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.

New York, 15 August, 1788.

DEAR SIR,

I have been duly favored with yours of the 3d instant. The length of the interval, since my last, has proceeded from a daily expectation of being able to communicate the final arrangements for introducing the new Government. The place of meeting has undergone much discussion, as you conjectured, and still remains to be fixed. Philadelphia was first named, and negatived by a voice from Delaware. New York came forward next; Lancaster was opposed to it, and failed. Baltimore was next tried, and, to the surprise of every one, had seven votes. It was easy to see that that ground, had it been free from objection, was not maintainable. Accordingly, the next day New York was inserted in the place of it, with the aid of the vote of Rhode Island. Rhode Island has, however, refused to give a final vote in the business, and has actually retired from Congress. The question will now be resumed between New York and Philadelphia.

It was much to be wished that a fit place for a respectable outset to the Government could be found more central than either. The former is inadmissible, if any regard is to be had to the southern or western country. It is so with me, for another reason; that it tends to stop the final and permanent seat short of the Potomac, certainly, and probably in the State of New Jersey. I know this to be one of the views of the advocates for New York. The only chance the Potomac has, is to get things in such a train that a coalition may take place between the Southern and Eastern States on the subject; and, still more, that the final seat may be undecided for two or three years, within which period the western and south-western population will enter more into the estimate. Wherever Congress may be, the choice, if speedily made, will not be sufficiently influenced by that consideration. In this point of view, I am of opinion Baltimore would have been unfriendly to the true object. It would have retained Congress but a moment (so many States being north of it, and dissatisfied with it), and would have produced a coalition among those States to a precipitate election of the permanent seat, and an intermediate removal to a more northern position.

You will have seen the circular letter for the Convention of this State. It has a most pestilent tendency. If an early General Convention cannot be parried, it is seriously to be feared that the system, which has resisted so many direct attacks, may be at last successfully undermined by its enemies. It is now, perhaps, to be wished that Rhode Island may not accede till this new crisis of danger be over. Some think it would have been better if even New York had held out till the operation of the Government could have dissipated the fears which artifice had created, and the attempts resulting from those fears and artifices. We hear nothing yet from North Carolina, more than comes by the way of Petersburg. With the highest respect and attachment, I remain, dear Sir,

Your affectionate servant,

JAMES MADISON JR.

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Chicago: James Madison Jr., "From James Madison.," 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), 232–234. Original Sources, accessed April 24, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CZV8I4ZH3TL1VVX.

MLA: Madison, James, Jr. "From James Madison." 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. 232–234. Original Sources. 24 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CZV8I4ZH3TL1VVX.

Harvard: Madison, J, 'From James Madison.' 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.232–234. Original Sources, retrieved 24 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CZV8I4ZH3TL1VVX.