James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Lee Turberville, 27 October 1788

From George Lee Turberville

Octr. 27th. 1788.

My dear sir—

Sentiments begin to circulate—the Cloven hoof begins to appear. I want no arguments to convince me. A convention I am opposed to—intrigue antifœderalism and artifice go hand in hand. R. H. L. & Colo. Grayson are the objects of antifœderal choice for the senate—but I trust they will be deceived & by aiming at too much they will loose every thing. Mr. Corbin has precipitated resolutions into the Committee of the whole to day for organizing the Government which with his speech I fear will be productive of ill—however I hope for the best.1 Governor Clintons Letter tomorrow—I tremble for the event & must soon put a conclusion to this Letter in order to prepare myself for that subject. Do not conceive me a flatterer when I tell you that I in common with your Native Countrymen feel most sensibly the want of your ample aid upon this trying occasion—I only can gratify myself with the Certainty of my conscience purity of my intentions, & in being certain that my conduct will be regulated by my Judgement—not my passions—& then the great Poet of Nature tells me in the language of inspiration almost—that I am safe.

Thrice is he armed who has his quarrel just

& he but naked tho locked up in steel

Whose conscience makes a coward of his soul.2

We are in the new capitol. God bless you my best respects to the President & to Mr. Brown. Adieu

George Lee Turberville

RC (NN). Docketed by JM.

1These were resolutions proposing that the state be divided into districts for electing representatives and electors of the president. The House approved them on 31 Oct. (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond, In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1790 are brought together in three volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828, and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1788, p. 18). Another observer commented that Corbin “seems to me not to have the confidence even of those who are friends to the fair trial of the new government” (Charles Lee to Washington, 29 Oct. 1788, Documentary History of the Constitution, V, 101–2).

2William Shakespeare, Henry VI, pt. 2, act 3, sc. 2, lines 232–34.

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