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Connecticut Legislature Calls for Elections for Constitutional Ratifying Convention (SOLD)
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A front-page notice announces November elections for delegates to a convention to consider ratification of the new United States Constitution forwarded by the Confederation Congress to each of the state legislatures. The delegates elected in November were to meet in Hartford early in January 1788. The issue also contains an important letter from Connecticut delegates Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth to Governor Samuel Huntington transmitting the Constitution.

[CONSTITUTION]. Newspaper. The New-Haven Gazette, and the Connecticut Magazine, October 25, 1787. New Haven, CT: Josiah Meigs. 8 pp. (281-288), 8½ x 10¼ in.

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Excerpts:

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, chose in each State by the People thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention, made and provided in that case.                                                           CHARLES THOMPSON, Secretary.” (p1)

At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, in America, holden at New-Haven, in said State, on the second Thursday of October, Anno Domini 1787.

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: and that each convention assenting to and ratifying the same should give notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled;

AND WHEREAS the United States in Congress assembled, have unanimously resolved, that said Constitution, 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;

RESOLVED by this ASSEMBLY, that it be, and hereby is recommended, to the people of the several Towns of this State, who are qualified by law to vote in Town-Meetings, to meet on the second Monday of November next (at their usual place of holding Town-Meetings) and choose delegates to meet in a Convention, for the purposes mentioned in the aforesaid resolves of Convention and Congress. And that each town in this State choose by ballot the same number of delegates to attend the Convention aforesaid, which they have now a right by law to choose for representatives in the General Assembly....

AND it is further Resolved, that the delegates so chose assemble on the First Thursday in January next, in the City of Hartford....” (p1-2)

Sherman and Ellsworth to Huntington, September 26, 1787

We have the honor to transmit to your Excellency a printed copy of the constitution formed by the Foederal Convention, to be laid before the legislature of this state.” (p6/c1-2)

The Congress is differently organized, yet the whole number of members, and this state’s proportion of suffrage, remain the same as before.

The equal representation of the states in the Senate, and the voice of that branch in the appointment to offices, will secure the rights of the lesser as well as the greater states.

Some additional powers are vested in Congress, which was a principal object that the states had in view in appointing the convention; those powers extend only to matters respecting the common interests of the Union, and are specially defined, so that the particular states retain their Sovereignty in all other matters.

The objects for which Congress may apply monies are the same mentioned in the eighth article of the confederation, viz. for the common defence and general welfare, and for payment of the debts incurred for those purposes. It is probable that the principal branch of revenue will be duties on imports;—what may be necessary to be raised by direct taxation is to be apportioned on the several states, according to the number of their inhabitants, and altho’ Congress may raise the money by their own authority, if necessary, yet that authority need not be exercised if each state will furnish its quota.” (p6/c2-3)

The Convention endeavoured to provide for the energy of government on the one hand, and suitable checks on the other hand, to secure the rights of the particular states, and the liberties and properties of the citizens. We wish it may meet the approbation of the several states, and be a mean of securing their rights and lengthening out their tranquility.” (p6/c3)

Historical Background

On October 19, 1787, the Connecticut Assembly passed resolutions calling for state-wide elections of delegates to a convention to consider the proposed United States Constitution. On November 12, the state’s ninety-eight towns gathered to elect 175 delegates to the state convention. Seven towns voted to approve the Constitution, and seven other towns voted to disapprove the Constitution. Some towns instructed their delegates how to vote, while others left it to the discretion of their delegates. More than a quarter of the towns adjourned to a later date to continue debates on the Constitution and to consider instructions to their delegates. The various towns throughout the state elected the governor, lieutenant governor, the chief judge and four judges of the Superior Court, seven members of the Council, and sixty-seven members of the House of Representatives to the convention. They also elected all three of the state’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia—Oliver Ellsworth, William Samuel Johnson, and Roger Sherman—to the convention, making Connecticut one of only two states to elect its entire delegation to its ratifying convention.

On January 3, 1788, the delegates gathered at Hartford to consider the federal Constitution. On January 4, Oliver Ellsworth addressed the convention and argued that the Union was necessary for mutual defense, to maintain peace among the states, and to promote more favorable trade and economic conditions at home and abroad. On January 9, the convention, by a vote of 128-40, ratified the Constitution. Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify, after Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia. In June 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify,

Additional Content

This issue also includes the continuation of a letter by Tench Coxe in support of the Constitution (p2/c1-p3/c1); James Wilson’s speech, “A Refutation of the most popular objections to the Federal Constitution” (p3/c3-p5/c3); and several notices and advertisements, including one seeking “an active and industrious Negro Wench To serve in a small Family” with the promise of “good wages” (p8/c3).

The New Haven Gazette, and the Connecticut Magazine (1784-1789) was a weekly newspaper in New Haven, Connecticut. It began as the New Haven Gazette, published by Josiah Meigs (1757-1822), Daniel Bowen, and Eleutheros Dana (1761-1788). In April 1786, Bowen left the partnership to publish the New Haven Chronicle. Dana left the partnership in August 1787, and Meigs continued to edit the newspaper alone.

Condition

Disbound. Some partial separation along central vertical fold. Horizontal fold. Some light staining along top edge, top right corner, and top portion of right edge. Some light, scattered spots throughout.