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The Fourth AmendmentOrigins and Original Meaning 602 - 1791$

William J. Cuddihy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367195.001.0001

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(p.900) APPENDIX O An Inventory of Manuscripts that Congressmen Wrote While Drafting the Fourth Amendment

(p.900) APPENDIX O An Inventory of Manuscripts that Congressmen Wrote While Drafting the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment
Oxford University Press

Twenty–two senators and fifty–nine representatives made up the First Session of the First Congress, which sat from 6 April through 29 September 1789 and drafted the Fourth Amendment. The following inventory summarizes the bibliographical status of the letters that those 81 persons wrote between 1 March and 15 October 1789. The Continental Congress had established 4 March as the date for its successor to assemble, but sufficient Congressmen for a quorum did not arrive until 1 April for the house and 6 April for the senate. The initial date was selected on the off–chance that someone came with a draft bill of rights in hand. The concluding date is 15 October because it is beyond the point of not only diminishing by significant return. After the first session adjourned, the attentions of Congressmen turned rapidly to other subjects, and their letters became steadily less informative of Congressional business.

Also included in this inventory are six members of the government who were not in Congress but who had intimate, first–hand knowledge of its proceedings: Washington and Adams, the president and vice–president, Samuel A. Otis and John Beckley, the secretary and clerk, respectively, of the senate and lower house, and the two members of the cabinet who were in New York for at least part of the the first session (for the duration of that session following their appointments only): Henry Knox, the Secretary of War, and Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury. Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, and the members of the Supreme and lower federal courts are not included. Jefferson did not arrive until the session concluded, and the judicial personnel were not appointed until the very end of the session.

The collections in this compendium are those that the following sources identified as containing a letter that any of the foregoing persons wrote during the timeframe specified:

  1. 1. all published anthologies of letters by the Congressmen of 1789 in the National Union Catalog

  2. 2. the same, as per the bibliographies of the states those Congressmen represented

  3. 3. biographies, including unpublished doctoral dissertations

  4. 4. law journal articles

  5. 5. published and manuscript catalogs of research institutions

For example, the libraries of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Historical Society itemize their manuscript holdings. Where extant, these catalogs have been searched for letters within the appropriate timeframe by all relevant personnel. Many institutions, however, lack such catalogs, including the two most significant: the Library of Congress and the National Archives. Helen Cripe et al., American Manuscripts (Dover, [1977]): a itemized list of all letters, 1750–1820, that any auction catalog advertised for sale.

The principal repositories follow in the following order: (1) foreign archives, (2) U. S. National repositories, (3) repositories in the thirteen original states, north to south, and (4) repositories in other states, arranged alphabetically.

Location No. of letters No. of collections

Foreign Repositories

British Library 8 1

Public Record Office, London 2 1

(p.901) Repositories in the Original States (north to south. Each state begins with the state archives and the principal historical society followed by lesser repositories in alphabetical order)


National Archives 92 mss 7 (RG)

Library of Congress 406 mss 14


Mass. State Archives 1 1

Mass. Hist. Soc. 215 27

Am. Antiquarian Soc. 4 2

Boston Public Lib. 2 1

Dedham Hist. Soc. 1 1

Essex Institute 42 3

Forbes Lib., Northampton 6 1

Harvard Univ. 27 6


Maine Hist. Soc. 2 1


N. H. Hist. Soc. 2 2


Brown Univ. 1 1


Ct. State Lib. 1 1

Ct. Hist. Soc. 83 7

U. S. Coast Guard Academy 1 1


N. Y. Hist. Soc. 7 6

Bank of New York 1 1

Columbia Univ. 7 4

Cornell Univ. 3 1

N. Y. Public Lib. 42 8

N. Y. Society 12 1

Pierpont Morgan Lib. 4 3

(p.902) NEW JERSEY

N. J. Hist. Soc. 1 1

Princeton Univ. 1 1

Rutgers Univ. 2 2

Wm. Paterson College 2 1


Pa. State Lib., Harrisburg 2 2

Pa. Hist. Soc. 127 22

Bucks Co. Hist. Soc. 21 1

Lib. Co. of Philadelphia 2 1

Rosenbach Museum 1 1


Delaware Hist. Soc. 4 2


Md. State Archives 7 2

Md. Hist. Soc. 35 4


Va. State Library, Ar. Div. 12 1

Va. Hist. Soc. 4 4

College of William and Mary 10 1

Mount Vernon Ladies Assoc. 1 1

Univ. of Va., Charlottesville 1 1


Duke Univ. 19 6


S. C. Hist. Soc. 6 1

Univ. of S. C., Columbia 5 2


Ga. Hist. Soc. 2 2

Other Repositories

Huntington Lib. 15 2

Ohio Hist. Soc. 1 1

S. Illinois Univ. 1 1

State Hist. Soc. of Wisconsin 1 1

Univ. of Michigan 1 1

(p.903) Also, more than a hundred contemporary manuscripts by the Congressmen of 1789 have been printed or are listed in Cripe’s American Manuscripts but are not presently housed in the above repositories or in any other. For example, The Somerset County Historical Quarterly (vol. 2 [1913], pp. 184–88, 271–76; vol. 3 [1914], pp. 1–6, 83–88) printed “Extracts from the Unpublished Letters of Governor [William] Paterson From the Original Manuscripts.” Six letters by Patterson while in the Congress of 1789 are there printed, but none of them are now in any known collection of Paterson letters. As Cripe notes, the present identities of most owners of the auctioned letters that her compendium identified are also unknown.