James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Daniel Carroll, 28 May 1788

From Daniel Carroll

May 28th. 1788

Dear Sir,

Yr. favor (I beleive of the 10th Ulto) came to hand. Inclosd is a paper containing the address of the minority of our Convention.1 I wish it may be in my power to convey by Docr. Stueart, a State drawn up2 by Mr. Hanson (one of the Committee) of the proceedings, which will disclose some matters not mention’d in the Address, & may give a different cast to those proceedings—he promisd to send it after me—it is not yet come to hand. It is thought the address will be of little consequence in this State: It may however be of some with you to hear both sides. I can at present only send a copy of an address which was read in the Committee, and contended by some of the federalists in that Committee, that it shou’d attend, or the substance of it, any amendments which they shou’d agree to recommend. This alone serves, to give a different cast to the proceedings of the Committee than appears without it.3 As far as I have been inform’d, the truth is Mr Johnsons accomodating disposition, and a respect to his charac[ter] lead the Majority into a Situation, out of which they found some dificulty to extricate themselves. I expect to meet Docr Steuart to morrow, and shall refer you to what may be in my power to communicate to him more particularly, & am, My Dear Sir, with esteem and regard, Yr most Obt Servt

Danl. Carroll

RC and second enclosure (DLC). Docketed by JM. Letters in brackets missing owing to a tear in the Ms. Whether JM was the addressee of this letter is uncertain, despite his docket and later marginal note.

1The address of the minority of the Maryland convention first appeared in the Annapolis Md. Gazette of 1 May 1788.

2At a later time JM placed an asterisk here and wrote at the bottom of the page, “*See Hanson’s letter to J. M.,” meaning that of 2 June 1788. The committee of which Hanson was a member had been appointed by the Maryland convention to consider and report on twenty-eight amendments to the Constitution proposed by William Paca. The committee approved thirteen of the amendments and rejected fifteen, but in the end did not issue any report. The minority address, which contained all of the proposed amendments, made it appear that the majority on the committee had acted unfairly in refusing to report the approved amendments.

3The draft of an address prepared by the Federalist majority on the committee was also embodied in Hanson’s unpublished rebuttal to the minority address. The draft pointed out that the amendments approved by the committee were merely recommendatory and that if the people of Maryland wished them added to the Constitution, they should do it in the manner prescribed by the Constitution. At the same time the majority stressed that “we hold ourselves incompetent, until we shall have experienced the operation and inconveniences of the government, to ascertain its defects, with precision and certainty.” Hanson noted that the minority report had said nothing about this proposed address. According to him, the chairman (Paca) adjourned the committee without a vote to ascertain “whether the address be considered and reported, or whether without the address, the 13 propositions be signed and reported” (Documentary History of the Constitution, IV, 658–59, 659–63).

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