James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Hardin Burnley, 5 [December] 1789

From Hardin Burnley

Richmond Novr. [December] the 5th. 1789.

Dr Sir

Since the date of my letter to you which I wrote a few days ago the resolutions of the Committee on the amendments proposed by Congress have been reported.1 Those which respected the ten first were agreed to with even less opposition than they experienced in the Committee, & that wh. passed on the 11th & 12th. was rescinded by a majority of about twelve. The amendments with the resolutions on them are now with the Senate, where from the best information which I have been able to collect there is such a division in opinion as not to furnish a ground for probable conjecture as to their decision. Some of that body I am informed propose rejection in toto, others adoption, & others again wish to postpone a decision on them ’till next Session of assembly. I believe it may be said with certainty that the greater part of those who wish either to postpone or reject, are not dissatisfied with the amendments so far as they have gone, but are apprehensive that the adoption of them at this time will be an obstacle to the chief object of their persuit, the amendment on the subject of direct taxation. It is confidently said in this city that the Convention of North Carolina has adopted the Constitution by a very decided majority. I am Dr Sir yr. Most Obt. Servt.

Hardin Burnley

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Misdated by Burnley (see n. 1).

1Burnley referred to his letter of 28 Nov. The House approved the constitutional amendments on 30 Nov. (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. 1789, pp. 90–91).

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