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(CONSTITUTION.) Samuel Henshaw. Inspirational letter to two Massachusetts delegates to U.S. Constitutional Convention. Letter Signed as chairman of a meeting of the inhabitants of Northampton, MA, to delegates Caleb Strong and Benjamin Sheldon. 3 pages, 12 x 7 1/4 inches, on one folding sheet, plus a town clerk's copy of the same with the related town minutes, 2 pages on one sheet (13 x 8 1/4 inches); folds, faint dampstaining, minor wear. Northampton, MA, 22 November 1787
Strong and Sheldon were delegates to the Massachusetts ratification convention, authorized on 25 October 1787, both representing the towns of Northampton and Easthampton. This letter sets forth their mission in the most inspiring patriotic terms:
"We have delegated you to meet . . . for the purpose of adopting or rejecting the reported Constitution for the United States of America. The object of your mission, gentlemen, is of the highest magnitude in human affairs. Much time & unwearied application are requisite in order thoroughly to investigate it. The civil dignity & prosperity of this state; of the United States; and, perhaps, of humanity, are suspended on the decision of this momentous question. . . . Be not unduly influenced by any local consideration. Let your minds be impressed with the necessity of having an equal, energetic, federal government. 'Tis the welfare & dignity of the Union, as well as of Massachusetts, that you are to consult. And while you are tenacious of the rights & privileges of the People, be not afraid to delegate to the federal government such powers as are absolutely necessary for advancing & maintaining our national honor & happiness. . . . Having the fullest confidence in your political wisdom, integrity & patriotism, we chearfully, on our part, submit the all important question to your decision. And we beseech the all-wise governor of the world to take the convention under his holy influence, that so the result may be the best good of the people of the United States of America."
Strong and Sheldon both voted "yea" on 6 February 1788, helping to make Massachusetts the sixth state to ratify the Constitution.
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