THE CONSTITUTION IN CONGRESE AND IN VIRGINIA.
SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER 1787.
ON the twentieth of September the letter of the president of the convention to the president of congress, the full text of the proposed constitution, and the order of the convention, were laid before congress, and on the next day appeared in the daily papers of New York.
The letter of Washington said : The powers necessary to be vested in “the general government of the union” are too extensive to be delegated to “one body of men.” “It is impracticable, 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; it is difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered and those which may be reserved; on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several states as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests. We kept steadily in view the consolidation of our union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. And thus the constitution which we now present is the result of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.”
The constitution instantly met with opposition from the indefatigable Richard Henry Lee,* supported by Nathan Dane f and all the delegates from New York, of whom Melancthon
* Carrington to Madison, Sunday, 23 September 1787.
† Gilpin, 643, 650; Elliot, 566, 668.