Remarks on the Calling of States Conventions
[Philadelphia, April 1, 1783]
Mr. Madison & Mr. Hamilton disapproved of these partial conventions,1 not as absolute violations of the Confederacy, but as ultimately leading to them & in the mean time exciting pernicious jealousies; the latter observing that he wished instead of them to see a general Convention take place & that he sd. soon in pursuance of instructions from his Constituents propose to Congs. a plan for that purpose; the object wd. be to strengthen the fœderal Constitution.
“Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress,” MS, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress.
1. These remarks were prompted by a suggestion of Nathaniel Gorham. delegate from Massachusetts, that the Congress should hasten the passage of a report on raising funds for the United States as “the Eastern States at the invitation of the Legislature of Massts., were with N.Y. about to form a convention for regulating matters of common concern. & that if any plan sd. be sent out by Congs. during their session, they would probably cooperate with Congs. in giving effect to it.” John Francis Mercer and Theodorick Bland, delegates from Virginia, objected to the proposed convention as a dangerous precedent and were answered by the Massachusetts delegates. Samuel Osgood and Nathaniel Gorham, who defended the convention as “within the purview of the federal articles” (“Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress,” MS, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress).