James Madison Papers

James Madison to Jonathan Elliot, 15 November 1826

Novr. 15. 1826


I have just recd. Sir your letter of the 11th inst The proceedings  of the Convention of 1787, as taken down by me, are in an extent to make, of themselves, a considerable work. Propositions  prior to yours had been made on the subject of them. But I have never determined either on the time or mode of committing them to the press: and it is quite possible, that the publication may be a posthumous one. In declining your proposition it is proper to say, that it proceeds in no degree from a want of confidence in your adequate execution of it. Allow me to add that not having spoken publickly, of what is here stated, it will be agreeable to me, that it be regarded as the private explanation only which was due to the motives of your application.

I possess I believe all the proceedings of the State Conventions as originally published in volumes or pamphlets: but it is long since I read them. Altho’ in some instances imperfectly in others erroneously reported they must be very valuable for the lights they throw on the character of the times, and the materials they furnish towards a history of the Constitution. In bringing the whole together in a convenient & durable form, you will perform a task which can scarcely fail to be acceptable to the public: and with my wishes that it may answer all your expectations, I offer you my friendly respects.

J. M

You have overlooked Col: Few, now of N.Y formerly of Georgia, in referring to the surviving signers of the Constitution of the U. States

Draft (DLC).

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