Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 Back to the Exhibit

Thomas Dwight to Rep. Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts, September 3, 1789

Springfield Sept. 3d 1789

My dear Sir.

      Yesterday I had the pleasure to receive your's of the 30th. Augt. the judicial bill which you mention as being well supported and by a respectable majority I had supposed would meet with a more formidable opposition than almost any thing else, & that all kinds of fears & jealousies would be excited on the subject—it is a pleasing consideration, that so indispensible a part of the system is like to be established without difficulty.

      I am extremely sorry that any motion has been made in regard to the sitting of Congress as to place, and fear, that it will issue in that odious distinction between Northern & Southern interest which the present Congress have hitherto had the credit of concealing at least. however their feelings might be—will it not create a party spirit which will be carried into all other measures as well as that which excites it? if so, we cannot too sincerely deprecate the taking up of the business at the present time. it is risquing too much—the people are naturally disposed to restlessness, and complaints agt. rulers—& are far from having acquired an habitual & settled quiet of mind as to the new Govt. —parties at Court, will extend their poison to every part of the confederacy—the opposers of the Govt. will have their hopes strengthened, and loudly boast of their former prophesies, while its friends who have supported and sought it, as their only political saviour, will be seized with despondency and give up all hopes of future happiness and security. There is no subject from which the discussion of which I fear and expect more pernicious consequences. I hope these expectations will prove groundless.

      Our Court of C. Pleas & Sessions was last week holden, with its usual dignity—Noah Gordon Esq. was tried for a riot and acquitted—there were very few besides the jury who did not think him guilty. if he was not, it is perhaps the first instance, for his whole life has been rout or riot.

      Wm. Lyman, who is not yet a sworn attorney, brought forward several actions to this Court—-the Court objected to his notary managing the business—& no gentleman at the bar would undertake for him in those actions—Altho the Gentlemen attornies observed a propriety and consistency of conduct in this, yet I am sorry they had occasion for it—-all these things tend to an increase of Lymans popularity, and together with his popular aims when on the bench of Justices, will ensure him a fullness of business as a Lawyer whenever he shall be sworn—such is the world! Lord have mercy on us!

      I should not trouble you write to you on these small subjects, which you are constantly agitated with matters of infinitely greater importance, but that I know the trifling occurences in a mans own neighborhood and among his friends are not always disagreeable to be told—they derive (altho real trifles) some value from that circumstance.

      Genl. Lincoln passed thro this town on his way to N. York while I was at Northampton--small as my acquaintance is with him I should have taken the liberty, because I should have felt a pleasure in it, to express to him my congratulations, had I seen him.

      Our family wish me to express to you the respect & regard they have for you. you are assured, I presume, that I am with very much of both


            Thomas Dwight


(Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society)

digitized from DHFFC transcription   
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