George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Madison, 27 June 1788

From James Madison

Richmd June 27. 1788

Dear Sir

The Convention came to a final adjournment to day. The inclosed is a copy of their act of ratification with the yeas & nays.1 A variety of amendments have been since recommended; several of them highly objectionable; but which could not be parried.2 The Minority are to sign an address this evening which is announced to be of a peace-making complexion. Having not seen it I can give no opinion of my own. I wish it may not have a further object.3 Mr H——y declared previous to the final question that altho’ he should submit as a quiet citizen, he should seize the first moment that offered for shaking off the yoke in a Constitutional way. I suspect the plan will be to engage ⅔ of the Legislatures in the task of undoing the work; or to get a Congress appointed in the first instance that will commit suicide on their own Authority. Yrs most affetly & respectfy

Js Madison Jr

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, DLC: Madison Papers.

1The enclosure has not been found. The text of the act of the Virginia convention ratifying the new Constitution is printed in Kaminski and Saladino, Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, description begins John P. Kaminski et al., eds. The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. 26 vols. to date. Madison, Wis., 1976—. description ends 10:1546.

2The minutes of 27 June of the Virginia Ratifying Convention includes the amendments to the Constitution being recommended by the convention (ibid., 10:1550–59). The proposed amendment to which Madison most strongly objected was one “prohibiting direct taxes where effectual laws shall be passed by the States for that purpose” (Madison to Alexander Hamilton, 27 June, in Rutland and Hobson, Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 11:181–82).

3On 27 July some of the Antifederalists met and decided to prepare an address to their constituents, but after George Mason had drafted one they decided not to adopt it. See Madison to Hamilton, 30 June, ibid., 184, and Kaminski and Saladino, op. cit., 1560–61.

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