James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, [6 October] 1788

From Edmund Pendleton

[6 October 1788]

… The Resolutions respecting the Mississippi Navigation are of a Balmy nature, tending to give Repose to those concerned, and impose silence on such as caring nothing about it, used the Subject as an engine of Opposition, not such is the fixure of the tempory seat of Congress. I have already met taunts on the occasion, as the first instance of Eastern Partiality and influence, which Opposition foresaw would pervade & wholly direct the new Government. In vain did I observe that the measure had a Southern Vote. The answer was that they would by one Artifice or other, always find means to engage such assistance. I feel concern at the determination, tho’ as temporary it is not in its self important. Yet nothing in my opinion can make a new Government wear a more inauspicious aspect, than the appearance of favor to one part of the Society over others, a full and Equal diffusion of its Powers to the whole, is what all had a right to expect from the Ruler, and will never acquiesce in a seat of Government so ec-centric & inconvenient as New York; but I hope time & reflection will produce conviction of the impropriety of this vote, before the stable fixure, & indeed operate upon the second meeting of the New Congress.…

Printed extract (Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 694 [1892]). In this letter Pendleton also concurred “in the requisite expedients for preventing antifederal elections, and a premature Convention” (JM to Pendleton, 20 Oct. 1788). The list probably kept by Peter Force (DLC: Madison Miscellany) notes that the letter consisted of three pages and calendars it as follows: “Resolutions respecting the navigation of the Mississippi. Opposition to New York as a seat of Government. Opponents to the New Constitution propose another Convention, Federal Elections. The war in Europe.”

Index Entries