James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Lee Turberville, 27 [29] October 1788

From George Lee Turberville

Octr. 27 [29]th. 17881

My dear sir—

Mr. Henry has this Day brought in his firebrand which I fear we can scarcely withstand. Tomorrow—tis a fearfull day.

Corbin has today almost given up the cause of federalism. Richd Bland Lee—Mr. Z. Johnson & myself—opposed to the formidable band of Antifederals who were most conspicuous in the Convention.

“Whereas (say the Resolutions) the Convention of Delegates of the People of Virginia did ratify a constitution for the people of the United states also declare that sundry Amendments agreed to by the said Convention involves all the great unalienable & essential rights of Freemen—many of which if not cancelled are render’d insecure—under the said Constitution untill the same shall be alter’d and amended—(Verbatim).

“Resolved as the opinion of this Committee that for quieting the minds of the good Citizens of the Commonwealth & for securing their dearest rights & priviledges & preventing those disorders which must arise under a government not founded in the confidence of the People—Application be made to the Congress of the United states—so soon as they shall Assemble under the new Constitution to call a Convention for proposing Amendments to the same according to the mode therein described.[”]

Such are the resolutions I have dreaded—& to which I shall take care to prepare myself for Opposition tomorrow.2

You have a Journal of what occurs. Wou’d to heaven you were here—to you I write for information & to heaven & the guardian Genius of human Liberty I offer up my prayers for aid on this arduous Occasion. Adieu

George Lee Turberville

RC (NN). Docketed by JM.

1The action described in this letter took place on 29 Oct. (Charles Lee to Washington, 29 Oct. 1788, Documentary History of the Constitution, V, 101–2).

2The House on 30 Oct. formally approved Henry’s resolution for a second convention and another proposing a committee to draft a reply to Clinton’s circular letter. Francis Corbin’s substitute motion requesting Congress to propose a bill of rights and certain other amendments for approval by the states was defeated 85 to 39 (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, pp. 16–17; Corbin to JM, 12 Nov. 1788). See also Pa. Gazette, 26 Nov. 1788 (“Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Fredericksburg … dated November 4, 1788”).

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