James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 3 January 1788

From Edmund Randolph

Richmond Jany. 3. 1788.

My dear friend

By this time the district-bill has passed, in nearly the same form with that of the last year, except that four additional judges are to be created. Mr. Jos: Jones, who is now absent, has thro’ Colo. Monroe signified his wish to be regenerated a judge. He will succeed. It is conjectured that the other three will appear in St. G. Tucker, Grayson, and Prentis.1

The constitution is not even spoken of; not from a want of zeal in either party, but from downright weariness. No new conjectures have arisen. Mr. G. Morris is confident that the plan will run thro’ safely. I question it, unless nine states should adopt it before June.

You must come in. Some people in Orange are opposed to your politicks. Your election to the convention is, I believe, sure; but I beg you not to hazard it by being absent at the time.

A terrible fire began here yesterday in the same quarter of the town, which fell a victim to the flames last year. But it was stopped with difficulty after the loss of four houses.2

The assembly will rise about the beginning of next week. Adieu yrs. mo. affetly.

Edm: Randolph

RC (NN: Emmet Collection). Addressed by Randolph and franked.

1Joseph Jones had served as a judge of the General Court in 1778 and 1779 (Brockenbrough, Virginia Cases, II, x). Contrary to Randolph’s prediction, Jones, though nominated, was not elected to a judgeship. The four additional judges of the General Court chosen by the General Assembly on 4 Jan. 1788 were Joseph Prentis, St. George Tucker, Gabriel Jones, and Richard Parker (Stuart to JM, 14 Jan. 1788; 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 1777–1790 are brought together in three volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1787, p. 134).

2“Yesterday afternoon about 4 o’clock, a fire broke out in the house occupied by Mrs. Gilbert (about 80 yards distant from the Assembly house, and 100 from Shockoe warehouses) which was burnt to the ground; from the activity of some carpenters and others (who deserve great praise) in cutting down the adjacent buildings, to which the fire had, and was like to communicate; the flames were happily extinguished, although in the midst of a number of wooden buildings; there was but little loss sustained, excepting the house, and a few beds and furniture which were in a room where the fire broke out” (Va. Gazette and Weekly Advertiser description begins Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (Richmond: Thomas Nicolson et al., 1781–97). description ends , 3 Jan. 1788).

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