James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, 11 September 1786

To James Monroe

Annapolis Sepr. 11. 1786

Dear Sir

I have two letters from you not yet acknowledged, one of the 1st the other of the 3d. inst. Nothing could be more distressing than the issue of the business stated in the latter.1 If the affirmative vote of 7 States sd. be pursued it will add the insult of Trick to the injury of the thing itself. Our prospect here makes no amends for what is done with you. Delaware N. J. & Va. alone are on the ground. Two Commissrs. attend from N. Y. & one from Pa.2 Unless the sudden attendance of a much more respectable number takes place it is proposed to break up the Meeting with a recommendation of another time & place, & an intimation of the expediency of extending the plan to other defects of the Confederation. In case of a speedy dispersion I shall find it requisite to ride back as far as Philada. before I proceed to Virga.3 from which place, if not from this, I will let you know the Upshot here. I have heard that Col. Grayson was stopped at Trenton by indisposition on his way to the Assembly of Pena. I hope he is well again,4 and wd. write to him but know not whither to address a letter to him. Adieu Yr. Affy.

Js. M. Jr

RC (DLC). Addressed by JM.

1The “business” was the repeal by seven states of the instructions to Jay regarding Spanish recognition of American rights on the Mississippi.

2Delegates then present at Annapolis were George Read, John Dickinson, and Richard Bassett (Delaware); William C. Houston, Abraham Clark, and James Schureman (New Jersey); Edmund Randolph, St. George Tucker, and JM (Virginia); Alexander Hamilton and Egbert Benson (New York); and Tench Coxe (Pennsylvania).

3To collect payments due from purchasers of the family’s tobacco (JM to Ambrose Madison, 8 Sept. 1786).

4Grayson accompanied Monroe to Philadelphia “to relax from business & meet his lady here … but unfortunately he is afflicted with an extry. disease.” See Monroe to JM, 12 Sept. 1786. Grayson seems to have suffered a chronic nerve disorder. He did not return to Congress until the latter part of November (Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VIII, xcviii). He still had not recovered by February 1787 when JM reached New York. “Col. Grayson is rather better than I left him last fall in Philada. but is still a frequent prey to his own imagination. The continuance of his unhappy sensations is really extraordinary” (JM to Eliza House Trist, 10 Feb. 1787). However, with spring Grayson’s illness seems to have abated.

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