1787 Annual Register
Full Text of United States Constitution and George Washington's Transmittal Letter to Congress
Jefferson and Franklin letters, Impeachment in England and Blooming of Revolutionary Sentiment in France
This volume of the Annual Register contains the full text of the United States Constitution published the year George Washington became President and the first Congress convened in 1789. This seminal document of the American Founding is accompanied by George Washington's transmittal letter to Congress. Since the original charge of Congress to the Constitutional Convention was to just make recommendations to Congress for amendments to the Articles of Convention, he rather boldly suggests that Congress just transmit the document to the states for action in state conventions, thus bypassing both Congress and the state legislatures.
Below are excepts of the Constitution and the transmittal letter, which includes the resolutions of the Convention.
Below is a thumbnail of a full page of the Annual Register which ends the Constitution with a list of all the signers of the Constitution and starts the transmittal letter from George Washington to the Congress advising them to send the Constitution for ratification by state Constitutional conventions. It also states that after nine states have ratified the Constitution, that a date should be set for the start up of the new government , including the election of Congress and the President. Clicking on the page will expand it to full size and the end of the transmittal letter is to the right below.
Among the most interesting current history sections of this volume is the analysis of the discontent in France in 1787 which led to the first convocation of a representative assembly, the Estates-General, called by King Louis XVI. In very Burkean prose the Annual Register for 1787 asserts that French exposure to American and English ideas of freedom, the new American Constitution and their perilous financial condition caused by French assistance to the American government during the Revolutionary War combined to cause a new atmosphere conducive to breaking the hold of a despotic monarchy. In short, this volume is prescient in understanding it was viewing the roots of the French Revolution about to explode on France and the world. A few excerpts below illustrate the writing.
In the opening paragraph of the chapter it is evident that the English were rubbing their hands with delight at the sight of the harm brought to France from the "interference of that government in supporting the rebellion of the British American colonies against the parent country."
In the next excerpt below left the Annual Register notes the ideas of liberty and justice that the French military serving in America and the civil and commercial officials learned from America, including the sterling example of the new American Constitution:
The next excerpt on the right below notes that the financial harm caused by the American war was another contributing cause of the discontents in France.
The excerpts below report on the first calling to session by King Louis XVI the Assembly of Notables. This first bloom of democracy in France that would flower into ever greater demands for popular representation and lead in 1788 to the calling of the Estates-General (which had not been assembled since 1614) and then one of the Estates-General's components, the Third Estate, morphing in 1789 into the National Assembly that launched the French Revolution.
The other item of note is one of the most famous impeachment cases for "high crimes and misdemeanors" in English history which occupied the considerable energies and intellectual force of Edmund Burke. This volume reports on the successful impeachment of Warren Hastings for his conduct in India and the House of Commons appointing Burke to bring those charges before the House of Lords. The interesting procedure and precedent for American impeachment (with the Senate taking the role of the House of Lords) is evident from these excerpts.
Also included in this volume is an excerpt from Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, his only published book, concerning Buffon's remarks on the Indians of North America, specifically a speech by Logan, a Mingo Chief to Lord Dunmore when Governor of Virginia in 1774. In the excerpt in the 1787 Annual Register Jefferson explains the background of Chief Logan's short but compelling speech and includes the full text:
As noted on this web site, Chief Logan's speech, given after a war with the Virginians caused by the senseless murder of his family, gave rise to the "noble savage" view of American Indians and the speech was later included in Washington Irving's Sketch Book and became part of the McGuffey Readers, thereby becoming a standard for American school children in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Other items of interest include scientific correspondence to and from Benjamin Franklin concerning how to remedy smoking chimneys and a useful hygrometer.
Besides the single volumes available below, this historic volume is also available in a first edition in 1758 through 1791 set of Annual Registers.
Fine Leather 1787 Annual Register 1st Edition
This is a first edition of the 1787 Annual Register in a fine full leather binding executed by Green Dragon Bindery.
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