Alexander Hamilton Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Madison, James"
sorted by: date (ascending)

To Alexander Hamilton from James Madison, 20 June 1788

From James Madison

Richmond June 20. 1788.

Dear Sir

Our debates have advanced as far as the Judiciary Department against which a great effort is making.1 The appellate congnizance of fact, and an extension of the power to causes between Citizens of different States, with some lesser objections are the topics chiefly dwelt on. The retrospection to cases antecedent to the Constitution, such as British debts, and an apprehended revival of the Fairfax,2 Indiana Vandalia &c.3 claims are also brought into view in all the terrific colours which imagination can give them. A few days more will probably produce a decision; though it is surmized that something is expected from your Convention in consequence of the Mission formerly suggested to you.4 Delay & an adjournment will be tried if the adverse party find their numbers inferior, and can prevail on themselves to remain here till the other side can be wearied into that mode of relieving themselves. At present it is calculated that we still retain a majority of 3 or 4; and if we can weather the storm agst. the part under consideration, I shall hold the danger to be pretty well over. There is nevertheless a very disagreeable uncertainty in the case; and the more so as there is a possibility that our present strength may be miscalculated.

Yrs. affecty.

Js. Madison Jr.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1The Virginia Convention took up each section of the Constitution separately. On June 18, following a debate on the treaty power, the delegates began a discussion of the judiciary department (Elliot, Debates description begins Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia, 1836). description ends , III, 517).

2George Mason argued that if the Constitution were adopted the British heirs of Lord Fairfax could recover the property confiscated by Virginia after the conclusion of the peace treaty (Elliot, Debates description begins Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia, 1836). description ends , III, 528–29).

3Both before and after the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, spokesmen of the Indiana and the Vandalia companies had claimed a vast area from the Alleghenies to the Ohio River. Virginia made her grant of land to the Confederation contingent on the invalidation of the claims of these companies. Mason, objecting to the judiciary clause of the Constitution, argued that the Indiana and the Vandalia companies would reassert their claims (Elliot, Debates description begins Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia, 1836). description ends , III, 529–30).

Index Entries