James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Henry Lee, 7 December 1787

From Henry Lee

Stratford Decr. 7t. 87

dear Madison

Having a few moments only to devote, you must be satisfied with a very laconic letr. Such is my distance from the line of posts, that to use it, I must avail myself of accidental conveyances, which are often like the present, sudden. It is with real Grief I inform you that by a late vote of the assembly of Virga. on a collateral question, they have manifested hostility to the new constitution. Henry whose art is equal to his talents for declamation, conducted this business & gained a majority on the vote of sixteen.

We are told by Gentlemen from Richmond, that the whole district south of James river are in the opposition. In this corner the people are warmly attached to the new system, but we are small in size, being only four or five countys.

I saw Genl. Washington on my return, he continues firm as a rock. The Pages are all zealous abettors of the constitution so is R Wormely & F. Lightfoote Lee. Both of these Gentlemen are candidates for the convention. The last is an important acquisition & breaks the influence of the stratford Lees. It becomes you to return in time to secure your election. If possible let me see you. I have offered myself for Westmoreland, but such is the number who contend for this distinction, it is not probable that I may succeed.1 God bless you—

Henry Lee

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1The “stratford Lees” were the progeny of Thomas and Hannah Lee of Stratford Hall. They included the brothers Francis Lightfoot, Richard Henry, and Arthur. Francis Lightfoot Lee was evidently a candidate for the convention from Richmond County but was defeated. Ralph Wormeley, Jr., was elected from Middlesex County, as was Henry Lee from Westmoreland County. The latter came into possession of Stratford Hall through his wife and cousin Matilda, a Stratford Lee (Lee, Lee Chronicle, pp. 70–78, 85; 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. 244).

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