Thomas Jefferson Papers
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James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 17 July 1810

From James Madison

Montpelier July 17. 1810

Dear Sir

Among the papers relating to the Convention of 1787. communicated to you, that copies in your hands might double the security agst destructive casualties, was a delineation of Hamilton’s plan of a Constitution in his own writing. On looking for it among the Debates &c, which were returned to me, this particular paper does not appear.1 I conclude therefore, that it had not then been copied, or was at the time in some separate situation. I am very sorry to trouble you on such a subject, but being under an engagement to furnish a Copy of that project, I must ask the favor of you to see whether it be not among your papers; & if so, to forward it by the mail.

I reached home on wednesday last; and have since been somewhat indisposed. My fever has left me, and if as I hope, it was the effect of fatigue only, I consider myself as again well. I am not, however, without sensations which make me apprehensive that if bile was not the sole cause, it was a partial one, & that it has not yet been entirely removed. Be assured of my affectionate respects & best wishes

James Madison

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 19 July 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

In 1791 Madison loaned TJ his notes on the debates at the 1787 Federal Convention that drafted the United States Constitution, and with his permission TJ had John Wayles Eppes prepare copies of the manuscript that summer to safeguard its contents (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 19:549–51; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 2:609–11). Alexander Hamilton detailed his plan of a constitution to the convention on 18 June 1787. He gave Madison access to a fuller version of his plan, which proposed that the president and senators serve during good behavior, on about 17 Sept. 1787 (Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton [1961–87], 4:178–211, 253–74).

1At a later date Madison keyed to this point in the manuscript a note that he added in the left margin: “afterwards found.”

Index Entries

  • bile search
  • Constitution, U.S.; A. Hamilton’s plan for search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); copies J. Madison’s notes from Federal Convention search
  • fevers search
  • Hamilton, Alexander (1757–1804); constitutional ideas of search
  • health; bile search
  • health; fever search
  • Madison, James; and A. Hamilton’s political ideals search
  • Madison, James; illness of search
  • Madison, James; letters from search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); J. Madison at search