Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4

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Author: James Madison

U.S. History

From James Madison, in Congress.

New York, 3 February, 1788.

DEAR SIR,

Another mail has arrived from Boston, without terminating the conflict between our hopes and fears. I have a letter from Mr. King of the 27th, which, after dilating somewhat on the ideas in his former letters, concludes with the following paragraph;—

"We have avoided every question, which would have shown the division of the House. Of consequence, we are not positive of the members on each side. By the last calculation we made on our side, we were doubtful whether we exceeded them, or they us, in numbers. They, however, say that they have a majority of eight or twelve against us. We by no means despair."

Another letter of the same date, from another member, gives the following picture;—

"Never was there an Assembly in this State in possession of greater ability and information than the present Convention; yet I am in doubt whether they will approve the Constitution. There are, unhappily, three parties opposed to it. First; all men who are in favor of paper money and tender laws. Those are more or less in every part of the State. Second; all the late insurgents and their abettors. In the three great western counties they are very numerous. We have in the Convention eighteen or twenty who were actually in Shays’s army. Third; a great majority of the members from the Province of Maine. Many of them and their constituents are only squatters upon other people’s land, and they are afraid of being brought to account. They also think, though erroneously, that their favorite plan of being a separate State will be defeated. Add to these, the honest, doubting people, and they make a powerful host The leaders of this party are a Mr. Widgery, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. Nason, from the Province of Maine; a Dr. Taylor, from the county of Worcester, and Mr. Bishop, from the neighbourhood of Rhode Island.

"To manage the cause against them, are the present and late Governor, three Judges of the Supreme Court, fifteen members of the Senate, twenty from among the most respectable of the Clergy, ten or twelve of the first characters at the Bar, Judges of Probate, High Sheriffs of counties, and many other respectable people, merchants, &c.; Generals Heath, Lincoln, Brooks, and others of the late army. With all this ability in support of the cause, I am pretty well satisfied we shall lose the question, unless we can take off some of the opposition by amendments. I do not mean such as are to be made conditions of the ratification, but recommendatory only. Upon this plan I flatter myself we may possibly get a majority of twelve or fifteen, if not more."

The Legislature of this State has voted a Convention on June 17th. I remain, &c.,

JAMES MADISON JR.

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Chicago: James Madison Jr., "From James Madison, in Congress.," Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4 in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. Jared Sparks (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1853), 206–208. Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CZQQJG2UZRSDTSA.

MLA: Madison, James, Jr. "From James Madison, in Congress." Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4, in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. 4, Freeport, NY, Books for Libraries Press, 1853, pp. 206–208. Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CZQQJG2UZRSDTSA.

Harvard: Madison, J, 'From James Madison, in Congress.' in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4. cited in 1853, Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. , Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, pp.206–208. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CZQQJG2UZRSDTSA.