CHAPTER XVII
NEW YORK AND VIRGINIA

BEFORE the Virginia Convention met, Cyrus Griffin, one of Madison's correspondents in New York where he was representing Virginia in Congress, summed up the chances of adoption of the Constitution, as they appeared to him ( March 14, 1788):

"The adjournment of New Hampshire, the small majority of Massachusetts, a certainty of rejection in Rhode Island, the formidable opposition in the State of New York, the convulsions and committee meetings in Pennsylvania, and above all the antipathy of Virginia to the system, operating together, I am apprehensive will prevent the noble fabric from being erected."*

The friends of ratification in New York hung expect- antly upon the proceedings in Virginia. May 19, 1788, Hamilton reported to Madison that Clinton was in abso- lute control and "inflexibly obstinate," but his followers might be shaken if nine States ratified before New York acted. Hamilton declared he had positive information that Clinton had, on several occasions, expressed an opinion of the "inutility of the union." It was a matter of vast importance that Virginia and New York should keep up "an exact communication," and the instant Virginia should take decisive action he wished Madison to send him the news by express, at all possible speed, changing horses. He would pay all expenses liberally.

The New York Convention to consider the question of ratification of the Constitution met at Poughkeepsie, June 17, 1788. According to Hamilton the Anti-Federal-

____________________
*
Dept. of State MSS.
Id.

-156-

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