James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 11 April 1787

From Edmund Randolph

Richmond April 11. 1787.

My dear sir

I have the pleasure to acknowledge your favor of the 2d inst.

The election for Hanover is over; Mr. Parke Goodall being returned, after a positive and unalterable declaration in public of his affection for paper money. His colleague Mr. Thos. Macon is supposed from the influence of his father over him to be an enemy to it.1

It is doubtful, what part Mr. Henry has taken in communicating his sentiments on this subject. But upon the whole it is rather certain, that he openly advocates it. His election is sure.2 In short every day gives a fresh discovery of its unexpected friends, and I hold it to be safe to make my arrangements, upon the idea that the evil will come at the next session.

Colo. Ben: Harrison is elected for Chas. city by a majority of 22. He disclaimed paper-money in the streets of Richmond on the 2d. of this month. Sed de hoc quaere.3

Mr. Beckley designs to visit Phila. in may, and hinted a wish to act as our secretary. I told him, that some person on the spot would probably succeed, altho’ that the office could have no lucre annexed, I promised however, to mention his wishes to you, that if a proper opportunity should offer, his name may be notified.4 Adieu—yrs afftely

E. R.

See Newspaper in the packet

P. S. It is said, that our friend Merriwether Smith is in the bounds for a debt, due to Mr. Wm. Lee and that he has made over the whole of his property for a british debt. Altho’ I cannot affirm this fact of my own knowledge, I believe it to be true, on the respectability of my informer.

RC (DLC). Addressed by Randolph. Docketed by JM.

1Parke Goodall represented Hanover County in the House of Delegates during most of the 1780s (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 379) and had voted in favor of an emission of paper money at the previous session of the assembly (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond, In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1786, p. 16). He was also a delegate to the ratifying convention of 1788 and later served as sheriff of Hanover (Grigsby, Virginia Convention of 1788, II, 375). Macon was possibly the Thomas Macon (1765–1838) who married JM’s sister, Sarah Catlett, in 1790 (Madison Family Tree, Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (9 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, following 212).

3“Sed quaere” is a legal term meaning “but inquire; examine this further” (Black’s Law Dictionary [4th ed. rev.], p. 1522).

4On John Beckley’s attempt to become secretary of the Philadelphia convention, see Edmund and Dorothy S. Berkeley, “‘The Ablest Clerk in the U.S.’: John James Beckley,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , LXX (1962), 439. Beckley accompanied Randolph to Philadelphia despite JM’s advice against such a trip (JM to Randolph, 22 Apr. 1787). The position Beckley sought was filled by William Jackson.

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