James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, 10 June 1787

To James Monroe

Philada. June 10. 1787.

Dear Sir

I have been discouraged from answering sooner your favor of  1 by the bar which opposes such communications as I should incline not less to make than you must do to receive. One of the earliest rules established by the Convention restrained the members from any disclosure whatever of its proceedings, a restraint which will not probably be removed for some time. I think the rule was a prudent one not only as it will effectually secure the requisite freedom of discussion, but as it will save both the Convention and the Community from a thousand erroneous and perhaps mischievous reports. I feel notwithstanding great mortification in the disappointment it obliges me to throw on the curiosity of my friends. The Convention is now as full as we expect it to be unless a report should be true that Rh. Island has it in contemplation to make one of the party.2 If her deputies should bring with them the complexion of the State, their company will not add much to our pleasure, or to the progress of the business. Eleven States are on the floor. All the deputies from Virga. remain except Mr. Wythe who was called away some days ago by information from Williamsburg concerning the increase of his lady’s ill health. I had a letter by the last packet from Mr. Short, but not any from Mr. Jefferson. The latter had sett out on his tour to the South of France. Mr. Short did not expect his return for a considerable time. The last letter from him assigned as the principal motive to this ramble, the hope that some of mineral springs in that quarter might contribute to restore his injured wrist. Present me most respectfully to Mrs. Monroe. Yrs. Affecy.

Js. Madison Jr.

RC (DLC). Addressed and franked by JM.

1JM left the space blank. The letter was Monroe’s to JM, 23 May 1787 (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (10 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IX, 416–17).

2The Rhode Island House of Deputies had passed a resolution in May 1787 authorizing a delegation to the Federal Convention, but the measure died when the upper house disapproved. A few weeks later, the Assistants (upper chamber) reconsidered their vote and sent a bill back to the lower chamber providing for a delegation; but the deputies refused to consent (Polishook, Rhode Island and the Union, pp. 184–85).

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