James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edward Carrington, 23 September 1787

From Edward Carrington

New York Sept. 23. 1787

My dear Sir,

The Gentlemen who have arrived from the Convention inform us that you are on the way to join us—least, however, you may, under a supposition that the State of the delegation is such as to admit of your absence, indulge yourself in leisurely movements, after the fatiguing time you have had, I take this precaution to apprise you that the same schism which unfortunately happened in our State in Philadelphia, threatens us here also. One of our Colleagues Mr. R. H. Lee is forming propositions for essential alterations in the Constitution, which will, in effect, be to oppose it.1 Another, Mr. Grayson, dislikes it, and is, at best for giving it only a Silent passage to the States. Mr. H. Lee joins me in opinion that it ought to be warmly recommended to ensure its adoption. A lukewarmness in Congress will be made a ground of opposition by the unfreindly in the States. Those who have hitherto wished to bring the conduct of Congress into contempt, will in this case be ready to declare it truly respectable.

Next wednesday is fixed for taking under consideration this business, and I ardently wish you could be with us.2

The New York faction is rather active in spreading the seeds of opposition—this, however, has been expected, and will not make an impression so injurious as the same circumstance would in some other States. Colo. Hamilton has boldly taken his ground in the public papers and, having truth and propriety on his side, it is to be hoped he will stem the torrent of folly and inequity.3

I do not implicitly accede, in sentiment, to every article of the scheme proposed by the convention, but I see not how my utmost wishes are to be gratified until I can withdraw from society. So long as I find it necessary to combine my strength and interests with others, I must be satisfied to make some sacrifices to the general accommodation. I am my dear Sir with great sincerity Your Freind & Humble Servt.

Ed. Carrington

RC (DLC). Addressed and franked by Carrington. Docketed by JM. The letter was sent to JM in Philadelphia and forwarded to him in New York.

1Lee’s proposed amendments are printed in Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VIII, 648–49.

2JM arrived in New York on Monday, 24 Sept., and was present in Congress during the consideration of the report of the Federal Convention on 26, 27, and 28 Sept. The report had been delivered to Congress on 20 Sept. and read the same day (JM to James Madison, Sr., 30 Sept. 1787; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXIII, 488–503).

3The reference is apparently to Alexander Hamilton’s letter of 15 Sept. 1787 in the N.Y. Daily Advertiser (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (21 vols. to date; New York, 1961——). description ends , IV, 248–53). In that letter Hamilton acknowledged and defended his earlier attack on Governor Clinton that had appeared in the N.Y. Daily Advertiser of 21 July 1787 (ibid., IV, 229–32).

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