James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Rufus King, 6 January 1788

From Rufus King

Sunday 6. Jan. 88

Dr. Sir

I send you a copy of the confederation between the New England Colonies, together with a few Extracts from the Journals of the Commissioners.1 As I hope to leave Town on Tuesday for Boston, I pray you to return me these papers Sometime Tomorrow. You are sensible that information from the southern States relative to the proposed Constitution will be of importance to us at Boston while engaged on that subject. This remark will apologize for the request which I take the liberty of making, that you wd. have the Goodness to inform me by Post of any thing interesting on that Subject, which you may obtain during my Absince, on [the other hand I will inform you of our hopes and fears. With great esteem]

RC (DLC); Tr (NHi). RC docketed by JM. Lower portion of the RC clipped. The words in brackets are written at the bottom of the RC in an unknown hand.

1In May 1643 representatives of the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven agreed on articles of union establishing the “United Colonies of New England.” The government was composed of eight commissioners empowered to declare war and clothed with jurisdiction in matters of interstate quarrels, runaway servants, fugitives from justice, and Indian affairs. The commissioners met annually until 1664 and occasionally thereafter until the confederation was dissolved in 1684 (Henry S. Commager, ed., Documents of American History [7th ed.; 2 vols. in 1; New York, 1963], I, 26–28). The proceedings of the commissioners are printed in Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer, eds., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England (1855–61; 12 vols. in 6; New York, 1968 reprint), IX, 9 and passim; X, 3 and passim. Presumably JM wished to consult these materials in preparing his “Publius” essays.

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