James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Francis Corbin, 15 December 1791

From Francis Corbin

Richmond Virga. Decr. 15th: 1791

Dear Sir

I sieze the earliest moment to inform you that all the Amendments to the federal Constitution have at length pass’d the Senate.1

The Bill for the arrangement of Districts lies upon our Table to be Engross’d: but your Information this Evening will render it necessary for us to new model the whole System. The Assembly have determined to rise on Saturday—but unless they make an unjustifiable Sacrifice of Duty to Inclination, I think, that determination must be rescinded.

There is nothing worth communicating to you of a Legislative nature, Except indeed it be the unanimous adoption of a Resolution which I proposed to congratulate the National Assembly of France on the Establishment of their New Constitution.2 I have drawn the Address or Letter and sincerely wish I had consulted with you upon the propriety of it a few Weeks ago. Such as it is however you shall have it by the next Post. I am Dr. Sir with Sincere Regard Yr. Mo: Ob. Set.

Francis Corbin

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1By its action the Senate made Virginia the ninth state ratifying articles three through twelve of JM’s proposed constitutional amendments. Thus 15 Dec. 1791 became the day on which the Bill of Rights became an official part of the Constitution (Dumbauld, Bill of Rights, pp. 49–50).

2On the day Corbin was writing, the House of Delegates appointed him chairman of a committee to draw up an address to the National Assembly. On the following day, the House approved his address, which with amendments passed in both houses on 19 Dec. (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Richmond. Volumes in this series are designated by the month in which the session began. description ends , Oct. 1791, pp. 130, 133, 140).

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