James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Gordon, Jr., 17 February 1788

From James Gordon, Jr.

February 17th. 1788

Dear Sir

Being favd. by Colo. Monroe with a sight of your letter of the 27 January1 and finding no mention therein of your being in our county in a short time, [I] take the Liberty as yr. Friend to solicit your attendance at march Orange court. I am induced to make such a request as I believe it will give the county in general great satisfaction to hear your sentiments on the new Constitution. Your Friends are very solicitous for your appointment in the convention to meet in June next. I trust were it not practicable for you to attend your election will be secured, but your being present would not admit a doubt. Colo. Thomas Barbour, Mr. Charles Porter & myself enter the list with you the two former gentlemen are exceedingly averse to the adoption of the constitution in this state and being acquainted with them you will readily determine, no means in their power will be wanting to procure a seat in convention. The sentiments of the people of Orange are much dividid the best men in my judgement are for the constitution but several of those who have much weight with the people are opposed, Parson Bledsoe & Leeland2 with Colo. Z. Burnley.3 Upon the whole sir I think it is incumbent on you with out delay, to repair to this state; as the loss of the constitution in this state may involve consequences the most alarming to every citizen of America. I am Dr Sir yr. Most Obt Sr

Jas Gordon Jun

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1JM’s letter to James Monroe of 27 Jan. 1788 has not been found.

2Aaron Bledsoe (ca. 1730–1809) was a Baptist minister who preached at “North Fork of Pamunkey,” about eight miles southeast of Orange (John T. Bledsoe, The Bledsoe Family [Pine Bluff, Ark., 1973], pp. 63, 128; Semple, History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia [rev. ed., 1894], pp. 219–20). John Leland (1754–1841), the leader of the Virginia Baptists, was born in Massachusetts and moved to Culpeper County in 1777. The next year he moved to Orange and remained there until he returned to New England in 1791. In 1788 Leland baptized 300 converts—“more than I have ever baptized in any other year” (The Writings of the Late Elder John Leland … [New York, 1845], pp. 9, 19, 27, 29, 49–50). For an account of Leland’s career, see L. H. Butterfield, “Elder John Leland, Jeffersonian Itinerant,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, n.s., LXII (1952), 155–242.

3Zachariah Burnley (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (10 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, 148 n. 2; VIII, 273 n. 1).

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