1-p258/c2)

The Massachusetts Convention ratified the Constitution on February 6, 1788.

ORDER of the PROCESSION, of the Inhabitants of Boston, &c. upon the Ratification of the Federal Constitution.” (p258/c1-p259/c2)


Third Week of February 1788

ANSWER to the OBJECTIONS of RICHARD HENRY LEE, Esq; against the FEDERAL CONSTITUTION” by “An AMERICAN.” (p261/c1-p264/c2)

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 23 (p265/c1-p268/c2)

Ordinance renaming street by the Meeting House in Boston where Convention ratified Constitution from “Long Lane” to “Federal Street” (p268/c1-p269/c2)

WE, the delegates of the People of the State of Georgia, in Convention met, having taken into our serious consideration the Federal Constitution, agreed upon and proposed by the Deputies of the United States, in General Convention, held in the city of Philadelphia, on the 17th day of September, in the year of our Lord 1787—Have assented to, ratified, and adopted, and by these presents do, in virtue of the powers and authority to us given by the people of the said State for that purpose, for, and in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, fully and entirely assent to, ratify, and adopt the said Constitution, which is hereunto annexed, under the great seal of the said State.” (p270/c1)

The Convention of the State of Newhampshire are now in meeting, deliberating on the Federal Constitution: But we have not received any intelligence whatever respecting it.

The New Hampshire Convention, after initially rejecting the Constitution, voted to reconvene in mid-June 1788, when it ratified the Constitution by a vote of 57 to 47.


Fourth Week of February 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 23-26 (p275/c1-p285/c2)


First Week of March 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 28-31 (p293/c1-p297/c2)


Second Week of March 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, January 31-February 1 (p307/c1-p314/c2)

The great length of the debate in our late Convention, has obliged us to omit many things which we should otherwise have presented to our readers; but as this matter was truly important, we thought it our duty to give as fair a statement of the debates as was in our power, and doubt not it has been satisfactory to our readers. These debates will be finished in the course of a week or two.” (p315/c2)


Third Week of March 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, February 1-5 (p317/c1-p325/c2)

Shays’ Rebellion Content

Petition of Daniel Shays and Eli Parsons to the General Court

Your petitioners, penetrated by the melancholy sense of their late errours, and anxious once more to return to the bosom of their country, and enjoy again the blessings of peace, under the mild operation of the laws—humbly beg leave to supplicate the mercy of the legislature in their favor.” (p330/c1)

Early in April 1788, Governor John Hancock canceled the rewards for the capture of Shays and Parsons, and in June, the legislature offered both a full pardon. Shays returned to Massachusetts, but in 1795, he moved to New York.


Fourth Week of March 1788

Proceedings of the Massachusetts State Convention in Boston, February 6 (p331/c1-p335/c2)

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