John Adams was serving as an ambassador in Europe when he received news that the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia had drafted a new document. In early July of 1788, by which time Adams had returned to Massachusetts, founding father John Jay sent word that New York might not ratify the new Constitution. In response, on July 18, 1788 Adams wrote to Jay, urging that New York support it, declaring, “The decision…is of very great importance to this Nation.” Heritage will offer the letter as part of its Historical Manuscripts auction in Beverly Hills on September 12-13.
In the letter, what biographer David McCullough called Adams’ “blue flame” of patriotism is apparent. “I am extremely anxious,” he writes, “that as the new Constitution has already proceeded to (sic) far, it be adopted.” Although Adams would have preferred a stronger presidency, he saw ratification as essential for binding the states together. Heritage released no estimates for the letter, but similar documents have sold for six figures.
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