James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Edmund Randolph, 2 July [August] 1788

To Edmund Randolph

N. York July [August] 2d. 1788

My dear friend

Some of the letters herewith inclosed have been here for some time without my knowing it. The others came to hand yesterday. I have also in hand for you the Marquis Condorcet’s essai on the probability of decisions resulting from plurality of voices,1 which I understand from Mazzei is a gift from the Author. I shall forward it by the first conveyance.

There are public letters just arrived from Jefferson. The contents are not yet known. His private letters to me & others refer to his public for political news. I find that he is becoming more & more a friend to the new Constitution, his objections being gradually dispelled by his own further reflections on the subject. He particularly renounces his opinion concerning the expediency of a ratification by 9 and a refusal by 4 States, considering the mode pursued by Massts. as the only rational one, but disapproving some of the alterations recommended by that State. He will see still more room for disapprobation in the recommendations of other States. The defects of the Constitution which he continues to criticise are the omission of a bill of rights, and of the principle of rotation at least in the Ex. Departmt.

Congress have been some days on the question where the first meeting of the New Congs. shall be placed. Philada. failed by a single voice from Delaware which ultimately aimed at that place, but wished to bring Wilmington into view. In that vote N. Hampshire & Connecticut both concurred. N. York is now in nomination and if those States accede which I think probable, and Rhode Island which has as yet refused to sit in the Question can be prevailed on to vote which I also think probable, the point will be carried. In this event a great handle I fear will be given to those who have opposed the new Govt. on account of the Eastern preponderancy in the fœderal system. Yrs. Affely.

Js. Madison Jr

I inclose a copy of the ratification2 of N. York. What think you of some of the expository articles?

RC (DLC). Docketed by Randolph. Enclosures not found.

1Essai sur l’application de l’analyse à la probabilité des décisions rendues à la pluralité des voix (Paris, 1785).

2At a later time JM placed an asterisk here and wrote at the bottom of the page: “as prepared, probably.” A copy of the New York ratification, dated 26 July 1788, was printed in the N.Y, Daily Advertiser of 31 July 1788. JM evidently wrote his later marginal note thinking that he had written his misdated letter before the New York convention officially ratified the Constitution.

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