James Madison Papers

To James Madison from the Governor of Virginia, 6 December 1793

From the Governor of Virginia

Richmond December 6th. 1793.


In obedience to the direction of the General Assembly I transmit a copy of the resolutions1 passed by that honorable body respecting the late unexpected decision of the supreme Court of the United States which asserts that Court’s right of Jurisdiction in all controversies wherein a State may be a party, and I flatter myself that the request of the General Assembly will receive from you firm and zealous support. I am Sir &c.

Henry Lee.

Letterbook copy (Vi: Executive Letterbook). Addressed “To the Representatives from this State in Congress.” The resolutions that Lee enclosed may have been the printed copy: Virginia. In the House of Delegates, Thursday, 28th November, 1793. Resolved, That a State Cannot … Be Made a Defendant (Richmond, 1793; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). Roger P. Bristol, ed., Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography (Charlottesville, Va., 1970). description ends 26391).

1In response to the Supreme Court decision in Chisholm v. Georgia (2 Dallas description begins A. J. Dallas, Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Several Courts of the United States, and of Pennsylvania … (4 vols.; Philadelphia, 1790–1807). description ends 419), the General Assembly passed joint resolutions on 3 Dec. requesting the Virginia delegation in the House, and instructing its senators, to support a constitutional amendment upholding the immunity of a state from suit. Other states submitted similar protests to Congress. On 4 Mar. 1794 JM voted with the majority when the House proposed the eleventh amendment (Shepherd, Statutes description begins Samuel Shepherd, ed., The Statutes at Large of Virginia, from October Session 1792, to December Session 1806 … (new ser.; 3 vols.; Richmond, 1835–36). description ends , 1:284; Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 3d Cong., 1st sess., 477).

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