James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Stone and Jesse Franklin, 29 January 1805 (Abstract)

§ From David Stone and Jesse Franklin1

29 January 1805, Washington. “The enclosed Resolution of the Legislature of the State of North Carolina2 contains the determination of that State upon the Amendment proposed to the Constitution of the United States by the State of Massachusetts.”3

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML). 1 p. Enclosure not found, but see n. 2.

1David Stone (1770–1818) was U.S. senator from North Carolina from 1801 to 1807 and briefly again from 1813 to 1814. Jesse Franklin (1760–1823) represented North Carolina in the U.S. Senate from 1799 to 1805, where he was elected president pro tempore on 10 Mar. 1804, and again from 1807 to 1813. Both men had earlier been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and both also held various state offices, including the governorship.

2For the proposed amendment, see Stanley Griswold to JM, 26 Nov. 1804, and n. 2. On 30 Nov. 1804 the North Carolina senate resolved “That it would be impolitic” to recommend adoption of the amendment; on 1 Dec. the house of commons concurred (“Journal of the Senate of North Carolina … [1804],” 19, 22, and “Journal of the House of Commons of North Carolina … [1804],” 24, in Records of the States of the United States of America [DLC microfilm ed.], N.C. A.1a:b, reel 7).

3Governor John Page submitted this resolution of the Massachusetts General Court to the Virginia General Assembly in December 1804. William A. Burwell wrote in his memoirs: “This alteration [to the Constitution] was directed specially against Va, as appeard from the Debates, Mr P. feard the Legislature of Va would receive the proposition indignantly & under the influence of passion answer it in a style calculated rather to confirm the prejudices of her enemies in M. [Massachusetts] than refute their fallacious reasoning, it [was] agreed that Mr Madison should write the answer which should be inclosed to me, & thus placed in the hands of the Chairman of the Comtee. to whom the M. amendment was referred. This happend & I gave James Barbour, the paper under an injunction of secrecy, which I have no reason to think has been violated, tho’ the temptation has been extremely strong if he has heard all the criticisms against the style & matter of the piece—how often have I heard Gentln. wish Mr. Madison would have been called on to answer the Amdm. & lavish the most unreserved abuse upon poor B. for a composition which would probably have passed current with all its defects if the real author had been known. Such is the propensity of Men to pay homage to names, & receive unquestiond the of[f]spring of those who are established in the world—for myself I certainly concurred in censure of the piece. I thought it remarkably feeble, & unintelligible” (DLC: William A. Burwell Papers). On 28 Jan. 1805 the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution stating “That it is inexpedient to agree to the said amendment” and asking Governor Page to send a copy of the resolution to Massachusetts governor Caleb Strong (“Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Virginia … [1804],” in Records of the States of the United States of America [DLC microfilm ed.], Va. A.1a, reel 2, 6–8, 11, 74; “Acts passed at a General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia … [1804],” ibid., Va. B.2, reel 4, 58).

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